Archive for action figures

Island of Misfit Toys: Batman: The Animated Series (McDonald’s Happy Meal Premium, 1993)

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2014 by Christopher Pearce


A rather cool and simple find this week, we’ll be looking at a fast food premium given away by McDonald’s restaurants during 1993 in conjunction with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series. I picked this up at a thrift store for $2 bucks.

One of my favorite quotes about McDonald’s was something Graham Linehan, the writer and producer of (among many things) the British sit-com The IT Crowd, said a few years ago. “Every time you have McDonald’s as a kid, it’s a victory. Every time you have it as an adult, it’s a defeat.” This is absolutely true and captures something I was thinking about when I found this Happy Meal toy. During most of the 1980’s, I loved Mickey D’s and would beg my parents to take us there for lunch or… dare I hope… DINNER. My order was always the same: The Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal.

By 1993, I had pretty much aged out of Happy Meals… but I was a tremendous fan of Batman: The Animated Series. Simply put, it’s the best version of the Caped Crusader ever captured in any medium and I watched B:TAS faithfully every weekday at 4:30 on FOX5 out of New York City.

I was excited to find one of these fast food premiums… and arguably the best from the B:TAS Happy Meal promotion. McDonalds offered eight toys in all during this giveaway.


Four of them were Hot Wheels style vehicles featuring Robin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, and The Joker. The other four Happy Meal toys were essentially small action figures, based on Catwoman, The Riddler, Batgirl, and the toy we’ll be looking at today, Batman himself.

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Island of Misfit Toys: George Bailey (Exclusive Premiere, 1997)

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by Christopher Pearce


The Christmas creep is fully in effect on the Island of Misfit Toys, as we’ll be looking at Exclusive Premiere’s It’s A Wonderful Life George Bailey action figure. Yes, you read that right. Some company made a Jimmy Stewart action figure in 1997.

Exclusive Premiere was a small toy company from the late 1990’s specializing in toys based on TV and film properties of yesteryear; movies like Casablanca and television shows like Happy Days, The Munsters, and The Honeymooners were all made into toys by EP. Further, these toys were made in a style that befit the nostalgic air of those properties. To wit, most of Exclusive Premiere’s output were 8 inch dolls with cloth outfits. These offerings are very similar to the Mego action figures that were very popular in the Seventies, although it’s clear that EP was a lot more exacting in their designs.

I bought this George Bailey toy at a small comic and toy convention in New York State for $3 dollars. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it mixed in amongst the assorted garbage toys the vendor was selling. It’s so singularly strange. Yet… I must admit, I am the perfect buyer for this thing. I have a small collection of Christmas themed action figures that I decorate with every December and I love oddities born out of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

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Thrift Store Finds: Rummage Sale Bonanza!

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

I did a video this week!

Finds include: Avengers vehicles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, GameBoy games, Muppet Babies jigsaw puzzles, vintage Star Wars 12 inch dolls, and much more! I paid $8 or $9 bucks for everything in this video!

You can check out last year’s rummage sale finds here.

The Island of Misfit Toys – Azeem from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , , , on May 18, 2013 by Christopher Pearce


This week on The Island of Misfit Toys, we find Azeem from Kenner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves toy line. Released in the summer of 1991, Prince of Thieves was a pretty laughable summer blockbuster starring Kevin Costner doing a weird faux-English accent as Robin Hood. I’ve never been a big fan of the film, but I will admit Prince of Thieves has some nice moments. Most of them are provided by Alan Rickman (doing a twisted take on the Sheriff of Nottingham) and Morgan Freeman’s wise, stoic Moor.


The Prince of Thieves toy line harkens back to a simpler time when toy companies could get away with more to save money. The entire line of Robin Hood toys is a Frankenstein creation whereby Kenner Toys took existing parts and pieces of previously successful toy lines and retrofitted them awkwardly into a new brand. It seems the majority of pieces for these toys and vehicles were pieced together from Kenner’s Super Powers and Star Wars lines.

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island of misfit toys: american gladiators zap (mattel)

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , on January 19, 2013 by Christopher Pearce


American Gladiators was a syndicated game show/competition series that aired in syndication for the better part of the 1990’s. The game pit contestants against both each other and a team of muscle-bound “gladiators” with colorful names and determined personalities. The real draw of the series were the elaborate “events” designed as challenges for the competitors, most of which took the shape of a crazy obstacle course.

The format of American Gladiators was similar to a lot of game shows from the 1980’s and 1990’s designed for children including Double Dare and Finders Keepers but AG kept enough edge to be paired regularly with professional wrestling…. which probably explains why Mattel took a run at a series of action figures featuring the titular gladiators.

I’m taking a look at Zap, one of the female gladiators.

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thrift store finds: target clearance finds

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Twice a year, our local Target liquidates all the toys and games which aren’t big sellers. While in the past, most of the toys I’ve noticed on clearance have been well-deserving of being on the chop, this time around I couldn’t help but notice some darn fun action figures on offer. Combining this with both Elliot and Henry having become old enough to enjoy playing with these types of toys (well, mostly Henry if I’m being honest) was all the motivation I needed to buy some of this stuff.

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summer journal comics: the adventures of eye man

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

…yes, of course, well-heeled nerds everywhere know that Henry’s playing with OMAC, the One Man Army Corps. I have this gigantic Tupperware bin of action figures the boys play with regularly.

I would say about 80% of these toys were bought at ridiculous discounts. Most of the Marvel Legends figures were scooped up as that line ended its’ run in stores… a lot of them for $3 bucks apiece. The same thing’s happening right now with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics– they toys are on crazy markdowns around here, a lot like the Marvel Universe Black Widow I wrote about in Thrift Store Finds a few weeks ago. This is why we own a toy of OMAC, a character no child in 2012 has ever seen or heard of before.

Now, the funny/awesome thing is this: The DCUC toys all come with a Build-A-Figure accessory. The concept has always seemed insane to me, but it works thusly: A toy company releases six action figures in a “wave.” Packaged with each figure is a piece of a larger figure. Purchase say, a Batman toy… and you’ll get the left arm. Buy Superman, get the right leg. Buy all six figures and you can build a gigantic figure.

Well, we’ve managed almost to build an entire Build-A-Figure out of remaindered and marked-down toys. Check it out-

…anyway. If you’re reading this an you have the Left Arm or Left Leg of this toy (his name is Validus) and you want to help us out, leave a comment! Maybe we can work out a trade or something…

thrift store finds: marvel universe black widow action figure

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Ok, so this isn’t technically a thrift store find, but it was a decent value. Our local grocery store is currently undergoing a hideous remodel. Seriously, it’s the worst- I was in there last week, wandering around for 40 minutes. They’ve moved everything, eliminated some aisles, combined others and the whole place is an test of my endurance. C’mon! I’m easily confused and just wanted some Goldfish crackers!

Anyway, one consequence of this remodel is the gutting of the store’s toy section. Most grocery stores have small toy sections filled with CRAZY overpriced board games and water pistols. I guess it only took one desperate uncle in need of an emergency birthday gift to justify all that retail space… but not anymore. Our supermarket has streamlined and eliminated most of the toy section, and they’ve put all the remaining stock in deep discount. I’m not a big collector of toys, but if I see something marked down enough, I’ll pick it up.

This is how I happened Black Widow.

Part of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line of 3 3/4 inch action figures, this toy retailed at our grocery store for… well, check it out:

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Thrift Store Finds: Col. Miles Quaritch from Mattel’s Avatar

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the books I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)

Action figures are a rare find at our thrift store. Considering how many of them are out there in the world, that always seems strange to me. I know I owned a metric ton of plastic soldiers, turtles, star warriors, monsters and the like before I outgrew playing with them. I always assumed most of those ended up at a thrift store somewhere. When our St Vincent DePaul occasionally gets action figures, they shrink wrap them all together in gigantic bags with a $20 dollar price tag.

I’m still interested in action figures, but not at that price or random means of collection. Every once and awhile, someone will donate a toy still in the package and that’s where we are with this week’s Thrift Store Find. I will admit, I don’t normally review action figures. I enjoy reading action figure reviews so I’m going to try my hand at it… but I do not think it likely I will be very good at it. For good action figure reviews, let me direct you to Captain Toy, Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week. The guy actually does THREE reviews a week and they’re always spot-on. I’ll also direct you to Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation, which is often a mix of toy review and commentary, but one of my favorite toy related websites.

I suppose that’s my long way around saying that instead of reviewing a book, today’s Thrift Store Find is Col. Miles Quaritch from Mattel’s line of Avatar action figures.

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odds & ends

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

Firstly, a favor: my friend Anna’s in the running for a $1,000 dollar prize in the Art Takes Miami People’s Choice Award.
Anna’s an amazing photographer and well-deserving of the honor and the money, so if you can take a moment to click over to this site and rate her portfolio “5 out of 5” stars… well, you’ll be helping her out, you’ll be helping ME out, and you’ll be telling the truth because she is truly talented. Thanks in advance!


I was excited to receive two issues of Toby Jones’ Memory Foam mini-comic in the mail this week! I’ve been enjoying Toby’s work for a few years now online and I’m glad to have them on my bookshelf.


Memory Foam #1 and #2 are collections of Toby’s autobiographical comics and there’s a whole lot to like about them. In particular, I’ve always loved the way Toby draws noses- you might think I’m pointing out some small thing, but it truly is little details like that which make or break a character design. His are appealing to look at and fun to read.


My favorite comics of Toby’s involve times where Toby looks at some small interest of his and expands on that interest to make a lot of broader connections to his life and world. Something like, an observation about an old video game that he used to love will take the reader into a story about the nature of friendship, and I like the way the trivial and the monumental kind of blend with one another in his comics. This one about buying a Playstation Portable, for example, starts off mundane but then goes into some pretty interesting places. I really hope that Toby starts expanding on some of those themes as I think the concept has strong narrative possibilities.


Both issues of Memory Foam are $3 bucks apiece, and you get get both of ’em for $5.



We’re currently reading the poetry of Lewis Carroll in my Advanced English class; I’ve used “Jabberwocky” as a mentor text for teaching repetition and onomatopoeia for years, but only in the past few weeks have I branched out and started looking at the author’s other poetry. My students really do seem to like the weirdness of Carroll’s world and quite a few of them have gone out under their own steam to check out his Alice books.


Working so closely with “Jabberwocky” I remembered a picture I saw in a magazine somewhere back when I was in high school of a Jabberwocky action figure. The late ’90’s/early ’00’s were a boom period for boutique toymakers to manufacture weird action figures that would never be sold in a Toys R Us. I never thought about buying a toy Jabberwocky at age 16… but now that I’m an English teacher in good standing, I’d really love to own one.


Proving that the Internet is an amazing resource for both the obscure and the nerdy, I found this sad story courtesy of a toy company’s website that has not been updated since mid 2000. It looks like I’ll never own a little toy Jabberwock.