Friday, April 29, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 105 – Star Wars in 2016

Phantom Troublemaker and Chad J. Shonk get deep into a galaxy far, far away in the newest episode of the Needless Things Podcast!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wars of the Worlds


This is not a thing I ever imagined I’d be writing about today, but as often happens the introduction to a toy review led to a whole other train of thought. I don’t always hop on board and let those take me where they want. This time it seemed like a decent place to visit.
I have been fascinated with the concept of Orson Welles’ radio drama of War of the Worlds ever since I can remember. The modern legend surrounding the broadcast is that many listeners missed the indicators that it was a drama and took it for an actual news report of an alien invasion. Over the years the reports of the supposed mass hysteria that resulted have been disputed and mostly debunked. But when I first heard about this as a kid, I took the story at face value. In my mind, this Orson Welles fellow (that would later go on to voice one of the greatest villains in cinematic history, Unicron) had played a grand prank on the US populace. The 80s being what they were, I got the barest bones of the story and sort of filled in the rest in the grandest way my mind came up with.

Actually, I guess that’s pretty much how news works now, too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Was the Game of Thrones Premiere Enough?


The short answer is no. But that would make for a pretty crappy post, and you guys deserve better than that. Well maybe not all of you do, but why punish everyone else? I'll keep it spoiler free (except for the stuff that we've seen in previews), and keep my book references vague for those who can't be bothered to read (lookin' at you Phantom) the damn things. To keep clear of spoilers for this episode I will have to reference things that happened in the last season finale. Pretty much everything is continued from there so I can't get around it. If for some reason you haven't watched last season you'll want to catch up quickly. It also wasn't a terrible episode so rather than pick it apart (which would be impossible to do without spoilers) I'll also talk a bit about what I think will and should happen this season and beyond.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26 - Alien Day

Poster art by Vance Kelly available here

I am not immune to the appeal of internet synergy. Also, I love the Aliens franchise, so today I’m writing about James Cameron’s action/sci-fi masterpiece, Aliens!

First, a bit of explanation for the uninitiated. Alien was released on May 26th, 1979. Aliens was released on July 18th, 1986. Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection were released on May 22nd, 1992 and November 26th, 1997 respectively.

So you might be wondering - what the heck is this 4/26 business?

Monday, April 25, 2016

His Name Was Prince: Christina's Memories of The Purple One



My mother was a bit of a punker.  I always have idolized her for that.  My favorite story of my childhood was that I was literally rocked to sleep by her at night to Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare.”  As you can see I grew up in a liberal family so my musical tastes are eclectic.  So Prince was introduced to me when I was only three. 

My first song that I ever sang in public was the Prince song “Head.”  Bear in mind this is a song about a woman who is getting married, meets a man and is so attracted that she gives him a blow job, and ends up marrying this dude instead.  I sang this in a TG&Y when I was four.  My mother was mortified... until she realized it was her fault because hey, she let me listen to it.  I was told not to sing it in public anymore and that was that.  This was only one of many moments from my childhood, from the relationship of my mother and I, in which Prince played one of the largest parts.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Needless Things Podcast Episode 104 - Prince

The greatest musical performer of all time has passed away. Phantom Troublemaker talks about Prince.

Seemingly Forgotten Films – If You Could See What I Hear (1982)



In the springtime of 1982 Marc Singer was still about six months away from becoming a genre icon with The Beastmaster in theaters and about a year away from cementing that status by fighting evil, lizard-faced alien invaders in television’s V. Despite my lifelong status as typically being one of the bigger geeks in whatever company I was keeping, it was just about this time when I discovered Marc Singer as an actor in a non-genre film in what is still to this day my favorite of his many roles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – DC Comics Previews April 2016: “Rebirth of Cool?”

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 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.

This month DC decided it would be fun to do their own little book like Marvel does. This is primarily because of the “Rebirth” event and is not currently scheduled to be a regular thing. As far as we know. Naturally, DC’s little book shipped late and didn’t arrive in our Local Comic Book Shops until last Wednesday. That means today you get the second – thought smaller and more focused – Previews rundown of the month.

This is as much a magazine putting over how exciting “Rebirth” is as it is a catalog. Having read it, I now totally understand why DC published it as a separate entity from Previews. It does a great job of drawing attention to the changes and making the event feel like a big deal and a possibility for solid new beginnings.

We’ll see.

I’ll be posting a new episode of the Needless Things Podcast this Friday where we get a little more in-depth about DC’s recent publishing history and what we expect (and would like for) “Rebirth” to accomplish. For this post, I’m sticking to my usual brief commentary about each entry.

Oh yeah - DC printed these in extremely limited quantities because they thought it best if news of their massive, line-wide promotion reached as few people as possible. As such, I was only able to obtain one copy from my Local Comic Book Shop. This means that some of the pictures you see are going to have my podcast prompts on them. Sorry about that. Consider it a tease for what we'll be talking about on Friday.

Fortunately for DC, I'm here to spread their word.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Toy Review – Star Wars: The 6” Black Series #15 Jango Fett from Hasbro

It’s been a while since I’ve said it, but I am not collecting Hasbro’s 6” Star Wars Black figures. 3.75” super articulated figures are my thing and judging from the last year of Hasbro’s offerings in that format I’ll be saving a lot of toy money in the future.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Phantom Troublemaker on Video Games – The Arcade

This is the third entry in a series of posts that I’m writing about the part that video games have played in my life. Today’s post was supposed to be about the 16-Bit era and my time working at Video Game Exchange, but I realized that I was skipping over a very important aspect of video gaming in both my life and in pop culture – arcade games.

If you need to play catch-up before reading this post, I wrote about the Atari 2600 in the first part and followed it up with tales of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tombs of the Blind Dead



It was on April 10, 1972 that one of my absolute favorite “zombie” films hit the theaters in Spain. I’ll explain the quote marks in a bit. It wasn’t even a full four years after the release of Night of the Living Dead in America when La noche del terror ciego created its own wonderfully terrifying addition to the horror genre and, eventually, to the zombie genre. We would eventually know them as “Blind Dead” in the annals of horror history, but they went through a number of name changes over the years- not all of them for the most honest of reasons.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Toy Review – Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Set from DC Collectibles

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a milestone of cinema.

To this day it remains the best Batman feature film released to theaters. In just eight months the creators of Batman: The Animated Series crafted a feature-length film using all of the tools that had been established by Batman: The Animated Series. It is part of the continuity of that show and the DC Animated Universe; an extra-long story with a budget that dwarfed other stories.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

AMC Needs to Fear the Walking Dead

AMC should fear dropping ratings, and it should fear their lack of character development. Mostly it should just fear that it's become my new Nyquil. Through all the ups and downs I've stuck with The Walking Dead. And it's not even that I'm a comic snob. Yeah I've been reading since close to the start, but I got past all the twists and changes of the show. I just can't get behind Fear the Walking Dead no matter how much I try. I want to love you AMC zombie shows, why won't you let me love you?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Where'd The Adults Go?: Reviewing The Apocalyptic TV Show "The Tribe"


I’m an avid gamer.  Most of you know that by now if you’ve read any of my pieces.  One arena of gaming  that I loved was writing RPGs.  Including gaming, role-playing, and writing, they threw in everything I love in one neat package.  While creating a new proboards with a former friend of mine many years ago I struggled with the image I wanted to use as the avatar for a new character I was creating.  She sent me the screenshot from a TV show that she watched regularly of two men; the show’s town Sheriff and his temporary Deputy.  I loved what I saw; the bright colors of the background and the gothic/apocalyptic look of the characters.  But I had no clue what this show was.  My former friend thought I was from another world for being unfamiliar with it, but she pointed me to the TV Channel that I could catch it on.  I gave it a try and never looked back.  My former friend and I may not be on speaking terms anymore, but I will forever thank her for introducing me to this show.

“The Tribe” is without a doubt one of the best post-apocalyptic shows out there.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 102 - Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Phantom Troublemaker, Head of Research Ryan Schweck, and the Belligerent Monkey Jay Hornsby discuss one of the most divisive superhero movies of all time - Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Watching Dread




[Word of warning upfront, I’m going heavy spoiler after the jump.]



Years ago a great little comic book, The Walking Dead, was launched almost completely under the radar and ended up becoming one of the bigger surprise hits in comics. There were a number of things that made its level of success such a surprise. It was a non-superhero title launched by Image, it was in black and white, and it was a zombie horror title. I’d say most people gave it no chance when it first launched, but the truth is most people didn’t even know it launched until after the buzz over how good it really was started up in full.

The comic continued on for years, gaining greater accolades and a larger following while managing to keep its storytelling quality fairly high. It also showed a for the large part no holds barred attitude with regards to how it treated the fate of its characters. Other than a very core few, death was always a possibility for a favorite character, and even then we saw death finally touch one of the characters everyone believed to be a part of that core group of untouchables. But being an untouchable when it came to the Reaper didn’t mean you had it easy. Characters who managed to survive the long haul were physically, emotionally, and mentally destroyed at one point or another with some never fully recovering to be the same again.

Then the news broke that The Walking Dead was shambling its way to AMC, and the show’s creative pedigree had the fans salivating. Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd were attached with Darabont being very hands on with the pilot episode. Maybe even bigger news to the comic book community and the book’s fans, Robert Kirkman, the man behind the comic, was onboard as creative control and was even going to write an episode here and there. As crazed as some already were over waiting for the first episode, fans of zombies and fans of the comic went insane with anticipation once the trailer for the pilot was released. Outside of a few naysayers, everyone was sure this was going to be one of the greatest television events ever for horror fans.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Devlin's Domain - Cannibal


There are very few films out there that I find legitimately grotesque. If you've been a regular reader of the Domain then you know I've seen some shit. I've enjoyed A Serbian Film and suffered through August Underground. Both were gory and disturbing, but failed to make my guts wrench. There is only one film I've come across so far that I found completely repulsive. This week's film is dreadful and vomit inducing. You've been warned.


Comic Book Wednesday – Previews April 2016: “Everything But the DC!”

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 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.

This month DC decided it would be fun to do their own little book like Marvel does. This is primarily because of the “Rebirth” event and is not currently scheduled to be a regular thing. As far as we know. Naturally, DC’s little book shipped late and won’t be here until next week. That means they get their own post two weeks from now, I guess.

Of course, they still got something on the main Previews back cover, which I’ll discuss below.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ancient Toys of Yesteryear – Masters of the Universe 200X Teela from Mattel

I may have allowed myself to get sucked into Masters of the Universe Classics, but my favorite versions of Eternia’s denizens actually come from the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Masquerade PART 3 – GOPHER

Image from ClubZone.com

Yeah, I know it’s been a while, but I think it’s high time I continue my tales from The Masquerade. Especially considering it hasn’t actually, you know, closed.

This series of reminiscences was sparked by the news last year that one of Atlanta’s best-known and most diverse music clubs was closing. Now, this news has hit every couple of years for the past two decades, but this time it seemed more legit.

As of this writing the venue has shows booked through August 16th, so it looks like they aren’t going anywhere.

Regardless, I still have stories to tell about my time working there twenty years ago. You can catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 101 – WrestleMania 32 Pre-Show

The Needless Things Irregulars convene to talk about this year’s Showcase of the Immortals – WrestleMania 32!