Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Amazing Addition To The Spider-Man Collection

With my must see movie of 2014 set to open here in the US next Friday, I thought I would show off my newest addition to my Spider-Man collection. I have actually been wanting these ever since I saw some preview pictures of them before the Blu Ray of the Amazing Spider-Man was released. I recently saw them on eBay for a price that was too good for me to pass up, so I bought them.

These PVC statues were sold as part of a box set with the Amazing Spider-Man 3D Blu Ray. I love when you pick up a Blu Ray and there is a little something extra in it. I saw the Superman statue that was included in the French release of Man Of Steel and I was hoping we would get something similar. I wanted this set, but when I saw the sticker price on the box set, I figured I could get the statues separately off eBay at some point and put the box back. It took me a while to get them at the price I was willing to pay, but it was well worth the wait as these are pretty cool.

The sculptor did a great job capturing the likeness of Spider-Man. He looks exactly how he did in the movie, right down to the silver in his shoes and the yellow in his eyes. I didn't get what they were going with when they went with this look, but after seeing the movie I understood it. It looks like they are going with a costume that is closer to how he looks in the comics in the new movie.

The Lizard also came out great. You can see a bit of Rhys Ifans in the face sculpt. You could also see the color and texture of the Lizard in this statue as well, which really helps this statue stand out. When I first saw the Lizard, I couldn't understand why he didn't have a snout like he did in the comics. But, if you look in his earlier incarnations, you can see that he barely had a snout and I think that's what the designers were going for here. Again, I really didn't have a problem with a snout-less Lizard since I loved Ifans performance as Dr. Connors/The Lizard.

I'm thrilled I finally was able to add these two pieces to my Spider-Man collection. They may be just PVC statues, but I am very pleased with how good they look and they will be displayed prominently in my collection.

With the new movie coming out, we should see a flood of Spider-Man related merchandise. I cannot wait to see what will be flooding the shelves in the stores. I know we will get action figures, POP figures, bobbleheads, statues, t shirts and other cool merchandise that will tempt me to dive into my pocket for my wallet. If it's anything like we got for the first movie, then I will be a happy Spidey fan.

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.


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.