REMINISCING — Not that there’s anything wrong with boys who play with Barbie, but even as kids, we knew that Ken wasn’t really our type. Like most boys, we loved our action figures, even though we concocted elaborate fantasies wherein Mumm-Ra and Skeletor teemed up to teach Lion-O a lesson or two about humility instead of doing whatever it is straight boys do with their toys. Here are our five favorite plastic strongmen.
While the rich kids got the ful out AT-AT playsets, we made do with just two figures: Han Solo and Bobba Fett. Because we were too young to understand that the two were mortal enemies, most of our Han-Bobba stories were of the bromance type: Han and Bobba explore the kitchen cabinets, Han and Boba take a trip through the grass jungles of Bckyrd, Han and Bobba have a sleepover at our best friend’s house and invite our rich pal’s Storm Troopers to a late night-orgy.
God, we had such a love affair with Prince Adam when we were young. Meek and bumbling (like us!), by the power of Grayskull he became a sexy loin-clothed hero who’d ride around on a green tiger all day. Still, it was the villains that really made He-Man so cool. The Skull Mountain playset came with a its own gargoyle-shaped microphone that we could use to call He-Man to his doom. Looking back, it was probably Evil Lyn who first turned us on to drag queens. We were also pretty tight with Kobra Khan and Stinkor, who came with his own scent, which only later did we learn was really patchouli oil. Who knew they were smoking reefer in Eternia?
How to say this in a way that won’t get a ton of angry comments? Thundercats will make you gay. Lion-O, a boy trapped in a lion-man’s body is the gayest superhero of all time. His best friend and mentor is a queeny fuzzball named Snarf, he hangs around with a bunch of feral royalty from another planet and, just like the Smurfs, only one of them is a woman. Unlike the Smurfs, Panthro, Tygra and WilyKat were smoking hot. And don’t get us started on Mumm-Ra, who (like most 80s villains) was an effete mincing queen. Maybe the subtle psychological conditioning was meant to turn us away from being gay, but it only succeeded in turning us off to evil undead demons.
Here’s the truth about our experience with the WWF figures: We thought they were creepy, but one of our friends loved them. It was all he ever talked about. He had the WWF wrestling ring and all the figures and would insist we play with them every time we went over to his house. In retrospect, we should have been clued in when he would keep yelling, “Pin the Hulkster! Pin him!” but at the time, we didn’t have a clue. In any event, the WWF line presaged the world famous gay “Billy” dolls by more than a decade.
Now, there’s nothing sexy about Voltron itself – the poor-man’s Transformer – but unlike the robots from Cybertron, Volrton was piloted by actual people. Captain Keith, Lance and Sven may all sound like names of people you’d meet at the Abbey, but in fact, these are all Voltron pilots. Plus, the whole Japanese aesthetic of Voltron appealed to our burgeoning design sense.
What were your favorite toys growing up? And did any of them turn you gay? I know, what a horribly offensive question. But really, which ones turned you gay?