Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Marvel Age and DC Sampler

As a long time comic book collector there is one thing I know that young collectors should keep in mind-especially when it comes to comic books.

Never discard or take for granted promotional material.

Too many times I’ve seen collectors scrambling to obtain an obscure publication that has a ‘true’ first appearance of a comic book character.

Many times the characters will appear in in-house promotional pieces or even in a catalog of characters such as an index.

Convention programs and giveaways are also highly collectible.

For examples do some research and see where Spawn and Hellboy first appeared.  Now look at the prices of those publications.

Back in the early 1980s both DC and Marvel Comics published in-house promotional comic books.

In DC’s case they were giveaways and smaller in number than Marvel’s publications.

DC Sampler is a prime example of what was once a free publication that is just now being sought after by comic book collectors.  We’re talking about a comic book published over 30 years ago!

In DC Sample #1 readers are given sneak peeks of the All-Star Squadron, various Superman titles, Arion, The Omega Men, Wonder Woman, The Huntress, Batman titles, Amethyst, The New Teen Titans, DC’s War comics and several new and mainstay publications.

Keep in mind-these were not simple page reprints from the books.  They were all brand new art seen only in DC Sampler.

Marvel Comics created its own monthly promotional comic book: Marvel Age, and sold it to Marvel fans for a mere 25 cents.

The first issue pretty much promoted itself and explained what it was about.  Over the next few months Marvel Age premiered many of Marvel’s new titles and spotlighted current issues.

Many of the early Marvel Age comic books demand high prices.  Case in point-check out the Stan Lee issue.

Recently I checked E-bay and a issue #1 of Marvel Age in mint condition and CGC certified sold for nearly $200!

Another thing to keep in mind is there are not as many promotional publications still around as regular monthly comic books.  They were meant to be read and discarded just as you would newspaper advertisements and fliers.

Is it any wonder collectors are scrambling to find them?

Other promotional items such as posters, fliers, trading cards, trinkets and the like are also demanding high prices.

I was recently digging through my stash the other day and came across two of the Infinity Gauntlet promotional posters from 1991-they currently sell for $75 each!

A word of advice: look for giveaways, posters, etc.  What many consider trash today may be treasures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The King and Christmas

Here it is almost the middle of November.

It’s hard to believe that in about a month and a half it will be Christmas.

For over month Christmas decorations, promotions and an overabundance of Christmas merchandise has inundated stores.

More and more it seems that people are forgetting the real reason behind Christmas-the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth: the Savior of mankind.

Ask many people on the street and in stores and they think  Christmas is about Santa Claus and giving and receiving presents.  It’s kind of sad really.

Mill Creek Entertainment presents two DVD/Digital releases celebrating the holiday.

In Christmas On The Range Kendall Riley has high hopes for Christmas: saving her family farm.

But the town Scrooge (Brick McCree) has other plans and all looks loss.  When Brick’s son (Clint) returns home he falls for Kendall.

As their romance blossoms Kendall’s farm is sabotaged-coincidence?

What exactly is Clint’s part in all of this?

Will Kendall’s farm survive?

Look for romance, action, forgiveness, redemption and a strong dose of faith--Christmas lives!

In the 5 Movie Collection Down Home Christmas a quintet of heart -warming Christmas tales make for the perfect warm-up for the holidays.

The Christmas Contract sees two old flames come to terms and is there new love in the air?

Hometown Christmas sees two unlikely acquaintances find love when their hometown resurrects a long-held nativity scene tradition.

Christmas On The Bayou revolves around a single mom finding love in her hometown during the holidays.

Wish Upon A Christmas finds a returning executive who plans to make massive layoffs of her hometown ornaments company.  But will true love change her plans?

Christmas In Mississippi brings back a holiday light show after a devastating hurricane five years previously.  Holly Logan returns home only to encounter her high school love that broke her heart.

Kevin James starred as deliver truck driver Doug Hefferman for Nine Seasons in The King Of Queens.

Join Doug and his adorable wife as they contend with family, friends and workaday trials and tribulations.

It’s 207 episodes of outrageous fun with a TV show that delivers the goods.

My wife and I absolutely loved the show when it was on network TV and can’t wait to watch some favorite episodes and catch up on the ones we missed

The huge 22-Disc King Of Queens The Complete Series DVD Collection offers hours of some of the best humor ever seen on TV.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Indiana Jones and Nam

Two Modern Age (or Copper Age-depending on who you talk to) comic book classics that deserve to get much more attention than they are given are Indiana Jones #1 and Nam #1 from Marvel Comics.

The Indiana Jones comic book rights were secured by Marvel Comics after its successful adaptation of Lucas Films Star Wars.

Marvel Comics and Lucas Films agreed that Lucas Films would have total editorial and creative control over the comic book’s content and context.

John Byrne was the superstar penciller at Marvel at the time and he was chosen to write and draw the new series.

Byrne’s longtime collaborator on The Uncanny X-Men: Terry Austin, would ink the series.

It seemed like a perfect match and it would have been except for Lucas Films unreasonable editorial demands-some that required changes to the book mere days before it was sent to the press.

John and Terry lasted two issues and quit the series because of the unreasonable editorial demands by Lucas Films.

The series would continue on for over 30 issues and eventually cease publication.  Both the Temple Of Doom and The Last Crusade mini-series would be produced.

Indiana Jones #1 and #2 (in my opinion) are by far the best Indiana Jones comic book adaptations ever produced. 

Too bad Byrne and Austin did not continue the series.

For some one my age (66) The Vietnam War was a very harsh and scary reality.

When I turned 19 years old I was eligible for the draft.  Fortunately my draft number was not chosen and I was able to continue my college education.

Many of my friends and classmates were not so fortunate and many did not return save in a pine box.

Vietnam was a no-win war.  Bad decisions by the various Presidential powers that were in charge at that time chose to pull back on military actions resulting in a war where soldiers died retaking locations that had already secured.

America was gong through a huge cultural change and the youth of that time questioned authority of all sorts which included political and military powers.

It was a turbulent time and delivered a deep wound still felt in America today.

Marvel Comics decided to reintroduce War Comics and chose the Vietnam War as its subject. 

Nam #1 by Doug Murray and penciller Michael Golden depicted the war, as it was: frightening, violent and fought by soldiers barely in their late teens and early twenties.

Golden’s art was amazing in its details right down to the weapons used, the uniforms, aircraft, military vehicles and the renditions of the wide ethnic variety of soldiers that served.

The Vietnam War deserves to be remembered and Nam #1 is a good way to start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Almost To A Stop

For 27 years I’ve reviewed toys, comic books, books and various other collectibles first in print and then on the internet with a website, blog and now a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Linked-In account.

Readership has slowly increased over the years and while the numbers aren’t in the six figure range they are respectable.

It used to be I could contact publishers and manufacturers and receive review samples with no problem.

Times have changed.

With the proliferation of online blogs, websites, YouTube channels and other social media outlets review samples are getting more and more difficult to obtain because of the sheer numbers of requests companies receive.

Add that to the fact that many companies are cost cutting when it comes to samples and advertising and the numbers dwindle even more.

It’s a no-win scenario.

Still, I am hopeful.

Eventually companies will realize that review sites come and go but Boyce McClain’s Collectors’ Corner will endure as it has for almost 30 years.

I’ve witnessed hundreds of publications and online sites that have started out on fire and inevitably the fire burns out and they disappear.

Those that do survive have learned to adapt to the times and most (not all) turn out respectable content and context and deserve to survive and prosper.

Probably the most difficult thing I have to deal with when it comes to requesting review samples is the inconsistencies prevalent with many companies.

One month I may receive samples and will continue to do so for several months after on a regular basis.

A company’s editorial and public relations departments institute new review sample rules and replace representatives resulting in review samples drying up.

Companies are businesses and need to make money-I understand that.

But to simple drop me off a reviewer’s list and then not to notify me is just plain rude.

Not only is it rude it is inconsiderate and results in a total readjustment to my review postings.

Products can be expensive and review samples are limited to sites that pull in huge numbers.  No problem.

But when I request a single inexpensive toy, book or other sample to review and I am promised to receive said items and nothing shows up, its frustrating.

Show some common courtesy.  How difficult is it to send an email or make a phone call?

I want my online presence to grow and continue to provide reviews.  I need help.

I am not a wealthy man.  I cannot afford to buy items (even at a discount) on a regular basis.

I want to review items.  I need the support of publishers and manufacturers to do so.

If anyone from either type of those businesses is reading this-please cut me some slack and provide review samples.

It’s targeted publicity and all it costs is product.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Steven Universe The Movie last! Time to kick back, breath in slowly, put your feet up and take a little R & R.  After saving the universe Steven deserves some rest.

Yeah, right!

There’s a new Gem in town and she not only wants to kill Steven but to destroy all organic life on Earth as well.

Her powers are formidable.  She turns Steven’s Gem friends back into their gem forms and diminishes Steven’s Powers.

She sets up a giant drill to inject a poison into the Earth and wipe out all organic life.

Desperate Steven calls upon all his allies, cranks up the music and song and readies himself to meet his new foe-face to face.

Included on the
Steven Universe The Movie DVD from Warner Bros. and The Cartoon Network is a one-hour documentary about how the film was pitched and produced, a very special selection of songs and a three-inch, custom vinyl of the first single from the movie.

It’s a big universe out there and who better to protect it than Steven Universe?

Monday, November 4, 2019

May Cause Side Effects, The Misery Index, Acme’s Most Wanted and Shark Bite

Games?  We've  got games!  Lots of games!  Just ask Goliath Games/Pressman Toy Corporation.

They have games for little kids, grade school kids, teenagers, young adults and old timers (like myself)

For the young adult gamer comes May Cause Side Effects from Games Adults Play.

Gather into teams of two players.  Each team picks five Blue and five Red Pills and shuffle them by color and makes two piles.

Whatever player was to the doctor the most recently chooses one Red and one Blue Card and one Trial Card.  A Timer is set for 40 seconds.

The ‘Patient’ then selects the corresponding indicated color word on the Trial Card.  The patient then tries to get the other players to guess the chosen word using gestures, funny noises or whatever it takes.  No part of the word may be said.

Once the word is guessed the patient can go onto another Trial Card until Timer runs out.  When the word is guessed the team who guessed it discards a Red or Blue card.

Whichever team gets rid of their Blue and Red Cards first wins.

It’s a hilarious good time as Patients contort, make funny noises, act out or perform other ‘side effects’ to get their point across.

Included in the game are 50 Blue Cards and 50 Red Cards and 100 Trial Cards.  Timing is done on a watch or handheld device.

Just how awful can things become?

It’s up to players 14 years old and up as they gauge what messed up stuff ranks the worse.

Two hundred Situation Cards layout some pretty gross stuff from sunburn on the beach to seeing your dad naked.

Three rounds determine who has the highest Misery Index guesses correct and compiles the winning Misery Lane.

It’s gross, disgusting, outrageous, unsettling and fun.

Why should kids have all the gross fun?  Teens and adults need to get grossed out too. The Misery Index is made for two players from Games Adults Play.

In Carmen Sandiego Acme’s Most Wanted Board Game from Pressman gamers play Carmen and travel all over the globe.

They examine players Cards to deduct the who, what, where, why and how valuable loot was stolen.

Do you know who did it?  Travel to Isle of VILE to announce your conclusion.  Are you right?  What if you’re not?  Can you stop the thief?

Choose one each of Location, Loot and VILE Villain Cards.  Seal the in an envelope the Cards indicate tells the where, what and who).

Shuffle the remaining Cards and distribute evenly to two to four players.  Each player gets a Passport, Carmen Mover and Mover Stand. 

They then choose a location on the map. Passports are used to take notes. 

Players make deductions and if another player has a specific person, place and thing the card is shown to the other players thus eliminating possibilities. 

The first person to make it to the Isle of VILE and guesses correctly wins!

The game includes a World Game Board, four Carmen Movers, four Carmen Mover Stands, one Die, nine Location Cards, six Loot Cards, six VILE Villain Cards, one Envelope, four Carmen Passports, four Wipe-Off Markers and one Isle of Vile Token.

Travel the world, solve the crime and win the game-only from Walmart.

Four players ages four years old and up get to go fishing courtesy of Pressman.

If only it were that simple.
Players take turns rolling the Die.  Whatever number shows up on the Die indicates the number of fish that must be caught before the hungry Shark attacks and gets the fish/sea creatures and the player’s Fishing Rod.
Collect your fish but if the shark attacks you lose.  Whoever is left playing wins.

Shark Bite includes a Hungry Shark, twelve Sea Creatures, one Fishing Rod, One Die, one Sticker Sheet and complete Instructions.

Think fast, fish faster and watch out for that hungry Shark!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Cars, Heroes and SAF3 2

Kids love cars, especially cars (and trucks, boats, scooters, etc.) that talk.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s Limited Edition Funny Little Cars Adventures In The Little Oaza DVD.

The citizens of Doom Valley have a problem.  Criminals and unscrupulous environmentally unfriendly businesses are destroying their valley.

It’s up to a few brave and resourceful citizens to stop the bad guys and clean up Doom Valley.

It’s fast-paced action, adventure and some seriously silly fun in a four-wheel fandango and fun-fest for kids.

Dolph Lundgren stars as John Eriksson, the head of an elite fire and rescue team that is threatened to be shut down.

Despite the pressure of possibly being terminated for good the SAF3 continue to do their jobs and to save lives and property.

The DVD SAF3 2 Under Pressure cranks up the excitement, danger and intrigue in an exciting tale about heroes who serve and risk their lives everyday.

Speaking of heroes, Heroes In Blue recounts the true stories of the Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. teams and 9-1-1 dispatchers who have served over the last 30 years.

Current and retired members of each division recall the struggles, danger and activities that kept them on their toes.

The five-part DVD/Digital documentary goes into extensive detail about the exploits of the brave men and women, who protect, serve and sacrifice.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

smArt Pixelator

Get ready to get pixelated!  Flycatcher Toys presents its smArt Pixelator light up toy!

No, no,  smArt Pixelator is not a new type of Terminator, although you could make a 3D robot if you want.

Made for kids seven years old and older the smArt Pixelator uses light and digital technologies to create amazing portraits and art right from photographs and art!

Kids can use the enclosed art projects or create their own by downloading images using a smart device and the enclosed app.

With 50 projects included, the smArt Pixelator also lets children use six designs right out of the box with its preloaded SD card.  Turn it on and follow the light patterns.  Use the colors displayed or get creative and use you own color scheme.

The possibilities are endless!  Kids can pixelate any design and build 2D and 3D projects using Bluetooth connectivity, lights and creativity tools.

Included are an AC Adapter, two battery compartments, a SD Activity Card Slot, six Control Buttons, LED Indicators, 300 smART Pixel Beads. a Reusable Bead Tray, an Ironing Paper Sheet, a Bead Applicator, a light up Activities Display Screen and four Tray Holding Pins.

Pixelate photos you take or from existing photos
smArt Pixelator encourage creativity, eye/hand coordination, dexterity, and critical thinking and technical skills.

Additional Sets include an Organizer, Peg Set, Sequin Set, Beads Set and Bracelet Marker Set.

Kids will have a ball recreating photos in pixelated form, art and 3D objects.

It’s easy to use, simply place the beads or sequins, etc onto the tray using the applicators, remove the tray, cover with the ironing cloth, iron the design and before you know it kids have a perfect piece of art!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

DC Comics’ Star Trek

Star Trek has been around for a long time-50 plus years in fact.

It has spawned an industry of merchandise such as movies, books, toys and other mass media collectibles.

Star Trek has appeared in comic books from various publishers over the years.

But, to me, DC Comics published the very best Star Trek comic books.

DC Comics obtained the rights to publish Star Trek comic books in the early to mid-1980s.

The original series got its first issue in 1984 and featured a cover by artist George Perez. 

The series took place not long after the events of The Wrath Of Khan movie. 

Characters dressed in the film uniforms and continued the voyage of the Enterprise after Spock’s death.  Tom Sutton provided the art and Mike W. Barr the story.

It was an impressive launch.

Equally impressive were the three Star Trek Annuals that followed over the next three years.

Mike W. Barr provided the story for the first annual and David Ross and Bob Smith the art.

The story was aptly titled The First Mission! of the Enterprise under the command of Captain Kirk.

The second annual by Barr and artists Dan Jergens and Bob Smith chronicled the last voyage of the Enterprise: ending its first five-year mission.

The third annual is by far my favorite, written by Peter David and drawn by Curt Swan and Ricardo Villagran.

In it Scotty reflects on his life and the loss of his wife.  I still tear up whenever I read the story.

I believe the DC Comics original series Star Trek comic books featured some the best art and stories of the franchise and as the years pass future Star Trek fans are sure to want to add them to their collection.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Batman Beyond The Complete Series

Back in the early and mid-1990s Warner Bros. Animation produced a new animated series based on the Batman and Batman Returns movies directed by Tim Burton.

Borrowing heavily from the then current Batman mystique at DC Comics, Batman: The Animated Series was a huge hit with Batman fans.

It is still one of my all-time favorite animated series.

When it was announced that Warner Bros. would be putting out a new Batman (non-Bruce Wayne) animated series set in the future I was skeptical.

“Why?  What’s the point?”, I pondered.

Being curious I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised.

Batman Beyond kept the legend of Batman alive and added in a few twists and innovations of its own.

Batman Beyond centers on Terry McGinnis, a street-wise student/punk who has a talent for getting in trouble and staying there.

When Terry stumbles upon the secret that Bruce Wayne is Batman sparks fly.

For reasons known only to him Bruce agrees to let Terry don his super-tech Batman costume and fight crime under his direction and tutelage.

At first Bruce and Terry are at odds with other but eventually they learn to respect and trust each other.

Batman Beyond successfully updates the Batman legacy, introduces some futuristic versions of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery and an impressive plethora of original villains of its own.

I love it!

Warner Bros. presents the new boxed set Batman Beyond The Complete series Blu-ray/Digital Collection.

Included with the complete series episodes are some outstanding extras.

Included with the set are a Limited Edition Chrome Batman Beyond Funko Pop figure and Lenticular Collector Cards with original animation artwork.

The 52 episodes set also comes with a Batman Beyond movie and several featurettes.

What a great Batman Beyond collection!  Celebrate 80 years of Batman and purchase this collection.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

A lawman.  A criminal.  Natural enemies, right?  Not necessarily.

Given the right situation they have to work together to solve a problem-a serious problem.

Lawman Luke Hobbs and criminal/outcast Deckard Shaw have always had a tenuous and competitive relationship.

One is always trying to outdo the other. The like to trade barbs and jabs.

They are not good friends-they tolerate each other-barely.

When a genetically enhanced criminal takes control of a new bio-weapon/technology that threatens humanity, Shaw and Hobbs must join forces (along with Shaw’s touch-as-nails sister) to fight a bad guy even tougher than themselves.

Dubbed ‘the best action movie of the year’ Hobbs &Shaw delivers with action, adventure, thrills, spills and humor.

This is the movie Fast & Furious Fans have wished for and it delivers-big time!

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment presents Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw a new Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack that not only includes the entire movie but extras like:

An alternate opening.
Deleted/extended/alternate scenes.
How a fight scene is created.
Action planning.
A bad guy retrospective.
Shaw’s sister’s story.
The Hobbs’ family tree.
Shaw’s mother‘s back-story.
Special cameos.
Elevator action.
Stunt show secrets.
Actor commentaries.
And much more.

Chaos Impact

Chaos rules!  It affects everything it touches.  It’s impact threatens players and creatures alike.  Get ready for some serious Gladiator Beast comeback!

Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Chaos Impact includes nine Cards per Booster Foil Pack (including one Foil Card) and 24 Packs per Box.

Here’s what you can expect:

100-Card in the Booster Set!
Builds off themes from Rising Rampage.
New strategies to the light.
Supports some classics.
Harness fiendish spiritual power.
Summon monsters onto the field.
New Level 8 Fiend
Dive deeper with Marincess.
New Gladiator Beasts
A Continuous Spell Card to Special Summon a "Gladiator Beast"    
A playable Link-5 Monster, Firewall Dragon Darkfluid!    
New Cards for Decks like Aromage, Dinowrestler, Evil Eye, Salamangreat, Tenyi, and more!

The Chaos Impact Booster Set contains 100 Cards:

48 Commons
20 Rares
14 Super Rares
10 Ultra Rares
8 Secret Rares

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The New Mutants #18 and X-Men The Hidden Years #1

In an unusual move in the 1980s Marvel Comics took a daring step and allowed artist Bill Sienkiewicz to draw The New Mutants beginning with issue #18.

Sienkiewicz’s early pencilling style emulated Neal Adams work but changed to be more stylized and unique.

It was a bold step and at first fans either loved or hated his pencils. 

He also created the covers and they are still considered some of the most innovative and original covers ever created for a comic book series.

Besides the Bill Sienkiewicz artwork issue #18 also introduced the alien shape-changer Warlock and the physical presence of the Demon Bear.

The New Mutants #18 marks a decidedly different approach to story telling and is considered by many to be a clever shot at the status quo.

Back in the late 1960’s Marvel Comics’ The Uncanny X-Men title was lagging in sales.

Stan Lee tried to remedy the situation by assigning Roy Thomas as the writer and hiring on superstar penciller Neal Adams to do the art.

The result was some truly remarkable and groundbreaking issues that are considered classics today.

Unfortunately sales numbers did not increase substantially enough and the series was cancelled after issue #66.

Ironically if the sales tracking methods used today were available back then the sales numbers would have indicated a solid seller.

Later the series would continue through issue #93 as reprints.

Writer/artist John Byrne pitched a new X-Men series in the early 2000’s that would fill-in those lost issues with new stories.

Byrne had previously been one of the pencillers on the series and believed that fans would appreciate his attempts to fill-in the lost years up until the New X-Men were introduced in issue #94.

By all indications the series was a success.

For some unexplained reasons Marvel Comics powers-that-were abruptly cancelled the series with no viable explanation.

A possible reason could have been an editorial staff change and a new direction for the X-Men franchise.

This infuriated and shocked John Byrne and he left Marvel Comics in a huff and has not returned even to this day.

For true X-Men completists X-Men The Hidden Years is an important series that fills in the gaps of the classic series up until the introduction of the New X-Men. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Many Lives Of James Bond

When you think about it it is pretty remarkable that the cinematic James Bond has gone through so many actors playing the British super spy.

Not only has Bond appeared in movies but also in novels, comic books and TV let alone the massive promotional and commercial merchandise that has grown over the years.

But, what does it mean to be Bond?  How has he changed over the years?

In The Many Lives Of James Bond, by Mark Edlitz from Lyons Press, readers learn how the creators of 007 have decoded the super spy.

Actors, directors, production personnel, musicians and others associated with the James Bond film franchise offer their personal recollections, interpretations of the spy and what it was like translating 007 to the Silver Screen.

Game designers, graphic designers, artists and other mass media consumer product producers and promoters also weigh in on how they interpreted James Bond in their respective projects.

James Bond has often been associated with a simple two-dimensional character type. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Translating and interpreting 007 to whatever media is often complicated, time-consuming and even a daunting task.

The book is filled with information and insights that reveal multiple sides to James Bond, how he is envisioned by individuals and to society as a whole.

It makes for a fascinating and eye-opening expose on the super spy who is anything but secret.

Besides being an insightful look in to the world of 007, the book offers glimpses into the marketing and merchandising machine that continues to make the super spy as relevant today as the day he was first introduced.

Teen Titans Go! Vs Teen Titans

Two!  Count ‘em, two.

As if one Teen Titans team was not enough.  Now there are two!

When the Teen Titans Go! team takes on the Gentleman Ghost he attempts to take over Raven.

Her forehead gem is cracked and some of her demonic power is released.

Her demon father Trigon tells Raven her demonic half is taking over.  He offers to help-she refuses.

Out of nowhere appears the Master of Games who traverses the Multiverse pitting the 2003 Titans against the 2013 Titans but only after he threatens their worlds.

The 2003 team manages to defeat the 2013 team, save Raven who has manifested into her demon form.

The 2003 Raven unleashes her power against the 2013 Raven and snaps the 2003 Raven out of it.  They realize that the Master of Games is actually Trigon who is siphoning her powers to reanimate the 2013 Trigon.

The two Trigons escape to 2013 with the Ravens leaving the combined Teen Titan teams in a quandary. How do they travel to 2013 to stop them-if only they had a device?

It just so happens Santa Claus has such a device and Teen Titans battle him to get it.

The fight between the Titans and Mr. and Mrs. Claus is absolutely hilarious, especially when they start jumping from alternate earth to alternate earth.

There are so many Teen Titan teams; aquatic, cartoon, cute animals, robots and more.

The Titans defeat the Claus, get their alternate earth traveling device and travel to 2013 earth for the fight of their lives.

The Trigons are not pleased to say the least.

The Teen Titans Go! Vs Teen Titans Blu-ray/DVD/Digital code Combo Pack from Warner Bros. Animation pits the teams against other in a no-holds-barred battle with tons of action, lots of humor, some surprising moments and a shock ending that is sure to have Teen Titans talking for years to come.

It’s a fun, fast-packed, fantastic, in your face direct to Blu-ray/DVD animated adventure that also includes sing-alongs, several featurettes and nine bonus cartoons.

Wonder Woman Bloodlines

Warner Bros. Animation presents the origin of the Amazon Princess in Wonder Woman Bloodlines, a fantastic tale of science gone awry, magic and myth.

When Steve Trevor’s aircraft is attached by Parademons, Princess Diana (Wonder Woman) of the Amazon island of Themyscira, rescues him and brings him back to a mending chamber and baths him a healing purple ray.

Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta furious that a man has set foot on their sacred island and broken their long-held law against an outside man being on the island, she imprisons Steve. He wants to warn the world of the Parademon invasion.

Diana, who remembers a prophecy confirming Steve’s fears, frees him and returns to him to man’s world.

As punishment her mother disowns her and banishes Diana from the island and erases her memory of how to return.

Steve and Diana return to the outside world and teams up with Dr. Julia Kapatelis in Washington D.C. to prepare for the invasion.

Vanessa, the doctor’s daughter, feels jealous that her mother is spending so much time with Diana. 

After a short time Diana chooses Wonder Woman as her code name in order to defend mankind.

The story shifts to five years later and a new terrorist group (Villainy Inc.) threatens mankind. Dr. Kapatelis asks Wonder woman to find her missing daughter Vanessa who stole a valuable artifact to sell to the mysterious villainesses Docotor Cyber and  Doctor Poison, of Villainy Inc.

Now things get really interesting!

Hold onto your seat as Diana takes on Giganta with heightened powers, Cheetah (also possessing more strength and agility), Silver Swan, the Minotaur and a new super powerful Medusa.

Diana and Steve desperately try to return to Themyscira to save Vanessa and search down a mystic memory restoring elixir that when taken allows Wonder Woman how to find the island

Bloodlines is an exciting epic that interlaces modern technology with ancient myths and magic. 

As with all DC Comics/Warner Bros. Animation collaboration this direct-to-Blu-ray/4K UltraHD is packed with spectacular visual effects, a pulse-pounding soundtrack, a first-rate voice cast and packed with lots of extras.

It’s a ‘wonder’ to behold.

It’s Wonder Woman at her most powerful, compassionate, determined and lethal in a mesmerizing quest to save lives, save the world and bring evil to justice.

The new 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray/Digital Code Combo Pack also includes a ‘Death’ DC Showcase Short, special features about the Cheetah, a sneak peek at Superman: Red Son and two bonus cartoons.

Monday, October 21, 2019


Saddle up hombres!  It’s time to  roundup some rustlers! 

I grew up when Westerns ruled the movies and TV.  Western novels were some of the most popular literature of the time and it seemed as if the whole population of the United States had Western fever.

Our nation was formed on the backs of pioneers and those that tamed the Old West.  Ever since explorers crossed the Mississippi there have been tales of stalwart heroes, Indian wars, barroom brawls, cattle rustlers, bank and stage robbers, cattle barons, gunfighters, brave townsfolk, hard-working ranchers and cowboys and lawmen.

The Old West was a new frontier fraught with danger, the promise of untold wealth and the hope for a better tomorrow.

Men were tough and the women who went with them were just as resilient.

Life was hard and only the persistent, tough-as-nail pioneers and visionaries could survive.  It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make a living.

Literature glamorized and painted a picture of the men and women of the Old West almost as if they were super-human.  Nothing could have further from the truth.

Life was tough, hard times and hard work took it toll on bodies and minds.  It took a special kind of person to survive.

Still, dime novels were popular, radio and movie Western serials kept audiences glued to their seats and Western actors and actresses were the stuff of legends.

Author John Layne has recaptured the magic of the Western dime novels.

His Gunslingers A Story Of The Old West, published by Newman Springs Publishing, is filled with memorable characters from lawmen to renegades and classic Western locales.

It’s a story of how Western justice was difficult to enforce and sometimes it took extraordinary measures to see outlaws brought to justice.

U.S. Deputy Marshall Joel Thornton has put his six-shooters aside and has retired just outside the town named after him in Texas.

He owns a ranch and is slowly building a herd and learning to take care of other ranch business.

It’s a tough life but he’s confident that he will soon earn enough money to make a comfortable living.  He lives there with an old friend and his daughter.

Elizabeth, his daughter had returned after several years back East.  Not long after she arrived an old enemy of Joel’s shows up with his gang, shoots and nearly kills him, steals his money, kills his friend, wounds his daughter and rustles his cattle.

Hurt, but not deterred, he asks his daughter to track down his old friend, another U.S. Deputy Marshall: Ben Chance.  She manages to get help and her father survives.

Here’s where the story gets interesting.  The action shifts to Elizabeth and her attempts to find Ben.

Along the way she tangles with some Indians and is saved by a mysterious gunslinger that agrees to help her in her quest.

They find Ben, who also is saved by another gunslinger who is on a mysterious mission of his own.

Elizabeth, the two gunslingers and Ben head out to find the man who shot her father, retrieve his stolen cattle, bring him to justice and somehow manage to stay out of danger-hopefully.

This is the Old West as it was meant to be.  Outlaws, rustlers, Indians marauders, fast-draws, a dastardly villain and dusty and downtrodden locations all combine to make Gunslingers a memorable tale about the days when men were men and women wouldn’t have it any other way.  

The author really opens up the myths behind the Old West, populates his story with real people (not fabricated hard and unrealistic as steel heroes), and captures the true spirit of what life was like west of the Mississippi.

So pull up a chair partner, set your six-shooter on the bar, grab a shot of rotgut and get ready for a rip-roaring tale of the Old West laced with true grit, tumbling tumbleweeds and enough shootouts to satisfy the most ornery of cowpokes. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

They Coulda Have Been Contenders

Imagine if you will.  It’s the early 1900s and the movie industry is in its early stages.

Audiences flocked to movie theaters to see the latest silent film starring such luminaries as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Valentino and a host of other ‘glamorous’ movie stars.

Before long ‘talkies’ begin showing up at theaters and for the first time audiences can hear their favorite stars talk, listen to music and experience sound effects.

It was an exciting time during the genesis of film making in Hollywood and hundreds of hopefuls stampeded to the movie-making Mecca to make their fortunes as movie stars, directors and movie technicians and workers.

Most went to make a name for themselves as super stars.

Of the hundreds who arrived at movie lots only a handful would go on to be big name stars.

In writer Dan Van Neste’s new book from BearManor Media: They Coulda Have Been Contenders, twelve Hollywood immigrants arrive at the city of the dreams with stardust in their eyes and hopes and dreams flowing through their veins.

These are the stories of those twelve individuals who broke into the film industry but due to bad timing, bad luck, karma or whatever the reason none of them attained their ultimate goal to become a movie star.

While all found work in the movie industry and acted in major productions and even won awards, none reached the height of stardom they had hoped for.

All were talented, ambitious, hard-working and earned a degree of fame, fortune and acclaim.

Twelve in-depth essays, complemented with archive photos, examine the life, career and struggle each experienced on their aborted attempt at stardom.

Most of their faces are familiar to lovers of old movies.  Personal recollections, archival accounts and current research combine to create captivating examinations of why none achieved super stardom.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Rogues, Scoundrels, And Bounty Hunters

OK, admit it.  Everybody loves the bad guys in the movies, books and popular culture.

Good guys are milk toast, pasteurized, boy scouts and too, too perfect.  Unless...they are a bad boy, rogue or scoundrel.

Ask any actor or actress and they would say that they much rather play the bad guy or gal.  The same holds true for authors.  They prefer writing about the villains of their books.  They’re so much more interesting.

Just as interesting is a good guy with a little bit of larceny in their veins.

In Star Wars Insider: Rogues, Scoundrels, And Bounty Hunters lovers of Star Wars are treated to The Best Of Star Wars Insider-A Guide To The Star Wars Underworld.

Ever since Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett and a host of other ‘questionable’ ethics characters were introduced Star Wars fans couldn’t get enough.

Over the course of the Star Wars films a plethora of characters that walk the line between good and bad have captivated moviegoers for decades.

In this new, square-bound, oversize magazine Titan Comics/ Magazines has compiled the best of the best of the bad boys of Star Wars.

They’re all here: Boba Fett, Bounty Hunters, Zam Wesell, Aurra Sing, Jabba The Huttt, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Doctor Aphra and all of the other rogues, bounty hunters and scoundrels seen all of the Star Wars films and more are included.

The oversize magazine is packed with archival photos, art, promotional piece reproductions, character studies, behind-the-scenes information, history, merchandise tie-ins and so much Star Wars goodness even a Jawa couldn’t keep track of it all.

I especially like the production illustrations, designs, character development and creation recollections and the vintage photos and production art.

It’s a must-have publication for any Star Wars fan.