Sunday, September 19, 2021

ToyFare Picks the Top Ten Greatest Toy Lines (July 1998)

ToyFare is a spin-off of the comic book magazine Wizard and focuses on action figures so this "Top 10" article is, not surprisingly, all about action figures. I'm not too familiar with Shogun Warriors (#10) or Micronauts (#8) though I do own an incomplete Micronauts set. The rest are all quite well-known and, of course, I completely agree with ToyFare's #1 selection as it is also my favorite. Some unexpected selections are the first G.I. Joe line and McFarlane's Spawn. While Spawn figures do look nice, and ToyFare does indicate it selected the line due to the detailed sculpts, ranking it 4th is too high. I expect the popularity of Spawn in 1998 had a large influence on that choice. I'd say Masters of the Universe is the biggest omission and it doesn't even get an honorable mention in the "Toys in the Attic" box that provides some reasoning on why a few toy lines didn't make the cut. In the scans I deleted a couple captions as they were too adult for this blog and not humorous either (unless I'm misunderstand the joke which is possible).


Monday, September 6, 2021

[YouTube] Ben Cooper's Marvel Comics "Action Figures" (1970s)

This is a look at four Marvel Comics "action figures" from Ben Cooper, Inc. (1937-1992) which is a company best known for manufacturing Halloween costumes. I put action figures in quotes because they are molded rubber and aren't poseable; you really can't do much at all with them other than hang them on something. Ben Cooper did call them action figures though as Plaid Stallions has an image of a 1979 retail display box that referred to them as such. The four Marvel characters I have appear to be the full 1979 assortment but Spider-Man first released in 1973 alongside The Incredible Hulk and D.C. Comics' Batman and Superman. An eBay seller has the 1973 display box that calls them "Heroes of Action" and the side of the box mentions that they bounce on a string. 

I'm not sure if there were any other comic book characters in this toy line, however, Ben Copper also created a variety of monster toys in the same format. In the photos (and video) you'll notice the strings are missing from my Spider-Man and The Thing, there are spots and other marks on them, and The Thing's leg is damaged. I had some trouble getting good photos as the colors look slightly off to me under natural light which is what is used for the photos below. I'm not a fan of using my camera's flash but I did I use it for the group photo above to try and get a more accurate representation. 

Spider-Man


Doctor Strange

The Thing

Red Skull

Friday, August 27, 2021

Year 5: August Update

As I mentioned last update, I was waiting for a Sega adapter for the Commodore 64 which I did receive shortly after that post and used in The Games: Summer Edition recording. Unfortunately, the adapter does not work with Master System controllers or the rapid fire unit, only Genesis controllers which I hadn't realized when I ordered it. I suppose it doesn't matter too much but I do like using rapid fire for some games. Unfortunately, the Intellivision Amico has suffered yet another delay though it is still expected this year. Intellivision Entertainment also posted a video on YouTube at the end of July that showed games being packaged. While some physical games were expected and I thought on a limited basis, it appears that quite a few titles are getting the physical treatment.

Amico Games

As I write this, Europe's equivalent to E3, Gamescom, is wrapping up its digital show today. Much of the news is for the types of games I don't cover on the blog aside from these brief mentions with no images or links for M-rated titles. Despite the console shortages, Microsoft unveiled a Halo-themed Xbox Series X and a release date for Halo Infinite of December 8th. Sony put a date of February 18, 2022 on Horizon Forbidden West and officially confirmed the game is coming to PlayStation 4 in addition to PlayStation 5. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which I have discussed a few times in these updates, still doesn't have a set date though Warner Bros. is now saying to expect it in spring 2022. As far as new games, Deep Silver and Volition showed off a Saints Row reboot and 2K announced a Marvel game titled Midnight Suns that is being developed by Firaxis Games and is planned to release next March for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, and PC.

Midnight Suns

I love Firaxis' XCOM games and Midnight Suns has tactical combat but it's more role-playing oriented than strategy from what I understand though no gameplay was shown. The game is based on the Midnight Sons (not suns) comic book which revolves around supernatural/magic types of characters (Doctor Strange, Morbius, Ghost Rider, etc.) and plots. However, the game will include some of Marvel's heavy hitters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Wolverine. Another new game announcement is Park Beyond from publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment and developer Limbic Entertainment (Tropico 6). This one is a theme park simulator not unlike Frontier Developments' Planet Coaster and will be available on PC, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5 in 2022.

Park Beyond

Something else I talk about here from time-to-time is baseball, mostly in relation to video games though I did make a trading card video as well. I read some news earlier this month that will hurt the Topps company quite a bit as MLB will not be signing a new contract with Topps when the current one expires which is at the end of 2022 with the player's association and 2025 with MLB itself (meaning it can use team logos for a few more years but not player images). Topps has been making baseball cards for 70 years and the new licensing partner isn't even an experienced rival like Upper Deck. Instead, the license is going to Fanatics which has also signed a deal with the NFL player's association that will begin after Panini's contract expires in 2026.

Thanks for visiting,
Jonathan

Monday, August 23, 2021

Photoshoot: Mego Hulk vs. Mego Superman

I set up a mini battle between Mego die-cast action figures of Marvel Comics' The Incredible Hulk and D.C. Comics' Superman. Some of the photos came out good but it was tough to get them in good action poses without the scale looking too far off or just getting them to balance well enough. Hulk is 5.25" while Superman is 5.5" and he also has a broken thumb on his right hand.

You may recognize the background from my Colorforms post and video as I'm using The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk Colorforms Play Set along with a couple LEGO street panels for the base. More information on the Mego figures can be found at the Mego Museum website. The colors vary between photos as I chose different settings when editing them.

Superman Arrives


Superman knocks Hulk down who then punches the wall in anger.


Superman should not have landed... Hulk smashes him into the wall! 
(I like the first photo but you can see the table as the background slid backwards.) 



Hulk puts Superman through the wall!


Superman takes the offensive!


An accidental image that kind of makes it look like they are moving...or it's just a terrible photo.


Hulk wins...


...or maybe Superman wins? Most likely the Man of Steel does prevail.


Time for our heroes to shake hands!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Games: Summer Edition

As the 2021 (or 2020 as they are still called) Olympics began I posted an article from Commodore Magazine about Epyx and last week I uploaded a video of Summer Games on the blog's YouTube channel. Today, as the Olympics come to a close, I have uploaded a video of The Games: Summer Edition which is the first game from Epyx to feature the official Olympics license. I rarely put "Let's Play" videos on the blog but I need more posts and wanted to add a review from Commodore Magazine. I was hoping to play Summer Games II as well, however, the disks are giving me some issues and I haven't managed to get more than a few events to load. This review is from the April 1989 issue which is a bit late for a game that released in 1988, plus it's quite long for a sports title as the writer covers each event in detail.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Year 5: July Update

Unfortunately, I've not done a toy video since the end of June and I'm not sure when I'll get another done. The new Masters of the Universe cartoon debuted on Netflix a couple days ago so I played the Intellivision game Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man for the YouTube channel last weekend. Neflix also recently made an announcement that it is adding mobile games to its movie subscription service at no extra cost. Earlier today I posted an article about Epyx from Commodore Magazine and hope to get videos up of the developer's Summer Games II and The Games: Summer Edition during the Olympics but I might fail.

Playing the Commodore 64 (C64) games depends on a couple things, one is if I get an adapter I ordered months ago or if I take a chance on using Sega controllers without said adapter. I've used Sega controllers on the C64 for thousands of hours without incident but then some comments on YouTube warned me of possible damage so I sought out a solution. I ordered an adapter for Sega controllers from 64HDD.com which is run by a guy in Australia and that's why I haven't received the item yet. The problem is the pandemic which has impacted international shipping quite a bit. Australia Post put shipping of certain types of packages on hold so after a couple months of waiting for it to lift the hold I decided to upgrade the shipping and as of July 22nd it is in the U.S. Tracking stops in Los Angeles though and at this time I don't know where it is.

Nintendo finally announced a new Switch version, however, it's not the upgrade that was rumored. It has a seven-inch OLED screen, enhanced audio when outside of the dock, 64GB of internal memory, and a wired LAN port on the dock. There will be two colors available on October 8th at a price of $349.99: black dock with blue and red Joy-Cons and a new white dock with white Joy-Cons (pictured above). In other game news, GameMill is publishing a "Gold Edition" of G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout for $29.99 at GameStop that contains previously released digital items (soundtrack, art book, character and weapon skins) plus a couple outfits from the Snake Eyes movie that hit theaters last week.

That's all I've got this month, thanks for reading!

-Jonathan

All About Epyx (Commodore Magazine - August 1989)

With the summer Olympics just underway in Japan, I scanned this article about Epyx from the August 1989 issue of Commodore Magazine. In my opinion, Epyx made the best Olympics-themed computer games of the 1980s and possibly of all-time. Its early efforts did not carry the official Olympics license though a couple of its games do. These are all part of the "Games" series that includes Summer Games, Summer Games II, Winter Games, World Games, California Games, The Games: Summer Edition, The Games: Winter Edition, and California Games II. I've played all of those except for the sequel to California Games which was the last of the series to release and did not appear on the Commodore 64.

The article is a series of interviews that discusses the employees, company business, and a range of games. Unfortunately, despite the article giving the impression that Epyx is riding high in 1989, it declared bankruptcy later that year. It remained open for a few more years after layoffs and selling the rights to its in-development handheld system that would become the Atari Lynx. Also, some of the scans might look like the paper could be wrinkled but that's actually the design as it is meant to look like sand.