Dinosaur Dracula!

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 4!

While digging through my barrel of tapes for the ongoing Five Retro TV Commercials series, I came across a real doozy: Several hours’ worth of Batman: The Animated Series episodes, all taped off of Fox back in 1993.

Fox Action Theater Intro! (1993)

I haven’t written much about Batman: TAS, but I was a very devoted fan. Dark, restrained and sensitive, it was pretty much the antithesis of most early ‘90s cartoons. I’ve loved lot of Bat-things over the years, but if I’m being objective, nothing has ever topped this series.

The VHS recording left every commercial intact, and since Batman: TAS was probably the only animated series I always made an effort to watch back in ‘93, I remember nearly all of them. Sooo many goodies!

I’d estimate that I could score at least four editions of Five Retro TV Commercials from this one tape. This is the first. See how many you remember, down below. For reference, they all would’ve aired in the fall of ‘93. Read More…

Marvel’s COOLOMETER, July 1991.

Being a comic reader and a comic collector can indeed be different things, but in the early ‘90s, I was both. Lured in by Marvel’s cosmic epics and sustained by all of those foil covers and bagged “exclusives,” this was a time when comics were white hot, and when every kid lived within walking distance of at least one comic shop. (In my case, I could pick between 3 or 4.)

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During that time, Marvel tested a new feature within many of its titles: THE COOLOMETER, a tongue-in-cheek guide to what was cool (and more bitingly, uncool) on any given month.

In retrospect, I take these monthly Coolometers for what they were: Snarky jokes with a little bit of self-promotion thrown in. Still, as a kid, I put a lot of stock into them. Sometimes they’d validate my own likes or dislikes. Other times, they’d make me feel bad for being into things that were deemed “uncool.” Either way, I looked forward to them just as much as I looked forward to whatever heady adventures Adam Warlock was about to go on. Read More…

TMNT Pork Rinds from 1990?!

I spent $100 on Ninja Turtles pork rinds.

Actually, with shipping, I spent $104.

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Distributed by Rolets in 1990, the pork rinds were meant to promote the first Ninja Turtles movie. (First and still the best, IMO.) While something pizza-related was obviously a more natural fit — and the Ninja Turtles did indeed team up with several pizza makers — there was an in-universe reason for this pork rinds promotion. More on that in a minute.

The decision to buy these didn’t come easily. I even ran a poll on Twitter, secretly hoping for strangers to talk me out of it, but knowing deep down that I was still gonna get these motherfuckers no matter what people said.

For one thing, I’d been chasing them for years. Very long ago, a “retired” TMNT collector tossed his whole collection on eBay. It was 90% action figures and other stuff from Playmates’ toy line, but barely visible in a pile of side dish ephemera was one beautiful bag of Ninja Turtles pork rinds.

No matter how many times I rephrased the question, the seller refused to break up the lot, which was far more money than I could spend even on a particularly stupid brain day. (Like, say, the other day, when I blew a hundred bucks on ancient pig.)

This was the first time I’d seen a still-sealed bag of ‘em since. I routinely resist the many hot new collectibles that all of my friends go wild for, but when I honestly feel like I’ll never have the chance to buy something again, my resolve dies and my entire body is taken over by tiny-sized idiot versions of me, who all shout “YOLO” in unison, sounding like evil chipmunks.

You’ve seen this behavior on display all over Dino Drac, which might’ve led you to believe that I really am flush enough to be able to afford literal garbage. Not true at all. With each of these purchases comes a huge pile of guilt. I then force myself to sell enough of my older collectibles so that the new thing could technically be construed as “free.” It’s like going to a pawn shop after a bender in Atlantic City. It’s exactly like that. Read More…

Horror Movie Newspaper Ads from the ’80s!

I recently bought a former film buff’s collection of 1980s newspaper clippings, not knowing quite what to expect. Just one of those things you grab on the off-chance that it’s going to be better than your brain tells you.

Well, the gods favored me on this deal, because the collection — around a hundred clippings stuffed into a school folder that’s probably as old as they are — is 100% amazing.

The original owner was only too happy to get rid of it, though I couldn’t imagine why. Film was obviously his greatest childhood passion, with at least two dozen ticket stubs hiding between all of the other ephemera. His feng shui must be better than mine: I’d never be able to part with something that was once so dear to me.

As if the sheer volume of goodies wasn’t enough, the guy’s main interest seemed to be horror movies. Below are several scans from his (well, my) collection, all from the very late ‘80s.

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Child’s Play! (1988)
Watch the trailer!

I’ve written about my childhood approach to horror movies many times before, but the gist is that I was too afraid to really dive in, yet too fascinated to ever look away. Child’s Play was an early exception of a horror movie that I actively sought out, and didn’t just watch because it was on television and it was better to be scared than bored.

As a series of films, it’s one I’ll defend until my dying day. Neatly navigating several decades’ worth of changing trends and in-style attitudes, each movie was perfect for its time, and the most recent entry, 2013’s Curse of Chucky, may actually be my favorite of them all.

Course, for serious scares, nothing tops the original, when Chucky was an asshole of the less lovable sort. Simply by virtue of what he was, I think Chucky was the one slasher that every kid was at least a little bit interested in. I mean, the movie opens with (human) Chucky sneaking around a giant toy store, and hiding from the police under a pile of Fireball Island boxes. The film was a secret gateway drug for kids who wanted to dip their feet into fake blood. Read More…

Purple Stuff Podcast: He-Man Memories!

I’ve been on a real Masters of the Universe kick lately, thanks in large part to a couple of books I got for Christmas that detailed pretty much everything about the franchise, from the toys to the toons to the comics.

I admit that I haven’t been so great about keeping up with He-Man’s more recent exploits, but man, if there’s anything that might make me change that, it’s remembering how Modulok used to be the master of my universe.

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And if you’re just as into Hordak and Kobra Khan and cans of nontoxic slime, good news! This week’s episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast is all about Masters of the Universe. It’s HE-MANIA, starring me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit.

The episode runs around 75 minutes long and covers a dozen of our of greatest MOTU memories — everything from the old Christmas special to the time I met Skeletor and Mario Lopez at Toys “R” Us. Give it a listen by clicking the giant play button below!

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You can also download this week’s episode by right-clicking here.

Thanks as always for listening! (Sorry the episode is so late this week. I had a busy weekend full of pinball and pro-wrestling.) Read More…

Comic Book Ads, Yet Again!

Hey! Remember when I went to that comic convention and bought a giant pile of cheap books? Well, it’s finally time to dissect them!

Down below: Six more ancient comic book ads from Dino Drac’s growing library, covering everything from cereal to Sea-Monkeys. Alliteration!

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Star Comics!
Inhumanoids #2, March 1987

Star Comics was a Marvel imprint that dealt chiefly in adaptations. This was where so many cartoons found second lives, so it’s only fitting that I pulled this ad from an old issue of Star Comics’ Inhumanoids.

The individual titles may have been hit-or-miss, but seeing our toy box heroes in another format was always a trip. Perhaps the best thing about Star Comics were ads like this, where heroes and villains from distant franchises banded together for promotional soirees.

Behold, the one and only time when He-Man, Lion-O and R2-D2 were canonically together. I bet they talked about hyphens a lot. Read More…