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More specifically ‘French toys’, this short essay remarks on the way French children are only supplied with playthings that are miniaturised items from the adult world, complete with socialised, bourgeois meaning, rather than more dynamic, creative toys (sets of blocks being one exception).The toys not only direct the child into limited ideas of occupation and agency, conditioning little girls to be mothers or hairdressers, but also reveal much about what ‘the adult does not find unusual: war, bureaucracy, ugliness…’ The conclusion, an elegy for wooden toys in the age of plastic, shows the paradoxical intersection between post-modernism and retro-traditionalism.For example, I recently tracked down original versions of beloved board games so that our family could play classics like as they appeared when first released.
Gary told me to take it home, study it, and decide what it was and what it could do.”“The bullette (boo-lay), as it was first called, was the first monster I invented. I had decided to add a feature to DRAGON that would mean a new monster every issue; problem was, I had to launch an issue early because an ad didn’t come in.
I wrote it up very late at night; the nickname “landshark” was a reference to a character that the original Not Ready for Primetime Players had done on Saturday Night Live.
To aid in remembering those moments in my life I use artifacts from my past. my studio has become cluttered with play-worn toys, tattered books and other dusty relics of my halcyon days of youth.
This, in turn, has grown to a fascination of the packaging (type, design, palettes, etc) that went into these icons of yesteryear.
The airstrikes have been unrelenting in a Damascus suburb, where frames of bombed buildings loom over ghostly streets.
Hundreds of lives have been lost in less than two weeks of a government siege of the suburb, eastern Ghouta. Many have been crushed by the collapsing walls of homes leveled by missiles.
I went to Dave Sutherland for an emergency drawing (drawings could be submitted to the printers after the copy was set) and he did a dandy job on almost no notice.” If you don’t know the “Land shark” skit, give it a quick Google search and watch. I love Tim’s story: Dime store toys in the hands of those with wondrous imaginations became something more – they became the geeky stuff of modern fantasy lore.
Because these toys were manufactured in Hong Kong (perhaps as Ultraman knock-offs) and sold here through various distributors, it can be a challenge to track down a full set.
You see, during that time that I was playing with these “Prehistoric Animals”, somebody else was playing with them too – a fellow named Gary Gygax.
Gary was using them for a game he was developing called “There once was an unknown company in Hong Kong that made a bag of weird animal-things that were then sold in what once were called dime stores or variety stores for like $.99.