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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:


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!”


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.

There might be a minor spoiler or two for The Omen, which is nearly 40 years old, but you know someone would complain.

§ September 7th, 2012 § Filed under doctor who, mad magazine, misfit toys, retailing § 18 Comments

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:

Heli asks

“…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!


Special thanks to Bully the Little Stuffed Bull for providing the Mad image.

Was Todd six inches or only three?

§ September 5th, 2012 § Filed under misfit toys, retailing § 10 Comments

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 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?

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