Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Andrea’s Rifle, Utility Belt and Jungle Friends

When I taught I used to tease my high school students about The Walking Dead.
I would tell them the definition of The Walking Dead: they are always hungry, make guttural noises and wander around aimlessly.

Once I described The Walking Dead I would then tell them why they like the show so much.
It’s easy really-the Walking Dead are teenagers!  The description fits!

OK, on to more serious matters-or at least onto the reviews.

Alex Brands’/Buzz Bee Toys’ bolt action, dart-blasting Andrea’s Rifle from The Walking Dead is a perfect, functional replica of the deadly weapon from the TV series.
Of course the bullets are soft tip darts, but they can fire up to 100 feet!

The rifle features real bolt lever action, a removable scope, a working trigger, a heavy stock, an Ultra-Tex Clip for holding the eight darts and a short barrel for maximum carnage.

It’s a real beauty of a brute made of heavy and durable plastic, featuring recreated details from an actual rifle and offers more fun than you can shake a dismembered zombie leg at.

Proudly displayed on its ‘The Walking Dead’ display box, that is decorated with art from the comic book series, Andrea’s Rifle is a proud member of the ‘Air Warriors’ series of action toys.

When I was a young boy my friends and I used to trek out to the wilds, pitch a tent and tackle the rugged terrain and harsh conditions of living in the wild.

Actually we would put up a pup tent in the backyard, string out an extension cord for our radio, cook up some hotdogs inside my house, grab a few snacks, lay out our padded sleeping bags and spend most of the night talking, telling jokes and making strange noises that young boys do.

One of us might have brought along a compass or a pack of matches but that was about the extent of our camping equipment.

Backyard Safari Adventures bumps up things a few notches with its awesome Utility Belt set.

Here’s what kids get: a utility belt, a protective case, a field microscope, a pencil and notepad, patch and field guide.

The utility belt includes a belt buckle, D rings, elastic loops and the elastic holster attaches to it.

The portable field microscope also has adjustable lens, a view finder and the entire assemble folds down for easy storage and transport.

Everything fits snuggly into the clip case sans the belt and buckle.

It’s an awesome kit that I wish I had when I was a kid.

I’m excited.  My grandson just turned three months old and he’s starting to really get active.
One of his favorite things to do is to take a bath.

Now he has something to make bath time even more fun: the Alex Brands’ Jungle Friends Block Squirters.

These cute, little, cubed animals stack on top of each other, can fill with water and with a simple squeeze out shoots a stream of water!

They are colorful, cute and feature a tiger, hippo, elephant and zebra.

It’s a wild and wacky water world of fun that little kids are sure to love and which make bath time a real treat.


Ever since I retired over two years ago I’ve had a lot of time to think about things and life in general.
I’ve watched my body age, my hair thin, my waistline expand, muscles that were once toned have started to sag (in fact a lot of things have started to sag), my teeth are yellowing, I have more hair growing in my ears and nose than on my head and my sexual urges have almost disappeared.

Time has seen me loose more friends than gain new ones.  Things that seemed so important when I was younger seem so trivial now.

I tend to do things at a slower pace and my recovery time from exercising or injury has slowed.  I have more aches and pains than before and my memory is not as good as it once was.

I tend to get side-tracked and my hearing has dimmed, or at least become more selective, ask my wife.

I’ve seen my kids grow up, celebrated the birth of my first grandchild and mourned the death of two brothers and many friends.

My mom and dad are gone, as is my wife’s.  We have a huge number of nephews and nieces and great- great nephews and nieces.

When time affords me the opportunity to go back to Michigan where I was born it’s never the same.  I feel like a stranger in a strange land.  It’s true what they say, ‘ you can never go home again.’

I’m not as patient as I once was.  Little things annoy me.

As I grow older I've started to notice that reading books and watching movies and TV seem redundant to me.  After all there are only so many stories that can be told certain ways.  

Often I read a book and within a few chapters I already know its inevitable outcome.  The same thing go for movies, TV shows and other forms of entertainment.

I find myself thinking about the past and ‘the good old days’ when actually they weren’t that good as far as living conditions went.

Cars, electronics, communications, entertainment and all the other trappings of a modern society are much more efficient and easy to use than in the past.  Still, memory tends to gloss such things over.

But, growing older does have its advantages.

As I mentioned before, things that concerned me so much at an earlier age seem so trivial now.

Making a name for myself, establishing a career, catering to other’s wants and needs and being a part of the ‘Rat Race’ has no appeal to me now.

Family has become important.  Friends and loved ones are treasures.   

Worshiping God takes top priority.  Trying to get others to accept Christ and being the best I can for God-not because I have too, but because I want to.

Loving my wife and looking after her needs.  Appreciating the small things like waking up each morning, health, mobility, sight, smell, speech, taste, hearing, being able to think and rationalize and trying new things.

I used to draw-I made a living from it.  Now I seldom pick up a pencil.  Instead I write: reviews, commentaries-it doesn’t matter.  I’ve become a veritable wordsmith.

I love tinkering because now I have the time.  I don’t worry about the small things and I’m learning to take life one day at a time.

I cherish the past and all those that I had the privilege to meet and love.  I enjoy things and trinkets from when I was a kid because now I understand their worth.  Not so much monetarily, but their association with time and events throughout my life.

I look forward to one day meeting my Savior and reuniting with loved ones and dear friends.
Growing old has its disadvantages but the advantages far outweigh them.

With age come wisdom, clarity of thought and emotions and the control of both.  Things that are really important come into focus while trivial, impractical and foolish things fade away.
I’ve learned to accept myself as I am-as God created me-blemishes and all.

I’ve also learned to accept others whether I agree with them or not.  Jealously, hatred and pettiness are slowly disappearing as I have start to see others through the eyes of God.

I was never one to take a stand but as I age I find myself proud of my opinions.  I respect others but refuse to bow down to social or immoral pressure.

Right and wrong are crystal clear and there is no such thing as ‘gray areas’.  Yes is yes and no is no.  Sin is sin and despite modern society’s political correctness and distorted view of tolerance God has shown me the true meaning of both.

I enjoy quiet time with no one around as equally as I do meeting with family and friends.  I have nothing to prove and no one has anything to prove to me.

My passion for writing and collecting has intensified and yet if at times it wanes I can accept it.

I’m in no hurry, I have no urgent task I must perform and it has become evident to me that when this mortal life is over I still have all of eternity to live thanks to God.

Movies, Aliens, Robots, Cyborgs, Heroes and Story

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am a HUGE comic book and movie fan.

In fact, at one point in my life I considered being a comic book artist (yes, I can draw) and/or becoming part of the movie industry.

The problems I encounter with many of the books about how to draw for comic books or create characters is that the books tend to be overboard when it comes to explaining how to do each.

There really isn’t that much involved.  You simply have to know how to draw (almost anything) and how to tell a story using panels.

Comic book illustration is much like staging a film, only artists use paper, not film.

The Rosen Publishing Group Company, Inc./PowerKids presents two books about how to draw and tell stories that simplifies matter in fun and entertaining ways.

Mark Bergin’s ‘How To Draw Comic Book Heroes’ is a great resource for up-and-coming comic book artists.

The book explains in easy-to-understand text and clear, concise drawings everything a young artist needs to know to get started.

Subjects covered begin with perspective, drawing materials, creating heroes of all shapes, sizes and types using simple geometric shapes and ending with full illustrations.

So what do you do with your characters?

Frank Lee writes and illustrates a very compelling sequence explaining the elements of the page, panels, composition, telling a story and much more in his ‘Telling A Story In Your Graphic Novel’.

I have to tell you this book is probably the best example of how to draw comics that is easy to comprehend and understand.

Movies, ya gotta luv ‘em!

I especially love Monster and Science fiction movies.

And what make them so interesting?  Throw in some Aliens, Robots and Cyborgs and you are guaranteed a good time at the movie theater.

David Kassnoff in his ‘Robots and Cyborgs’ book, part of the ‘Greatest Movie Monsters’ series, delves into the mechanical monstrosities that fascinate movie goers.

Starting with classic creations such as Maria from Metropolis, Robby The Robot from Forbidden Planet and other mechanized marvels such as The Terminators, the Star Wars Droids, The Transformers and many more the book is a tour-de-force of technological terrors.

Equally impressive is Greg Roza’s ‘Aliens’ book with such creatures as Aliens, Gort, Martians, The Thing and many more outer space monsters.

Both books are filled with fascinating text and black and white and full color photos and offer fun reads.

For the hopeful movie director check out Mary R. Dunn’s ‘I Want To Make Movies'.

The small hardback book offers a short and concise glimpse of what many would consider a ‘Dream Job’.

Kids will get a kick out of seeing their favorite stars, characters and movies along with tips on costuming, directing, sets and much, much more movie magic.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Never Give Up!

This last week I got a big surprise.

My blog used to average about 5,000 readers.  Last month it skyrocketed to 25,000!

Not only that, my Facebook page has steadily grown in readership in that same time period.
Www.bamcc.net holds pretty steady at 500,000 visitors.

All these numbers are encouraging.  So much so, that I’ve decided to push for more readership with greater fervor.

Truth be told I am tired of taking second place to Johnny-come-lately websites, blogs, YouTube channels and other social media review outlets that have existed fraction of my time spent reviewing: over 25 years!

It’s time that publishers and manufacturers stop kowtowing and catering to individuals and social media outlets that have no track records.

Give me a break!  There is no way that a newly formed website can suddenly have of a million visitors!  Or a YouTube channel that boasts daily viewers in the millions!

Someone is cheating the numbers.  I know it and they know it that falsifying viewer/visitor numbers can be falsified by either using software or by over-inflating tracking statistics.

I speak from experience when I say that I’ve pulled up my website and blog on literally dozens of ‘traffic’ tracking sites and the numbers vary greatly.

In fact, many of the sites will only give you statistics if you download their program and pay for it.

Social media has become a joke.  Since when does someone clicking on your link, never reading your website or blog content or accessing your sites from a third party count as a viable audience?

Enough is enough!  I refuse to stop soliciting companies for review material and being told that product is not available because my website or blog audience is not large enough.

When I write reviews that is just what they are-a reviews: thorough, concise and honest reviews.  Not  ‘isn’t that cool’ or ‘that’s awesome’ inane dribble of useless banter without any substance.

Whatever happened to true analysis, observation and insight?

I’ve been a collector for a long time.  I’ve seen reviewers come and go and companies spring up and fade away.

I’ve probably written over two million words of reviews (I’ve got the hard copies to prove it).
I’m 64 years old and have been a collector for most of that time.

I don’t need neophytes mucking up things with ‘feel good’ reviews and opinions.  I am a ‘fan man’ not a ‘fan boy’.

For over 35 years I was employed, or taught marketing, commercial art, package design and media.  I know how it all works and I appreciate the hard work it goes into creating books, comic books, toys, etc.

It’s not all about bright colors and cool images.  It comes down to hard work-work which I appreciate and try to represent in my reviews when appropriate.

Unfortunately collecting nowadays has come down to mostly money.  More and more collectors are in it for the money, not the joy of collecting itself.

While I appreciate the value of a dollar I don’t need to watch or read reviews where the mighty dollar and profit is included.
Frankly I don’t care how much a comic book is or toy is worth. And I sure don’t want to listen or read a review where someone is bragging about how much their stash is worth.
Good for them, but don’t rub it in.
I realize I’m ranting but I hate to see collecting devolving into a fad.
I’m fed up with trying to compete against people who know little or nothing about what they are talking about.
I want to read (yes read!) good solid reviews or listen to someone who has a working knowledge about what they are talking about.

I heard an interesting statement today on of all things: YouTube.  A YouTuber whom I enjoy watching (he’s actually interesting) mentioned that he believes that YouTube is about to be oversaturated and is in danger of burning out.

I agree.  There are far too many YouTube accounts and videos.  Most of which are crap.
Facebook is similar.  Quite frankly I don’t care what someone has for lunch, what their dog looks like and what their political affiliation is.

Twitter and other text or photo social media outlets have become trite wastelands.

For all the ‘social’ media sites proliferating on the web, people are communicating less and less-at least on a one-to-one basis.

So many people are hooked on their phones and other devices that they’ve forgotten how to talk to someone else face-to-face or resolve problems on a personal level.

It’s so easy to clandestinely make comments and jabs without taking personal responsibility and reaping the results.
I will continue to write my reviews.  I will not offer pseudo conversation.  I will state my opinion and let the reader decide whether they agree or disagree.

I encourage readers to look at or read the products I review.  Form your own opinion.  If you agree with me fine.  If you don’t, that’s fine too.

Don’t just collect; invest your time, mind and preference.  Money is secondary, condition or grade is objective at best and enjoying your hobby is foremost.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Previews, August

Animosity: Evolution #1 l AFTERSHOCK COMICS
Namwolf Volume 1: Heart of Darkness TP l ALBATROSS FUNNYBOOKS
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! Illustrated Novel HC l AMULET BOOKS
Lady Mechanika Volume 1 Oversized HC l BENITEZ PRODUCTIONS
Rugrats #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Walter Simonson’s Battlestar Galactica Artist Edition HC l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast #1 l HEAVY METAL MAGAZINE
Akira 35th Anniversary HC Box Set l KODANSHA COMICS
Whiteout Compendium GN l ONI PRESS INC.
Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Gold Edition HC l SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT LLC
The Fighting American #1 l TITAN COMICS
Dan Dare #1 l TITAN COMICS
Tokyo Ghoul:Re Volume 1 GN l VIZ MEDIA LLC
The Mortal Instruments Volume 1 GN l YEN PRESS

Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture HC l COMICS
The Flash: Hocus Pocus Novel l COMICS
The Marvel Age of Comics 1961-1978 HC l COMICS
Wonder Woman: Ambassador of Truth HC l COMICS
Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies HC l MOVIE/TV
Totally Awesome: The Greatest Cartoons of the 80s HC l MOVIE/TV
Comics Revue Presents October 2017 l COMICS
Horrorhound 2017 Fall Annual Special l HORROR
Justice League Magazine Official Collector Edition l SUPER-HEROES
Topps 2017 Update Series Baseball Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY
Topps 2017 The Walking Dead Evolution Trading Cards l NON-SPORTS CARDS
Guardians of the Galaxy Logo 9Twenty Dad Cap l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Marvel: “Spidey Think” Red Foil/Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Marvel: “Wolvey Fist” Silver Foil/Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Star Wars: “Vader Bust” Red Glow-in-the-Dark/Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Dark Nights: JLA by Greg Capullo T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Wonder Woman II Movie Symbol T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Marvel Gallery: Thor Ragnarok: Hulk PVC Figure l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES
Batman: The Animated Series Figure Collection #1: Batman l EAGLEMOSS
Batman: The Animated Series Figure Collection #2: The Penguin l EAGLEMOSS
DC Super Powers Collection: Harley Quinn 19-Inch Maquette l DC HEROES
Fantasy Figure Gallery DC Comics Collection: Wonder Woman 1/6 PVC Figure l DC HEROES
Justice League Movie: Aquaman Statue l DC HEROES
Justice League Movie: Batman Statue l DC HEROES
Justice League Movie: The Flash Statue l DC HEROES
Justice League Movie: Tactical Suit Batman Statue l DC HEROES
Justice League Movie: Batarang Letter Opener l DC HEROES
Supergirl TV: Supergirl Statue l DC HEROES
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Legends 6-Inch Action Figure l GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
DC Comics: Catwoman Artfx Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Attack on Titan: Commander Erwin Smith Nendoroid l ATTACK ON TITAN
Attack on Titan: Levi Nendoroid l ATTACK ON TITAN
Berserk: Guts “Black Swordsman” Repaint Figma l BERSERK
Justice League Variant Play Arts Kai: Batman Tactical Figure l DC HEROES
Wonder Woman Movie Variant Play Arts Kai: Wonder Woman Figure l DC HEROES
Gigantic Series: Godzilla Vs. King Kong: Godzilla Figure l GODZILLA
Godzilla Kaiju 12-inch Series: Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla Figure l GODZILLA
Marvel: Iron Man Mark V S.H.Figuarts with Hall of Armor l MARVEL HEROES
Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Black Panther Figure l SQUARE ENIX PRODUCTIONS
Boruto: Naruto Next Generation: Boruto Figure l NARUTO
Boruto: Naruto Next Generation: Naruto Figure l NARUTO
Kirby’s Dream Land: Kirby Nendoroid l NINTENDO
One Piece 20th-Anniviversary: Going Merry Chogokin l ONE PIECE
Predator: Boar Predator 1/18-Scale Figure l PREDATOR
Predator: Shadow-Snake Predator 1/18-Scale Figure l PREDATOR
Star Wars: Emperor Palpatine Artfx+ Statue l STAR WARS
Dark Souls: Siegmeyer of Catarin 1/6-Scale PVC Figure l VIDEO GAMES
Legend of Zelda: 8-Bit Link Hand Held Teether l FUTURE NERDS
Legend of Zelda: Link Caped Superbib l FUTURE NERDS
Game of Thrones: Dead Man 7-Coin Set l GAME OF THRONES
Lord of the Rings: Elvish Copper Leaf Of Fall Coin Necklace l LORD OF THE RINGS
Deadpool Decal Pack l MARVEL HEROES
Star Trek Ships Enamel Pins l STAR TREK
Wonder Woman Classic Bust Bank l WONDER WOMAN
Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff Board Game l DEVIR AMERICAS
Starfinder RPG: Alien Archive HC l PAIZO INC
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 Board Game l USAOPOLY
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate Board Game l WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Magic the Gathering TCG Gift Pack l WIZARDS OF THE COAST