Painted Memories: Yee-Haw!

Please share your own thoughts, memories and stories in the comment section.

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Retro Spins: Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back The Clock

Johnny Hates Jazz
Turn Back the Clock

The stinkyness continues at Retro Spins with today's blah of an entry, Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back the Clock. Granted, most of you are probably asking right now, "What is a Johnny Hates Jazz?" They weren't exactly a big act in January of 1988 when they released their first album - Which just so happens to be Turn Back the Clock.

They managed to hit the charts back in March of '88 with Shattered Dreams. The song was so popular it made it all the way up to the number two spot before starting to gradually fall off the charts over the following couple months. When Shattered Dreams disappeared from the charts, I Don't Want to Be A Hero charted. How? I have no clue. It's an awful song. Miraculously it made it to the low thirties before dropping off the charts.

The sad part about all of this is that the album starts out great. Of course, the first song also just so happens to be Shattered Dreams. It then goes into Heart of Gold, which coincidentally is the second of only two songs which went onto my IPOD. I honestly was really excited to hear what was coming next and that's when it all went wrong. From there, the tempo slams on the brakes and the album drones on with ballad after ballad. So awful.

Look, I'm all for a ballad here and there. Some of them can be great - Hello, Aerosmith's Angel, REO Speedwagon's Keep on Loving You, The Cure's Love Song, Pat Benatar's Promises in the Dark. Heck, even Bette Midler's The Rose. When done right a ballad can be enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Johnny Hates Jazz doesn't do it right. None of the songs stand out and they all just seem to drone on and on.

Sorry, but I'll take their one hit and the second song which somehow managed to make the cut. The rest? Pass!

On a bright note, I've hit a milestone in my Retro Spin posts. With the write up of this album, I've hit at least one album from each year of the 1980's. For those of you who haven't noticed, you can search the Retro Spin posts by year on the sidebar.

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Vincent Price (NECA)

Vincent Price

Does the world need a Vincent Price figure? Overall sales, and a quick shift to clearance isles claim nay it does not. NECA has always been a brand which makes some relatively obscure figures, and their 2002 Vincent Price certainly fits that bill.

We won't deny Vincent Price is an iconic "star". His voice has been instantly recognizable for decades of fans since the 60's with notable projects such as Michael Jackson's Thriller and The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo - And mind you, those are just two examples from his work in the 80's.

The figure features all that great sculpting, paint and articulation one would expect from a NECA product, so there's no denying there is quality to be had here. It's just that at the end of the day, what does one do with it? Let's face it. You've got to be a pretty large fan of the man to want an action figure based on him.

Reader Phantom Troublemaker let us know the outfit for the figure is that based on Price's appearance as Dr. Erasmus Craven in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven released in 1963. This aspect could potentially draw in more fans.

The figure came and went relatively fast on toy isles as a result of not only its obscure nature, but also lack of appeal / desire for most toy collectors. These days it's a fairly common item on secondary markets. However, at $35.00 to $40.00 only one in about five ever sell. If you're looking for a Vincent Price figure - Rest assured they're out there for you to find relatively easily.

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Hello San Dimas!

 "I'm Bill S. Preston, Esquire!"

"And I'm Ted Theodore Logan!"

"And we're, Wyld Stallyns!"

Kenner did a fantastic job with these 1991 iterations of Bill and Ted for their Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure line. However, the interesting thing to note about the toys is that they were actually released to coincide with the sequel to the film, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

To really give life to your figures, Kenner released the Wyld Stallyns Speaker and Tape Set. The speaker looked like an amp, which with the use of a wire hooked into the back of your figure. Another wire ran from the amp to a Walkman, or other tape player which could support a headphone jack. With the tape playing, you squeeze the legs of the figure together to produce music. Though there were no actual songs on the cassette, rather just riffs of either guitars, drums or piano, you could put any cassette in your tape deck and get the music to play through the speaker as well - After squeezing their legs together of course.

When my figures arrived, they were in somewhat nice looking packages. 

The only flaws, which you can't actually see in the photos was that the bottom of the bubbles were open. Since I was planning on opening them anyway, these were perfect for me.

I have to say, I'm really impressed with all of the details Kenner squeezed into each figure. Seriously, take a look at all of the hidden sculpting in the pants which you would miss on a glance.

Save the Humans with a smiley face. Love it. Though I am admittedly a little confused by the upside down question mark.

Yes, that's a tick tack toe game etched in Bill's right leg. Peak down at all the details in the shoes too.

The guitars are probably the most unappealing aspect to the figures, but still, they'll pass as acceptable.

Additionally, the heads on these figures are incredibly loose, while the remaining limbs are the absolute extreme opposite of tightness - To the point you can't move them for fear they'll snap off. For display purposes though, they'll achieve their goal of looking awesome.
I have to say, I'm quite honestly considering tracking down the remaining figures from this line; Abe Lincoln, Rufus, Billy the Kid, Genghis Khan and Grim Reaper. These figures are pretty fun.

Until then...

 Party on, dudes!

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It Wasn't San Diego...

...But, Fairfax Comic Con was a lot of fun.

I was there bright and early at 9:15 AM for a 10:00 AM opening, and got that ever wonderful privilege of standing in a line with excited enthusiasts all chatting among each other about what or who they were there to see, and what they were hoping to score.

The person I was behind struck up a conversation for the most part with my girlfriend. I nodded here and there, but quite honestly wasn't really interested in what he was saying. Something about Power Rangers and the actor Johnny Yong Bosch who was there signing autographs.

Admittedly, I kicked myself for leaving my New York Toy Fair Michelangelo from the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line at home as actor Greg Cipes was there giving out autographs. That would have been fantastic to get his John Hancock across the thing.

The only other name I recognized on the guest list was actor Greg Grunberg. And by name, mind you I really just mean the franchise he was in. Star Wars for those of you who don't know. He played one of the random X-Wing pilots in the Sequel Trilogy. Much like Power Rangers, I wasn't interested. As for the rest of the guests, you can check the list out HERE (for now anyway until the website gets taken down).

At 10:00 sharp, the doors flung open, and the line shuffled in to be treated to....

Another line! WOW!!!

Once we got through that line, we were finally free to enter the gates of the convention.

 For something called, Comic Con, it was interesting to note there were twice as many toy vendors as comic vendors, and twice as many miscellaneous vendors (shirts, swords, garbage, etc.) as toy vendors.

Once again, I didn't snap as many photos as I could have. My mind was on overload going from table to table. Where I remembered, I took a few.

This rack of comics was the first thing I stepped up to, and is key to a theme of items I picked up. I'll go into more details below when I show what I actually picked up.

It never ceases to both amaze and disappoint me how many vendors are inundated with 90's to current merchandise at these shows.

This was practically all any of the vendors had. Not much "vintage" stuff at all. Don't even get me started on the table after table stacked to the brim with Funko Pops.

This 1989 Batcave was very tempting, but at $200.00, I couldn't bring myself to take the plunge. Especially since I would have just opened it when I got home. With how pristine it was, this belonged to someone who was going to keep it mint in the box.

Just another random wall of recent toys...

Tosche Station was at the show, but admittedly they were pretty disappointing. Not only did it take them about four hours after the show started to even begin setting up, but when they did, their stock wasn't that impressive. In talking with the owner, he admitted he wasn't prepared for the show, and really just grabbed two car loads of random boxes to bring. He promised the store, which is opening next week (?), will have all kinds of good stuff.

You can't have a convention without cosplayers. There weren't as many as I would have expected to see, but the ones that came out were on par. I didn't harass too many for photos, but I grabbed a few here and there. Mind you, this was only about a third of them walking around.

 Cobra Viper - Actually a very nice young lady under that dome.

 Master Chief

 Spider-Man (one of three or four - but the best of them all)

 Dalek - I don't know how this "guy" got around the show in this thing


 Han and Leia...Sort of...Not the best cosplay I've seen of these characters


 Han Solo and Princess Leia...Better than above

You know you're not having any form of convention without the 501st showing up. They had their recruitment tables set up for both their Imperial and Rebellion legions.

Don't let the poses fool you. Those were real people in costume, not mannequins.

There were more Star Wars characters running around the show from the 501's, but I didn't want to get inundated with Star Wars photos - Beyond what I already was.

All the cosplayers I ran into, and actually asked for a photo, were super nice. Each one was willing to accommodate with a smile and a pose. Then again, I wasn't just shoving my camera in their face expectantly. It's always key to ask permission prior to snapping a photo, and not just assume people want to be bothered just because they're dressed up. Now that I mention it, that goes for dealer booths too. I always make it a point to ask before taking photos of what they're selling.

Among the tables, the patrons and cosplayers were three cars. Yes. Cars. Real size, real working cars. I took photos of two of the three, because I didn't know what the third one was.

I want to say there was a sign there that said the cars belonged to a group known as Carolina Cars (or something like that). Thus the Carolina tags on the vehicles.

I don't know what I loved more. The actual Volkswagen Bumblebee or the tape deck Blaster.

 Ah, the classic Mystery Machine! So iconic! You know this thing turns heads heading down the road.

I ended up spending about three to four hours at the show, and had a lot of fun picking through all the stuff available. There was plenty to choose from, and I ended up with quite the haul.

Though they weren't the first items I picked up, I stopped by Action Joe Comics & Collectibles, my go to vendor for G.I. Joe figures, to pick up the latest set he had specifically put together for me.

 Monkey Wrench*Iron Grenadier*Thrasher*Golobulus*Nemesis Enforcer

When Joe told me he had found a Golobulus for me (a couple weeks prior to the show), I had the foresight to pick up an appropriate action figure stand for him. Smart, huh? Five down, four to go on my Cobra list.

My Joe team also grew considerably with eight new figures!

Shipwreck*Beach Head*(Action Figure) Barbecue*Wild Bill*Cover Girl*Alpine*Tunnel Rat*Lady Jaye

Two questions. 1) How on Earth can Alpine climb anything carrying all of that stuff? 2) How did kids ever get their Tunnel Rat figure to stand back in the days before action figure stands with that honkin' huge pack? Third question...What is up with the Joe's and their purse accessories?

This puts a good dent in my Joe collection, but admittedly, there are still thirty-five of them I'm wanting to get to complete my desired set. It'll get there. It may even grow a little more once it does. You know, with those secondary figures one is always on the fence about.

It's important when you're selling stuff that you know not only what it is, but what you're asking for it. I picked up the below Cryptkeeper figure from a table, and while I wasn't particularly interested in him, I asked, "How much?"

"I have him priced at $10.00," the guy said. I look at the bottom of the package which says, $20.00 on a sticker and say, "Okay. I'll take him."

I put this guy up with my Beetlejuice figures, and happily, he fits right in.

 That's an impressive amount of detail in the face. Ace Novelty may not have lasted long as a company, but they certainly did good work. No mistaking who this guy is.

I also picked up another 1989 DC Super Hero to add to my collection of Batman 1989 movie toys.

Believe it or not, this little piece of string is what often times is missing from the figure when buying it loose.

Overall, this has to be one of the worst action figures I've ever seen in my life. Unless you actively seek to break the action feature in her arm, there's no way to put it down at her side. You'll forever be displaying "I Have A Question" Wonder Woman in your collection.

Remember that rack of comics I talked about in my first picture of vendor displays?

The main thing I went on the hunt for at Fairfax Comic Con was issue number one's from some of my all time favorite 80's properties. I found quite a few - Most of which cost a dollar.

 Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos*Blade Runner*Masters of the Universe

 A-Team*The Saga of Crystar: Crystal Warrior*Spiral Zone

 The Transformers*Thundercats*Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion

 Smurfs*Star Wars

I picked up other books from another source which I'll post about at a later date.

This is a "new" collection for me, and while I'm off to a great start, there are quite a few more books I'm on the hunt for. Sadly, comics based on 80's cartoons / toy lines aren't all that common at conventions because most people know they can only get a buck for them, and that's if they sell. There aren't too many collectors looking for the majority of them because quite honestly they weren't very good, both in terms of story and artwork, since they were only intended to be an extension of advertising to sell toys.

Still, these will bring a great amount of entertainment when I'm...You know...sitting on a throne.

I've got just one more thing to show you, and hopefully I saved the best for last in this post. The creme de la creme of my finds at the show, and one I was thrilled to walk out with.

Pristine mint condition Ninetendo Entertainment System Action Set in the box with all facets. I'll be setting this bad boy up, that's for sure. Too bad I won't be able to play Duck Hunt.

This version was of extra interest to me, because this was the exact version my mother bought my brother and I for Christmas back in the 80's. Sentimental, nostalgic and loads of fun all in one!

I won't say how much I paid for it, but I talked the guy down to a fair price (in my book). What was funny, was just as I finished haggling with the guy, someone else walked up and said, "Wow, Nintendo in the box for XXX dollars. That's a fantastic price!" To which I said, "I just bought that."

Part of the deal for the Nintendo was that I told the guy I would buy his boxed Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 for their requested price. I think this is what really solidified the deal.

I had a lot of fun today, and I came away with so much awesome stuff. Unfortunately, as my girlfriend pointed out, I'm running out of space in my toy room. I need to start considering getting a little more selective of what I buy, until I purchase another tall display case, because I refuse to collect stuff which will sit in a box in a closet. That's no fun.

Next stop, Tosche Station (mabey...if it ever opens) and VA Comic Con!

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