Category Archives: barbie

The Evils of Evel Knievel

As I turn forty-five today I’m thinking of a birthday exactly thirty-five years earlier, when all I wanted in the whole wide world was the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle Set. I even remember that tongue-twister name to this day, probably from saying it so much in the weeks before my tenth birthday.

I think it was one of the few times as a kid that I was obsessed with a toy that much. Evel Knievel in the 1970s was a larger than life figure. I remember watching his jumps on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” and even listening to my AM transistor radio that Sunday afternoon for news of how his Snake River Canyon jump went. He was like a superhero, even dressed like one, but he was real. Maybe that’s where it came from.

The toy itself was pretty simple, a motorcycle, an action figure of Evel himself, and the ‘gyro-rev-booster’ that made the cycle go. It was magic in a box. The problem was, it was a ‘doll.’ And my father was dead set against me having ‘dolls.’ It was a dead stop point.

I had no dolls. Hell, I had no action figures, even though that term to my father meant doll, no matter what you called it. This was something that separated me from my friends. I couldn’t play equally with the other boys with their G.I. Joes, their Six Million Dollar Men, or ~ drool ~ their Mego Super-Heroes. It didn’t even matter that my cousin, who I was always being negatively compared to, had all those toys.

My father eventually gave in, and my tenth birthday was filled with an afternoon of enjoyment racing that stunt cycle up and down my front porch and making him jump the ramps from my SSP Demolition Derby Set. I was in heaven! My sister and her husband got me Evel’s Scramble Van that birthday, but as much as I loved them, it just wasn’t me. The van and its camping accessories were just a bit too much Barbie Dream House for me. So I guess my father really didn’t have that much to worry about.

Eventually the magic wore off. The handlebars of the stunt cycle broke off, and Evel’s hands broke off as well. Still, that was one of the best birthdays I ever had.

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Read the Label

This one’s for The Christian Voice. You know those folks who can’t read a simple label, or do their research.

Regarding the release of the Black Canary Barbie, based on the female role model and super-heroine who has been gracing the pages of various DC Comics since 1947, this is what a spokesperson from Christian Voice had to say:

“Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far. A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible – it’s filth.”

One of the things that bother me most about the Great Uninformed Masses and anything to do with comic books is the perception that comics are just for kids. Nope. Wrong the first time. Current demographics put the main comics audience in their twenties, thirties and forties. That’s pretty far from kids’ ages. And even if you want to reach back in time to a more innocent age, Black Canary has always worn fishnets. Since 1947. I’m just guessing that it’s the fishnets are what CV are calling sexually suggestive. Are they against the Rockettes too?

The other thing, the most important thing perhaps, is that Mattel will be marking this product, due for release in September, for adult collectors. It is specifically part of the Black Label Collection, packaged and marketed specifically for the adult collector market. Hear that, Christian Voice? Not for kids. So why the whining?

And if Black Canary’s costume is so offensive, where have you been since 1947? Where were you when she was featured on popular TV series like “Smallville,” “Justice League Unlimited” (a cartoon! and you all know those are just for kids!) and “Birds of Prey?”

No matter, as I said, Christian Voice obviously isn’t an organization that’s big on things like reading or research. If you check their website, which I won’t advertise here, you’ll find that they really don’t have time to read and research. They’re much too busy committing verbal hate crimes against the gay community.