Friday, April 30, 2021

Cracked Turtles

CRACKED Magazine was founded in 1958 as a foil to the more popular MAD Magazine. Though it lasted in various forms until 2007, CRACKED was always the little brother to MAD. I know I was a MAD reader, but that was because our local library carried MAD Magazine and when me and my older brother would have to wait there for our sister to pick us up after school, MAD was required reading. That is until one day, my brother's friend Pat brought this issue of CRACKED to school and I was mesmerized by this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles parody cover. 
Pat let me borrow the issue and I was surprised to see how closely it resembled MAD Magazine. I always believed CRACKED was more of a MAD spinoff than a rival publication. Anyway, I was looking for the Turtles stuff and this issue did not disappoint!

This "Good News/Bad News" skit is actually kind of funny and the artwork is really well done. Haven't read this in years and it still is cool to see.
The next Ninja Turtles bit is about Housewives Against Turtles Everywhere. I remember the Turtles being seen as too violent for kids, but by today's standards that 80's cartoon is very tame. I remember loving the image of this freakish zombie Turtle and wishing I could draw like that. This is the last page inside this issue of CRACKED that contains any Ninja Turtle content. I wish there was more! 
The rest of the book was filled with more MAD like satire. I thought this send up on Cellular Phones was pretty funny and very dated. I will have to say the issue did end with some coolness as we were left with this...
CRACKED Cut-Up for a can of Mutant Turtle Soup! I really wanted to cut this out, but this was Pat's magazine so that was off the table. I guess now that I have my own copy, I can scan and finally make this grade school dream come true! Did you read CRACKED as a kid? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Comic Book Pick 4/28/21

  The comic book I am most excited to read this week is...

(W) James Asmus, Sam Maggs (A) Jack Lawrence, Casey Coller (CA) Tony Fleecs
While using a modified Space Bridge to bring magic to Cybertron, the Decepticons end up unleashing a more powerful evil from Equestria than they ever could've imagined-looks like the only way out of this one is to team up! More ponies, more bots, and more magical mayhem as two worlds collide in the return of this hit crossover event!
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis Provided By: 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Throwback Jam of the Week: 4/26/21

  Throw on your Celtics Jersey and head to the mean streets of Boston as we take you back to the 90's! Without further ado, here is the 20 Years Before 2000 THROWBACK JAM OF THE WEEK!!
Artist: Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch
Song: Good Vibrations
Album: Music For The People (1991)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 1
Bonus Fun Fact: Marky Mark was trained by former boxer Mickey Ward for this video. Mark would later play Ward in the 2010 film "The Fighter".

Friday, April 23, 2021

New TMNT Toy Pickups

A few years ago I visited a local vintage toy store where I live. The guy who ran the place was a jerk, not helpful at all, didn't have prices on anything and looked up his prices compared to what was up on ebay! I bought about 2 items that day and never returned due to the poor customer service and high prices. About a month ago, I decided to give that shop a chance again. Maybe things had changed over the years? I was met & greeted by a friendly employee who was ready to help me find what I was looking for and more than happy to talk toys and NBA. He still looked up the prices on ebay, but was willing to negotiate. The place was a mess with boxes everywhere and no real organization, but the customer service was above what I was expecting and this time I left with a nice collection of Playmates TMNT toys! Here is what I picked up and added to my collection.
Original April O'Neil (1988) & April: The Ninja Newscaster (1992)
Walkabout (1991) & Zak The Neutrino (1991)
Rappin' Mike (1991) & Mona Lisa (1992)
Toon Raphael (1992) & Monty Moose (1992)
Robotic Bebop (1993) & Slice 'N Dice Shredder (1990)
Machine Gunnin' Rocksteady (1991) & Head Spinnin' Bebop (1991)
Slam Dunkin' Don (1991) & Tattoo (1991)
Mutated Don (2006)
Got some pretty great stuff in addition to that Collector's Case. The biggest surprises were finding a Mona Lisa. I had been searching for her figure for years and was never able to find one in my price range. After all was said and done I got her for around $5! Another surprise was the "Mutated Don" figure. I am not too well versed on the 2000's TMNT toy line and I knew this was a Turtle toy, just didn't know what. The guy at the counter thought he was a Leatherhead figure. Not having this in my collection, I had him put it in my pile. I guess "Mutated Don" is a pretty rare figure? Just glad I was able to get him and the rest of the toys above home, cleaned up and in my TMNT collection. I'll have to go back sometime soon and check out this store's comic book offerings. I'll let you know if anything good comes out of that trip. Until then enjoy some retro Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy commercials!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Comic Book Pick 4/21/21

   The comic book I am most excited to read this week is...

(W) Sophie Campbell (A/CA) Sophie Campbell
It's the battle of the bands... of the century! As Jennika decides whether she weighs harmony over revenge, a musical brawl of epic proportions against Bebop and Rocksteady will have major ramifications on time itself!
SRP: $3.99
Synopsis Provided By: 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Throwback Jam of the Week: 4/19/21

  Throw on your Timberland Boots and to the mean streets of Jersey as we take you back to the 90's! Without further ado, here is the 20 Years Before 2000 THROWBACK JAM OF THE WEEK!!

Artist: Fugees
Song: Nappy Heads
Album: Blunted On Reality (1994)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 49
Bonus Fun Fact: This song was the first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 for the Fugees, It also reached #1 on the Billboard "Hot Dance Music/Maxi Singles Sales" chart.

Friday, April 16, 2021

A Box of Deathwatch 2,000!

Continuity comics was started in 1984 by Art Adams as a way of gaining more freedom and money from his original creations. For about 10 years Continuity published some pretty solid comics including Bucky O'Hare, Captain Power and Samuree. In the 90's Continuity started riding the wave of variant covers, gimmicks and cross-over events. The biggest event in Continuity's history would have to be the Deathwatch 2,000 story. 
The story took place in the early 90's and spanned over 20 issues of Armor, Cyberrad, Earth 4, Hybrids, Megalith and Ms. Mystic. Classic even created a set of cards for the event in 1993. I had picked up a few of these packs back in the day and honestly, I thought they were pretty cool. The Adams style art and inserts kept me wanting more. 
Recently, I picked up a box off ebay for around $5. It contained 36 packs with 8 cards per pack. I was really hoping to score an Art Adams autograph card or one of the Ken Griffey Jr. or Shaq inserts.
Yes, Classic included these "Superstars" chase cards in random packs and this was my reason for grabbing this box. There also was a Manon Rheaume card in the set. If you don't know who she is, here is a quick history lesson:
Manon Rheaume, was the first woman to ever play in any of the major North American pro sports leagues. She signed a contract to be a goalie in the Tampa Bay Lightening system. She actually played in a few pre-season games for the NHL's Lightening in 1992-1993, but never actually played in a true season game. She won a Silver medal with Canada in 1988. She spent 5 years in the minor leagues and has since retired.
Okay, enough of that! Let's open some packs! I divided the packs into 4 stacks of 9, so myself and my 3 kids could all partake in the fun. We opened each pack carefully hoping to find a Junior or Shaq...
In the end we did not get either of those cards and ended up getting 1 Rheaume card and one of the cool translucent Hybrid cards.
We also ended up completing 2 full 100 card sets. I can't say I'm disappointed, but for $5 and a few hours of fun, it was worth it.
After we finished opening and did not receive a Junior or Shaq, my wife said I could pick one up off of ebay. I did a quick search and the prices are crazy for the Shaq card! Cheapest I could find was $24!!! Junior was a bit more reasonable at $8. My best bet to get these 2 is to buy one of the 40,000 card sheets Classic had printed up. These can be found for around $2. I guess the hunt will continue!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Comic Book Pick 4/14/21

  The comic book I am most excited to read this week is...

(W) Chip Zdarsky (A) Pasqual Ferry (CA) Ron Lim
Peter Parker once put on an alien suit that nearly destroyed his life - but what if he'd never taken it off? Ignoring every warning, Spidey embraces the dark symbiote! Haunted by terrible nightmares and exhausted by an endless barrage of bad guys, Peter can't seem to catch a break these days. So when the Hobgoblin attacks, he finds a hero at the end of his rope...and vulnerable to new dark impulses. Spider-Man is about to change his rules - but is it truly Peter who is in charge? Creative powerhouses Chip Zdarsky, Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth bring you a terrifying tale of a Peter Parker possessed and on the edge!
SRP: $4.99
Synopsis Provided By: 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Throwback Jam of the Week: 4/12/21

 Throw on your Ruff Ryders Bandana and head to Yonkers as we take you back to the 90's! Without further ado, here is the 20 Years Before 2000 THROWBACK JAM OF THE WEEK!!

Artist: DMX
Song: Ruff Ryders Anthem
Album: It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 93
Bonus Fun Fact: This song, produced by Swizz Beatz, was initially rejected by DMX for not being raw enough! It has since become one of his signature songs. The music video features cameos by Onyx, The LOX, Swizz Beatz and Eve.

Friday, April 9, 2021

DC Bloodlines Cards

For those of you that may not know, "BLOODLINES" was a 1993 crossover event produced by DC Comics in an attempt to introduce new characters to their super-hero universe. The story introduced a parasitic, shape shifting race of aliens that fed on the spinal fluid of humans. The majority of these victims died, while others found that the attacks awakened their dormant super powers. Honestly, it sounds like a pretty cool concept, but the majority of the characters introduced were pretty lame and the execution was a bit iffy. That is probably why this event is forgotten by most comic book fans. The story spanned over 23 of DC Comics Annuals and most notably introduced the character Hitman.
The only issue of this series that I can remember buying off the rack was Superman Annual #5. I bought it because of the appearance of the Cyborg Superman from the Reign of Supermen storyline.
Flash forward to a few days ago when I was at a newly opened store that specializes in vintage toys, video games and cards. I saw this pack in a display case and since I am a sucker for vintage card packs from my youth, I picked it up. It was only $1 and I was hopeful that I would get one of the cool insert cards that included foil embossed "Supermen" cards (1 in 18 packs) and "Superman Exchange" cards (1 in 72 packs). Enough chatting, let's tear open this beautiful foil wrapped pack from Skybox and see what's inside!
Most of the cards in my pack show off artwork from the comics. These are pretty cool and show some of the highlights from the series, but...
The card backs are puzzle pieces! There is no description of what is happening on each card or anything to let collectors know what the story is about. Don't get me wrong, I love puzzle cards, but I feel like a little insight into the action on the front would have helped make this a better set.
The other cards in the pack were character bio cards which tell the powers, origin and first appearances of these new Bloodlines characters on the back. The artwork is very 90's but not bad overall.
The back of the evil alien card shows off her human form with no info on the character. I don't mind this as much as the puzzle pieces because at least you are getting a full look at the character from both sides of the coin. I didn't get any of the insert cards, but in the end I am not disappointed with my $1 investment. At least it gave me a few minutes of enjoyment and the basis for another blog post! Would I attempt to collect the set? No, there are way better 90's products out there that i would rather sink my money into.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Comic Book Pick 4/7/21

   The comic book I am most excited to read this week is...

(W) Geoffrey Thorne (A) Marco Santucci/Dexter Soy
As this new Green Lantern series begins, the newly formed United Planets and the Guardians of the Universe hold an intergalactic summit to decide who can best serve and protect the cosmos from danger. With the majority of Green Lanterns called back to Oa, John Stewart arrives alongside Teen Lantern Keli Quintela, whose powerful gauntlet could be one of the most powerful and unstable weapons in the universe. With the entire landscape of the universe in flux, is this the end of the Green Lantern Corps...or a new beginning?
SRP: $4.99
Synopsis Provided By: 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Throwback Jam of the Week: 4/5/21

  Throw on your freshest head band and head to Flint, MI as we take you back to the 80's! Without further ado, here is the 20 Years Before 2000 THROWBACK JAM OF THE WEEK!!

Artist: Ready For The World
Song: Oh Sheila
Album: Ready For The World (1985)
Peak Billboard Hot 100 Position: 1
Bonus Fun Fact: This song features a fake Brittish accent performed by singer Melvin Riley Jr. because in his words, "I like that kind of accent, so I thought I'd use that sound"!

Friday, April 2, 2021

A SNAKE Lost at Sea

In 1982 REMCO released a series of action figures based on the DC Comics series "Sgt. Rock". These figures were the same scale as the G.I. Joe figures on the shelves at the time and the backing cards even told kids to play with them alongside your Joes. There were several good guys released in the set including Sgt. Rock himself, but I was more interested in "The Bad Guys"!
On one of my Mom's trips to a store called "Rockaway Sales" in Newton, NJ, me and my brother took our traditional stroll through the video game and toy section. My Mom said if we were good, we could pick out a toy. My brother picked out one of the "Good Guys" from the Sgt. Rock line while I snatched the badass, eyepatch wearing, mustache toting SNAKE from "The Bad Guys".
I loved this action figure so much that I took him on a family trip to Seaside Heights. My Aunt had rented a house on the beach for all of us to stay in for a few days and I was ready for some fun in the sun with Mr. SNAKE! This is where this delightful story turns into a tragic tale of woe!
The first day there, we went to the beach and I thought this would be a good time for SNAKE to practice his swimming. I took him down to the ocean and buried his legs in the sand. I thought that would be enough to keep him hunkered down, but I underestimated how strong the tides were and SNAKE was taken out to sea, never to be seen again! I WAS DEVASTATED!
My brother had joked and teased me by telling me that SNAKE was now in the belly of a shark somewhere near the bottom of the ocean. This did not help the situation and I'm pretty sure it led to some tears being shed.
Well, on the way back to the beach house, I was feeling terrible, but then I was in disbelief of what I saw! It was an Incredible Hulk arm popping up out of the sand! Was this the miracle that would turn this vacation around? Was karma smiling on me willing to replace the figure I lost with an AWESOME Mego Hulk toy?
I grabbed the arm thinking I was going to pull out a full intact Hulk! Instead...
I pulled out a broken off green Hulk hand. No body attached! Would the disappointment ever end! Why was Seaside Heights providing me with the cruelest summer a young boy in the 80's could ever have? Well, I hung on to that arm for a while and actually played with it every now and then, but whenever it was in my hands it brought back the crushing memory of losing my pal SNAKE out to sea!
Flash forward about 35 years and I found a loose SNAKE action figure on ebay for around $5! I needed this lost piece of my youth back in my life!! I paid and waited and when SNAKE arrived it was one of the happiest moments of my collecting life!!! In the listing it didn't even mention that he came with his accessories, so that was a happy surprise. Since the day he arrived in my mailbox at work, me and SNAKE have been so happy together...again! I still wonder what did happen to my original SNAKE?
I like to think he is living out his years on a beautiful deserted island, sipping delightful exotic drinks with his wife Golden Girl by his side. Wherever he ended up, I hope he is doing well and living the good life. God bless you SNAKE, your service will never be forgotten!