Chicago Toy Show Loot (April 2017)

This past weekend, my mother, YouTuber Barbee0913, and I attended the Chicago Toy Show at the Kane County Fairgrounds. Going on 44 years, this show is a staple for the Illinois based toy collecting community. This year, the show revamped its room set up, which was a little disconcerting to many of the long time doll buyers and sellers. Instead of housing the dolls in the ‘Dollhouse’, aka the Robinson building, dolls were housed in the atrium/cafe area’s of two different buildings. I estimate each room had 20-30 vendors. Why the change? Apparently, the “boys toys” are outgrowing their space and, alas, the poor doll vendors paid the price. Admittedly, the ‘Dollhouse’ has shrunk over the years, so we should have seen this coming, but still, I don’t quite understand why the doll vendors couldn’t just be in one room, sharing space with general toy vendors.

Despite the changes, we ended up finding some great dolly deals. Here’s some of the goodies that came home with us from the show. This post doesn’t feature all the items we purchased, just a handful of highlights. To see everything, check out the video below.

Barbee0913 is a fan of Madame Alexander Victoria dolls. She received one when her brother was born. Passing down that tradition, I received one when my brother was born, as did my younger cousins when they first gained a sibling. It’s a fun tradition that I hope to continue on into the future. We rarely see Victoria’s at the toy show, but this year, to our surprise, we spotted two! Barbee0913 got a mini and large Madame Alexander for an amazing price. The vendor was selling her mother’s Madame Alexander collection. Her mother, who had passed, had loved Madame Alexanders. Her collection seemed to be an ‘in box’ collection, as my mom noticed that the Victoria dolls were very minty fresh!

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

From the same vendor, Barbee0913 picked up this adorable Alexanderkin. We haven’t been able to really identify it, but it’s just too cute. The body has a textured feel to it, like real skin, which feels really neat. But this face? How cute is that!

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

As some of you know, something I like to collect are Jem dolls. The Jem dolls at the show were insanely expensive, so I didn’t end up with any of those. However, I did end up with this amazing play set, Jem’s Rock Backstage/Speaker! This play set is compact, has some amazing fluorescent shelving and interior pieces and, believe it or not, the speaker function still works!

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

Toodles came home to join Barbee0913’s collection. Isn’t she cute? Toodles was made by American Character and has eyes that follow you. My mom has been looking for one of these for a few years now and finally found one that was priced right!

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

My big purchase of the day was an unmarked composition Shirley Temple lookalike. She stands around 20″ tall and is adorable! For being from the 1930’s, she has very little crazing and is in amazing shape. One nice thing about this vendor was that she wasn’t a doll re-seller. Due to downsizing, she was selling her own collection. On her table were pieces that she had loved and enjoyed, not just pieces she picked up to make a profit. This Shirley doll was clearly a piece she loved, as she seemed very remorseful as she started packing the doll up. Don’t worry, I’ll give your Shirley a good home!

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

What drew me to this girl was her adorable face, her clear tin eyes, her red dress and her amazing wig! I wish I knew more about her maker, but since she’s unmarked, all I can know for sure is that she is from the 30’s, since she’s composition and most likely, over 70 years old! (Think of the things this doll has ‘lived’ though— if dolls could talk!)

Chicago Toy Fair Goodies/Haul Highlights

This is only half of what we picked up at the show. To see everything else and hear more of our thoughts on the show, check out the video, linked above. Overall, I’m happy with the items that came home with us. Usually, there’s a little bit of buyers remorse that comes along with shows like this, but not this time! Everything we picked up was priced really well and I have no regrets. Have you picked up something from a doll show or flea market recently? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

April 27, 2017. Tags: , , , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Stills and Trailer from Jem and the Holograms: The Live Action Movie

Once upon a time, Hollywood decided to adapt a book from my favorite series into a big budget movie.  All signs pointed to said movie being a complete and utter disaster. From casting announcements, to rumored story changes, it would have been easy to write the movie off before seeing it. But, throughout the production of the film and up to the release, I kept a ‘cup half full’ mentality on the whole thing. I didn’t want to color the film with negativity before seeing it– that would be unfair to the actors and crew people behind the film.  In the end, the film did suck, but I’m happy I went into it with an open mind.

Why am I writing about this? Well, USA Today recently released photos from the new Jem and the Holograms movie!  I’ve seen a lot of ‘cup half empty’ responses to this film.  But, I implore you, don’t judge this until you see it.  A lot of people put their heart and soul into making this movie, so, for their sakes, keep an open mind.

Let’s be honest, even though we love the source material as is, it needed an update to relate to the children of today.  I’ve tried to sit my cousins down in front of Jem before and, let’s just say, they were not impressed. For this re-boot to work, changes needed to happen.  For me, as long as they keep the messages and themes alive in this new Jem movie, I’m fine with a little re-writing.

Universal Pictures, Jem and the Holograms, borrowed from USA Today article

Universal Pictures, Jem and the Holograms, borrowed from USA Today article

Not only are their photos, but the USA Today article also tells us some juicy tidbits about the film.  Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film stars Aubrey Peeples (Jem/Jerrica), Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Hayley Kiyoko (Aja), and Aurora Perrineau (Shana). Until now, no one was really sure who Juliette Lewis was playing. Turns out, she’ll be playing Erica Raymond (a female Eric Raymond). Molly Ringwald (Breakfast Club, anyone?) will be playing the four girls guardian. Ryan Guzman (Pretty Little Liars) plays Rio.  No word yet, that I’ve seen, on Synergy.  It would be a shame if she wasn’t part of the movie concept, but then again, cup half full.

The story seems to be taking the same route, or a similar route, to the comic book, giving Jerrica a case of stage fright when it comes to performing, even though she’s amazingly talented.  I like this concept, because right off the bat you know this movie will be promoting self-confidence in this crazy, social media crazed world.  For more information and photos, check out the USA Today article.  Universal’s Jem and the Holograms is set to hit US theaters October 23rd, 2015.

(And in case anyone is wondering, the movie I referenced in the first paragraph is The Seeker, adapted from The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.  So many things went wrong, including the script writer essentially saying there was nothing he could salvage from the original story that would work for today’s youth. Don’t take an adaptation job if you don’t see anything in the source material that’s calling out to you, dude.  Just saying.)

Edit: Here’s the trailer!

May 12, 2015. Tags: , , . Articles and Doll Histories. Leave a comment.

Book Review: Jem and the Holograms, Issue 1 and Free Comic Book Day

2015 looks like it’s going to be a truly outrageous year for Jem and the Holograms.  Celebrating 30 years, the doll line turned cartoon is far from forgotten.   In March, the first issue of the new Jem and the Holograms comic made its debut.  Published by IDW Publishing, this series is written by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Sophie Campbell (formally Ross Campbell).  So far, the releases have received multiple limited edition variant covers created by popular artists Sarah Richard and Amy Mebberson.

M Cover- Each Hologram has a cover

Amy Mebberson Cover- Each Hologram has a cover!

Now, I’m the first person to call myself a single issue comic book ‘newb’.  I haven’t gone searching for a single issue comic book for years, to tell you the truth.  I prefer to read my comics in bound, multi-issue bindings. But this is Jem and the Holograms!  There was no way I would miss getting my hands on this potentially outrageous comic.

Jem Cover by Sara Richard (Sub Cover)

Jem Cover by Sara Richard (Sub Cover)

Of the many cover variants offered on this first issue, I ended up picking up the Sara Richard Subscription cover (and a Jem postcard) at C2E2 this past weekend.  Truthfully, it was my favorite of the different covers.  I love Amy Mebberson’s work, but I adore the realistic portrayal of Jem on Sara’s cover.  It reminds me of the box art on the Jem dolls.

How does one go about reviewing a comic book?  For simplicities sake, I’ll split this review into two categories: story and art.  This is not a retelling of the original cartoon.  Don’t expect a young adult to be put in charge of a major music corporation or to be running a home full of foster kids.  (Though I am not saying that can’t happen– who knows!)  While the creators took care in making the foundation similar to the original cartoon, it isn’t a carbon copy.  The story begins with our hero, Jerrica Benton, suffering from some super serious stage fright.  Unable to sing in front of large crowds, she’s putting her band and her sister Kimber’s dream of winning the Misfits VS competition in jeopardy.

Jem Sample Page 1

Jem Sample Page 1

Jem Sample Page 2

Jem Sample Page 2

Jerrica freaks out and runs back home where she finds the holographic earrings.  That’s when the story really picks up.  Being only a single issue, 20 page comic, the ending of this comic feels a lot like the ending of the cliffhangers in the first few Jem episodes.

I think they did a great job of adapting the material. They kept elements that were necessary, like Jerrica and Kimber losing their parents, and tweaked the stuff that didn’t make as much sense in today’s world, like a young adult who has very little life experience being given permission to care for a large group of foster girls.  (Again, though, having only read the first issue, this could totally be part of the story.  We’ll have to wait and see.)

Character Art- Rio

Character Art- Rio

For those looking forward to seeing Rio, bad news– he’s not in this issue.  However, there is new character art featuring him on IDW’s Jem page, so he hasn’t been forgotten.

Jem Cover Art

Jem Cover Art (basic edition)

Art can make or break a comic, especially for me.  (I can’t help it, I’m a bit picky about style when it comes to comics.)  However, I’m happy to say that the art style used in this comic wasn’t a deal breaker! The colors are spot on and the characters have a cool, stylish look to them. Jem, Jerrica and the Holograms sport the same unique hair colors that made them stand out in the cartoon, but don’t all have thin, super model type bodies.

Character Design Jem and Aja

Character Design Jem and Aja

Character Art- Kimber and Shana

Character Art- Kimber and Shana

The character design is more cartoon’y than realistic. The art isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, I’m fine with it.  The best thing about the character design so far? Their hair. I love all four (five, counting Jem) of the main girls hair styles.  As far as reading and dialogue flow, the thought bubbles didn’t seem intrusive at all and they were easy to read in sequence, which is another bonus in my book.

Jem

Jem

Overall, I’m liking this series so far.  It has a ways to go and no doubt it will be a struggle for me to remember to pick up my copy every month, but so far, so good!  Kelly and Ross did a great  job at keeping Jem and the Holograms both classic and modern. Currently, Samantha Newark, speaking voice of Jem, is offering signed comics via her website.  (I would order issue two, signed by Samantha, Sara and Patricia Alice Albrect, speaking voice of head Misfit Pizzazz.  Plus, it comes with a 11×17 poster!)

Logo

Logo

And with that, I’d like to remind you that today (5/2/2015) is Free Comic Book Day!  Here’s Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker to those who aren’t in the know) to talk a bit about the day.  (The Star Wars fan in me is so excited to say that I have now had Mark Hamill on my blog, even if it wasn’t shot just for me and multiple people can share it.)

You can find the day’s origin story here. Gold Sponsors for the event (which means there’s a good chance they’ll have a comic or two lying around) are: Viz Media, Archie Comics, Bongo Comics, Boom Comics, DC entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, DE, IDW (publishers of Jem), Image, Marvel, Titan Comics and United Plankton Pictures.

Contact your local comic book shop, library or bookstore to see what they’re doing to celebrate Free Comic Book Day. And don’t forget to unleash your inner cosplayer and go to the events in character!  (If I weren’t busy, I would totally be going as Daria, my cosplay for the season.) To learn more about Free Comic Book Day, visit their website.

Now, back to Jem. Have you read the Jem and the Holograms comic yet?  What did you think of it? And a question for comic book readers, can one subscribe to a comic, like a magazine? Educate me. I would so prefer that to having to hope the comic shop gets it each month. Share your thoughts below.

May 1, 2015. Tags: , . Introductions & Reviews. 6 comments.

Collection Close Up: Jem Inspired Make It Own Pullip with Obitsu Body

A while back, I did a video for The Junky Spot talking about Groove’s Make it Own Pullips.  I am finally ready to debut the finished doll!  It took a while to get to this point.  I had decided earlier that I was going to just use the outfit that came with my original Jem doll, since my doll doesn’t wear it, but needed to work out the other details like wigging, body or shoes.

First, I needed to find the perfect wig.  It took a few weeks of searching, but eventually, I found something that spoke to me from For My Doll.  I lucked out and found a great group order over at Den of Angels, which allowed me to save on shipping. Nothing is worse than finding the perfect wig, just to realize shipping would be twice the cost of the product.  Though it may surprise some, it’s not overly pink.  I wanted it to be a call back to the original Jem doll that was released ever so long ago.  If you recall, she didn’t have a head of bright pink hair, but a mixture of both blonde and light pink hair.  That’s the look I wanted.

Jem Promotional Art

Jem Promotional Art

The second thing I needed to take care of was finding a better body for her. The Pullip body has issues.  It lacks posability that other doll lines have.  To fix this problem, most turn to Obitsu bodies.  I decided on getting a 27cm soft bust body, to add a bit of height to her.  In hindsight, I should have gotten one with a little more of a bust, to make the dress fit a bit better, but alas, it is what it is.  In pure Junky Spot fashion, it arrived just a handful of days after ordering.

Jem's face details

Jem’s face details

I ordered shoes from a seller on Etsy, Sunnybobo.  I wanted something more chunky than heels for this doll, because a huge goal of mine was for her to stand on her own and I didn’t trust heels to allow her to do that.

After two months of waiting, I can finally say my Custom Jem Pullip is complete. Put your hands together for Jem!

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Custom Make It Own Pullip/Obitsu Jem

Now, I am going to wait for The Junky Spot to get in more Make It Own kits, in hopes of making Shana, Aja and Kimber.  Maybe even a Synergy!  Of the four, I think I’d like to try Kimber next.  She was always my favorite Hologram.

Have you created something ‘truly outrageous’ recently?  What was it?  Share your thoughts in the comment area!

November 12, 2014. Tags: , , , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Take It or Leave It- Integrity’s Stingers are here! (Sort of!)

Back in July, Integrity released photos of the newest band to hit their Jem and the Holograms line– The Stingers.  I was a bit busy in July playing babysitter to my 6 year old cousin, so I missed the news completely!

The Singers

The Singers

What is interesting about these three dolls is that we, collectors and Jem fans, have very little to compare them to. Hasbro had made prototypes of The Stingers (on linked site click name of character for photo) prior to the cancellation of the toy line, but the dolls were never produced and few have surfaced. The fact that this trio has no doll comparison might very well work in its favor because us fans could never become too attached to another dolly incarnation.

It may be late, but here for your viewing pleasure are a few promotional images of The Stingers!

Integrity's Riot

Integrity’s Riot

Riot is the lead singer of the Stingers.  I can see they tried really hard to capture Riot and, for the most part, I think Integrity did a pretty good job!  (Shocking, right?) His outfit is very reminiscent of his cartoon persona and I can see hints of the arrogant and slightly troubled Riot that we all grew to love in this face mold.  He looks bit younger than his cartoon counterpart, but that’s a pretty minor issue.

Riot

Riot

What I don’t love about Riot is his rooted hair.  I can see they tried, but it reads too ‘girly’ and less ‘wild’ to me.  Still, all things considered, I think Integrity did a solid job on Riot!

Integrity's Minx

Integrity’s Minx

Minx is one of two female members of the band. She plays the synthesizer and constantly hits on Rio.

Minx

Minx

Again, I think Integrity did a pretty good job on her face.  The company’s long, angular facemolds seems  to work far better on the ‘trouble making’ bands than the Holograms.

Integrity's Rapture

Integrity’s Rapture

The third and final member of The Stingers is Rapture.  Rapture plays a yellow and black guitar.  Rapture is the mystic of the group, always trying to con someone into believing in some magical object or omen and usually succeeding in getting whatever she truly wants!

Rapture

Rapture

Aesthetically, she’s not my favorite doll, but just like the other two, I do feel Integrity captured a bit of her essence in their design.  The hair is a total re-design, it seems.   I don’t quite understand why they decided to give her as much hair as they did, but I’m sure trying to recreate her original hair style would have been a manufacturing nightmare.

These fully articulated vinyl fashion dolls are 12″ tall.  Riot is taller by .5″.  They come with various accessories, including extra hands, instruments and albums.

Rapture, Minx and Riot retail for $119.00.  The Stingers are (surprise, surprise) ‘ultra limited’ and were estimated to start shipping this month via their authorized dealers.  I did a bit of web hopping and saw them still available on many sites.

I’m intrigued, now that Integrity has released all there major bands in the Jem and the Holograms cartoon, who will we see next?  Video?  Clash?  Or maybe some of the other unreleased characters?

What do you think of Integrity’s interpretation of The Stingers?  Share your thoughts below!

September 21, 2013. Tags: , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Next Page »

%d bloggers like this: