Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1995 Skybox Adventures of Batman and Robin

Card #61 "Sideshow - After trapping Batman, Killer Croc lets his true nature show by attacking the circus freaks who took him in."
Thats not very nice Mr. Croc. Cant you see you're scaring the female high-wire performers seen in the background?

Our all-time favorite superhero would have to be Batman. I think that this was solidified for me and Tommy by the Batman Animated Series that came on in the early 90's. We were drawn to the sharp and colorful animation, the extreme art-deco, and the great assortment of villians. Of course we collected all the action figures and trading cards too. Every weekday we'd park ourselves in front if the TV at 4:30 to see who the Batman would defeat and bring to justice. The first Christmas after his intoduction to the Animated Batman I found myself in a frantic search for a batmobile. I was too late to find one, everyone was sold out by then, so I came up with the idea that I'll just make my own. On Christmas Eve I found a plastic black Corvette at the local Thrifty, just about the right scale. I wanted to convert it so that a figure could sit inside, so I cut the roof like a sun roof and cut out the steering wheel and floorboards so the action figures legs could stick out. I then made a template of the Batman logo and painted it on the hood. I was up till midnight, but the next morning my exhausting effort was rewarded as Tommy was overwhelmed with excitement, convinced it was a real batmobile!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

1991 Topps Walt Disney Rocketeer

Card number 40 HIGH FLYING HERO. First we saw the movie. Then, being the collector that I am, came the box of cards, movie poster, coloring book, comic book, and whatever else I could get my hands on. The Rocketeer is one of my top ten all-time movies. A couple years after these cards were released I picked up a wax box really cheap. The assortment was awesome as I got a complete set from one box. I put them nicely in order, in a binder, so you could follow the story from card-back to card-back. Then I gave the extras to Tommy, a nice creased one was in the box. Back to the movie. I remember there were parts of the movie that were a little over his head, he was probably five or six when I first let him watch it. I had to cough or "blah-blah-blah" during a couple questionable words, and we both had to "look away!" during one brief barely immodest scene, but the rest of the action was awesome! Machine guns, thugs, airplane crashes, explosions, a Flying Rocket Man! The best kind of father-son bonding stuff ever. We were so enamored with the Rocketeer that Tommy wanted to BE the Rocketeer, so I made him a costume that Halloween. Using cardboard and scotch tape, I transformed his styrofoam tricycle helmet into a real Rocketeer steerable helmet. I hot glued two liter-sized soda bottles together, spray painted them silver, and attached a strap...just like the real Rocketeers jet pack. Tommy creatively came up with the pants and shirt. He'd run around the backyard rescuing people and doing Rocketeer stuff. I took a picture of him posed on the ground like he was ready to blast off. We did it at night for some added drama, you can see the jet-pack flames better at night.

Of all the super hero costumes we ended up making him, the Rocketeer costume is still my most favorite. Ah, good times.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

1991 Upper Deck Silver Slugger Jose Canseco

When I started collecting cards again, in the late 80's early 90's, I'd often pull the superstars out and put them into binders. I had sections for Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr, Mark McGwire, and of course Jose Canseco, among others. When my son Tommy was about 3 a favorite time together was laying on the floor of his bedroom slowly going through a binder of baseball cards. As we turned a page and came across a player I'd state his name with much excitement, "Wade BOGGS! E-YESSS!" and give a fist pump. Tommy would make his best effort to mimic my excitement and the pronunciation of the athletes name. The toughest name to pronounce however was Jose Canseco. For Tommy it was more like "Joseco-seco-seco-seco", his head bobbing back and forth and his tone fading with each syllable. These days, Mr. Canseco's only saving grace in my eyes is the memories I have of those times on the bedroom floor. Joseco-seco-seco-seco.