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Plus they had to make sure those two words were in big, bold red letters.

§ May 17th, 2024 § Filed under archie, giant-size man-thing, misfit toys, obituary § 17 Comments

Some very unexpected news this week came via a press release email I received the other day, announcing that Archie Comics was going to enter the facsimile game. You know, the exact reprints, usually ads an’ all, of classic comics at, ahem, current prices. Usually printed on better paper, which is nice, and sometimes they come with a foil cover variant (which I personally may be collecting all of for Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and Crisis on Infinite Earths, because apparently I’m a magpie).

To be fair, Archie doing facsimile editions isn’t that much of a surprise, given 1) facsimiles actually sell pretty well, at least for me, sometimes better than the current comics featuring the same characters/concepts; and 2) Archie is nothing if not a giant reprint engine, recycling their giant back catalog of comics endlessly through paperbacks and digests.

What is a surprise is the comic they’re using to kick off this new project…the infamous Betty and Me #16 from 1968:


It’s all your fault, anyway, reading this perfectly innocent cover and making it dirty in your filthy minds. I know what you people are like.

Now whether or not this was an intentional dirty gag that the creators of the image (artist: the legendary Dan DeCarlo) tried to sneak by the editors for their own amusement, I’ll let others argue. I’m still recovering from the whole “boner” thing. But this cover has amused for prurient reasons almost from the get-go…I remember seeing in the pre-internet days a photocopy of the cover that had been…artistically altered to more accurately portray the perceived after-the-fact gag. (Kids, ask your grandparents about how visual humor was traded around socially in Ye Olden Tymes thanks to the company’s Xerox machine.)

So…there you go, a fresh new edition of Betty and Me #16 for you to inflict on the unwary, you sickos. Am I going to get one myself? Of course I am, I’m no dummy. And Archie Comics ain’t no dummy, either…this is going to grab some eyeballs, in store and online, and will probably bring more attention to this new endeavor than just, say, reprinting whichever comic that was with Archie, Betty and Veronica sipping straws out of the same drink. (Which I’m sure they’ll do eventually, don’t worry.)

And speaking of other potential facsimiles, I’d like them to do Jughead’s Folly #1 from 1957, possibly the first mention of Elvis Presley in comics:


…and the later Jughead’s Fantasy three issue series would be nice too. But I’m sure we’ll get “first appearance of Cheryl Blossom” and “first appearance of Jughead’s cousin Souphead” before that happens. One can still dream.

• • •

So the last time we met I lamented the fact that we’d probably never get Atari Force action figures. Well, maybe no official figures exist, but esteemed blogging comrade Johanna informed me that she had an Atari Force figure made for her some time ago…specifically “Dart,” seen in this picture flanked by custom figures of DC Comics’ Cinnamon and Scott McCloud’s Zot!:


Here’s a better look at Dart:


Nicely done, and Johanna’s lucky to have these. Now all I need is someone to build a Babe for me, I’ll be set.

• • •

I should note the passing of comics artist Don Perlin, who passed away this week at the age of 94. He was a dependable draftsman, supplying solid work on titles like Defenders and Ghost Rider.

In fact, not too long ago I was rereading the second run of Man-Thing that began in ’79, of which Perlin drew several issues. It’d been a while since I read it, and my memory of Perlin’s work was that it wasn’t suited to the title. However, upon reconsideration the artwork was fine…a little “superhero-y” for what was nominally a horror book, but he did a better job than I recalled. I think part of the problem was the bright coloring, which didn’t help with the mood much. Ah well.

So long, Don, and my condolences to his family and friends.

Should’ve included a little Argh!Yle! figure too.

§ May 15th, 2024 § Filed under lex luthor, misfit toys § 16 Comments

I’ve kind of slowed down on buying action figures for myself…I think I’ve got a couple of Popeye figures pending, and maybe if they do another good Swamp Thing figure that’s different enough from what has gone before, I’ll bite. And someday Funko will do Nancy and Sluggo Pops.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t place an extra order on the forthcoming Ambush Bug figure in case I decide I have to have one:


I mean, look, he even comes with Cheeks the Toy Wonder:


I do still love those old Ambush Bug stories by the late Keith Giffen, and I don’t know that I need a physical manifestation of those comics, but part of me says that I absolutely do. Just standing there, on top of my desk, looking down upon me as I type entries for this very website.

Speaking of action figures, it was pal Andrew who reminded me that the new redesigns for Brainiac and Luthor were specifically more toyetic than the old versions. Not that there was anything wrong with toys of Pink-Shirt Brainiac and Bandolier Jetpack Luthor, but these new versions probably looked like more threatening bad guys for kids to pit against their superhero figures.

In my time-honored tradition of “borrowing” images from the eBays, I present here the classic mid-1980s figures of Luthor:


…and Brainiac:


Beware Brainiac’s “Power Action Computer Kick!”


Don’t think we ever saw that particular move in New Brainiac’s few comic book appearances (“Stop right there, Brainiac!” “Take THIS, Superman!” [kicks Superman right in his Moons of Krypton]).

Anyway, it’ll be nice having a good Ambush Bug figure around. The only other thing that might tempt me at this point is a set of Atari Force figures (the second team), which is highly unlikely but fun to think about.

In which Mike finds a way to annoy both G.I. Joe and Final Faction fans with a single sentence.

§ September 6th, 2023 § Filed under cartoons, misfit toys § 11 Comments

Okay, a couple of things: I did mistype the address for Pal Nat’s site in Monday’s post, so let me tell you all here that you can see all the wonderful comics-and-other items he’s published over at About Comics.

And so long as I’m talkin’ about Nat, in the comments to that post he did address the obvious question that I should have answered but didn’t: yes, the Disney comics distributed through the Dollar Tree stores are, indeed, a mere $1.25 of your American dollars.

Also in the comments, Matthew Murray mentions

“…Interestingly, they also published an issue of ‘Final Faction,’ which is based on a line of GI-Joe-style action figures & YouTube cartoons made by Dollar Tree.”

I did know about this comic, again thanks to Pal Nat. And this time the distribution gods that control Dollar Tree’s stock managed to place a stack of Final Faction: First Strike #1 at the location directly across the street from my shop.

And I do mean a stack…this isn’t like the Disney books, secreted amongst the coloring books for you to sniff out and dig up like truffles. There was no missing these, when I went to pick up a copy or three a few months ago, what with a thick wad of these bagged books stuffed into the shelving:


Why was it in the bag? No idea, other than to make it stick out. But I can assure you, it was still only $1.25! Here’s what it looks like out of the bag:


The comic is 24 pages including the covers, which, unlike the Disney books, are the same stock as the interior pages. Speaking of which, here’s an interior page from the comic:


Haven’t done more than flip through the book, so I can’t speak as to the quality of the writing, but it all looks perfectly fine for the toy tie-in that it is. Lots of action showing off the characters, which you can conveniently find for sale in your local Dollar Tree stores as per this detail from ad on the inside front cover:


The only other ad is for an issue #2 on the back cover, and I don’t know if that exists or not. There’s also some gag fake ads on the inside back cover, and I always enjoy that sort of thing.

Of note in the credits (printed at the bottom of the aforementioned back cover) is artist Chris Marrinan, who’s worked for Marvel and DC and drew Champions and Flare for Heroic, among other things.

Now Matthew also mentions that there are Final Faction cartoons on YouTube, and if you thought I wasn’t going to post one here…friend, you thought wrong:


This particular installment is only nine minutes, two of which are credits…including some for folks from Dollar Tree. And is it all CGI? Sure shootin’ it is. As far as I can tell, there are only three episodes, the last of which was about a year ago.

Anyway, I like the idea that a discount store put out their own series of G.I. Joe knockoffs along with animated adverti–er, adventures. No idea if you can still find the toys in stores…I mean, in any sort of quantity, I’m sure there’s a figure or two warming a peg at assorted locations. I’ll have to check in my local store and see if I can pick up a Shift. She seems pretty cool for being a reskinned Lady Jaye or Baroness or whatever, I don’t know, they’re basically the same, right?

The “Injury to Eye” toys kids have been demanding!

§ May 12th, 2023 § Filed under golden age, misfit toys § 10 Comments

Just a quick post to let you know that some swell new toys are coming from Super7/Reaction in a couple of months, based on classic pre-code horror comic covers, like Baffling Mysteries #7 (1952), art by Frank Giusto:

and Chilling Tales #13 (1952), art by Matt Fox:

and Ghostly Weird Stories #122 (1954), art by L.B. Cole…an L.B. Cole action figure, can you believe it?

and best of all, Black Cat Comics #50, art by Lee Elias:


Comes with its own stick of radium, it does!

These are some wild figures with beautiful packaging, and I hope they do more. I wonder if there’s some way to do the “Colorama” story in figure form?

Venom is awfully defensive about his ability to talk.

§ April 8th, 2015 § Filed under misfit toys § 4 Comments

So in the same collection where I received those Shadow toys I was talking about the other day, I found one of these:


…and I was surprised to discover that this figure, originally issued in 1991, still has a working battery that allows it to “talk,” as per this video someone else made of their own still-talking Venom figure:

But even more amazing was what pal Dave did to my pic of said figure after I put it on the Twitters:

Oh, my pals and I do have fun on the Internet.

From the back room of misfit toys.

§ April 6th, 2015 § Filed under misfit toys § 12 Comments

Well, there‘s a title I wasn’t expecting to use again, as I’m no longer working at the shop with the end-of-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-esque warehouse, and am instead at the new shop with a couple of mostly barren storerooms, save for some long boxes of comics, a workbench, a refrigerator, my sit-down cabinet version of the Discs of Tron arcade game, and some leftover scrap wood from table construction. (NOTE: one of those items may not actually be in my back room.)

But, as it turns out, one of my old customers from my previous place of employment is moving away, and he contacted me about perhaps taking in a few items to sell on consignment for him just so that he didn’t have haul them along with him. And, since I like money, I said “sure!” and now, suddenly, I have a backroom of toys and statues and such for me to either price up and place in the shop, or to put on the eBays.

It’s going to take me a little while to process everything, since Sterling Silver Comics is still more or less a one man show for the moment, but I’ve already moved a few goodies, so I’m making progress. And, going through the boxes, I found several figures from this particular series:


Now, with doing no Googling on this whatsoever, I’m guessing these were released, in 1994, to take advantage of the Shadow movie starring Alec Baldwin out that same year, even though absolutely no mention is made of the film on the packaging. Alas, the film’s middling performance didn’t inspire an outbreak of Shadow-mania (though I kinda liked it) and, I’m guessing, the toyline didn’t sell like gangbusters either. In fact, I don’t know that I ever saw them on display at any of our local toy emporiums, and in the mid-1990s I was still regularly checking out the local action figure shelves. A peek at eBay shows that they seem to be readily available and mostly inexpensive unless sold in bulk, and since I seem to have a bulk of them here, that’s probably how I’m getting rid of them.

They’re not bad-looking figures, and a couple of the figures with the Shadow in full regalia have a feature where a light shining through the translucent top of the hat causes the Shadow’s eyes to glow (the same trick used in the modern Jawa action figures). Now this figure in particular that I have pictured here is all-translucent, so he has little painted-on red eyes instead. And, if you wanted him completely invisible, the instructions tell you to strip Mr. Cranston nekkid:


NOTE: invisibility only “pretend,” otherwise the company could just have just sold you an empty box, I guess.

Unfortunately it’s a few years to late to mail away for the hologram ring:


…but you can see a couple examples on eBay, like this one. Since eBay links die after a few months, I saved one of the pics here for posterity:


Looks about how I figured.

Anyway: Shadow figures – trying very hard to not keep them for myself. Also trying not to go on eBay and buy any of these still relatively-cheap and completely awesome vehicles:


“Who knows what uncomfortable pain lurks in the backs of men?” The Shadow knows, after riding that Nightmist cycle. Sheesh.

There is no way on God’s green Earth this is going in my mouth.

§ April 28th, 2014 § Filed under batman, misfit toys § 8 Comments

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:

bluewhistlebatman1

bluewhistlebatman2
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.

“Ebon-Isz and Ivor-Isz / Live together in perfect harmon-Isz”

§ January 27th, 2014 § Filed under misfit toys, retailing § 9 Comments

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 storage.

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.

Potentially from the backroom of misfit toys.

§ November 13th, 2013 § Filed under misfit toys § 6 Comments

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)

From the back room of misfit toys.

§ March 26th, 2013 § Filed under misfit toys, star wars § 10 Comments

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.

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