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(Audio) The Podcasters of the Universe: Episode 62

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Duration: 02:21:18
Listen to Danielle Gelehrter bring some civility to the show, even if over a zoom call! Kick it with the trio talking cartoons, Motu Classics and PowerCon.
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Danielle Gelehrter (Penny Dreadful) joins the show to discuss all things toys. Diving into her history in illustration, her take-off with Dark Horse Comics, and being hired to do the character bios for the Mattel toy line, get a glimpse into the personal side of the work Gelehrter has a hand in making.
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Yeah. So, Danielle, you you are a long time, he man. Shira Fan. Um how did how did you get wrapped up in all this? Because you've contributed Ah, lot to certain things. Different books. Um, you're writing bios now for classics, figures, or even even more than that. So So how did you get wrapped up into getting into, you know, actually getting to work on this stuff? Um, yeah, I guess you know, it's it's kind of crazy, Like when I think about having been a fan since childhood And then, like, I can't believe I'm like, writing stories about, like, you know, he man and she Ra and Teela and Skeletor and all these characters. Um, it was e. It was mostly through Val, honestly, Val Staples, who runs human dot, or Gang and Power Con. He owns a company called M V Creations. Andi. He had gotten, you know, he gets jobs from different companies. And one of those companies in the past had been Mattel. He got the the license to do the comic book in 2000 to the M V creations comic, which is a great comic book on Ben. Subsequently, Val is always kind of kept his, um, foot in the brand involved in some way. And so when Dark Horse, I think the first official project I worked on was the art of human and Masters universe for dark horse. Val called me and said, Hey, do you want to be an adviser with me on this book? And I said, Yeah, of course, absolutely. You know, So, um, that was the first thing I worked on. And then after that, the dark horse books turned into a thing. Like I worked on the mini comic book that you guys use on the show. I did all the interviews for that, and I did a NA article toward the end of the book about one of the lost many comics I was ableto find Get the script from one of the mini comics about without had faker and evil in in it, and it was never published, so called The Ring of Dreams. It's like at the very end of the book, um, and then we went into, like, the newspaper strip book, which was a big passion project of mine. Um, I had known about those newspaper strips for a while. And it just kind of always bugged me because I'm like, how did these all these newspaper strips exist? And the fans don't ever never don't even barely know about them, you know? So, um that turned into, like, a big hunt to try toe acquire all the newspaper strips and finding the creators of the strip and getting all of that material. And dark horse got on board with doing a book about the strips. So andan the character died was another big one that I was very heavily involved in and working on doing research for that in writing, all doing a lot of writing on that. So when all that was going on like the character guide nearly killed me, that was just such an intense I can't even convey what an enormous amount of work that book was toe work on, like it was awesome. Like, the thing that kept me going is like I'm working on a human and she everything This is freaking awesome, Like, I can't believe i e get to do this. You know, I was such an exciting feeling to do it, but at the same time, it was like so intensive. Like every spare hour I had like, I get home from work and it would give, like, jump on the computer and right entries for the character guide endless endless entries for this character guy. And it wasn't only me. It was like James, you talk worked on it, too. And many other people Eric Marshall I could list everybody that worked on It was a lot of people. Anyway, um, I wanted when that was done, I told that I was like, I want nothing to do with E. I need a break. I need a break. I just need a break and
That's pretty cool. So, Danielle, you you are a long time he man. Shira Fan. Um how did how did you get wrapped up in all this? Because you've contributed Ah, lot to certain things. Different books. Um, you're writing bios now for classics, figures, or even even more than that. So So how did you get wrapped up into getting into, you know, actually getting to work on this stuff? Um, yeah, I guess you know, it's it's kind of crazy, Like when I think about having been a fan since childhood And then, like, I can't believe I'm like, writing stories about, like, you know, he man and she Ra and Teela and Skeletor and all these characters. Um, it was e. It was mostly through vowel. Honestly, Val Staples, who runs human dot or Gang and Power con. He owns a company called M V Creations. Andi. He had gotten, um, you know, he gets jobs from different companies. And one of those companies in the past had been Mattel. He got the the license to do the comic book in 2000 to the M V creations comic, which is a great comic book on Ben subsequently. Val is always kind of kept his, um, foot in the brand involved in some way. And so when Dark Horse, I think the first official project I worked on was the are off of human and Masters universe for dark horse. Val called me and said, Hey, do you want to be an adviser with me on this book? And I said, Yeah, of course, absolutely. You know, So, um, that was the first thing I worked on. And then after that, the dark horse books turned into a thing. Like I worked on the mini comic book that you guys use on the show. I did all the interviews for that, and I did a NA article toward the end of the book about one of the lost many comics I was ableto find Get the script from one of the mini comics about without had faker and evil in in it, and it was never published, so called The Ring of Dreams. It's like at the very end of the book, um, and then we went into, like, the newspaper strip book, which was a big passion project of mine. Um, I had known about those newspaper strips for a while, and it just kind of always bugged me because I'm like, how did these all these newspaper strips exist? And the fans don't ever never don't even barely know about them, you know? So, um that turned into, like, a big hunt to try toe acquire all the newspaper strips and finding the creators of the strip and getting all of that material. And dark horse got on board with doing a book about the strips. So andan the character died was another big one that I was very heavily involved in and working on doing research for that in writing, all doing a lot of writing on that. So when all that was going on like the character guide nearly killed me, that was just such an intense I can't even convey what an enormous amount of work that book was toe work on, like it was awesome. Like, the thing that kept me going is like I'm working on a human and she everything This is freaking awesome, Like, I can't believe i e get to do this. You know, I was such an exciting feeling to do it, but at the same time It was, like, so intensive. Like every spare hour I had like, I get home from work and it would give, like, jump on the computer and right entries for the character guide endless endless entries for this character guy. And it wasn't only me. It was like, James, you talk worked on it, too. And many other people Eric Marshall I could list everybody that worked on It was a lot of people. Anyway, um, I wanted when that was done, I told Val I was like, I want nothing to do with E. I need a break. I need a break. I just need a break. And, um And then one day it wasn't that long after me, Like a month and a half later, he called me and he was like, This was around the time. Um, it was after Scott Knight, like Toy Guru had left Mattel and Mattel had, um, the 2016 lineup coming out of figures, and Val called me and he was like, Hey, how would you like to write official bios for the classics line? I was like, Ah, you jerk. I was like, How could I say no to that like writing like Cannon, for? Of course. You know where it was going into the what Scott had been writing for all those years. So it was, like, kind of stepping into into that sandbox, which was already very complicated to which is hilarious being being a long time roast Google dinner listener. You guys used to go through those bios and you guys, you know, all the things they used to rip them apart. No, no, I mean, noticed any good way that anymore? E no. The good old days. It was fantastic. The body off the show. I was like that. I wish they would, and just like, they should just tear them apart right in front of me. But, uh, it's always me and Eric Marshall who is awesome. Eric Marshall designs all the badges that people wear a power. Conte's an awesome artist, but he's a great writer, too, and he had been doing a lot of his own, like, fanfic stuff. So Val hired him and me to take over the bios, um, during Mattel's 2016 lineup, and then they didn't wind up getting them on the packages until, like, rotten and scale Khan came out those, um, Mattel Porter by with, like, shorter versions of our bios on there. And then when Super seven took over, they kept us on. So they hired us to continue working on the BIOS, and Val and Axel Jimenez were doing the packaging for for those in the cool artwork on the back of the package on Ben, I kind of suggested Mattel let us release the 2016 bios that didn't make it onto the package digitally online, like they approve them through Mattel Legal. We got paid for them by Mattel, um, or through Mattel. But in the non we, they I was like, Oh, what if we do bios for, like things that didn't have bios before? Like to kind of fill in some of the blanks of history, of history, of the attorney A and ethereal and everything like artifact and like characters like Cringe er and Cow are some of the employees that didn't never got bios before. And so I submitted a list to Val and and he was like, I'm gonna I'll run it by Mattel and see what they say. And then a few weeks later, hey said Mattel said, Yeah, they said you could do it. So he's like, Go ahead and write the BIOS with Eric. So we we spent quite a few months writing like bios like about 100 bios, I think, um, for stuff that never got bios before we submit the host of Mattel and then Mattel Legal approved them after a while. It took a while like First of Al called me and, of course, and pretended that that Mattel was pissed off or ticked off and said, No. And they wanna have a conference call because they have a lot of questions about weight You guys did. And, uh, it's a very complex process that you have to put like all the, um, information about, like, where each character you use comes from and all of this stuff in these notes after each bio that you submit eso. It's like a lot of a lot of a lot of stuff that you have to send for for legal to go through. Sure. And hey was pretending that they had, like, all kinds of problems with it, and then he was like, No, I'm just kidding. They approved e was so stressed out and then they approve those. So So those were kind of the the things I've gotten to work on. Officially, I've done some other like I've helped out, like la la Land Records with some information for their, um, c d released. I worked on the power on on our foundation catalog a while back, um, with helping, like Emiliano and Ayman Noor, Emiliano and Josh work on that. That was a nun official thing. Eso just It's like, you know, to me, it's just like a fan, Another fan, expression off, fun like things that, you know. It was just, like so much fun toe work on that stuff. You know, e like as a kid you would never like. These are just toys, and I love them. And then in the future, you know, you have all the stuff that you've done like your hands are and so many different things. It's gotta feel pretty amazing. Looking back, you know, of all the stuff you've accomplished for the brand. I mean, that's pretty sweet. I don't know. It's as long as people like I don't know what e want as long as people are fans like fans are like enjoying it like those books like That's really great, especially the newspaper strip book was such like a cool accomplishment toe. Get those to track those down and find them all and wait to get to those either, Like, we were gonna just, like, jump out of the mini comics, you know, because we're obviously reviewing all those in order and we were going toe stop before Shira and then go to the newspaper strips. But we opted them because, you know, from fans and stuff No, I keep going, Keep going. So eventually we will get to it. We're pretty excited cause I haven't read any of them. I made sure I did not read any of them. So yeah, you probably have to split them up because some of those story lines are pretty long, like some of ran for, like, 16 weeks every day in the in the newspaper. But some of them are pretty pretty good stories, like, especially the early ones. I think the early stories, um, all of those people who worked on that newspaper strip were from Filmacion. Originally, that was like a joint effort between Filmacion and Mattel Onda loose heimer was involved like he brought people into it. So the writers, the artist, the colorist, all of them were people that worked at at Filmacion and like wrote episodes and and and worked on storyboards. Gerald Fortune is the artist. He did like a ton, a ton of stuff for information and Mattel eso some of the early stories air Really good. As it goes on, it gets a little strange sometimes. Like it, it becomes more like a like a pulpy story, like some of the stories are better. It's hit like anything else. You know, you're turning out a newspaper strip every day. They can't all be winners s so like it's like the episodes, like some of the episodes, are better better than others. But I just think it's cool that there was this huge 4.5 years worth of material that existed that we barely had ever seen before. So on and now it's in a book, so that's pretty exciting. And I'm still trying to track down some of the missing strips. If you had the newspaper strip in your newspaper, drop Stephen Jeremy line so they could or drop me a line. Let just let let us know. Because I want I want to find the rest of those missing strips. Yeah, yeah, we definitely get you get if anyone reached out, we would definitely get them in touch with you. Sure. Now, there's, uh, something else that you're doing right now to and you've been doing it online is far as I know that you've been taking comics from Whereas I don't know where they're from but that you've been Oh, yeah, yes. Explain it because I can't. All right. So, like, you know, we grew up in the US, so we know, uh, you know, all the sort of the most prominent stuff in terms of, like, master of the Universe media. We had the Filmacion cartoon that came out of us, of course, was syndicated all over the world, but we know D C Comics, the star Marvel Comics, But Mattel licensed masters of the universe to other media outlets around the world. So there were comics that came out in the UK We are familiar with the UK comics. That was a huge amount of stuff, but that was in English. So, you know, English speaking fans can read those pretty easily go to the human dot or Gore by money there or whatever. Um, but there were also comics that came out in Brazil. Brazil had its own mini comics, like Zodiac had a mini comic. Evil in had her own mini comic Capra tongue Lasher like there were tons of tons of original stories in Brazil. There was another comic Siri's that had original characters in it that they introduced and storylines. And then Germany had several the German audio plays. They had the German comics, two different blinds of German comics like we had Marvel in D. C. Going on here. But they had the hop A comics and the inner part comics in Germany with really cool stories, some of them pretty dark, too. And then Italy had comics to they had to comic Siri's. They had a magazine called The Magic Boy magazine, and they had, like, human comics in there that went all the way up to new adventures. And then they had something called the Pew Comics P I U. And they had, like everything came out every week. So there are, like, 100 I think like 160 something of those of those comics of those of human. And a lot of them were drawn to look like Alfredo Alcala. Like that style, they were trying to capture that. So those sort of early many comics styles, Um, So, um and those comics were pretty short, like 56 pages, But they had a ton of comics. And so when I was working on the character guide, I was responsible for the Italian and the Brazilian stuff. And some Italian fans like Joey Cruel, um, and a cup Tonio Panella. I forgot how to pronounce his name. Um, they translated a lot of the Italian stuff. Ah, lot of the Italian comics. So I have, like, all these translations for Italian human stories. And then I I'm my parents are Portuguese there from Portugal. Um, they moved here when they were teenagers. I was born in the US but I was raised speaking Portuguese so I can read Portuguese eso I could read all the Brazilian comics like I read them when I did the character guide and I just wrote the entries after I'd read them. So it occurred to me and that There are also a lot of German fans out there, like Gunnar Sadlowski and Sebastian Vogel, who did the entries for the character guide. And I'm like, Oh, these guys could translate some of the German stuff, you know? And so I was like, Wouldn't it be fun to start release translating these comics into English and then get, uh, fans were really good at digital restoration, which was Doosan Mitrovic, who works with James, like, work with him on return. A faker Doosan is a machine like Doosan is. I can't even convey how, like what a talented guy this is because he and he's fast, like he just turns out like work like you wouldn't believe quality work. He will help us a lot on the newspaper strip book. He did a lot of the restorations on that. So do sand, and then you ca is a kind, and everybody knows everybody loves Uka. Uka is very talented guy artists to very good with digital stuff. So I got you ca and, um do san to start restoring these comics, you know, and transposing the translations onto the word balloons into English. Right? So I translate the Portuguese ones, the Brazilian ones. I'd send it off to them, and then they start working on it. And I take the Italian translation. I have to clean the Italian ones because they're really little. A little rough because the English wasn't their first language. So some of the stuff doesn't translate over that Well, so I start, you know, after Doosan or you would restore one of these comics, I'd start posting the pages all over Facebook. It's just a fun thing to get back to its nothing official. It's just like the stories are official, like they're they're from the eighties, their original eighties stories. But, um, like it's just I'm just doing that for fun because
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