Friday, December 30, 2011

Childhood toys: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blimp

Courtesy: MutantOoze.org.
Back when I was a kid I played with a lot of toys, ranging from G.I. Joes (mostly hand-me-downs), Transformers, even Darkwing Ducks and He-Mans. Then there were my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I loved the cartoon and by extension, the action figures. Of all the toys I had, the Turtle Blimp had to be the oddest one. Essentially, an inflatable balloon with a hard plastic undercarriage attached, it stuck out amongst the Joes, Autobots, and Masters of Universes. The blimp appeared in the fifth episode of the first season of the cartoon, Shredder & Splintered.


Courtesy: PopHate.
What made it odd was the balloon. I largely forgot about the blimp until a few days ago and that's what kept popping out at me. I have no idea why they made the balloon inflatable instead of a hollow plastic shell. Needless to say, all it would take was just one small hole and your day was ruined. I was careful. However, according to the TMNTPedia, the air plug was ineffective and so the thing had a tendancy to deflate anyways. I can't really remember mine doing that, but then again, it was literally decades ago, so it might have.

Fortunately, the undercarriage had a handle built right into it, along with a trigger to release the bombs. That was the other thing about the blimp, it came equipped with a dual bomb racks to fuck the bad guys' day up! Of course, being the product of a children cartoon, the bombs were clearly labeled with harmless and humorous things like 'sneezing powder' and 'itching powder'.

All in all, the Turtle Blimp was an interesting and certainly unique toy amongst others.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When fandoms collide: Doctor Who meets Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Crossing fandoms is like crossing proton streams - it can be risky. Aside from a few bumps, I think this was pretty good. One gripe though: The Doctor using lightsabers. He could just whip out his sonic screwdriver (an elegant device for a more civilized age) and short the lightsabers out.



(via Topless Robot)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tattooed Wonder Woman looks awesome

I was sure I had posted this picture before, but apparently not on this blog. A gross oversight on my part that will corrected right now.

Credit: RNZZZ
Love it.

So this is what a Miranda-class from Star Trek was supposed to look like during The Original Series era

The USS Cortez from Star Trek: The Early Voyages issues #5-6.
The Early Voyages was a series published by Marvel Comics back in the late 90s, which chronicled the adventures of the USS Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike's command. It was meant to fill-in the gap between the original Star Trek pilot, The Cage, and James Kirk's tenure as Captain. The Cortez's design is supposed to be a pre-refit Miranda-class, the same class that the Reliant from The Wrath of Khan belongs to. The two-parter featuring the Cortez is even a clever reference to that movie. In the comics, the Cortez is captured by a splinter society of Vulcans who never embraced logic like the others and when the Enterprise shows up to find out what happened to the ship, the latter is attacked and almost destroyed by her.

I think there was a lot of speculation in the Trek community after The Wrath of Khan about whether the Miranda-class was in service during The Original Series and if so, what did it look like? Unfortunately, the comics - like everything else except the TV shows and movies - aren't canon, so it's a moot point. That's probably the one thing I don't like about the Trek franchise, Paramount's canon policy..

(Picture via Memory Beta, the non-canon Star Trek Wiki)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Oh hai Jedi Knight Princess Leia!

That is not fan art, in Star Wars' Expanded Universe (novels, comics, games, other things considered canon) Leia eventually decides to become a Jedi. Now if only women would start cosplaying as this instead of Slave Leia. I think the latter is overdone and imagine how awesome it would be to see Jedi Knight Leias walking around Comic-Con instead of a legion of ten thousand women in the same gold bikinis that you see everywhere.

(Picture via Wookieepedia)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A picture of David Tennant is a picture worth a thousand words

Unfortunately, the thousand words are David Tennant, Doctor Who, Tenth Doctor, OMG, and 996 largely incomprehensible words.

(Picture via The Nerdist)

Friday, December 23, 2011

And I thought the Lego Star Destroyer was awesome

And it was, until I saw Sascha Mehlhase's replica of the Large Hadron Collider made out of Legos.


More pictures after the cut.
It took 9500 pieces and 33 hours to complete and that was just the build time. Mehlhase spent 48 hours before that on the 3D computer model. The project cost 2000 Euros, which is about 2609 American dollars. According to Mehlhase, the cost was paid for by the Niels Bohr Institute. You can see more pictures at his website. The obvious question of course is "can it find Higgs Boson?"
A close up. Nice details.
Let's hope nobody fires this up and leaves this guy with a blue glowing dong.
Legos! Legos everywhere!


(h/t Nerd Approved)

Awesome Doctorama picture is awesome

If you've watched Futurama at all, then you'll get the joke. For those who haven't, the show has a running gag involving the heads of famous people - ranging from Jonathan Frakes to Richard Nixon - are kept preserved and alive in jars like the above.

I like how they put Dr. Horrible and Doogie Howser right next to each other. I think they used too many Doctors from Doctor Who, though. Still, it's super cool and also available as a shirt.

(via The Laughing Squid)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A comic about SOPA, a message against fascism

Surviving the World: Lesson #1267 - Where The Power Lies (A Comic About SOPA)
SOPA, for those who those who haven't been paying attention to tech and news websites (because it certainly hasn't been on the news networks), stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. It's a bill currently sitting in the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee and possibly heading to the House floor for a vote soon that would - if passed by both the House, the Senate, and signed into law by President Obama - give the government the power to shutdown websites, any websites, that even so much as linked to a torrent or an illegal file on a file hosting website. When I say the government can shutdown a website that violates this potential law, I don't just mean a blog on Blogger or a Tumblr. The text of the bill is so vague, that the government would have the power to shutdown Blogger or Tumblr or the site's host itself. SOPA is actually so extreme, even Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have been vocal against it, which is both telling and kind of screwed up, considering the kind of authoritarian bullshit they've supported in the past.

Not surprisingly, the culprits behind this are the usual suspects: the movie and music industries. Yes, the MPAA and RIAA are so desperate to keep people from downloading the latest Lady Gaga or Lil Wayne album (despite the fact that it's been shown that a lot of people who pirate music end up buying the same music legally) or whatever crappy comedy they stick Michael Cera in, that they're willing to basically kill the internet. This isn't about net neutrality, this is about protecting the greatest achievement in communications since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

The larger problem is that like I said before, the bill's text in vague and while I don't like to dip my cup in the same Kool-Aid the tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists are drinking, it could easily be used to squash dissent, especially of the Occupy variety. Obviously, the chances of that happening are as likely as Justin Beiber being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it still lingers there.

If you want to try and help stop this bill, the best thing you can do is write your Congressmen. It sounds cliched, sure, but what other option is there? Check this thread on reddit to find out who your Congressman is and how to contact them.

I'm not even a computer geek and this picture gave me a nerd boner

I'm not even going to lie, I would gladly give up modern tech and gadgets if I could go back and live in the late 70s and the 80s for a while. It would be an interesting experience. I'd love to hang out with the Homebrew Computer Club, and build and program my own computer the way geeks did back then. Of course, I would probably likely go stir crazy without internet access or cable.

(Picture via This Day In Tech)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Force is strong in the Czech Republic

According to a recent census, 15,000 Czechs listed themselves as "Jedi Knights". I just hope no one put down "Sith Lord". All it takes is one of those guys to ruin things, just ask the Jedi Order and the Old Republic as a whole.

(h/t Gamma Squad)

Things I didn't know existed: Atari's Mario Bros.

I saw this on The Retroist and was genuinely surprised; I never knew that there was a pre-NES Mario Bros. game. Sure, I knew Mario and Luigi were in Donkey Kong, but always assumed that Super Mario Bros. was their first solo title. In addition to this ad, The Retroist also has screencaps of the three versions of the game - arcade, Atari 2600, and Commodore 64 - and I have to say, the game didn't look all that great on the 2600. It's understandable, the 2600 was several years old by then, arcade cabinets had more power than consoles, and the Commodore was simply newer.

I noticed something else just now, the ad has a copyright of 1983 - the same year the American video game market collapsed, which actually paved the way for Nintendo and other Japanese game companies to enter the market.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Looks like they're rebuilding the Gundam after all

So sayeth Anime News Network via Japanator via Topless Robot. All three have videos detailing the reconstruction. Hooray! I totally forgot to mention in the previous article about this giant Gundam, it's a full scale model. That...that actually makes Japan scarier, because they can build a life size version of a mecha.

Now how about a VF-1 Valkyrie and maybe a Gigantor? I'd be cool with the Dragonzord.

RIP Joe Simon

Sadly, Joe Simon passed away yesterday at the age of 98. Simon was most famous for creating Captain America alongside Jack Kirby back in the 40s. Cap wasn't their only collaboration and  together they also created Manhunter, the Newsboy Legion, and Boy Commandos for DC Comics, as well as Fighting American (Prize Comics) and Fly (Red Circle Comics).

This is indeed a sad day for comics.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gundam! It's a Gundam!

Some countries build statues to freedom and liberty. Japan builds statues of giant robots.
So funny story, back in 2009 Bandai decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gundam franchise in the most Japanese way possible - by building a 60 foot tall Gundam! Granted, it's just a statue...or so they say. Clearly, Japan was sending a message to the rest of the world: We can build giant mecha, so don't fuck with us.

Batteries not included.

Unfortunately, Japan no longer has its stalwart protector. Well, it does, but its parts are scattered all over an artificial island and Bandai's charging six and a half bucks to visit the site. According to Engadget, the mighty mecha from one of the greatest anime franchises to ever come out of Japan was disassembled and returned to the island where it originally stood, but I guess Bandai has no plans to reassemble it.

They should reassemble it though, Gundam is iconic and deserves the recognition that statue brings. In fact, I think there should be statues for other mecha anime, like Tetsujin 28-Go (Gigantor in the U.S.), Mazinger Z, Macross/Robotech, and others. Maybe even an Ultraman statue. The reason behind this opinion is simply because Japan has a massive influence on popular culture, worldwide in general and the United States in particular and they should embrace that influence and give recognize it. Plus, think of the revenue generated from the increase tourism; because if you build giant mecha, the otaku will come¹.
This is what passes as a normal day in Japan.

Images via TechCrunch, Pink Tenticle, and Punyari. Hat tip to Geekspective.

¹. And cum too, probably.

The Last Bat Supper

The last thanksgiving batfam supper by Glasmond via Popped Culture.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation is pretty good



I originally wasn't going to post anything about the new G.I. Joe movie because A). The first movie sucked big salty balls and B). Retaliation is being directed by Jon M. Chu, who's prior directing credits include a Justin Bieber concert movie. Then I saw Topless Robot's post about it and knowing that Rob Brickman - who has similar opinions as I do about the Joe movie franchise - was impressed made me give the trailer a chance.

I didn't regret it, let me tell you. I question whether they need Bruce Willis though.

This kickass Battlefield 3 video will make you say "holy shit!"



There's RendeZook, and there's everybody else. Frakking epic.

(h/t Destructoid)

Darth Skeletor up in this motherfucker!

Wait, does this mean Prince Adam is Skeletor's so gay it's as obvious as the color of the sky son?

Awesome mashup by Ryan-Renders (via Kotaku).

G.I. Joe Hit & Run

Most people would just take the elevator to their hotel room.
Hit & Run thinks those people are wimps and should just scale the building like him.
One of the things I like about the G.I. Joe action figures is that Hasbro packed each figure with plenty of accessories. I think Hit & Run was packaged a bit lighter than most other figures.

(Picture via YOJOE.com)

Monday, December 12, 2011

This energy drink will make you feel like your power level is over 9000

9GAG
Just remember to have some Senzu Beans on hand to repair the massive kidney damage. Surprised they didn't go with Super Saiyan 4 or the fake Super Saiyan 5. In all honesty, of all the Super Saiyan levels, 3 was my least favorite; it just looked too weird - no eyebrows, absurdly long, spiky hair, and a permanent bitch-face. SSJ 2 was the best, IMO.

Map of the Honor Harrington Universe

Wikipedia
Since I'm currently reading the second book in the Honor Harrington series - The Honor of the Queen by David Weber - I thought I'd post a map I found on Wikipedia detailing the different planets and factions of the Honorverse. The best way to describe the series is "Horatio Hornblower in space". The main heroine is the eponymous Honor Harrington, an officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. The Star Kingdom is for all intents and purposes, the British Empire just before it experienced its massive growth spurt.

The books aren't bad, actually, worth a read if you like military science fiction or the Horatio Hornblower books.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dorkly's The Nine Greatest Nerd Fears Today

Is very frightening, especially number nine. The thing that makes George R. R. Martin dying before he finishes A Song of Ice and Fire is that someone will probably be hired to finish it and will only succeed in destroying it. That's not a knock against Brandon Sanderson, the guy enlisted to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time mega-series after his death. I've never read the series, let alone Sanderson's contributions, so I couldn't rightly say whether his books sucked or not.

I am going to get so much nerd hate for not reading Wheel of Time. It's on the list. Right behind every other book I've been wanting to read.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is it just me, or does "Space Launch System" sound like something from Mobile Suit Gundam?

The Space Launch System is the name given to what NASA has in the bag to take the place of the now retired space shuttles. Still, the name sounds like it came Mobile Suit Gundam, like it would belong to a space-borne weapon platform used by one of the Zeon incarnations or the Titans.

Gundam Wiki
Cheesus, I am a dork.

Little Thor will make you lulz and warm your heart



I think this is better than the Darth Vader video that Volkswagen put out back in February. The sly references to Loki and Stark are a nice touch.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Victorian Wonder Woman

Three things I noticed when I saw this picture (in order):

1. Victorian-era Wonder Woman (duh)
2. Three Hydra Agents in the background
3. Fat Captain America
4. What appears to be a Donna Troy Wonder Girl cosplay in the background

(via Fashionably Geek)

So there's going to be a live action Rurouni Kenshin movie

And holy crap, Takeru Satoh, looks exactly like him. Nice.

(Anime News Network via Topless Robot)

Vader Got Served

`jasinski
I would most definitely watch a dance movie if it involved Star Wars. They could call it Star Wars: Episode II - Electric Boogaloo.

(h/t Popped Culture)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Batman by ShinigamiAmon

ShinigamiAmon
Sweet Zombie Jesus, this is gorgeous! It has a similar feel to the Batman mangas they used to do in Japan back in the day. DC needs to hire this guy as a cover artist, stat!

Assassin's Creed Art Nouveau is beautiful


Amazing artwork by silvestris. See the rest here.

(h/t Nerd Approved)

Monday, November 28, 2011

John Barrowman: Hero and classy gent

Fanpop
 This is steadily making its way around the internet and deservedly so. According to The Wales Online, John Barrowman, famous of course for playing Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood, intervened during a robbery at a hotel he's staying at. Two young men broke into another room and were busy ransacking it when the people staying in the room caught them. The boys tried to bolt, but Barrowman managed to tackle and restrain one of them until the police arrived. Now, that might be the end of the tale and he would receive praise for his selfless act of bravery, but this story doesn't end quite yet. After catching the youth, Barrowman offered to give him a backstage job at the show he's currently doing in Glasglow, because he thinks it will help the kid straighten his life out.

There's classy, then there's John Barrowman.

(h/t Topless Robot)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Damn Heroes in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

I don't know why, but today I started thinking about Firefly and Star Wars, specifically a Firefly-ized version of Han and the gang. It's a delightful image, really. The problem is that it doesn't quite gel together - for example, I can't think of anyone who could fit as the Tams without leaving a gap elsewhere. What I have in my head so far is interesting nonetheless:

  • Han Solo: The Mal Reynolds of the group, obviously. Both have the same personalities and willingness to do what's needed: Mal kicked a guy into the engine of the Serenity and Han, before Lucas' editing, shot Greedo first.
  • Lando Calrissian: Jayne Cobb. While Han and Lando might not have the same rough relationship that Mal and Jayne share, it works well enough.
  • Mara Jade: Zoe for no other reason than in the Star Wars Expanded Universe she's married to Luke. The obvious problem of course is the lack of a longstanding relationship with Han to mirror Zoe's with Mal.
  • Luke Skywalker: Hoban Washburne. This is more bare bones and has to do solely with their respective piloting skills. It goes without saying that Chewie and Luke aren't married.
  • Leia Organa: Obvious choice is obvious: Inara Serra. During Firefly's brief run, it was all but stated that Mal and Inara had a history prior to the start of the series. It's not much of a stretch, especially since Han and Leia's relationship mirrored the former two's for much of the Original Trilogy.
  • Chewbacca: Kaylee Fyre. A very hairy Kaylee Fyre. I apologize for the resulting mental image.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi: Book, duh.
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO: No.frakking.clue.
  • Jacen and Jaina Solo: Han and Leia's children from the EU could work as Simon and River Tam, I suppose.

Like I said, it doesn't quite gel together perfectly, but it is interesting. This is one of those times when I wish I could draw, because this would make for one hell of a picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RIP Anne McCaffrey, 1926-2011

She was known for many things, primarily the Dragonriders of Pern series, but she was also the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and later, a Nebula Award. According to Tor.com, she was also the first Science Fiction and Fantasy writer to have a book to hit the New York Times Best-Seller. A great loss to nerdom.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best.cosplay.ever.

DTJAAAAM
Nothing can top a real life cat dressed as Dex-Starr, the feline member of the Red Lantern Corps.

(h/t ComicsAlliance)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Childhood toys: Destroid Phalanx from Robotech

Back when I was in my early teens, I walking through the local KB Toys (buying toys was a hard habit to break and I regret that I did) one day and saw this strange looking robot hanging on a peg. I had seen some of Robotech back then and may have recognized the Destroid Phalanx, but honestly, that was irrelevant to me. I ended up buying it because it just looked cool. I have absolutely no idea what happened to it though.

The Destroid Phalanx was a mech that the Earth Defense Force created using the chassis of the Tomahawk, which could be best described as a tank with legs. As you can see, the Phalanx lacked traditional arms and instead carried two large missile pods. During the SDF-1's long trek back to Earth, Phalanxes were employed as defensive weapons. When the SDF-1 came under attack, Phalanxes, along with Defenders (similar to former, but with twin barreled cannons instead of missile pods) would stand on the exterior of the ship's hull and destroy the Zentraedi Battle Pods that managed to get pass the Valkyries.


Of course the major flaw in the Phalanx's design is it's lack of secondary weaponry, once its missiles are gone, so is it. According to Robotech.com's Infopedia and the Robotech Wiki, the Phalanx carries eleven missiles in each pod with several magazines, so it would stay in a fight longer, but once it expended its ammo, what then? Presumably, the pilots were trained not to fire them all in a rush and pick their targets carefully. And in case you're wondering, those three blue squares on its head are searchlights. Personally, I think it would have worked out better as a gun mount.

Anyway, it was a fun toy to play with, but I wish I had gotten the other Destroids too. Not sure if Playmates ever released any Battle Pods though, so finding something for them to fight back them would have been a slight problem.

(Pictures via COLLECT 'em ALL)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Looks like The Kurgan has claimed another Immortal

Whenever I see pictures of electrical discharge around volcanic eruptions, I always think Highlander.

(h/t Boing Boing)

This dog could warm the cockles of even Sauron's heart

I don't normally post this sort of video, but I couldn't resist. A dog born without front legs instead walks on his hind legs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wow, Immortals looks bad. Like really bad

I'm talking Uwe Boll bad. Have you seen the trailer for those abomination?



On second thought, comparing Uwe Boll to this movie is too much of an insult to Uwe Boll, so I may have to go to Troll 2 level of awfulness. That's like the DEFCON-2 of bad movies, folks. I mean, what's with that ridiculous bit with Theseus crashing into the water? Did the writers get stoned one night and watch Dragon Ball Z or something?

If Immortals somehow ends up turning a profit or hell, even manages to break even, I will lose a lot of faith in my fellow man. Say no to godawful movies, people.

Ready Player One

Alt title: Why I haven't been posting as much lately.

I can't help it, this book is so gorram good! It's chocked full of references to games, TV shows, science fiction and fantasy, and more. Plus, it's written by Ernest Cline, who in turn wrote Fanboys, a movie that I really, really need to watch. I rarely get immersed in a book so deeply that I spend time thinking about and speculating on the plot, but Ready Player One is one of those occasions. Seriously, go out and buy it, because you will not regret it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Late night nerd music: Star Wars main theme

File under music that gives me both eargasms and nerdgasms. Enjoy.

United Nations announces seven billionth person born

In other news, the Soylent Corporation has announced that they will be stepping up production of their popular Soylent Green to meet expected increase in demand.

(h/t LA Times)

The Conqueror, or The Movie That Literally Killed People

Okay, before we begin, I just want to address both the the sheer stupidity of this movie's casting and its poster. Let's start with the latter:

Internet Movie Poster Awards
"I fight! I love! I conquer...like a barbarian!"? What does that even mean? Do barbarians conquer any different than non-barbarians? Their tactics and strategy are different when it comes to fighting, I'd imagine, and I don't even want to ponder what loving like a barbarian entails, but it probably isn't pleasant. The whole text both makes no sense and totally sounds like something John Wayne would say at the same time.
Speaking of The Duke, let's move on to casting, namely what in the blue blazes were they thinking? John fricking Wayne as not just Genghis Khan, but Asian? It's a sad and unfortunate truth that back in the day, white actors were sometimes cast to play ethnic characters, like Asians and even Native Americans. Hell, Iron Eyes Cody, famous as the "Crying Indian" from the old Keep America Beautiful ad of the early 70s wasn't Native American at all, but Italian-American. In the case of Asians, makeup artists would use tape to pull back the sides of the eyelids to replicate an Asian person's eyelids and man, that was amazingly uncomfortable to write. Yeah, old Hollywood was pretty racist. Apparently the reason why they cast John Wayne is because he lobbied for it.
Arguably Wayne's worst film, The Conqueror (1956), in which he played Genghis Kahn, was based on a script that director Dick Powell had every intention of throwing into the wastebasket. According to Powell, when he had to leave his office at RKO for a few minutes during a story conference, he returned to find a very enthused Wayne reading the script, which had been in a pile of possible scripts on Powell's desk, and insisting that this was the movie he wanted to make. As Powell himself summed it up, "Who am I to turn down John Wayne?".
 Clearly, The Duke needed a sassy gay friend.

Moving on, let's talk about how this movie actually killed people. You see, someone had the brilliant idea of filming the outdoor scenes near St. George, Utah, which was downwind of the Nevada Test Site, where the military tested nuclear weapons. Of the 220 member cast and crew, 91 got cancer and of those, 46 died. Hell's bells, Dick Powell, the director, died seven years after making The Conqueror. What's worth noting about this is that John Wayne did develop cancer twice afterward. In 1964, he had to have his entire left lung removed because of cancer and he lost his stomach in 1979. The former can be chalked up to his five-six pack a day smoking habit, the latter though seems like it would be caused by something else, especially considering that the cancer other cast and crew developed were varied.

It's a shame he died, really. True, John Wayne's political stances would rub a lot of people the wrong way, but who doesn't love a John Wayne movie and wish he had lived long enough to have done more? A final note on the movie: While it was filmed in 1956, Howard Hughes refused to release it until 1974, which ought to tell you how bad it was.

Supertrain: Yeah, I'm not all that surprised it failed

Wikipedia
Back in 1979, NBC debuted a new show that they were sure would be a big hit - Supertrain. It wasn't and almost slayed the peacock network. The best way to describe the premise is that it was essentially The Love Boat, but on a huge nuclear powered train. A nuclear powered train who's top speed was only about 78mph. You'd think something with a nuke reactor would move faster, but I guess not. Honestly, the idea of a nuclear powered train is more than a little far-fetched, given that trains will sometimes derail or crash into other trains. Anyway, the show featured the tried and true formula of 70s and 80s television, celebrity guests. Like The Love Boat, the episodes centered around the guest stars and you can probably guess their level of quality. The show lasted all of nine episodes and when combined with the lack of revenue from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow - which the United States famously boycotted - it nearly drove NBC to bankruptcy. Oops.

Reading the summaries for the nine episodes, I can see why it failed: they were too similar. I mean, three of the nine involved characters being hunted by hit men and unbelievably, two of those were the first two episodes of the series. Seriously, they aired two episodes a week apart that both featured hired killers. Another two episodes not only revolved around kidnapping plots, but in both episodes, the intended victims were heiresses. I can see why Supertrain flopped, five of the nine episodes aired had similar plots! Brilliant work, guys.
(h/t Wikipedia and Business Pundit)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Comic Covers: Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122

And one of the greatest (or in Spider-Man's opinion, worst) moments in not just the Web Crawler's history, but comics in general. ASM #121-122 is the arc that saw the deaths of both Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin. The latter got better, though and eventually returned in the 90s during the much maligned Clone Saga. The fact that a supporting character to a superhero was killed off years after the hero has already made his debut was relatively unheard of in comics at the time. Usually, a character is killed off before or sometimes right after the main character becomes a superhero, in order to galvanize them into fighting crime and evil. One of the reasons why I like the Bronze Age of Comics, because writers were willing to do things like this.


Stacy's cause of death was much debated; it was originally unclear whether Goblin killed her before he tossed her off the top of the George Washington Bridge Brooklyn Bridge or if Spider-Man killed her, accidentally snapping her neck when he used to webbing to catch her. She would have been dead either way from hitting the water. Eventually Roy Thomas, an editor at Marvel stated in the letters column of Amazing Spider-Man #125 that it was the latter. Hate to have that hanging over my head.

The reason why Gwen Stacy was killed off was because the writers felt that she and Peter Parker had reached a point in their relationship that marriage was the only option left and they didn't want to go there, because they thought it would age the character too much. They then paired Peter up with Mary Jane and several years later, they got married. So much for the single life.

(h/t to Fortress of Baileytude for the pictures)

Interesting panel from Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

IGN Comics
Red Hood and the Outlaws have gotten a lot of crap since it's inception because of the ridiculous, over-the-top sexualization of Starfire, but this isn't about that. I saw this picture over at The Nerdist and marveled at the way the panels are laid out. It just looks cool as hell.

I'm sure Scott McCloud creamed his pants when that page was put together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cool nerd lamp is cool, but overpriced

Nerd Approved
This is an actual lamp that someone made and is selling on Etsy. The downside is that like most things on that website, it's a on-off. On the other hand, they're selling it for over a thousand bucks, so I can't imagine it's going anywhere soon. Seriously, $1,540 for a lamp and a bunch of action figures that you can buy anywhere, plus a can or two of spray paint? All that stuff combined wouldn't even total four hundred bucks and they expect to make over $1100 dollars profit. Talk about price gouging.

Characters shown: J. Jonah Jameson, Thing, Mister Fantastic, Trinity (from The Matrix trilogy), Lara Croft, King Theoden (LOTR), Batman, Wolverine, Spider-Man (possibly, the Etsy page lists him), and Conan the Cimmerian. Frodo is supposed to be on there, but unless he's got the One Ring on, I don't see him.

It's cool as hell, but it's wildly overpriced.

See this list? Yeah, never do these

Underwire made one of the worst mistakes in Geekdom and posted a list of 9 Essential Geek Books You Must Read Right Now. No. Just...no. These kinds of lists always lead to flame wars because everyone has their own opinions on what are and aren't "essential". Oh Underwire, what a can of worms you opened.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Croc Master

YOJOE.COM
When I was a kid, I inherited my brother's smattering of G.I. Joes as he grew older and unfortunately, they were often missing their accessories. I was also fairly ignorant of who most of the characters were, since the Sunbow and DIC cartoons didn't feature all of them, so I had absolutely no idea who Croc Master was and didn't until this week. I think I mostly used him as a heavy muscle/brute whenever I had the Joes throw down with Cobra. He certainly fit the part and the more I look at him, the more I realize that Croc Master bears a strong resemblance to another black mask wearing, musclebound comic book character: Bane, from DC Comics.

JIM SMASH

Clearly, I was not the only one. The resemblance is unintentional, obviously - Croc Master predates Bane by a half decade and unless Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, or Doug Moench were fans of the G.I. Joe comic or action figures, it's a purely coincidence.

Speaking of comics, his history there is interesting. Prior to his membership in Cobra, he wrestled crocodiles for a living and even started a business aimed at selling the reptiles as home security. Now there's a business model, what I like to call the "Screw ADT" Plan:  Put a couple crocodiles on your property and you'll never have to worry about burglers, murders, salesmen, or the inevitable visit from Child Protective Services. Cobra somehow heard of this guy and decided to scale his idea up, so they hired to use his crocs to guard the swamps of Cobra Island. Yeah, in the comics, Cobra had their own island, formed after they tricked the United States into launching a nuke at a fault line in I believe the Gulf of Mexico. Brilliant. Anyway, he showed up for work with a bunch of pissed off, psychotic crocodiles and let them loose in the swampland. According to My Useless Knowledge, he then spent the rest of his tenure with the terrorist organization sleeping and collecting paychecks.

During the Cobra Civil War between Serpentor and a fake Cobra Commander, Croc Master sided with the former and after the United States decided to send in the G.I. Joes to help Serpentor (no, seriously), he created a path for them through the swamp. His ultimate fate was not a good one. After the civil war ended (his side lost) and the real Cobra Commander returned, Croc Master was tossed into a freighter along with the fake CC, the real one's son (now there's a story!), and a few others, which in turn was buried under a collapsed volcano. No idea what exactly he did to incur Cobra Commander's wrath, unless it was the civil war thing, but damn, he really pissed him off!

It's disappointing that I never got all the cool accessories that came with my handed down Croc Master, especially the pet crocodile! The newest version of his toy though looks even cooler.

YOJOE.COM
Look at all that stuff!
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