Monday, December 31, 2012

The end of 2012 and beyond

There is so much I want to say to round out 2012.  This year had been a mixed bucket.  On one hand it has been amazing with projects I have been involved in such as new monster, The Oncoming Storm Podcast and even this blog.  I have made some of the best friends I have ever known and I have tried vending at toy shows, which is something I have always wanted to do.  It has been a very fulfilling year.

On the other hand it has been filled with odd little tragedies.  My parents house got hit by a Tornado, my  grandfather had a pretty bad heart attack (he survived).  But in the end every one was ok and every thing worked out.  So all of those personal tragedies worked out in the end.

Almost a year ago I posted on this blog that I wanted to do stuff in the new year.  I wanted to finish things and be proud of them.  I have done that.  I am extremely proud of the accomplishments I made this year.  I was tired of having tons of ideas and not following through.  I began to follow through and I feel great about it.  Could I improve?  Yes.  I already have a box full of projects to be worked on next year.  In the mean time I have been taking a step back enjoying everything that happend in 2012.

But as I did last year I want to set some goals for myself.  The goal I set for myelf last year was open ended and a bit vague (I tend to do that so I can't categorize my failure to comply :) ) This year I am willing to state a few more specific goals.  I want to add an addendum here though:  These are not resolutions - I don't believe in resolutions, instead they are goals.  That worked last year and It will work again. . . I hope.

1) and this has been a secret priority for some time.  I have been developing a fictional world for about 12 years, it has just been sitting in my head and on paper and in notebooks all of this time.  Earlier this year I decided to try to do something with it.  I have been developing a comic to get some of it out.  I have been fighting weather or not to draw it myself OR to find an artist.  At the moment I am drawing it myself. . . that might change tomorrow. . . but regardless I am putting at least one issue out this year!

2)  More new monster!  Last year I said that it was the year of the new monster and for us it was.  We had a blast.  in the new year you can expect to see more Collecting Nostalgia, more convention coverage and maybe even more vlogs!

3)  One things that viewers of this blog will see is more stuff for sale online.  I hope to be doing a kind of online "purge"  of some of my stuff.  so keep an eye out for that and you may find some incredible deals on things.

4) Starting a local show.  I have been in talks with some other locals in this area and we are on target to get some local toy/comic shows going hopefully they will be goos.

5) LAst but not least This blog!  I have neglected this blog for the second half of the year, but I hope to get back to it.  I did such a good job updating at the beginning of the year and then I let it go,  I hope to be back to normal soon.

Those are the things right on top, of course there are more, but a few of those are taking a lot of my time and thought at the moment.  SO be on the lookout for some of these things coming soon.

Als, Thanks to every one who has read this blog and have been supportive of me.  I kind of stumbled into this collecting/ popculture/ blogging community and you guys all really let me be part of it.  I have tried other communities before and it felt so hard to break in.  I am extremely happy to be part of this community!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Doctor Who The Snowmen . . . Thoughts

Christmas means many things for so many different people.  For Doctor Who fans for the past 8 or so years it has meant a new Christmas special, a slightly longer episode that holds us over un til the next season (or season half) begins.  This year is no different and the good doctor returns to us in a christmas special that, in my opinion, stands apart from the rest.

I have made no secret that I have not been a huge fan of the first two seasons of the Moffat produced, but I have also said the last half season has been my favorite of the Moffat produced offerings.  He is taking the character of the Doctor and the show in direction that I fully approve of, and in a direction that is fitting for the upcoming fiftieth anniversary.  I have to say this special continues that trend for my viewing pleasure.  

Lets start with the intro.  I could make this whole post about the intro.  I have actually kind of kept radio silence with this episode and had heard no rumors or anything of the sort, but as the transmission began and the intro began rolling I felt an energy in the air that I hadn't felt in a long time.  The colors swirled and if I'm not mistaken I saw throwbacks to just about every past intro in the shows history.  And then there it was!  Matt Smith's face subtly in the stars.  I had been waiting for this since the show came back.  It is one of those things that in the early days of nu-who us old timers thought that once we got that we would have arrived.  Well, we have arrived.  Watch the new intro below.

As the new intro finished the story began to unfold and we are introduced to snowmen and villains, and more interestingly the new companion. . . or should we say that we were introduced to her again. Yes Jenna Louise Coleman first played Oswin Oswald way back in Asylum of the Daleks and she met a strange demise.  There has been tons of speculation as to what her role may be, but now we begin to get some clarification.

I have to say I love the character of Clara, She is intriguing, and fun, and cheeky, and I am inclined to say Not the Ponds.  Now, I'm honestly not meaning that as a criticism of Amy and Rory, as I feel I made amends with my feelings toward them in the last half season, but the character that was presented tonight is the character I have been wanting to see in doctor who for a long time.  While she actually does share some traits with Amy, she is a go getter, and very adventurous.  I find her more believable  I can't say why, I just do.  I really feel like it is a case of Moffat having the ideal companion in his head for most of his life, and finally getting the chance to put it on paper.  for me that character came out as juvenile, now we are getting a more well developed character that has been developed by a 40 something professional writer and not the 12 year old mind of the same writer.  It will be interesting how he develops Clara.  I will try and keep this spoiler fee so I will not comment on any more than that!. . . for now.

I will say this.  We are once again introduced to the TARDIS again through the eyes of a companion.  and Oh what a sight it is.  While Clara goes in and back out and does the traditional run around the box and lets us all know that it is indeed "Smaller on the outside" (see what Moffat did there?)  We are introduced to a shiny new TARDIS console that is very reminiscent of the gleaming space age console so many of us grew up with.  Gone is the steam punk cobbled together TARDIS and once again are we introduced to the SPACE AGE.  I love it.  I love the controls behind the console.  I love the white and blues.  I love the rotating pieces above the rotor.  This is the TARDIS, for me, more than any other new who design.  As I am introduced to this room all I can think is "Welcome to Doctor Who"

The story brings in Madam vastra and company and they play, in my opinion, a fantastic role in this story.  Her story is expanded a bit and her role for the doctor himself is very interesting.  I have a feeling that we will see her quite a bit more.  These characters do tend to be more comic relief than they could have been, but, in my opinion there is not a word misused when they are on the screen.  I also like the fact that I feel like they are creating a new home base time for the doctor, He is carving out a home for himself in victorian Londen instead of a more modern London.  Madam vastra and crew have become a small family unit for the Doctor.  I'm intrigued by where they could go with this.

The story itself acts as a prequel to a story from 1967, the Web of fear indicating that the events of this story leads to the events of that story.  i love it when they do that and do it reasonably well.  I feel they did that.

Now I realize I am glowing about this story.  There were problems with it, but I don't feel the need to pick it apart, in the end I liked it and I choose to overlook the faults.  IT is the first time I have wanted to do that in a while so I will just honestly say that and let that be the end of it.

The Doctor is becoming more shrouded in mystery every time he steps on screen, all for a build up to the 50th anniversary, but this time we are given a companion that may be even more mysterious than him. 

I am excited to see the second half season for season 7.  The direction they are going is somewhere I feel is very good  I am excited to see where it leads us to november 23 of 2013.  I have feeling we have a great year to look forward to in terms of Doctor Who!  Check out the Snowmen, because I feel like it is the episode we will look back on and say that is when Doctor Who went into a new era.  I have a feeling it is a good era to be in!    

Of course I was disappointed to not see anything I recognized as an Ice Warrior in the trailer.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Media Dissection!?!?

Last night my wife and I went to see the New James Bond movie.  It was a decent enough movie but that is not the purpose of this post.  When the movie was over, I wanted to talk about it, analyze the pros and cons of the movie, debate weather the villain was a good bond villain.  My wife didn't tO the point where she said "I just want to watch a movie and enjoy it, I don't want to analyze it."  So then that got me thinking, have I become such a fanboy that I can't watch a movie, enjoy it, and then simply turn it off.  I'm not sure!

For me, talking about movies has always been just as important as watching the movie!  When I was young and my parents would take me to the movies when we walked out I wanted to talk about the movie we just watched.  That might be me talking about a fight scene I liked or it might be talking about how a character was, but I always talked abut it.  Heck it might have been ralking about a trailer I had seen.  That interaction  was important to me.

I think as I have grown up, the concept of talking about the media I consume has become even more important to me.  I suppose in a way it seems like a waste of time to simply watch a movie, TV show, or even read a book if you can't analyze it with friends.  This dissection has become the pivot point of my fandom, and maybe fandom in general.  The concept of discussion and analyzing the things we consume is. for me, the central idea of fandom. 

I have said it before, that my favorite part of a convention is sitting on a panel and talking to the other people on the panel, and people in the room about what they think about something.  The whirl wind of opinions give credence to the concepts and stories that the writers put forward.  As fans isn't it kind of our job to dissect these things?  I'm honestly don't think I react to anything else as much as I react to a good discussion of the merits (or flaws) or somethuing that I really like (or don't like)

Take the wheel of time (or any epic book series) for instance.  I could not imagine reading those books in a vacuum.  It would be impossible for me to read that last word and then just put it down and be happy that I had read it.  The act of reading and consuming these media has been about building community for me.  I can't imagine reading the last "Wheel of Time" book (that will be coming out in the early part of next year) without the community that has become something akin to a support group to me.  The community becomes just as important (if not more important) than the media itself.

And that idea of fan community of course has evolved from people sitting in living rooms discussing things they love to doing it at conventions and gatherings, but of course then it moved to the internet.  Forums and facebook pages, and even blogs like this one has become a way for me to express the things I like and talk about them with a much larger community.  The idea of consuming media without a community is almost foreign to me now.  

How do you consume media and participate in enjoying it,  do you watch and consume in a vacuum, being happy that you had the opportunity to have that media and then leave it at that?  Or do you dissect it and let it become more to you than just something that is turned off.  Let me know I really want to know how the media you consume effects you!          

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Star Wars and the Disney Empire!

Like many within the sub-culture of fandom, yesterday I read the news that Lucas was selling most of his assets, including Star Wars to Disney for 4 billion Dollars.  I was on a roller coaster of emotions.  Star Wars is something I love.  It has been almost as important to me as Doctor Who over the years.  Disney however has, for some reason in my mind, represented oppression.  I don't know why it just has, so it is hard for me to rectify my emotions with this.  

Initially the news really bothered me it was one of those things where I needed to back off a bit and consume the news.  I thought about them sterilizing the franchise, killing it with Disney marketing etc. . .   But then I thought about it and and realized it really wasn't any different than what Lucas had done to the property himself.  He has already sterilized the movies that I grew up with.  changing them, and never being happy with them.  Disney could actually be one of the best things to happen to the franchise in some time!

There are a few things to look at though, that are going to be very important to the fan community.  Disney believes in being very proprietary with things that they own.  I mean they own it that is their right.  There have been a lot of law suits over copyright issues with Disney properties.  Shutting down fan projects etc. . .  Lucas has been very fan friendly, allowing fan films, using 501st people for events etc.  He understood the value of fans.  I'm not sure Disney is going to do that!  I think it will be a lot harder to do a lot of the things Lucas has allowed to happen under the eye of Disney and it's lawyers.

Another thing that is bothersome to me is that Disney now owns a huge chunk of my childhood.  Marvel, and now Star Wars.  It is a surreal experience to go into a Disney store and see Marvel merchandise.  To be fair that is all this is to Disney, something else to merchandise.  These characters mean a lot to so many fans.  Iron man and Thor are symbols just like Yoda and Luke Skywalker are symbols to so many people and to see them as a property is hard to fathom.  To see these characters relegated to Disney stores is also hard.

Of course,  I say that and understand that Lucas has been doing this for as long as the Star Wars franchise has been around, but for some reason it feel worse to me when it is Disney doing it it.  I mean, are we going to see Leia lined up with the other Disney Princesses?  I truly hope not.

Out of this deal does come a new movie.  It has always been said that the best stuff that has come out from star wars is the stuff with the least amount of involvement from Lucas himself, so I suspect 2015 will bring a great movie.  The 7th installment and probably the beginning of a new trilogy.  The thing to watch is if Disney will make this an event, where they run Star Wars into the ground by constantly inundating us with movies!  the other thing to watch is how they treat Extended Universe stuff.  Will the extended universe stuff be thrown out, or will it be immortalized on the big screen.  Time will tell!            

So keep an eye on the news and gear up for a couple fun years of watching this all unfold.  Watching where Disney will take the property.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New things Bog-Nar commercial!

Once again I have been busying myself with bits and bobs but there are really things happening from my time at this point.  The most obvious and the easiest one to share is the Warlords of Wor Bog-nar Commercial that I have just finished with the rest of the New Monster Team.

We had a GREAT time working on this.  and each of us got to do the part we liked best.  what we have really found though, is that we really like shooting in this small scale!  I am a big fan of 80s toy commercials and I am really glad to be doing something in that tradition. We hope to do more so if any one reading this would like us to make a commercial of your product let us know we would love to do it!

so now the Commercial!

Other things I have been doing includes working on some art.  Its one of those things I've really been trying to get back into and it is coming.  I think I will be able to post a draft of the first page of my comic up soon.  Yes it looks like it might be happening.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Warlords of Wor: BOG-NAR Review!

OK, so we've been hard at work working on some new content over at new monster and today we posted a review of BOG-NAR the first figure from the Warlords of Wor line.  This line is an exciting addition to all of the retro action figures that are popping up all around us.  So take a look and share it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Midpoint: Some Thoughts on Doctor Who season 7 part 1

Typically I write a review for the new doctor who episodes as they come out.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog.  I did set out to write a couple of reviews for this season and they all sit as drafts in my dashboard.  I've tried to write, I honestly have but the muse has not taken me, and now the mid season has come and gone.  Now . . . I am ready to write. . . Go figure.

This season has been interesting for me.  Over the last two years I have been very vocal about my feelings about the new direction of the show.  I was one of the loudest supported of Moffat taking over, and since he has taken over I have been pretty loud in my disapproval.  This season has gotten me excited again.

There is something about these stand alone episodes that really energized the series for me.  With only a loose thread of the ponds and their journey ending tying them together we were able to go throughout time and space and have ridiculous adventures the way Doctor Who was truly meant to be.  We got to see glimpses of the future (with Jenna Louise Coleman (the new companion) appearing in the first episode) and we saw memories of the past as the ponds say goodbye.  I think it truly was a passing of the baton season.  Reminding up what we had, but letting us know that there is more to come.

Of course the thing that I loved about this season was the Space Ships.  My favorite sci-fi is Space Opera, and Doctor Who is at it's best when it gets the space opera treatment.  Even when not in space, we got evidence of space ships and/or great space battles wars in 4 of the 5 episodes.  I hope that is a bit of foreshadowing of things to come.

One of the things I have had issue with over the last few years is the Ponds. . . more specifically Amy.  To me Amy has been a Marry Sue character and they haven't even bothered to write good explanations for most of those qualities or traits that she possesses.  She has been a cardboard cut out of what Moffat's ideal companion is or should be.  This season seemed to break that.  I actually found myself stomaching her a bit more.  The writing seemed to present equal amount qualities and foibles.  This is something that I feel her character has lacked the last few years.  Since she has had distance from the Doctor, she has matured.  She is a much older Amy than we first met, just as the doctor is a much older Doctor, and I think that goes a long way for me.
This season has really taken a dark turn, and has dealt with some deep issues.  A character who has to come to terms with essentially being dead, A mad man who has basically killed a an entire race, forcing the doctor's hand to kill him, Human experimentation, genocide.  some deep dark topics for a show with a pretty young main audience.  Although, there is humor thrown in, there are some heavy themes going on here.  and to be honest it has made it a fun ride to go on.    

Now, all that said there were week points in the season plenty of them, but they were easier to disregard this time.  I feel like the Final episode was the weakest.  I think it was weak mainly because it felt like an event that we were all gearing up to.  Every one knew it was the end of the companions and they just wanted to know how it came.  I felt like the story was lost on that.  That is not to say it was bad, far from it.  I just wasn't as intrigued by the timey whimey tricks of the Moff as I once would have been.  Actually that whole thing is beginning to get old, so perhaps that plot hook will leave with the ponds, and will instead bring us a passel of space adventure plots!

This is of course the Pond's swansong season, and I feel one of the things that Moffat has done was make that too apparent.  Every week we got that knowing glance from the Doctor, Moffat really played up that emotion card.  He takes viewers for a ride, by goading them on and taunting them.  I feel that if there was a weak thread in the season it was that.  It was the reliance on the emotional impact of the last episode.  For me that was played up so much it made the final episode more of a downer than anything else.  It didn't live up to the hype Moffat had made for himself.  

One of the interesting things about this first part of season 7 is that the stuff we haven't seen is as important (or perhaps more important for the long run) than what we have seen.  We are in a post Doctor's death world/ universe, and the Doctor has been taking advantage of the universe thinking he is dead.  He is slowly making himself a ghost.  A whisper.  Records are being erased.  Moffat, with just a few lines made the Daleks forget their oldest enemy.  They are truly gearing up for the 50th anniversary.  I can feel this subtle reboot taking root and finally paying off on November 23 2013.  Though I wish they would ask the question differently than the obvious way:  "Doctor Who?" The direction has changed and I am once again along for the ride.  Moffat is slowly making me a believer in my favorite show again, and I'll be glad to come along for the ride again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Back. . . And I've been reading some comics!

Whew . . . it's been a while.  In the last few months I have been busying myself with things so I wouldn't feel obligated to write on this blog. . . apparently.  Videos, podcasts, toys shows, trips to see friends.  I have done all kinds of things.  But here I am feeling the need to write.  It always seems to pull me back, and at the moment I feel that I am back, at least for a while.  So in celebration of being back I will tell you what I did this weekend.

Having a few hours to myself is something I rarely have anymore, and when I do I find ways to waste it and don't do any of those things I want to do.  I don't read the stacks of comics I have been waiting to get to, I don't make a video.  I sit and stare at all of the things I want to do.  This weekend I changed that!  I had a few hours, and I saw that stack of comics, and decided to see how far I could get through it.

I am a sucker for licensed comics based (or loosely based) on 80s toys and cartoon lines.  And my stack has been growing.  Th stack, made up primarily of IDW titles, consisted of DC's Masters of the Universe, All three issues of Transformers Regeneration One, Battle beasts, and a few other odd titles.

there is something invigorating about taking out a large stack of comics in one sitting, and I have to say that out of those three titles I didn't read a single bad comic.  Here are some quick thoughts on each of these titles:

Masters Of the Universe:  This comic has really stimulated the franchise.  The story takes a different approach, it is set after He-man and the masters have been defeated (by amnesia) And Skeletor is ruling eternia.  It shows some interesting denizens of eternia and how different clans work.  The story is the same but time has progressed.  We are slowly getting deep into the plot in just these two issues.  Really a very good read. 

Transformers Regeneration One:  Though I grew up with the transformers as a kid, I have only had a cursory relationship with the comics.  But when I found out that regeneration one was happening I was intrigued.  I picked up the 100 page spectacular that IDW put out (with the last 5 issues of the classic marvel series) and caught up.  This series starts 21 years after the events of those comics.  Many of the classic characters are still there.

This comic has classic sensibilities with modern production values.  It is action packed and all of the characters you really want to see (at least for me) are getting enough screen time.  They have really brought out Megatron's craziness and now we are getting to a whole new chapter of what is about to go on on earth.  If you like Transformers then you should really pick this particular comic up, especially if you grew up with the old marvel comics!   

Battle Beasts:  I love the Battle Beasts of the 80s. it should be said that this is really nothing more than that name for the characters.  It is unrelated to the 80s toy line.  That said it does have beasts and they do battle.  A lot of battle!  This comic is action packed.  with action in most of the pages presented.  The one thing that bothers me is that it suffers from the same thing that so many modern sci- fi and fantasy properties suffer from.  They bring the fight to earth.  what is wrong with some alien worlds?  I don't know.

That said the comic does present some very good characters and a lot of carnage.  So I would recommend a read.  Possibly one to wait for the trade paper back!        

So . . . that is how I spent my weekend.  Have you been reading any comics of late?  What should I check out. . . or what should I avoid?

Hopefully I will not be away so long in the future.  It's good to be back!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Collecting Nostalgia Episode 2: Raders of the Lost Toys!

Its here!  The next episode of Collecting Nostalgia!  This time the New Monster Crew heads up to north eastern Tennessee to find Brad and Stacey Rader and their amazing collection.  Many of you may know Stacey better as the Geeky Vixen!  Yes that's right we explore the amazing collection as well as find out a little more about those amazing Battle Babies that we are all talking about so often!

I hope you enjoy the episode, Feel free to share it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: Go ahead and laugh

Yesterday I had the chance to listen to the Nerd Lunch Podcast and they were talking about those guilty pleasures that we all have.  You know, those things you love but are slightly ashamed to admit.  You know you have them!  The conversation on the pod cast got me thinking about this for myself and I realized I had some pretty embarrassing answers!

So I figured I would diverge some of this embarrassing information so you can all think slightly less of me!

You see I like (SOME OF) those teeny bopper CWesq dramas.  Yes I complain about my wife watching them, but then at a I get sucked in.  First let me talk about the show about talking "The Gilmore Girls"

Gilmore Girls!
Yes I said it I like the Gilmore Girls at the time it was one of the wittiest shows on American TV (I say american because it was up against Doctor Who for some of it's run)  and though it jumped the shark more than once through it's 7 season run it maintained semi believable characters going through semi real life situations.  The pop Culture references, alone were fantastic.

I think the thing that drew me to this show is that I knew people like Rory and the other characters!  I had went to school with them.  The high school  philosophers who watched things like Joseph Campbell's the "Power of Myth" for fun.  They were real.  The relationships were complicated and important in this show as well.  Enemies morphed into friends, maturity was something that really developed and shown through the course of the series.

Put all of those things together with a cast of great actors and actresses, and a great soundtrack and it really did make TV gold.  Every line of Dialogue was important.  You literally go on a journey when you watch this show.  So though it doesn't have laser guns it is a guilty pleasure that I will proudly say I got into!

So yeah!  I like the Gilmore Girls There. . . I said it!

Of Course this is old news!  This show has been finished for over 5 years!  so what more recently has been feeling this guilty pleasure niche for me?  Well Netflix is really to blame for a lot of the ridiculous things I have seen lately.  My wife will start something and as I crawl to the bed after a long night of pod casting or video making I catch it and it sucks me in!  there have been a few Army Wives being one, but that is not the one that really sucked me in.  More recently we have found a show called Pretty Little Liars.  Yeah. . . you heard  me.  This is a show that is part high school Drama, Part mystery, part coming of age story, part psycho killer story.

Gilmore Girls
To be fair this show is not up to the caliber that The Gilmore Girls was up to.  There are lots of things that don't make sense at all! Lots of plot holes, but I feel they are easily overlooked.  It is mindless drama that sucks you into the unrealistic life of these teenagers who are being stalked by someone who knows their every move.

The show is based on a series of books by the same name.  It deals with  a lot of  issues such as: Gay and Lesbian themes,  Student/teacher relationships and there is even a kid who is in a fight club!  There are complicated relationships between family member and neighbors in this small town that they all live in.

It's a good show.  Once again no laser guns but for some reason it just sucks you in.

So, those are a few of  my guilty pleasures!  What are yours?  Let me know!          

Friday, August 3, 2012

The League: Roadtrip HWY 127

Though the League has been calling for a few weeks I have been taking a break so I have missed some very good oporitunities to post.  I have to say I had such a  good streak going but alas I broke it.  This week, though I am not on my regular schedule, I am back to see if I can plot my ultimate pop culture rod trip.

Actually this is something that I can talk about because I am going on a similar sort of trip this weekend.  It is no secret that myself and many of the other league members love a good yardsale.  So I would say the ultimate rd trip would be exploring the 690 miles of the HWY 127 yardsale.  This event happens every year on the first weekend of August and is basically plotted for you!  The question would be WHY would you not go!

Now while not your traditional pop culture road trip there are plenty of options to find lots of popculture on your way.  Its more of a pop cultury treasure hunty road trip!

Every year I go and experience the more local side of this yard sale (about an hour drive and a time zone over from me) and I spend a day catching about 50 miles of the yard sale.  Its always a good time and every year I say "Next year I am going to go up the whole thing!" and every year that doesn't happen.

This sale is like the wonderland . . . or perhaps OZ of yardsales.  you never know what to expect.  The part that I come in on is actually kind of small.  there are a few sales set up with people going through.  Then you hit the mother load.  there is a bend in the rd and it is like a nonstop flea market as far as the eye can see.  Cars jumbled on the side of the rd as people dodge cars in order to find the next great find!  It is chaos and bliss all at the same time. 

The problem with such a sale is you literally never know what you will find.  it could be a bust or you could hit the mother load.  it is a chance you take and in the end you will probably be rewarded.  You will be most successful if you can take lots of money.  I know that sounds ridiculous but it is true the more capital you have the more bargaining power you have.  Last year I lost out on some very good reasonable priced lots because I did not bring enough money with me.  since I have been buying and selling I have a bit more now.  So hopefully it will help me get some deals. 

So once again, this weekend, I will be making my ONE DAY trek on this magical rd and in the end I will say "Next year I will do all of it."  So wish me luck as I head out on what I hope will be a magical popculture rd trip!       

Check out some of the other league members ultimate road trips!
Goodwill hunting 4 geeks shows us a smorgasbord or pop culture sites  

Green Plastic Squirtgun even makes his way down to my neck of the woods in his roadtrip!

Branded in the 80s finds some great backlots to explore!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Things to Check Out:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Ultimate Collection

Yesterday I got a package in the mail.  This is a relatively normal thing to happen to me, but I was anticipating this package quite a bit.  For a little over a year now I have been on the fence about picking up the hardcover "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Ultimate Collection" by IDW.  I wasn't sure the price was something I was willing to shell out for.  the reviews was good and I know the content is more than quality, but I was unsure.  With he turtles getting a new life once again I decided to take the plunge and get into the roots a little further than I ever had. I have read quite a bit of the Turtles story, and have read bits and pieces of these early issues hear and there as I would come across some of the older collections.  I have to say I am exceedingly glad that I did.  I sat down and read through the entire things.

The book is so much more than a comic.  It is a history lesson.  A history of how independent comics became successful.  Each issue (TMNT 1-7 and Raphael micro series) ends with some commentary from Eastman and Laird and then a breakdown of commentary on most of the pages in that issue.  It is interesting to see kind of the soap opera that was unfolding behind the scenes as they worked on the first issue as little more than a joke, and then the demand forced them to continue.  Selling out of multiple printings of those early issues.  It was a true success story that was unfolding.

The book is also a love letter to the TMNT.  Both from it's creators as well as those who put the book together.  The book is very well produced with great images and it has a great layout in a slightly over-sized format (about the size that the first 4 issues were originally printed.)

Of course the issues themselves are presented here in their original black and white format which in my opinion adds to the ambiance of these stories.  The gray and gritty environments really tell a story in and of themselves.  the turtles live a dirty world filled with criminals and they are trying to do something about it!  I'm not sure this kind of ambiance has ever been obtained by any other comic in quite the same way.  The art is complex yet simple, there is a lot of blank space that is made use for text.  It is easy to read and for the most part doesn't get too wordy.  The art, while I could see why some people may not likes it really pushes the envelope!
From TMNT the Ultimate Collection 

In addition to the ambiance you have an evolving story, that even though it was not planned out from day one, feels like it was!  The 8 issues presented in this book give the reader a pretty clear picture of the Turtles origin story.  While the first issue is self contained and focuses on Splinter and Shreder's fight for honor, elements of something more sinister are brought up as the issues continue on.  The second issue is fairly stand alone although it leads into events that really pick up in issue 3.  The story takes a turn fairly drastically from a typical "heroes fighting dangers in New York."  It does start off that way but then we are lead on a cosmic adventure with rooms full of aliens and dinosaurs and robots.  This part of the story turns into a love letter to Star Wars which works very well! It is interesting seeing the Turtles taken out of their element so quickly and making short work of every thing that threatens them.  I love this about the series.

from TMNT the Ultimate Collection

The interesting thing is that these issues did not come out month after month.  It was three years from the release of the first issue to the release of the seventh issue!  some of these books ended on cliffhangers and it had to have been hard to wait for those first few issues. I think this is one of the coolest parts about the history of this franchise.  That and the fact that each of the creators worked on EVERY page together.  some of it was even done through the mail.  But they felt that strongly about it.

It is such a contrast from the way comics are done today, as with video and photography anyone can create a comic and have people see it.  It is one of blessings and curses of the internet and computers.  This book shows us how the paradigm hasn't actually changed that much, it has just become faster.  the drive of creators have always been there and I think Eastman and Laird really are exemplars of the craft.  While they were not the fist and were inspired by creators such as Dave Sim to work independently they were certainly innovative and important to the craft.

For those of you who may be fans of the Turtles because you grew up with the cartoon or other media, you should check out this book.  It is an important piece of comic book history and the road map to see how the Turtles became what they are today.  Elements of these 8 issues are thrown in throughout all of the other versions of the Turtles we have gotten.

This book is also for comic book fans.  It is a history lesson.  These 8 issues helped change the face of the independent comic book scene by breaking the mold.  For the first time independent creators were really getting the attention of other media.  Soon after these issues Eastman and Laird were being contacted by companies wanting to do things with their characters.  They really had stumbled onto something.

and finally This book is for the independent comic producer.  Once again a history lesson but also a way of showing you what two young creators did in a pre-internet era to create some of the most important content ever.  It is a testament to their will to produce good quality content that THEY liked.  It is an inspiration!

If you have any thoughts to check it out, please do it will be well worth your time, and with the impending new cartoon series it is a great time to jump back into the roots of such an important franchise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blog update! Be Back soon!

Been taking a break from the blog for a few days.  Recharging the battery.  Should be back at it soon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Show Season Round 4: ROBCON!

This weekend was filled with friends and toys.  This is what all weekends should be made of.  I made my way up to the annual Robcon event that is held in Bristol TN.  This was my first time at the show and I had a lot of fun.

We got to the show on saturday morning about 8:00 (the show started at 9 so we were a bit behind.  we got there and started getting all of our out and ready to set up.  When we go and set up we always realize we have so much more that we think we have!  so we have to figure out how to get it ALL out on 3 different tables!  this time we worked up by using some new shelving so we could have some stuff set up off the tables and it seemed to work really well.

This time we had a lot of Masters of the Universe stuff and it went well.  You never know what people are going to be looking for so it is good to have a spattering!

The show was huge.  It was the biggest Robcon there has been and also the biggest show we have done! so it worked out to be nice.  We were at the back of the show so the rush of people took a little bit to work its way back to us, but when it did it was great.  People were enthusiastic about what we had.  Lots of vintage toys!  that is what we love so that is what we sale.  We had some new additions so the people who are familiar with us had a good time seeing our new stuff!  

It was great to look around the con what little I got to!  Every vendor had unique cool stuff!  It was a lot of fun to see the community wheeling and dealing!

I even managed to score some stuff at this show through buying and trading. I'll talk about that in an upcoming post!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gearing up for round 4 of Show Season!

I'm heading toward Bristol TN today to go to Robcon this weekend!  I'll be there trying my hand at vending yet again.  I will have a full report next week to let everyone know what the show was like.

While I'm sharing my weekend plans what is every body else doing this weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Watching Movies in a Post Avengers World

The Dark Knight Rises, the final movie in the Batman trilogy comes out this weekend.  I am hearing rumblings of how great it is.  I'm sure it is.  This franchise has done some really good things in creating a different kind of super hero movie.  In a way the super hero aspect of the franchise is secondary, and it is really a noir movie.  Which isn't bad.

I have to say though I am not really anticipating this movie.  There are a few issues that cause this for me. Villains I just don't care about is the first.  Also I didn't think the last two movies were all the rage that other people thought they were. But most importantly it's all down hill after the Avengers!

All summer long I have fought with being ruined by the Avengers. I mean really what can compare to that.  I tried to break it down and figure out what it was.  I finally figured it out.  A few weeks ago I went to see Spiderman.  It was a good movie but there was a problem.  It was a problem that permeates most super hero movies for me.  They can not set up a sense of a super heroic world.  There is no indication that this is normal.  That the citizens of this world is used to super powers.  I had the same problem with Green Lantern.  In that movie there was no indication. . . BUT people did not react as if seeing a flying man strange.  I want there to be a sense that this isn't to strange.  The Avengers franchise is the only super hero franchise that has really done this for me.

It is a shame that Marvel is not able to do some of it's other franchises so that they can combine them, and have the X-men exist in the avengers universe.  I think it would make the whole thing work much better.  Actually I think having that cohesion in the movies works even better than it does in the comics.

there is a limit, but I think just making the illusion that this stuff exists in the world is all you need.  for instance , a Daily Bugle being swept in the wind that says something about spiderman.  Or a reference to Sentanals tracking down mutants.  Creating that cohesion is important.  

I guess I have went the long way round as to saying why I am not all that interested in The Dark Knight Rises.  I hope the movie is great, I hope it does well, but I question its ability to be anywhere near as good of a super hero as the avengers.  But of course, as I said, It's not really about being a super hero movie!  I suppose that is the thing to remember.    

What do you guys think?  Will you be able to enjoy the Dark Knight Rises . . . OR any movie this summer in a post Avenger world?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Music I didn't expect to hear! Fiona Apple

Today I'm going to talk about something a little different.  Back to my normal nerdyness tomorrow.  Friday night I found myself in a car heading to a Fiona Apple concert. . . 

OK let me give some back story.  My wife and our friends wanted to go so we went.  I have to save face somewhere. 

I have to say this was one of the most interesting concert experiences I have had.  the concert was at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.  The venue is simply amazing, and if you have never had the chance to go there you should.  It was one of the most comfortable concert settings I have ever been to.

There was a real anticipation in the air waiting for the the concert to start.  people were filing in and looking for their seats and chatting with those next to them.  Pretty normal stuff.  The opening act started.  The filing and chatting never stopped.  it was as if there was no one on stage.  I figured it was just the anticipation for the main acts and that it was just something I had forgotten about my concert going days. . . When Fiona Apple did take the stage (almost an hour after the show started) it never ceased.  I have to wonder why these people were even there.  They paid a fair sum of money to be there and they didn't even listen.

The people who were at this concert was an interesting part of it.  I am used to seeing concerts with hipsters and people where you have to ask why they are there, but this time it made a lot more sense.  It was all aging people like myself and my friends we were probably just below the mean age there.  The audience was mostly female but not completely.  The people who were not talking and were actually enjoying the concert, were having something akin to a religious experience.  there was a real connection to the lyrics to many of them.  On the far side of the auditorium there was a group who couldn't stay down, as if they were drawn to stand up and participate in every song.  I appreciate this.

The performance itself was odd.  When Fiona did come out she didn't speak to the audience at all.  no stories, no asides, nothing.  This was Odd.  when you compare her to someone like Ben Folds (who I think is comparable) there is a major difference.  Ben is a story teller and so is Fiona, but her stories stop with the songs perhaps she feels they speak for themselves.  Myself I would love some interaction, I feel like you pay to go to a concert to get more than the songs.  So that was upsetting.  

Of course I have to admit that when she was performing her songs they were wonderful.  she has a full vocal range which is evident in so many of her songs.  The emotion that she experiences on stage is evident as she wriggles and writhes around the stage like a tormented mental patient.  You get the idea that she is reliving the emotion she felt while she was writing the songs.  The performance was solid and something to behold.  


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The New Ninja Turtles are HERE!

As information begins to flow out of that mecca that is San Diago for the 2012 Comic Con other things are beginning to flow onto store shelves.

We first Heard Rumblings of a new Ninja Turtle line last year at comic con at a secret presentation where no pictures were allowed to be taken.  Then we got to see them at Toy Fair this year.  Actually they were probably the most talked about property at that show!

They are supposed to hit in August but Some Toys R Us stores are already putting them out. . . the store in Chattanooga is one of those stores, so I jumped out and picked a few out last night.  I have to say this is the first time since I was a kid that I just want to rip into this thing.  It is fantastic and I feel much worth the wait.  I have not been a huge fan for a while but this might make me come back to the fold.  these toys are fantastic and I think Playmates may have just came back into the toy fold with this line.

For now I only share this one pic with you but I will have more info on these figures in the upcoming days!  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The League: Movies to make you cry!

This week the League has asked us to man up and talk about the movies that make us cry!  I've been laboring over this League post for three days now.  Not because I am too many to admit that I cry at movies, but instead, because I cry at so many movies.  Strangely I am what I like to call a happy crier.  I tend to not be moved by sad stuff in media, but when something happy or good happens, I get all choked up.  So weddings, unsuspected romances. . . you know all of the sappy things.  I usually hide my sobbing with a smirk and a laugh, the the wells of tears near the bottom of my eyes usually clues in my wife!  I suppose I am a hopeless romantic deep down . . . under the exterior that just likes movies with Lazer guns! 

That is typically how it happens.  But there are times when characters move you to do things that you normally wouldn't do.  Transformers is one of those movies.  The emotion in Optimus Prime's death scene is so intense.  Especially for a cartoon geared toward kids.  This was harsh and I can't even begin to remember what I thought of it as a kid.  Now, however I get a bit choked up.  This is one of the few cartoons that really pulls the raw emotion of a death scene.  Prime was so important to so many kids of the time so the emotion almost feel generational!      

The great thing about the movie is that I get a chance to have happy tears at the end as well.  as if out of the wind the voice of optimus prime calls out "Arise Rodimus Prime."  This part is also powerful and really pulls my typical hopeful tears!  There is a power and emotion in the hope of the future left in this scene that just makes me tear up!

Of course there are plenty of other movies that pull tears from me, such as Secret of the Sword, Princess bride.  Happy Movies!

Check out some other great bloggers who are discussing this as well.
Shezcrafti lost her self in the Never ending Story.

Green Plastic Squirt Gun  Remembers "the Boy Who Could Fly"

Brian mentions a movie that made me cry a few months back!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Collecting Nostalgia update!

As I mentioned yesterday, last weekend we (New Monster Productions) traveled a couple of hours north to shoot the next episode of Collecting Nostalgia.  We drove so we could showcase Brad and Stacy Rader.

We had a lot of fun in the museum like sanctum that is The Rader's house. Well. . . I say that. . . but it's not your typical museum.  It is a museum in that you can see things that you never get a chance to see. . . but it best part is you can actually play with them.  We all had a great time talking to the Raders and playing with their toys.  In the episode you will see some amazing displays and some amazing collections, and yes Battle Babies!

Here are a few pictures from the shoot. 

You can expect the episode in a little over a month from now (hopefully)

If you still don't know what collecting nostalgia is, you can check out here 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Battle Babies!

I have talked on this blog several times about my friend Brad and his Battle Babies but I have yet to really show you anything about that.  That changes now.

Last weekend I went to to video the latest episode of Collecting Nostalgia, and the subjects happened to be Brad and Stacy Rader!  So while I was there I picked up a battle baby that had caught my eye back at heroes con!  Sometimes things just speak to you and you don't really know why.  This was one of those times.

Battle babies are a kind of art toy.  They are a mash up of babies, animals and other toy parts.  you could find parts on there from just about any toy line you can think of.  Masters of the universe, GI Joe, Transformers, X-men, the list goes on and on!  There is no telling what you will find on one of these guys.  Old toys, New toys. . . you name it you can find it.  It really says a lot for Brad and his eye for detail.  He sees things  when he looks at these individual pieces of plastic that I can't see.  He see's a finished product instead of pieces.  His eye is really why these things are so awesome! You can hand him a baby a few guns and a dinosaur and within minutes he has something put together that looks like It was meant to be together.

Lets take a look at MY battle baby!

This guy caught my eye at heroes con.  With bits from GI Joe, and bits from MOTU and other toy lines this grasshopper looks menacing with it's sword wielding antenna, and its wings and, my favorite part the Gatling gun legs.  

If you inspect the toy you can see that brad has seamlessly cut bits out and replaced them with other bits.  It is unreal when you pick this thing up because it looks as though it was meant to be like that!  It is amazing what super clue and a knife can do!

The baby itself is also menacing.  I mean, how could a sword toting baby not be menacing! The detail on these things are really fantastic!  The love and attention that Brad puts into each of these creations is very obvious!  Each one is hand crafted and tells a story to some extent!       

Take a look at the Battle Babies on etsy.  There will be new additions to the store soon so keep an eye out and find the Battle Baby that you need to adopt.  These things are awesome!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Music I love: Ben Folds!

When I was in high school I was into music.  I put a lot of the other things I loved on hold and thought that music was the one true direction.  I played music, went to concerts, spent all the money I could come by on more music.  That was an important part of my life.

Most of the things I listened to then are all part of the nostalgic pie that has made up that part of my life.  I still really like to listen to the music of that time of life, but it is little more than sound fodder to make me think back to those long forgotten days of jumping railroad tracks and buying food with the change people dropped in my backseat!  Most of it, at least.

There was one band/musician that I feel I have never lost touch with over these years and that is Ben folds (and the Ben Folds Five.)  I'll be cliche, his music was honest.  Sometimes it was zany and he told stories that were meaningful in some way.  He is a philosopher and an excellent musician and lyricist.  Every album he has put out over the last 20 years has had meaningful songs on it.

I talk about the man, but the band (the Ben folds Five) is also important.  They have not put an album out in 12 years but the albums they have put out are amazing.  The Harmonies and instrumentation is the perfect mesh that you don't hear that often.  Each part makes a whole.

Many of the songs from these albums make up the soundtrack to my formative years.  Even the B Sides.  Lots of them can take me to a certain point in my life that was very impotant, weather that is driving down the road of just listening in my room.  Very important!  

this is kind of old news now but the Ben Folds Five are putting a new album together and I am certain it will be fantastic.  They are allowing the album to be funded online.  I recommend checking out what they are putting together HERE.  In the mean time check out some of Ben Folds and the Ben Folds Five stuff  from the past!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Captain America on the 4th of July!

In honor of the 4th of July I figured I would take a look at a toy from one of my favorite toy lines!  Yes, I am looking at the Star Spangled avenger himself, Captain America, from Mattel's Secret Wars line.  I have talked about other figures from this line before and have mentioned how much I like it, so I'll see if I can just talk about the figure!

Captain America has the standard Secret Wars 5 points of articulation Hips, shoulders and neck.  These figures were made of slightly pliable PVC and the paint was not the best as it was common for the paint to wear on these figures.  Captain America's torso stripes were notorious to rub off, and mine is no different.  Only white left! 

You will notice that Captain America here has a shield.  This isn't his traditional Captain America shield.  Instead it is a "secret shield" that all of the figures came with.  The shield came with several double sided linticular inserts that would show "animated" scenes!

To be so simple these figures hat a lot of playability.  These figures were exciting and colorful, and Captain America was no different.  Because he came with a shield (even though it was the secret shield) he had the appropriate accessories he needed.  

This is a figure, and a line that if you haven't gotten into you really should.  You can usually find these figures for good prices at shows and flea markets and even on ebay!  You should be able to find most of them for under $10.  So find some and add them to your collection!

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One Man's junk. . . Another's Nostalgia!

It's actually summer time but Brian over at Cool and Collected has been doing some spring cleaning and he has been showcasing some of the stuff he has had laying around over at his blog and letting people make offers on it.  In one of these posts something really caught my eye!

He had a Megavolt from Playmate's Darkwing Duck line that really took me back.  Readers of this blog are probably a little confused as to why a figure like this caught my eye . . . I'll get to that.  As soon as I saw that this was an item up for dibs I had to enquirer about it.  I did, and about 4 days later it was at my house along with some other interesting goodies that was packed in the box for me!

The box!

Megavolt with some of the incentives

one of the extras in the box!  I love these old wax packs, thanks brian

Ok now for the story as to why I was so happy to get this figure.  I had this figure when I was young.  I loved Darkwing Duck and one of the reasons was because I loved Megavolt.  Don't know why, but I really liked the character, he was zany and he dealt with electricity.  The figure sparked, and I had never seen anything like that (I missed out on Blackstarr some how and didn't realize this was a feature of some of those figures until much later!)  It was odd that it came with any accessories though because he couldn't actually hold them. . . 

The figure became hard to find in stores after I had mine.  And a friend had been looking for it but instead got a new Star Trek figure (laforge) which was new on the shelves at about the same time and it was a cool figure too.  lots of accessories lots of stuff.  I liked it a lot too, and my friend convinced me to trade him for Megavolt, and I regretted it as soon as the deal was done.  Hind site is 20/20even when you are a kid and you JUST made the trade!
To be honest I hadn't thought about it a lot since I have been seriously collecting and such, but when I saw it at cool and collected I had to pick it up!  

So, Thanks Brian, I am glad to add Megavolt back to my collection! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sketches and Drawings and Comics

It's weird because when I was a kid I drew all of the time.  I wanted to be a comic artist.  Of course I didn't have the patience.  I gave up and went on to music. . . and then video . . . and then . . .  actually I try a little bit of every thing!  But I still like to draw. . . and I never really stopped drawing.  I just did it as doodles on pages at my desk.  I was always a frustrated artist. . .

The problem is I still have a comic somewhere in me, and I have been developing stories for years but I haven't found an artist who shares my vision.  so in the background I have been plugging along at practicing and trying to find characters, as I write.  It is fun!

I say all of that to say this.  I have been drawing again.  Heroes convention has got me thinking creatively again.  Now that is not to say I don't still need an artist, because I do (and if you are an artist who would like to listen to my ideas let me know.)  I am not a great artist but, I have to say I have found the joy of sketching again.  Learning techniques etc. . . So here are some sketches I have been doing the last few days just playing around with some new stuff.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

80s toy awareness update.

80s toy awareness month is winding down.  June had been a crazy busy month and I am still recouping and I still have a few posts I am working on so, there may be a few lingering 80s toy awareness things coming out next month as well.  I have had a good response to it.  Last week I announced our winner for the contest and this week I want to share with you a picture of Jason with the prize!  I'm glad you enjoyed them Jason!

Check out the review Jason did of the figures over on his Blog

Stay tuned for more 80s toy awareness posts and also a few new little things I hope to finish up soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The League: Patriotic Pop Culture!

This week the League has called again!  This time we write about our favorite Patriotic Pop Culture in honor of the upcoming July 4th holiday for those of us who are in the United States.  at first it seemed like a tough question but then I remembered a few things that fit the bill.

The movie that really tugs at my patriotic heart strings is Independence Day.  Of course the name was a play on the 4th of July theme anyway, and it came out very near July 4th (the internet is telling me it was july 2 1996 but I seem to remember it coming out on the 4th of that year.)  

It is your typical alien invasion movie, kind of a play on War of the worlds in a way, nothing too speacial.  But it is many things within that.  As I have already stated it tugs at being a patriotic film, and an alien movie.  It also has spots of dark comedy, and light comedy, and in a way it is a buddy movie with Jeff Goldbloom and Will smith going to destroy the alien invaders.  

The patriotic part though is near the end when Bill Pullman's character ( the President of the United States) delivers a speach that will tugg at the heartstrings of any american or even any citizen of the world.  It is a kind of We will fight for what is ours speech.  It is a great speech.

When I saw this movie I really liked it.  There was something about it that popped for me.  It was about aliens, it had Will Smith and Jeff Goldbloom, it had laser guns, and a decent story.

There were a lot of stories in this movie.  Stories of redemption with Randy Quaid's character and many others.  Stories of family.  In a way it's a morality tale!  But it does the job of being a great patriotic movie even if sometimes that was just for a gimmick!

I would be remiss if I did not at least bring up something I picked up this weekend at Heroes con, since it can lead into this topic!  I picked up a book called American Barbarian which is actually from a web comic by Tom Scioli!  This thing is fabulous.  I mean look at that red white and blue hair!  you can check it out over on Tom's website! 

Watch this spot to see what others leaguers have to say.