It's February, the month of Valentine's Day and therefore a month when love is on our minds. That's why all this week, leading up to the day of chocolates and roses, the SYFY WIRE staff is going to spend some time talking about all of the geeky things we love, from movies to TV shows to characters to, of course, toys.
If you're a nerd of any stripe, you probably remember that one special toy you had as a kid. Your favorite, your avatar in the world of make-believe. It might be the first toy you ever loved, the one that made you a part of a fandom even before you knew what fandom was. It might just be the toy you loved year in and year out until it became a treasure perched on a shelf instead of a tool to unlock your imagination on your bedroom floor.
Whatever the case, we at SYFY WIRE remember those toys, and a few of our staff wanted to reminisce about their favorites. So, here are the geek toy loves of our lives.
Batman '89 action figure
My favorite superhero is Batman, and he has been since I was about three years old. This is due to a number of factors, but it's largely because Batman (1989) came out when I was very young, and that meant Batman toys were everywhere. There were legions of them, and the first toy I remember falling in love with was the Toy Biz Batman '89 action figure with the Batrope built into the belt. It made me love The Dark Knight then, and I still love him now. The chest logo has almost completely worn off, but I still have that figure. - Matthew Jackson
Planet of the Apes playset
A toy that I deeply, deeply loved when I was a kid was the AMSCO Planet of the Apes Adventure Playset. Made of cardboard and populated with figures on little stands, it mixed together elements of the first two movies (Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes) as well as the short-lived 1974 TV series. The set included Cornelius and Zira's house, a cage/jail, the ruins of an underground subway station, the "Cave of the Doomsday Bomb" (complete with a little Alpha-Omega bomb!), Ape Headquarters, an Earth spaceship and more, plus figures of the astronauts from the TV show (not Charlton Heston), Cornelius, Zira, Dr. Zaius and various gorilla soldiers. I don't know what happened to mine, but I saw one recently going for nearly $600 on eBay — and man was I tempted. - Don Kaye
Leia Kenner doll
The first toy I fell in love with as a kid was a 1978 Princess Leia doll from Kenner I received on Christmas Day years ago. That doll actually made me fall in love even more with Star Wars and the strong character played by Carrie Fisher. I kept that doll for years even though I'd played with her quite a bit, even undoing her amazing buns (biggest mistake ever. I could never put her hair back the right way). There weren’t many other toys I loved as much as my Princess Leia, the only one that comes close is my She-Ra: Princess of Power action figure released by Mattel in 1985. But hey, they say you can never forget the first toy you loved and for me, it will always be my Kenner Princess Leia. - Nathalie Caron
I never cared much for Barbies. There was SO much focus in Barbie play on creating outfits for her, and considering I went to Catholic school and wore the same outfit five days a week, what did I know — or care —about outfits? Enter my Wonder Woman doll. I didn’t care what she wore — she wore the same clothes every day — just like me! I cared about who she was, and what she did. I wanted a lasso, not a purse. And if I was going to pay attention to a bracelet at all, it had really better do something cool. - Alexis Sottile
Cyclops action figure
Coming through geeky adolescence in the 1990s, the original X-Men animated series served as my gateway drug into the world of superheroes, Marvel Comics and the wide world of toy merchandising. One of my favorites was the original Cyclops action figure — complete with a light-up visor for optic blast action. I remember hauling that thing around everywhere I'd go, always ready to help liberate some Morlocks or battle Magneto should the need arise. It was one of my first geeky toys after growing up with Hot Wheels and LEGOs, and would soon pave the way for the full X-Men action figure roster. - Trent Moore
I don't remember much about the first house I grew up in. We had one of those farmhouse sinks in the kitchen that are so popular now, there was a crazy neighbor who showed me a dead bird once when I was four, and, most importantly, I had a Godzilla toy.
I wish I could find a picture of him, but he was a big dude. I'm sure I had other toys, too, but just the size of this Godzilla figure alone is reason enough that the King of Monsters looms so large in my childhood memory. The sad thing is, I didn't have him for very long.
Here's what happened: whenever I was done playing with Godzilla, I put him on the dresser next to my bed. And every night I had nightmares that kept both me AND my parents up. This went on for weeks. My mother said it was because Godzilla was too scary looking, but I loved Godzilla! I didn't want to part with him!
Long story short, my mother eventually took Godzilla away and I stopped having nightmares. My mother was right, but, well over three decades later, I'm still mad about it. Because that Godzilla toy was THE COOLEST. - Dany Roth
Ghostbusters proton pack
I had the same Godzilla toy as Dany, and I was equally obsessed with it. But before that rubber (plastic?) monster came into my life, I was obsessed with The Real Ghostbusters, the animated series based on the movies. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as good as the movies, but I was a dumb kid. And like a dumb kid, I carried my toys everywhere — even the ones that were more costume than toy. I loved my proton pack, even though it was bulky and probably looked silly on me. My parents still have it, too, and I'm tempted to wear it to work one day. - Jordan Zakarin