Friday, March 15, 2013

Newest Additions To My Luke Skywalker Collection

I haven't had the chance to add anything new to my Luke Skywalker collection lately as I have been concentrating more on my Batman collection. This past weekend, I ran into 2 Skywalker items in different places. I wasn't even shopping for any Luke stuff, but when I saw them I knew I had to have them.

I was in Target shopping for household items when I decided to take a stroll into the toy section. I was actually looking for the Brave And The Bold Justice League Batman figure, but that was sold out. The superhero section in my Target is always a mess. I looked through the discarded figures, in case there was a Batman in there. When I found none, I turned to leave. My eye caught this Star Wars Vintage Return Of The Jedi Luke Skywaker Lightsaber Construction figure, which was from a deleted scene in the Star Wars Blu Ray. I have yet to see this scene, but it didn't stop me from grabbing it and sticking it in my cart.

Closer look at the figure and you can see he's wearing the cloak he wore when he entered Jaba's palace along with the very cool green lightsaber. I am assuming this deleted scene was before he went to rescue Han Solo as he already had the lightsaber when he was on the barge, fighting Jaba's henchmen and Boba Fett. Very nice piece to add to the Skywalker collection, if I do say so myself.

I love Funko's Pop figures. When I saw this figure while hanging out with my friends at Manhattan Comics, it was a no doubter that this was coming home with me. I have been looking for this figure for a while now and it was the first time I had seen it.

This figure is so cool, Another Return Of The Jedi Luke, this one has him in his all black outfit that he wore in that epic scene where he fought Darth Vader as the Emperor watched. Again, he has that green lightsaber and has his collar casually flipped down as if to say "Vader? I got this."

I think it's a bit weird that the Star Wars logo is on the back rather than the front. Unless I had it backwards. The figure is not glued to the base. It can be removed and put back on. So, I am guessing I screwed up when I took it out the package and put him on wrong. Figures.

I grabbed this Luke Skywalker POP because I know i had I not I would never see it again. I one time saw the POP X-Wing Fighter Luke figure and didn't grab it and I have not seen it since. My buddy thought I was insane, but I convinced both he and I that I will see it again and grab it then. Now who's the idiot? Will probably have to go through eBay for it unless I see it at the 2 comic/toy conventions I'm hitting in April. Cross your fingers.

I'm very glad I picked up both of these pieces for my Luke Skywalker collection. I do have a Skywalker wish list and although neither one of these beauties are not on the list, I'm glad I own them. I now feel one with The Force. I will never turn to the Dark Side as long as I have Luke watching out for me. Unless they have cookies. I hear the Dark Side has cookies. Then my failure will be complete.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Bat Grail Obtained!

One of my favorite periods of the Batman's history is the 1960's. Probably because of the T.V. series, but that's not all. There was a new costume design for Batman, a legendary artist taking over in the comics and a new Saturday morning debuting from Filmation. But best of all, there was a ton of Batman goodies released during the decade.

I wanted to add more toys from this era to my Batman collection and one of those items I desperately wanted was a Batman hand puppet that was put out by Ideal. Ideal put out a some really nice puppets during the 1960's like Spider-Man, The Joker, Robin, The Green Hornet and The Munsters. These were all awesome puppets and would look great on my shelf, especially Spider-Man and the Green Hornet. But the one I wanted was Batman.

I came close to adding him to my collection a couple of times but always got out bid on eBay. I almost bought one last year at a flea market in NJ, but I wasn't crazy about the condition for the price the dealer was asking. I waited for he right time to jump on one and I finally was able to win one in great condition for a fraction of what I had been bidding.

Here is Batman. You can just tell that this puppet was well taken care of. There are barely any markings on him and the cloth is in terrific shape.

The only mark you see is on the back of Batman's head. The black mark was not nearly enough to make me lose my interest in owning this piece.

Not sure why, but I always dug that smirk on his face. It's like he's daring you to break the law because he will hit you with a can of Bat-Shark repellent. 

The cloth body is in near perfect condition for being 47 years old. I hope I look this good when I hit that age. 

I am overjoyed I can cross this off my Batman want list. The past 2 weeks, I have been able to lessen that list by 2. Hopefully, as the year goes on, I can find a way to cross even more items off that list, because I'm sure I'll add more stuff I want to it. My goal isn't to have the best Batman collection, just one I can be proud of. I'm on my way there.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mego Mondays-Superman

Superman has always been a favorite of mine. I remember my first exposure to the Man Of Steel was by watching the Super Friends every Saturday morning. I then got to watch the George Reeves "The Adventures Of Superman" on reruns. What really made Superman a favorite of mine was when my mom took my sister and I to see "Superman The Movie". From then on, Superman was and still is, in my top 5 superheros.

Of course, as a kid, I had my share of Superman toys. I don't remember exactly which toys I had, but I certainly remember having the Mego Superman figure. When I started to re-collect Mego figures, Superman was definitely one I had to buy again. Luckily, I was able to pick up Kal-El for a good price off eBay.

This figure is a pretty darn good one. Probably one of the better Mego's in my collection. Everything on Superman is authentic. No repo's on this figure.

This Superman has a good face sculpt. Right down to the spit curl in hair. The emblem sticker was also done right. Not too big, not too small. The look is quintessential Superman.

The is figure has Superman's boots down as well. The perfect shade of red. The trunks, not shown, are also done right, I really believe this is one of the best Superman figures ever done.

If I have a complaint, and it's not really much of one, is the cape is missing the yellow S on the back of the cape. Again, it's not really not a bit deal. The lack of said symbol doesn't take away how cool this figure is.

Mego came out with a lot of Superman stuff aside from this figure. There was a couple of 12 inch figure, a 3 inch figure, a bank, a Fortress Of Solitude play set for the 3 inch figure, a couple of die cast figures and they made figures for Superman 2, including a Christopher Reeve 12 inch figure. They even made a Clark Kent figure that was exclusive to the Montgomery Ward stores which is very rare.

I'm sure with the new movie hitting theaters this summer that there will be a slew of new Superman toys hitting the shelves. To me, I doubt any of them will be as cool as this Superman Mego. It's as close to Kryptonian perfection as one can get.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

1989 Batman Bank

Along with the Mego Batman bank I picked up, the seller had doubled the auction by adding this bank which was given out with the Batman cereal back when Tim Burton's Batman was released back in 1989. I wasn't really looking to add this bank to my Batman collection, but since I had the chance to add 2 vintage Batman banks to my collection I threw in a bid and won for a lot lower than I expected, which is always a good thing.

For those who don't remember the cereal (and if your my age or close to it, how can you not?) The cereal was put out by Ralston as a tie in to the movie. It came with the bank shrink wrapped to the box.

As for the cereal it's self, It seems like the makers decided to just take Cap'n Crunch and make them bat shaped. I remember my mom, knowing I was bat crazy, bought me the cereal. Had she bought me the one that had the bank, I wouldn't have had to pick it up on ebay. But that's another story for another time.

And here's the cereal

And remember kids, no topical oils were added to this... or originality for that matter.

Ok, enough about the cereal. It's been long eaten and digested. Let's talk about this bank. Looking at it, the first thing I notice is the face is a sticker. I'm not too sure that it's a sticker of Michael Keaton either. Plus, his eyes seem to be crossed. Now, I know Batman could not turn his head in the outfit. Maybe he felt if he crossed his eyes he could see from both directions, negating the need to turn his head.

I dig the molded body on this bank. Like the Mego bank, Batman has his arms crossed. I wonder all Batman banks from the 70's and 80's had his arms crossed.

Here is the back of the bank. the coin slot is located in the middle of his shoulders. This is a smaller bank than the Mego one, so this wouldn't have held a lot of coins.

The bottom of the bank. This bank was solid plastic. There was no way of getting your change out. Much like my vintage Spider-Man bank, I'm guessing you would have had to cut a hole somewhere on this bad boy to get your money out. This bank had no holes, so I was able to get a nice solid piece for my collection.

Overall, the bank's face might be a bit weird looking, but I am happy to have it for my collection. I have some of the vehicles from the movie as well as a figure or 2 so I am starting to amass a small Batman movie collection.  Or, if I wanted, I could pick up this cool Batman bust/bank I saw at Chameleon Cards And Comics today so I could have a trifecta of Batman banks. Either way, this was a unique addition to my Batman collection and even though I was really after that Mego bank, I am very glad to have this bank.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mego Mondays: Batman Bank

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to add a vintage Batman piece to my collection for barely the price of a movie ticket. The fact that it was a Mego piece and one that was one my Batman wish list was just the icing on the cake. When the package arrived last week, I tore that box open and was pretty thrilled with the bank.

I knew when I made my bid on the auction that the bank was not in pristine condition. But I really didn't care. The fact that it still has the emblem and there's barely any paint loss on the ban, so that was enough for me to pull the trigger on it.

This is really the only thing wrong with the bank. There seems to be some residue from what appears to be a sticker on it. I could try to clean it up a bit, but I'm afraid of peeling off some paint. I'll figure something out.

The back of the bank looks pretty good. No paint loss or any scratches.

Here's another problem. The plug is missing on the bottom of the bank. I honestly don't remember reading that fact on the auction listing. It's not really a deal breaker. You can't see that the plug is missing while it's standing up.

Overall, I'm very happy with this pick and will look great on my Batman shelf when I put it up. I'm thinking of   doing a shelf switch soon and I want to put up some of my Batman goodies, When I do, I will definitely put up pics on here so you can take a look an offer up opinions.

I'm also doing good with my Batman wish list. I picked up another vintage piece for a steal and will post a blog on it later in the week. Maybe if I'm lucky, I can pick up half the pieces on the list by the end of the year.

A Day Of Monkee Madness

I'm not sure when I became a Monkees fan. I know it was when I was a kid. At school, a buddy of mine used to go to the music room during lunch and listen to records (ask your parents what they were, kids). We would always play Fabien's "Sunshine Superman", The Beatles "Hey Jude", The Kinks "Lola" and The Monkees "I'm A Believer", so I'm guessing it was then because I couldn't get enough of "I'm A Believer". I thought it was the greatest song ever. Then, channel 5 used to run 3 shows back to back to back that would become 3 of my all time favorite TV shows. The 1967 Spider-Man cartoon at 3:30, The 1966 Batman series at 4 and The Monkees at 4:30. That was probably the greatest block of programming because I was in front of the TV every afternoon. Homework? That could wait. I wanted to see what mess the Monkees got themselves into this time. 

I continued to listen to their music as I became a teenager. I even got into the New Monkees back in 1987. But the originals were still awesome and I got caught up Monkee-mania when the shows started airing again on MTV. when a neighbor went to see them at what was Brendan Byrne Arena in NJ (It's now the Izod Center), he bought me back a T-shirt, which I wore to school. The kids rolled their eyes, but I didn't care. I was a fan dammit!

When my buddy George and I started hanging out, I didn't initially tell him I was a Monkee fan.He was a metal head and I wasn't sure if that was going to fly. One day, he and I were in Kmart, just looking around, I found Arista's Monkees Greatest Hits CD, That was Then, This Is Now. I wanted it and was going to buy it. I just didn't want George seeing what I was buying and save myself the ridicule that would follow. I started to slowly walk to the register, trying to hide the CD. George actually came up behind me out of nowhere and asked what I had. Busted! I sheepishly showed him the CD. He asked if it was a Monkees CD. I confirmed it. George looked at it for a few seconds and then admitted he loved the Monkees. Relief! I bought the CD and the Monkees became something we bonded over. 

For the next 23 years, he and I would listen to the music together, see them in concert, buy their merchandise, and mourn the death of Davy Jones together. The Monkees are something I can't see myself enjoying without George to this day. 

Last year, We found out about the Monkees Convention and made plans to go. But life got in the way and we both initially said we would pass. Then, last week, George called me and surprised me with a ticket to the convention, so George, his wife Marge, and I went to the convention today at the Sheraton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. As soon as we got there, we were greeted in front of the hotel

I'm pretty sure it's a reproduction of the famous Monkee mobile, but it was a damn good repo.

We went inside and signed in at the registration desk and got our wristbands for the day. After sitting around downstairs and talked among ourselves we decided to go upstairs and wait in line to get into the dealer room. The line was pretty long by the time we got upstairs.

As soon as we got to the dealer room, I jumped on the line to get Mickey Dolenz's autograph. I have been working on a Monkees 8x10 picture for a few years now, having gotten Peter Tork and Davy Jones to sign it. I needed Dolenz to sign it and today was the day I would get that autograph. I looked across the room and noticed George and Marge on a line across from me. Apparently, they had to wait on another line just to get into the dealer room. The room was crowded with VIP's who paid to get into the dealer room an hour before the general public. 

After waiting a few minutes, I was allowed into the dealer room and lined up by a table where Mickey was appearing. I managed to get off a few shots of him from a distance, as you really weren't allowed to take a pic of him unless you paid for the photo op.

And when I got a bit closer

A few minutes later, I got up to the front of the line and got to meet Mickey. It was truly an honor to meet one of my all time favorite personalities and he was such a nice man. I got to shake his hand and thank him for all the years of music and laughter.

I met up with George and Marge and we wandered around the dealer room, looking at the tables. To be honest, there was not a whole lot. Either the VIP's cleaned up or the dealers didn't really bring much. I did pass by Peter's table and snapped a quick pic of him signing an autograph.

I had met him countless time before, so I didn't meet him today. I saw he was walking around with the use of a cane. I just hope it's nothing too serious. 

I managed to pick up 3 posters for 20 bucks. A Vote For Batman, A Back To The Future and a Green Hornet poster. I'll show those off at another time. They will be used for autographs. I also picked up Season 2 of The Monkees. 

After we headed to the ball room to rest up and was told there would be an opportunity to take a picture with David Cassidy of The Partridge Family if you paid a donation. I was told the woman who made the announcement had a laundry list of rules before taking the picture like, no messing about, leave your stuff behind, get in and out, blah , blah, blah. Cassidy arrived soon after and announced he had a plane to catch soon. He sat down and talked about Davy Jones and how close he got to him the final 5 years of Davy's life.

As you can see, we were pretty far back, so the picture is not the greatest. The yellow blur is Cassidy. 

Cassidy kinda bored me. He went on and on about how depressing it was to be type cast and not being able to find serious work after the Partridge Family and how he understood Davy's frustrations at the same as he was a talented actor and could comfort Jones. Pretty egotistical if you ask me. Then he bought up Jones's daughters and it seemed to me like he was drooling over them, saying how beautiful they were, more than once.. Kind of creeped me out. Then we realized that Cassidy was talking on and on because he had no intention on taking the photographs with the fans. Mickey was taking the stage for a Q & A at 4 pm and it was 3:45 pm at that point, so we decided to grab a bite and end the day.

Here's the small haul

Mickey adding his autograph to my 8x10. He was selling a Monkees drum head for $60.00 signed, which I was considering, but since Davy is gone, I can't get him to sign it. I passed on it for that reason. Just need Mike Nesmith to sign this piece and he is the hardest one to get. I might try to get him to sign when he does his solo show in New York coming soon. If that fails, I do have his autograph on a book he wrote when George and I went to his book signing in the 90's. I could just matte that with the pic and frame them.

Season 2 of the series  which would also be the last. I cannot wait to watch it. Three of my favorite episodes are in Season 2: Fairy Tale, Monstrous Monkee Mash and The Frodius Caper. I highly recommend Fairy Tale. Mike Nesmith in drag as a crabby princess is pretty funny.

Overall, I had a nice time at the convention. I just wish that the dealers had better stuff to sell. I was looking to see if they had the 1:18 Die cast Monkee mobile  the Monkee finger puppets from the 70's, The Monkees hand puppet from the 60's Those are tops on my Monkees wish list and I might have bought them if I found them there. But, meeting a favorite of mine was good enough for me as well as spending time with 2 of the best people in the world. I can't think of any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.