Apr 28, 2016

April 2016 Loot Crate - Quest

It's dangerous to go alone, take this Loot Crate!
April's theme is Quest and whether you're trying to rescue a younger sibling from the Goblin King or get challenged to a Viking drinking contest, they've got you covered.

I've been playing around with a chromakey app for these photos to make them a little more exciting than the usual plain green background.

The booklet has a couple of recipes for "Tiamat Punch" and "House Cup" drinks and a guide for avoiding quests. It seems to be getting a little heavy with self-promotional ads as Loot Crate now offers several other sub boxes like Loot Anime, Loot Gaming, Firefly Crate, and Loot Pets.

The pin is a d20 on a shield. The pin unlocks a companion in the Neverwinter Nights MMO: a gelatinous cube! There's something I'd never have considered as a companion.

We'll kick things off with a mini-poster for Uncharted 4. Not much to say about this as I'm only barely passingly familiar with the game series.

Next is a pair of Harry Potter horcrux socks, just the thing to keep your piggies warm while searching across the land for mystical objects.

The other object is a little hard to see unless you click for the larger version. It's a d20 silicon ice mold. The "cube" it makes is probably a little bigger than a golf ball. The instructions say to fill it only 90% with water which is hard to do when you put the top on. Anyone know why? Anyone? That's right kids, when water freezes it expands which makes it a bit of a challenge to get it out of the mold.

It doesn't photograph well...heck, it's hard to see it in real life. But it does actually make a d20 shaped ice polyhedron!

From the History Channel's Vikings, and Chronicle Collectibles, comes a 1:2 scale drinking horn. In case you're wondering how you're supposed to put down a pointed drinking vessel, it comes with a neck strap.

And finally is this awesome Labyrinth shirt in tribute to David Bowie. Granted it's one of the movie posters and not a new design but it's Labyrinth!

If you turn the box inside out, you get an a-maze-ing surprise!

Overall, this Crate didn't quite fulfill its Quest for me. It sort of got to the ruins after the real adventures had already been there, killed all the monsters, and taken almost all the treasure but didn't find that one secret compartment in the floor that was stashing a little bit of loot.

If you want to get sweet swag dropped on your doorstep every month, head over to Loot Crate and sign up! Use code AEIOUWHY for 10% off any subscription plan.

Loot Crate supplies me with product every month in exchange for a review and/or promotion on social media.

Apr 26, 2016

Hallmark 2016 Dreambook

The birds are singing, flowers are sprouting. Spring is in the air!
And it's once again that time of year when Hallmark sends out their annual Keepsake Dreambook that previews some of the upcoming holiday ornaments for the year.

I'm going to run down just a few pages of neat-o pop culture related things you can hang from, or put atop, your Christmas tree. Or whatever winter holiday related plant you may have in your home.

Hallmark once again flips the bird to collectors by making some really cool ornaments only available at Comic Cons where you can wait in line for hours and still not get one. Exclusive ornaments are what got me to stop being all in on Star Wars ornaments. Thank you, Hallmark for saving me money and space.

I can't even begin to image how much the Prototype Boba Fett is going to go for on the secondary market. I'm guessing $100 for the low end.

Continuing the Nightmare Before Christmas series is Dr. Finklestein. Next to him is The Muppets' Electric Mayhem tour bus which plays a snippet from "Can You Picture That?" I would have gone with "Movin Right Along" but that's just me.

And then we have three more additions to the Chevy Chase collection. Not really a thing, but they seem to be cranking out at least one Vacation and one Caddyshack ornament every year now. The gopher is one of those solar mover things.

Ladies and gents, I present to you Bugs Bunny from "What's Opera, Doc?"! Possibly the first and only time you'll see an ornament with a male cross dressing character. Although I'm not sure if they'd ever made a Mrs Doubtfire ornament.

Michigan J Frog is one you could probably keep on your desk year round just to annoy your co-workers. Yes, it has sound! Yes, it's exactly what you think it is.

Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine plays the original theme song, of course! The Flintstones one also plays the theme but I"m really hoping it starts with the work whistle to complete the Fred leaving work scene.

Then you've got what's pretty much the Trinity of 80s youth: He-Man, Grimlock, and Jem. Who would have thought there would ever be a Jem ornament?
Sadly, she does not play any music.

Here are the Star Wars ones that you don't have to go to a con and stand in line for. BB-8 is a no-brainer but I can't believe he doesn't have sound! Han...yeah ok. I probably would have gone with FN-2187 or Rey, which I'm sure we'll get at some point.

Poe's X-Wing has "battle sounds" which might cause me to pass on it because it cranks the price up to $33. The stormtrooper head has "memorable dialog" and of course the Leia/Vader scene does as well. Very curious to see what the Rogue One ornament is going to be. Will it be a ship, character, or something else?

And if you've got an extra $100 burning a whole in your pocket, you can top your tree with a Death Star! It does come with its own power cord so you could sit it on a shelf too. It also has a remote control to start a light show synchronized with either the Main Title or Imperial March. Depending on how cool this looks in person, I may wait for a post-holiday clearance.

There's still a good amount of more pop culture ones including DC, Marvel, Peanuts, and more. July 9-10 is the ornament premiere weekend if you want to be among the first to see these in person.

Apr 18, 2016

Mail Order Monday - Superman vs Muhammed Ali (1978)

It's been a long time since there was a Mail Order Monday and I was struggling to find something to write about this week. Ok, maybe struggling isn't the right word. 
More...how you say? Lazy.

Back in 1978, DC comics published an over-sized 72 page comic pitting The Man of Steel against The Greatest. And for the low price of $3, you could have sent away for it. Adjusted for inflation, that works out to about $11 today!

As a kid, I absolutely loved the Treasury size comics because they were huge (10" x 14") and they didn't usually do "regular" stories in these books. It was almost always something special that demanded a bigger size.

Here's a quick rundown of the plot:

It all starts when an alien race called the Scrubb demands Earth's greatest champion fight their greatest. Of course, Earth don't want no Scrubb but if Earth refuses, the Scrubb will just blow us up anyway. Initially Supes steps up, being the good guy that he is. But Ali argues that he's not from Earth and says he's the greatest. The aliens are intrigued and decide to let the two duke it out for the title of Earth's greatest fighter. To make it more interesting, the fight is to be on the Scrubb home world which orbits a red sun, effectively putting Supes on even ground with Ali.

Supes takes a beating and eventually hits the mat. Ali goes on to face the stronger alien champion. Seems fair, right? While Ali gets pummeled by the alien, Superman has made a recovery and tries to sabotage the Scrubb armada. Ali gets a second wind and knocks the Scrubb champion out of consciousness and the ring! Go Earth!

The Scrubb leader finds out about Superman's sabotage and decides to take out Earth anyway. But before he can, the Scrubb champion overthrows him and the Earth is saved. Later, Ali reveals he somehow figured out Superman's secret identity but assures him, he'll keep the secret, declaring them both the Greatest.

The full wraparound cover is pretty cool. It features a ton of notable (at the time) faces including celebrities Ron Howard, Donnie & Marie, and Dick Clark; sports stars like Joe Namath and Pele; and a host of DC comic staff and comic characters. You can see Batman in the bottom right next to Lex Luthor and Sonny Bono. How's that for a combo?


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