A few years back, Playmates Toys hired me to come up with a complete storyline for its upcoming line of morphable cars. These were toys that were a cross between Transformers and Tinkertoys. They looked like cars at first, but you could unfold them into large robots and then swap out pluggable parts to customize them or even build bigger conglomerated robots out of several of them.
When we started, Playmates had no idea for a story behind the robots or even what to call them. They hired me to provide that. After a bit of back and forth and many tries of getting bits approved by trademark attorneys, I came up up R.E.V.s, Radically Engineered Vehicles, complete with a list of names for the good robots and their robot foes, plus a story that gave them all a good reason to fight a lot and knock pieces off of each other.
Playmates also wanted a comic book, so I hired Max Bertolini to handle the artwork, while I managed the writing and production. Once that was ready, they asked me if I could add animation and voiceovers to it. For that, I hired James Farr (creator of Xombie) to chop up the artwork and manipulate it in Flash. Tim Brown’s bandmate AJ had a sound studio, so I grabbed a bunch of friends and directed the voice recordings too.
Playmates has long since cancelled the line, but they gave me permission to post the PDF of the comic online. I never got around to finding the Flash files for the motion comic and posting them — until today. While going through my office, I stumbled across an old CD with some R.E.V.s files on it, and the Flash file for the comic was on it. I’ve posted the R.E.V.s motion comic now. I hope you have as much fun watching it as I did helping make it happen.
A couple years back, I produced a comic for Playmates Toys‘ new line of automotive action figures: R.E.V.s. I wrote it and hired Max Bertolini to supply the wonderful art, and IDW to tackle the lettering. The comic appeared on a CD-ROM included in the box with every R.E.V.s toy. It also featured an animated version of the comic, for which I produced and directed the animation and voiceovers with the hyper-talented James Farr and the guys at JAMIT Studios.
With the line officially cancelled, Playmates has given me permission to post a PDF of the comic here for free. Enjoy!
Today, while staying home with three sick kids, I saw the new commercial for R.E.Vs. on Cartoon Network. Every time it came on, Marty used our ReplayTV to stop it and yell for me to come and watch. They look pretty slick and will hopefully help sell truckloads of these toys.
I’d love to help create more toys for the line and come up with more characters and stories for it. I still get a kick out of watching the animated comic that comes on the CD included with each toy, and I want to see more of that soon. In the meantime, MasterCollector.com has a page filled with photos of new Playmates toys due out this year. Scroll down to see some R.E.V.s, including Anarkist, who didn’t make it into the first batch.
I spotted a few of the R.E.V.s toys in Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve and again yesterday afternoon. I’m told the toys did well in focus-group testing, especially the CD-ROM that comes with them.
I developed the CD-ROM with a team of people, including Max Bertolini, James Farr, Tim Brown and Arnold Jemison (of Jamit), Robbie Robbins of IDW, Hal Mangold, and several of my fellow Alliterates. It includes a PDF of a comic book, plus a Flash-animated version of the comic, complete with voice-overs. I had a blast working on it, and with luck we’ll get the band back together to do more in the future.
Look for R.E.V.s at stores near you, including K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, and Target. If they’re not in your local stores yet, expect them to show up soon. If you spot them, please drop me a line and let me know. (Thanks to Brett Seymour for being the first to do so.) Thanks!
Max Bertolini created the covers for each of my Blood Bowl novels, and we’ve put together a promotional comic for a new line of toys (REVs) from Playmates, too, which should hit shelves in June. He’s a fantastic artist and a pleasure to work with.
In late February, one of his pieces won an art contest sponsored by BioRob 2006, the first International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, held in Pisa, Italy. The conference attendees voted on the award, and Max took it home for his wonderful work. Congratulations, Max!
It seems I can tell you that R.E.V.s stands for Radically Engineered Vehicles (a name I came up with). Also, Figures.com has a gallery of R.E.V.s photos from the Toy Fair, plus an article about the line. (It turns out they covered the line last fall too, with an article and a gallery of early prototypes.) As they write:
The in-house concept revolves around mechanical racers and their sleek machines. In vehicle mode, the robot drivers lock into the frame, creating the chassis. Pull them back and let ’em rip. For melee combat, each cyber-soldier can be removed and geared up for battle with select pieces of the car. Doors become shoulder pads, hoods become shields. In addition, each R.E.V. features spring loaded firing weapons and their armor is interchangable with other robots in the series.
This is the first non-game toy line I’ve worked on, and it tickles my inner kid silly.
If you want to see something else I’ve been working on with Playmates, click on the links under R.E.V.s. The fantastic designers at Playmates came up with this all-new toy line and drafted me in to help out with developing the characters, the setting, and the storyline that binds it all together. I’ve had a real blast with it all, and I hope to be able to tell you more about it soon.