Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holy Toy Biz 1989 Batman!




I can say without hesitation, that 1989's Batman is one of my favorite flicks. I don't know if I first saw it on the big screen at the Idle Hour Theater, or if it was at home on a VHS, but I loved it. up to that point, my only exposure to the Dark Knight was Super Friends, and Batman '66 reruns on weekday afternoons. This new, darker version blew all previous iterations out of the water. I mean, if I'm given the choice between sweating through grey and blue spandex, or an all black suit of rubber and leather and body armor, it's a pretty easy decision.

Not surprisingly, there was Batman branded just about everything. You could fill your bowl with Batman cereal, wear your Batman ballcap to the mall, and of course, play with Batman action figures in the privacy of your own room.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Stunt Zombie's Christmas Haul!

I can honestly say, I've never had a bad Christmas. There have been leaner times, but my family still managed to provide for me. This was yet another great Christmas, and I'm here to share some of my favorite gifts from under the tree.


First up we have the DC Comics Multiverse Batman, TMNT Newtralizer, and Star Wars Black Greedo. I'd like to think this just goes to show how weird and varied my taste is in action figures. You can look forward to seeing more of these three in the coming months.


I can't believe I finally own this movie. As much as I've grown to love it, I never managed to pick it up over the years. Things are finally right with the universe, and now I can watch it any time I want. Take that all those channels that only show the edited version!


I recently became a fan of Opinel knives, mainly because of their low cost and high durability. They're light, and due to their extremely thin blade grinds, they get ridiculously sharp very, very easily. Of course, when I saw they were offering them in blue painted handles, I had to add it to my list. I've got to reprofile the edge on this one, but I don't mind doing it on a knife that normally costs less than $20.



Chelsea also got me a USB powered turntable. It came with software allowing me to record vinyl to MP3 format, which means I'll be able to better preserve music from what is a rather fragile format. It also gives me an excuse to check out some of the current music being released on vinyl these days. Just what I needed, an excuse to collect something else..


Chelsea's parents introduced me to this wine a little over a year ago. It's called Chili Dawg, and it's a bit spicy and sweet, but the magic really begins when you add some Easy Cheese to the mix. Add a squirt to the back of your hand or to a Ritz cracker, take a sip of the wine, then eat the cheese. I kid you not, it tastes exactly like a chili dog. And a good chili dog at that. I'm sure some folks would see it as a novelty, but I've never been one to turn my nose up at something delicious.


This is the gift I was anticipating the most. I've known bits and pieces of the history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but this book definitely filled in all the blanks. It's a great read, and it really gives you a good idea of how hard it is for creators to maintain control of their properties, while trying to make them profitable. I actually managed to finish this one yesterday afternoon, but I could easily read it again and again.

Those are just a few of my favorite gifts this year. Chelsea also picked me up a couple of awesome Die Hard and Guardians of the Galaxy holiday themed t-shirts, and her parents gave me a much needed pair of sneakers, along with rather nice sweater. I also got a much needed watch, since I seem to be so hard on them. And of course, there was the usual mix of candies, snacks, K-cups, TMNT themed bath products and warm winter socks. All in all, yet another great year.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Batman Returns Bruce Wayne is ready for Halloween!

Today's post is about a billionaire playboy orphan egomaniac with an awesome car.



Released in 1992, Bruce Wayne was released in the Batman Returns line by Kenner. This is actually the second time this figure was produced, with the first being from the pre-sequel Dark Knight Collection. I know it may seem a bit farfetched, writing about Bruce Wayne during the Halloween Countdown, but stick around for a bit. I'll get you there.



I love the illustration of Bruce on the card. They managed to actually get a decent likeness of Michael Keaton, with a little of the comic Bruce Wayne mixed in. My favorite part is that smug look Bruce has. That's the look of a man that's a bit annoyed about seeing the Bat signal in the sky once again. He was probably kicked back with a good book and a bottle of wine, or maybe he was entertaining one of his many lady friends. He didn't even bother with going down to the Batcave. He just walked over to the closet, and pulled on his quick change armor. That's the kind of look that says, "Stay right there, this will just take a second, baby."


Most of the other Batman figures from this line were all repaints of the Super Powers version. Bruce here is one of the few that has his own unique sculpt. He's also one of the most stylish, next to the Joker, of course. Actually, the more I look at it, the more it looks like Bruce is decked out in a turtleneck and a pair of black sweatpants. Huh. I love how there's a stylized version of the Batman symbol on his sweatshirt. I didn't pick it up at first, but after staring at it for a few hours, I'm positive that's what it is. I have no idea why he would have an abstract Bat-symbol on his shirt; did Batman somehow negotiate a clothing deal? The Keaton likeness isn't too bad actually, and it looks quite a bit like him if you turn your head to the side and look at him from the corner of your eye.


Bruce Wayne also comes with what has to be the largest cell phone ever made. Forget a brick, that thing is a cinder block. With a phone that size, I have to imagine that it runs on a car battery. No wonder Bruce is so buff, if he has to carry that thing around all day. It also has a small click wheel on the side. I'm not sure what else to say about that. Maybe it's so you can pretend Batman is talking to the dolphins?


Uh-oh, it seems Batman is needed to save the day once again. Well, it's a good thing Bruce has his quick change armor close by. All he has to do is don his mask, cape, chest piece, gauntlets and boots, and he's ready to go!


And here's Batman, all suited up and ready to thwart the next criminal plot. Sure, he looks like he's wearing Hulk hands, and one gauntlet is forever clutching a Batarang, but evil doesn't care how ridiculous you look. Also, his head doubles in size when you put the cowl on. Maybe there's a bike helmet hidden in that thing. As silly as the figure looks with the armor on, I have to admit that it feels pretty solid. The gloves in particular are actually pretty hard to put on, so they're not coming off on their own. The cape is permanently attached to the cowl, so you don't have to worry about it coming off and getting lost. It's comforting to know that I could hold him out the window on my way to work, and watch his cape flutter without having to worry that it will come off mid flight.



Like a lot of Kenner's other figures, the Batman cardbacks always showed you the other toys available within that line. This one gives you an idea of just how ridiculous some of these suits were. I always thought that Arctic Batman would have been better suited for fighting Mr. Freeze, rather than the Penguin. He even has a dome over his head, just like the icy villain. I actually had a couple of these other figures, Air Attack Batman and Deep Dive Batman. AA Bats was pretty cool with his heavily armed jet suit and cool camouflage costume, but Deep Dive Batman always irked me with his bright color scheme. Wouldn't it be better to blend in with the water, rather than stand out like a beacon? I also had the Robin figure, which was probably one of my favorites. I think it was the two-toned cape. I'm always a sucker for a figure with a cool cape. I was always puzzled by his inclusion since he wasn't actually in the movie. Then I find out he was going to be played by a Wayans brother and I realized it was probably for the best the character was cut from an already crowded flick.


When I saw the Batman Armor set on the back of the card, I had an epiphany. This isn't Bruce Wayne as a crime fighter. This is a Bruce Wayne in an alternate reality, where he's just a regular billionaire egomaniac looking to win the costume contest and score with the ladies. That explains why it looks so shoddy. Bruce might be one of the richest men in the world, but he's an awful seamstress. Now that smug look of his makes perfect sense.


"Which one of you lovely ladies wants to slide down the Bat-pole?"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Awesome gimmick comic covers from the 90's, Part 1

It's a rainy, nasty day in July, so it's the perfect time to talk comics.



I didn't really collect comics, so much as accumulate them. I mainly followed the X-men titles, but I would pick up anything that happened to catch my eye. And if there's one thing that 90's comic covers were, it was eye catching. So here are five examples of some awesome gimmick covers, in no particular order.


Bloodshot #1 February 1993
Valiant Comics

Valiant comics weren't easy to find in my neck of the woods. Marvel, DC, and Image comics all made regular appearances on the magazine racks, but Valiant was sadly absent. I didn't even know the company existed, until I found this issue in a longbox on a flea market dealer's table. It was one of the most amazing covers I'd ever seen. It still is, actually. I love how the cover image is surrounded by the black border, it almost gives the issue a prestige format feel. As for the artwork itself, I'm still amazed by how the colors just pop off the cover. I don't remember exactly how much I paid for Bloodshot #1, but I'm just going to go out on a limb and say it was $12.99.  Even if that isn't the exact amount, I just remember it was the most expensive comic I'd ever bought. I didn't know it at the time, but this was actually the first chromium cover ever made. I had stayed up late, and was watching a home shopping show that was just selling comics. It sort of validated my purchase when I saw how much more they were asking for the same issue I had bought months earlier.The story wasn't too bad either, sort of a Punisher meets Wolverine with a little bit of The Fugitive tossed in.

Speaking of the Punisher..


Punisher 2099 #1 February 1993
Marvel Comics

The Punisher was always one of my favorite characters, so when I saw they were introducing a futuristic version of my favorite vigilante, I was ecstatic. The first issues of all the 2099 titles featured the same futuristic border, albeit in different colors, but The Punisher 2099's first issue was my favorite of them all. It was much more dynamic, with the action flying toward the reader's face. I'm fond of the way the color of the foil border and the title text reflect the colors of the Punisher's uniform. A couple of the other 2099 titles did this as well, but I think it works particularly well on this cover.

The story hasn't changed much, even 100 years in the future. Police Officer Jake Gallows family is murdered in front of him, pushing him off the deep end. After discovering a journal written by the late Frank Castle, Gallows decides to carry on his work. He amasses an crime fighting arsenal, as well as his own personal prison and execution chair, and sets out to prove not even the rich are exempt from punishment. It's your typical Punisher book, if a bit more brutal.

Wildstar March 1993
Image Comics

Foil embossing was one of the more prevalent gimmicks seen on 90's comic covers. I have to assume it was one of the cheaper enhancements, judging by the number of Marvel and DC comics that used it. It was also popular with Image comics, as shown on the first issue of the Wildstar mini-series. At first glance, it looks like just the title and the Image logo are embossed. What you probably can't tell from the photo though, is that all those little blood drops on the hero's face are raised as well. It's a little odd, and either gives the impression that Wildstar just got his ass kicked, or his super power is bleeding all over his enemies. That actually makes more sense than the story, which involves time travel and guys that rely on symbioitic space starfish for their super powers. Yeah, it's odd.


Batman #500 October 1993
DC Comics

When you kill a character as iconic as Superman, it gets a lot easier to take out some of your other popular heroes. With the big blue taking a dirt nap, it was only a matter of time before Batman met his end as well. Sure enough, Batman was taken out by Bane,a behemoth that proved himself stronger and smarter than the Dark Knight. The series continued, following the exploits of Jean Paul Valley, a former assassin chosen by Bruce Wayne to take over the mantle of the Batman. Unfortunately, Valley becomes more and more unhinged, and Bruce eventually has to recuperate and win back his place as the caped crusader. Batman #500 followed Jean Paul Valley as he tried to track down and take out Bane once and for all. After losing a fight, and nearly losing his life, Valley decides it's time to redesign the Batman costume.

The cover of Batman #500 already looked pretty cool on it's own. It's a great shot of Batman in an action pose. Flip back the die-cut section though..


and you get a good look at Batman's new costume. Sadly, not even the Dark Knight was immune to the dark and gritty super hero fashion trends of the 90's. You've got metal claws, bits of segmented armor, and of course, random pouches. You couldn't be a superhero in the 90's unless your costume had random pouches all over it. It's not enough that Batman had a utility belt with pouches, they had to add some to his thigh as well.

Given enough time, I bet they would have even given Superman pouches on his shorts.


Ghost Rider and Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #12 July 1993
Marvel Comics

I only loosely followed Ghost Rider comics. When it came to supernatural anti-heroes, Morbius was always my first choice. Still, there's a lot to love about a flaming skeleton riding on a fiery motorcycle. This series followed the team up between the former Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, and the current rider, Danny Ketch. It was sort of like Easy Rider meets Satan. This issue saw the introduction of yet another flaming headed rider, called Vengeance. Because, why not? For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, Vengeance really doesn't like Ghost Rider, and intends to dismantle him in the most painful way possible. It looks like the new rider is about to get his revenge, when he is warped away by a friend of Johnny's. Then they have a funeral for their dead friends, and see you next issue.

Seeing as this was issue 12, and there was a new character introduced, of course we needed a gimmicky cover. But, what is it this time? It's not die cut or foil embossed....


Nope, this time we got a glow in the dark cover. It's unbelievably hard to photograph things that glow in the dark, but I did it just for you guys. The cover image, with Ghost Rider's skull imposed over Vengeance's was already a little odd, but turn out the lights and it gets even weirder. I'm not sure what's supposed to be going on here, but I have to admit, it still looks pretty cool. Sadly, I think the glowing effect has worn out over the years. I remember leaving this issue on the floor next to my bed one night, and it freaked me the hell out.

And that is why you should always put away your comics when you've finished reading them. Otherwise, you might wake up to find a glowing skull grinning at you.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dark Knight of Halloween Rises

I was in Target today, on a mission to find a bag of Candy Corn M&M's, when I came across something that stopped me in my tracks.


This was one occasion when I saw something, and didn't think twice about buying it. I literally saw it, picked it up, and had no second thoughts about making the purchase. I'm not sure why Halloween Batman had such a profound effect on me. Maybe it was his color scheme, or the pumpkin shaped bubble holding him on the card. Perhaps it was that orange insert holding the figure in place that caught my eye, or all those pumpkins along the bottom adorned with the Bat Signal.  Whatever the reasons, Batman ended up coming home with me.
Holy crap! That's a cloth cape!
I'm sure this one is probably a repaint of one of the other figures in the Dark Knight Rises line. The paint apps are pretty simple, and I'm pretty sure the figure is molded all in black, but there's something about the orange highlights that just work with the character. I guess it's not all that crazy to imagine Batman feeling a little festive during Halloween. Of course,  Halloween day for us is probably just another Wednesday to someone that dresses up as a bat the rest of the year.




Amazingly, he has a real cloth cape. You can hold him out the car window, and get that cape blowing in the wind on top of a building look. Not that I did that or anything, it's just a suggestion. Also, look at those blades, and those eyes! Between the full face mask, those blades, and the orange hue of his eyes, this Batman looks like he's ready to dole out punishment to any who decide to toilet paper Wayne Manor this year.

As for those Candy Corn M&M's, turns out they are a Wal-Mart exclusive and from what I've read, pretty disgusting as well. Since I'm the type of person who likes to touch the pan after they're told it's hot,  they may still get a taste test if I ever get my hands on a bag.

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