Nov 30, 2011

Mailbox Inavders - Dead Bear & Playmobil

It may be Creepmas eve, but I'm still stuck in Halloween mode! 
Ah, who am I kidding? 
I'm always in Halloween mode...

Back in October, I discovered Dead Bear Studios through someone sharing his link in my Twitter feed. He has some cuddly and creepy vinyl figures for sale on his site. I finally broke down and bought a couple when they went on sale and they arrived recently. I really liked what I saw online (obviously or I wouldn't have put down money) but seeing them in person, they are so much cooler than I expected!
LEGO mad scientist included for scale
First up is Pumpkin. I have a thing for pumpkin-headed people so this guy was on my Must Have list. The colors on him are great. The green is a perfect shade of eerie. Head and shoulders are articulated.

Next up is Batty. I had a hard time choosing between him and another one called Gargoyle. Gargoyle uses the same body but has a single large eye instead. The "fur" is done with great effect on him. Photos don't do this one justice, it's so freakin cute in person! The head and wings are articulated.

If you're looking for a unique gift for the monster lover on your Creepmas list, go check out the Dead Bear Studios store. You can follow the their mad creator on Twitter at @motorbot

Also got my order from Playmobil yesterday. I would have missed out on this guy had it not been for Shawn Robare (@smurfwreck) posting a pic of him on Twitter. I searched my local stores (no luck!) then eBay for him. And while eBay prices weren't too bad, buying him from Playmobil directly was the best deal.

He's simply called "Hooded Ghost." The main body and boots are similar to the previous Ghost Pirate figure. His "hair" under the hood appears to be a chain mail coif instead of hair, which adds a little something different. The bones and face glow in the dark. And how about that battle ax?
And because I usually can't justify spending more on shipping than a single item, these two Halloween sets found their way into my cart as well. Since Playmobil was having a 50% sale on them, it was too hard to pass up. I'll let you in on a little secret...I already have these figures. They are destined to be given away on the blog at some point!

Nov 28, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Laser Light!

This 1984 ad is obviously trying to cash in on Star Wars. The spaceships are generic enough, but there's no mistaking that "small moon" in the upper left.

I've had this ad for awhile and just now figured out it's one of those fiber optic wand things and not a flashlight that looks like a blue "personal massager" with a red cap.

In site news, this is my 101st post since starting the blog in July and we are less than 100 away from 5000 visitors! I know I picked up a lot of visitors in October and I know some were only here for the Countdown to Halloween. So, if you're reading this, thanks for being a regular visitor!

Nov 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gives a whole new meaning to light side and dark side
Just wanted to take a quick moment and wish my US followers a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Don't dwell on what you don't have but celebrate the things you do!

Also, Playmobil is having a 50% Holiday sale on select items now through Nov 28th. Included in the sale are 4 of their Halloween figures that come in a plastic pumpkin. These are a super deal at 50%! While there, be sure to check out 4694 - Hooded Ghost.

Nov 23, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Muppets

Muppet Domination starts today! With all the glowing reviews I've read about the Muppet Movie I'm about as excited as could be to hopefully see it this weekend.

To continue on with our Muppetational posts this week, here's a few of my favorite Muppets. I can't bring myself to do something so callous as rank them in any kind of order.

Favorite Non-English Speaking: Swedish Chef
This is also one of my favorite skits ever. I don't know what it is about Pancho Villa lobsters, but I love em!

Favorite Not a Shrimp: Pepe (Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales) the King Prawn
Maybe I just have a thing for crustacean Muppets with accents, okay? Although a relative newcomer from 1996, Pepe became a quick favorite.

Favorite Creepy Muppet: Uncle Deadly (aka The Phantom of the Muppet Show)
He hasn't had much screen time, but what he has had always leave me wanting more.

Favorite Musical Muppet: Marvin Suggs
Hitting things on the head with humorous effect = comedy gold

Favorite Weirdo/Stuntman: Gonzo
How can you not love Gonzo? He always puts himself out there, emotionally and physically.

Nov 22, 2011

It's Time to Get Things Started!

You may have heard it's time to play the music.
You may have heard it's time to light the lights.
Are you putting on make up?
Are you dressing up right?

It's probably pretty safe to say you know there's a new Muppet Movie coming out. Well, allow me to let you in on a little secret: I love the Muppets. So what better time to do a few posts on the most influential pop culture characters to come out of your television?

Some people may divide the Muppets into the Sesame Street gang and the Muppet Show/Movies gang. Not me. A Muppet is a Muppet is a Muppet! But for today, I'm takin it to the Street.
Last year I got the above book and it really gave me a whole new level of love and respect for everyone involved. A lot of people grew up with Sesame Street and much like Doctor Who or Star Wars, you usually gravitate towards the first version you were exposed to. In reading this book I got to know the new gang that had moved into my old neighborhood as well as get reacquainted with some old friends. It's very interesting to see the evolution of the show.
Over the years, the show has tackled some heavy stuff for such a young audience, from the passing of Mr Hooper to introducing an HIV-positive Muppet. The book also shows how the show is tweaked around the world to better reflect the viewing country's culture. Some countries do their own co-productions creating something that would be both familiar and new to long time US viewers. After reading the book, there is no doubt in my mind that Sesame Street is the single most important television program. Ever.

There are too many skits to even start paring them down to a list of favorites, so here's a few that may bring back some memories...

Look, it's Bentley from the Jeffersons!

Nov 21, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Deadly Self-Defense

From DC Comics Ghosts #24, 1974
It's really amazing just how much fighting knowledge was available to comic book readers over the years. You'd think with a few decades behind us that comic geeks would have evolved into lethal, jock-crushing, self-defense machines by now. With "no dull study or training" how could anyone pass up learning these secrets?

And seriously, dude in the ad, if you have green hair you gotta expect someone's going to want to kick your ass. I mean, you're just asking for it.

Nov 18, 2011

Friday Funnies - Millionaire Edition

If you watched Bugs Bunny a lot you may recall the episode "Hare Brush." Well, maybe not by name...You have to be pretty hardcore to remember the names of the episodes! But in this short, Elmer, due to "a clear case of rabbitschenia," takes on Bugs' personality and Bugs, due to hypnosis, takes on Elmer's personality.

This is the short that gave us the memorable line "I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht." So of course upon seeing the below comic panel, Ol' Bugs is immediately what sprang to mind.

And if you haven't seen it, or just want to see it again....

Nov 16, 2011

My Robot Nation

Last week, io9 posted a cool article about My Robot Nation, a company that makes ceramic toy robots along the same lines as the blind-boxed vinyl art toys you may have seen. You may be wondering what sets them apart from all the other companies. Well, you get to design your own robot! You read that correctly! You design your very own robot!

In a process that will be familiar to any MMORPG player, you customize all the aspects of your dream robot online. You choose the style of head, torso, arms and legs as well as the colors. You can even use a color wheel if the default palettes don't have exactly what you want. I hear you say "Wow, that sounds amazing!" But wait! There's more!

Body part selection
Yes! More customization! There are all kinds of doodads you can size, rotate and place on your robot...all kinds of robot-y things like buzzsaws, rayguns and hats! What do you mean those aren't robot-y? And on top of that there are stamps (like dials, rust spots, hearts and numbers) you can add. The options are almost limitless. Oh and did I mention you can get it created in 2", 3", 4", 5" or 6" sizes? Even with all the options in front of you, the size is the only factor that changes the cost.

Just look at all those tabs along the top!
Holy cow! More tabs!!

The main My Robot Nation site has photo galleries, a dev blog and a place to vote on customer creations. There's a couple of comic book inspired creations in there, pretty funny.

This site is going to become a major time sink for me. I spend waaay too long in MMOs customizing my characters. I can (and have) spent hours tweaking a design to get it just right. One thing I have noticed with the site is there doesn't seem to be a way to save a "work in progress" and that annoys me a bit as someone that likes to fine tune the details. The cost will prevent me from creating a robot army too quickly but I don't know if that's good or bad.

To find out more (and get a 20% off code good until 11/21) head over to io9. The whole process is something I find pretty amazing. It's like living in the future!

I logged in quick this morning to play around with it for about 10 minutes. As I was cycling through the heads, the design of this one just screamed Creature from the Black Lagoon at me. I still have some tweaking I want to do to make it more Creature-y before I commit to have it created. The vent on the chest is the only accessory I added to it so far, an attempt to reproduce the Creature's underbelly scales in robot form.

Nov 14, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Posters & Incense

Ah, nothing says late 60s/early 70s like peace blacklight posters and incense.
It also says, I enjoy smoking things that are not cigarettes or cigars...
It doesn't help their case that the company is named after Gandalf, a fictional wizard that enjoyed a good pipe now and then..

It states the 88 posters are miniatures, but how small are they that you get 88 for 65 cents? They've gotta be sticker size, since you can put them on your bike, books, or letters.

"They're perfect for decorating all your things with meaning."
Can I, like, only put them on things with meaning to me already or, like, am I giving things meaning by attaching them?

If you order now you get a groovy (their words not mine) 32 page catalog of jewelry, incense, patches, light machines (what's a light machine? Lava lamp? One of those traffic light room lights?), posters and inflatables. Inflatables? What kind of business are you running here?

"Experience some of the world's most exciting and exotic incense"
Strawberry? Coconut? PINE?! When did Pine become exotic?
With your order you also get a porcelain burner and an "informative guidebook on the history and proper uses of incense."
Proper use: Place in holder, light, enjoy smell.
Doesn't seem that hard...if you're clear-headed.

Nov 11, 2011

Friday Funnies - Context

I'm just changing things up here left and right, don't mind me. Famous Last Words Friday are now Friday Funnies. There will still be some Famous Last Words posted, in case anyone misses them. Truth is, I don't have a whole lot of them left right now so I figured I'd throw some random comic panels into the Friday mix too.

Is he wearing pants?

No really, that's acid dripping off his face. works. Just look at the blanket.

Nov 9, 2011

Book Review - Halloween Nation

Well, it may be a little over a week after Halloween, but I'm still feeling the spirit (could be the candy corn talking). Especially with Creepmas to look forward to! If you want to participate, head over there and sign up to get on the blogger list.

Even though I managed to pretty much continue Star Wars Wednesdays through the Countdown to Halloween, I'm going to be changing things up so that Wednesdays Are Wild! Not really as exciting as it sounds, Wednesdays will just be a day to talk about whatever.

And today, it's....

Book Review - Halloween Nation

First, if you're a Halloween enthusiast, you need to get this book. Not only does it briefly cover the origins of Halloween but more importantly, it looks at Halloween through modern eyes. I feel this is something really missing from today's Halloween bookshelf. There are plenty of books on the origin/history of the holiday already and that helps to set this one apart from the rest.

Halloween Nation gives you a taste of different aspects of the holiday, who celebrates it and how they do it. It's like a walk around Disney's EPCOT but for Halloween; you get a sampling of diversity. The people interviewed range from artists, zombie walkers, pumpkin growers, goths and even burlesque dancers. Being from the Boston area, it was great to see a couple local celebrities (Devilicia of Black Cat Burlesque and artist Mister Reusch) in the book.

The bibliography is quite extensive and you could build your own comprehensive Halloween library just from the books listed there!

I do have a few problems with the book, however. The major issue I have is that some of the photos are printed across two pages, with the book binding right in the middle. And it's not because the image is so large it needs two pages, Frequently this results in you not being able to take in the picture in its entirety as well as you could if it was on a single page. I'm presuming it was done this way to keep the page count down but I would have been happier with smaller photos if it meant keeping the image intact.

The second issue I have is a bit minor. I felt like I hit a wall at the end of the book. I came to the end of the last chapter not expecting it to be the end of the book and that was that. With the variety of aspects about Halloween that are talked about I would have liked to have had an afterword or some kind of epilogue as the finishing touch to wrap it all up.

Having said that, these problems are mine and should not prevent you from picking up this wonderful book. The author did a book signing tour in New England and I met up with her in Salem to get my book signed. She was super nice and talked with me for a bit about the book.

Rating: 9/10 glowing Jack-o-Lanterns

Nov 7, 2011

Mail Order Monday - Black Dragon Fighting Society

First off, let me welcome all the new folks that found us during the Countdown to Halloween! Things will be getting back to "normal" least for the next few weeks until Creepmas gets here.
Click to enlarge
Count Dante? The only time I've ever heard the title Count used is when talking about European royalty or vampires. And it sure doesn't seem like a title you'd want to use if you're the Deadliest Man Alive. You'd probably go with Master or even no title with a single name just to show what a bad Mo Fo you are. Come to think of it, Dante isn't very intimidating on its own either...

Black Dragon Fighting Society? Doesn't exactly sound right. Society sounds a bit civilized and again brings me back to the European thing, maybe even sitting around sipping tea and having a lovely chat. I bet you would never have watched a movie with Brad Pitt called Fight Society, would you? Heck even without an unintentional pause it could sound like Black Dragon is Fighting Society. What did society ever do to Black Dragon?

I also noticed it says he got his title in 1967. The ad was printed in 1975. Wouldn't you have to keep competing to maintain the title? Or it it like Mr. President where people still have to call you that even after you're no longer in office?

The small print on the order form is hard to read, but for just a quarter (to cover S&H) you can get a brochure (not even a full catalog?!) of BDFS books, supplies and equipment. And for ordering early, you'll get that snazzy BDFS Identification Card. So all you have to do is send them a quarter and you can flash that card around to let people know you're a Black Dragon Fighting Society...member. At least until the playground bully decides the card is cool and takes it from you.

Freaky! The same day I posted this, Kirk over at Secret Fun Spot posted about someone who got Count Dante tattooed on them-self! Kirk has a book out about comic mailaway ads. It's called Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads!

As a gag, I went to Amazon and searched for BDFS and was shocked to find this. If you read the book's description, it seems like Count Dante did a lot of self-proclaiming...

Nov 4, 2011

Countdown to Creepmas

Chad Savage has started a website for the cause: Creepmas: A Celebration of the Hallowdays
So stay tuned there for all your Creepmas news and updates!


Hey there, Halloween fiends. 

Are you horrified by seeing Christmas lights in stores weeks before Halloween? 

Are you disturbed when the Halloween merchandise is removed from the seasonal section to make way for Christmas days before Halloween?

Are you tired of Christmas intervening on your holiday?

Do you delight in seeing the kids in Nightmare Before Christmas being tormented by spooky gifts?

If so, step right up and let me introduce you to...Creepmas!

What is Creepmas? 
Every year, Christmas makes its way into stores earlier and earlier and I say it's time we have retribution! Creepmas should be an in-between celebration mixing (or mangling) elements of Christmas with Halloween and/or horror but not necessarily gory.
Sort of like Nightmare Before Christmas.
Artist Chad Savage recently tweeted: "The incursion of Christmas into Autumn has me seriously considering leaving my Halloween yard decor up until January. Christmas scarecrows!" Shortly thereafter, he tweeted again saying his awesome wife gave the thumbs up to keeping the scarecrows out.

When is Creepmas?
Open for discussion. But I am thinking since Krampus is celebrated during the first two weeks of December, that it could be December 1st - 13th. 13 Days of Creepmas has a nice ring, no?

Who or what is this Krampus of which you speak?
You can read about his history here

Why are you telling me?
I want to enlist the online community (that's you) to help make Creepmas a "thing." Any Seinfeld fan can tell you that the show's fictional holiday, Festivus, caught on with people and has even had books published about it.

What can I do?
Whatever you want, get creative!
Make zombie gingerbread men!
Dress as zombie Santa!
Mashup something artistic (this is a great example)
Come up with some aspect of Creepmas mythology (every holiday has a story)
Decorate in a holly jolly horror way
Spread the word, the morgue the merrier!

What else should I know?
Let me say, this is not intended as a mean spirited, religion bashing, hate mongering project. You probably know that, but I have to put it out there. If you want to participate in Creepmas in any way, we can start a blog list similar to Countdown to Halloween to keep track of us. If you're still reading this far in, you're probably at least a little interested. I really want Creepmas to be a collective thing so if you have any thoughts/ideas about any of it, drop a comment below.

Nov 3, 2011

Our First Award!

A big thanks to Marilyn of Life Art Collide for dropping by to give us our first blog award!

Liebster ("Dearest" in German) Blog Award
The Rules
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.
2. Pass the award on to 5 blogs with less than 200 followers

Here are my recommends...hmm I see a theme here.

Monsterfink's Midnight Monster Spookshow
Home of creepy good artist Monsterfink, aka Tom Krohne.

Justine's Halloween
Another artist who loves Halloween. Check out her Etsy shop too!

Sideshow Cinema
Fantastic soundtrack blog run by FijiMermaid.

Yet another artist, Andrew Barr cooks up images of famous monsters in his unique way.

George Van Orsdel's Monster Spookshow Radio
Halloween radio year round! GVO puts together some of the best monster mixtapes.
Worth a listen!

If you're a regular here at AEIOU, I think you'll enjoy these blogs too.

Nov 1, 2011

Countdown to 10/31 - Day 365

That's right, kids. We are an entire year away from Halloween thanks to a leap year next year...stupid extra day keeping the calendar straight.

I got to see a few Trick or Treaters last night. Our street is off of a street that is off of the main street so we don't get much traffic. While driving into Salem, I did see groups of kids along the way and that was great. I'm never sure how to judge the state of Halloween based on my street alone. This little girl lives in our neighborhood and frequently came by with her mom during the month to visit our giant inflatable black cat in the yard. She was so obsessed that her mom bought the half sized version for their own yard.

(L to R) Me, my cousin, and my partner in spooking
We arrived and got to spooking some people! The crowd this year didn't seem as big as it usually is but I'm guessing it's because it was a Monday night. We also went on Sunday night and there were people there but nowhere near what I've come to expect the day before Halloween. We still had a lot of fun, spooked some people and had lots of pictures taken. It bothers me a bit that so many people stop to take a photo of, or with, me and I'll never get to see them. I'd love to assemble an album of my photos with other costumed people. I try handing out business cards with my email address but most of the time, they don't send them. Plus, it's hard for me to carry them around all night.

Up until a few years ago, I always felt a sense of PHD (Post Halloween Distress) when the costume comes off at night. I used to never feel I did enough in October to celebrate: not enough horror movies, not enough Halloween records, just not enough...Halloween-ness in general. But a few years ago, I figured it out. The reason I was feeling this way is, unconsciously, I celebrate Halloween all year round. I watch horror movies all the time. I read horror. My iPod is loaded with horror themed bands. Heck, there's even some proper Halloween songs on there that "normal" people would think I was weird for listening to at any other time of year. Yes, I love Halloween!

Anyway, I feel I'm being a bit long winded with this post. Thank you again for visiting my blog. We had almost 2500 hits this month! Also, thanks for interacting with me, whether through comments, Twitter or email. Without the internets, I'd be one crazy person celebrating Halloween all year long. Now, I can be crazy with a bunch of other people. And if everyone's doing it, we can't all be crazy, right?