Sunday, November 27, 2005

Recent Pez Acquisitions

Here are some recent additions to my Pez collection, all relatively recent releases.

The three Disney Princesses are Cinderella, Jasmine, and Belle. The packaging also pictures Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, and Snow White, but i haven't seen these in stores yet. Perhaps these will be added to the line later?

The Hello Kitty dispenser is the 4th figure that was missing from the collection when Pez first released them over a year ago.

The two loose figures are Chicken Little and The Ugly Duckling from the new Disney film. I think the duckling's name is Eudora? I don't know. I really don't have plans to see that film. I don't know if there are any others in this assortment, but it seems unusual that they'd make just two.

This weekend I saw the NASCAR helmet pez dispensers at Wal-Mart. I saw four different designs, an am told there is a fifth design, an orange helmet, that wasn't on Wal-mart's rack.
I didn't pick these up. I really don't want to start bringing anything with NASCAR logos into the house. I'm just not into the whole gear-head culture.

I have to draw the line somewhere. I hardly even eat the candy that comes with these things anymore. (unless it's Cherry!---which I only get with imports)

Where in Hell are the 2005 Christmas collectible tins?

This year's crop of candy tins is pathetic. Not very long ago, at the start of the Holiday Season, I'd be able to come home from just one store with a couple bags full of new Candy and CookieTins. There'd be a new Snickers Norman Rockwell Santa, The latest M&Ms Christmas Village designs, both Plain and Peanut, a new Oreo "Discover The magic" box, sometimes even two of those, a Baby Ruth, A Crackerjack, a Nestle's Toll House Morsel tin, a Milky Way "12 Days of Christmas", a Butterfinger, a Raisinets, a whole slew of Peter Paul/Cadbury and Hershey's/Reese's contraptions, Tootsie Roll, Necco Wafers, Mary Janes, --it seemed like I'd never be able to find them all in a single season. And it would take my family well into Valentine's Day to consume all the candy and cookies found inside all of these tins.

If I were to check out two, or even three, different department stores or supermarkets, I could end up with 20 to 30 new tins each season.

And that was by simply sticking to the tins that were actually packed and shipped by the real candy company. I always made it a rule to avoid the tins that were actually packaged by a licensee, or third-party manufacturer. (usually easily identified because the name of the candy company isn't actually printed on the can. If it's there at all, it's only on an info card or affixed sticker) It seemed to me like the former was a special Holiday Bonus reward to the dedicated consumer from the Candy Company, while the latter was a "Manufactured Collectible"

These, to me, are as desirable as those pre-packed assortments of butter cookies, or the big three-gallon tins full of caramel corn (the ones with pictures of puppies and spider-man on 'em), or those boxes of beefsticks and mustard from Hickory farms, or those children's bath sets with a sticker of the latest animated superstar stuck to the shampoo bottle.

Yuck. This is the kind of thing that you buy for the Aunt or Uncle who you haven't seen since Last Christmas, or so the inevitable "unexpected guest" doesn't feel left out. NO Way. If I'm giving the tin, or if it's going into my collection, I'd better see the Nabisco name and logo prominently lithographed on the bottom of that Oreo tin.

But over the last several years the selection of "Real" tins has been dwindling, pushed off the shelf by a growing trend of third-party manufactured collectibles. I guess it's become too much of a marketing risk for the companies to put out their own collectibles for the short Holiday Season, just as Globilization and Multi-Culturalism has made it more politically risky for a large corporation to market an item with a Holiday Theme. Better to license the company characters and product names out to somebody importing a plastic gew-gaw from China, and to get the additional bonus of selling that company a small portion of your product to put indie the gew-gaw. It's all upside. The third-party buys your name, buys your product, takes all the risk, handles all the logistics, and later, when the gift recipient has developed a taste for the product, he has to come back to the real manufacturer to buy more.

But It spoils my Holiday Spirit as I watch another thing I enjoy collecting fade away.

This Year's Crop of Christmas Candy Tins is Pathetic.

I've looked in eight different stores where I've usually found new tins this time of year. What Have I found?

Pathetic. I had to go to Target to find these. UGh. I had not set foot inside a Target for almost Two Years because of poor treatment by their "guest Services" division over their return policies. I truly loathe having to return to one of their stores. I will quit collecting tins before I go back to Target again.

The M&Ms tin is the latest in their "Christmas Village" series. This Recording Studio is labeled "#20" in the series, but it's really the 21st; a few years back one of the numbers was repeated, and the series numbering has been one off ever since. This is the Peanut M&Ms tin, in the past there has been a second tin each year, filled with Plain M&Ms. so far this year there is no sign of the Plain tin. (2004 was the first year I had to go to two different stores to find one of each of the tins, prior to that, both tins were readily available at most outlets.) I have to say I am not impressed by this tin. It's a plain rectangular box, no unique shape, and all the printing is done on flat surfaces. No embossing. Good grades for attendance. Poor grades for the effort, folks. ...and I might have to change that attendance grade if the Plain M&Ms tin doesn't make it to school on time.

The Snickers tin is a welcome return for M&M/Mars. While I miss the Norman Rockwell tins, it's nice to see them put out a Snickers tin again, after those silly vinyl zippered sports bags they did in 2004. They stick with a sports theme this year, but it's an NFL locker, emblazoned with all the current team logos. Extra Points After for the embossing on the locker vents and combination lock.

At Wal-Mart, i did find a new tin from Werther's Original butterscotch candies, but to tell the truth, I stopped collecting this line of tins because the tin each year looks too much like the previous year's tin, and frankly, in 2000 I realized that I hadn't eaten all the candy yet out of the 1999 tin.

At K-mart i found a NECCO wafers tin, but it looked like the same tin they had out a few years ago, so I didn't pick it up.

So this year, it looks like only M&M/Mars has stepped up to the plate with a meager offering of new tins. No sign yet of any offering from HersheyFoods, Nestle, Nabisco, Tootsie Roll or any of my other regulars. Shame, Shame, Shame.

2005 might be the year I have to quit collecting this stuff.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I have a Post Office Box again

edited 04/24/08: forget it. I closed this P.O. Box due to inactivity. I guess if you really want to get hold of me now, you'll have to work harder.

After a year during which there was no Post office on my end of town, they have finally re-opened a new branch near me, so again I have a PO box. (I cancelled my box last winter because I had to schlep four miles out of my way to get to the branch to which they were diverting my POB mail.)

Luckily, my old Box number hadn't been taken yet, so i was able to get it again. So I don't have to change any of those old business cards, and I can stop putting the correction stickers on the indicia of my back issues.

If you have my old address on file, you don't have to do anything, (and if you only get my info off this blog, I probably don't know you well enough to have given out my home address while the box was down.)

anyway, if you need to send me something, like money, or a trade, or a love letter, send it now to:

Ben T. Steckler
POB 7273
York, PA 17404

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

...and Criswell told me I'm a descendant of Edgar Cayce.

Mars was really bright in the sky tonight.

It makes me feel Homesick.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Attention all Fans of Palindromes and Wordplay:
My first collection of "The Evil Dr. Palindrome" cartoons is now available at my store (click on the "shop for my comics" link on the right margin.) It's a thick little pocket-sized mini-comic, with 44 pages, chock full of my original palindromes and cartoons.
The cover is screened in Gold Ink with my Gocco Printer.
$2.50 plus a small postage fee via Paypal.
While you're shopping, check out my other minis. If you're only familiar with my work thru the cartoons you see on-line, there's a lot you've yet to discover.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Happy Belated National Lollipop Day!

Sorry for the delay. I had originally wanted to post this back in July in observance of National Lollipop Day, but I got busy with work, and Dental Appointments, and family stuff and just kept putting it off. So tonight as I'm cleaning off the desktop, I thought I'd get it up here for y'all to enjoy. Especially since I haven't posted any new art in a few months.

This was originally drawn as a parody of those little religious tract comics published by Jack Chick. You can read the real things on-line, and order your own copies here:

I decided to incorporate the old Tootsie Pop commercials into my parody. If you are a young'un, you might not remember the little boy asking Mr. Owl and Mr. Turtle "How many Licks does it take to get to the center of Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?" You can watch that old commercial at Tootsie Roll's website:

Tootsie Roll even has a place for you to submit your own official count of How many Licks it took you. I sent in my count, and a couple weeks later, a surprise! I got a neat Certificate in the mail authenticating my tally. (158 licks on a Cherry pop)

So anyway... Here is "TAKE YOUR LICKS" in its entirety for your enjoyment. If you really like it, click on the "Shop for My comics" link over there to the right, and order a copy from my paypal store. I also have the original art available (the seven pages you see here) for purchase. Inquire.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What My Dad must put up with...

I pondered for several days whether I should post this here... Posted by Hello it's more of a joke that only folks who have been in our house lately would get. But then, I really like the way my style worked on this card, and I figured I should share it, especially since I hadn't posted any art in some time.

Dad, in his retirement, has two passions. Doing jigsaw puzzles, and reading.

Mom, in her retirement, has two passions. Sending cases of Potato Chips and treats to anybody on the face of the planet who may have at sometime mentioned her name in passing, not to mention relatives I don't think I've ever seen. Somehow She remembers all their Birthdays and Special occasions. And tries to make sure some Potato Chips or candy make it to their particular corner of the globe in time.

When Mom is on a package-mailing jag, no horizontal surface in our house is safe. It will quickly be covered with cartons either being packed and addressed, or unpacked. This is why my drawing table, while I could adjust it to lie flat, is always tilted at an angle. My Drawing surface is MY SPACE! She'd better not try to pile boxes of Potato Chips on it, or who knows what I'll draw her doing!

Lately, Mom has been on a binge ever since she learned that Weds July 20th is National Lollipop Day. She has made it her mission to send everybody she knows a bag of Mini Tootsie Pops before that fateful day. You might say that Mom is a real Sucker for this holiday! She should get some kind of medal or even a paycheck from Tootsie Roll Industries for all the pro bono work she's been doing for them.

Poor Dad. He had been working for a couple weeks on a particularly difficult puzzle, only to one morning find his work on the Dining Room table inaccessible for the duration. The cat, Quincy, is puzzled too, because he's usually what ends up on top of Dad's puzzle, not a bunch of boxes.

I've got something special planned for you readers in a few weeks when National Lollipop Day rolls in. Keep your wrappers on until then.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Found this creepy hand candle yesterday at The Salvation Army store. It always makes Monster stuff so much scarier when you find it at a shop run by reliigious types. I was wearing my usual jacket with my button that says "Devil" at the time. Posted by Hello

I went to an auction to buy records, and ended up getting this 11-inch Tiki made of Lava Rock to boot for 9 bucks. I have to share. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Here's hoping All You Mothers have a nice day. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Small Stash of Vintage Mini-Comics I found in Ohio...

Recently I took a trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Small Press Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE). Before I left, I stopped in at an old Head Shop called "Monkey's Retreat". They had a box of old mini comics, surely not in the best shape but still readable, and still with the original sale prices!

here are some scans.

I promise that the next post I make here will be a new cartoon by me.

"Tales From Private Hells" (1987) by Dony Mahoney, Tim Fuster, Jim Black and others. Posted by Hello

"Plain Loon's Cosmic House" (1983) by Michael Roden, and "Z" #17 (1980) by Bob Stewart Posted by Hello

some interior pages from Micheal Roden's mini-comic. Really wild op-art collage effect. There's an online catalog of his stuff here: Posted by Hello

a page from Mark Martin and Eric Mayer's jam mini, "Why Me?". the nifty use of the blue spot color is repeated elsewhere to great effect. Mark was also a regular contributor to STUFF, and went on to Alt-Comics fame with Gnatrat and Montgomery Wart and 20 Nude Dancers 20 , among other great stuff. Here's mark's site:
Posted by Hello
some issues of "STUFF" (1986), a mini-anthology edited by Brad Foster. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Evil Dr. Palindrome!

I'm still putting together new books for the S.P.A.C.E. show next weekend, so here's another classic Dr. Palindrome... Posted by Hello

It's almost Prom season again, so this one is kinda timely.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New BenT Mini-Comic: I Am A Rock

Page 10 from "I Am A Rock" Posted by Hello

page 11 Posted by Hello

If I don't update here for a couple weeks, it's because I'm hard at work in my spare time getting new mini-comics ready for the SPACE convention in Columbus, Ohio on April 16th.

I have three new books in various stages of production right now. The panels above are two pages from the new mini that I just finished the scanning on.
"I Am A Rock" turns the Simon and Garfunkel song into a parody about The Thing (from marvel's Fantastic Four comics)

if you want to have first crack at my new work, get to SPACE.

Any remaining copies of the new books will be available thru my website shortly after the show.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Because Cat Cartoons are Popular...

You'll dread the day you learn how many words
your cat understands. Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Evil Dr. Palindrome!

Parts to O'Brian. Air Bootstrap. Posted by Hello
This started out with me trying to come up with a St. Patrick's Day palindrome.
I kicked around several keywords, I really wanted to make something work around "potato famine", but no luck. ...then decided to try Irish surnames.

I need therapy.
...or perhaps a girlfriend.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Latest U.S. Pez Dispensers.

New Pez dispensers! Posted by Hello

The New StarWars assortment is out, and the new figures include Emperor Palpatine, a revised Chewbacca, and The death Star! I personally look forward to the epic battle between Emperor palpatine and The Heffalump in Episode Three.

The Glow-In-The-Dark Palpatine (with the black robe) is a Wal-Mart Exclusive figure.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


How Saint Patrick Really Drove the Snakes Out of Ireland. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005

MODOK The Menace!

Look at that evil grin. I bet he's dreaming
he just assassinated Tony Stark! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

New Products aimed at the Rap Music Demographic...

Now put your long ears in the air, and wave 'em like you just don't care... Posted by Hello

Dammmmn! I hope homie don't bust a cap in TastyKake's ass when he find out these have coconut in 'em.

Word to your Grandmother.

The Evil Dr. Palindrome!

Only an Evil Doctor would Veto Medicaid, right?
Yeah. I know..I tried to make this one make sense, really, I did.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40

This is a scan of the card I sent to Misun Oh, of the zine Tearjerker, who enters
zinester adulthood today. One of Us, Minty, One of Us!

Happy Birthday, Queen Cat!