Review: Toybox Time Machine

One of the things that inevitably changed in comic books when they went from being available on spinner racks in every drug store, supermarket and five and dimes to shelves in the specialty comic shops was the ads. Perhaps that change was already underway when they changed the distribution model. But ads in modern comics are all for generic and bland stuff: movies, other comics, maybe some candy and another Munchkins expansion pack.

Gone are the ads that promised kids anything and everything. You can’t get the Atlas plans to make you strong enough to take on any sand kicking bullies on the beach. No longer can you order Sea Monkeys and be disappointed when they just turned out to be tiny brine shrimp. X-ray specs? Magic tricks? Spark shooting ray guns? The set of 1,000 plastic Roman army soldiers for $5? All of these are gone from the pages of comic books and probably from real life.

Toybox Time Machine brings the magic of those ads back to life. These are all ads for fake products that you can’t order but only wish for. Let’s play the Space Ape game that comes in the box of Sugar flavored Saucers cereal. I want the Misterlectro robot with Sparking and GO action! Give me Magenta Monkey and the rest of the Psychedelic Simians.

These ads are the creative and clever (and many safety-tested and non-toxic!) ideas of Marty Baumann. Baumann has worked in magazines, comics, newspapers and as a graphic artist and production designer at Pixar. Indeed, many of these product would be right at home in the backgrounds of Toy Story 3, Wreck-It Ralph, or Zootopia or any of the other movies he has worked on.

You will spend hours going through this book repeatedly – all the time wondering how long it would take for your 9-year-old self to break your Strato-Squad Helmet while playing with your brothers and friends. I truly never knew I wanted all this junk until I saw it laid out page after page. Keep your eyes open and you may see some of these toys endorsed by famous comic book artists (although names have been changed to protect the guilty).

Writer: Marty Baumann
Artist: Marty Baumann
Publisher: IDW Publishing

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