When my buddy Shawn from Branded in the 80s told me he was sending a couple of TMNT comic books my way, that’s all I expected–a couple of TMNT comic books. I didn’t expect a giant box full of extra goodies and TMNT stuff in addition to the comics, but this is Shawn, and he’s famous for his awesome care packages, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised! I’m just overwhelmed at how much cool stuff Shawn crammed into this thing, and find myself wondering what I did to deserve such a great friend who sends “just because” gifts.
It was a rainy night when I got home to find this box waiting on my door step. I knew who it was from right away, and by the Ninja Turtle wrapping paper lining the box, I also knew it was going to contain lots of awesome.
Inside the box was a large Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gift bag that you can bet your ass I was extremely careful to preserve as I unpacked it. I’ve actually been looking for NickTurtles gift bags, but have only been able to find rolls of wrapping paper. I haven’t even dug into the real goods yet and I’m already excited. Over a gift bag. (Yeah, I know I need help.)
Shawn’s attention to detail is amazing. Tucked inside the package was this card with a very nice handwritten note, decorated with Shawn’s artwork of my favorite Turtle! There is nothing I love more than getting sent original drawings, especially from people I know, and more especially from talented artists, which Shawn is. I mean, have you seen the awesomeness he designed for Cult Film Club? So again, I’m already loving this package and I haven’t even gotten to the meat yet.
Also inside was this very detailed letter explaining each and every thing inside the package and why Shawn sent it. Did I mention his attention to detail? I think he may have missed his calling as an archivist. Decorating the pages were more original art and some rad stickers. Always with the stickers! That’s why Shawn’s packages are the best.
Here’s a closer look at that drawing, and the mini figure that inspired it. OMFG IT’S A PURPLE POOP MONSTER! With an outhouse as a body! How bizarre yet insanely cool. Of course, I had to know more about it, so I took to Google and discovered OMFG! (Outlandish Mini Figure Guys) who make all sorts of cool little guys like this. Now I recognize that sticker in the previous picture! How appropriate is that name, by the way? “OMFG” is pretty much the reaction I had. You know, because it’s A PURPLE POOP MONSTER WITH AN OUTHOUSE AS A BODY.
According to the OMFG website, this mini figure is named “Phantom Outhouse.” But whatever! He’s “Purple Poop Monster” to me! Maybe even “Purple Poop Monster, Jr.” because the Outhouse “shell” makes him seem very young to me, like a Poop Monster that hasn’t fully hatched. Kind of like Sheldon from Garfield and Friends. (Wow, did my mind really just go there? Yeah. It did.) It took everything I had to put Purple Poop Monster Jr. down and stop imagining all kinds of disgustingly awesome scenarios for how he came into being.
Now we’re getting into the real meat and potatoes, and the original reason why Shawn sent me this package–Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics! Shawn had been cleaning out his single issue stash and asked around on Twitter if anybody needed his extras. Although I have a lot of TMNT comics, there’s definitely a few gaps in my collection that I’ve slowly been trying to fill. These were three books that I didn’t have.
Shawn also threw in this autobiographical indie comic called Drinking at the Movies by artist Julia Wertz. It looks hilarious, and I like Julia’s style. I plan to read it one one of my lunch breaks this week.
Nestled in with the comics were these retro TMNT Storybook Adventure books! I remember having a couple of these as a kid, but like most cool things I had from my childhood, I have no idea what happened to them. Holding these books in my hands was like re-capturing a little piece of my childhood, and that’s something that I consider precious.
Isn’t it crazy how you slowly lose things like toys, books and games over time when you’re growing up, as different things become more or less important in your life? In my case, I had a mother who was borderline OCD about cleaning and organization, and every couple of months she’d make my sister and I go all through the house and round up things to sell at yard sales or give to Goodwill, which is what happened to a lot of my stuff over the years. On the one hand I’m thankful because her OCD rubbed off and made me the very neat, clean person I am today. On the other hand…I miss my stuff.
More sticker cards! Garbage Pail Kids are always a welcome sight, and frequently turn up in Shawn’s mailings. I’m slowly building up a nice collection just from the loose cards Shawn and a couple of other bloggers have sent me. Mixed in with the Garbage Pail Kids were Cereal Killers cards from Wax Eye! Until now I only had a single pack of these cards which I won from Wax Eye’s Facebook page, so I’m stoked to have more to add to my collection–and even better that they’re cards I don’t already have! I think you must be psychic, Shawn.
Now here’s something that goes straight to my heart–TMNT Valentines! I had mentioned on my blog that I was having a tough time finding these awesome sticker card Valentines (even though I did find this totally sweet TMNT Valentine watch), so Shawn sent me his leftovers. When it comes to TMNT, I don’t mind sloppy seconds in the least! I love the design of these cards, and how non-committal they are as kid-friendly Valentines go. There are no hearts or the word “love” anywhere to be found, which is what you want to look for in a Valentine you’re planning to give to schoolmates who could potentially misinterpret your gesture as a crush, or worse, beat the shit out of you.
Somewhere around these parts I also mentioned very recently that I’ve never seen V. This caused much shock and disbelief among my circle of bloggers, and I guess Shawn felt it was his duty to remedy that. My geek cred was at stake! He passed on these well-loved DVD copies of V: The Original Mini Series and V: The Final Battle to me, which were tucked inside a TMNT goodie bag. I can’t wait to start watching, because apparently I’ve really been missing out on a good show, according to what everyone has told me. I think I’ll try to knock out an episode per night.
Something that’s also always a welcome sight: candy! Especially when it comes in retro video game tins. This Atari Joystick makes an excellent addition to the small collection I now have of video game candy tins, including the Pac-Man Arcade candy tin Shawn sent me for Christmas. He also threw in a pack of Strawberry Hi-Chew, because they have a similar taste to Pink Starburst, which Shawn knows I have an obsession for. These are already gone, by the way.
So much awesome stuff and I’m not even done yet! Also buried in the package was this set of four TMNT pens, which each hang by a lanyard that matches the Turtles’ mask colors. I’m guessing these are meant to be party favors for TMNT-themed birthdays? Certainly not office attire, but that’s not going to stop me from wearing them around mine just so I can be there at the ready when someone asks, “Anyone got a pen?” and I whip out my Raphael pen with ninja-like reflexes, impressing everyone around me.
Last but definitely not least, Shawn included this jar of what looks like peanut butter, but is actually something called cookie butter. When he first mentioned it to me, I was skeptical because “cookie butter” sounds like something that’s too amazing and magical to exist, like unicorns. But here it is, a whole jar of the stuff, which is marketed as “deliciously unusual.” Let’s play a game: raise your hand if you think Jaime immediately opened the jar of cookie butter, violently tore the seal off, and plunged a finger into its gooey depths then into her mouth because you can do that kind of thing when you live alone? If your hand is raised, you’re a winner. I don’t really have any prizes to give away, so as a reward I will describe the taste of cookie butter to you:
Shame. It tastes like shame.
Shawn, for reals man, I am so humbled by how thoughtful and generous you are, and your attention to everything that went into this care package. I feel so lucky to have friends like you in my life, even though we’ve never met!