Saturday, April 29, 2017

Checking Out DinoDrac's April FunPack!

So there I am, coming home from work, when I discover that my apartment was invaded by Dinosaur Dracula!




Well sort of. My buddy Matt, who's been running DD, and formerly of X-Entertainment.com, does a sweet monthly "FunPack" subscription service where the delightful taste of nostalgia hits you right in your face! Trading cards, stickers, a snack and maybe a toy or two, all waiting for you in one nice package! I had been gifted a holiday FunPack years ago by my fiance but that was before these became a monthly thing.

So here we are. I decided to take the plunge. I sold a bunch stuff on eBay and decided "hey, why not try out this DD funpack? What's the worse that can happen?". A roll of the dice financially, I'm sure, but I really wanted to try to get this one. Why, you ask? Well, read on to find out!


First off, it's not a funpack without trading cards. I'm a huge fan of old trading cards and these are some packs that I haven't gotten my hands on in quite sometime. Some great packs but I haven't been this close to an Awesome AllStars cards in years. I continue to love the parody/gross-out cards to this day and it's thanks to my childhood love of going to the general store and grabbing a pack. A great mix of cards for any subscriber. Who doesn't love opening old card packs? Sends you back to your childhood in no time!!!

Oh and hey, check out that He-Man card too! Cool!



Still on that trading card high? Well, lucky you! A print featuring some memorable trading card boxes is all yours to place on your bookcase or desk or wherever the heck you want! Some favorites on here including TMNT 2, Simpsons, Harry and the Henderson and of course Gremlins, which is the first that caught my eye. I had picked up quite a few Gremlins 2 packs in 1990 and in fact have a card that was made into a magnet by a friend of mine on my fridge. I love this. It's gonna look great taped on my vhs cabinet!





Ahhhh...a "Superhero Sack" featuring one randomly chosen PVC Marvel figure. I feel like a lot of properties back in the late 80s/early 90s were given the PVC figurine but I definitely remember comic book characters getting them. With comic book characters, especially Marvel, being such a huge part of our current pop culture landscape, these are a sweet addition. Even better, it looks like Thor is laying down some serious disco dancing, so how would I not want him on my shelf next to other PVC figures?

In every funpack, Matt throws in an a personal childhood story/essay and a newsletter where he dishes out a challenge to get your creativity on. Usually something that relates to that months contents. This month's challenge was to combine two characters into one. Now, I'm not the most artistic person, but I decided to at least attempt to create something. It's not gold or even good, but I present to you "Fredsday Addams" where I combined Freddy Krueger and the Addams Family as a whole. Hence the cigar and "Thing":

Well...I tried, right?

A Power Rangers sticker was part of this month's pack as well. I got King Sphinx fighting the Rangers Zords. I am such a sucker for prizm/vending machine stickers so this is a nice addition. On top of that, a DinoDrac sticker is included every month. So the sticker fan in me is happier than a pig in crap. Two stickers to add to my collection!

A little hungry after all that drawing? Don't worry, a snack of some sort is always included! This month's snack was Herr's Deep Dish Curls. Now, pizza flavored chips or crackers are one thing that I'm sure we're all accustomed to but cheese curls? That certainly caught my eye. Normally, something like this can go awry but it most certainly delivered one heckuva punch int he taste buds. I normally don't eat cheese curls and puffs that don't have a cartoon cheetah but these...oh my these...


These are probably, next to pizza flavored Combos, my new favorite pizza flavored snack. A lot big flavor in a tiny curl. I couldn't ask for a better snack to be included in this box. On top of that, I really need to seek more of these out. I'm really having issue just describing them in words. If you see them, pick them up.


Now. The main event and the big draw in my opinion. FREDDY KRUEGER BUBBLE GUM. From 1988, these are quite the desirable items from Freddy collectors. I've already got one, but I'm always...ALWAYS...on the hunt for more.


"Freddy The Sex Symbol" is the container I got. I'm very happy with it. It's one of the containers I was hoping for. Freddy's charisma certainly projects an image that can be found attractive by men and women but I can't say I've ever met anyone who's said they can compare him to a Bradley Cooper or James Dean, but hey, I had a crush on Naomi Harper from Mama's Family as a kid, so to each their own.

Oh and yes, that is the original gum. Dare I eat it? Well, no. I value having teeth. But I have been tempted. Believe you me.





What else can I say about this box? It's pretty fantastic. I can only imagine how much fun next month's box is going to be! Keep your eyes peeled for the May Funpack as well as some great articles on pop culture, toys, video stores and more by heading over to DinosaurDracula.com !


-Chad

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kicking Off The 2017 Flea Market Season!

Ahhh...the day I've been waiting for has arrived. The day I've been dreaming of for months is now at hand. The first flea market of the year!



Yessssss!

I start going through flea marketing withdrawals earlier and earlier each year. Usually about January, but I started around December. And why wouldn't I? Thrifting throughout the year is one thing but attending a flea market is a whole other experience. An experience that can motivate even the most unmotivated slacker to get up and do something with themselves. Who can truly turn down a bright and sunny morning spent going through peoples dusty and dirty boxes filled with crap no one in their right mind should want?



Not me! I woke up pretty darn early to get to the market as quick as I can. It was a lovely day! I picked a good time to arrive too. Plenty of people, but not too many. There wasn't a lot of crazy variety but again, it's only the beginning. I didn't expect or even want to walk away with a gigantic haul. To start off that strong so early would just burn me out so quick. I'm ok with a slow start and ending big.

So instead of more rambling, let's take a look at the goods...



First, I need to get this out of the way. A seller had a bucket filled to the brim with home recordings of movies and tv shows. I was able to pick out a few but only two were safe from every VHS Collectors worst fear: TAPE MOLD. Yes. Tape Mold.  If kept improperly or in poor conditions, tape mold will build up on the actual spool and ruin the entire tape. But, I'm glad to report that one of those tapes was an Ewoks Battle For Endor/Willy Wonka double feature! The other tape, well, I picked up a homemade JEM tape from 1989-90 with commercials and all. It's quite the gem (pun intended) but I wouldn't be able to do this justice. I'm sure you'll see it pop up elsewhere. But what else did I pick up? Hmmm...

TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE VHS (.50) :



I will at least try to walk away with one vhs per visit and this was a perfect tape to walk away with. And unlike the pile of dusty tapes I had picked up, this had no mold whatsoever. I'm a huge fan of Transformers the Movie but I've never truly seen this release of the movie before, so this was a very nice surprise! Not a bad first purchase, eh?

LOTTSA RASSLERS! ($ 4 for all) :

(L to R: Shannon Moore, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy and the Undertaker)

Wrestlemania was indeed running wild at this table. The woman selling these was in a big hurry to get rid of all the figures she had and I was in a big hurry to take them off her hands. Especially that Jeff Hardy, which after the surprise return of the Hardy Boyz at Wrestlemania 33, their merch has been quite the hot commodity. So, I kinda jumped at picking him up for that selfish reason. The others were just garnish. I can't help but thinking the other four were the best out of the box she had to offer. Check it out:






Yes, I'm fully aware that every flea market has at least 50 people selling outdated wrestling figures but out of I've seen in the past few years, these were in some of the better condition. Plus, a buck each? Why not!


DARK KNIGHT COLLECTION BATMAN FIGURE ($1) :


As a kid, I hated variants and only wanted the comic or movie accurate costumed figures of my heroes. That was especially true with Batman. Over the years, we've seen some cringe-worthy variants but the figures I always wanted was just straight up Dark Knight. Thankfully, while Kenner's Dark Knight Collection offered strange colored variants, they also offered just plain black suited Batman with goofy accessories. This figure in particular looks like "Powerwing Batman" but my studies show that this particular figure was released a couple of times in the line. Regardless, it's nice to just own a regular Batman from that line that doesn't look like a McDonalds toy.


REAL GHOSTBUSTERS POWER PACK HEROES EGON (.50):




Ooooooh my favorite of the entire haul! I owe my buddy and local seller, Dan a HUGE thanks (and since I know you're reading Dan, THANK YOU!) for this. Power Pack Heroes was in the tail end of the line and instead of offering more lamewad variants like making our heroes genies or construction workers, Kenner merely repainted the original figures with rad, updated new colors. Just based off how unusal these colors and suits were, make them my favorite of the entire line. For the past year or so, I've been looking for a decently priced Egon, and today I found it! Now that I have all of the MC Hammer Ghostbuster variants, I can rest easy.

Oh but wait...I still need a Janine! Well, looks like I have something else to add to my list this season...



So was it an amazing, life altering haul? No! Don't be silly. But it kicked off the season right and that's all I could ask for!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Celebrating Batman And Robin

Ya know guys, I get asked all the time one major question: "Chad, when are you gonna do a blog post on your favorite Batman movie?". Wow. You're right. I just haven't covered it like I've wanted to. When you think about it, there's only so much time in the day, that sometimes we get distracted and lose sight of what's important.

And to be quite honest with you, the real reason, I got into blogging was to eventually give this movie it's just due. I know, I know. Everyone says it's their favorite superhero movie of all time and it's very easy to see why. If you were around in 1997, it was the golden age of superhero films. Steel, Spawn,  Star Kid, and of course that amazing Justice League TV movie. But one beats them all out. One stands above and beyond as the greatest depiction of Gotham City's finest. One changed all our lives and the superhero game forever. Yes, fans. I must be referring to...BATMAN AND ROBIN.


Released in 1997, I was 14 and still on that unbelievable Batman Forever high. In my mind, this movie couldn't fail. The weeks leading up to seeing this in the theater was downright painful. All I could think about Batman and Robin. Everywhere I turned, there it was. Staring me in the face. KB Toys had the toys on their racks, Taco Bell was offering cups and a special promotional giveaway, TV spots, posters, everything...I couldn't take it. Then. My day came. I saw it. In the same theater I had seen the previous two Batman movies. It became an accidental tradition to see any Batman movie in the same place. And let me tell you, after walking out of that theater, I rushed right back to the box office to get myself another ticket. I couldn't believe it. Finally, we got Batman as he was meant to be! I felt like I was in Gotham City the entire time and these characters were almost real! No one phoned in their performance. Not. Once. Let's take a quick look at what is widely regarded as the greatest movie ever released!



Oh the joy I heard when they finally decided to get themselves a truly great Bruce Wayne. For years, the Batman series had been hampered down by just medium level actors such as Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer who didn't truly understand what it meant to be the Dark Knight. I mean, what kind of line is "I'm Batman"? Come on, WB! We're smarter than that! We deserved an actor who personified humor and the lightheartedness of Batman we all grew up with from the Adam West TV show! Georgie C is the greatest actor of our time who can adapt to any role, so playing the greatest modern warrior, was simple for him. I'm sure the studio was eager to start counting their money even before the movie was released.

Robin. Well, I gotta tell ya, wasn't blown away. Even to this day, Burt Ward personified Robin as he should be. Loud, obnoxious and ready and willing to drop his sassy catchphrase "Holy ..." at any moment. Chris O Donnell just played a bland, rebelious teenager. I mean, come on. That's not what Robin was! I wanted to see a cheesy  Robin who yelled and screamed and was easily defeated. As great as this movie was, Robin was definitely the low point. But that's ok. I mean, following Burt Ward's footsteps is no easy task. I'll give him credit for trying.

Teen heartthrob and logical choice for Batgirl, Alicia Silverstone, was fresh off the success of Clueless and finally landed the role she was born to be. Not since Yul Brynner as a robotic cowboy in Westworld, has there been such a perfect casting. Yvonne Craig totally bored people in the TV series as Batgirl and delivered the most yawn inducing performance I have ever seen. She just put absolutely no effort into the role. But Alicia? She was vibrant, sassy, and let her personally shine through like I've never seen before and the likes of which I'll probably never see again. Whether she was beating Poison Ivy or riding her BatgirlCycle, this is no doubt how Bill Finger imagined Batgirl to be when he created her. Yvonne surely could've taken a lesson or two on what the character truly means with Alicia's dry delivery.


Look out, Terrific Trio and make some room for the bad guys! By now, every movie had two villains. Not this one. We got THREE! YES! Finally, WB knows what we want! Let's take a look.


Remember that lamewad Bane from the Dark Knight Rises? The one that just sits around and talks about Wall Street and how bad rich people are? Peee-yuuuu! What a terrible, terrible waste of celluloid! I mean, Bane doesn't talk. He just lumbers around and shouts while he breaks walls and throws things! Jeep Swenson gave that to us in spades. The former pro wrestler put on his greatest performance while he played Posion Ivy's own person Frankenstein. It almost felt like Bane was a real person and could be almost sympathized with. I'm just sad to see him revert back to his skinny nerd after a grueling and almost deadly battle with Robin and Batgirl. But, you win some, you lose some.



Ever notice how Poison Ivy hasn't been put in any Batman movie since this one? Because they, smartly, decided that no one can truly fit into Uma Thurman's green tights. I don't know about you, but when I think of the seductive villainess, I think of Uma. Gorgeous and smart enough to take over Gotham, one kiss at a time. And that hairdo. Yowza! I know I can't take my eyes off the screen when she waltzes by!



Finally, Mr. Freeze. Arnold Schwarzenegger received top billing and rightfully so. Once again, one of the biggest stars in cinema history and one of the greatest depictions of a Batman villain ever seen. If you can ignore the boring Mr. Freeze from that lame Batman: The Animated Series for a second, as it will just tarnish your image of the cool villain, you'll actually enjoy this. Whether it's his hulking costume, his fantastic accent that I know I always wanted Freeze to have or his hilarious one-liners, I can't imagine anyone ever playing Mr. Freeze again. Arnold owned this role and if we get Freeze in another movie, I demand we get the master of cinema to return to his chilling role. One can only hope.



I'm so glad Batman and Robin was made and we're able sit here and discuss the lasting impact of what is no doubt DC's finest hour. I don't know about you, but I feel like sitting down with a big plate of Taco Bell and drink out of my old Batman And Robin cups while watching this classic slice of neon colored cinema!

...Stay...cool!

-Chad