Comic Strip: Twisted Toyfare Theatre
A comic series published every month in Toyfare magazine — an action figure hobbyist magazine and price guide that is humorous in tone — since the magazine began in 1997 and collected in trade paperbacks, "TTT" combines snarking, liberal references to anything in pop culture, tropes on top of tropes, and fair amounts of Black Comedy as a topper. Twisted Toyfare Theatre originally featured 1970s Mego dolls (many of them customized, and most of those being Marvel characters) as the main characters, although other characters (such as Cobra Commander and the Stormtroopers) have become more prominent as the Megos got stale (Literally, those things were held together with rubber bands).Writers Matt Senreich, Tom Root, and Doug Goldstein went on to work for Robot Chicken, which it is similar to. Former editor Rob Bricken went on to work for their sister publication Anime Insider, ran the Topless Robot nerd-blog for several years, and is now working for io9.Wizard shut down Toyfare in 2011, taking the series with it.
Twisted Toyfare Theatre provides examples of the following tropes:
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Odin, who, taking a cue from the "Odin-Sleep" established in the comics, peppers his dialogue with unnecessary "Odin"-phrases (see Cloudcuckoolander below), and has baby pictures of Loki ready at hand to show guests.
- And Call Him George: The Hulk kills Cyclops this way.
- Animated Actors
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger enter the race for the Megoville mayoral election, Reed Richards uses the Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time to retrieve Thomas Jefferson, whom Richards calls the third greatest president in history; he feels that this is not important enough to bother Abraham Lincoln or Jimmy Carter. A variation on the trope used in Daredevil v. Ben Affleck:"The court will now hear the case of Daredevil v. Ben Affleck, for the crime of every movie since Good Will Hunting and the lesser charge of character defamation!"
- Ass Shove: Has happened to the Hulk. Willingly done by Sulu to himself
- A-Team Firing: Mocked in a G.I. Joe vs. Cobra battle. Spidey points out that they might actually hit something if they aimed lower, and nudges Duke's rifle to a more effective angle; Joes and Cobra alike are horrified when this results in a dead Cobra soldier.
- Badass Grandpa: Golden Age Spider-Man is incredibly badass, and a parody of the more lax attitude towards morality in comics during the GA; the way he sees it, it makes perfect sense to gun down robbers but let dictators off with an uppercut and a warning. Also the Clone Trooper who joined the Stormtroopers after being cloned into a younger body. "Who wants to armwrestle?"
- Black Comedy Rape: H.E.R.B.I.E. is known for his "banana in the tailpipe" trick. And he doesn't have a banana.
- Bloody Hilarious: Frequently. Dr. Doom's Pikachu dissection tray is one of many examples.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "All actors are robots. Or gay. Or gay robots."
- Butt Monkey: Cyclops, who is constantly insulted and abused by Professor Xavier. Also the Falcon, by Captain America. Doom, right from the start. The first strip had him beaten senseless by Ponch and Jon from C Hi Ps, and it just went downhill from there.
- Camp Gay: Northstar, taken to ludicrous heights after his comic counterpart was revealed to be homosexual.
- Character Exaggeration: Nearly every character who appears is a heavily exaggerated parody of themselves. Doug Goldstein said a favorite technique of his was to take a personality trait and twist it just slightly, making it ludicrous while still true to the character. As an example, he cited the Borg; the first time they knock on Spidey's door, he slams it in their faces, but when he tries to do so a second time, the Borg "adapt to his defensive capabilities" by sticking a foot in the door. By contrast, Mego Spidey himself is a complete 180° from the classic "with great power comes great responsibility" of his comics counterpart—he would much rather avoid/ignore whatever shenanigans are afoot and be left in peace.
- Chew Toy: The Negative Zone Alien, whose entire purpose is to have garbage repeatedly dumped on him by The Thing.
- The Falcon is generally treated just as badly; if he manages to get out of a strip with something horrible happening to Redwing, it counts as a victory.
- Cloudcuckoolander: OdinOdin: Let the Odin-feast commence! Someone pass the Odin-basket, the All-Father be Odin-Starving! DODEY-ODIN-ODIN-DEY!
Spider-Man: (to Loki) Psst. I think your dad's Odin-senile.
Odin: HEY! I Odin-heard that!
- Comes Great Responsibility: Usually completely averted with the Trope Namer—Mego Spidey would be more than content to ignore the absurdity surrounding him and remain on his couch, watching TV and eating potato chips. Even a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner moment, after the other Megos come to him for help when the Marvel Legends figures attempt to take over, ends up as a precursor to Mego Spidey kicking them out of his house.
- Continuity Nod: Tons, but one of the best involved Odin and Loki.Odin: And Loki... call thy mother.
Loki: My mother was a frost giant and you killed her.
Odin: Yep, and your real father. Hoo-boy, good times.
- Curse Cut Short: One of the most blatant examples was in the Harry Potter spoof "When Harry Met Spidey".Mego Spidey: A "Hulk-flavored bean"? Never had that taste in my mouth before.
Hulk: Rhaargh! That not true! Spidey just very sound sleeper!
Mego Spidey: WHAT THE —
- Deadpan Snarker: Mego Spidey, the Stormtroopers.
- Disability Superpower: Subverted in that Daredevil not only lacks his signature radar sense, he seems to be much more clueless of his surroundings than any normal blind person could ever be. When the Marvel Legends come calling, two Daredevils fight to the death in Hell's (actual) Kitchen... except they're both just manhandling pots and sacks of flour while thinking they're really fighting the other guy. He also seems to believe that wearing a white shirt and a hat over his costume is a disguise.
- The Ditz: Hulk
- Dork Age: Just about every one suffered by a Marvel character will eventually be brought up.
- Evil Is Petty: Loki. God of Evil he may be, but he spends most of his time in the strip pulling annoying pranks.Spider-Man: Isn't there a Rainbow Bridge or something that leads to your house?
Loki: Yep, just plant these Skittles.
panel break: And, so...
Spider-Man: There, done. So when does the Rainbow Bridge start sprouting?
Loki: It doesn't, I just wanted to see if you'd actually bury candy. The real bridge is over there.
Spider-Man: *pause* ...You're such a tool.
Loki: I'm not the one with the Skittle garden.
- Flanderization: Thor's Transparent Closet. Additionally, Alan Moore's main purpose being rescuing Man-Thing and correcting people who confuse him with Swamp Thing.
- Groin Attack: The Hulk manages to kick Jarvis in the crotch so hard, his legs rip off.
- Handsome Lech: Captain Kirk.Kirk: (with his shirt on) Time travel... again? HOT DOG! Sulu, set a course... for ACTION!
Spock: Captain, if history has taught us anything, it is that... that... you're gonna do whatever the hell you want. Ass.
Kirk: (with his shirt off) God, I hope my ancestors are HOT!
- Hilarity Sues: Daredevil sues Ben Affleck for the Adaptation Decay of his movie.
- Hulk Speak: Hulk, with the occasional Lampshade Hanging.Hulk: You know Hulk's grasp of language tenuous at best.
- Insufferable Genius: Reed Richards—condescending, dismissive, and willing to sacrifice his teammates and loved ones (and anyone else that might happen to be on hand) at the drop of a hat for science. It's also pointed out in a biography page from volume 5 of the trade paperbacks that it takes a special kind of hubris to name yourself "Mister Fantastic".
- Jerkass: Professor X is not a very nice guy in this series. Also he's not really paralyzed and fakes it for laughs.
- Doctor Strange is somehow even worse, at one point banishing a kitten to hell.
- Killer Rabbit: Don't mess with the Ewoks unless you want to be dismembered and eaten. This has some basis in actual Star Wars canon; see the part at the end of Return of the Jedi where an Ewok beats the severed heads of downed Stormtroopers like drums.
- Large Ham: Arnold Schwarzenegger stand-in Conan the Barbarian and Schwarzenegger himself (who mainly speaks in quotes from his movies). But these both pale in comparison to the Mego version of Dr. Doom, who manages to make his mainstream Marvel counterpart look underplayed by comparison. Truly an accomplishment in ham.Dr. Doom: MWAH-HA-HA! Doom finally has his revenge by launching the Fantastic Four into space! And now... to blow up space!
- Manly Gay: Sulu, on the rare occasions that George Takei's sexuality is (jokingly) mentioned. Of course, this doesn't stop the writers from having him ride off the bridge on a giant poodle...
- ...Which is actually a goof on George Takei's Papillion, La Reina Blanca.
- Naked People Are Funny: An ad for Hormel is hosted by "Naked Jonathan Frakes."
- Negative Continuity: Most of the Stormtrooper comics place the characters at different locations during the ending of Return of the Jedi. They have alternately been portrayed working construction on the Death Star when it blew up, watching its destruction on TV in a bar, and being captured by Ewoks as it exploded. Footnotes provide Lamp Shading of the inherent continuity errors.
- Noodle Incident: One comic starts with the Hulk sitting on the couch in Spider-Man's house, looking around. One Gilligan Cut later, and Spidey's house has burned down. His explanation?Hulk: TV start it, Hulk finish it.
Mego Spidey: ...Great.
"Look, if this is about that thing with Bendis' pool, I said I'd pay for it."
- Obfuscating Disability: Charles Xavier has been shown to do this a few times, like jumping up and running when he was caught using his mental powers to cheat at Blackjack.
- Oireland: Clearly the homeland of Banshee.Banshee: "And if'n ye cannae tell, I'm Irish."
- Only Sane Man: Mego Spidey, frequently.
- Poirot Speak: Mocked whenever the X-Men appear.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Constantly.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Hulk
- Pungeon Master: The writing staff loves these. A strip starring Wolverine, for example, was titled "Up And Adamantium."
- Really Gets Around: Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman, attempts to "break Jenna Jameson's record" at one point. Along with the fact that she cheats on Reed every chance she gets.
- Say My Name/Skyward Scream: It's inevitable, when Doctor Doom shows up, that something is about to go wrong for him, and he'll inevitably shout "RRRIIICHARDS!" in frustration. Even if Reed doesn't show up in that comic. It's practically a Catch Phrase.
- The Scrappy: Several well-known Scrappys show up and promptly die violently. Mego Spidey and Hawkeye actually go to a hunting range where the prey consists of Scrappys from 1980s cartoons, including Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) ("The 'O' on his chest is like a target from God!"). The exception is the Ewoks. They cement their psychopathic status by charging in to dismember Jar-Jar Binks, at which point Mego Spidey remarks that comparison to Jar-Jar has made them look far more tolerable in comparison.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Franklin Richards frequently tries to threaten people by bragging that his father is Reed Richards. He often suffers shortly afterward.
- Shirtless Scene: Kirk's shirt disappears and reappears during every one of his strips, often from one panel to the next.
- Small Reference Pools: The writers will often throw in references to comic characters from their youth who are all but unknown in the modern age. This is either remarked upon in an editor's note or mentioned by a character.Man-Wolf: Hey, is that Frederick Foswell over there by Fancy Dan and The Ox?
J. Jonah Jameson: Too obscure, even for this strip.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The Leader, who insults people in probably a more sophisticated way than is needed.Clerk: You know he can't help the way he is.
Leader: And I can't help telling you to shove it. So shove it madam, shove every part of it!
- Space Jews: The Predator aliens are Jewish. Somehow.
- Special Effects Failure: Intentional, humorous example in an early strip (that the DC ban has kept from being republished): Starro the Conqueror is represented by a huge, star-shaped cookie with googly eyes. Spider-Man beats him with a garden hose. Many unintentional examples, too. Kirk drops a "boulder" on the Lizard and Gorn that was pretty obviously a spray-painted crumpled-up piece of aluminum foil, and Thor and Iron Man somehow crashed into the only tree for miles around and flew out of a General Lee that was about the same size as each of them in a failed attempt at a Forced Perspective shot.
- Take That: To every Dork Age that ever existed. Brian Michael Bendis appears as a character almost entirely for the purpose of Take Thats against him. He fills the panels with huge amounts of dialogue, brags about being paid by the word, and is killed by the Scarlet Witch in a New Avengers parody (while all of the characters he killed off in Avengers Disassembled refused to help him). Ed Brubaker's transformation of Bucky into a grim and gritty Anti-Hero is utterly mocked in one installment, complete with Nick Fury trying (and failing) to teach Bucky to be a badass. And two villains decide to kill Franklin Richards after seeing him "stealthing" in a cardboard box and declaring the Raiden section of Metal Gear Solid 2 to be a ripoff.
- Tempting Fate: "There are only two things Chuck Xavier loves in life: this hair and dancing!"
- They Killed Kenny: The entire cast has been killed off at one point or another. Bucky, however, dies nearly every time he appears.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Spider-Man's reaction to everything, such as finding Cobra infesting his house like mice.
- Those Four Guys: The Stormtroopers.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Kang the Conqueror had lead a group of people from the future to the present as a tour guide.
- Too Dumb to Live: Franklin Richards; Bucky; Dr. Doom; Hulk
- Too Much Information: Doctor Octopus and Aunt May have sex in an airplane toilet. It doesn't even need the visual to achieve a thorough level of badness, because Doc Ock is kind enough to inform us that "it's a good thing I sweat butter, 'cause round two's gonna be needing some lubricant!" Mego Spidey laments that "This never happens to Ultimate Me."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mego Spidey is almost NEVER seen without his Lays potato chips (even in the picture on this very page). Just don't try to figure out how he actually eats them through his mask...
- Transparent Closet: Thor, which gets Flanderized quite a bit. Also Banshee, who constantly hangs around Northstar yet spouts suspiciously homophobic dialogue. He is later seen waking up next to Northstar, hoping that he didn't do anything "sinful" while he was drunk.
- Trope Overdosed: Most strips get into at least double-digits in less than 10 pages.
- Unlucky Everydude: Spider-Man
- Unusual Euphemism: Golden Age Spider-Man's web shooters. See, in his day, "webs" were what they called "bullets", and...
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Falcon is frequently derided for having the power to talk to a single bird.
- Whole Plot Reference: The second Manly Men of Action arc is entirely based on the plot of Avatar. That said, if we took the time to list all the examples this would take all day. Suffice it to say, there was an entire strip done in the style of 24, for example, and another that re-enacted the events of 300 with the Spartan space marines from the Halo games.
- Wingding Eyes: Seen often on characters when they die.
- Wolverine Publicity: One of their favorite targets of mockery. There was an entire strip about Wolverine's hectic daily schedule because he's in so many comics. The first trade's cover features Spider-Man and Wolverine:Wolverine: So, how long do I have to stand here?
Spider-Man: Just long enough to sell this thing.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The story "28 Smurfs Later".