Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Holiday Wishes!

In time for the holidays, an update to this too neglected blog. Pulled from the archives, here are some pics of your humble writer, from Christmas, 1978 (making me eleven years, 3 months old and in the sixth grade when these pics were taken.)

Top to bottom:

1) Holding a Battlestar Galactica 12" Cylon Warrior (made by Mattel) and a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #5 (tough to tell with the glare, unfortunately). On the floor in front of me is the Micronauts Galactic Command Center and an orange Pharoid in his sarcophagus case.

2) Balancing Pharoid on top of the Galactic Command Center.

3) Holding a few other comics I received. They are: Fantastic Four 53 and 66, and Captain America 101 and 102.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Toy Score of the Week

This past Friday, I took a lunch time walk with my friend, and fellow blogger, Rob, to the Toys R Us in Times Square. Within the last couple of months they've been having sales on the items they had in a series of glass display cases towards the back of the action figure area, up the ramp from the large mechanized T-Rex. These are mainly more high end items, the stuff you'd likely find at a comics specialty shop. They had the Corgi series of die-cast Marvel heroes, large scale Disney maquettes, Kotokubiya Star Wars kits and Master Replica Star Wars light sabers and such. A couple of months back I was there and was able to pick up the Corgi die-cast Colossus mini statue for just $29.99, which was a big discount from the original price of $89.99. Unfortunately, it was the last one, and they didn't have the box anymore, but that was just as well, as the box for that piece is huge, even if the figure is relatively small.

Anyway, this week, Rob and I had the good fortune to find that they were selling the Star Wars display cases that had been made for the Master Replica mini-lightsabers. These were originally selling for $29.99 (though you can find them online now for around $15.00 each) marked down to just $3.00! They had just three left, so Rob took one and I took the other two. They're perfect for displaying 3 3/4" Star Wars figures. I cleared away a shelf of books and replaced them with the two display cases and my Medicom 12" Stormtrooper. Pretty cool. I love a great deal!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reunited...a tale of Gaiking Bazoler and his nose missile

Thirty-four years ago, back in the halycon days of 1974, my family lived in Tokyo, Japan. My dad had been granted a Full-Bright fellowship to spend ten months researching and writing about the variations in the forms of the Kata (movements) in various well-known Kabuki plays. He spent many hours viewing these plays over and over again, live in the Kabuki-za and in the process began translating these shows and then adding highly detailed stage directions, something that had never been done at that time in an English translation. From that time period, he emerged with two manuscripts, which would eventually be published in 1979 as The Art Of Kabuki-Five Famous Plays and A Kabuki Encyclopedia (These links are to revised versions of the books). In 1976, a year after our family had returned to the United States, my dad directed a version of the Kabuki play Terakoya at Brooklyn College, from his translation. An earlier post here showcased my brief role in the play, forever immortalized on video.

While we were in Japan, I of course, bought lots of toys. Lots and lots of toys. Or should I say, my parents bought them for me. I had many of the early die-cast Popy figures (and some vinyl, too) from the popular live action and animated TV series of the time. Kamen RIder, Mazinger, Kikaider, Inazuman Flash, Mecha Baron, Denjin Zaboga, Getter Robo, Robocon and a lot more. One of the characters I had was the Triceratops tank from the animated show Space Dragon Gaiking. It should be noted that some of these figures were released a few years later in the United States by Mattel, under the name Shogun Warriors. The toys were released with their original Japanese lettering and stickers for the most part, though Bazoler does have some English on one side of him. I'm not 100% sure if it was like that on the original Japanese release - all the photos I've found of Bazoler so far in my books don't photograph him from that side.

Since I was kid, I actually got to play with all these toys, which is something I'm most grateful for. Fortunately, I was smart enough to hold on to a fair amount of them (no boxes, though), but unfortunately, most of them have only survived as worn down and broken remnants of the proud, shiny toys they once were. Kamen Rider Amazon is missing half of his left leg (not to mention signature scarf), Mecha Baron has broken headwings, Zaboga no longer has his fist on a chain right hand, and so on. Even in the shape they're in, I'm thankful I still have them, as a good number have been forever lost to the ages. Where did my Jumbo Machinder Getter 2 ever go? I know we brought it back from Japan, but somewhere along the line it either got sold at a garage sale or thrown in the trash (hard to imagine the latter). In the box, today, a Mint Getter 2 Jumbo Machinder would command upwards of $1500 on Ebay.

Besides the broken toys and the lost ones, I still have bits and pieces of figures. A missile here, a hand there, a pair of legs there. One of the pieces I had was a dinged up, but still shiny silver curved missile of some sort. I didn't know what it was for until a few years ago I came across a photo of Gaiking Bazoler, the tank triceratops, in a book of Japanese toys and recognized the piece as his nose! So I had his nose, but no figure. I took the piece and put it safely in a plastic bubble (the kind you get from Japanese vending machines, with some kind of PVC toy inside) hoping one day I might be able to have the figure it went with.

Since the advent of Ebay, I've been able to replace some of those lost or broken toys of my youth. I've kept the originals, but replaced my Zaboga, Kamen Rider Amazon and a few others, with boxed and fairly mint versions of these characters. Every now and then I'd come across a Bazoler, but a complete one, and with the box they're in the $200 and upwards range. Luckily, last week I came across an auction for a loose Bazoler, but missing his nose missile! Unfortunately, he was also missing his two white plastic horns, but I figured if I could get him cheap, it was worth it. So, I put in my $25.00 bid and I won! Today, Bazoler arrived and he has been reunited with his missing nose missile. Or the nose missile has been reunited with Bazoler. Not that they were from the same box, of course! But, thirty-four years later, one Popy die-cast toy has become that much more complete, and in the process, I suppose, this more than thirty-four year old man, has as well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Plastic Iron Men

I figured now would be a good time to showcase my Iron Man action figure collection, as the movie has just arrived in theaters. I would have liked to also have had some scans of my vintage Iron Man comic book collection, but, unfortunately, that box of comics went missing a few years back. How you might ask? That, I have no answer to. I've got around thirty-five long boxes of comics now, not to mention about a dozen boxes of magazines, so I suppose with all that, one box might somehow go astray. I guess it just got up, sprouted legs and walked away one day, tired of being 'just another box' of comics. I guess, in a way, I did neglect my Iron Man books for some time and only realized, a couple of years after they disappeared that they had in fact done just that! The story (what there is of one) goes back to when I moved into my then girlfriend's (now wife) apartment in Lodi, NJ in early 1996. It was a one bedroom apartment, so all my long boxes of comics stayed back at my parents house in Queens, NY. Over time, I'd bring a box or two back to the apartment, going through them, rebagging and cataloging them, bringing most of them back to my folks house when I was finished. I was too busy filling up new boxes with recent purchases to be able to store all my old stuff. I do distinctly remember, however looking through my box of Iron Man books. I still have my old list, dated Aug 26, 1996, which places it just about seven months after I had moved to Lodi. Each book in the collection is listed and graded. My earliest issues were #'s 5, 7, 10 and 15. Then it jumped to the mid 20's and continued up to #178, for a total of about 90 individual books (I also had doubles for about 10 issues). This would not have filled one long box, just a short one, with some room. I also remember selling or trading to a couple of dealers those few early issues at a con in the late 90's. So, still, I should have been left with the remainder of my Iron Man collection. In 1999, we bought a house in Hackensack. I remember the moving day well. Whatever comic boxes I had were moved in my own car, as I wasn't about to trust the movers with my comics. The apartment in Lodi was small and I was pretty thorough about checking every last nook and cranny before we left to make sure nothing was left behind. I can't see how I would have missed even a short comic box. Fast forward to around 2003. For some reason, in the intervening four years I hadn't thought much about my Iron Man comics. By this time, most of the comic boxes that were back at my parent's house had been transferred to my new home. Still, about six or seven boxes remained back there. I was now regoing through my books and it suddenly hit me....'um..where are my Iron Man comics?'. I could not find them anywhere and was pretty perplexed. So, that's pretty much it. I hadn't thought about them for a few years and then I went to check them out they were gone. Nothing else (that I can recall) from my collection is missing, so I don't think they were in a long box with other books, as those would be gone, too. So, I can only think they were in their own short box. I don't have any memory of selling off the rest of the Iron Man books, so it's truly a mystery as to where they went. Every now and then I do get a bit upset about it, but what can I do. Luckily they weren't the most valuable books I had (I think I'd be a bit more pissed if my Spider-Man collection vanished) with most books only in the $2-$10 range. Still, it'd be nice to still have them, of course. Ah, well. So, instead of any Iron Man comic scans, I bring you photos of my Iron Man toy and statue collection. Works, for me. Hope you like them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After many months, a new post. This time around we've got a few early Daredevil covers. The covers for issues # 5 (inks by Vince Colleta), 7, 10 and 11 are by the late, great Wally Wood; issues #12 (inks by Vince Colleta) and 15 are by John Romita Sr. Issue #7, where Daredevil battles Submariner is one of the classic, iconic Marvel covers of the 60's. This issue also features Daredevil in his red costume for the first time. Enjoy.