Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Bag From My Mom: Part 5

More stickers?

More stickers!

Masters of the Universe Lazer Blazers

There's little I could say about these that this old XE article didn't already communicate a hundred times better. Go read it.

If you're interested in buying these, I'm selling them here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Bag From My Mom: Part 4

We're going back in time for this one, folks. All the way back to the spring of 1991.

Simpsons Illustrated #1

Simpsons Illustrated was the fan magazine devoted to The Simpsons, naturally. It ran for only ten issues, and although this is the only one I can recall reading, I certainly did put this issue through its paces. The content was pretty standard, with the requisite fan mail, art submissions, interviews, and how-to-draw pieces. In the pre-internet era, however, we took what we could get.

My favorite piece in this issue was an ad for the imaginary Frosty Krusty Flakes. The cereal is similar in conceit to the series' Krusty O's, although this box makes a dubious promise about an unnamed prize inside, while the one from the show delivered on its guarantee that you'd find a jagged metal O.

I also enjoyed "Bart's Bottom 40," my favorite being #27 "Being tried in court as an adult."

Twenty-five years following publication, most of the fun that can be had reading this magazine come from the '90s ads. The back cover features an advertisement for series two of the 1990-1991 Skybox basketball card set. Yes, these can be found in 98% of all Craigslist listings for any type of sports cards, but I feel that they have actually aged fairly well. The computer graphic backgrounds are relatively understated (in comparison to what the rest of the '90s had in store), and most of the teams were still sporting my personal favorite renditions of their logos. I even have the slight urge to send a letter to Salisbury, Maryland.

For me, it's hard for any Simpsons property to crack the majesty of the first 8-10 seasons, but if I run across any of the nine issues I didn't read, I might give one a whirl.

Next from the bag: Holy Holographic!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Bag From My Mom: Part 3

The next thing from the bag is kind of a clunker.

Trivia Mania: Movies Volume II

Before cards and comics and such, movies are my first love. I'm guessing my mom picked this up at a rummage or used bookstore or something. With a publication date of 1984, most of the questions focus on a movie blind spot of mine.

Question #755: Who plays the heavily sweatered psychiatrist in Ordinary People?

I mean, yeah, if I watched it last week maybe I could name him, but this is not something fresh in my mind.

Since this book basically holds a negative resale value, as soon as I hit publish, this is going in the recycling bin.

Next from the bag: Who the hell are you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Bag From My Mom: Part 2

It's time to dive back into the Target bag that was probably sitting atop my parents' breakfast nook for the past seven months.

The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual

This is one of those books that came with a small set of stickers that you could order at school. There are various book clubs, but the one we got most often was called Troll. Jesus Christ, if you saw that there was a big box from Troll sitting on the counter in the school office, everyone would go apeshit until the teacher sent a kid to get it and cracked that treasure chest open. It usually stopped short of mutiny, but came close.

This book was written as a series of lessons, presumably teaching the readers everything needed to know to become a genuine Ghostbuster. Each lesson page has a spot to affix a sticker. I originally thought that these stickers came with the book. However, the Training Manual, came with a different set of stickers, none of them featuring Peter, Ray, or Egon. This book's stickers are mostly catchphrases like "I've been slimed," and "I ain't afraid of no ghost." This means that my family actually had two different books like this. If the other one ever turns up, the world may never know.

I chose to show this page because the hotel/Slimer scene is one of my favorites, and has the best line of dialogue in the movie. After her cart gets blasted with a proton pack, the hotel maid asks, "What the hell are you doing?" My dad often used that line when I was growing up, same intonation and all.

Once all of the lessons are completed, you are granted the privilege of becoming an honorary Ghostbuster, made official by this Certificate of Achievement. I'm not sure how it might feel to receive such an honor, as I obviously opted to maintain the book's collectibility over the bestowment of the award, though I imagine it would have been one of my proudest days.

Next from the bag: All the answers.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Bag From My Mom: Part 1

If your parents are anything like mine, they often try to give you a bunch of stuff when you visit. Often, these un-asked-for gifts are newspaper clippings, vaguely interesting pages from a page-a-day calendar, or a container of homemade applesauce. While they can't all be applesauce, there are times when the contents deviate from the norm, and the gift is really something worth bringing home.

The last time such was bestowed, it was this bag.

Even though my parents have moved (within the city) since I left for college, never to return, they still find little pockets of stuff here and there that belonged to me or my brother or sister. Sometimes it's just a thing or two, and often it might not even be something that was mine, but just fit in to the category of stuff I might like. In this case, it was a bag full of cool stuff. I'd like to begin sharing it with you today.

Sheet of Star Wars Stickers (Slightly Incomplete)

I distinctly remember these stickers, probably acquired in 1996 or 1997. In fact, my door whiteboard in college (remember those?) had a the Princess Leia and Salacious Crumb stickers on it. I'm unable to remember what character was represented on the missing sticker here, but I'm sure it was a cool as all the rest. (It might be Vader, come to think of it.) This particular set of stickers has an attractive aesthetic, a style uniquely its own. The artwork strikes a nice balance between photography or photo-realism and outright cartoonishness. And the single-color backgrounds help place these firmly in the realm of pop art. All in all, I'm glad they survived the twenty or so years since I owned them, and I'll enjoy affixing them in only the choicest of spots.

Next from the bag: Get trolled!