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Book Review: True Confessions of a Fanboy

Posted by:
Perceptor at 2008-01-16 12:00 pm
Let's face it, as administrators and regular visitors of this site, we're all "fanboys" here at!  So when we were approached by James Jacobs co-author of, "True Confessions of a Fanboy" to offer our opinions on his new book, we were only too happy to help.

The book's premise is to offer an inside look at the mind of a "fanboy" and those who live with one, in this case James' non-fanboy brother, Johnny.  The book is a very easy read which I got through in my 'just-before-falling-asleep reading time' over a week's worth of nights.

What I liked:
The authors are funny!  The read went quick because I was so entertained.  Although it's not directed uniquely at Transformers fans, there are plenty of Transformers/ TF-fan related stories, which captured the essence of our fandom quite well.  They talk about their experiences at Botcon, and on scouring the internet hoping to have the winning bid for the  last remaining original G1 Walter P-38 handgun Megatron being auctioned on ebay...  These guys can make stories about even the mundane, such as the process of organizing a massive toy collection or searching ebay for hidden treasures, a hilarous commentary.  On being a nut-so collector and living with one, they offer a unique and entertaining perspective.

What I didn't like:
I think James is too tough on himself.  Being a fanboy/collector is not a sign of weakness!  In my opinion, collecting as we do, is a personal expression of one's individuality and frankly something to be proud of!  Rather than the ending they chose, I would rather have had the book end by a meeting of the minds between James and Johnny.  Maybe James sells off a MISB Star Wars/Spiderman/GIJoe... (but not a Transformers!) collectible and uses the funds to treat a double date w/ he and Johnny and their significant others!  I was also hoping to hear Johnny gain some perspective on the joy/pleasure that being a fan/collector can offer...

I think frequent visitors of this site will enjoy the read.  While I would have written the book differently, my hypothetical book would not have been nearly as funny or entertaining.  Truth is, we just have different goals.  Our's is to spread enthusiasm for being a fan/collector of Transformers.  James and Johnny seek to produce some laughs, provide perspective and maybe help us take a good look into what is, "going too far."  

To learn more, visit their official website:
To read a free excerpt, click HERE.
To purchase, True Confessions of a Fanboy, click HERE
And, you can send your comments or questions to the authors at

Byrer prime said,  - 2008-01-16 14:45:06
I know the feeling. My wife wants me to sell my old comic books to make some extra cash, but I found out they're just not worth enough to make it worthwhile. I keep my toys at my parents house so she doesn't have to deal with that. She just complains that I spend too much doing Transformer stuff. And she rolls her eyes when I talk about going to BotCon in April. There definitely has to be balance in your life if you want both a hobby and a family.
Sabrblade said,  - 2008-01-16 15:15:30
Yeah, and my step-father would like me to get rid of a lot of my action figure, mainly the TFs. But I could never part with them, they've become a big part of my life. And my parents think I'm too old to be playing with toys and/or watching cartoons, and should grow up and focus on my future. But when i compare myself to those (of you) who play/collect toys and/or watch kid shows, they figh back saying they're weird/crazy/not the person they want me to grow up being/people who've ruined their lives/etc.
Perceptor said,  - 2008-01-16 15:41:45
Having caring parents a loving spouse... are all totally overrated! I say forget about them and enjoy the collection!

(JUST KIDDING, DEAR and Mom and Dad! :) BP is right. It's all about finding a good balance. And I completely disagree with the notion of SB's parents or other critics. You cannot be "too old" to enjoy toys. That's a very poor way to look at it. I know a LOT of well adjusted, confident and competent, very intelligent individuals with great friends and family who contribute to the goodness of society that also collect toys and/or enjoy being a fan. More power to them!

We could have the same conversation about people who're enthusiastic about:
* their favorite football/baseball/basketball team
* hunting/fishing hobby
* fantasy football/baseball team...
* video game enthusiasts
* toy/comic collecting or any of a BILLION hobbies people enjoy...

Any and all can be detrimental to one's well being if enjoyed to excess. Show me someone who calls us a "geek" for enjoying my hobby, I'll show you someone who I feel sorry for because they probably do not have a passion for anything!

There's no harm in the enjoyment of a hobby or getting fired-up about such things. Again, it doesn't matter if we're talking about sport/comic/toy/outdoors... fans. If it brings pleasure, it doesn't hurt anybody and brings entertainment and pleasure to life, I say enjoy the ride and to heck w/ others who think less of you for it!
James Jacobs, said,  - 2008-01-16 15:42:01
First, I just wanted to thank Perceptor for sharing his experience with my book with you guys. I did just want to add/clarify one thing specifically in response to his preference for a different ending...

In the context of the book's chapters, despite the parody and humor and hyperbole that are all incorporated into each page, this really is a TRUE story. This is real. I am who I am and Johnny is who he is. We're really brothers. We really have the love/hate dynamic that the book describes.

So without actually giving the ending away for you guys, I did want to note that the book plays out the way it does because that's how things actually happened (and are still happening) in real life, and my brother and I didn't want to leave our readers with any false impressions (since IMHO, that would only tarnish the authenticity of the book).

To get an idea of what I'm talking about (in terms of mixing in parody with truth), feel free to check out one of the book's chapters that's up for free at:

Thanks again, Perceptor, and I hope everyone who decides to pick the book up gets some good laughs out of it... that was definitely the whole idea! :-)

James Jacobs
Jumpercliff said,  - 2008-01-16 15:57:48
I'd definitely get the book, at the autographing session! He gets my praise for writing a book that maybe will help people understand us.
Tyscream said,  - 2008-01-16 16:26:41
Hey guys. Well I've always wanted to have a geeky conversation like this, and you guys have started it with me. I really don't know who James Jacobs is though, sorry. I'll check out the site. I would rather do some thing else on my computer though sorry. By! CLOVERFIELD IS COMING.
megatron said,  - 2008-01-16 23:38:13
i have to say even though i havent bought tfs in awhile only because ive go the ones i need for now and the new series hasnt come out . what im trying to say is my wife has kind of gottin off my behind .so my advise is dont go out and buy every tfs you see pick the special ones that are worth it .right now my closets and cabnets are full next place for the animated figs are going under my bed .i even stoped buy movie figs cause i have all the ones i need .good luck with your family ,girl friends moms and dads.
Scorpomike said,  - 2008-01-17 02:52:07
Nothing wrong with being a collector. I sat and watched the Transformers movie with popcorn and beer. As far as my collection goes, I don't have a single friend that knows about it. What I'd like to do in the future is get some display cabinets or have some built. I'm not going to advertise to everybody that I have all these Transformers, but once they're in the dust free display cabinet, I won't care if anyone see's them. Right now I'm storing them in some giant totes I bought at Walmart. I'll admit, I'm a little hesitant on telling people, but like I said I'm not going to announce it to the whole world either.
Sabrblade said,  - 2008-01-17 05:29:13
I know the feeling, Scorp. A lot of people know I like TFs, but only some know I have a big collection.

That is, one with a bunch of broken figures. But that won't last long cuz recently I bought two small tubes of this super glue that works VERY well on my broken figs.
Tyscream said,  - 2008-01-17 06:22:06
Yeah, I hate when I lose parts. Recently I've lost my movie Arcee's cross bow thing and leader Brawl's second tank long shooter above his head. No!

Hey guys. I would like yo know, which Transformers do you keep in the packaging? Out of my Transformers I keep G1 Sideswipe and Beast Machines Obsidian.
lord megatron said,  - 2008-01-17 08:23:08
noooooooo!!! not unless they are extremely rare or something. or a botcon fig. still, I mess around with those guys from the games of decepticons set quite a bit. The way I look at it, whats the point in buying the figure if you are just going to have to look at it through its little plastic bubble? thats no fun! The only reason I'd keep mine in a box is if I were moving, or already had 1 of the figure. btw, Sabrblade whats your email adress so I can send those pics of rodimus prime? mine's feel free to email me any time.
Sabrblade said,  - 2008-01-17 10:18:27
The only fig I have in-package is the Wal-Mart Rattrap. I have another one that I opened, my older brother bought one and never opened it. When he gave it to me, I kept it unopened.

Lord Megs,
lord megatron said,  - 2008-01-17 10:53:29
huh, I only have about 2 transformers that I keep in the box, my MP-05 and my Beast Wars Scorponok. oh and one thing about the WAL-Rat, did you know that he's supposed to be the transmetal version of one of the beast wars botcon figures? Packrat! but yeah, I'll send the pics on either this weekend or Monday. not sure because at my school, thats where I do my internet stuff, today is the last day of the week. But oh! wait! just remembered something. we dont have school monday because of martin luther king day. so most likely, tuesday. But what I CAN send you now is pics of my custom! that is if you'd like.
Tyscream said,  - 2008-01-17 15:45:09
Do you guys think a Beast Machines figure would be worth keeping in the box?
Perceptor said,  - 2008-01-17 15:55:01
I keep a very limited number of toys in box. A handful of the original G1 series and a few others but that's about it. Keeping'm in box is nice if your intent is to sell them later. But if, like me, you buy because you enjoy them and you collect over a long period of time, then the biggest issue is space/storage. Out of box toys take up much less space and they're much more fun that way too! :)
Sabrblade said,  - 2008-01-17 15:57:06
@ Lord Megs: I knew about Wal-Rat being used as TM Packrat.

And I'm about to view the images...

Very cool, man. Not exactly what I pictured, but suh-weet kitbash! Who knew Master Gundam was really Super Megatron in disguise. I guess that means Dark Gundam is really Dark Nova. :P

Wait a minute! That gives me an idea. A Star Giant kitbash made from the Dark Gundam (Final Form) action figure, the one with the claws coming out of its shoulders. And possibly kitbashed enough to turn into Dark Nova, since the figure could transform into a sort of "head mode". but sadly I cannot do this kitbash because I do not own the Dark Gundam figure, but maybe someone who does can.
Sabrblade said,  - 2008-01-17 15:57:26
@ Tyscream: I can't really think of any Beast Machines figure (including those released in RiD) that's worth keeping in its package. Their figure were weird and not many are highly sought after to be must-haves, which are usually the ones kept unopened.
TriPredRavage said,  - 2008-01-17 17:36:22
I have all of the Beast Wars 10th Anniversary figures in their boxes. They're the only ones though. While we're on the topic of kitbashing, I am shocked that nobody has made fullsize bashes of the Classics Legends figures. I keep thinking that if somebody took the Leo/Nemesis Breaker figure, slapped on a new paint job and Energon Optimus Prime's head, it'd work great for Leo Prime! But I still have yet to see one. I'm not a basher myself, but I love seeing others' work.
chicane said,  - 2008-01-17 18:22:31
hey keep the beast machines figure in the box because even though it's not worth it now,you watch.It'll get old and rare.I really don't like kitbashing because it ruins the value of the figures.Let's say you die and loved ones cleaning your home want to pass on your figures to other collectors.But they have difficulty selling them because they can't identify them.
BumbleBeeotch said,  - 2008-01-17 19:52:19
The preview excerpt on the truefanboy site is hilarious! My favorite part, hands down is:

"It's all about making an impact at the one place where you know the people around you understand your passion. So when you're taking a leak at a Botcon (the biggest Transformers convention out there) and some dude compliments you on your stick, it's a really good feeling to know he's referring to the gear shift on your Optimus Prime costume."

I'm definitely picking this book up!
Knightwing said,  - 2008-01-17 20:35:40
TyScream - I'm with Perceptor. Unless your figure is currently of some value, it likely isn't worth the trouble to keep in box. I'd say from Beast Machines the only ones worth anything would be the Primals/Megatrons.

I don't keep anything in box. Box collectors are the people who collect for money. It's not a bad reason to collect (but I bet they hate the Encore series), but I collect for my own pleasure. I don't ever plan on selling them so the box is of no use to me.
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