Sunday, 15 October 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Grossery Gang Putrid Power Putrid PIzza & Dodgey Donut

I had a bit of a shopping spree:

It was nice, nothing cost that much and all of them brought more satisfaction than any three toys in the store that cost three times their price could/would and you know what’s great? They all (just about) fit October’s Halloween theme – we’ve got mutants, Ghostbusters and Kane, who’s pretty much the wrestling equivalent of Jason Vorhees. So whatever I review I’m good but I’ll be honest I have no idea how I’m gonna review Playmobil or Hasbro style WWF figures so we’ll just deal with the straight-up action figures, I can do that.

Meet the Grossery Gang Putrid Power Action Figures. My knowledge of Grossery Gang before today (whereupon I did some customary research for this post) was that they were one of various bling bag lines that had risen in the wake of the success of Trash Pack, cool but too vast for me to get into when I hadn’t finished my collections of the mini-figure lines that made my childhood a delight yet let alone start on modern lines like Trash Pack or Fungus Amungus or those M.U.S.C.L.E. like alien wrestlers (I forget their name). Turns out they’re produced by Moose Toy (who also make Shopkins and the Ugglys Pet Shop) and are a direct spin-off from Trash Pack that’ve been on sale since last year (2016). My interest in the line was only piqued after the tweets starting making the ‘rounds about their new Putrid Power figures and specifically the characters Putrid Pizza, Dodgey Donut and Fungus Fries (Fries isn’t out yet), why? Well do they look a bit similar to you, like you’ve seen them before? Or you remember them even though they’re new? I don’t think we’ve got any actual confirmation on this but the whole internet has pretty much agreed that if these aren’t direct homages to Food Fighters (specifically Private Pizza, Major Munch and Fat Frenchie) then they might as well be and coincidence is a marvellous thing.

I cannot stress my love of Food Fighters enough, their bizarre concept, their flat out awesome characters, the fact that they’re pretty much dog toys kids are allowed to play with all just make them utter gems to me. So like many others the merest whiff of a tribute, or even a similarity, was enough to make me buy ‘em, it’s taken a little while because the Food Fighter-esque figures have been sold out everywhere I’ve looked, with only the non-Food Fighter-like figures remaining, unloved and unwanted because they didn’t recall a cult-favourite toy line once sold for about a dollar fifty but now I’ve got ‘em so you get my two penn'orth as well, lucky you.

Putrid Pizza was the one of the three I was least excited about getting, simply because he’s such a radical departure from his Food Fighters equivalent (Private Pizza) and I couldn’t figure out why you’d want to avoid a pepperoni eye patch on your pizza man? Now I have him though? I fucking love him and I shall tell you why: while playing about with him I realised he as effectively Food Fighters and Toxic Crusaders combined, that made me like him, but that thought also lead onto the realisation that had Food Fighters been released (or revived) in the 1990s, Putrid Pizza is what they’ve looked like and that made me delighted. Putrid Pizza is effectively filling a whole in my childhood I didn’t know needed filling. He has everything I liked about the 1990s toys I grew up with – detailed and skilled sculpts, bursts of neon paint, whacky themed accessories and actually pretty decent articulation, sure it’s all nostalgia but it’s also all there on PP here.

In comparison I have very little of note to say about Dodgey Donut – possibly because his appeal should be self-evident in the photos: he’s a barely sane doughnut man wielding a nunchuck and drooling slime. I greatly enjoy that his gauntlets/socks are made up of icing and they sure do look and feel like what they’re supposed to be, I wonder if they moulded icing? That sounds messy but worth the effort. DD has a more modern look all over really, and a more realistic feel to him, PP has some damn fine sculpting that really does look like burnt cheese (I want to chew it) but he’s still blasted in various Toxic Crusaders neons whereas the texture and little paint apps on DD make him really look like a doughnut, I want to eat him and don’t feel bad about it. On another note but one related to DD as it’s more obvious with him: these figures are small, technically they’re 3 ¾ inch scale but they’re such bizarre proportions and such a variety of proportions that they seem a lot bigger than they are, this ‘seems better than they are’ carries over to the articulation, there isn’t much there – PP has five joints and DD only four (because he has no neck, being a doughnut) but they’re all ball joints or close facsimiles thereof and all the limbs get a great range though PP’s head doesn’t, it’s less of a ball joint and more of a wobble joint but it’s still a ball joint, it still gets more range than a swivel joint and still makes the toy feel ‘better’ than five points of articulation would feel if they were only swivels.   

Each figure comes with an exclusive Grossery Gang mini-figure – which is a damn sensible idea as far as I’m concerned, it takes the figures from an optional extra to a must-have extra for collectors of the main line – from what I can figure out these are technically the ‘pre-transformed’ versions of the figures, at least for these two. This is the first time I’ve ever handled a Grossery Gang mini-figure and…I don’t like it, they feel like wet cake. I suppose this could be intentional, they are after all supposed to be gross – it’s in the title – but they feel too soft and too wet and I’m sure they’ll degrade over time (and if that’s the case then I can’t understand why any toy company would choose a material that degrades for a toy based around collecting). Aside from the feel though I think they’re adorable and work as a nice counter to their mutated forms, instead of a fearsome pizza and a deranged doughnut we have a sad little pizza slice with all his cheese fallen to the bottom (foreshadowing his action figures’ body) and a confused little half eaten doughnut.

And so this disjointed mess comes to a conclusion and that conclusion is: these were so worth the frustration finding them entailed. They cost £7.99 in the UK, a fair price for a toy their size but damn cheap for their levels of awesomity, sure that awesomity is strongest to a niche market that’s completely outside of the target demographic but if you’re part of that (and I am) £7.99 is fuck all – buy these weirdos friends, buy them so that there may be a second series with burgers, pancakes and hot dogs!  

Monday, 9 October 2017

Top 15 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes

The next medium for our Favourite Haunts series is television, and that can only mean Buffy!
Just in case you don’t know (shame on you!) Buffy the Vampire was a 7 season long American television show created by Joss Whedon and spun off from a movie, also called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a mid-season replacement show in 1997 (meaning the first season is short because it replaced another show that failed) and ran until 2003. The premise is that there is always a Slayer, a girl imbued with powers in order to fight monsters, when one dies another activates and is guided by a Watcher. The titular Buffy is (initially) a highschool student who moves to Sunnydale, California after the events of the movie where her original Watcher was killed – unfortunately Sunnydale sits atop a ‘hellmouth’, a portal and site of huge mystical energy, it is literally a weirdness magnet. So Buffy, along with her best friends Willow and Xander, are drawn back into the world of Slaying, where she’ll stay through high school, into college and then adulthood.
Season 3 of Buffy was showing in the UK when I got into the series, I was in my early teens and it’s pretty much the perfect show for depressed, socially outcast, fucked up teenagers who like monsters and pretty girls, I remain hooked – mostly because nothing’s really changed, I’m not teenager anymore but that’s about it. I like everything about it and it has the bonus of being very useful when I’m suffering from depression: see no matter how bad my life is I can watch Buffy and know that no matter what, it’s not as bad as Buffy’s – if I’m mildly depressed I can watch Season 3, if I’m REALLY depressed I can watch series 6.  
Beneath all the drama and the shipping and Faith's trousers Buffy is a horror show (I think they forgot that every so often too) so it’s perfect for the Halloween season, it even has two episodes set on Halloween that are both fantastic (but not fantastic enough to make this list, the episode ‘Halloween’ only narrowly missed out though) so this is the perfect opportunity for me to knock out a mega-indulgent ‘favourite episodes’ countdown list! Woo! Also, why top 15? Because (spoiler alert) I’ve got two two-parters  in this list and this is ‘episodes’ and no ‘stories’ so technically they’d each take up two slots if we’re being PICKY so to play it safe and get all the episodes I want on the list, it’s a top 15. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Giant-Size Werewolf By Night #2

Welcome to what AFB is doing this October, out of a need for Halloween-y blog content I’ve resorted to just talking about things I’m always happy to talk about and have picked some of my favourite horror-themed things from the quagmire or stuff I enjoy. I’m calling them ‘Favourite Haunts’ because I’m witty like that.  We’re starting off small because I can’t be arsed to make gifs today.  

The first American comic book I ever owned was Giant-Size Werewolf By Night #21.
“That’s a little odd” you may say if you were real, especially once you’re told that I bought it in 1991-ish and it was published in 1974. I’m going to post the cover; I feel this should clear up any questions:

Frankenstein vs the Wolf Man? Fuck yeah! I’m sure a lot of parents would prefer their five year olds never get within 15 feet of a horror movie but as far as my dad, his brother and their father was concerned you are a bad human being if you can’t quote Universal Studios’ Dracula, so they started me off young and I took to these old films instantly, honestly I took anything monster-ish instantly, by 1991-ish I was a confirmed Real Ghostbusters fanatic. Anyway I may have told this tale before but fuck it: my local shops are all built around a roundabout and that roundabout is roughly 11 houses from the house I grew up in, the road it’s on backs onto one of the rows of shops. As a child my mum had dragged me ‘up the top’ one day to do whatever she needed to do, which involved going to the chemist (what is now Boots, it used to be Time Pharmacy back before everything was a chain store). As being in a chemist is crushingly boring for adults let alone children I got permission to hop one or two shops down and visit a charity shop that isn’t there anymore, it was, I think a cat-based charity. In the shop, which always smelt, was a box of various magazines, I’d gone in looking for toys but having seen THAT cover on the top of this little box of periodicals I picked it up, flicked through and asked how much it was, the woman behind the counter gave it to me for free, dismissing it ‘that little thing’, so I have that old lady to thank for decades of being a sad bastard, thanks lady!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Poundstretcher Halloween Goodies!

It's the first of October! it's Halloween Month! Woot!

Just in case someone from the UK stumbles across this before Halloween 2017: Poundstretcher’s Halloween stock is immense!
Imaginary readers from the UK should hopefully be aware of Poundstretcher even if they’ve never shopped in one, for the imaginary US readers: it’s a slightly more expensive Dollar Tree. It is not known for its quality stock, it’s known for cheap sweets and ugly crap (though to be fair to Poundstretcher I did get most of my Bandai Thundercats figures from one). Today I went to a Poundstretcher because I’m a good son and even better grandson and my mum and nan needed someone who can lift more than a bag of flour – it was so worth it. They only have half an aisle dedicated to Halloween in our Poundstretcher but they have crammed so much good shit into that half an aisle. Of course all of it is still cheap and ugly but that’s totally ok when it’s Halloween, all their cute stuff is cute and all their scary stuff looks like it’s nicked from a really low-rent Ghost Train and that is brilliant. Of course I forgot to take a picture of their display because I’m not very good at this blogging lark even after two years at it but no one reads this stuff so it’s not that important. I did take pictures of what I bought though.

Wall Reliefs!
Can you believe these are the only wall reliefs I’ve found this year? And they were in fucking Poundstretcher. Why the sudden drought of wall reliefs? What could you all possibly have against them manufactures? Wall reliefs kick arse. Nothing says ‘the homeowner has taken their entire inspiration from a ghost train they went on when they were four’ like wall reliefs! I’m doing our Halloween gathering this year and as it’s only a gathering with only about 12 people coming I’m not going all-out and creating an immersive environment (I have done this before) but instead going for ‘Halloween tack’ and these are perfect for that.
My photography skills are pretty piss-poor today (I’m not well) and I apologize to everyone reading this but I’d like to especially apologize to the zombie relief because this picture really doesn’t get across how lumo green his ass (well, head) really is. I’m pretty sure he’s blacklight compatible and yes I do happen to know someone who randomly owns a blacklight, why wouldn’t I have access to a person who just so happens to have one in one of their draws? I’m really not a big zombie fanbut I’m making an exception for Zombie John here, he’s just too damn green not to. I AM a big fan of skulls though and Undead Fred is a skull-shaped revelation, he has R.I.P. carved in to his head and vampire fangs AND he glows in the dark, these cost £1.99 each, such greatness should not be so cheap. Am I being a bit hyperbolic? Fuck it I’ve been looking for wall reliefs and two I found are cool so eat my hyperbole and like the taste.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Supermarket of the Dead

It’s getting near Halloween, and by near I mean about a month – hey if you’re a kid looking forward to Christmas that’s practically tomorrow. I’d like to say that I’ve spent the last month working on spooky posts but I haven’t. I’ve been suffering from a horrible bout of depression and haven’t had the will to do very much except lay in bed, read the internet and occasionally look up wind-up toys, that wind-up toy research day was the height of my activity recently and it only involved…ready for it… reading the internet in bed.  
So no I haven’t got anything in the can and I hate myself for that. But I still want to post something spooky thus I’m going to tell you about one of my dreams! That’ll be fun, I really enjoy those creepy YouTube channels (my favourite is currently Cayleigh Elise) so I’m all up for sitting here telling people about scary things because I enjoy it so why wouldn’t everyone?

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Tomy Pocket Pets, a Brief History

So simple looking, yet so complicated

Yeah this isn’t something I thought I’d be writing about yesterday, let alone being up until quarter part 1 in the morning writing about but here it is and here I am, meet the Pocket Pets. If you haven’t heard of the name ‘Pocket Pets’ that’s ok, neither had I before yesterday, but I can almost guarantee you’ve seen one of the toys Tomy released in the line because moulds for these are still being used forty year later– I know the Owl and Penguin are in stores as of this writing. What Pocket Pets were was one of Tomy’s many lines of small wind-up toys, most of these lines are very simple – one set of toys under one name (i.e. Get-Along Gadgets, Snow Funnies), some might get a second wave (The Not-So Grand Band, Flip Floppers), a sequel line (Kid-A-Long Kids to Kid-A-Longs) or perhaps be re-released later on in say a different colour (Pop Overs) but they’re not very complicated. Pocket Pets on the other hand ARE complicated and I had to write the following down to understand them, because understanding the various releases of wind-up toys is how I spend my Friday nights (I’m so alone). Also because Pocket Pets are the most commonly seen Tomy wind-ups on the secondary market - certainly on eBay – so it was worth doing, so are you sitting comfortably? Then here’s my findings: 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Say Something Nice: 5 Good Reads by Rob Liefeld

Let’s say something nice!
 Here’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and we’re starting with comic book artist Rob Liefeld because if anything’ll show off the premise of this it’s Rob fucking Liefeld. Liefeld has a terrible reputation, the consensus is that his work is
This prick here.
terrible, I think that his work is terrible and I think he’s a horrible human being, not just because I disagree with his political views (he leans right) or for that time when he was forced to leave the company he founded for syphoning funds and talent poaching but because he’s also an egotistical prick. So he’s perfect for what I want to do with my Say Something Nice posts: take a creator I don’t like or who is generally considered suckage incarnate or both and find five things they’ve worked on that didn’t suck – I will be doing Frank Miller.

His artwork summed
up in one cover
So who is this man? Liefeld is a comic book penciller who rose to prominence via work at DC Comics’ Hawk & Dove mini-series and Marvel Comics’ X-Men spin-off series The New Mutants and X-Force becoming a ‘superstar artist’. His career arguably peaked when he and several other Marvel artists left to form Image Comics which would publish their creator-owned works, Liefeld’s book Youngblood launched the company in
1992 and was a huge sales success.

Buuut: a critical success he has never been, his art style is bombastic and energetic but he has a list of issues that start with a basic grasp of anatomy (or lack thereof) and failing at telling a story sequentially and go down to very specific things like not being able to draw hands holding swords and putting too many frown lines on everything – and him avoiding drawing feet any time he can. His successes lead to a slew of imitators though and a slew of comics in a similar style: style over substance when there was no style only third-rate imitators of a man who couldn’t draw. So he had a pretty negative influence on the whole industry as well as sucking at his job. In his favour he has had a couple of positive lasting impressions – he created/co-created long lasting and popular characters Cable, Deadpool, Domino and the second Dove and Youngblood’s success gave Image Comics a great start and whatever you may think (or have heard) about early Image the company has gone on to allow publish dozens of high quality series. Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Haven Holidays & The Tiger Club Present: Tiger Tales XI

A shorter post but I found this and thought it should be shared for the benefit of people like myself who grew up with parents (and in my case grandparents) too cheap, to skint, to xenophobic or too scared of flying and sailing to go abroad and thus spent their yearly holiday at a Haven holiday camp – If you went to Butlins or Pontins or British Holidays or wherever then this post isn’t for you, piss off with your bears and red coats and Skegness an’ shit.

I don’t think Holiday Camps exist in America, so for the imaginary American readers: they’re trailer parks that people go to on vacation. It’s not as boring as it sounds, they’re typically located in or near tourist destinations and have their own on-site entertainment, usually a swimming pool, an arcade and a club or clubs that put on entertainment in the evening – singers, dancers, magic acts etc – with a kid’s club just geared towards the children. Butlins is arguably the most famous holiday camp but the biggest company is Haven Holidays, especially since they merged with British Holidays. Before that merger Haven’s kids club was the Tiger Club and it was the home of their mascot Rory the Tiger and his pals, they had entertainment in the evening and in the day patient Haven employees would babysit your kids if you didn’t want them around ruining your holiday - as I hate joining in and had a mother who actually wanted me around I rarely went in the day but I did used to go at night. The centrepiece of the Tiger Club was their weekly Rory Roadshow where full-costume versions of Rory, Anxious the Elephant and Greedy Gorilla would sing and dance to unique songs - most of which I can still remember word-for-word, I can’t remember my own mobile number but I can remember Cocoavamangokiwibananayamyam.  

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Mondo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1:6 Scale Michaelangelo (Mondo Exclusive version)

So I decided when I ordered them, ooh a year and a half or so ago now, that I’d review all four of Mondo’s 1:6 Scale figures when they came, but they reuse parts and accessories between them pretty heavily so you’re best to check the reviews of Leo and Don if you read this and think ‘whaaat?’ at any point, those two should help. Anyway Donatello came when I was experiencing a heavy bout of depression and Mikey has turned up while I’m nursing bruised ribs, it’s like Mondo have decided that if they couldn’t get ‘em here on time, they’d make sure their Turtles turned up when they were most needed. Michaelangelo though is actually the least late of the three figures so far, he was due out Quarter 3 2016 and was released Quarter 3 2017 – and yes, a fucking year is an improvement. I bruised my ribs on a roller coaster called Stella’s Revenge at Clacton-on-Sea’s pier because the ride was a half-broken piece of shit manned by a fucking tool – I’m in constant pain: expect swearing.

As a quick catch-up, Michaelangelo is the third in Mondo’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1:6 Scale Collectable Figures line, the t-shirt company turned expensive merchandise peddler is putting out all four Turtles this year as deluxe 12-inch scale action figures. There is a regular version and a more expensive Mondo Exclusive version (which is a bit of a silly name as both versions were only available via Mondo’s online store) that came with an exclusive accessory but if you subscribed to the line (so you received all four Turtles) you got the Mondo Exclusive at the price of the regular version, which is what I did.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Range: First Halloween Display of the Year!

Just a quick one, but something that should be celebrated every year if you ask me…
THE RANGE HAS BECOME THE FIRST SHOP THIS YEAR TO GET THEIR HALLOWEEN SECTION OUT! At least in Romford, I assume Romford is emblematic of the whole country while simultaneous hoping this isn’t the case at all. I mean if it was, there’s be a nationwide shortage of spray tan and track suits, but as I don’t follow the spray tan or track suit industry this could well be the case, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, motherfucking Halloween! For a couple of months a year shops that are usually no more than a necessity becomes fun and interesting and The Range is the first to strike Halloween o’clock, well technically it’s getting ready to strike – they were still putting their stuff out (they hadn’t priced anything when I was there this morning) but that didn’t stop me from taking pictures and out of pure glee:

click all pictures to enlarge

Monday, 28 August 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 17

Welcome to the last Bootsale Report of the year, and given how jumbled and rotten the last one was that’s probably a good thing.

Still I’m feeling it a lot more today, and by ‘it’ I mean gross amounts of pain. I managed to bruise a bunch of ribs on Clacton-on-Sea’s rollercoaster Stella’s Revenge because the ride is a broken piece of shit that was manned by a fucking tool - now I can’t bend down, run, belch or take deep breaths without searing pain. “So why did you walk around a bootsale all morning then dwietfry, you utter prat?” because I’d already said I would is the fairly boring answer, this was our second time ‘doing’ a bootsale this season (so we had a stall) and I said I’d help my mum sell off some more of my late grandfather’s stuff (mostly fishing paraphernalia that sells surprisingly fast) and it was actually a good thing. I went for a wander ‘round the (rather small) bootsale and was able to just (cliché incoming) loose myself, focussing on lots of things that weren’t constant pain for a couple of hours I was if not happy then at least peaceful – and not in pain, have I used the word ‘pain’ enough to get across how uncomfortable I’ve been for the last week? And of course I bought some shit:

‘Weird’ is my assessment of that haul, and not just because it features Shrek, a pile of rotting flesh, Wile E. Coyote, whatever those things down the front are (we’ll get to them) and a seal in a wetsuit and goggles (his name’s Zoggy). I can’t really put my finger on why my purchases seem odd; perhaps ‘atypical’ is better? It just feels weird, what it isn’t is sucky – at least not to me – you may have your own opinions on what I buy and that opinion may very well be ‘why?’ but for me this spread is made of excitement and personal achievements in shopping. I would have liked to have pulled in some more action figures, I came home with a measly 6 (seven if you count the gorilla, I’m not counting Captain Scarlet as he’s in fact a fully articulated torch – no I didn’t know such things existed either) but otherwise this is win, win and more win for me, allow me to elaborate on that. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Moby Dick Hunt at Pleasure Island, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Time for a post about old and/or dead theme parks, I remain hopelessly fascinated by them so everyone else must be too, that’s how it works right?

I’m mostly interested in just one old ride at this park but I shall recap the whole story for you. The park in question is Pleasure Island in Wakefield, Massachusetts U.S. which used to be situated where the Edgeware Office Park now stands. At over 80 acres the park was designed by C. V. Wood’s Marco Engineering company: a key figure in acquiring the land for and designing Disneyland C. V. Wood had left and set up Marco Engineering specifically to create knock-off Disneylands (they’d already built the Magic Mountain park in Colorado by this point). The park came out of a concept for ‘Child Life World’ by Bill Hawkes, publisher of Child Life magazine with the intent to educate at is entertained, never a good idea in my mind: every time a park tries to educate it usually ends up being EPCOT: boring then with drunks sleeping in it. Ground was broken in February 1959 and it took four months and between four and four and a half million dollars to build.

The park opened on Monday 22nd June 1959 with Fess Parker and Rita Moreno there (amongst others) to mark the occasion, four years after Disneyland (Fess Parker was there as well, he missed his cue) and with the very bold tag-line ‘Disneyland of the Northeast’. It was very much a cheap but charming Disneyland-lite with a mixture of standard tourist trap attractions, petting zoo animals and some suspiciously similar attractions like: Space Rocket (Mission to Mars), The Old Smokey Line (Disneyland Railroad), Jenney cars (The Autopia), Pepsi-Cola’s Diamond Lil Show (Golden Horseshoe Revue) and Moby Dick Hunt (Jungle River Cruise) – in fact it had pretty much everything Frontierland had back then, not that those things were very original to begin with. The first season bankrupted Hawke’s corporation: 75,000 guests were forecast but around half that turned up so three investors from Boston bought the park and ran it from 1960 to 1969, that grand re-opening had the Three Stooges.  It did have monkeys on Monkey Island though (Disney didn’t have monkeys!) and a fairly interesting sounding dark ride called The Wreck of the Hesperus where riders travelled underwater and were warned off by King Neptune himself as they left, it sounds pretty similar to Submarine Voyage which was being developed at the time (it actually opened after Pleasure Island) and given how many other elements of the park were inspired by Disney I wouldn’t doubt that there’s a connection. Unless you come from Wakefield or were a kid in the nearby area (or with family nearby) between 1959 and 1969 the park seems relatively uninteresting - except for the aforementioned Hunt Moby Dick ride, which you may have noticed is the tile of this post.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Retro Crappy Review: Neca Video Game Series Contra Two-Pack

[merrily sings] For the very first time ever when they had a revolution in Nic-uraguera there was no interference from Ameri-ca, human rights in Ameri-ca, the people fought the leader and up he flew with no Washington Bullets what else could he dooo-oo-oo? SAANND -INISTA!  [/merry sings] and then Ronald Reagan came along and ballsed it up.

So when shitting out these Quick Crappy Reviews I usually like to stay fairly recent, today I’m ignoring that rule so this is the first Retro Crappy Review. Why bother? Well whole blogs and YouTube channels are based around reviewing toys way older than this set (which came in 2016, hardly ancient) so it’s not like it matters when the toy was made but the reason I’m breaking the rule now is as follows: I bought Neca’s Contra two-pack cheap at the summer LFCC convention this year, went to get it out of its box while taking photos for other stuff in the loft and decided that there was so much to it that it deserved a Quick Crappy Review (poor thing) and it would give me a forum to waffle on about it at the lengths I felt it & I needed.

So this is Neca’s Contra two-pack from their Video Game Series, The concept is making figures painted to replicate the sprites used in video games starring that character and is a result of the phenomenally positive reaction to (and subsequent sales of) a Jason Vorhees variant released as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive in 2013 based on his (completely erroneous) sprite in the ‘infamous’ NES game Friday the 13th, I own one - it is amazing. Mostly the figures are repaints or slightly altered versions of figures NECA have already put out, I did a QCR of the Gremlins 2: The New Batch release from the series a little while ago. The Contra two-pack however was the first Video Game Series release to be new characters, new figures and characters not from films, it was released in Quarter 3 2016. Got all that? This post is gonna be boringly succinct information heavy so acclimatise yourself and I can only apologize. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 16!

I feel dead inside, so maybe this isn’t the best time to write a blog post enthusing about old toys.

Today I walked around a sun drenched field, a light breeze ruffling my hair – or at least it would if I had any – feeling hollow and empty inside, like an Easter egg but less delicious, and as I wandered and questioned how my life had turned out the way it had, I bought some old junk off other people:

Leaving my teenage poetry to one side, I did ok for someone who certainly hadn’t brought their a-game to this bootsale, there may not be too much there that’d wow ‘proper’ toy collectors with their mint-in-box Battlerams and carded Bobba Fetts but there’s a lot of my interests catered for in two (hopelessly fucked) carrier bags worth of stuff and some nice big ticks of my list of shit I need to own now plz, that should probably be capitalized, fuck it. That Care Bear’s a re-issue by the way, it’s the first time I’ve ever fucked up buying vintage Care Bears and it genuinely made me really angry at myself for a few lines, it’s not too big a deal in this case because a) it was 50p and b) I already have a vintage Birthday Bear in a larger size but it was still a silly mistake I shouldn’t have made. So off we go again, I’ve pulled out some stuff from the haul that I can squeeze a marginally entertaining paragraph out and today we have anecdotes, M&Ms, bears, dragons and Diesel looking two parts 1990s country singer and 1 part 1990s porn star so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Max Factory Figma Action Figure Series 314: Leafa (Sword Art Online II)

It’s time for boobs and incest! The twin hearts of anime!

In these photos that Leafa's left hand is always the same despite swapping hands being a major part of the toy, this is because the peg broke off while i was swapping hands (y'know, what the toy's supposed to do) to take these photos and I had to superglue on the hand I intended to use for display. It's also why the pictures are a bit boring, so if you'd always wanted to see Leafa lined up with the Planeteers using an amulet and the cry 'incest' to help call Captain Planet, I'm sorry - blame Max Factory. Figmra really are a quality control quagmire. 

Well this turned up quicker than I expected. Sword Art Online seems to have settled into being the Nickleback of anime, it’s very popular but no one ever seems to admit to liking it, well fuck that I like Silver Side Up and Sword Art Online is one of my favourite anime. Being a contrary fucker like I am it wasn’t the opening Aincrad arc (where the characters are stuck in a virtual reality MMORPG where death in the game equals death in real life) that won me over (it has pacing issues) but later, less popular story-arcs – especially Phantom Bullet and Mother’s Rosario - and to be a really contrary fucker I loved the Fairy Dance arc. The common complaint I’ve read is that without the threat of dying the arc loses a lot of its weight and stakes, and the incest thing, I thought the incest thing was adorable and I’d argue that the arc simply has different stakes, Aincrad was about survival while Fairy Dance is a race against time, the longer Kirito leaves it the closer Asuna gets to becoming a sex toy and if he takes too long that slimy fucker Sugou will consummate the marriage of Oberon and Titania regardless of Titania’s feelings on the matter – I’d argue that racing to stop your wife being raped repeatedly is a good enough replacement for making sure you don’t die.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Hasbro Marvel Legends Marvel’s Sandman Series Ms. Marvel

Hey it’s the first Marvel Legends figure to get a Quick Crappy Review! That’s because I hold the uncommon and unpopular opinion that Marvel Legends are often a bit shit, which should do wonders for my already terrible view count.  In truth some of it’s me, I have a lot of emotional baggage and some of it is connected to superhero collector’s figures (because of course) but some of it is the same issues Marvel figures have had since Toy Biz: unappealing art style (sculpt style?), horribly obviously joints, ridiculous muscle definition, terrible faces and ugly paint washes, troubles that Hasbro has only been overcoming once or twice a wave in the last two years or so. Please don’t hate me.

Anyway Ms. Marvel is from the Marvel’s Sandman wave of Marvel Legends because Hasbro decided the best thing for their Legends series was to forgo silly shit like numbers and name ‘em after the build-a-figure. Sometimes a wave also uses a character name or film title (e.g. Captain America: The Winter Soldier) but this series doesn’t, it’s themed around Spider-Man and considered a Spider-Man wave but the web-swinger’s name or logo doesn’t’ appear anywhere on the packaging bar the names of the figures (cos there’s a figure called ‘Spider-Man’ in this wave). Ms. Marvel is this wave’s ‘guest star’, Hasbro have settled on a nice habit of throwing in a roughly thematic but mostly unrelated character or two per wave as a way of getting those characters out i.e. Death’s Head II in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 wave or Sister Grimm in the Doctor Strange wave. Funnily enough, those ‘guest stars’ are usually the ones I buy.

Friday, 11 August 2017

A Look At... Ex-Mutants: The Saga Begins

It’s been over a year since I had A Look At anything without a Sonic character in the book, that’s quite unacceptable.

So the story behind Ex-Mutants then:
The concept came from a conversation between Eternity editor William Davidson and Eternity publisher Kevin Myers with the basic setup coming from the latter. Created as a jab at the black and white independent books that had sprung up in the wake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s success (as a comic book) the gag was going to be that the whole set-up was a complete inversion of TMNT and its pretenders, the characters would be the only humans in a world filled with mutants and the title would be Young Ex-Mutant Samurai Humans. Ugh, thank god they got David Lawrence on board to write it, well actually ‘they’ didn’t, Eternity went to Campiti & Associates, a provider of comic book ‘packages’ – this used to be a big thing in the 1940s, basically a company that hires comic book artists and writers and produces comics that are then sold on to publishers, Will Eisner used to have one and Jack Kirby used to work for one, just as examples. Anyway Campiti & Associates bright in Lawrence (and Campiti is credited as co-creator of the characters in issue 1) and also Ron Lim, yes THAT Ron Lim, the bloke who drew Silver Surfer and Iron Man and all that, this was back when he had a style.

Top to Bottom: Angela, Erin, Lorelei, Vikki, Belushi
Then it gets complicated, Ex-Mutants was given a shorter, better title to match the more serious book that Lawrence & Lim had turned the concept into and released, it was a big hit and sold over 75,000 copies for Eternity Comics. However at roughly the same time it was being a hit there was problems behind-the-scenes between Eternity bigwig Brian Marshall, David Campiti (of Campiti & Associates), some creators and a bloke named Scott Mitchell Rosenberg who also owned Malibu Comics, a distribution company and was financing Eternity. To settle the row Rosenberg came up with the novel idea of just giving each of the rowing parties their own comic companies, Campiti was put in charge of Amazing Comics and Wonder Color Comics so Ex-Mutants moved over. Amazing Comics printed Ex-Mutants 2-5 and was supposed to print the Ex-Mutants spin-off The New Humans; they also reprinted a revamped and expanded version of Ex-Mutants #1 as Ex-Mutants: The Special Edition. Then people stopped getting paid, then office equipment stopped getting paid for, then The Comics Journal revealed Rosenberg’s involvement with Eternity, Amazing and Wonder Color, then rumours began to circulate that Rosenberg was going to dump everything but Malibu, then Rosenberg dumped everything but Malibu (Eternity was kept as an imprint). The Campini people jumped ship before the dumping, taking Ex-Mutants with them and self-publishing through Pied Piper Comics, they published Ex-Mutants issues 6-8, The New Humans and the first issue of the Ex-Mutants Micro Series (Ex-Mutants Micro Series: Erin #1), plus some issues of Wild Knights (another spin-off, they appear in this story we’re Looking At). However there was a legal battle over ownership of Ex-Mutants, in the end Lawrence and Lim couldn’t afford to keep fighting so threw in the towel and the rights to everything reverted to Eternity. Eternity reprinted issues 6 & 7 as special 40 page editions (but not issue 8) and Ex-Mutants Micro-Series: Erin #1 and the unpublished Ex-Mutants Micro Series: Vikki #1 as the first two issues of Solo Ex-Mutants. Ex-Mutants would then be relaunched under Malibu with a different set of characters – that’s what the Mega Drive game is based off by the way.

Eternity also re-printed the first three issues of Ex-Mutants as a small graphic novel called Ex-Mutants Volume 1: The Saga Begins which I found at an indoor market while on holiday in Devon (that market was immense, a mix of flea market, bootsale and farmer’s market but held in giant old metal cattle barns). I was very new to American comics at the time and just assumed it was an X-Men book from the 1980s I didn’t know about. I was wrong obviously (although I’m sure others made the same mistake, at least they better’ve had or I’ll feel REALLY stupid and I don’t want that) but I remained fascinated, it was filled with mutants and tits and I was about 12 so it’s not too surprising I got into it and you know they’re still two of the things I like about the book today *sigh* I’m pathetic. Anyway I’ve been meaning to do something on the Ex-Mutants since I started blogging, this is what you’re getting so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 15

I really like bootsales, I know I grouse about them on here sometimes and they are filled with inconveniences (or ‘other buyer’s as that’s also known as) and the occasional utter wanker selling: today while enquiring about the price of a large bendy Ned the Noodle (an old Pot Noodle mascot) a woman asked me to give her a price, knowing nothing about Ned the Noodle other than he worked for Pot Noodle I offered her £2 (I dunno) – she scoffed and told me she wanted  £13 because he’s £20 on eBay – if you know how much you want, why fucking ask me to name a price? To get the chance to feel superior? You’re that desperate for that feeling that you need to use Ned the fucking Noodle dolls to achieve it? I didn’t buy Ned.
But I do love bootsales, they’re car-crash fascinating, they’re usually relevant to my interests and they’re always unpredictable. I haven’t ‘done a bootsale’ (that is, sell at one) since I was about 15 but my grandad died last winter and we were left with a shed (and half a loft) full of his old fishing gear so we finally got around to setting up a stall at my local bootsale haunt, Dunton Bootsale, and outing all this dark green stuff that he’d accumulated over decades of having only one hobby. We did really well if you’re interested, Dunton has a bunch of really good fishing good stalls that turn up every well so a lot of fishermen get down there and the dealers who run those stalls are always happy to buy new stock of clueless civilians like us. My morning was a stream of quirky 50-somethings, boxes of old toys and a disturbingly large amount of taxidermy (what was up with that Dunton Bootsale bods? Stuffed dead things were bleedin’ everywhere) and that is not a bad way to spend the day of rest. I also did exceedingly well as a buyer, hauling a sack of goodies home with me, and I do mean a sack of goodies, here is my literal sack of goodies:

And here is that sack of goodies, all cleaned up and in a lovely group shot:

Considering that’s all toys the variety is noteworthy and delightful: stuff ranging from the early 1980s to things still on store shelves now (hopefully you can make out the Indominus Rex behind the Halloween Bears, if you can’t that’s ok, IT CAN CAMOUFLARRRGE after all); from the collectible to things that aren’t worth shit (I paid 25p for that Bayformer and I still feel I overpaid – but Slag’s my favourite Dinobot and I couldn’t help it); from playsets to cereal prizes. Now I’m gonna talk about some for a paragraph apiece! You’re so lucky! And as always I’m not saying these are the best buys, the best bargains or objectively or subjectively the best things in that photo they’re just the ones I can get a paragraph of babble out of (and it’s a good shopping trip when you don’t need to highlight such great scores as a Rogun or a still-carded Babylon 5 figure) so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being: 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Cool Spot and Candyman present: 3 1990s Memories!

So I was reading a post on site Dinosaur Dracula about old comic book ads, I couldn’t sleep and I kill time like this. The first two ads were for Soda-Licious sweets starring 7-UP’s Cool Spot and the film Candyman and I realised that these two completely unrelated things are coincidentally responsible for two of my most vivid memories from the same period of my childhood (roughly late 1993, I would have been 7). I also realised that I hadn’t told anyone either of these stories, not family, not friends, there is nobody in my life or who has been in my life in the last 10 years who knows these two things, if I die tomorrow no one will ever know these things about me. I wasn’t happy with that. I was suffering from heavy bout of depression and with it long, extreme panic attacks so I wasn’t exactly emotionally stable and the thought that no one would ever know the story about me and Candyman upset me, so I wrote both stories out on Word, along the way I added a third story that was in the same boat because the Cool Spot story reminded me of it. Now I’m going to share them with the internet so that at least one person knows them and sleep a little easier. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:     

Me and Cool Spot
For a while I completely worshipped Cool Spot, I should have just built an alter made out of 7-UP bottles and those horrible cheap sunglasses they sold by the counter and honestly I did so much weird shit by myself when I was under 10 that I can’t say for certain I didn’t. Spot or Cool Spot was a mascot for 7-UP, he was introduced in 1987 and was an anthropomorphic version of the big red circle in the 7-UP logo, he also wore sunglasses and trainers because that’s what cool people do. The Spot was never used to promote 7-UP here in the UK (Fido Dido was, more on that in a minute) but the video game Cool Spot was released. It makes more sense than you think, Cool Spot looked and played like any other me-too mascot platformer that came out in the wake of Sonic the Hedgehog’s success and it was developed by Virgin Games – who were a British firm. I latched the fuck onto this game and if you’d’ve asked me at the time I’d’ve said it was my second favourite, behind only Sonic the Hedgehog 2, I rated this thing that much – I still think it’s a decent (if a little unforgiving) 2D platformer but then I wouldn’t expect anything else from a game programmed by David ‘The Earthworm Jim Bloke’ Perry. To me Cool Spot was as big as any video game star, if I drew a picture of video game stars (a fairly common occurrence) he’d be on there alongside Sonic, Mario, Link and Pac-Man, when my grandad gave me a fancy wooden wine bottle box to store my Mega Drive cartridges in I drew Cool Spot on it – again putting him in the same league as Sonic, Knuckles, Ecco, the Ferrari Testarossa and Alex Kidd. But the memory that I stumbled across, the point of this segment is this:
One day while wandering around in my garden I decided to create my own garden, the best of gardens, and sat down to drawn it. I drew everything the same way at this point, in biro on Computer Paper – that’s what we all called it, my mum used to ‘get’ it from work and it was neither A4 nor A3 – I insisted this was the way to get the best results, I eventually learned what a pencil was. I thought I still had this drawing and had it scanned but I don’t, I’m sorry, but I can remember it shocking vividly, I also remember that I didn’t finish it. It was a big garden, there was a few things I’d still put a my dram garden today (fibre-glass dinosaurs and a swimming pool) and some stuff that society and advertising had taught me was cool in late ’93 early ’94 , it included a skate park for instance even though I could not and still cannot skateboard in any way that doesn’t involve me sitting on the board and drinking juice cartons but it wasn’t for me anyway it was for all the cool friends having this awesome garden would absolutely guarantee me, I used to imagine being 13 and being part of a gang fairly often then, everyone had bomber jackets, Converse All-Stars and sunglasses and I was thin. Getting back to the point though is that below the skate park was my fountain, because all big gardens need one and it was a Cool Spot themed fountain where in the centre water would squirt and raise Spot into the air (this is genuinely a thing that water features can do, I don’t know if they can lift a large statue of a fizzy drink mascot but it’s legit thing). I was so into this food mascot who I didn’t even know was a food mascot that immortalizing him in thousands of pounds worth of marble fountain wasn’t even a maybe but just something that obviously had to be. It was one of the first things I thought of if I remember correctly ‘in my dream garden I must have…a swimming pool, a Cool Spot fountain, dinosaurs…”.

Me and Fido Dido
While we’re on the very specific subject of 7-UP mascots: The Fido Dido Jacket. Fido Dido was the mascot for 7-UP in the UK for a long time, a lot longer than in the states because we never had Spot, and I still consider him to be THE mascot for the brand, it’s Tony the Tiger or Ronald McDonald or whathaveya. Turns out he’s not owned by PepsiCo but was licenced, he was created by two women from New York (Joanna Ferrone and Sue Rose, who is the horrible human being responsible for inflicting Angela Anaconda on the world) and dates back to 1985, who knew. Anyway I grew up in (and currently live in) a town called Collier Row which is in Romford (it’s next door to Romford itself), it’s built around a roundabout (Americans: those are circular things you drive cars around) with four streets coming off it in a rough X shape, this is ‘up the top’ where our shops all are. For a while my mum and nan worked in a ‘cheap shop’ called Saint’s – I miss it so –which was on the same side as the Library (it was about two shops up from it actually) where there was also for a while this clothing shop that sold, amongst other things, bomber jackets. It was run by a short Indian gentleman who had a really full head of hair and shouted a lot, that’s all I remember about it other than the Fido Dido Jackets.
He used to hang them from his shop’s canopy; they were that shiny material and used to shimmer in the sun like Aztek treasure. I lusted after them so badly, I used to stand and stare at them to the sounds of the owner shouting at someone (I presume it was at someone, he could have just been insane). I’m pretty sure they each had Fido Dido wearing a Fido Dido bomber jacket (meta?) with his back turned, but turning around to look at ‘the camera’, I wanted to be as cool as Fido Dido. I was weirdly obsessed with the concept of cool as a kid, I blame Sonic the Hedgehog, my weird preconceived notions about coolness and what it meant meant I never told anyone about my wanting for these jackets except maybe a passing mention to my mum in the most fake-casual way a child can mention something. They weren’t particularly expensive and I’m sure my mum or nan would have got me one as my winter coat that year had I asked but I assumed the following: because they were so cool (and shiny) they were really expensive, further I didn’t understand the concept of ‘unofficial’ (read: bootleg) back then and would never have thought that something was anything more than 100% official if it featured a ‘proper’ person or character and not a knock-off and 100% official meant it was expensive (I’d learnt this via knock-off action figures, seriously); that I simply wasn’t allowed to own such a jacket because I was too young and too uncool to do so, so I shouldn’t ask for one because it wasn’t appropriate. Instead I just stopped and stared at the shiny jackets with the 7-UP mascot who looked a bit too much like Gary Rhodes and imagined being roughly 13 and owning one (because they would never go out of style and never not be available in my hometown) walking down the street with a posse of similarly attired youths.
Also it always struck me as really wrong that Fido Dido jackets came in anything other than green, I think it still would today.    

Me and Candyman
Fuck Candyman, oh don’t get me wrong Candyman is a superb horror film and easily one of the finest of its decade but fuck Candyman because Candyman manged to traumatise me for around a month as a child and I hadn’t even seen the bloody thing (also because it’s all one word and that upsets Microsoft World, this paragraph is filled with angry jaggedy red lines, cross at me for ignoring them when I clearly have a word spelt wrong and need to change it). Candyman came out in 1992 when I was 6 so no one at school had seen it, a couple of kids claimed they had but I knew their parents for fuck’s sake and they would never let them watch shit like Candyman but the kids with older siblings or bastard parents had been told about the film’s plot or overheard about the film’s plot and the legend of Candyman. For those who haven’t seen it Candyman is just Bloody Mary but a big black bloke with only one hand and an awesome dress sense, you say ‘Candyman’ three times in front of a mirror and he turns up and kills your ass dead. While writing this I remembered the name of the little bastards who told me about this legend, it was fucking Sammi-Jo and Jason and Sammi-Jo still lives ‘round here so I think I may have to extract twisted revenge. Anyway these two giggling little turds told me about it and my six year old mind took it completely at face value, I wasn’t so much scared of the Candyman coming out the mirror but that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from doing it when in front of a mirror and thus dooming myself. We had a lot of mirrors in my house, there was a big one in the hall, one in the bog obviously and my mum’s bedroom was and is still boarded with wardrobes with mirrored doors. So I couldn’t piss, leave the house or get a clean t-shirt (my room was so tiny I stored my clothes in my mum’s room) without the temptation to call upon the Candyman. 
Then I had to spend the night sleeping in my mum’s room, I  can only assume I was ill because that was usually the only time I slept in there (it was cooler, closer to the loo and the bed was closer to the ground) and I woke up in the middle of the night and laying all rolled up like a terrified little hotdog I gave in and whispered Candyman three times out loud and then shat myself and waited for death. Which didn’t come – no surprise there, I hate to ruin it for everyone but even if you want to believe Bloody Mary might work Candyman never does because Candyman is not based on a real-world legend it’s based on a short story by Clive Barker. But because I didn’t know that at the time I was instead convinced that Candyman was just waiting for the right moment and for a good four weeks afterwards I was as uptight as a priest on trial because I knew that any moment Candyman was going to lean out any reflective surface at any moment and slash me open. Oh yeah, because no one had seen the film the rough image I’d been given of Candyman was that he was a tall bald Black man (mostly true, he had hair) in a huge fur coat with a huge collar (sort of true, I was told more along the lines of John Ruth that Isaac Hayes) with an all metal version of Freddy Krueger’s glove (not true at all). I do mean any reflective surface btw, I remember walking through a small shopping centre in Romford called The Liberty and shitting myself past shops like WH Smiths because I thought Candyman might lunge out from between signs advertising Ruth Rendell and GamesMaster Magazine and collect the debt owed him. Eventually I just got more and more confident that he wasn’t coming and the worry subsided, notice that I didn’t say that I realised Candyman didn’t exist, that never occurred to me and I had no idea until I went to senior school that Candyman was a film, I just assumed he hadn’t heard me or because I wasn’t standing facing the mirror it didn’t count or something like that.
What’s saddest about this is that sometimes I still have nightmares where I’m lying in my mum’s bed, all rolled up like a hotdog and can’t stop myself from whispering Candyman three times. Tony Todd never turns up in it and guts me though; the fear just comes from being unable to stop myself. So if you live in the UK, when you see a news report that someone has smeared a 12 foot high ‘I never forgot’ in cowshit on the house of one Sammi-Jo of Romford, Essex you know where to send the police.

I feel better. I think I should probably feel embarrassed about revealing these to the world but I was 7! Everyone does stupid shit when they’re under 10, it’s not like it reflects badly on them as adults, well unless they killed someone I guess - but I didn’t kill anyone, at least not that I or you can prove. Ta for reading me go on about food mascots and slasher villains, you’re all wonderful. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: LFCC Summer 2017 Edition!

So about twice a year Showmasters hold the London Film and Comic Con and I’m of the opinion that ‘LFCC’ has become the best of the three big nerdcons held in London throughout the year (LFCC, MCM and Hyper Japan): it has the biggest amount of dealers with the best variety of wares and the biggest names for autograph hunters, MCM is a bigger event but LFCC is the better event. I don’t usually have much nice to say about Showmasters, they developed a reputation with me for being unable to organize a piss-up in a brewery let alone a comic, film and general all-purpose geekery convention but I’ve been bloody impressed with their last two efforts (this and the last MCM), however I didn’t do any autographs and I went on Sunday both times so so long as you don’t want to do one of the cornerstones of a convention or go on the main day of said convention, my opinion is good.  I had a marvellous time; it wasn’t too busy (except for the odd bottleneck but whatchagonnado these things happen, if Disney still hasn’t eliminated ‘em completely we shouldn’t expect Showmasters to be able to do it) with a nice relaxed atmosphere in the dealer area with some very amiable new sellers; I know the wait times for some of the signing times were pretty extreme (Kevin Smith for instance, I dunno about Alyson Hannigan, I’m not allowed within 50ft of her anymore) but I didn’t see anyone getting irate over there either; loads of superb cosplayers; a new pop-up maid café (didn’t get time to eat there but we did chat to a maid, Nikki I think); nice easy to access panels and generally an effortless experience all ‘round. But who cares, let’s talk about stuff:

LFCC is my ‘shopping convention’, I put money away especially for it because, again, it always has the best dealers in the biggest quantities and it does not disappoint. I waver, sometimes I’m all about quantity, sometimes I’m all about quality (this con was a quality day) but usually I pick up a variety of things – some toys, some trading cards, a book or two, the odd inexplicable thing – but this con it was all toys and nearly all figural. I honestly feel a bit annoyed at myself (I worry about becoming obsessive) but the reason for this is simple: competition, or the lack thereof: there was so much good stuff on the toy stalls that the others couldn’t compete. So this isn’t going to be a very varied Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On but it is going to feature aliens, aliens, more aliens and alien robots so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Spawn Spree IV

Meh, given that this has taken six months, it’s less a spree and more a marathon in multiple parts.

Anyway, welcome to the fourth instalment of Spawn Spree, where I type some meaningless bullshit about six old McFarlane Toys action figures because it seems like the whole world turned against them roughly six months after Neca released their first toys and I often feel totally alone in being a fan of them. Today’s Sensational Seven include Mecha Spawn, Possibly Culturally Insensitive Spawn, Lady Spawn, Spawn’s Boss, a bison and me moaning about how I’m stupid and can’t pronounce a word from one day to the next – tantalizing!
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Manga Spawn
Spawn Series 9 (1997)
The Spawn figure that you can own without someone knowing you own a Spawn figure! Manga Spawn’s one of the few Spawn figures that retains a high resale value and could conceivably be called ‘sought after’ and I want to think it’s because it’s the coolest Spawn figure made – Spawn reimagined as a mecha samurai with insect wings – but I’m sure it has as much to do with the continued popularity of anime and the fact that this could slot into anyone’s collection of mech figures, model kits and kinkeshi without anyone batting an eyelid. This is really the best use of McFarlane Toys’ love affair with detail, applying it to mech takes the figure from looking busy to just looking like the inspiration and things like giant blades, spikes and big white Ms on chests work perfectly within the genre, so by doing nothing different they ended up making a Spawn figure that looks nothing like a Spawn figure? Dumb luck? Probably but I like to think someone put some thought into things and was vindicated. I got to use vindicated, correctly, in a Spawn-based post and it wasn’t a pun, I feel proud of myself – very proud. What was I doing? Oh yeah writing a pretty sensible review of this figure, why was I doing that? I bought this with some money I was gifted for Christmas, I bring this up because if Christmas was a Gundam, it would look like Manga Spawn