Friday, January 28, 2011

The Proper Care and Operation of your Gobackatron 1985Thousand

The twentieth seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse explodes into flaming rocks just like the those tablets Moses threw off the mountain when his hobby drove him crazy.

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Yes, sometimes it is really hard to figure out if your hobby is driving you crazy (especially if crazy was the way you started). And with that in mind I have assembled this extended monologue on what one should expect from their hobby and how to figure out if what you are doing is a) a hobby in the first place and not some bizarre complicated antisocial Star Wars nerd mating ritual or b) something really legitimately fun (but with severe psychologically damaging side effects). So for those wondering if what you do with your spare time and money is meaningful expenditure of your short time on earth or actually a symptom of mental illness, I offer you this 50 minute podcastalyptical advice. But before we start, know that if what you call a hobby involves toy robots you probably already had brain damage and that's gonna be a little tougher for me to fix with just corny jokes and pictures of 25 year old toy robots ads.

Sav-On 28 November 1985

This ad from Wilsons demonstrates how the cool thing about Cy-Kill was that if you transformed him backwards he looked even cooler.

Wilsons 04 November 1984


TRU 12/12/85

Richway 11/10/85
  • Pursuing the degree in Roboplastic Historianism is going well
  • Return to Vintage Space Toast Tour Miami
  • How to tell if your hobby is working
  • In search of the elusive December 12, 1985 Skywarp Bop Bag ad
  • The wages of not paying attention is repeated trips to Miami library
  • Not finding ads but instead finding answers (which aren't as fun as finding ads)
  • Goal of the day-reacquiring that giant December 9, 1979 Playworld Micronauts ad
  • A new ridiculous quest-collecting Lionel Playworld circulars
  • How to tell if your hobby is good
  • The old ridiculous quest-reading all the Los Angeles newspapers from 1985
  • break-Lionel Playworld: Toy Capital of the World!
  • The traditional post library visit fish sandwich
  • Upcoming José Delbo convention appearances (or the lack thereof)
  • Three of the first four Transformers cover artists will be at Miami Comic Con
  • break-Children's Palace: Everything a toy store commercial should be!
  • How to tell what your hobby is all about
  • Not finding things in common with other fans when you have everything in common
  • Doing as the Cybertronians do
  • How to tell you enjoy your hobby when you are the Mexican Luke Skywalker
  • Making out in robot costumes is more mainstream than what I do with my hobby
  • Being happy is not the same as being passionate
  • How to tell if your hobby is actually dating
  • Being the Tyler Durden of newspaper looking library clubs
  • Brian Kilby is my Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Blowing up 1985 like the Death Star
  • Dr. Geektarded-a true fellow Macrocranian
  • Sliding around in inflatable robots and spaceships
  • How to tell if your hobby has wonderfulness
  • The tremendous amounts of fictional backstory included in 80s toy robot newspaper ads
  • The upcoming Gobotacular Podcastalypse
  • We're the Wheeled Warriors-don't wanna wheel no more! /Dokken
  • Contrasting Wheeled Warrior newspaper ad fiction vs. cartoon fiction
  • How to tell if you get your hobby advice from Alice Cooper
  • How to tell if paleontology is a hobby
  • Wizard World requires business cards of the apocalypse
  • How to tell the Podcastalypse is over

Broadway 16 September 1985

Monday, January 17, 2011


Hanging out with my son and other assorted three year old hellions has taught me that preschoolers will mimic the behaviors of those people they most idolize, who are never their parents but instead the goofy cartoon monsters they see on Yo Gabba Gabba. Thankfully those goofy cartoon monsters are trying to teach positive values and acceptable social behaviors. I realize it's a form of brainwashing but I'll do anything to get my son to learn lessons like other people's feelings are important and cultural diversity is a strength of our society (or at the very least, don't bite your friends).


I ran into a problem today when I was getting ready to take my kid to daycare and from out of nowhere he throws his shoe at my butt while yelling "ROCKET PUNCH!" I had a flashback to over the weekend when we watched a ton of episodes of Tranzor-Z. It was kind of cute to see him run around the house with his arms in the air yelling "TRANZZZOR ZEEEEE!" in that funny way little 3 year olds talk. But the rocket butt punch was not a good sign. I should have seen it coming, though. During the weekend he went on a playdate with his mom (The Queen of Macrocrania) and she told me he was running around yelling "Tranzor-Z!" while all the other kids stood around wondering what the hell was going on. The other mommies wanted to know if Tranzor-Z was a Nickelodeon show and what time it came on, to which my wife responded, "Well, knowing his dad it's definitely not on Nickelodeon and it probably came out 20 years ago."


So while I was dropping the Prince of Macrocrania off at daycare today I realized that there would have to be an addendum to my usual goodbye speech. Before I left him with his teacher we went over the rules of good behavior real quick as we usually do. It's a short list but it covers all the major horrible things kids do to each other because they're not aware that other children are indeed alive and feel pain (and also because they are vicious hellions). In addition to telling him "...and remember, no hitting, no kicking, no spitting and don't bite your friends" I also had to throw in something about not rocket punching anybody. It was weird having to tell someone that while being totally serious about it. Don't rocket punch your friends! It sounded weird but cool at the same time. I'm not sure if I'm raising a) a little boy who confuses cartoon fantasies with actual reality or b) a super robot from 1985. What I do know is that the writers of Yo Gabba Gabba are benevolent geniuses who know more about what's appropriate for children than I do based on my son's behavior after watching Yo Gabba Gabba vs. Tranzor-Z. I will have to stop emailing them about how the robot in their show for 3 year olds could use some chest missiles, laser beam eyes and flamethrower breath.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Time traveling (and assembling a robotical army to conquer the galaxy) on a budget OR: The most fun I ever had with scissors and a kangaroo

Lionel Playworld 28 October 1984

Man I used to love clipping out Playworld coupons in the newspaper when I was a kid. They didn't print coupons in every ad so when coupons came up for robots it was like Christmas on GoBotron. Even more special and rare than toy robot coupons were the holy grails of Playworld discounts-$1 off anything in the store coupons. Oh man it was the wild west when that one came out. I'd go crazy thinking of the huge discount a dollar was. Back in the early 80s when action figures were no more than 4 bucks those 1 dollar coupons were a big deal! Plus they even let you use it with no minimum purchase so theoretically stuff that was under a dollar was free. If I could afford a time machine I would still print me up some Playworld coupons before I go back to 1985 because although I was only ten years old for that one year, I will always be a cheap bastardo forever.

09 October 1978
07 October 1979
07 October 1979
14 November 1979

What was awesome about Playworld was that they really put some effort into tailoring the appearance of each coupon to the merchandise it was for. So for example Micronauts coupons had line art of the Time Traveler on them and other lines had art representative of their figure selections. In a brilliant effort that got the maximum use out of these drawings they used art that was only meant for ads and made coupons out of it. I know Star Wars is so popular there's probably some country out there with Darth Vader on their dollar bills but Playworld was the first to have any form of currency with Muffett the daggett on it.

20 December 1985
10 November 1985
10 November 1985
12 October 1986

09 November 1986

Another reason Playworld coupons were so great was because they were for stuff you actually wanted! Unlike those Sunday newspaper coupon sections that had loads of coupons for crap I didn't care about like food and Thomas Kinkade collector plates, Playworld knew the kind of financial assistance my roboplastical military industrial complex needed was discounts on Cybertronians. From a business standpoint maybe erasing your profit margins on popular robots people would have bought anyways wasn't such a bright idea. Coupons are probably really only supposed to be used to trick people into buying stuff they don't want, so running coupons for Transformers was like getting Carrie Fisher's autograph on your Star Wars comics but finding out she'll only give it to you if you also let her lick your face. I was all, heck yeah! On the other hand, I always admired the business savvy of whoever made the Walgreens circulars where they ran coupons for Rock Lords and Moto-Botz. That's the way you're supposed to do it! Walgreens knew their selection was less Princess Leia and more like getting licked on the face by a Rancor Monster. It's almost like they were daring me to buy their crappy robots I otherwise would never in a million years even consider owning. I gotta admit those discounts were tempting, though. Walgreens coupons were beer goggles for toy robots enthusiasts-they even made me want to buy Rock Lords. Walgreen sure knew my weakness, though. Give me a big enough coupon and I'll try anything, I don't care how ugly your Rancor Monster is.

Walgreens 11/30/86
Walgreens 10/15/86


Since they were essentially creating incentives to buy crack, Playworld coupons had narrow windows of opportunity-most of them were only valid for 3-4 days. Maybe the deals were so good they realized these prices weren't sustainable if they ever wanted to make money supplying weapons and troops to toy robot army builders. There is also the possibility that Transformer coupons were an underhanded sales tactic and Playworld planned these sales anyways but by limiting the savings only to people who clipped the coupons they ensured that not a lot of people would take advantage of them. It's like having a sale but only for a select group of people who were reading your ads (which I guess is what coupons are anyways). Oh well while I'll never be able to fully comprehend great mysteries like time travel or toy robot coupon economics, I do know that Lionel Playworld was my favorite store. I think I'll print a couple of these out and cut them up then stick them in my pocket and never use them. That's pretty much what I used to do as a kid because I didn't have any money in 1985. I guess not much has changed in 26 years-I'm still a cheap bastardo looking at Transformer coupons. But I need to be prepared in case Christopher Lloyd or some other mad scientist shows up in my driveway with a pimped out DeLorean time machine and tickets to see Carrie Fisher at a bookstore signing Star Wars comics in 1984.

13 October 1985
12 October 1986

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


The nineteenth seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse meets its repulsively delicious end at the hands of an alien lobster with his brain falling out of his mouth! Yes it's another fifty minute barrage of me talking to myself about aliens, Micronauts, Micronaut aliens, Interchangeables, Micronautical Interchangeables and Interchangeable Micronauticals and other nauts and bots with swappable parts and maybe even a Spaceknight or two gets mentioned. Are you a Slithery Skinned Invader from the Remote World of Visceros or are you just happy to see me? Find out in this WHERE DO MICRONAUTS GET RECOLORED WHEN THEY DIE edition of the Podcastalypse!

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Service Merchandise 09/07/86
Best 12/19/85


The great Bill Mantlo once wrote that "An idea has to evolve or it begins to repeat itself" and ironically this was proven true by the very toyline he helped popularize in the late 70s-the Micronauts. The Mego Micronauts line died after its parent company went bankrupt but that would not be the end of the toys. Various rehashings of the Micronauts molds have been popping up on the shelves ever since the 1980s and surprisingly there have been as many relaunches and redecos as there have been companies that owned the toys, but never any new additions to the line! Perhaps the most notorious of all were the strangely colored line of Micronaut figures and vehicles released under The Interchangeables banner in 1984. The Interchangeables lasted for two series with the second series consisting of the exact same toys as the first, just in different colors! Even stranger was how the packaging shows each series was released by a different company. What was going on here? Has there ever been another toy robot line that has bounced from company to company and been reissued and recolored as many times as the Micronauts have? I DO NAUT KNOW!

TRU 22 November 1984
TRU 05 December 1984


Service Merchandise 03 November 1985
Service Merchandise 06 December 1984


TRU 12/11/85 crappy ad of the month

Zayre 11/03/85

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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.