10th Apr2013

Thrift Justice Road Trip – Hershey, PA

by Will

TJRTRevised

Who cares if this happened 2 months ago? I know what you folks like, and I love spinoffs, so Thrift Justice Road Trip is BACK! I mentioned this back in West Week Ever, but the wife and I had a belated Valentine’s Day weekend in Hershey, PA. It was supposed to be a winery/antique mall tour, but the wineries seemed to dominate. Anyway, at the end of Day 1 we were able to meet up with my Twitter pal, @LamarRevenger at the Crossroads Antique Mall, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I don’t have a ton of pictures from this day, but here’s what I’ve got:

2013-02-16 16.35.49

There was a tempting case of MEGO figures. They didn’t know what they had, as there were figures from Space: 1999 labeled as “Star Trek: TNG”. I almost got the Penguin you see, but I knew that would open a can of worms. He wasn’t in the best shape, and to buy him would mean I’d have to get a Joker, and a Batman, and a Robin. MEGO is not easy to find in good condition, so I nipped it in the bud. Lamar debated on whether or not to get the Star Trek McCoy figure. He passed, but I think he went back to get it later on.

2013-02-16 16.40.19

I’m not a huge Muppets person, but I loved this phone. Kermit is straight chillin’, with the handset propped on his leg. Pimp!

2013-02-16 16.41.22

This made me think of Brian over at Cool and Collected. Look out, Bond! She ’bout to shoot you!

2013-02-16 16.43.34

Sometimes I forget how much I was into Dick Tracy back in 1991. This hand puppet was kind of cool, and I like how his two-way wrist radio is represented on it.

2013-02-16 16.54.09

This is FAR from an “antique”, but I know how some of y’all love your bootlegs and knock-offs.

2013-02-16 17.04.18

Here’s a nice little display of “rack toys”. I always refer to these as “Toys For Poor Kids” because, after the dawn of the “program-length commercial”, only a poor kid would be happy with something that’s not a tie-in to a cartoon or movie. Yeah, I’m a toy snob.

2013-02-16 17.07.16

I just thought this police car was sleek. I’m not a huge car guy, but every now and then I can appreciate a nice one. I loved this model.

2013-02-16 17.14.13

Finally, I love this phone because it looks like it’s a face, saying, “Oooo, he did WHAT?!”

Anyway, promotions and lodging were provided by The La Quinta Inn. Only at La Quinta can you get a good night’s sleep, and then come downstairs to a swanky Nickelodeon show. Just look at this place!

2013-02-16 17.45.09

2013-02-17 10.49.35

2013-02-17 10.51.50

2013-02-17 10.54.01

2013-02-17 10.54.20

2013-02-17 10.54.07

There are more antique mall pics from that weekend, but I can’t give you everything at once! Stay tuned for a future installment of Thrift Justice Road Trip in Pennsylvania!!!

19th Feb2013

Thrift Justice – The One With All The Books

by Will

thriftj

I love books. The real kind, with words and few (if any) pictures. Before I even discovered comics, I used to beg my mom to take me to Crown Books to get the latest Hardy Boys paperback. Once I got into comics, pictures took over for words, but I still get in a book every now and then. In the world of thrifting, I tend to stay away from books. Why? Because of motherlovin’ book scanners. I’ve probably gone over this before, but there’s a group in the reselling community known as book scanners, who just camp out in the book aisle like it’s the manga section of Barnes & Noble. At that point, they either use a phone app or a dedicated scanner to scan the barcode of each and every book to find out if it has any value on the secondary market. Long story short, you won’t find many great books due to these vultures. I know some of you are thinking, “Why do you hate them so much, Will? You’re a reseller, too!” You see, my “gift” is that I have an eye. I don’t scan. I don’t use Google. I see things and notice there’s something unique about them. If they could do that with books, I’d have more respect for them. Instead, they use technology as a crutch. Without the scanner, they wouldn’t know what they have. It’s like a guy with a metal detector – even if he finds something, he probably won’t know what it is unless he truly knows coins and whatnot. Every now and then, however, I happen to find something before they do (usually it’s a book that doesn’t have a barcode; that’s too much work for them). I thought I’d share a few of those finds with ya today.

2012-10-30 19.49.34

I actually got this on my honeymoon, but didn’t fit it into the Thrift Justice Road Trip post at the time. I’ve never read Bone, and always kinda thought it was overrated. I mean, it looks like the “Adventures of Albino Smurf”. Still, you can’t really have an opinion on something you haven’t experienced, so I picked this up. “One Volume Bone” has been available for years, but I never really wanted to spend the money. There’s even a full color version now, but it was never high on my list of reading priorities. This B&W copy, however, only cost me $3 at a roadside thrift store in the Outer Banks. It’s not pristine, but it’s a good “reading copy” at about 10% of its original price.

2013-01-05 23.11.20

Like everyone else, I’d been a fan of the Boondocks series on Adult Swim, but I never really read the newspaper strips. I remember them being controversial and getting kicked out of a lot of papers, but I never gave them the time of day. So, when I came across this collection, I decided to take a chance. It also helped that the store considered this a children’s book, which meant it was $0.69. I honestly don’t even think they charged me that, which I’ll explain later…

2013-01-05 23.11.32

2013-01-05 23.11.57

2013-01-05 23.12.08

2013-01-05 23.12.19

I’m no fan of Doctor Who. It’s not that I have anything against it, but it’s just too vast of a franchise for me to get into. I mean, it’s a 50 year old franchise! Sure, people tell me “You don’t need the old stuff. Just start with Eccleston”, but I don’t believe you! If I get into something, I go ALL IN, and that’s not easy to do when half of the series is only on tapes allegedly owned by some African warlord. So, that has kept me from giving The Doctor a chance. Still, these books are from that earlier era, and I love a good sourcebook, so I grabbed all of these. I’m still not sure if I’ll ever read them or just try to sell them.

2013-01-05 23.29.26

This is a nice coffeetable book that I got the week after Disney bought LucasFilm. Nice pictures. Still gonna sell it, though. I’m no Warsie. #Trekkie4Life

2013-01-05 23.25.572013-01-05 23.26.242013-01-05 23.26.342013-01-05 23.26.12

So, this was a nice find and I’m sure I only got it because there was no barcode (I love that scanners are too lazy to type in a simple ISBN). This was a 3-volume hardcover reprint set of the Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson Star Wars newspaper strips. Remember how I thought I got Boondocks for free? It was because of this set. I don’t think the cashier saw that book because it was between these. That wasn’t strategic or anything – just coincidental. So, as she flipped through them, she decided that they were children’s books. Signed & numbered children’s books. In GREAT condition. So, after a quick trip to my friend eBay, a $2.07 investment eventually netted me $160. Man, there are times when I LOOOOVE thrifting! This was  one of them.

So, there ya have it. Book scanners make things a bit more difficult, but there are still treasures to be found. For all of their tech, they’re still missing some gems right in front of their faces. And that’s just fine by me!

04th Feb2013

Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

by Will

BMHCollageMark

Yeah, I’m being lazy. I should’ve spent the last year coming up with 28 more of these to further bolster my “legacy” or what have you. Then again, we got the same black president again, so why not the same Black History Month post? As they say in publishing, this is a good opportunity for me to “mobilize my backlist”. Hey, at least I slaved (oops!) over that beautiful collage up there!

If this is your first February following me, this is all new to you. If not, sit back and enjoy one of my favorite posts to write. You know the drill: there’s one per day, and I try to tweet them out each day. Still, some days I get lazy, so it might help to print out the PDF at the end of this post.

IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!!!

1) Today In Black History: Arnold & Willis Jackson became the first poor black kids adopted by a rich white person

2) Today in Black History: Jimmie Walker left his lucrative career in demolitions to become a comedian.

3) Today in Black History, The Eastland School for Girls admitted Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey as its first black student

4) Today in Black History, the Fresh King of Bel Air was assassinated. The throne remained empty until a long lost son was found in 1990.

5) Today in Black History, Kunta Kinte is accepted into the space program, and it only costs him his eyesight.

geordi2

“Wasn’t my foot ENOUGH?!”

6) Today in Black History, the black girl became the Yellow Ranger, which was only slightly less offensive.

7) Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

Ali

“I ain’t no damn bean pie!”

8) Today in Black History, the remains of the fabled “Caribbean Queen” were found in the trunk of Billy Ocean’s car.

9) Today in Black History, Devonté Henson became the first black person to scale the Aggro Crag.

10) Today in Black History, a young Tyler Perry put on his first dress. Years later, he would learn that he could be paid for it.

11) Today in Black History, scientists combined the DNA of Morris Day and a pony. The result was Prince.

prince-6

“Purple Rain” was actually his My Little Pony name.

12) Today in Black History, Mr. T pitied his first fool, which is still illegal in most states.

13) Today in Black History, Lt Uhura inspired a generation of black women to work for the phone company.

14) Today in Black History, DeBarge discovered a place where they could dance the whole night away. It was an abandoned T.J. Maxx

15) Today in Black History, the US Government cracked down on music piracy after Rerun snuck that tape recorder into the Doobie Bros concert

16) Today in Black History, the Negro Hockey League was founded. After everyone had a good laugh, the site was converted to a Popeyes.

17) Today in Black History, Magic Johnson opened the first movie theater chain where blacks were encouraged to yell at the screen

18) Today in Black History, George Washington Carver’s lazier brother, Jamal, invented crunchy peanut butter.

19) Today in Black History, Janet Jackson joined the cast of TV’s “Fame”. Critics declared this would be the lowest point for the Jackson family

20) Today in Black History, Dwayne Wayne discovered a parallel universe – a different world, where Marisa Tomei was the only white person.

21) Today in Black History, Frederick, MD was named for Frederick Douglass – known for his love of Walmart and the white women

walmart-customer

22) Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple

Benmima

They were the royalty of the black breakfast table!

23) Today in Black History, Acorn Avenue -an all-black version of Sesame Street, debuted featuring NeGrover & Big Turkey. It would only air once

24) Today in Black History, 16 Soul Train dancers were killed in what has come to be known as “The Cabbage Patch Massacre of ‘91”

25) Today in Black History, Autobot Rosa Sparks gained attention when she refused to transform into the back of a bus. (Courtesy of @OAFE)

26) Today in Black History, Jesse Jackson formed the R&B group The Civil Rights. They were dropped from Motown before releasing a single.

27) Today in Black History, with Knight Rider & The A-Team, NBC became the first network to devote a night to shows starring black vehicles

28) Today in Black History, Republican scientists proclaimed “Shucky ducky!” as they successfully completed secret cloning experiment, Operation: Chocolate Cheney.

IMAG00542-612x1024

“Remember me? Black pizza guy? 999? No? Huh.”

There ya have it – your crash course to TRUE black history! Share it with your friends, leave it on the windshield of your favorite racist, or simply put it up on your refrigerator. And if you hate Black History Month, don’t worry – we only get 28 days, and 4 of those are gone. Have fun with St. Drinky-Drinks Day next month!

29th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – Bipartisan$#!+

by Will

thriftj

Lord knows I’ve been sitting on some stuff for months, but I really wanted to commit this to the page before I forget all of it. This was just such a crazy scenario to me that it HAD to be a TJ post. So, where to begin? OK, last week, the country celebrated not only the second inauguration of Barack Obama, but also the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. As those events also brought with them a day off work, I decided to use that time to check into some things on Craigslist. One item kinda caught my attention, even though I didn’t really want it. The ad was for a Playmates Star Trek Starfleet Officers Box Set, unopened, for a great price. As a reformed Trekker, that line has always held a special place in my heart, and it hadn’t been opened. Game on! I’d actually started emailing with the guy the day before, but we’d never set up a time. Late Sunday night, I emailed him saying that I was off the next day, and could come by then. Well, I woke to an email saying that he was at work, but his wife was home and I could set up a meeting time with her. Ugh.

2013-01-28 20.06.53

Let me backtrack here. While unassuming, I’m still a random black guy from the internet. No matter how awesome something may sound, I was always raised to think that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. I don’t wanna meet some random dude’s wife, and end up in a Dateline special, as either the victim or the offender. The last thing I need is meeting random white women in their homes, Star Trek be damned! Still, it was a great price…I called the number the husband gave me, and she seemed a bit taken aback. I explained I’d been speaking with “Rick”, and she said that she would have to call him to find out where he had even stashed the thing. OK, fine. She calls back, and she’s found it. Great. She tells me “They usually tell you not to give out your home address to people on Craigslist”. See, she’s just as wary as I am! I tell her that I could meet her somewhere public or even wait until her husband gets home. No, she says it’s OK and proceeds to give me her address. Then, she tells me that she’s in the middle of a homeschool lesson (red alert! red alert!), so to come by around 5. Yeah, it might make me judgmental, but I’m still not in a place where I’m fully comfortable with the homeschooling movement. What makes me think I could do a better job teaching my kid than someone who’s been trained to do it? Hell, my kid would only get As in “Batman”, but he’d fail Math. But I digress…I’ve often said that I judge folks for the stuff they sell at yard sales, and I was beginning to judge this situation.

2013-01-28 20.06.00

At 5, I end up in a small neighborhood, and pull up outside their house. As I walk up to the door, I notice about 3 Romney stickers on the back of their van. THREE?! Then, I notice a big ass Romney sticker in their living room window. You don’t put stickers in a place like that! Stickers aren’t for the home, unless it’s a Fathead, and those people are still douchebags. I kinda thought about turning back, but duty called. I am the Toy Whisperer, after all (don’t worry – I felt like an asshole just typing that). She meets me at the door, and closes the door so the dogs won’t get out. That’s fine, I don’t want this transaction to last any longer than it needs to. I pull out the money, grab the box, and get ready to leave. Before I got away, she began to tell me that the set had been purchased by her father because he thought that stuff would be worth something someday, but he had since died and none of it was really that valuable. Remembering a tip from Brian over at Cool and Collected, I asked, “You mean there’s MORE?” She said that there was, and she invited me in.

2013-01-28 20.05.53

As soon as I got inside, it was like a Romney Wonderland. More posters and whatnot. She told me that the rest of the stuff was in the attic, and she trusted me to hang out with the dogs in the living room as she climbed up to get it. That’s when I heard it: Sean Hannity was playing on the kitchen radio. Aw, shit. “Calm down, Will”, I say to myself. “You’re freaking out for nothing. It’s not like she’s gonna come down and ask you who you voted for.” She comes back down with the stuff, and she proceeds to the kitchen to turn the volume a little lower on the radio. She comes back to me and asks, “Did you vote for Obama?” WHAT IN THE FUCK?! So many thoughts rush through my head: Who asks that? What do I say? Is she asking me that ’cause I’m black? Is she about to make an example of me that will end up on the 11:00 news?! Why did she have to pull this on MLKmas? Didn’t she at least like the Kelly Clarkson performance today? SO MANY THOUGHTS!

2013-01-28 20.06.09

It’s a TRAP!

I wish I could tell you that I became a hero that day. I wish I could tell you I looked her in the eye, and said “You’re damn right I did!” But I can’t. When you’re in an environment like that, “Yes We Can!” because “No We Ain’t!” While still looking over the items, I simply mumbled, “Yeah, the first time”. Careful choice of words. Make her think, “Sure, he did it the first time, ’cause well, the coloreds have to stick together, but he realized that Barry wasn’t the best choice for America. He came to his senses!” At least, that’s what I was going for. Don’t worry black people/bleeding heart liberals: I voted for him both times, but I feared for my life, and what I said wasn’t exactly a lie. I did vote for him the first time. She didn’t need to know about the second time. So, there was a beat, and time stood still. That’s when she said “Well, I turned off the radio. I didn’t want you to be offended.” What an odd sentiment. First off, it was kinda nice that she didn’t want me to be offended, but then it begged the question WHY are you listening to something that you know is offensive? Still, she didn’t have to turn it off. She could’ve turned it UP, so that was considerate of her.

2013-01-28 20.06.33

Diplomacy!

As I look over everything, I ask her what she’d want for the lot. ANOTHER amazing price. But there was a catch: I had to renounce my political affiliation. No, I’m kidding. I hadn’t brought enough money, but I didn’t want this to pass by. I remembered seeing a 7/11 on the way, so I told her that I’d run to the ATM and be right back. She was just fine with that. Fast forward to 10 minutes later, and our transaction was complete. She even helped me to my car. But I also noticed her kinda eye-searching my car. Had she never seen the inside of a black person’s car before? Was she shocked that I didn’t have THREE Obama stickers on my car? Did she notice the Inauguration Edition of The Washington Post on my passenger seat? These things matter not. I got what I came for, and I could escape back to safety!

2013-01-28 20.04.45

So, here’s the my entire haul. As always, if ya see anything you like, shoot me an offer. It saves me from having to list it somewhere. But you can’t have Lando. After my experience on Inauguration/MLK Day, I’m keeping Lando to complete the triumvirate. I Have A Dream That Yes We Can Have A Colt 45!

19th Oct2012

Thrift Justice Road Trip – Williamsburg, VA

by Will

Yup, I love spinoffs, so let’s give Thrift Justice Road Trip a shot. There probably won’t be many, but I felt like this deserved its own umbrella. Anyway, on the way home from our honeymoon, Lindsay and I stopped at the Williamsburg Antique Market. Don’t let the exterior fool you. It may look small, but this thing is like a TARDIS with infinite space inside! I didn’t really buy much, but I saw enough conversation pieces that I thought I’d share ’em with ya. This is primarily a picture post, but there are a LOT, so get comfortable!

I only recently started paying attention to Johnny Lightning, but this is hardly an “antique”. That said, it’s pretty cool they had the V.I.P. license. Man, I miss that show…

I can practically see this on Mr Roper.

Y’all, my penis is SO confused right now…

This was interesting. It’s the same shape as the 3M bookshelf games, but was made by Hasbro, licensed by NBC.

In the final season, Ken is replaced by G.I. Joe

I don’t care what this box says. That’s a Phyllis Diller doll!

Strawberry Shortcake. In box!

I was tempted. This was $30. Remember that for later…

This dude will dance ANYWHERE

According to this box, “Anything” either means “Be a doctor” OR “Be a dumb bitch with cute clothes”

Somewhere in America’s heartland, the American Pickers just got boners.

The accursed replacement Dukes. Surely, this must be cheaper than the Bo & Luke lunchbox we saw above. WRONG! $80!!! How are the hated replacements MORE than the beloved?!

I’ve only seen this show once, but I swear this was the least attractive cast in television history. Epstein looks like he shat himself, while Mr Kotter looks like every pedophile in every afterschool special EVER.

“Dear Santa, I want that game with the creepy mean old man who got shot.”

Another of my Pop Culture Blindspots. I know he was an alien, but did they have sex? If so, did she get cervical cancer or anything?

This thing had a lot of rust which kinda made it more distinguished. Ya know how toy customizers like to “grime up” figures and pretend they made them better? Well, this is like that, but it works.

In 80 years, the Ken doll will be wearing Barbie’s uniform, and no one will bat an eye.

According to this lunchbox, this show is about a telepath who commands 4 tiny men with his powers. I love how the invention of Photoshop has made everyone a graphic design asshole, including people who know nothing, like myself!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this version of Thrift Justice from the road. I typically show you what I bought, but it really wasn’t anything exciting. Trust me!

15th Oct2012

Thrift Justice – Thrifting For Two

by Will

So, I got married last week.* I’ve got a post coming about that, but the main change is that this has affected my thrifting. You see, I used to sneak off to thrift stores, while the wife watched football or Chopped. Recently, however, she has been bitten by the crafting bug, so she wants to find all kinds of old stuff to upcycle and use for projects. This means that she now has a reason to frequent my stores. I have successfully infected her (and it doesn’t require penicillin)! With this in mind, we set out on Saturday and hit 3 of my usual spots. I’ve been having quite the streak of luck over the past week, and you’ll love what you see at the end of this post!

Let’s work backwards here. At the last stop, I found a grab bag filled with 3.75 figures. I only saw 25th anniversary G.I. Joe Mutt and I was sold. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how great of a find this was. I ended up with Mutt, Junkyard, 2 Crimson Guardsmen, 3 movie Vipers, an exclusive Duke, and a TRU exclusive Dialtone (Agent Helix repaint). The bag also contained a few of the G.I. Joe vs Cobra figures, as well as members of The Corps, but I already chucked those. I know I’m selling Mutt & Junkyard (already have ’em), so holla if interested.

Now, for a little life lesson. You see, folks, it’s not all fun & games in the world of thrifting. While your success ratio can be high, every now and then you’re gonna get burned. I saw this DVD set as I was standing in line at the register. The price tag said $2.90, so I jumped at it. I’m not really sure why, though. I think I was overcome by the fact that I know folks are nostalgiac for old Nick, even though this didn’t apply to me. You see, I didn’t have cable growing up, so I only knew of the shows from when we were in motels or I was at a friend’s house. Plus, I have a few friends who grew up with Melissa Joan Hart, and they all say she was a raging bitch. All that aside, I’ll buy the first season of ANYTHING if the price is right, and this price was Bob Barker right. So, imagine my surprise when I got home to find this:

THERE AIN’T NO DISCS IN THERE! This isn’t totally uncommon, but usually happens with CDs. It never fails: whenever I find a CD at a thrift store that I want, I open the case to find that the disc has already been “liberated”. I didn’t expect this, however, from a DVD box set. I guess I’m getting sloppy, as I picked up a Heathcliff set last week, and the first thing I did was check the discs in store. The thought never occurred to me here, however. Luckily, Lindsay checked the receipt and noticed it had been charged as a book, so I only lost $0.90 on the matter.

Now, I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about this: I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen the original Star Wars Trilogy. Before you throw stones, I’d like to point out my good pal over at Cool and Collected hadn’t seen any Star Trek until recently. It happens! I know I’ve seen drips and drabs, but none of the complete movies in the last 20 years. Face it: pop culture is constantly shoving Star Wars down your throat with jokes about The Force, Volkswagon commercials, and Family Guy parodies that I felt I’d gotten all I needed to know from that. Still, this set was $9, and I didn’t think I’d find a price better than that. No, it’s not the fancy schmancy Blu Ray, but it’s widescreen, so that should calm down some of the nerds. Anyone who knows me knows that it takes me forever to actually watch the DVDs I own, so I hope to get to this before retirement.

I tend not to talk a lot about my mom on here because most of you wouldn’t understand. I had an interesting upbringing, but it was a good one. I wasn’t allowed to have a lot of stuff that other kids had, like toy guns, but I got along fine without them. Sometimes I snuck stuff by her. For example, I was a huge Garbage Pail Kids fan when I was 4, and I used to stick them on the refrigerator. My mom initially thought they were Cabbage Patch Kids until she took a closer look. Let’s just say they don’t make stickers like they used to. Try as she might, she could not get those things off. So, she resorted to just covering them up with graded homework and calendars from the local real estate agent.

Another thing my mom didn’t like were M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. I’m not sure if it was because they were pink, but I also managed to get one that was particularly grotesque. Now, I tend to have the memory of an elephant, but there’s one occasion that slipped by me. You see, I happened to get a M.U.S.C.L.E. from a grocery store vending machine (which, upon looking back, means it was probably a knock off), and I was so proud because I didn’t have any of those toys. Well, one night, something compelled my mom to come into my room. She saw the toy on my dresser, and decided that it wouldn’t be spending another night at Casa West. As she tells it, she opened the front door, and threw it as far as she could. We had this bro named “Roland” who mowed the lawn, and she made sure not to tell me until after his next visit. The funny this is that I never really noticed it was gone. I always classified vending machine toys under the banner of “toys for poor kids” – like kids meal toys, they are a fleeting joy. They aren’t the kind of things you’ll have lifelong memories about. She eventually told me the story, and I couldn’t believe it. All these years later, I still can’t believe it, but it’s kinda funny to me. So, when I found these at the thrift store on Saturday, my first thought was “I can’t wait to show these to her.” All she could do was laugh. So, that was my long winded way of telling you that I acquired 75 Series 1 “flesh” M.U.S.C.L.E. figures for an AMAZING price. At the end of the day, this line meant nothing to me outside of a funny story, so make me a good offer and they’re yours!

Oh, and how did the wife fare? Well, she’s a pretty voracious reader, but slacked off during wedding prep. That all changed when we found a thrift store selling hardcover books for $0.90. So, she came home with a stack large enough to choke a crocodile! Because crocs..eat..books…just go with it, OK? Anyway, that’s it for this installment. Next time, I’ll tell you about my buddy Joe, who happens to wear a M.A.S.K.

*My photos suck because my former staging area is now the home of our brand new wine fridge.

15th Feb2012

Thrift Justice: All’s Fair In Love and Toys

by Will

In the last post, I finally documented my time at the 2008 Toy Fair. It was a nice little coincidence that Toy Fair started last week, but I really needed to set the scene for this post. If you remember, I mentioned that there are a lot of industry-only things available at Toy Fair, and most 80s toy collectors would love to get their hands on that stuff. Well, wait’ll you get a load of these!

For those not in the know, @specialeteacher is from Denver, so I end up spending one of the family-centric holidays out there. In my travels, I’ve discovered an AMAZING antique store that I have to visit every time I’m out there. The funny thing is I still don’t know its name. I kinda know where it is, but I don’t know what it’s called, they don’t put their name on their receipt, nothing. A lot of the time, I wonder if it was just a hallucination. It’s manned by a dude with no legs, who has a cute dog that pees on the floor. CRAZY! But it’s real. I know it is.

On my last visit, I didn’t really find a lot that excited me. In fact, it seemed like the store hadn’t changed since my visit the previous year. So, I headed for the door, and that’s when I saw it – a box right next to the door with an 80s Mattel catalog in it. I immediately snatched it up, and noticed there were other catalogs in there. Coleco, Galoob, Hasbro – all industry-only, rarely seen by fans. The owner told me that they were brought in by a guy who used to be a toy exec, and he’d gotten them all from various toy fairs. It was like finding Hef’s own special stash of porn! We’re talking the rare, good stuff! Of course, I grabbed basically all of them. I didn’t care how much they cost. I didn’t care that you could find most of the info online. I just wanted to own these. I’ve always loved catalogs, and those were just the retail stores like BEST Co and Evans. This…this was something totally different. So, here’s what I got:

 

 

 

 

For toy aficionados, you’ll recognize Coleco as the folks who gave us the mass-market Cabbage Patch Doll, several licensed ride-on vehicles, and a lot of action figure lines, like Rambo, Sectaurs, and Starcom.

 

This is the Galoob catalog from 1988. The most notable lines from that era are Micro Machines and the first Star Trek: The Next Generation toy line.

 

Of course you all know Hasbro. This is from 1987, which featured a lot of Jem, Transformers, and G.I.Joe toys. In fact, it has the Defiant shuttle gracing the back cover!

 

Finally, we’ve got Hasbro from 1989. This one is surprisingly thin. I remember back when I read Toyland that this was a soft year for toy releases. Still, it’s got the Joe stuff you expect, as well as a few other lines.

So, where do we go from here? Well, I’ve got a plan. Over the course of this year (well, the 10 months that are left), I’m going to spotlight each catalog in a post. I’ll post scans of pages (no more of this phone pic mess), we’ll run down 5-10 of the coolest items in each. After all, I feel this is information that should be shared with other toy fans -at least in the digital sense. They’ll have to pry the actual catalogs out of my cold dead hands!

08th Feb2012

The Toy Fair Post

by Will

This is part of a post that I teased all the way back at the tail end of 2011, and here we are, almost 2 months later. Before we jump into things, I should probably tell you that you won’t get the whole story this go-round, but it’ll lead into wonderful new things. That’s worth it, right? Anyway, I thought this would be a great time for the post, as many of my e-friends are gearing up to head to NYC for Toy Fair, and what you’ll see here ties into that. What’s Toy Fair? Well, I’m glad you asked!

The American International Toy Fair is held every February at both The Javits Center and the Toy Building in NYC. It’s a trade show for the industry, where buyers come to see the toys that are expected to be the hot items during the next holiday season. As it’s a trade show, it’s not open to the public. So, this has caused the show to be surrounded by a certain mystique, as toy fans have wondered what occurred within those halls. To a toy fan, going to Toy Fair is like going to Mecca. In recent years, however, it has been easier to gain access, as blogs have been able to gain press access. What used to be relegated to a ten-minute segment on 48 Hours is now the bread and butter of the toy blog set. Toy Fair news, especially the exclusive kind, is guaranteed site hits.

As we’ve already covered on the site, I love learning about the toy industry. Sure, the product is nice, but there tends to be a more interesting story behind the product. It recently occurred to me that I never wrote about my own Toy Fair experience. I, like other toy fans, have had dreams of entering the halls of Toy Fair. Remember that 48 Hours special I mentioned in the last paragraph? Well, that’s how it all started. I remember it clearly: 1988 – I was eating one of those giant chocolate chip cookies that you get from delis. And since I had a loose tooth, chewing said cookie knocked out my tooth. Anyway, while eating this cookie, I was watching 48 Hours (I was a weird kid), and they were showing the Galoob Star Trek: The Next Generation toys. This was also the dawn of my Trekkiedom, so seeing toys and Star Trek at the same time sent my little heart a-flutter. I noticed that the toys were being presented by spokesmodels wearing Starfleet uniforms. As I continued watching, I learned that this show happened EVERY year! Unfortunately, it was also only open to people in the toy industry. I didn’t know how, but I was going to find some way into that show. That was the plan.

Fast forward 20 years later. Yes, it really took 20 years. I was working at Diamond Comic Distributors, and I’d pretty much exploited that job for every opportunity it presented. I got sent to New York Comic-Con, San Diego Comic-Con, and worked with the dude who wrote most of the episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hell, my biggest account handled Transformers, G.I. Joe and Ghostbusters! I’d made all my dreams come true – except one. It was time to go for the brass ring. You see, Diamond also has a toy department. Well, they actually kind have two: there’s Diamond Select Toys, which is basically Art Asylum in sheep’s clothing and there’s the Diamond Toy Department, which buys up mass market things, like Marvel Legends from Hasbro, and then distributes them to comic shops. Due to its role in the toy industry, Diamond also has a presence at Toy Fair. I don’t know how I pulled this. I honestly never expected this to go through, but I mentioned to my awesome, awesome boss that I’d always wanted to go to Toy Fair. A few days later, he tells me that he can get me a pass. Sure, I’d have to get up there on my own, find my own lodging, etc, but I could get into the show. To this day, I wonder how he pulled that off, as they really loved to say “no” around there. So, one Vamoose Bus ticket purchased, and I was in NYC.

So, Toy Fair. It was everything I ever wanted yet nothing I expected, all at the same time. First off, while the news outlets focus on the hot popular stuff, like Star Wars, Cabbage Patch (well, in the 80s), and G.I. Joe, I was amazed by how much of the show actually catered to toys you’d never really think much about. See, as a Toy Fair novice, I didn’t realize that the GOOD stuff is at the Toy Building. Most of the major companies, like Hasbro, Mattel, etc, have year round showrooms at the Toy Building, and they hold most of their presentations there. The Javits Center is where they might set up a booth, but it’s not where they’re showing the best stuff. Instead, the Javits Center is comprised of smaller vendors. To make a comic analogy, Marvel and DC are in the Toy Building, while Javits is the small press.

Walking around, it was interesting to see 10 different Chinese vendors trying to sell the same little pedal car. I guess they all use the same factory, and then it becomes a bidding war to see who can give retailers the best price. Oh, right. I forgot that part. The purpose of Toy Fair (in theory) is so that retail buyers can get a sneak peak at the holiday season’s projected hits, so that they can place their orders for the season. I said “in theory” because it’s a not-so-well known fact that there’s actually an earlier November Toy Fair that’s just for the big guys like Toys “R” Us, Target, and Walmart. So, while the February Toy Fair might feature “new” stuff for some buyers, it’s more of a refresher for the bigger guys. Anyway, you end up seeing more stuff that would end up in a mom and pop toy store than you would in a major market retailer. For example, this was during the Mentos/Coke craze, so there was actually a science kit with elaborate tubes and stuff, allowing you to really get some mileage out of that explosion.

Since I didn’t know about the Toy Building showrooms at the time, I missed out on all the cool stuff. Still, I made my dream come true, and I got into Toy Fair. There was a lot of other stuff that happened during that trip, worst of all was me losing my cell phone in a cab. It was like a scene from a movie – I realized I’d left it in there just as it pulled off. I ran after it, but it turned a corner. As I ran around the corner, there was a SEA of yellow cabs. Which one was it?!! So yeah, lost my cell phone in a cab, in New York City, on a government holiday ( I think it was Presidents Day).

So why did I post this now? Well, one of the best parts about Toy Fair is the exclusives. Some of these are rare toys, while some are just industry-specific brochures. I’m sad to say that I didn’t leave with much during my adventure. I still have the program, and I think I have a picture frame, but that’s about it. However, over Christmas, I went to Denver and found a few Toy Fair items that I simply couldn’t leave behind. I think any child of the 80s would love to see these, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen…tomorrow.

01st Feb2012

Today In Black History…

by Will

So, if you followed me on Twitter at this time last year, then you’re already familiar with this whole process. I wanted to do it again this year, but I’m unreliable, and I’ll probably miss a day. Plus, as I’ve acquired more black followers, I’m learning that this isn’t so uncommon. Instead of looking like a “biter”, as they say, I wanted to show that I can roll with the big dawgs! So, I thought I’d blow it out in one fell swoop. Plus, at the end, you’ll find a handy, dandy PDF that you can print out and remember the great contributions that Ne..African Americans have made to our society. There’s a different event for each day, so share it with your white friends, and put a copy up on your Kwanzaa mantle. Yes, we can!


 

 

IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!!!

1) Today In Black History: Arnold & Willis Jackson became the first poor black kids adopted by a rich white person

2) Today in Black History: Jimmie Walker left his lucrative career in demolitions to become a comedian.

3) Today in Black History, The Eastland School for Girls admitted Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey as its first black student

4) Today in Black History, the Fresh King of Bel Air was assassinated. The throne remained empty until a long lost son was found in 1990.

5) Today in Black History, Kunta Kinte is accepted into the space program, and it only costs him his eyesight.

6) Today in Black History, the black girl became the Yellow Ranger, which was only slightly less offensive.

7) Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

8) Today in Black History, the remains of the fabled “Caribbean Queen” were found in the trunk of Billy Ocean’s car.

9) Today in Black History, Devonté Henson became the first black person to scale the Aggro Crag.

10) Today in Black History, a young Tyler Perry put on his first dress. Years later, he would learn that he could be paid for it.

11) Today in Black History, scientists combined the DNA of Morris Day and a pony. The result was Prince.

12) Today in Black History, Mr. T pitied his first fool, which is still illegal in most states.

13) Today in Black History, Lt Uhura inspired a generation of black women to work for the phone company.

14) Today in Black History, DeBarge discovered a place where they could dance the whole night away. It was an abandoned T.J. Maxx

15) Today in Black History, the US Government cracked down on music piracy after Rerun snuck that tape recorder into the Doobie Bros concert

16) Today in Black History, the Negro Hockey League was founded. After everyone had a good laugh, the site was converted to a Popeyes.

17) Today in Black History, Magic Johnson opened the first movie theater chain where blacks were encouraged to yell at the screen

18) Today in Black History, George Washington Carver’s lazier brother, Jamal, invented crunchy peanut butter.

19) Today in Black History, Janet Jackson joined the cast of TV’s “Fame”. Critics declared this would be the lowest point for the Jackson family

20) Today in Black History, Dwayne Wayne discovered a parallel universe – a different world, where Marisa Tomei was the only white person.

21) Today in Black History, Frederick, MD was named for Frederick Douglass – known for his love of Walmart and the white women

22) Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple

23) Today in Black History, Acorn Avenue -an all-black version of Sesame Street, debuted featuring NeGrover & Big Turkey. It would only air once

24) Today in Black History, 16 Soul Train dancers were killed in what has come to be known as “The Cabbage Patch Massacre of ‘91”

25) Today in Black History, Autobot Rosa Sparks gained attention when she refused to transform into the back of a bus. (Courtesy of @OAFE)

26) Today in Black History, Jesse Jackson formed the R&B group The Civil Rights. They were dropped from Motown before releasing a single.

27) Today in Black History, with Knight Rider & The A-Team, NBC became the first network to devote a night to shows starring black vehicles

28) Today in Black History, Republican scientists proclaimed “Shucky ducky!” as they successfully completed secret cloning experiment, Operation: Chocolate Cheney.

Be sure to celebrate responsibly, but let’s get it poppin’ like a Jackson Hewitt commercial! After all, it’s what our ancestors would’ve wanted.

Black History Calendar

 

 

 

 


29th Aug2011

Baltimore Catches Cosplay Fever!

by Will

So, once the 2-part Baltimore Comic-Con epic ended (thanks again, Brian!), I found that I still had a bunch of pictures left from the show. Now I know there are folks out there who do better cosplay posts than I could, but I still thought I’d give it a shot.

                                 Well, the theme song did tell us they were loose…

                                 Ga-Blac-Tus HUNGERS…for Popeyes!

In the newly-launched Marvel Jr line, Kid Kap isn’t sure he’s up to the challenge of Reddy & Bones

In the J.J. Abrams-verse, even Dr. Crusher & Wesley have been rebooted!

She had a giant axe. I’m still not sure if she was supposed to be someone or if it was just self-defense…

It’s nice to see the sistahs come out. Did I spell that right? We don’t use “er”, right? Anyway, She-Hulk was in an awesome JLA Vixen costume on Sunday, as she sat next to me at the Stan Lee panel.

Hey, Mike! Steve! Rob! Aren’t those your moms over there?! Baby Doll looks like a young Meredith Baxter-Birney. If you read that in Chef’s voice, my mission here is done.

I’d say this was “Optimus Prime”, but I can just hear one of you saying, “Actually, that is the King Grandliner Robo” or some shit like that. Well, this is America. In America, we call ALL robot trucks “Optimus Prime”! Put down the Pokemon, and pick up a baseball. U! S! A!

                                The Odinson doth invite you to visit his band’s MySpace page!

                                 Watch out, Miles Morales! Here comes Kid Spidey! And he’s white!

                                 Great costumes, but I guess I was just expecting…more from the Smallville Reunion.

Somebody saaaaave meeeee!!!!!

                                Black Kick Ass! Somebody alert the New York Post!

This pic ain’t fooling anybody. Dude on the right would be too busy banging chicks to be busting ghosts. Dude on the left? Totally a Ghostbuster.

                                Not true cosplay, but it ought to be!

This chick made me kinda salty. You see, she was already posing for someone else, and I just took the picture. She noticed me and said “You have to ask! It’s rude if you don’t ask!” Look, you were ALREADY posing! Costume wasn’t that hot anyway.

Wait, why are we rooting for Thor?! And she looked like Kat Dennings! I would’ve bought every issue of Dark Reign if they’d drawn “Lokette” as Kat Dennings!

As aspiring America’s Top Blerd, I’m required by the King Doctrine of 1962 to acknowledge Blenguin.

Guys, I don’t know about this whole “New 52” thing…