Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm reminiscing about the 80s & 90s cartoons, toys, and comic books ...

I'm reminiscing about the 80s & 90s cartoons, toys, and comic books ...

While I was out running in the rain yesterday (of course), I was waxing reminiscent about my weekend toy hunt.

Running and rain seem to stimulate creativity, and/or sentimentality, and (at the very least) dampness, and I was thinking about the fact that though everything retro seems to be chic, it's hard to find the retro I want.

I've talked before about my predilection for unique toys (again, not the embarrassing-to-find-during-an-airport search kind; let that go). I like unique, inspiring, and sentimental toys.

So this weekend, I went on a quest to find stuff, and ended up for the first time in a long time at chain Toys "R" Us, and was ... disappointed.

Over time, I've watched the changes in the Transformers, G.I.Joe, and other franchises. But to see them all in one place was a bit of a setback.

For example, I cut my cartoon teeth on G.I.Joe, Transformers, Battle of the Planets, and so on. These things have seen recent (positive) insurgence in the comic book industry. But the toy/collectibles handling of the licenses has been kind of spotty.

I really like what Devil's Due Publishing has done with G.I.Joe -- updating it, making it more adult, and spinning it six ways to Sunday as a true franchise. I'm less thrilled with what Hasbro has done for Joe on the toy front; evidently, kids aren't creative enough to play with these toys, so electronic sound effects and phrases are built in. I know I'm sounding semi-crotchety, but play with these things -- they feel ... hollow. And I've got mixed feelings as to this fall's all-ages, anime-esque TV series slated for this fall ...

Robots that are other things are just cool, and Transformers saw a resurgence in the comic book world from recently defunct Dreamwave Entertainment/Publishing. Despite Dreamwave's checkered history, Pat Lee and company did a phenomenal job with the Generation 1 series, scratching an itch that Transformers: Energon's kiddy-fare can't quite reach; which is fine, because that series makes the big guys more accessible to a new generation (pun intended). With Dreamwave's recent resurrection Christian Dery, the studio may have its time in the sun, but Hasbro saw the demise of the previous version of the publisher as an opportunity to reclaim the license (as it did, thankfully, from Atari, who butchered it in their recent PlayStation 2 game).

An interesting footnote: Gobots used to be the poor man's Transformers (though I think they came out first in Japan), but Hasbro bought that license, and now the line is the toy company's kids line of transforming robots. Nothing like healthy competition.

And if Transformers are back, why the hell can't I get a decent Dinobot?

As far as Battle of the Planets, Image Comics did a bang-up job on the series, not least of which because they tagged artistic master Alex Ross to do covers, posters, and promos for the series.

And Power Rangers have nothing on Voltron.

But back to the weekend toy hunt.

Luckily, the overpriced (but well stocked) folks over at DSC Toys & Collectibles had a Marvel Modern Age Captain Britain (with Lockheed) to cleanse my aesthetic pallet.

Actually, I was looking for two figures from ToyBiz's Marvel Legends series 10: Angel and X-Factor Cyclops. What makes these things cool is each one in the series comes with a piece of a Sentinel. Get all of them in the series, and you can build a 16.5" robot. I was kind of mheh on the gimmick, until I got one of the pieces; some serious craftsmanship. This is a bummer, since besides Cyclops and Angel, I think only Black Panther is cool, so I'm going to end up with a leg and a couple of arms. Mr. Sinister isn't bad, so maybe I'll end up with 2 legs.

I'd picked up Archangel before, and am actually looking for the variant version of X-Factor Cyclops to put next to it, because though I may be a child of the 80s, I hit my stride in the 90s.

I did find a non-variant Angel from the series, which I wanted to juxtapose with Archangel. The attached pict isn't top quality, but I've position the figure on a stand, so that it looks like it's either swooping down to beat the tar out of his turned self, or his "pure self" is ascending out of Archangle.

They're metaphors.

I may need an intervention ...

No comments: