Tuesday, March 26, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Young Love

It's League of Extraordinary Bloggers time again! What are we talking about this week?

Which to be honest, had me scratching my head. I know a lot of people in the League are going to list cartoons, comics, action figure lines, movies, candies, sodas, fast food chains, etc. I wanted to do something sort of unexpected. But I couldn't think of a darn thing.

Then I saw Chris Tupa's post over at Tupa's Treasuresabout his favorite stuffed animal as a kid. And it instantly clicked for me. Sometimes when you're a kid, your favorite something is actually something so personal it couldn't possibly really click for anyone else. It's all about that weird kid-connection you make to things.

Thanks to Chris Tupa, I had my answer.

If you were to wander around the Geek Cave you'd notice most of my random vintage toys sort of end up clumped together in one spot. You'd also notice that in the midst of that vintage chaos, there's this:

It's a little plastic case that my original iPod came in. I use it to display six tiny figures, "Usual Suspects" style, separate from all the other toys. There's a LEGO man, a MUSCLE guy, a ghost, a Pee-Wee's Playhouse figure, a GPK, and a robot.  These six seemingly unrelated toys were my WHOLE WORLD from about 10 years of age or so until... well... probably until I was older than I should have been to still be playing with them. Let's just put it that way. 

In late 1988 (November/December) I discovered The New Mutants and the X-Men. That spiraled into an obsession with all things super-hero. The way I played with my toys began to change at that very same time. Instead of just living in their own worlds, characters from my different toy lines began teaming up and developing mutant powers. 

I loved mini-figures as a child almost as much as I loved action figures. It's part of why I love to collect them so much now. One day I remember having to pick out a handful of toys to bring with me on a car trip to my grandmother's house, and when I looked down at the handful of figures I had selected (seemingly at random) it was these six figures. On the car ride, I began developing powers for each of them, and how they worked together. I never had a name for their team (I sort of just felt like they were the X-Men... but not) but each one of them had a name, powers, and a personality to aid in the super-hero soap-opera antics that my young brain would emulate from the pages of my favorite comic books. 


The leader of the group was Petey. Full name Petey Graffiti from the Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys (With Crummy Candy) line:

Image belongs to Midnight Cinephile.
Click on picture to visit their page.

I loved those toys, and I had all of the original line, some in various different colors.  This is not the original Petey from my Childhood. In fact, he's not even the original Petey from the group. My original Petey was red. He got lost. So I replaced him with a flesh-colored Petey. That Petey was chewed and cut and mutilated to the point where he was thrown away. But flesh colored Petey is the one I remembered most from my childhood, so he was the one I wanted to track down. The one you see here was bought from an online dealer for something like six bucks. 

Petey was my group's Cyclops. He had the shades, and the optic blasts. That was his mutant power. Everyone still called him Petey. He was the leader of the group, and he was romantically involved with: 


Chicky Baby from Pee-wee's playhouse. I didn't have very many female mini figures back then. I had a few of the aforementioned GPK toys, but not one of them was cool enough to catch Petey's eye. Chicky came in a 4-pack of Pee-wee toys, including the rest of the Puppet-land band, and Jambi, the genie head in a box.
The one you see here is also not my original. She had her little foot-stand chewed off as well as her hands (I had a horrible habit of chewing on my favorite toys until they were un-play-with-able) and got thrown away. In fact, this is not even a vintage toy. It's from a reproduction set that came out in either the late 90's or the very early 00's. 

Image belongs to Action Toys.
Click on the picture to visit their site.

Chicky was the team's Jean Grey. She had psychic powers and she often went all Phoenix-y on the group (I'm being dead serious here. Gods, how I wish I was kidding). She and Petey had a tumultuous romance (or as tumultuous as my experience with romance at 10 was, which pretty much meant what I had learned from the X-Men) and together they were the royal couple of my toys. They never had to have her put down Phoenix-style, but it was touch and go a few times.  

Vocal Chord

Quite possibly the weirdest (possibly second weirdest) member of the group was Vocal Chord. He is actually a "Tyrants of Wind Soldier" from the "Air Raiders" line:

Image Belongs to Virtual Toy Chest
Click on the Picture to visit their site.
I made up the name "Vocal Chord" back when I was a kid because I didn't know his real name. I am ashamed to admit he was one of two stolen toys I will feature in this post. In fact... I broke the first (and second...) figures of him that I stole, so this is the THIRD figure I stole from a friend's house. I feel sort of guilty, but in that "I did stupid stuff like this all the time when I was a kid" kind of way. He is however, the original. I have managed to hold onto this childhood contraband well into my adulthood.

Anyway V.C. (as his friends called him) was a robot with mutant powers. OH THE LENGTHS TO WHICH I WENT to justify his membership in my all mutant team. I think it turned out he was some sort of cyborg with mutant/human parts inside or something. His powers were sort of a cross between Doug Ramsey and Banshee. Anything to do with sound, language, and robot-stuff was his domain. He had a sonic scream, could translate alien languages, and was... well a robot so he could fly and shoot lasers and stuff too. Whenever he spoke it was in my best flat computer voice. My childhood approximation of Soundwave of the Decepticons.


Next up we have Blob. The figure you see here is in fact the tried and true one I had as a child as well. And I didn't steal him from anyone. He was originally the Gulper Ghost included with the basic Egon Spengler action figure from the first Real Ghostbusters line:

Image belongs to Comic Collector Live.
Click on the picture to visit their site.
He was sort of the Thing of the group. I know the Thing isn't an X-Man, but he was a tough guy with a gravelly voice (or at least, when I read F4 he had a gravelly voice in my head) and a heart of gold that was soft as gooey nougat... and that was Blob all the way.

Since he was not in fact a ghost at all, but instead a yellow mass of sentient gelatinous goo, he could shape-shift into form he wanted, EAT and digest anything (!) and fly. The reason he could fly was because Petey, Chicky, and a couple of the team-members you haven't met yet could comfortably sit in his mouth and he sort of looked like a little airplane. Thus went my 10-year old logic.


This guy was sort of inexplicable, to be honest. The figure you see here is not the original one I had. This is one I found somewhere along the way years later and kept because he reminded me of my original. I even scraped off the chest deco so he'd look more like the worn-down one I owned. The original one I had was from one of the Forestmen LEGO sets, similar to the one I found at Goodwill and featured here.

This picture is MINE dammit!

BUT he was... cough... ahem... another stolen toy. Yep. My childhood larceny knew no bounds. I stole the original Forestman LEGO guy from a friend who literally had a trash-can full of LEGO blocks and figures at his house. I know the quantity of LEGOs he did or did not own does not justify my crime... but it seemed pretty justified when I was a kid. That figure even had a Robin Hood hat, but I lost it. 

Anyway, Prince was named after... Prince. The singer. I had the cassingle of Bat-Dance from the Batman Soundtrack and listened to it incessantly. I have no idea what that had to do with a green LEGO man, but the name stuck. My little Prince was a confusing dude. I couldn't decide what his powers were, so he went through several different phases. For a while he literally could phase, like Shadowcat, through solid material. Then he was the team teleporter for a while. Then the fact that I could pull off his body parts sort of became a power in and of itself, where he could either turn parts of himself invisible, or shoot his hands, torso, or head at enemies for god-only-knows-why. He wasn't really powerful, but he had mad ninja fighting skills and he really was royalty, with an evil twin brother whom I'll introduce later. Prince is really in a duel with Vocal Chord for my weirdest toy in this group. 


Bulldozer is a M.U.S.C.L.E. Thing. If you go by the American marketing, he was known as Terri-Bull. If you go by the original Japanese Kinnikuman story-line he's known as Buffaloman. Either way he was supposed to be a villain. 

Not my picture.
Click it to go to the MUSCLE Collector's Archive. 
But not once I got my hands on him! For some reason I was in love with the version of the guy in his letter-man's jacket. And I never called him Terr-Bull. I called him Bulldozer. I thought it was incredibly clever and badass. He was my team's Wolverine. He had adamantium bones, a healing factor, and went absolutely ape-s--t on villains. His horns were adamantium as well, and much like the Juggernaut, once he got moving he couldn't be stopped. He and Blob would argue constantly, but Bulldozer never had an romantic designs on Chicky (a la Wolverine + Jean Grey) behind Petey's back. 

And just like the X-Men or the Avengers, they had allies and back-up members who would swing in and help out once in a while. Some of these for my group included Firefly (An Army Ants "Knockdown" figure), Blur (A Battle Beast "Jaded Jaguar"), and Flyboy (An accessory packed with the Napoleon Bonafrog TMNT figure). Firefly had bomb-creating powers, much like Boom-Boom from the New Mutants. Blur was named after the Transformer, and he was a speedster. And Bug-Boy was a feral bug-mutant who talked in screams, grunts, and single words much like Animal of the Muppets. They all spent time on the team only to be phased out at some later point. All three of these guys are ones I actually owned as a kid. 

And there's no better measurement of a team of heroes than the villains they fight, right? Here's Wendigo from the Monster in my Pocket Line, a LEGO reproduction of Vince, Prince's evil twin, an evil wizard, "The General" another Army Ant, and Slither, another MUSCLE. The arguable leader was The General, but Vince had all the ambition and ire. The one you see above is a newer LEGO man put together to sort of look like how I imagined Vince looked (his face is a Draco Malfoy head from LEGO Harry Potter, and I believe his staff is actually a WoW Mega-Bloks weapon) when I was younger. The blue and red is all vintage. The other three figures you see are ones I salvaged from my childhood all the way.  

Here's the main group as a whole. They make a dashing team of six don't they? They used the Ecto-1 as they're base of operations in a junk yard made up of every toy vehicle I owned. Yes. They lived in a junkyard. They mainly spent their time fighting off much larger villains than themselves. Villains like Hordak and Granny Gross and Big Boss from C.O.P.S. To them (and me) size truly didn't matter, and the villains were never any match for them. I spent HOURS... no DAYS... okay YEARS in a fantasy land populated by my toys when I was a kid. And these six characters were the stars of the show. 

That's it for my Young Love! I hope you actually enjoyed reading all this. 

Let's see what the othe League Members love waaaaay back when: 

- Jathniel over at Space For Rent had a big green love. A big Green Machine love. 

- Rich from Fortune and Glory (Days) posts some awesome photos of his old Action Figure loves. We had some very similar tastes if I'm to judge the photo of his four surviving childhood action figures. 

- And as I already mentioned, Chris Tupa of Tupa's Treasures just destroys ALL of his street cred with his post... but it's AWESOME!!! One of my favorite posts so far!

- Grey over at Achievements in Gaming tells us his memories of his free-wheeling days as a biker.

- The Geeky Vixen shares the story of her Endor Leia. It'll mist your eyes. 

Well, that's it for today! I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! until then, Happy Hunting! 


  1. I did the same thing with my mini-figures. MUSCLE, MiMP, Z-bots, and whatever other little toys I had. There were dozens of different characters I created, all with ridiculous names and powers swiped from comics and cartoons. Like you, I continued "playing" with that imaginary universe well past the acceptable age. So many wonderful and embarrassing memories.

    Love this post so much.

    1. Thank you so much for saying that. I was extremely introverted as a kid (still am honestly, in person) and my toys were a sort of defense mechanism I used against the world. I literally carried these six guys around with me everywhere I went, even when I couldn't bring my larger action figures certain places.

      Letting them go was just too much for me. I plan on telling the story of how I gave up all my action figures some day... but it's going to be a painful post.

    2. While I sold all my action figures and vehicles years ago, I still have the shoebox full of mini-figures from back in the day. They meant so much more to me than my TMNT or G.I.Joes or Masters of the Universe[even though I loved them all, too], because I created my own world with them.

      It's nice to know that I wasn't alone in feeling alone and seeking comfort in toys and fantasies. Thank you for sharing such a cherished and creative childhood memory with us. Means a lot.

  2. Wonderful post! I used to love combining lines and making epic stories to go with all my action figures, minifigures, puppets, stuffed animals etc etc all together in one mad universal mash-up.

    To this day I don't categorize my displays - instead choosing to mix and match and make world's collide!

    1. I'm much too anal as an adult, and do try to keep things organized by toy line. I would never have cared back when I was a kid though. I love that you mix and match!

  3. Really enjoyed this post. I used to love mixing and matching my toy lines as a kid and have epic battles.

    1. Wasn't that the best!? I loved the epic multi-toyline-battles. It never bothered me how completely out of scale all my toys were with each other. Thanks!

  4. Great post! I too have always been a fan of the tiny/mini figure and have tons of different ones. That may be one of the reasons I buy so many toys out of the vending machine. I love your back story for the toys as well. Childhood imagination is so awesome, thanks for sharing!

    1. Seeing your Winnie the Pooh post just made it click for me. When I was a kid there were no more favorite toys than those six figures. They ruled the roost. It was such a weird, childhood obsession sort of thing. Thanks so much!

  5. Glad to see I'm not the only one that loved the mini figures. A couple dollars in quarters, and some luck with a vending machine, and you would have enough toys to keep you busy for even the longest car ride.

    1. Yes! I could go for hours with just a handful of them. The adventures were endless, they took their cues from books, movies, comics and shows I was enjoying at the time. I'm still addicted to them now!

      Plus they take up way less shelf space.



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