Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#0081: Mutagen Man

If you polled 100 people on their favourite Ninja Turtles character, the results would probably not surprise you. The Turtles themselves would command about 86% of the vote. The more edgy participants would say Shredder. True geniuses would answer Krang. One fucker would ruin the data by saying Keno.

Odds are, ain't nobody going with the Mutagen Man. Ain't nobody, and we even asked his mama.

However, Turtles was a marketing machine like few others, and because of the nature of the content, having a bevy of auxiliary characters you rarely saw on the cartoon made sense. Because a) it's a show about mutant animals. If you slap enough of a backstory on it, it's not hard to believe that an evil snake or a heroic moose might appear at some point. And b) despite our ignorance, the Ninja Turtles was more than just the 80's cartoon series. It was (and is) a comic first to many people, it just so happened that the cartoon was what made it explode. Then The Next Mutation happened, and everyone ran far far away.

But the Mutagen Man stands alone from the others a fair bit. Partly because he's hideous and smelly and nobody wants to stand too close to him, but mostly because he is just incredibly different from your typical Turtle toy. Originally mocked up as a design for Playmates, the Mutagen Man, formerly Seymour Gutz - yuk yuk - was a delivery boy who came upon some Mutagen that gave him a kind of Mortal Kombat Fatality, collapsing him into nothing but organs. If I were him, living in a world filled with badass ninja turtles and samurai rabbits, I would be mighty pissed off. Sadly, I suppose his fate was much more realistic for anyone messing around with toxic goo.

Seymour fashions himself a containment suit to hold all of his bits in, and off he goes! He's a hideous brain fellow that even Krang feels icky about. As you can see, his eyes and grey matter proudly peer out at you from within the suit. Originally filled with water, he also had a heart and other nondescript organs that would float within his casing. The water has long since dried up, so now they just rattle around like a particularly sinister castanet. I have a vague feeling that the top section opens up to give him a refill, but I'm really not that fazed about whether I ever see his spleen drifting about again.

In the cartoon, he possesses the ability to shapeshift, and the Turtles are able to give him a cure that allows him to take on any form he wants permanently. He decides on that of an attractive man, and that's the last we ever see of him. Sadly, the 'Sexy Seymour Gutz' action figure never saw the light of day, even when the toys had strange offshoots like beach Turtles, birthday party Turtles and Leonard Nimoy Turtles. Here's a funny hindsight for you: my parents never bitched once, not ONCE, about why it was I needed eight hundred different Raphael toys. It was like Malibu Stacy's new hat. I wanted it wanted it wanted it, though in all fairness, Raphael's new hats allowed him to do backflips, shoot pizzas and even talk. Those talking toys were fucking terrifying if you did it wrong.

But enough about that. Mutagen Man does none of these things. He initially came with various knick knacks that I have of course lost, including a hose and tank apparatus that plugged into his back that may actually be critical to his survival, a menacing gun of sunshine yellow, and some sort of... little hook things. I don't know what they were. They looked like thumb screws. The point is, now that I've Googled these images, I do vaguely recall seeing these things somewhere in the depths of the toy chest at some point, not realising that they were the property of Mr. Gutz.

But that is neither here nor there. I doubt some avid collector is going to see this unpackaged, mildly knicked up toy and scoff at its lack of accessories. Unless he actually intended to play with it, and simply can't get over the notion that the Mutagen Man has carelessly misplaced his gun and breathing apparatus somewhere, liable to be found by small children at risk of shooting people and breathing freely.

Of special mention is the rather gruesome little details this fun friend possesses. Excellently detailed exposed muscular tissue and a misshapen, warty layer of skin cover his arms and legs, and within his tank, bulging eyeballs and a tiny screaming little face reminiscent of a shrunken head. Honestly, he may be the second scariest figure in Turtles history, second to only the deranged Pizza Face. I suppose it depends on what makes your skin crawl more, an overweight, bedraggled chef with a pizza wheel for a foot, or Playmates' take on motherfucking Cain from Robocop 2.

If you told me the Mutagen Man was an international drug lord, I would totally believe you. Hell, if you told me Pizza Face was an international drug lord, I would totally believe you. New York, man... New York!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Hello INAKA, my old friend.

If anyone's wondering, yes, I do have machinations to someday get back into the swing of things and update this blog at least semi-regularly. The problem I've had lies within the title itself: I'm not a kid anymore.

So this means working full-time and trying to make enough to get by. I work, I come home, I eat, some days I go to Japanese class, I drink, I pass out. Weeks just whiz on by in this year of 2014, a year I would declare as ultimately one of the most disappointing of my life. I hold years ending with the number 4 to a lofty standard, and whereas 1994 and 2004 hover near the top in ranking my life, 2014 just sits in the lower third, an unfortunate victim of unrealistic expectations.

The second issue with blogging about toys is, as you may recall, I moved out of home two years ago. And unfortunately for my dad, I've left all of my junk there. It becomes more than a little odd when I visit him and devote time to frittering through tubs of toys, or bringing them back here to my apartment solely so that I can get rid of them.

But we'll see. The blog is never dead, in my mind. Sometimes, it's just a little bit like a sloth. It's covered in moss and lacking in ambition, but eventually, it will end up going somewhere. Also, sometimes I end up with things like this.

Yes indeed, TURTLE BALLS. I saw these a short while ago and thought they were too awesome (radical, even) to pass up. I don't know what I'm going to do with them. Chances are solid they will simply sit in the closet, only occasionally appearing in an effort to frighten intruders with the visage of a grinning, decapitated Leonardo.

Part of me wants to give one to each of my four children (children who don't currently exist beyond Cynthia and Morgan on Fire Emblem Awakening), passed down through the years as the line divides, a reminder of the bonds of family and the eccentric consumerism of their demented ancestor.

...But that takes too much effort, I think. Enjoy the closet, boys.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The mysterious sign

The above sign has hung on the door of my sister's room for as long as I can remember. Even when we moved overseas, it came with us, proudly displayed upon the doorknob.

At a glance, there's nothing too odd about it. As you can see, Mario is rudely barring entry, under the pretense that a Nintendo game is in progress. Is it Super Mario Bros.? Ocarina of Time? Tomodachi Life??

We may never know, but fair enough. We can't go in, because there's some serious Nintendo-ing going on in there. Should we interrupt, who knows the catastrophic consequences that could befall us? For all we know, Andross will destroy the galaxy, and frankly, that's not a risk I'm willing to take.

However, the sign then takes a turn most sinister...

Ehh??!! The other side says 'do not disturb'? What sorcery is this?! For one thing, it makes me assume that the Nintendo game that previously took place is some serious shit (fastest times in Diddy Kong Racing or similar), to the point where the occupant must be alone to recover. But more importantly, it begs the question: when can you actually enter the room??

Either an important Nintendo game is in session, or you are forbidden from disturbing all who dwell within. The end result is you, as the outside door dweller, are left to feel most unwelcome. All my childhood, this was my fate, coupled with a literal stop sign that was later lost somewhere in the folds of time. It's no wonder I have serious abandonment issues to this day. Fuck you, door, you're the genesis of my failures.

#0080: Hopper

NOTE: My sister walked in on me taking the above photo, so you'd better love it to bits. It was totally awkward. I'm so ashamed.

It's well chronicled that I have eaten a lot of McDonald's over the years, because my god, does that shit taste good. I went for a long time without it recently, spurning unhealthy food and going to the gym four times a week. Unfortunately, juggling the gym with work and Japanese classes, something had to give. Sadly, my physical progress has slowed to a crawl. And I've had a few McDonald's binges, to boot. Don't feel too bad, though. Their promotional Argentina burger tastes amazing, and makes the whole thing worth it.

But enough about me. More about toys. For I am not a toy, I am a boy! Today's figurine is a bygone from the late 90s, a Hopper figure, of A Bug's Life fame. You know what's great about Hopper? He's voiced by Kevin Spacey. You know what's even better about Hopper? He hops around like a drunken old man. Incredible. I'll show you in a moment or two (depends on how quickly I type, or how slowly you read).

Once upon a time on this blog, I used to critique the quality of the toys themselves, as if people cared. I have recently realized it's a great way to pad blog entries, so let's try that again. Frankly, I think he's quite handsome. He's marvelously sculpted, his paint job is flawless, and his carapace (thanks, WoW) is bright and shiny. Like, literally shiny. Was it shiny in the movie? I don't think so, but it makes him look fabulous. And yes, I mean that in both literal and homosexual terms.

His stringlike antennae are super fun to play with, making me surmise I was a small kitten in a previous life. With one yellow eye, and one white one that is possibly blind (don't look at his bad eye!) he looks perfectly bug-eyed - pause for laughter - and sports the appropriate toothy, sinister frown. And bonus, his hunched over posture reminds me of hideous boxer. And that is simply marvelous. A Bug's Life? More like A Balrog's Life, mofos.

Frankly, I'm quite smitten with the quality of this figure. Especially when you consider it's a Happy Meal toy, something that by it's very nature is meant to be fiddled with at the restaurant and then never touched again, at least until some idiot makes a blog about it fifteen years later.

He even has, and I kid you not, I never noticed this until now and I'm kind of freaking out about this, a second set of arms. That's right kids, Hopper is the Machamp of the miniatures. The Goro of the garden. The... fictional four-armed character of a humorously aliterate nature. Of course, they're simplistic and easily missed, but they're most certainly there. It only takes you a decade and a half to find them, so I look forward to seeing you all again around 2030. I'll be dead by then.

Excellent. Also, autocorrect wanted to change freaking into 'free king'. I think my iPhone has a political agenda I wasn't aware of. Much like Hopper's superfluous arms. Most appropo.

But wait! There's more. I promised hopping, and good gracious, hop he shall. It's not the most graceful display of athleticism, but if you've ever watched Diving With the Stars, you'll no doubt attest that you could do a lot worse. And so, hop on, you queer little Spacey bug. Afterwards, you'll no doubt do battle with Superman, before returning to your home planet. If you have a package for me, I shan't open it.

...I ran out of references, sorry. Though in retrospect, a package from a grasshopper would no doubt be rather small, and as such would likely contain no head. So I might actually accept his wee little bug delivery. I do like presents.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#0079: Thomas the Tank Engine miniature playsets

When I was a wee sprat, I went apeshit for playsets. For as much fun as it was to have my toys galavanting about the house and leap from couch to couch, or for them to wander the unknown territory of the backyard (I lost a Bebop figurine out there for a solid year), playsets allowed us to put them right in their element. Fuck you, creativity! For I have the Technodrome.

Rare were the times when you got a full-sized playset, however, because they were overpriced and, at least in my recollection, hard to find. Fortunately however, miniature figurines allowed for compact little locales that you could literally take with you on the go. In retrospect, there was a definite emphasis on the portability of these self-contained little societies. I don't think I ever really looked at a small village and said to myself, 'Man, I wish I could take this with me everywhere'. But to each their own.

Thomas and all his chums made for excellent playset fare (I'm getting sick of using that word...), because years of rich storytelling made for lots of familiar locations like the Tidmouth Sheds that children would love to have for their very own. Also, it was a show about trains - their very purpose is to travel places, so you could literally just stick a railroad track in any random location and it would seem appropriate. One does not simply walk into Mordor, but Thomas would be more than happy to take you there.

Toot-toot! Let's observe the Thomas the Tank Engine miniature p-words...

Well, shit. That's a glum-looking landscape, isn't it? Bare and vacant, like the aftermath of the bomb in Sarah Connor's nightmare. Those flowers held up pretty well, if that was the case. However, fear not! For deep within the bowels of this unassuming little burgh lurks a collection of fantastic autonomous vehicles, just ready to take you home! ...Though honestly, the fare from London to Manchester is absolutely batshit crazy expensive. I'm not even kidding you.

All it takes is a little bit of common sense, working out where to put each little feature - for example, the tree isn't supposed to go right in the middle of the railroad track, you malicious fuck - and voila! Your masterpiece is complete, and you're now a true engineer! I'm half-convinced this is the actual qualification required to drive a train in some third-world countries.

Fear me, for I am a fucking God. I have invented England.

This is, of course, the aforementioned Tidmouth Sheds. It's well-known for housing all of Sodor's colourfully quirky trains, and subsequently, the place where peer pressure and bullying runs most rampant. It's seriously bad news whenever a scene takes place here, because either someone's ass is getting teased, or someone is talking shit, and his comeuppance is imminent. The only thing for sure in this strange, sad little world is, as I've often stressed, Gordon is always the resident asshole. Always.

This particular set came with everyone's pal Thomas, as well as his passenger cars, Annie and Clarabel. You'd have to be particularly ballsy to ride in one of these coaches, considering how frequently the trains crash. To borrow an actual quote, Annie and Clarabel at one point say of Thomas: 'He's dreadfully rude, I feel quite ashamed. I feel quite ashamed, he's dreadfully rude. You mustn't be rude, you make us ashamed'.

Which is no doubt a respectable thing to say. But imagine if you were inside them at the time? You'd freak out like nobody's business.
'Daddy?' says little Wendy, of no more than four, 'Why is our carriage ashamed of the train?'
Her father holds her close, tears in his eyes. 'I'm unsure, Wendy. But you'd best hold tight - we're about to fucking crash.'
Tragic. Still better than Melbourne's public transport system, at least.

The most exciting thing about this playset is of course the fully functional turntable, which meant you could park within the sheds at your delight. Unfortunately, I've actually positioned Thomas in the wrong direction to get inside the shed, plus, all sorts of mayhem would ensue if I planted him on the turntable with Annie and Clarabel in tow. Little Wendy, she deserves better than that, doesn't she?

...Oh screw it, let's give it a try.

And let's never speak of it again.

Next, we turn our attention away from the foulmouthed locomotive, and escape to the peaceful countryside (the first photo in this entry. Damned if I'm going to recycle it and bloat my upload limit), a place where Bertie the bus is known to frequent. His best buddy good friend vaguely known acquaintance Percy often makes his rounds here, and as you'll note, this particular playset is sadly lacking in functional turntables. For this reason, it is infinitely inferior to the previous set. In its defence though, it features a bush which is abnormally large.

You might note, there is in fact a piece missing. I'm fairly certain it was a boom gate or something of that nature, because otherwise, that's a pretty deadly little stretch of road, isn't it?

There really isn't much more to say about this section of the set, unless you want eight paragraphs professing my love for the large bush. There are hinges on the side that suggest that there were four different parts to create your own perfect vision of Sodor. My world is therefore tragically incomplete, but it still has everything I would ever want.

...Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to playing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Toy Flashback: Lowly Worm hates Nazis

In case you hadn't noticed, the 'Toy Flashback' tag is used for any photo I happened to take while I was making a blog entry, that I simply couldn't find room for in its original post. It's a nice way to recycle material.

Today, however, I was taking a leisurely stroll through the statistics this queer little blog has acquired. Predominantly, I was looking at viewcounts. As I would have guessed, entries about the Ninja Turtles occupy several of the top spots: the Turtlecycle, Invasion of the Robobugs, and Krang's Android Body rank first, fourth and ninth respectively.

Other things are a little more surprising. Scar (the once acclaimed 'king of gay') has gamely held a top ten spot for quite some time, as has Resident Evil 3 on GameCube. I can't really fathom much of a reason for either; Lion King and Resident Evil are fine franchises to be sure, but neither a simple toy nor a repackaged sequel are exactly at the forefront of your brain when you're thinking of what's going to bring in the goods.

The most absurd concept, however, is that Lowly Worm... Lowly fucking Worm... is the second most-viewed blog entry I've had. And this was an early one, from the first month, before I had really amassed many readers. So people across the Internet, far and wide, have been actively searching for Lowly Worm, and have landed smack dab on this blog. Were they disappointed, I wonder? Did they find what they were looking for? And, above all else, did they enjoy my Photoshopped picture of Lowly Worm beating the shit out of Nazis?

I may never know the answer. But because it is simultaneously a coveted entry as well as the single best 'shop I have ever produced in nearly three decades of lifetime (because I'm pretty sure I was Photoshopping in the late 80s), I salute the absolute living fuck out of this picture. I'd best just make sure it's not a Nazi salute, lest I cop a fist to the face from a Scarry worm.