Thursday, August 16, 2018

Around Dragon Con - The Center for Puppetry Arts


By Jerry Chandler


Tucked away on the corner of 18th Street and Spring Street in Atlanta, Georgia is the Center for Puppetry Arts. If you’ve been to Atlanta but never visited the Center for Puppetry Arts, this or next year’s trip down for Dragon Con would be very good times to consider rectifying this particular oversight. Now, unlike the Georgia Aquarium, this isn’t a sight you can see with just a short walk down the street from the Dragon Con host hotels. It’s anywhere from a 45 minute to 1 hour walk depending on who is doing the walking. You can drive to it in about 15 minutes, but what levels of insanity would you have to be suffering under to cause you to consider driving in downtown Atlanta? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews August 2018: “What If… Halloween is Coming?”

By Dave


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 October.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Movie Review - The Meg

by Beth

Before I get into Dragon Con mode I wanted to take a minute to review the summer blockbuster I had been dying to see. The Meg isn't being well received or reviewed, but if you're like me you don't let critics or naysayers stop you from seeing something. Let this be one of those instances if you're on the fence. If you liked Deep Blue Sea, you'll probably like The Meg. I love Deep Blue Sea, and thought The Meg was a great example of what can happen when a silly idea gets a good budget.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 225 – Kirk Thatcher Interview


On today’s episode of the Needless Things Podcast Dave talks to writer, producer, director, and production designer Kirk Thatcher!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Around Dragon Con – The Georgia Aquarium

By Jerry Chandler


Located in downtown Atlanta across from Centennial Olympic Park- just a few blocks diagonal from the Dragon Con host hotels -is the Georgia Aquarium. Officially opened to the public in 2005, it was the largest aquarium in the world until the 2012 opening of the Marine Life Park in Singapore. Beating it out for sheer size was no small feat. The Georgia Aquarium is home to several thousand species of salt water and fresh water life from around the world, and it contains over 10 million gallons of water to keep those critters alive and swimming in. Just a little over 6 million gallons of that water are used for the aquarium’s primary exhibit, allowing it to be one of only two institutions in the world to house whale sharks. You’ll see swimming alongside the whale sharks some of the largest manta rays you’re likely to ever see, as well as more fish and more varieties of fish than you can likely count in one single day’s trip to the Georgia Aquarium.

What’s sometimes still a surprise to me when at Dragon Con is talking to my fellow con goers and discovering how many of them have never been to the Georgia Aquarium. It’s even more surprising when they seem to not even know there is a Georgia Aquarium. Why? Well…

Monday, August 6, 2018

Troublemaker – Coming Soon!

By Dave

At some point in the past I announced on the now-defunct Needless Things PatronCast that my good friend Jason Wilson – an award-winning documentarian – would be following me around with a camera for a year or so.

He did. From October of 2016 up through last year’s Dragon Con, Wilson was there to capture many aspects of my life as Phantom Trouble maker and as Dave West, including my shocking unmasking at the live 1987 panel for the Classics Track.

We (mostly Wilson) are now in the process of putting everything together. Or maybe in the process of finishing up putting everything together. There are dozens of hours of footage and interviews and I’m sure it’s quite a beast to parse it down to the best stuff. Or to a singular narrative. Or whatever it is he’s doing with it. Aside from a couple of instances of, “You know, maybe I don’t want this to be that real”, I’m leaving it in Wilson’s capable hands because he has won an Emmy and I have, as of yet, not.

I’m honored that Wilson would consider me a subject worthy of examining and I’m extremely proud of what we got done and of what I’ve seen so far. This thing is very much who I am, in some cases warts and all. It sends one singular message that I am aware of and perhaps many that I’m not – like I said, that’s up to Wilson. And to the eventual audience.

I can’t say yet what our plans are for release, nor when that will happen. Both of us want this to be the best feature it can possibly be and nobody will see it before it is.

In the meantime, here’s the official trailer for Troublemaker. Please like, share, comment, post, and above all, enjoy.

I love you guys.


While you’re waiting for Troublemaker, check out my interview with Wilson on the Needless Things Podcast and his last film, Stopper: Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad.


You can follow Dave as Phantom Troublemaker on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the best pop culture news!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 224 – San Diego Comic Con 2018: The Toys


Needless Things wasn’t in San Diego for Comic Con, but the Irregulars followed from afar and have plenty to discuss!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Around Dragon Con – Preparation


By Jerry Chandler

Preparation, you ask? Is this another article about getting ready for Dragon Con that gets into all that advice about how it’s important to have snacks, hydrate, get rest, shower, use deodorant, etc. that gets written about and talked about every year? Well, outside of that sentence, no, not really. This year I’ll be writing several articles talking about what’s around Dragon Con, not in it. So, no, no talk about how it’s important to have snacks, hydrate, get rest, shower, use deodorant, etc. while at the con or even about getting in some exercise before heading down to Dragon Con so that the (now five day) weekend doesn’t kick your butt like Morten Andersen kicking the old pigskin. However, we will be covering some of the same concepts, plus a few others that, while perhaps too late to make them useful this year, may make future Dragon Con weekends a bit more fun.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

(James) Gunn Control


by Beth

As soon as I heard about Disney firing James Gunn I messaged Dave to see if he thought the topic was too controversial for me to write about. He said to go for it, and thus the lengthy process of research and notes began. Because I'm angry, I'm confused, and I think we need to talk about this. Of course, he then proceeded to talk about James Gunn in the introduction to his most recent podcast, but whatever, I had already put too much work into this thing to toss it all out. I try to treat this site like I treat my day job. I stay away from sex, politics, and religion. Unfortunately, a lot of what led up the the scandal is politically based so I can't not bring it up. Don't worry though, I'm not not here to push an agenda on you. I don't have any answers here, and I'm not trying to start a fight, but I do think it's a discussion that needs to be had. Preferably a rational discussion. And if you're easily offended consider this fair warning. I found some of the tweets on Mike Cernovich's website, and am posting screen-caps of them here. I think people deserve to see what we're really talking about.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Dragon Con 2018 Progress Report

By Dave
“Dragon Con is always either a year or a day away.”
-Clay Gilbert
Dragon Con has sort of crept up on me this year.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 223 – San Diego Comic Con 2018: The Movies


Needless Things wasn’t in San Diego for Comic Con, but the Irregulars followed from afar and have plenty to discuss!


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Buffy (Sort of) Returns?


By Jerry Chandler

One of the bits of news that came out of 2018’s San Diego Comic Con news dump was the return to television of Buffy Summers and her quest to kill every vampire she comes across other than the ones that qualify as good dating material. This was met with some positive reactions in fandom, but the positive reception of the news hasn’t quite been universal. The reasons for this have been the details around the news. First, it’s a reboot. Second, fans of the official continuation of the Buffy story, the comic series, are suddenly having visions of their beloved stories getting junked and declared no longer official ala Star Wars properties in the era of The Mouse running the franchise. Third, the announcement was big on emphasizing that this will be a reboot featuring the exploits of a black Buffy Summers.

Believe it or not, some of the complaints about that last bit aren’t what you likely think they are or from the sources you likely think they’re coming from. But, taking those in order…

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

San Diego Comic Con 2018 – The Toys

By Dave

I wasn’t at San Diego Comic Con this past weekend, but as a toy-obsessed lunatic I had to follow all of the news from here. This Friday will see the release of the Needless Things Podcast’s annual SDCC wrap-up with Ryan, Jay, and Josh, but it’s always helpful to me to go ahead and put a post together about my favorite stuff from the show.

This won’t include products that have already been shown or announced prior to SDCC 2018 unless significant changes have been made to said products or there’s something new of which to make note.

I’ve included pictures where I can, but mostly just official releases when the companies have put them out (which they have gotten much better about since I started doing these). Toy Ark has massive galleries of the toys, so check them out!


Friday, July 20, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 222 – Toys Я Us


I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid
they got a million toys at Toys R us that I can play with
I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid
they got the best for so much less, it'll really flip your lid
From bikes to trains to video games
it's the biggest toy store there is (gee whiz!)
I don't wanna grow up, cause maybe if I did
I couldn't be a Toys R Us kid
more games, more toys, oh boy!
I wanna be a Toys R Us kid


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Why Some Horror Fans Just Looked at Something Totally Wrong (and How It Didn’t End)


By Jerry Chandler

A bunch of horror fans spent part of this last weekend having a complete and total meltdown. Now, I don’t blame them for that. However, even as I suffered the same aggravations they did, I think they’re letting the thing that aggravated them cloud their vision a bit. Yes, what happened was annoying as hell when it was happening, and, yes, it was probably worse for the people who finagled the day off from work for a day-long event they were really looking forward to. But, guys and gals, there is a huge bit of great news out of last weekend’s aggravation that a lot of you need to open your eyes to and actually see for what it is.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Help - I Married a Freak!


by Beth

Well not a literal freak like in the movies Freaks or Freaked (it's really tough to find good images from that movie), but he's certainly an oddity. How else do you explain a man who hates Predator, Jaws, and Alien? I guess I should have asked a few more questions before we got married, but while we were dating we watched (often shitty) horror movies and MST3K. It was only years later that I found out how many things I love that he can't stand. I probably would have married him anyway, but I might have looked around harder before settling in. Taken individually his dislikes might not seem so bad, but once I sat down with him and compiled a full list it certainly made me wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 221 – Weekend at Bernie’s 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, July 12, 2018

There’s Something Going Very Wrong in Parts of Fandom, and Not Just the Obvious Places


By Jerry Chandler

First, and I know this is asking a lot of you because of how much longer than usual this piece is, I’d like to ask you to go here and read this. It’s the May 17, 2018 Needless Things article I wrote. Something was happening in fandom at the time, something impacting a convention and creating a great deal of hassles and headaches. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an isolated incident. As a courtesy, I didn’t exactly address it directly back then, but I made my basic feelings about something known. If you read the piece back then and weren’t quite sure what to make of it, this is the article that’s going to make at least a little sense out of it. If you didn’t read it back then, well… You don’t have to now, but it might make references in the back end of this article make more sense. So, anyhow…

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Thinning the Herd

By Dave

It’s been too long since I sat down and looked at the pull list I have with my Local Comic Shop. I have a huge stack of unread comics at home, and part of that stack consists of books that I have lost interest in and am now buying out of habit.

Comic books are damned expensive these days, even counting for inflation, so I think we all owe it to ourselves to sit down every few months and take a look at exactly how much we enjoy the books that we’re buying. For me, the simplest way to do this is to go to the Previews website and check out the current online edition of their catalog. When you’re buying books week by week it’s easy to look at one book among ten and think, “Well, I’ll go ahead and get it”. At the time you’re looking at a small portion of what you collect and one title doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if you’re getting one book you no longer care about every week, that can add up to big money.

When you have a list of every available book and time on your hands, however, you can make some real decisions about what you want to spend money on. It’s much more practical to look at the big picture all at once and realize, “Holy shit, I’m spending thirty bucks a month on books I don’t even like anymore”.

So what follows is my revised pull list, perhaps with some notes about books I am dropping or have dropped. I’m not in any way suggesting that you should drop any of those books if you enjoy them. I’m just noting that for one reason or another I no longer find them entertaining.

It’s not them, it’s me.

Essentially, if I don’t have to think at least a bit about putting a title on the top of the stack (to be read first), I need to drop it. This list is only the ongoing series that I am reading, not minis or limiteds.


Hellboy and the BPRD – Every issue is entertaining and I look forward to it every month. One of the virtues of this book is that it’s different from most of what I read. In general Dark Horse produces quality comic books and Mike Mignola, specifically, has never let me down.


Black Hammer – I’m actually surprised a bit by the fact that I’m still engrossed in this story. It’s very good and I love the art, but the pacing is a bit slower than I generally like. The characters are solid and the way that Jeff Lemire is unpacking his version of a superhero universe (that is so familiar in many ways) is fascinating. Unless things grind to a halt, I am sticking around.


Batman – I love what Tom King is doing with Batman and am very happy with this book.


Deathstroke – This is one of the best comic books that I’m reading right now. It’s action-packed, entertaining, and smart. Almost every issue has presented me with a quote or scenario that I have felt compelled to relay to others or to use in some way. No other comic is stimulating my brain quite as much as this one. Priest’s storytelling style sometimes asks a little more of the reader, but I find that I am rewarded for my investment.


Hack/Slash Resurrection – Tini Howard’s continuation of Cassie Hack’s adventures has been great so far. I don’t love the art style, but it does work for the book.


Saga – The best ongoing comic book I have ever read.


Walking Dead – Still compelling after all this time. I can’t imagine where it goes now, which is a good thing. This new Princess character seems terribly off-putting, but I trust whatever plan Kirkman has.

Side Note: I still don’t watch the TV show.


Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man – Zdarsky’s take on Spider-Man and Peter Parker has been awesome. Every issue is full of action-packed fun. This reminds me of the Spidey comics I read when I was a kid, but more clever.


Harley Quinn – Okay, this is something of an extravagance. I’m buying these purely for Frank Cho’s variant covers. I got a little fatigued by Conner and Palmiotti’s run and was going to drop it, but I just couldn’t give up Cho’s gorgeous artwork. I’ve heard Sam Humphries has been doing some cool stuff, so at some point I’ll dive back in. I definitely want to see what’s up with this Apokolips story.


Justice League – I’ve only read the first issue and I’m already engrossed in this storyline that’s basically a direct continuation of No Justice. Snyder is writing a very action-packed, fast-paced story that as of now has me fully engaged. I hope it stays on course.


The Terrifics – It seems that I’m a big Jeff Lemire fan. I believe his run on Animal Man during the New 52 was the first work of his I had read. Since then he has continued to pop up with interesting ideas on titles I might not otherwise have picked up. I feel like he has a tremendous grasp on what makes superheroes so interesting and is a master storyteller. That combination is a strong one. The same thing that makes Black Hammer so great works for Fantastic Four analog The Terrifics.


Amazing Spider-Man – I’m picking this up starting with Nick Spencer’s run based purely on how much I loved Superior Foes of Spider-Man.


Dark Ark – Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe’s tale of the evil version of Noah’s Ark has been awesome so far, and very cinematic. The book isn’t necessarily at the forefront of my consciousness (because the scheduling is somewhat erratic), but I’m thrilled to see it every time it’s in my stack at the shop.

Share your own pull list in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!

Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all of the latest in pop culture!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 220 – Jon Carr



Jon Carr is a writer, performer, and most importantly a storyteller who plies his trade at the renowned Dad’s Garage Theatre Company in Atlanta. His play, Black Nerd debuts on July 13th and will run through August 4th.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Harlan Ellison


By Jerry Chandler


Harlan

That was a name you could say in many circles without having to add the last name, and no one wondered which Harlan you were talking about. If you brought up that name in literary circles, science fiction circles, or convention panels, almost everyone who had been around for longer than a cup of coffee knew you were talking about Harlan Ellison.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Star Wars Doesn't Owe You Anything


by Beth

Okay trolls, I've had enough. When you claimed that your boycott tanked Solo I rolled my eyes and let it pass. Then you chased Kelly Marie Tran off social media with rape and death threats. I was disgusted, but stayed out of it because baiting trolls is the fastest way to insanity. Then over the weekend I found out a few more ridiculous facts, and I just can't keep silent anymore. Rey's parentage needs to be retconned to make her the child of someone important? And some group of morons is actually trying to raise money to remake The Last Jedi? I'm done with the haters, the incel babies (if you don't know what incel is then google it. I didn't know giant douches had an official term until Friday night), and most of all the stupid trolls. So instead of the amusing piece I was going to write about how I should have asked Mr. Tibbs a few more questions about his movie preferences before we got married (how did I marry someone who hates Indiana Jones?) I'm going to yell at assholes.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Comic Book... Monday? – Previews July 2018: “Who You Gonna Repaint?”


By Dave


This month’s edition is coming on a Monday thanks to the Independence Day holiday this Wednesday.

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 September.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 219 – 1988


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


Thursday, June 28, 2018

I Was a Toys “R” Us Kid


By Jerry Chandler


Today (assuming you’re reading this on the day it goes live) is Thursday 28, 2018. Within the next 24 hours, the last Toys “R” Us in the United States will be closing its doors for the very last time. A business that Charles Lazarus started in 1957 (or 1948 if you go all the way back to Children’s Supermart) will cease to exist. But, more than that, and unlike with so many other businesses that leave us in the ever changing consumer landscape, a piece of our collective childhoods will cease to exist this week.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 218 – Eric & Julia Lewald: X-Men The Animated Series


On this week’s episode Dave talks to two of the minds behind the seminal 90s X-Men animated series!

­

Thursday, June 21, 2018

David McLane Returns to Women’s Wrestling Television?


By Jerry Chandler

So, over on Netflix they’ve had some success with a Netflix original program based on the 1980s cult wrestling hit GLOW. But, rather than actually have a women’s wrestling show on Netflix, they went the path of a comedy/drama telling a fictionalized version of the creation of the show. The original GLOW was the creative child of David McLane. He had an idea for giving women wrestlers a more story-based spotlight and set about building GLOW into a ratings winner for a time. That was the late 1980s, and it’s been a long, strange, spandex (and roller hockey) filled trip for McLane since then. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Devlin's Domain - Wild Beasts





Nature goes on a rampage in this edition of Devlin's Domain. There are plenty of films out there where animals attack. You can watch Leslie Nielsen fight a bear in the silly, yet entertaining, Day of the Animals. You can roll your eyes or laugh your ass off to the atrocious catastrophe that is Birdemic. There are films with killer rats, killer slugs, killer gators, killer spiders, killer sheep, and killer fish, but this notorious Italian filmmaker tops them all. Feast your eyes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why I Don't Need Any More Jurassic Park Movies


by Beth

Before you start blowing me up please hear me out first. I love the first Jurassic Park. I've seen it in the theater at least 5 times (a few of them within the last 5 years). I'll watch it anytime it's on TV, and as silly as parts of it are I hold it makes it close to the top of my best summer blockbuster movie list. But let's take a look at the rest of the movies shall we? It's a different story for the sequels. The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, and Jurassic World are deeply flawed and we shouldn't look past that just because a new popcorn flick is on the way.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 217 – Blue Hawaii 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 14, 2018

Jerry’s Shameless Self-Promotion Post

By Jerry Chandler

In between grumblings and observations on fandom and genre, I do a lot of promoting of other people’s works and passion projects. One thing I’ve really not done is promote anything I’ve been working on other than in the little bio bit at the bottom of the columns, and, let’s be honest, most people that read articles on websites tend to stop reading when they hit the first few words of those things.

However, if I learned nothing else during my years of being a professional wrestling fan and seeing Mick Foley on the television, I’ve learned that cheap pops work. Unfortunately, cheap pops of the Foley variety don’t really work all that well on a website like this. However, I also learned from the Foley years of WWE television that shameless self-promotion isn’t always a bad thing.  As such, this week I’m doing some shameless self-promotion. Think of it as my birthday gift to myself. Granted, my birthday is still five months away. However, I keep being told that procrastination is bad, so I’m getting it out of the way now.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Joy of Joe


By Dave


As most of you probably know I adore GI Joe: A Real American Hero and often cite it as my favorite toy line of all time. At the very least it is the toy line that dominated my childhood and much of my adult collecting years.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 216 – MomoCon 2018 with Mike Gordon



Our old pal Mike Gordon returns to the show to join Dave for a recap of MomoCon!


Thursday, June 7, 2018

ConCarolinas 2018 is in the Books

By Jerry Chandler

ConCarolinas is multi-genre, multi-media convention that has at this point been plugging away in North Carolina for the better part of the last two decades. I’ve been an on and off attendee since 2014, so I’ve seen some of the growth of the convention in recent years as well as seen a couple of nice locations for the event. Although, I have to admit, of the four ConCarolinas I’ve been to, this one was a little different in more ways than one. One reason was something everyone may have noticed. The other thing was a tad more personal.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews June 2018: “Enter Sandman”

By Dave


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!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The MCU Ranked

by Beth


There was some jibber-jabber last month on the Needless Things Podcast Facebook page about people ranking the MCU. At the time that it was happening I was just too lazy to do my own ranking becuase I felt like I needed to explain my choices. That's just too damn much for a Facebook feed. With the announcement of the Disney/Fox deal I was thinking about the MCU much harder today than before. How will the X-Men work their way into a universe that they've been excluded from for so long? Will we finally get a good Fantastic Four movie? How many Marvel movies are going to be flung at us every year to ensure that Disney recoups it's 52 billion dollar investment? I'm guessing it'll be a lot.

Monday, June 4, 2018

MomoCon 2018 – The Love Movement

By Dave


For the first time ever I really do believe that these kids are going to make this world a better place.

Yes, seriously – that’s my takeaway from my weekend at MomoCon.