Godzilla (and more) Bromides! Part One

Today, some interesting cards that are more than just trading cards--they are "bromides."  If this term is new to you, they are colorful Japanese cards, many times single-sided, 3 inches by 5 inches, that it's pretty tough to find any information about in English.  They were apparently printed through the 1970's, are often hand-colored (which provides a gorgeous, artistic effect like early lobby cards), and for Godzilla, there are at least just over 200 different ones.  We know this, because there is a boxed set of reprinted cards made a few years back that includes that many.

It's always been my gut feeling that these little masterpieces were meant to be small pin-ups.  I say "many times" single-sided, because every now and then, you will see one with blue printing on its back.  This is perhaps similar to the occasional "Lucky Card" (which was redeemable for stuff) that could be found with their tinier cousins, the trading cards made by Yamakatsu.  It's also pretty common to find cards with pencil writing on their backs, as these were treasured by kids of Japan.

So now that you know all that I do, let's look at some!

This first group is from SMOG MONSTER,  you know, Hedorah.
There has been years of puzzled debate, but as I've said elsewhere on this site, these are meant to be Hedorah's EYES.  Trust me on this one!
This is my favorite one of the group, because it's so unique!
This is a very oddly dramatic image for Rodan, which has more to do with his debut movie I suppose.
Another very unique card, from GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER.  The smear technique is very innovative (kind of like the early Peter Gabriel album covers), and I think very surreal!
Next time, Part Two!


The Abomination That Is the Singapore Godzilla Bootleg Coloring Book (1970s)

I don't usually do this, but it's been a mighty slow week, so here goes.  From the depths of E-bay comes this...thing you are about to see.  All I can tell you is that it is from Singapore, and from the late 1970's.  Everything else we will have to figure out as we go (such as who made it, how they got away with it, and WHY, oh WHY).
You can tell right away that we are going into the territory of Unlicensed Land...so far, it's not terrible, just slightly off.  If anything, Godzilla sort of looks like the generic rubber dinosaur figures that are still everywhere, to this day...and, also he is holding a boomerang.
The first thing we learn is that coloring books in Singapore are bound at the top, much like American drawing or note pads.  Also, they have printing on one side of the page only.  One thing they have in common with their American counterparts is that their paper doesn't age well, as you can see in this photo.  
Once again, nothing too abnormal, except the pointed dragon-plates on his back are starting to annoy me.  Also, Godzilla seems a bit small here...and it's possible that these soldiers haven't even noticed him yet.
And, also like American coloring books, they give you your chance to color a similar scene from the cover, just with no boomerang.  (Also, no train driver, so I have questions.)
Now, we begin our slow descent into madness.  First off, what is going on here? Oh, wait, the "artist" probably saw GODZILLA vs. THE SEA MONSTER, right? No, I think the tiny Godzilla standing on the boat is our clue.  It's supposed to be Godzooky.  Therefore the date of "the 70's" that the seller gives us becomes "the late 70's," such as 1978 or 79.  
It probably goes without saying, but the drops coming off the giant crab are so huge, it looks more like he is anxious instead of dripping.  Also, is it me, or does the GODZILLA logo seem to be floating in the water? What is it even there for? Have we forgotten what coloring book we are in, now that we are 3 pages in?
Wait a second, here he is now...and our logo has floated into the sky.
On the next page we have...hold on, here.  What do we have?  I thought we were loosely adapting the Hanna-Barbera series here.  Maybe this is a page from another book that slipped in? Professor Sadman and his Sado-Masico-Tron.
Silly me, I thought we were telling a story, here.  Suddenly Godzilla is rampaging the city, and toying with a man who is standing on the hood of his car.  Is Godzilla shouting "HUUU," or the guy? And what in the world???!
Notice that somebody has drawn more Godzilla-like plates on the back of our star, but didn't have the ability to erase, so they just put them on top of what was already there.  Sigh.
Don't worry, because Secret Agent Captain Anglo and Kenny are on the scene.  And don't look now, but Godzilla is right behind you!!! Nope, I think it's--again--supposed to be that lovable goofy miscreant, Godzooky.  If you ask me, it looks like Godzooky is shouting "GODZILLA"...
Then this happens.  We are in the mountains, there's a volcano, and somebody now has arm-fin wings.  Of course, Godzooky is supposed to, but as there is no quality control here, we can assume this is a complete accident....or another monster entirely.  That is only a torso.
But the X-90 is getting away! Or...the X-90 is safe once again! Or...however you want to look at it.
Next, we...hey, that's Major Talbot, who was a rival to Bruce Banner for Betty's affections, and later ended up marrying her.  Get out of here!
Now, back to this.  Godzilla (I think?) is back in the ocean, fighting either a winged snake, or a bird with a long tail.  I want to say that this is loosely based on on of the HB monsters of the week, in the way that you might come out of a three-day coke binge and try to remember the children's program you saw the previous Saturday morning, because you had to illustrate a bootleg coloring book about it....but couldn't quite recall it.  
It's the closest thing to action so far, so we will have to run with it.
I have no idea if pages are missing, but this is supposed to be the "resolution" to our "story."  Either Godzilla is vanquished...or wait, maybe the snake-bat is vanquished.  Or, the X90 is once again safe.  Or, this random little girl just showed up.  Or, Kenny's seasickness is about to reach its breaking point.  Either way, we can join Godzooky in screaming "NUUU!!!"

Just so you know that I'm not going off the deep end here, this same manufacturer of Singaporian coloring books (who conveniently doesn't have their name anywhere on these products) also made other books, like Batman:
The Golden Age wasn't the only time that Batman was packing heat.
Quentin Tarantino presents: Batman Family
And, oh, heaven help us....Popeye.  You probably thought we were about done here.  I am going to go ahead and apologize in advance:
To me, slightly off-model is much, much scarier than "waaay off model," which can borderline on ridiculous.  It's like the "uncanny valley" that you read about, where CGI (for instance) is just close enough to a likeness to be creepy.  Of course, POPEYE WITH TWO OPEN EYES might have something to do with this...
Do you remember that Popeye cartoon where he was taking a job as a family's new nanny, and he just floated in on his umbrella, and the kids loved him and sang annoying songs? Of course you don't, because that didn't happen.  AGAIN WITH THE EYES!
"Humm" indeed.
Creepy Singapore Bootleg Popeye:  stronger than...a bunch of meatballs.
"Taco Bell.  And step on it.  And mind the speed bumps."
I know, friends.  We have gotten through THE SUPER DICTIONARY together, so we can't let this get the best of us, but I have to tell you, I am flagging.  In the name of all that is sweet and holy. What. Is. Going. On.....Here? Popeye looks like one of those dolls that have a shriveled apple for a head.  The kind old craft women make, and place next to their quilted broom cover that looks like a goose.
Again, I have no context to even venture a guess as to what is going on, I would only have you note that this man that our Sailor is attacking is some sort of law officer.  This is important, because on the next page...
...POPEYE HAS STOLEN HIS CAR.  And, he's quite proud of himself. And now, both eyes are closed.  Make up your minds. Also, I think the steering wheel is melting:
Then, the inevitable happens.  Bluto/Brutus punched (run POW through Babelfish, set to Singapore, and you get BOPP) by......Mr. Magoo?
And, Bootleg Popeye, now with no eyes, gets put straight through a tree...or maybe we can look at this the other way round, and Olive picked him up by the heels, and drove him straight through a tree.


Marvel Granola Bars Made My Head Hurt...

Maybe you have seen MARVEL Granola Bars at your local store.  If you haven't, they come with a trading card on the back, which means insta-purchase around my house.  

But that's not why we are here.  Each wrapper has a character, and looks like this:
Below each character is a "factoid," which is all well and good.  Their website says things like "What is Spider-Man's favorite food?" and things like that, which, okay, I get it, kids involved.  No problem there...but mine said this:
Okay.  I guess I am a casual Hulk fan; he's always been around, and involved in many great comics, but he's not my thing, you know (however, my youngest is the biggest Hulk fan I have ever seen.  I even verified this lackadaisical factoid with him).  I just don't think I've ever heard anything about gills in all the comics I have read over the past decades.
I'm sure that Hulk has a huge, Hulk-sized pair of lungs, and, I'm also sure that he can stay underwater a long, long time, by my own standards (which is, personally, 0 seconds), but Great Ceasar's Ghost, I mean, Holy Snikkt, Marvel--or should I say, Con Agra Foods--let's not get carried away!!
I hate to belabor this point, as I've dwelt on it far too much over the weekend, but all I can continually picture in my own mind is this:
Or, to make a more company-relevant comparison:
I mean, that's just silly! Isn't it?


Diet Dr. Pepper Can with Godzilla T-Shirt Offer (1986)

Here's one of the most unusual items in my Godzilla collection.  I have seen the T-shirt on Ebay (usually in kind of dingy condition), but I must confess I did not know how it was acquired.  Here is a Diet Dr. Pepper can from 1986...with Nutra-Sweet!
Most of us probably remember the Dr. Pepper ad campaign, and cross-pollination with the GODZILLA 1985 movie, which resulted in a couple of neat commercials that you can still see on YouTube.  
If you sent them $4.95 before December 31, 1986, you could have had one of these swell T-shirts.  It's fascinating to me that there is no proof of purchase required--not even a receipt.  You could have just picked up a can, copied the address, and gone home to buy your shirt.  
Shirt image, from Ebay Australia.  The artwork matches the Godzilla Skateboard (mentioned here before by Sean Linkenback), which was apparently a contest prize.
Also, not only have times changed, but also cans.  Despite the blue label and choice of sweetener, this can is heavier than I remember, and more so than cans today.  I'm led to believe that the top and bottom are steel, while the middle is aluminum (or aluminium, for my UK readers).  There are traces of corrosion on the bottom that wouldn't happen to an aluminum can.  I wasn't smart enough to give it the magnet test, but I will have to do that! Still, quite a bizarre addition, and those are some of my favorite kinds.


Godzilla Action Stickers [Set C] (Imperial, 1985)

Here is the last of the four sets of Godzilla Action Stickers, made by Imperial in 1985.  On the back of the header card (pictured above) is an item number (#8931) followed by a letter (in this case, #8931-C), showing which of the four sets is in the package.
In set C, we have Godzilla blasting a ship, blasting electrical or radio towers (like in his first film), and surrounded by tanks (like in his first film).  My scan was a little shiny, so here is another view form an old Ebay photo:
It took years to track down all four, and amusingly, the stickers were apparently put on their backing card upside-down:
If you want to see scans of the other sets, they are here:
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set A
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set B
Godzilla Action Stickers - Set D


My Boxed Kenner Star Wars Stuff (1977-83): Why the Star Destroyer Sucked

What's blocked out there is my refrigerator...didn't think it was relevant to the subject at hand.
As Star Wars mania continues to build to a fever pitch of insanity, and break all sorts of monetary records, now's a good time to show my own collection of original Kenner toys that are still boxed.  I still have 99% of my Kenner hoard from when I was a kid, and all of the original figures, but over time I have been lucky to track down some original boxes and paperwork!

The box from Darth Vader's Star Destroyer yielded a couple of interesting moments:
Kenner's design work was really unparalleled among toys of the 1970's.  They made it possible to bring Star Wars into our homes.  They engineered some amazing and ground-breaking things that changed the history of toy production.  This playset wasn't one of them.  It was supposed to combine the bridge of the Executor with Vader's Meditation Chamber, but it came off as a strange, triangular "playset" with two narrow channels to stand figures in, that you really couldn't do much with.  It had a handle to fly it around, but moving that wedge-shaped oddity with no walls through space seemed bizarre also.  There was even a large cannon on the front, to further confuse the children.  One of my purposes upon acquiring it in 1980 was to re-enact the assembly of the bounty hunters, but even the package shows you that you can't really do that.  And, note the text calling him "Darth" still in 1980, like that was his first name!
Oh well, you can always re-enact Vader talking to the Emperor, right? Nope.  This was accomplished by a red plastic plank that hung from the ceiling, right in front of the huge canon.  It's a little baffling to try and get a giant hologram (of an old woman with a chimpanzee super-imposed over her eyes) out of a plastic rectangle with wavy lines on it.  
Also, "Darth talks to the Grand Vizier" is just an amazing line.  I realize Kenner was working way ahead of schedule, and subject to whatever documentation they could get from Lucasfilm, but Grand Vizier?! 


More Godzilla Puffy Stickers Discovered (1979, 3 Different)

It's always when you aren't looking for something, that you suddenly discover something new.  The world of Godzilla Puffy Stickers isn't very well-documented, which has become an unofficial mission of this blog.  Today we can add three more variations to that "world."

These are from the same unlisted manufacturer as ones we have looked at before, but a new assortment with different stickers and different header card artwork. This series ties in a little more prominently to the Hanna-Barbera animated show, although the main characters are nowhere to be found on the sticker sheets, as they were before.  (To see everything in a chronological line, see my side page called Vintage American Godzilla.)
The Item Number for this assortment (#1201) is different to any of the assortments with the artwork that we have seen before (such as the rack stickers, which were all #6000, including Godzilla AND the other properties that were licensed).  So, it's possible that this #1201 included other types of stickers, too.
One difference with these three is that they are all stamped on the back, to further remind you that they were MADE IN TAIWAN.  Another difference is, the first sets we looked at came with pre-printed prices (59 cents), while these leave blank spaces for stores to fill in their own.
This second set has identical artwork to the Puffy Keychain display we have looked at before (they have removed the chain through Godzilla's dorsal fin, thank goodness).  No surprise that the keychains are made from the same artwork as the stickers, and also don't list the anonymous manufacturer.
Key Chain Backing Card
The third set features a water-skiing Godzooky, as if that would motivate anyone to buy a product...if I'm honest, though, in the 1970's, this would have sold them, and if I'm being completely honest, the 6-year-old me would've wanted them.

So the question is, are there more variations to be found? I wouldn't be surprised...and if so, I will be buying them!