Can you believe it’s been 11 years since the year 2000? It’s amazing how it seems like only yesterday we in the action figure collecting world were partying like it was 1999 (actually it was) in what now appears to the heyday of the hobby. It was a time when action figures were being cranked out for almost every property you could think of i.e. music, television, movies, books, comic books, random intellectual properties etc. And the greatest part was that you could learn about all of these collectibles between the covers of Toyfare Magazine.
For those who may have missed out on this recently canceled mag, here’s a brief rundown… Once upon a time “Wizard” was the premiere if not the only regular monthly magazine that spotlighted the latest in comic book news. As the interest in action figures continued to grow (thank you Star Wars Special Edition) the publishers of “Wizard” added a feature to the magazine spotlighting the latest action figures coming to fanboys everywhere. Long story short, the feature became so popular after two one shot specials the simple section grew into it’s very own title in 1998.
“Toyfare” was the source for action figure news. Rather it was Star Wars, video game based or comic book inspired, the staff of Toyfare brought all of the info and snazzy photo’s to us in a manner that was informational but more importantly fun to read. These guys and gals were “us”, the twenty something toy collectors and loved playing with their toys. Plus the gaggle of writers/collectors offered each month an updated price guide so we could be reassured that the hunks of plastic we were buying would one day easily fund our retirements. To help further the cause of adding perceived secondary market value the crew would also offer up a “Market Watch” report to show what was really moving and shaking in the action figure isles. Also to note this was at a time when ebay was still new and not everyone and their brother was selling “Ultra Rare” action figures on the site in the ven of becoming their very own “cyber” toy store.
The best part for me was their original “Twisted Mego Theater” (later changed to Twisted Toyfare Theater). Every month I was quick to snatch up the latest copy to see what all Mego Spiderman and Mego Hulk (along with almost every other Mego WGSH and Mego 8 inch action figure released in the 70’s and early 80’s) were up to. The comic paneled adventures were always a hoot. Some funnier than others and some bordering on outright rude. This platform eventually evolved into the Cartoon Network program “Robot Chicken”.
Sadly this year (2011) “Toyfare” came to an end. While I can only speculate as to its true demise I would bet that they found themselves in the same boat as many other print publications… the Internet killed it. Production costs for magazines versus on-line articles is like apples to oranges in the economic world. Plus ebay has indeed changed the way value is perceived when it comes to collectibles, so the formally practical price guide is pretty much irrelevant in the 21st Century. As the old saying goes “All good things must end”. However, it doesn’t mean they shall be forgotten. And thanks to the magic of the internet and fanboys like me, Toyfare’s legacy will live on thanks to blogging and a never ending fascination with nostalgia and taking funny pictures of action figures doing absurd things.
As a way to offer a send up to the memory of Toyfare as well as feed my toy history buff hunger, I’ve created this sub section of the blog to revisit the pages of the mag and see where exactly the once HOT item is today.
Considering how much information was packed into each monthly magazine I will only be covering the particular items that jumped out at me when revisiting these historical toy archives. In a nutshell I hope to offer interesting insights into the current status of what was once HOT and or COLD as well as doing some follow-ups on what the Toyfare staff thought at the time would surely be the future of toys. So dear reader won’t you join me as we hop in the Toy Box’s Time Machine to revisit the pages of Toyfare Magazine? It’s looking to be a very interesting journey!
Let’s play! Jim 04/21/11