November 10th, 2012 / 12:01 am

I am drinking Juicy Juice and scouring the Internet for action figures based on my favorite childhood comics & cartoon franchises while complaining about—nay, BEMOANING—capitalism’s failure to deliver to me precisely what I want

Four or five years ago, for my birthday, I bought myself Neca’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures—the awesome ones based on the original Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird’s original comics, like so:

They are so utterly badass. They all have red bandanas, for one thing, and they also have tails, which got clipped from the later TV cartoon versions because they looked like—penises, I guess.

As you can readily see, I am a proud owner of these figures:

Michelangelo’s busy guarding both me & copies of Amazing Adult Fantasy but he also has help from a pig doll & an elephant & an Indiana Jones figurine & a coffee travel mug…

This year, for my birthday, I thought I’d poke around for some other excellent figures—because—why the hell not?

My first thought was to look for X-Men figurines. I grew up a tremendously devoted reader of Uncanny X-Men. Words cannot express the extent of my love and my devotion! Suffice to say, I read that comic book title from issue 160-something until issue 200-something, when Uncanny split off into two different titles, blue and gold teams, and it all began to suck. But despite that, seriously, I adore Uncanny X-Men, all of the issues from when Chris Claremont took over (1975) until when he left (1991). My favorite period is probably the “Australian Outback” stretch, issues 229–252 or so, mainly because I am that much in love with Marc Silvestri and Dan Green’s amazing artwork that they made month in and month out:

No doubt the way they drew Psylocke had something to do with my affection for the book (and you’re staring at a page from Uncanny X-Men #239, December, 1998)…

Can you imagine how awesome figures based on those drawings would be? Psylocke, Dazzler, Rogue, Storm, Colossus, Havok, Longshot, Wolverine… But do Wolverine figures based on those drawings exist? NO, THEY DO NOT. Instead it’s all Hugh Jackman bullshit, everywhere you turn:

This looks like a President of the United States figurine, not a kickass X-Men figurine drawn by Marc Silvestri and Dan Green!!!

I do not want this! It looks admirably a lot like High Jackman but I do not want Hugh Jackman on my bookshelf; I want THE WOLVERINE, the living embodiment of WEAPON X HIMELF.

NO! That is not it! And what is that bullshit generic pile of stones it’s standing next to? The Wolverine uses his adamantine claws to slice through ninja members of the Hand, or cyborg members of the Reavers, not generic stones and—a dumpster?!?!?!?!?!!

O-Kayyyy—so if I cannot have the Wolverine action figurine doll that I most desire, then what I want is … a decent Longshot figure! Because Longshot is quite cool. He comes from the MOjoverse to our dimensions and is presumably based on Rod Stewart. Barring that, I would like a decent Havok or Nightcrawler figurine doll. But can I find that??


While I appreciate that this figure has only four fingers on each hand, its ugliness stabs my eyes aieee!!! Why does it not look like an awesome Art Adams masterful piece of art? HUH?

OK, barring that, I will settle for a decent Nightcrawler figure. I like the X-Men comics ever since Giant Size X-Men #1, May 1975, which introduced the classic team of Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Cyclops, Banshee, Thunderbird (who didn’t last long, admittedly):

Imagine me standing in horror behind the original X-Men, except my horror is motivated by my inability to find decent figurines based on the awesomest superhero team in all of comics!

But despite said iconic awesomeness, can I find a decent Nightcrawler figure?



What is this bullshit???????????????????

I do not want Alan Cummings in striped pantaloons circus bullshit!!! I want a swashbuckling Fuzzy Elf, perhaps taking on Arcade as he rescues Amanda Sefton the beautiful flight attendant and magician from Arcade or even the Hellfire Club!!!


In increasingly frustrating desperation, I email-contacted my close pal Jeremy M. Davies. He sent me a link to this image-picture:

No!!!!!!! Such hideousness! They look like the zombie Hobbits that sometimes come to torment me!!

Such hideousness! (It bears repeating!) That is supposed to be an X-Babies stature, but it is more like a grinning gargoyle dancing on my premature tomb after I was buried alive in a flood of garish X-Men figurines! FOR THE RECORD, this is what the X-Babies properly look like when drawn by the masterful Art Adams:

Writing by Chris Claremont & art by the well-named Art Adams & the fact that they drew Kitty Pryde in her underpants may have something to do with why this annual issue has lingered in my memory ever since I was a very young teenager… P.S. I became ENTIRELY FLUENT IN SPANISH from this issue. P.P.S. No, that’s false; I didn’t.

OK, so I have begun to resign myself to the fact that I can never have the X-Men figures that I dream of. OKAY! YOU WIN, CAPITALISM!

But then I thought to search for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns figurines. After all, I wrote a fairly popular series of posts on that Frank Miller comics series. And, LO AND BEHOLD, I found one! Here it is!

He has fourteen arthritic points of articulation!

It looks pretty awesome, BUT ALAS, it costs massive dollars, and is far too expensive for a poor graduate student like me :( :( :(

(Can you do that? i.e. make multiple frowny-emoticons in a row to emphasis the existential sadness that one feels at not being able to afford the plastic figurine doll based on a Frank Miller drawing from the 1980s? Because I like to think that one can…)

In order to distract myself from my poverty, I thought next to search the Interwebs for a Cerebus action figure. I am a HUGE fan of Dave Sim & Gerhard’s long-running comics series Cerebus, arguably the greatest comics series ever … And I already have all of the “phone book” graphic novel editions, but what did I find in terms of merchandise? What indeed…



NO! That is not it! I do not want a bristly little hideous doll that I can “cuddle” with in bed!

This is cute, but why is it made out of used Brillo pads? Is it because I found it while scouring the Web?

No! I mean—that is tremendously better—much, much better—but it is not what I secretly want; what I want is a poseable little plasticine figure that I can pose alongside my Turtles figurines, on my desktop. And I know that it is possible for such a figure to exist. For when I was a kid, I had a poseable plasticine Tummi Gummi figure, and so I know that it is possible to make something very much like that but in the form of Cerebus…

“Cerebus is disappointed regarding the dearth of quality Cerebus merchandise for Cerebus’s fans to spend their gold on. … Jaka is also disappointed.”

The thought of this got me searching the wide open spaces of the Internet for documentation of the Tummi Gummi figurine that I once owned…

NO!! UGH!!! This figure makes me puke up on the inside of my throat and of my mouth!! Tummi Gummi should be rotund but not the victim of hydroencephalitis!!

No! I mean, that figure’s pretty sweet, but I in my cavalier role as consumer demand multiple points of articulation!! (Or at least one!)

Once again, that’s a pretty sweet sculpt, but why can’t it move I want to be able to pose it!!!

And why is Tummi conversing with some bird? Who is that bird? I do not recognize that bird from my encyclopedic knowledge of every canonical Gummi Bears television episode! I mean, later addition Augustus “Gusto” Gummi had a pet bird, the wisecracking parrot Artie Deco, but Tummi Gummi had no such pet, and in any case would probably have eaten any bird that flew into his hand…

Augustus “Gusto” Gummi was also the most provocatively erotic of Disney’s The Adventures of the Gummi Bears…

But perhaps I imagined the damned thing??? Could I be that much of a Gummi Bears obsessive??? That’s a frightening thought…

It’s worth mentioning here that, during the time when I was young, the Gummi Bears was one of my favorite television programs, and I wanted nothing more than a Capcom Gummi Bears video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). To which end I wrote numerous letters to both Nintendo and Capcom. And in response to which I always received responses, but NEVER RECEIVED THE GAME ITSELF. They made games for Ducktails and Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers, but not Gummi Bears and why not? That cartoon series was MASSIVELY POPULAR and would have proved a MASSIVE HIT, don’t you think? I owned the other games and I played them, but the whole time I was thinking about how much more I would’ve enjoyed a Capcom Gummi Bears game, indeed I even squinted my eyes a little, trying to make believe that Chip was Cubbi, and that Dale was Sunni, and that Scrooge McDuck was Granny. But the 8-bit rendering of the respective familiar theme songs kept yanking me out of my reverie. Ducktails was Ducktails, and I was pogoing on my cane across the heads of ghosts.

Imagine with me how great a Gummi Bears game would have been. You could choose which Gummi you wanted to play, Cubbi or Sunni or Granny or Tummi or Gruffi or even Zummi. The older characters would be slower, but able to take a few more hits. There’d be level sets in Gummi Glenn, in Castle Dunwyn, and finally in Duke Igthorn’s Castle, in Drekmore. You’d battle ogres and maybe little animals, I haven’t entirely worked this part out. But for sure there’d be ogres. And Igthorn. And you’d collect Gummi berries as you scamper along each level, and when you got enough of those, you’d be able to drink a shot of Gummiberry juice, and turn invincible, and bounce around the screen. You’d only be able to do that once each level. And the Duke Igthorn levels would be the hardest, because there’d be no Gummi berries for you to collect; you’d have to rely on the extra ones you’d saved from earlier levels…

Why was this game never made? Why? I wrote to Capcom, asking them (back then), and they assured me they were considering making one. So I know they considered making one! But their consideration became neglect, neglect of me and every fan of the Gummi franchise. They also didn’t make a Gargoyles game, at least not for the Nintendo, they made a Sega Genesis game but I didn’t have a Sega Genesis, don’t get me started on that. And I know now a Gargoyles game got planned for the Super NES, but then was never released for some reason—and why? I would have played that game! I would have loved that!

I am left with my Neca TMNT figurines, and while they remain so very beautiful, they also remain a cold plastic comfort.

My name is Leonardo. We made a wrong turn somewhere…

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  1. Matthew Simmons

      Did you ever read Chris Claremont’s novel, FIRST FLIGHT? I read that one but never followed up with the rest of the trilogy.

      Honestly sort of dream that if I keep writing, I might be able to convince someone to allow me to reboot Longshot for Marvel.

  2. Taylor Napolsky

      That is messed up they never made that Gummi Bears game—but awesome that you pestered them with an onslaught of letters.

      I used to play the Duck Tales and Rescue Rangers game. They were both too much fun. Some of my favorite NES games for sure.

  3. A D Jameson

      I never read it, no. I don’t know why. I remember picking it up and looking through it at a Waldenbooks.

      I also never read any of Peter David’s non-Star Trek novels. Though I did read all of those (plus his original runs on Hulk and X-Factor).

      I fear Longshot will never come back the way I’d like him to: drawn by Art Adams! But if Marvel could hire Frank Quitely to do a Longshot series…

  4. A D Jameson

      They were two games my sister liked as much as I did. We’d play Rescue Rangers together.

      Duck Tales, when I got it, I must have been excited, because I wrote in the notes section of the booklet. I noted the day I got it. Then, later that day, I noted that I had beaten it. Those are the only two notes.

      I wrote to Capcom and Nintendo various times asking (read: begging) for a Gummi Bears game. The explanation I’ve later heard was that the series was no longer new (and was in reruns) by the time Capcom was making the games? Still I think they should have made one. I think someone should make one now!

  5. mimi

      you writes good when you drinks
      this is all so lol funny
      : )

  6. A D Jameson

      Juicy Juice is more potent than I remembered.

  7. A D Jameson

      Different people get drunk on different things. Aliens get drunk on milk, for instance. Alf gets drunk on cat blood. I get drunk on sugary childhood juice drinks that come in metal cans.

  8. Oliver
  9. A D Jameson

      Oh, wow, thanks! That Cerebus is pretty cool. But that Lord Julius is amazing!

      DC offered Dave Sim $1M for Cerebus back in the 80s. Had he accepted, I imagine we’d have lots of Cerebus merch now. Maybe even…a Cerebus movie! (Though whether any of it would be any good is another question.) (And, fwiw, I think Sim did the right thing turning DC down.)

      Thanks again,

  10. Oliver
  11. A D Jameson

      Oh, wow! Yeah, Cerebus is in the public domain, isn’t he? Has Sim heard about this? Have any of you talked with him? I often want to send him letters and presents. Good luck with the film, and let me know how it’s going! I will definitely want to see it!

  12. Oliver

      Thank you so much for the kind words and for joining the FB page! It’s not in the public domain yet -soon we’ll have a kickstarter for post production and Dave Sim will be signing movie posters among the rewards. We also featured previews on his Cerebus TV like this here

  13. A D Jameson

      Thanks again! It will be my pleasure to check all of this out… I’m a huge Cerebus fan… Adam

  14. A D Jameson

      My Cerebus-phonebook laden bookshelf…

  15. Oliver

      That’s awesome!!:)

  16. A D Jameson

      I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without them. Also have CBR versions on my computer, and various individual issues… (I subscribed on and off through the 90s).

  17. Oliver
  18. A D Jameson

      Haha, just realized that although the title says Juicy Juice, the URL says gin.

      Well, perhaps they are the same thing?

  19. A D Jameson

      I’m really out of the Cerebus loop. Thanks once again!

  20. bemightee
  21. bemightee

      i know its not an action figure but the shiflett bros do some badass resin kits and busts. aside from this one of wolverine t
      they have an aging sabretooth which is pretty cool.

  22. A D Jameson

      Thank you! That’s a fantastic interview!

  23. A D Jameson

      Alas, I’ve never been into busts.

      I mean, uh, I’ve always liked dolls more than busts.

      I mean, uh,

  24. mimi
  25. A D Jameson

      I would probably like that…

  26. mimi

      yoummy? yummy!

  27. A D Jameson
  28. Jon Konrath

      When I was an undergrad, I found a TMNT figure in the parking lot of the Indiana University main library. I still have it. When you press a button on the back of his shell, his eyes pop out. Now, instead of writing this afternoon, I think I will scour the net looking for the other three.

  29. bemightee
  30. A D Jameson

      That figure is pretty cool.

      One of the reasons why I liked Chronicle so much is it’s an excellent live-action adaptation of Akira.

  31. bemightee

      really?! i’ll have to check it out then, thanks.

  32. A D Jameson

      That’s how it struck me! The final third or so is pretty spot on.

      Well, minus all the tentacles.

  33. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I WISH they would get some Disney properties on the wii virtual console, Duck Tales, Mickey Mousecapade and the Genesis/SNES Lion King are still favorites. …I’ve got my childhood genesis and nes now and they both work, but they look like total shit on the digital TV and also, if I leave them hooked up, for some reason it jacks up our antenna reception for TV (we aint got cable).

  34. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      My eyes also pop out when you press the button on the back of my shell.

  35. A D Jameson

      I can confirm this; it is true.

  36. A D Jameson

      8 & 16 BIT 4EVER!

  37. A D Jameson

      What’s funny is that I really was drinking gin when I wrote this post. I changed the title because I didn’t want to seem like a Blake imitator, plus I craved a “PG” rating. Also, I call gin “Juicy Juice.” I know, I know—I’m not fooling no one…

  38. A D Jameson


  39. A D Jameson

      Actual real turtles do the same thing. When you step on them.

  40. mimi

      are you drinking gin again?

  41. mimi
  42. A D Jameson

      Juicy Juice Ginfulls, my favorite!

      Gin cocktails and mutual masturbation, that is how I roll, yes. But just try and tell me that I’m wrong!

  43. A D Jameson

      The question to ask is, “When are you not drinking it?”

  44. mimi

      wrong? oh no, i think you are ‘spot-on’

  45. mimi

      (despite the fact that i’m a Vodka cocktail drinker – gin tastes like pine trees to me… it’s the juniper berries)

  46. mimi

      drinking a Vodka Cocktail (Lemon Drop, sugared rim, light on the Cointreau) Right Now (5:41 PM PST)
      liFe iS goOd