Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ford, Dodge And Chevy

Revell/Monogram Models just released a quartet of new models in its 1 to 3 Level categories. Categories range from no glue and paint application to moderate to challenging levels requiring glue, paint and some assembling skill.


The Custom Ford Expedition Level 1, Snap-Tite 1:25 Scale Model comes in green with actual rolling wheels. This baby is packed out in chrome, custom wheels, window and side panel decals with tinted lights and black luggage rack. Look for a fully detailed custom interior and lots of exterior ‘extras’ and easy to assemble collection of 38 pieces with Peel ‘N’ Stick decals-perfect for the inexperienced and/or young model enthusiast.


Two Level 2 models include the Revell Muscle ’67 Dodge Challenger 426 Hemi 2 ‘n 1 muscle car available in sky blue and a customized silver with twin full-body black strips. Custom chrome wheels, a fully-detailed V8 engine in chrome trim of stock with hoses and belts make this 133 piece model pure magic.


With its straight across front chrome grill, two-door cab and full chrome trim, splash boards, lights and mirrors it also comes with full interior details-GO!


The Car Show ’39 Chevy Coupe Street Rod is a two-tone, Level 2 beauty painted in cream and copper brown. It’s a two-door cruiser with oversize wheel wells, wraparound chrome grill, custom wheels, chrome bumpers and full body trim.


Take a good look at the small tucked in windows and windshield and revved out chrome coated engine that make this Coupe super!


The Special Edition ’62 Chevy Impala 2 ‘n 1, optional parts, new tooling classic Chevy comes in olive brown with stock engine and body trim and The Sled red and white racer with custom chrome wheels and supped up engine.


Both vehicles are two-door, packed with interior detailing and bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘customized’.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Star Trek: The Children Of Kings

I applaud Pocket Books and author David Stern for writing about a seldom explored era in Star Trek lore: the years that the starship Enterprise was captained by Christopher Pike. As any old ‘Trekker” knows, (I’m not a “Trekkie” since I am a fan of the series since it first broadcast in 1966), Pike was originally supposed to be the Captain of the Enterprise when Star Trek went on the air.

But, in a surprise move NBC requested a second Star Trek pilot be made that was less “cerebral” since NBC considered their audiences too dumb to understand at the time and so Gene Roddenberry replaced Pike with Captain Kirk-a man of action and notorious womanizer.

In the original series' pilot Christopher Pike was the Captain, Dr. Boyce (I like that name) the physician, Number One the First Officer and Mr. Spock the Science Officer. Their missions took them to both hostile and welcoming worlds that were as every bit as interesting as any Captain Kirk’s crew explored.

Captain Pike had a strong sense of discipline and loyalty to his crew. Less congenial than Kirk, Pike was a man who lived by the book but with the capacity to look outside the box for solutions when necessary.

In The Children Of Kings Captain Pike and his crew discover that Starbase 18 has been destroyed and all clues point to the Klingons and a new secret weapon. But, Pike is not so sure, especially when the Orions are thrown into the mix.

Do the Klingons have a new cloaking device and what of the Orions who have long been known to practice piracy and what of the Captain and crew of a disabled Orion ship that the Enterprise assists?

Regardless who, or what, is to blame for the destruction of Starbase 18, the threat of total annihilation hangs over the heads of Captain Pike and the Federation unless the threat is stopped. The Children Of Kings explores the tenuous relationship between the Federation and the Orions and delves into the reasons behind the tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. For a Star Trek history lesson be sure to pick up The Children Of Kings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Women Of Star Trek

Rittenhouse Archives recently released a new set of Star Trek Trading Cards that spotlight the ladies of Star Trek. As hard it is to believe there used to be a time when strong female lead characters were few and far between in the world of TV. Sure, there were comedy sitcoms and the occasional drama that starred woman but they were often portrayed as weak and dependent on their male counterparts to get them out of trouble.
When Star Trek was first broadcast in 1966 not only was there a strong, independent female costar (Uhura) on the series but she was black as well. Talk about ground-breaking!


Strong females have always played pivotal roles in each Star Trek series either as heroines or protagonists. Uhura, Janeway, Seven of Nine, Dak, Troi and dozens of other female characters kept the shows fresh and relevant.


The new Trading Card Set from Rittenhouse Archive, consisting of 81 Base Cards (I assembled one full Set), consists of photo Cards of each character in chronological order of appearance by series.


As with all Rittenhouse Trading Cards, this series has some outstanding randomly inserted Bonus Cards. Three Autograph Cards are guaranteed per box (I received Terry Ferrell, Denise Cosby and Michele Scarabelli) and two Relic Cards per Box (I got as piece of Janeway’s uniform and T-Pol’s outfit).


Also look for nine Portrait Gallery cards (three for me), nine Leading Ladies Cards (one in my Box) and nine Romantic Relationships Cards (again one).


Five Cards come per Foil Pack with 24 Packs per Box. The more boxes and cases you buy the bigger and better Bonus Cards. Check Rittenhouse Archives’ website for full information.

The Art Of Toy Story 3


When Toy Story hit theaters in 1995 it wowed audiences. Never before had a feature length computer animated movie been seen. Audiences went wild and before long the movie’s studio, Pixar, became famous all over the world. Subsequently Pixar has released a number of computer animated movies, all under the Disney banner. It wasn’t long until Pixar became part of Disney.

Toy Story opened the door for computer animated movies released over the last 15 years. But as good as some of the movies are, no one can beat Pixar Studios when it comes to concept and implementation. Pixar remains at the forefront of computer animation and with each release audiences are amazed with its technical wizardry.


The Art Of Toy Story 3 by Charles Solomon and released by Chronicle Books takes readers inside the inner workings of how the movie was created. John Lassiter provides the preface with Lee Unkrich and Daria K. Anderson collaborating on the foreword.


The book consists of pages filled with color character designs, scenery and interior designs, color and textures studies, storyboards and script refinements and alterations. Look for Marquette photos, on location study sessions and documentation of every phase of the production. It’s an insider’s look at what it take t make such an innovation and ground-breaking production. Look and enjoy!

Street Fighter: The Complete History

There’s no denying the Street Fighter is a pop culture phenomenon. When it was first introduced as a video game by Capcom in the 1980’s it became a gamer favorite. And why wouldn’t it? It was a surefire combination: players got to choose from an impressive roster of fighters, big and small, male and female, who would then proceed to knock the #$%*! Out of each other! Admit it, isn’t that what a video game is really all about-one guy trouncing another? Sure it can be an armored, super, futuristic soldier or a cute little whatchamacallit-but it all all boils down to someone or something beating up another someone or something and Street Fighter does it best.
Author Chris Carle and Chronicle Books present The Complete History of the game, its many manifestations, its fan base, merchandizing and plethora of characters both loved and hated by fans.


It’s a colorful collection of art, screen captures, cosplaying, conventions and merchandise complemented by historical and fun facts, insider info and much more.

Sparky

When I was young I tried never to miss a day reading Peanuts by Charles Schultz. When we got the paper everyday it was easy to do, but there were times when we didn’t so I would read neighbors’ papers, scrounge through trash on trash days to get the comics and when all else failed I bought the early compilations of Peanuts strips at the bookstore.



I loved Peanuts then and I still love it today-even though Charles Schulz is no longer with us.


Beverly Gherman and Chronicle Books present a loving tribute to Charles “Sparky” Schulz in Sparky: The Life And Art Of Charles Schulz. What a charming and heartfelt book.
Author Gherman looks back at his early life of Sparky and the things and events that would shape his unique comedic take on life. Learn about his early days as a boy that drew constantly, even when visiting his father’s barbershop. Discover his early sports aspirations and what events led up to his creating peanuts.


It’s a nostalgic look back at his life complete with anecdotes, good times, bad times and his eventual overwhelming success as a cartoonist. The book is brimming with Peanuts art as well as some art that many may not be familiar with. It’s a wonderful book about a wonderful man and his imaginary friends that thrilled readers for nearly 50 years.

Fangoria #294, June

Fangoria presents Planned Parenthood gone bad in Splice, get ready for a different type of Predators movie-this time they don’t come to Earth, humans go to their planet as prey, Jonah Hex combines a Western with the supernatural, Women’s Studies presents a different type of women empowerment and Image Comics wonders what happened to Baron Von Shock. Other movie madness include The Horseman, Hard Rode To Hell, the New SOP and Fangoria’s Frightfest that has eight films to vote for.


Unleash the Molting, learn All About Evil, Fangoria interviews some vampires, Trickster is the Monster Of the Month, never drill in the city, get to the heart of the matter, some movies deserve to go to the trash compacter, if someone knocks at the door-don’t answer and game over! Beware of animals in heat, God Of War has a new video game, the sultan of sleaze lives, travel to the dungeon for some new DVD releases and Freddy still has some kids left-go figure!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Return Of Bruce Wayne #1

Bruce Wayne died-no, not really. When we last saw Wayne, Superman was holding what was thought to be his burned out corpse courtesy of Darkseids’ Omega radiation beams. Blackhand used his skull to conjure up the Black Rings and his corpse becomes a Blackest Night Black Ring bearer. But, neither item belonged to Bruce. Whose were they anyway?


No, Bruce was catapulted through time landing in a prehistoric land where warring tribes fight for survival.

When he mysteriously appears, a local tribe, populated by a few familiar faces, believe him to be from the sky if the silver rocket that also arrived with him is any indication.


When another tribe, ruled by a certain “Savage” attacks, they capture Bruce and it appears Bruce has survived only to perish in the past. What happens next brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Bat Man”.


Just when things become interesting Bruce is once more thrown through time this time to the Pilgrim era. Too late Superman and other JLA members arrive in the prehistoric era tracking Bruce via Darkseid’s Omega radiation traces.


Grant Morrison provides the story and Chris Sprouse the pencils in what is sure to become a DC Comics classic.

The New Avengers Finale

Siege has ended, Asgard is destroyed along with Loki, Norman Osbourn has gone over the edge, his “Avengers” vanquished and The New Avengers are in the thick of it.
Mass destruction and a huge loss of life are the result of The Hooded Man’s, Count Nefaria’s and Norman Osbourn’s mad plan to seize Asgard. The whole idea of super heroes being cast as outlaws and outsiders and their need to be registered with the government comes into question.


In one finale push The New Avengers storm the headquarters of the mastermind behind the Siege initiative, Count Nefaria. The only problem being he’s as every bit as powerful as all of them combined. He’s nearly omnipotent and immortal. But, he never counted on a certain Marvel hero wildcard to show up and test his immortality. That, with the aid of Ms. Marvel’s absorbing powers and some good old super hero fisticuffs puts and end to the Count’s egotistical plans.


The New Avengers Finale comes to readers courtesy of Marvel Comics' Brian Bendis and Bryan Hitch. Don’t let the word Finale throw you-the Avengers are far from over if the newly appointed ‘Top Cop” Steve Rogers has anything to say about. While one age ends The Heroic Age begins.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rough Justice

I first encountered artist/writer/designer Alex Ross’s work in the defunct Now Comics Terminator mini-series. Even then, at such an early age (not yet 20) Alex’s talent was evident. His mastery of facial expressions, anatomy, page layout and use of color far exceeded what one to expect to see form one so young.
From Now Alex went on to produce the ground-breaking maxi-series for Marvel Comics aptly named Marvels and soon after the Kingdom Come series for DC Comics. Since then he has produced dozens of comic book covers, a score of comic book stories for regular monthly titles, mini and maxi-series, one-shots and a handful of original series for both Marvel and DC.

The new Rough Justice hardbound book from Pantheon Books by Ross, with editor Chip Kidd, offers a sneak peek into Alex’s creative process by showing sketches and design ideas for the work he’s done for DC Comics. Inside readers witness Ross’s exhaustive research methods when creating characters and stories. Character designs, cover sketches, storyboard layouts, color studies, logo design, vehicle and environment refinements and hundreds of sketches fill each page along with personal notes and observations and anecdotes by the artist.

Alex’s art can best be described as reality meeting fantasy. His characters are rendered as if they were real, with stunning lighting effects, innovative costume designs and easily identifiable characters (no cookie cutter likenesses).

As a designer and artist I can appreciate the sheer volume of work, effort and time put into each sketch and final piece. The book makes for a fascinating journey into the mind of one the best artist in the industry and one of its most influential and ground-breaking creators.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Motor World And County Roads

Greenlight LLC recently released two new sets of diecast vehicles in 1:64 Scale for the collector.  They include the Motorworld Series broken down into three categories: All American, Classic and Speed.  A total of 12 cars are in the series.  County Roads Series 4 Limited Edition is the other set with a total of six cars in the series.

Both series of diecast boast Greenlight’s excellent sculpting (you can even see the lines in the doors and hoods.  They look so real it appears as if you could actually open them.), rubberlike tires, crisp paint application, spot-on chroming, fitted windows and windshields and accurate and detailed interiors.

The County Roads series consists of a 1970 Pontiac GTO painted in a bright red that includes twin hood scoops, a two-tone, white and baby blue paint scheme 1968 Chevrolet C-10 truck with full cab and bed details, a 2019 Ford Taurus Sho decked out in black paint and chrome trim, a black 1987 Pontiac Firebird Formula with gold wheels and hood decal and sunroof, a 1977 Dodge Ramcharger truck painted in camouflage colors with roll bars, open roof and black interior and a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria Laconia, NH Fire Dept. four door painted in traditional white and red with roof lights.

Each vehicle comes packaged in a sealed bubble pack with the vehicle set against a special County Roads road panel.  Sweet!

The Motor World All American Series includes four classic vehicles that are sure to send the collector’s heart pounding.  First up is an early production Ford F-100 with red roof and hood, white body exterior, side door decals, inset small bed, solid chrome straight bumpers and six window cab.  The convertible, two-seat, baby blue Shelby Cobra 427 S/C is all business and speed with its side mufflers, driver back cage, bullet chrome front and rear bumpers and sleek black interior. The Chevrolet Bel Air is a white and baby blue two-tone beauty with oversize chrome wheels with whitewall tires, accent chrome body strips, front swept passenger compartment and chrome-lots of chrome!  The black Cadillac Eldorado is a red interior convertible with lots of muscle as indicated by its heavy body, huge size an and over abundance of chrome, whitewall tires and chrome wheels.

The Speed series includes a trio of high-octane bullets on wheels that every sports car enthusiast is sure to want.  Starting with the red Jaguar XK with its oversize chrome wheels and low profile passenger compartment and sleek design to the silver BMW Z4 convertible with black interior, off center passenger compartment with extended head rests to the Lamborghini Gallardo painted in metallic blue/lavender and as sleek as they come, this collection practically moves standing still.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Motor World Classic Series that includes the Good Year Mercedes-Benz Sprinter utility truck painted in white, blue and yellow with side Good Year decals, enclosed cargo space and wedge-shape front with extended rood top.  The red, with black window trim, high-profile and oversize wheels Land Rover, Range Rover is all business as evidence by its solid construction.  The Mini-Cooper is painted a dull military green with green and white checkerboard roof, black wheels and interior and twin white striped hood.  The Volkswagen Samba Bus is a multi-window transport painted in two-tine white and baby blue, sports chrome wheels and bumpers, the classic VW van front design with logo and a rounded body for stability and aerodynamic fuel efficiency. 
The solid black Volkswagen 30 VW Bug has red wheels, minimal chrome, but with chrome trimmed windows with no rear window.

Greenlight continues to turn out affordable but high-quality diecast vehicles that both the novice and collector can enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wonder Woman

Author Robert Greenberger, with a foreword by legendary comic book artist George Perez, and Universe Publishing present the ultimate Wonder Woman book aptly entitles Wonder Woman: Amazon, Hero, Icon.
This massive tome sports an Alex Ross painted cover and is brimming to near overflowing with artwork depicting the Amazon Princess since her first adventures as written by William Moulton Marston (the inventor of the lie detector) and illustrated with subtle S&M references by harry G. Peter.
Created to appeal to young girls as Batman and Superman appealed to young boys, Wonder Woman was an instant success and has been continually published since her first Golden Age appearance.  Over the years she has transformed from a simple female Superman to a goddess complete with mythological roots.
The book carefully and lovingly traces her comic book career through the decades complete with full color illustrations, character designs, short story reprints, special promotional art and dynamic full page and two-page spreads by some of finest talent in the industry. 
This book contains more than just the history of Wonder Woman; it is filled with facts and recollections about the history of comic books beginning in the early days of the Golden Age.  It’s a real treasure trove of information and visual treat that will fascinate readers for hours.  For an upfront look at Wonder Woman in all of her various versions over the decades, be sure to pick up a copy of this book.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Archer Knight

From The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli and Nemo Publishing comes the latest action figure personae of the Golden Age Commander X: the Archer Knight.
There’s something very nostalgic about this figure.  It reminds me of the cool Mega Toy figures that were put out a few decades ago.  Measuring approximately seven inches tall the fully-articulated figure is molded in hard and soft plastic with plastic slip-on knee boots, a green archer cap, a real green cloth tunic, black cloth long sleeve body tights and a brown plastic bow and sliver filled with arrows. 
The figure also comes with a black belt emblazoned with the Commander X red and yellow X and a black painted on eye mask on the mustached Commander X face.
This is really a fun figure with a clever presentation.  Mounted on an oversize bubble pack, the figure is encased in plastic right next to an illustrated version of the Commander.  On the back of the bubble pack is a fully rendered 3D computer graphics image of the Commander in his more traditional outfit with several small circular illustrations of the Commander in many of his other versions including everything from the Western Knight to the Power Knight. 
What a guy!  For some good old time action and adventure pick up the book series and break out your Commander X figures and play along.  Collect them all!

Fantasy & Science Fiction #689, May/June

In this issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction John Sladek reveals  The Real Martian Chronicles, Michael Libling discovers Why That Crazy Old Lady Goes Up The Mountain, Fred Chappell tags along with the Thief Of Shadows and Aaron Schutz witnesses the confrontation of Dr. Death Vs. The Vampire.
Watch out for The Crocodiles by Steven Popkes, Elizabeth Bourne supplies A History Of Cadmium, Alex Irvine travels to the Remotest Mansions OF The Blood, Hilary Goldstein avoids the Seven Sins For Seven Dwarves, Dale Bailey enjoy s Silence, Rachel Pollack goes on Forever, Robert Onopa boards The Atchison Topeka & Sante Fe and Lokiko Hall encounters The Gypsy’s Boy.
Other features are books To Look For, Musing On Books, Coming Attractions, Films: Blockbusters A Religious Experience, Competition and Curiosities.  In other words, there’s plenty to read this issue no matter what you’re interested in.  Pick up a copy of F&SF today!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Previews, May

In May’s Diamond Previews catalog a whole bunch of new merchandise is up for sale. Read through this massive catalog of pop culture and get ready to dish out some dinero.


Comic books to check in July include Dark Horse’s Doctor Solar and Star Wars; The Old Republic, DC’s Batman: Odyssey, Image’s Fractured Fables, IDW’s True Blood, Marvel’s X-Men and Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, Ape’s Penguins Of Madagascar, Avatar’s Absolution and Bongo’s Comic Book Guy.


Magazines and book to read include Jim Lee: Icon, John Buscema: Michelangelo Of Comics, Doctor Who: The Coming Of The Terraphiles, Alter Ego, Hobby Japan, Locus and Filmfax.


Trading cards to collect are Rittenhouse’s Lost Archives and Topps’ Press Pass 2010 Legends.


Toys to play with are Kick-Ass, Star Wars Vintage, Tonner's Doctor Who, Marvel Universe, Jonah Hex, Transformers and more.


Game on with Legend Of The Five Rings, Voltron Battle, Marvel HeroClix Iron Man, Magic, Battlelore and Champions.

Teenager And Litter Box

Two new titles from Andrew McMeel Publishing hit the shelves and both deal with unwanted pests: cats and teenagers-just kidding!


In A Zits Guide To Living With Your Teenager (I’ve had two and my hair is still falling out from the encounter) Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman explore the strange world of the teenager.


This small hardbound book contains classic parent/teenager situations that any parent can identify with. Clever comments accompany each cartoon strip. They wouldn’t be as near as funny if they weren’t so rooted in the truth.


For an encounter of a different type check out Treasury Of The Lost Litter Box Get Fuzzy Collection by cartoonist Darby Conley.

The book is comprised of reprinted daily and Sunday comic strips starring everyone’s favorite pet comedy act: Bucky B. Katt and Satchel Pooch. Follow their misadventures as they, and their strange group of friends, make their human owner’s (Rob Wilco) life a roller coaster ride with no seat belts, broken tracks and no way to get off.

This time around Bucky goes Hollywood, there’s hygiene for pets, booger hide and seek and other hilarious outings. If hilarity has a name it must be Get Fuzzy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Classic Bible Stories

Two stories from the scripture: Jesus: The Road Of Courage and Mark: The Youngest Disciple are reprinted in full color in Titan Books’ new Classic Bible stories hardback. 
Originally printed in the British comic Eagle and drawn by such legendary comic strip artists as Frank Bellamy and Frank Hampton, the stories illustrate key moments in Jesus and Mark’s lives as envisioned by modern day artists. 
What makes these stories so interesting is that the artist took great efforts to depict the scenes as they would appear set during biblical times.  Costumes, setting and surrounding looked as they did hundreds of years ago.  Not dry or sterile in their presentations, the images are vibrant, full of energy and laid out in dynamic style with lots of action, plenty of pathos and presented as serious stories.
It’s obvious that a great deal of attention was given to details, historical accuracy and story telling technique.  The stories never talk down to the reader, rather they seek to instruct, inspire and enlighten the reader. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game continues to grow in popularity due in no small part with Konami’s commitment to introduce new cards continuously.  This not only keeps the game fresh but it also encourages new gamers to try the game and veteran YGO players to continue to support the product.
Often when a game is introduced game manufacturers fail to introduce new product on a consistent schedule and gamers (fickle as they are) tend to move onto new games.  Not so with Yu-Gi-Oh! gamers.  They continue to play YGO and with new and exciting products consistently introduced on short order they stay with the game.
Recently Konami premiered several products over the last few months. Anything from Tins to Decks to Foil Packs can be found.
The Duelist Pack Collection Yusei Tin contains cards from the YGO 5D’s animated series in its three Duelist Packs.  Also included is a Yusei All Foil 3-Card Promo Pack, a Starlight Road Secret Rare Variant Card a 5D’s Beginner’s Guide.  For Deck boosts be sure to use the enclosed Assault Mode version of the Yusei signature monster Stardust Dragon.
The Machina Mayhem Structure Deck includes eleven brand new cards that allow you to employ all new and devastating engines of destruction.  Look for lots of Machina monsters that you can equip to assemble bigger and badder machines.
Also look for a special The Big Saturn from the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Manga.  Talk about a big machine!
Included are Monster, Spell and Trap cards equaling 40 Cards plus a Rule Book, Mat and Dueling Guide that are ready to play and built to win!
Add to game play fun with Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Absolute Powerforce with nine Cards per Foil Pack.  One hundred Cards come in the Set with 24 Packs per Box.  Cards included are never released before cards for the original YGO animated series.  Also look for Gravekeepers Cards who protect Egyptian tombs.  Return to Battle City with your Ghost, Secret, Ultimate Rare, Ultra Rare, Super Rare, Rare and Common Cards.

Firefly: Still Flying


It’s a positive testament to a TV series, its writers, actors and staff, when although short run (just over a year) the series still is as popular as ever with fans and continues to garner new fans. 
What made Firefly so unique is that is was a science fiction TV show unlike any other science fiction show.  Set in the future, the series harkened back to the rough and rugged days of the American West, when might made right and the law of the frontier held sway. 
You were just as likely to see a traditional handgun amidst the high-tech surroundings as your were to see leather clad ‘Cowboys” mingling with alien races.
In Firefly: Still Flying, Titan Books presents new stories from the writers of the original TV series as a celebration of Joss Whedon’s acclaimed TV series.
Look for character bios, behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards, production art, prop photos, spaceship designs and models and lots of other ‘goodies’ that make the book not only a joy to read but to look at as well.

Watching M*A*S*H*, Watching America


For eleven years the CBS comedy/drama series M*A*S*H entertained the America TV viewing public,  Derived from the dark Vietnam era war comedy movie of the same name the series continued the misadventures of the doctors and staff of the 407th  The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital personnel were responsible for patching together wounded soldiers not far from enemy lines.  M*A*S*H* united set during the Korean War.
Tensions were high and nerves frayed and yet soldiers and medical personnel held it together, amidst the insanity, to do their jobs.
For the first three years the series positioned itself as an anti-war platform against the Vietnam War using parallels between the Korean War and the then current conflict. After the third year and the departure of McLean Stevenson as Colonel Henry Blake from the series, the show took a more social commentary approach cleverly commenting on current social trends such as women’s rights, divorce, etc. 
Through eleven seasons the cast, with some changes, included Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Henry Blake, Radar O’Reilly, Colonel Potter, Hotlips Houlihan, B.J. Hunnicutt, Charles Emerson Winchester, Frank Burns, Max Klinger and Father Mulcahy who coped with the war, matured and developed as characters.  All of the characters went through significant changes.
Watching M*A*S*H*, Watching America, written by James H. Wittebols and published by McFarland and Company, Inc., examines the long running series, its changes over the years, its social relevance, its characters and stories and most important of all its unswerving dedication to quality and attempt to be more than just a comedy about war.
Although set in the 1950s the show is as relevant today as it was when first broadcast in 1972.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Heart Gold/Soul Silver

Guest review by Jack Campbell
Pokemon has returned well in a way. For those of you who have been playing Pokemon for many years you will remember gold and silver. Well they are back as  Pokemon: Heart Gold/Soul Silver. You the gamer will return to the Jojto region to catch, train and battle your way through the Pokemon you remember so well. The enhancements from the original which has been brought over from the previous Pokemon outing on the DS, Heart Gold/Soul Silver for Nintendo DS adds several additional boosts to the already familiar style of gameplay which seemingly take away many of the little niggles that have plagued the series since its inception.
The most pertinent of these changes is the fact that you can now finally toggle run which is great for any of you which have played the old Pokemon games. Not having to hold down the B key the whole time is a nice perk. A player can do this by tapping on  the stylus  running shoe icon. The DS versions have been set up so that the gamer can do  each command with a stylus click. Another perk to the game is that you can set more than one item to your quick-use list. Finally, as previously seen in Pokemon Yellow a player will be able to see his or her lead Pokemon walking along with him or her in the game. While this feature doesn't inherently add anything to the title, it's nice extra to be able to interact a little more closely with one of the animals that you dedicate so much time and effort into.
Another cool extra which comes with the game is the Pokemon walker called well the Pokewalker .The Pokewalker allows a player to beam one of his or her Pokemon from the game into a small Pokeball shaped device. A player can take the Pokewalker any where he or she wants to. When walking with the Pokewalker every step the gamer takes is called a Watt this helps with leveling up your Pokemon and helps unlock cool extras like routes which will allow a player to find more items or battle and catch Pokemon.
The Pokewalker also allows a gamer to play against other players. What cool is that the Pokéwalker stems from the fact that players can be greatly rewarded just by walking. Maybe it's more of Nintendo ability to get us up and do something rather than play their games all day. Either way it's a lot of fun.