Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Alien Who Would Be King: Christina's Character Study of "Roswell's" Max Evans

By Christina Sizemore

Topolski:  Okay, let's play a relationship game.  Tell me which character in this picture is the most like you and tell me what they're doing at the park.
Max:  Probably the kid behind the tree.

People tend to pick on the shy kid in school.  The one that hides behind everyone else, doesn't talk very much, gets his work done as fast as he can so he doesn't have to ask any questions...the one that works very hard to stay hidden.  We've all known a kid like that growing up.  We might have been that kid.  It's common to hear the very truthful statement "Don't judge a book by its cover" when it comes to these quiet types; you never know what they are going through to make them this way.  How many have hard family lives?  How many might be suffering from depression?  How many might be considered odd because they like the geeky things and therefore don't have any friends because people think they are weird?  How many might be half human-half alien hybrids with special powers and destinies to rule an entire planet and have to hide their freaky lives from the rest of their classmates?

Oh...so...the last one doesn't happen that often?  Well.  Hmm. 

Today I continue my study into the TV show Roswell by beginning a multi-piece character study into some of the shows best characters.  We start off with the hybrid alien's reluctant leader and resident recluse, Max Evans.  Spoilers ahead, just so youre aware.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Phantom on Wrestling: WWE vs. The Universe

By Phantom Troublemaker

I’ve been wanting to write about wrestling (WWE) for a while now and since WrestleMania is fast approaching I think it’s a good time to, as Stone Cold says, “Spew the bullshit in muh brain”. Hopefully I’ll be able to schedule our pal Stephen Platinum for the podcast soon, but until then my solo written words will have to do.

I’m writing as I think, so bear with me.

There is recent evidence that WWE is figuring us (the fans) out and starting to use our cynicism against us (in a good way).

You’d think that this wouldn’t be a particularly exciting or recent development, as they’ve been doing essentially the same job for thirty-seven years, plus about twenty-eight, give or take, prior to the Vince McMahon, Jr. takeover. They should know what they’re doing. But quite often it seems to us that they don’t. Some of this is due to the fact that we’re ignorant to a huge number of aspects of the business and could never fully comprehend what are the best decisions for a company that is unique in the world to make.

Some of it is due to the fact that WWE is run by a single person with a strong will and tastes that are occasionally… odd.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The LEGO Super Hero Lines Continue to Grow in 2017

By Jerry Chandler

I’m going to swing over into the boss’s territory today and cover a little bit of 2017 toy news. It’s a subject I don’t dive into very often, but, hey, it’s LEGO and I’m a LEGO kind of guy. It’s one of the few toys that really had an impact on me as a child, and it’s really the only toyline I still regularly purchase anything from for myself to this day. Plus, I have kids who have become LEGO fans, so I can always excuse the larger purchases to my wife as something for the wee ones to enjoy.

LEGO has over the years gone from a line of exclusively basic, generic building sets to a line filled with original sets and multiple lines of licensed products. You can go out there right now and get yourself a Ghostbuster Firehouse, a Beatles Yellow Submarine, Adventure Time fun, Star Wars action, and even a little Doctor Who adventures in time and space on top of a huge number of original, LEGO owned concept series sets. But, as much as I love some of the other stuff, I have to admit to being a superhero guy, and that’s what I’m going to look at here today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New York International Toy Fair 2017– Phantom’s Thoughts

Note: I noticed that thanks to social media A LOT more toy companies are releasing photos of the product they show at Toy Fair. It used to be tough for me to find enough pictures to fill out these posts, but this year I’ve found that there were very few toys I couldn’t find official pictures of. Good for me and good for you!

That being said, I highly recommend you follow ActionFigureAttack on Facebook and Instagram for some excellent press photos. Toy Ark did most of the heavy lifting for me this year, with tons of fantastic galleries. They got great pictures without posting the same figures six times from slightly different angles and then overlooking another figure entirely. Most of the links in this article will take you there. For the full list of links to Toy Ark product pages, click here!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Devlin's Domain - I Think We're Alone Now

Yes that is a picture of 80s Pop singer Tiffany headlining Devlin's Domain. If that doesn't reel you in with curiosity I don't know what will. I assure you what lies ahead is just as disturbing, if not more, as everything else you'll find within the Domain. Come on in, I think we're alone now, there doesn't seem to be anyone around...

Legion: An X-Men Show Without X-Men

By Beth

But don't let that title lead you to believe that I think (or you should think) that it's a bad thing. Legion is only two episodes in, and despite the lack of the usual X-Men team it's been intriguing and enjoyable so far. Legion himself has such an interesting story, and set of powers that I can see why he was the choice for a stand-alone show. It's a unique concept, and a challenging show. Again, that's a good thing because so much television is too easy to forget these days. If you're in to this sort of thing you won't forget Legion quickly.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Toy Review – Miracle Action Figure EX No. 32 Suicide Squad Joker from Medicom

By Phantom Troublemaker

I’ve already talked about enjoying Suicide Squad, so let me go ahead and get right to the point – American Suicide Squad toys looked like hot garbage.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 147 – The Dale Jepson Interview

Phantom Troublemaker interviews elusive rock legend Dale Jepson of Dale Jepson and the Night Hawks!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What the Heck Happened to Movie Posters?

By Jerry Chandler

I’m going to put on my grumpy old man hat today. I am not going to do the “It was always better back in my day!” routine along with donning that hat though, but only because many of the posters I’m going to use here today are from films that predate my coming kicking and screaming into this world. Plus, the decline in overall poster and lobby card quality started when I was younger, so a lot of the bad is in fact from back in my day.

Have you seen the social media posts poking fun at the Kong: Skull Island posters that look for all the world like rip-offs of the Apocalypse Now movie posters? To a degree it’s funny seeing someone in the promotional department commission posters and lobby cards that so closely (pardon the expression) ape the look of the classic posters, but at least the end result was posters that stand out. They pop when you see them, and they have a fantastic artistic style that makes them stand out like few other posters, lobby cards, and ad images for movies do these days. This is kind of a problem.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Toy Review – One:12 Collective Marvel Comics Captain America from Mezco Toys

By Phantom Troublemaker

I suppose I am fully addicted to these One:12 Collective figures now. It’s one of those scenarios where once you’ve had a taste of the best it’s hard to go back to the rest.

That’s not to say I’m going to buy every release or even every character, but when Mezco releases any figure that is a character I like even a little, I’m going to have a tough time resisting the purchase. Of course, today’s figure wasn’t a case of liking a character just a little – Steve Rogers is one of my favorite Marvel superheroes.

He’s not as invincible as Superman and not as broody as Batman. He’s the Sentinel of Liberty and he always does What’s Right. Spider-Man – my favorite Marvel guy, I think – looks up to Captain America. All of the Marvel heroes look up to Captain America, even when they disagree with him. He’s not respected because he was around first or because he was in the military or led the Avengers. He’s respected because everyone knows that at his core he is always working in service of freedom and liberty.

I can’t say all of that without addressing what’s going on in the comics right now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

TV Review - Hormones and Spaceships: Christina on Roswell

By Christina Sizemore

“September 23.  Journal Entry One.  I’m Liz Parker and five days ago I died.  After that, things got really weird…”

Even when I was a teenager I never watched “Teen dramas.”  I guess I felt that since everyone around me kept throwing their real life drama into mine- and since I had enough of my own- I didn’t need to watch fictional “Woe as me” moments of teenage angst.  You do find rare situations, however, when something is put to film that quickly makes you forget the teenage aspect and instead, appreciate the suspense, the scares, the characters, and the freaky paranormal moments.  It might have teens, but it isn’t all about the typical hormonal crap that we are all happy to be done with, feel sorry for our kids for having to go through, and are annoyed at listening to.  Sometimes that rare show can be about much more than that and much more than most adults would want to endure.  The show Roswell hit all of those aspects right on the head. 

I’m not saying it was royal human-hybrid aliens...but it was royal human-hybrid aliens.

Valentine's Day Special - Phantom's Valentines

Here's a bonus treat for the holiday - some geeky Valentines I made for Mrs. Troublemaker a few years ago. Enjoy and share!

Monday, February 13, 2017

TV Review – Santa Clarita Diet

By Phantom Troublemaker

It’s not often that I’m inspired to write anything about a new television show. Typically I need to have experienced a full season or more to have formulated thoughts or even the most basic kind of fandom. Sure, I’ve loved shows like Westworld or Game of Thrones right off the bat, but it’s very rare for a show to click with me in the way that I feel like it’s just for me.

Of course, I have watched the entire first season of Santa Clarita Diet now thanks to Netflix’s model, and I can’t wait to watch it again.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 146 – Masters of the Universe Classics 2016

Mr. Beau Brown returns to the show for a discussion of the final year of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics toy line!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

UFC’s Brock Lesnar and CM Punk Problem

By Jerry Chandler

You’re a casual fan of MMA. Name a UFC fighter on their roster. Conor McGregor? Yeah, it’s kind of hard to miss that name right now. Ronda Rousey? Maybe, although she only fought one time in 2016 and there’s a strong possibility that she’s not returning after her December 2016 loss to Amanda Nunes was more one sided and brutal than her November 2015 loss to Holly Holm. That Diaz guy? Well, there are two of them actually. Nick has fought one time since his March 2013 loss to GSP, and that was two full years ago. Nate has only fought four times in 2014, 2015, and 2016 combined. What about that Bendo guy who was all over their free TV cards? Benson Henderson hasn’t been with the UFC since late 2015.
Now, if you’re an MMA hardcore fan you can probably reel off the top ten fighter list for every weight class as well as name the organization each fighter works for. The problem with that though is that no form of televised sporting event or entertainment can survive long on just the hardcore fanbase, and certainly few can actually thrive on just that hardcore fanbase. This might start becoming a problem for the UFC.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews February 2017: “X Gonna Give It To Me”

By Phantom Troublemaker

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about three months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in May.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Are You Still Not Watching Star Wars Rebels?

by Beth

Back in May last year I strongly encouraged you to start watching Star Wars Rebels. In case you missed it or just want a recap of why you should have started watching last season you can do that here. Some of you may have listened, but some of you likely didn't. I get it; we're all busy, and there's so much else to watch that cartoons can sometimes fall by the wayside. Well if you didn't listen to me last year let me try again because as good as season 2 was season 3 has been downright great. And one word: Thrawn!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Toy Review – SH Figuarts Suicide Squad Harley Quinn from Bandai

By Phantom Troublemaker

I thought that Suicide Squad was overall a fun, exciting movie with a few flaws. I’m pretty sure I liked it a lot more than most people. I’ve watched it four times now and still dig it and find that the flaws are fading into the background thanks to the frenetic action and big characters.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 145 – The Crow Needless Commentary

Part of an ongoing series – the Needless Things Irregulars gather in the Phantom Zone to provide their own unique commentary on classic genre films!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Beware of The Wave

By Jerry Chandler

Recent events have had an impact on the nation’s bestselling book lists. We’ve seen a sudden uptick in sales of George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984. People who have never read it and people who haven’t read it in decades are seeking it out at various booksellers to see for themselves or to refresh their memory of the reported parallels to today’s world being discussed by the pundit class. Some of those who are less inclined to spend the time reading have reportedly been seeking out the film version of the story. Where people haven’t been able to get a copy immediately, I’ve seen some people suggesting as a tide over read George Orwell’s other classic, Animal Farm.

As long as people are in the mood for such stories, let me suggest another story that has been long overlooked outside of a few school classes here and there. It’s a story I was introduced to back when it aired on television in 1981, and it was a longtime favorite of mine. This would be The Wave. The story is a chilling warning of how easy it is to be pulled into groups that have the darkest of intentions. What made the story of The Wave all the more chilling was its source of inspiration. The Wave was based on a real life incident that took place in 1969 with a history class at Elwood P. Cubberley Senior High School, Palo Alto, California.