Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Alien 40 Years 40 Artists

Once in awhile a movie comes out that completely shakes up the industry.  Alien was and is that kind of movie.

Forty years ago director Ripley Scott combined two genres: science fiction and horror, and shock movie going audiences with one of the most horrific, frightening, innovative and imaginative movies ever produced.

From its spectacular sets to its incredible practical and special visual effects the movie fired on all cylinders and became an instant classic.

It set the standard for not only science fiction movies to follow but horror movies as well.

Intense, suspense-filled and claustrophobic each scene built to an amazing crescendo and left audiences totally exhausted.

Titan Books presents Alien 40 Years 40 Artists with a foreword by Chris Foss.

Inside the stunning oversize hardbound book with it Alien ‘child’ cover the book features totally unique interpretations of images from the film.

The spaceships, crewmembers, the Aliens and other aspects and images from the film are rendered in drawings and paintings by some of the industry's top artists.  

Each of the forty artists provides a short text piece about their choice of an image and how Alien affected their lives.  Also included are sketches and conceptual images along with the finished pieces allowing readers to witness each artist’s concept to completion process.

It’s a stunning and beautiful compilation of art celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the groundbreaking film.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Official Eleventh Season Bonanza Volume One and Volume Two

Join Ben, Little Joe and Hoss Cartwright and their ranch hand Candy and Hop Sing their cook as they live at and work on the Ponderosa Ranch.

For over a decade Bonanza was one of the most popular TV series on network TV.  As the interest in Westerns waned its ratings began to slip.

The Eleventh Season would still see the series hovering around the top series on TV but within a few years the show would eventually be cancelled.

Running for fourteen seasons the show would leave the air when the season ended.  The previous year actor Dan Blocker passed away basically signaling the death knell for the series.

Still the Eleventh Season would prove just as exciting as the previous 10 seasons.

Highlights included a land rowing boat, Candy being accused of murder, a unsuspecting plan of revenge revealed, Joe and Candy vying for the attention of a young woman, Hoss being mistaken for a bank robber, Candy inheriting a fortune along with 23 more exciting episodes make up The Official Eleventh Season Bonanza Volume One and Volume Two DVD collections.

Both volumes feature the original music, are completely restored, offer some pretty cool extra features (including original commercials and commentaries), original episode previews and alternate Spanish soundtracks.

Any way you look at it the DVD collections deliver big excitement, enjoyment and extras, courtesy of CBS/Paramount

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Marvel Team-Up #79

Spider-Man, Red Sonja and Mary Jane Watson?

Before they became the superstar creative team on The Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont, artist John Byrne and inker Terry Austin turned out an incredible take in Marvel Comics Team-Up #79.

In the issue an ancient artifact turns a museum guard into a centuries old wizard set on world domination.

In the same museum an archaic sword transforms Mary Jane Watson into the female barbarian Red Sonja and Spider-Man comes along for the ride.

Teaming up, Spidey and Red take on the Wizard and his minions in a desperate attempt to stop his dastardly plans.

Needless to say things work out and once again Spidey (and Red Sonja) save the day.  The magical spell wears off and the guard and Mary Jane Watson return to their true forms.

This is a great issue that foreshadows the amazing stories Claremont, Byrne and Austin will start churning out for the X-Men.

In fact several of the characters seen in Claremont and Byrne’s run on Team-Up show up in The Uncanny X-Men.

I recommend fans of the creative duo check out their other collaborative pre-X-Men work on Iron Fist and Team-Up.  You won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Baby Blues BB3X

Three decades !?  It’s hard to believe that Rick Kirkman’s and Jerry Scott’s Baby Blues comic strip starring the MacPherson family has been around that long.

Containing one year of daily and Sunday strips, the 37th collection of Baby Blues also contains a special section on its third decade along with a few highlights from the first two years.

Some things never change even over 30 years.

Baby Blues deals with being a parent and the joy and challenges of raising kids-even if they do drive you crazy.

Just a few of the highlights include a barbeque gone wrong, painful earbud extractions, Frisbee mayhem, camping out on the roof, a much needed cellphone and so much more.

The special sections include photos, jam sessions, sketches, character designs, promotional material, trivia and lots of behind the scenes shenanigans from the writer and artist.

It’s Baby Blue BB3X from Andrews McMeel Publishing and it’s more fun than you can shake a pacifier at!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Classic TV--Keeper of the Purple Twilight

The Outer Limits.  Along with The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits served to scare the snot out of me when I was a young lad.

The Outer Limits opened each episode with the foreboding verbal warning:

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery, which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits."

Each week creatures and beings from other worlds and dimensions visited earth, usually with dastardly plans in mind.

An alien arrives on earth to scout out our planet for conquest.  He seeks to obtain a powerful weapon an earth scientist is developing.  He agrees to help the scientist develop the weapon if he will help him obtain emotions-something lacking in his race.

He obtains the emotions, has second thoughts and turns on his own race-thus saving the earth.

The Sideshows Collectibles’ (Toys) The Outer Limits (TV Land Special Edition) box is oversize in order to hold both Ikar and his Soldier.

Open the flip lid and on the inside of the lid is a synopsis of The Outer Limits episode Keeper Of The Purple Twilight.  On the opposite side of the box are the two figures held securely in place by a plastic cocoon and strips.  A clear plastic sheet covers the figures and cocoon protecting them--allowing collectors to view the figures.

The front of the box has a photo of Ikar and two Soldiers seen from the chest up.  The back of the box shows Ikar at a control panel.

Two stands with wire supports are included for posing the figures.

The Ikar figure comes dressed in a one-piece light-yellow velour jumpsuit with a wide belt and high Nehru collar.  He wears large silver (shoes) made of metal with rivets around the two prominent toe sections.

Ikar’s face is green with a large cranium.  He has a heavy brow with two yellow eyes with black irises.  Instead of a nose layers of overlapping green sections run down to his mouth.  The sections look a lot like fish gills.  He also has two large pointed ears.

His hands have five fingers-all of them nearly twice as long as normal human hands.

The figure is fully articulated and moves easily in its loose-fitting cloths.

Ikar’s Soldier is dressed the same as Ikar.  It has similar feet but both hands are large silver metal three blade weapons.

The Soldier has a small head, twice the amount of face flaps, no mouth and small ears.

A large silver weapon with a shoulder mount, handle, site and three cooling vents along with triple triangle decorations on each side is also included. Ikar can hold the weapon, but not the soldier.  

Paint application (especially on the face) is crisp, multi-tonal and clean.  Details match the figures as seen on The Outer Limits.

It’s a great set of figures featuring two classic The Outer Limits characters.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Rodent Invasion!--Rocket Raccoon

Back just a few years ago when Marvel Studios/Disney took a big chance and made Marvel Comics’ Guardians Of The Galaxy into a movie no one knew for sure if it would succeed.

Marvel Studios was on a run with its hit movies based on major Marvel Comics stars.  The big hitters like Captain America, The Avengers, Thor and Iron Man had been big hits.

Making Guardians was a big gamble as the team was a second tier group with some cosmic connections.

Marvel Studios need not have worried both Guardians one and two were big hits.

One such concern over their success was the inclusion of two team members that were totally digital: Groot and Rocket-a talking tree and a raccoon.

Audiences loved them-especially Rocket Raccoon with his saucy attitude and talent for mayhem and piloting skills.

But, long before Rocket became a film favorite he was introduced in of all places Marvel Comics Hulk comic book.

Even then there was something about the feisty rodent that attracted fans.  So much so he received his own 4-part mini-series by writer Carl Potts and artist Mike Mignola (of Hellboy fame).

The mini-series delved into Rocket’s past and impressive skills and quickly became a fan favorite.

While the regular comic book Joe may not be able to afford Rocket’s first appearance in The Incredible Hulk, the mini-series is still affordable.  Of course don’t expect to pay the original 75 cent price tag per issue.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Maiden, Monster and Mayhem!--The Creature Of The Black Lagoon

The design of the Creature in the classic sci-fi/horror film The Creature From The Black Lagoon was one of the most sophisticated and innovative creature designs of that time period.

When you consider the time the movie was produced in the 1950s the remarkable achievement when it came to the Creature’s costume design is quite amazing.

Not only did the stunt person wearing the costume have to wear a large foam rubber suit in several pieces they also were equipped with scuba gear cleverly hidden in the costume.

Underwater photography is always tricky because of the shifting and dim lighting.  To pull off a monster film where much of the action is in or under the water wasn't a small feat.

Such filming was in its infancy and many of the safety precautions and technology we take for granted today were not present at that time.

I love this figure-it is one of my favorite Sideshow Collectibles monster figures.

Like all Sideshow figures it is contained within a flip lid box with a clear plastic viewing panel, plastic cocoon for securing the figure and accessories and a secure plastic strip to hold the figure in place.

The cover is a reproduction of the original Creature movie poster and on the inside of the flap a full list of movie credits is included.

The fully articulated figure is a masterpiece of hidden pivot points, hinge articulation, ball and joint and swivel points all hidden by the layered scales of the Creature.

The details on the figure are amazing.  Every single scale, scale section and nuisance of the figure are present.  Every foot and hand claw is off white with deepening brown striations as they get closer to the finger and toe tips.

The figure’s head duplicates the deep-set, fish-like eyes, nostril ridge that goes into the red lip frog-like mouth and multi-layered chin-breathing chamber.

On each side of Creature’s face are a series of gills that start just below the brow and go all the way to the neck connection to the shoulders.

Each arm is covered by scaled sections as is the chest, torso, legs and back (with fins).

The figure’s hands are humanoid with four fingers and one thumb with webbing connecting all the digits.  Large claws end at each finger.

The large feet look bony with scale coverings and five toes each, with the inner toes shorter than the others.  They also end in claws.

The coloration is what makes the Creature, with its multi-layer green, light green abdomen and scale sections’ darker overlapping edges. 

The face, hand and feet detailing are the most elaborate and faithfully recreate the look of the Creature.

Included with the figure is a base, support wire and a reproduction of the skeletal hand discovered by the scientists in the movie.

The figure is a masterpiece of scaling, coloring, sculpting and articulation.  Is it any wonder it is one of my favorite figures?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Spies and Superheroes!--Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1

Back in the heyday of the superhero fervor in the mid-1960s when Marvel Comics and the Batman TV show were in full swing one-time EC Comics penciller Wally Wood came up with his own comic book line published by Tower Comics.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents combined the spy craze of the 1960s with the comic book superhero genre in a successful series that featured great art, some intriguing stories and high production values.

Deluxe Comics brought back the Agents in 1984 that boasted a pretty impressive list of talent.  George Perez provided the cover and an interior art story.  Jerry Ordway contributed a sketch as did Steve Ditko and Keith Giffin contributed a Menthor tale.

Stan Drake and Pat Broderick contributed Iron Maiden and Dynamo sketches while Dave Cockrum takes on a full NoMan tale.  A final tribute is given to T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents’ creator Wally Wood.

After a lawsuit dispute and financial woes Deluxe Comics was forced to close its door thus ending the 1980s most successful run of Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

Sadly the high production quality and impressive creative teams were unable to save the series.  At that time the series sold well, considering it was a Direct Sale title only.

Who knows, had Deluxe Comics continued to publish it very well could still be in existence today?  It would make a fine legacy to artist Wally Wood who died at such a young age.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Cute, Cuddly and Lovable!--Honeythunder

Where did they come from?  Suddenly one day a group of soft fluffily creatures with big bodies and small heads appeared in the clouds.

No one knew who they were or why they suddenly appeared.  

What they discovered was that they were kind and gentle creatures who appreciated and loved all those they met--small heads but big hearts

Tiny Heads LLC presents a veritable zoo of cuddly cute animals that kids and adults alike will love.

Are they stuffed animals or pillows or both?

Recently Tiny Headed LLC sent me Honeythunder:  the pink, golden horn unicorn with golden hooves and a big fluffy body as soft as a cloud body.

It’s tiny head has a small white snout, a big smile, deep emotive black eyes, a tuff of white mane and two small ears.

It small fluffy white tail makes Honeythunder even more lovable.

What a great friend for cuddling, telling secrets to and to take wherever you go.

Along with Honeythunder Tiny Headed LLC sent several promotional items that included a soft towel/blanket with headshots of all the other Tiny Headed Kingdom creatures on it, a Honeythunder adjustable cap, an ice-cream cone pin, a beverage cup with oversize straw and brush cleaner, a drink coaster, a postcard and stickers.

What a wonderful plush toy! It makes for a great gift and part of the proceeds go to organizations around the world for those that support and help kids.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Space Alien and Armageddon!-This Island Earth Metaluna Mutant

The classic 1950s movie ‘This Island Earth’ was a science fiction film that stood out from the monster from outer space tripe prevalent at the time.

One of the most outstanding characters introduced in the film was the giant insectoid alien the Metaluna Mutant.

At the time the film was produced (the early 1950s) it was considered the most state of the art and spectacular example of visual and practical effects.  Sets, costume designs and character conception with also given high marks.

The film (unlike most sci-fi films of that period) was taken seriously and in it took 2 1/2 years to complete.

Looking back now the film is dated, somewhat cheesy and almost laughable when it comes to effects.

Still, at the time it was produced it had all the earmarks of a classic sci-fi tale as envisioned during the 1950s.

It is evident that a great deal of money was spent on the sets and other facets of the film.  Conceptually the film still stands up.

Aliens from another star system have gathered together the Earth’s greatest scientists under the guide of advancing mankind’s sciences.

The head scientist, Exeter, is the leader of a group of aliens from Metaluna who have come to Earth in an attempt to turn lead into uranium to power energy weapons and shields to stop their enemy, the Zargo, from destroying their planet.

Starting with the Metaluna Mutant’s figure’s head Sideshow Collectibles artists have done an excellent job of recreating the insectoid appearing horror with its huge pulsating brain, deep red veins on the brain and face surface, deep-set black eyes in twin red protruding circles and insect like mouth opening with its layered maw-much like a spider’s.

The huge head sets on the carapaced body between two large exoskeleton shoulders that are covered with red veins and surrounded by a large cluster of veins that wrap around the entire shoulder area.

Although the figure has no leg articulation it does have shoulder, neck, arm, wrist and ankle points of movement.

The figure also comes with a ‘This Island Earth” stand and support wire.

The Metaluna Mutant is a somewhat heavy and awkward figure and depends on the support to stand and pose.

The lower chest area is striated in five overlapping blue panels.

The arms are long and blue with four joints: one at the shoulders, mid-upper arms, mid-lower arms and wrists.

Covered with light blue carapace the arms also have small bumps or protrusions on the lower arms much like a crab or lobster.  Each arm ends in a large pincher hand with huge claws.  Every arm joint has exterior veins and red fleshy areas where the joins come together.

The creature's waist is a large red band that attaches to loose blue trousers that end in red veins at the cuffs.  The feet consist of two large pinchers and are covered with red veins over blue carapace.  

In the film the lower legs were originally supposed to be carapace covered and look similar to an invertebrate's legs.  The design proved too difficult to pull off so the creature wound up wit a pair of trousers with lower cuff veins.

A large carapace covered lump is also on the creature’s back.

Considering the period when the creature was created for the Silver Screen its design is pretty sophisticated and complex.  It’s reported the creature design cost close to $30,000-a considerable amount for that time.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Make It So! Engage!--Star Trek Picard Season One

Actor Patrick Steward returns to the TV role that made him a star.

In the Star Trek Mythos Captain Jean-Luc Picard stands as one of the most famous and resourceful starship captains in the Federation of Planets.

In Star Trek Picard Season One viewers meet a very different Picard as last seen 14 years ago.

Jean-Luc has retired to his family’s winery after his departure from the Federation. A troubling incident caused Picard to leave the Federation.

Now 14 years later Jean-Luc can’t shake an uneasy feeling and a growing discontent with his present life.

When a young woman desperately seeks Picard’s help and he watches helplessly as she is destroyed before his eyes it sets him out on a new mission and purpose.

As the mystery of woman's identity is revealed Picard discovers troubling events in the Federation.

He soon uncovers more clues as the involvement of Data, artificial life forms, the Borg, the Romulans and other players come to light.

When Picard reunites with the Borg Hugh and Seven of Nine the sparks start to fly as hidden and nefarious and dangerous plot is revealed.

It’s left to Picard and his newly assembled team and several old friends to confront the new threat.

The Star Trek Picard Season One Blu-ray from CBS/Paramount includes all the episodes from the First Season along with deleted scenes, gag reels, featurettes, an exclusive interview with Patrick Stewart and much more.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Superhero Discount!--Ollie’s Superhero Super Deals

I’ve been reading comic books going on 60 plus years.  For nearly half that amount of time I’ve been writing reviews about them.

I love reading about the history of comic books, especially superhero comic books.

As you might imagine I have assembled a pretty impressive library of books about comic books-the last count was in the hundreds.

For a long time it was difficult to find comic book reference material.  Only a handful of publishers consistently put out such books-I have most of them.

Most of the books tend to be on the expensive side so most of them I purchased or traded for at a local used book store, found them at yard sales or requested them as gifts for birthdays, etc.

When Ollie’s Discount Stores started appearing in Jacksonville, Florida where I live, I happened to visit one one day.

I was surprised at the size of its discount books section.

I was even more surprised when I discovered its huge selection of discounted graphic novels and pop culture centered books.  The store had in stock an impressive selection of bundled comic books for around five bucks for five or ten comic books-many of them brand new titles.

What really blew me a way was Ollie’s selection of books about comic books.

Within the last few weeks I've bought copies of books about Deadpool art, Black Widow art, a Jack Kirby retrospective, New 52 Posters and a huge book about The Avengers.

All of them cost a mere $7-$8 each-a cost much, much lower than the original retail prices.

The most recent of the books I picked up was The Marvel Library Of Jack Kirby published by Marvel Comics.

In it Jack Kirby’s entire career with Marvel Comics is showcased.  Growing up I loved Jack’s work-especially his work on The Fantastic Four and Thor.

Over the decade of the 1960s his work blossomed and his imagination was given free reign.  His technological gadgets, Kirby Krackle, powerful action sequences and incredible character designs thrilled me to no end.

It’s all in this new book about him starting with his early Timely work in the 1940s and 1950s to his spectacular work produced in the 1960s and his return to Marvel Comics period in the 1970s.  Jack Kirby truly was The King of Comics.

The Avengers The Ultimate Guide New Edition is basically an updated version of a previous publication,

It contains the history and character descriptions of Marvel Comics’ Avengers super team in addition to events that occurred since the last printing.

What makes this book special is the addition of a special light up cover.

Touch the red button on the front and the Avengers logo lights up along with Iron Man’s repulsor and chest ARC light.

Beautifully assembled and designed the book is filled with archival and new art and lots of fun information.

The Deadpool Merk With A Mouth oversize deluxe hardbound book features a cornocopia of Deadpool comic book covers, variant covers, interior art, textual history and much more about Wade Wilson.

Originally Deadpool was a tribute/parody of DC Comics’ Slade Wilson: Deathstroke The Terminator.

Deadpool creators Rob Liefeld and Fabien Nacienza introduced Deadpool in Marvel’s New Mutants.  He was shown along a few other notable characters but for some unexplained reason Deadpool caught on with fans and before long became a favorite.

Since that time Deadpool has starred in various titles, garnered two feature films, taken his place in merchandise mania and continues to draw in new fans.

The book is a loving tribute to the 4th Wall breaking mercenary with his characteristic smart mouth.

Just as amazing as the Deadpool book (same size and format) is the Black Widow book.

Marvel Comics resident former Russian spy gets the full historical and biographical treatment in this gorgeous full color book jammed with art and fascinating information.

The entire history of Black Widow is chronicled along with how she has changed over the decades.

It’s a beauty of a book with a full color protective book cover. Just like the red haired beauty it is examining, the book is big, bold, beautiful, full of surprises and fascinating.

I stopped buying new DC Comics (along with all other comic books) not long after DC Comics New 52 revamp of its comic books ended.

It’s not that I’ve completely given up on comic books, it’s just that being on a fixed income now that I’m retired I have to be careful where I spend my money.

Occasionally I’ll buy a comic book or like this selection of books-books about comic books.

My days of spending a chunk of my paycheck on comic books are long gone.

That being said I still have all my New 52 comic books and occasionally I’ll break out a few and enjoy a good read.

Ollie’s also has on sale the DC Comics The New 52 Poster Book is filled with 40 removable posters.  All of DC Comics main good guys are spotlighted in full color posters.  What a great way to decorate a man cave, collection room or any room in your house.

All five titles I’ve mention make excellent additions to any comic book lover’s library.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Werewolf From Space!--Marvel Premiere Featuring Man-Wolf #45

Man-Wolf had his premiere in Amazing Spider-Man.  The character proved popular enough to garner guest appearances in various Marvel Comics titles and eventually his own feature in Marvel Premiere #45 in 1978.

John Jameson, son of J. Jonah Jameson, is/was an astronaut who arriving upon the moon finds the mysterious Moonstone, that grafts itself to his body.

When the moon rises the stone transforms John into the Man-Wolf, a beast of uncontrollable rage.

In the new series within a series James has journeyed to the moon, killed the crew of the spacecraft that brought him there and proceeds to venture out to the moon’s surface.

He finds a cave and within it a glowing doorway appears. Stepping the though the doorway he finds himself confronted by warriors.

Amazingly his human consciousness also resurfaces and he is in control of his bestial form.

He discovers that the inhabitants of the moon foretold his transformation to the Man-Wolf.  He is destined to be their savior and to lead them against their sworn enemies.  And so he does,

Along the way he takes possession of their Sacred Sword and so begins the new adventures of the Man-Wolf courtesy of David Kraft, George Perez and Frank Giacoia.

Currently Marvel Premiere Featuring Man-Wolf #45 sells for about $10 raw and $75 slabbed.

A friendly note: Key Silver Age comic books are escalating in price to almost ridiculous levels and even non-keys are shooting up in value.  Bronze Age keys are now the targets of collectors with prices rising fast.  Non-keys are also moving up.   

Marvel Premiere Featuring Man-Wolf #45 is a perfect example of a minor key that is quickly going up in price.  Now is the time to buy Bronze Age comics before they become too expensive.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle Of Rum!--Blackbeard The Pirate

For a short period Sideshow Collectibles expanded its 12-inch action figure line to included historical, military and classic TV characters.

One such historical character they released as part of Sideshow’s Live By The Sword series was Captain Edward Teach “Blackbeard The Pirate”.

Eight figures were created for the series, the regular 12-inch Blackbeard The Pirate being one of them.  A separate Prestige version was also released.

I’m a big fan of pirates.  There’s something about their freewheeling and scallywag ways that appeal to me.

I love Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean films and many of the early pirate films Hollywood turned out in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Sideshow has done an excellent job of capturing the buccaneer bad boy Blackbeard decked out in his pirate regalia.

The Blackbeard figure is one of the most elaborate figures Sideshow had created early in its company’s history.  It really is remarkable in its costuming and accessories.

Starting with the face sculpt the figure features a remarkable degree of detail.

The figure wears a tri-corner brown hat with twin rows of silver piping all around it and a large red ribbon.

Blackbeard wears a bandana underneath.  His long hair is braided in gray and ends in blunted ends with embers that smoke to intimidate his crew and enemies.

He has a long mustache and an equally long beard.  His beard has four braids ending in bright red ribbons-emulating red embers.

Blackbeard’s face s a study in fury with his heavy black eyebrows, scowling eyes, wrinkled brow and mouth agape with jagged discolored teeth.

His beard flows over his chest and he wears a red buccaneer coat with large upturned cuffs with three gold buttons each.

His coat hangs open and goes past his waist.  

A long row of gold buttons cascade down the front right of the coat and two large pockets with flaps also has gold buttons.

Over the coat two leather belts crisscross over his chest.  They hold the three ornate single shot pistols.  Attached to one belt is a brown ammo/powder container with a single brass button.

All three pistols sport wooden handles and elaborate silver firing mechanisms.

One firearm (more like a small rifle/blunderbuss) is larger than three pistols.    It also is of wood and metal.

The three pistols attach to the leather straps and the larger firearm is tucked in his looped belt with gold buckle.

Underneath his coat Blackbeard wears a light brown tunic with a row of gold buttons.  It appears to be made of a rough fabric almost like burlap.

His pantaloons are of a similar fabric only they are a light brown and end mid-calve.

Under the pantaloons he wears burgundy socks /inner pants.  His shoes are dark brown, almost black, and have large discolored buckles.

Also included with the figure is a large curved sword with a large wood and metal pommel and guard.  It is blood splattered.  

The figure and accessories are secured in a clear plastic cocoon and covered by a clear plastic sheet for viewing.

The box holding the figure showcases Blackbeard on its front and its lid opens up to reveal the figure and accessories.

Figure articulation is smooth, easy to pose and allows the figure to easily stand on its own.  The figure’s hands are well suited to hold the weapons and the fabrics slide smoothly over the figure with no resistance.

Folds and stitching look natural, as does the fit of the various articles of clothing.

It’s a remarkable figure with outstanding accessories.

Take a moment to look at the details on the weapons and the clothing.  Each and every button has a corresponding buttonhole and the belts actually function.

The price of this figure continues to rise over the years.  Currently the figure goes for $200+.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Teenage Trouble!--Zits Screentime

Back when I was a teenager screentime referred to the amount of time an actor or actress was on the screen of ether a movie or TV show.

My, times have changed.  Screentime is now available to everyone via cell phones to laptops and any other form of social media.

Selfies, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites-screentime is rampant and it  continues to grow.

In Zits Screentime, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, the creators of the comic strip Zits examine what screentime means as it pertains to today.

In the middle of it all is their main character Jeremy along with his friends and family.  The comics strip collection of dailies and Sunday strips takes a good long hilarious look at what it means to be a teenager today and how social media has affected every generation.

Look for some truly laugh out moments as the collection looks at junk drawers, teenagers’ insatiable appetites, online ticket sales, the generation gap, modern movies and much more.

It’s a clever collection of comic strips that pit today’s youth against their not so hip parents.

Discover what happens when the analog generation tries to cope in the Digital Age.

An Inexpensive Alternative--Boxes For Storage Of Collectibles From Uline

I’m a collector: comic books, toys, diecast, trading cards, etc., I collect it.

As a writer of pop culture reviews you may imagine just how much merchandise I receive to review.  I love it!

But, where and how do I store it all?  Where is in whatever space I can find in my house or garage.  How is in boxes.

But specialized storage boxes for collectibles can get expensive.

But here is an inexpensive solution.

Uline, a premiere box/container/package manufacturer has an excellent selection of storage containers and they are a lot less expensive than specialized hobby collectibles containers.

Recently Uline sent me two items: a 15 X 9 X 11" magazine storage box with a lid.  It arrived flat but in just a few moments I assembled both the box and lid and had it ready to store some of my magazines, comic books and other publications.

It’s a sturdy box, stackable and just the right size for my needs.

For normal storage I also received a Uline’s 15 X 12 X 10" Economy Storage File Box.  It also shipped flat and with a few simple fold I had all the flaps secured and ready for storage.

It just so happens that it is the perfect size for deluxe 12-inch action figure boxes, easily storing three to a box.

Of course both boxes can be used for various storage need from antiques, collectibles, paperwork, household goods-you choose.

Uline has a huge selection of storage containers made from cardboard to plastic.  The prices are some in the best in the industry.

If you’re choosey about how you spend your money and want more bang for your buck then Uline’s storage boxes and containers fit the bill.

Skrullduggery: Fantastic Four Annual #17

Have you ever wonder what ever happened the Skrulls that Mr. Fantastic hypnotized and had them change into cows way back in the early days of the FF?

Read on and you’ll be shocked what happened.

Sharon Selleck, longtme friends of Julie who is Johnny Storm’s current girl, borrowed Julie’s car and subsequently breaks down in the middle of nowhere.

She tries to wave down a passerby with no luck.  So, she decides to hoof it to a nearby town-a town surrounded by a large chain link fence.  She climbs the fence and discovers a stage crop of plants being fed by---milk?

Soon after she is captured by some local townsfolk straight out of L’il Abner.  They take her back to town where she checks in with the police and gets a hotel room’

And then strange things begin to happen.  She explores the town and the next day calls her friend Julie.  In the middle of the conversation the line goes dead.  

Later Sharon sneaks out of town to find a phone booth and to call the Fantastic Four hoping to talk to Johnny Storm-the line goes dead.

Julie contacts Johnny and he convinces the rest of the Fantastic Four to investigate.

They go to the town, but no Sharon.  But, there is a town filled with people who transform into hideous monsters and attack.

It seems the Skrulls who were turned into cows and were ‘milked’ passed on their shape changing ability via the milk to the townsfolk-who have plans for the shape-changing milk-big plans.

What fun story.  Adventure, hints of horror, mystery, monsters, missing persons-what’s not to like?

John Byrne both wrote and drew The Fantastic Four Annual #17 from Marvel Comics and as always delivered a greet story.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Phantom Of The Opera: Masque Of The Red Death

Lon Chaney Sr., the man of a thousand faces. first starred as cinema’s Phantom Of The Opera.  Since then several adaptations both on TV and movies have adapted the operatic horror Story.

The story has also been adapted as a successful musical play generating several top songs and bringing a haunting love story into the mix.

Sideshow Toys/Collectibles created a fully articulated 12-inch figure of the famous Phantom.

A flip open lid box holds the figure and accessories secured in a form fitting clear plastic cocoon and protected by a clear display panel.

I’m not sure which is more frightening the Phantom’s dead white distorted face or the grotesque mask he wears as the Masque Of The Red Death.

The Phantom’s face is a twisted, distorted and horrific visage with pulled back lips, long white teeth, a drawn up nose with large nostrils and deep set eyes etched with deep shadows and his high forehead barely covered by black receding hair.

His mask is a skull with a huge number of teeth emphasizing its grisly grin, a white bone nose and deep sunken eyes with high cheekbones and oversize brows.

The Phantom’s solid red outfit is an impressive example of down-scaling clothing from its stitching to it ruffles and fit.

The figure wears a short waist jacket with puffed sleeves at the shoulder, ruffles at the neck, a cinched waist and fold over lapel.

The coat’s sleeves are cuffless and fit tightly to the wrists.

The waistline of the coat tapers over the red puffed bloomers that have large folded pleats that are cinched at the just above the knees.

The Phantom wears red tights that end at the ankles and red leather jester shoes that curl slightly at the top.

He also comes with a large rim black hat with a huge red plume of feathers.

The figure looks even more menacing when it holds it large silver and black serpentine staff with a skull pommel.

A cobblestone base is included with a small tab that fits into the figure’s foot holding it in place.

Articulation is smoothly and unencumbered by the clothing with no binding.

Clothing folds, pleats and wrinkles appear normal and the entire outfit fits the figure perfectly.

The Phantom's hand holds the staff without slippage and his large hat fits snug over his head.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rage Of Ra

Whenever I hear the word Ra I always think of a high school football cheer, ‘Ra, Ra, Sis Boom Bah!”

In the case of Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Legendary Duelists Rage Of Ra the phrase does not apply.  Or does it?

I suppose a good ‘Ra!’ might signify a win when playing YGO.

I know, I know, I’m stretching it!

With 5 Cards per Booster Foil Pack and 36 Packs per Box, Rage Of Ra is something to celebrate!  Especially when there’s a Ghost Rare God Card!

It’s time to delve into the realm of Darkness.

Yugi faces his final foe in the Battle City Tournament: Marik Ishtar, famed leader of the Rare Hunters and master of The Winged Dragon of Ra!

Seven new Cards in this Set offer the impossible.  Are you brave enough to take the chance to acquire them?

The Set contains 57 Cards:

1 Ghost Rare
9 Ultra Rares
8 Super Rares
10 Rares
30 Commons

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Alan Moore's Classic: Swamp Thing #50

Leave it to writer Alan Moore to take readers on a very ‘British’ tour of Hell and the afterlife.

In July of 1986 Swamp Thing joined in the ultimate battle between good and evil (light and shade).

Accompanying him were John Constantine, Zatanna, The Phantom Stranger, The Demon, a host of recognizable supernatural figures, Mento and more.

Look for Cain and Abel, The Spectre, Doctor Fate, Sargon and Deadman.

Artist Bissette, Veitch and Totleben provided the incredible art for one the strangest, scariest, unusual and unexpected journeys ever attempted in comic books.

It’s a stunning and disturbing tale made all the more intriguing by the art.  

The classic story typifies the incredible talent of Alan Moore’s ability to write stories unlike anything seen in comic books before.

DC Comics celebrated the anniversary of the 50th issue of the ground-breaking Swamp Thing comic book.  It was Swamp Thing by Moore and artists that ushered in the Vertigo line of comic books from DC.

Near mint raw copies go for around $20 and slabbed for $60.