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Last month, I posted an article on the wonders of bootleg toys found at a flea market. I was suprised at how positive a response the article received, so I decided to use this space to showcase a second wave of bootlegged beauties. Some of these might fall short of the previous batch, but hang on, because the ringer this week is one of the most beautiful things I have ever held in my hands.
This past weekend, we drove a good fifty miles and stopped about a gajillion Asian dollar stores and flea markets looking to procure additional items, and actually found a lot more than what you see here. Some of it was just way too pricey to justify paying for it, so I passed on it. The mecca for this stuff is the Buford Highway Flea Market, located northeast of Atlanta. Most Atlanta denizens know all about this spectacle. Unfortunately, this is among the more upscale flea markets in the area, so prices on bootleg toys tend to be two to five times what any reasonable shopper would pay for them.
First off, I've got some stuff found at some pretty mainstream sources. Now, I'm a huge fan of The Transformers, and have a pretty enviable collection of toys from that franchise. Now that the toy property is in its second wave of glory, there has been a deluge of bootlegged versions of certain classic toys. The first set of toys here were actually obtained at a Walgreen's store near my apartment, at the low price of 11.98 for all three sets:
Fans of the classic Generation One Transformers series will recognize that these three sets are the Protectobots, Constructicons, and Aerialbots, all originially released in slightly different color schemes around 1985-1986. Most bootlegged toys are simply amusing little things that are better to keep in package, but these actually make nice replacements for the real thing if you're not willing to shell out a small fortune on eBay. Especially if you just need to complete a set and aren't willing to pay thirty bucks for some tiny rare little gun or something. But anyway, these are far less amusing than most of the bootlegs that are around, so let's move on.
The next item was also found in a mainstream store, this time being Big Lots.
Behold the power of Space Warriors! There are a few different pieces in this line, all of which are pretty damn ugly. Now, this piece isn't a direct bootleg of any particular toy, but it does bear a slight resemblance to the Transformers: Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime. Knowing the way these types of bootlegs tend to be, I have a feeling that if I were to ever open it, the thing would disintegrate into dust within minutes. In other words, these things are generally not designed for heavy duty playtime.
Of course, these examples have been less interesting than last month's menagerie, but I assure you, they get better. Let's make another visit to the magical land of Spider-Man bootlegs, with this rather well-packaged little number here:
At first glance, one might think this was an officially licensed Spider-Man movie toy. The packaging is vivid, uses the official movie graphics, and visually is a pretty good-looking toy. Of course, the cardboard backing is thin and flimsy, the printing is much cheaper, and there's no official Marvel logo on it. Overall, not that interesting of a bootleg, right? Well, maybe. Let's flip it over and look at the back of the card:
The top half of the card looks to also be taken from the official movie merchandise. But let's take a look at that bottom half, particularly, this:
Whoa! Is that really everyone's favorite webslinger playing soccer, riding a skateboard, and preparing to bash someone's skull with a nine iron? I really don't know what to say about this turn of events. Perhaps this variation of Spider-Man isn't crime-fighting Spidey, but rather leisure time Spidey. I actually was hoping that somewhere in the dollar store in which I found this item there would be these additional versions of Spidey hanging around. Unfortunately, Pele Spidey, Tony Hawk Spidey, and Chi Chi Rodriguez Spidey were nowhere to be found. Oh well.
Spider-Man isn't the only Marvel comic hero that has entered the mainstream in the last year or two. Thanks to Ben Affleck, Daredevil has become one of the latest comic properties to cross over to popular culture. And of course, he's also made his way into the flea market bootleg market:
It's The Man Without Fear! Times three! And in all sorts of different colors! Now, You may remember the "Hero Household" set from my last bootleg toys update, which was basically just a trio of multicolored Spider-Men. This is basically the same idea, only with everyone's favorite blind superhero in his place. And, if you hadn't noticed, with abnormally large heads. The three-of-the-same superhero motif must be a big deal in whatever southeast Asian nation these toys are intended for. Also, all of these Daredevils carry nunchucks. And those little red gems on their belts? They all light up when you press a button on their backs. To which I say, what the fuck does that matter because Daredevil's goddamn blind. Some things are just too ironic to not be intentional, says I.
And now, for the greatest thing I've ever seen in my life:
Now, I realize I'e built this thing up quite a bit, and from this viewpoint, it may fail to impress fully. What we have here is a generic toy piano, measuring about eight inches in width, with a single octave worth of keys on board. More amusing is the fact that it features childrens' toy icons Pikachu and Hello Kitty molded directly into the plastic, even though these two characters are from two very different properties and would likely not be just hanging around with each other. Pikachu's also apparently obese here, and it's hard to tell from the picture, but I've added some contrast to the small picture you see on the left to help you see that Hello Kitty is clearly giving you the finger. There's some underwhelming Engrish on the bottom right hand corner, and the word "funny" watermarked in the background, for no explicable reason whatsoever.
And, well, then I saw the back. And boy, was this item worth the $1.59 I spent in procuring it.
And frankly, I'm not sure where to begin. Is it the fact that the logo has changed and now explicitly says "ELECTRONIC PLANO?", like that city in Texas? Or perhaps the catalogue of other items in the series, including the version with the stoned and stripeless Garfield (which I looked far and wide for, without actually finding one)? Well, I'd say that the kicker is this right here:
In case any of it is blinded by the flash or hidden by a lack of contrast, here's what it says, all Said in context, of course:
THERE ARE SOME COUNTS AND CARTOON PUZZELS WHAT
Okay, I have no idea what any of that is supposed to mean, but it is pretty funny nonetheless. My girlfriend suggested maybe the piano plays games a la Simon, but I haven't been able to test that theory. Whatever it is, there's nothing I can say in this article that's as funny as that bit of Engrish, so I'll leave it at that. I'm not sure if you'll find it as amusing as the crack-eyed Yoda from the last batch of bootlegs, but this got about ten minutes worth of chuckle out of me.
These bootleg toys have become an addiction for me, so don't be suprised if another update comes soon.
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