Saturday, August 25, 2012

Behold the Spongy Awesomeness of the Vintage Nerfman!

There are certain toys that act as a sort of mile marker in the span of my childhood. Toys that somehow managed to shine above all of the others, that made an indelible mark on me as objects capable of reaching the heights of fun and excitement. Mego super heroes, Star Wars action figures, the massive Shogun Warriors, and many more.

But there are a couple of those toys whose verisimilitude is unfortunately combined with extreme rarity. And this sucks the big one for a nostalgic collector.

But perseverance is the mightiest weapon for a vintage toy lover, as it almost always pays off.

Thanks to almost three years of diligence (and eBay's watch list daily emails) and a good sniping program, I am finally able to once again hold in my hands an original vintage Nerfman!

I got Nerfman for Christmas waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1977, the year I turned 5. And by that age, I had already learned the benefits of Nerf, which basically boiled down to your mom being cool with playing with a ball in the house, as long as it was made of this lightweight, colorful spongy material. I even had a toy truck made of Nerf and it became one of my favorite things to throw at my brother's head.

But Nerfman was no mere ball or toy truck. He was an emerald hued avenger. A sponge-fisted defender of justice.

But most importantly, thanks to his somewhat sticker foam cape, Nerfman could fly...

He literally glided like an airplane through my living room more times than I could count.

One of the things I loved most about Nerfman was his steely-eyed grim stare, scanning the horizon for approaching evil. I used to keep Nerfman on my nightstand while I slept to ward off any under-the-bed creepoids, zombies and ghosts.

Like any superhero worth his salt, Nerfman has a mighty symbol emblazoned upon his chest. I'm seriously tempted to get this tattooed on my chest. Or at least make up some green t-shirts with this on the front. Gah! How cool would that be?!

One of the weirdest things about Nerfman are his simply bizarrely shaped hands. Even when I was 5, I was like, Ummm... what is going on here? I sort of looks like he's giving the thumbs down all the time. The thumbs down to evil!

Still, even with his deformed mitts, their distinct shape brings me right back to 1977.

My original Nerfman met his demise in the jaws of a black Labrador Retriever that unfortunately ate a lot of my early toys. I'm sure it was a glorious fight and that Nerfman went down swinging.

So, it took a long time and a lot of searching, but Nerfman is finally back in my life, and has finally taken his rightful place of the Shelf of Nostalgic Awesomeness.

That's one more holy grail down. And to be honest, I've only got a few more on the list until it's pretty much complete.

But I'm not going to worry about that right now. I'm just going to enjoy the long-lost and recently-found familiar company of the mighty Nerfman.