Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dames In The Atomic Age



What do you get when you throw in a beautiful dame, a feisty fighter, a tough-as-nails private investigator, aliens, a mad scientist, giant ants and an alien invasion?  Dames In The Atomic Age of course!

This cool new title from The Art Of Fiction, LLC., with script by Christopher Ryder and art by Marc Sandroni, makes for a fun tribute to the 1950s space invader movies.

Filled with all the elements one expects from such movies readers can expect to see plenty of tough guy action, seduction, sinister plots, diabolical aliens, futuristic gadgets and much more.

What starts out as a simple investigation of a cheating wife soon escalates into an alien plan to repopulate the Earth with their own kind modified to pass as humans.
This book has it all!

Astonishing X-Men



From the award-winning run on the Astonishing X-Men, written by joss Whedon and drawn by John Cassady, comes the complete Marvel Knights Animation adaptation of four installments from the series.

Consisting of Gifted, Dangerous, Torn and Unstoppable the Blu-ray collection brings all four adaptations together in one special package.

Beginning with a mutant cure and escalating into a fight for survival against the Breakworld the four-part series moves along at breakneck speed with Cassady’s art augmented by animation and spectacular effects.  Voice actors deliver a powerful script written by Whedon which when combined with the state-of-the-art animation makes for an exciting and compelling story.

Included with the Blu-ray collection are interviews with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams, a Behind-The –Scenes look at Marvel Knights Animation and an original music video all courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History


In case you haven't guessed by now I am a HUGE Star Trek fan-especially of the original series.  I am what would be called a 'Trekker'  not 'Trekkie' because I watched the original run of the series when it first aired.  In other words I am a 'Alpha' Star Trek fan.

Over the last 46 years Star Trek evolved from a failed prime time TV series to a multi-national conglomerate of successful movies, TV series, a library of books, magazines, fan publications, games, video games and on and on.

It has made its stars both rich and famous and has forever altered and influenced modern society.  Much of the technology only fantasized by its writers have come true or at lease are on the brink of fruition.

It has inspired generations of scientists, technicians, writers and artists.  It is a true multi-national phenomenon.

In Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History, author Robert Greenberger, with publisher Voyageur Press, has compiled a history of Star Trek unlike any other.  

Using images of Star Trek collectibles and merchandize created through the decades the book traces Star Trek from its initial concept as "The Wagon Train to the stars," to its rebirth as a blockbuster film with new actors playing the rolls of the original crew.

Learn all there is to learn about the various movies, TV series, actors and actresses, directors, production staff, marketing, promotion and all other aspects of making Star Trek the entity it is today.

If you are a Star Trek fan you'll be delighted and surprised by the plethora of photos included along with various personal accounts, interviews and recollections.  "Live long and start reading!"

Star Trek The Next Generation: Cold Equation


In Book 1 of the Star Trek The Next Generation series Cold Equations: The Persistence Of Memory, from David Mack and published by Pocket Books, someone has managed to steal B-4 and his fellow android brothers.

As Star Trek fans know B-4 's Data's older less sophisticated brother invented by Dr. Soong.  Before Data was destroyed in the last Star Trek The Next Generation movie, he managed to download his consciousness into his older sibling.

But due to B-4's less sophisticated software Data''s consciousness has yet to emerge-and it may never.  Because of the complexity of Data's mind and the primitive brain of B-4 the older android's brain has started to degrade.  If nothing is done Data and possibly B-4 will be lost forever.

As it so happens a new crisis is underway for the Federation, Klingons, Tholians and Romulans.  Each has managed to keep the ancient and powerful technology of the ancient Shedai under control and away from those who would usurp its power.  That may change as whoever stole B-4 and his android brothers may have plans for the ancient technology for themselves.

It's up to the crew of the Enterprise, and especially Mr. Worf, to avert a disaster, but at what price? A whole new chapter in the Star Trek Universe has begun-one that may spell disaster for the Federation, its allies and its enemies-can the battle be won? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

MAD's Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker



In my opinion Mort Drucker is the greatest caricaturist of all time.  His spot-on celebrity lampoons are in large part why MAD magazine has been so popular over the decades.

I'm old enough to remember Mort's work in EC Comics (parent of MAD magazine) and some of his first MAD magazine work.

form the very beginning his artwork captured the very essence of whomever he targeted.  For 50 years Mort's caricatures have graced the pages of MAD and here's hoping they'll be many more.

Mr. Drucker is one of the true all-time greats of the comic book and cartooning community. His artwork has inspired thousands of young artist (me included) and spawned many imitators.  But no one can capture the likenesses of actors, actresses, political figures and celebrities like Mort.

In Running Press's new MAD's Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker, five decades of his finest work is spotlighted.  Pages are packed with the best of the best of Mort's work.

MAD's editor Nick Meglin's exclusive interview of Mr. Drucker is included along with an introduction by actor Michael J. Fox and essays from some top directors in the film industry.
As an added extra a removable vintage poster of Mr. Drucker's work in enclosed. 

Airstream Memories And Lesney’s Matchbox Toys Regular Wheel Years, 1947-1969




Images  that stick in my mind from growing up in the 1950s and 1960s are that of occasionally seeing an Airstream trailer being pulled behind a car (usually a station wagon) as I watched families depart or arrive from vacations.
The Airstream looked like a long silver aerodynamic bullet with its smooth clean lines and rounded corners.  I imagined that if I watched it long enough that like some odd aircraft they would lift off and fly away.
Airstream Memories, written and compile by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen and published by Schiffer Publishing, offers a wonderful visual trip back in time.
The book is filled with photos of Airstream memorabilia dating back to the formation of the company.  Postcards, booklets, brochures and all sorts of other promotional material fill its pages along with historical text, current prices collectors can expect to pay for said pieces and a nostalgic look back on the travel trailer that will forever be a part of American culture.

I was a big fan of Matchbox vehicles when I was a kid.  I had dozens of them and I put them through their paces.  I would create small streets and city blocks in the dirt and populate them with various Matchbox vehicles of all types-military or civilian. 
Later I would use Matchbox vehicles with various electric train sets and fill the streets with them.  Was it my fault that trains would ‘accidentally’ run into them?
In  Schiffer Publishing’s Lesney’s Matchbox Toys Regular Wheel Years, 1947-1969, by Charlie Mack, color photos of each of the Matchbox Toys from that period are shown in all their variations.  Some are in packages, some loose, but all include prices.
Also included in the book are photos from the Matchbox factory, listings of all the vehicle variations and pictures of promotional material through the years.  This is a must have book for any Matchbox collector and I highly recommend it.

007 Legends



I find it hard to believe that James Bond has graced the Silver Screen for 50 years!  I’m old enough to remember when Dr. No, From Russian With Love and the Bond movie by which all others are measured, Goldfinger, came to movie theaters.  I’ve followed the intrepid 007’s cinematic career since the beginning, through its highs and lows and watched as 007 merchandise has spilled over to video games.

There have been some great James Bond video games but Activision’s 007 Legends tops them all.

Besides starring the likeness of the latest Bond, Daniel Craig, the video games ties into the upcoming Bond film, Skyfall.

In the game a scene is taken directly from the film when Bond gets shot and falls into river in a canyon.  While lingering between life and death his life flashes before his eyes and he relives, along with gamers, some of his greatest adventures.

Look for some incredible action and adventure as experienced by Bond in Die Another Day, Goldfinger, Licence To Kill, Moonraker and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  Learn what it was like to take on such memorable villains as Goldfinger, Blofeld, Jaws and many more.

The new video game for PS3, allows players to take on the role of Bond and use his wits, agility, gadgets and fighting prowess to take on deadly foes and dangerous situations.
Vehicles of all types are seen and used in the game-anything from fast cars, aircraft, boats and any other form of transportation Bond can manage to get his hands on.

The action takes place in a 360 degree, cinematic world with lots of breath-taking vistas and locales, spectacular visual effects, impressive sound effects and a killer soundtrack.  Players interact one-on-one and the action never lets up.  You’ll never know what might appear around the next corner.

Dastardly villains and beautiful women populate Bond’s world whether you decide to play as a single-player or take part in a 12-player online competition.  

Gadgets are even easier to come by, practice your skill in the various Mini-Games and choose to use taking full vehicle control or letting the game control various craft while you concentrate on using your weapon(s).

Whether you play Bond or one of his many foes, 007 Legends delivers a spectacular experience like a bullet in a barrel.  Bond.  James Bond.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Warhawk, Seafire And Eagle



What is it about fighter aircraft that fascinates me so?  I was raised during the period shortly after WWII and was regaled by stories of brave fighter pilots who fought the nefarious Nazis and Japs.  At that time comic books and magazines still carried stories chronicling the war in the air and many of the veteran pilot’s of that period were considered heroes.

I’ve grown up loving fighter aircraft and while I do not consider myself an expert on aircraft, by any means, I still appreciate the design and technology of any fighter aircraft.

Since my visits to aircraft museums and military bases are at a minimum-at best-I enjoy looking at books on aircraft and at plastic models.

Hasegawa Hobby Kits is the master of recreating classic fighter aircraft in miniature form with its huge collection of both Limited Editions and widespread distribution plastic models.

Each and every aircraft model (fighter or not) duplicates perfectly the detail, markings and ‘feel’ of its larger counterpart.

Parts are finely-crafted with minimal or zero flashing resulting in very little, if any, trimming.  Each piece is made to fit perfectly with other parts in the aircraft and with the simple and easy to understand instructions (with illustrations) the aircraft assemble with no muss or fuss.

Decal sheets (normally of a variety so modelers can customize aircraft to particular periods or air forces) are easy to apply and painting instructions are accurate so modelers can be assured that their model matches the original aircraft.

Parts detach easily from part trees and are easy to identify by number and appearance.
Three aircraft were recently released and they include two WWI era planes and one modern fighter jet.

The 1/48 Scale Seafire MK1B Limited Edition model captures the look and feel of the Royal Navy’s jury-rigged Spitfire fitted for aircraft use.  Besides being heavily armed and packed with interior and exterior details the aircraft also comes with an arresting hook and under fuselage panel (with parts to match the cobbled together and modified aircraft made ready for aircraft carrier duty.)  It’s a beautiful model with its clear cockpit, working landing gear, tri-blade propeller and impressive firepower.

The Japanese were somehow able to capture several P-40E Warhawks during WWII and repurpose them for their own use.  Dubbed the Prisoner Of War, the P-40E Warhawk made for a lethal adversary in the air.

While not necessarily the most maneuverable or fast aircraft the Warhawks or Flying Tigers were incredibly tough and resilient and served their pilots well.

Fight for fight the aircraft matched their ferocious namesake(s) with a large number of.
109 parts make up the 1/48 Scale model kit that requires a Level 3 skill in model-making.  As with most Hasegawa aircraft models the Warhawk is packed with details, landing gear )that can be deployed or encased) and modified by using several different paint schemes and decals.

Hasegawa’s 1/72 Scale, Level 3 F-15E strike Eagle fighter jet is a marvel of engineering and technology twin body-mounted jet engines give this baby plenty of 'umph' and when decked out in it full armament few aircraft or ground forces want to tackle this bundle of kill power.

Capable of carrying two passengers, the F-15E Strike Eagle has served it country well in numerous skirmishes and battles and is lethal killer both on the ground and in the air.

The kit contains additional tank, antenna, display and pylon parts and once assembled the aircraft will make a fine addition to any modeler’s collection whether suspended from lines from the ceiling or proudly displayed on its stand.  

I was surprised by the heftiness of the model kit made so by the additional parts.

All three models feature full-color paintings on their packages and their instructions give complete histories of each.