Thursday, 26 May 2016

Spawn Spree II*

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Spawn Spree, where I show you six old McFarlane Toys action figures because I don’t think they get enough love and because I’m currently a bit obsessed with them. Today’s half-dozen are the next few to arrive from eBay and I feel neatly show off the peculiarities of myself, Spawn and toy enthusiasts in general. So are you sitting comfortably? then I’ll begin:

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Who's Who in Alan Moore's Albion*

So I recently re-read Albion, I re-read it every so often because it both delights and depresses me but this isn’t a shitty review this is a spotter’s guide. There IS a full annotations for the series, it’s old and not that great but all the same I feel like I’m duplicating someone else’s work and also trying to be better than them if I did such a post as well, so this isn’t a full set of annotations, just a guide to all the major British comic book characters in it, officially or otherwise. 

First off, a quick primer – ‘Alan Moore’s Albion’ is as bit cheeky as he only wrote the rough plot and Leah Moore and John Reppon, his daughter and son-in-law, did the bulk of the writing. The book features a prison break to free various British comic book characters who turn out to be real after one of them, Grimely Feendish, is finally arrested. The characters that appear officially were all published by what was formerly the second largest comic book company in Britain – originally called Amalgamated Press, then IPC and who also published comics under the names Odham’s Press and Fleetway. The ownership of the characters published under those names, plus those formerly owned by Hulton Press and J.B. Allen (which IPC bought) is split between AOL-Time-Warner, Egmont Editions and Rebellion Studios: Warner owns everyone who debuted before January 1st 1970 with the exception of the Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future and Captain Condor characters and those owned by Egmont; Egmont owns everyone published after Jan 1st 1970 with exception of those owned by Rebellion Studios, plus it owns 26 characters from Buster and Roy of the Rovers (including both the titular characters) who were created before 1970; Rebellion owns everyone and everything published in 200AD and its spin-offs (Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper etc) except maybe Zenith, I have no idea what’s going on with Zenith anymore.

I have a bit of an obsession with British comic book characters, especially those from the 1960s through to the 1990s and especially Dan Dare and those published in Valiant, Smash!, Lion, The Beano, The Beezer, Wham!, Misty, Monster Fun and Buster… but you really don’t need me to gush for paragraphs here because I’ll be doing that as we go along, so onto the who’s who:

Monday, 16 May 2016

Spawn Spree I*

I’ve been neglecting this blog a little the last few weeks, I’m sorry, in exchange for that have another segmented article about toys that I now own.

I’ve recently had my love of Spawn and McFarlane Toys rekindled, I didn’t expect it to ever happen and I’m sure if anyone read this, the serious adult toy collectors would scoff so hard they’d lose an eyeball. To recap those not in the know, McFarlane Toys are usually credited with revolutionising the toy collecting world by producing their ‘Ultra Action Figures’, with a higher level of detail, (intended) quality and being aimed at adults some claim the pretty much invented the Adult Collector’s market. That’s not quite true but they did create a new age in collector’s figures, for better or worse, and actually laid out various things that are still being used today.  So there was a time when Spawn and McFarlane Toys were the centre of many a toy and comic collector’s world, but of course they were by Todd McFarlane with all the trappings of his style and ideas about what was cool, and that dates them, and I’ve noticed a big turnaround in people’s opinions on what was once seen as the best of the best, maybe it’s changing tastes, maybe it’s their general lack of fucking articulation, maybe it’s just embarrassment that we were all so all in on it but they have fallen so far from grace you can get once ultra-desirable variants for a tenner on eBay. My falling out with them has less to do with my changing opinion on lots of black, chains and spikes or on what constitutes a good collector’s action figure and more to do with them being all tied up with my early teens, my comic collector years and years a senior school or THE DARK TIMES, a time I have a lot of bad memories from (most of them are not connected to Spawn toys) but to my surprise enough time has passed that I can now separate Spawn from that time period, how strange.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 3!*

My Own Summer (Shove it) by the Deftones is my summer anthem - I hate the heat and I hate the sunshine, except on Sunday mornings (and by extension, Saturday nights) because everyone gets up, sees the lovely day to come and decides to go and do a bootsale. My ‘sale of choice, Dunton, was fucking BIG today, so big it filled it’s allotted field and spilled over onto the field usually used only for parking – hundreds of stalls, four times as many buyers – at least 21% of which seemed to be the kind half-naked white men who should never, under any circumstances, ever be topless, at home or in public, their pink skin and bald spots sizzling as the temperature rose from a warm morning to a blistering midday. It was big, it was sweaty, it was dusty, but was it worth it? Well I thought so but I’m not so sure most of you would agree:

See? You’re probably saying, well if you existed you’d probably be saying, “yes it looks very impressive at first dwitefry, and a boxed Dragonzord and a He-man figure are definitely something to be proud of but after a cursory glance your ‘haul photo’ (and I can’t believe you call it that) is mostly bulked out with fast food prizes, those hollow Pokémon, worthless bootlegs and if I’m not very much mistaken one of the dragons from My Little Pony, also your photography is crap”. You’re absolutely right, despite coming home with around 56 items less than 10 are worth significantly more than I paid for them, although going by eBay, amazon and convention prices I didn’t overpay for anything and the money I saved on those few items I did get significantly cheaper was far more than what I spend overall, but no I’m never going to make money or win credibility from McDonald’s toys and Gen 4 Pokémon merchandise. And I don’t care, mostly because it’s hard to care when you have a tiny plastic Turtwig smiling up at you as you type but also because I don’t go to bootsales to obtain future investments (though it IS possible) or to gain acceptance in the world of ‘adult collectors’ I go because I enjoy it and because I love toys (and old comics, and old video games, and Turtwig), I don’t even know what those two little knights below that knock-off bendy pink ranger (who wonderfully is actually the Migthy Morphin’ Pink Ranger just repainted to look like the Pink Turbo Ranger) are but I thought they were so charming I wanted them in my life and in my house. Though I have no way of justifying this:

That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever bought.

Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 2!*

Since my last report things have been pretty bad in the bootsale world: I missed one week because I had to spend all day putting up Ikea furniture and the following two weeks were rained off, I did venture to a small ‘sale in Harrow that was on tarmac but all I got was 35 minutes of duelling banjos and old clothes. So I was childishly excited to get out Sunday morning and get stuck into four hours of other people’s unwanted detritus at my usual haunt, Dunton Bootsale, and it did not disappoint. Though I started a little slow I ended up coming home with five bags full of crap! Here it is all in a big pile next to a WiiFit board:

That’s what five bags full of random strangers’ undesired possessions looks like, it was such a big pile that I had to go back for a second bowl of hot soapy water, I haven’t had a Two Bowls of Fairy Liquid Result for what seems like forever. Which is a point, even though I just admitted to spending four hours elbow deep in dirt not even of my own making, I’m quite clean when it comes to things I own and every item bough second hand, be it from bootsales, charity shops or even conventions gets at least a wipe-over – so I’ve already spent 40 minutes with these newbies, washing and wiping with the occasional, terrible, realisation that what I’m wiping up probably came out of a child and I can say that I am very pleased to have them all here, the final tally was 54 (approx.) items:

So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin: