Saturday, March 31, 2012

Animation Creation Ep5 - Shadow on the Wall

The 5th installment of our stop motion animated variety show was a strange one. It does feature a lot of action figures though. Probably the longest portion of this episode is an animal skull "teleporting" to music created by us. (Some of the music is kind of cool).

1) Rydeen Cleans House by Derek - Shogun Warrior Robot Figure
2) Smiely by Brian & Derek
3) Beck's Mom's Birthday by Becky
4) WCMU Station IDs by Kevin - 80's & 90's Batman, 90's X-Men, Godzilla Figure, Troll dolls
5) Shades of Progress (the Shadow Animation) by Derek - Shadows of GI Joe & Star Wars toys
(TechnoViper, Alley Viper, Lightfoot, Bazooka, Steamroller, Probe Droid, and the Land Speeder)
6) Crank it UP!!! (music unboxed) by Greg
Commentary featuring Kevin & Derek
with Brian, a letter from Becky, & Greg - Custom GI Joe action figures again

These videos were animated in the early 2000's on cameras that used VHS-C tapes. The Shadow Animation (Shades of Progress) was screened at the Bucks Film Fest in Doylestown PA several year ago.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Decline Of A Real American Hero

I have mentioned before that my friends and I had a website a while back that we would post articles about all kinds of stuff. Today I decided to share something my buddy Derek wrote. It was published in a 'zine distributed in Philadelphia, PA. I think it was called "Totally Rad" but I'm not even  sure. I snapped some pictures for it and then it was uploaded to Obscene

Spring Action, Neon, And the Decline of a Real American Hero

The article was about the later years of GI Joe and and the gimmicks that didn't really impress the kids who had been playing with the figures since the start.

Play-Doh armor, spring loaded weapons, neon colors, and tiger striped repaints are all mentioned.

I have now posted the article below.



Spring Action, Neon, And The Decline Of A Real American Hero

by Derek

GI Joe. We loved him. We played with him. We grew up with him. He was our childhood hero, but sadly, he went the way of that other childhood hero, Michael Jackson. Over commercialization made him less like a friend and more like a product. Looking back now, we can see the signs of impending doom stretching way back to 1987, when Joe was on top. Many have wondered what happened since then. Therefore, I have prepared a timeline to delineate the long, ignominious fall from grace. Handy ratings are provided as well, with a rating of 10 being “Joe-riffic!” and a rating of 1 being one of those green yucky-face stickers that gets put on toxic substances.
1987 - Battle Force 2000
The Gimmick: Put guys in Jetsons-style clothing and try to pass it off as the year 2000. If someone gets all the vehicles together, they fit together to form the “Future Fortress”! Kinda like those Transformers where all the little robots fit together to make one big little robot.
Which didn’t work because: No 4 to 11 year-old has enough scratch to buy every one of those vehicles. Who was this targeted at, Richie Rich?
Rating: 6. Even if this line of figures was fun, the people behind it set us up for so many disappointments. Looking back now, I feel cheated because:
  1. To this day I haven’t seen what that damn fortress thingie looks like.
  2. Okay, it’s the year 2000 now. Where are my cool Jetsons duds? What do you mean they still don’t issue laser guns to soldiers? No way am I enlisting now!
Besides, they didn’t even last that long in the GI Joe comic books. Cobra put the smack-down on them right away and smashed up their vehicles.
 1988 - Tiger Force
The Gimmick: The military steals enemy vehicles and repaints like them like jungle cats for use in the desert. (“Filthy Americans, bring back my tank!”) A chance to sell you toys you already have, only now yellow with stripes.
Which didn’t work because: A guy named “Frostbite” doesn’t belong in the desert. Period. That’s just wrong. As if relocating this poor slob wasn’t bad enough, the toymakers changed his beard color, too. Imagine the conversation between this guy and his old lady: “Nothing to be alarmed about, honey. I’m just dying my beard tomato red so I can go fight in the desert. No, I won’t be needing any new clothes, the usual fur coat and long johns will do nicely.” I didn’t buy it for a minute, and I was six.
Possible propaganda message: “Let’s kick Saddam’s—I mean Cobra’s— sorry ass all over the desert!”
Rating: 5. Hey, my uncle steals vehicles and repaints them, too. Does that make him a “Real American Hero?”
 1990 - Sonic Fighters
The Gimmick: More recolored figures, now in bright neon and with noise-making backpacks to scare the hell out of Cobra. Damn that Cobra.
Which didn’t work because: I already had plenty of good sound effects of my own, and didn’t need The Man at Hasbro telling me to use his. The backpacks were equipped with generic sounds like “boom” and the old favorite “rat-a-tat-tat,” but these lacked the creative flare of my own creations “bpwacschk” and “skceasch”. Later on these insidious backpacks came with useful soundbites like “attack”. Truthfully, what kid playing with soldiers can’t say that for himself? Even worse was the size of these things; the backpacks were huge. Who would strap a 60-watt amp on their back and go run around a war zone? I can just see it. Everyone falls over after the first five minutes, while the enemy stands around pointing and laughing. “Go ahead and laugh, buddy, but you’ll be in real trouble when the forklifts get here!”
Rating: 3. Even if you wanted to take the friggin backpacks off, they were bolted on so tight it would take a degree in engineering to do it. Even worse was that this series marked the death of camouflage. From this point on, neon dominated the GI Joe color schemes. Across the country resounded cries of “Oh the neon mommy make it stop mommy!”
 1991 - Eco Warriors
The Gimmick: Joe goes green, packing squirt guns instead of automatics.
Which didn’t work because: The squirt-gun factor severely restricted where you were allowed to play with these things. Trying to use these inside your house was a death wish, parental retribution swooping down upon you almost instantaneously. Besides, who wants to play with a guy named “Cesspool”?
Possible propaganda message: “Never mind agent orange and the nuclear arms race. Our military has the environment’s best interests at heart! Honest!”
Rating: 2. I’m proud to call myself a tree-hugger, but that doesn’t stop me from being the first to admit this line of Joes was a terrible, terrible mistake.
 1992 - Drug Elimination Force
The Gimmick: Toymakers take the phrase “War on Drugs” a too far. Good old-fashioned Cobra is now represented as villainous scum by a scary mustachioed drug-lord and his crackhead thugs. A new low is reached with the inclusion of spring-action neon missile launchers.
Which didn’t work because: Those missile launchers were larger than the guys who were supposed to carry them. Aside from that, even, the things were evil. Allow me to share a childhood trauma: I distinctly remember watching a TV commercial in which a kid is playing with his spring-action G.I. Joes. Said juvenile presses the button on one of his missile launchers and a projectile streaks out to smite the forces of evil, causing a bad-guy figure over a foot away to be knocked over. The aforementioned child then makes an exhibition of delight. Let me tell you, I wasted no time in getting my mitts on one of those ill-conceived spring weapons. Intending to recreate the televised experience of spring-action bliss, I carefully aimed it at some hapless enemy figure and fired away. Nothing happened. Sure, it made a little start, but the projectile ran out of oomph before going airborne. Instead it hung lazily partway out of my bright orange spring-action disappointment. Why didn’t it work? Why couldn’t I partake of the same joy that televised kid had derived? Oh, the pre-pubescent angst I experienced in that moment!
Possible propaganda message: “If you use drugs, you are scum and deserve to be shot. With a missile launcher.”
Rating: 2. As a rule, anything you get taught about in elementary school is not action-figure material. In this case it was drug resistance. Let us just be thankful we were never subjected to anything like the “Sex-ed Brigade” or “Personal Hygene Troopers”.

1993 - Mega Marines

The Gimmick: The bad-guys are giant monsters now, meaning the good-guys need to call upon the awesome defensive capabilities of Play-Doh battle-armor to save our fine nation.
Which didn’t work because: Play-Doh tastes way too salty. Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about. I’m not the only person to have stolen a taste in my moment of weakness. It doesn’t make good armor, either.
Rating: 1. After “Eco Warriors” and “DEF,” it was hard to believe it could get any worse. (Ah, na├»ve youth!) When GI Joe wasn’t fun by himself anymore, when he needed big monsters and Play-Doh as a crutch—that was too much. Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry.
And there you have it. For some of us this stroll down memory lane has been more like a grueling march down childhood trauma avenue. I know it has been for me, and I apologize.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bow in Skeletor Disguise?

How rare are packaging errors? Once in a while I hear about them, but never really see them. In fact the only one I had seen in the MOTUC (Masters of the Universe Classics) line before this was a Grizzlor I ordered from ebay. The MOTUC logo was placed in the bubble of the packaging upside down. I didn't take a picture of it, because it wasn't really all that interesting. I actually got Grizzlor pretty early on in my collecting. The packaging error was the least of my concerns I just wanted to open him up when I got him.

Anyway, flash forward... I ordered a Battle Armor Skeletor from Matty Collector recently when we has being reissued and he came with a much larger packaging error.

The paper at the bottom of the bubble that identifies the character is incorrect. Instead of saying Battle Armor Skeletor this figure is labeled as Bow (a She-Ra character also in the line). Is this a new Quarterly Variant Figure? Bow in Bad Guy Disguise?

The other interesting thing about the Bow label is that it does not have an “original” burst on the packaging which means the paper, or possibly the entire figure is from the first run of figures and not actually a reissue figure.

I did some research on Matty Collector to see when the figures were originally released. I mostly wanted to find out if they came out on the same month. Both figure came out before I started actively collecting the line. Bow is from Feb 2011 and BA Skeletor is from March 2011. They were only a month apart on release, perhaps there were a few extra Bow bubbles laying around the factory or production overlapped.

I placed my order for BA Skeletor in January of 2012. It's strange that the stock laid around long enough for me to get his this much later. Matty hold back a few figures from every production run to replace anything that is received with errors. I guess they hung on to this one a while, and never really looked at him. Oh well. I keep very few of my toys sealed on card. I like to open them up and pose them and display them with weapons in their hands. This one stopped me cold. He's still sealed and I can't decide if I should open him up or not. If you have an opinion leave it in the comments. Is it stupid and who cares, or is it too rare to open?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Toy Room Preview #1

I bought my house almost two and a half years ago. I'm finally getting around to creating my toy room. I've dreamed about having a nice place to display a big chunk of my collection for a long time. When I lived with my parents most of the collection was packed away in various containers in the basement. I always had access to them, but it was hard to dig the stuff out sometimes. Now in my house I have a few displays set up. Most of the stuff I really want displayed is still packed away in my basement and one of the closets upstairs.. My GI Joes and Star Wars figures are boxed up an really need a lot of room to spread out.

I have selves to go in the toy room that I bought from a Blockbuster Video that was going out of business. I also have plans to build some custom display cases to show off certain items. My plan for the closet, since the toy room was originally an odd shaped bedroom, is to use it to house some of the large GI Joe playsets.

I originally planned to stack them up deepest to shallowest playset to allow for the most lighting to trickle down.. The closet has a light at the top, and I figured each shelf would get a little bit of the light that gets past the front of the shallower shelves.

The closet isn't deep enough to display the Mobile Command Center (tan tank base) completely unfolded. Once the items were on the shelves, I decided it was best to put the Mobile Command Center (MCC) on the top shelf. The MCC when it's folded up offers the least amount of space to display figures. This made me decide tp move it to the top shelf. It seems better to me to switch it and the Tactical Battle Platform (TBP). With the TBP lower it makes it easier to see the figures displayed on it (once they displays are set up). It doesn't hurt the MCC display that the top floor is two hight to really see since it has to be folded up. Also since the TBP is small, its shelf has lot of extra room to display other vehicles. It just seems better to have that on a lower shelf where it will be easier to see.

I have to add solid wood front strips to hide the plywood edge and stiffen the shelves. Then they will get primed and painted. So, anyway this is my first Toy Room Preview.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Comic Book Men on AMC

After watching the final episode of the series I figured I write up a quick post. I really enjoyed the show, and I hope they do another season. I've read some of the other reviews online, and I agree that some of this stuff is scripted or staged. The reality of reality tv is that it's not real.

I think it's cool to expose mainstream audiences, casual comic fans, and the newest generation of comic book fans to classics issues from the past. I love seeing the classic books. In the final episode they showed the first appearance of Wolverine and the Death of Gwen Stacey. As a kid, my friend Kirk was a huge Wolverine fan. He owned that first appearance in the Hulk as well as Wolverine #1. It was crazy cool to see "Wall Books" in someones personal collection. The closest thing I ever had to a wall book was Uncanny X-Man # 183 - the issue where Colossus and Juggernaut get into a bar fight. I was going through back issue boxes at Comics Adaptation in Quakertown, PA back in the day (the store is no longer there) and I saw this issue.  I remembered seeing the cover of it in Wizard Magazine as an issue to watch. I think I paid around $7 for it at the time, which was a lot because I only got like 6 bucks a week allowance. The book isn't really anything special anymore, but it was an important book in my collection as a kid. Just like my hologram 30th Anniversary Amazing Spider-man. (They are gonna be worth money some day *wink*)

As a side note, the thing I miss most since my local comic shop stopped carry back issues is the wall books. They haven't carried back issues in 10 plus years, but I miss looking at the ultra rare and important books.   Back to the show...

This blog is about action figures (and comics, cartoons, and anything else connected to action figures)! So over the course of the series they showed off the Lee Majors action figure which was also featured in the first episode of Toy Hunters. They heavily feature Mego figures and a lot other "doll" type action figures. I would have really enjoyed seeing someone bring in a carded GI Joe or He-Man figure from the 80's. Either they aren't old enough to be worth the big bucks, or AMC's target audience for the show is just a little older than myself and so they aimed for more of the 70's figures.

I plan on taking a road trip to The Stash this summer, since it's only an hour from here. I'll be sure to post some pictures from the trip. Maybe I'll buy a Kevin Smith (Silent Bob) action figure while I'm there.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Voltron – Red Lion & Lance

This year Matty Collector is offering a Club Lion subscription. This sub entitles members to five lion toys, five pilot figures, and a bonus figure. The five lions combine to create a huge 23” Voltron robot. As a kid I had a die-cast Voltron and loved it. I know I watched the cartoon, but I was so young I barely remember it. I used to have trouble taking apart Voltron to form the lions again. A friend of mine suggested dropping him to make him pop apart. We tried it, and it worked. Unfortunately it also broke a couple of his small plastic pieces. I eventually sold him at a yard sale to get cash to buy GI Joe and Star Wars toys. These two lines were the focus of my collecting for many years after I stopped “playing with toys” as a kid.

This new Red Lion is incredible. It features nice articulation allowing for some very cool poses. The lion also features an auto transform feature that pops the legs out to convert the lion back from arm to lion. Maybe this feature would have saved my original Voltron. The auto transformation feature is a neat novelty, but I'd rather be able to press a button that have the lion turn into the arm, rather than the other way around. The fun this to do with a Voltron toys is to have it form Voltron, not come apart. The spring loaded legs do create some issues posing the lion, and I think will make it hard to play with Voltron. It seems like the legs will pop out of position a lot when it is supposed to be in arm mode.

The lion comes with a key that can trigger the auto transformation feature and open the cockpit. A weapon is also included for the lion. The blade can be clamped in its teeth.

As I previously mentioned the key opens the cockpit, which can hold the lance figure the ships with the lion in a separate package. Lance come with two interchangeable head. One helmeted, and one not helmeted. 

Back in the 80's there was a Voltron toy that could also hold pilot figured (it was not the voltron I had). These pilot figures from this toy had removable helmets. This created non-cartoon accurate hair on the figures. For the first time we have a figure that can look cartoon accurate with and without their helmets.

I have two main complaints with the Lance figure. The first one is that even though he has a lot of joints he isn't that well articulated. He just can't move as well as I'd hope. Him elbows and knees just don't have as good a range of motion as I'd like. My second issue is that along with the helmeted head and unhelmeted head, I'd like him to have come with an empty helmet. As I was taking the photos for this post my Lance broke. 

 Normally I'm really upset when a toy breaks, especially when it's from an expensive adult collector line, but this actually gave me what I wanted. I went to swap heads and the glue joint broke. His helmet came off. Now I can put the helmeted head on, or have him hold the empty helmet while donning the helmetless head.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Animation Creation Ep4 - Too Many Robots

I was hoping to have something else posted by now, but work has been crazy. I haven't had a chance to write anything... even though I have photographed some stuff for a new post.  To fill the void of updates I'm posting another episode of Animation Creation. Again this is a stop motion animated variety show that we did in college. This particular episode ran for like a week straight on Millersville University's cable channel with no other programming. 24/7 of dancing robots. One table of fellow nerds in the cafeteria would often show "We are the robots" when I'd walk in for dinner.

This episode is  the Techno Megamix. During the episode japanese robot figures dance and fight with each along with all sorts of other toys. The Rancor, The Emperor, Imperial Dignitary, Biker Scouts, some droids, and Bespin Guards show up from Star Wars. Fast Draw, Cobra B.A.T. 2.0, and the Firebat vehicle from GI Joe are used. There are also a number of Transformers. Also heavily used towards the end of the episode is an often forgotten line of robot toys, Z-bots.

Derek started animating with the robots. Then one night while Derek and Brian played video games Kevin animated a big segment. Finally Brian did his part. Once it was decided that there would be an entire episode of dancing robots we all went back an shot more stuff.

As usual the episode contains a Commentary featuring Kevin & Derek, this time with C-3P0 & R2-D2. Unlike the other episodes, this commentary is not very informative.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beach Head: Knowing is half the battle

Anyone who grew up in the 80's remembers cartoons having a little moral or lesson at the end. This practice was pioneered by Lou Scheimer of Filmation Studios. They included morals at the end of He-Man, She-Ra, Brave Starr and other shows. Sunbow, another animation studio, used a similar gimmick at the end of their GIJoe and Transformers cartoons.  Their clever tag line was "Knowing is Half the Battle."

In the early 2000's Yo Joe .com was doing featured character spotlights on various GIJoe characters. They would compile a list of links to different websites that were posting features about the character of the month. In 2004 when they chose Beach Head, one of the gruffest and no nonsense GIJoes, Brian and Kevin decided to create their own Knowing is Half the Battle comic strip. This was originally posted on our site


"Some "Knowing is Half the Battle" ideas get lost in the shuffle. This one was suggested during the 80's when kids were getting lots of inaccurate information about AIDS. Sunbow Productions thought that this would help educate kids about how AIDS is really transmitted. The idea was scrapped for obvious reasons, luckily it's preserved here for posterity."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Animation Creation Ep3 - Fly Me to the Moon

Again, in anticipation of the online release of Action Figure Adventures, our stop motion animated video project I am plugging an older project of ours. I feel like we were really hitting our stride by the third episode of Animation Creation. Not only did the episode feature animations by Kevin and Derek, but frequent collaborator Brian played an important roll in this episode.

As per usual, I have noted and bolded the portions that feature action figures. I know you (most likely) came to the blog because you are interested in action figures but check out animation 7 & 8 in this episode they are pretty cool even if they don't feature toys.

1) Moguera's Fantastic Journey by Derek
           Japanese Monster Toy
2) Brian's Reservoir Dogs, pt. 2 by Brian
           McFarlane Reservoir Dogs figures
3) Fight+Win=Prize by Kevin
            Star Wars Figures (mostly vintage)
4) A Terrifying Visual Account of Basement Chaos by Derek
            Skeletor (makes a brief appearance)
5) Them tricycles just don't play fair by Derek & Kevin
             They aren't action figures, but they are riding TOYS!
6) Brian's Reservoir Dogs, Part 3 by Brian
            More McFarlane
7) Pencil Animation #1 by Brian, Kevin, Greg, Keith, Megan, Becky, & Derek
8) Somebody Up There Likes You by Derek
9) Robot+Skull Mountain by Derek
            Robotech Model
Commentary featuring Kevin & Derek
with Brian, Greg, Keith, Becky & Megan

            Custom GIJoes like usual

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pop Culture Icon: Superman

This morning I was reading an article on about Pop Culture Moments that are remembered incorrectly. It talked a lot about quotes like "Play it again Sam", "Beam me up Scotty", and "Luke I am your father". All of these lines are frequently miss quoted because none of them are actually said in the source material they are based on. I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but if I'm doing a Vader impression at least half the time I'm going to say the line as people think of it, not how it is said in the movie.

My other favorite things to say in a Darth Vader voice:

You are part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor.
Impressive, most impressive.
The power of the Dark Side.

The first part of the article talks about the Ewoks never being called Ewoks in the movie by name and the author wondered how he knew they were Ewoks as a kid. (I would assume because of the publicity and merchandising).

It made me think of an article I had previously written in which I tried to think back to the moment in my childhood it which I learned about who Superman was.

One of my earliest memories of Superman is my 80's Superman figure from the Super Powers Line.

Check out A Superman Mystery on Obscene - or it has been posted below.

I think most boys grow up loving Superman. He is a pop culture icon that falls into the hands of most boys in one form or another. Some kids read the comic, others see the movies, and some have action figures. He’s the Universal Hero. How can you not like him? He stands for truth, justice, and the American way.
Since seeing Superman Returns I have been trying to remember how I was introduced to Superman. Do kids just know who he is automatically? I have a really good memory of my childhood, but it’s something I can’t remember. Must have happened early. I remember having a t-shirt, underwear, a suitcase, and an action figure… but which came first? I guess the best way to find out is to search out evidence of Superman in my life. It may be tricky due to the fact that I no longer own some of this stuff. I can’t look for a copyright date on the underpants because I don’t know what happened to them after I outgrew them. It seems the most logical approach is to work backwards from more recent to oldest. I’ll start off with the ticket stub documenting that I saw Superman Returns on 7/2/06.
Check out those pecs!
I recently finished reading Superman/Batman Vol. 1 trade paperback. I love Ed McGuinness’ art. I bought the book after reading the first few pages in a freebie comic on Free Comic Book day. I drew this picture of Superman in May of 2006 based on art work from that comic. Of course, this is all recent evidence. I’m going to have to dig deeper.
The next item I found was this pencil drawing done on Christmas Eve 2001. It’s based on an image of Superman trying to seal up a breaking dam with his heat vision. The original art it was based on is by David Ross, and appears in Doug Moench’s JLA: Act of God. It’s an Elseworlds comic that looks at how heroes would deal with the loss of their god-like superpowers.
Who could be grumpy wearing a Superman shirt?
Sometime during my Senior Year of high school (2000-2001) Derek and I visited Brian at college in New York for the weekend. While we were there, he asked us to appear in photographs for one of his Digital Art courses. He was basically making a short comic book with real photos. He told us the basic story and introduced us to his friend Jesse who would also appear in the comic. So we rode the bus to the mall to scope out a location. While we were riding there Brian said he’d like me to wear a Superman shirt if we could find one. So when we got to the mall we checked out a couple of T-shirt shops and I bought one. I changed into the shirt and we wandered around outside until we found some dumpsters to shoot by. The finished product, Captain Nihilism has been previously featured here. In the end, the shirt turned out to be my favorite shirt. I wear it frequently and often depict myself wearing it in cartoons and doodles. Brian took this photo of me in my basement one time.
Read this. Seriously.
Skipping back a couple of years to January 1995, we find this drawing of Superman with the superhero team Xenobrood. According to the date, I drew this near the end of my years in elementary school. It’s from another comic written by Doug Moench with art by Tomm Coker. Xenobrood was a limited mini-series about a new superhero team, and in the last issues they team up with Superman.
It's a bird? Or is it a plane?

The next artifact I found is not dated. Even without a date I can determine that this was drawn in 3rd grade because of which spiral bound notebook I drew it in. As a kid, I filled a 70 sheet spiral notebook every year with drawings. It’s Superman flying through the air. There’s not a whole lot to say about the drawing, but it serves as good documentation for the middle years of elementary school.

Here’s a picture taken when I was seven, at an auction at my grandparents’ farm. Two of my uncles dissolved their farming partnership. One uncle moved up north and continued farming while the other one went into retail. I’m the one with the Superman shirt on. The photo proves I knew who Superman was when I was seven. It’s kind of odd, but I remember a lot of things from that day, including a conversation with my friend in the dark blue shirt next to me that spawned a childhood catch phrase. I don’t remember wearing that shirt that day. I remember leaving school early to go to the auction. I remember my Dad videotaping the events of the day. I remember eating a hotdog and drinking a soda as bees buzzed around. Seven years old… I had to have known of him earlier than that.
Is it a plane? Or a bird?

This crayon and pencil drawing of Superman, Godzilla, and Spiderman proves I knew of him when I was in first grade. The picture may be the earliest drawn documentation I have of superheroes. Still, I feel that I have to go back earlier.

It's punch-out Superman

I got a birthday card one year that contained punch out pictures of Superman, Batman, and Robin. The copyright information on these punch-outs is no help because Superman is dated 1975, while the Dynamic Duo is dated 1966. Both of these dates are before I was born. I conclude that it must be the copyright date for that specific image, or the character’s likeness. I have a feeling that it may be connected to the Superpowers toy line or Super Friends cartoon show of the early 1980’s.
For Christmas one year I remember opening a Superman action figure from the Super Powers toy line, produced by Kenner. He is figure number one from series one. I was happy to have the first figure. I have to assume that this was Christmas of 1984. The Super Powers Collection came out in 1984, so it’s reasonable to assume that’s when I got the figure. If it had been a year later there would have been a different batch of characters in the stores. I remember watching the Super Friends cartoon show around the same time. Is it possible I was introduced to the character by that cartoon show?
Unfortunately my trail of evidence runs cold in the early 1980’s. I have to assume that I learned about Superman through the media and marketing blitz surrounding the Super Friends cartoon and Super Powers action figures. I can’t specifically pinpoint if I learned of the character by having one of my parents read me the mini-comic packaged with my Superman figure or from watching the cartoon show. Further research into Super Friends and Super Powers shows that the cartoon predates the toys by several years. I feel it is pretty safe to say that my parents knew I’d like a Superman figure for Christmas because I enjoyed the cartoon show.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shadow Weaver

The Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) Subscription Exclusive for 2012 is Shadow Weaver. This witch is one of the most wretched members of the Evil Horde. The members of the Horde were originally designed as He-Man villains. Then with the birth of the She-Ra toys and cartoon the Horde became She-Ra villains. Filmation, the cartoon company that made the shows for both line actually created the character of Shadow Weaver... and this is her first incarnation as an action figure.

Many fans are upset that the exclusive figure this year was an important character. In previous years the Exclusive was a figure that appeals more to hardcore collectors as apposed to a character all fans would want. I think this was a ploy by Mattel to get more people to sign up for the MOTUC Sub. The Sub locks a member into buying 12 monthly figures, some quarterly variants, and some larger products. One of those larger product this year was a three pack of She-Ra heroes called the Star Sisters. While there are some diehard fans that wanted them, they may have taken the cake as the most hated product in the MOTUC line. Well, this exclusive suckered me into buying a subscription. This figure is awesome and a must have for He-Man and She-Ra fans.

As a kid I loved He-Man and had a ton of the vintage toys. My sister had the She-Ra figure for that line, but that was it. I didn't care for the She-Ra toy line because they were “dolls” and geared toward girls. I remember the She-Ra show better than He-Man because it came out later so I was older. Shadow Weaver and Hordak were both great cartoon villains and were burned into my brain. I used to love when Shadow Weaver would disappear in a burst of flames. I also always enjoyed Hordak transforming (especially into a rocket). I wonder if Shadow Weaver had had a figure in the original line if I would have tried to get her. She really was my favorite character from that show.

Shadow Weaver includes a clear base, a book, and a wand. The base makes her appear to float as in the toon. The book mimics a magical spell book Shadow Weaver uses in one of the episodes. I don't really recall her using the magic wand, but it's possible that it is also from the Filmation show.