Archive for Phil

Never Growing Up, But It’s Time for Saying Goodbye

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Picture by Andrew LoVuolo, gistudios.com

Today, as I type these words, the Toys R Us I called mine closed.  By the time this post is published, the other store in the area will be on its last day if not closed already, as will all of the other stores in the country.

Today is truly a sad day for me.  When TRU announced new closings earlier this year, there was a store in my area listed.  I panicked at the thought of my Toys R Us being closed to save the corporation money, and then when I realized it was the Babies R Us store down the road, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  My store was safe!

Two months later, as BRU was in the middle of their closure, TRU declared all stores would be closed.

It was a stay of execution of two months.  Two months of happiness and blissful ignorance of the fact that TRU was on life support and fading fast.

It was March when that declaration came.  Three months of slowly seeing the store I loved get emptier and emptier.  Random trucks would appear with new stock for a while, but even that was just only a glimmer of life.  Three months went by so fast.

Two days ago, it said there were four days left, and then yesterday, it said only two days left.  Stock had gotten so low that there was no point extending its life past today, and even as I was in there yesterday, workers were tearing apart shelves around me, the cacophony of tools and destruction ringing the death knell of the store, an act being repeated hundreds of times around the country.

My Toys R Us

My Toys R Us, on its final day

So, my Toys R Us is no longer. It brings to mind when my childhood TRU closed two years ago.  I never got the chance to say goodbye to that store, the store where I had spent many an hour looking at all the toys, playing games, sitting on the bikes, and eagerly bringing slips of paper up to The Cage, knowing that that small thin white and black rectangle would soon be exchanged for some new video game.  For over thirty years, that TRU had been my TRU. But I moved closer to another TRU which became my TRU, which is the one that is now gone.

Oh, what memories I will cherish of my time, and I have but two regrets.  One regret is that I never was part of Geoffrey’s Birthday Club.  The other is I never signed up my kid for the club, either.  Neither of us will know what it was like to celebrate a birthday at the store.

I don’t know what kind of memories my kid will have of Toys R Us.  Maybe there will be some faint glimmers of an entire store dedicated to just toys. Maybe there will be a random thought that leads to a trip down memory lane to the Paw Patrol toys, or the Star Wars aisle. Or maybe there won’t be much of anything, just brief flashes. I tried to get my kid to TRU as much as possible these last three months.  The last time was Father’s Day, when we got to go to my TRU as well as the other one. Two Toys R Us stores in one day?  That brought out a huge smile, even as the questions came at me — “What happened to all the toys? Why is this store empty? What happened to the big Thomas the Train that was here?”

They’re gone. They’re all gone, maybe finding homes in basements or museums or back alleys. Maybe they’ll be loved.  Maybe they’ll be ignored.

The part that always brings me to rage, though, is the fact that it didn’t have to be this way.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently — greed is what killed Toys R Us.  Yes, it was facing competition from Amazon, Target and Walmart. Yes, stores were outdated and needed upgrades. But they couldn’t put any money to fixing their problems because it had to all go to paying down an insurmountable debt. Venture Capitalists, in their greed, bought TRU and put so much debt on it, that it’s been treading water for years, and it finally grew too tired to keep up.

Greed killed TRU. Greed prevented the workers from getting severance pay. And the only thing we can do is try to learn from it and not repeat the same mistake, even though it’s already happening to so many other stores.

Photo making the rounds today, text from Toys R Us Facebook

Photo mashup making the rounds today,. Photo by Rene Johnpiere, text from Toys R Us Facebook

My Internet chum Pixel Dan tweeted today on reading comments about Toys R Us, and that it may have been just a store, but it made him sad.

Just a store, I thought?  I replied as such:

TRU was also much more than a store. It was a place of magic for kids, a place where every corner, shelf, nook, and cranny held a toy — no, a potential promise of new worlds or adventures or songs or parties or crafts or cuddling with stuffed friends.

TRU was were girls and boys got to be rewarded for good grades or behavior, or to make them feel better when sad. TRU held birthdays and bat/bar mitzvahs and Christmas and so many other holidays. TRU was hours of our youth, and maybe our kids’ youth.

TRU was wonder and excitement and FUN. And its loss hurts. And it can make us feel less secure in this completely crazy world we live in. And any feeling you have about TRU is valid. Just a store? Hardly. Toys R Us was LIFE for kids of all ages.

And now we face a future without Toys R Us. We may get a new entity with the same name, but it will be different. It will be different people in charge with different distribution, with different goals. It may have the initials, it may have Geoffrey, but it won’t be the same.

It may be enough for today’s kids. Maybe it will be enough to inspire them to Never Grow Up, just like my generation will Never Grow Up. And we can always tell them about Toys R Us as we get older, because that’s what we do.

But while we may Never Grow Up, we do have to say goodbye. To do that, I call upon other friends from my childhood, The Muppets, and “Saying Goodbye” by Jeff Moss.

Saying goodbye, going away,
Seems like goodbye’s such a hard thing to say.
Touching a hand, wondering why
It’s time for saying goodbye.
Saying goodbye – why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.
Much more to say, foolish to try,
It’s time for saying goodbye.
Don’t want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it’s better to go.
Somehow I know we’ll meet again.
Not sure quite where, and I don’t know just when.
You’re in my heart, so until then
Wanna smile, wanna cry
Saying goodbye.
It’s time for saying goodbye.

Maybe we won’t meet again unless in our memories. But maybe we’ll meet again as we help kids discover fun and laughter and enjoyment. Because kids make us adults feel like kids again. And that’s Never Growing Up.

Goodbye, Toys R Us.  And Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Never Growing Up — Share Your Toys R Us Memory

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Sadly, the news we feared came true yesterday, and Toys “R” Us will be closing all their US and UK stores soon, unless a miracle occurs.

I have many thoughts on what happened, but that is not the point of this post. No, I want to share my memories of being a Toys  Us kid, and I bet you do too.

So I’ve set up a Tumblr blog to take your submissions, and I am also accepting stories, pictures, and video via email. Please join me at http://ididntwanttogrowup.tumblr.com or email tru@asmzine.com.

My thanks to Andrew LoVuolo for the header graphic. Visit him and his comic at www.gistudios.com

Toy Fair 2018 Has Begun!

Day One is live at http://toyfair18.asmzine.com !

Hasbro Kicks off “Reveal Your Shield” Transformers Celebration!

We just received the following press release from Hasbro. Time to get excited, Transformers fans! In just a few days, all stores should be selling the first new items from TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, and Hasbro wants you to join in the fun on social media and the various apps! Read on? for details on how you can participate.

HASBRO KICKS OFF “REVEAL YOUR SHIELD” TRANSFORMERS CELEBRATION

Treating Fans to Five Days of Exclusive TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT Content and Product Reveals

PAWTUCKET, R.I., April 20 2017 – Today Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), announced “REVEAL YOUR SHIELD,” a TRANSFORMERS celebration that will offer fans five days of TRANSFORMERS content and product reveals, beginning on April 24th with the release of Hasbro’s first wave of toys and consumer products inspired by the TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT film. Throughout the week fans will be encouraged to “reveal theirshield,” using social media, TRANSFORMERS.COM or the official TRANSFORMERS mobile app to declare their allegiance to the Autobots or Decepticons.

The REVEAL YOUR SHIELD program kicks off with new content inspired by TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT on TRANSFORMERS digital and social channels, a video featuring a new BARRICADE action figure, and the release of on-sale dates for some of the exciting products from Hasbro’s TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT line. And the action won’t stop there – fans should stay tuned throughout the week for celebrations and a few surprises that will appear on TRANSFORMERS social channels, as well as new games and activities coming to Transformers.com and in the TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT App.

“The TRANSFORMERS brand is one of the most recognizable franchises in the world, and 2017 is a massive year for the Autobots and Decepticons,” said Tom Warner, Senior Vice President of the TRANSFORMERS franchise at Hasbro. “Our REVEAL YOUR SHIELD fan celebration will deliver a week’s worth of TRANSFORMERS content, including new material inspired by the upcoming film, TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT. The movie is the biggest TRANSFORMERS adventure yet, and REVEAL YOUR SHIELD is the perfect way for fans to get in on the action before it arrives in theaters on June 23rd.”

To “REVEAL YOUR SHIELD” and see all of the exclusive TRANSFORMERS news and content, please visit TRANSFORMERS.COM, Instagram/TRANSFORMERSOFFICIAL or the official TRANSFORMERS Facebook page, Facebook.com/Transformers each day next week.

About Hasbro

Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global play and entertainment company committed to Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences. From toys and games to television, movies, digital gaming and consumer products, Hasbro offers a variety of ways for audiences to experience its iconic brands, including NERF, MY LITTLE PONY, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and MAGIC: THE GATHERING, as well as premier partner brands. The Company’s Hasbro Studios and its film label, Allspark Pictures, are building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Through its commitment to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to make the world a better place for children and their families. Learn more at www.hasbro.com, and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews) and Instagram (@Hasbro).

Toy Review: Transformers Titans Return Fastclash

I never had the Autobot clones, and I only played with the Decepticon clones once or twice.  However, I was still excited to see that these box sets were going to give us two (and most likely all) of the clones.  In the “Chaos on Velocitron” set, Fastclash (formerly Fastlane) makes his debut.

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He is…. interesting. He’s interesting from a design standpoint. Neither a Deluxe or a Legend class, he exists in new size class Hasbro has said was created for the clones.  So, rather than try to shoehorn him into a size too big or too small, they went Goldilocks and made a size that’s just right.

This is good, because if he was a Deluxe, we’d be screaming for our money back.  His transformation is definitely not up to Deluxe standards, and dare I say it, it’s more Scout/Legion level slightly upscaled.

As much as Titan Master Rodimus Prime had a good heft, Fastclash does not.  He felt light, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it confirms that this is not a Deluxe.
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Packaged in race car mode, he looks very much like his G1 counterpart — namely a robot on its stomach with wheels and a spoiler.  This new iteration does give us two front wheels which the former lacked, and the spoiler has nice deco.

Transforming him seems to be the same — fold out the feet, turn the head around, unfold the arms and hands, and voilà — you’re done.  That spoiler, though…. You can pop in off, but the bar connecting it to the back of the head remains. It looks goofy.
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Really goofy.

Otherwise, it’s a good color scheme on a robot with articulation at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and feet.  If you count the wrist folding out, that adds two more joints.

The original clones each had a rubsign sticker showing what alt-mode the robot changed into. This is replicated nicely with a non-heat-sensitive sticker on the chest.

All in all, I’d say this is a remake that remains very faithful to the original.  Too bad the originals were toys based on the clone gimmick first and foremost.

It’s an interesting toy, but it’s also underwhelming.

 

Some Quick Thoughts on Titan Master Rodimus Prime

Just had the chance to examine Titan Master Rodimus Prime from the “Chaos on Velocitron” set. This is the first diecast Titan Master we have seen here, so I wasn’t sure what to think.

 

20170324_002719It’s definitely a unique TM figure. It doesn’t look different at first glance, but when I picked it up, I could tell it was not the same.

First, it was cooler to the touch.  Having been in my basement for a few hours, it was slightly cooler than room temperature, and the difference between the metal and plastic pieces was apparent.

Second, the weight was off. Heavier than the other TM figures, Rodimus has a nice heft to him.  He just feels more solidly built.  All the joints seem more secure. I know that plastic tolerances mean my sample could differ from others, but having the extra weight from the metal adds to the impression that this is a solidly built figure.

Add in a great paint job, and this is by far the best Titan Master figure I’ve played with.  This is a good first impression of this highly anticipated set.  And looking at the Laser Prime deco waiting in the box…

Oh, yeah. This is awesome.

Mezco Toyz Presents One:12 Collection Old Man Logan

Fresh off his latest movie, truly a spectacular tale, Logan now makes an appearance in Mezco Toyz new One:12 Collection entry – Old Man Logan.

I don’t have any of their One:12 figures, but I’m a fan. This newest one looks fantastic, and it comes with some awesome accessories. Read the press release for pictures and ordering information!

Mezco Toyz
PRESS RELEASE
The One:12 Collective Old Man Logan

In the alternate future of Earth-807128, Wolverine has aged. Now know as Old Man Logan, he lives with his family in a barren wasteland trying to maintain as normal a life as possible. When events turn against him Logan’s family and everything important to him is destroyed by the Hulk’s gang. Using his claws for the first time in years, Old Man Logan exacts revenge, sparing only the baby known as Bruce Jr. With his family gone, Old Man Logan heads off into the sunset with the baby vowing to set things straight.

Old Man Logan joins the One:12 collective with a detailed outfit and portrait sculpture. He also includes the baby Hulk who may be the last of the Banner bloodline.

The Old Man Logan One:12 Collective figure features:

• One (1) newly developed head portrait

• One:12 Collective body with over 30 points of articulation

• Real fabric outfit with intricate tailoring

• Over 15cm tall

• Six (6) interchangeable hands including

– One (1) pair of fists (L&R)

– One (1) pair of clawed fists (L&R)

– One (1) pair of posing hands (L&R)

• Baby Hulk

Costume:

• Leather look overcoat

• White t-shirt

• Sculpted belt with decorative buckle

• Workman pants

• Sculpted cowboy boots

Accessories:

• Baby Hulk

• Removable hat

• Backpack that holds baby Hulk

• One (1) One:12 Collective display base with logo

• One (1) One:12 Collective adjustable display post

Each One:12 Collective Old Man Logan figure is packaged in a deluxe, collector friendly box, designed with collectors in mind there are no twist ties for easy in and out of package display.

Expected to ship: November 2017- January 2018

http://www.mezcotoyz.com/one-12-collective-old-man-logan

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https://www.facebook.com/MezcoToyz/
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Funko Announces “Looney Tunes” Dorbz and “Captain Underpants” Movie Pops

I grew up watching “Looney Tunes” on TV. Every afternoon and every Saturday morning, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their pals would be on my TV screen. So these new Dorbz speak to childhood me in a big way.

On the flip side… I had no idea there was a “Captain Underpants” movie coming out. I’ll probably see it at some point with KidBot, I’m sure. If you love Captain Underpants, though, these Pops are for you.

Dorbz: Looney Tunes

“What’s up, doc?” The Looney Tunes gang is coming to Dorbz!

Collect wascawwy wabbit Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck,
Elmer Fudd, and Pete Puma!

Bugs and Daffy each have a chase variant with a rarity of 1 in 6! Bugs’s chase holds a carrot, and Daffy’s sports his Stupor Duck costume!

Collect them all this spring!

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Coming in April!

Pop! Movies: Captain Underpants

Just in time for the June release of the upcoming film, Captain Underpants is joining the Funko family!

The kind-hearted and elastic-banded hero is joined by his nemesis, the villainous scientist Professor Poopypants!

Professor Poopypants is also available in his pink suit, available exclusively at FYE!

Coming this spring!

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Coming in April

New from Funko – Gears of War Pop! Wave 2

Just announced from Funko, GEARS OF WAR POP!s wave 2! Get older Marcus Fenix, Dominic, Damon, and more! See the press release and the pics below.

Pop! Games: Gears of War

Introducing a brand-new wave of Pop! vinyl figures from the hit video game series Gears of War!

Collect the older and more grizzled Marcus Fenix from Gears of War 4 and his Delta Squad comrades Dominic Santiago, Damon Baird, and Augustus Cole! You can also collect Oscar Diaz, uncle of Kait Diaz, and the iconic Brumak, the reptilian-like creature from the Hollow! The Brumak is a super-sized Pop!, standing 6” tall!

Coming this Spring!

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Toy Fair Australia – Hasbro Reveals Misfire and Slugslinger

Well, this is a surprise!  Over the weekend, Hasbro revealed MISFIRE and SLUGSLINGER down under at Toy Fair Australia, which you can see at our friend Ben Yee’s website, BWTF.com.  On Monday, they sent over some press images, which we’ve uploaded to the gallery.  After the break, you can read the press release regarding these figures.  They look great!  Fine additions to the Titans Return line of Transformers, they are.

 

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