Monday 31 July 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: LFCC Summer 2017 Edition!

So about twice a year Showmasters hold the London Film and Comic Con and I’m of the opinion that ‘LFCC’ has become the best of the three big nerdcons held in London throughout the year (LFCC, MCM and Hyper Japan): it has the biggest amount of dealers with the best variety of wares and the biggest names for autograph hunters, MCM is a bigger event but LFCC is the better event. I don’t usually have much nice to say about Showmasters, they developed a reputation with me for being unable to organize a piss-up in a brewery let alone a comic, film and general all-purpose geekery convention but I’ve been bloody impressed with their last two efforts (this and the last MCM), however I didn’t do any autographs and I went on Sunday both times so so long as you don’t want to do one of the cornerstones of a convention or go on the main day of said convention, my opinion is good.  I had a marvellous time; it wasn’t too busy (except for the odd bottleneck but whatchagonnado these things happen, if Disney still hasn’t eliminated ‘em completely we shouldn’t expect Showmasters to be able to do it) with a nice relaxed atmosphere in the dealer area with some very amiable new sellers; I know the wait times for some of the signing times were pretty extreme (Kevin Smith for instance, I dunno about Alyson Hannigan, I’m not allowed within 50ft of her anymore) but I didn’t see anyone getting irate over there either; loads of superb cosplayers; a new pop-up maid cafĂ© (didn’t get time to eat there but we did chat to a maid, Nikki I think); nice easy to access panels and generally an effortless experience all ‘round. But who cares, let’s talk about stuff:

LFCC is my ‘shopping convention’, I put money away especially for it because, again, it always has the best dealers in the biggest quantities and it does not disappoint. I waver, sometimes I’m all about quantity, sometimes I’m all about quality (this con was a quality day) but usually I pick up a variety of things – some toys, some trading cards, a book or two, the odd inexplicable thing – but this con it was all toys and nearly all figural. I honestly feel a bit annoyed at myself (I worry about becoming obsessive) but the reason for this is simple: competition, or the lack thereof: there was so much good stuff on the toy stalls that the others couldn’t compete. So this isn’t going to be a very varied Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On but it is going to feature aliens, aliens, more aliens and alien robots so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Spawn Spree IV

Meh, given that this has taken six months, it’s less a spree and more a marathon in multiple parts.

Anyway, welcome to the fourth instalment of Spawn Spree, where I type some meaningless bullshit about six old McFarlane Toys action figures because it seems like the whole world turned against them roughly six months after Neca released their first toys and I often feel totally alone in being a fan of them. Today’s Sensational Seven include Mecha Spawn, Possibly Culturally Insensitive Spawn, Lady Spawn, Spawn’s Boss, a bison and me moaning about how I’m stupid and can’t pronounce a word from one day to the next – tantalizing!
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Manga Spawn
Spawn Series 9 (1997)
The Spawn figure that you can own without someone knowing you own a Spawn figure! Manga Spawn’s one of the few Spawn figures that retains a high resale value and could conceivably be called ‘sought after’ and I want to think it’s because it’s the coolest Spawn figure made – Spawn reimagined as a mecha samurai with insect wings – but I’m sure it has as much to do with the continued popularity of anime and the fact that this could slot into anyone’s collection of mech figures, model kits and kinkeshi without anyone batting an eyelid. This is really the best use of McFarlane Toys’ love affair with detail, applying it to mech takes the figure from looking busy to just looking like the inspiration and things like giant blades, spikes and big white Ms on chests work perfectly within the genre, so by doing nothing different they ended up making a Spawn figure that looks nothing like a Spawn figure? Dumb luck? Probably but I like to think someone put some thought into things and was vindicated. I got to use vindicated, correctly, in a Spawn-based post and it wasn’t a pun, I feel proud of myself – very proud. What was I doing? Oh yeah writing a pretty sensible review of this figure, why was I doing that? I bought this with some money I was gifted for Christmas, I bring this up because if Christmas was a Gundam, it would look like Manga Spawn

Tuesday 25 July 2017

A Tribute To... Beetlejuice's Rock 'n' Roll Graveyard Revue 2.0

So while fixing the pictures issue with a lot of old posts I decided to revamp a couple of old posts in the same vein as my updated Five Nights At Freddy's chronology, first up:

So a bout of depression created an unusual side effect that was a huge wave of nostalgia for Universal Studios and also the realisation “of course it’s all on YouTube”. The internet has given us many bounties – most of them involving naked people, yes - but being able to experience old theme park attractions you thought you’d never experience again, exactly how you remember (or close enough) is one of it’s tastiest. I've returning to Florida and to Harry Potterland featuring The Simpsons Universal Studios, and I damn well enjoyed it, but the Universal Studios on my childhood is no more, Kong, Jaws, Mr Stay Puft, Doc & Marty and now Beetlejuice and the Universal Monsters have been shuffled off for undeniable cash cows like The Simpsons, Harry Potter and Minions and things that can never hope to have the longevity of these or the things they’ve replaced like Shrek, The Mummy remake and the Bayformers, and I say that as a confirmed fan of the Mummy remake and someone you better believe went on all of those properties’ rides. But thanks to YouTube and a site for downloading videos from it that I do not know exists, at all, I am now totally ok with this; because I can experience the Kong ride any time I want - without the taste of American Tourist Sweat™.

Today’s post is about the best thing I found on my Universal Studios YouTube binge: you see things I like include: rock music, Tim Burton, theme parks and the Universal Monsters, so if only there was an attraction at a theme park that mixed Universal Monsters and rock music that was compared by Tim Burton character…oh wait there is, was, sort of still is. What I am being facetious about is of course (of course, duuuh) Beetlejuice’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard Review, a former live stage show at Universal Studios parks around that big place near Mexico. I went to Florida with my dad’s side of the family around 1995 (we still argue about when it exactly was, don’t ask) and as that side of the family includes, me, my dad, my uncle and my grandad, a collective of three generations of somewhat sizeable Universal Monster fans we WERE going to see this and dragged the rest of our family – all mildly disinterested female types – in and I was enraptured. And when one considers that I’d already been through Konfrontation, Ghost Busters Spooktacular and Jaws and I was about 9 it’s amazing I had any attention span left and could sit still due the pure adrenaline from real life appearances by King Kong, Jaws and Mr Stay Puft in short succession but I’ve always had extra patience for the classic monsters and I sat enthralled, my strongest memories from childhood are of The Phantom of the Opera playing ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and the awesomeness that is inherent in such a concept and The Bride of Frankenstein’s outfit and the pre-pubescence urges it may or may not have stirred. Now YouTube means I can tell you all about it in detail, and more importantly tell you about the songs in it, you’re so lucky.

So come back with me to 1992, the comic book boom is in full swing, Barney & Friends is obnoxiously huge and the Mega Drive is the best system on the market, important stuff is also probably happening but who gives a shit when there’s Spawn and Sonic 2, and you are at Universal Studios Florida, you were a little disappointed at first because you could be at The Magic Kingdom but live-action Ghostbusters soon puts paid to that feeling. You wander over from Kongfrontation, or ‘The King Kong Ride’, annoyed that someone has spoilt the magic by announcing ‘there’s two models’ and wanting somewhere to sit down, you decide to check out this new Beetlejuice thing. Inside you find a seat, it’s hot and the seats are lukewarm and you know full well someone has farted on them within the last 20 minutes there is a faint taste of American Tourist Sweat™ but thankfully it’s a lot less pronounced than it was in that boat on the Jaws ride and it’s somewhere to rest without feeling pressured to buy overpriced fizzy pop.

As the last few stragglers – all wearing vest tops and grey t-shirts with off-model Simpsons and Mickey & Friends characters on them – take their seats to the sound sounds of Danny Elfman’s theme from Beetlejuice you take in the ornate stage; a Disneyland version of German Expressionism it looks like Castle Grayskull by way of the Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Wonderfully coloured to be almost black and white, two coffins are propped against the castle ruins and it couldn’t be more obvious they’re going to open – it’s like in old cartoons where you can tell what’s going to move because it’s a different contrast – a spiral walkway (danceway) climbs up seemingly exported straight from James Whale’s Frankenstein and a painted backdrop borrowed from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It is a cool stage.

As the music finishes up, someone doing a passable impression of Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice voice comes in over the tannoy to comment on his own theme tune and a surely enough the golder coffin opens to reveal the ghost with the most in the form of The Mummy so he can make a pun about being wrapped up. This is the only appearance of The Mummy in the original version, I have no idea why Imhotep go the shaft, especially as Skate, Haddock & Sole Shake, Rattle & Roll was perfect for him, there’s no way it could have been questions over ownership as ‘a mummy’ cannot be copyrighted so I’m guessing it was either a (un)creative decision or due to run time. 

BJ has fans chant his name three times, one twat is always way behind everyone else ruining the effect, and in an explosion of pyro out comes the titular star of the show in his classic black and white pinstripe for some audience participation and dated references that actually aren’t that dated thanks to the continuing high profile of Tim Burton and Madonna, in fact Madonna’s even more monstrous these days. I’d like to take a minute to say that I’m not that big a fan of Beetlejuice the character, he’s obnoxious, sleazy and thinks he’s funnier than he is – in short he’s the exact sort of person I spend my days avoiding – I’m well aware that this is the point but it’s so on point that he grates on my nerves, I watch the film fairly regularly but that’s more for Lydia Deez being awesome and Geena Davies being one of the most gorgeous women of the 80’s (I watch Mars Needs Women way more than such a shit film deserves because of that latter fact).

You just about get time to be tired of ‘juice’s shtick before it’s time to bring on his elders, his betters, the Universal Monsters (minus the Mummy)! But before this, BJ warns the audience that it’s going to take a lot of power to turn them into Rock ‘n’ Roll stars and when he gives the signal you’re to chant his name three times. Anyway, Part of the castle rotates to reveal… The Phantom of the Opera! Even though his outfit is taken from the Claude Rains version of the character he removes his mask to reveal make-up inspired by Lon Chaney’s version, a perfect compromise between the easily recognisable and the fan preferred. 

In a puff of smoke, from somewhere backstage… the Wolf Man! And he looks nothing like the Jack Pierce make-up! This confused me at the time and I still don’t quite get the decision now as the make-up, which is really more bear man than Wolf Man, is what makes the Universal Studios version of a werewolf the Universal Studios version and is what allows them to trademark it, and y’know they’re selling figurines and plushies of that version in the gift shop nearby. There are shades of Henry Hull’s Werewolf of London look (also a Jack Pierce production) but really he looks more an Ape Soldier. I have two theories – the Pierce design was somehow a problem when performing, or the changes were made so the Wolf Man looked good, and recognisable, from the back of auditorium.  

But ladies, hold onto your necks as the prince of darkness himself glides from the so-far unopened second coffin…Dracula! And this time there is a good reason why he doesn’t look quite like Bela Lugosi, it’s due to likeness rights and Bela Lugosi Jr’s intensity in protecting his father’s image, which I’ve always found a little odd as of all the Universal Monsters stars Lugosi has the worst reputation, still if he ums and ahs about lovingly sculpted merchandise I very much doubt junior would be OK with his dad’s image singing and dancing to karaoke favourites. 

Then in centre stage – where he belongs – wheeled out on the laboratory table… Frankenstein’s Monster! He looks perfect, though thanks to the size required to play him always looks slightly more like Glen Strange’s Franky. Finally running down from the top of the tower…The Bride of Frankenstein! And she is terrified, in fact all the monsters seem to utterly hate each other, theme park setting or no they’re still monsters and still delightfully in character.   

The monsters then turn on the ghoul with the cool and you’re a little bit frightened, suspension of disbelief has kicked in despite ‘juice’s bad puns and you realise that the monsters that could never get you because they were only images left over from 70 years past, burned onto that most harmless of thing – a VHS (The Ring isn't out yet), are real and only a few feet in front of you, even if the Wolf Man does look like one of the Groovy Ghoulies. You try as hard as you can to cover this up but secretly you’re happy you couldn’t get a front row seat. 

But it’s ok, just as he’s about to be overpowered Beetlejuice gives the command for the audience to scream his name thrice, and with each shout the monsters are driven back to a pre-designated area on the steps of the castle where a whoosh of smoke lasts just long enough for a costume change and when it clears, the Monsters no longer want to rip and tear, instead they want to sign and dance, they’ve been turned into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard Reviews! The Phantom has become Chuck Berry! The Monster has become Bruce Springsteen! The Wolf Man has become Kurt Cobain! Dracula has become the lead singer of every Goth Rock band since the mid-80’s! and the Bride, well, you always knew that the Bride was secretly hot because she was played by cutie Elsa Lanchester and you could see very well when she was Mary Shelly how pretty she was but she was still covered up by a bedsheet and bandages as the Bride, now she is wearing a sparkly blue ragged dress with a low neckline and high skirt line with tights and boots – welcome to the start of a sexual obsession that will last the rest of your life. In years to come they give the Bride a corset and net mini skirt, effectively turning her into the lead singer of a Symphonic Metal band, which undoubtedly raises the sexy factor but in the process takes her completely away from the look of the Bride of Frankenstein, eventually going to sacrilegious levels and cutting her iconic fingers-in-a-plug-socket hairdo, for my money the original blue outfit was the perfect mix of stage show and the film’s costume. Anyway I love it when the classic monsters are reinvented to fit a theme, be it a counter-culture, a time frame, a genre, Ninja Turtles, whatever, it somehow appeals to my type of fandom for the properties and it dates back to before I first saw the ‘Revue so this turn of events makes me very happy, but more importantly for you, they’re no longer scary at all – the Monster cannot be frightening when sporting a headband and mullet.

To celebrate their new outlook and wardrobe, the group perform and exposition song based around Wild Thing by the Troggs and the show momentarily takes on the feel of a high school production as the Wild Thing chorus feels really forced next to the stadium rock verses with lyrics seemingly written by someone who writes the theme tunes for cartoons, actually as this is Universal Studios, that might actually have been their day job. Oh well at least you can stare are the Bride until it’s over. Wild Thing, the song they’re butchering while you perv, was a song originally performed by The Wild Ones and was written by Chip Taylor, a prolific songwriter who also came up 'Angel of the Morning' and 'Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)', and was first released in 1965 before becoming a hit the following year for The Troggs, going to number 1 in the Billboard Top 100 in America, the song was also famously performed by Jimi Hendrix when he set his guitar on fire at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, it’s also been covered by acts as diverse as The Creatures and The Meteors (good), the Dinvinyls and the Goodies (um…interesting) and Westlife and Bruce Springsteen (dire). In none of these versions do monsters refer to having a brand new style and a brand new attitude, nor does Frankenstein’s Monster play a bitchin’ solo:

First up to strut his funky stuff for you is the Wolf Man with The Wolf Man Rap which is as fantastic as it sounds and completely restores your faith in the producers of this show after Wild Things because it’s a werewolf rapping about how he’s now comfortable with his self, if Tumblr was around it would adopt this as a coming out anthem. The rap then fades into a modified version of Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), also known as ‘the single before Family Affair’, which was a Billboard Number 1 hit for Sly and the Family Stone in December 1969, a standalone single and double A-side with Everybody Is a Star, intended for an album that was never completed and one of the many reasons Sly & The Family Stone are awesome. As its 1992 you’ve never heard of this song but it’s a funky tune about being yourself and how awesome Beetlejuice is so you are completely into it.

After some attempts at stage stealing from Dracula (and some more horrible Beetlejuice puns that you begrudgingly admit are pretty funny) it’s the Phantom of the Opera’s turn to rock the audiences socks, but for a ‘gag’ he plays some of his standard gothic organ which upsets the Bride so much she falls to her knees in pain, you can think of ways to comfort her.
It’s only a joke though (that’s not funny) and bam! Erik’s off into Great Balls of Fire, accompanied by obligatory pyro. Of course the words have been altered to effectively be about how sexy the Phantom is now, ably proved by a swooning Bride turning an admission of how shockingly attractive someone is into Sharp Dressed Man and achieving the impressive feat of making Great Balls of Fire even shallower. But no one listens to Jerry Lee Lewis for depth, the manic piano of the song is a perfect fit for the Phantom and the song is one of the most exciting pieces of rock ‘n’ roll committed to vinyl and it’s accompanied by explosions, climaxing with each pipe of the phantom’s organ spurting fire something that is both necessary and yet over-the-top that it’s awesome and you dig it, but you do make a mental note to kill someone for changing one of the most recognisable opening verses in music history. Great Balls of Fire was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer, Blackwell wrote the likes of All Shook Up, Return to Sender and Fever, Hammer…um…was in the Platters for a while but really about half the musically talented African-American population of the 1950s was in the Platters at one point. The song was a MASSIVE hit for cousin-pumping Jerry Lee Lewis (the first artist to record it) on the back of its appearance in the film Jamboree, selling over five million copies and thus becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. It’s been covered by everybody and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Misfits version is really one to avoid, in fact just listen to Lewis’ version, no one’s done it better not even the Phantom.  

Now The Phantom’s finished wanking Franky goes off on one, only to be calmed by the Bride, seems she’s into him now, bastard, she’s also developed into a strong female character, easily resisting Dracula’s hypnotising come on with a cringe-worthy Wayne’s World reference. To celebrate she sings easily the best choice of song in the whole revue:  (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman; sadly this dovetails into a fight over the Bride and a medley (I hate medleys) with Hot Blooded by The Monster and In the Midnight Hour by Dracula, which is the second best choice of song in the revue. Medleys suck for the simple reason that they don’t allow you to hear the whole song, in the case of Foreigner this is a blessing but cutting of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett should be made illegal, it also means this paragraph is going to be pretty big. 

Written by Carole King and former husband Gerry Goffin, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman was a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1967 and performed expertly by its co-writer on her debut album Tapestry before being utterly destroyed by Canadian sonic assault weapon Celine Dion (YouTube Linda Carter’s version, yes that Linda Carter, it’s not good but seeing Wonder Woman sing Aretha Franklin is just something you should experience). Hot Blooded was a single by Foreigner, it’s the most recent song to be adjusted for the revue having been put out in 1978 but sadly it’s not the worst selling, charting five positions higher than Natural Woman at #3 on the Billboard, Foreigner suck, I’m not typing any more about them.  In the Midnight Hour blew into the charts in 1965 and elbowed its way to number 1 in the US, co-written by its performer Wilson Pickett at the same place Martin Luther King would be shot at, it’s been covered by far too many people to list but you should give The Jam’s version a go. 

This thing’s turning out ok, the song choices are good, the Bride is sexy and Dracula is a douche, you couldn’t really hope for more frankly, then they let Frankenstein’s Monster serenade his significant other with… When A Man Loves a Woman which is both hilarious and slightly touching, as I think was the intention. You get to see Dracula, The Phantom and the Wolf-Man do backing harmonies as the Bride melts to the sounds of Percy Sledge and are vaguely aware of what a fucking weird experience that is. The Bride returns Franky’s affection with…Higher and Higher, you are slightly disappointed that The Statue of Liberty does not appear walking around  controlled by one on of the Blues Brothers with a Nintendo Entertainment System peripheral but are distracted by the Bride desperately trying to get sweaty footsore tourists to join in a group performance of said Jackie Wilson song because apparently Wilson didn’t say “I’m in heaven when you smile” he said “clap your hands and stamp your feet – come on!”, you feel a little bad for your new object of lust affection. 

Written by the team of Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, When a Man Loves A Woman was a number one hit in 1966 for Percy Sledge, who had a voice that could ring out laundry, a position also achieved by a version by Michael Bolton, who has a voice that makes me want to punch Michael Bolton, Bette Middler also had a hit with it in the 70s and it sounds exactly like you’d expect. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher was also a number 1 billboard smash, this time for Jackie Wilson, a man so good even notorious miserable bastard Kevin Rowland liked him, it was actually written by Chess Records’ in-house team of  Carl Smith & Raynard Miner for the Dells but their version wasn’t released and instead Wilson got the hit. Rita Coolidge ruined it one time but who cares because the Wilson version was used in Ghostbusters 2 as the song they use to please the mood slime and make a toaster dance and then make the Statue of Liberty bust into a New York Museum. Also, little titbit, I listened to it in a toilet a little while ago.     

What could possibly the finale you wonder? You don’t have to wait too long for the answer as the Bride is suddenly possessed by Harry Belafonte; yep they’re remaking the ‘Dayo’ scene from Beetlejuice with the Universal Monsters and Beetlejuice wearing one of these:

I have no idea what these are called. ‘Juice takes his puppets back to the bowls of hell as the monsters finish the references to the film by shaking to Jump in the Line, neither of these songs have amended lyrics. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) is a traditional Jamaican work song while Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora) was a song written by calypso legend Lord Kitchener but both are far better known for their Harry Belafonte versions (and advertising Trios), Jump in the Line wasn’t a single to my knowledge and was included on the 1961 album Jump Up Calypso but Banana Boat (Day-O) (as the song was titled on Belafonte’s version) was and reached number 5 in the US and number 2 in the UK. Of course both songs are included here because of their use in the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice, one during a dinner party and the other at the film’s end and end credits and even at this early date the Day-O dinner party possession scene had entered pop culture and become the film’s signature scene. 

The monsters take a bow and you clap enthusiastically, after posing for a picture they disappear backstage and people begin to leave immediately because tourists have no fucking patience and can’t even wait until the performers are off-screen. Your feet rested and your loins confused by undead stage performers you shuffle off out into the Floridian humidity and to the Back the Future ride. Making sure to thank the blog author who has wasted your time with nearly 4,000 words about something you could watch on YouTube for yourself, but at least you learnt who originally sung Hot Blooded and the Wolf Man’s song, it takes a good few steps before you stop and realise “hold on, the Creature From the Black Lagoon wasn’t in that!”


Monday 24 July 2017

AFB Best in Show: San Diego Comic Con 2017 (SDCC 2017)

Did I do a SDCC Best in Show last year?
I don’t think I did
Ok well welcome to AFB’s Best in Show for San Diego Comic Con 2017 where I basically become a child excitedly pointing and shouting “I want that, I want that, I want that” in Toys ‘R’ Us.  The highest profile comic convention of the year, SDCC is used by all sorts of companies as a play to revel upcoming wares (fyi looking forward to The Thinker turning up in the Flash TV show); this post is focussing on merchandise though. The items highlighted have been picked because I there is no question of me buying me them, I will then include a paragraph in italics about related reveals to make this a little more useful to anyone who stumbles on it. For full coverage of the reveals your best bet is to check Toyark, The Fwoosh, ToyNewsi and Pixel Dan’s YouTube channel. Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I want that, I want that, I want that

Ghostbusters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Playmates, Release TBD
Aaah! Aaaaah! Aaaaaaah! AAAHHH!!!
Ok I’m done, no, one more – AHHHHHH!!!
Ok so last year Playmates made a set of four figures that were mash-ups of the TMNT and WWE wrestlers, they were 6” scale and clearly aimed more at adults than children, we already know they’re doing a second wave of these and I’m still sore they mashed my favourite turtle (that’s Raphael) with perhaps my least favourite wrestler (that’s The Rock). This is the exact same thing but instead Playmates are mashing the Turtles with the film versions of the Ghostbusters – as far as I’m concerned this is two of the best things in the world being fused into one cavalcade of awesome but it actually makes a lot of sense. Both were obviously big 1980s properties with a lot of cross-over appeal thanks to 1980s kids and 80’s nostalgia (which is still a very milkable market) but the two were straight up contemporizes thanks to Ghostbusters 2 and the long-running Real Ghostbusters animated series. In fact TMNT were pretty much the next big thing that took Real Ghostbusters out1, Real Ghostbusters even made an episode spoofing the Turtles because they’re sore losers, of course the Turtles then put out an issue spoofing the Power Rangers because they’re sore losers too2. For me Ghostbusters and TMNT have always been closely connected because I played with the toys at the same time and often with each other, in fact Screaming Heroes Janine was my stand in for Irma for my whole childhood and of course I voted their comic book crossover from IDW into my top 30 TMNT stories because it’s that satisfying a crossover. I am of course going to be a massive nerdy prick and nitpick their choices – I would have thought a Raphael/Venkman would have been as obvious as the Egon/Donatello match up but for reasons that escape me they’d mashed Venkman with Mikey (because they’re both funny? It’s completely different humour form two completely different types of characters), I would have switched it up so you had Mike/Stantz, Raph/Venkman and Leo/Winston but fuck that negativity they’re coming with small transparent pack-in ghosts, just like the old Real Ghostbusters figures!  The nostalgia centre of my brain has exploded, brb.

image from ToyArk
The Dimension X Collection!
NECA, 2018
I didn’t bother with NECA’s original Video Game accurate TMNT sets because a) it was expensive and b) it didn’t really offer much, I did and still do want Shredder and Foot Soldier figures in 6” scale but I couldn’t justify spending the money on those characters at the time. This is different – this is Granitor’s first action figure, the first time we’ve had a close-to-cartoon accurate General Tragg and it includes Slash but more so our first collector’s figure of Slash. So this isn’t a case of ‘if’ but merely ‘when’, if this is going to be an con exclusive like last time I won’t be close to delighted but so be it, that said pleeeease don’t do it to me again NECA, please allow me to buy these normally for a lesser price, I’m a poor limey, please don’t make me pay that much for Granitor.  Incidentally I’m pleased to see the TMNT video game line continuing, I’m hoping for a new set of Turtles painted to replicate the original NES game, Bebop and Rocksteady and some of the exclusive characters like Aska, the Turtle Robot/False Brother and the two bosses they added for the NES version of TMNT: The Arcade Game but I don’t know if they’re owned by Konami or Viacom. Ooh tell ya what Neca, the Killer Pizzas were in one of the arcade games, that’d be nice, for Halloween maybe? Oh yeah a fourth figure will be part of this wave, it’ll probably be Krang won’t it? Fine by me.

Elsewhere NECA will be releasing a wave of Predators and Aliens based on the 1993 Aliens vs Predator arcade game and Robocop vs Terminator figures based on the comic book (the Frank Miller/Walt Simonson one) and they have a Guillermo del Toro Collection coming which’ll be six inch scale, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone are being represented at least (Pale Man, The Faun and Santi were shown) I’m pretty keen on these but I’ll leave it up to my wallet at the time of their release for if I buy more than the Devil’s Backbone figure, they’re set for early 2018, Santi for January. A Movie Shredder and Foot Soldier was confirmed for their big-ass TMNT movie line but weren’t shown (they were teased) and a Raphael in his trench coat, which pleases me because due to a massive comedy for errors my pre-order for the original Raphael got cancelled, now I can pre-order a better version! On that TMNT front they’re also producing replicas of Casey Jones’ hockey mask and the TGRI canister (that lights up) I want these but they’re potentially pricey, I’m sure the canister will end up mine at some point though, I am so about those canisters.   

Image from The Fwoosh
A Whole Bunch of Marvel Legends!
Hasbro, various
What the hell? Who gave Hasbro the right to do this? Some of the reveals still have the standard superhero issues: too much muscle definition, horrible faces, ugly obvious joints, but there’s a lot of good shit and by ‘good shit’ I mean ‘things that appeal to me personally and are executed in a way I find acceptable’. Hasbro are a bit shit at clearly marking what figure is going to come where and in what wave and so some of this is just tantalizing glimpses into an undetermined future and they really need to knock that shit off. We have quite possibly the best Cable figure ever made, this is fom roughly around the time of X-Cutioner’s Song and I can’t find a single flaw with it, even the gun is disproportionately huge and look at that flaring eye, delightful; we also have Domino in my favourite look for the character, the hip-joints and belt are a little bit shitty but I’m going to overlook that to own a figure of my favourite version of one of my favourite X-Characters, especially with such a pretty headsculpt (something that Hasbro regularly flubs, see their current Jim Lee Rogue and the newly revealed Black Widow for examples). The Lady Loki from the upcoming A-Force wave is perfect (well the display figure has derpy eyes I think but that won’t be a common problem, right Hasbro?); The retro packaging, based on the early days of Toy Biz’s Marvel Superheroes figures is a delight for someone my age, it can’t make that awful Captain America toaster head any nicer but it has convinced me to finally buy that Spider-Man and more importantly this wave (?) is going to include a nice early 1990s Punisher, no trench-coat, just a nice smooth black and white outfit with a nice head sculpt. Finally Songbird and Gwenpool - I’m pretty excited for both, Songbird’s long been my favourite Thunderbolts character (I have favourites for every team OK?) and this figure is really doing her justice, the face isn’t perfect but it’s better than Black Widow’s. Gwenpool however is spot-on and even though I’m a casual fan it’s such a good figure I might not be able to resist it if I come across one but given how impossible it’s been to get Spider-Gwen and Kamala Khan I’m not holding out hope of ever actually seeing the figure in-stores to temp me. 

From what I can gleam from Hasbro’s drip-feeding: Marvel Vintage will be the ones with the Toy Biz style packaging: it’s going to including Punisher, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine (brown costume), Black Widow and Spider-Man, it’s going to be a new line rather than a wave of Marvel Legends but I dunno if all of those characters are going to be in the same wave.  The Daedpool assortment is going to include Cable, Deadpool, Domino, Deathlock (looks pretty sweet) and X-23 (X-Force outfit). The Spider-Man assortment is going to include Spider-Punk, Gwenpool, Mysterio, The Lizard and oh my god aer you kidding me? Lasher, one of Venom’s ‘children’ from Venom: Lethal Protector, I couldn’t really give a shit about him but this means that Scream (the yellow girl one) is a possibility, please be so. Finally a new Black Panther wave will include Namor, Black Bolt and given her positioning in the display Songbird too. Apocalypse, Medusa, Mr Fantastic and Hydra grunts were also revealed but with no details, Mr Fantastic might be a store exclusive like his wife was. Being released a little sooner is the Thor movie assortment that and the A-Force assortment but we’ve seen those before I think. Mattel’s big WWE reveal (other than Kurt) was a fashion doll line called WWE Superstars [] that are in the same style DC Super Hero Girls including the small action figures to complement the full size fashion dolls – the likenesses are between so-so and terrible, I’m buying Bayley in both scales though.

Picture from Ringside Collectibles []
Image from Ringside Collectibles
Mattel Hasbro-Style WWE Figures Wave 2!
Mattel, Release TBD
These are flat out dream figures for me, Hasbro chucked the WWF licence in Vinnie Mac’s face in the aftermath of the mid-1990s steroids and sex scandals so one of the defining toys of my childhood was done before the Attitude Era was even a twinkle in Brian PIllman’s gun. That means that big stars from that era – for the sake of argument let’s say Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane and Triple H never got a figure despite the fact that Mankind and Kane were perfect for the Hasbro style figures. Up until this weekend it was an impossible dream, or at least the act of paying for average custom jobs, now it is a reality and my Hasbro WWF collection (which is huge) is going to feel that much more complete and I am genuinely delighted, especially because I wasn’t sure the first wave would have sold enough to continue. That wave’s line-up (Kevin Owens, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior) was exceptionally ill-suited to the Smarky target audience, especially as it included Smark hate figures Cena and Reigns3 and two characters who’d had official Hasbro WWF figures that are very easy to find for a lot less than the $10 retail price of the new figures.
My prediction was that the poor choice of figures (which was loudly complained about) would scuttle things before it got to do the what I felt they should be doing with the line: producing wrestlers who came just too early, just too late or were only at WCW or ECW at the time the line was out: the likes of Steve Austin, Mankind, Kane, Triple H, Sting, The Rock, Diesel, The New Age Outlaws, Goldberg, Diamond Dallas Page, Iron Sheik, Junkyard Dog or Rob Van Dam. Also adding women, they need to make a Miss Elizabeth for my three Macho Men from Hasbro. Also Rikishi because he’s actually Hasbro WWF figure shaped in real life. But my prediction was thankfully wrong and this is what they’re doing and starting with my three biggest Attitude Era wants to boot, you’ve made 40 quid Hasbro, look pleased.

KURT ANGLE! The first Mattel Kurt Angel! Otherwise on the six inch front we’re only getting a few characters I’m that bothered about, Alexa Bliss’ new figure is perfect, Becky Lynch finally has a nice headsculpt (instant buy) and were getting Mickie James and an awesome Mean Gene HOWEVER M.U.S.C.L.E. WWE Legends are allegedly coming winter 2017 (but Super7 are involved so don’t hold your breath). Super7 are making it all but Mattel are going to release it, the line-up is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Million Dollar Man, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Iron Sheik, Junkyward Dog, Andre the Giant, Sgt. Slaughter, Jake the Snake, Rick Flair, Mean Gene Oakerland and The Ultimate Warrior – pretty much all Superstars who were big around the same time M.U.S.C.L.E. was - I want these.

Image from ToyArk
Super 7 Masters of the Universe Classics Wave 2!
Super7, fuck knows
So there won’t be pre-orders for these any time soon because that’s how Super7 rolls (*sigh*) but the next waves of Masters of the Universe Classics and He-Man & The Masters of the Universe figures were shown in very early prototype form and they’re some sweet choices, I’ll try to be buying the H&MOTU line but this is mostly about the Classics wave. Stop it Super7, stop coming up with line-ups that mean I have to buy every one of your waves. Wave 2 is Wrap Trap, Karg, Dylamug and Granita (not shown) – shut up, and take my money. Karg, the last of three new villains to be added for the Masters of the Universe movie (yes, the one with Dolph and Courtney Cox) was thought to be an impossible dream by some fans because Mattel didn’t and almost certainly wouldn’t get the film rights (the owners of the film hate Mattel apparently) but judging by the colours scheme on the prototype it seems that the loop-hole some fans latched onto – that Karg had appeared in some comics – was real and now my Movie trio (with Blade and Saurod) will be complete – I’d say I can’t wait but I’ll have to it’s Super7 who move at the rough speed of very lethargic molasses (I’m kidding lads, you’re doing a great job so far – JUST GO FASTER!). Granita will also round off a trio – this time the core Comet Warriors (with Rokkon and Stonedar), shit I’ll have to get them out the boxes and back on the shelves, they take up so much space though the dicks. Finally I’ve wanted the Horde Mummy since I first found out about him, a mummy archetype for The Horde (who are already horror archetypes)? Yes please! And Dylamug’s ANOTHER Horde member, bulking out my favourite faction? Yes please! 

He-Man & The Mastres of the Unvierse Wave 2 will be Sorceress, Tung Lasher, Merman and Man-E-Faces (not shown), the Sorceress looks gorgeous. Iron Maiden, Robotech, Planet of the Apes and Alfred Hitchcock are coming to the ReAction line (Super7 took that over too after Funko dumped it), I will have to have Hitch’, the others I’ll wait and see how much money I have when they eventually go up for order/pre-order (I could be dead). Super7’s next MOTU vintage style wave is all Filmation versions – Hordak, He-Man, Skeletor and She-Ra, they had a falling out with the bloke who had the real Eldor prototype they were going to mould from so He-Ro and Eldor have been put back while they sculpt them from scratch.

And I’m done, I’m off to book myself in for open wallet surgery.

1 I say ‘pretty much’ because Christmas 1989 the big thing was in fact the Batman movie and it’s merchandise but that was very much a flash in the pan affair for that one holiday season while TMNT was the next big franchise and the one that took over from Real Ghostbusters as THE franchise for boys.
2 it was the Real Ghostbusters episode ‘Mean Green Teen Machine’ and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: The Year of the Turtle issue 1 fyi.

3 I liked that Roman Reigns figure even though I couldn’t give a fuck about Reigns and as the Hasbro line included any big star at the time as well as such luminaries as Skinner, Virgil, Repo Man and The Mountie I personally think that anyone is applicable for the Mattel line as well and in fact think they should be including the odd utter nobody to make it feel like the Hasbro line – Shockmaster for wave 3?

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Mondo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1:6 Scale Donatello (Mondo Exclusive version)

I’ve not been so good of late - you can tell when I’m not so good because my blog content either dries up or becomes really indulgent (well EVEN MORE really indulgent), depression and panic attacks have turned me into an unproductive slug filled with despair and pain. You know what I need? A huge Ninja Turtle to turn up in the post, that’d cheer me up a bit – well whaddya know!? Also: feel bad for me!

Donatello is the second of Mondo’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1:6 Scale Collectable Figures, 10-inch deluxe action figures based (mostly) on the TMNT comic books of old. The first was Leonardo and if you haven’t read my utterly spectacular Quick Crappy Review of that figure you can read it here, it’s probably best to give it a look over, not just because it’s utterly spectacular like all may amazing content (so much bullshit, so little time) but because this review’ll be referring to it a fair amount. Anyway Donatello was scheduled for release in Quarter 2 2016 and has arrived in Quarter 3 2017 so yeah, he’s a bit late – for whatever reasons Mondo have taken a year to ship these figures, things happen but it’s not a great start to their move into the world of 1:6 scale action figures and has severely damaged my trust in them (though they did get their Madballs out pretty fast). Anyway two versions of Donatello were available, a regular version and a deluxe version that came with an additional accessory but if you subscribed (so you got all four Turtles) you got the deluxe version for the price of the regular version, this is what I did.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Hyper Japan 2017 Edition!

It was Hyper Japan! The premiere anime, manga and Japanese culture convention for us in the South-East, I’ve been having heavy bouts of depression with long panic attacks and had to force myself to go but I’m so glad I did. It IS still being held at Tobacco Dock though, a place I likened last time to something like ‘a Hello Kitty store exploded in a survival horror location’: my opinion of the venue has not changed because the venue and layout has not changed – you still enter though a creepy underground carpark that looks like a test map from Left 4 Dead and Tobacco Dock itself is still filled with empty rooms, dead ends and dark corners and it’s still confusing as fuck to navigate without checking your map. There are – happily – no pyramid headed rapey executioners dragging huge knives, no one cosplayed as Pyramid Head this year (which is a good thing, because dressing up as Red Pyramid is fucked up in many ways).

I had an awesome time regardless, I cosplayed for once (I was a wizard dressed all in pink, I looked fabulous, no you can’t see a picture) which generally makes me more approachable than my usual ‘scowling bald man all in black’ look (I can’t help it! Some people have resting bitch face I have resting you can’t come in here in those shoes mate face) and so chatted to many other nerds, some dressed up, some may have been or they just might have been really stylish in general -  I even got to hang out with Nick Wylde and Judy Hopps for a while. I get a bit nervous around and when I get nervous I can overcompensate so I apologize to anyone who had an experience akin to a pink hurricane blowing past. I did feel a bit sparse this time around, I know there are always less sellers than at the Christmas Market because, well, that’s a Christmas Market themed convention but I still could have done with some more stalls and they REALLY needed some more food stalls but even if the convention had been utter crap objectively and it really fucking wasn’t - multiple stages, game rooms and panel rooms were all there to enjoy, I think there was a rave room too, what as that place? Even if it was crap objectively my friend’s infectious enthusiasm would have made sure I came out of my funk long enough to enjoy myself, we were all dressed up (except Dan, tit) and all themed (Fairy Tail, judge as applicable) and everyone was so up, it was a good time and a welcome break from mental and physical exhaustion (FEEL BAD FOR ME). I never do too much shopping at Hyper Japan events because it lacks the variety of crap LFCC and (to a lesser extent) MCM have on offer but I still got enough to squeeze an Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On post out – aren’t you delighted?

Your background for these is an awesome sketch of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit  my friend bought for me from Disney World. Just to clarify: it HAS been up on my wall, I took it took it down for the new windows to be put in and haven't put it back yet. 

Smego Squirtle!
A Present! (£6/$7.86 I think)
Oh no sorry it’s a LNO Squirtle, because that’s less like ‘Lego’ than ‘Smego’. This is the first thing I bought (well it was bought for me – thanks Natsu!) because how can anyone resist this? They had all three Gen 1 Starters too so if you’re more in the Bulbasaur or Charmander camps then they had your impulse buy covered too. I’m a Squirtle man, it was the Squirtle Squad that sealed the deal for me, a bunch of hoodlum squirrel turtles who had no fucks to give and wore glasses stolen from Mouser from Super Mario Bros 2? I didn’t want to raise a Squirtle after that, I wanted to be one and then it evolves into Thor Turtle and then a fucking tank. I like Bulbasaur and Charizard is undeniably badass but it’s just Squirtle has my heart.
Anyway I have one of these for Sonic and for Raphael and they’re a bitch to put together if you have hands as huge as mine, imagine King Kong trying to pick up a Jack Russel and you have an idea of what it’s like for me to build these, but it’ll be worth if for Squirtle. I need to get an Umbreon one of something like that so I can make little sunglasses for him, I bet they make one for the demon from Death Note (*Googles*… …. He’s called Ryuk), he has enough black to make Mouser sunglasses out of, surely?   

Wednesday 12 July 2017

X-Looks III: My Favourite Jean Grey Costumes

I there wasn't gonna be another of these for a specific X-Character: I have the theory that these are more fun for me to work out and write than they are for other people to read and I didn’t think I ‘needed’ to do another one as I thought I had one definitive look I prefer for the remaining X-Characters (or at least only one or two) but that turned out to not be the case for Jean Grey, fucking gingers.
Me and Jean Grey have never been close, Rogue’s my favourite X-Man and Storm is (for me) the hottest X-Man but I’ve always been kind of ‘whatever’ on Jean: I don’t dislike her and she (or the Phoenix Force posing as her) has had some great moments but I wouldn’t say I like her either, she’s always just kind of ‘been there’ for me. I also don’t find her very attractive, in fact I think she’s kind of uninteresting physically speaking - This is odd as I’m a massive ’redophile’ and find gingers to be the most attractive breed of white people1 but for Jean the only time I found her attractive (and not just one of her outfits) is very recently when she was played by Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse) and as fine an actress as Turner is (and as pretty as she is) I think she’s a terrible bit of casting, mostly because she looks very little like Jean Grey, or at least 616 Jean Grey (and Evolution Jean Grey too now I think about it), so what I’m saying is the only time I found Jean Grey attractive is when she didn’t look like Jean Grey. Oh the reason that’s not on the list? I don’t like her black costume; I did like her ‘graduation’ costume (that’s based on the Jim Lee designed Mutant Genesis/X-Men ’92 cartoon look) a lot more but not enough to get it on the list. So I don’t really care either way for Jean Grey as a character and I don’t fancy her, and yet I have a whole bunch of looks I like for her, I wonder if that’s more likely (because I don’t have strong feelings on her) or less so (because I don’t have strong feelings on her)?

Anyway Jean Grey is a bit complicated: Jean Grey is one of the original X-Men and one of Professor X’s first students (the fifth to officially join). As a kid her powers kicked in just as her best friend was about to be run over by a car, physically ‘in her mind’ at the time of her death, Jean spent some time in a coma before joining the X-Men. Jean Grey sacrificed herself to save the All-New All Different X-Men and some allies and pilot them through cosmic rays2, during this an extra-terrestrial sentient force called The Phoenix Force came to her, took her form and left her in Jamaica Bay to heal (the cosmic rays having already began to kill her), this Phoenix was seduced and driven unstable by Mastermind and became Dark Phoenix, killed a planet then sacrificed herself on the moon. After this the force tried to return what it took from Jean but she rejected it, so it found the next best thing, a clone of Jean Mister Sinister was working who became Madelyn Prior. By the time Jean was eventually found in Jamaica Bay by the Avengers, Cyclops had married Madelyn and had a child (who became Cable) however due to a series of events3 the two split up, Prior lost it and became the Goblin Princess and died and then the memories of both Prior and the Phoenix Force as Jean Grey were returned to Jean. Jean and Cyclops got together proper, married and got stuck in the future helping to raise Cyclops’ son, then were the X-Men’s golden couple until Cyclops sacrificed himself to save X-Man, merged with Apocalypse and then came back with some serious emotional problems, Jean was then killed by ‘Magneto’ after tapping into the Phoenix Force herself. So are you…WAKE UP!....are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:

6. X-Men: The Movie Action Figure (Version 1)
Debut: X-Men: The Movie (Toy Biz)
So this was a big deal for about two minutes in 2000 but 2000 fell right in the deepest recess of THE DARK TIMES™ when I was a comic book fanboy extraordinaire. So it looms large in what’s left of my fragmented memories of this time so this particular look for Jean Grey has become somewhat big to me. The controversy was that when Jean Grey, Storm and the Jean Grey pack-in figure that came with Cyclops were released they had a huge plunging cleavage and Toy Biz thought it was a bit much so they revised them to have a painted-on bra and then eventually to have a new torso (and head, well except the pack-in Jean, that stayed with just the painted on bra). It was a big deal for a short while with collectors scrambling to get the ‘no bra’ versions and was reported on in magazines like Wizard and Toyfare and I actually found a no-bra Jean in-store during a holiday to Chicago that year (it was in a regular toy shop, I still have it carded3). Even though this controversy surrounded both Storm and Jean I associate it more with Jean, probably because she had two figures altered, probably because she was usually the one pictured probably because my third probably because; probably because the change was more noticeable on Jean Grey’s figure thanks to costume design and pose (her chest is kind of thrust out). Because this loomed so large at an impressionable point of my life when I was very focussed on collecting I genuinely think of this figure first 8/10 times when people mention Jean Grey and have grown to have great affection for it.
That’s basically why it’s here, why it’s so low is because I just don’t like Famke Janssen’s casting as Jean Grey and never have, facially she is just completely wrong for all artwork of Jean Grey up to that point (I think they were trying to match her to John Byrne’s drawing of the character if they were trying to match her at all?). I think Famke Janssen is gorgeous, please don’t think this is a knock on Famke Janssen’s looks nor for that matter her acting ability or her ability to pull off being a psychic Mutant acting-wise, it’s just that looks-wise she looks nothing like Jean Grey and it affects my opinion of the look overall. It probably shouldn’t - this is Jean Grey in another universe after all – but at this point it does so it helps it dictate the placing: that and I basically like it by association, because it was the outfit worn by a controversial and noteworthy toy.

Monday 10 July 2017

5 Things I Saw At Pride in London 2017

So me and a friend went to Pride in London which was held last Saturday (the 8th), I got to be the token heterosexual and it was very fun indeed. If you’re wondering why a completely heterosexual man would go to Pride the answer is a) because my friend asked me and b) a show of support, plain and simple. I do support being out, being proud of it and being able to be so and I am more than happy to turn up and show this by my presence, by my complete nonchalance and by occasionally hugging very muscular men in nothing but shiny mock-leather thongs and rainbow body paint. Actually I’m happy to show my support to anything by hugging anyone, I just like hugging.
For a bit of history nicked from Wikipedia: London Pride has been going since 1972 (though technically 1970) that’s usually held around the first weekend in July, a time chosen because it was the closest Saturday to the Stonewall Riots, an American uprising of Gay and Lesbian New Yorkers after the police raided the Stonewall Inn. It has evolved from a very militant thing to an all day party and I know its drawn accusations of selling out. I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I did grow up being ostracized and beaten up but it was for other things, so I don’t know what right I have to comment but fuck it it’s my blog so: my feelings are: being yourself is worth celebrating as much as fighting for so either should be available at Pride and it is: there are still slogans all over the place and still organisations in the parade that aren’t there to shill for supermarkets AND there are crowds of half-cut people out dancing in the streets to some surprisingly listenable techno cuts and, having a bit of an interest in modern history, especially the 1950s upwards, I am somewhere between pleased and amazed that we’re got to the point where it’s seen to be better for a company’s image to support Pride than to not to.
Anyway I had a fucking great time and I clearly wasn’t alone in that, the event attracts around a million people and easily 80% of them were delighted of course 60% of them were pissed but... anyway here are five random awesome things that I came into contact with, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:

Rainbow Ice-Cream!
This was a special, put on by a shop called Yorica! - which is a free from shop with a branch in Soho. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan and have no allergies or moral issues with eating anything - I’d eat human if it came curried - and shops like Yorica are very expensive BUT if you tell me that 1) there’s a promotional food item on sale and 2) it’s fucking rainbow then my ass is there. For all I know you can now mix sorbet and ice-cream perfectly with today’s new-fangled technology but if you can’t then eating this is the experience that would give you if it were possible, it was teeth-shatteringly sweet and reminded me of the time I crushed a whole packet of Refreshers and put it all in my mouth (we won’t go into why shall we?) – none of these observations are to be taken as a negative; it was good ice-cream.

Sunday 9 July 2017

X-Looks: My Favourite Storm Costumes

Toldja I’d do Storm
The point of these is that unlike many other characters where I have a definite preference for one look or costume there are some characters there’s a bunch I like with only very small gaps in preference between them and thus I made them into a countdown for my own benefit and amusement and I’m sharing it with you because you don’t get a choice, cool? This is truer for the X-Men’s Storm than just about any other character I can think of. When I internally debate such things the same thing happens: I think of my number one then in brief succession all the rest and end up with a pile of favourites.
So Storm is a Mutant with the ability to control the weather (except for the time she lost her powers for a while), her mother was Kenyan and her father was African-American but she was orphaned at a young age and grew up in Cairo as a child thief before being worshipped as a weather goddess by a small Serengeti tribe (as you do). She joined the X-Men in Giant Size X-Men 1 as part of the big All-New All-Different X-Men shake-up (which also introduced Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus to the team) and has stayed with them pretty much since except for a while when a racial supremacist married her off to Black Panther. After Cyclops quit the team following Jean Grey’s ‘death’ Storm became leader of the group and even fought and bested her predecessor to remain in the role, when he eventually returned about a decade later she became leader of the X-Men Gold Squad and still leads squads when the writers remember to have her do so. Storm was long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont’s favourite and he was VERY unsubtle about this in the pages of the books he wrote, as such Storm has a LONG history of being very badass and having villains fall for her, now it’s just an established fact in and out of universe that Storm is made of pure awesome. Rogue’s my favourite X-Man but Storm’s probably the X-Man character I fancy the most on a purely physical level so I’m going to really try and make this not too pervy but even if I fail: know that I have never (allegedly) paid a woman to dress up like Storm and do very rude things to me so at the very least I’m still less pervy than Chris Claremont. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being.         

7. Outback
Debut: Uncanny X-Men issue 230
There is one reason for me liking this costume so much, it’s not a very good reason but it is the definite reason why I’m so into this look: it’s the outfit used for Storm’s first action figure in the original wave of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. I have a huge (some might say disproportionately huge) respect for the first two waves of X-Men toys, because there’s a crudeness, a toyness to them that I find very charming but also because they’re the start of it all, a pretty blatant case of ‘first instalment wins’ and y’know what? I don’t think some characters (Cyclops, Sauron, Weapon X, Blue & Yellow Wolverine, Iceman and Colossus) have ever been done better. So yeah its…hmm…how to put it?... it’s number 7 by association.