May 22 - Ugh. Out of steam. So tired. Sorry. Here's your Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - R2-D2!
May 21 - It's another film's premiere anniversary today! On this date in 1980, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back opened in theaters, introducing one of the most famous, and favorite, of all SW characters, Yoda! I must admit that I was hesitant, at first, to fully embrace Yoda. As I watched the movie, he seemed just a little too "Muppety" to me. He even sounded, and looked, like a cross between Grover and Miss Piggy. Slowly, though, over the course of the story, I began to accept him. By the end of the film, he had moved right into my fanboy heart and set up residence. By the time Empire came out, there was absolutely no question that any Star Wars sequel was going to generate millions of box office dollars, and even more from merchandising. Where Star Wars had caught toy makers by surprise (for example, tie-in action figures, and only four of them at that, were not even available until Christmastime, more than half a year later), Empire arrived with a full contingent of all sorts of related toys. After seeing the film, I immediately sought out and purchased a Yoda figure, released him from his "worthless" packaging, and proceeded to reproduce his Dagobah home in paper mache! Hmm. I still have that replica somewhere. It was unpainted, so there is a very good chance that it has been severely damaged by ravenous bugs, but I'm sure I never threw it out. In fact, as many of you regular WOMP-Blog readers know, I seldom throw away anything. That's not to say that I don't do something much worse to whatever I save than just pitch it. Remember the "worthless" Yoda packaging? I saved it, of course. I saved the packaging from every action figure I bought, from Mego superheroes to Micronauts. I even have most of those still today. Most...but not all. In the grand tradition of saving box tops for decoder rings, the marketing geniuses at Kenner had the brilliant idea to offer FREE exclusive figures and other bonuses to collectors who sent in Star Wars action figure UPC proofs of purchase. And I bit. HARD. Yes, I got my awesome Boba Fett figure this way (although too late to have one with a working, firing missile...that still steams me), literally years (decades?) before any other kid in my neighborhood had one, but I also over-zealously over-ordered anything that didn't have a "one per household" restriction. I was cutting up packaging by the handfuls, sending their precious, precious bar codes off for rotating display stands and packs of extra weapons (stupid Stormtroopers...always losing their blaster rifles). One of those premiums was a sort of all-inclusive accessories lot, called the Star Wars Survival Kit, which included some exclusive pieces, including a specially designed Yoda-carrying backpack for Luke Skywalker's Jedi training. Neat? Sure...but did I need TEN of them? Especially when each kit came at the cost of so many beautiful blister cards? Even the folks at Kenner must have had some doubts about the sanity of my multiple orders. Need proof? Well, speaking of "seldom throwing away anything," here, transcribed for the public for the first time, is an actual letter I received from them over a quarter-century ago...
Dear Star Wars Fan:
We greatly appreciate your interest in our Star Wars Survival Kit.
Due to the overwhelming response to this offer, we are unable to send you a Survival Kit by July 1. We sincerely apologize for this delay and are doing our best to process all requests as quickly as possible in the order in which they were received. Your Survival Kit will be mailed to you between now and October 15, 1981.
Thank you for your patience and for your continued interest in our Star Wars Products; and, once again, we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of this delay.
And when I finally got those kits, I was incredibly disappointed to find that the replacement pieces, like blasters, were a different color than the originals. What? Well, at least I had a pile blue Yoda-papooses, dozens of blister-cards each missing a lower corner, and an official "document" calling me a "Star Wars Fan!" I may be crazy for keeping all of the junk that I do, but how could I throw out something like THAT?! Well, on that note, I will wrap this up for tonight...or, should I say "Wrap this up for tonight will I?" Of The Day, Yoda Your Star Wars Comic Book Character Is!
May 20 - Heh. Back to the "day late, dollars short" entries, I guess. It's late morning of the 21st, but I am bound and determined to post a "May 20" entry anyway. And I have an actual "thing" to tell you...and, by "thing" I mean "slight correction." In talking about Kubert School teacher and old-school cartoonist Irwin Hasen yesterday, I talked about how he tried to convey the "rules" for advancing a comic strip's story over the course of a week, including the Sunday funnies. What I neglected to tell you was that A) Irwin wasn't the writer of his Dondi comic strip, or at least not at first. Maybe later he took on scripting chores. I can't remember anymore (cut me some slack...I'm 116 years old), and B) his strip was one of those that usually had a daily weekday storyline and a stand-alone Sunday color "story." The lessons he had been trying to teach us thick-headed wannabes were more universal than specific to his experience. In fact, we had our pick of several different comics character storylines to work from (I chose The Phantom). Re-reading yesterday's entry, it occurred to me that I definitely gave some mixed impressions, so I wanted to clear that up a little. Someday, I will learn to look some of this stuff up on Google or Wikipedia before I just blather on and on from my time-curdled memory. Speaking of which, here's your Star Wars Comic Book Character of The Day - Exar Kun!