Mail Call: #TBT Edition

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An early Christmas gift for myself, arriving in time to rescue a bumpy week. Yep. Review incoming – stay tuned. Thank you, Vinegar Syndrome! That packing job was superb and the shipping was super quick. Now, I need to get my grubby paws on that DVD catalog set of yours so I can poke at a few other releases for the library here.

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Back in a bit.

-GW

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Something About Three Kings Lost Makes This #TBT A Lot More Wistful


 

“Sometimes it snows in April.” Thanks to not sleeping last night (working on a few projects for the site plus tackling a small freelance job) I was quite out of the loop today and only heard the news that Prince died when I walked in the door. While I wasn’t a die-hard super fan like a few friends, the fact that he did just about EVERYTHING on his studio recordings and was so prolific that it made me wonder if the man ever slept. That sort of work ethic has always impressed me, but it’s always sad to see someone so talented leave so soon. Anyway, I’ll just leave this clip here (it’s been circulating the internet like a satellite today). In a way, I feel sorry for the kids today who never got to see any of these legends live or don’t know of how much they all changed the music and entertainment scene. All were human and had human problems, but on stage or on whatever you listened to them on, your brain and body were moving to beats that still resonate and motivate when the need arises.

Back in a bit. My favorite Prince song? Wow. Much of Purple Rain aside, I guess this one because it made me laugh (that dancing in the video is awesome but amusing) and even more so when it was covered by an icon from a previous era whose career got a massive boost afterwards.

BUY IT! MVD Entertainment Has Reptiles and Ants For Sale

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Oh yep. I’ve since forgotten who introduced me to Amphetamine Reptile Records way back in the day, but it was a fine and more than a little insane musical journey that was great while it lasted. MVD Entertainment Group is getting me (and some of you) to relive those glory days of noise rock with what’s going to be one of the best documentaries on the subject, Eric Robel’s The Color of Noise in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. This trailer gives you a little taste of what to expect when the doc appears on home video November 24 and even better, MVD and AmRep will also re-issue some of the best releases from the label’s catalog on vinyl and CD starting in December 2015 and continuing into 2016 and beyond. Continue reading

Retro Pop Box Turns Your Mailbox Into A Time Machine

Retro Pop Box (1)If you’re a child of the 1960’s, 70’s or 80’s, or know someone of a certain age craving some random nostalgia, Retro Pop Box is going to be right up your/their alley. The just-launched subscription-only service delivers the goods in the form of monthly boxes of themed swag, all of it fun and guaranteed to get the memory banks kicking in as you’re transported back to your childhood.

A sampler box containing a few items from all three eras popped up in my mailbox a few days back (thanks, Chris!) and it made a rather bland Wednesday end on a rainbow-colored rocket with a paisley disco ball painted on it. Or something close to that.

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READS: VHS Video Cover Art

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If you were around during the 1980’s and owned a VHS player a trip to the video store was probably something done a few times a week in order to check out some good to awful films you hadn’t seen previously or had caught in a theater and wanted to experience all over again. The better video rental shops were part museum, offering up box after box of wildly re-imagined art that didn’t always match what was on those tapes you wanted to rent. From scantily clad ladies beckoning you to pick up that case to painted explosions that guaranteed at least if the film was atrocious stuff would blow up really good, it was a boom time for “B” movie fans. Over in the UK, movie fans got even wilder cover art to ogle from a wide range of artists of assorted talent covering genres from sci-fi and horror to comedy and assorted exploitation flicks.

Whether you’re a fan of the period or just want a great art book to show off to friends, Schiffer Books’ VHS Video Cover Art ($34.99) comes very highly recommended. Compiled by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge (a great movie poster artist inspired by this period), the 12″ x 9″ hardcover book is 264 pages of eye-popping artwork. Some of it great, most of it cheesy to an extreme. Here in the US that cheese factor is most likely going to be the appeal to many buyers who may only know some of these films through their western movie posters and/or VHS cover art which was more often than not straightforward studio commissioned art and photos.

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Get the Coffee Table Book Treatment

The Art of He-ManOkay, I’ll admit to not being much into He-Man and the Masters of the Universe way back when it was on TV and those beefy action figures and massive playsets were selling like hotcakes in stores. However, I was a big fan of Earl Norem‘s fantasy artwork as well as some of the cool animation Funimation had been doing since the late 60’s. As soon as I heard Dark Horse Comics was putting out a massive 300+ page regular and limited edition hardcover called The Art of He-Man And The Masters of the Universe, it went on my long list of books I needed to check out.

After getting a digital copy to peruse last week, color me impressed and a *kiiiind of* new convert to the old kid’s show. Granted, I’m not about to run out and buy up a box set and binge watch myself into a coma anytime soon. But thanks to the wonderful art and well-done interviews with many involved with the show, toys, comics and even that weird live action film, I respect the show a lot more on the art side of things. It’s still a big toy-selling chunk of nostalgia, but that sort of thing is why many now adults loved the show back in the day. I’m sure some of their parents had an eyebrow raised every time a new figure was requested and I don’t even want to think about holiday shopping for a hot new playset with a bunch of other parents eyeballing the same big box. Anyway, if one or more of those links floats your boat, go make a purchase. The regular edition is in stores on April 15 and the LE hits retail in May.

Me-Man Norem Art 

Oh, and someone needs to track down Earl Norem and send him a nice letter of thanks for all his gorgeous artwork, as his Wikipedia page is kind of depressing near the end. Personally, I think more people including younger illustration fans WOULD indeed be interested about the career of an 81-year-old artist. Hell, they’d better be, as his work was always consistently grand in just about anything he did.

Random Art: “I Coulda Had A Hirschfeld!”

Art copyright Don Orehek

Art copyright Don Orehek


 

So, if you’re old enough and happened to be a New Yorker (or in NYC) during the 1970’s and into the 80’s, there was a chance you could walk into a certain place at a certain time of the year and have a caricature drawn by a world famous (or nearly world famous) cartoonist for FREE. Yes, that’s right. Before the days of “Pay me!” comic convention art, ebay, and heck, the internet, a lucky few locals and tourists smart enough to find out about the event could queue up at The Manhattan Savings Bank for it’s yearly (National) Cartoonist’s Show.

I’d heard about this back in the early 80’s and wanted to go, but never could find time to get downtown until 1987 when I was working in Manhattan. If I’m not mistaken, a friend of mine had gone either the previous year or the year before and lucked out big time, getting Al Hirschfeld to draw him. Who wouldn’t want a Hirschfeld for nothing? I recall not knowing who was going to be at the 1987 event, and with only an hour for lunch, I figured (correctly) that the more popular cartoonists would get the longest lines. I don’t remember every artist at the event (there were no cell phone cameras back then and I didn’t think to pack a camera with me on a warm summer day to record history), but I eventually made it in front of three of them and the results you’re seeing below the jump…
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Zojoi’s MacVentures Keep You Inside, Snow Outside!


 

Well, well… the MacVenture series is back and in fine nostalgic form, this time as a set of Steam digital downloads. While you can buy each of these four classics for $2.99 a pop, it’s best to go whole hog and bag the bundle for $8.99. For that price, you get the original Macintosh 128k black and white and Apple IIGS 4-bit color versions of the MacVenture Series: Uninvited, Shadowgate, Deja Vu and Deja Vu II: Lost In Las Vegas. Yes, they will run on current Macs (of course!) and any PC that’s using Windows 7 or above.

MacVentures Bundle 

Even better, since Zojoi Games is happy to get these classics back out in the fresh air, there’s s 20% launch discount on Steam ($2.39 each, $7.19 four pack bundle) until February 2, 2015. Yeah, so now you can’t say you have nothing to do because you’re snowed in with nothing but the cat to look at. Leave that pet on the bookshelf and go play with something a lot more entertaining…

Go Commando With Hot Toys’ John Matrix Figure!

Commando John MatrixHere’s a surefire way to blast 2014 into pieces and welcome in 2015 with a bang thanks to Sideshow Collectibles and Hot Toys. Yeah, you know you were grinning as soon as you saw that Arnold as John Matrix figure glaring back at you. Of course, as this is a Hot Toys piece, you know for the money you’re spending, you’ll be getting something that will stand out in your collection.

I saw Commando back in 1985 and laughed myself silly because the film is ridiculous and stuffed with quotable quips. It’s also amusingly violent in a Warner Bros. cartoon gone haywire manner, particularly the final twenty or so minutes where Matrix wipes out a villa full of troops with weapons he’s brought with him and whatever he can find as he dumps his empty guns.

Okay, it’s not for all tastes, but it’s a cable staple these days and always good for a hearty chuckle when it’s needed. That said, I was hoping to see Vernon Wells‘ Bennett finally get a decent action figure made from this flick. I guess Hot Toys needs a call from the man himself at some point to make that happen. Hey, he’s got a cool website and all, so why not a few action figures to go with that?

Hikari Friday: Transform Your Collection With These Transformers!

Hikari logo Okay, so you’re a bit lazy this week for whatever reason. You COULD go shop online or hoof it out to your nearest Funko retailer to pick up one or both of these new Hikari Sofubi Transformers figures, but nope. You want to take a BIG chance on just clicking around to WIN one. No worries, I’ve got you covered. Well, Funko actually has you covered… but only for ONE of these two limited edition collectibles. Enter now on one of Funko’s social channels:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

and you just might win either this cool Metallic Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure (#1 of 2000):

Metallic Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure OR this Metallic Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure (also #1 of 2000):

Metallic Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure 

If you want those OG G1 paint schemes in the house, or at least the chance to win one of these beauties, you know what to do, correct? Go get lucky and add one of these to your collection!