Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Way of the Geek #7: "Brick Mantooth"!

The pseudonymous “Brick Mantooth” is the purveyor of the PlaidStallions blog, a celebration of the 1970s in all its forms, covering toys, catalogs, fashion, and more! Brick was born just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1970, and has one older sister. He is happily married “with two wonderful kids,” and does sales and marketing for a publishing company.

As you can imagine from the description of PlaidStallions, Brick's geekery tends to be focused on “retro stuff, Sci fi, fashion, TV, comics but my first love is toys and catalogs.” He believes that his geekery began at a very early age: “At 3, I was admitted to the hospital for croup, apparently I wasn't too cooperative about being left there overnight. My mother calmed me by leaving the Eatons catalog in my bed, I never even said goodbye to her.”

Neither Brick's older sister or his friends were into the same geekery he was. “I was a man apart; all of my friends were mad hockey fans growing up. There was one other kid in my neighborhood into comics and Star Wars, I tried my best to hang with him but he was far too creepy,” he responded. I'd imagine we've all had that latter experience ourselves at one point or another. According to him, the geekiest thing he ever did as a youth was, “I think I wore a Tom Baker scarf to class in the seventh grade, yeah, you only do that once. I have that scarf and some coverless issues of Starlog somewhere.”

He says that these days, reacquiring his lost childhood treasures is “the entirety of my existence, sadly. I even have promotional buttons from 'Mother's Pizza,' I should really get over myself.” Specific items he's been seeking out include the Lincoln International Monster action figures, and “lately I've been seeking out every Halloween costume I've ever worn.” That sounds like a major goal to me!

Brick's collectibles are kept in a ten by twenty office in the basement of his home. “I have a really amazing wife,” he said. He reported that his most prized geek possessions would probably be some of his boxed Mego figures found in a warehouse when he was a teen. “My dad had been a toy distributor
back in the 1970s, he knew the former Mego Canada people and took me there.”

The first convention he attended was a 1985 Doctor Who convention in Kitchener, Ontario. “Jon Pertwee was the guest at the show and my favorite Doctor. He came into the con suite and watched TV with me for like an hour or so and gave commentary. It was really something I've never forgotten; he was a terrific human being,” he remembered. Another genre actor encounter he had was with John Colicos, who played Baltar on the original Battlestar Galactica, as well as one of the Klingons on Star Trek the Original Series. Brick drove him around one afternoon. “He was a really nice guy.” These days, he sometimes makes it to the Motor City Comic Con, “because I've always been fond of that show. I prefer flea markets and toy shows over conventions these days.”

He said his favorite convention he ever attended would probably be one of the “Chiller Theatre” shows he used to attend in the early 90s. “Guests didn't charge to sign, vintage toys were everywhere and it was a hell of a Halloween party.” At one of these conventions, a guy started talking to Brick about props. “Turns out he had an original Logan's Run pistol on him and he asked me if I'd like to fire it. I had my then girlfriend videotape her drunk boyfriend in the rain shooting a fake gun, she was thrilled.

One of Brick's loves, obviously, would be Mego action figures, and he's been a regular contributor to the Mego Museum. “I've tracked down some folks who worked for Mego in the past and I've found
that to be extremely rewarding, many of these people love to know that people 30 years later still remember their work fondly,” he said.

Personally, I'm very jealous of Brick's meeting Lou Scheimer of Filmation. Brick told Lou “how much I loved his version of Tarzan. Turns out he was a fan himself, it was a great encounter.”

Brick's work brushes with his geek interests now and then. “My job occasionally involves getting licenses such as the Justice League and Fantastic Four for promotional items. I've also written nerdy articles for Toyshop, Lees Action Figure News and Toplessrobot.com.”

There is one area of geekery Brick is into that he believes is the most obscure of all his interests. “I adore the 1976 TV Series 'Monster Squad' to the point where I think it might be unhealthy. I know there is at least one other guy with this obsession as he outbids me on eBay occasionally.”

If you want to know how much time Brick spends working on PlaidStallions and the Mego Museum sites, all he's willing to admit is he spends “a lot of time” on those... “It would depress me to know how much.” When asked why he started PlaidStallions, he said, “It was the simple outlet I was looking for, I had been planning to do PS for years but the idea of creating a webpage for each day sounded tedious.” So far, PlaidStallions has spun off int a website and an action figure of the catalog Brick Mantooth (read the blog and you'll understand this reference better). “The next thing I'm working on is books. I have some pitches going out right now.”

The recurring features on his blog are catalog updates every Friday, vintage mall appearance photos on Saturdays (“Because that's usually when they occurred.”), and Sunday is reserved for “Colouring Book Theatre,” which is “where I pick apart really easy targets.” I have to admit that this feature inspired my own “Children's Book Theatre”!

Brick's quick to mention the benefits of blogging. “I've made a lot of friends, gotten a cool writing gig and occasionally a bit of press. The biggest bonus I get out of it are the laughs, some of my readers are really funny people.” His three favorite blogs are Topless Robot, Retro Crush, and the Aquaman Shrine.

Brick's wife, as he mentioned before, is very understanding of his geekery. “My wife gets me, she's more of a music geek and therefore cooler than me but she knows this is what makes me happy and it's all good.” I have to wonder what her reaction was the one Halloween he dressed up like an Action Jackson action figure? Brick said, “AJ got very drunk.”

Brick's acquisitions these days are made at flea markets and on eBay. His best advice for people looking to buy on eBay is “Take your time.” For potential sellers? “Communicate.”

He also has advice for all his fellow geeks: “Don't take yourself or your passions too seriously, have fun and see the irony in things.”

Thanks, Brick!

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