Random Musings – 05-12-11

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    Twisted Toyfare

    The recent decision by Wizard to stop publishing a print magazine probably means there will be no more editions of Twisted Toyfare Theatre, and that’s too bad, because there were some hilarious “storylines” in those volumes.

    Of course humor is subjective, so the “skits” I find funny you may find anything but. And vice versa.

    Twisted Toyfare Theatre presents (presented?) “adventures” of Mego action figures of the 1970s and early 1980s (and figures from other toy lines), most of whom “live” in the community of Megoville. I should make it clear, however, that some skits aren’t suitable for children.

    Here are capsule summaries of a few storylines:

    The Borg from Star Trek show up at Spider-Man’s house and he has to deal with them “assimilating” his barbecue and his car, and messing with his roof-top TV antenna. In that last instance, he uses the hose to dislodge a Borg from his roof.

    Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four discovers that they’re all toys. Spock, upon learning that Richards is right, behaves… most illogically.

    Spider-Man shows up at a meeting of the Galactic Senate of the Star Wars films, and questions many illogical points about The Phantom Menace.

    Blade, the vampire hunter from the Blade movies (and Marvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula) goes after Count Chocula, Morbius, Grandpa Munster, and Count Von Count (from Sesame Street), accidentally killing the artist Moebius and Morpheus from the Matrix films, too.

    Daredevil sues Ben Affleck for the Daredevil film.

    After the events of the original Star Wars, storm troopers search for Darth Vader on the Genesis Planet from Star Trek III.

    Gojira (Godzilla) and Gamera catch up on old times in Tokyo.

    An Alien and a Predator compete for the same office promotion.

    As I said, not every Twisted Toyfare Theatre skit will appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy comics and/or science fiction and/or have fond memories of Mego toys, some of the sequences in the 11 volumes (as of this writing) may give you a chuckle or two.

    Now, to quote Bill Cosby, I told you that story to tell you this one. Mego toys were very popular. The website http://www.megomuseum.com provides a lot of information about various toys the company produced. By today’s standards, Mego’s playsets would be considered primitive. Most, if not all, were cardboard encased in vinyl. But I suspect most kids didn’t care. They were too busy dreaming up imaginary adventures.

    In fact, I’m reminded of a cartoon in an issue of Mad Magazine where a man’s looking for his son. A neighborhood boy says he’s sledding with all the other kids. The father says he can’t be, and he indicates the unattended expensive new sled his son got for Christmas.

    Turns out his son is using the box the sled came in.

    I owned both the U.S.S. Enterprise playset and the Batcave playset. The latter was pretty basic, but the Enterprise set had one of the coolest features of a Mego toy— the “spin action transporter.” Never mind that the transporter was on the left side of the bridge, or that the bridge looked nothing like the one on the TV series. You put your action figure in one side of the vertical cylinder, spun the dial at the top, and pressed one of the two buttons to make him disappear (you’d then remove the figure from the back of the playset). The yellow and black patterns on the stickers you attached to the sides of the cylinder helped create a transporter “effect.”

    I understand a later Star Trek toy used lighting effects and/or a mirror to “beam” its action figures away. While it was probably cool to some degree, it seems a lot less fun than the transporter on the Mego playset.

    Switching gears… As I’ve said before, Supernatural, now in its sixth season,is one of the best series on TV. At its core, the show is about family. Brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) watch out for each other as much as they help others while confronting various “things that go bump in the night.”

    The first five seasons formed an overarching storyline that culminated with Lucifer being freed from his cage in Hell and the Winchesters playing a central role in the apocalypse.

    Sam and Dean (and their allies) succeed in preventing the apocalypse and Sam put Lucifer back in his cage.

    But the Archangel Michael’s in there, too (he tried to stop Sam). As a consequence, civil war has broken out in Heaven. Castiel (Misha Collins), an angel who allied himself with the Winchesters, is attempting to keep Raphael from freeing Lucifer and Michael and restarting the apocalypse. Unfortunately, Castiel is taking desperate steps to win this war.

    Not only has he partnered with Crowley (Mark Sheppard), the self-appointed “King of Hell” (whose death he faked) to search for Purgatory (and the untapped resource of souls there), but he recently had the angel Balthazar change history in order to effectively “mint” thousands of souls to use in his war. An incarnation of Fate forced him to restore the true history.

    He also lied to Sam and Dean about his actions. Dean, who tells Castiel he’s like a brother, has vowed to stop him. The Winchesters feel Castiel has crossed too many lines.

    On May 20, we’ll see where all this leads.

    Supernatural has its lighter moments, too. In a February episode, to protect Sam and Dean from Raphael, Castiel sent them to another dimension, where they were known as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, actors who played characters named Sam and Dean Winchester. I’m sure some people didn’t care for the metafiction of that episode, but Dean’s reaction at seeing a clip of Jensen Ackles in a soap opera was, as they say, worth the price of admission.

    The writers and producers also know viewers won’t be lost if stories begin in unusual ways. The episode where Castiel arranges to change history opens in that already altered universe. We’re not told how it is that Ellen (Samantha Ferris) is alive and married to Bobby (Jim Beaver). It isn’t until investigations of apparently unrelated mysterious deaths reveal that the victims’ ancestors all emigrated from Europe on the Titanic do we realize when history was changed.

    Balthazar claimed he prevented the ship from sinking because he couldn’t stand either the Titanic movie or the Celine Dion song. Sam and Dean gave him blank looks.

    Last year, an episode opened like a sitcom, with sitcom-style credits in place of the regular ones.
    Supernatural is enjoyable on many levels.

    This Friday, May 13, Smallville will conclude its 10-year run. Clark Kent (Tom Welling) is now Superman in all but name and costume, and I suspect that he’ll adopt the one and don the other in the finale.
    If we don’t see him in full costume, then I’d at least like to see a scene (perhaps the final scene) where Clark opens his shirt to reveal the stylized “S” beneath it.

    For those who haven’t heard, Michael Rosenbaum is returning as Lex Luthor. Of course there was no question of Lex still being alive (he was apparently killed in season eight). He is one of Superman’s most implacable enemies after all. But even ignoring that Lex is alive in the comics, within the Smallville universe, cloning is a reality, and Lex would never put himself in danger. So it had
    to have been a clone in that truck that blew up. If an ordinary person like Lana could think of using a clone of herself to fake her death, a genius like Lex would, too.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the series wraps up. Smallville has had both high points and low points, but for the most part, it’s been good.

    Copyright 2011 Patrick Keating

     

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