Man, I miss ToyFare.
The toy magazine – which ran from 1997 until 2011 – was in my opinion the best toy specialist magazine of all-time. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say it was one of the best magazines, period.
Because not only was ToyFare loaded with imaginative articles, cool product shots, neat insights and bitchin’ features, it also included some of the best Hulk-related toilet gags ever committed to print. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like the greatest magazine ever?
Am I right or am I right?
Published by Wizard Entertainment – the same publisher behind comic store favourite, Wizard – ToyFare was a must-buy magazine. Over its 14-year run, the magazine offered up previews and reviews, alongside exclusives and guides, and became a true toy bible in the process.
Did I also mention that the magazine constantly made jokes about Anakin Skywalker’s temper tantrums or Doctor Doom’s hatred for Reed Richards?
Well it did! That material alone was enough to keep readers coming back month after month after month…
…after month. Along with all those Hulk toilet gags, of course.
Each issue of Toyfare was written by a team who loved cartoons, comics, pop culture and most importantly of all, toys. These guys and gals enjoyed their job and they passed on their enjoyment to readers at every opportunity.
The sign of a good magazine is the amount of support it gets from the industry and ToyFare had its fair share of love from all the big movers and shakers in the toy business. Not only did the mag feature previews of all the latest toys, it also boasted a number of exclusive mail-away figures.
In addition to these exclusives, the big toy companies also understood and appreciated the humour of the magazine, so would often tailor their ads accordingly. Now how cool is that? Adverts that didn’t feel like ads but felt like part of a well thought out publication! That almost never happens.
And speaking about that humour (again), boy could the writing staff be shady. Readers would write in to get informative responses and instead they were greeted by half-arsed responses, a heck of a lot of backchat and sarcasm a plenty – something you’d never see in other magazines.
One of the most memorable sections of ToyFare was the ongoing and extremely popular comic-strip, Twisted ToyFare Theatre. This was a regular feature which focused on the inhabitants of Megoville – a town populated by drunks, vagrants and dumdums.
The strip was completely juvenile, but so damn funny.
I’m laughing at it right now. Oh, I know you can’t tell this, but it’s true – I’m non-stop chucklin’ my arse off over here.
I mentioned the Hulk toilet jokes, right?
As a reader, I found ToyFare HUGELY influential. In fact, it was and still is one of my biggest inspirations as a writer.
ToyFare was highly informative, but it was also extremely fun. The magazine demonstrated to me that you could present news and views in an irreverent way, yet somehow still hit the mark that readers expected.
And of course, if that doesn’t work then you just wing it and hope for the best!
It has been nine years since ToyFare abruptly disappeared from comic book shelves (a result of a change in reading habits) and I still miss it like crazy. I hope that one day it will come back.
In the meantime, I’ve got a stack of old issues that I regularly dive into, whenever I need some lighthearted fun. I guess that will have to do.
Gone, but never forgotten.