Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Novelty Gods

Mamoo at Dracula's Domain

I walk with the gods, clearly. As the summer starts its descent into fall, I find myself reflecting on how decent it's been lately. Socially I mean; financially this summer was a goddamn nightmare. But I did manage to go on a few small adventures and I saw many wonderful sights. One of which was the amazing Mamoo!

Mamoo is a giant statue in NJ, near Six Flags. He looks like if Alfred E. Neuman and Paul Bunyan had a kid together. When I saw this guy standing there I had to tell the person who drove the car to pull over immediately so I could take a picture with it. He's located on the grounds of the legendary tourist attraction, Dracula's Domain!

Here's a picture of me with Mamoo. As you can see, he absolutely dwarfs me.

Alfred E. Neuman meets The Old Creep

And while we're on the subject of Alfred E. Neuman, I received my first issue from my recent subscription to MAD magazine recently. It's a combination of old and new material, and was of course  funny. 

Along with MAD, this month I'm reading THE CREEPS ("The Best in Illustrated Horror...") and NON-SPORT UPDATE magazine (a magazine dedicated to trading cards). All three magazines were excellent choices on my part. THE CREEPS especially had an impact on me. First chance I get I'll be joining their fan club. NON-SPORT UPDATE is also kind of amazing; it being a trading card magazine had the good sense to come with some trading cards! What a fun novelty!


A Trip to Economy Candy

Economy Candy
is a local NYC candy store, and it really is kind of like stepping into the past. It's been in it's current location since I was a little kid, but that doesn't mean it couldn't use some more customers. If you're ever in NYC, give it a visit it's beautiful.

So my best pal and I went to Economy Candy a few hours before we went to our seasonal Rifftrax show. I love this place, and if I could I would go there every day for candy, trading cards, sometimes old comic books, and other novelty items. Their selection is pretty impressive for a local candy shop.

Here's my haul. I always get Mallo Cups and licorice pipes. Actually, I love licorice, so you can imagine how happy I was when I found a box of Crows! I really thought they stopped making them like years ago. And, I finally have a Garbage Pail Kids poster! The TMNT and Dinosaurs Attack trading cards are also totally rad; Dr. Hal, a famous SubGenius member, actually worked on the Dinosaurs Attack cards. 

I didn't dare to take a bite out of this nearly 30 year old gum. My friend did though, and he immediately spit it out.

Happy Herman & Billiken The God of Things-As-They-Ought-To-Be

So I have an obsession with Billiken, The God of Things-How-They-Ought-To-Be. Billiken's connections to other Novelty Gods, like Alfred E. Neuman, The Yellow Kid, Happy Herman, etc., is pretty well defined when you look deeply into it. The Church of Good Luck has really amazing information on Billiken and his origins so I think if you have any passing interest in the god that overshadows my life, I think you should check out their website. 

Trying to obtain any sort of artifact from the Billiken linage has been difficult for me, but finally I have a few items to keep my dreams strong. 

I received Happy Herman from a seller on Retrophoria; an eBay like website that specializes in retro kitsch items. I haven't been able to find any information on Happy Herman, but I do know I've bumped into this sort of figure before on occasion. I believe there's a Batman variant somewhere in existence too. My Herman has a blue-green vest, messy red hair, and a dopey expression. The card tied around his arm bears his name, and on the back it says "Lucky Doll". 

If you search on eBay for Happy Herman there will be the occasional boxed one. The box said, in essence, to give all your worries and fret to Herman so that you couldn't have to live with them. I believe it said to also hurt Herman, but who'd go and want to do a thing like that???

These instructions remind me of the Wurra-Wurra, another deity similar to Billiken and Happy Herman with a similar purpose. The difference is that there's a story book all about Wurra-Wurra, but I haven't been able to find any images or examples based off of that particular doll. 

As for my Billiken, well, he's currently on my shelf alongside the Sea Hag and Enik (among other company as well, of course). Not exactly what I pictured as my first Billiken, yet this feels pretty good. This particular doll is a 1990's reproduction of what was an early 1900's Billiken Teddy Bear. It's really very beautifully made and in excellent condition.

I think if none of this makes any sense to you, about Billiken I mean, I think this write-up by the eBay seller says it best;

It's definitely an odd way to repackage an intellectual property, but there you have it. Billiken the Teddy Bear. 

Billiken and Happy Herman now live on my shelf together and I couldn't be happier. They're definitely related, it's obvious. Perhaps Billiken inspired them all, or perhaps they're all mutations brought forth from Alfred E. Neuman. Who can say really. 

Archie McPhee

I've been a fan of Archie McPhee for years but I've never ordered anything directly from them. I decided that it was time that I changed that so I ordered a Bibo pin and a pack of Super Awesome trading cards. 

I actually forgot that all orders come with some sort of free gift; I got a really tiny rubber chicken, and I named it VIKTOR OMNIPOTENCE.  So, you know, quake in fear. 

Bibo is similar to the Billikan clan, as he is some sort of god, but Bibo is from China originally (I believe). Bibo is kind of the Archie McPhee mascot or ambassador. When I was young I thought this was actually supposed to be the titular Archie McPhee. 

The tiny rubber chicken, who I call Viktor Omnipotence, is very tiny. While not truly a "rubber chicken", Viktor is made of a very sturdy hard plastic. I feel like if you loaded a slingshot with this thing it would definitely hurt. 

This was my impulse item; I love trading cards and I had no idea what this line was about. Super Awesome trading cards are about all the things that are super awesome! There's a beautiful image on the front of all the cards, and the back has a description about why the item/object/person/whatever is actually super awesome. I won't post any pictures here, but believe me, it's super awesome!

Archie McPhee  didn't disappoint. The items I received were all of the highest quality. I very proudly wear my Bibo pin on my hat along with my "Bob" pin. The gods are always with me, wherever I wander.

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