Author: Poe Page 371 of 373
Back when Santa Jack was first released, I bought one. Its right leg broke out of the package, so I returned it to the comic shop and got a replacement–whose right leg broke out of the package.
I hate gluing figures, so I just chalked it up to bad luck and gave the figure away for customizing scrap. But this year, I found myself wanting another SJ and went looking for him online.
To my surprise, I discovered him for sale at the incredibly cheap price of $3.25 at Sci-Fi Genre. So for a total of $12, including shipping–the price of one of these figures at retail–I picked up both the first and second versions of Santa Jack. If you’ve been holding off on the NBX figures, check out the sale at SFG.
This is certainly an appropriate topic right now…there’s about seven inches of snow piled up outside my window.
Oddly enough, I didn’t watch this special very often when I was growing up. My favorites were Rudolph and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. I would catch Year once in a while, along with another obscure favorite, The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, which was based on a novel by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. (Sadly, this last has yet to be released on DVD.)
In my early years of college, while searching for holiday-themed websites (back when websites were still something of a novelty), I came across The Heat Miser’s Hot Spot. Since I preferred the Snow Miser to the Heat Miser, I was a bit indignant that Snowy had no website of his own, and took it upon myself to create one.
That was about seven years ago. That website is still up. It’s gone through various incarnations–it started on my old undergraduate website, had its own URL for a while, and now resides as a sub-site of this one–but I’ve never taken it down.
It was originally called The Snow Miser’s Big Chill, to contrast with the Heat Miser’s Hot Spot, until I finally read a plot summary of the movie The Big Chill and discovered that it was a euphemism for death. Thinking quickly, I came up with the far more clever title The Snow Miser’s Cooler.
Since I created the website, The Year Without a Santa Claus has become one of my holiday staples. It still rates behind Rudolph and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, mostly because I don’t find the story that compelling–the Misers are the best part. But that website has been a perennially popular holiday destination for thousands of people each year. I’ve yet to have any other part of my website be quite as popular as that one, which still looks like it was made in Notepad in 1999 (which it was, though I update it once a year or so).
In 2000, I held the second “Rumble in the Claymation Jungle.” The first was held by POFToo! creator Paul Levesque (which may or may not have been his real name…) and featured a battle between the Bumble and the Winter Warlock. Mine pitted–you guessed it–the Snow Miser vs. the Heat Miser. Ol’ Hothead won by 3, 193 to 190. In a fake CNN article I wrote about the event, this was probably my favorite paragraph:
In addition to the 383 votes cast for the Snow and Heat Misers, there were 5 votes claiming that neither Miser would win in a fight, 1 vote for their mother, Mother Nature, 1 vote for Jesus Christ, and a vote by ‘Aquaman’ for himself, who said, “As a…JLA member, I can tell you that my power to communicate with fishes would overpower these two.”
I’d like to do a third Rumble, but frankly, I’m not sure there are any badass characters left. Maybe I should think outside the box and do, say, the California Raisins (they had a Christmas special) vs. Jack Skellington?
To make this post more on-topic–as I mentioned before, The Year Without a Santa Claus was treated to an entire toy line by the now-defunct Palisades Toys a few years back. Later, NECA bought the molds, and you can now buy YWASC figures at pop culture shops like Newbury Comics and Time and Space Toys–including, of course, the Snow and Heat Miser. If you’re curious about the figures, you can read this review by Michael Crawford.
Codename: Red Kryptonite
Base of Operations: Cambridge, Mass.
History: Red Kryptonite was raised by ewoks. Consequently, she is able to make elaborate patio furniture from sticks and twine, and is furry and adorable. When she grew to be three times as tall as her parents, they decided she was actually a wookiee. [She’s also the creator of all the art on this site. –PG]
PG: What was your favorite toy line growing up?
RK: Gotta be the Kenner Star Wars toys, with their tiny extending light sabers (please ignore how filthy that sounds) and their vinyl cloaks. You could own the entire, to-scale world. I had Chief Chirpa and Wicket; the ewok village; various cantina and Jabba-palace creatures; a 3PO whose arms and legs kept falling off, no matter how many times I glued him back together; Leia as bounty hunter; Lando as spy; several Vaders (lost one behind the couch but found him again); a vintage black-vested Han and a Chewie. On Sunday evenings they would take sides on the dining room table, and my dad and I would wage epic battles that were really just an excuse for us to chuck action figures at each other and make Wilhelm screams when they slid off the edge.
PG: Did the industry divide between “boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys” bother you?
RK: No. My parents never pressured stereotypical “female” toys on me or made me feel weird that I didn’t care about baby dolls who cried and wet themselves. (I still don’t get it; how is that fun?) I was more a cute animal/dinosaur/movie tie-in action figure enthusiast, and the ‘rents were happy to encourage that.
I had no interest in Barbie–other than her bitchin’ remote control convertible, which I *did* receive for Christmas one year–so they had no interest in forcing her on me. The only Barbie I ever owned spent the majority of her life trussed up and held for ransom inside a Hess truck.
PG: What’s your favorite Christmas television special?
RK: There are two things I adore most in this world (for the purposes of answering this question) and they are: stop-motion animation and puppets. In the former category, “Rudolph” wins, not by a nose, but by a cowboy on an ostrich. Of the latter, I choose the Jim Henson, not-technically-Muppetverse “The Christmas Toy,” which, despite predating “Toy Story” by many years, is about the secret lives of well-loved toybox denizens threatened by a new, flashier toy with a personality disorder. As an added twist, if a human in “The Christmas Toy” catches a toy moving of its own volition, that toy becomes inert forever. I was never the same after I realized my own potential as a toykiller.
PG: What’s your favorite toy-related Christmas memory?
RK: Probably the year my parents got a toy: a Casio keyboard, complete with pre-recorded backing beats like ‘rumba,’ ‘waltz’, and the amazing ‘demo’ button, which played a five-minute synth symphony of funk.
PG: In your opinion, what are the top five movie Santa Clauses and why?
RK: In no particular order:
Stabby Santa, “Hot Fuzz”
–Peter Jackson, in a half-second cameo, stabbing Simon Pegg through the hand. Brilliant.
St. Nicholas, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”
–I love the idea of St. Nick outfitting children for hand-to-hand combat.
Santa, Rankin-Bass’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
–Because he’s such a dick. I like my Santas salty.
Ed Asner, “Elf”
–Casting that is too perfect to attempt to convey with mere words.
Dan Akyroyd, “Trading Places”
–The most awesomely pathetic moment ever committed to film. Reminds me every time what the holidays are all about, and how lucky I am not to be destitute, filthy, and the pawn of rich old white dudes. (Watch it now. Video NSFW for language and graphic depictions of Dan Akroyd under severe emotional distress.)
It was Christmas morning in Whoville. As the sun rose above the snowy mountains, a Who girl and boy bounded out of bed, running into their parents’ rooms and hopping on them until the tired but smiling parents threw back the blanket and led their little ones to the Christmas tree.
There followed a great riot, with cries of joy and giggles of glee as each present was unwrapped. As the children fussed over their gifts, their father put on his robe and slippers and headed out to get the morning paper.
He opened the door, blinking in the bright sunlight that reflected off the snow. Covering his brow with one hand, he looked about for the paper.
But the ground before him wasn’t white. It was awash in seasonal color–green and red.
For on his doorstep was the infamous Grinch–in a pool of his own blood.
“What have you got, Alexx? What is your guess?”
Whoville’s medical examiner looked up at the speaker.” Looks like three stab wounds, all to the chest.”
Lieutenant Whoratio Caine knelt down next to the corpse, his expression unreadable.
“Everyone knows the Grinch was reformed,” said Alexx. “Why would they kill him on Christmas morn?”
Whoratio stood up and looked out over the snow.
Alexx stroked the Grinch’s head. “I’ve never seen something so vicious…”
Whoratio put on his sunglasses. “Someone,” he said, “stole the Grinch’s Christmas.”
(art by Red Kryptonite)
While you’ll have to pick up ToyFare #126 for photos of the whole line, the Four Horsemen have posted some photos (including a scale comparison of Nightwing and Robin) on their Myspace page. Check ’em out!
All the figures look great, but I am particularly psyched for that Robin figure. The new suit is much cooler than the old one, in my opinion.
UPDATE: Looks like that was a true sneak peek, since the pics have been taken down. But you can still see the whole line-up by picking up ToyFare tomorrow! It’s the one with the Iron Man cover.
Just a heads-up, I’ve got not one, not two, but three articles in this week’s issue of ToyFare. It hits comic shops today, and it’ll be on newsstands in another two weeks. My articles are interviews with NECA about their upcoming Princess Bride and Conan the Barbarian lines, and another great interview with the Four Horsemen.
There’s lot of other great stuff in the issue, too–previews of all the major 2008 toy lines, including new photos of my personal favorite, DC Universe Classics. I’ll do a longer write-up on the issue once I’ve got it in my hot little hands.