Monday, 13 February 2012


Creators of toylines have a curious job. They are faced with a constant predicament; how to make more figures and accesories without letting the products becoming an absurd pack of nonsense? This is, of course, a trick question and any toy creator that attempts to answer it is sacked instantly. The screams of devastated children who have just had christmas ruined feeds the ancient cantarion demon that controls all toy companies, which is why you get products like: 

I remember the first time I saw TMNT, and so does my babysitter as it was the first time she had witnessed a screaming eight year old boy start to enter puberty. In England it was called ‘Hero’ turtles as ‘Ninja’ was seen as too violent. Also, all of Michelangelo’s nunchaku scenes were cut as British equality laws mean that severely mentally incapacitated people are allowed to decide censorship. But none of this mattered, because at the end of the day it was a load of mutated amphibians beating the crap out of a brain in a robot suit under the watchful eye of a karate rat. It had the perfect mix of ingredients for an 80’s cartoon – a plot that seemed as though it had been screamed into your face by a schizophrenic on a bus, and weapons.

The toys were great too. All the characters you wanted, plus Irma.

Christmas 1987: "Fuck you, mum and dad!"

So what the actual shit is this?

That’s a tank that fires pizzas at it’s enemies. There are lots of questions regarding this design, perhaps most pressing is "what the fuck?" Why? Why would the Turtles make a machine that fired their favourite thing all over the place? That's like me going into battle with a crossbow that shoots softcore Japanese pornography.



The Hulk is famous for two things. One is unlimited strength and the other is being dumb as a rock. Another is not now, or ever, for being able to fly a helicopter. 
Someone, somewhere however, decided that the Hulk is a qualified pilot. And just to be subtle, painted his helicopter bright green, because the Hulk is known for having problems getting attention.

Hulk destroys asteroid twice size of Earth
Seen here obliterating an asteroid twice the size of earth with one punch
Why does the Hulk want a helicopter anyway? He can jump across entire countries in one leap, and based on the fact that his answer to every problem he faces in life is to hit something as hard as he can, he probably can't land that thing for shit!


One of the main issues that designers of these vehicles seemed to have is that they assumed it would be a good idea for the vehicle to do exactly what the superhero does without the vehicle. Here is a classic example of this. Spiderman can fire webs from his wrists, has the proportional strength of a spider (which equals out to about one tonne per whateverheneedstointhatstory) and the agility of an acrobat. What better way to capitalise on these powers then to drive around in a massive car with a net on the back? This way, whenever he sees a thief, rather than directly target them, he can hope that they fall into the exact area needed to bounce off his net and land on the back of his head.


Aquaman has always been the worst superhero. His powers are useful underwater, sure, but since most of the heroes breath oxygen, the majority of their adventures take place on the earths surface.
The only thing Aquaman can do that other members of the Justice League can't is translate fish screams whenever they walk past a pet shop.
Why does he want a submarine? That's like The Flash having an oxygen tank to go to the shops. I assume that he uses the sub as a holding pen for octopuses he's trying to seduce.


There just isn’t any logic to this on any level.

WONDERWOMAN: Clark, we're getting an incoming distress call!
SUPERMAN: SWEET! I’ve been wanting to test a little something out. Trust me you’re going to totally love this. Close your eyeesssssss...

One of the reasons these products are so odd is that they're all officially licensed - someone with control of a brand signed off on them.
But let's imagine there's a magical world where copyright laws don't apply, where one in one products is a bootleg and 'Top Quality' equals 'stuffed with only semi-live snakes'. For arguments sake, let's call this wondrous place 'China'. What then, would 'China' make of a toyline, free from all the padlocks of basic rules of trademark?

THAT is Darth Vader riding a police bike. Good night.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


There are several basic characteristics of being a comic book hero. A love of justice, respect for liberty and desire to be basically bare at all times being three.

Essentially, this is a picture of a naked woman that has been coloured wrong

During the course of my studies on the subject, I have come to observe an interesting phenomena: no matter how good of heart or gentle the character may be, anytime a comic book hero meets a dinosaur that isn't knocked out, there is only one outcome. And that outcome is a knocked out dinosaur.

Case Study: Dynamo
When the United Nations discover a belt and hat designed to turn a man (it was the 60's, women weren't allowed to be superheroes yet in case it made them want to vote) into a superman, they did the only logical thing and gave them to a low level administration assistant, rationalising that if the lowest man on the pay grade wasn't worthy of god-powers then maybe they should stop having neat gin for breakfast.
Enter agent Dynamo. Dynamo spends most of his time saving people from earthquakes and communists, the two leading causes of death in 70's males. He's not particularly violent man, but like most cape and boots heroes, conscious dinosaurs are like ruddy catnip to him.

Case Study: Martian Manhunter
J'onn J'onzz is a staple of DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE, and like most DC characters, he is absurdly overpowered to the point that almost all of the comics are spent finding reasons for him not to fight. He's the last of his kind, which makes him particularly sympathetic to endangered species. Until he sees a not knocked out dinosaur.

Case Study: The Thing
Big hearted Ben Grimm went into space on an experimental rocket flight, got hit by cosmic rays and turned into an indestructible pile of orange rocks because of science. He's a pretty easy going guy, in fact the only thing that really annoys him is when a dinosaur is being alive.

Case Study: Skaar
Skaar is the son of the Hulk and as such possesses enough strength to do what he likes. And what he likes is upper-cutting Tyrannosauruses. 

Case Study: Superman
If Superman ever has to displace a bear or squid during the course of his adventures, he finds some way to do it humanly. If he ever has to move a dinosaur he punches it straight in the face.

Case Study: Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel was designed as an exciting bright character for younger kids. Here he is punching a dinosaurs head clean off.


Case Study: The Hulk
Holy crap does the Hulk like to punch dinosaurs. The Hulk is the third best theory for dinosaur extinction after 'meteor' and 'time travelling Hulk'. The hulk has punched so many dinosaurs that anytime he goes to a natural history museum the fossils start screaming.

Earlier I mentioned that there weren't too many women supermen. A main fear was that they'd get things wrong, I mean how would a female superhero ever defeat Doctor Doom if she was busy laughing at all the jokes from the Sex and the City movie? Also, a fat woman in lycra would be unsightly. Wonder Woman was one of the first tough ladies. By the time she came around, the only real rule to being a lycra-clad mutant was 'beat the shit out of dinosaurs'? How wrong could she get it?