Monday, December 30, 2019

M.A.S.H, Vega$ and Magnum P.I.

I am a HUGE fan of TV series shown in the 1970s and 1980s.

Oh sure, some of them seemed silly and tried too hard to be hip in their content but most were enjoyable-especially the crime shows and situation comedies.

When the TV series M.A.S.H premiered in 1972 audiences were not sure what to make of it.

Set during the Korean War the series focused on the doctors and nurses assigned to the M.A.S.H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals) units.

The show rated at the bottom of the Nielson’s Ratings its first season but when viewers began watching it while other shows were in repeats something amazing happened-it became popular.

So popular in fact that show ran eleven straight years (eight years longer than the Korean War) and its movie length finale episode garnered the highest audience viewing of any show ever-only to be surpassed recently by the Super Bowl.

Recently a friend of mine, who is also a comic book and toy collector, did a little swapping of goodies with me. 

M.A.S.H merchandise is difficult to find.  A set of figures was produced by Tristar International Inc. consisting of the key characters from the last few years of the series.  Several playsets were also produced.

My friend had one of the figures: Hawkeye, and after a few rounds of negotiating I was able to secure the rare blond hair Hawkeye figure in a bubble pack.

The figure is a simple articulated 3 1/2 inch figure attired in army khaki with brown boots.  The bubble pack card features the M.A.S.H logo over a helicopter and color photo of the show’s cast along with a printed dog tag with Hawkeye’s name printed on it.

On the back of the card are small photos of the other figures in the set along with the playsets.  It’s nothing fancy, but I like it.

Another 1980s TV show I enjoy is Magnum P.I. (the original, not the imposter on TV now) starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum a private investigator who drives a Ferrari, lives in the guest house of his benefactor and hangs around with helicopter T.C., club owner Rick and the estate’s majordomo Higgins and his two Doberman Pincxhers Zeus and Apollo.

The show features some great stories, touches of humor, action, adventure and plenty of intrigue.  But what made the show special was the friendship between the main characters.

Kidco produced a Tough Wheels Magnum P.I. Lamborghini diecast.

It’s a perfect miniature duplicate of the car seen on the show.  With its bright red color and real rubber tires, a plastic windshield and full black interior the car is one of only a handful of Magnum P.I. toys ever produced.

Another popular detective TV show of the 1980s starred Robert Urich as a tough as nails P.I. whom drove a red 1957 Ford Thunderbird ConvertibleThe Vega$ diecast was produced by Corgi.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lost In Space, The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks

Talk about your nice after-Christmas presents!

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby recently sent me three new Trading Card Boxes to review.

It’s been awhile since I heard from Rittenhouse and I’m anxious to see what each series of Trading Card Sets have to offer.

All three series of Trading Cards Sets come 24 Packs per Box with two Autograph Cards per Box.

As with every Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby Trading Card Sets the quality of the Cards is first-rate with high-gloss and heavy paper stock and brilliant color photos and art along with clever and highly collectible ’extras’.

Lost In Space Season One

I was a little late on arrival when the new Lost In Space TV series premiered on Netflix.  We did not have a Netflix account at the time.  

However 20th Century Fox provided me the complete First Season on Blu-ray for review.  I binged watched it.

Before watching it I was a little skeptical.  A female Dr. Smith, a radically redesigned Robot and Jupiter 2 and a mixed family Robinson?  Where would the series lead me?

I need not have worried, the show far outdid my expectations.  I can hardly wait for Season Two.

RittenhouseArchives/Sci-Fi Hobby Trading Cards has created a great set of Lost In Space Trading Cards with scenes from the series, Behind-The-Scenes Secrets, Special Effects and much more.  Five Cards come per Pack.

Seventy-Two Cards make up the Base Set with six Plot Synopsis Cards for each episode with lots of randomly inserted Bonus Cards in each Box.

I was able to assemble a complete Base Set with Cards left over for almost complete a second Set.

Bonus Cards include:
10 Juan Ortiz Episode Cards  (I got 1)
10 Quotable Cards  (1 more)
8 Character Cards (1 Again-Judy Robinson)
6 Jupiter Cards (1)
6 Chariot Cards (1)
8 Juan Ortiz Character Cards (1)
8 Character Metal Parallel Cards (1-The Robot)

Two Big Hits in every Box:
Dual and Single Autograph Cards (Rowan Schlosberg and Parker Posey/Bill Mumy!)
Costume Relic Cards (0)
Sketch Cards (0)

Incentives include:
9 Case:
Toby Stephens (John Robinson)/Molly Parker
(Maureen Robinson) Dual Autograph Card

18 Case:
1 Set of 4 Color Printing Plates
An Exclusive Bill Mumy Variant Autograph Card
An Exclusive Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Hiroki Watanabe) Variant Autograph Card.
An exclusive Don West Costume Relic Card



The Twilight Zone Rod Serling Edition

When I was a kid I loved watching the original Twilight Zone TV series.  It scared the snot out of me and yet I watched it every week.

I never really warmed up to the series that followed the original.

Without Rod Serling the new series seemed to fall flat.

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby has compiled a wonderful new Trading Card Set of Cards consisting of a Base Set of 158 Cards-one for each original episode featuring Rod Serling's Opening and Closing Monologues.
I made complete Base Set with some extras left over.

Eight Cards come per Pack.

Autograph Cards:
Single Autograph (I received Ron Hagertry and Denise Lynn)
Rod Serling Cards (zip)
Inscription Cards (zip)

Bonus Cards include:
92 Juan Ortiz Portfolio Prints - The Serling Episodes (I got 8)
9 Juan Ortiz Character Art Portfolio Prints (1)
9 Mirrorboard Cards (0)
18 "Stars of the Twilight Zone" Cards (2)

Incenitives include:
9 Case:
Dual Autograph Card signed by Cloris Leachman (Mrs. Fremont)
and Bill Mumy (Anthony Fremont) from "It's A Good Life"!

18 Case:
3 sets of 4 Printing Plate Cards used to make either Base Set or Bonus Set Cards. 


Twin Peaks Archives

I have to admit I never watched Twin Peaks.  I had several friends who swore by it and never missed an episode.

If memory serves me correctly there was another TV show I watched that was on at the same time as Twin Peaks.  I never got around to watching the series.

Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby knows the show and has produced a beautiful series of Trading Cards.
It consists of a 72-card Base Set (I assembled a full Set) that come 5 Cards per Pack and include 2 Autographs per Box. Each Card explores the relationship between characters of the show.

Autograph Cards:
Single Autograph (I received Robert Forster and Victoria Catlin)
Dual Cards (zip)
Inscription Cards (zip)

Bonus Cards include:

42 Relationship Cards for 2017 Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series (2)
27 Original Stars of "Twin Peaks" Cards (2)
13 Quotable Cards (1)
18 "Welcome To Twin Peaks" Cards (1)
9 Scratch-n-Sniff Cards (1)
7 Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department Patch Cards (0)
"Intact" Casino Chip Card (0)

Incentives include:
9 Case:
A Dual Autograph Card of Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings)/ Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson)

18 Case:
A Set of 4 color printing plates used to make the front of one Card from the set
10 Variation Autograph Cards signed by Billy Zane, Eric DaRe, Robert Forster, Victoria Catlin and more!
 A"Broken" Casino Chip Card

Fantasy & Science Fiction #747, March/April 2020

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

MASH FAQ, Shatner and Best Films

MASH FAQ Everything Left To Know About The Best Care Anywhere
, by Dale Sherman and published by Applause, has the last word when it comes to things to know about the M.A.S.H book, film and TV series.

A complete history of the M.A.S.H books that inspired the movie and TV series, a rundown on other ‘military TV shows and the shenanigans of the TV series’ cast and crew are included in the book.

Delve into the stars of the show before they became big names, discover behind-the-scenes secrets including production, direction, writing, network battles and there’s even a history of the Korean War included.

From the shaky start of the book series to the runaway success of TV show it’s all here in one fascinating read.

Actor William Shatner-has there ever been a more respected, reviled, controversial, enigma and controversial actor to ever star on TV, the screen and on the stage.?  Possibly, but not many.

In Shatner, by Michael Seth Starr, the author looks back over the actor's long life and career.

The book examines Shatner’s triumphs and failures, his resilience, his ego, professionalism and stormy relationships with fellow actors, his marriages, family and every facet and foible of the actor’s life.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Shatner not long after Star Trek went off the air.  I found him to cordial, funny and a total professional.

If there is one constant in William Shatner’s life it is his commitment to his craft, his unwavering wit and his gratitude for the fame and fortune he unexpectantly had foisted upon him.

Just like the actor himself the book is a study in contradictions, sometimes intense and often irreverent.

It’s an engrossing examination into the life and career of one of the most mocked, ridiculed, caricatured and yet respected actor, director and writer in the industry.


Those are just a few of the words that describe my reaction when I received all four volumes of Rowman & Littlefield's massive The Encyclopedia Of Best Films: A Century Of All The Finest Movies.

I have some serious reading in front of me!  Whew!

I can hardly wait.  Starting in 1914 the books trace the top films ever made in all genres in four absolutely amazing volumes that includes photos and complete story breakdowns of each film spotlighted.

Lists of the actors, director and other key production people and studios are also included.

This encyclopedia is the ultimate film buff’s reference source.  I have never seen so much work put into a series.  Kudos to author Jay Robert Nash.  My hat is off to you.  What an amazing series!

It’s an incredibly comprehensive, easy to read and is filled with so many facts, insights and film history that it boggles the mind.

The four volumes are broken down by:

Volume 1 A-J
Volume 2 K-R
Volume 3 S-U
Volume 4 V-Z

The oversize, square-bound, hardbound books are massive and measure almost two inches thick each!

Included with each volume are listings of top films by genre, all the people mentioned plus birth and death dates and the author's recommendations broken down into four categories: Recommended, acceptable, Cautionary and Unacceptable.

It is a remarkable accomplishment one of which I am very impressed.

Once you take a look at this monumental work you'll be impressed too.

Wonder Woman, Rick and Morty, Ghostbusters and The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Amazon Princess: Wonder Woman, has gained in popularity over the last decade mainly for two reasons: women are finally getting the credit they deserve and are proving themselves to just as capable as men and the recent Wonder Woman movie catapulted Wonder Woman into the spotlight.

The movie was so successful it has spawned a sequel that will be in theaters next year.

Wonder Woman was created as a symbol of power and as a role model for young girls when she was first introduced in the 1940s.

She has survived over the decades through the ups and downs of the comic book industry and has proven to be just as big an icon as her DC Comics cousins: Batman and Superman.

Running Press and author Steve Korte present Wonder Woman Chronicles Of The Amazon Princess.

The square-bound slipcase contains four small hardbound books that delve into the history, mythology and character of Wonder Woman.

Amazing Amazon The Legend Of Wonder Woman explores the persona of Wonder Woman, her secret identity, family, allies, enemies and more.

Paradise Island Home Of The Amazons explores the birthplace and residence of Wonder Woman and her sisters: the Amazons. 

Powerful Princess Amazonian Powers and Tools examines the Amazon Princess's strength, speed, fighting skills and other amazing powers and abilities.  Her lasso, tiara, bracelets and invisible plane are also examined.

Gods and Mortals The Enemies Of Wonder Woman presents a gallery of Wonder Woman’s greatest foes.

All four mini-books are filled with color illustrations, cover reproductions and much more.

Several months back I was over at my daughter’s house and her boyfriend was watching Rick and Morty on TV. 

At first glance it reminded me of some of the adventure cartoons I watched as a kid such as Johnny Quest, The Herculoids, Space Ghost and the like.

After a few more minutes of viewing I soon discovered I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

While the cartoon was resplendent with aliens, strange creatures, bizarre situations and lots of action and adventure it was definitely not a kids’ show.

Still, the more I watched the more I liked what I saw-minus the bad language of course.

It is one of the most imaginative and clever animated TV series I have ever seen.

Rick and Morty Book Of Gadgets And Inventions by Robb Pearlman contains all the far out mechanisms, formulas and other scientific bric-a-brac Rick's alcohol saturated mind has ever come up with.

It also includes all of the alien technology they have encountered on their adventures.

I gotta tell ya, this is one fun book to look at and read.  If you enjoy the wacky, far out and bizarre then this book delivers on all accounts.

Recently it was announced that a new Ghostbusters movie is coming out and a new trailer was just released.  I am excited!

I love the Ghostbusters movie franchise.  I even enjoyed the all-woman cast Ghostbusters.  It wasn’t quite as good as the originals but it did have its moments.

The miniature The Ghostbusters P.K.E. With Light and Sound lights up with the push of a button and depress another button and the P.K.E. arms flip up-just like the movie version!

Also included in the miniature gift box is a Ghostbusters Sticker Book.

Another miniature gift box that stop motion and Tim Burton fans are sure to cherish is Disney Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas collection.

You get a stack of magnetic stickers of characters from the film, a sticker book and a small foldout poster.  It’s no nightmare-it’s a dream come true!

Jaws and Alien

A number of years ago McFarlane Toys was a much larger toy company than it is now.

Rising costs, bigger ticket prices and a cut in staff had reduced the size of McFarlane Toys.

Be that as it may the quality of its toys have not diminished in any way.

Packaging may be a little sparser and the figures themselves have scaled down in some instances but the attention to detail and accuracy has not.

McFarlane Toys has increased its commercial tie-ins with licenses to produce toys about a variety of projects such as TV Shows, movies, video games and the like.

There was a time when McFarlane Toys produced a wider variety of collectibles with its main focus still on toys.

Six to eight inch articulated and static figures, 12-inch figures, fantasy, military, sports, miniature toys and figures-you name it Mcfarlane Toys did and did it in style.

One project that produced a small amount of product as compared to other McFarlane Toy’s inventory was its McFarlane’s Pop Culture Masterworks 3D Movie Poster line.

At the time the posters were produced the market was not as popular as the toy figure genre.

Now, years later the posters go for big bucks, some reaching as high as $500+.  Due to their limited supply the posters are much sought after collectibles and all indications are the value of the posters will continue to escalate.

As far as I can tell less than 10 posters were created.  Of the ‘ten’ I have two favorites: Jaws and Alien.  Each poster measures approximately 8 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long and 2 inches deep.

Made of durable plastic the posters come housed in large boxes with a clear front panels, are held in place securely and feature photos from their respective films on the front, sides and back.

Details about the toys and movies they represent are on the back of the boxes.

Both posters are perfect 3D recreations of the famous movie posters.

The Jaws poster is the most striking of the posters and it was the first released.  It is a masterpiece of 3D sculpting combining the fine art of sculpture with the visual appeal of a well-designed movie poster.

The frame within a frame poster begins at the top with the large red letter Jaws logo.

Below the 3D lettering is the doomed swimmer first seen in the movie.

She swims across what appears to be the surface of the water complete with foam.  Underneath you can see her figure in the water.  It’s a very clever bit of illusion and sculpting.

Below her, rising from the depths, is a massive white shark.  Its pointed snout is aimed directly at the unaware swimmer.

Its huge jaws are open and each razor sharp tooth is sculpted.  You can practically look down its massive maw.

Bubbles swirl around the massive shark’s body.

The poster is a masterpiece of 3D illusion.  The human figure and shark sculpts are spot on, color application is tight with subtle shading, tonal variation and are frightening realistic right down to the shark’s dead looking black eyes.

Above and below the shark scene are text including film credits.

With attention to detail, the brilliant use of paint and 3D effects is it any wonder the poster fetches such high prices?

Alien is the second 3D poster.

It’s not as elaborate as the Jaws poster but it is no less effective.

Staged against a solid black background the ALIEN type fairly jumps off the poster even though it is not in 3D.

The Alien egg is as frightening in 3D as it is in the movie.

It features a soft glow around it and a double split with the eerie yellow and green contents barely visible through the cracks.

As an extra added bonus a light shines inside the egg when activated.  Spooky!

The film’s catchphrase, “In space no one can hear you scream" is below the egg is solid white.

Below that is the web like nesting material of the egg itself followed by a black on white text list of the film’s key characters.

As minimalist as the poster is it is still quite effective.

Like the Jaws poster the Alien poster features excellent sculpting work, clean, crisp paint application and perfectly captures the look of the film’s original poster.

If you are fortunate enough to pick up either poster for a good price jump at the opportunity.  Prices will continue to rise as supplies diminish.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The M.A.S.H Trivia Quiz Book

There are two classic TV shows that are my favorites.  One is Magnum P.I. (the one with Tom Selleck, not his modern imposter) and M.A.S.H.

Coincidentally both shows aired on CBS.

In 1972 CBS televised the very first episode of M.A.S.H on TV.  For it’s first season the ratings were mediocre, until people began watching it when the other shows they watched began repeats.

Then something remarkable happened.  The ratings for the show began to climb and after just a few short years M.A.S.H was on top in the ratings.

At first M.A.S.H emulated the movie on which it was based.  It was rowdy, irreverent and (let’s face it) somewhat chauvinistic.

That changed when the show began to introduce tragedy, death, social issues and real life struggles in its episodes.

When it killed off one of its main characters in Season 3 TV viewers were shocked at first.  The show’s producers were not sure how audiences would react. 

They needed have been concerned because the show skyrocketed in the ratings and stayed on the top its whole 11 years on TV.

I consider myself somewhat of a M.A.S.H expert.  I thought I had all the trivia and show stats down pat.  Guess again!

After reading Christopher & Ryan Derose’s The M.A.S.H Trivia Quiz Book I stand corrected and humbled.

The book, published BearManor Media, is chock full of clever trivia questions broken down by seasons and episodes.  For that I am grateful because it makes answering questions a little bit easier.

If you are as big a fan of M.A.S.H as I am this book makes a wonderful addition to your M.A.S.H library and a great way to play trivia pursuit when friends and family come to visit.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Time Travel Observations

We’re all familiar with time travel novels and movies.  They make for some interesting stories.

Scientists have theorized that time travel may be possible.  I don’t think so.  Here’s why.

If you could travel to the past or the future what would happen if you appeared instantaneously in a particular place?

Wouldn’t the sudden displacement of air cause a huge disruption all around you?

Where would the air go?  It’s one thing to push air about from an object moving through it.  It’s quite another to suddenly have something there that wasn’t there a moment ago.

What would happen to the time traveler? Since matter and energy never disappear would the time traveler's body be instantly de-materialized? 

After all their body would consist of same matter already present in the past.  It is impossible for the same mass to be in two places at the same time.

Let’s say a time traveler is able to travel to the past.  What happens when they return to the future?  Wouldn’t the additional mass (including the air) that they consumed remain in the past?

A traveler to the past traveling to the future would suddenly find themselves without air in their lungs and minus a significant part of their biology missing.  They would suffocate or at the very least have some of their organs fail.

Traveling to the future would have much the same effect.  A sudden displacement of matter would be caused by the traveler's arrival.

Time travelers to the future may maintain their mass because when they left the past to the future their atoms and molecules would not exist-yet.  So their body would be intact, but the sudden displacement of air would probably kill them

Another problem with time travel is that it must also include space travel.

The Earth is not in the same location in the universe at any given moment.  It is moving not only in space but it is also rotating.

A traveler from the past or future would overshoot their destination unless they take into account the movement of the Earth.  Talk about precision timing!

It is a known fact that the magnetic field of the Earth was stronger in the past and has weakened over the centuries.

Would that affect a time traveler?  Would a time traveler’s biology be in tune with the past or future? Could they survive?

What about past or future diseases?  Could they eat the food or drink the water?  Possibly, but they are bound to get sick-at least at first.

How would a time traveler fit into past or future societies?  Could they adjust in the past knowing what will happen in the figure?

Would they be able to cope with what happened in the past (their present) in the future?  They would truly be alone with no family or familiar surroundings.

What would their physical and mental differences be wherever in time they choose to go?

These are just a few observations.  Time travel is a fanciful notion and fun to think about.

If time travel were possible and changes were made in the past no one would know the difference in the present.  Once a time traveler journeys back to their own time would they remember their alternate present timeline?

In a sense every human being possesses a time machine.  It’s called the mind and with but a thought anyone can travel to the past and speculate about the future.

The mind is faster than light and time itself.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Amazing Spider-Man #200 and Star Wars #39

In all my years of collecting comic books it amazes me how shortsighted some collectors are.

Many are only interested in collecting the high-price ‘key’ issues or other ‘hot’ at the moment issues.

That’s fine but they’re missing a whole other world of comic book collecting.

There are so many other ‘minor’ key issues available to collect and they cost but a fraction of the big-ticket items.

Interestingly enough many of the minor keys of yesteryear are now big ticket and hard to find issues.

I remember when you could purchase copies of Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1 and other comic books for less than $100 each.

Two books that I consider minor key issues from Marvel Comics are Amazing Spider-Man #200 and Star Wars #39.

Amazing Spider-Man #200 pits Peter Parker against the crook that killed his Uncle Ben.

In that issue the crook is released from jail, ‘kills’ Aunt May and has it out for Peter Parker.

Peter vows to capture the crook.  The only problem was-he's lost his powers.

It certainly makes for an interesting read and for a mere 75 cents readers get a double-sized issue!

Star Wars changed movies forever.  Never one to pass a moneymaking opportunity Marvel Comics agreed to publish a monthly Star Wars comic book.

The series was a runaway hit.

As much as I like Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is by far my favorite Star Wars film.

Star Wars fans are sure to want pick up issue #39 of the monthly Star Wars comic book. 

It, and several issues afterward, brought the full comic book adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back to a comic book.  

Drawn by comic book legend Al Williamson, the mini-series within a regular monthly title is awesome.

Both Amazing Spider-Man #200 and Star Wars #39 should be a part of any serious comic book lover’s collection.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Star Trek Discovery Season Two

I have to admit that when Star Trek Discovery came out I was a little skeptical.  The show seemed to mess with the original series' continuity and characters.

But as I watched the First Season I began to see little hints that things weren't exactly as they appeared at first glance.

With the release of Season Two more and more of what at first appeared to be random threads slowly came together especially when it concerned Spock and Captain Pike.

Why was the Discovery never really discussed in the previous Star Trek TV series or movies?  The more I watch the new series the more I realize that there is a very good reason.  I’ll let you discover why for yourself.

CBS/Paramount recently released the entire Second Season of Star Trek Discovery episodes on DVD that also includes over four hours of special features. 

Look for two featurettes, deleted scenes, two Short Treks and commentaries.

Just of few of the key events that happen during the Second Season include:

Captain Pike takes command of Discovery.
A newly discovered Earth colony is saved.
A mysterious sphere immobilizes the Discovery.
A dead crewmate is reborn.
The Discovery crew encounters a time anomaly.
Discovery travels to Talos IV where Spcoks’ mind is healed.
Starfleet's’ Section 31 begins to show its real intent.
Pike sees his future and it’s not pretty.
Discovery rendezvous with the Enterprise and then travels to the future.

The Second Season is filled with intrigue and clandestine events, lots of surprises and some shocking and unsettling revelations.

As with the First Season the Second Season boasts some impressive special effects and amazing set pieces.  Get your copy today!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Weapon X and Mongul

Two Copper Age/Modern Age comic books that deserve special attention come from Marvel and DC Comics.

X-Men and Wolverine fans are aware of the origin of Wolverine.  It has been chronicled both in comic books and in the movies.

But, there was a period when his origin was clouded in mystery.  There were several-rumored origins-all with a hint of truth associated with each.

In 1991 writer and artist Barry Windsor Smith set in motion the mini-series within a regular monthly comic book that shook the comic book community to its core.

As I mentioned earlier Wolverine’s origin up until that point had remained a mystery.

What Barry Windsor Smith did was create an origin of the ol’ Canucklehead that still resonates today.

In fact, if you take a look at the various Wolverine and X-Men movies Smith’s influence is very much evident as it pertains to Logan’s transformation into Wolverine.

Wolverine always possessed a mutant healing factor and he had claws-bone claws.

Wolverine’s Adamantium skeleton and claws were the result of a secret Canadian government program regarding mutants.

The code name for Wolverine’s transformation was
Weapon X.

Initially it deprived him of his memory and free will.  What the scientists who experimented on him didn’t count on was Logan’s healing power and strength of will.

Eventually he broke free and over the intervening years regained his memory.

Marvel Comics Presents #72
is a key issue as it pertains to Wolverine.  It is the first issue in a groundbreaking mini-series that helped define who Wolverine is.

Just as important as Marvel Comics Presents was to Wolverine, DC Comics’ DC Comics Presents #27 introduced to the DC Universe one of Superman’s most powerful and dangerous enemies: Mongul.

The world conquering Mongul takes on Superman and J’onn J’onzz: Manhunter From Mars in a no-holds battle.

Mongul’s Warworld is also introduced. 

Mongul has been a constant thorn in the side of Superman, the Justice League and other DC heroes over the decades and almost equals the power of Darkseid.

His first appearance is just beginning to attract the attention of comic book collectors.  Expect it to increase in value.

Bonanza The Official Tenth Season

When I was young my mom and I made it a point to watch Bonanza on Sunday nights.

It was difficult decision in that Bonanza came on at the same time as The Wonderful World Of Disney.

We solved the problem by watching Bonanza until repeats began and then switched over to Disney and watched repeats of the episodes we had missed.

There were no VHS or DVR recorders at that time.  In fact there was very limited TV to watch: ABC, CBS, NBC and a Canadian station since we lived in Michigan.  PBS was available but only in limited areas.

Mom’s favorite character in Bonanza was Adam, but when Pernell Roberts left the show she switched over to Little Joe.

Hoss was my favorite and he still is.  He was a gentle giant and I imagined myself as his little brother.  He was my protector and mentor.

Bonanza lasted on TV for 14 seasons- a feat only surpassed by Gunsmoke, which aired 20 seasons.

As the series progressed it also matured taking on more relevant items and subjects instead of just standard TV Western fare.

The last few years of the series cemented the series as a bonafide dramatic hit with lots of action, family fights and squabbles, controversial subjects tackled (at the time) and a strong sense of family loyalty and friendship that were nurtured and encouraged.

CBS/Paramount presents two DVD collections: Bonanza The Official Tenth Season Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Both DVD collections have been remastered and restored from the original 35 mm film format and feature several featurettes about key episodes, behind-the-scenes activities, on-location insights, commentaries, vintage network trailers, photo galleries and a Bonanza themed Jack Benny show.

The Tenth Season saw Michael Landon directing, writing and acting, stories centered on supporting cast members such as Hop Sing and Candy Canaday and other powerful stories in and about the Ponderosa.

One episode in particular sees Hoss tried and sentenced to hang when he is accused of murdering a wealthy and influential man.

Candy is reunited with his ex-wife when a Calvary unit is pinned down, Hoss and Little Joe face off in a mayoral race, Candy wins 40% ownership of an old mill, Little Joe defends Hop Sing only to be charged the murder and Ben is trapped in a collapsed mine with a killer.

These are just a few of the exciting episodes in the Tenth Season.

Relive the adventures of the Cartwright family living on the Ponderosa in this great collection.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Hulk and Man-Bat

Image founder Todd McFarlane is best known by modern comic book readers as the creator of Spawn.

Todd rocketed to superstar penciller status in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the artist and eventually writer of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man.

His rendition of Spider-Man’s evil doppelganger Venom and his reinterpretation of many of Spidey’s foes still resonate today.

Venom is one of Marvel Comics top characters and has even ‘spawned’ a movie.

But, did you know that Todd drew a monthly title for Marvel before Spider-Man?

He drew The Incredible Hulk starting with issue #330.  It was his work on the Hulk that garnered the penciller spot on Spider-Man.

In Hulk #330 the Hulk is pitted against a brain parasite, Doc Samson and General Ross (whom ‘dies’ in that issue.

Fans familiar with Todd’s artwork may be a bit surprised by his pencils.  While his talent was evident, his sleek polished style would assert itself fully with Spider-Man.

There is no doubt that Batman is DC Comics' top draw.  His cast and rogue’s gallery is second to none.

Almost a half a century ago artist Neal Adams created a true creature of the night: Man-Bat.

At first he appeared to be a villain but eventually he showed his heroic tendencies and he and Batman have had a tenuous relationship since then.

When DC Comics’ ‘Explosion’ of tiles occurred in the 1970s Man-Bat was given his own title.

Unfortunately it did not last long and that’s too bad.

Its first issue alone featured Man-Bat, a woman bat creature, Batman, black magic and plenty of action courtesy of longtime penciller legend Steve Ditko.

Just as quickly the title appeared it vanished due partly because DC Comics tried to expand too quickly resulting in its ‘implosion’.

Both Hulk #330 and the Man-Bat books deserve recognition and make fine additions to any comic book collector’s library.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Killing Time

I’m retired.  I put in my time and at the age of 63 I retired.  I’ll be 67 years old soon. I retired from marketing and graphic design and teaching drawing and graphic design.

I did my work, but to be honest I never found a vocation that I truly loved.  It was just work.  I didn’t fit in, nor did I want to.

Oh sure each job had its good moments like when I came up with a killer and successful ad campaign or when one of my students did outstanding work.

But for the most part they were just jobs.  

I made a few friends-only one that I still keep in contact with.  As for the others either I want nothing to do with them or it has become logistically impossible to keep in touch.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a comic book artist.  But with my mom being sick and demanding so much of my time and the lack of support from any of my art teachers and most of my family I gave up on that dream.

It still haunts me occasionally but as I’ve grown older I realize I had neither the patience or passion to really follow through.

Art has always been a love/hate relationship to me.  I can do it-and do it well when necessary.  I must have been pretty good at it.  I managed to make a living at it.

But, my heart was never really in it.  That’s not to say the urge to draw completely disappeared-it hasn’t.

It was just that as I watched other artists my same age make leaps and bounds in the quality of their art while mine seemed to stagnate, I came to realize I did not have what it takes to be a successful comic book artist.

Still I love comic books.  I always have and I always will.  I love looking through their pages at the art and marveling at the tremendous talent of the artists.  I admit I am jealous at times.

I figure since I can’t draw them I can collect them and I have for over 60 years.  I wish I had many more.  That and old toys.

One thing I did discover I have is a talent and fondness for  writing reviews.

I enjoy analyzing a comic book, book, toy or other collectible. I‘m good at it, I’ve done it for over 25 years.

My reviews started out as a one-page newsletter that blossomed into an eight-page publication.

From there my self-named publication: Boyce McClain’s Collectors’ Corner changed to a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Linked-in posting.  Readership is good, with respectable reader numbers.

Lately I’ve been writing more retro-reviews of toys and comic books than anything else.

For a time I received huge amounts of review material but that waned as the Internet has grown.  I get a lot of promotional material and very few items to review.

It is what it is.  Perhaps things will change.  I hope so.

As a retiree I like to keep busy.  I do the usual ‘not having to work’ chores: working around and on our home, on the car, in the yard, helping at church and babysitting our grandchild-the usual.

I do a lot of reading, riding my bike, going out to eat or shop with my wife, taking a few short trips and vacations, meeting up with friends and family and sadly watching as my loved ones and friends dwindle in number as death mercilessly picks them off one by one.

I am grateful though.  I have my health, the love of a good woman, our kids, our grandson (and soon grand daughter), good friends, a nice home, food to eat, cloths to wear and a lot of creature comforts.

Most importantly I am saved, as is my wife.  Many of our family members also.

God has been good to my wife and I.  No complaints there.

Still, I want more.  I want to continue to write.  I have finally found my passion.  All I need is to have more material to review and more people to take notice.

I want to build a large readership, travel to conventions, meet interesting people and make a name for myself.

I want to mean something and leave something behind for my kids and others to remember about me.

I’m not crazy about the thought of dying-who is?  It’s not like I have a choice.  When my time comes, I’ll go.  Perhaps not with a whimper, but I’ll submit.

I know I have a better home waiting for me on the other side.  I look forward to seeing my Savor and old friends and family.

I hope the Lord comes back before then.  I can’t bear the thought of losing my wife and being left alone.  Neither can I accept the image of her struggling to make it on her own.

The problem with life is just when you think you have it figured out-you die.  It’s one of the great ironies of life.

I plan on making the most of what time I have left.  I want to love and give of myself more, cherish each moment, not sweat the little things and serve God to the best of my abilities.

God willing all of these things I mentioned will happen.  Here’s hoping.

Gunsmoke Seasons 16 and 17

In this day and age where TV series come and go it may seem hard to believe that a TV show, especially a Western, stayed on TV for 20 years.

Not only did it make its 20th Anniversary but also it remained on the top of the ratings during that entire period.

Of course the TV Western I’m referring to is Gunsmoke starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, Amanda Blake as saloon owner Kitty. Ken Curtis as Festus, Doc as played by Milburn Stone and a cast of memorable characters.

Set in Dodge City the series depicted the Old West as it actually was difficult, dirty, dusty, long on justice and order and not for the weak of heart.

CBS/Paramount present the 16th and 17th Seasons of the classic Western Gunsmoke in two DVD collections containing all of each season’s episodes.

Both DVDs also include episodic previews, photo galleries and Ben and Becky talk Gunsmoke.

Season 16 features some exciting episodes that place each cast member in some memorable situations such as dealing with marauding Indians, a crafty criminal quarry and more.

Season 17 finds Dodge city with a new doctor, Matt battling to reunite a boy with his mother and other true Old West tales of hardship, sacrifice, death and dying, true friendship and the indomitable spirit of the cowpokes, store owners, settlers, lawmen and common folk who made the Old West their home.

Both DVDs delve into the hearts and minds of people and how they coped with victory, loss and hardship.

For a taste of the Old West as it really was, pick up both 24 remastered episodes DVD collections.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

007 and Indiana Jones

James Bond and Indiana Jones: two iconic movie figures.  But, did you know they are linked in two remarkable ways?

One of movie director Steven Spielberg’s earliest ambitions was to one day direct a James Bond: 007 film. 

When he told his good friend, fellow director, George Lucas about it George told him he had an even better character he created whose films he could direct.

That character was Indiana Jones.

The other connection each film has is that Sean Connery, the original film James Bond would play Indiana Jones' father in The Last Crusade.

When George and Steven were ironing out the details of the film Steven suggested the only person who possibly be Indiana Jones father would have to be the original James Bond-thus Connery landed the role.

Back in the 1990s Galoob Toys made a name for itself with its MicroMachines line of toys.

Originally consisting of small plastic cars about one-third the size of HotWheels and Matchbox die cast vehicles, the MicroMachines line became so popular that it soon expanded to other vehicles.

At its height of its popularity the company produced a number of vehicles and clever play sets of such properties as Star Wars, Alien, Predator, James Bond, Indiana Jones and various TV properties and more.

The company even produced miniature train sets, boats and other forms of transportation.

Unfortunately the company closed shop amidst rumors of mismanagement, financial woes and other questionable business practices.

In 1995 Galoob produced both an Indiana Jones and a James Bond: 007 MicroMachines figures and vehicles sets.

The miniatures are housed in oversize boxes with clear front panels.

Both the miniature vehicles and figures are held in place by wire or snuggly secured into form-fitting alcoves.

Although diminutive the vehicles and figures feature amazing details, first-rate paint application and wheels, propeller and other vehicle parts that actually move!

The boxes showcases art depicting images of either Indiana Jones or James Bond logos or figures.

The Indiana Jones collection featured 10 vehicles from Indy’s first three films.

From Raiders come a Pan Am Clipper Plane, a Pontoon Bi-Plane, a German a Staff Car and a Flying Wing.

A Mine Car with Indy and Willy figures, a Ford Trimotor Plane and a Duesenberg Car are included from Temple Of Doom and The Last Crusade vehicles are a German Tank, a Zeppelin with Bi-Plane and a Wooden Motor Boat.

A bonus Indiana Jones figure with whip is also included.

The James Bond 007 set consists of nine vehicles and six figures.

From Goldfinger there are a Piper Stunt Plane, a ‘37 Rolls Royce Phantom 337, an Aston Martin DB5 and Oddjob and Goldfinger figures.

The Spy Who Loved me includes James Bond, Major Anya Amasova, a Huey Helicopter, a Motorcycle with Sidecar/Missiles and a Lotus Espirit/Submarine.

The Space Shuttle Moonraker, an Ultra Speed Boat with Hang Glider, a Hispano Suiza and Jaws and Drax figures represent Moonraker.

It’s remarkable that such small vehicles and figures are so excellently crafted, painted and feature actual moving parts.

No slop-over paint edges, plastic flashing or uneven or jagged edges are present.

I absolutely love each set but the Indiana Jones set holds a special place in my heart.

At the tender age of nine years old my son spent his own money to buy me it for Christmas.  It’s a prized possession and when my time comes I hope my son retrieves it and passes it on to his children.

But even more so I hope when he sees it after I’m gone he’ll remember how much I loved him and it will bring a smile to his face.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Over 25 years ago I received in the mail a postcard which struck me as odd.  It featured a bunch of cartoon mini-monsters gallivanting on a New York City street.

The name of the creatures were Pokemon and according to the postcard they were invading the United States after making a big splash in Japan.

‘Say what?’ I thought.  Who in their right mind would play a game featuring funny little creatures?

Goes to show what I know.

Goliath Games/Magic Box Toys introduces gamers to a brand new game/collectibles phenomenon called SuperThings that has swept Spain and the UK made the Atlantic crossing to the United states premiering in 2020. 

Will lightning strike twice?  Will SuperThings become the next big hit?  Time will tell.

Goliath Games/Magicbox Toys generously supplied me with some samples of SuperThings along with some pretty cool promotional items like a pair of SuperThings socks, stickers, a mask and a cape all decorated with the SuperThings Rivals Of KAboom logo and critters all packaged in a cool solid red box with logo.

What exactly is SuperThings Rivals Of Kaboom? I’m glad you asked.

Welcome to the city of Kaboom where SuperThings battle it out for control.  It’s super bad guys against superheroes in a hilarious tit for tat that includes surprise Kaboom Traps, Hideouts and Super Cars.

A hidden foe terrorizes Kaboom City. Is the character a hero or a villain?

With over 80 figures available the SuperThings Rivals Of Kaboom Series 1 game promises lots of fun, loads of collectibles and a wide variety of items to choose and purchase including a Starter Set containing a Comics-Guide, a Metal Hideout and three SuperThings.

SuperThings fans can purchase One Packs, Two Packs, Four Packs or even Ten Packs filled with SuperThings.

If it’s bizarre, crazy, kooky or downright silly it can be a SuperThing.

SuperThings are broken down into various factions: Star Team, Furious Gang, Central Control, Mutant Bandits, Cool Troop and Mad Clan.  And be on the look out for the Rare Super Leader Hero Airblast, Super Leader Villain Kactor and Super rare Enigma.

SuperThings: Rivals of Kaboom are available on Amazon.

The story of SuperThings will be explained with YouTube shorts and comics coming early 2020.

Everyday items transform into superheroes and supervillains in SuperThings. Natural enemies include such things as scissors versus yarn and so on.

SuperThings are battling for control of Kaboom City, a metropolis where superheroes and supervillains come face to face. A mysterious foe has been wreaking havoc on Kaboom City – is this character a hero or a villain?

SuperThings are the next big thing!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

All I Want For Christmas...

There's nothing noble or sacrificial about this posting.  It doesn't contain any reference to the 'true' meaning of Christmas.  It's simply a wish list of stuff I want for Christmas.

It's selfish, pure and simple.

Here's my list of the things I want.

  • Lots and lots of old Bronze and Silver Age comic books (and a few new ones too).
  • A bunch of toys from when I was a kid and a slew of new stuff.
  • A new handgun, with holster, and a Concealed Weapons Permit.
  • A new laptop or tablet (with keyboard).
  • A huge increase in the traffic to my blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and Linked-in site.
  • A new car.
  • A boat load of review samples of every kind arriving on a regular basis.

See. I told you it was selfish.  Of course I want my family to get what they desire and most importantly for my kids, family and friends to get saved. 

Come on, I had to get a little 'real' Christmas cheer plug in there!

Friday, December 6, 2019

More Moore

Back in the 1980s when DC Comics began canvassing writing talent from England one of their prizes catches was Alan Moore.

Moore had garnered a name for himself on a number of British comic book anthologies.  Comic book readers took notice, both in England and in the United States.

When Moore first came to DC Comics he started on Swampthing and over the course of less than two years he branched out to write a few fill-in issues, some short runs and then there was his masterpieces: Watchmen and The Killing Joke.

In the mid-1980s DC Comics decided that its universe of superheroes had to be revamped because of its overly complicated continuity problems.

DC writers had managed to create a vast multiverse of universes and things had gotten totally out of hand.

Condensing of the universes was accomplished in the Crisis On Infinite Earths maxi-series.

Massive changes were made to the DC stable of superheroes-one of which was Superman.

But, how could the events of Crisis explain the changes completely?  It couldn’t.

So the editors at DC decided to end the old continuity of Superman both in Action Comics and Superman titles by tying up loose ends.

Alan Moore was given the writing chores and he delivered in spades!

Alan was able to take all the themes, characters and mythos of the old Superman legend and remake so it was prime for the introduction of the new Superman titles courtesy of John Byrne.

Superman #423 and Action Comics #583, under Moore’s masterful writing, successfully saw an end to the old Superman and set up the future exploits of the new Man of Steel.

It’s a brilliant set of issues.

Equally outstanding is Moore’s script for Superman Annual #11 with art by Dave Gibbons (his collaborator on Watchmen)

In the story Superman’s enemy Mongul tricks Superman into opening a birthday present containing a very special plant that attaches itself to Superman’s chest.

The plant taps into Superman’s subconscious thus allowing him to believe he is living his life on Krypton where he is married, has a child and that Krypton did not explode.

Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman attempt to save him and defeat Mongul.

The story is masterstroke of genius and is considered, along with Moore’s Superman and Action issues, as one of the best Superman stories ever written.

All three Superman issues showcase Superman at his mightiest and most vulnerable and are true classics.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Downton Abbey The Motion Picture

From Universal Studios comes the highly anticipated return of America's favorite British primetime soap opera: Downton Abbey The Motion Picture on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Code.

The entire original cast returns in a brand new story where the Crawley’s prepare for very special visitors: the King and Queen of England.

What to do?!  What to do?!

It’s only been a few short years but things have changed at the Abbey. 

New tensions surface and jealousies and long held grudges threaten to spoil the event.

Throw in a suspected assassination attempt, friction between the King and Queen’s staff and the Abbey’s staff, special events about to occur with the family and staff and the usual gossip, tensions and highbrow shenanigans make the movie an excellent and much loved sequel to the TV series.

Extras include deleted scenes, cast interviews, featurettes about the historical accuracy of the setting, costumes and proper social etiquette, a creator’s bio, a series recap and a director commentary.

It’s everything a Downton abbey fan could ever wish for in a stunning return made even more spectacular on the Silver Screen!

It’s like returning home to old friends and family.

Chaos Impact Special Edition and Speed Duel Trials Of The Kingdom

Konami presents two new Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game releases.

Chaos Impact Special Edition piles on the chaos in this 100 Card Set!

Boxes include 3 Booster Packs of Chaos Impact plus 2 of 4 Super Rare variant cards.

Chaos rules and here’s just a few of the reasons why.  Just look what you get:

Two brand-new Link Monsters: Scrap Wyvern and Battle Shogun of the Six Samurai.

Get a sneak peek at Cards from Ignition Assault: Dragonmaid Send-Off and Armory.

Harness spiritual power to Summon monsters.

Blue Maiden's Ignis-powered includes an Effect Monster.   

New Gladiator Beasts

A Continuous Spell Card that summons an additional "Gladiator Beast" and a powerful Test Tiger Link Monster.

A playable Link-5 Monster: Firewall Dragon Darkfluid!

New cards include Aromage, Dinowrestler, Evil Eye, Salamangreat, Tenyi, and more!

Speed Duel Trials Of The Kingdom Booster Packs come four Cards per Pack.

Upgrade your Speed Duel Decks with 45 new-to-Speed Duel Cards and 5 brand-new Skill Cards!

New Skills include:

Zombie Master.

Terror from the Deep.

Cocoon of Ultra Evolution

Rip Cards out of your opponent's hand with the leader of the Dark Scorpion.

Turn back the clock with Time Machine to rewrite history.

Reel in a Fish, Sea Serpent, or Aqua monster from your Graveyard with Surface.

Speed Duel: Trials of the Kingdom set contains 50 Cards:

    34 Commons
    8 Super Rares
    8 Ultra Rares

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Medical Tricorder and Enterprise-D

Twenty some odd years ago Star Trek was the bomb! 

Everyone collected Star Trek memorabilia.  Books, magazines, comic books, toys-you name it-if it had a Star Trek logo on it, it sold.

Playmates Toys acquired the toy license for Star Trek and churned out some of the best Trek toys ever.

Acton figures, spaceships, weapons and accessories from all of Trek TV shows and movies up until that time had their own line of toys.

One of my all-time favorite series of toys was Playmates’ Innerspace series.

The Medical Tricorder Mini Playset features a full-scale Next Generation Tricorder that can clip to a belt, waist or purse.

But, here’s the cool twist.  Unfold the Tricorder and it separates into four sections.

Suddenly toy enthusiasts are in the Medical Wing of the Enterprise-D!

The back wall holds the Main Diagnostic Display and a special Overhead Sensor Cluster than when titled magnifies the available light.

The floor section holds the Diagnostic Bed and extends out to include a Scanner/Bio Chamber.

The right wing section holds a Diagnostic Viewscreen and Instrument Cluster and the left wing section house the Cryochamber where the included Picard as the Borg Locutus can be placed and transformed back to his human self. 

Small figures included with the Playset include Locutus, Doctor Crusher and Lt. Comdr. LaForge.

The miniature Med Center is loaded with Buttons, Dials, Screens, a Bench, a second Diagnostic Bed and more.

The entire unit opens and folds on hinges and once closed seams are tight and conceal its inner workings.

Paint and sculpting are clean, precise and has smooth edges with no flashing or slopover colors.

The larger U.S.S. Enterprise Mini Playset NCC-1701-D is a marvel of clever engineering and design.

Like the Medical Tricorder Playset the Enterprise opens out but in two sections from the upper Saucer section.

The inner Saucer section houses a complete Bridge, the Ten Forward Lounge, a working Turbolift, Tactical Control Stations, Command Stations, AFT Workstation, OPS Station, Conn Station and a working Shuttlecraft door that opens to receive a Mini-Shuttlecraft.

It looks identical to the bridge of TV Enterprise-D right down to the color scheme.

The right fold out section includes the Brig and the left section holds the Captain’s Ready Room.

Extras include a swiveling Captain’s Chair, a View Screen that changes images, a Shuttle Bay Door that opens, Riker’s Monitor that swivels, Turbolifts that open, pull out Seats and a Jail Cell that actually closes.

Included figures are Riker, Picard and Data.

Like the Medial Tricorder the Enterprise-D Innerspace vehicle features clean color application, amazing miniature sculpting, clever hinging and inner concealment once closed.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gemini Man, The Addams Family and Harryhausen

Sometimes a novel idea for a movie comes out.  It sounds good on paper.  There is a great star and cast.  The director is firing on all cylinders and the movie looks to be a surefire hit.

That’s what the producers and the studio executives thought about the Gemini Man movie starring Will Smith.

Unfortunately the movie failed to live up to expectations and the audience simply was not there.  It was a flop.

Good thing the Gemini Man The Art And Making Of The Movie book from Titan Books and author Michael Singer is not-it is a certifiable hit.

Take it from me, a longtime movie buff and lover of behind-the-scenes movie trivia and facts, the new book packs a punch and is an enjoyable read and visual treat.

Assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith) finds himself the target of a new and dangerous operative.  He knows his every move, tactic and strategy Brogan does.

He should-he’s a younger version of the assassin.

How did the moviemakers pull it off and have Will Smith confront a younger version of himself?  It’s movie magic and the book goes into extensive detail on how it is done.

Follow the director, cast and crew as they scout out locations, perform incredible stunts, trick the eye with special visual effects, pit Brogan against Brogan, set up shots, and choreograph the whole film.

The book is packed with in front and behind the scenes color photos, production art, commentaries and a cornucopia of information about how the film was made.

For a colorful insight into the most innovative and imaginative movie ever attempted be sure to pick up this book.

Equally intriguing and interesting is The Addams Family The Art Of The Animated Movie with text by Ramid Zahed.

Ever since I was young enough to understand the macabre humor of Charles Addams the creator/writer and artist of The Addams Family I loved their spooky and crazy antics.

When the TV show premiered in the mid-1960s I was in ghoulish heaven and when the movies came out-I was overjoyed.

Both the TV show and movies attempted to recreate the haunted happenings of The Addams Family and they succeeded in part.

Try as they might they couldn’t quite capture the spooky look of the cartoon-until now.

The new computer animated film successfully captures the original look of The Addams Family taken directly from the comic strip, including their spooky abode, bizarre behavior and creepiness.

The book delves into the creation of each character beginning with sketches and ending with the final computer animated versions,

There are costume studies, lighting tests, interior and exterior designs, complete supporting character designs, location renderings, vehicles concepts and dozens upon dozens of sketches, color studies and final renderings.

The book successfully compiles all the various elements together to present the final look for the film from voice cast selection to the direction of the film.

Ray Harryhausen is considered by many to be one of the forefathers of the modern movie special effects blockbusters.

Long before computer animation and effects were created Harryhausen pioneered stop motion animation, visual effects, a plethora of camera visual tricks and innovative direction of live elements mixed with clever visual effects.

In Harryhausen The Lost Movies by John Walsh, readers are given a unique visual tour of the movies he had hopes of filming.

Production sketches, stop motion characters and other mementos of dreams unfulfilled fill the book as it follows Harryhausen’s career over the decades.

Many of the proposed projects were scrapped but many turned up in other films, as did many of the character creations, special film effects and more.

Of the films he did work on there are images and art and stop-motion puppets and sequences that were never used in the films or that were discarded that are included in the book.

Several of the film projects he had hopes of working on would be produced and completed by others-only the name of the films remained the same.

For film buffs-especially special effects and stop motion fans, this book is a treasure trove of early film visual trickery.

It’s a mesmerizing account of how Harryhausen’s early film attempts and successes paved the way for many of the movie spectaculars we see today.