Not too long ago I reviewed the new Red Robin figure from DC Direct’s “New 52” toy line. In that review I told you how I always related to sidekicks when I was a kid. Having a brother that’s 2 years older than me meant that when we ran around the house pretending to be super heroes he always got to be the main hero and I was always relegated to the sidekick role. I was the Tonto to his Lone Ranger and the Twiki to his Buck Rogers. So of course I was the Robin to Doug’s Batman. When it came to collecting action figures we followed the same pattern. Doug had the Mego Batman doll so I had the Mego Robin doll. I wish I still had my Mego but regrettably I destroyed that thing when I was still wearing footie jammies. Despite my childhood attachment to the character I never acquired another Robin toy until that Red Robin figure showed up in the mail last month.
I was really impressed by the Red Robin figure. I’d say it’s a contender for my year-end “best of” list. I don’t think Robin has ever looked cooler than he does in his contemporary outfit showcased by that figure. But my connection to Robin dates all the way back to the early 80s, long before the character was “cool”. My first exposure to the character was likely from re-runs of the 1960s live-action Batman show. Burt Ward made for a fantastic Robin but he was far from cool when he was wearing those itty bitty green shorts and slippers and exclaiming his silly puns. And yet, that look is iconic and will forever be the definitive Robin in my mind. This Super Powers figure from 1984 perfectly represents Robin in his classic homoerotic sidekick costume.
Now, you may be wondering where this figure came from since I just told you that the New 52 Red Robin figure was the first Robin toy added to my collection since the Mego days. Well, last week I received a message on this blog’s facebook page from a fellow named Nate. We had never met before but he also lives in Halifax and he knows many of the same people I know. He said that he’s a regular reader of the blog and that he came across some of his old toys recently and he was looking to get rid of them. He sent me a very well organized excel spread sheet which listed all of the figures, as well as their accessories, their condition, and their value. The list primarily consisted of vintage G.I. Joe, Star Wars, and Super Powers figures though there were a few small miscellaneous collections on the list as well such as Crystar and the Muppets. The figures that excited me most were those from the 1979 Disney movie, the Black Hole. You may recall me mentioning in my review of Twiki (Buck Rogers’ robot sidekick) that I was hoping to one day reacquire my Black Hole VINCENT figure (that film’s robot sidekick character). Not only did Nate have a VINCENT but he also had a bunch of other cool robot figures from the film such as BOB, Maximillian, and a Sentry (another toy I had when I was a kid).
I replied to Nate to say I was definitely interested in the Black Hole figures as well as some of the others. Nate replied to say that despite the prices he had listed on the spreadsheet he’d sell me everything for $5 a pop…except for the Black Hole figures. He found a buyer online willing to pay $400 for a single BH figure. My heart sank a little but I made plans to venture to his house that Friday after work anyway so I could check out the other figures.
Nate was a cool guy who I plan to grab a beer with so we discuss the intricacies of Twin Peaks, just as soon as I’ve made my way through the entire series on Netflix (he’s a huge fan and I coincidentally just started watching it a week earlier). I ended up buying 21 figures from Nate. I would’ve liked to have bought more but five dollar increments add up fast. My haul consisted of 3 Joes, 8 Super Powers, 9 Star Wars figures and a darker variant of Daggit (the robot sidekick from the original Battlestar Gallactica).
Nate probably had about 20 different Super Powers figures. Most of them were in great condition and they even had their accessories and mini comics. I love how bright and colorful they are and it pained me to leave some behind. I had to pass on Joker, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Plastic Man just to name a few. But I scored some great ones like Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, and Robin. Both Batman and Robin still have their sheer little capes that click snugly onto the backs of their necks. The Robin is in especially nice condition. You’d never guess that this figure is 30 years old. His joints are firm, his karate cop action feature still works, and the paint is nearly perfect. Nate clearly didn’t play as hard as I did when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I took care of my toys but you can tell they’ve seen some s**t. Getting this figure for five bucks was a great score. This haul doubled the size of my existing Super Powers collection so I may have to actually assign them their very own shelf soon enough.