Monday, April 27, 2015

3 Toys from the Junk Box Batman Edition

Had to make a quick trip to the coast this weekend. We went from having a few months to get whatever anyone wanted out of Grandpa's house to "Hey can yall have it all out in 5 days?"

But while down I spent the night with my cousin. While helping her put a new bed together for her son. We also went through all his toys. Getting rid of shit he never played with. And yes he got consulted on what was given away.I of course got first choice.

Ended up getting right at 30 action figures. And 3 items that because of space issues in the truck I had to leave down there until my next trip to the coast.

No clue what toyline this Joker came from. I noticed I didn't own a full size Joker figure. I have had a Imaginext Joker for years now. Liked the paint apps and sculpting on this one. The articulation is shit. It feels a bit like the Kenner Batman the animated series figures.For having so such small feet Joker is surprisingly easy to stand up.

This tiny Robin seems to be a Happy Meal toy. The paint and sculpting isn't good. Along with this one I got 2 other figures. One who I was shocked was made into a Happy Meal toy,hint it's a hero that started in the golden age.And was a JSA member. And one who I have no clue who it is.But yeah this Robin sucks. Never been a huge Robin fan so it isn't like I gotta have a cool Robin figure.

Saved the best for last. I loved the Fisher Price Imaginext toyline. Their DC superheros are some of my favorites. But they figures cost way more than I want to pay. This Batman came with the Imaginext 2 foot tall Batcave Playset.He has so much articulation. The paint is great. And the clothlike cape is a nice touch.It is weird I am a big Batman fan. But until I got this huge haul of toys,only Batman I had was  Batman Begins Batman.I like this Imaginext Batman so much more. Plus it looks like a dwarf version of the Adam West Batman.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 053 The Darwin Awards 3

TITLE-The Darwin Awards 3
AUTHOR-Wendy Northcutt
PRICE-50 cents

I had heard of the Darwin Awards for years now. They are awarded to people who die because of their own stupidity. So I had made a stop at my local library. Was looking at the books they had for sale and saw this. Now what sucks is they had just raised their prices. Use to be it was 10 cents for paperbacks and a quarter for hardbacks. Now it is 25 cents for a paperback and 50 cents for a hardback.

There are so many great stories in here. Like the idiot that shot himself with a pistol "To see how it feels." Then a few days later did it again "To see if it hurt as much as the first time." Hell there is a great one set in my hometown of Biloxi MS. About some moron cutting a bottle of explosive gas open with a butane torch.

My only complaint about this book is how much wasted space is on each page. Most pages have maybe 2 paragraphs. And if they had not wasted so much space per page we could have gotten many many more stories.

The Darwin Awards 3 gets a  2.84 outta 5.

Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 052 The Gunslinger original edition

TITLE-The Dark Tower Volume 1 The Gunslinger
AUTHOR-Stephen King
FORMAT-Trade Paperback with color inserts

There is a handful of books I love so much I read them once a year. The Gunslinger is one of them.And one of the few books I own in more than one format. Of the original edition I got the above pictured trade paperback,the normal sized paperback that is missing the art inserts and finally the limited hardcover.And if a new version of this edition came out with new cover art that I liked I would buy it.

So what is the book about. Our hero,if you can call him that,is Roland. The last of the gunslingers. In this world the gunslingers are their version of the military and cops combined. He is on a mission to track down and capture the man in black. No not Johnny Cash.

In this book,the first of 9 books in the series yeah I said 9,we get introduced to Roland and his world. Which appears to be very similar to our world. With stuff that we share. But also very different. Roland comes to the town of Tull. Which appears to be an old western town. We find out that a big war happened that changed this world. And that Roland is the last of a long line of gunslingers.

Also in this book Roland saves a boy from our world. Jake,who it seems came to this world after being killed in ours.While chasing the Man in Black. Who has taken a tunnel through a mountain,Roland has to make a what seems to be hard decision. And his choice lets us know so much about how dedicated Roland is to his final mission.

For the people that haven't read this book,honestly it is a hard read. Firstly it is nothing like any of the other books in Mr King's history. It reads like you are in chapter 10 of a 50 part series.And lots of stuff is left up to the reader to figure out. That is why when ever someone tells me they are going to read the Dark Tower series,I always tell them. "Do not give up on it until you finish book 2." Hell I see lots of people saying to skip the first book. But you shouldn't do that. All the stuff in this book that makes no sense is explained later on.

As for why this is one of my favorite books? There are many reasons. There is the way King blends so many genres into the age old quest storyline. This volume of the series is a blend of western,science fiction,fantasy,horror and psychological suspense genres.

Now you might have noticed I call this the original edition. That is because back before the 7th and final volume in the series was published,King went and revised The Gunslinger. At the time he said it was to make the book fit better with the later books in the series and to correct a few nagging mistakes.And it does do that. But I also have a theory on why we now have two versions of this book. Which I can't talk about because they majorly spoil later volumes in the series and the end of the series. I think to highly of this series to spoil it for anyone that hasn't read it. But if you want to hear my theory on why we have two versions of The Gunslinger track me down and I will be happy to tell you.

The Dark Tower volume 1 The Gunslinger original edition gets a 4.98 outta 5.

3 toys from the junk box 04/17/2015

We all remember the machines at the front of almost every store in the 70s and 80s. You threw in some change and got candy or even better a small toy.Now sure the prices of the stuff has went up. But so has the variety and quality of the toys. And Fred's in town has the best machines. There has been more than a few times I have stopped there just to use the machines. Hell I save up my quarters and hit it once a month at least. One time was in there and they had these great little Marvel Superhero toys. See Wolverine's head? It comes apart and that is where the rest of his body was stored. I think this was 50 cents. And really wish I had had more change on me that day.

Yeah I own an original She Ra.As a kid I hated this toyline.Mostly because when it started the cartoon replaced Masters of the Universe.Then years later I found one at a thrift store. Grabbed her to go on display with the handful of MOTU figures I had held onto. That is the figure pictured above. Had this one since sometime in the mid 90s. 96 I would guess. At one time I had found her sword at another store. But it got lost last time I moved. I really need to get a tiny brush and do something with her hair. But I know I would look dumb as fuck brushing out a 30 year old toys hair. For the time this was a pretty well made figure. The paintjob was good,as you can see mine has some scrapes.The sculpting is decent. And it's action feature,you pull her to one side and she punches,isn't bad.

I have been a Mark Henry fan since he first showed up in the WWF what close to 20 years ago. Got this Slam City toy in a two pack with Brock Lesnar and a chair. The paint and sculpting is well done. All the Slam City toys look great. His only articulation is at the shoulders. But like all other Slam City figures his arms are that stretchy rubber like stuff. I wish I could find another one. So I could add him to the dash of my car. I wonder if they made a Slam City Mark Henry in the penguin outfit he wore in the cartoon?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 051 Essential Marvel 2 in 1 volume 1

TITLE-Essential Marvel 2 in 1 Presents the Thing Volume 1
AUTHOR-Roy Thomas,Bill Mantlo,Steve Gerber and others
FORMAT-Trade paperback

Back when I was a pre-teen the library in Moss Point had a comic book trade. You traded one issue for 1 issue. I would get any comic I could for free. So I would have stuff to trade. Quickly I became a fan of Marvel 2 in 1. Which was a monthly team up series. Most issues have the Thing teaming up with another hero or team of heroes.

When Instocktrades opened the above pictured trade was in my first order. I hadn't read these early issues of 2 in 1 in over 20 years. After reading 4 or 5 issues I was hooked again. And have been slowly building a complete reading set.

This trade reprints,in black and white,issues 1-20,22-25 and annual #1 of 2 in  1. Issue 21 isn't reprinted in here. Because it has Thing teaming up with Doc Savage. When the issue came out Marvel had the comic publishing rights to Doc Savage.  Since then they have lost the rights. The trade also reprints the following.
Marvel Feature 11 and 12-This is where 2 in 1 started. And until I got this trade I had never read them.
Marvel Team Up #47-Which had the same premise as this title. But instead of the Thing it was Spiderman teaming up with another hero each issue.
Fantastic Four Annual #11

One thing I realized is while lots of the time the artwork is average,the stories are normally really good. Steve Gerber,who is one of my favorite comic writers,has a nice long run in this trade. And so does Bill Mantlo.

As for stand out issues in this trade you got...

The two Marvel Feature issues. The first of which has Thing teaming with Hulk and the other has Thing tagging up with Iron Man.

Issue #1 Thing finds out about Man-Thing. And travels down to the Everglades "Cause there can only be one hero with thing in their name!" Yeah I know it is goofy. But Gerber wrote it and Gil Kane drew it.

Issue #7 Where Thing meets up with longtime Defenders member Valkyrie. She is my favorite female Marvel superhero. And one  I wish was used more often.

Issue #8 A X-mas issue. Thing teams up with the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider. And they fight the old Fantastic Four villain the Miracle Man.

Issue #14 Thing teams up with the Son of Satan and they fight a twister loaded with ghosts.

And the final issue in this trade,Issue #25. Where Thing and Iron Fist team up.

Sometimes the stories are a bit cliche. And the art rarely raises above average. But a combination of nostalgia,good writing and the oddball team ups makes me love this title.

Essential Marvel 2 in 1 volume 1 gets a 4.00 outta 5.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Comic Haul from the 84 Mart April 9th 2015

We got a junk store out near my home. The owner is the father in law of one of our neighbors. And when it first opened I was in there almost every month. But they were never getting in much of anything I wanted. So I stopped going.

A few hours ago I was heading to Dollar General to grab a drink,some moth balls and allergy meds for my dog. On my trip back something told me to make a stop at 84 mart. I walked in saw a few comic trades,asked the owner want he wanted for them. Got told the price per issue or if I grabbed all he had I got a huge discount. Saw that I wanted about 60% of what he had so went for the buy them all deal.

Got 8 issues of SHonen Jump. Most of them still in the mailer bags. All but 2 of them from 2010. Will end up reading a few stories from each then giving them to my cousin's son.

I remembered that most issues of SJ came with some kind of CCG card. Got these four. All of them got some amount of foil on them. Will end up using them as bookmarks.
Never heard of this series before. From CMX it is the first volume of what is labeled as a romantic comedy. I will give it a shot.
This right here is a major reason why I wanted the lot. I got into Gigantor when in the early 90s Sci FI Channel was showing it each morning. Didn't know there was comics published over here about him. Seems Ben Dunn of Ninja High School fame wrote this. So I guess it is what I have heard called American Manga. Still it is Gigantor.
From 1975 here is Super Goof 35 published by Whitman. I loved this series as a kid. And when I find issues cheap I will buy them.As you can see it is a reader copy.
And also from 1975 here is Tor #4. Published by DC.I have read scattered issues of this Joe Kubert creation.Again it has cover damage,but the issue is complete. Which makes it a reader copy.
I love the various horror and science fiction DC anthology titles. If I find issues cheap I always buy them. This issue is from 1969. The Unexpected #114,I figured it had to be late 60s or early 70s after seeing the 15 cent cover price.Flipping thru it there is no names working on stories that I know.
From 1978 here is issue 53 of the Gold Key/Whitman Star Trek run. I love the painted covers on this series. And for the cheap price I had to grab it.
Published by Harvey Comics in 1978 here is issue 101 of Sad Sack and the Sarge. I love the 70s and early 80s Harvey humor titles. They are what I was reading when I first got into comics.
Issue 106 of Conan the Barbarian's run at Marvel. This is another series I am collecting slowly. Mostly because I don't want to pay more than a buck an issue. Since this is from 79 Buscema and Ernie Chan are doing the artwork.

A few years back I got issue 4 of the Giant Sized Conan series. It is the last issue of that run. Well found issues 2 and 3 today. Sadly 3 had a huge sticker on the cover that did a bit of damage when I peeled it off. I love how on the cover of issue 3 it says "special ACADEMY AWARD issue,Featuring "Devil Wings over Shadizar". I don't remember a REH story with that title,so I am assuming this is either an original story or adapted from the non REH written stuff. Still 2 issues of Giant Sized Conan for less than a fourth of cover price is a good deal. Now just need the first issue to complete the run.
When I saw this I knew I wanted the lot. Sure it isn't mint. But it is in decent shape. And I know enough Star Wars geeks to be able to sell it and either make back what I spent on this lot,or more than likely make a small profit. Didn't notice until I was home that it is a reprint. Still I paid almost nothing for this. I think I read the reprints of the first 3 issues,but never the original issues. And gotta love that green Darth Vader drawn by Howard Chaykin on the cover.
I use to have to go once a week to another elementary school for my "gifted" class. Yeah they called it that back then. And I was always jealous of the kids at that school. They got the scholastic catalog each week and got to order great stuff like Dynamite and Bananas magazines. I saw this issue and had to grab it. Bananas for those that do not know about it,was a kids themed version of Mad magazine. Back in the 70s and 80s Mad was in some areas thought to be too adult themed for kids. I think some of the main artists and writers from Mad worked on Bananas.Flipping thru it I see the interiors are all in color. And they are doing Mad style parodies of various popular late 70s TV shows.
Crazy was Marvel's version of Mad. I never saw issues of this anywhere. Hell didn't know it existed until a few years back. The X-men themed cover of this issue from 1982 is what caught my attention.I do know that Crazy had it's own mascot.Like how Mad had Alfred E Newman and Cracked had that Janitor dude.Crazy had Obnioxo the Clown. Who sometime in the 80s got his own one shot comic. Where he crossed over with the X-men.

So that is my haul of older comics from 84 Mart. I might start checking in there more often.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

3 Toys from the junk box April 9th 2015 edition

Since I am getting so much feedback on these I got another one done quick.Also since someone asked,Yes all the pictures are of toys I own. And taken in various rooms of my house.

From the late 90s here is the Jakk's Pacific WWF bendie Hardcore Holly figure.I got a Stone Cold Steve Austin bendie figure from this line for years. Had it hanging from the rearview mirror in my car. Then ended up giving it to a buddy when he moved.

Last year a good friend in Cleveland told me he had grabbed me a small gift at a recent AIW show.He wouldn't tell me what it was,just that I would love it.

As anyone reading this knows I am a big wrestling fan. And one of my favorites is Hardcore Holly. Part of it is I got to meet him back when he first started wrestling. He worked as a welder on the gulf coast. And worked a few plant shutdowns with my father. So when the company they worked for had a company picnic my father told me I had to go. "Newt we got this guy named Robert who is training to be a wrestler." So I went and got to talk to Robert for a bit.

Fast forward 4 or 5 years and Hardcore appears in the WWF as Sparky Plugg. And quickly became one of my favorite wrestlers.

I had no idea Jakks had made a bendie of Holly. And since I got it I have kept him by my desktop computer. Some people have Norton or Macafee protecting their computer. I got Hardcore Holly and the next figure.

Anyone reading this,if you have any Hardcore Holly merch you want to get rid of leave a comment here.

From the old Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toyline here is Panda Khan.When this toyline first started I grabbed the four turtles and that was it.Then when I started hitting thrift stores in the early 90s I started grabbing any anthropolymorphic figure from the line.

I haven't read all of the Mirage TMNT stuff,but I have read most of it and Panda Khan never showed up. I must assume he was created for the cartoon.

He has really nice sculpting. The paint job is well done. And the articulation is really good.I like how the pieces of armor on his shoulders and legs is made from a semi flexible rubber. No clue what accessories came with him.The green sword holder on him,well I doubt it originally came with him.

I got this Panda,I had owned him years ago and sold him when I moved from MS to TX back in the mid 90s,at the annual Wesson outfoor swapmeet. One guy had boxes of toys. I found this and asked what he wanted. Since I was getting 4 figures he told me $2.

While I have never been a huge fan of the Transformers toylines,when I saw this lego like set I had to get it.

Pretty sure this is Terraking.He is in his dragon form. The toy is so great. Once you build it you can transform it by removing a few pieces and twisting some stuff around. Yes it is basically a Transformer you make outta lego like pieces that you can transform.

Seems these toys came out in 2012. Construct Bots is the line name. They each come in a resealable tray. Which is perfect for keeping the pieces and instructions in.

I found this one a few months back at Dirt Cheap. With the discount I think I paid $5. Which is a good price. Looking around online these were $15 to 20 each when they came out.

Since finding this one,I have found Blitzwing at my local Walmart. And he was $7.50. Expect him to show up in a future installment of Toys from the junk Box.

Well that wraps up this edition. As always no idea when the next one will pop up. Keep checking here for the next one.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 050 Bat Manga

AUTHOR-Chip Kidd
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

I discovered manga with Eclipse comics Mai the psychic girl series.Since then I have read a few manga series.Mostly Battle Angel Alita,Akira and Ranma 1/2. So when I first heard that a book reprinting some 60s era Batman manga stories I was pretty excited.

Seems the Batman explosion into mainstream pop culture after the Adam West tv show started wasn't just a North American thing. Over in Japan once the series started airing the Japanese went Bat-nutz.Not only did they have a weekly manga series,but there was so many great toys made.

So enough history ,how is the book? Chip Kidd talks about how hard it was for him to find copies of the Batman manga stuff. So we only get two complete story lines in this trade. There is IIRC 6 story lines reprinted in here. Of course it reads back to front and right to left like all manga should. Before re-reading this I hadn't read any manga in a decent amount of time. But after a few pages I was use to reading it "backwards"To fill in the dead space on pages Kidd has so many great pictures of all the Batman toys that came out in Japan in the 60s. Most of which are made of metal. Which is nice to see,by this time in the states the switch over to plastic was already happening.

So how is the Batman manga stuff? Now you gotta remember the source material they used wasn't in the best shape. So there is some flaws in stuff. The artwork is good. It is fairly simple,But still looks good. The stories are as good as the stuff DC was putting out at the same time. With it being a weekly publication of course every 6 pages or so there is a cliffhanger. But that to me just makes it feel more like the Adam West TV show.

Overall this is a good book. My only complaint is the binding. I get the feeling that after heavy reading it might come loose. There is a hardcover version,which I am sure has better binding. But it is also $40.

Bat-Manga! by Chip Kidd gets a 4.85 outta 5.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

3 Toys from a box of junk Post Wrestlemania 31 edition

The WWE Slam City figures are well done mini figures. Made of a very rubbery plastic,usually the arms,most stores are clearancing them. So had grabbed a handful of them recently.

Brock Lesner here has a good paint job and good sculpting.With only the shoulders being articulated he loses a few points for that.He came in a two pack with Mark Henry.Found them about a month ago for $2.50 for the two pack.The chair that came in the pack is made of the same rubbery plastic as the arms.

I like the very pissed off look on Brock's face. One other neat feature is any accessory from the Slam City line will fit Brock's hands.

Two bad you can't make Brock suplex the shit outta the other figures. Watching him suplex people over and over again has been the highlight of the last 9 months of WWE.

Hey another Hasbro WWF figure. And another one I have owned before. My original one came as part of that huge lot of Hasbro WWF figures I found at the Thrift store years ago.He got lost in one of my moves.

Then a fellow collector got 3 or 4 Hasbro WWE figures. I traded him some more VHS and restarted my Hasbro collection.

Jake's paint job could be better. But his action feature is better than Brutus's. Pull Jake's right arm back and release it and he punches.I guess making him DDT someone was a bit to complicated.For a early Hasbro figure he isn't bad. Seems to be super common. So finding a loose one shouldn't cost much.

And for the final toy,here is Kofi Kingston from the WWE's mini figure line Rumblers. Most Rumblers had articulation at the shoulders and neck. Kofi has a great paint job. With lots of little details included. The sculpting is typical for the Rumblers line. The hands and feet are oversized. But that also makes it super easy to get the figures to stand up.

Found Kofi here at Fred's. They had marked the single pack figures down to $1. Which is a great deal at Fred's. More than likely when these first hit the shelves there ,Fred's would want $6 or $7.I need to find my Rumblers' Ring.