Totally Tubular 80's Toys - Mark Bellomo

I first "met" Mark Bellomo online in the late 90's, during my years on "The Pit" mailing list, back when the ultimate known G.I. Joe rarities were Claymore file cards and blueprints for the Cobra Missile Command center, and have been lucky enough to have stayed in touch with him over the years.

One thing that has always struck me with Mark was his absolute unending professionalism, courtesy, and intelligence. He is proof positive that just because you love toys doesn't mean you're a basement dwelling nerd, which is something I am extremely grateful for.

I interviewed Mark to help publicize the release of his latest book, and was impressed at what he said about becoming a toy "entrepreneur". I asked him when that had happened, and he said that he didn't think it had happened...he was a fan now, as he always has been, and had merely used his background in American Literature as a way to express his fandom.

So, since our first meeting, he has parlayed his talents with American Literature into a very nice book writing career, writing some fascinating and terrific books, broadening the scope of 80's toys, while I've parlayed my talents of surfing the net and writing .html into a very nice career of pissing people off with my obnoxious and never-ending positivity.

We're like twins, he and I.

Knowing Mark's background, I'm always excited to see what he has coming up next. Not only is he a great writer, he's smart, he's infinitely knowledgeable about the toys he talks about, and he's a relentless perfectionist, so I know whatever he gets out there into collectors' hands is absolutely going to be worth reading. The first two volumes of the Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe certainly were, and without a shadow of a doubt, Totally Tubular 80's Toys picks up right where those left off.

It has become clear to me over the years that G.I. Joe fans are very rarely just G.I. Joe fans...many of us have been in the game since the 80's, and as children of the 80's, our love of that culture transcends these 3 3/4" pieces of plastic. Trust me when I say, this book is made for each and every one of us. No matter what other aspects of 80's culture you love and remember fondly, Mark covers it in this book. From board games to action figures, to television, movies, and girls' toys, he has crafted a fantastic piece of reading that captures the spirit of our favorite decade to near perfection.

Granted, there simply isn't enough paper for him to cover every single great thing about the 80's, or even great toyline (*cough cough* Spiral Zone *cough cough*) but I was truly astonished at the level of detail and the sheer number of different toys he was able to focus on in one single book. Nearly every single turn of the page brought a smile to my face as I was pulled back through the years and fondly remembered a particular aspect of that terrific decade.

The sheer numbers of different topics is what makes the book so great, offering a prevelance of content for all ten years within the 80's. Even if you're not interested in the prevelance of Jem, the Pound Puppies, or Muppet Babies in 1985, you can take solace in the fact that with a flip of the page, you can read about Thundercats, Garbage Pail Kids, or the beloved Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (M.A.S.K.)! Yes, this book does indeed cover it all.

It's not all about toys, either...there's other great nuggets in the book as well, from the Trivial Pursuit craze, to what was hot in music and on television. Each year features a top ten list of television, films, and the billboard music charts, so even those people in your family who aren't toy fans (heaven forbid!) still have plenty of cool stuff to look forward to within these pages.

I consider myself very well versed in the 80's, and a shamefully knowledgable toy geek, however, I was engrossed in every chapter of this book, and found myself thoroughly enjoying it cover to cover.

Truly, buying this book should be a no-brainer to any toy fan out there, or really to any child of the 80's. You will find a ton of great resource, great reference, some awesome behind the scenes detail that I guarantee you didn't know before. It makes for a fantastic coffee table book, and will be certain to encourage conversation.

Honestly...I cannot recommend this book enough. I've had it in my posession for over a week, and not a day has gone by that I haven't picked it up and read it, whether just a page, or an entire chapter. There literally is something here for everyone.

Go to Pick up a copy. It'll be the best twenty bucks you've spent in a long time. Then make sure you keep checking, I'll be featuring a wide ranging and excellent conversation with Mark Bellomo coming up.