Friday, August 31, 2012

Top 5 Friday! My Top 5 Favorite Childhood Breakfast Cereals!

Who doesn't love cereal? It's probably the very first food/meal we are ever allowed to make for ourselves. And I've got oodles of warm, fuzzy memories of pouring a giant bowl of one of my beloved cereals and plopping myself down for my weekly ritual of Saturday morning marathon cartoon watching.

So, I thought it would be fun to list my top 5 favorite "parts of a nutritious breakfast". And this time, I'm doing them in order, from 5th to 1st. Here we go!

5. Frosted Flakes
They're Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! Seriously, they are. Frosted Flakes were never the most colorful of cereals, nor didi it come with fancy little marshmallows or whatever, but it was completely coated in pure, unadulterated sugar. And that was enoguh for me. Also, Tony the Tiger is one of my all-time favorite product mascots, so that helps, too.

4. Super Sugar Crisp
Not Super Golden Crisp. No, I grew up in a time when they plastered the word sugar right on the front of the box. This cereal was like toasted oat crack. Also, Sugar Bear was one of the coolest dudes in TV commercials. He was so cool and laid back. Not like some spastic rabbits or paranoid leprechauns I could mention.
3. Count Chocula
These days, Count Chocula (like Frankenberry and Boo Berry) is only released around Halloween, but when I was a kid, it was available year round. But for some reason, I only ate it around Halloween. That doesn't mean it wasn't one of my most loved cereals ever. I also bought a box last Halloween and am pleased to report that it still holds up.
2. Froot Loops
For years, this was my number one favorite cereal. I ate this cereal by the ton. But it would be forever dethroned by the next one on the list when I was in 5th grade...
1. Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
Awwwwwwwwww YEAH! I still eat this cereal on a regular basis. There has never been a more flavorful cereal in the history of things that get poured into bowls. Granted, I have to go a week or so without it every now and then just to give the roof of my mouth a chance to heal. As a kid, I remember all of the Cap'n Crunch cereals having the best toys inside, and no matter what parents say, that little marketing scam often tilted your weekly choice of cereal in the favor of one cereal over another. Luckily, the best toys came in the best tasting cereal as far as I was concerned.
Honorable Mention: Apple Jacks
No cartoon mascot. No funny commercial. But these close cousins to Froot Loops would be my go-to cereal on those rare occasions that my mom's guilt over feeding me garbage got the better of her and she'd attempt to force me to pick a "healthier" cereal. I guess because it said "apples" in the name, it was a healthier cereal. Oh, how wrong she was.

Let's here from you all! What was your favorite cereals?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Power Misters! Wait... What?

Okay. I have no idea what this toy is, where it came from or anything. It was given to me by one of my co-workers because he said it was just sitting in his desk drawer and when I saw it it I was all like, "What's that?!" I see that it's made by Super 7 (a company that I have mucho respecto for), but other than that, I'm just too lazy to look it up.

The point is, this is my Power Mister (whatever that is) and he is awesome.

The blurb on the card says "Power Misters have unlimited power, just like you! And just like you, they have yet to figure that out." I don't know why, but that just sort of makes me happy.

I'd love to go into the novelty of the sculpt, the subtle changes in hue on the paints or whatever those artsy vinyl toy collectors talk about, but quite frankly, I just think he's cute as can be and I'm just happy that E.T. now has someone to go skateboarding with...

They're totally going to shred that halfpipe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

League of Extraordinary Bloggers Weekly Theme: Ninja Attack!

This week's topic: Who would you take in an 80′s character fantasy draft? Your team’s goal will be to defeat a shady conglomerate of Russian businessmen and their team of hired ninjas. It’s go time.

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a ninja attack. Luckily, if ninjas ever tried to attack the Nerdatorium, they'd be in for a world of hurt, because this joint is packed to the gills with badasses and widow-makers. In fact, all I'd have to do is look over at my action figure shelf and say, "Get 'em, boys," and those masked shuriken-slingers would be swarmed by my own army of giant robots, Sith Lords, Dark Knights and real American heroes.

But if I had to designate a special squad of ass-kickers and name-takers, all from the 80s, and all from my current collection of posable plastic pugilists, I think I've got just the crew.

Ladies and gents, I present to you, The Badass Anti-Ninja Squad...

We've got a whole lot of pain-bringers in this group. And that's what you need in a ninja attack. Head-crackers, limb-loppers and madmen.

Pictured above, we have Thundarr the Barbarian, Mr. T, Lion-O, the Warlord, Space Ghost and the Master of the Universe himself, He-man. And before you start bitchin' about Space Ghost being from the '60s, he came to my attention via reruns in the early '80s, and besides, the rest of the squad voted him in. So like it or lump in, ninja-lover.

Now, bring on those pajama-wearing pansies. We got a dozen fists to feed to 'em.

Also from the League:

Memories of Toymorrow is fighting fire with fire.

Green Plastic Squirt Gun teams up Ash, Predator and Kurgan. Good lord!

Underscoopfire's list is truly outrageous.

Please see the complete list of posts from the Extraordinary League of Bloggers and show their blogs some love. Thanks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Thoughts on the Battlestar Galactica TV Movie!

So, yesterday, I hit my local favorite used book store, and decided to scan through their used DVD selection to see if I could find something to watch. The wife was out with her girls and it was just going to be me, some cheeseburgers and fries and my faithful pooch, Chewie. I was sort of in the mood for a classic comedy like Smokey & the Bandit or maybe Stripes. I didn't find either. But I did find this...

Since I picked up those vintage Battlestar Galactica comics last week, I've been interested in seeing the show again. I remember not being that into it when I was a kid, but that was mostly due to my parents being in control of the TV and me only getting to see it rarely. So I decided to give it a shot. Besides, this is what I believe to be the original made for TV movie, which I know I saw when I was a kid, so the nostalgia factor had the potential to be very high.

Holy crap, am I glad I watched this. It was like disco Star Wars! That was the funnest 2 hours I've spent watching a movie in a long time!

Yes, the sheer shameless ripping off of Star Wars was painfully obvious, but that acts as a testament to the climate of the American culture of the time. We were space-battle crazy and hungry for more, no matter how we got it. And out of all of the Star Wars rip-off movies/tv shows, I think Battlestar Galactica came the closest to creating something solidly entertaining.

Here are some of my knee-jerk thoughts...

The special effects of the ships flying through space were right up there with Star Wars. The star fields in the background occasionally looked a little too "star-filled" for my taste, but the ships were spectacular. I think this had a lot to do with them using Jon Dytkstra, who did a lot of the work for ILM on the Star Wars movies.
Even the battle scenes were pretty awesome. Lots of laser blasts and dogfights. I'd also like to take this time to note that both the Cylon ships and the X-Wing knock-offs that Starbuck and Apollo piloted were pretty awesome looking ships. I remember at least loving these as a kid and they still hold up.

Also, their weapons were badass. I really want a prop replica of their blaster pistols.
And while I'm at it, I might as well have a replica of their helmets. This helmet was a major point of nostalgia when I watched this. I totally remembered them and they really took me back.
Appollo and Starbuck were totally fun characters. I remember thinking as a kid that they were just Han and Luke wannabes, but I see that I was completely wrong; they were both Han.
The real unsung actor in this was Herbert Jefferson Jr. who played Boomer. This guy was the best actor in the movie!
I also learned that the kid who played the insufferable little whine-bag, Boxy, was also the same kid who played Atreyu in insufferable movie The Neverending Story. Huh... fitting.
Another thing that I noticed (well, something that I was always aware of but was reminded of) is that chicks in the 70s were hot.
I can't lie. Actress Maren Jensen, who played Apollo's sister, Athena, totally stole my heart. I looked her up on IMDB. Doesn't look like she's done much since which is too bad. She was crazy gorgeous!
This chick? Not crazy gorgeous.
Now, I've always loved Cylons. They were the one thing from the TV show that really made an impression on me. Yes, yes, they're pretty much a bunch of silver Darth Vaders acting like Stormtroopers, but whatever. They were hella shiny and carried swords.
Heck... let's just look at another picture of a Cylon. they just don't get old.
And in closing, I'll just say that something that stuck with me as a kid from Battlestar Gallactica that is clearly still in effect to this day, thanks to my "re-viewing' of the TV movie, is this; I totally want my own Daggit.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tales from the 25¢ Bin! Groo the Wanderer!

I think I have told of my discovery and instant love for the classic Sergio Aragones character Groo the Wanderer. But to recap: When I was 12 years old and really starting to become a serious comic book collector (along with a couple of other friends), I discovered Groo in a stack of cheap comics at a flea market while on a trip to my friend's family's cabin. I picked them up and we spent the weekend in our room (it rained the whole trip) reading and re-reading our recent comic book haul, and it didn't take long to decide that the Groo comic I grabbed were some of the greatest comics we have ever read.

It had harrowing adventure, thrilling battles and piping hot cheese dip!

So, to this day, I can't pass up a cheap copy of Groo (and am seriously courting the idea of trying to collect the entire run again) whenever I see them in the 4 for a dollar bin.

Here's my latest haul...



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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Top 5 Friday! The Top 5 Coolest Things in My New Office at Funko!

It's time once again for another Top 5 list, and since I've spent the week getting used to my new gig at Funko, I thought it would be fun to show you all some of the cool stuff I've seen, or work near, or whatever. I don't mean to be all braggity-brag-brag about my new job, but please humor me. I'm still pretty jazzed.

Anyway, here's the top 5 things that got my attention right away. Enjoy...

1. Giant Frankenberry

This mammoth General Mills monster cereals mascot greets you when you walk into the front lobby. And I do mean mammoth. Frankie is as tall as I am. It was all I had in me not to run up and hug it when I first saw it.
2. My Co-worker Amos' MOTU Collection

When I discovered that this was the kind of place that you can set up your Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain, I knew I was going to fit right in. Also, I knew I was going to get along with Amos like we were long lost brothers.
3. The Giant Wall Graphics

There are three of these in the main hallway leading to the art department; Secret Squirrel, Hong Kong Phooey and Captain America. Each one stand at least a foot over my head, if not more. It's like walking through a Hanna Barbera animation cel.
4. The Funko Library

Ever wanted to see a room filled with every single Funko product ever made? Well, now you have. This picture only captures one small section of it. It's beyond impressive.
5. My New Workstation

Okay, this is probably cool only to me, but after years of working at home, all alone, on my crappy home PC, it's a breath of fresh air to be in an art department again, surrounded by like-minded creative types, cranking out new artwork on a brand new Mac.

Okay, I'll stop bragging now. Tune in next week for another Top 5 list (that I promise won't be so self indulgent)!