Monday, May 30, 2011

You Will Believe A Toy Can Fly...

Those true believers our there who have followed my work might recall that I have an excessively degenerative infatuation with those pricey 1/6th-scale action figures that have been impacting the market as of late. I’m on a romp with these damned things, and there’s no end in sight. Now don’t get me wrong here. This is nothing new. I’ve always found 12-inch figures to be lots of fun.

Anything bigger than a standard 3-3/4-inch toy has always had a special appeal ever since the 8-inch WWF LJN figures from the '80s. There simply was just something special about screaming “Oooohhh Yeeeaahhh” while having what then seemed to be a gigantic wad of super-cool 8-inch rubber (yeah, I know that sounds kind of icky, but stay with me) “Macho Man” Randy Savage fly through the air with reckless abandon and crash down on an even super-cooler 8-inch Rowdy Roddy Piper that just carried more weight (literally) than the smaller Hasbro WWF toys that would later grab the spotlight. It turns out women weren’t wrong all this time. Bigger really is better. So it should come as no surprise that 12-inch Star Wars, along with anything else released on a large scale, would feel just a wee bit (no pun intended) better than all those smaller toys that, quite frankly, have always been easier to fit in my room given their more modest space requirements. But I digress.

So yeah, I've always collected 12-inch figures, but never to the extent of spending $100-200 per toy. That was just madness. Macho Madness, if I need to put a term to it (oooohhhh yeeeaaah!!). Madness, that is… until recently. You see, now they’ve gone and done it, people. As if I didn't have enough cool toy releases coming out that are just impossible to resist, Hot Toys has just announced an unbelievably awesome figure based on Christopher Reeve from Superman: The Movie. Have a look, but put on a bib first. You will be a-droolin’:

Hot Toys Superman

This, fellow fanboys, is just insane! In all my years of collecting action figures (and trust me, homeboys and homegirls, we’re talking plenty of years here), through ALL the Sideshow releases and ALL the McFarlane Toys Sports Picks, and ALL the Jakks Pacific WWE real scans, I have *never* seen a likeness this accurate. Looking at this figure, and having a friend who is literally in love with Christopher Reeves as Superman, I’m pretty sure he’s going to buy 4 figures: One to keep mint-in-box. One to display. One to play with, screaming all the classics like “Too late, Luthor! TOO LATE!”, and one to take to bed with him every night. Hell, I’m close to doing the same thing myself. In fact, looking at this release, should Hot Toys up and make a Michael Keaton-as-Batman figure, not only will I do the same thing, but I think I might be so absolutely satisfied with the course of events (more so than I ever was with 8-inch rubbers as a kid – ha!), I dare say that I might even be able to finally retire from superhero figure collecting! No, really.

Okay, not really. I mean, hell, no matter how cool Michael Keaton’s fat Batman lips would be, there’s no getting out of this hobby now. It’s too late for that, Luthor …too late.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

R.I.P. Macho Man…

My brother and I may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to my collecting life, but there’s one thing we had in common when we were growing up: we loved watching WWF Wrestling. Since we grew up in the ‘80s, we were able to bear witness to the greatest collection of superstars that have ever graced the ring. I don’t care of anyone out there thinks that the “Attitude Era” of the ‘90s reigned supreme. Nothing beat the likes of Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper…and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Randy Savage died on Friday after suffering a heart attack while behind the wheel of his car. I was truly shaken when I heard the news from my brother. While most of the wrestlers from the ‘80s had catchphrases and mannerisms that will never be forgotten, Randy Savage was, perhaps, the most unique of them all. His grating voice, his outlandish costumes, and his manager (the absolute hottie, Elizabeth—may she also rest in peace) put him a step or two above everyone else. Savage was also extremely talented in the ring, as he was one of the first superstars to have a finishing move that involved jumping off the top rope. While Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan dominated the attention of everyone at Wrestlemania III, it was Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat that stole the show entirely.

Savage’s entrance theme (Pomp and Circumstance) has been my cell phone ring for a few months now. His soundboard also graces my phone. So, yes, I have remained a huge fan of his all these years. May the Macho Man rest in peace. His kind will never grace the ring again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Somebody Save ME…from Smallville

So regardless of whether or not you’re all about Superman, if you’re a TRUE fanboy, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re aware that Smallville is ending its ten-year run on Friday. Based on the mere notion that it was, in fact, based on some way, shape, or form on good ‘ol Supes, it must come as no surprise to learn that I used to watch this show religiously. But let’s be honest, homeboys and homegirls, this show was as close to being Superman as I want to be to Meredith Vieira’s crotch. I mean really. You can have all the ingredients in the world you want… you still have to bake the freaking cake. And ten years later, the dough has still yet to rise.

I had quite a case of denial about the whole thing, by the way. So much so that it took me literally eight entire seasons to finally throw in the towel and call it quits. Prompted by the anger and frustration that could only result from a show that called itself Smallville, all the while taking place in freakin’ METROPOLIS for a large chunk of the series, I had finally had enough. And really, if they were going to set Clark Kent up in Metropolis, and finally have him graduate out of the whole “fighting freaks-of-the-week on the Kent Farm” phase, it seemed only fair (and perfectly reasonable) that the dude would actually become Superman. I mean really. Here he was working for the Daily Planet. No cape. Here he was bumping uglies with Lois Lane. No flying. Here he was battling Doomsday for Peter Parker’s sake. No Man of Steel. The headlines were there, of course. But they didn’t read “Superman Saves the Day!” They didn’t read “Man of Steel Cops a Feel!” Oh no, we couldn’t have that now, could we. Instead, they read “Bum Saved by Mysterious Red-Blue Blur!” “The Blur to the Rescue Again.” “WHO IS The Red Blue Blur!?” Really, what nonsense.

All the Blur basically amounted to was Clark Kent rocking a black jacket and black shirt with the white-colored ‘S’ symbol, only to finally be upgraded this past season to a red leather jacket with the ‘S’ symbol embedded in the leather! At least when he was still on Ma and Pa Kent’s farm sporting a blue jacket-red shirt-blue jeans ensemble, he had an excuse. He was busy shucking corn all day. He couldn’t pull that off in a cape. But now that he’s been out on his own for, I don’t know… like, five seasons already, it seems perfectly sensible to me that this dude would get started on branding his image without any more senseless delay! And that's to say nothing of all the other countless plot holes and ridiculous story twists that we've been forced to deal with since 2001.

I could go on, but what’s the point? Bottom line, I am a fanboy who finds a Superman show BORING. And it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with for another two days or so. But even with all of that said, I will tune in for the finale. Why? Well, I can wax poetic about being curious if they finally show him flying or if they finally have him marrying Lois or if we finally get to see him full on in red/blue tights. But really, it’s because, dammit, this is my way of life. Somebody save me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Howard Stern Wants to Drive Me Into the Lake

So a couple of weeks ago, I attended a toy and collectible show out in New Jersey. Big surprise, right? It was a pretty standard affair, which is to say I enjoyed finding many reasons to spend money, many nachos to consume, and many trips to the bathroom to soothe my aching bowels as a result of said nachos. But as a Hasbro exec once said of a sentient race of robots known the world over as Transformers, there was more to this specific show than had met the eye. Turns out that Howard Stern had sent one of his errand boys to survey the convention hall and interview some of their attendees. Problem was, those interviewed were not mere random selections. They were targeted. Targeted for a *very* specific sign of embarrassing nerdy behavior. I’m talking about something way more off-putting than your usual garden variety fanboy. I’m talking about a unique breed of nerd, one that doesn’t particularly enjoy (or wish to partake in) society’s current concept of reality. An uber-nerd the likes of which few have seen, and even fewer have understood. I’m talking about cosplayers, yo.

For the uninitiated, cosplayers are fanboys who take the lifestyle to the next level by dressing as their favorite heroes and villains, roleplaying according to said hero or villain’s personality traits, and refusing to break character, regardless of how ridiculous the situation ends up being. There people are like nothing even I have seen before. My tighty-whities don’t even come close to matching this level of commitment. Granted, my “costume” isn’t an act, so much as it’s a statement on my way of life. But even I wouldn’t stoop to the depths that some of these cosplayers go to.

Now, just to be clear—the cosplayers I’m referring to are those of the male variety. The girls who do this, on the other hand, well… they’re just plain hot. The semi-attractive ones, at least—not the 450-pound ones who sport wedgies that rival couch cushions in the lost change department and give new meaning to the term “muffin-top.” The thinner ones however—the ones that clock in at under 120 lbs—they’re the reason I go to these shows. Well, not really. Spending money, that’s the real reason. But these girls, they’re the reason I stay even after I’ve emptied my wallet out on the latest Vader swag. But do you think that Stern’s douche assistant wanted to focus on the hot females? Hell, no. There’s no fun for Stern in that. There’s no opportunity to manipulate facts, exploit innocent fanboys, and use the male cosplayers to make a complete mockery of our alternative lifestyle. Have a listen yourself to see what I mean:

(Right click the link below and save it as a file on your computer (like on your desktop) then use your mp3 software to play it back.)

Howard Stern Clip

Now I don’t know about any of you, but the last time I checked, some of us fanboys did indeed have real jobs. How the hell else are we supposed to earn the paychecks we end up blowing at these shows (which believe you me, is completely beside the point!)? Stern completely manipulated the course of events on this, and he totally got it wrong by generalizing what a fanboy really is (that’s MY job!). Anyway, whatever… this was still funny as hell. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself a little… well, you might as well. Everyone else is laughing at you anyway. Ride into the lake indeed.