Masters of the Universe Day 2023 - Part III


Welcome to my final post for the day in celebration of Masters of the Universe Day. This final figure is one I have been trying to get for a long time. Pretty much since finishing my original lineup of Masters of the Universe figures.

Every time George and I would head out to a toy shop or convention, I would ask about it. Yet, oddly, nobody ever had a complete one. I finally had enough of looking in the wild, and settled for one on ebay. Boy am I glad I did! The guy I got this from had it in pristine condition, and packed it with the utmost care and respect.

She-Ra is the only figure from her vintage line that I had any interest in obtaining, and while this one doesn't have the brush, that's not a deal breaker for me by any means. I have zero interest in that part.

The key for me was to get the shield, sword, headgear, and cape. However, I never expected it to be as sharp as the one I ended up with.

I'm so happy to finally have this figure in my collection. For me, this is the perfect end to my Masters of the Universe Day. Well...With the exception of lunch.

No, it wasn't Robby's ribs, but these BBQ ribs and chicken give a subtle nod to the 1987 film, and close the day out nicely.

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Masters of the Universe Day 2023 - Part II


Welcome back to Masters of the Universe Day here at The Toy Box!

This next figure I've been holding onto for even longer than the movie figures showcased in my first post. I was hoping that further figures in the 40th anniversary would follow, but sadly that never came to be - Unless of course you paid out the nose for the SDCC exclusive two-pack.

I actually pre-ordered two of the 40th anniversary He-Mans, and when they arrived my plan was to put them in a case, one sealed, and one opened, with my Alan Oppenheimer signed complete DVD collection of the original series. Unfortunately, Mr. Oppenheimer ended up cancelling his appearance at Retro Con 2022, making me have to rethink what I was going to do. Ultimately, I decided I no longer needed both, and sent one to Alexis with my annual box o' stuff.

I also wanted a Battlecat for my He-Man, but didn't want to pay retail for the Origins version that was out. Patience paid off, and Entertainment Earth recently had a massive sale on them. Long story short, I was able to get two for the price of one, and sent one off to Alexis with the figure.

This is a solid figure, and I love the nod to the vintage accessories. The sculpt on the power sword is immaculate, down to the finest detail. Love it!

The inclusion of a holster for the sword was an appreciated detail.

With the exception of articulation, Battlecat hasn't evolved much from the original version. The joints were also very flimsy, and it often fell over as a result.

I clearly didn't take into consideration the size difference between the 40th anniversary He-Man figure versus the Origins ones. These scales are definitely off. Seeing this photo (below) just makes me wish all the more that Mattel made a 40th anniversary Battlecat.

Oh well...It's good enough (for now).

I've got one final post coming in the mid-evening, so check back for my final entry in celebration of Masters of the Universe Day!

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Masters of the Universe Day 2023 - Part I


Masters of the Universe Day is upon us again, and with it, I've curated three particular posts for the day. The first is what you have before you, and the other two will follow in the early afternoon and mid-evening.

I've been sitting on these items for quite a few months, waiting for the month of April to hit to finally open them.

Starting it all off are these two great figures from the Masterverse series from Mattel. 

I absolutely treasured the 1987 Masters of the Universe film from my childhood, and all I wanted at the time were the figures from Mattel to play with. While a few were released, Gwildor, Saurod, and Blade, because the film essentially tanked, that was all that came out.

When Masters of the Universe Classics came out, I completely missed grabbing the movie related figures, opting instead to stay out of the world of current toy lines. I've been looking at those figures ever since wishing I had taken the plunge on them. It didn't help that Mattel made the series incredibly frustrating for people to get.

Fortunately, Masterverse has me covered, well, at least with He-Man and Skeletor (for now). When I saw these figures announced I immediately pre-ordered them. I'm hoping beyond hope that they produce the remaining movie related characters, and even give us a Beast Man, Man-At-Arms and Teela this time around.

I like how the packages fit together to make a mural. It's too bad I have no interest in keeping packages.

Well, that's about it for the packaging. Let's bust those babies loose!

There's plenty of accessories here, and all the weapons have a place in various holsters.

Man...That head. So bad. Definitely not Dolph Lundgren. While I can appreciate them including an "original" head to swap out, that version simply doesn't go with the figure at all. So, unfortunately, we're stuck with what we have.

The details on the cape are impressive.

I had a bit of trouble getting the arms to move. The joint connected to the body simply doesn't want to move all that much.

Skeletor came with some great accessories. However, unlike He-Man, there are no holsters or hooks to put any of them on. That's such a downer when toy makers do that. Like we just want a bunch of loose accessories sitting around.

The details are fantastic, but the colors are all wrong. The films costume was black and blue, not brown and red. I would have much preferred that Mattel stay true to the source material.

Still, that head sculpt is pretty spot on. Of the two, it's the best feature.

Let this be their final battle!

Oops...Look's like Skeletor brought a knife to a gun fight!

Like I said, I hope we finally get a complete line of movie themed figures, screen accurate or not. It's been a long time coming, and I hope Mattel doesn't ditch the concept with just these two. I'm tired of lines that tease, but never fully commit.

But, for now, that wraps up this post. Come back later for my next post.

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Retro Spins: Belinda Carlisle - Belinda

After the breakup of the new wave band, Go-Go's (not THE Go-Go's as it is often mistakenly called), singer Belinda Carlisle turned her sites towards a solo career. Her first venture, the 1986 album, Belinda.

While the album did well, it was often compared to Carlisle's prior work with her now defunct band, and because of that, it may not have received the recognition it should have as a stand alone album. This, however, didn't impede it's overall success. The album would go on to rank number 13 in America.

Personally, I'm not too versed in the singer. I know Mad About You, Heaven Is A Place On Earth and Circles In The Sand. Of these, only one track is actually on this record, respectfully, Mad About You. As I listened to the album for the first time, I find myself continuously chuckling. Not because the lyrics were necessarily cheesy, which they are, but rather because I kept comparing Belinda Carlisle's voice to that of a bleating goat. Seriously, you think Stevie Nicks is bad? Listen to Carlisle.

Though there wasn't much to this album which hit the right notes for me, I admittedly was strangely drawn into the ballad, Since You've Gone. Something about the instrumentation, combined with her singing, really sucked me in.

I Need A Disguise also stuck out, but not in a, "Hey, I like that song," kind of way. Instead something about it sounded familiar to me. It was when I looked it up that I pinpointed why. It was the voice of Bangles singer, Susanna Hoffs in the background. It was also at that time I felt the song felt very much so in the manner of a Bangles song. This would be because not only was Hoffs a co-writer of the track, but it was also intended to be used on one of that group's albums.

Overall, I'm definitely not going to be a fan of Belinda Carlisle. Then again, I'm not a fan of her band Go-Go's either, so I'm not sure why I would have though I would be.

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Big Lick NOVA 2023! Part I: Preparations and Day I Entry


Before we start, you may have noticed this post is part 1. That is because there is so much to be shown on this one that multiple posts are going to be required to do so. How many? Well, that's the part I don't yet know.

April 15 and 16, 2023 played host to Big Lick NOVA 2023, and my oh my was it a show I'm glad I had the opportunity to go to! So many celebrities, comic creators, and more were there to provide a fan experience, hosting panels, selling autographs, merchandise, and in general, interacting with people.

Comic vendors were set up in droves, selling boxes upon boxes of back issues. Toy vendors equaled the comic vendor numbers, providing numerous vintage and "new" toys for the plastic enthusiasts in the crowd.

Various independent creators were also on hand, far outweighing the comic and toys vendors. With them they brought their self published comics and novels, as well as artwork. Cups, mugs, pillows, plush, shirts, and everything in between and beyond could be found. If it was pop culture, Big Lick showcased it.

I spent both days at the convention, maximizing every moment of it, but still managing to miss quite a bit, both in terms of seeing everything, and missing things to get signed. There was just so much, that two days simply wasn't enough.

Preparation for my trip started months in advance, first with purchasing two weekend passes. I then spent a lot of time pulling countless books from my personal collection, and dredged through ebay looking for things I wanted to purchase and bring with me. I became hyper fixated on all things Big Lick, and this consumed a lot of my time. In hindsight, I can definitely see that my actions were those of an addict.

I had hoped that going to Galaxycon 2023 at the end of March would help stave my bipolar / OCD hyper focus, but this seemed to only fuel it more. This in turn made the final two weeks of waiting all the more excruciating. I think this in turn led to me spending so much time pouring through books.

I pulled so many that I quickly found myself with a literal suitcase full of them. You would have thought I was packing for a trip, instead of just driving twenty minutes down the road. There must have been two to three hundred comics in there.

The day finally came, and off we went down the road to the local Dulles Expo Center. My girl and brother all in tow, with G.I. Jigsaw a few miles behind. In addition to helping me get books signed, my girl brought with her the Aaron Walking Dead Funko Pop she got with her Supply Drop to get signed by Ross Marquand. My brother, on the other hand, came to help get books signed, and required incentive. I purchased his tickets, ripped a few CD's for him, and put music on his thumb drive.

Wait, you may say. Why would you need people to help you get autographs? Wouldn't to want to get these yourself and actually meet the people. Well, yes, of course. But, there was a reason, and I'll go into more of that in a later post in this series.

Based on last year, we thought that arriving one hour early would have been sufficient to be first in line. However, this was not the case, and we actually arrived about an hour and a half early. Still, we were close enough.

After they shuffled us to the other side of the building, we also found out that a lot of the younger crowd in the front were there for a Pokemon tournament. While we were still behind a few people, in the long run, it was only eight to ten. Much like last year, we got treated to rain while waiting.

The doors were finally opened, five minutes past their scheduled time, and inside we went. Heavily agenda drive to get my autographs completed, I snapped very few pictures.

I would later in the day, and during the second day take more, but again, still managed to miss so much due to time constraints. I also went the completely wrong way upon entering, only to find out that the autographs I was there for were fifty feet to the left of where I originally started. Oops.

Upon seeing all the creators I was there to meet, my excitement went into overdrive. But, that's where we'll continue next time...

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Retro Spins: ABC - How To Be A...Zillionaire!

I'm no expert when it comes to ABC. I know the hits, they're okay, and I wanted to add them to my vast collection of 80's albums. But, an album you don't listen to serves about as much use as a comic book you don't read, so today was the day I busted out ABC's How To Be A...Zillionaire!

It's very 80's sounding. In fact, it may be too 80's sounding. This could very well be a perfect example of why people from latter eras of music don't understand why people rave so much about my favorite era of tunes. As big a fan as I am, this album has not aged well. I'm sure it was cutting edge in 1985. However, in 2023, it's very retro sounding.

Now with that said, I won't outright call this a terrible album. For me, it was very nostalgic feeling, and because of this, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Granted, I didn't swoop up a bunch of tracks for my IPOD shuffle. I really only needed Be Near Me, Vanity Kills and How To Be A Millionaire.

If you're a fan of synthpop in abundance, then this could be an album worth checking out for you. However, if you're one of those people questions why people like 80's music, this one should definitely be skipped.

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Movies Of The 80's - 1989



As an 80's music aficionado, I've found myself interested as of late in the world of 80's soundtracks. Be it scores, or various artist albums, I'm always on the lookout for a CD to add to my collection.

Of course, there are the staples. Top Gun, Footloose, Flashdance, Ghostbusters, and the list goes on and on. These albums have been a mainstay in my collection since relatively the start of it. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I wanted to dive deeper.

The problem I quickly found was that while searching based on films that popped into my head randomly, I wasn't necessarily delving very far. After mulling it around for a while, I finally broke down and decided that to truly find just what was out there, I first had to educate myself on what films were out there.

It took months of cataloging, which was based on limited time between work and other obligations, but finally I was able to reach the finish line. Utilizing links to Wikipedia by year denoting the List of American Films of (insert year here), I created a series of posts with each movie poster, ad, or some form of representation for made for television movies, to have a reference guide. Now I could truly begin my search into just what soundtracks were out there.

Not wanting all this work to go to waste, I decided I would take the next several weeks to present to you the Movies of the 80's! We've already looked at the freshman year of the decade, and it continues here with 1989.

It's been nine weeks of eights movie posters, and it's time to wrap up the decade with 1989. I've also started buying up some great soundtracks as I've finding them, but that's another post for another time. For now, let's take a look at the films of the final year of the 80's.

Part five was by far the last film in the Elm Street series, but the Dream Child did bring back survivor Alice from the prior installment. Freddy gets down and dirty, using her unborn child's dreams to attack and kill Alice's friends.

I really didn't understand The Abyss as a child, and honestly, I never got around to watching it as an adult to see if it really is as good as people profess. I did, however, purchase the soundtrack recently.

All Dogs Go To Heaven was never one of my favorite animated films. It was okay, but it just didn't have that polish that Disney was bringing to the table in the 80's.

It's interesting that The Abyss went over my head, but Always resonated with me as kid. It's one of the last great true love stories of the decade.

Who would of thought that Back to the Future would finally get a sequel in 1989? I certainly didn't. I always felt cheated by part two because it literally was just a retelling of the first film, with a splash of new stuff. Of the three in the series, it's my least favorite.

Batman brought back the excitement of super hero films not seen since the original Christopher Reeves Superman films. Michael Keaton remains my favorite Batman of all time. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Jack Nicholson's Joker. Don't get me wrong, he was great in the roll, but Heather Ledger killed it.

I remember my mom taking my brother and I to see Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in the theater. While we kids laughed and laughed, my mother couldn't get over how stupid the two were.

Born On the Fourth of July is an iconic film, but I honestly didn't get it as a kid. Sadly, this too is one I never circled back to as an adult. War movies in general don't interest me.

Highly underrated, The Burbs is one of Tom Hanks' finest. It's also one of the last good performances from Corey Feldman before falling into obscurity.

My mom took me to the theater to see the film Dad. I'm not sure how I ended up being a part of her movie theater trip, but I remember being bored to death.

I didn't see Dead Poet Society until my late teen years, and I honestly didn't see what all the fuss was about.

The Dream Team is a movie I vaguely remember when I see the movie poster, but beyond them all taking a road trip, I don't remember much about it.

I tried watching Dream A Little Dream when it was streaming a year or two ago. I couldn't get into it, despite being led by the two Corey's.

Baseball plus slow premise didn't hit any notes with me. As such, while I saw bits and pieces of Field of Dreams, I haven't made it from start to finish.

I am, however, seeing a ton of movies that I own soundtracks for, despite not seeing them all.

Jason Takes Manhattan was initially thought to be the last Friday the 13th film in the series. Being the eighth film in the series meant it had long since missed its opportunity to bow out gracefully, and then it went on to beat that dead horse even further with progressively worse films.

Ghostbusters II gets a lot of flack for being a "bad" sequel, and I don't get why. Not only is the film great, but the soundtrack is superb!

Much like Friday the 13th's final entry in the decade, part five of Halloween was also thought to be the last film. Much like the aforementioned series, it was far from over.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids makes me angry. Not because it's a bad film, but because it, and its sequels were essentially the last films we got from icon, Rick Moranis. Sadly, the death of his wife led to the actor winding down his career, so I guess it's a good thing he got so much money from the franchise to never have to work again.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade should have been the last Indy film. Admittedly, I was never a fan of the series, but the third film was definitely the best of all of them.

What a misstep The Karate Kid III was. The first two will always be far superior, with the third being skip-able all day long.

I watched the Lethal Weapon films backwards. Mainly because it took the third film for me to appreciate the franchise.

Does anyone remember the plot for License To Kill? Cause I don't. I feel like it was a typical throw away plot, villain and Bond film.

Who remembers the controversy of the original clam shell The Little Mermaid VHS? That was how I first saw this movie, when my sister owned her own copy. Great film!

Little Monsters...Not a great film.

In my teenage years I had my own personal joke that the next installment of the Look Who's Talking franchise would be, "Who the F*** Keeps Talking?" Of course, by this point there were already three unnecessary films in the series.

I've seen bits and pieces of Major League, and would like to see the film in its entirety. I'm just waiting for it to come to streaming. Too bad that I'm whittling down my streaming services as of the beginning of the year, and my options are disipating.

I could watch the first three Vacation films every year, and never get tired of them. I just did so again last December. Classics!

As kids, my brother and I were so excited to see No Holds Barred. Great when you're a ten year old. Idiotic when you think about it in hindsight.

When my family sat down to watch Parenthood, I expected to be laughing non-stop at the Steve Martin led family film. I was not...Well, with the exception of the Cowboy Gil scene.

The writing was on the wall by Police Academy six that the franchise had outstayed its welcome. It's second to Mission to Moscow as my least favorite in the series.

When I got big into comics, The Punisher became a mainstay in my VHS collection. Dolph Lundgren played some of my all time favorite characters as a kid, Ivan Drago, He-Man, and now Frank Castle. The story was messy, for sure, but that didn't stop me from watching it often.

Roadhouse was the movie that made me realize that things were changing "physically" for me. Kelly Lynch...Oh my.

She-Devil wasn't for me. Sure, Rosanne was big money back then, but a movie star, she was not.

Shocker may have been the last horror flick I saw from the era. It wasn't your traditional scary monster story, but it was definitely a slasher flick.

People often look at me like I'm crazy when I say Star Trek V is the best in the franchise. It takes everything that was the series, to boldly go where no man has gone before, and adds all the big budget and action that the films were famous for.

I saw Tango and Cash, and while I remember parts of it, the scene that stands out the most is where Cash's birthday is stated as being August 16th, my birthday!

I don't know if I remember the film Turner and Hooch.

Poor UHF. It was one of my favorite films of the year, but simply couldn't compete with the likes of Batman, Ghostbusters II, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The film was supposed to save Orion Studios, but instead only helped pave the way to its demise when filmgoers favored the other noted blockbusters.

Do I like John Candy? I don't know. He was okay in some things, but he was never one of my favorites of the decade. Uncle Buck was kind of forgettable.

I saw the War of the Roses as a teenager, but I'd be lying if I said I was watching it for the story. I was hoping to see things...and that never happened. This was before the internet could have told me not to waste my time.

The Wizard, so bad it's good. Northing short of a commercial for Super Mario Bros. 3, and iconic to kids everywhere as one of the greatest films of all time...until we grew up and knew better. It's odd how much original VHS cassettes go for.

Well, that looks like it wraps up 1989, and my series on films of the decade. Now it's time to get busy on tracking down soundtracks. But, like I said above, that's a post for another time. 

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