Monday, January 30, 2017

Retro Revival Challenge: First Comic

So this week, participants in the Retro Revival Challenge were asked to write about our first comic or comic book experience. I still remember the first comic I ever received...Heathcliff #16!
My sister bought this for me in 1986 when I was around 5 years old. She also bought my brother a Mickey Mouse comic that same day. She brought them home and read them to us on the couch. I still have this comic packed away somewhere in a long box.
One thing I remember from that book was the advertisements. My sister would read them to us as if they were commercial breaks in the comic. The one that stuck out the most was the ad for Bonkers! Ugly Balls. These balls were just a rip-off of the popular Mad Balls franchise, but man did I want one. I never did get it in the mail, but the search on e-bay has begun!
Another great first in my comic collecting career was my first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. It was the Archie published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #20. My Dad bought this for me when I was really sick one time and I could not leave the couch. I remember reading this issue over and over again. Me and my brother were huge Turtle fans at this time. We had the toys, played the games and watched the cartoon, but I had never experienced the Turtles in comic form before my Dad bought me this book. Since then I have completed the Mirage 1st & 2nd series, the Image 3rd series and I'm close to completing the Archie Adventure series and the Mirage 4th series. This was the one that started it all! Thanks Dad.
Check out these other participants and their comic firsts:
Retro Ramblings: Take a trip back to the 90s!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Old vs. New: Popples Edition

Today we are talkin bout Popples! My kids have recently been introduced to these cuddly characters through the new Netflix series. Christmas came and each of them received a Popple as a gift. They cuddle these guys while they watch the cartoon. I've seen it a few times and it actually isn't too bad. The biggest change they made is that the show takes place in Poppleopolis where all creatures Popple live. In the old 80s version they hung out in our world and caused all kinds of mischief!
I totally forgot my wife gave my oldest daughter her old Popple toy from when she was a kid. This gave me the perfect opportunity to compare the old vs. new. Let's dive in, shall we?
Side by side, you can see that the old Popples were much bigger than the new counterpart. I must say that I prefer the new style better. The body seems more proportioned and the fabric is softer.
Looking at the faces I once again give the edge to the new style. I know this may seem like a slap in the face to 80s purists, but the new face just seems to have more personality and individuality to it also it is more detailed and the hair is softer.
The tails I will say are a draw. Not much difference between the old and the new. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
When you ball up the Popples, this is what you get. The old style is more of a ball shape, the new one looks kind of like an egg. For my tastes I select the more rounded old style Popple.
The new style Popple retains the logo patch of the classic. Once again, I prefer the old logo with the classic Popple jumping around on it. I like that the new Popples kept the classic look of the old logo. Why fix something that isn't broke?
It's a toss up between the two, but if the tie breaker is nostalgia, then the 80s Popple reigns supreme! Now sit back and enjoy the "Clean Sweep Of Things" episode of the Popples. I had this episode on VHS back in the day and can still recite every line from it, much to my kids embarrassment!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 1/25/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD! What happens to a super-villain on their last day in Belle Reve Prison? Against all odds, Killer Frost is up for parole from the Suicide Squad, but you can bet Amanda Waller isn't going to make it easy for Frost to join the new JLA. One shot.
                (W) Steve Orlando, Jody Houser (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Ivan Reis, Joe Prado                   
SRP: $2.99

Monday, January 23, 2017

Retro Revival Challenge: Toys

This week Retro Ramblings has tasked all Retro Revivalers to talk about toys! Our favorite toy or toys of all time, toys we collected, new toys, toys in movies, or whatever else we felt like sharing about toys. I could talk forever about Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Voltron or Thundercats, but I decided to go a different route and write about Nerfuls! Remember them? Back in the mid 80s I owned one single Nerful toy and his name was Frankie. I loved him!
Let me start out by telling you a little bit about the Nerfuls. According to their original marketing, Nerfuls are a group of bouncy, colorful little creatures who love fast action and great fun! They've traveled far from their tiny planet, Erf, just so they can roll around, bounce around, and always be around children. They were released around 1986 by Parker Brothers as a toy line loosely connected to their popular Nerf sports balls. The characters themselves came in three pieces, a hat or ears, body and a head. The head was to be used as a bouncy ball or a top you could spin on the nose.
They weren't really great at bouncing, but they were still fun characters to play with. My original Frankie that I owned as a kid may still be packed away somewhere in my Mom's attic. I purchased this boxed version off ebay years ago for around $10 and he is now featured prominently on one of my toy shelves.
Obviously these guys were not as popular as some of the toy lines released in the 80s, but they were still able to snag a coveted Burger King Kids Meal promotion.
I really did enjoy these toys as a kid, even if it was a challenge to try and not lose any of the parts. The concept was fun, it was different than all the other action figures on the shelf and the sculpts were great. I remember Frankie having a frog popping out of his back pocket that was fully painted! The Nerfuls really were "a ball to be around!"
Don't forget to check out these other challenge posts:
Construx:  A Great 80’s Toy – Retro Ramblings

Friday, January 20, 2017

Second Hand Score: TMNT Pizza Power!

A few years ago I uncovered this TMNT treasure at Goodwill for $1.99. I never played the Ninja Turtles Pizza Power game until my kids recently found it in a storage closet.
We opened the box and read over the rules, which are pretty complex for a board game aimed at kids! Here are the rules, I'll try to make it as easy to follow as possible. You pick one of four turtles, you roll the dice and move around the board.
While moving around you collect "Good Guy" cards. Featuring Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, Splinter & April.
You then use these "Good Guy" cards to battle the "Bad Guys". For example, if you land on a bad guy with the number "2" on it, you must battle with a good guy that is ranked "2" or higher. Then to battle, you place the dice in the blue flipper and try to get the dice to fall into a spot equal to or greater than the number on the "Bad Guy" card. Make sense?
Once you have collected 3 "Bad Guy" cards and 4 "Good Guy" cards you must remove a manhole cover that then leads you to the Technodrome to battle Krang.
To defeat Krang you must flip your dice into the number 1, 2 & 3 slots on the flipper to win! It's that easy!
Needless to say, me and the kids modified the rules a little to make the game move a little faster. In the end we all had fun and enjoyed this retro gaming experience!
This game was released in the mid 80s by Rose Art during the early stages of the Turtles popularity. The artwork is amazingly retro and classic. I also like how Bebop and Rocksteady are only referred to as "Punk". I am happy I found this game and experienced the joy of PIZZA POWER!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 1/18/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
Behold the debut of the TMNT's weirdest foe yet: Wyrm! When Michelangelo tries to help find a missing person in the sewers, he ends up discovering something he wished stayed in the dark!
•   A new back-up story from Brahm Revel (Guerillas) takes us inside the Foot Clan!
(W) John Lees, Nick Pitarra, Brahm Revel (A) Nick Pitarra, Brahm Revel (CA) Freddie Williams II
SRP: $4.99

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Retro Revival Challenge: Event TV

This week the Retro Revival Challenge is to reveal the one annual television event that makes us drop everything we are doing, turn on the TV and become zombies for a few hours! Back in the day there were so many things that were events to us, watching Rudolph at Christmas, The Simpson Sunday nights on FOX and the Super Bowl. But thanks to the invention of DVDs, Netflix, Amazon TV and more, there really isn't any appointment television. I have Rudolph and a hundred other classic Christmas specials on DVD, The Simpsons can be streamed and I have boycotted the Super Bowl every year the Patriots are in it. But there is one event that keeps calling me back...

NBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND!!!! This is the one time of the year where you can see all of the top NBA stars showcase their skills in one place! Ever since I can remember, I used to record the entire All-Star weekend on VHS and rewatch it over and over. Everything from the Slam Dunk Contest to the skills challenge to the game itself. I wish I had those tapes in hand today, I would totally watch those with my kids, not only for the athletic feats, but for the amazing commercials! Here are my top memories from those games:

1991-92: Michael Jordan meets Bugs Bunny for the first time!
Oh man, was this an advertising milestone! Not only did it lead to some awesome kicks, but it also gave us the brilliant "Space Jam" movie! I wonder when that sequel is scheduled to hit? Athletic companies always saved there best commercials for this showcase.

NBA All-Star Game 2003: Michael Jordan's final All-Star Game
This was a hard one for me. I idolized Jordan for so many years and his impact on the sports world can never truly be measured. He was the greatest ever and I'd be lying if I said his final All-Star Game didn't bring a tear to my eye.

NBA All-Star Game 2000: Vince Carter wins Slam Dunk Championship
These were the dunks that made you jump out of your chair, freak out uncontrollably and then question what you just saw! Vince Carter brought something no one had ever seen before! He did the reverse 360 windmills, a honey dip, and a between-the-legs dunk off a bounced alley-oop from his cousin Tracy McGrady. But he did it with such ease and smoothness it was ridiculous!

NBA All-Star Game 1992: Magic Returns and wins MVP
This was Magic's one and only game that season. This was supposed to be his final game after finding out he was HIV positive. He scored 25 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists on his way to MVP honors.

NBA All-Star Game 2009: Krypto-Nate defeats Super Dwight
I saw this one go down in 3D! One of the local movie theaters was broadcasting the event in 3D and even though it was on Valentine's weekend, my wife bought us tickets to see the contest. It was amazing! Nate Robinson is one of the most athletic dudes I have ever seen play the game.

NBA All-Star Game 1997: Glen Rice sets scoring record for a quarter
This one sticks out because I had a friend who was a huge Seattle Supersonics fan and he keep arguing and complaining that Gary Payton should have won the MVP that year. Glen Rice set some records, won the award and that is history!

BONUS: NBA All-Star Game 1996: Jordan pulls off Penny Hardaway's pants
I thought this was hilarious when I saw it happen live. I always held onto my pants whenever I stepped out onto the court from that point on.

One of these years I will make it to an NBA All-Star Game. It is one of the top things on my bucket list! Who will make a historic highlight this year? I'll be watching! Now go see what these other Retro Ramblers viewing habits are:
Retro Ramblings: WWE Royal Rumble
The Harvey Mercheum: Loves a parade

Friday, January 13, 2017

Whatever Happened to Chip & Pepper?

A while back I wrote a post about the 1991 Saturday Morning NBComic. Featured in it was an ad featuring all the hot new cartoons that would be on NBC that fall. Yo Yogi, Pro Stars, Space Cats, Captain N and Chip and Pepper's Cartoon Madness!
Wait? What? Chip and Pepper? I totally forgot about those guys! If you didn't know, these radical identical twin dudes from Winnipeg hosted their own Saturday Morning television show titled "Chip and Pepper's Cartoon Madness"! In it the two brothers play the part of cartoon bulldogs who escape into the real world through a hole in their cartoon.
While on Earth their main goal is to spread fun and show cartoons to the kids of the world all while fighting the nasty Bubbleina! Sounds crazy? Well it was! Just watch the samples below to get a taste of what "Chip and Pepper's Cartoon Madness" was all about!
Sadly the show only lasted one season from 1991-1992. But in that time Chip and Pepper parlayed their TV celebrity status into a popular clothing line that featured everything from shirts to jackets to jeans. Since 1985 Chip had been designing t-shirts and selling them out of the back of his Jeep.
 According to his website the "Chip & Pepper" and "Chip Foster" clothing lines are currently sold in over 500 stores worldwide and has made the brand  a resource to some of Hollywood's biggest celebs! If you are interested you can buy a pair of Chip Foster Jeans off the official website by clicking HERE. Warning the average price is around $200!
Aside from a few appearances on the Style Network and E!, I could not find anymore acting appearances by the duo. In my search I did uncover this nice interview with the twins on the website Vintage Inspired Passionista.
So in closing, I am a little disappointed that Chip and Pepper did not continue their reign as the coolest dudes/dogs on television, but I find a little comfort in knowing that if I win the lottery I can afford to buy a pair of their jeans in 2017. Also, it looks like they can throw a pretty kick ass party!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Retro Revival Challenge: Snow Days!

First of all, I am excited to be back in the "Blog Challenge" game. I truly did enjoy being a part of the Pop Culture League and now Retro Revival. This week's challenge topic of "Snow Days" immediately brought me back to my winters in New Jersey. Where we lived there was a gaggle of kids who were around the same age. We would get epic games going during our time off during a snow storm!
We would play legendary games of manhunt throughout the neighborhood and hardcore games of hockey. When I say hardcore, I really mean "budget". None of us had real snow gear, so we would wear 3 layers of pants, a coat on top of a sweat shirt on top of a t-shirt, multiple pairs of socks with Wal-Mart bags tied around our feet to keep them dry and whatever sneakers were available. Then we would find a frozen pond to play on. But, before we played we had to do the kid test to see if the ice was thick enough. That meant finding the biggest rock around and throwing it as close to the middle of the pond as possible. If the ice held we were good. If it broke, we were on to the next one.
I'm pretty sure our sticks came from some budget shopping store. I almost want to say maybe even the dollar store. They would break so easily and we probably spent more money on duct tape fixing those things up than a new solid hockey stick would have cost! No puck either, just whatever small ball we could find!
I remember chasing that ball across the ice, only to lose my balance and slip head first into the frozen pond. I hit my chin on the ice and chipped my tooth, but kept playing. No we didn't have the best gear or the warmest clothes, we weren't even really hockey fans, but damn we had a ton of fun on those snow days!
Check out how these other Retro Revivalists spent their snow days:
The Harvey Mercheum: Digging Trenches

Comic Book Pick: 1/11/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
Two of comics greatest teams team up for the very first time! Something terrible has happened in Angel Grove! When the Command Center is breached and the teleporters are damaged, Zack is flung into another universe, where he's mistaken for a villain by a mysterious masked vigilante. Can the other Power Rangers get to their friend in time to save him from Batman? Co-published with BOOM! Studios.
     (W) Tom Taylor (A) Stephen Byrne (CA) Dan Hipp     
          SRP: $3.99            

Monday, January 9, 2017

In October A Winner Was Me!

Wayyyy back in the month of October of 2016 the website Action Figure Barbecue held a little "Toy Bloggers United" contest. Pretty much a post would be put up on the website with a question at the end. Some included "What Toy Scared You As A Kid?", "What Is The Perfect House For Trick or Treating?" and "Have You Ever Dressed Up As Your Favorite Toy For Halloween?". Of course I jumped on the opportunity for free stuff, answered these questions and BAM, I was hit over the head with some Halloween memories that I had forgotten about. Like the time my mom made me go out as an Oreo Cookie and my brother as a Rubik's Cube! In the end, I wound up winning one of the 3 prizes and here's what was in the box!
 Comics: Ghost Rider Rides Again #2 (1991) & The Pirates of Dark Water #2 (1991)
 Garbage Pail Kids (2003), Casper Puzzle, Christmas Puzzle & MLP writing pad
 Halloween Makeup: Tooth Black Out & Hair Color Spikes
 Misc. little guys (Aliens, Robots, Dr. Doom, Prince Phillip & Weird Finger Puppet)
 Skull Air Freshener (Vanilla Scent), Lego Stickers, Pinky and the Brain pad & mouse pad
 POGS!!! Limited Edition Collector Series w/ bonus Casper Pog & Skull Slammer
Spiders, Lizards & Frogs
Also included was a Star Wars Black Series Snowtrooper figure. Thank you again to the fine folks at Action Figure Barbecue. I will enjoy my major award. Please check out the AFB website. It is full of AWESOME toy reviews and I saw some stuff on there that I didn't even know existed! It's a good read. You won't want to miss out on the layers of action figures, pumpkins, and superheroes, covered with a rich chocolatey coating at Action Figure Barbecue!

Friday, January 6, 2017

1991 Saturday Morning NBComics!

A good part of my comic book collection is dedicated to adaptations of 80s & 90s cartoon properties from Thundercats to Heathcliff. When I saw this comic for sale, it needed to be added to the long box. I loved watching Saturday Morning Cartoons as a kid and I still enjoy watching with my kids. Here's what was inside:

Wish Kid (September 14, 1991, through July 1992)
This comic was a Toys R Us giveaway that promoted NBC's Saturday Morning Lineup with stories based off some of their hottest shows at the time. The first story focused on the Macaulay Culkin
cartoon "Wish Kid". I never watched this show as a kid. By the time it hit NBC, I had already had my fill of Mr. Culkin and I am sure there were better viewing options on the other stations. The one positive is that Culkin provided his own voice to the show, unlike other cartoons that animated real celebs, but had someone else provide the voices!
Pro Stars (September 14, 1991 to December 7, 1991)
Pro Stars did just that! The show featured some of the greatest professional athletes of all time with Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and BO JACKSON! Of course since Bo was in it, I watched it. Like I said before though, the cartoon focused around these athletes, but the voices were provided by actors. It felt like us kids were cheated! Bo, Michael and Wayne were reduced to appearances in short commercial bumpers and a viewer Q&A session. I do own the series on DVD and watch it from time to time.
Yo Yogi! (September 14, 1991 (1991-09-14) – December 7, 1991)
This is another cartoon I did not watch as a kid. Yo Yogi was an attempt by Hanna-Barbera to try and update their old Yogi Bear franchise and characters. This new hipness did not sit well with viewers and the show only lasted for 13 episodes. I can honestly say the best thing about this short lived cartoon was the tie-in drink from Capri Sun...Yo Yogi! Berry!
Spacecats (September 14, 1991 - December 14, 1991)
This cartoon seemed promising when it came out in '91. It was created by Paul Fusco, best known as the creator and voice of ALF! Spacecats was also produced by Marvel Productions. The cartoon was about a race of alien cats from the planet Trygliceride-7 that come to Earth and help solve problems. There was even a portion of the show that involved puppet versions of the characters with a moral at the end of each episode. With all the talent behind it, the show only lasted 13 episodes.
Saved By The Bell (August 20, 1989 (1989-08-20) – May 22, 1993)
Do I really need to explain Saved By The Bell? If you grew up in the 90s you wanted to be Zack, Slater, Kelly or Lisa. Sorry Screech, nobody ever wanted to be you. But did you know that SBTB started off as an NBC pilot named "Good Morning Miss Bliss"? This show ran on The Disney channel for 13 episodes. Then it was cancelled. NBC picked up "Miss Bliss" and changed the characters around a bit and renamed it Saved By The Bell. You can find every episode currently streaming on Netflix. I'm so excited!!! There was even a Harvey comic book that ran for 7 issues!
And of course what would a Saturday Morning Cartoon promotional comic be without one of those classic lineup ads! Looking at this, I really wish they could have added a Captain N or Mario comic to the book. I'm sure the licenses were tied up with Valiant, who was putting out Nintendo comics at the time. Still, damn those were the shows I probably watched most out of this whole lineup! I can overlook this problem and still be happy this 90s relic is in my collection. What the hell ever happened to Chip & Pepper?
Enjoy these 1991 NBC bumpers!