Monday, August 19, 2019

Season 10 NCIS: Los Angeles

Introduced on the original NCIS TV series, NCIS: Los Angles soon premiered in it own series and proved highly successful for CBS/Paramount.

Set in The City of Dreams/The City of Angels: Los Angeles, the series explores the seedier side of the city.

If you’ve been watching the news the past couple of years Los Angeles has become a city under siege.  Drugs, illegal aliens, homelessness, rampant corruption and sex trafficking-to name a few-the city has it all.

The metropolis has become more a Living Hell and City of Nightmares.

Imagine having to fight crime in such a city.

That’s just what the NCIS; Los Angeles special agents do.

In the Tenth Season they dealt with the Mexican drug cartel, terrorists, murder, a chemical weapon threat and just about every other kind of conceivable danger imaginable.

There were some good times: a wedding, a fundraiser and other day-to-day events that counterbalance the crimes they encounter everyday.

The entire 24 episodes come in a DVD collection along with Special Features: several features, deleted scenes, extended scenes and premiere episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and SEAL Team.

Mayans M.C.

American TV has progressed over the past several years.  No longer are shows limited to predominately white or black cast members.

Asians, Middle Eastern and other ethnic groups are popping up on popular TV series and some are starring in their own shows.

One group that has often cropped up on TV programs since the medium began is Hispanics, primarily Mexicans.

Unfortunately they tended to be portrayed very stereotypically.

Thanks to Fox Studios a new breed of TV show has emerged starring a cast of Mexican actors.

The series is Mayans M.C. and over its First Season (comprised of ten episodes) viewers were privileged to see Mexican people as they should be seen-as everyday ordinary people (some good, some bad) who struggle with the same wants and needs as all of us do.

Taking place approximately four years after the events of Sons of Anarchy, the series it is set hundreds of miles away in the fictional California border town of Santo Padre.

The First Season finds Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes, a prospect in the Mayan Motorcycle Club, coping with the violence that destroyed his (and his family’s) American.

Driven by vengeance he finds himself embroiled in a life he never asked for and can never escape.  This is not a series for kids because it is very graphic and violent.

The entire First Season comes in a DVD set that also includes several featurettes about the creation of the series, the Mayan’s Signature Bikes, promotional clips and more.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Retrospective Scenes From A Sentimental World

OK, I’m about to geek out!  I love pop culture art.  Comic books, animation, Manga, Anime and other types of fantasy, sci-fi and ‘dark’ art fascinate me.

It’s everywhere-most of it extreme and in your face.

But, to able to bring everyday scenes to life takes a special kind of artistic talent.

PIE International presents a book that does just that.
Retrospective Scenes From A Sentimental World presents scenes illustrated and designed by up and coming creators is incredible.

I am absolutely in awe of each artist’s ability to take simple interior and exterior scenes, populate them and create a sense of wonder and amazement.

Whether created by traditional means or on the computer, each scene is packed full of details and subtle imagery that I could barely take my eyes.

Such beauty and talent!

I only wish I had a smidgen of the talent displayed in this wonderful, colorful and inspiring collection of work.

The book is printed on high quality paper using the most advanced high-tech printing possible.  Full-color bleed art, spot illustrations and page-framed art are carefully arranged to offer the best visual impact.

Lean on text, the book lets its illustrations tell the full story.

I highly recommend this book.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Bob’s Burgers Recipe Box

Are you hungry for a burger?  Not just any burger, but a burger to beat all burgers.  The burgermeister of burgers.  A big, beefy, behemoth of a burger that legends are made of.

Then get ready to whet your appetite, break out the napkins and the condiments, get your taste buds primed and ready and loosen your belt because Bob’s Burgers is about to serve up some of most satisfying, appetizing and downright belly-busters burgers imaginable.

Universe/Rizzoli present The Bob’s Burger Recipe Box by Lori Bouchard and the writers of Bob’s Burgers that offers Real Recipes For Joke Burgers.  Recipes are provided by Cole Bowden.

Thirty-five recipes fit in a full-color hinged box that is sure to accessorize any kitchen.

Just like the show some of the burger, bistro beauties are exotic, unusual, unforgettable and downright delicious!

You can even write and share your own burger recipes with the provided designed cards.

It’s the perfect boxed-set of a burger bounty.  Bob’s burgers are the best!

Godzilla King Of The Monsters

The big ‘G’ is back and this time ‘G’ brought some friends!

When giant god-sized monsters suddenly start to appear and wreck havoc it appears all is lost.  Destruction and death on a large-scale theaten to destroy the human race and all of its accomplishments.  Is there nothing that can be done?  Who can save us!

Despite its heroic efforts to combat the legendary behemoths the crypto-zoological agency Monarch is helpless to do anything.

Then there is Godzilla.  Is the giant lizard a threat or a savior?  Will Godzilla reign supreme against the likes of Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah?

Who will win?  Will the winner be the savior or the destroyer of mankind?

The new Godzilla King Of The Monsters Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack from Warner Bros. will answer all questions.

The  spectacular movie comes complete with stunning visual effects, amazing settings and spectacular monsters.  The movie features an all-star cast, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants story, great acting, a rock-your-socks-off soundtrack and some real and unexpected surprises.

Combo Pack Extras include:

A Visual Effects Feature
Monarch Locations
Monster Mythology
Three Featurettes
A Director Commentary
Deleted scenes
And More..

It’s a monster-sized movie menagerie that will mesmerize and satisfy monster-loving movie lovers.

Rokket Revolt

Get ready to be fired up and to blast off! 

With two extra monsters, new weapons and a knack for outsmarting and outfighting the strongest of foes the new Konami Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Structure Deck Rokket Revolt revolution is in the air!

Just look what you get in each Structure Deck Rokket Revolt:

A  Preconstructed Deck of 40 Main Deck Cards and 6 Extra Deck Cards: 3 Ultra Rares, 4 Super Rares and 39 Commons
A Beginner's Guide
A Double-sided Playmat/Dueling Guide

Get ready to sock it, knock it, shock it and put it in the pocket with Rokket Revolt!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Where Art Thou DC and Marvel Comics?

I don’t purchase new comic books anymore.  I stopped when I retired three years ago primarily because I am on a fixed income and can no longer afford t0 shell out four or five dollars for one comic book, let alone a stack.

However, that does not mean I don’t keep up with all things comic books-primarily through YouTube, Twitter and other social network avenues.

About the last three or four months I’ve come across some disturbing news/rumors.

It seems that both DC and Marvel Comics are teetering on the edge and one or both may stop publishing comic books-at least in the conventional sense.

Comic book shops are closing left and right and comic book sales in general are plunging.  The Direct Market may soon become a thing of the past as publishers scramble to find new outlets to sell their comic books.

Surprisingly (to me at least) crowd funding has blossomed and more and more independent creators are looking to sell-publish.

DC Comics, a part of Time/Warner, which was recently purchased by AT&T, appears to becoming a victim of the bottom line.

AT&T has taken a good hard look at DC Comics and discovered that it is losing money.  As a result DC Comics has downsized, eliminating job positions, cutting back on publications, merging its Vertigo line into its DC Comics portfolio and struggling to bring sale numbers up.  

It’s even been suggested that DC Comics expands its publishing output to include TV show adaptations and to concentrate on big retail outlets like Walmart and the like-effectively cutting out the Direct Market.

Marvel Comics is in a similar situation.  Disney, who owns Marvel, is not happy with its sales figures.  In an attempt to bring on new readers Marvel went the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) route and wound up alienating many of its longtime fans and purchasers of its comic.

No one likes to be preached to.

In response Marvel increased its output of ’Alternate Covers’ catering to the speculator market and creating a false profit margin.

An increase in trade paperback reprints and collections, a cycling of new #1 issues almost twice a year and (as with DC) an almost complete disregard for its fan base has resulted in a plunge in its sales.

Comic fans have complained about SJW, high prices, too many cover variations, a preponderance of #1 issues and a total lack on both DC and Marvel’s part to recognize what the real problems are.

People want comic books to read to escape from reality, not to be slapped in the face with it.  No one likes a comic book writer to push their political or social issues stand or to put down anyone who disagrees with him or her.

Sadly many at Marvel and DC have forgotten that the fans are what keep them solvent.  Keep continuity and by all means introduce new minority and female characters, but don’t use them to replace existing characters.

Diversity is a good thing.  Constantly overstating the fact or pushing it continually will not endear it to fans.

Attacking traditions and vilifying those that disagree with personal political/social issues is not the way to sell comic books.

Slapping a different cover on a book does not change the interior art or story.  Initially it may sell comic books, but as time passes those who invested in said ‘Variants’ will be shocked when they time comes to resell their supposedly ‘hot’ books.  Sorry-no takers.

Collecting is fine.  Making a few extra bucks is OK.  But, isn’t reading and enjoying a comic book priority one?

If a comic book goes up in value, that’s a nice extra.

Ironically the big two have put in place a system that is slowly and inevitably putting them out of business.

I believe comic books will always be around-more digital than printed.  But, why limit the collector’s choices by eliminating many titles and possibly publishers?

‘Nuff said!

Toy Story and Superhero Movie Guide

Unless you’ve been residing on another planet for the last ten years you are aware that superhero movies have taken over the Silver Screen.

While the super folk have cropped up in movies and TV shows for some time it wasn’t until the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked into high gear that the genre really took off.

To be sure Marvel had some success with superhero movies in previous years with the X-Men, Spider-Man, Blade, etc. but it was the first Iron Man movie that catapulted the super hero movie into the spotlight.

DC Comics had kick-started the superhero movie craze with the release of its first Superman movie in the late 1970s and in the late 1980s with Batman, directed by Tim Burton. 

For nearly a full decade afterwards superhero movies languished until the first X-Men movie premiered.

Of course not only DC and Marvel superhero movies were produced-there were others based on smaller publishers‘ properties, but overall most movies were movies starring characters from the big two.

The Ultimate Superhero Movie Guide, from Carlton Books and author Helen O’Hara, examines all the superhero movies starting with Superman I and II and proceeding up until present day.

Full-color photos complement the comprehensive text, which examines the movies, their characters (good and bad), sets, production secrets and more.  It is ‘The Definitive Handbook For Comic Book Film Fans’.
It’s hard to believe that the first Toy Story movie came out almost a quarter of a century ago.  Recently the forth film in the franchise premiered and kids loved it!  In it a new character, Forky, is introduced along with some other lovable toys.

Toy Story: Woody’s Augmented Reality Adventure is more than a book about the key characters in the movie, it actually seems to come alive!

Download the free App and suddenly the pages jump out in 3D, Buzz’s buttons activate his wings, laser and sounds, Hamm fills with coins and more.

Collect the reality clues and unlock a Toy Story 4 character!  It’s more than a book; it’s a whole new world of adventure filled with excitement, lights, sounds and fun chances to interact with the characters.

The toys are alive!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Alien and Men In Black

Rarely does a film come about that changes the genre in which it is placed.  When a film manages to change not one, but two genres it is extremely rare.

Science Fiction and Horror films have always been popular with film-goers.

But, when a director and writer successfully combines the two and tweaks and creates a whole new movie-going experience audiences sit up and take notice.

Alien is one such movie. 

Everything clicked with this film: the story, the art, the sets, the costumes, the antagonists and the conclusion.
Titan Books The Making Of Alien by J. W. Rinzler: is the ultimate oversize, hardbound book about the making of the film.

The stark white cover with the enclosed image of a female crew member suited up in a spacesuit and constrained by a small opening is complemented by the large ALIEN text hovering above the scene. 

Just as impressive as the cover the interior pages are brimming with full color and black and white pre and post production photos and art, costume and interior designs, creature concept sketches,
miniatures, set photos, character spotlights, storyboards, behind-the -scenes cast and crew consolations and recollections and much more.

Hundreds of pages contains a bountiful collection of art and photos, exhaustive text on the making of the film, production notes, commentaries, script development and other written and illustrated fragments and outlines responsible for the ultimate completion of the ground-breaking film.

Now, forty years after the film aired it is still as fresh and viable as the day it first was shone.

The book contains a remarkable account of the how and why of the film with fascinating eye-candy and fun and sometimes little shared facts and accounts about the film.

Just as impressive as the Alien book is the MIB Men In Black: The Official Visual Companion To The Films book by Lisa Fitzpatrick and Sharon Gosling.

All four films of the MIB franchise are examined, chronicled and categorized.

Every creature, location, agents, weapon, technology, costume and element seen in each film is examined, explained and spotlighted.

Check out the extensive sections on film deign, cast and crew choices and recollections, set designs, story development, clandestine shots of cast, crew, locations and more.

The oversize, beautiful silver book with embossed MIB logo and the spotlight varnished movie creatures and accessories background really makes this tribute to the Men In Black films stand out.

Discover the magic and expertise that made making the films possible.  From practical to special effects the MIB films had them all.  The book is a load of fun to look at and read and is guaranteed to provide hours of reading enjoyment.

Wonder Woman, Scooby-Doo! and Graphic Library

Strong and powerful woman are starring in more and more TV shows and movie.  Hollywood and the population in general have finally realized that the fairer sex has power all their own.

In the Bible woman have always been placed on the same level as men despite what some nay Sayers may state.

No where does it state that woman are any less important or capable than men.  Unfortunately men over the centuries have often taken advantage of and placed women in a subservient position.  Women are not property!

My lovely wife is the brains of our family.  Her organizational and financial skills put me to shame.  She is my partner, best friend and equal to me in every aspect. 

When decisions are made we always come to a consensus.  I may have one view and she another but we always compromise and agree on final decisions.

Why am I saying this?  Women are equals to men and should be treated as such. 

One of the first literary strong women ever created for mass media-in this case comic books was DC Comics Wonder Woman. 

The Amazon Princess is a true warrior: strong, wise, compassionate, adept at all forms of warfare and a master of diplomacy and always seeks peaceful solutions before conflict.

Capstone/Stone Arch Books presents four You Choose Wonder Woman books where 12 possible endings can be chosen by readers.

Wonder Woman takes on Movie Magic, Myth Monster Mayhem, a Crystal Quest and The Heart Of Hades.

Omar Lozano provides the colorful art for each book where the reader determines the final outcome of each tale.

For colorful graphic designed, illustrated stories about war and warfare be sure to pick up the four latest Graphic Library releases.

In The Unbreakable Zamperini a WWII survivor’s tale is told, Night Witches At War chronicles the exploits of Soviet Women WWII pilots, Navajo Code Breakers befuddled the Nazi during WWII with their unique secret messages and in U.S. Ghost Army discover how master illusionists fooled the Axis powers during WWII.

All four books are beautifully illustrated books are written for young readers. Packed with incredible facts and stories the books are a great way for young readers to experience the conflicts of World War II

I was in my early teens when the animated adventures of Scooby-Doo! hit the airways.

The canine crime-fighter and detective, aided by his human friends Shaggy, Velma, Freddy and Daphne could always be counted on to solve some creepy crimes that were usually populated with ghosts, ghoulies and monsters.

In Doo Good Together, Scooby-Doo!, written by Christianne Jones and illustrated by Comicup Design Studio SL,  Scooby and his gang help to clean up Crystal Cave.

It‘s a wonderful tale of how community involvement and cooperation can make neighborhoods and  towns can clean and bright resulting in healthy and productive living surroundings.

Can you believe its Scooby‘s 50th Anniversary!?

Cycle Of The Werewolf

What do you get when you combine the talent of a master of horrific fiction and an artist who puts the scare in scary?

Author Stephen King and illustrator Bernie Wrightson lend their respective horrific talents to create the ultimate werewolf story published by Gallery 13.

Originally published in 1984, Cycle Of The Werewolf chronicles when the man monster roamed a small town in Maine and terrorized its populace.

Whenever the full moon rises the werewolf attacks.  Can its hunger ever be abated and who will stop its bloodthirsty rampage?

Stephen King is at his horrific best and Bernie delivers an exquisite collection of black and white and color illustrations sure to chill your blood.

Welcome to one of the greatest horror collaborations of all time.

NCIS: New Orleans and Blue Bloods

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of many of the cop, detective and sci-fi shows from the 1980s.

I still watch reruns of Magnum P.I. and Quantum Leap.  I loved each series main stars: Tom Selleck and Scott Bakula. 

They always delivered great shows and terrific acting.

As a testament of how talented each of the actors are, they are both still around and star in two CBS TV series: NCIS: New Orleans and Blue Bloods.

In NCIS: New Orleans Scott plays Special Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride a rather unorthodox officer who heads a special criminal investigation team in The Big Easy--New Orleans.

CBS/Paramount has compiled the complete Fifth Season of the series into a 6-disc collection that features episodes as big, loud, outrageous and colorful as the location they are placed in.

Watch as the team takes on assassins, conspiracies, mysteries, oddball adversaries and a bevy of over-the top-criminals and cases that befit The Crescent City.

Included with the 24 episodes are several featurettes including a celebration of the series 100th episode, behind-the-scenes goodies, a retrospective of Season Five and more including the pilot episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and SEAL Team.

Tom Selleck has been and always be Thomas Magnum of Magnum P.I. to me.  The show ran eight years and I have each and every season in my DVD collection.

Blue Bloods marked a milestone for Tom.  He has starred in the series as Frank Reagan for nine years-beating out Magnum P.I. by one year with no end in sight.

Selleck plays New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan whose family has followed in his crime-fighting footsteps.

As a multi-generation cop family the Reagans face crime every day and try to live normal lives on their off time-with mixed results.

Tom runs both his department and family as diplomatically as he can but like all families and occupations crises arrive.

In the Ninth Season Frank must contend with certain family members skirting the fine edge of justice, a rumbling in the long held family law enforcement profession, department rumblings, power plays and more.

Nearly one hour of special features is included on 22 episode collection on DVD.

If you love crime and punishment series with lots of drama, intrigue, action and a strong sense of family and comradeship then check out both DVD collections.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Avengers: Endgame

It all started just a little over ten years ago.

When Disney Studios acquired Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe put a grandiose plan into action.

Beginning with first Iron Man movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man Marvel Studios would introduce to the world a plethora of Marvel Comic Book superheroes and villains.

Starting with Iron Man other movies starring the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Dr. Strange, Antman, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and Captain Marvel would continue the continuity that Iron Man put in place.

Two Avengers movies would also be produced further tying into the Marvel movie’s timeline. In addition several well-received Marvel TV series, both on Netflix and commercial TV, would also tie-in to the cinematic continuity.

The aforementioned movies also introduced audiences to the various supporting cast and villains born out of each title.

Slowly and methodically each film culminated with the villain Thanos’s mad plan to wipe out half of the universe’s life using the Infinity Gauntlet. 

His master plan to acquire all of the Infinity Gems was successful and ultimately he used its power to fulfill his goal.

In The Avengers: Infinity War the Avengers and the entire Marvel Universe suffered an incredible loss and death spread across the cosmos killing one half of the heroes, villains, civilians and all other life with the single snap of Thanos’s finger.

All was loss-or so it seemed.

Fortunately Dr. Strange calculated the odds and only one possible scenario out of millions could set things right.

In The Avengers: Endgame the Avengers are in disarray as half of their team was obliterated along with everyone else.  Five years have passed and an opportunity presents itself to set things straight and return everything to normal

In a last-ditch and desperate attempt to stop the mad Titan Thanos the Avengers set the plan into motion.

Will it work?

The Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of ten years of planning. 

Spectacular, mind-blowing and incredible cannot adequately describe this movie.

It’s is everything a movie should be.  Pathos, tragedy, humor, danger, intrigue, betrayal, death and new found alliances-every conceivable emotion and action is in play.

The visual effects are staggering to behold!  The pace of the film, the soundtrack, the incredible acting all combines to make The Avengers: Endgame the ultimate superhero film that sets the standard by which all of other films of the same genre must be graded against.

More films and TV series are in the works and it looks like the Marvel Universe has a long and profitable future in store.

The Avengers: Endgame Blu-ray/DVD release includes lots of extras. 

I really enjoy watching Blu-ray/DVD extras.  As a big movie buff, it fascinates me on how movie makers create special effects, polish story lines, are willing to share their gaffs and bloopers and allow viewers to see previously unviewed scenes.

Just look at what you get:

A tribute to Stan Lee, the father of Marvel Comic Books.
The importance of casting of Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man.
How Marvel Comics and Studio cast and created Captain America
Discovering just how tenacious Black Widow is.
Pivotal Deleted Scenes
A hilarious Gag Reel.
The creative journey of the Russo Brothers.
And more-so much more!

The Antares Maelstrom

I’ve been a Star Trek fan ever since the original TV series premiered on TV.  I’m what they refer to as a ‘Trekker’ not a ‘Trekkie’.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the original series and to be honest it is my favorite.

While The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery are good shows, you can’t beat the original.

I am looking forward the new Picard series coming out next year.

Still the original series is my favorite and that’s why I’m so excited about the Star Trek The Original Series The Antares Maelstrom book written by Greg Cox and published by Gallery Books.

Without going into too much detail about the storyline I can say that the tale harkens back to the scripts from the original series. 

There’s a comfortable familiarity about the book.  The characters act and behave as they should-including the tit for tat between Spock and Bones, Scotty’s characteristic tender-loving care for his ship, Sulu’s impressive helmsman capabilities and humor, Chekov’s tall tales of Russia, and Uhura’s quick wit, farsightedness and efficiency.

It feels like a family-a family loved by Star Trek fans.

In the book the Enterprise is assigned (temporarily-or at least that was the plan) to the police a nearby space station and planet that are the gateway to the planet Baldur III where a rare energy source has recently been discovered. 

Drawn to the planet with hopes of striking it rich aliens from all over have flooded the nearby space station and planet surface in hopes of striking it rich.  Both the station and planet are the last jumping off points to Baldur III.

As with any frontier town with promises of untold riches pandemonium rages as supplies dwindle, tempers flair, utilities black out and the populace are anxious, hot-tempered and impatient.  Add to all that--sabotage.

It all makes for a recipe for disaster and only the Enterprise has any hopes of squelching the building tensions.  To do so requires traveling through the dangerous and mysterious Antares Maelstrom blocking the path to Baldur residing on its far side.

It’s classic Star Trek action, intrigue and just flat out fun in a wonderful new tale featuring some old and dear friends.

Get ready, ‘To boldly go!’

A Dog’s Journey

A dog’s job is never done.

That lovable dog Bailey (as voiced by Josh Gad) has discovered a new purpose in life.  After having lived a good life with his master Ethan, he, Ethan and Ethan’s wife Hannah are content to live quiet and happy lives on a Michigan Farm.

Ethan and Hannah’s granddaughter CJ has become Bailey’s newest playmate and life is good.  Until CJ’s mother Gloria decides to pursue her dreams in the big city.  She doesn't get along with her parents or approve of their lifestyle.

Ethan asks Bailey to watch over CJ in the city and so begins a series of adventures as Bailey-the dog who has lived many lives, CJ and her best friend Trent set out on their new lives filled with music, ups and downs, laughs and tears and eventually fulfillment in the most unexpected of places.

A Dog’s Journey arrives courtesy of Universal Pictures with its brand new Blu-ray/DVD/Digtial Combo that is sure to delight the entire family.

It’s all about family, love, friendship, loyalty and life seen through the eyes of a lovable mutt who wants nothing more to be with and please his human friends despite how many lifetimes it takes.

A great story, a wonderful cast and excellent music.

Extras include deleted and extended scenes, featurettes, scoring the movie, commentary and more.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


When I was about 18 years old I sat down and read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I was so enamored by the book that I went out and purchased the entire Trilogy Of The Rings and in one sitting read them all the way through.

I read for two solid days, only taking breaks to eat, relieve myself and briefly take a nap.

Needless to say I was totally exhausted mentally and physically after my marathon reading sessions.

When the movies came out I devoured them.  One would think I am a Tolkien fan and you would be right.

As much as I love Tolkien’s literary work I know very little about the man himself.

Thankfully 20th Century Fox--Disney has partially remedied that situation with the release of their Tolkien film in its Blu-ray//DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack.

Nicholas Hoult stars as the author at a young age and turns in an outstanding performance.

The film explores Tolkien's younger life, his loves and his unusual relationship with other writers with similar and contrasting views other than his own.

When World War I threatens to shatter and tear apart their lifelong friendships Tolkien’s life takes a radical turn as he copes with the war, his relationships and his passion for writing-much influences by his experiences

The film is a fascinating examination of the author at a young age and the struggles and triumphs he experiences that help mold him into the world renown author who is loved by millions.

The film is a masterpiece of cinematic portrayal of a time long past with expertly recreated locations, costumes and the turn of the century society Tolkien lived in.

Included on the Combo Pack are several extras including a commentary, deleted scenes, a first look and a gallery.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Batman Hush

Several years ago DC Comics put out a Dark Knight saga drawn by Jim Lee entitled Batman Hush.

Warner Bros. has adapted the award-winning mini-series into a DC Universe Movie direct to 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital Collection that faithfully translates the epic storyline to an animated movie format.

Batman’s past begins to unravel as apparent crimes perpetrated by his familiar Rogue’s Gallery escalate.

But, who is really being the mayhem: Catwoman, the Joker, Bane, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Scarecrow or Clayface?

Batman finds himself face-to-face against a brainwashed Superman, seeking the help from Nightwing and becoming romantically involved with Catwoman.

When Batman finds himself up against a foe that anticipates his every move and fails unable to capture him, the mystery deepens.

Who is Hush and what does he/she want?

The answer is sure to shock.

The epic story also includes a commentary, a Batman featurette, a sneak peek, a bonus cartoon, a Sgt. Rock short and more.

Batman Hush showcases Batman at his crime-fighting best with plenty of action, intrigue, mystery and breath-taking choreographed fights, stunning visual effect and a killer soundtrack.

Hush...listen and watch-the truth is out there.

Hart To Hart, Pan Am and White Line Fever

Every once in awhile a TV series is so popular that when after it leaves the airways reunion movies are made for the fans of the series.

One such series was Hart To Hart, starring Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers.

With Mill Creek Entertainment’s just released the Hart To Hart Movies Are Murder DVD Collection all eight made-for-TV Hart To Hart m0vies are included. 

Join the Harts as they investigate an aerospace industry crime, a friend’s death, a Broadway play gone badly, a death threat, a family reunion, the death of their friend Max, an Australian trap and a case of mistaken identity.

Homicide is where the Hart is.

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent was an actor to be reckoned with during the 1960s and 1970s.  His fame was rising and it seemed he was in every major movie starring along side top-notch actors and actresses.

Even into the 1980s and briefly in the 1990s Jan-Michael was a frequent guest star on TV series and ‘B’ movies.

Unfortunately his wild lifestyle and bad choices caught up on him and he died a few years ago.

One of Jan-Michael’s big movie hits was White Line Fever put out in the mid-1970s and lovingly presented in a Blu-ray/VHS format.  It’s a blast from the past!

In the film he plays Carrol Joe Hummer: a hard-working trucker who just wants to make an honest living.

Arriving in Tucson with his pregnant wife Jerri, he realizes that he has been hired to ship illegal cargo.  When he refuses he is beaten up and his old friend Duane, who offered him work, is killed, his wife beaten and their unborn child killed.

Bad mistake!

Carrol Joe sets out on the path of vengeance and God help the hoodlums who killed his friend and child!  It’s all-out action and mayhem as only Jan-Michael Vincent could deliver it.

There was a time when flying commercial passengers had large comfortable seats, were provided full meals and served by a bevy of beautiful stewardesses.

The Complete Series Pan Am DVD Collection harkens back to 1963 as a group of stewardesses artfully and efficiently handle any situation from romance to natural disasters.

Buckle up...adventure calls.

I Love Lucy

I was born in the month of January, the year 1953.  No big deal.  Kids are born all the time.

But, not quite one year and three months previously in October, 1951 a new TV series premiered on CBS Television that would go on to revolutionize the situation comedy genre and TV in general.

That show: I Love Lucy, redefined the comedy genre and starred a certain redhead: Lucille Ball as Lucy and her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo.

Accompanying them as their neighbors were: Fred and Ethel Mertz -played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

As Ricky Desi played a Cuban singer/bandleader and Lucille as his scattered brain wife Lucy who is determined to break into showbiz.

Along the way the Ricardos and Mertz manage to turn not only their lives upside down but everyone else’s around them too.

The show featured some classic comedy sketches and outrageous slapstick-vaudeville physical humor all the while stressing the love of family and friends.

Despite Lucy’s hair brain schemes things always managed to turn out for the best.  TV audiences loved the I Love Lucy show and soon it became the number one show on TV.

While there where rumblings with the cast and crew behind the cameras once performing the professionalism and talent of each cast member shone through.

I have vague memories of seeing a few episodes before the show went off the air in 1957.

I do however, vividly remember watching the reruns with my mom, family and friends-usually on a small black and white TV set complete with rabbit ears.

It is remarkable that the show is as popular as ever as new generations discover the comedy genius behind the show.  Lucille Ball admitted she was not a natural comedian and had to work hard to perform her shenanigans-her professionalism and talent made up for any lack of humor.

CBS/Paramount has taken nearly seven hours of classic I Love Lucy episodes, colorized them and made them available for a whole new generation to enjoy.

Sixteen episodes make up the collection along with a special featurette on how the episodes got colorized.

For over 60 years I Love Lucy has entertained audiences and it looks like there is no end in sight.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Detective Pikachu

Way back in the year 1996 I received a funny postcard in the mail.  The front of the postcard featured a photo of a New Cork City street.  Populating the street scene were these funny looking little creatures called Pokemon.

My first reaction was, “What the heck are Pokemon?”

I still have the postcard.

Not long after that a new phenomenon spread across the country: Pokemon Game Cards.

It seemed like everyone had Pokemon fever.  It was something else!

Remarkably Pokemon are as popular as ever conquering every form of media from print to digital.

One key Pokemon figure: Pikachu, the lightning bolt, yellow and fuzzy bundle of fun and cuteness whose vocabulary consists of one word: Pika and variations thereof.

He has become the face and spokes person (uh, creature) for the brand.

It had to happen.  After several successful Pokemon animated movies, a TV show, video games and tons of printed material, a live-action/computer generated character Pokemon movie was created.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu
stars everyone’s favorite fuzzy, yellow electrically charged Pokemon voiced by-get ready for it-Ryan Reynolds the very same actor that plays the Merc With A Mouth: Deadpool.

You know it’s got to be good!

In the movie Pikachu’s human detective partner Harry Goodman is missing, Pikachu teams up with Harry’s son Tim to unravel the mystery of his disappearance and attempt to find or rescue him.

Along the way they discover some disturbing events that may mean the end for the peaceful co-existence of Pokemon and human.

Here’s a twist:  Tim is the only human that understands Pikachu.  What results is a comedy adventure unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Pikachu is a wisecracking smart-alec, Tim is befuddled and baffled by the whole Pokemon thing and the digital effects and creature creations are amazing.

The Warner Bros’ Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code Combo Pack included some cool extras: an alternate opening, a Pokemon adventure, several ‘making-of’ the film featurettes, a commentary, music video and a special feature about Ryan Reynolds.  Check out the Detective Mode!

It’s Pika, Pika perfect

Ultimate Predators and Scars of Battle

You better pick up your speed in order to play Konami’s new Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Speed Duel releases: Ultimate Predators and Scars of Battle.

Their names alone indicate what to expect as the battle gets hot and heavy and dangerous.

What do you do when you face foes that are so lethal and are guaranteed to cause some damage?

Do you have what it takes to battle nearly unbeatable foes and come out unscathed?

It’s the survival of the fittest--times two!

Each Speed Duel Ultimate Predators Starter Deck contains:

1 30-Card Rex Raptor Deck
1 30-Card Weevil Underwood Deck
4 Skill Cards (2 for Rex and 2 for Weevil)
2 Ultra Rare variant cards

Speed Duel Scars of Battle Foil Packs includes 5 new Skill Cards (1 for Bonz, 1 for Rex and at least 1 for Bandit Keith).

Each Pack contains 4 Cards. The Set contains 45 Cards and 5 Skill Cards:

8 Ultra Rares
8 Super Rares
34 Commons

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Paris, London and New York

Of the three cities spotlighted in Carlton/Andre Deutsch Book’s Paperscapes Books That Transform Into Cityscapes, I visited New York City when I was ten years old.

My best friend: Eddie McCain’s father was a truck driver. Eddie and I were invited along when he drove up the East Coast of the U.S. to Maine and followed the Saint Lawrence Seaway back and then through New York City.

It was night when we arrived and pulled into a wharf warehouse.  I remember seeing The Empire State Building and The Statue of Liberty--the rest was a blur.

I’ve always wanted to visit Europe and the British Isles, in particular London (because my ancestry hails from that area) and France to visit The City of Lights: Paris-primarily for the art museums.

New York, London and Paris are all represented in a trio of books.

Each book presents 50 key and historical locations/structures along with informative text about each.  It’s a great way to learn the history of each city accompanied with illustrations,

Each illustration can be ’popped out’ of its page by following the perforated lines.  Once complete the location/building stand out in silhouetted relief unencumbered by the page that once surrounded them.

The result is illustrations that cleverly highlight each important location/building.

Not only is each book fun to read and look at, once the images are liberated from their surrounding page’s paper they make great display pieces and objects of conversation.

All three are headed straight to my library for safekeeping.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Rising Rampage

Have you ever felt like you were just about to burst open in anger? 

Somewhere, deep inside, there is boiling, rolling and pulsating fireball of aggression that just wants to escape and lay havoc to everything and everyone.

If you are ready to unleash the fiery beast within then Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Rising Rampage is just the vehicle by which to do so.

Let loose you fury as you fight against those with similar orbs of destruction about to explode.

And while you’re at it enjoy yourself and the company of your friends. 

The nine-Card Foil Packs in the 100-Card Set include:

New members/support for the "Archfiend", "B.E.S.", "Borrel", "Charmer", "Dinowrestler", "Familiar-Possessed", "Fortune Lady", "Reptilianne", "Salamangreat", "Witchcrafter", and "Yosenju" archetypes, as well as the Trap Monster series.

 Members/support for the "Dragunity", "Endymion", "F.A.", and "Number" archetypes, as well as the White series.

Introduces the "Marincess”,  "Tenyi and "Dream Mirror.

First support for the "Simorgh".

Just look what you can get:

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

Take a look at the photo to see what Cards I received in one Pack!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Press-Out, Retro, Science and Spies

I’m a frustrated cartoonist.  For years I drew cartoons when I was in advertising and when I taught art at a local high school.  I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to become a comic book and comic strip artist.

The heart and mind were willing but the speed and the opportunity were lacking.

But, I’m not bitter, I still enjoy looking at other artists work and truly appreciate the talent it takes to turn out a consistent and high-quality series of illustrations.

Carlton Books has provided me with a collection of cartoon illustrations by an artist I am not familiar with: Quentin Blake.

Quentin has assembled a wonderful and whimsy collection of cartoons in Roald Dahl’s Beastly Brutes & Heroic Human Beans Press-Out Paper Adventures, featuring illustrations of author Roald Dahl’s series of books characters and places. 

You may have heard of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory?  Yes, that Roald Dahl!

Inside colorful illustrations done in a chaotic and sketchy style are perfectly suited to portray Dahl’s cast of characters that guide readers through a gallery of a weird and wonderful cast of characters.

Readers can press out certain perforated sections resulting in odd and crazy pages with holes, ragged edges and shapes. 

Even better, readers can press out their own selection of art to make their own mischievous world. 

The book also comes with an inserted envelope to save punched out shapes and characters.

I’m not much of a videogame player-at least of modern videogames.

I much rather prefer the earlier classic games.  They were fun, easy to learn, provided hours of recreation and you didn’t have to be a contortionist and strategist to play them.

I still have my original Super Mario and Nintendo 64 game consoles and game cartridges.  And, yeah, I still play the games.

If you love retro video games as much as I do then you need to pick up a copy of The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames: The Inside Stories Behind The Best Games Ever Made.

The title pretty much says it all. 

The book goes into detail about each game including its creation, game play, features, hidden goodies and commentaries about those that created and played the games.

Packed with full-color screen shots and character and accessories images the book is a ‘must-have’ for any serious videogame player.

Science-ya gotta love it.  Without science and those who practice it the world would be a much colder, darker, frightening and primitive place.

Just imagine the lack of medicines, machinery, advances in food and farming technology and more?  We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful time with all the advantages modern science provides.

The fascinating thing about science is that it never stops expanding.  New discoveries emerge everyday and happen at such a fast pace it’s almost impossible to keep up.  Take computer science for an example.

What will the world be like in 10, 20 or 100 years?  It boggles the mind!

In Cutting-Edge Science: Up-To-The-Minute Discoveries, Facts And Inventions, author Colin Barras fills readers in on the latest leaps in scientific advances and innovations.

The information enclosed is sure to blow your mind!

The world of spies has been glamorized on TV, in movies and in literature.
Too often those that practice spying are portrayed as world travelers, masters of many forms of combat, super-intelligent and so on.

The truth is spying and espionage are dangerous, ponderous, often boring and above all else--clandestine.  What’s the point in being a spy if everyone knows who you are?

In Michel Smith’s new book: WWII Codebreakers And Spies: How British Intelligence & Special Operations Changed The Course Of History, readers are plunged into the dangerous and secretive world of espionage.

Archival photo, documents and charts complement the text that traces the role of espionage and counter-espionage that helped the Allies to win the war.

It’s an engrossing study of a turbulent time in history when the forces of good and evil faced off with the fate of world in the balance.

Monday, July 22, 2019

100 Things Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

Everyone is a fan of something: sports, movies, collectibles, celebrities, dining our--the list is endless.

Triumph Books knows just what fans want especially when it comes to comic books and movies-as do writers Dan Casey, Rowan Kaiser, Brian Cronin, Mark Ginocchio and Joseph McCabe.

When it comes to comic book fans they are a much sticklers for correct information.  Comic book fans are known to be very picky and astute when it comes to comic book lore.

Mention anything about the X-Men, the Avengers, Spider-Man and Batman and you best be sure you’ve got your facts straight especially when it comes to their individual timelines and events.

100 Things Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die books about the aforementioned comic book characters are sure to test the most knowledgeable comic book historian and fan.

Each book delves into the characters’ origins, key events, essential facts, trivia and things fans should do to commemorate said characters.

Diehard fans and newbies to comic books hold in their hands invaluable information about each individual character and groups.

Shoot!  I’ve been a comic book collector all of my life and there are things in these books even I didn’t know!

They’re fun to read, include some photos and art and will make a fine additions to any comic book collector’s informational library.

I’ve already picked out a predominant place on my bookcase-they’re that good!

I’m not a fan of Game Of Thrones, but my daughter is.  She will be absolutely thrilled when I present to her the 100 Things Game Of Thrones Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die book.

She considers herself a primo Thrones fan and knows a lot about the series.  But even she is sure to be impressed by the massive amount of information in this book.

I know she will share the information with her fellow Throne fans-she may even show off a little.  With this book in hand it’s a surefire bet she’ll out’Throne’ any other fan of the series.

I am a big fan of Star Wars (mainly the original trilogy).  So, I am planning on going over each and every page of the 100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die book to see if I can stump fellow Star Wars fans.

From Obi-Wan to Rey this book has it all!  Yoda would be proud!

All of the books are ‘totally unofficial and unauthorized’ (as if that matters) guides that cover every aspect of every subject mentioned.  They have it all!

I gotta tell ya, these books are a lot of fun to read and look through.  There’s a lot of information in each and they’re written in an easy-to-follow format.

By breaking them down into 100 individual sections there is no preponderance of text thus making the books flow quickly.

Short ‘chapters’ move the books along without overloading the reader with too much information all at once.  The ‘chapters’ offer a welcome pause and enough time for the reader to stop and ponder or easily take up where they left off later.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

SDCC Time Of Year

When it comes to receiving review samples from publishers and manufacturers this is always the slowest time of the year. and for one simple reason: the San Diego Comic-Con.

No, really!

Since SDCC is the biggest pop culture phenomenon of the year almost all publishers and manufacturers attend-as they should.

Unfortunately for me and other review sites that means our review material provided by them trickles down to almost zero.

That’s why in the last couple of weeks my review article output has been so low.

But, that’s OK, the convention is a god kick in the posterior when it comes to introducing new products and gaining more purchasers-meaning it’s good for me.

It takes some patience but after a couple more weeks things will pick up and before I know it I’ll be writing reviews everyday.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Got A Feeling

I got a feeling.  No, I'm no referring to The Beatles song on their Let It Be album.

I'm expressing my own feeling that something good is about to happen.

I believe that Collectors' Corner is just about to break out and go big time.  

Visitor numbers will go through the roof (it has respectable numbers now) and that companies and publishers will send lots of review products.

I also believe that my Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In accounts will also increase in traffic and likes.

And...I will suddenly find myself knee-deep in old comic books, toys and collectibles. All of which I will review.

I refuse to give up, throw in the towel or get discouraged.

I know I am turning out a good and respectable product.

So look out!   Things are about to go into high gear and the sky's the limit!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Roar!, Christmas and Fall

Like most little boys his age my two-year-old grandson loves dinosaurs.  Big, small, carnivore or herbivore-it makes no difference-he loves them all.

I’ll catch him occasionally parading his dinosaur toys around, gobbling up helpless LEGO figures, rampaging through a Hot Wheels play set and trying to nip the fingers or toes of grandma and grandpa.

He’s sure to love two new books from Scholastic Books that celebrate Thunder Lizards in two unique ways.

In Roar! Roar! I’m A Dinosaur writer/artist Jo Lodge has created an interactive book where kids can make colorful and fun illustrations of dinosaurs seemingly come to life.

Watch as them open their mouths, flap their wings, stomp their feet and roar!

What a fun way to explore the world of dinosaurs!

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague present How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?

In the book dinosaurs prepare a home for Christmas with decorations, prepare food, sing carols and enjoy the holiday with their human friends.

Full-color illustrations depict the hi-jinx and holiday hilarity that takes place. Even Santa Claus shows up for some cheery dinosaur Christmas fun.

Fall is just around the corner and what better way to introduce youngsters to the season than with a small, soft-cover book complete with photos of Fall objects accentuated with real textures?

With Touch And Feel Fall, kids can run their fingers over each item.  It’s the perfect way to help them identify objects by touch.

Rub the wood of an apple bushel basket, run your fingers over a pinecone, feel a Fall sweater, touch the grill of a school bus, pet a fox, touch some hay, rub an acorn and feel the ruffled feathers of a goose.

Fall never felt so good!


I absolutely love wispy, whimsical and ethereal art-especially art that looks airy, soft, with delicate brush strokes, displays a strong use of pastel colors and the look of controlled watercolor.

Combine the colors with delicate lines, extreme details, enchanting settings and an expertise at depicting both human and animal figures and it’s a sure hit for me.

Soiree: Art Collection Of Nekosuke from PIE International fills the bill on all accounts.

What a wonderful soft, oversize paperback collection of magical illustrations!

Imagine cats dressed in jackets and trousers, giant rodents complete with their human companions, mystical ponds, enchanted drawing rooms, period piece costumed characters and bizarre parties and events-the list goes on and on.

What a wonderful feast for the eyes! The craftsmanship and talent to draw, design and imagine such magical settings and creatures pays tribute to the artist.

I love the use of warm earth tones, coupled with muted grays and pastels occasionally accented by bright reds, pinks, turquoise and greens.  What a visual treat!

The artist displays their mastery of the medium.  Paint, brush and ink all combine to create some of the most gorgeous illustrations I’ve ever seen.  Such talent and imagination!

Hero's Revenge

Heroes come in all sizes and that's especially true with Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Battles Of Legend Hero's Revenge.

Five Cards come per Booster Pack: 4 Ultra Rares and 1 Secret Rare.

The entire Set contains 94 Cards: 33 Secret Rares and 61 Ultra Rares.

Just look at the Cards I got from one Pack:

Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake
Artifact Scythe
Shaddoll Squamata
Summoning Swarm

Even heroes have their moments of retribution and in Hero’s Revenge the bad guys are just about to get their due.

The Set includes never-before-released Cards from previous Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime and Manga series: new Link Monsters, high-powered tournament mainstays, and more!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Warner Bros. and DC Comics had good reason to be concerned with the launch of its recent Superman, Batman and Justice League movies. 

Critics and audiences lauded the movies as too dark and somewhat plodding.  Personally I liked the movies, including the Suicide Squad.

When Wonder Woman came out it was a resounding hit and WB and DC executives began to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It just so happens that the new SHAZAM! movie was that light.

Warner Bros. nailed the depiction of the young, tough-guy, loner and orphan Billy Batson who suddenly finds himself endowed with super powers.

While eluding some ruffians Billy enters a subway.  Suddenly he finds himself alone as the subway stops and Billy discovers he’s in a mystical cave confronted by the wizard SHAZAM!.

SHAZAM! tells Billy he has been chosen and with the utterance of SHAZAM!’s name Billy is transformed into a grown-up superhero possessing incredible powers.

What makes the movie so remarkable, funny and touching is that Billy has no idea how to use his powers, must be tutored by his crippled friend who loves comic books and is suddenly confronted by a bonafide super villain.

The performances are all around great.  Actor Zachary Levi is downright funny as the grown-up SHAZAM! and Asher Angle makes a convincing young Billy Batson.

The entire supporting cast really lightens and livens up the movie and the villain (Dr. Thaddeus Sivana), as played by Mark Strong is both scary and totally unique.

It’s downright fun watching SHAZAM! testing his new powers, using them as any 14-year-old would and trying to impress his friends.

SHAZAM! follows the development of a superhero as Billy matures and begins to take his new powers seriously and to use them for good.

The SHAZAM! Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo from Warner Bros. also includes some great extras: a motion comic, an alternate opening and ending, deleted scenes, a gag reel, audition footage, an On The Set featurette and SHAZAM!’s back-story.

I love it!

Lost In Space

Way back in 1965, when I was 12 years old, CBS introduced a new science fiction TV series that immediately grabbed my attention and sparked my imagination.

It involved the Robinson family, their robot and an uninvited guest who took flight in a spaceship on the first ever deep space mission to another star and solar system.

Sabotage crippled the ship and the entire crew found themselves millions of miles away from home and no way of knowing how to get back.  The series lasted three years.  I, of course, am referring to the TV series Lost In Space.

Back in the late 1990s a Lost In Space movie premiered with mixed results and not long afterwards a pilot for a TV series was filmed, but was never picked up for broadcast.

For years Lost In Space fans have clamored for a new series and in 2018 20th Century Fox created a brand new series for Netflix.

The series was a huge success.  But, it’s not your grandma’s Lost In Space. 

Although the ship and crew have the same names the show has some significant difference: such as the robot and Dr. Smith-who is now a woman.

Other differences become evident as you watch the First Season.  But, here’s the thing: the show still ‘feels’ like the original series.  There’s the same sense of adventure and trill of exploring the unknown, some well-placed humor and the characters (albeit slightly altered) retain the same strong family ties, the robot is still Will Smith’s companion and Dr. Smith is just as dastardly (if not more so) than the original.

In the Lost In Space The Complete Firsts Season Blu-ray, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, besides all of the exciting episodes from the first season viewers can expect the some great extra features: a colorized pilot of the original series, deleted scenes, Billy Mumy visiting to the new series set, the design the new robot and much more.  It’s out of this world!

In the new series the Robinson’s are part of a concerted effort by Earth to colonize Alpha Centauri.  En route on the Resolute mother ship they are attacked by aliens and the Robinsons (with other passengers) are forced to evacuate on Jupiter scout vehicles.

The Robinsons are aboard the Jupiter 2, and they, like the other passengers, discover their spacecraft plunging through a black hole and winding up on an alien Earthlike planet.

The series follows the Robinsons as they cope with their dilemma, search for survivors and encounter strange, wonderful and perhaps deadly alien life and struggle to find their way back home.

It’s an exciting series; full of surprises, excellent special effects and features a strong cast and riveting plot.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Frankenstein, Dracula and Baskervilles

When I was younger one of my all-time favorite comic book publishers was Classic Illustrated.  Unfortunately the company went out of business years ago, but the fond memories still linger.

Classics Illustrated translated classic works of fiction into a comic book format filled with drawings and easy to understand text.

The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. has brought back the classics in comic book form with its brand new Graphic Novel Classics through PowerKids Press.

The first three books in its collection are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dracula written by Bram Stoker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes The Hound Of The Baskervilles.  Author Claire Bampton does an outstanding job of editing, simplifying and modifying the text for younger readers.

I won’t take the time to go into each story, but all three are stellar adaptations provide easy to follow text and word balloons, large pages and art by Anthony Williams.

I gotta say, I love the art.  It’s not overly detailed or too simplified.  It offers a good balance of dynamic layouts and excellent character designs.  The art strikes a good balance with open panels, no clutter and with enough detail to carry each story along. 

The coloring by Rob Taylor fits the bill by augmenting the art and not detracting from it.  No easy task.

I especially love the depictions of the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.

Each oversize, thin, hardbound book features excellent binding, a thick stock cover and gloss inside pages.  All three books will easily stand up to the rough and tumble shenanigans of young readers.

I got a kick out of the covers of each book with their text logos and indicia-both of which reminded me of comic books for the 1960s and 1970s.

Overall I give the Graphic Novel Classics an A+ in design, adaptation and reading enjoyment.  Well done!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Horror, Dashing, Sci-Fi, Moore, Warner Bros. and Makeup

I’m a sucker for books about the movie and TV industries.

Anything and everything about the production, acting, genre and the like fascinate me.

That’s why I am so pleased that Globe Pequot sent me six titles (from various publishers) that feed my fascination with the cinema and small screen.

An Illustrated History The Art Of Horror Movies, edited by Stephen Jones and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, presents an art and photograph gallery celebrating horror films from all over the world beginning with classic black and white and silent films.

Movie directors, producers, writers, film fans and others associated with the horror film genre contribute fascinating commentaries, little known historical facts and real insider looks at the making of the films.

The deluxe hardbound book is practically bulging at its covers with page after page of luscious poster, promotional, original and book and periodical art and photos.

There’s even some previously unpublished art included along with specially commissioned art just for the book.

If you are a horror film buff then this is the ultimate guide about the art for the films along with plenty of informative text.

It’s no secret that I believe that the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were the best years for TV.  There are a few exceptions of course but by and large those three decades define good TV for me.

Maybe because TV was in its infancy and was just starting to grow up that made the shows so diverse, entertaining and in some cases unusual.

Not unlike we humans as we grow and mature.

Dashing, Daring, And Debonair TV’s Top Male Icons Form The 50s, 60s, and 70s, by author Herbie J. Pilato and Taylor Trade Publishing, delves into the macho men and masculine mystique from each TV show decade.

Comedians, dramatic actors, and variety stars: they’re all present in a wonderful collection of segments spotlighting each and every male star.

Learn all about their backgrounds, how they got into the business, what shows they starred in and so much more.

Each section includes color photos of such well-known stars as Adam West, Nat King Cole, Henry Winkler, James Arness and dozens of other stars from Westerns to Superhero shows.

What makes the book especially interesting is that it includes not just the rough and ready heroic stars but actors and other TV persona of all personality types.

The books provides hours of fun reading and after reading each entry readers come away with a real understanding and appreciation for each star’s life, career and contribution to TV and American culture.

So, you  think you know everything there is to know about science fiction films?  I don’t think so!

Modern Sci-Fi Films FAQ by Tom DeMichael and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books lets readers know all that’s left to know about time travel. alien, robot, and out-of-this-world movies since 1970.

Test you knowledge of pre and postproduction, actor and actresses biographies, behind-the-scenes activities, story synopses and everything else that has to do with Sci-fi films since 1970.

Trust me, you’ll come away with a whole new appreciation and head full of knowledge about each film and enjoy each and every minute of it.

I never particularly cared for actor Roger Moore’s take on super-spy James Bond.  He seemed too flippant and off-the-cuff for my taste.

But I absolutely loved him as TV’s Simon Templar in The Saint and many of his other TV and movie roles.

Never one to take himself too seriously or to exude self importance, Roger Moore knew and made it quite vocal that he was very lucky in his career...and it wasn’t necessarily because of his acting talent.

Roger (with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek) recounts his career from its high and lows to its gradual decline into retirement years.

In One Lucky Bastard Tales From Tinseltown, published by Lyons Press, he recounts his 70 years in the business.

Regarded as one of the nicest men in the acting profession Roger was known for his wit, charm and as a raconteur.

Filled with anecdotes and personal recollections, the book is a delightful a whimsical look at his long career as recalled by Mr. Moore.

As much as I love watching movies and TV shows I’m just as interested as to what goes on behind-the scenes, especially as it pertains to wardrobe, set design, backlots and other activities not seen on the small or large screen.

Warner Bros. Hollywood’s Ultimate Backlot, by Steve Bingen and published by Lyons Press, provides a first-person tour of the inner workings of the famous studio.

Archival and recent photos accompany text that recounts the history of the studio along with its many stars, films and TV series filmed at the studio.

Aliens, deformities, monsters, injuries, aging-these are just a few of the tricks makeup artists provide for TV and film.

One of the all-time great makeup artists is Michel Westmore.

In Makeup Man Michel talks about his amazing career and creations from Rocky to Star Trek,

Actor Patrick Stewart provides the foreword in this wonderful collection of makeup innovations Michel has created over the decades.

Readers are privy to his makeup secrets, some little known film and TV series incidents and the many hurtles and obstacles Michael faced from actors and actresses to studio executives.

It’s very up close and personal recollection of his career as only he can chronicle it in Makeup Man from Lyons Press.

You’ll come away realizing that makeup art is much more than simply applying powder and paint, it is a high-tech amalgamation of prosthetics, hairpieces and more with more of it share of human interaction thrown in for good measure.