Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Earth 2 Annual #2



The secret of Earth 2’s Batman identity is revealed!
 

On Earth 2 young Thomas Wayne (future father of Bruce Wayne) saves the life of a gangster.  In gratitude Thomas is invited to one of the gangster’s infamous parties.  


Warned not to attend, Thomas does so anyway since the mobster wants to show his gratitude.  Bad choice.  He is instantly taken in by the mobster’s hedonistic lifestyle.  He is also introduced to Martha.


Eventually Thomas supplies drugs to the mobster that he has pilfered from the hospital he interns at.  The drug turns a tidy for both the mobster and Thomas.


Thomas and Martha’s friendship blooms into love; they marry and have a son, Bruce.  Martha insists Thomas end his criminal lifestyle and set a good example to his son.  The mobster is not pleased that Thomas wants to stop his drug trafficking and orders a hit on Thomas. 

One night, both he and Martha are gunned down in front of their son’s eyes-so is born the Batman-round one.


Years later someone is crushing the skulls of various mobsters around town.  Batman investigates and discovers that his father is very much alive and is using a drug he stole that enhances his strength and endurance for one hour at a time.  They clash and Bruce is injured by his father.


Rejecting his father, Bruce continues his crime-fighting as Batman and he and his new wife have a daughter-a daughter who would eventually become Robin.  Several more years pass and Bruce is killed.


In penance for his life of crime and for lying to his son, Thomas Wayne takes up the mantle of the Batman as tribute to his son.  Now addicted to the drug injections that give him his powers Thomas brings a new level of savagery to the table as Batman.


It’s easy to see why the Earth 2 Batman has become so popular.  I’ve enjoyed the whole storyline in Earth 2 that involves him.  Perhaps one day he and DC Comics’ Earth 1 Batman will meet.

The Arrow Catcher



In the late 1940s young Jonathan Lusk’s life is altered forever.  When his father is killed by an Arab bomb and his mother injured and blind Jonathan finds his life turned upside down.
 
Tending his blind mother, he watches her as she slowly falls into madness and eventually dies-a mere husk of her former self.

Jonathan has no place to go accept to live with his grandfather who lives in Japan.  Once there he immerses himself in the opulent American lifestyle only to have it wrenched away from him-replaced by an austere Japanese way of life.

Alone, among strangers and unprepared to live in a foreign country he soon finds himself thrust into political and foreign intrigue with only his wits., perseverance and courage to see him through.

Jim Mather’s The Arrow Catcher successfully intermingles the West and East in a suspenseful story of traditions clashing, personal discovery and the powers behind politics, business and culture.

It is a story of one young man’s life as he matures, makes choices (both good and bad) and learns that the arrow once shot may be caught: the choice to live or die is ultimately left up to an individual.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Star Trek X 2 and Aliens


It’s no secret that I’m a huge Star Trek fan.  I’ve been watching the franchise since it first aired on NBC beginning in 1966 with the original series starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelley.
 

Since Star Trek has been around so long it’s very seldom that something new associated or inspired by the original series appears.


The Art Of Juan Ortiz Star Trek from Titan Books is one of those instances.


I was unfamiliar with Ortiz’s work until I visited Titan’s website and spotted the cover to the oversize hardbound book.  After looking at a few preview images from the book I knew I had to get a copy to review.  Which I did.


Ortiz has managed to take each and every episode of the original series and present them as individual poster art.  His work in this compilation reminds me of the movie posters seen during the 1940s, 1950s and especially the 1960s.  Each piece looks as if it is silk screened with bold flat colors, stark images and eye-catching images.


While the pieces emulate bygone era art the designs are very much 21st Century.  Ortiz is a master of color and composition and if my guess is right he also is proficient in Photoshop and Illustrator.


Whatever his technique(s), I love the art is this book.  It’s quirky, kitsch and perfect for Star Trek The Original Series.


Over the course of the last 40 plus years the history of the Star Trek history has been hinted about.  The Star Trek franchise has done a good job of introducing elements of the history of Star Trek (specifically The Federation) but in bits and pieces.


The Enterprise TV series introduced the most history but no single Star Trek show or movie has delved deeply into the complete history of The Federation for its first 150 years.


Titan Books and David A. Goodman have done just that.


Star Trek Federation The First 150 Years begins with Zefram Cockrane’s historic Warp flight and Earth’s first meeting with the Vulcans and continues up until Captain Kirk’s command of the Enterprise.


Readers get to witness the birth of The Federation, the meeting of key alien races: including the Vulcan’s, Romulans and Klingons, get to explore an expanding universe as provided by Warp Drive and see the birth of the Phaser, the Transporter, Tricorder, the first starships and (unfortunately) the various wars between planets.


Extremely comprehensive and thorough the book fills in all the gaps left empty by the various Star Trek shows and movies and gives reads the full lowdown on The Federation, its members, its mission and a quick glimpse into its expanding future.


For a different sort of science fiction series be sure to pick up a copy of Lee Brimmicombe-Wood’s’ Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual.


Of all of the Alien movies I like Aliens the best.  James Cameron’s Aliens (the second movie in the Alien franchise) has everything: deadly Aliens, Colonial Marines, big weapons, big ships, a powerful tough female lead and plenty of action, horror and suspense.  What’s not to like?


The Technical Manual takes readers through the world of the Colonial Marines.  You’ll learn about uniforms, weapons, military procedures and command, spacecraft, land vehicles, ground support, technical devices, Alien encounters and more.


The book is filled with technical illustrations and stats, photos and schematics.  If you have the hankering to take on some Aliens then this is the book for you.  Study it and commit it to memory and it just may save your life. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

en Concert and Here We Go AGAIN


I am continually impressed by the work of the creative team behind the Zits comic strip: Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman.  “Why?”  Since you asked, I’ll tell you. 

Ask a high school teacher I can’t help but be impressed that they get it right when it comes to teenagers.

Jeremy (the star of the series) and his friends act like typical teenagers:  self-absorbed, insecure, haughty, demanding, rude, clueless, loud, awkward, besieged by hormones and testosterone and confident that their parents are totally out of touch.  Sounds like teenagers to me.

In en Concert Zits takes on parents, teen lust, music, cell phones, homework and every other conceivable teenage do and don’t imaginable.  For a healthy dose of what it means to be a teenager in the 21st Century be sure to check out en Concert.

For a totally different beast who shares many of the same attributes as teenagers: an insatiable appetite, messy manners, social awkwardness, clueless and a totally unrealistic view of life, pick up a copy of Jim Toomey’s newest Sherman’s Lagoon Collection: Here We Go again, starring Sherman the shark and his aquatic friends.

In Here We Go AGAIN Sherman and his fishy friends go fishing, ward off clownfish, practice Yoga and generally muck up their undersea society.

It’s illogical, comical and completely lovable.  Take a big bite of fishy fun with Sherman’s Lagoon from Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Fangoria #330, February



INTERVIEW: DONALD SUTHERLAND When he traveled to Venice for Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now,” the result was a creepy classic. Plus: others from the actor’s scary résumé.
RETROSPECTIVE: “PET SEMATARY,” PART TWO More from Fango’s man on the scene when Stephen King’s best seller hit the screen.
PREVIEW: “DEVIL’S DUE” The mock-shockumentary from the Radio Silence collective is pregnant with possibilities.
PREVIEW: “CHEAP THRILLS”: THE FILMMAKERS Director E.L. Katz and producer Travis Stevens pose a cinematic dare you’ll want to take.
PREVIEW: “CHEAP THRILLS”: THE CAST AND WRITERS Their collaborative effort reveals the darkest sides of human nature.
PREVIEW: “TORTURE CHAMBER” Surrealism rather than sadism is the hallmark of filmmaker Dante Tomaselli’s latest outing.
PREVIEW: “RAZE” If you’re looking for an actress to anchor a fighting-females flick, you can’t beat Zoë Bell.
INTERVIEW: JACKIE KONG With little money but a lot of connections, she willed an ’80s creature feature into “Being.”
INTERVIEW: SHARNI VINSON When intruders attack in “You’re Next,” the Aussie actress battles right back.
PREVIEW: “BIG BAD WOLVES” Israeli auteurs Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado dig deep into horrific crime and punishment.
INTERVIEW: DAVID CRONENBERG As serial-killing Dr. Decker, he brought human evil to the monster community of “Nightbreed.” Plus: Doug Bradley recalls his days amidst the ’breed.
INTERVIEW: ANNE BOBBY More than 20 years after she first occupied Midian, the actress is back supporting its denizens.
INTERVIEW: CLIVE BARKER & MARK MILLER At long last, they’re seeing “Nightbreed” released as Barker intended. Plus: Russell Cherrington on the restoration.
INTERVIEW: JOE BERLINGER It was “Paradise Lost” indeed for the documentarian when he took the helm of “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.”
INTERVIEW: BOB MURAWSKI With Grindhouse Releasing, he’s bringing “Cannibal Holocaust” into the hi-def age. Plus: a survey of other flesheating favorites.
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: “REEL ZOMBIES” What happens when an indie undead shoot is invaded by the real thing?
WEIRD WORDS: “CREEPER” Our latest short-story entry explores love gone very, very wrong.
INTERVIEW: NICK PERCIVAL His painted nightmares have graced Fango covers, Barker and Marvel comics and more.
FIRST RITES When David met Clive
POSTAL ZONE On Roger, “Return” and retrospectives
MONSTER INVASION Previews of “Vampire Academy,” “Hysterical Psycho” and “Darkroom,” plus the 2014 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards ballot!
THE VIDEO EYE OF DR. CYCLOPS Reviews of “We Are What We Are,” “Cat People,” “Toad Road” and others
NIGHTMARE LIBRARY Reviews of Nick Cutter’s “The Troop,” Weston Ochse’s “Age of Blood” and Greydon Clark’s “On the Cheap”
MONSTER OF THE MONTH Matthew Bennell in 1978’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”
DUMP BIN DIARIES “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain



Where do you get over four hours of frantic, in-your-face, freaky, fun?  Why Warner Bros.’ new Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain DVD The Complete Series DVD collection of course!
 

After Acme Labs closes Pinky and The Brain are sent to a pet shop.  Elmyra Duff, the over-enthusiastic, annoying and slightly off-her-rocker pet lover happens to be visiting the pet shop that day to adopt a little turtle.  Which she does.  Little does she realize that Pinky and The Brain are hidden within the turtle’s shell-until she gets home.


Once discovered Elmyra’s love for critters takes over and Pinky and The Brain finds themselves the center of Elmyra’s unbridled attention which results in some of the strangest (and most embarrassing) signs of affection ever conceived.


Stuck in an uncomfortable situation, Pinky and The Brain endure while they continue their plans for world domination.


The 2-disc collection contains the complete 13 episodes of Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain which includes such classic episodes as the Christmas-themed ‘Yule Be Sorry’ and ‘Fun, Time and Space’ where Pinky and The Brain test out the Black Hole Theory.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Previews, February 2014



COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Rachel Rising #25 l Abstract Studios
Afterlife With Archie Volume 1: Escape From Riverdale TP l Archie Comics
Uber Volume 1 TP l Avatar Press
Caliban #1 l Avatar Press
Dead Letters #1 l BOOM! Studios
Regular Show Volume 1 TP l BOOM! Studios
Solar: Man of the Atom #1 l D. E./Dynamite Entertainment
Flash Gordon #1 l D. E./Dynamite Entertainment
xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 1 GN l Kodansha Comics
Archer Coe Volume 1 GN l Oni Press
Shadowman: End Times #1 l Va liant Entertainment
Escapo HC l Z2 Comics


BOOKS
Jeffrey Brown: Kids Are Weird: Observations From Parenthood HC l Humor
Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters SC l Movie/TV
Godzilla: The Art of Destruction HC l Movie/TV
The Klingon Art of War HC l Star Trek

MAGAZINES
Marvel Chess Figurine Collection #7: Red Skull Black King l Eaglemoss
Marvel Chess Figurine Collection #8: Thor White Bishop l Eaglemoss
Marvel Fact Files Special #3: Captain America l Eaglemoss

TRADING CARDS
Topps 2014 Baseball Series 2 l Topps Company
Bowman 2014 Football Trading Cards l Topps Compa ny
The Walking Dead Season 3 Part 2 Trading Cards l Cryptozoic Entertainment
Marvel Universe 2014 Trading Cards l Rittenhouse Archives
Star Wars Chrome: Perspectives Trading Cards l Topps Company

APPAREL
Deadpool: “Question Mark” Red T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Deadpool Pop Text Snap Back Cap l Previews Exclusive Wear
Zenescope: “Oz: The Emerald City” Charcoal T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Doctor Who: “Gallifrey Stands” Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
The Walking Dead: “Daryl Walker” Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Marvel Heroes: “Twelve Up” Charcoal T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
DC Comics: “Harley Quinn Diamonds” Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Thunderbolts Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Adventure Time: “Gunter” Large Print Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Star Wars: “Ray of Hope” Red T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Harley Quinn: Loves by Amanda Conner T-Shirt l Graphitti Designs
Batman: Pearls by Marc Silvestri T-Shirt l Graphitti Designs

TOYS & STATUES
Dc Multiverse 4-Inch Action Figures l DC Heroes
Power Rangers: Legendary Nippon Edition Megazord l Movie/TV
Gentle Giant: Zombie Venom Mini-Bust l Marvel Heroes
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon 1/4-Scale Statue l The Walking Dead

IMPORT TOYS
Danger Room Sessions: Juggernaut Fine Art Statue l Kotobukiya
Toho 12-Inch Series: Mothra “1961” Vinyl Figure l Godzilla
Toho 12-Inch Series: Godzilla “2003” Vinyl Figure l Godzilla
DC Comics Variant Play Arts Kai Action Figures l DC Heroes
DC Hero: Sofubi Superman Figures l DC Heroes
Doctor Who: The Other Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver l Doctor Who
Attack on Titan: Levi Nendoroid l Nendoroids
Super Mario: Luigi Nendoroid l Nendoroids
AK: Dead Cosmonaut Golovorez Figure l Threea
Street Fighter IV: Chun-Li (Ver. 2.0) RAH l Video Games
Street Fighter IV: Cammy RAH l Video Games
Mothra S.H.Monster Arts Figure l Tamashii Nations

COLLECTIBLES & NOVELTIES
Batman: Arkham Asylum Bust Banks l Batman
Halo: Light Up Cortana Chip Keychain l Halo
Breaking Bad: 6-Inch Bobble Heads l Movie/Tv

GAMES
Marvel HeroClix: Deadpool l Wizkids/Neca
Marvel HeroClix: X-Men Days Future of Past l Wizkids/Neca

DVDS & DIGITAL MEDIA
Archer Season 4 l Animation
Transformers Armada: The Complete Series l Animation
Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor l Doctor Who