Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Real Meaning of Christmas...

When I was 7, like most kids my age, Christmas really didn’t mean anything more than a kickass day where everyone gave me toys!  Yes I know my parents taught me that the real reason we had Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but really, at 7, that basically translated to “I get more toys!”

Spider Robot, Spider Robot
does whatever a spider can...
Every year, one gift I would always look forward to receiving was the gift from my ninang (godmother to all you non pinoys).  First because I was the ONLY one from my siblings who received a gift from her (well she was MY ninang) so it made the gift more special (incidentally, I don’t know if it was because my brother’s godparents were extra generous or I was just extra cute, but I also would receive gifts from them as well ha ha).  And secondly, my ninang always gave the coolest gifts (most of her gifts came from Hong Kong which always had the latest & coolest stuff).  Case in point…the year before, she got me this robot, but not just any robot, but a Spider Man robot!  Although it didn’t come with an actual little Spider Man and transformed to some none descript flying thing, and was basically a die-cast brick, and looked NOTHING like Spider Man, IT WAS STILL COOL!

So this year as always I was really excited to see what her gift was.  What could she possibly get me that would TOP my Spider Man Robot? So once in hand it in hand, I ripped open her gift and pulled out these guys…

The original Eternian odd couple

Meet the rest of the gang...
I’ll admit, it wasn’t love at first sight.  But they DID look pretty interesting.  They were called “Masters of the Universe” which did sound really cool, but I think what got me interested in them was their size, definitely a lot bigger than your Star Wars or G.I.Joe figure but BOY did they look strange.  I mean Zodac looked nice enough and his title as Cosmic Enforcer sounded cool….but then he had these odd three toed feet AND a hairy chest!  And don’t get me started on Stratos! He was a grey hairy monkey with feathers in his arms! Nevertheless, there was something about them that back then I couldn’t quite figure out, but somehow I knew that these guys that I held in my hands were just the tip of the iceberg of something special.  Like any kid back then who was used to receiving toys packaged inside plastic bubbles glued to card backs, I instinctively turned over their cards and soaked in every little detail.  And one by one, I was introduced to the rest of the Masters of the Universe, Skeletor, Beast Man, Mer Man, Man-at-Arms and of course He-man, who ironically looked the most ordinary of the bunch.

What's with the
rainbow backgrounds?
Oh one more thing that set these Masters apart from my other toys, although they didn’t come with any filecards like joes, they came with something even better, a mini-comic! And ultimately I think this was what sold me most into the Masters of the Universe line.  Although they were “mini” I remember their stories to be quite entertaining and not at all simplistic, and the art was gorgeous (ok ok I admit I may be remembering all this through rose tinted glasses) at least for a 7 year old!  These comics immersed me into their world and I couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on the rest of the line.

Unfortunately, Masters of the Universe weren’t as easy to come by, although I eventually got my main guys, He-Man, Skeletor etc….my Masters collection didn’t grow as fast as my Joes did.  A couple years later though, I figured out a brilliant solution to fix my Masters of the Universe shortage.  I managed to convince my friend who had a TON of Masters figures to “share” his collection with me.  So everytime he would come over to my house, I would convince him to leave his stuff with me since we were “sharing” our toys.  Pretty soon, I had almost his entire collection! Of course little did I know, that as he was leaving his He-Men figures with me, he was taking home a couple of G.I.Joes from under my nose…I guess he thought we were “sharing” those too!