Saturday, May 18, 2019

When The Past Was The Present

Let’s be honest.  Many people living today tend to think that the problems, changes and solutions of the current times they are living in is the be-all and end-all.

Or to put it another way.  A large portion of the population is egocentric or narcissistic.  In their opinion those who lived in the past did not deal with the same problems or situations that they deal with today.

For an example: global climate change. 

Many scientists and individuals believe that the Earth’s temperature is raising and will soon result in massive flooding.

Barely 50 years ago, individuals who also believed in climate change, surmised that the climate was getting colder and the Earth would soon be plunged into a new ice age.

I’m not here to argue climate change-pro or con.  I’m attempting to make a point.

Despite the advances and social environment we find ourselves into today, entire generations before us also experienced pain, happiness, want, friendship, love, daily struggles and the like.

Soon I’ll be visiting my hometown in Michigan. 

I’m sure when I get there things will look entirely different.  Businesses I frequented when I was young will ether be gone, the buildings they occupied changed or even torn down.

My old stomping grounds will be vaguely familiar. 

Sure, the streets may have the same names and the layout of the town will be somewhat altered but my memories, my past (at one time my present) will not line up with what exists now.

It’s kind of sad.  I have to admit I feel somewhat melancholy.  Old friends, classmates, relatives and those people that I saw on a daily basis will have changed, aged or passed on.

All over our country small towns that were once prosperous and full of life have dwindled in population, stores have closed and houses have decayed and succumbed to time.

Where once people lived and worked have become little more than shadows of their former selves populated only with the ghosts of the past and vermin, weeds and decay.

I encourage you to take a day, ride around and discover abandoned old buildings.  If possible, explore and for a moment ponder the fact that each place once housed living, breathing people with their own dreams, aspirations and plans.



No one expects to die.  Visit a cemetery and look at the tombstones.  Each one marks a spot where the remains of a person rests. 

Cradled in the dirt is all that remains of individuals who loved, had a family and friends, worked, paid bills, planned for the future and watched themselves grow old, bent-over, sick and feeble.

Look around-the past is alive.

One day, if Christ tarries his return, someone will be looking down at your grave and briefly-oh so briefly, realize that you too were alive, young, vibrant and full of promise.

Life is far too short and precious.  Days race by and once youthful features and physiques shrivel, wrinkle and ultimately give into the years.

While there is still time, love your family and friends, appreciate them for the persons they are, cast away old hurts and past failures, embrace each day with a renewed sense of wonder.

For no day, hour, minute or second can be experienced again once they pass by. 

Make peace with God.  Make peace with yourself and others. Forgive yourself and others. 

The present is fleeting and before you know it will be the past.  This life is only the beginning.  Enjoy each day and hold it close.  Receive it as the precious gift it is.

I intend to spend time with my surviving brother, because I may never see him again in this life. I plan on basking myself in the warm company of old friends and family.

I will explore every nook and cranny of my hometown and wallow it the memories it stirs within me. 

For a moment, a very precious moment, I will be young again, full of promise and potential with my whole life in front of me.

And then it will be over and I will return to the present with something new: an appreciation for those people I have known, the wonderful times I have experienced and an anticipation as to what comes next. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Into Fiction/Reality

Where does reality stop and fantasy begin?

Where do you draw the line between fiction and fact?

In PIE International’s newest book: Into Fiction/Reality, the photographic and design talent of Mika Ninagawa is examined.

The softbound book immediately challenge one’s sense of reality by its cover.

The high-gloss, full-color, fold-over cover which is enhanced by silver type and spotlighting some close-ups of women’s lips is a bit of a shocker.

Flipping the book open readers will be treated to gallery of close-up photos of everyday objects and common people.

“What’s so unusual about that?” you might ask.

It’s how the close-ups are done that challenges your sight, point of reference and concept of reality.

Photos are often cropped at odd angles and fragments/segments.

Backgrounds either complement or contrast the subject matter and the images themselves frequently do not line up to what is expected.

Unusual cloths, props, overlapping images, confusing and mesmerizing patterns and foregrounds all combine to make Into Fiction/Reality an exercise in perception, conception, presupposition, non-conformity and non-traditional (yet strikingly familiar) presentations of images, people and things.

Every conceivable photographic image manipulation and black and white and color distortion, augmentation and technique is used to create a truly unique book of images.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Humperdink Our Elephant Friend

Every kid needs an elephant as a friend!

One day while a group of small children are having fun with their playgroup and new kid shows up.

He’s an elephant and his name is Humperdink.

At first when Humperdick tries to play games and activities it’s a disaster.  He’s too big and tends to break things.

The children feel bad for him and decide to do the things an elephant likes to do.  They follow him outside, explore the jungle and do all sorts of elephant things.

What a wonderful lesson about friendship, compassion and accepting someone for who they are.

Sean Taylor and Claire Alexander combine their writing and artistic skills to create a heartfelt and touching tale of an elephant who only wants to fit in and the children who make him welcome.  Size, shape and or species-kids are kids.

Beautifully written and illustrated, Humperdink Our Elephant Friend is published by Quarto Knows and Words & Pictures and is perfect for kids three to five years old.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 50-Year Quest

I remember as if it were yesterday.

It was either late 1969 or early 1970 and one of my best friends: Alden, had come over to my house to spend the night.

He brought with him a couple of albums (for you younger generation out there-albums are like large CDs made of black vinyl that break).

One of the albums was Crosby, Stills and Nash. Young contributed but stayed behind-the-scenes. He would add his initial to the group's second album: Deja Vu

He put it on my little, single speaker turntable, placed the needle on the record and the music began to play.

I was hooked immediately.

I had heard of the group.  They played at the Woodstock Music Festival a few months earlier.

What we were listening to was their premiere album.

All four musicians had come from successful bands: Crosby from The Byrds, Graham Nash from The Hollies and Stephen Stills from Buffalo Springfield as did Neil Young.

Miraculously the four met, immediately bonded and started creating music.

CSN & Y epitomized that Folk Rock movement of the early seventies.  Their seamless blend of vocal harmonies unified the rebellious youth of the time and their politically laced lyrics resounded with the Hippie/Me Generation.

In the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 50-Year Quest: Music To Change The World book, written by Robert McParland and published by McFarland Books, readers are invited to journey back in time to the band’s genesis and travel the decades with them to the present.


Along the way readers will learn about their political agenda (much of which I disagree with, but I still love their music), their highs and lows, tensions between the band’s members and their popularity through the decades.

Learn about heir bouts with drugs and alcohol, their turbulent and often confrontational drive to create, their friendship and their eventually breakup sparked by Nash and Crosby’s falling out.

For a first-hand look at the long and successful years by one of the most influential Rock bands in the world Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 50-Year Quest delivers.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Star Trek: The Captain's Oath

Captain James Tiberius Kirk: perhaps the most famous captain of Starfleet.

The youngest captain to ever command a Constitution class starship James Kirk is respected by his fellow Starfleet comrades and feared by his enemies.

Brilliant, passionate, compassionate and willing to ‘bend’ the rules, Captain Kirk has saved countless lives, faced danger and death head-on and believes there is no such thing as a ‘no-win’ situation.

Handsome and ladies man Kirk nevertheless places his own personal needs aside when it comes to the safety of his ship and crew.

But, how did James Kirk become the legendary Captain Kirk?  What people and situations molded the man into the legend his is?

In writer Christopher L. Bennett’s new book: Star Trek: The Captain's Oath, published by Gallery Books, readers get a rare peek into the often turbulent life of the man, the myth and the legend.

Learn about his earlier commands, his victories, his failures, his personal life, how his well-known persistence and perseverance came about and the decisions that ultimately made him the man he is.

It’s a fascinating exploration of the past events and people who shaped James T. Kirk into one of the most renowned captains in Starfleet history.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Why Write Reviews?

Way back in the early 1980s I started working for an advertising agency.

My duties primarily involved creating logos, brochures and other promotional print projects.

My boss and the art director were primarily responsible for overseeing my work and writing the copy (or text) for individual campaigns.

One day while we were working on a campaign both my boss and art director had hit a brick wall while trying to create eye-catching copy.

I always had the knack for puns and off-kilter humor and I suggested a headline and theme for the copy.

They both liked it and before I knew I was dubbed the slogan maker.

After I left the agency I went to work for a number of companies in their marketing departments and soon myself not only designing ad campaigns but writing the copy as well.

I must have been doing something right because the campaigns were successful and my writing talent was not only appreciated but also called upon more and more.

During this period I also started writing a small “What’s Hot, What’s Not” newsletter distributed at local comic book shops.  It was nothing fancy, but it soon caught on.

Before long the size of the newsletter, it’s contents and its distribution numbers grew and I had a surefire hit on my hands.

Not only was I writing reviews about comic books, but I branched out to books, toys, trading cards and just about anything else that was considered pop culture.

I still write reviews to this day.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Going Home


I was born in Pontiac, Michigan in January 1953. We lived in Milford, Michigan: a small town of only a few thousand.

I lived there until I was 20 years old and moved to Florida, went to college, met my wife and I’ve have been here ever since.

In a few week I’ll be traveling to my hometown to visit my sole surviving brother.  He and I are the last of our family.  After we are gone our children and grandkids will carry on our lineage.

My trip will last five days.  I’ll arrive at the Flint airport around noon.  The first day I’m there my brother (Rich) and I will have a lot of catching up to do. 

Tentative plans are to spend some time with my nephews and nieces and their families, a full day with my high school friend (Tim) touring about Milford, attend Wednesday church services with my brother, do a lot of visiting, eating out and reminiscing and then head back to Florida on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to it.  Over these last few years my brother and I have grown much closer.  We lost our middle brother over two years ago and Rich lost his wife just over a year ago.

While it is true you can never go back to your past, I hope to at least stir up a few memories, spend time with the people I love and return home with a new appreciation of how fortunate I am to have such a great family.

I vowed after my middle brother (Dallas) died that I would go to see my surviving brother before it was too late to do so.

Dallas and I had plans to see each other one year before he passed away.

But, health issues, moving, family situations and schedules did not permit it.  I regret not seeing him before he died to this day.

Rich and I were honored to say a few words at his funeral and I got to spend some time with Dallas’s family while I was there.

Time passes so quickly.  Before you know it, you’ve grown up.  As the years mount precious family and friends pass away, familiar surroundings change and the specter of death draws closer every hour.

I am so grateful that I was saved back in 1978 and that all three of my brothers and their spouses (and many of their kids) were also saved-along with our mom.

While I am in no hurry to leave this life I am assured that I will see them again.  With God’s grace many more of my family will be saved as well as dear friends.

I’m 66 years old, 19 years older than my dad was when he died.  Perhaps I’ll see him in the next life, as I never knew him in this one.

As I grow older I’ve come to realize that all those things that seemed so important and urgent as I grew up really don’t amount to much.

Fame, fortune, health, youth--they all fad as the years mount up.

It all comes down to two things: loving God and loving others.  Without those two things life is meaningless.

Take the time to thank God, say a kind word and give a hug to those close to you for tomorrow they may be gone.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

TV Show Comic Books


Back in the 1950s and 1960s TV was a wonderful playground.  Every conceivable type of show existed from Detective, Westerns, Suspense, Science Fiction--the list goes on and on.

Never one to pass up a quick buck the comic book industry quickly snapped up publishing rights for various TV shows.

The TV comic books were a huge hit with kids. 

One of my favorite comic book adaptations was of Western TV shows.

There were literally dozens of titles to choose from.  Some featured painted covers and photo covers while other sported art by some of the industry’s biggest names like Alex Toth and others.

Like the TV shows they emulated, comic book Westerns encouraged chivalry, honesty, high morals, family and community responsibility and a stellar and trustworthy character.

We could use a few good Western TV shows and comic books nowadays.


 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Across The Void

Imagine waking up in an enclosed tube.  A warm, gooey fluid threatens to drown you.  Tubes, sensors and IVs cover your body; some pierce your skin.

Panicked you thrash about only to tumble to a cold metallic floor.  You gag, vomit and almost pass out.

Remarkably you manage to crawl across the room and painfully stand-up.

You have no memory of how you got there, where you are and what happened.

Slowly you start to piece together your fragmented memory.

You’re aboard a spaceship.  Painfully you remember your name: Maryam “May” Knox.  You’re the commander of the spacecraft Hawking II.

Where is everyone?  Why will no one answer?  Only the voice of the ship’s AI is heard urging you to drink, eat and take healing medication.

After several minutes, (hours?) you manage to regain some of your strength and with the help of the AI start to piece together what happened.

Meanwhile on Earth everyone believes your ship is lost or destroyed, except your husband.

Fortunately you are able to send a message home.  Now begins the rescue mission.

The more you piece the facts together the more you suspect that your predicament was not an accident.  Your husband suspects the same.

But why?  And where is the rest of the crew?

I admit it, I’m a sucker for ‘the last survivor scenario”.  Especially when it involves space travel. 

Author S. K. Vaughn has taken the tried and true ‘last survivor; genre and given it a unique tweak with enough twists, turns, unexpected moments and surprises to keep readers glued to its pages.

Across The Void is an epic sci-fi novel (published by Skybound Books/Atria that delivers plenty of action, intrigue and mystery to satisfy the most discerning of readers.

It would make a great movie ranking right up there with Alien, The Martian, Arrival and other sci-fi classics.


Bonanza The Ninth Season

Sunday nights.  It was the late 1960s and my Mom and I had settled into our respective living room chairs, turned on the TV to the NBC Network and leaned back to watch our favorite TV Western: Bonanza.

It was one of the few TV shows that my Mom and I liked to watch together.

Mom (although she would not admit to it) had a crush on Ben Cartwright, the patriarch of the Cartwright clan.

My favorite was Hoss, the big lovable bull of a man: brother to Little Joe and Adam.

I was a big kid and identified with him.

There was something comforting about a tightly bound family (albeit all men) that satisfied my need for a father figure, or figures.

Mom and I watched the show from its first episode in 1959 to its last show 14 years later.

CBS/Paramount present The Official Ninth Season of Bonanza Volumes 1 & 2.

The special, digitally restored twin, first time on DVD collections feature every episode of series Ninth Season.

Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Bonanza with Ben, Hoss, Little Joe and Candy (taking the place of Adam) as they tend to the Cartwright’s Ponderosa ranch, ward off bad guys, Indians, con artists, crooks and other Wild West dangers and threats.

Along the way some hilarious and funny episodes are included.

DVD extras include behind-the-scenes goodies, Promotion clips, commentaries, photos and so much more.

It’s a veritable ’Bonanza” of Ponderosa fun and features.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

I Am Blessed

“I am blessed.”

That’s three words I never thought I’d say.

Let me explain.

I am the fourth son of a single mom-now deceased.

We were poor-dirt poor.

We moved a lot.  We ate a boatload of government surplus food and didn’t live in the best of surroundings.

My older brothers were moved out and married by the time I was six years old-effectively making me a lone child.

Mom was a lousy money manager and I learned at a young age that if I wanted anything I would have to pay for it myself.

I worked a lot of paper routes and stick boy positions.

I’m not faulting my mom-it’s just the way things were.

We were poor, often short of money, but overall I had a great childhood. 

Great friends and family, a wonderful small town to live in and lots of fun stuff to do as a kid and teenager all combined to make my young life enjoyable.

I graduated high school, attended college and moved to Florida where I met my wife.  We married forty years ago, adopted two great kids, I had steady work (not always the best mind you), we attended church and made a lot of friends and had/have some pretty cool relatives.

We struggled sometimes, but we paid the bills, had food to eat, cloths to wear, a place to live and best of all--we had each other.

I’m retired now and it hit me.

I’ve found myself regretting many of the decisions and choices I made early in my life.  I resented the hard times I lived through and most of all I was mad about the unrealized dreams I held for so long.

I’m an artist who never gained his full potential, a frustrated writer, a man slightly out of step with society and a bit of a daydreamer.

I’ve caught myself focusing on my own destiny and dreams and ignoring those around me.  I tend to zone out and dwell too much on my inner thoughts.

Suddenly it struck me (I thank God he pointed this out to me) that I need to change.  I need to cherish each day, concentrate on what’s going on around me and most of all--to appreciate, love and honor my loved ones.

God willing and with his help I will.

I intend to relish the writing and creative endeavors God permits me to do and be appreciative of everything and everyone he has blessed me with.

We have paid off our home, owe no money, have a comfortable retirement, have good health and have more than we need.

Both my wife and I are saved.  Hopefully both of our children are too and God willing our grandson will get saved one day.

It’s taken me 66 years to grow up, to live for the day and to not be afraid of both my past and future.

I am blessed.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Super-Villains

Where would Superheroes be without Super-Villains?

After all, it’s one thing to have super powers and strive for the good.  It’s quite anther thing when you have an adversary who also has super abilities and tries to negate every good thing you accomplish.

Just look at Superman and Lex Luthor or Batman and The Joker.  Talk about your Ying and Yang!

Without Super-Villains, Superheroes would be little more than super errand boys.  They’d take their powers in stride, get lazy and soon become passe in the eyes of the public.

Bad as they are Super-Villains keep the good guys on their toes, force them to hone their skills and abilities and draw a definite line between good and evil.

Besides that, Super-Villains are just plain cool!  The truth be told they tend to be much more interesting characters than superheroes. 

After all Super-Villains don’t see themselves as bad guys, just misunderstood and unappreciated individuals who see things a little bit different as society in general.

In DC Comics Super-Villains 100 Greatest Moments, published by Chartwell Books, and written by Robert Greenberger, readers witness the highlights from the history of the world’s greatest Super-Villains.

Sporting a full-color, wraparound book cover designed by Anna D. Puchalski, the oversize hardbound book is brimming with Super-Villain goodness (uh-badness).

Listed in alphabetical order, starting with Adolf Hitler and ending with Vandal Savage, the book chronicles the greatest crime capers foisted on society by each villain along with a quick rundown about their origin and modus operandi.

Full-color cover art, spot illustrations, full-page splashes and interior pages all combine to make this the ultimate visual assembly all about DC’s Super -Villains.

Bring on the bad guys!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dark Neostorm

There’s a storm brewing, but not just any storm!

Konami turns out the lights, cranks up the lightning and pushes the winds to near hurricane force with its new Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Dark Neostorm six Card Booster Pack.

The 100-Card Booster Set is no Spring shower as it lets primal forces unleash their devastating power and that’s no more true than with its Xyz Summoning.

With the return of the Xyz Monsters the Super Quantum Mecha Pilots are the only ones capable of negating monster effects.

Here are just a few things to look for:

A Metamorphic Dragon
Multiple new "Discard" Effect Monsters
A Reinforcement of the Army-like Spell Card for Cyberse monsters
A Danger!-ous Spell Card
A Link Monster

The Dark Neostorm Booster Set includes:

48 Commons
20 Rares
14 Super Rares
10 Ultra Rares
8 Secret Rares

Strange Hollywood

Hollywood: a location and industry based on individuals pretending to be other individuals--in other words fantasy.

Actors, actresses, dancers, musicians singers, directors, screen writers-they all perform to entertain the public.

Their fame is based on fabricated tales, not on real deeds.

Is it any wonder that many of the Hollywood crowd are a bit quirky, do some outrageous things and have a slightly off-kilter view of life in general?

In Strange Hollywood, from the editors of Portable Press, readers learn all about amazing and intriguing incidents from Tinseltown and beyond.

If you are a fan of all things showbiz then this is the book for you.

Learn all about the odd personality traits, strange coincidences, sometimes outrageous quotes, bizarre facts and other Hollywood goodies that drawn people to the entertainment capital of the world.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The LEGO Movie The Second Part

They’re back!

Just as you were about to recuperate from THE LEGO Movie along comes the sequel.

Join the citizens of Brickburg as they face a whole new adversary: LEGO DUPLO alien invaders!

As soon as the citizens rebuild the invaders destroy all progress.

Emmet is back along with Lucy, Batman and the rest of crazy and slightly off-kilter gang from the first move.

Join them as the traverse to faraway alien and strange worlds in their attempt to stop the invaders.

Along the way they meet some pretty strange characters, manage to include a few musical numbers and discover just how good their Master Building skills are.

Get ready to laugh your bricks off as the puns never cease, the action never lets up and the visual and verbal gags hit at a rapid pace.

It’s wild! It’s exciting!  Best of all-it’s fun and you have Warner Bros. to thank for all of the lunacy.
The LEGO Movie The Second Part Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack also includes deleted scenes, a music video and much more-so much more!





The Shield, Robin Hood and A Hero’s Welcome

Get ready for a game-changer!

Vic Mackey is a corrupt cop.  He also runs an elite Strike Team.  The only rules are his rules, so best not to get in his way.

Mill Creek Entertainment is proud to present the cop show that changed all the rules.

All seven seasons are included in this massive boxed DVD collection spotlighting Vic Mackey and his rough and tumble, break the rules band of misfits that aren’t above ruffling the law to bring in the bad guys.

It’s the show that changed what a cop show could be.

The Shield reinvented the cop genre and racked up critical acclaim from the critics.

It’s down and dirty, a little bit sleazy, always trend-breaking and a great show.

Also included with the new 4K digital restoration are featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes, a 2018 cast reunion and much more.

It grabs you by the throat and never lets go!  Discover a new kind of anti-hero who you love to hate and hate to love.

Long, long ago a British import TV series captured the imagination of the American TV viewing audience.

The Adventures Of Robin Hood The Complete Series includes all 143 episodes of the classic series.

In it Richard Greene plays Robin Hood aided and abetted by his Merry Band Of Men and Maid Marion as they thwart the nefarious plans of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Hidden deep within the dark and dangerous Sherwood Forest Robin’s band of men hatch their plans to steal from the rich and give to the poor,

This is TV as it was meant to be: entertaining, uplifting and suitable for the entire family.

I loved it as a kid and I know you will too.

With over 58 hours of wholesome entertainment covering four seasons, the DVD collection is the perfect way to discover what it means to be a true hero and champion of the down trodden.

In A Hero’s Welcome three outstanding documentary films explore a hero who rallied the Filipino people against the Japanese, a band of heroes determined to return the remains of their fallen comrades home and a return to one of the bloodies conflicts of WWII:  Tarawa.

Discover what it means to serve your country despite the danger, self-sacrifice and deplorable conditions.

Never Surrender, Until They Are Home and Return To Tarawa are sure to stir your patriotic blood and swell your chest with pride.

Buddy Fight, Zero’s Tea Time, Bang Comics Dream! and Previews

I am excited!  It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to review Manga.  I’ve got to twist my brain around to read back to front and right to left.

Time to gear up for fast-paced storytelling, lots of action lines, a plethora of symbolism and beautifully rendered, minimalist art that cuts out the fluff and provides pure reading pleasure.

Shogakukan Asia Pte Ltd. provided four new Manga titles that are sure to strike a cord with Manga and comic book readers alike.

In Future Card Buddy Fight 2, by Mitsuhisa Tamura, the action never lets up as Gao Mikado and Drum prove that they’ve got what it takes and are the team to beat.

Monsters, muscles, mayhem and magic abound as the ABC Cup Finals get underway. 

Gao better watch out as his newest opponent uses monsters from the Katana World.  Who is the strongest opponent?

In Takahiro Arai’s Detective Conan Zeri’s Tea Time 01 the mysterious and enigmatic Zero is the man with three faces: superior, aprentice and informant.

But, who is he really and when does he show his true face?  It’s up to the reader to piece the puzzle together.

But, be warned.  He may not be whom you expect him to be.

What do you do when you follow the beat of the stars? Kasumi Toyama finds herself searching for something in Bang Comic Dreams! 1.

One day she comes across a Random Star Guitar at her schoolmate’s house.

High school just got a lot more exciting, intriguing and amazing once she decides to start a band.

It’s five girls and a dream and the sky’s the limit!

If you have a hankering to try reading Mangas then Shogakukan Asia has just the book for you!

Four short chapter previews plunge you headfirst into the worlds of Buddy Fight, The Legendary Hero Is Dead, Detective Conan and Mr. Kiasu.

Best of all-it’s free!

After looking all the titles (which also include some extra surprises) I’m out of breath, my head is spinning and I can’t wait for more!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Oriental Sleuths

My, how times have changed.

It used to be in movies, dime novels and popular literature when referring to someone from the Orient the term Oriental was applied.

Actually, according to many of my former Asian students, the term Oriental refers to objects, such as pottery, food, etc. that originated in the Orient is the proper use of the word Oriental. 

To refer to someone from the Orient, the proper term is Asian.

Not so long ago, movies and TV shows often referred to Asian persons as Orientals, especially when it pertained to Asian detectives, lawmen and nefarious gangsters and masterminds of the Asian persuasion.

To use the term Oriental as it pertains to people today would be considered highly politically incorrect.

Amazingly most movie sleuths of Asian descent weren’t played by actual Asian actors but Caucasian actors with Asian makeup.  Perfect examples of this were Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Peter Ustinov and even Boris Karloff.

In author David Rothel’s new book: The Case Files Of The Oriental Sleuths: Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto & Mr. Wong, published by BearManor Media, the long and illustrious history of Oriental (Asian) Sleuths is uncovered.

Starting roughly in the 1920s the crime-fighting careers of Charlie Chan, Mr. I. A Moto and Mr. James Lee Wong are examined in all of their various pop culture trappings.

Discover their exploits in print, radio, TV, comic books, movies, games and other mass media releases.

Anything and everything readers would ever want to know about these three individuals is included: their history, creation, various adventures, their associates and enemies and much, much more.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fantastic Four #66

One of the most important characters ever created by Marvel Comics is Adam Warlock.

He has appeared in and played a pivotal role in almost all of Marvel Comics' sci-fi/outer space comic book genres.

He has appeared in his own series (several in fact), played a huge role in the entire Infinity Saga and has even reared his head in several Marvel Universe movies.

All indications are that he will play an important part in the net wave of Marvel movies.

But, did you know that he didn’t start out as we know him today?

In issue #66 of the Silver Age Fantastic Four series, by Lee and Kirby, Adam first appeared in a life-cell vat as an engineered super-being created by the scientists, of the Beehive, as a means to save mankind.

In the story the Thing’s girlfriend Alicia is transported to the Beehive’s super-secret location where she is given the task of recreating Adam’s image in clay.

Adam had broken free of his vat and turned on his creators.  It was hoped that Alicia could capture his likeness for study.

In route she and her guide are witness to Adam’s incredible power-yet he still remained unseen.

In issue #67 Adam is revealed.  In that issue he is only known as Him.

Several years later, Him would transform into Adam Warlock and things would really get interesting!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AAUGH!

So much cool stuff I want to review.  Need review samples! No money!  AAUGH!

Love & Kindness Bible Stories

The Bible-it can be confusing to young minds.

Genealogies, the Prophets, Judaism, The Old and New Testaments, God’s laws-to a youngster such concepts can be hard to grasp.

However the overall message of the Bible: love God and love others, is not.

Now that we have a grandson who goes to church with my wife and I we want to teach him all about the Bible, God, Jesus and what it means to be a Christian.

My First Read and Learn Love & Kindness Bible Stories book from Scholastic Books breaks down the message of the Bible into to simple to understand short stories tailored just of kids.

Delightful full-color illustrations printed on heavy-gauge paper pages not only make reading fun; the book also lets young hands easily turn the pages.

Bound in a soft hardbound cover, the book delves into some of the most important Biblical characters, their lives, parables and other Bible text explaining the message of love and kindness. 

The Bible stories help youngsters understand the love of God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and how He/They want every person to go to Heaven.

I can hardly wait to share this wonderful book with my grandson!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Screw Top Pail with Lid and Long Corrugated Box

The Screw Top Pail with Lid - .6 Gallon, by Uline, is designed to carry fine powders and granulars.

Specs include:
   
Vacuum tight    
Tamper evident with use of cable ties.
Lid includes neoprene gasket for moisture-resistant storage.
Molded, high-density polyethylene.
FDA compliant.

But, I found another great use for it when it comes to collectibles.

Collectibles come in all sizes.  Most people associate them with larger objects like toys, models, magazines and the like.

There is a whole different category of collectibles.  I’m talking about small giveaways, game pieces, marbles, small toys, die cast cars-all sorts of collectibles that can fit in your hand.

By using the Pail a huge amount of miniature collectibles can be stored safely in a tight, screw-top container that stacks easily and takes up very little room.

It’s the ideal container for those pesky tiny gotta-have collectibles.
The S-10665 40 x 12 x 12" Long Corrugated Box is a lightweight, inexpensive Box suited to shipping long items, toys, lightweight collectibles or once taped and secured it’s great for magazines and comic books

Just look at the specs as provided by Uline:

All FedEx and all UPS Dimensional Weight: 45 lbs
Seams are glued.
All boxes open along the length (first dimension).
Meets ASTM D5118 and D3951.
60% stronger bursting strength.
An alternative for lightweight shipments.

Anyway you look at it; it’s the perfect box for your collectibles needs.

May 2019 Previews




Thursday, April 18, 2019

Order Of The Spellcasters

Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Order Of The Spellcasters Structure Deck is sure to put a little ‘magic’ in your gaming.

Pick a Card, any Card and watch as mystic energies swirl around you in a spellbinding cacophony of sound and light show straight from the dark arts.

Watch as the magical Masters of Order of the Spellcasters Structure Deck transcend their physical forms to become Spells.

As Pendulum Monsters, they gain different abilities as Monsters or Spell Cards.

Order of the Spellcasters Structure Decks contain:

41-Card Main Deck
1 Extra Deck Monster for a total of 42 Cards:

37 Commons
3 Super Rares
2 Ultra Rares
1 Beginner’s Guide
1 Double-sided Deluxe Game Mat/Dueling Guide

Corrugated Box S-21596

As a collector I’m always looking for good, study, inexpensive and properly sized boxes to store things in-especially toys.

Uline’s S-21596 14 x 10 x 12" Lightweight 32 ECT Corrugated Box is the perfect fit for storing toys. 

It’s not too big, so that toys don’t get crushed or bent.  It’s just the right size for two to three large format boxed toys and offers enough room for six to eight carded toys.

The box is sturdy and compact enough to make stacking easy,


Because it’s used primarily for lighter objects, simple folding the flaps over in a crisscross manner allowing the box to be secure enough not to require tape.

The 32 ECT (Edge Crush Test) box is recommended by UPS for shipping up to 30 lbs.

The FedEx and all UPS dimensional weight is 14 lbs

I high recommend the S-21596 box.



 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Yokai Storyland

Pop culture-we take it for granted that the pop culture craze started in the 20th Century.

Not so.  Yokai Storyland: Illustrated Books From The Yumoto Koichi Collection compiles a plethora of illustrated tales dating as far as the 1600s in Japan.

Inside this wonderful collection of art, courtesy of PIE International, readers are treated to some of the most original, imaginative, quirky and outrageous art covering everything from domestic life to high fantasy.

Some of the illustrations are downright hilarious, provocative and sometimes disturbing.

If my artist eyes serve me correctly most of the art are woodcuts that are either hand-painted or screened.

Full translations of all the pieces are provided, as is a pictorial glossary in the back of the oversize paperback book complete with slipcover.

Many of the images are explained in an addendum to the book for those unfamiliar with the Japanese culture and symbolism.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Glastonbury, Apollo and Extreme


Here in the United States when anyone refers to a classic Pop/Rock and Roll Festival Woodstock immediately comes to mine.  The Monterey Pop Festival usually comes in second.

Did you know that an equally important music festival began in 1970, less than one year after Woodstock and it is still going strong?

Originally dubbed the Pilton Pop Blues & Folk Festival, the music and mud at the Glastonbury Festival, across the pond in the UK, draws in thousands of music lovers and spotlights top talent. 

Does Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie sound familiar?

How about Adele, Iggy Pop and an impressive score of other performers?

What started out as Hippie/Counter-Culture/multiple music genre event has blossomed into one of the most respected and crowd-drawing events in music history.

Carlton Books and author Malcolm Croft present 50 Years Of Glastonbury all wrapped up in a deluxe hardbound book complete with fascinating text, historical recollections and plenty of photos.

It’s a regular festival for the eyes!

It all begin in 1961 when then President John F. Kennedy boldly stated that the United States would land a man on the Moon and return him to Earth by decade’s end.

The Apollo Mission In The Astronaut’s Own Words book is unlike most historical accounts of the U.S.A. Apollo Moon Mission.

Filled with candid and classic photos, the book tells the tale of the Apollo Program by those that were there.

For personal insights and commentaries this is the book you MUST read, by Rod Pyle.

I remember as a child visiting various doctor offices while my mother took her allergy shots or had her latest round of medical tests.

For a young child the doctor’s office can be a scary place, especially when left alone in the visiting area.

One of the things I did to pass the time was read the Highlights magazine.  My all-time favorite section in the magazine was ‘spot-the-difference’.

It consisted of two pieces of art (cartoons) that at first glance appeared to be the same.  The challenge was to spot the subtle differences.

Below the art was listed the number of differences to look for.  In the back of the magazine the solution was shown.  I always spotted the differences.

Tim Dedopulos’s new book: Extreme Spot The Difference Challenging High Definition Photo Puzzles ups the ante with a series of full-page photos that dare the reader to spot the differences.

But not so fast!  Trust me when I say it’s not that easy.

Adult and child alike will spend hours pouring over the photos.  There are differences in color, objects missing, objects added, lighting effects-any and everything.

What a fun challenge!  There’s 2000 differences to discover using the Spotter’s Grid.  You’ll need it.

Just like the Highlights magazine the solutions are in the back of the book.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Cold War Thrillers

For anyone born in the mid-1980s on The Cold War generally has very little meaning to them.

Sure, it’s mentioned in school history books but is relegated as ‘ancient history’ to those who did not live through it.

Interestingly enough even though the Iron Curtain (Berlin Wall) fell in 1989 and effectively ended the communist reign of the U.S.S.R., there are those in today’s Russia who long for the old days.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seems determined to begin a new Cold War even though a face-to-face confrontation with the United States would spell certain doom for Russia.

Like those of my generation I lived through the Cold War.  I still remember the ‘duck and cover’ exercises at school, bomb shelters and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation-we came close several times.

In Mill Creek Entertainment's new six-film collection: Cold War Thriller, viewers are plunge into the height of the conflict with six spy and espionage thrillers.

Man On A String was actually filmed in East Berlin and is based on a true incident involving a Russian movie-producer recruited to be a counterspy.

A British secret agent delves into the mysterious suicide of a man he just investigated.  What he finds is disturbing in The Deadly Affair.

Otley: a born Loser gets entangled in a murder and an espionage conspiracy

In A Dandy in Aspic a British agent must find the double-agent in MI-6.

Hammerhead sees an American spy sent to intercept an international criminal set on stealing nuclear weapon secrets.

A British Intelligence Operative suspects his colleague of being a double-agent when a mission goes awry in The Executioner


All are thrilling spy movies with plenty of action, lots of intrigue and danger around every turn.

Spy film fans are sure to love this six-pack of Cold War espionage.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Steven Universe The Complete Second Season

I’ve heard a lot about the animated series Steven Universe from Cartoon Network/Warner Bros.

I’ve even caught a few minutes of a couple of episodes.  I’m not sure what I saw.  Interesting is the only word I can think of that adequately describes my first impression.

Well, things have a got a lot more ‘interesting’ as I’ve watched several episodes.

What I’ve gleamed so far is that Steven (an Earth boy) and the alien Crystal Gems face off against a dangerous foe, discover the fusion of fellow Gems witness the Cluster and encounter even a more dangerous threat than the first.

There’s plenty of whacked-out wonder, unique characters, strange alien locations, music and song-filled action, adventure, danger and most importantly the true meaning of love and friendship.

The boxed Steven Universe The Complete Second Season DVD collection contains of all 22 episodes and also includes Steven Universe The Phantom Fable postcards, a soundtrack postcard and an exclusive Garnet Fusion Keychain!

Be sure to check out the never-seen-before animatics.

Glass

It started with Unbreakable, then Split and culminates with Glass.

What if superheroes and super villains really existed?

What would they be like?  Would they wear outrageous costumes and go by equally absurd code names?  Would they have secret identities?

Or would they appear as normal human beings-faults and all?

Would they relish their powers or shun them and wish only to be normal?

What would happen should hero and villain meet?

Most of all would society, as a whole, believe such beings could exist or would they chalk them off as eccentric, abnormal and delusional?

In Glass, by director M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L, Jackson, James McAvoy and Sarah Paulson, out on Blu-ray/ DVD/Digital, these are just of the few questions posed.

In the culmination of a 3-part saga David Dunn (the good guy) is chasing down bad guy: The Beast and eventually subdues him.

The police arrive and both The Beast and David are taken into custody and placed in an institute for the criminally insane.

David’s first nemesis, from Unbreakable, Mr. Glass, is also at the institute.

Measures are taken to ensure all three do not escape.  But when the three are brought together for therapy Mr. Glass puts his plan in motion resulting in the escape of David and The Beast.

After escaping David and The Beast clash in ever-increasing and violent encounters.  Mr. Glass manipulates the whole scenario from his asylum ward. 

Twists and turns abound as the film leads viewers into a strange and dangerous world of conspiracy and mystery ultimately to a conclusion that will send shocks reverberating throughout the movie going community.

It’s the ultimate good versus evil scenario played out in real life.

Extras include over 60 minutes of additional information about characters examinations,  featurettes about stunts and much more all courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Strange Tales #151

It’s no secret that Jim Steranko is one of my all-time favorite artists/writers.

I first saw his art in one of Marvel Comics’ anthology series featuring the iconic characters: Nick Fury and Doctor Strange.

At that time Marvel Comics was limited to publishing only eight titles a month as stipulated by their distribution company owned by Marvel’s rival: DC Comics.

In order to expand its character titles Stan Lee took three of its existing anthology series and divided each into two tales starring different characters-a clever marketing ploy!

Comic book lore has it that after a disappointing association with Harvey Comics Jim Steranko brought his portfolio to Marvel Comics and presented it to Stan Lee.

Lee was so impressed with Steranko’s art that he hired him on the spot and offered him whichever title he wanted.

Jim chose Strange Tales, one of Marvel’s lowest sellers.

Several issues previously Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a direct response to the popularity of the James Bond films and the burgeoning spy craze.

The series featured ex-Army sergeant Nick Fury as a CIA agent recruited by the super-spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D.

Lee provided the script and Kirby layouts.  This allowed Steranko to concentrate on his art and accustom himself to the Marvel Comics story-telling style.

In is first Marvel venture Steranko’s elements of his distinctive style were already evident.   His slick and clean pencils and inks showcased his mastery of anatomy, perspective, set designs and exotic weapons and equipment (reminiscent of one of Sternako’s influences: Wally Wood.

Several issues later Steranko would take over the writing chores and cover art.

Jim’s run on Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. lasted several years.  All the while, his distinct style continued to develop.

When Marvel Comics ended its distribution deal with DC Comics and secured another distributor contract, Marvel expanded its line of books.

Nick Fury received his own monthly title with Steranko writing, penciling and often inking and coloring nearly a half-dozen issues.

Steranko was not know for his adherence to deadlines and unfortunately left the title.

Not long afterwards he would begin his legendary run On Captain America, ending after a few issues and a short run on the X-Men.

Jim would provide the occasional short tale and covers for Marvel over the years but never returned to a regular series.

He would later go on to create his own design firm, self-publish, paint book covers and continue to design, illustrate and influence the comic book industry for decades.

Jim is a much loved guest at conventions, still contributes art occasionally and is every bit as creative and innovative as ever.

Monday, April 8, 2019

TV USA

TV shows are figments of someone’s imagination.  Regardless of the genre of a TV show (unless it is news documentary or the like) the locations for the TV shows are either fictional or said to take place in specific real locations.

More than likely the shows are filmed on sound stages in Los Angeles, New York and other film studios scattered across the U.S.

Often actual location film footage is included to give shows the look of authenticity.  Rarely are shows filmed on location.

Author Ross Pearlman and Universe Publishing present TV USA: An Atlas For Channel Surfers. TV shows, both past and present, are listed by where they were portrayed as being located.

Each state is represented.  Photos from the TV series’ are included side-by-side with state or location maps pinpointing where each show took place.

As a TV junkie I found it extremely fascinating as I flipped through the book’s pages and discovered what interior and exterior shots were actually filmed on location or were fabricated through the magic of TV.

It’ A Guide To Everyone’s Favorite Real And Imagined TV Locales all wrapped up in a colorful and delightful oversize paperback book.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Where Has The Time Gone?


When I approached and thoroughly entrenched myself into my thirties the 1980s were in full swing.

VCRs were the latest and hottest thing, DVDs were just starting to be introduced, personal computers for the home were still a few years away, cell phones were as big as bricks and just about as heavy and cable and satellite TV had just reared their multi-media heads.

Most American homes had color TVs and three channel choices: ABC, NBC and CBS (save for the fortunate few who could afford cable), along with PBS and occasionally broadcasts from Canada if you lived close to the border.

TV shows consisted mostly of sophomoric comedies, game shows, soap operas (primetime and daytime), some variety shows (that were disappearing fast) a few fantasy and science fiction shows and a boatload of cop and detective shows.

My wife and I had our favorites that we watched on a consistent basis:  M.A.S.H. (gotta love Hawkeye), The Fall Guy, Simon and Simon, Magnum P.I. (the mustache ruled!), Moonlighting, Newhart, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Miami Vice, The A Team (a guilty pleasure), The Wonder Years, The Cosby Show (yes, that Cosby!), Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Murder She Wrote.

All offered good, clean fun with very little blatant sex and violence (sex and violence tended to be innuendo and non-graphic with no filthy language).

I still enjoy watching many of these shows on DVD and on You Tube.

They were the shows of my youth.  I was young, virile, full of energy, mid-career and taking on life full-tilt. 

The shows were a welcome respite from the day-to-day struggle and doldrums of work, raising a family and coping with life’s unexpected surprises.

Now that I am older, settled in my ways, less prone to exertion, and unafraid to voice my opinion I like to momentarily slip back in time, relish my youth and remember how it seemed like my life would go on forever.

I’ve grown old, our family and friends shrink in numbers each years as more pass away, our kids are grown and the things that seemed so important and urgent when we were young seem so trivial now.

It’s said that time heals all wounds and that’s true.  But the passage of time also brings on the realization that life is only temporary and the things that really matter are friends, family and God.

So, forgive me, as I wax nostalgic.  I’ll never be young again, at least physically.  But inside, I’m as young and full of promise as I ever was-only I’m too tired to do anything about it!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Captain America #109

One issue before artist/writer Jim Steranko began is legendary Silver Age run on Marvel Comics' Captain America title, Jack Kirby (who had drawn the previous eight issues) turned in what I consider to be one his best issues of the title.

Along with writer Stan Lee, Jack retold The Origin Of Captain America!, in issue #109, taking into account all the various tweaks and alterations of Cap’s origin over the past years and conglomerating them all into one cohesive whole.

It was a brilliant piece of work by Lee and Kirby and it stands as a testament to their combined talents.

The issue things start off with a bang as Cap and his teenage sidekick Bucky face-off against a horde of Nazi and their new super weapon.

The scene shifts to modern day as readers see Cap recalling the adventure to Nick Fury the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the super secret spy agency.

In an attempt to regroup his life after the tragic death of Bucky and his subsequent suspended animation in a block of ice, only to be revived over 20 years later in a new and unknown future, cap recalls his origin.

As with all past ‘origin’ tales Cap started out as Steve Rogers: a scrawny young man who wants to help with the war effort in WWII but is too weak and frail to qualify for service.

An officer hears his pleas to serve and offers him a chance to make a difference.

Steve agrees and meets with Professor Reinstein, the world’s greatest physicist and the inventor of the Super Soldier serum and procedure.

Meanwhile a Nazi submarine is submerged off the shores of Long Island and launches a raft with a Nazi passenger assigned to stop Project Super Soldier.

Steve and Professor Reinstein are taken to a small shop, which hides the underground complex housing Project Super Soldier.

Once below Steve is subjected to bombardment of  Vita-Rays after being injected with a secret serum.

After the Vita-Rays bombardment Steve emerges as a near-perfect human specimen: taller, stronger, faster and with more muscle.

As Steve and Reinstein stand in amazement at the procedure’s results the aforementioned clandestine Nazi spy shoots Reinstein.  The secret of the Super Soldier serum is lost, as Reinstein was the only one who knew its formula

Outraged Steve attacks the spy, throwing him into an electrical panel and killing him. 

Not long after that Steve dons the uniform of Captain America, reluctantly takes Bucky on as his partner when Bucky discovers his secret identity and they begin their crusade to stop the Nazi and Japanese and end the war. 

Back in the present Nick consoles Cap and offers him sage advice: it’s time to leave the past behind and start living again.

What makes this issues so amazing is (according to rumors) is that Jack and Stan produced it at breakneck speed because Jim Steranko was a bit behind schedule and couldn’t deliver his first issue on time.

Regardless if the rumor was true or not, Captain America #109 stands as one of the most pivotal issues in Cap’s long and illustrious comic book saga.

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Truth Of The Matter

It all comes down to cycles and cash.

People purchase comic books for several reasons.

First and foremost: they buy them because the like the stories and art.

Second: they love to collect.

Third: they are in it for the cash.

Forth:  Comic book buyers are in it for the combination of part or all of the reasons listed above.

When I was young I had my favorite artists:  Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Barry Smith and Gene Colan-among others.

As I grew older I enjoyed the art of George Perez, John Byrne, Jim Starlin, Mike Ploog, Jerry Ordway, etc.

Nowadays a whole new generation of artists has emerged.

Most peak in about three to five years and then a whole new batch comes along.

Why is that?  Simple, talent and taste cycle.  Artists mature and move on and artistic tastes of the comic book reading/collecting community change.

The other, more ominous reason is as artists refine their craft they become more expensive to hire.  Plain and simple.  Show me they money!

Some big names from the past still dabble in comic books, but most ‘hot’ artist of years gone past have expanded their artistic outlets, established profitable career and charge larger fees.

Comic book publishing is about making money-despite what fans may think.

If it costs too much to produce a product, that product is either discontinued or forced to take cost-cutting measures.

There is a reason why the big names of long ago only occasionally do covers or rarely draw entire comic books.

Money-they want a bigger cut.  Simple economics.

Despite comic book companies touting ‘new and fresh talent‘, what they are doing is paying young talent low page rates and once they become popular (and demand more money) the publishers move onto a new batch of new comic book artist wannabes.

Less overhead-more profit.  It’s the way of the world and publishing comic books is a business like any other-money rules.

Duel Power

Get ready to Duel to rule!

Super size your Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Speed Duel Power with this cool Collector's Chest that includes:

6 Duel Power Booster Packs per Box
5 Ultra Rare Cards per Pack
6 Ultra Rare Variant Art Cards: Dark Magician, Neos, Stardust Dragon, Utopia, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, and Decode Talker
There’s also a double-sided Game Board

Let’s face it, with Duel Power you’ve got this game all ‘boxed’ up!

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Game just got a whole lot more exciting, challenging and most importantly-fun!

For out-of-this-world excitement, brain-testing game strategy and a great way to have family time and a gaming challenge, Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Speed Duel Power delivers!

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Joker, Pickle Rick and UFO Cow Abduction


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, living on a mountaintop, pursuing a hermit’s life in the deep woods or surviving underwater in a bathysphere you’re bound to have heard of Batman’s arch-nemesis: The Joker.

The Joker is one of the top super-villains of all time.  His insane, twisted mind loves nothing better than to thwart Batman and dream up pun-based crimes.

Running Press has released the Deluxe Mega Kit of The Joker that features a full-color bust of the Clown Prince of Crime in all of his leering and maniacal glory.

Decked out in his trademark purple blazer, yellow shirt and green bowtie his gaudy outfit also includes a non-lethal copy of his yellow flower that squirts, not water, but acid or Joker gas.

To make things even better The Joker bust also talks braying forth 10 diabolical phrases and sound bites.  Want to bet his crazed laugh is included?

The Deluxe Mega Kit also comes with a small full-color booklet called The Joker: Behind The Smile.

Forty-eight illustrations detail the life, laughs and lunacy of The Joker




Almost as crazy as The Joker Deluxe Mega Kit is the Rick and Morty Talking Pickle Rick Deluxe Mega Kit.

The Pickle Rick Saga is considered by many Rick and Morty fans as the creme la creme of the Rick and Morty episodes.

In it, Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid a ‘family’ situation. 

Unfortunately for him things go haywire and he soon finds himself in a sewer, fighting off killer rats, cobbling together a bionic body of rat and roach parts and eventually winding up in a Russian compound where he pickle-to-man against a trained assassin.

It’s Rick to the max!

The squeezable Rick spouts two famous Pickle Rick phrases and also comes with 48-page booklet filled with art and text about Pickle Rick.  Like The Joker bust, Pickle Rick stands a little over three-inches tall, as does the UFO Cow Abduction Deluxe Mega Kit.




A three-inch, clear-dome, flying saucer with a green, bug-eye alien piloting it hovers over an innocent cow.

A clear-plastic tractor beam lifts the cow off its grassy base via magnetism.

Lights and sounds accompany the abduction.

A 32-page booklet chronicles the cow abduction.

All three Deluxe Mega Kits come packed in small boxes with clear display panels, except for the Cow Abduction and include batteries.

What fun!  I plan on displaying all three on my bookshelf in my Mancave.  Imagine a UFO, The Joker and Pickle Rick all in one place!

Archer Danger Island

How do you handle a computer and traditional animated TV series where the setting, scenario, cast roles and entire theme changes practically every season?

Why, you sit back and enjoy it of course!

Fans of the FXX animated TV series Archer are sure to get a kick out its latest rendition with 20th Century Fox’s Archer Danger Island.

Part Indiana Jones and part the defunct TV series Tales Of The Golden Monkey the 9th season series collection takes place in 1939.

Archer plays the one-eye, alcoholic seaplane pilot: Sterling Archer, aided and abetted by his co-pilot Pam.  Look for the other familiar Archer characters to appear in slightly altered roles and personalities (one even becomes a parrot and another a princess!) to fit the time period and scenario.

While everyone else is concerned about the war in Europe Archer and Pam have other things on their mind when they crash land on the mysterious and dangerous Pacific island of  Mitimotu.

Get ready for some seat-of-your-pants adventure with Nazi, cannibals, quicksand, pirates: the entire gambit of tried and true ‘lost-on-an-island’ scenario.

Of course there’s plenty of off-kilter humor, loads of innuendo, plenty of homages and lots of action.

DVD extras include an inside look at the making of Archer and Cracker’s Costumed Playings.