29th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – Bipartisan$#!+

by Will

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

15th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – I Don’t Want No Scrubs

by Will

thriftj

Well, as we’ve covered before, I just can’t bring home everything I see. Sometimes this bothers me. At other times, I’m relieved. You see, I’m sometimes AMAZED by the lack of quality I see on shelves. Every now and then, I like to show you a few of those items, as we wonder what might’ve been.

 

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Originally part of the G1 Transformers Pretenders line, this guy looks like Reginald Denny. It’s been 20 years, so I’m fairly sure I can make that joke now. Bonus points is you knew that name without resorting to Wikipedia!

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This is another one of those supermarket toys we talked about last time. I actually kinda wanted this, though. It had a nice, shiny cockpit for two 3.75″ figures, and it’s almost like a bootleg Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors thing.

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AAHHHHH!!!!!! Gott In Himmel!! They look like they were in the tub too long (or, for you comic folks, like they were drawn by Frank Quitely). Do they even have tubs in Heaven? Are these things FROM Heaven? Oh, Jesus! Who would pay $81 for these?!

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Speaking of Jesus, what’s going on here? I’m pretty familiar with the Easter story, and I don’t remember the part where the Savior is crushed by a beam because the temple wasn’t up to code. Poor Jesus. He’s like, “Don’t mind me. Just got this beam on me. Yeah, no…can’t really help you with that pitcher of water over there.” I picture it like that old Will Ferrell/Rachel Dratch skit, where He’s probably really nice at first, but as people continue to ignore the beam, he’s all “My back, you bitch! MY BACK IS KILLING ME!” Yeah, I really need to get back to church…

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OK, one more for the road. I actually kinda considered getting this one. If you must know, I was never allowed to have Biblical action figures growing up because they were idols or something. It wasn’t that deep, but I think it was something along those lines. We used to go to this Seventh Day Adventist store for dried apricots or something. No, we aren’t 7DA (is that a real abbreviation? Looks like a boyband from the UK), nor do I know why we went there for dried fruit. In any case, they always had these 3.75″ Jesus action figures, but my mom wouldn’t let me get one. She was probably right, because I really just wanted him so he could perform battlefield resurrections for my G.I. Joes. “Fear not, Flint. Today is not the day that you meet my Father!” Anyway, I wasn’t paying $15 for this! They don’t even come with spring-loaded missile launchers!

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“Grandpa! Viacom’s on the phone! They say they wanna talk to you about our album! Maybe they wanna sign us!” No, they want to SUE you. What the fuck is this?! Talk about false advertising! There isn’t a Spongebob, or a Carly Shay, or even a pair of shorts being saluted here. If anything, this is some kinda of multigenerational CD released by the most boring white people who ever lived. And I’ll bet $20 that at least one of them is named Seamus.

Welp, that about does it for this round. Maybe next time I’ll show you something I actually bought. Or maybe we’ll talk about pop music. Ya never really know what you’re gonna get around here!

07th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – Sign Your Name Across My Art

by Will

thriftj

Welcome to the first Thrift Justice of 2013! Oddly enough, the stuff you’re seeing today is probably the stuff I’ve been holding onto the longest. Before I ever really envisioned the whole Thrift Justice thing, I used to frequent thrift stores to rummage through the longboxes of long forgotten comics. Longboxes are a funny thing for me – while they’re sometimes filled with treasure, they simultaneously fill me with a sense of anxiety that I can’t even convey. I have this tic where I feel like I HAVE to go through each box because you never know what might be in them. I HAVE TO. So, a room with 14 longboxes is both a blessing and a curse. Luckily, the thrift store only had about 2 boxes, but I never really expected to find what you’re going to see here today: autographed comics!

The thing with autographed books is that you never really know if they’re authentic. I mean, unless you watched it get signed, anyone could’ve put that signature on there, certificate of authenticity be damned! Still, I’m a bit familiar with the signatures we’ll see, so even if fake, they’re good forgeries.

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First up, we’ve got the Top Cow “classic” (can you see me making air quotes?) CyberForce #1.  I actually recently read the first volume of this series, so I’ll cover it in the upcoming return of Adventures West Coast. For now, let’s just focus on this one issue. It appears to be signed by EVERYONE at Homage Studios (except Jim Lee). Sadly, they gave it the gold Sharpie treatment, so I can’t read most of them. Because I have history with Dynamic Forces limited editions, I can make out some of it. For example, that’s Top Cow CEO/series creator Marc Silverstri’s signature across the title. Anyway, this book is from the early 90s, so it’s got the requisite holofoil gimmick cover, and will probably give you lead poisoning if you breathe in too much around it. Man, I can’t wait to review that book. It was GOLD!

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Anyone remember Devin Grayson? Well, if you’re new to comics, there was actually a woman who once worked for DC Comics NOT named Gail Simone! While Gail was off writing Agent X (Deadpool Who Wasn’t Deadpool. Don’t ask), Devin was a key writer in the Batman corner of the DCU. She had long stints on The Titans and Nightwing (she actually wrote a controversial issue where he got raped. Not even lying), plus she wrote the majority of the Batman: Gotham Knights series. Then, she went on to Marvel to write the forgotten Ghost Rider: The Hammer Lane series, and just kinda faded away. At one time, there was Devin, Christina Z, and Louise Simonson, yet people act like Gail was some sort of trailblazer.

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If you were a comic creator in the mid-late 90s, chances are you went through a Titties & Monsters phase. It was something of a rite of passage. This was that phase for Tony Daniel. Oh, you know who he is. He likes to be called Tony S. Daniel or Anthony Daniel now, but same guy: he took over the art on Grant Morrison’s Batman once Kubert bailed. He also wrote the New 52 relaunch of Detective Comics. I actually bought this series when it was out. Published by Image Comics, The Tenth was about some jailbait that hung out with a big ass monster. It probably had some kinda plot, but I was 16 and I liked how he drew girls. At least Spawn was “What if Satan Were Batman”, but 15 years later and I still can’t tell you what the Hell it was about. Anyway, this was an exclusive cover offered by American Entertainment – they were a mail order company that used to have ads in all the comics.

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This is the final issue of the JLA: Year One maxiseries, signed by inker Michael Bair. I’m familiar with his work because he inked Rags Morales’s art on Identity Crisis. In fact, I initially got his autograph when I met him and Brad Meltzer at a signing for Identity Crisis. So, while flipping through the longbox, I said aloud, “I know that guy!” Anyway, I’ve never actually read this series. Mark Waid wrote it, so it’s probably good. That said, it’s pre New 52, which means it “doesn’t count” anymore. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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This is Wonderlost #1, signed by writer C.B. Cebulski. This was an interesting project. I actually read this when it was originally released, as I got a comp copy some years back. CB was an editor at Marvel, but had the option to do work for other publishers, so he delivered this anthology of anecdotes from his adolescence. While it entertaining read, it still left you wondering “Why?” Like, it read like one of those collections you’d get from a company like Top Shelf, where they call them “comix”. Each anecdote is handled by a different artist, and the cover was by Leinil Francis Yu.  It’s clear that it was a bit of a love letter to his teenage years, but it was just such an odd fit for Image at the time. In fact, it probably still would be. He’s currently the Senior VP of Creative and Creator Development for Marvel.

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I put these two together because that’s how I found them: sharing opposites sides of the same bag/board combo. Also, they seem to go together thematically. Here, we have Hitman #5 and Preacher #17. These clearly came from the same collection, as they’re both made out to “Bob”. Hitman is signed by series artist John McCrea, while Preacher is signed by cover artist Glenn Fabry. Plus, the chick at the register just seemed to think it was one really thick comic, so two signed comics for $0.50! Anyway, I haven’t read much of either series. I think they’ve finally collected all of Hitman, so I’ll definitely check that out. Meanwhile, I’m still on Vol 2 of Preacher.

So, there ya have it. My mild obsession led to some interesting finds, and I never paid more than fifty cents for any of them. Try paying a creator fifty cents for his signature at a convention! Are they all legitimate? I think they are, but who knows? WHO CARES?! I got a good story out of it, right? And, really, that’s all that really counts.

20th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – Taking It To The Next Level

by Will

thriftj

I always feared this day would come. I don’t know if you’ve listened to any of my podcast appearances (there’s a handy list of links over on the sidebar!), but I’ve likened my thrifting to an addiction. That’s exactly what it is. I’ve tried to keep it at bay, and I definitely feel things could be MUCH worse. I mean, I’m not frequenting glory holes for vintage G.I. Joes, but all addictions end up going to the next level. You see, The Hunt is no longer enough for me. I need more adventure, more mystery. I’ve fallen prey to the world of the Mystery Box. Pop culture has taught us that you should probably NEVER choose the mystery box, but I’ve never listened to groupthink. My new approach is like the corporate raider model: I find a large lot for sale, I keep the good stuff, and divest myself of the junk. This has been especially helpful since Yard Sale Season has pretty much ended. As you can imagine, this is a gamble. Sometimes I buy the stuff sight unseen and sometimes I have a few pictures to go on. For example, there’s a story I’ll probably tell you later, as it’s quite the saga, but let’s just say I recently spent $40 on a box of what basically amounted to broken Transformers. That wasn’t a good example, but I had a haul the other day that somewhat validated my new approach to things. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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This was pretty much all I had to go on. Still, I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff, and figured I should just take a chance on the whole bin. Boy, am I glad I did!

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So, this is what it looked like when I dumped it out on the dining room table. Things are looking a bit more promising, right? Got more TMNT, got some G1 Transformers, and more. Here it is broken into groups:

MUSCLE1MUSCLE2

So, here we have 65 M.U.S.C.L.E. guys. If you remember, this isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled onto a sizable lot of these guys. Some of them have had their features/textures “outlined” with a ballpoint pen, but they’re still in great shape.

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We’ve got some G1 Transformers, as well as the Optimus Mighty Mugg. I actually always kinda wanted a Soundwave, and this one is too rough to sell, so it’s nice to add him to my collection. Plus, I’m glad to get that Goldbug. He’s close enough to Bumblebee for me, and I’ve mentioned my love for Bumblebee in the past.

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More Army Ants! And unlike the ones here, most of these still have their butts. Huzzah for having butts! Gay Ant Sir Mix-A-Lot will be pleased.

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A few figures from Blizzard. I don’t even feel like researching them right now, so I’ll just say it’s a Level 3 Rylon, next to Dragohorn, and Fake Brood.

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The sooner these are out of my house, the better. I do NOT do well with Aliens, or any “scary” thing, really. Anyway, the one on the left explodes, while the one in the middle whips around and does the whole “my tiny mouth is coming out of my big mouth” thing. And the one on the right has a water squirting head.

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Are you seeing this, Shezcrafti?! Anyway, this was quite the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coup. As your favorite infomercial would say, “But wait – THERE’S MORE!”

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Ace Duck with his wings! Usagi Yojimbo! This little batch is almost my entire dream list from 20 years ago. How fortuitous…and sad.

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These Muppets are from 1974, but I don’t know much more than that. They’re almost like fast food premiums, but I didn’t think they were giving the good stuff way back then.

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Here we’ve got some DragonBall figures. Let’s see how many people get pissed off by this: Green Swami is apparently from 1989. Yeah, you’ll all chime in and say “THAT’S NOT HIS NAME!” Well, I never watched DragonBall growing up. Unlike many of my compatriots, I didn’t have ADD. It’s also why I didn’t watch Teen Titans.

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At the moment, I don’t know what any of these are. I know Clown Reagan is from Mego. And there’s an interesting story about that dolphin. You see, I had one JUST like it growing up, and I chewed off her flippers. That was common for me back then. I’ve since gotten help. But now, it’s like Toy God has restored Flippy (that’s what I’m calling her now, and it’s close enough to Flipper to reap the benefits, whatever those might be) to her former glory! PRAISE HIM!

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This picture is like something put together by the folks at Dynamite Entertainment. “Quick, which licenses are available?! OK, Street Sharks..uh huh…Austin Powers…right…Mega Man…really? Huh…OK…Seaquest…but only DSV. Gotcha…and throw the lamest Gargoyle in there. Let’s see if Disney notices.”

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Oh, you thought we were done with Turtles? Well, you were wrong, son! We’ve got a Foot Clan Knucklehead, a Cheapskate, and one of those battle inner tube things.

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If anyone out there ever wanted 12 inches of Kevin Sorbo, I’ve got ya covered!

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Finally, we’ve got a box of what appears to be a complete set of Burger King Star Wars toys. No, I didn’t take them out to show you because A) this post has gone long enough and B) my feelings on Star Wars should be well known by now.

So, who said addictions were bad things? This was far more exciting than the usual thrift store run. Those places have been overrun by book scanners and entrepreneurial grandmothers, anyway. No, it’s time for me to live on the edge! It’s time to take Thrift Justice to the next level!

NOTE: If you’re curious about the source of my forced bravado, I was listening to this while I wrote this. If you’re a child of the 80s, you’ll thank me later.

13th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – We’ll Never Know What Might’ve Been

by Will

So, if you were here yesterday, you know the drill. If not, WHERE WERE YOU?! We’re looking at stuff I found at the thrift store that, while conversation pieces, weren’t worthy of being brought back to Casa Oeste (That’s “West” in Spanish. I think). Let’s jump in!

It’s the Double Dragon Cruiser! When Billy and Jimmy Lee aren’t busy fighting Shadow Master, they tool around town in this monstrosity. Cue Xzibit: “Yo dawg, I heard you like dragons!”

You know why you never see Mexico in post apocalyptic movies? BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL DRIVING AROUND IN SHIT LIKE THIS!!! Nobody’s going to Mexico when the streets are filled with fucking Datsuns painted metallic red, with afterburners and gatling guns! And there’s no way that tint is street legal.

To the Clapmobile! I think this is a bootleg toy of the limo from Beverly Hills Teens. Ya know, a limo with a pool in the back. Sounds awesome, unless you’re the driver. I’ve seen Elimidate. I know what happens when you introduce a pool or hot tub to drunk people. I hope he’s got some rubber gloves.

One modified Walkman spelled the downfall of 2 white men. No, this isn’t a Dateline special. This was Home Alone 2 – ya know, the one before Home Alone: The Adventures in Child Protective Services. I always wanted one of these, mainly because I planned to use it as a Walkman, and then I’d be able to use it for spy shit, should the need arise. Alas, I think I decided I’d rather have G.I. Joe stuff that year, so no Talkboy. I was really tempted to get this, but then I wondered if I’d be able to find a blank cassette tape. And then I wondered if it would provide more than 30 minutes of fun. Then I weighed the resale potential. Then I left it on the shelf.

This is the kind of car you used to find in the grocery store. Usually, I’d classify this as “Toys For Poor Kids”, but that’s not the case. Ya see, this was a special designation: “Toys, Just Because”. Nobody ever really wanted these things, but grocery store toy selection was poor in the 80s. It was either this, a rubber ball, some play money, or those shitty handcuffs. At least with this, you could maybe fit a M.A.S.K. guy in it. It wasn’t really about payoff – you only asked for this to see if you could get it. Depending on how nice your mom was feeling that day, you had a good shot. A child’s first taste of power comes when he/she seemingly manipulates a parental unit into buying them something that they don’t even want. Wow, I got deep there, huh?

So, there ya have it. I had one more pic, but WordPress just didn’t wanna load it, so this is the end of the road. Hope you enjoyed it, tell your friends, and come back tomorrow for West Week Ever!

12th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – All Filler, No Thriller

by Will

How’s that for an attention-grabbing headline, huh? Well, just like all kids can’t be honor students (I noticed your naked bumper), not all posts can be winners. Bottom line is that I’ve got a lot of pics I need to offload, and a lack of creativity at the moment. Also, my last two hauls are gonna BLOW YOUR MOTHERFUCKING MINDS when I finally get around to posting about them. Anyway, in my travels, I see a lot of stuff that I have to leave behind. It’s hard, but I just can’t provide a home to everything. I’m already violating several fire codes. So, sit back and see what might’ve been (also press play on your Little Texas CD if you have one). Oh, and the new logo is courtesy of Brian over at Cool and Collected!

First up, we’ve got this knockoff that appears to have been created using the mold from the Kenner Batman Returns Laser Bat. The hinges are even in the same place, however this is painted gold, and they slapped a bird face on the front. Apparently, it is piloted by a robot swimming in gold up to its neck. Seriously, only the head was popping up.

How fitting that the last time I wrote one of these posts, I used a 98 Degrees lyric for the title, and here they are! My favorite part is that there’s a card specifically for the teacher. Back in my day, she got “I Choo Choo Choose You” just like the rest of the kids. I wonder if it was somehow more adult than the rest of the cards. Well, good for her. Ms. Robbins works hard and deserves the fantasy of some guy on guy on guy on girl lovin’!

This is a bit of a cheat, as I found this in Toys “R” Us. Most people couldn’t understand the Best Lock Stargate license, but I think THIS is the most baffling knockoff toy of the year. Even though I’m not a gamer, I immediately recognized the name of Resident Evil‘s Chris Redfield. Now, I KNOW TRU didn’t pay for the RE license, so I think they’re hoping that the poor (economically, not circumstantially) kids who buy the True Heroes line are too poor to have ever seen Resident Evil. On the flip side, the RE fans fortunate enough to have played the game have never noticed this aisle before.

I knew Aircraft Fighter back when he was known as the Thunder Megazord. Of course, he was bigger then. He has looked better. I see he’s fallen on hard times. He’s clearly renting, as none of the pictures in his place have him in them. I hope he gets his shit together one day.

Here’s a cultural lesson for ya: in the UK, a MILF is known as a “yummy mummy” (Thanks, LamarRevenger!). How cute is that? Hardly seems worthy of a full book, what being a three step process:

1. Be hot

2. Have baby

3. Maintain hotness

Where’s my book deal?!

What becomes of the broookenhearted?!

I leave you with this pic. This motherfucker right here. It’s like if Dolemite was a rabid Smurfs fan. I don’t even know where to begin. You see my sleeve because I really had to sneak this pic. I have no doubt he had a knife in his Stacy Adams.

Ya know what? That, like knowing, was only half the battle. And half the pics I need to blow through. So, check in tomorrow when I’ll have another post! Happy Hanukkah!

08th Nov2012

Thrift Justice: Zord Ratchetness

by Will

I’m pretty sure that @Classickmateria is the only one who’s gonna get that title. Anyway, as we’ve covered in the past, a lot of my personal thrifting quests involve tracking down Power Rangers toys that I missed out on. More specifically, I’m looking for deluxe zords (Ranger vehicles, for those not “in the know”) and morphers. Well, I’ve had a bit of luck recently, so I thought I’d share those with you. Let’s go in order from worst to best, shall we?

First off, I give you the WORST Carrierzord in Power Rangers history. Again, for people not into PR, all you need to know about a Carrierzord is in the name: it’s a zord that carries other zords into battle. In some cases, it can help them form an Ultrazord, but mainly it CARRIES.

This is the Deluxe Zenith Carrierzord from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Transformers toy fans are familiar with scale concepts, as they have Scout, Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader Classes. Power Rangers is nowhere near that complicated, as all you need to know is Deluxe; Deluxe zords are the ones that are combined to make different combinations, like Megazords, Ultrazords, etc. Or as a kid would put it, “They’re the ones that go together and break apart.” Everything called “Deluxe” is supposed to be compatible within the same line. So, in theory, the Deluxe Galaxy Megazord should be in scale with the Deluxe Zenith Carrierzord. Not so, my friends. You see, near the end of the series, the Rangers acquired the Stratoforce and Centaurus Megazords (gotta keep those parents emptying their wallets!). Based on an ancient shark, the Zenith carried the composite zords of the Stratoforce and Centaurus Megazords (you’ll remember pieces of the former from here) into battle. Yes, Bandai America created deluxe versions of both Megazords, but can their composite pieces fit into the deluxe carrierzord? NO! Instead, the Zenith comes with miniature plastic versions of the zords that cannot combine, and were easily lost. Sure, it had to hold 10 separate zords, but that’s a concept where you either go big or go home. If they couldn’t keep in line with the Deluxe scale, they either shouldn’t have made this toy at all, or they shouldn’t have put it in the Deluxe class. Sure, in scale it would’ve been huge, but as you’ll see later, it could’ve been done.

These next 3 shouldn’t really be considered “thrifty” purchases. After my last TJ zord installment, you may remember that I was missing a few pieces. Well, as luck would have it, I was perusing Craigslist and found a guy who had EXACTLY what I was looking for. So, while I paid a bit more than I would’ve liked (I mean, I’m used to getting full Megazords for $5), these were needed pieces for my collection.

This is the Condor (corrected by @exveebrawn) Zord from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, so now my Galaxy Megazord is complete.

This is the shuttle/head for the Astro Megaship along with the sword, all from Power Rangers In Space. So, now my Astro Megazord is complete!

Here’s the Deluxe Alligator Zord, which was piloted by the douchiest Ranger of all time. No, seriously, he had a soul patch. Anyway, Merrick from Power Rangers Wild Force had this guy, and I can now form a few different alternative Megazords with it.

Now, back to REAL thrifting. The following were just random, cheap pickups from the local thrift stores.

Here are the Red and Pink zords from Power Rangers SPD‘s Deluxe Megazord. I managed to get this in a couple of grab bags for about $2, so I guess that’s my next Deluxe Zord project.

Another random mixed lot, this is the Red zord from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, and the Blue Rescuezord from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. I actually have the latter zord, but this one is in better shape than mine, and I just can’t leave an orphaned zord behind!

So, you ready for my best find? I’ve wanted this one for the past 10 years or so. This came out when I had gone off to college, and couldn’t really justify spending $60 0n a zord. Still, it’s probably one of the best designed zords from the American seasons, and I’m glad I can finally add it to my collection. From Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, I give you the Deluxe Supertrain Megazord.

The Supertrain Megazord is an interesting character, as it’s essentially a carrierzord that becomes a Megazord. While previous carrierzord tended to have robot/warrior modes, they were never given the designation of “Megazord”, as they weren’t piloted by the entire team. These zords debuted as the “Rail Rescues”, which carry the Lightspeed Rescuezords into the city. According to Deluxe zord standard, each train car here actually opens up to hold a deluxe zord from the Lightspeed Megazord. Later on, when the Rangers needed more firepower, the Rail Rescues, themselves, combined to form the Supertrain Megazord.

This, by far, is one of my favorite zords. You may not be able to tell in the pic, but it’s at least 2 feet tall when formed. It’s funny how I came across it: I had already made several passes through the toy aisle of the local thrift store, and there was NOTHING. I was about to give up, when I noticed one of the Rail Rescues underneath a shelf. I looked closer, and saw that there were actually two. Now, it’s rare that people give away TWO zords, so I felt there was a good chance that the others might be there. I paced up and down the aisle, and saw nothing. I was prepared to just leave with the 2 (can’t leave an orphaned zord behind, remember?), when I noticed something at the end of the doll aisle. There, on the bottom shelf, in a pile, were the other 3 zords. I snatched them up and rushed to the register. They had been priced separately, with each car going for $1.91. So, I ended up with the completed Deluxe zord for a little less than $10. When I got home, I noticed that I was missing the very front of the Blue car, so I can’t hook Rails #1 & 2 in train mode, but that’s not a huge deal to me. Everything else was great, and I’m almost done tracking down all of the Lightspeed Rescuezords (still need yellow and green), so I’ll be able to house them inside when that’s done. In all, it was a pretty great acquisition, and one of the jewels of my Power Rangers collection.

Finally, I leave you with this. While not exactly a morpher, this is a roleplay toy that still fits in with the theme. This is the Time Force Badge from Power Rangers Time Force. Basically, you push the button on the side and you get light and sound. I’ve always loved Time Force, and the badge is almost as important as the morpher (even though it doesn’t have Judgement Mode of the SPD Morpher, from the other cop-themed season of Power Rangers). I like that they didn’t really try to Americanize it. Back in the Mighty Morphin days, anything that was originally a Japanese character was changed to a lightning bolt on our toys. This thing would look horrible like that, so I’m glad they didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken.

OK, that’s enough Ranger talk from me. Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll talk about…um…just tune in tomorrow!

07th Nov2012

Thrift Justice: The Case of the Ghetto Sludge

by Will

One of my favorite thrifting tactics is to go into…”unsavory” areas. This isn’t very smart, as I stick out like a sore thumb, in my argyle sweater and Dockers. I’m not even sure why I do it, as it rarely yields anything great. I don’t know if this is because someone else had that idea and beat me to it, or if the good stuff just never hits these stores. Anyway, I’m most definitely going to end up like George Jefferson when he was stabbed by that girl gang  (kids, ask your parents about that one) one of these days, but I like to learn things the hard way. On one particular trip, I found a horrific situation. You see, my thrift stores tend to have grab bags of smaller toys, like action figures and fast food premiums. On this day, however, most of the items in the bags had been covered in some kind of sludge. Now, I know that the folks can’t clean EVERY item that comes through, but come the eff on! When you see these pics, you’ll know that there’s no way they didn’t see this before bagging this stuff up. I need to clear some pics out of my Dropbox, so please enjoy this filler edition of Thrift Justice!

When the Rangers were told they’d be getting Dino Thunder powers, I’m sure Dr. Oliver never told them they’d have to cover their helmets with Raptor shit.

And to think Sandman thought Spider-Man 3 was a toxic mess!

Teen Titans Robin in his Red-X garb looks just as dead as Jason Todd here.

This is a member of The Corps. Ya know, “G.I. Joe for Poor Kids”. Just a lesson that if you’re born in shit, you’ll probably die in shit.

Ben 10 is NOT amused.

Another member of The Corps. You’ll never find Sgt Slaughter in this situation. He’ll put you in a ditty bag!

No sludge, but it always saddens me to see Bandai plastic that has yellowed. This used to be the White Blaster Beetleborg. What would his fellow Klansmen say now that he’s not as pure as he used to be?!

I seriously don’t know what was going on with that batch. In some cases, it was like the TGRI container had shattered, but in others it looked like a post-Chipotle explosion. The sad part is that these look like the current trend in custom figures, where it seems “customizers” are just rubbing fecal matter on figures to make them look “gritty”. Anyway, I’ve been back to the store since, and most of the bags were gone. Read that again: MOST OF THE BAGS WERE GONE. So, either management got involved and removed them, OR (and this is the horrible alternative) some parent bought them for their child, and these are currently in that kid’s mouth. All hail the Super Flu!

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!

18th Oct2012

Thrift Justice – UnM.A.S.K.ing

by Will

So, a few days before the wedding, I went thrifitng with my sister-in-law’s boyfriend, Sam. He loves thrifitng out in Denver, but tends to focus more on clothing. Anyway, I wore him out as I took him to 4 of my favorite shops. I guess the stars aligned, as I found some pretty cool stuff. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

@Shezcrafti – you ever seen one of these?

This is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles BATSU from NECA. Yeah, I had to research that. Lindsay and I have been collecting Marvel Mighty Muggs for a few years, and when I saw Raph here, it reminded me of that style. I’d never seen anything like it before, so I had to snatch it up.

Next up, we’ve got Sgt. Slaughter’s Triple T. I never had this vehicle, and I almost bought it at a flea market a few months ago for $15. I’m glad I passed, as this cost me 10% of that. I’m actually done collecting vintage G.I. Joe, as most of my focus now is on the anniversary style figures. Still, every now and then you find a piece that you simply can’t pass up. Sure, it’s missing some panels behind the cockpi but it’s in good shape, even with the slight discoloration of the white parts.

“Well, of course she’s guilty, your honor. She’s a dame!”

Apparently, after leaving Quinn Mallory and Rembrandt, Professor Arturo went on to form the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I acquired two more 3M Bookshelf games for my collection. I’ve also realized there are imposters afoot! You see, eventually 3M handed the bookshelf games over to a Baltimore company called Avalon Games. Avalon went on to reproduce the 3M titles, but in a cheaper, less “booky” way. They’re the same size, and still fit on a bookcase, but they just have a flat black edge instead of the faux book binding of the originals. I’ve found a few titles that I don’t own, but I’ve thrown them back because they were the cheaper Avalon editions.

OK, are you ready for the BIG find of the day? Even I couldn’t believe I’d found it. When children of the 80s fondly look back on the “good ol’ days”, they tend to remember certain cartoons. Yup, there’s G.I. Joe, Thundercats, He-Man…and M.A.S.K. Intact M.A.S.K. toys rarely show up on the thrift scene. When I find them, they’re always broken or missing their labels. While this find isn’t complete, it’s the best specimen I’ve found to date. I give you the Rhino.

As you can see, it’s missing its missing its left door, but the ejection seat feature still works. Also, the battering ram grille still works. The attack module is still attached behind the cab (I actually can’t figure out how to disconnect it). In all, this is a pretty good piece. Just like last time with the M.U.S.C.L.E. guys, this piece doesn’t hold as much sentimental value for me as it might for you. I was a M.A.S.K. fan, but never owned this, so it’s not part of Operation: Childhood Buyback. With that said, if you have a Rhino-sized hole in your heart, make me an offer. It’ll save me from having to list it on Will’s World of Wonder.

Until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the SARS. What? I had to modify it. Casey Kasem is all lawyered up, and nobody talks about SARS anymore…

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