Digi-Comp I - Manual and computer

1963’s Digi-Comp I Was The First Home Computer!

Yesterday I had a bit of time off from the Vault. I had intended to go check out Incredibles 2 but the showings were sold out. So instead I settled on visiting my local Barnes and Noble and picked up a new book. Entitled A History of Video Games in 64 Objects it does what it says on the tin. Which is how of course I was introduced to the Digi-Comp I for the first time. While I will indeed write a review of the book at a later date. I was certainly captivated by 1963’s Digi-Comp I to say the very least.
Digi-Comp I - Mechanical Digital Computer

In a nutshell, the Digi-Comp I is functioning digital computer. Albeit one that is completely made out of plastic and is dependent on a human hand to ‘clock’ it’s processing. While back in ’63 E.S.R. Inc. was focusing on the education aspect of it all. The truth is they ended up delivering the first home computer. All thanks to some plastic flip-flops operated by hand.

[Via] Perkiert

While still basically a toy, the addition of teaching a child how to program this mechanical digital computer, is pretty amazing. In addition as the book points out, it did certainly teach kids to think in binary terms. As well as the aspects of Boolean logic. Which is why, right on the box you had:
“Now for the first time see and understand the operations hidden in the circuits of a giant computer and learn the language of the computers.”

Keep in mind of course that the Apollo 11 wouldn’t launch from Earth for another 6 years. So surely the Digi-Comp I was a pretty magical sounding toy. Furthermore it explains why some of the game programs were so NASA themed. You had a program that allowed you to pretend to launch a rocket from Cape Canaveral. There was one to calculate a satellite re-entry. Or as described in this comic book ad. You could also double check your parent’s bank balance!

Digi-Com I - Electronic Computer Brain ad - DOuG pRATt

Image courtesy of DOuG pRATt.

Not too shabby for a device that is controlled by wires and plastic flip-flops. In addition to blocking some of the calculations by way of cylindrical pegs. It was popular enough that it spawned a second version appropriately named the Digi-Comp II. However this 1965 version used rolling marbles to perform it’s calculations.
Digi-Comp II - Box

Now the Digi-Comp I was amazing and something I need to obtain for myself. On the other hand how can it stack up to a GIANT Digi-Comp II?!

[Via] Evil Mad Scientist

Air Raiders - Title

The Power Was In The Air For 1987’s Air Raiders!

1987 was a time of hard choices for myself. My desire for toys, for action figures was finding itself being challenged by games being offered on the NES. I was still picking up G.I. Joe figures though. In addition to getting bit by the bug for the most futuristic sport ever known. I am referring to Lazer Tag of course. Then there was the lure of the Captain Power toy line. Throw in Hasbro’s possible attempt at edging into Galoob’s Micro Machines with Air Raiders and you can see why the shelves were getting crowded.

Air Raiders - The Toyark

Thank you to The Toyark for this vintage photograph of shelves of 80’s toys!

Much like Hasbro did with their Transformers and G.I. Joe line. Air Raiders commercials totally made you sit up and take notice by way of some nice animation in their ads.

[Via] Bmuz

One of the other reasons that the toys struck my fancy was because of a little 1984 film. David Lynch’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune!

[Via] Movieclips Classic Trailers

While it would be a few years later before I discovered the source material for myself. I think you can certainly see why the settings of Airlandia seemed comfortably familiar.

Air Raiders - Formation of Airlandia - Air Raiders 1987

Courtesy of the Air Raiders 1987 fan page.

With all those other toys and games that I mentioned at the top of the post, there was indeed another reason that Air Raiders became a thing for me. I have told you before that growing up in a single parent household, money was rather tight. By 1987 that had all started to change a little. Quite frankly this new toy line from Hasbro was very affordable.
Air Raiders - Battle Squad

One of those reasons has to do with the fact you weren’t buying action figures like G.I. Joe. You were instead raising an army with 5-packs of soldiers. The villainous Tyrants of Wind and the defiant Air Raiders.
Air Raiders - The Enforcers

Picking up a vehicle would generally gain you a few more soldiers as well as special leaders. Case in point, with the Wind Seeker you add Master Sergeant Blot and Private Blight to your Tyrants of the Wind army!

[Via] The Toys Channel

Sadly and probably due to how crowded the toy shelves were at the time. Air Raiders didn’t find the demographic it was seeking. Beyond the handful of people like myself that is. However at the very least we fans got a few comics from the Marvel Star Comics line as well as two coloring books.
Air Raiders - Star Comics

Of course we shouldn’t forget that the Air Raiders TV commercials survive to entertain us too. To show us the promise of what could have been a long lived toy line!

[Via] Keith Richardson

Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - The Deadly Fuel Shortage

Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books?

Steve Ditko is a very well known name in the comic industry. Rightfully so as he helped co-create the likes of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and Speedball. There are a few of us comic book fans out there that will refuse to believe that Speedball is not a great character. As you may know, Steve Ditko helped create that character. But were you aware that Steve Ditko did Transformers coloring books?!
Steve Ditko did Transformers coloring Books - Bumblee Message

It is pretty common knowledge that Ditko was upset with Marvel in 1966. Leaving the company in fact, flocking under the Charlton publishing banner. Working on the likes of The Question, Captain Atom, as well as The Blue Beetle.
Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - The Question

Steve Ditko really bounced around during this time period. Working for the excellent Warren Publishing’s horror magazines entitled Creepy and Eerie.
Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - Creepy

The legendary artist also worked at DC Comics. The company would end up buying out Charlton comics, bringing those characters into their fold. As you are probable well aware of, Alan Moore when creating Watchmen, intended for the characters to be the Charlton roster. DC however felt that if Moore used them for his singular universe, naturally they couldn’t be used elsewhere.

While working at DC Comics, Ditko co-created the duo Hawk and Dove, The Creeper and created Shade, the Changing Man. Although not to be confused with the Vertigo character revived by Peter Milligan in 1990. By far though my favorite DC character, besides The Question, is hands down The Creeper!

[Via] Toon Barn

The artist has really ended up being a freelancer once he left Marvel in ’66. Obviously he returned now and again. Which is how Steve Ditko did Transformers coloring books for the company. Four Transformers coloring books as a matter of fact from 1984 to 1986. Transformers were huge at that time, not that the property has really ever truly faded away. Steve Ditko did the Transformers coloring books entitled The Deadly Fuel Shortage, Bumblebee to the Rescue!, The Autobot Smasher!, and The Invasion of the Decepticon Camp.

These coloring books are certainly interesting to read through. Which I might add you can do thanks to Steve-0’s Transformers Site. I say they are interesting for all manner of reasons. Including the baffling choice to momentarily destroy both Wheeljack and Prowl in The Deadly Fuel Shortage.
Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - Wheeljack and Prowl

Or even going so far as to illustrate Bumblebee with only one arm throughout Bumblee to the Rescue!.
Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - Bumblee only has one arm

While the fact that Steve Ditko did Transformers coloring books might not be as important as co-creating Spider-Man. It did allow us to have this illustration created.


The always complaining and Earth-hating Autobot known as Gears…holding up an Elephant!
Steve Ditko Did Transformers Coloring Books - Gears holding an Elephant

Mr Skinny Bones - Marx Toys

Step Up And Shake Hands With Mr Skinny Bones!

For a couple of minutes I was tempted to publish this as a Saturday Frights post. As I have mentioned once or twice, I suffer from Pediophobia. The fear of dolls. Mr Skinny Bones from Marx Toys might not be an actual doll but it is close enough. However, I believe that if you look closely at the image of the Mr Skinny Bones box. Even the kids know this is full of Grade A nightmare juice!

Mr Skinny Bones was supposedly released by Marx Toys in 1970. You may not know the Marx brand off the top of your head but I guarantee you know some of their products. First of all the company was hugely successful in the 50’s. One of those reasons of course has to do with how many licenses they secured. The Long Ranger, Zorro, Robin Hood, and The Untouchables were just a few toy sets they produced. Not to mention the likes of trains sets, doll houses, as well as Rock’em Sock’em Robots!

[Via] Vintage TV Commercials

Marx was a toy company that early on saw the advantages of plastics. You know, like Dustin Hoffman was told in 1967’s The Graduate.

[Via] Zahh Man

As you can plainly see from Mr Skinny Bones… the character is very much into plastics. It was a type of construction kit, to create ‘A real posin’ pal’. As a matter of fact looking at the toy itself, I cannot help but think this would be an amazing thing for stop-motion animation.
Mr Skinny Bones - Instructions

Of course you might be wondering what Mr Skinny Bones could be useful for. Besides the obvious ability to induce nightmares in children and middle-aged writers for the Retroist. The simple answer is of course… anything you want to use it for. As I think is demonstrated quite well on the packaging for the toy.
Mr Skinny Bones - Toy Use 1

Mr Skinny Bones - Toy Use 2

By the way, our constructable pal wasn’t the only toy created by Marx for the Bones Family. There was one for girls known as Ginny Bones too. Furthermore they had pets as well, Trom Bones the horse and Ham Bones the dog.
Mr Skinny Bones - Bones Family

I have never heard of the show Thrift Hunters before, although there is this clip of them coming upon Mr Skinny Bones.

[Via] SPIKE

For more on Marx Toys, take a moment and check out this American Pickers bonus. They visited a Marx Toys museum which has sadly closed it’s doors. Some beautiful toys in the video though!

[Via] HISTORY

Mr Skinny Bones - Nightmare Juice

I’ll be seeing you in your dreams!