For as long as I’ve had money I’ve pissed a lot of it away on action figures, and before that I had my parents piss their money away on action figures. I’ve always had fairly structured collecting habits. As a kid I collected G.I. Joe, Transformers, Wresters and Masters of the Universe. Later it was Battle Beasts, then Spider-Man, then Gundam and so on. I’d buy a random things that didn’t fit into any of my collections from time to time but it was rare. Most of the oddities that I had as a youth were gifts from friends and family. For the past couple of years I’ve been collecting G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Marvel Universe and the occasional DC character. Well since I started this blog I suddenly have an insatiable appetite for odd toys that don’t fit into any of those categories. In part it’s because I don’t want this site to get too repetitive and fall into a G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformer, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformer pattern. I want to keep things fresh and interesting for you, my beloved reader. Of course, there may be some of you that visit my site strictly for the G.I. Joe reviews or strictly for the Star Wars so you may actually be annoyed by me constantly reviewing stuffed animals from my childhood or whatever. Now that I think about it, it’s likely that the majority of you have a specific property that you enjoy and my randomness is unwelcome. Oh well, as I was saying, my want for figures from random toy lines began so that I could entertain you but now I think I do it more for myself. I’ve been having tons of fun trolling around ebay looking for deals on old Inhumanoid and Captain Power figures. Things I never owned as a kid but have a nostalgic fondness for anyway. Things that my friends and cousins may have owned. Recent ebay purchases include a Lone Ranger figure, a bunch of Fisher Price Adventure People, some Crystar figures, a Silverhawk and some Air Raiders. I now officially collect everything. My girlfriend and mother will be thrilled with this news.
So this week I added some pretty sweet figures to my collection under the banner of randomness. On my Wednesday visit to Strange Adventures I saw that they had two sets of vinyl Spy vs Spy figures. The figures were packed together and I assumed they were a good size judging by the size of the box. I held the box, looked at the $50 price tag and hummed and hawed. Do I really need these right now? Maybe they’ll go on sale sometime in the future. Strange is known for its frequent and generous sales. I set the box down and went about browsing. But then some other dude grabbed a set and purchased it. Oh no! Only one left. They may have had a backroom stocked full of them but I couldn’t take the chance. Bought. When I got home and set the giant box down on the coffee table I was curious as to whether Vanessa would even know what these things were. I was pleasantly surprised that she not only knew of the spies and was a fan. We unboxed them together and were both quite impressed with the actual product.
I assume that most people who are fans of Spy vs Spy are fans because of the strips in MAD magazine. If you’re not familiar, the spies appeared frequently in the magazine on a silent, single page comic strip. They may have been in every single issue, or maybe even multiple times an issue I don’t remember. I actually never owned an issue of MAD in my life but they always seemed to be around. The strips were pretty much always the same, one spy would set a trap for the other but it would backfire on the plotting spy. Sometimes even a double backfire if you can believe it! My fondness for the spies stems mostly from the Spy vs Spy games that we used to have on our family Commodore 64 computer. This thing was a dinosaur as far as computers go but they were huge in the 80s. Games came on floppy discs, the actual big floppy ones, about the size of a napkin. The Commodore had a DOS operating system and the games were pretty simple looking. For back in the day though the graphics were wicked. Doug and I would spend hours playing Ducks Ahoy and Park Patrol years before any of our friends owned Nintendos. Spy vs Spy 1, 2 and 3 were some of our favourite games. The screen was split top and bottom, one player controlled the white spy and the other the black spy. The object was to find the briefcase and then fill it with hidden items scattered about. Once it was full you could escape on a plane or rocket while the other guy got blown to smithereens. The first game took place in a multi-level hotel, the second a jungle island and the third in the snow. If you happened to bump into the other player while you were running around looking for items you could duel with swords. A design flaw meant that whomever was on the left side always won. Doug and I would find each other and then run in circles to claim the winning side. Whoever got the most pokes in from the left side would win and the loser would turn into an angel and float into heaven, only to respawn elsewhere. It was super fun.
This figure looks exactly how I would want figures of these characters to look. The big black eyes, long pointy nose, oddly shaped fedora, the strangely curved body and limbs capture the look of the strips fantastically. I love that these are such oversized figures, it really lets you appreciate the simplicity of the design. These characters are perfectly suited for the vinyl designer toy market. The sculpt is simple and little articulation is required. I really don’t think these figures could look any better. The box included a handful of accessories for the spies to share. There was a bomb, a stick of dynamite, a knife, a gun and a bunch of alternate hands so they could hold all of these items. It’s a great set and it was worth every penny. 8 out of 10.
By the way, feel free to speak your mind in the comments section below dear readers. Do you like the randomness of this blog or would you prefer I focus on one particular line? Did you enjoy my Avengers theme week? Did you enjoy my guest review with Andrew? Please let me know what you want to read about.