Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holy Toy Biz 1989 Batman!




I can say without hesitation, that 1989's Batman is one of my favorite flicks. I don't know if I first saw it on the big screen at the Idle Hour Theater, or if it was at home on a VHS, but I loved it. up to that point, my only exposure to the Dark Knight was Super Friends, and Batman '66 reruns on weekday afternoons. This new, darker version blew all previous iterations out of the water. I mean, if I'm given the choice between sweating through grey and blue spandex, or an all black suit of rubber and leather and body armor, it's a pretty easy decision.

Not surprisingly, there was Batman branded just about everything. You could fill your bowl with Batman cereal, wear your Batman ballcap to the mall, and of course, play with Batman action figures in the privacy of your own room.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mystery Mail-Order Box


A few days ago, I was browsing around on eBay when I stumbled on to this little treasure. I know it just looks like some beat up white box with a bunch of random numbers on it, but it's what's inside that makes it special to me. Read on, and see what goodies were included in Stock No. 59508.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Toy Biz X-Men Series 1 Wolverine and Magneto!

It's the spring of 1992. I had just finished competing in an Odyssey of the Mind competition in Va Beach, and my parents and I are getting ready to head home. "Is there anywhere you'd like to go before we go home?", they ask. I could only think of one place, a place that had been occupying my mind since I first saw it earlier in the day. That place was Children's Palace.

Now, this post isn't really about Children's Palace, but it certainly could be. I had been to Toys R Us a few times, but it was mostly with my neighbor and his family, which meant most of the time we were there was spent in the video games section. I would only get a quick glimpse of the action figure aisles, as we made our way over to the NES and SNES games on display. This time, it was just me and my parents, and I was the one leading the way. I honestly don't think I was prepared for just how amazing Children's Palace was. Back at home, we had a couple of aisles that were full of my favorite action figures. Here, there were 5 or 6 aisles, and it seemed like they went on forever. I had never seen so many toys in one place before. It was a bit intimidating, and I could tell my parents were getting a little impatient, which only added to the pressure. I stood in the middle of an aisle, nearly overwhelmed by all the choices, when a familiar logo caught my eye. Shortly after that, I was back in the car, playing with my two new figures.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 More 90's Gimmick Comic Covers!


It's June, it's hot, and it feels like a good time to be stuck inside reading comic books. Let's take a look at another 5 comics with gimmicky covers!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sets I Had From The Lego 1992 Catalog

I was a little Lego fiend when I was growing up. I turned 11 in 1992, and toys weren't quite taboo yet. I was still comfortable talking about them with friends, and wouldn't run and hide if I heard kids from school walking by the toy aisle. It was also the year of my biggest Christmas Lego haul ever. I got some pretty big sets that year, and much like the larger toys from Hasbro and Kenner, they came with a flyer showing off that year's assortment of Lego sets.


This is still one of my favorite Lego catalog covers. I like the idea that all of Lego's realms coexist at one time, so it seems entirely possible for a space policeman and a Navy officer to be riding the metro when the Black Knight decides to collect a toll from the passengers. Of course, these were the days before the minifigures had anything but a smile on their faces, so everyone seems rather jolly about the whole affair.

Admittedly, I had a bunch of these sets before 1992. Several of them had already been out for a year or so, like the M-Tron team and the Metro Liner. It seems like Lego had released quite a few new sets the previous two years, so that might be why there doesn't seem like there's much new stuff in this pamphlet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The time I found a dead body (kinda)

When you enter Middle of Nowhere, Va, the first thing you notice is, it's really dark. We're talking darker than dark. So dark you turn your headlights off and on just to make sure they were on in the first place. It's one of the consequences of living in a mostly rural area. There aren't many street lamps along the highway, and there are even fewer on  the back roads. I mention the darkness, because it makes more sense if you know the conditions of the night in question.

On the night "it" happened, my friend Scott and I were already a little freaked out. It was either a Friday or a Saturday night, because it was way late, and we were all up and hanging out. At some point, Scott and I left in his truck to either go to the store, or Scott's house so he could grab some games. We were driving out of my development when I saw a rabbit sitting under the street lamp near the end of my road. I didn't think much of it until a few seconds later, when I caught a flurry of movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over, and I saw that the rabbit had apparently sprouted wings and was flying off into the night. I'm sure I exclaimed something along the lines of, "That fucking rabbit just flew off!". Scott understandably looked at me like I was crazy, while I stammered on about a rabbit suddenly turning into a winged demon of some sort and taking off into the night. After a few minutes I calmed down, and just laughed it off as having imagined the whole thing. Thankfully, we made it to our destination and back without any other four-legged animals taking to the sky.



A little later that night, I'd say it was between 12 or 1 am, my mom asked us if we could take out the garbage. We were still wide awake and didn't have much else to do, so of course we said we would. Scott and I loaded up the bags, and made our way to the dumps just a couple miles from my house. Scott made sure to keep an eye out for any flying rabbits, and I'm happy to say that all ground animals stayed grounded this time. Just a few minutes later, we were pulling up to the dumpsters when I saw the most horrific thing I'd ever seen in my entire life. And that's when the screaming started.

The human brain is an amazing organ. Sometimes you'll see something, and your brain has already processed the information and is formulating a plan before you can perform a conscious action. That's exactly what happened to me that night. As I pulled up to the dumpsters, my headlights shone on something so horrible, that I instantly started yelling. Before I could form a thought, my brain had already told my mouth that we were seeing some heinous shit, and that we should be scared.  Scott, who had just been talking to me a second earlier, started screaming because I scared the hell out of him. Then he saw what caught my eye and he started yelling even louder. Who wouldn't freak out at the sight of half of a woman's body?

After what felt like hours of yelling at the top of our lungs, we both calmed  down and processed what we had seen. It took us a few seconds to realize just what it was that had frightened us to near pants peeing levels.






















Half a freakin' mannequin. Sitting next to a dumpster in a near pitch black parking lot with arms askew, this thing looked like the latest victim of the Eastern Shore Strangler. It took us a few minutes to get over the horror of the moment, but once we did, I can't remember many occasions where we've laughed harder. I'm talking can't breathe, eyes watering laughter. I'd like to think it was the counterweight to all the fear we had just experienced. As I was driving home, I remember thinking out loud, "A g-ddamned mannequin", which only caused us to break out into another fit of laughter.

Even now, the memory of that night makes me chuckle. Here we were; two big, strong guys, and all of our bravery and bravado disappeared the moment my headlights shone on a plastic woman laying on the ground.

I think it goes without saying, we kept our asses home the rest of that night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Batman Returns Bruce Wayne is ready for Halloween!

Today's post is about a billionaire playboy orphan egomaniac with an awesome car.



Released in 1992, Bruce Wayne was released in the Batman Returns line by Kenner. This is actually the second time this figure was produced, with the first being from the pre-sequel Dark Knight Collection. I know it may seem a bit farfetched, writing about Bruce Wayne during the Halloween Countdown, but stick around for a bit. I'll get you there.



I love the illustration of Bruce on the card. They managed to actually get a decent likeness of Michael Keaton, with a little of the comic Bruce Wayne mixed in. My favorite part is that smug look Bruce has. That's the look of a man that's a bit annoyed about seeing the Bat signal in the sky once again. He was probably kicked back with a good book and a bottle of wine, or maybe he was entertaining one of his many lady friends. He didn't even bother with going down to the Batcave. He just walked over to the closet, and pulled on his quick change armor. That's the kind of look that says, "Stay right there, this will just take a second, baby."


Most of the other Batman figures from this line were all repaints of the Super Powers version. Bruce here is one of the few that has his own unique sculpt. He's also one of the most stylish, next to the Joker, of course. Actually, the more I look at it, the more it looks like Bruce is decked out in a turtleneck and a pair of black sweatpants. Huh. I love how there's a stylized version of the Batman symbol on his sweatshirt. I didn't pick it up at first, but after staring at it for a few hours, I'm positive that's what it is. I have no idea why he would have an abstract Bat-symbol on his shirt; did Batman somehow negotiate a clothing deal? The Keaton likeness isn't too bad actually, and it looks quite a bit like him if you turn your head to the side and look at him from the corner of your eye.


Bruce Wayne also comes with what has to be the largest cell phone ever made. Forget a brick, that thing is a cinder block. With a phone that size, I have to imagine that it runs on a car battery. No wonder Bruce is so buff, if he has to carry that thing around all day. It also has a small click wheel on the side. I'm not sure what else to say about that. Maybe it's so you can pretend Batman is talking to the dolphins?


Uh-oh, it seems Batman is needed to save the day once again. Well, it's a good thing Bruce has his quick change armor close by. All he has to do is don his mask, cape, chest piece, gauntlets and boots, and he's ready to go!


And here's Batman, all suited up and ready to thwart the next criminal plot. Sure, he looks like he's wearing Hulk hands, and one gauntlet is forever clutching a Batarang, but evil doesn't care how ridiculous you look. Also, his head doubles in size when you put the cowl on. Maybe there's a bike helmet hidden in that thing. As silly as the figure looks with the armor on, I have to admit that it feels pretty solid. The gloves in particular are actually pretty hard to put on, so they're not coming off on their own. The cape is permanently attached to the cowl, so you don't have to worry about it coming off and getting lost. It's comforting to know that I could hold him out the window on my way to work, and watch his cape flutter without having to worry that it will come off mid flight.



Like a lot of Kenner's other figures, the Batman cardbacks always showed you the other toys available within that line. This one gives you an idea of just how ridiculous some of these suits were. I always thought that Arctic Batman would have been better suited for fighting Mr. Freeze, rather than the Penguin. He even has a dome over his head, just like the icy villain. I actually had a couple of these other figures, Air Attack Batman and Deep Dive Batman. AA Bats was pretty cool with his heavily armed jet suit and cool camouflage costume, but Deep Dive Batman always irked me with his bright color scheme. Wouldn't it be better to blend in with the water, rather than stand out like a beacon? I also had the Robin figure, which was probably one of my favorites. I think it was the two-toned cape. I'm always a sucker for a figure with a cool cape. I was always puzzled by his inclusion since he wasn't actually in the movie. Then I find out he was going to be played by a Wayans brother and I realized it was probably for the best the character was cut from an already crowded flick.


When I saw the Batman Armor set on the back of the card, I had an epiphany. This isn't Bruce Wayne as a crime fighter. This is a Bruce Wayne in an alternate reality, where he's just a regular billionaire egomaniac looking to win the costume contest and score with the ladies. That explains why it looks so shoddy. Bruce might be one of the richest men in the world, but he's an awful seamstress. Now that smug look of his makes perfect sense.


"Which one of you lovely ladies wants to slide down the Bat-pole?"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Micromaster Rescue Patrol is here to save the day


I was a little late to get on the Transformers bandwagon. My first exposure to the shape shifting machinations was the Soundwave figure I received one year on Christmas. We lived in an area where I was more likely to see Bigfoot than actually pick up the television station that played most of the cool cartoons, like Transformers and Masters of the Universe. Still, Soundwave was like nothing I had ever seen before. He may seem simple and archaic to the toy buying youth of today, but my 5 year old mind was blown by this cassette player that turned into a bad ass robot.

Over the years, the Transformers would occasionally catch my eye during our almost weekly shopping trips. Even the smaller figures were hard to ignore, with the large G.I. Joe style paintings of the figures on the cardbacks. Every now and then, one of them would would interest me enough to cause me to spend my hard earned allowance money. That was the main problem with Transformers those days, they were damn expensive if you were the one buying them. A boxed figure would run anywhere from $10 on up, depending on how big it was. I certainly wasn't rich in those days, so I would usually gravitate toward the smaller, more value priced figures.


Supposedly influenced by Galoob's success with Micro Machines, the Micromasters were perfect for the more shallow pocketed youth such as myself. These cost between $4 and $5, and you got four, that's right FOUR, different figures. Sure, they were a lot simpler than larger Transformers, but in my mind, quantity won over complexity. There were half a dozen different Micromaster Patrols to choose from, ranging from one entirely made up of jets, to one group composed of sports cars. I wish I could tell you why I chose this group over all the others, but it's hard to remember my reasoning. In my mind, I just picture seeing these guys hanging on the peg, and immediately being drawn to them.


As good as they look in their alternate modes, the Rescue Patrol looks even better transformed. In most cases, changing the Micromasters from one form to another was simply a matter of folding down the legs, flipping up a hood, and standing the figure up. Like I said, pretty simple. Articulation was pretty basic, with most of them having moveable arms. They came with no accessories, because they were pretty much accessories themselves. If you had one of the giant Transformers that could turn into a small city, like Metroplex or Scorponok, you could populate them with your Micromasters. They also had the advantage of being able to fit in your pockets, something I'd be reluctant to do with the slightly larger toys. Even Bumblebee would have been an uncomfortable lump in my pants.


Fixit was probably my least favorite out of the bunch. No matter how you look at it, a plain white ambulance will never be as cool as a fire truck. His robot mode improved on things a little bit, but it still bothered me that there was so much of the front of the ambulance hanging off his back.  That's not to say that I disliked him, but if I could only choose one out of the group, it wouldn't be him.


Stakeout's alternate mode is an improvement over Fixit's, but just barely. There's nothing particularly exciting about a police car, but he is much, much sleeker when transformed. I like that his goggles and color scheme kinda give him that Highway Patrol vibe. All they needed was a little dab of yellow for a badge, and the image would have been complete.


Seawatch is one of my favorite Transformers, period. I know his alternate form is a boat, but he's a damn cool boat. Besides, who knows what being a boat means on Cybertron. For all we know, Cybertronian boats can fly just as easily as their jets. Seawatch also has one of the better looking robot modes. The helmet and face mask he's wearing give him the appearance of a cyber samurai. As you know, you can't spell awesome without "cyber ninja that turns into a hydrofoil".


Redhot is easily my favorite out of the whole bunch. His alternate mode is that of a heavy duty firetruck. He looks like another vehicle that would be more at home on Cybertron. The robot form is easily the best of them all. Redhot has the most heroic appearance, and if I had to guess, I'd say he was the leader of the Rescue Patrol. He is the tallest of the group, just barely edging out Stakeout. Redhot kinda comes with an accessory if you count his often missing ladder. I consider it more of a decoration, since all it can really do is twist around and fold up. That would be the only thing that would keep me from carting Redhot around in my pocket all the time. I would be too worried I would snap off his ladder. He frequently stood in for Optimus Prime during my mini adventures, since he had the big and beefy leader look to him.

Besides,a fire truck will always be more heroic vehicle than a semi-truck.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Awesome gimmick comic covers from the 90's, Part 1

It's a rainy, nasty day in July, so it's the perfect time to talk comics.



I didn't really collect comics, so much as accumulate them. I mainly followed the X-men titles, but I would pick up anything that happened to catch my eye. And if there's one thing that 90's comic covers were, it was eye catching. So here are five examples of some awesome gimmick covers, in no particular order.


Bloodshot #1 February 1993
Valiant Comics

Valiant comics weren't easy to find in my neck of the woods. Marvel, DC, and Image comics all made regular appearances on the magazine racks, but Valiant was sadly absent. I didn't even know the company existed, until I found this issue in a longbox on a flea market dealer's table. It was one of the most amazing covers I'd ever seen. It still is, actually. I love how the cover image is surrounded by the black border, it almost gives the issue a prestige format feel. As for the artwork itself, I'm still amazed by how the colors just pop off the cover. I don't remember exactly how much I paid for Bloodshot #1, but I'm just going to go out on a limb and say it was $12.99.  Even if that isn't the exact amount, I just remember it was the most expensive comic I'd ever bought. I didn't know it at the time, but this was actually the first chromium cover ever made. I had stayed up late, and was watching a home shopping show that was just selling comics. It sort of validated my purchase when I saw how much more they were asking for the same issue I had bought months earlier.The story wasn't too bad either, sort of a Punisher meets Wolverine with a little bit of The Fugitive tossed in.

Speaking of the Punisher..


Punisher 2099 #1 February 1993
Marvel Comics

The Punisher was always one of my favorite characters, so when I saw they were introducing a futuristic version of my favorite vigilante, I was ecstatic. The first issues of all the 2099 titles featured the same futuristic border, albeit in different colors, but The Punisher 2099's first issue was my favorite of them all. It was much more dynamic, with the action flying toward the reader's face. I'm fond of the way the color of the foil border and the title text reflect the colors of the Punisher's uniform. A couple of the other 2099 titles did this as well, but I think it works particularly well on this cover.

The story hasn't changed much, even 100 years in the future. Police Officer Jake Gallows family is murdered in front of him, pushing him off the deep end. After discovering a journal written by the late Frank Castle, Gallows decides to carry on his work. He amasses an crime fighting arsenal, as well as his own personal prison and execution chair, and sets out to prove not even the rich are exempt from punishment. It's your typical Punisher book, if a bit more brutal.

Wildstar March 1993
Image Comics

Foil embossing was one of the more prevalent gimmicks seen on 90's comic covers. I have to assume it was one of the cheaper enhancements, judging by the number of Marvel and DC comics that used it. It was also popular with Image comics, as shown on the first issue of the Wildstar mini-series. At first glance, it looks like just the title and the Image logo are embossed. What you probably can't tell from the photo though, is that all those little blood drops on the hero's face are raised as well. It's a little odd, and either gives the impression that Wildstar just got his ass kicked, or his super power is bleeding all over his enemies. That actually makes more sense than the story, which involves time travel and guys that rely on symbioitic space starfish for their super powers. Yeah, it's odd.


Batman #500 October 1993
DC Comics

When you kill a character as iconic as Superman, it gets a lot easier to take out some of your other popular heroes. With the big blue taking a dirt nap, it was only a matter of time before Batman met his end as well. Sure enough, Batman was taken out by Bane,a behemoth that proved himself stronger and smarter than the Dark Knight. The series continued, following the exploits of Jean Paul Valley, a former assassin chosen by Bruce Wayne to take over the mantle of the Batman. Unfortunately, Valley becomes more and more unhinged, and Bruce eventually has to recuperate and win back his place as the caped crusader. Batman #500 followed Jean Paul Valley as he tried to track down and take out Bane once and for all. After losing a fight, and nearly losing his life, Valley decides it's time to redesign the Batman costume.

The cover of Batman #500 already looked pretty cool on it's own. It's a great shot of Batman in an action pose. Flip back the die-cut section though..


and you get a good look at Batman's new costume. Sadly, not even the Dark Knight was immune to the dark and gritty super hero fashion trends of the 90's. You've got metal claws, bits of segmented armor, and of course, random pouches. You couldn't be a superhero in the 90's unless your costume had random pouches all over it. It's not enough that Batman had a utility belt with pouches, they had to add some to his thigh as well.

Given enough time, I bet they would have even given Superman pouches on his shorts.


Ghost Rider and Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #12 July 1993
Marvel Comics

I only loosely followed Ghost Rider comics. When it came to supernatural anti-heroes, Morbius was always my first choice. Still, there's a lot to love about a flaming skeleton riding on a fiery motorcycle. This series followed the team up between the former Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, and the current rider, Danny Ketch. It was sort of like Easy Rider meets Satan. This issue saw the introduction of yet another flaming headed rider, called Vengeance. Because, why not? For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, Vengeance really doesn't like Ghost Rider, and intends to dismantle him in the most painful way possible. It looks like the new rider is about to get his revenge, when he is warped away by a friend of Johnny's. Then they have a funeral for their dead friends, and see you next issue.

Seeing as this was issue 12, and there was a new character introduced, of course we needed a gimmicky cover. But, what is it this time? It's not die cut or foil embossed....


Nope, this time we got a glow in the dark cover. It's unbelievably hard to photograph things that glow in the dark, but I did it just for you guys. The cover image, with Ghost Rider's skull imposed over Vengeance's was already a little odd, but turn out the lights and it gets even weirder. I'm not sure what's supposed to be going on here, but I have to admit, it still looks pretty cool. Sadly, I think the glowing effect has worn out over the years. I remember leaving this issue on the floor next to my bed one night, and it freaked me the hell out.

And that is why you should always put away your comics when you've finished reading them. Otherwise, you might wake up to find a glowing skull grinning at you.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

1992's Firefly lives up to his namesake.



It was the summer of 1992. My parents and I were making the trek to Berlin, Maryland for a long weekend of cooking out and fishing with my uncle and his family. He wasn't technically an uncle, but one of those people that had been friends with my parents so long, he was practically family. My "uncle" had a son that was a few years older than me, but he never acted like he was too old or too cool to play with action figures. So I loaded up a bunch of my G.I. Joes, expecting to spend the weekend fishing and playing with toys until my fingers bled.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

League Assignment: Express your shelf!

This week’s assignment from the League: Shelf Expression

It's been a long time since I participated, but I couldn't resist taking part in this week's assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers:

Shelf Expression. Take a picture of your shelves, featuring a few of your favorite things.

The nice thing about keeping my collection small, is that most of it will fit inside one little display case.





I actually just thinned the collection out a little bit, and kept my favorite items. The Lego sets you see at the bottom are mainly just the Star Wars models. The rest are stored in a Tupperware container. These are my favorites, but I may rotate some of my other sets into the case in the future.




Bazooka has that "Not this story again" look on his face. 

Michelangelo looks way too happy for being a prisoner.



I like having a collection like this. It doesn't take up much room, and if I ever needed to move it, it would all fit in one container. Some of you guys have amazing collections, but if I had all that stuff, it would probably give me a daily anxiety attack.


Down the wall from my display case, I have an end table where I keep my magazines, comics, and catalogs for upcoming projects. It also makes a handy platform for taking photos when I need it.

So there you have it, my little collection of shelves. Let's see what some of my fellow bloggers had to say.

Jason Bucky Roberts' from Nerdy Life of Mine has an awesome computer desk and shelf set up.

jSarie from Revenge of the Toy Box shows off some shelves from the past.

Brian of Cool and Collected has gone bananas for Planet of the Apes.

Derek of Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks shows off an impressive mix of properties.

Erik Johnson Illustrator uses his book shelves for..well, books.

MonsterFink from the Midnight Monster Spookshow shows off a Universal collection.

George of G.I. Jigsaw shows off his giant Star Wars collection.

Kal from Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool has enough toys to open his own store.

Primordial Badger's Transformers collection is a masterpiece.

Rich from The Nerd Nook has some carded treasures.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Now you're reading with power, Worlds of Power


If you've never heard of Worlds of Power, it was a series of books published by Scholastic that were based on various Nintendo properties. They were basically just a way to get kids to put down their controllers and, you know, actually read a book or two. Apparently it worked, because over a million Worlds of Power books were sold before they went out of print. I only ever owned one of them, a novelization of the game Mega Man 2.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Dukes



These two Dukes were part of the haul sent to me by John of The Clawful Punch. The Duke on the bottom is from the Tiger Force line up, and I came close to owning him several times. He was the lone G.I. Joe figure hanging on the pegs at the local Five and Dime store. Sadly, most of the toys there were marked up quite a bit, so he never made the trip home with me. It's a shame too, because I rather like the look of the Tiger Force Duke compared to the original figure. One thing I find interesting, it looks like Duke was hitting the hair dye when he joined the Tiger Force. Maybe that blond hair of his stuck out too much in the jungle.


The one up top there is from 1992, the first year that all the main line figures came with a missile launching accessory. It's also the only version of Duke that I actually owned. He was my go to figure when I needed someone to lead the troops, then one day, he was just..gone. You see, it was really windy outside, and a friend of mine and I decided to attach shopping bags to our figures and toss them into the air. The wind would catch the bags and act as a parachute on the way down.  We had been doing this for a while, when my buddy tossed Duke up on another paratrooper mission. Unfortunately, it would be his last. A strong gust came up, and pulled Duke higher into the air. He kept going higher and started floating toward the creek. We started tossing rocks and dirt clods, trying to knock him down, but it was too late. The breeze carried Duke way, way out to the middle of the creek, where he finally crashed down. We were both amazed at how far he traveled, but that quickly turned to disappointment, and I lost interest in the game. Several years later, a friend of mine claimed that he found pieces of Duke washed up on the beach on the other side of the creek. I'd like to imagine he made it over there and survived for a while, before finally succumbing to old age and the elements.

Or he ended up in some guy's crab pots.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Swamp Thing, I think I love you...

I'm really not sure which came first, DC's Swamp Thing, or Marvel's Man-Thing. They both have very similar origin stories, having started out as scientists that were involved in accidents with their experiments that left them near death in a swamp. The chemicals reacted with the plant life around them, and caused them both to turn into plant based monsters. Unfortunately for Man-Thing, only Swamp Thing gained enough popularity to spawn two feature length movies, a live action television series, an animated mini-series, and of course, a line of action figures.

Speaking of action figures, that's what I have to show off today; Bio-Glow Swamp Thing.


As much as I liked the Swamp Thing figures, I have to admit that it's an odd property for an action figure line. He's nowhere near as iconic as Batman or Superman, and asking someone if they'd like to see your Swamp Thing will likely get you a beating. All I'm saying is nobody wanted to be Swamp Thing when it was pretend time. That doesn't mean he isn't a cool character, he is. I just think he's a bit too weird to become as mainstream as the costumed heroes.


Much like Kenner's Batman Lines, there were numerous versions of Swamp Thing released. There were four different ones in the first wave alone. I'm not ashamed to admit that I owned all four at one time, while I only ever owned one villain, Weed Killer. While I'm on the villains, this is one area Kenner really dropped the ball. The bad guys were all normal action figures, that came with masks that turned them into grotesque monsters. Sadly, the masks were just larger versions of those little rubber monsters that you can stick on your finger tips. They were actually pretty fragile, and would tear easily if you weren't careful. The mask didn't really add any play value to the figures, so I normally left it off. Swamp Thing also had a couple of human allies. There was Tomahawk, the Native American with a name that some would say is currently offensive, and this guy:


I'm not even going to pick on his ridiculous name, or the fact that he's just fighting monsters with a water gun. What has me scratching my head is the fact they made him a Vietnam Veteran. Was this a selling point for kids back then? I can't remember being disappointed if I picked up an action figure and it wasn't eligible for membership in the VFW. Enough talk about disillusioned war heroes, we're here to talk about things from the swamp!


According to the little bio on the back of the card, Bio-Glow Swamp Thing is adapted to chasing around the evil Un-Men in the desert at night. I guess that means he's Desert Thing as well. This form appears to be made up of cacti, which makes sense since there isn't much else in the way of vegetation out there. He actually has a bunch of sharp thorns on his arms and legs, so you definitely don't want to step on him with bare feet. Don't ask me how I know. You would think a large, glowing plant man would be pretty easy to avoid, but maybe mutants have poor night vision. Or, maybe Swamp Thing blends in with the other..glowing cacti? Is that a thing?





Swampie also comes with a large flint bladed axe, and a rather pointy mace that will poke holes in you if you're not paying attention. They go hand in hand with his super arm swinging action, so he can flail his weapons about wildly. Just squeeze his legs together and his fists start flying. It's the same sort of action feature Kenner was famous for when they were making the Super Powers line. You can get his arms moving pretty fast, so you better not get him too close to your face. I remember his weapons had a tendency to fly out of his hands, so there's a chance you may lose an eye to the pointy plastic mace.





If you couldn't tell from his name, Bio-Glow Swamp Thing also has the ability to glow in the dark. He's not quite as bright as some toys that I've seen, and he doesn't glow for very long. Actually, a thought just popped into my head as I was typing this. What's the point of figures that glow in the dark? You'd have to play with them in a pitch black room to get the full effect, and then you wouldn't actually be able to see what you were doing. I know I never really played with my toys in the dark. I was always too worried about losing their pieces.

At least there's a good chance I'd see him before he ended up stuck in the bottom of my foot.
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