Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up

The_Bella_Twins_WrestleMania_31In this episode, the fellers begin to settle into the new reality of this world gone mad filled with personal upheaval and global sickness as they record their very first episode of 2020 and, boy howdy, is it a snazzy humdinger of an episode!

We start off discussing our various coping mechanisms as Fitz starts fondling little men made of plastic and reviving a long dormant segment about it, then he reveals an earth shattering discovery from the depths of his kidhood that warms the cockles of his adulthood.

Doom tries talking about Star Trek, but gets sidetracked bitching about the WWE Hall Of Fame, which leads to him bitching about a bunch of other Wrestling stuff, and then they ask YOU, the long suffering listeners, for your opinion on the future of The Nerd Blitz, so listen up and tell your friends!

URL: Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up
Direct Download: tnb093.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest #12: Stalker

Welcome back guys to another installment of Fitz’s Toy Chest. This time out we’re headed back to 1982 where a few pieces of plastic and an o-ring combined to make the ultimate soldier.

When Hasbro launched the G.I. Joe 3 3/4 line in 1982, they did so with 13 figures. If you look at those first 13 figures you can tell that one of their mandates must have been to try and make the team as diverse as possible which is something they continued to do throughout the Joes’ run in the 80s.

Sure the majority of the original team was still comprised of the usual array of white dudes, but Larry Hama made sure to include 3 minority characters right off the bat: badass female commando, a Hispanic heavy explosives soldier, and the subject of this week’s Toy Chest, a former gang warlord from Detroit turned green beret…Stalker.

Stalker
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Gift
Years In Possession: 38

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The G.I. Joe comic and the file cards all written by Larry Hama were my first introduction into the world of the military. It was the first place I heard the term “Grunt”, the first place I saw the word “Commando”, or heard about a “Geneva Convention”. It was also where I was introduced to the concept of a Green Beret.

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How I came into possession of this figure was that it was a surprise gift from my grandma. We were at her house one day and she said she had a present for me and she produced 2 G.I. Joe figures from a plastic shopping bag. She said pick the one you want, the other would go to my cousin the next time he came over. The two figures were Breaker and Stalker. I chose Stalker. Why? He was the most interesting looking to me. He didn’t look like the other Joes. Not only was he a different ethnicity than all the other characters, his paint scheme was strikingly unique as well.

Most of the original Joes all used the same couple of body molds and only differed in the paint schemes (obviously Scarlett being the exception). By this time I already had Rock N Roll and Clutch, both bearded white dudes like Breaker, but Stalker was something else entirely. From the camo paint scheme on his fatigues to the green beret on his head. I can remember thinking “What is up with that weird hat?”.

Also, his gun was pretty cool looking too.

Breaker’s military specialty was “Communications Officer”, BO-RING. Stalker’s was listed as “Ranger”. What the hell is a Ranger? I didn’t know but it sounded cool as hell.

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It was not long after I started reading the Joe books, maybe a year or 2, that I discovered the Black Eagles series of novels by John Lansing and learned a whole lot more about Vietnam (it was still a few years before Platoon would hit theaters and probably a decade before I would actually watch it). What drew me to those books initially was a image like this:

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Notice the green beret? I was immediately drawn to this cover by that beret. I knew what that was, that was what Stalker wore and I was instantly intrigued. Who knows, one of these Black Eagles book may show up as a Nerd Blitz Book Club entry….

Later in the Joe series, they delved more into Stalker’s service in Vietnam where it actually served with Hawk and Snake Eyes (before he was disfigured martial arts master). Those panels were the first images I remember seeing of a line of green fatigued soldiers in boonie hats wading through waist high grass, something of a cliche in Vietnam movies but at the time was brand new to me.

As for Stalker the action figure, unfortunately you can see that he suffered the same fate as an incredibly high number of those original 13 Joes, the infamous broken thumbs!

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I recently read in Mark Belamo’s fantastic G.I. Joe reference book that the incredibly brittle thumbs on these figures was due to the composition of the plastic they used. It was found to be too brittle and the next assortment of figures would be the first with a reformulated plastic that was slightly more pliable to solve the broken thumb problem. Sadly, almost all of my originally Joe’s are missing at least 1 thumb. I was normally very careful with my toys even as a kid, but even I could not avoid this problem, much to my dismay.

Join me next week when I pull another gem from my bag of tricks! I promise that soon we’re going to diversify and change things up from the normal Star Wars/G.I. Joe/Transformers-fest that this feature has been up until now. What could that mean? What other vintage toy lines could I possibly have in the Toy Chest? You’ll find out soon enough!

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Share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBToyChest, and let us know what you think!

Episode 074: Cartoon Maroons Vol 2 – The One With The Bike Shop

05fc538fad2a33093fbb9984bc2ea36cIn this episode, the fellas are taking a trip back to the bike shop and making bold claims while also clarifying shocking statements from recently past episodes.

Fitz starts off talking about comics and just who exactly happens to be the perfect specimen of a man, while Doom gets creepy and connects EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN THING TO SCOOBY!

Then we take a deep dive into our cartoon lists and talk robuts, scary war, animals, them titty shows, all kinds of the animes, and Mr. T rolling around with some kids in a van in a jam packed ep of goodness.

 

URL: Episode 074: Cartoon Maroons Vol 2 – The One With The Bike Shop
Direct Download: tnb074.mp3

Episode 071: Yeah

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In this episode, the boys are talking long cancelled TV shows, a movie franchise that, against all odds, just won’t end, & a dude what caught the dead.

Doom is pissy cause a certain Demon of Death Valley got on the Twitter & Fitz is bewildered that some loser memorized the opening of a TV show.

One bitches, one suffers, pop culture is grilled, projections are made, souls are crushed, and fun is had…hopefully by you, so listen to this merry madness and tell your friends.

Enjoy!

URL: Episode 071: Yeah
Direct Download: tnb071.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest #7: Cobra Commander

Hey gang thanks for joining me for another look into musty toy collection!

So far in this series I’ve covered a couple of Star Wars mail-away figures.  This time I’m sticking with that theme but switching franchises!

In 1982, the first wave of G.I. Joe figures only offered 2 figures for the Joes to fight, a Cobra soldier and a Cobra “officer”. They basically looked identical with just a slight difference in their paint schemes.

Then Hasbro pulled a Kenner and introduced the first G.I. Joe mail in figure.  And it was a DOOZY.  No longer were these two hapless Cobra soldiers running around the battlefield willy nilly, now you could add their supreme leader to the fight!

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I can remember he arrived packed in just a clear plastic bag with his file card.  No cardback or bubble.  Which I should’ve mentioned in the previous mail in posts was the standard for these things.  No fancy packaging whatsoever.

Cobra Commander
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Mail-in
Years In Possession: 36

This figure was a bold departure from the color schemes they had been using on these guys. Up until now they had been all greens and browns and navy blues.  But this cat came kitted up in a bright, almost baby, blue dress uniform.

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But what really made him cool was that mirrored face plate.  Unfortunately, it was around this same time that scratch off lottery tickets and other “scratch off” items were getting popular and to my stupid 9 year old brain I thought OH SHIT I wonder if you can scratch that silver off and reveal his real face?  Dumbass.  So that’s why mine is missing some of the silver paint.  Spoilers: there’s nothing underneath it.

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You can also see this one has the chest emblem that was only available on the mail in version of the figure.  Later they did put this guy out as part of other sets and as a carded figure, but the chest logo was tightened up and looks a lot smoother.

I also discovered a bit of trivia while looking up the history of this figure.  This was the last Joe figure to be made with the “straight arm” design, after that all the figures changed over to the swivel arm battle grip.

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Another cool feature of this figure was a unique channel on his back where you could snap his gun in and have him carry it on his back.  Mine never really stayed in place, and was lost to the ages.

This is one of my most prized Joes, and is one of the more rare and valuable loose figures around.  There were a couple of times I nearly parted with this figure during a figure swap of some kind with my cousin who was also way into G.I. Joe (possibly even more than I was).  I was very lucky not to have let this one go.  And even though his face is marred, shockingly his thumbs are still solidly intact!

That’s going to do it for another edition of Fitz’s Toy Chest!  Thanks for reading.  Come back in 2 weeks for another trip to the 80s!

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