Here’s a fan reconstruction of the Universal Conan show that got Gary Goddard the job directing Masters Of The Universe!
It seems pretty clear that Hasbro was desperately grasping for ways to make kids want to buy G.I. Joe toys in the mid 90s. At one point they went with awesome live action commercials then switched gears from the war on drugs thing to neon ninjas to the environment to monsters!
According to the fantastic YoJoe.com, Dr. Mindbender whipped up Mega Monsters Bio-Viper and Monstro-Viper to take on the Mega Marines who have moldable armor in the form of Play-Doh. The monsters look rad, but the idea of putting play clay on my figures sounds super-messy now. My kids love Play-Doh and I’ve seen how hard it can be to get the hardened stuff out of crevices and whatnot! Jeez, I sound old.
Anyway, I though this would be a good way to kick of TCTs for October as I love bonkers mash-ups like this! Enjoy and come back for hopefully-maybe daily posts leading up to Halloween.
It’s pretty funny that Hasbro decided to follow-up the short-lived Drug Elimination Force line with the over-the-top macho craziness of Battle Force. I mean, it’s not like the D.E.F. line was overly serious (see: Headman), but all that “very special episode” stuff is out the window in favor of neon, muscles and spring-launching weapons.
From perusing the fantastic YOJOE.com I realized that the early 90s were my personal heyday when it came to getting Joe toys. Some of the lines were crazier than others, but I was a kid who wanted to play with he-men, ninjas and evil bad guys, some covered in armor, so it was all gravy for me. How, I didn’t get into the sci-fi-themed Star Brigade figures and why there’s not a commercial for the whole line on YouTube will remain a mystery for now.
The early to mid 90s were a crazy time for kids. There was this huge push to make sure we didn’t use drugs or join gangs so many schools (including mine) decided to scare the crap out of students by presenting them with way too much information. I remember one time when a cop came and showed us samples of drugs most of us hadn’t even heard of and an assembly where they showed us videos about gangs that gave me nightmares for a good long time. Thanks Christ the King!
The anti-drug message carried over into the world of animation and toys, as you can see in this commercial for the G.I. Joe: Drug Elimination Force line captured by Dinosaur Dracula. They are hitting this thing hard and not even going for a subtle metaphor in the slightest! I thought the gangster-esque bad guy was even called Hitman, but it’s actually Headman as you can see on the packaging.
While watching this commercial, I was surprised to realize I had a few of these toys, specifically Cutter and Mutt with Junkyard. I’d have to dig through my box, though, to realize if they were actually part of the D.E.F. line or Battle Corps which came out immediately after this and will be the subject of next week’s TCT! I hope it also features amazing live-action craziness!. That’s my favorite thing about looking back at these old spots. Has anyone tried to put them all together as an actual film? Because they should.
As you can tell, I haven’t been blogging much lately. My days are filled with work, kids and house stuff, so I don’t have as much time to sit back down behind the computer and write out my thoughts on important things like movies and comics, but I’ve been lucky enough to see and read a lot of cool stuff lately and want to remember that.
So, let’s start with the trio of Dwayne Johnson movies I’ve seen recently. A few weeks back, unbeknownst to us we had a free trial of HBO. For a night, I thought we’d had the thing since we moved in six months ago and I’d just missed it, but the disappearance of the channels the next day revealed the truth. Still, I was able to take advantage and watch Justin Lin’s Furious 6.
I’m actually not very up on the Fast & Furious movies. I saw the first in the theaters way back in 2001, but I preferred the previous year’s Gone In 60 Seconds. Since then this series produced a few sequels that kept the motor running until it really kicked into gear in the past few installments. In a lot of ways, these movies have taken on a kind of comic book nature. The last three films have drawn from the previous ones as far as characters go and also, as Paul Scheer said on the episode of How Did This Get Made dedicated to the movie, they’re basically superheroes at this point who can’t die (or mostly can’t die). Continue reading Dwayne Johnson Is Awesome Part 1 (of Infinity)
Wow. After writing about G.I. Joe toys last week, I stumbled upon this mostly live action spot from 1993 that may or may not feature actual toys. According to the poster, this was on a Street Fighter II strategy video they dug up. I have no memory of this existing in my world, but then again, I was falling out of love with Joes around this time. Even now, though, I just stared in slack-jawed awe at this clip which kind of makes me wish someone like Canon had made a G.I. Joe movie like this back in the early 90s.
I don’t talk too much about vehicles here on Toy Commercial Tuesdays, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a fan of them growing up. While playsets were definitely the gold standard for me when it came to action figures accessories, vehicles were a lot easier to get back then, especially when it came to the 3 3/4-inch scale of G.I. Joes.
While looking around YouTube for this week’s TCT, I stopped when I saw this ad for the G.I. Joe Personnel Carrier a vehicle that not only let you mow down evil members of Cobra, but also gave you a practical place to store your toys. I don’t remember when I added this truck to my collection, but it definitely helped lead to some epic Joe adventures that took place on the terrain of my parents’ living room floor.
We’re probably not going to get into too much comic book movie news here on Explosions Are Rad because they’re covered really well on other sites, but it’s pretty cool that an action-packed flick like The Wolverine took the box office and made $86 million worldwide according to Variety.
We’re also not looking to delve too much into horror movie news for similar reasons, but Syfy’s Sharknado had enough (terrible) action scenes and explosions to qualify for a quick bullet point. TheWrap reported that the film will hit Regal, UA and Edwards Cinemas for a Friday, Aug. 2 midnight showing. It will be interesting to see if the so-bad-it’s-good phenomenon will transfer over to make actual money after being offered so often for free.
The Mary Sue recently posted an interesting story about a new Pakistani animated series called Burka Avenger that stars a female superhero who spends her days as a teacher. It definitely sounds like kid stuff, but the concept of a strong woman using her brains to fight crime is aces in our book.
Collider did an interview with Jon M. Chu about this week’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation DVD and Blu-ray release and also talked a bit about the third film which he’s signed up for. Briefly, he said that Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis are returning, they’re looking for a writer now and also to “double down on the adventure part of the movie” while also looking to possibly bring in more Joes.
Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, the man known as The Rock, Tweeted out an image from the set of Brett Ratner’s Hercules with the message: “Let it be to death or victory” THANK U my ‘Thracian soldiers’. Intensity & energy.”
There’s a flick in the works called Black Friday that revolves around a man trying to get his wife back after she’s kidnapped inside a giant mall. He’s got to perform crazy tasks to get her back. Sounds silly, but I spent enough time in the Palisades Mall to give this a look on Netflix. John Sullivan wrote a script that Darin Beckstead’s attached to helm. (via Deadlline)
World War Z fans can look forward to checking out the big budget zombie flick starring Brad Pitt in IMAX 3D for a week kicking off on Aug. 2. (via Deadline)
I love this commercial. First of all, it’s kind of awesome to see a toy-accurate live action Destro on screen as well as some of the ninjas that made their way into my toy collection. Speaking of my collection, this ad features several figures I actually had as a kid. For me, G.I. Joe was kind of a transitional toy while things like Transformers and He-Man went away, Joe was still around and kept me going through Ninja Turtles and into my Toy Biz Marvel obsession. In the early 90s, the lines were full of gimmicks that seem silly now, but were a lot of fun if you were 9 years old. I mean, who doesn’t love ninjas and gliders? You put those together and you’ve got a hit on your hands.
My continued adventures with the longbox of comics my pal Jesse sent me for my birthday from Cardsone took me back into the world of Bloodlines, the history of one of the coolest G.I. Joes around and into the first of many CrossGen comics I’ll be reading.
My first pick up was Lobo Annual #1 from 1993 written by Alan Grant and drawn by Christian Alamy. It was actually a pretty interesting one as it’s an early chapter in the saga that would become Bloodlines, an effort to bring some new, edgy blood into the DC Universe by way of some aliens based on the seven deadly sins who eat people with the metagene. Back when Bloodlines was actually coming out, I didn’t have enough cash to purchase annuals at their whopping $3.50 cover price. Add the fact that they had no real real importance on what happened in the ongoing series’ and I skipped out.
The interesting thing about this issue, in addition to teaming Lobo up with a female character named Layla who took no guff from him, this issue explains how the invading parasite aliens wound up getting their human looks: by mimicking the looks of some L.E.G.I.O.N. agents they took out.
Lobo’s the kind of character you either dig or you don’t, I do so this was a fun issue. I’m also a bit of a fan of L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S., though it’s more of a curiosity since I didn’t read the books when they came out. On it’s own, the issue actually works pretty well and it also holds some sort of importance on the oncoming Bloodlines story, but it was worth the read, though maybe a little long as these things tend to be.
Up next came Snake Eyes: Declassified #2 from 2005 which I did not have nearly as much fun with. The Devil’s Due book was written by Brandon Jerwa with art by Emiliano Santalucia and Robert Atkins. I had a pair of problems with this comics not including the fact that I’m not a die hard G.I. Joe or Snake Eyes fan. First off, the story is very obvious. The man who would become Snake Eyes winds up hooking up with a guy who is clearly using him. As a reader you get this nearly immediately, so the following pages wind up being kind of pointless. My other problem is one that I’ve had with several comics and that is that the art just doesn’t feel up to snuff. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not as good as you would expect from a professional comic book you theoretically would have paid three bucks for. The backgrounds are boring, the figures vary between strong and weak and the coloring feels very faint which makes the characters feel less bold and imposing.
At it’s heart, though, this is basically just a comic about two dudes running around committing crimes. That’s all well and good, but when you know one of them is going to become the greatest ninja warrior around, you kind of don’t care and just want to get to the good stuff. One of the problems with prequels is that we all know the foregone conclusion, so we know when risks are involved. This felt like it could have been told in a simple flashback instead of taking up an entire issue.
Lastly I came out of the box with CrossGen’s Crux #6 by Mark Waid and Paul Pelletier. This was a bit of a difficult issue to pick up on out of nowhere because it directly deals with an important event that happened at the end of #5. It’s well recapped–as are the characters and their abilities thanks to a recap page on the inside cover–but you do miss a bit of the emotional impact of something when you’re reading about it in text or in recap.
Of course, this is an ongoing comic book and that’s the trick to them. I was filled in enough to understand the story and follow along. This book is about a bunch of super type beings waking up on an Earth that’s empty and they’re trying to figure out why. There’s a few revelations that pop up, but again, since I’m not as invested in the characters or the story, they don’t hit as well for me.
Probably the most confusing element of this book and most of the other CrossGen comics I read, though, comes from the fact that a very disparate number of books on all kinds of different worlds are supposed to be connected by the sigil symbol some of them sport that looks unsurprisingly like the CrossGen logo. I still feel like CrossGen could have been a success had they not flooded the market too quickly and labored so intensely to connect all these comics that didn’t need to be connected.
By the way, Paul Pelletier is an awesome artist.