I took a break from the yard sales this week, wanting to try my luck at a flea market at least once before summer was over. I begged Jay to tag along so I wouldn’t have to haggle alone, and off we went to Englishtown, New Jersey.
I’ve written about the Englishtown flea market before. It’s a crapshoot. You’ll see plenty of desirable things there; the issue is finding something desirable and reasonably priced.
Like, you might come upon a seller with several bins filled with action figures, all lined up on the ground outside. But then you’ll notice that most of those bins are stuffed with fast food toys and generic army men. And then you’ll find out that the seller wants two dollars per figure, regardless of how destroyed it is.
There’s a lot of that in Englishtown.
The flea market is so large that you’d need to devote an entire day to seeing it all. Since it was 550 degrees on Sunday, we only allowed ourselves an hour. Here’s what I was able to dig up… Read More…
I now possess what I’m calling The Ultimate ‘80s Sticker Album.
…but the truth is, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong; as you’re about to see, it’s crazy awesome. But to say it’s the “ultimate” ‘80s sticker album is kind of fudging things. The real appeal of this book is how it’s more of the archetype ‘80s sticker album.
So many of us used to own albums just like this. I sure did, and I “ran it” in exactly the same way. You’d swipe a photo album from your parents, and instead of using it for its intended purpose, you now had a home for every goofy sticker you could find.
This album isn’t mine, but it very well could’ve been. If we’re the same age, you’re going to say the same. Read More…
I’ve been dancing around this subject for years, referencing it in throwaway paragraphs that have done little to capture its supreme mega greatness. Today, finally, I’m going to give Dinosaurs Attack cards everything they’re owed.
Dinosaurs Attack (formally styled with an exclamation point, but we’ll ignore that) was released by Topps in 1988. To this day, I can’t think of another trading card series that’s nearly as gripping — or gory.
The 55-card set told the terrible tale of dinosaurs accidentally summoned from prehistoric times to present day. Instead of being the dangerous but “natural” nuisances you might expect them to be, the dinosaurs in this card set were singularly focused on the bloody annihilation of the human race. As the title suggests, all they did was attack, in unforgettably macabre fashion. It wasn’t just the story of dinosaurs set loose in modern times – it was the absolute worst case scenario.
Cited as a parody of decades-old creature features, the gore was heavier here than in any movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not so shocking now, but as a nine-year-old who hid under the pillow at the first sight of an Elm Street promo, these cards seemed downright EVIL. (Of course, that only made them all the more interesting!) Read More…
Dino Drac Funpacks are back! And this time, here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future.
Here’s the deal. I’m coming into that stretch of the year when I toss aside everything to run the site, racking up major expenses and doing it on the arm. Moving forward, that’s something I can no longer do. I have to take some different steps.
I’ve hinted at this on social outlets and have gotten some suggestions, but I had a lot of luck with these Funpacks in the past, and everyone seemed to enjoy them. (See some previous editions here and here!)
The problem in the past is that they’ve been too scattered to really make a dent. Whatever profits they bring are quickly gobbled by continuing to do the site — paying for it to run, buying all of this stuff to review, and spending crazy amounts of time to put it all together.
If nothing else, I need to do something that will curb the losses — especially in these upcoming heavy months. And I think this could be a fun way to do it!
If you’re familiar with the prior Funpacks, you know what you’re in for — a package full of old and new goodies, from trading cards to comics to toys to candy, mixed with a few site-specific “custom” items. The difference this time is that I’ll be offering them on a monthly subscription basis. Sign up once, and you’re good to go for as long as I continue doing them. (Right now, I’m looking at a 5-6 month sprint, but if they take off and perform well enough, maybe they’ll continue.) You can cancel at any time, of course. Read More…
So after a month’s worth of pleasant experiences, I was finally reminded of why I stopped going to yard sales to begin with.
I did find some nice things, but between the sellers and the buyers, every stop brought five new annoyances.
Sellers were the big problem. I lost interest in yard sales when people started charging eBay prices, and that was on full display. At the first of Saturday’s sales, we saw a homeowner basically tell someone to leave her property, insulted that the would-be customer wanted to pay $20 rather than $24 for a box of nearly-worthless Christmas ornaments. That same woman wanted $3 per VHS tape, even though 80% of them were of the Barney & Friends variety, and none of them had boxes.
We also went to a couple of estate sales, where the sellers were even worse. Around here, estate sales generally aren’t run by grieving families, but by outside people that they hire. I don’t know the specifics of their arrangements, but those people must work on a percentage rather than a flat rate, because holy fuck were they asking for ridiculous amounts of money.
Some of the buyers were no better. At one estate sale, an obvious dealer was running ahead of us all over the house, I guess to make sure he could pick out the good stuff first. Literally just darting in front of us, lest we get to that flimsy 1975 magazine rack before he could.
We went upstairs, and he immediately followed. We started joking about a really old chair in the bedroom, saying it would look great in our living room. We were obviously insincere, but that didn’t stop the dick from practically mowing us down to claim it. When you’re willing to be a rude jerk to total strangers so you can make a few dollars off of some dead woman’s busted chair, it’s time to Google around for deficiency quizzes.
At the final yard sale of the afternoon, someone had a bucket of Hot Wheels that looked like they’d spent ten years in dirt and almost as many with a really heavy guy stepping on them. “$40 for the whole pail. I can’t break the set.” Set? What set? The cars were only associable by the fact that they were all broken and dirty. I wanted one because a mangled Hot Wheels car is among the greatest symbols of yard sales, but I didn’t need a full “set.”
Oh well, I still scored some decent stuff! Read More…
Jeez, it’s been over a year since the last edition of Five Random Action Figures?
On it, chief. Here are five more toys plucked from my shelves and bins. Some of them hold deep, personal meaning for me. Others are just cool killer robots.
The Real Ghostbusters, 1986
While I’d argue that Stay Puft was the quintessential Real Ghostbusters figure, I think Slimer (alternatively, “Green Ghost”) was a close second.
I got him on Christmas Eve in 1986, along with several other RGB “ghost” figures. If I’m remembering things correctly, and that’s likely as I’m infallubel, those were the very first Ghostbusters toys I ever received. So began a love affair!
Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters stood apart from every other line of its era. The toys felt brighter and inexplicably higher-tech than competing action figure sets, and the play value was simply enormous. The good guys came with accessories that actually did stuff, and even if some of the ghosties didn’t, they were so big and neon that nobody noticed.
This is actually the same Slimer figure from that fateful Christmas Eve. I’d recognize that chipped tongue anywhere. Slimer originally came with three pieces of rubber food, marking this as the only action figure in history whose “weapons” were meat, pizza and watermelon.
More intensely detailed Slimer figures arrived in the years that followed, but I’ll always prefer this one to the rest. Mainly because you can hold him like an ice cream cone. Read More…