Monday, October 31, 2016

Little Dracula (DreamWorks / Bandai)



Little Dracula
DreamWorks / Bandai
1991

Happy Halloween, all! In honor of the day, we're going to cast our sights at a relatively unknown / forgotten series from DreamWorks / Bandai. 1991's Little Dracula!

Little Dracula was a character created for UK children's books by Irish Author Martin Waddell which became a US television series...Whoa, that's a lot of countries involved with one series. The stories began being published in 1986 with the first book, "Little Dracula's First Bite". It would be followed by seven more books, unofficially ending with 1992's, "Little Dracula's Other Monstrous Poster".

In 1991, Fox Kid's picked up the rights, and developed it as an animated series. Unfortunately appeal never really took hold, and as such the series was cancelled after just one season (13 episodes). However, just because US children didn't enjoy the series didn't mean that it was a total flop. France and Germany television studios ordered an additional 13 episodes for a second season which aired throughout various European countries.

The year Little Dracula debuted on television, an action figure line was produced by DreamWorks / Bandai. Why DreamWorks and Bandai? That's easy enough to answer. DreamWorks released the figures in the US, while Bandai handled the remaining globe.

Each figure featured numerous accessories as well as an action feature which was activated by twisting arms, legs, hands, feet, or simply by pushing a button - Corresponding to each figure as denoted on the bottom left of each package. Unfortunately for the toy line, it was as short lived as the television series in the US.


With that said, nine figures did manage to make their way to retail shelves. This wasn't bad considering it covered the majority of ground of the characters from the show. In fact, the only figures that didn't make it to plastic were; Big Dracula, Granny, Millicent, Ms. Dracula and Hannah the Barbarian - Certainly enough for a second series should popularity have garnered such a release.

In addition to the figures, four vehicles were produced. While all of them were made available in Europe under the Bandia banner, only two made their way to the US via DreamWorks. What's interesting to note is that depending on which area of Europe you look for the Coffin Car will depend on what it's called. It's been found in boxes denoted as; Coffin Car (obviously), Drac-Mobile and Voiture Cereuil which is apparently French for Cereuil Car - Which doesn't really shed any light for us.


Unlike the Coffin Car, the Drac-Moto appears to have only come out entitled as such. We have not been able to locate any other versions that contain a different name, or language other than English. That's not to say they don't exist. We just haven't seen them.


Because we are mentioning the various variants for the vehicles, it's worth noting that an Italian version of the Garlic Mobile can also be found. However, you're going to want to search for Spar Agilo - Which translated apparently means Spar Garlic. Much like the Cereuil, we have no clue what Spar means. We have not been able to find any variants to the title for The Dracster despite our searching.

UPDATE

Reader Da Cu writes to tell us, "Spara Aglio means (Shots Garlic). Because the car "shots" (or better Launch) pieces of Garlic."

However, in our search we did find the awesomeness that is...


...Dracula's Dragster from Polar Lights!

No, this isn't related to Little Dracula - As we're sure many of you deduced just in looking at it. Instead, it's a re-issue of the original 1964 released version of the same name from Aurora. It's just a simple model kit that requires mad painting skills, and of course, glue. Good times for model and Dracula fans.

We digress though. Back to Little Dracula.

The last piece released for the series was the cosplay Little Dracula Scepter & Amulet. This to date is the most difficult and expensive piece to track down in the line.


Little Dracula remains popular in European countries, and had a short lived revival in book form through 2001 when a handful of the prior titles were re-issued in print. However, nothing new seems to be brewing around the character currently. Perhaps much like the resurgence of 80's cartoons and toys, in a few years demand from children of the 90's will take its toll, and we'll see a resurgence in nostalgia from that decade.

That about wraps it up, folks. Enjoy your Halloween. Keep it safe, keep it fun, keep the candy coming and scare some little kids in the good spirit of all three.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

The Toxic Avenger (Reds, Inc.)



The Toxic Avenger
Reds, Inc.
1999

They're poorly written, they've got the worst "actors" and "actresses" the studio could find, and they're some of the best of the worst films to sit through with your friends. Yes, you haven't had bad TV night until you've had a night of Troma! Featuring such classics as The Class of Nuke 'Em High, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., Cannibal! The Musical, Surf Nazis Must Die, and of course, The Toxic Avenger. Mind you, that list doesn't even scratch the surface of the awful, awful films this studio produced - Awful in a good way.

Out of the Troma library, The Toxic Avenger was the only character to really expand into mass media with the very short lived The Toxic Crusader cartoon which ran for thirteen episodes and spawned its own toy line. However, we're not looking at that particular series today. Nope, today we're looking at the one and done The Toxic Avenger from Reds, Inc. which was produced in 1999.

This figure had it all...If you were a fan of Toxie. The sculpt was meticulous to that of the character, and even featured his trusty mop as an accessory. Even the base that came packed in wasn't shy of detail featuring a toxic waste spill complete with drum. For such an unheard of company, this toy was quite frankly one of the best for its time.



The unfortunate side to this figure is that if you're looking for one today - Good luck. They're few and far between, and they're not cheap. You can expect to spend upwards of eighty dollars if you can track one down. That's a lot of cash for....Well, quite frankly anything Troma related. We dare say the figure costs more than Troma's average film budget - Kidding of course!

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Escape From New York (NECA)



Escape From New York
NECA
2014

You know, as we sat down to post this particular...er, post...We had to honestly take a step back, and ask, "Does Kurt Russell actually make good movies? Or are they just cult classics due in part to the iconic characters and one liner quips?" Don't get us wrong, we enjoy films such as Big Trouble in Little China, Tombstone, and yes, even Overboard (to an extent)...But, did the general public and critics?

Kurt Russell ranks number sixteen on IMDB's list of Worst and Overrated Actors. However, in general it's rather difficult to take this list serious when it includes (at the time of this writing) the likes of Michael J. Fox (#17), Sylvester Stallone (#24) and Hugh Jackman (#4) - Just to name a few. Sorry, but Back to the Future, Rocky and the X-Men films were pretty good as far as we're concerned - As were the actors who played their respective rolls in them. So again we ask, Does Kurt Russell make good movies?

UPDATE Before it's even posted...

As many of you know, we prepare posts well in advance. The particular one has been ready to go since mid August. The answer to our question above oddly enough came a few weeks after we scheduled this post, and that answer is yes. Cool and Collected host Brian loves Kurt Russell so much that he wants a life size wax figure. Brian, you answered our question, and you didn't even know at the time that we had asked it.

We may never know the answer to that question - Past our own personal opinion. However, what we do know is that in 2014 NECA produced a one and done Snake Plisskin based off of Russell's 1981 film Escape From New York (Written and Directed by Horror Icon John Carpenter). Whether you like the man or not, there's no denying that the amount of detail that went into this particular figure is spectacular! It captures the character to a "T".


Because it's a relatively new figure, Snake isn't difficult to come by. You're looking at spending about twenty-five to thirty on him - Which in reality is only about ten dollars (at the most) more than the original retail price. Of course, much like the list of Worst and Overrated Actors above, these prices were noted at the time of this writing - Which in all actuality is August of 2016. We work rather far in advance here at The Toy Box to ensure that there's a new post each and every week.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Eek! The Cat (Marchon, Inc.)



Eek The Cat
Marchon, Inc.
1992

"It never hurts to help." It was the catch phrase of Eek the Cat that often times would lead to trouble, and the premise of each episode. The show often times featured slapstick humor, and pop culture references making it popular with many fans of 80's television and movies.

The series ran for five seasons, encompassing seventy-five episodes from 1992 to 1997. What made it stand out the most among cartoons of the period was that several seasoned actors were drawn to it to loan their voices to various characters. Actors and Actresses such as William Shatner, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson. "Weird Al" Yankovic, Tim Curry, Dee Snider, Phil Hartman and Mr T. were just a handful of the popular names to appear on the show.

In 1992, one of the very few Eek! the Cat toys was produced and released by Marchon, Inc. The plush stands approximately fourteen inches high, but unfortunately doesn't contain any features such as a pull string voice activation or...Well, anything. It's just a plush doll.

That's not to say it's a bad plush. It's certainly Eek! the Cat - Right down to his purple fur. Considering there weren't exactly a ton of Eek! toys, it's kind of one of those take what you can get things.

You can find a few of them here and there on secondary markets, but what you're not going to do is get it for too cheap. Opened plush dolls can set you back as much as $60.00 to $70.00. Plush Eeks still in the box will set you back about twice that amount. 

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne (DC Direct)



Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
2011
DC Direct

Batman posts seem to always come in pairs of two around here. Not sure why that is.

The Return of Bruce Wayne was a six part story arc which took place in the various Batman related titles in  2010. The story is written by Grant Morrison, and featured six different artists (one for each book).

The story revolves around Bruce Wayne being lost in time after being deposited in the past by Darkseid in the pages of the story Final Crisis. Each story takes Wayne through a different period of time, respectively - Prehistoric, during the period of witch hunts, pirating, the wild west, noir and present time.

Since being published original, the story has been collected into an individual volume which can still be purchased from various book retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

In 2011, DC Direct produced four figures based on the various time frames in which Bruce Wayne visits - High Seas, Prehistoric, Wild West and Witch Hunter. No, you're not going to find your Jokers, Riddlers or Two-Faces here. Everything is Bruce Wayne related - As it should be. If we had one complaint it would be that DC Direct could have, and should have released the remaining two Bruce Wayne figures as depicted in the other two remaining books - Noir and present time.

 Batman: High Seas

 Batman: Prehistoric

 Batman: Wild West

Batman: Witch Hunt

Prices are somewhat all over the map for these figures. A lot of sellers price them for fifty dollars or more, when in reality most people are willing to pay between twenty and forty dollars a piece for them.

Additionally, if you're interested in reading the story arc, you can track down the individual issues fairly cheap. A lot of comic sellers drop these into their dollar boxes - Which is far cheaper than the $16.00 to $20.00 that you'll spend on the collected trade paperback.

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