Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ancient Calabrese Artifacts Number 32: Old Dungeons and Dragons Pewter Figurines.

This is a good one.  A real good one.  It's even better because to get at it the ancient Calabrese artifact, you have to go through a used and dusty fanny pack.

Calling a fanny pack "used" is disgusting and equally confusing, so I apologize.  I'd also like to apologize for running through this quickly.  I think the whole "fanny pack scandal" put me in a weird mood.


What's in that fanny pack?  You didn't read the title of this post, did you?  Please tell me you didn't.  YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.

Let's take a peek!

I think some of that dust got into my mouth.  I'm too young to die!

Dungeons and Dragons pewter figurines!  These are D&D, right?

Got these from my own closet after a week of spring cleaning, which was originally stored away in my older brother's closet.  In the past, I've yammered on and on about the pure glory and magic that is an Older Brother's Closet, and today will be no different.

Growing up, there is nothing more sacred than the hidden treasures within these dark walls.  Once you've garnered enough bravery to breach the initial bedroom's entrance, you're free to roam inside this magic kingdom.  Dig deep, my friends, push past the clothing and sneakers and schoolbooks and you'll find what you've always been looking for:

Really cool fucking shit.

Broken skateboard parts.  Comic books with gratuitous violence.  Actual weaponry.

Alright, they were rubber ninja stars, but you know what I'm saying.

Unless you don't.  You don't?  What I'm saying = everything in that closest was awesome.  Even if you didn't understand it, even if you actually quite feared it -- it was still unbelievably sacred and raw.  Like a dead kid on the side of the road next to the railroad tracks.  You will never be the same again.

What were these rated on the Cool Scale?  About a 7 out of 10.  At this point in my life, D&D was pretty gnarly.  Trolls, witches and the occasional frog with a pocketknife were the weirdest things I could imagine, so it was all I could do to expose myself to this nonsense as much as I could.  The manuals alone would be fascinating, along with the toy line and, God Almighty, the Fortress of Fangs.  These unpainted gems held a specific charm, too, though.  They were tiny.  And came in a box with foam divider pockets to keep things safe.  Worked for me.

I'm tellin' ya, kids toys back in 80's were THE BEST.  It seemed that everything that led up to that point was...alright.  As soon as whatever the hell happened to make it happen, all "boy toys" hitting toy shelves were monstrous, evil and nearly dabbling in the occult.  It seemed like everything either featured a demon with a gun, or a gun that turned into a demon.  It's possible that "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" paved the way, and everyone latched onto the idea as quickly as possible, but it felt like that whatever you bought, it was covered in slime or featured a back story where the main character was in allegiance with Satan.  Or dated Satan back in college.   Whatever you wanted.

Movies catered to this idea.  Everything that made it big in the theaters and then as a line of toys was, I swear, about some really fucked up monster.  Or featured a fucked up monster.  Just think about it.  Then think about how that will never happen again.  Then cry in the shower.

Hell, even something as seemingly innocent and moralistically sound like GI Joe was a bunch of war-mongering terrorists.  And that's totally alright, because that's so fuckin' cool!  The lead terrorist wore a royal blue hood and talked like a snake!  You can't beat that!

So, anyway.

If there's one thing I go nuts on, it's that specific moment in time where all these memories stemmed from, where this endless nostalgia begins.  Later, the Ninja Turtles and everything else super-neon-extreme would usher in a new era of action figures, and although I would enjoy this decade, it just wasn't the same.  There wasn't any robed devils.  Just a lot of sharks in the street and motorcycle mice from Mars.

It's this specific time of being a bad kid and sneaking into my brother's wicked-sweet closet.  It's this longing for secret treasures.  Which, today, is a handful of little, unpainted figurines and shit.

These are my favorite of the bunch:

"Oh!" says the guy with toast strapped to his chest.  I think he's so upset because in act of trying to look tough, he cut deep into his left hand with this broadsword maneuver.  Now he's stuck in that position so no one will think any thing's the matter.  Because, naturally, they will mock and tease him for hurting his hand.  It's a tough life.

This is one Bad-Ass dude, as evidenced by the jutting lower teeth and helmet/hat made from a skull.  You'd want a lot of these types of guys, I'm sure.  But don't listen to me.  I have no idea how to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Witches, to me, were always pretty scary.  Pulled back hair, sunken eyes and the skin was always paper thin and vein-y.  And the idea that they would suck out your guts and poop into your heart.  Or something evil to that effect.

Did you just...?  Did you just hit yourself in the head with that mace?

Good, good times.  So good that I'm forced to stuff them back into their fanny-pack home and store them under my bed for the rest of my life.

Oh, nostalgia.

1 comment:

  1. I've still got a boxed set of Dragonlance figures somewhere in my parents' attic. I remember well the feeling that I had when I gave my friend the money so he could order them. We were in middle school and his brother was into AD&D. We were curious about it, but never enough to learn how to play. Instead, we were like you and just dug the art and figures. Of all the realms, Ravenloft reigned as King Shit in my dark little mind, but I can't recall if it was out back when I ordered those figures. What I can recall is the sole figure that I was after. Hell if I can remember her name, but those smoothly sculpted pewter legs, giant pewter knockers and her lush, wavy pewter hair were as close as I was going to get to legs, knockers and hair. That was enough for me.