[“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles MINI-MUTANTS TOKKA Technodrome Playset” (1994) toy, complete in blister-pack. The character of TOKKA from the second TURTLE movie, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SECRET OF THE OOZE was predated by my invited participation in a toy design proposal session. Among my proposals was a giant snapping turtle character (files to follow); when the Mirage Studios folks saw the initial designs for Tokka, they urged me to come forward and remind Peter and Kevin about my design, the FIRST involving snapping turtle mutation in the TURTLE universe. Peter and Kevin agreed the similarity was strong enough to merit an agreement; though a screen credit was not forthcoming, the first TOKKA toys featured a byline in their copyright info that TOKKA was based in part on “sketches by Stephen Bissette” (I will send along the precise working and, if I still have extras, copies of the original TOKKA toy) and I was graciously offered a percentage of the toy earnings. I accepted, and it made for a nice side income for a couple of years. This was, if memory serves, the last of the TOKKA toys; note my byline is no longer featured in the copyright notice.—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 02 [Added 02/20/2006]
Poster: Jamison Services Color Chart; cardboard, folded.
[File: JAMIESON Color Chart, the standard color guide in the comics (and publishing) industry.—S.B.]
ATF-1 /3,4,5 [Added 02/20/2006]
SWAMP THING CRAYON BY NUMBER; (RoseArt), one box empty, 2 boxes with items in it.
[SWAMP THING CRAYON-BY-NUMBER (1991, Rose Art Industries) - I’ve enclosed three unopened sets of this item, suggest ONE be opened and colored for display!—S.B.]
[SWAMP THING BATTLE FOR THE BAYOU GAME (1991, Rose Art Industries) – Unopened board game. Who’da thunk it? Note the impoverished villains Weed Killer, Dr. Deemo, and Dr. Arcane, drawn here (on the cover and the game board) as the sorry little ‘action figures’ they were: human action figures ‘customized’ into monsters by affixing schlocky rubber finger puppets over their heads! Dorky stuff…--S.B.]
ATF-1 / 05 [Added 02/20/2006]
SWAMP THING BOG ROVER;(Kenner), toy box and instruction sheet.
Display box and instruction sheet only: SWAMP THING BOG ROVER Vehicle (With Launching Grappling Missile) (1990, Kenner) – BOX only at this time; I’ll find the actual toy for display, too. Kenner’s action figures of Swamp Thing were rather imaginatively designed, picking up imagery from the Moore/Bissette/Totleben/Veitch comics, though not the narrative or creative concepts of the character and his universe. More to come!—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 06 [Added 03/06/2006]
MADMAN BUBBLEGUM CARD X 50 (Dark Horse Comics, 1994), Box with 50 individual cards.
[Complete boxed set of trading cards: MADMAN X 50 BUBBLE GUM CARDS (1994, Dark Horse Comics) – Mike Allred’s MADMAN character, rendered by a potpourri of Allred’s favorite cartoonists. What a cool card set! Mike Allred’s work was submitted to me early on at TABOO, but I didn’t meet Mike until years later. MADMAN was originally introduced to Tundra Publishing soon after their doors opened in ’91, but Mike found a more hospitable (and closer to his home) venue at Dark Horse soon after.—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 07 [Added 03/06/2006]
TOXIC HIGH SCHOOL sticker cards (Topps, 1991), 2 wrappers for cards, cards 1 through 87; missing 9, 23, 57, 58, and 86.
[Partial card set: TOXIC HIGH SCHOOL sticker (1991, The Topps Company, Inc.) – Card and sticker sets are a key, primarily unresearched and undiscussed aspect of comics history. These stickers belong in any analysis of satiric comics of the ‘90s, introducing a new generation of kids to the work of RAW, HIGH TIMES, and HEAVY METAL cartoonist Drew Friedman. Marvelous ‘gross’ sticker series, designed and for the most part illustrated by Drew Friedman and the Topps illustration pool, with the likely involvement of Art Spiegelman (of MAUS fame!), who worked at Topps for decades. Includes both packaging designs/wrappers, and this is a pretty expansive set, missing only stickers #9, 23,57, 58, and “Senior Stickers” #22. By the way, this is relevant to the card market implosion of the 1990s, that in turn fueled the comics direct sales market implosion later in the decade: You can rip kids off once, MAYBE twice, but not a third time. My son Dan and his friends were briefly into card collecting, and the decisive turning point in their abandoning the hobby came when the purchase of a full, unopened retail box of cards from Topps would NOT yield even ONE complete set of cards! Once the market began to do this (requiring, I suppose, the purchase of TWO boxes to ensure one complete set), along with adding “Chase Cards” (by-design ‘rare’ cards, ensuring only one or two ‘Chase Cards’ per unopened retail box), Dan and his friends were pissed off and bailed out of the hobby in short order. The card market got another boost with role-playing card games (MAGIC) and the POKEMON phenomenon (which really was a new trading card cycle, with kids actively trading them on the playground and elsewhere), but I’ll never forget the disappointment Dan felt when buying a FULL BOX would not yield a complete set. For instance, we didn’t end up with a full set of these great TOXIC HIGH cards, damn it!—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 08 [Added 03/06/2006]
MOTHRA (Bandai, 1992); figure in box.
[Toho Studios Japanese monster movie collectible: Bandai MOTHRA (original design circa 1960s) (1992, Bandai) – Lovely plastic figure of the Toho monster Mothra, based on her original design from the films MOTHRA (1961) and GODZILLA vs. MOTHRA (aka GODZILLA vs. THE THING, 1964), complete in original packaging.—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 09 [Added 03/06/2006]
REX stuffed figure from the movie TOY STORY still in package.
[Dinosaur collectible: Burger Kin giveaway: TOY STORY PALS: REX (1995. Burger King) – very cool stuffed toy, from the collection.—S.B.]
ATF-1 / 10 [Added 06/23/2006]
Mars Attacks mini comic books series box with 24 mini comic books and publisher flyer inside.
[MARS ATTACKS “The space Adventure Mini Comic Book Series” counter display: Original packaging, and twelve (12) copies each of MARS ATTACKS #1 and #2 inside, with original packing documents (order sheet) (FantaCo Enterprises, 1988) – Here’s MARS ATTACKS #1 and #2 – The ONLY issues released of the planned 54-issue mini-comics series – which FantaCo released in 1988. This was part and parcel of Tom Skulan’s ambitious plans to expand FantaCo, via creative spin-offs from licensed properties (here, licensed from The Topps Company, Inc.); alas, in all cases I know of, his plans were scuttled due to the deadly mix of the indifference of the wider comics marketplace (sales weren’t too hot on this package, as I recall), and primarily by paying too little to creative talent while expecting extensive commitments of their time and energy in exchange (for the sake of a yardstick, it was my first task when I took over editing reins at GORE SHRIEK for a couple issues to convince Tom to up his page rate to the princely sum of $20 per page!). Of course, slow or poor sales only validated FantaCo’s lower page rates – Tom couldn’t pay more, and tough lessons like the fate of this MARS ATTACKS mini-comics series made publishing seem an increasingly risky venture. This set up a rather painful dynamic that soon embittered Tom. But there were many complications. Page rates that might be acceptable (just) for work one owns the copyright to are complicated once such rates are attached to work-for-hire ventures that the creators don’t have a proprietary stake in. Even mini-comics (particularly color mini-comics) are a major commitment when there are going to be 54 issues! The creative team of Mario A. Bruni (a grossly underrated Albany-based designer who did some extraordinary work for FantaCo, including designing GORESHRIEK, which I edited a few issues of) and Bruce Spaulding Fuller was a solid mix, but Bruce (who also did some of GORESHRIEK’s most memorable covers) was frustrated by the low income possible at FantaCo and ached to work in special effects makeup, which he soon did, moving to the West Coast; I didn’t know Mario well enough to read what the mitigating factors might have been for him, if any. Tom was bitter about how this planned series didn’t pan out; it was a great-looking marketing package, the price seemed retail-friendly, and MARS ATTACKS was an ongoing fan favorite (this was a few years before the Tim Burton film, mind you, too). I was going to let Tom down about a year later when I walked away from the planned NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD comics series, still without any contract despite FantaCo heavily marketing, signing with St. Martin’s Press for a mass-market edition, etc., putting the cart before the horse. Still, this is a very cool item, and demonstrates Tom and FantaCo’s ambitions and ability to market to a fan/customer base they clearly understood. —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 11 [Added 06/23/2006]
Mars Attacks trading card box, empty.
[Original retail box (mint condition) for MARS ATTACKS Deluxe Trading Cards (1994, The Topps Company, Inc.) – Excellent condition box for the Topps 1994 re-reissue of the original 1962 set reprint (55 cards) plus 45 new cards; see bottom of this box for complete list of series and box contents. Topps launched its own MARS ATTACKS comics series, too, demonstrating that FantaCo’s plans in 1988 were indeed viable… if only things had worked out differently. —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 12 [Added 06/23/2006]
45 dinosaur trading cards.
[Partial card set: DINOSAURS: THE MESOZOIC ERA Series #1 (aka REDSTONE DINOSAURS Series 1) (1993, Redstone Mrketing, Inc.) – Partial set of one of the better dinosaur cards in the market in the mid-90s, more info to follow. —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 13 [Added 06/23/2006]
54 Ren and Stimpy trading cards.
[Complete card/sticker set: THE REN & STIMPY SHOW ALL Prismatic Series (1993, The Topps Company, Inc.) – Complete card set (of 50, plus ‘Chase Cards’) from the popular John Kricfalusi Nickelodeon cartoon series, the first season of which (prior to Kricfalusi’s removal/departure from the series) was the best original animated cartoon series of the ‘90s, hands-down. This was a key show for my kids, though I loved it, too, as did my cartooning buddies like Mark Martin and film amigos like Tim Lucas – we swapped taped episodes, tracked down unedited versions of episodes Nickelodeon cut, etc.—S.B.]
[Almost complete card/sticker/tattoos set: NICKTOONS Cards/Stickers/Tattoo/Activity Cards set, featuring RUGRATS, THE REN & STIMPY SHOW, and DOUG (1993, The Topps Company, Inc.) – Complete card set (of 88), complete sticker set (of 11), complete activity card set (of 11 – though some are missing their punch-out forms; we’ve also included duplicates of the “Stimpy-Rama” card!), and near-complete Nicktoons Tattoos (11 of 12; #1 is missing) from the three most popular Nicktoons series, including John Kricfalusi’s hilarious THE REN & STIMPY SHOW (see notes, above). —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 15 [Added 06/23/2006]
49 comic baseball trading cards.
[Partial card set: BASEBALL AWESOME! ALL-STARS Baseball Stickers (199?, Leaf) – I would guess these date from around 1991-3, but I am not sure (Leaf does not place a year on any of their product). There were 99 stickers in the set, but Dan wasn’t into these enough to even attempt a full set, though we had a full box to work with. I suspect these stickers got plastered on to school binders, etc. This misc. selection of baseball monster stickers from Leaf is typical of the company; see BASEBALL’s GREATEST GROSS-OUTS, below. —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 16 [Added 06/23/2006]
87 comic baseball stickers.
[Near-complete set (missing one card!): BASEBALL’S GREATEST GROSS OUTS (199?, Leaf) – See the above, which came out at the same time (early 1990s). All 88 stickers are here, save for #23 – too bad, but this is pretty inconsequential stuff. —S.B.]
ATF-1 / 17 [Added 06/23/2006]
[The Giant Rubber Rat (circa 199?) – Hey, every cartoonist’s studio needs a giant rubber rat. I had one. Now you have one. —S.B.]