Friday, September 30, 2016

5 Random Trading Cards: Vol. 2

Today I'll be taking you back to the days of cardboard cards, stale chunks of pink chewing gum and wax wrappers...yet again. We will be taking a look at 5 old trading cards! I loved collecting cards as a kid. Baseball, Ninja Turtles, Superheroes it didn't matter. I just loved opening a pack and smelling the gum and seeing if you had opened a pack with new cards or more doubles! The stickers were always the premium pieces, but having a few extras to trade never hurt. Let's open this pack of awesomeness and take a look at 5 random cards from the 80s & 90s:
Batman: Saga of The Dark Knight (Skybox, 1994)
I really enjoyed these cards when they came out. This 100 card set followed the events of Batman's life starting from the "Year One" story arc to the point where Batman regains his identity after Bane breaks his back. The cards are not just reprints of comic pages, but new art from some big names like Matt Wagner and Phil Jimenez. Saga of The Dark Knight also had some sweet chase sets including Spectra-Etch cards and the first SkyDisc!
The Creators Universe (Dynamic Entertainment, 1993)
I never bought any of these cards growing up and do not really know much about this set. From what I've seen, I believe Dynamic Entertainment grabbed a bunch of comic creators and let them create their own characters. They then turned these into a 100 card set. The card I found is a foil chase card of Adam Kubert's character Sgt. Major Acre, a British spy subjected to experiments by a group of terrorists. I don't think I'm interested in collecting this set?
Garbage Pail Kids Flashback: Series 2 (Topps, 2011)
This isn't exactly a retro card, but it is a reprint of "Off The Wall Paul", a character from GPK Series 2. I don't know why it is titled as "Sewer Sue"? I remember having this sticker when I was 5 years old and putting it on the bottom drawer of my dresser along with other Garbage Pail Kids. When we would play with our Ghostbusters action figures, they would walk by Paul and we would pretend they were in some sort of haunted museum!
Power Rangers: Series 1 (Collect-A-Card, 1994)
Who didn't like Power Rangers back in the early 90s? My little brother was a huge fan. So, I enjoyed these guys through his fandom. I was a little "too old" around that time to like things like this, but I still made time to play Power Rangers with my little brother and collect the cards. This one features Bulk & Skull, the bullies/comedy relief of the show. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would have been stale if not for this dynamic duo!
Spider-Man II: 30th Anniversary Set (Comic Images, 1992)
Comic Images put out a ton of cards sets just like this in the 90s and they all looked the same! Whether it was Punisher, X-men or Youngblood the cards had the same look. The front had bright art with little background and no boarder and the backs were 2 colors with a side pic and short story/description. I'm not knocking it, but a little variety between sets would have been nice. Also, most of Comic Images sets like Spider-Man II included "Prism Cards" as their chase set. I opened each pack hoping to get one of these with no luck! I guess that's the thrill of the chase...card!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Comic Book Pick: 9/28/16

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
Six months have passed since the events of BATMAN BEYOND #16. While areas of destruction remain in the outside world, Gotham City has made great strides toward reclaiming its bright future. But new threats arise and old adversaries may be coming back. And the question still remains: whatever happened to Bruce Wayne?
       (W) Dan Jurgens (A/CA) Ryan Sook       
SRP: $2.99

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Top Ten

This week the Pop Culture League was tasked with making a top ten list. What kind of top ten? Whatever we want! The first thing that popped in my head was my "Top Ten Ninja Turtles Comics" but I have done that before. Then it hit me, the "Top Ten 80s Commercials That Popped In My Head At This Moment". This is a visual list of 80s commercials that made such an impact on me that they immediately jumped to mind when thinking about the subject. I hope you enjoy!
10. The Real Ghostbusters: Gooper Ghosts Commercial
We owned the Ecto-1 and all the other GB toys seen in this video back in the 80s, but the one thing we didn't have was one of those kick ass city playsets that were always featured in these types of commercials. Who didn't want one of these? They were amazing, but we made do with the floor in our shared bedroom.
9. G.I. Joe: Serpentor Commercial
In a legendary Cobra hierarchy that includes such mastermind visionaries as Destro and Cobra Commander, Serpentor was the top chief. I mean, holy crap, this was a kids cartoon that had the bad guys grave robbing some of the baddest dudes in history to create the ultimate evil! His DNA was a mix of Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Attila The Hun and Hannibal. I had this toy and he reigned supreme over all other bad guy toys in my playtime universe!
8. Atari 2600 Commercial
I'm pretty sure this commercial came out around the time Nintendo was already in the market. That may explain the crazy low price of $50 for an Atari 2600 system! I never owned the 2600 as a kid, but did pick one up later in life and I love it! Sure the graphics are crazy outdated, but the fun and nostalgia are still there. Oh, yeah BTW the song in this ad is what has stuck with me for years. Every now and then you can still hear me humming the words "The fun is back! Oh yessiree! It's the 2600 from Atari"!
7. Charms Blow Pops Commercial
Not 100% sure this commercial came out in the 80s. If it did, I think it was aroundthe late 80s, let's say '89. I remember seeing this commercial run a lot in the summer time. Since the first time I saw this commercial I can not get the images of kids playing a sweet electronic drum set with Blow Pops, a kid saying "From Charms" with a deep man voice and the kids forgetting their lines. Hey, we've all been there, don't feel too bad Charms crew.
6. Nintendo: The Legend of Zelda Commercial
I gotta say, whoever was writing commercial jingles back in the 80s really knocked it out of the park. I still know every word to this hot "Rap" track. But let's not overlook the cameo by a Nintendo Fun Club Magazine and the way The Legend of Zelda brought nerds and cool kids together in the fight against Gannon! Maybe it brought them a little too close together? That's what the NES did, it was a common bond between kids on the school yard.
5. Bubble Yum: Checker Mint Gum Commercial
Wow! Where do I start with this one? Should I talk about the retro diner setting, the cool dude appearing out of the table, the penguin blowing a square bubble or maybe the flying magical taxi? Nah, the real hook here is the brilliant musical score. As a kid I did "Check It Out" and did enjoy it. This is on my list of food stuffs I would like to see make a come back!
4. McDonalds: Ronald on Ice Christmas Commercial
This commercial set the bar extremely high for all other Happy Meal commercials that came after it. This was a Christmas spectacle. The blend of animated animals and live action actors was something we had never seen before in a fast food commercial. It was more like a Disney movie than a way for McDonalds to sell cheeseburgers and fries. Damn, who didn't love Ronald McDonald after seeing what an amazing skater he was with such a big heart. I am hungry for some McNuggets now.
3. Milford Plaza: Lullaby of Broadway Commercial
If you grew up in the NY/NJ/PA area in the 80s, you know this commercial. It bombarded us constantly on our local channels. It didn't matter what was on. From Kissyfur to Night Court, whatever you were watching, this over the top entertaining commercial would come on and you would be singing it's praises for the rest of the night! I wonder if they are still in business? Let's give them a call at (212) 661-1717.
2. Toys R Us: Lazer Tag Christmas Commercial
THAT GIANT AWESOME ROBOT! I wanted one of those. Of course it wasn't a real toy, but that didn't stop me from dreaming. Why could this nerdy old accountant get one, but I never did? Why Geoffrey? WHY? Oh, also included in this spot is a sweet Lazer Tag set and sweet Christmas set up in that kids house.
1. Masters of The Universe: Castle Grayskull Commercial
Me and my brother had this amazing playset growing up and when I saw this commercial it blew my mind. According to this 30 second masterpiece we were the cool kids everyone wanted to play with at the beach. We had "Master Power" and could take down any threats thrown at us. Truly empowering stuff!
That's it for my top ten. I hope you enjoyed and it took you back to a simpler time. Check out these other League Member's sites to see what their putting on their list:
Green Plastic Squirt Gun: Top Ten Monster Cartoons From The Past
Toy Break: Top Ten Favorite G.I. Joe Accessories
Mr. Smith: Top Ten Most Influential Toy Lines
Alexis' Universe: Top Ten Favorite Vintage Toy Lines
The Toy Box: Top Ten Memorable G.I. Joe Figures

Birthday Recap 2016: Part 2

Last week was my birthday and I am so blessed to have a wife and kids that really know me and know what I like. I'm sure it helped that I dropped a few hints here and there. It was a great birthday spent with the fam. Well, let's dig in and take a look at what I unwrapped this year in Part 2 of the 2016 Birthday Recap!
 1989 The Little Mermaid Flounder Ornament (McDonalds, 1989)
Pac-Man Bottle Opener (Paladone Products, 2015)
Slimer Plush toy (Build-A-Bear, 2016)
The Goonies ReAction Figure: Sloth (Funko, 2014)
Various Sports Cards: Baseball, Football & Basketball
ColecoVision Flashback Console (AtGames, 2014)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Party Wagon Lunch Box Collector's Set! (Paramount, 2016)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Birthday Recap 2016: Part 1

This past week was my birthday and I am so blessed to have a wife and kids that really know me and know what I like. I'm sure it helped that I dropped a few hints here and there. It was a great birthday spent with the fam. Well, let's dig in and take a look at what I unwrapped this year in Part 1 of the 2016 Birthday Recap!
 Ghostbusters Mymoji: Sad Winston (Funko, 2016)
Science Fiction Vinyl Figure: Cylon (Funko, 2015)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Vinyls: Donatello (Loyal Subjects, 2015)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-Machines: Donnie in Speed Demon (Playmates, 2015)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Surprise Mini-Fig: Movie Donatello (Playmates, 2016)
Disney DuckTales T-Shirt
Gremlins Pop! Vinyl Figure (Funko, 2012)
Concussion starring Will Smith (Sony Pictures, 2015)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Comic Book Pick: 9/21/16

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
The devastating fallout from the first half of this event is enormous and being felt in every corner of the Marvel Universe. The truth about Ulysses' future-seeing power is revealed and it is a game changer. Sides are irrevocably drawn and the gauntlet is thrown for the biggest battle in Marvel Universe history. And that's just the stuff we can tell you. All this, and the story goes galactic!
              (W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) David Marquez (CA) Marko Djurdjevic 
                  SRP: $4.99                 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Earth vs. Aliens

This week the league was left a pretty stirring quote from one Stephen Hawking. In it Mr. Hawking states “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” Obviously Mr. Hawking has never heard of a mysterious group of Galaxy Defenders who call themselves the Men In Black. Have you?
Recently a large cardboard box was found on my front steps. It had no return address, no postage and no markings of any kind that would let me trace it's origins. I opened it up and inside were a strange bunch of sensitive materials. I'm telling you about this under anonymity, so please try keeping this on the down low for everyone's safety.
The first thing I pulled out of the box were a set of classified "Mission Journals" from the 90s. These illustrated journals must have been written as a record of what happened to individual agents as they proceeded to guard against extra-terrestrial violence. These may have been used as training manuals for future rookie agents to learn from other's mistakes and victories. This is only speculation though.
Next up was a trilogy of documentaries. These 3 are chilling videos of some of the Men In Black's most amazing triumphs. From giant bugs to a time traveling assassin. Little is known as to why the MiB would record their exploits. Once again these may have been used as a learning tool. Maybe someday these will come to light and be shown to the general public so we can fully understand the extent of danger the world is in? So when a future extinction level event occurs we don't fear them, we cheer them.
This item has to be one of the strangest! It is an agent simulator. This program simulates an Alien Escape and tests how agents would perform in high stress situations. Recruits are required to stop aliens from blowing up the Earth with a ship based weapon called the Class 7 Ozone Demogrifier. They are tested on investigative talents and recognizing alien threats out in the field.
With all the high stress situations and elite exhaustive training the MiB are still able take time to cut loose and relax. Otherwise I'm sure they would go crazy and possibly lose focus during a critical mission. We wouldn't want that would we?
I am not sure why I was chosen to receive this box, but let me tell you Mr. Hawking, if hostile aliens did come to Earth the Men In Black are our first, last and only line of defense against the worst scum of the universe! With all the above materials at their disposal the MiB have protected us since the 50s and are ready for anything. tonight I can go to bed soundly just knowing.........
Check out these other great sites that talk about stuff? I can't remember what though?

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Faves: Figure Collection #3


 I have a fairly big collection of loose figures from the 80s & 90s. I would like to share a few of my faves with you at this time. Get ready, here we go!
TMNT Talkin' Turtles: Leonardo (Playmates Toys, 1991)
This is the original Leonards Talkin' Turtle I had as a kid growing up with Turtle Fever. If I remember correctly, my older brother was actually the one that bought this guy. I loved the facial sculpts of this TMNT toy series. I mean look at that battle ready facial expression! On the downside I remember these "Talkin'" Turtles really did not talk that well. You had to insert a "Quip Strip" into the shell/sewer cover on their backs and pull it at the right speed so you could almost understand the mumbled voices of the TMNT. Great concept, just a little underwhelming when you expect your heroes to have a convo with you.
McDonalds Happy Meal: Kermit (McDonalds, 1990)
Oh Man! Where do I start with this guy? Everyone loved the Muppet Babies cartoon and everyone had these McDonalds toys. Between myself, my brother and the neighbors, we had the whole first series of these guys! This Kermit is from the second series that came out as the Muppet Babies popularity was sliding. I do not remember collecting this set with the same ferocity as the first, but damn does it bring back great memories.

MOTU Thunder Punch He-Man (Mattel, 1985)
Thunder Punch He-Man was a figure I never owned as a kid, but my neighbor had him and I was jealous! It's He-Man who blasts roll caps out of his back! That smell of a freshly popped cap still reminds me of this figure to this day. I picked this figure up at a yard sale a while ago for about $1. He is a little used and abused, but can still bust caps with the best of 'em!

McDonalds Happy Meal: Under 3 Mario (McDonalds, 1989)
This figure really confused the hell out of me. He was in one of those grab bags at Goodwill. It was Mario in his raccoon suit, I had to get him. I looked on the bottom of his feet and it said "1989 McDonalds". Did McDonalds put out a second series of Super Mario Bros. 3 figures I never knew about? Nope! This is the Under 3 toy that came out with the greatest Happy Meal set of all time, the 1989 SMB3 Happy Meal. I never knew this thing existed, but I am glad I own it.

McDonalds Happy Meal: Changeables Cheeseburger (McDonalds, 1989)
Transformers were the hotness for many years in the 80s. Since they were so popular you would see tons of copy cat vehicle/robot toys on the shelves. One of the greatest copy cat toys were the McDonalds Food Changeables aka McRobots! This little guy's name is C2 and he is from the second series that came out in 1989. This series also included a Big Mac, Large Fries, Hotcakes and an Ice Cream Cone! I love the fact that not only did we get toy sized McDonalds foods in this Happy Meal, but they turn into badass robots fighting for our right to eat fast food on planet Earth!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ninja Turtles: Smash Up

In 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash Up for the Nintendo Wii as part of the Turtles 25th Anniversary celebration. The same group who worked on Super Smash Bros. Brawl put in time on this game. So you know exactly what type of game you got? A beat em' up 1-on-1 brawler featuring the Turtles and their extended family!
The game played much like any other fighting game. You choose your fighter, your opponent chooses theirs and you fight to win 2 out of 3 matches. The cool thing about this game though is not only do you get to play with the TMNT, but the stages have great designs and surprises. You could be in the sewers fighting a Foot Soldier and an alligator will pop out and take a bite out of you during a match and you can destroy most of the environments and set traps for other players to fall into. These little touches make the game all the more fun to play.
As you can tell, I am a big Turtle fan and wanted this game once I heard it was announced to drop in the Fall of 2009. My wife pre-ordered me a copy from Game Stop, but wanted something for me to unwrap on my birthday. The folks at Game Stop allowed her to take home the display case off the shelves. This was what I opened on my birthday!
Once the game was released and we were able to pick up my copy at the store, I noticed that the artwork on the box was drastically different from the one I received earlier. I kind of prefer the display box art over the finished version.
The game also included cut scenes that were written by Turtles co-creator Peter Laird and drawn by long time Mirage Publishing artists Jim Lawson and Eric Talbot. To set up and explain the story for the game, included in the box was a short "Prequel" comic that tells the tale of Shredder kidnapping Fugitoid and the Turtles attempting to get him back!
I do enjoy this game, but not as much as Super Smash Bros. I feel like the roster could have been expanded much more. There are 16 different characters in Smash Up and 3 of those are Rabbids. The other thing I would change was the appearance of the characters. They take their look from the 2007 movie, TMNT. I would have preferred the original look of the comics as was portrayed in the cut-scenes. The stages are fun and the story cut-scenes are a treat for Turtles comic readers, but I feel it lacks a little something that would take it to elite status.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Comic Book Pick: 9/14/16

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
THE REVOLUTION BEGINS! Explosions rip across the Earth-and all signs of blame point to OPTIMUS PRIME and the TRANSFORMERS! G.I. JOE refuses to go quietly-and they assemble heroes big enough to stop the invaders! ACTION MAN and M.A.S.K. fight for humanity-but where do ROM and the MICRONAUTS stand? Celebrating more than a decade of stories by IDW and HASBRO, this unprecedented bi-weekly event draws everything together-and leaves nothing standing. The REVOLUTION is here-TAKE A STAND!
(W) Cullen Bunn, John Barber (A) Fico Ossio (CA) Tradd Moore
SRP: $3.99        

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Blind Baggin it!

This week's challenge is titled "Buying Blind". Who doesn’t love gambling on a blind box or mystery package? I for one, love it...if the price is right!
I found these Garbage Pail Kids Minikins blind bags at the Dollar Tree the other day. Who could pass these up for only $1! These were released by Topps in 2013. Each pack comes with 4 figures and 4 stickers. The reason I picked this pack is because I could see it had Nasty Nick the vampire from series 1 in it! Perfect for this time of the year!
Oooooo! Creepy! I love this guy! My only complaint is that the figure does not include the "Barbie Doll" in his arms like the original card did. I understand I am asking too much from a 1 inch tall mini-figure, but I'm kind of a jerk like that! Otherwise it is pretty accurate to his 1985 card.
Also included in the "Blind" portion of the pack I got the always popular Mr. Adam Bomb, Brainy Janie and Anna Banana. For $1, these things are great! They have the squishy, rubbery feel of a Squinky, but the paint and mold detail is awesome for the size!
Also included were 4 mini stickers of each of the characters contained in the bag. Each sticker has original Garbage Pail Kid art on the front and a nice little bio write up on the back.
There are 26 Minikins to collect in this series. Each in a blue, red, green, ultra rare yellow and painted variation. If these are still at the Dollar Tree next time I make a visit, I'll probably grab another bag. I really do enjoy the suspense and surprise of a good blind bag toy!
Click a link below and find out other Leaguers thoughts on "Buying Blind"!
Green Plastic Squirt Gun talks about his "Blind" addiction
The Last Hometown discusses their collecting troubles
Alexis' Universe shows us a great collection
Toy Break is not so enthusiastic about the concept