Monday, January 31, 2011

28 Days Later

I was thinking last night about how the toy hoarding that has occurred over here at The ToyBox in the last two months had reached epic proportions, and how I should take a break- since February is the shortest month, maybe a little "month-without-buying-toys" kinda discipline was in order. Well Lo and Behold, I tune into Eclectorama tonight, and ChunkyBamboozle had beat me to it! Some of the other kids were poking fun at his challenge, but I couldn't... because now someone said it out loud: "control yourself".
28 Days Later
The rules are simple:
1). No toys may be purchased during the month of February.
2). Toys received as gifts are acceptable, though no begging or asking for them is allowed.
3). I can still blog about the toys I purchased in January that arrive in February, which is a damn lot so it's not like I'm starving myself :D
4.) I must clean out my "watch list" on E-bay and avoid my favorite online retailers so as not to be tempted. Before I do this, I will pick up two DC Directs I have been eyeballing- I'm gonna be honest here. It's NOT February yet, so...

I want to do this. I'm gonna do this. Can I do this? Can ChunkyBunchaNuts do it?? Will HubbaBubba make fun of us all month? Will the parcel I sent Reis'sPeices make it through the MidWest ice storm I'm caught in?! God, the tension is killing me! :D

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hey, Mr.Postman!

Ran into the beautiful doll who brings me my toys again on this sunny Saturday afternoon- so pleasant, always somethin' nice to say- what a blessing! Makes my life better, I swear! Enough with the Tom Jones lyrics, let's get on with it:

*Marvel Select Stealth Iron Man by Diamond Select Toys- Now I'd been eyeing this guy for months, and finally found him for so low that I couldn't pass him up... $13.44 (price included shipping). I have a few of these Diamond Select toys and they are just beautiful- some articulation is sacrificed for aesthetics, but they sure are purdy!

*Blackest Night Series 8 Orange Lantern Lex Luthor by DC Direct! I know Mattel is gonna release a version & I don't care- this one looks superior to me. DC Direct lacks a lot of the articulation that Mattel provides, but they make some of the most artful action figures in the world. Three cheers for this Bad Ass! Hip Hip Hooray! I have seven of these Blackest Night series, and I am thrilled with them...

*Series 1 Justice League Sinestro by DC Direct. One of the best looking Sinestro action figures I've seen, I caved and bought him when I found him for $10.55 (price included shipping). I'll admit that I want a Sinestro in the yellow corps outfit, but I resent the inflated price he's going for currently. No way! He comes with a personal massager mega-rod (tee hee hee) that I'm unsure Sinestro ever used in the comics! Funny stuff...

*Green Lantern Classics Wave 1 Manhunter Robot by Mattel. Never saw any of this wave at any of the many retail establishments I haunt locally- Thanks Mattel! Nevermind, I got him loose for ten bucks- so there. Often described as a "Plain Jane", I thought this one was great! I am absolutely thrilled to have him- all kinds of toys for all kinds of folks I suppose...

And finally some new reading material....
*Green Lantern: Blackest Night & Blackest Night (DC, 2010). I would bought these in paperback, but I wasn't gonna wait until July (Damn!). Luckily, these hardback graphic novels were only about sixteen & a half bucks each w/free shipping at Amazon (only three bucks more than the tardy paperbacks). I have been dyin' to get these, and am very interested!

This post turned out kinda Green Lantern heavy, as my collection has become as well lately, huh? I realize I'm being fed images of more GL merchandise as the hoopla surrounding the yet to be released motion picture gets deeper by the day, but I first became interested in the character before they painted the uniform on Ryan Reynolds chest for the movie (gimmie a break!). I got into Green Lantern when I read Darwyn Cooke' DC: New Frontier (DC, 2004) a couple months ago. I loved the back story & evolution of Hal Jordan's journey from war-traumatized test pilot with a death wish to  heroic, galactic policeman. Well done, I say!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marvel Essential Silver Surfer Vol.1

Yesterday I posted about Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol.3, which includes the first appearance of Silver Surfer, his defiance of Galactus, and subsequent exile on Earth. This was an enjoyable read that I'd recommend to anyone, though I bought it primarily due to the aforementioned appearance of Silver Surfer. When researching the subject, I realized this and purchased both.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I am by no means an expert on comics- upon getting into toy collecting just a few months ago, my long-sleeping passion for reading them was reignited, and so I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Still I feel it's important to include them here on the Super-DuperToyBox, because they focus of my collecting is comic book heroes & villains. So, I hope I'm not boring you too much- Never fear, I shall get back to the fantastic plastic soon enough!

In collecting advice & sharing what I've been reading with contributing editor of my newly favorite blog, New Readers... start here!, Saranga asked if I liked the Marvel Essential Silver Surfer I had read. She felt the dialogue was old-fashioned, and the exposition gave her a headache. I definitely understand what she was conveying- this volume can be like that. Comics are written with a lot more depth and realism currently- the art form has come a long way. Conversely, I knew nothing of Silver Surfer and wanted to really experience it... from the beginning. And for that, it was worth it to me. Additionally, I stand by my opinion that Stan Lee was a visionary story teller, and I worship the man- if not for this talented man, the world of comics & superheroes you love so much would not be, let's face it.

The woeful alien, exiled to Earth by his former master, has a hard time fitting in through these chapters, always trying to help the humans he openly deems ungrateful, yet is time & again misunderstood. When Norrin Radd pledged to serve as herald for the planet-consuming Galactus in exchange for mercy on his people, he knew it would separate him from his love, Shalla Bal, and he comes to regret this deeply.  He sorrowfully recounts this misgiving throughout the volume, and at one point is even reunited briefly, only to lose her again. The Silver Surfer battles a host of both villains and heroes throughout the book: Loki Mephisto, The Stranger, Quasimodo give battle, as well as Thor, Spiderman, Nick Fury & S.H.E.I.L.D., The Inhumans, TheFantastic Four, and even the U.S. military. The man hardly gets a rest, and at some points becomes angry and vengeful in his desperation- it's quite tragic, and yes laborious to read at times. You really have to have patience to give in and let it be what it is- if this sounds unappealing to you, it probably will be.

Jack Kirby pencilled the last two chapters, but the "Michelangelo of Comics", John Buscema handled the bulk of the drawing in this volume. Again, the Marvel Essentials series are all black & white, but they are a lot cheaper than the Marvel Masterworks series which are in color. I love the work of both these artists, and as I said before, I found a new kind of appreciation for their work when stripped of it's color.

*Pictured above, my 10" Deluxe Edition Silver Surfer action figure by ToyBiz (1994)!

Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol.3

I finished reading Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol.3 a month ago, and thought it would be appropriate to stop and say a word or two about it since you-know-who was just killed off (laughs). I love how pissed everyone is getting: "I'm not buying these big comic companies' cheap sensationalism! They just bring them back to life later!"  Yeah well... so what? Do you think they care if you know they are pullin' stunts to (laughs) make money off ya?? They are a business, and like any other business they want to make more money. And they will.

Like most people, as soon as I heard I figured it would be Johnny- he's the hot-headed kid, and I think some people were (laughs) glad! Johnny is a whiny crier in this volume I just read- when he falls in love (at first sight) with Crystal of the Inhuman clan, he obsesses over her to the point of comedy. Equally annoyingly teenage complaining, moodiness continues throughout each chapter. It was pretty realistic (laughs)!  It's okay Johnny, we were all annoying teenagers at one time, and like yourself most of us had our really admirable qualities as well, yours being loyalty and heroism. 

I want to tell you up front the Marvel Essentials series have no color- just black & white. While some find this a real letdown, I was reading for the story mostly, though I'm a big fan of Jack Kirby's artwork, and his use of line weight and negative space take on a really admirable quality when stripped of color. His style is immediately recognizable to me, and I think it's swell. While it's easy to forget the importance of their craft, inkers Joe Sinnott and Vince Coletta did a clean job, contributing a lot to Kirby's work.

Vol. 3 is an eventful ride That's worth a look: a battle with Black Panther turns into a team-up against Klaw, The Inhumans are forced to accept aid from The Fantastic Four in order to escape the tyranny of Black Bolt's evil brother Maximus as well as the Seeker. DragonMan, Blastaar, The Beyonder, Sandman, Dr. Doom all make an appearance, along with a host of other baddies.  Reed & Sue Storm get married in front of an All-Star Marvel cast- The X-Men, The Avengers, Daredevil, & Spiderman sweep in to save the nuptials from sabotage by Doom. And the event present within the pages of this hefty adventure, the main reason I hunted it down- the first appearance of Silver Surfer and his conflict with Galactus, resulting in the Sentinel of the Spaceways' exile on Earth.

Thanks again Jason V. for inspiring me to talk about comics, both comics from my youth as well as what I'm reading now. Thanks to Saranga over at New Readers... start Here! for all the advice on what to read so I (laughs) understand what I just read! You wouldn't believe the piles of comics/graphic novels I have ordered in the past week- this is going to be expensive, educational, and FUN!

*Pictured above: 14" Galactus by ToyBiz (1997), 10" Human Torch by ToyBiz (2000), Mini Marvel Heroes & Villians Silver Surfer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DC Direct 13" Deluxe Collector Classic Superman

At the end of last year I bought some really cool 1:6 scale dollies action figures that I've only shown a peek of here on Super-DuperToyBox, and since I posted about my 6" Mattel DCUC Superman yesterday, I'll keep it going with another Superman- my 13" DC Direct Classic Superman.

Super-DuperToyBox really started with a 15" 1978 Kenner Darth Vader I scored on E-Bay, followed by a slew of Hasbro & ToyBiz action figures with cloth outfits. While I had my eye on this guy several months ago, it wasn't until this past December that I ran across a deal I couldn't refuse- this guy up for auction at $39.95. I remembered the sting of losing him in an auction before at twice that, but no one seemed to be paying attention in the holiday melee, so I won him along with a bitchin' DC Direct 1:6 Batman in one fell swoop! Both with combined shipping totaled $119.30, probably one of the best deals I ever landed (happy-dance).

Superman came in a nice windowpane box with collapsed display stand and one extra set of hands:

DC Direct produced another, very similarly styled version of this guy that you can change into Clark Kent, but I like the face on this one better, the aforementioned sporting a more "Golden Age" visage. Both the suit and boots zip up in back, though I didn't feel the need to strip him down. His spandex suit fits his body perfectly, the classic "S" insignia in vinyl neatly sealed in position over his chest. The plastic belt clasps in front beneath the buckle, looped through his shorts, which are actually a separate piece. The zippered boots are vinyl with plastic, heeled soles- very tailored looking! On the back of his luxurious cape, is another, all yellow "S" insignia in vinyl.

Retailing for around $100.00 when released in March of 2007, I felt lucky to get this beautiful doll at such a great price. Some of these dolls go for a much higher price on the secondary market now, which I find a little unreasonable for what you are getting.Truth be told, $100.00 seems a little high in my humble opinion- while my tolerance for what I will spend on a toy has increased since I started collecting, I still possess a certain, if flexible threshold I won't cross. I may be compulsive, but I'm also an educated consumer. DC Direct produced twenty-three of these 1:6 scale dolls between June 2005 & August 2008, and while simple compared to a Medicom or Hot Toys 1:6 doll, I think they are just beautiful! After getting my first 1:6 DC Direct doll last October, I knew I would end up getting another.

My parents gave me a 12" Mego Superman back in 1979 which I loved dearly- having this DC Direct is like reliving the joy of that toy all over again! Not long after I got this, Matty Collector released a 12" Christopher Reeve Movie Masters Superman that I (laughs) bought as well! As I've said before, when the 1978 Superman motion picture came out my life was forever changed... I may be a huge Batman fan, but I've always had a great affection for the Man of Steel.

"Sent to Earth by his parents Jor-El and Lara to save him from his doomed planet, Krypton, young Kal-El has grown from a shy Kansas farmboy raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent into the Earth's greatest hero, Superman. Using his powers such as super strength, flight, and heat vision, Superman fights for Truth and Justice while maintaining the guise of Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet."

*12" Mego Superman I had as a child at the online Mego Museum!

Monday, January 24, 2011

DCUC Superman

I mentioned a few posts ago that I landed a DC Universe Classic Superman, and here he is. He wasn't really top of my list as I have something like eight or nine Superman figures, but I won him loose for $7.99 on E-Bay, so...  His face isn't my favorite Superman face, somehow...?? In retrospect I'm glad I got him, especially at that price. I mean, he is the cornerstone of the DC Universe, so now he's here at home with the (laughs) twenty-nine other DCUCs!


* Visual checklist & reviews of the DCUC line at DCClassics.Com!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hey, Mr. Postman: More DCD Blackest Night!

After a successful day at work Saturday, I was doubly rewarded at the front door upon my arrival home.
As stated in my last post, whatever DC Direct figures lack in articulation, they more than make up for in aesthetics! After seeing DC Direct's Blackest Night series, Mattel's effort left me somewhat underwhelmed. I was really happy to see these guys!

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 1 Boodikka

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 1 Saint Walker

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 6 Hal Jordan

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 6 Blue Lantern Flash

*Blackest Night page at DCComics.Com!
*DC Direct Action Figure Archive!
*DC Direct Action Figure Checklist!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hey, Mr. Postman!

If you didn't know already, my postman is not a man, but a lean, sexy blonde- I'm not even kidding! A dorky fanboy's dream come true... (laughs) toys delivered by an attractive woman! Anywho, I got my first two DC Direct Blackest Night action figures this week! Let's take a quick look:

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 7 Sinestro Corps Arkillo!
I'll say it: I get annoyed with Mattel trying to make me buy a whole Wave of DC Universe Classics in order to put together one of their "collect & connect" figures, most especially Arkillo, Darkseid, and Kalibak. In a lot of cases, DCUCs have better articulation, but DC Direct make some of the most artful action figures, and designed to emulate actual comic book series characters. And of course, Mattel's inconsistent and mysterious distribution methods are notoriously frustrating to collectors. I preordered this guy, along with a DCD Orange Lantern Lex Luthor (being released next week)- didn't want to miss them.

*DC Direct Blackest Night Series 1 Atrocitus!  Like Arkillo, equally gruesome and awsome!  I am a visual kinda guy, so I buy toys that appeal to my peepers- it doesn't matter if I know anything about them, part of the fun being the researching them. Behind on comics knowlege from the 90's until just a few months ago, I still haven't read Blackest Night, but of course now I will! While this may seem in backward order, I think it's fun and I have a lot of catching up to do.

*Blackest Night page at DCComics.Com!
*DC Direct Action Figure Archive!
*DC Direct Action Figure Checklist!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comics From My Youth: The Dark Knight Returns

I've been compiling a visual catalog of important comics I read in my youth for fun, and putting them up on my Super-Duper Facebook lately (click the link at the top right of this blog to Be My Good Friend). Naturally, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC, 1986) needed to be in there- it was the first graphic novel I ever read, and in the midst of "Bat-Mania" at the end of the 80's, it set my imagination on fire. As you can see by the picture above, it received A LOT of attention. From what I understand, this is a reprint from, with a variant cover design by Chip Kidd.

The artwork was somewhat avante-garde compared what I was used to, almost loosely sketched in some parts, and the storytelling validated my belief that comics were a form of high art. I'm not going to attempt a thesis on the publication here- there are other blogs for that. After fellow toy blogger Jason recently began posting some comics from childhood, I thought I'd share some of the comics from my younger days. I've done a little of this, but wanted to show some more in 2011. It's so strange to find myself reading comics & collecting action figures at the age of thirty-eight... if you told me I'd be doing this five months ago, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here I am, quite deeply in love with all over again...

If you haven't read this book for whatever reason, please do yourself a favor. I was talking with Hubba Bubba the other night about the fact that nearly every action figure collector we know has a thing for Batman- he's the favorite. I mean, am I right or am I right?

*Read a review on this book at ComicsBulletin.Com!
*New Readers...Start Here blog! Very interesting to me as I had been away from comics all my adult life until recently and have missed a lot.
*Hilarious blog, Comics Make No Sense ...really funny!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DCUC Grouping

Let's take another look at three of these DC Universe Classics I got in the mail yesterday, m'kay? From left to right:
*DCUC Wave 7 Blue Beetle/Ted Kord:  I wasn't so keen on this figure at first sight, but he grew on me- and for $6.05, it was a good choice. He is the best out of these 3 DCUCs that I won together- what a FUN TOY! I have two Jaimie Reis Blue Beetle III action figures, but Ted Kord first appeared in 1964, a student of the original Dan Garrett Blue Beetle (Charlton Comics). Mattel did a great job on him- I love his raygun that actually fits and clasps securely! He's a lefty by the way, in spite of his holster position on the right...??
*DCUC Wave 10 Robotman. Somewhat collectible, I won the auction at $8.39. I knew nothing of this character, yet he seemed oddly familiar... from childhood? Cliff Steele (ha ha) appeared in DC Comics in 1964, a car accident victim whose brain was transferred to a robot body- a source of great despair for the accidental hero. Anyway, he fun because you case remove the plate atop his head to reveal his BRAIN! He has a slight looseness in the left ankle, but nothing disabling.
*DCUC Wave 11 John Stewart Green Lantern. This character was in DC Final Crisis, which I (laughs) just read again in attempt to understand. The Wave 11 John Stewart is different than the one included in the DCUC Green lantern Corps 5-pack- I like this outfit better. I won him for $9.50 loose, and he's a sturdy figure with lots of accessories, but annoyingly lacks an open hand to carry his lantern. I would have passed on one of his two constructs for this. I like him. Green Lantern 2814.2 appeared in the early seventies, taking over for Hal Jordan after he resigned from the Corps, originally drafted as a backup for Jordan's backup, Guy Gardner. Take a peek at my two Hal Jordan Green Lantern figures here.

 "Jeez, Cliff- leave the brain under the cap!"

*Ted Kord Blue Beetle at Wikipedia
*Robotman at Wikipedia
*John Stewart Green Lantern at Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hey, Mr. Postman!

Imagine having an entire rainy Tuesday off work and receiving a parcel of toys & comics in the mail... that's what it was like being ME today! Hooray! More loose DCUC captured at E-Bay...

*DCUC Wave 7 Blue Beetle/Ted Kord

*DCUC Wave 10 Robotman

*DCUC Wave 11 John Stewart Green Lantern

AND... I also got a package of comics today, which is a good thing as I am going through them like a kid goes through a bag of licorice:
*All Star Squadron Vol.3, No.28 (DC, Dec. 1983) The Spectre Vs. The Justice Society- Bitchin'!
*The Spectre Annual No.1, "Lost in Memory" (DC, 1995) Team up w/Dr. Fate!
*The Spectre, No.38 (DC, Feb. 1996) Check out that cover! Brilliant!
*Moon Knight Special Edition, Vol.1, (Marvel, Nov. 1983)


SURPRISE! Double Bonus Edition of Hey, Mr. Postman!
As if life wasn't good enough today, the UPS guy dropped off ANOTHER action figure! Gets better over here by the minute, Folks- I swear!

*DCUC Wave 11 Superman!

More pics of these guys later- gotta go for now!
* Visual checklist & reviews of the DCUC line at DCClassics.Com!