The Toybox

My friend Kate and I have started a new webcomic over on Points of Articulation called “The Toybox.” Check it out!

New Halo 3 figures

Bubble Head

Speaking of Halo 3 toys, here’s a glimpse of some variant Spartans in McFarlane Toys’ upcoming line. Yay for bubble heads!

(On a side note, I recently scored a few more–non-Halo related–articles for ToyFare. Stay tuned for more info.)

New figure review

For the first time in about a year, I have a new action figure review up at OAFE. This one is Erik Larsen’s SuperPatriot.

Toy spinoff blog

I’ve decided to create a spinoff blog that will focus solely on toys. As such, I’ve registered (Poe Ghostal is my Web pseudonym). I plan to try and design the site myself, so probably won’t start running until sometime in November, since I have to focus on Halloween Month here all October.

I wanted to title the new blog Poe’s Points of Articulation, but unfortunately it’s already taken. Another option is Poe Ghostal’s Pit, which was the name of an old website I had, but I’d prefer something toy-related.

So I’m asking for suggestions. Post any titles you can think of for the new blog. Alliteration with “P” is encouraged, as is use of the possessive “Poe Ghostal’s” or “Poe’s”. Edgar Allan Poe references are also welcome.

Once I’ve got enough suggestions, I’ll take my five favorites and post a poll for everyone to vote on. The person who suggested the winning choice will get a grab-bag of random goodies from my magic attic, spanning nearly thirty years of toy collecting.

My Halo 3 article(s) posted online

ToyFare is doing a “Halo Week” on their website, primarily by posting my article from the magazine piecemeal.

Halo 3 Mamajama

The truth can at last be revealed: the article I pitched all those months ago will finally hit stores this Wednesday in ToyFare #123. Titled “Halo 3 Mamajama,” it’s a huge article about the upcoming release of Halo 3 and the slew of merchandising that will be accompanying it.

The issue will be in comic shops this Wednesday, and it will hit newsstands (Barnes & Noble and Borders and whatnot) two weeks later, on the 26th. Be sure to grab a copy!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention–the article includes an interview with comic artist and toy maker Todd McFarlane, who’s doing the action figure line, and another interview with some folks from Bungie, makers of Halo 3.

Legendary Comic Book Heroes

As I think I’ve made abundantly clear on this site, I collect action figures. I started doing so as a wee tyke, beginning with a little plastic totem of Mighty Mouse, then on into He-Man, Star Wars and the original Transformers and finally Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After TMNT, I had a brief period where I read comics and bought a few figures; then a Transformers renaissance in which I produced a fan fiction novel; and then the money that had been previously funneled into action figures was redirected to Magic: the Gathering for most of my high school career.

In my freshman year of college, for whatever reason, I started buying action figures again. At the time it didn’t seem that strange to me–after all, I’d been buying toys all my life–but in retrospect, that was obviously a turning point. I had become an adult (more or less), but I still wanted toys. And yes, I’ve had a few of the more grown-up toys over the years, such as videogames and Ipods and PCs and such, but I still spend a good amount of my income on little plastic men.

Why? I have no idea.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the epic storylines I created with my toys back in the day were my earliest attempts at writing, and even today I think the way I write is largely a form of play. With that idea in mind, I eventually came up with my idea of the perfect action figure line. (more…)

Imperial Universal Monsters

If you were a young boy in the late 1970s and early 1980s, chances are you were quite familiar with the crown logo of Imperial Toys.

From the admittedly limited perspective as a six-year-old boy, Imperial was known for one thing and one thing only: rubber dinosaurs.

Imperial specialized in those solid rubber dinosaurs you’d find in convenience stores, pharmacies, and the metal floor bins of toy stores like Child World. They usually sold for less than three bucks. Those dinosaurs were tough bastards; you could throw them against the wall all day long and they wouldn’t get a scratch. The sculpts and paint applications were crude even by contemporary standards and there was nary a point of articulation to be found on them, but when I was a kid that hardly mattered. The rubbery “real feel” of the dinosaurs skin, coupled with their Godzilla-like indestructibility, made them the pre-eminent dinosaur toys of my youth.

Cthulhu Plastic Figure

NOTE: Originally published under the name “Poe Ghostal” on the now-defunct toy review website The Toy Pirate.

cute packagingToy Vault made its first impression on the action figure industry back in 1998, when it released a number of action figures based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. They got the license through the Tolkien Estate, as opposed to ToyBiz, who had the rights only to the movie figures. Unfortunately, Toy Vault’s figures were soon overshadowed by the movie trilogy and the merchandising juggernaut behind it.

So Toy Vault moved to other literary niche markets—specifically, the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Instead of action figures, Toy Vault chose the ironic route, producing lovable stuffed animals of Lovecraft’s evil deity and his brethren—everything from your standard Cthulhu to Secret Agent Cthulhu and Dracthulhu, and even plush Shoggoths and Gugs.

Attack of the Living Dead

I tend toward faddishness, and my latest fad (in case you couldn’t tell) has been zombies. This owes in part to the subject of this article, the wonderfully disgusting “Attack of the Living Dead” action figures by Mezco Toyz [sic]. AOTLD is a combination of today’s advanced action figure design and those old gross-out toys of the 1980s (times ten).

“Attack of the Living Dead” isn’t based on any particular film, despite the “Living Dead” moniker (a quick check at the U.S. trademark office shows that Mezco was able to trademark the title, so it looks like George Romero and John Russo lose yet again, courtesy of the Walter Reade Organization). The line was originally going to be titled “After Life” (and Mezco had trademarked that as well), but at some point they must have figured out that the “Living Dead” phrase wasn’t trademarked and changed to the new title to capitalize on the name recognition.

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