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Talking Comics – The Green Hornet #1 (2020)

Hi Mountain folks, it’s Andrew! 

Because we’re selling new Comic Books now in the Ellijay Coffeehouse, and since lots of folks are having a hard time getting to their local comic shop as a result of the multiple simultaneous national and global crises, I have decided to start writing about comic books. There are a lot of titles out there right now, and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth your time, attention, and budget. I can’t promise to solve that problem entirely, but I will endeavor to provide you with some perspective on new titles that you may have otherwise skipped. 

Alright, enough preamble. 

The Green Hornet 

Today, we’re talking about Dynamite’s Green Hornet #1. (Specifically, that’s Vol. 3 Issue 1 for those who are keeping score.) This issue features a cover by Lee Weeks (alternate covers also available), it was written by Scott Lobdell, and has art from Anthony Marques. It’s on shelves now (and available from us through Ellijay Coffeehouse.) 

The Green Hornet is an old character. He has some superficial similarities to Batman (rich playboy, sidekick, cool car, vigilante justice, mostly won’t kill people), but he pre-dates The Bat by several years. He has appeared in films, on television and in dozens of comics from his debut in 1936 through to the modern era. This is a character that has left a mark on American pop culture. 

Today we’re talking about the latest Issue #1, which means that we’re picking up a new story and it’s a great place for new readers to jump in. It’s also volume 3 (and a character who has been in publication since 1936), so this issue #1 has the luxury of telling a story With The Green Hornet, rather than telling a story About The Green Hornet. 

Story 

This issue moves quickly, establishing a major conflict (and, frankly, one that feels a little too close to home in July of 2020) as the US Military squares off against The Green Hornet and Kato on page 2. It takes this moment of shock, this potentially climactic event, and up’s the stakes by adding a baby to the mix, before rewinding 24 hours to start the story that ends with the US military threatening two innocent men and a baby. 

The issue rockets along, and leaves more questions than answers (as any good first issue should.) It introduces a mysterious supernatural element on the final page, and cuts to “to be continued” with a cliffhanger that any cliffhanger serial house would have been proud of. In short, the story does exactly what it needs to do, and has fun doing it. 

Art

The artwork in this issue is fascinating. The illustrations are simple, with bold lines and sparse details that evoke a newspaper strip. Furthering that theme, the issue is presented in greyscale— or rather, this issue is presented with a monochromatic color pallet. This is the Green Hornet, greyscale wouldn’t meet the brief, so the entire issue is accented with washes of a pale green. 

The artwork, ultimately, is beautiful. It’s simplicity is strength, and the subtle use of such a limited pallet manages to create a bridge between the newsprint era roots of the franchise, the newsprint affiliation of the character (he does own a newspaper, after all) and this digital first era. 

I’m a fan of digital comics, in principle. I recommend getting this one in print. 

Overall 

It works. This looks to be a fresh, fun, tonally appropriate re-interpretation of a character who has seen more re-invention in the public eye than nearly any other. Seriously, The Green Hornet has a legacy dating back 74 years. He’s been the subject of films (Seth Rogan’s take in the 2010s, plus two film serials in the 30s), radio (where he made his debut), television (appearing alongside Batman), and dozens of comic book series. 

This interpretation of The Green Hornet manages to meet the audience where they are in terms of what they may expect from the character, and bring that audience to where the comic wants them to be. Turning someone who has been at turns, too silly, too serious, or too stuck in the past in to a character that, in scant few pages, manages to feel relevant, modern, and comfortable. 

Did the world need another interpretation of the Green Hornet Mythos? Maybe not, but this interpretation is a delight and I’m glad it exists. 

Scott Lobdell and Anthony Marques have my attention, and I’ll be waiting eagerly for the next issue. 

If you’d like a copy of your own, stop by Ellijay Coffeehouse (or contact us, and we’ll get one in the mail!)

Further Reading

The Green Hornet on the Radio
The Green Hornet Comics
The Green Hornet Strikes
The Green Hornet Strikes again

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Not Just Toys!

That’s right! We do more than just toys! We reprint comic books too. Why?

Well… you could say it’s the whole reason Mountain Town Toys exists in the first place.

I love comic books. I grew up scrounging flea markets and yard sales for toys, but more often I went home with a box of comics. They were cheaper, and in the early 90s they were Everywhere. So I grew up with Silver and Bronze age comics, and I knew a lot more about the JLA circa 10 years earlier than I did about the comics that were being published at the time.

I still remember being 6 or 7 years old, standing in the local comic shop, fawning over a copy of The Defenders issue 1 (circa 1972). Dad was generous enough to get it for me, and I still have it (although at this point it is a bit tattered.) I was hooked. There was a time when I had nearly the full run of the comic, from issue 1 up through it’s re-title as the New Defenders in the early 80s.  (The comic book shop would shut down or relocate within a few months of us buying that issue. I don’t remember visiting it a second time.)

This interest in comics continued on in to my adult life, but instead of the finest comics the 1970s had to offer, I found myself drifting in to the Golden Age. Horror comics from EC and Charlton, sci-fi from Ditko and Wolverton, super heroes like The Black Terror, The Blue Beetle, and my perennial favorite Microface (reprint and action figure coming soon!)

I learned a lot about this era of comics, and I grew frustrated that even reprints would often fetch prices near $100. A lot of these titles are in the public domain! It’s legal for anyone to duplicate and reprint them, remix them and create new things. I talked to my dad about this a lot, and next thing I knew he’d talked me in to opening a toy store!

So I took it upon myself to find the best cheap way to reprint these old comic books, and make them available at a reasonable quality and a reasonable price. I’ve come across a couple of ways to get it done, from full sized black and white trade digests like our Spacehawk collection to digest sized, full color single issues, like our Space Patrol (1952) and our Space Patrol (1939).

I’ve spent a good part of the last six years carefully collecting researching, restoring, and reprinting these golden age public domain comic books, and I am working to get all of these reprints available here. If you Sign Up for our Newsletter, you can be among the first to know when new comic books hit the site. They are consistently among our best sellers, and I hope you enjoy them!

And, of course, these comic books were the inspiration behind our Earth’s First Comicbook Heroes line of Mego style action figures.

There are some really Weird characters featured in the depths of the golden age of comic books, and I’m excited that I’ll get to talk about them here, share them with you all, and make toys of many of them. It should be a fun journey to share.

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Mountain Town Retail!

That’s right folks, after the disappointment that was Toylanta’s quarantine cancellation, we set about getting ourselves in to a physical retail location as quickly as possible. I am happy to announce that Mountain Town Toys is now a vendor at Treasure Hunt Antiques in Powder Springs, GA.

3217 New Macland Road Suite 110
Powder Springs, GA 30127

We’re to the left of the entrance, just behind Retroville Collectibles. When it’s safe for us all to venture out in to the world again, I’d appreciate it if you’d come out and give us a gander.

We’re really excited to have put this together. There are 500+ toys on display right now (with at least 60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and we’ll be putting new stuff out every week (or maybe a little less often while we’re all practicing responsible Social Distancing).

And, of course, I’m still loading up new products on our website (and now that I’m done setting up our retail space I’ll be highlighting some of the coolest of those items here on our blog), so I hope you’ll check back often.

Stay safe and healthy out there folks, and we’ll see you on the other side.

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Mike Hazard Photo Shoot

Hi Mountain Townies! I hope you’re well in this time of social distancing. I have taken the recommended isolation as an opportunity to ramp up photography for our online store. Of course, that’s also a great excuse to play with some toys! So I’ve pulled some items from my personal collection for some Action Shots.

Today, I captured these shots of Marx’s Mike Hazard, and I thought they were too cool not to share!

We don’t have any Mike Hazard for sale right now. I hope we will soon, but he’s pretty rare. I just got this one myself, as a birthday present. (That’s right! We don’t just sell toys, we’re fans.) I do have many other 12″ Marx action figures, and other Marx toys that we’ll be listing for sale over the next two weeks. You can find them under Marx in our store. If you don’t see much now, check back in a few days (or Sign up for our newsletter) as we add new products several times a week.

So which picture is your favorite? What’s your favorite Marx 12″ line? Do you have any action shots you’re proud of? I’d love to see them.

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Who is Mountain Town Toys?

I’m Andrew, I make websites and run digital infrastructure, and I spend a lot of my time researching and preserving old media. Mountain Town toys is my father and I. There are a lot of things that dad and I don’t see eye to eye on, but the thing that has always brought us together is toys. We started Mountain Town Toys as a way for us to bring to life toys that we always wanted to see.

When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be an astronaut. If I couldn’t be an astronaut, I wanted to design spaceships, and if I couldn’t do that, I wanted to design toys. It turned out that I’m a little tall for a spaceship, and aerospace engineering is a lot more math than I want to do, but I never gave up on designing toys.

As a kid, dad and I spent many hours ripping apart toys and fitting them back together in to new designs. As I grew up, the itch never really went away. So here we are, all these years later, making toys (and comics, and t-shirts, and posters!)

What Kind of toys do you make?

We make lots of toys! Right now, my primary focus is on new, custom Mego Scale (8″) figures. We mold, cast, and paint heads. We design, print, and sew clothes. We also manufacture Marx playset/army men style plastic figures, and custom 12″ 1/6th scale action figures.

We’re always exploring new designs and methods of manufacturing. In the near future, we hope to start producing other kinds of toys (and we take requests!)

What about vintage stuff?

Yep! We scour vintage stores, personal collections, and flea markets across 6 states to keep an ever rotating, constantly expanding collection of unique and interesting vintage toys. I focus on 50s space stuff, ninja turtles, and Filmation properties. Dad always has his eye on GI Joe, and other 12″ action figures.

Retail?

Soon! We are exploring options for brink and mortar sales. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know.

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Toylanta 2020 Cancelled

Toylanta 2020 has been cancelled as per the Toylanta facebook page. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I sure am disappointed. I was really looking forward to sharing all of the big things we’ve been working on with all of y’all.

A doll of Stardust the Super Wizard, at mego scale
A work in progress shot of one of this year’s custom toys!

Don’t despair, though. Wheels are already in motion to get us in to a retail space in the near future, and we’ll still be releasing at least one limited run action figure each month for the rest of the year, starting in April. If you want to be the first to know about our retail space our our limited run figures, sign up for our newsletter!

Until next time, keep playing with dolls (it’s safer than going outside.)

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Toylanta 2020

We’ll be at Toylanta 2020!

That’s March 20 – 22 at
Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center
500 Powder Springs St., Marietta, Georgia 30064

This is the show’s 20th anniversary, and it looks to be the biggest one ever. Two floors of new and vintage toys, comics, art, and customs. We’re really excited to be participating, and I hope we see you there.

At this year’s toy show, we’ll be rolling out some new, custom, 8 inch “mego” style action figures. All together, we’ll have more than 20 original characters, from golden age comic books and early sci-fi adventure TV. If you want to see them all, you’ll have to come to the show, or sign up for our newsletter, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at some of our work so far:

This is just a small sample of the toys we have coming down the pipeline, many of which feature custom sculpted heads and original hand made costumes. I’ve been working on this idea for a long time (almost ten years!) and I’m really excited to finally have the pieces coming together. We’ll be listing some of these same designs for sale here, after the show and we’ll have a few new figures going up every month.

In addition to all the custom “mego” style action figures, we’ll also be selling new and vintage toys across a wide variety of genres, including some really nice 1/6th GI Joe scale customs, and vintage toys from Marx, Kenner, Galoob, and others. If there’s something special you’re after, be sure to let us know!

So! If you want to see all the cool stuff we have in the works, if you want to request your own custom action figures, or you want to be the first to know when we’re finally able to start selling these (and other) new old toys online, Sign up for our newsletter!