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.
Our group spent most of the night in the bar and in our hotel room. If memory serves, we spent a suspicious amount of time in the parking lot, too. Basically, it was less like we were attending a horror convention, and more like we were staying at a hotel that happened to be hosting one. This was fine with me, because it’s more fun to listen to John and Jay make wrestling references than it is to share creepy eye contact with Vincent Price’s daughter.
(Actually… that might be a lie.)
Nevertheless, we did spend plenty of time in the dealer rooms. For me, they’re the whole point of being there. I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in any of the autograph rooms, and since I’ve avoided the Saturday events for so long, I haven’t seen a celebrity panel in years. But I’ll never skip the dealer rooms. So much glorious junk! A veritable horror-themed flea market!
The majority of the dealers were repeats, so I won’t bother giving you a blow-by-blow. I’ve already covered 90% of them in past con reports. Still, even if it’s mostly the same crap that I’ve been looking for the last five years, it’s still great to be so surrounded by it. I just feel so at home in those rooms. I never thought I could find peace in a place where thousands of sweaty strangers are always shoving me out of the way.
I didn’t buy much, because by the time I remembered all of my mental notes, the dealer room was closed and I was half-asleep at the bar. This time, though, quality beat quantity. Only minutes after entering the main dealer room, I spotted a table filled with fantastic old toys at insanely reasonable prices. (Like, way cheaper than eBay, which is absurd at Monster-Mania.)
I forgot to take a picture of that table, but it was run by an artist named Evan Lopez. Turns out, Evan is a Dino Drac reader, and he recognized me straight away. That doesn’t happen often, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of responding to such situations with any dignity. I stared at the floor and said “thank why you yes,” praying that the convention was too noisy for him to notice.
Evan had some amazing things. Things I’ve had my eye on for years. I would’ve gladly purchased the same three toys even if they were double the price.
Here’s the loot!
A Madballs “Skull Face” Head Popping action figure! I’VE WANTED ONE OF THESE FOR SO LONG. I’ve had them pegged for a Halloween Countdown tribute for at least eight years now.
If you’ve never heard of these, the 1986 figures took many of the Madballs characters and provided them will full bodies. BUT, to make them still fit within the theme of “monsters that happen to be balls,” each figure’s head could be popped off with the push of a lever. Yes!
Evan only charged me three bucks. (And no, that wasn’t some weird webmaster discount. You can see the price sticker right on the bag.) Well, I just looked over eBay, and a loose Skull Face in identical condition recently sold for 67 dollars. Whaaaat?!
A Mortal Kombat “Goro Vs. Johnny Cage” set! For only seven bucks! Now, granted, the bubble had been resealed to the card, but I didn’t mind, because it’s long been my dream to have a G.I. Joe-scale Goro beat up my other action figures. I was never going to leave this packaged, anyway.
I don’t write about Mortal Kombat often, but I’m waaaay into the lore. I haven’t played many of the games, but whenever I’m bedridden with some 72-hour illness, my favorite thing to do is read character histories on fly-by-night MK wikis. Point being, I fucking love Goro, and I’ve dreamed about owning a Goro action figure for such a long time.
It’s a great set, too. Even comes with a little Mortal Kombat podium for Goro and Johnny to fight on. Interestingly, it also comes with a functional missile launcher, which the package lists as one of Goro’s accessories.
Really? You’ve got Johnny Cage and an eight foot alien with four arms and 500 years’ worth of tournament victories, and GORO gets the missile launcher?
Now this… this was the big one.
I never would’ve met Evan if he wasn’t selling Slobster — one of the more interesting puppets from the old Boglins line. Made of the same weird rubber as the other Boglins, Slobster stands out by being PARTLY A LOBSTER. His hands are claws, his eyes are on stalks, and his tail looks like the “turf” portion of the proverbial surf and turf. HE IS SO GREAT AND I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
I spotted Slobster from a great distance, and my beeline towards him was like something out of a bad ‘80s movie’s climactic prom scene. Suffice to say, had someone gotten to Slobster before I could, I’d be writing this report on a pant leg from prison.
A Slobster for seven bucks? Are you kidding? I would’ve paid triple without a moment’s hesitation.
Slobster quickly became “my thing” of the night. As soon as all of us got back to the room, I forced John into being a hand model for an Instagram celebration. Then I yelled at him to take it off, because Slobster is fragile and John can’t be trusted. It was only with quiet respect for my friends that I didn’t wear Slobster back downstairs. After we returned for a nightcap, that fucker was never more than an inch away from me.
I fell asleep before everyone else. This was dangerous, and I’m lucky I woke up with intact eyebrows. I would imagine that the party continued for at least an hour after Jay took this photo. If you look close, you’ll notice that I fell asleep cradling Slobster.
(And I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but I’m still not entirely sure that I didn’t use a curtain for a blanket.)
Honestly, the whole night is a bit of a blur. I remember meeting someone else who knew of the site, and good God, I’m absolutely dreading that guy reminding me of it, because it was after 47 Blue Moons, and enough tequila to drown a cat. I also remember meeting Tom from Shit Movie Fest, and Kristy from Fright Rags, and someone who had a great jacket with like ten thousand buttons on it. When I woke up on Saturday morning, my foot was injured. Why?
But Ms. X and I mostly loved it for the chance to reconnect with our friends from Formerly Freddy In Space and The Sexy Armpit, who will surely have something to say about the convention this week. (Actually, they will probably have more to say about it than I did, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything besides plastic cups and my Boglin.)
From what I understand, Saturday was the usual overcrowded mess, made all the more chaotic by a prank fire alarm. Part of me is glad for sticking with the comparatively tame Friday, but I am starting to miss the total mayhem of the Saturday show. I left the hotel feeling like Monster-Mania is still a great convention. I already miss being there.
Man, those last few lines were straight out of a second grader’s school paper.
Anyway, I got a lobster Boglin, and I’m pretty happy about that.