BLOWTORCH v.2 (2002)
I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada. It’s a relatively small city. Which is why I’m amazed that it’s able to sustain so many comic book stores. In downtown Halifax there’s Strange Adventures (where I go), Monster’s Comic Lounge, and until very recently Quantum Frontier. Just over the bridge in neighboring Dartmouth, which is still considered part of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is another Strange Adventures and Giant Robot Comics. This past year, two more shops opened in Halifax suburbs, Ragnarok Comics in Bedford and Cape and Cowl Comics in my hometown of Lower Sackville. I’ve been meaning to check out both stores for months now but haven’t gotten around to it. Well last week I finally had a chance to visit both.
Mid-week I popped into Ragnarok. It was a decent little shop but they didn’t have a whole lot of merchandise and it felt rather generic. The guy at the counter was nice enough and made some small talk so I would definitely go back. I bought a Bret “the Hitman” Hart Simpsons figure from him and went on my merry way. It’s in an area with very little foot traffic but I hope they succeed there as it’s the comic store that’s nearest to my apartment building and I like the idea of being able to walk there.
On the weekend I went out to Sackville for dinner at my parent’s place. They were hosting a small family get together because my cousin Greg was visiting from Ottawa (he’s the guy that got me into collecting comics and listening to heavy metal when I was eight). Since I was in Sackville on a sunny afternoon I figured it would be a good day to check out Cape and Cowl.
The shop owner is a friend of mine named Jay who used to work at Strange Adventures. He posts pictures of his shop on facebook all the time so I knew what to expect when I got there but I gotta say I was really impressed upon seeing it in person. The whole place was clean and organized and there was plenty of room to walk around. There were shelves full of toys and graphic novels but it didn’t feel cluttered at all like some of the other local shops do. There was an old school Nintendo and a new-school X-Box available to play which I’m sure are a hit with kids and gamers. The walls were painted vibrant colours and adorned in original art for sale. There was a large back room as well where Jay hosts birthday parties and runs a literacy program. It’s a fantastic looking store and I hope Sackville supports him as a young entrepreneur.
I did my part by buying a Darkseid POP! figure and a handful of loose G.I. Joes that were in a box on the front counter. It’s not often that you find Joe figures for three bucks a piece these days so I scooped up all the ones I didn’t already own. As it turned out Jay had acquired the Joes from my old friend Paul, a guy I haven’t seen since high school, whom I ran into while browsing the store that day. All four of the Joes I picked up were from the new-sculpt years (2002-2007). I was an avid collector at the time but there was a lot of product available back then and none of it was available in my area so quite a few figures slipped past me. This Blowtorch figure is one of the ones I missed out on even though I thought it was a great update to the character.
The original Blowtorch wore a bright red and yellow padded outfit. He returned to that look for the modern-era which I was glad to see because I’m a sucker for the classic looks but I do appreciate that the new-sculpt designs weren’t as beholden to what had come before. The figures were aimed at kids back then so they looked more contemporary as opposed to now where the figures are geared towards nostalgic old guys like me. This Blowtorch has a brown outfit with gold armour plating. Perhaps it was ahead of its time because I think it has a steam punk vibe to it. The proportions are good and the articulation is great. This was a vast improvement over the first wave of new-sculpt figures which had traded in the classic O-ring construction for a dreaded T-crotch.
I really like the head sculpt on this figure but it looks more like Duke than Blowtorch. The vintage figure had parted brown hair whereas this guy has slicked back blonde locks. I wish Hasbro was more consistent when it came to things like this but because its such a good head sculpt I’ll forgive them this time.
Cape and Cowl didn’t have any of the weapons with the loose figures which I’m fine with but thankfully Blowtorch had his removable helmet at least. The helmet has large red eyes and looks rather bug-like. Based on the helmet alone I would think this would be a more appropriate update to the Joe team’s other flamethrower trooper, Charbroil.
This figure originally came packaged with the first new-sculpt Snow Serpent, a figure which I did acquire back then either from ebay or some other online retailer. Had I known this figure was as cool as it is I would’ve made more of an effort to seek it out too. 8 out of 10.