Hello and welcome to the Dragon Fortress! Today I’m kicking off a new feature called Good Things. It’s pretty simple– I’ll interview someone whose work I like, and it will almost always be toy related.
For our first installment, I’m talking to Jason, who runs the Botbot of the Day! account on Twitter.
Jason posts beautiful and energetic photos of Botbots every single day. And his captions for each Botbot are both hilarious and incredible! Here’s an example of something you might see on his Twitter account.
Jason posts something at least this good every single day, and each of his Botbot profiles make me happy in a way that few other things do.
I enjoy the way he takes the lighter side of Transformers seriously, as far as writing level and photographic composition go, but also remembers that his subject matter is silly as heck.
I’m excited for you to get to know Jason if you don’t already.
So please read on for our full interview and plenty of fun photos!
Good Things: Botbot of the Day!
Jason (Botbot of the Day!): My name is Jason, and one thing people should know about me is that I can crush their favorite Transformer with my butt muscles.
But I won’t.
But I could.
I write and I dance and I play the trombone, I’ve poured all of my goofiest photos into that Twitter account, so that’s the best place to get the full measure of me!
Dustin: What were your favorite toy lines as a kid? How did you interact with those toys, and what are your strongest memories of them?
Jason: I was young enough to get in right at the tail end G1 stuff, so I was really into Micromasters and Action Masters. In the case of the latter, I did a lot of parts swapping and made my own guys. I enjoyed those toys a bit more because I was unusually picky about articulation at that scale as a child. I had several GI Joes and then weird smaller stuff like Battle Beasts, Army Ants, Zbots, M.U.S.C.L.E. guys. Monster in my pocket! Oh, you’ve opened the flood gates, here. I guess the picture on why I’m into Botbots is starting to crystallize, eh?
I had a tiny wrestling ring for the aforementioned Muscle dudes and my friends and I would set up little tournaments with my buddies and we’d bash together any little toys we could find on their control hooks until a champion was crowned!
Dustin: How do your childhood toy experiences impact what you do today?
Jason: They’ve ravaged my disposable income, thanks for bringing it up. If you find a twitching corpse in my home that has been drowned in an ocean of molded plastic, please tell my wife that I’d like to be buried in the Astrotrain pajamas.
I guess like a lot of people who are into this stuff, I’m a daydreamer. And as adventurous as life can be sometimes, there’s still some wonder or fancy pulling us away from the mundane into other worlds. Earth is not infrequently boring.
Dustin: Did you stop buying and playing with toys as a teenager? If so, when did you start again?
Jason: There was probably about a five year stretch during which I gave up toys before jumping back in for Car Robots and Beast Machines. A lot of Beast Wars stuff was still around at a few places, so I scooped up as much as I could. My first domestic Beast Wars figure was Depthcharge! At that point, I was hopelessly enamored.
Dustin: What’s your current relationship with Transformers as a whole?
Jason: The fire still burns! All generations have at least a bit of something that captivates me, I pick and choose but I get the majority of the stuff aimed at collectors. But every line has been given due attention. You can really only see so many Mirage toys before you start to crave something new, that’s when I lean on the periphery stuff like Botbots to keep those batteries charged. Cyberverse really took off for me after season one.
The surge in the fandom in recent years has energized me, as well. The movies and cartoons and, most notably, the comics have done a pretty great job to ensure that this thing stomps ever onward. Their enthusiasm gives me life, and there are more unique voices all the time.
Dustin: Why Botbots? What made you decide to start this project?
Jason: Really, it was seeing what people were creating with their toys, and I felt that Botbots were fun enough to warrant recognition. I’d been wanting to do it long before the general interest of people had waned, but I knew that it was going to be a substantial commitment of time. The mutuals it’s brought me, good people like yourself who do this stuff for the love of it, have genuinely made it a worthwhile endeavor.
I think people enjoy the core concept, but finding the toys proved a troublesome deterrent for many. Maybe the random “gacha” style of collecting isn’t the way to go for most. I’ve spent more than I should on them and have at least a hundred duplicates still. And I’ve given away roughly twice that many. My boy is five and his Botbot collection surpassed the century mark well before the pandemic hit.
Dustin: What’s your process for taking photos, writing those amazing funny captions, and choosing which toys to spotlight?
Jason: I put way too much pressure on myself to try and capture the spirit of each character in a compelling or appealing way, it’s definitely facilitated by their creators loading them up with personality. Typically I try and get that done a few days prior, setting up a light box or diorama. I finally had some time off and photographed like sixty of them at once so that I could stay ahead. (Which I’ve nearly used up, aaahhhhh)
Picking is hard because I really wanted to pace myself, but I’m an enthusiastic person so I’ve probably shown off the majority of my favorites already. I just passed two hundred days of showing off a new one daily, so at this stage I’m just throwing guys out of the plane whether they have a parachute or not. Whoever is left, little dudes, you gots to go.
I say guys and dudes, but they’ve got to be in the neighborhood of nearly 40% ladies. It’s fun that Botbots are just “eh, gender” with a shrug. That was another thing I wanted to convey, it’s the best ratio of female characters in the franchise.
Dustin: Which other toy lines do you collect today? What are some of your favorites?
Jason: Too many, ohhhh so many. What have I done. I pick and choose what I like from the Star Wars Black Series, which turned out to be quite a lot. I’ve got hundreds of Marvel Legends and I usually pick up at least three figures from every wave. Sometimes more. So a bit of something from all of their six inch figure scale lines, including the new Classified Joe stuff. (Where do you fall on that one, by the way? Is it sacrilege at that scale? I love it but distribution could be a bit better.)
And I still pick up tons of Mega Construx, Halo and MOTU, I miss their Destiny stuff. Their minifigures are phenomenal. And then whatever grabs me from NECA or McFarlane. All things MOTU.
(Dustin’s note: I don’t collect the Classified Series figures, even though they look cool! A few years ago I just stopped buying anything in the 6″ scale, which is a rule that’s really helped me not buy Every Single Toy.)
Dustin: How do you currently interact with your toys? What do they mean to you?
Jason: I’m a squishy man with a befuddling sentimentality for a lot of them. They each remind me of a period in my life, where I was and/or who I was dating and who got each for me. Friends and family. The love of my life, she just picked a Cyberpunk figure up for me today. So it’s weird as hell and probably corny to say, but they kind of piece together the story of where I’ve been. So I display them, sometimes based on what they mean to me. Quite often I’ll take one down and fiddle with it. I have so many goofy toy photos. Good god, man. It’s a lot.
Dustin: If you could only keep five toys because of an evil wizard’s curse, which five toys would you choose?
Jason: Are you an evil Wizard, because that question is cold-blooded.
I’ll play your game:
- G1 Rewind
- Beast Wars Depthcharge
- Earthrise Cliffjumper
- Marvel Legends BAF Groot
I just remembered like eleven others I can’t live without, and I have a question for you: how dare you
(Dustin’s note: You’re lucky I gave you five instead of three, one, or none!)
Dustin: What are your goals with Botbot of the Day, other than bringing me happiness?
Jason: That’s really the best I can hope for, that would be the most fulfilling part of this. I’d like to find more time to do digibashes and creative stuff, I have like half a dozen significant things I’ve been working on, but I was waiting for them to show off a trailer for the show. I’d like to work with that to win people back who gave up on the line because they couldn’t find the ones they wanted. Maybe make some new favorites in the meantime.
Dustin: Do you have any fun future plans for this project, or for anything else?
Jason: The Transformers fan community is such a vibrant place now, more than it ever was. So I’d like to continue being an alternative source of connecting with it for people. I’d like to at least show people what they’re missing. I’ve mentioned that I have an inordinate number of duplicates now, I’d like to keep giving those out. I’ve largely been winging it, firing out ideas as they come to me. So whatever happens next, I’ll figure it out tomorrow.
Thanks for being here and reading our interview! And a huge thanks to Jason for taking the time to talk to me. I’d like to do one of these features once or twice a month. I may even ask you, the reader, for suggestions on who you’d like to see interviewed next.
Also, make sure you’re following Jason on Twitter.
I also need to thank my friend Drac, who helped me come up with the name for this feature. He based it off a 1990 Kenner catalog, and I thought it was perfect. So thanks, Drac!
Who is your favorite Botbot? If you designed a Transformer that changed into a mundane household item, what would it be? Let us know in the comments!