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It has been almost literally decades since I’ve last seen this item, but my memory of the sight of it has been with me all this time. And now, here it is again, after all these years, recovered by Ralph from one of the boxes in his office, is the Batman-Colored-As-Robin-More-or-Less blue plastic whistle:
Don’t know anything about it, don’t know how old it is (probably from the ’70s, if not earlier), no idea how much it’s “worth” (everyone asks me if it’s expensive, I’m guessing “no”), but it’s certainly dirty and the stickers (one on each side) have seen better days.
This is almost, but not quite, proto-Batman of Zur-En-Arrh merchandise.
So let’s gaze long into this abyss:
…which is just one of the boxes recently donated to our shop last week…the remnants of what was once another comic book store’s stock. The previous owners tired of these multiple boxes of comics and toys occupying space in their storage, and thus they now occupy space in our
Well, okay, not all of the boxes. The acquisition of any large collection usually results in a small percentage of the received items being desirable, usable items, and the greater portion mostly being stuff like this. The jury is still out on how much of this collection will be of use to us, since we’re still going through it. My first pass through resulted in about half of the comics going straight to the bargain bins — so long, Brigade! — while we’re still going through the other half which is just on the threshold of possibly being sellable items. It’s mostly late ’80s – mid ’90s material, but there are plenty of Valiant titles, Amazing Spider-Man issues, some Deadpool, and other goodies that are in enough demand to warrant some double-checking prior to consigning them to bargain-box purgatory.
That’s just the comics. The toys, on the other hand, were packed haphazardly into a handful of beaten-up cardboard boxes, and if they were intended for sale before, the condition they’re in now make most of them pretty much useless. I half-suspect some rough playing with the toys occurred after the removal from the store, because there sure are a lot of limbless and otherwise busted figures in there.
But then again, that particular box pictured above was marked “ACTION FIGURE ACCESSORIES – $0.25 EACH” so maybe they just had a bunch of used toys they were trying to unload for anything, and now I guess it’s my turn. I briefly though about trying to match up some of the bits ‘n’ pieces in that cardboard box with the action figures in the other boxes, but I’m too close to death to use up my precious remaining minutes doing that.
The box did contain a few of these fellas:
…the Iszs or Iszes or Iszeseses or whatever from The Maxx
, presented here in 1 1/4-inch tall bendable-arms form. These had originally been packaged with Maxx action figures, but I didn’t see any of those in the boxes. Apparently there was a bag of Isz figurines
once available from the McFarlane Toys fan club, so maybe that’s where they all came from.
Also in the box was a canister of this stuff:
…and since the picture is a bit blurry, thanks to my fantastic camera skills, I shall read the label to you, which says “ALIENS OOZE PLAY GEL – slimy ooze traps unsuspecting prey!” Sadly, this item dates from 1994, and a perusal of the gel within:
…shows us that its slimy days of trapping unsuspecting prey are long behind it. Maybe you can bean your prey upside the head by tossing that hard-rubbery lump at it.
As long as I’ve got your attention, it occurs to me that it’s been a long time since I’ve trolled any of you. So…
…there you go.
Like I said, we’re still digging through these boxes, so I may yet find more goodies of interest to show you. Like this Image Comics editorial preview package from 1995:
…which should prove to be equal parts nostalgic, hilarious, and depressing, so let’s all look forward (or backward!) to that.
Someone had brought a bag of toys and action figures by the store over the weekend, possibly for us to sell on consignment for her on the eBay. She didn’t leave the bag with us, as she wanted to think about it some more, so sadly I didn’t get to take my own photos of one of the toys within. Thus, I ransacked some other innocent eBay auctions for the images that follow:
This particular series of action figures date from the ’90s, which we didn’t carry in our shop at the time and therefore I didn’t have much exposure to them. I was struck by just how odd-looking this particular Pirate Joker figure was, having not seen it before.
The Legends of Batman series
had a number of pirate-themed Bat-figures, inspired by this “Elseworlds” annual
from ’94 (from which “The Laughing Man” sobriquet on the Joker figure had its origin). A Pirate Two-Face, a First Mate Robin…all the series needed was a Bat-pirate ship accessory, with a Batty Roger flag flying from the mast.
Here is your slightly more-gothy variant. There’s probably a Johnny Depp reference to be made here as well, what with people wanting him to be the Joker, and the whole Captain Jack Sparrow thing, and back, back from the event horizon of this pop-culture black hole, damn your eyes!
“Yo ho, yo ho, a Joker’s life for me”
Anyway, I was amused by the existence of this figure, and thought I’d share.
(images from these eBay auctions)
Well, okay, technically this isn’t from the back room, but rather from a recently acquired collection of stuff, things, items and doodads, but man, I had no idea this even existed:
The Chewbacca Bandolier Strap
from 1983, where you can, I don’t know, strap it to your body and act out some weird Star Wars-ian twist on Dr. Shrinker
with Peter Mayhew in the place of Jay Robinson?
Here’s a closer look at the picture on the box, with
the victims your Star Wars pals in place:
Chewie looks a little freaked out there, understandably so since he’s trapped in a giant version of his own sole piece of clothing.
I dared to open the box, seeing as it was barely being held shut by dried-out masking tape and not exactly “mint,” and here’s what I found inside:
In case you’re wondering, yes, I did briefly contemplate donning this item and posing for pictures for the site, but 1) this bandolier is darned small, and I’m not even sure it would have fit around my neck, much less my torso, and 2) surely there are enough terrible pictures of me on the Internet already. Oh, and 3)
…those little foam packing pieces wedged into the belt are thirty years old and have become surprisingly flaky and sticky and not something I want coming in contact with my fancy dress shirts. Or my bare chest, not that I thought about taking Chewbacca bandolier photos like that. At all.
Anyway, here’s a better look at the bandolier in action:
Chewbacca’s the one on the right.
Here’s everything else in the box…a catalog, the two pouches, and a decal sheet with stickers for said pouches:
There’s probably a bra joke there, but I’m not going to make it.
“…and definitely not weed. Do not put your weed in the pouches!”
“IT’S A SNAP!”
In case you need an adult-sized Chewbacca bandolier, well, a quick Googling reveals lots of people making and selling replicas, but of course you can always just make your own
So the other night I saw that The Omen was on Netflix Watch Instantly, and I realized a couple of things. One, it had been years since I’ve seen it…in fact, I probably wasn’t any more than about 10 years old, and I probably only saw parts of it on whatever local pay-cable channel we had as a precursor to HBO at the time. Two, my memories of the movie were primarily of the Mad Magazine parody from issue #189 (March 1977):
Actually, that’s not the panel burned into my head, but the ones specifically concerned with the fate of David Warner’s character, which might be a bit much to hit you with without any warning, so I picked that panel above as being a little more representative of the parody as a whole.
I wonder how many more movies and TV shows with which I have passing familiarity mostly because of the Mad parodies, versus actually seeing the darned things. I keep meaning to get around to watching A Clockwork Orange, which, yeah, I know, I haven’t seen it yet, I’m a bad person, but I’ll tell you I still have images from the George Woodbridge-illustrated Mad parody stuck in my brain. And since it seems like I’ll never get around to actually watching Blade Runner, I should find its Mad parody and just settle for that.
Anyway, speaking of what happens to David Warner’s character, I thought I’d be a smart guy and post this to the Twitter the other night:
I thought I’d just remembered the images from the Mad
parody involving this scene, but apparently I remembered the joke, too, since I apparently just up and stole it. (Not the “pageboy haircut is adorable” part, but the “losing your head” part. Though David Warner is
adorable in this movie.)
Another thing I hadn’t remembered about the film is that Patrick Troughton, Doctor Who‘s Second Doctor, has a significant part:
…Which of course caused me to make Yet Another Obvious Twitter Joke™:
Yes, I think I’m hilarious
…And this has been another installment of “What Mike Does in His Spare Time.”
• • •
A couple of you had more questions from the other day
, re: Spawn and related merchandise:
“…Have you covered the ‘party Angela’ phenomenon?”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, I’m going to strip away your innocence forever: McFarlane Toys produced an action figure of Spawn supporting character Angela (the warrior angel character created by Neil Gaiman), but, alas, lacked the paint job beneath the figure’s loin-armor or whatever that is to give her warrior angel-appropriate undergarments. Thus, this figure, and, according to my brief-but-probably-getting-me-on-watch-lists Googling, other figures that have similarly gone commando are referred to as “party” figures. And in case you’re wondering, that term does seem more appalling the more you think about it. …I remember a brief hubbub about it at the time, but it seemed to die down once people realized they were getting overly excited about a toy not having paint-panties, and hopefully that nipped it in the bud. Well, except on eBay, where no bud is ever nipped.
Tim O’Neil asks
“What about modern sales of Spawn? Has the series picked up new readers since it entered its 20 year anniversary with all the variant covers and such?”
I haven’t seen any real boost in sales, no…I think we may have gained a new reader or two on the series, but otherwise sales have been very consistent as a low-to-mid range seller. During 2010, when only four issues were released, that may have…well, “put the nail in the coffin” is a bit strong. Maybe “pushed it down the stairs” is more like it.
• • •
COMING NEXT WEEK: Yes, I’ll probably talk about Swamp Thing
#0, don’t nag me. Also, more comic book talk! Maybe! And not so much about the pogs
In response to Monday’s post, where I rambled on at length about Spawn toys and their lack of secondary-market interest, readers Corey and Doc Arkham brought up the first issue of the Spawn comic book. To quote Doc, in his response to Corey’s comment about Spawn #1’s ease of sale:
“Spawn #1 is an easy sell, but every 90s collection is almost guaranteed to have at least one copy in it. It’s such a readily available resource that it doesn’t even figure into an offer price.”
I see early Spawns all the time. In fact, I purchased part of a collection at the shop yesterday, but passed on those very Spawns. Spawn comics, especially #1, are among those where far more people are interested in selling them to me than buying them from me. (Kinda like sets of Marvel trading cards, but that’s a story for another time.) I do sell those #1s on occasion, but too often people who ask about it are trying to price their own copies and are often amazed that it isn’t hundreds of dollars. Now, Spawn comics from about issue 50 to 100 or so…those I could use.
To clarify some of my comments from Monday…yes, while a lot of McFarlane toy sets warm the pegs quite nicely, there are certain figures I could always use. Some of the more famous modern monster figures, like Freddy Krueger or Jason, I could sell those all day. Or this Six Faces of Madness series…that was an enormously popular set. Or Spawn. Not “Medieval Spawn” or “Spawn as He Appeared on the Cover of Issue # Whatever” or Wings of Redemption Spawn. Just plain ol’ Spawn, with the chains and the big cape, as he appeared in that first issue. I could probably sell those.
As for the Todd McFarlane figure, Heli has this to say:
“Unless I’m mistaken, that figure was actually originally thrown in with some Spawn movie playset or other as ‘the bum,’ and then carded and resold through the club.”
That did stir some ancient memories in my tired brain, and that set was Spawn Alley. That linked page includes the note that the “Todd the Bum” figure (pictured here) was only in the sets distributed through Diamond Comics. My memory was that the movie playsets were actually produced at a smaller scale than the standard Spawn figures (like at about 3 inches), while that Collector’s Club figure was at the usual 6-inch Spawn scale. However, the “Todd the Bum” and Todd McFarlane figures are the same sculpt (with different color schemes), even if they are, possibly, if I’m recalling correctly, different sizes. Please correct me if any of you out there know for certain. I know the Spawn.com listings have them at the 6-inch scale, but I’m certain at least one of those sets was at a smaller scale.
One final comment, from the amazingly-named Suckmaster Burstingfoam:
“Do you really wear a toupée? Interesting.”
To paraphrase an old David Letterman joke…if I needed a toupée, would I buy one that looked like this?
Well, technically, today’s toy isn’t from the back room, where lurk even more toys both terrifying and depressing, but from a collection essentially dumped on us at the shop about a week ago.
I generally don’t buy secondary-market toys for the shop from collections. I mean, if something really cool and hard-to-find came in, sure, I’d buy it. But alas, like an old man telling me he has 1940s comics for sale and I look in the box and it’s Bloodlines annuals, every time I’m told “I have a bunch of really old toys for sale” it’s an endless parade of Spawn action figures. And frankly, the one endless parade of Spawn action figures already residing in our storage is enough, thank you.
Old McFarlane figures are very hard sells…well, I mean, there are the “hot” figures, only distributed one per case, or the few sets where most of the figures do command some collector interest. But 99% of the time, it’s, like, this guy. And even the Spawn figures from the very first series, which you’d think would be sought after, took literally years to sell after we picked up a few in a collection, mostly because, compared to the newer Spawn lines, that first series looks tame and unimpressive.
So, yeah, I don’t tend to buy a lot of old toys. But like I said way back when, back in the ancient times up there at the beginning of this post, I recently ended up with a handful of McFarlane figs, and I now have to figure out what to do with them. By which I mean, “throw on the eBay with low starting bids.” And as McFarlane figures go…these might sell. The Blair Witch and Candyman figures seem to get a variety of prices on eBay, and this Kaneda Akira figure hopefully will sell…but I remember having all these before and not having much auction luck with them. But, who knows, maybe things are slightly different now. And it’s not like I have a whole lot of money tied up in them.
And then there’s this figure:
Yup, Todd McFarlane his own self, immortalized in plastic and, once upon a time in the late 1990s, available exclusively through his Collector’s Club thingie. And sure, one could make fun, but I tell you, if I had my own
action figure company, you’re darned tootin’ I’d have a figure made of myself. “ACTION MIKE, with Diet Coke and Stylish Toupée Accessories.”
Anyway, get a load of this handsome bastard:
The included “sketch” features a message with which we, as a people, can all agree:
And here is a close-up of one of his powerful gloved hands, which I’m featuring for no good reason beyond being amused at the idea that he’s out there street-fighting when not managing his Spawn empire:
So, yeah, ol’ Todd’s goin’ on the eBay, where, judging by past performance there, I might get a sawbuck. Or maybe some Loonies. Who can say?
Before you ask…no, I don’t know why Todd’s face is all slashed and blood-splattered on the figure’s backing. …Other than meeting certain levels of expectation, I suppose.
ALL YOUR COMMTECH CHIPS
Context, if you insist.
So here’s a thing I didn’t know existed until it turned up in these boxes of another store’s stock we recently acquired:
The Manara Game
(published in 2000) uses the artwork of Italian comics creator Milo Manara, and if you’re not familiar with the man’s work, you can see some generally not-safe-for-work samples right here
. And, as one might expect, the game itself uses some not-safe-for-work artwork, though here I present a few cards that are somewhat less naughty:
The came is comprised of 54 regular cards (9 groups of six, each group with a different colored border), and a “special card” that features an image of Manara’s signature and, of course, a nekkid lady. The point of the game is shuffling and swapping the cards around with the goal of getting three of the same color group in your hand, the specific rules of which I won’t get into here. And I’m not entirely sure what purpose the Manara signature card serves…it seems like if anyone gets it, you just get dealt another card, and you keep the card for an extra point when scores are tallied, I think.
And then, keeping with the overall theme of nakedness on most of the cards, the endgame is as follows:
“Once the points have been added up it must be established how many articles of clothing each opponent must remove. Each player must remove as many articles of clothing as the difference between the points he or she has scored and those scored by the winner.
“It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go to establish when the game ends and if you want to play another game.”
Er, yeah. So much for playing this at the family Christmas gathering, I guess.
It’s a nice looking game, at least…the cards are attractive, with some well-chosen imagery. Not just of naked gals, as I said, but there is the occasional naughty nun, so your mileage may vary. And here is the card back:
And that’s the Manara Game
, which just goes to show me that I can still be surprised by things in the comics industry. Also, I forgot to mention that one of the rules of the game is that when you get your three of a kind, you’re supposed to call out “Manara!” I find this hilarious for no reason I can easily pin down.
Well, it’s not really a “toy” as the term is generally used, and it’s not an item that’s been sitting around in our backroom for years and years (it’s from a box of another store’s stock dumped at our shop), so I’m abusing the title a bit, I guess. But it’s certainly a misfit item:
I don’t know if anyone’s still doing the mini CD-ROM “multimedia collector cards” thing, but I seem to recall a number of releases along these lines about ten years ago. (My particular favorites were the randomly-packed “chase card” die-cut CD-ROMs that came with this Star Trek set
Anyway, as it says there, the CD (dated 2002) contains screen savers and desktop pics and “hotlinks to websites” that are probably defunct (aside from Marvel.com, if it’s there), and “Motion Comics,” which, sight unseen, I can safely guess are likely terrible.
And it’s in the 3-inch format, so you gotta tray-load this sucker:
…which means, even if I wanted
to open the package and check it out (which I’m not, since I’m throwing this bad boy on the eBay) I can’t put this in the front-loading slot drive on my Mac. I suppose I could bust out the old 3-inch CD adapter plastic ring (originally bought back in — ’87? — to play the original They Might be Giants “Don’t Let’s Start” 3-inch C-Dingle on my first CD player) but I wouldn’t want to run the risk of the disc coming loose from the adapter and spending the rest of the day trying to fish it out and boy am I on a tangent.
This is the first of a planned six, it seems:
“Collect all VI.” Oh you guys. Anyway, a brief Googling only turns up this same disc, so maybe that’s all that came out? I’m sure if someone out there did
buy all VI, they’ll let me know.
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