The Empire Muggs Back (

Your task: take an urban vinyl toy and transform it into art, all for a good cause. Lucasfilm presented the opportunity to artists, comic book creators, toy designers, and celebrity fans, and the result is a project called The Empire Muggs Back. The individual, one-of-a-kind pieces will be displayed at San Diego Comic-Con next week and also online at before being auctioned by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Any Mighty Muggs collectors out there? I'm out of touch with the toy scene, but the Wikipedia entry claims the Mighty Muggs "resemble super deformed versions of characters" from blockbuster movie franchises: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, G.I. Joe, the Transformers, and Marvel Comics. Prices range from $9.99 up to $174.99. Blank Mighty Muggs are also available, which can be customized to the buyer's content. You'd need to really stretch your imagination to think the Star Wars toys actually resembled Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO, or Chewbacca -- and maybe that's the point. They are definitely funny-looking little things.

Hasbro donated the blanks (the white one looks kinda scary to me) and you can see 26 samples in the image above, which amply demonstrate the creativity that the project inspired. I especially like the TIE Fighter figure in the second row. If you won't be in San Diego next week, check for more upcoming pictures. As one of the artists said: "We all had the same blank bowl of ice cream to start with, now i want to see all the nerdy, nerdy toppings everyone came up with!"