Thursday, August 27, 2015

RIP Yvonne Craig

I'm late getting to this, but a sad farewell to Yvonne Craig... she starred opposite the Bat, the King, and the Kirk (two Kirks, actually... James T., sure, but also Tommy Kirk in Mars Needs Women), and held her own every time.  More importantly to my profession, she was probably the first and greatest Pop Culture Librarian of all, and she will be missed.  Rest in peace, Ms. Craig, and thanks. 

And to finally answer the musical question, whose baby was she? 



No one's.  Batgirl was no one's baby.  Because her name wasn't baby, it was Barbara... Batgirl if you're nasty.  End of discussion.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

I don't know if there was an easier person in my childhood to hate than Rowdy Roddy Piper, and I loved him for it.

He was arrogant, malicious, cocky, and just downright mean.  He smashed a coconut on Superfly Jimmy Snuka's head, he smashed a Cyndi Lauper record on Captain Lou Albano's head, he led the bad guys in the Hulk Hogan cartoon (and years later would train a new generation of bad guys as one of Destro's Iron Grenadiers), and he ruined the video for "Land of 1000 Dances":



No doubt about it, he was a bad dude.  But then, as wrestlers are wont to do, he went away for a bit and came back as a good guy and my feelings turned on a dime.  I cheered him just as passionately as I used to boo him.  I think this is when I realized just how good a performer this guy really was, and why his (all-too-brief) stint as an action star made perfect sense... like him or hate him, you had to watch the man when he was on your screen.  He demanded your attention and then earned the right to keep it.

I'm gutted that I never got to meet him in person.  I had always hoped to shake his hand and tell him how much joy I used to get from just completely hating him... he seemed like the kind of guy who would really appreciate that.

Thank you for the good times, Hot Rod.  When we thought we had all the answers, you changed the questions.



And wherever you are now, they better hope you don't run out of bubblegum.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Junk Culture Rabbit Holes: Action Jackson

Action Jackson was his name!  We know this because the jaunty jingle of his commercials told us so.  He was not, however, Carl Weathers.  That Action Jackson was a totally different guy, though, come on, where's his toy line?  I wonder if they got each other's mail?

Anyway, this particular Action Jackson was a toy created by Mego as their answer to G.I. Joe, particularly the 70s Action Team era G.I. Joe.  AJ was an 8-inch tall action figure (or, let's be honest, doll) with which kids could re-enact "bold adventures" (which were his aim, also via the ) provided they bought the additional outfits, vehicles, and playsets.

What sort of bold adventures?  How about flying a personal helicopter pack, driving a stunt cycle, or being a firefighter in a heat resistant suit?  That bold enough for you?


Need more boldness?  How about being a frogman? An Aussie marine?  Karate expert?  Ski patrol trooper?  Jungle safari guide?  Or, um, a firefighter again?  That's... well, maybe not as exciting the second time around, but you know, it's a dangerous profession, so that's still bold.




Still not bold enough for you?  Okay, adrenaline junky, how about... uh, driving a jeep?  Well, really you could just wait a few years until you get your license, kid, but okay.  Or... okay, jumping with a parachute is a little more high risk, sure, but you can always just pay someone out at your local airfield and do that this afternoon if you wanted to.  And, wait, really, driving a snowmobile?




That last group of kids has some pretty achievable goals that I don't know if I'd qualify as bold or even particularly adventurous, but hey, to each their own.  I think the diminishing returns here are a pretty good indication of why this line didn't last long, but I'd totally be down for a Action Jackson "exploring the shelves of a used bookstore" set myself, so I'm not one to judge.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pretty Sketchy: Boldly Going Nowhere for Comic Non 2015

Didn't make it to Comic-Con?  Well, you can still find some great original comic book art at Comic-Non thanks to the internet.  You can even dress in costume to do so if you want... or just sit around in your boxers.  Comic-Non is a judgment-free safe space, you guys.

Anyway, I helped ease the pain of being unable to attend SDCC by ordering this a few weeks back from a site called Anthony's Comic Book Art (click to enlarge it to the size of Captain Kirk's headache):

This is page 21 of DC's Star Trek (v1) #48 - pencils by Tom Sutton, inks by Ricardo Villagran, lettering by Helen Vesik, and snarky James T. Kirk dialog by the Writer of Stuff himself, Peter David (writing his first issue of Star Trek).  The set-up is that the crew was throwing a bachelor party for one of the created-for-the-comics ensigns, things got out of hand because Scotty, Bones, and Chekov all spiked the punch, and Kirk walked in just as someone angrily lobbed a bottle across the room.  Hence the bandage and the threats.

I loved this page as soon as I saw it... you get a shot of the Enterprise (which looks like it's talking), some shots of the crew (including Arex!) well-rendered by Sutton and Villagran, and a JTK speech that is equal parts anger, inspiration, and snark.  This helps ease the whole "left behind" thing a bit.  Thanks, Anthony!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Doctor Who and the Little Plastic Bricks (of Death) (to Bare Feet)

(Left home the weekend of Comic-Con?  Hey, me, too.  Again.  "Fair" ticketing system my ass.  But don't let it hold you back... let's make our own fun celebrate the 6th Annual Comic-Non International, the best convention of all because it's pants-optional.)

Like everyone left behind (in the non-Kirk Cameron sense, I mean), I watch all of the news coming out of San Diego this weekend with a mixture of being excited by the announcements and possessing the vindictive hope that everyone who did get to go gets herpes of the eyes or something.  This bit of wonderful that came out on Thursday definitely falls into the former end of that spectrum:



I've known for a while there was going to be a Doctor Who component of the Lego Dimensions toy box game thanks to this post over on Brick Fan (which also shows off the Portal 2 level pack), but I was planning on only picking up the level pack itself (along with a few others) for the pieces.  I've typically looked at toy box games the same way I look at collectible card games and pay-to-play MMORPGs... I don't like games I have to keep buying in order to continue playing.

This trailer changes all that, though.  I've been saying for years that a Doctor Who game in the style of the TT Games Lego series would be my idea video game, but it never seemed like it could be a reality since Lego never had the Doctor Who license.  Even when Lego announced that Doctor Who projects could be submitted for Ideas projects and one got rushed through, it never seemed like a possibility.  And yeah, a full Lego Doctor Who game may still never happen.  But with Lego Dimensions, you get the possibility of a Lego game where the Doctor, Batman, Doc Brown, Gandalf, Wildstyle, Scooby Doo, and whomever else can team up to fight Daleks with Portal guns.

Fine, Lego and TT Games.  You've got me.  I'm in.  Be silent and accept my funding, or whatever it is the kids on the internet say these days.

The best part of this, though - at least in my eyes - is that the trailer shows official Lego versions of all 13 canonical Doctors (sorry, Peter Cushing fans).  We're still not 100% sure what's going to be in that Lego Ideas Doctor Who set due out in November (at least as I type this... that seems the sort of thing they're bound to announce this weekend), but the Doctor included in that is likely to be Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor rather than any of the others.  But even if we don't get 1 through 11 and the War Doctor, the designs are now out there so you have to imagine that some bootLego minifig maker like Sheng Yuan will make them
if Lego doesn't themselves (and yes, bootlegging is wrong and what not, but if Lego isn't going to make all these extra characters they design for games, oh well).  I've wanted Lego Doctors so much I made my own, for crying out loud.

5 and 7 were particular hard to get right.
So, yeah, I'm in is what I'm saying. I don't remember ever grabbing my credit card from my wallet and yet it keeps ending up in my hand somehow.