I got my tickets for Iron Man two weeks ago. I'll be seeing it tonight. I thought it would be cool to get an Iron Man toy before I saw the movie. So last week, my friends (Justin, my brother, and Carl) and I made arrangements to have lunch on Wednesday (April 30) at a Burger King in Burbank (the one seen at the beginning of Back to the Future). I figured we'd have lunch, get one of those Burger King Iron Man toys, then walk next door to the Toys R Us and possibly buy one of the new Iron Man action figures.
So on Wednesday, we went to Burger King. Justin ordered his food first. He didn't want a toy, so he didn't ask for one. I asked for one, and the lady told me you could only get one if you ordered a Kids Meal. Because they didn't want to run out, she said. Yeah, I can only imagine how a hopeful customer would feel if they came all the way to Burger King and couldn't get their Iron Man toy. It sounds awful. Anyway, I had already made my order, and she had already called it into the microphone, so I just said fine and I got no toy. Then my brother walked up to the cashier next to me. I told him in advance about the Kids Meal thing and told him to get a Kids Meal so he could get the toy. He said he didn't want a Kids Meal.
My brother frustrates me sometimes. A Kids Meal is food, isn't it? What the fuck difference does it make what you order? If it's too small, just order more!
So he didn't even try to get the toy. When we sat down, Carl had an Iron Man toy. He said he just asked for one and they sold it to him. When we finished eating, Carl ended up throwing it away on accident. So already this day was not going so hot. We walked over to the Toys R Us and they had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. A guy who worked there checked the computer and told us the Toys R Us in Van Nuys was also sold out, but the one in Glendale had four action figures left. He gave me a printout of that information (it was a pretty slow day).
In my experience (which has been documented on this blog in the past), whenever they tell you a store in a nearby city has three or four of something left in stock, this means that store is sold out of that thing, and their computer inventory is off by about three or four. But I live close to Glendale, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to look. First, we went to the Glendale Target. They had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. Then we went to the Glendale Toys R Us. They had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. I asked a woman who worked there if they had any Iron Man action figures left, and she looked at me like I'd just walked into a supermarket and asked for fresh pterodactyl meat. She walked me over to the shelf I had already looked at and double-checked with another employee, who reacted as if she had just asked him if maybe there was some pterodactyl meat left in the freezer. I showed her the printout from the other Toys R Us, not really expecting it to help, but just so she would know that Toys R Us fucked us into traveling a long distance for nothing. She theorized that maybe the phantom four action figures had been stolen. Hmm.
Later that day, I went to Golden Apple Comics and the West Hollywood Target. Golden Apple had a giant display of Iron Man stuff, with an action figure stuck in as part of the display. If they were selling these babies, I didn't see them. Target had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures.
I'm not crazy, right? Is it too much to ask that toy retailers stock action figures of one of the biggest movies of the year on the WEEK it's coming out?
This whole situation got me to thinking about how last week, I was in La Habra, where I visited a Target and a Walmart. The Target had had a couple of Iron Man action figures and the Walmart had had a bunch. I hadn't bought anything then because I had no money, and I figured I would just get it on our Burger King/Toys R Us trip on Wednesday. But now I had nothing. So yesterday, I went back to La Habra and had lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Then I went across the street to a second Walmart that La Habra had, that I had never been to. And oh my god, this La Habra Walmart, oh my god. Not only did they have Iron Man action figures. They also had Incredible Hulk action figures, Indiana Jones action figures, and The Dark Knight action figures. They also had standard turtles in their TMNT action figure line. From now on, this place is my first stop.
Right now, there's five Iron Man action figures to choose from:
- The Mark 1. This is Iron Man's shitty first armor that he builds in the movie.
- The Mark 2. This is the second version that looks almost like the final version, except it's silver.
- The Mark 3. This is the final red and gold Iron Man suit.
- The Prototype. This is essentially the Mark 3, but with detachable parts to reveal Tony Stark underneath.
- Iron Monger. I believe this is the giant suit the villain builds in the movie.
Now, I'm a sucker for a superhero's shitty first costume. My favorite part of Spider-Man was when he was wearing that stupid wrestling outfit. So I was very interested in the Mark 1. But I also kinda wanted the final suit, so I could display it with my Superman Returns Superman and Batman Begins Batman. And the Prototype's removable mask feature was very tempting. Every kid wants the action figure that can switch between superhero and secret identity (I had the BTAS Bruce Wayne/Batman as a kid). So I ended up going with the Prototype. Also, the La Habra Walmart didn't have any Mark 1s.
The action figure is pretty cool looking. It's hard to play with, because it lets you switch out his bare arms for armored arms, and those babies'll fall off if you handle the figure in any way, as will his shoulder pads. Whenever I show it to people, I hear myself saying "could you pick that piece up?" a lot. But for display purposes, it works beautifully. The removable mask is great. I'm not sure about the scale, because this Iron Man is noticeably taller than Superman and Batman. So maybe they won't stand next to each other on my action figure display. Maybe stick him in the back so he loses a few inches from perspective.
And hey, tonight I'm actually seeing the movie!
If I could offer one bit of wisdom based on this experience, it's this: If you ever want to get a new movie action figure, but you live in or near a big city, just drive directly to the Walmart that's 30 miles out of town.
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