Purloined Letters > Toy storage, the MOTU movie, and bad toy memories

poe-sack

I looked over a huge list of comic book letter column titles for inspiration for that title. Ultimately, I think “Going Postal” is still probably the cleverest one, but given the origin of that term and current events I think it’s in even poorer taste than “Poe’s Sack.” So I decided to play up the Edgar Allan Poe side of things and go with “Purloined Letters.” It should be noted, however, that these letters are not actually purloined – they were sent to me by readers of their own free will.

Before we get to the letters, I just want to mention that PGPoA will be on autopilot next week as I take a little break. There will be reviews and I’ll probably check in occasionally to reply to comments, but I won’t be keeping up with newsbreaks and so forth (unless it’s something really spectacular).

Also, due to some back-end stuff I’m working on, you may notice a little website slowness over the weekend and into next week, but it should be too bad.

Anyway, on to the emails!

Given that you rotate your display, how do you store the loose toys you’re not displaying? Have you ever had any yellowing or sweating/sticky/breaking down plastic surprises when you’ve pulled something out of storage after a long while? I know toys will age and show wear like all things, but it’s still kind of the worst. I’ve seen people online say that storing in cardboard boxes can cause these problems, and others saying that storing in plastic bags or containers can cause them, so I’m not sure what’s left really.
–Ferris

I store all my loose toys in sandwich bags, although I intend to move them to acid-free bags as soon as I can afford to. I don’t actually own all that many toys, to be honest – I’m willing to bet many, perhaps even most, Poesters have more toys than I do.

As for discovering ruined toys, I’ve run into this many times. While I was in college and for years afterward until I settled down to a long-term apartment with DMG, I left all my old toys in my parents’ attic. Well, as you might guess, that attic gets damned hot in the summer, and many of those toys ended up either melting entirely or having their joints fuse, making the limbs immobile.

Probably the most annoying recent break I ran into was when I pulled out a few of my old Mezco Goon figures recently. The Goon’s gloved hands broke off at the plugs, while the Zombie Priest’s head broke right off. I think they might have been saved had I been more careful with them, but they had been so soft and pliable before it didn’t even occur to me that there could be a problem.

Anyway, as for a solution to your problem, the aforementioned acid-free bags are an expensive but, from what I hear, reliable solution.

I was a huge fan of MOTU growing up in the mid-eighties. Today, my interest is confined to appreciating photos of the new toys on sites like yours.

I’m curious about what you hope for and expect from a feature film, if it ever takes off. Fanboys clamor for faithfulness to the source material, but what we really want is for the property to be taken seriously (with a big budget) while retaining certain core elements of the original. This usually means taking things much more seriously than was ever intended.

I could imagine some really cool environments being developed based on the old packaging. The early, core characters are fairly adaptable to a ‘serious’ action flick. . . you can even see that working in the Dolph Lundgren film, if only for fleeting moments.

The cartoon and pretty much all of the other toys are remarkably silly, enough to make many super heroes seem like Schindler’s List by comparison. If a movie were to embrace more of the He-Man universe and stay even somewhat true to the source material, it would be very camp.

I’m a huge fan of the Adam West Batman (a pretty faithful translation of that era’s comics), so I’d really enjoy that if it was done well. However, I suspect that few MOTU fans would respond positively to that approach (they’d probably be less offended if someone kicked over their mother’s headstone).

Sorry that ran a little long. Anyways, what do you want to see?

Best, Matt

P.S. Not sure who I’d cast as He-Man, but I’d love to see Rainn Wilson play Skeletor.

To be honest, I’ve never found the idea of a blockbuster He-Man movie plausible. The problem starts with the very name – He-Man. While I can just barely manage to take it seriously thanks to  a childhood association of “He-Man” with “awesome badass hero,” that’s not how it is for most people. I think it would be just too damned hard to sell in today’s snark-soaked, Twitter-obsessed culture.

I mean, before we even try to deal with stuff like a protagonist named “He-Man,” you have to take into account how many fantasy films fail compared to those that succeed. Successful, high-profile heroic fantasy films include ExcaliburConan the Barbarian (1982), Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit, and…that’s all I can think of.

Then there’s this litany of critical and/or financial failures: DragonslayerConan the Destroyer, Krull, Masters of the Universe, Kull the Conqueror, Dungeons and Dragons, The Scorpion King, Eragon, Conan The Barbarian (2011), and so on. There’s something about the heroic fantasy genre, particularly in film, that makes people approach it with skepticism at best. Many seem to find it inherent risible, and it’s very hard to overcome that – and having your lead character be called “He-Man” and your villain called “Skeletor” isn’t going to help.

On the other hand, I think American fantasy films have been way too obsessed with “realism” for a while now. If the filmmakers of any future MOTU movie could fight off the urge to make go “grim ‘n gritty” Game of Thrones-style and just embrace the fantasy of Eternia, it’s entirely possible they could create something people would love. Oooorrrr they could “embrace the camp” and it could turn out like Dungeons and Dragons.

I should mention, DC Comics is basically testing whether MOTU can be successfully adapted for a broader audience with their current miniseries. I’m waiting until the eventual trade comes out to review the whole story.

1. What is your worst toy memory?

Mine is probably when I was attacked by a flock of seagulls at an lighthouse. We were eating lunch and a few of them flew at me. One grabbed my clam cake, and another one stole the Raphael action figure clutched in my hand. And then proceeded to drop it on some rocks and it shattered.

2. Why do you review toys? Are there other products you review?

3. Have you seen the Hobbit yet?

JesterGoblin

1. Probably the story I told last time of breaking my beloved vinyl Godzilla. Although I also distinctly recall watching my Omega Supreme fall from the top bunk into the toy box, breaking its visor along the way down. I certainly never lost a toy to a waterfowl, though. It must have thought it was a real turtle! Good thing there were no Greek tragedians around, otherwise your Raphael might have become a murderer.

2. I used to write a lot of movie reviews for my now-defunct website, Biggerboat. I review toys because they’re my main hobby and I enjoy writing. I wish there were a deeper answer than that, but there just isn’t. As for reviewing anything else, I’ve sometimes wanted to write about the occasional movie or comic, but I don’t like to do it here (it dilutes the site’s content – I get better traffic and loyalty by retaining a laser-like focus on my niche) and my attempts at starting other blogs have consistently failed.

3. Not yet – supposed to see it tomorrow. Which is kind of funny, really, because when The Fellowship of the Ring came out I was crazy, crazy into LOTR and fantasy in general. I saw it opening weekend and then saw it another three or four times. I saw each of the sequels at least three times as well.

But my “fantasy period” (which began in 1994 when I first read Lord of the Rings and began playing Magic: The Gathering) petered out around 2004, after both the Lord of the Rings films and the Millennium Masters of the Universe revamp had ended. I’ve never been able to get as obsessed about fantasy again, even during the height of MOTUC mania. I’ve gone through a Hellboy/horror era (2004-2007), a DC superheroes era (2007-2009), and obviously a MOTU era for the last few years (I’m now in something of a Godzilla/kaiju era), but I’ve never gotten back to an overall “fantasy fiction” era. I’m not sure if it will ever come back; Transformers and Star Wars haven’t yet, and those were two of my greatest loves as a child.

Which toyline’s longevity has surprised you most? Also the inverse: Which toyline’s demise surprised you?
@nomorenames01

Well, one toyline’s longevity that amazes me is Street Fighter. While I do own a couple Street Fighter figures and thought SOTA’s line was amazing, the idea that four different companies (Resaurus, SOTA, NECA, and Jazwares) jumped on this license long after the Street Fighter II mania of the early 1990s mystifies me. I guess once Street Fighter IV came out it made a little more sense, but SOTA was done with the license by then.

The same goes for Mortal Kombat, which is still getting figures from Jazwares. The idea that Jazwares’ Sonic the Hedgehog line is still going surprises me as well.

I think the swift toyline demise that surprised me most was Mezco’s comic Hellboy. With a popular movie under his belt and with his comic at the height of popularity in the mid-’00s, Hellboy should have easily been able to carry that toyline to another couple of waves. I suspect Mezco had a rather high profit threshold they had to hit to make the line worthwhile, and I question their character selection, but that line seems like an obvious winner. Maybe I’m overestimating Hellboy’s popularity, though.

Is there one toy you think all your other toys are probably attracted to? Do you put it on a separate shelf?
–Vision Impossible

If I were Bill Simmons, this would be where I’d write, “Yep, these are my readers.”

To answer your question, I think I rotate my displays too often for this to be an issue. But if I had to pick two: Battleground Teela and Vikor. They’ve both got that hot sword-and-sorcery hunk ‘n babe thing going on.

And so, that’s it for this week. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

11 Comments »

Comments now closed (11)

  • "It must have thought it was a real turtle! Good thing there were no Greek tragedians around, otherwise your Raphael might have become a murderer."

    Best thing I've read on the internet today. Thank you.

    It's a bit sad that you don't review movies more often- is Bigger Boat where I read your review of Godzilla 1985? Interweb search is giving me nothin'. Regardless, I felt the it was more thoughtful than a lot of non-professional (hell, even professional) reviews. That movie gets precious little respect, and it's particularly meaningful to me since it's the first Godzilla movie I ever saw (and owned on Laserdisc, and watched repeatedly).

  • […poorer taste than “Poe’s Sack.” ]

    Hahaha! You're doing this on purpose! … only explanation…

  • i'll tell you what could save a motu movie… a well executed battle cat. the CGI required to render him correctly, and giving him the right personality, could easily win that film a cult status even if the rest of the movie sucked.

    that said, i still think a well executed console game could easily do more for the franchise than a movie could. the very unreal nature of the mythos lends itself to animation, and there will always be a certain degree of wish fulfillment through the he-man character.

  • I can't help but laugh at JesterGoblin's experience with the seagull. I had a similar experience, though non-toy related at Sea World when I was a kid. Damn thing snatched the last bite of a hot dog out of my hands. Kind of a traumatic experience.

  • I would think part of comic hellboy’s problem
    is the iconic trenchcoat hellboy being limited to hard to get exclusives. We all hate getting inundated with main characters, but imagine if instead of a billion darth vaders, we only got iconic vaders as some weird exclusive.

  • The same thing happened to my Goon figure. I was replacing one of his gloved hands and it snapped at the peg joint. I guess age hardened the vinyl.

  • He-man's name is so silly as "Batman", "X-men" or "Spiderman" in my opinion! The "silly" name after we know the caracter it's not so important, like happened with the other caracters I've mentioned.
    I think the most difficult think could be the right visual õf He-man and how to do Adam in a way to avoid to get to close of Shazam.
    I don't like the idea of a different actor to play He-man and other to play Adam because I really think it will became a kind of Shazam.
    About Eternia, Battle Cat, Snake Mountain, Dragons and beasts all we know today it's possible to make perfectly.

    • The name is a little worse witht he way it's used as a perjorative. Nobody says "You're a real Spider-Man woman hater."