He-Man! Mile High Comics! G.I. Joe! Treasure!

During a prior move, I loaded as many of my 1980's Transformers and Masters of the Universe toys into a large green chest, that would fit. This would secure all my precious plastic until I had the proper place to display them...

That hasn't happened yet...


I moved into the apartment that I'm currently moving out of, in May 2006. My friend Robert Smith (from New Mexico, not The Cure) was helping me put stuff away, that had just arrived from Minnesota. Rob had his five year old son, Erik, with him that day, and he was doing some light help around the apartment as well. As I was shoving the big green chest into place in the living (where it was -and still is- slated for duty as my TV stand) room, Erik asked me: "Is that your treasure chest?"

Which made me think...

Well, it's big and old, and filled completely with my favorite toys of childhood.... So yeah, I guess this could be considered my treasure chest, by most definitions of the term....

But, I'm absolutely not burying it!


Here is Rob and Erik, looking slightly more metal than you, 
at Colorado Summer Slaughter Fest, July 2014. 


The chest is at least 80% original Transformer toys, with some other stuff sprinkled in. Some of these are my original toys from when I was less than a quarter of my current age. A majority of these were purchased in the late 1990's and early 2000's, when collecting old toys began to outpush the collecting of baseball cards...

Before we crack this baby open to fully explore it's contents, I have to share this tale of getting rid of a stack of MISB toys, from earlier this week...


I gathered all of my boxed toys in the bedroom last week, and decided what stays in my collection, and what doesn't leave the state of Colorado with me. Not bad stuff, all sealed in it's original packaging, just duplicates and toy lines I'm not interested in collecting. Another case where space is better than the objects themselves.


Last Saturday, I dropped in at Vision Comics, and inquired about their interesting in buying/trading for that stack of stuff. The guy I talked to was interested, saying to bring them in and we'd work something out...

So I gather up the toys together, bring it all down to the car and drive it to Vision Comics. (Like some creepy, homeless looking Santa Claus...) Suddenly this guy doesn't remember our conversation, and tells me that there's no market for my stuff at his store...

Uhhh... Okay... Bye then...

So, what changed in the last three days?

After running a couple of other Aarons, I placed a phone call to Mile High Comics...


When I was a kid, I knew of Mile High Comics, because of their multi-page advertising in all the editions of Marvel comics. I enjoyed reading their ad every month, as they seemed to advertise the biggest inventory, and were more appealing than the other retail ads that appeared in comic books of the day. I could follow what was hot, by what the Mile High Comics ad was featuring.

After moving to Denver in 1996, I quickly found a Mile High Comics close to my apartment. I went there and picked up a few missing issues of Transformers Comics. They were more expensive than I'd hoped, which contributed to my loss of interest in the rest of the comic run.

This ad is from early 1986. None of the locations listed exist any longer.

I called their main warehouse and was told to bring the toys up, as they would like to take a look at them.


Ooof... Comic Sans... I'll give it a pass in this case...


Located on the north end of Denver, along a decommissioned rail line,
just south of I-70 and west of I-25. 


A neighborhood I'd never been in, but led to some great pictures I hadn't counted on taking when the day started...


I have very little interest in comic books anymore, but this place was amazing! A huge retail space, open to the public, full of racks and shelves of comic books, display cases of collectible toys, and a large open area with a stage for special events.


Even larger than the public retail area, is the closed off warehouse. I'd sneak by, but I want to stay on Elvira's good side... I can't even imagine all the cool stuff that is hidden back behind what I couldn't see. This place is huge!

No haggling was involved in agreeing to this trade, we agreed on a trade price for my toys and I began looking around the warehouse... I may have low-balled myself, but at the end of the day, what I'd be bringing up to the apartment weighed only a couple of pounds, and took up less space than one MISB Optimus Primal.

(Optimus Prime as a Silverback Gorilla? REALLY?!?!?)


This Japanese Megatron re-issue was a quick contender to become the newest centerpiece of my collection...


But in the end, I chose to use my trade capital for filling in some gaps in the old He-Man collection. 


This was not added to my collection, but it made me laugh...


Mile High Comics also employees it's very own store cat! I didn't catch it's name, but Mile High Kitty followed me around the store a few times. He/she got some ear, head and neck rubs, and we briefly played ball under some comic book tables.

You'd think keeping some cats around is a good idea in a giant warehouse full of paper goods. That'll keep the rodent population down! The last thing you'd want is a infestation of mice inside cases of old comic books...

I wandered the store for a nearly an hour. Mainly because I was just enjoying the atmosphere. There was a ton of stuff to look at, and there were very few people around me to make it even better.

Once it was all said and done, here's the He-Man haul I took home from Mile High Comics:


First off, I was ecstatic to find a bag of loose accessories for Castle Grayskull. My castle is missing most of everything. The rest of the figures shown (besides Screech the bird) are replacements from childhood. What worked even more for me is these are some of the earliest characters introduced in the toy line, and I knocked out a bunch of needs at a great price.


I'd also forgotten all about Evil Lyn's action child-bearing hips!

Being at Mile High Comics, I had to leave there with some comics. 

Otherwise that would just be dumb...

Not going to try to think of anything new in this overwhelming environment, I'm just going to stick to what I know... Since I was looking to plug gaps in my original run of Marvel Transformers comics, when I first moved to Denver nearly 22 years ago, I should continue that mission as I prepare to leave...


20 or so years ago, Marvel put together larger perfect bound graphic novels, compiling mini-series that ran during the time I'd stopped buying them. I have most of Primal Scream (and don't remember reading them) after buying those original issues later. I had none of Matrix Quest (a 5 issue mini-series that I have never seen in my back issue pursuits), and am very interested in reading that story. Rage in Heaven is a thicker book than the other two, and compiles issues 2-12 of Marvel's Transformers: Generation 2.

Which I have all of the issues. Oh well...

I did not see any original copies of issues of Marvel Transformers that I'm missing, for sale in any of Mile High's bins. Who knows how many are in the vast tall and narrow racks of shelving, surrounding the retail area. And I didn't feel like asking. I was far more interested in those MOTU figures.

Looking at all of the other lines of Transformers comic book titles that Mile High was carrying, I was overwhelmed to the point of instant apathy. I counted well over 30 different titles, spanning the last 20 years. Which is just overkill... None of them really looked any different than the others. With so much of it, I really didn't want to see any of it.

However...

One title that intrigued me was Generations. They didn't have a whole lot of copies, but what they had appeared to be re-writes of the classic Marvel stories from the original 1985-1990 run.


The Smelting Pool was issue 17 in the Marvel run, and was one of my favorites. 


Even better, they have a copy of The Bridge To Nowhere! (Marvel issue 18) This issue was the conclusion of the story told in The Smelting Pool. A great two parter in the comic's initial run.

I haven't read these yet, but am definitely looking forward to it. How will IDW treat the old Marvel stories I liked so much?

******

For a minute there, I was so excited about these new additions, I lost track of the point of this story... Which was to take a look at everything toy-wise that was being packed up to return to Minnesota!

Getting new stuff isn't the point of getting rid of stuff, but I wouldn't have gotten much in cash for this stuff... However, I could get a lot of what I do want in trade for it! Just like I did with the bulk baseball cards a couple months ago...

Now that I'm getting everything ready for the drive back, I need to move the treasure chest out from under the TV, and securely pack everything inside for that one way commute to the Hinterland. Most of these toy pictures were taken during the weekend of May 4th-5th, 2013. That was the day I decided to bust the entire chest open and photograph what was inside.

And the last time they saw daylight... 


Not in anticipation of moving at the time, 
just for wanting a good record of everything there was inside...

I think we'll go through the toys contained inside the Treasure Chest in the format of alphabetical... 

Why not?

******

The Classics!


I've had this box of dominos since 1989, after acquiring it during the Edna/Omaha/Minneapolis fiasco, during that Summer. Still never played an actual game of dominos. I have lined them up and knocked them over a few times...


Old, tired, weather-beaten Fisher Price toys from early childhood... I'm pretty sure these were inherited at some point from my sister.


Just seeing that picture put the song in your head...

And if it didn't, reading this now, certainly did...


Gumby and Pokey... Shown not wearing their Aimby and Zwebby halloween costumes... 

One person out there laughed at that...


The Animaniacs! In the form of a free promotional toy, distributed at Hardees in the mid 1990's!


And you can't go wrong with chattering teeth!


Well, how about a chattering vagina?


Sorry... Jolly Jumping Pussie... My apologies...

******

G.I. Joe!

I never had a whole lot of G.I. Joes. They were a quality toy back in the day, but this is the extent of my Joe collection that survives today... (Along with part of a broken Skeletor staff.)


Pretty motley collection of Cobra underlings for Cobra Commander (version 2.0) to Commander... Special shout out to Mr. Rux, who gave me the B.A.T. (Battle Android Trooper) as a birfday gift many years ago. That's still one of my all time favorite G.I.Joe figures. And Tomax and Xamot ruled as the douchey business associates of Cobra... Dr. Mindbender... So much awesomeness!

The problem with G.I. Joe action figures is that their wieners break off easily. Then their legs go all akimbo and they wont stand up properly. Getting old sucks even if you're an action figure...


Many people disliked the Cobra Commander outfit reboot, but I was not among them. I'm still happy to have my MOSC reissue from the late 1990's...


Another late 1990's reissue purchase was this sweet Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow battle pack...

Come on! That's two freaking NINJA'S for the price of one!!!

Shortly after I moved to Denver, my 99 Spillihp (for that very important story, go read parts one and two!) replacement, Trav, forwarded this message:



And knowing is half the battle...

******

Masters of the Universe!

My second most collected toyline. Only recently have I actively started trying to reacquire these.


Trap Jaw (far left) and Clawful (far right) are the only two surviving from childhood. 

Faker, Mer-Man and Zodak were late 1990's ebay purchases.


Prince Adam, Whiplash, Man-E-Faces and Meckaneck arrived in my collection via a part of the story that you haven't read yet...


Panthor, Roton and Strider all survived since childhood...


Along with the prize of my MOTU collection, Castle Grayskull, with it's original box! It's by no means complete (which was why that bag of accessories was such a great find!), but the box is all sorts of awesome. Someone painted that!


My mom bought Castle Grayskull for me at the old Holiday Village store, at University and 694, in Fridley, MN. If you ever got to experience that store, you know how cool it was... Even some 35 or so years ago, it was still $25 for it. I'm sure it would retail for at least double that today...


Even Gracie wanted to check out the Castle... And who could blame her?


So there's that... With all the figures I had five years ago...


Other MOTU swag that survived to this day is this Beast Man rubber stamp...

I wonder what year this completely dried out?


Plus an incomplete box of He-Man brand bandages...  That is quite the neck on Mr. Man...


I didn't want to bust Kobra Khan from his mylar home, just to be included in the class photo. 

Come on, he's the Evil Master of Snakes, you wanna piss him off? 

And if you press down on his head, he sprays in any direction... 

Now that just sounds dangerous to me. 

Better leave Khan alone...

Back in the pizza taxi days of the 1990's, I decided that I needed a MOTU figure in it's original packaging. Quick ebay searches brought up the Evil Master of Snakes here, and the price featured a nice discount because of the multiple bends in the packaging. Works for me!


Back in January 2001, Mattel reissued a bunch of the classic MOTU line, in it's original packaging, wrapped in new commemorative packaging, in runs of 5,000 to 10,000. I was "lucky" enough to be at the local WalMarts when they briefly appeared on shelves. I bought all of them, except Teela, who had already sold out.

Mattel put these on the market to drum up collector nostalgia for their new Masters of the Universe re-boot! Which would include an extensive toyline, brand new cartoon, lotsa tie-in merch...


Mattel pushed hard, and these were really nice toys, but the public of 2002 just didn't bite. 

However, I'm a big fan of this toy line, and am still looking for figures I don't have.

That Skeletor is bad ass!

******

Robo Force!

Robo Force was the toymaker, Ideal's entry into the hot robot craze going through the toys marketed to male children in the mid 1980's. But these didn't transform, or do much of anything... Their gimmick was simply air filled arms that would squeeze in when a button on their back was pushed.

I'm not sure how idea thought they could compete with robots that turned into cars and planes and guns, by making robots that simply hugged...

Oh, but they did have suction cups for feet!?


Maxx Steele was the leader of the good robots (don't remember what their faction was called) and Blazer was another good robot that used fire when he hugged. Or something. His head nozzle squirted water.... (Allegedly... I could never get it to work...) I wish the front hiding compartment of Max Steele hadn't broken. And I really wish I hadn't tried to fix it with scotch tape some 30 years ago...

The toys themselves weren't bad, it was just a failed concept...

Max Steele never even got his own cartoon!


I got both the Command Patroller and the...


Fortress of Steele for X-Mess one year. 

I was disappointed in that no matter how cool (and rather rare) the toys were, there was very little secondary market for them. Given the large amount of space required to store these two toys, and the relative little value they held, I decided that I would live with just my pictures of these toy playsets. In times of moving, you sometimes have to make the tough call.

Fifty-Two 80's had a small display of Robo Force in their store, when I first went inside. The owner was interested in my two boxed Robo Force items to add into his display. Between those two, and a bunch of other toys I was looking to part with about a year ago, I turned those into this...


I introduced you to the four new MOTU arrivals earlier, but you gotta show extra love for that sweet Q*bert tabletop! And the bland Cobra foot soldier, decked out in Colorado Rockies colors....

******

Little Toy Cars!

My first collection!


Nearly every little boy plays with toy cars, and I was no different. From my earliest days, I remember playing with Hot Wheels cars, and whatever spin-off toy lines that came about over the year. racing them, crashing them, building freeways and roads for them in the sand next to folks house...

The late 1990's brought a brief resurgence in toy car collecting, when the local King Soopers put out a huge bin of Hot Wheels cars for 88 cents a piece. I bought a whole bunch that day...


This one's a toilet! (With a plunger for a shifter!)


This one's a wiener!

Toy cars and baseball collectibles are a no brainer, as that market has a good share of crossover. So when you combine the two, well that's just a license to print money...


Licensed team cars were a nice thing to pick up here and there. Matchbox came out with a line for each team in the NFL, NHL and MLB. I have a few Expos cars that found their way to me.


Upper Deck had a crossover promotion with Matchbox cars in the mid 1990's, producing this nice little toy truck.

About five years before their demise as a card manufacturer, Fleer went all-in on the collectible toy car market, purchasing White Rose Collectibles in January, 2001. The toy car maker was renamed Fleer Collectibles. When Fleer filed for bankruptcy, Fleer Collectibles were allowed to operate as a separate company, focused on selling licensed die-cast cars and trucks. All card related properties were purchased by Upper Deck in 2005, who abandoned the brand name after 2007.


Up until recently, this 2001 Fleer Premium Troy Glaus car and card, was the only card I owned from that line... Not sure why I have Troy Glaus in my collection either...


Now here's what I remember toy cars for! Here are the remaining 3 of 4 official Dukes of Hazzard cars by the toy company, Ertl. I seem to be missing Cousin Daisy's Jeep... I have vague memories of there being a Cooter's pick-up truck. Although I may have just wanted to type the word cooter, so I could be wrong about him having a toy car in the set...

Those four cars came packaged together with a cardboard mat, supposed to represent Hazzard County. But I'm pretty sure I lost that mat before I turned six...


And here are three of the four toys cars from The Cannonball Run... I'm missing the Ambulance, which I distinctly remember having not very long ago...

You know Hollywood, you used to make cross country driving movies, and they don't seem to be overly expensive to produce. How about tossing one of these comedies at the public? We could really use something newly old, after nearly two decades of unrelenting comic book movie...


And here's a toy Nasa van!


And finally, a miniature A-Team van! 

I don't remember the A-Team having an A-Team logo on the side of their A-Team van... Nor do I remember Mr. T having his name on the door so he knew where to sit...


And he'll never fit inside that tiny van anyway! 

And why are his arms so short and stubby?

Special thanks to Robert Smith, who donated this sweet Mr. T action figure to the Transformers Museum, back in July, 2000. When he gifted it to me, on the eve of his moving from Englewood, Colorado to Lubbock, Texas, he told me that it belonged with me.

T has a good home....

Fool!

******

Various Action Figures!

There's just a few more things I want to cover before calling this quits on part one...

Oh, didn't I mention? This is now a two parter. Because I've written a lot already today, and threw up a lot of old pictures, and I still have barely given any coverage to the main draw of the Transformers Museum. (That will change...)

But that's not for now.

Here's a question:

What if Paper, Rock, Scissors was an action figure?


Battle Beasts!

A really fun toy line that I wish I had more of. Every Battle Beast (they were sold in 2 packs) had a heat sensitive rub-sign that would reveal a symbol; Fire, Water or Wood. Just like Paper, Rock, Scissors... The beasts were small animal/robot combinations that all looked pretty cool for what they were. I'd like to have more of these in my collection...


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

These are all original from the 1989 toy line. I wish I hadn't opened these from their packaging after I bought them at the Coon Rapids, MN Target store. I never did get Shredder or Be-Bop, but I simply had to have Krang...


The Amy Jo Johnson action figure!

A nice little throw back to 1994...


Escape From L.A.'s Snake Plissken

Twelve years ago, as I was getting ready to move into this apartment, my former roommate was selling off some of his collectable toys. (Life is cyclical...) When I saw that he had a Snake Plissken action figure on the chopping block, I knew I needed that for my collection, and sniped the bid before it came anywhere near ebay...

Escape from L.A. was another of those really bad movies that I tended to see with my friend Matt. When he and I saw this movie, it was full of awful stuff to laugh at. And we did... Kurt Russell surfing on garbage? Hilarious! The entire last 60 seconds of the movie?

Just wow...

"The human race..."

Oh god that movie....

******

WWE Action Figures!

Which seems perfectly appropriate that we segue right into some Pro-Wrasslin toys! 

Ten or so years back, Jakks had a toy line (Classic Superstars) that was made to honor wrasslers of the past. The strange characters that appealed so strongly to me as a child were now being immortalized with great looking action figures, using today's toy making technology.


Finally, I could have an action figure of Akeem The African Dream, looking as fat and doughy and white as the One Man Gang could be if he was African...

Yeah, it made no sense... But it didn't have to! 

It was wrasslin in the 1980's!


What about the evil wrasslin Elvis impersonator, the Honky Tonk Man! Complete with cloth-like musical jumpsuit, plastic guitar, and the title belt for the Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time!

But the prize of my wrasslin action figures has to be...


Andy Kaufman!

As soon as I saw this at the Belleview K-Mart (R.I.P.) over a decade ago now, it was an immediate must purchase. Andy comes complete with his own blue bathrobe and neck brace, from what that dastardly Jerry Lawler did to him on the David Letterman show!

He's from HOLLYWOOD!!!

Honorable mention for top prize among my wrasslin figures goes to Goldust...


A gift from my friend Matt, shortly before I moved to Colorado in 1996. One night at the 99 Spillihp, he brought me a bag, inside was this Goldust action figure, a porno magazine and the following card:


It meant a lot to me that night, and I still keep it today.

******

And this seems like a good place to stop for the night...

Part two will be along soon and will cover all of the Transformers in the Transformers Museum!


Whatever...

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