Saturday, May 28, 2011

Zombie, Fail And Girls

One thing you can always count on from the fine folks at Antarctic Press is a diverse selection of comic book titles.  Manga, Zombies, Politics, History - you name it, they do it.
Case in point, or rather cases in point.  Three new titles from Antarctic Press are quirky, funny, scary, alluring and somewhat familiar.

In Zombie Fairy Tales, Miss Muffet, Red Riding Hood, Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Goldilocks And The Three Bears and The Big Bad Wolf And Three Little Pigs are given their own 'unique' encounters with zombies and the undead.

In Fail Of The Dead the Undead discover that just because you are a brain-eating zombie doesn't mean that your day will be the best-unless of course some over-size brain aliens come to visit.
Victorian Secret Girls Of Steampunk bumps up the eroticism with some provocative and sexy illustrations of some very special ladies.  The Industrial Age never looked so good.

All of the comics feature first-rate art, clever stories and something totally different-a surefire winning combination.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tron: Legacy

Even though the Tron: Legacy movie is long gone from movie theaters and the Blu-ray/DVD has been released nearly a month (both the movie and Blu-ray/DVD releases are huge hits) and the Tron: Legacy toys have all but disappeared from store shelves, you can still find some of the diecast vehicles.

While the light-up figures and vehicles were the main draw for the Spin Master toy line the smaller diecast were (and are) just as interesting.

Seven vehicles make up the diecast Series 1 collection and each is a well-designed, superbly detailed, expertly painted and handsomely carded vehicle.  The set includes Sam's Light Cycle, Clu's Light Cycle, Kevin Flynn's Light Cycle, Clu's Sentry Light Cycle, the Recognizer (a personal favorite), Clu's Command Ship and (my absolute favorite) the Light Runner. 

All have moving wheels and/or parts and look exactly light their larger counterparts.  All are displayed on vertical bubble packs with a full-color illustration of the vehicle in the package.  The Tron: Legacy logo displays predominantly on the top.  Full vehicle details are on the back.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ziggy 40 Years

Have you ever met someone that you haven’t seen in decades and they look the same-they even act the same? Time seems to have not touched them and they retain some or most of their youthful innocence.

That’s Ziggy. Begun 40 years ago by Tom Wilson Sr. and draw and today written by his son Tom Jr., Ziggy is the perpetual victim whose wide-eyed innocence provides readers with a refreshing and revelation filled look at life from a slightly different point of view.

Andrews McMeel Publishing presents a pint-size, hardback, book tribute to the little man who manages to take life at face value and sees the humor and absurdities in day-to-day events.

Ziggy personifies the child in all of us with his innocence, ability to spot the truth and question what so many of us take for granted. For such a small character in stature Ziggy carries a tremendous weigh on his shoulders with his world-wide recognition, many guest appearances on TV shows, an award-winning animated special, a marketing bonanza and his many charitable endeavors.

Not bad for a little, bald, trouserless, yellow character who started out in less than 20 newspapers and now appears in over 500.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

“OK Poozers, listen up. Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics present their latest full-length, direct to Blu-ray/DVD/Digital copy original animated film: Green Lantern” Emerald Knights.”

Six interlocking tales tell of the origin of the Green Lantern Corps starting with the very fist Green Lantern who used his ring to its full potential, the origin of Kiliwog, Mogo and others. As each Green Lantern story is told the Lanterns prepare to take on a new danger that threatens to destroy the Green Lantern Corps and enslave the universe.

The DC Comics' animated films continue to get better and better. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights bumps up the ante with its impressive space battle scenes, incredible visual effects, impressive cities and landscapes, awe-inspiring intergalactic vistas and more in this incredible film that sets the groundwork for the highly anticipated Green Lantern movie coming out later this summer.

Look for these exciting extras like a sneak peak at Batman: Year One, a behind-the-scenes look at All-Star superman, featurettes, commentaries, a Green Lantern Digital Comic Book, two animated bonus episodes and so much more.

“So, what’s it going to be Poozers? Are you ready to join the Green Lantern Corps.? Let’s see those rings!”

Vintage Barbie Dolls

When I was ten years old I lived across the street from a girl named Betty Woods. We soon became buddies and just about everyday she and I would get together and play dolls. Before you get the wrong idea, what we did was she would get out her Barbie dolls and clothes and I would bring over my G.I. Joes and stuff and content ourselves playing with our respective toys.

Neither one of us could have possibly imagined that those same toys, especially Betty’s Barbies, would be so collectible today.

I have a cousin in Tennessee who collectors Barbies. She has a ‘Barbie Room’ where she stores and displays hundreds of them. Barbie collecting is serious business. There are collector’s conventions, shows, etc. held all over the world where ‘Barbie’ites share their passion for collecting with others of similar passion.

In Hillary Shilkitus James’ ‘The Complete And Unauthorized Guide To Vintage Barbie Dolls 2nd Edition' from Schiffer Publishing, she shares hundreds of photos of vintage Barbies along with Barbie & Skipper Fashions And The Whole Family Of Barbie Dolls.

I never realized just how many vintage Barbie figures are out there and that’s not counting their clothes, accessories and the like. This is a great book with current values listed by grade, variation notes and more. Did you know the very first Barbie listed in mint condition goes for around $8,000!?  Better start hitting those yard sales.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Things My Daughters Need To Know

As a father of a now grown married woman, I sure could have used author Rodney L. Demery’snew book ‘Things My Daughters Need To Know’ as a guide as she was growing up.

Raising a child, especially a daughter, in today’s society is challenging. With so many guys on the prowl, sexually transmitted diseases, drugs, etc. prevalent in today’s world, it makes for a dangerous place to be, especially if you are a young or teenage girl.

Subtitled ‘A Cop And Father’s View Of Sex, Relationships And Happiness’ Demery’s book offers some sound advice on how to raise a daughter and the dangers to be aware of.

Using his experience as a man and his investigative skills as a homicide detective, Demery gives some sage advice about the do’s and don’ts of dating, marriage, abstinence, monogamy and what a man really looks for in a woman. He folds back the curtain on what men really think, what guides their actions and what women can expect when they enter the dating world.
He writes about how an early life can sculpt what a person will become when they are old, how relationships are complicated and how a free-wheeling single sex life only leaves people hungry for something more than sex. Although I disagree on a few minor items in his book, ‘Things My Daughters Need To Know’ contains some real gems of advice. Pick up a copy today from RootSky Books.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thor Official Movie Special

My wife and I went to see the Thor movie the other night and while she enjoyed it  I really enjoyed it!  I'm a big fan of Marvel Comics' Thor comic book-especially the Jack Kirby Thor with Walt Simonson's version coming in a distant second.

Jack Kirby captured the hugeness of the vast Asgardian realm with spectacular structures, elaborately dressed warriors, sinister demons and villains and an epic representation of the entire magical scope of the mystical realm.

The Thor movie from Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios tinkers around with Thor's origin a little but the meat of the Thunder God's beginnings are there.
The story opens with Odin (Thor and Loki's father) telling them stories of valor and honor.  Later in their lives the time arrived for Thor to take his rightful place as heir to the throne since he is the elder of the two sons.

When Frost Giants attempt to steal back a relic Thor and the Warriors Three, along with Lady Sif, travel to the Frost Giant's land in order to make them pay for their crime-against the Odin's explicit orders not to.

Thor winds up being banished to Earth for his disobedience and stripped of his power with his hammer separated from him.  And.....well, go see the movie yourself-you won't be disappointed.

Marvel Studios and Disney's Thor Official Movie Special is jam-packed with photos, interviews, quizzes, games, puzzles, a Thor timeline, a special two-part comic book story leading into the film, a Who's Who of characters and much more.  Like Thor, it's big, its bold and it packs plenty of punch!  "For Asgard!"  

James Bond Mission Logs

New from Rittenhouse Archives comes a brand new James Bond Trading Card Set consisting of 66 Base Cards (I assembled one full Set out of my Box). Five Cards come per pack with 24 packs per Box and 12 boxes per Case.

All 22 of the James Bond films are represented with three Cards per film from Dr. No to Quantum Of Solace and featuring some never-seen-before published photos.  

Two Autograph Cards (including for the first time Pierce Brosnan) (I got Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves in Die Another Day and Ulrich Thomsen as Davidov in The World is Not Enough) and one Relic Card (mine is James Bond's Russian Nuclear Bunker Suit from the World Is Not Enough) per Box!

Bonus Sets include Expansion Cards for Rittenhouse's classic Bond Chase sets: Femme Fatales (Halle Berry is mine), Bond Villains (two for me), Bond Allies (zip) and "Bond…James Bond" (two again).  

Other Special Incentive Cards are available, depending on the number of Cases you order.

The True Adventures Of The World’s Greatest Stuntman

He has played Superman, Indiana Jones, James Bond and host of other well-known action and adventure heroes on the Silver Screen and yet he was not the star of any of the movies. He’s responsible for some of the greatest live action sequences ever filmed and is well-respected and talented director.

He is one of the most liked professionals in the film industry and yet most people don’t know his name or can recognize him. And that’s all right with him. He prefers it that way. Directors know that his work is of the highest caliber, actors are confident that he will enhance their performances and the behind-the-scenes craftsmen and technicians appreciate his professionalism and knowledge of the industry.

Who am I talking about? It’s Vic Armstrong and this is his story as recalled and chronicled in Titan Books’ ‘The True Adventures Of The World’s Greatest Stuntman’.

Containing first-hand accounts of his experiences in the stuntman field, director’s chair and stunt coordinator capacity, the book is filled with photos, recollections by fellow stuntmen and the actors, actresses and directors he’s worked with over the last 40+ years.

Steven Spielberg provides a glowing foreword and such notable film stars and directors: Arnold Schwarzeneggger, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Harrison Ford and many others recall their time spent with Vic.

If you want to see what really goes on behind the camera and discover the tremendous amount of work and sweat that goes into making breath-taking stunt sequences then pick up a copy of Vic’s new book and enjoy every heart-stopping moment.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Batman Gates Of Gotham #1

I find it interesting that DC Comics has examined Batman’s and Bruce Wayne’s lineage almost to the point of exhaustion and yet never bothered to look into the history of Gotham City-until now.

What is it that makes Gotham City what it is? Just how unique is it? Why is it that Gotham City looks so much different than other cities? For a city as old as Gotham City why is the architecture, both old and modern, so monumental? How closely tied is the Wayne family legacy tied to Gotham City?

That’s just a few of the questions entertained and partially answered in DC Comics’ latest Batman title: Batman Gates Of Gotham #1.The story begins in the later half of the 19th Century as a young Alan Wayne introduces a young architect to some of the city’s founding fathers. The architect has some revolutionary ideas, particularly when it comes to Gotham’s bridges.

Cut to the present. Someone has purchased a large amount of explosives and as Dick Grayson (Batman) attempts to track down who purchased it, a series of three explosions rip apart three of Gotham City’s bridges. Many are killed and injured.

Batman traces the explosives purchase to Chester Cobblepot a.k.a the Penguin, who admits he purchased that explosives but did not set off the bridge explosives. After all, why would he destroy a bridge his own ancestors helped finance?

A mysterious masked and suited man perpetrated the crime and he looks to be after the people whose ancestors helped build Gotham City-but why?

Batman Gates Of Gotham #1 by Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy have come up with a killer story unlike any Batman story before. I’ll be interested to see where they take it from here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Loomis, Bond And American

When I first had the urge to draw at a young age I was at a loss as to how to get started. I loved comic books and wished I could draw the human figure and head as well as my favorite cartoonists.

One day I visited a local art/office supply store and came across a rack of oversize, thin, paperback books about how to draw, paint, etc. I immediately gravitated toward the figure drawing books, specifically a nude figure drawing book (I was a young man after all) and was fascinated by the beautiful illustrations inside. The art was by the legendary figure artist Andrew Loomis and his style and approach to drawing the human figure has had a huge influence on my own art.

In Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis, and published by Titan Books, selected art from each of the oversize paperbacks (along with several new illustrations) and combines them into on oversize hardbound book.

Loomis not only takes you step-by-step on how to draw the human figures, including faces, clothing, etc,) he also offers some sage advice on how to approach art, what techniques fit particular projects and helpful hints on how best to approach said projects.

This is an indispenseble book for any artist. Its practical approach and how-to instructions makes drawing figures fun and surprisingly easy. Even now, in the latter years of my career and am delighted that I can still learn new things just by flipping though its pages.

As much as I enjoy James Bond movies I enjoy the original Ian Fleming books more. There was something raw and energetic about the stories. Gadgets were kept to a minimum and James Bond was portrayed as a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done secret operative who was often as nasty and violent as his adversaries.

The charm and sophistication were still there but Bond himself was more primal, almost animal-like in his dogged pursuit of the bad guys. Bond was also portrayed as a much more fallible and fragile human being. In one book he was even brain-washed!

The James Bond Omnibus 002 gathers many of the classic Bond tales into one large book. The collection consists of reprints of the James Bond comic strip that followed the format of the novels much more closely than that of the movies. Look for classic stories such as You Only Lie Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy That Loved Me and other well-known Fleming Bond stories as interpreted by Henry Gammidge, Jim Lawrence, John McLusky and Yaroslav Horak.

The Golden Age of superhero comics ended not long after World War II. Tired of violent, patriotic themed stories the public wanted something different so the superhero genre all but disappeared.

In the early 1950s an attempt was made to reintroduce readers to the number one patriotic hero: Captain America. Without the guiding force of the series’ original creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the book floundered after only three issues.

When the new series was introduced the original creative team decided to introduce their own patriotic super hero: Fighting American. At first serious and overly dramatic the comic book soon found its own voice: slightly offbeat, filled with humor and featuring some of the most oddball selection of villains ever created.

Fighting American, along with his kid sidekick Speedboy, fought such wacky characters as Von Feygel, the Handsome Devils, Doubleheader, Square Hair Malloy, Rhode Island Red and many others. Fighting American, with foreword by Joe Simon, collects each issue of the famous comics into one large paperback. It’s pure Simon and Kirby action as only they can deliver.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wild Card: The Promise And Peril Of Sarah Palin

She charismatic, controversial, opinionated, headstrong, slightly na├»ve, conservative, Christian and one of the most loved and reviled political figures to come along in decades. She’s loved by Conservatives and the Christian right, hated by the Liberal left and the majority of Democrats-she’s Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and real contender for heavy hitting politics (maybe even the White house) in the near future.

Books written about the former beauty queen and self-proclaimed hockey mom tend to either praise or pan her. Author Mark Joseph chooses to present the facts and let readers decide where they stand on her politics and personal life.

Despite whichever view you may take Sarah Palin is here to stay and this book gives readers excellent historical and political references by which they may judge her actions and inevitable her rise to power.

Her politics, religious beliefs, family life and political aspirations are all examined in-depth. The book is a fair and balanced examination of Palin’s life and ambitions told from a strictly fact-gathering point of view. Palin lovers will have more reasons to adore her while her detractors will gather more ammo to despise her after reading this book published by Bully! Pulpit Books.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Japanese Fantasy Manga

Ricorico and Harper Design present 'Japanese Fantasy Manga': a new oversize softbound book filled with full color illustrations Manga fans are sure to enjoy.

Pages are packed with how-to instructions and tips on how to draw various Manga fantasy figures ranging from heroes, monsters, demons, sorcerers and the like.

Full text details outline and explain the history behind each person or creature and special Story Of Manga: A Tale Of Tsuyu is also included.

This is a book about Manga like no other with lots of detail, beautiful illustrations and tons of information.

I Am Number Four

Based on a series of young adult novels, I Am Number Four follows the turbulent life of teenager John. He is one of nine young people who survived their home planet being wiped out by the Mogadorians. Each one possesses a unique power. Three have been killed with John the fourth one to be targeted.

Hoping to hide from his pursuers John has moved to a small town with his new love tying to blend into the population. As he learns of his powers John’s luck runs out as a powerful enemy is sent to kill him. Along with his mentor and girl friend, John must survive and by doing so learns of his connection to the other survivors of his home world.

Dreamworks and Disney Pictures presents a 3-disc Combo on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy Combo containing the movie in three formats, deleted scenes, featurettes, commentaries and assorted other goodies.

The Warrior’s Way

Filled with rapid fire martial arts action and visually stunning special effects (both physical and digital) The Warrior’s Way from 20th Century Fox delivers on action, adventure, danger, intrigue and more.

Jang Dong Gun stars as the world’s most infamous assassin. When he is ordered to kill a young child, the last heir of a family, he refuses. After a lifetime of death and battle he leaves his beloved homeland to start a new life for himself in the American West with baby in tow. But, his past refuses to leave him and he must pit his assassin skills against Western outlaws and killers for his homeland. With the help of a town drunk and a beautiful woman he faces his past so he may live in the present.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD in late June, The Warrior’s Way contains lots of extras like behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes and more.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pickled Punks And Accessories

Schiffer Publishing has just released two titles that the fans of the strange and bizarre and Barbie dolls are sure to cherish.

First up is ‘Pickled Punks & Girlie Shows: A Life Spent On The Midways Of America’.

As a kid one of the biggest thrills of my life is when I got to go to a fair or carnival. Booths were packed with gaudy, glittery goodies that I may or I not have won (the games were always stacked in favor of the booth owner) and I could eat my fill of deep fried food like corndogs and sugar packed snacks such as cotton candy.

The rides consisted of rickety roller coasters, and the like, and the side shows featured anything from genetic freaks to famous vehicles such as Hitler’s car.

‘Pickled Punks & Girlie Shows’ written by 50+ year veteran midway showman Rick West, takes readers behind-the-scenes of carnies and sideshows to show what really goes on.

From fabricated mutated monsters to giant animals, exotic dancers, freaks of nature, bottled babies and mermaids Rick takes you on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of carnie life. Loaded with photos from the past and present the book is like holding a midway in your hands with each page a different act. Take a trip on the weird side. Who knows, they may need an extra hand.

‘It’s All About The Accessories For The World’s Most Fashionable Dolls: 1959-1972’ by Hillary Shilkitus James is unique in that it doesn’t concentrate on Barbie dolls but on the accessories that came with them.

Any vintage doll collector knows, be it Barbie or G.I. Joe dolls or others, that the most difficult and sometimes the most expensive thing about collecting the dolls is finding all of the original accessories. I’ve seen accessories actually cost more than the dolls themselves because of rarity.

In ‘It’s All About The Accessories’ Barbie collectors get to see the accessories available for Barbie dolls from 1959 to 1972, along with interesting information about each piece and what you can expect to pay for each. Everything from fashion items to incidental pieces are listed, shown and priced. This is a ‘must have’ book for any serious Barbie doll collector.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1

In the latest Harry Potter movie, out on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy from Warner Bros., the atmosphere of the movie has shifted dramatically to the dark side.

Harry Potter has matured into a brooding young man and his close friends, Ron and Hermione have seen their world turned topsy turvy with the rise of power of the dark wizard Voldemort and his sinister plans to take over the world.  Part of his plan is to kill the one person who poses a threat to his plans: Harry Potter.

Harry and his close friends are forced to grow up and face life’s unexpected events.  Friends turn to foes, enemies to allies and noting as it truly appears.  Black magic permeates everything and any hope of the light and right seems too far gone to ever return.  

Deathly Hallows is the darkest of the Harry Potter movies and yet I can’t help but feel a twinge of hope as Harry and his friends band together and despite the danger, horror and madness they see around them they still manage to maintain their friendship bond and strive to set things right.

As always the special effects are spectacular, the acting is first-rate from all of those involved and the directing is full and without distraction concentrating on telling the story in the most effective way possible.  The film is a ‘must see’ whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not.

The DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy includes behind-the scenes extras, featurettes, deleted scenes, interviews, a Sneak Peek at the next Harry Potter film and much more.

Veronica And MegaMan

Archie Comics presents a new take on an old character and a brand new book in the Archie family of comic books.

In Veronica #206, Veronica’s French lessons will have to wait when she and Betty are called away on a secret Spy Girlz mission to Lodge Industries. Industrial spies are stealing the codes containing the entire blueprints of Lodge’s future overseas plans.

Veronica and Betty easily subdue the two thieves only to discover there’s a third thief who is on the large size. After a serious tussle the thief is cocooned and justice is served.

Betty needs some serious help with some out of control kids whom she’s babysitting. It turns out that kids all over town are causing havoc. The trouble is traced to Klutzy The Klown who through subliminal messages shown on his kiddie show is causing kids to go wild. Betty and Veronica confront the clown of crime only to be attacked by the clown’s audience of children-to be continued in Betty #192.

MegaMan jets his way into comics with Archie Comics newest title MegaMan. In issue #1 readers discover the origin of the robot ready for action.

Doctor Light ,the head of Light Labs, has created a series of robots that will control the Earth’s environmental and energy problems. The only problem is Light’s partner; the egotistical Doctor Wiley, has reprogrammed the robots in order to help him control the world.

Doctor Light has no choice but to modify one of his newest creations, Rock-a robot who looks and acts like a young boy, into MegaMan, a super sophisticated robot armed to the teeth to take Doctor Wiley and his robots down. The adventure just begins in Archie Comics’ new MegaMan series.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fantasy & Science Fiction #695, May/June

The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction for the months of May/June 2011 is packed with familiar Department articles including an Editorial, Books To Look For, Books, Plumage From Pegasus (Building A Readership), Coming Attractions, Competition (#81) and Curiosities.

Novellas include Rampion, Novelets are The Black Mountain and Music Makers, Short stories number the most with The Final Verse, Stock Photos, Agent Of change, Fine Green Dust, Signs Of Life, Starship Dazzle, The Old Terrologist’s Tale, Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds Of Reindeer and The Road Ahead.

If you’ve never taken the opportunity to read The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction then I recommend you do so. How can you go wrong with a magazine that’s been around as long and has accomplished publishing 695 issues?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Batman The Animated Series And Batman The Brave And The Bold

I am a huge fan of Warner Bros. animated superhero TV series and Direct-To-DVD movies that have been produced over the last 20+ years.  Batman, Superman, The Justice League, The Teen Titans and others have raised the bar when it comes to animation.

But, if it were not for a 1989 movie such cartoons may have never been made.  Tim Burton's Batman, and its sequel Batman Returns, upped the ante when it came to super hero movies.  Gone were the Biff! Bam! Pow!, one-dimensional characters, silly dialogue and ridiculous storylines.

The movies redefined what a comic book movie could be: engrossing storyline, interesting characters with multi-levels and action the drew the viewer into the stories.

Warner Bros. Animation took a big gamble and decided to produce a Batman animated series with much the same flavor and look as the two Tim Burton Batman movies.  The stories were more mature, the characters well fleshed out and complex and the animation cutting edge with huge action scenes, moody backgrounds and sober settings.

Gone was the bright primary color theme.  Instead lots of deep colors and blacks accented by dynamic lighting set the tone for the series that portrayed The Dark Knight as a true creature of the night and a formidable crime fighter.

Often the line between heroes and villains was blurred.  Talented voice actors were hired to play key roles such as Mark Hamill as the Joker.  The series was played seriously and audiences loved it.

Warner Bros. has compiled the complete series on 17-discs in a massive collector's slip cased box that also includes a full-color booklet containing characters, background, equipment, weapons and vehicles guides and never-seen-before artwork.

Commentaries on 12 episodes, a bonus disc documentary: Shades Of The Bat: Batman's Animated Gotham and 8 in-depth featurettes complete the package. This is a remarkable collection of a series that rejuvenated and perhaps saved the animated super hero animated series on TV and disc.

A great deal of gratitude is due Warner Bros. Animation for taking the chance on what was then an untested and iffy proposition. 

This next animated series DVD collection would not have ever existed except for the ground-breaking work done on the Batman Animated Series.

While the original Batman show was dark and somber, Batman The Brave And The Bold harkens back to 1950s and 1960s Silver Age adventures of Batman.  In the series Batman is a much more colorful character who finds himself in some outrageous situations accompanied by many of DC Comics' cast of characters.  

Whether it's supernatural tales guest-starring Dr. Fate and the Demon or whimsical tales with Batmite or Elongated Man or cosmic epics with OMAC or Green Lantern the series is high on action, filled with clever dialogue and bursting with unique characters and situations.  Look for the entire first season on DVD. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Unofficial Guide To Harry Potter Collectibles

OK, admit it, when Harry Potter first came out as a movie weren't you just a little bit cynical thinking that it probably would not be that successful?  Boy, were you wrong.  The Harry Potter movies, like the books, are tremendously popular and profitable.  So it stands to reason that Harry Potter movie collectibles would also be popular.  You're right. 

If you were one of the few who believed (like me) the first set of Harry Potter action figures would prove to be extremely valuable and sought after then you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how much they go for--at least according to Kathy J. Wells' new book, The Unofficial Guide To Harry Potter Collectibles from Schiffer Publishing, suggests.

The book is a veritable treasure trove of photos and information about the various Harry Potter collectibles ranging from toys to figures to bric-a-brac and more.  Just looking though its pages is a visual treat.  Throw in some interesting tidbits about the products, including variations and hard-to-find treasures and you have a book no serious Harry Potter fan can do without.  Dare I say it? It's magic!

Make #26

If you are inept at fixing and building things as I am-especially anything requiring wiring, electricity or mechanical skills, then Make magazine is just what you need.

Issue #26 of Make is filled with all sorts of build-it-yourself projects anyone can do-even the assembly required challenged.  It's technology on your time and that's just the way I like it.

Projects include building a Drill Kart, a Longboard, a Motorbike, a Racer and lots more.  Add to your knowledge with how-to articles by some of the industry's most talented engineers, mechanics, carpenters and other craftsmen and experts.

Think of Make as a modern version of Mechanics Illustrated created for those of us with two left hands, fumbling fingers, less than brilliant minds and technology challenged.  What's even better is it makes learning fun and easy to understand.  My kind of magazine!

Beanz And Gomu

What is it about collecting small objects that is so fun!? People have collected little trinkets and valuables for decades. Just look at stamp collecting, marbles, charm bracelet pieces, etc. Throw in the fun and play factors and it’s even more excting. Look at the popularity of miniature game pieces and small toys such as Micro Machines and the like.

I’d like to introduce you to two miniature collectibles with tons of fun factor. One has been around a little while and the other is brand new. I’m taking about Spin Master Toys’ Mighty Beanz and Gomu Eraserland.

I remember as a kid being fascinated by Mexican jumping beans. Place one of the beans on a table and watch them move! Beanz reminds me of them, only with a high-tech twist.

Beanz are small hollow plastic capsules with weighted objects inside. Toss them on a table or floor and they do the craziest things: like standing on end, twisting and turning in odd ways and moving about it unpredictable directions.

Gather with a few friends and you can play some cool games such as a modern version of a marble toss, incline races and so forth. They’re fun to play with, feature outrageous graphics based upon a theme, depending on the set you purchase, and are fun little items to collect. Each theme Beanz collection is limited in number and, like stamps or figure collecting, have their own rare selection.

What makes collecting Beanz so much fun, and challenging, is that each pack hides at least one of the Beanz you receive. You never know what you might get-sort of a capsule version of collecting trading cards. Beanz sets to look for include Marvel Universe (60 in a set), Star Wars (60 in a set), DC Universe (54 in a set) and Mightily Beanz (100 in a set).

Additional packages are available such as the three pack Mighty Beanz where all of the Beanz are hidden. Look for six Mighty Beanz Machinez-small vehicles that roll and hold a wibbly, wobbly Beanz and the Star War Millennium Falcon collectors case that holds 40 Beanz and comes with two Star Wars Beanz (Han Solo and Chewbacca) in its clear pilot cockpit.

Regardless of what Beanz you collect you’ll get a kick out of the colorful graphics, fun packaging and the unpredictable behavior of your Beanz.

Equally as fun to collect (although not as active) is the brand new Gomu Eraserland eraser sets. Like Beanz, the Gomu Series 1 consists of 100 items-some extremely rare.

Gomu is broken down into categories such as Pets, Home, Gadgets, etc. Each colorful eraser in each subset revolves around its particular theme. Erasers can be an object or animal that come in several pieces (such as make-up or a marker) and come packaged in a variety of ways: 6 erasers with 2 hidden, 3 erasers with 1 hidden and single eraser sealed in an opaque package. You never know what you might get and that’s what makes it so much fun collecting Gomu.

I teach school and students love little funky school supply items such as shaped rubber bands, theme pens and pencils and Gomu Eraserland erasers are sure to be a bit hit with students.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Su-33 Flanker D

The U.S.S.R/Russia may have lost the Cold War in 1989 but not because they had second-rate military equipment. One of Russia’s most impressive military aircraft is/was the Su-33 Flanker D Navy Carrier Borne Fighter. Loaded with an impressive arsenal of weapons: air-to-air and air-to-ground, the Su-33 Flanker made a formidable foe wherever you may have encountered it.

Hasegawa Hobby Kits’ 1:72 Scale model of the aircraft was recently released. Consisting of an upper and lower fuselage and four part trees, the model also comes with detailed instructions containing historical facts and specs.

Commissioned by the Russian government in the 1970s as a true carrier-borne fighter the Su-33 has a converted landing gear upgraded to two wheels for the heavy pounding the aircraft would take when landing on a carrier. Its flexible canard wings allowed it to maneuver quickly and smoothly during combat and several modifications made it easier to store while on a carrier.

Wing and fuselage mounted missiles and machine guns made/make the Su-33 an airborne killer that strikes with lightning speed. Full paint and decal instructions assist modelers recreate the aircraft marking perfectly while the landing gear and canopy can be positioned as if simulating flight or stationary on the ground or carrier deck.

Like all Hasegawa models the Su-33 is perfectly scaled and modeled recreating the full-scale aircraft. Parts have little or no flashing and detach easily from their respective part trees. This is a first-rate model best assembled by seasoned modelers.