Sunday, February 23, 2014
Bring On the Bad Guys
Yeah, I'm back with a second installment of scum and villainy. A day off spent cleaning and organizing my trash meant uncovering a small bin of toys that could easily be overlooked tucked away in the closet. It's a travesty, because some of the bin's inhabitants were purchased for the sole purpose of taking a look at 'em here on the blog. Instead, they wound up tossed aside and nearly forgotten! A fate worse than death! But since we all know that no bad-guy stays down for too long, it's time to give them their moment to shine. To rise from the ashes like a Dark Phoenix.
You better watch out, planet full of broccoli people.
There's no need to rehash my love-letter to everything evil; just a simple reminder that the antagonists appeal to me a lot more than any good guys ever could. Or to put it in even simpler terms: Skeletor > He-Man.
Let's get down and dirty.
Doctor Doom, to be precise, is easily one of the most recognizable characters [villainous or otherwise] in Marvel Comics' stable of characters. Victor Von has spent the last several decades tangling with his accursed foes, The Fantastic Four, and ruling the fictional nation of Latveria with his iron-fists. He rarely deviates from these two tasks, only occasionally clashing with other heroic fools and sometimes attempting to steal the limitless powers of god-like beings. And somehow we never seem to get bored with the guy!
It could be how loquacious the fella is or how he isn't afraid to wear a skirt and a Santa Claus-esque belt or the time he killed his long-lost love and wore her skin as his magic-fueled armor. It could be because we like watching him fail; his plans getting foiled by everyone from "Benjy" Grimm to Squirrel Girl.
Confound that wretched rodent..!
Everybody's got a price and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's was nowhere near the amount you'd expect. Not even close to a million, I paid exactly three bucks for this classic, Hasbro-produced beauty. I know, he looks less like a villain and more like he should be hosting some daytime game-show that would air before The Price is Right.
Unfortunately, the guy just can't hold a candle when it comes to a skinny Drew Carey, even though they've both been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
God, that's depressing.
I was a huge fan of the SilverHawks cartoon when it originally aired in the late '80s, but never owned any of the toys as a kid. Too distracted by G.I.Joe and Transformers and other odd toy-lines, the action figures were something I knew only from the handful that one of my friends owned. If he had owned Buzz-Saw, the brightly-colored robot you see above, I probably would have begged my mom to rush me off to Bradlees or Ames to pick one up for myself.
Nevermind the delicious shade of green, it's all the jagged gears/saws that cover seventeen percent of his body that really draws me in. He's simultaneously cartoonish and threatening, which is a two-hit combo that I've never been able to resist. It should be no surprise that he's one of the first "vintage" toys that I actively sought out when I decided to get back into collecting trash from my childhood.
The early '90s are best represented by bright colors and eco-terrorism. Here we have two action figures, from two different toy-lines, both involving heroes that want only to protect Mother Earth and all her beautiful creatures. On the right, hailing from the Toxic Crusaders series, released by Playmates in 1991, is the uber-ridiculous Bonehead. His gas-mask-wearing friend in the orange jumpsuit is Weed Killer, one of Arcane's Un-Men, best known as fighting foes of Swamp Thing.
These two could spell trouble for do-gooders and nature-lovers everywhere, but they seem more concerned with mugging for the camera. Bonehead obviously approves, giving a big thumbs-up to his baddie-buddy's awful impression of Bullwinkle J. Moose.
Joey Gladstone, he is not.
One of these things is not like the others...
I feel like, well, if you've visited this blog before, you should already be familiar with the adventures of Blackstar. An intergalactic hero stranded on a sword-and-sorcery world, he's a sorta' predecessor to Filmation's later, and far more successful, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Although, if I'm being completely honest, I don't remember the Blackstar animated series or the action figures at all. I wasn't born yet when the cartoon originally aired, and was only a couple years old when the toys finally started hitting shelves. It's possible I knew someone who owned some, but I don't recall ever seeing anything Blackstar until years later.
My actual introduction to everything John Blackstar was that mean, green, demonic figurine above, sitting on a bookshelf belonging to one of my housemates' back in '02. It was another couple years before I was able to place where it originated from, and several more before I ever owned one myself. Shortly after, I managed to score his blue-ish doppelganger. You see, these "demon" sidekicks came packaged with the villainous figures from the Blackstar toy-line, and were available in multiple colors.
I'll probably spend the rest of my days hunting down an orange one and a pink one.
The grosser looking guy in the middle is named Slobber; he's nearly a decade older, from a completely different line of toys, and actually would have fit in better with Weed Killer and Bonehead. The Trash Bag Bunch was released by Galoob in 1991, and featured a team of heroic warriors known as the Disposers, who attempted to thwart the eco-unfriendly schemes of the Trashors. Everything truly was about the environment and ozone layers and recycling back in 1991, even kids' toys that sorta' resembled Gremlins.
I've been meaning to write about the Trash Bag Bunch in detail; I went so far as to buy a huge lot of loose figures on eBay several months back. It seems, however, that others have already taken a good, long look at the series, and I'm probably better off sparing you my half-assed attempts and just pointing you in their direction. So, here's the insidious Bogleech doing a far better job than I ever could.
Evil comes in many sizes, and despite his miniscule stature, none are as horrific as Squish the Sogmaster. The closest thing to an arch-enemy that Cap'n Crunch has, this robotic nightmare wants nothing more than to spoil your delicious breakfast cereals. All shall tremble at the mere mention of his name! Cower before the might and menace of Squish the Sogmaster..!
Seriously, I love this guy. There are vague, but super-pleasant, memories from my childhood that involve a contest run by Quaker Oats, where the good Cap'n went missing and lovers of his cereal were tasked with finding him. The promotion involved a couple ads in Marvel comic books, featuring Spider-Man battling the Soggies, and also an 800-number you could call when you finally solved the mystery. A pre-recorded message from Cap'n Crunch himself thanked you for saving him from the evil clutches of Squish and his Soggie minions.
This is a thing that I actually took part in as a kid, and I remember huddling around the phone with my older sister and my dad, listening to the Cap'n personally congratulating us on a job well done. How many of you can claim you saved a beloved, nautical-themed cereal mascot?
I bet none.
You've all wasted your lives!
Where as, clearly, since I have time to take pictures of a Gobot and Magmar, leader of the Evil Rock Lords, standing triumphant over a fallen copy of Transformers: The Movie (1986), I am doing something right.
I need to stop lying to myself.
I need to.
CUT. IT. OUT.