Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 5/31/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
Baxter Stockman is looking to become the new major villain on the streets! His first step to world domination? Turn the Mutanimals into robots!! All-ages three issue mega-story! If you dug the Batman/TMNT Adventures books, you'll get a major kick out of the next adventures of the TMNT from the current Nickelodeon cartoon!
(W) Caleb Goellner (A) Chad Thomas (CA) Billy Martin
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis provided by

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

First of all I want to say Thank You to our service men and women who have served are serving and will serve in the armed forces. Without these men and women we probably would not have the freedoms to celebrate a long holiday weekend. Secondly, Memorial Day weekend is always the official kickoff to summer for me and my family. This past weekend we had no prior commitments like baseball, gymnastics, school functions or birthday parties for the first time in a long time! We finally had a chance to relax!
With all that free time I was able to tackle a few things around the house that had been piling up like getting our lawn sprinklers up and working, fixing a broken light fixture, catching up on laundry and building this raised garden for my kids to plant some veggies! We went to Lowes and the kids picked out cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and surprisingly Brussels sprouts!
We cooked almost every meal on the barbeque! This included hot dogs, home made cheese burgers, chicken and my favorite...Earl Campbell's Hot Links! Oh, I also stirred up a pitcher of my fave Kool-Aid flavor Blue Raspberry Lemonade!
Now back to the Earl Campbell Hot Links. These are amazing! They are so flavorful with enough spice to make your mouth water. The spice is just right and doesn't overpower the taste of the link itself. The price is also reasonable. It is only $4.98 for a 36oz pack at Walmart. You can check out some other Earl Campbell products at his website You may be asking yourself 'Who the hell is Earl Campbell?" Earl is a Heisman Award winning, Hall of Fame NFL running back who played 8 years for the Oilers & Saints. See him in action in this video!
Other highlights include 5 Pro Bowl selections, 3 All-Pro selections, 3 time NFL Rushing leader, 2 time NFL Touchdown leader, 1979 AP NFL MVP, 3 time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, 1978 Offensive Rookie of the Year and a 2 time All American at Texas! His football legacy is why I picked these up in the first place.
Of course we had to have the traditional side dishes and junk food to go along with our meals which included salads, watermelon, chip, Cheetos and I finally got to try the new Mountain Dew flavor Dew-S-A which is a combination of Mountain Dew Code Red, White Out & Voltage. It was okay, but a bit too sweet for my likes. The kids loved it though! Also finally found and got to try the new Warheads "Hotheads Worms". These I really liked. They start out with a sour sweetness and end with a spicy kick. I found these at the dollar store.
It was such a great weekend filled with good food, fun in the sprinklers, competitive games of badminton, completed projects and time with the family. How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, May 26, 2017

I Finally Got A Teddy Ruxpin!

What child of the 80s could ever forget those magical lyrics that came from the lips of an animatronic bear, "Come dream with me tonight!" Released by Worlds of Wonder in 1985, Teddy Ruxpin was the must have toy for any child under the age of 10. Who can blame them? The advertising for this toy was everywhere. The commercials made it seem like you not only got a toy to play with, but a real, live talking bear who would tell you stories and be your best friend!
Well birthdays and Christmases came and went and I never got a Teddy Ruxpin. Don't get me wrong, I did get some great gifts from Masters of The Universe to MASK action figures, but there was always that gaping hole in my childhood that was never filled by the magic of Teddy Ruxpin. Fast forward 30 years and...
BOOM! There was Teddy Ruxpin sitting on the shelf of the local Goodwill store! I grabbed him immediately without even flinching. Picked up a few more things and went to the register. He rang in at $8! What a bargain! Now to be fair, this isn't the original Worlds of Wonder Teddy Ruxpin but it's the 2005 Backpack Toys version. Still, I OWN A TEDDY RUXPIN! He still works the same. He can read stories and his mouth moves, the one change is the cartridges that go in his back.
They are small, yellow cartridges that are shaped like a story book. Not at all like the cassette tapes from the 80s version, but that's okay.
The other item I picked up that day was an original Worlds of Wonder Teddy Ruxpin book titled "Teddy Ruxpin's Birthday". Any time you see a Teddy Ruxpin book, you must pick it up. There is not much in the way of a story in the book, but I guess that's why Teddy tells everything to us. I only paid $0.50 for this baby. But the Ruxpin treasure finds don't end there!
A few weeks after I purchased my Teddy Ruxpin, I went to a video rental store that was closing and grabbed this 1987 Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin cartoon DVD for $1! I remember watching this show at my friend George's house when I would sleep over. It was on HBO and I didn't have that channel at my house, so this made it extra special to stay at George's. If you have never seen the cartoon, I'll share an episode with you below!
My kids love Teddy Ruxpin and will all sit together to hear about his adventures with his friends in the world of Grundo. Now the search is on for a Grubby!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 5/24/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
VENOM #150
Or, feels so bad? However it feels, Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been reunited, and they're web-slinging their way around New York again. Featuring a host (hah!) of Venom creators from the character's near 30-year history, this  monstrous anniversary spectacular welcomes guest artist TRADD MOORE for an oversized and brutal main story AND a lethal story featuring fan-favorite creators David Michelinie and Ron Lim, reunited! With questions still lingering about how the symbiote was separated from Flash Thompson, and what lies in its future now that it's reunited with Eddie Brock, this is one issue you can't afford to miss!
(W) Mike Costa, Various (A) Various (A/CA) Gerardo Sandoval
SRP: $5.99
Synopsis provided by

Friday, May 19, 2017

August 1985 Television/Radio Age

Almost one year ago I was tasked with cleaning out the office of our recently retired art director of 34 years. It took almost a full week to clean up that office. 34 years is a long time to accrue stuff! I found quite a few things that had historical significance to the station I work for and set those aside.  Of course some things were not needed for the station, but had some value to me, like this old issue of the trade magazine "Television/Radio Age" from August 1985. Here are some of the amazing things I found inside it's pages!
Hanna-Barbera Fall 1985 Ad
This ad features some of Hanna-Barbera's most popular toons at the time like The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Paw Paws and Galtar! Can't say I remember Galtar and the Golden Lance, but it looks like HB's attempt to replicate the Masters of The Universe. Anyone remember Galtar?
This ad actually caught my eye. It was on one page and you had to turn it to see who they were talking about. Who could be this amazing back in '85 that they could out dazzle Mr. T and outrun the Road Runner? WHO?
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Of course it was Alvin and the Chipmunks, who else could it have been? I loved getting home from school and being able to unwind and watch the Chipmunks before it was time to do homework. According to this ad The Chipmunks were the #1 highest rated animated series on network television! It was so popular that they were selling it 3 years in advance through the fall of '88!
LBS Communications Sales Ad
LBS Communications may not be around anymore, but they did have some pretty sweet properties to sell back in the 80s like Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget, MASK and the DC Superfriends. I just learned from this ad that MASK was the first animated series that was Closed Captioned for hearing impaired children. That's solid Matt Trakker!
Did you know that 1986 was the year of Robotech? Well, because of this ad now you do! I actually never watched the show as a kid, but I loved the action figures and had a few of them in my collection. They would battle with my GI Joes and other smaller figures for the fate of humanity!
Warner Brothers
Not much to say here. They were simply "The Best". Now that Tina Turner song is stuck in your head. Isn't it?
Children's TV Programming Article
I included this article just because it shows that the 80s were the Golden Age of Cartoons! Back in '85 television stations were looking for opportunities to expand their cartoon blocks not only in the morning, but in the afternoon also! Today local channels barely have any children's programming at all. Working for an NBC affiliate, I just recently saw them eliminate cartoons on Saturday morning entirely in favor of tween centered programming and that just makes me sad. Yes, today we have Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toon Disney that deliver cartoons 24-7, but it just doesn't match up to the great shows we had back in the day. Kids today will never know the thrill of waiting in anticipation to catch a glimpse of the new cartoons that would be hitting the air on the fall cartoon preview show!
Did you enjoy this look through an old magazine? Well if you did check out what else I found in our art directors office in these past posts on 20 Years Before 2000:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 5/17/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
JIM MAHFOOD (Tank Girl, Clerks) debuts his first new creator-owned work in years with the glorious return of GRRL SCOUTS! Join Gwen, Daphne, and Rita as they reunite for a pulse-pounding psychedelic adventure through the streets of Freak City. This first issue is stuffed to the gills with an action-packed story, bonus art, soundtrack, sketchbook, and a behind-the-scenes comic thingy. Plus, a variant cover by the one and only SKOTTIE YOUNG! Pure fun! Pure flavor!
(W) Jim Mahfood (A/CA) Jim Mahfood
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis provided by

Monday, May 15, 2017

My Top 5 Moments from "RAD"!

Just a few days ago I commented on a Twitter post that I had never seen the 1986 movie RAD before. It had always been on my list of 80s flicks to watch, but I was never able to find it. To my knowledge it has never been on Netflix and was never officially released on DVD. The only way I could find it was on VHS, but the prices were a little steep.
Well, my comments on Twitter got a lot of traction on the interweb and thanks to Shawn Robare, who runs the excellent retro site Branded in the 80s, I was able to get my hands on a copy and rectify 31 years of RADlessness! Here are my 5 favorite parts of the high octane BMX action adventure of Cru Jones as he strives to overtake the Hell Track!
1. The Bicycle Boogie
Back in the day who wouldn't have wanted to boogie with the future Mrs. Jessie Katsopolis, Lori Loughlin? This dance scene was crazy from the sweet BMX "Dance" moves to the song "Send Me An Angel" by Real Life playing at the local teen hot spot. I can honestly say this is something I had never seen before on film! Just looked up some recent pictures of Lori online and DAMN does she still look fine!
2. Lumber Yard chase with the Police
This is possibly my most favorite scene of the movie. The cops roll up, Cru and his gang roll out on their sweet BMX bikes and challenge the local 5-0 to a game of cat and mouse in a lumber yard. Some of the stuff Cru pulls off is insane! He manages to outsmart and outride Sgt. Smith and in the end everything ends with an admiring salute from the law. I wish the cops were like this where I grew up. All we had was officer Allen telling us not to "Piss in his cornflakes"!
3. Mr. Timmer flips off Duke!
I was pleasantly surprised to see Ray Walston aka My Favorite Martian in this movie as Burton Timmer. Mr. Timmer stood to make a lot of money if the #1 seed in the HellTrack race, Bart Taylor won. But when the villain of the film, Duke Best kept changing the rules to keep Cru Jones out of the race, Mr. Timmer stepped up and fronted $27,000 of his money to help out the local boy. When confronted about this choice Mr. Timmer responded to Duke with an enthusiastic middle finger to the face! AMAZING!!!!
4. The Final Race
After proving himself to be a top rider in the qualifying races and overcoming the sponsor and money rules put in place by Duke at the last minute, Cru Jones gets his chance at HellTrack! He starts out in the lead and avoids attempts by the rival Mongoose team to take him out and in the final lap he is overtaken by Bart Taylor who has a strong lead. But in a turn of sportsmanship and cockiness Bart waits for Cru to catch up with him and they race head to head to the finish! [SPOILER ALERT] In the end Cru pulls of a fantastic spin move to beat Bart at the checkered line to win! Cru gets the title, the respect and the girl! The movie ends and we are treated to a highlight reel of BMX tricks, which leads me to my final fave moment....
WOW! If this isn't one of the top ten 80s soundtracks, I don't know what is! It is pure 80s synth greatness and fits the tone of RAD to perfection. Days later and I am still singing "Cause there's thunder in your heart! Every move is like lightning!" If you want to hear more songs from RAD you can check them out on the YouTube RAD playlist by clicking HERE!
There are so many other AWESOME moments from this movie that I may have to do a second round of "My Top 5 Moments from RAD"! Like the team trading homework for t-shirts, Duke drinking what looks like Jack Daniels in the Mongoose tent, Ass Sliding and the epic dance seen with twins Rod & Rex in space suits that were borrowed from the movie "V"! There is so much to like here. If you are an 80s movie fan, I highly recommend finding and watching RAD!  I finished the movie and was left wanting more Cru Jones shenanigans, so now I am on the lookout for my own VHS copy of the movie, the soundtrack and possibly even  a copy of the book "My Rad Career" by Bill Allen. The hunt starts now!
This movie has such a cult following that it makes me wonder why it was never released on DVD or BluRay? A new BluRay would be sweet! Just think of all the extras that could be included. A doc on the popularity boom of BMX racing in the 80s, a where are they now look at the stars, a look behind the scenes at the making of RAD and maybe even music videos? I know I am dreaming, but that would be cool, right?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Baseball Season Snacks

Last week baseball and softball started for my kids and I am happy to say that 2 of them are on the Little Caesars team! They were so excited and asked if we could have Little Caesars for dinner after every game! I was okay with that, but unfortunately we were all vetoed by my sensible wife! This could have been my family...
Of course like every year we are required to bring the traditional after game snacks for at least one game per kid. My oldest wanted the healthy choice of Twinkies, but when we went to Wal-Mart to pick them up we found these instead...
Hostess Baseball Cupcakes! I hadn't had these since the early 90s and didn't even think they were still around. Not only did they have the usual "Yellow Cake" variety, but they now have "Chocolate Cake"! I think it's kind of cool how Hostess labels the yellow cake as "Day Game" and the chocolate as "Night Game." Simple but fun! My only complaint is that they don't come with cards anymore!
Back in 1993 me and my brother used to eat these things by the dozen just to get the free baseball cards in each package. Once we had enough for 2 complete sets, we stopped eating them and I hadn't had one since!
The baseball fever doesn't stop on the snack front, it also invaded our breakfast table in the form of Home Run Crunch!
This is pretty much just Cap N' Crunch with Crunch berries in the shapes of bats and balls. Nevertheless it was still delicious and the box was empty in 2 days.
After eating all these delicious treats I need to work off the pounds! I guess it's time to make like Ham Porter and...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comic Book Pick: 5/10/17

This week the comic book I am most excited to read is...
An all-new Young Animal miniseries begins! Forager is just one of the Hive before he breaks out of his cocoon and finds himself in a mysterious house in an unknown realm. There he meets all kinds of strange creatures: a ghostly girl, a talking teddy bear and otherworldly weirdos that have literally jumped out of his worst nightmares. But these interdimensional oddballs are nothing compared to the evil General Electric, who is on the hunt for a reality-bending metal that could alter the fabric of life itself. To stay one step ahead of him and preserve the multiverse, Forager must travel through alternate dimensions to seek the metal and, hopefully, catch up with that cagey stuffed bear. If he does it, will he finally be able to distinguish himself as a New God?
DC's Young Animal celebrates Jack Kirby's centenary with this new six-issue miniseries-and who better to tackle this task than the Eisner Award-winning Allred clan! Featuring scripts by Lee Allred (BATMAN '66), art by Michael Allred (Silver Surfer) and colors by Laura Allred (Lady Killer), BUG! is truly a family affair.
(W) Lee Allred (A/CA) Michael Allred       
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis provided by

Monday, May 8, 2017

Top ten game wants for SNES Mini

The NES Mini has come and gone. I was one of the lucky few that was able to find one at a retail store and I LOVE IT! In fact, just today me and the kids were playing Double Dragon II, Bubble Bobble and Balloon Fight on it. I just wish there was a way to add more of my fave Nintendo games to it? Well, now all the talk and speculation has come to Nintendo releasing a SNES Mini in time for the 2017 holiday season. If this happens, I want one! Here is my top ten list of games that I would like to see on the console based on how much I enjoyed them as a kid.
The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare
(1992, Acclaim Entertainment)

Contra III: The Alien Wars
(1992, Konami)

Final Fight
(1991, Capcom)

Ken Griffey Jr's Winning Run
(1996, Rare LTD.)

Super Mario Kart
(1992, Nintendo)
Mega Man Soccer
(1994, Capcom)

NCAA Basketball
(1992, HAL Laboratory)

Super Street Fighter II
(1994, Capcom)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time
(1992, Konami)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
(1992, Nintendo)
Honorable Mentions go to: Act Raiser, Donkey Kong Country, Earthworm Jim, Killer Instinct, NBA Jam Tournament Edition and Sim City. I hope you enjoyed that Super Nintendo featuring Mr. Paul Rudd. What games would make it onto your SNES Mini wish list? 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017!

Saturday, May 6th is Free Comic Book Day! You can go to your local comic shop and choose from a variety of great comics from publishers like Marvel, DC, Darkhorse and more! If you want more info or need to know what shops are participating, check out the Free Comic Book Day website. Every year I take my kids out and make this day an event. It's something we look forward to every year. Here are my top five comics for the 2017 FCBD:

Prequel to the upcoming TMNT: Dimension X 5-week event this August! Krang was defeated by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now awaits trial in Dimension X. Little do the Turtles know that Krang hired an assassin to destroy everyone who might testify against him, including themselves! This issue introduces a deadly and weird new villain, and begins the biggest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adventure in space ever! [ALL AGES]

Get in line for the foremost Free Comic Book Day four-color giveaway of the year! When Bart injures his back and has to use a rolling backpack, he turns weakness into strength as the "Leader of the Backpack Pack." Then, Homer and Bart pull an all-nighter and put themselves on high alert to prevent a potential home invasion. Rod and Todd Flanders get separated from Ned Flanders in downtown Springfield and find themselves on an odyssey fraught with many mostly imagined dangers. All that and much, much more, and it's all free! [ALL-AGES]

Once upon a time, wizards tried to conquer the Sacred Realm of Hyrule. The Spirits of Light sealed the wizards' power within the Shadow Crystal and banished them to the Twilight Realm beyond the Mirror of Twilight. Now, an evil menace is trying to find Midna, Princess of the Twilight Realm, and the fragments of the Shadow Crystal to gain the power to rule over both the Twilight Realm and the World of Light. This FCBD special features excerpts from the manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. [TEEN]

DC Super Hero Girls is an exciting new universe of superhero storytelling that builds character and confidence and empowers girls to discover their true potential. This special FCBD issue features an exciting, action-packed story from the upcoming original graphic novel DC Super Hero Girls: Summer Olympus that readers of all ages will enjoy. [ALL AGES]

The Tick celebrates FCBD 2017 with 32 pages of full-color fun! In the all-new 15-page lead, "Happy Birthday, Tick!", The Tick throws himself the ultimate super-party! But he invites both good guys and bad guys, figuring everyone can be pals in the interest of birthday celebrating! Party plans may go awry when The Terror attends along with his ninjas! Backup story: the presidential election saga, "Civic Duty", previously only seen in a limited convention special. 29 pages of FCBD fun! This is going to be a BIG year for The Tick with the new Amazon TV show! [ALL AGES]

After we grab our free funny books, I'll load the kids in the car and we are heading to Toys R Us for a FREE LEGO Star Wars Building Event! Kids get to build their own LEGO Princess Leia to take home. TRU does events like this pretty frequently. If you are interested in free LEGOS, Pokémon Cards or other fun stuff to do with the kids please visit their "In Store Events" page on the Toys R Us website by clicking HERE!

After all that free fun, we'll need to recharge! Every year I take the family to McDonalds for lunch and I am happy to see that they will have Super Mario Bros. Happy Meals when we make our annual FCBD visit.
My kids love the Mario games for Wii & WiiU almost as much as I loved playing the original trilogy on the NES back in the 80s. I wonder if they will have the same type of great memories with these toys as I have from the Super Mario 3 Happy Meals?
How will you be spending your 2017 Free Comic Book Day? Let us know in the comment section below and HAVE FUN!