On Friday, we found ourselves back on the familiar floors of Cherry Hill’s Crowne Plaza, ready to drink through the latest Monster-Mania convention.
This was the 27th Monster-Mania. The first one I went to was only their third ever. Almost ten years later, and I still get a kick out it. I don’t know whether to find comfort or shame in the idea that I might still be going to these things twenty years from now.
I can’t give you a full convention report, because we were only there for a day, and we barely scratched the surface of what Monster-Mania has to offer. After meeting John and Jay at last August’s convention, we all became fast friends, and heading back on Friday was mainly an excuse to hang with them — albeit with the neat backdrop of total strangers wearing scary clown costumes.
See? Read More…
Remember those book club flyers that we used to get in elementary school? I lived for those. Dinosaur books with ten words and fifty pictures! Sticker sheets starring ballerina bears that shouted various encouragements via word balloons! The errant Garfield bookmark!
Most of the time, the things I bought from those flyers only provided fleeting moments of joy. A smile, a quick browse, and I was ready to move on with my life.
In rarer cases, I’d find something awesome enough to completely change my life. Like the book I’m about to babble on about for seventeen disjointed paragraphs.
That’s the one. FREE STUFF FOR KIDS!
My sympathies to those for which this is news. Free Stuff For Kids was an annually-released collection of… well, free stuff for kids. Samples. Pamphlets. Doodads. Tiny things that cost absolutely nothing, and by “nothing,” I mean “up to a dollar.” The fine print is always a fucker.
I owned similar “free sample” books in my youth, but this was the only one that catered so directly to me. No longer was I forced to justify sending away for trial-sized packets of laundry detergent. With this book, the free stuff I went after was free stuff I actually wanted. Read More…
It’s been over four months since the last edition of Vintage Vending. Let’s fix that. HERE ARE BALLOONS.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloons, even!
This is from 1989, when literally everything branded with a Ninja Turtles logo was a must-buy. Though the teaser card lacks a sample, we can assume that these were green balloons featuring that same piece of art.
The people behind this knew where their bread was buttered, evidenced by how little thought they put into the remaining prizes. If you ignore the balloons, this is easily the worst assortment yet seen on Vintage Vending. Read More…
Saturday was spent at the Englishtown flea market with Ms. X and Jay. We three marveled at old records, cajun peanuts, and what I swear was a lipstick-wearing John Cena, immortalized on an unlicensed throw blanket that was large enough to double as a circus tent.
The highlight — if you don’t count the part where poor Jay’s car got stuck in the snowy mud — was another stop at Englishtown’s famous Toy Room.
You might remember last year’s article about that vendor, who sells an ungodly amount of vintage toys, from Transformers to Masters of the Universe and beyond. His indoor booth is as much “museum” as “store,” and it’s impossible to spend any length of time there without drooling like a sick dog.
Since I’ve already covered Toy Room’s good stuff, I thought I’d spend this post writing about their not-so-good stuff. Just outside Toy Room’s booth are many shelves filled with lower-end thingies. Thingies that are too unpopular or in too poor condition to bother displaying in a meaningful way.
It was there that I stumbled upon the bin shown above. In it were more than a hundred beat-up action figures. I mean, EXTREMELY beat-up action figures. Missing limbs. Chewed heads. Mud caked in every crevice. Ink stains, paint stains, and stains I’m not sure I care to identify.
That bin was pure action figure hell, but for some reason, I loved it. It seemed artsy. It seemed like it had something to say. Most importantly, everything in it was super mega cheap. The dealer could hardly hide his surprise when I inquired about the prices, I guess because there isn’t a huge market for Dick Tracy “Flattop” figures with no arms or legs.
The toys were between a quarter and a buck each. I went home with a substantial bag filled with absolute trash. These are my five favorites finds: Read More…