Toy Tuesday: Mighty Men & Monster Maker
I’ve recently returned home from a long family vacation. We had a great time — despite that Bobby uncovered a cursed tiki idol that created quite the pickle for us.
Oh, and Greg caught syphilis. Again. Stupid tiki.
Feeling way behind in my work around here, I was thrilled when Heather from the deliciously witty blog Becoming Cliche offered to do my homework for me. Which in the blogging world is what we call “a guest post.”
So please give a warm welcome to Heather (aka The Turtle Whisperer) — in the form of comments, confessions, Pop Rocks, denim scrunchies, etc. And please check out Heather’s blog — which the WordPress gods feature on their short list of recommended humor blogs. And you don’t want to upset the gods, what with what happened to Greg and all.
Of Mice and Mighty Men
As a child I was an average artist, and it broke my heart. When I heard people complaining that they were so lacking in artistic ability that they could not draw a stick figure, I envied. I could draw stick figures just fine, thank you. And produce little begging puppy dogs by the pack. And draw rainbows without a compass. But that was my limit, and it hurt me. I was blessed with a vivid imagination and cursed with the inability to portray my imaginings accurately on paper. With every rainbow, my heart bled a little. Until one day.
Was it birthday or Christmas or just because? I haven’t the faintest clue. I don’t even remember the actual unwrapping and receiving of it. I just recall the sense that all was suddenly right with the world. There may have also been a touch of smugness. After all, this toy was advertised during Saturday morning cartoons. That’s prime time, people! Everyone wanted it. And I had it. I, the uncool kid, was suddenly the envy of all my imaginary friends. My mom had purchased me the Mighty Men and Monster Maker kit.
If you are unfamiliar with this toy,
you have my pity let me explain. Sadly, it didn’t create actual monsters, just pictures. The kit came with 18 etched plates. To create a monster picture, the budding artist chose three plates, one head, one trunk, and one pair of legs. Want a mummy head with a superhero torso and lizard tail? You could make it! Since the plates were reversible, the number of monsters and heroes a kid with a pile of paper and half an hour to kill bordered on infinite. Once the three plates were placed in the holder and a piece of paper was inserted over the top, the image was produced by rubbing a purple crayon over the top of the paper, kind of like a grave rubbing.
It was a thing of beauty. For the first time in my life, I was able to put down on paper what was in my heart. Looking back, maybe that particular thought is a little alarming considering I primarily created the undead, but I prefer to think of my younger self as pre-emo. I didn’t need to wear black eye liner or mope about. I had the coolest toy in the universe and some mad
scientist skilz with a purple crayon.
What, you think it didn’t take skill? Clearly you have never used a Monster Maker or Tomy’s more mainstream equivalent, the Fashion Plate. Like a diamond, it takes just the right amount of pressure to create this thing of beauty. Too little, and there’s no monster at all, too much and you’re dealing with giant purple smudges all over the paper. And let’s not forget the coloring. Each monster had to be hand colored with colored pencils! Not crayons, you understand. Crayons are for babies, and this toy ain’t for babies. I colored those things all up! And I stayed in the lines every, single time. I told you I was good.
So where is this toy now, you ask? This toy that launched me to the very height of coolness? Good question. One day my magic gadget was just gone. *poof* I have ever since been deprived of the ability to express myself through art. I think that’s what forced me to become a writer.