Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Passionate

Have you ever been passionate about anything?  Do you eat, breath and exist to follow your passion?  Does your passion dictate your actions, thoughts and motivation?  Yes, to all three for me.

There are two things I am passionate about (not counting worshiping God and loving my family).

They are: writing reviews and old comic books.  Do these seem like odd passions to you?  I imagine to some they might.

But, then again, I've never understood people's passions for sports (of any kind), the arts and anything having to do with building, repairing or construction.

I love writing my reviews.  I get a kick out of examining a toy, book or whatever the pop culture item and passing on my observations to readers.  I also like reading other people's impressions.

I've loved old comic books since I was a kid.  There's something about the stories and art that strikes a cord with me.  Call it nostalgia, appreciation for creativity or reliving my childhood, whatever the reasons, to me, there is noting better than discovering old comic books and looking through them.

I love the art, the upcoming issues listings, the ads and even the letter pages.  I can't get enough of them. 
While I have a modest collection of old comic books I'm always hopeful I can find more-cheap!

I'm not one of those collectors that will pay exorbitant prices for comics books only to hoard them away without even looking at them.  I want to feel the comic book in my hands, flip through its page and breath in the slightly musky smell of its pages and cover.

I love reading about comic books, discovering their unique history and about those who created them.  I want to own every single Silver Age and Bronze Age comic books created, especially from DC and Marvel Comics.

I want  to write about them, share them with others and pass them on after I die to those who would appreciate them.  They are my passion.  What's your passion? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #725, May/June

NOVELLAS
COYOTE SONG -88- Pat MacEwen

NOVELETS
MORE HEAT THAN LIGHT -7- Charlotte Ashley
LAST OF THE SHARKSPEAKERS -28- Brian Trent
STEAMBOAT GOTHIC -152- Albert E. Cowdrey
THE LONG FALL UP -208- William Ledbetter
THE STONE WAR -231- Ted Kosmatka

SHORT STORIES
 THE NOSTALGIA CALCULATOR -63- Rich Larson
THE GREAT SILENCE –134- Allora & Calzadilla and Ted Chiang
CARIBOU: DOCUMENTARY FRAGMENTS -139- Joseph Tomaras
ASH -173- Susan Palwick
THE SECRET MIRROR OF MORIYAMA HOUSE -190- Yukimi Ogawa

DEPARTMENTS
BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -78- Charles de Lint
BOOKS -82- Elizabeth Hand
FILMS: ALTERNATING CURRENTS -183- David J. Skal
COMPETITION 91 -188-
COMING ATTRACTIONS -256-
CURIOSITIES -258- Paul Di Filippo

Cartoons: Bill Long (138), Arthur Masear (172), Nick Downes (207).

COVER BY
MAX BERTOLINI FOR “THE STONE WAR”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Living A Mighty Faith



God works in mysterious ways.  He also works through the lives of Christians to accomplish his will.  And as an extra added benefit he blesses those Christians who follow his will.  All it takes is faith.
 
In Living A Mighty Faith potato farmer Angus Buchan turned evangelist offers a year-long devotional that demonstrates through simple stories of faith how God works and performs wondrous works.

Short true-to-life stories coupled with daily verses illustrate how God honors faith by providing for needs, performing miracles and doing the seemingly impossible.

Each day readers are given stories laced with advice, Bible verses and prayer suggestions that are guaranteed to bring about personal changes, help in times of trouble and offers comfort in times of need.

This small, hardbound book that is beautifully illustrated on its cover and complete with a ribbon page marker, makes the perfect complement to daily Bible readings and devotionals, courtesy of Thomas Nelson.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Harry Potter Collectible Quidditch Set and Groaning Walker Head


Although technically not a book, the first officially licensed Harry Potter Collectible Quidditch Set is produced by Running Press-a book publisher.

The beautifully-crafted Quidditch Box is decorated on all sides with ornate symbolism including those of the different houses of magic at Hogsworth.

Twin working, heavy-gauge hinges open smoothly to reveal one Quaffle, two Bludgers and one non-removable Snitch that is fastened to the inside the lid.

Two keys come with the Set that open the small lock that secures the Box.

The Quaffle and Bludgers are displayed behind a clear plastic bubble that slides over the decorated inset box they rest in.

Below the display box is a 16 X 24 inch collectible Quidditch poster spotlighting the game and decorated with the Quidditch logo.

The Harry Potter Collectible Quidditch Set is sure to be a big hit with Harry Potter fans especially since more movies based on the series will soon be in theaters.

Also from Running Press is its Deluxe Mega Hit AMC The Walking Dead Groaning Walker Head.

Totally gruesome, the decaying, sunken eyes, cannibalistic Walker Head lets out a haunting and scary groan when you squeeze it!  EEEwww!

Included with the see-thru panel box is a small book containing quotes and photos from the zombie-infested TV series.
I think I need a night light!

Friday, April 22, 2016

God and Collecting

'God and Collecting' sounds like an odd title for a blog article. But, it really isn't.

As a Christian I have the privilege of praying to God about anything and everything in my life.

I also thank him for all that he has done for me (especially my salvation) and for my family, friends and acquaintances.

Each day when I wake up I immediately thank God for my health, supplying my needs, my family, and even for the little 'extras' he gives me each and everyday.

It's important to realize that each and everyone one of us is one heartbeat away from death.  It is only through the grace of God that we continue to live.

God has never let me down.

I know that without his love, care and guidance I wold be in a real mess.  I am where I am by the grace and generosity of God.  Trust me, I'm not that smart or talented.

Back to my article's unusual title.

For those who are unaware of long years I've spent writing a website and blog what I am about to write might seem a little strange.

For last ten years or so I've been really struggling to keep both the website and blog afloat.  

Readership is steady and consists of some respectable numbers but things have begun to stagnate.

I'm not a wealthy man, in the monetary scheme of things, although I do consider myself 'wealthy' when it comes to God providing over and above my needs.  

After all, he promised his children that he would provide food, shelter and clothing.  He knows what we have need of and is delighted to provide them to his children.

Still, the human desire to grow, prosper and accomplish is in all of us.  It is in our nature.

While I continue to write reviews it is becoming more and more difficult because I simply cannot afford to buy all the things I want to review.  

I depend on manufacturers and publishers to provide review samples-and they have-but the numbers are seriously dwindling.  There are a number of reasons best no discussed here.

Here's my prayer: I pray to God that he will open doors so that I receive more review material: books, toys, comic books, models, trading cards, magazines, DVDs, electronics, etc.

I've always attempted to write entertaining, uplifting and interesting reviews that are very family oriented.  I believe that the world needs more positivity.  I hope I've done so.

I also collect old comic books-primarily Silver and Bronze Ages.  While I have a considerable collection, I'm always looking for more.  

I'm not interested in their value, only their readability.  I love reading and looking through old comic books-after all, they are what inspired me to become a graphic designer and art teacher.

I also love old toys-especially ones from my childhood.

I pray to God that he'll provide these.  Make no mistake, God can do anything.  There are no obstacles to God.  

I know that God has a reason why things have slowed down.  Perhaps one day He'll share it with me why.

But, God tells his children to pray to him about all our cares and concerns. We are not to worry, but rather we are to trust him explicitly.  No one said it would be easy, but with God's grace it is possible.

God has been good to me, far more than I deserve. Frankly I don't deserve his love or generosity.

When I look back over the years I realize how he always provided me work, allowed to me meet, fall in love and marry my wonderful wife of almost 38 years, how he blessed us with two children that we adopted, our friends and our church-the list is endless.  

And to top it off, when I die I get to spend eternity with him in Heaven.

All of this was possible because of the grace of God and the sacrifice his Son Jesus Christ made on the cross.

To some this may sound old-fashioned, dated and politically and socially 'out of touch'.

To scoffers I can only say, "God loves me and you.  He wants only the best for all of us.  His Son paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and He made salvation so simply.  

It goes like this: admit you are a sinner, ask God to forgive you and he'll save your soul.  No good works, no sudden life turnaround, no stringent rules and no social standing.  Everyone is is on the same level and on the same playing field.

So, please pray for me that God's will be done in my life.  If you see fit ask him to bless my review efforts.  God is good.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Legion Of Super-Heroes #294

During the late 1970s the comic book industry was struggling.  Newsstand sales were down, distribution was limited and coupled with lackluster stories and art and missed deadlines the 'Big 2' (Marvel and DC Comics) found themselves struggling to survive.

While it was true there were bright spots of unprecedented creativity within each company, generally speaking comic books were not very exciting and were loosing an audience.

Fortunately the Direct Sales Market changed all that.  By selling directly to retailers the comic book companies eliminated the newsstand distribution middleman, did away with the return policy and were able to streamline their  production by producing only the amount of comic books that would sell.

Comic book fans embraced the Direct Market, comic book companies saved money and as the businesses flourished and improved so too did the quality of art and stories of the comic books.

During the late 1970s and into the early 1980s DC Comics successfully recreated itself.  No long considered 'the establishment' comic book publisher, DC Comics' editorial staff began to take chances and completely transformed the company.

Artists and writers were encouraged to 'rock the boat' and create stories that were more complex and 'outside the box'.

One title underwent a complete transformation under the creative reigns of artist/writer Keith Giffen, writer Paul Levitz and inker Larry Mahlstedt.

In the past the Legion of super-Heroes (while popular) consisted of stories set in the 31st Century that usually guest-starred Superboy, tackling would-be world conquerors and other super-powered or magically enhanced foes.

Granted some good solid stories were produced but it wasn't until the aforementioned creative team took the reigns that the LSH really shone.

In fact, the LSH became so popular that it consistently ranked number two behind DC Comics' best seller: The New Teen Titans.

The LSH really hit its stride when its creative team introduced the five-part Darkness Saga, climaxing with issue #294.

In a nutshell the LSH encountered beings calling themselves the Servants of Darkness.  They scour the known populated sector of space stealing powerful artifacts of energy, freeing beings who yield great power and transporting away to an unknown location and master.

In issue #294 it was discovered that Darkseid, the dastardly god of destruction is siphoning off the accumulated power in his bid to take over the universe.

Only the combined might of the LSH and other heroes (and two unexpected allies) managed to stop Darkseid.

What made this issue so important is that it reinstated Darkseid as a powerful and viable force of evil not seen since Jack Kirby's Fourth World Saga.

It proved the immortality of Darkseid and how despite the efforts of heroes in the past attempts to stop him or destroy him, he survived.


The Darkness Saga established Darkseid as ever present danger and as one of (if not the premiere) villains of the DC Universe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Previews, May

COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Miraculous: Tales of the Ladybug and Cat Noir Volume 1 TP l
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
Captain Kid #1 l AFTERSHOCK COMICS
Betty & Veronica #1 l ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Volume 1 TP l ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Aspen Universe: Revelations #1 l ASPEN MLT INC
Crossed: Badlands #100 l AVATAR PRESS INC
Kong of Skull Island #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Adventure Time Comics #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Brickleberry #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
The Lone Ranger/Green Hornet #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Disney’s Frozen #1 l JOE BOOKS INC.
Queen Emeraldas Volume 1 HC l KODANSHA COMICS
Rick & Morty: Lil’ Poopy Superstar #1 l ONI PRESS INC.
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #1 l TITAN COMICS
Torchwood #1 l TITAN COMICS
Kilala Princess Volume 1 GN l TOKYOPOP
Faith #1 l VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC
Haikyu!! Volume 1 GN l VIZ MEDIA LLC



BOOKS
Elfquest: The Art of the Story HC l COMICS
The Art of Jim Davis’ Garfield HC l COMICS
The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life In Manga and Anime SC l COMICS
Drawing Lesson: The Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw l HOW-TO
Star Wars Little Golden Book: I Am Princess l STAR WARS YOUNG READERS
Star Wars Little Golden Book: I Am Sith l STAR WARS YOUNG READERS

MAGAZINES
Star Trek Beyond Souvenir Edition Magazine l STAR TREK
The Walking Dead Magazine #17 l THE WALKING DEAD
TRADING CARDS
The Flash Season 1 Trading Cards l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT

APPAREL
Doctor Who: Four Doctors” Doctor Who Day 2016 T-Shirt l TITAN BOOKS UK
Booster Gold Ash Heather T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
DC Star Labs 3930 Flex Fit Cap l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Deadman Red Heather T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: “Traitor Trooper” Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Deadpool Logo Fronted 950 Snap Back Cap l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Terminator: “Kill All Humans” Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Batman V Superman Distressed Symbol T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Dark Knight: Bolt T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Finn’s Jacket l MIGHTY FINE
DC Heroes: Booster Gold & Blue Beetle Mighty Wallet l ACCESSORIES
DC Bombshells: The Joker & Harley Quinn Wristlet l ACCESSORIES

TOYS
Ghostbusters Select Series 3 Action Figures l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES
The Walking Dead Figurine Collection #13: Rosita l EAGLEMOSS
The Walking Dead Figurine Collection #14: Morgan l EAGLEMOSS
Marvel Fact Files Special #19: Kingpin l EAGLEMOSS
POP! Bob’s Burgers Vinyl Figures l FUNKO
POP! Marvel Vinyl Figures l FUNKO
Warcraft Movie Mystery Minis l FUNKO
POP! Ghostbusters Vinyl Figures l FUNKO
One-12 Collective: Marvel: Captain America Figure l MARVEL HEROES
One-12 Collective: Marvel: Daredevil Figure l MARVEL HEROES
Power Rangers Legacy Communicator l POWER RANGERS
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Takodana Encounter Set l STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

IMPORT TOYS
Star Wars: Darth Vader Episode IV Artfx+ Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Captain America: Civil War: Captain America Artfx+ Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Captain America: Civil War: Iron Man Mark 46 Artfx+ Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Batman Arkham Knight Play Arts Kai: Batgirl Figure l BATMAN: ARKHAM
Final Fantasy XV Play Arts Kai Figures l FINAL FANTASY
Mega Man: Wearable Helmet Replica l MEGA MAN
Sailor Moon: Princess Serenity Figuarts Zero Chouette l SAILOR MOON
Fallout 4: T-45 Power Armor 1/6 Scale Fig l THREEA/THREEZERO

COLLECTIBLES & NOVELTIES
Doctor Who Titans: Army Of Ghosts Cyberman 3-Inch Vinyl Figure l TITAN BOOKS UK
Doctor Who: “Four Doctors” Coffee Mug l TITAN BOOKS UK
The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper 16-Inch Stress Doll l SD TOYS
DC Heroes 3D Rotating Logo Crystal Mug l SD TOYS
The Lord of the Rings: 3D Rotating Ring Black Crystal Stein l SD TOYS
DC Heroes Statue Paperweights l DC HEROES
DC Heroes Metal Magnets l DC HEROES
Disney’s Big Hero 6 3D Laser Cut Figural Keyrings l DISNEY
Marvel Heroes Metal Magnets l MARVEL HEROES

GAMES
Adventure Time Card Wars Doubles Tournament Game l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT
Magic the Gathering TCG: Eldritch Moon l WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Marvel Heroclix: Superior Foes of Spider-Man l WIZKIDS/NECA

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

If My People

It's no secret that the United States is in decline.  Crooked politician and politics, racial strife, abuse, divorce, sexual perversions, the murder of innocents via abortion, out of control drug use, escalating crime and moral decay are all indicators that our nation is steeped in sin and the hand of God is judging our nation.

Can our nation be saved?  Remarkably it can if we, as Christians, determine in our hearts to pray for our country and turn away from our sins.

That's the message behind A Prayer Guide For Our Nation: If My People written by Jack Countryman and published by Thomas Nelson.

The forty-day prayer journal encourages readers to pray for our leaders and for the future of our great nation.  Filled with supporting scriptures and inserted throughout with quotes and statements by past politicians and statesmen with references to God, the journal is an excellent way to remind us to pray for our country. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

U.S. Infantry On Board and A-10 A/C Thunderbolt II


World War II brought about a great deal of innovation and technological advancement both in military hardware and non-military applications.

The United States Army was one of the best equipped and trained fighting forces in the world.
Soldiers were equipped for general survival and combat.  Each division of specialty had state-of-the-art equipment specifically made for their individual tasks.

Italeri presents a ten figure, 1/35 Scale collection of U.S. Infantry featuring foot soldiers, flame throwers, bazooka launchers, mortar launchers and various field equipped soldiers ready to take on the enemy.

A back-of-the-box color guide allows model makers to accuracy paint their figures to match military uniform and equipment colors from that time period.

The United States Air Force needed a powerful aircraft that doubled as close air support and ground combat-specifically against tanks and armored vehicles.

With its twin General Electric turbofan engines and its 30 mm. GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling the USAF got exactly what it asked for.

With its impressive payload, tough and rugged construction and speed and maneuverability the A-10 was one of the most effective aircraft in the Gulf War responsible for destroying over 900 enemy tanks.

Italeri recreates the impressive aircraft complete with its under wing arsenal, twin rear engines, twin tailfins and heavily armored pilot cockpit.

Paint it, decal it and put it together and you have one of the most impressive, dynamic and detailed accurate aircraft models around.


As with all Italeri models, parts fit securely and tightly together, instructions are easy-to-understand and putting together the model is a snap.

Vanship and Barbarossa


Anime and Manga fans are sure to get a thrill out of Hasegawa Hobby Kits latest release: the 1/72 Last Exile-Fam, The Silver Wing-Over the Wishes Tatiana's Vanship and Fam's VESPA Kit Combo Limited Edition model kit.  
            
It's the whole new high-flying adventures of Fam and fellow characters as spotlighted in the latest Last Exile series.

Perfectly capturing the likeness of the dieselpunk Tatiana's VANSHIP and Fam's VESPA the model kit also includes two 1/35 Scale pilot figures.

Check out the cool retro look of each craft with all sorts of extrusions, protuberances and pipe and accessory fixtures all looking as if they came straight out of a steam pipe factory.

Figures and vehicles paint up and decal nicely courtesy of the easy-to-follow assembly instructions.

The 1/48 Scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 "Barbarossa" Limited Edition WWII German fighter aircraft means business.

Used in the invasion of Russian: code named Operation Barbarossa, the Luffwaffe used the Bf 109 F-2 to gain total air superiority and no wonder.

A single-pilot, propeller-driven, fighter aircraft the Bf 109 F-2 sported a high powered engine, a deadly arsenal for both ground and air combat coupled with speed and maneuverability.

Like all Hasegawa Hobby Kits the Bf 109 F-2 features part trees with easily detachable parts with little or no flashing, historically accurate decals and easy to follow instructions that guarantees a first-rate model once completed.

Hulk Fist 3D Deco Light

Doc Bruce Banner,
Belted by gamma rays,
Turned into the Hulk.

Ain’t he unglamo-rays!
Wreckin’ the town
With the power of a bull,
Ain’t no monster clown
Who is as lovable.
As ever-lovin’ Hulk! HULK! HULK!
For you Marvel Comics neophytes out there these are the lyrics to the Hulk cartoon produced in the mid-1960s long before Marvel Comic characters became household names and the stars of blockbuster movies.

Back then the Incredible Hulk was little more than a Frankenstein monster/Mr. Hyde behemoth that solved most of his problems with his fists.

Speaking of fists 3D Light FX presents a life-size replica of the Hulk’s right fist smashing though a wall!

You read right!

The Green Behemoth’s hefty right fist is recreated in incredible detail as a wall-mounted LED light that appears to be smashing though a wall or flat surface of your choosing.

Simply adhere the cracked panel adhesive film to a flat surface, attach the Hulk’s fist over it using a couple of screws and screw anchors and before you know it The Avengers top strong man’s fist appears to be smashing its way right at you!

All you need are three AA batteries, flip a small switch and the Hulk’s hand glows a gamma ray green.

Part of 3D Light FX’s Avengers assemble 3D Deco Light collection the Hulk’s fist is sure to be a ‘smash’ hit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Beverly Hillbillies The Official First Season



Way back in 1962 (I was nine) CBS premiered a TV series that changed the face of TV.
 
Known as the TV network that featured wholesome family entertainment, at that time, CBS strived to produce TV series that the whole family could watch be they Dramas, Westerns, Comedies, Variety or other genre.

Known for its down-home and hometown TV series such as The Andy Griffith Show, CBS fostered its image and filled the airways with fun, family-centered comedies.  Most were of a standard format-enjoyable-but hardly standouts-until 1962.

TV viewers were about to witness a comedy series unlike any other comedy series-the ultimate fish out of water story-The Beverly Hillbillies.

The series centered on the backwoods Clampetts family.  Their patriarch: Jed Clampett, discovered oil on their property by accident.  Within a short time the family became filthy rich and decided to move the one place that best suited their newfound wealth-Beverly Hills.

There was only one problem though-the Clampetts were unprepared for the hustle and bustle of Beverly Hills and stood out amongst the high society that lived there-and that was alright with them.

Throughout the run of the series the Clampetts never lost their backwoods charm and innocence-much to the chagrin of their banker: Mr. Drysdale.

Thanks to CBS/Paramount the First Season of the series has been completely remastered on DVD. All 36 episodes from the First Season are included along with the extended pilot episode.

Get ready for some homespun humor when the country meets the city and sparks fly! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

How To Draw Classic Heads & Faces



When I was young, about teenager age, I began to seriously draw.  Since I wanted to be a comic book artist I knew that mastering the human figure and faces would be one my greatest challenges.
 
Back then, there was no internet and libraries carried a very small selection of art 'how-to' books.

By chance I happened across a new book store and found the Walter Foster selection of large art books ranging from drawing still-life to the human figure.

I purchased both the human figure book and a book on how to draw heads and faces.  I used each book for years until they disappeared somewhere over the decades.

Fortunately Walter Foster Publishing has brought it classic series of books back, albeit in a slightly smaller format, with its Collectibles series.

How To Draw Classic Heads & Hands includes the original drawings seen in the classic books along with new sections on Tools & Materials, Form & Value and Basic Drawing Techniques.
It's the perfect combination of the old and the new that demonstrate perfectly how to go about drawing faces and heads.

Children, adults, men, women, hair, eyes, mouths, noses, perspective, profiles,, facial structure and more are covered thoroughly.  They make for a perfect combination in the fine art of drawing faces and heads.

Friday, April 8, 2016

At Home In The Father's House



Do you feel that no matter what good deed you do, how often you go to church, how hard you try to serve the Lord that you're just no good enough to gain God's favor?
 
Were you taught at a young age that God is a powerful and angry father figure who will strike you down for the slightest infraction?  Do you picture God as a bully?

That's just what author John Sheasby thought.  Raised under the strict hand of his pastor father, John had it drilled into him that any sin, failure to follow instructions or misstep threatened to exclude him from getting to Heaven.

There are many of us who lived and struggled under that misconception of who God is.
As explained in Mr. Sheasley book, At Home In the Father's House, from Worthy Publishing, we are God's children and he delights in us.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect.  He understands when we stumble and fall and he's there to pick us up.

He loves us as any father would his child.  His discipline is not to punish us but to instruct us.  It brings him no pleasure to see us suffer or feel unworthy.

Mr. Sheasby offers a personal insight into his early life and when, in a fit of desperation, he quit the ministry and secluded himself away for a month struggling to rewrite in his mind who God is.
He shares his insights with readers and offers comfort and rest by quoting scriptures and describing the wonderful future God has in store for his children.

As a young boy I too struggled with many of the same misconceptions John did.  I pictured God as a cruel taskmaster not as a father.  Since I never had a father around to demonstrate what a father is supposed to be like I allowed my own insecurities and fears to create in my mind a distorted view of God.

After reading At Home In The Father's House readers will see God in a whole new light: as a loving Father who cares for us, wants the best for us and is there whenever we need him. 
Read the book, let its words penetrate your heart and like me, you'll discover  that God truly is love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Atom And and Moby Dick And The Mighty Mightor


Are you ready for some good old 1960's Saturday morning cartoon fun?
 
Warner Bros. presents two Hanna-Barbera Classic Collections featuring animated adventures first seen in the 1960s.

Before there were commercial tie-in animated series and 'educational' children programs, there were Saturday morning animated TV shows specifically aimed at kids.

Starting early in the morning to almost mid-day each TV network filled the airways with animated series starring funny animals, superheroes and more.

Hanna-Barbera Studios started the TV cartoon show phenomenon and produced the lion's share of Saturday morning kid fare.

Warner Bros. brings back the complete series of Atom Ant cartoons starring everyone's delimitative, insect muscleman.

Using his built-in antenna Atom Ant was instating alerted to danger in his secret Anthill headquarters.  In an instant the miniature muscleman wa ready to take on the likes of Big Fat Dynamo, Cranekenshaft and other despicable villains.

Get ready for action, ant size, with Atom Ant.  

The Atom Ant show also featured the adventure of Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears.  Anyway you slice there were plenty of animated hi-jinx, hilarity and heroics.

Equally impressive was the Moby Dick And The Mighty Mightor cartoon show.
Together with his human friends Tom and Tub the mighty white whale Moby Dick traveled the globe seeking out and battling all those who threatened the world's oceans.  It was a whale of a lot of fun!

Young Tor transformed to the Mighty Mightor, the super-powered caveman using his magic club.  

When danger strikes his village Tor instantly transforms to Mightor to battle strange beasts, threats from other villages and whoever threatens his family, friends and fellow villagers.

Hanna-Barbera Studios could always be counted on to produce fun and exciting animated series.  Discover what it meant to be a kid in the 1960s waking up to Saturday mornings filled with cartoons.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Jonny Quest, Legion Of Super Superheroes, Young Justice and Justice League Vs Teen Titans



I am a huge fan of Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Animation studios.  I'm excited because Warner Bros. not only creates and distributes its own animated series (old and new), it also distributes and archives the old Hanna Barbera library of classic cartoons, even the 1960's series!

Join me as we travel back to 1964 on a Thursday even about 8 PM as we tune in our TV to the ABC Network for the very first episode of the first primetime, adventure, animated series: Jonny Quest.

I had just turned 11 when Jonny Quest premiered on TV and I was immediately hooked.  What adolescent and young teenage boy wasn't?  The show was a young boy's dream come true.

Jonny and his father, Dr. Quest, their body guard and tutor Race Bannon, Hadji, Jonny's adopted Indian brother and Bandit their dog traveled all over the globe, encountered unbelievable evil such as a resurrected mummy, a bitter and disgruntled WWI German Ace, a sinister scientist and his robotic creation, an invisible monster and so many more memorable characters.  The action was fast, the dialogue was clever and the characters unforgettable.

Warner Bros. presents The Complete First (and only) Season of Jonny Quest containing every episode of this ground-breaking series along with trailers, vintage TV commercials and several featurettes about the series.

Up until just a few years ago Warner Bros. Animation produced a number of outstanding animated episodic series based on DC Comics characters. Currently a revamped Teen Titans is the only series airing, but at one time Warner Bros. Animation cranked out Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and several other memorable series.

Once of those series was Legion Of Superheroes, that also starred a young Superboy.
The Legion existed in the 23rd Century and it members consisted of teenagers with extraordinary super powers.  They abode in a Legion Headquarters and patrolled the Earth and the surrounding planets protecting them from intergalactic threats.

The series faithfully portrayed the LSH as they appeared in DC Comics and the episodes featured notable super villains associated with the Legion.  Created for kids, the Legion series far-outshown its original concept and delved into more mature storylines and successfully examined each Legion character as individuals with distinct personalities.

There was real tension and emotional content to the series.  It's no wonder it became a favorite of DC fans. Warner Bros. was kind enough to send me three DVD sets totaling 13 episodes-all of them outstanding.  A DVD extra on the first DVD in the set that goes behind the scenes to show how Warner Bros. Animation successfully translated the LSH from print to screen.

Warner Bros. Animation took one step further into young adult themes with its Young Justice animated series. Season One Volumes 1-3 introduced viewers to Young Justice members Robin, Superboy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and Artemis.

As with the LSH series each member of Young Justice was clearly defined and acted much like any other teenage, sans power, would act.  Impulsive, prone to overreact, filled with conflicting emotions and often guilty of making bad decisions, members of Young Justice reflected teenagers' foibles.

Working together the team oozed teenage angst but pulled together nonetheless to accomplish their missions that were often covert, extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal.

Watch as they battled Amazo, Klarion, Black Manta (among others) and teamed with older DC heroes such as Batman and Dr. Fate.  Sadly Young Justice was cancelled at the height of its creative run, but it remains a favorite of fans still.

Never ones to stand on their past achievements the team behind Warner Bros. Animation continues to turn out outstanding direct-to-Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD DC Comics full-length animated movies.  All are outstanding and of the highest caliber with spectacular animation combining traditional with computer animated effects, powerful soundtracks and edge-of-your-seat stories.

Warner Bros. Animation's Justice League Vs. Teen Titans DC Universes Original Movie is no exception.

The Gift Set also includes a Special Limited and Numbered Robin figure, lots of special features and bonus cartoons.

In this epic battle the Teen Titans face off against demon-possessed Justice League members hell-bent on procuring Raven for her demon father Triton. 

Relegated to work alongside the Teen Titans Robin reluctantly joins the other teenagers as they fight crime.  But, when team member Raven is threatened and mankind's fate weighs in the balance the team pulls together to battle the older Justice League members.

It's the face-off fan's clamored for and Warner Bros. Animation delivers in spades!  Loaded with action, surprises and a plot that borders on classic Justice League Vs. Teen Titans is sure to become a huge hit with DC Comics fans and anyone else who watches it.  It's epic!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Artist's Block, 100 Things, Shortcuts, Animals, Manga, Comics, Alien and Terminator



It's been almost a year since I stopped teaching drawing and commercial art at a local high school.  To tell you the truth my urge to draw was gone.  I felt burnt out and just recently I've started to get back the spark to draw.  
 
The problem is I'm suffering from an artist's block.  It's frustrating and difficult to work through.
Fortunately Hachette Book Group was kind enough to send me a selection of books from its various imprints one of which is: Artist's Block Cured 201 Ways To Unleash Your Creativity, courtesy of Linda Krall and Amy Runyen and published by Walter Foster Publishing, Inc.

This book is a Godsend!  Inside are dozens of suggestions on how to spark one's creativity, various art project suggestions, ways to look at art from different perspectives and so forth.  Color photos and art provide visual examples and demonstrations and informative text leads readers through familiar and unfamiliar territories.  Awesome!

100 Things Every Artists Should Know: Tips, Tricks & Essential Concepts from the artists of Walter Foster is a must-have resource that demonstrates various art techniques, media, materials, elements and principles of design, artist tools, perspective and much, much more.

Anyone serious about creating art needs to keep this book handy as it is an invaluable resource.

From Walter Foster's Drawing Made Easy series comes Shortcuts & Artists' Secrets by Diane Cardaci.

When I was teaching drawing and commercial art I stressed to my students the importance of drawing or designing smart.  I instructed them that spending a long time on a piece of art doesn't necessarily make it a good piece of art.  Planning, knowing your materials, establishing shortcuts and working smart produces good art.  This book expounds on that advice.

Besides drawing people, drawing animals is one of the most difficult things to do for most artists.  As with drawing anything it's best to know what lies beneath the surface in order to draw something with any authority and skill.

Walter Foster's The art Of Drawing Animals provides step-by-step visual instructions on how to draw both wild and domestic animals with incredible and lifelike results.  Take it from me, by following the examples in this book you'll be drawing animals so realistically they'll look as if they are leaping of the paper.

Comic books are all the rage nowadays.  Both American comic books and Japanese Manga are extremely popular.  More and more people are entering the comic book field and as the field becomes more crowded only those artists who have mastered comic book and Manga art stand any chance of getting their work published.

Here's a tip: Walter Foster's The Art Of Drawing Manga & Comic Book Characters is a great resource for getting a step ahead of the competition.

Follow the extremely detailed instructions in this book and before long you'll be drawing Manga and comic book characters with the best of them.

Learn how to sketch out ideas, how to draw realistic anatomy, cloth your figures and even how to lay them out in exciting action sequences on comic book pages.  From pencils to inks to coloring, everything you need to know is in this book.

Quarry Books presents Robyn Chapman's 'Drawing Comics' book that demonstrates how to professionally draw cartoons for both cartoon strips and comic books.  

Funny to realistic characters and stories are represented.  Art techniques, tools of the trade, publishing tips, page designs, pencils, inks, coloring, drafting tools and equipment, papers, reference materials and even where and how to print are all represented in simple and easy-to-follow text and art examples.

Besides being a big art fan I also love movies-especially science fiction movies.  Scores of movies of that genre come out each year but very few obtain cult and classic status. Voyageur Press presents two hard-bound, slip-cover editions that science fiction movie fans will love.

Dubbed 'a science fiction horror story' Alien broke the mold when it came to science fiction films.  Claustrophobic, gritty and terrifying the movie followed the crew of a spaceship that lands on a planet only to encounter a very inhospitable group of aliens.

The book, by Ian Nathan, goes into exhaustive detail about the making of the films with special insights provided by the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes photos of the making of the film and reproductions of documents associated with the films such as blueprints, decals, production notes, creature and crew designs and so forth.

Documents are tipped in and stored in translucent sleeves secured to pages that are bursting with photos. For a remarkable look into the making of a remarkable film, Alien Vault is a movie fan's dream come true.

When James Cameron's low-budget Terminator movie came out it surprised movie-goers with its original storyline, fast-paced editing, intriguing characters and relentless pace.

Ian Nathan compiled and wrote this intriguing examination into the ultimate cyborg movie along with its follow-up: Terminator 2; Judgment Day.

Both films star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the unemotional cyborg killer who is a methodical killer in the first film and a hero in the second.

Like the Alien Vault book, The Terminator Vault is packed with fascinating accounts by the cast and crew, tons of photos, lots of insert extras and enough behind-the-scenes shots to satisfy the most ardent sci-fi fan imaginable.

There's so much information to take in you'll never see it all in one take so like the Terminator you'll say, "I'll be back!"

I plan on spending many fun hours looking over the Alien and Terminator Vault books as well as the art books.  Now where is my book mark?