Raging Nerdgasm #319 – flea market finds vol 2

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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The Complicated life of Tom Khayos

The complicated life of Tom Khayos is a collection of writings I’ll be releasing in no particular order. It mainly is to explain how I became me and it will always involve toys, comics, video games and other nonsense.

 
 
The Complicated life of Tom Khayos

 

 
                                         The Ballad of Frankenstein Snake Eyes
 
To tell you the story of Frankenstein Snake Eyes, I have to give you some background on my life. My knowledge of the toy world wasn’t divine intuition, it was cultivated by some key people in my life. My mother and grandmother were very integral in my background as a toy collector and dealer. I would be brought to doll shows as a young child and roam around with them and scout out good finds and when they were set up selling dolls, I could be found under the table taking a nap in between my scouting trips. Both my mother and grandmother taught me how to identify dolls, clothing, accessories and other collectibles as well as know the difference between reproductions and originals. 


 

But there was three other people who taught me just as much as my immediate family members did, those three I considered close enough that I would call them family. One of those three is my friend Doug, a man who has been buying and selling toys longer than I’ve been alive. I met Doug formally in my late teens and he helped me refine my skills as a negotiator and helped me become more savvy when tracking down collections to buy and sell. With his help, I learned just about every trick in the book in the toy world and the convention circuit. With the knowledge I gained from him I consider myself one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the collectible toy industry.  



 

The other two on my short list of honing my skills and cultivating my knowledge of toys and collectibles was my mom’s friends Dena and Helen. Both of them collectors in their own right, I got to know them through their collectibles shop Re-Play Toys. Being young, I looked up to both of them. “This is what I want to do when I grow up!” I thought.Over the years, I grew up hanging around the store pretty much every free moment I had. After school, on the weekends and during the summer I could be found helping out, cleaning, assembling, pricing and selling toys that were brought in and bought by the store. Both ladies were very sweet and treated me very well and I still consider them family to this day and have spent lots of time with them and their families over the years. I learned a lot at the store and still look back fondly at that time in my life. While I may not be doing what I said I wanted to do all those years ago, I’m still involved in the toy world and it probably wouldn’t be that way if they hadn’t helped fuel my passion for this field.
 
And the moment this has all been leading to: The story behind Frankenstein Snake Eyes
 
Recently, Dena had passed away. It was rough on my mother and I, we hadn’t had a family member or someone we considered a family member die since my grandmother’s passing in 2003 and Helen and Dena’s father passing in 2005. Dena had a big impact on my life, she encouraged me to learn more about what was sold in the store and always rewarded my hard work both on store projects and school work. I’d sit around the store with my nose in a collectibles book or Toy Shop magazine and use my recently gained knowledge to piece together dozens of GI Joes, Star Wars figures and vehicles and boxes of loose Transformers. I feel it’s important not to mourn someone’s passing but celebrate their life the way they would have wanted to have been remembered so I dedicated a weekend worth of toy hunting at the flea market to her and went for lunch with my mom to Dena’s favorite restaurant, a little Italian restaurant known as Gino’s. The funeral and wake came and went, the family had their moment of grieving behind them and so came the task of cleaning out Dena’s house. 



 

Re-Play Toys had been closed for nearly 12 years and Dena had decided to take her business online through eBay. I had no idea how business went or even if the title of Re-Play Toys was still being used in any capacity. Dena’s sister Helen still bought and sold toys, collectibles and other nicknacks online but had branched out under her own name online and as I mentioned before I still do conventions and occasionally sell online under my own name but had kind of lost track of what Dena was doing or if she was still involved in the business. I feel kind of bad in a way, like many of you I have grown apart from some of my friends and family.

What was left at her house was distributed among family and friends that it would mean the most to. What I received was something I hadn’t seen in nearly over a decade, Frankenstein Snake Eyes. What I received brought back so many good memories, to the average person it just looks like a cobbled together figure just kind of slapped together but to me it’s a prized possession. The kind of thing I’d run into a burning building to save. I felt it needed to be shared in the only way I felt it could be described, a lengthy blog posting involving a bit of my personal history and a kind of a last tribute to a friend/ family member now gone.



 

No one knows the story behind Frankenstein Snake Eyes. I was under the impression that I had created it out of a pile of leftovers from a GI Joe collection but I found out that I was mistaken. Then I thought possibly Dena had made it during a slow day at the store out of the store’s random pieces box but no one could verify that either. For all I know, Frankie could have showed up this way in a collection but his origin remains a mystery. I had memories of Frankie hanging out at the register at Re-Play Toys and remembering Dena was quite attached to it. People offered money on numerous occasions and even I asked if my day’s work could be paid for with Frankenstein Snake Eyes, but all offers were turned down. No matter wherever it came from, it was very special to her and I felt very honored to inherit this legendary figure. 


 

 
The only thing I’d like to do with the figure is make a vehicle and do a throwback package to put it all in. Let’s face it, most of the cool GI Joe figures came as a pack in with the vehicles in the line. The feel I get from the toy is Frankenstein would command a fairly impressive vehicle that looks  like something out of Mad Max, not so much the missiles and machine guns but something with some muscle and armor. Something along the lines of a modified dump truck with a shovel or cow catcher on the front with armored or spiked hub caps. And then package it up in a classic style box, I feel it would be a fitting tribute to the toy.


And here I sit with this epic figure, still admiring it like I did all those years ago. An heirloom piece of local toy history from what I gather. I wouldn’t change anything about it’s scratched paint job, loose joints or anything else about it; it’s this way for a reason and I’d only fix it if it became broken for some reason. I happen to be significantly younger than a good portion of the local toy collectors in the Tampa area but they all remember the rag tag unofficial mascot of Re-Play Toys hanging out by the register, holding on to the business cards or hanging off of the cup full of pens. Just commenting on it to my small group of friends who are toy collectors brought up a lot of nostalgic moments with them as well. They all remembered how cool the store was and how nice Dena and her sister Helen were to anyone who came in the shop. It had traveled from their original shop at the Floriland Mall Flea Market to their shop off of Busch boulevard to Dena’s house and finally into my possession. I’ll really cherish it for the rest of my life and it will always remind me of one of the key people in my life who helped me develop the deep appreciation I have for toys and their history.


**written June 2012

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Star Wars Figures 2012

Star Wars Podrager Pilots by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585325274/

Star Wars Podrager Pilots by Hasbro008

Star Wars The Clone Wars Battlepacks Assault on Geonosis by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585725303/

Star Wars The Clone Wars Battlepacks Assault on Geonosis by Hasbro001

Star Wars The Clone Wars Kul Teska by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585330104/

Star Wars The Clone Wars Kul Teska by Hasbro012

Star Wars Yavin Pilot Pack by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585729751/

Star Wars Yavin Pilot Pack by Hasbro004

wp 5 random figs

5 random action figures- the 2nd coming

(more pictures of what’s below and more here)

Mr Bones, MMPR evil space alien

I’m not even sure why they subtitled any of these guys as “evil space alien”. Most of them were made from clay in Finster’s workshop (yeah, I just went there. Sentai nerd out) and never existed before that. I mean I guess they were from space (the Moon), they were evil and they weren’t from this Earth (I think it’s stretching the title “alien” but maybe that’s just me). Overall, I enjoyed the MMPR series and wished they had kept making a 9 inch figure out of every monster they fought. In the end, they selected a good bunch of Rita’s minions to produce but some left even the young Tom Khayos asking “why?”. I love King Sphinx and Goldar but Baboo and Finster in the 9 inch scale were let downs. Those two never fought anyone, they were better known for cowering and running for cover. They didn’t even make a Rita figure, a huge disappointment to both me and every other fan of the series.

Mr Bones was by far my favorite one Bandai made. I liked creepy looking characters and what’s creepier than a giant skeleton in a pimp hat, pimp cape and a giant sword? Not much else if you ask me, this figure was 100% awesome. So awesome in fact that my first one’s cape ripped and I asked for a replacement one for Christmas the same year. I wanted one to keep pretty and one to play with, made sense to me. Mr Bones embodies everything I enjoyed about the series, over the top bad guys that didn’t have to make sense. All they had to do was look bad ass and Mr Bones was certified bad ass.

Amanaman from Star Wars: Power of the Force 1983

Amanaman was probably one of my first real toy pursuits. I’ve always been a laid back collector but when I “discovered” the vintage Star Wars line in the early 90s, I was dead set in getting one of each figure. Most were easy to find and cheap to buy, back before the nostalgia kicked in around 1996; common ones were a buck or two a piece complete but harder to find Power of the Force figures fetched higher prices. I remember paying $15-$20 for a Death Star Gunner and $12 each for the couple of Ewoks from the final 19 figures in the complete collection. Some were worth even more than that, and being during a time before eBay you were at the mercy of the dealer.

Amanaman was one of those figures that didn’t show up often at all. I’d see them at the collectibles shows but I was always just shy of affording him. I think I paid $45 for mine in 1992, it was worth every penny to round out the collection. Granted I didn’t count Yak Face or Blue Snaggletooth because they were special figures, either only available in a catalog or overseas markets. I liked him a lot and still do. I always sort of related that he was some kind of banana peel alien from who knows where. I know he’s closer in appearance to a snake or a cobra with stubby ET legs and long orangutan like arms but I like my concept better. But, he was the first toy I felt accomplished bringing home. Also, he was the most I spent on one piece outside of a video game at that time in my life.

Major Munch from Food Fighters by Mattel

Picking a favorite Food Fighter is like saying pick you favorite child, how can you hold one higher than the others? Luckily, I’m a ruthless bastard with little regard for feelings. I like Major Munch for dozens of boring reasons. I like him because he’s tall and not squat like Mean Wennie. I also like that there is a pink frosted variant. Look at his face, LOOK AT IT. He will eat your soul! I could go on but I’ll stop short of boring you. I have soft spot for humanoid food items locked in what seems to be a never ending warfare in my fridge.

Toy Biz Onslaught

I was the right age when Toy Biz released the X-Men toys back in the 90s. I was an impressionable lad, ripe for being sucked into the general brand-whoring of the Generation X gap. I had them all, what ones I didn’t buy with my own allowance or chore money I asked to get them for birthdays and Christmas. Very few illuded me, those that did were eventually re-released or came out with an updated sculpt or paint job. All save one, Onslaught. he was certainly a bigger figure than most released around the same time. Not taller by much but certainly wider and heavier too. He bordered on being one of the largest basic figures released outside of a deluxe line-up.

I didn’t come across Onslaught until a few years ago. I was too cheap to pay eBay prices for a loose and complete figure. Even if the price was right, shipping pushed the final total way out of a reasonable range. These figures were fun and the only source for comic book related toys for a decade. They pale in comparison to what’s available today and look a little silly when stood against their better sculpted and articulated counterparts but there’s still a slight charm about them. Especially the bigger ones.

Gundam SD Devil Gundam

I’m not going to even try to lie, I love the Gundam series but I know squat about it. My wife on the other hand is like 3 series shy of having watched every saga they’ve made to date. I just like robots and the crazier the better. Something has to catch my eye, make it stand out from the group. When I say I like robots, I’m very selective. I like Gundams but I’m picky about which Transformers I buy. I love everything about Shogun Warriors but much rather buy one of the 2 foot tall robots than 10 of the smaller 3-5 inch tall ones.

One day toy hunting my wife and I came upon a box full of disassembled SD Gundams. Normally my ADD would have kicked in and I would have walked off without buying a single one but after seeing my wife enjoying piecing together a couple of them made me want to jump in. We stood there in the summer sun for 20 minutes piecing together 33 SD Gundams. Now, once again I’m picky when it comes to Gundam figures. I like the models but they either need to be never opened or put together by a professional or if I buy the figures I prefer the figurines or vinyl figures. These fit the bill of my long list of prerequisites but the Devil Gundam stood out amongst the crowd.

In comparison he’s the biggest one of all, with a segmented body and crab claws. Also the rear of the figure opens to display a launchpad  for the other SD Gundams to literally fly out of his ass.

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Stuff I Consider Bullshit: How I Feel About Toy Karma

It’s a word I hear thrown around a lot, toy karma. I don’t think it really hit it’s stride till the popularity of the Toy Hunter show. I don’t care for the Toy Hunter show and I’ll go into greater detail in the near future. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I hadn’t really heard of the term till it’s repeated use on the show. Now I hear everyone talk about it, throwing it around but I’m fairly sure they don’t know what they are talking about. I have to say that when I hear it, I wince and close whatever tab on my browser it came from. I hear it and I’m almost feel like it’s some kind of open-ended threat like, “Oh yeah, send me something good and I’ll get around to sending you something junky that you’ll just have to accept because it’s a trade in good faith.” Seriously, it’s shit like that I’ve dealt with personally and it makes me sick. Almost to the point of just not dealing online.

Firstly, I need to get something clear, I am nowhere near stingy. I have random giveaways and I always pack the boxes with extras. Everytime I pack a box for a sale or a trade, it gets filled with extra goodies. Every transaction that leaves my house gets a little something extra packed it. I don’t think of this as toy karma, I think of this as being a decent person. Early in my toy dealing career I would do business with some friends I made overseas. I’d get whatever Godzilla or Ultraman figure I was buying but I’d also get like an old magazine (sometimes a month old or a few years old), some candy, another smaller toy….just whatever. I came to find out it’s a very Eastern way of doing business. Later on I’d see KidRobot adhere to the same cultural ideal when doing business with them. Which I have to say the Dunny Swatch we got from them was the coolest thing in the box and we didn’t even order it. It’s a way of life I adhered to a while back and I don’t expect anything in return, I think I’d feel bad for expecting someone to reciprocate when it wasn’t part of the agreed deal in the first place.

Now, this last year I had gotten sucked into five open-ended trades. Two panned out and to be honest I felt like it was a little one sided when you give six vintage Star Wars figures and get modern Happy Meal toys from the last couple of years or incomplete 90s Toy Biz Marvel figures. And somehow I feel like a poor sport complaining but I’d rather had held onto my vintage extras and I sent the pile of Croods Happy Meal toys back to the sender and terminated communication with them. The other three never came to fruition and it’s probably for the best. I’m not going to hound someone to come through on their end of a deal, I’m just going to remember it down the line when something else comes up. Everything I’ve given away (and that’s how I pretty much consider it because I donated those toys when it comes down to it) I’m not going to miss, I’ve got plenty of stuff to burn through but I do have to say I’m personally insulted.

I have to say the personal insult I’ve endured is what makes the phrase a turn off for me. And I know people who don’t mean it in the way my brain has misconstrued it and I know I can’t be the only person that has gotten seriously jipped in one of these transactions.

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