Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 040 The Greatest Team Up Stories Ever Told

TITLE-The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told

I have always like DC comics The Greatest FILL IN THE BLANK series of trades and hardcovers. Back when the first Burton Batman film came out I got the Batman and Joker trades from this line. And read each of them so many times they fell apart.

Back in 2008 I had a lot more disposable income. Was on Ebay looking for decently priced comic trades and hardcovers.I saw this collection. With the great artwork on the dust jacket catching my eye.I looked it up and scoped out what stories are reprinted in this collection. They looked to be a nice selection of both stuff I had read and hadn't read.It had 3 days to go in the auction.So I put in  a bid of $8,which was 25 cents more than the current highest bid. By the time I won the auction I had kind of forgot about bidding on it.

It came in and I filled up my glass with some cold sweet tea.Went out on my back porch. Spent the next 2 hours reading some really fun Golden age and Silver age stories with various DC heroes teaming up.

Oh yeah the stories.There are 15 stories total. 5 Golden age stories,with 3 of them teaming up Superman and some combination of Batman and/or Robin. These are decent. But nothing about them stands out that much.The other two stories team up Aquaman with Green Arrow and Speedy.These two are really fun. I like how Green Arrow has to change up his techniques because of him being underwater.And the Aquaman part of the story has beautiful Ramona Fredon artwork.

There are 6 Silver age stories. And there is much more variety in what heroes team up in these stories.Of course the classic team up stories of the 60s,Flash of Two World,Crisis on Earth-One and Crisis on Earth-two.The Hawkman/Adam Strange team up is a story I had never read or heard of.But after reading it I would rank it with the stories I mentioned a few sentences back.Gardner Fox is the author,with Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson doing the pencils.Mr Anderson pulls double duty by also doing the inks.The Atom/Flash team up....well it isn't anything special. The Alex Toth art is nice.But I have never been a big fan of Bob Haney's storytelling skills.Then the final story from the Silver age,another classic. From The Brave and the Bold #54 it is first appearance of the original Teen Titans.I had a reprint of this teaming of Robin,Kid Flash and Aqualad. But the reproduction of the artwork was really bad. Here it looks better than it ever has.I love the Bruno Premiani pencils. And the only drawback is the by the numbers Bob Haney story.

Finally we get 4 Bronze age/Modern age stories.Before getting this collection I had read 2 of them. The first is O'Neal & Adams Green Lantern #76 from Spring 1970. What can be said about this comic? Really it has been discussed indepth for over 40 years now. All I can say is that I do enjoy it,but feel that it feels a bit dated. Which isn't really a bad thing,the story is 44 years old. The next story is one I have never read.It is the story about how if Krypton hadn't explodes Kal-El would have been the greatest Green Lantern of all time. I have never been a Superman fan. There is at the most 10 or so Superman stories I even enjoy. This is not one of them.We jump ahead to the very early 80s. From Brave and the Bold #178,the Jim Aparo drawn team up of the Creeper and Batman. Kind of surprised I had not read this issue before getting this collection. From the very late 70s until the series ended I rarely missed an issue of Brave and the Bold. This was the title that not only made me a Batman fan,but also introduced me to so many DC heroes and villains.And when Jim Aparo was drawing it I tried my best to never miss an issue.I loved this issue so much. The Creeper is a low enough level super powered hero that he works very well with Batman.And finally not only the last issue in this great hardcover,but the best issue in it. As I said above I am not a Superman fan. But DC Comics Presents #85 is one of those 10 or so Superman stories I enjoy. The first time I read it was not long after it came out in the fall of 85.My cousin had bought the comic. We were 11 or 12,and had found out the local library had a comic book trade. He had bought the issue of DC comics presents cause he was a big Superman fan. And he did not like it. He hated it.Before we got into his mothers car to go trade comics he asked me if I might want it.I looked at it and saw Superman was teaming up with Swamp Thing. At the comic trade that summer I had gotten a few issues from the 70s Swamp Thing run.So I agreed to trade him one of my Gi Joe comics for the issue. It got buried in the pile of comics I got that day. And at least a week went by before I read it. Holy Hell what a great story. Wait I am just assuming people reading this know who wrote it and did the pencils. Alan Moore wrote the comic.Rick Veitch did the pencils. So you got the at the time current creative team on one of the best comics of the 80s. OK enough gushing. This is one of my favorite comics. And one I think every comic fan should read.

Lets see. This is a well made hardcover. Out of the 15 stories 9 of them are great. The other 6 suffer from either being very dated or starring heroes I have little interest in. But even the stories I have no interest in the artwork is reproducted so well.

The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told gets a 4.05 outta 5.

Bargain Store finds from early Feb 2015

This is another article I had half written when my main laptop shit the bed. I am still working on getting it working properly. But have managed to get all my stuff off of it. So here is a post that should have hit 20 days ago. Hope y'all enjoy.

Most months the first week of it I spend a few hours hitting all the bargain stores in my town. We have 5 Dollar Generals,a Family Dollar,Dollar Tree and Dirt Cheap. Been thinking about doing a post each month on the stuff I find. Cause everyone always tells me they love hearing about my finds. So this is the first of what I hope to be a monthly feature here.

Now for those that don't know,Dollar Tree is a nationwide chain. Where everything is a buck or cheaper. I mostly use it to buy super glue,AAA batteries for my remotes and other small gadgets and for cheap greeting cards. I hate how much a greeting card cost. So Dollar Tree having them for 50 cents is great. But onto what I bought.
 I was checking the toy aisle when I found this keychain TMNT Leonardo item. They had all four Turtles. And over the past 6 months I have gotten back into the TMNT franchise. Each of these keychains came with a pog and has something in the base that you use a smartphone with. Something about being able to fight your turtle online against others. I don't own or want a smartphone. But a well detailed Leo "statue" for a buck was worth it.

 I assume they made 2 figures for each Turtle.Because after seeing mine a friend went and got a Raphel one. But her's looks different from mine. I had planned on adding these to the dash of my car. But didn't right now they are on top of one of my many shelves.Kind of wondering how many people put these on their keychains. They are so big they wouldn't fit in most pants pockets.

But besides a soda and a bag of chips all I bought from Dollar Tree was the turtles. Dollar Tree is very hit or miss. This time it wasn't a hit or a miss.


I love Dollar General. I got one pretty close to my home. And almost everyday I stop there to grab a drink.I love how DG has lots of used DVDs cheap. But my favorite thing to look for at DG is books. Every DG I have been in has at least one spinner rack of cheap paperbacks.

Well I was in town and ran by a Dollar General I rarely go into. Mostly cause it is in a part of town I kind of avoid. I had been asked to go grab some sodas and since I was in DG I had to check the spinner rack of cheap paperbacks.

 After the Golden Age book review

I had never heard of this book or the author. The artwork on the cover caught my eye. I read the synopsis on the back and it sounded good. Plus it was only $2. My only small complaint about DG and their books is you never know what the price will be. Sometimes it is $3,sometimes it is $2 and sometimes it is $1. You don't know until the find the price sticker DG adds to the cover. Speaking of those stickers,I wish more stores used them. I have never had an issue removing that sticker. It never damages the cover. But if you don't feel like reading my review I will sum it up. If you like superheroes give this book a try,

Got this newer printing of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for $2. What is strange is the sticker on the front said 3.But it rung up as 2. I haven't seen the film ,but have seen the Asylum ripoff Lincoln VS Zombies. Heard the book is good. Had been wanting to read it. So grabbed this cause of it being cheap.


I might hit Family Dollar maybe 5 times a year. It is rare they have any toys I want. Their DVDs are placed in a high traffic area,which makes it hard to dig through them to see what they got. And if they do get in books,it is mostly romance novels.I was with a friend who was telling me how Family Dollar has cheap and nice curtains. Plus they had their women's clothing on sale. While she looked at clothes I went to dig through the DVDs.

Yep the original release of the first TMNT film on DVD. I love this movie. And have been meaning to pick it up for years now. But never saw it for under 10 bucks. It was $3. I have been seeing a Blu Ray pack that has the first 3 live action TMNT films. I don't like the 2nd film and have never seen the 3rd. So thought grabbing the first film for $3 was a great deal. I was wrong. Later that night I threw in the DVD. Had popped some popcorn and was ready to enjoy a film I haven't seen in close to 20 years. Well guess what the DVD looks like total ass. To my eyes it looks like they took a well worn ex-rental VHS and made a capture of that.Way too much grain. The picture's contrast is way too high. I feel ripped off. Guess I am gonna buy that Blu Ray set soon.
The Super 6 was a Saturday Morning cartoon made by the Depatie-Freleng studios. Most people will know this animation studio from their many Pink Panther cartoons. This show aired from 1966 to 1969 on NBC. And was rerun in syndication for decades. I never saw it,but had heard about it. The Super 6 are a bunch of superheroes that all work for an agency. If someone needs a hero they call in and the cranky dispatcher sends out a hero that can handle the situation. Each episode has 3 cartoons. Our main heroes are.
Super Bwoing-He is extremely clumsy. And is the last hero the agency wants to send out. He flies through the air on his guitar. And reminds me a bit of Van Hallen from that superhero spoof cartoon that aired as part of Dextor's Lab.
Granite Man-A living statue who's sidekick is a pigeon who lives on him.
Magneto Man-A British hero who has the power of magnetism.
Elevator Man-Who can grow or shrink in size.He is the Super 6's detective and the most serious hero on the roster.
Super SCUBA-A water based hero. Who has a mermaid sidekick
Captain Whammo/Zammo-He started off as Whammo,but only used that name for 1 or 2 episodes.Before it was changed to Zammo. Maybe the Whammo company threatened a lawsuit. He is the Super 6's Superman like hero.
This set is 2 DVDs and contains every episode. It was $5 but worth that much to me. After finding it I am now seeing it pop up in the Walmart $5 bin. If you like superheroes and don't mind comedic versions of them grab this set.

And time for the final store.
I mention Dirt Cheap fairly often. Because I go there all the time.Recently my lady,I and some friends made a trip to Hattisburg MS. And what was our first stop? Dirt Cheap Treasure Hunt,which is a more upscale version of the normal Dirt Cheap store. If you haven't heard of Dirt Cheap it is a close out store like Biglots. But where as Biglots is organized,clean and smells good. Dirt Cheap is messy,kind of dirty and smells bad. Plus Dirt Cheap carries lots of clothing. Where as I have never seen much clothes in Biglots.

Let me mention two items I didn't get. I always look through the shirts at Dirt Cheap. Months back I got a great TMNT shirt for $3. I was looking through the shirts when I found a nice Johnny Cash one. It had a good picture of cash on the front and that was it. I loved the design of it  and it was in my size. But it didn't have a price sticker on it. So I grabbed it knowing that once I checked out they would call a manager over to figure out a price.

I also found a hat that said "100% weird" on the front. With me cutting my hair soon,I plan on starting to wear hats more often. My girl is always jokingly saying how weird I am. So I figured a hat that says that would make her laugh. After picking it up I noticed a weird stain on the inside. I looked closed and some kind of white substance was all over inside the hat. Not knowing what it was I wasn't going to buy  the hat.

While waiting on the others that had come shopping with me I walked up and down all the aisles. In the toy aisle I found some of those Imaginext blind buy bags. I like the concept of these blind buy bags. The figures that come in them are well made. But at normal stores they cost 3 or 4 bucks each. Which is more than I will pay not knowing what I am getting. But at Dirt Cheap this was 50 cents.
I am sure if I looked it up I could find out this alien's name. Because his brain is exposed I just named him Brain dude.His shoulders are the ball and socket joints. His hands spin. And his legs are articulated at the hips. Plus the staff can be removes from his hand. Along with his cape being removable. Like the TMNT statues I planned on adding Brain Dude to my ever growing collection of stuff glued to the dash of my car. But I actually got an idea for a new project and Brain Dude is gonna be used for that.

After looking at all the toys,and finding lots of Lego sets I would have bought it they were not opened and most likely missing pieces,I went over to see what electronics they had. The smaller electronics they keep behind a counter or in glass display cases. I saw nothing I liked. But behind the counter on the floor I saw what I was sure was a headset with built in mic. I got one of Dirt Cheap's staff to come get it for me. It is a 100 buck computer headset with mic. According to reviews I have read online this is one of the best headsets on the market. The sticker on the package said $100. But as with everything at Dirt Cheap they discount it a certain amount.I asked the staff helping me if they had any idea how much of a discount it had. "No idea sir but everything over here is at least 70% off" I thought about it. 70% off would make it 30 bucks. My last headset mic was 30 bucks and not as nice as this one. So I grabbed it.

Made my way to the checkout area.And  the people that had rode with me were also ready to check out. They had grabbed lots of 90% off Halloween and X-mas decorations. Plus one of them had found some really nice boots. Normally $120 at Dirt Cheap they were $30.

The cashier rang up the Imaginext toy.Then asked me if they had anymore. Seems her son loves the Imaginext stuff and collects them. I offered to not buy this one so her son could have it. But she told me that wasn't needed. When she saw the Johnny Cash shirt had no price and the Headset didn't have the discount percentage listed on it she called the manager. The manager came over."So no DVDs this time sir?" She has gotten to know me and is use to me buying a bunch of DVDs each time I come to the store. I told her how I had already gotten 2 DVDs that day. She then looked at the headset,looked at me and said "Does $15 sound fair to you?" Of course I said yes. "Well with t-shirts if it doesn't have a price it is $10." I told her for that price I didn't want the shirt. I had seen a similar one at Walmart for $7.

Well I hope yall enjoyed my trips to these bargain stores. I believe people do not realize what kinds of deals they can find if they are willing to spend a little time looking.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 039 Booker T From Prison to Promise

TITLE-Booker T From Prison to Promise
AUTHOR-Booker T Huffman & Andrew William Wright
Caught this on sale a year or so back.But it has sat on a flash drive forgotten until last week.I was looking for something to read digitally.

I first saw Booker T wrestle when Harlem Heat showed up on the various WCW syndicated shows. Over the years I have tracked down a decent amount of his matches from Global. And had heard about his stint in prison. I even got to meet Booker T back in the early 2000s.We had went to a PPV in Houston. Ended up hanging around after the show and saw Booker T heading to his car. He was really nice. Signing stuff and thanking us for coming to the show.  It sucks I lost my autograph in a move.

Booker starts the novel with his birth and goes pretty much chronologically through his life.He ended up losing both his parents when he was very young. Got abandoned by the older brothers and sisters that had said they would help raise him and his little sister. Then ended up living in their parents house with no power,water,heat and very little food. Thankfully Booker got sorta of adopted by a family.

He was doing pretty good. But ended up as part of  a group that was robbing Wendy's fast food places all over the Houston area. They get caught and Booker is set to prison. He gets out on good behaviour after a bit over a year. After some minor stumbles,Booker ends up working for a storage rental place. Where through complete chance,his boss is a huge wrestling fan. This man ends up giving Booker the $1000 he needs to start at Ivan Putski's wrestling school.

So we got Booker and his brother,the future Stevie Ray,being trained by Ivan Putski and Scott Casey.With Casey really doing most of the training.Booker tells lots of funny stories about his run ins with older vets during this time. The story about Killer Tim Brooks was the best.

Then once again a chance meeting with someone gets Booker a shot in the Global Wrestling Fed.Back then Global had a show on ESPN. So while they only ran a tiny area,they had nationwide TV.Booker and Stevie Ray become a tag team. That according to Booker gets lots of racist catcalls during their early matches. But they quickly got the crowd behind them.Everything is going good.When Booker and Stevie get a call from Sid Vicious. He wants to bring them in WCW. Of course they want to go. And the book ends with them speeding off out of the Sportatorium parking lot on their way to Atlanta.

Going into this book I was most interested in reading about Booker's days on the various Texas indies. And what he had done to get sent to prison.So with the book just covering that era I was entertained. I would have liked to hear some about his early years in WCW. Booker does hint that there is going to be a second book. I really hope it happens.

Booker T From Prison to Promise gets a 3.95 outta 5