Dinosaur Dracula!

March of the Vintage Comic Book Ads.

After flipping through hundreds of yellowed pages that all stank like old glue, I’m now armed with another batch of old comic book ads. When you’re done reading this, go check out the previous editions.

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Nightmare on Elm Street Dream Package!
(Pulled from unknown 1988 comic)

Our pal Larry P. snail-mailed this to me, presumably because he knew I’d love it enough to use some archaic Vistaprint template to turn it into a giant poster. Oh my God, it’s the NOES Dream Package!

For 98 bucks, fans got everything pictured: The mask, the hat, the glove, the poster, the book, the board game AND the videotape. As much as I want to make jokes about a late ‘80s comic book ad that banked its success on the notion that thirteen-year-olds could conjure hundred dollar bills out of thin air, this was a good deal.

None of the eight items had less than a $10 retail value, and several were in the $30 range. I’m worldly enough to know that Monarch Avalon wouldn’t have mailed all of that stuff in a single box — it was a rare case when mailing an order in several packages would’ve worked out cheaper — but man, as a kid, I totally would’ve expected everything to come in one giant red and green Freddy Krueger box. That would’ve been the biggest draw for me. Read More…

Five McDonald’s Happy Meal Boxes.

Let’s take a look at five old McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes, and see how many tangentially related paragraphs they inspire. You may consider this a surrogate sequel to my article about old fast food bags.

God, I write about a lot of garbage!

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Back to the Future Happy Meal!
Year: 1991

Wow, a Back to the Future Happy Meal?! Okay, sure, it’s based on the animated series rather than the movies, but this is still pretty Big Time.

(And besides, the seemingly little-loved cartoon series definitely had its charms, not the least of which being an impressive amount of continuity between it and the movies. The show actually remembered and factored in what happened in the films, whereas so many other movie-to-toon adaptations ignored everything but the names and gimmicks.)

The BTTF Happy Meal set included four toys — all of which being character figurines irremovably stuck inside action-packed vehicles. With apologies to Marty, the only one worth tracking down is Doc in the DeLorean… because DeLorean.

As for the Happy Meal box, it’s one of those neat ones that doubles as a playset after a little help from scissors. I loved boxes like that. True action figure playsets were expensive, and kids rarely got new ones outside of birthdays and major religious holidays. During the off season, a Happy Meal box that worked on the same principle as Castle Grayskull was even better than a toy DeLorean. Read More…

Five More Cereals From Beyond The Grave.

Long ago, I wrote about five ancient cereal boxes from my personal collection. Later, I did it again. Since many of you seem to find great joy in the idea that I’m surrounded by decades-old food, I think we’ll go for the triple.

Here are five more cereals from beyond the grave:

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Morning Funnies Cereal!
Year: 1988
Box Status: Still full & sealed!

Morning Funnies wasn’t around for long, indicating less success than the cereal probably deserved. While I wouldn’t argue that its rainbow mix of corn & oat happy faces gave kids a big reason to buy it, the boxes were just phenomenal, featuring characters from the bulk of the era’s newspaper strips.

In effect, Morning Funnies was less a cereal and more a massive crossover event, where where Dennis the Menace and Billy from The Family Circus matched wits with Hi and Lois. To punctuate the theme, the back of the boxes folded out into three page comic books, looking much like the Sunday comics in any of the time’s major newspapers.

(Unfortunately, our favorites strips — Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side — were missing from the party. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Watterson didn’t break his famous “no merchandising” rule just to get Hobbes next to Beetle Bailey on the back of a cereal box.)

There were at least eight different Morning Funnies boxes available, each with its own set of strips. If I’m remembering things correctly, the cereal came and went in a flash, indicating once and for all that Hagar the Horrible just isn’t much of a draw. Read More…

Six Snacks I Want Back, Volume 5!

Welcome to the fifth edition of Six Snacks I Want Back, where I torment you by celebrating foods you can no longer eat!

Side bonus: Lots of heavy GIFs sure to aggravate the site’s mobile users!

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 Chef Boyardee Sharks! 

Debuting somewhere around 1990, Sharks tasted exactly like everything else Chef Boyardee made, and still makes. So wanting Sharks back has nothing to do with its taste. No, this time, I’m just in it for the shapes.

The implications were dire and awesome. Cans full of sharks, swimming in what we could only take as the blood-dyed aftermaths of horrible feeding frenzies. When you ate Sharks, you yourself felt like one. Specifically, you felt like a whale shark testing the waters with larger prey. The pasta sharks went down whole. You didn’t have dermal denticles, but you sure as hell acted like you did. When lunch was over, your kitchen faded into a black screen. Then came the white words. Apparently, all of this shit was directed by Lucio Fulci.

According to the old commercial, the goal was to get each of the three pasta shapes into one spoonful. It’s debatable, but I believe the set included hammerheads, great whites and tiger sharks. That would make sense, as those are the only shark species ten-year-olds ever hear about. I didn’t know about spotted leopard sharks until I was like, 30. Read More…

WWF Hasbro Figures from the ’90s!

Today’s article is about Hasbro’s World Wrestling Federation action figures from the early ‘90s. These guys, I mean:

I’m sad to admit that I wasn’t a big collector during their heyday, I guess owing to building suspicion that I was too old for “wrestling figures.” (I was in junior high when these were big, and if junior high taught me anything, it was to be ashamed of everything I liked, no matter how trivial.)

Only in recent years have I come to see that these toys are exactly as great as their most ardent supporters have long claimed. I’m not ready to put them a notch above LJN’s older set (the big rubber figures), but I’m very ready to fill a couple of shelves with ‘em.

What I like most about Hasbro’s line is the huge string of absolutely ridiculous wrestlers, from the WWF’s “difficult” period in the early ‘90s. There’s a high concentration of grapplers frequently found on today’s “worst ever” lists, but I always loved those weirdos. Any time a wrestler could be best described as a “monster” or “cartoon,” I was in. The stranger the better!

Below are five of my favorites from Hasbro’s collection:

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a-takerTHE UNDERTAKER!
Action Feature: Tombstone Tackle!

Next to Randy Savage, The Undertaker is my favorite wrestler of all time — and the only guy on this list still actively competing for WWE. Most simply described as a “wrestler slash zombie,” Undertaker had a lot going for him: Cool outfit, tremendous size, apparent lack of nerve endings to indicate pain, and oh yeah, supernatural powers. (Not many wrestlers refuted their enemies’ claims by summoning goddamned lightning storms.)

I’ve been following Taker’s career since his 1990 debut, which is just shy of 25 years as of this writing. Today, that just means watching WrestleMania every year and hoping I haven’t seen his last match. But back in the ‘90s? Forget it. I was nuts about the guy. In secret tribute to my hero, I even wore button-down black shirts with torn sleeves… which I’ll admit did little for my social standing at the schoolyard. Read More…