I’m a sucker for toy magazines, even if they simply serve as flip books for toys I’ve mostly seen on the web and paper to cart around whenever I move. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of toy magazines on the market to start with, and those that do exist lack a certain spark.
The best toy magazine was the briefly-lived Super 7, which focused on Japanese toy culture from a North American perspective. Filled with all kinds of wonderful and wacky, it was a good source to learn new secrets on Transformers, Shogun Warriors and Micronauts, to say nothing of what was going on now and what was going on then in toys. It was a resource and a treasure, sorely missed.
Other magazines have come and gone too, White’s Guide to Collecting Figures and Go Figure! among them. Which brings us pretty much to the existing trio of Tomart’s, Lee’s Action Figure and Toy Review, and Toyfare.
Toyfare emerged from the toy section of Wizard and was really strong in the first few years. Unfortunately, it quickly became derivative. There are only so many fart jokes that a person is willing to endure for $5.95 a month, so Toyfare quickly fell aside a number of years ago. Only recently was it joined by Lee’s. Lee’s was a decent magazine but suffered from a lack of content. With a third of the magazine devoted to the toy stock market, and a focus on special features on past toy lines (which mostly consisted of a mint on card picture and small caption of each figure, which over time was repeated in different formats for subsequent editions) there was too little left to warrant $8.95 per issue.
Oh. Did I mention toy magazines never adjusted their prices even though the Canadian and U.S. dollar have nicely converged in recent years? Oh yes.
That leaves me reading Tomart’s right now. It’s a fine magazine that tries to put some thoughtful pieces together from time to time. Oh there’s a lot of toy porn in its pages, but it doesn’t rely on a price guide to round out its pages. And its historical features are much more interesting.
That said, even the good can be bad sometimes. Take this recent issue - #188 - and the reason for this post. An eight page piece on JoeCon entitled “The Ultimate GIJoe Convention”, it’s a picture happy piece that nicely fellates Hasbro, the event and its organization. The trouble is that the authors get a little too hot and bothered with Hasbro and fail to give proper credit:
“Authenticity is a word you often hear in a conversation with a Hasbro design team member because they go to extreme measures that every detail of theirs are the best that can be done in the miniature scales in which they must work. That attention to detail is obvious in the exclusive convention sets and figurs offered this year…”
The problem of course is that Hasbro doesn’t design the Convention exclusives, Lanny and FunPub do. And while the exclusive Joes are a nice feather in Hasbro hats, in terms of giving something to the fans, they can’t take credit for more than giving the designs the go-ahead and letting the Convention organizers use their facilities.
It’s a little point. But little points are often the ones that drive me crazy. Credit where credit is due, Tomart’s!