Friday, August 13, 2010

Treasures of the Printed Page

As a child, toys were a large part of my life. Occupying a portion of the rest of my free time was reading, and based on some of the treasures I have unearthed I had some interesting choices in terms of literary material. Especially the first item.

That's right folks! I've got the Disney Adventures issue from March of 1993, and boy are there some interesting articles in here. First, we've got an interview with the cover boy, Tim Allen, who at the time had one of the most popular shows on television, Home Improvement. Surprisingly, there is no mention of his drug induced run in with the law.

The interview consists of the editors lobbing softball questions at him. Not exactly hard hitting journalism, but hey, this magazine was targeted at the 7-13(?) year old crowd, not subscribers to The New Yorker.

Another portion of the magazine is devoted to the history of Vikings. To my shock there are some rather creepy images, that I could never imagine Disney printing in a kid's mag. Like this...

Yep, that's Loki the Trickster God, with his mouth sewn up


A random Viking with a look of utter fear on his face

And finally...

Viking hero Balder getting killed with an arrow

Good job Disney! Three images that will be forever burned into the retinas of vulerable, developing children.

The rest of the magazine is devoted to classic children's magazine filler, done Disney style. We have a section on how volcano's are made. Three seperate comic sections devoted to Tailspin, the Dinosaurs(good lord I can't escape them), and Darkwing Duck(images below).

Another staple of the kid's magazine market; the video game review section.

Unfortunately, for one of the tips for Sewer Shark, they forgot to include:"Don't buy this game."

There are also these cool Lego trading cards, higlighting some of the coolest sets at the time, including Ice Station Odyssey, Aerial Intruder, Solar Snooper, and one of the coolest spaceship sets, Deep Freeze Defender.

And finally we have the puzzle section of the mag. One game has kids figuring out words that begin with the letters BUN. One of the clues is small cottage. It took me a second to figure out that it's bungalow. Seriously Disney? You expect third graders to know the word bungalow?

I was going to highlight some other books, but I found way too much good stuff in this Disney mag. I'm working on the next piece as we speak. Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cannon Fodder!

Quick post about the aformentioned cannon fodder that littered the battle field and gave my friends and I some of the funniest moments of our toy playing days. Generally, the CF's were composed of figures that were gifts from distant relatives or from a seemingly oblivious Santa Claus. Ladie's and Gentlemen, here are your losers!

(Lurch,unknown batguy,Charlene,Honker Muddlefoot,Earl,Fester)*

* I had to look up the Darkwing and Dinosaurs series for Honker's and Charlene's names. More frightening, when I originally found Earl, his name instantly came to me. More then likely caused by his numerous, hilarious deaths nearly twenty years ago.

Another pic of the eternally doomed

As you can see these are some of the lamest figures any kid could get. Two figures each(!) from the Addams Family and Dinosaurs. Along with the nerdt kid from Darkwing Duck and some weird, one eyed bat thing. Needless to say they all suffered crippling death after crippling death. Especially Earl. Usually he would accidently bump into one of the more powerful character's on the battlefield before getting absolutely annihilated. Out of these freaks, only Lurch had a chance of killing a rival figure.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The journey ahead...

Hey everyone. My name's Matt,a beloved child of the 80's, and recently my parents asked me to help them clean out their crawlspace, a dumping ground of virtually everything I owned as a kid. Knowing valuable items from my childhood, teens, and early twenties resided deep within the musty depths, I jumped at the chance to dig out the toys, books, and other goodies that helped get me through the first twenty or so years of life.

The mouth of the beast

As you can see the road ahead is paved with sealed plasic totes from ages past. I couldn't wait to dig in an find the forgotten. On a side note I had undertaken a similar task, the year prior, but had given up due to outside circumstances. I was able to dig through and organize two containers, seperating them into books/papers, toys, and unsuprisingly legos. The following pictures are the result of last years "dig".

Box o' Action Figures

Don't wory if you can't quite make out what goodies are in the box. I seperated out distinct sets and photographed them. Here they are!

First up is the supremely cool(ironic)figure of Iceman from the early nineties X-Men figure line. Not only do I have the figure, but I was able to keep the ice sled as well. I loved how they used a clear plastic for the body to give good ol' Bobby Drake that realistic body of ice feel.

I know, I know. The two figures above were probably made nearly ten years apart, but for some reason their color schemes just fit well together. On the left is Stinkor, from the He-man line(No smell left though.) Next to him is Venom from the Marvel line of "talking figures". By talking I mean they had this giant grey electronic backpack(?) that had four different audio recordings of the character. My personal favorite for Venom? "I want to eat your brains!" Sadly the backpack is nowhere to be found. Perhaps it is buried deepr in the crawlspace.

What 80's child could live a complete life without going through a TMNT phase. If memory serves me correct, my obsession lasted around three years. But in those three years, I ate, drank, slept, watched and lived TMNT. In this collection of figures(starting from the left), we have Ray Fillet(a top pick in the thousands of action figure drafts my friends and I would have)1*, Usagi Yojimbo, Metalhead(missing his hand, oops), and uber fan favorite Michaelangelo.2*

1* I will make numerous references to the Draft. So for those that have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll break it down for you. As kids, me and my group of friends had massive collections of figures. Unfortunately, the figures came from numerous toy lines. In order to fully utilize the awesomeness of playing with them, we would basically put all the different figures into a giant pool, and take turns drafting them for our armies. You'd have your generals, your foot soldiers, and probably the most fun, the cannon fodder. The cannon fodders were used mostly to attack your opponents base, and die at the hands of your opponents most powerful soldiers, in the mosr ridiculously, horrifically, funny ways. There was always an unspoken rule that the cannon fodder could not beat or kill any other figures including other cannon fodder. In the event that two CF's(I'll call them that from now on) fought, me and my friends would always figure out someway where they accidently killed themselves, usually by clumsily falling off of high ledges, or accidently blowing themselves up. There was something diabollically evil and fun in having your weakest character pick a fight with a general, and then watching them get absolutely eviscerated. Good times. Anyways, back to the dig!

2*I was always a Leonardo guy though(probably the second most popular, but way behind you know who) I only knew one guy who liked Raphael the best, and I could never understand how anyone could like him best. I vaguely remember Raphael being whiny and kind of a hard ass.

Big Mike is riding one of the coolest vehicles from TMNT, the Psycho Cycle(Although it's missing a menacing vulture that connected to the top of the seat). Finally we have the two villains of the photo, Rocksteady(who had the coolest collection of weapons in TMNT figure history. He had a giant knife, a huge machine gun, and mancover shield) and Rat King, who had a pretty impressive assortment of weapons himself.

I wanted to bring up the Draft specifically in anticipation of this guy here, Slash. When I got him, I basically convinced my friends that Slash was like all four turtles rolled into one,making him at the time one of the most powerful figures in our wars. Plus I loved his cool coloring and his collection of weapons made him the ultimate badass. Unless he was outnumbered 5 to 1, Slash was usually one of the few figures left standing when that day's war had ended. Not surprisingly, Slash was always one of my general's. After a while it was clear that each of my friends had a figure that was particularly close to them. Mine was Slash, one guy's was the Hulk, another guy's was Snake Eyes. One guy even chose MonStar from Silverhawk's over and over again based on his immense size. So we finally just decided we automatically got those guys as our "leader", and drafted the rest.