Thursday, May 31, 2012

Previews, June

Diamond Previews for June presents new merchandise coming out two months from now.

New comic books to look for are Thun’da, Hawkeye, The Creep, Before Watchmen, The Victories, Superman: Earth One, The Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom, It Girl & The Atomics, Black Kiss II, Gambit, Spike, Lost Tribe Of The Sith, Annuals: The Flash, Superman, Detective and Green Lantern , Phantom Lady, Looker, Godzilla: The Half-Century War, Deadworld: War OF The Dead, Think Tank, Harvest, New Crusaders, Idolized, Homecoming, Li’l Homer, Peanuts Vol. 2, Pathfinder, Dark Shadows/Vampirella and Mortifera.

Magazines and books to read include Totally Mad: 60 Years, James Bond: 50 Years and Firefly: A Celebration.

Trade up with the following trading card sets: The Walking Dead, Star Wars: Galactic Files, DC Comics: The New 52 and Falling Skies.

Toys to play with are Game Of Thrones, Halo 4, Batman: Arkham Asylum Series 3, Domo Action Figures, Living Dead Dolls: Child’s Play Chucky and Marvel Select.

Game on with Star Wars: X-Wing, Marvel Heroic: Annihilations and DC-Comics Deck-Building.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yosemite And The Grand Canyon

My wife and I like to travel when we have the opportunity. One of our favorite vacation spots when we are on the West Coast is Yosemite National Park. Located in the High Sierra Mountains, Yosemite is actually four parks. We’ve visited three out of the four and next time we’re there we’ll trek the fourth.

Yosemite is breath-taking and like nowhere else on earth. It’s hard to describe and put in pictures. That’s why I’m so excited and impressed by Mill Creek Entertainment’s new Yosemite The High Sierra Blu-ray which is part of Mill Creek’s National Parks Exploration Series. It offers a stunning, high-definition virtual tour of the park accompanied by park rangers’ and park enthusiasts’ interviews, short historical facts and absolutely stunning photography of the park as seen from the air and on the ground. I felt as if I were back in the park. The pictures are so realistic it looks as if you could walk right into the scenes.

Also included in the National Parks Exploration Series is the Grand Canyon: A Wonder Of The Natural World Blu-ray. My wife and I have never visited the Grand Canyon (it’s on our Bucket List), but like the Yosemite Blu-ray we felt as if we had actually visited it because of the awe-inspiring photography and excellent narrative that walks you through the park step-by-step. Is it possible to feel tired after walking a virtual pathway?

It is a breath-taking Blu-ray documentary that is not only informative but visually stimulating and relaxing at the same time. I could almost feel the hot canyon air whipping around my head. Now that’s realism!

For some spectacular travel time without leaving the comfort of your living room be sure to check out both Mill Creek Entertainment Blu-rays.

Fangoria #314, June

This issue of Fangoria Magazine (The First In Fright Since 1979) is filled with lots of gory goodies spotlighting movies, actors, actresses and more. It’s horrific!

Chris Alexander offers his own unique First Rites, Monster Invasion looks at some new film releases including Paranorman, Buppets, Lollipop Chainsaw and God Bless America-Death To Media Morons!

Lots of new DVDs are featured in the DVD & Blu-ray Chopping List, Director Robert Faust talks about his famous creation: Doctor Phibes and stay away from The Devil’s Carnival. Take a look Through The Keyhole at filmmaker Guy Maddin’s unique take on the horror genre, see who or what is haunting Apartment 143 and what’s a little Death Among Friends?

Actress Danielle Harris proves why she’s the Queen Of Blood, The Red Lips Of Danielle Ouimet are delicious but dangerous, Abraham Lincoln was President and a vampire hunter, Noomi Rapace is an actress rising in Prometheus and check out Fangoria’s South Texas Blues comic strip.

Debbie Rochon talks about her career, beware the Wrath Of The Crows, Mad goes horror, the Dead Stalk On in video, Dr. Cyclops eyes some videos and DVDs, David Blyth loves blood and sex, enroll in the School Of Shock, Lola loves Prom Night, Let Love In and Hellraiser returns in Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Team Cul de Sac

Richard Thompson, the cartoonist and creator of the hilarious comic strip Cul de Sac, recently found out that he has Parkinson’s disease. Most people associate the disease with the actor Michael J. Fox of Back To The Future fame. Michael is a huge advocate in finding the cure for the debilitating disease.

Friend and webmaster of Richard Thompson, Chris Sparks, wanted to do something for Richard. Knowing of the Team Fox foundation Richard decided to gather a bunch of Chris Sparks contemporaries and create a book filled with illustrations of Richard’s Cul de Sac characters as imagined by his friends and colleagues.

Proceeds from the book will go to the Team Fox organization for finding the cure to Parkinson’s.

Cartoonist and illustrators of all types contributed drawings. Editorial, syndicated, magazine, graphic novel, illustrators and Cul de Sac fans all pitched in and created an impressive hardbound book filled with full color and black and white illustrations.

Artwork is accompanied by artist comments and tributes to Richard Thompson. It’s a truly unique book assembling the work of a vast number of artists-something seldom seen in today’s publishing world. Cul de Sac Cartoonists Draw The Line At Parkinson’s is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. and edited by Chris Sparks.

LEGO Heavy Weapons

LEGOs have been around for decades. Small plastic pieces that snap together were first introduced packaged in large tubs filled with the multi-color small blocks. Kids assembled various objects using their own imaginations.

Later LEGOs transformed to kits that when assembled allowed LEGO owners to make specific items such as Star Wars ships, Harry Potter scenarios and various other pop culture or movie props or scenes. The popularity of LEGOs continues to build. Theme parks have cropped up based around LEGOs. Everything in the parks, including the rides, are assembled from LEGOs. Amazing.

Over the years I’ve seen every imaginable object, item or thing constructed from the sturdy little plastic pieces. But…No Starch Press pulled a fast one on me and introduced me to a whole new use for LEGOs…weapons!

Not real weapons, but facsimiles of weapons. In Lego Heavy Weapons, author Jack Streat (who happens to be only 17 years old!) has assembled an impressive piece of work. Talk about a LEGO fanatic!

In his new book Jack instructs readers how to assemble replicas of four impressive 1:1 Scale guns. They include the Desert Eagle, AKS-74U, Jungle Carbine and SPAS 12. Full assembly instructions guide the readers step-by-step through the process. What’s so impressive about the weapons is not only their look but the fact that the bullet chambers actually work! What’s next, LEGO landmines, bazookas and grenade launchers!?

Given Mr. Streat’s talents, full-scale tanks and aircraft will be next. To say I’m impressed would be a huge understatement. LEGO fans of all ages need to check out this book. However, pay close attention to the warning statement-these weapons can actually fire and they have been mistaken for the real items.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Street, Runner, Crate, Rod, Lowrider, Sport And Coupe

I remember as a child the excitement I felt whenever I got to go to the Hobby Shop or Department store.  The first place I headed was the model section to check out the new model cars Revell/Monogram had just released.

Back then model-making had one level-challenging!  All of the Revell/Monogram models produced required glue, paint and decal application.  Revell/Monogram models made models that fit together snuggly, required little in the way of part trimming and included instructions even a young struggling model maker (like myself) could follow.  All of those things still hold true today with Revell/Monogram models.

Sure they are a little more expensive to purchase (just like everything else) but they're still fun to put together.  In fact, with their new Skill Level designations, easy-to-apply decals and even more comprehensive instructions making Revell/Monogram have never been easier or more fun.

Revell/Monogram has just released seven new automobile models-all of them classics.  They range from 1:24 to 1:25 Scale and Skill Levels 2 and 3.  

For triple value for your hard-earned cash be sure to check out Monogram's '29 Ford Rat Rod 3 'N 1.  Customize this classic Ford as a matte gray pickup truck with whitewall tires, running boards, short bed, chrome bumpers and grill and very distinctive door panel decals. 

Or, you can choose a candy apple red hotrod with white cab, full chrome grill, bumpers and wheels with whitewall tires.  If that's not hot enough for you check out the aqua/green roadster with wraparound flame decals, open passenger compartment and enclosed streamline grill. 
The Revell Muscle '67 Chevelle Pro Street model is a two-door darling of an auto with flat front chrome grill, bumpers, wheels, trim and mirrors.  An integrated bumped up airfoil hood hints at the power under its hood.

Don't let its innocent appearance fool you.  This hot little number hides inner roll bars, a stripped down interior and enough muscle to give the 'big boys' a run for their money.
Just as impressive is the bright red Monogram Classic Cruiser '70 Plymouth Road Runner.  This is the car I wanted as teenager.  I mean who wouldn't have wanted a car synonymous with speed, grace and plenty of "beep-beep" get-up-and-go!?  

Sporting just enough chrome to sparkle the solid red roadster has red wheels, a solid black interior and one mean profile!

Revell's Car Show Orange Crate '32 Ford Sedan is solid chrome engine that barely fits into its swing up chassis.  Oversize rear and front chrome wheels hold custom racing tires, hide behind a distinctive grill and nestle in between them a eight-barrel monster of an engine hid underneath a two door, slit window passenger compartment. No wonder it won a god award!

The Cadillac Custom Lowrider is a California Wheels that is sure to bring its share of stares and looks of admiration and envy.  With its square front, maxed-out-in-chrome, gold wire wheels, custom green paint scheme with gold stripe accents and a sunroof and white leather passenger compartment this white-on-green machine is a favorite.  Sweet!

Motor Sports 'sports' a Corvette Grand Sport from Revell.  With its distinctive shark shape this two-tone, blue speedster has decals galore, twin white and red strips running the length of the car and some impressive oversize tires on chrome wheels.  Emblazoned with the number 3, the car is a 3-time winner for speed, looks and performance!

K.S. Pittman's Willy's Drag Coupe is a Motor Sports model from Revell that is red devil with full chrome wheels, under carriage, hood air scoop, grill, trim and rear bumper.  Its streamline retro look chassis is bulky enough to look like power captured while its streamline design unleashes enough horse power to burn up the racetrack.  This two-door demon is a dragster that has every reason to display the Olympic symbols on its sides.  It's a winner!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

G.I. Combat #1

As part of DC Comics second wave of New 52 titles DC Comics couldn’t have chosen a better title: G. I. Combat.

What makes G.I. Combat so special is that not only does it feature two stories but the stories have a hint of the bizarre behind them.

First up is The War That Time Forgot written by J.T. Krul and beautifully illustrated/painted by Ariel Olivetti. The story centers on the two surviving members of a special military Ops team sent to investigate a mysterious blacked out area in North Korean.

Arriving on site the Ops team’s helicopters are attacked and the majority of the crew killed by giant flying reptiles. Only two soldiers survive and what they discover sends chills up their spins.

If you are at all familiar with the original The War That Time Forgot series then you’re sure to love this new take on an old classic-especially the stunning art.

In The Unknown Soldier a single soldier with a bandaged face becomes a one-man killing machine. He is swift, deadly and takes no prisoners. The only problem is-no one knows who he is-or at least that’s what the military brass claim.

In truth his identity is found out and the military uses his thirst for revenge for the killing of his family to its advantage. He is recruited clandestinely and the war against terrorists and bad guys just got a whole lot more deadly. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti provide the words and Dan Panosian the art.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

As a kid I loved reading Jules Verne’s novels. My favorites were Journey To the Center Of The Earth and The Mysterious Island. Coincidentally two of my favorite movies from the 1950s and 1960s were the movies of the same names.

Warner Bros. has taken the Jules Verne novels and modernized them and reintroduced them as movies for a whole new generation of movie goers. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island brings back Sean Anderson from the recent Journey To The center OF the Earth movie in a brand new adventure. Sean receives a coded distress signal containing clues to the location of The Mysterious Island.

Sean’s stepfather Hank (played by Dwayne Johnson) agrees to accompany Sean to look for the island. Did I mention that the message was sent by Sean’s grandfather who no one has seen or heard from in two years?

Renting a helicopter owned by the bumbling Gabato and accompanied by his beautiful daughter Kailani the four adventures discover the island after their helicopter is swept up in a hurricane and crashes on its shores.

Once there they encounter giant flowers and insects, a volcano spewing gold lava, the tomb of Captain Nemo, the lost city of Atlantis, a giant flesh eating lizard and are reunited with Sean’s grandfather played by Michael Caine.

The valiant group of five explorers learns that the island is sinking back into ocean and they only have hours to find Captain Nemo’s submarine the Nautilus if they are to have any chance of escaping.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a fun, action-packed movie that families are sure to love. The special visual effects are stunning and the sets are amazing.

The Bluray/DVD/Ultraviolent Combo pack also contains several extras including a gag reel, an interactive map and deleted scenes.

Star Trek FAQ

It’s no secret to anyone that Star Trek is an industry. A cultural phenomenon, Star Trek has spawned five TV series, a number of successful movies, dozens, if not hundreds of books, magazines, comic books, toys-the list goes on and on.

What is surprising is that the phenomenon started with a single TV show from the 1960s that ran a mere three years and was not that successful or popular during its initial run. It wasn’t until Star Trek began in reruns that the show’s popularity took off. The original cast of the show including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and the others had already moved on in their careers and were just surprised as anyone at the sudden resurgence of popularity of the sci-fi series.

I am a HUGE fan of the original series. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Doctor McCoy, Chekov, Sulu, Scotty, Nurse Chapel and Uhura will always be my favorite Enterprise crew. I grew up watching their adventures and to me no other crew typifies or personifies Star Trek more than the original 1966-69 TV series cast.

Author Mark Clark and Applause Books have compiled a book about the original series and its cast and crew in a tell-all expose of the who, what, how, where, when and why behind the show. Readers will learn all about the studio politics, network shenanigan, actor and actress selections, key events and secrets left unrevealed up to this point.

What led to the show’s early demise? What was it like on the set? How was the show’s creator Gene Roddenberry able to convince the network to finance a second pilot? What were the reasons behind the show’s sudden resurgence of popularity? Why was the decision made to return the show as a big-budget movie instead of a TV series?

These are just a few of the hundreds of questions asked and answered in this-to borrow a phrase from Mr. Spock-‘fascinating’ book that digs into the meat and bones of the original series. For the true Star Trek fan this is a ‘must have’ book that contains more than its fair share of surprises and revelations.

Friday, May 11, 2012

James Bond 50th Anniversary And Spartacus

Rittenhouse Archives/Scifihobby's newest set of James Bond Trading Cards are the most gorgeous yet.  James Bond 50th Anniversary Trading cards feature black and white and color photos from all 22 'official' James Bond films.

Ninety nine Cards make up the Base Set with 99 Base Parallel Cards packed one in every three six Card Foil Pack.  I assembled almost two complete regular Base Sets.  The Base Set consists of Gold Foil Cards with the 007 logo embossed on their surfaces.  Character bios are on the back of the Cards. 

The Parallel Base Set Cards (1 per every 3 Packs) are printed on gold foil with gold flecks and include a 007 logo embossed on their surfaces. Gold Plague Cards comes 1 in every 12 Packs (2 for me), James Bond Shadowbox Cards (1 in every 96 packs-none for me), three Autograph Cards guaranteed per Box (mine are Albert Moses, Corinne Gery and Vernon Dobtcheff), 18 Gold Gallery Cards (2 for me) and 11 Bond & James Bond Cards (I received Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton.

Case Incentive and Promo Cards are also available with 24 Foil Packs coming in each Box.

The popular Spartacus series has spawned a new 9 2012 Premium Trading Card Set.

Each Set includes 2 Autograph Cards (mine are Reuben de Jong and Peter Feeney), 2 Spartacus: Gods Of The arena Episode Cards, 1 Gladiator In Action Card, 1 Battle For Freedom Card, 1 Spartacus Vengeance Preview Card, 1 Women Of Spartacus Card and 1 Gold Plague Card.

Cards come packaged in a sealed, sleeved, heavy-stock Envelope/Pack with 15 Packs per Box.  A special Binder is available, as are Incentive Cards.

The River

Normally a trip down a river has a calming and soothing effect.  Not so when TV personality Dr. Emmett Cole disappears while exploring the Amazon River.  His wife, friends and TV crew set out to find him.  At first all seems normal. Granted a river cruise deep into the jungles of the Amazon is no Sunday drive in country, but this cruise has its share of surprises.

Wild animals, strange sights and sounds abound but when the would-be rescuers find the doctor's boat with no one on board things go from wild to weird.

Soon they find themselves deep in unexplored Amazon River territory where magic and danger abound and nothing appears as it seems.

Steven Spielberg, Oren Peli and ABC Studios present the Complete First Season of The River, a terrifying TV series that turns a river cruise into a battle for survival.

Also included on the DVDs are featurettes, deleted scenes, commentaries and more. 

Forgotten History

Time travel has long been a favorite subject of Star Trek beginning with the first televised series with Captain Kirk and crew.  However, Captain Archer and the crew of the first Enterprise had the first time travel excursions, most notably the Temporal Wars.

Time travel wasn't seriously considered by the Federation as a factor until Captain Kirk and Mister Spock traveled to Earth's past via the Guardian Of Forever.  It then became abundantly clear that time travel could both be considered and boon to the Federation or the device of its destruction.  Measures were put in place to control travel in time and thus minimize the threat to humanity, the Federation and the universe.

Have you ever wondered how it all started?  In author Christopher L. Bennett's new Star Trek book from Pocket Books titled Forgotten History you'll learn how the  Department Of Temporal Investigations came about due in no small part to Captain Kirk and his crew.

When a timeship suddenly appears carrying the markings of Kirk's Enterprise the Federation is thrown into a quandary.  How could such a ship exist and why does its quantum signature match the DTI's own?

It's up to DTI agents Lucsly and Dulmur to unravel the mystery as to how the timecraft is directly tied into the DTI's own past and Kirk's Enterprise.

There's plenty of time travel twists and turns as the past shapes the future and the present is predicated on the past.

G.I. Joe Renegades, Season One, Volume 1

Released to coincide with the new G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie, Shout! Factory and Hasbro are releasing a new G.I. Joe DVD collection. G.I. Joe Renegades contains the first season’s first 13 episodes of the fan favorite animated series.

A young group of G.I. Joe team members must go rogue when a mission against COBRA Industries goes terribly wrong. Hunted by the authorities and branded as criminals the team members must prove their innocence and in the process evade the authorities, the COBRA organization and the Falcons, an elite G.I. Joe military team while still trying to prove COBRA’s threat.

Packed with suspense, populated with memorable characters and featuring state-of-the-art animation the first volume of Season One of the G.I. Joe Renegades animated series comes on two DVD discs and stars the voice talents of some of today’s top actors.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Alter Ego, May #109

This month’s Alter Ego magazine from Twomorrows Publishing centers on the history of The Justice League. Starting with a George Perez cover the magazine proceeds to look at the Golden Age origin of the team along with those responsible for its creation, pages contain black and white and color artwork along with photos f the man who were responsible for the art and stories.

Inside are close-up examination of the various Justice League characters, their origins, individual titles and how they came to join the League. Two articles continued from previous issues look at some Golden Age creators careers, several eulogies are offered for those that fandom lost and color photos spotlight the 50th Anniversary of fandom! And, as always, little know facts about Captain Marvel are shared.

Frankenstein Alive, Alive!

After too long an absence from comic books horror artist Bernie Wrightson is back, along with writer Steve Niles, with a follow-up series culled from Bernie’s earlier work.

Frankenstein Alive, Alive! from IDW continues the story of Frankenstein’s monster.

The monster is content living and working amongst circus freaks. It’s a good life with friends, food, shelter and solitude.

As the story progresses readers learn of the monster’s fate after it attempted to kill itself, first in ice and then under a volcanic landslide. As always Bernie’s art is spectacular and Steve Niles’ story is ripe with mystery and suspense. Welcome back Bernie-it’s been too long!


John Byrne, perhaps more than any comic book artist and writer has been responsible for the rejuvenations, revisions, re-imaginings and creations of some of the most important characters in comic books. He has successfully re-launched Superman, revamped Wonder Woman, reinvigorated Spider-Man, created Alpha Flight, toughened up Wolverine, revitalized the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, re-envisioned She-Hulk, The Demon, the Doom Patrol-the list goes on and on.

Recently most of John’s work has been for IDW. While there he has introduced various new projects, given his own unique visions to existing properties and brought back a fan favorite.

John has returned to his roots with a no-holds-barred super hero title called Trio. Dubbed paper, Scissor and Rock the Trio title harkens back to the time when superhero comics were about solid action, interesting characters and a story plot that is both exciting and intriguing.

The story starts out with a mechanized antagonist, the introduction of the main characters and sprinkled with enough mysteries to whet any comic book reader’s appetite. Trio is John Byrne at his best-ripe with imagination, a solid story and just plain fun to read. Don’t miss it!

Dinos, Deer, Duck, Dog And Others

Safari Ltd. has just released another plethora of figures for collectors and kids. As with all of Safari Ltd.’s figures these boast excellent sculpting (I especially like the Dinosaurs and Bearded Dragon) impressive paint application that matches perfectly the tone and subtle variation of color of each of the figures namesakes and natural poses. Flashing is non-existent, paint application is crisp with no slop over or rough edges and poses are not over-the-top or overly dramatic.

For a little domestic tranquility you can’t beat Safari Ltd.’s Hereford Cow with its calm demeanor, eye-pleasing colors of cream and brown and its soft bovine features (especially the large eyes) and large ears.

The Goose figure captures the feathery, comical look of one of the most awkward domestic birds. With its bright orange bill and feet the Goose is something to gander at.

For a wild animal family gathering the Whitetail Buck, Doe and Fawn make for a happy little deer group of parents and child. The Buck stands in majestic splendor with its large rack of antlers displayed proudly while its demure mate, the Doe, looks up as if alerted to danger and the Fawn with its speckled fur looks perky and ready to play. All feature solid black hooves, beautiful tan hides with cream underbellies, large black and white snouts and ever alert large ears and bushy two-tone tails.

The Sable Antelope is a proud beast with its two long curved horns, black and white stripped face, solid black body with white belly and powerful rock climbing legs.

Man’s best friend is best portrayed with the Golden Retriever as is stands legs straight, tailed extended and head held proudly. Its ever alert large eyes stare ahead and its long ears meld into its light brown mane and neck.

The Bearded Dragon is an odd looking lizard with its ridged head, flat orange body, stripped tail and long, black claw feet. Its lazy eyes belie the fact that it is a swift predator and its large mouth hides formidable teeth.

The Blacktip Reef Shark is a streamline brown bullet with black tipped fins and tail accented with cream color secondary stripes and cream underbelly.

Extinct but nonetheless fascinating is the ferocious Acrocanthosaurus with its long ridged back an tail accented in black, white muzzle and huge rear legs and short sharp clawed front feet. Its serpentine tail gives it incredible balance and power.

The Ceratosaurus is just as impressive with its huge jaws, two-tone brown body, long tail, powerful legs and sharp claws and tri-ridge back and twin-ridge head.

The Brachiosaurus Baby In An Egg is a cute little green dinosaur that resides in a pop-open egg.

For a lizard of a different type, check out the Hydra with its four heads. The mythical beast is painted a bright purple with silver underbelly, red eyes, yellow and blue tongues and pallets, ridged and finned heads and body, long twisted tail and lots of attitude!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hollywood Series 3

Greenlight Collectibles new six car die-cast collection travels to Tinsel Town with its Hollywood Series 3 die-cast car collection.

Who can forget the college film of all college films: Animal House?  Besides its stellar and hilarious cast of characters the movie spotlighted Otter's red with white accents, convertible 1959 Chevrolet Corvette.  This little number has a solid white interior, chrome wheels, trim and bumpers and a sweet low and on the go profile.

G.T.O.'S 1970 Pontiac GTO is a two-door, bright yellow muscle car with oversize rear spoiler, black grill, chrome bumpers and blacked out windows.  With its solid black interior it makes spotting the driver almost impossible.

From the Apollo 13 movie comes Ken's gold and silver 1970 Corvette Stingray with its distinction hood air scoop, inset rear window, swept around front and side windows and almost seamless twin doors.  Zoom! Don't forget the white wall tires and silver wheels.

The 1968 Dodge Charger R/T as seen in the movie Bullitt is solid black, trimmed in chrome, sports silver hubcaps and low riding chrome rear and front bumpers.  

Another sold black vehicle with chrome trim, hubcaps, front grill, rear bumper and extended hood scoop is Dom's 1970 Dodge Charger from Fast & Furious.  

A 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback from Bullitt is also available.

All of the 1:64 Scale die-cast vehicles feature detailed engines, real rubber tries, metal bodies and chassis, minutely detailed sculpting and clean and crisp paint jobs with no bleed-over or rough edges.

Fantasy & Science Fiction #701, May/June

The Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine is packed with stories for May and June and here's just a few of the stories you can expect to read.Novellas include Maze Of Shadows, Novelettes are Liberty's Daughter, Asylum, Taking The Low Road and The Children's Crusade, Short Stories are by Dale Bailey, Andy Stewart, Matthew Corradi and Chris Willrich.

Regular articles include Books To Look For, Books, Plumage From Pegasus: What Immortal Hand, Comic Attractions, Films: Transitioning Through Ghost, Guilt And Superpowers, Competition and Curiosities.

Whatever you decide to read and whatever your taste in fantasy and science fiction literature The Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine is just the place to satisfy your literary preferences.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DC 52 Phase 2

DC Comics recently cancelled six of its original New 52 titles partly because of low sales and interest. But, as planned, DC had replacements ready and this last week DC released all six. I didn’t buy all of the six titles but three along with a new non-New 52 title.

Dial H #1 brings back an old favorite of mine from the Silver age, Dial H for Hero. Since dial up phones don’t exist anymore writer China Mieville offers a unique twist on the original storyline.

This time around an overweight loser finds a mysterious dial in an alleyway where he is mugged. Stumbling into an old phone booth he dials the police only to be transformed into a strange being that systematically takes out the muggers. Later he transform once again. A trick of fate? Not likely, there’s far more to his transformation that he knows as he is soon to find out.

World’s Finest #1 finds Power Girl and Huntress teaming up for a new challenge. As the story progresses readers learn about their transportation from their parallel Earth five years ago to the new reality on another Earth. The series ties in what happened to them when the DC Universe was changed due to the Flash’s action in Flashpoint-this launching the New 52. It's a great story and art by Paul Levitz, George Perez and Kevin MaGuire.

Earth 2 #1 expands of the World’s Finest storyline by informing readers of just how the two parallel Earths are intertwined in a story starring the Justice League and specifically Batman and how Power Girl and the Huntress came to be in this universe.

Smallville #1 continues the acclaimed TV series storyline with its Season 11 premise. Favorite TV characters return in this very special issue where Clark Kent finally dons the Superman attire. Lex Luthor returns along with an unexpected individual.

All of the new titles are well worth checking out and make for some entertaining reads.

X-O Manowar #1

During the early 1990s former Editor and Chief of Marvel Comics Jim Shooter struck out on his own and introduced Valiant Comics. The first books reintroduced modern readers to classic Gold Key Comics characters Magnus, Doctor Solar and Turok. All were extremely successful.

Capitalizing on that success Valiant Comics introduced some new and original characters to readers that also proved highly successful.

Unfortunately because of the speculator glut of that time Valiant, like so many other independent publishers ceased publication, revived temporarily a few years later and faded away once again.

They say that the third time’s the charm so once again Valiant rises from the ashes and begins publication of its original character titles starting with X-O Manowar.

Robert Venditti provides the story and Cary Nord heads up the art. The story begins around 400 A.D. Aric the Visigoth has lost both his father and family to the Romans. Taking a small band of men with him he plans to free what’s left of his family. The only problem is that the Romans are not alone. Strange alien beings accompany them and they possess advanced weapons and technology.

Aric manages to escape and discovers the powerful alien armor known as X-O Manowar only to be recaptured. But, he now has a plan.

X-O Manowar #1 is a nice reintroduction to one of my favorite Valiant characters. I wish Valiant great success and hope to see a renewed interest in their titles.

Steampunk Trio

Wikipedia describes Steampunk like this: It is a genre which came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

When it comes to illustrative Steampunk no one beats Antarctic Press. Currently Antarctic has three publications about Steampunk: two containing art and one of photographs.

The Steampunk Sketchbook #1 contains art by David Hutchinson and is as much an instruction manual on how to draw Steampunk as a showcase for his incredible art. David illustrates everything from attire to modes of transportation in eye-straining detail with pen and wash drawings.

Artist Brain Denham shows off his considerable talent illustrating beautiful Steampunk women in the first issue of Steampunk Angels. His mastery of female figures, clothing, accessories and settings is second to none.

For a taste of Steampunk reality don’t miss issue #2 of Antarctic’s Gearhearts Steam-Punk Glamour Revue starring some of the most beautiful live Steampunk ladies imaginable-all in full color showcasing their incredible Steampunk attire. Also included is an interview with writer Gail Carriger, a Leatherskin story and a Michael Dashow gallery of full color Steampunk art.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Marvel Super Heroes #1

Marvel Comics and Disney Publishing Worldwide presents its newest magazine publication-the very first issue of Marvel Super Heroes!

Things kick into high gear immediately with an Avengers cover followed by a new Thor comic stores inside with art by Terry Pallot and story by Kevin Sharpe.

Next up is the Daily Bugle Archives focusing on (you guessed it) The Avengers.  Black Widow is spotlighted along with a few other recognizable Marvel Comics heroes (Webslinger anyone?)

The Avengers are profiled member by member and be sure to look for the inset and front and back inside cover posters.  The large magazine format really punches up the Marvel Comics artwork and pops the colors on the slick paper stock!

Back Issue #56, May

With the premiere of The Avengers movie set for release May 4th its a no-brainer that Back Issue #56 from TwoMorrows Publishing would dedicate an entire issue to the Marvel Comics super team.

Starting with a George Perez cover the book looks back at the long illustrious history of the premiere Marvel team-up.  Everything from a tour of The Avenger's mansion to examining key issues, events and art teams all replete with gorgeous art, covers, interviews and merchandise.
If you love The Avengers then this is the magazine to own.  Buy it, read it and save it-you'll thanks me later.

Alter Ego #108, April

The Golden Age Human Torch and Sub-Mariner slug it out on the cover of issue #108 of Alter Ego magazine from TwoMorrows Publishing.

Carl Burgos and Bill Everett recall the origins of their famous duo along with key stories and events all of which are complemented by black and white and color art from early issues and some more contemporary art by both artists.

Memories and artwork of artists and writers who followed in their footsteps and guided the adventures of their creations are also included.

Tony Tallarico continues his story, inker Mike Peppe is remembered by those who worked with and loved him, the myth of Charles Atlas is revealed and fandom celebrates 50 years!

Dalek Emperor Davros And Destroyed Imperial Dalek

As much as I enjoy and look forward to every new episode of the revamped Doctor Who series I still have a fondness for the pre-2000 run.  The older series managed to tell entertaining stories in spite of the fact that the show was produced on a shoestring budget-at least compared to today's standards.

Albeit hindered by limited cash the special effects artists and set designers still came up with some spectacular environments and memorable characters-especially the villains.

Two such villains were the Dalek Emperor Davros (the originator of the Daleks and the inventor of their mobile, self-contained units equipped with visual sensors and powerful weapons) and the Imperial Dalek.

Underground Toys has lovingly reproduced both the Emperor and the Destroyed Imperial Dalek in a two-figure set modeled after their appearance in the Seventh Doctor's run from 1987 to 1996--specifically 1988.

Both figures come in cream-white mobile units decorated by gold half globes on all sides.  Three wheels are hidden beneath the units: two stationary and one pivoting.  When pushed the units seem to glide across any surface.  

The Imperial Dalek's unit is missing its protective hood revealing the distorted, gelatinous Dalek, with movable red claw, nestled in a bio-jell nest.  Both gold weapon and sensor probes move just like the real items.  Davros' unit flares at the top allowing room for the wire and tube covered Davros limited room and a large field of sight.  

His eyeless head is decorated with a hearing harness and a visual sensor array and a silver wraparound microphone extends from his back.  The lid of the unit can close so that only a single octagonal clear portal is seen along with two gold input sensor clusters.  

These are some really cool figures that capture the look of the originals right down to their slightly clunky designs.  The display box they come in is sold on all sides except the front that has a clear viewing panel partially wrapping over to the top.  Now if they only had fez or maybe cowboy hats!

The Slab

I'm be the first to admit I'd don't know that much about the Gears Of War video game series.  I know a lot of people play and swear by it.  I've watched video clips, seen much of the merchandising but to actually have sit down and played a game, I haven't.

When Gallery Books send me a review copy of Gears Of War; The Slab I was immediately intrigued by the striking cover of a man dressed in military gear, sitting slouched on a crude bed or piece of furniture surrounded only by solid stone walls.

I figured, "What the hey! I'll take a chance and read the book, not really knowing what to expect."  I'm glad I did.

Author Karen Traviss has taken what could have been a shoot 'em up, aliens versus humanity storyline and made it a tight, taunt thriller with plenty of intrigue, suspense and twin tales of redemption.

Humanity is in peril.  The last defended stronghold of humanity is being attacked by the Locust Horde.  Marcus Fenix abandons his post to save his father and the last outpost falls and his father is buried in the rubble-assumed dead.

Marcus is court-marshaled and sent to the isolated island prison, The Slab.  Unbeknownst to Marcus his father survived and is also imprisoned and is desperately trying to escape to continue his personal war against the Locust.

The Slab is a real page-turner, ripe with careful character development and a plot that keeps you guessing page after page.