Friday, January 31, 2014

January 2014 Recap



Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in January 2014. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

Masters of the Universe Commemorative Series
The Beatles: Yellow Submarine
Battlestar Galactica
The Transformers (Comic)
The Love Boat
Thundercats Miniatures
Welcome Back, Kotter
Mystery Men
i0 Anniversary (AKA Image 10th Anniversary)

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

i0 Anniversary (AKA Image 10th Anniversary) (McFarlane Toys)



i0 Anniversary (AKA Image 10th Anniversary)
McFarlane Toys
2002

When i0, or Image 10th Anniversary started hitting store shelves in 2002 we got excited.  We hyped ourselves up for a series of figures that could have served to encompass the many great characters artists/creators such as Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Sam Keith and all the other Image alumni brought with them to the company.  Figures based on WildC.A.T.S., The Maxx, Wetworks and more would have made for one amazing series.

Sadly, as quick as the series came, it also ended with just four figures being produced.  Not much of a tenth anniversary if you ask us.  Despite this disappointingly small series, the figures produced didn't fail to impress.  The sculpts, articulation, and overall design are amazing, and represent each character perfectly.  At this point it's save to say we're not going to see any 20th anniversary figures, but maybe something is on the horizon for the 30th anniversary - Though that's a bit of a ways away in years.


Ripclaw*Savage Dragon
Shadowhawk*Spawn

Join us next time when we take a look at Toys Family Guy Crazy Interactive World!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Mystery Men (Playing Mantis)



Mystery Men
Playing Mantis
1999

Mystery Men is one of those movies that sadly many people missed out on.  Despite its strong cast, the film failed to draw people to theater seats, and as a result the 68 million dollar film only brought in 33 million dollars when all was said and done, making it a huge commercial flop.

The film stars the likes of Hank Azaria, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, Kel Mitchel, Paul Reubens and Geoffrey Rush, and is based along the premise of everyday ordinary people who use their "special" talents to become superheroes in a city plagued with crime.  We highly recommend you check it out if this was a film you passed on.  It's fun, it's got action, comedy, and a great story.

In 1999 Playing Mantis hoped to back the film by producing a series of action figures based on the film.  It unfortunately didn't pay off for them when the film flopped, and as a result sales of toys suffered as well.  While the series encompassed the majority of the "good guys", it sadly didn't include any villains, to and include the main protagonist of the film, Casanova Frankenstein.


The Blue Raja*The Bowler*Captain Amazing
 

Mr. Furious*The Shoveler*The Spleen

It's a shame that neither the movie or toys took off as well as those backing them hoped.  We personally think that the movie was great, and still enjoy it to this day.  The figures serve to remind us of how great the characters in the film were, and thought they don't have any villains to fight in plastic form, are still awesome figures.

Join us next time when we take a look at i0 Anniversary (AKA Image 10th Anniversary)!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Welcome Back, Kotter (Mattel)



Welcome Back, Kotter
Mattel
1976

The show, Welcome Back, Kotter, technically starred Gabe Kaplan, but is more known for helping launch the career of John Travolta.  The series ran from 1975 to 1979 for four seasons, and focused on Kaplan's character Gabe Kotter who returns to his high school alma mater as a teacher.  Predominantly featured were his students the Sweethogs - Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino (John Travolta), Arnold Horshack (Rob Palillo) and Freddie "Boom Boom" Percy Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs).

In 1977, Travolta made a big splash on the big screen with Saturday Night Fever.  With his sudden boost in popularity, the actor started focusing his sights on feature films, and officially left the series after season three, making only guest appearances in season four.  In 1979, Travolta starred along Olivia Newton-John in the film Grease, and from there only skyrocketed further in popularity.

When the show ended, Kaplan went on to star in a new series, Lewis & Clark, while other characters were considered for spin off series which quickly dissolved into nothing.  The actors, including Travolta have also reprised their roles from the series as of the late 1990's in a variety of shows.  The most popular of course was Travolta appearing on Saturday Night Live in a sketch that showcased what the show would have been like if directed by Quinten Tarantino.

Throughout the series, merchandise became a big part of marketing.  Among this was the 1976 Mattel series of nine inch action figures.  Each figure featured a fair amount of articulation, and show accurate cloth clothing.  In addition to the figures were a motorcycle and classroom playset.  To date, the motorcycle is the most difficult item to track down in the series.


FIGURES
Mr. Kotter*Horshack*Barbarino
Washington*Epstein


VEHICLES
Sweat Hogs "Bike"


PLAYSETS
Classroom

Join us next time when we take a look at Mystery Men!

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Thundercats Miniatures (Kidworks)



Thundercats Miniatures
Kidworks
1986

There's not much more we can really say about Thundercats in general that we didn't already say in our post based on the LJN figures "HERE".  Instead, what we wanted to talk about, but can't seem to find much information on is the company Kidworks who produced a series of miniature Thundercats figures and playsets in 1986.  Beyond that, the company doesn't appear to have done anything else.

Kidworks covered a lot of ground in the series, producing numerous popular characters which included all their iconic weapons.  The downside to this series was that the figures contained no joints, and much like the Tonka Willow series really offered nothing to play with for kids.


FIGURES
Cheetara*Hatchiman*Lion-O*Panthro
Tuska*Tygra



FIGURES
Grune*Jackalman*Monkian*Mumm-Ra
Ratar-O*Reptilian*S-S-Slithe*Vultureman

An incredibly difficult piece to find in the series is a boxed Snowman with Snowmeow.  It was the only figure/creature box set produced for the line.

FIGURE AND BEAST PACK
Snowman with Snowmeow

Two gift sets were produced in an attempt by Kidworks to sell more than one action figure at a time.  All the figures available in these sets were also available on individual cards.

GIFT SETS
Thundercats Miniature*Evil Mutant

Three playsets were also available .

PLAYSETS
Cat's Lair Play Set*Eye of Thundera Play Set*Mumm-Ra's Crypt

The final piece for the series was a packaged assortment of weapons.  Sadly, these weapons were just an assortment of what already came with the individual figures.

WEAPON PACKS
Weapon Pack for Miniatures

Today this series is incredibly popular among Thundercats fans who seek to add a unique piece to their collection.  If only this kind of demand for the series was around when the series was first produced, perhaps we would have seen many more figures prior to the series end.

Join us next time when we take a look at Welcome Back, Kotter!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Love Boat (Mego)



The Love Boat
Mego
1981

Having never seen The Love Boat, we're still a little confused about what the series was all about.  From what we can gather, it appears to be a show about a cruise ship which starred a regular recurring cast of crew members, and featured passengers which mainly comprised of popular stars of the late 70's and early 80's.

The series ran for nine seasons which encompassed over two hundred episodes, and several specials, to and include the three Love Boat made for TV movies which aired prior to the series beginning.  Despite its wide popularity while originally airing and in syndication, sales of the DVD releases were poor at best, and to date only season one and two have been released with no known plans to release any further seasons.

In 1981, Mego produced one of the companies final series of toys based on the show.  Sadly, it wasn't a very prosperous move for the company which was already quickly backpedaling to avoid bankruptcy at every turn.  Despite the shows popularity, The Love Boat wasn't considered a show for children, and as a result the toys were not popular among them.


Captain Stubing*Dock Bricker*Gopher
Isaac*Julie*Vicki


In 1983, Canadian company Grand Toys produced the playset intended for the Mego series.  The playset was only available in Canada.



The Love Boat Playset

Sadly for Mego, by 1982 the company was forced to file for bankruptcy, and by 1983 was officially out of business.  The sad truth for Mego is that they could have been one of the most successful toy producers to date had founder David Abrams not passed up the golden opportunity presented to him in 1976 to produce toys based on a little known movie by the name of Star Wars.

Join us next time when we take a look at Thundercats Miniatures!

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Monday, January 13, 2014

The Transformers (Marvel Comics)



The history of The Transformers and Marvel Comics begins in 1984 with the 1st mini series issue, though Marvel is certainly only one of the many comic companies who have held the license, and produced several books based on the characters.  The first two issues took off quickly among young readers, and grew even more popular with issue three featuring Spider-Man in a cameo appearance.  With the story arc's conclusion in issue four, fans were eager to have more books, and Marvel was more than willing to comply.

Eighty issues encompass what is known as the Generation One series of Transformers comics.  In its entirety, the series ran from 1984 to 1991, where it sadly met the same fate as so many other popular boys toys lines of the 80's - Kids grew up, and lost interest.









During the late 1980's, Marvel ensured that fans got all the Transformers their little eyes could take in.  This was achieved via numerous additional mini series which ran side by side with the monthly series.  The first was the highly popular, yet traumatizing three issue mini series of Transformers The Movie Adaptation produced in 1986.  To this day many children remember crying during the movie, or comic book adaptation as Optimus Prime meets his end at the hands of Megatron.


In that same year Marvel produced a Transformers Universe mini series.  This four issue series was not actually a story arc, but rather a guide to the various characters which encompassed the Transformers Universe.



In 1987, Marvel combined two of its hottest kids show entities when it produced the four issue mini series, G.I. Joe and The Transformers.  This was actually the first time that Transformers were referred to as "The" Transformers in comic book format.

Because the G.I. Joe series from Marvel was more "serious" in nature when it came to the stories (as opposed to the Transformer series), this crossover series featured very violent scenes, and was touted for the more mature reader.  Though the series is riddled with continuity issues should one be a fan of both titles.


At the tail end of 1987, and concluding in early 1988, Marvel produced the mini series Transformers Head Masters.  This series was key as it helped to introduce several new characters into the ongoing monthly series, and to date features one of the best story arcs in any Transformers book.


In 1993, Marvel tried to re-launch The Transformers with the all new Generation Two series.  This series focused on bringing back the characters that many fans were sad to see go throughout the original series, and took a more serious approach to the stories.  Sadly it wasn't enough to bring the fans back, and the series lasted for only twelve issues.


With the New Millennium came a resurgence in nostalgia for many children of the 80's.  We remembered all those great toys and cartoons we had, and for many of us, we wanted those years back.  As the popularity of collecting our toys from our childhood grew, so to did our interest in the comic books we once had.  With it came all new stories of our favorite characters.

Marvel stepped back into the spotlight with the poorly received The New Avengers/Transformers mini series which ran for four issues.


At the time of this writing, these have been the last issues of The Transformers produced by Marvel Comics.

Prior to Marvels Avenger tie in series, from 2002 to 2004, Dreamwave Productions brought us all new stories in comic book format, all with great artwork and to an extent, more mature themes to help keep us interested.  Though the series was successful, it wasn't enough to keep this small, new company alive, and Dreamwave sadly filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

Today an all new series of books is being produced by IDW, but none more so well received as Transformers: Regeneration One.  This series is highly popular not only because it focuses on the Generation One era of Transformer, but also because it started with issue 81, right where the original Marvel series ended.


Join us next time when we take a look at The Love Boat!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Battlestar Galactica (Mattel)



Battlestar Galactica
Mattel
1978-1979

Battlestar Galactica was created by Glen A. Larson and adapted into an original television series in 1978.  This was later followed by a second series in the 80's entitled, Battlestar Galactica 1980 as well as a line of book adaptations, novels, comic books, board games, video games and toys.

After its cancellation, Battlestar Galactica saw a boost in popularity in 2003 with an all new mini series and weekly television series.  Since then, several spin-offs have been produced which include the prequel series Caprica, and the all new Blood and Chrome.

The series revolves around the human race which has separated into twelve colonies who are all engaged in a war with a race known as the Cylons.  The Cylons have only one goal - eradicate human kind.  When the war begins, the humans flee their destroyed planet, and begin their struggle for survival from the ever pursuing Cylons as they seek out the fabled thirteenth colony hidden on a mythical planet - Earth.

Between 1978 and 1979 Mattel produced a healthy variety of toys based on the series, but oddly enough never got around to one of the main characters, Apollo.  This could possibly have been because the actor, Richard Hatch, never gave his approval to use his likeness.  Unfortunately we just don't know.

SERIES ONE
Commander Adama*Cylon Centurian*Daggit (Brown)*Daggit (Tan)
Imperious Leader*Lt. Starbuck*Ovion
 

SERIES TWO
Baltar*Boray
Cylon Commander*Lucifer
 
In addition to the single carded figures, Mattel produced a handful of multipacks.

.
MULTIPACKS
4 Figure Pack with Ovian*Cylon Centurian*Imperious Leader and Daggit (Brown)
Six Figure Gift Set with Ovian*Imperious Leader*Cylon Centurian*Daggit (Brown)*Commander Adama and Lt. Starbuck
 

MAIL AWAY
Mail Away Three Pack with Cylon Commander*Lucifer and Baltar

Mattel released a mail away gold colored Cylon Centurian Leader.  It was the same as the gold colored Cylon Commander as released in the second series.
MAIL AWAY
Cylon Centurian Leader
 
 

VEHICLES
Colonial Landram*Colonial Stellar Probe*Cylon Raider
Colonial Viper*Colonial Scarab
 

VEHICLES
Radio Control Cylon Raider
 

PLAYSETS
Electronic Command Ship
Viper Launch Station
 


Join us next time when we take a look at Marvel's Transformers!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

The Beatles: Yellow Submarine (McFarlane Toys)



The Beatles: Yellow Submarine
McFarlane Toys
1999-2004

Ah, The Beatles.  One of the worlds most influential bands, and leaders of the "British Invasion" of the US in the 1960's.  "1, 2, 3, 4..." were the first lines spoken on The Beatles debut album Please Please Me, and with it history was made.  From 1963 to 1970, The Beatles topped the charts of numerous countries bringing with them a new wave of rock and roll music, love, joy, controversy, and Beatlemania.  They were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - The Fab Four, and for over a decade they dominated the rock and roll scene, bringing drastic change and evolution to the genre.

When the band broke up in 1970 with their final album, "Let It Be", the world of music was turned upside down.  Many fans didn't know what to do with themselves.  They couldn't believe that such a group of amazing artists could go their separate ways.  Several facets came under fire for the break up of The Beatles, but none more than Tokyo born Yoko Ono.

Its impossible to say if The Beatles would have ever reformed.  They sadly never got the chance to.  John Lennon was fatally shot outside of his home, The Dakota, on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman.  His former band mate, George Harrison, passed away on November 29, 2001 from lung cancer.  All during this time Paul McCartney has enjoyed the spoils of a successful solo career as well as a career with his new band, Wings.  Meanwhile Ringo Starr enjoyed a subtle solo career, and is in fact credited with having the first hit post the band's breakup with "It Don't Come Easy."

All throughout the past five decades The Beatles have also been immortalized in numerous collectibles.  Books, posters, plates, statues, toys and more.  We speculate they will continue to be honored in such a manner long after the remaining members, and many of us are long gone.

McFarlane Toys was one of the many companies to give a nod of appreciation to The Beatles with the 1999-2004 series of figures based on the animated film "Yellow Submarine".  Two series of figures and a re-release of the first series encompass the collection.

What's unique to series one is that Paul McCartney was released with a variant.  To date the version with Old Fred is the most difficult and expensive to obtain.


SERIES ONE (1999)
John Lennon with Jeremy*Paul McCartney with Old Fred*George Harrison with Yellow Submarine*Ringo Starr with Blue Meanie*Paul McCartney with Blue Glove and "Love" Base
 

SERIES TWO (2000)
John Lennon with The Bulldog*Paul McCartney with Sucking Monster*George Harrison with Snapping Turk*Ringo Starr with Apple Bonker
 

BOX SET (2004)
Fab Four with Yellow Submarine
 

RE-RELEASE (2004)
John Lennon with Blue Glove and "Love" Base*Paul McCartney with Jeremy*George Harrison with Blue Meanie*Ringo Starr with Yellow Submarine
 

Join us next time when we take a look at Battlestar Galactica!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Masters Of The Universe Commemorative Series (Mattel)



Masters of the Universe Commemorative Series
Mattel
2000

In 2000, Mattel did the ultimate re-release of a classic franchise when they produced the very limited Masters of the Universe Commemorative Series.  This series was produced strictly for the fans with pieces limited to as little as 1,000, and at the most, 15,000.  Right off the bat it fetched a premium on secondary markets, with the limited "Legends of Eternia" set selling for as much as $1,500.00, and individual figures selling for upwards of $200.00 a piece.

Produced using the exact same molds and color schemes of the originals, the series' intentions was to give fans an opportunity to get these iconic figures from their past at a reasonable price - Yet supply never really met demand, and today some of them sell for more than the originals.

Each figure came packaged on its original card from the 80's, but then was also sealed inside of a black metallic window box.  To say it's some beautiful packaging is an understatement.

In total there were two series of figures.  Series one contained ten figures, and series two contained only six.  We're not sure why a third series and beyond was never produced as their was clearly a demand for the figures.


SERIES ONE
Beast Man*Evil-Lyn
Faker*He-Man
 

SERIES ONE
Man-At-Arms*Mer Man
Skeletor*Teela
 

SERIES ONE
Trap Jaw*Tri-Klops
SERIES TWO
Battle Armor He-Man*Battle Armor Skeletor
 

SERIES TWO
Buzz-Off*Clawful
Stratos*Zodac
 
In addition to the figures, Mattel produced the classic Battle Cat and Panthor.  Each animal came with its respective counterpart.

BEAST AND RIDER
He-Man and Battle Cat*Skealtor and Panthor
 
Two five packs were also produced.  What made these a necessity to collectors was that each pack contained an exclusive figure that was not available on a single card.  Pack one contained Prince Adam, and pack two contained Moss Man.

FIVE PACKS
Pack 1 - He-Man*Skeletor*Prince Adam*Man-At-Arms and Beast Man
Pack 2 - Battle Armor Skelator*Battle Armor He-Man*Moss Man*Zodac and Clawful
 
The grand daddy of this series was the Legends of Eternia pack.  This massive case contained ten figures, and was limited to just 1,000 pieces.  While the packaging was amazing, the figures were nothing more than those released in the first series of the Commemorative line - Though still a "Must Have" for any die-hard Masters of the Universe collector.

LEGENDS OF ETERNIA (10 PACK)
Man-At-Arms*Mer Man*He-Man*Teela*Tri-Klops
Beast Man*Faker*Skeletor*Evil-Lyn*Trap Jaw


Join us next time when we take a look at The Beatles: Yellow Submarine!

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