Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Three Toms or the Cosmic Tom in Vinyl - Link Added

Will the REAL Tom, please stand?

Please note, all three young men remain standing. They are all TOM.

From left to right, we have the Original Tom from 1992. He is the first Tom. In the middle, we have Totoco - Chinese Tom also from 1992. At the end, on our right, we have Licca Club 67 Tom again from 1992. One character, three different complexions. How can this be?

1992. Takara issued a new, handsome boyfriend for Jenny, and they named him Tom. Tom is from Los Angeles. He break dances and gets into trouble. On the back of his box, he is shown pushing Jeff, Jenny's "Ken," back. Ooohh Tom the Bad Boy. Eh, but he's cute and how many Black males would I find produced in Takara's Jenny line. So I bought the original Tom.

Then I found out about Chinese Tom from a Japanese store called Totoco. Oh, how did that happen now? In the United States, we don't "change" races. Sure, Barbies are sold in various complexions and various races. But ... well, everyone KNOWS that ethnic Barbies are for marketing purposes. Sell Black Barbies to the African American market. Sell Latina Barbies to the Latino market. During the occasional "Blue Moon," Asian Barbies are produced. For whom? Oh, yes, for the Asian market.

Tom differs though because he is Tom for the same market - Asian children who play with dolls and possibly for collectors. The "Black" Tom and the "White" Tom are NOT described as such. They are just Tom. How?

My understanding is that, his eye print defines him. You shall know Tom by his eye print. And if you look at the three Toms, look at their eyes, they are all the same. Different colors, but basically the same eyes.

I brought Tom or the Toms forth today because his/their race(s) seem(s) so ... fluid? They remind me of Zorah Neale Hurson's "I belong to no race nor time" from How It Feels to Be Colored Me. Perhaps he is a Cosmic Tom?

Note: the description I wrote about Tom is from memory from Barbie Bazaar and Doll Reader magazine articles and from messages in Yahoo Jenny Groups (Casual Jenny and Biscuit's Club). If anyone thinks that my description in the paragraph that starts "1992" borders on plagiarism, please send a comment or e-mail me so that I can alter the text.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mattel Flavas Tre by Two

Mattel Flavas Tre (Street) wearing jeans and cap and Tre (Choice Awards Wave) wearing a black shirt and black pants.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Five Reasons Why I Love the Power Team Figures

  1. Reasonably priced

    I have paid from $5.00 to $19.99 for Power Team figures. The $5.00 figures from Dollar General only came dressed, but the $9.99 and $19.99 have included 1:6 scale weapons, mechanical equipment, gym gear, and tables as accessories.

  2. The Strength of the Direct Gaze

    These guys look you in the eye. They mean business. I can believe that they are heroes without capes. (And yes, Kim, most action figures seem to look straight ahead.)

  3. Strike a Pose?

    Can they be posed? Oh, yes. The Power Team Guys can move it, move it. Do they look good while posing? Yes again. Some of the earlier models have huge ham-fists, but later figures have better proportioned hands and fingers.

  4. Interesting Faces

    Look at their faces - not a single bland face in the lot. They have personality.

  5. World Representatives - Various Races

    Finally, they represent the world. Name a race or ethnicity, and you can likely find a representative of that group in the Power Team figures.

Barbie Glam Vacation Jet? New for 2010 - Link

Ah so this is the Barbie Vacation Jet. Reminds me of the other Barbie planes.

Hmmm ... this, I think someone could create something like this.

My crew have a helicopter - that's enough air travel for them.

New So in Style Rocawear Dolls

A second set of Rocawearing So in Style dolls will be available at Entertainment Earth.

I like this Grace's outfit and this Chandra's outfit and hair style.

Shades of Black, Part Four: M & C Toys Power Team

Behold the Black Power Team members that I have to date. (Only one figure withheld - he has green stripes painted across his face.) One figure has a light complexion but most have dark brown complexions. So if you seek darker complected figure AND articulation, check the Power Team selections.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hunky Harley Ken: Check Photos on Doll Divas

Warning: link to nude Harley Davidson Ken in various poses

Are you debating whether to buy the new Harley Barbie and Ken set? Check the photos submitted by Doll Divas member Amber here:

Harley Ken

The pose-ability of the new Ken looks fun and exciting.

Closed my eyes, tapped my heels together three times, "I am buying Harley Ken (and Barbie); I can afford them" Again, "I am buying Harley Ken and I can afford him." I make a third attempt, but alas my wallet is none the richer. Guess I need the ruby slippers. Sigh.

Links for Integrity Toys' Janay, Alysa, and Playline Dolls

While searching links for the Integrity Male Complexion post, I found these related sites. I am excited to share them with fellow Integrity playline collectors. The Master Collector link might have been provided before. But the others, I found by checking no longer available sites in the Internet Wayback Machine. Note: all sites do not have the photos, but the text there could be useful for dates - although confirmation from other collectors helps since, sometimes, dolls shown may NOT have been produced for the market. (I'm thinking of Shalaly)

Master Collector
2002 Integrity Dolls
Beautiful doll photos with wave titles

Dolls, Dreams, and Cuddy Things (Suzanne)
2002 Dolls
Reference for doll names and year; I could not open the photos belonging to the links

2003 Dolls
Aha! Giselle and Justin Wedding Set and Not-Produced Shalaly listed

2004 Dolls
Designer kits with unpainted Janay and friends heads - kitbashers dream!

Louise Fritsch's Candi Corner
Alysa and Jade
Reference for dolls and some photos show

Happy reading! Oh and don't forget that Therese of Dolls of Color is working on a Janay database. If you have Janay or other Integrity Barbie-scaled photos, links, etc. please share. Thanks!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shades of Black, Part Three: Integrity Male Complexions

Meet Tariq (left) and Jordan (right), Integrity playine dolls. These are the only versions of these doll characters that I have so I cannot show the color range of their complexions from my collection.

However, by grace of the wonderful Internet Wayback Machine, I found a site showing breathtaking photos of Tariq taken by a doll dealer. Behold, Tariq in various shades of brown from light reddish brown to dark brown: the wave titles are African Legends, Ancient Legends, Fashion Insider, and Icons. (Note: you can see the other Integrity Janay and friends available in 2004 here as well.)

I *think* that there was some complexion variation for Jordan as well, but Jordan is a much trickier character. Why? I think that he was taken/removed/transferred? from the Integrity playline to become Mikelman's Dominic doll. BUT that's a story for another post.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shades of Black, Part Two: Hasbro Male Complexions

The action figures shown above are from left to right:

G. I. Joe Basic Training Heavy Duty Lamont A. Morris, Heavy Ordinance Specialist
G. I. Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot
Star Wars Attack of the Clones Mace Windu
G. I. Joe Valor vs. Venom Roadblock a.k.a. Marvin F. Hinton
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Lando Calrissian

Hasbro colors their Black males from medium red brown (Mace Windu) to dark expresso brown (Lando Calrissian). A recent exception though would be the Black Joe character, Ripcord in the recent G.I. Joe movie.

Aside: Hasbro's newer action figures avoid the "Ken bump" or "no bump" by dressing their male figures in molded underpants either in "flesh" colors OR in the color of the molded on tee shirt or top. Later Kens have used the same approach to male dolls' anatomy. Would be interesting to see if the molded underpants proved less traumatic than the "no bump" body.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Presenting ... Disco Wanda by Shindana!

DBG of Black Doll Collecting wrote an interesting article on Shindana's Disco Wanda.

Check Disco Wanda's face. There she is shouting to one of her friends across the room. Is she a happy party-goer or what? What about those late 70s, disco fashions ;-D

Friday, February 19, 2010

Webshots Updates - New Folder for Mattel Playsets

I have made additions to my Webshots folders. I will add more photos over the weekend. Stop by for a look if you can.

D7ana aka Dana

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One of the Best Flavas: Choice Awards Tre

Let's go back in time. 2003. Mattel Barbie vs. MGA Entertainment Bratz. Bratz are taking over the fashion doll market. Barbie sales are lagging. What does Mattel do? Create the Flavas line - the Mattel version of Hip Hop. Well, Barbie survives, but the Flavas? Crash and cancel.

I was disappointed. Cancelled. The Flavas had different sizes, coloring, AND face molds. Yes, there was friction from people who disliked the droopy pants and bare midriffs. Yes, there was ire from "Hip Hop" fans who thought the dolls mocked them. Yes, I thought the Flavas female dolls' heads were too big for their bodies. I could re-body them. Need I repeat - new head molds? Sigh.

So, I bought the dolls that I wanted from all the Waves that I wanted except ONE Wave: the Choice Awards Wave. Oh. That was the coolest Wave of all, but I could not find them online or off.

(Eventually, I bought Tawny from another collector. Paid more than she would have been in a store, but she was meant to be here.)

Fast forward to 2005. I'm in a Value City store in Cheltenham. Not expecting anything. Just looking. Bam! Not the Television Chef Emeril. No, that was me. Value City had Flavas Choice Awards Liam AND Tre! $3.99 EACH. The elusive ones. Giddy glad was I. I bought two of each doll. (Since then, I have sold the extra dolls to another collector.)

And for years it was enough just to have them.

Until I started deboxing dolls and action figures and came across my elusive darlings. Sigh. So I have deboxed my Awards dolls. The better to enjoy them. Wow, wow, wow! Enough commentary from me though - check the photos:

For more of my Flavas photos, check my Webshots folder.

For more information about Hip Hop.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toy Fair 2010: Links for Doll and Action Figure Previews

Barbies and Joes and Harumika, oh my!

It's that time again. Mid-February means Toy Fair is here. New dolls, new action figures, new playsets, etc.

ASMzine has doll AND action figure news.

However, if action figures are your preference, try Master Collector online for updates on 12" G.I. Joes and other playscale figures. There might be some doll news, but the emphasis here is action figures and toys (non doll items).

Other 2010 photos and reviewers can be found online in various Yahoo Groups, collectors' photo albums, etc. The best part of Winter is here. View, savor, plan, and enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shades of Black, Part One: Mattel Male Complexions

Two doll and action figure bloggers inspired this post series: Therese of Dolls of Color and Elizabeth of Blog of Eternal Stench. Therese submitted a post about complexions of Black Barbies. Elizabeth left a comment about the range of complexions in a related post here. So, I considered the complexions of Black male dolls and action figures. Is there variety of complexions among Black male dolls and/or action figures? I begin with Mattel because half of my collection is Mattel. If there is complexion diversity, I should find it at Mattel.

The Mattel male dolls in the photo above are:

Skate Date Ken AA (2002)
High School Musical 3 Graduation Chad (2008)
High School Musical 3 Prom Night Zeke (2008)
Wet'n' Wild Steven (1989)
Cali Guy Steven (2003)
Free Moving Curtis (1976)

Not a bad selection. There is a range of browns for Black male dolls by Mattel. None are very fair or very dark* … but they are not all the same color. Today. Once upon a time though, medium-dark brown reigned as the complexion for Black dolls and action figures.

1970 and the first Black male in the Barbie series, Christie's boyfriend Brad appeared with a dark brown complexion. According to The Collector's Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls by Sibyl DeWein and Joan Ashabraner, the following year, Brad’s complexion was slightly darker. (Note: I do not have a Brad doll nor do I recall seeing many Brad dolls when I was young. So I do not *know* about any complexion change from my own experience.)

Six years later, Curtis emerged with Brad's head mold and a mahogany brown complexion that I think was close to Brad’s (same source, DeWein and Ashabraner). Nice coloring Curtis has as you can see in the photo, but a little ho hum because there was the same head in roughly the same color.

Since Brad/Curtis left the Barbie world – after roughly a year or two each - medium-dark brown was the color of Black Kens. A Black Sunsational Malibu Ken, who resembled Brad/Curtis if they had rooted curly black hair, arrived in 1982. The following year, a new face was used for Black Crystal Ken and other Black Kens. In 1988, yet another new mold was created for Black Kens that would also be used for a new Barbie friend, Steven. In 1997, Steven and future Black Kens would inherit the Jamal head mold. (Jamal was Shani's male friend.) Despite all the head mold changes, the complexion was medium-dark brown until 2002.

In 2002, Skate Date Ken, appeared as the first light-skinned Black Ken. Since then, there has been more variety of complexion among the Mattel Black male dolls as shown in the photo above. High School Musical Chad, Happy Family Alan (AA), and Happy Family Grandfather (AA) had lighter complexions. High School Musical Zeke and Ken Prince Derek have medium brown complexions. Variety, I love. Variety better reflects my sense of how things are.

So Mattel would score as far as this issue goes - were I grading them on it ;-D!

I should add my thanks to Jef as author of the Keeping Ken website and Sibyl DeWein and Joan Ashabraner as authors of the The Collector's Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles.

If anyone has additional information, corrections, etc. - please submit them in the Comments. I would love to hear from you.

* The darkest recent Mattel male doll is Perfect Pair Tommy who seems to have rooted or flocked hair.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Loren Javier and Asian - Asian American Figures

Anyone here recall Loren Javier? Mr. Javier collected Asian Pacific dolls and action figures. His websites are no longer at their original address - - but you can read some of his information via the Internet Wayback Machine

Asian Fashion Dolls

Asian Pacific Index

All of the web pages related to Mr. Javier's site are NOT available, but there are enough to warrant a visit via the Wayback Machine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Husky Guys Having Fun

They only fit Ken's clothes with MUCH stretching - except for those boxer shorts, whew! Here are 4 of my huskier guys at play.

Who's who though? Well, there's Toy Biz Gandalf with the long gray beard, Ideal's Eric (Tuesday Taylor's boyfriend) in an orange modified unitard, Jakks Pacific Jericho in molded on black briefs, and Playmates Star Trek Original Sulu. Are they wrestling, dancing, or cavorting?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sharp and Susie, Part II

Here's a closer photo of Sonokong's Leather Mania Sharp and R&D's Ibiza Heat Susie. Sharp's larger eyes and paler face initially made me think that her head was larger than it actually is. I thank fellow collector, Niel for the tip that that was not the case. The dolls both have heads approximately 1 1/16 inches wide.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

13 Famous Black DAFs

Who is who?

Standing: Scottie Pippin (Mattel), Diana Ross (Mattel), Brandy (Mattel), President Barack Obama (Dragon in Dream Inc.), Beyonce (Mattel), Melanie Brown aka Scary Spice (Galoob) and Diana Ross (Mego).

Sitting: Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu (Hasbro), Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian (Hasbro), Snoop Dogg (Vital Toys), Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones (Character Options Ltd.), Julius W. Harris as "Tee Hee" (Sideshow Collectibles), Kiely Williams as Aquanetta Walker (Play Along Ltd., Division of Jakks Pacific), and Raven-Symoné as Galleria Garibaldi (Play Along Ltd., Division of Jakks Pacific).

Notice there are 14 figures, but I cite 13 famous people? Diana Ross is there twice - once by Mattel and once by Mego. Anyone think one company did better than the other? I love the Mattel doll, but I really love the complexion and the jawline of the Mego Diana. There is a second Raven-Symoné, but I wasn't able to find her in time for this photo.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sharp and Susie, Part I

Here's a photo of Sonokong's Leather Mania Sharp and R&D's Tokyo Trendy Susie. As I mentioned previously, I love Sharp's curly hair - even if it is a little sparse at the back - her over-sized but sleepy eyes, and that she seems to wear "white pancake" (thick liquid) foundation that contrasts with her pinkish complexion. She's the only Asian fashion doll that I have whose face contrasts vividly with her complexion. (Whoa, I need to check among my Momokos. Note to self.)

This Susie is the Tokyo Trendy Susie from The Premiere Collection. I bought her from R&D. Tokyo Trendy is from the February 2004 release Premiere Collection - 300 of the Tokyo Trendy Susie dolls were issued. This Susie is one of my favorites with her "candy apple red" hair and lovely green eyes.

There are similarities in Sharp's and Susie's bodies, but their faces contrast. Sharp seems more anime-influenced. Her head is larger (but not annoyingly so). Susie has a more realistic look and more natural head proportion. Both dolls wear "leather," but Sharp's suit is conservative while Susie's black buckled dress reflects the video game assignment she was hired to promote. If you click on the link for Tokyo Trendy Susie on the R&D Susie page, you can see additional photos of her.

I will submit a fuller review of Susie and possibly Sharp in future posts.

So in Style Sisters Chandra and Zahara at Target

I saw the So in Style Sisters Chandra and Zahara at Target, Plymouth Meeting, today. Trying to think if she looks different enough from Alvin Ailey Barbie. And if she does, get her in the Rocawear or the Sisters garb? Considering ....