Friday, October 31, 2008

DOCTOR STRANGE HALLOWEEN-COSTUMES SPECIAL-EDITION!

The following is a
HALLOWEEN EDITION
SPECIAL PRESENTATION

of the
Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blog! *


I have no idea what this tv bumper is from. It was Halloween-themed, so I'm using it, although I'd much rather have used this old classic that I remember fondly (if only they weren't TV-themed):




Anyway... as you may remember, in last weekend's post, I was writing about BEN COOPER and their various Marvel character products (jiggler action figures at the time) and I mentioned the HALLOWEEN COSTUMES that the company produced in the 1960's, 1970's & 1980's.
In keeping with the focus of this blog, I'll be showcasing the DR. STRANGE costume(s), specifically.

(and if you're good... and stay until the end, you may get a treat.)

-----------------------

The Ben Cooper "garbage bag"-style costume was a ubiquitous staple for over 30 years in any department store's "Halloween" section. A kid could conceivably find a costume for nearly ANY marketable TV, comic book or video game property.
There were some awesome ones... and some LESS than stellar entries.


As you'll see with the pics below (All of which you can click on to make "Supreme" sized), the Ben Cooper costumes were all vinyl "jumpsuits" that came with a plastic face mask with holes cut out for the eyes, pinholes for the nostrils (if you were lucky) and, sometimes, a slit for the mouth (although, the Dr. Strange mask had neither nostril nor mouth holes) .

With the costumes made in Taiwan and masks in the USA, they were supposedly flame-retardant and non-toxic, but I'm sure that if you came anywhere near an open flame you'd go up like the "flames of the Faltine" and get a mighty wicked buzz from "Agamotto's hookah" at the same time.

During it's production history, the Doctor Strange costume came in 2 variations and also had 2 different style boxes.

While, sadly, they didn't come in Adult sizes (for the groovy, yet lazy, Doc-fan), they did come in three kid's sizes:

Child's Small (4-6) - fits child 41" - 46" tall
Child's Medium (8-10) - fits child 47" - 52" tall
Child's Large (12-14) - fits child 53" - 58" tall

(I have one of each size.)

-----------------------

The original 1978 licensed version is this one:


It had an all blue jump-suit with a representation of Dr. Strange (in a pose redrawn from a classic Frank Brunner illustration) and a mask that was supposed to be that of Stephen Strange.
You'll note that this version has very heavy paint above the eyes (eyelashes?) and green mascara-like coloring.

This version came in a box that was generically titled:

"TV - COMIC
Costume & Mask"

and had drawings of various cartoon characters that were also available in costume form.

(I own this in the Large size)

---------

By 1979, the costume changed dramatically.



The all blue suit was replaced with a yellow upper portion, but still with the same illustration and still with a blue bottom half.
Two less than subtle differences in the illustration are:
- the addition of lightning bolts (mystic energy?)
- a more basic coloring application (less differentiation of shades)

The mask also got a new paint job.
Less "strange" and more "Doctor", they ditched the green mascara and overly heavy eyelashes with a more "realistic" look.
The box stayed the same.


(for this, mine is the Medium)
---------


However, when the costume was reissued in 1980, the box was given an overhaul as well.


Gone was the generic TV/COMIC box to be replaced with a more dynamic (and appropriate):

"MARVEL COMICS
Costume & Mask"

complete with drawings of the four characters in that assortment:
- Captain America
- Red Skull
- The Thing
- Doctor Strange

(With the exception of Captain America, who replaced Spider-Man, these were the same characters that were sold together in the "jiggler" assortment.)

(and for this, I have the Small)
------------


As an added bonus, here's their page from the 1980 Ben Cooper catalog.

By the looks of it, those kids are at one heck of a disco Halloween party.
("...everybody was kung-fu fight-ing...")

But there ain't no way in hell the "Thing" or "Red Skull" are getting any good treats.

------------

Speaking of "treats", to end this post, I was going to include pics of myself in my very own, custom-made Doctor Strange costumes, but I thought that might be best left for a future post with some interesting anecdotes about my times in the robes of the Mystic Master.

So... instead of the "treat" I promised, it looks to be a "trick" instead.
My apologies.
(Please don't egg my blog.)

I WILL, however give you a tip to locate one such pic of me.
If you have a copy of WIZARD # 75... I was a winner in that year's (1997) 6th annual costume contest.

Yeah. Happy hunting on that.

*** UPDATE***
Now, one year after this post first upped,
I have fulfilled my promise and have posted pics of my Dr Strange home made costume(s) - [HERE]
Enjoy!
***END UPDATE***


And to all of you "Hoary Hosts" out there tonight...
---HAPPY--- / / V**V \ \ ---HALLOWEEN---

-----------------------------

* (the planned post - about pre-action figures- that was promised for this weekend will still be made at that time)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CURIOUS KHAT Asks:

KHAT - from Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 77
(Peter B. Gillis - writer / Chris Warner - artist)


Hey.
As far as my hit numbers can attest, I get far more visitors * than I do comments... and I was wondering if it's because I don't currently have it set to accept "anonymous" comments?

More than likely that's a "Well, Duh!" kind of question, but I figured I'd ask.
(To be honest, I thought that there WAS a "name/ url" option that would have allowed for pseudo-anonymous comments, but in reality... it didn't turn out to be an option.)

So, to that end, (and in the spirit of FREE ELECTIONS) I posted a POLL on the sidebar.
Scroll down until you pass the "FREE ROM" banner.

Please vote and let mew know if the whole "registered users only" thing is the deal breaker - OR if it's just that my hit count is basically my site experiencing the online equivalent of
"Oops. Sorry. Wrong number."

Thanks!

* Yeah. I actually get some good hit numbers some days. Trust me, no one is more surprised than I am.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Idol Pursuits : Master of the Plastic Arts -
part 1 : 01979 Ben Cooper DR STRANGE "Jiggler" Action Figure

Hello again!
Today's subject, as promised, is:
"IT FIGURES"
As you can probably guess, "IT FIGURES" will deal with various items that fall within the "figural" motif of 3-dimensional representations of characters in my collection.

*EDIT*
I have since renamed this feature as "IDOL PURSUITS" and have gone back to rename these previous entries to reflect the change. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.
*END EDIT*

The sub-header of;
"Master of the Plastic Arts"
is what I'll use for ACTION FIGURES of Doctor Strange.

------------------

However, that is, in and of itself, a misnomer, because since I wish to go through these items in chronological order of their release, the first THREE such items weren't made of PLASTIC at all.

While today's item might technically BE the FIRST true Doctor Strange "action figure", it isn't the first to be conceived OR the first "play figure" to hit the market.
However, as I'll relate, the first two (non-plastic) figures deserve special status and separate entries unto themselves, since they weren't released AS solo figures, but as part of unique merchandise sets.

Those were:

- the 01975 Dr. Strange Stand-Up Play Figure -
which was one of the figures in the "MARVEL WORLD Playset", from Amsco, with it's multitude of 2-D / 3-D stand-up figures. However, they were made of cardboard with plastic bases that could be slipped on and off.
(Dr. Strange as well as his entire Sanctum Sanctorum are represented), but since that's SUCH an awesome item, it won't get relegated here.

and

- the 01978 Dr. Strange Stand-Up Play Figure -
which was one of the 11 standees that came with
"the Amazing Spider-Man and the Marvel Heroes RUB n' PLAY Magic Transfer Set" from Colorforms.
These were cardboard, also, but much flimsier than the Marvel World figures.

You'll have to wait for a future post to see the pics of those items.
But trust me... they are worth the wait *.

-----------------------

Today's item, which as I mentioned, while being the first "true" action figure of Dr. Strange, also wasn't made of plastic per se, but a rubber / vinyl polymer.

Now, to further add to the confusion and time-line mash-up, since I'll be going thru the assorted figural representations of Doctor Strange in a chronological order, I have to mention that this "first" item truly should be further down on the ladder.

While this was the 1st solo piece of Doctor Strange "action figure" merchandise to be released, it was actually conceived after a more appropriate item.
The first would be the MEGO figure that was planned to be sold in their Super-Heroes line, as a tie-in to the live-action Dr. Strange series that was proposed.
However, since the 01978 TV pilot movie didn't do well in the ratings, the series was aborted, as was the Mego figure.
However, it WAS released later... sorta, and we'll get to that in a future installment of "IT FIGURES IDOL PURSUITS : MASTER of the PLASTIC ARTS".

OK. All caught up and properly confused?
Yeah. I know. Nothing is ever cut and dried.

Anyway, this FIRST item was also conceived that same year, but WAS released.
01979's BEN COOPER Super Hero "Jiggler" Action Figure.



As you can see, they had ZERO quality on the paint applications.
I guess, as long as the right color paint was on the right area, staying "in the lines" was optional.

I'll also include a pic of the BACK.


I had to lower the lighting, so you can make out the embossed info:
the BEN COOPER logo, "Made in Hong Kong" (c) 1979 M.C.G.
(Marvel Comics Group - as they were known then)

Also, of note is the tag, still attached.
I've seen a few of these, and usually the tag is LONG gone.

So it is, that for other characters, the manufacture of action figures (or even "play figures") could be had for many years (in the case of Marvel figures, I can think of the 1969 plastic statuette "marvelmania" play figures of Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America and Daredevil), but for Doctor Strange fans... this was the true beginning.

Unlike today's multi-jointed, realistically poseable figures of action, this old guy had ZERO points of articulation, and the only ACTION you could hope to achieve was by watching it bounce around on it's elastic string and flop around like a fish.
But still, for it's time, and for a Dr. Strange fan... we were happy.
Yup. 6 inches of rubber happiness. (uh... that might sound wrong.)

For those who don't know, BEN COOPER was a company that had rights to manufacture Marvel items at the time and, aside from the jigglers, they also made many, many superhero "trash-bag"-style Halloween Costumes.
Doctor Strange included.

I'll get to THOSE in an upcoming post (possibly very soon).

----------------

Now, for those who have interest in the collector's "quest", I'll share my anecdote(s) for this item (along with a few cool scans as "bonus content").

Way back in the 1970's to very early 1980's, as any reader of comics from that era can attest, Marvel comics used to have wonderful advertisements in them from a merchandise distribution store named; HEROES WORLD.
They started with one store / warehouse in New Jersey and then later opened branch storefronts.
(Later, they would become a distributer of comics and merchandise, until the 1990's boom and Marvel's acquisition - and later destruction - of the company. But that's a tale for another time.)

Heroes World was a mecca, a wonderland of tantalizing delights.
A "Neverland" that most comic fans could only get a fleeting glimpse of through their catalogs and ad pages.

Most of us had little chance of obtaining many of the items featured within the wondrous pages (unless allowed and/or able to partake in the mail-order option, or happened to live near one of the locations).

But, one day, I was fortunate enough to pass through the doorway that separated the mundane world from that of the realm of Heroes.
Heroes World.
At least their location in the Nassau Mall in Levittown, NY.


THIS is the ad page for the "jiggler" action figures.
Note the store locations at the bottom of the page.
*click to make more Hero-y*

As a kid, it felt like stepping into Valhalla. But it was dream-like, since I had NO idea that the store that I randomly stepped into (while wandering away from the parental-units during an out of the norm trip to a small shopping mall a few towns away) had even existed.

It was 01976, I was 9 years old and had no idea where this store was (I didn't pay attention to the directions driven by my dad. I'm sure I didn't even want to be a part of the excursion), but I was amazed at the stuff available. I recall seeing a groovy Silver Surfer t-shirt on the wall alongside Howard the Duck shirt and other Marvel tees (many that would feature reproductions of comic covers) and far too many items to remember.

Back then, I had a passing awareness of comics. I had a good friend who was VERY much into them (John D, as mentioned in my first post) and through his influence, I was slowly growing in interest and knowledge of this new medium, it's characters, and it's swag.

But, sadly, I had no access to spare moneys, and as such, departed the store with only a backwards glance.

Flash forward 4 years to 1980.
I had only just started to buy my own comics in earnest the year before (as opposed to those bagged multi-packs that I would buy randomly at the local 5 and dime), and had seen many ads for Heroes World (which were drawn by the Joe Kubert School, often by Joe Kubert himself).
I had only JUST become a Dr. Strange fan at that time, but only had a few issues and appearances. I wasn't a die-hard collector/fan (yet).

However, I somehow remembered that hallowed store of super-hero goodness and was at the age where I could bike there (although, it would have to be a secret mission, as I wasn't allowed to bike THAT FAR away, and my parents were NOT fans of my reading comics).

So, I went there (I think it must have been with other school friends) and went "shopping" (I don't recall having much cash to spend so I must have only picked up one or two small items).
I do remember being sad that that groovy Silver Surfer shirt (with him breezily surfing on a sunny wave of color) was no longer available. I loved that and would have bought it if I had the chance.
But, I DO seem to recall that there, under the same wall of shirts, were bins of assorted stuff, and IN some of those bins were these rubbery figures.

I'm not 100% sure, since memories like this are tricky, and one thing can easily be replaced by another in the subconscious.

But, I do seem to recall looking at them from a slight distance and for a moment thinking if that would be the one item that I would purchase.

Well, I obviously didn't buy it (not that I recall WHAT I did get that day), and left the store (only to return to it a few more times, several years later, before they closed their doors).

It wasn't until another 13 years had passed, and while re-reading an old comic and once again saw the ad for that "jiggly" figure that I realized that the time had come to locate it and make it my own.

This was 1993, before the internet made access to everything-and-anything a possibility, so, like many items I would acquire for my collection, it required a lot of cold-calling, looking for ads in trade magazines and following leads.

I managed to call one location, who didn't have it, but remembered seeing a different seller might have had one at a convention, but calling that seller lead to another, and so on...
Within a day or two, I had located the seller who had one, but had to wait for him to call back with the confirmation.

If I recall, it set me back about $60.00.
At least that's the amount that seems to stick in my head whenever I think about the experience.
(the guy could probably tell he had a desperate fan-hunter on the line)
It was just past the price that I felt was extortion, but I HAD to have it.

Of course, now, via eBay, I'd imagine one could be had far easier for less (not that I see any listed or even recently completed auctions... so who knows? It might still be quite rare).

***UPDATE***
Check out the comments section for news on a recently ended Dr. Strange "jiggler" that had a final sale nearly DOUBLE of what I spent. Yikes! These things are HOT!
***END UPDATE***


As a bonus, here is the specific page from that year's Ben Cooper catalog.





AND... thanks to the kind gents over at Plaid Stallions, here is a pic of the display box.

  (Needless to say... I NEED this display box!)

I've seen the Spider-Man figure, many, many times and I think I may have seen the THING, but I don't really recall seeing the RED SKULL.
Maybe once at a flea market. Maybe.
Again... memories like this are gossamer things.


-------------------------------------------------
* NEXT ISSUE : More BEN COOPER Goodness...
DOCTOR STRANGE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!
3 Variants of the OFFICIAL, commercially released
Ben Cooper / Marvel Comics; Dr. Strange costume!
-------------------------------------------------


And then followed by MORE "IDOL PURSUITS" swag!
-------------------------------------------------
IT FIGURES IDOL PURSUITS (addendum)*
or
* The Prototypical Play-Figures *
-------------------------------------------------

* See? I won't make you wait too long for those.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

* BREAKING DOC MOVIE NEWS FLASH *

Just a quick post about something that just "hit the wires":
DOCTOR STRANGE film tentatively slated for 02012 or 02013.

Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige told MTV News that a DR STRANGE movie is likely among the next crop of Marvel films.

"The character Marvel editor Joe Quesada called “problematic,” and comic writers Neil Gaiman and Stan Lee called the one character they’d most like to see next in film, is very much at the top of the list for a post “Avengers” make-over."

Story HERE (splashpage.mtv.com)

Maybe they'll get the great CAMMERON POWELL* to star.



*anyone who gets THAT reference is a Doctor Strange fan, indeed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Behold... the TOWER of POWER!

Welcome back!
(or for those of you joining us for the first time... "Where the heck where you?")
And for anyone reading this in their cubicle; "Congratulations for still having a job in this spiraling economy". As a service, to help you KEEP that gig, I'm going to try to make this seem a bit "work-related", (instead of just fan-wankery,) by including a few schematics and plan-o-grams for the promotional display system that I am writing about:

The TOWER OF POWER!!!


So, if the boss catches you reading this on company time, just explain that you're doing "research" and this popped up in your search.
Then scroll a bit, so (s)he can see the schematic(s), scheduling info and images, and that should cover your ass.

(Unless he read that last paragraph.
Then, it's; "Hey! What a coincidence that this blog should write about EXACTLY what just happened. Weird, huh?"
)

OK. Before I get to all the goodness, I should explain that due to the increasing premium of shelving space in my "SANCTUM", I resorted to setting up my "TOWER OF POWER " to house my growing collection of ESSENTIAL volumes, which are real space-hogs.
They ARE a fabulous value in and of themselves, but damn, they take up a lot of room.

***long ramble about WHAT the TOWER OF POWER is/was to follow***
----------------------
(and yes... because it is MIGHTY and AWESOME and so thusly named, whenever I refer to it on this blog, it shall henceforth be written as such:
TOWER OF POWER !!!
It's a shock-and-awe kind of thing. Imagine that being shouted down to Earth from the Heavens by a booming, thunderous voice - complete with reverb. Think of the equivalent to Galactus booming; " I HUNGER!" THAT's just what it demands.)
TOWER OF POWER !!!TOWER OF POWER !!!TOWER OF POWER !!!

-----------------------

The TOWER OF POWER!!! was a GIANT (well over 6 foot tall... with the headers it hits nearly 7 feet) Marvel Comics promotional spinner-rack that was sold to retail comic shoppes in 01994.
The store would buy the rack and that cost would include the "subscription" for a year's worth of additional graphics and headers, which would be sent on a quarterly basis and could be attached/ affixed to the rack or used as graphics for around the store. Subsequent years could be subscribed to separately.

I was working in an Antiquarian Book store / Comic shoppe back then, (by name of "BonMark Books", in Plainview, Long Island, NY - if anyone wants specifics,) and figured that if the store wasn't interested in the TOWER OF POWER!!! promotion, that I'd buy/ subscribe to it myself (via the store's account with Heroes World) and get the graphics myself (ever on the watch for rare Doc stuff). My bosses were cool with the idea (of course, thinking that I was insane - "and what the hell would you DO with that monstrosity?"), and agreed to receive the shipments and turn them over to me upon arrival.
I was stoked.

Like nearly all Marvel initiatives, however, it only lasted a little over a year (5 sales quarters) before the enterprise was unceremoniously dropped. But, not before I got the GIANT spinner rack and a ton of graphics. Yes, Doc is in a few of them - one for the Midnight Sons titles, another of the "founding fathers" of Marvel header, (which you can see in the above photo). Also inlcuded were some shelf-talkers (inserts that were placed in longboxes and/or the pockets of the TOWER OF POWER!!! itself) and a HUGE Marvel Edge wall graphic. Doctor Strange is on that as well.
(Pictured HERE).

(You'll note that, at this time, DOC was about to go into his "white shirt with trench-coat" phase, and they hadn't yet made up their mind to make it his RED "Overcoat of Levitation". Instead, it's just colored black with blue highlights).


As for construction; it's made out of a durable, coated cardboard.
The body of the unit is folded and glued into itself, so that when it is unpacked from it's large container box, it needs to be unfolded and then *popped* open to form a hollow rectangle.
Here's a scan of the instruction sheet schematic (and one of the aforementioned ass-saving pieces of graphics for the cube-dwellers).

As you can see, the body is then placed into and, using locking tabs, secured to the plastic base.
Wheels attached to the bottom of the base allow to the unit to spin.

The folks at the Marvel promotions dept must have received some complaints that stores with carpeting would find the TOWER OF POWER!!! unable to spin, so they soon shipped out a square sheet of masonite board, which would then be used as a floor surface.
It was sent free of charge so as to not further piss-off their retailers, who were probably already regretting buying into this thing.

To maintain the body's structural integrity, another cardboard insert is slipped down from the top and locked into place via slots and tabs.

The pockets are also made of the same heavy-duty, coated corrugated cardboard.
They fold at the sides and the tabs slip into pre-cut slots in the body of the unit.

Sadly, due to a design decision, the rack's pockets only hold UNBAGGED, UNBOARDED comics for sale, and as such is USELESS for any practical purposes of comic display if preservation is any factor. Even if it isn't for some jerk to have as a personal display, I have known MANY comic shoppes who bag and/or board their new comics for sale. This rack would do them no good.

However, ESSENTIALS (and some TPBs/HC's) are EXACTLY nekkid comic size and fit right in the pockets, so that is a saving grace. I could see this in a store with some TPB's in it. That would be fairly awesome.

Right now, Mike Sterling is wishing he had one.
Yeah. Riiiight.

Each pocket holds X unbagged comics.
(I write "X", because, I honestly don't know. I can't find any specifics in the literature for it, and frankly, I don't HAVE any unbagged comics lying about. I might be able to go down to my "non-Sanctum" comic boxes that I'm processing for my future auction storefront, but, I'm not that dedicated.
Let's just say that for all intents and purposes, that "X" = "a bunch". OK?)



Now the cool part; the graphics.

As for the add-ons, there were two different types of unit graphics:
- pocket graphics
- headers

The headers would be affixed (via double-sided foam sticky-tape, which was provided) to extra pockets (they sent many extras).
Those four extras would then be slid into the top slots of the side that corresponded to the sales-push that was going on at that time.
For instance, "Side 1" might be the "Spider-Man" side, and so all the Spider-titles would be racked on that side, along with anything that would be Spidey-centric.
"Side 2" might be the "Avengers" side and would thusly contain all Avengers-related books that month.
Every few months, a new shipment of graphics would arrive and they would correspond to whatever books were "hot" at the time.
This was the mid 01990's so think "Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider", "New Warriors", "1001Punisher titles" and "Force Works".

Here. I'll toss in images of ALL the graphics and just the the plan-o-gram for the first quarter's shipment of images. You can see where they dictated which header went on which side and what graphics went where - and what issues to rack in which pocket.
My apologies for the horrid quality of many of the images.
The area where I normally do my item photography is in a state of... disaster, and the photos were done, in a rush on the floor.




This was the first quarter's comic shelving plan-o-gram.
And below, the first assortment of graphics and their placement instructions.Each quarter this would change, and while I do have all the other literature for the duration of the program, I didn't think it necessary to post ALL of them, albeit there WERE only 5 quarters that this existed before oblivion (and Marvel cocking up their Heroes World acquisition as well as the state of the Direct Market as a whole).


FIRST SET GRAPHICS:
MIDNIGHT SONS HEADER & Ghost Rider pocket graphic.

SPIDER-MAN & X-MEN headers (no pocket graphics)

NEW WARRIORS header & graphics
---------------

SECOND SET GRAPHICS:
SPIDER-MAN & AVENGERS headers (no pocket graphics)
GENERATION X header and graphics.
the CHAMBER graphic was meant to sit at the counter
& interestingly, that "countdown" pocket graphic was actually a page-a-day tear-off calendar.
I didn't use it, obviously.
PUNISHER (1st assortment)---------------

THIRD SET GRAPHICS:

SPIDER-MAN header

2099 header & Spider-Man2099 graphic

FORCE WORKS & IRON MAN header & Iron-Man / War-Machine graphics
PUNISHER (2nd assortment) header & graphics
---------------


FOURTH SET GRAPHICS:
emo SPIDER-MAN & A.O.A. X-MEN headers

FANTASTIC FOUR header with Thing (taking a dump) graphic

CLASSIC HEROES header & Silver Surfer graphic


So... there you have it.
I don't know how many stores signed up for the promotion.
At least enough for Marvel to go forward with it - for awhile.

Later, just as this promotion was wrapping up, Marvel would sell replacement pockets for this (and for those who didn't sign up for it, they would fit into standard slat-wall).
They were plastic and called POWER POCKETS!
(sadly, I don't have those...)


To wrap up this exhaustive post (and don't think that I didn't want to post a pic of the initial artist's rendering of the item from one of the old solicitation guides that I still have), I'll just say that I didn't give you guys photos of all 4 sides of MY TOWER OF POWER!!!, just showing the "CLASSIC HEROES" side (with all my assorted general Marvel Essentials) and the "MIDNIGHT SONS" side (with Man-Thing & other horror-related Essentials), because I'm in the process of designing new custom headers for those other sides.

What ESSENTIALS are IN those 2 unseen sides, you might ask?
Silly you... why DEFENDERS & DOCTOR STRANGE, of course.

-------------------------------------------------
* NEXT ISSUE : IT FIGURES (part 1)*
or
* Master of the Plastic Arts *
-------------------------------------------------

Friday, October 17, 2008

By the Hoary Highballs of Hoggoth!

*click to "Super-Size" your drink*

I apologize for, once again, preempting the "Tower of Power" post, but THIS baby JUST arrived and I had to show it off ... er... share it with you.

This is the NEW Doctor Strange 'Toon Tumbler.
It holds a full pint of your favorite cold beverage and seems to be very nicely made.
It's glass, however, so be careful if you're planning on using it to drink your "sorcerous-sauce".
(Dropping a regular, run-of-the-mill glass makes me curse myself for a novice. I can't imagine the Demons of Denak that I'd be screaming to should I break this beauty.)

With beautiful graphics, and the fact that it's quite hefty, it seems to be of rather good quality all-in-all.
While it seems to be very well made, and they are supposedly dishwasher safe (so the website says), I'll probably hand-wash mine.
Again, because... breaky-breaky = me :-(

Of course, everyone here must recognize the classic Frank Brunner artwork that adorned the covers of both; the giant Marvel Treasury # 6, as well as the 1st pocket-book reprint paperback. Right?
I'm happy that they didn't photoshop CLEA out of it.
A great choice for an iconic representation.

While there are many glasses of comic characters available on their web-site (Marvel, DC, Harvey and more), this one and it's assortment-mates (in the "Marvel Bronze-Age Heroes" assortment with Shang-Chi; Master of Kung-Fu, Captain "Mar-Vell" Marvel & Thor) are not yet available on the site.

Now, I just need to wait for the MAN-THING glass...
(...waiting... waiting... )


----------------------

**UPDATE**
I have since this post obtained NEW Toon Tumbers for DOCTOR STRANGE via the official website (as they are NOW available there).
There is now a CLEAR and a FROSTED version, each with display packaging.
I posted about them HERE complete with pics.


----------------------

OK.
I'll have that TOWER of POWER post up this weekend.
I still need to get some images together.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I have ARRIVED!

We interrupt the regularly scheduled posting programming for this Very Special Announcement:

*click to make "Giant-Size"*

Thanks, Neil!
That means a lot.

As promised, the "Next Issue" will be about the "TOWER OF POWER".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

LO! THERE SHALL COME... A BEGINNING!

So.
Finally.

My first post on my own blog!
(and... be wary. It's going to be a LONG ONE.
No way around it, really.
They won't all be, however. I promise.)

For those of you who may have followed my assorted postings (ramblings) in the comment sections of other (better) blogs and message boards, you may very well be thinking one of three* things;

- "Crap. Now he's going to be running his long-winded 'typey-fingers' even MORE than before."

- "Maybe if he's spending his time here in his own little corner of the web, he'll leave the rest of us the heck ALONE."

- "Awesome!** This guy roxx! He always makes GREAT comments and I subscribe wholeheartedly to the though-processes that he pontificates - Now who is passing around the Kool-Aid?"


It'll take me a little while to refine my blogging-style.
I'm used to making very hastily-typed, energetic comment-posts on other blogs, so my writing here might reflect that, until I get myself to a less frenetic rhythm.
Please bear with me.

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I should try to give an overview of the "mission statement" for this blog.
At first, I was a little torn between having it be a place wherein I blog about ALL my comic reading, likes, reviews, thoughts, nerd.alt.obsessiveness, or not. However, I feel it's best to possibly do all that on a separate blog and JUST focus this one on my personal collection. I'll make the separate blog known as soon as I get it going.

I need to design a logo for it, perhaps.

(note: that, for a guy who didn't think he had time for ONE blog, now suddenly may have multiple. I guess that's just the way it works, somehow. And I'll probably be able to manage them since, at best, I'll aim for WEEKLY postings on each. More if possible, but weekly is all I can hope to maintain with any regularity.)


THIS BLOG will be the repository for pics, descriptions, stories, reviews and thoughts of my extensive personal "keeper" collection.

My main focus in comic collecting has always been the "misfits" of comics, usually within the mystical/ horror genre, but I'll admit to being an X-Men fan in the early to mid 1980's.
Over the years, however, as you may very well know from ANY post I have ever typed out on any other site... my inner geek is reserved for the very few:

- DOCTOR STRANGE -
&
- MAN-THING -

I do have other 'inner geek' stuff, but as my wife has readily surmised, it ALL pretty much has SOMETHING to do with Doctor Strange. Even some of my non-Marvel, non-comics stuff.
Taking a page from the "6-degrees of Separation" theory (usually attributed in pop-culture to Kevin Bacon), she applied it to my collection of all things remotely tangential to DOC***.

"6-degrees of Doctor Strange" she called it.

So, then I re-dubbed it (more appropriately):
"6-Dimensions of Doctor Strange"****.

Those 6-dimensions will lead us to many varied and unsuspecting planes of reality (and the escapism from reality). I will try to be entertaining, 'educational', thorough, and, if possible, humble, while showcasing all the swell swag that approximately 30 years of hyper-active comic-character collecting has brought down upon my head.

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I now want to take a few lines to thank those who have inspired, pushed, or cursed me to this end.

- John D.: My old friend from high-school who first introduced me to the concept of COLLECTING comics. Damn it, John. You have NO idea of the fate to which you have condemned me. Once bitten, I was hooked. I have no doubt that he'd be ashamed and saddened by my present state. But this was a guy who could, off the top of his head, tell you what villain appeared in ANY issue of Amazing Spider-Man, if all you did was give him the issue number. I'm sure he left comics behind him after college.

- My parents - who actually loathed the idea of my buying, reading and/or collecting comics. So much so that I had to smuggle them into the house. Which probably made this forbidden fruit all the sweeter. However, since I didn't have any disposable parental-cash, like my other comic-collecting friends, but just what I could earn from my paper-route, I was restricted to the 25cent bins. It was there where I discovered the 1970's MAN-THING series and then Doctor Strange, as well as other, non-Marvel supernatural goodness. So, for me it was a WIN.

- NeilAlieN : who was the first Doc-centric web-site I found.
Heck, he's the grandpa of blogging, so he could be one of the FIRST blogs out there... period.
THE source for Doctor Strange related NEWS items (as well as DITKO updates and comics in general). We have since become "internet friends" and I look forward to one day meeting him in the intergalactic, pan-dimensional flesh.

- wrong dimension boy : A great "internet-friend", whom I also look forward to meeting. Before I encountered Howard, I was CERTAIN that I was the preeminent Doctor Strange collector in the world.
(I mean, seriously. How many could there BE?! And with my collection, I was SURE of it.)

Well... it turns out, that he may very well be the MOST dedicated Doc-collector-fan in the history of ever. He buys original artwork, which is a line I won't cross. Dude's a phenomenon.
I'm most likely # 2. A very CLOSE # 2, but still, not the top slot.

- Erik Elzenaar. HIS is a FABULOUS site and one that I would love to come CLOSE to, but sadly, may fall short of reaching. He lists many, if not all, Doc-related goodness, complete with pics and has some great info on the stuff, but it's more of a "catalogue" web-site. Fabulous for reference! I hope to add a somewhat more personal touch to my site since I actually OWN all the stuff. He's a great guy, and true "internet-friend" (until I can get to the Netherlands and meet him in person. Hmmm... maybe a mind-expanding trip to Amsterdam?).

- the Defenders Message Board - the place where I first cut my chops, and spent more than half a decade answering every weird question about the 40+ year history of Doctor Strange that my all encompassing collection, and memory for stupid minutia allowed me to tackle.

- Dave Campbell (of the defunct Dave's Long Box blog). He showed how it's done and entertained me with the idea that any semi-evolved chimp can do this.

- Mike Sterling. (at the aptly named Progressive Ruin) Seriously. Aside from Neil's site, it's the one blog that I HAVE TO read every day. No matter what. But, more importantly, he shows the WORK that goes into a daily blog. His only failing is that he prefers SWAMP-THING to the far superior MAN-THING, but hey... no one am perfect. Otherwise, he's FanTASTic.

- Pillok. The thinking-man of blogging.
Whenever I get too full of myself, I read his stuff and realize that I know nothing.
Deep. Insightful. And, oh yeah. FUN. Dive in.
He encouraged me to step up my commenting to a level that was near-blog worthy. I may have to steal - er - borrow some of my comments from his site for my OTHER comic blog. When and if I get around to it.

- Darren (of the Man-Thing's Swamp blog) - I send him all manner of Man-Thing related sightings, and anyone who would take up the banner of Manny can't be bad. He can expect Man-Thing goodness here as well.

- Googum (of Random Happenstance), for no other reason, than that he was the first blogger that I know of to state that I "really, really should" have a blog.
(he did so here. So... anyway, maybe a discerning nature isn't his thing.)
Really. That's why he's on the list.
OK, he is ALSO an entertaining blogger whose blog features fumetti-style action figure comic strips, and insights and reviews of toys, comic books and the stuff we all dig.


- Scotty C. My very good friend, and the guy who, quite literally, continually said to me; "Dude. You should blog". His last email to me was pretty much; "Just do it." So. I am.

- My Wife. People... she knew I had a ton of this stuff when we met. That was over 20 years ago. I've only added to it all since then.
I wasn't AS nutty with the all-encompassing collector mentality then, but even when my mania grew, she didn't tell me to stop. Sure, I'm quite sure she wishes she had put a stop to it when it was possible. But she's been awesome about it - for the most part.
She let me have one of the largest rooms in the house for my collectibles to turn into my own "Sanctum Sanctorum". How is that not crazy-cool?!

So. To all those people, and the many more that I would love to mention, but really, need to draw this to a close, I give thanks.

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And so I feel that I should end this Inaugural blog post.
Really. Stan Lee, as verbose as he was/is could have told the origins of the Inhumans, Silver Surfer, Watcher and Galactus in less time.

Please feel free to stop by and follow along as I dig into my very own, collection. Which I call my:
SANCTUM SANCTORUM !

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* NEXT ISSUE : The TOWER of POWER! *
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*(Aside from the obvious fourth thing which would be; "Yeah. So what. Who cares?)

** (NO ONE is saying this.)

***And you have to trust me... it's not all Marvel stuff, and it's not all COMIC stuff either.
Just as a 'fer-instance; I have a LINENS-n-THINGS catalog because one of the photo-spreads showcases some comics on a nightstand, next to a cool lamp that they're hawking, and the comic on top of the pile is an old Marvel Team-Up guest-starring... yup. Doctor Strange.
So, expect some stupid shit here.

**** (coincidentally, there is a BOOK... fine, it's a "choose your own adventure" style book, but a BOOK nonetheless - about Doc with almost that exact title. Rest assured, it will be one of the multitudes of items that I nerdgasm about here.)