Feb 20, 2020

Marvel Legends - Doctor Doom

I mentioned in a recent post that Dr. Strange is my favorite Marvel character but Dr. Doom is my favorite villain. What can I say? I guess I have a thing for mystically trained, educated characters.

I like Doom because he's complicated. He's not just evil for evil's sake. He's always got an angle. Heck, somewhat recently he even called himself Infamous Iron Man and took over for Tony Stark for a bit. 

I was pretty excited to see him when preview pics came out of the Fantastic Four wave of Marvel Legends. Sure, Infamous Iron Man had a figure but as much as I dug it, it wasn't the Doom. And yet, I hemmed and hawed, passing the figure up no less then three times at retail. I eventually caved in to the social media peer pressure of everyone saying how great the figure is. And I'm glad I did!


The detail on this figure is darn impressive! I daresay even the Lord of Latveria himself would approve! The tunic is plastic but they put some great texturing on it to make it look like fabric. There's multiple holes in the belt in case Doom puts on/drops some weight. Being a dictator can be stressful, no judgement here.


And just look at that armor. There's rivets on the outside and straps on the inseam. Such small details they didn't have to include but go a long way to make it the best it can be.


The cape is removable and is probably the one thing I'm not completely over the moon about as it makes him somewhat back heavy and difficult to stand. Under the cape, he's got a pair of jets. You can see one just behind his shoulder. And not only does the holster have a monogrammed D on it and hold his pistol, but it actually opens.


I have to admit I was hesitant to try and pop it open in case it wasn't supposed to but that's just more genius put into the figure. I've always found it odd that he carries a pistol. I mean, on top of his armor, he's no slouch in the mystic arts. I guess it's more of a status symbol.

As far as accessories go, he comes with the pistol, four hands (two "I'll get you, Richards!" clenched fists, a right hand for pistol holdin', and a left menacing gesture hand), and two heads. The one you've seen so far is the classic "man in the iron mask" Doom. The other is a more modern version.


The modern head looks more like an armored suit than a suit of armor and the hood is a bit larger. The eyes on both heads are fantastic. You can practically feel the loathing.


The tunic is a hard plastic and while it does move a little, it's still going to limit range of motion for his legs. There was something that felt off to me about the figure and I finally figured it out. The classic Doom look (what I usually picture for him) has a tunic that just covers his butt instead of knee length. Not a big deal.


Lord Doom would appreciate it if you bought his figure.

Feb 12, 2020

Salem So Sweet Ice Sculptures 2020

This past weekend was the 18th Annual Salem's So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. It's a great event to get people into local businesses with shopping discounts and food sampling. But the main reason I go is for the ice sculptures...and maybe a bit of free chocolate tasting.

This year there were 26 ice sculptures on display around the downtown Salem area. The weather was perfect...if you're an ice sculpture. It was around 30F with the occasional bitter cold wind. Due to that, I didn't walk around to see all the sculptures but I do have a few photos to share.

Star Wars The Child aka Baby Yoda ice sculpture

This Baby Yoda (or The Child if you prefer) looks like he may be a little younger than 50 with his chubby cheeks.

Godzilla ice sculpture

The thing you've been waiting for all your life...Godzilla on Ice! Okay, so it's more Godzilla in ice. Something about the way the spikes/plates on his neck was making me think of the House Stark banner.


Licensed properties actually are in the minority, but happen to be the ones I'm more excited to see. Most of the others are representing local businesses, like this one for Coon's Card & Gift Shop.


Here's a pair of large heart shaped glasses in front of Old Town Hall, which is the oldest surviving municipal structure in Salem, dating back to 1816 or 1817. It was also featured in Hocus Pocus as the exterior of the building where the big party takes place.

guardians of the galaxy baby groot ice sculpture

This Baby Groot was my favorite of the ones I saw.
It has an amazing likeness and the detail work on the face is crazy.


I happened to go earlier in the day and they were still working on getting some of the ice in place. There's a small chainsaw on the left and if you look in the truck, you'll see a couple of large blocks of ice.

When night rolls around, the sculptures are illuminated with colored lights. If you want to see more ice sculpture pics (lit and unlit), check out CreativeNorthShore on Facebook and DerekMillen on YouTube.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention, several of the Salem monsters were out and about on Saturday for Monster Hugs. During October, you can find them on the streets to take photos with for a donation. This time, they're donating all their tip money to Boston Childrens' Hospital. With it being so cold, I was pretty bundled up so I didn't take any pics with them but good on them for toughing it out for a good cause! You can find plenty of pics of them with one of my favorite monsters: Salem_Satan on IG.

Feb 7, 2020

Labyrinth Playing Cards

I did tell you to tune your crystal ball in to see the next deck of cards and that was sort of a clue as to what it might be.

Labyrinth has been one of my favorite movies since it came out. Both the movie and the soundtrack have gotten a lot of play over the years. Back in the dial-up days of Bulletin Board Systems, I adopted Jareth as my first online handle.


There is so much to love with this deck! First, they used the riddle door guards Ralph (red) and Alph (blue) as the Jokers. What better choice is there?


Second, Hearts/Diamonds are yellow with Spades/Clubs being purple. I really like this because it makes the cards more interesting when you're holding a hand. Not surprisingly, the card images are all stills/promo images from the movie.

The court cards in every suit are the Labyrinth (Ace), Jareth (King, naturally!), Sarah (Queen, of course), and back to Jareth (Jack). He's also on the 10 in every suit.


Another fun thing they did was use Ludo on the 4s and the Fireys on the 3s. Here you can see what I mean about having two different colors of cards.

Whoever you're favorite character might be from the movie, they're probably on at least one card in the deck. Sir Didymus? The Wiseman? The worm? They're all here.

So if you ever accidentally wish away your baby brother and need to play a game of cards to get him back, this is your deck! You can find them at Entertainment Earth.

Feb 5, 2020

Dr Strange Playing Cards

Thanks to Entertainment Earth having a BOGO 40% off sale on Aquarius stuff, I got two new decks of cards! Sadly, most of their Star Wars cards are out of stock, including this really cool one, but the ones I got are pretty great.

Doctor Strange is probably my favorite Marvel character. Before I really got into comics as a teen, I had a pair of pocket sized collections of his earliest adventures and that's really where my love for him got it start. I read those things so many times! I even kept a notebook of all the spells/incantations he used. Nerd alert!


I would have picked these up no matter which era of Dr. Strange they focused on but they lean more toward the early 70s stuff. Would I have preferred more classic Ditko art or art that covered the span of Strange's appearances? Sure, but this era is classic for me. I would have done something different for the Jokers, maybe had one of the Eye of Agamotto cards be closed or the Seal of the Vishanti which is the symbol on the large window in his Sanctum Sanctorum.


They use an assortment of comic covers, comic panels, and portraits of Strange. Some panels include his long time foes Baron Mordo or Dormammu. No Nightmare or Mindless Ones though, what up with that?

Okay, who out there is good at math? In this 52 card deck, there are 25 different pieces of art used. How did they manage that, you ask? Not only do they repeat art between suits, they used one image for four cards!


Maybe they only had so much budget for different pieces of art? Who knows, but unless you're a weirdo that collects playing cards, you might not even notice it.

Tune your crystal ball in on Friday to find out what the other deck is.

Feb 1, 2020

Monthly Media Recap - January 2020

Can you believe it? 2020! Flying cars, personal jetpacks, robot maids.
Maybe next decade...


Streaming

The Witcher (Netflix) - Really enjoyed this despite the timeline being a little confusing for a bit. Even went so far as to post a different "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher" cover videos for a week. Not my videos, I'm not musically inclined. Kudos to the song writer as that thing is damn catchy.

The Imagineering Story (Disney+) - A 6 part history of the Disney parks featuring the people behind the scenes. Absolute must watch for anyone that enjoys going to Disney.

Lost In Space, S2 (Netflix) - A great example of how to reboot a series. It doesn't need to be tied to the original show, it's just good storytelling with interesting characters.

The Big Screen

It: Chapter 2 (2019, Redbox) - I'd say this is as different from the first one as Nightmare on Elm Street is to parts 4 or 5. It's not as scary and has more comedic moments. It's a long one, and I didn't mind going on the ride but did it need to be almost 3 hours? SPOILER ALERT: the moral of the story is that you can defeat your bully by bullying them.

Rating: 7/10


Overlord (2018, Amazon Prime) - Not only was this a solid WWII movie but it only gets better when they start getting into the Nazi weird science stuff! It felt like watching a Castle Wolfenstein movie.

Rating: 8/10


10/31 (2017) - A Halloween anthology from the people that did The Barn, I really wanted to like this one. Indie, low budget horror can be a tough sell for me. If I had started this on streaming, instead of having bought the BluRay, I probably would have turned it off after a few minutes. I'll give the writers credit, the story ideas are solid, they just don't have the actors or effects to make them great.

Rating: 4/10



Dead Space: Downfall (2008, Amazon Prime) - A prelude to the original Dead Space video game. Sort of like Resident Evil meets Aliens. It may be animated but it's definitely not for the kiddos! It's got more than enough gore for its 85 minute run time.

Rating: 6/10


Braid (2018, Amazon Prime)
I think you'll either love this one or hate it. You may enjoy the drug-induced fever dream style or you might think it's a pretentious waste of time. It's still a little difficult on where I land on it because there isn't really a main character to root for. The ending didn't make a lot of sense to me but I enjoyed the wild ride.

Rating: 6.5/10


The VelociPastor (2018, Amazon Prime)
Look, if the title and trailer don't sell you on this, you probably won't enjoy it. This movie knows exactly what it is and constantly winks at you to make sure you know too. The film's leading man, Greg Cohan, should rocket to cult status. Probably the best dinosaur vs ninja fight ever committed to film!

Rating: 7/10, this is purely a rating of how much I enjoyed it

Year to Date Total
New: 6   Rewatch: 0

Jan 29, 2020

Now Hear This - Metal Elvis

Plenty of metal bands have done their own covers of Elvis songs over the years but the band Metal Elvis is all about "the son of the King" carrying on his daddy's legacy with modern songs.


Metal Elvis is fronted by Chance Tinder who has been "doing Elvis" for over 30 years. He's accompanied The Monsters of Rock: Slush (lead guitar), Katman Kelly (drums), and Stikki Lixx (bass). As you can see, they make quite the visual mash-up.

And mash-up is what Metal Elvis is all about...


The band plays (played?) in the Vegas area. Unfortunately, their Facebook page hasn't been updated since 2018 so I'm not sure what they're status is at the moment, which is too bad. Not that I'm exactly "in the area" but I bet they're a fun band to see live.


If you've got a burning love for more Metal Elvis, you can check out their YouTube channel which has a few more videos. And since I can't find their CD available for purchase online, you can click on the cover below to check out the album.


Metal Elvis has left the building...

Jan 23, 2020

Battletribes Spicy Pumpkin Figure

Just a few weeks ago, Spy Monkey Creations unleashed Wave 19 of their Battletribes figures. In every wave there is usually one figure that I have my eye on, sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't. But there was no way I could pass this one up!

Laaaaaaadies and geeeeeentlemen!
I give you, Spicy Pumpkin!


How can you pass up a pumpkin headed wrestler? In the usual Battletribes release, you get assorted weapons or monster-ish accessories. But with the wrestlers, you get lots of heads, a minifigure, and a few extra goodies. What's cooler than multiple heads?


Reversible heads! That's right, those two pumpkin heads turn around for an orange and an apple with a bite taken out of it! Is it still an apple if it's orange in color? Does that make it an orange apple?


When the wrestler figures were introduced, they also brought along the tiny wrestler and some really wacky food heads. In this pic, the big guy has an alternate pair of boots.


Say hello to Big Beef and Side of Fries! Beef is sporting an alternate pair of trunks which are usually the standard for Battletribes figures.


The last pair of heads also go well with the pumpkin ones for a Halloween vibe. The final accessory is a Champion belt. So all told, you get the two figures, two pairs of trunks, two pairs of boots, the belt, and 8 heads (2 reversible).

You can grab your own Spicy Pumpkin at Spy Monkey Creations along with figures from past waves.  If you're like me and not that into wrestlers, there's a variety of fantasty based characters to choose from too.This is a great line of figures to get into and they're all Glyos compatible!

Jan 15, 2020

Star Wars Playing Cards by Theory 11

I discovered this deck of cards purely by accident through an ad in my Instagram feed. See kids? Sometimes advertisements can actually be good! 


There are two decks available, light side and dark side. Both decks have the same cards in them, the only differences are the box art and card backs. The boxes are very nice with foil embossing on both sides. I did my best to try and capture the shine of the foil.

The deck is sealed with an Alliance starbird logo sticker. While these look nice, I am never a fan of these sticker seals because I will either damage the box in some way or if I leave it on, it makes it a little difficult to get the cards out. If you visit Theory 11's site, you'll see stuff about card magic and handling, so it makes sense they'd want to provide a sealed deck.

It's hard to see here, but if you click for a larger view, you'll see the inner flap has a Y-Wing that says "Stay on target." below it.


I hadn't heard of Theory 11 before and sadly, it seems like Carta Mundi no longer has the rights to make Star Wars playing cards. This probably happened awhile back and I never noticed. I think the last movie deck I have from them is Rogue One. They always put out quality stuff and I had fun collecting the decks. Anyway, back on track!

The back of the box has got a lot going on! There are tiny X-Wings on the sides of R2's head. There's even some Aurabesh (the in galaxy language) which says The Force Light Side. But the trick here is that you have to read it top to bottom when you'd think it would go left to right. At first I thought they made a mistake because the right side was printed upside down.


The card back is the same as the back of the box and despite how busy the image is, it still looks very clean. The Jokers are BB-8 and D-O. I really think they should have been one Joker and R2 and 3PO on the other. They aren't even on the cards! Except for R2's head on the backs but being an older fan, I think they deserve a bit more presence.

And this is where my biggest "complaint" is with this deck: the theming.


I love the art style used for the court cards. I really enjoy that they worked a ship into each Ace. I know it's not easy to pack 9 movies into 4 suits but I would have tried to find a way to make each suit a little more cohesive and that's just the fan in me wanting that little bit more. In Hearts, we have the Falcon, Old Ben, General Leia (Last Jedi), and young Han.


Clubs brings Vader's TIE, the Emperor, Mon Mothma (?), and Kylo Ren. I get that you probably want to use a woman for the Queen and there aren't really a lot of women to choose from, much less any dark side females in the movies. I want to give Clubs a pass but Vader is over in Spades while his ship is here.


Diamonds delivers Fett's Slave I, Jedi Master Luke, Rey, and Lando (Return of the Jedi). Why not swap Old Ben here in place of Lando? Then you'd have Lando with the Falcon, Leia, and Han and a trio of Force users.


Lastly, is Spades. The Ace has Yoda raising the X-Wing from the swamp followed by Vader, Padme, and Boba Fett.

Despite my griping about the suit theming, I really do like these cards. They have a nice feel to them, the art is great, and the box is a collectible by itself.

Jan 8, 2020

Labyrinth Card Game

The game company River Horse recently released the Labyrinth Card Game. Back in 2016 they put out a Labyrinth board game and a Dark Crystal board game in 2018.


The card game comes in this great box that looks similar to Sarah's book.


The deck of cards is very similar to a standard Tarot deck, plus two Jokers. The cards are the same size, there are four minor suits consisting of 56 cards and a major suit of 24 Labyrinthes which features characters and things in the movie.


The four minor suits are Books, Clock, Orbs, and Owls.
Let's get a closer look at the card back.


The center has the Escher-like stairs. The top left maze has the "false alarm" taking heads. I think the bottom left is the Bog of Eternal Stench. The bottom right is maybe the forest where the Fireys live?


Here's a few of the Labyrinthes. The Blind Beggar, Fair and Unfair have special "abilities" when you play them. The game itself is a variation of standard trick taking card games. While I'm sure this can be its own fun, I was really hoping for something more thematically tied to the movie.


The court card in each suit are King (Jareth), Queen (Sarah, naturally), Jack (Labyrinth denizens), and Cavalier (mounted warriors).


One nice little detail is that the Jareth and Sarah in each suit have outfits that match their scenes together in the movie.

River Horse is has up for pre-order a Labyrinth Adventure Game (RPG) which looks interesting. You can pick up the Labyrinth Card Game from Amazon.

Jan 2, 2020

Monthly Movie Recap - December 2019

Happy second day of the New Year!
I decided to give everyone a recovery day before posting the December recap.


Streaming

The Mandalorian (Disney+) - What a season finale! I cannot wait to see where the next season will take us. Fans will be going broke soon as the all the merch is starting to go up for pre-order.

The Witcher (Netflix) - Only about half way in but I am loving it so far. It's been quite awhile since I've played a Witcher game but this feels just right.

The Big Screen

Frozen 2 (2019)
I enjoyed the first one quite a bit so I was definitely up for a sequel. What I didn't expect was that a few minutes into the new movie, I was actually happy and excited to be back with these characters again. I really like how they used local folklore and mythology for the fantasy elements. I don't think it had as great of a soundtrack as the first movie but the one song Kristoff does solo that looks like it came out of an 80s power ballad video is pure gold. And I think he may have become my favorite character in this series.

Rating: 8/10


It sounds like a no-brainer, right? After reading the rad Batman/TMNT crossover comic series I thought this would be worth a watch. I had high hopes going in as it seemed to start out with a Batman:TAS vibe and then some horribly drawn turtles showed up and the plot degenerated into something silly that I'd expect from the original TMNT cartoon. When you make my boy Donatello look like a dude in a green morph suit, you lose me.

Rating: 6/10


You take the good, you take the bad, you take em both and there you have your average horror anthology. Jeffrey Combs chews up the scenery like the genre pro he is as the owner of an oddities shop where every item has a story. If you can get past the horrible dialog and acting of the first tale, the rest can be entertaining. "The Hand That Rocks the Dreidel" is a bite sized Puppet Master story so it wins the movie for me.

Rating: 5/10

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
With every new trilogy movie, I need to see it at least twice to formulate a decent opinion and this one is no exception. There's a lot I liked and there's some things that came off as dumb, like(event A happens because we need B next or things happen that end up having no real impact. It's Star Wars, it's a space fantasy and I shouldn't care about "logic" but like the slo-mo chase in The Last Jedi, there are some things I have a problem wrapping my brain around. These feelings generally subside on multiple viewings, listening to podcast reviews, and reading a visual dictionary. We'll see where I'm at after another viewing.

Rating: 6/10


Klaus (2019, Netflix)
I have Mrs Dex to thank for this one, I probably would not have picked it otherwise. It turned out to be a great re-imaging of how Santa came to be from the man that brought you Despicable Me. The animation is fantastic and the story is cute.

Rating: 7/10

 

Doom: Annihilation (2019, Netflix)
Talk about going out with a whimper. This sequel no one asked for is probably the least entertaining movie I watched all year. Sure, it has things from the game like a chainsaw and BFG but it's also got demons that are clearly people in rubber suits and a cast with less charisma than a box of rocks.

Rating: 2/10

Month
New: 6  Rewatch: 0

Year to Date
New: 75  Rewatch: 3

Here are all the movies I watched in 2019. I stole the idea from Bob Johns at It Came from the Man Cave, go check out his Best of 2019 post! You can get a better look at the movies on my Letterboxd page.


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