Monday, June 19, 2017

Carrie (NECA)



Before we start - For those of you confused by our brief posting the other day about it being May, and Free Comic Book Day being right around the corner, fret not. We haven't gone insane. We don't think it's May. We actually work well far in advance here at The Toy Box, and that was a post we already have in the works for May of 2018. So, check back in about a year for that one! It'll be here sooner than you think (sadly).

Carrie
NECA
2013

We often wonder what it's like to be sitting around your house one day as a struggling writer, have your phone ring, and be told by your agent, "Hey, you're now a millionaire." That's pretty much how it went for Stephen King when his agent called him and told him that his very first novel, Carrie, was a best seller.

Mind you, this figure of Carrie White isn't the iteration portrayed by Sissy Spacek in the 1976 classic film, but actually the rebooted version played by Chloe Grace Moretz in 2013. Not a bad thing - Just stating for a matter of reference.

The figures were produced in 2013, and much to the standards of NECA was a one off (with a variant of course). Carrie can be found in both her white prom dress with a bouquet of flowers, or her not so white anymore prom dress covered in blood. For those of you familiar with the film, you know this is because the gag of all the cool kids at prom was to get Carrie elected prom queen, then douse her with pig's blood while accepting her crown. She then quirks out, and we see that Carrie has a supernatural power to eradicate anyone she wants. For those of you who haven't seen it...well, that's what happens. Sorry for spoiling it for you.

This is really a niche demographic item, so it's no surprise that the figure was a relatively large bust on store shelves. Many second hand dealers are trying to offload these, but sadly are pricing them too high to make them desirable to your average collector. Between $10.00 and $15.00 is what people are willing to pay for both the standard and bloody version. However, most dealers are asking for $20.00 for the standard edition, and upwards of $30.00 or more for the bloody variant. This makes the figure a no sale scenario for most.

If you're looking to add this figure to your collection you face one of the most difficult challenges of collecting - Finding a seller who knows what the figure is reasonably selling for to get it at a fair price. Patience will be a virtue here.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Electroman and Zogg the Terrible (Ideal)



Electroman
Ideal
1977

Man, vintage toys really were the best. They just don't make them like they used to. Take Electroman here. The figure incorporates a flahslight which can be used to blast his enemy Zogg the Terrible (which we'll go into more down below).

Electroman is decked out from head to toe in an almost Mork from Ork style garb - Or perhaps the Greatest American Hero. Bright red and yellow makes this guy stand out like a sore thumb in your classic hero lineup.



Zogg the Terrible
Ideal
1977

As mentioned, Electroman was intended to be paired with Zogg the Terrible.

Zogg here features a motorized attack function. This does little more than make him walk forward, as well as the key piece for playing out battles - A stun deflector shield.

You can play with Zogg by either interacting him with Electroman, or blasting him yourself with the included stun gun. Remember, it's not about killing the villain. It's about stunning him to take him alive. That's what good superheroes do.


As was the case in the 70's (and 80's), when ordering toys from a catalog you often didn't get the flashy packaging that sat on toy shelves. Take for example these Montgomery Ward catalog boxes below. This is how the dolls came from that particular retailer.


Depending on the condition you're looking for, Electroman can set you back anywhere from $8.00 (poor / loose) to $400.00 (mint / sealed). Oddly enough, the Montgomery Ward versions in their bland brown boxes go for more than packaged ones.

Zogg is much more scarce, and loose will set you back anywhere from $50.00 to $80.00. Mind you, that this doesn't include the stun gun. Boxed versions are few and far between, and more so from European countries when found. Due to its scarce nature, we can't estimate a value for one on the box.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

R.I.P. Adam West



As I hear more and more as the months go by about the death of actors and musicians who in essence shaped my childhood, and helped see me through tough times as an adult via their epic work I can't help but start to feel my own immortality. It saddens me to lose such iconic people, and makes me more cognizant that my time is approaching as well.

Many of you have already heard, but legendary actor Adam West was the latest casualty to pop culture. West died Friday, June 9th after a short battle with Leukemia.

As an actor, he played many roles, but none as memorable as Batman in the campy classic 1960's television series. For many, West's performance as Bruce Wayne and the caped crusader was their first foray into the world of Batman. In essence, he was the persona which kept the character alive and relevant during the groovy flower generation.

It could even be argued his presence as Batman was even more so popular in his elder years than it was back when the series first aired. This was probably cemented by the fact that Adam always made himself available for appearances at conventions, premieres and many other events. He always had a smile, was always very casual with fans, often giving autographs, handshakes, hugs, photographs, or all of the above. His happiness emanated across rooms he was in, and his smile was contagious on all the faces of those around him.

Over the past few years, fans have been privileged to see numerous Adam West as Batman related merchandise released. Toys, clothing, and even the highly coveted classic television series on Blu-Ray and DVD have made their way into the hands of many eager fans. Though these items will never replace Adam West, they will be a constant reminder of his legacy for many across the world.

We will miss you, Adam West, but you will never be forgotten.


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Monday, June 5, 2017

Marvel Adventure World Playset (Amsco)



Marvel Adventure World Playset
Amsco
1975

Amsco is no stranger to the world of cardboard playsets. They made a killing on them in the 70's with playsets such as Space: 1999, Planet of the Apes, The Waltons, and of course the one we're looking at today - Marvel World!

The playset mostly features itself around the world of Spider-Man ala the Daily Bugle backdrop. However, it features numerous characters from the Fantastic Four to Iron Man to Captain America, and so on.

For cardboard, this playset is very well put together. It's sturdy, durable, and if we had to admit it - Pretty darn fun to play with. Sure it's not made of plastic, but it's got a lot going on for itself.

Admittedly, the chances of you finding one for sale are pretty slim. Amsco playsets are considered holy grail collectibles among toy enthusiasts. The "figures" can set you back up to twenty dollars a piece, and finding one mint in the box will set you back at least $1,500.00. This set is no joke when it comes to being an investment. Most people aren't going to buy this, then tear it out of the box.

For the rest of you that can't drop that kind of cash on a cardboard cut out playset, you can at least take it in visually via the internet, and enjoy it for the bit of nostalgic Marvel Comic history that it is.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Punisher (Marvel Comics)



If you're a comic book fan, then chances are you've read a story somewhere, or perhaps seen one of the movies featuring The Punisher. Frank Castle is as common place in the Marvel Universe as Peter Parker, Logan, and other such iconic staples in comic book pages.

The Punisher holds a special place in our hearts here at The Toy Box because his series of comics are one of only three that we've ever collected from the first issue to the last, as well as all spin off titles micro series and one offs (the other's being Mirage Comics TMNT and Marvel's Star Wars".

The Punisher (Volume 1) AKA Mini Series
Marvel Comics
1986

The Punisher had been extracting revenge in the pages of Marvel Comics as early as 1974 when he made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 129. However, it wouldn't be until 1986 that the anti-hero would get his own title.

The series which began with a four part mini series, was changed to five parts during production. As such, you won't find anything other than issue five that actually states it's part of a "five part mini series". All the other books reference only four. This is key to know if you're collecting the books as you may end up missing out on the final act if you don't know about it.



The Punisher (Volume 2) AKA Main Series
Marvel Comics
1987 - 1995

When the mini series ended in May of 1986, fans wrote in to Marvel Comics demanding more Punisher comics. This lead to the plans for a reoccurring monthly title which launched in July of 1987. In the pages, Frank Castle fought them all - mobsters, gangsters, terrorists, iconic villains, and even other heroes. If you stood in his way, you were just as guilty as the scum he was tracking down.

The series lasted 104 issues and seven annuals, wrapping up in July of 1995.













This wraps up our month long tribute to comics. Join us next Monday when we get back to toys.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stick Bang



Insubordinate droids beware! Your master's gone to Toshi Station to pick up some Stick Bang!

You think it's funny to run off just because he removed your restraining bolt? You think it's great times hiding behind his landspeeder in the dark? Well now it's time to feel the Force...Of discipline!

Happy 40th Anniversary, Star Wars!

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Star Knight



In a world where Rebels run rampant, one retired cop has had enough. Now he takes to the mean streets of Coruscant on his own, cleaning up crime the only way he knows how - with "Force". Criminals beware. Your days are numbered by...

STAR KNIGHT!

Happy 40th Anniversary, Star Wars!

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Star Wars (Marvel Comics)



Star Wars
Marvel Comics
1977 - 1986

There's no denying that Marvel Comics helped to appease fans with new stories in between each episode of the Original Trilogy. There's also no denying that it helped keep general public interest for three years after Return of the Jedi until the series ended in 1986.

Marvel's story lines weaved in and out of the Original Trilogy seamlessly from book to book, all while bringing fresh ideas, new characters and locations to the Star Wars universe - Many of which that are still considered cannon in the Star Wars timeline.

However, the history of Star Wars appearing in a Marvel Comic was not as obvious a choice as it would be today for the publisher. Initially when Charles Lippincott, Lucasfilm's publicity supervisor, spoke to Stan Lee about publishing the books, Lee declined. Upon a second meeting, Lee finally agreed, but only if a contract was signed that stated no royalties would be considered until the books sold 100,000 copies.




Not only did the books quickly surpass this sale point, but they are also credited for saving Marvel Comics (financially) in 1977 and 1978. Of course, this also meant that Lippencott had a very strong leg to stand on in terms of negotiating royalties.

The series began with (and was initially conceived as) a six issue mini series adaption of A New Hope (of course, simply entitled Star Wars in those days) which was developed by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin. When the series skyrocketed in popularity, Marvel procured the rights to continue with a monthly series which lasted through issue 107 (and three annuals).

Notable artists and writers on the series consisted of the likes of; Archie Goodwin, Carmine Infantino, Al Wiliamson, David Michelinie, Walt Simonson, Ron Frenz, Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin. Martin's work is most notable for its Japanese influenced style of art, as well as her sense of movement during action scenes.



Marvel also incorporated a six issue run of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. The mini series ran from issue number 39, and concluded in issue number 44.



The series was also printed and published in the UK. However, this iteration of the series was a black and white printing, which broke each monthly issue down into weekly installments. As a result, it would take anywhere from three to four weeks for a full issue to be available in the UK.

The series is also notable for shifting titles. For example, when it was first released, it was known as Star Wars Weekly Magazine. Issue 118 shifted the title to The Empire Strikes Back Weekly. The title then shifted to monthly releases with issue 140, which meant the "Weekly" portion had to be removed from the title. The book then reverted back to simply Star Wars with issue 159. The series concluded with issue 171.

When it came time for a Return of the Jedi comic adaptation release in the UK, the series began again, but started with issue number 1. The books were called Return of the Jedi Weekly, and ran for 151 issues. The series is also notably for being the first of its style to be printed in color.



Since its end, there have been numerous other publishers that have produced Star Wars books. Dark Horse Comics alone is credited for creating well over 100 different titles. However, none hold as tight a reign on the nostalgic look and feel as those original 1970's and 1980's Marvel titles. Featuring great storytelling, wonderful art, and characters you won't find anywhere else, these are definitely books any Star Wars fan should check out.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Marvel Comics
1983 - 1984

Of course, let's not forget the Marvel adaptions of Return of the Jedi which were published between 1983 and 1984. Though it stands as its own mini series, numbered one through four - respectively, these are easily integrated into the monthly series.



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Monday, May 22, 2017

International Comics, International Crime Comics, Crime Patrol, The Crypt Of Terror and Tales From The Crypt (EC Comics)



Much like our prior post on Marvel Comic's Amazing Fantasy, EC Comics has an interesting history of title shifting before striking with lightning. Today we're taking a look at how EC Comics evolved several titles during the 1940's into one of the most beloved series of all time - Tales From The Crypt.

International Comics
EC Comics
1947

It all started in 1947 with the series International Comics. The stories focused mainly on satire style horror, and really didn't feature a cast of characters that were all that notable beyond the "monsters" that were terrifying each page.

Horror comics were popular among GI's returning from World War II who had grown tired of the super hero genre from their youth. These now adult males were more interested in tantalizing tales full of violence and sex.

 
International Crime Comics
EC Comics
1948

In 1948, EC shifted the title to a more crime (cops and robbers) type format. However, in doing so, they still kept the monster aspect intact for the series. International Crime Comics lasted for one issue, continuing the numbering scheme where International Comics left off, before the title was changed again.



Crime Patrol
EC Comics
1948 - 1950

Under the banner of Crime Patrol, the title continued the numbering from where International Crime Comics left off. This iteration of the series lasted for two years focusing on crime and monsters before change would come again.



The Crypt Of Terror
EC Comics
1950

Once again continuing the numbering scheme from its predecessor, The Crypt of Terror removed the crime aspect of the series, shifting the focal point of the series to that of straight up horror / murder. It was with this element that the book shifted into it's last, and most popular iteration...



Tales From The Crypt
EC Comics
1950 - 1955

Though many fans of the series know of it due to the vintage HBO series which featured a cackling Crypt Keeper ghoul, the comic book didn't actually feature this version of the character. Yes, there was a Crypt Keeper, but it was simply a mysterious with a cane, and long hair running down his face to hide his features. However, the Keeper was not limited to just hosting each story. He occasionally made appearances which stood to tell his biography in bits and pieces. Additional hosts in the series were the Vault Keeper, and Old Witch.


Tales From The Crypt ran from 1950 - 1955, and quickly became one of EC Comics most popular titles. Unfortunately by 1954, horror genre comics came under heavy fire by the public, and sales declined rapidly after that point.


Violent comics in general were being blamed for the decline in behavior of America's youth which all came to a head in a senate hearing which targeted comic books directly. Rather than be censored by an outside source, the comic industry agreed to form two groups - Comics Magazines Association of America (CMAA), and the more widely recognized Comics Code Authority (CCA). These groups placed strict stringent on comic book publishers, forbidding them to publish books with words such as terror and horror in their titles, and additionally forbid the depiction of what was deemed gruesome characters.


Seeing a no win situation, and feeling directly targeted, EC Comics shut its doors after releasing its final Tales From The Crypt issue in February / March 1955.

Tales From The Crypt would see a major resurgence in popularity in 1989 with the HBO series which ran for 93 episodes between 19898 and 1996. Theatrical movies were also produced and released with the banner throughout the years of this newly revived popularity. All of this helped to solidify EC Comics original comics in history - So we suppose they got the last laugh.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Amazing Adventures, Amazing Adult Fantasy and Amazing Fantasy (Marvel Comics)



One of the most interesting aspects to the history of comic books (for us) is to see how titles evolved into the icons they became. Take Amazing Fantasy number fifteen. Pretty much every comic book connoisseur knows that this was the first appearance of Peter Park / Spider-Man. However, what many fans don't know is that if you go looking for Amazing Fantasy number one through fourteen, you'll never find them. Why? Because they don't exist.

Amazing Adventures
Marvel Comics
1961

The series that would eventually become Amazing Fantasy started in 1961 as Amazing Adventures. The story points for most of the issues revolved around science fiction or drive-in-movie style monster characters. Each story was drawn by either Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko - Legends in the Marvel Universe.


Amazing Adult Fantasy
Marvel Comics
1961 - 1962

After issue number six, Amazing Adventures changed its title to Amazing Adult Fantasy. This iteration of the series stayed focused on its original premise of monsters and science fiction. The stories were drawn by Jack Kirby, and written by an up and coming Stan Lee.


Amazing Fantasy
Marvel Comics
1962 and 1995 - 1996

All of this culminated in what would be the equivalent of a meteorite hitting the heart of a city with issue fifteen. Now titled simply Amazing Fantasy, the cover introduced the world to Spider-Man in 1962. The world of comic books would never be the same.


Marvel continued the Amazing Fantasy title decades later in the 1995 - 1996 series of the same name. Unfortunately it was really just a gimmick, and the books never caught the magic of that first appearance of Spider-Man - Not that they were intended to.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Calling All Sculpters and Custom Action Figure Makers



I'm looking for one or two people who would be interested in undertaking a joint venture Kickstarter program with me. Without throwing all the details out here, I have a project in development for a non articulated mini figure line, and am looking for one or two folks who can produce professional quality sculpting and painting for prototypes that could be (somewhat) mass produced for the orders received. Additionally, I need someone who can produce molds based on the finished prototypes.

Much like any Kickstarter project, there are no guarantees of funding which means at this time this is non a paying gig. However, those involved with the project would potentially have the option of being brought on in a "partner" capacity for future projects. Should the project be funded, you would then be compensated at an agreed upon percentage of the backing for your work.

If you are interested in "applying", please leave a comment here with your e-mail address. Your e-mail address will not be published or distributed. It will only be used for the purposes of me getting in contact with you.

So that I am up front with anyone interested, you would be required to sign a non disclosure form before discussing any of the details of the project. Sorry, I don't want anyone running off with my idea.

Monday, May 8, 2017

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Image Comics and Devil's Due Publishing)



G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Image Comics
2001 - 2003

"The story lines in the G.I. Joe comic book series over the past decades are far superior to that of the cartoon series." - Abraham Lincoln

Image Comics and Devil's Due Publishing did an amazing job of breathing new life into the limp / dying body of G.I. Joe. The all new series which began in 2001, and seamlessly picked up where Marvel Comics left off is one of our favorite reads of all time. The stories seemed well thought out, and the artwork was some of the best in the industry.

In general, comic books and G.I. Joe go hand and hand. They've been around every decade since the 40's - granted not the Hasbro iterations. Additionally, they've also been the birthplace of characters that would later go on to become majorly popular - Such as the Baroness who appeared in issue 1 of the Marvel Comic series in June of 1982.

The franchise is even notable for seamlessly crossing over with other Hasbro properties such as Transformers - Which occurred on numerous occasions. This has helped to show the series versatility to be integrated with various "realities" in the comic book universe, which has only helped to solidify its popularity even further.


Though Image Comics began publishing the all new series in 2001, the fact was that Devil's Due were the right holders. They were simply going through Image for the publishing of the books. Fan referred to the series as A Real American Hero (volume 2), and also Reinstated (which was the title of the first four issues) - Though neither of these ever became official for the series as a whole.

The new series was originally conceived as a four issue mini series. However, due to massive sales, and immediate selling out of first prints, the series was put into production as an ongoing monthly title.

The story line picks up seven years after the last Marvel Comics issues, and shows us several vintage characters now aged, and in Bazooka's case, out of shape. It also introduces us to several new Joe characters as well as Cobra agents.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Devil's Due Publishing
2004 - 2005

Devil's Due Publishing eventually split from Image Comics, taking with them the G.I. Joe franchise. The company continued to publish the title for another year or so, picking up where the Image title had left off both in numbering and story.



Unfortunately, as often times the case in this day and age, interest dwindled shortly thereafter on the series, and publishing ceased. However, this wouldn't be the last we'd see of G.I. Joe in comic book format. They would soon return, but that's a topic for another time.

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