Venganza Media Gazette

Tech, TV, Movies, Games, and More

SDCC 2018 Exclusive Reveal! Entertainment Earth Deadpool with Baby Cable!


Entertainment Earth has a huge selection of exclusives at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International.  Now Marvelicious Toys is excited to bring you the exclusive reveal of their next item: The Deadpool with Baby Cable Wooden Push Puppet!

These Push Puppets stand like wooden figures, but when you push the bottom they crumble to the ground. Release the button, they stand back up again.  (Pump the button to make them dance!)

This baby Cable/Deadpool combination is a fan favorite from the “House of M” storyline, plus Deadpool popularity is ever-higher thanks to this summer’s Deadpool 2 co-starring Cable!

The Push Puppet is limited to only 1,500 pieces–each one has an individually number holographic sticker. And it is only $8.99

If you’re going to SDCC you can get this at the Entertainment Earth booth #2343.  If you’re not going to the show, you can place an order now at Entertainment Earth’s site and, if you’re lucky like Domino (meaning if any are left after SDCC), you may be able to get your hands on one!

June 25, 2018 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | Comments Off on SDCC 2018 Exclusive Reveal! Entertainment Earth Deadpool with Baby Cable!

Toy Fair 2018 Roundup — Dimond Select Toys’ Marvel Selects, Minimates, Gallery Statues, and More

Diamond Select Toys have long been the go-to company for Marvel fans who like highly-articulated, finely detailed figures with their Marvel Select line.  And for fans of articulated mini-figs, the Diamond Select Minimates are up to Assortment 76!

But the past couple of years Diamond has expanded their Marvel offerings with the Diamond Gallery PVC statue line and the Marvel Milestones statue line, and this will leave collectors like me with a problem:  not enough space for all the cool things they have coming!

Check out all the items in the video below, and see detailed photos in our gallery!


March 1, 2018 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Toy Fair 2018 Roundup — Dimond Select Toys’ Marvel Selects, Minimates, Gallery Statues, and More

Toy Fair 2018 Roundup — Marvel & Movies Come to Life with Mezco

The clear winner of Best in Show for Toy Fair 2018 is Mezco.  Their One:12 series of Marvel figures is entering its third year, and Mezco unveiled some truly awesome and surprising upcoming releases!

On display at the Javitz center were some figures we’d seen before at San Diego Comic-Con, such as the Gladiator Hulk and Thor from Thor: Ragnarok, and the Spider-Man in his homemade suite from Homecoming.  New additions to the line however include Black Panther with his movie-style outfit. The silver accents and the detail in the black outfit really make this six-inch figure stand out!

Also new in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was revealed Hela–Mezco’s first female Marvel One:12 figure!  She comes with her large headdress and a Cate Blanchett likeness that is downright perfect.  My only hope for this figure would be an alternate head (or variant released) without the helmet.

Similarly, in the Marvel Television Universe, three figures were shown. Daredevil is coming in both his Season One black outfit and his season two red. And also from Daredevil Season Two (and his own series) comes The Punisher. He is wearing an armored chestplate, and has an amazing beat-up Jon Bernthal likeness.

For comic-based Marvel fans, though, there was some real excitement! Revealed at the show were two new mutant figures, Cyclops and his son from the future, Cable!  Cyclops is in his classic yellow-and-blue outfit, and the soft goods fit the figure perfectly. The shade of blue is spot-on with the ’90s version of the character.

Cable is on a much larger buck than usual, and has more solid plastic than soft goods from what I could see. The robotic arm has incredible sculpting detail, and he is a good size to stand among your other One:12 figures without dwarfing them!

Finally, for horror movie fans of Now Playing Podcast some of Mezco’s horror line of One:12 figures were revealed. They continued their look into the many iterations of Jason (leaving me hoping for a Jason X in the near future!), plus Michael Myers and Ash from Evil Dead 2.  I did ask if a Pinhead might be joining this One:12 series soon. Mezco has the Hellraiser rights (as shown with their large figure and fuzzy-dice puzzle boxes).  Drake could not confirm Pinhead being slated for the line, but he gave me hope stating, “I’m not saying no…”

Two surprising reveals included John Wick–with an uncanny Keanu Reeves likeness.  With the third film, and a TV series, in production there seem to be several companies looking to light the fuse on this new action star.

Plus–in the single most incredible valut-pull I saw at Toy Fair, they are making a One:12 figure of Diabolik from the 1968 film Danger: Diabolik! This is a movie championed in Now Playing’s book Underrated Movies we Recommend and to see the John Phillip Law character realized in six inches was nothing short of astonishing.

Check out our video and photo coverage of Mezco below, and be sure to follow Marvelicious Toys for updates and reviews as these products start to ship!

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, Movies, Movies & Television, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , | Comments Off on Toy Fair 2018 Roundup — Marvel & Movies Come to Life with Mezco

New Podcast: Star Wars Action News Episode 499: The Last Jedi Roundtable

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Marjorie Carvalho, Daryl Whitlow, Andrew Harrison, Justin Kozisek, Curtis Stevenson, Steve Nixon, and Chris.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi has earned a billion dollars, is loved by critics, but also seems to divide fans online. Now the Star Wars Action News team comes together to give their reviews–and they’re divided as well. Join them to find out where the common ground lies, and their excitement for Solo in this new Star Wars Action News podcast!

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, Movies & Television, News, Now Playing Podcast, Star Wars Action News | Comments Off on New Podcast: Star Wars Action News Episode 499: The Last Jedi Roundtable

New Podcast – Star Wars Action News Episode 495: Summer ’17 Cons: D23 & SDCC

Hosted by Marjorie Carvalho, Arnie Carvalho, Justin Kozisek, and Daryl Whitlow

Force Friday is a few short weeks away and (aside from a few leaks) Star Wars fans have little idea what to expect. But some news was had at the two big Star Wars events in July — D23 and SDCC!

On this new Star Wars Action News podcast Daryl joins Arnie and Marjorie to bring first-hand accounts from both conventions. Find out about the exclusives, the reveals, and more!
Source: Star Wars Action News


August 14, 2017 Posted by | Conventions, Movies & Television, Podcasts, Star Wars Action News | | Comments Off on New Podcast – Star Wars Action News Episode 495: Summer ’17 Cons: D23 & SDCC

Star Wars Collecting Sites Join Forces for Star Wars Celebration Patch Giveaway

Star Wars Collecting Fan Sites and Podcasts have again combined Forces at 2017’s Star Wars Celebration Orlando!

Visit the Celebration Collecting Track Social Lounge (Room W305) to meet  the faces behind top Star Wars collecting sites and receive and get exclusive swag!

Jedi Business (, Jedi News (, Jedi Temple Archives (, Star Wars Action News (, and This Week in Star Wars ( each will be on hand to greet fellow collectors, and during their slots they will be giving out one piece of a six-part patch set featuring vintage Star Wars action figures.  

The 6th patch is being given away by the Celebration Collecting Track Social Lounge itself.  These patches will be randomly given away through the Collecting Track social media. Participants in the Collecting Track’s Collection Re-Collections: Your Star Wars Story video project will also receive this 6th patch piece.  Details on this program are at

Collect all 6 patches to assemble a puzzle featuring all 12 characters from the first wave of Kenner figures released nearly 40 years ago!

The Scheduled Meet-And-Greet times are below.  The first 300 people at each Meet-And-Greet are guaranteed that site’s patch. Plus, for those who miss out on the meet-and-greets, the sites will be randomly giving away 10 patches each day to Celebration attendees.  Follow the sites on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for details how to win!


March 31, 2017 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kristy Swanson Signed Our ‘Deadly Friend’ DVD and You Could Win It!

Kristy Swanson signs cover of "Deadly Friend" DVD

Kristy’s autograph on the “Deadly Friend” DVD cover.

We fired a lot of basketballs at “Deadly Friend” during our Fall Donation Series, but Now Playing Podcast will always have love for its star, Kristy Swanson. She’s our first Buffy. She’s Christie Boner. She’s the mannequin in “Mannequin Two!”

Kristy proved she’s also a friend of the show by signing our “Deadly Friend” DVD at Days of the Dead Chicago, and now it could be yours!

Enter to win the signed DVD by going to the Now Playing Podcast forums and leaving a post about one of the 16 films in our Fall Donation Series. Supporters have heard us review all five films in “The Fly” series and our “Horror of ’86” reviews will lead into our “Re-Animator” retrospective before year’s end. Tell us which of the films we’ve covered is your favorite and why, and you could be our winner!

The contest runs through Dec. 31, when our donation series comes to an end, and a winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. You don’t have to be a donor to participate, so don’t miss your chance to win!


November 19, 2016 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

NYCC Update – Dark Horse Announces Programming Schedule


Dark Horse Comics will be at New York Comic Con 2016 in Booth 1636.

They have announced both their signing and their panel schedules for the convention.

All creators signing in the Dark Horse booth offer their autographs for FREE. FREE prints, comics, or posters are provided for most of thier signings (while supplies last). You may purchase or bring items to be signed; however, they may restrict the type or number of items to be signed as necessary.

Some signings require a wristband for entry, as noted on the schedule. Drawings for wristbands for these events will begin at show opening the day before and day of each signing. Come to the Dark Horse booth early for the best chance to join these events.

Lines may also be closed for some signings due to crowding or time restrictions.

There will be two signing stages. One features art by Mike Mignola for Hellboy; the other showcases The Legend of Zelda with art from the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts. The location of each signing is indicated by the following abbreviations:

HB = Hellboy Signing Stage  LZ = The Legend of Zelda Signing Stage

All events are subject to change. Some restrictions apply. Please see Dark Horse Comics staff if you have questions.


11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.   HB    CHIMICHANGA #1 NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Buscema

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.   LZ    CREEPY: Dan Braun

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.       HB    HALO: TALES FROM SLIPSPACE: Frank O’Connor, Tyler Jeffers,                                                                                                                                 Jon Goff, Marco Rudy, John Jackson Miller

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.       HB    TREE MAIL: Brian Smith

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.       LZ     SEMIAUTOMAGIC, ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR, GRINDHOUSE, SMOKE/ASHES: Alex de Campi

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       HB    MASS EFFECT: Mac Walters

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       LZ     LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS: Jim Calafiore

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       HB    THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEK GIRLS: Hope Nicholson, Adrienne Kress,                                                                                                                            Fionna Adams

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       LZ     THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEK GIRLS: Megan Lavey-Heaton,                                                                                                                                            Kristen Gudsnuk, Tini Howard

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.      HB     BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Rebekah Isaacs
5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.      LZ      CRYPTOCRACY: Van Jensen



11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.   HB      BUFFY: THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, MISFITS OF AVALON: Kel McDonald

11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.   LZ       ALABASTER: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BIRD, SPACE-MULLET!, THE GHOST FLEET: Daniel Warren Johnson

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.   HB      HELLBOY: INTO THE SILENT SEA: Gary Gianni

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.   LZ       ABE SAPIEN: Max Fiumara

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.       HB      ALEISTER & ADOLF: Douglas Rushkoff

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.       LZ       THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY: Vivek J. Tiwary

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.       HB      THE BATTLES OF BRIDGET LEE, NANJING: THE BURNING CITY: Ethan Young

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.       LZ       TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES: David Walker

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       HB      THE SHAOLIN COWBOY,  THE BIG GUY AND RUSTY THE BOY ROBOT: Geof Darrow

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       LZ       APOCALYPTIGIRL: Andrew MacLean

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       HB      FIGHT CLUB 2, B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH,  SIN TITULO: Cameron Stewart

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       LZ      ASTRID, ALENA, THE COMPLETE LOVE HURTS: Kim W. Andersson

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.       HB      THE MASSIVE, THE MASSIVE: NINTH WAVE: Brian Wood, Garry Brown

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.       LZ       PROMETHEUS: LIFE AND DEATH, REBELS: Andrea Mutti



11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.    HB     ASTRID, ALENA, THE COMPLETE LOVE HURTS: Kim W. Andersson

11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.    LZ      NEIL GAIMAN’S TROLL BRIDGE: Colleen Doran

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.   LZ      HOUSE OF PENANCE, LIGHT BRIGADE, THE MIGHTY: Peter Tomasi

1:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.       HB     SIN CITY: THE HARD GOODBYE CURATOR’S COLLECTION: Frank Miller

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       HB      CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III: Larry Hama

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.       LZ       BUFFY: THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, MISFITS OF AVALON: Kel McDonald

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       HB      THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY: Vivek J. Tiwary

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       LZ       PROJECT TBA, LARA CROFT AND THE FROZEN OMEN, DEEP GRAVITY: Corinna Bechko

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.       HB      BRIGGS LAND, REBELS: Brian Wood, Andrea Mutti
ALIENS: DEFIANCE: Brian Wood, Tristan Jones

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.       LZ       PROJECT TBA: Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer



11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.    HB     SOUPY LEAVES HOME: Jose Pimienta

11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.    LZ      CHIMICHANGA #1 NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Buscema

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.    HB     HENCHGIRL: Kristen Gudsnuk

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.    LZ      TOMB RAIDER: Phillip Sevy

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.        HB     ITTY BITTY HELLBOY, AW YEAH COMICS!,   GRIMMISS ISLAND: Art Baltazar, Franco

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.        LZ      MYSTERY GIRL: Alberto J. Alburquerque

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.        HB     KINGSWAY WEST: Greg Pak

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.        LZ      TREE MAIL: Brian Smith





War stories have long been a tradition in comic books. From their birth during WWII to the late 1980s with military stories like G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, they have continually evolved. War comics switched perspective to the men deep in the conflict in War Stories and the new series World of Tanks: Roll Out. Join the expert panel of war comic scribes Garth Ennis (World of Tanks: Roll Out), Larry Hama (G.I. Joe), and Ethan Young (Nanjing: The Burning City) to explore the war comics tradition.

4:15 p.m.–5:15 p.m.      ASIAN AMERICAN COMICS AND CULTURE (Room 1A05)

For years, Asian comics creators have been doing incredible work furthering the medium of sequential art. With Eisner Award–winning storytelling and phenomenal artistic expression, Asian-Pacific Americans have begun a movement within the comic business. Join Greg Pak (Kingsway West), Ethan Young (Nanjing: The Burning City), and Vivek Tiwary (The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story) for a fascinating conversation on embracing Asian culture in comics, moderated by YouTube personality Shyaporn Theerakulstit.


5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m.      DARK HORSE CLASSIFIED FEATURING AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER                                                                                                                                                           (Room 1A18)

The can’t-miss Dark Horse panel of NYCC 2016! Join Dark Horse for the first word on Avatar news and announcements—and even a surprise or two!


3:45 p.m.–4:45 p.m.       THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEK GIRLS: LIVE (Room 1A24)

Join editor Hope Nicholson and an all-star lineup of female writers and illustrators, including Adrienne Kress, Fionna Adams, Kristen Gudsnuk, Meaghan Carter, Megan Lavey-Heaton, and Tini Howard, to discuss their Kickstarter sensation! The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a nonfiction anthology mixing prose, comics, and illustrated stories on the lives and loves of an amazing cast of female creators. Featuring work by some of the most prominent women in the industry, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a compilation of tales told from both sides of the tables: from the fans who love video games, comics, and sci-fi to those that work behind the scenes as creators and industry insiders.


September 25, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, News | Comments Off on NYCC Update – Dark Horse Announces Programming Schedule

Pre-Order Marvel Exclusives! One:12 Shadowland Daredevil and Sideshow’s Wolverine/Hulk Maquette plus X-Men Legends

A couple exclusive Marvel collectibles have gone up for order in the past couple das, and collectors should act fast if they want these items!
First, from Mezco’s One:12 line of highly detailed 6-inch figures in soft goods — their New York Comic-Con 2016 exclusive Marvel figure is up for order! It is Shadowland Daredevil. This shows ol’ Horn Head as he appeared in the 2010 comics, with his harder attitude and black outfit.
This went up for pre-order yesterday and was marked Sold Out in just a couple hours, but it is back up for order now.  If you’re not going to NYCC, or if you’re going but don’t want to risk missing out, you can pre-order the figure now!
Second, Sideshow has a Hulk-ing item ready for order: The huge Wolverine vs Hulk maquette.  I saw this at San Diego Comic-Con and was astonished by how large it is…the 23-inch height listed doesn’t convey the massive feel of this statue. It pits Wolverine vs Hulk, and if you get the exclusive edition you also get a swap-out Wolverine head.  This other portrait shows how he looked in his very first appearance in Incredible Hulk 181
Finally, Marvelicious Toys supporter has two waves of Legends I thought I’d mention.  First, they have the X-Men Legends Wave in stock and ready to ship in under 24 hours, with free shipping!  Also up for pre-order is the Dr. Strange Legends wave (I ordered mine yesterday to hopefully be one of the first to get those figures!)

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pre-Order Marvel Exclusives! One:12 Shadowland Daredevil and Sideshow’s Wolverine/Hulk Maquette plus X-Men Legends

NOW LIVE – Hasbro’s SDCC 2016 Exclusive Toys

SDCC exclusives 2016Up for order right now are Hasbro’s 2016 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive toys!

If you want them, read the rest of this article later.  Go now to Hasbro’s order page and try to get yours!

Hasbro updated their Hasbro Toy Shop site in the early hours of Aug 9, 2016 listing all the SDCC exclusive toys that are now available.  They listed them as “Out of Stock” so orders were held until the allotted time.  Many of our listeners let us know they thought they had missed out on this sale and have already gone to eBay.

But now the items are online!  Up for sale are:

Star Wars:

  • Black Series 6-Inch Obi-Wan Kenobi Pack  Sold Out at 10:22 am CST
  • Black Series 6-Inch Kylo Ren Pack Sold Out at 10:49 am CST
  • Black Series 6-Inch Sergeant Jyn Erso Pack  Sold Out at 10:10 am CST


  • The Collector’s Vault 3.75-inch Legends Figure Set (with Howard the Duck!!)
  • The Raft 6-inch Legends Figure Set  Sold Out at 12:50pm CST


  • Generations Titans Return Titan Force Set
  • Generation Titans Return Titan Class Fortress Maximus (Convention Edition)
  • Evolution Soundwave (Convention Exclusive Featuring Tablet Mode)


  • My Little Pony DIscord and Fluttershy Set
  • Micronauts Comic Con Set
  • Visionaries: Knight of the Magical Light Mighty Muggs
  • Magic the Gathering 20166 SDCC Exclusive Set
  • Yo-Kai Watch Jewelnyan


So hurry to Hasbro Toy Shop and get your orders in fast! Some of these products (Magic the Gathering, all 3 Star Wars figures, and the 6-Inch Marvel Legends set for sure) won’t last long!


Good Luck

August 9, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NOW LIVE – Hasbro’s SDCC 2016 Exclusive Toys

Samsung Partners with Warner Bros. Pictures for Suicide Squad VR Experience – Premiering at SDCC

52bd85acb6f44f2ed54f4905d41cd5fcToday, Samsung announced its partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures to bring exclusive virtual reality (VR) content and experiences to fans of the highly anticipated film Suicide Squad.

The VR content, which Samsung will debut at Co
mic-Con 2016 along with other Suicide Squad-themed immersive experiences, transports viewers into a scene from the film and features their favorite characters like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara).

Using Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, the VR content will debut at San Diego Comic-Con on July 21.  It will transport fans into the world of Suicide Squad, experiencing what it’s like being a member of the Squad and watching their favorite characters, like Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Katana, in a scene from the film.  It will be available on August 5 on Samsung VR, the brand’s premium virtual reality content service.

“Suicide Squad is one of the most anticipated films of the year and we’re thrilled to team up with Warner Bros. in this innovative way,” said Marc Mathieu, Samsung Electronics America’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Connecting with fans through immersive VR and 360 storytelling and breakthrough experiences gives Samsung yet another opportunity to explore how our technology can enhance popular culture.”

Gene Garlock, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Promotional Alliances and Partnerships, Warner Bros. Pictures, stated, “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Samsung Electronics via such a broad and inventive partnership.  Our collective aim is to reward fans of the property both in the consumer market and by giving them the chance to immerse themselves in a virtual environment alongside the Suicide Squad characters in a most realistic and exciting way.”

Samsung will provide fans exclusive content and experiences throughout the summer, including:

Nationwide Retail Promotion

Fans who purchase a Samsung Galaxy tablet* at leading retailers, will receive two tickets to see Suicide Squad when it opens in theaters August 5. The national retail promotion will run from July 15 through August 20, or while supplies last.  For more information and a list of participating retailers, please visit

San Diego Comic-Con

At San Diego Comic-Con from July 21 through 24, Samsung will help bring the film to life by transforming the Samsung Experience into a real-life Suicide Squad experience. The Belle Reve penitentiary, the high security prison in which the Suicide Squad themselves are held, will be recreated in the space and fans will have the chance to take part in immersive film-themed experiences, such as getting a custom tattoo in Harley Quinn’s tattoo parlor.

Attendees will have the option to ‘Join the Squad’, an interactive feature which enables them to create their own Suicide Squad character and generate a short video of themselves to share on their social channels. Fans can then create their own personalized skulls using the icon generator to live print them on their own exclusive t-shirt. In addition to the exclusive VR content debuting at Comic-Con, cast members will make an appearance in the space.


US Premiere

Samsung will celebrate the movie as an official partner for the U.S. premiere of Suicide Squad on August 1 in New York City, including the after-party.  Samsung will create interactive experiences throughout the space to give attendees a chance to immerse themselves into the film using Samsung technology. Select Galaxy owners will also get exclusive red carpet access and a chance to see the film first.

Programming at Samsung 837

To coincide with the movie’s world premiere in New York City, Samsung 837, the brand’s experiential flagship where technology and culture collide in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, will feature special Suicide Squad VR content in the flagship’s VR Tunnel throughout the week of August 1.

*Qualifying devices are:  Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, Samsung Galaxy View and Samsung Galaxy Tab ProS



July 15, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , | Comments Off on Samsung Partners with Warner Bros. Pictures for Suicide Squad VR Experience – Premiering at SDCC

Pre-Order Alert: Mezco SDCC Exclusive Captain America One:12 Collective Figure



Mezco’s SDCC 2016 exclusives are up for pre-order now!

In addition to a Dawn of Justice Armored Batman and a plush Thundercats Snarf, they have their Classic Captain America One:12 Collective 6-inch figure.  If you’re not going to SDCC this year, or if you just want to guarantee yours, you can order it now!

One:12 Collective Captain America: Deluxe Classic Version Con Exclusive – Mezco Toyz

Featuring over 32 articulation points, intricate sculptural work, incredible costume detailing and tons of accessories, the final product creates an iconic classic vision with a “real world” look. This exclusive, limited-edition not only features a new classic head sculpt and vibrantly colored uniform, but is packaged in an exclusive shield-shaped metal tin featuring a lenticular transformation chamber.

The One:12 Collective Classic Captain America features:

  • Hyper-realistic portraits
  • 1:12 scaled, highly realistic fabric classic uniform with special simulated duralumin scale armor
  • Detailed sculpted costume accents, including belt, gloves, and boots
  • Gauntlets with magnetic attachments
  • Super articulated body with over 32 points of articulation


What’s in the box:

  • Classic style masked portrait with pronounced wings
  • Unmasked Steve Rogers portrait
  • Fists (L&R)
  • “Thumbs Up” hand (L)
  • Saluting hand (R)
  • Pointing hand (R)
  • Posing hands (L&R)
  • Holding hands (L&R)
  • Shield throwing hands (L&R)
  • Shield with magnetic attachments
  • Harness with magnetic attachment
  • Knife (fits in sheath on the boot)
  • Grenade set (can clip onto the back of the belt)
  • Interchangeable pouch and canteen (can clip onto the belt)
  • Display base with posing post

Packaged in a deluxe, limited edition circular tin featuring Captain America’s shield design. When the tin is opened, a lenticular image is revealed. The lenticular dramatically shows the transformation of Steve Rogers from a scrawny weakling into a chiseled super-soldier. Beneath the lenticular, the figure and his accessories are securely held by collector friendly trays.

This Convention Exclusive will only be available on the Mezco website or at San Diego Comic Con at Mezco’s booth #3445.


June 8, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, News | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pre-Order Alert: Mezco SDCC Exclusive Captain America One:12 Collective Figure

Monogram International’s Harry Potter Exclusives Cast a Spell on SDCC

Gold Hogwarts School Crest IMG_8880_A_big_size (1) IMG_8882A_big
San Diego Comic-Con International is about 2 months away, and Monogram International is starting the party now!

The collectible company has revealed two sets of Harry Potter themed exclusives they will have at the show.

The first is the Hedwig Mug Set. Limited to 500 pieces, this includes a ceramic mug in the sculpt of Potter’s beloved owl. You also get a gold Hogwarts Crest.  The set will cost $20.00

Second is the Harry Potter Pin Set.  Also limited to 500 pieces, this set gives you pins of the crests of the four houses of Hogwarts — Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Plus you get an exclusive Hogwarts crest in gold.  This pin set will cost $25 and be available at booth #3465

Stay tuned as more SDCC exclusive announcements are coming!


May 20, 2016 Posted by | Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Monogram International’s Harry Potter Exclusives Cast a Spell on SDCC

In Memory of Erik Bauersfeld


2016 is turning into a terrible year in terms of the passing of some celebrity icons but for me, as sad as the losses of Bowie and Rickman were, it’s been news of some of the lesser known names that have been more affecting. Less than ten days into the year I was terribly upset to learn of the death of Angus Scrimm, as any fan of the Phantasm film series will verify, one of the finest horror actors ever to grace the big screen. Last week the untimely parting of Garry Shandling caught me completely off guard, as a Brit he was my gateway to American comedy and a man who never failed to make me laugh. Today I woke to the deeply sad news that a favorite son of the galaxy far, far away, Erik Bauersfeld, the voice behind Admiral Ackbar had died at the grand age of 93.Bauersfeld was already in the employ of Lucasfilm on a radio project when sound guru Ben Burtt asked him to read for parts in the sequels to the 1977 blockbuster. A little known fact is that he could have been the voice of Yoda but it wasn’t to be and I for one and am glad that fate took the path it did. Rumor has it that Bauersfeld was shown a picture of Ackbar and instantly came up with the character voice that we all know and love today. Would internet memes be the same without “It’s a trap!” (let’s be honest you read that in the voice didn’t you?)

Bauersfeld recorded all Ackbar’s dialogue in an hour and then went on to record all Bib Fortuna’s dialogue in half the time, such was his vocal talent. I don’t know the reasoning behind the omission but I always considered it a crime that Erik received no on screen credit for providing two of the most iconic voices in the saga. “This will begin to make things right” was the opening line as the Force Awakened last year and even though most people agree this was JJ’s dig at the maker, it could be applied to credit finally received for Bauersfeld whose name made it on to the big screen as he revived his most well-known character for what we now know was the last time. I for one was the happiest man alive when I heard Erik was going to voice the Admiral once again and whilst most men cried at that Solo scene, the word ‘oscillator’ brought tears of happiness to my eyes.


Steve’s shrine to Admiral Ackbar, Erik Bauersfeld’s iconic voice role

I was lucky enough to meet Erik last year when attending London Film & Comic Con. He looked every bit of his 93 years and, as always happens when meeting elderly actors at conventions, I experienced mixed feelings about asking him for his autograph. Whilst really excited to be meeting a hero, it was such a struggle for him to engage with me on a meaningful level, a part of me would have much rather have him not waste his time with this fanboy and go and sit in the comfy chair he deserved. I’m so glad he did give me his time though, he spent 5 minutes with me and my wife, and they’re five minutes I won’t ever forget. As he signed my 10×8” promo photograph uttering the famous line as he wrote it, he took great pride in ensuring that I knew he was Admiral Ackbar and not the other Mon Calamari pictured, it took a couple of hours to wipe the smile off my face.Since seeing Return of the Jedi in 1983 the character of Admiral Ackbar has been my favourite of the Star Wars saga, I like to think I was the Admiral’s biggest fan before it was cool and have a shrine dedicated in his honour. As an alien who made it to the top of a human dominated organisation, he’s a proud and fearless commander who visibly takes no joy in the demise of the enemy, it’s my daily aim to be as competent and humble as he. The sad news of Erik’s passing might well mean that Ackbar never gets his promotion to Grand Admiral.

On behalf of all Star Wars fans everywhere, thank you for your work Erik.


Erik Bauersfeld at London Film & Comic Con, 2015

April 5, 2016 Posted by | Conventions, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In Memory of Erik Bauersfeld

Diamond Select Toys Gives A Preview of Toy Fair Releases

Toy Fair61RsgPK9piL._SL1001_ 2016 is still 2 days away, but Diamond Select Toys has already given a preview of some new things they’ll have on display!

For Marvel Select collectors, no news may be more welcome than the confirmation of a rerelease of the Carnage Select action figure. This detailed figure barely showed up in comic stores, and has spiked as high as $80 on eBay! Now this 8-inch figure is coming back, giving you an extra chance to grab him.  Carnage has 16 points of articulation, three interchangeable heads, swappable weapon hands, and removable tendrils that let you customize your figure’s appearance.  He will retail for $24.99.

In addition to that welcome reissue, Diamond also announced new Marvel products in their Statue, PVC, and Minimates line:

Marvel Gallery Spider-Gwen 9” PVC Figure

SpiderGwen (1)

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of the most exciting new characters in the Marvel Universe is now part of one of its most exciting new collectible lines! The Amazing Spider-Gwen, a spider-powered, hard-rocking Gwen Stacy from a parallel universe, gets the Gallery treatment with this 9-inch scale static PVC figure! Posed on the side of a New York brownstone, Spider-Gwen is sculpted with a high level of detail and exacting paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box, she is in scale to other Gallery and Femme Fatales PVC figures. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean!

PVC Figure       SRP: $45.00


Marvel Minimates Series 67 Civil War 2-Packs Asst.


A Diamond Select Toys release! Get ready for Round 2! The action of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War continues with a second assortment of Minimates mini-figures based on the film! In this next batch of two-packs, Battle-Damaged Captain America takes on Battle-Damaged Iron Man, Black Widow meets Crossbones, Agent 13 faces an evil Thug and a rare, one-per-case variant set pairs Secretary Ross with another Thug! Each 2-inch Minimates mini-figure features 14 points of articulation, as well as character-appropriate accessories and fully interchangeable parts. Designed by Art Asylum!

2-Pack  SRP: $9.99/ea.


Marvel Premier Collection Rogue 12” Resin Statue


A Diamond Select Toys release! This is the statue you’ve been waitin’ for, shugah! The Marvel Premier Collection continues its tour of the icons of the Marvel Universe with this statue of the X-Men’s Southern belle, Rogue! Depicted in mid-flight, the power-stealing sweetheart is wearing her fan-favorite 1990s yellow-and-green costume, with leather jacket, and measures approximately 12” tall. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, this numbered resin statue is packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Sculpted by Clayburn Moore!

Statue   SRP: $150.00


All these items and more will be on display to wholesale buyers and press at New York’s Toy Fair International! Stay tuned to Marvelicious Toys, as well as our Facebook and Twitter feeds, for all the updates right from the show!

February 11, 2016 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Diamond Select Toys Gives A Preview of Toy Fair Releases

Pre-Order Alert: Hot Toys Die Cast Iron Man Stealth Armor – Mark III



Sideshow Marvel Hot Toys 30

In 2012 Hot Toys teased fans with a 1/6 scale Stealth Armor Iron Man.  At San Diego Comic-Con, nestled in between the Iron Man Mark IV Gantry and the Iron Monger sat a shiny blue Iron Man (pictured right).

Speculation ran wild. After dominating the Marvel movie figures was Hot Toys starting to make comic-based characters?

Years passed and that Stealth Armor never materialized…until today!

Now Hot Toys has released their 2015 Summer Exclusive figure, and it’s Iron Man Mark III – Stealth Armor version!

More, this is not the figure they showed back in 2012, but rather a fully upgraded Stealth Armor Iron Man with Hot Toys’ new diecast parts.  The diecast materials give the suit an even more realistic and metallic touch!

Being an exclusive figure, and Iron Man at that, this figure is likely to sell out fast and command top dollar on the secondary market.

The Mark III (Stealth Mode Version) collectible figure is greatly detailed and features specially applied two-toned blue and teal color design inspired by the classic Iron Man comics, LED light-up functions, interchangeable armor parts, and a distinctive hologram patterned figure stand.

This collectible figure will surely stand out among your Iron Man collection!
The 1/6th scale Mark III (Stealth Mode Version) Collectible Figure features:

  • Authentic and detailed likeness of Iron Man Mark III
  • Specially applied two-toned blue and teal design inspired by the classic Iron Man comics
  • Approximately 30 cm tall
  • Over 30 points of articulations
  • LED-lighted eyes and circle-shaped arc reactor on chest (white light with red lens, battery operated)
  • Removable chest and torso armor
  • One (1) pair of interchangeable forearm rockets
  • One (1) pair of interchangeable shoulder mounted guns
  • One (1) pair of interchangeable countermeasure dispensers
  • One (1) interchangeable torso for three-point landing pose
  • Three (3) pairs of interchangeable palms including:
  • One (1) pair with movable fingers and light-up repulsors (white light with red lenses, battery operated)
  • One (1) pair of fists
  • One (1) pair of battle palms with light-up repulsors (white light with red lenses, battery operated)
  • Fully deployed air flaps with built-in metal flaps at back of the armor
  • Fully deployed air flaps on back of legs
  • Distinctive hologram patterned figure stand with blue colored Mark III (Stealth Mode Version) nameplate and Iron Man logo


So what are you waiting for?  This stealthy figure will slip out of stock before you know it, so get your order placed now at Sideshow Collectibles!

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pre-Order Alert: Hot Toys Die Cast Iron Man Stealth Armor – Mark III

Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys to Host Wizard World Bash in Chicago



Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys are hosting a party Aug. 22 at Wizard World Chicago — and you’re invited!

A long time ago… August 30, 2005, to be specific… Venganza Media, Inc. launched Star Wars Action News, the world’s first podcast dedicated to Star Wars collecting.   In 2010 Venganza then began Marvelicious Toys, focusing on the toys, statues, and games based on the characters from the Marvel comics and movies.

Over the past 10 years both shows have evolved from podcasting pioneers to a major force in the industry and the collecting community, even producing the official podcast for Master Replicas, a Star Wars and Marvel licensee.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, fans are invited to join Star Wars Action News, Marvelicious Toys, and Now Playing Podcast hosts Arnie, Marjorie, Brock, Justin, Jerry, Daryl, Andrew, and more at the Star Wars Action News 10th anniversary bash during Wizard World Chicago. The party, also celebrating Marvelicious Toys’ 5th anniversary, will be hosted by the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.  The event begins at 7:30 p.m., and will feature door prizes, appetizers, cake, and a cash bar.

Tickets are priced at $15 for children 12 and under, and $25-$75 for adults. Adult tickets include bonus exclusive collectibles ranging from T-shirts to the exclusive Star Wars Action News badge and lanyard, plus a collectible coin previously only available to those who work on the show.

In addition, all adult tickets enter you in the drawing for a huge selection of door prizes.  Items have been provided by, Big Bad Toy Store, Kotobukiya, Hallmark, Venganza Media, and many more.  Attendees can win items ranging from a Deadpool statue to entire waves of Star Wars figures, and more!

Get your tickets now and follow coverage of these milestones at and its affiliated podcasts!


About Venganza Media Inc.

Based in Springfield, Ill., Venganza Media Inc. is a multimedia production facility and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network.

Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Books & Nachos, Star Wars Action News, Marvelicious Toys, and the iTunes Top 10 movie review podcast Now Playing.

Since its formation in 2005, Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys to Host Wizard World Bash in Chicago

SDCC 2015 Exclusives Up For Order NOW at

Update 11am:  The Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper is sold out; sold out in well under 10 minutes.

The Marvel Legends Dr. Strange set is also sold out.firstOrderStormtrooper

Update 11:30 a.m.:  The $9.99 Ant-Man Mini Action Figure is sold out.  The Ant-Man 5 pack is still available.

Hasbro has put several of its San Diego Comic-Con toys up for order now at

Up for order right now are exclusives including:

  • Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper
  • Marvel Legends’ Dr. Strange Book of Vishanti 5 figure set with 6-inch scaled figures of:
    • Dr. Strange (translucent blue astral projection version)
    • Brother Voodoo
    • Magik
    • Hela
    • Dormammu
  • Hasbro’s Ant-Man figure pack with 5 figures:
    • Giant-Man
    • Hank Pym in lab coat
    • Goliath
    • Micro size Scott Lang Ant-Man
    • Micro size Hank Pym Ant-Man
  • Hasbro’s mini Ant-Man figure in “Matchbox” packaging

At San Diego Comic-Con there were few exclusives as sought after as those at Hasbro’s Toy Shop.  On preview night people were assaulted and robbed while trying to get the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper or the Magic: The Gathering set.

But no matter if you were at the con in the midst of the fray, or safe at home watching from afar, this online sale is a chance for you to get some of the exclusive Hasbro toys without paying eBay scalper fees (or being punched in the face).

So hurry to and good luck in scoring the exclusives you want!DrStrange-Featured11222258_1077850085578181_8955005133491949319_o sdccantman1

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on SDCC 2015 Exclusives Up For Order NOW at

Hasbro’s Star Wars Fans’ Choice Poll — Round 2 Starts Now



Star Wars Action News’ participation in Hasbro’s 2015 Fans’ Choice action figure poll nears completion!

As announced Monday, Hasbro has started a new poll where Star Wars fans and collectors pick which figure is made for the company’s new 6-inch Black Series line of Star Wars figures.

Star Wars Action News was invited to poll their fans on which characters they wanted.  Round 1 was a completely open nomination form, and over 70 different figures were nominated.  Of all the figures requested, the single figure with the most nominations was Ackmena, the singing cantina owner from the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special.  In a close second place was Brea Tonnika — a background character in the cantina from first Star Wars film.

The top 30 nominees have been taken into Round 2 of voting!  Here each Star Wars fan chooses the one figure they want most in 6-inch plastic form.  This second round of voting ends Monday, June 29th, and then the five characters with the most votes will be submitted to Hasbro.


The first 20 characters were picked from the first round of nominations:

Brea Tonnika
Obi-Wan Kenobi (A New Hope)
Admiral Ackbar
ARC Trooper Commander Colt
Gamorrean Guard
Asajj Ventress (Dark Diciple)
Lando Calrissian (Jabba’s Skiff Guard)
Momaw Nadon
Grand Moff Tarkin (A New Hope)
Darth Maul (Robot Legs)
Han Solo (Bespin Outfit)
General Grievous (4-arms)
Ponda Baba
Mara Jade
Ephant Mon
Republic Commando
Blue Snaggletooth

The other 51 characters nominated received only 1 vote each, so the Star Wars Action News team, including podcast hosts Arnie and Marjorie Carvalho, reporters Brock, Johnathan Brenner, Justin Kozisek and Steve “The Ginger Prince” Nixon, video editor Andrew Harrison, and photo editors Jay Fazio and Curtis Stevenson.  From the 51 chosen characters the panel selected 10 figures:


Darth Talon
Darth Nihilus
Dexter Jettster
Admiral Piett
Yak Face
Grand Admiral Thrawn


Which of these 30 characters is your top pick as a new Black Series 6-inch figure?  Vote now in the Star Wars Action News forums!

June 25, 2015 Posted by | Books, Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars, Video Games | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hasbro’s Star Wars Fans’ Choice Poll — Round 2 Starts Now

Hasbro’s Star Wars Fans’ Choice Poll is Back — And Bigger Than Ever!



Once more, fans get to pick an upcoming character in the Star Wars line of figures.

Hasbro announced today that they are starting a new poll where Star Wars fans and collectors pick which figure is made.  This time, however, the poll is not for the long-running 3.75-inch line of figures, but for Hasbro’s newer 6-inch Black Series figure line.

To make it even more exciting, all Star Wars characters are eligible (except those from the unreleased The Force Awakens movie).   With that statement Hasbro has given fans perhaps their only chance to get a 6-inch action figure based on the Star Wars comics and novels that were removed from canon and put into the “Legends” category.  Of course, all characters from the films, major or minor, would also be given consideration.

Hasbro has confirmed to Star Wars Action News any character is eligible, including the long-desired Tonnika Sisters from A New Hope, Vlix from the 80s Droids series, and even Lumpy and Ackmena (Bea Arthur) from The Star Wars Holiday Special!

Also of note:  if the chosen character is from the Star Wars animated series Rebels or The Clone Wars the figure would be done in a realistic style consistent with the Black Series line’s look.

This year’s Fan’s Choice poll is being run by various Star Wars collecting sites, including Venganza Media’s own Star Wars Action News.  Before June 30th each participating site will submit to Hasbro their Top 5 list, with the #1 character getting 6 points, the #2 character 5 points, #3 character 4 points, and so on.

From the compiled lists from all the sites the character with the highest number of points will be immortalized in plastic–and Hasbro will reveal which character was chosen during their San Diego Comic-Con panel on July 10th.

Star Wars Action News is handling this with two rounds of voting.  First, they have opened a Figure Nomination thread in their forums.  In that post fans can free-form enter any characters they want.  That phase will be open until June 25th.  Then on the 25th a second poll will be opened where each fan can vote on the one figure they want most.  That poll will close on June 29th and the top five figures submitted to Hasbro on the 30th.

Begin your voting now!  Head to the Star Wars Action News forums and nominate your favorite character for the Black Series 6-inch line!


June 22, 2015 Posted by | Books, Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News, Star Wars, Video Games | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Star Wars Gaming Updates from GAMA 2015

The GAMA Trade Show is currently being held in Las Vegas and Fantasy Flight Games, the company that currently holds to rights to produce miniature, card, and roleplaying games within the milieu of the Star Wars franchise, provided some updates during their presentation at the event on March 27th.

They started off their presentation by making sure that everyone was aware that the dock workers’ strike on the west coast has greatly affected their ability to ship merchandise to retailers. Many companies have been hit hard by the port delays and it seems that Fantasy Flight Games was unable to escape them either. This would account for several of their products being delayed past their original expected shipping dates, including the Armada core game, along with its first wave of expansion packs and the next cycle of Force Packs for the Star Wars Living Card Game.

However, these delays appear to be abating as the company did update Force and Destiny: Beginner Gamethe shipping date for Force and Destiny: Beginner Game to April 2015. These RPG beginner boxes are a great way for players who are new to Fantasy Flight Games’ roleplaying mechanics to learn the ropes of playing a character in a pre-built story mission, or playing the game master who leads up to 4 other players in telling the story.

They also announced that the first wave of expansion packs for Imperial Assault will be available this week! For those of you who heard my report for Star Wars Action News about last year’s GenCon, you’ll know that this is probably the best Star Wars game I have ever played. And since Fantasy Flight Games announced yesterday that it was their largest release ever, I don’t think I’m alone in that. Personally, I cannot wait to add these Villain and Ally Packs to my collection further hone my skills in the game’s one-on-one skirmish mode.

Next, Fantasy Flight Games announced the second wave of Imperial Assault expansion packs that are set to ship this summer:

  • Twin Shadows – $39.95
  • C-3PO and R2-D2 – $14.95
  • Kayn Somos – $9.95
  • Boba Fett – $9.95

Twin Shaswi10-boxleftdows is a great-looking boxed set, which includes 4 missions that can either be inserted into the core set’s larger campaign or played separately as a mini-campaign. It also includes 2 new hero figures, 2 new villain types (Heavy Stormtroopers and Tusken Raiders) along with a dozen new map tiles to play out the new missions on! And of course there are a slew of cards and tokens to round out the box.

As with the core game, Twin Shadows will introduce characters into the campaign that don’t get fleshed out figures within the box. Instead, you will need to rely on their 2D character tokens when they enter play. However, three new Hero and Villain packs will also be coming so you can have 3D versions of your favorite droids when fighting against the most fearsome Mandalorian in the galaxy. Boba Fett has his own allies too. Kay Somos is a Stormtrooper Commander (shoulder pauldron included) who can help add actions to the other troopers on your map.

The Armada core game is expected to be available at the end of this month with it’s own first wave of ships arriving shortly after. Fantasy Flight Games is really proud of this game and were apparently not content with just the core game and first wave of Rebel and Imperial ship expansions. Soon, we will be treated to Wave 2! Not much is known about these packs yet, but look for more information on these sets soon:

  • Rogues and Villains – a large group of medium-sized ships that include the Falcon and Slave I
  • Mon Calamari Cruiser
  • Mon Calamari Frigate
  • Imperial Raider – this is a ship designed by FFG and was first announced for their X-Wing game


All-in-all, some really exciting stuff here. And yes, they did officially confirm that they will be doing Episode 7 products, but obviously did not go into any detail. Hopefully we will get some glimpses of some new products next month at Star Wars Celebration, though I’m sure that information about The Force Awakens merchandise will be scarce until later this year. Nevertheless, this is a great time to be a Star Wars gamer.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, Star Wars | , , , , , | Comments Off on Star Wars Gaming Updates from GAMA 2015

SDCC Exclusive AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Posters Coming As Variant Comic Covers!

Assemble Your Own Avengers With Epic Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Movie Variants!



New York, NY – January 16th, 2014 – Before Earth’s Mightiest Heroes do battle against Ultron in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st 2015, don’t miss your chance to own a piece of the action with these epic Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Variants in April.


Originally debuting at Comic-Con International 2014, these epic pieces of theatrical concept art by Ryan Meinerding, Charlie Wen & Andy Park combine to form one stunning image of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes locked in combat against Ultron’s massive army. Coming to eight Marvel comics in the month of April, these covers are just like the Avengers – better when assembled!


Don’t miss a single variant when they come to these exciting Marvel comics in April!


·         Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A

·         Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B

·         New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A

·         New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B

·         Avengers #44

·         Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A

·         Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B

·         New Avengers #33


“These epic posters were really the hit of last year’s San Diego Comic-Con,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “We’re glad that fans who attended the convention were able to get their hands on them but we’re even more excited to bring thousands of fans who may have missed this stunning image.”


Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on these hotly anticipated variant covers as they hit comic shelves through the month of April. No fan will want to miss the chance to own this stunning, epic image when the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON MOVIE VARIANTS hit comic shops this coming April!


January 16, 2015 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on SDCC Exclusive AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Posters Coming As Variant Comic Covers!

The 40 Year-Old-Critic: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

kinopoisk.ruIn The 40-Year-Old Critic, Venganza Media creator and host Arnie Carvalho recalls a memorable film for each year of his life. This series appears daily on the Venganza Media Gazette.

See a list of all reviews

As I discussed in yesterday’s The 40-Year-Old Critic entry, I began my podcasting career in 2005 with the Star Wars collecting show Star Wars Action News; launched shortly after the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

It had seemed like an easy enough hobby, we just record for 30 minutes each week.

However, the reach exceeded our every expectation, and in February 2006, we realized that recording from home wasn’t enough. All of the new Star Wars action figures and statues that would be released in 2005 had been revealed at Toy Fair International in New York City — and we weren’t there. We had our friends Pete and Chuck from the website Jedi Temple Archives call the show and share the news, but we knew we had missed out.

Pete and Chuck also told about the huge Lucasfilm and Hasbro presence at San Diego Comic-Con. New toys would again be revealed at the summer convention, and we felt Star Wars Action News should be there to cover it.

Marjorie and I had become more experienced con-goers since our first trip to Star Wars Celebration II for the release of Attack of the Clones, but we had never flown to an event. Airline tickets were expensive. Still, we had a show, and we needed the toys. Soon tickets were purchased, press passes obtained, and we were going to SDCC.

Then things got interesting.

As registered press for the convention, Marjorie and I started getting numerous e-mails from various companies seeking exposure. From toymakers to authors to movie studios, we were invited to exclusive events and given opportunities to interview total strangers.

Then came the e-mail that gave us the opportunity to interview Samuel L. Jackson and others for the upcoming film Snakes on a Plane.

I had heard about Snakes on a Plane but paid it little attention. Entertainment Weekly had written several articles about the silly movie with the overly-literal title. From the name alone hundreds of fan websites had sprung up. Despite its premise, the film had a groundswell of good buzz and the film’s producers wanted to capitalize on press coverage at the convention. With Jackson being a vital presence in the Star Wars prequels I thought an interview would certainly be of interest to Star Wars Action News listeners.

I like to imagine this is Jackson calling his agent wondering how he got on this Plane.

I like to imagine this is Jackson calling his agent wondering how he got on this Plane.

It seemed too good to be true. Jackson was an A-list star; I’d been podcasting for 9 months. I couldn’t believe it would actually happen. I told absolutely no one — after all, if it fell through I didn’t want to be mocked or thought of as a lying braggart. But I prepared: I bought a high-end digital audio recorder and I researched the film to be as informed as possible going in.

Yet the entire event could have been called San Diego Snakes-on-a-Plane Con. On the exhibit floor was a giant booth that was shaped like a snake, yet inside the mouth it had the feeling of a cramped airliner. The music video for Cobra Starship’s “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)” was omnipresent (and I strained my eye every time it played for a glimpse of Maja Ivarsson’s nipple). We had gone to the convention with some friends who had just discovered the Badger Mushroom song, and so throughout the convention we’d regale each other with the refrain, “Snaaake! It’s a snaaake!” Our friends even brought rubber snakes to the convention as practical jokes.

I was swept up in the utter hype for Snakes on a Plane. I couldn’t wait for them to “Bring it.”

Sure enough, the next thing I knew I was in my first press roundtable interview. Jackson was the biggest star at the event, but it turned out there were four interviews in play. First, we interviewed director David R. Ellis, who I knew from his work on Final Destination 2. The other reporters at the table seemed disinterested and I got to ask a few questions.

Then we talked to the film’s snake wrangler Jules Sylvester. He wore an amazing serpent as he talked about the challenges of dealing with more than 450 snakes on set.

Finally, Sam Jackson visited our table.

Now the other reporters had perked up, and because I was still unaccustomed to the rhythm of the roundtable, I had to work hard to get questions in. I wasn’t entirely new to interviews; I had done many for journalism classes, and interviewed Star Wars collectors and authors on the show. But this was an A-list star. Jackson was there and actually joked with me a bit. It was surreal. He even gave me an autograph on a Star Wars book.

Finally the last interviewee came, Keenan Thompson, who Marjorie knew primarily for his work on Saturday Night Live. I got a couple of questions in there as well.

Leaving the interviews I realized I had far more content than I had thought. While the Jackson interview would be of some interest to Star Wars fans, the rest of the interviews were full of good information, though I knew they had no place on Star Wars Action News. Early feedback from Star Wars listeners was that they did not care for bad language, and so I figured the audience crossover between an R-rated reptile disaster film and Star Wars Action News was minimal.

I'm not sure if a movie titled Snakes on a Plane needs more plot than, well, snakes on a plane.  Yet this film also gives us a crime story to explain...sort the snakes, and Sam Jackson, got on that plane.

I’m not sure if a movie titled Snakes on a Plane needs more plot than, well, snakes on a plane. Yet this film also gives us a crime story to explain…sort of…how the snakes, and Sam Jackson, got on that plane.

But with four great interviews in the can I decided to start our second podcast, Snakes on a Podcast. It was a limited show, with only five episodes. The first four would lead up to the release of the movie and each would contain one interview. Then, for the fifth show, Marjorie and I would review the movie.

We publicized the show heavily on Star Wars Action News and it got a decent number of downloads. More, anticipation was high for our review; people wanted to know if we thought Snakes on a Plane was worth seeing.

Marjorie and I went to see Snakes opening night in August 2006. We had pre-purchased tickets, the Internet and Comic-Con hype convincing us it would be a sold-out show. It wasn’t.

More, the movie itself wasn’t very good, and we knew it in the theater. It wasn’t terrible, we had seen far worse that year, yet we had hoped for a pulpy B-movie full of laughs and fun. This was long before there was a Sharknado or Piranha 3D, but it was those films’ campy vibe that we hoped Snakes on a Plane would capture. There were moments of that in the film, but they were few and far between. The studio had initially made a PG-13 movie, then went back and added in scenes for the R-rating based off Internet fan demand for the line, “I want these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane.” Those added scenes were what we wanted, that line was legendary, but in between moments of fun were long stretches of stupidity.

You can hear our thoughts, recorded minutes after leaving the theater, in the archived Snakes on a Podcast show. It is the first movie Marjorie and I ever reviewed in podcast form, and is the precursor to Now Playing Podcast, a show we started nine months later.

While the movie failed to meet our expectations, the theatrical viewing didn’t. It was an experience akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While the theater wasn’t packed, everyone there was a built-in fan and the energy of the audience made for a good time. I have watched Snakes once since that theatrical viewing and it is clear that without the fans surrounding us there was little fun to be had.

Snakes on a Plane will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only was it the first time I ever felt like a real reporter for a podcast, it also is one of the last movies to consume San Diego Comic-Con. In the 2000s the complaints were that SDCC was no longer about comics; the fans had come for the movies. That was certainly true in my case. Hollywood studios saw SDCC as an opportunity to push genre movies to greater success, and spent hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars at the convention trying to do so.

One of the films better, funnier scenes--added later to ensure an R-rating.

One of the films better, funnier scenes–added later to ensure an R-rating.

Despite the impressive imprint the movie had on the convention floor, Snakes on a Plane fizzled at the box office. Since 2006 a single film has always been pushed at the convention, from Hamlet 2 to Balls of Fury to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and they all failed to meet heightened studio expectations. Now it seems film studios have all but abandoned Comic-Con. The giant, custom booths that used to grace the floor are mostly gone. While stars still fly in to host one-hour panels, the convention has morphed into a showcase of genre television shows like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Arrow.

Yet each year I hope for another Snakes on a Plane-type experience, another extreme booth attempting to immerse fans in the world of their movie. It may not happen again, but at least I got these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking Plane.

Tomorrow — 2007!

Arnie is a movie critic for Now Playing Podcast, a book reviewer for the Books & Nachos podcast, and co-host of the collecting podcasts Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys.  You can follow him on Twitter @thearniec    

September 5, 2014 Posted by | 40-Year-Old Critic, Conventions, Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 40 Year-Old-Critic: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

23p98705024In The 40-Year-Old Critic, Venganza Media creator and host Arnie Carvalho recalls a memorable film for each year of his life. This series appears daily on the Venganza Media Gazette.

See a list of all reviews

How many times will I review Freddy vs. Jason? It was one of Now Playing Podcast’s earliest reviews as part of our first retrospective series covering the Friday the 13th franchise leading up to the 2009 remake. Even then we planned to revisit the film and look at it from Freddy’s point of view, which we did the following year during the review series leading up to 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

By now this should be well-trod ground, and what more could I have to say?

Yet the fact that this is the only movie to be covered twice in Now Playing Podcast retrospectives is indicative of its importance — to film in general and to me personally.

Since our 2010 review I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about the crossover. What is it about two franchises coming together that creates such excitement, especially in the “geek” community? I don’t ask this hypothetically. I personally get swept up in the frenzy when two franchises come together, and it doesn’t even matter necessarily if I like them both! The thought of two universes colliding seems to have a geometric, not additive, increase in interest.

I think to some degree it is fan rivalry at its best. For reasons I don’t understand it seems some fans feel the only way to feel good about their fandom is by putting down others. For example, when Firefly was at its zenith a parade of “Joss Whedon Is My Master Now” shirts filled Star Wars conventions, as if to say, “Star Wars used to be cool.” As such, the “my dad can beat up your dad” mentality started to apply to fan groups; “My stormtrooper can beat up your browncoat.”

Freddy vs. Jason -- whoever loses, the fans win.

Freddy vs. Jason — whoever loses, the fans win.

That question of who would win in a fight certainly applies to superheroes. In real life, on screen, and online I’ve heard endless debates about which hero is faster, The Flash or Superman. Who would win in a fight, Superman or The Hulk? It is a curiosity, but the chosen winner usually aligns with the speaker’s fan allegiances.

Certainly, speaking of superheroes, comic books have benefited greatly from the crossover. DC Comics had a major hit with its Justice League in 1961, prompting Marvel Comics to respond with its own super team, The Fantastic Four, a move that inadvertently launched the entire Marvel Universe.

Yet, to me, the crossover seemed relegated to just that medium — the comic book. It seemed comics were pulp enough that you could do anything.

Aliens vs. Predator? Sure.

Robocop vs. Terminator? Why not.

Star Trek and X-Men together, you say? Absolutely.

Even rivals Marvel and DC had several crossover series’ that, for instance, led to Superman meeting Spider-Man or Batman fighting the Hulk.

Despite the success and excitement generated by these crossover comics, the concept was rarely conceptualized on film. Universal Studios had done it in the 1940s, when horror icons Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man came together for the studio’s “Monster Mash” pictures. But Universal owned each property, and when that series ended, crossovers on screen were scarce.

I can recall two that made an impact on me.

Freddy and Jason aren't the only names in this cast.  Monica Keena (Dawson's Creek), Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps), and Destiny Child's Kelly Rowland play teens caught in the middle of the battle royale.

Freddy and Jason aren’t the only names in this cast. Monica Keena (Dawson’s Creek), Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps), and Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland play teens caught in the middle of the battle royale.

I remember being a young child on vacation with my parents when I saw a trailer for King Kong vs. Godzilla. I had seen numerous Godzilla films, and the 1976 King Kong several times. So the thought of them fighting broke my fragile little mind. I demanded we stay in the hotel room that night so I could watch.

Then, in 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit brought together animated characters from Warner Bros., Disney, Turner Entertainment, and more. As I was a teenager, and never really into these characters at my youngest age, the impact was totally lost on me. I saw the film in theaters, thought it was mediocre, and haven’t seen it since.

Beyond those two I can’t think of any groundbreaking crossovers. Some minor ones occurred; such as Star Trek: Generations bringing together cast members from two Trek television series’ (something that had already been done numerous times on Star Trek: The Next Generation, thus lessening the film’s impact). Also, The Monster Squad reassembled the classic Universal Monsters for a kiddie comedy.

But fans wanted more.

So many ideas were teased. Studios knew what we liked, so 1997’s Batman and Robin made sly references to Superman, and 20th Century Fox put an Alien xenomorph skull on a Predator ship in Predator 2. The latter seemed most likely to happen again on film — both franchises were Fox properties in need of a boost. Yet, outside of the Dark Horse comics, nothing materialized for years.

The icons try out each others' weapons.

The icons try out each others’ weapons.

For me, though, more than Aliens and Predators, more than Superman and Batman, Freddy and Jason were the two I wanted to see.  Long had the rumor brewed about Hollywood’s (then) top-grossing slashers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, going toe-to-toe. I read about it in multiple Fangoria articles in the late 80s and early 90s.

I first saw A Nightmare on Elm Street during a party in 1987, around the time of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors’ release.  I found the films so inventive and fun that I rewatched them endlessly, and anxiously awaited each new installment in the series.  As detailed during the Now Playing Podcast review, I even cosplayed for the release of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.  By 2003 I was happy for any new Nightmare, let alone one that pitted villain Freddy against Friday the 13th icon Jason.

I was never as big a fan of the Crystal Lake zombie as I was Freddy, but I did also enjoy the Friday the 13th series.  Some of the first R-rated horror I ever saw was Friday the 13th when I came home to find older kids in my house watching it.  I tried to join them but the carnage, specifically the decapitation at the end of the 1980 original film, had me fleeing the room.  When I finally became a full-fledged horror hound in my early teen years I returned to the franchise when Jason Takes Manhattan was released.  While the films lacked the visual panache of the Nightmare series I still enjoyed the films as a guilty pleasure.  Over time the series grew in my esteem to be another favorite.

Freddy was killed by fire, but flames don't slow down Jason.

Freddy was killed by fire, but flames don’t slow down Jason.

As such, having both serialized slashers come together would be a dream come true.  Or, if done wrong, perhaps a nightmare.

Yet despite the rumors in the horror press and the anticipation by fans such as myself, the killer crossover took 15 years to materialize.  Full credit for finally bringing the crossover to screen in the 21st Century must be given to New Line Cinema.

The biggest problem in the 1980s and 1990s was the rights: Jason was owned by Paramount, Freddy was New Line Cinema’s cash cow. The studios tried to work together during the slasher heyday but each wanted to earn 100 percent of the profits by licensing the other’s character. Obviously, that never happened.

Eventually, though, profits started to dry up. Paramount had run Friday the 13th into the ground with crazy concepts like Jason fighting a telekinetic or taking Manhattan. When original Friday creator Sean S. Cunningham wanted to see the franchise continue, specifically with a Freddy crossover, Paramount had no interest. This gave New Line an opportunity. They licensed Jason from Paramount and went to work on Freddy vs. Jason.

While Jason’s creator wanted the crossover, Freddy creator Wes Craven had other ideas. The Springwood Slasher had been given what New Line considered a proper sendoff with 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. But the sequel proved profitable and Craven started planning a return to his iconic franchise. As such, Freddy vs. Jason was put on hold and, instead, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was made.

Cunningham bided his time, though. In 1993 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was released and ended with a fan-baiting stinger; Freddy’s glove comes out of the ground and pulls down Jason’s mask. The game was afoot!

We would still have to wait more than a decade for Freddy and Jason to properly share the screen. New Line executives knew the importance of finding the perfect balance between the two famous killers, and so more than a dozen pitches were drafted and subsequently rejected.

More victims caught in the middle of the killer clash.

More victims caught in the middle of the killer clash.

Eventually I gave up all hope on Freddy vs. Jason. Nightmare star Robert Englund had not put on the makeup in almost 10 years and I thought Freddy would never grace the screen again. Jason, meanwhile, had gone to space with Jason X (which sat on a shelf for 2 years before its release). Finally, in the early part of the last decade, news — real news — started to come out that the movie was being made.

I honestly believe my excitement for Freddy vs. Jason was on par with my feelings about 1999’s Star Wars Episode I. A countdown clock sat on my computer desktop for 4 months, and when the day finally came I took an afternoon off work to see the first showing.

It met my every expectation.

Directed by Bride of Chucky’s Ronny Yu, the film was outrageous, gory, and over-the-top fun. Both characters got their due (even if Jason inexplicably was suddenly afraid of water) and I couldn’t have asked for more. You can hear a blow-by-blow analysis and both of my reviews at the Now Playing Podcast website, but in short I gave it a strong recommend both times.

Yet loving a movie isn’t enough to garner inclusion in this 40-Year-Old Critic series, there has to be a long-lasting impact. For Freddy vs. Jason, there were two.

First, this film gave Robert Englund a proper Freddy sendoff. It was the best film starring the dream stalker since 1988’s The Dream Master. It cemented a positive feeling for the Nightmare franchise that remains unsullied to this day.  Just two weeks ago I had my photo taken with Englund, who was dressed in the full Freddy make-up.  I even have ideas for a Nightmare inspired tattoo–the dream killer’s glove slicing into my skin.

Freddy vs. Arnie -- Robert Englund and Arnie pose for a photo at Flashback Weekends in Aug. 2014

Freddy vs. Arnie — Robert Englund and Arnie pose for a photo at Flashback Weekends in Aug. 2014

Second, though, Freddy vs. Jason’s success launched more than a decade of franchise crossovers. The next year finally saw the release of Alien vs. Predator, which I anticipated every bit as much as Freddy vs. Jason — and which was an utter letdown.

Other pictures released that year include the low-rent, made-for-television crossover Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (co-written by Blade and The Dark Knight scribe David Goyer), as well as a return to the “Monster Mash” formula with Universal’s Van Helsing.

Yes, the track record for crossovers wasn’t stellar, but that was honestly my secondary concern — the primary concern was that they were happening. Finally, after decades of teasing, universes were being shared and the world of movies suddenly felt as open as the page of a comic book. But, after 2007’s Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem a shot of adrenaline was needed. I do think the crossover was starting to be seen as desperate, until Marvel Studios took it to the next level.

In 2008 Marvel released its first movie produced in-house: Iron Man. The film stood alone, introducing wide audiences to a superhero that was considered B-list at best. Yet Marvel took a page from New Line Cinema’s book: at the very end Nick Fury showed up to discuss “The Avengers Initiative.” This was the comic book equivalent of Freddy’s hand bursting up from the ground, and Marvel kept its momentum building toward the third-highest-grossing film of all time: The Avengers.

There is a direct lineage from Jason Goes to Hell to Iron Man, from Freddy vs. Jason to The Avengers.

So next spring when you buy your ticket for The Avengers: Age of Ultron (and then download the Now Playing Podcast review) think about the trailblazer that pioneered the modern crossover film: Freddy vs. Jason.

Tomorrow — 2004!

Arnie is a movie critic for Now Playing Podcast, a book reviewer for the Books & Nachos podcast, and co-host of the collecting podcasts Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys.  You can follow him on Twitter @thearniec    

September 2, 2014 Posted by | 40-Year-Old Critic, Comic Books, Conventions, Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The 40 Year-Old-Critic: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

The 40 Year-Old-Critic: Attack of the Clones (2002)

star_wars_episode_two_attack_of_the_clones_ver2In The 40-Year-Old Critic, Venganza Media creator and host Arnie Carvalho recalls a memorable film for each year of his life. This series appears daily on the Venganza Media Gazette.

See a list of all reviews

A week ago, while attending Wizard World Chicago, I had a debate with a Now Playing Podcast listener who claimed Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was the worst movie in the Star Wars saga. I strongly disagreed.

Not to say I think any of the Star Wars films are bad, per se. I have three tattoos taken from the series. I host Star Wars Action News, a biweekly podcast about Star Wars collecting. I am a devoted Star Wars fan — but I’m also a discerning Star Wars fan that can recognize that those Ewok TV movies are horrible and also distinguish differences in quality among the six films in the saga.

To me, Attack of the Clones was a much needed course correction for the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

To say Episode I: The Phantom Menace left me cold would be a literal truth, as I sat out one night in the freezing rain to get tickets. But it’s also metaphorically true. Perhaps it was how I binged on that first prequel film, seeing it seven times in three days. More, though, I think it was the movie itself. While it boasted the most exciting lightsaber fight in the series, the overall story was somewhat incomprehensible — I had to read various “expanded universe” novels to understand what the Trade Federation was trying to do, and I still think it was stretching. More, the film was completely devoid of humor. The first three Star Wars films had all been fun, with the cocky attitude of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) a centerpiece. Here that sardonic fun was replaced with a walking CGI fish creature stepping in crap.

This was the Star Wars prequel I'd dreamt of as a child.  Phantom Menace did not deliver.

This was the Star Wars prequel I’d dreamt of as a child. Phantom Menace did not deliver.

After The Phantom Menace I slowly found myself drifting away from Star Wars — a major lifestyle change. I had been reading Star Wars novels since 1993, played the video games constantly on my PC, and collected the toys obsessively since 1995. That all peaked with Phantom Menace’s release, when the Toys ‘R’ Us employees informed me that I’d spent the most money of anyone during their midnight toy release, and when I traveled 60 miles every Thursday to get the latest Kentucky Fried Chicken basket topper.

But in the summer of 1999 the glut of Episode I toys clogged shelves. With no new figures found, just the same ones that had been available for months, the thrill of collecting waned and I stopped bothering to look for the next wave of toys. More, I was let down by The Phantom Menace and didn’t wish to dwell on it. I pursued other interests, and stopped buying Star Wars books, toys, and games altogether. It was not a conscious break; when Phantom Menace was re-released in theaters in November of that same year — this time with proceeds going to charity — I saw it again. But that viewing solidified my feeling that my childhood was dead, it was time to move past Star Wars.

Reservoir Jedi

Reservoir Jedi

That stance lasted for a couple years. I even tried to sell my Star Wars collection, only to find that I wasn’t alone. A toy store in Chicago offered me 5 cents for brand new, mint figures — 1 percent of the retail price. He told me no one wanted Star Wars toys, new or old, and that he had a warehouse full of them that he couldn’t sell.

Also during that time my life changed a lot. I met Marjorie, we dated, and eventually moved in together. I also quit my low-paying job and returned to school full-time. We were living off her income and what savings I had put together. Times were tough, bills went unpaid, and there was no extra income to spend on toys. What movies we saw were mostly from the $1 rental bin, not full price theatrical fare.

Despite all this, when the first teaser trailer for Attack of the Clones was released I started to get excited. The trailer was attached to Harry Potter, and so Marjorie and I bought tickets just to see it in the theater. When it played… I was not thrilled. It looked like more of the same that we got in 1999 with Phantom Menace. We were so disappointed we actually left the theater without staying for Potter.

McGregor showed us Star Wars could be fun again.

McGregor showed us Star Wars could be fun again.

For me, Star Wars was in a nosedive. But it did pull out, and I remember the moment perfectly. A secret trailer for Attack of the Clones named “Mystery” was released online. A friend came over and he, Marjorie, and I all gathered around my laptop to watch. Another tease, this one focused on an assassin out to get Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). It showed action, it showed suspense, but best of all it showed humor! It seemed Lucas had realized how dull every character in Phantom Menace had been, and now the sarcastic wit was back courtesy of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor).

I watched that trailer repeatedly. By the time the third trailer came, my break from Star Wars was over.

But there’s more than that — this film changed my entire life forever.

As mentioned, Marjorie and I were engaged. We knew we were going to get married, but I was hesitating because I was an unemployed graduate student. I had no money, and neither of our parents’ would pay for a wedding. As such, the engagement had no end date, and I hadn’t even scraped the money together for a proper ring. Instead I gave her a placeholder ring that took the last of my cash: $25.

Our excitement for Attack of the Clones grew together; she was as excited for the film as I (and she was nowhere near as hard on Phantom Menace). As such, Marjorie suggested, “What if we have a Star Wars wedding?”

Marjorie, Arnie, and their minister pose for a photo at the wedding.

Marjorie, Arnie, and their minister pose for a photo at the wedding.

The thought had occurred to me; I’m not very traditional to begin with, and I considered all weddings to be pomp and circumstance. A tuxedo means nothing to me, nor does a wedding dress to Marjorie. All wedding garb is a costume, so why not make it a Star Wars costume? Plus there was no better time to do it than surrounding the release of a new movie, so a date was set and the Carvalho Star Wars wedding was on.

Her parents were excited. My parents were mortified. We kept certain things traditional — we were married in a church and there were no full-on costumes (I had never heard of the 501st costuming club, if I had I surely would have invited them). As I was the unemployed one I did much of the planning, and I did borrow some money — since repaid — from my godparents to get Marjorie a proper diamond engagement ring; smaller than she deserved but what I could give.

But she had another crazy idea.

The Star Wars Celebration II convention was the weekend before our wedding. As planning had left us stressed, we decided to max out our last credit card and go. I was hesitant; I had gone to a couple conventions in the past but didn’t see the appeal. That said, I had gone only for a couple hours, never an entire weekend. This was a totally new experience, and when we arrived we were immersed in Star Wars. Men in realistic-looking Stormtrooper armor worked security, triggering a latent fear of the men in white. On top of that, celebrities were everywhere; we even had Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and other stars sign our wedding invitation!

Plus, there was new Attack of the Clones footage screened exclusively for convention attendees. We got to see a trailer that parodied Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, ending with Yoda, lightsaber lit, jumping around like a crazy frog.

I had been excited for Episode II, but now I was practically vibrating with anticipation. I wanted to see Yoda kick ass!

Marjorie and Arnie's wedding invitation, signed by Star Wars celebrities.

Marjorie and Arnie’s wedding invitation, signed by Star Wars celebrities.

Star Wars Celebration II was a magical weekend bested only by the next one, when Marjorie and I were married. Because of the Star Wars connection local media showed up, and once it hit the AP wire we were known around the country. Our honeymoon in New Orleans felt like a press tour as we woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to talk about our wedding on radio shows, and we were even taken to the local NBC affiliate to appear on MSNBC.

On that honeymoon we went to a midnight screening of Attack of the Clones, which turned out to be one of the worst theatrical experiences in my life. As it was told to me, the theater was showing the film on 16 screens, but had only 4 prints. They were trying to daisy chain the prints from projector to projector, and it didn’t work; the film simply ripped. They had to show the prints to 4 theaters, and the other 12 waited. Finally at 2:30 a.m. the movie started.

I was nervous, what if it was terrible? We were booked to go on MSNBC the next morning, and Marjorie and I had already rehearsed saying, “Loved it!” in unison — lest we look like fools, going on national television about a wedding to tie into a sucky film. The trailers looked good, but after The Phantom Menace I knew there was a risk.

I needn’t have worried. That next morning, when asked by Natalie Morales what we thought of the film, we were honest in expressing excitement. It truly was a return to the Star Wars I’d loved as a child.

The sheer enormity of the clone army excited me.

The sheer enormity of the clone army excited me.

I’ve seen the movie dozens of times since 2002. Removed from the excitement of the release and the sentiment of our wedding I can clearly see it’s not a perfect film. If ranking the 6 live-action theatrical releases it would be second to last, Phantom Menace at the bottom. I felt the inclusion of Boba Fett as a child was unnecessary to the plot and some of the mysteries never made sense (though at the time I trusted, falsely, that Episode III would answer these questions). Still, the acting was far improved — Portman decided to use her skill this time, and McGregor was a joy throughout. The CGI effects were also better, with the huge battle at the end truly impressing and enthralling me. The lightsaber fight was exciting, and Yoda lived up to my expectations. It has flaws, but was certainly a step in the right direction.

Best of all, it ended with a wedding. Marjorie and I had both gone in spoiler-free and had no idea that we would be married only four days before Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme would also tie the knot. To have a Star Wars wedding tying into a new Star Wars film release was one thing, but to be that close to one that also involved a wedding seemed like kismet.

The wedding in Star Wars seemed perfectly timed for our Star Wars wedding.

The wedding in Star Wars seemed perfectly timed for our Star Wars wedding.

Though I couldn’t buy Marjorie the ring she deserved, and though the wedding had to be done on a very tight budget, marrying her was the best decision in my life. We have not only shared a life, but we share Star Wars, both through our wedding and now through our podcasts. It would have happened anyway but, to quote Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Thanks to this movie, it started earlier and has given me more great days than I’d have had otherwise.

More, Attack of the Clones brought me back into the Star Wars fold. I saw it multiple times in theaters, including a trip to Chicago to see it on IMAX — my first IMAX viewing experience. It righted much of what The Phantom Menace wronged.

It brought me back into collecting, as well. New figures were on shelves, but I couldn’t afford them. I finally gave up looking for a dream job and, to pay the bills (and buy a few figures), I took another low-paying temp job. In another unexpected twist, that temp job grew quickly into the career I have today.

And, yes, for our 10th anniversary I finally gave her the ring I wish I could have given her in 2002.

My wife, my work, and my continued love of Star Wars can all be traced back to Attack of the Clones. For that I can forgive its few cinematic flaws and appreciate it for the fun space fantasy that it is.

Tomorrow — 2003!

Arnie is a movie critic for Now Playing Podcast, a book reviewer for the Books & Nachos podcast, and co-host of the collecting podcasts Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys.  You can follow him on Twitter @thearniec    

September 1, 2014 Posted by | 40-Year-Old Critic, Conventions, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews, Star Wars, Star Wars Action News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The 40 Year-Old-Critic: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Freddy Fans Delighted at Flashback Weekend

Freddy and his Girls on Stage - Header Photo

Freddy Kruger (Englund) on stage with three costumed back-ups at the Flashback Weekend Horror Convention

Rosemont IL – Despite being known for his Nightmares, actor Robert Englund made fans’ dreams come true last weekend at the Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention.

Flashback Weekends - August 2014 - Chicago IL - 266

Three Freddy fans patiently wait to meet their idol

Making a rare midwestern appearance, star of the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series Robert Englund was Flashback Weekend’s headline guest.  Englund spent all day Saturday and Sunday meeting fans, signing their memorabilia, and sharing stories of his life from the making of A Nightmare on Elm Street to The Mangler and more.  Fans lined up for hours to meet this horror icon.

Though the staff at Flashback Weekend had a convenient ticketing system to minimize wait times, Englund’s autograph line still wound out of his private room.  Even those with $110 “priority line placement” tickets stood in line for nearly three hours.  Once the fans reached the front of the line, though, the experience was rewarding.  Englund is known to have a slow autograph line as he spends a few minutes talking with each fan.  I watched as he fawned over one fan’s Japanese theater program promoting the release of 1989’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.  “You have some cool shit,” he said to another fan who brought a DVD collection covered in autographs from other stars.

The long line may have had its advantages.  One congoer recounted his experience in Englund’s autograph line seven years ago at Flashback Weekend:  he met his wife in that line.  Now he, his wife of five years, and their daughter returned to again visit their horror hero.

The cost of Englund’s autograph was $50.00 per item–a very reasonable price for con-goers.  (For comparison, at the upcoming  Wizard World Chicago convention The Incredible Hulk’s Lou Ferrigno is charging $40.00, Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee $80.00, and, at New York Comic-Con in 2013, Sylvester Stallone charged $395.00).  While some celebrities rarely look up from their tables, their hands furiously signing item after item, Englund ensured each fan felt they had their moment with him and a story to tell as they left.

Arnie seized the opportunity to get a once-in-a-lifetime photo with Englund in the Freddy makeup.

Arnie seized the opportunity to get a once-in-a-lifetime photo with Englund in the Freddy makeup.

While the chance for Robert Englund’s autograph was welcomed by the fans, the far more publicized event was Friday’s exclusive photo opportunity with the star–in full Freddy make-up.  While celebrity appearances and photo opportunities are regular occurrences at conventions, rarely do the stars dress up for the occasion.  On Friday, however, Englund underwent a two-and-a-half hour make-up application transforming him into the onscreen persona of Freddy.   The latex prothetics that turned Englund into his on-screen persona were created and applied by 30-year Hollywood makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman, who worked with Englund on the fifth Nightmare film.

The cost was very high– the photo opportunity, consisting of a professionally lit shot done by Celeb Photo Ops, a single 8″ x 10″ photo printout, and weekend admission to the convention (for one person) cost $365.00.  Up to two people could be in the photo, but the guest would have to pay admission separately.  The night of the event the photo itself could be purchased separately for $295.00.  Additional prints and digital download options added to the cost of the photo.  By comparison, at Wizard World Chicago photos with a single celebrity, also done by Celeb Photo Ops, range from $40 to $125, with the average being $55.  A photo with all seven stars of Star Trek: The Next Generation is in the same price range, at $299.00 (not including convention admission).

The cost was not due to organizer or celebrity greed.  Flashback Weekend started in 2002, run by Mike and Mia Kerz.  The event is held annually in the Chicago area., and all proceeds from Flashback Weekend, including the Freddy photo op, go to the preservation and operation of the Midway Drive-In located in Dixon, IL.  The Flashback Weekend web site states the philanthropic efforts are to “[provide] a theatrical outlet at the Midway Drive-In for new independent horror films [and maintain] a venue at the Midway for the screening of 35mm horror films.”  Englund cited this cause as a motivator behind his decision to appear in full make-up.

Despite the high cost, hundreds of fans lined up for this once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.  Fans came from across the country, some traveling from Tuscon, Pittsburgh, and Texas, for this chance.  Englund was in full-on Freddy mode, speaking in the gravely voice and sometimes letting out his trademark scream–acts which must be second nature for the actor who’s portrayed the dream killer for thirty years.  Fans hoping for a moment with their idol, however, needed to go to the autograph area as the photo op was a workman-like assembly line.  Englund seemed to have four  key poses:  for photos with one person he would put his blade to their throat.  For photos with two people he would attack one–usually the female.  For families that snuck a third person, a child, into the photo Englund would grab the young one’s hair, and for those who were wearing their own Freddy glove Englund had a crossed-blades pose.

Englund demonstrated on-stage the problems with wearing his trademark fedora in photos.

Englund demonstrated on-stage the problems with wearing his trademark fedora in photos.

The entire photo experience gave fans about thirty seconds with the star before the man behind the camera shouted “next” and fans were escorted out.  Englund seemed to barely have time to acknowledge any fans individually, it was enter frame, pose, picture, done.

However the result is a well-lit, framed, and shot photo.  Yes, the cost is high, but, as shown to the right, the result is a photo that cannot be gotten anywhere else.

In the weeks leading up to the convention several fans complained online about Englund wearing the makeup and glove, but eschewing Freddy’s trademark sweater and hat.  On stage that evening, in a private event for those who purchased the photo opportunity, Englund explained the hat created numerous lighting problems that plagued the filming of all the Nightmare films.  For the sake of a good photograph the hat had to be skipped.  As for the sweater?  Englund explained that fans could find convincing Freddy characters in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater and other locales, and that by wearing the official T-Shirt of Flashback Weekend fans could prove their photo was with the star himself.

Also in that evening panel Englund stated that this was perhaps not, as claimed on the Flashback Weekend web site, the final time the actor would don the make-up; the 68-year-old actor may not yet be ready to hang up his hat and glove.  Whether for other fan events or professional Hollywood productions fans may not have seen the last of Englund as Freddy after all.

And Englund wasn’t the only Nightmare on Elm Street star on hand for Flashback Weekend.  Also at the event were Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Better Off Dead), Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Weird Science, Sometimes They Come Back), Jennifer Rubin (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Bad Dreams, Screamers), Monica Keena (Freddy vs. Jason, Dawson’s Creek), Katharine Isabelle (Freddy vs. Jason, Ginger Snaps) and Ronee Blakley (A Nightmare on Elm Street and Nashville, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award).  Unlike Englund, lines to meet these actors were often short, and autograph prices ranged from $20.00 to $40.00.  Some would pose with fans for photos if you purchased an autograph; others had a separate photo charge.

A Nightmare reunion at Flashback Weekend 2014! From left to right:  Rusler, Rubin, Blakley, Wyass, and  Keena

A Nightmare reunion at Flashback Weekend 2014! From left to right: Rusler, Rubin, Blakley, Wyass, and Keena

But like Englund each of the stars were approachable and friendly, engaging with their fans in the short time allotted.

In total, over two dozen celebrities attended the convention, including actress/musician Traci Lords, Gremlins star Zach Galligan, and character actor William Forsythe.  These actors filled the end of the convention’s exhibit floor, and while, at peak times, lines became difficult to navigate, the average wait was short.

Aside from Englund, the two most popular celebrities at Flashback Weekends seemed to be Lance Henriksen and Angus Scrimm.

Henriksen is a science fiction fan favorite with appearances in three of the Alien films, as well as Terminator and the TV series Millennium.  In total the actor has over 200 on-screen credits in a career that spans more than 50 years.  Yet Henriksen engaged fans eagerly, sharing stories of knife-practice on the set of Aliens or “alimony movies” he had to make like The Mangler 2.  He had a dry wit which left interviewer “Svengoolie” Rich Coz nonplussed during the Friday night panel.

Scrimm, an actor best known for the Phantasm horror series, had a autograph line second in length only to Englund’s.  The actor, who is celebrating his 88th birthday next week,  had a health issue that caused him to cancel an Indianpolis convention appearance in 2013.  Fans, not wanting to miss this opportunity, stood in a line that at times stretched the length of the convention hall.

Scrimm headlined a 35th Anniversary Reunion of Phantasm stars at Flashback Weekend, which also included Reggie Bannister, Don Coscarelli, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and Kathy Lester.

Outside of celebrity appearances, Flashback Weekend had a bevy of costumers and revelers.  In addition to Svengoolie, local personalities Kitty Zombie, WGN Radio’s Nick Digilio, and Daily herald film critic Dann Gire helped host the event.  While the convention’s exhibit floor was one of the smaller ones for Chicago conventions, fans still could buy toys, T-Shirts, DVDs, and more.  For those whose tastes run outside the norm there were also taxidermied animal heads, lifelike silicon werebabies, and replica Freddy gloves.

Details for next years event are expected in the coming months at the official Flashback Weekend website.

See photos from the event in the galleries below.

August 11, 2014 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Freddy Fans Delighted at Flashback Weekend

Hasbro SDCC Exclusives Now Available Online!

Hasbro-2014-SDCC-Jabba-2Update 3:  Overnight the Infinity Gauntlet 3.75-inch Marvel set sold out, over 12 hours after being offered.

Update 2:  The Jabba the Hutt set is now sold out, 1 hour after being put up for sale

Update:  The Marvel Legends Galactus Engine Set is now sold out, about 25 minutes after being put up for sale.



Hasbro’s 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International exclusive toys are up for order now at Habro’s online store As we reported on Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys’ social media sites, and will be detailed more in the forthcoming Comic-Con coverage videos and podcasts, Hasbro’s San Diego booth was the most chaotic it’s been in 9 years.  Items like the Marvel Legends set and Jabba the Hutt sold out by 10:30 Saturday morning.  Collectors and scalpers alike fought to get tickets and get in the line, and sometimes lining up as early as 5 a.m. was not enough to get the toys sought. Now they are on Hasbro Toy but with the high demand for these limited-edition toys they will likely sell out in under an hour.  So if you were looking for these toys, hurry to the site now and get yours! SDCC-2014-Marvel-Legends-Thanos-Imperative-Box-Set-e1400786352987Hasbro-SDCC-2014-Marvel-Infinite-Gauntlet-Exclusive-Figures-Set-e1400801512814-640x851

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, News, Star Wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hasbro SDCC Exclusives Now Available Online!

Fangirls Assemble: Her Universe Announces Marvel Line of Apparel

Her Universe, a company devoted to making clothes and accessories for geek girls, has just revealed a new line inspired by the heroes of Marvel Comics.  The press release reads:


NEW YORK, NY – June 19th, 2014 -Her Universe™, the leader in female genre merchandise, announced today a breakthrough collaboration with Marvel Entertainment and Disney Consumer Products to create a fashionable collection of empowering Super Hero apparel for the ever-growing female fan base of Marvel comics, films and television series. The Marvel by Her Universe line of “geek couture” is premiering with an action-packed assortment of Captain America fashion items along with fan favorite Marvel characters on fashion tops, tanks, dresses, cardigans, hoodies, skirts, leggings and more that will inspire fangirls of all ages to channel their inner Super Hero.

Along with Spider-Man and Avenger characters like Loki, Thor and Iron Man, there are also strong female characters such as Black Widow, Elektra, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel being spotlighted in their own comics and Marvel’s new “Characters and Creators” initiative which aims to speak directly to an audience of women and girls, the Marvel by Her Universe line will celebrate this effort by creating fashion forward products exclusively for the female Marvel fan.

“At Marvel we actively seek innovative opportunities to leverage our iconic characters in the marketplace and expand our storytelling to a larger audience,” said Paul Gitter, senior vice president, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products. “This collaboration with Her Universe presents our brand in exciting new ways at retail while reinforcing Marvel’s values of empowerment and strength amongst our female demographic.”

Actress and entrepreneur, Ashley Eckstein, who launched Her Universe with her business partner, The Araca Group, in 2010, is well-known to sci-fi fans as the voice of Dagger on the animated series, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man.

“I am so excited to announce that we have joined forces with Marvel for a Her Universe line of apparel,” said Eckstein. “The fans have been asking us to make Marvel merchandise and it’s been on my wish list for a long time! There are so many compelling characters in the Marvel Universe and it is a dream come true to be able to collaborate with Marvel and design with these celebrated Super Heroes and villains!”

“As long time devoted fans of the Marvel Universe,” added Michael Rego, Chief Executive Officer of The Araca Group, “we feel incredibly humbled to work alongside this most iconic brand – ‘Nuff said!'”

Marvel apparel and accessories from the Her Universe collection will be available in the U.S. at both and through national retail outlets such as Hot Topic and online with Throughout the year, Marvel merchandise will also be available at select conventions including San Diego Comic-Con.

Listen to Her Universe Founder, Ashley Eckstein, talk about Fangirls and Marvel on “The Nerdist Comics Panel” podcast Saturday June 21st at

The price range for the items ranges from $28.00 for a tank top or jersey to $45.00 for the Captain America Costume Dress.

While the logo indicates the clothing line can pull from all corners of the Marvel Universe these initial offerings have a strong Avengers link with the majority of items being Captain America or S.H.I.E.L.D. related.  The only exception to this is the Graffiti Rogue Tank at this time.

Marvelicious Toys Podcast co-host and noted Marvel T-Shirt collector Marjorie Carvalho told us that the Avengers tank top and the Captain America Cardigan were two items she was eyeing from these initial offerings though she said, “ I wish that [the cardigan] didn’t have the shield on the back.”  She stated she was very interested in being able to judge these items in person at the Her Universe booth at San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Stay tuned to the Marvelicious Toys Podcast for further coverage of the Her Universe clothing line, especially in their coverage of San Diego Comic-Con next month!

What do YOU think of the Her Universe Marvel collection?  Let us know in the comments below!


June 19, 2014 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, News, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fangirls Assemble: Her Universe Announces Marvel Line of Apparel

The Marvel Shop Returns at NYCC

For Marvel statue and toy collectors attending San Diego Comic Con in July, 2013 the first stop was The Marvel Shop.  Now at New York Comic Con in October 2013 The Marvel Shop returns.  With some exclusives from SDCC making their return as well as brand new NYCC exclusive items, Marvel collectors have more comics, plushies, statues, and more to try and collect!

Images and press release follow:

The Marvel Shop Makes Its East Coast Debut At New York Comic Con With Loads Of Limited Edition Items!


The Marvel booth at New York Comic Con is back! (Booth #1354) Marvel will be taking the event by storm and aims to make this year one to remember! Along with all of the great on-stage panels, creator signings, and special events, Marvel is offering some fantastic new and exclusive merchandise that will be for sale at the booth (while supplies last), including T-shirts, glass tumblers, statues, Blu-ray DVDs and more! Be sure to stop by and check the booth out, as supplies will be limited.


Here is a list of items that will be for sale:


  • Rocket Raccoon Plush by Just Play with Limited Edition Skottie Young Lithograph – Take home your very own cuddly, plush Guardian of the Galaxy. Just don’t call him cuddly to his face.  Each awesome plush also includes a limited edition lithograph illustrated by Skottie Young! (Limited to 1000 pieces): $34.99


  • Glass Tumblers – Enjoy your beverages with these awesome character themed tumblers made exclusively for New York Comic Con. There will be seven different unique designs available. Additionally, each Glass Tumbler will come with a certificate of authenticity. (Limited to 200 pieces for each design) Price: $15.99 each
    • Deadpool by Skottie Young
    • Spider-Man by Skottie Young
    • Thor and Jane Foster from Thor: The Dark World
    • Angela by Sarah Pichelli
    • Superior Spider-Man by Ryan Stegman
    • Hawkeye by David Aja
    • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Scarlet Witch by Adi Granov


  • Zombie Magneto Bust by Gentle Giant – What’s more terrifying than the Master of Magnetism? A Master of Magnetism who feasts on brains! Decorate your home or workspace with this highly detailed zombified Magneto bust designed by Gentle Giant. (Only 300 pieces on hand) Price: $99.00


  • Marvel Unlimited Plus Subscription with access to exclusive Plus Member Only Event – Become a Marvel Unlimited Plus member ($99.99 for one year) and gain access to over 13,000 digital comics, receive an exclusive Age of Ultron Collectible Kit, members only discounts on Marvel merchandise & comics, & more! All comics can be read digitally on the web or via the Marvel Unlimited app (for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® & Android devices).  The exclusive Age of Ultron Collectible Kit features a limited edition Marvel Legends Ultron AU variant action figure, Age of Ultron #10 variant, (both not available anywhere else) AND your very own membership card and welcome letter.

Marvel Unlimited Plus Members also have the opportunity to attend a Plus members-only event where Plus members can receive an exclusive Captain America: Living Legend variant by John Cassaday and Steve McNiven Inhumanity lithograph! MU Plus members will even be given a 10% discount on all Marvel merchandise purchases from the Marvel booth during New York Comic Con.

    • Marvel Unlimited Plus event open to Marvel Unlimited Plus members only.  Must have event pass and valid 3-day, 4-day or Sunday New York Comic Con pass for entry.   Event badges do not guarantee access to Plus Member event.  John Cassaday variant and Steve McNiven lithograph available while supplies last.
    • 10% offer valid only from 10/10/13 – 10/13/13.  MU Plus members must provide membership card and valid photo I.D at the merchandise booth to receive 10% off of their entire Marvel merchandise purchase.


  • Mighty Avengers #2 Cosplay Variant by J. Scott Campbell –  Superstar artist J. Scott Campbell brings you some of your favorite female Avengers characters as they get ready to cosplay at NYCC! (Only 2,000 copies printed) Price: $10.00


  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4 Variant by Gurihuru – Gurihuru puts the Spider-Man up against his worst enemies – or rather ponies dressed as his worst enemies! This is a must own for any Spider-Man fan! (Only 2,000 copies printed) Price: $10.00


  • Phase 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe Blu-Ray Collector’s Set w/ limited-edition 24 x 36 Marvel’s The Avengers theatrical homage poster by Skottie Young. – Bring home a piece of cinema history with Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Blu-Ray! This collector’s set includes all six Avenger’s films from Phase One and other amazing collectibles. But wait, there’s more. We are also including a limited edition theatrical homage poster as a special gift with purchase for anyone who buys the Box Set at the Marvel booth. This limited edition poster is illustrated by Skottie Young and is hand-numbered. (Only 150 sets on-hand) Price: $150.00


  • Iron Man Statues by Beast Kingdom – Celebrate the unprecedented success of the Iron Man trilogy and decorate your home or office space with these unique Iron Man statues from Beast Kingdom! Limited quantities of each will be available at the convention. This marks one of the first times these statues are for sale by Marvel in the United States! Price: $80.00 each. There will be four Marks available:
    • Iron Man Mark V (20 statues on-hand)
    • War Machine (63 statues on-hand)
    • Iron Man Mark VI (75 statues on-hand)
    • Iron Man Mark 42 (75 statues on-hand)


  • Marvel Logo Cap by New Era – Show your love of all things Marvel with this exclusive 59FIFTY fitted cap from New Era featuring the Marvel logo. (Only 250 pieces available) Price: $29.99


  • Thor: The Dark World Cast & Crew Tee Exclusive Loki Fan Variant – Celebrate the release of Marvel Studios’ next blockbuster Thor: The Dark World with this exclusive cast & crew variant tee available only at NYCC! The unique periodic table design spotlights major characters from the film, including everyone’s favorite God of Mischief – Loki! Don’t miss your chance to take home a your own piece of Thor: The Dark World. (Limited to 399 pieces total. Available in men & women’s sized) Price: $34.99


  • Lucky’s On the Case T-Shirt by David Aja – Straight from the pages of Hawkeye comes everyone’s favorite crime solving, pizza loving canine. Don’t miss your chance to own this exclusive design available only at New York Comic-Con! (Limited to 400 pieces total. Available in men & women’s sizes) Price: $19.99


  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot T-Shirt by Skottie Young – Get ready for the release of next summer’s Marvel Studios’ blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy, with this limited-edition Rocket & Groot t-shirt featuring art by fan-favorite artist Skottie Young! (Limited to 500 pieces total. Available in men & women’s sizes) Price: $19.99


  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ‘Coulson Lives!’ T-Shirt – Coulson Lives! Support everyone’s favorite agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a brand new t-shirt from Marvel Television’s first live action show airing Tuesday nights on the ABC network! (Limited to 550 pieces total. Available in men & women’s sizes) Price: $19.99


  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Bus” Blueprint –  You may not be able to own the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying headquarters known as “the Bus”, but you can own this limited-edition, hand numbered blueprint. Learn the ins and outs of the Agent’s mobile command center and bring home your own piece of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Only 300 copies printed) Price: $12.99


  • Captain America Hooded Scarf – Stay warm this winter and dress like you’re the Sentinel of Liberty himself with a hooded scarf designed to look like your favorite Avenger. Each scarf comes emblazoned with Captain America’s iconic “A” and wings so you can battle the Red Skull…or frostbite. (Limited to 100 units) Price: $24.99

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, Movies, Podcasts | , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Marvel Shop Returns at NYCC

Film Fans of All Types Can Enjoy Days of the Dead

Nightmare on Elm Street star Wilcox poses with the man of her dreams. (Photo by Jeff Flynn)

Nightmare on Elm Street star Wilcox poses with the man of her dreams. (Photo by Jeff Flynn)

To someone who’s never been to a horror convention the thought could be as frightening as the blood-soaked splatter fests that appear on screen.  One could imagine pale, pierced social misfits and psychopaths standing in line to meet their favorite serial killer.  Many may feel if they aren’t into the gory or the grotesque then a horror convention is not for them.

That impression is totally false as shown last weekend at the Days of the Dead horror convention in Indianapolis. Of course it was a blast for those into fright films, but it also had entertainment to offer any movie lover!

One of the big draws of the convention were the large number of celebrity guests in attendance.  The stereotype of a celebrity on the autograph circuit is an actor with his career on the decline, clinging to former fame.  Days of the Dead proved that image wrong by bringing in several A-list celebrities promoting current films.  Some of the headlining guests have big movies out soon included Danny Trejo (Machete Kills in October), Keith David (recently in Cloud Atlas and a dozen more films in production), and Academy Award Nominee Gary Busey (Behaving Badly due out this year).  This is an amazing roster for a con only in its third year, besting some of the other national companies who host conventions in the Midwest.

Access to the celebrities was incredibly easy.  At many conventions fans have to wait in line for four hours or more to meet their idols.  At Days of the Dead my wait time to see Trejo was 10 minutes, and only 15 minutes for Busey.

More, the prices were very reasonable.  At conventions such as Dragon*Con or San Diego Comic-Con I’ve paid over $100 for signatures from actors who have not worked in several decades.  At Days of the Dead the majority of autographs were $20 and headliners Busey and Trejo were just $40.  Trejo would take a picture free with an autograph, while Busey charged only $10 additional for a photo; at some conventions photo opportunities start at $20 and can be as high as $150.

While all of the celebrities have horror films on their resumes, Trejo would sign a copy of the comedy Bubble Boy as rapidly as the vampire film From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and Busey had available photographs of his roles in Lethal Weapon and Point Break.  I did not see anyone asking Keith David to sign their copy of Requiem for a Dream but I doubt he’d have declined.

All the guests were not just polite but completely engaged with the fans, having short conversations and truly making the con attendee feel appreciated.  This is far better than the assembly-line like atmosphere found by some guests at Wizard World or New York Comic Con.  In fact, the longest line to see a celebrity seemed to be A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 star Lisa Wilcox who would spend up to 5 minutes talking with her fans while signing their items.  (Unfortunately for Wilcox one of those fans I observed was a socially awkward male in his twenties regaling her with a story about a specially lit photo he had of Wilcox in his bedroom…so while some of the stereotypes were present at the con most of the attendees were overwhelmingly normal).

Even the guests whose primary work was in horror had non-horror items available.  For example, Wilcox is best known for starring in A Nightmare on Elm Street  but the actress also had available a wide selection of photos from her single-episode guest-starring role in Star Trek: The Next Generation.  As she rarely appears in the Midwest, Wilcox was a draw for Trekkers and horror fans alike.  Original Nightmare on Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp also had a minor role in this summer’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Of course, the horror fan had much to celebrate.  Icons of the genre including Tony Todd (Final Destination, Candyman, Wishmaster), Derek Mears (the Friday the 13th reboot, 2007’s The Hills Have Eyes II), Tyler Mane (Michael Myers in both Rob Zombie’s Halloween films), Leslie Easterbrook (Zombie’s Halloween and The Devil’s Rejects), several stars of Cabin Fever, and over a dozen more horror film character actors were also there.

The vendor areas of the convention were a shopper’s delight.  While the non-horror fan would find less that appeals to them in the vendor booths, there were plenty of superhero toys and Star Wars collectibles to choose from.  I bought an original painting based on the Howard the Duck movie!

Many booths catered to all children of the 80’s, including Don’t Eat the Gum – a company that sells trading cards from the 1980s and 1990s (and my wife should have listened to the company name as she almost broke her tooth on a stick of gum from Howard the Duck trading cards…the gum was made in 1986).  Also there was Adjust Your Tracking selling movies on VHS that were never officially available on DVD.

Of course, being a horror convention, slasher-film fans could buy items not found anywhere else.  Many booths offered DVDs of horror movies, including bootlegs of some incredibly rare films like Fright Night 2 and Silent Night, Deadly Night:  Initiation.


“They’re coming to get you, Leia!” – a custom zombie stormtrooper by vendor Curious Goods

There were also custom T-Shirts, paintings, and other original expressions of creative horror.  At one booth Curious Goods offered custom action figures, including Rob Zombie, and Deathtroopers–Star Wars Stormtroopers turned zombies.

The exhibit floor was split into two small ballrooms, a sign that Days of the Dead is quickly outgrowing the space offered by the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel.  Having Days of the Dead split among several walled-off areas did make the convention feel smaller than it was.  While it were ever too crowded, as is often found at larger conventions, the lines often crossed and merged, making celebrity areas hard to navigate.  This is likely the product of becoming incredibly popular in only three years, and something I’m sure will be corrected at future conventions.

Overall Days of the Dead Indianapolis was an incredible experience, and I will certainly be attending their Chicago convention this November.  While the only guests announced thus far are stars of the Return of the Living Dead and The Blair Witch Project it’s sure to be fun!


When not attending conventions across the globe Arnie can be found hosting the movie review podcast Now Playing, which has reviewed hundreds of movies of all genres, as well as the toy collecting podcasts Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys.  He also reviews books on the Books & Nachos podcast.



July 12, 2013 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews, Star Wars Action News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Film Fans of All Types Can Enjoy Days of the Dead

Marvel Store to Debut at SDCC, Old Man Logan Figure Available

cache_640x480_._images_Galleries_ Marvel Universe_MARVEL Universe DCU Exclusive MARVEL's Old Man Logan_MARVEL Universe DCU Exclusive MARVEL's Old Man Logan 07


If you’ve attended San Diego Comic-Con International you know Marvel’s booth is a must-see.  From a large Avengers stage to a life-sized Iron Man 3 Hall of Armor, the visual spectacle is awe-inspiring.  In addition to the superstar comic creators that sign at the booth, celebrities like Stan Lee and Chris Evans have made appearances.  And collectibles abound from free iPhone cases to limited posters, comics, pins, and more.

In 2013 Marvel is expanding their booth presence further with The Marvel Shop. The shop will have limited edition collectibles for sale, as well as a highly sought Hasbro Marvel Universe figure–Old Man Logan.  First revealed at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012 the figure was expected to be released at New York Comic-Con, and Hasbro gave samples out to press covering their New York Comic-Con event.  However Marvel did not have the figure at the convention and, short of spending over $200 for one on eBay, the figure has remained a mystery.

Marvel has now revealed at at The Marvel Shop if you subscribe to Marvel Unlimited, the Marvel Comics digital comics subscription service, you will get the Old Man Logan figure for free.  More, Old Man Logan is the first Marvel Universe figure to have an announced edition size–only 3,000 of this figure will be made.

Marvel’s full press release reads:

The Marvel Shop Debuts At Comic Con International 2013 With Loads Of Limited Edition Items!


The Marvel booth at San Diego Comic Con International is back! (Booth #2329) Marvel will be taking the event by storm and aims to make this year one to remember! Along with all of the great on-stage panels, creator signings, and special events, Marvel is offering some fantastic new and exclusive merchandise that will be for sale at the booth (while supplies last), including T-shirts, glass tumblers, Blu-ray DVDs and more! Be sure to stop by and check the booth out, as supplies will be limited.


Here is a list of items that will be for sale:

  • Glass Tumblers – Enjoy your beverages with these awesome character themed tumblers made especially for San Diego Comic Con. There will be seven different unique designs available. Additionally, each Glass Tumbler will come with a certificate of authenticity. (Limited to 200 pieces for each design) Price: $15.99
    • Spider-Man by Joe Quesada
    • Thor by Olivier Coipel
    • Captain Marvel by Terry Dodson
    • Infinity by Marko Djurdjevic
    • Uncanny Avengers by John Cassaday
    • Avengers by Skottie Young
    • Marvel’s Iron Man 3


  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D T-Shirt – Coulson Lives! Support everyone’s favorite agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a brand new t-shirts from Marvel Television’s first live action show hitting screens everywhere this Fall on ABC! (Limited to 500 in men’s sizes & 100 in women’s) Price: $19.99


  • iPhone Cases – Protect your iPhone with these sleek new iPhone cases for both models (4S & 5). There will be two designs available. Spider-Man by Skottie Young and Rocket Raccoon by Joe Quesada! (Limited to 250 pieces for each design) Price: $14.99


  • Marvel Unlimited Subscription with Old Man Logan Action Figure – Become a member of Marvel Unlimited and gain access to thousands of Marvel titles! The titles can be read digitally on a desktop or via the Marvel Unlimited app (for iPhone®, iPad®, iPad Touch® & Android devices). Included with the subscription is a Marvel exclusive Old Man Logan Action Figure from Hasbro Toys! (Only 3000 pieces produced) Price: $19.99 for one month or $55.20 for one year. Terms & conditions apply, offer valid only in person at the booth at Comic Con International Only.


  • Uncanny X-Men #8 San Diego Cosplay Variant by J. Scott Campbell –  Superstar artist J. Scott Campbell brings you some of your favorite female X-characters as they get ready to cosplay at SDCC! (Only 1,500 copies printed) Price: $10.00


  • Deadpool Kills Deadpool #1 San Diego Variant by Gurihuru – Gurihuru puts Deadpool in a nightmare situation – surrounded by ponies, dressed as and featuring the powers of Marvel super heroes! This is a must own cover for any Deadpool fan! (Only 1,500 copies printed) Price: $10.00


  • Phase 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe Blu-Ray Collector’s Set w/ limited-edition 24 x 36 Marvel’s The Avengers theatrical homage poster by Skottie Young. – Bring home a piece of cinema history with Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Blu-Ray! This collector’s set includes all six Avenger’s films from Phase One and other amazing collectibles. But wait, there’s more. As a special exclusive ONLY AVAILABLE at the San Diego convention, we are also including a limited edition theatrical homage poster as a special gift with purchase for anyone who buys the Box Set at the Marvel booth. This limited-run poster (production run of 350 posters), is illustrated by Skottie Young and hand-numbered. Not only that, but Skottie Young is scheduled to appear during preview night to sign these super rare posters in person! Price: $150.00


  • Iron Man Statue by Beast Kingdom – Celebrating the unprecedented success of the Iron Man trilogy, decorate your home or office space with these Iron Man statues from Beast Kingdom! There are three Marks available: Iron Man 2 Mark V, Iron Man 2 Mark VI, and Iron Man 2 War Machine. SDCC marks the first time that these statues are for sale by Marvel in the United states! (100 units of each statue available) Price: $80.00


  • Rocket Raccoon Mug – Get ready for the release of next summer’s Marvel Studios’ blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy, with this exclusive Rocket Raccoon Mug featuring art by Joe Quesada! (Only 350 units will be made available) Price: $14.99


  • Avengers T-Shirts– Are you an Avengers fan? Show your support for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with these special Avengers T-shirts!  Two different T-shirt designs will be available, the Avengers Album mock cover by Joey Spiotto and Survival by Matt Ferguson. Price: $19.99

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, Marvelicious Toys, Movies, Podcasts | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Marvel Store to Debut at SDCC, Old Man Logan Figure Available

Underground Collecting Goes Public at the Star Wars Celebration VI Swap Meet

At Star Wars Celebration some of the hottest, hard to find collectibles aren’t on the show floor but in the suitcase of your fellow fan. Hotel sales have long been an after-hours activity of the Star Wars collector looking to find that rare vintage figure, a unique international item, or other prize Star Wars items.

This year at Star Wars Celebration VI the hotel sales get opened up to you! Friday night after the con, the Star Wars Collectors’ Swap Meet will be held at 6:30 pm in the new Star Wars Collectors’ Social Area. Bring some collectibles that you are willing to part with and see items from other Star Wars collections! Make a trade, work a deal, and find that item that has eluded you for so long!

The Star Wars Collectors’ Social Area is in room W304. Set-up begins at 5pm for those bringing collectibles to sell or trade. Selling is limited to just a handful of items per person though (what you can carry), so collectors should plan accordingly.


August 9, 2012 Posted by | Conventions, Podcasts, Star Wars, Star Wars Action News | Comments Off on Underground Collecting Goes Public at the Star Wars Celebration VI Swap Meet

Diamond Select Reveals Celebration VI Exclusive Collectible Bank

Information in this article comes from Episode 355 of 


With Star Wars Celebration VI coming soon more exclusives are being announced.  Today Diamond Select Toys reveals two exclusive Star Wars banks!  From Diamond Select Marketing Supervisor Zach Oat:


Star Wars Celebration: These Are the Droids You’re Looking For!

If you were a Star Wars fan at San Diego Comic-Con, you probably picked up your vinyl R2-R9 Astromech droid bank by Diamond Select Toys, right? It was limited to 1000 pieces, it’s perfectly in scale to your 1/4 scale Star wars figures, it holds loose change and it was only $20 — what’s not to love? But if you weren’t at Comic-Con this year, fear not. DST put aside a limited number of the R2-R9s and is shipping them clear across the country to Star Wars Celebration in Orlando! Running August 21-23, Celebration 6 will be the last place to get your hands on the popular red droid, as well as pick up a brand-new droid made especially for Celebration! That’s right, C6 will get a special delivery of 100 black R2-Q5 Astromech droids, only available at the show, for the low price of $20 each! Both R2-Q5 and DST’s remaining stock of R2-R9s should go quickly, and DST will also have more of their regular Star Wars banks (including the classic R2-D2), so make the Diamond Select Toys booth (#632) your first stop at the con!


Hear all the details of this on Episode 355 of Star Wars Action News

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Conventions, News, Star Wars, Star Wars Action News | , , , | 2 Comments

Fan Fiction Recognized by Random House at San Diego Comic-Con

Random House Audio Invites Fan Fiction Authors to Record Their Stories at Comic-Con International in San Diego


One story will be selected by RH Audio producers to be recorded professionally and streamed online


NEW YORK, NY (July 2, 2012)—At this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA, Random House Audio will be recreating an audiobook studio right on the convention floor–inviting authors of fan fiction to record a sample of their work for a chance to have their story recorded and released as a digital audiobook.

Stories from the following fandoms are eligible for the contest:


  • Star Wars®
  • The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer


Aspiring authors (who must be legal residents of the U.S. and 18 years or older) can sign up for a time slot to record their five-minute sample during the convention, July 12-15 at the San Diego Convention Center. Random House Audio producers will listen to the entries (no mashups, please) and select one to be professionally recorded and mixed by Random House Audio for streaming at The grand prize winner and five runner-ups will have clips from their stories featured on the Random House Audio weekly podcast.


Sessions will be available Thursday through Saturday, July 12-14, from 10am-12pm and 1pm to 4pm at the Random House Audio booth #1515. Registration for morning slots is open now through July 10 at, and afternoon slots will be available for same-day sign ups beginning at 9am the first day of the con on a first-come, first-served basis.


Don’t see your fandom included on the list above? Sunday, July 15 is Open Mic Day! Fans of other series will get their chance to record their stories as well from 11am to 3pm and enter to win a collection of audiobooks.


Even if you’re not a writer, be sure to stop by the Random House Audio booth (#1515) for exclusive Comic-Con giveaways, including buttons, posters, headphones and mini microphone recorders.


For complete contest rules, click here.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, News, Star Wars | , , , | 1 Comment

Incredible Hulk Season 2 Episode 11 – Wildfire

The oil rig on which David is working is set ablaze by a saboteur who soon finds himself face-to-face with the Hulk.

Hulk's calling Wildfire
Season: 2
Episode: 11
Air Date: January 17, 1979
Director: Frank Orsatti
Writer: Brian Rehak
David’s Alias: David Blinkman
Hulk-Outs: 2
• Locked in an oil drum
on the back of a truck.
• After a fight seeing his
enemy set off an explosion
which may kill his girlfriend’s

We open with some  rootin’-tootin country-style music and I wonder if I accidentally put in my Bonanza DVD instead of the Hulk.  The music continues and I see some guys working on an oil rig.  No, not in the ocean–in the 70s there were actually oil wells found in the continental united states, and they had armatures that stood very high and required a lot of men to build them, drilling into the crust of the earth for that black gold.  (Note:  yes, I know there is still lots of oil drilling currently in the US, mostly in Texas, but the push for offshore drilling has downplayed the usefulness of such rigs).

David is one of the men working on this rig, so I do have the right disc.  We are also introduced to crew boss Mike Calahan and his daughter Linda (played b Christine Belford, the mom from Silver Spoons as well as Arnie’s mom in the movie Christine), who runs the office.  Mike has just come to Phoenix and started his own drill business after 30 years in the oil industry.  He has named the rig Wildfire, and believes Wildfire will hit oil and put his business in the black in more ways than one.

David has been working on the job for a week and isn’t fitting in very well with the other workers as he’s new to the job and has been a bit accident prone.  But Linda has taken a liking to David, seeing in the drifter a kindred spirit.  Linda wants to leave small town Arizona to go to New York, and David, having done nothing but travel for over a year, is more worldly than most of the men she meets digging for oil.  Linda shares her plans to move to New York, but she is stuck at the oil rig caring for her father.

We also meet Mike’s old friend Ray who is trying to buy out the lease on Mike’s rig.  He makes it seem like he’s doing Mike a favor, getting him out of hock for the drill, but Mike is convinced he’s drilling in the right spot and soon will score a fortune.

Ray is a former driller himself, but now he works for Tim Wade, a corporate man.  Drillers are distrustful of the businessman, so Wade uses the trust Ray has with the drillers to make them sell cheaply and quickly.  But in this case Wade is making Ray screw over his old friend Mike–Wade has done geology tests and Mike is drilling atop a million dollar oil well.  The clock is ticking, they need Mike to sell so they can score the oil instead of Mike.

And Mike is cutting it close.  He needs to buy more pipe and has no money.  He makes a deal with his workers to buy the pipe instead of paying them a salary in exchange for a share of the oil find.  Even David stays on hoping to get the money, and maybe hoping to get a share of Linda as well.  The two have begun dating, kissing, and the David-in-Love music that we’ve heard since the pilot is playing.

Linda’s a swinging 70s girl who invites David inside her cabin “no strings, no commitments, no demands” knowing that David doesn’t plan to stick around long.  So here we have the most clear evidence of David getting his Hulk-on as the camera goes out of focus, then back in to see David, tan coat slung over his shoulder (so he somehow got it back from the Los Santos sheriff’s office), leaving Linda’s cabin.  I imagine he’s feeling pretty happy and nothing could make him angry now.

Of course, I’m wrong.  On the way back to his own cabin David sees someone sneaking around the drill.  Investigating, he is hit on the back of the head and knocked out literally before he knew what hit him, and before he could Hulk-out.  It’s Frank Adler, one of Ray’s cronies, and he’s there to sabotage the power cable for the generator that runs the drill.  He locks David in an empty oil drum which he puts in the back of his pick-up truck and drives off.  David wakes up and shouts for help, but he can’t breathe in the sealed drum.  We don’t see David, we just see the outside of the drum, but we hear the trademark sound followed by a familiar roar.

Hulk-Out #1    Hulk bursts from the drum, exploding it from inside.  It goes in all directions to show Hulk (Lou Ferrigno), green and mean and ready for a fight.  Though it’s obvious Ferrigno isn’t really on a moving truck for this scene as he’s standing far too still with no shaking or vertical motion.

We get a very funny scene of Hulk peering through the back windshield of the moving truck like a peeping Tom.   Then Hulk leans over the cab, way over the cab, and smashes the front windshield, causing Ray to crash the truck.  Hulk peels back the roof of the truck like he’s pulling the tab off a can of soda, and lifts Adler out.  He seems ready to smash Adler, but Hulk is distracted by the radio.  In a very odd moment, Hulk starts pushing buttons, changing the station, then turning up the volume.  Finally he’s had enough of a shoe store ad and he does what we all wish we could do when we hear too many radio ads–he tears the radio right out of the dash.

His distraction over, he looks around for Adler, but the saboteur has run off in the night, so we fade to commercial so the viewers can watch some TV ads of their own.

The next day David reports the sabotage and attack to Mike, but the older man can’t be bothered—the crew is striking oil!  The black liquid explodes into the air and the men jump around ecstatic, practically seeing dollars fly into the air.  Now that Mike has struck oil he doesn’t care about sabotage or attacks, he thinks all difficulties are behind them.

But David’s difficulties can only be left behind by leaving town, so after his late night Hulk-out he tells Mike he needs to be moving on.  Mike tries to convince David to stay for Linda.  David says now that Mike has struck oil Linda isn’t going to stick around, and Mike reveals that Linda is very insecure.  Mike bought his daughter a ticket to New York a year ago and Linda is afraid to use it, afraid in The Big Apple she won’t be pretty enough or smart enough.

Linda’s insecurities aren’t enough to make David stay, but they are enough to have him confront his lover.  David tells Linda of his plans to leave.  When Linda says she has to stay for her dad, David outs her, saying he knows Mike wants Linda to go to New York.

Meanwhile Adler goes to Ray.  Even though Mike has struck oil, Adler thinks there’s still a chance to get the well for Wade.  When Ray refuses to push on with the takeover, Adler goes straight to Wade with a nefarious plan–blow up Mike’s rig before Mike can make his profit.  The old man will never have the money to pay off his debts, let alone rebuild, and he’ll have no choice but to sell.

Adler shows up at the drill carrying a giant red alarm clock that I think is supposed to be a bomb.  Maybe in the 70s bombs were made of oversized Flavor Flav alarm clocks.  I feel sure that someone will see the bomb and it will tick down before Hulk finally throws it far away from the well, but I was dead wrong.  Almost immediately the bomb explodes.

Fire spirals up the well, and I am impressed.  This isn’t stock footage, this is the same set where Bixby and the rest have been working, and it’s not a small fire it’s an inferno.  It’s really high production values for Hulk.  They blew the bank on this one.

The rig is burning and all around people are injured, including Linda who was hit by debris.  David becomes the crew medic, treating the wounds of Linda and the other drill workers, including the ones who were mean to him earlier in the show.

Mike takes charge to put the fire out.  The crane can’t reach the well to cap it so there’s only one way to save the site–blow up the rig to cut off the oxygen and put out the fire.   But Mike cannot get past the fire to get to the drill to blow it.

Ray comes, guilty over what Adler did, and confesses everything to Mike.  Then Ray and Mike decide to team up and try to make it through the flames, donning flame retardant suits (which may be 100% accurate but look to me like they are made of Jiffy Pop containers).  The two old oil workers head into the flame carrying the dynamite, leaving David with the detonator.

But Adler is sneaking around like Snidely Whiplash, peering out from behind a shed.  Nothing can stop his burning the rig, so when David is left alone Adler attacks–and David fights back!  Blocking a punch from Adler, David punches the saboteur in the gut.  They keep fighting too, with David holding his own.  But a missed punch gives Adler the upper hand, kidney punching David from behind.  In over a year of the show, I’ve seen David be brave, putting himself in danger to save others, but I’ve never seen him be tough.  Here he’s being very tough.  I really was sure Adler was just coming to pummel the scientist, causing him to Hulk-out as we’ve seen a dozen times before.  But no, the fight goes on, both land blows, but David’s eyes are still brown.

It’s not the beating that makes David Hulk-out, it’s when Adler goes to the detonator, setting off the explosives that would kill Ray and Mike.  Then David yells “No” and has white eyes.

Hulk-Out #2:  Hulk throws Adler aside and runs into the fire, throwing flaming beams with ease.  He finds Mike, who was injured in the explosion, and takes him to Linda who is waiting by the fireside.  Hulk then rips the front off a crane, carrying it through the fire to the rig, and single-handedly caps the well.  It’s rather smart of Hulk to know the exact way to put out a fire, showing a level of intelligence we haven’t seen him exhibit before.  Unlike when he landed an airplane, here no one is giving Hulk step-by-step instructions; he’s figuring it out on his own.

The well, and the day, saved Hulk runs off into the wilderness while Mike comes to, alive and only worried if the well was capped.

In the coda we see Linda, Ray and Mike in Mike’s office filling the audience in on how everything ended.  Ray joined Mike’s crew as an experienced businessman to help Mike now that he’s made it rich.  Adler is in prison.  As for David, he has taken his things and left without even taking his share of the money from the oil find.  But as they talk it’s shown he sent back a bottle of red wine for Linda with a note saying it should be drank in New York, and that maybe David will meet her there to drink the wine and get his pay.

Linda leaves the office to read the rest of the letter alone.  The romantic score plays while we watch Linda waffle between crying and laughing.  Will she finally leave for New York to follow her dreams?  We never know as we cut to David, in his tan jacket, hitching a ride.

As David leaves I’m sad to be leaving with him.  His adventure in Arizona has been one of his best.  Wildfire was a really strong episode with great action and amazing pyrotechnics, a high point for the series thus far.  We also had an extended fist-fight between David and Adler.  This series really is lacking in fights; usually someone starts a fight, David takes a beating, then Hulk finishes things quickly.  To see punches land and a fight have ebbs and flows, while not very original, was a nice change of pace for this series.

In addition to being exciting and eye-pleasing, the episode was really well written.  While Adler’s tenacity is a bit much, the rest of the script is tight.  So often we’ve seen David Hulk-out for random reasons, just to give us some action at the mid-point of an episode.  Here, both of David’s Hulk-outs are plot-driven.  Hulk does important things and both times against a real villain.

Finally, this episode had two-dimensional characters.  While not as good as three-dimensional ones, it’s twice as good as the one-dimensional characters featured in most of the episodes so I count this as a positive.  These characters feel more real than most in the series, and that reality is deepened by the fact that the episode does not wrap up every plotline.  Sure, Mike has struck oil and will be okay, but Linda’s more personal plot is left ambiguous.  Will Linda go to New York and drink her red wine, or will she remain captive to her fears?  That’s up to the viewer to decide–and how refreshing that is!

I give this episode a strong recommend.  It’s the first episode of 1979 and if the rest of the episodes in this year are half as well made it will be a very good year indeed!


Read my other Incredible Hulk Series Reviews

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, Reviews, Television, The Incredible Hulk TV Series Reviews | 1 Comment

How to throw a Cougar Town Party (and why you should)


Busy Phillips MCs the Cougar Town Viewing Party

January 11, 2012

Last Saturday night Chi-town became Cougar Town for an evening at the Racine Plumbing Bar and Grill in Lincoln Park.  No, older women were not out prowling for young men, but rather a bunch of fans of the low-rated critically-acclaimed TV series Cougar Town showed up for free drinks and the chance to meet some of the talent behind the show.

Cougar Town is a show from Bill Lawrence, who also created Spin City and Scrubs.  Plagued by a title that Lawrence regularly mocks on the show itself, Cougar Town has struggled in the ratings.  When ABC did not include Cougar Town in its fall 2011 schedule, fans became concerned despite ABC’s assurances that it would return to the air as a mid-season replacement.  A low-rated show going on hiatus is often the death knell of that series.

As we now enter the second half of the 2011-2012 television season, Cougar Town still has not had a return announced.  But that is not stopping Lawrence and the rest of the cul-de-sac crew from using social media and local gatherings to mobilize Cougar Town fans and fight for the show to continue.

The creators of Cougar Town have had a greater level of interaction with viewers than most shows.  In Season 2 they put a telephone number in the show.  If you called the number in real life, you’d sometimes be greeted by a voice mail, but some lucky callers could find themselves talking to some of the show’s creators or stars.

Now Lawrence is taking this interactivity on tour to major cities like Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago.  Through Lawrence’s Twitter and Facebook pages fans were invited to come out, watch some as-yet-unaired episodes of Cougar Town, and mix and mingle with the show’s stars and creators.  And drink for free on Lawrence’s dime.

The Chicago party was hosted by Busy Phillips (Dawson’s Creek, White Chicks) who plays party-girl Laurie Keller, and series writer Melody Derloshon.  Derloshon worked the room well, introducing herself to attendees and sharing anecdotes about the behind-the-scenes goings on of a sitcom.  Phillips was also gracious to fans, stopping several times to pose for photos, and sharing stories about her co-stars  (In Season 3 when Dan Byrd, who plays Travis on the show, wears a helmet it’s due to the actor’s real-life aversion to washing his hair).  Phillips even showed grace when a somewhat creepy fan (also named Travis) seemed unable to separate fact from fiction, repeatedly pulling his shirt down to expose his chest and openly hit on the married actress.

Busy Phillips Poses with Cougar Town Fans

Busy Phillips Poses with Cougar Town Fans

Phillips also provided a running commentary during two episodes of Cougar Town shown to the partiers. The first episode shown was the Season 3 premiere which promises a surprise change in the show’s status quo.  The second episode of the evening will be the fifth episode of Season 3, one no Scrubs fan should miss.  That episode guest starred Sarah Chalke (Scrubs, Roseanne) as well as Sam Lloyd reprising his Scrubs role of Ted.  While hard to hear all the dialogue of the episodes, it seems like Cougar Town’s strongest episodes may be those yet to air.


Ted and his band from Scrubs


Phillips and Derloshon encouraged Cougar Town fans to be vocal with their support, and to use social media to spread the word about the show.  And, perhaps, have their own Cougar Town viewing parties when the show does return to the air.  And the Chicago party provided the perfect template for your own Cougar Town viewing party:

  • Start with plenty of alcohol.  The characters on the show are borderline alcoholics with the amount of wine they consume.  (Sadly the Racine Plumbing Bar and Grill did not have Big Carls for us to drink from, and our wine was sipped from mason jars)
  • Put out a Penny Can or two for people to test their aim on.  Don’t have a Penny Can?  You can buy the limited edition Blue Penny Can at Cafepress.  (The Green Penny Can is now sold out)
  • When people start to tire of Penny Can, have some Cougar Town trivia, such as the name of the town in which Cougar Town takes place.
  • Watch an episode of Cougar Town.
  • Continue to drink

The Cougar Town tour is set to continue with dates announced in Austin, TX as well as New York.  If in the area, it’s a unique opportunity to interact with television stars and creators, as well as get free drinks, and support the best show that’s not currently on television.

For future dates on the Cougar Town tour, follow the cul-de-sac crew on Twitter:

Bill Lawrence (series creator)

Kevin Biegel (series producer)

Nicki Maron (Lawrence’s assistant)

Melody Derloshon (series writer)

Cougar Town Writers

Busy Phillips (series actress)

Laruie Keller (the Twitter account of Phillips’ character on Cougar Town)


January 12, 2012 Posted by | Conventions, News, Reviews, Television | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hasbro to Make First Appearance at New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con LogoHasbro Logo






Hasbro issued a press release today stating that Hasbro will make a first time appearance at New York Comic Con at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from October 13-16 to present many of its iconic brands and meet with fans.

Hasbro will have a significant booth presence featuring current and upcoming products from its Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem and the Holograms, KRE-O brands aas well as from Hasbro’s  Beyblade, Marvel and Star Wars toy lines. Additionally, Hasbro will host panels for several of its properties and action figure lines as well as offer for sale several special edition products made for New York Comic Con convention goers.

When asked for clarification on the products, Justin Aclin, of Hunter PR representing Hasbro, stated “There will be exclusive items available at the con through a segment of the booth, although we’re not ready to reveal what those are just yet.”  Aclin also confirmed that, contrary to rumor, the sold out San Diego Comic-Con exclusive items, such as the Star Wars Death Star figure set, will not be available for sale at the show.

“Hasbro is looking forward to an exciting and substantial presence for its first ever participation in New York Comic Con,” said Jeff Jackson, vice president of U.S. marketing for Hasbro. “As this show continues to grow we’re thrilled to be attending this year to offer our fans the opportunity to engage with Hasbro’s brands in unique ways at both the convention and NYCC Kids! events.”

More details about Hasbro’s booth, panels, special edition New York Comic-Con figures and other special events at the convention will be released in the coming weeks. Hasbro will be located at booth #302. For more information about New York Comic Con, fans and families can visit

You can discuss New York Comic Con in the Star Wars Action News forums!

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Comic Books, Conventions, News, Star Wars | , , , | Comments Off on Hasbro to Make First Appearance at New York Comic Con