Sunday, May 25, 2014

For Those Days When All You Want Is A Relaxing Game Of Chess

As a kid, I used to love playing Chess. I remember learning the game in elementary school at about 8 years old from one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Chappy. Funny enough, it didn't take me long to learn the game and whenever I wasn't playing sports, reading comics or watching TV, I was playing chess. I loved playing it and beating my friends and cousin on a regular basis.

Nowadays, I'm not the good chess player I was as a lad. I haven't really played a game in several years except for the time I played with my young nephew. I know your supposed to let the kids win, but that's not how I learned to play and I wanted to pass that along to my then 6 year old nephew. Unfortunately, that did not go according to plan. One arm swipe and the game was over. I haven't played a game since.

I never really considered collecting chess pieces at all, but that was before I started watching my good friend, Stew Murray's Superman videos on his YouTube channel. He has some very nice Superman Eaglemoss Superman related chess pieces in his collection. I liked them so much that I decided if Eaglemoss ever made a Spider-Man piece, it would be in my collection at some point.

Look what I found today:

I happened to find this at a comic book shop I shop at in Scarsdale, NY called Alternate Realities. There was a table with a ton of nice stuff and this beauty just happened to have been front and center. Of course, resistance was futile and I snatched this piece up to add to my collection.

The chess piece came with a magazine and a pamphlet, which is shown in the picture above. It pretty much gives you a run down of what pieces Marvel will have to offer at some point as well as gives you a description of what you can expect to see in the magazine.

Although I'm only interested in just the Spider-Man related pieces, there are some nice pieces in the Marvel collection. I'm really digging that Red Skull piece. I bet the detail in that sculpt is incredible.

Here are the pieces that will be released. First, the White Team (The Heroes).

And The Black Team (The Villains)

On the villain side, I will be picking up Venom, Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus for the collection. Those Mandarin and Loki chess pieces look great though.

I am looking forward to reading the magazine. The magazine has a profile about Spidey as well as a poster of the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #40. It also has a section to teach you the game of chess as well as gives you some key phrases used in the game and the meaning behind them. The magazine even lists three key Spider-Man stories as well as strategy on beating Doc Ock.

The fact that the magazine uses the actual art from the comic books is a huge bonus for me. I could look at Spidey drawn by John Romita Sr., Steve Ditko and Todd McFarlane all day long, every day.

And here is the chess piece. I have to say I am quite impressed with it. These pieces are hand sculpted and painted so there is very little room for error when creating these pieces. I have seen some videos where there were some paint issues on them, but I can honestly say there wasn't any flaws on my piece. I was actually pretty worried about that, but was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I opened the package and saw that there was none to be found.

Take a look at that sculpting. I really think Eaglemoss and it's sculptors and painters did a fantastic job with this piece. Maybe they could have painted in the web-lines on his suit, but it's not that much of a big deal to me. Not big enough to detract how awesome a piece this is. The spider symbol on his chest s sculpted on. It's not painted on and I think that's awesome. It shows how much effort was made to make this a pretty quality chess piece.

The piece is made of metallic resin, so there is a bit of weight to him. He's not too heavy, you can easily feel that the weight is on the base of the piece. Still, I would try my best not to drop this piece as I don't know how sturdy it really is.

Here is a back view of Spider-Man. I love the black wash that's in the blue. Little things like that are what I am really digging on with this piece. The spider symbol on the back is not sculpted on. It seems to me that it was painted around, creating the symbol on his back. Am I making sense? Spidey Sense? No? Perhaps?

The base of each piece gives you the symbol of the chess piece it's representing on the chess board. In this case, Spidey will be one of the Knights on the chess board. The other Knight will be Wolverine.

Under, the base is lined with a felt material. This is to give the piece a better grip on whatever surface it's on. Or so I'm guessing. There also a number assigned to each piece. Not sure if the numbering means anything other what number piece you have off the production line. I really have to find out if these pieces are numbered to a certain amount and will cease being in production once it reaches that number.

Once again, I am thrilled to add a new and unique piece to my Spider-Man collection. Maybe if I start playing again, I will get a set just for play. Even if I don't, this piece is going to look insane on my shelf with my other Spider-Man items. I can't wait to hunt down the villains to add as well. Again, I never thought I would want to pick this up, but I'm glad I did. Having an open mind to certain things can really diversify a collection and really make it stand out.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just downloaded a chess game to play on my tablet and I'm going to kick some computer tail. What, checkmate? Already? Damn!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Five Spider-Man Related Figures I Want For My Collection

When I decided to re-focus my collecting energies on my Spider-Man collection, I knew I would be in for a huge task. So many fantastic Spider-Man related stuff was released and I barely picked up any of it. I actually don't mind being behind the eight ball because I get to hunt for the stuff I really want and there is a lot.

On the flip side, there are a few things that I had never seen released before. With the long history of Spider-Man, there are a lot of variations of the outfit that has never seen the light of day in figure form, statue or otherwise. So I started thinking what 5 Spider-Man or supporting characters I would love to see get released as a figure or statue.

For The Little 1970's Kid In Me.

I grew up a child of the 1970's. That is when I discovered Spider-Man. I remember seeing the cover of Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man and after reading it, I was hooked. Now that I am older, there are 3 different Spider-Man figures I would throw my wallet at a store clerk to pick up.

Let's start with the very first Spider-Man cartoon. Sure, there are webs missing from his outfit, but this is one version of Spider-Man that I believe was the very first exposure to the character for many fans. While I am not shocked that a figure of the 1967 cartoon hasn't been released, I think a 6 inch figure would be a fantastic addition to any Spider-Man collection. Maybe even release a line of figures including Green Goblin, Scorpion, Mysterio, Dr. Noah Body and J. Jonah Jameson among others.

OK, maybe this one is a bit cheesy, but who wouldn't want an Electric Company Spider-Man in their collection? Me, that's who and I like me some cheese. This was another incarnation of the Web Head that I looked forward to seeing each time I watched the Electric Company. If I didn't hear that theme song at some point during the show, I was a disappointed little geek. Don't know the theme? Come on, sure you do. Sing along with me.

And yes, that is Morgan Freeman doing the narration. Your welcome.

Of course, the Yankees fan in me doesn't like that he's a Mets fan.


If there is a figure that begged to be made into a 1/6th scale, its this version of Spider-Man. I think it would be a brilliant figure if Hot Toys made this. I would love having a Spidey figure with his web shooter and belt on the outside of his outfit like in the show. Yeah, the show was cheesy and there wasn't any super villains, but I loved that show and still do. I have a couple episodes on DVD and I enjoy watching them. I have never owned a Hot Toys figure, but if this one was ever made, I would make sure it would be in my collection. God, I wish I could customize figures.

How About Some Supporting Characters?

Now, I wouldn't call it a crime that Betty Brant has not been made into a figure, but I am a bit shocked. I am guessing it's because Mary Jane and now Gwen Stacy has been immortalized on film and cartoons as Parker's loves, but how about something for the very first gal he had the hots for? Maybe you could stick her in my proposed 1967 Spider-Man cartoon line? Come on Hasbro, get it done!

Now this is a stunner. Why hasn't Uncle Ben, the basis for Peter Parker being Spider-Man, not have been made into a figure by now? This has to be one of the all time biggest omissions in Marvel toys history. I would have thought that there would have been one made for the Rami movies, but nope. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada. I'm hoping that one gets made some day. Aunt May has been made a few times, but shockingly, no Uncle Ben to be displayed with her on a shelf.

Now, these are just some of the figures I would love to add to my Spider-Man collection. This is, of course, subjective to my taste. I'm sure some of you could come up with a few other characters that you would like to see get made. Leave them in the comments below so I can smack my head and look stupid for not mentioning that character in the first place. Either way, I think there are a lot of variations of Spider-Man and some characters that could be made into figures. The Spider-Man universe is one of the more vast in comic books and there will always be character that will be made into a collectible to be put in your Spider-Man collection.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Here Are Some Things I'd Like To See In Amazing Spider-Man 3

OK, we have gotten to see some real cool things in both Spider-Man movie franchises. I mean, first and foremost, we got to see Spider-Man on the big screen after being in development hell since the 1980's when first Cannon bought the rights and did nothing with them (and if you knew what they were planning, you would be glad we never got to see it.) and then James Cameron was going to make a Spider-Man movie with Leonardo DeCaprio and that never got made either. By the way, if you hated the organic web shooters from the Rami pictures, blame Cameron. It was his idea. Then again, this is the same man who unleased Titanic onto the world.

So, as much as I throw crap at Sam Rami for the God awful Spider-Man 3, I have to also give him credit for the first 2 movies, which I thought were great. We finally got to see characters like Peter Parker, Aunt May, Green Goblin (Mighty Morphin Goblin, actually), Doc Ock, Harry Osborne and Mary Jane, among other characters from the  Spider-Man universe which made Sony a ton of money and the new Marc Webb Amazing Spider-Man movies have done the same. Plus, we finally get a great Spider-Man (sorry, Andrew Garfield is a much better Peter Parker/Spider-Man than Toby McGuire) with web shooters, we get to see Gwen Stacy, Lizard,  Rhino and Shocker which we haven't seen on the big screen before.

Now, while we have seen all these awesome characters and story lines, there are a few things we haven't see just yet and I am hoping we see these sometime in future movies, maybe even as soon as the third movie.

Spider Tracers

Wayyyyy back in issue 11 of the Amazing Spider-Man, Peter developed these small electronic tracers to keep tabs on Doctor Octopus after he escapes from prison. These tracers were made to look like a spider and were small enough to remain unnoticed by whomever Peter or Spider-Man placed it on. Sometimes he will place it on them by hand, other times he uses a launching device in his web shooters for longer range and accuracy. He also used to use a tracker to locate the tracer, but now the tracer's signal is strong enough that Peter can follow it by using his Spider Sense.  

This is something I would love to see in Amazing Spider-man 3. It would showcase Peter's brilliance a bit more and I just think it would be pretty cool to see on the big screen.

Hey, it made an appearance on the 1970's TV series. It needs to be in a movie.

Why Hasn't Spider-Man Run Out Of Web Fluid?

I remember finding myself defending the organic web shooters from the Sam Rami movies. At the time, Spider-Man was evolving in the comics, doing more spider like things and I thought it made all the sense in the world that he would one day actually be able to shoot webs from his wrists. So, it wasn't a huge problem for me when he didn't have web shooters in the Rami movies.

But, I loved that the web shooters made it's triumphant return in the Amazing Spider-Man and I absolutely loved how they handled the making of them as well as how they look. Great job in bringing them to life.

So why haven't we seen what would happen if Spidey ran out of web fluid? I mean, in the course of the 2 movies, we have seen them not work under water, Lizard destroy them and a couple of other things happen in Amazing Spider-Man 2 that I don't want to give away. But he has yet to be in a situation where Spider-Man is in dire need of them, but runs out at the worst possible moment. Yeah, they touched on it in Spider-Man 2, but I am talking about during a fight scene or something like that. Let's take the plunge Marvel and put Spidey in that situation.

Spider Utility Belt

Yes, Batman has a utility belt that is much cooler than Spider-Man's, but I still want to see it in the movies. He can carry extra web fluid capsules on it as well as a miniature camera for pictures, just like in the comic books. And hey, just for 1960's kitsch, why not bring in the Spider Signal which he used to make a dramatic appearance with as well. I think that would be awesome.

How About More Characters?

One of the coolest things about Spider-Man that sets him apart from other superheroes, is his supporting cast and rouges gallery of villains. The Amazing Spider-Man movies has touched upon some of the cast of characters in the Spider-Man universe. If all indications are correct, we may finally get to see the Vulture in the third movie. But, there are some other villains who I think would be great in a movie, either as a main villain or even as a supporting character.

How cool would it be to see Spider-Man battle The Shocker? Maybe we get to see him tangle with Kraven The Hunter. Or maybe see him throw down with Mysterio? Hobgoblin? Carnage? Kingpin? How about we get a more accurate portrayal of Venom? I also would love to see Morbius in a movie as well.

How about some characters who aren't out for Spider-Man's head? How about appearances by Jean DeWolfe, Elias Wertham,  Glory Grant, Ned Leeds, Robbie Robertson? I'm still waiting for J. Jonah Jameson to appear in this series. There are so many characters they could use and I'm hoping to see as many of them as they can cram in.

Honestly, these are just some minor things I would like to see the writers and producers of the Amazing Spider-Man movies use. The Spider-Man universe and mythos is so vast and they have only just touched a small part of it. The movies are so good and I think some additions here and there could make the movies even better. As a long time Spider-Man fan, I would love these suggestions added or maybe some I haven't yet. I cannot wait to see what the writers have in store in Amazing Spider-Man 3.

Hey, at least I didn't suggest the Spider Buggy.


Monday, May 5, 2014

I May Be Biased, But This Is An Awesome Bobblehead.

Yeah, I may be a bit Spider-Man crazy these days. Everything I've bought has been Spider-Man related. From figures to comics to statues to cups, I have been on the hunt for anything that has the Web Head's face plastered all over it. Must have something to do with the movie that was just released. Yes, I did see it and yes, I loved it. I won't say anything in case anyone who's reading this hasn't seen it. I will say that I strongly feel that this is the best Spider-Man movie period. Was it perfect? No, but the positives far out weigh the negatives. I will be seeing it again.

So, I'm sure by now you guys are wondering what bobblehead I bought. If you guessed it is Spider-Man related, your a winner of a No Prize.

A few months back I showed a preview picture of a Spider-Man bobblehead that NECA was releasing in April. I had seen it in the stores, but always left it behind. This past Friday, I couldn't resist it any longer. Plus, the price was better than I had seen in other stores and finally picked it up.

I love the box the bobblehead comes in. You have a classic John Romita-ish Spider-Man drawing in the upper left hand corner with a huge picture of the bobblehead your getting. This box is not in the greatest shape. Stupid me for not noticing it until I got home. I guess I was just too giddy about picking this up.

Look at how cool this bobblehead is. Classic Spidey pose, low to the ground. His left hand looks like it's getting ready to spin a web. I love how the sculpting looks vintage 1970's Spider-Man. This is just a great looking bobblehead.

The back looks great in the classic red and blue colors of the Wall Crawler. Love that big red spider on the back of his costume. I almost bought a t-shirt in this color blue with the red spider in front on the chest. Very cool shirt. I will pick it up eventually. The base may look dusty, but I'm guessing its from the packaging. This bobblehead is packaged inside styrofoam that covers the bobblehead from both sides. That was one snug bug.

Nothing great on the bottom of the base. Just the Marvel and NECA logos as well as their website addresses. Also, Spidey was made in China.

I think this bobblehead might be one of the best Spider-Man bobbles produced. NECA did a fantastic job with this one. This was not the only one in this line. I have seen Iron Man and Thor on the shelves of my local comic book shops and they also look fantastic. But for my money, and again maybe I am biased, but the Spider-Man bobble is the best of the three and it may be the best looking Spider-Man bobblehead ever made. This one is going to look great on the shelf.