Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Things have been insanely busy for me so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to head out to the stores to see what’s new in the world of action figures, much less write about it, but I finally set aside a day to prepare something for the blog. I should have had this ready sooner but better late than never. Here it is, at the buzzer, my Halloween mood table.

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For those of you who do not follow Dinosaur Dracula or have never heard of a mood table, here is his 2018 blog about the subject. I love the idea of having a dedicated space to commemorate the season and what better excuse to use more toys in decorating my living room. I decided to make my table a mix of characters from my favorite scary movies, and characters I’ve dressed as for Halloween. It also has horror VHS tapes, The Misfits coffin boxed set, and a rat decoration but as far as the toys go here’s a breakdown.

Jason Voorhees

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This is one of the newest additions to my collection. I’ve been wanting a Jason figure for a while now and NECA has delivered with this Ultimate Jason figure. This look is based off his appearance in “Friday The 13th The Final Chapter” and comes with a bunch of accessories from the movie, like a bloody bone saw and corkscrew. (Spoiler alert for a 34-year-old movie) You can even take the machete and put it in the side of his unmasked head!

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Jason also comes with his mother’s headstone which looks funny next to Funko cereal Jason

 Have fun mixing and matching!

Have fun mixing and matching!

The Friday the 13th movies were off limits according to my mom until I was a little older, somewhere around 12. I’m pretty sure she only let me watch it because it was an edited version on TV and I had some friends over for a little Halloween party and we wanted to watch a real scary movie. It was Part 2 and I loved watching Jason hunt down the teenagers. The Final Chapter has become my favorite of the series so I wanted to buy that figure but Part 2 is a runner up because of that first party experience. Maybe I’ll have to pick up NECA’s version of Jason in Part 2 for next year’s table.

Freddy Krueger

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I’ve had this Freddy figure from McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs series for about 12 years now. I prefer it to the Freddy from series 1 because of the way he’s hunched over and snarling as opposed to yelling angrily.

The plastic is starting to turn yellow and I’ve debated just ripping it open for a while now, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve grown to like the grungy look. It makes it seem as if it’s been sitting in a basement for years, gathering dust while waiting for a chance to return, much like Freddy himself.

Unlike Michael Myers and Jason, I was never really scared of Freddy. There are two reasons, first, I didn’t actually see A Nightmare On Elm Street until I was 17. Too old to be scared but just right for appreciating the different take on the slasher story and the awesome special effects. Second, my next door neighbor was Freddy for Halloween every year. I remember watching him on the porch, sitting still on a bench and pretending to be a decoration, then he’d jump to scare the trick or treaters. It was so funny to me and I keep that association with Freddy even to this day.

I wonder if others have similar associations and that’s one reason why Freddy is loved. Even though he’s a horrific monster people still want him around today. He was just in a new episode of The Goldbergs and Robert Englund even came back to reprise the role.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

 Can you tell I’m having fun with this horror lighting?

Can you tell I’m having fun with this horror lighting?

Mr. Stay Puft is one of my favorite toys in my collection. I picked him up around 14 years ago and he’s been displayed on one of my shelves ever since. I love how he towers over the other figures and how he has the angry expression rather than the smiley face he has when he first appears in the movie.

I’m not sure there’s much I can say about Ghostbusters and its place during Halloween that hasn’t already been said. The film is still quoted just about everywhere I go, I see the costumes every year, and the theme song is a staple of every Halloween party playlist. A local theater had a 70mm film fest recently and I was lucky enough to see the original during the festival. If you ever get the chance to see it in a theater, do it! It’s still so much fun.

A Crappy T-Rex

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Yes, when I was a kid I was a T-Rex for Halloween. This toy is nothing special. It’s one of those Mold-A-Rama souvenirs I got from the Field Museum while visiting Chicago earlier this year. It’s crappy and that what makes it perfect to symbolize my costume.

My mom usually helped me by sewing homemade costumes that were amazing but the T-Rex stands out because as far as I can remember that was the first costume I put together myself, hence why it looked so dumb. I found a dinosaur mask at a department store, and I put on a long sleeve green t-shirt and some green sweatpants. I didn’t even think to make a tale. Regardless, I was proud of it and I polished it up just a little bit more by adding a fake bloody finger from Party City and putting it in the mask’s mouth. While trick or treating I walked into a tree branch and the finger was knocked out and it fell on the grass. I didn’t realize until I got home. Hopefully someone looked down and got scared by it the next day.

I also remember this being my first costume on the scary side. Prior to this I had mostly dressed as a funny cartoon character or a super hero (more on that in a bit) but when walking down the street with my friend who happened to be dressed as a vampire we turned a corner and scared a little kid dressed as a puppy. I felt bad but also was kind of glad I was scary. Hopefully we didn’t traumatize that kid. I’d hate to think there’s a person out there who doesn’t like vampires and dinosaurs because of me and my friend.

Chef

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This is just an old talking desk mate of Chef from South Park, nothing special in and of itself but I loved dressing up as Chef for Halloween.

South Park has been one of my favorite shows since I first saw it in season 1 and when Halloween came around that next year I knew I had to be one of the characters from the show. The stores sold masks of the main characters, Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny, but I had this thing where I didn’t want to be the same character as everyone else, with the same mask. I decided I was going to be my favorite adult from the show, and it really paid off. Mom helped me find the hat, apron and, the iron-on letters and I already had the red shirt and jeans. Once I put all that on Mom also helped me draw on a fake beard. When I went out that night every South Park fan applauded. I had the right idea, dress as one of the characters but do it in a way that would stand out from the others who all had the same mask. Some people even called their friends over to come see my Chef costume. I was very proud of it. You might be thinking it, so let me just say it, No. I did not put on black face. Even as a kid I knew that was not okay.

Throughout the years I’ve done several South Park costumes, Terrance (of Terrance not Philip) Professor Chaos, and Randy, but I’ve still never dressed as one of the main boys. I’m not sure I will. I like dressing as the other characters from the show for Halloween.

Darkwing Duck

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I’m so glad Funko made this figure in addition to the Pop! vinyl. He looks great and while they made Darkwing Duck toys in the 90’s, I think this one looks the best. The figure from the 90’s had a sly look on his face. I prefer this smile. The Disney Afternoon lineup from Funko is amazing and I’m glad we’re getting Launchpad and Gizmoduck in series 2.

Darkwing Duck might be the best costume I ever had. I’m not sure I’ve talked about it on this blog before but DWD was one of my favorite cartoons. I never missed it. When playing Darkwing in my backyard I used to get two baseball hats and put on one backwards and the other forwards to imitate the look of a fedora. Mom found an old grey hat and put a black band around it. I wore that as soon as I got home from school and once it was time to start thinking of a Halloween costume that year it was only a matter of time before the rest of the costume came together.

This was one of the homemade costumes I mentioned earlier and it was amazing. I won a local costume contest with it, thanks to mom’s hard work! That was one of my favorite costumes ever and I saved it for last because I actually have a picture of it.

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Thanks for reading about my mood table and toys. I don’t get to update this blog as much as I’d like but I’m very thankful whenever someone asks me how it’s going or when my next article is coming up. Hopefully I can write more over the next few months.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Dinosaur Dracula. We wouldn’t have mood tables if not for him and his blog is always a fun time.

Thanks again, everyone!

Freddy and Jason Funko's

I recently heard about Funko making a line of breakfast cereals featuring miniature Pop! figures as prizes. Unfortunately I was late to the game. These started hitting shelves in early July and Wave 2 has just been released. I still wanted to see what I could find for myself, better late than never. 

These cereals are exclusive to specific retailers, like GameStop and Hot Topic. That's one of the things that makes this a fun hunt. I live near a GameStop but to check out all of the stores that carry these in-person I had to go to a mall. 

I went to three different GameStops looking for Mega Man, Hot Topic for Cuphead & Mugman (which I've never played but still wanted to see if I could find it) and BoxLunch for Gollum/Lord of the Rings cereals, but no luck. The people who worked there didn't seem to know much about when or if they'd be getting more but they did tell me they're available online. That's the way it's been for a while with exclusives but with this blog I really wanted to try and stick to the premise of going out and finding collectables in person. I feel like the hunt is half the fun!

So I checked FYE and almost immediately spotted a table with all kinds of junk food where Freddy and Jason Funko's were front and center. Success!

 Freddy's looking at the cereal as if it's a bowl full of souls and I love it

Freddy's looking at the cereal as if it's a bowl full of souls and I love it

Because these cereals are exclusive to retailers it looks like they set their own prices and FYE seems like it's the most expensive at $12.99 per box (Gamestop wants $7.99 for Mega Man cereal). I look at these as a rare treat and considering the box art and the mini figure inside I think it's worth treating yourself.

So I bought my boxes and prepared myself for breakfast.

 Not quite blood red, but close enough

Not quite blood red, but close enough

Let me start by saying I was very surprised by how much I liked this cereal. It's really good! My first impression was that it tasted like strawberry lemon gelato. Others I've shared it with have said it's more like just strawberry but I swear I get a bit of citrus in the flavor. If this was a regular cereal you could find at the grocery store I would regularly buy it.

 Welcome to breakfast, Bitch!

Welcome to breakfast, Bitch!

The Pocket Pops that are included are amazing. The box has a picture and says the photo is "Not Actual Size"  but these are pretty close. I don't have the original Freddy and Jason Funko Pops but I imagine these are the same but shrunk down to the size of their keychain pops.

 I love that they even included blood on Jason's machete in this scaled down version

I love that they even included blood on Jason's machete in this scaled down version

 Who knew vicious killers could be so adorable?

Who knew vicious killers could be so adorable?

You'll want to display these guys once you get them out of the box but be careful with Jason. He's very top heavy and wouldn't stand up by himself. Just make sure you lean him up against something. Maybe the hat balances out Freddy because he didn't have that problem, he stood up just fine. 

 Freddy Vs Jason Vs Breakfast

Freddy Vs Jason Vs Breakfast

If you're a fan of sweet cereals and these slasher titans, you'll want to pick up Funko's. It's not a lot of cereal, but it's damn good. Plus you get these cool toys and awesome boxes you can display. They'll look great next to your other Freddy or Jason gear, or make a great beginning to a new collection.

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Good luck finding Wave 1 of Funko's and Wave 2 should be hitting shelves any day now. Let me know if you're looking forward to any cereal in particular. Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Toys at SDCC

I had the amazing opportunity to head down to San Diego for Comic-Con this year! There was so much to do. While I spent a lot of time checking out panels this year, including one for The Toys That Made Us on Netflix, I of course had to head out on the show floor to see what toys were being announced. The first booth to catch my eye was NECA.

NECA's booth was full of display cases featuring SDCC exclusives, figures coming soon to all retailers, and figures that were already available but I hadn't seen in person yet. If you're an Alien or Predator fan you'll want to keep an eye out for their new lineups.

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I love how NECA goes that extra step and adds dioramas to the display. I'm not sure if this one will be available along with the figures but I hope so!

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One of the most popular displays I heard fans talking about and saw people taking pictures of was full of Gremlins! Everyone was excited to see these, myself included. NECA just keeps outdoing themselves in terms of quality and price. These Ultimate Stripe and Gremlin figures will go for about $28 each. If they look this good on a Pixel camera when they're behind glass imagine how much better they'll look when you actually have them in hand.

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Displaying your Gremlins might be difficult because it will be hard to choose from all of these awesome accessories. The cigarette and beer combo pictured below is classic but look at the alternate head in the second picture. It comes with popcorn bags on its ears!

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 You'll just have to buy several Gremlins so they can all share the popcorn, beer, and candy that's included

You'll just have to buy several Gremlins so they can all share the popcorn, beer, and candy that's included

Next I saw the Friday the 13th display. These figures, including the Camp Crystal Lake accessory set, have been out for a little while but like I mentioned earlier I hadn't seen them yet. A lot of people liked that figure from Part 2 best but I'm a bigger fan of Jason from Part 4. I prefer the hockey mask and the accessories, although the addition of Pamela Voorhees' severed head in that Part 2 set is a nice touch.

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I can't wait for the new Halloween movie later this year and it looks like the folks at NECA can't either. This Michael Myers sculpt was amazing! It's big, like a 1/4 scale figure, but there was a sign next to it saying it was a prototype and the final model hadn't been decided yet. I hope we get one of each like the Friday the 13th figures. Those Jason figures pictured above are 7" and go for about $30. I would love to collect a Myers figure in that smaller range. The 1/4 scale figures are more like $110 or $120 and they're fantastic but I'm low on space and I'm on a budget.

 Save up then, cheapskate

Save up then, cheapskate

The next shelf featured Chucky, Tiffany, and to round out the slasher classic trilogy, we're getting a new Freddy! I haven't picked up a Freddy figure since the second McFarlane Movie Maniacs figure so it might just be time for an upgrade. Especially when you see the Nightmare accessory kit.

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 Perfection

Perfection

Last but not least from NECA, one of the exclusives this year was a figure of a master of horror, Guillermo del Toro. This would look perfect on your shelf next to your Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth Blu-Rays. If you weren't at Con to get one of these, happy eBaying!

 Guillermo del Toro's home is practically a horror museum. Here's your chance to start your own

Guillermo del Toro's home is practically a horror museum. Here's your chance to start your own

I then went to the Mondo booth to check out the Jurassic Park board game they'll be selling later this year. I was impressed but what stood out even more than the game were the Batman: The Animated Series figures on display. When I heard Mondo announce these I was unsure how they'd do, considering the DC collectables lineup is killing it. Seeing them in person I get that there's room for both. These are big, about 12" tall. As good as the detail on the DC collectables figures is, these are even better. Batman ships soon and you can preorder Mr. Fries here.

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 That headstone only comes with the Mondo Exclusive version, along with some alternate heads

That headstone only comes with the Mondo Exclusive version, along with some alternate heads

I walked through the show floor browsing the rest of the upcoming toys and was impressed by the Stranger Things lineup. As far as I know McFarlane started the super detailed figure for the adult collector and I'm glad they're still cranking out such articulate work. The boys look awesome in their halloween costumes and that Demogorgon is perfectly creepy. 

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McFarlane also gets points for making this clever yet simple twist on the Will figure for one of its exclusives.

 Nicely Done!

Nicely Done!

Do you have room in your house for a museum quality display case? If so, and if you're a fan of Spider-Man, Sideshow has a statue coming out that will have you drooling! Yes, it's a statue, not a toy, but it was one of my favorite things on the show floor so I had to include it. This legendary scale statue is so impressive!

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 Who needs a dining table when you can have a 4' statue of the web head in your home?

Who needs a dining table when you can have a 4' statue of the web head in your home?

I love when the sight of a toy takes me right back to childhood memories. If you can make me laugh and smile in addition to making me think the display is cool then you did the best job. With that in mind, I think Mattel won me over this year. At their booth, behind a life-size statue of Andre the Giant, I found this. 

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Like most guys my age I was obsessed with the WWE (at that point WWF) Attitude era. I liked wrestling prior to that but my mom never wanted me watching it. I could really only catch the Golden/New Generation eras when I was visiting my cousins, who practically got to watch whatever they wanted. Mattel brought back all those memories of watching and going to RAW and Smackdown events ,once I was old enough, by creating this dream of a Royal Rumble. I know it's impossible but this sight instantly made me want a giant event where Stone Cold and Mankind could be seen along with Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man (RIP, sirs).

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They set up my all-time favorite, The Rock, outside the ring talking smack on the mic. The greatest trash talker from the Attitude era was one of the only wrestlers I liked both as a babyface and a heel (Undertaker's the other). Well done, Mattel. The toys are awesome and thanks for bringing back the memories.

 Say another word about Skyscraper and I'll give you the people's elbow, jabroni!

Say another word about Skyscraper and I'll give you the people's elbow, jabroni!

Were you at SDCC? If not, were you following along online? What were some of your favorite announcements or displays? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading. I'll be back with another article soon.

Cherry Bomb Toys and The National Toy Museum of Canada

On a recent trip to Victoria, Canada, my wife and I were walking around when she pointed out a toy store ad in the street paper she was reading. Even though we were on vacation and I didn't want to take up both our time on something only I might enjoy she insisted we check it out. I'm so glad she did because we both loved it. Not only is it one of the best toy stores I've ever seen, it also holds the National Toy Museum of Canada!

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When you walk in you're greeted by a friendly staff that answers all your questions about the thousands of toys all over the store. They have everything from rare collectables behind glass to bins full of random assortments of accessories you can buy with your spare change. They also have pinball machines and arcade cabinets! Normally I go to an event or store with the intention of writing an entry about it, but again, this was coincidence so I was a bit caught off guard and didn't take that many pictures of the store itself. I did catch a few of the Muppets behind glass though.

 I wish we had more hockey collectables in the US, especially ones with Animal

I wish we had more hockey collectables in the US, especially ones with Animal

 I find Gobo Fraggle with its wig ripped off is hilariously horrifying 

I find Gobo Fraggle with its wig ripped off is hilariously horrifying 

In the back of the store there's a stair case guarded by Shredder that leads to the museum. I've mentioned before that one of my favorite things about displaying toys is seeing characters from different franchises standing right next to each other and this combo is no exception. I'd like to think if Silver Surfer warned Shredder of the arrival of Galactus, Shredder would just go to Dimension X and let Earth get consumed.

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So up the stairs I went to what I can only imagine Heaven looks like.

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The first thing to catch my eye was the wide variety of the age of the toys. The collection starts with a case mostly full of Mego action figures. In addition to the Micronauts and Spider-Man figures there was also a whole shelf dedicated to Hulk. I appreciate the dime store trinkets set up right along with the hundred dollar statues. 

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No toy museum would be complete without Star Wars. The Sandtrooper and Dewback statue is huge but not as big as the promotional Yoda from Revenge of the Sith right by it.

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 Buy a Pepsi, you will. For those who think young, it is

Buy a Pepsi, you will. For those who think young, it is

 I zoomed in on the pipes above so you can see the Bowser decal. The other side had Mario and Peach

I zoomed in on the pipes above so you can see the Bowser decal. The other side had Mario and Peach

Yes, I know, I've talked about the Turtles a lot lately but they're just such a big part of toy history, as well as my personal collection. The case across from Yoda was filled with the TMNT. I love that they had vehicles and playsets included with all of the figures. Even accessories like a Turtle Comm are on display!

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The sewer playset may be my favorite from when I was a kid. This one practically looks brand new. I still have mine but I'm pretty sure the stickers have all scratched off the surfaces. It's worth it for all that play time it saw.

 I like that Splinter will always be laying on his side, as if he hit the sake a little too hard last night

I like that Splinter will always be laying on his side, as if he hit the sake a little too hard last night

Moving on to the next case I found more Batman toys than I've seen at most conventions lately. Like the Spider-man case, the Batman collectables on display ranged from dolls from the 70's to current figures based on the look of Batman: The Animated Series.

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I used to have that Batmobile above the figure expressions pack pictured below. That was one of my other favorites because you could pull out the main compartment and it doubled as a plane!

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I love how they have the most recent edition of the Batmobile was displayed with the villains driving, as if they stole it and are heading out for a joy ride.

 Just like the Jingle Bells parody, The Joker got away

Just like the Jingle Bells parody, The Joker got away

Next I found some toys that I never had as a kid but always thought were fun when I would hang out with friends who had them, The Ghostbusters! I'd never seen the Fire House set up like this. I love that you can drip slime through the ceiling and those ghosts coming out of the toilet would have entertained me for hours.

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Continuing the theme of the day, check out how well the Fire House works with the figures based off of the look of the Ghostbusters from the movie as well as the toys from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.

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And of course, no Ghostbusters set would be complete without my favorite, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

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I moved on to see Gremlins and Mogwai lining the tops of the cases. Awesome assortment but I still want to see the Brain Gremlin. I could kick myself for not buying that back when it wasn't going for over $100 on eBay.

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The following display cases were full of toys that were before my time but I appreciate and understand how cool they are for collectors and to the world of toys. While I never saw the cartoon, I thought the light show above Jem and the Holograms was a nice touch. 

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If you're reading this, I bet you've seen The Toys That Made Us on Netflix. If not, you should fix that. The Masters of the Universe episode was my favorite of the first run. I loved seeing the characters they talked about in their "Classics" form and the animation cels behind the figures were some of the coolest cels on display. They had a lot of the original figures downstairs but I didn't want to take too many pictures of it all. I had to leave surprises for you!

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I happened to be walking through the museum at the same time as one other customer. We talked a bit about our favorites as we passed through but the thing that got us really talking was the next case. I don't know if it's a toy collector thing or maybe just a nice Canadian thing but I like that we immediately found something in common and just enjoyed a nice chat with a stranger. What, of all the things presented so far, could make two guys light up like that? Muppets!

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I still have a lot of these Palisades Muppets toys and playsets. I didn't realize the company went bankrupt in 2006 until visiting the museum. Too bad. They did a great job turning the Muppets from felt to plastic. I like that they gave us so many of the characters rather than just the main lineup too. You can even see Kermit with the Koozebane creatures in the picture below. 

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 I think I remember this going for $30 at Suncoast stores back when it was released.

I think I remember this going for $30 at Suncoast stores back when it was released.

Rounding out the collection is a lineup of Fraggle Happy Meal toys, parading down Sesame Street.

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Almost at the end, I found Michael Jackson and Godzilla looming over other Kaiju. There were a lot of amazing Godzilla pieces in this display but there was just a little too much glare on the other photos for my liking. That's just one more reason you need to head in and see the museum for yourself!

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Last, a collection of Daleks, Doctors, and the TARDIS from Dr. Who.

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Earlier I had mentioned there was one other customer walking through the museum at the same time I was. He happened to be a huge Dr. Who fan and mentioned that of all the movie monsters he's seen in his life, the Weeping Angels were the scariest. Guess what he looked up to see staring back at him in the Dr. Who case?

 In that lighting the 4th Doctor looks kind of psychotic as well

In that lighting the 4th Doctor looks kind of psychotic as well

I went downstairs and told the staff how much I liked the museum. I also showed them how many pictures I took and asked if they were okay with me making a blog about it. They were very supportive and said I was free to do so. When you see the shop for yourself make sure to say hi to Aaron. He's the staff member I spoke to who was nice enough to stop for a picture with me too. He's a Masters of the Universe fanatic and when I told him TMNT was my favorite line he got a Grizzlor for himself and said he had a special figure for me to hold up, Hot Spot!

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When in Victoria, Canada, remember to visit Cherry Bomb Toys! If you're a collector I guarantee you will find something amazing and if you've been searching for something rare I'll bet they have it. I didn't want to spoil the whole thing by taking too many pictures so I left plenty for you to discover on your own.

I leave you with this MOTU commercial featuring Aaron's favorite, Grizzlor. Thanks for reading!

Where's Rey? Let's go find out!

My wife recently played me an episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You titled, "Where The F Are The Female Action Figures?" It's a great podcast that dives deep into the business side of the world of toys to answer the question proposed by the show's title. It was interesting to hear about the history of the lack of female action figures that can still be seen today, with characters like Rey from Star Wars and Black Widow from the Avengers missing from major releases. This inspired me to do some investigating of my own. I decided to head out to a few different toy stores to see how easy it was to find action figures of women. 

 Any excuse to go to Toys R Us before they're gone!

Any excuse to go to Toys R Us before they're gone!

I walked into a Toys R Us and saw a bunch of Marvel figures at the front of the store. The usual heroes and villains were there and after hearing that no one was making Black Widow toys I was glad to find some included in this line of Avenger's figures. Hopefully enough people spoke up and the manufacturers answered this time. I was also able to find a figure of Shuri from Black Panther, though she was only available in a two-pack.

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I turned the corner to see all the DC toys were right next to the Marvel figures. While I think that boys are going to see these and think they're dolls, not action figures, I imagine girls are going to be excited to find them. I like that they are right next to all the other superheroes, as opposed to being in the pink Barbie aisle.

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Along with the DC Super Hero Girls you can find some more figures of women that are geared more towards collectors. It's mostly Wonder Woman because of the success of the film but I've also seen Supergirl in this style. Hopefully Batgirl and more women of DC aren't too far behind. 

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Not pictured, there were also a lot of Moana toys. I thought it was worth mentioning because there were a few different kinds of sets. Some just had Moana and others had Maui but the more popular options seemed to be packs with both characters. I didn't get to ask the cashier why she thought that was but my theory is that both girls and boys want those characters because they're both strong and funny with or without each other. Boys can play Moana without the helpless princess aspect and girls can have just as much fun with Maui's stupid bravado as boys can. The characters just work.

So, not too bad for my first look for action figures of women, but with Toys R Us closing and the stock limited I wanted to look around some more.

 Pour one out for Toys R Us

Pour one out for Toys R Us

While it's not solely about toys, the Disney Store was my next stop. They have enough action figures to warrant the visit and since they own Marvel and Star Wars I knew they'd have to have something relevant.

The first toys I saw were from a line called Toybox which I think is exclusive to Disney Stores. Much like the other display this one had all of the popular Marvel characters. I was happy to see among all of the Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man figures they included Black Widow. 

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I turned around to see the Diamond Select figures. These are very detailed and made for adult collectors. They had two different versions of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Thor, and the Hulkbuster, but no action figures of women. 

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 I wanted to be mad but damn that's a sweet Hulkbuster

I wanted to be mad but damn that's a sweet Hulkbuster

I kept walking through the store and passed the clearance section. I realized it wasn't that they didn't make a Black Widow figure for the collector's line, it was more like they made them and didn't know how to market them. The figures of the male characters were going for $25 or $30 but there was a mountain of Black Widow merchandise in the clearance bin and most of it was marked down to $5.99.

 Including Ant-Man did nothing to entice collectors, what a shock

Including Ant-Man did nothing to entice collectors, what a shock

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 At least this version of Cap had also been marked down but the Black Widow figure from the same line was still $5 cheaper

At least this version of Cap had also been marked down but the Black Widow figure from the same line was still $5 cheaper

I was starting to see the problem firsthand. I get that they're making merchandise based off of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not just the comics, but that's been going on for ten years and we're only just now starting to see Black Widow represented. I couldn't find any of the women from Guardians of the Galaxy; Gamora, Nebula, or Mantis. I also didn't see Maria Hill or Agent Carter. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure they make either of them. There are plenty of strong women in the Marvel canon and I'm sure there are tons of people who want to see more of their favorite characters represented in a stronger presence. This is a missed opportunity to provide for adult women who collect action figures too. It sucks that it's so hard to get there.

In the Star Wars section I saw a similar problem. Rey was included in the Toybox line but she was the only woman in there.

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At least with Star Wars they have the new series Forces of Destiny. I haven't seen it but I've heard good things and it's new to see Rey, plus Princess Leia and Jyn Erso featured prominently. 

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 Rey with BB-8! Squeeze her legs together and she wields her lightsaber

Rey with BB-8! Squeeze her legs together and she wields her lightsaber

 Princess Leia with R2-D2! Squeeze her legs together and she draws her blaster

Princess Leia with R2-D2! Squeeze her legs together and she draws her blaster

 Jyn Erso with...hope? Squeeze her legs together and she looks into the distance awaiting the Death Star

Jyn Erso with...hope? Squeeze her legs together and she looks into the distance awaiting the Death Star

The Disney Store gave me a better perspective on the issues discussed in the podcast. I was ready to head out when I turned my head and saw this jerk among the Toy Story 3 goodies.

 I still haven't forgiven you for that incinerator scene, you strawberry scented bastard

I still haven't forgiven you for that incinerator scene, you strawberry scented bastard

I wanted to check out one more toy store before I called it a day. I had looked for figures of women from franchises but I hadn't looked at generic toys yet. I went to a traditional toy store thinking there wouldn't be as much distinction between what was meant for girls and boys. I figured teddy bears and Lincoln logs wouldn't be gendered. To my surprise I found traditional toy stores so much worse!

 Pink unicorns and baby dolls for days

Pink unicorns and baby dolls for days

 Kittens for girls

Kittens for girls

 Puppies for boys

Puppies for boys

The store seemed to rely very heavily on pink for girls and blue for boys. The dinosaurs, building blocks, and science tests were all on the side with the blue wall but the ponies, baby dolls, and sewing kits were on the pink side. Yes there are girls on the boxes of slime but I still feel like they're marketing to boys, unlike that mermaid kit.

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 Are mermaids pushed on little girls at a young age or do girls just come out of the womb wanting to jump in the sea?

Are mermaids pushed on little girls at a young age or do girls just come out of the womb wanting to jump in the sea?

Though the toys were disappointing I was a little relieved by the book section. There were lots of classics marketed to all kids, and though there was a girls section, it had books like these

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I thought I had seen enough to get the picture. Though there is still a lot of progress to be made, I think Mattel is on the right track with the DC properties. It's great to see women who are heroes and villains presented as toys that kids can play with. I talked about Hasbro and Marvel needing to step it up in that regard earlier but I wanted to add these last two photos to the article before I finish.

I was picking up some things at Walgreen's when I passed the toy section and saw these.

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The Legends series seems to be better about featuring women than Diamond Select. That's a great Invisible Woman figure and I love that Ms. Marvel has been included in their lineup. If you're looking for a fun comic with a strong female lead Ms. Marvel is for you. The fact that everyone can pick up her toy is an excellent sign.

We need more of this. While talking to women about this subject I've realized the best benefits of making more figures based on women help everyone. Not only do girls get figures that represent themselves but boys get figures that are outside their experience. It'd be nice to see boys playing with figures of women and coming up with adventures where it's not about gender, it's just a team of heroes. 

 Seriously, go read Ms. Marvel. When you're done read Squirrel Girl

Seriously, go read Ms. Marvel. When you're done read Squirrel Girl

Thanks for reading my article about action figures based on women. Hopefully companies will make more! Oh, and in case you skipped it, I recommend you give that episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You a listen. Once more, here it is.

Return To The Lake City Toy Show

Last Sunday the latest Lake City Toy Show was held here in Seattle. I've written about it once before on this blog and even mentioned I'd be back. It's an event held every April and October and I have a great time whenever I go. You can read the first post here where I basically run through my experience and then my shopping haul.

While I'm still going to share pictures of some of the best toys I saw at the show this article is going to be different from the original for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want to write the same thing twice a year (here's the cool stuff I saw and here's what I bought!) so I'm going to put a twist on this one. I had two ideas as to how I could recap this time; writing about all the funny things you can buy that aren't toys or trying to find an item I've never heard of and then researching its history. Thankfully I think I found things that cover both of those! Second, I shouldn't post pictures of everything I bought this time around because I picked up a lot of gifts. I don't want my friends who read this to have their surprises spoiled.

One more thing, I actually went to the show for the second time back in October but never wrote about it because the time got away from me. It was also a different experience in that I didn't buy a lot, I just got Billy Baloney, which you can read about in My Top 5 Toys of 2017 post. I did however want to share one more thing from that last trip. I found a My Pet Monster!

 I hope he's planning on eating that troll

I hope he's planning on eating that troll

I've read a lot about My Pet Monster but I'd never seen one before. I know that children of the 80's consider it one of the best toys ever. Do an eBay search and you'll see monsters in condition like this going for as much as $250! He's before my time but I can see why so many kids loved him. My first thought was that he looked like a cross between a Muppet and a pro wrestler and I definitely would have wanted one based on that alone when I was a kid. At $150 I couldn't justify it for myself but I hope it made someone else's day!

 Onward, to the latest Toy Show!

Onward, to the latest Toy Show!

Speaking of crosses between pro wrestlers and toys, on my trip to Toys R Us in January I found a figure of Michelangelo dressed as Rowdy Roddy Piper. I wondered what the rest of the WWE meets TMNT line looked like and found the answer this past week. The photo's a little blurry but I still wanted to share. 

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I prefer the Rowdy Roddy/Mikey mash-up from series two and that Raphael/Sting figure is amazing, but I think the clear winner is the Donatello/Undertaker combination. The bo staff lends itself perfectly to that scythe and while none of the turtles have pupils it looks best on 'Taker since he used to roll his eyes back into his head. If only it had purple gloves to match the purple bandana. Still, solid job on these!

This is the first Toy Show where I found knockoff figures. I've seen pictures online of ridiculous boxes named "Sense of Right" that included characters like Batman, Spider-Man, a Power Ranger and Shrek (found it) but until now I hadn't seen anything like that in person.

 Though they look like trash, at least they're all actually from TMNT

Though they look like trash, at least they're all actually from TMNT

I loved seeing these vehicles and playsets. That picture on the Batwing box is hilarious! As cool as the Batwing is I think Beetlejuice's Phantom Flyer may be even better. I never had the Beetlejuice toys as a kid but I love how absurd and creepy they can be. I missed out on these! I also never had that Power Of The Force Slave 1 but I built a model that was very similar and I also had the micro machines version. Maybe one day when I've got the money I'll pick up some of those POTF toys I missed as a kid.

 Trigger Activated Villain Cruncher, since we all know Batman loves killing enemies

Trigger Activated Villain Cruncher, since we all know Batman loves killing enemies

 Best vehicle of the day!

Best vehicle of the day!

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Like My Pet Monster, Nintendo's R.O.B. is before my time. I didn't know about him until they made him a playable character in Super Smash Bros but I researched him and thought the story was pretty cool. Nintendo made him in response to the video game crash of the early 80's. No one would stock games so he was marketed as a toy, even though he's really a controller for Gyromite. Too bad he wasn't more popular.

 I'm just now noticing how crazy that alien over his shoulder looks

I'm just now noticing how crazy that alien over his shoulder looks

That about sums it up for my favorite toys of the show so, as promised, here's where I list all the funniest things you can get that aren't toys. First up, treat yourself with...

TV trays

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If I had this I would use it as a giant candy dish and always have Reese's Pieces on it. Seeing this makes me wonder if TV trays were like lunchboxes, or sleeping bags, in that you'd spend hours debating which show or franchise you wanted your friends to know was your favorite. My first lunchbox was Ducktales but I also had one with Taz on it at some point. My TV Tray was from Ren and Stimpy. Speaking of those two...

Comics and Magazines

If you've ever gone to a comic-con to look for old toys you know it can be tough. The number of toy vendors is dwarfed by the vendors selling comics and t-shirts, and understandably so, but that makes it funny to me when I walk into this place and see rows and rows of toys and then one table in the back with three longboxes. I have a backlog so I didn't get any more comics but I couldn't resist this magazine. I wanted to read the interview with Billy West and the show trivia was fun to see but these ads are what really needed to be shared.

 Call that number, maybe they still have some

Call that number, maybe they still have some

 Would you still sleep in this bedroom?

Would you still sleep in this bedroom?

Editing Note: The first version of this post had a picture of the Ren and Stimpy magazine cover and in the corner was a picture of John K. Because of the recent allegations, I've decided to remove the image. I don't want to hit the history eraser button on Ren and Stimpy because there were plenty of people who made the show great, but I also don't want to show anything that features its creator.

VHS Tapes

VHS tapes have become collectable again. Most of the tapes you find aren't that rare but they are a lot of fun. I saw Saturday morning cartoon collections, WWF videos from the early 90's, and classic 80's movies. I had to take a picture of what was the most rare VHS at the show, the Ewok Adventure. I love that the vendor brought in a TV to show it as well.

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One tape I bought that I'd like to share is this Bill Nye VHS. I work at a little movie theater and we have a monitor in the lobby where we play all sorts of videos. We recently showed the documentary "Bill Nye: Science Guy" and Nye himself came to the theater to introduce the film and stayed after for a Q&A. I like the idea of playing this from time to time as a little reminder of that fun night. Believe it or not as he was leaving the theater I heard him tell his friend, "let's go pound some brews!"

 Science (and pounding brews) Rules!

Science (and pounding brews) Rules!

Trading Cards

I've already written about some of the card packs I discovered last time. While they didn't have Fright Flicks they did have an amazing assortment full of cards I haven't seen in years. Look at these pictures and then pick your top 3 from each one. It's hard, right? Too many good options this year.

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You'd think Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Gremlins would be easy choices but then you'd be leaving behind the insanity of Return to Oz and Howard the Duck. Maybe those Rad Dudes go hand-in-hand with the BMX guys. Tough choices.

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If you love 80's pop then this one is clearly your rack. I hope you get a Ricky Martin rookie card in that Menudo pack.

 Sorry, Growing Pains, but no one's choosing you

Sorry, Growing Pains, but no one's choosing you

Pins

If you're the type that likes to decorate your jackets with pins you'll find some great options at the show. The usual geeky staples are there but I thought these old election pins were the most unique. That Reagan/Ghostbusters mash-up works on so many different levels!

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Cookie Cutters

At my first toy show I found a Michelangelo cake pan and now I have Ninja Turtles cookie cutters to go with it! Baked goods will always have a theme in my house. Even though Donatello looks like he just got kicked in the stomach and Leonardo kind of looks like a troll I still can't wait to use them. My wife will be so surprised that I actually want to make cookies. 

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I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I found something I'd never heard of and isn't a toy. Well, here it is. Last on the list...

King Kong Whiskey Decanter

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I read in the 70's when King Kong was popular again because of the remake starring Jeff Bridges there was a merchandise boom with the usual toys and board games but this decanter is regarded as one of the weirdest and best things to come out of it. Jim Beam produced it and even included a recipe for Kong cocktail. I don't have much in terms of novelty barware but a King Kong decanter would be a good place to start. 

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Thanks for reading about my latest trip to the toy show. If you're ever in the Seattle area I, of course, recommend you check it out and see for yourself. If you want to read more about the King Kong merch and see the cocktail recipe click here. Check back soon fo more fun. Thanks again!

My NECA 1/4 Scale Michelangelo

I was passing through an outlet mall when I saw a toy store with "50% off everything" signs in the windows. It's such a bummer to see so many going out of business. I stopped in and looked around to see if I could find a good deal and was so surprised by the gold mine that was their inventory. They weren't in a bare bones state. The shelves still looked fully stocked. They had Walking Dead figures from McFarlane, the usual Star Wars and Marvel figures, and I was blown away when I found NECA 1/4 scale figures in the back of the store that were included in the sale. Though I wanted to bring home Dream Warriors Freddy Krueger I happened to be traveling and knew I didn't have room for multiple figures, nor did I have time to stop by a post office, so I had to choose one. As you can tell by the title of the article, I was happy to bring home Michelangelo from the first TMNT movie!

 The box got a little messed up on the flight home. Curse you, TSA!

The box got a little messed up on the flight home. Curse you, TSA!

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The box art is perfect and looks like a combination of the original movie poster and the VHS jacket with details about the figure listed in place of details about the "hot new music by M.C. Hammer." I love the attention to detail, right down to the font of the original FHE logo replaced with NECA. 

 The back of the NECA box

The back of the NECA box

 The back of the VHS jacket. That's right, I still own one and had it ready!

The back of the VHS jacket. That's right, I still own one and had it ready!

I couldn't help but do the math. The box says the figure is 16.5 inches tall and since this is a 1/4 scale figure we can guess Michelangelo is about 5'5". Knowing NECA I bet that's exactly right for the costume they used in the film. With the packaging details covered it's time to get to the figure itself!

 I think it looks perfect. Like it came right out of the movie!

I think it looks perfect. Like it came right out of the movie!

 Of course he comes with pizza but including the bag of pork rinds is genius

Of course he comes with pizza but including the bag of pork rinds is genius

 Wait, was I supposed to get 4 right hands and 2 left instead of 3 and 3?

Wait, was I supposed to get 4 right hands and 2 left instead of 3 and 3?

 I love being a turtle!

I love being a turtle!

 I can't believe how intricate the shell is

I can't believe how intricate the shell is

This is definitely the nicest figure I own. I'm not sure I can put into words just how lifelike this thing is. Between the smile, scaly skin and bulging leg muscles I half expect it jump off the shelf and run to Domino's. NECA really outdid themselves with Michelangelo. Check out this clip from the movie then take another look at the accessories.

 They even got the pizza toppings right! Sausage, bell pepper and olive. Nice choice, Mikey

They even got the pizza toppings right! Sausage, bell pepper and olive. Nice choice, Mikey

The look of the figure is perfect but I do have some issues with the points of articulation. I understand you don't want the parts that are interchangeable, like the hands, to be flimsy but these are tough to swap. I felt like I was going to break his arm while trying to give him the hand that lets him hold the slice of pizza.

 I know it's supposed to do that but I hate this sight. makes me feel like I just broke my new turtle

I know it's supposed to do that but I hate this sight. makes me feel like I just broke my new turtle

I used so much force while popping his hand off my elbow flew back and knocked my coffee right off the table. 

 Fine, I didn't need that second cup anyway...

Fine, I didn't need that second cup anyway...

If you scroll back up to the box art you'll see Michelangelo in a few different poses. These were not easy for me to recreate. The one where he is holding his nunchaku over his shoulder is especially difficult because you have to move his legs apart and, again, when you move his arm to the side it feels like it's going to break. There's a reason most of my pictures have him holding food. These poses didn't seem so fragile. 

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 Pizza or Pork Rinds, tough decision

Pizza or Pork Rinds, tough decision

When it comes to TMNT collectables I like having all four. I'm sure Michelangelo looks best when the set is complete but he still looks impressive by himself. Maybe one day I'll find the other three! After I was done with the pictures I decided to set him up on top of the entertainment center and beneath the TV.

 And I decided to go with the pizza in one hand and a nunchaku in the other

And I decided to go with the pizza in one hand and a nunchaku in the other

I got an amazing deal on this figure but even if I'd paid full price I'd be happy with it. If you're a turtle fan I highly recommend you pick one up if you're able! NECA has done an outstanding job with this line and I can only imagine Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael look just as good. Thanks for reading about my new turtle! Stay tuned for another article soon.

Funko HQ

Whether you're a collector or not, you're likely familiar with Funko Pops. These are the bobble-heads and vinyl figures with big block heads and huge black dots for eyes that you can find at practically any store in town. Stores like Toys R Us, Game Stop and Target have entire sections devoted to Pops. You can even find them lining the check-out aisle while you're in supermarkets and drug stores. Store owners tell me they'd be crazy not to stock these things because of their popularity and devoted fan base. They appeal to so many different kinds of people because Funko has covered every aspect of pop culture you can think of when making their toys. If it is, or was, popular at any point it either has a Pop or one is on the way.

Funko HQ is in the near-by city of Everett, Washington so recently when I had some business in the area I decided to make a day of it and check out the company store. I was blown away! 

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Their headquarters are in the middle of downtown Everett and I love that you pass some bland government buildings right before you arrive at the base of giant versions of Spider-man and Batman inviting you to Funko.

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 It's also great to see Freddy Funko prominently on the corner of the building

It's also great to see Freddy Funko prominently on the corner of the building

 Looks like Harry Potter used "Riddikulus" on all those poor Batmen down there

Looks like Harry Potter used "Riddikulus" on all those poor Batmen down there

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I walked into the store and was greeted by two employees. They handed me a flyer with a price guide. I thought it was interesting that nothing in the store had a tag or sticker on it. I guess people are so into the box being perfect they don't even want to risk messing up a corner by peeling off the price. People take Pop collecting seriously!

I read on the company's site that they offer tours and a little class called Funko University where you meet some sculptors and learn about some jobs in their industry. Unfortunately, there were no tours or classes on the day I arrived. I would have loved to interview a sculptor for the blog. Hopefully some other time I can make it work.

When you get past the main entrance you stand right in the center of the store and, if you are a collector, you'll stand in awe of how much there is to see. This place looks better than most of the gift shops at Disneyland! It's big enough to have themed areas so I went to the back of the shop and decided to take pictures until I had made my way back up to the front. I started in Marvel's New York.

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Spider-Man, Deadpool and The Avengers are amazingly represented, not only in the merch throughout the store but also in all the different displays that are so perfect for photo ops. 

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 My favorite of the Marvel displays

My favorite of the Marvel displays

I love the detail on the Hulk here. I would have liked Iron Man in that Hulkbuster suit to match the swinging fist pose as if he were charging and they were about to collide but I guess you can see it as Tony Stark bracing for impact. Or maybe he's strutting as if to say, "Come at me, Hulk"!

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In addition to the characters I already mentioned the store also featured toys based on The Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil and Punisher. I'll always find it funny when a murderous character like The Punisher gets turned into any kind of toy that makes him look cute.

My second favorite display is the news stand. Among all the toys it's fun to see Marvel Comics with Funko variant covers being sold by Stan Lee. Those coffee table books are great too. I'd always thought the more points of articulation the better a toy would look in a photo- but these pictures tear that theory to shreds. One of my points of pride with this blog is that the pictures are 100% my own. I didn't want to post some of the examples from these books without permission so I'll just encourage you to find one and look through if yourself. I hope to get better with photography and submit an entry in the future!

 Buy some books to go along with your toys, kids. Excelsior!

Buy some books to go along with your toys, kids. Excelsior!

On the other side of that wall with the chimichanga truck and the Spider-Man billboard you'll find Hoth and all of the Star Wars merch Funko has to offer. 

 The Pop treatment doesn't make everything cute and cuddly. That wampa still looks horrifying

The Pop treatment doesn't make everything cute and cuddly. That wampa still looks horrifying

 Back to cute with this Giant Dorbz rendition of Han and his tauntaun

Back to cute with this Giant Dorbz rendition of Han and his tauntaun

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Funko has done a great job of making enough collectables based on the original trilogy while still cranking out everything to go with the current films. You seem to be out of luck if you like the prequels, though. Don't deny it, there have to be some of you out there.

 At $200 those Super Shogun figures were the most expensive toys in the store

At $200 those Super Shogun figures were the most expensive toys in the store

 This looks like they crossed Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb with Ren and Stimpy and I love it!

This looks like they crossed Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb with Ren and Stimpy and I love it!

 Try not to get lost in Chewbacca's eyes

Try not to get lost in Chewbacca's eyes

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Before moving into the next room you'll see this mural on the wall. I heard that Funko's original founder was mainly interested in making bobble heads out of fast food and cereal mascots. Clearly they've taken on so much more than that but I love this image paying homage to their roots with Bob's Big Boy, Captain Crunch and the General Mills Monsters.

 You will not resist, Disney collectors

You will not resist, Disney collectors

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Once I was done looking around Star Wars Land I crossed the bridge through Maleficent's castle and found myself in Disney territory. They have a Nightmare Before Christmas kiosk right in front of all of the other Disney and Pixar figures. In addition to Pops, Funko also makes a line called Dorbz that kind of look like something Fisher-Price would make. I think the Princesses on the other side of the castle are from this line but it's hard to tell because Dorbz usually have their eyes closed.

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Funko has also begun to release action figures that look a little more traditional. A series based on The Disney Afternoon was recently released. The line-up includes one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time, Darkwing Duck, but unfortunately he was sold out. I didn't have a whole lot of time to be disappointed as I turned around and was dwarfed by Hagrid welcoming me to Diagon Alley.

 We're only halfway through. I told you this store was huge

We're only halfway through. I told you this store was huge

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Though there were still plenty of toys I feel like the Harry Potter section had the most variety of its merchandise, specifically t-shirts. Diagon Alley is the smallest of the themed sections but there's still a lot on display. There's even a little reference to Fantastic Beasts right by the Dobby statue.

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 Don't mind Dumbledore just creeping around up there

Don't mind Dumbledore just creeping around up there

 Someone give Dobby a sock so he can get the hell away from Voldemort

Someone give Dobby a sock so he can get the hell away from Voldemort

 The attention to detail is awesome! Next time I'll ask the employees what they think that Funko potion does. I bet it creates obsession and the need to collect

The attention to detail is awesome! Next time I'll ask the employees what they think that Funko potion does. I bet it creates obsession and the need to collect

 Again with making mass murderers cute and collectable

Again with making mass murderers cute and collectable

Once I was done with the wizarding world it was time to get back to some super heroes. This is where I found the best photo-op in the store.

 To the Batcave/DC section!

To the Batcave/DC section!

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Of course, opposite Marvel's New York you'll find Arkahm Asylum and the Batcave. The Batman universe is most heavily represented but there were some Wonder Woman and Superman toys too. It's kind of surprising there wasn't more featuring the rest of the Justice League, considering the movie just came out. 

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As you walk away from the Batcave you start to get into an area with all of the toys based on sci-fi/fantasy movies and TV. In the picture below you can see Ghostbusters, 007, Hellboy, Tron, and Lord of the Rings figures all next to each other. I like that the figures start to get mashed together here. The themes and huge displays are a ton of fun but seeing all kinds of characters mixed with others from outside their universe brings back a lot of memories of playing with my toys when I was a kid. One of the most fun things to do while playing was making adventures with toys and playsets that didn't match. I wasn't going to get an episode of TMNT where the turtles went to Jurassic Park so I had to make up that story myself. I love the idea of a kid seeing this display and thinking the same thing, going home and making James Bond, Slimer and Gandalf fight the Balrog.

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I then came across a Stranger Things/Doctor Who/Walking Dead wall. That universe mashing I just mentioned...let's leave Walking Dead out of it. The kids from Stranger Things traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor sounds glorious but let's not put them in the middle of a walker hoard, or possibly worse, in front of Negan.

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 Batman could take on Zombies, though

Batman could take on Zombies, though

I'd almost made it to the end of the store. The last section doesn't have a dedicated theme. It's filled with every movie, TV and video game character who didn't fit in with the others so far but that still covers a lot of toys. 

 Most Pops don't come with accessories but I like that they changed that for the Fraggles, who come with Doozers

Most Pops don't come with accessories but I like that they changed that for the Fraggles, who come with Doozers

I mentioned earlier with the wampa from Star Wars that the Pop style doesn't exactly make everything look cute. Sometimes the transformation can make a character look possessed. Take South Park, for example. I am this target demographic. South Park has been one of my favorite shows for decades and I collect most anything I can based on Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny. I passed on these little demon children though. 

 Butters is grounded for making that face

Butters is grounded for making that face

 Good luck getting any sleep while this is staring back at you from the shelf

Good luck getting any sleep while this is staring back at you from the shelf

Continuing down the hall I spotted my favorite of all the giant figures throughout the store, Godzilla!

 I love the way he's lurking over the horror figures!

I love the way he's lurking over the horror figures!

Godzilla is right behind this table filled with monsters and slashers. I think it's the coolest of the statues and the little details like planes, the bridge wires and the train being ripped in half are perfect.

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 The cars are all filled with Huckleberry Hounds. Sorry, HH, no one likes you

The cars are all filled with Huckleberry Hounds. Sorry, HH, no one likes you

 Fine Funko, you've made killers cute and collectable. Well done

Fine Funko, you've made killers cute and collectable. Well done

The walls filled with video game characters and cartoons kind of blend together. I love Street Fighter and those were my favorites from the games wall but I'm not big on video games these days so I didn't freak out over any of the other characters next to them. If you're a gamer, particularly a Five Nights At Freddy's fan, you'll be impressed!

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Of course there are minions from Despicable Me all over one wall but I took the picture for the Looney Tunes and Space Jam figures. I'm happy to see WB characters still getting love, especially that fat little Taz with the basketball.

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I'm a little too young to have been into Masters of the Universe but after watching The Toys That Made Us on Netflix I have a new appreciation for this line. I think it's cool that the fans want Pop versions of He-Man and Skeletor and I think Funko has some great toys lined-up for collectors who want more of that original style.  

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The 90's Nickelodeon line looks good! It's too bad Disney still has the rights to Doug. I'd love to see figures based on the original look and not that crappy reboot.

 I never knew Arnold's last name was Shortman

I never knew Arnold's last name was Shortman

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As I reached the end of the store I came to what is probably the most popular section, the Rick and Morty wall. Like the Marvel Legends Build-a-figure line, each of those figures comes with a separate piece of another figure so you can build Snowball's robotic suit if you get them all.

 No szechuan sauce though, get over it

No szechuan sauce though, get over it

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There you have it. The store at Funko HQ! I'd finally reached the end. Now the hard part, with so many things to choose from it wasn't easy to pick what I was going to take home. It took me forever to decide whether or not I wanted to start a new collection or whether I was going to get the Pop versions of some franchises I already collect. Here's what I decided to buy.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Pop!

 Crow T. Robot

Crow T. Robot

 Tom Servo

Tom Servo

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I've wanted Mystery Science Theater 3000 figures ever since I discovered the show in the 90's. As far as I know the closest we got were the mini busts that came in the boxed sets somewhere around Vol. 20. I'm glad to say I finally have versions of Tom Servo and Crow on my entertainment center, sitting by the TV whenever I watch a movie, right where they belong.

Tom Servo translates into the Pop style nicely. With the exception of his oversized head he practically looks like the same as he does on the show. I understand it'd be incredibly fragile but I kind of wish they could have made his arms actual little slinkies. Crow looks pretty funny with his T-Rex arms but one little problem is that it's hard for him to stand up on his own. The big head and the little feet make it so he usually falls down face first if he's not leaning up against something. Luckily I have that marquee and while "Mystery Science Theater" was too much to fit Crow looks great leaning up against the phrase from the theme song.

Scrooge McDuck

 When you read Ducktales did you sing, "woo-oo" to yourself?

When you read Ducktales did you sing, "woo-oo" to yourself?

 "Bless me bagpipes" that's a nice Scrooge

"Bless me bagpipes" that's a nice Scrooge

Yes, they were sold out of Darkwing Duck but they still had the rest of The Disney Afternoon line I mentioned earlier. The others are Chip and Dale from Rescue Rangers and Baloo from Tale Spin but I had to go with Uncle Scrooge. Ducktales is another childhood favorite. On top of it being like Indiana Jones for four-year-olds I share a name with one of the nephews and I was proud of that! The figure looks like it jumped right out of the cartoon. I wouldn't change anything, I'd add a playset though. Let's hope Funko makes a money bin diorama for this guy!

I had a blast walking through the store and highly recommend you check it out when in town. Even if you're not a collector you have to see these displays for yourself. I'd definitely go back, especially on a day they offer the tour or the University class.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my first unboxing blog!

Toys R Us

You've probably heard that Toys R Us is closing a ton of stores after filing for bankruptcy. The news is a bummer though it did get me thinking about some great memories of trips to the store when I was a kid. I went on Twitter and realized I wasn't the only one.

I'm sure many of you can relate but when I was a kid I would get so excited any time I got to go to Toys R Us. My local store was right by my doctor's office so I have this weird connection between the two because if I was good during my appointment my mom promised she'd take me afterwards as a reward, especially if I didn't cry after I got a shot. I took those shots like a man in order to get new dinosaur toys. My next door neighbor's mom had the same policy but he opted for Army Ants and Food Fighters over a stegosaurus and a triceratops. 

I mentioned in one my previous blogs that I wanted to go to a Toys R Us and write about the experience as an adult shopping for himself since I was thinking about it and realized I hadn't been to one in over a decade. Then last week I heard about the closures. I know...I'm part of the problem. So I decided to go back and start the article from scratch with the recognition that a lot of these stores would be gone by the end of April. I'm so glad I did.

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Throughout the past year I've been to toy shows and toy sections of big box stores but this is the first time in a long time I'd gone to a dedicated, current toy store. This trip gave me a good idea of what kids today are actually playing with. 

 Crap like this

Crap like this

 Want your friends with kids to hate you? Get them a fart blaster!

Want your friends with kids to hate you? Get them a fart blaster!

I'm not really into Lego. Not that I dislike it, it's just that if I start another collection at this point I'll have to sell a kidney to pay rent. If that's your thing though a trip to Toys R Us is totally worth your time. You'll find a ton of licensed sets, like Marvel, Batman and Star Wars along with the classic building blocks.

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I kept moving through the store, past the Disney princesses and Lightning McQueen's looking for more things an adult collector would like. The Star Wars and Marvel sections were cool but, with the exception of the exclusives, there wasn't anything I couldn't find elsewhere. Side note, while looking through stores like Target or Game Stop, I see a lot of these two franchises. I don't mean to sound like I have a one track mind, the two are just everywhere right now. It's hard not to mention them while writing about current toys.

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 I love that one of the Toys R Us exclusives is Kate Bishop. Don't know who that is? Read Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. I highly recommend it!

I love that one of the Toys R Us exclusives is Kate Bishop. Don't know who that is? Read Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. I highly recommend it!

On the DC side of the super hero aisle I saw one thing I really appreciated. Among the Batman toys modeled after Affleck and Bale there was a three-pack of figures based on the Batman '66 series. It's cool to see there's still a demand for Adam West's portrayal. I hope the kids find this just as fun as the adults.

 Find me at Toys R Us, old chum!

Find me at Toys R Us, old chum!

Fans of Toy Story might find themselves in a dilemma when they see the signature collection. One of the major points of the series is that toys are meant to be played with. In Toy Story 2, the adult who collects toys is a fat thief and the toy that's been kept new in box is a total dick. It's like Pixar was trying to warn kids what they may become if they keep their toys pristine. But check out these dolls. They boast movie accurate design with both the packaging and the model plus they come with a certificate of authenticity. I feel like they almost defeat the purpose of being toys, especially at $60 each.

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As you can tell I was having fun but things just got even better as I continued down the action figure aisle. I turned a corner and found all of the Ninja Turtles. I love seeing that kids today have their own version of the TMNT to collect. It was also fun to see that they still have replicas of the classic figures in today's stores.

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 Still some of the best artwork on any toy packaging ever

Still some of the best artwork on any toy packaging ever

Next I found one of the funniest toys I've seen in a long time. This TMNT/WWE Collaboration is amazing! I'm disappointed I didn't know about it until Series 2, but better late than never. Choosing Michelangelo to represent "Rowdy "Roddy Piper is an excellent choice. I can't wait to find the rest.

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The TMNT aisle also had what I thought was the best deal of the whole trip. I'd heard about the "History of..." lineup but this is the first time I saw it in person. $50 got you 8 figures chronicling the history of Leonardo

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 The two best figures of the bunch

The two best figures of the bunch

 Damn, those movie star figures were butt-ugly

Damn, those movie star figures were butt-ugly

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I was about to call it a day and make this set reason enough to say an adult collector would still have some fun at Toys R Us. Success! But then I found the aisle called The Fun Vault. This could practically be renamed the NECA aisle and I wanted everything in it. 

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 Now we have Dickless to go with the rest of our Ghostbusters figures!

Now we have Dickless to go with the rest of our Ghostbusters figures!

I could have kicked myself for not coming to the store sooner. Yes, I haven't been collecting that long but I found things I'd only previously seen at conventions. I felt so stupid not realizing all these awesome figures were at Toys R Us the whole time. Horror fans, if it's current, this aisle has it.

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 I love NECA's take on Gremlins. Here's hoping for a Brain Gremlin rerelease soon!

I love NECA's take on Gremlins. Here's hoping for a Brain Gremlin rerelease soon!

One of my favorite parts of shopping for toys is coming across something that you had no idea existed. The surprise mixed with the immediate feeling of need can be deadly for your wallet. This trip to Toys R Us provided those feelings in a big, bad way. It's too bad we're past Christmas because these toys would have made perfect decorations, right up there with a wreath, a gingerbread house and some blinking lights. Home Alone action figures!!!

 It even comes with a Little Nero's pizza box!

It even comes with a Little Nero's pizza box!

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 This depiction of Joe Pesci is even more terrifying than that screaming Chucky doll pictured earlier

This depiction of Joe Pesci is even more terrifying than that screaming Chucky doll pictured earlier

 Just perfect

Just perfect

So many Toys R Us stores closing is sad news. I checked the list of stores closing and the one closest to me is safe for now. That's a relief because I definitely plan on heading back. If you're in an area where it is closing I recommend you get out there and enjoy it while you still can. At the very least, go get yourself a sweet deal at a liquidation sale!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for a new article soon!

My Top 5 Toys Of The Year

Hello and welcome to Poptastic Plastic. Whether you follow me on Facebook or you found this blog through Northwest Film Forum, thanks for checking out my top 5 list! We're almost at the end of 2017 and I've had a pretty good run this year when it comes to finding toys. The rules of this list are pretty simple, as long as I bought it in 2017, it can be considered one of my top 5 toys of the year. Read on to see my favorite finds!

#5 Ace Duck

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I had a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures as a kid...hell I still have a lot of them, but until now I never had Ace Duck. Ace is one of those characters that started off as a toy then eventually was written into cartoons and comics. If you search for "Weird Ninja Turtle Toys" you'll also see he's regularly thought to be one of the strangest figures in the series. That's saying a lot when compared to guys like Muckman and Pizza face (search those too). I've been around the TMNT for so long I don't even bat an eye at the idea of an anthropomorphic crime fighting duck dressed like a WWII pilot. 

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This figure is missing his accessories, he should have wings, a hat and egg bombs, but I think I found him for Fifty Cents at a yard sale, so I'll take it. He looks great next to Mikey too. Makes you wish he had more than just a cameo in the original series.

 Does this image make you want to watch an episode of the cartoon? Then I'm doing something right

Does this image make you want to watch an episode of the cartoon? Then I'm doing something right

#4 Star-Lord

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When Guardians of the Galaxy was released I hadn't gotten back into collecting yet so I completely missed the first wave of figures. Luckily I got my second chance when the sequel hit theaters this summer. I'm a big fan of the Marvel Legends line and this is an awesome entry into the series. He comes with an interchangeable head but with a mask like that, why bother? It's perfect. Now excuse me while I throw on the soundtrack as I finish this list.

#3 Super Mario Bros. 3 Happy Meal Set

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Similar to the TMNT, It's hard for me to think of a time when I didn't like Super Mario. I've been playing the games since I was about four years old and I still play them from time to time. I had all of these as a kid but have no idea what happened to my original set. I'm happy to replace them with these guys. I'm still missing Luigi but that just leaves me something to keep an eye out for during the toy show hunts. Poor Luigi, always left out.

#2 Expressions Pack Batman

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Figures from Batman: The Animated Series that look like they jumped right off the screen have been coming out for a couple of years now but this past summer I found the first of the expressions packs. These figures come with a ton of accessories and seven different heads. Batman of course comes first but I hear Joker and Harley Quinn packs will be out soon. 

 With all the money and technology at Batman's disposal I love that a simple baseball bat is included

With all the money and technology at Batman's disposal I love that a simple baseball bat is included

You must be thinking, "expressions pack? That's the same face with just a little blood painted on his face. Ripoff". While some of them do look similar my absolute favorite is undeniably unique.

 "They're making another Suicide Squad?!?!?!"

"They're making another Suicide Squad?!?!?!"

#1 Billy Baloney

 "Hello, ladies"

"Hello, ladies"

While I loved Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure I never had the toys. I've come across a lot of different Playhouse Gang figures over the years, including the pull string Pee-Wee doll, but until two months ago I had no idea they made a Billy Baloney puppet. Don't remember Billy?

Once I saw it I knew I had to have it. The seller gave me a great deal, considering what they go for on eBay, and even included his original box. The discovery combined with the deal makes Billy Baloney my favorite find of 2017!

 The Billy Baloney Story, coming soon to Northwest Film Forum

The Billy Baloney Story, coming soon to Northwest Film Forum

I hope you enjoyed my list. I am going to try to get at least one more article out before the end of the year so if you like what you see please check back soon. Thanks for reading, everyone!

When We Last Left Our Hero...

I didn't mean to take another long break from the blog but things got crazy in my life and I had a hard time getting back into the habit of writing. The stuff that went down isn't happy or toy-related so I won't get into it here, but let's just say I hope you never have to sue anybody!

After I published my last article in May I had an idea for the next one. I was going to go to Toys "R" us and write about the experience of going there as an adult to shop for myself. I went to the store, took some pictures and wrote some notes but before I could start writing the post the shit hit the fan. Now that life has mostly gone back to normal I plan on finishing that post. I also got a chance to do some traveling and visit some vintage toy stores so I'd like to share my pictures and reviews. look for those posts soon!

 Toy Shack, Las Vegas

Toy Shack, Las Vegas

 Billy Galaxy, Portland

Billy Galaxy, Portland

 Lake City Toy Show, Round 2!

Lake City Toy Show, Round 2!

Before that I'll be writing a top 5 post. Everyone in my office wants to bring back an old tradition of writing a top 5 blog and the list can be about anything. When I asked if I could just make it about toys they said that'd be great! The perfect reason to get back to blogging! Look for that post Thursday, 12/14! 

Thanks for reading. Good to be back!

Lake City Toy Show

While walking around the Fremont Outdoor Market I cam across a couple of tables filled with toys. I wasn't planning on shopping for figures that day but I couldn't resist the opportunity to look for some gold. There was a Casey Jones figure but it didn't have any accessories and other than that I didn't see anything I had to have, not even the Ernest doll. I asked the guy behind the table if he had any other Ninja Turtles and he told me he might but he was saving most of his collection in big tubs he was planning on taking to the Lake City Toy Show. I had never heard of it and knew I had to immediately mark it on my calendar.

 Hey Vern, help me get down to the Toy Show!

Hey Vern, help me get down to the Toy Show!

So off I went on a Sunday morning to dig for some deals and hopefully find some good stuff for the blog. I entered the first room of the community center knew I was going to be there all day. From new in box to clearly loved and played with throughout the years all kinds of toys were for sale.

 Big Bucket of Bart

Big Bucket of Bart

 The rare Frosted Tips Han among the Bossks and some Tusken Raiders

The rare Frosted Tips Han among the Bossks and some Tusken Raiders

In addition to toys that first room had vendors selling anything that was collectable, from lunchboxes to VHS tapes to Ninja Turtles and Star Wars bedsheets. I was looking through the tub of Star Wars toys when my wife and I heard a little girl asking her family to keep an eye out for Gremlins. A few tables over my wife spotted a Gizmo doll and asked the little girl if she'd noticed it. The girl, right on the line of smart-ass and innocent child, looked back and said, "...that's a Mogwai.." We all had to bite our lips not to laugh out loud as her dad quickly jumped in to tell the girl my wife was very nice to point that and to say thanks.

Once we finished looking around the first room we went into the main hall. I didn't know where to begin. I told myself I was going to have to do a loop around the building before buying anything because I probably could have spent my whole budget within the first five minutes.

 Who wouldn't want a Conan O'Brien finger puppet?

Who wouldn't want a Conan O'Brien finger puppet?

 While I loved Pee Wee's Playhouse I don't remember having the toys. Seeing them at the show made me tempted to hunt down the collection.

While I loved Pee Wee's Playhouse I don't remember having the toys. Seeing them at the show made me tempted to hunt down the collection.

 Instead of ringing it sings Yub Nub

Instead of ringing it sings Yub Nub

While I'd love to consider myself an expert in all things action figure, there were plenty I'd never heard of. These Super Naturals figures for example were completely new to me. Holographic mummy and snake warriors from, where else, the late 80's. Being a toy designer in the 80's must have been the best job ever.

 Inhumanoids and Silver Hawks? never heard of them either.

Inhumanoids and Silver Hawks? never heard of them either.

I wish I could have picked up so much more than I did but I had a lot of fun looking around. Everyone was very cool about me taking pictures too!

 The Power of the Force line and Micro Machines are two of my biggest collections. I was so excited to find these I didn't even notice that pink-haired anime girl with a tail until now.

The Power of the Force line and Micro Machines are two of my biggest collections. I was so excited to find these I didn't even notice that pink-haired anime girl with a tail until now.

 "Hulk been in plastic bin for over decade! Please take Hulk home!"

"Hulk been in plastic bin for over decade! Please take Hulk home!"

 I wonder if someone actually got paid to sculpt this monstrosity

I wonder if someone actually got paid to sculpt this monstrosity

 "Wakey wakey yousa little Jedi! Itsa time to AAAGH Wowee Patooey, Meesa being strangled!"

"Wakey wakey yousa little Jedi! Itsa time to AAAGH Wowee Patooey, Meesa being strangled!"

Though it was mostly old toys there were some vendors with current figures you could find at a store like Target. I thought it was interesting seeing how far the X-Men line has come, especially since I recently wrote about tracking down the Marvel Legends.

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There was also the fun of being reminded of shows and characters I hadn't thought of in years. I forgot Urkel was so popular he had his own doll. I also forgot about that crappy remake of Land of the Lost I saw on Saturday mornings as a kid. I didn't even know that show was big enough to get a line of toys.

 It kind of looks like GWAR with pickaxes is stalking a family harboring baby Godzilla.

It kind of looks like GWAR with pickaxes is stalking a family harboring baby Godzilla.

The last thing I really enjoyed seeing in person was just how ridiculous the original Ninja Turtles line of figures became. I don't think I ever owned a figure that came with a cigarette, especially one that was hand rolled. The folks at Playmates did their best to fix that with this Cowboy Donatello.

 Michael Jordan Donatello looks like he gave himself a hernia while running down the court

Michael Jordan Donatello looks like he gave himself a hernia while running down the court

 His trunk is in the way, I should have gotten a picture from another angle to see if they actually gave him a nipple ring like he has on the card.

His trunk is in the way, I should have gotten a picture from another angle to see if they actually gave him a nipple ring like he has on the card.

I couldn't remember an episode with Doctor El so I looked him up. Enjoy the classic commercial I found!

After seeing all that I made my decisions and went home with a great haul. My first purchase wasn't even a toy.

 Ninja Turtle Cake Pan - $5

Ninja Turtle Cake Pan - $5

I mentioned there were tons of collectables besides toys and I had never seen anything like this. I couldn't pass it up. I know what my cakes will look like for the rest of my life. Now I just have to find some good recipes. I'll of course have to try making a Michelangelo shaped pizza at some point as well.

 Mystery Mini Raph and Casey - $5

Mystery Mini Raph and Casey - $5

I picked up a couple of Mystery Minis when I first saw them and got Leo and Shredder. I've been hesitant to buy more because I don't want to end up with duplicates and I don't want to wind up with one half of a duo. What good is Bebop without Rocksteady? These had been opened so I knew exactly what I was getting and to get the pair for $5 total when they each go for $7 in the box was a no-brainer.

 A Dilophosaurus and Muldoon - $2

A Dilophosaurus and Muldoon - $2

When I was a kid I loved my Jurassic Park toys. I still have a bunch of them too. The compound center, the jeep and of course a bunch of the dinosaurs. I had Muldoon but, much like the character in the movie, it met a grizzly fate. Though mine was eaten by a terrier rather than a velociraptor. I'm happy to replace it at such a low price. I have a dilophosaurus too but this one spits. It's the kind of toy you put under water and squeeze. The one I had growing up was electronic and roared when you pulled its leg. It's probably still in my parent's garage. I'm very lucky my parents never made me throw any of my old stuff out. Next time I'm home I'll take a bunch of pictures and have Throwback Thursday posts for a year.

 Justice League batman - $2

Justice League batman - $2

You can never have too many Batman figures. This one is based off the Justice League cartoon from the early 2000's. It'll look great along with the other figures from the animated series.

 Five packs of trading cards - $8

Five packs of trading cards - $8

I debated making the Toy Show and the loot separate posts specifically because of these cards. There's a lot to say about everything here but I decided not to go into the history of these things because one quick Google search showed me it's been done. I'm shocked that until I came across the trading card booth I had never heard of Fright Flicks though. I've been a horror fan for about 16 years now and I'd never come across them. My pack was Fright Night heavy and my sticker is amazing.

 What's worse, someone getting paid to sculpt that G.I. Joe/Troll abomination up above or someone getting paid to write that joke?

What's worse, someone getting paid to sculpt that G.I. Joe/Troll abomination up above or someone getting paid to write that joke?

 Make America Hate Again

Make America Hate Again

I'm realizing I had pretty good luck with all of the stickers now that I'm going through them.

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 Damn gum, messed up my Batmobile sticker

Damn gum, messed up my Batmobile sticker

In terms of a budget, pretty good so far. Nothing more than a few bucks, until I spotted the subject of my last blog

 Deadpool - $26

Deadpool - $26

So, it does exist outside of Comic-Con. I was starting to think I imagined the whole thing. The guy selling it was easy-going about having it too. I asked how much and he said I could make him an offer. I asked if he would take $20 and he shook his head no and said he needed to make at least a buck off of it. He pointed to some of the Jurassic Park toys he had still in their boxes behind the table and said something like that he's not letting go for a bargain since you can't find them anywhere else. Something like Deadpool on the other hand, you could find out on the shelves right now (Ha! I tried that) and so he wasn't about to double the price saying he felt bad ripping people off like that. He paid $25 for it so at least needed $26. I pulled out $26 and my hunt for the X-Men Legends line came to an end. I still never found Deadpool at retail price but at least I avoided eBay prices.

The Lake City Toy Show is bi-annual event so I will definitely be back. Now that I know toy specific shows are around I'll also be keeping an eye out for others.

Thanks for reading my longest post yet!

Marvel Legends X-Men

Last Summer at Comic-Con I noticed the Marvel Legends X-Men line being sold for about $80 a piece. I asked why so much and the man selling them said it was because those were advanced figures, they wouldn't be heading out to stores until August. I thought it was stupid to pay so much for a figure that you could find for $20 if you just waited a few weeks so I kept walking and added them to my ever growing list of things I want but don't need. About a month later I came across this video about the figures. 

I hadn't been toy hunting the way Rob Liefeld describes it in a long time, not since I was in High School and I was really into The Simpsons World of Springfield series. So, off I went. I took his advice and hit up the stores in my area on a daily basis. He wasn't kidding, the X-Men pegs he mentions really were empty at all the Targets I searched. It only took a couple days of searching before I had any luck finding one and it wasn't at Target or Walmart, it was Walgreens.

 Finding Rogue first, ain't that just peachy!

Finding Rogue first, ain't that just peachy!

Success! At least one of these X-Men figures could be found at retail price if you looked hard enough. In case you're wondering why one of Rogue's accessories is a severed limb, these each come with a piece of Juggernaut. Buy seven (all of them except Deadpool) and build a new figure!

My wife and I were traveling through the suburbs when she mentioned she'd be okay with stopping at all the Walgreen's on the way home to look for X-Men. I hadn't expected her to be cool with it but of course I took her up on it. Sure enough we found a bunch of them.

 There are three packages in this picture!

There are three packages in this picture!

Here we had Cable, Kitty Pryde, and Havok, the most I'd found at one time at that point. Four down, four to go. I regret waiting so long to write this because I don't exactly remember how much time there was in between finding the next figures. I ran into the empty pegs for while until stopping into a Target on a weekday morning (one of the benefits of working a second shift job). Phoenix was the next figure to be found, along with Juggernaut's headless and limbless torso. 

That same day I went to the mall across the street. They had a collector's toy store, an FYE, and a Gamestop. They had to have the rest there, right? Not at all. The mall was a complete bust. I didn't even find duplicates of the other figures. As if I was walking around in the aftermath of House Of M, there were no mutants left.

Soon after that I was at a Walgreen's coming up empty when an employee asked me if I needed any help. I told her what I was up to and how I had been looking for Wolverine and Deadpool for weeks at this point and she sympathized. Apparently she was a big Superman fan and understood how far some people are willing to go for their collections. She offered to exchange numbers, as she was the stock person at three different stores, and she'd let me know once she found either figure. I thought that was so nice of her and sure enough received a few texts throughout the week saying, "couldn't find them but I'll keep looking." The geek community is awesome for this reason. It reminded me to check with the stock-boys like the video mentions and I remembered I had a friend who worked at Target downtown. I got in touch with him and he said he'd keep an eye out for me. 

A few weeks later I was back at it and while I was in the toy aisle I heard a familiar voice say, "Have I got a story for you." When I turned around the Walgreen's woman had a big smile on her face and she was trying not to laugh too hard at herself after what she'd done. When she took my number she forgot to add my name to her contacts. She was going through her contacts texting "You still looking for Wolverine?" when she got a reply from someone saying, "I thought you didn't want to hear from me anymore." She had accidentally texted someone she just broke up with about X-Men toys...She played dumb and said she was someone else with a new number and dropped it but I felt so bad for this woman. I thanked her for going through all that trouble and she told me the reason she was trying to get back in touch with me was because she found Wolverine. 

 Thanks, Walgreens stock lady! If I see you again I'll add your picture to this post

Thanks, Walgreens stock lady! If I see you again I'll add your picture to this post

After about two months of searching I was down to the last two. I looked at the list of characters and laughed. Deadpool I understand but I didn't think it was going to be so hard to track down Iceman. Well once again it wasn't a big toy store where I found him, it was Walgreeens.

This picture reminds me, I was tearing up the city looking for X-Men and would more often than not come up empty. I'd say at EVERY store I went to that sold Marvel Legends figures I found multiple Daredevil and Ant-Man toys. I almost bought The Man Without Fear out of pity since he's one of my favorite characters.

 Yellow suit Daredevil, anyone?

Yellow suit Daredevil, anyone?

So now we're in late October, I've been looking for two months, and I've found them all except Deadpool. Even with two people working stock rooms and searching on my behalf there is no sign of this toy outside of eBay. He's like Cameron Hodge, hiding in the shadows. Soon enough November comes around and I start seeing the Dr. Strange Lineup. I missed it. My chance at finding the Deadpool figure at retail price had come and gone, dammit! Makes me mad enough to punch Cyclops.

Here we are in April and I had just about forgotten about the X-Men lineup and the writeup about the hunt. I went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription and when passing the toy aisle I saw something surprising. The entire collection was just sitting there right next to Punisher, Ant-Man, and Kylo Ren. Every figure, except Deadpool and Wolverine, of course.

I'll keep an eye out but at this point it looks like my luck ran out. Seven out of Eight isn't bad, though. I'll just have to hope someone missed him and Deadpool's hiding on a bottom shelf somewhere out there.

Finally, I did confirm that your big box retailers are more often than not empty of the good stuff. I also realized the suburbs usually have a better selection as well. Next time a hunt begins it'll be good to start around a perimeter made up of offbeat stores and work my way back into the city. Because just like Mutants, when it comes to toys the most extraordinary things can be found in the most ordinary of places.

Back From The Dead

I let the blog sit for far too long. My last post was in December! I missed covering Christmas, Toy fair in NY,  as well as a few toy shows and conventions in the area. That's Horrible! A lot has happened since December so let me explain what's been going on.

First, when I started the blog I had intended it to be all about the hunt. I was having fun driving around town and looking for the Marvel Legends X-Men series but once I took a break from it to shop for others (it was Christmas and all) I realized I didn't have the money to keep it up. I also only have a few toy departments in my area, not even full toy stores, so I was just going to the same places over and over. I don't think that's really sustainable for the long run in terms of content. So, while I wanted to try to focus on new releases I think I'm going to include toys of all kinds from now on. Retro toys and collectables as well as the new stuff when I have time to hunt.

I need to figure out how to walk a fine line in that regard because I don't want to ripoff my main source of inspiration. Last year my friend showed me Dinosaur Dracula and I was immediately hooked. I find the blog hilarious and I love the mix of content. Most of the articles are about action figures from the 80's and 90's so I want to be sure I don't subconsciously steal anything. Though I've been SO worried about that I've forgotten to write anything at all. Time to get over that, especially since I recently found a bunch of old VHS tapes of Saturday morning cartoons with the commercials included. I promise I'll stick to toy related blogs. I'll stay away from writing about junk food, even when it is shaped like a ninja turtle.

In these times you have to be on social media to promote yourself. A funny thing happened when I bought my domain name. I didn't think to check Facebook. So, I got the name Pursuit of Plastic and was so happy with such a clever title. When I tried to crate a Facebook page I found that there was already a podcast called Pursuit of Plastic. Damn! I thought I might be able to get away with keeping my name but their podcast is the exact same idea I had, going out hunting for toys and talking about the pursuit. Great minds think alike, I suppose. So a name change was in the cards fairly early on in my blogging time. Oh well, that's not the end of the world. It's not like the country was about to be ruled by a former reality TV show host.

Yes, I know, politics probably don't have a place in an action figure blog but I'd be doing a disservice to myself if I finished this post without mentioning the last setback and cause for the drought of content. When Trump Inauguration day happened I wasn't very happy with myself. People have their opinions and, here in Seattle, most of them were able to speak intelligently when explaining or defending their political views. I could have been using my time to educate myself the same way they had but instead I had buried myself in pop culture. When I looked in the mirror I saw a grown man, and person of color, who was using his time to look for, buy, and write about collectables. I felt like an idiot. I struggled with this feeling for a few months. I couldn't focus solely on political news because it's just too damn depressing. On the other hand, I felt ignorant when I didn't pay any attention to it and spent my time searching for Batman figures. Recently I've found a balance and have come to understand it does not have to be all or nothing. I also don't feel any kind of guilt at this point about collecting or writing about figures. Writing definitely makes me feel better so I can use it to help take my mind off the dismal news and I'm also happy to put out a source of entertainment that you enjoy and hopefully find fun.

 "It's okay, Mikey. I'm angry too"

"It's okay, Mikey. I'm angry too"

So, back to it! I promise it won't be another three months until the next entry.

South Park Special Edition Loot Crate

South Park has been my favorite show since I saw my first episode. I was in sixth grade and the show was just finishing season 1. I was way too young to be watching it but I had seen a few episodes before my mom realized what it was and the damage had been done. I was obsessed. I could not get enough of it and I drove everyone around me crazy impersonating the funny voices on the show...poorly. South Park was my introduction to satire and the early philosophy of the show, "Either everything is okay to make fun of or none of it is" made total sense to me and helped shape my sense of humor. I unknowingly introduced myself to binge-watching as I taped every episode and watched them the way most people watch Netflix nowadays. I suppose I'm a binge-watching hipster, I did it before it was cool.  Over the course of the next few years I had watched so much of it I could find a way to connect whatever was happening in my life to something I'd seen on the show. Have you ever been around someone with a one-track mind and they get annoying and kind of kill their subject of choice for you because they just keep bringing it back there? Throughout school I was that guy with South Park. Sorry. I'm pretty sure some former classmate to this day flips channels, sees Cartman, shakes his head and says, "Fuckin' Louie..."

Though I've learned to pump the brakes on the references, South Park is still my favorite show. So when Loot Crate announced a special edition crate I didn't think twice about the price. I had to have one. It's arrived right in time for the end of season 20! Let's take a look.

 #1. Randy Marsh with Swinging Balls Pin

#1. Randy Marsh with Swinging Balls Pin

Every Loot Crate comes with a pin and this Special Edition does not disappoint. Randy is one of the best characters on the show and I'm glad he's represented. I think the only way they could have improved on it is if they had made his eyelids half shut so he looked high. That's not a problem though, I will definitely wear this. For those of you who haven't seen the episode this is referencing, in season 14 Randy finds a medical marijuana dispensary but is told he can't get a card unless he has a serious condition, like cancer. 

 #2. Safe Space Caution Tape

#2. Safe Space Caution Tape

This Safe Space tape is the one item in the crate I don't see myself using or displaying. I understand wanting to include something from a recent season but I think this is a miss. I'm not going to put it up around my place. Maybe at a Halloween party? I still don't see it. I have a friend who works at a college. Maybe she can give it to one of the students and we can see if today's freshman get the reference or if they think it's an actual product. There are a lot of characters and events I would have rather seen represented: a goth kids notebook for depressing poetry, a menu from City Wok, the Terrance and Philip poster seen in the boy's bedrooms, a Casa Bonita County Jail picture frame...I could go on.

#3 is  an item I might display, a South Park coin. I think it looks cool but the detail is so small I couldn't get a decent picture of it with my camera. One side features the classic boys at the bus stop scene and the other has the season 20 logo. I like it, but I'm not a coin collector. I don't see myself heading out to a coin shop to find a display case for it. I wouldn't necessarily call it a miss. I guess I'm just not as excited about it as the rest of the crate. Here, watch a bus stop clip. It's funnier than the coin.

 #4. Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls Silicone Mold

#4. Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls Silicone Mold

I laughed out loud when I realized what this was. When I opened the package the image of Chef wasn't facing up so I saw the divots of the mold first. Some of the lyrics to the song from the episode are printed on the side of the banner I saw first so once I read the first line I knew that I was holding a mold for Chef's salty chocolate balls. I will definitely use this one. I wish they would have included some kind of recipe. Oh well, I guess I'll have to try the recipe from the full version of the song!

 #5. Cartman Print

#5. Cartman Print

There were two Cartman items included in the crate. I have a lot of art and prints from my favorite shows and this 8x10 is definitely something I can see framing and hanging up next to the rest of my South Park collection. It includes all of the best costumes Cartman has worn over the years. It's hard to pick a favorite, between Fatbeard, A.W.E.S.O.M-O, The Coon, and the 25 other variations featured. I'm glad it's part of the crate!

 #6. Clyde Frog

#6. Clyde Frog

I've always been a fan of merchandise that's modeled after an item the character from the show would want, like Terrance and Philip dolls or Cheesy Poofs so I was surprised in the best way by this item. Cartman's favorite doll, Clyde Frog, has been brought to life exclusively for this Loot Crate. I can see Clyde frog sitting on the shelf next to a Cartman figure, for sure. This is a solid addition that was cleverly spoiled by the holiday window in Barneys New York this year. I would have never guessed Clyde Frog would be a part of the crate but I'm happy to have it.

 #7. Kenny/Mysterion Hoodie

#7. Kenny/Mysterion Hoodie

I've saved my two favorite items for last. Coincidentally, they're both relevant to the upcoming video game the Fractured But Whole (say it out loud, hehehe). I'm normally not a fan of costume hoodies but this is one is pretty sweet. We have a reversible Kenny/Mysterion hoodie that fooled me at first. I saw the orange hood and assumed it was going to have some blood stains or visible broken bones like the dead Kennys of the first few seasons but I held it up and saw I was wrong. Then I tried it on and  saw the question mark on top of the inside of the hood. Nicely done, Loot Crate! I picture myself wearing the Kenny side more often than Mysterion. It's subtle. Most people will probably just assume I'm wearing a regular orange hoodie but hopefully diehard fans will notice the brown cuffs on the sleeves and the line straight down the middle. It'll be nice to have the Mysterion option though, especially if I wait until the last minute next time I'm headed to a costume party.

 #8. Kidrobot Professor Chaos Figure

#8. Kidrobot Professor Chaos Figure

My other favorite item is, of course, a vinyl figure! This exclusive glow in the dark Professor Chaos is perfect. Kidrobot recently released 7" figures based on The Coon, Mysterion, and Professor Chaos that are worth a post of their own and I'm so glad a variant of one of them was included in the crate. I would have loved getting any of these figures but seeing Butters' super villain identity was the one included made an awesome crate that much better.

 The packaging Kidrobot has designed is almost as great as the figure too! The comic book art on the sides looks like it might be just as nice to display. I can't wait to collect the others and complete the set. 

I almost forgot. Loot Crate packages can be turned inside out and folded into artwork to display. This one is pretty big.  You can unfold it and use the stickers included to make your own South Park Elementary bus! Like what you see? I think Loot Crate still has some of these in stock. As a longtime fan I think this is definitely worth it. Get on down to South Park before they're gone!

Deadpool fandom in 2016

In 2009 I was watching my friend play a video game when I saw a Marvel character I had never heard of. Though I was an on again off again comic book reader I considered myself knowledgable enough, and was actually sort of bothered I had no idea who this guy was. He seemed deadly, with his katanas and all, but once he started talking he spit out lines that made me laugh out loud with their absurdity. My friend said I should look into him, he's named Deadpool.

I don't want to admit how long it took me to realize he was breaking the fourth wall

Soon after I checked out a comic shop and found some Deadpool comics written by Daniel Way. I realized very quickly my first impression of this character was spot-on, deadly but funny, and as a fan of dark comedy I couldn't get enough. Deadpool was the kind of character to say, "Knock knock" and before you could say, "Who's there?" he'd pull a gun and shoot you in the face. It was fun seeing him interact with other Marvel characters too. I loved it when he begged to join the X-Men or when he followed Spider-Man around New York and annoyed him the whole time. When the Deadpool Classic series was released the man behind the counter at the comic shop saw my interest and suggested I read the issues written by Joe Kelly. I was devouring everything I could find with this character so I of course took him up on that suggestion and with volume three I found my favorite comic. In Deadpool #11 his teleporter breaks and he, along with Blind Al, is transported into an issue of Spider-Man from the 60's. It's like Deadpool plays Mystery Science Theater with the Marvel Universe and it still makes me laugh every time I read it. 

 Since then I've found it in single issue and had it signed by Kelly and Woods!

Since then I've found it in single issue and had it signed by Kelly and Woods!

That issue made me the fanatic I am today and at this point I had to ask myself, where can I get an action figure of this guy? I've always loved decorating my shelves with my favorite characters and I knew I had to put Deadpool next to his pal Spider-Man as soon as I could find one. At this point it's late 2011 and I couldn't find anything around my local comic shops. The same guy who had recommended the classic series to me also let me know that, with the exception of the occasional statue, Deadpool didn't really have much in the realm of collectables. There was the old Toy Biz figure from the 90's and there was a Marvel Legends figure too but they had been out of print for years and I wasn't sure they were worth the prices I saw on eBay. I had just missed the Deadpool/Taskmaster 2-pack as well. There was also this guy but let's not get into that right now. So I kept my eyes peeled at the next convention I went to and found a few interesting things. First, the Diamond Select figure was widely available and was just what I was looking for. At $25 it was the perfect blend of cool looking display figure and reasonable price. A new collection began. The second thing I noticed that year at Emerald City Comic Con, 2012, was the artists and fellow collectors I met were surprised, almost relieved, to meet a fellow Deadpool fan. From what I understand, at that point he was still considered a character with a small but extremely devoted fanbase. It was fun being in on the joke and I got a big kick out of quoting my favorite issues with my new friends. Shortly after con season I was browsing a discount bin when I came across this guy.

 Finding Deadpool in a discount bin...those were the days!

Finding Deadpool in a discount bin...those were the days!

I thought it was a little strange Deadpool was being marketed to young kids but didn't care because I thought the figure looked funny. Sold! I didn't see much through the rest of the year in terms of toys but there was an awesome statue from Sideshow that also premiered that year. Outside of collectables 2012 was a big year for the merc with a mouth. Daniel Way finished his run on the comics, Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn were about to start their awesome Dead Presidents story and Deadpool himself announced his own video game at SDCC that summer. The next year at ECCC he was everywhere. You couldn't throw a rock without hitting someone cosplaying him. I assumed people were seeing the same things I did in the comics and his popularity was growing due to the hilariously absurd comedy, which I thought was rare in comics. I was kind of right. Something else happened in 2012 that completely went over my head because I wasn't paying attention to YouTube.

The cosplayer D-Piddy started taking off around this time and a lot of people discovered the character through his YouTube channel. The combination of the comics, video games, and viral videos launched Deadpool into convention superstardom. The moments where you'd meet someone who was surprised to meet another Deadpool fan were gone. Everyone at conventions knew who he was, and everyone loved him. No more being in on some kind of inside joke. Vendors took note and prices for action figures and statues reflected the new popularity. That same Diamond Select figure I mentioned earlier was now going for $45 and the Toy Biz and Legends figures that were out of print cost a small fortune. The Sideshow statue was $700 when I saw it on the show floor and eBay prices were even higher. As a collector, I was pissed off. I only had one year where I found some badass figures that didn't break the bank. Was it still cool to collect Deadpool? Did I want to start spending that kind of money on figures? For a second I had my doubts.

I quickly realized this was a snobbish, ugly attitude to have. It's a great thing when one of your favorite characters gains popularity for many different reasons. First of all, you shouldn't look at the bandwagon with disdain, look at them as a bunch of potential new friends. You know you have at least one thing in common. At the very least you have someone to talk to, and something to talk about, while you're in one of the many lines conventions are now known for. In regards to the bandwagon, who was I to judge? I found out about Deadpool in 2009. He was created in 1991. Remember, I discovered him in a video game. I wish I was reading his comics from the beginning but that's not the case. So who cares if you find a character outside of their original medium? Whether people find Deadpool through comics, games, YouTube videos, or movies, I'm just happy they find him. Is it cool to be a fan? I think so. Is it cool to be the biggest fan? No. Stop that. That's obnoxious.

Another reason to be happy about the popularity, the artists and writers who have been creating the dark comedies we know and love get to keep doing just that, and more of it. More comics, more cartoons, and of course, the movie (I'll get there in a second). It's deceptively easy for some people to forget a character doesn't belong to them. It's also easy to not see how much work went into developing the character we know today. I've read that during Kelly's run on the book it was almost cancelled on a monthly basis. I'm glad they gave us what we have so far and I look forward to more. 

Finally, and most relevant to this blog, we should be happy because more popularity means more merch! Since 2013 Funko released bobbleheads, plush dolls, and figurines. You were lucky if you got the taco truck from SDCC that year too. Deadpool continued to gain a lot of momentum and in 2014 when the test footage leaked and was met with an overwhelming response we fans finally got word the movie was coming!

So here we are in 2016. The movie shattered expectations. Deadpool is now arguably a household name and with the continuously rising popularity collecting has never been easier. There's so much of it. You don't even have to wait for a convention or head to a comic shop. I've seen the toys at Target, Barnes & Noble, and for a while there Hot Topic was plastered with black and red. I'm thrilled to be a Deadpool collector right now. As much as there is at the moment it might be fair to say the best is yet to come! I think the most recent figure to be released is the one from the X-Men Legends series. I want to see if I can find it in person before resorting to eBay. The results of the hunt will be saved for a future post. Wish me luck!