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Classic TMNT Toys: Baxter Stockman and Make My Day Leo

It’s kinda hard to believe that toys I remember getting new off the pegs in stores like Hills, Best, KMart, Toys R Us, Children’s Palace are now considered vintage. Harder still to believe that I still have some of the cards around, as well as the figures (yet even harder to believe that I have a couple cards for figures that I do not seem to have around anymore)!

This is the first in a series of posts sharing these cards/figures, much as I’ve done with the newer 2012-present line.


Baxter Stockman

clip_and_collect_profile_baxter_stockman_back

While I’ve eventually given in and "accepted" it for nostalgia, I am not a fan of Baxter Stockman as a white guy (he was black in the original comics!) nor as a mutant fly. I think to me he just comes off as rather 2-dimensional or "just another mutant" as a fly, rather than as a brilliant (if deranged) scientist after his own goals and clashing with the turtles when they try to stop him.

TMNT_cards_baxter_stockman_front

Of course, I didn’t "know any better" at the time when I first got this figure. It was just another character, one that a friend had and I wanted my own, so eventually got it. Here’s the front of the card…

TMNT_cards_baxter_stockman_back

…and here’s the back. At this point, the figures still had the "origin of the turtles" at the top, along with the "ad" for the canister of "ooze" stuff that came with a miniature un-mutated turtle. I’m not sure if it’s déjà vu or what, but I simultaneously think I’d gotten one of these, yet wonder if it was just that I had wanted it but never actually got one.

There were still very few figures at the point this one was out, with Baxter, Ace Duck, and Genghis Frog (and Krang?) as new allies and enemies additions.

You can also see the "hole" where I’d actually cut out the "pizza point" from this figure. I seem to recall having done that with a bunch of my earliest figures…as well as having cut out the "clip and collect" profile cards…though when I took a stack of them with me to school one day, I lost them. That may be why I apparently kept the entire card backs on later figures.


Make My Day Leo

clip_and_collect_profile_make_my_day_leo_back

I vaguely remember this figure, though it’s one that I do not currently seem to have in my on-hand collection of my original figures.

While I did get several "variant sets" of all four turtles, when I only got one from a given "set," I tended to go with Leonardo, who was originally my favorite turtle of the four.

I find it amusing enough as an adult to see various "references" that were over my head as a kid, such as the whole "Make. My. Day." thing, or the Humphrey Bogart references, etc.

TMNT_cards_make_my_day_leo_front

I kinda like the bit there on the left…the "Go ahead!" part playing into the figure’s name. Go ahead! Make my day! Timeline-wise, the character "manhandling" Dirtbag there at the top places it around the time of that character, Groundchuck, and Chrome Dome.

TMNT_cards_make_my_day_leo_back

…And the back of the card strikes me as being from the height of the toy line, with this large array of ancillary characters–particularly on the villains side of things. I see a number of figures that I’d love to get ahold of to this day–though I’m absolutely not willing to "shell" out big dollars for them…I’m not that sort of collector.


Next up, I’ll get into the "Mutant Military" TMNT figures…and those I have the actual figures for, as well!

Do you remember either of the figures in this post? Did you have either of them? How about other figures shown on the card back(s)?

Feel free to leave feedback in the comments for this post!

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The Imaginext Collection Begins…

Well, technically my Imaginext collection had already begun, but at this point, safe to say it’s begun in earnest now. At least compared to then.

imaginext_doomsday_superman

Here we have what REALLY had my eye: a Doomsday, with a battle-damaged Superman. Overall, I like this set…though Doomsday is significantly larger in scale than I’d prefer. Still…he should be a hulking behemoth that even Superman would have trouble with, so…it works. I definitely like how it has parts of the "classic" green suit as well as the bony protrusions and such…also lets ’em get away with not having a giant naked monster…

And though his suit is a bit messed up…there’s no "blood" on Superman. And there are no trunks, so it’s not quite "my" Superman, but I don’t miss the trunks all that much…especially with a solid red belt, the cape, and red boots!

imaginext_zedd_goldar

Then we have Goldar and Lord Zedd. These were a Power Rangers 2-pack.

imaginext_mmpr_tigerzord

And here we have the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers themselves. For the sake of completeness and my OCD, I tracked down the White Tigerzord set in order to get the White Ranger.

The rest of the Rangers were 2-packs, and surprisingly easy to find (and/or I got lucky!).


There are a few more Imaginext things I’m particularly interested in…chief among them, the Megazord that is somewhat in scale with these Rangers. There’s also a giant Goldar with its own version of Rita Repulsa that I’m waffling on seeking out.

On the DC side, there are a couple Robin/Red Robin figures…but unfortunately, none as parts of any of the cheaper 2-packs…they’re part of larger sets or vehicle/figure packs…which when I really just want the figure, make ’em more expensive than they’re worth. (At least with the White Ranger, I really dig the Tigerzord, too; and Doomsday was the primary draw for that pack!)

I guess time’ll tell…and I may have another post on these Imaginext toys soon…I really love the variety to the multiple licenses available! Much like Funko‘s Pop line, these allow multiple franchises to co-exist and seem to fit well together. And they’re much more "available" and reasonably-priced than the "adult collector" toys for either Marvel or DC!

Curse Words…for Curse Words: Dropped Due to Variants

If you’ve been reading this blog for ANY length of time, you know that I–as a general rule–loathe variant covers. Primarily "ratioed" variants, but with very FEW exceptions, variants in general, their very existence.

And this week just REALLY reminded me WHY.

And though I COULD blame the comic shop, I personally place the blame squarely on the publisher, FOR doing a variant. Or allowing a variant. Or WHATEVER the case is.

curse_words_variants

After actually rather enjoying the first issue, and looking forward to the second issue, the day finally came: Curse Words #2 was on "the list" as out on February 22nd.

Having been "burned" by a "surprise" variant on Moonshine #2 (which, by the way, immediately prompted me to NOT pick it up ,and thus lost me on singles on that series), I was "re-aware" of even Image doing variants on stuff (something I’d be more inclined to attribute to DC, Marvel, IDW, Boom, and Dynamite!).

So, when I saw two different covers, neither of which was visually "familiar" to me, and I was already expecting there to be a "new" or "unfamiliar" (because I ONLY bought one cover of #1!) issue, I figured fine, they did a second issue with variants, I had not really seen any "marketing" or such for the issue so was not (for once) pre-disposed to preferring one specific cover…so I grabbed the more appealing (to me) cover of the two or so I saw.

Got it home, even included the thing in my photos for my "Weekly Haul" post, none the wiser of anything.

But then I went to READ the thing.

And I saw that the word "Second" was NOT followed by "Issue" after all, on the cover.

Nope…it was followed by "Printing."

I managed to grab a second printing of #1, the issue that I already owned, that I bought and read weeks ago.

And of course, much as with most publishers, comics are not some "returnable" thing, so it’s not even like I can take the thing back to the shop for a refund or such. I’m stuck with a second copy of the first issue now, and no copies of the second.

Frankly, to say that I’m "annoyed" is an understatement.

On principle, I’m done with this book as single issues. I might snag the collected volume(s), but I will NOT support it any further as single issues.

Should I have noticed that it was not actually the second issue? Maybe. BUT when I know the second issue’s due out, with a cover that’s not mimicking the first, and I’m grabbing my comics in a hurry and just want to get stuff and get out after a long day at work, I’m not gonna examine every stupid facet of a cover. I buy comics because I want to read the story, not for stupid covers!

Maybe the shop should have put something with the issue to indicate 2nd printing. Maybe they should’ve shelved it with last month’s books instead of right next to the brand-new 2nd issue (but probably more sales having them together, so someone can immediately see and pick up BOTH issues if they’re looking for them/curious!).

So, I hold Image responsible…with no idea if the "idea" or "push" came from a creator or not. Just use the same darned cover, and mark it as a second printing! IF I wanted more "art" from something, I’d buy a darned print or something!

And on top of this…folks wonder why I tend to gravitate toward collected volumes for new issues. At least THERE, I’m FAR LESS LIKELY to wind up getting some 2nd print of something I already have, with just a cover in quick passing to go on.

The Weekly Haul: Week of February 22, 2017

This week in comics is probably my most expensive in awhile…or at least, it sure feels like it! But then, multiple $3.99 issues and two $4.99s will do that! (Ugh!)

weeklyhaul_02222017a

Actually, the only $2.99 of the week was Action Comics. I’ve been looking forward to Highlander for awhile, though other than knowing that there was a new (mini?) series coming, and something giving me the notion it’s a prequel to the original film, I know virtually nothing about it yet. I’m giving Curse Words and Kamandi Challenge a second issue, and of course, keeping up with the Prometheus/Aliens/Predator/AvP: Life and Death arc. And with TMNT being just about my favorite property, a bit eager on that new issue despite the price point (again, with TMNT remaining my conscious exception to pricing that’d put me off of other properties).

weeklyhaul_02222017b

And a second-for-the-week $4.99 TMNT book in the "Director’s Cut" of Batman/TMNT Adventures #1. I knew I’d ultimately regret it if I didn’t get the thing…and rather than waste time/money later in extra-hunting to get it, figured I’d just nip that right in the bud (so to speak).

And then the Dr. Strange keychain and Outcast #25 were "free" bonuses at the shop (along with a full-size Dr. Strange movie poster that I may photograph later once framed!).

Next step is getting stuff actually read!

Pokémon Through the Years: The Games

Back in probably 1998, a friend got me to try this new card game, based on a video game that was taking the country by storm. Pokémon. Not long after–in early 1999 or so–he convinced me to get a Gameboy and the actual game, so we could battle and trade critters and such. He’d started with Pokémon Blue, so I got Pokémon Red.

Fast-forward to this past summer, July 2016, and the release of Pokémon Go got me back into the property after a number of years away.

A couple other friends convinced me to get a 2DS, and I re-bought Red via the digital shop…though quickly left that aside to try the newer game: Pokémon Omega Ruby (both my red 2Ds and Omega Ruby chosen to stick with the Red theme).

I also pre-ordered Pokémon Sun at the time. Then, due to a Black Friday sale, I ordered Pokémon Y though have yet to dive into playing that one–I figure its time will come, eventually!

pokemon_games_through_the_years_fronts

And I came across my original box, and the mini manual, while going through some years-old stuff helping parents clear out the old house.

So even with the more-than-a-decade gap, and the 18 or so years total since getting that first game…I have all four on a shelf.

pokemon_games_through_the_years_spines

And perhaps one of these days I’ll really get into detail on my experiences and thoughts regarding the various aspects of Pokémon through the years beyond just having these four games.

The ’90s Revisited: Justice League America #70

jusice_league_america_0070Grieving

Words, Layouts: Dan Jurgens
Finishes: Rick Burchett
Letters: Willie Schubert
Colors: Gene D’Angelo
Asst. Edits: Ruben Diaz
Edits: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: January 1993
Cover Price: $1.25

It’s been a lotta years since I read this issue. Honestly, well longer than I’d tend to care to admit otherwise, but most of my re-readings of the "entire" Death of Superman story have been via that original collected volume, or the Roger Stern novelization, or the audio drama. And I tend to stop there–I know I’ve been through the novel several times, and the World Without a Superman/Funeral For a Friend collected volume at least a couple times…but this issue? This Justice League America "tie-in" is not included in the original edition of World Without a Superman. And though the previous issue was far more relevant to the lead-in to the main, sustained Doomsday fight, this one splits off from the core narrative focusing on Superman himself (as chronicled in the Superman-centric titles and such) and focuses more on the League, and these characters’ reactions to and ramifications from the Doomsday battle.

justice_league_america_0070_noflapOn this read-through, it was like reading the issue for the first time. When the Flash showed up, and Batman, and Hawkman, and Aquaman…despite a slight sense of deja vu in the back of my mind, it still surprised me. Looking at this issue’s cover, I remembered some loose, broad strokes–Blue Beetle in a coma, Booster’s suit destroyed, Ice devastated and Guy none to happy about her reaction–but I didn’t remember the details of the issue, the smaller moments. I remember some loose bits from some issues shortly after this–and the fact OF having READ the issues comprising Destiny’s Hand and leading to Justice League America‘s OWN 75th issue–but this is not quite the hyper-familiar territory I’d assumed it was for myself.

This issue opens with us on-site in Metropolis, Superman dead, Lois cradling his body…even an abbreviated, slightly alternate narration to the final moments of Superman #75…and into the early moments of Adventures of Superman #498, the start of the numbered chapters of Funeral For a Friend. And we’re split off, away from the Superman-family focus, and see the League reacting. Booster and Maxima were in the hospital watching over Ted–Blue Beetle. Maxima is rather matter-of-fact about Superman’s death, though she’s far from happy about it…and Booster is in a rough place–Superman’s died, his best friend is in a hospital bed in a coma, and his own suit–the entirety of/source of his powers–is shredded and likely beyond 20th century science to repair. Ice is devastated, Fire comforts her. Guy and Maxima have a go at each other…and other heroes from across the DC Universe begin to congregate, unsure of how or where to properly pay their respects, and finding comfort in the group, even as many lament the loss and wonder why it had to be Superman. The heroes don black memorial armbands with Superman’s shield, though they recognize it’s not much. And we close with Booster at Ted’s bedside, admitting that he doesn’t know WHAT he’d do if Ted dies, too.

The art is both spot-on and yet a little bit off at points for me. Stuff with Flash, Aquaman, Batman, and the other heroes seems fine, and overall this looks like the characters I’d expect, and as I would expect, visually. There are just panels–particularly one of Ice–where facial details seem just slightly off, or not as refined as I’d expect or want. Still, that stuff is rather nitpicky, and barely worth the mention. As a whole, this looks like the Justice League America I recall, and the other characters from the DCU look good and as I’d recall them for the tail-end of 1992’s publishing.

The story is very relevant, as one ought to expect, given this is written by Jurgens, the same writer of Superman, so it’s far from being an "outsider’s" version of this stuff. And given that, the differences or "alternate" takes on stuff, I totally chalk up to being intentional, holding the Justice League America continuity to itself–acknowledging the event and stuff from the Superman titles, but NOT forcing folks to read all of those. (Though there is an editorial note referring readers to Superman #75 prior to reading this). Jurgens seems to carry through ongoing plot threads that seem to have been going on in the title, and for lack of better phrasing, moves pieces around the board to set up the tail-end of his run on the title, getting the characters into Destiny’s Hand.

I see this issue in bargain bins far less often than random chapters from the Superman books, both of The Death of Superman and Funeral for a Friend. I’m relatively certain the copy of the issue I read this time was from a bargain bin, as I don’t believe it’s my original copy (the newsstand barcode gives that away, my original was from a comic shop and had a bleeding-S shield, I believe). While this hardly sits in a vacuum, it does seem like it can somewhat be read as a one-off. It’s an intermediary issue, bridging the pre-Doomsday run and what’s to come…giving characters’ reactions post-Death of Superman, but not yet implementing changes that would carry the League forward after the death.

I would definitely recommend this issue if you find it for a quarter or 50 cents or even $1-ish. I believe there were two editions, and apparently that carried to the newsstand as well–one version that’s just the standard cover; and another with a red and white overlay. The sole difference is really the overlay itself–present or not. The cover and interior under the overlay is the same. Either version is quite worth it, though the one with the overlay has a bit more of a visual distinction…and sits most nostalgic in my mind, as that’s what I got back in 1992.

Quite a trip down memory lane, and has me all the more eager to get around to actually READING the Superman and Justice League America vol. 1 and (once I acquire it) vol. 2.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #25

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures025Raw Power

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Chris Allan
Inks: Rod Ollerenshaw
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: October 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

This is another very special issue in my personal history with the turtles: this was THE first issue I ever got of TMNT Adventures at Waldenbooks as a then-new issue “off the rack,” still some months before I ever discovered such a thing as a comic shop. Along with that, the way I’ve mentally divided the series into “seasons” over the course of this re-reading project, I do see this as a “second season” finale.

The issue starts with a shot of the outside of a couple stores, as we’re left to imagine the naked Bebop and Rocksteady doing their shopping for clothes and guns. As they gather supplies, we return to the main thrust of the action–the TMNT vs. Slash, Bellybomb, and Krang as Shredder’s head. The bulk of the story is the details of the fights–Krang/Shredder vs. Leonardo, Donatello and Mikey vs. Bellybomb, and Raph vs. Slash. While they all fight, we find Bebop and Rocksteady freeing zoo animals, while bantering and generally enjoying themselves. Slash gets distracted remembering that he’s looking for his palm tree and leaves the fight; Bellybomb is knocked out by his own “mega-halitosis” and Raph gets Krang of Shredder, leaving the villain in the turtles’ debt. When Bebop and Rocksteady show up leading an army of dangerous animals, the turtles are out-gunned and out-numbered and consider cashing in that debt…but turns out the mutant duo is quite satisfied simply with the turtles admitting defeat. They just want to go home, and agree to take Bellybomb and Krang with them.

So the “season” ends with Shredder leaving to ponder the turtles’ having saved his life and “owing” them; Krang and Bellybomb are left back on Morbus (but not on a sinking barrel this time). Slash finds his palm tree and seems happy. The turtles return home…and Bebop/Rocksteady, too, return home. We have to continue on to the backup for April’s whereabouts, but that ends on a bit of a cliffhanger such that I could live with it within the “season” analogy.

Dragon Rage

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Chris Allan
Inks: Mark Pacella
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Victor Gorelick

Chu Hsi has brought forth the Warrior Dragon, and attempts to rescue Fu Sheng from the ninjas that’ve kidnapped him. Though the Dragon has little physical trouble with the ninjas, one of them throws a strange powder in his face…causing him to revert back to human form, and the naked fireman is dragged off with April unable to do anything but watch.

When I first read this issue more than two decades ago I had no idea who Bellybomb or Chu Hsi were, where they’d come from, etc. They were just simply “there.” I’d recognized Slash from the action figure; the turtles and Shredder/Krang as well as Bebop and Rocksteady were givens, of course. However, the Shredder/Krang relationship obviously was not what it was in the cartoon, and Bebop and Rocksteady are portrayed quite differently here than in the cartoon but everyone was still obvious as to who they were and all that, otherwise.

This time through I obviously have the “full” context of the series to date so (among other things) actually know that Krang attached himself to Shredders head and it only just happened at the end of the previous issue, as opposed to a multi-issue development or some such. Bellybomb’s not some long-time foe in this series any more than he is any other TMNT book; Slash is the generic mean/evil-turtle longing for his palm tree, and the story just “is.”

From the dialogue between them, we get a lot of exposition on Rocksteady and Bebop as well as the clarification that they actually DID start out human, but have the MEMORIES and such of the animals they were mutated from (apparently a slightly different mutagen than what transformed the turtles and Splinter). I’m not entirely sure if I’m disappointed at that or not, having come to kinda like the notion of them being mutated animals rather than mutated humans.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the two leaving the turtles…on one hand it’s a letdown and inconsistent with their brash talk in other issues of dealing with them. Yet, given their time on the Eden planet and such, I can accept it. All the more as I believe this is the last we see of them until the TMNT 30th Anniversary Special from IDW last year.

The backup story is another short snippet that goes by rather quickly and simply. I appreciate its placement as a separate thing from the main story as that allows it to breathe while not being shoehorned into the main story. Knowing what it leads to certainly colors my perspective and lends “meaning” to it, as the story otherwise seems rather generic, getting such a little piece of it here.

Having Allan back on pencils for the entirety of the issue is a welcome thing, main story as well as backup. Liking his work, I don’t have much to say on it except it’s good and this being roughly where I joined the series it makes sense that he was a definitive artist on the characters for me.

If this were a tv show, I suppose the backup stuff would have been worked into the main body of the “episodes,” leaving us on Chu Hsi’s capture as the cliffhanger to keep us hooked for the next season.

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