Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Listeners



How do you tell who the good guys are?  That’s the dilemma 14-year old Daniel faces.

 
After a plague strikes a major city, turning its citizens in the shambling, blood-thirsty lunatics, Daniel finds himself alone after his mother leaves looking for supplies and doesn’t come back.
When a lunatic attacks Daniel’s home a group of ‘police’ come to his rescue-at a price.  Taking some of his supplies and valuables, the police leave after delivering a veiled threat.

Scared, alone and desperate for help Daniel comes upon an opposition group to the police: The Listeners.

Dubbed criminals and thieves, The Listeners take Daniel in as part of their group.  Their leader, Adam, takes a shine to Daniel and begins his training to become one of The Listeners.  But, as time progresses Daniel begins to question just who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  The line is blurred and it’s up to Daniel to make the decision as to which side he will ultimately be on.

The Listeners, by Harrison Demchick, is a unique take on an apocalyptic vision.  Instead of focusing on the environment of horror the book pinpoints the true horror of the situation: the personal cost and choices made to survive.

The Listener comes from Bancroft Press.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Four Dragons, Cerberus, Areion, Concavenator and Hercules


The folks at Safari Ltd. has started releasing their new line of figures for 2013 and with this first batch they have outdone themselves.


Four new Dragons have been added to Safari's inventory and they are all impressive. The sculpture work of each is amazing with each scale, tooth, claw and facial detail expertly crafted.

Flashing is non-existent and the color and paint application is crispy clean with no smudges, run over or sloppy lines.


First up is the Golden Dragon with its twin horns, oversize head fin, iridescent wings and serpentine body complete with long twisted tail tufted by end fins with blazing red eyes peering out from its tooth-lined gaping jaw.


The Glow-In-The-Dark Snow Dragon is pure white with serpentine wings that appear almost like long feathers.  It's yellow claws and teeth, pink gaping maw and red eyes stand out in strong contrast from its albino body.


Standing on three feet with one large long-toed foot raised the Snow Dragon can freeze anyone's blood with its ferocious countenance.


In stark contrast to the Snow Dragon is the Twilight Dragon that is pitch black in color.  Its red eyes, claws and tongue make for a scary sight as this compact oversize lizard looks like its made from pure muscle.  Check out its bat like wings, long talon tipped toes and twin horn head.


Drake sits atop the Thunder Dragon.  The two fast friends look as if they are ready to launch into flight. Drake comes dressed all in blue and wears black goggles/glasses. 


The Thunder Dragon is copper in color with horny protuberances all over its torso, head, wings and limbs.  Log serpentine whiskers hang from its horned head and its beaklike snout sports large teeth. Unlike the other Dragons the Thunder Dragon's wings are attached to its front legs.  Its hind legs are tucked close to its front legs and a fish-like tail completes its horrific appearance.


The canine Cerberus, the guardian of Hell or the Underworld, is all black and its three heads bare their large teeth.  Three blood-red collars with silver studs come with the crouched canine with its large powerful tail raised.


The Areion Horse is stygian black with bat like wings with a long flowing tail and mane and hooves raised as if in flight.


A real-life Dragon is the prehistoric Cocavenator dinosaur which stands on its long back legs balanced by its snakelike tail topped by a brown and tan rear fin. With its long snout mouth open the vertical stripped thunder lizard poses a real threat.


Who better to fight Dragons, a dinosaur and Cerberus than the original lion mane wearing strongman-Hercules? Dressed only in a blue loincloth and sandals the legendary strongman stands poised with arrow drawn back from his longbow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Doctor Who FAQ



I got a new book the other day.  When I did it immediately raised a few questions.
 
WHO?  Doctor Who!  The highly popular British science fiction TV series that has been around for 50 years is the subject.  Not only is it popular in the U.K., but especially in the United States.

WHAT?  The book, from Applause Books and written by Dave Thompson, is an exhaustive examination of the sci-fi phenomenon.  A lot has been written about Doctor Who but not all of the questions about the show have been answered-until now.  Learn all that’s left to know about the most famous Time Lord in the Universe.  From foes to friends to alien planets to time travel-it’s all covered.

WHERE?  The book has just been released and is available at bookstores and online for purchase.

WHY?  Because it’s such a fun read, filled with little know facts about the show accompanied by archival art and photos.

WOW!?  If you’re a Doctor Who fan this is an item that needs to be on your ‘must-have’ list.  And if you’re new to Doctor Who, what better way to get the inside info on the world’s most popular sci-0fi TV series?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fantasy & Science Fiction #706, March/April


In this issue of The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction look for:
novelets by Deborah J. Ross, Naomi Kritzer, Albert E. Cowdrey, and Sean McMullen, and short stories by Sean F. Lynch, Michael Reaves, Elizabeth Bourne and Mark Bourne, Steven Utley, Van Aaron Hughes, and Chet Arthur. Robert Frazier provides a poem.


.Departments are Charles de Lint’s “Books to Look For",  James Sallis’ “Books", “Plumage from Pegasus”, a "Films” column by Kathi Maio and a “Curiosities” page by Richard A. Lupoff.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph has had it!  For years he has been the bad guy in video games and he's fed up.  Dissatisfied with his lot in life, Ralph decides to buck the system and become a good guy.

Venturing out on his own he travels the worlds of video games on a quest to prove that he is a hero with a big heart.


Along his journey he teams up some immediately recognizable game characters.  When an evil force threatens Ralph and his friends on their voyage of discovery it's up to Ralph to prove that he is the hero he set out to prove that he is.


Walt Disney presents the Ultimate Collector's Edition of Wreck-It Ralph that includes a 3D Blu-ray, a Blu-ray, a DVD and a Digital Copy.


Extras include Deleted Scenes, a Guide To Wreck-It Ralph, a documentary on the Making of Wreck-It Ralph and his many worlds, Alternate Scenes, Video Game Commercials and a special animated short: Paperman.

Get ready for lots of belly laughs, excitement and fun as you join Wreck-It Ralph on his video game voyage of discovery.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Three Jets, Two Planes and a Vanship



Hasegawa Hobby Kits.  How do you do it?  How can you turn out so many cool models in such detail, packed with extras, easy-to-assemble by using the easy-to-follow instruction (including paint and decal instructions) and keep the quality so high?


Wait a minute!  I think I answered my own question!  Hasegawa Model Kits set the standard by which all other model kits must meet.  Besides providing all the things I just mentioned, the hobby kits also include extensive historical data about whatever vehicle is contained and you can count on Hasegawa to provide killer artwork or photos for each of its model box covers.  Throw in a few Limited Edition model kits (to keep modelers interested) and you have the perfect plastic model kit conglomerate.


Hasegawa just released six new aircraft models: three jets, two planes and a Vanship (what the heck is a Vanship?)


The 1:72 Scale F-15C EAGLE '57th  Fighter Interceptor Squadron' jet is a bullet with wings. Rear-mounted twin engines propel this fighter to speeds matched by few other fighters.  The twin oversize tailfins and rear wings give the sleek aircraft's pilot gentle touch control while the backswept front wings stabilize and give the aircraft the ability to perform quick ascents and descents.


The Black Knights flew from 1954 to 1993, patrolling the airspace around the Soviet Union, 24/7, for possible aerial intrusions.


In 1985 the F-15C EAGLE was introduced and easily outclassed all opposition.   The model kit is equipped with conformal fuel tanks and pylon parts and can be decaled two different ways.

Like all Hasegawa Model Kits the F-15C EAGLE's parts detach easily from part trees with little or no flashing with tight fit assembly.  

Measuring in at 1:48 Scale the F-4EJ Kai PHANTOM II '8SQ Panthers' is a loaded-for-bear fighter with twin side engines, twin cockpits, a huge fuselage with the latest and greatest technology and flight capabilities and enough weapons ordinance to make any small country's military shutter.

The Phantom II pilots of the 20th Century set 16 world speed and altitude records which until recently were unmatched. No longer used by the U.S. military the aircraft are still used by the Japanese and for good reason.  One look at its armament and firepower and extended flight capabilities and this deep blue bullet of a fighter is nothing to mess with.  The Phantom II can be displayed with or without its landing gear extended and cockpits opened just as other Hasegawa Model Kits aircraft may.


Another Limited Edition 1:48 Scale aircraft model is the A-7E Corsair II 'VA-113 Stingers Bicentennial'.  The A-7E Corsair is a little slow as a jet bomber but it more than makes up for it with its carrying capacity: 15,000 pounds of bombs and four nuclear missiles.


Take a good look at this workhorse bomber with its oversize rear fin, half-body length, front-mounted engines and low profile and you can't help but be impressed.  Two decal options are available. 

Older, but nonetheless no less impressive, is the Japanese Aicht D3A1 Type 99 Carrier Dive Bomber circa WWII.  The CAL Model 11 Folding Wing is a Limited Edition model kit with lots of details and pizzazz for a 1:48 Scale model.

This brightly decorated bomber was highly effective in its runs on Pearl Harbor during WWII against the American Naval Fleet.  History proves the stunning capabilities of this aircraft. 


Its tri-propeller, wing and fuselage bomb racks and wingtip tilt design make it the perfect aircraft carrier aircraft.

Just as impressive is the 1:48 Scale WWI Nakajima B5N2 Type 92 Carrier Attack bomber (Kate) Model 3 'Folding Wing aircraft.

The three-seat bomber was responsible for the majority of damage inflicted at Pearl Harbor, including the sinking of the Arizona.  Later used as Kamikaze aircraft, not a single aircraft still exists today.  It's a classic of aircraft design that proved deadly to American forces.  Banzai!

When I first saw the 1:72 Scale Vanship and Vespa Model Kit I could only wonder, "What in the world are they?"  Then I remembered seeing the aircraft in the Japanese Anime series Last Exile as Tatiana's Vanship and Fam's Vespa.  

Steam-driven and fashioned in Steampunk design the aircraft were as every bit as much the stars of the Anime as were its human characters.  Four figures are included with the intricately designed ships.

Careful attention was given to capture the look and feel of Anime aircraft-right down to their unique markings and intricate body detailing and 'Steampunk' appearance.  The vehicles can be displayed on semi-transparent stands side-by-side which makes them appear just like their Anime counterparts albeit in 3D.


Drawings













Justice League Of America and Vibe


Geoff Johns offers a double dose of dynamic stories with two new series from DC Comics.

First up is the Justice League Of America #1.

The government is not happy that the Justice League members are free agents.  They need to be contained and controlled.  Director Amanda Waller and her organization have been placed in the position to create a new League-one that is answerable to her and the government.

She wants  Wonder Woman’s friend, Steve Trevor, to head up the new team.  The team will have two missions: be accessible by Waller and her agency and to be the frontline against the original League should they go bad-specifically Superman and Wonder Woman.

The new League team will consist of misfits and those on the edge of the law or with little public exposure and experience.  Vibe, the new Green Lantern, Green Arrow, the Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Katana, Catwoman, Stargirl and Trevor make up the new team.

It looks to be an exciting team and title-Geoff Johns provides the stories and David Finch the art-how can you lose?

Of all the unlikely heroes to get his own title, Vibe is the last one I figured would get his own series.

In the past Vibe was considered one of the lamest and most ridiculous figures in DC Comics roster.  That’s about to change.  Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg have successfully turned that assertion on its collective ear.

The place: Detroit.  The time: five years ago.

Armando and his young brother Cisco are walking down the street discussing Armando’s upcoming college life.  Suddenly an energy sphere appears and the first of Darkseid’s Parademons emerges.  Cisco is drawn into the inter-dimensional vortex and starts to be disintegrated in the energy field.

Armando manages to pull him free only to be killed by the demon.

Years later Cisco is getting ready to graduate from high school.

While walking home he is approached by Agent Dale Gunn of A.R.G.U.S. who wants him to join the new Justice League of America.  The reason?  Cisco has been given an unusual gift.

When he was pulled from the Boom Tube energy vortex five years ago he obtained the power to detect inter-dimensional gateways and control their energy.

His new job in the League is to spot the gateways and beings that have slipped through and stop them with the aid of the League.  But, as with all government operations there is far more going on than Cisco is being told-Darkseid’s sister anyone?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Terminator


Discover the movie that launched the career of Arnold Schwarzengger: Terminator.

Arnold plays a cyborg killer from the future that is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connors, the future mother of John Connor.


John will grow up to be the leader of the resistance that eventually defeats the Terminators and their cyber boss.


Also sent back in time is the future father of Sarah's child who hopes to stop the killing machine from completing its mission.

James Cameron gained recognition as a director with the Terminator movie and 20th Century Fox is proud to present a newly remastered Blu-ray cut of the movie that started a franchise.  

Also included on the Blu-ray are deleted scenes, a featurette on creating the Terminator world and a Terminator retrospective.