Monday, August 28, 2017

Hi*5 Sports Stars (Olmec Toys)



Hi*5 Sports Stars
Olmec Toys
1987

For those of you not familiar, Olmec Toys was a multi million dollar toy company that focused strictly on characters of African descent - Some fictional, others of actual people. The company is most noted for its lines; Bronze Bombers (a G.I. Joe sort of figure), Sun-Man (in the scale / design of your typical He-Man figure), Butterfly Woman (a counterpart to Sun-Man in the style of She-Ra figures), as well as many others.

The company began in 1985 by founder and chief executive Yla Eason, and is noted as the first company to produce toys to meet the demand of ethnically correct figures and dolls for African and Hispanic decedents. In fact, Eason is noted as entering the toy business in a rather unconventional way. It happened when her son made the comment that he could never be a superhero because all superheroes were white.

Side Note - Obviously Mrs. Eason didn't let her child(ren) read such influential comics which included characters such as Black Panther (first appearing in Fantastic Four number 52 in July of 1966), Black Lightning (who debuted in his own comic in 1977), Amazing Man (who has seen numerous iterations of an African decedent man in the role since 1983), not to mention the many others. Just saying.

Though it shut down in the late 90's, Eason and her company received numerous awards during its 10+ years of operation, and rightly so. The figures produced were top notch for their time in both design and quality.

Today we look at one of Olmec Toys not so know properties; Hi*5. The line supposedly consists of six figures, but we've only ever seen five of them (never seen Mr. Basketball). Each one is designed with a specific sports theme in mind.

Admittedly the artwork on the packages is rather cheesy. The cardbacks look like they were drawn by a high school art student during their first year of art class. However, in conjunction with the color scheme, it actually works well. Your eye isn't really drawn towards the character on the package, but more so to the bright blue and pink banner at the top.

 Baseball*Champ

 Mr. Football*Track & Field

Wrestler

These figures are pretty much non-existent on secondary markets, so value at this point is very difficult to gauge.

If anyone has a photo of the Mr. Basketball that they'd like to share, please drop us your e-mail address in the comment section so we can reach out to you. We won't post your comment with your e-mail address.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Swear Bears (Drastic Plastic)



Swear Bears
Drastic Plastic
2004

It's an obvious attempt to cash in on Care Bears by being cliche, but if it's your thing to be rebellious because being rebellious is cool (yes, we're rolling our eyes as we write this) then Swear Bears could be your thing.

Drastic Plastic didn't impact collectors much in the world of action figures before going out of business. However, when this is the best you can come up with, it's no real surprise.

The whole premise of these figures was that when you flipped their heads around, they would have either a different face, or some random "rebellious" statement on the back of their heads. Meh...We suppose that somewhere out there that there's a rebellious teen shouting, "<insert expletive here> yeah!" at these things. If that's your thing, then it's fine. Whatever suits you in terms of your collectibles.

There were eight bears in total produced, each with a different theme, but all with some form of middle finger. Truth be told, without the hand gestures, and a name change, these things would have been pretty neat. They're not bad "figures". They're just cliche. Like we said, rebellious for the sake of being rebellious.

 Bear

 Bondage Bear

 Brit Bear

 Devil Teddy

 Leprechaun Teddy

 PMS Bear

 Poisoned Bear

Skeleteddy

If these are something you want to track down, rest assured you can do so relatively cheap. Brand new in the box, they sell for as little as $3.00 each - Sometimes even less. They're all also relatively readily available on secondary markets. None seem any more harder to find than any other one in the lineup.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Superman The Animated Series (Kenner)



Superman The Animated Series
Kenner
1998 - 1999

We've been meaning to get around to this one for a while now. Sadly, Superman doesn't get much love around here at The Toy Box. We're hoping to change that here rather quickly. There are so many lines that the Man of Steel has had based on him, and the animated series is one of the most commonly known.

When Batman the Animated Series concluded in 1995, Warner Bros. ushered out Superman the Animated Series which debuted on September 6, 1996. The show featured the very noticeable voice talents of Tim Daly, Dana Delany and Clancy Brown. It also featured the music of Batman the Animated Series composer, Shirley Walker.

Midway through the series, The New Batman Adventures aired (1997). It was during this time that the series were combined to create The New Batman / Superman Adventures. This lead to a new spin of series, Justice League. Fans of the DC animated lineup know that this in turn lead to the sequel series, Justice League Unlimited.

Back to what we're here for though - Kenner's awesome line up of action figures based on Superman the Animated Series. While the animated series ran from 1996 to 2000, toy isles only got a variety of related figures from 1998 to 1999. Kenner covered a lot of ground, but still managed to miss the mark on several key players that could have and should have been included. Where was Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen or Perry White (to name just a few)? The animated show featured tons of characters, and even encompassed many of the heroes and villains from Batman the Animated Series.

SERIES 1
Capture Net Superman*Deep Dive Superman*Evil Alien Braniac*Lex Luthor

SERIES 1
Neutron Star Superman*Quick Change Superman

SERIES 2
Capture Claw Superman*Electro Energy Superman

Part of the issue could have been that (much like any Superman series of the past), there's way too many Superman variants. Had Kenner put some of these aside, it could have certainly made more headroom for other characters.

SERIES 2
Omega Blast Darkseid

SERIES 3
Evil Bizzaro*Metallo*Power Swing Superman

Unfortunately fans of the figures would be forced to specialty shops when series 3 was produced. The wave was distributed strictly via Diamond Distributors, which meant the main people ordering them were comic shops. Since this was based on each individual shop's preference for if they even wanted to order them, the line became rather scarce for casual collectors.

SERIES 3
Supergirl*Tornado Force Superman*X-Ray Vision Superman

SERIES 4
Anti-Kryptonite Superman

Wave 4 didn't help matters as it was only released in European countries.

SERIES 4
Fortress of Solitude Superman*Strong Arm Superman

In addition to the standard figures, Kenner released a handful of deluxe versions. Unfortunately they were all Superman variations.

City Camo Superman*Flying Superman*Kryptonite Escape Superman

Ultra-Shield Superman*Vision Blast Superman

In 1998, ToyFare released an exclusive mail away Superman Eradicator figure. For its time it was a hot collectible, but these days it's rather common, and not very expensive to obtain.

Superman Eradicator (Mail Away)

Kenner produced only one vehicle which featured an exclusive Clark Kent figure. The vehicle was actually a repainted, and re-released piece from the Man of Steel line-up of figures from 1995 - Originally known as the Matrix Conversion Coupe.

 
Superman Conversion Coupe

Overall the entire lineup of Superman the Animated Series toys isn't difficult to come by. Nor is it very pricey. Even the European exclusives can be grabbed up for as little as $5.00, mint on card.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Smallville (DC Direct)



Smallville
DC Direct
2000 and 2008

Smallville will go down as one of the most critically acclaimed television series based on a super hero (to date). The series debuted with over eight million viewers, and by it's tenth and final season had a fairly consecutive viewing each week of approximately three million homes. During its ten year run, the show won awards from Emmy's to Teen Choice, and even Leo Awards. The show was so popular that it even lead to spin offs in young adult novels and comic books.

Throughout its run, fans sat on the edge of their seats wondering just when Clark Kent would dawn the iconic Superman costume. The series didn't disappoint with its final episode when in the last moments we finally see Superman burst upwards through the sky.

DC Direct helped to build anticipation for the series with its 2000 release of three figures based on the actors and their characters.

 Clark Kent*Lana Lane*Lex Luthor

It's interesting that the series lay dormant until 2008 when DC Direct once again returned to the line to produce a second series. This time the line focused on the superheros which had made iconic cameo appearances throughout the episodes.

 Aquaman*Clark Kent*Cyborg

Green Arrow*Impulse

These figures are by no means scarce these days. Unfortunately for sellers though, what is rare is finding a buyer. It seems that while the television series was a huge success, the figures themselves are a rather large dud on the world of action figures.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Encyclopedia



Are you a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan? Need another giant coffee table book in your life? Want to support yet another Kickstarter effort? Well, you could very well be looking for THIS. Jay Lawrence is putting together what he is hoping will be the largest collectibles book of its kind, and it's all TMNT related.

Backers can get a copy of the book for $50.00 plus respective shipping for USA or international residents. Backers who give $80.00 will get two books as well as their name and picture in the book.

It's a formidable effort (this is the part where I say, "but") BUT, do we really need yet another coffee table book? I don't know about the rest of you, but I've bought my share of coffee table books in my lifetime. They're expensive, heavy and too large to comfortably handle. Quite frankly with the exception of getting thumbed through once or twice for the first week of owning them, they inevitably end up in a box out of site, out of mind - Eventually thrown out after years of storage.

I mean, with great sites such as The Toy Box (shameful plug), why pay for a book that is going to do all of the above? While I was seriously considering throwing my hat into the pile of Kickstarter pledges, I simply couldn't do it. At the end of the day, I just don't need another expensive book destined for a box or the trash (or both).

Not only that, but in perusing the outline Mr. Lawrence had prepared for his Kickstarter pitch I noticed something quite shocking for someone writing a book - It's horribly written. Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and repeating of the same sentences right next to each other.

How many times are we going to be told in a row the book will have vehicles?
Also, "i" should be "I" - That's just basics.

"in fact", not "infact" and again, capitalize "i".
"I also want to seriously want to submit this book as a guinness..."
Do I even need to explain what's wrong with the above sentence?

Sorry, but if I'm buying a book, I need you to at least be a coherent author. If you can't write a perfect pitch, what confidence do I have you can write a professional book from start to finish? If you can't or won't proof read your own work, then just cut to the chase - Start a Blog instead of a book.

Well...Now that I've completely trashed the book and the writer...Um...Hey, there's a Kickstarter going on for a TMNT encyclopedia if you're interested.

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