TFWe Volume 2.0 – Details, and a New Commentary Released


Hey Transformers fans!

If you can remember that far back, a year ago TFW2005.COM started our own E-Magazine entitled TFWe, written and put together by fans for fans, having everything from discussion on news to toy reviews to editorials and “did you knows”! For six glorious months and six glorious issues, we toiled to put out the very best that we could. Every month we’d even make a .PDF version for everyone to download and read on their favorite tablets, etc.

To make a long story short, we took some much needed time off around the Holidays to re-group, re-think, and re-strategize everything we wanted to do. And with this month being our 1 year anniversary, we’re bringing TFWe back to you, our faithful readers, on a regular consistent schedule once again!

What’s new you might ask?

– Full issues come out bi-monthly. Look for the first issue soon!
– Weekly articles by TFWe writers!
– More focus on you, the fan, and the TFW2005.COM community!
– And more that we can’t talk about yet!

Need a refresher? Check out all the past issues of TFWe by clicking here![/url]

And to kick-off this whole new chapter in TFWe, we’ve released our very first weekly article … a commentary about the ever-so-popular subject of Hasbro, Fun Pub, and BotCon … oh my!

Check out the new TFWe article by clicking here!

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to entertaining you again very soon!

Discussion / Comments (Jump to this Thread on the Boards)

  1. Kickback's Avatar Kickback says

    Before we begin, let me welcome all of you to TFWe Volume 2.0! After absolutely exhausting ourselves with 6 issues in 6 months, we took a much needed break as life in general became hectic for many of us over the holidays. But we're back, we're refreshed, and we're ready to throw you even more written articles about anything and everything Transformers, from the minds of myself, Sol Fury, Secretcode, Protoman, Shin Densetsu, and more!

    So sit back and enjoy ... and we can't wait to show you what we have in store for our first Volume 2.0 Issue!

    Hasbro, Fun Pub, and BotCon oh my!

    written by Kickback

    To say that 2012 has been a tough year for Fun Publications would be a bit of an understatement. For starters, dealer registration was set back with a strangely worded clause regarding third party products, to which Fun Publications and Hasbro stated that the selling of (and possibly even having in your possession) any third party products would result in the product being seized by Hasbro and/or Fun Publications, and by signing the dealer agreement, you give them the authority to do so with any or no reason required.

    While the outrage on this matter was slim, a lot of fans felt like Hasbro was over-stepping a bit, though in all reality, Hasbro has every right to do this as the third party market has exploded in the last 18 months. Regardless of your feelings on the quality of the toys being put out by companies like FansProject or iGear, the reality is in fact that these companies are profiting off Hasbro’s Intellectual Property (though my thoughts are that it is more aimed at what iGear has been doing than anything FansProject has done). I don’t know how many of you remember from years ago one of the more horrid (there’s plenty of people who purchased and would agree with that opinion) attempts at a third party product … the “A.R.C.” toy by A Rabid Squirrel? It was an Arcee toy (looked like Arcee, colored like Arcee, even had a headmaster portion like in the Rebirth series from the G1 cartoon). It was a total garage-kit type of toy, with each toy having varying amounts of quality issues different from the one someone else received. Aside from the typical Chinese knock-off toys found in your Easter baskets, that was the first real “third party” toy that I can remember coming out. The thing that was probably the saving grace on that “toy” was the fact it wasn’t mass-produced or offered through any online retailers.

    But the game changed when FansProject released City Commander. The popularity and after-market price on that item spawned all these different third party companies that this writer can’t even keep track of them all anymore. It went from “accessory” kits like what City Commander was to full-fledged figures like the Not-Insecticons and the Hercules figures. And while they are ‘different’ than their Hasbro iterations to a degree, they are still milking off Hasbro’s Intellectual Property by the similarities because let’s face it … Hercules is Devastator, and anyone responsible for the creation of those toys is lying through their teeth if they claim otherwise.

    So Hasbro and BotCon disallowing any third party items makes total sense, and in reality, we should have all seen it coming. TakaraTomy already threatened some Japanese online retailers with cancelling their accounts with them for selling third party products on their store websites (pretty sure it was over some of iGear’s products, possibly their MP Coneheads), and I wonder how long until Hasbro follows suit with online retailers like BigBadToyStore and TFSource. I imagine it’s a much steeper slope to climb to get that to happen because of so many different laws and regulations, but if there’s a way I cannot put it past Hasbro’s legal team to figure out how to make it happen.

    So after the whole dealer debacle with third party items, Fun Publications then has the nightmare scenario happen – their online credit card processor was hacked, possibly as far as a year ago, and the “seed” finally sprouted and collected hundreds (possibly a thousand, depends on the number of active memberships which is not publically shared) of member’s credit cards, E-mail addresses, passwords, home addresses … basically anything you’ve ever entered in their website in an order was obtained by online thieves. The sticky part is Fun Publication’s response to the whole thing, which was slow and uninformed (and at one point, came across as shifting blame to their members as opposed to themselves) but what people fail to realize is the second they realized they were hacked and data was stolen, it became a criminal (and possibly) federal offense. We have no idea what they were advised to say or not say, we have no idea if Hasbro was involved in any way, shape, or form, for all we know this may have caused a huge financial blow to the company, of which may affect future conventions, toys, and so forth.

    A special nod here to Pete Sinclair of Fun Publications – that man took a real beating by fans for having the guts to come out and at least communicate with everyone what was happening and tried to help. He inadvertently becomes the face of the company in a mess like that, and he stood his ground and tried to communicate what he knew when he knew it. Pete, don’t know if you read these or not, but thank you – you have a thankless job where you take more abuse than praise, just know this writer appreciates what you did and tried to do during that whole nightmare. Companies need more individuals like you – not people that talk to the fans of their stuff, but people that CARE about the fans and what is happening. In every case I’ve seen with identity theft from companies, everyone is on “silent” mode and generic E-mails are sent out. You tried to be proactive and I think you need to know that it did not go unnoticed.

    But the final part of this article, and the real reason why I chose to write it, is the revelation this week that Hasbro will not allow fan artists to sell any of their work (unless it’s deemed a parody). If you’re an aspiring artist and people love your work, you are not allowed to draw anything Transformers related for commission. If you’ve drawn your own fan-comic with fan-created characters, sweet – but if there’s anything Transformers related, even as small as a faction symbol, Hasbro can shut you down. The number of artists cancelling their tables in “Artist Alley” is pretty high from what I’m reading and hearing from various artists, and a lot of people are rubbed the wrong way about this whole thing.

    Let me state though that I understand WHY it’s happening – it’s part of the “third party” clause in which case Hasbro has to protect themselves by disallowing ALL unofficial works (whether it be toy, or art) if they want to stop even just one portion of it. I don’t believe Hasbro hates fan artists, and I don’t believe Hasbro is going to start stalking artists on Deviant Art and issuing cease and desists for drawing Optimus Prime and Megatron making out (okay, maybe on that one they should). They simply want to stop all third party related things from happening, and it makes sense to stop it at their convention. I get that.

    It just sucks for those who make some amazing drawings, paintings, or shoot, even plush Transformers … some of those people I know personally, and none of them are ever in it to profit, they do it because they love being a part of Transformers, they love leaving their own mark in their own way, and they love interacting with other fans. It just feels unfair that they are the ones being punished and having their convention experience mudded by a company like Hasbro who is really doing the only thing they can do to try and stop the third party explosion.

    My sincere hope is that for next year’s convention Hasbro’s legal team and Fun Publications can come to some sort of compromise and make an exception or Artist Alley and those who want to sell their own work that just happens to have Transformers in it. Anytime you start to take the fan out of the convention, you end up with less and less of a convention, and more like a corporate shareholder meeting (I’m looking at you, Hall of Fame 2011!). BotCon has a rich and admired history since 1994 … I truly hope that these changes brought on do not tarnish the reputation of one of the most looked-forward-to events for Transformers fans.

    TFWe Editor in Chief
    TFW2005.COM Administrator

    Follow me on Twitter @rankal and always follow @tfw2005 for all your Transformers news!

  2. Alucard77's Avatar Alucard77 says

    I hope this is the begining of NotCOn because Botcon just seems to be like you said, a share holders meeting.

  3. payton34's Avatar payton34 says

    Agreed on all points, especially in regards to Pete. That guy can take a beating, but kept wading in regardless. There is a lot I dislike about FunPub's business practices, especially of late, but Pete is an okay guy in my book.

    Like you, I understand the "all or nothing" approach that Hasbro is taking against 3rd party product and Artist Alley is an unfortunate bystander. My biggest issue is with the timing of it all. They announced the 3rd party product ban (albeit without much clarification at the time) right from the start, yet they waited until less than a month before the convention to inform the artists (that have already long since paid the reservation for their tables) that they wouldn't be able to sell their work as they have in the past.

  4. grimlock1972's Avatar grimlock1972 says

    very well written. I approve this article. and that pic is epic for the lulz

  5. Matty's Avatar Matty says

    Very well written article. I couldn't agree more on all of the highlighted points. I'm looking forward to TFWe coming back!

  6. Prime Aspect's Avatar Prime Aspect says

    <aol> Me Too!</aol>
    Seriously, such a good article. I would love to see a follow-up in a few months if/when you are able to talk to FunPub and maybe Hasbro and get their take on all this. I think much of the criticism is simply made without knowledge of what is really happening.

  7. Bigbot3030 has no avatar! Bigbot3030 says

    Thank you for that Kickback. Well written and sums up everything nicely. I too hope that the artist alley will come back next year. I love seeing everyone and what they create.

    but to make anouther point. It's okay to show off your art/plushies/etc., you just can't sell them at the Con correct? I know thats walking a thin line, I'm just trying to understand it correctly.


    EDIT: I too would like to thank Pete. Really, the whole FunPub team, but Pete's been the one with his neck out, and it's been a easy target for some. I don't think anyone should have to take all the nerd rage.

  8. Hollywood Hoist's Avatar Hollywood Hoist says

    Excellent article, well written and sums up the situation nicely. I do believe the fan art ban might have something to do with the licensed comic artists from IDW being there who shouldn't have to compete with fan art to sell the work.

  9. Megabattimus's Avatar Megabattimus says

    Originally Posted by Prime Aspect View Post
    <aol> Me Too!</aol>
    Seriously, such a good article. I would love to see a follow-up in a few months if/when you are able to talk to FunPub and maybe Hasbro and get their take on all this. I think much of the criticism is simply made without knowledge of what is really happening.
    No, many of the criticisms of Funpub stem from how poorly they've handled the credit card fiasco, the 3rd party and Artist Alley ban, and every other thing they've screwed up this year.

    And honestly, they deserve all the flack they get.

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