Marvel Legends

20 Mar

Ohhhhh, Marvel Legends. The heroin of action figures that pulled me back into collecting just when I thought I was out. But this line of super-articulated, amazingly-detailed toys was more of an inspiration to me than a hobby.

These new Marvel toys were far different from the ones I was obsessed with as a child and they caught my eye when they hit store shelves, even though at the time (around 2002-2003) I had lost a bit of interest in toy collecting (except for PlayMates’ World of Springfield Simpsons toys, that is…) and had even less interest in comic books. But I broke down when they released Beast and Gambit, probably my two favorite X-Men characters. Individually-articulated fingers! Opening jaws! Cloth jackets! Simply irresistible…. Thus began the destruction of my wallet and wall space that would last all through …. what day is it today?

Upon graduating high school, I was just beginning to focus more on animating although I never imagined that one day people would pay me to play around with toys. I had used my Star Wars, Simpsons and Dragonball Z toys in some animated shorts in the past but the level of articulation and detail in these Marvel Legends made me want to up my game and really see what I was capable of doing with these new, talented actors at my disposal. The GIF below represents the first animation that I was “proud” of making. It was made on my dorm room desk, freshmen year of college, 2003.


Possibly around 2005 or so, I decided to re-enact a scene from The Usual Suspects using members of my growing Marvel Legends collection. It was just a test to see if I could draw mouths on the still frames that would sync up with the audio. I still hadn’t yet had the epiphany that using a digital still camera to shoot the frames would be much simpler than my method of choice at the time: Recording a few seconds on video tape, stopping the tape, moving the figures, repeat until done. Then, I’d capture all the footage on my computer and save each frame of video whenever it would change as a JPEG that I would then drop into a sequence in my video editing program, which I think was Sony Vegas… ridiculous. I also still hadn’t gotten the hang of securing my light source and camera to eliminate that jumpiness from frame-to-frame. But it was good practice for the process of animating mouth movements and facial expressions that I use all the time now.


One Response to “Marvel Legends”


  1. Casting Internets | UnitedMonkee - April 1, 2013

    […] I think I plugged Alex Kropinak’s excellent new blog already, but I’ve actually had time to read it. Dig his posts about What The?!, Twisted ToyFare Theater and his love of Marvel Legends. […]


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