April 2014 Recap

Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in April 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.

Vanilla Ice
Highlander the Animated Series
Heroes of Cybertron
MC Hammer
The Nanny
30 Days of Night
Iron Man
Inspector Gadget

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Inspector Gadget (Tiger)

Inspector Gadget
1992 - 1994

Before Disney got its hands on it, Inspector Gadget was an awesome cartoon character who was voiced by the incredibly funny, Mr. Don Adams (Get Smart). The original series which ran for two seasons encompassed eighty-six episodes, making it the first syndicated show for DIC Entertainment.

Despite his numerous gadgets which leave him well equipped for just about anything, Gadget's incompetence often times sees him foiling the plans of M.A.D. lead by the evil Dr. Claw by mistake. This is all helped by his niece Penny who often times will catch on to the true nature of the case while her dog Brain gets chased by Gadget who mistakes him in disguise as a M.A.D. agent.

***FUN FACT***

The original pilot episode of Inspector Gadget had the character with a big brown bushy mustache. This was removed by the time the first episode hit the air.

Despite running from 1983 to 1986, not too many toys, if any, were produced based on the character until 1992 when Tiger, the company more so known for handheld video games, decided to try their hand at the series.

The majority of the figures released were variations of the inspector himself. This was probably because their really isn't all that elaborate a cast in the series. With the exception of the Chief, all the key players were present.

***FUN FACT***

During the entire run of the cartoon series, you never saw the face of Dr. Claw. It wouldn't be until the figure was produced that fans would finally see what he looked like.

While the figure of Dr. Claw with the "mystery" cardboard over his face is more appealing to fans, the ones produced without the obstruction are far more scarce.

Dr. Claw (Mystery Packaging)*Dr. Claw*Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Expanding Arms)

Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Expanding Legs)*Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Snap Open Hat)*Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Fumble Gadgets)

Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Telescoping Neck)*Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Water Pistol)

Inspector Gadget (Go Go Gadget Copter)*Inspector Gadget (Motorized Action)

M.A.D. Agent*Penny and Brain

Gadget Mobile

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

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Iron Man (Toy Biz)

Iron Man
Toy Biz
1995 - 1996

Ever since Robert Downey Jr. dawned the Iron Man suit for the big screen, the character has gone from popular Marvel character to iconic superhero status. Even we didn't realize how much we liked the character before the films took us by storm...Well, the first one anyway.

Iron Man first appeared in Marvel Comics Tales of Suspense issue thirty-nine in 1963. The character starred in thirteen to eighteen page shorts throughout the remainder of the series, while the remainder of the books followed their typical motif of generic science fiction stories.

It wouldn't be until May of 1968 that Iron Man would be the star of his own series, The Invincible Iron Man which ran for 332 through 1996. This series encompasses what is known among collectors as Volume One of the series. Since then, Marvel has learned the value of rebooting their series in numerous volumes, and has done so with Iron Man six times to date (I.E. the series is up to Volume Six).

They do this because while the original stories remain iconic to the character, the scarce nature of the books and high prices associated with vintage copies make them unobtainable to most comic book readers. Periodically rebooting the series allows for new readers to easily jump in, while at the same time also gives the publisher an opportunity to tweak things that weren't working as well as they hoped.

During the last couple years of the volume one comic series, Toy Biz tipped a metal helmeted hat to the series by producing some of the best superhero based figures to date. Yes, you will find a lot of variations of Iron Man in the series, but in that regard, Tony Stark had several Iron Man suits. In other words, it was more realistic to see Iron Man with Hydro Armor than it would be to see say someone like Spider-Man with said armor.

Well, wait a minute, you say. If this is an Iron Man line, why is their no Whiplash figure? Ah, great question. Let us dig into our bag of comic book wisdom for that answer. The first Whiplash, Mark Scarlotti, also went by the name Blacklash, and as you can see, that figure is present and accounted for in series one.

Blacklash*Grey Gargoyle*Iron Man*Iron Man (Hydro Armor)

Mandarin*Spider-Woman*War Machine

Blizzard*Hawkeye*Iron Man (Hologram Armor)*Iron Man (Space Armor)

Iron Man (Stealth Armor)*Modok*Whirlwind

Century*Dreadknight*Iron Man (Hulk Buster)*Iron Man (Arctic Armor)

Titanium Man*Tony Stark*US Agent

Crimson Dynamo*Iron Man (Inferno Armor)*Iron Man (Samurai Armor)

Iron Man (Subterranean Armor)*War Machine 2

One of the most unique items to come from the series are the dragons. At the time, if you wanted these characters, this was the only way you were getting them, and fans were much appreciative to have them. 

Argent Silver Dragon*Aureus Gold Dragon*Fin Fang Foom

Join us next time when we take a look at Inspector Gadget!

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30 Days of Night (Gentle Giant)

30 Days of Night
Gentle Giant

Before making its debut in 2007 on the big screen, 30 Days of Night was a little known comic book from artist Ben Templesmith, writer Steve Niles, and publisher IDW in 2002. The three issue mini series tells the story of vampires flocking to the city of Barrow, Alaska for the upcoming thirty days of night which will allow them to feed without fear of the sun.

There's so much more to the story, but we don't want to ruin it for any of you who decide to read it, which you should, it's great!

In 2009, Gentle Giant produced a small series of figures based on the comic. Sadly, it encompassed a whole lot of chase variants that fans simply couldn't hunt down due to their scarce nature, and in turn ended up being more frustrating than fun for collectors.

Arvin*Arvin (Extra Bloody Chase Variant)
Iris*Iris (Extra Bloody Chase Variant)

Iris (Burnt Chase Variant)*Lilith
Marlow*Marlow (Extra Bloody Chase Variant)

Even harder to track down than the above figures are mint in box versions of the SDCC exclusives; Feeding Frenzy Marlow and Iris.

Feeding Frenzy Marlow
Feeding Frenzy Iris

Join us next time when we take a look at Iron Man!

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The Nanny (Street Players)

The Nanny
Street Players

It's as if the entire month of April is our own personal April Fool's month, and every week it's just another joke.  It seems like every time we turn around we're finding something weirder and weirder to top the last one.

Today's find are dolls based on Fran Drescher's character in the CBS show, The Nanny.  We're not sure what execs at Street Players were thinking when they unleashed these things on the public, suffice to say that nobody clearly stood up and asked the question, "Is this really such a good idea?"

Three dolls were produced, all of the same design, but featured different tacky outfits and accessories.  If that was the worst offender from this series, it'd be tolerable.  Unfortunately it gets worse.  Each doll came with a push button talking action to make statements such as, Honey, I know what I am, but trust me, you're  a doll too."  Fortunately it didn't also come with the obnoxious Drescher laugh.

Sadly it doesn't give the impression that Street Players was necessarily trying to capitalize on Drescher herself, or even the show, The Nanny.  Rather they were trying to sell the doll based on how annoying the actress's voice was (is).  Personally Ms. Fran should be offended if that's the case.

We're not sure how many dolls sold, but there are a ton on eBay these days, so sadly someone was buying it.  We dare say, or rather, hope that most purchases were made as a gag gift.

Join us next time when we take a look at something hopefully better, but at the rate we're going, it's anyone's guess at this point.

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Metallica (McFarlane Toys)

McFarlane Toys

Fun fact - Dave Mustaine of Megadeath was the original lead guitarist of Metallica from 1981 to 1983, but was fired for drug and alcohol issues as well as his aggressive conflicts with other band members that lead to their original bassist, Ron McGovney quitting the band in 1982, but that's okay, because McGovney went on to do...Well, not a whole lot, actually.

In the late 80's/early 90's, Metallica was quickly becoming one of the most popular bands in the metal genre.  Their first album Kill 'Em All showed that the band had potential, and with it came several hits.  With Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, the band showed that they had come into their own, showcasing a style of music dedicated to long riffs, deep lyrics, and sometimes haunting melodies.

Sadly it was after Master of Puppets that Metallica was dealt a crippling blow.  During the band's European leg of the tour, bassist Cliff Burton was thrown from the bus during an accident.  The bus then rolled, landing on and killing him.  Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett felt the blow at the time the most as the very bunk that Burton was sleeping in was his.  Though the band suspected that the bus driver was drunk, all charges were cleared.

James Hetfield*Kirk Hammett

After recouping and regrouping from their loss, Metallica sought out a new bassist.  Jason Newsted, who was described as a crazy, energetic young man, joined the group, and shortly after the EP Garage Days Re-Visited, the band released ...And Justice For All.  With its hit "One," which also featured a very disturbing video that MTV loved to play, the band only grew in popularity.

The bands untitled follow up album, which became known as "The Black Album" helped the band to truly find success, but at the same time also dealt another blow with the loss of some of their original fans.  While the album featured numerous commercial hits, fans of the earlier Metallica albums felt that the band had sold out, becoming too commercial in the process.  A humorous quote from Hetfield in an interview to the question of, "Has the band sold out," was, "We sell out every time we have a tour."  He was of course referring to the tickets/seats for each concert.

Jason Newstead*Lars Ulrich

As the end of the 1990's approached, Metallica pressed forward with the albums Load and Reload.  Both albums were once again criticized by long term fans as being too commercial, and despite their commercial success failed to find the air time and hits that "The Black Album" had.  Reload would also be the last studio album featuring Jason Newstead.

Though the band stayed very active over the next few years, and even released the live album S&M, they wouldn't return to the studio for their next album until 2003's St. Anger.  Due to Newstead quitting the band prior to production, and then being put on hold once again while Hetfield went into rehab, the album almost never saw the light of day, and also almost brought upon the break up of the band.  The album features a very raw, heavy metal style, but disappoints in regard that it has no guitar solos.  Upon release of the album Metallica hired Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo.  This would also be the final album that Metallica would release under the Elektra logo.

Fun fact - Jason Newsted briefly toured with Ozzy Osbourne when Trujillo quit and joined Metallica.

Boxed Set

With the album, Death Magnetic, Metallica returned to their roots with thrash metal, long, technical guitar solos and more complex musical compositions.  The album quickly became Metallica's fifth number one Billboard album - The first band to have five number one albums on Billboard no less.

Their latest album, Lulu (2011) featured Lou Reed in his final studio recordings before his death.  The album was a conceptual work based on the original plays of the same name written by German playwrite Frank Wedekind.  The album features very few sung lyrics, and instead focuses on spoken words by Reed with occasional backing words by Hetfield.  All of this is overlaid on original music composed by Metallica.  The album received mostly negative reviews.  Many claim the album has done irreparable damage to the band that they will never recover from.

James Hetfield announced in an October 2013 interview that the band was currently sifting through material to compile a tenth studio album, so while Lulu may have hit rock bottom, Metallica isn't ready to be counted as down and out.  The only question now is, "Can they come back from it?"

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

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MC Hammer (Mattel)

MC Hammer

Truth be told, MC Hammer was originally scheduled to be a bonus section of our April Fool's Day post which featured the 1991 THQ Vanilla Ice dolls, but unfortunately was never added.  So, since it's a (2) legit (2 quit) toy, there's no sense in not posting it now.

Hammer, much like Vanilla Ice gets a bum rap these days, but truth be told, Mattel wouldn't have made the dolls if there wasn't a market for it back in 1991.  After all, much like Vanilla Ice dolls, it's not like they didn't sell to many happy fans.  Unfortunately, said fans just moved on to other things a lot faster than many people such as MC Hammer, Mattel, and all those backing him would have liked.

Two versions of MC Hammer were released; MC Hammer Concert Doll with Cassette (purple outfit), and MC Hammer Concert Doll with Stereo (gold outfit).  The cassette featured two single, "Can't Touch This," and "Dancin' Machine," as well as eight personal messages from Hammer himself.  The stereo was just an accessory for the second doll, but the box boasts that it, "Makes real rap sounds!"

Three sets of additional clothing were produced for the doll, all of which were released under the banner, "MC Hammer Original Fashions."  None were given specific names, but are iconic from such music videos such as, "You Can't Touch This."

Despite continuing to release albums, MC Hammer appears to have seen his prime in the music world.  A perfect example of how he's been shunned by the music community and fans would be the surprise appearance he made at the premiere of "The Cable Show" in 2013 where after performing 2 Legit 2 Quit received all but two seconds of unenthusiastic applause.

Join us next time when we keep the music alive with our look at Metallica!

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Heroes of Cybertron (Transformers) (Hasbro)

Heroes of Cybertron
2000 - 2003

Transformers that don't transform?  Despite lacking that key element of play, fans of the Transformers ate up the Heroes of Cybertron line from Hasbro. Each mini figure came individually carded on a very retro style card reminiscent to that of the generation one Transformers of yesteryear, and despite their small size were meticulously sculpted to encompass an amazing depth of detail.

Arcee*Optimus Prime*Power Master Optimus Prime Apex Armor


The biggest complaint among collectors when series two hit was that Hasbro immediately rehashed the sculpts of three of the series one characters to produce a whopping four out of the six figures available in the second wave. It was an incredibly lazy tactic.

Optimus Prime (with Plasma Weapon)*Paradron Medic*Power Master Optimus Prime Spark Attack*Ultra Magnus

Megatron (with Plasma Weapon)*Thundercracker

By series three, Hasbro was back on track with all new sculpts and characters, and in turn fans embraced the series even more by way of buying up every bit of merchandise they could find.

Grimlock*Iron Hide*Rodimus Prime


Series four took a page out of Hasbro's other popular line of toys, Star Wars, and incorporated the "Build A Figure" campaign. Each of the six figures came with a piece that when combined would create the figure Fortress Maximus.

Autobot Espionage Team*Autobot Jazz*Perceptor*Wheelejack

Dirge*Power Master Galvatron

Fortress Maximus

Series five would be the last series to date of the Heroes of Cybertron line. Much like the fourth series, this wave would also include pieces packed in with the figures to create the figure, Metroplex. Once again Hasbro was back to producing rehashed figures, and as a result fans simply gave up.

Autobot Rachet*Omega Supreme*Optimus Prime with Communicator

Construction Devastator*Megatron with Laserbeak*Starscream with Crown


Hasbro pretty much shouted at fans, "Just give us your money," with the 2003 Bot Con exclusive Seeker Jets six pack. All three of the named characters were nothing short of repacks, while the other three jets which were all sculpted the same were simply named "Decepticon". This obvious cash grab showed fans that Hasbro really didn't care about the line. The second exclusive, Sunstorm, was better received by fans, and to date remains one of the more expensive pieces in the series on secondary markets.

Seeker Jets Six Pack with Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, and three jets all named Decepticon

Hasbro has this problem of getting lazy with their franchises, and the Heroes of Cybertron line is a perfect example of how even one of the most popular franchises to this day can fail to succeed on the market when handled sloppily.

Join us next time when we take a look at MC Hammer!

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Highlander The Animated Series (Prime Time)

Highlander The Animated Series
Prime Time

For a story based on the premise that, "There can be only one," there sure were a lot of movies and television series based on Highlander.  To be honest, with everything that's come to be the Highlander Universe, the only thing we personally think is worth watching is the original movie, and nothing more.  Everything beyond that seemed to just get progressively worse and worse - Much like the sequels to the original The Crow film.

The animated series revolves around the plot of a post apocalyptic Earth where the remaining immortals cast away their task of "The Game," which would leave them all fighting each other until only one remains to claim, "The Prize".  However, one immortal, Kortan, refuses to give up "The Game," and continues his quest to destroy all the remaining immortals.

The series ran for forty episodes which encompassed two seasons.  Despite being a cartoon aired during the day, it was considered by many to be for a more mature audience due to the mass amounts of violence, and occasional beheadings of minor characters.

In 1996, Prime Time supported the animated series with a small series of toys.  It would be the only line of action figures the company would produce to date.

Arak - Chief of the Hunters*Hunter - Moganda's Brutal Warrior*Kortan - Evil Ruler of Moganda

Malone - The "Human" Key*Quentin - The Highlander*Ramirez - Quentin's Noble Mentor

Hunter's Powercycle
Quentin's Gavor

These days, Prime Time mainly focuses their production on toy guns and water based toys.

Join us next time when we take a look at Heroes of Cybertron!

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Vanilla Ice (THQ)

Vanilla Ice

Looking for the best toy in the world...Ever?  Then look no further than THQ's 1991 line of dolls based on the amazing, Vanilla Ice!  Awe yeah, yup, yup, and to the extreme even!

Now you can have hours of interactive fun shouting, "Go ninja, go ninja, go," with all three twelve inch dolls.  Each doll is outfitted in meticulously crafted garb to resemble Vanilla Ice in his gold, silver and grey outfits of the era, also known as the Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Jag and Vanilla Ice looks.  Accessories include a realistic looking microphone to help you bring the noise.

Don't forget to sign up for the fan club with the included membership card inside the box.  Then write your friends on the included post card to tell them just how jealous they should be!  Play that funky music white boy, indeed!

While we wish you all a happy April Fool's Day, sadly the joke is on the world as these dolls really do exist.

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