Archive for toys

thrift store finds: masters of the universe- time trouble

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

The second Masters of the Universe book in this set is Time Trouble. Written by Roger McKenzie with art from Eduardo Barreto, this was published by Golden Books in 1983, a year after last week’s TSF, Caverns of Fear.

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thrift store finds: masters of the universe- caverns of fear

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 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.)

For the next two weeks, we’re looking at a collection of children’s books featuring He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, published by Golden Books in the early 1980’s.

MotU was an early obsession of mine, hitting toy shelves and television screens just around the time I was old enough to appreciate such things. He-Man looms large in my mind as a show full of magic and adventure, but as with most things beloved in childhood, his televised adventures are best left to memory. Revisiting them as I did in this comic, a few years ago leads to diminishing returns.

Far more fun and interesting to me were the toys, which I collected and played with for years. These books recapture some of those memories for me.

I’ll look at one this week, and one next week. If you have no interest in Masters of the Universe, you may want to skip TSF for the next half-month.

The first book we’ll be looking at is Caverns of Fear, published in 1983, was written by Mary Carey with illustrations from Al McWilliams.

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thrift store finds: a teenage mutant ninja turtles puzzle

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

The key to shopping at thrift stores is knowing you need to buy something the moment you clamp your eyes upon it. Thrift stores are not the type of establishments that forgive the wishy-washy. If you see a hat that you like… you damn well better buy it, rather than putting it back on the rack and giving it a night to think it over. For all you know, that hat will be gone by tomorrow and when it comes to secondhand shopping, there is no reordering. One it’s gone… it’s gone.

This is why I did not hesitate to buy today’s thrift store find, a 100 piece Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles puzzle. According to the copyright information, this was made in 1987 by Random House.

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odds and ends: my christmas decorations

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Seeing as it’s the last Friday before Christmas, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you some of my holiday decorations.

Please note the possessive pronoun “my” in the last sentence. While the family has many nutcrackers and ornaments that are shared throughout the house, the decorations I’m going to show you are emphatically mine. Indeed, I am sure Ellen is more than happy to let me take full responsibility for the following. Most of them are Christmas themed action figures I’ve collected over the years. There seemed to be a moment in time in the early ’00’s when EVERY Christmas special ever created received a high-quality line of toys. This was probably not a great idea, as evidenced by my admission that almost all of these were picked up at some kind of After-Christmas closeout sale for 75% off.

At any rate, you’ll find my collection behind the cut. If you’re a fan of 30 year old men blathering on about action figures, you’re in for a treat. Please enjoy and have a happy holiday!

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wdw in review: my disney loot

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Ellen, the kids and I returned home from a week of fun and sun in Walt Disney World yesterday. Even with grandparents and an aunt in tow, WDW with a one year old and and an (almost) four year old is pretty challenging… but we had a fun time! I thought I’d take today and tomorrow to talk a little about my vacation, fully recognizing that this has little to nothing to do with teaching or comics. Thanks for indulging me.

First let me show you the loot I brought back from the Mouse House. I picked up a couple of fun “exclusive” toys for my knickknack shelf; exclusive is, of course, a relative term since hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Disney World every year. Still, I wanted pick up some things that I couldn’t easily scoop up in the toy section of a Target on any given day of the week. By and large, I think I succeeded.

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island of misfit toys: my two favorite DCAU figures

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I was digging around in the garage last week and I came across one of my boxes of old toys. I was quite a toy collector in my teens and I’ve held onto a lot of of my stuff. Unfortunately I was a HORRIBLE toy collector, from a monetary standpoint- I either collected toy lines that EVERY other person collected in the ’90’s (Star Wars) or I would collect toy lines and rip the toys out of their packages the moment I got them, effectively ruining their value on the secondary market.

Anyhow, I decided that it was time to pass some of the stuff to the next generation and gave the lot to Elliot and Henry.

This is my collection of DC Animated Universe action figures. The line was started by Kenner in 1992-93 to coincide with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series and toy companies one after another have been making figures and vehicles of the various DC superhero characters in their streamlined, cartoony style ever since.

I collected these toys mainly during my high school years and they were a fun, inexpensive hobby for me, as I was only interested in the screen-accurate sculpts. By that I mean… I would by the Superman action figure that looked like the character from the animated series. I’d skip the 30 variant Superman toys that were created (as all toys should be!) with kids in mind.

Kenner were somewhat stingy in their choices for which characters received action figures and which did not. For every one Robin action figure, they’d make 20 Arctic Blast Batman toys or whatever crazy costume and gimmick they thought would sell.

The line continues to this day, with nearly every DCAU character getting the toy treatment, with a shift in focus from being a toy line directed toward children to a line being targeted at toy collectors. I can see the appeal – I did love collecting these toys back in high school.

That being said… although I’m all for handing these toys off to my boys for some good ol’ fun, there were two DCAU action figures I just couldn’t bear to part with. Sue me!

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the island of misfit toys: my five favorite joes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 12, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I know I’m at cross purposes with posting this here. I rationalize Thrift Store Finds posts thusly: “They’re books… they’re usually comics… and as an English teacher who draws comics, that makes sense!” Most of the people who click over here to read a comic about teaching probably are NOT interested in old Family Circus books from the 1960’s, but it’s my blog so I do what I please within reason.

I can’t get around this being a post that 90% of readers who are looking for content about the educational experience will not be interested in reading.

So, without further preamble, here are my TOP FIVE favorite action figures from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline!

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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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thrift store finds: he-man and the masters of the universe magazine

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , on November 13, 2010 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.)

In this day and age, I imagine very few children’s toy properties rate their own magazines.

A cursory look over the magazine racks at our local supermarket bears me out on this- although there are a couple of kid-friendly properties like Star Wars and Star Trek, those are not specific enough to make me think those magazines are intended solely for children. When I was a kid, I subscribed to a few periodicals tailored specifically to my toyetic interests; offhand, I remember there being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine that I got in the mail, as well as a Tiny Toons Magazine.

Often repositories for bad jokes, fan art, and the occasional nugget of news and information about your favorite toys, they were fun and I remember loving to get ’em in the mail… which is why I was pretty pleased to find this He-Man and the Masters of the Universe magazine in a stack of books our neighbor gave to Elliot a few days ago. You may remember Elliot enjoying our neighbor’s last gift, a paint-by-water She-Ra: Princess of Power book that I scanned a couple of pages of around this time last year.

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