Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sometimes, Awesome Comes In Small Packages


Alex Ross is one of my all time favorite artists. I'm sure I am not the only one who says that. Alex Ross's work is amazing. I have loved his work on such classics such as Justice League Justice, Marvels and Kingdom Come. Plus, I love his takes on Battle Of The Planets, Batman, Superman, Captain America and of course, Spider-Man.

Alex Ross is one of my top 5 favorite Spider-Man artists. I have always wanted to own a piece of Alex Ross Spider-Man art, but at the prices his work commands, I doubt I will be able to own one, unless I go for a lithograph at some point. Marvel has yet to make a Alex Ross inspired Spider-Man figure, so I'm shut out there as well.

A few years ago, Marvel and Dynamic Forces released a life sized Spider-Man bust. It is the coolest thing I may have ever seen. The bust captures Ross's work perfectly and I wanted one. Still do in fact. The lowest I have seen this bust go for is $400.00 and I don't have that kind of cheddar lying around right now. But, there was the next best thing and I got it off eBay for a steal.


Lucky for me, a mini version of the bust was released and it now has a proud place in my Spider-Man collection. When I received the package and opened it, I was blown away by how cool this thing really is, despite the smaller size. Through the cellophane on the front of the package, you can see Spidey staring right back at you.


On either side of the box you get the same Alex Ross drawing of Spider-Man, without my flashes glare.


On the back of the box, you get a picture of the bust plus a write up about the statue. I'm actually not too crazy about the Spider-Man lettering they chose for this. Being that this was inspired by John Romita Sr's art, couldn't they have used the classic Amazing Spider-Man lettering? Maybe I'm nitpicking just a bit, but the new, modern Spider-Man lettering seems out of place on the packaging.


Here's the bust out of the package and what else can I say but this bust is awesome. It measures about 4 3/4" tall and is limited to 5,000 pieces. The statue was sculpted by Mike Hill. I'm not a statue collector, so I am unfamiliar with Hill's work, but he did a fantastic job on this piece. The bust looks like it jumped out of an Alex Ross piece. I love the eyes on it. It's not painted white like a lot of other Spider-Man busts and statues, but has that mirror like lens. Makes me wonder why the producer's of the 1970's TV series couldn't have done something similar.


Here's both profiles of the statue. I love how it looks like a mask. You can see the wrinkles on the neck and Peter's ears, nose and chin underneath the mask. Hill's attention to detail makes this bust even better than I could have dreamed.


Here's the back of the bust. It always freaks me out how the bust just ends into nothing like what you see where. Creepy.


An here is the certificate of authenticity that came with the bust. Mine is numbered 2059. I wonder if that is an actual John Romita Sr signature. I am leaning towards not, but it's still cool to have.

This actually might be my favorite Spider-Man piece in my Spidey collection. Owning this piece may actually get me to start picking up more statues and busts if I can find them at decent prices like at what I found this one for. I still want the full sized version and I will own one at some point. But for now, I am more than content to own this awesome bust and I'm really in no rush to grab the full sized version. It's funny how you can get attached to something so small, yet so awesome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Memories Of A Warrior


Tonight, I was saddened to learn the passing of a WWE legend. WWE has confirmed the passing of Hall Of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior. It was shocking to me because he was just on Monday Night Raw yesterday. Although he looked slow walking and getting into the ring, I just attributed it to ring rust or maybe a life time of being a wrestler, which will give you a lot of permanent injuries. He spoke pretty clear (well, for him anyways.), so I didn't think anything was wrong with him. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing more of him in the future.

I remember seeing the Warrior for the first time in the old UWF territory. There, he teamed with another young wrestler by the name of Steve Borden, who you all might know as Sting. Then they were Rock and Flash and were called the Blade Runners. I remember them brawling with the Fantastics, while Eddie Gilbert attacked the owner of the company, Cowboy Bill Watts at the end of a UWF show and Jim Ross going absolutely ballistic on the microphone. That was the last time I saw the team together.



The next time I saw him, it was in the old World Class territory. He was known as the Dingo Warrior at that point and hell if I know what he was supposed to be then. But, he eventually won the WCCW Texas Heavyweight Championship. The only time I saw him, he was defending the title against Rick Rude and won the match on a countout. I wasn't impressed with him and didn't think I would ever see him again.

Boy, I was wrong.

The next time I saw him was in the WWE, then named WWF, on the old Wrestling Challenge show that aired on Saturday mornings on Fox 5 here in NY. Then, he was more dynamic and finished his matches really quick. Usually, it was a clothesline, bodypress, opponent falls on his face, run to the ropes, splash and the cover. Match over. But what I remembered most about him at that time as that entrance music. It was awesome and I don't think I will ever forget that song and seeing him run down the aisle to the ring and shaking those ropes.

I finally saw him at a live event at Madison Square Garden. He fought Dino Bravo and beat him in under 10 minutes. Bravo was the first wrestler that put up some offense against the guy, but it wasn't enough really. From there he was off to the races and won the Intercontenental Championship from the Honkey Tonk Man in 27 seconds at Summerslam in 1988.

I know people talk about the famous match he had against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI and won the title or the matches he had against Rick Rude, Andre The Giant or even that weird feud he had with Papa Shango. To me, my favorite match of the Warrior's was at Madison Square Garden and it was against Bobby Heenan.

What?

You read right. His opponent was Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and it was in a Loser Wears A Weasel Costume match. Now, if you don't know who Bobby Heenan is, Heenan was a manager, not a wrestler, although he used to take some of the greatest bumps a manager could take. I didn't even suspect he had a chance of winning. I wanted to see Heenan in that weasel outfit since he was being called "Weasel" anyways. Warrior did not disappoint and using a sleeper hold (probably the only time he ever used a technical hold in his entire career), he put Heenan out and stuffed him into this furry bodysuit with a tail and claws. He woke Hennan up and the hilarity began as Heenan realized what he was wearing. He chased his tail, he swung a punch wildly at the Warrior, missing and falling flat on his face, then tried to take off the outfit and had more pratfalls during than a Three Stooges Movie. I am chuckling as I type this.


He had a great feud with Randy Savage later on but left the WWE over money issues. He later returned and had some matches with Ric Flair and another match with Savage at Summerslam 1992. Then, he was let go by Vince McMahon for reasons still not known. Some said it was because McMahon let him go over steroid use, other say it was money again. Whatever the reason, it stopped whatever momentum his career had for the last time.

He would return to WWE later and feuded with Hunter Hurst Hemsley and Jerry "The King" Lawler, but really couldn't get his career back on track. He would try one last time, this time in WCW where he faced the NWO. It was weird because when he woul appear, it would be in a cloud of smoke and he would leave the same way. In reality, it was through a trap door in the ring. This trap door would almost paralyze Davy Boy Smith when he was bodyslammed on the handle. To say the Warrior's run in WCW was unmemrobale would be accurate. I held out hope that he would one day show up back in WWE to end his career on a high note, but unfortunately, it was not the case.


Thankfully, he returned to the WWE last year in a non wrestling position. He did a memorable commercial for the WWE video game and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame just this past weekend. He made what would be his final appearance on Monday Night Raw on Monday to thank the fans for their support over the years.

And now, at the age of 54, The Ultimate Warrior is gone.

I could not find a cause of death online. I assume the information has not been released, but will be in the upcoming days. Either way, it was a much too early ending for him. I wish he could have basked in the adulation he deserved for just a while longer. But I'm sure wherever you are, you know that the fans appreciated your career. I may not have been the biggest fan of his, but I did appreciate what he bought to us and will always be a fan.

God Speed Ultimate Warrior.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pop Goes The Spider


Man, I just keep finding different and unusual Spider-Man items to add to my collection. As usual, I was cruising on eBay, looking at Batman, Spider-Man, Luke Skywalker, Marvel, DC items. Even though I really wasn't looking for anything to buy, I love to look on eBay. I call it "Virtual Window Shopping". Even if I don't buy something, I like to look to see what's out there and sometimes I find something I do want and will put in a bid. This time, I found something, put in the bid and won it.


This is a Spider-Man Jack In The Box. Yes, you read that right. A Spider-Man Jack In The Box. It was made by a company called Schylling back in 2005. I don't know much about Schylling, but I know that this thing is awesome. I do remember seeing this at Target back then. It was only once and I never seen it again. I swore if I did see it, I would pick it up. Now, 9 years later, I have it in my collection.

What I really love about this Jack In The Box is the vintage Spider-Man lithography that is all around this box. The front of it has the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 with Spidey in all his 3D glory.


In fact, on every side of the tin box has panels from that legendary comic book all around it.

 
How's that spider bite feeling, Peter?


The Steve Ditko drawn goodness is everywhere on this box. Then again, I always thought that more Ditko was a good thing.


Even the top is awesome.

Want to see how it works?


And the end result is this piece of awesomeness


Heck, even the doll inside is a vintage, Steve Ditko-ish Spider-Man. Excuse me while I geek out over this. I love that it plays the theme to the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon as you crank the handle.

I've always loved the classic look of Spider-Man. It didn't matter if Steve Ditko or John Romita Sr. drew him, I was enjoying the book. Now, I found an item that ties into that part of the character's history. I know I'm not going to ever own everything Spidey related, nor do I want to. I just want to pick up the coolest things and this definitely fits into that category.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

From The Spider-Man Collection:Spider-Man Yahtzee


One of my goals this year is to show off pieces of my various collections that I haven't shown off before. Before, my pick ups would get in the way of showing off pieces, but now that my pick ups are going to be slowed down a bit, I fell now is the time to show some off.

One of my favorite collections I own is my Spider-Man collection. He's my favorite hero and the largest I own. It's also the most unique. I have different Spider-Man pieces from comic books to action figures to cups to cards to sketches. Today's piece is one that I think is very cool.


I had my eye on this game for a while and, lucky for me, I got it for Christmas from my buddy, George.

Right away, I loved this as soon as I set my eyes on it. The container that is shaped like Spider-Man's head looks like it jumped out of a comic book page drawn by the legendary John Romita. I also loved that Parker Brothers used the vintage Spider-Man lettering right over the Spidey's head.



On either side of the box your getting pretty much the picture of Spider-Man, although they are turned around. Still, love the vintage sweetness that was used on the box.


Top of the box has another classic Spidey drawing. Looks like he has his clothes webbed up on his back as his Spidey Sense is going off. He probably senses how much I love this box.


As soon as you open the box, you see this on top. You get some score sheets, instructions and a pencil. I definitely need those instructions as I have never played Yahtzee in my life.


As you can see, the Spidey container is protected within the plastic bubble that is sealed into the cardboard backing. With the container, you also get a set of 5 dice (or is it die?). On the dice, we get pictures of the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Venom, Carnage and the Kingpin.

Unfortunately, the only way to get to the container and dice is to break open the plastic and cardboard and I do not know how to play, I opted to keep this intact. It just looks too cool to break open. Plus, I know that this will look awesome on the shelf among the other Spidey goodies I own.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be showcasing different pieces of my Spidey collection. I am very proud of how many different pieces I have in it and I am always looking to add to the collection. Spider-Man was the first super hero that I noticed and became a fan of, so I will always collect Spider-man merchandise. Hopefully, I can soon display all my Spidey stuff and really show off how cool it is. Until then, I will just show off the collection, piece by piece.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Adam West Joins The House Of Swag



A couple of months ago, I had decided not to pick up the NECA 1966 Batman figure for various reasons, but the main reason was I was going to spend all my dough on the Hot Toys 1966 Batman figure. I have never owned a Hot Toys figure and was frothing at the mouth over owning the figure and making it the first of what was to be a few Hot Toys I would pick up.

But, a few things happened along the way to it's release. I lost my job and I am still currently out of work. I can't right now justify paying over $200.00 for the figure. It stinks, but such is life. If it's meant that I will own that figure, then I will. But it's not looking like I will anytime soon. So, I was to be out of both the NECA and Hot Toys 1966 Batman figures.

Thank God for Entertainment Earth. The toy company runs sales on a weekly basis and recently had the NECA 1966 Batman for half off the retail price. It was too good a deal to pass up, so I jumped on it and I am glad I did. When the package arrived and I opened it up I was pleasantly surprised at the figure.

Here's how the packaging looked when I opened up the box.



Love the packaging. Just screams 1966 Batman. Not only do you get some shots of the figure its self, but thanks to a clear cellophane window, you get to see the figure in all it's bad ass glory.


Once you pull Batman out of the box, you see that he is very, and may I add VERY, securely fastened to the backing board by what it seems like 20 plastic ties. As pleased that I am that the figure was well protected to inside the box, it was a real pain in the Bazooka Joe to untie him from the backing. I swear, us geeks are never happy with anything. Imagine my complaining had he not been tied down.

Anyway, not only do we have Batman tied down, but we also see the accessories that come with the figure secured in plastic that slid into the backing board securely.


So, out of the box, I can tell you he looks fantastic. I was initially concerned by the abs on this figure. It's not a solid piece like it is on the NECA 1989 Batman figure and I cannot understand why. But, you get used to it and it doesn't really bother your after awhile.


This picture doesn't do the figure justice. The likeness to Adam on this figure is pretty damn close, if not dead on to how he looks in the cowl on the TV show. I love the drawn on eyebrows, the blue cowl with black face plate and blue nose. Great facial sculpt as well. It looks like you could pull off the cowl and get another face under there. It doesn't look painted on like with other figures.


There you see the ab sculpt I was talking about. I'm guessing that there is an "ab crunch" to this figure that the 1989 Batman doesn't have. I have to try it out.

The Bat emblem is painted onto the figure and looks great. The paint job here is fantastic as well. The grey of the bat suit to the blue on his trunks and gloves. No messed up paint job on this figure. I also love the sculpting of the gauntlets on the gloves.


The first problem I encountered with the figure was the joints. They were extremely stiff out of the package. the legs on my Batman was pushed back so far that Adam looked like he was thrusting himself out. Not exactly something I wanted to see. To be honest, at times when I was scared to screw around with the figure too much for fear I might break it. That hinders the ability to pose this figure. Maybe the joints loosen up a bit after a while. Frankly, I hope it does. I would like to maybe put this figure in some sort of pose other than just having it stand on my shelf with his arms at his sides.





I love the cape. The fabric just looks so cool on this figure. You can have it hanging off his shoulders or in the Batman "Bat" pose I have him posed in the above picture. It's a pose he dose in a few episodes in the TV series. Once I have the shoulder joints working better, I will try to lift those arms up a bit higher.



Not only can you make Batman's head go side to side, it can go up and down too. As for the rest of his body, he can bend at the elbows, knees, wrists and toes. He can swivel his hips like Elvis as well as his shoulders, wrists, thighs, forearms and ankles. This can make for great posing, but I do have a fear of rubbing off some of the paint at those spots with too much swiveling.


Here's something that I thought was really cool. The belt buckle opens to reveal the communicator behind it. Very cool. The rest of the belt is made of molded plastic. I'm not sure if the belt is removable.





Those toys, where does he get those wonderful toys? Yes, Batman comes with some accessories. He comes with 2 pairs of hands, 2 Batarangs; one folds and can be put into a pouch which hooks onto the utility belt, some string that goes through the Batarangs and can be used as the bat rope, a bat communicator and a piece of plastic that has something to do with the utility belt. To be honest, I haven't bothered to find out what it is.


 Batman is bringing justice to Gotham City.... 4 Horseman style!



The hands are an easy swap. Just pull off the already existing hand until it literally pops out and just push in the one you want into the socket. The accessories will fit nice and snug into the hands.

You have to be very careful with the accessories. I can see that these can get lost really easily. They are small and unless your going to use them when you display the figure, I would put them someplace where you will not lose them. I think Batman would be pissed if he didn't have his Batarang when he really needed it. 2 accessories I really would have loved to have had with this figure would have been the Bat Shield and the bomb from the movie, but I understand that the bomb will come with the Hot Toys figure.


The back of the figure is painted just as well as the front is. The painters did not take any shortcuts with this figure which shows me that they take their work seriously. The belt, as I suspected is one piece that is not removable. I guess if you really wanted to take the belt off, I suppose there is a way, but why would you want to?

NECA did an awesome job with this Batman figure. They nailed everything right with it and it's going to make a great addition to my Batman collection. Just a bit of advice, if you pick up this figure, make sure you get a stand for it. This figure is made of hard plastic and is a bit too heavy to stand on it's own. It will fall over it there isn't a stand holding it up. That's something else NECA should have included. Maybe a '66 Batman inspired stand will be something that they release in the future or maybe a customizer can come up with one. Regardless, if you, like me, can't afford the Hot Toys '66 Batman, this is an excellent option for those who really want an Adam West Batman figure in their collection. If you can get him on sale, even better.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Don't Only Collect Sports Bobbleheads


Over the past few years, Funko has become one my favorite companies. It's well documented on this blog my love for the Pop Vinyl line. In my opinion, they are one of the funnest lines to collect. But that is not the only line that Funko produces that I have become a huge fan of.

Before there was Pop, there was Wacky Wobblers. These are bobbleheads that, much like POP, are made of just about any character or famous person you can think of. I was introduced to them when my buddy gave me a set of Monkees Wacky Wobblers for my birthday one year. I was floored by the set and I have them on display in my bobblehead 3 shelf bookcase. Although I cherished them and was impressed by the likeness on the bobbles, those were the only Wacky Wobblers I owned for quite a while.

Then a couple of years ago, My buddy, George and I went into a Big Lots store up in Poughkeepsie that we go to every now and then. We went into the toy aisle and I found these bad boys.


I was ecstatic, to say the least. I had wanted to grab some of these when they were first released, but held off on picking any up. Now, I see a whole shelf of them and they were only 5 bucks a piece. I had a hard time deciding and had to leave Wolverine and Vision behind, but I am happy with the ones I did pick up.


Of the four, I definitely would say that Captain America is my favorite. I love that this bobble is sculpted to look like he just came out of the comics. Captain America is in my top 5 favorite heroes, so picking this up was a no brainer for me.




This one is also going to be the one that I may actually keep in it's box. I love the Jack Kirby style art that is all over the box as well as the iconic lettering.  I doubt I will be getting rid of this box anytime soon.


I loved the Incredible Hulk. I loved that Edward Norton tried to capture the style of the 1970's T.V. series, right down to the equipment that Banner used when he was exposed to the gamma rays. It's a shame he and Marvel had a falling out and he didn't do the Avengers. Then again, if Norton is in it then we get no Ruffalo and Ruffalo was awesome as Banner/The Hulk.



The only thing I would have done differently was make The Hulk a lighter shade of green, like in the comic books. He has that Philadelphia Eagles green going and I'm not sure I'm a fan of it.


Of course, I had to get Iron Man when I saw him. These two Wacky Wobblers are from the first movie, so I was pleased that I could get them at such a good price.







I love this Mark I Wacky Wobbler. I snatched this as soon as I saw it on the shelf.



And let's take a look at them out of their boxes.


These maybe made of plastic, but I would say that they are pretty bad ass nonetheless. I think I actually like the Mark I Wobbler a little better than his Mark IV brother. I'm almost sure this is the Mark IV suit.


Nice detailing on the back.


Wow, Cap looks even better out of the box than I thought. I do wish Hulk was a bit bigger, but what are you going to do?


I actually forgot that Cap had a star on his back as well. It almost looks like Cap has got the height advantage over Hulk. Just slightly though.

I had them in their boxes ever since I bought them and they look even better out of the box than I thought. These maybe made of plastic, but Funko didn't skimp on the attention to detail when they made these Wobblers. From the chain mail on Captain America's costume to the screws in the back of the Mark I Iron Man, I think Funko did a heck of a job on these. The paint, which has been an issue with the more recent Funko releases, is flawless on these figures. If I was in charge, I would put these in front of the painters as an example of how to produce a great paint job on Wobblers.

There are a few more Wacky Wobblers I need to pick up. The Spider-Man Wacky Wobbler has been on my must have list for quite a while and I think I will be crossing it off my list sooner than later. What I love about Funko is they give you options of other cool items to add to your collection. Be it bobbleheads or Pop Vinyls or even blind box Mystery Minis, you really can't go wrong when you add a Funko product into your collection.