Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricane is Over Update & Missing Light Mystery

Hurricane Irma has gone.
But, it's job of disrupting the updates is also complete. After this week, the normal update schedule should be able to resume, with the normal amount of stuff on each one. It's great that there wasn't too much damage in the area, but a prolonged power out will keep the updates (and pc) away.

A Super Gear Item:
Any regular to the site would right away know that the page/category of "Super Sonic Gear" doesn't get a new entry very often. That's because it has so many requirements all at once for something to be able to make it on there. Usually a single thing can't meet every requirement. But, what are these requirements?

1. The look
It has to be EXTREMELY ON MODEL. Every detail has to be just right and pretty much perfect in pretty much every instance of the item. (So like, no paint oversplash, etc)

2. Uniqueness / inventiveness -
This one of course varies, but it's why stuff like the Crystal Cube is on there. Sonic, 3D etched into crystal? Sign it up, that's super unique and fits the first category too.

3. Quality-
The material it's made of matters. But, the other factors also combine with this one. It's why the crystal champagne glasses are on "High End", but not on "Super Gear". Something that feels cheap or flimsy but looks good won't make it to Super Gear, but also something of special expensive material that just has like say....an etched logo or something...that won't make it either.

4. Value -
This is another combining property. If something is amazing AND a good value for its price, that really helps it along. In the case of the latest item, the Mania Bonus Box, value is extremely good. It might actually be one of the best values around, too if you consider a video game at about 50 dollars, then getting all that extra stuff was just 10 and that's unbeatable. Value however, is lower on the Super Gear list and is just a combiner.

5. Design -
This one is trickier, but the item has to have a good design sense going on it too. It's not enough to be made of something expensive or quality at a good value. Being on-model is wonderful, but if something's just boring looking or looks like a clone of 50 other (lower quality) things, it's not going to make it. So, design comes into play as well, but more as an 'over all overlay' on what gets in.

So those 5 are the basics that bring on the scrutinizing for Super Gear, and the Mania Box did it.
The statue, console, cartridge and ring were all extremely on model. Quality materials were used because the statue doesn't feel fragile, isn't impractically heavy, and the ring is solid metal. Value? Of course. Design: The classic Sonic atop the Genesis is posed like classic art and looks fun on display. It doesn't look like anything else, it's not boring, and it's a unique idea because the base makes sound too...plus the over all combination of all the goods you got at once. This includes the packaging! Which brings it to....

The Mystery of the Missing Light:
Did you know the 'power' red LED indicator on the Mania Statue Base is supposed to light up when you activate the SEGA sound? No one's does....but it's supposed to. Isn't that weird? What happened to it? Why would they install a real LED then not let it get power? Is there anything that can be done to fix it? Stay tuned for possible answers.....

Next Week:
More new stuff you can buy now! Most fortunately, as shopping season is approaching and if you want to make up your Christmas list or something with Sonic stuff, there should be some things to look for.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Irma Update

The update this week is on an unusual day due to hurricane Irma.
It's the size of France. So, it's going to go where it's gonna go...and seems likely to cut the power at some point, so here goes the update. It's a little smaller than usual, but still manages to have some interesting stuff. (And more Mania of course)

Harmony Magazines:
I guess these are some sort of enduring mystery I didn't hear about. But, at least now they're on the site, in however small a manner.

Mania Statue:
There'll be more for it on the next update, it was planned but because of the hurricane, it's just not happening this time. Also, someone's discovered an error with it! There's a hidden LED light that's supposed to light up...but never does. So, someone may at some point make a tutorial on how to get it going again, and if that happens, it'll get posted too.

Next week:
The statue should wrap up, probably some housewares/accessories to appear & if no more hurricanes do, the usual schedule should be back.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sonic Comics USA Gets New Home? IDW! Archie Gone

After having a break...
The Gear updates are back on schedule and back to the usual with this week. It's a fairly standard crop of items, lots of which are provided by Spencers Gifts and their new summer crop of stuff. It is still typical though because the "Boom Ban" is clearly still in effect: Merch is limited to classic & Boom only.  (Skip to Section 2 to pass Comic Drama)

More will continue with this same theme next week. But, it's the big news that really needs to get said:

The Archie Sonic Comic is OVER.
It lasted about 25 years or so there, and broke a lot of records along the way. The record-breaking was due to the loyalty of Sonic fans above fans of other varieties. They supported the comic even when it got weird and didn't make much sense. It kept on getting supported until good people could get in the 'captain area' and fix it (as it had been done with Universe & etc) right up till it ended.

As a merchandise site & blog: What does this mean?

Archie's not making them, and they're not going to want anything to do with the Sonic brand going forward, so if you're missing anything any issue BUY IT NOW or pay the high price later, or maybe never even get it. It seems trivial now "oh its 4 dollars" but you know the way of the Sonic collectible: that price is going to go up.
If there's anything you want out of it, now is your hour of buying power. That's physical stuff though, digital is kind of whatever from a collecting standpoint because you're looking for objects not unlocking some crumbly pay-file.

As a fan: What does this mean?
IDW is getting Sonic comics & they are rallying for 2018 comic release. IDW has a generally good reputation for 'fan satisfaction' by applying good and creative people to properties they get. They don't appear to abuse brands or run them into the ground for a quick buck.

Opinion Zone 1: Seems trustworthy enough. Not afraid.

As a plot: What could happen?
There are several choices IDW has with the comic & it'll depend on WHAT Sonic they got the license for. Was it everything? Was it JUST modern & Classic? Was it Boom? Was it everything Archie had and Archie is just signing everything over? It depends on what variety of Sonic they got, what they'll be able to do with it. They probably are not going to go full comedy/nonsense like AOSTH, they will probably want adventure stories because that's what Archie succeeded with, on their Sonic. (Remember, they started off as comedy 1-shots)

Sega only gave them Boom because they want to push it down everyone's throats = Boom Comic
Sega gives them Modern & Classic = Plausible good variety comic
Archie gives them the FF's = It's Archie again.......continued comic

NOTHING SatAm or Archie based moves on. Sally & the freedom fighters are done. They have nothing to do with the games, shows, or anything anybody's been trying to push EXCEPT Archie for countless years now. Archie had hot water over the Penders issue and no one will want that "infection" to continue even with characters he didn't make. It'll be deemed "Safer" by corporate to leave everything Non-Sega & Non-New behind.

Opinion Zone 2: It could be ok unless Sega only gives Boom. Then it will flop. Boom as a show is funny, but doesn't work on paper because whoever writes the show is funnier than whoever else writing a comic.

Conflict Ability:
Sure, Archie chars have 'nothing to do with anything' EXCEPT Archie! They were successful where they were and WHO they had become. It was their niche. So the argument "they're no-where" isn't 100% real, but will that stop anything?

Mostly it just remains to be seen as details will be forthcoming.

Cook & Becker Sonic Book- Arrives!
Book is good: a big review will be posted here next update. If you ordered it/preordered it should be there already/very soon. It's VERY heavy and quite large. Yes, there are special pages, and a video will appear next week as well.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Added Detail - Added Coolness

Main Announcement:
There will be NO SonicGear update for the following week. (It is skipping a week) That would be July 16 the expected date, that it won't appear on. But it is only skipping just that, it'll keep going as more stuff is flowing in.

Added Detail & Item of the Week:
Sonic Cup with Emerald Ice Cubes
This cup is extra fun because it has those re-use ice cubes in it. Items are just SO MUCH better when they go that extra mile and aren't just "Sonic imagery is stamped on some random generic thing". The hat this week is another ok example of this, where it has the patch and then also the logo.

I'm not sure if it's just my unique perspective via merchandise site, or if everyone shares it/adds this much importance to companies really paying attention to design and detail. Of course, seeing the same stock art a zillion times is more tiring than someone who's just out there noticing Sonic whenever. Still, it can hope that everyone appreciates the extra mile.

Spencers is Back
Hot Topic seems to be out of Sonic stuff, but Spencers' (oddly) seems to be ramping up for another season of Sonic merch. Spencers' is a point of some contention because they got really into weed/pot and porn-type stuff which totally doesn't go with Sonic, so everyone felt they were moving away from him...but it seems not when they're breaking out this level of new merch.

Hot Topic?
Yes, it still has SOME Sonic stuff, but nothing exclusive. The Hello Kitty crossover stuff should be either there or online (and its costly) along with Boom Keychains & the GE Cups/Lunch Tin type stuff. Nice to have it kept available, but it's not anything new.

Another Year of Party:
The party supplies for 2017 are also another good sign. They're modern, and they're not Boom. It looks like the Boom Embargo is still in the process of lifting. Their timing is a bit odd though, because usually party supplies "last forever" (ex. many years) on shelves with the same ones being produced without updating. Still, this seems a good thing, they're nicely designed & inexpensive.

What about Archie?
This is the question on a lot of minds (because people are on the Archie email list that sends mail like almost daily--and keeps never mentioning Sonic any more, when it used to always do it) It also is conspicuous now in its absence from...well anything related to comic book stores. Some alternate covers were also marked 'cancelled'. So what's actually going on?

As far as anyone knows:
Archie is trying to "ReFocus on JUST ARCHIE" which, obviously "Sonic" is not a part of.
Archie is fighting with Sega over money to keep going BECAUSE of Archie's spending to fight with Ken Penders Lawsuit.

They can't afford a big spend on 2 fronts.
Archie the brand itself AND all comic books aren't doing as well as they used to. Individual issues are pricey, online stuff is 'more entertaining', and 'not as many people buy/get into comics'...all the usual problems you read about are taking blame. They're fighting it with the Archie Live Action tv show (which seems to do ok?) but you can def. see how they'd want to 'focus in on archie', it makes sense*.

*So why did they ever get Sonic anyway?
I never understood how Archie got a hold of or wanted the Sonic property. They did ok-enough with it, but it just seemed odd they'd choose him. Would another company have handled him better or worse? There's no telling at this point. Why did it last so long/keep going? 2 words: Sonic Fans. If ever there's a diehard loyal fandom, it's Sonic fans. They may complain louder than a 747, but boy do they ever buy stuff in a loyal way to get all of it. It's the ONLY way the book lasted through its confounding/bizarre periods that would have killed other books. It also lasted through all the absolutely horrible art at the start too, simply because of fans. It kept getting AND taking the chances that it needed to improve.

Next *time* (remember, skips a week) update:
More USA stuff, most likely & the good bit is that it's new. Hopefully we also start getting some actual new art and new real designed stuff.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sears Trouble & Party Supplies

It seems like Sears is in trouble.
And that's bad news for Sonic fans, as this big store often had a nice Sonic selection in the boys/teens area and even for little kids. In the heyday of shirts, Sears was a paradise of reasonably priced big selection. They often also had tees that seemed exclusive to them. Probably not by mandate= "nobody else is allowed to sell these", but more likely by happenstance= "we sell these, and others have the ability to, they just don't".

What is wrong with Sears?
You have probably heard that this company that also owns Kmart is in trouble in the USA. Lots of people point blame fingers at various things like 'the store looked run down' or 'the price doesn't compete with amazon', and stuff like that. Business Insider & other publications sate that it is closing lots of stores & then secretly closing more. Probably if they knew what was wrong they'd fix it and stop closing the stores. I, personally, do not know what's wrong but you can speculate all sorts of things if you want to. I wish they would fix it.

So what's the problem?
One of the "Invincible Sears" is closing.
Yes, it's the one I went to, in order to report stuff for SonicGear. LOADS of tee photos on these pages are from that particular store. It's called "invincible" because sometimes there's a store that's in like a really, really good place and this sweet spot would guarantee its success in the face of whatever challenges. Other stores in worse places would close, but that particular one should be immune to closing.
It apparently was not.
This is in one of the top malls in all of America, visited by every country vacation person, bustling at all times of every day, and never enough parking. You hear about 'malls dying', well this one can't grow itself fast enough because its just that prosperous. So why close that Sears there? It seems bad to do, people were always in it. It wasn't run down. Only business people will know, I guess. It really is too bad...

Party Supplies!
On a happier note, Party City is releasing a 2017 line of Sonic Party Supplies!
And...the design is really good still. It uses all modern CG, and includes Shadow, which many fans will enjoy. The line is not as big or diverse on stuff as some of the previous ones, but it's still really decent. (Like, no table decor, only 1 favor, no cardboard/wall stuff) All of the known supplies are now on their own page at Gear.
I guess they got tired of all the bootleggers making bank on 'your name here' party stuff, because this time you CAN customize banners and invites. Hopefully this will stop the shabby art-stealing printer bootleggers from making money off fake Sonic stuff. It seems like a case where there was demand for stuff like that for a while but it took them a couple of years to listen, and in the meantime fakers ran wild.

Next week:
Well, more stuff from Sears. The final items, actually, from one particular Sears. Hopefully some other store picks up BioWorld (maker of the majority) , because if this megaSears is closing, other fans are also out of luck.