Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fangoria #299, January

Fangoria features the Black Swan on its cover and look for Dead Space 2, Cherie Currie, Vampire Circus, Jean Rollin, Stake Land and Daughters Of Darkness news inside.
Readers salivated over the KISS cover from last issue, Monster Invasion checks out Bitter Feast, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, The Captured Bird and The Taken movies long with the latest DVD releases.

Join the Circus courtesy of Hammer, Alfred Hitchcock is as popular as ever, the Worm Turns, The Grindhouse Lives and it's all about Sex, Death & Poetry.  Certain gigs really suck, Gorecakes are delicious, read The Diary Of The Deb and don't miss the latest horrific book and video game releases.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

500 Manga Villains And Heroes

Yishan Li, renowned Manga artist and studio head, presents 500 Manga Villains And Heroes, published by Collins Design.



Filled with an enormous collection of Manga characters of all type designed by Yishan herself, the book is a collection of Manga clipart that lets readers chooses their figures from the accompanying CD. Manga students can then create their own scenes using the characters without having to draw them.


Besides a handy clipart library the book is an excellent visual resource for young Manga artists to learn from. The CD also includes detailed information on poses, settings, moods, expressions, characteristics and costumes.


All the characters are printed in black outline. This allows a Manga artist hopeful to practice coloring the figures. However you decide to use the information and figures in the book, 4500 Manga Villains And Heroes is an excellent resource for any Manga artist.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Balthazar Blake, the magician who defends Manhatten, needs some help fending off his arch-nemesis: the evil Maxim Horvath. So he recruits an unlikely teenager, Dave Stutler, to become his apprentice. Dave is clumsy, a little dim-witted and prone to make mistakes-lots of them.



Balthazar gives him a crash course in magic in the hopes that it will enough to stave off Maxim and his evil cohorts from taking over the city.


It will take every bit of courage Dave can muster to learn his training, fight the forces of evil, save the city and get the girl.


The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Walt Disney is a dazzling display of visual effects, a clever retelling of a classic Disney tale and pure family fun. Kids will love it and adults will get a kick out of the fantasy setting and story.


The DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack also includes deleted scenes, featurettes, commentaries, outtakes and lots of extra fun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inception

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Don Cobb, a most unusual thief. Cobb' has the ability to enter a person's mind during their sleep state and steal secrets. His ability has made him a top industrial espionage agent.


Unfortunately for him it also makes him a wanted man and a fugitive placing himself not only in danger but his family and friends as well.


One day he is offered redemption and the chance to start over again with a clean slate. His assignment is not to steal an idea but to plant one. He accepts and he and his team set out on their mission never realizing that it is the most dangerous assignment in their criminal careers.


When Inception came out its was up against some of the summer's biggest blockbusters. But with its mind-twisting story, stellar acting and inspirational direction, Inception soon become an audience favorite and became one the top movies of the season.


Now Warner Bros. has released Inception in a special Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Copy Combo Pack that also includes some pretty cool extras like featurettes, interviews, commentaries and a one-of-a-kind snapshot icon that allows you to access even more film secrets.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Looney Tunes Treasury


I've always loved Warner Bros. cartoons more than any other studios' cartoons. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent short cartoons and animated series out there that are not from Warner Bros. But overall Warner Bros. has the most unique characters in its animation history. I'm specifically talking about its Looney Tunes characters.


While Walt Disney Studios and other studios animated shorts featured cute, cuddly and relatively 'safe' characters, Warner Bros. broke the mold with its Looney Tunes stable of characters.


Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, Speedy Gonzalez, the Road Runner and Coyote, the Tasmanian Devil, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig-the list goes on and on of some of the most irreverent, outrageous, cantankerous and just plain insane chanters ever created and audiences loved them.


Readers are sure to love the new Running Press book written by Andrew Farago that looks back at all of these amazing characters in a totally unique way.


Yes, there's the expected history of each character including photos and stills of them in action but The Looney Tunes Treasury offers much more than that.


Besides the retrospectives the book includes quotes from the characters themselves along with production art, concept sketches, memorabilia, paintings plus actual mementos.


Mementos!? Yes, your read right, mementos. Look for comic books, wanted posters, stickers, masks, postcards and all sorts of cleverly inserted goodies that make this book not only fun to read but also to explore.


What better way to celebrate The Looney Tunes than with a book that is also unique?

Life With Archie: The Married Life #2, 3 And 4


Ask yourself this question, "How is Archie Comics able to produce a large format glossy magazine with full color photos, topnotch art and stories, special articles and more for the same price most other comic book companies charge for their comic books?"


That's exactly what Archie Comics does and it is does very well.


Life With Archie: The Married Life numbers 2, 3 and 4 continue the imaginary stories about what would happen if Archie married Veronica or Betty. What would the repercussions be for not only the happy couples but for others around them specifically Archie's friends and family?


That's what you'll find out in these continuing tales about America's favorite redhead teenager. Besides twin Archie stories the magazines also feature posters of popular movie and TV show stars, Archie Comic Book covers, celebrity comments about Archie Comics and much, much more. If you're an Archie fan then these new magazines are a goldmine filled with Archie treasure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Batman Beyond

When the producers/creators of Batman Beyond first came up with the idea for Batman Beyond they weren’t so sure it would be successful. After all it starred a young, brash teenager, Terry McGinness, who was nothing like Bruce Wayne.

Wayne would be in the show but as an old disgruntled and bitter man who was disgusted with what Gotham City had become. He secluded himself in his manor, rarely venturing into the outside world. Only by accident did Terry discover his identity as Batman and Wayne reluctantly took him under his wing to train Terry to become the new Batman.


Terry as Batman often operated on sheer instinct and guts. He was far from the calculating and systematic Batman Bruce Wayne was.


The producers/creators need not have worried because Batman Beyond became an instant hit. Viewers loved the futuristic adventures of the new Batman. Set against a more cosmopolitan city scene, Batman Beyond featured newer villains, many of which were inspired by their criminal predescceosrs, such as the Joker.


Terry, with the aid of Bruce and his new Batman suit and arsenal, patrolled the city and fought crime as Bruce monitored and directed his actions-most of the time ignored by Terry.


Warner Bros. has compiled the entire three seasons of the Emmy-Winning Animated Series into a new package. Nine DVDs make up the set. Housed in a DVD box with Batman Beyond on the cover, the box is snug-fitted into an attractive slipcase display box emblazoned with Batman Beyond logo on the front against a Gotham City background and a stylized Bat symbol on the inside front lid.


Included with all of the episodes are special featurettes, a pamphlet showcasing the art and style of the series and a special DC Universe History DVD. It makes for a great package and even a greater holiday gift.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Art Of Tron Legacy

I got excited when I heard there was a sequel being made of the movie Tron. I REALLY got excited when Disney released The Art Of Tron Legacy book.


I love looking at and reading about how movie makers make movies. From pre-production to final print, the entire process is like magic performed by a talented group of magicians. Such is the case with The Art Of Tron Legacy.


Justin Springer provides the prose for this oversize hardbound book. A Tron cycle printed in metallic blue/gray on a solid black wraparound cover slip protecting a full color wraparound cycle cover photo is striking. And things get better inside.


Pages are packed with two-page spreads, full-color shots full-page photos, production art, storyboards, cast photos, character/vehicle/environment designs and much more.


Homage is given to the original film with some side-by-side comparison stills of the original designs and the updated and re-imagined new designs. Blending images with light and high tech machines, digital effects and human actors gives The Legacy Of Tron its own unique look while retaining the overall feel of the original film.


As a designer I really enjoy looking at conceptual drawings, and sketches and final art pieces. It gives me the opportunity to appreciate the creative process at work of other designers and the tremendous amount of time an effort that went into each and every design.


If you’re interested in the back story of how the current world of Tron became what it is then be sure to pick up the Tron Betrayal graphic novel from Disney that illustrates exactly what went wrong. It makes and excellent companion piece to The Art of Tron Legacy and an introduction to the new film.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shattered Light

Four authors present three different Star Trek tales in Gallery Books newest Star Trek short story Anthology: Star Trek Myriad Universes: Shattered Light.

Taking storylines from several Star Trek series episodes, each tale diverts slightly from the established timeline and presents events as they ‘may have’ been.

In The Embrace Of Cold Architects, Data’s daughter Lal, survives and he raises her like a daughter until Star Fleet takes her for their own nefarious plans and Captain Riker must face off against a Cardassian threat.


The Tears Of Eridanus sends Captain Sulu and his crew on a rescue mission to free hostages on a primitive planet. One of the captives is Sulu’s Daughter.


Honor In The Night looks back at the classic episode The Trouble With Tribbles. Only in this story the Klingons are successful in their sabotage mission and Sherman’s Planet becomes theirs.


Shattered Light provides readers with exciting alternate realities that demonstrate that one single act can change the entire course of time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1

Superheroes working for the government has been a theme in comic books for decades. But, that was not always the case. Back in the mid-1960s, illustrator and writer Wally Wood came up with a unique concept. Since comic book superheroes and spy movies were such big hits at that time, why not combine the two into a comic book? And so he did and Tower Comics’ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was born.

The story was a simple one but brilliant. The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves was established. Its members consisted of key intelligent agents, a small percentage of which used advanced body and mind enhancements to boost their physical and mental capabilities. But, there was a catch, each time the equipment was used the person using it suffered a setback. For example, the super speedster Lightning aged at an accelerated rate. The series was a short-lived success and Tower Comics disappeared after about a year. However, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents did not go down without a fight. Over the years since Tower’s demise the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents have periodically reappeared in short runs from various publishers. None lasted but a few issues.


Let’s hope that’s not the case with DC Comics T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series just released. The script by Nick Spencer is filled with suspense, unexpected twists and turns and more that a few surprises. Cafu’s art is reminiscent of the original series with tight pencils, minimal details that don’t distract from the story and clear and concise layouts that move the story along at a quick pace.


T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 sets up a scenario where nothing is at it seems, even the kidnapping of the captive T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent Raven. Someone or something is out to disrupt the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agency is left totally in the dark. It’s lost all of its enhanced agents and must recruit a new team. How they go about it is totally unexpected and yet once revealed makes perfect sense. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents for DC Comics looks to be a winner.

The Best Of FoxTrot

Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC has just released a two-volume collection of the best of the best of Bill Amend’s hilarious comic strip FoxTrot. This handsome volume of work includes two oversize soft back books containing black and white daily strips along with color Sunday strips. Both volumes are housed in a sturdy slipcase covered in FoxTrot illustrations behind full color character illustrations that are varnished to make them stand out.


For those of you not familiar with FoxTrot, the strip centers around a rather ‘unique’ family and supporting cast of characters that view life from slightly askew perspectives. The verbal and physical humor, especially the puns, make FoxTrot one of those comic strips that slowly and methodically draws you in and never lets your funny bone go. My favorite character is Jason, the cerebral younger brother who easily understands science, computers and math but is totally na├»ve when it comes to other human beings. And there is his long suffering sister Paige who wants nothing more than to fit in and be popular despite her younger brother’s insane antics. So ‘trot’ down to you local bookstore and buy The Best Of FoxTrot.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yoda


Everyone can use some extra wisdom, especially during the holiday season. Who better to give out gems of inspiration and advice than that diminutive intergalactic guru: Yoda from Star Wars?

Yoda: Bring You Wisdom, I Will is a compilation of all of Yoda's bits of wisdom and insight. Who can forget, "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." or "May the Force be with you."

You'll find them all in the little handbook of quotes that comes along with the miniature Yoda statue, two sheets of quotes on stickers and the cool Dagoba base Yoda perches upon. They all come packaged in a handsome study display box that keeps the contents protected and together behind a clear front display window from Chronicle Books.


The first wise thing you can do? Buy Yoda: Bring You Wisdom, I Will for someone for the holidays. It's the smart thing to do!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The A-Team


Liam Neeson heads an all-star cast in the movie adaptation of the popular 1980s TV series The A-Team. Neeson plays Hannibal Smith, the head of a special units military team who are framed for a crime they did not commit, sent to prison and promptly escape.

The crime they were framed for involved stolen U.S. currency plates that they were sent to recover. Having recovered the plates, and the millions of dollars printed from them, The A-Team believes their mission is complete--until things go horribly wrong: the money is destroyed and the plates stolen


Six months later Hannibal masterminds escapes from the high-security prisons each A-Team member was sent to. The A-Team then sets out to find the true criminals, recover the plates and clear their records-if it were only that easy.


In typical A-Team fashion there are lots of bullets flying, bombs exploding, cars and planes crashing and enough thrills, chills and spills to keep the most diehard A-Team fan glued to the screen.


20th Century Fox's 'The A-Team' film pays homage to the original series and expands upon it with over-the-top action sequences and lots of explosions and destruction. This is a true tribute film that stays faithful to the TV series.


Look for lots of extras on both the regular DVD version and the special 2-Pack Blu-ray release. Featurettes, commentaries, behind-the scenes and much more make The A-Team the team to join. I love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tron Legacy


It's been close to 30 years since the original Disney Tron movie came out. My wife and I went and watched it. I immediately caught on how revolutionary it was for its time. My wife 'liked it' but wasn't really sure what to make of it.


Computer special effects were in their infancy and Tron was the first movie to use them extensively. Granted some sacrifices had to made in order to make its primitive (by our present standards) effects work. A good example of how new the technology was, actors were actually filmed in black and white with color added digitally later when they were integrated into the special effects. The Tron Cycle chase scene is still a classic.


While a technological success the movie was not a complete commercial success. It wasn't until years passed that the movie took on cult status. Fans of science fiction movies began to take notice. So much so that Disney has made a follow-up film, Tron Legacy, starring Jeff Bridges reprising his role as Kevin Flynn.


Spin Master Toys has acquired the toy rights to the new movie and have done a spectacular job of translating the film's characters and vehicles to toy form.


The Sam Flynn 3 1/2 inc figure, one of six Tron characters, captures the look of the film's character in fully-articulated miniature form. The coloring and details of the figure match the film's star right along with light up face and chest and the Base, Identity Disc and Baton that comes with it. An instruction guide comes with the figure and accessories sealed in a plastic bubble card package with a 'Try Me' hole to test the lights and a color photo of Sam alongside the Tron Legacy logo. Sculpting is tight with no flanges or sloppy joints and the color application is neat even around the figure's transparent helmet.


For a more dynamic Sam Flynn figure check out the 12-inch fully-articulated and ultra-detailed Ultimate Sam Flynn figure with light up chest with a face helmet that lights up and shows Sam talking. It also comes with a Identity Disc, Magnetic Baton and Katana.


This a tough figure that kids can spend hours playing with. It's also a perfect collector figure with its cool accessories and special light-up capability. The figure comes in a clear front display box with a flip open side panel with a full figure photo on the flipside detailing Sam's suit and weapons.


The highlights of the original Tron movie were the vehicles and Torn Legacy is no exception. It has taken the classic Tron transportation and made them ultra modern and super cool.


The Deluxe Light Cycle: Sam Flynn has Functioning Air Brakes, Figure-Activated Lights and Motion Activated sounds, including Engine noises. A Sam Flynn partially articulated figure comes with the Cycle and when placed on the Cycle it activates the lights. Look in the clever 3D viewer at the bottom of the display box to catch a glimpse of Sam on his Cycle in full 3D.


The Light Cycle: Sam Flynn Zero Gravity R/C can actually drive on walls. No kidding! Use the enclosed remote control to guide your Cycle up and along walls, seemingly defying gravity. You'll be even more amazed on how it leaves a light trail! It also drives upside down! I could use on of these during my drive to work.


The Deluxe Light Runner also lights up, holds two figures (not included) has Pop Out Blasters, Figure Activated Lights, a Cockpit that opens and is probably the coolest looking four-wheel vehicle I've ever seen! It super sturdy, looks awesome at any angle and looks exactly like its move namesake.


The white Light Cycle: Kevin Flynn is a slightly retro looking Cycle, reflexing the original movie design, with front opening Cockpit and when the Kevin Flynn figure (sold separately) is placed inside, it lights up. It also looks exactly like the film's version as do all the other vehicles after their movie counterparts.


All of the figures and vehicles are made of durable plastic, feature excellent paint and coloring and impressive articulation and fittings. Live the movie, buy the toys and go on your own Tron Legacy adventure courtesy of Spin Master Toys.

SHAZAM!

For a while during its run Fawcett Publications Captain Marvel (known now to DC Comic readers primarily as SHAZAM!) outsold DC Comics Superman. DC lawyers sued Fawcett Publications stating that Captain Marvel was a direct rip-off of Superman.

Both were tall and muscular white men with wavy black hair, could fly, were nearly indestructible, were incredibly strong and shared other similar powers and abilities. While Superman was an adult and his disguise was as mild-mannered Clark Kent, Captain Marvel's secret identity was that he was really a small boy, Billy Batson, who when uttering the word, SHAZAM!, transformed into the world's mightiest mortal.


Eventually DC Comics won its case, Fawcett closed its door and ironically DC Comics bought the rights to Captain Marvel some years back. He and Superman are now friends.


In SHAZAM! The Golden Age Of The World's Mightiest Mortal, published by Abrams Comicarts and written and designed by Chip Kidd with photos by Geoff Spear, readers are invited to travel back to the heyday of the Captain's popularity during the Golden Age of comic books


Through photos of Captain Marvel Memorabilia, archival written pieces, reprints of comic book stories and publicity stills of the Captain Marvel serial movie series Chip Kidd provides a nostalgic journey to a simpler time when heroes were need more than ever.


I was amazed at the mass amount of Captain Marvel collectibles that were produced, from toys to clothing and everything in between. All I can say is, "SHAZAM!"




Cartoon 360


I teach cartooning to my high school Drawing 1 and 2 classes. The hardest thing to teach them is drawing characters in 3-D poses. In other words, not straight on, directly to one side or back views. Learning how to rotate and pose characters so they look as if they have weight and volume isn't easy.

That's why I appreciate Harry Hamernik's new book from Impact: Cartoon 360: Secrets To Drawing Cartoon People And Poses In 3-D


Harry guides the reader through the basics of figure drawing: heads, hands, poses, clothing, etc. He then proceeds to demonstrate how to draw them in 3-D poses while keeping them in proportion and most importantly: making them look like the same character despite what pose they be in.


Lessons on inking, tracing and computer coloring are also included along with a pictorial supply list of what you need to use to cartoon. It makes for an easy-to-follow and understand guide on how to cartoon different characters in various poses.

Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection


Warner Bros. new Blu-ray/DVD Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection presents three classic network TV Peanuts holiday specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, along with three bonus episodes: It's Magic, Charlie Brown, The Mayflower Voyagers and It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, all in one Ultimate Collector's Edition.


An additional Backstory Featurette is also included and a as special added bonus look for three Peanuts Holiday Window Clings of Snoopy and Charlie Brown in holiday dress and a Snowglobe Lucite Lenticular starring the Charlie Brown gang in different classic holiday scenes when the globe is tilted in different directions.


Come celebrate the holidays with Peanuts and enjoy this very special DVD collection that the whole family can cherish. It's a holiday tradition!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The James Bond Girls File #2 The 1970s


I remember when the 1970s arrived and I found out that Sean Connery was returning to the role of James Bond in the next film in the series, Diamonds Are Forever, in 1971. I was thrilled. When the film came out I was overjoyed. It may not have been the best Connery Bond film but it was still excellent escapist fun.

In 1973 Roger Moore took over the role of Bond. I like Moore but his style was just a little too tongue-in-cheek for my taste at the time. His 1970s Bond films, Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me (my favorite of the run) and Moonraker were good films, but not great films, in my opinion.

There were too many gadgets, gimmicky getaways and glib gabbing. The women however. Ahh, the women. The Bond Women of that era were gorgeous and you can see them all in 007 Double - O - Seven Magazine Archive Files: The James Bond Girls #2 The 1970s from each film in candid shots, studio stills and behind-the-scenes photos.

Included with each film synopsis and interesting Bond facts are lots and lots of photos of not only the women but the other key characters, locations and much, much more form each film. Jill St. John as Tiffany Case from Diamonds Are Forever shows off her package on the cover while on the back cover Britt Exland as Mary Goodnight from The Man With The Golden Gun shows off her 'ample talent'.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moltenclaw's Invasion


Unfortunately Hasbro/Wizards Of The Coast's Heroscape Dungeons & Dragons Collection D3, will be the last Expansion Set made. Previous figures will be sold while supplies last. I'm sorry to set this game system go. For the miniature game player its a great way to have pre-painted sculpted figures at a reasonable price.


Four new Expansion Packs come in the D3 series and they include Heroes Of Fallcrest, Bugbears And Orcs, Valkrill's Legion and Icewind Scourge.


Each pack hold three to six figures, depending on their size. Look for lots of detail in the sculpts and paint application. I especially like the Ice Giant, Dragon and giant Orc. Look for dynamic poses, awesome outfits, wicked weapons and outrageous creatures and humanoids. What's not to love?

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition


The long wait is over. Call Of Duty is back and this time it's more realistic than ever with lots of violence, bloodshed, explosions and more. Become part of a Black Ops operation as either a single player or in a group. Your objective is to stop threats before they become a reality-by any means necessary.


Look for lots of gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, knife fights, artillery fire, airplane strafing and bombing, assassinations and every other little nasty deed that needs to be done when fighting as a special operative.


The folks at Activision and Treyarch have listened to what fans of Call Of Duty had to say and they've made some improvements in game play making it much more realistic. Actions breed consequences and Black Ops doesn't just let a player walk away from mayhem without repercussions.


The Currency System lets you purchase and customize your own play style. Where there's money there's wagering and you get to wager big time with the pay-off being survival.


Train before you fight, capture key moments to replay, fight zombies, play split-screen and escape to play another day.


You can also sabotage your enemies equipment without their knowledge and use it to your advantage.


Black Ops is an in-you-face combat experience where you can practically feel the heat of your weapons, here the zing of bullets flying overhead and smell the blood of your enemies. It's first-person action that plunges you into hostile situations in all kinds of climate, terrain and dangerous situations.


Character rendering is super realistic. Full 360 degree terrain and environments look as if you could walk right into the game and you never have to worry about lagging graphics or unexpected pauses. Black Ops is the ultimate combat game.


The Call Of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition comes with a mechanized rover complete with microphone and video feed, a LED Video Display Transmitter, a Limited Edition Black Ops Collector' Medal and an Exclusive X-box Live Outfit. Live the adventure of a lifetime-if you can survive!

Mouse Guard: Legends Of the Guard

Archaia Entertainment LLC. and artist/writer David Petersen have compiled every issue of the Legends Of The Guard mini-series into one hardbound book.


Legends Of The Guard consists of Mouse Guard stories as envisioned by fellow writer/artists. Centered on stories told in a pub, the book consists of stories envisioned by Petersen’s peers. The book contains stories drawn in similar and very different styles than Petersen’s which make it even more enjoyable.


Included with the new short tales are bios of the contributing creators along with their photos and preparatory sketches. All-in-all it’s a absorbing look at how different artists and writers envision a fellow artist/writer’s work.

Goldeneye 007

The very first N64 game my wife and I bought for our son for Christmas back in the 1990s was Goldeneye. At the time the game starred the likeness of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

My son and I would sit and play it for hours eventually going through every level. At the time nothing existed like it. The game engine was truly one of the first, if not the first, first shooter game where players actually saw the action as the main character.


Goldeneye is back from Activision and it is bigger and better than ever. This time is stars the likeness of Daniel Craig as James Bond and incorporates not only the Goldeneye storyline but throws in a few classic Bond villains such as Oddjob, Jaws and The Man With The Golden Gun.


Go it alone or switch over to multi-player. Whatever mode you choose you’re guaranteed fast action, travel to exotic locales, encounters with dastardly opponents, incredible chases and dangerous encounters and lots of explosions, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat.


Relive the classic Bond film Goldeneye with new visual interpretations of characters from the film such as Agent 006 and others. It is all-out action and adventure as you take on the mantel of 007 and battle your way through throngs of bad guys. Choose from a multitude of weapons, change your point of view from first person to full vista and get ready to experience the world of James Bond 007.


Play time is swift, refresh time is instantaneous, and environments are varied and sweeping. Play single screen or split screen with other players and pit you super spy skills against their. Rated ‘T’ for Teen.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Warhawk And Fieseler


Hasegawa Hobby Kits Introduces two more vintage airplane models. The American WWII P-40N Warhawk 'Natural Metal' is a Limited Edition model kit that looks every bit as real as the real thing--only smaller.


This is a 'big boy' model. No snap together parts or pre-painted pieces in this kit. Pieces fit easily together when gluing, decals are a snap to apply and by following the easy-to-understand painting instructions (and the box cover) you'll have your model looking like the real thing in no time.


Check out the tri-propellers, extra fuel tank, wing mounted guns and clear cockpit with pilot and look for full wheel assembly, highly-detailed body rivets and seams and parts that snap off their frames with little or no flashing. It's a beaut!


The German Fieseler FiL56C Storch 'Gran Sasso' is a light weight aircraft capable of carrying three passengers (included) with a large wingspan, single prop, three stationary landing gear and a long tapered body with multiple wing supports and an angular caged cockpit.


This plane is meant to fly low and slow for long distances as evident by its lightweight frame, minimal use of materials and unnecessary 'extras'. It's built for utilitarian use at low cost and high efficiency. It too is a Limited Edition model requiring glue, paint and decal application.


Both models are highly accurate reproductions that when completely assembled, painted and decaled are exact replicas of their larger namesakes.

Galaxie, Camaro, Patton, Star And Giant


I remember when I saw my first 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyline With Retractable Roof when I was a kid of six. I can still see it parked on the street and a man entering the driver's side. Suddenly, as if by magic, the hardtop roof started to separate from the body, slide back and quietly and smoothly folded itself into the car's now open rear trunk. I couldn't believe my eyes.


Revell/Monogram brings the past alive with its new 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyline With Retractable Roof Authentic Kit that works just like its namesake. You'll marvel at its engine and interior details, chrome wheels, bumpers and trim and the clear molded windshield and windows that, like it other parts, assemble with minimal flashing and a snug fit. Paint it up green and white and you have a facsimile of a much loved Ford classic automobile.


For a little more Motor City Muscle you'll want to check out the 2002 Camaro


2 'N 1 1:25 Scale model kit from Monogram that lets you choose either a snappy red and silver or yellow and black version of the powerful Camaro. Full engine details, tinted windshields and windows, front and rear lights and body details make either version a car lover's dream come true.


I love tanks and one of my favorites is the M48A2 Patton Tank. This heavy duty, treaded killing machine is all business with heavy body armor, swivel turret with gun and upper turret machine gun and driver mounted commander machine gun, communication antenna and accessories. It is one Love Bug that the enemy can never bat away. For an authentic replica of a land roving war machine nothing matches this model. Three figures are also included.


The F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter is one of the earliest American Air Force fighter jets made. The model completely disassembles revealing the full-length gas turbine engine. You can assemble it with landing gear up or down with the pilot in or out of the cockpit. Follow the paint and decal instructions to match the details seen on the original aircraft.


The HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant lives up to its namesake. This massive helicopter has a five fin propeller, an oversize extended rear stabilizing propeller assemblage and enough interior room to carry a sizable troop assemble and light artillery. It boasts extra armor, heavy maintenance and a camouflage paint scheme that made it difficult to spot during combat rescue missions in Vietnam.


I love the cockpit and body details as well as the landing gear assemblage, rear door ramp and extra fuel tanks, maintenance and body details.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Disney's A Christmas Carol


Actor/comedian Jim Carrey gives the performances of his career in Disney's A Christmas Carol. "Performances?", you might ask. "You mean performance."

No, performances. Through the magic of computer special effects Jim Carrey plays all the pivotal roles in the classic A Christmas Carol. From Ebenezer Scrooge to the Ghosts of Christmas, Carrey has a field day as he shows off his incredible talent.


A few liberties are taken with the story, which are easily forgiven considering how good the film is. The entire family will love this wonderful new adaptation of a timeless Christmas classic.


Disney's 2-disc set includes a Blu-ray and regular DVD. Special features are featurettes, on the set, deleted scenes and much more. The entire package makes for a terrific Christmas gift all wrapped up in a delightful film that is sure to become a Christmas classic in its own right.

Blood Stone 007


It was just announced that the next James Bond movie won't begin filming until 2012! What's a Bond fan to do!?


Fortunately Activision has the solution: Blood Stone 007. Written by a Bond writer, the Bloodstone video game (for all consoles and rated 'T' for Teen) is set up like an actual Bond film. Look for plenty of twists and turns, hidden agendas, surprise allies and enemies, loads of action, spectacular fight and car/plane/boat chases and women-lots of beautiful women.


Blood Stone features some of the most innovative and impressive James Bond action and adventure ever imagined for film or video games. Follow Bond as he tries to track down and stop a dangerous stolen biochemical project before it's too late.


Featuring James Bond, as depicted by Daniel Craig, Blood Stone has some of the most exciting hand-to-hand and weapons combat ever realized. Visual effects add to excitement as Bond races all over Europe and the Far East in various cars (including his famous Aston Martin) and travels to some of the most stunning vistas on land, sea and in the air.


More than any other James Bond video game before it, Blood Stone is like being in a Bond movie. Go it alone or with MI6 and take on the most notorious and dangerous assassins, gunmen and henchmen in the world.


You will be blown away by the fast action, realistic environments and breath-taking colors and effects.

Totally Tubular ‘80s Toys

To modern toy collectors the decade of the 1980s is a veritable goldmine of toys to 1970s, toy manufacturers recognized that not only were collect.
With the advent of the Star Wars action figures introduced in the late kids playing with toys but collectors were, well, collecting them.


Toy manufacturing technology took a giant leap in the 1980s with the introduction of electronics, video games, sound chips, interactive toys and better articulation, quality and variety.


Totally Tubular ‘80s Toys, written by Mark Bellomo and published by Krause Publications, examines the 1980’s toy phenomenon with an indebt look at the decade that changed toys forever.


Pages are brimming with full color and black and white photos of such favorites as He-man, Ghostbusters, Smurfs, Transformers, Star Wars, Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Pony, early video games, Strawberry Shortcake, G.I. Joe and dozens of other toys for boys and girls.


Included with each genre of toys are written pieces tracking the history of the toys- including manufacturers, number of toys in the series, their popularity, special facts about each selection and more information about each series of figures, games and other interesting tidbits.


I especially enjoyed reminiscing about the movie/TV and comic book ties-ins such as The Ghostbusters, the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, Indiana Jones, Mork and Mindy, DC and Marvel Comics and Star Trek.


If you love toys, especially vintage toys, then you’re sure to love looking at this book. It’s a toy lover’s time travel trip to a timeless time when toys were tops with tykes.

Previews, November

Diamond Previews for November showcases lots of new merchandise scheduled to hit stores in January 2011. Why not start off the New Year right with lots of goodies-now that’s economic recovery.


Comic books that you need to check out are Ultimate Comics Captain America, Invincible Iron Man #500, Captain America 70th Anniversary Magazine, Daredevil reborn, Magneto, Infestation, Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Lost Command, Batman: Europa, Hellboy: The Sleeping And The Dead, Who Is Jake Ellis?, The Infinite Vacation, Starman/Congorilla, Shazam!, Steel, Wonder Girl, Weird Worlds, Batman Beyond, Young Justice, Driver Special, Fallen Angel: Return Of The Son, Dark Sun, Doctor Who, Jurassic Park: The Devils In The Dessert, Memoir, Twilight Guardian, Phoenix, Sherlock Holmes: Year One, The Spider, Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends and Lady Death.


While you’re at it add these magazines and books to your reading list: The DC Superhero Collection Magazine: Blackest Night Collection, Star Wars: Knight Errant, DC Comics: Year By Year, Sucker Punch.


Topps has its Star Wars Galaxy Series 6 Trading Cards and new toys to play with include Halo, DC Heroes Retro, Star Trek, Thor, G.I. Joe, Wrestling, Pokemon, Star Wars, Transformers, Tron, Merlin, Disney and Nintendo.


Game on with Catan, The Hobbit and Halo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Secret Origin-Superman/Shazam!


In celebration of DC Comics' 75th Anniversary, Warner Bros. Animation has released a new DVD: Secret Origin, The Story Of DC Comics narrated by Ryan Reynolds.

The DVD looks back over the last 75 years to the origin of DC Comics, then published under the name National Periodicals, beginning from its pre-Golden Age titles.


Beginning with the creation of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, DC Comics set the standard by which dozens of other comic book companies were held to.


Follow DC’s publishing history through WWII, the end of the Godden Age, the dawn of the Silver Age with re-invented Godden Age heroes like the Flash, the Anti-establishment Bronze Age on up to the Modern Age headlined by the British Invasion and the reinvention of the comic book genre.

Writers, artists, editors and staff from the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Modern Ages recall the events that shaped comic books and DC Comics in particular. Look for such comic book luminaries as Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Lein Wein and many others as they weigh about their generation’s input into the evolution of DC Comics.


Secret Origin, The Story OF DC Comics allows viewers to uncover the history of the world’s greatest super heroes. Don’t miss it.


Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam from DC Showcase Animated Original Shorts spotlights the first meeting of the Man of Steel and World’s Mightiest Mortal.


The story opens with orphan Billy Batson as he copes with his inner city slum neighborhood. Billy’s enthusiastic attitude never wavers despite his surroundings.


Unbeknownst to Billy a fiery ‘meteor’ crashes to earth nearby. When the fire and smoke clear a black clad figure, whose chest is emblazoned with a lightning bolt, steps forward. He is Black Adam whose has been exiled from Earth for 5,000 years.


He has returned to Earth to destroy the new chosen one who is to be Earth’s protector by the wizard Shazam. Originally Black Adam was chosen until his newfound power corrupted him and he believed himself to be a god. Banished from Earth he has returned to take his rightful place as ruler and to destroy his would-be replacement.


Elsewhere Billy Batson is meeting Clark Kent for breakfast. Clark plans to write an article about Billy for the Daily Planet. Their meeting is cut short when Black Adam attacks.


He plans to kill Billy who has been chosen as Earth’s new guardian. Too bad no one told Billy! As Adam attacks Clark Kent retaliates as Superman. In the heat of battle Billy escapes and winds up taking a very unusual subway ride-a ride to the inner sanctum of the wizard Shazam.


Once there Shazam bestows upon Billy the power of Captain Marvel. All Billy has to do is utter Shazam’s name and he is instantly transformed into the mighty Captain Marvel. Good thing to because Black Adam is still seeking to kill him.


When all seems lost Billy transforms into Captain Marvel, Superman teams with him and they manage to defeat Black Adam. Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam is the consummate super hero slugfest with lots of explosions, devastation and incredible feats of strength, power and fighting prowess.


Included with the short feature are three other DC shorts including the previously released Green Arrow and Spectre shorts and a new Jonah Hex short. Also included is a special selection of network TV DC Comics series shorts from various DC animated series.


All-in-all it makes a ‘super’ package that DC fans are sure to enjoy. Shazam!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Band On The Run

I’m a huge Beatles fan. I grew up on their music and like every other Beatles fan I was devastated when they broke up in 1969. Fortunately each member of the band was a talented musician in their own right and each continued to release solo albums.


The most prolific album creator was ex-Beatle member Paul McCartney. In fact, he still turns out albums on a fairly frequent basis. His style has evolved with the times. What’s amazing is that he still turns out hits, contemporary hits, in his late 60s!


After the Beatles break up Paul released several solo albums but it wasn’t until he, along with his new band Wings, released Band On The Run in 1973 that he kicked his solo career into high gear.


Band On The Run is a classic album. Many of its songs are still popular today and a whole new generation of music lovers has rediscovered the pulse-pounding beats, quiet reflective tunes and impressive musical arrangements that made the album such a huge success. It’s one of my all-time favorite albums. I still listen to it on my I-pod when I go out walking or jogging. My favorite tunes are the title track, Jet and Helen Wheels.


Concord Music Group is proud to present a brand new re-mastered version of the popular Band On The Run album that includes not only the full song selection but a very special DVD containing rare music videos of many of the songs and a visual chronicle of Paul performing and taking part in the historic cover photo shoot for the album. A special photo insert is also included.


It’s a very special nostalgic trip back to a high-energy period when McCartney was at his best and the music world was better off for it.

Barbie A Rare Beauty

No one was prepared for the success of the Barbie line of fashion dolls. When the first Barbie doll was released in 1959 from Mattel it was expected to be successful-no one was prepared for how successful!

For just over 50 years Barbie has captivated the imaginations of millions of young girls. She has gone on to be a true phenomenon with collectors paying thousands of dollars for vintage figures and cloths. Barbie clubs and conventions have cropped up all over the world. There have been many Barbie imitators released but none have reached the success of the original.

As Barbie’s popularity grew Mattel released other figures into Barbie’s world along with accessories, a whole wardrobe of clothes, special commemorative releases, vehicles and more. Barbie has expanded her role as a simple fashion model to take on the challenge of many professional roles like a doctor, nurse, military officer, astronaut and a plethora of important business and historical roles.

In Barbie A Rare Beauty, written and compiled by longtime Barbie collector and historian Sandi Holder and published by Krause Publications, readers follow the stellar career of the most famous doll in the world. Pages are filled with full-color photos of Barbie as seen through the decades. Look for rare and sought after outfits, special limited edition Barbie figures, play sets and so much more in this wonderful book commemorating a true American success story.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Fork On The Road

Once in a while a cookbook comes along that is far more than a cookbook. Mark DeCarlo, humorist, loves food, all types of food, so he set out on a quest to travel the country back roads and take a taste tour of America.


Avoiding fast-food chains and the interstates, Mark looked for the Mom and Pop establishments that have gain their notoriety because of their food. Journey along with him as he discovers what good ol’ home-style cooking is all about.


Along the way you’ll meet up with some of the most interesting and ‘unique’ individuals who ever slung hash, fried eggs, served burgers or cooked up a concoction that customers can’t seem to get enough of. They share their recipes and memories.


A Fork On The Road, published by Lyons Press, travels the country not so much just to taste food but to rediscover the people and places that make up the melting pot which is the United States. From Jazzfest Cajun cuisine in New Orleans to sipping soup in Alaska, Mark invites readers to ride along on his culinary cross-county cuisine caravan.


Pack up your silverware, prepare your stomach for what it’s about to consume and hit the road, you’ve got 400 cities to travel on one stomach.