Posts tagged visionaries
Posts tagged visionaries
“Three suns aligned pour forth their light, and fill the archer’s bow with might!”
I figured I’d get the obligatory magical chant out of the way early, as we’ve come to end of the Visionaries retrospective.
The final character in my collection is Cryotek, the muscle.
The oldest of the heroic Spectral Knights, Cryotek was your typical gruff, battle-worn warrior who’d been through it all. Kinda like Kupp in Transformers: The Movie, except without all the stories.
Reciting the aforementioned magical chant would summon a big blue archer — the power of strength — from Cryotek’s staff. His chest hologram also allowed him to transform into a bear.
My action figure was purchased at a CVS at the corner of Merchants and Winton roads in Rochester, about a block from my home. I looked it up on Google Maps and the CVS is still there.
He was the second figure I owned in the Visionaries collection, after Witterquick. For a long time they were the only two I had, then the price of the toys started to drop as the popularity of the series waned, and my parents snapped up other figures at a discount.
I’ve always been disappointed that Visionaries didn’t last into a second toy series or television season.
Out of all the action figure lines in the 80s, I’ve always said Visionaries deserved praise for having a solid mythology in the cartoon series, nicely sculpted figures, and of course, the same articulation points as G.I. Joe, which was one of the leading toy lines.
That, to me, increased their play value. I didn’t care that much about the holograms, even if it was the big selling point in the commercials and cartoon.
It was a toy with a gimmick, instead of a gimmick with a toy.
So now that I’ve wrapped up this series, I’m switching back to the Super Powers retrospective. Coming Sunday, Superman faces off against his greatest enemy, a guy who looks nothing like Gene Hackman.
Thanks for reading Visionaries fans… May the light shine forever!
They’re the two best friends that anyone could have! They’re the two best friends that anyone could have!
Meet the “gruesome twosome” of my Visionaries collection, Cindarr and Lexor. Together they are the bumbling henchmen of Darkling Lords leader Darkstorm.
They weren’t really a pair in the Visionaries comics or cartoon, but they were purchased together by my grandmother at the Eastview Mall Sears back in 1987. That was way back when Eastview had that green carpet and people used to be able to smoke in the mall.
It was also way back when Sears used to sell toys.
So, as a result of getting Cindarr and Lexor at the same time, they were always together during any Visionaries adventure. It was very much a buddy-cop kind of situation, except they were both villains.
They were also very competitive with each other, which often led to mid-air arm wrestling matches like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers in Predator.
Cindarr is the one with the grey beard, club and gorilla hologram on his chest. He also wielded the power of destruction in his magical staff.
Whenever Cindarr wanted to wreak havoc, he’d recite the chant “By nature’s hand, by craft, by art; what once was one now fly apart!”
In the cartoon the chant would create this massive pointy-eared beast that would throw down and waste everything in its sight.
There wasn’t really much depth to the villains in the Visionaries show, and Cindarr is a prime example.
He was the strong villain — big, dumb and stupid looking. Think Emil Muzz in Dragnet or Non in the Superman films. He’s basically Jack O’Halloran with grey hair.
But Cindarr did have one thing going for him. He was voiced by one of the greatest voice actors in the history of the world, Peter Cullen, also known as Optimus Prime.
With Cindarr filling the role of the dumb brute, Lexor was stuck with the role of the coward.
He’s basically a weasel, and his two holograms represent the fact that in a fight he’s going to get in a fetal position and stay there until Cindarr bails him out.
Lexor’s chest hologram was an armadillo, and he spent a good chunk of the cartoon transforming into one so he wouldn’t get hurt.
He wielded the power of invulnerability in his staff, which came forth when he recited the chant, “The arrows turn, the swords rebel; let nothing pierce this mortal shell!”
The action figure was armed with this dual-hook weapon and he came with a helmet with eye-holes that never matched up his eyes. That was a lot of fun because I’d always have Lexor walking into walls and stuff.
In the cartoon, Lexor was voiced by actor Michael McConnohie, who actually works out of Las Vegas. His company, Voxworks, specializes in voiceover and ADR.
McConnohie doesn’t really look like Lexor, but that’s cool. He also did the voice of Ironhide in the Transformers cartoon, and he doesn’t look like a robot either.
So with Cindarr and Lexor posted, there’s only one character left in the Visionaries retrospective. I’ll post him on Wednesday, and after that My Old Toys will return to the Super Powers series.
See you next Wednesday.
We have a vehicle sighting in the Visionaries retrospective!
The Lancer Cycle was one of four vehicles produced in Hasbro’s 1987 Visionaries line, and it’s the only one I owned.
In the cartoon, four characters (two good, two evil) didn’t get magical power staffs, so instead they got to drive the vehicles.
The Lancer Cycle was driven by Ectar, a member of the heroic Spectral Knights. I realize the names are starting to get weird. Like George Lucas weird. Just a heads up, they’ll get even weirder by the end of this retrospective.
Anyway, Ectar was one of my favorite characters, partially because he came with this awesome claw weapon which instantly reminded me of the one the Predator used when he killed Carl Weathers.
I used to use that claw a lot when my toys would get into Predator adventures, but that’s for another post.
Ectar got some pretty good screen time in the Sunbow cartoon. It’s revealed that he used to be a cop during the Age of Science, and he puts all those skills to use in the new world.
Ectar’s magical totem allowed him to transform into a fox whenever he needed to get out of a jam.
He also had an old-school rivalry with the evil character Reekon, which he references at the beginning of this episode.
As for the Lancer Cycle, it’s equipped with this awesome spring-loaded battering ram and four hologram stickers. The biggest one showed these two hands shooting a ball of energy from the cockpit.
The hands are supposed to represent the “power of protection” but it was always used as a weapon and not a shield.
To activate the power, Ectar would recite the magical chant, “Shield this craft from one and all, reflect, deflect, depose and fall!”
For the record, every time I have to write out one of those chants I feel like a total dork.
So now that we’ve showcased Ectar and the Lancer Cycle, we are getting close to ending the Visionaries retrospective. In Sunday’s post there will be a two-fer, and next Wednesday’s will be the last for this series.
After that it’s back to Super Powers.
Merry Xmas from My Old Toys!
Taking a break from the holiday action to continue my Visionaries retrospective with this guy, Leoric, leader of the valiant Spectral Knights.
Leoric’s got some wear and tear on him, probably from all the adventures he used to get into back in the day.
His hologram is blurry now, but it was a lion. Leoric, Leo, lion, you get it.
His power staff had a hologram of an owl, for wisdom, which he would use whenever he needed some questions answered. I always thought Leoric’s magical power was redundant, because another character had the power of knowledge. But whatever.
When Leoric needed to call upon his owl, he would recite the magical chant, “Whispered secrets of a shattered age, I summon you, renew this sage!”
One thing I found interesting about Leoric was that he’s the only good guy with facial hair. The defining characteristic with Visionaries villains was that every one of them had an “evil” beard or Mirror Universe goatee.
Leoric’s just chillin with the Tom Selleck moustache. I guess it makes him stand out among the heroes, and since he’s the lion, he needs a little fur.
Last week I mentioned how voice actors in the Visionaries cartoon also did voices for G.I. Joe and Transformers. That happened with Leoric too.
The actor who voiced Leoric, Neil Ross, did a lot of G.I. Joe voices, most notably Shipwreck.
He also voiced Wolverine in the animated X-Men pilot Pryde of the X-men, which a lot of fanboys will remember is the version of Wolverine where he speaks with an Australian accent, even though the character is Canadian.
I’ve got four more characters to go in the Visionaries retrospective, and then it’s back to Kenner’s Super Powers. On Wednesday, you’ll meet one of only two Spectral Knights characters who didn’t get their own magical power staffs.
His name is Darkstorm. He’s got a mirror-universe beard. I’m telling you he’s evil!
If Die Hard-era Alan Rickman was transported to the Visionaries universe, this is what he’d look like.
Darkstorm embodies all the stereotypical evil traits of 1980s cartoon villains. He hates children and animals, he’ll sell his underlings up the river without hesitation and his goal is world domination, although it’s never clear what he’d do if he ever got it.
Like the rest of the Darkling Lords, Darkstorm’s holograms represent savage and/or malevolent creatures and powers.
His chest hologram is a mollusk, because he’s slimy. His power staff hologram is decay, and his magical chant is: “By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not; let all that grows recede and rot!”
Groan. Those chants are so awful.
Here’s a good piece of trivia. Turns out Darkstorm was voiced in the Visionaries cartoon by a voice actor named Chris Latta.
He’s the same guy who did the voices of Cobra Commander on G.I. Joe and Starscream on Transformers. I know, right.
That actor also voiced Cravex on Visionaries, using the same screeching voice that he used for the commander and Starscream.
I looked the guy up on IMDB, turns out he passed away back in 1994, shortly after appearing in Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot. Bummer.
So, now that we’ve met the leader of the Darkling Lords, we should meet his counterpart, the leader of the Spectral Knights.
That’s coming next week.
Tomorrow I’m adding another figure to the Visionaries retrospective.
If you don’t know this character here’s a little bit of trivia: He was voiced in the Sunbow cartoon by the same man who voiced two popular villains in the G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons.
It is a time when magic is more powerful than science, and only those who control the magic control destiny… they are the Visionaries!
This week I’m starting the Visionaries retrospective, taking a look back at one of my favorite 80s toy lines.
Visionaries, like many others, also had a comic book and TV series tie-in. The latter was produced by Sunbow, the same company that did G.I. Joe. That led to using a lot of the same voices in the cartoons.
The series took place on a planet called Prysmos, a technologically advanced society which suddenly went through an apocalypse that sent it back to the dark ages.
When the “Age of Science” ended, the “Age of Magic” began, and a wizard named Merklynn bestowed magical abilities to a small group of heroes, the Spectral Knights, and villains, the Darkling Lords
Unfortunately Visionaries was canceled after the first series, right around the same time Sunbow ended their G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons.
The 80s action figure market was a crowded one, and I’m not sure Visionaries would have lasted long, considering the toys and cartoon premiered just as a little show called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was about to debut.
But the toys really impressed me, particularly because the figures had all the same articulation points as G.I. Joe figures, although they were slightly taller.
Each figure came with a chest hologram and a hologram power staff. Holograms were a fad for a while, I remember another hologram-based toy line called Supernaturals came out around this time.
Anyway, in the show, the characters could transform into whatever animal was on their chest, and they could call on some special power from the staff by reciting a magical chant.
My favorite character, who you see pictured above, was Witterquick. His magical power was speed and his chest hologram was a cheetah.
Witterquick didn’t have much of a role on the show, he was basically there to run fast and get away from the Darkling Lords, or run them down and catch them.
But he had blonde hair and blue eyes, just like me. So when I would play Witterquick would be the star of all the Visionaries adventures.
His weapon was a boomerang and he had a cool power staff with winged-helmet character that looked like a cross between Hawkman and Thor.
When he needed to call upon the power of light speed, he would recite the chant, “Sheathe these feet in the driving gale, make swift these legs o’er land I sail!”
I know, that’s totally corny. But so is the Green Lantern oath. At least some idiot didn’t spend $300 million on a live-action Visionaries flick that turned out to be horrible.
Just wanted to give everyone a preview of the next wave of toys coming out of the box.
I’ll break away from Super Powers briefly for a little retrospective focusing on one of my favorite toy lines from my childhood, one that didn’t last long but still left me with some good memories.
That’s coming this weekend.