Toy, Toys, Toys From the Attic

YO JOE! Its Sunday, April 10, 2011, I'm kickin' it old school, and this is The Side. Its been a bit of an oddball week. However with all the stuff swirling around my nerdy brain one thing kept popping back up: toys. And old ones at that. Sure enough I got an old toy chest from my neighbors for the little loin spawn, and there was a couple of really beat up TRANSFORMERS in there, that'll likely never roll out again.

That's a sign if I ever seen one.


Stopped off at a Farm Fresh to use the bathroom because when your commute is about an hour long then you do what you gotta do. Walked by the DVD bargain bin and found DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH for about four bucks. That is the great thing about blu ray, I can get DVDs really cheap. This show came out in 1985, which was while I was overseas, and as far as TV goes you didn't have a lot of options. So I'd only caught a few episodes of this show. I got the DVD and have checked out a little of it. Fun stuff.

There's been a lot of blasts from my past this week. A house I was doing some painting in had some old "choose you adventure" type books. I always take a peek at bookshelves if I get a chance. One of the books was the old G.I.JOE ones in which the reader is the new member of the team and they have to decide about the mission they go on against Cobra. My brother had a few of those when we were kids.

There was also the radio phone topic Mike and Bob did this week about which did the listeners like more G.I.JOE or TRANSFORMERS. It was a pretty even split, but I think the Joes had a slight lead.

So it seems like a whole lot of 80s nostalgia going on, and looking back I think it had a lot to do with the toys. The majority of cartoons back in the 80s were shilling for toy lines. What was interesting is that each of these toy lines had their own very detailed canon. The back stories to some of these things was phenomenal, and you could play along. You not only could get the little Bumblebee Transformer, but you could watch his adventures on TV, and read about him in the comic book. Same with a lot of the different toy lines.

There was more successful series and toy lines like THUNDERCATS, SILVERHAWKS, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, and of course the previously mentioned G.I.JOE and TRASNFORMERS. But there's also ones I really liked that didn't catch on quite as well like THE INHUMANOIDS, THE BIONIC SIX, THE CENTURIONS, and THE SKY COMMANDERS. I loved all the fluff stuff surrounding these toy lines even if I never bought any of the toys. Although loving these shows and their comics did make me want the toys. I really dug THE CENTURIONS and THE SKY COMMANDERS, but it was a serious chore to find the toys around here.

I do think the big winner from all these 80s toy lines was G.I.JOE. They had more stuff. It was relatively affordable, at least the figures were. I think it was a bit a tie as far as quality of their cartoon show in comparing it to TRANSFORMERS, but the old Larry Hama comic book from MARVEL really blew the doors off all the other toy related comics back in the day. I still remember the big hunt over issue 21, "Silent Interlude". Snake-Eyes are already a big favorite among fans of G.I.JOE but that really put if over the top. Then came Storm Shadow and every kid out there had to have that figure. I never had any G.I.JOE stuff myself, but I have to say it was pretty cool. My brother was a big collector. I got a kick out of reading all the little file cards that gave details about the characters on the back of the packages.

G.I.JOE and TRANSFORMERS both have received the big Hollywood treatment in recent years. I saw the first TRANSFORMERS movie and didn't like it. I just couldn't shut my brain off to enjoy it. I skipped the G.I.JOE movie, but it didn't really look great to me. Fans still went out to see it them all though. If I had my way I'd make a G.I.Joe movie that was a little less over the top. No dodging missiles in power suits or that other silliness. We have all the elements there for a really cool spy-fi/shoot 'em up flick. I'd reign in some of the more over the top elements and have another go at it. It would probably do better at the box office and get better fan reception. I think the problem is that they tried going too big, and sometimes that's good, but you've always got to be careful of going over the top with it.

Good old childhoods. I'm not saying the stuff I had around as a kid was better than previous or later generation, but it was definitely some cool stuff. It was to the point that even the toy catalogs were entertaining. I kinda feel bad that there's not things like this for my kids. Ah well.


Presenting Stan Bush: King of the cheesy 80s movies power ballad themesongs. BOW TO THE KING!!

Alrighty, that's the ball game for today. I'm going to go transform and roll out to fight for freedom wherever there's trouble. See y'all Wednesday.

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