Base of Operations: OB1og
History: Grumpy and intimidating software/web developer by day, whiney and sassy Xbox gamer by night, OB1 is a semi-closeted toy geek. If it weren’t for the huge amounts of cake he already blows on comic books every month, he’d probably be blowing it on toys. In fact, it is due to the G.I. Joe toys and cartoons that he finds himself buried in stacks of yet-to-be-read comic books and presumably thousands upon thousands of dollars poorer. Paper route earnings were put into G.I. Joe comics and that led to the rest of the Marvel Universe. It circled back to toys with the release of McFarlane’s original Spawn figure (which he still believes is one of the best he’s ever seen). Neglecting his blog and comics at the expense of increasing his Gamerscore at night with Poe and Mistah Plow, he dreams that his toys never come to life and exact revenge for being boxed up in the basement.
What was the first action figure you remember owning?
I got a Spider-man figure for my seventh birthday (second grade). He was probably eight to ten inches, had a cloth costume and a knob on his back, which when turned, would spin his arms around (I’m guessing for some kind of punchy motion). Some time around my last few years of high school I found out from my friend that gifted him to me that he was forced into it. Spidey was supposed to be one of his Christmas presents, but his mother wrapped it up as a gift for my party when he needed one. He never got a Spidey of his own and apparently still held some resentment. That’s too bad too because since my birhtday is just a few weeks before Christmas, Spidey ended up at the bottom of my toybox after Christmas (see Question 5).
Oh, and for first action figure memories (because I didn’t own them), it is some original G.I. Joe dolls. You know, the twelve-inch suckers where you could put different clothes on and outfit with weapons, etc. My grandmother’s house had a few of them and I laid claim to them when I would visit.
What was your favorite toy fad growing up, and why? (Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Transformers etc.)
This is a tough one. Ultimately, I’d have to say LEGO, but that wasn’t really a fad and since this is an action figure-centric site, I’ll go with Star Wars, just because it lasted past childhood. Of course, I was into G.I. Joe and the Transformers a lot–thanks to the cartoons–and I amassed a decent collection of those toys, more Joes than Transformers, but those also came later in my *childhood* years and I started feeling funny about wanting to play with toys as a kid in high school. Of course, now, it ain’t no thing, right?
I have fond memories of my Joe’s. I had the hovercraft and I used to take it with me when my Mom would work nights at our athletic club. I’d take that sucker into the locker room and play with it in the jacuzzi. That all seems very wrong these days. Transformers don’t lend such fond memories as they caused my juvenile run-in with the law. I was the unfortunate bag man accomplice for my friend boosting the Autobot that turned into a microscope. We got busted at the Hanover Mall Zayre’s by security as we exited the store. A call to the parents instead of the fuzz was our reward.
Anyway, back to Star Wars, I think I have to go with that because I was big into them for the first two films–I don’t think I owned any toys from Jedi–and it caused a resurgence in my toy buying when those films were re-released 10+ years ago. I found myself buying a lot of figures and vehicles I used to have when I was a kid. I still can’t explain why, except maybe it was because I was already having a toy buying resurgence due to McFarlane’s Spawn figures.
Too bad there weren’t Star Wars LEGO sets when I was a kid, that would have been right in my wheelhouse. Instead, I settled for the first Space sets, which at the time, were pretty cool too.
What’s the last toy you bought?
A Star Wars Galactic Heroes two-pack with the middle-aged Obi-Wan Kenobi and a Clone Trooper. We had a little bowling tournament at work this past Spring and our trophies were a Galactic Hero (or their Marvel equivalent) glued onto a Jenga block (we played it during team building/status meetings). Anyway, I had Yoda for being on the first place team and a Clone Trooper for having the lowest individual score (yeah, my team was really good). Well, me being me, I wasn’t satisfied with the Yoda, so I had to replace him with an Obi-Wan if I was going to display them at work. (No one would know the difference.)
Last toy I received was McFarlane Toys’ Manny Ramirez. I believe Poe (or future Mrs. Ghostal) stole him from me during a Yankee Swap and the person that bought it gave me a replacement for my birthday a week later. Now I might need a Big Papi and worry this may snowball…
If they made an action figure of you, what would it look like, what would its features be, and what accessories would it come with?
Well, to look at me, you have to go with a figure looking something like Jack “The Pumpkin King” Skellington because I’m tall and almost as pale. I’m not quite as lanky as I used to be, but it is still a good fit. As for accessories, I think you’d have to have a DSLR and a laptop for sure, then let’s throw in a ray gun of some sort for fun.
What’s your fondest toy-related holiday memory?
Christmas of ’78. I’m a fresh seven years old and am somehow rewarded with a huge bounty of Star Wars toys under the tree. Coming from a single parent home, we didn’t have a whole lot of money at all and I probably had a haul that was on par with a rich kid. It’s a vivid memory because that year I remember asking Santa simply for an X-Wing, Tie Fighter and a few figures, probably Luke, Vader, Han and Chewie. After Santa laughed at me and I got booted down the slide, my Mom asked what I asked Santa for and I refused to tell her. She calmly explained that I had to tell her and of course I didn’t know why. (I think we’ve all had that moment.) Well, I relented and told her.
Come Christmas morning, I stumbled out into the living room and saw those same toys I asked Santa for staring back at me from under the tree. All of them. That’s before I started opening anything wrapped. (In my family, Santa leaves things unwrapped under the tree.) Once I started unwrapping, I added the Landspeeder, a Dewback, Stormtrooper, Leia, Obi-Wan, R2-D2, C-3PO and an action figure case. I’m pretty sure I have never been as happy in the 29 years since that morning. I was just blown away by that take and to this day, I still don’t know how my Mom pulled it off. I mean, that was just after the toys came out–remember that the toys dropped a year after the film did–and everyone had to wait in lines before stores opened to get their mitts on these things.
Anyway, I hope to do the same thing to my own future spawn and it would be super cool if it were by way of the action figure.