Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 21: HE-MANIA!

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LISTEN HERE!

Teela, Toys, and Trapjaw. Those are three of my favorite T’s, but for those who know me, talking is probably my fourth. What if all those concepts were combined? This week, it actually happens on The Purple Stuff Podcast, as Matt and I present our aural appreciation for one of the greatest action figure toy lines and cartoons of our childhood: Masters of the Universe.

Who wouldn’t want to listen to two grown men wax poetic about He-Man for 63 minutes? If that doesn’t seduce all the hot ladies out there I don’t know what will. We discuss everything from Slime Pits to Silver Screen Skeletor. From a behind the scenes standpoint, I’d been throwing out the idea for a Masters of the Unvierse themed show for a while and Matt was 100% on board with it, but we knew we didn’t want to half-ass it. We had to give it the proper time and attention. That time is NOW.

The stage has truly been set for HE-MANIA. I submit that even though the Masters of the Universe is a property so intertwined into ’80s culture, I feel like the forthcoming big screen adaptation will be huge. If they do it in the style of Game of Thrones, we could be on the verge of the second coming of MOTU! A guy can dream, can’t he? With director McG attached to the film AND the new Filmation style Club Grayskull figures in the midst of being released by Matty Collector, there’s no better time than now to celebrate our love of all things He-Man (and I never miss a chance to talk about She-Ra as well.) So, put your Power Sword into your sheath, hop onto your Sky-Sled, and join Matt and I for a mammoth MOTU podcast the size of Granamyr himself!

Winner of the Gnarly November Giveaway!

Congratulations to Matthew S. from Michigan, he’s the winner of our November Giveaway and he’ll soon be the proud owner of all this cool crap! Thanks to everyone who participated! I’m sure there will another one coming soon! We’ll keep you posted! Follow us on Twitter for more info: www.twitter.com/sexyarmpit

Entries for this contest were submitted in via private message on our Facebook page as well as in the comments section of this post on Faceboook. To find the winner, I compiled all the entries names into a list and used Random.org to choose a random number/winner.

Gnarly November Giveaway!

October’s Giveaway was a big hit so let’s do another one, what do you say? We upped the ante with this haul for sure. This month’s giveaway is going to be a real CORNUCOPIA OF CRAP (Necessary Thanksgiving tie-in). Everything in the picture is what the winner will receive.

1. New Mantenna Masters of the Universe Classics Figure
2. Shredder figure from the TMNT line.
3. Incredible Hulk Poster from Target
4. G.I Joe Combat Heroes Destro and Cover Girl
5. The amazing 1987 Dinosaurs! VHS Tape starring Fred Savage
6. Fantastic Four Book and Record Set
7. Star Trek Communicator Badge from Kellog’s
8. Captain Kirk Collectible Glass from Burger King
9. 2 Marvel mini comics
10. Sample pack of Star Wars cards

Plus, just like last time, it’s very simple to enter.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

1. LIKE us on Facebook. If you already like our page on Facebook – THANKS, YOU F’N RULE!
https://www.facebook.com/armpitNJ

2. Send us a message stating that you wish to enter the November giveaway either privately or in the comments of this post at the page.

3. A name will be chosen randomly out of all entries and the winner will be contacted on November 22nd for shipping information.

Great Geek Gorge #10: Pre-Halloween Haul

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Some people I know are often curious to see how I spend my money. Or should I say blow my money. Some people prefer to hoard their money, but my approach is that you can’t take it with you, so enjoy it while you are here. Many people live by that type of credo, but some indulge in a more extreme fashion than others. A woman can go out and buy a purse for $400 bucks and have no problem justifying that purchase, so I feel that an action figure, a box of cereal, and some snack cakes are more than worth it.

Batros Figure – Masters of the Universe Classics

In the MOTU Classics line, every figure and vehicle is referred to as “museum quality,” which I can’t argue with. The price point is about double or triple the cost of an action figure on a  rack in Toys R Us. That sounds crazy, but believe me, I don’t buy every figure that comes out. The money I have spent on figures from this collection has been well worth every penny.

The time and careful attention to detail put into these figures is incredible. The badass looking Batros, stealer of information and books, looks like he just walked out of a TV showing his ONE episode appearance in “The Great Books of Mystery.” He’s part of Matty Collector’s Filmation line, which is inspired solely by characters from the original cartoon series as opposed to the mini-comics, or 2002 animated series.

Halloween Crunch

So far, the Monster Cereals have been all the rage this season, and rightfully so, but I’m afraid Halloween Crunch is being overshadowed. Since it’s introduction in 2007, I haven’t had the easiest time finding Halloween Crunch locally. The last couple of years I’ve found it at Wal-Mart, but before that I felt like it was some kind of treasure that only appeared at certain stores around the country. Several of the gimmick Cap’n Crunch variations have been very elusive, but Halloween Crunch is easily my favorite. I’d even walk the plank and say that Halloween Crunch is my favorite of all the seasonal gimmick cereals presently offered throughout the year. It turns my f’n milk GREEN, what more is there to say?!!

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Justice League Fruit Snacks

The Justice League fruit snacks box art is incredible and there was no way I could pass these up, especially with that giant notification at the top of the box that these are um…NEW! It’s exciting to see all the DC heroes getting some attention finally. As always, Batman looks like he’s about to kick somebody’s ass for taking a picture of his box.

If only these existed when I was in elementary school! Fruit snacks were as big a part of lunch time in school as the type of chips you brought. There was a certain measure of respect and jealousy if someone brought a type of snack that you hadn’t eaten before or one that was harder to find. I always considered myself lucky if I had PB&J, a Ssips juice box, a bag of Doritos (or Bravos which sound second rate, but are also very good), and a dessert such as anything Little Debbie (which we’ll get to in a minute) or a “pouch” of fruit snacks.

Early on here at The Sexy Armpit I wrote about my affinity for 3 types of fruit snacks in the 80s, there was Sunkist Fruit Wrinkles, Shark Bites, and Thunder Jets. Most of the fruit snacks are similar today, containing one or two offbeat colors like black or pastel blue. Below you can see that Superman is pastel blue which pretty much excludes him from portraying a fruit flavor. Something tells me that touting “real fruit juice,” doesn’t pertain to the pastel blue variety of fruit snacks.

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The fun part about fruit snacks like Shark Bites and Thunder Jets was the chase. The commercial would get you all geared up to rip open your pouch to see if you got one of the specially colored and flavored snacks. The Great White and The Stealth Bomber respectively were the chase variants as it were. I don’t think there’s a mystery fruit snack in these, but you can compare the box colors to the ones I got and easily notice that the black Batman is supposed to be purple. The flavor was grape-like, but I’m not sure if it’s officially grape or blackberry. Either way, these brought me right back to the lunch table in school!

Green Margarita Mix in a Glass Skull, Target Exclusive “Ghoulish Potion”

Target just sucks you in, doesn’t it? Every damn time I’m in Target I wind up spending an exorbitant amount of money. In this case though, I am able to balance out my ridiculous purchases, like this glass skull filled with margarita mix, with other more justifiable purchases such as actual food, albeit occasionally healthy food, as well as necessities such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and laundry detergent. Let’s see how this shit turns out. I’m sure it’s going to taste like every other margarita mix, but one never knows. It may taste like Mountain Dew, we shall see momentarily.

The bottle clearly puts it over the top. I wouldn’t have bought margarita mix if it was in a witch, ghost, or werewolf shaped glass bottle, but skulls always do the trick for me. Since I probably couldn’t drink a whole bottle of vodka in less than a year or two, I’d probably never buy Dan Akroyd’s Crystal Skull vodka. Tequila and margaritas on the other hand will disappear rapidly at my place.

Verdict: not so good. After the mix was mixed it tasted more bitter than sweet and I prefer it to skew a bit on the sweeter side. After having margaritas at Jose Tejas in Woodbridge, most other margaritas don’t taste as good. Fortunately, after the mix is done, we are left with a cool bottle. I’ll probably dump the mix and put some Berry Blue Kool-Aid in it.

Tales From The Crypt Season 2

It’s easy to regret impulse buys, but Tales From The Crypt Season 2 seemed like a great deal. I picked it up for $9.99. Before I committed to it by dropping it in my cart at Wal-Mart, I checked Amazon and a few other sites on my phone to make sure it was a good price. If I could get it on Amazon for $5.99, I would’ve dropped it right back in my cart. At the time, Amazon listed it for well over $20 dollars so I bought it. I wasn’t actively seeking the Tales From The Crypt series, but Halloween is coming up and I figured even if I watch a couple of episodes it was worth the purchase.

Batman Tattoos

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It feels like every time I go to Target or Wal-Mart I wind up buying fake tattoos. Even though I’m an adult and have actual tattoos, for some reason I get sucked in by kids fake tattoos big time. Reason for falling into the fake tattoo trap is probably because I always loved fake tatts as a kid (what kid doesn’t like getting a fake tattoo?), plus they aren’t permanent, so if I want the Riddler AND Batman on my arm right next to each other, I can do that. Better yet, tonight I can finally pretend what it would be like to have a full sleeve of Batman tattoos. I didn’t even realize that some of these were glow in the dark a.k.a phosphorescent! Now I’m excited. I also just remembered that I have 2 packs of Justice League tattoos that I never opened. By the end of the night I may become the Lucky Diamond Rich of comic book circles.

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After opening the package I forgot what a project the fake tattoos are. The ritual that your parents went through to get the tattoo on you and the anticipation that overcame us is a memory a bunch of us have. I don’t really know anyone my age who has never had a fake tattoo applied to them as a kid. You should get some and act like a kid one night. Only thing is, if you’re deciding on getting a real tattoo, this isn’t a good indication of what it would be like to get one because there’s absolutely no pain involved, and these will probably peel off by the end of the night.
Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights

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Even though they are smiling, those are some pretty scary pumpkin faces
for what they consider a “cookie”

If there was a movie about my childhood, Little Debbie Snack Cakes would easily get free product placement. In our house growing up we had a huge, deep drawer that was aptly named “the snack drawer,” because we were so insanely clever. This drawer would always be crammed with all kinds of snacks that my sister and I could eat when we got home from school to hold us over until dinner time.
The snack drawer was a who’s who (or I should say what’s what) of ’80s snacks. The snacks were there as more of a safety precaution really. They prolonged me from literally becoming a raving lunatic who destroys anyone and anything obstructing my mission of maniacally seeking food. In other words, by time I got home from school I was starving. When I was a kid, being hungry was always so much more of a dramatic affair too. Don’t ask me why because looking back, school let out at 3:30 and it was only a couple of hours before that when I ate lunch. Nowadays I usually go 5 or 6 hours from lunch to dinner.

At any given time there would be Peanut Butter Boppers and various trendy snacks of the day, Drakes Funny Bones and Coffee Cakes, some really old Pixy Stix banished to the bottom rear, and then dominating the cavernous drawer were the Little Debbie products such as Swiss Rolls, Nutty Bars, Peanut Butter Bars, Oatmeal Cream Pies, Fudge Brownies, and Strawberry Shortcake Rolls. Reading this laundry list of snacks it sounds like we were the fattest fucks ever to walk the planet in the ’80s, but really my sister and I practiced self control. Most of the time we’d be limited to one of these snacks after school and we adhered to it.

Little Debbie is one of the companies who does an excellent job with “Fall-ifying” their offerings. Around September/October you start seeing these Pumpkin Delights, which actually are pretty delightful. They are considered a soft cookie and inside is pumpkin filling. The Pumpkin Delights have stiff competition though since Little Debbie also offers other gimmick items for the season like Bat Brownies, Brownie Pumpkins, and the ever popular Fall Party Cakes.

I hope you’re enjoying your Fall season so far. October is just a few days away so make sure to keep coming back to The Sexy Armpit for more of the Halloween countdown!

ExtraComicular Activities #1: Dave Bullock

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My love of silly puns has has inspired me to bring you a new column here at The Sexy Armpit. All comic book related stuff will now be found under this heading. We’ll take a look at new comic books, comic artists, and the like, but it will somehow connects to Jersey, even in a roundabout way.

In this post we’ll take a look at some artwork by NJ artist and animation director Dave Bullock. Bullock’s old school style evokes images of comics from the ’40s and ’50s and blends it with a modern sheen to infuse his characters with a look that is original and refreshing.

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As we take a look at Bullock’s artwork, his versatility is apparent. I’m sitting here drooling over all of these. The New Teen Titans piece posted above would make an amazing animated series. He captures the ’80s era of the group so well, but yet still makes it look like an extremely viable possibility for a new show. I could also easily see his version of Batman above showing up in the same series.

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Masters of the Universe

Bullock’s illustrious professional career includes serving as director on the DC Animated movie Justice League the New Frontier and several episodes of the Spectacular Spider Man. He’s also worked in the Art and Animation department on more shows than you’ll ever be able to watch in your whole lifetime. Some of the shows that Bullock has worked on are a fan boys wet dream across the board: Transformers, Hulk, Superman, Batman, X-Men, Masters of the Universe, Kim Possible, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, and one of my personal favorites Sym-Bionic Titan.

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I’m not sure of his exact personal influences as an artist, but I do see a lot of Will Eisner and even hints of Steve Rude. Maybe one day we’ll get to speak to Dave about his amazing body of work. Presently Bullock is working on a project for Hasbro, but it’s under wraps. What’s more amazing is that this dude signs his stuff for free if you meet him at a convention! He often makes appearances, so you can keep up with his schedule at his blog FAR-OUT FICTION, which also details the development of his new original graphic novel called The Savage Blade of King Ronok, which looks friggin’ awesome.

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GREAT GEEK GORGE #2

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Welcome to the 2nd installment of the Great Geek Gorge. My latest rundown includes cool stuff I’ve procured, movies I’ve seen, and food I’ve devoured. I’m getting to a point where I have so much media to take in I don’t know where to start. Between DVD’s to watch and books to read there’s not enough time in a weekend to enjoy it all. The real question is, where do I begin?

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Thunder Punch He-Man and WWE Rumblers – For several years I had my toy habit in check. I was in total control. The downward spiral began when I became the owner of one of Miss Sexy Armpit’s best friend’s old curio cabinet. The illuminated cabinet had shelves with glass doors and it gave me the perfect excuse to run rampant down virtual toy aisles and ebay to fill up any open space on the shelves. Folks, trust me, this is not a good idea and I don’t recommend it unless you just won the Mega Millions. If you were the winner, you go to sleep with a smile on your face, while I go to sleep knowing that I have the brand spanking new Thunder Punch Punch He-Man. We both win in extremely different ways.

One of the things that soured me on collecting figures and toys was because the items you really want are always impossible to find in stores and then it’s off to ebay or an online toy shop where it’s going for triple the price of what you could’ve bought it for at Target or Wal-Mart. The sick part is, it’s always dudes like me in their 30s looking for this crap. I never see little kids searching through any of the pegs in the toy aisles. That’s precisely why in the extremely rare instances, when I actually do find a certain figure I’ve been searching for, then it’s reason for mini-celebration. I did indeed hold an small inner celebration when I found Cody Rhodes’ WWE Rumbler figure. He was advertised on the card backs of Rumblers that have been out for a long time, but the face masked Rhodes figure was nowhere to be found, not even online. For a second I thought it was only smoke and mirrors, but finally, hanging on a peg all the way in the back at Wal-Mart was none other than the present WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes/Rey Mysterio 2-pack.

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Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm – If you were a geek before it was cool to be one then you probably adore the art of Bruce Timm. If you aren’t familiar with his sublime art you are definitely missing out. Timm is responsible for various DC Universe animation including perhaps the most pure incarnation of Batman ever, Batman: The Animated Series. Timm’s accomplishments don’t end there, but you can be delighted by all his further artwork via a Google image search. Recently, a dream came true for Timm fans in the form of Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm. It’s quite a hefty tome, but one you can go back and gaze at all the time.

Archie Meets KISS Collector’s Edition – I don’t care if it’s KISS Meets Scooby Doo or The Phantom of the Park, KISS meets anyone is good by me. It could be KISS meets Balki Bartokomous or your Aunt Laura and Uncle Arthur, it won’t matter to me. KISS appearing in Archie comics is pretty damn cool and this hardcover collector’s edition includes the whole comic series with art by the awesome Dan Parent and story by Alex Segura as well as a ton of exclusive content. Oh and did I mention there’s ZOMBIES???

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Fanta Kolita – I’m usually not one to go into detail about the lengths I go to in order to get my hands on stuff I want, ahh who am I kidding? Yes I am! A friend of The Sexy Armpit described my recent acquisition as such: “You have your soda flown in?” HAHA! I guess I’m now in that pretentious category. I try to buy American as much as possible, but when the most ultimate tasting soda is only available in Costa Rica, well, sometimes there’s no choice, you just have to import that shit. It all began like this: A long time ago in Club Cool at Epcot Center, (you know the place where everyone samples various sodas from around the world?) I was whisked away to Costa Rica when the fruity bubble gum flavoring of Fanta Kolita first hit my mouth. Every time I go to Disney I can’t wait to get my brief taste of Fanta Kolita, it’s so good. I figured you only live once, so I bucked up the money for shipping and ordered it from Costa Rica. Some people dream of exotic vacations and living in mansions, while I occasionally like to have myself a tasty beverage.

The Avengers – Possibly the best superhero movie ever and definitely the best superhero team-up movie ever, especially since there isn’t much competition in that department. Unfortunately, for us DC’ers the only live action Justice League movie you can watch is the 1997 piece of crap made for TV pilot that’s buried somewhere in the depths of YouTube. As a DC fan it’s embarrassing. I’m more proud of the cheesy live action 1979 Legends of the Superheroes and The Superhero Roast. One of these days DC will capitalize on The Justice League. Until that time, The Avengers sure did kick some serious ass.

Kettle Corn – When watching movies you can’t forget the popcorn. For my Wrestlemania gathering this year, Marcelo, a good friend of The Armpit, brought over a bag of kettle corn. I’ve had kettle corn before and thought it was pretty good, but when I ripped into this bag of Popcorn, Indiana Kettle Corn I was completely blown away. This is kettle corn at it’s best. What made such an impact on me was the fact that I was just expecting plain old popcorn with a bit of sweetness, but this just has that special something. Now I’m on a mission to check out some locally made kettle corn such as Kemp’s Kettle Corn of New Jersey. If I get my hands on it I’m sure you’ll read about it.

Don’t go thinking that I’m at all proud of myself after drinking sugary soda and inhaling full bags of popcorn. I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m contributing to America’s terrible eating habits. It just means that I’ll have to do more Sweatin’ To The Oldies.

A Theme: What I Want For Christmas

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Stealing from a couple of classic Christmas movies and songs, there are a few ways I can start this. Mrs. Shields wanted us to write a theme so here goes or if anyone wants any last minute gift ideas for me, (that means YOU Cousin Eddie) and there’s also the Tenacious D/Sum 41 song “Hey now Santa I’m writing to you cause there’s a lot of cool shit I want…” Either way, like Bob & Doug said, “There’s lots of ideas in here, so listen and don’t get stuck”:

Dear Santa,


These are just a few of the things I want. I know I can’t have them all, but if I don’t write them down I might forget. Would you mind keeping these on file for next year in case you can’t make one or two of them happen? Thank you, and you can be sure we’ll leave some good shit for you in case you have the munchies.


Sincerely,


The Sexy Armpit

1) The He-Man Power Sword – offered by Toonseum and Filmation, it was the actual sword He-Man used on the float at the 1986 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

2) A flyby from TokiDoki Tattoo Barbie in her Barbie Glamour Jet – Please instruct her to blow me a kiss before she drops a huge shipment of Margaritaville Salsa.

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3) Rhonda Shear and Up All Night is making a comeback – you can check that one off the list

4) Force Chris Collinsworth into retirement from sportscasting

5) Convince Hef to Let The Sexy Armpit Re-Open The Great Gorge Playboy Club in NJ
In this Christmas wish the old Playboy Club in New Jersey is back in action, and it’s rocking better than ever. Hugh personally tapped me to be in charge of it. On one cold Friday night I’m chilling in a hot tub sipping Bubble Gum flavored Kool Aid that Amber Heard served to me in her bunny outfit. To my right is Katy Perry in Rainbow Brite getup. The Bella Twins are laying behind me sprawled out on the deck whispering cute little flirtations into my ear and giggling while sipping a moderately priced champagne. To the left of me is my pal Larry Dallas who’s cracking me up while his on again off again lady friend Princess Giselle looks on with a smile in awe. Providing tunes up on the nearby stage is none other than Prince who just invited Meatwad to join him for a duet of “Little Red Corvette.”

Louis Tully stands by in pajamas with feet and his earmuffs on grasping his canon and saturating us with pink mood slime. Seconds later the record scratches as the maniacal Purple Pie Man crashes the party. We thought he was going to wreak havoc, but he just had a huge blowout with Sour Grapes and wanted to come see if Raspberry Tart and her pet monkey wanted to get into some late night mischief. After some mind altering experiences we take the Batplane to Houlihans and enjoy a shitlaod of their delectable So. Cal Fish Tacos. I can’t stay out too late though because I have a mini-golf outing planned the next morning with Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. I need to be on point because he’s a bad ass on the course.

6) CGI Danny Devito as a normal Penguin into Batman Returns
I tend to watch Batman Returns during Christmas time and as much as I love Tim Burton I always feel like it needs a lot of improvement. What I’d really love to see with modern computer technology is a revamped version that makes it more of a traditional Batman film. One of the making of documentaries explained that Burton was hesitant to do a sequel to Batman but was coerced into it when the WB big-wigs said he could “make it a Tim Burton movie.” That’s what makes Batman Returns so different than Batman. There would be more of a connection to the first movie if it wasn’t so warped. Penguin never had flippers for hands or ate raw fish right out of it’s scaly body. He was a little rich pipsqueak. There’s a lot of haters of the ’60s Batman show, but Burgess Meredith really nailed the original vision of The Penguin. I know that Burton’s freakish take on The Penguin was just an alternate way to see the character, but I think making DeVito’s Penguin more like the Batman Returns figure that was released by Kenner would’ve made a better Bat-film.

7) Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes

Sure I’d love to see Stone Cold or Jericho come back to fight CM Punk, but there’s also lots of talk on Twitter trying to gear up for this family feud. I’m instigating it as well. I was never really a fan of Dustin until he premiered the character Goldust in WWE in 1995. I immediately became obsessed with his bizarre ways. I went so far as to dress up as him for our backyard wrestling events, face paint and all. I creeped out all my friends. My first ever AOL screen name was even Goldust1. To see him make a comeback against his brother Cody would be awesome, especially with that kickass classic white Intercontinental title on the line! Make it happen WWE!

Giving Thanks For Substitute Toys

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Me playing with Castle Zendo from The Other World collection which 
was my temporary substitute Castle Grayskull until I got the real thing

A while back I wrote a post called Knockoffs in Disguise about a Go-Bot that I had when I was a kid. Thinking back, it was sort of ridiculous that I owned what was basically a knockoff of a knockoff. In the ’80s there were so many successful toy lines that getting “scabs,” of He-Man, GI Joe, and Transformers was very common. Remember back in school when you had a substitute? The day could go either way. Either the sub was young, cool, and just waiting for the bell to ring OR they were an overachiever and pretended to be a real teacher for the day. Substitute toys had the potential for the same conflicting possibilities. Substitute toys were sometimes cool because NONE of your friends had anything like the freak sub, but most of the time BAD because they were just completely wrong in every way.

Before fans of superheroes, toys, and collectibles were referred to as “geeks,” a term which I still don’t buy into, I was just a normal kid who collected toys like most of my friends. As many of you can relate, growing up in the ’80s was pretty cookie cutter in that most of your friends owned and took part in the same exact crap that we all did. I had a box of Star Wars figures and 2 laundry baskets full of WWF LJN figures. My friends had nearly the same haul, but perhaps not as many. We all had the basic Masters of the Universe and Thundercats figures, as well as G.I Joe’s. What was always different in my world was that I had several severe gaps in my collections.

Vehicles and playsets were always more expensive and usually I had to angle my requisition strategically. My burning desire for the Millennium Falcon and other larger ticket items didn’t carry the dangerous red flag that Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun did. The memory of staring at the box of the Kenner Millennium Falcon on the shelf in a store with my parents and telling them that I wanted it so bad is as clear as Crystal Pepsi in my mind. I never did get the Millennium Falcon because my parents said it was too expensive. Now that I’m an adult I don’t blame them, although I don’t remember the exact price of the Falcon in the post ESB, pre-ROTJ era. For some reason it was a piece of cake to con them into buying me enough Star Wars figures that equated to the price of 2 or 3 Millennium Falcons through those few years.

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Since I never had what Luke called a “hunk of junk,” I had to envy other peoples. My Dad did buy me a consolation ship though. You’re probably thinking it was the X-wing, A-wing, Y-wing or any number of other ships from the Kenner Star Wars collection. Actually, the ship he got me wasn’t made by Kenner, heck, it wasn’t even a Star Wars knockoff. The ship he got me was intended as a replacement for not getting the Falcon and let me tell you…it wasn’t anything like the Falcon. This generic silver ship with orange plastic cockpits was more along the lines of an X-wing which was what I typically used it for because you guessed it, I didn’t have the X-wing either. The idea that I had to use a replacement toy would be a stretch for other kids I knew, as well as a lot of kids nowadays. A replacement toy meant that I had to grudgingly incorporate it into my storylines while I sat and drooled at the toy catalogs dreaming that someday the real thing would be mine.

Another substitute toy that still sticks out in my mind was the race car stand-in I had for the Kenner Super Powers Batmobile. A couple of my friends had the Super Powers Batmobile and they really beat it up. I couldn’t believe a kid could have such an awesome vehicle yet not care that they broke the plastic windshields off or that the entire battering ram part was completely missing. Toy abuse if you ask me. I remember that I received a green toy race car for my birthday one year that resembled a futuristic formula one car. I really liked it, but rarely played with it. I never made a huge scene about not getting the Super Powers Batmobile because in this instance it wasn’t an issue of it being too expensive, there was actually no trace of it in any stores in my area. I let my parents slide for that one. As another consolation my Dad did something pretty damn awesome as a surprise for me.

One day my Dad said to me “I bet you’d really like to have that Batmobile for your Batman and Robin figures” and I said “yeah I would!” Next thing I knew he handed me what looked like my old green race car but it was spray painted to resemble the color scheme of the Super Powers Batmobile! I couldn’t have been happier with it. I wound up playing with that car more than I ever did the entire time I owned it. Years later, when we heard about the upcoming ’89 Batman movie, my Dad sprayed the car all black which extended it’s life until I got the Toy Biz Batmobile.

Toy Story 3 pretty much summed up every thoughtful sentiment that ever existed about toys. More than an emotional attachment, the most important function that toys and figures had in my life was sparking my imagination. Whether I was simply setting up my collection or having an intense space adventure, wrestling a main event, or a battle for the power sword, ultimately I was being creative. A hunk of plastic doesn’t really mean a damn thing until your mind makes it come alive. If George Lucas could CGI and superimpose different characters and landscapes into and out of the Star Wars films, there’s no reason why a child’s young mind can’t do the same thing with their own imagination. Getting used to that generic silver spaceship was uncomfortable at first, but after a while I grew to love it as if it was an official Kenner toy. It comes down to being thankful for what we have and also realizing and appreciating the fact that fun can actually exist in what you don’t have. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to replicate the feeling of excitement and anticipation of getting the real toys that I had been yearning for all year from Santa Claus! Always remember that what you own now is plenty and while you may have some gaps in your collection, someone else might be overwhelmed and delighted to have what you have.

TRANSFORMERS: Robots in New Jersey! Part 1 – Pine Barrens

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In the Transformers episode “Make Tracks,” the Megatron and the Decepticons steal hundreds of cars and attempt to turn them into drones to add to their powerful squad of evil robots. Tracks, the Autobot, poses as a stolen car and discovers the Decepticons remote facility that changes the stolen cars in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The Pine Barrens are made up of over a million acres of protected forest area, so this was a perfectly diabolical scheme. No one could possibly hear or see a gigantic space age industrial plant that creates Transformers in the middle of a forest that is intersected by two major highways. Gee, great plan Megatron! Way to go!

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OPTIMUS PRIME: “Hmm, he might have been heading for New Jersey and the Pine Barrens” 
POWERGLIDE: “Pine Barrens? What’s there?”
OPTIMUS PRIME: “That’s what we’re gonna find out, Powerglide”

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Of course Optimus and his Autobots save the day, but if you’d like to watch the 2nd half of the episode that is based in New Jersey, it’s posted below. Thanks to YouTube user Bernard9782 has made it happen. Thanks to the Transformers Wiki, an unbelievable source for all kinds of minute Transformers tidbits.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgYJA6ucjSc?rel=0]

Why I Traded Transformers for Megan Fox

Jay Getting Optimus Prime
That’s me receiving Optimus Prime as a birthday gift

Through the years it was easy to get bogged down in the excessive amount of Transformers incarnations through the years. I have to give credit to the property though, it’s enjoyed a long evolution and hasn’t ever really gone away.

Transformers would not have enjoyed the same type of resurgence if the 2007 big screen adaptation was never released. I doubt there would be the same type of clamor for Transformers stuff if Michael Bay never got his filthy rich hands on them. But what has shocked me most about the franchise is how much of a difficult time I recently had getting into the original ’80s animated series. I noticed that Hub network has been airing reruns of the original Transfomers. Just for nostalgic purposes and for the fact that the 3rd Transformers film, Dark of the Moon, is being released, I set a couple of episodes on my DVR and tried watching them.

As much as I felt I would be in for some ’80s fun, sadly, the episodes were borderline boring and even a bit hard to understand. Although I’m a sucker for old cartoons, especially those I loved as a kid, going back and watching Transformers just didn’t hold my attention at all. Expecting a 25 year old cartoon to enthrall and entertain me seems totally unrealistic, but even the silliest episodes of He-Man and She-Ra still mesmerize me. It’s a shame too because I was a fan of Transformers as a kid, and so were most of my friends, since we were the Prime (pun intended) audience for it. I had my Transformers lunchbox and a bunch of the toys, but it was never a full on obsession for me.

Attempting to pretend like I was a transforming robot was awkward and not nearly as fun as holding aloft my magic sword and becoming the most powerful man in the universe. Now, I know that a lot of people will vehemently disagree with my sentiments, but I have my reasoning. Subconsciously perhaps, I made more of a connection with human or human-like characters. I always preferred GI Joe over Transformers and although I enjoyed Thundercats immensely too, He-Man and She-Ra always edged them out if I had to choose what show I liked better.

In my eyes, the best part of the original animated Transformers series is Megatron. he was the reason I watched the show. I always liked villains and I appreciated how he looked, sounded, and acted in the original series way better than how he is in these new films. That’s not to say I didn’t also love Optimus Prime. What boy in the ’80s didn’t think Optimus Prime was awesome? He’s the quintessential character of the franchise. Even in the new films he still kick ass. The hero has a modernized look but is thankfully still voiced by the iconic Peter Cullen. Anyone else would be 2nd rate.

Regardless of how the original series holds up, the film franchise and even the recent Transformers Prime are both well done and easy to get into especially if I was 7 years old right now. I have yet to watch Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, so hopefully I’ll get to it before Dark of the Moon disappears from theaters, which will probably be in about 3 weeks. Then it’s straight to DVD and Bluray by the end of August. Maybe if Megan Fox played her cards right she’d be in Dark of the Moon and I’d make it more of a priority. Damn her and her Hitler comments. Funny how when I was a kid, I wanted Optimus Prime, and now I need Megan Fox to hold my attention.