Friday, June 30, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 167 – 1987

The dynamite team of Phantom Troublemaker, Beth V, Rad Ranger, and Chris DePetrillo reunite to look thrity years into the past!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Saving Bray Wyatt

By Jerry Chandler

Windham Lawrence Rotunda, now known to the world as Bray Wyatt, was born with everything anyone would need to know to be successful in the professional wrestling business ingrained into his DNA. He is the son of one of the great (but often underrated) in-ring performers of his time, Mike Rotunda. His mother, Stephanie Rotunda, also brought something into the mix. She is the sister of Barry and Kendall Windham, Bray’s uncles, as well as being the daughter of the legendary Blackjack Mulligan. There are relatively few wrestlers in the industry today with a pedigree anywhere near as prestigious as the one he carries, and fewer still that so seemingly effortlessly prove that they are more than capable of living up to and exceeding the expectations of such a pedigree. This makes it all the more crushing to see the WWE apparently having no idea how to truly use Bray Wyatt.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1987 - The Movies

This Friday on the Needless Things Podcast I’ll be talking with Beth, Rad Ranger, and Chris DePetrillo about the pop culture of 1987. We recorded a similar episode last year about 1986 (and will do another one next year about 1988 – see the pattern?) and I accompanied it with posts about the toys, music, television, and movies of the year.

It all started out as one post, but as I poked around my memory (and the internet) I realized that there was simply too much great stuff to include it all in one post. At first glance 1987 seems a bit leaner in terms of pop culture awesomeness, so I’m going to start this post with the same intent that I did the first one last year – to write a single post.

We’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SyFy's Blood Drive

by Beth
The SyFy channel has long been a joke. Well, it has been for me anyway. Terrible horrible terrible movies, and original shows that don't quite get the job done have left SyFy adrift in a world of not knowing what it wants to be. Sometimes it's like they're trying to pick up the geeks G4 left behind (man I used to love that channel), and then they run off to make more bullshit for the dudebros. I've made no secret about how I feel about the direction the movies have taken, but I have given some of the shows a chance. Z Nation was very literally the worst, 12 Monkeys got old pretty quickly, and I'm reading the first book The Expanse is based on and it's so fucking slow that I can't imagine it being a worthwhile show. I'm only finishing the book because I paid money for it, otherwise I'd have given up a few hundred pages ago. Face Off is done, Cosplay Melee is their second cosplay show that hasn't worked, and I keep hearing that Killjoys is the new Firefly so that must mean it isn't even close.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Toy Review – Entertainment Earth Exclusive One:12 Collective Space Ghost from Mezco Toys

By Phantom Troublemaker

I did not understand what I was looking at the first time I saw Space Ghost: Coast 2 Coast.

That has nothing to do with this action figure, as this release is based on the original cartoons, but I can’t very well write about Space Ghost without mentioning his talk show and Cartoon Planet.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

There Will Be No WWE Women’s Revolution until the Old Guard is Gone

By Jerry Chandler

I hated writing that headline, but I’m certainly starting to feel that it’s true. The WWE has been making a lot of noise about their women’s division of late, and, to a large degree, it’s deserved. On a purely technical level, the division has some of the best workers in it that it’s seen in a long time. On a purely entertainment level, you’ve got a larger number of workers who show a stronger and better foundation for being able to engage an audience than they’ve had on their roster in a long while. But, in the end, none of that may matter in the here and now because of who currently makes the ultimate creative decisions for WWE programming.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Toy Review – DC Multiverse Batgirl from Mattel

By Phantom Troublemaker

Mattel has been making some interesting character decisions with their Multiverse line lately. A mix of modern comic book looks and TV and movie characters has revitalized the style once called DC Universe Classics and made something old seem new again.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Guest Post - Are We Living in the Golden Age of Geekdom?

By Jeffrey Francis

Not too long ago, I was chatting online with some fellow geeks when one of them said that they were bored because there was nothing good on to watch. This was followed by the usual nerd battle over which particular fandom was the best and how all others pale in comparison. (For the record, classic Doctor Who is the best fandom.) It amazed me how so many fans of geek culture and shows put on blinders and tune out almost everything except one or two franchises that check all their beloved boxes. I pointed out that they should be thanking their lucky stars for what's going on in geek, and by extension, popular culture. Allow me to step out of my old man cave, yell at young nerds standing on my lawn, and explain why we might be living in a golden age of geekdom.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 165 – Orgazmo 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, June 15, 2017

Building a Dark Shared Monsterverse

By Jerry Chandler

The newest iteration of the Mummy has come to the big screen, and all signs point to it leaving the big screen in fairly short order. I don’t write that with any sense of joy. I’m a horror guy. I like horror, and I actually like the Mummy as an iconic horror monster. I’d love to see more of the attempts at modern horror using the classic monsters succeed. I’d love to see a shared universe where the Universal Studios classic monsters all walk the same Earth. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems that we either won’t be getting that or that we’ll get it and it won’t be worth the time to watch it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Devlin's Domain - I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse

Most people in this country today have never had to live in an environment where they weren't dependent on some sort of technology. Nearly everything that is not yet facilitated by machinery is going to be facilitated in some way. Even something as simple as typing this review can be done by speaking into a microphone and a computer will manifest my speech in text form. As convenient as things are now, one must wonder if humanity may be losing some sort of connection to it's primordial beginnings. As we have evolved suspiciously beyond every other life form on this planet, we've left them far behind and mutated the Earth into something barely recognizable. Interesting things this week in Devlin's Domain.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Movie Review - The Girl with all the Gifts

by Beth

I had been keeping an I on this movie since I first heard about it last year. I had no idea it was a book until I googled it tonight. I consider this quite a lapse on my part since I'm usually up on my zombie books. I didn't even realize it had been released since I'm not into "art house" theaters. If it ever came to the big screen in Atlanta I sure never heard about it. But when I saw it pop up on-demand I watched it immediately. I've made no apologies for my zombie exhaustion. I blame The Walking Dead for becoming so popular that it spawned countless terrible zombie movies. This looked like it would be something different though so I went for it despite the $6 price tag for an on-demand movie. It was certainly a different zombie movie, and very interesting, but I don't know that it was enough to revive a failing genre. This is a spoiler filled review though so consider this fair warning.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Toy Review – One:12 Collective DC Comics Joker from Mezco Toys

By Phantom Troublemaker

Personally, I find the Joker to be a tough project as an action figure.

In my head, when I think of the Clown Prince of Crime, I think of Jim Aparo’s Joker from A Death in the Family. For obvious reasons that story stuck with me and had a huge impact on my overall view of the Joker. I’d almost say it haunted me. For someone that grew up with Cesar Romero’s whooping, pink-clad hooligan, the murderous character depicted in that story was quite a departure. Even Jack Nicholson’s wonderful, maniacal performance didn’t have the same impact as Aparo’s depiction of Joker’s face as he was clubbing Jason Todd with a crowbar:

That’s a nightmare.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 164 – Wonder Woman

The Needless Commentary team convenes live in the Phantom Zone to discuss DC's newest blockbuster – Wonder Woman!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Recent Reminder that Fan is Short for Fanatic

By Jerry Chandler

Over my decades as a member of fandom, I’ve seen any number of bad fan stories told by both professionals and my fellow fans. Some accounts by pros of bad fan stories, such as Harlan Ellison’s Xenogenesis, have included the extreme end of bad interactions between fans and pros. Other bad fan interactions have been merely the trifling actions of the obnoxious members of fandom such as one fanwho felt he “had to” demand that Rob Liefeld apologize for his comic work and later gave him a copy of the original How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way (bought new at the con they were both at) at an autograph table while being filmed by a friend and request that Liefeld learn from it. Some people might include the recent Phoenix Comicon incident in these lists, but I’d chalk that one far more up to a subject with severe mental issues.

As bad as some of the physical encounters outlined in essays like Xenogenesis unquestionably are, the worlds of widespread internet access and social media have given every “bad fan” and troll in the world the ability to harass and harangue creators in ways they never could have before, and with a frequency unlike anything seen in earlier eras. Not only do professional creators who are more accessible to fans online occasionally face a storm of hateful comments for days or weeks on end, but they also have t0 worry about those few special individuals who view their “outrage” as justification for doxxing a creator and his or her family. This can arguably be said to be in ways far worse than the occasional rude fan or the once in a blue moon extremely distasteful or physical actions by fans at public appearances.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews June 2017: “Talking Shirt”

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 two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in August.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Guest Post - A Look Back at Sci-Fi Shows That Didn't Get a Chance

By Jeffrey Francis

Sci-fi shows are once again proving popular on cable TV. While I grew up with only Star Trek: The Original Series in syndication and Doctor Who on PBS (and their constant pledge drives), today's geek can watch a bevy of shows that are currently being made. We have the new Doctor Who on BBC America, and SyFy has Killjoys, The Expanse, Dark Matter, and a few more on the way. There's even a new Star Trek series coming, although it's only streaming. That being said, the TV gods are often cruel and capricious when it comes to sci-fi shows. Many of them have suffered a quick dismissal after a single season, and the graveyard of TV shows is littered with series that only had a handful of episodes. I figure it's time to pay some respects and take a look back at some sci-fi shows that didn't get a chance.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Needless Things Podcast 163 – Sir Roger Moore

In the newest episode of the Needless Things Podcast Phantom Troublemaker and Mike Gordon discuss the life and career of the recently deceased Sir Roger Moore.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The (Mostly) Folly of Man - The Giant Insect Invasion

By Jerry Chandler

The first detonation of a nuclear weapon was conducted by the United States Army at 5:29 am on July 16, 1945. They used the code name of Trinity for the detonation. The name was inspired by the works of John Donne, a poet whose work often touched on the metaphysical and the religious. It was an interesting name as chosen by scientists for such an event; touching on concepts of the big bang and the creation of all things. For Hollywood, it inspired a bit of a different Biblical twist, the time of giant beasts.

The idea of splitting the atom and unleashing the terror of radioactive doom on mankind wasn’t quite scary enough for Hollywood. Writers decided that the true terror in the dawning of an atomic world was the effects of mutation on man and beast and insect. By mutation, I mean growing (or, in one case, shrinking) various subjects to quite unnatural proportions. While the human monster created by the power of the atom was popularized in films like 1957’s The Amazing Colossal Man, my true love of the atomic aged terrors unleashed by Hollywood, although not all of them were directly linked to the atomic tests, were the giant bug movies.