Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sort of Going Through a Thing as I Downsize my Comic Stuff Collection

my office from some time ago, when I was doing some other renovation work in there


The past few weekends, (when I didn't have food poisoning, anyway) I spent my time preparing for the de-superheroing of my house and the paring down of my collection.  I am still working through what this probably looks like, and I am sure, if I asked people who know and love me what they think is going on, I'd get a lot of different answers.

For clarification - the front room of our house had been intended to be a sort of reading room and casual conversation room, and the bookshelves were full of statues from DC Direct and other places, and it was a real conversation starter.  But nobody ever wanted to actually sit in there.  And for some reason the dogs go crazy when I go in there to try and read.  Also, I have my office, which was where I'd put my action figures, toys, comics and a whole bunch of other stuff.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Some toys from the movie "Man of Steel"

Well, today I found what I guess are the three "Movie Masters" action figures from the film Man of Steel.

Walmart has on this promotion where they released some items early.  They were supposed to arrive on Sunday at Walmarts all across the land, but I visited three Walmarts in my area (all within a short distance of each other, and, I am fairly convinced, connected by a series of subterranean tubes that keep their management from ever having to deal with the surface dwellers) and did not find the displays at any of the three stores.  

I even asked at the Walmart closest to my house and got a pretty snippy response to my query about the toys from the manager, and an eye roll from her pal who informed her - as if I wasn't there - that "that movie isn't even coming out til June, so don't even bother".  I considered letting them know that many popular Superman fan sites had re-published the Walmart press release announcing the promotion, and that I had, indeed, seen photos on facebook of the items at other Walmarts on the extremely well run Man of Steel facebook page.  But then I briefly examined my life and what choices I was making and I left.

Well, I chose to give up.  My OCD did not.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On a Slow News Day, "Django Unchained" Action Figures are a really big deal

I haven't seen Django Unchained, but I'd like to.  It seems interesting.

Sometimes I weep that the only conversation really happening around comics and the underground subculture of collectors and the like seems to be around "Fake Nerd Girls" - an argument that really reflects any time a sort-of-underground scene starts to get co-opted as the public realizes the scene exists and ham handedly starts playing with it like a spastic two-year old who likes shiny things.  I sort of see "Fake Nerd Girls" as the 2012-era equivalent of when Nirvana, etc... became more sellable than LA hair-metal-bands and "alternative" was launched as a major marketing concept in music.  This, of course, meant that a segment of the population actually suddenly started paying attention to "alternative" charts and somehow this culminated in tribal tattoos on suburban dads in Phoenix in 2003.

With The Big Bang Theory netting 19 million viewers recently (that's, like, 6% of the US population or some crazy nonsense - and people generally don't watch TV that way anymore), I kind of assume that the show, as reviled as its become in nerd world, has at least demonstrated some of the behavior and habits of the comics/ toy collecting/ geek community to the populace at large.  I mean, comic collecting may not be a mainstream activity, but since the early 00's, the stigma has lessened to a degree enough that folks like myself don't hide their shame anymore and will answer questions if asked instead of denying that they collect comics.*  We can thank TBBT for at least semi-humanizing the mutants from the comic shop into characters with taglines.

But, apparently, a lot of people aren't watching The Big Bang Theory, and to a lot of folks the notion that grown-assed adults collect action figures (or "dolls" as the press will derisively insist) is complete news or totally unbelievable.  Even more surprising, that a person would buy a movie action figure and then not role-play with the figures like Dark Helmet in Spaceballs seems mind-bogglingly impossible.

It seems that NECA has released a line of officially licensed Django Unchained action figures (or "dolls", if you want to put a certain spin on the story and, therefore, anyone who would dare buy a doll of Jamie Foxx). After years of far, far more questionable product tie-ins, I would not dare question the judgment of NECA, the Weinstein Company or purchasers of this product.  I don't know why you'd want these, but I doubt many folks know why I have literally hundreds of little Superman eyes peering at me from action figures all over my office.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Oddly Life Affirming Superman Toy

Saturday I had to go to Target to buy a new telephone.  Not a smartphone, just a $15 thing to plug into the wall.*  Whilst at the Target, I stumbled upon the latest Superman toy from Fischer-Price:

Hero World™ DC Super Friends™ VOICE COMM™ Superman™

The name your 3 year old is sure to share with you accurately as you head into the toy section.

I'm out of the action figure game unless its a Superman toy.   Despite the odd paint and plastic, this still qualifies as Superman, so I picked it up and looked at it, and this fellow, intended for kids 3-8, has kind of a weird, kid-friendly sculpt and a bunch of voice related features.   Basically, he's got some sort of chip and I guess he can interact with other figures in the line and it all seems a bit more complicated/ compelling than pulling a string and hearing the same phrase repeated over and over about a barnyard animal.

Neat enough.  But I was pleased to hear was what actually came out of Superman's mouth, so to speak.

"Why did I make these chains out of kryptonite?  OWWWWW!!!!"

This Superman doesn't talk about punching anybody or breaking things.  He's pretty much all about helping folks (quickly) and seems a bit alarmed about Lex Luthor and General Zod's whereabouts.  But, mostly, making declarative statements about leaping into action to help out at some specific emergencies and some less specific.

I like this.  It's a proactive Superman who isn't trying to teach kids 3-8 about dark vengeance or grim justice or some such.  It seems like it should be okay for superheroes to be as much about saving the day (our Superman toy blurts: "There's a truck in trouble!") as clobbering other action figures, but a lot of superhero toys don't seem designed that way.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Toys That Should Not Be: The Steve Jobs Statue

When I started blogging the collectibles market was just really taking off.  We quit doing Toys That Should Not Be as, really, what I'd advise is to just open the Diamond Previews Catalog and flip through the thing.  Every page or two, you'll find something that makes you die a little inside.

And I'm not even talking about the import Manga statues with the removable clothing.

If you're not done grieving Apple Overlord Steve Jobs, you can now make everyone who enters your home or office stop and ask the exact same question in under two minutes:  Is that Steve Jobs?

Indeed it is.



Syco Collectibles has introduced the Steve Jobs statue.  Only $100, this fantastic piece of artistry looks pretty much like a tiny Steve Jobs, complete with jeans, scrubby beard and black turtle neck and posed like Scorpio planning his attack on humanity from his undersea base.  Only, you know, tiny.  Standing on the edge of a MacBook in discount store sneakers.

I have to say, I think it's a hell of a conversation piece, and that conversation may just be your co-worker leaving your office and commenting to your colleagues about how you're still really hung up on losing the guy who yelled at people until the iPhone was cooler.

To their credit, Syco is sending part of the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and we find that admirable enough that we've ordered four of these, so Steve Jobs can look down upon us from every corner of the room.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Soon, I will own a tiny Michael Caine (or two)

I am now only really collecting Superman toys and collectibles (unless someone wants to buy me a bigger house and increase my salary), but this item...  this item I will buy two of.

It seems that with the release of the upcoming blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, we will be able to buy an Alfred Pennyworth action figure.  Alfred is played by, as you will recall, screen legend Michael Caine.


"So, League," you say, "That's fantastic.  But why TWO Michael Caines?"

Because I can annoy Jamie EVERY SINGLE DAY by re-enacting this scene from The Trip.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In which I discuss pink Lego for entirely too long

Ten years ago I was in a particularly rabid part of my action-figure collecting phase and was at Toys R' Us looking for one figure or another, wandering the action figure aisle, which contained Spider-Man, pro-wrestling fugures, GI Joe figures, etc...  All toys the store, the toy manufacturers, their marketing people, and seemingly most of customers, seemed to believe were aimed at boys.

A very young boy, probably no older than four or five - old enough to start knowing what toys he wanted to go look at on his own instead of having toys handed to him - was standing down the aisle while his mother stood near an empty cart.  She waited for another mother to roll into the aisle with a child of a similar age (also a boy), and the first mother began addressing the newly arrived mother.

"Can you believe this?" she said, making sure her voice was loud enough for everyone on the aisle to hear.  "They're dolls.  My son wants to play with dolls.  That's all these are."  She made sure to roll her eyes and make big hand waving gestures.  Her son just sort of tensed up.  This was clearly not new behavior from mom.

"Well," said the other mother, more quietly.  "He knows what he likes."

"They're dolls," laughed the first mother, making sure she got the point across.  "I can't wait for him to realize that."

To break it down:

1.  Forget the clear marketing at boys (something geek girls complain about regularly), these are dolls, if that is your definition.  But they're also dolls with bazookas and anti-aircraft weaponry and robot arms and what-not.
2.  These are not dolls in the traditional Raggedy-Ann sort of fashion.
3.  If your son IS playing with Raggedy-Ann, God help him because I suspect you'll make his life a living hell.
4.  Way to emasculate your child in front of a store full of strangers.  In no way will that sort of thing come back to haunt you both.
5.  It wasn't clear what toys this mom thought were okay for 5 year old boys to play with, but it was pretty clear she wasn't too up on what 5 year old kids actually do.
6.  Nor did she notice "this aisle is literally full of people all shopping for the very items I am ridiculing.  Maybe I'm a bit of a jack-ass".
7.  We may not like it from an abstract sociological standpoint, but toys are actually sold differently to boys and girls.  The exact same toys, sometimes.

Pursuing this conversation is, of course, a politically correct landmine, as it treads into the territory of "what is" versus "what we think" or "what a white paper clearly demonstrated" or, basically, the cynical realities created by forces of nature, nurture, culture and marketing forces stronger than your best laid plans.  And the fact that when money is involved, all you have to do is consider that businesses are either growing or they are failing, and the rest just shakes out.  And why even getting your hackles up over this development is kind of weird.

Lego is taking heat over the recent introduction of Lego toys colored pink and purple and made extra cute.  Online and in social media, I have seen a lot of people complaining about Lego's latest efforts.