Sunday, January 19, 2020

Image, DC, Marvel and Diamond


Admittedly the hot comic books collectors look for usually are first issues, first appearances or crucial events.

But, not all first appearances, et al happen in the pages of comic books.

Many promotional pieces, catalogs and other comic book literature contain some key and collectibles art.

Back in the early and mid-1990s the Internet was in its infancy.  Most promotional material was still only available in printed form and then it was not readily available to everyone.

Comic book publishers were still going through a transitional phase. The Direct Sales Market had revolutionized the distribution of comic books and publishers were scrambling in an attempt to take full advantage of the situation.

Often publishers would create ‘in-house’ publications meant for stockholders, retailers and were often distributed at retailer conventions and to the press.  Very few copies managed to make to the comic book collectors themselves.

Interestingly enough many of the ‘proposed’ projects laid out in the publications either were shelved, creative teams changed or modified.  Many simply did not get published.

What makes these publications so interesting is that much of the art in them were the first appearances of certain characters seen long before Diamond Previews or collector magazines such as Wizard, Fan and Combo spotlighted them sometimes months later.

For ‘true’ first appearances these magazines are a goldmine.  Marvel, DC, Image and to a smaller degree alternate press publishers turned out their own catalog/previews.

I predict as the comic book collecting frenzy continues to escalate that these publications will soon be much sought after.

After perusing Amazon and Ebay I was only able to find two such copies of the publications seen in the accompanying photo.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ash Blossom and Magical Hero


Yu-Gi-Oh! The Shonen Jump Trading Card Games from Konami offers players a little ‘flower power!’

Brighten up your Yu-Gi-Oh! games with some cool Ash Blossom accessories that are sure to satisfy YGO players of all ages and genders.

If you play YGO then you have to have a Game Mat.  And what better Game Mat than a cushioned, rubberized 24 inch by 14 inch Game Mat featuring Ash Blossom?

It’s a real beauty and it brings a whole new sophistication to any YGO game.

Other Ash Blossom goodies include 50 Tournament Level Ash Blossom Sleeves, and Ash Blossom Card Case that holds over 70 Sleeved YGO Cards and to top it off a gorgeous Ash Blossom 9-Pocket Duelist Portfolio.

Check it out! The Shonen Jump YGO Trading Card Game Ash Blossom Duelist Portfolio has Anti-Slip Pockets, features gorgeous Ash Blossom illustrations both on the front and back and is made of sturdy plastic and board that are guaranteed to last for years.


The Legendary Duelists Magical Hero Booster Packs come with five Cards per Pack and 36 Packs per Box with 56 Cards per Booster Set.  Just look at what your get:

Yugi's Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl in a magical team-up.

A treasure trove of amazing new Cards for Dark Magician.

Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl will be able to battle alongside one another as a single Fusion Monster.

The Heart of the Cards allows Yugi to Summon Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl at will.

Magicians' Souls is a new effect monster that can be used to send a Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl to the Graveyard, then Summon it back to the field.

Magicians' Combination is a new Trap Card that lets players Tribute their on-field Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl to Special Summon the other one from player’s hand or Graveyard and negate any Card effect an opponent activates!

The return of the protagonists from the first five Yu-Gi-Oh! animated series!

The complete set of Legendary Duelists: Magical Hero contains 56 cards with one Rare in every Pack:

29 Commons
10 Rares
8 Super Rares
9 Ultra Rares

Isn’t it time to put a little ‘magic’ into your YGO game?  So ‘conjure’ up some cash and buy Magical Hero today!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Cat Whiskers and Flowers of Edo


Have you ever have one of those days when you need a healthy dose of a warm fuzzy feeling?

Has life got you stressed out?  Do your job, family conflicts and other troubles have you feeling low?

Would you like a big pick me up?

I have just the solution.

Pick up a copy of PIE International's Cat Whiskers book for a healthy dose of kitten and cat cuteness that’s sure to sooth your worried mind and bring back the warm fuzzies.

The small, hardbound book is filled with full color photos of cats and kittens as they sleep, relax, make funny faces and do all the things silly cats are prone to do.

It’s a regular feline feel good book.

Japanese artists have the uncanny knack for illustrating and painting the most common day to day objects and making them look mystical, magical and absolutely captivating.
 
In Flowers of Edo: A Guide To Classical Japanese Flowers readers will discover exquisite illustrations of native Japanese flowers for all seasons.

Soft and defused colors and delicate line work showcase how intricate flowers really are.

I’ve never been a big flower fan but after looking at this book of mesmerizing illustrations I’ve begun to appreciate just how amazing nature is.

Included with each illustration, are full descriptions of the flowers (both in English and Japanese) including their scientific designation, their history and place of origin.

Talk about ’flower power!’

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Time To Tidy Up!


There comes a time in every reviewer/collector’s life that they must get rid of a few things.

Now is that time.  I have too much stuff!

I’ve written reviews going on 28 years.  During that time I have accumulated a houseful of merchandise.

I’ve weeded out stuff consistently of course but for some odd reason the piles of books, toys, etc. keep getting bigger.

I’ve given stuff away, sold stuff, traded stuff and I’ve even donated lots and lots of toys and models to our church to give to kids on the mission field.

And yet it keeps accumulating.  I take full responsibility.  I am a pack rat, albeit an organized one.

Yesterday I decided to do something about it.

First thing I tackled was my book library.  I went through my reading material and pulled out two cases of books I have not looked at for years.  Off to the used bookstore they go to sell for some cash.

Next I hit the garage and dug out a big plastic container filled with James Bond, Star Wars, and Star Trek and other TV and movie VHS tapes.  I’m giving them to a lady at our church for her husband who still has a VCR player.

While I was at it I pulled out a couple of cases of trading cards to give to that same lady to give to kids at our church youth group: Awana.

As soon as spring and summer get here I plan on getting with a friend of mine who frequents toy conventions.  I’ll either split a booth cost with him or let him sell some of my toys and give him a commission.

Too many toys!  I also plan on seeing if I can find military toy collectors.  I have a boatload of six and 12-inch military figures to sell.

Eventually, once I’m in my 70’s, I’ll be selling off my comic books (about 15,000), the rest of my toys, trading cards, books--well, you get the idea.

My plan is to sell off the lion’s share of my collection so when my wife and I decide to downsize and live in a small apartment or condo, we won’t have much to move.

Whatever is left over when I die my son has promised to sell it on E-bay so my wife won’t have to deal with it.  That is, if I pass on first.

It is amazing how much stuff I’ve accumulated.  Even after getting rid of so much stuff my man cave and part of my garage is still packed.

I’d like to donate my library of books to a college or some institution that will use them.  That, and copies of my review articles-I literally have written thousands of them.

Speaking of which.  One other thing I almost got rid of were the floppy discs containing my original documents.  I packed them up and put them in the garbage.  But, after thinking about it for a while I decided to hold on to them. 

My good friend Bill told me that it’s best I keep them for posterity and for my kids to have something to remember me by.  Good call Bill!

Today I’m off with a load of books to the bookstore.  Tomorrow I hit the local video game rescue store to sell my old Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and several handheld game consoles, along with dozens of games.

It’s my hope that someone will enjoy playing the old games as much as I did.

It ain’t easy getting rid of things, but it’s necessary.  I’m not getting any younger and it’s best I take care of things before it gets too difficult.

Everyday I wake up grateful to God I’m alive.  Life is so short.  One day you’re a kid with your head full of dreams and the next you’re old.

But, it’s not so much the destination, it’s enjoying the journey to get there.

I am so blessed.  I have my Lord, salvation and the knowledge that I will spend eternity in Heaven with him.  


I have my beautiful wife and two great kids, a grandson and soon a new granddaughter, my friends, my family, a wonderful home, food to eat, cloths to wear, my health, a great church, fantastic memories, a nice car, good neighbors--I can’t possibly list all wonderful things that God has done for me and mine.

I deserve none of it and yet God blesses.  He’ll do the same for you if you ask him to save you. He’ll turn your life around just as he has mine.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Magic Journey, The Mandalorian and One Day At Disney

Y
ears ago I had a friend whom absolutely loved Disney cartoons.  A talented cartoonist, his dream was to one day work for Disney.  He certainly was (an is) talented enough.

One such dreamer actually had his dream come true.

Kevin P. Rafferty was originally called to the ministry but changed his life’s direction. He was hooked on art and his dream job was to work for Walt Disney.

As fate would have it his dream came true and starting out as gopher and jack of all trades, Kevin listened, looked and learned from those around him.

Eventually after years of hard work and dedication he obtained his fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career.

Kevin is responsible for developing, designing and creating some of the most spectacular ride attractions at the various Disney Theme Parks.

Magic Journey, from Disney Editions, tells his remarkable story of perseverance, dedication, determination and the dogged pursuit of his dream job.

In the book he tells his story; laced with humor, sage advice, fond recollections and his unending gratitude to be working for Walt Disney Imagineering.

It’s a remarkable and inspiring story of one man’s dream coming to fruition.

Critics and fans alike are head over heels in awe and in love with Disney’s Star Wars The Mandalorian TV series.

Many are calling it the best Star Wars since the original Star Wars Trilogy films.

In celebration and honor of the series Disney/Lucas Press presents The Mandalorian Poster Book.

Inside Star Wars fans receive 16 double-fold, pull-out posters.

Bounty Hunters, Droids and a baby Yoda-who could ask for more?

Imagine spending an entire day at every Disney Theme Park across the globe.

That’s just what photographers and videographers did as they looked through the eyes of the various cast members employed by Disney.

Go behind the scenes of rides, stage shows, cruise ships, visitor services, maintenance, engineers and electricians, construction workers and all of the other hundreds of employees at Disney that keep the mouse moving.

It’s a wonderful, full-color tour of and about the people who make the magic happen.

Animation, movie making and the various entertainment avenues of Disney could not exist or function without the people behind the magic.

The book is a visual tour of the many departments and the people who spend their days making guests feel welcome, the insure the wheels of Disney keep rolling and that the gears of The Magic Kingdom are well oiled and running smoothly.

This is the Disney few people ever get to experience and One Day At Disney invites readers to come along for the ride.

Diamonds Are Forever, Wordless and It Happened To Me


Sean Connery’s starring role as James Bond in the Diamonds Are Forever film is credited with saving the James Bond movie franchise.

After starring in five James Bond films, Connery called it quits and moved on.

The producers of the Bond films were forced to look for a replacement for Connery.

They chose Australian actor/model George Lazenby.  It was a bad decision.

While On Her Majesty's Secret Service was not a bad movie it was obvious from the start that Lazenby was no Connery.

He did not return for the next film.

The producers were in a panic and persuaded Connery to return one more time as James Bond by offering him a huge amount of cash.

Connery accepted and starred In Diamonds Are forever.

James Bond’s author: Ian Fleming, when he wrote Diamonds Are Forever constructed the book unlike any previous Bond stories.

The story (often referred to as Fleming's Hollywoodization of Bond) was witty, unconventional, touched upon then taboo subjects and took Bond fans by surprise.

Editor Oliver Buckton presents The Many Facets Of Diamonds Are Forever, published by Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.

In the book several James Bond scholars and new critics analyze the book and film breaking them down into its unique facets.

Readers learn the who, what, why, where and when of the creation of one the most intriguing and unique James Bond novels ever written.

The book delves deeply as to how the book came about and Fleming's decision to create such an unconventional Bond novel.

Wonderfully Wordless, by William Patrick Martin, lists the 500 most recommended graphic novels and picture books.

In the listings are books for all ages groups that tells stories with little or no words, all accompanied by black and white photos of each cover.

The books are broken down by genres and each description is short, precise and concise.

Wonderfully Wordless is an excellent resource book for parents, teachers, librarians and anyone interested in good solid reads with little or no text.

Graphic storytelling has been around since cave dwellers told their illustrated exploits on cave wall.  The Egyptians used hieroglyphics and other ancient civilizations had their own unique visual story telling techniques.

Through the centuries words and pictures have told tales of adventure to romance.  The printing press brought readers comic strips, comic books and other printed examples of story telling.

In It Happened To Me: Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga, author Randall Bonser offers the ultimate teen guide to the history, origins and evolution of each form of art and tale telling.

Accompanied by art, the book methodically examines in full detail the story of visual story telling and delves into its influence on societies all around the world. 

Readers learn how each is created, the tools used, how diversity is represented and offers recommendations as to what series of tales to read and study.

It’s a ‘how-to’ and ‘all about’ collection of the history, techniques used and the impact generated on society of each art form.

I recommend the book for anyone new to comics, graphic novels and Manga.



Savage Creatures, Color Of Magic and Hogfather


It’s a real pain being a vampire.  Undead, only coming out at night, crucifixes are deadly, garlic is a no-no and wooden stakes are guaranteed to cause the worst case of heart ‘burn’ imaginable.

Add to that the only way you can survive is to drink blood-human blood.

What happens if your blood supply is threatened?  Total bummer!

That’s the dilemma two vampire find themselves in when aliens invade the earth and turn humans into rabid zombies.  Throw in cannibals, gun totting nuns and other assorted creatures and finding your next meal as a vampire is a real challenge.

Suddenly the undead are the good guys. Who’d a thunk?

Savage Creatures sees the forces of evil collide in a truly unique take on vampires, zombies, aliens and things that go bump in the night.

It’s all courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment on a brand new DVD/Digital Combo Pack that also includes a director commentary, a visual effect breakdown and a behind the scenes featurette.

Gods need entertainment too.  Too bad a tourist and incompetent wizard of Discworld doesn’t realize it. 

When a fire breaks out the unlikely pair of misfits are forced to join together on a magical journey orchestrated by the gods. 

Along the way they encounter barbarians, falling of the edge of Discworld, encountering dragons and facing off against the wizard’s rather nasty former classmate.

Magic and clash meet in a hilarious and imaginative journey where the gods play a board game and the wizard and tourist are the game pieces.

On the same disc as The Color Of Magic comes Hogfather. Both are tales by terry Pratchett.

Once a year kids look forward to the night the Hogfather arrives and showers them with gifts. 

But, there are evil forces out there that want nothing better to stop Hogfather and ruin the holiday for everyone.

It’s up to the most unlikely band of reluctant heroes to set things right and save Hogfather so the holiday of Hogswatch can once more be celebrated.

Both hilarious and unusual tales are on the dual film Blu-ray/Digital HD Combo Pack that also includes a few surprises.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Judy and Rambo


According to some movie critics Renee Zellweger gave the best performance of her acting career starring as the legendary actress/singer/performer Judy Garland in the new film from Lionsgate: Judy.


There are rumors of her winning the Best Actress Academy Award.

The movie centers on the last year or so of Judy Garland's as she struggles to revitalize her career.

For those of my generation Judy Garland was the performer's performer.  She could act, sing and dance and do them extremely well.  She lit up the screen. 


But, as talented she was, she never felt good about herself.  She suffered from an almost debilitating lack of self-worth.

The last couple years of her life saw her marrying her fifth husband, attempting to make a comeback on the stage and even trying her hand at network TV.

As vivacious and vibrant as she was on the Silver Screen her personal life was a mess.  She struggled with substance abuse, often found herself in face-to-face confrontations with friends and associates and as a woman, often dismissed by the movie studio executives.

Judy does not hold back.  It shows every fault, foible and failing of Judy Garland while at the same time offering glimpses of the little girl who skyrocketed to super stardom and survived it all.  Included in the film are some classic musical numbers and Renee Zellweger hits it out of the park!

As she grew older and less agile while struggling with her own inner demons she nonetheless proved time and time again she deserved the title of, “The world’s greatest entertainer.”

The Judy (Judy Garland: The Legend Behind The Rainbow) Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack also includes a featurette on the making of Judy, a Judy Gallery and a theatrical trailer.

I was in my late 20’s when I watched the first Rambo movie: First Blood.  I watched as John Rambo transformed in the next two films from a confused and troubled Vietnam veteran battling his own demons to a mythical, super-soldier killing machine.

As Sylvester Stallone (who plays Rambo) grew older he completed a forth Rambo film simply called Rambo.

In it Rambo left society and lived in a self-imposed exile.  Inevitably he returned to his killer nature.

It’s been over ten years since the last Rambo film.

In the new film John Rambo has returned to his old homestead in the United States.

Once there he slowly attempted to turn away from his old ways and find some measure of peace.

But, when his beloved niece attempts to find her father in Mexico she is kidnapped and made a sex slave.

Rambo is determined to get her back and nearly succeeds only to have her perish.  His attempt to rescue her results in the death of many of the human traffickers and their clientele.

John returns to his farm with the sex traffickers hot on his heels.

Alone, outnumbered and determined to stop the sex traffickers once and for all Rambo hunkers down, prepares his ranch for the onslaught and ruthlessly takes on the sex traffickers as only he can.

Rambo Last Blood is by far the most violent and bloody Rambo movie to date.  Stallone delivers a powerful performance and is not afraid to show how time has taken its toll on Rambo.

Rambo Last Blood is stated to be the last Rambo movie.

However, when interviewed Stallone said, “I’ll continue to make Rambo movies as long as the audience wants them.”

The Rambo Last Blood Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack also packs in the extras with a Rambo Production Diary, the music behind the film and a theatrical trailer.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Terminator #1 and Wheelie And The Chopper Bunch #1

Recently The Terminator movie series premiered its sixth film in the series: Dark Fate.  It’s good but no where as good as the first and second films.

Back when Dark Horse Comics first appeared it secured The Terminator comic book publishing rights. 

The events in the mini-series take place not long after T2.

Readers are given a first hand look at the inner workings of Skynet and meet the very first female Terminator.

The four-part mini-series retains the look and feel of the film series.

Prices fluctuate, but the entire four issue run can be bought for less than $20.  The only questions is: for how long?

Any comic book collector worth their salt knows who John Byrne is. 

His influence one the comic book community still resonates today and for good reason.

John’s runs on Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four, The Demon, The Doom Patrol, The X-Men, She Hulk and dozens of other tiles set the bar that new talent must aspire to.

John not only does work for the ’Big 2’ but also for other smaller publishers such as Dark Horse and IDW.

His Next Men title is still a favorite with fans.

But, did you know that John started out just like other young creators on whatever title was assigned him?



John first started out working for Charlton Comics and on The All New Hanna Barbera’s Wheelie And The Chopper Bunch.

You read right-John started out on funny cartoons.

The Wheelie issues he began on have started to rise in value and are necessary additions to any John Byrne comic book collection.

Currently #1 sells for around $10.  However it is a Bronze Age comic book and as any comic book collector can tell you Bronze Age comics are shooting up in value-fast!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Disney A to Z, Dumbo, PIXAR and Marc Davis


Here’s some trivia for you.

I am old enough to remember watching Walt Disney cartoon shorts when they were shown at movie theaters.  My favorites starred Donald Duck. I can even recall some of the WWII shorts animated by Disney-albeit as reruns on TV before everything got ‘politically correct’.

Even though I was only shy of three years old I vaguely recollect watching the opening of Disneyland on ABC TV in 1955.  Art Linkletter hosted the live program.  It was a first and as with any live event it had its ‘awkward’ moments.

My mom and I enjoyed watching The Wonderful World of Color/Disney from Disney when it was on TV.

I was also a member of the Mickey Mouse Club.  It premiered in 1955.  I don’t remember the first shows but by 1958 I was old enough to remember some of them.

Believe it or not I remember most of the Mickey Mouse Club March:

Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E
Hey there, hi there, ho there
You're as welcome as can be
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E
Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse
Forever let us hold our banner high
High, high, high
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E
Mickey Mouse club
We'll have fun, we'll be new faces
High, high, high, high
We'll do things and we'll go places
All around the world
We'll go marching
Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E…

Come relive the magic with me of things Disney past and present with four new books from Disney Editions that are guaranteed to bring out the kid in everyone.

Walt Disney Studios is now an international corporation.  Disney is everywhere from theme park, movies, TV shows, cable, streaming, books, music, toys, retail outlets, cruises-you name it, Disney does it.

Needless to say there’s a lot to know about Disney.  Where to start?

Here’s a suggestion.  Pick up a copy of Disney Editions’ Disney A to Z The Official Encyclopedia 5th Edition.

Dave Smith, the Chief archivist Emeritus of Walt Disney Archives, and his staff spent literally hundreds of hours compiling this impressive tome of all things Disney.

Just one look and you can tell it is quite an undertaking.  If it’s about Disney, then it’s in this HUGE, thick, hardbound book.

Comprehensive and thorough hardly describe this impressive collection of facts and fun that also includes hundreds of black and white photos.

Updated with 10 more years of history this book is the ultimate Disney guide.  People, places, things and events concerning Walt Disney Enterprises are chronicled.  It’s 858 pages of pure Disney!

Disney Studios has had huge successes with its live action adaptations of some of its classic animated films.

Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland and the Lion King faithfully translated classic animated musicals using real actors combined with visual effects to make updated versions of the films.

But, how do you make a film about a flying elephant in live action?

Leave it director Tim Burton and the magic makers at Disney to do just that in their delightful live adaptation of Dumbo, the baby flying circus elephant.

Danny Devito is just one of the big name stars who lent their talent to this delightful film that captures the heart and soul of the original animated film.  It’s pure movie magic.

How did the filmmakers at Disney Studios do it?

Author Leah Gallo and Disney Editions reveal the secrets behind the making of the film in a brand new, deluxe, hardbound book.

The cover alone is almost worth the price of the book.  Dumbo flies directly at the reader amidst a red, white and blue striped background with the huge Dumbo logo overhead.  Spot varnish makes the images pop.

Tim Burton provides the foreword for the book.

The Art And Making Of Disney Dumbo starts with art from the original 1941 film.

From there the creative team behind the new film breaks down the art, re-imagines images, preplans sequences and begins post production.

Readers are guided through the entire film process courtesy of the very informative and secret revealing text.

Included in the book are concept art pieces, scene visualizations, set designs, costume designs, period set dressings and setups, special effects preparation and digital imaging.

Learn about the choice of actors, the lighting, location shooting, the incredible special and visual effects, the soundtrack and much more.

It is a wondrous journey through the film making process made even more fascinating by the scope and scale of the undertaking such a massive product.

Dumbo lives and you’ll believe an elephant can really fly!

I love Pop-Up books!  I have several and it always fascinates me how book designers and artists can take flat pieces of colored paper and using folds, perforations, hinges and other Pop-Up secrets can create delightful 3D sculpture from 2D images.

Disney Editions has really outdone itself in what I consider one of the best (if not the best) Pop-Up books I have ever seen.

Author Matthew Reinhart has created a plethora of Pop-Ups in PIXAR A Pop-Up Celebration and what a celebration it is!

The large hardbound book comes in a transparent slipcase to protect the amazing book.  An additional single sheet insert protects the back of the book.

Get ready for a delightful visual journey as you open the first page.

Inside the author introduces readers the genesis of PIXAR films.  Beginning with 1995’s Toy Story film the book provides plenty of Pop-Up surprises and delightful fun.

Pages break down PIXAR’s film by the year they were released. 

The two-page spreads provide foldout Pop-Up of articles associated with PIXAR films such as its trademark desk lamp, computer, etc.

Each film (Usually three to four per two-page foldout) has a small foldout Pop-Up dedicated to it along with some film reel Pop-Ups providing extra film art.

Although only measuring 4 1/2 X 5 inches each film foldout Pop-Up is extremely elaborate in its complexity.  For example, check out The Incredibles Pop-Up.  WOW!

Short text snippets guide readers through the film history of PIXAR. 

It’s hard to describe just how complex this book is.  The sheer amount of manpower to construct each Pop-Up is mind-blowing.  I can see myself spending hours with my grandchildren pouring over each and every page and Pop-Up.  I can hardly wait.

There are instances where God graciously grants individuals the ability to do amazing things few of us can accomplish.  Genius is a mysterious and wonderful thing.

Compared to the huge population of the earth only a small percentage of people possess genius.

One such individual is animator/ illustator/paiinter/designer Marc Davis- a longtime Disney animator and Imagineer.

Diehard Disney fans are familiar with his work.  He is considered by many to be the best of the best of Disney’s animators and creative minds.  I have to agree.

The sheer volume of his work is amazing, as is his incredible imagination.

As a graphic designer and illustrator I marvel at his uncanny ability to imagine and put down on paper his concepts.  Even more amazing is how long he did it.

Most artists start to burn out as they grow older. Not Marc Davis-if anything his imagination and skill increased, as did his output.

In Marc Davis In His Own Words Imagineering The Disney Theme Parks authors Pete Docter and Christopher Merritt lead readers though two huge volumes containing Marc’s work.

Both volumes are contained in an oversize hardbound slipcase festooned it Marc’s art.

Volume 1 starts out with Marc’s early work on some of Disneyland’s rides.

Concept art finished illustrations, set pieces, ride mechanics, fully realized animatronic robots, interactive elements and more are discussed, analyzed and broken down.

What’s remarkable is that anything like this had never been done before.

Amusement parks may have had a few moving set pieces but nothing compared to the scale and complexity of what Marc Davis and his creative collaborators had in mind.

Imagine creating such classic rides like The Haunted Mansion, Pirates Of The Caribbean and dozens more.

Pages are packed with concept art and sketches, color studies, set designs, costume concepts, facial and body sculptures and inner mechanical workings.

New computer technology was incorporated as were lighting designs requiring precisions timing and sequencing.

The second volume follows the first concentrating on later designs for not only Disneyland but also Disneyworld and Walt Disney theme attractions.

My mind is absolutely boggled by the sheer volume of work accomplished!

Behind-the-scenes photos of staff and production people and facilities are also included as are concepts and art for projects that never got off the ground.

Readers will see the creative process and concept art and sculpts for entire themed lands. 


Imagineers were responsible for conceptualizing how a ride is laid out and timed so that each individual rider experiences sequences without being distracted by what has gone before or what is about to come.

It’s an impressive feat of engineering and time management.

There’s signage, storyboards, completed art and set setups, live action sequences, personnel costumes and the consistent feel and atmosphere for each ride such as The Haunted Mansion.

What massive undertakings!

I have to admit I’m a bit jealous of the talent of Mr. Davis.  I can imagine what it must have been like working with and for him.  Talk about a learning opportunity!

Everything he touched was first-class from his sketches to his final ride designs.  Every facet of each project was fine-tuned to the last note.  Colors, lighting, visual and atmospheric effects, set deigns and dressings-the list goes on and one.

For an amazing journey into the mind and creativity of a man with a vision like no other this is the book that provides it all.

Sadly Mr. Davis is no longer with us but his legacy and genius live on.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Iron Giant



At the early cusp of computer animation Warner Bros. produced a classic animated film that combined the best of conventional animation with the then new computer animation.  The result was The Iron Giant full-length animated film that has garnered a cult following.

In a nutshell the story goes like this: The time is the 1950s when the Communist threat and The Cold War were in full swing.

When a mysterious object crash lands a young boy investigates and discovers a giant metal eating robot with no memory of what it is or what its mission is.

The military gets involved and injures the boy thus setting the robot in motion as its memory is restored and it proceeds to make kindling out of the military’s weapons in retaliation for the boy being 'hurt'.

As a last resort the military decides to drop an A-bomb to destroy the robot, even thought there will be civilian casualties.  Only at the last moment the robot regains its senses after is finds out its human friend is uninjured.

The robot stops the bomb and saves many lives.

It’s a wonderful story of friendship and loyalty-sort of a robotic E.T.

Trendmasters Toys put out a very limited amount of The Iron Giant toys.  Being as the film is such a classic the figures demand high prices due to their scarcity.

One such toy was Trendmasters’ The Iron Giant Animated Bank.

The large toy is packaged in a oversize rectangular box with a clear plastic front piece for viewing the bank.

The massive Iron Giant sits upon a pile of metal junk.  On his right knee sits his human friend.

When a hidden button is pushed at the garbage-strewn base the Giant opens his mouth, his left arm lifts to his mouth as it opens and he speaks as his eyes light up and his right leg raises slightly.

The details of the figure are amazing, perfectly matching the film’s robot.

Angular cut legs and arms with round pivot joints of knees and ankles, wrists and elbows fit snugly into place and look incredible real.

The robot's massive chest is festooned with rivets. His neck air vent area, large shoulder mounts, huge head with a protruding lower jaw, round eyes and a fin running from his nose area over his cranium are perfect.

Large platter like feet attach to its legs via swing hinges, two massive articulated hands extend from Popeye-like lower arms and the robot’s waist looks like a convoluted overlapping section of steel rings.

The base is strewn with various pieces that appear to be rusted and crumpled metal and the small human figure is dressed in blue jeans, a red and white stripped shirt and red tennis shoes.

It’s an amazing figure with lots of small details, first rate sculpting, clever animated capability, clean and crisp color application, a sound chip with Vin Diesel’s voice and a cool place to set your coins in his hand and watch him gobble up your change.

Is it any wonder this figure is so sought after by fans?

Depending on its condition, the bank can be purchased from $125 to $250.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Maleficent Mistress Of Evil

Angelina Jolie returns to the role she made famous in Maleficent Mistress Of Evil the follow up film of the hit movie Maleficent from Disney.

This time around Maleficent’s human goddaughter is being romanced by a nearby kingdom’s Prince.

The romance blossoms and Aurora and the Prince plan to marry-much against his mother’s wishes.

It seems the queen hates the Fairy folk and all tings magical.

After a disastrous rehearsal dinner sparks fly, as do insults resulting in the Queen and Maleficent parting ways.

Things come to a boil as Maleficent returns to her magical realm and rallies her troops to fight against the humans that threaten to destroy there kind.

Tempers flare and was erupts and its up to aurora, the Prince and his father the King to set things aright.

Jolie once again nails it as the fiery Fairy Queen Maleficent and each actor is given their own moment to shine.

The visual effects are stunning, as are the creature effects.

Maleficent Mistress Of Evil delivers some heart-pounding moments along with some amazing visual, practical and special effects.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack also includes fun extras: extended scenes, outtakes, Aurora’s wedding, a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of the film and much more.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Super Chill, Nancy, Dilbert and Zits


I certainly can identify with writer/cartoonist Adam Ellis’s new book: Super Chill.  I also have had ‘A Year Of Living Anxiously’.  Make that several years worth.

Have you ever had one of those years when you decided you needed to make some changes in your life?

You start out with good intentions but not long after you begin,  things don’t exactly go as planned.

In Super Chill, from Andrews McMeel Publishing, creator Adam Ellis recounts just such a year.

Watch as he plans to change his diet, exercise, seek a more spiritual life, challenge himself to make physical as well as mental changes and to question his own life, moral stand and outlook on life.

Are you feeling it yet?  We’ve all been there and Adam Ellis nails what it all means in a hilarious cartoon chronicle of the choices we all make.

The Nancy comic strip has been around for decades.  The little girl with black close-cropped hair with a red ribbon and dressed in her black with red polka dots skirt, white blouse, black vest and blue/gray shoes looks at life from a slightly eschew pint of view.

Artist and writer Olivia Jaimes upholds the Nancy tradition with her delightful new collection of Nancy full-color comic strips.

It appears that Nancy is the only one who really knows what's going on.  She is aware that she is a comic strip character and cleverly reveals so to the chagrin of those characters around her.

Sluggo is still hanging around, along with Nancy’s teachers, friends, associates and detractors.

For a unique take on life filled with clever in-jokes and jabs the Nancy A Comic Collection delivers.  Also an extensive interview with Nancy’s writer/artist and a Nancy Gallery are also included.

For 30 years Dilbert has taken jabs at office life and it appears he will not stop anytime soon.

As a former office worker I feel Gilbert’s pain. 

Anyone working in an office environment (especially a large corporate office setting) can identify the hypocrisy, lunacy of corporate decisions and the menagerie of office workers to contend with.

Believe me, I’ve seen my share and Dilbert exposes each and everyone for who they are.

Dilbert Turns 30, by Scott Adams, presents not only recent comic strip reprints but also the top 50 Dilbert comics of the last decade.

Let the lunacy begin!

Having raised two teenagers (a boy and girl) my wife and I have the experience, war wounds, gray hair and wrinkles to prove it.

In Not Sparking Joy, by Zits creators Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, reveals what its like to raise a teenage boy.

Learning how to confront a teenager’s overactive hormone attack, kooky friends, illogical requests and outlook on life to their  unending hunger and total lack of hygiene, Zits Not Sparking Joy is a handbook offering some hilarious advice to any parent about to face their child’s teenage years.

Beware! Teenage life is seen from the points of view of not only teenagers, but parents as well.

What happened!?  They were so cute and adorable when they were little.  And then...BOOM!  Cuteness gives way to irresponsibility, challenging authority and their ‘rights’.

Still there are times just when you are just about give up that kid(s) you knew pops out through all that teenage angst and you realize how much you love them.

Of yeah, wait until your kids get their own kids!  Revenge is sweet!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Joker

Actor Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of his life as Warner Bros./DC Comics’ Joker according to some movie critics and analysts.

Joaquin stars as Arthur Fleck, a nobody with some serious issues when it comes to fitting in and functioning in society.

Alone and feeling ostracized he lives a sequestered existence as he watches over his sickly mother.

Also inflicted with a rare condition that causes him to laugh uncontrollably when placed in stressful situations he often becomes the object of ridicule and the brunt of many cruel jokes.

Joker is a difficult movie to describe.  Is it real or are all the events just imagined by Arthur Fleck?

Regardless of what the truth is, it is a remarkable movie.  Moviegoers get to follow the slow slip into insanity of Arthur as he deals with the harsh realities of his life.

His descent begins when street thugs, who steal his store sign that he uses to bring in customers, accost him.  Arthur being dressed as a comical clown makes the scene is all the most disturbing as the thugs relentless beat him almost to unconsciousness when he tries to retrieve the sign.

Things go for bad to worse as Arthur’s aspirations to be a stand-up comedian are shattered, he finds out much of his life is a lie perpetrated by his mother, is taunted by a fellow employee, loses his job and uncovers some shocking facts.

Ultimately he comes face-to-face with Thomas Wayne resulting in the tragic events that eventually created The Batman. 

It is remarkable watching as Arthur disappears and The Joker persona takes over.

It is a violent, often disturbing and tragic story of a lonely man who slips into madness and couldn't be happier.

There are plenty of Easter eggs referring to the Batman movies, TV show, comic books and lore.

I was surprised that after watching the film I accidentally found myself feeling sorry for The Joker.

The Joker Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack, from Warner Bros., also includes four featurettes: Joker: Vision & Fury, Becoming Joker, Please Welcome...Joker! and Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos.

Joker promises to change the way people perceive a comic book movie.  Look for more groundbreaking superhero movies from Warner Bros. such as the upcoming new Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad and Batman.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Classic X-Men and Excalibur



Riding on the wave of mutant success writer Chris Claremont decide to add another ‘X’ project to his already busy roster of X-Men titles.

After having huge successes with The Uncanny X-Men, The New Mutants and a string of mini-series, Chris was ready for something with a little lighter edge and a lot more humor.

So he came up with Excalibur-a very British take on mutants.

The Excalibur Special Edition sets up the team.  Kitty Pride of the X-Men has had some horrendous dreams.  So scary in fact that she can’t sleep.

At that time she believed the X-Men were dead. Professor X was halfway across the galaxy.

She contacts Nightcrawler (the only other ‘surviving X-Man) and then things really get out of control.

They are attacked by one of the most unusual band of aliens imaginable, almost get killed by Warwolves, run into Captain Britain and that’s just part of the melee.

Eventually things settle down and Kitty, along with Nightcrawler, Captain Britain, his shape-shifting girlfriend Megan and Rachel Summers (Phoenix) band together and create Excalibur.

There’s a lot more stuff to see in this issue to completely grasp the story.

Artist Alan Davis and inker Paul Neary deliver some absolutely fantastic art full of action, emotional highs and lows, some incredible fight scenes, unique character designs and lots of humor.

Currently a raw copy goes for around $10 and a 9+ slabbed copy for about $100.

For even more fun be sure to pick up a copy of Excalibur Mojo Mayhem featuring the art of Arthur Adams.

In this issue Excalibur goes up against Mojo and his assassin and team-up with the X-Babies.

It is hilarious and Arthur’s artwork fits the bill perfectly.

There’s a classy tribute to the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee legacy that both Marvel and DC Comics fans are sure to get a kick out of. 

It’s absolutely a hoot and a fun read that is sure to become a classic.

Issues are available for less than five bucks.

Purchasing the very first run of The New Uncanny X-Men titles can be daunting and expensive.

The classic run of Giant Size X-Men #1 and The Uncanny X-Men #94 through #143 can clean out one’s wallet.

When it comes to Claremont, Cockrum and Byrne’s classic runs on the title it can get expensive.

If you’re a penny-pincher like myself you can’t slap down hundreds or thousands of dollars for comic books.

I’m fortunate that I have most of the classic Cockrum and Byrne X-Men issues-mainly because I bought them when they were originally on sale at the newsstand.

Still, for a great way to pick up the classic X-Men issues without paying high prices search for Marvel’s Classic X-Men series.

It features reprints of the classic issues with original art provided by John Bolton intermingled with the classic Byrne and Cockrum art.

It’s a great way to save a few bucks and still enjoy some classic tales.

Monday, December 30, 2019

M.A.S.H, Vega$ and Magnum P.I.


I am a HUGE fan of TV series shown in the 1970s and 1980s.

Oh sure, some of them seemed silly and tried too hard to be hip in their content but most were enjoyable-especially the crime shows and situation comedies.

When the TV series M.A.S.H premiered in 1972 audiences were not sure what to make of it.

Set during the Korean War the series focused on the doctors and nurses assigned to the M.A.S.H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals) units.

The show rated at the bottom of the Nielson’s Ratings its first season but when viewers began watching it while other shows were in repeats something amazing happened-it became popular.

So popular in fact that show ran eleven straight years (eight years longer than the Korean War) and its movie length finale episode garnered the highest audience viewing of any show ever-only to be surpassed recently by the Super Bowl.

Recently a friend of mine, who is also a comic book and toy collector, did a little swapping of goodies with me. 

M.A.S.H merchandise is difficult to find.  A set of figures was produced by Tristar International Inc. consisting of the key characters from the last few years of the series.  Several playsets were also produced.

My friend had one of the figures: Hawkeye, and after a few rounds of negotiating I was able to secure the rare blond hair Hawkeye figure in a bubble pack.

The figure is a simple articulated 3 1/2 inch figure attired in army khaki with brown boots.  The bubble pack card features the M.A.S.H logo over a helicopter and color photo of the show’s cast along with a printed dog tag with Hawkeye’s name printed on it.

On the back of the card are small photos of the other figures in the set along with the playsets.  It’s nothing fancy, but I like it.

Another 1980s TV show I enjoy is Magnum P.I. (the original, not the imposter on TV now) starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum a private investigator who drives a Ferrari, lives in the guest house of his benefactor and hangs around with helicopter T.C., club owner Rick and the estate’s majordomo Higgins and his two Doberman Pincxhers Zeus and Apollo.

The show features some great stories, touches of humor, action, adventure and plenty of intrigue.  But what made the show special was the friendship between the main characters.

Kidco produced a Tough Wheels Magnum P.I. Lamborghini diecast.

It’s a perfect miniature duplicate of the car seen on the show.  With its bright red color and real rubber tires, a plastic windshield and full black interior the car is one of only a handful of Magnum P.I. toys ever produced.

Another popular detective TV show of the 1980s starred Robert Urich as a tough as nails P.I. whom drove a red 1957 Ford Thunderbird ConvertibleThe Vega$ diecast was produced by Corgi.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lost In Space, The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks

Talk about your nice after-Christmas presents!

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby recently sent me three new Trading Card Boxes to review.

It’s been awhile since I heard from Rittenhouse and I’m anxious to see what each series of Trading Card Sets have to offer.

All three series of Trading Cards Sets come 24 Packs per Box with two Autograph Cards per Box.

As with every Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby Trading Card Sets the quality of the Cards is first-rate with high-gloss and heavy paper stock and brilliant color photos and art along with clever and highly collectible ’extras’.


Lost In Space Season One

I was a little late on arrival when the new Lost In Space TV series premiered on Netflix.  We did not have a Netflix account at the time.  

However 20th Century Fox provided me the complete First Season on Blu-ray for review.  I binged watched it.

Before watching it I was a little skeptical.  A female Dr. Smith, a radically redesigned Robot and Jupiter 2 and a mixed family Robinson?  Where would the series lead me?

I need not have worried, the show far outdid my expectations.  I can hardly wait for Season Two.

RittenhouseArchives/Sci-Fi Hobby Trading Cards has created a great set of Lost In Space Trading Cards with scenes from the series, Behind-The-Scenes Secrets, Special Effects and much more.  Five Cards come per Pack.

Seventy-Two Cards make up the Base Set with six Plot Synopsis Cards for each episode with lots of randomly inserted Bonus Cards in each Box.

I was able to assemble a complete Base Set with Cards left over for almost complete a second Set.

Bonus Cards include:
10 Juan Ortiz Episode Cards  (I got 1)
10 Quotable Cards  (1 more)
8 Character Cards (1 Again-Judy Robinson)
6 Jupiter Cards (1)
6 Chariot Cards (1)
8 Juan Ortiz Character Cards (1)
8 Character Metal Parallel Cards (1-The Robot)

Two Big Hits in every Box:
Dual and Single Autograph Cards (Rowan Schlosberg and Parker Posey/Bill Mumy!)
Costume Relic Cards (0)
Sketch Cards (0)

Incentives include:
9 Case:
Toby Stephens (John Robinson)/Molly Parker
(Maureen Robinson) Dual Autograph Card

18 Case:
1 Set of 4 Color Printing Plates
An Exclusive Bill Mumy Variant Autograph Card
An Exclusive Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Hiroki Watanabe) Variant Autograph Card.
An exclusive Don West Costume Relic Card




 














 


The Twilight Zone Rod Serling Edition


When I was a kid I loved watching the original Twilight Zone TV series.  It scared the snot out of me and yet I watched it every week.

I never really warmed up to the series that followed the original.

Without Rod Serling the new series seemed to fall flat.

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby has compiled a wonderful new Trading Card Set of Cards consisting of a Base Set of 158 Cards-one for each original episode featuring Rod Serling's Opening and Closing Monologues.
I made complete Base Set with some extras left over.

Eight Cards come per Pack.

Autograph Cards:
Single Autograph (I received Ron Hagertry and Denise Lynn)
Rod Serling Cards (zip)
Inscription Cards (zip)

Bonus Cards include:
92 Juan Ortiz Portfolio Prints - The Serling Episodes (I got 8)
9 Juan Ortiz Character Art Portfolio Prints (1)
9 Mirrorboard Cards (0)
18 "Stars of the Twilight Zone" Cards (2)

Incenitives include:
9 Case:
Dual Autograph Card signed by Cloris Leachman (Mrs. Fremont)
and Bill Mumy (Anthony Fremont) from "It's A Good Life"!

18 Case:
3 sets of 4 Printing Plate Cards used to make either Base Set or Bonus Set Cards. 


 
















Twin Peaks Archives

I have to admit I never watched Twin Peaks.  I had several friends who swore by it and never missed an episode.

If memory serves me correctly there was another TV show I watched that was on at the same time as Twin Peaks.  I never got around to watching the series.

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby knows the show and has produced a beautiful series of Trading Cards.
It consists of a 72-card Base Set (I assembled a full Set) that come 5 Cards per Pack and include 2 Autographs per Box. Each Card explores the relationship between characters of the show.

Autograph Cards:
Single Autograph (I received Robert Forster and Victoria Catlin)
Dual Cards (zip)
Inscription Cards (zip)

Bonus Cards include:

42 Relationship Cards for 2017 Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series (2)
27 Original Stars of "Twin Peaks" Cards (2)
13 Quotable Cards (1)
18 "Welcome To Twin Peaks" Cards (1)
9 Scratch-n-Sniff Cards (1)
7 Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department Patch Cards (0)
"Intact" Casino Chip Card (0)

Incentives include:
9 Case:
A Dual Autograph Card of Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings)/ Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson)

18 Case:
A Set of 4 color printing plates used to make the front of one Card from the set
10 Variation Autograph Cards signed by Billy Zane, Eric DaRe, Robert Forster, Victoria Catlin and more!
 A"Broken" Casino Chip Card

Fantasy & Science Fiction #747, January/February 2020


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

MASH FAQ, Shatner and Best Films


MASH FAQ Everything Left To Know About The Best Care Anywhere
, by Dale Sherman and published by Applause, has the last word when it comes to things to know about the M.A.S.H book, film and TV series.

A complete history of the M.A.S.H books that inspired the movie and TV series, a rundown on other ‘military TV shows and the shenanigans of the TV series’ cast and crew are included in the book.

Delve into the stars of the show before they became big names, discover behind-the-scenes secrets including production, direction, writing, network battles and there’s even a history of the Korean War included.

From the shaky start of the book series to the runaway success of TV show it’s all here in one fascinating read.

Actor William Shatner-has there ever been a more respected, reviled, controversial, enigma and controversial actor to ever star on TV, the screen and on the stage.?  Possibly, but not many.

In Shatner, by Michael Seth Starr, the author looks back over the actor's long life and career.

The book examines Shatner’s triumphs and failures, his resilience, his ego, professionalism and stormy relationships with fellow actors, his marriages, family and every facet and foible of the actor’s life.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Shatner not long after Star Trek went off the air.  I found him to cordial, funny and a total professional.

If there is one constant in William Shatner’s life it is his commitment to his craft, his unwavering wit and his gratitude for the fame and fortune he unexpectantly had foisted upon him.

Just like the actor himself the book is a study in contradictions, sometimes intense and often irreverent.

It’s an engrossing examination into the life and career of one of the most mocked, ridiculed, caricatured and yet respected actor, director and writer in the industry.

WOW!  GOSH!  HOLY COW! UNBELIEVABLE! AWESOME!

Those are just a few of the words that describe my reaction when I received all four volumes of Rowman & Littlefield's massive The Encyclopedia Of Best Films: A Century Of All The Finest Movies.

I have some serious reading in front of me!  Whew!

I can hardly wait.  Starting in 1914 the books trace the top films ever made in all genres in four absolutely amazing volumes that includes photos and complete story breakdowns of each film spotlighted.

Lists of the actors, director and other key production people and studios are also included.

This encyclopedia is the ultimate film buff’s reference source.  I have never seen so much work put into a series.  Kudos to author Jay Robert Nash.  My hat is off to you.  What an amazing series!

It’s an incredibly comprehensive, easy to read and is filled with so many facts, insights and film history that it boggles the mind.

The four volumes are broken down by:

Volume 1 A-J
Volume 2 K-R
Volume 3 S-U
Volume 4 V-Z

The oversize, square-bound, hardbound books are massive and measure almost two inches thick each!

Included with each volume are listings of top films by genre, all the people mentioned plus birth and death dates and the author's recommendations broken down into four categories: Recommended, acceptable, Cautionary and Unacceptable.

It is a remarkable accomplishment one of which I am very impressed.

Once you take a look at this monumental work you'll be impressed too.

Wonder Woman, Rick and Morty, Ghostbusters and The Nightmare Before Christmas


The Amazon Princess: Wonder Woman, has gained in popularity over the last decade mainly for two reasons: women are finally getting the credit they deserve and are proving themselves to just as capable as men and the recent Wonder Woman movie catapulted Wonder Woman into the spotlight.

The movie was so successful it has spawned a sequel that will be in theaters next year.

Wonder Woman was created as a symbol of power and as a role model for young girls when she was first introduced in the 1940s.

She has survived over the decades through the ups and downs of the comic book industry and has proven to be just as big an icon as her DC Comics cousins: Batman and Superman.

Running Press and author Steve Korte present Wonder Woman Chronicles Of The Amazon Princess.

The square-bound slipcase contains four small hardbound books that delve into the history, mythology and character of Wonder Woman.

Amazing Amazon The Legend Of Wonder Woman explores the persona of Wonder Woman, her secret identity, family, allies, enemies and more.

Paradise Island Home Of The Amazons explores the birthplace and residence of Wonder Woman and her sisters: the Amazons. 

Powerful Princess Amazonian Powers and Tools examines the Amazon Princess's strength, speed, fighting skills and other amazing powers and abilities.  Her lasso, tiara, bracelets and invisible plane are also examined.

Gods and Mortals The Enemies Of Wonder Woman presents a gallery of Wonder Woman’s greatest foes.

All four mini-books are filled with color illustrations, cover reproductions and much more.

Several months back I was over at my daughter’s house and her boyfriend was watching Rick and Morty on TV. 

At first glance it reminded me of some of the adventure cartoons I watched as a kid such as Johnny Quest, The Herculoids, Space Ghost and the like.

After a few more minutes of viewing I soon discovered I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

While the cartoon was resplendent with aliens, strange creatures, bizarre situations and lots of action and adventure it was definitely not a kids’ show.

Still, the more I watched the more I liked what I saw-minus the bad language of course.

It is one of the most imaginative and clever animated TV series I have ever seen.

Rick and Morty Book Of Gadgets And Inventions by Robb Pearlman contains all the far out mechanisms, formulas and other scientific bric-a-brac Rick's alcohol saturated mind has ever come up with.

It also includes all of the alien technology they have encountered on their adventures.

I gotta tell ya, this is one fun book to look at and read.  If you enjoy the wacky, far out and bizarre then this book delivers on all accounts.

Recently it was announced that a new Ghostbusters movie is coming out and a new trailer was just released.  I am excited!

I love the Ghostbusters movie franchise.  I even enjoyed the all-woman cast Ghostbusters.  It wasn’t quite as good as the originals but it did have its moments.

The miniature The Ghostbusters P.K.E. With Light and Sound lights up with the push of a button and depress another button and the P.K.E. arms flip up-just like the movie version!

Also included in the miniature gift box is a Ghostbusters Sticker Book.

Another miniature gift box that stop motion and Tim Burton fans are sure to cherish is Disney Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas collection.

You get a stack of magnetic stickers of characters from the film, a sticker book and a small foldout poster.  It’s no nightmare-it’s a dream come true!