Exclusive Interview with Philip Reed – Author

Star Wars action figures are awesome! More than just movie toys; they have been a staple in toy aisles for decades, become pop culture icons and are credited for jump-starting the collectability of action figure toys the world over. We here at From4-LOMtoZuckuss.com appreciate what Lucasfilm, Kenner and Hasbro have created so much so that we have dedicated ourselves to covering all things Star Wars action figure related and that’s where you come in!

We are seeking out those who share our passion, to share their thoughts and memories of playing with and collecting those amazing little figures from a galaxy far, far away.

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4LOMKUSS: Philip to be honest, I doubted that we would have time for this interview because as being a fellow child of the 70’s and 80’s its been difficult to put down my two newest books “Each Sold Separately” and “Action Figures Not Included”.  These books of yours are full of fantastic information about action figures and fun memories of growing up with them. Now since Kenner’s Star Wars action figure line is featured heavily throughout your books its obvious you are not just a Star Wars fan but Star Wars action figure fan. How would you describe your passion for Star Wars action figures for those who have yet read your books?

Reed: From my very first Star Wars action figure in 1978 (Jawa!) to today I’ve had a real love for the Star Wars action figures thateach sold Kenner and Hasbro have produced. I’m definitely feeling more excitement for collecting older action figures than I do newer ones, but regardless of year of release I stop and look at everything. As to describing the passion, the best way I can think to explain it is to mention that I’ve also been working on a book devoted to the Kenner Mini-Rigs of the eighties. Those little, unloved, often mocked vehicles were some of my favorites as a kid and I have had fun collecting all of them. Once I get time to properly photograph all of the Mini-Rigs I’ll return to that project . . . but at the moment my focus has to be on the Universe Expanded book.

4LOMKUSS: Your love for the vintage line is without question but did that spark reignite when The Power of the Force 2 line appeared in 1995?

Reed: I think it was more Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire that rekindled my excitement for Star Wars action figures. Around late 1984 my attention shifted from Star Wars toys to Transformers toys, and I (like an idiot) traded off and let go my Star Wars collection. I could kick myself once a day for the rest of my life and never make up for that poor decision. But hey, I was a kid!

The 1995 Power of the Force 2 line only strengthened my excitement for the Star Wars action figures, and I soon shifted my collecting attention from the vintage line to the (then) new action figures and vehicles. >From 1995 until early in 1999 I grabbed many of the releases, but I must admit that my Star Wars interest took a hit after watching Episode 1 twice. I should have ignored the feelings Episode 1 gave me and kept up with classic-inspired toys, but something about that film just murdered the love I was feeling for Star Wars at the time.

Then I got extra busy with a new career and completely lost all time for Star Wars toys.

4LOMKUSS: Now with your newest book endeavor “Universe Expanded” you appear to be merging your love for 90’s Star Wars publishing and the beginning of the modern figure line. Would you mind telling us a little about this Kickstarter project?

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Reed: Universe Expanded came about because one of my frustrations with books is when a toy gets just one small picture. After digging into the Kenner 1990s toys again I realized that the 1998 subline would be perfect for a book.

The project has two goals: 1. Fund printing and mailing. 2. Demonstrate there’s enough interest in the project for me to spend the time taking it to the finish line. Here’s hoping it works out!

4LOMKUSS: Well we are very excited you are taking on this project. The Expanded Universe line, in our opinion, is a truly under appreciated line.  From their video game and comic book designs to their unique built-in diorama cardbacks they are a really special sub-line of figures. Now other than a Mini-Rigs book (which if you do, you can have my money now) are there any other Star Wars figure book ideas you might consider?

Reed: Other Star Wars books? Well, I can admit that a book about Kenner’s 1996 Shadows of the Empire series has been in thepages each back of my mind. For now, though, I don’t want to distract myself from getting Universe Expanded finished. I’m concentrating on that book so that I don’t get lost in the “what if I?” fields.

4LOMKUSS: Now it sounds you gave up on Star Wars figure collecting after The Phantom Menace. Are you considering collecting The Force Awakens?

Reed: I’m waiting to see The Force Awakens before I make any decisions. So far I’m liking the bits I’ve seen — fun trailer! — but I’m trying to keep expectations very low.

And besides, those Gentle Giant jumbo vintage toys are consuming enough of my Star Wars budget at the moment. I’m loving those!

4LOMKUSS: We’d love to see a Shadows book as well! Well your Kickstarter campaign is off to a great start as it is nearing 25% funded in just the first few hours. If folks are interested (and you should be) in pledging funds they have about a month to do so. Anything else you would like to add about the ”Universe Expanded” before we unleash the “4LOMKUSS”?

Reed: This book’s a bit of a departure from my earlier projects since it is very focused, which means it should have a higher chance of completing on schedule. My other toy books have been either broad in concept OR about ongoing toys; with Universe Expanded I’ve got a specific number of toys to cover. And I’m having a lot of fun constructing the book!

4LOMKUSS: Now, if you are ready, its time to face the 4LOMKUSS in a round of rapid-fire questions that we call:

~ 4LOMKUSS Unleashed ~

Figures: For play or display? Would “DisPlay” be a fair answer? I wanna choose both.

Worth more to you: Red or Blue Snaggletooth? Blue! I actually have posted a few times now begging Sideshow to create a 12-inch Blue Snaggletooth.

Your Star Wars “Holy Grail”?  It doesn’t exist. I want Gentle Giant to create a Mini-Rig or two for their jumbo vintage series.

I would sell my entire collection for: Nothing! It’s mine.

Best vintage figure?  Ever? I kinda have a soft spot for Stormtroopers. I even nabbed one of those bootleg packs that included a Kenner-style black Stormtrooper.

Number of figures in your collection?  Unknown. The living room alone is decorated with seventeen feet of floor to ceiling shelving on one wall . . . then the shelving wraps around the next wall. The dining room and bedroom also have large displays and I’m starting on the game room one of these days. Not to mention all of the toys at my office.

Episode _____ is the best! How is this even a question? Everyone knows it’s Empire.

Vlix: Have it, Want it, Who the hell is that!  Seen it. Not so much wanted as wanted to photograph it.action figure

Best toy line outside of Star Wars? Transformers.

Would rather be: Han or Luke? Han. Always Han.

Which lost accessory do you miss the most?  Cloud Car Pilot accessories. Loved those!

Favorite Star Wars quote?  Opening sentence of Han Solo at Star’s End. He said a bad word!

Better Han Solo Knockoff: Kyle Katarn or Dash Rendar? Dash Rendar. He had padded armor.

What else could 4-LOM stand for:  According to everything I’ve ever read it’s 4 Love of Money.

Who tastes better: Admiral Ackbar or Gamorrean Guard?  Ick.

Worst character to base a standalone film on?  Gonk. Gonk. Gonk.

The Force Awakens, will you: Watch it live, wait for Blu-ray, Probably skip it? I know I’ll be at the theater.

~ Final Question ~

“Fans of Force Figures” is a pathetic name for this interview series.  Do you have any better suggestions? Interviews with geeks? Fanservices?

4LOMKUSS: Now before we head off into hyperspace is there a way fans can get in touch with you and/or follow your work outside of your current Kickstarter?

Reed: The best place to find me is my site: www.battlegrip.com

4LOMKUSS: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us and best of luck on your Kickstarter!  We’ve already pledged our support and believe that we were the first to do so! As we await your future works, May the Figures be with you!

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