This past Friday, Geeks A Gogo dropped by Toy de Jour in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood to check out Walrus Mania, an art show featuring custom toys and artwork. The theme, as you Star Wars fans may have guessed, was Ponda Baba, also known as the Walrus Man from the film Star Wars: A New Hope, and from the action figure line that accompanied the movie. Though, he's appeared in a few books and another film since Star Wars Episode 4, Walrus Man is most famous for getting his arm cut off by Obi Wan after threatening Luke in the cantina scene.
Walrus Mania re-imagined various classic toys in the image of the famed Walrus Man. This included such things as kewpie dolls, stuffed animals, and masks. There were even walrus men done in the style of other action figure toy lines, which included GI Joe, He-Man, and even variations on other Star Wars action figures from the toy lines over the decades. As well there was even some paintings and embroidery on display.
The piece that gave the event its title was called (of course) Walrus Mania, which is a collection of custom action figures modeled on the 1970s Star Wars action figure line from Kenner. The piece re-imagines the old Creature Cantina playset from the original toy line, but with all of the characters from the scene modeled after the Walrus Man--their faces and hands repainted green, and their clothing done over to match his famously-clashing orange and blue outfit. This titular piece was created by Connecticut-based custom toy artist Junk Fed. Junk Fed is known for his kit-bashed, nostalgia-driven toy creations that re-imagine and mash-up the toy lines of the 80s and 90s. We were happy to see him make a personal appearance at the show, greeting fans and discussing his work.
Toy de Jeur hosts occasional art shows like this, which are definitely checking out--but also, it's a great toy shop that has an impressive selection of toys from previous decades. They are definitely worth checking out if you're a toy collector or if you just enjoy nostalgia. Here's a sample of their incredible Star Wars and GI Joe displays: