Vampire Raph

Last week, was my birthday so my friend Marco got me this Vampire Raph.

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Pretty ad-hoc considering the month of the year. Now, although I collect toys, I haven’t written a review since the Green Arrow from DC Universe of Mattel, mostly because I’m lazy. That said, this figure does warrant a bit of a chat.

For starters, it’s not the first time the TMNT toys do weird mash-ups with. You name it: prehistoric times, Frontierland, Universal Monsters (back then, it was Donnie, not Raph who was the vampire), Star Trek (believe it or not), Dungeons and Dragons, etc. It’s the design of the Turtles back then and now with the current one (based on the 2012-2017 series) that lends itself for the weirdest, toyetic proposals ever. Thus a monster mash is on par of the course. As usual, these figures are hard to come by in Mexico at the retail level, you either have to go online or have a friend that can get them for you in the USA.

This particular figure is pretty basic, articulation wise, like most of the ‘special’ versions of the TMNT toy line. In fact, regular turtles have way better articulations and detail.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the fabric cape, as it allows for better poses and the tiny details of its tuxedo. This Raph won’t be kicking any Foot Soldier in the but at least will scare them to death with style.

Now, I get that toys tend to get the strangest accessories ever. Batman toys are particularly guilty of this with the Turtles a close second. But… why the hell Vampire Raph carries around a wooden stake? The sai I get, traditional ninja turtle weapon of choice for Raph. The tiny ninja turtle-vampire hybrid that can be attached to Raph’s arm? Makes sense, after all, vampire lords enjoy the company of the children on the night.

But a stake? Is he planning to go all Blade and kill other vampires? Or is he planning to trick others like the Count did in A Night in the Lonesome October? Why toy designers? Why?

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That, my friends, might remain a mystery that will baffle the alien archeologist from the future that will explore the ruins of my collection.

Wooden stake aside, I really love this figure. I don’t have that many horror related figures. I mean, unless you count Plush Cthulhu, Funko Pop Cthulhu and Guillermo del Toro (he has created some of the best vampire stories… except The Strain of course). So finally getting my hands on this horrifying fellow was a nice birthday surprise. Now I wonder if I should get Leo Van Helsing to put them to fight like in that movie.

And if you want to check more vampire toy figures, including the original Vamp TMNT, check this video by Toy Galaxy.

Meanwhile, I will be plotting what further uses for Halloween decorations I can concoct for my non-sparkly Vampire Raph. Blah Blah Blah!

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Inside Inklings Tower or when fantasy meets industrial design 

I usually prefer to keep my day job (lecturer at a design school) and my other job (superhero vigilante by night… I mean writer) separated, except when I’m thinking on a particular object (like Alex’s collapsing bow) and try to describe it as feasible as possible, inner workings included. The other moments is when my writing job spills into my day job like today. Well more the work at the writers’ collective of which I’m part, Inklings Press

As you have heard we talk about the inner workings of Inklings Press as the ‘Tower’ (hence the name of the new book). And we have a mascot of sorts, enforcer and manservant Herc the Orc: 

Herc knows his best angles for being drawn as French fries.

Now, last semester, two students selected me as their final year project advisor. They were hopeful I would be open to their ideas for project (at my work they are usually ‘encouraged’ to do boring design as furniture). When they told me they wanted to create sets and creatures for a stop motion film I accepted right away( “finally an entertaining project to supervise,” I said). Then Inklings Press jumped in as client for the project and they started to develop the material for a short promo film (think the Pixar lamp animation at the start of their films). They took the drawing of Herc and created a setting and the characters (that can double as collectors’ action figures) for a film inside the Inklings Tower.

Today, these two gifted students, Alanna & Montserrat brought for a midterm evaluation their work and this is the result:










They will start shooting the film soon.

Meanwhile I’m feeling very proud of them.

This is why I studied design. This is why I’m a design teacher now. For times when my students do things like this. Well done girls!