Base of Operations: www.toybender.com
History: Paul is a responsible corporate drone by day and a toy collecting writer at night.
I’ve only recently started reading Paul’s blog, Toy Bender, but it’s quickly become one of my must-reads. With a candid style and thoughtful insight on many toy-related topics, Paul was one of my inspirations in creating this site. One of the site’s most fun regular features are the Toy Ads that Time Forgot.
PG: How long have you been collecting toys?
Paul: I’ve been officially collecting toys since the Star Wars Bend-ems in the early 90s when I was in my early teens. I had a few toys I kept in packages before that (therefore separating them from toys I played with), but the Bend-ems crossed the line over into the world of collecting as I had stopped playing with toys by then. By the way, you might be wondering why in the hell I was buying Bend-ems in the first place. I was so desperate for new Star Wars figures and it was all that was being made at the time that was even close. I personally owe the ghost of Kenner my first born child.
PG: What made you decide to create a blog about toys?
Paul: Technically, I did not create a blog about toys. A while back I thought that I wanted to expand my writing and spread my thoughts across the world like that virus that makes you poop blood. I saw on a writers’ forum a post about the launch of the blogging network 451 Press. I checked out the categories they had at the time and out of all the things that I could write ten posts a week about (the old minimum back then), toy collecting was it. I sent in my application and I took the helm of Toy Bender and the Internet has never been the same…or something.
PG: How would you describe Toy Bender?
Paul: Toy Bender is my thoughts on the newest toys that I think are great. The beauty of the site is that I feel as if I’m a bit outside of the normal toy collecting world, so I don’t offer a standard point of view, which I feel makes Toy Bender more accessible then an obsessive fan site. It’s also a fun interactive place for collectors who want a different perspective than a straight toy news site will offer.
PG: What’s the best toy you ever received as a holiday gift?
Paul: Now that’s a tough question, since my parents were pretty damn good at getting me a lot of great stuff for both birthdays and Christmas. I think it would a be a dead even tie. Power Master Optimus Prime because he was a super sweet gift I got one year and I didn’t even know he existed before I got him. The Ewok Village playset was also equally awesome because I received it from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer who obviously brings the best gifts for those who give him some recognition. Suck it, Santa!
PG: What’s the worst toy commercial you’ve ever seen?
Paul: By far it would have to be the ad for the Swing Wing. You can’t get any worse than the Swing Wing mainly because it’s a vomit inducingly bad idea that was sold like it was the most fun thing of all time. If you want overall bad production values though, there’s this local ad featuring a little girl who raps about this toy store that makes you want to tear your ears out and jam sharp objects in your ears. Hell, I’d even go so far to say that any commercial that uses rap is the worst toy commercial ever.