Every once in a while, I’ll see or hear word of a product that fills me with such enthusiasm that I order my own pretty quickly, looking without leaping as it were. While that kind of impulse buy can occasionally lead to a facepalm and some buyers’ remorse, this time I lucked out with Underground Toys’ set of stackable mugs celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars.
I have found that my Star Wars fandom has aged in a very particular and peculiar direction: stuff that takes me back to the heady early days of Star Wars fandom, I’m a sucker for. The 3 3/4″ Vintage Collection action figures with their marvelous juxtaposition of vintage Kenner packaging and prequel-era characters sucked me in, as did the library of reprints of the early Marvel comics plowing the wild untamed road between the first movie and a sequel that we knew next to nothing about. When Meco’s Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk resurfaced on CD in 1999? Had it on pre-order.
So, you stick a boxed set of plastic drinking cups with classic Topps Star Wars trading card designs on them, I am so there for that. Everything about this set of four plastic mugs is steeped in the ’70s – the colors run down the warm side of the color wheel from yellow to orange to red until they crash into brown (why did the 1970s do that?), and the design, also right out of the ’70s, is very reminiscent of a double-height Thermos mug. The mugs stack easily (a good thing since I have limited cabinet space)…they’re dandy display items. But can you actually use them?
The answer is: yes. The designs on the mugs – both the approximations of the Topps trading cards (the card numbers and Topps logo are both missing, so I’m assuming the “cards” were rebuilt from the ground up for this product) and the Star Wars 40th anniversary logo on the opposite side stand up to repeat use and, most importantly of all, repeat washing. After 2-3 trips through the dishwasher, the graphics are unharmed and just as bright as they were out of the box.
Durability isn’t a problem either – with two kids in the house under the age of ten, the mugs have survived many a repeated drop without incident. Display items are nice, but practical items are even better – better still if they’re built to last.