Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge - Listicular Fortitude

I'm a little late to this week's League question - Well, later than normal anyway.

This week's topic - Listicular Fortitude, Top Ten...

Much like last week, vagueness is the name of the game.

For my top ten, I decided to go with my most memorable G.I. Joe figures. As a kid, I had a ton of Joes. From figures to vehicles to playsets, my room was covered with them from wall to wall. However, I was a little late to the game, so I missed out on several of the classics that these days will set you back a second mortgage to obtain. My top ten list contains figures that are my favorites for a specific memorable reason, and not just because I thought they were rad....Which for the record they are.

Here we go;

1 - Barbecue (1985)

For some reason, 1985's Barbecue stands out as the first figure I ever got in the Joe line. His bright orange suit, mysterious mask and awesome ax lured me in as a kid.

Not only was he a great figure, but he was also featured in one of the most memorable episodes of the series,"The Viper Is Coming".

Though I don't recall which store I got this figure from, it would have either been the local Kmart - Which was actually useful for getting figures back in the 80's, or a toy store located in the mall. I'm leaning more so towards Kmart - Which coincidentally is where I also got all of my Willow figures back in the day.

2 - Hooded Cobra Commander (1984 - 1990)

As a kid my parents really didn't go in for the mail away figures all that much - With the exception of the early Star Wars figures. Perhaps I didn't nag them as much with the Joe line as I did with Star Wars.

Regardless, Hooded Cobra Commander was one of the very few figures I got via the mail, and mind you it was more so around 1985 or 1986 - Remember, I didn't jump on the Joe wagon until 85'.

Hooded Cobra Commander was also only one of the two Commander figures I had. I never got the original metal helmet version - At least I don't recall getting one. Instead, my next version was the all metallic silver suited version.

3 & 4 - Tomax and Xamot (1985)

The Crimson Guard Commanders. AKA Tomax and Xamot - Which blows my mind every time it dawns on me that Xamot is just Tomax backwards. For some reason I missed that for the longest time, and oddly enough keep forgetting only to have it blow my mind again.

Xamot and Tomax were the first Joe figures that a kid gave me when we were outside playing one day. It wasn't my birthday. It wasn't Christmas. We were just outside goofing around, and he said, "You can have these." Blew my mind!

Sadly, I don't remember who that generous kid was. In fact, truth be told I think he was just some unpopular kid with very few friends, and I happened to come across him one day outside playing. He may have even been trying to buy my friendship. Clearly it didn't work since I can't really remember him.

5 - Scarlett (1982)

Then there was an actual friend of mine - Josh McIntyre. Josh had a Joe collection that rivaled mine, and he even had the privilege of having the classics from 1982.

Scarlett became the first figure I (clearing throat) borrowed from Josh without his knowledge. Yeah, I know, right...What a terrible friend I was.

Before I moved away I gave the figure back by way of putting it back in his Joe collection without his knowledge. I even later confessed in a phone conversation with him (from many miles away) that I had taken it back when we were younger. He didn't seem to care at that point.

6 - Snake Eyes (1985)

Of course you can't have a Joe collection and not have Snake Eyes. Though many kids loved Snake Eyes as a character, and for hours of enjoyment of playing with the figure, I have a memory so vivid for a completely other reason.

Snake Eyes became my one and only figure I stuck in a Vaseline jar. I was playing one day, and however these things come about I decided that he needed to sink in a swamp of sorts. The jar of Vaseline became that swamp, and the figure was never the same again. His joints were a wobbly loose mess after that, and he never was able to stand again. He also retained a very slick texture.

Morale of the story - Vaseline and toys don't mix.

Side note - I was the uncredited voice actor of Snake Eyes in the show. Feel free to send requests for my autograph.

7 - Sci-Fi (1986)

It was right around the time that I first saw Robocop that I also got Sci-Fi. Bad parenting allowing a child to watch such a morbidly graphic film aside, Sci-Fi quickly became my G.I. Joe Robocop figure.

Paired with General Hawk's 45 caliber pistol he schooled Cobra villain after Cobra villain. I spent hours on the floor in my bedroom shouting, "Drop it," and "Dead or alive you're coming with me!" Of course this was all followed by machine gun noises and groans of pain. Good times!

Robocop Sci-Fi remains one of my all time favorites from the series.

8 - Storm Shadow (1988)

Much like Snake Eyes, you can't have a Joe collection without Storm Shadow. As a kid I never actually had the original version - Despite my memories telling me, "Yes you did." So, maybe I actually did. I don't know.

What I do know is that when I got this particular version of the character I had a blast!

I vividly remember setting up zip lines across the den of my parent's house and spending hours that day acting out a ninja based story surrounding the character. It was great times until I heard those dreaded words, "Bed time!"

9 - Low-Light (Slaughter's Marauders) (1989)

Low-Light here from the Slaughter's Marauders line is memorable for a very sad reason. He was the last figure I got in the G.I. Joe line as a kid.

Truth be told, by the time he found his way into my collection I was well on my way out of toys (as a child). Video games had taken my mind by storm, and I was more so into playing NES.

We were traveling from Oregon to Virginia when mom and dad stopped at a Toys R' Us off the highway - Probably because they were tired of hearing my brother and I saying, "We're bored!"

As I made my way down the toy isle I spotted the character and asked if I could get him. Even my mother said, "You don't play with them anymore." After my protesting, she finally said, "If that's what you want."

I think he kept me entertained for a few hours, and then was thrown into the pile of boxes I didn't open for years when we got to our new home. I guess mom was right.

10 - Steel Brigade (1987)

The last figure on my list is memorable for a sad reason as well. Steel Brigade was the one figure I wanted so very, very much as a kid, but my parents wouldn't yield. I filled out the mail away order form so many different times that I don't even remember how many at this point.

Every time I got a new figure that had the mail away offer I gave the form to my mom, crossing my fingers that this time she would bite. It never happened. As I said from the start, I had a lot of G.I. Joe toys. Sadly, this is one of the very few I was never allowed to get.

So there you have it. (Some of) my most memorable Joe figures from my childhood. There were many others, but since the list is limited to ten, I'll leave it at that. Maybe the League will have a "Listicular Fortitude II" round. Maybe I'll just do my own anyway. I don't know.

Other League members have jumped in already with their lists. Check them out if you're into the whole reading thing;

Brother Midnight provides a couple lists - My favorite being his list of spooky cartoons.
20 Years Before 2000 links ten commercials which popped into his head! Legend of Zelda for the win!
Toy Break also takes the path of G.I. Joe, and I swear I didn't read it until after I had mine typed up.
Mr. Smith's Plastic Bubble lists ten influential toy lines - Which G.I. Joe also makes an appearance on.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC Direct)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
DC Direct

We touched on The Dark Knight Returns in our post about the comic series by Frank Miller. In that post we pretty much covered the entire history of the story, so there's really no reason to repeat it all here.

2004 brought with it yet another Batman line from the hot, hot, hot multitude of DC Direct lines. The series features just four figures, but boy oh boy are they good ones. We of course get Batman with that iconic look as seen in the pages of the Frank Miller story. In addition we also get Carrie Kelley as Robin, Joker and Superman.





Unlike a lot of DC Direct lines, this one isn't going to break the bank should you want to add it to your collection. On the low end, you can grab each figure for $25.00. High end, you can expect to pay about $40.00 each. Granted that's not too cheap, but it's still not terrible as compared to some of the other DC Direct figures which can sell for over a hundred dollars each.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge - Aliens Among Us

I'm admittedly a little confused about this week's League topic which simply states:

Aliens Among Us

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” –Stephen Hawking
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to write about what my reaction to aliens coming would be, what I think the aliens would do, or if I'm just supposed to put a simple, "Okay," and call it a day. This topic reminds me of those awful questions from a high school exam where there's no real direction being given - You know, the ones we all didn't get right because we have no clue what's actually being asked of us.

But, okay...I'll give it my best shot.

I imagine if aliens came to our planet that they would come with the same purpose that they came to the Bundy's house for. Married...With Aliens as episode seven of season five was called featured a group of aliens that were visiting Al Bundy, and stealing his socks. It was later found out that they were doing this because Al's dirty socks provided their ships with fuel.

I imagine I too would handle this the same way that Al Bundy did which was to initially freak out, and then pose for pictures in hopes of making a profit off of said photographs.

For in life, we can always look to that magnificent hero of the Chicago area for all answers to any situation. The legend who scored four touchdowns in a single game. Al Bundy!

Sure he spent his life selling women's shoes, but at the end of the day you could always count on a bit of wisdom from Al Bundy to get you through even the worst of instance. My personal favorite isn't actually in the below video, but it was a scene from the episode Desparately Seeking Mrs. October. The scene involved Bud and Kelly sitting on the couch, and asking their dad when their mom would be home. The transcript is as follows;

BUD: When's Mom coming home?

AL: When her task is done. Why?

KELLY: Well, 'cause when we have a problem, we talk to Mom.

AL: Hey, what's the matter? You can't learn from me?


AL: Listen, there's nothing that you can ask your mother that you can't
ask me. Go ahead shoot.

KELLY: Okay. Well, I'm ovulating and when this happens I get this pinching
little cramp. What should I do?

AL: Walk it off. And remember. Next time, stretch before you ov-a-late. Bud?

BUD: (BEAT) Uh. No problems here, Dad.

As of this post only Brother Midnight has chimed in, and admittedly after seeing his post  I still don't know how I'm supposed to answer this week's challenge. So I'll leave it at this. I'll update with links as others respond, but for now check out the main league page at Cool and Collected.

Others coming in;

Big Tone will blow your mind at Toy Break.
George at G.I. Jigsaw looks to the stars!

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Mighty Crusaders (Remco)

Mighty Crusaders

The Adventures of the Mighty Crusaders began in the pages of Archie Comics (the publisher, not the series) in 1965. Though it was intended to be an ongoing monthly title, popularity quickly waned - Or possibly never even grew. Whichever it was, the series ended after just the seventh issue in October of 1966.

The series was revitalized in the pages of The New Adventures of the Mighty Crusaders in 1983 under Archie's Red Circle Comics. After thirteen issues the series was once again cancelled (in 1985).

A third attempt to launch a comic series came in 1992 when the characters returned for The Crusaders. This time out, DC Comics licensed the rights, and produced the series under their Impact banner. Much like the prior attempts, the series was short lived, lasting for just eight issues.

In between the original and New Adventures comic series, Remco produced eight figures based on the Mighty Crusaders - In 1984 to be specific. What's interesting to note about some of the characters produced in plastic was that they didn't actually appear on the team (officially) until the 1992 comic series - I.E. 8 years after the figures were produced.

 The Comet*The Fox

 The Web*The Shield

 The Brain Emperor*The Buzzard

The Eraser*The Sting

Unlike many Remco lines, Mighty Crusaders isn't all that pricey to obtain these days. Figures can sell for as little as $8.00 each, mint on card - A far cry from the $60.00+ that you'll spend on each of Remco's Karate Kid figures. They're also not to difficult to find, so putting a set together is fairly easy to do. If you're looking for a line to pick up for little cash, this is definitely a good one.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge - Buying Blind

Last week's topic didn't really resonate with me. This new one however does...BADLY!

For those of you who read my original post on Hot Topic's Mystery Pop Series 3, and then the initial follow up, you know where I stand on this subject. Let's just say if I cursed on this site, you could expect a paragraph or two of expletive after expletive. I've been meaning to write a follow up, and since Brian is throwing salt in the wound, this is a perfect opportunity for a follow up.

For those who didn't read the two above articles, let me summarize. We purchased twenty of the Funko Pop Mystery series 3 from Hot Topic about a month ago, and were utterly disappointed to find that with twenty in hand we couldn't put one complete set of four together. We called shenanigans on Hot Topic, and swore we would never buy another Mystery anything again.

Fast forward to a week or two after that date, and our next trip to Hot Topic yields a slap in the face. They've opened all of the Mystery Pops, and are now selling them direct. That's right. No more mystery. Just buy the ones you want, and go on with your life. In our follow up, we said that we were going to take our overstock back to them, and request a refund, and that's where this update begins.

Short answer. We were told to have a nice day.

Despite Hot Topic making null and void their own promotion, they are refusing to accept any returns from customers with receipts that want a refund. They don't seem to understand that they themselves have voided their own promotion when they opened them all. To bad, so sad for any poor sap who bought them blindly, and P.S. here's a middle finger too because you can now buy them directly without wasting your money. Thanks, Hot Topic! Thanks so much!

So who doesn't love buying blind, Brian asks? ME!!! Never again will I frivolously throw away my money. If I can't see what I'm buying, then I don't want it! Blind bags are the worst creation in existence when it comes to collecting. By the time you get done buying fifty packs to get the five you want, you could have bought them all directly from a scalper, and still "saved" money in the long run.

Some of my fellow Bloggers feel my pain - But not many of them;

The Last Hometown who has thrown in the towel on low and behold a Funko product as well.
Toy Break wants 100% control over what he's getting - Even Happy Meal toys.

The majority seem to love them;

Green Plastic Squirt Gun who's wallet flies open to buy anything mystery packed.
Alexis' Universe has turned the thrill of the mystery into a Youtube segment.
20 Years Before 2000 loves all things mystery and GPK.
The Harvey Mercheum shows love for Lego blind bags.

Then there's Copyright 1984 who has a love hate relationship with blind bags.

For all the rest, check out the main page at Cool and Collected.

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Portal 2 (NECA)

Portal 2

Portal was designed to be a simplistic puzzle game by developer Valve, and quickly evolved into one of the biggest hits for the company when it was released in 2007. People fell in love with not only the challenging puzzles through each level, but also the quickly quipped one liners of GLaDOS, the series antagonist.

In 2011, Portal 2 brought us back to the world of Aperture Science in the roll of test subject Chell. The story follows Chell and robot Wheatley as they band together to escape the test facility, only to accidentally reactivate GLaDOS in the process. We won't spoil the whole story, nor the ending here for those who have yet to play.

In 2013, NECA developed some pretty top notch figures based on a handful of the characters in the Portal 2 world - Not that there are many of them. The two robots below, Atlus and P-Body actually come from the games fantastically developed co-op mode where each player takes on the roll of one of the robots as they run themselves through the various Aperture Science testing sites.



The last figure produced was the leading lady of the series, Chell. Much like the two above, she comes with a portal blaster and figure stand.


The figures have definitely seen a boost in price on secondary markets. The two robots will set you back about sixty to eight dollars a piece. Chell isn't much cheaper at around forty dollars.

For those looking to expand on their Portal 2 figures, NECA has also produced multiple series of mystery packs that include the likes of various turret designs and companion cubes.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge - House of Wax

This week's League Challenge doesn't really resonate with me. I can't say as I'm honestly a fan of wax museums in general, and really don't put celebrities on a pedestal that I would want a wax rendering of them.

I suppose with that said, I would be canny about my choice. I'd seek out the largest / cheapest wax figure available for the purposes of making candles should the need ever arise. Think Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Hardy or Orson Welles. There ought to be enough wax on any one of those to keep a house lit for years.

On the other hand, if the mood really struck me I might go in for the Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia wax figures, but more so for the characters, and not the actors...You know, because when you don't know what you want you just want what you know.

Madame Tussauds has a nice pair that would look well in my toy room - Or on ebay where I would ask triple what I paid.

In general though....Meh....Not a wax museum or celebrity kind of guy. They're neat to look at, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do so. I probably wouldn't be inclined to pay admission either.

As of this post nobody had chimed in on the League topic for this week. Check the main topic page for any updates that come in.


Brother Midnight explains his reason for choosing Jessica Rabbit with images over words.
Alexis is going Dinosaur hunting at Collector's Universe for an Eryops.
Mr. Smith's Plastic Bubble shows love for his country and the Captain.
20 Years Before 2000 wants to combine his love for two people to create SuperBoJacksonMan.
Toy Break is leaving his choice up to fate with the flip of a coin. And the winner is...?
Despite his fear of mannequins, AFB gives a great list of nostalgic choices.
Marc Allie wants a sci-fi alien that comes with a message that drinking is bad.
Surprisingly, Brian at Cool and Collected didn't choose Adam West / Batman.
The two L's at Pop Rewind choose two hosts of two very different shows.
Kalem Klub keeps the love of Funko alive.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Manglors (Ideal)

1984 - 1985

Manglors are not a very commonly known toy from the 80's, but for those that had them they are fondly remembered. The line was produced by Ideal, and featured characters made from a material known as Sobothane - a synthetic polymer. The figures contained no joints, and were boasted as being able to be cut apart so that you could mix and match the pieces of the various figures to make your own creations.

Toys that could be cut apart and adhered to others in the line? It was a brilliant marketing scheme that would later be put to the test by Consumer Unions own Penny Power. Long story short, the tests failed, and the product was determined to be sold under false advertising as while the pieces could be cut apart, they didn't adhere to each other as advertised. The end result was a series that lasted only two years.

When the series began, three individual figures were made available as well as one playset. The figures came packed inside cardboard peg boxes that held the figures inside of plastic to ensure their sticky limbs didn't dry out.


The highlight of the series (in general) is Manglor Mountain - The one and only playset produced during its run. It came packed with not only the volcano playset base, but also a Manglord figure, a cage to encase the figure in, and the biggest selling point for its era - Slime!

The playset worked by pouring the slime into the top of the volcano, and then placing your Manglord figure inside of the cage. Drop the cage into the volcano, and then pump it back up to the top by pressing the red button located in the mouth of the volcano - Literally. The end result was a figure that would rise out of the top of the playset covered in gooey slime. Awesome!

Manglor Mountain

A second series was released which featured the three original released ones as well as three new ones. Each figure came packed in its own window box, and encased inside of an egg. The figures were made from the same Sobothane material, and still boasted that they could be cut apart, and adhered to each other.



Because many people don't know about the series, selling points are all over the map. The playset, which is the most commonly found item in the series, can sell for as little as $2.00 (loose with all components), and $100.00 (mint in the box) with price points all over the place in between for loose and sealed.

The individual figures are far more scarce, and priced so high that most people don't buy them. Sellers ask as much as $150.00 to $170.00 for each of them. With that said, Manglodragon and Manglolizard are the only ones we've seen cropping up as of late.

Because of the nature of these figures, it's not easy to find them in a condition that is desirable. Due to the material they are made from, they are prone to drying out. This could contribute to why so many sellers are asking such a high price - There honestly may not be all that many of them out there that are in good condition, or salvageable in general.

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