Friday, November 29, 2019

Dreadstar and Will-O’-The-Wisp

Collecting comic books, like any other collecting, requires more than knee-jerk reactions to ‘what’s hot’ and ‘value’.

True collectors are aware of both but are primarily guided by the significance of the various objects in their respective collections.

Collecting comic books is much more than running after the latest hot issue and purchasing solely for profit.

It takes a discerning eye to identify issues that are more than printed entertainment.

Two examples of comic books (this time from Marvel) that represent key moments are The Amazing Spider-Man #234 and Epic Comics’ Dreadstar #1.

Two important things occur in The Amazing Spider-Man #234.

A character guest stars who is rumored to play an important part in future Spider-Man continuity: Will-O’-The-Wisp and the Tarantula is transformed into a human spider.

A special feature is also included: The Marvel Comics Guide To Collecting Comics!

Artist/writer Jim Starlin in his early career really shook things up with his art and writing of Captain Marvel and Warlock.  He introduced the characters Thanos, Gamorra and Drax the Destroyer-among others.

His galaxy/cosmic stories shook not only the Marvel Universe but DC Comics as well with characters like Mongul.

When Marvel created its Epic line of creator-owned comic book line it was a perfect fit for Starlin.

Unrestrained by Marvel continuity Starlin created his own cosmic saga dubbed Dreadstar.

Starlin pulled out all the stops in this stellar epic and pioneered mainstream comics attempt to pull in talent that would produce successful series for both the parent comic book publishers and the creators themselves.

It’s a very important issue that radically changed the direction of the mainstream comic book publishing community.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Fantasy & Science Fiction #746, November/December 2019

How I Came To Write Fantasy
The Joy in Wounding
A Geas of the Purple School
Bird Thou Never Wert
The Vicious World of Birds

Rejoice, My Brothers and Sisters
A Hand at the Service of Darkness
It Never Snows in Snowtown
Knit Three, Save Four

Swing Between

Books to Look For
Musing on Books   
Television: Those Were the Days
Science: Portable Power
Competition #98       
Coming Attractions   
Index to Volumes 136 & 137   

Nick Downes.

"The Sky House" By Bob Eggleton

Monday, November 25, 2019

Free Comic Book Day, Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad

If you’re a lover of Warner Bros. Animation then you’re just as likely to get a kick out of the DC comics adaptations of its various animated superhero shows.

For close to 20 years free comic books have been given away sometime in May each year to appreciative fans.

Often said free books will introduce a new character, story line or feature a first appearance.

Many such Free Comic Book Day publications have jumped in value.

Not bad for freebies!

In 2010 DC comics offered a Free Comic Book Day called the MEGA Sampler 2010 that featured DC Kids.

Inside were stories featuring SHAZAM!, Supergirl, Streaky and several superhero and super villain kids.

A Batman: The Brave and Bold story starred The Caped Crusader along with The Martian Manhunter and some Riddler jokes and a Shape Up! craft.

The Free Comic Book Day 2011 DC Comics Super Sampler featured Young Justice and Batman: The Brave and The Bold stories.

Both issues are a load of fun and maybe...just maybe they’ll become certified collector items in the near future.

For fans of quirky and offbeat DC Comics stories and characters you can’t go wrong with DC Comics’ 1988 The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special.

The two teams face off against each other in a slam-bam, no-holds-barred free-for-all that packs so much action into one issue it practically bursts out from the pages.

Collectors get the chance to snag some early Erik Larsen artwork and boy does he deliver some great action packed pages! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2020

In this age of digital devices and the Internet information is at everyone’s fingertips.  It’s convenient, fast and seemingly inexhaustible.

But the Digital Age does have its drawbacks.  Poor Internet coverage or none at all, the language barrier, and over abundance of information (some of it not reliable) and as convenient as the Internet is it can be exhausting trying to weed out correct information.

I still prefer books when it comes to garnering or finding reliable information.

The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2020 is a requirement for anyone looking to find information about anything.and do I mean anything.

Economics, geography, history, science, math, sports, the arts, politics--the list goes on and on.

If I were a world traveler the one book I would be sure to take along with me would be The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2020.

It’s the ultimate compact treasure trove of information that is a true survival tool, no less important than food, clothing, money and the like.

With it in had most of life’s questions about surviving and research is readily at hand.

It’s like a miniature set of encyclopedias in one single book, a print version of the Internet and a gleaning of some of the most information packed tomes in existence.

The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2020 by Infobase/Simon & Schuster is a ‘must-have’ publication that I recommend that every household should have.

I keep mine by my reading chair, take it with me on trips and refer to it whenever I need to look up quick facts.

Previews, December 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Demon and Orion

Back in 2007 Mattel Toys came up with an ingenious method by which it could sell more of its DC Comics licensed action figures.

Mattel held the DC license for several years prior and while sales were good, they could have been better.

By upping the quality of their figures, offering some clever incentives and targeting the collector market while still appealing to kids Mattel created a winning toy line.

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics Collect & Connect series of toys proved to be a big hit with kids and collectors alike.

Here’s how Mattel did it.

Different Waves of figure were released over the years.  The Waves consisted of five 6-inch+ figures.  With the figures a separate part of a much larger figure was included.

When all the figures in the series were collected and opened, the piecemeal figure could be assembled.

To add to incentive to buy the complete Waves random ‘alternate’ figures were available on a limited basis.

For example a particular figure may come in two versions: one with its mouth closed, one with it open or there may be an additional part of a uniform or accessory.

Fans went wild!

Kids loved the fact that they owned the whole Wave and got an additional figure thrown in basically for free.

Collectors who were completists would purchase the whole Waves, including the alternate version figures.

Collectors would also buy two complete Waves.  One to open and assemble the Collect & Connect figure and another to keep pristine in their bubble packs.

The first Wave to appear featured five characters (with a few variants) that included Batman, The Penguin, Red Tornado, Orion and The Demon, Etrigan.  The Collect & Connect figure was Metamorpho.

I own the first and second Waves and of the first Wave my two favorite characters are Orion and Etrigan.

Both figures come float-mounted in form-fitting plastic bubble packs complete with a themed background, an upper DC Universe banner and lower character name banner.

On the back of each bubble pack statistics are provided of the enclosed figure and a full color photo of all of the figures in the Wave, including the Collect & Connect Metamorpho.

I’ve always been a big fan of Jack Kirby’s DC Comics Fourth World Saga that includes among its titles: The New Gods.

One New God is Orion, the son of Darkseid.

Orion comes in his traditional red battle armor including his form-fitted silver helmet with side pseudo horns, a red dot forehead decoration and wraparound red strip over the helmet eye slots.

He wears a high-tech vest of gold replete with various knobs and controls that is connected to his twin wrist control rods and weapons attached to long cylinder tubes fastened to foot pads that allow Orion to fly.

His outfit consists of blue collar, red shirt and trousers blue gloves and blue boots with silver decorations.

The figure is highly articulated and poses easily without any aid.

Orion’s face looks as stern and determined as his comic book namesake.

Color application is clean with individual muscle highlights and shadows, smooth facial tones and with no slop-over or rough edges between colors.

I especially like Orion’s weapons array and vest.  The attention to detail is topnotch.

Another Jack Kirby creation is The Demon, Etrigan.

The slightly bulky figure showcases Etrigan’s massive chest and arms, powerful legs and lethal claws and teeth.

Etrigan’s face, hands and legs are a deep yellow. He wear a flowing blue tattered cape with silver neck latch, spiked arm gauntlets, a red tunic with briefs and pirate red boots. 

With his intense stare, tattered red cape, open clawed hands and crouched posture Etrigan looks like he could leap from his bubble pack.

Like the Orion figure, Etrigan features a clean paint scheme, nice tonal work, clean and pristine lines and no slop-over edges.

Also included is Etrigan’s brown belt with a silver buckle.

His cape folds look real, as does the cape’s shredded appearance.

Articulation is impressive with swing hinges, pivot joints, tilts, ball and socket and torso and neck twists.

Both figures are favorites with collectors and demand high prices, especially the variant figures.

Mystic Fighters

Are ready you to put a little magic back into your life? 

Everyone needs some mysticism and mystery sometimes.  Are you willing to fight for it?

Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Mystic Fighters Booster Foil Packs may just be the touch of magic you need to boost your game-playing skills.

The Booster Packs come five in each Foil Pack and 24 Packs per Box.

Sixty Cards make up a Set consisting of 40 Super Rares and 20 Secret Rares.

So, put a little magic back into your life with Mystic Fighters.  Just look at what you get:

Mathmechs add, subtract, multiply, and divide to cut your opponent’s Life Points to zero!

The Cyberse theme can be used for calculating a Duelist that subtracts Cards from your opponent’s hand and field.

It adds Cards to your own with Xyz Monsters, doubles the ATK and damage output of your Synchro Monsters and can cut your opponent’s in half!

Dragonmaids: the shapeshifting dragon maid service, can shred your enemies using teamwork and dragon power.

The six Level 9 “Generaider Boss” monsters are High-Level Behemoths with six different Attributes and Types for Quick Effects.

Yu-Gi-Oh! just got a lot more exciting, dangerous and magical and you’re invited along for the magical mystery tour of your life!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sarah Connor T2: Judgement Day

Long before Sideshow Collectibles became the mega-figure and collectible giant it is today it produced a number of 12-inch (1/6th Scale) articulated figures.

Sideshow had yet to represent and distribute Hot Toys figures and instead was producing their own film, TV and pop culture licensed properties.

One such property was T2: Judgment Day: the second film in the Terminator saga.

Three figures were created for the series: Sarah Connor, the T-800 and the T-1000.

I’ll be talking about the Sarah Connor figure.

With the recent release of the latest Terminator film: Dark Fate, moviegoers get to see Sarah Connor return to the franchise after an absence of three films. 

Terminator: Dark Fate makes the sixth film in the series.  The film has not performed as well as the studio had hoped and appears to be a flop and will not recoup its production and marketing costs.

Future films in the franchise are in doubt.

The film is a direct sequel to the second film ignoring the three films released before it.

Before I get into critiquing the figure I’d like to talk about its packaging.

At the time the figure was produced by Sideshow its packaging was considered some of the best of the industry.

The solid black box with its front flip open lid is decorated with photos of the enclosed figure and provides pivotal historical information about the film it was taken from.

It also includes a thin piece of tissue paper that protects the inner clear plastic display panel showcasing the figure.

The figure is secured in place by a form-fitting plastic cradle complete with securing straps (dental floss, tape and plastic bands) where necessary. 

Trevor Grove sculpted Sarah’s likeness and he did a fantastic job.  Many of the techniques he used on the sculpt are reflected in the future Hot Toys action figures including the realistic eye reflections and careful attention to skin tone and feature likeness.

While sculpted the hair looks realistic with defined hair strands falling realistically over the figure’s head.  Some would argue that the figure’s features are little too much delineated.  I disagree.  It is important to emphasis the figure’s features to make it identifiable.

Body, hand and figure sculpting are good although a little crude by today’s standards.  Still the articulation points are well done allowing the figure to pose in hundred of positions with or without its circular base and wire frame figure assist.

Hand sculpts are in a grip position and on my example the figure easily holds the various weapons and accessories when posed.

The hand’s grip work especially well when the figure is holding a handgun, rifle or knife.

Paint application is clean with tonal variations that mimic actual skin tones.  Hair highlights look realistic and add depth to the figure with no bleed-overs or sloppy edges.

There is a slight color variation with the exposed hands, face and neck as compared to the articulated body.  The figures cloths and accessories easily mask the difference.

Articulation includes ball-jointed shoulders and hips, double-jointed elbows and knees that when paired with the wrist and ankle articulation gives the figure a remarkable range of motion.

The figure poses easily in various positions, all of which look natural.  Paired with the T-800 and T-1000 figures the Sarah Connor figure interaction looks natural and not forced. 

Joints are tight, pivot comfortably and stay in place once posed.  The entire figure is sturdy and fits comfortably and accurately in the provided cloths.

Sarah’s outfit includes a black tank top, tactical vest with Velcro on the pockets (there is cardboard in the pockets to keep them in shape), black pants, black mid-calve boots and a standard belt.

Sturdy and durable plastic buckles are on the belt and vest and are scaled perfectly.  The vest is easily removed as are the other clothing items.

Her military pants boast several pockets and like the other cloths are stitched tightly and in scale.

The boots fit snuggly but lack the detail of the other clothing, but they adequately do the job. 

Weapons include a Colt handgun with removable clip, a knife with sheath, and a M-16 rifle (M-4 A-Cog) with silencer and removable stock.

All the weapons are perfect miniature replicas of their full-scale namesakes, sport excellent paint and details and fit securely and snuggly in her hands.

Also included is a pair of black sunglasses that fit her face correctly.

Overall the figure is extremely well done, articulation in varied to provide maximum movement and posability, the clothing fits and folds like real cloths, the accessories match the figure’s movie counterpart’s and the weapons capture the look and feel of Sarah’s arsenal.

Sideshow did an outstanding job with one its first commercial figures.  The figure foreshadows the figures to come and collectors are sure to want all three figures in the original Sideshow T2 collection.

A Few Changes

I’ve decided to implement a few changes to my blog.

Since I can’t count on review samples arriving on a consistent schedule I’m forced to take a different approach.

Honestly I’m tired of sitting around waiting for companies to send product samples.  Too often companies will promise items and either nothing arrives or it takes an inordinate amount of time to get samples.

I try to post reviews at least every two days and with such an inconsistent review samples schedule I need to improvise.

Over the past several years publishers, toy companies and other product manufacturers have cutback on their review samples.

Either they have stopped sending out samples altogether, converted to PDFs reading copies, provide only press release information or give preference to ‘mega’ sites or publications.

I love writing reviews and I believe I'm pretty good at it.

I can’t wait for sporadic items to arrive for review nor will I review PDFs, write reviews from gleaned promotional material or depend on individual companies or individuals that promise the moon and do not deliver.

Therefore as items come in I will review them.  In the interim I will write retro reviews of comic books, toys and the like from my existing collection.  I’ll also drop in a few commentaries now and then.

I hold no animosity toward any publisher, manufacturer or individual.  It is what it is.  Times have changed and I need to change with them.

I would love to provide new product reviews each day but that has become impossible.  The cards have been dealt and I have to work with the hand I’ve been given.

If you are reading this and you represent a publisher or manufacturer I still value your review samples and appreciate what you can provide.

I will continue to write articles for Collectors’ Corner as long as I am able and I hope my readers will stick around and continue to support my efforts.

As always, my most sincere gratitude for your support. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Nightmaster and Ronin

As comic book collectors and lovers it’s had to grasp sometimes that the professional comic book artists whose work we enjoy didn’t start out as the polished professionals we’re used to.

Wayyyyy back during the Silver Age of comic books DC Comics produced a comic book called DC Preview Showcase.

The title was a sort of proving ground for possible future titles and a try out for up and coming writers and artists.

In issue #83 of Preview Showcase Nightmaster a young and upcoming artist’s work was printed.

The artist had garnered himself a reputation as a capable and talented artist in fanzines and a smattering of comic book covers and short stories.

That artist’s name was Bernie Wrightson and issue #83 allowed Bernie to test his penciling chops.

While Bernie’s talent was evident it was also glaringly obvious that at some points in the story he had bit off more than he could chew.

Denny O’Neil provided the script for Sword and Sorcery tale.

Bernie’s pencils were clean and crisp but not quite up to the polished professional level he would produce only a few years later.

In the 1980s a superstar artist had proved himself with Marvel Comics’ Daredevil title.

Frank Miller had rattled the comic book world with his bold story-telling techniques and impressive scripts.

Miller moved to DC Comics and took on a project few expected him to accomplish.  It was unlike any of his previous projects.

The title, Ronin, demonstrated Miller’s incredible range of story-telling expertise.

Unlike his previous bold line and deep shadows Daredevil work his Ronin art consisted of intricate illustrations with an over-abundance of cross-hatching.

The mini-series represented a bold new direction in Miller’s work.  He pulled it off masterfully.

Both Showcase #83 and Ronin represent key moments in comic book history. 

So many instances of new directions, innovations, breaks from tradition and unprecedented creativity are evident in all Ages of comic book history.  You just have to look for it.

It’s important to pay more attention to content and context than to purely collectibility.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Say What?

Have you ever had a time when you want to voice your concerns and yet you’re not quite sure what your concerns are?

This is one of those times.

What exactly is it that I’m struggling with?  A good question.  I wish I had a good answer.

I’ll give it a shot.

I’m concerned because my country is going through a political, social, moral and tradition upheaval.

Every where you look people are mad at other people.  Left against Right.  Conservative versus Liberal.  When does it stop?

Just because someone disagrees with someone else that doesn’t mean they are evil and should be silenced.  Conflict can be a good thing if balanced with reason.

Race against race, politician against politician, right against wrong, traditions against progressivism...the list goes on and on.

Whatever happened to good old common sense?  There are no gray areas.  Either something is right or it is wrong. Decisions should never be based upon emotions.

People don’t know who they are, what they stand for and to make it worse there are those who try to force their beliefs on others.  Worse yet, things escalate into violence.

If you don’t agree with them you’re labeled a racist, homophobe, fascist and the like.

If you don’t know whom you are take a look in a mirror-BINGO, that’s you!

You can clip it, cut it off, trim it, repackage it, change it or fake it-at the end of the day you’re still who were born as-it’s that simple.

My advice is learn to like yourself.  You’re stuck with you the rest of your life and no amount of repackaging can change who you really are.

Get real people!

Whatever happened with people sitting down with each other, discussing things and working out a compromise?  Our politicians should heed that advice.

I’ve lived a long time and I have never seen my country so divided as it has been over the last 11 years.

Moving on.

Why is everything so complicated?

There’s so much paperwork, bureaucratic bs and passing the buck nowadays it makes my head spin.

Just doing a simple thing like paying a bill can get bogged down by needless

Why are there so many choices?  For example: it used to be when you went to a store to buy, say, a pair of tennis shoes you had, maybe, a dozen choices.

Today.... you can spend a whole day looking through shoes of every design, shape and color.

The same holds true for electronics, medicines, household goods, food, drinks and everything else associated with product purchasing.  It’s getting out of hand.

Is it any wonder people are confused, frustrated and anxious?  No one is ever satisfied with what they have.  Take time to enjoy what God has blessed you with.

Or how about online buying?  I’m sorry, I’m too much of a tire kicker.  I want to see what I’m buying before I purchase it.

Everything is either online, digital, streaming or on a fast track.

If the Internet goes down, half the people in the U.S. will be totally lost and not be able to function.

I taught high school and a large percentage of my students couldn’t balance a checkbook if their lives depended on it.  Few could use a ruler correctly. 

Many could not tell time from an analog clock and most couldn’t write a paper unless they could research it online.  And we know everything online is true-right!

Another thing-everything has a message.  You can’t watch a movie or TV show, read a book or a periodical or even pick up a comic book without being preached to about something-be it political or preferential.  I loath the term “Social Justice Warrior”.

Life has become much too complicated.  We’ve become a generation of people who think far too highly of ourselves and expect far too much from others, the government and our jobs.

It is not the responsibility of others, the education system, work, our government or any other entity to coddle us, provide for us or establish our worth.

It’s time to suck it up and deal with things-be they uncomfortable, inconvenient or challenging.  Build a ladder and get over it!

As I often told my students, “No one owes you anything.  It is up to you to make your life fulfilling and worth something. 

How does the phrase go?  “Life, liberty and the ’pursuit’ of happiness“-not the guarantee

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Metallica Watches

Get ready to Rock and Roll, courtesy of NIXON: maker of fine wristwatches.

Metal heads and lovers of Rock and Roll are sure to want to get their hands (in this case- their wrists) on NIXON Watch’s Special Edition Metallica Sentry Leather “Seek and Destroy” Wristwatch.

Amazing is the best word to describe this spectacular timepiece inspired by the legendary Rock group Metallica.

Just look at the details on this wide, leather wristband solid black wristwatch.

The sold black, stainless steel case, analog watch features silver hour indicators, a sweeping Metallica guitar second hand, blood red hour and minute hands, a hardened mineral crystal and a waterproof rating of 1000m. 

In the air, on the ground or underwater you can rock with one of the coolest watches around.

It’s heavy duty, pure leather wristband is attractive, durable and made to last.  Check out the double loops to hold the strap in place and the solid black metal clip. 

Rock all you want and this watch is guaranteed to stay on your wrist.

The Sentry Leather Wristwatch comes in a special Metallica emblazoned black box, secured in place by a fitted foam sleeve and an outer slip-over sleeve making the entire package a great way to store your watch and to keep it secure and safe.

Guys are sure to love the wristwatch’s sleek masculine look and oversized rugged appearance.  It’s durable, rough and tumble and perfect for the man who likes to Rock and Roll hard and heavy.

The NIXON Metallica Time Teller Wristwatch is the perfect fit for the ladies but is no less durable than the Sentry Leather “Seek and Destroy” Wristwatch.

Elegant, clean and easy to read the Time Teller watch features a minimalist design (with a Metallica white logo on its face) a rugged but elegant leather strap, secure metal clip, stainless steel case, a white Metallica symbol second hand, solid black hour and minute hands, a slightly raised clock face and rugged crystal good for a 100m waterproof rating.

Like the Sentry Wrsitwatch it comes in a special designer box, full, foam interior fitted watch cradle, an interior foam insert for the wristwatch and a special Metallica gloss finish ink logo on the box

Both analog wristwatches include a small white tab that keep the watches from running until they are removed.  A few twists, turns and adjustments and your wristwatches are set and running.  Full instructions are included with the battery-powered wristwatches.

Whether you choose the Sentry or Time Teller wristwatches both are sure to attract attention and comments from your fellow Metallica fans.

Isn’t it ‘time’ you owned a NIXON Metallica Wristwatch?  Men and women can choose the wristwatch they love.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Marvel Age and DC Sampler

As a long time comic book collector there is one thing I know that young collectors should keep in mind-especially when it comes to comic books.

Never discard or take for granted promotional material.

Too many times I’ve seen collectors scrambling to obtain an obscure publication that has a ‘true’ first appearance of a comic book character.

Many times the characters will appear in in-house promotional pieces or even in a catalog of characters such as an index.

Convention programs and giveaways are also highly collectible.

For examples do some research and see where Spawn and Hellboy first appeared.  Now look at the prices of those publications.

Back in the early 1980s both DC and Marvel Comics published in-house promotional comic books.

In DC’s case they were giveaways and smaller in number than Marvel’s publications.

DC Sampler is a prime example of what was once a free publication that is just now being sought after by comic book collectors.  We’re talking about a comic book published over 30 years ago!

In DC Sample #1 readers are given sneak peeks of the All-Star Squadron, various Superman titles, Arion, The Omega Men, Wonder Woman, The Huntress, Batman titles, Amethyst, The New Teen Titans, DC’s War comics and several new and mainstay publications.

Keep in mind-these were not simple page reprints from the books.  They were all brand new art seen only in DC Sampler.

Marvel Comics created its own monthly promotional comic book: Marvel Age, and sold it to Marvel fans for a mere 25 cents.

The first issue pretty much promoted itself and explained what it was about.  Over the next few months Marvel Age premiered many of Marvel’s new titles and spotlighted current issues.

Many of the early Marvel Age comic books demand high prices.  Case in point-check out the Stan Lee issue.

Recently I checked E-bay and a issue #1 of Marvel Age in mint condition and CGC certified sold for nearly $200!

Another thing to keep in mind is there are not as many promotional publications still around as regular monthly comic books.  They were meant to be read and discarded just as you would newspaper advertisements and fliers.

Is it any wonder collectors are scrambling to find them?

Other promotional items such as posters, fliers, trading cards, trinkets and the like are also demanding high prices.

I was recently digging through my stash the other day and came across two of the Infinity Gauntlet promotional posters from 1991-they currently sell for $75 each!

A word of advice: look for giveaways, posters, etc.  What many consider trash today may be treasures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The King and Christmas

Here it is almost the middle of November.

It’s hard to believe that in about a month and a half it will be Christmas.

For over month Christmas decorations, promotions and an overabundance of Christmas merchandise has inundated stores.

More and more it seems that people are forgetting the real reason behind Christmas-the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth: the Savior of mankind.

Ask many people on the street and in stores and they think  Christmas is about Santa Claus and giving and receiving presents.  It’s kind of sad really.

Mill Creek Entertainment presents two DVD/Digital releases celebrating the holiday.

In Christmas On The Range Kendall Riley has high hopes for Christmas: saving her family farm.

But the town Scrooge (Brick McCree) has other plans and all looks loss.  When Brick’s son (Clint) returns home he falls for Kendall.

As their romance blossoms Kendall’s farm is sabotaged-coincidence?

What exactly is Clint’s part in all of this?

Will Kendall’s farm survive?

Look for romance, action, forgiveness, redemption and a strong dose of faith--Christmas lives!

In the 5 Movie Collection Down Home Christmas a quintet of heart -warming Christmas tales make for the perfect warm-up for the holidays.

The Christmas Contract sees two old flames come to terms and is there new love in the air?

Hometown Christmas sees two unlikely acquaintances find love when their hometown resurrects a long-held nativity scene tradition.

Christmas On The Bayou revolves around a single mom finding love in her hometown during the holidays.

Wish Upon A Christmas finds a returning executive who plans to make massive layoffs of her hometown ornaments company.  But will true love change her plans?

Christmas In Mississippi brings back a holiday light show after a devastating hurricane five years previously.  Holly Logan returns home only to encounter her high school love that broke her heart.

Kevin James starred as deliver truck driver Doug Hefferman for Nine Seasons in The King Of Queens.

Join Doug and his adorable wife as they contend with family, friends and workaday trials and tribulations.

It’s 207 episodes of outrageous fun with a TV show that delivers the goods.

My wife and I absolutely loved the show when it was on network TV and can’t wait to watch some favorite episodes and catch up on the ones we missed

The huge 22-Disc King Of Queens The Complete Series DVD Collection offers hours of some of the best humor ever seen on TV.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Indiana Jones and Nam

Two Modern Age (or Copper Age-depending on who you talk to) comic book classics that deserve to get much more attention than they are given are Indiana Jones #1 and Nam #1 from Marvel Comics.

The Indiana Jones comic book rights were secured by Marvel Comics after its successful adaptation of Lucas Films Star Wars.

Marvel Comics and Lucas Films agreed that Lucas Films would have total editorial and creative control over the comic book’s content and context.

John Byrne was the superstar penciller at Marvel at the time and he was chosen to write and draw the new series.

Byrne’s longtime collaborator on The Uncanny X-Men: Terry Austin, would ink the series.

It seemed like a perfect match and it would have been except for Lucas Films unreasonable editorial demands-some that required changes to the book mere days before it was sent to the press.

John and Terry lasted two issues and quit the series because of the unreasonable editorial demands by Lucas Films.

The series would continue on for over 30 issues and eventually cease publication.  Both the Temple Of Doom and The Last Crusade mini-series would be produced.

Indiana Jones #1 and #2 (in my opinion) are by far the best Indiana Jones comic book adaptations ever produced. 

Too bad Byrne and Austin did not continue the series.

For some one my age (66) The Vietnam War was a very harsh and scary reality.

When I turned 19 years old I was eligible for the draft.  Fortunately my draft number was not chosen and I was able to continue my college education.

Many of my friends and classmates were not so fortunate and many did not return save in a pine box.

Vietnam was a no-win war.  Bad decisions by the various Presidential powers that were in charge at that time chose to pull back on military actions resulting in a war where soldiers died retaking locations that had already secured.

America was gong through a huge cultural change and the youth of that time questioned authority of all sorts which included political and military powers.

It was a turbulent time and delivered a deep wound still felt in America today.

Marvel Comics decided to reintroduce War Comics and chose the Vietnam War as its subject. 

Nam #1 by Doug Murray and penciller Michael Golden depicted the war, as it was: frightening, violent and fought by soldiers barely in their late teens and early twenties.

Golden’s art was amazing in its details right down to the weapons used, the uniforms, aircraft, military vehicles and the renditions of the wide ethnic variety of soldiers that served.

The Vietnam War deserves to be remembered and Nam #1 is a good way to start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Almost To A Stop

For 27 years I’ve reviewed toys, comic books, books and various other collectibles first in print and then on the internet with a website, blog and now a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Linked-In account.

Readership has slowly increased over the years and while the numbers aren’t in the six figure range they are respectable.

It used to be I could contact publishers and manufacturers and receive review samples with no problem.

Times have changed.

With the proliferation of online blogs, websites, YouTube channels and other social media outlets review samples are getting more and more difficult to obtain because of the sheer numbers of requests companies receive.

Add that to the fact that many companies are cost cutting when it comes to samples and advertising and the numbers dwindle even more.

It’s a no-win scenario.

Still, I am hopeful.

Eventually companies will realize that review sites come and go but Boyce McClain’s Collectors’ Corner will endure as it has for almost 30 years.

I’ve witnessed hundreds of publications and online sites that have started out on fire and inevitably the fire burns out and they disappear.

Those that do survive have learned to adapt to the times and most (not all) turn out respectable content and context and deserve to survive and prosper.

Probably the most difficult thing I have to deal with when it comes to requesting review samples is the inconsistencies prevalent with many companies.

One month I may receive samples and will continue to do so for several months after on a regular basis.

A company’s editorial and public relations departments institute new review sample rules and replace representatives resulting in review samples drying up.

Companies are businesses and need to make money-I understand that.

But to simple drop me off a reviewer’s list and then not to notify me is just plain rude.

Not only is it rude it is inconsiderate and results in a total readjustment to my review postings.

Products can be expensive and review samples are limited to sites that pull in huge numbers.  No problem.

But when I request a single inexpensive toy, book or other sample to review and I am promised to receive said items and nothing shows up, its frustrating.

Show some common courtesy.  How difficult is it to send an email or make a phone call?

I want my online presence to grow and continue to provide reviews.  I need help.

I am not a wealthy man.  I cannot afford to buy items (even at a discount) on a regular basis.

I want to review items.  I need the support of publishers and manufacturers to do so.

If anyone from either type of those businesses is reading this-please cut me some slack and provide review samples.

It’s targeted publicity and all it costs is product.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Steven Universe The Movie last! Time to kick back, breath in slowly, put your feet up and take a little R & R.  After saving the universe Steven deserves some rest.

Yeah, right!

There’s a new Gem in town and she not only wants to kill Steven but to destroy all organic life on Earth as well.

Her powers are formidable.  She turns Steven’s Gem friends back into their gem forms and diminishes Steven’s Powers.

She sets up a giant drill to inject a poison into the Earth and wipe out all organic life.

Desperate Steven calls upon all his allies, cranks up the music and song and readies himself to meet his new foe-face to face.

Included on the
Steven Universe The Movie DVD from Warner Bros. and The Cartoon Network is a one-hour documentary about how the film was pitched and produced, a very special selection of songs and a three-inch, custom vinyl of the first single from the movie.

It’s a big universe out there and who better to protect it than Steven Universe?

Monday, November 4, 2019

May Cause Side Effects, The Misery Index, Acme’s Most Wanted and Shark Bite

Games?  We've  got games!  Lots of games!  Just ask Goliath Games/Pressman Toy Corporation.

They have games for little kids, grade school kids, teenagers, young adults and old timers (like myself)

For the young adult gamer comes May Cause Side Effects from Games Adults Play.

Gather into teams of two players.  Each team picks five Blue and five Red Pills and shuffle them by color and makes two piles.

Whatever player was to the doctor the most recently chooses one Red and one Blue Card and one Trial Card.  A Timer is set for 40 seconds.

The ‘Patient’ then selects the corresponding indicated color word on the Trial Card.  The patient then tries to get the other players to guess the chosen word using gestures, funny noises or whatever it takes.  No part of the word may be said.

Once the word is guessed the patient can go onto another Trial Card until Timer runs out.  When the word is guessed the team who guessed it discards a Red or Blue card.

Whichever team gets rid of their Blue and Red Cards first wins.

It’s a hilarious good time as Patients contort, make funny noises, act out or perform other ‘side effects’ to get their point across.

Included in the game are 50 Blue Cards and 50 Red Cards and 100 Trial Cards.  Timing is done on a watch or handheld device.

Just how awful can things become?

It’s up to players 14 years old and up as they gauge what messed up stuff ranks the worse.

Two hundred Situation Cards layout some pretty gross stuff from sunburn on the beach to seeing your dad naked.

Three rounds determine who has the highest Misery Index guesses correct and compiles the winning Misery Lane.

It’s gross, disgusting, outrageous, unsettling and fun.

Why should kids have all the gross fun?  Teens and adults need to get grossed out too. The Misery Index is made for two players from Games Adults Play.

In Carmen Sandiego Acme’s Most Wanted Board Game from Pressman gamers play Carmen and travel all over the globe.

They examine players Cards to deduct the who, what, where, why and how valuable loot was stolen.

Do you know who did it?  Travel to Isle of VILE to announce your conclusion.  Are you right?  What if you’re not?  Can you stop the thief?

Choose one each of Location, Loot and VILE Villain Cards.  Seal the in an envelope the Cards indicate tells the where, what and who).

Shuffle the remaining Cards and distribute evenly to two to four players.  Each player gets a Passport, Carmen Mover and Mover Stand. 

They then choose a location on the map. Passports are used to take notes. 

Players make deductions and if another player has a specific person, place and thing the card is shown to the other players thus eliminating possibilities. 

The first person to make it to the Isle of VILE and guesses correctly wins!

The game includes a World Game Board, four Carmen Movers, four Carmen Mover Stands, one Die, nine Location Cards, six Loot Cards, six VILE Villain Cards, one Envelope, four Carmen Passports, four Wipe-Off Markers and one Isle of Vile Token.

Travel the world, solve the crime and win the game-only from Walmart.

Four players ages four years old and up get to go fishing courtesy of Pressman.

If only it were that simple.
Players take turns rolling the Die.  Whatever number shows up on the Die indicates the number of fish that must be caught before the hungry Shark attacks and gets the fish/sea creatures and the player’s Fishing Rod.
Collect your fish but if the shark attacks you lose.  Whoever is left playing wins.

Shark Bite includes a Hungry Shark, twelve Sea Creatures, one Fishing Rod, One Die, one Sticker Sheet and complete Instructions.

Think fast, fish faster and watch out for that hungry Shark!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Cars, Heroes and SAF3 2

Kids love cars, especially cars (and trucks, boats, scooters, etc.) that talk.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s Limited Edition Funny Little Cars Adventures In The Little Oaza DVD.

The citizens of Doom Valley have a problem.  Criminals and unscrupulous environmentally unfriendly businesses are destroying their valley.

It’s up to a few brave and resourceful citizens to stop the bad guys and clean up Doom Valley.

It’s fast-paced action, adventure and some seriously silly fun in a four-wheel fandango and fun-fest for kids.

Dolph Lundgren stars as John Eriksson, the head of an elite fire and rescue team that is threatened to be shut down.

Despite the pressure of possibly being terminated for good the SAF3 continue to do their jobs and to save lives and property.

The DVD SAF3 2 Under Pressure cranks up the excitement, danger and intrigue in an exciting tale about heroes who serve and risk their lives everyday.

Speaking of heroes, Heroes In Blue recounts the true stories of the Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. teams and 9-1-1 dispatchers who have served over the last 30 years.

Current and retired members of each division recall the struggles, danger and activities that kept them on their toes.

The five-part DVD/Digital documentary goes into extensive detail about the exploits of the brave men and women, who protect, serve and sacrifice.