Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Toy Review –Batman: Arkham Knight Harley Quinn from DC Collectibles

Welcome to Arkham Week on Needless Things!

Every day this week I’ll be reviewing one of the new Arkham Knight figures from DC Collectibles, and on Friday we’ll be posting a special episode of the Needless Things Podcast where we take a look at the Arkham video game franchise.

Side Note: The Arkham Knight figure has been delayed, so I’ve only got four reviews. Word I’m getting is that it was pushed back due to the figure itself containing spoilers for the game. I think it’s somewhat prosaic that the antagonist from the oft-delayed game is, itself delayed.

Today’s figure is the newest iteration of Harley Quinn, which appears to be an amalgamation of her appearances in the prior games – Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Toy Review – GameStop Exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight Red Hood from DC Collectibles

Welcome to Arkham Week on Needless Things!

Every day this week I’ll be reviewing one of the new Arkham Knight figures from DC Collectibles, and on Friday we’ll be posting a special episode of the Needless Things Podcast where we take a look at the Arkham video game franchise.

Side Note: The Arkham Knight figure has been delayed, so I’ve only got four reviews. Word I’m getting is that it was pushed back due to the figure itself containing spoilers for the game. I think it’s somewhat prosaic that the antagonist from the oft-delayed game is, itself delayed.

Today’s figure is the GameStop Exclusive Red Hood, which was offered for preorder from the website in October of 2014. I’ve been collecting just about every figure from DCC’s Arkham lines, so I ordered it. And completely forgot about it until I got a shipping invoice in April.

Needless Things Podcast 61 – The Guinness Book of Batman

Batman fan and memorabilia collector Brad Ladner is attempting to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s largest collection of Batman memorabilia. Obviously he needed Phantom Troublemaker’s help.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Lay Your Fandom On The Table- A Fandom Tabletop Review




When I was a kid, board games were not just normal in our family.  They were a way of life.  We lived on Monopoly, Life, Battleship, Risk…the list goes on and on.  In the summer it was an every night thing; we would come in from an all-day escapade of climbing trees and getting soaked with the water hose or pool and sit down with our parents and friends (our parents were cool enough to hang with our friends) and play these games until the sun came up.  I’m proud to say we’re raising our thirteen, five, and two year olds the same way today. 



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Sssqueeze from Mattel

I’m not as big a fan of the Snake Men as Mr. Beau Brown, but I can always appreciate the invading, fanatical faction that wants to subjugate or destroy all those who oppose. Many thought that the Yuuzhan Vong of the New Jedi Order Star Wars books were too much, and while I can’t necessarily disagree with that, I enjoyed the narrative and the threat that the Vong presented. We also have real-world examples of such fanatics. It’s terrifying in real life, but from a narrative standpoint it makes for great storytelling – you will become one of them or you will die; a compelling position to put protagonists in.

Heck, the Borg are another excellent example. But they illustrated the story problems inherent with such nemeses – you have to weaken them or exterminate them.

Sorry – I might have gotten off track a bit, but I do find the fanatical enemy fascinating and terrifying.

Especially when he has giant, grabby arms.

James Horner- Maker of Magic



Earlier this week the news broke that we had lost one of the great film composers of our time. James Horner, the man who created the music that will be forever wed to some of our fondest movie memories died in a plane crash on Monday June 22nd. He was 61.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

To NXT or Not To NXT



I was going to write a brief origin story about my love for professional wrestling. But like The Amazing Spiderman movie, there is really no need for me to share that. Here is the ultra quick version just for fun though. I was a fan as a little kid during the Hogan Era then faded a way a little bit. The Monday Night Wars brought me back as an adult and I truly loved it. Over the past few years I have not kept up for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I dropped cable about four years ago. That's right, I'm a cable cutter. Netflix, Hulu, & the WWE Network are my main source of entertainment which has enabled me to keep up with it much easier.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Multi-Bot from Mattel

The most significant thing I can think of to say about Multi-Bot is that I have very distinct memories of the original action figure. Those memories consist of seeing dozens of it sitting on the shelves at Lionel Playworld on clearance long after the rest of Masters of the Universe line had disappeared.

So You Think You Can't Write

I've been writing for a long time. Not all of that was good (if you happen to consider what I do now any good), but I've come a long way from my mopey high school poetry. Despite being published in a few obscure, pretentious journals and magazines I gave up my dream of being a poet laureate many years ago. I never stopped enjoying writing though. It's just that once I grew up enough to realize it was time to put the poetry down I didn't have any other outlet for my desire to write. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

TimeGate - A Convention We Will Never Forget by Robert McIntyre

From the day I walked into my first comic convention in 1994 I have been hooked. I love everything about them, the chance to meet like-minded people to talk geeky things along with the chance to see my favourite artists and writers. I am like a kid in a sweet shop. Now, over the years conventions have changed considerably; mostly for the better, sometimes not so much but that’s for another post. The two things that haven’t changed is my love of going to the conventions and my ambition to go to a convention in America.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 60 – Sol Invictus and the Music of Faith No More

This episode is all about Phantom Troublemaker’s favorite band of all time – Faith No More!
Join Phantom, Sean Reid, and Mr. Tibbs of The Mystery Men? as they discuss the history of the band and review the new album.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

John Ashley - How a Faded Teen Idol Helped to Shape the Face of Exploitation Cinema in the 1970s (and Beyond)



Life is full of those moments where sometimes you can’t believe it when you learn that the person involved with ‘X’ was also the same person who used to be known for ‘Y’ all those years ago. Life is also full of stories about someone being in the right place at the right time to have a major impact on something that no one would have ever thought that they would have had anything to do with, let alone have any impact on. In the case of the late John Ashley, you have one man for whom both of these things are true. Sadly, while he’s known to some in genre, he should probably be more widely recognized by many than he currently is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Comic Book Wednesday - Archie Vs. Predator #2 from Dark Horse/Archie



After reading my review of Archie Vs. Preator #1 you probably got the feeling that I wasn't looking forward to the second issue. Well, you would have been right. The first issue just felt off for me. Although mixing the Archie universe and Predator universe was an interesting idea, the story just disappointed me. The whole point of checking out the first issue was to see the weird mash up of the red headed teenager and the hunter. So it was successful in that way. And I recommended the issue for that exact reason.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Remembering Dusty and Dracula

First I want to offer sincere and heartfelt thanks to the folks that stepped in to provide content while I was away. Our regulars Beth, R.T., and Jerry have made a huge difference in the site and their involvement on a weekly(ish) basis has been a Godsend.

Our guest writers also did bang-up jobs. If you didn’t check ‘em out, I highly recommend you go and do so:





These folks gave me a much needed break from not only Needless Things but from being Phantom Troublemaker, which is something that hasn’t really happened in around six years. Between the site and maintaining some sort of social media presence, I’ve been this guy 24/7 for a long time now. It was nice not thinking about it.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Why G.I. Joe is the Greatest Toy Line Ever by Jeff Francis

By: Jeff Francis
Email: starbasegeek@gmail.com

Over the last few decades, there have been many fine toy lines produced that have fueled the playtime of children and the collecting obsession of adults. Many of these toy lines are based upon hit movies or popular comic books or cartoons. Some would argue that Star Wars was the greatest toy line every conceived, whilst others may point at He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Fans of robots will argue for Transformers, but all of these options are wrong. There is one toy line that stands head and shoulders above all else: G.I. Joe. While the franchise has had its ups and downs over the years, no other toy line has come close to the sheer awesomeness of G.I. Joe. Join me in The Pit as we examine why G.I. Joe is the greatest toy line ever.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Christopher Lee 1922-2015



I don’t know for sure what my real first exposure to Christopher Lee’s remarkable career really was. It was in all likelihood, due in no small part to my father’s viewing habits, his turn in The Man with the Golden Gun, but it could easily have been any of his many other roles. However, the one I actually remember, the one that made the biggest impact on my young mind, was seeing him in the role of Dracula.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Movie Review – Jurassic World

I am not, technically, back from vacation yet. But we went and saw Jurassic World last night and I had to write about it.

The Jurassic Park movies aren’t quite as dear to me as they seem to be to other people. They’re pretty good movies about dinosaurs and about man messing around with stuff best left to God, but they didn’t touch my soul in any meaningful way.

I don’t think the sequels really touched anyone’s soul, but that first movie seems to be held pretty sacred by a large number of people; especially those around a decade younger than me. And I will give them this – Jurassic Park is a way better Spielberg movie to hang your youth on than one about a brown nutsack from outer space. So you guys win that one.

The Fandom That’s A “Family Business” by Christina Sizemore

Fandoms. We all have one that we belong to. Or two. Or maybe a dozen. Some people are simply the devoted fans that support their show in healthy ways. They watch the show weekly, write fanfiction, attend Conventions, support charities that the actors raise awareness for, etc. Others…well, if you run into someone covered from head to toe in the fandom’s paraphernalia that decides to physically assault you because you don’t “ship” their character choices while they’re secretly carrying a lock of the actor’s hair in their pocket the entire time…run. Run and never look back.

You find the good and the bad in every fandom. It all depends on which side of the coin you land and which side you choose to stay on yourself after you flip it. Today I’m here to discuss one fandom in particular and the show it focuses on. I have seen the scary side of this fandom. I have seen its rabid side. I am proud to say, however, that I have been a part of its positive and devoted side. The side that chooses to make a difference and grow friendships, even family. It’s why I feel this fandom calls itself the SNFamily.

Let us sit down and talk about Supernatural, shall we?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The One Mistake a Big Trouble in Little China Remake Cannot Make but Likely Will – Jack Burton is Not Written as a “Hero”



I’m sure you’ve all seen the news by now. They’re doing a remake of Big Trouble in Little China with reportedly (as of this writing) the Rock in the lead role of Jack Burton. Now, I’m not as anti-remake as many other are, if for no other reason (as I outlined at length here) than the fact that 99% of the things the anti-remake crowd say while condemning remakes sight unseen are typically large amounts of bovine manure. Besides, I figure that the absolute worst case scenario with a remake is that it sucks while I still have the original to enjoy.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Flipping DragonCon by Marc Stephenson

The start of garage sale season is this nerd’s paradise. If you’re a collector of anything geek related then it’s probably a paradise for you too.

Most of us collector geeks share a common thread. That common thread is a life long knowledge of multiple facets of fandom. I’m an 80’s kid, which means everything I know about life came from TV, movies, video games, cartoons, and comic books. I’ve collected just about everything, which really helps when looking for the diamond in the rough at garage sales. The odds are strong that you also have this same experience if you’re currently reading this.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sansa Stark- Whats' the Big Deal?

If you're anything like me you wait with baited breath for that time in the season when Game of Thrones starts getting REALLY good. And boy, has it gotten good.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Toy Review – Pop! Robby the Robot and Robot B-9 from Funko by James Palmer

First off, let me just say thanks to Phantom Troublemaker for inviting me to write this guest post. The invite was quite timely, as I have been jonesing to write this post just so I could tell everyone how awesome these figures are.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Location, More Space, Same Fun- Looking Back at ConCarolinas 2015



 
2015’s ConCarolinas was held in Concord, NC this year over the weekend of May 29th – May 31st. As I subtly hinted at above, this was not the con’s prior home. Their home in recent years has been the University Hilton in Charlotte, NC. Their new home is down the road a bit at the Embassy Suites Concord in Concord, NC. This new location has both upsides and downsides that will be addressed below.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews June 2015: Marvel, Marvel Everywhere

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue 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 typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Blast Attak Rebuttal Review by Beau Brown



I propose a counterpoint Blast Attak review in response to Phantom’s scathing review. He got his first and I read his review, which I thought was pretty harsh.
 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Toy Review – Batman: The Animated Series Man-Bat from DC Collectibles

I have always thought it was odd that Man-Bat was the first villain used in Batman: The Animated Series. He and his alter-ego Kirk Langstrom appeared in the first episode, causing the GCPD to go after Batman. The admirable thing here is that they avoided an origin story. The approach was, “We all know who Batman is. Let’s get to the action.”