Yesterday was Wednesday so you know what that means: new comics. And for me, more often than not it means new figures as well. My comic haul from Strange Adventures was a pretty good one this week. A handful of new marvel books as is the norm but also two brand new issue ones courtesy of IDW, the company that publishes the G.I. Joe and Transformers comics. Yesterday IDW launched a new Battle Beast and a new Crow comic. Both were decent reads and I have high hopes for both. On my way to the shop Andrew called me unexpectedly and said that he was making a trip over to Dartmouth to go toy hunting and wanted to know if I wished to tag along. Why not, after all I only just pissed away $65 on comic books. So we went over to Giant Robot. We were just there last week so I didn’t expect there to be any new toys that I’d want to purchase but I did plan on picking up a couple of Joe T-shirts that I had spotted there previously. While waiting for to be rung through with my shirts the owner of the shop dug out a couple of bins from the back room for another customer to root through. Never one to walk away from a bin of toys for sale I waited for the other customer to finish with them before I took a look. It was mostly vintage Transformers and G.I. Joes, nothing I was really after. However in the Transformers bucket there was a variety of Transformers imitators like Go-Bots and other miscellaneous robots. Amongst them were 3 Esso Robot Racers. Doug and I used to have the entire collection of these things when we were kids but they had long since yard sailed away. Needless to say I bought them.
The Esso Robot Racers were, as you might guess, available at Esso gas stations. They were sold during the mid 80s and cost a buck or two along with a gas fill up. There were 8 figures in total, some cars, some trucks. They all had rev up features and the trucks shot sparks when revved which I loved. My favorite Robot Racer was Wagon Master, in fact he’s the only one whose name I remember. As a kid I thought Wagon Master turned into a mini-van but while researching this I found out he’s supposed to be a Honda City Turbo Car. I have faint memories of playing with the Esso robots, mostly in the car or at my Grandmothers house. Even though we quite liked these toys I don’t believe Doug or I ever integrated them into out Transformers universe. They were kept separate even though the quality of them wasn’t far off from some of those original Transformers. I actually think Wagon Master is better than some of the little transformers I had back in the day. His legs are separate moving pieces which seems obvious but many Transformers had a uni-leg. His face is simple yet really cool and his head can swivel from side to side. And then of course there’s the rev up feature which means when you rev up his wheels and then set him down he’ll take off running (driving). I’m very happy to welcome Wagon Master back into Mike’s Collection. 6 out of 10.