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.