It was another record year attendance for Toyhio this winter. For the first time, I ended up actually having to stand in line for admission. Not a long line, certainly not as long as the two other lines pressed flat around the wall and winding into the halls. Some of this increase in attendance can probably be attributed to the wrestling guests that Toyhio brought in this time. It’s something they’ve been dabbling with, slowly increasing that guest list. I don’t know wrestling, so I don’t know these people. I don’t know if they’re local or national or what. But if you know, they’re bringing in the attendees. As I came in, I was worried that those were the lines to get into the actual vendors hall, but as I headed down the side passage, looking for the entrance, I suddenly found myself in one of the back rooms full of vendors. That’s when I realized how smart these lines were. They weren’t doing a lot to block up traffic, and the convention has done a good job of accommodating this new crowd.
For my part, I was there to look and see what I could find. Maddie had decided she didn’t want to brave the long drive just to hit a vendors room, but we texted back-and-forth with me sending her pictures of various pops and figures that I was encountering. Vendors were very accommodating about letting me take photos and check in with her before buying stuff. Obviously, I’m not the first one they’d seen doing this today. Madeline actually ended up spending almost as much money as I did in this, basically her baptism into the world of scalpers.
While Pops do dominate the landscape, I noticed a significant increase in the volume of Masters of the Universe this year. I don’t know what’s driving that, perhaps the resurgence of the brand as Mattel tries to put out as many toys as possible before they lose the license. Masters of the Universe was so prevelant there, that the one and only cosplayer I saw happened to be one of the Masters! Well, kind of… A young woman dressed in a stunning Orko costume greeted me almost immediately after I found my way into the dealers room. I love the blue wig, it just sets the whole thing off perfectly. It was also a pretty good omen for just how much he-man stuff I was going to see today.
The problem is, The prevalence of so much new stuff, is for some reason also driving up the prices of all broken figures (Similar to the phenomenon I noticed about a year and a half ago or so with the Real Ghostbusters figures)…And that’s exactly the sort of stuff I’m looking for to customize! He-man stuff was everywhere. Not just normal vintage, but a surprising amount of New Adventures littering the dig
bins. I spied a New Adventure is power sword and shield at one point which completely baffled me.
Masters of the Universe is of course, one of the brands that I was there to look for. As I was going through things, mostly looking for a spare figure that I could customize… I have a specific project in mind that I needed one for… I came across a four dollar Tri-Klops with a broken head. The visor was gone… But that’s fine. I’ve got aTri-Klops at home with thevisor intact. This one still had the harness on, and I made a mental note before I moved on. Throughout the day I’d see that same harness being sold alone for three dollars each. I ran back to that booth to grab the figure, scoring both my burn figure to customize and the
missing harness for my vintage Kloppy.
He wasn’t the only one I got though… I scored a cheap Grizzlor for a pet project I wanted to try, one of the crazier customs I’ve seen, and I wanted one of my own. I grabbed him and blasted him with black spray paint to darken the fur before painting his skin blue to create CRITT-OR! (He actually looks perfectly at home between my two handmade critters in the library…)
I did pass on a few things like a Talon fighter (THIS TIME…maybe next
go), but what was intresting was I had one of those moments of clarity as I found a Blue Lion in a bin. He was beat up but still in pretty good shape (enough I could still restore it), and affordably priced. I held him and thought about it for a moment….”Do I REALLY want to get started down this path????” Buying him means I’d have to go fo the collection. The other four lions IN THIS SCALE (which probably wouldn’t be as cheap) as well as figures to ride in them….. I put him back.
Toyhio is where you go to find interesting stuff. Sometimes wierd things….I mean, where else are you going to encounter two bins stuffed full of Joker and Green lantern plushies respectively? Where else could you search through the endless shelves of toys and figures and cars and wierd THINGS and suddenly look up and spot the chaingun from Terminator 2?
I was wandering towards the back wall looking for He-Man accessories and Heroclix. (there was a booth with some cheap clix – but I still don’t understand what’s going on with this one DareDevil in a cape…..) and I always make a practice to check below the table. Not everyone goes there, and that’s where some of the stranger things lurk. I caught my breath… a strange Raggedy Ann
style doll – but not Raggedy Ann. No, this one was ANNIE. Very strange. In one of the other chambers I spied a vintage car for the dolls that accompanied the 80’s film release (and let me tell, you, back in the day I was OBSESSED with that movie -even before I understood who Tim Curry or Carol Burnett were!) I couldn’t bring myself to pull the rigger on either (No idea where or how I’d display them and I’d hate for them to go in a basement crate when there might be someone here who would buy it and love it), but it was so fascinating to actually see these things.
In addition to spying that limo, way back in one of the other far corners I found what may have been my favorite treasure of the day. There in the middle of one of the tables was a hologram card of the Toxic Avenger (this particular one was from the cartoon, but nevertheless). It was such a ridiculous find that I couldn’t resist slapping a dollar down on the table and smiling like a maniac. You have my permission to be envious.
It was also a good day for me to find two Doctor Who figures. Number five and number seven. I just finished a project on my 3-D printer creating the 80s Tardis Console, but didn’t actually on any of the doctors who used it! My focus has traditionally been revival era figures and third doctor collection. I got a good price on five, and was happy enough to score 7 though without his hat. I’m gonna have to make one of those up with model magic or something. I almost pulled the trigger on an ace so seven would have a companion, but I was getting the feeling I was spending too much already!
No comics to speak of this time around, but I did encounter an interesting big bin of small figures – four for a dollar. I pulled a couple of cute trinkets for my younger daughter and Valentine’s Day out of there, but I also grabbed two Muppets. What looks like some sort of happy meal toy from Muppet treasure Island… Fozzie B
ear in a barrel. Also what looks like a vinyl piece from one of those big collected boxes you occasionally see at places like the Disney store or the record store. It was a Walter from the Muppets movie a while back. A quarter is good enough for me to get him so that I can toss him up in my Muppet backstage, And make him turn around into a corner so that all the other Muppets can shun him. It’s childish, I know. But we ARE talking about toys.
Also a good day to grab chocolate covered pretzels and candy (not to mention a couple of Avenger plushies for the girls) for Valentine’s Day
at one of the stands, as I wandered through the vast labyrinth of toys. I was shocked when I looked down at my watch and realized I’d been hunting for treasure through the endless aisles and corridors for nearly 3 hours. It’s such a great market place with an enormous amount of sensory overload… It’s enough to make you lose track of time. It’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy Toyhio and continue to brave the long drive out to the show.
Every year during SanDiego Comic Con, Carol and John’s comic shop holds thier annual “Not at Comic Con” sale. Last year they partnered with the local North East Ohio Toy and Collectibles Club to host a swap meet in addition to the sale. The event was held just a few feet down fro the store, in the empty space CnJs uses for Free Comic Book Day. I missed it last year, but decided to pop in after Church and look around for a few minuets before heading home – I’m still looking for a Twiki to go with my Buck Rogers collection. I figured I’d be in and out real quick, after all, how big could it be?
You see that graphic? The one that says “Over 40 tables” with the number 40 crossed out and replaced with 70? THAT’S how big it could be. Forty tables crammed into the FCBD space with people shoulder to shoulder looking over wares. Outside, vendor tables lined the walls, stretching along the sidewalk from the grocery store to the Dollar Tree, with more occupying the space in front of the comic store. In the parking lot, a large section had been roped off, with tents and another twenty or more tables popping up amoungst the cars. There were more vendors than some comic conventions I’ve been too. It was like a smaller flea market, but without the porcelain teddy bears and antique lamps. Nothing but toys and comics and books as far as the eye could see.
What surprised me was the amount of comics on sale. Tons of quarter bins and fifty cent comics. They may actually have outnumbered the dollar comics. I’ve lamented in recent years that the quarter bins seem to be vanishing from the convention scene – and to be fair, there were more here than I’ve seen at any recent conventions I’ve gone to, nevertheless, this gives me hope. I went crazy in these longboxes, grabbing dozens of issues – particularly Superman and Dark Avengers.
I never did locate a Twiki (or any other Buck Rogers toys for that matter) and I must say I showed admirable restraint in not pulling the triger on MULTIPE Talon Fighters, complete with Point Dread. I picked up two Sabrina mangas for Maddie for a dollar each (and sour patch kids for Lydia next door at the dollar store – have to be fair!), as well as a cute Hulkbuster plushie and a Masters of the Universe Snakeman, also for a dollar each. The Snakemen may not have been my favorite of the He-Man villians, but for a buck? I’m buying that Rattlor!
The real find of the day though (and the one that, combined with the quarter bins, made me go over budget) was a loose Doctor Who figure. It’s a #3 – My doctor. Even more importantly, he was in green, and wearing calf boots. He was perfect and priced so low that it was a steal. I can’t even begin to express how excited this purchase made me.
I couldn’t believe I’d been there almost two hours. I never expected something so big or to find the deals that I did. This was actually pretty fun, and may just become a regular annual stop for me.