Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Star Wars Space Death Star and Galaxy Battle Collector's Set

About the time that George Lucas remastered and added digital special effects and some slight changes and additions to his original Star Wars Trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi) Galoob Toys upped its output of Star Wars toys.

Galoob’s MicroMachines Space Star Wars Galaxy Battle Collector’s Set consists of 12 vehicles and figures from the original Star Wars Trilogy.

Each miniature is a highly detailed recreation of a classic Alliance or Empire spacecraft or character.

Paint application is remarkable considering the size of the miniatures.  Sculpting is tight and surprisingly precise especially on the figures-even their features are distinguishable.

Form-fitting alcoves hold vehicles and figures in place in a plastic molded sleeve.  Additional plastic-covered wire ties are used if the spacecraft are larger.

The Collector’s Box features a clear plastic front panel.  Both the MicroMachines and Star Wars logos display prominently.

Vehicles and Spacecraft include an X-Wing Fighter with pilot and Droid, the Millennium Falcon, a Y-Wing Starfighter with two crew and Droid, Luke Skywalker with Blaster, a Rebel Pilot, Han Solo with Blaster, an Imperial Star Destroyer, a TIE Fighter with pilot, Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter with pilot, Lord Darth Vader with Lightsaber, Imperial Pilot and an Imperial Stormtrooper with Blaster.

The Rebel Pilot, Imperial Pilot and Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter are exclusives only to this set.

The Star Wars The Death Star Playset features a unique push button and flip open design.

The Death Star Playset slides into two sections revealing the inner workings of the deadly killing machine.

The lower panel includes a Space Vehicle Docking Bay, a Pivoting Tractor Beam that telescopes in and out and a Rotating Gun Station.

The Upper Section includes the infamous Death Star Trench and destructive Beam Emitter.  Push a small button and a section of the Death Star pops open revealing the Death Star Core.

Vehicles and figures include and X-Wing Fighter, R2-D2, Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Lord Darth Vader.

The Death Star Playset is a remarkable miniature feat of engineering and design with clever devices, nice sculpts and fun action.

Two other Playsets are available: Ice Planet Hoth and Endor.  Separate figure and vehicle packs are also available.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The American Crusade, Get It Done and Unlimited Memory

Get ready for a seat of your pants thriller as America faces a new threat.  But does it come from without or within or both?

In The American Crusade A Political Thriller, written by Mark Spivak and published by TCK, America faces a new threat.

Radical Islamics have successfully carried out a number of lethal bombings killing thousands of Americans.

In an eerily familiar scenario the author mirrors the events of 9-11 using different names and locations with a far too familiar sequence of events.

While terrorists threaten the country from without a different type of conflict threatens the nation from within.

An inept President, a power hungry Vice-President, a foppish religious leader and other characters of questionable ethics steer the United States toward war.

All have their own secrets and agendas.

It’s politics and power at their worse as tensions build and the world stands on the brink of catastrophe.

For a frightening depiction of what goes on in the halls of politics and the theater of the world powers The American Crusade offers an eye-opening expose of what happens when the lust for power controls the thoughts of the world’s leaders.
Procrastination, a poor self image and the fear of the unknown-these and other things are obstacles that can keep you from fulfilling your dreams and potential.

What if I told you that in a mere 21-days you could double your productivity, finish projects and map out a successful plan for you life in a totally focused way?

That’s just what you can do using author Michel Mackintosh’s new book: Get It Done.

In this age of rush, rush, rush it’s important to note that being busy doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive.

The author demonstrates by focusing on one task at a time and living in the NOW, people from all walks of life can obtain their goals, ambitions and live fully productive lives.

His techniques not only relate to work and home but also demonstrate how to enjoy time off and living for the moment.

By focusing on the present the past has no hold on you and the future becomes more clear and obtainable to all aspects of your life.
As I’ve grown older (I’m in my late 60s) I’ve noticed I have a tendency to forget things.  Part of it is because of old age and part from lack of attention.

I’ve always prided myself on how much I read, explore and my curiosity.  Still, it would be nice to work on my memory skills.

After I read Unlimited Memory by Grandmaster Kevin Horsley I put into practice his program on how to learn faster, remember more and be more productive.  It works!

Using his simple instructions, imagination and location hotspots I’ve seen my memory improve drastically.

The author outlines six powerful memory systems, how to obtain impressive strings of memories, how to be confident taking tests and exams, how to improve focus and concentration and how to remember names.

Using the simple techniques outlined in the book you can master you thought processes, use you imagination to its best advantage and train your mind to do things you might have previously thought were impossible.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Dark Horse Presents and Sub-Mariner

Back in the mid-1980s a certain little independent black and white comic book came out.

You might have heard of it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s subsequent success created a firestorm of artists that hoped to cash in on the Black & White comic book success of  TMNT.

For a while dozens of titles premiered featuring everything from hamsters to Fish Police.

The period was dubbed The Great Black & White Glut.  It nearly destroyed the comic book industry.  Thankfully it did not last long.

Several small publishers surfaced during that period.  All disappeared-except one: Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse took a different approach.  It produced a bevy of titles that were unique, some were commercial tie-ins and successful.

One of the first titles produced by Dark Horse was Dark Horse Presents.

Throughout its impressive run a number of title of characters were introduced-many that went on to be huge successes-such as Sin City and Hellboy.

In issue #1 a unique creator-owned character was introduced that went on to achieve cult status.

Artist/writer Paul Chadwick had worked with Marvel Comics primarily on Marvel’s The Dazzler book.

Unhappy with the editorial and creative decisions at Marvel Paul struck out on his own.

He introduced Concrete, the story of a middle -age man who was abducted by aliens and who has his brain and mind transferred to a super strong and nearly indestructible creature aptly named Concrete.

Concrete offered stories not so much of the superhero genre but tales of human interaction, isolation and coping with often unsettling and bizarre situations.

Concrete would soon go on to star in his own ongoing series.

One of my all-time favorite super bad guy costumes was created for Tiger Shark who premiered in Marvel Comics' Prince Namor The Sub-Mariner #5.

It is a stunning and amazing design created by artist John Buscema.

One can really sense the menace and dangerous nature of the character as typified by his costume.

Tiger Shark was an Olympic swimmer who is injured and agrees to undergo an experimental procedure that turns him into the half man/half Tiger Shark villain.

Namor certainly had his hands full dealing with him.

Tiger Shark is still spotted occasionally in Marvel Comics with a slightly modified costume.

Friday, April 3, 2020

James Bond, G.I. Joe, Monsters and Star Wars

OK collectors, it’s time to geek out. If you are a collector of pop culture items such as myself you know how thrilling it is to see some of the stuff in your particular collectible category in price guides or in person.

Schiffer Publishing has always provided the collector the resources they need to recognize, categorize, monetize and fantasize about owning collectors of all types.

James Bond, the super spy who has the license to kill.

What if I told you that James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, purposely choose the most bland and common name he could come up with to name his literary super agent?

It’s true, James Bond gets his name from all people: an expert on birds.

Writer Jim Wright explores how the pilfering of his name changed the life of The Real James Bond. It’s a true story of identity theft, avian intrigue & Ian Fleming.

“A bird expert!” you say.  “How droll!”

Not so fast buster.  James Bond was much more than a bird expert.

We‘re talking about a guy who is disinherited, goes off on adventures, packs a sidearm in case of trouble and establishes himself as a world class explorer.

Does that sound dull?

Add that to the fact that he and his wife kept in contact with Ian Fleming. Not only was James name used but many of the locations and influences for the Bond series of books can also be attributed to him.

This is a fascinating book, jammed full of photos, recollections and plenty of goodies about James and his fictional name sake along with author Ian Fleming.

I am proud to say I owned a number of original G.I. Joe 12-inch action figures back in the 1960s.  Never mind the fact that they were really dolls for boys.

G.I. Joe led the way for action figures and in the 1970s Joe was as popular as ever.

Of course imitations abound and soon new lines of action figures: superhero, Western, spy, etc. were filling toy shelves.

In John Marshall’s G.I. Joe and Other Backyard Heroes: An Unauthorized Guide 1970-1979, action figure enthusiasts are in for a real treat.

Not only is the book filled with Joe photos, descriptions and prices there are also other action figures from that period represented.

Look for MEGO figures, Buck Rogers, Star Trek, superheroes, war heroes, monsters, Micronauts, the Wild West, Archie, Saturday morning cartoon figures and other playtime goodies.

It a virtual visual journey down toy Memory Lane and readers are invited to come along.

I was a big Aurora Universal Studios Famous Model Monster model kit collector when I was a kid.

I loved them and had each and every one.  Too bad I ‘grew up’ and got rid of them.  If only I could have them again.

Collecting Monster Toys by John Marshall understands my plight and has provided me a wonderful collection of monster toy photos, information and prices all wrapped up n one big book.

Besides the Universal Monsters that I so loved there are space aliens, Godzilla and cast and every conceivable type of monster imaginable on each page.

From classics to modern, they’re all here bound up in one book. 

Star Wars Toys A Super Collector’s Wish Book by Geoffrey T. Carlton is like a wish come true.

Never in my wildest dreams did I realize just how much Star Wars memorabilia is out there.

It would take a lifetime (make that several lifetimes) to collect everything pictured in this marvelous oversize hardbound book.

Toys, games, puzzles--it’s a veritable cornucopia of Star Wars goodness!

Pages are jam-packed with color photos of every conceivable type of item.  There are pictures of product variations and rare hard to find collectibles, descriptions galore to help collectors know what they are purchasing and lots of fun facts for the trivia buff.

Readers can spend hours looking through this massive book and discover something new on almost every page.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Secret Slayers

OOOOOHHHH! Sparkly and shiny!  Get ready for Konami’s latest Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game All-Foil Booster Packs with eight Cards per Pack and 24 Packs per Box.  It's Secret Slayers!

Shhhhh!  Can you keep a secret?  There’s a new way to slay and nobody is supposed to know about it.  I’m letting you in on the secret so you can’t tell anyone.  It’s our little secret.

The secret is...wait! Who’s that!?  Wait, what are you doing?  ----------------

The secret is safe, I’ll guess we’ll never know---unless you get Secret Slayers.  Just look at what you get...

Introduces the "Adamancipator", "Eldlich", "Eldlixir", "Golden Land" and "Rikka" archetypes.

Includes new members/support for the "Guardian" archetype.

Bolster strategies with Cards from Duel Devastator, Duel Overload, and more!

A full Set consists of 60 Cards:

40 Super Rares
20 Secret Rares

Are you ready to uncover some Hidden Treasures?  But, be careful, some secrets demand a high price!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Cyborg and Starfire

When Marv Wolfman and George Perez introduced The New Teen Titans comic book series from DC Comics back in 1980 it was not expected to last more than a half a dozen issues.

To everyone’s surprise and delight the series became a certifiable hit and when head to head against Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men title, sometimes even surpassing it in monthly sales.

Since that time The New Teen Titans have remained a fan favorite.

DC Direct created a series of action figures based on the original New Teen Titans members and their villains.

Two of the figures: Starfire and Cyborg are among my favorites.

The Cyborg six-inch figure is fashioned after the original Cyborg design as drawn by George Perez.

The fully-articulated figure includes a silver half face with red eye, mid-upper arm to hands silver mechanics, upper body silver casing with a partial flesh chest, utility belt in silver, silver briefs and silver upper leg straps culminating into a full lower upper legs to feett silver metal casings.

Flesh and metal Cyborg parts are nicely painted with no rough edges or spill overs to each section.

Cyborg’s face includes an open mouth, partial black hair, sharp features and distinguishable left side Cyborg parts and right side human flesh and hair.

His shoulders and upper arms are flesh as are most of his upper legs.

The silver utility/accessories belt features controls and containers and his right Cyborg hand can be replaced by a multi-function weapons/sensor/ array.

His left open hand includes a replacement.

The figure is fully posable and stands independent of any base.

The Starfire figure features the character standing slightly tilted with arms at her side.

Starfire’s face and head are her most predominate features with her large purple pupiless eyes, deep red lips and long semi-transparent orange hair that cascades down her back into a flame stream once the additional hair extension is attached.

The hair ends in a pool of flame at the figure’s feet, once assembled.

Starfire’s characteristic orange/tan skin makes her scant purple outfit stand out making it to appear to shine.

Attire includes a beaded neck and shoulder bracelet, over the breast purple strips culminating into a bikini bottom with gold buckle and a centered single red jewel.

The figure also wears twin lower arm bracelets and knee to toe purple boots.

A single gold medallion with a red jewel lies between her breasts. 

Once assembled the fully articulated figure appears to hover in mid-air.

Both figures feature superb articulation points and carefully hidden by cloth and cybernetic parts. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Hulk, Wolverine and The Doom Patrol

If you’re like me and live on a set income, spending money on non-necessities has to be kept to a minimum.

I stopped buying new comic books almost four years.  The reasons were simple: they were getting too expensive and the “Big Two’ comic book continuities were so scrambled and convoluted I couldn’t make sense of either.

Add to that the over-saturation of SJW (Social Justice Warrior) crap and I had enough.

I’ll stick to old comic books thank you very much.

Unfortunately older comic books (primarily Silver and Bronze Ages) have escalated in value so much that I can’t even afford to buy them. 

That’s OK, I have a huge collection to reread.  Besides the stories are so much better and the art is uncluttered and to the point.

It’s easy to see how artists and writers from both mentioned ages wrote and drew comic books because they loved to-the money certainly wasn’t there.

Back to my point.  Most collectors, like myself, cannot plop down hundreds or thousands of dollars for ‘key’ comic books.

One such ‘grail’ is The Incredible Hulk #181: the first ‘full’ appearance of Wolverine.

Now I like the Ol’ Knucklehead as much as the next guy, but I refuse to pay the ridiculous and outrageous prices asked for the issue.

So, I did the next best thing.

Way back in 1986 Marvel Comics reprinted the infamous fight between the Hulk and Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine #1.

The issue included reprints of Hulk #180 (Wolverine’s first cameo) and Hulk #181.  A special, brand new Hercules and Wolverine short story was included along with a retrospective on Wolverine‘s life.

I suspect that this very special one-shot is set to go up in value as it not only includes two very important Hulk/Wolverine issues, but a brand new Wolverine story and his history to boot.

Prices are already hovering around the $35 mark for a raw copy, with more being asked for a slabbed copy.

The HBO Max TV series: The Doom Patrol, was a huge hit.  Both critics and comic book readers loved the series.

But, did you know that the TV series storyline was actually based on the 1989 comic book series from DC Comics written by Grant Morrison beginning with issue #19?

The Doom Patrol has always been an odd team comic book.

I won’t bore you with the story behind the series other than to say that the series (despite it various versions over the years) has always been on the cusp of strangeness and sometimes controversy.

The Doom Patrol #19 centers on Robot Man and his emotional breakdown caused by his inability to feel anything.

His brain is encased in a robot body with no sensory inputs.  It’s was like living in a sensor deprivation tank his entire life.

Issue #19 is the first part of a four-part mini-series within a series that delves into the individual lives of each member of the team.

Aptly called: Crawling From The Wreckage, the series took a good hard look at what it means to be a true outcast, shunned by society and forced to separate from those whom you’ve sworn to protect.

It’s some powerful writing made even more disturbing by the art of Richard Case.

The series would go on to introduce some of the strangest characters and situations ever conceived of. 

Issue #19 hovers around the $25 mark for a raw copy and substantially more for a slabbed copy at around $100.  Look for this issue to escalate in price when the second season of The Doom Patrol TV series comes out.

Crazy Jane was also introduced in that issue.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sears Roebuck’s Christmas Catalog

I had just turned nine years old when the first James Bond movie (Dr. No) came out.

I was still too young to catch on to the sexuality and innuendos that peppered the film.  I just liked the action.

Things changed when the next Bond film premiered (From Russia With Love).  I had suddenly noticed that girls were no longer pesky, high-voiced creatures that would give you cooties.

There was something attractive about them.  They made me feel--funny.

In 1964 my superspy addiction grew as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV show premiered on NBC in 1964.  By then I was 11 years old and enjoyed watching the beautiful woman as much as I did the action.

As a kid and pre-teen both the James Bond movies and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV show sparked my imagination and provided male roll models.

As ridiculous as it may sound today, since I had no father I struggled with my own male identity and James Bond, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuyakin made great video substitutes for my much-needed father.

Years ago, long before the mega-stores such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target were around Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penney and similar stores held sway.

Although not as large as the current mega-stores each had a catalog department where you could order from a selection of thousands of products and have them delivered for pickup at a local store.

The Internet did not exist so no online shopping.  Home delivery usually meant waiting for the Post Office to get merchandise to you-something that might take weeks.

UPS and Fed-Ex were in their infancy and were restricted to certain areas of the U.S.

During the early to mid-1960s James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. fans, such as myself, anxiously awaited the holiday catalogs of Sears, Penney’s and the like.

Often the ‘big’ stores back then had special licenses to distribute exclusive toys and figures-kind of like today’s Target and Wal-Mart specials.

I remember looking thought Sears' and Penney’s Christmas Toy Catalogs during that period and marveling at all the goodies I could purchase (if only I had the money).

If I was lucky I could accompany my mom to either store and wander around the toy departments concentrating most of my looking at the spy toys.

Such toys are highly collectible today and demand huge prices.

I was fortunate in that I received a The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo Gun for Christmas.  I also had Napoleon Solo and a Illya Kuyakin Aurora models kits as well as a James Bond model kit.

If memory serves I also had a Aston Martin DB5 Corgi car, a couple of U.N.C.L.E. action figures, a few diecast James Bond figures with gadgets and a small attache case with a miniature spy gun and accessories (which I still have).

The James Bond craze dominated toys for a season and various companies such as Ideal, produced their own non-licensed secret agent toys-some of which were pretty impressive such as Johnny Seven and Zero M.

The early to mid-1960s was a great time to by a secret agent toy fan and perhaps, one-day, I’ll find some of my childhood treasures.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Black Widow

Despite her ‘death’ in Avengers: End Game, Black Widow is set to star in her own movie this year.

Rumors are that it will be a prequel movie that takes place before the Avengers movies.

Scarlett Johansson is set to reprise her role and the movie promises to be a part origin and part redemption story of Black Widow.

Fans have demanded and hoped for a Black Widow film ever since the character was introduced in Iron Man 2.

Back in 1983 writer Ralph Macchio and artist George Perez collaborated on a four-part Black Widow story in the pages of Marvel Fanfare.

What makes the story so intriguing and interesting, other than the fisticuffs and requisite band of bad guys, is that it delves deeply into the origin of Black Widow.

The series recounts the Widow’s early years as a trained assassin for Russia, her missions in the U.S., her marriage, the death of her husband Red Guardian, her new love interest Hawkeye, joining the Avengers and defection to the United states.

The series traces her activities in the Marvel Universe up until 1983 and introduces some villains and an unexpected adversary taken straight from the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents: Iron Maiden.

With the growing interest in Black Widow and the probability that much that is seen in these issue is to be used in the upcoming movie Marvel Fanfare #s 10 through 13 are sure to be sought after.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Indiana Jones Play Sets

Back in 2008 after a 19-year absence from the Silver Screen Harrison Ford returned as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull; written by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg.

It was exciting to see Indy back in the movies.  Unfortunately the film did not fair as well as Paramount Studios had hoped it would.

Part of the reason was the story itself, the choice of supporting actors and the use of too much digital special effects.

Indiana Jones films always harkened back to the old movie serials and by placing Indy in the 1950s with an overabundance of digital effects the film was destined to do poorly at the Box Office.

Still, it did manage too turn a profit and as a result Disney Studios (who acquired the Indiana Jones franchise along with Star Wars when it purchased Lucas Films) has a new Indy filmed set to release in 2021/22.

Ford, Lucas and Spielberg are all set to return.  Let’s hope the new film captures the excitement of the first three films and pray they do not bring Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s son Mutt.

So much hype was created by the return of Indy in Crystal Skull that publishers and manufacturers were practically tripping over themselves to acquire the rights to create licensed merchandise to sell.

Hasbro Toys secured the rights to the Crystal Skull and the Indy toy line.  It created not only a line of Indy toys based on the new movie but also a line of action figures and play sets from Indy’s other films including his first film: Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

While I like the single six-inch Indy figures the six-inch Indy play sets are my favorite.

Both take scenes from Raiders and successfully translate them to fun to play with play sets.  Both include articulated Indiana Jones figures complete with his trademark Fedora, leather jacket, khaki shirt, worn brown cuffed trousers, muddy, rugged boots, his pistol with holster, shoulder bag and whip.

Articulation of the Indy figures is remarkable considering how small they are.  One arm moves and the waists pivot.  Both hands are fashioned in a grip and easily handle his gun and whip along with accessories unique to each play set.

The Indiana Jones With Pitfall play set includes a base with two-raised platform rocky ledges.  Below the ledges in the middle of the play set is a sandy area complete with wooden spikes with four human skull pierced by them.  Attached to the larger of the stone ledges is a tree with an extended branch.

The Indy figure with whip in hand can hang and swing over the pit using its whip slung over the tree branch.

Several snakes are also included.  “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes!”

Details on the figure, base and accessories are amazing.  Paint application is tight and smooth with no slopovers or rough edges. 

Little details like the mud on Indy’s boots, the worn and comfortable look of his cloths, the tree trunk bark, the pit’s half tree root system, the crumbling temple wall and pit with spikes and skulls are perfectly in scale and expertly crafted and sculpted.

The tree branch even swivels allowing Indy to fall to safety!

The packaging consists of an oversize plastic bubble pack with an Indiana Ones Logo and portrait predominately displayed on its front.

The display box can also sit flat on a shelf for easy display. On the back of the display box is a short description of the scene recreated and photos of other Indy play sets and toys.

The Indiana Jones With Temple Trap play set also includes a fully detailed Indy figure with a small tied sand filled bag in Indy’s left hand. 

The play set recreates one of the most famous scenes In Raiders-that of the temple floor and golden idol.

The golden idol sits on a raised stone pedestal in the middle of a stone floor.

Indy’s task is to remove the idol before he triggers the toy mechanism that flips each side of the floor up trapping Indy.  It’s trickier than it looks!

Indy’s whip and gun are also included.

Like the Pitfall play set the details on the Temple Trap play set are first-rate right down to Indy’s facial features.

The Temple Trap floor and walls are amazing in their attention to details including the carved decorations, human skull idol, pedestal and themed background of the packaging. 

Both figures play sets are (in my opinion) the best of the play sets from the series and are a must-have for any Indiana Jones fan.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Screw Top Pail with Lid - 1.25 Gallon

The Screw Top Pail with Lid - 1.25 Gallon, by Uline, is designed to carry fine powders and granulars, but as a collector I've discovered brand new uses for it.

 I receive a lot of small collectibles like small paper goods, game pieces, giveaways and the like.  They tend to take up a lot of drawer space and are easily misplaced.

With the Screw Top Pail I can separate my collectibles by type, label the pail and viola!-I'm organized.

The Screw Top Pail with Lid - 1.25 Gallon specs include:
Vacuum tight  
Tamper evident with use of cable ties.
Lid includes neoprene gasket for moisture-resistant storage.
Molded high-density polyethylene.
FDA compliant.

What a great way to store small collectibles.

But, the pail has a lot of other uses.

I can organize nuts, bolts, nails, screws and other building and auto fasteners.

Cleaners like detergents and soaps are kept airtight and moisture free.  You can even store some foodstuffs like pasta, rice and the like.

Instead of a junk drawer you can store your stuff in one of the pails.

The pail includes a handle for easy pick up and movement, a ratcheted twist top that when once closed stays secure.  Simply push the little release clip and twist the top and the pail's contents are available.

I've only mentioned a few of the uses for the Screw Top Pail with Lid.  What uses can you think of?

Duel Overload

Konami has really gone overboard with its latest release: Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Duel Overload with a Special Oversized Card Included!

Talk about oversized, over abundant, over loaded and over generous!

YGO players are in for a real treat with this special compilation of YGO Cards in a Box.

Just look at what you get:

6 Booster Packs of 5 Ultra Rare cards.
1 of 6 special oversized collectible Cards

A complete Set contains 100 Ultra Rare Cards--30 new Links and a total of 56 new Cards new to the TCG and 44 reprints.

It’s six times the fun with six Booster Packs!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coronavirus and More

As I write this the country is in the throws of the Coronavirus shutdown.  Restaurants are closed except for take-out, delivery and drive-thru.  People are discouraged from meeting in groups of more than ten.  

Parks are closed, as are amusement venues. Retailers can’t seem to keep toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectants in stock.

Small businesses are on the verge of closing down permanently. The president has activated his wartime powers and businesses and the government are combining their vast resources to create an anti-virus and provide much needed medical supplies and facilities.

Hopefully in just a few weeks relief checks will be sent out to those that need them, utility companies are canceling power and water shutoffs, many fees are being cancelled or delayed by various government and public sectors and the Internal Revenue has delayed the tax deadline.

The American people are pulling together and hopefully the United States and the world will soon have the virus licked and things can go back to normal. 

Am I worried?  No. Concerned.  A little.

I know who is in control through all of life’s ups and downs.  I trust God and put my faith in him.  As a Christian my life is in his hands and despite circumstances I know that God has a plan.

I feel for those who don’t have God’s peace.  To get it all you have to do is know you are a sinner, believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and ask God for forgiveness.  He’ll save you.  All it takes is faith, trust and obedience.


A lot (or I should say-not a lot) has been happening with Boyce McClain’s Collectors’ Corner.  Review samples have practically dried up.  Few manufacturers or publishers send samples, let alone answer my emails.

For those that do, I’m grateful.

I’ve switched things up and now I write a lot of retro reviews about comic books and toys.  As new items come in, I review them.

Plain and simple--I enjoy writing reviews and commentaries.

I realize times are tough and companies are getting selective with their review samples.  I understand.  Budgets are budgets.  It’s not just me that is having to adjust to the change.

But, if there is one thing I’ve learned as a Christian: God has a way of turning things around.  Should he decide to end review samples or to restore things as they were-that is his prerogative and right.  I will abide with whatever he has planned.

Life is far too short to be stressed out about things as trivial as the latest book or toy.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the samples, it’s that in the large scale of things they are not that important.  They decay, rust, turn to dust and eventually blow away.

For me, I plan on using the time God has given me to good use, find things to do while the Coronavirus shutdown is going on and keep on keeping on.

Shortages, inconvenience and a break in routine are all things that can change at any moment.  God is good, despite the circumstances.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Forty-three years ago.  That’s when the world saw the premiere of George Lucas’s science fiction epic: Star Wars: A New Hope;

The fourth episode in the 9-part epic became an international sensation and spawned eight more films: The Rise Of Skywalker being the last in the epic.

The Lucasfilm/Disney Studios film concluded the decades long saga and successfully past the baton from the old guard to the new guard.

Director J. J. Abrams faced a monumental task in order to conclude the film series and please both new viewers and satisfy long-time Star Wars fans.

For the most part he accomplished both with just a few bumps and hiccups.

The new and old characters unite in a galaxy-spanning tale where the forces of good and evil have their final confrontation.

Follow Rey and the soldiers of the Resistance as they confront Kylo Ren, the resurrected Emperor and the First Order in one of the most epic conflicts ever seen on the Silver Screen.

Spectacular visual effects, amazing sets, incredible creatures, astounding costume designs, lots of surprises and homages and the thunderous score by John Williams all combine to make The Rise Of Skywalker a true classic.

There is so much going on in the film viewers barely has enough time to catch their breath.  It is a massive, action-packed, emotional and touching tale of death and redemption and provides a satisfying end to the Star Wars 3-Part Trilogy cinema spectacular.

The Blu-ray/Digital Download provides a Multi-Screen edition and lots of extras such as a Skywalker Legacy Documentary and more.

Relive the past. Prepare for the future!

Diamond Preview, April 2020

Crimson Plague #1

At the waning days of the speculator craze that nearly destroyed the comic book industry during the late 1990s a small band of publishers attempted to stake their foothold into the industry.

It was a time when computers were making huge strives and advances in the industry.  Computers had reached the level where comic books were being colored by them, some artists did their work exclusively on computer and the overall quality of printing was making huge leaps in quality.

Gone were the days when flat colors with a limited pallet were used.  Up to that point colors were created by various screened percentages of black, cyan, magenta and yellow.  Color strippers had to prepare plates for color printing.

Computers bypassed much of the drudge work and offered a huge spectrum of colors.  Visual effects could also be created.

Dialogue no longer had to be inked on comic book pages but rather added during the printing process with pre-designed type fonts.

The industry was undergoing a massive change in quality and possibilities.

Many top artists of the time were branching out and creating their own creator-owned properties.

One such artist was George Perez-the superstar artist on such series as The Avengers, The New Teen Titans, Wonder Woman and Crisis On Infinite Earths.

George had proved himself as not only an incredible artist but as an excellent storyteller and writer.

In 1997 George created a character unlike any other character at the time.

In Crimson Plague #1 from Event Comics readers are introduced to Deena a warrior woman whose blood, if spilled and made contact with instantly and painfully kills whoever it touches.

Their body simply disintegrates.

Issue #1 is packed with some of the best work Perez has ever done.  George pulled out all the stops on the series that includes lots of high-tech gadgets, spaceships, horror, super-beings and just about every other genre imaginable.

There was at one time the possibility of a movie being made based on the comic book. 

Sadly the series only lasted a few issues, switched publishers midstream and never reached its full potential.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Alien Queen and Cyber Spawn

In my opinion McFarlane Toys created the best version of the Alien Queen with its 6-inch Alien Vs. Predator Playset produced in 2005.

She’s a real beauty!

Ebony black with tinges of green accenting her extended head crown the Alien Queen is a snarling nasty creature with spikes protruding from her back, head crown, long, prehensile tail and carapace.

The Queen has striated body parts particularly noticeable on her large thick neck, chiseled shoulder blades, chest and back.

Two long articulated arms extend just under her shoulder blades and appear to made exclusively of uncovered tendons, muscle strands and bone.

Both hands feature long tapered fingers ending in sharp clawed fingers.

A dual set of crablike feeler like arms protrude from her chest.  Long spike feelers protrude from her lower back and her angular hips have two large sinewy legs -one on each side.  Her log flexible tail can be bend and moved with some restrictions.

Her legs resemble an animal’s legs with twin knees ending at long feet with stubby toes. 

Her eyeless head and cranium fit snugg under her oversize protective bony crown.

A large maw with spiked teeth opens to reveal her small inner jaws.

Included with the Alien Queen is a base fashioned and painted to look like earth and rock with three Alien eggs.

The Alien Queen’s sculpt is amazing with tight, crisp and well-delineated bone plates, muscles and tendons and spikes-lots of spikes.

This is a complicated figure and McFarlane Toys sculptors pulled it off perfectly with lots of detail, cleverly hidden articulation points and a paint scheme that screams dark and dangerous.

The figure poses easily on and off its base and when coupled with the Playsets Predator the two halves fit together for a real Alien/Predator slugfest.

Equally impressive is the McFarlane Toys Regenerated Cyber Spawn also released in 2005.

It’s easy to spot the Japanese Anime/Manga influence of the Cyber Spawn.  It reminds me of the various ‘tech’ warriors fighting machines such as Robotech.

Before McFarlane Toys downsized in the mid-2000’s it produced a remarkable assortment of figures.

One such assortment involved Todd McFarlane’s creation: Spawn.

Dozens of variations of Spawn were created ranging from a barbarian Spawn to Medieval Spawn. The Cyber Spawn was a part of that Spawn expanded universe of figures.

The Cyber Spawn colors reflex the original Spawn with red, black and silver/white.

Starting at the top of the figure the head has distinguishable humanoid features in black.  Surrounding the head is a crimson helmet decorated with long crimson spikes extending from the back of the cranium.

The head rests in a black and silver tech cradle with silver pipes and cables placed in front.

A large crimson chest piece extends backwards into spikes that flare upward.  Below that is an angular silver-segmented mesh.

The chest unit tapers into a crimson hip assembly with black front trim. 
Heavy crimson legs, jointed at the knees features small silver spikes running down them vertically, side spines, protruding knees ending in blunt spikes, lower leg encasements with black side spikes and large upper foot encasements with a single red spike on each foot.

Under each foot are silver segments for each foot pad.

The Cyber Spawn’s arms start with large protruding shoulder encasements with triple spikes. Smooth crimson biceps/triceps coverings, lower arm oversize gauntlets with a black gloved hand for the left arm and a silver tri-pincer for the right hand.

It is a massive figure with shiny crimson metal highlights, silver instrument, wire and cable accents and black spikes and coverings.

The sculpting on the figure is amazing considering the complexity of it.  Articulation is well hidden and planned out and the color application offers distinct separations of the various parts and casings.

The Cyber Spawn would go on to inspire a whole set of Cyber Units including motorcycle mounted units.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Lantern, Knife, Trekking Pole, Compass and Blanket

I watch a lot of videos on YouTube.  Lately I’ve gravitated to videos about camping, survival, RV living and traveling.

I’ve always been big on being prepared.  Whenever a disaster comes around my wife are not the kind of people that rush out at the last moment to pick up supplies. 

We keep a full food l
arder and know how to prep for a hurricane, power outages, food rationing and the like.

We’re not survivalists by any means.  It’s just that we are older (both of us are in our mid-60s) and have learned a few things over the years.

Whenever we go on a trip (we just drove to Virginia and back to see our new granddaughter) we are prepared with a backpack full of camping gear and extra car supplies.  It pays to be prepared.

Even when I’m riding my bike I carry a small emergency kit with me including a knife, tools, etc.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any amount of time you know I mainly concentrate on collectibles.

But, since more and more people are taking to the road, camping and into survival gear I thought it would be a good idea to expand my reviews.

AceCamp puts out a number of camping supplies and they were kind enough to send a few to look over and review.

From my initial examination of the items I can state that they are well-made, rugged, nicely designed and easy to use.

One of the most important items you can have while camping at night, on the road when it’s dark and for general use is a good lamp.  I’m not talking about a flashlight-I’m talking big time illumination power.

AceCamp’s Camping Lantern with Highly Efficient LED
is the perfect source of light.

It features an easy push button function for dimming or flashing the light.  Four settings are available in all.

The clever design allows the LED bulb to reflect off the interior silver mirrored surface and intensify the light.  It’s almost blinding!

The heavy-duty casing protects the light from spills and falls and the twin-side tri-bumper sections protect the lantern even more.

Two flip up and down handles allow you to hang the lantern from a tree, pole or etc. and the heavy, rubber-coated non-skid base keeps the lantern secure and in place wherever you place it.

Three ‘D’ batteries come with the lantern and are wrapped in plastic so they won’t work until you remove the plastic and install them in the lantern base.

The base opens easily and in a snap you’ll have all the light you’ll need for a long period due to the LED bulbs.

The upper lid easily screws off to allow you to replace the LED bulbs when necessary.

I’m always looking for a good pocketknife.  It needs to be sharp, quick to use and multi-purpose.

The Tactical Series 4 Function Utility Knife with 5 Lumen USB Rechargeable Light fits the ticket perfectly.

A simple pull of the stainless steel blade and it snaps into place secure and ready to use.  Simply push the restraining clip and the knife folds back into place. 

The heavy-duty construction gives the knife a good hefty feel perfect for someone like me.  I have large hands and the knife fits in my palm and fingers perfectly.

The knife also includes an Emergency Glass Breaker (great for shattering car windows if trapped), a Hanging Buckle and a very comfortable Soft Touch Swith.

The coolest feature about the knife is the 5 Lumen LED Light that comes with a USB Charging Cable.

Once charged you can push a soft button switch and viola!-you have instant light perfect for finding keys, maneuvering in the dark and for in case of emergencies. 

I love to walk.  The only problem is I’m getting older and my legs aren’t quite as strong as they used to be.  My sense of balance could use some help.

The AceCamp External Lock Trekking Pole is just the ticket.  It’s soft form-fitting handle, adjustable wrist strap and solid construction holds up on the toughest treks.

The telescoping twin-section pole allows users to easily adjust for height and the Eternal Locks keep the pole rock solid.  A protective cup covers the ground tip when not in use and is easily removed and reattached.

Dubbed the Duralumin 7075 the Trekking Pole is perfect for walkers, trekkers and anyone who plans on traveling even the most rugged terrain.

A small-extended guard at the end of the pole keeps it from digging too deeply into soft earth and offers additional support and security.

It’s hard to find a good, reliable compass.  All too often compasses will stick, fail to register the direction correctly and are inaccurate in some outdoor situations.

The Folding Map Compass comes with a Reflective Mirror for signaling emergencies, a Protective Lid, a Lanyard, a Rotating Compass Ring, a Scale for measuring length and distance and is liquid-filled assuring no mistakes.

What good is a compass when you’re lost if it doesn’t work?  You never have to worry about AceCamp’s Folding Map Compass Mirror.

After careful testing I can attest that it points perfectly north and does not deviate regardless of the surface it rests upon.

How do you keep warm in an emergency?  What if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the temperature is rapidly dropping?  You need something for protection and you need it fast.  The same holds true in camping and/or survival situations.

Big bulky blankets and sleeping bags take up a lot of room and are difficult to transport.

The Silver Color Emergency Blanket weights only 40g and opens out to 140 X 220 CM.

Trust me, it covers me with room to spare and I’m six foot tall.

It’s windproofed and waterproofed, reflects body heat and folds easily back into its small, convenient baggie.   It remains elastic below freezing and its perfect for any emergency situation.  And best of all it’s easy to transport and is lightweight.

All of the AceCamp products I just reviewed come in heavy-duty packaging, are easy to use and store and are rugged enough to last for years.

I plan on using the Walking Poles on my next trek, keeping the Knife with me at all times, storing the Blanket in my car emergency pack, keeping the Compass in the glove compartment and having the Lantern handy around the house should we have a power outage.

Be sure to check out AceCamp’s website for other great products.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dr. Strange

Issue #177 of Dr. Strange from the Silver Age introduced a brand new costume for Dr. Strange.

In order to hide his true identity Dr. Strange took on the appearance of a costumed superhero complete with a full face mask.

Sounds ludicrous and silly but that’s exactly what happened in Hail The Master!

The story behind the story (or rumor) was that Dr. Strange sales were lagging so Marvel Comics' Stan Lee decided to give the Doctor a boost by making him look more like the other more popular Marvel superheroes.

The results were mixed.  Most fans disliked the change and after a few issues the good Doctor reverted back to his original outfit.

Still it was an interesting experiment and with Gene Colan’s pencils and Tom Palmer’s inks the book looked fantastic.

A few years later, during the Bronze Age, Dr. Strange got his own title.

Dr. Strange Master Of The Mystic Arts #1 featured a beautiful cover by John Brunner as well as interior art by the artist.

Steve Englehart provided the prose that took liberties with the Alice In Wonderland stories.

The art is absolutely stunning, as is the coloring.

Brunner distinguished himself with his art and proved that his interpretation of Dr. Strange was just as original as Steve Ditko’s and Gene Colan’s art contributions.

With the advent of the second Dr. Strange movie coming out, early Dr. Strange books and appearances will continue to escalate in price.