Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fantasy & Science Fiction #697, September/October


Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine for September and October includes the following stories, articles and commentaries. Be sure to check out each issue for some of the very best in science fiction and fantasy literature by the industry’s top talent.

In this issue read Rutger And Baby Do Jotenheim, A Borrowed Heart, Anise, Where have All The young Men Gone?, The Man Inside Black Betty, Bright Moment, The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, Aisle 104?, Spider Hill, Overtaken and Time And Tide.


Department articles include book and movie reviews, commentaries, observations, curiosities and cartoons.

Preview, September


Some new merchandise you’ll need to pick up this November is listed in the Diamond Previews catalog for September. Check them out.

Comic books to spin the rack for are Uncanny X-Men #1, House of Night #1, Jack Avarice Is The Courier #1, The Unwritten #1, The Occultist #1, Heart #1, Fantastic Four #600, Avenging Spider-Man #1, Battle Scars #1, Northanger Abby #1, Avengers Origin #1s, I Am Captain America #1, Thor: The Deviant’s Saga #1, Shame Itself #1, History Of The Marvel universe, Six Guns #1, Victor Von Doom #1, Villains For Hire #0.1, Magneto: Not A Hero #1, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1, Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0, End Of Nation s#1, Uncharted #1, Hawken #1, Guns And Dinos #1, Heart #1, Blood Red Dragon #1, Mudman #1, Stitched #1, Peanuts #0, Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #1 and Silver Star #1.


Magazines and books to read are The Beauties Of Ken Kelly, The 100 Sexiest Women In Comics, Triumph of the Walking Dead, The Batman Files and The Silver Age Of Comics.


Trade some Star Trek Classic Movies Heroes & Villains and Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.


Toys to play with include Marvel Select, Mr. Potato Head Star Trek, Halo Reach, Marvel Universe, Angry Birds, Transformers and Doctor Who.


Game on with Ticket To Ride, Runewars and Pathfinder.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colossal Collection Of Action Poses


Of all the facets of drawing comic books that is the most difficult, it is drawing dynamic human figures. Face it; people don’t stand around posing with legs spread apart, arms tensed for action and appearing as if they may leap off a page-until now.

Impact Books presents the most complete photo reference collection ever assembled for comic book and fantasy artists. Inside readers/artists will discover over 1,200 full-color photo action poses of women and men.


From sitting, flying, running, fighting, carrying and using weapons to dynamic foreshortening shots and lighting this book has it all! There are photos of women and men using swords and guns, wearing flowing capes, climbing, putting on cloths writhing in agony, jumping and close-up shots.


Even better, poses are intermingled with actual artwork by top professionals that used the poses as reference for their own work. Three hundred and twenty pages are bulging with visual references. If you draw and want to put that extra 'umph' into your artwork then this is the book for you by Buddy Scalera.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Star Trek And Star Wars Collectibles



Star Trek and Star Wars fans are notorious collectors. Both tend to collect pop culture items associated with each franchise in a number of ways: gets everything, selects specific items (such as toys) or as a casual collector who buys only what interests them. Regardless of the collectible, Star Trek and Star Wars merchandise is a huge industry bringing in billions of dollars each year. Schiffer Books has three titles both Trek and Wars fans are sure to want to check out.

Ursula Augustin’s Star Trek Collectibles covers everything Star Trek that involves the original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. Although the book was written pre-Enterprise is still contains tons of invaluable information, full-color photos and prices for the different types of Star Trek collectibles.


There have been a number of Star Trek toys produced over the years, but one toy company has produced more than all other companies combined. That company is Playmates Toys.

The Unauthorized Handbook and Price Guide Star Trek Toys by Playmates, written and compiled by Kelly Hoffman, also includes the original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager, but it also includes the Star Trek films up through First Contact.

Whether its action figures, ships, dioramas, special editions, weapons, equipment or even Trek TMNT, this book has them all in glorious full-color with prices and stats.


Few books can match the sheer volume of Star Wars memorabilia photos and information than Geoffrey T. Carlton’s new book; The Star Wars Super Collector’s Wish Book-and ‘super’ is just what it is.

I have never seen a book that contains so many photos, prices and information about Star Wars than this book. Everything is covered – and I do mean EVERYTHING! Models, tableware, household items, clothing, cards, books, records-you name it, this book has it! Collectors can easily spend hours-days, sifting through its pages and basking in its Star Wars glory. It is a phenomenal book containing massive amounts of information.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir




Picking up Michael E. Uslan’s new book: The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir, I identified with the author immediately.

Like me he grew up as a nerdy kid who loved comic books. Even after hitting his teenage years and young adulthood he lived and breathed comic books, with his favorite being Batman.


Unlike me his obsession soon became a crusade: to see the Dark Knight make it to the silver screen.


In The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir, published by Chronicle Books, Mr. Uslan’s long quest to legitimatize and promote comic books in general is told in a series of captivating chapters broken down as stages in his life.


In the book readers learn of his fascination with comic books, his association with some of the greats of comics, his dealings with the comic book and movie industries and his eventual realization of a lifelong dream: bringing Batman to movie screens.


It’s obvious after reading the book that Michael loves comic books and without his dogged perseverance Batman would never been made into a movie. Superhero movies made since then in no small part owe him a depth of gratitude. For without his dogged determination to bring Batman to movie screens and the resulting success of said franchise, it is doubtful that other superhero movies may have never been made since then.
This book was a real eye-opener to me about how the movie and comic book industries work and the people who hold the strings of power. It’s all about playing the game, who you know and how passionate you are about seeing a project through. It’s more than a book about comic books; it’s a great lesson on how to succeed in life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Princess And The Pop Star

Princess Poppyseed's life on the farm is a bore. Chores are boring, farming is boring, her who life is boring-until a chance meeting with her favorite pop singer Vanna Banana.


Vanna is famous but lonely in her glamorous celebrity world. She’d give anything to live a normal life. Upon meeting, Vanna and the princess discover that they look remarkably like each other so they hatch a plan.


They switch places and before long they discover that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill and come to appreciate that the life God gave them was made just for them.


Big Idea’s new Veggie Tales DVD includes a commentary, featurettes, a singalong and more for this very special lesson on being yourself.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fangoria #306, September

Fangoria magazine for September has some real bone-chillers.  A roster of articles looks at Creature, Fright Night (the new version), Don't Be Afraid Of the Dark, Attack The Block and Sharksploitation.  Two star spotlights include Sissy Spacek and Augusti Villaronga.

Postal Zone is a Basket Case and Bellflower, Death Flower and The Scarlet Worm are part of the Monster Invasion. Movies to put in the Trash Compactor are Jaws 3D, Straw Dogs and Five Alive.  The Pit And The Pen checks out The Beginning Of The End, Brewster is cool, look through the glass darkly, raise the dead and don't forget the free posters!     

Friday, August 19, 2011

Victorian Secret Girls Of Steampunk


For those of you unfamiliar with Steampunk I'll try to explain. Steampunk is an art/cosplay phenomenon where artists and individuals draw or dress up in Victorian cloths and are adorned with steam-driven futuristic appliance, weapons, etc. It's very cool and visually stunning. Check out photos at some of the larger comic book conventions of some of the outfits created by fans. Unbelievable!


Antarctic Press knows Steampunk and appreciates its esthetics. Case in point: issue #1 of Victorian Secret Girls Of Steampunk is packed with various artist's interpretations and representations of lovely ladies decked out in Steampunk gear and Victorian attire.


Also included is a short introductory gallery of live photos of ladies dressed in such attire in Antarctic's upcoming Gearhearts Steampunk Glamor Revue-do not miss it!

Shojo Wonder Manga Art School


Just in time for back to school comes Impact!'s Shojo Wonder Manga Art School book by Supittha "Annie" Bunyapen that helps you create your own cool characters and costumes with markers.


Step-by-step instructions lead readers and artists through lessons on how to draw anatomy, clothing, environments, perspective and all the other important skills needed to create beautiful full-color illustrations and paintings depicting numerous weather, atmospheric and mood settings-all with markers! It has to be seen to be believed!


How various textures, effects and lighting conditions are all created using just markers is amazing!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sketch Card Mania, DragonWorld And Fantasy Creatures

One of the art projects a fellow teacher of mine does is playing card drawings and sketches. I’m dying to show her the new Sketch Card Mania book from Impact and artist/writers Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez. She will be blown away!

Inside, the creative team leads readers through a series of demonstrations on creating Sketch Card art using a huge variety of techniques-even computer. Everything from cowboys to aliens (isn’t that a movie?) are represented. Look for lots of pencil, ink, paint, digital and more Sketch Cards representing all genres of cartooning, realistic renderings, abstracts and digital.

The book even includes nine Artist and Sketch It Yourself Cards. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get to work!


Dragons are everywhere. You see them in drawings, paintings, toys, fashions, movies and every other type of popular culture collectible and mass media venue.


Impact presents DragonWorld that contains 120 dragons as drawn by 49 international artists.

Every conceivable type of dragon is drawn in a myriad of styles and media. Artist bios are included, along with how they created their own unique dragon. Sketches and preliminary idea are included along with helpful hints on how to create your own dragon(s).

Filled with black and white and color illustrations, paintings and digital renderings, DragonWorld, edited by Pamela Wissman and Sarah Laichas ‘scales’ to new creative heights.

The Explorer's Guide To Drawing Fantasy Creatures takes the dragon theme one step further by introducing artists to other fantasy creatures.

Inside the book, by Emily Fiegenschuh, pages are brimming with full color and black and white illustrations, sketches and studies of various mythological and imaginary creatures. Handy photo references, artist notes and observations provide plenty of inspiration and information for drawing creatures from land, sea and air.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chris Foss

In Titan Books' new hardbound collection: Hardware The Definitive SF Works Of Chris Foss by Rian Hughes and Imogene Foss readers are given a first person tour of Chris Foss’s impressive gallery of SF work. Pages are filled with Chris’s work, beginning with his early work in graphics and realism to his more mind-boggling futuristic landscapes and machines.

Filled with spaceships, robots, alien landscapes, mega cities and interstellar vistas the book is a visual feast for the eyes.Supporting text describes each piece and chronicles Foss’s work as an artist. Sketches and drawings allow readers to look how he formulates and finalizes his ideas into finished pieces.

This is a truly beautiful book with lush full color paintings and illustrations, glossy front and back cover with mat ink impressions and a heavy spine so you never have to worry about the book losing its pages.

Postwar Pop

Just after World War I and especially after World War II America experienced surges in consumer disposable income. With the tremendous push of the industrial complex, Americans suddenly had money to spend on not just the necessities but on ‘I want its”.


Of course things did change when the Great Depression hit and then World War II. As bad as they were, some good did come out of it. The major benefit was it jumpstarted America’s industrial dominance in the world and gave Americans a new start.


Authors Donald-Brian John and Leslie Pina and publisher Schiffer Publishing Inc. present Postwar Pop an oversize hardbound book that looks at the various products produced during the Postwar Periods.


As part of early industrial American culture all of the items are highly sought after by collectors today. What I find humorous, being nearly 60, I remember many of the objects lying about the house, decorating shelves and considered interesting knick knacks.


For a delightful trip down Memory Lane be sure to check out Postwar Pop. Inside you’ll find ceramics, movie and TV memorabilia, magazines, greeting cards, decorations, statues and all sorts of trendy memorabilia.

Tom And Jerry & The Wizard Of Oz

One of my all-time favorite Saturday morning cartoon shows growing up was Tom and Jerry. At the time I didn’t know that the show consisted of old animated shorts originally shown in movie theaters during the 1940s and 1950s. It didn’t matter. Their slapstick adventures captivated me as a child.

Equally impressive to me was the classic movie, The Wizard Of Oz. staring Judy Garland. I was introduced to the movie on TV when it was shown each year as part of the holiday season.

Now the two have combined in a brand new, original animated film: Tom And Jerry & The Wizard Of Oz. Imagine if you will the rambunctious pair of Tom and Jerry actually traveling down the Yellow Brick Road, encountering favorite Oz characters and returning Dorothy and Toto back to their Kansas farm.

Of course as with anything that Tom and Jerry get their cat and mouse hands on, things have a tendency to mess up along the way. Kids and parent alike are sure to love this new animated film that brings back two classics and joins them together in a totally unique story that everyone will enjoy.

Warner Bros. rpesents this very special Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo that contains the new movie and several very special featurettes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers

I've always enjoyed reading Marvel Comics' Thor: The God Of Thunder comic books, especially the Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson drawn issues.

Thor is unlike any other Marvel superhero title.  It stars a literal god and his cast of fellow gods and goddesses-- good and bad.  Mysticism, magic and the like are common fodder in the title.  Interestingly enough Thor is also a member of The Avengers as one of its founding members.

Thor's evil half brother: Loki, the god of mischief, has always been Thor's chief antagonist.  They represent the forces of good and evil and despite their many conflicts neither wishes to kill the other.  Thor only wants his brother to stop his mischievous and evil ways while Loki contents himself with humiliating his half brother at every opportunity.  The fact that mortals and gods get hurt or killed is of little consequence to Loki.

Recently writer Robert Rodi and artist Esad Ribic collaborated on a stunning mini-series: Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, that explored the strained relationship between the two brothers.  Up until that time their relationship was only hinted at and Loki's past veiled in shades of secrecy.  It was a great mini-series.

Imagine my surprise when Marvel Knights announced that it would be adapting the mini-series to animation.  Recently
Shout! Factory released the animated mini-series on DVD and it is stunning!

Using the original painted artwork the animators of the mini-series cleverly manipulated the images so that they move and when full animation was required they've created fully computer-generated animated figures and sequences to move the story along.

The visual effects are first class, the voice actors chosen couldn't be better and the direction moves the mini-series along at a comfortable pace without sacrificing any of the story or beautiful illustrations.

I highly recommend this animated mini-series that captures the essence of Thor, Loki and Asgard in all their regal splendor.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Genetic Collecting

My mother was a pack rat.  She collected every little knick knack, odd object or kitsch art piece that interested her.  She stored things in no particular order--in today's terms she would what be considered a hoarder.

I collect, but there is a method to my madness.  I am an organized collector.  I'm not so obsessive that I catalog and itemize each piece in my collection, but I do know what I have.

As the editor and writer of Comics Corner and then Collectors' Corner over the last 20 years I've received review samples too numerous to count.  I have in my home a 'man cave' where I display many of my collectibles.  My garage holds at least twice as much as my room.

I started out collecting comic books as a kid, branched off into toys and now I collect everything from trading cards to DVDs.

Collecting is a disease-albeit an affliction with affection.  I love collecting.  Mind you, I never let my collecting get out of hand.  Bills come first, necessities filled second and then a small part of my budget goes to collecting-mostly comic books. 

I visit comic book shops, prowl book stores, visit toy shops, drop into game stores and,when traveling, look around in antique stores.  I'm also not a big spender.  I prefer to look for cheap hidden treasures.  I don't care for E-bay, I'm too much of a tire kicker, meaning I like to see and hold what I'm considering buying before I purchase it.  Old fashioned?  Probably.  But, I've never been burnt or ripped off either.

Things have slowed down considerably since the economy went south: review samples are dwindling, cash is tight and most companies have pulled back on the amount of merchandise they produce.

Comic books and books are making the transition to digital, toy manufacturers are targeting collectors (and jacking up their prices), game companies turn out a fraction of the product they once did as do trading card manufacturers, anime and manga have slowed to a trickle, model makers prefer quality over quantity and DVD sales are making way for downloads.

Things are definitely changing.  For the good?  I'm not so sure.  I plan on sticking in there as long as possible.  As long as there are yard sales to frequent, stores to visit and 'treasures' as yet unfound out there, I will continue to collect.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Redakai Championship Tin


Conquer The Kairu with Spin Master's Redakai Championship Tin.  Play like a champion with an X-Drive Deck (the more cards you get, the more powerful you become), an exclusive KY Card, Kairu Counter, Battlefield Accessories and Draw Deck.

Keep you opponents guessing and sweating with the Redakai Screen that keeps your cards a secret, until you strike!  It isn't often that I'm at a lost for words, so take a look at the photos above for what your get.  Are you excited yet!  You should be!

Wit its great card art and stats, 3D graphic cover and killer box design, the Redakai Championship Tin delivers!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best Of Archie Comics

Archie Andrews looks pretty good for someone who turned 70 this year.  It's true!  America's favorite teenager turns 70 and it all began in Pep #22 in 1941 as written and illustrated by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana.

For seven decades Archie Comics has maintained its squeaky clean publishing policy. Even today with all the violence, sex and 'questionable' language seen in most modern day comics, Archie Comics goes against the mainstream and is popular as ever.

Despite its self-censoring, Archie Comics still manages to be on the cutting edge of comic book publication.  New print formats, new art styles, multi-cultural characters and even 'alternate' timeline stories have kept the franchise fresh and relevant without compromising its 'family friendly' image.  I applaud the staff of Archie Comics.  I'm sure it's not been easy.
Kids love Archie Comics, parents love Archie Comics and there are good reasons why.  They're 'safe' to read, are fun, well written and drawn and successfully bridge the generation gap.

In The Best Of Archie Comics the very best stories from each decade are reprinted and interesting historical text chronicling the decades and key issues make this not only a fun TPB to read, it also makes it a key reference source for the history of Archie Comics.

Previews, August

Get ready for some cool goodies coming in October and Diamond Previews has them all

Comic Books to pick off the rack include Incredible Hulk, The Fearless, Legion of Monsters, Wolverine And The X-Men, X-Men: Regenesis, Orchid, Star Trek/Legion Of Superheroes, Spaceman, The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode, Blood Red Dragon, Mass Effect: Invasion, My Greatest Adventure, The Huntress, The Shade, Legion: Secret Origin, Cold War, Casper's Scare School, The Key Of Z, Dark Shadows and Captain Victory.

Magazines and book to read are Idle hands, 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, The Joker: A Visual history, Government Issue and Industrial Light And Magic.

Rittenhouse Archives presents Marvel Universe 2011 Trading Cards and Cryptozoic has The Big Bang Theory.

Toys to play with are Mass Effect, Halo, Marvel, DC, Ghostbusters, Green Lantern, Godzilla, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Sesame Street, Angry Birds, Rocky, Star Wars, Doctor Who and Star Trek.

Game on with Talisman, Pathfinder and Magic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alan Moore Storyteller


I first encountered Alan Moore's writing (although I wasn't aware of it at the time) in Marvelman. It wasn't until later when DC Comics introduced him with the release of Swamp Thing #21 entitled 'Anatomy Lesson' that I saw him listed as the writer.


To say the least, I was blown away! From that point on I became a huge fan of Moore's work. Alan would go on to write the critically acclaimed Watchmen, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the entire American Comics imprint for DC Comics and dozens of other cutting edge stories-all of which pushed the boundaries of storytelling.


Alan Moore Storyteller, the new book from Universe Publishing and author Gary Spencer Millidge, chronicles the life of one of the most unusual and innovative writers of our time: Alan Moore.


The story begins in the Boroughs of Northampton, England with his fascination for comic books and all things literary. Later he would go on to write and illustrate his own book of poetry, experiment with Underground Comics and write for 2000 A.D.


It would be his work on Captain Britain and Marvelman that would catch the attention of DC Comics whom he soon would write an impressive library of work for. But it would be his work on Swamp Thing and Watchmen that would forever elevate Alan to the respected position he is now.


After a dispute with DC Comics, Alan would leave mainstream comics for a season and venture out into small press projects, continue to ply in the magical arts and become a much sought after guest speaker and lecturer.


Few people realize that besides being an accomplished writer and storyteller Alan is also a songwriter, musician and singer. A special CD containing a selection of Alan's work is also included with this lavishly illustrated book.


Alan Moore is responsible in large part for bringing comic books into the mainstream, he's encouraged comic book companies to look for talent overseas and he continues to challenge and inspire artists and writers to push the limits of their creativity.


If it not for Alan Moore's work for DC Comics there would be no Vertigo imprint and because of his cinematic writing technique its doubtful many of the 'super hero' movies being produced today would not have been made. Three of his creations: Watchmen, V For Vendetta and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen have all been made into films.


Writer, artist, and musician-is there nothing Alan Moore can't do? He is a Renaissance Man in the true meaning of the phrase.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Will Eisner: PS Magazine


Artist/writer Will Eisner changed the face of comic strips and comic books. His award-winning series the Spirit and his ground-breaking graphic novel: A Contract With God, redefined sequential story-telling.

He influenced such artists as Frank Miller, Neal Adams and dozens more. Abrams presents Will Eisner: PS Magazine -- the best of the Preventive Maintenance Monthly: reprints of some of the most rare examples of Eisner's work.


From 1951 to 1971 Eisner produced PS Magazine for the U.S. Army. It educated soldiers in weapons safety and regularly featured Joe Dope: who never paid attention to safety protocols and Connie Rodd: a beautiful pin-up who gave weapon briefs.


If you appreciate and enjoy Eisner's work then you're sure to want this very special collection of the best-of-the-best of Will Eisner's PS Magazine work.