Nostalgia


As a fan of Big Sky Brewing Company’s Moose Drool Brown Ale, I gave their Summer Honey Seasonal Ale a shot tonight. It’s the perfect cap on this re-energizing day!

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Big Sky’s label art’s pleasing to the eye, too — I love forest creatures! Even ones that would eat or maul me to death if I got too close.

I’ve never been to Montana, but would love to get there one day for some mind-cleansing. Lived close by once in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a few months back in 2007. My reasons for being there? I played Romeo in a traditional interpretation (with some wicked fight scenes!) of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” It was a lot of fun and Wyoming is absolutely gorgeous, but the 5-1 male to female ratio is no good.

The retro gamer nerd in me is totally thrilled June’s finally arrived! This Wednesday, Valiant rolls out the first of their 8 Bit variants with “Archer & Armstrong” #10 and “Shadowman” #7, homaging “Donkey Kong” and “Final Fantasy.”

The best part? Later this month my birthday heralds the release of my favorite Valiant series “Harbinger,” saluting a game I played all the time with my cousin Dan — “Double Dragon!”

Check out all the Valiant 8 Bit variants, also including a “X-O Manowar” homage to “Metroid” and “Bloodshot” to “Contra:”

And just for fun, a rare look at my NES shelf. Props if you can actually identify any of the items. I know the photo’s blurry, my camera phone needs an upgrade! You can’t see what’s on the top shelf — we’ll save that reveal for another day. To the right are other retro systems, none older than the first generation XBox. Keepin’ it old school in this household, yo.

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I’m in the hunt for the classic NES Valiant comics from the 1990s, but they’re a bit too pricey for my blood at the moment. One day!

Valiant recently released the “Harbinger Wars: Battle for Las Vegas” 8-bit game for iOS and Android devices, where you can play as either Bloodshot or Peter Stanchek. It seriously makes me want to upgrade my phone solely to serve as a console for the game.

This beauty arrived in my store late last night — a well-loved copy of “Batman” #121 from 1959, boasting the First Appearance of villain Mr. Freeze! Back then he went by “Mr. Zero” and carried around what looks to be an ice-blasting tea kettle.

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I’m going to be honest — I almost chucked this thinking it was too beat up to sell, but I always look stuff up in the “Overstreet Price Guide” first, when BAM! I realized what this issue truly is. So crazy! Even in this shape it closes in on $100.

What’s your most prized “Batman” comic? Off the top of my head, I’d say 1992’s “Detective Comics” #647 for me, the First Appearance of Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler. It’s not very valuable, but it holds a special place in my heart since Steph’s one of my favorite characters. Now that I think about it, probably the most valuable “Batman” comic I own is the First Appearance of Harley Quinn in print form, 1993’s “Batman Adventures” #12 — and it was bought off the newsstand at cover price! In fact, I have two copies since at that time (I was 9) my mom would buy me a copy to read, then secretly buy one to save which she later gave to me in life. So cool. My mom’s awesome.

Day 4 of our Hawaii vacation was full of memories for my fiancée Pam. She was born on Maui in a town called Wailuku and we spent the day visiting locations she lived with her mom, her middle school, high school and a bunch of other places. This was the first real look at her past I’ve ever had and seeing these landmarks of her life turned into an unexpected spiritual experience for me. Gorgeous views along the way only bolstered this feeling. Of course we spent time with the Boon Monster too, and the day was capped with a beautiful rainbow viewed from our room window.

2013 is here and I wanted to show off my favorite three Christmas gifts from my mom and dad — I think they’ve come to accept I’m a grown man-child.

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1) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series DVD Box Set — Man, I really, really wanted this but didn’t have the dough to put down on it. At San Diego Comic-Con this year, I went to the SHOUT! Factory booth to purchase the Con exclusive set, but they were sold out by Sunday afternoon. Suck! Thankfully, mom and dad delivered and I felt like an 8 year old at 28.Yes, many of the episodes are horrendous, but it’s a time capsule thing for me, and the fight scenes aren’t that bad. Plus, the little one gives it her attention.

2) Turtles Forever DVD — I hadn’t seen the entire thing online, waiting for a DVD release. This is a must-see for every kind of TMNT fan. So well done.

3) Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Season 1 DVD — Don’t judge me, but yes I asked for this. I’ve heard it’s one of the worst shows in all of geek culture, let alone the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I had to find out for myself. It does look terrible, though.

This is all stuff I really, really wanted but couldn’t shell out the cash for. I lucked out and received other cool stuff, like new shoes and clothes, but these were the fun presents! Thanks mom and dad, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

Every month when new solicits are announced for comics, something always makes me go, “Woah! I WANT THAT!” Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection” is one of those items. A killer line up of writers and artists on 35 of the most memorable Wolverine issues of all-time makes for a desirable oversized slipcase HC.

But holy fucking shit, Marvel Disney — TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!? Seriously! Has the cover price of a graphic novel ever been that high in the history of mankind? Not even sexy IDW Artist’s Editions are that suggested retail price. What the hell.

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This is not the actual cover of the “Adamantium Collection.” It hasn’t been revealed yet, although this issue is in it. It should also be in your collection.

WOLVERINE: THE ADAMANTIUM COLLECTION HC

  • Written by PAUL JENKINS, BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH, CHRIS CLAREMONT, LARRY HAMA, WARREN ELLIS, MARK MILLAR & JASON AARON
  • Penciled by ANDY KUBERT, BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH, DAVE COCKRUM, FRANK MILLER, JIM LEE, ADAM KUBERT, LIENIL YU, KAARE ANDREWS & CHRIS BACHALO
  • Cover by BILLY TAN
  • Slipcase by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO

It’s the best and brightest moments from Wolverine’s long and storied history — presented together in a gorgeous, oversized slipcased hardcover and packed with dozens of extras, just in time for Logan’s triumphant return to the big screen! Witness the transformation of sickly James Howlett into the battle-hardened Logan, and then into the metal-clawed super hero called Wolverine! Experience Logan’s struggles to learn the ways of honor, control his bestial nature, and deal with a litany of friends and foes from his checkered past! Thrill to his near-fatal encounter with Magneto! And be there as Wolverine takes on the responsibility of mentoring the next generation — and opens a school! Collecting ORIGIN #1-6; material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #72-84; UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #162, #205 and #268; WOLVERINE (1982) #1-4; WOLVERINE (1988) #75 and #119-122; WOLVERINE (2003) #32; and WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1-3.

  • 720 PGS./Parental Advisory …$200
  • ISBN: 978-0-7851-6789-1
  • Trim size: Oversized slipcase edition (11-1/2 x 15-1/2)

And the real kick in the pants is not the price, but it should be 36 issues — “Incredible Hulk” #181 isn’t included. In the “Adamantium Collection.”

Godamnit. I’m still going to buy it at some point.

Yesterday I attended Long Beach Comic Con 2012 in Long Beach, CA and had a surprisingly enjoyable time. I went two years ago on Halloween day and to call it dead would be an understatement, and I only went this year to cover a panel for CBR. Honestly, the expectation going in was to leave within an hour after the panel wrapped, but I ended up staying until around 5pm. It was a lot of fun! The convention floor was full of people and the vendors section was much more complete from two years ago.

I didn’t plan to buy anything, but ended up haggling with a number of vendors and walked home with a bunch of cool stuff, mostly for my little lady. I spent more than I should have, but it’s justified by my bargaining saving $40 off the purchased items’ asking prices. Check out the big photo below of everything purchased and the gallery with individual item shots (click photos to enlarge).

1) Sailor Moon Wall Scroll — This thing is huge and totally awesome for the room of an almost 2 year old Sailor Moon fan.

2) Sailor Moon Hair Bows — Because why not?

3) Vampirella Print by Ken Meyer Jr. — Ken newly moved to L.A. and has written for my site ComicAttack.net since its inception in 2009, and only at this show did we finally get the chance to meet in person. Had to support him and my wife loves Vampirella — he even personalized it to her!

4) Goldar & X-Factor Iceman Action Figures — These were both for me. A Goldar action figure from the original Power Rangers for $10 in the box? Yes! An Iceman figure I didn’t yet own talked down to $10 from $15? Yes!

5) Trini Doll & Baboo Action Figure — OK, so these are “kind of” for me, but I bought them for my daughter who’s still too small to actually play with them yet. That’s OK — we’ll hold onto both for her over the next couple years. I only picked up the Baboo because it was cheap ($7 still in the box!) and Trini needed someone to beat up.

6) The Lion King Board Game — The lady and I are on a board game kick and this one seemed like a worthy addition with a cheap price tag. It’s near complete, only missing 3 irrelevant pieces, and my daughter can play it with us in just a few years, too.

7) “Tigger the Movie” & “Muppets From Space” VHS — Yes, my household is only one of four in America that still has a VHS player. My lady and I love finding old VHS tapes for $1 and these two are solid additions for the kiddo’s growing library.

8) 22 Kids Books — Oh man. I didn’t actually buy these at the Con, but at a $1 used book store across the street from the Convention Center. That’s right — each of these books were only $1! My daughter loves the Little Golden Books, and so do I considering they’re quick reads. I actually put back half of the stack I picked out because it was too heavy to carry. “Tarzan” was for me, but all the rest belong to my little Monster! Check out the old school “Dinosaurs” book. So awesome!

In the spirit of the season, I just watched “The Twilight Zone” season 2 episode 25, “The Silence” on a whim. It’s a twisted episode — poor Mr. Tennyson.

When the episode began, I thought Tennyson was a jerk who deserved what was dealt. As it progressed, I began to root for him and the twist at the end is messed up. “The Silence” is a worthy 22 minutes of your life and the message is impacting.

What are your favorite “TZ” episodes?

Happy 27th birthday to the Nintendo Entertainment System! On this day in 1985, the NES debuted in North America and paved the way for video gaming as we know it in 2012.

Last March I spent an embarrassingly large amount of my tax return investing in a refurbished NES, controllers and exactly 130 cleaned games (for now). It’s absolutely awesome. Since everything is essentially “like new,” the games play on their first insertion and my non-digital TV is the perfect monitor for the system.

So happy 27th, NES! I owe you a large chunk of my geekdom.

Also celebrating their birthday today is my Dad. He’s a great man and he has never done wrong to me — he’s the one true role model in my life and I strive to emulate him on a daily basis.

I sent him a Halloween card for his birthday this year, something I’ve never done before (which is surprising, all things considered). I bought stamps while at the post office and went with a Christmas theme, so to fit with the card and orange envelope, I made Rudolph and the gang a pack of vampire deer. Too bad my Dad is farsighted and likely won’t notice.

Happy 56th birthday, Dad! I owe you all the credit for making me the opinionated, thick-skinned, one woman man I am today.

Holy super balls — DC Comics released their March 2013 release info and in the master list is the “Superman: The Death and Return of Superman” Omnibus HC. The huge book contains “Superman: The Man of Steel” #17-26, “Superman” #73-82, “Adventures of Superman” #496-505, “Action Comics” #683-691, “Justice League of America” #69, “Superman: The Legacy of Superman” #1 and “Green Lantern” #46, plus chapters of “World Without a Superman” and a bunch of bonus stuff. That’s more than 40 comics and the book is over 1000 pages, clocking in with a $99.99 price tag, the standard for collections like these.

I’m not a big Superman fan in the slightest, but this story defines comics from my childhood in the early 90s. Plus, while I may dislike Superman, I love reading about him getting his ass kicked. Now we can only hope for a “Batman: Knightfall” omnibus collection. I’m already drooling.

Oh man — yesterday I found two totally awesome retro items this near-30 year old geek man-child must own:

1) “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Complete Classic Series DVD Set — Available 11/28/12 for $99.99

“Cowabunga! Experience the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle saga in this totally tubular 23-disc set of the original animated series, featuring all 10 seasons in one complete cowabunga collection! From their origins on the comic book page to the depths of Dimension X and beyond, the pizza- loving, shell-busting Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, with the guidance of their Sensei Master Splinter, have been delighting fans for decades with their turtle power. Whether it’s facing fierce enemies Krang, Shredder and Lord Dregg, saving humanity from near extinction, or battling against life-altering mutations, the half-shell heroes are always ready for heart-stopping, time-bending, straight outta the sewer action!”

2) “Star Wars” Rocket Firing Boba Fett 12″ Kenner Replica Figure — Available 3/27/2013 for $85

“Gentle Giant is proud to present their take on one of the most legendary toys in action figure history – the Rocket Firing Boba Fett. Never released due to safety concerns, the few figures that found their way out of Kenner’s factories are some of the most sought-after Star Wars collectibles in the world. Digitally scanned from an authentic 3 3/4″ Kenner prototype and reproduced to a substantial 12″ tall, no detail has been overlooked. Injection molded and made of durable plastics, this jumbo figure comes fully articulated and includes real rocket-firing action! That’s not all, this classic Kenner creation comes packaged on a 1980 Empire Strikes Back-inspired blister card, featuring original artwork, in a resealable plastic outer clamshell to help protect and display!”

Given the price tags on these sexy babies I can likely only afford one, which will undoubtedly be the TMNT DVD set. That’s my childhood packaged in a sleek looking Turtle Van. I actually own the original Kenner Boba Fett figurine. It’s out of the box, missing the gun and well loved but still; it’s a piece of geek history.

Also yesterday while doing research on the ’70s “Shazam!” TV show starring Michael Gray as Billy Batson, I happened upon the opening credits for this other ’70s T.V. show I’d never heard of — “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.” The catchy theme, sexy jogging and Dyna Girl’s pigtails were enough to make me watch the clip a couple times. Totally wish the show wasn’t before my time and I’d love to track down some episodes.

Had a delicious drink of Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA and decided to tackle this fun game from 1994:

“Tommy! You asshole.”

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” for the Sega Game Gear. So much fun.

I found this ticket in a stack of stuff in my old room while visiting home last month. Pure nostalgia.

The worst NFL game ever played was on Sunday, December 16 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio featuring the Buffalo Bills vs. the Cleveland Browns.

I was at this game with my dad, the only Bills away game I’ve ever seen live, and while the game was horrendous with the final score being 8-0 Cleveland, it was a memorable experience with my dad and one I’ll likely never forget. It was cold, with the temperature starting in the low 30s and creeping down to the 20s as the game went on. Humidity was around 80% and the windchill had to be at least 20 degrees with the stadium sitting right on Lake Erie. I remember when we left my coat had become a frozen shell of refuge around my body. The snow was so thick by kickoff it blanketed the entire field and obstructed vision to the point from where I was sitting I could barely make out the Buffalo players in their white away jerseys.

We arrived in Cleveland the day before to check out the NFL Hall of Fame, and the morning of the game the weather was normal. We tailgated in a parking garage (Cleveland doesn’t have many options being downtown and on the Lake) and with a nice layer of alcohol and meat product warming our blood, my dad and I headed inside. That’s when the snow started coming down hard. We sat in the uppermost level, nice and high, which didn’t help our field of vision.

The game saw two Browns field goals and a safety when Buffalo punter Brian Moorman fumbled the snap or something and ended up kicking the ball out his own endzone. Clearly he was being reactionary and the white glaze may have gotten to his head to do something like that, but yeah, it was a difficult game to watch both literally and figuratively.

And I have to say — Browns fans were not nice people. One would think a game with weather like that would bring fans of two North Eastern teams together in the spirit of football, but no. We were being blasted with snowballs the entire time and on our way out people would say things to my dad and I like “Hope your drive home takes forever,” or “Hope you get in an accident” and other shit like that (the drive did take us around 6 hours to get back, roughly double what it should have). More snowballs and ice chunks found their way towards us, too, as we exited the stadium. This all pissed me off because Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. was one of the few owners who backed Cleveland when the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens. I’ve heard, but have not been able to confirm via the internet, Wilson even went as far as to shuttle hundreds of Browns fans to Buffalo to watch the first ever Bills/Ravens game in Western New York. If that’s true… jeez, Browns fans.

Believe me — I’m all about taking a sound ribbing for the teams I cheer for, it’s a given being a Bills fan in today’s world, but wishing death on someone over a sport is asinine. I had a great time — don’t get me wrong — but I have a marred view of Browns fans in their own house.

I understand why they’d be angry, though. People think the Bills are bad, but damn, the Browns have a history littered with only bad. They’ve never been to the big dance, the Super Bowl. At least the Bills have some tasty sprinkles in their history — like four Super Bowls in a row and a decade of solid play (come back 1990s!). Woof woof.

What makes this loss even worse is the following season on November 17, 2008 the Bills had a chance at redemption, playing the Browns on Monday Night Football at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. I was at that one too and the Bills lost 29-27 on the final play of the game — a field goal.

Total suck.

Snapped this from the parking lot of the Ralph, walking in for MNF!

From our seats in the 300 level. 0-0. Back when anything was possible.

New photos of my little lady are on the Boon Monster tumblr! Below is my favorite of the bunch, but click the link to see the rest.

This photo warms my heart. She stood like that for 20 minutes, taking in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! And just to prove her Turtle-ness, the Monster met co-creator of the TMNT, Kevin Eastman, back in November 2011 at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood.

Turtle Power!

While going through an old photo album (the digital kind) I came across this shot of the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, NY, connecting the United States with our neighbors to the north, Canada. I was working as the mascot of Niagara Falls State Park at the time — Rainbow Bear and stopped for this quick photo.

Rainbow existed. Google him.

Anyway, this is one of the few decent photographs I’ve ever taken. Just look at that late summer Western New York sky reflecting off the Niagara River!

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