Thursday, August 30, 2012

2 TTM Mailday.. 1 Amazing Success

I wasn't expecting any mail today. I haven't really been sending out any requests in a while. I do know I have quite a few requests still out there, I haven't been getting any of them back. So, when I opened my PO Box and found 3 envelopes in there, I was pleasently surprised. On fortunately, one had the dreaded RTS sticker on there.

RTS-Phil Simms. Kind of bummed I didn't get him to sign. I have seen successes for him and he was one of my favorite players growing up. I also enjoy his work on CBS calling games, but alas, he returned my letter. Oh well, maybe I'll try again later.

Success #1

Former WWF World Champion, Bob Backlund. When I first started watching wrestling back in 1982, he was the World Champion. He won the belt a few years earlier at Madison Square Garden from "Superstar" Billy Graham and held it until late 1983 when he lost to the Iron Shiek. He returned to the WWF 8 years later and became WWF champion again, beating Bret Hart. Backlund turned into a crazed heel in a prior match after losing to Bret Hart. He lost the title 3 days later to Diesel (Kevin Nash) at MSG in 8 seconds.

Mr. Backlund signed my 2 photos in about 4 months c/o his company, Backlund Energy.


Legendary Spider-Man Artist John Romita. To me, the definitive Spider-Man artist. From 1966-1970, Romita drew some of the character's legendary stories like "Spider-Man, No More" and drew the story that revealed The Green Goblin finding out Spider-Man was Peter Parker and revealing himself to be Norman Osborne. Some of the more significant characters introduced during Romita's run was Joe Robertson, Gwen Stacey, Capt. Stacey and Mary Jane while some of the more notable villians introduced were The Shocker, The Rhino, The Prowler and Kingpin. Prior to his run on Spider-Man, he had a successful run on Daredevil.

Mr. Romita signed my Artist Card in about 3 months. It is now my favorite TTM and is one of the centerpieces of my Spider-Man collection.

These autograph successes weren't returned right away. In the case of Bob Backlund, I hadn't seen a success for him in a few years and I just took a shot in the dark with Romita. I actually gave up on both knowing the chances of success were slim. But when I saw them come back I was thrilled. Sometimes, the longer the request takes, the sweeter the rewards. And today was pretty sweet.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Showing Off The Swag: Luke Skywalker

I have always been a Star Wars fan. I remember seeing it as a 6 year old back in 1977, when you were allowed to walk in the middle of the movie and stay as many times as you wanted. I made my poor mom stay through multiple viewings that day and acted out scenes from the movie the very next day at school. Although I am a smart aleck like Han Solo, I have always been drawn to Luke Skywalker and is my favorite character in the Star Wars universe. I think it was because he was truly a good hearted person who could fly a ship real well and developed some bad ass Jedi tricks. I do know as a kid, I loved those lightsabers and that sealed the deal.

As a kid, I remember having a bunch of Luke Skywalker figures, including the 12 inch figure. I never owned the lightsaber, so when my cousin and I used to play Star Wars, we used to use the plastic wifleball bats as lightsabers and have at each other. I made sure I always had a blue bat to use. Never got a green bat because by the time Return Of The Jedi came out I was tired of being beaten with a plastic bat. Ever try to reinact the severing of Luke's hand scene from The Empire Strikes Back and using a plastic bat and your own hand? Not fun.

I only started to recollect Luke Skywalker this year, although I had a piece or two put away. I really can see this collection grow as I like hunting down Luke items and there's a lot of it out there. I would like to stick with picking up vintage pieces only, but I know that won't happen. There is an abundance of really cool Skywalker stuff out there and like with my Spider-Man and Batman collections, if I see a really cool piece, I'm picking it up.

Now, on to the Skywalker Swag:

A disclaimer, I realize the pictures aren't the greatest. I do need to buy a new camera.

Knowing I loved my original 12 inch Luke Skywalker figure, my buddy George got me the remake when it was released back in 2004 as a birthday present. It's a pretty cool figure, showing Luke as he looked in Star Wars: A New Hope, complete with blue lightsaber and grappling hook. Been meaning to pick the other 12 inch figures as well as the original vinage figure and I hope to at some point.

I got a great deal for these carded Power Of The Force figures at the Long Island Toy Show. Paid 10.00 for these 3 figures. Managed to grab the Hoth outfit, Bespin outfit and Ceremonial outfit. I left behind the figure of Luke dressed in the Storm Trooper outfit. I went back for it and it was gone. I will get it at some point.

I wish the card was in better shape. It was a gift from George, but after multiple moves, the card was knocked around a bit. An upgrade will be in order as soon as I can afford it.

Vintage Luke Skywalker Shampoo bottle picked up at Super Mega Show. Would do 10.00 everyday on this sweet pick up.

An assortment of loose figures. I'll let you guys try to figure out with of the 2 tattoine oufit figures is the original from the 70's.

My friend Julissa gave me this as a Valentine's Day gift back in Feburary.

This glow in the dark puzzle was picked up for a dollar at Dollar Tree. Couldn't pass it up at that price.

A vintage Empire Strikes Back glass that was sold at Burger King found at a thrift store in Poughkepsie, NY for 2 bucks. I had a baby when I saw it nestled between beer glasses and a glass from the Westchester Dinner Theather.

Picked up these 2 vintage stickers at The Westchester Sports Card Show. I think they were a quarter each. When you find vintage for that price, you don't say no, you buy, buy, buy!

That's the swag. It's a starting point for bigger and better purchases. Would love to add a vintage X-Wing fighter or Landspeeder. Also seen a couple statues I want as well as a lightsaber at Toys R Us. I'll continue to hunt for Luke swag to add to the collection and will post all my findings here as always.

Thanks for reading and May The Force Be With You.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

League Of Extraordinary Bloggers: Saturday Morning Cartoons

I remember the days when I used to wake up real early on Saturday mornings to watch 6 hours of non stop cartoon goodness. Yeah, 6am. I was the kid who refused to get up at 7:00 to make a 7:30 bus for school, but yet I would happily get up at 5:45 to grab some Lucky Charms or Count Chocula to nosh on as I watch some awesome 'toons. The other day, I got curious and checked out what was showing on a Saturday Morning. What I saw was informercials. Are you freaken kidding me? I wanted to see Tom and Jerry and saw some dude spouting the virtues of a t-shirt that would hide your belly fat (I ordered 3 in back, white and fucia blue).

So it is my duty to get this right. On my new channel, WMIKE, we show cartoons on Saturday. And not just any cartoons. We got the vintage stuff here. And if you like Superheroes, well sit back, relax and watch some classic Superhero cartoons. Here's the line up:


Not your typical Hulk Smash Superhero, but I thought it would be fun to start off with a show like Underdog. Might be nice for kids to see where the movie came from.

6:30am-Couragous Cat and Minute Mouse

Unfortunately, the only clip of this cool cartoon I could find has a Spanish voice over during the intro. I always had a blast watching this Batman parody created by none other than Bob Kane, creator of Batman.

7am-The Supeman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure

Originally titled The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Power, this show not only shows Superman and Aquaman cartoons, but you will also see the likes of Green Lantern, The Flash, Teen Titans and Justice League of America. Very cool show from Filmation, circa 1967

8am- The Marvel Superheroes

Not to be outdone by DC, Marvel had a half an hour of superhero cartoons that showcased Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Sub-Mariner. The animation was pretty poor, but the art and stories were lifted straight out of the comics. And oh, those catchy theme songs:

Moving on..

8:30-The Fantastic Four

I'm not the biggest fan of the Fantastic Four, but Hanna Barbara did such a great job with this show that it has to be included in my lineup.


The show that made me the Spidey fan that I am today.

9:30am-Spider-Man (90's)

While not exactly vintage, it's too good not to be included in the channel's Spider-Man hour block.

10am-Batman With Robin The Boy Wonder

Like with the Spider-Man block, Batman will also get his hour block, starting with his first animated apperance on this Filmation show from 1967.

10:30am-Batman: The Animated Series

Almost went with the New Adventures of Batman and Robin from 1977, but I had to go with the best Batman cartoon show ever.

10am-The Hulk

Had to get The Hulk into the lineup and this was a good show to stick in there. With The Hulk's solid showing in The Avengers movie, this show should do well.

10:30-Battle Of The Planets

This classic anime cartoon should do real well with kids who love japanese animation and adults who remember it's original run in the late 70's.

11am-The Super Friends

Finishing off the morning is an hour of arguably one of the most beloved super hero shows ever.

So, there it is. The Saturday morning lineup on WMIKE. These are shows I loved watching as a kid and still do. I think these shows will be very popular today as they were yesterday. All that they need is a new generation of kids to watch and enjoy them just as much as we did. In today's world were video game consoles, the internet and smart phones rule, I think some vintage slips right in nicely to balance it all out because sometimes we all need a break and these shows provide that break. And they do an awesome job, if I do say so myself.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Toys, Toys and More Toy Pick Ups

Saturday I actually started off going to a card show in White Plains with my buddy, George. After only picking up a couple cards, we left the show and hit the road in search for some geeky goodness. Toys, Toys and more Toys. And there were deals to be had on this day.

Let's start with some new additions to my Spider-Man collection. One of my dreams is to own a 1960's Captain Action Spider-Man Figure. Now, maybe I'm shooting a bit too high since that particular figure is one of the most expensive figures for a Spider-Man collector to add to their mantle. So, I found the next best thing: The new Captain Action Spider-Man Costume Set. I love this as it is very John Romita-ish in the way it was made. From the mask to the outfit, once I put it together, I'm sure it's going to look like it jumped out of the pages of a John Romita drawn/Stan Lee written comic. Once I get the Captain Action Figure, I will open it and display this with the rest of my Spidey goodies.

Then I got some great deals in Marshalls on the Amazing Spiderman PVC Figure (3.99) and the Superhero Squad Spider-Man & Daredevil set (2.99). On a normal day, that is a great haul, but I was not through finding bargins.

My Iron Man collection got bigger by three additions. Now, I did pay full price on the Walmart exclusive Avengers Iron Man figure, but Toys R Us had some great deals and I was able to add two cool Iron Man pieces for under 5.00. The Marvel Legends Titanum Iron Man piece was 1.49 while the Marvel Universe Avengers Iron Man was 2.99. At those prices I was pretty much like, Yes please. I picked these up at the Toy R Us in Jefferson Valley, NY, along with the Captain Action Spidey. The register clerk was trying to get me to buy more Spider-Man stuff. I never had a register clerk try a sale, nevermind the hard sale this guy was pushing. Sponges, candy and some of the other Spidey figures was what he was hawking. My buddy said he should have offered them for free if he wanted me to take them so bad.

Then finally, I ended my geeky shopping spree by picking up the Hal Jordan Green Lantern Movie Masters figure from Marshalls for 3.99. Then we hit a 5 Below near Jefferson Valley and I snatched up the 2 disk Special Edition Batman Returns dvd set. I previously picked up the Batman 2 disk set because I wanted the special features that the previous releases didn't have. I enjoyed them so much that I decided to get the rest. When George alerted me to the dvd, I naturally grabbed it. 2 down, 2 to go.

Overall, Saturday was a huge sucess, toy-wise. I was able to add to my Spidey and Iron Man collections while adding my 4th Green Lantern figure and adding to my Batman dvd collection for less than 50 bucks. I didn't break the bank, yet I went home with more bags than I normally do.

Saturday was one of those days that we toy collectors dream of. It was a good day to be a geek.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yes, I Still Root For The Islanders

Haven't done a sports only blog in a while and this one starts off as a bit of a confession: I still am a huge fan of the New York Islanders.

I know, I know. I'm a Devils fan. I hate it when I meet someone and when the subject of sports comes up, I might sometimes get a "I root for all New York Teams" Grrrrr. If you root for the Rangers, there is no way, I mean no way you root for the Islanders. But, I digress. I'm being a bit hypocritical here. But you get what I'm saying. How can I root for one team if I root for another, especially if they are both in the same divison? Well, read on and maybe the question will be answered.

Let's hop in our Delorean, drive up to 88mph and visit the year 1980. I was 9 years old and really into baseball. The Yankees were the only sports team I followed religously at that point. I mean, with following the Yankees, reading about the Yankees and playing baseball, on top of reading comics and buying toys and playing superheroes, where would I have the time to watch any other sport?

Well, that winter, everyone at school was talking hockey. Hockey this and hockey that. I was beginning to wonder what this "hockey" was all about. I had a couple friends try to explain it to me. They also told me it was nothing like the Nock Hockey I played with them. This had more people, was played on ice and was pretty violent.

Woah, violent? You had me at hello.

Needless to say, after about 2 hours of trying to explain it to me, I was told to watch a game that would be on TV that night. It was a very important game and I should not miss it. So, like a good little trooper, I tuned into my very first hockey game. Oh, did I mention it was Team USA vs The Soviets for the Gold Medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics?

I don't remember much about that game. I do remember the final seconds and Al Michaels asking if I believed in miracles and me running around yelling USA, USA until my counsoler told me to knock it off.

After that, I knew I wanted to watch more hockey. It was a drug, Al Michaels was the dealer and I ecame addicted. I couldn't wait until Team USA's next game. Maybe I could attend a ga....wait, what do you mean they were not a real team?? I just saw them! Clearly, it took a while for me to comprehend that Team USA didn't play in the NHL. Now, I had to pick a team to follow.

My friends father, who was like a dad to me knew which team I should root for. If I was to be an honorary member of his family, I would root for the same team his faily rooted for: The New York Rangers.

Um, ok...So, I watched a game with them, but I didn't have that feeling I did when I watched Team USA. Don't ask me why, I just couldn't get into this team. Maybe my guardian angel, Harold, told me that this team would rival the Boston Red Sox for my hatred and venom. I don't know. All I know, I just didn't get up for this team like my buddy, his brother and his dad did.

One day, I was home from school, flipping through the channels when I found a hockey game on WOR-TV, Channel 9. I wasn't looking for a game, but there it was. They were showing this team  had never heard of, The New York Islanders. I sat and watched that game. Afterward, I knew I found my team. I loved the Islanders logo from first view. Loved the blue, white and orange. They were Mets colors, but it was a diffrent sport. I was allowed to like them. When I found out a member of Team USA, Ken Morrow, was an Islander too, that pretty much sealed the deal.

I watched as many games as I could that year. I learned they were based out on Long Island which was awesome as my grandmom lived out in Centereach and I loved going over to her house.

This was the house where I used to watch games in the living room and play hockey by myself in her driveway. Unfortunately, My grandmom doesn't live here anymore, moving to Puerto Rico in the 90's. This was a picture of the house I found on line. As soon as I saw this pic, all the memories came flowing back. If I ever hit the lottery and this house is up for sale, it will be mine. I loved this place.

I even found a player to root for and developed my first "man crush". It was on one of the greatest snipers I ever saw play the game.

Number 22 on your scorecard, Mike Bossy. This guy was awesome! I watched him score 50 goals in 50 games, score 2 Stanley Cup winning goals in consecutive years, win the Lady Byng Trophy 3 times and the Conn Smythe Trophy once. The first hockey stick I had was a Mike Bossy model, which I wish I still had. I still collect Bossy cards to this day. I want to own a Bossy jersey and would love to meet him one day, just to tell him what huge part of my childhood he was.

I got to see them win their first Stanley Cup that year. I still remember watchng John Tonelli feed Bobby Nystrom the puck and watching Nystrom punch it past Flyers goalie Pete Peeters for the win and the Stanley Cup. I was jumping up and down and screaming at the top of my lungs. My mom, just closed the door to my room, letting me bask in the glory and the glow of the TV set.

The Islanders were a part of my teenage years as well. I watched them win 4 straight Stanley Cups, saw Pat LaFontaine score the winning goal in the 4th overtime of Game 7 of their first round matchup against the Washington Capitals which has now become known as the Easter Epic.

Unfortunately, I got to see Mike Bossy retire after that season at the age of 30 due to chronic backpain. Denis Potvin retired the following season and Billy Smith the following. It was not the same Islanders to me, My childhood heroes were retiring.

I still followed the team and got to enjoy one last memorable playoff run with them during the 92-93 season when they knocked out the Capitals in the first round. Dale Hunter nailed Pierre Turgeon with a cheap hit after Turgeon scored the series ending goal, injuring him and rendering him ineffective for the rest of the playoffs. They managed to knock off The Pittsburgh Penguins before bowing out to Montreal in the Wales Conference finals.

By then, I was in college and I wasn't watching with the regularity that I used to. I had started dating this girl who I really liked a lot. She was into hockey, but was a Devils fan. So, I watched a lot of Devils games with her and her brothers and really got into the Eastern Conference Finals which pitted the Devils against the Rangers. Even though The Devils lost that series, I was hooked. I also started folowing their young goalie, Martin Broduer and he became my favorite player.

But I still followed the Islanders. I watched their games and never, ever rooted against them when they played the Devils. I hated those "Gordon's Fisherman" Jerseys they wore for a couple of years and was glad when they bought back the classic logo and I'm thrilled that they are back to wearing the classic Islander uniforms.

My Islander collection is small, but I think I have some nice stuff. Here are some of my favorites in the collection:

Bryan Trottier signed puck

So, why the sudden trip through Nostalga Lane? And why did it take me so long to get this wrapping this blog up? I guess as you get older, you start to yearn for things that you loved as a kid so you can still feel young. Some go out and buy expensive cars and dress like a teenager. Me? I dress like a teenager regardless. But, I made a promise to myself that if there is a hockey season this year, I will get my Mike Bossy jersey and make my first trip to Nassau Coliseum. Can you believe I never watched an Islanders game there? But, come hell or high water, I will make it out there before they knock the old barn down and either get a new arena in nearby or in Brooklyn. I want to just look down, see the Islander logo in center ice and then look up and see the retired numbers of those I watched as a child, especially Mr. Bossy. Call me sentimental but I might even squirt a tear or 2 because I won't be 41 or whatever age I will be at that point. I will be a 9 year old kid without a care in the world, rooting hard for his Islanders.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recent Through The Mail Autograph Successes

On Thursday, I had a nice 2 ttm mailday. The maildays are still not as frequent as I would like them to be. But for now, any mailday is a good mailday for me. Ok, enough dawdling. Time to show ff the goodies.

Dan Jurgens signed and sketched my Artist Card for me in a couple weeks time. I sent to him in care of DC Comics, but the postmark came back from Minneapolis. I know he is a Minnesota native, so I'm guessing he has a studio up there where he works out of.

Jurgens has worked on titles such as Superman, The Sensational Spider-Man, Teen Titans, Thor, and Booster Gold. He has created characters such as Doomsday, Cyborg Superman and Booster Gold. Booster Gold is the character he sketched on my card. Another solid return for my Comic Book Artist PC.

This was a huge add to my Yankees PC. Wade Boggs signed my baseball in a weeks time. Sent to his home, I included the baseball as well as a 20.00 donation to his charity, which I think helps inner city kids build baseball fields in the Tampa area. This is a great success for me as he was on my favorite Yankees team, the 1996 Yankees, which won the World Series that year. I might send another request out to him soon.

Another week is starting, so I hope my mailbox is full this week. I will be getting out some more requests this week. Sports stars, actors and artists are who I am targeting this week.Hope you guys who share in this hobby have your mailboxes full as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Batmobile Pick Up

I didn't really intend to pick anything up today. When I went to hang out for a bit with my buddy, the first place we hit was Toys R Us. I went up and down the aisles, not really finding anything that I had to have. Then I saw it. The Hot Wheeels RC 1966 Batmobile. I had been wanting to add this to my 1966 Batman collection ever since I laid eyes on it last November and had seen it numerous times, but always failed to pull the trigger on it. When I saw it, I noticed it was the last one. So, I did what any sensible human would do.

I bought the freakin toy!

I'm glad I did. Now, that's one Batman item crossed off the Bat List.

Look at it. Is it not cool or what? I love bat shape cut into the box to show off the Batmobile.

Here's a side view of the box that shows off the remote control. Love that it's bat shaped. Looks like something Adam West's Batman would have pulled out of his utility belt.

Back of the box. Love the POW! graphic used on here as well as the bat signal in the sky. I was holding this thing in Toys R Us with an orgasmic look and drool coming down. I must have looked like Homer Simpson looking at a donut. Needless to say parents were steering their children clear of me. No matter. It was a clear path to the register and get this baby to the house of swag.

Heres a comparison to the other Batmobile Hot Wheels put out previously. The remote controled one looks a bit larger than the other, but I havent taken either out of the packages to get a real good comparison. For now, they will stay in their packaging until I can get proper display cases and room.

I might actually take this baby for a spin. If you see a grown man walking the streets of New York City with a bat remote in his hands, a Batmobile puttering around and said individual muttering "Atomic Batteries to Power, Turbines to Speed", just ignore him. It's probably me and I wont bother you. Unless you have steak, I loves me some steak.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Autograph Mailday

Ok, well these didn't come in today. They came in Monday, but Monday Night Raw was on and I being the WWE geek that I am, I try not to miss an episode. Yesterday, I killed myself at the gym and wasn't even looking to do anything but lie down and read comics. I finished Iron Man: Extremis. Excellent graphic novel if you guys haven't read it, I urge you to do so.

As of late, I have been cranking out a lot of autograph request letters and I have a bunch out there waiting to come back. I already sent out 10 letters this week and will try to get another 10 out by Friday. The requests are out there. They just haven't been coming in. I'm wondering if the post office is getting lazy as I have only been getting returns 1 day a week, Mondays. The rest of the week, zip, zilch, nada. Hmmmmmm...

Well, my 1 return came in from Boston Bruins great and Hockey Hall Of Famer, Johnny Bucyk. He signed my 5x7 and bookplate for my future Hockey Book project in a few weeks.

I sent it to the Bruins Alumni Association and the return was from Spokane, WA. I'm guessing it was forwarded to him there. I already had Bucyk sign a Bruins Puck for my 500 goal scorers PC, but wanted a photo of him for my collection as well as the bookplate signed for the Hockey project.

I also got an ebay purchase arrive on Monday. I love Upper Deck Sweet Spot Signatures Autographed cards. If you don't know what that is, its a sweet spot of a baseball that has been signed, cut out and stuck inside a card. I have a few of these in my Yankees PC. Whitey Ford, Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Don Mattingly to name a few. I stopped collecting them when Upper Deck got cheap and used a synthetic rawhide that didn't hold the signature and it would fade. The Tino Martinez I have is almost gone. But I found a good one on ebay for a good price and pulled the trigger on it.

Don Baylor probably has one of the worst signatures I have ever seen. That aside, I wanted to get this to add to the Yankees Sweet Spot Collection. When Baylor was with the Yankees, he still could hit and was a feared pressence in a Yankee lineup that had Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Ricky Henderson in it. The man was also the most hit batsman I ever seen play. He finished with 267 hit by pitches, 4th all time.

The autograph bug has bitten me again. The only cure is more autographs. Gimme, gimme, gimme!