One last left-over from October:
So I went to winter MCM London Comic Con in October but didn’t post about it because it was still Countdown to Halloween Month and there was no way I could even tangentially relate it to Halloween (there wasn’t even that many horror-themed cosplayers). I go to both MCMs every year, it’s held in the ExCel Centre, a convention complex that’s about the same size as my hometown and I mostly go for the comfort of being surrounded by 1,000s of people who won’t judge me (until the find out I like Star Wars better than Star Trek anyway), it’s not as popular with my group of friends as LFCC and with one of them working and the other in America only two of us went and when we are left to do something together by god we’re efficient, we got in, out and spent loads of money within 3 hours. This should not reflect on the size or quality of the con though, in fact it’s probably one of the nicest laid out I’ve been to in years [Ok I want a qualifying statement before I go on, the dealers were not nicely laid out, they were in three different patterns and it played havoc with our organised brains, you have many, many nerds to cater for MCM, make it logical or else we will have issues]. The summer MCM was horribly laid out, it was all stuffed into one area leaving everything – dealers, talks, video games, signings, feeling short-changed and me feeling frustrated, I did get a vintage Action Man Astronaut & Space Capsule and a bendy Ivan Ooze so it was fruitful, but laid out like crap; this was far, FAR better with the inflatable dome things they’re using for smaller talks and the big loud stands in a separate area and eating and ATM machines in another room which meant people could sit, eat and draw money out without being cramped and/or it taking forever – when you’ve got hundreds of people in bulky, inconvenient cosplay lots of room to sit and queue is really appreciated by all.
My main use for conventions is as a treat-myself shopping spree but I didn’t come back with the usual bagfuls of shit from this con –MCM isn’t as useful to me in general when it comes to shopping, though it has a lot of dealers there’s a lot of focus on Anime and Japanese culture and modern collectors figures and merchandise and I’m really specific when it comes to all of that shit, and I’m also cutting down big time in the build-up for an expensive 2016. Of course I still had enough purchases to get a good Examples of Crap I Waste My Money on Article out of, aren’t you all so lucky?
Care Bear Cousins!
(The Care Bears, 1984)
Vintage Care Bears are one of my real toy loves, I feel no shame about it nor should I and this could indeed be a major contributing factor to me being single. I thought these two – Swift Heart Rabbit and Gentle Heart Lamb for the philistines - completed my set of World Care Bear Cousins1 but it turns out I’ve somehow misplaced Bright Heart Raccoon so that’s the weekend’s achievement ruined (and £13 spent on eBay). The girls…wait, are they girls? Seriously it can’t just be me and the Nostalgia Critic that has trouble telling/remembering the sexes of the Care Bear Cousins can it? I’m a big Vintage Care Bears hoarder and even I can’t get it straight – I THINK Swift Heart, Treat Heart, Proud Heart and Gentle Heart are girls and Loyal Heart, Bright Heart, Brave Heart, Lotsa Heart, Cozy Heart and Playful Heart are boys. I’m sure there’s a Care Bears Wiki2 that could tell you but my point is it must be bloody hard to keep this shit straight if I’ve never really manged it and I’ve been a fan since childhood, it doesn’t help that Swift Heart Rabbit has changed sex more times than a pack of Jurassic Park Velociraptors over the franchise’s history – I know Care Bears has always had horrendous continuity but you’d think they’d be able to stay consistent on basic things like whether or not the character has a cock (mind you, Poison, and Birdo, hmm…). I completely forgot what I wanted to say now so I’ll move on.
(Masters of the Universe Classics, 2012)
I am pretty much done with ‘back stock’ for Classics, with the exception of Tri-Klops and Shadow Weaver (who are both way too expensive) I’m pretty much good for figures released before I found the line, but then one vendor at the con had a whole box of them, loose and bagged like they were old G.I. Joes or something – you NEVER see this for Classics, everyone’s too busy selling them on eBay for the price of a car - maybe it’s a sign of their star fading and it should depress me but it didn’t, the novelty made me all excited and I had to rummage through even though I didn’t need nor want any figures, just to have the experience. I ended up buying Mosquitor almost in homage to this great stall and its bucket o’ Classics. He’s the only Horde member from the vintage line I didn’t own and because he’s such a let-down after the awesome NECA Staction I could never be bothered to fuck around bidding for him on eBay, he’s a lot better in-hand though I still wish they’d given him his 200X tanks – and eyes that face forward.
Throttle With Parachute!
(Biker Mice From Mars, 1993)
Now here’s a seemingly lost art, the Random Character as a Parachutist. Cheap shitty parachutists are still available in all good cheap shitty shops but the old tradition of moulding any old character from a then-popular licence to attach to the parachute seems to have died out – there are no Frozen parachutists or Minion parachutists or John Cena parachutists and that makes me sad because these things were made for EVERYTHING in the 70s and 80s, if you don’t believe me you should seriously see the various ones archived at Plaidstalions.com and in his book Rack Toys, these were just a staple of cheap cash-in merchandise (official or otherwise). I didn’t know that Biker Mice got one, which is odd because EVERYTHING was Biker Mice for me for a while in the early 90’s and my nan and mum both worked in exactly the sort of shop that would sell this sort of shit. I was delighted to find this these toys survived into the mid-90s and delighted it was Biker Mice from Mars, not just because I horde those toys but because it so perfectly fits this type of toy – Throttle never parachuted in anything, not in the toys, not in the cartoon, not in the SNES game, he has a space bike, he does not need a parachute, there is no logic to this other than ‘these things always sell and we can crap ‘em out cheap and fast, let’s make one for this Bike Mouse thing going on’ and that is exactly what these toys are all about. I’m actually torn whether to open it or not though, on the one hand the packaging it awesome (and so 90’s) but on the other hand I want to throw Throttle off the top of my stairs.
Real Ghostbusters Ghosts!
(The Real Ghostbusters, 1987)
I overpaid for these, I knew it at the time – MCM is very short on vintage toy dealers and thus they get to set their own prices and that pretty much means they get to take the piss; one stall in particular irritates me every time I go - £15-£20 for Stratos? Fuck off mate. I like to complain loudly so the stall holder can hear me, passive-aggressive yes but so satisfying. This was from a different stall who was by far cheaper but still very pricey for stuff you can get in the same condition from bootsales for £2-3 and at other conventions for £5-£10 but I’d already written off the money for the con and I could afford it so I picked up the Brain Blaster and Bad-to-the-Bone ghosts, the only RGB figures I wanted to get from a dealer rather than a bootsale – simply to make sure they were complete and unbroken. Bad-To-The-Bone is the filmiest fucker in the line and I come across ones with missing ribs, heads and arms with a depressing regularity, as for Brain Blaster it’s just so uncommon to find one with all four of his little brain-men – what are they anyway? They look like the things you put in trifle – those cake-biscuit-sticks? Actually for that matter what is Brain Blaster even a ghost of? Ah whatever he’s a big green head that shoots brain-willy-trifle-sticks, I didn’t question it as a child and I can’t see the point now, he still works too.
Knock off Hulk Hogan and Adam Bomb!
(IWC International Wrestling Champions, 1998-ish)
So between the sex scandals and the steroids trial Hasbro decided to stop making WWF toys, they’re funny about stuff like that apparently. The story I’ve heard is that then a company called Mannix then got the moulds for a few of the heads and put out some knock-offs to tie into the whole wrestling boom that was happening with the Attitude Era and nWo and all that. Originally under the name IWC they used Hogan, Lex Luger, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Adam Bomb and Shaw Michaels and put them out in all the colours of the rainbow – my favourite one being the Shawn Michaels they repainted to look like Crow-era Sting, though the Adam Bomb painted to look like Hollywood Hogan’s pretty great too3. I’ll believe that these use the proper molds because the heads look great, even painted in wacky ways, in fact the wacky repaints is why I love ‘em so much - who doesn’t want a Razor Ramon/Adam Bomb hybrid? In general I’m quite a fan of Mannix-body lines (there are many) but I see these as just two more figures for my Hasbro WWF selection (aaaand I totally forgot to see if I could find Lex Luger and Bam Bam Bigelow this con, bollocks)
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!
(Disney Parks, sometime around the release of Epic Mickey4)
I said on maybe the second or third isle, “I can’t buy any more cuddly toys” – so I then bought three. BUT, but, but, but, two were Care Bears and one was this Oswald, who has a little story to justify his purchase (shit, this post is already way to long): I bought this exact model of rabbit from the same stall at LFCC in the summer, I was VERY excited… then it disappeared – I don’t know if it fell out the bag, if it was nicked, if Mickey Mouse had him rubbed out before too many people could notice that Oswald is was better at being Mickey than Mickey is before Mickey was even around, but he was gone and I was annoyed. My delightful (and delightfully ginger) accomplice this con spotted him on the same stall this time around and I bought him instantly, we spent the whole rest of the con checking on him every so often to make sure this one stayed the fuck in the bag, he did, and now he lives with me, after years of trying to get one (since Epic Mickey came out) I finally have my lucky rabbit pal –and he’s already had Swift Heart, twice5.
Also purchased were Joy and Lily Munster in POP! Vinyl form because I was clearly thinking with my dick for the first part of the con, the werewolf from Matt Hatter and Satan’s Little Helper on DVD, because I was clearly thinking with my dick for the first part of the con. Thanks for reading; I promise I’ll have something less indulgent next time. Also I just realised that I bought two ghosts, a werewolf and a space vampire, I totally could have tied this into Countdown to Halloween via them somehow.
1 Five Care Bear Cousins were only released in the European market and two of them (Playful Heart Monkey and Treat Heart Pig) may not have been released at all, I actually have one (Proud Heart Cat) and am intended to buy another (Noble Heart Horse) but with a couple of exceptions I’m just going for a complete set of world-wide releases for the 13” plush bears (8 Care Bears were also only released in Europe, I have two and am on the lookout for a third) and I’m sure you needed to know all that.
2 I actually did trawl through the Care Bears wiki to check this out, Proud Heart was in fact a boy in the vintage era but is a girl now (and also blue) and Cozy Heart is a girl, even they don’t know about Swift Heart Rabbit.
3 I suppose I should address the Hogan racist thing as I’ve (sort of() just admitted to buying a figure of him – Terry Bollea is and always has been a dickhead, since long before we knew he once used the N-word like a comma, but he isn’t Hulk Hogan, Hogan is a character and any toys I buy/own of Hogan are of that character – I’m not going to stop watching Mad Max because Mel Gibson is a wanker and I extend the same logic to wrestling: the actor’s views are not the character's views and vice versa, just because the actor playing a character is a prick doesn’t mean you can’t still like a character they’ve played – if it did you’d hate a hell of a large percentage of characters in film, TV and especially wrestling (but not Mick Foley – he’s genuinely lovely).
4 I couldn’t find a copyright date on him.
5 and no he doesn’t know what sex they are either, but all are welcome in Oswald’s pants.