Suckerman : a review 23 years in the making!

   

I will be the first to say that I have very few wants that go unanswered. It’s the result of a lifetime having to budget myself and using my hobby to feed my hobby by selling lesser pieces for something more desirable. I often do hit walls where certain toys are just either not worth the price tag to me or just simply having eyes bigger than my wallet; sometimes you just have to let go of the desire to have a 4 foot tall Gamera in your living room. I’ve nearly had my hands on everything I ever wanted by having a really good working relationship with other sellers and collectors, mainly because I understand everyone needs to make money and not being afraid to put money on the table for something I really want. But there’s been one piece that’s eluded me for years, just because it’s importance slipped further and further down my want list. I happily added him to the collection this month for $15.

Suckerman was released by Mattel in 1978 to combat the influx of space and alien themed toys brought on by the Star Wars craze. Granted Mattel was riding the wave of their imported Shogun Warriors, but was dabbling in some house brand characters to lead their sales. In this time they created unique boys toys like Grey-Gory the Vampire Bat and Krusher but they needed an alien to spearhead an outerspace line up. Aptly named Suckerman, his rubery, lanky body is covered in 26 suction cups, giving him the uncanny ability to stick to nearly any smooth surface with ease. Sadly though, Suckerman was the only character in the line. He was released in a rainbow of different colors, hardest to find in black and glow in the dark but easier to find in other colors.

(you can tell it’s Mattel!)

With Mattel’s history being a predominantly girl brand company they had some success in the late 60s with a little line known as Major Matt Mason, which would have been perfect for a reboot in the late 70s but Mattel opted for something fresh. It was a cool idea, the package encouraged you to throw him against the wall and watch him in action and the sculpting was really decent; you could tell they had a lot of faith in Suckerman not failing them at retail. The more I look at him, to me he screams 60s sci-fi with his scaly skin and fanged bat-like head. Suckerman’s legacy at Mattel wasn’t as illustrious as say He-Man but it’s still a worthy footnote in toy history, he just had the rotten luck of being created in the wrong decade.

In person, Suckerman lives up to the hype I created in my head over this toy. I can imagine being much younger I would have had a ball with it. As an adult, I mostly use it to creep my wife out by sticking him to the wall in the shower or to the bedroom ceiling fan, which is equally fulfilling to my inner child. Suckerman looks great next to the toys of that era like Stretch Armstrong, Grey-Gory, Krusher, Micronauts, and assorted Mego and other 8 inch figure lines of the era. The only problem I’ve encounted so far is properly displaying Suckerman. He doesn’t stand on his own and the suction cup gives out after a little while, so I’m stuck on how to display him.

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Stuff I Consider Bullshit : Power-Con Pandhandling

Within the last week, I’ve seen several blogs pleading for people to support Power-Con. I’m all for conventions and celebrations of Fandom but it seems like every time He-Man is attached to something in the realm of any media, someone is begging and pleading for something. I’m also all for drumming up support for a worthy cause but it seems like this may be the end of the line for He-Man. It’s had a good run over the last decade or more with the 200X revival, the Four Horsemen Studios, NECA, the Classics line, and successful years of Power-Con. That’s all stuff to be proud of especially those involved at the top, but as the image says “all toy lines must end”.

I love supporting Fandoms, even when they are things that aren’t my interest. I give away My Little Pony figures, give away tickets to conventions to people who’d enjoy it more than I would, and I cover a wide range of toys and collectibles on my website. I liked He-Man when I was growing up, I did like Thundercats better but everyone seems to have better memories of He-Man for some reason. In the passing years the fans have been wanting a new He-Man cartoon and figure line but when it comes time to support it, they get fickle about pulling out their wallets. But it’s a great struggle, Mattel pulls support from their lines due to lack of support from the fans and fans pull their support due to lack of product released by Mattel. It’s a vicious cycle but in the end it boils down to best business practices in favor of Mattel. Granted, Mattel has shown their ass on a couple of instances with the He-Man lines so maybe the fans wavering support is warranted.

(remember this bullshit?)

Those in charge of Power-Con have not wowed me over the last few years. There’s been a lot of in-fighting between different groups, the openly trashing of Emiliano Santalucia, the main people in charge of the website heman.org treating the Fandom like their own personal sandbox (which is fine by my account but many people haven’t felt like it’s fair), and the constant asking for monetary support to keep things afloat. You’re not good enough to be one of us but do you have some money to spare to help us keep this place up and running is a paradox worthy of a thousand face-palms. I’ve enjoyed my visits but after they trashed Emiliano, things took a turn for the worse. Power-Con has had the feeling of a private party you’re begrudgingly invited to.

(but to be clear, this guy is still a dumb ass)

Conventions aren’t that hard to put together, the hardest part is securing and paying celebrity talent to show up. I won’t go into long details but even a complete moron can run a show and break even in the end, even if that means putting your own money into the show and paying yourself back from the receipts. If you’re any good at what you do with conventions you can make a decent living off of them. With the poor planning by moving the convention across the country to New York from California and not opting for having TMNT be a part of the convention (in a movie year no less) are two of the many reason I’d point my finger to if the convention fails.

(I just like this photo, all credit to the artist.)

In the end, He-Man is a fringe interest. It’s a strong fringe interest but still not strong enough to carry itself like Star Wars or one of the major comic book stories out there. I don’t like seeing things fail that bring people happiness and generate a buzz for anything to do with toys or anything 80s or 90s. But in the end it won’t be the fan’s fault if Power-Con goes broke, it’ll be those who made the bad decisions in the first place.

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MOTU Caste Grayskull Video

Raging Nerdgasm #306 – RNG Custom vintage MOTU Castle Grayskull

RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos flikr images of https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157645008086828/

RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos

RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos (1)

RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos (3)

RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos (4)

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RNG Custom Paint Master of the Universe Castle Gray Skull by Ana Khayos - Completed

5 RaNdOm AcTiOn FiGuReS

Forgotten Prisoner Jiggler

I like jigglers. For those who don’t know what they are; jigglers are rubbery figurines from the 60s and 70s that often have an elastic cord to hang them from and have the pleasant smell of gasoline (yuck). You can usually find them made into animals or sometimes superheroes but my favorite category are the horror jigglers. The horror jigglers were always twisted and grotesque looking representing different types of maniacs, corpses, demons or even the Universal Monsters. They are one of my favorite sub-genres of vintage toys.

The Forgotten Prisoner jiggler I’ve had for as long as I can remember. Originally I found it in a pile of Halloween decorations at a thrift store when I was really young and I was nearly a grown man before I found out what he really was. I like the strange and unusual toys and this one was never disappointing. Along with my Callisto from Major Matt Mason, these two pieces followed me to college. It may have only lasted a semester but it was fun while it lasted. I hung him from my rear-view mirror because no matter how rare a toy may be it’s still just a toy. I took him out of the car a week later when I thought I had a fuel line leak and found out it was the stench of the Forgotten Prisoner.

Hasbro Ultimate Warrior

It seems I write a lot abut wrestling figures, which is funny because I didn’t own too many growing up. I may have owned 4 or 5 until I was 16 and started working at KB Toys. My parents had no problem with me watching it, hell the reason I didn’t own a ton of wrestling figures as a child was because I was told I could either rent the pay-per-views and go to the live events or own the toys. I picked having the real experience instead of just playing with the toys. Anyways, in my adult years I bought a lot of wrestling figures and sold off all but my LJNs and the few Hasbro figures I obtained over the years.

The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most intense wrestlers of the mid 80s to early 90s. Crazy, day glow face paint and wearing enough tassels to make a girl’s bike envious, the Ultimate Warrior was one of the more memorable characters from the WWF. Even his anti-smoking ads with him ripping a cigarette box apart with his teeth was so out there they only played it a couple of times. Hasbro made a few different Ultimate Warrior figures, I always liked this one with the gorilla press slam feature. Just the ability for a figure to throw another one clear across the ring was the coolest thing in my mind. I also like that they got his “tan in a spray can” color just right on the figure. That shade of orange is a really happy color.

Demolition Man Simon Phoenix

Say what you will about me but when I think of my top 10 favorite disotopian themed futuristic movies, Demolition Man is damn near around 6 or 7 on my list. The figures could have been better. OK, the figures have about as much to do with the movie as alcohol at a Mormon wedding but what can you say; they were re-purposed New Adventures of He-Man figures for the most part. I never owned any of these figures till recently, I never had any interest in tracking them down. I came across Simon in a $1 bin at a yard sale, I still feel like I may have overpaid. My wife said he looks Puerto Rican and nothing like Wesley Snipes.

Also, I’m very disappointed in Mattel for not giving us a Glenn Shaddix figure. Are you telling me I must trudge through life using my Otho figure for every Shaddix worthy moment?

DC Comics Superheroes Two-Face

I’ve always loved this ridiculous figure. He embodies everything I liked about Two-Face when I was a kid reading Detective Comics. The two-toned suit, the disfigured green face and the absurdly huge dime in his hand. Wait, what? Every figure in the Toy Biz DC Superheroes line had to have an action feature or they were just a boring piece of plastic, right? Come on Toy Biz, you let Riddler get away with being packaged with fortune cookie fortunes so why did you have to fuck with Two-Face?

I enjoyed this toy as a kid strange enough. I know my parents hated the whiny grind of the gears turning Two-Face’s oversized dime. Especially because I would use him to make decisions like a magic 8 ball. I also really liked the Bob the Goon figure from the same line and hated the Hawkman figure so let that sink in about what kind of kid I was. In closing I will say the fact Two-Face didn’t even have the option of an open hand to hold a gun was a disappointment.

Pizza Face from TMNT

This was my absolute, all time favorite TMNT figure made from 1988-1996. The only thing I could say is while some of the figures were mutants based on animals or intergalactic creatures from other worlds, Pizza Face is just gruesome. Missing a leg and a pinkie figure along with bad teeth and probably poor personal hygiene habits, this guy looked like a walking health code violation. In a book I picked up a few years back that was a production “bible” for the first 5 years of TMNT figures it showed Pizza Face was supposed to have a removable chef’s hat and “alien” head under it which would have made the figure even cooler but was probably cut to keep costs down.

The cleaver was also my favorite accessory from the line outside of the errant plunger you might come across.

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Masters of the Universe Classics Optikk

Foreword –

Those of you that have followed my blogs know my love/hate (or hate/love) for the new Masters of the Universe Classics line. But in light of Masters of the Universe day, I’ve put aside my biased views and decided to join my toy brethren from the many sites across the internet in a general celebration of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

While being born in 1982, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe occupied a lot of my young life. One of the happiest photos I have of myself is opening a Skeletor and Panthor set, I couldn’t be more than 4 years old. It was my first nerdgasm, look at my face in the photos and feel the intensity. I remember not caring much for the cartoon though. I liked the figures and owned (and still do) every figure made in the line, from Wonder Bread He-Man to Laser Light He-Man and beyond. My main fault with the cartoon was I wasn’t much of a sword and sorcery kind of kid. I liked spacemen and mutants and robots. Sure there was Roboto and some of the good and bad guys were cybernetic or mechanical but magic didn’t impress me much. Later in the 80s the New Adventures of He-Man came on the air and I was hooked. Spaceships, mutant creatures, lasers and other cool stuff kept me coming back every episode. The only bad thing was the Ne Adventures figures weren’t all that compatible with the older He-Man line, the main reason I didn’t buy into it until I found loose figures at yard sales or flea markets the years following the inevitable end of He-Man. My favorite figures from the 80s still consist of Sagitar, Hoove, and Slush Head. But there’s one that upped the creepy factor and translated very well to the Classics line.

 

 

Optikk remains a very popular figure in my mind, both the original and the classics version. Where the 4 Horsemen (the sculptors of the line) excel is in their presentation of a classics figure’s modern update. They do everything in their power to stay true to the source material and this figure doesn’t disappoint. The lone eye sits cradled in the divot atop the shoulders of the robot suit Optikk uses to get around in. The body is the same basic body you’ve come to expect from the MOTUC line but what sets this figure apart is the soft chest cover that hides the majority of the muscular buck underneath. Keeping true to the original figure there’s plenty of rivets, hoses, and layers of sculpted “scrap metal” that makes up the exterior of the exo-suit and it’s all topped with a very nice copper toned paint in varying shades. The eye is removable and interchangeable with an additional eye packaged with the figure featuring a different colored iris. Also packaged with the figure is a faithful reproduction of the original laser rifle, perfect down to the sculpted cylinder (which always made me second guess the workings of a laser gun; such as are there laser bullets or is it all battery powered.). Also included is a shield which is a very nice touch. It’s very radar dish shaped with a domed center, very fitting  for a guy who’s little more than an eye.

Optikk was always a favorite of mine from the original New Adventures line but this figure holds significance in it’s own right. If you’ve read some of my blogs, you’ll get a theme that most toys in my collection hold a small story behind them and MOTUC Optikk is no exclusion to that. In the spring of 2010 when this figure came out I was laid up for nearly 3 months with acute liver poisoning. No explanation,  no real diagnosis, I just turned yellow and laid in bed sort of wasting away. The monthly packages from Matty Collector helped pass the time but deeper into my illness the toys just seemed like they weren’t helping my mood. That sort of changed when I got Optikk. I remembered the good times I had with the original figure and while most of the figures from my Matty Collector boxed were piled up beside my bed unopened, this sucker was ripped open immediately. He was my buddy throughout my recovery, carried him in my pocket anywhere I went (much like the original one) and about a month later I was back on my feet and fully recovered. I’m not saying he was the cure or anything but Walter Peck from Ghostbusters came in the same box and he didn’t get opened till that Fall. And who needs a figure of the dickless guy who tried to shut down the Ghostbusters while they are slowly dying?

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