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September 19, 2010

Emerald Knights in Pewter

Filed under: Uncategorized — fairplaythings @ 11:48 pm

Last weekend was a cleaning weekend, which inevitably meant a visit to the little dusty hell I call the toy room. Let me explain. When I took possession of my home, I’d intended to turn one of the rooms into the toy shrine. With some difficulty (since the room evolved into a natural swing space making it hard to swing items out of the room to make space for renovations) I devoted good effort and time to getting the room to match the vision in my head. That inevitably led to the installation of many shelves and some success from a display point of view. Alas, as the collection continues to grow, the room has become more swing space again than display, making cleaning weekends adventures in past shopping extravagences.

In among the piles of comics, boxed Transformers, statues and the like, lay what has become a relatively extensive collection of toy magazines assembled over the past dozen years. And as part of cleaning weekend I found myself organizing the new additions within the ranks of the assembled collection, currently occupying a three shelf bookcase, itself covered in toys. Because you know, flat surfaces are always at a premium in the toy room.

And when one is tidying literature, one inevitably flips through one or eight of these pieces of literature. It is just a truism that comes with organizing. It lead me to think though that I need to do two things:

a) catalog the magazine as to unveil their content; and

b) review the various toy titles available now and in the past.

On cataloguing, there is actually a method to this madness. As the Munny Battles continue, I continue to seek out new characters to try out, and I don’t always find the best representations on the web. And since I like to have a number of images from all angles before I proceed, one source of images are other toys and statues, items frequently previewed by the likes of Tomart, Lee’s and Toyfare. Having a full colour, already printed picture of a three year old Darth Talon statue or a new rendering of Scarlett can be helpful if I can find them easily. Hence what would need to be an extensively checklist.

On reviewing, well, there has to be some benefit taken from the magazines rather than just occupying space. While I have acquired many magazines, I’ve developed opinions on the titles, and what makes a good one and a mediocre one, particularly in our on-line age.

So expect a review in the future. And in the longer term, hopefully a checklist of sorts through my collection.

Speaking of checklists and old toy magazines, I come to the two reasons I first started this column before it got overtaken by minutia.

The first is a brief comment about forgotten unreleased toys. Because really is there anything sadder than the toy prototyped that finds itself suddenly cancelled for whatever reason. It happens all the time and sometimes these toys, be they a female Sectaur, a G.I.Joe full size train, a certain Beast-inspired transforming devourer of planets, or a series of youthful Gen Xers, are often the best of the line. Something to drool over while their absence is lamented.

But I have a certain missing item in mind. In this case a pewter statue for which to the best of my knowledge no pictures exist. And for whom the only evidence of existence lay in a forgotten toy magazine of old.

The toy magazine is White’s Guide to Collecting Figures, a magazine that came of age in the beanie craze of the 1990s and which disappeared sometime at the beginning of the 21st century. Square bound with a price guide, White’s had a small section devoted to toys. Unlike many toy magazines devoted to pictures, White’s devoted time to well-written text and story. And one text piece was a fawning piece on Racing Champions, the makers of a pewter line of statues called Comic Book Champions that were once common at TRU at a time when there was a lull in other renderings of our four-colour favourites.

I have no idea how these figures did at retail. I know I thought them curious. They were based on first appearances and included both Marvel and DC characters (albeit in separate assortments but still! when is the last time you can remember the big two releasing product through the same company?) Each three figure wave (two waves for each company) included one golden age, one silver age and one modern age character rendering. And I know I never picked one up because there was never a character that excited me. But there was one announced for the third DC wave - a certain emerald guardian named Alan Scott - I was more than keen to get (particularly given the absolute dearth of golden age product available.)

Alas it was not to be. Whatever became of the wave, the line or the company itself, I do not know. It’s possible the line was a flop and the company went under. Or the big two simply rescinded their license. Or something else entirely. But to the best of my knoweldge this wave was never released. I don’t even know if prototypes exist. But it is a loss certainly. And one I would not even know of if not for a long expired toy title, gathering dust in an over crowded toy room.

Makes me wonder what other information gems may lie in those pages…

(For your info, here is the article reprinted in full.)

2 Comments »

  1. For some reason the pictures accompanying this article do not show up for me.

    Comment by Steve — January 16, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

  2. I have no idea why the pictures didn’t show up. They are there, honest! But they don’t show up for me either. Bit of a mystery. It is the only time this has happened. I’ll do a repost with the pics down the road. You know, right after I get going on something more recent. Sigh…

    Comment by fairplaythings — January 18, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

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