07th May2014

Thrift Justice: YSE – FCBD Edition

by Will

thriftjYSE

We’re back! It’s been such a long time, but the yard sale season is finale upon us. While I was gone, the thrift stores dried up on me. I think there are several reasons for this, but the bottom line is that the gettin’ wasn’t good anymore. So, I had to wait around for the weather to get nicer, and for the garage doors to open on an early Saturday morning. I’ve actually been going to yard sales for the past three weeks or so, but it wasn’t until the other day that I finally hit pay dirt. My trusty partner, Special Forces, couldn’t make the journey, so I ended up charting an ambitious route down to Centreville, Virginia all the way to Olney, Maryland. There seemed to be community sales everywhere, and those are awesome, as you can just hop from house to house in the same neighborhood. There were so many sales, in fact, that I blew off the monthly Civitan Flea Market that I’ve written about in the past.

So, why Centreville, Virginia? Well, I was looking for local sales on Craigslist Friday night, and I was getting overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. Just as I was about to close the browser, I saw an for someone saying they were selling superhero toys and graphic novels. DING DING DING DING DING! That’s exactly the kind of stuff I’m looking for when I’m out on the hunt, and even though this sale was almost an hour away, I HAD to see what he had to offer. So, I woke up at 6:30, got some gas, and sped down the Beltway to Centreville. When I got there, I wasn’t disappointed. He had quite a few graphic novels, but I had most of them. He also had TONS of DC Direct and Hellboy figures. They were actually reasonably priced at around $5 per figure, but I steer clear of DC Direct, as those things are just too fragile. Here’s what I did get:

2014-05-03 15_opt

I actually have most of the stories in the collection, but it was such a beautiful leather-bound hardcover, and I got it for $5. Since this is an older book, it’s no longer the *complete* Frank Miller Batman, as it’s missing The Dark Knight Strikes Back, as well as All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder, but I don’t really mind.

2014-05-03 15_opt(1)

I grabbed this guy when I was pretty sure that I already had him. I hadn’t bought DC Universe Classics/DC Superheroes in so long that I really do have trouble remembering which ones I’ve already bought. I knew I had a Steel figure, but I couldn’t remember if it had the metallic “S” that this figure had. So, for $5, I took the chance. When I got home, it turned out I did NOT have this version of the figure, so I’m very happy, as this variant wasn’t easy to find when it first came out.

2014-05-03 15_opt(2)

I was really happy to pick up for this figure, as these things originally retailed for $60-80. I always admired them in comic shops, but this wasn’t a scale I was interested in getting hooked on. Still, the guy was selling it for $20 and it was new, so I had to jump on it. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna keep it or flip it until I saw the prices it was commanding on Amazon. So, I went with “flip it”.

I paid a little more than typical “yard sale prices” at the Centreville sale, but I didn’t mind, as it was for a good cause: the guy was raising money for his upcoming wedding. If you’ve been following this site long enough, you’ll remember that’s why I started Will’s World of Wonder, so I was more than happy to help him reach his goal (for an update, I still have about $600 to go before that whole wedding’s paid off. Buy some stuff from me!).

2014-05-03 15_opt(3)Once I was done in VA, I traveled back to Maryland, and stumbled upon a school having a small sale. There were only about 6 tables, and I was about to leave when I saw this guy: The Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue Deluxe SuperTrain Megazord. The guy manning the table was like, “Oh, everybody needs a Transformer!” I didn’t feel like correcting him, and simply asked how much it cost. “$4.00″ I couldn’t believe my ears! This is a big honking robot, and it was COMPLETE. I couldn’t get four dollars out of my pocket quickly enough!

2014-05-03 15_opt(4)I made my way to another neighborhood sale, and found these guys: Movie Masters figures from The Dark Knight, and a Speed Racer Mach 6 Hot Wheels car. I already have the Movie Masters, but I figure I can flip them. After all, that Joker was only available as part of a 2-pack, and I’ve had success selling him in the past. The Mach 6 is for me, as I collect basic pop culture-related Hot Wheels cars. The kid selling the figures wanted a little more than I wanted to pay, but I wasn’t about to haggle with a kid. Luckily, the mom got involved and gave me a good deal. I got the Mach 6 for free. My sweetest haul, however, was yet to come.

2014-05-03 14.52.28

On the way to another sale, I stumbled upon a church sale on a corner. I don’t always have luck at church sales, as you never quite know if the denomination of the church will have issues with certain items being sold. That didn’t seem to be the case here, as I found this NERF arsenal under a table in a LEGO Store bag. The best part: it was ALL $10. I didn’t even stand there to investigate it. I grabbed the bag and headed for the cashier. When I got home, I discovered that it had everything you see in the pic. Needless to say, the lot’s already on Craigslist.

If you looked at the title, you’ll notice that I called this the “FCBD Edition”, as this adventure took place on Free Comic Book Day. In the past, I used to pay a visit to every comic shop within driving distance, as different shops have different books. In recent years, I’ve kind played it cool on FCBD, as it’s not really for me. I’m already a comic fan, so I don’t need to be converted. Back when I worked at Diamond, I helped organize FCBD for a couple of years, and the original intent was for it to bring in new comic audiences. Fortuitously, it tends to fall the day after a big comic book movie release, so the hope is that the movie crowd will want to check out the source material and seek out a comic shop. I can run all over creation trying to collect all of the different books, but I rarely ever read them, and I’d be taking them away from someone who might actually appreciate them. So, my current FCBD consists of stopping at one local shop that also holds a trivia contest. I enter the contest every year, and I’m always either a finalist or the winner (I’m not that good, but the questions aren’t that hard). Well, this year, I WON!!! And here’s my prize:

2014-05-03 15_opt(5)

The X-Men: Fall of the Mutants Omnibus. Interesting story about this book. When I got to the shop, I really wasn’t feeling trivia. I was happy enough with the spoils from my yard sale hunts, and I just wasn’t feeling very “comicy”. In fact, I was just about to walk out of trivia just as it started. I figured, “Well, I’m already here, so why not?” Now, the funny thing is that once the game started, I KNEW I was gonna win that book. I’m not sure why, but I could just feel it. It was almost like it was destiny. You see, when I first started actually collecting comics, my very first back issue was Uncanny X-Men #227 – the final issue of the “Fall of the Mutants” crossover. I remember I liked the cover and it seemed like a decent jumping on point (a rare occurrence when dealing with X-Men), so I took a chance. 20 years later, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading that storyline to put that issue into context. Now I finally have the chance to read the whole thing, and it’s all because I knew the name of Reed and Sue Richards’ daughter. See, I told you the questions weren’t that hard.

So, what have you all found in the wild lately?

14th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/14/14

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

I was in Orlando for work all week, so I didn’t know if I’d get around to writing this. Forgive me if it seems scattered; I just had a few thoughts I wanted to “put to paper”, so to speak.

BurnettE

Ya know, it’s kinda surreal to be on a flight, while watching news coverage of a flight that has disappeared. JetBlue has Direct TV, so I happened to catch Erin Burnett (Mmmm…) as she covered the flight on her show, OutFront. That was followed by Anderson Cooper (Mmmm – equal opportunity!) doing the same exact thing. I don’t know what happened to that plane, but there are some crazy theories going around. I just hope they eventually find something, ’cause I don’t want another Amelia Earhart situation.

Speaking of JetBlue, they have BLUE potato chips! BLUE! And they’re pretty good, too.

IMAG0552

Good news on the TV renewal front, as TBS renewed Ground Floor, while CBS renewed Two and a Half Men. I know it seems like they’ve run out of stuff to do on that show, but I still enjoy it. I also find it amazing that it gained such a powerful second wind after Charlie Sheen left.

Wrdq_2009One of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the off network TV offerings. In Orlando, they have this Channel 27 that’s unlike anything I’ve encountered. It’s not a CW and it’s not a My Network TV. It’s an independent channel kinda like we used to have before UPN and The WB came along. For instance, I had no clue The Cleveland Show was in syndication. We don’t have that in DC, and the American Dad reruns that we do have are at 4 in the morning. Also, I learned about a tabloid news show, called OK! TV, which is basically TMZ meets Extra. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I love shitty television! Steve Harvey’s talk show comes on at 9 PM. And I thought late night court shows were weird!

barrydtreasure

I had no clue that Barry Weiss from Storage Wars was getting his own show, Barry’d Treasure. First Hester left, then Balelo died, and now this. I don’t even know why they keep Storage Wars going, now that it’s basically just Jarrod, Brandi, and Darrell.

Turbo

This amazing poster almost makes up for what was an absolutely terrible movie. I stole this off Jason David Frank’s facebook page, and it’s for Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. It’s funny how many people don’t even realize there was a second Power Rangers movie. I think most of my generation had moved on by that point (it was season 5 by then). Plus, people tend to forget that the first movie, technically, isn’t in continuity, while the second one is. You could watch the first movie without really ever having seen Power Rangers before, but the second one was basically a TV movie that somehow got a theatrical release.

AFB-logo-newSpeaking of Power Rangers, I had the pleasure of joining @Engineernerd of the Action Figure Blues Podcast and @ExveeBrawn of Superhero Time to discuss the Power Rangers toy line. Could Power Rangers be the best toyline of all time? Listen along, as we make the case!

cw-flash-costume

The suit for The Flash was revealed this week. Like some other folks, I think it looks kinda Daredevily, but it could work. I’m probably not even gonna watch the show, so I don’t have a horse in that race. I still haven’t watched Arrow since my review of it last year. Ever since I binge watched Breaking Bad, something’s been broken in me. I just can’t handle one-hour dramas at the moment. Maybe one day, but not now. Arrow, and The Flash, will just have to wait.

gotham-bar-big

And no, I’m not excited about Gotham, either. I mean, who really wants a Batman prequel? I have no interest in the goings on of pre-Batman Gotham. Just like with the Birds of Prey show, the only draw will be the hope of seeing Batman. Since most of Bruce’s training occurs outside of Gotham, I just don’t see what the appeal of this show could be.

IMAG0744

I found this at Toys “R”Us this morning, but I just can’t justify a $79.99 price tag (it’s sitting in a different spot in the pic for better lighting). It’s a gorgeous piece, and it’s heavy, but $80?! I’ll just continue to be content with my original one.

My Twitter bestie, Brandi, does comedy, and here’s a set that she did when Jackie Kashian came to town.

Links I Loved
65 Songs You Will Never Be Able To Listen To The Same Way Again – Buzzfeed
Blockbuster Video Presents: The UnderScoopFire Tournament of Super Powers – UnderScoopFire!
Hands On With Marvel Unlimited – Double Dumbass On You

2014-03-11 22.09.34

Ya know what had the West Week Ever? Walt Disney World. I went there for the first time, and boy do I have some thoughts. But you’ll have to wait until sometime next week for those 😉

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

 0d8559f2-30c0-47d5-bbee-ce5393070474wallpaper

oie_922142seDasWF9

IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

DrummondMcCurdy_opt

I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

arkham knight

This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

arsenio

I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

alg-conan-reaction-jpg

Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

upload

I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

Jean-Paul Aussenard

Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

lupita-2

Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

19th Feb2014

Comical Thoughts – 2/19/14

by Will

comicalI haven’t really discussed comics too much lately, even though I’ve still been reading a few. Here are some thoughts on what I’ve read recently.

shulkie

She-Hulk #1: good issue, but I’m not sure if this is a monthly for me. The one odd thing, however, was that the opening spread contains a pic of her drinking with Tony Stark and Thor. Um…Tony’s an alcoholic, though he’s clearly drinking a martini. It’s funny that Marvel can make sure that nobody smokes, but no one caught that? Anyway, the art works well for the story, even though I’m not really in love with it.

batman28_cvr

Batman #28: a flash forward issue. Can I just go on record and say that I hate EVERYTHING that Scott Snyder has brought to the Batman mythos? There must be something wrong with me, as everyone else raves over his work, and I just don’t see it. I’m tired of Zero Year and I really don’t know if I’m onboard for this Batman Eternal weekly. Anyway, I hope the Spoiler fans will finally shut up after this issue.

3452713-red+hood

Red Hood and the Outlaws #25: This was important because it’s a Zero Year tie-in. Since Zero Year takes place six years in the past, and Jason Todd is 15, that makes him 21 now. We’ll come back to this later. It also links Talia to the weird mystical mumbo jumbo that Jason studied after his “death”.

cataclysm xmen

Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics X-Men #3: What an utter waste of a miniseries. Clearly, Marvel felt that every Ultimate title needed a Cataclysm spinoff, but this one did absolutely nothing for me. They spend three issues in a pocket universe, where Galactus isn’t even a threat to them. Wasted potential.

EARTH2ANN_Cv2

Earth 2 Annual #2: I dropped the Earth 2 series early on because it wasn’t the “real Earth”. Still, I became fascinated when I heard they were introducing a new Batman, since that Earth’s original Batman died during the events of the first issue. Well, the new Batman turns out to be Thomas Wayne, and we’re given a different view of Bruce’s origin than we’ve had in the past. Thomas Wayne is essentially the Earth-2 Hourman, who happens to wear the Batman suit to honor the son he disappointed. I’m intrigued enough that I might give this book another shot.

batman-and-robin-annual-2-662x1024

Batman and Robin Annual #2: this issue features the New 52 interpretation of Dick Grayson’s first mission as Robin, as told through flashbacks. The important thing about this is that Dick becomes Robin at the age of 16 in the New 52 and not much younger, as in other incarnations. Let’s say Batman took Dick on as Robin in the second year of his mission, so that’s 5 years ago, making Dick 21 – just like Jason. So, this probably helped the “visual continuity” of Robin, as the replacement looked to be the exact age of the Robin who left to become Nightwing. To criminals and Gothamites, it would look like Robin has been the same guy the entire time, even though there were two different people behind the mask. This is a lot less jarring than Batman replacing an 18 year old with another 12 year old. This seems like one of the rare benefits of the new streamlined New 52 timeline.

black widow

Black Widow: I can’t decide if I like this book or not. Basically, it seems like Marvel wants to repeat the Hawkeye formula: here’s what an Avengers does on days off from the team. Sadly, I don’t find Natasha’s life that interesting. The art, by Phil Noto, is beautiful but the stories are pretty formulaic. She goes on a mission, she kills some folks, there’s a twist, and she comes back home. It also seems odd that she does this because I seem to remember that the Avengers have something of a morality clause. In Hawkeye, Clint got arrested and was reminded of said clause. How does that not apply to Natasha, out and about murdering people?

beautiful killer

Another problem is that I feel like I’ve read this story before. You see, back when Wizard tried their hand at publishing comics through Black Bull, they had a book called Beautiful Killer. It was about a redheaded assassin who happened to be drawn by Phil Noto. The book was clearly influenced by Black Widow and Spider-Woman, so to have Noto on the actual Black Widow almost seems like a retread. Each issue is self contained, so I can’t say that this series would probably read better in trade form. Four issues in, I just don’t know if this is a monthly obligation for me.

deadpool 23

Deadpool #23: I love this series so much. It’s funny because I never really liked the 90s Deadpool stuff, but I’ve been onboard since the Daniel Way series. I loved how Coulson was part of this story arc, and the Watchmen reference on the last page was pretty funny.

origin22Origin II #2: I’m not sure what to think of this mini yet. I’m wondering if it’s like its predecessor, in that Origin was really only a great reading experience after it was collected. To read it issue by issue made it feel disjointed in a way. Two issues in, it’s not grabbing me, even if Mr. Sinister happens to be a main character. I also wonder if Kieron Gillen is the perfect choice to write this. After all, this was Paul Jenkins’s territory, as he wrote the first series, as well as the bookend Wolverine: The End. Also, I haven’t really enjoyed anything that Gillen has brought to the Marvel Universe. He was great on his indie stuff, like Phonogram, but his mainstream work has left me disappointed. I think I might drop this in single issues and come back once it’s been collected.

Well, that’s me. What have y’all been reading lately?

17th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/17/14

by Will

0424250d-45dc-4398-b932-0dbbb96dd588wallpaper

oie_922142seDasWF9

enlisted

I didn’t watch anything on Netflix this week, but I used the time to catch up on some TV. First up, I watched Enlisted on Fox. Someone on Twitter said that it’s basically Stripes: The TV Series, and they weren’t wrong. It focuses on a war hero who, due to insubordination, gets bumped down to a Rear Detachment unit back home with his two brothers. He’s dying to get back to combat, and his Rear D unit is made up of a bunch of underachievers. By the end of the episode, however, he learns that Rear D is a valuable unit, as they take care of the families of the soldiers who’ve been deployed. The show was really funny and has a lot of heart. I’d expect big things if Fox had put it on Tuesday with the rest of their comedies. Instead, it’s being burned off on Friday nights with Raising Hope. The numbers weren’t too good for the premiere, but Fox execs say they’re committed to it for its initial 13-episode run. You should definitely add it to your DVR.

esq-girls-hbo-cast-041312-lg

I caught the 2-episode season premiere of Girls, and I still can’t figure out how I feel about the show. I don’t have HBO, but luckily they put the episodes on their official YouTube channel. I thought this meant that certain things would be censored. After all, when I watched the free preview of the House of Lies pilot, there were black bars over all the naughty bits. I was wrong to think that was going to happen here. Despite YouTube’s content rules, nothing about the Girls episodes was changed. We still saw Lena Dunham’s sad little boobies, and we also saw Jessa go down on another girl – all on free, non-age verified YouTube. I was kinda impressed by the balls on that decision. Anyway, the titular girls are still deplorable, and Adam’s even weirder than before. Nice cameo by Amy Schumer, but that didn’t really help the need for diversity on that show. Shoshanna’s still my favorite character, though this article points out that she seems to have no real motivation for being there.

robin

How I Met Your Mother‘s writers must’ve just said “Fuck it. It’s the last season.” No, I’m not talking about the quality of the writing, but I’m referring to the fact that this week’s episode was full-on yellowface. If you’re familiar with the show, then you probably know about the Slap Bet – Marshall won a bet with Barney and won the opportunity to slap Barney, as hard as he could, over the course of what became 8 slaps. In the continuity of the show, there’s always been some build-up to the slaps, and they tend to happen on “Slapsgiving”. Well, this season, in “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra”, the writers went full retard and told a tale of Marshall traveling to Shanghai to learn the Slap of A Million Exploding Suns. Yes, every chop socky Asian trope is displayed in the episode, and it even includes Ted looking like this:

slapsgivingThe creators have, since, apologized, but it’s a sour note for the show to go out on. After all, the series finale is in March, and this isn’t the kind of legacy that it should leave behind. I tend not to take things too seriously, but even I was watching the episode like, “Oh, shit. They’re really doing this?”

tumblr_mt8jd4pWxB1rbrhnko1_500

It was announced on Wednesday that the 1966 Batman TV show would finally be released on DVD. This is a big deal because the rights have been tied up forever, as Warner Bros owns Batman, yet Fox owned the show. That said, I still feel like this was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood, as it was pretty obvious this was going to happen due to the onslaught of Batman ’66 merchandising over the past year. We’ve gotten everything from comics to action figures to Barbie dolls. There was no reason to be pimping an almost 50 yr old show if the DVD thing wasn’t happening. Still, as excited as people seem to be about the DVDs, I don’t really get it. I mean, if you really wanted them, you have them already. I bought my complete series for $40 at a comic show. Sure, it’s bootleg, but the quality’s just fine. I know that I’m not alone, so I feel that the extras are really going to make or break this set. There are folks lining up already, saying “Take my money”, but I’m gonna need to learn more about this before I get too excited.

chiwetel-ejiofor

From here on out, I will be referring to the star of 12 Years A Slave as “Chitlin Ejector”. I can’t pronounce his real name, and I feel his new name is urban, yet futuristic.

codeswitch

I had a bit of a milestone this week, as I got the most hits I’ve ever had in the history of the site. No, it wasn’t West Week Ever that did it. It turns out that a 10-year old post of mine was linked by NPR’s Code Switch blog. If you’ve never gone that far back in my archives (or you just don’t feel like clicking that link), I posted a quote from John Byrne’s message board where he gave his opinion of Jessica Alba being cast as Sue Storm. And he also said that he thinks Latinas with blonde hair look like hookers. Since his message board archive doesn’t go back that far, it seems like my snapshot of the conversation is one of the last remaining pieces of evidence that it ever existed. Anyway, the Code Switch blog was discussing race and identity in comics (you should totally read it!), and that link drove my traffic through the roof. I’m still feeling the residual effects of it, so welcome, new readers, if this is your first taste of West Week Ever.

When I wrote West Year Ever, I omitted another event that took place in 2013: my good friends James and Jenn came to visit. Jenn helped create this site, while you can see James in the Wonder Woman video clip I’ve been posting. Anyway, I didn’t have a pic of their visit, so they got no mention. Still, you can follow them on twitter: @snoopyjenkins (James) and @reappropriate (Jenn).

In Case You Missed It This Week

Track Star: Mr. Mister Vs. Boy Meets Girl

3571211-britain-michael-douglas

On Monday, it was announced that Michael Douglas will be playing Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man movie. This is a pretty big deal for two reasons. First of all, the tabloids had Douglas on deathwatch just a year ago, so it’s great that he’s not only still with us, but ready to tackle such a meaty role. It’s also important because it means that Paul Rudd will actually be portraying the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang. This bit of casting made the Ant-Man movie plans that much clearer, and it’s gotten folks excited for the movie in a way that they hadn’t been prior to the announcement. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty “meh” since the introduction of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this was just the shot in the arm that the franchise needed. For this reason, Michael Douglas had the West Week Ever.

06th Dec2013

West Week Ever – 12/6/13

by Will

4b9a4f33-52fc-4492-939f-b471baee8ddawallpaper

oie_922142seDasWF9

We’re back! Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving? I thought about writing last Friday, but how many of you would’ve actually read it? Not many, I presume. So, we took a week off. That just means there’s twice as much stuff to talk about this week!

One thing I miss about Thanksgivings of years past is the Fox Kids TV Takeover. Back before Fox Kids was sold to ABC/Disney, there was an annual tradition that took place on the Friday after ever Thanksgiving. As this was before the prevalence of internet, kids were invited to send postcards to vote for their favorite shows. Then, on Black Friday, the Fox Kids lineup would consist of only the shows that received the most votes. It was rarely a surprise, as you could pretty much guess what you were going to see: Batman: The Animated Series, Power Rangers, X-Men, etc. The main perk was it was one of the rare times you’d get to see some shows outside of Saturday morning. They weren’t even new episodes, but it was still something I used to look forward to watching. I wish ABC Family would find some way to replicate it with an Eek! The Cat marathon or something.

wedding weekend

While we’re talking about watching stuff, I guess it’s a good time for a Netflix update. I’ve backed off of the movie-a-night schedule I had going there for a while. Lately, I’ve been rewatching The League because I’ve forgotten a lot of the early episodes. On the movie front, I did watch The Wedding Weekend – a movie so nice they named it thrice. No, seriously, when it was filmed, it was called Shut Up and Sing. Then, they got sued because that was the name of that Dixie Chicks documentary. Then, they renamed it to Sing Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace. Then, at some point, it simply became The Wedding Weekend. It’s about a 7-man a cappella group that reunites 15 years after college to sing for the wedding of one of the members. Drama ensues, old wounds are reopened, and there’s sexual tension. If you’re looking for an accurate depiction of collegiate a cappella, and what happens afterward, this movie does a pretty good job of capturing it. There’s the whole notion that you’ll never get those days back, and your “stardom” is fleeting. The movie seems to suggest that those days may end, but you have to continue to make those moments happen in the “real world” as best you can. It’s kind of depressing at times, but I enjoyed it. If anyone has Netflix, though, I need you to do me a favor: try to watch this movie and let me know if the audio syncs up. For the first time since I got Netflix, this is the first movie where the audio just wouldn’t sync, so I felt like I was watching a foreign film that was dubbed. This doesn’t happen on anything else that I watch, but it happened every time I tried to watch The Wedding Weekend. Does Netflix have a bad encode? Was it just my computer? Help a brother out!

twitter-300x110

Well, it’s certainly been a week of Twitter zaniness. I’ve been known to stir up trouble on Twitter, and this week was no exception. Before we get to that, though, something else weird happened: I got a reply from a tweet I sent 2 and a half years ago! In June 0f 2011, I tweeted:

ghostwriter

Some backstory: Ghostwriter was a PBS show about a ghost who promoted literacy, while Jeremy Miller was Ben Seaver on Growing Pains. In the second Ghostwriter adventure, he actually joins the team and then he’s never mentioned, or seen, again.

Anyway, the other day, I got a response to that tweet that merely said:

jmiller

Apparently, this chick is his fiancee? I checked out her feed and it seems like she’s basically doing PR for him, so I guess she Googled his name and my tweet came up. It’s still weird to receive a response so long after sending the tweet. I guess you never really know who’s going to see what you write…as we’re about to find out.

So, the other night, my pal @timdogg98 retweeted this from comic artist J. Scott Campbell:

jsc1

Here’s the full pic:

campbell

If you don’t know a lot about Campbell’s work, a lot of his women tend to look the same. I’m actually a fan, but I feel like Campbell’s been phoning it in lately. So, that led to this exchange:

campbelltweettdogg

I thought that would be the end of it until the man himself decided to make an appearance:

2013-12-05_10-10-20

Not really sure what to make of that emoji. Was he taking it all as good fun? Was that the shorthand way to say “Cool story, bro”? The long and the short of it is that he clearly has a filter for his name, as I deliberately didn’t tag him in that thread, nor did I respond to Tim’s tweets that mentioned him. Lesson: I need to stop talking shit on Twitter. OR I need to talk MORE shit on Twitter. I haven’t really settled on the takeaway lesson yet.

letter-44-cover

Speaking of comics, I recently discovered a book from Oni Press called Letter 44 that I actually really enjoyed. Every outgoing president leaves a letter for the incoming president, and this is the letter meant for #44. Everyone assumed that the 43rd president was a real moron who started unnecessary wars and ran the country into the ground. What the letter reveals, however, is that NASA discovered an advanced race in space that may be preparing an invasion. So, the wars on foreign soil were really just tactics to make sure we had a battle-ready military should the need arise. Now, the 44th President has to carry on what was started by his predecessor, and also decide whether to tell the American people. It was a really strong first issue, and I’m curious to see where the story goes. Few of my local shops dabble in indie books, however, so I may have to wait for the trade. You can read the entire first issue here.

This Week’s Post

Virginia Comicon (& Rob Liefeld) In Pictures

Links I Love

The TwinkieMcRib Nerd Lunch/Storify

Please Take A Moment And Read This Hilarious Amazon Review Of A $40,000, 85-Inch Television – UPROXX

Amazon Reviews Written by James Thach – Amazon

12 of Zack Morris’ Ex-Girlfriends That Would Make a Better Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot – UnderScoopFire!

The Conversation We Should Not Have About Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – The Nerds of Color

Three are no longer with us (as well as Nelson Mandela, RIP), while the other’s life will never be the same. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

gal

Well, this one should’ve been obvious, as she was the only choice who wasn’t either canceled or deceased. This former Israeli soldier/model had her life turned upside down as the world discovered she’d been cast as Wonder Woman in the sequel to Man of Steel. Many are wondering if she’s got the physique to pull it off, but that’s what horse tranquilizers are for. She’ll be fine. It’s not like she’s gonna make the movie suck. Warner Bros has that taken care of by shoehorning every DC character into this movie that they can. Still, Gadot went from a virtual unknown to Hollywood’s new It Girl overnight. For that reason, Gal Gadot had the West Week Ever.

25th Nov2013

Mail Call Monday – Facts & Figures

by Will

Welcome to the return of Mail Call Monday! I’ve been a bit of an eBay whore lately, so I’ve gotten quite a few packages. I wish I could say that these were holy grails or something, but they’re really just the result of boredom. Basically, I searched for auctions that were ending soon, and checked to see if any of them interested me. It’s a cheap tactic, but it yielded some pretty nice results. Let’s see what I got, shall we?

2013-11-24 22_opt

I wish I could say that buying this figure was the result of some sort of racial obligation, but that’s just not true. I really just wanted him because he was rare, and he was the one Thor figure I never found at retail. Luckily, someone had him at retail price so I jumped on it. Sure, I know he probably turned up at Five Below of TJ Maxx (which I’m sure you’ll tell me in the comments), but I’m not disappointed. I also think there should be a metal band of all black guys called “Heimdall”.

2013-11-24 18_opt (1)

I really just got this to flip, as I already own it. I love this figure ’cause he’s really to scale with the rest of the Batman: The Animated Series/Justice League figures. This version of Tim Drake was much younger than Dick Grayson’s Robin, and the diminutive size of the figure shows that. Mattel has reused those BTAS molds time and again, but they haven’t done much with this one, so he’s still a bit harder to come by. As a strange coincidence, it turns out that this item came from Diamond – my former employer. Yup, they sold it through their Hakes Americana subsidiary. Small world…

2013-11-24 18_opt (2)

I got this from my dear friend @Ponderiss, as she accidentally ended up with two and knew that I’d love it. I think this may end up on my desk at work.

2013-11-24 18_opt (4)

“I’m The Juggernaut, bitch!” God, did that meme get old fast. And then Ratner made things even worse by putting that line in X-Men: The Last Stand. It wasn’t even in context with the scene and just came across as unnecessarily aggressive. Anyway, I collect 3 types of Marvel Legends: X-Men, Ultimate Marvel, and movie figures. This falls into 2 of those categories, and I only paid $5 for him so it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice.

2013-11-24 18_opt (5)

This X3 Colossus came from the same seller as Juggernaut up there. Again, he fulfilled 2 categories, and was another $5. The additional shipping to add him to Juggy was $1, so why not, right?

2013-11-24 18_opt

This guy’s a longer story. $5 Figure Guy above had one of these for, you guessed it, $5. I bid on it but missed the email telling me that I’d been outbid. Turns out the winner beat me by $0.50. By this point, I’d already made up my mind that I wanted the figure, so I went looking for the next cheapest offering. I can’t say I got him doe $5, but I did OK – especially when I know that the seller lost money on shipping, based on the size of the box this came in.

2013-11-24 18_opt (3)

As I’ve written about in the past, I collect Toy Fair, industry-only catalogs from the major toy companies. I didn’t have any from Mattel, and this also happened to be a good year: 2003. In 2003, Mattel debuted the 6″ Batman line, which eventually led to the DC Universe Classics line. It was also in the middle of the Masters of the Universe toyline revival.Unlike most of the thin catalogs that I own, this one is pretty thick -basically the size of a modern IKEA catalog. Here are two of my favorite page spreads from the book:

 

2013-11-24 18.09.25

2013-11-24 18.09.59

 

2013-11-24 23_opt

I also got a late 80s Kenner Toy Fair catalog – 1989, to be exact. While it was too late to have Super Powers, this was still a great year, as the book contains Police Academy, The Real Ghostbusters, Robocop, and Starting Lineup figures. Here are two of my favorite pics from that catalog:

2013-11-24 23_opt (1)

2013-11-24 23_opt (2)

One day, I might get around to posting actual scans but that’s all you get for now.

So, that brings this edition of Mail Call Monday to a close. Expect another one soon, as I kinda went on a bender this weekend, including getting my first S.H. Figuarts Power Rangers figure. That was a can of worms I really tried not to open…

22nd Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/22/13

by Will

09716914-d187-424d-b165-ae9818327122wallpaper

oie_922142seDasWF9

Who knew you guys would like a post about Pure Moods?! That was my most popular post in a LONG time. Hell, it even did better than West Week Ever. So, after today, every week will be Pure Moods Friday!

I’m kidding. Even I can’t eke that much material out of a compilation CD series. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading it!

cosplay

I found myself in the middle of a flame war this week, as I cosigned a friend’s opinion on a porn star’s bad tit job on Twitter. Turns out said porn star knows how to use Google, and got all offended. Hey, get mad at your doctor, not us! Anyway, this led to a rebuttal post, then her PR guy got involved, trying to make me and a bunch of folks look bad. At the end of the day, I’m not sorry for what I said, which was that she was either dumb or just got around to googling herself since the offending tweet was sent a month ago. I, personally, didn’t say anything about her atrocious tits. Whoops! Oh well.

lady-gaga-artpop-cover-650-430

It took an SNL performance and several more listens, but Artpop has finally grown on me. The strongest songs are “Venus”, “G.U.Y.”, “Dope”, “Gypsy”, and the title track, “Artpop”. Still don’t think it’s as strong as Born This Way, but I was pretty hard on it last week. It also debuted at #1, so it’s got that going for it. Still, 5 strong songs out of 15 isn’t great, especially when it’s the other songs that’ll probably be released as singles.

Katie

Something’s been bothering me about this season of How I Met Your Mother – have they retconned Robin’s sister? If you go all the way back to season 2, Robin’s younger sister, Katie, comes to town and plans to lose her virginity. The gang talks her out of it, and she decides to wait. And then she was never mentioned again. In the middle of all the Robin/Robin Sparkles flashbacks, it’s almost like she was an only child. Apparently, Robin lived with her mom during the Sparkles years, so maybe it’s a half sister? Either way, she hasn’t been mentioned since that episode, yet there’s a wedding on the horizon, and still no one’s mentioning her. Hell, they finally broached the topic of Robin’s mom (who won’t be making the trip to the ceremony), but still haven’t mentioned the sister. This seems kinda sloppy for a show that has always tried to do right by its continuity.

10923020855_26bf08f49f_o

In the past, I’ve written about Geeks for Tots – the holiday contest run by The Robot’s Pajamas. Sadly, due to work and school commitments, Geeks for Tots won’t be happening this year. All is not lost, however, as Infinite Hollywood has an alternative: Infinite Toys for Tots. Basically, the site will match any toy donation that you can prove with a picture of you dropping a toy into a Toys for Tots bin. GFT used to get a lot of backlash for the fact that donors could win prizes for donating. People would say, “Why can’t you just donate for the pleasure of doing something good?” Well, this does just that, as you get nothing but that squishy feeling! You can read more about it here, but let’s help some less fortunate kids to have a great holiday season!

colpic_2

Speaking of the holiday season, now would be a great time for you to revisit Will’s World of Wonder. We’ve been quiet, but we’re still alive and kicking. In fact, I recently added a bunch of vintage Power Rangers zords, as well as some other trinkets. When you’re looking for something special for the fanboy in your life, choose Will’s World of Wonder!

Though I haven’t sung with them in 10 years, my collegiate a cappella group, Last Call, just released their new album. It sounds great, and if you’re a fan of music without accompaniment, you can get it from iTunes. Here’s a sampler:

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes on TRL, Jesse Camp and 1998’s Other Big MTV Moments – Vulture

Stretching Spandex Over Melanin Won’t Make Comics More Diverse – The Nerds of Color

Tanya Tate’s Boobs (Risky for Work) – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 50 Sexiest People Born in 1985 – UnderScoopFire!

Comics are for Children – The Nerds of Color

Best-Lock Continues Its Reign of Terrible Licensed Construction Toys with Stargate SG-1 – Double Dumbass On You

One had a city in the palm of his hands, while the other was just holding her boobs. One is helping the needy, while the other is kinda seedy. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

batkid-poster

No one had a week like Batkid. Technically, he probably should’ve had the West Week Ever last week, but his takeover of San Francisco happened after the post was published. Still, nothing that happened this week even came close to the media juggernaut of a little, cancer-stricken kid fighting crime with 10,000 volunteers in his corner. They say that the whole day will end up with a price tag of $105,000, but who cares, really? It seemed like a pretty fun day for all involved. If anything, I feel sorry for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as this just raises the bar for them. It used to be kids only wanted a giant ice cream sundae or a few minutes to visit with John Cena. Now, they’re ALL gonna wanna take over cities. The charity world will never be the same after this, and that’s why Batkid had the West Week Ever.

24th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/25/13 – Trekkies CAN Be Warsies!

by Will

103012-star-wars111

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

This is a special West Week Ever this week, as I decided to tackle one of my pop culture blind spots: the original Star Wars trilogy. I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually seen them before, as I have no real lasting memory of them. So, I’m taking the “born again virgin” approach: I’m saying it didn’t happen, and just acting as if that’s true. I’ve had a bit of free time on my hands lately, so yesterday I watched the whole trilogy in one sitting. Now, before we get to that, I’ve always had a bit of a “hate/hate” relationship with the Star Wars franchise. First, I hated it because I was a Trekkie (well, more of a Trekker, based on more recent definitions), and I grew up believing that Trekkies couldn’t be Warsies. You had to choose your camp, and stick with it. Next, I had no real desire to get to know the Star Wars franchise, as it seemed so daunting. Sure, there were only 3 movies (6 now), but there’s also the Expanded Universe, the comics, the video games, etc. It just seemed like I had missed the boat. Still, you can’t dabble in pop culture without coming into contact with Star Wars references. At this point, I know all the major players, all the quotes (without context), and the general gist of the franchise. Still, I needed to bite the bullet and finally sit down and watch the movies, even if just to know what I’m looking at on toy shelves. So, what did I think? Well, here are my thoughts as I was sitting through my Warsathon:

A New Hope

Rebel security is just a bunch of retirees in penis helmets

How do they take Vader seriously? I mean, look at him!

R2 is clearly not built for this Tatooine’s  terrain

That bugfaced droid looks cool, but that other one is clearly a cafeteria trashcan

Luke’s whiny line about picking up power converters makes him come off as such a douche. Great first impression.

Ha! The “help me obi wan” line

How come Aunt Beru is still dressed like a 70s housewife?

The score really is amazing.

That’s right, Luke. Just play with the sword made of lasers like it’s nothing

They’re burning the Jawas’ bodies? That’s kinda cold

Kinda fucked up that Luke didn’t defend the droids at Mos Eisley. “We don’t serve their kind!” “Sorry, guys. wait outside.”

Are there no women on the Imperial side? Even though stormtrooper suits have those little titty wells on the chest?

Leia wields a blaster like she’s never held one before. Which is probably the most accurate way to play that scene

I knew all the quotes. I just didn’t know the context

They really don’t mourn their dead in this universe

You knew Biggs wasn’t making it back when he wouldnt listen to Luke’s stories

Obi Wan suffered something of an anticlimactic death, huh?

Empire Strikes Back

Yeti!!!

This franchise would be a lot funnier if John Ritter had been Han Solo. They even had the same hair.

R2 and 3PO – best friends, like Bert and Ernie? Or lovers, like Bert and Ernie?

Lando’s perm should’ve been enough to let everyone know he was gonna turn on ’em

Did the lightsaber instantly cauterize the wound?

Kind of a non-ending, huh?

Return of the Jedi

Nappy Chewie!

There are way too many creatures in this movie

Defrosted Han looks like Jerry O’Connell

I know he was in that car accident and all, but Hamill’s Luke is starting to look like Miss Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies.

How come all the blacks seem to work for Jabba?

Boba Fett went out like a bitch. I’ll never understand why you people love him so much. He died in such a slapstick manner that would squander any cool points he may have amassed up to that point

All the women in the galaxy, and Luke immediately knows Leia is his sister? Oh yeah, “The Force”…

Ewoks!

I wanted Leia to say, “But I KISSED You!”

I kinda miss bratty Luke. Now he sounds too much like Jesus, with all this “Father, don’t let me die” stuff.

“It’s a trap!”

Black X-Wing pilot!!!

Ewoks care more about their dead than any human does in this entire trilogy

Those Skywalkers love losing hands, huh?

I know he’s old, but you mean to tell me that the Emperor couldn’t fight off being picked up and tossed away like that?

I have no clue how Wedge survived all 3 movies.

I have to say, I loved those movies. I honestly did. It may also have something to do with the fact that the Abrams Trekverse has really soured me on that whole franchise for the moment. Still, I finally feel like I’m in the club with the rest of you guys! All I had to do was watch 3 movies, there’s no pesky television show to keep up with, and there were no real weak spots. While A New Hope is a great complete movie, Empire had more going for it – if only it had a proper ending instead of the whole “To Be Continued” vibe. ROTJ was OK, but it had too damn much of a Jim Henson thing going on. And it needed more bratty Luke. So, there you have it. I’m one of you now. So, where do I pick up my lightsaber? Will they mail it to me? Anyway, Star Wars had the West Week Ever.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

AirBaseMcDs

Lately, I’ve found myself fascinated by fast food – more accurately, I’m curious about the fast food outposts on military bases. Who runs those? Are they individually owned franchises, or are they owned by corporate? And the civilians working there, are they locals or were they shipped over? Are there top gun cashiers just waiting to be deployed to the Taco Bell in Kuwait? “I’m getting deployed next month.” “Oh, really? What branch?” “KFC.” Anybody reading this have any knowledge on this subject? I have SO many questions!

frosty

Speaking of fast food, I hate when I get a Frosty at Wendy’s, and they give me a straw. A Frosty ain’t a shake, bitch! It’s a frozen dairy treat. Now give me my friggin’ spoon!

Jeff-Who-Lives-At-Home-11

On the Netflix front, I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home. I can’t really describe it, but it was enjoyable enough. Great cast, with Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and even Rae Dawn Chong.  I was drawn to it not only for the cast, but also because it was from the Duplass brothers (The League).  Segel’s character lives his life by looking for signs, and the movie follows what happens on one particular day when a ton of storylines converge. It’s a tight, contained little movie, but nothing that’ll blow you a way. There are worse ways to kill an hour and a half.

I think LEGO Marvel Superheroes is going to be the first video game that I buy during its release week. I loved LEGO Batman, and this one seems like a bit of a no brainer. Right now, though, I’m trying to figure out where I should buy it. If I go to Walmart, I get a cool War Machine LEGO minifigure (which I really want). If I go to Target, I get a Loki keychain (I’d probably just rip off the chain part and put him with my other minifigures). Toys “R” Us, however, seems to have the best deal, as you get a $15 gift card with purchase. I want that War Machine, but, c’mon, 15 free dollars?! I think I’m going to TRU later today.

Links I Loved

We Do Not Need a Wonder Woman Movie – The Nerds of Color

The 100 Sexiest Men on Television – UnderScoopFire!

01st Oct2013

The Con-Clusion: Monster-Mania 26

by Will

MMC26_PSTR_TEXT_LRG

If you’ve been reading the site recently, then you know that September was a month filled with conventions. It all started with Baltimore Comic-Con, which was followed by Retro Con, and finally there was Monster-Mania 26. I’m not even remotely a horror guy, so why did I go to Monster-Mania? Well, it’s simple – there was going to be a Batman ’66 reunion with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, and Yvonne Craig. Stan Lee and Adam West have always been on my Must Meet list, and since I met Stan 2 years ago, now it was time to check Adam off the list. So, even if that meant I would be braving a horror convention, it was time to meet Adam West.

I wanted to guarantee that I met Adam, and luckily there was a VIP package similar to when I met Stan Lee. Unluckily, that package cost $200. For that price, I was guaranteed a picture with Adam (with my own camera), an autograph, admission to the show the whole weekend, and admission to an exclusive dessert party Friday night. Before buying that pass, I spoke with some former Monster-Mania attendees to see if it was worth it. While the price was steep, I liked that it guaranteed the meeting, meaning I wouldn’t have to waste all day in line for the chance of a meeting. So, I paid it. It was around this time that Yvonne Craig canceled due to a family health matter. No Batgirl? Oh well, there was still Batman.

Before going, I couldn’t really decide what I wanted Adam to sign for me. I thought about the Batman ’66 figures, but I don’t like the idea of signed toys, which aren’t as easy to display as a signed book. I thought about Batman ’66 #1, but he didn’t really have anything to do with it. It’s a comic vaguely based upon his likeness, but that’s about it. So, I Googled some pics, and came up with this one that I really liked:

Bu-fTgEGkKGrHqJi4Ev1z1OkBBMCrBnCPDw_3

Sure, most folks would choose a picture of Batman and Robin, but something about this one just spoke to me. It’s as GQ as Bruce and Dick could be during that era, and I liked that Bruce looked pensive. Since it was a scan of an old trading card, it had also faded in a way that I actually liked. So, I went to Kinkos (I’ll probably never call it FedEx Office), and printed out a full page version of the pic. Finally, I was ready for the show.

Friday afternoon, I got off work early and headed up to Hunt Valley where the show was being held. The VIP session was set to start at 4:30, but I didn’t get there until around 5 due to traffic. A guy at the front desk directed me to the Garden Room, where we were to wait for our turn to meet Adam. At this point, the guy sitting next to me asked, “Did they tell you about Burt Ward?” What did this mean? Was he dead? Had he gone on a killing spree? What an odd way to start a conversation. Anyway, I said, “No, what about Burt Ward?” Apparently, for an extra $30, Burt would get in the picture with you and Adam. Now, I’d already paid $200 to get this far, and now they wanted more money? Still, I had considered trying to get something signed from Burt, and I heard he charged $60 just for that. So, the additional $30 didn’t sound so bad. Sure, I kinda just wanted my pic with Batman, but how often can you get a pic with Batman AND Robin? So, I went out and told the staff guy that I wanted the Burt package, and I was whisked away to another ballroom to wait with a different group of folks. After I waited for about 20 minutes, they started taking t-shirt sizes. I guess we’re getting free t-shirts. It was at this point that a drunk guy got belligerent, and started asking if Adam was even there. He said that he was tired of waiting (keep in mind it was only 5:20, and the room opened at 4:30), and that this was bullshit. The organizer tried to tell him that he had to take care of getting everyone’s shirts, and drunk guy said, “I AM everyone!” Finally, they offered to give him his money back and escorted him out of the room. About 5 minutes later, Adam walked in with a “Ho, what do we have here?”

Did I mention that I was the only black person there? It may not matter, but I feel I should mention it here. When the guy was giving out shirts, it was like he was going out of his way to avoid giving me mine, but then he had the gall to try to defuse the situation with, “Nothing personal. I’m just trying to do it like this.” Like what? He didn’t seem to have any kind of system until it came to me, and then he felt he should say something before I “got all black” on him. That’s how it felt, at least. And some dude and his girlfriend actually cut in line in front of me and some other folks, but the other folks didn’t say anything and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say anything. This was Baltimore, which isn’t the most hospitable place. You may know it from The Wire, but it’s also a cult city devoted to the Ravens and the color purple. I hate most things about it, but I knew I was on their turf, so I didn’t want to start any shit.

Anyway, Burt wasn’t ready for pics yet, so Adam was going to sign stuff first. They personalize everything to keep you from eBaying it, so they asked my name, and Adam proceeded to write “To William” on it. While it was less of an assembly line than the Stan meeting, it felt less personal. I actually got to speak to Stan, while Adam’s handlers protected him, feeding him things to sign. Didn’t even get to shake his hand (maybe he’s a germaphobe). I told him that it was an honor to meet him, as he handed my pic back to me. He said something that clearly wasn’t memorable as I can’t tell you what it was. It was probably something as mundane as “There ya go.” Oh, and he used a silver pen which barely showed up on my pic :-(

AdamSig

Once the signing was done, we got back in line for the pics. By this point, Burt was there and he did not look his best. There are few things worse than an older man who dies his hair jet black. Anyone who’s seen Return to the Batcave knows that Burt has gray hair. So, at what point did he decide to basically put shoe polish on his head? It was kinda disappointing, as he looked like a giant, special boy. Can I also mention my displeasure with the picture aspect? When I paid that kind of money for Stan, it was a professional picture, with a backdrop. I’ve been told that my pic looks like I ran into them somewhere and got them to take a picture with me. No, folks – I paid for that. I feel, for that money, they could at least have had a photographer. Have it so I can pick up the photo later during the show. Sure, having it on my phone allowed me to tweet it and such, it still doesn’t look professional quality, nor was it worth what I paid. The first pic was blurry, so they were nice enough to take it again, but I don’t feel they’d have these issues with one photographer, with one good camera.

2013-09-27 17_opt

After the pics, we got back in line, and I wondered what this new line was for. Well, it turned out that Burt was signing. “Well, cool”, I thought. I get a pic and an autograph from both. Standing in line, though, we started getting the impression that the signing wasn’t included. I asked the guy in front of me, and he told me that Burt was charging, but he wasn’t sure how much. As someone was leaving, the guy asked how much, and was told that Burt charged $50 for the autograph. Apparently, there’s a favored nations clause where Burt gets everything Adam gets. So, if Adam charges $60 for a picture, then so does Burt. I don’t really think this is fair – mainly because Batman and Robin are NOT an equal partnership. Robin is more of a junior partner, and his rates should reflect that. We’d already paid $230 just to get in this particular room, and now Burt wanted $50 more? Nah, fuck that noise. I got out of line and walked out.

My lone spoil

My lone spoil

Since I’d already come all that way, I figured I should at least check out the showroom floor. Did I mention that I didn’t feel comfortable? Because I didn’t. I don’t want to say anything too negative, so as not to offend anyone, but horror fans are kinda scary. There were a LOT of people there who looked like borderline skinheads, which didn’t bode well for my lone black status. I walked around, but most of the dealers were selling old VHS movies that had been burned onto DVD. There were some toy dealers, but their prices were astronomical. I checked out a loose Marvel Legends Hawkeye, and the dealer offered to sell him to me for $25, down from the asking price of $30. Sure, he’s not easy to find, but the fact that there’s a new Hawkeye on the market  will drive prices down on the old one. I wandered into the ballroom and saw some of the “guests”. I’m not sure why I put that in quotes, but I did. Because it was Friday, the show wasn’t in full swing, so maybe people weren’t bringing their A-game. Still, I saw David Prowse, who’s at every convention. I saw Michael Madsen, but I didn’t get too close because I didn’t want him to try to sell me something, and I saw Kari Wuhrer, who looked like an attractive, middle aged diner waitress – ya know, a single mom just trying to catch a break. I just didn’t feel like it was my cup of tea, so I headed for the door after being there about an hour.

2013-09-27 18_opt

On the way out, I took some pics of the Batmobile and Batcycle on display outside the lobby. Apparently, you could have your picture taken in the Batmobile, but the photographer didn’t seem to be anywhere nearby, plus that would’ve been another $20. So, I headed for my car to begin the journey home.

2013-09-27 18_opt (1)

I really haven’t enjoyed this convention season. I’m not sure what it was, but in the words of U2, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” It was cool meeting my pals at Retro Con, but that was about it. I didn’t go to these shows with many expectations, but even my lowered ones were not met. I did get to meet a childhood hero, and I’m thankful for that, but in no way was it worth what I paid. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again, especially since my list has been completed. I wouldn’t mind meeting Jason David Frank one day, but I know he ain’t worth more than about $50. I kinda wish I could have one last shot at fun at New York Comic-Con, but I’m fairly certain the 2013 convention season is done for me. Well, there’s always next year…

Pages:«1234567...13»