Before Barry Bonds breaks his own arm patting himself on the back over all his mighty accomplistments, I’d like to give my humble, if not unwelcomed opinion on this whole steroid thing.

First, I am not a baseball fan, I haven’t been since I was a kid. Second, whether I agree or not, steroid use is banned in all professional sports, that’s the rule live with it or go find another job. Third, I don’t care if they give him a series bionic arms and he can hit four balls at once. It’s clear he either bulked up over the off-season with a strict regiment of exercise or he took steroids. Give the man a piss test and get it over with. I am frankly sick and tired of hearing about it. The dude went from being an average player with an average athletic build to being The Incredible Hulk almost overnight. There must be some explaination. So get on with it or shut up about it. Like it or not, he broke the record, so deal with it. Put all the astericks you want next to the number, he still hit the shit out of all those balls.

Now that that is out of the way, lets get to all that geektastic news you crave.

Transformers As An Investment
Source: Seibertron.com

The latest Seibertron.com site article comes to us courtesy of our own Lapse Of Reason. In this article Lapse Of Reason looks at the debate of whether Transformer collectors should keep their collection MISB for investment’s sake. Without further delay here is Lapse Of Reason’s article:

There is often debate whether Transformer collectors should keep their collection MISB for investment’s sake. Almost all agree that a MISB figure retains more value than a loose figure. Some Transformers fans balk at the idea and throw around the mantra “free them from their plastic prisons!” Others prefer to keep their collection preserved in it’s original state, beautiful box art and all.

So who is right? Is there even a right and wrong answer to this debate? Let’s examine each perspective, and in the end make an educated decision.

The Investor

The typical Transformer investor buys Transformers mainly because he or she has a genuine love of the toys.

They choose to buy something they enjoy and carry the satisfaction that their collection will someday be worth more than what he or she paid. In the meantime, they enjoy having the figures in MISB state. The more pristine the box, the deeper the satisfaction – especially for older Generation One (G1) figures. Some go as far to have them graded by the AFA (Action Figure Authority, http://www.toygrader.com/). AFA graded figures receive a specific rating recognized by the toy collecting community, thereby increasing the value of the figure and giving the owner of an AFA graded figure an even deeper level of satisfaction.

In general, toys and collectables are a poor long-term investment unless you choose the right toys in which to invest. Often collectables peak at a certain price and don’t continue to grow in value at a steady rate. Exclusive or hard to find figures are the general exception, as well as figures in a rare, well preserved state. The rule of thumb with any collectable is something is only worth what another is willing to pay for it. This makes toy investing a higher risk than a more conservative approach, such as a CD or mutual fund.

G1 Transformers, however, seem to be special circumstance fueled by an ingenious marketing strategy perfected 25 years ago. Many G1 toys have increased in value at very high rates. A $100 figure then (Fort Max) still MISB (Mint In Sealed Box) sells for over $1200 today. That’s an 1,100 percent margin! In comparison, say you took a $100 and invested it in a 10 year 5% CD (compounded annually). At the end of ten years you would only have $163. In 20 years, $265.50. While Fort Max is a flagship example, the average margin of return on MISB G1 toys seems to hover at a 500% to 1000% return on the original investment (or roughly 5 to 10 times its original selling price). Inflation has not been taken into consideration here, for the sake of simplicity.

Surprises can come along that devalue a collectable toy. Reissues, for example can fulfill some of the demand for a once rare figure by making them more affordable. The original may still fetch a higher price, but maybe not as much as it would have before the reissue. There is currently still a strong enough market for collectors of “original G1 toys only” to stabilize the price of the vintage figures.

Popularity of the character, the quantity originally available, exclusivity of the figure, regions of distribution, the age of the toy, or the difficulty of maintaining the toy in good condition (G1 Swoop, for example), or an event that triggers a revival of interest (like the new movie) all play a factor in the value of a collectable figure. The best investments are exclusives like this year’s Botcon set where you could flip it and get an instant 300% to 500% return.

On the flip side, let’s examine another common viewpoint.

The Toy Liberator

The vast majority of toys are opened and played with by children – the target market. Although Hasbro and other major toy companies occasionally cater to adult collectors, they are in the business of selling toys to children and their primary focus will always be the child market.

The adult “toy liberator” buys Transformers for the same main reason as the investor – he or she loves Transformers. The difference is that these people would much prefer to open up the box and free the figure from its cardboard prison. They like to transform the figure, pose it in various stances, and later often retire it to a shelf filled with many other “freed” toys. These figures are always available to be moved around, posed in battle scenes, picked up and transformed, and maybe even swooshed around the room now and then. Sometimes they end up in storage or collecting layers of dust on the shelf, but they are admired, enjoyed, and played with.

Loose G1 Transformers also have increased in value, despite the lack of a box and pristine condition. The average return on investment of a loose G1 Transformers in decent condition hovers in the 200% to 600% range (or 2 to 6 times the original selling price). Although not as big of a margin as MISB toys, they still carry their own weight as far as investing goes. Usually these are bought by other collectors of loose toys wishing to fill a gap in his or her collection.

Some collectors are on the fence between MISB collecting and loose figure collecting, so they open their toys but preserve the boxes. While the inclusion of a box might boost the sale of a figure, it will usually not boost it to the sale price of a MISB figure. Therefore the resale values lie somewhere in between loose and MISB value.

There are also many collectors out there who never plan to sell their toys. Such a thought is never a consideration. Ten, twenty, or thirty years from now such feelings of attachment may subside, but the point is that many collectors could care less about the collectable value of the toy and are more concerned with what the figure is worth to them.

Other Considerations

Transformers are special. You can see that by just visiting this site – so many adults still hooked on them after so many years. That, in time, might fade. Thirty years from now, the generation that did not grow up with G1 toys may not value them in mass the way we do today. Values can drop as time goes on because it is the nostalgia factor that has kept Transformers going for so long. Just because it is old does not mean it is valuable. I had a large amount of one billion year old rocks in my backyard that I could not even give away. Like I wrote before, a collectable is only worth what somebody is willing to pay. Take away the target market for vintage G1 figures and the values will drop. Or maybe Transformers will somehow stand the test of time. It does not seem like Hasbro has plans of ever stopping the Transformers brand, but over long periods of time things do change.

Decision Time

So are Transformers a worthwhile investment? The answer all depends on you. If you love the toys but want to be able to cash out on them later in life, then maybe MISB collecting is for you. If your idea of enjoyment is to open it up and play with the figure, that is a good choice too.

Unfortunately, no matter how vast or complete your collection is, you will not be able to make enough money to retire and live well off of it (unless you are lucky and list your collection on eBay for $1 million and some fool bids on it it).

Therein lies the heart of the matter. Keep your collection boxed or open them up because it suits your taste. There is nothing wrong with that. Collect these toys because you love them. The money is a nice second. Although G1 Transformers have a high return margin, it is still a relatively little amount of money. You won’t be able to retire off of income generated by selling your Transformers. For that, you’re far better off investing in coastal real estate.

Punisher 2 Working Title and Start Date
Source: SuperheroHype!

Superhero Hype! has learned that the working title for Lionsgate and Marvel Studios’ new Punisher film is The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank. Shooting is set to start in Montreal late September.

To be directed by Lexi Alexander (Hooligans) and starring Ray Stevenson (HBO’s “Rome”) as Frank Castle/The Punisher, the action-thriller was written by Nick Santora, Kurt Sutter, Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.

The film will be set in New York, where Frank Castle runs up against a mobster.

‘Halo 3’ Pre-Orders Set Record
Source: The Feed

You are not going to believe this shizz: Videogame Halo 3 has been pre-ordered many, many times. According to an announcement from Bungie, the company behind the first-person-shooter, over a million people have anticipated their need for Halo 3 and acted upon that need by placing an advance order through an internet web-site.

Bungie also wants you to know that lots of promotional tie-ins are coming.

Here’s what Jill Hamburger, Vice President of Movies and Games at Best Buy said about Halo 3: “The excitement for ‘Halo 3’ is incredible…From our preorders online and the buzz we’re hearing in our stores, we know this release is going to be one of the biggest entertainment events of the year.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring it to our customers.” Vice President Hamburger added.

Also of note: Get ready for a marketing blitz on par with a Hollywood blockbuster. For the next few months, you won’t be able to do anything, buy anything, wear anything, drink anything or imagine anything without being aware of Halo 3.

Click the cut for a list of some of the Halo 3 promotional tie-ins coming up.

Straight from the official source:

Mountain Dew will unveil the first beverage co-branded with a video game, Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Game Fuel has the same great taste of Mountain Dew with an invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor and added caffeine for maximum intensity. Game Fuel will come in 20-ounce bottles, 2-liter bottles and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and will be available nationwide for a limited time starting Aug. 13, 2007.

7-Eleven today confirmed its plans to support the launch of “Halo 3” through a variety of in-store promotions, including three “Halo 3”-branded collectible Slurpee cups. In addition,7-Eleven will run a “Halo 3” promotion with Mountain Dew Game Fuel and Doritos, with thousands of “Halo 3”-themed prizes, including, as grand prize, a chance to win a role as a voice actor in the upcoming Xbox 360 video game, “Halo Wars™,” by Ensemble Studios. In a few select markets, Mountain Dew will offer a special-edition aluminum bottle of Mountain Dew Game Fuel with an exclusive design created by Bungie Studios, the developers of “Halo 3.” This bottle will be available in very limited quantities, making it a highly sought-after collector’s item.

Pontiac will provide consumers with several exclusive “Halo 3”-related opportunities. It will host Pontiac Gamers Garage events in select locations, providing consumers with a chance to play the game for the first time before its release. In addition, in support of the launch of its upcoming high-performance G6 GXP Street, Pontiac will provide 1,000 consumers with a copy of the game, and one lucky gamer will win a limited-edition “Halo 3” G6 GXP Street car.

Burger King Corp. will continue its sponsorship of Xbox 360 with national, in-restaurant support from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22. “Halo 3”-themed packaging will offer customers access to exclusive content by logging on to http://www.bk.com/halo3 beginning Sept. 23. Graphics will be featured on select packaging, including the 42-ounce cup and King FRYPOD™.

Comcast has also joined the “Halo 3” campaign and will host exclusive video content, including user-generated movies and machinima, on its Web sites http://gameinvasion.net and http://www.ziddio.com. Comcast will also feature standard- and high-definition “Halo 3” videos on its signature ON DEMAND service.

“Halo 3” is also the official sponsor of the Projekt Revolution tour this summer, which includes bands Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. Exclusive “Halo 3” VIP events will take place in select cities on the tour, where attendees will receive “Halo 3”-themed merchandise and have an opportunity to meet the members of Linkin Park.

Blockbuster Buys Movielink
Source: The Feed

Blockbuster took a futile swing into the darkness to try and compete with NetFlix, purchasing Movielink, a company that allows you to download films from many major studios. The good news? There’s a thick library of films to choose from, as the company has the cooperation of those studios. The bad news? There’s DRM up the proverbial wazoo, making it inconvenient to use the content when you’ve downloaded it.

Blockbuster has been parrying NetFlix for the better part of two years now, since the online movie rental company has become the juggernaut it is. In the meantime, Blockbuster is still tied to brick-and-mortar establishments, which cost a lot fof money for rent and overhead, and it plunging dangerously toward bankruptcy. We’ll see what happens next.

RUSSELL CROWE IN STAR TREK?
Source: What Would Tyler Durden Do

IGN says that JJ Abrams is trying to get none other than Russell Crowe to play the villain is his upcoming version of “Star Trek”. This high profile rumor comes on the heels of the news that Tom Cruise has been asked to play Capt. Christopher Pike.

Our source seriously doubted that Paramount and Abrams could land the busy star, who has Body of Lies and Nottingham on his schedule in the coming months. Still, the search for a strong actor and commanding presence such as Crowe suggests that the story’s villain could very well be, like Kirk, a leader of men — a role that Crowe is utterly believable in. Whether the villain is human, Klingon, Romulan, Vulcan or some other alien species remains uncertain.

Crowe would be a pretty scary villain. Especially if the audience is filled with hotel concierges and his character walks around with a Fosters and a phone. Eeeeee, Look-out

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