After an action-packed WrestleMania weekend that’s left me feeling like I’ve lost the right to ever eat or drink again, I return to normalcy with eight thousand words about ratty toys.
Below: The sixteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures, starring one green guy, one white guy, one yellow guy and two red guys. But not in that order.
Killer Crab Alien
Another of Kenner’s animal/Xenomorph hybrids, I found this one at a horror convention a few weeks ago. There he was surrounded by other incomplete action figures, all nestled into what I’m pretty sure was an Easter basket. The five dollar price tag made buying him a no-brainer.
“Mutant extraterrestrial crabs” absolutely defines my wheelhouse, and while I’d concede that other Aliens figures were objectively better, none of them were crabs. Looking like Modulok in beast mode, the Killer Crab Alien has two arms and four legs, or possibly two legs and four arms, or maybe it’s two arms and two legs and two limbs pulling double-duty. Also, his tail is a prehensile trident.
Unfortunately, mine is missing its pair of projectile Chestburster missiles. If you’re confused by the term “projectile Chestburster missiles,” just know that there’s no better way to describe them. Even without those, he’s as monstrous and can be, and even a backdrop of Crayola-colored storefronts does little to reduce his photographical badassery.
Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise
Star Wars, 1995
This version of Han was only available through a special Kellogg’s mail-away offer. As a reward for choosing Froot Loops over Trix, kids got the chance to own the first-ever “Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise” action figure, sent directly to their doorsteps in tiny white boxes.
Owing to their unique method of distribution, collectors have long had a habit of fetishsizing mail-away figures. I am not immune. From the hooded Cobra Commander to Obi-Wan’s toothpaste-colored ghost, I’ve always placed those figures two notches above their in-store cousins. The magic of toys-by-mail was of the lasting sort.
If you were new to Star Wars in the ‘90s, you might not have known just how old this trick was. More than ten years prior, I lived by my mailbox, waiting for mail-away exclusive Star Wars figures to arrive… in the same tiny white boxes used for this Kellogg’s promotion!
Dungeons & Dragons, 1983
Since Dungeons & Dragons is one of the few topics I haven’t completely run into the ground, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I know jack shit about it. Still, even from a distance, I’ve always been fond of its action figure line, which drew from D&D lore to create some of the most inspired “fantasy” figures ever made.
I couldn’t tell you much about Odious Ogre’s standing in the D&D universe, but he’s a big yellow brute with mossy feet and skull jewelry, and that counts for a lot. Made of a heavy, inflexible rubber, Odious Ogre cannot be broken by mortal means. Since he works as a malformed ninja star so well, it’s nice to know that succumbing to the urge won’t shatter him.
Odious Ogre was another recent pickup. I found him at a New Jersey comic shop that had a wide variety of worn action figures at reasonable prices. To date, I’ve never been able to stand before a rack of individually bagged action figures and not buy something from it. It’s my second biggest weakness, just after the can’t-tie-shoes thing.
8-Bit Zombie, 2014
My friend Ross is the architect behind 8-Bit Zombie, a clothing line that has spent the last few years expanding into a “everything” line. His nostalgic leanings are much the same as mine, and even before we were friends, I was so impressed with how he captured the spirit of our shared youthful obsessions through his creations.
Thrashor — one of the brand’s mascots — was 8-Bit Zombie’s first foray into the action figure arena. Evoking the classic Masters of the Universe collection, Thrashor was accidentally one of the figures I wanted most: A stand-in for the “green monster He-Man” seen in the old Slime Pit comic. So cool!
I wouldn’t normally use this space to plug a friend, but this isn’t about that. Thrashor is basically a zombified cross between He-Man and Skeletor, who rides a skateboard, and who for some reason wears a Nintendo Power Glove. That’s why he’s here.
After including Robeast Scorpious in the previous edition of Five Random Action Figures, a few readers asked if Mutilor was far behind. No, of course not. I love Robeast Mutilor nearly as much!
Ignoring Mutilor’s role in the Voltron toy line, I just like him as a generic monster-robot-dude. As a kid, he was whatever I needed him to be. Silent assassin? Check. Leader of a criminal empire who took no shit? Done. Secret hero? Robot butler? Yup, yup. No matter the role, Mutilor aced the test.
I always “mixed worlds” with my action figures, but some of them were more suited to it than others. Mutilor was the rare beast (rare Robeast) that could dart between huddles of Sectaurs warriors and G.I. Joe troops and never once seem out of place.
Plus, his feet looked like big grape cowbells.
Thanks for reading about more old toys!