Saturday, 30 April 2016

10 Things I Liked About Captain America: Civil War


So I’ve just seen Captain America: Civil War, my expectations for it were so low you’d have to dig for them – I loathed Civil War the comic book and I’m still sick of the Winter Soldier from when he was Captain America Buckycap. In short – it was brilliant (except I want to know how Cap got from America to OH VIENNA so fast, I thought Quicksilver was dead), I’m now going to spit into the ocean by posting about it online. I write a blog on the internet so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise I think my opinion is of vast importance to the human race but my credentials include:
I’ve read every Avengers book up until Siege, and many after that, and yes I hate what Brian Michael Bendis did to them, but then I just hate Brian Michael Bendis’ writing on 616 books in general (Ultimate Spider-Man rocked though).
I’ve read every issue of Iron Man up to Extremis, then some of what came later
I’ve read every issue of Captain America up until Bucky took over, then I just stopped caring, I’ve read some stuff since then
I haven’t quite read every Spider-Man book up until Spider-Verse, but mostly these holes are small chunks of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man and a few arcs in the wake of One More Day, I have read One More Day and One Moment in Time though, and predictably I hated both of them, also I’ve read every issue of Web of Spider-Man, in fact I used to own every issue of that series, fuck knows why.
I’ve read all of Black Panthers books also; I even slogged through Reginal Hudlin’s run, which I think counts as self-harm, at the very least it counts as emotional self-harm.
I have no idea what percentage of Ant-Man stories I’ve read, I’ve read all of Ant-Man’s original run in Tales to Astonish anyway.
I’m not saying all this to show off, it’s very hard to use hours of reading books you know you won’t like in a dick measuring contest, I’m just saying this to show that I’m actually pretty well qualified to talk about Captain America movies (and yes I’ve seen the previous two, and the two Reb Brown ones).  
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

1. Cap’s Kooky Quartet
There’s a lot of good things about who turned up on Captain America’s side in the film but the fact that his team included ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet’ as best it could (poor Pietro) made me even happier. For those who aren’t sad – all of the founding Avengers quit the team pretty early on, leaving only Captain America (who was granted founder status at some point but didn’t actually found the team), who hired Quicksilver, The Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye to form a new Avengers line-up known as ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet’, the fact that all surviving members of this line-up were on his side was so cool for an old-school Avengers fan like myself, oh and wanna know who the first team member to join the Kooky Quartet (and make it a quintet) was?

2. Giant Man!
Well technically he was Goliath at that point but fuck it, it’s a good segue. I already knew that Giant Man was going to appear because Funko showed off a Pop! Vinyl of him (nice one, lads) but it was still brilliant. A friend of mine pointed out how nice it was to see that they actually gave Ant Man, Scott Lang and Giant Man different styles of fighting and movement, i.e. Ant Man is quick while Giant Man is very slooooow, I did notice this also but he said it first so I’m mentioning him. Everything about Lang using the Giant Man powers was great; it was a great diversion, Iron Man’s reaction to it was great, Spidey bringing him down while talking about The Empire Strikes Back was great, the fact that a clone of Thor didn’t show up and kill him was great, I'm really very impressed.

3. The Vision/Scarlet Witch Ship Tease
Vision and Scarlet Witch for life, bitches. I literally squeed when it was The Vision who saved the Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I quite possibly melted into a puddle seeing them have cute domestic moments and him holding her after the battle in the airfield, and being so ‘distracted’ by her that he accidentally shot the wrong awesome black man, actually that’s a point:

4. Awesome Black Men
You want to know a good way of elevating non-white characters to improve the diversity of your superhero line of comics? Don’t replace characters with minorities causing resentment before they’ve even had a chance to prove themselves in the suit, don’t randomly race-lift white characters, put pre-existing non-white characters in a high profile theatrical film and have them all be FUCKING BADASS throughout. In a film where everyone was awesome it should show you the sheer level of Falcon’s awesomeness that he stood out as being extra awesome, War Machine has been superb since Iron Man, though Don Chile (who I really like) looks nothing like James Rhoades and should never have been cast (but then all black people look alike don’t they Ike Permutter?1) the guy’s just naturally funny as fuck and gave Rhoadey the same charisma boost that Downey Jr gave Stark and then there’s Black Panther, I do think Chadwick Boseman is a little too cuddly to be T’Challa (really, he’s kind of adorable, T’Challa’s always had harder features, probably a result of being created by Jack Kirby) but he was great as the Panther, actually that leads us to point number 5 (Which as going to be number 4 until I wrote number 3)     

5. These Actors (and Stunt Men) Move Like the Characters
I say this after every Marvel Cinematic Universe film and my friends must be so sick of it but with Black Panther and ESPECIALLY Spider-Man debuting in this film and watching Gotham and seeing the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse trailer before the film, it all really highlighted it. Someone has trained the people playing these characters to move like them, I dunno who’s job this is, but they do it for everyone, Captain America doesn’t just jump, he jumps like Captain America is drawn jumping, Spider-Man doesn’t just crawl across things or swing on webs, he does this the way he’s drawn doing these things, even characters where it would be less noticeable like Black Widow or Ant-Man, they still do it. It is immeasurably useful in making me believe that these people are these characters because, well, they aren’t exactly comic book accurate in looks or costumes (Hawkeye remains the worst offender).

6. Bonus Hawkeye!
I completely missed that Hawkeye that was in this film, so when the man Falcon knew turned out to be Clint Barton, and he rescued the Scarlet Witch (who he spent a fair amount of Avengers issues trying to bang once upon a time), I was so happy I made an audible noise. Now I tend to be fairly quiet watching a film for the first time in the cinema because I’m usually paying attention – I’m half deaf and what little hearing I have has to work really hard in a cinema environment, I find a combination of someone talking next to me and wind a challenge on my good ear, so the combination of dialogue, background music, sound effects, ground noise, volume, echo and Mike making amusing comments means that my audible outbursts aren’t as common as they are when I’m say, watching a DVD or telly programme. I made a noise for Hawkeye, I can never decide if Hawkeye or the Vision is my favourite Avenger, both are good for different reasons, both were horribly mistreated by Brian Michael Bendis and both are better than Iron Man but not as good as Cap in Data East’s Captain America and the Avengers (play it on MAME, do it now!), but besides all this the reason I got so excited was because Hawkeye was dead during the Civil War comic book so we never got to see how he’d react and who’s side he’d pick, now I knew full well he’d be on Team Cap (but this was the book that had Cable – a man who grew up fighting a dictator – join Team Iron Man) but this movie  made it official.  

7. Cap and Agent 13’s Kiss
I made an audible noise for this too. I am continually disturbed by how much casual shipping I engage in and have always engaged in – this is the second item on this list to do with relationships and I simply haven’t had time to complain about how giving Movie Hawkeye the Ultimate Hawkeye’s family and not having him be with Mockingbird – which is how it should be – oh look, now I have. But seriously I waited three films and pages and pages of Peggy/Cap shippers’ posts for this moment, Captain America’s OTP (get over it Tony/Steve fans) is finally acknowledged in the movie universe - Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter. And it was enhanced by amusing scenes featuring Falcon, Winter Soldier and a Volkswagen Beetle.  

8. Tom Holland as Peter Parker
It’s like they took Steve Ditko’s Peter Parker and John Romita’s Peter Parker and squished them into one human. I often complain about casting in live action things based on comics because it continues to befuddle me how people who cast for a living cannot match a person to a picture, I’m not a casting director and I can tell if someone looks like someone else so why can’t they? I really wouldn’t want the casting team behind Gotham working for the police (ironic?), “why have you had this man arrested, he looks nothing like our photo fit?” “Well he’s a man, and he’s American, that’s good enough right?”. Holland almost makes up for making Aunt May sexy, really I’d’ve thought that if one Marvel character was immune to being sexied up it would have been Aunt fucking May, but then Gotham made Bullock and The Penguin sexy2 so I should have known no one was safe.  

9. Aunt May’ Meat Loaf
This is not a euphemism, though probably will be now Aunt May is ridiculously sexy, but Tony Stark is waiting for Peter Parker to come home in this film and what’s he eating (because Movie Tony Stark is never not eating)? Aunt May’s famous meat loaf. When did this become a thing? I can’t remember when it wasn’t a thing and I’m certainly not trawling through hundreds of Spider-Man issues to find out the first mention of Aunt May’s ‘unique’ meat loaf but I’m sure it dates back to Stan Lee’s run as scripter.  It’s such a little thing, but it’s the little things – like oooh say a Spider Signal? – that make the Marvel Cinematic Universe just so much better than any other company’s comic book adaptations, except Iron Man 3, no amount of little things, nor even my secret love of Gwyneth Paltrow, well formerly secret love, could make me like that piece of shit.     

10. It Made Me Like a Marvel Story Called Civil War
This may not seem like a big deal to you imaginary readers because you don’t know me personally, or at all, but I HATE Civil War the comic book and I am very open about this, I dislike the thing so much that ‘it’s only a comic book’ is actually an acceptable and appropriate thing to say, I should not be this angry at a comic book after this many years. But I LOVED this film. Everything that annoyed me about Civil War, this film didn’t do – which is probably really guiling if you’re a fan of the book – this was, for me, Civil War done right, it still hit most of the plot points of Civil War – an accident caused by a superhero team causes an outcry, a legislation is put through to limit their ability to perform, Captain America disagrees with it on principle, Iron Man supports it on principle and the other heroes choose sides, there’s a big fight, hell Iron Man even imprisons his friends, but the way it did these things, the better writing, the subtlety, the sympathetic portrayal of both sides, the things they took the time to do that Millar and the other fighting writers of the comics didn’t do, hell that the characters stayed in character, I’m not going to turn this into a rant against Civil War the comic because I’m too tired at the moment and you really don’t want to hear it, but yeah the best thing about this film for me is that it made me like Civil War, albeit the movie version.  

1 I’m not just being randomly racist; the CEO of Marvel Comics – Ike Perlmutter – really implied that when responding to the change of actor for James Rhoades.
2 the continual references to Gotham is because I’ve only just started watching season 1, I generally put off watching anything live action and DC because I usually hate it (I haven’t seen Superman Vs Batman yet, I will, sometime, under protest) but I was so impressed by The Flash season 1 (Linda Park is the best piece of casting in a live action DC anything, yes better than Jack Nicholson as the Joker, better even than Frank Gorshin as the Riddler) I thought I’d give Gotham a try. I’m not too pleased so far, but mostly I would like to know why the whole production team is deathly afraid of moustaches.   

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Seven Soldiers Reading Order*

So I re-read Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers maxi-comic event and found my reading order was incorrect, and figured out a better one, thought I'd share my working with the internet, who wouldn't?

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Tribute To... Ocean Warriors!*


Street Sharks are easily in my top five action figures, I’m pleased to see them developing the cult following such good quality toys deserve, but of course we’re not here to talk about those, nah, we’re here to talk about 3” knock-offs frankensteined from their parts. Meet the Ocean Warriors: The Warriors Powered by Ocean: dates these as coming from 2000, I personally think that’s a little late – Street Sharks lasted for a  surprisingly long time, around three years and six waves of figures but their time was well and truly over by 1998, let alone 2000, so I can’t see anyone bothering to release knock-offs of them that late in the day, however as these are made from parts from the third and fourth waves of Street Sharks they must have come out fairly late in the day, I’d put them around 1997 personally but officially the only date we have for them that isn’t from the mind of some shitty blogger is 2000. You’ll also see them commonly referred to as Mannix figures, this is…complicated – the company name Mannix was only used for one line – IWC International Wrestling Champions – but this line introduced a body mould that was used for several other lines (Two Face Monster, Monster Maniacs, Apes Attacks etc) that were put out under other company names, exactly how all these lines connect is something of a mystery still being unravelled, regardless the company name Action is on the Ocean Warrior cards. Also I will mention that each of these figures came with guns, mine don’t have these weapons because I bought them loose and as the Street Sharks don’t have signature weapons (and the original toys didn’t come with any accessories) I wasn’t bothered, you can see their guns on card art below though.

The card art also shows off nicely that none of these characters have names, that is common for Mannix related figures and I refer to them by the names of their official figure counterparts but that isn’t going to work here so, um, let’s call them Bob, Chuck, Dave and…um… Ralph.

Fun fact, Streex wasn’t called Streex in the toyline until his third figure; previously he’d gone under the name ‘Blades’. Bob from Ocean Warriors is literally half Streex and half Blades, his upper half is a shrunken down version of Streex (having examined these figures I’m leaning towards these being moulded from the original toys then shrunken and modified, everything’s just too well placed to be copied) while his lower half is from Blades and paint job from the series 2 version of Blades. I greatly enjoy this about these figures, I think I just get enjoyment of recognising things - I’m the sort of person who likes to go through huge group shots in comics and name all the characters – so maybe it’s more just because I’m cripplingly sad but whatever it may be, I enjoy ‘kit-bashed’ figures, part reuse and repaints, I like how you can transform and disguise thing simply by changing their colour and y’know I just think it’s fun to see character in ridiculous colour schemes. Something amused me (and we’re back to being crippling sad here) is that Bob has Streex’s muscles painted as if they’re part of his top, I like it when this sort of thing happens to, when one thing is used to represent another, either intentionally or in this case, completely unintentionally (Toy Biz did this with characters heads, Polaris for instance, is Rogue’s head).  

Jet Pack Jab
The least modified Ocean Warrior, Chuck is just a shrunken down version of Jet Pack Jab from the fourth series of Street Shark toys. Happily Jet Pack Jab was my favourite Street Sharks figure as a child so I’m good with this – Jab was always my preferred 'Shark because he was just Raphael but a shark, but then Mattel seemingly merged him with a fighter plane turning him into a bronze flying metal hammerhead shark with a fucking jet pack. ‘Action’ have managed to differentiate Chuck form his inspiration by… removing the rivets from Jet Pack Jab’s teeth and putting them on his gloves, and taking off the numbers from his fin and shoulders, and you know what I bet legally speaking that is actually enough, also he’s a different colour and you know I’d love a proper Jet Pack Jab in silver, however Action’s paint job does remove some of the inexplicable weirdness that makes JPJ so appealing to me, the Mattel colours imply that somehow Jab now has metal for skin and is wearing trousers, Chuck is far more likely either a robot or wearing armour, it’s kind of weird when the bootleg makes more sense.

Moby Lick
I have done studies and these studies show that literally every boy in the UK owned a Moby Lick, he’s easily the ‘Shark (well Orca) I see the most being sold second hand and he was in the house of every kid I knew at school, either 90’s kids loved Killer Whales and I never knew or he was the figure most commonly found at a discounted price. Moby Lick, whose name is such a bad pun you’d think he belonged in He-Man, was a construction worker who was turned into a killer whale with a huge tongue – I love cartoons. ‘Action’ wisely removed the trademarkable tongue and then just made the rest of him from bits from Chuck and Bob, thus while Dave looks the most like his Street Sharks counterpart at first glance, he’s actually pretty damn different, firstly no attempt was made to follow his colour scheme beyond his face and no other Moby Lick parts were stolen, using Blades bottom half and Jet Pack Jab’s arms instead and can we just taken a minute to appreciate how cool a Killer Whale Man with metal arms is please? …
Thank you. The colours scheme’s odd by the way, making him look like he’s wearing ski boots, a really expensive watch and no trousers.

The earliest Street Sharks toy to be stolen from (well with Blade's bottom half), and the most modified – the other Ocean Warriors seem to clearly have been moulded from Street Sharks ‘Action’ bought at a local Toys 'R' Us but Ralph seems to have had his whole face and chest remodelled, his face is wider and he’s grown some abs, his antennae have also been shortened, presumably so they could be made on the same tool as the rest of the body, in fact I’d go so far as to say that it’s an entirely newly sculpted piece and so with the rest of the figure being taken from other figures who aren’t Slobster this is easily the most unique looking Ocean Warrior. Of course with Ralph getting arms taken from Streex and a lower half from Jet Pack Jab he’s still 75 percent stolen, but he has a completely original paint job. Actually, on being different, Ralph is the only figure that feels the same as his ‘inspiration’, one of the many good things about Street Sharks figures is that they had ‘shark-like skin’, a rubber layer, over their body so they all feel slightly squishy, however the villains didn’t have this feature (nor did Mantaman or Radical Bends) so Slobster and Ralph feel the same, the biggest difference in feel, if you care, is Moby Lick & Dave, because Moby has no ‘chomping’ action feature and thus lacks hard plastic in his jaws and is thus far more squishy (and I got to use thus twice in one sentence!). 

Part Reuse Theatre

Jet Pack Jab's arms
Jet Pack Jab's legs
Streex's arms
Blades' legs
Though not exactly cheap these are easily the easiest (bad English?) Street Sharks bootlegs to find. Yes there are multiple Street Sharks bootlegs, for a good laugh check out the ‘Mannix’ Mighty Sharks, which just cut out Street Sharks heads and stick them on the Mannix body, which is kind of a mix of vintage Masters of the Universe and Hasbro’s WWF. I also find Ocean Warriors to be the best Street Sharks knock-offs, Mattel didn’t repaint these four figures, nor did they produce ‘Sharks in many scales (there was a 10” Ripster and a couple of riders for Hot Wheels Smash N Crash bikes) so Ocean Warriors actually manages to fill a hole left by the official line, which is where the best bootleg lines shine – i.e. Galaxy Fighters bringing in styles of He-man characters that Mattel never produced (werewolf, Spartan, dinosaur, Viking…). And I’m done, thanks for reading about action figures that flaunt copyright laws about as much as action figures possibly can, and sorry it wasn’t very funny, I’m just not a very funny mood today.           

Friday, 15 April 2016

Quick Crappy Review: WWE Wrestlemania Battle Pack Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart*

*glass shatters*

This was supposed to be posted on Monday, things happened (nothing bad, just exhausting), so it wasn't, I suck, apologies. Anyway, one of the many good things about listening to the Attitude Era Podcast is that it’s finally made me a fan of Stone Cold Steve Austin, handy as Stone Cold is getting several figures around now. He’s getting a 12” figure, a Defining Moments figure; he’s in this Battle Pack and is coming again in another Battle Pack in series 40 with Mr McMahon. All of these Austins are damn good, so you may be asking “why did you buy this pack dwitefry?” (well you would if you existed) “Why not buy the Defining Moments Austin?” well I looked at that figure and realised that there wasn’t anything in it that I actually needed and I really don’t think it represents a defining moment for him – if they’d have gone the whole hog and packaged him with a Zamboni, or given him a base to make him look like he was standing on a beer truck, or even given him some swappable hands so he was giving the fingers, then I’d’ve happily forked over the cash, this set however includes a bonus Bret Hart.

Yeah so this is a two pack from the Mattel’s WWE Wrestlemania Series 32, one of the many MANY different sub-lines that make up Mattel’s WWE retail line of action figures, Wrestlemania is just a themed variant on their standard WWE line that are roughly the ‘basic’ figures but commemorating various Wrestlemania Pay-Per-View events of old. This particular set is commemorating the fantastic submission match between Austin and Hart at Wrestlemania 13, one of the best matches in Wrestlemania history and one of my favourite matches in wrestling, I’m watching it right now.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the biggest stars the WWF/WWE has ever had, was played by Steven James Anderson who had also wrestled as Stunning Steve Austin in WCW before being fired for *snicker* not being marketable (and for injuring himself, something he did a lot) and ECW as Superstar Steve Austin. He initially came to WWF as The Ringmaster but thankfully got permission to use his idea of a hard, no-nonsense serial killer type which his wife inadvertently named Stone Cold Steve Austin when telling him to drink his tea or it would get ‘stone cold’ (now you can all imagine Steve Austin drinking tea). After receiving the win at the 1996 King of the Ring because the scheduled winner Triple H was being punished for something else, Austin, still a heel (villain), busted out a now iconic promo on Jake the Snake that introduced his Austin 3:16 catchphrase and began a rise to superstardom, a rise helped by a year-long feud with Bret Hart and his family, that’s where this set comes in. Austin would go on become the most profitable wrestler WWF has had apparently.

This is one of Mattel’s ‘basic level’ WWE figures so it lacks thigh swivel and an ab-crunch and features only one articulation point at the knees and elbows, if you’ve read any of my previous WWE figures you’ll know (if you existed) that I hate thigh swivels and don’t care for the type of ab crunch Mattel typically use on their WWE fighters so you’ll know I don’t mind this at all, however in fairness to the joint (a strange statement I agree) Austin is the kind of design who could easily have a thigh swivel thanks to not having anything it could disrupt, though I’d still much rather have ball joints at the crotch. I still like the combined swivel/hinge jointed wrists and they allow Austin to perform a Stunner – which is the only requirement of articulation on a Stone Cold Steve Austin figure really – but they do seem fairly obvious on this figure, with a bigger gap, I think that’s the fault of the forearm pieces though which really don’t transition that well into the larger hand pieces. The likeness then, from front on it can look a little off but from the side or most angles it looks perfect thus I’m dubbing it ‘pretty damn great’ rather than ‘amazing’ (like Rick Flair’s), it’s also made me notice something I’ve been completely oblivious of my whole life – Steve Austin has no eyebrows! It’s because he’s blonde (my dad, who looked like Steve Austin actually, has the same issue) so what little eyebrows he has doesn’t show up but now I will never be able to not notice that, oh and the head is limited articulation wise due to his massive fucking neck. The pack includes no accessories, I’m guessing his vest was probably too expensive due to paint apps but they could have given him a can of beer couldn’t they? He does have a knee brace though, this is just for accuracy as he was wearing one in the match but I love it for other, nerdier, reasons; Austin was so often injured it’s kind of become a bit of a fandom in-joke so I think it’s great that my figure of him has evidence of an injury on it.  

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart (real name) alias The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be is from the legendary Hart family of wrestlers (he’s the son of Stu Hart), known for his amazing skill, wearing hot pink and for being screwed over by Vine McMahon. He came into the WWF in 1985 as part of the Hart Foundation tag-team with his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart and was both a tag team and singles star. Having had an excellent feud with his brother Owen as well as great matches with Shawn Michaels, Hart was actually on hiatus in 1996 when Steve Austin started a feud with him by slagging him off on TV, leading to the Hitman coming back after eight months, sadly 1997 ended badly with the ‘Montreal Screwjob’ and him leaving for WCW to be underutilized and receive a career ending injury.

Bret Hart is one of my favourite wrestlers and I am a MASSIVE mark for the Hart Foundation as a whole – Bret, Owen, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart - but this figure… it doesn’t quite do it for me, I am glad to have him in this outfit from this match, which is why I ultimately decided to buy the set even though I will almost certainly be buying his upcoming Elite figure. I think it’s the hair and face, the likeness is…iffy, from the side and from any angle looking up it’s pretty spiffy but front on it pretty much sucks, everything just seeems too...long, frankly it needs some sunglasses to cover up its deficiencies and this set doesn’t come with them (the head was originally sculpted for a figure that did, I believe), his hair also looks really lank and unwashed. Elsewhere though he’s more worthy of praise, his deco is so sharp you could cut yourself on it and very well done given how complicated it all is, and the lack of ab crunch and thigh swivel means it doesn’t get as broken up, allowing me to appreciate it even more (and who doesn’t like appreciating Bret Hart’s arse). Sadly it’s not all good on the body, the articulation on his head and elbows are severely limited by his hair and elbow pads but he can just about perform the Sharpshooter, the Elite’s double jointed knees and ab crunch should allow him to perform it perfectly though. It’s a shame that Hart is really relegated to ‘nice bonus’ with a Steve Austin figure (my theory was that the set was £27 and the Defining Moments Austin was £24-ish so I was getting a Bret Hart for about £7 in an outfit I really like and it would do in case I couldn’t find an Elite Hart for a while once it comes out, as is the issue I’m having with Yokozuna and had with the British Bulldog).

In conclusion? The issues with Bret Hart brings down the set as a whole but in hand he’s not as terrible as he first looked and the little flickers of buyer’s remorse I was genuinely having have been quashed by finding the perfect angle to display him in and by Steve Austin being so likeable. Honestly you could probably do better to get the Defining Moments Austin if you a) don’t love this match or b) don’t need multiple Bret Harts and a slew of Hart-related merchandise, like I apparently do, but my dream roster is 100% better now I have the Hitman and the Texas Rattlesnake, and that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold said so. 

"What th' hell is a Hasbro?"
"I dunno, but I bet The Rock tried to stuff it up your ass
at least once"
"Yeah, what was up with that shit?"1
1 Yeah Dwayne, what WAS up with that shit? I'm hardly the first person to bring this up, but given how Heterosexual Male focused American Professional Wrestling can be, and the...less than enlightened views of the Attitude Era crowd, and Vince McMahon, and half the roster during said era, was and how keen the WWF was to placate these attitudes in the name of controversy, envelope pushing and (most importantly) beating Monday Nitro in the ratings - to the point of having Rowdy Roddy Piper administer what was intended as a heroic gay bashing to 'make a man out of  Goldust' just before the era began (utterly atrocious), which the crowd cheered on - and given how American Professional Wrestling is basically barely clothed muscle men rubbing themselves up against each other in creative ways - why was the Rock so keen to talk about shoving anything and everything up 'candy' asses? 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Quick Crappy Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X - Lord Dregg & Mozar*

I love Turtles
Dark Beaver and Attila the Frog had really dampened my enthusiasm for the current Playmates TMNT figure line, in fact I’d go so far as to say they’d put me off it, almost completely. I’m still greatly enjoying the cartoon but the toys were starting to feel me with nothing but irritation and disappointment, and then…

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Quick Crappy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Serpentine King Hssss*

Hoo boy. Baywatch Serpentine King Hssss, therein lies a story.
King Hiss is the third ‘big bad’ of the He-Man’s world, following Skeletor and Hordak, Hiss leads the Snake Men and hails from ‘Preternia’, the prehistoric era of He-Man’s planet. His figure came out in 1986, too late to appear in either the He-Man & the Masters of the Universe or She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon, his action feature was his arms and torso/head clipped off to reveal a snake monster underneath, his ‘snake torso’. Hiss (now spelt Hssss) got his first action figure in Masters of the Universe Classics in 2011 but many fans were unsatisfied, he was based solely on the toy, he had reversed shoulders and his snake torso was considered lacklustre (despite being accurate to the vintage figure). Serpentine King Hssss is an extra non-subscription figure for Masters of the Universe Classics released in March 2016 but delayed from November 2015, from the 15th to 29th of March it was available at a discounted price and only to 2015 subscribers on via an e-mailed link as part of a concession to subscribers because the release is built around a cut item (the torso) and is a very controversial solution to that item being cut. If that’s all you needed to know before reading my thoughts on this, King Hiss’ ‘true form’, as a figure, please skip the following paragraph.

It begins...

Monday, 4 April 2016

Quick Crappy Review: WWE Elite Sycho Sid & WWE Iron Sheik*

You know and I know that your review is only half the review that mine is - and mine has half the brain that yours do

So Smyths Toys had a sort of semi-unofficial Easter sale on when I popped into their Lakeside branch after spending three hours in Ikea, which was nice as it allowed me to catch up some on Playmates TMNT and Mattel WWE without breaking the bank, or having to build it afterwards with instructions in Swedish. Marked down were Sycho Sid, who I’ll be calling just Sid from now on because it doesn’t make my spellcheck cry, which was no surprise as he’s been group peg warming since before Christmas and SHEIKY BABY.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 1!*

Boot sale season has begun! Again, for the imaginary American readers a Car Boot Sale, usually just shorted to ‘boot sale’, is an outdoor flea market though closer to a kind of communal yard sale as, although there are regulars, anyone can come and sell you their old crap, and they do, in droves. Today was the first week for my current favourite bootsale because rain stopped play last week and it was cancelled, so I dragged me mother up there for 7am to go and spend way too much money on dirty toys and dusty records. I always like to ‘bootsail’ with someone because I find it shames me into staying vaguely sensible with my purchases, and because I can’t drive.

It turned out to be a pretty fruitful experience, though I will concede that much of this was due to one new toy stall run by a woman who endeared herself to me until she started using the sentence ‘this is rare and collectible’ as a prelude to asking for a price she knew would seem more than I’d consider reasonable – this pisses me off and I will just say ‘no it’s not’ and tell them the truth and ignore their offended looks saying “how dare you disagree with me, I’ve seen an episode of Toy Hunter!” because no seller ever says it about anything that is actually is a sought after or rare item and they always say it like they’re informing me for my own good: it insults my intelligence and makes the seller look ill-informed and/or dishonest. Anyway this particular woman did me a fairly decent deal, twice, and was marginally more informed than the usual silly bastards who whip out such lines so I can’t complain too much, though she did tell me the Jurassic Park Glider Pack I bought was complete – and rare and collectible – and it was none of these things. On a happier note I had the most surprisingly spicy samosa AND I came home with around 35 new things, some of the following I will now drone on about: