Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clip 'n Save Reader File! Milky Mixer

It is time for another super fun Clip 'n Save Reader File! This has become one of my favorite features on Diary of a Dorkette. I know that there are so many wonderful collectors out there, and I enjoy nothing more than showcasing these wonderful folks with a questionnaire and some awesome pictures courtesy of their collections. So today's Clip 'n Save Reader file comes from someone that has been a wonderful person I've gotten to know in the past year or so. Now I'm going to stop rambling so we can start! Enjoy.
Clip 'n Save Reader File! 
1. Name (doesn't have to be full name)

My name is T.J., but some might know me by my artist identity "Milky Mixer."

2. How long have you been collecting?

Forever.  Since I was a kid.  I think most collectors are like that though.  You're either a collector or you're not.  My mom saves and collects everything.  My dad could care less about "stuff."  Even as a kid I still thought of my toys as a "collection."  Some of those toys I've since parted ways with, but others have been with me ever since... and I just keep adding to them, hehe. 

3. What do you collect?

My number one toy collection is probably Jem.  But I also collect other vintage '80s toys, dolls, and characters like Rainbow Brite.  She uses the power of the rainbow to make you happy, and I think that's pretty badass!  I love novelty lines that didn't last or become super iconic, like Spectra (the metallic outer space Barbie), Hot Looks, the Hollywoods dolls by Tonka or Mattel's C.U.T.I.E. figures (anyone remember those?).  They really capture a fun flavor of the fashion and imagination of that era.  But pretty much anything '80s can catch my attention and find its way into my collection.  Maybe it's childhood nostalgia, but the '80s were a really creative, colorful, positive time.  Things were OUT THERE without being overly cynical or feeling jaded.  I'm not sure if today's toys and cartoons have that same quality.  I love all kinds of figures, minis, poseables.  I'm big into Japan, anime, and manga, too.  So in addition to manga books I also collect Japanese gashapon figures (capsule figures sold in vending machines or as game prizes) of my favorite anime and manga characters.  And I collect Momoko dolls from Japan, too.  I have lots of collections!
4. Any Toy Regrets?

Things I regret buying?  Things I regret not buying?  Things I regret the toy companies never making?  I can remember lots of action figures I passed on as a kid, for whatever reason, and realizing later on that was the only time I ever saw those figures in a regular toy store... and missed my one shot to own something that went on to become a little legendary.  Missed snagging Pumyra, Lynx-O, and Ben Gali from Thundercats when I saw them at a mall on a family vacation... missed snagging Netossa from Princess of Power when I saw her in an outlet toy store (and I'd be willing to bet, if I had a time machine and could go back, they had Spinnerella and Look-E too... but I was so captivated by Netossa, no pun intended!, I can't be sure)... bought the stupid Overlord instead of Mara from Blackstar at a JCPenny (I really wanted Mara but convinced myself I'd get her later and then never bought anymore Blackstar figures, LOL!  Even Klone would have been cooler than Overlord!)... missed getting Synergy and the Starlight Girls when they turned up at Kay-Bee but by then I had decided I was "too old" to be buying Jem anymore...  In hindsight these are all things that make me think, "OMG, I was thaaat close!"  Thanks to ebay I at least have my Synergy!!

And of course I regret that Hasbro never made the '88 Jem line, or an Arcee that was based on her original appearance in the Transformers animated movie and not a motorcycle with a wheel for legs.

I had a close-to-complete set of NRFB Jem dolls I bought and then sold on ebay many years ago.  I went through a period when I felt I was buying left and right and then needed to unload my collection(s) and sold gobs of stuff, including that largish Jem collection that I picked up during a time when collector prices for the vintage '80s stuff were a lot lower.  Princess of Power figures too.  I had a NRFB Crystal Castle that I bought on ebay from Italy and opened myself.  (Yep, I'm not all about leavin' everything in the box!)  Sometimes I think how nice it would've been if I'd held onto all of that NRFB stuff.  But there will always be regrets in collecting - and honestly, at the time I felt I'd spent too much money and needed to give that stuff up.  The only stuff I kept were the original toys I had as a child.  Then a few years ago I decided I couldn't fight the collector bug (or gene or whatever it is that makes us do these crazy things!) and started collecting Jem and various other '80s toys all over again.  Not everything NRFB - but I definitely love and appreciate my collection now more than ever!  Had some amazing luck this time around and it's been so much fun!  Not a race to "have it all" but instead a journey to "enjoy what I can." 
5. Favorite toy property (vintage or new) and why?


I'm an MTV baby.  I was 6 when the network launched so I was part of that generation that grew up with the first music videos and felt the channel's influence - back then it was the coolest thing ever and really dazzled the eyes and the ears and influenced everything from what cassette you put in your Walkman to the design on your Trapper Keeper to the Swatch watch you wore to the mall with your hot pink hightops.  My MTV had rad music videos, not crappy reality shows... I want my MTV!  LOL.  But I also grew up on superhero comics and cartoons, He-Man and She-Ra, Super Friends, GI Joe, Transformers, etc.  The '80s were a time when everyone had a secret identity.

So when I saw Jem, she was like nothing I'd ever seen before and yet she was also this amazing fusion of everything that was great in the '80s.  She was glamorous, mysterious, colorful, electric!  Her makeup was almost like a superhero mask, she had a daytime disguise, she had these wild glamorous rivals and cool 'n beautiful friends.  I remember Hasbro teased her on tv a few times before the toys and the cartoon were actually "live."  One commercial showed a girl getting sucked into her tv set and cruising with Jem, and another one was the cartoon intro with the exploding concert sign.  I was sold as soon as I saw all that pink neon tinkling down over Jem as the Rockin' Roadster raced in to rescue her!  There was such a sense of mystery and adventure about her!  I finally caught the earliest cartoon episodes in the 10 minute Super Sunday block.  I didn't get in on the act until Jem was heading to the Starlight Drive-In to rescue Ashley, so I was caught up in trying to figure out who all these fab characters were, why this old Drive-In was important, why Jem's earring spoke to her when Zipper snatches her on his motorcycle ("Let go of me, you slime!")  I was lost but totally starstruck.  Fortunately after the final episode was shown, Super Sunday started reairing the story from "The Beginning" so I was able to piece it all together.  And then when I saw the dolls in the store for the first time, I was blown away by their scale.  I honestly expected them to be smaller, along the lines of Rose Petal Place.  But I had a really cool mom, and after enough asking she let me get my first Jem.  And that's "how it all began..."

And of all the toys, cartoons, and characters I grew up with, something about that mix of music, vibrant color, and glamorous action-packed storylines stayed with me.  I must have imagined I'd one day grow up, go live in some day-glo decorated California bungalo, and spend my nights having glittery adventures.  So that didn't happen.  :)  But watching the cartoon now still thrills me as much as it did back when.  Certain elements might seem dated but I think overall it's really held up well and is something both kids and adults can respond to, whether watching for the first time or reliving all that great '80s nostlagia.  And the dolls... honestly, from the beyond-stellar artwork on the packaging (what Jem collector hasn't spent hours staring at those paintings?) to the shock of vibrant hair colors and makeup to the incredibly creative play elements (hello, her backstage carrying case is a speaker that you can hook up to her car that has a real radio hidden in the trunk!), the whole thing was just so unique and over-the-top.

And now, 25 years later, Jem's having a resurgence... she has her very own fan convention (, a fresh and complete boxed set of the original tv series, and a brand new high end doll line.  Her return is definitely worth the wait and is a real treat for all of the fans who have been loyal to the truly outrageous character of Jem!

6. If you collect, where do you normally shop for your addiction?

Online mostly.  Ebay is obviously the prime spot for finding vintage toys like Jem as well as some of my Japanese goodies.  But poke around the internet and you can find other cool spots that sometimes offer that hidden "gem" you're looking for.  I definitely can't say everything I own came from ebay!  And I'm also a fan of flea markets, antique shops, toy shows, conventions, and especially other fans!  To me there's nothing cooler than a generous, like-minded fan who is willing to part with something they don't "need" in order to help another fan "complete" something.  I've made amazing friends through toy collecting and met people I wouldn't trade for the world.

7. Any upcoming products that got you super psyched?

Well, obviously the new high end Jem line (by Inregrity Toys) I mentioned is really exciting.  I gotta be honest, the new stuff will never take the place of the originals in my heart - how can they? - but it's definitely wicked to see this company (run by self-described Jem fans) putting a modern touch on these characters while keeping them grounded in 1986, hehe.  I can't wait to see Kimber, Stormer, Pizzazz, Clash, and some of my other favorites.  And hopefully we'll also see some of the unreleased characters too - fingers crossed for Astral!!

I'm always interested in the latest stuff coming out, and I do wander the action figure and doll aisles at Target or Toys R Us, even if it's not stuff I collect.  I love seeing what is happening with the latest incarnation of GI Joe or Strawberry Shortcake or whoever...

8. Hollywood is finally making a female centered comic/sci-fi/super hero movie, quick, who do you hope it is?

Well duh!  Jem, of course!  But my version of a Jem movie would probably not be the one other fans might want.  I sometimes see these "dream casts" posted, with every almost-famous pop starlet cast as one of the Jem characters just 'cause they managed to get a song on the radio.  Meh, that doesn't interest me so much.  Nothing against Katy Perry, but what makes you think she'd be the perfect Stormer just because she had blue hair for 5 minutes?  Just sayin'.

I'm not even sure I'd do a retelling of the original Jem story (Jerrica getting the earrings and becoming Jem to save Starlight Music).  An animated (or anime) version could be cool, maybe even finally making the original Jem movie treatment that Christy Marx worked on years back that featured the Mongrels (would love to know more about what she had planned!).

But my crazy dream Jem movie actually comes from a dream I had a few years ago that I never forgot... Jem: the Live Action movie... and it tripped me out so much that I'd almost like to see it really happen.  Jem wasn't modernized (another "pass" for me)... she was futurized.  Synergy's lightshow was so powerful, so amazing... if anyone has seen the anime Macross Plus and recalls the Sharon Apple concert sequence that basically hypnotizes the whole audience with mermaids flying through the air and crazy supercharged visuals, that's pretty close to what I imagine Synergy can do... she's not some stinkin' iPad, she's a supercomputer.  And Jem is ultra mysterious... changing fashions, makeup, hair, from scene to scene with seemingly no explanation.  I think she needs to stay a little mysterious, even though she's the central character.  The story actually centers more on the Misfits, as they follow along on Jem's World Tour and try to sabotage her or uncover her secret.  But then they end up in trouble for a crime they didn't commit, on the run, and lo and behold, it's up to Jem to help clear their names.  It's all about redemption for the Misfits.

Yeah, so not the movie that most Jem fans would want.  But who knows, maybe I'll adapt it into something else... comic book or fanfic or something.

9. Which toyline/cartoon would you like to see get a comeback?

Gosh, most of the '80s lines already came back or never really went away, just kept reincarnating.  And surprisingly, I'm not going to say Jem.  I know, shocker, right?  But I'd really rather not see her get a tacky modern reworking.  Today's music industry isn't the same.  She kinda captures "a time" that is passed.  And I think modernizing her would lose a lot of the essence of Jem.  Or go with my movie idea and make her futuristic and "out of time."

It's too bad Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake's latest revivals missed the mark.  They're such wholesome characters, LOL.  Making them into tweens doesn't really work.  But I think kids today aren't as into these kinds of characters - or the "revivals" didn't interest them.  Maybe if they were kept more like their original versions rather than a bland update...?

Actually I think it would be fun to see something like Get Along Gang, Shirt Tales, or Punky Brewster make a comeback.  These are ideas that would work with today's style of animation and are definitely more lighthearted.  But I also think something like M.A.S.K. or Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors could be revived in a cool way.  Bionic 6 could be the next primetime WB hit, haha.  How about Silverhawks or Voltron in a blockbuster live action film?  And of course Masters of the Universe or Princess of Power could look visually amazing with today's film technology.  Imagine a CGI Battle Cat pouncing on a transforming CGI Catra.  Dolph Lundgren's movie never had that...

10. Biggest thing that bugs you about collecting?

Lack of space, lack of money, lack of self-control, HAHA!
11. Do you have a website and/or are part of a message board that you'd like to share?

Yep, in addition to collecting goodies from the 1980s-now, I am also an artist.  For the last year or so, I've been working on a series of Jem paintings.  My portfolio also includes my renditions of other assorted characters I love, interpreted in my own style.  And I'm also working on my own personal passion project called SOUR GRAPES.  This is a comic book / graphic novel which I wrote and am in the process of illustrating.  I hope to start adding the pages of the story to my website as an online comic, with a print edition to follow once complete.

You can coast through my online galleries at my website:

12. Share your photos and discuss a brief bit about what we are looking at!
Pic 1 & Pic 2 - Just a few of my boxed and loose Jem dolls. The doll in the polka dot top and hood is my original childhood doll, and the outfit she is wearing is one of the really rare 2nd year Flipside Fashions. Since she's my original, dressing her in my rarest fashion seemed a good way to honor her. Don't they have the coolest clothes? '80s forever!

Pic 3
Pic 3 - Some of my Japanese Momoko dolls. They're a lot of fun, as you can really custom them up, create your own characters, give them stories and personas. Although she's smaller and not as poseable as some other ball jointed dolls, I really find her to be intriguing and charming, edgy and innocent, all at the same time.

Pic 4 - Some of my Japanese anime figures. Major Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost in the Shell" is one of my favorites. One of the baddest heroines ever! She kicks butt. I also love Creamy Mami (she's very Jem!), Cutie Honey (another transforming girl!), DearS (cute aliens crashland in Tokyo, where else?), Iczer-1 (a touchstone of weird 80s scifi anime), and so many others.

Pic 5 - I don't know if it gets any girlier than this - but here's a sampling of some of my '80s toys. I enjoy both boxed and open stuff, so I like having a mix. Here are the more obscure Hollywoods and C.U.T.I.E figures I mentioned earlier, along with some other more recognizable characters. The Strawberry Shortcake with the big blonde curls is a Brazilian doll called "Little Banana" but I refer to her as my own "Banana Twirl." (For those who don't know, "Banana Twirl" was one of the final dolls released in the original US 80s line, super duper rare, and way out of my price range... but this Little Banana was a lucky find on ebay. And I love banana stuff so I had to have her!)

Pic 6 - My Rainbow Brite poseable minis. Similar to the Cabbage Patch Kids minis that were featured here on Diary of a Dorkette recently, I think the RB minis were only available in the UK. I think they are just so chibi-cute and fun. Twink the Sprite is an eraser and Starlite the horse came from some other RB set (I actually found him loose for a dollar at a flea market!) - but they are perfectly scaled to go with the minis.

And some of my original artwork...
Pic 7 - Hollywood Jem! I painted this in honor of the brand new Integrity doll that was sold as an exclusive at San Diego Comic Con. Not to mention the Hollywood Jem theme is just awesome! "Hey look, it's Jem, Hollywood Jeeeeeemmm..." Hehe.

Pic 8 - Misfits '88 is based on some of the prototypes that were set to be released in Jem's third year. Unfortunately Hasbro cancelled the toys before we could see a third year Pizzazz or these crazy new fashions in the stores. But I loved them so much I wanted to capture them in my own way!

Pic 9 - Danse, Jem's choreographer friend, is my latest painting. The voice actress who played Danse on the cartoon was at JemCon this year, and she was really sweet and inspiring and so nice to all of the Jem fans!

Pic 10 - Jem's Splashes of Sound depicts Jem floating in Synergy's holographic lightshow and is one of my favorite pieces. There's a lot of personal symbolism here.

Pic 11 - My version of Rainbow Brite! And yeah, I know Starlite isn't a unicorn but unicorns are so fun!
Pic 12 - Raisin and Dahlia are two of the main characters in my comic book project, SOUR GRAPES. I did this painting for my grandmother, because she collects dolls too.
Wow! What a great Clip 'n Save Reader File! T.J, as always, I am so in awe of your art. (I also am digging your idea for a Jem movie!) Your art also looks so beautiful and I wish I could have that talent. The painting of Danse is just stunning. I am also in love with your collection. Those mini Rainbow Brite figures are amazing. I wish they had been released in the States. And for everyone else, if you are a fan of Jem, I highly encourage you all to join It is a wonderful site with some truly wonderful people. Also check out the rest of T.J's work. He is just fabulous! I thank you so much T.J. for participating with this feature. Keep us updated on your projects! 
And if anyone else would like to be a part of the Clip 'n Save Reader File feature on Diary, please feel free to email me at I am always thrilled to see what else is going on with the collecting community. Also, if you have any comments or ideas for other questions or anything like that, let me know too. I am constantly striving to make this questionnaire fun to answer and read. So I hope you are all doing well. I am off to start typing up the final chapter to Part 2 of Adora's Search for Honor! (Well, I'm gonna look at these pictures one more time first!) Take care everyone!


  1. WOW! What a great selection! The art is just awesome, really talented!
    However, the figures and dolls are just great. The Jem selection is nice, the condition is really great if anything and I saw my girlfriend Clash in the back row!
    The DearS figurines are really nice, I only have the Ren statue and a key chain, not to mention the Anime Box set, but hey, its a start. Really awesome.
    I remember C.U.T.I.E. very well, they were M.U.S.C.L.E. for girls so to say.
    Boxed Rainbow Brite, you can't get better than that...and then there is Catra and the Momoko dolls--what's next? Dolfie?

    Awesome collection and artwork.

    I'm glad that you had another Clip 'n Save to add to the "filing cabinet" M, I hope more come your way.

    1. Isn't his collection great? I am really really glad that there was a new Clip 'n Save file. I adore TJ, he has always been so kind and I really hope people enjoy this!

  2. Thanks again for inviting me to participate, Miss M! I had a lot of fun and hope everyone enjoyed reading about my passion for Jem and the '80s! I know my movie idea is a little out there, but seems a few others have also remarked they like it. As for the RB minis, there is also a Baby Brite in the set who I don't have (I'm not sure if I will try to get her, she's the exact same scale as the other Color Kids even though she's the baby!) as well as Twink, but I like my little eraser version of him, hehe!

    Thanks for your kind words and awesome support! It's always a pleasure to see what's new on your site!

    - TJ

    1. No problem. I am glad you got to participate with this. It went over well, and your responses were so much fun to read. I enjoy reading these Clip 'n Save files. It is nice getting to know other collecting folks. Also, I am loving that there was a Baby Brite to this line! I have tried looking for them online, but they hard to find. I hope you are well, and if you get a fanfic going on that Jem story, you better let me know! Talk to you later TJ!

  3. Great profile and lots of cool pictures of your stuff and drawings. I cant even draw a straight line with a ruler properly! Nice to see a mon chi chi doll in there, I used to have a few in the 80s and loved them. You have a really great Jem collection.

    1. Doesn't he though Sarah? His Jem collection is really cool. I could stare at those boxes for hours. lol

  4. Cool!! Nice one!! Great collection, great memories and the artwork is just amazing!