Apr 30, 2012

Mail Order Monday - Master Makeup Kit (1981)

This ad from 1981 seems pretty straight forward at first look.
A. Clown - The only time kids should be dressed as a clown is for Halloween, because clowns are creepy. Short clowns are even creepier. I'd guess I never once pretended I was a clown when I was a kid. Unless it was the Joker...

B. Indian - Ok, kids do (or did) play cowboys & indians. This one gets a pass.

C. "Black Face" - I guess they didn't want to call it "Jungle Man", "Voodoo Priest" or "African Native"? Seriously though, that would never fly today.

D. Monster - Monsters are cool

E. Black & White (Disco) - Disco?! Dude, if KISS saw this they would come down to your office and rip your face off.

F. Chinese - What exactly comes in the makeup kit to make you look Chinese? And why is it the only girl?

Apr 27, 2012

Friday Funnies - Dexverse Issue #4

Thanks for picking up issue #4 of the Dexverse where I tell you about various characters I've created for supers themed MMOs. I know the premise sounds lame but hopefully it's entertaining!

This week we'll be talking about a young girl that's not quite right in the head. She talks to stuffed animals, hears voices and carries a huge sword. Her name is Alison Wonder...at least that's what she calls herself.

Ali escaping the mental ward
Doctors aren't quite sure what happened to Ali to cause her psychotic break or how long she has been in this state. The real truth is she's totally sane but from another dimension. She's sort of trapped between worlds. She is present here but still can communicate with her home plane, only no one else can see/hear what she does which is why she was locked up originally.

Ali poses with "Chesh"
One of the content updates for City of Heroes included lots of anime/manga influenced costume items. Originally she was just going to be a generic butt kicking schoolgirl but after putting the costume together, the full character idea made itself apparent to me. She does have a small stuffed Cheshire cat sitting on her shoulder that she regularly talks to, of course no one else can hear it talk back to her because they're not attuned to the same dimensional energies.

Ali is what's called a Tank, a character that engages and holds the enemy's attention. Because of this, she's highly resistant to damage. She also carries her "Vorpal blade" that she swings with reckless abandon while yelling "Snicker Snack!"

Apr 26, 2012

The League: When I Was 12

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers is celebrating its 12th week with an interesting challenge.
Grab Rufus and head to the phone booth, because this week, we’re going back in time! Dial up the year you turned 12, and revisit the last official year of your “childhood.”
While posts to the weekly topics are always varied, I think this week will be especially interesting because we weren't all 12 at the same time...well, I'm guessing most of us weren't. By the way, if you didn't get the "Grab Rufus and head to the phone booth" reference above, you need to see Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure!

Apr 23, 2012

Mail Order Monday - Warren Monster Games

As a kid, I loved board games (for the record I still do!). I don't know what the landscape was like before my time but I feel like I grew up in the golden age of board games. In the 70s' and 80s' it seemed like every marginally successful licensed property had a board game. And when I say board games, I'm talking about what's referred to in some circles as "Ameri-Trash" games, as opposed to those crazy, abstract Euro-strategy games. Good ole fashioned, fun games which more often than not required luck instead of skill.

I forget how old I was but I remember one summer day there was a yard sale near the local playground. I went to check it out and they had a copy of Superstition for like $1 or something. I ran home to get the money from my mom because I had to have this game! If you're not familiar with it, click here. I reacquired another one years ago through eBay. I just love the interactivity of the traps and the board's artwork.

Anywho, this rambling brings me to today's mail order ad. This particular ad comes from Famous Monsters of Filmland #127, 1976.

Click to enlarge
6 year old me hadn't quite hit the monster phase...yet. (Thank you, Creature Double Feature on WLVI 56!) And there would be some little indy sci-fi movie out the following year that would spark my interest in aliens and monsters...Space Wars or something? I forget the exact name.

After doing some poking around on the interwebs, it looks like some of these games are being reprinted in color in new Eerie and Creepy Archives hardcover books. I also found a full color image of Creepy Castle on a Warren fan board. But it looks like you need the rules and accompanying cards to actually play it. I'm going to keep poking to see if I can find more images of these!

Apr 20, 2012

Friday Funnies - Dexverse Issue #3

Since things have been warming up a bit in these parts lately, I thought we'd chill out with today's hero from the Dexverse: Iciclea.

Usually when I'm designing these MMO characters I have a general idea of the power sets I want to use and come up with a name. Getting the right name is paramount importance, it lets the audience (or other players) know what you're about right away. There is another character I created who was to be an ice based bruiser. I wanted to call him The Polar Bowler but it was taken so I had to settle on The Arctic Hammer. Not quite as catchy, is it?

Anyway, Doctor Strange is one of my all time favorite comic characters and I borrowed the name of his one time apprentice/lover, Clea, for Iciclea. In City of Heroes she was a controller which is a support type character that controls enemies making it easier for them to be taken out by the heavy hitters.

Iciclea in CoH
With her ice powers she could slow down, and even freeze, enemies. She could also create an ice slick that would cause them to fall down, essentially creating fish in a barrel for her teammates to shoot. She never got much of a back story like other characters I had. Giving her ice powers, blond hair and height above average, I stereotyped her as being of Swedish descent and when possible, "spoke" with the stereotypical accent (Ya!). But she was no Swedish Chef!

As much as I enjoyed playing her in CoH, she really came together when I created her in the DC Universe game. In this system, every character has a weapon or focus. I found it to be an odd thing when recreating previous characters who just had powers and no signature weapon.

Iciclea the archer in DCUO. Love the lighting!
Having always liked archer heroes (Hawkeye > Green Arrow, just sayin') I went with a bow which  worked great with the ice powers. Even cooler (ugh did I really just do that?) was when she got the ice armor ability.

Extra icy Iciclea
Thanks for picking up Dexverse issue #3!

Apr 18, 2012

Slam in the Back of My Fangula

Ok, so it's not quite the Rob Zombie lyrics but that's ok because it's not quite Halloween. Don't you love how I say "not quite" when it's still half a year away? It's never too early!

If you have a really excellent memory, you'd remember back in October I posted about Hot Wheels that fit the Halloween theme but aren't necessarily branded as such. I was perusing the toy aisles of a local Target and skimmed over the Hot Wheels to see what's new. I was very excited to see the latest incarnation of Fangula with a Halloween-ish deco.

I've almost picked up Fangula a few times since it debuted in 2010 because it just looks sinister, especially in black and red. But slap on a translucent orange sunroof, some skulls and spiderwebs, SOLD!
Fangula lookin all Halloween like
What's kinda odd is the Hot Wheels Wiki lists the car color as metalflake black. There's no doubt about the metalflake but under certain light it appears purple. Even the card art shows it as purple. Maybe it's like how in comics they shade black with a dark blue to highlight it?

Fangula card art

Apr 16, 2012

Mail Order Monday - Comfo Guard (1955)

You know you want to click so you can read the whole thing...
This week's ad comes from a 1955 comic, Love At First Sight #35. The main reason I chose this ad is because it's not something you'd expect to see advertised in a comic, even if it's a comic aimed at girls.

I can't imagine an ad like this in any comic during my life time much less in the 50s. I would think this would be a little taboo back then for a kid's comic book. I think the ad speaks plenty for itself without any snarky commentary...plus, it's going to be an 80+ degree day today so I'm getting outta here!

Apr 14, 2012

Friday(ish) Funnies - Dexverse Issue #2

Just like some comic companies, the new issue of the Dexverse had a slight publishing delay. But we're back now to have a look at the supernatural heroine, Halloween Eve. Unfortunately, a lot of the images I had of her were lost so I'm making due with what little I have.

First things first: her name. While playing this character a lot of people would ask something like "Why Halloween Eve when the word Halloween is a contraction of Hallow and Eve? It's like saying Eve twice." Halloween is both an adjective describing her and it has something to do with her birth. She was also inspired by Dan Brereton's Halloween Girl from The Nocturnals. Which, if you love Halloween, noir and gorgeous art, you should really check it out!

First appearance
The rough version of her origin goes like this: Eve's father was a member of a cult of evil magicians (magic-using magicians, not the kind that pull rabbits out of hats) and got her mom pregnant in an attempt to fulfill an ancient prophecy. The prophecy spoke about how a child born in the first moments of Halloween would become a great force of Evil, yadda yadda, enslave the Earth and so on.

Super Jumpin
The good Magi eventually found out about the plot and interrupted the dark ceremony that was begun late on October 30th. They were not in time to prevent Eve's mom from being sacrificed. There was a huge magical battle, during which Eve's dad was also killed. The Magi managed to save Eve at 11:59pm, which is where she got her name of Halloween Eve. The Magi took it upon themselves to raise her, knowing that she could still be a danger if not trained properly. That, and the fact that she has tiny Devil-like horn nubs on her head.

Eve was brought up in a world of magic and began practicing to defend herself because she's still being hunted by supernatural baddies. Although the Magi have done their best, Eve's powers manifested themselves through darkness. She can cast dark bolts of magic, shroud herself in darkness to escape notice and conjure dark tentacles from the ground to hold foes in place. Despite her possible destiny, she is a fairly normal, wise cracking, Hot Topic shopping, teenage girl.

Possible Future Eve
When her life is in serious danger, Eve is possessed by a future version of herself. Decked out in bone armor and sporting full grown horns, this incarnation of Eve is much more powerful and sure of herself than her modern day teenage self. But is this her destiny or can she change it?
Eve's "gypsy" costume
At one point, I did try to start a super team of monster/Halloween themed heroes but I could never find enough people to recruit. The team's name was The Things That Go Bump.

This is a version of Eve created in the Champions MMO. I really like the cel shading graphics in this game. Makes it feel more comic book-y.

And here she is in the DC Universe Online game. That brings issue #2 to a close. I'm not sure who will be popping up in issue #3 yet. It could be Swedish heroine Iciclea, the robot Chillowatt or maybe even Captain Blaze's nemesis, Psychtron...we'll just have to wait and see!

Apr 9, 2012

Mail Order Monday - Career Opportunites

No, I'm not talking about the 1991 John Hughes movie starring Jennifer Connelly.

I'm talking about job opportunities from a 1975 comic book ad.
This ad starts out pretty exciting: 
Law Enforcement! 
Border Patrol! 
Radio DJ! (cue record scratch sound effect)

Huh? Carry a gun or go into broadcasting? I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition of career choices. Also interesting is the amount of detail you can fill in regarding your military service.

Apr 6, 2012

Friday Funnies - Dexverse Issue #1

Hey there, faithful blog reader! I'm starting a new...uh, segment? Do you only call it a segment on a show? Column? Section? Feature? Whatever the heck it is, I'm starting a new one for a couple weeks!

Unlike some of my fellow geeks, I have zero aptitude when it comes to drawing. I dabble in photography and Photoshop so I do consider myself to be somewhat artistically inclined with a decent eye stylistically. I'm also not very good at writing stories but think I'm okay at coming up with ideas for things. What this new series is going to cover are various characters I've created for MMORPGs. If you don't know what that stands for, you probably missed your exit on the information super-highway. There will be some info and images showing the evolution and/or costume variations of the characters over time.

When I started playing City of Heroes way back in 2004 I struggled for an idea for my first hero. Sure you can just pick a couple of power sets and create your costume, but if you know me when I get into "create mode" you know I am crazy about detail! I didn't just want to make any Superhero #1138, he needed to BE a character. The brain started firing and I remembered one of the comic characters I created in middle school when I was 13. His name is Captain Blaze.

Check out that school-issue math paper!
Real name Douglas Shaw? How lame is that for a hero?

Apr 4, 2012

League Post - Play Ball!

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers wants to take you out to the ballgame!
America’s past time has been prominently featured  in pop culture for over a century, so this week, we’re talking baseball in an open-ended way!
In my years in the corporate world, I've worked for a few different help desks. On occasion, someone will ask where I'm located and when I mention the Boston area the usual conversation goes like this:

"Oh, so you're a Red Sox fan, eh?"
"No, I don't follow sports."
"Wow you don't follow sports and you live near Boston?!"

That's right! I am one of the least sports-centric people you'll ever run into. Something my wife and I happily share. About the only sports I enjoy watching are volleyball and skateboarding. I never go out of my way to find them, these are the things I will not suffer through if they happen to be on.

Anyway, my extent of baseball experience as a kid was racked up on my Atari 2600, and not even the RealSports version...
Image from UGO
My other interaction, which believe it or not was more fun, was from the old timey arcade game.

I don't mean to brag (too much) but if you follow the above over to Flickr, then go to Actions, View All Sizes this image is great for your desktop!

Other Leaguers Who Don't Care If They Never Get Back
Flashlights Are Something To Eat reminisces with some songs and baseball card collection
Learn about Star League Baseball for the Atari 800XL computer at Lefty Limbo

Apr 2, 2012

Monthly Movie Recap - March 2012

As always, clicking on a title link will take you to Amazon where you can purchase the movie and possibly put some coins in my pocket too! 

TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball (2006)
This documentary delves more into the dying pinball industry, where last month's Special When Lit only touches on it. Pretty interesting to see how Williams Electronics tried to rejuvenate pinball with the Pin2000 project.

Cool: The idea of combining traditional pinball and video game elements sounded like a good idea
Lame: It's sad that this form of entertainment is slowly dying
Rating: 8/10