Friday, August 28, 2015

Gotham The Complete First Season

Ask any ordinary man, woman, boy or girl on the street about the origin of Batman and most can tell you.  His rich, socialite parents were killed by an armed robber one night in a back alley of Gotham City.  Vowing to fight crime and stop such a tragic event from ever happening again to others young Bruce Wayne takes on the mantle of the Batman to fight crime.

In the TV and movie world nothing much is said about Bruce Wayne's early life from just after his parents are killed until he became the Batman.   Time seems to skip from his parent's death to his becoming the Batman.

Exactly what happened during those intervening years?  How did a young boy transform into the Dark Knight?  What was it like growing up an orphan, albeit a rich one?  How did Bruce's butler, Alfred, fit into the picture? 

How did the close relationship between Batman and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon start?  How did the police deal with crime before the Batman appeared?

Most importantly where did all the super villains come from?  What made them? Who made them?  How did Gotham City become so corrupt and dangerous?

Those are just a few of the questions that begin to be answered in the First Season of the Gotham TV series.
Warner Bros. presents Gotham The Complete First Season Blu-ray/Digital HD collection. 
Viewers witness the beginning of the Batman saga, Catwoman's genesis, the Penguin's rise to power, the formation of a criminal organization in Gotham, Bruce's early attempts to help the city rebuild, Jim Gordon's early turbulent career and an introduction to Detective Harvey Bullock.

It's all there and much more in this thrilling new episode collection that brings to light more of the Dark Knight's past.  It's dark, it's atmospheric and it's must-see entertainment.

Extras include featurettes about Gotham City, its villains and police along with character profiles.  Look for deleted scenes, a special Comic-Con presentation and a gag reel.

80's 90's Trivia Game and Movies Trivia Game

As if I didn't feel old enough, Outset Media comes out with two new trivia games that just verifies that fact.  But that's OK.  At least I can play theses games and better yet...WIN!

It sure is nice to sit down with family and friends and play two games that don't require a monitor or TV screen, a game console or the dexterity of an octopus to use a controller.

Face it. Most of us over a certain age try to play a video game and discover we lack the dexterity and speed to master the controller.  Before we know it,,,,BANG!...we're dead if we play a shooter game or time runs out before we can move.

Give me a good ol' board or card game and I'm pleased as punch.

Outset Media makes games easy to play and a lot of fun.

Both their 80's 90's and Movies Trivia Games consist of two decks of cards with various questions broken into categories about their particular subject.

Two or more players can play the game.  Here's how simple they are.

Players write down their name or initials in a column down the side of a blank sheet of paper.  Across the top they write the categories.

Starting with the oldest player, the questions are then asked in a clockwise direction.  The player on the right of the person who draws the card asks the questions.

The player who answers two questions correctly in each category first wins the game.  My kind of game.

But, hold on-it's not as easy as it seems.  Answering the questions separates the true trivia masters from the rest. 

So dust off your trivia hat, fire up your brain, kick start your memory and get ready to relive the 80's and 90's and test your knowledge of movies.

I guarantee you'll have a great time. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Age Of Adaline

Imagine suffering a near-fatal accident and after recovering discovering that you've stopped aging.

That's the precise behind Liongate's new film now on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD that follows Adaline as she struggles to keep her secret and her passions in check for 80 years.

But, when she meets a charming man and his parents, she is forced to confront her destiny and open her heart to new possibilities.

Blake Lively, Michael Huisman and Kathy Baker along with Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn combine their considerable acting abilities to bring 'The Age Of Adaline' to life.

Extras include several featurettes, deleted scenes and commentaries.

Learn what it means to fall in love after 80 years.  It's unforgettable, heart-felt and a true story of faith and love.


Rev it, gas it, pedal to the metal and hit the road with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as they go mobile in a brand new set of miniature vehicles.

Get ready for talking Mikey as he roars down the speedway in his custom Extreme Monster Truck!

Perched atop his chrome wheel, solid black with gold trim beast of a truck, Mikey revs up the oversize exposed engine, blasts out flames from the eight exhaust pipes and listens to the engine roar as the truck speeds down the fairway.

Push a button and various sounds come from the miniature mean machine.  Push it again and Mikey speaks.  Hit the road!

Leo flies down the roadway in his customized turtle shell Stealth Bike complete with oversize chassis, three wheels and just enough room so Leo can swing his swords.  Trimmed in chrome and blue this Stealth Bike is anything but sneaky.

Mikey hops in his Hot Rod with its metallic orange wheels, Woody body, eight exhaust pipes trimmed in chrome, chrome grill, fire engine red engine and aqua cab. 

These babies are meant for speed. They may be small in scale but big on playability!  All are made of tough, durable plastic and metal and roll easily for long and high powered races.  Give 'em some gas and watch 'em go!

The Garage & Lair play set from Playmates Toys offers two levels of play.  Check out he street level lift, lain gate and lair and the sewer tunnel on the first level.  The second level includes a surface street, a garage door activation device. a street store cutout for realism and don't forget the Raph in a T-Rawket.

Bright, bold and built for play the T-Machines Garage & Lair is painted and decaled to match something you'd see from a TMNT movie or carton show.  It's two levels of playing pleasure!  It's time to explore the Turtles world!

Everything Is OK

I'm retired.  I'm 62.  I'm not a kid anymore.  My priorities have changed.

Last night I work up around 1 PM and started thinking about my life, my goals, my family, my faith and ultimately about the end of my life.

For years I struggled with wanting to become a comic book artist only to discover I didn't have what it took: the drive, the patience and most importantly the willingness to dedicate the majority of my life to a single pursuit.

Don't get me wrong.  I've had a good life.  I managed to make a living in the graphic design and commercial art fields and teaching.  There have been some ups and down for sure but I can't complain.

I married a wonderful woman, I have two great kids, I live in a nice house (not luxurious, but comfortable), my mortgage is paid off, my wife and I have our health and are living on a adequate pension and retirement program and most important of all, we both know that Heaven will be our ultimate destination.

I'm a Christian. I make no apologies for that.  I know that God wants everyone to be saved and go to Heaven.  Some people do bad things (and here's what's remarkable to me) he still loves them.

Contrary to what is shown on TV and movies, Christians (true Christians) don't hate anyone.  We may disagree. But we don't hate.

Ultimately we can't tell people how to live. That's something that has be dealt with between God and other people.  We can only tell them of God's love and his plan for salvation and leave it at that.  What happens after that point is between God and them.

As I've grown older my priorities have changed.

It used to be I was jealous of other people's artwork and I didn't like to show off my own because I was afraid of criticism.  Both conditions stemmed from early childhood experiences.  But that's another story.

Now, I've finally come to peace with the my life.  Everything is OK.
God bless the people with tremendous drawing, painting or artistic talent.  Good for them. Especially the young people.

I'm perfectly content dabbling in art.  If something gets done-great!  If not, what does it matter in the larger scope of things?

I'm enjoying spending time with my wife and family.  I get to sleep late.  I don't have to be in a hurry.  And...I can be lazy if I want to.  

My passion has shifted.  Instead of laboring and trudging through life trying to make a living and create, create, create, I enjoy a good book, a pleasant walk, eating out with my wife and friends, attending church and just being still.

My review website and blog have now become my creative outputs.

There is nothing more satisfying and rewarding than reading, perusing and examining various review items.  I really enjoy offering my opinion and from the burgeoning traffic numbers of both my website and blog evidently my readers do to.

I'm so grateful for all of you who have supported me over the years. Thank you to the various companies who have been so generous with their review samples and to those readers who offer their encouragement and constructive criticism.

As I said, I've had (and have) a good life.  Now excuse me while I go back to enjoying what I have left of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Star Trek Costumes

Robert Blackman provides the foreword to Paula M. Block’s and Terry J. Erdmann’s and Insight Editions’ hardbound book: Star Trek Costumes.

Celebrating ‘Five Decades Of Fashion From The Final Frontier’ the books examines the various costumes seen in all the Star Trek films and TV series.

As a fan of Star Trek since its original airing in 1966 I was, and am, impressed about how functional and eloquent Star Trek costumes are/were.

The original series broke all sci-fi costume conventions by having uniform and outfits that were simple, functional and looked like the matched perfectly with whatever human or alien was wearing them.

Of course the primary colors, simplistic details and design had a lot to do with the then current state of TV production.  Color TV was at its infancy and bold, bright and simple designs showed up best on the small screen.  Those elements also applied to sets, aliens, worlds and ships.

As the years progressed from the 1960s TV series to the movies and subsequent new TV series costumes became more refined yet still retained their clean and functional look.

What makes this book especially ‘fascinating’ (to quote a certain Vulcan) is that it contains outstanding color photos of costumes (some standalone and some on actors) along with interesting text pieces highlighting facts about the costumes and when they appeared.

This is far more than a book just about clothing, it is about a cultural phenomenon that has influenced TV shows and films since its inception.

Turn each page slowly, relish the photos, immerse yourself into the text and relive history in the making.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutations Leonardo

It never ceases to amaze me that two young men: Eastman and laird, who created a simple tribute to comic book artist Frank Millers work on Ronin for DC Comics, would spawn and entire industry.

Back in the 1980s Eastman and Laird produced a small-run, black and white comic book starring four martial arts turtles drawn in a style emulating Frank Miller’s pencils and inks on Ronin.

The story goes that a toy executive from Playmates Toys happened into a comic book shop and spotted the first issue on the stands.  Inspiration struck and after contacting Eastman and Laird it was decided to launch a new animated TV series promoting a new line of action figures: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

30 years later the Turtles are still around and kids still love them.  Part of the reason is that they constantly reinvent themselves, primarily through new toy releases and animated series and movies.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the mainstay of Playmates Toys and it appears there is no end in sight from the toy line or the series.

Recently Playmates released a new line of TMNT toys called: Mutations.

One of (several) Mutations variations includes the various turtles turning into their trademark weapons.

In the case of Leonardo, the sword-wielding amphibian literally turns into a pair of swords.  Pretty amazing!

A few clicks, turns and detachments and Leonardo splits down the middle and transforms into two kid-size, eight-inch swords.  Just as quickly he can transforms back into his turtle form that also includes two downscaled swords he can hold.

Like all of the TMNT action figures consumers can expect high quality sculpting, color and paint application and above all-child safety.

The half-lid, flip-open container shows Leonardo off at his finest while a flip-open, left-side panel reveals to kids a simple to understand photographic sequence Leonardo’s transformation.

It’s time to mutate and the TMNT invite kids to come along!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Encyclopedia Of Superheroes On Film And Television

With the plethora of superhero movies and TV shows produced in the last ten years or so the general public has become enamored with the genre.
The majority of movie and TV viewers picture superheroes in film and TV as something new and the current 'in thing.)
But, did you know that superheroes have been in film since the introduction of Superman and when TV came along it wasn't long before they had their own TV shows?
If you take into account the old Pulp magazines beginning in the 1920s the predecessors of superheroes such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider, Tarzan, John Carter, Conan, etc. actually appeared in film almost from the onset of the industry, beginning with silent films.
So superheroes in film and on TV are nothing new-it's just that they have become very poplar primarily since technology has caught up with the visuals seen in superhero comic books for decades.
Of course it doesn't hurt that superheroes are among the top money-making properties for movie studios and superhero TV shows garner audiences from all age brackets.
McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers and author and archivist John Kenneth Muir successfully compiled a complete  list of superhero movies and TV series up until 2008 with their Second Edition of The Encyclopedia Of Superheroes On Film And Television that lists, in astonishing detail, every fact, story synopsis and concept behind each project.
For the ultimate lowdown on the film and video appearances of familiar superheroes, and some original creations, be sure to pick up a copy.

Monday, August 24, 2015

3 MechartoWeGo and First Ship

Get ready for cute as Hasegawa Hobby Kits presents, straight from Japan, its latest 1:35 Scale model kits consisting of three in the series: the Chubu MechartoWeGo Mecharobots!

These adorable child-size robot transports are especially built for kids to transport them to school, soccer practice, after-school activities and carpooling.

Not only do they make great transports but super baby-sitters.  No more chasing after your kids or worrying about them playing outside or getting in trouble.  The Chubu MechartoWeGo Mecharobots take all the muss and fuss out of parenting. 

Just imagine more time to yourself and no more trudging to and fro to kids' events!  Let the Chubu MechartoWeGo Mecharobots do all the work and still get the kids home in time for supper!

Kids and parents love them!  Why before you know it your kids will be grown up and gone and you never had to lift a finger.  Now that's convenience!  Now what were your kids' names?

Three kits make up the set: No.01 Aka & Kiiro RD/YW (2 kits), MechartoWeGo No.02 Milk & CaCao (2 kits) and MechartoWeGo No.03 Mizuiro & Momorio (2 kits).

Pre-painted and easy to assemble, the Chubu MechartoWeGo Mecharobots make the perfect project for beginner model makers. 

Parts detach easily from their part trees with little flashing or fuss and after a few minutes you'll have your very own Chubu MechartoWeGo Mecharobots complete with moving joins, heads that open and both girl and boy figures!

The Arcadia First Ship piloted by Captain Harlock is much more streamlined battleship than Harlock's later ships.  But that doesn't make is less formidable.

Look for plenty of fire power with offensive and defensive weapons along with a propulsion system few ships (if any) can match.

Measuring in at a whopping 1:1500 Scale the Arcadia, once painted its battleship green/gray with its skull and crossbones bone white bow and side decorations, makes for a frightening sight in space.

Perched on its oversize stand the ship looks like it is in space flight. 

Check out the massive deck artillery, powerful rear engines and lofty bridge with its various detection and communication devices.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

It's almost unheard of when a classic movie franchise is updated, recast and directed by its original creator and director to surpass the original.  But, that's exactly what Mad Max: Fury Road has done and its all due to the original Mad Max movie director, George Miller.

In Fury Road Miller has re-imagined and reinvigorated the original Mad Max film franchise with stunning new sets, vehicles, visual and practical special effects and a brand new actors, among them Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.  Imagine having all new technical toys to play with.  Miller let his imagination run wild and it shows.

Some critics are even saying that it is 'the best action movie ever made."  After seeing it I have to hardily agree.

"How did they do that?"  That's the big question you'll ask yourself as you watch this spectacular post-apocalyptic movie.  Physical effects, digital effects, sound effects and the acting all combine to make this the best Mad Max movie ever.

Mad Max decides to stay to himself in order to survive.  But when he meets up with a ragtag group of wanderers fleeing the Citadel and its sadistic leader, he reluctantly joins their band never imagining that he has stepped in the most violent and spectacular Road War imaginable.

Warner Bros. presents the Mad Max: Fury Road Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack that also includes several featurettes about making the movie, deleted scenes and more.
It's time to hit the road: the Fury Road.  Get ready for one **** of a ride!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Silver Age Of Comic Book Art Revised Edition

Artist/writer/designer Arlen Schumer loves old comic books.  So much so that he lectures around the country talking about them, especially the Silver Age comic books and artists.
His book, The Silver Age Of Comic Book Art, has been around for awhile and is highly-prized by Silver age comic book fans such as myself.
Recently Arlen updated and revised his book (published by Archway Publishing) including a whole new section on additional comic book artists from that era.
The book is a visual treat as it delves into the stellar work of such comic book greats as Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Gene Colan, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert and Carmine Infantino.
Any Silver age fan worth his or her weight in newspaper print knows about the breakout work on such titles as Deadman, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, The Flash, The Fantastic Four, Sgt. Rock, Nick Fury, Green Lantern and other projects that benefited from their creativity.
In this revised edition comic book artists Murphy Anderson, Wally Wood, John Buscema, Nick Cardy and Curt Swan are given their just dues.
Hawkman, Superman, The Avengers, The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and The Teen Titans are just a few of the titles they worked on.

Filled with colorful illustrations and accompanied by insider and informative text the book is a 'must-have' for any comic book collector. 

Avengers Age Of Ultron Black Widow and Hawkeye

Before I begin this review of the Avengers Age of Ultron Black Widow and Hawkeye figures I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sideshow Collectibles/Hot Toys for providing the 1/6th scale figures for review.  It is most appreciated.

To start things off I want to review some common elements and particulars common to both figures and the best place to start is with the packaging.

The 1/6th sale figures come securely packaged in what is essentially a five-tier system.

The first tier consists of a rugged heavy gauge cardboard box with flaps at both ends secured by shipping tape.

The inner display box slides in the shipping box snugly thus protecting it from any bumps or damage.

The inner display box consists of four parts.  The outer slip-sleeve consists of a lighter cardboard material printed in black and red with a duo-tone close-up of the individual characters as seen in the film.  A large ‘A’ crosses the portrait reversing the photo and giving it a pleasant contrast design. 

Either The Avengers logo or the individual figure enclosed logo decorates all sides printed in silver foil.

The outer sleeve has a tri-flap at each end that can be opened once the tape seal is broken.
The form-fitting clear plastic two-tier protective inner container comes in two parts.  The inner part has the figure secured in place in its inner molding with a plastic and foam strap keeping the figure’s head stationary. 

Legs, arms, hands and torsos have lightweight plastic sleeves protecting them from rubbing and abrasion and weapons, accessories and extra hands are also secured in place in their open cubbyholes and (in the case of Hawkeye’s bow) are secured with a small slipover plastic shield. Figure posing and accessory placement instructions are included.

The entire inner container has a slipover cover piece that protects the figures from harm and ensures the container components don’t shift or fall out of place.

Special side and back folded slip pieces fit over the figures container's allowing them to slip easily out of their boxes.

When removing the figures and accessories gently pop the pieces out of place.  They remove with little resistance.  Be careful because many of the pieces are small and delicate.

Now on to figure articulation.  Both figures feature several points of articulation emulating a human figure.  While articulation is excellent it is restricted somewhat by the form-fitting clothing on each figure.  Don’t jerk or hastily position the figures.  These are fine pieces of sculptured art and are not meant to be tossed about or manhandled.

Wrist, knee, elbow, shoulder, head, waist, etc. articulation is smooth and makes for ease of positioning.  Ball joints are flexible making removal of hands and other limbs easy but it must be done carefully.  A simple pull and pop and body parts detach.  To replace all you need is a slight push and the parts pop back into place.  

Be aware that removing some parts shift more than just body limbs.  Parts of costumes also may be removed, such as Hawkeye’s wristbands.

Wrist, waist and neck swivel points move smoothly for easy posing.  I was especially impressed with Black Widow’s waist movement which moves and pivots like a real female waist, thus allowing the figure to ‘tilt’ at the waist and hips.

Enclosed display stands come in three parts: the base, stationary pole and stabilizing wire.
The base is six-sided with an insert cut in Avengers logo and figure name on a silver metal panel.

The poles click into place at the back of the base while the stabilizing wire slips into the pole's inner full-length slot.  By moving the stabilizing wire up and down you can position it to fit the enclosed figures allowing them to stand and pose for display purposes although the figures can stand on their own.  I recommend using the wire and base when displaying. 

Now on to the figures themselves, from top to bottom, starting with Black Widow.

Black Widow’s head and face are the most fascinating parts of this figure.  The sculpting is so precise that it matches Black Widow’s features to a tee.  Ear, nose, mouth and facial features are precise, clean and totally realistic, right down to the figure’s complexion. The eyes really draw you in with their realistic glint and moist appearance.

Widow’s hair consists of fine filament red plastic strands matching the wave and configuration of the real Widow.  Head rotation is smooth and pivots like a real head with barely any indication of a join line.

Widow’s black with blue power trim lines is form fitting and swifts and stretches with the figure.  The open, low cut upper body suit gives the figure a sexy element.  A stiff upturned collar complements the figure's head and hair.

Slightly padded shoulders lead into tapered sleeves with power gauntlets and cartridges just before the gloved hands.  Power staffs, a handgun and high-tech rifles fit easily into each hand: four configurations for each arm.  Translucent electrical power sparks fit over each hand.

The zippered jump suit tapers at the waist culminating into a utility belt (including four accessory/equipment pods) with a Black Widow logo red buckle.  The belt does shift and move and can be removed but I advise against it because the latch is quite small.

The mat and glossy black jumpsuit flows down the legs with a pistol holster on Widow’s left thigh.  Each knee is covered by a reinforced knee guard in blue and black and the feet and lower legs are shod in high-heel boots in black and accented in silver.

From the back, more shoulder and torso details are visible along with elbow guards, neck bracing and boot articulation just behind the knees.

Included with the figure are two rifles, a pistol, two sets of power wands (open and closed), a knife, six additional hands, power surges and two ball joints.

It’s easy to see why the Black Widow figure is the best selling Hot Toys figure.  It’s gorgeous and really captures the look of the film’s lead heroine.  Detailing is fantastic right down to the body suit’s texture, the facial features, accessory and weapon accuracy and realistic articulation.

The Hawkeye figure captures the likeness of the movie character perfectly (not an easy task when dealing with the slightly angular features of the actor).

The face successfully translates the ‘world weary’ look of Hawkeye right down to the slightly etched face, intense jaw and lips and heavy set eyes locked in concentration.  A slight indication of a beard peeks through on the face and the hair (while not actually fibers) is sculpted to look real with clusters and patterns much like real hair.

Articulation in all the joints, neck, hands and torso glide smoothly with no binding or stutters and with its slightly heavier frame the figure easily stands on its own without the aid of a display stand.

The uniform takes its color scheme from the comic book version of Hawkeye (black and burgundy) and with the addition of a tunic the figure has more of a ‘superhero’ feel.

The outer tunic falls just above the knees and features a ¾ length font zipper, leather and steel reinforced arm straps and padding, two vertical zippered front pockets and a wrap-over shoulder reinforcement that culminates in a waist to knee open slit for easy movement.  Various buckles and latches are strategically placed on the tunic and pants. 

A smaller inner tunic/shirt is under the outer tunic.

Black pants with three straps and buckles fit beneath black knee boots also with various straps and buckles and lower bootlaces.  Heavy treads for traction are on the boots’ soles.

The entire outfit is a well-designed combination giving the appearance of leather and fabric.
Finger gloves are on each hand with finger guards on Hawkeye’s arrow hand.

Three sets of additional hands come with the figure for holding and in the open position. 
Like the Black Widow figure the hands pop off with little effort but be mindful of Hawkeye’s wristbands that also detach.

With its high collar, long waist, knee and elbow pads and reinforced strategic areas the entire outfit has a military look befitting Hawkeye’s background.

Two bows come with the figure. One open and one closed.  Magnetic boot arrow holders, a set of long arrows, a short arrow, extra shafts and assortment of long and short arrow arrowheads and Hawkeye’s trademark sunglasses are also included. 

Clothing shifts and moves easily over the figure.  Hawkeye easily holds both bows and arrows and with the customized quiver on Hawkeye’s back all of the arrows can be put in place for quick access. Be especially careful with the arrows because they are long and slender and it can be a bit tedious putting them in the quiver.  A special slide in back attachment allows the quiver to be attached at an angle to Hawkeye’s upper back.

Both figures are truly remarkable examples of Hot Toys attention to the minutest detail.  Sculpting is topnotch as is the attention given to clothing the figures.

Priced slightly above $200 each, the figures may seems slightly expensive but for the quality of workmanship they are well worth it. I’m surprised the cost is as low as it. 

Although they are 1/6th scale figures, they are not toys.  They are collectible figures every bit as impressive as any piece of high-end sculpture.  True artists have created these figures and the talent behind them is second to none.

I've worked in the graphic design and commercial art fields for years.  I can appreciate the technical and design skills behind each figure.  Is it any wonder that Hot Toys figures are considered the best in the business?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

King Of The Comics

Leave it to writer/cartoonist/creator of Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis, to claim he's the 'King Of The Comics, in the new Pearls Before Swine Collection from Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Stephan and his animal comrades: Rat, Pig, Goat and, Crocs and Zebra team up for some misadventures and mayhem, A-hoy!
From slightly twisted and tweaked nursery rhymes to penguin and polar bear hide-and-go-seek to politically incorrect poker follow the animal antics of Pearls before Swine as they take a swipe at the status quo and a jab at normal.
It's time to 'flip the bird' at Pig.

Preview, September 2015

Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel HC l Abrams Comicarts
Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess Volume 1 TP l Action Lab Entertainment
Crossed: Dead Or Alive #1 l Avatar Press Inc
Klaus #1 l Boom! Studios
Cyanide & Happiness: Stab Factory TP l Boom! Studios
Webwitch #1 l Boundless Comics
James Bond: VARGR #1 l D. E./Dynamite Entertainment
Bob’s Burgers: Medium Rare TP l D. E./Dynamite Entertainment
Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron HC l Fantagraphics Books
Die Wergelder GN l Kodansha Comics
Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift #1 l Legendary Comics
Exodus: The Life After #1 l Oni Press Inc.
Wrath pf the Eternal Warrior #1 l Valiant Entertainment Llc
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency Volume 1 HC l Viz Media Llc

Pirelli Calendar: 50 Years & More HC l Art Books - Photography
The Little Book of Batman Flexicover l Comics
The Little Book of Superman Flexicover l Comics
The Little Book of Wonder Woman Flexicover l Comics
Doc Savage: The New Adventures Volume 10: The Sinister Shadow SC l Pulp Heroes
Star Trek Pop-Ups HC l Star Trek

DC Super Hero Collection #1: Batman l Eaglemoss
DC Super Hero Collection #2: Superman l Eaglemoss
Marvel Fact Files Cosmic Special #2: Star-Lord l Eaglemoss
Star Trek Starships Collection Special #5: USS Kelvin l Eaglemoss

Topps 2015 Platinum Football Trading Cards l Topps Company
Arrow Season Two Trading Cards l Cryptozoic Entertainment

Army of Darkness: Groovian Man Silver T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Jurassic World: Baby Tricerotops Zoo Green T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Guardians of the Galaxy: Chakka Chakka Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Star Trek: United Federation of Planets Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
TMNT: Eastman & Laird Comic Trip Black T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Mega Man: Mega Man Shooting Royal Heather T-Shirt l Previews Exclusive Wear
Batman: The Long Halloween By Sale T-Shirt l Graphitti Designs
Harley Quinn: Mask By Conner T-Shirt l Graphitti Designs

The Walking Dead Building Set: Dale’s RV l Image Comics
Four Horsies Of The Pocalypse: Little Maddie 6-Inch Figure l Designer Toys
POP! Arkham Knight Vinyl Figures l Funko
Mortal Kombat X 6-Inch Action Figures l Mortal Kombat
Predator: Jungle Hunter 1/4-Scale Action Figure l Movie/Tv

Marvel Now: Magik Artfx+ Statue l Kotobukiya
Dragonball Z: Super Saiyan Son Goku S.H.Figuarts l Dragonball Z
Dragonball Z: Super Saiyen Trunks DOD Figure l Dragonball Z
Sailor Moon: Spiral Heart Moon Rod Proplica l Sailor Moon
Tokyo Ghoul: Ken Kaneki PVC Figure l Treasures Of Akihabara
Bakemodogatari: Hitagi Senjougahara RAH l Anime
Terraformars: Akari Hizamaru Nendoroid l Anime
Zillions of Enemy X: Luxuria 1/8-Scale PVC Figure l Anime
Attack on Titan: Jean Kirstein RAH l Attack On Titan
Bruce Lee Figma l Bruce Lee
DC Comics Variant Play Arts Kai: Batman Steampunk l DC Heroes
DC Comics Variant Play Arts Kai: Catwoman Tetsuya l DC Heroes
Gundam Unicorn Banshee Norn 02 1/60-Scale Figure l Gundam
Hatsune Miku Play Arts Kai Tetsuya l Hatsune Miku
Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Venom l Marvel Heroes
Metal Action #2: Braincondor Greatmazinger l Metal Action
Metal Action #2: Braincondor Greatmazinger Body l Metal Action
Metal Action #3: Mazinger Z Jetpilder l Metal Action
Metal Action #5: Mazinkaiser Pilder l Metal Action
Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain Play Arts Kai: Ocelot l Metal Gear Solid
Soul of Chogokin DX Great Mazinger Figure l Soul Of Chogokin
TMNT: Michelangelo PVC Figure l Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Titanfall: IMC Battle Rifle Pilot 1/6-Scale Figure l Threea/Threezero

Star Wars: Carbonite Han Solo Back Buddy l Star Wars
Cthulhu Molded Mug l Cthulhu
Marvel: Infinity Gauntlet Bank l Marvel Heroes
Marvel Heroes: Thanos Head Bank l Marvel Heroes
Marvel: Infinity Gauntlet Gold Pewter Keyring l Marvel Heroes
Star Trek: Captain Kirk Coll Statue Bookend l Star Trek

Magic the Gathering: Arena Of Planeswalkers Boardgame l Hasbro - Boy’s Gaming
Monopoly Oversized Token Vinyl Banks l Usaopoly
DC Heroclix: Superman/Wonder Woman l Wizkids/Neca

Marvel Dice Masters: Amazing Spider-Man l Wizkids/Neca

Monday, August 17, 2015

Legion Of Doom and Monster Mayhem

Warner Bros./DC Comics presents two new original animated movies starring DC Comics' famous superheroes:   Batman and the Justice League.

Fans of LEGO are sure to get a kick out of the new LEGO/DC Comics' Justice League Attack Of The Legion Of Doom.

Trouble is brewing when Lex Luthor, fed up with Superman and his fellow superheroes, decides to form his own super team: The Legion Of Doom.

Lex, along with Black Manta, Sinestro and other bad guys join forces to attack Area 52.  What are their plans and what do they expect to find?  Could it spell danger for the Justice League and the world?

Discover what happens when superheroes take on super villains in a no-holds barred slugfest courtesy of DC Comics and LEGO.

Look for plenty of fisticuffs and fun as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the other members of the Justice League meet their match.  Blur-ray/DVD/Digital HD extras include creating the sound design for the movie.

For a slightly more serious and sinister note be sure to pick up a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD original movie starring Batman as he takes on the Joker and his sinister supernatural criminals during Halloween.

In Batman Unlimited Monster Mayhem, Batman, Green Arrow, Red Robin, Nightwing and Cyborg fight the clock as the try to stop the Joker from infecting Gotham City's technology with his digital laughter.

But, with Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, Clayface and Silver Banshee on his side can the Joker's plot be foiled?

The Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime face off in a classic battle of wits and witticisms in Monster Mayhem.

Extras include two new featurettes and a classic cartoon from DC Comics Vault.

Count on Warner Bros. animation to produce the best of the best DC animated features with great art, solid stories, perfect voice talent and stunning musical scores and sound effects.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Website, Retirement and Waiting

Recently I pulled up some website traffic statistics for my website,, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

According to numerous tracking sites my daily traffic fluctuates between 100,000 to 500,000 per day.  Add that to my blog's daily visitors and it racks up to be some pretty impressive stats.

I also pulled up a global location traffic saturation chart and according to it my website has heavy traffic in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, parts of Europe, the Middle East and Far East.  Africa's and South America's traffic are good but not heavy.  Not bad.

Now if I could only convince more manufacturers and publishers to provide more review material and possibly some ad revenue then things would be great.

I've been retired just over two months and I have to say, "I wish I had retired earlier."

It's nice sleeping in when I want to.  Not having to worry about getting things done quickly and getting to spend time with my wife, family and friends is pretty special.  I've even managed to get somethings done around the house (much to my wife's delight) and get more exercise-especially riding my bike and playing tennis.

I've even managed to drop 10 pounds and lower my blood pressure.

Although am a little burnt out from teaching Drawing and Commercial Art, I am starting to get back in the swing of things and starting to draw and write again-just for myself.

There's so much I want to do, but some things take time.  My website for example.

I want to write several reviews a day but unfortunately material to review doesn't keep a daily schedule.  

I'd like to travel-but, my wife and my trip to Rhode Island to visit my son and daughter-in-law won't be until September. 

Our trip to Tennessee to see the leaves change won't be until October and my trip to Michigan to see my brothers has been put off to next year.  As is our trip out West to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc.

I really want to go to more conventions and publicize my comic book characters and children's book art and scripts.  Next year's San Diego ComicCon is one place I want to attend.

I'd love to go to The International Toy Fair in New York City and various comic book, game and electronics shows.

I've got a boatload of stuff I want to sell: toys, model kits, comic books, trading cards, etc. that are taking up space in my Man Cave and garage, but selling them is going slow. Good prices-but slow.

I still hope for a Silver Age comic book find and perhaps some old toys from when I was a kid.

If there is one thing I've learned growing up, it's that there's no telling what is just around the corner.  Life is full of surprises: some good, some bad.  But, that's what's make life so interesting-surprises.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Griffin, Anti Tank and GMC

Italeri travels back to WWII and hits the road "Good Buddy" in a semi.

WWII buffs are sure to love the two new WWII figure and vehicle kits Italeri just released: Anti Tank Teams and M3 75mm GMC.

Comprised of 12 unpainted figures in all, the Anti Tank Team of figures include Russian Infantry, German Infantry, English Paratroopers and U.S. Paratroopers.

At 1:72 Scale it's surprising how much detail Italeri craftsmen manage to sculpt each figure.  Follow the simple color guides and before you know it you have accurate looking miniature figures that are perfect for military dioramas.

Speaking of dioramas. The two model 1:72 Scale M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriages looks as authentic as they come and make for great battle field dioramas.

Made of 15 parts each, the models assemble easily and with a little paint and decals you can modify them to look like two of four different U.S. and British vehicles.

'"Breaker, breaker, good buddy!  Smokey is hot on my tail and I've got a load I need to delivered pronto.  Ten four!"

Talk about trucking in style!  The Silver Griffin Scania R730 V8 Streamline semi brings a whole new meaning to driving in style.

Take a look.

Its square driver's cabin is all chrome and silver.  Five overhead lights perch on top of its cab.  Twin high beam and low beam lights decorate its front six vent grill along with dual turning signals, side trim lights, side reflectors and a smooth chassis blended bumper.

Twin lights highlight the large flat windshield featuring seamless side windows.

Large griffin symbols decorate both sides and with its massive rear cab extension the wind fairly whips around the truck cutting down on drag.

Streamline is the perfect description of the R730 with its uni-body wraparound cowling, front engine access and flat panel side panels that flow effortlessly over its massive wheels and tires.

Feeling a little rambunctious?  Sooth the beast with an alternate paint and decal scheme featuring a hawk raking its claws across the sides of the red semi-truck.

Whatever version you choose it's a breeze to put this 1:24 Scale beast together following the comprehensive assembly, decal and painting instructions.

Parts fit tightly together with near zero flashing.  Decals are no fuss and painting is no mess when you follow Italeri's instructions.  Interior and exterior details are right on the money.
"Keep on truckin'!"


One guess as to which is the #1 TV show on Network TV.  If you guessed the original NCIS TV series starring Mark Harmon as Special Agent Jethro Gibbs along with his fellow agents, then you’re right.

For 12 years the show has continued to push the boundaries of a crime/drama series and each year continues to surprise and delight viewers with unexpected and often shocking episodes, especially last and first season episode cliffhangers.

While several cast members have come and gone and key characters have either left or been killed off, the show never misses a beat because the acting and scripts are excellent.

The 12th Season just ended and CBS/Paramount has released a special Blu-ray set containing all the season’s episodes along with a Bonus Disc exclusively at Best Buy.

Join Gibbs and his crew as they battle cyber, homegrown and international terrorists and criminals in a war of wits while mixing in interesting and touching personal moments with the characters.

Serial killers, pirates and the showdown with Gibb’s nemesis: terrorist Sergei are just a few of show’s episodes.

Blu-ray extras include a slew of featurettes, behind-the-scenes, spotlights, interviews and much more.

NCIS’s popularity was bound to spawn offspring-two in fact.

First it was NCIS; Los Angeles starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J as a pair of unlikely NCIS agents, who like their city namesake, do things a bit ‘differently’.

Joined by their fellow agents they often cross the line and push boundaries as they defend their country and city from bad guys.

Celebrating its 6th Season, NCIS: Los Angeles takes on an old Cold War enemy to The Department of Justice.

The DVD collection also includes several special features including featurettes on wardrobe, turning back time, commentaries, deleted and extended scenes and so much more.

The newest NCIS show recently completed its 1st Season.  Starring Scott Bakula, Christopher LaSalle, Meredith Brody and Sebastian Lund and CCH Pounder in NCIS: New Orleans.

Travel the French Quarter and other parts of the Cajun capital of New Orleans as team leader Dwayne Cassius ‘King’ Pride leads his agents through the back streets and alleyways of The Big Easy.

If it’s strange, it’s in New Orleans as viewers see everything from vampires to Voodoo.

DVD/Digital Copy extras include a Spooktacular, the Mardi Gras, show highlights, commentaries deleted and extended scenes and a heaping serving of extras as only New Orleans can serve it up.

If you love NCIS in all of its versions then it’s time to discover what Naval Criminal Investigative Services are all about, wherever it my be.