Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Robin To The Rescue!

Robin The Boy Wonder: Dick Grayson, has his story told from the time he is ‘adopted’ by Bruce Wayne, learns about Bruce’s’ secret of being Batman and dons the familiar red, green and yellow suit as Robin.

In this delightful new book from Scholastic Inc. based on the animated film from LEGO, ‘Robin To The Rescue’. Is a fun adventurous tale Level 2 (1st and 2nd Grades) are sure to enjoy.

Full color photos from the film fill the book with simplified text that makes reading the exciting story easy to understand for Level 2 readers.  “Holy fun to read, Batman!”

Bonus stickers are included!

The Flash, Legends and Gotham

If you are a big fan of DC Comics then you are probably aware that DC has a number of TV shows broadcasting that are based on its characters.
Despite what network any particular show broadcasts on there is an underlying continuity and crossover with the other shows.  While some shows are more blatant about their linkage to each other, such as Arrow, The Flash, DC Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl there are hints of continuity with the other shows.
Gotham, I-Zombie and Lucifer (if you pay close attention) offer subtle ‘Easter Eggs’ pertaining to the entire DC Universe.
The Flash TV series was born out of the Arrow TV series when an unexplained ‘Metahuman’ explosion transformed a number of individuals into super-powered beings, Barry Allen (The Flash) being one of them.
The Blu-ray/DVD HD collection from Warner Bros. explores the burgeoning powers of The Flash and its effect on other people and Barry Allen’s home city.
During the First Season Barry hones his abilities, encounters other ‘Metahumans’ who use their powers for bad, teams up other ‘good’ Metahumans and that alternate universe Earth exist.
Along the way he manages to gather other individuals to create a team, starts a blossoming romance and encounters a deadly and dangerous evil doppelganger of himself.
The Season Two Blu-ray/DVD collection delves into the ‘Speed Force’, the origin of the Yellow Flash, Zoom, other alternate Earth heroes and villains and a threat that could destroy our Earth and other alternate versions.
Both Blu-ray/DVD HD Collections examine the many villains (the original Trickster: Mark Hamill returns) and heroes, alternate dimensions and timelines and much more about the Scarlet Speedsters past, present and possible future.
Some new and old familiar faces crop up.  Extras include featurettes about visual effects, gag reels, a crossover event, cast and crew interviews and much more.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow follows the exploits of time traveler Rip Hunter as he gathers the forces of some of Earth’s mightiest heroes and villains to stop a plot by Vandal Savage, an immortal madman, to rule the Earth.
Along the way the group travels to different eras, manages to congeal as a team and thwart Savage at every turn.
Rip Hunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, The Atom, White Canary, Captain Cold and Heat Wave put aside their differences and form a team to save Earth.
Look for lots of action, adventure, betrayals and suspense ramped up in every episode.
Blu-ray/Digital HD extras include Featruettes and a gag reel.
The ‘Gotham’ Blu-ray/Digital HD Second Season Set ‘brings on the bad guys’ as it pits Detective James Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department against a menagerie of villains.
Be there as The Joker, Hugo Strange, The Penguin and other classic Batman villains get their starts.  A new savior raises his head in Gotham but he and his sister have their own nefarious plans involving Arkham Asylum.
Light and dark merge as Gordon discovers that sometimes you have to ‘dance with the devil’ in order to get things done.
Bruce Wayne slowly begins his training to become Batman, discovers some disturbing secrets about his heritage and makes a life-changing sacrifice to save his family and friends.
This is Gotham City as it was meant to be seen: dark, dank and dangerous.
The Second Season explores the genesis of Batman, his villains and supporting cast along with the city he is sworn to protect: Gotham.

Extras include an examination of Bruce Wayne’s butler and protector: Alfred Pennyworth, Gotham Noir Light and more.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Studio Expressions Draw & Sketch Case Set



I made my living as an artist, or more specifically, as a graphic designer.

I graduated for the University of Miami way back in 1977 with a BA in Art/Graphic Design.

From there I’ve held a number of Commercial Art positions until 2004 when I accepted the position as an Art and Commercial Art teacher at a local high school.

I’m retired now, but the art bug still bites me now and then.

Over my long career I’ve done a lot of projects. My specialties are illustration and cartooning. Both require that I use a variety of pencils and media.

 
That’s why it was so important that I had (and have) a good, solid, high quality supply of drawing tools.  Even today I’m very picky about what pencils I use.

Alex Brands is in the business of encouraging young kids to develop their skills and talents.

One of the ways it does that is by offering art supplies in various Case Sets.

One of those Case Sets is the Studios Expressions Draw & Sketch Case Set.

It provides young artists (and old guys like me) a plethora of art supplies at a very reasonable price.

Alex Brands prides itself on the quality of its products.  The Draw & Sketch Case Set is no exception. 

I found that the drawing pencils and color pencils meet my picky expectations.

Here’s what you get; Twelve Color pencils, six Sketching Pencils and three Charcoal Pencils.  For blending Pencils the Case Set also includes a Blending Stump and two Tortillions.

Sharpening your pencils is accomplished in two ways: with a twin Pencil Sharpener or Sanding Block.

Also included is an Eraser, a Ruler and a miniature wooden Drawing Mannequin that is easily posed for quick reference.  Pretty cool!

 
All of the supplies, including a Sketch Pad and Drawing and Sketching Guide, come packed in a heavy duty Portable Case with twin latches, a handle and indented inner sleeves that secure the Case’s contents.

All together is makes for a very desirable and functional package that is easy to transport and store.

I really enjoyed the easy flow and solid consistency of the Drawing Pencils along with the solid, bright and consistent color of the Color Pencils.


The Mannequin is great for posing and it takes much less room than the larger, more cumbersome Drawing Mannequins.

Modern Architecture

Buildings-they are everywhere.  We pass by them, admire, live in them, work in them and play in them-they are an integral part of our society.

From the simplest hut to the most majestic of temples, towering skyscrapers, sports arena, private homes and so forth, architecture touches everyone.

The time, talent, skill and pure tenacity to built some of these phenomenal structures is often over-looked.  Few people take the time to look past a building’s façade to appreciate the understructure, design, planning and material it took to build them.

Carlton Books/Goodman Book and author Jonathan Glancey present the ultimate compilation of informative text and color photos of ‘The Structures That Shaped The Modern World’

From 1900 up until current times the book traces the most significant architectural structures ever created by man.  Full historical and technical background facts are given accompanied by color photographs of each building.

Every architectural style and period that occurred within that time frame is examined in detail along with biographical information about their designers and builders.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in pursuing an architectural career, be it in design or construction.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Greatest Landscapes

Have you ever visited some place and had your breath taken away by its sheer beauty and scope? 

It doesn’t matter where it is: in the country, in a city, in the air, on the ground and under the water-regardless of the location, there are certain scenic spectacles that inspire and astonish.

National Geographic presents ‘Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire And Astonish’.

Get your boarding pass, airline ticket, gas up your car or RV, dust off your bike and lace your walking shoes, you’re about to venture out into the world for a traveling visual treat.

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter all hold their own stunning surprises.

Join National Geographic and feast your eyes on forests, volcanoes, seashores, deserts, mountain ranges, fertile plains, cliff-side towns and cities, swamps, tundra, wildlife preserves, waterfalls, deep canyons, islands, beaches, wet lands, ice flows, and much more as you travel the world in search of spectacular sights.

Stunning full color photographs complemented by stirring text bring readers the world in a spectacular collection of our wonderful world and its seasonal show of colors.

Now get out there and explore!

Power Rangers, Doctor Who and Ghostbusters

Many, many years ago when my son was a small boy his all-time favorite TV show was The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

He had all the figures, even the ultra-hard-to-find White Power Ranger.

Remarkably The Power Rangers are still incredibly popular.  So popular in fact that a brand new, big budget movie is set to come out soon.

Running Press celebrates The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with a very important commemorative item-a Light-Up Power Rangers Ring and Illustrated Book.

The Red Power Ranger Ring holds a special gold Jason Tyrannosaurus embossed emblem in its center with the words (in white) ‘POWER RANGERS” encircling the medallion.

Pull the plastic battery slip; push the medallion and the Ring lights up as strobing lights swirl around the medallion.

The ring fits snuggly is a black velvet case which slips into a specially designed flip lid Power Rangers box.

Included with the Ring is a Power Ranger mini-Book filled with fun facts, quotes and color photos of the Might Morphin Power Rangers in action!

Cute, but deadly, from the Doctor Who TV series, comes an Adipose Collectible Figurine.

Fashioned after the human fat, created creature the Adipose Figurine is an exact to scale recreation of the lovable lump of fat.

Soft and pliable, like the real thing, the Adipose stands with arms at its side as two little black dot eyes look out over its small mouth with one protruding tooth.

Push the top of its soft head and it gives out its characteristic squeaky chatter.  It’s adorable!
Included with the Adipose is mini-Book about the Adipose and the full story of its creation with full color photos.

“When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?  Ghostbusters!”
One of my all-time favorite movies is the original Ghostbusters.  The characters, story, the special effects, the practical effects and the ghost busting equipment really caught my attention and imagination when the movie premiered in 1984.

Running Press presents a miniature version of the Ghostbusters Proton Pack.

Perfectly detailed, the miniature Proton Pack features a Proton Wand that is attached to the Pack with a hodgepodge of wires.  Press the red button on the Wand and it lights up and makes the ‘swooshing’ Proton Wand sound!

Decorate the Proton Pack and Wand with the enclosed decals and before you know it you’re fighting ghosts!   Small ghosts maybe, but still ghosts.

Also included are a Ghostbusters Sticker Book and Proton Pack schematic labeling all the parts and a short treatise on its creation.  Ghostbusters rock! 


But remember, Never cross the streams!” 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Extra Cheesy Zits and Epic Big Nate


My wife and have raised two kids-who are both adults now.

During their early years my wife and I suffered the slings and arrows of parenthood and the excitement, glee and joy of watching them grow-up.

Along the way were a few bumps and rough spots but all of us managed to survive.

One thing is for sure-having kids changes your life.

Each stage of their lives has their moments.


The sheer precociousness and curiosity and innocence of a young child are a wonder to behold.

Author/cartoonist Lincoln Pierce understands this perfectly. 

His Big Nate comic strip has chronicled the joys and foibles of young childhood as experienced by Nate Wright and his family, friends and acquaintances.

Experience what life is like through the eyes of a child in this spectacular collection spanning 25 years called ‘Epic Big Nate’.

Pierce personally selected certain strips and highlights the collection by his personal recollections and observations.  Black and white and color daily and Sunday strips follow Nate through the years.

Beautifully designed and packaged the deluxe hardbound book comes in a special slipcase commemorating Big Nate.
Settle back, crack open its pages and relive the life of a child with Nate’s hilarious exploits.

When your children become teenagers, things change. Besides their voices changing, teenagers go through emotional, physical and social changes-all which drive you batty!

In ‘Extra Cheesy Zits’ author/cartoonist team Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman present the teenage years as experienced by Jeremy Duncan.

Follow along as Jeremy baffles, befuddles and bewilders his parents, friends and teachers.

It’s teenage angst at its most hilarious as Jeremy experiences job-hunting, romance, laundry, college applications, tests, music, cars, girls and all of the other tried and true teenage experiences.

So lock your refrigerator, hide the car keys, cancel your cell phone, put a password on your computer and get ready for teenage trials and errors.  It’s ‘Extra Cheesy Zits’ from Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Super Nova Telescope

I have stars in my eyes-literally.  And it’s all thanks to Alex Brands and Scientific Explorer’s incredible Super Nova Telescope.

I’ve always been fascinated by the heavens.  Stars, planets, heavenly bodies-they have captured my imagination since I was a young child.

Maybe that’s the reason I like science fiction movies so much and TV shows like Star Trek and Stargate SG-1.

What’s out there?  Is there alien life?  Will we ever travel to the other planets and stars and venture out into the cosmos?  Will we find what we are looking for?

Today I took my first step forward in a new adventure.  With my Super Nova Telescope the heavens have opened up to me and I am excited.

The Super Nova Telescope is perfect for someone just getting started with star-gazing.  It has everything you need to explore the night skies.

The first thing you notice about the Super Nova Telescope is its packaging.

A colorful, heavy-duty cardboard box holds the telescope and its components securely in place.  The entire telescope is sheathed in a double clear plastic shield that keeps the contents safe from bumps and scratches.

The telescope body and its main components can be seen easily through the cutout/die cut sections on the front of the box so you immediately see what you’re purchasing.

Inside a very comprehensive instruction pamphlet guides you through the assembly of your telescope.  It’s so easy even a young child can do it-and even an old man like myself!

All of the lens components come with dust covers to protect the lens and the telescope tub also comes with a dew shield and sun shield. 

The main telescope body features a objective lens hood, a finder scope that mounts on top of the main body and bracket for adjusting the finder scope.

Besides the 20mm eyepiece the telescope also comes with a 4mm eyepiece and 3X Barlow lens.

Telescoping legs in three stages slide easily in place and the extension locks make for a steady tripod stationary stand.

Other features include a focusing knob, tilt arm for pivoting the telescope for scanning the night sky, leg support struts for stability, a 45-degree diagonal mirror and a center adjustment lock.

Within a few minutes I had my Super Nova Telescope up and ready to use.  The instructions made it easy to adjust and position the telescope and viola! - the stars come alive!

I am impressed by the attention to detail and rugged construction of the telescope.  Parts move and position easily.  Focusing is precise and clear and while the entire assembly is lightweight and easy to move it is solid and rugged enough to survive bumps without falling over.

As you can see the Super Nova telescope looks right at home in my man cave positioned close to the room’s windows.  I can’t wait to share the stargazing with my friends and family.

Previews, December

COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Infinite Seven #1 l ACTION LAB - DANGER ZONE
Riverdale #1 l ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
All New Fathom #1 l ASPEN MLT INC
Providence Act I HC Final Printing l AVATAR PRESS INC
Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Jim Henson’s Power of the Dark Crystal #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Steven Universe #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Hellina: Scythe #1 l BOUNDLESS COMICS
John Carter: The End #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Vampirella #0 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Walt Kelly’s Peter Wheat: The Complete Series Volume 1 l HERMES PRESS
Invader Zim #1 1 Dollar Edition l ONI PRESS INC.
Kaijumax #1 1 Dollar Edition l ONI PRESS INC.
Letter 44 #1 1 Dollar Edition l ONI PRESS INC.
The Life After #1 1 Dollar Edition l ONI PRESS INC.
Kulipari: Heritage TP l RED 5 COMICS
Tank Girl: World War Tank Girl #1 l TITAN COMICS
The Forever War #1 l TITAN COMICS
Revolutionary Girl Utena Deluxe HC Box Set l VIZ MEDIA LLC

BOOKS
Superman Science: The Real World Science Behind Superman’s Powers l COMICS YOUNG READERS
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World HC l COMICS YOUNG READERS
Grim Death & Bill the Electrocuted Criminal HC l CRIME/ MYSTERY
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet HC l DOCTOR WHO / TORCHWOOD
Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology HC l NEIL GAIMAN
Pat Savage: The New Adventures Volume 1: Six Scarlet Scorpions SC l PULP HEROES
MAGAZINES
Doctor Who Magazine #509 l DOCTOR WHO
Scooby Doo Magazine #38 l TELEVISION SERIES
Ultimate Spider-Man Magazine #14 l SUPER-HEROES
TRADING CARDS
The Legend of Zelda Trading Cards l ENTERPLAY LLC
Topps 2016 Star Wars Masterwork Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY
Topps 2017 Opening Day Baseball Trading Cards l SPORTS CARDS
APPAREL
Wonder Woman Retro T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Wonder Woman Retro Women’s T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
TOYS
Marvel Gallery: Gwenpool PVC Figure l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES
Star Trek Starships Special #9: Mega USS Enterprise NCC-1701 l EAGLEMOSS
Dc Superhero Best Of Special #1: Mega Harley Quinn l EAGLEMOSS
One-12 Collective: DC Heroes: Arsenal Action Figure l DC HEROES
One-12 Collective: DC Heroes: Black Adam Action Figure l DC HEROES
One-12 Collective: DC Heroes: Superman Red Son Action Figure l DC HEROES
Star Wars Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure l STAR WARS
Star Wars: Rogue One Big Figs 20-Inch Action Figures l STAR WARS
IMPORT TOYS
Gigantic Godzilla 2001 Blue Dorsal Fin Figure l GODZILLA
Marvel: Squirrel Girl Bishoujo Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Saiyuki Reload Blast: Genjyo Sanzo Artfx J Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Komoda’s Cthulhu Prepainted Polystone Statue l CTHULHU
Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn “Dress” MAF EX Figure l DC COMICS
Suicide Squad: The Joker “Suits” MAF EX Figure l DC COMICS
Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Deadpool Action Figure l MARVEL HEROES
Soul of Chogokin GX-72: MMPR Megazord Action Figure l SOUL OF CHOGOKIN
Movie Realization Star Wars: Yumi Ashigaru Stormtrooper Action Figure l STAR WARS
COLLECTIBLES & NOVELTIES
Dragonball Z: Dragon Balls String Lights l DRAGONBALL Z
Army of Darkness: Necronomicon Journal l HORROR
Marvel Heroes: Deadpool by Skottie Young Vinyl Decal l MARVEL HEROES
GAMES
The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary Board Game l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Ironfang Invasion Part 1 of 6 l PAIZO PUBLISHING
Evil Dead 2 Board Game l SPACE GOAT PUBLISHING
Pathfinder Battles: Crown of Fangs l WIZKIDS/NECA

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Paranormal, Smoke and Vegetable

“Everything you know is wrong!”

You just think you know the paranormal.  Ghosts, UFOs, hauntings, psychics, poltergeists, life after death and all the other unexplained phenomenon that human beings have been searching for answers to may not be what they seem.

That’s what father and son paranormal investigators Paul and Ben Eno explore in their new book from Schiffer Books: ‘Behind The Paranormal-Everything You Know Is Wrong.'

Get ready to get your brain in a tangle as they investigate ancient texts, places of paranormal activity, strange and mysterious powers and occurrences and more as they discover the truth behind the paranormal myths.

The Ghostbusters would be proud!

I love trains of al types, steam, diesel, electric, passenger, cargo, commuter-it doesn’t matter they type of train, it’s the fact that they are trains.

In “Smoke Over Steamtown’ photographer Dennis A. Livesey offers readers a first class passenger seats aboard a wide variety of steam powered trains.

Join him as he explores the trains from the engines to the cabooses, talks to train engineers, conductors, workers and passengers and listens to their stories about their love of steam trains.

History comes alive as black and white and full-color photographs capture every detail of these magnificent trains and the passengers and crews.

Relive a bygone era when steam trains ruled the tracks.

Vegetables.  Parents love them and kids hate them.  Vegetables are a part of our everyday lives.  We boil them, steam them, roast them, sauté them, broil, bake and grill them.

We have them with meat, poultry, fish and meats of all types.  Some are even used as desserts.  They nourish us, provide a livelihood to some and fascinate us.

They are advertised everywhere from print to TV.  We see them in commercials, on billboards, magazines and even hear clever jingles about them on the radio.

In ‘The Graphic Vegetable Food And Art From America’s Soil’ authors Michael B. Emery and Irwin Richman look back on how vegetables have inspired artists to portray them in advertisements, photographs, pop culture items, textbooks, product labels and Americana.

So sit back, pull-up a chair, get your plate and palette ready as the authors serves a hearty helping of vegetables for your literary enjoyment.

As my Mom always told me, “Vegetables are good for you.” 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Secret Life Of Pets

You know they’re watching.  Behind those canine and feline eyes there’s a brain that has you figured out.  We only think that we own our pets.  That’s what they want you to believe.
After all, who is taking care of whom?  We feed them, coddle and cuddle them, take care of their every need and all they do is lay around all day, eat, sleep and occasionally indulge us with a few wags of a tail or a half-hearted meow, bark, cute pose or snuggle.
Illumination and Universal Studios present ‘The Secret Life Of Pet’ that blows our domestic pets’ cover.  It’s all a sham!
Have you ever wondered what they do all day?  At last! Their secrets are revealed!
Things are a bit shaken up when a spoiled domestic dog and his new ‘house guest’ suddenly find themselves in the big city, on their own and desperate to find their back home to their cushy lives.
Along the way viewers get to witness just what our pets do while we’re gone to work our out with the family.
Rock music!?  Food foraging!?  Dancing!?  A mixture massage!?  Those are just a few things our pets are up to when we’re not around.
You do have to hand it to them though.  Somehow they manage to put their differences aside and work together as a team to get back home.
‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ is a hilarious animated expose of what our fuzzy friends are up to when they think no one is around.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo also includes three mini-movies, featurettes, music and more!  It’s purr-fect!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Star Trek, Marvel and Flash

Fifty years ago the science fiction and television communities bare witness to a new TV series that would eventually go on to worldwide fame.

Star Trek: The Original TV series premiered on NBC in 1966 and after three years was eventually canceled.  The reason cited?  Low ratings.

However several years later in the early 1970s the series was given new life when it began showing in syndication.

A whole new audience embraced the series, which would eventually go on to be relaunched as an animated TV series, movies and several TV series.

The series' creator, Gene Roddenberry, and the shows’ cast and crew were as surprised as anyone.

In celebration of the series 50th Anniversary, Titan Books presents a special new book commissioned by CBS: ‘Star Trek 50 Artists 50 Years’ featuring a foreword by director/writer Nicholas Meyer.

The oversize hardbound book showcases 50 new original pieces of art by 50 well-known artists. 

Drawing inspiration from the original series and its entire offspring, the artists share their thoughts, sketches and final art in a stunning new collection of artwork that is sure to please Star Trek fans. 

Art styles range from realistic to abstract, cartoon and more using a variety of techniques and media--it’s a beautiful collection.

Updated and revised ‘The Marvel Vault: A Visual History’ by Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson, updated by Matthew K. Manning, is a Marvel Comics’ fan’s dream come true.

“’Face front true believer!” as readers travel back in time to the very first Marvel Comic Book publication (then called Timely Comics) and get to witness the birth of a pop culture phenomenon.

Start things off with a bang with the special front piece sleeve containing reproductions of some key Marvel memorabilia.

Flip through the pages and explore the decades as you read about the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Modern Age of Marvel Comics.

Artist sketches, drawings, comic book pages and cover reproductions, Insider insights, trends, fandom, writers, artists, editorial, key events and characters, movies, TV, print and much more are covered in great detail.

Packed with color photos and art accompanied by plenty of historical and anecdotal text the book is wonderful tribute to the ‘greatest comic book publisher’ in the world.  Excelsior!

DC Comics have conquered the small screen with its current TV series like Gotham, I-Zombie, Lucifer, Supergirl, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash.

In ‘The Art and Making of The Flash’ writer Abbie Bernstein examines the popular new TV series origin and production.

Born out of the Arrow TV series the show follows the exploits of speedster Barry Allen as he continues to hone and discover his abilities as the Scarlet Speedster.

Go behind the series and learn about character designs, costume and set designs, production, special effects, storylines and so much more using this colorful collection of photos, art and text as your guide.

Looking through the book’s pages it struck me as to how complicated and technically challenging it is to put this series together each week.


The artwork, design, sets, exotic equipment and weapons and the entire process of producing such a phenomenal series is truly mind-boggling.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Art Of Selling Movies

Movies-they’re part of our everyday life.  We watch them at the movie theaters, on TV, cable, smart phones, tablets, online-just about anywhere there is a screen.

They reflect our society of the times.  They’re bigger than life, slices of fantasy, red-hot pokers of social injustices, Romances, Westerns, Sci-fi, Drama, Action-every possible genre is represented.

They permeate everything we do, see, purchase and often represent or influence our choices and decisions about life.

First and foremost movies are a business.  Studios-big and small-hope their movies make a profit.

Whether a film is a blockbuster or a bust they all require advertising.

When movies first started advertising venues were few and far between.  This forced movie studios and theaters to devise clever and attention grabbing advertisement.

That was no more apparent than in newspaper advertising.

Author John McElwee and GoodKnight Books present ‘The Art Of Selling Movies’ that explores in great depth how newspaper and print advertising (coupled with clever theater and drive-in décor and events) sold movies to the public.

Discover how the advertising transformed over the decades up until the 1960s when it took a slow and painful fall to almost total obscurity.

Print advertising for movies has dwindled to a trickle, replaced by technical mumbo-jumbo on the web, TV and even at the movies themselves.

The book make for a fascinating read as you get to explore the ingenious and clever ways movies were promoted.  Factual and historically laced text is complemented by black and white and color reproductions of print advertising and movie displays. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Macchi, R89C, Kawasaki, Type 99 and Osprey

How do you deal with outdated engines and light armament?  That’s the dilemma that Italian pilots faced during WWII. 

The solution? Install a copy of a V-12 aero-engine by the Germans.  Viola!  With the more reliable engine, the extra speed made up for the inadequate armor and made every bullet count.

Check out the 1/48 Scale "Shidenkai No Maki" Macchi C.202 Folgore Limited Edition model kit from Hasegawa Hobby Kits.  The Da Vinci tiger strip Macchi C.202 Folgore is all business with its single pilot cockpit, sleek design and small profile.

Throw in a little Anime/Manga decoration and influence and you have a model kit that model makers will love, as will Japanese Anime/Manga fans.
                                   
Make the most of your Macchi.

The 1/24 Scale YHP Nissan R89C Limited Edition racing car model kit recreates the impressive prototype to the max!

Made from carbon fiber and sporting a twin-turbo V* engine the Nissan R89C had its problems, but Hasegawa Hobby Kits believes in second chances-so the car has a new life as a model kit.

You can’t help but be impressed with its body style and shape, twin rear fins, oversize wheels and tires and full interior and exterior details. 

Five part trees (and body chassis) are included with easy to detach parts with little of no flashing (like all Hasegawa Hobby Kits). Killer decals come with Assembly Instructions that makes putting this killer model together a real treat.
                 
Where can you get two model kits for the price of one?  That’s easy. Check out Hasegawa Hobby Kits’ 1/200 Scale Kawasaki C-1 Combo (2 kits) Limited Edition model kit set.

Not quite as flashy as the C-2, the Japanese C-1 aircraft was a reliable cargo and transport for the Japanese Air Self Defense Forces for 40 plus years.

Although short ranged, the C-! were extremely reliable, easy to maintain and versatile.
The model kits comes with two kits complete with customized decal sets.
With its over fuselage main wings, twin powerful engines, oversize rear wings and fin and heavy duty landing gear, the C-1 includes a loading platform and side entry hatch. 

The model is designed to be displayed with landing gear up or down and makes a fine addition to any aircraft model maker’s collection.
                                   
Another twin model kit is the 1/72 Scale KI-51 Type 99 Assault Plane (Sonia) and Light Bomber (Lily) (2 kits) Limited Edition aircrafts.
                 
Considered a destructive duo by its opponents both aircraft made for formidable foes.

The Ki-51 and Ki-51B were rough and tough aircraft well suited for low-level missions.

The Ki-48 ‘s speed and agility easily out flew both American and British fighters.   With a 800 kg bomb load made it a dangerous flying foe with plenty of firepower

Both gray colored aircraft feature segmented cockpits, powerful propeller engines, low profiles and all the exterior and interior details you expect from Hasegawa Hobby Kits.

The 1/72 Scale MV-22B Osprey "VMM-265 Dragons" Limited Edition tilted wings model kit recreates the famous US Marine Corps.

Both a vertical and horizontal turboprop aircraft the Osprey never slacks up on speed during mid-air transformation.
Capable of moving 32 troops and 20,00 lbs of cargo the Osprey is a formidable, multi-purpose aircraft that is part helicopter and plane.

Details include a twin rear wing and fin assembly, twin huge turbo-props, aerodynamic design, bubble cockpit, pilot, troop and cargo doors and loads of piloting aids and armament. 
Choose from Dragons or Flying Tigers decals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

LEGO Star Wars The Official Stormtrooper Training Manual

Are you looking for a new career?  Do a great salary, perks, free housing and meals appeal to you?

How does working with a ‘great bunch of guys’ who have the same goals (and appearance) as you appeal to you?

Then the Empire is for you!  Headed up by powerful CEO aided by his ‘force’ful assistant, the Empire is the greatest power in the universe that constantly ‘expands’ its service and products.
Sign up today for the Stormtrooper school. Interested?

Scholastic Inc. is offering a LEGO Star Wars The Official Stormtrooper Training Manual that prepares you for you life as a ‘clone’  er-employee, of the Empire.

Included with the exclusive LEGO Stormtrooper figure is everything you’ll need to become a minion of the Empire.

Inside you’ll discover full instructions of the use of your Stormtrooper armor along with its functions.

Expand  your military tactics, weapons and transportation knowledge.  Brush up on key figures in the Empire and there’s even an activity book, with notepad, so you can hone your skills.

So, if your goal is to become a willing pawn of an evil galactic Empire then this advanced guide to the galaxy and training manual are for you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Asylums, Final Curtain and Heritage

There’s something forlorn and haunting about long abandoned buildings.  Sad really. 

If you think about it and come to realize that people worked and lived in such buildings, it’s almost as if their ghosts haunt the abandoned places.

On the other hand old, decrepit buildings hold a special fascination.  Behind the cobwebs, dust, strewn about furniture or equipment, graffiti and intrusions by beast, birds and bugs explorers get the sense as if they are traveling to the past.

I am one of those people who love watching videos on You Tube that feature urban explorers, seeking out and. sometimes clandestinely, delving into the dark and dank rooms and corners of old, long forgotten buildings.

Jonglez Publishing has just released a trio of books that take urban exploration one-step forward. 

Matt Van der Velde dared the dust, dirt, decay and danger to explore old ‘Abandoned Asylums’, and documented his discoveries.

Join Matt as he chronicles the past of several famous and infamous asylums providing interesting historical backgrounds coupled with haunting (and sometime disturbing) photos of each asylum.

Follow him as he explores children wards, medical facilities, rooms, wards, offices, chapels, restrooms, kitchens, hallways and other rooms long since falling into decay.

I could almost smell the mildew and decay around me as I joined Matt on his quest.’ After The Final Curtain’ compiled by Matt Lambros, explores the fall of the American Movie Theater.

I’m old enough to remember (just barely) the heyday of the American Movie Theater.  Not merely rooms with screens, the classic American Movie Theaters were decorated and furnished to the hilt.

Ornate wall hangings and decorations, embellished ceilings with beautiful plaster work and lights, lush theater chairs, balconies and more guaranteed that the movie-goer got more than their money’s worth when he or she went to watch a film.

In his book Matt explores a number of classic theaters (some derelict, some under renovation and some fully restored).

Marvel at the lush surroundings, lavish screens and curtains, luxurious seats and accommodations and try to picture in your mind enjoying a film in just such a place.

Many theaters have seen better days.  Travel the lobbies of old and derelict theaters. 

Take in the tragic sight of demolished lobbies, dilapidated seats, crumbling ceilings and walls and projector rooms with rusted and broken equipment.

In this age of lightning speed advancement in all areas of technology and applied sciences and coupled with the rush and hurry state of our society its easy to forget the past.

History seems to play a small part in our modern society and it’s a shame.  Paraphrasing a famous quote, “Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to make the same mistakes again.”

It’s important to appreciate the past and those who lived in it.  Sadly many of the buildings, institutions and architectural wonders of yesteryear are crumbling into obscurity.

This is true in United States and around the world.

Author Matthew Emmett has traveled the globe visiting old factories, homes, power stations, barns, castles, military installations and the like and taking photographs complemented by historical text background information.

Take the time to look through each page carefully, immerse yourself in times past and let your imagination take hold.  Picture people rushing about intent on their individual tasks.  Imagine them clothed in period costumes and fashions and just for a moment place yourself in their shoes amidst the dust and decay.


The past will come alive as will your appreciation for it.  ‘Forgotten Heritage’ is a fascinating journey to times past and it’s well worth the trip.