Archived entries for Things I Read

For Trade/Sale: My Catwoman Comics

This week The League is trading our unwanted stuff! I’ve got plenty of that around here, but I tried to pick something that I know you guys in The League might actually want–that is, unless any of you are interested in Hello Kitty stuff or Insane Clown Posse CDs… Anyone? Bueller?

Didn’t think so.

So, here’s what I’m hoping to unload:

Catwoman Comic Books

Are you surprised I have Catwoman comics? See, back in the 90s I was obsessed with X-MEN after getting hooked on the cartoon, so I started collecting the comics. I still have hundreds of them, between X-MEN, Uncanny X-MEN, X-Factor, X-Force, X-MEN 2099, X-MEN Adventures, all the character-centric titles like Wolverine, Cable, Storm, etc. etc. etc. I even have some Avengers crossovers. Here’s a glimpse:

X-Men Comics

Feeling overly entrenched in the Marvel universe, I decided at some point to branch out a little and try something new. For whatever reason, Catwoman is the book I chose to do that with. I loved Batman, but was overwhelmed by the volume of Batman comics out there and didn’t know where to start. I’ve also never been one to collect comic books just for the sake of collecting–I actually do read the stories and I won’t buy a book that I’m not “into” story or character-wise. When I saw Catwoman #1 hit the stands back in 1993, I thought here was good chance to get into something Batman-related from the start so I jumped on it.

Plus, the cover is embossed, so you can totally feel up Selina Kyle’s cat-bewbz. Fun, right?

Cat-bewbz

I tried my best to get into Catwoman, collecting it for about a year or so, but unfortunately it never grabbed me the way X-MEN did, so I gave up. It did, however, teach me a valuable lesson: that I shouldn’t have to “try” to get into something. If you’re trying too hard to like something, it probably means you don’t. And if you don’t like something, stop collecting it. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money. That’s what these books represent to me–a waste of time and money. I have no emotional investment in them whatsoever, and I’d be more than happy to pass them on to someone who’ll actually appreciate them.

So here’s exactly what I have up for trade:

Catwoman Comics, Group 1

Catwoman Comics, Group 2

Catwoman Comics, Group 3

  • Catwoman #1 – Aug 1993
  • Catwoman #2 – Sep 1993
  • Catwoman #3 – Oct 1993
  • Catwoman #4 – Nov 1993
  • Catwoman #5 – Dec 1993
  • Catwoman #6 – Jan 1994 (2x copies of this one)
  • Catwoman #7 – Feb 1994
  • Catwoman #8 – Mar 1994
  • Catwoman #9 – Apr 1994
  • Catwoman #10 – May 1994
  • Catwoman #11 – Jun 1994
  • (I don’t have #12 for some reason…)
  • Catwoman #13 – Aug 1994
  • Catwoman #14 – Sep 1994 (2x copies of this one)
  • (I don’t have #15 either)
  • Catwoman #16 – Dec 1994
  • Catwoman #0 – Oct 1994
  • Catwoman Annual #1 – 1994

All of these comics are bagged and boarded and have been resting undisturbed in my comic boxes since 1994. In other words, they’re in great condition.

And here’s what I’m interested in for trade:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anything, especially if it’s related to the first movie
  • Retro gaming stuff (NES carts, Atari, Sega Genesis, etc.)
  • Choose Your Own Adventure Books (Hardcover)
  • Vintage board games or card games
  • Atari Hot Wheels (I need the 2600 GMC Motorhome and the Centipede van)

Of course, money’s always good too if you’d rather just outright buy them. I have no idea what the’re worth though, so you could probably swindle me pretty good.

Let’s make a deal.

Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to post items we want to trade or sell. Here’s what we’ve got on the trading post:

10,000 Points to Everyone Who Recommended I Read ‘Ready Player One’

If I could pay you in valuable rare artifacts like Hayata’s Beta Capsule or Fyndoro’s Tablet of Finding, I would. At the very least I would send your avatar some OASIS credits, even though I’m only a third level noob who’s never ventured far beyond the planet Ludus.

After spending the past few days glued to my Kindle vicariously living out both the real world and in-game adventures of Parzival–which felt a little like being logged into the OASIS myself–I can finally join all you cool kids who’ve become disciples of Ernest Cline and find myself wondering why I didn’t read his book sooner. I understand what you mean now when you say Ready Player One was written just for geeks like me. Well, geeks like us.

20130308-172614.jpg

Awesome fan art/illustration by Lerms

With its hundreds of references to 80s pop culture and video game history, the book playfully poked my nostalgia at every turn on top of sucking me into its incredibly entertaining story. I found the concept of the OASIS especially relatable as an ex-WoW player who used to spend an unhealthy amount of time ignoring her problems in the real world while logged into a virtual one.

Beyond using famous geek movie and video game landmarks (War Games! Pac-Man!) as a backdrop to tell one hell of an adventure story, Cline also warns of the dangers of spending all our time in artificial worlds. The dystopian scenarios he describes occurring just a couple of decades into our future seem all too possible, given our addictions to technology, entertainment, and over-reliance on huge corporations. Who doesn’t want to be able to just pay a monthly fee to escape into a realistic world where we can be whoever and whatever we want? ShezCrafti would be a 99th level Ninja Turtle. (Who can also fly for some reason.)

Ready Player One surprised me by being well-written, clever and original despite being based on and inspired by hundreds of other media properties. It’s like the author put everything geeks my age care about in a blender and out came a smooth, delicious story milkshake. Mmm, milkshakes… Now I’m thinking about milkshakes.

By the end of the book I had grown to love the three main characters, Parzival, Art3mis and Aech so hard, even after I found out that Aech is really–

Spoiler!

Sigh. Fucking IOI.

ShezCrafti’s Rating:

10 out of 10 stars.

                  

Could ‘House of Secrets’ be the next Harry Potter?

Could House of Secrets be the next Harry Potter?

It’s been a while since I checked up on House of Secrets, an upcoming trilogy of fantasy adventure books for children being penned by Chris Columbus (yes, the same guy who directed the first two Harry Potter films) and author Ned Vizzini. I had heard about it sometime last year when it was getting some early “ZOMG could this be the next Harry Potter??” style buzz, as seems to be the case with every new children’s fantasy book released in the post-Potter era. There’s already a movie deal, too, so you know a lot of hopes are being pinned here.

House of Secrets is about the three kids in the Walker family — Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor — who have to find a new home after their father loses his job under mysterious circumstances. They move into a beautiful old place in San Francisco that used to be owned by an extremely creepy writer named Denver Kristoff. (Think H.P. Lovecraft mixed with Robert E. Howard.) Shortly after they move in, they realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them. But before they know what’s happening, they are banished into the world of Kristoff’s books — and they have to find their way home through pirates, sharks, and all manner of fantastical adventures.

[Source: EW]

Here’s the cover of the first book:

House of Secrets Cover

While I don’t think anything can ever quite fill the boy wizard’s shoes, I’m all for other people trying, especially when one of them has had a direct hand in making the Harry Potter franchise so successful. Columbus’ films (Sorcerer’s StoneChamber of Secrets) may have been the weakest of the eight, but they were the first, and laid the foundation for everything that followed.

Also, J.K. Rowling had this to say:

J.K. Rowling - House of Secrets

House of Secrets, the first book in the trilogy, is due out April 23, 2013.

Rejected Comics #1 – Superman is a dick.

This one goes out to Kal.

Superballs

P.S. This might be the start of a new recurring feature. We’ll see.

P.S.S. I love that I got to tag this post with the keyword “superballs.”

Chuck This Out! Ultimate Turtles Fan Book

I didn’t really make a deliberate effort to go out shopping on Black Friday, but was dragged out of my cave by my older sister and sometime in the afternoon we wound up at my local Target. I figured while I was there I might as well try to make the most of it, so naturally I gravitated toward the toy aisle in search of Ninja Turtle stuff, but as I mentioned on Twitter, that ended up being a bust.

[tweet https://twitter.com/shezcrafti/status/272079720219291648]

On the bright side, it warms my heart to see empty pegs of TMNT toys, especially next to all those other (still quite fully-stocked) shelves of action figures. It means they’re selling well, the kids are loving them, and best of all, we’ll get more.

My trip to Target was not a total waste, however. I scored a copy of the Ultimate Turtles Fan Book for $4.99, something I’ve been trying to hunt down for months. It was the last one on the shelf. (I know, I could have just ordered one from Amazon, but what’s the fun in that?) The book has a ton of great-looking posters, a few activities, and over 50 stickers.

Here are some photos of the pages:

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimate Fan Book

Inside Front Cover

Leonardo

Michelangelo

Raphael

Donatello

Splinter

Word Search

The “Chuck This Out!” poster of Michelangelo has to be my favorite. Not only is that a great pun, but I find the orange and purple color scheme strangely appealing.

Chuck This Out!

April O'Neil

Beat This!

Lean, Mean & Green!

The Kraang

TMNT Stickers

This Is Epic!

Maze

It's Go Time!

There’s more, but the rest of the pages are pieces of a larger poster that you’d have to rip out and piece together to assemble, which I’d rather not do.

For $1.99, I also couldn’t pass up this roll of TMNT gift wrap. Actually, I’m kind of a gift wrap hoarder. I have an area in my basement that’s full of vintage wrapping paper, printed boxes, gift tags, etc. and I love to get creative with it. I can’t wait to have an excuse to use this on someone’s gift.

Nickelodeon TMNT Gift Wrap

TMNT Gift Wrap

A real Myst book…that plays Myst!

Myst

This definitely qualifies as one of the coolest things I’ve seen this week, especially since I’m a huge adventure game nerd.  You remember the point-and-click game Myst, right? Who am I kidding, of course you do. Hobbyist Mike Ando spent six years building what he calls “A Real Myst Book” which is a working replica of the linking books you see in the game that transport you in between worlds. But wait, there’s more! The book is also a fully functional console for playing all of the Myst games via touch-screen interface.

Check it out:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh4U9kan8uM#!

The guy is obviously a huge Myst fan. Not only did he spend six years making this thing, he tracked down a copy of the same exact book that Myst’s developer Cyan originally scanned as a texture reference, so the physical book is as close as to the in-game book as you can get. Ando posted a detailed write-up here which includes technical specifications and some other cool information and photos about his project. It was clearly a labor of love.

I’d hate to see his asking price for this thing.

[via CNET]

A Few of My Favorite Illustrations from ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Scary Stories Treasury - Alvin Schwartz

When I was in elementary school, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its two sequels were my absolute favorite books to check out from the school library–that is, when they weren’t already checked out by some other student, which was quite often. These books were legendary in the halls of Hickory Elementary School, as word of mouth spread from kid to kid about the sheer terror contained within their pages. I remember when I first got wind of an excited whisper proclaiming these to be “the scariest books you’ll ever read!” and how my eight-year-old mind spun with intrigue. I knew at that exact moment that I simply had to get my grubby little hands on these books.

Read these books...if you dare!

Each book contains a collection of ghost stories, spooky poems, and musical compositions collected from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz–but most of them are pretty tame, even by an eight-year-old’s standards. No, the REAL TERROR in these books are the macabre illustrations by Stephen Gammell, which range from mildly disturbing to 100% nightmare fuel. According to the American Library Association, the Scary Stories series was #1 on the list of the 100 Most Challenged Books during the period 1990 – 1999 because of Gammell’s terrifying illustrations. It all makes sense now.

Reunited and it feels so good.

I recently picked up The Scary Stories Treasury (pictured above), a hardcover volume which collects all three Scary Stories books with all of their original illustrations intact. I had not laid eyes upon these books since a very early age, and skimming through these pages again was like recapturing a dark, seedy corner of my childhood–that secret, scary place I would retreat into with nothing but these books, a flashlight, and my too-vivid imagination. And of course, I never brought the disturbing imagery in these books to my parents’ attention.

Here are 10 of my favorite illustrations from the Scary Stories books, with a bit of their accompanying text. And just for fun, I’ve tried to rank them according to how much they used to scare/disturb me.

#10 – The Thing

He walked up to it and peered into its face. It had bright penetrating eyes sunk deep into its head.

The Thing

#9 – Wonderful Sausage

No one knows for sure just what happened to Blunt that day. Some say he was fed to his hogs. Others say he was fed to his sausage grinder. But he was never seen again, and neither was his wonderful sausage meat.

Wonderful Sausage

#8 – “T-H-U-P-P-P-P-P-P-P!”

After Sarah went to bed, she saw a ghost. It was sitting on her dresser starting at her through two black holes where its eyes had been.

T-h-u-p

#7 – What Do You Come For?

No sooner had she spoken than down the chimney tumbled two feet from which the flesh had rotted. The old woman’s eyes bulged with terror.

What Do You Come For?

#6 – The Ghost With Bloody Fingers

Soon the ghost appeared. As before, its fingers were bleeding and it was moaning, “Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”

The Ghost With Bloody Fingers

#5 – The Dead Hand

They found young Tom Pattison by the willow snag, groaning and gibbering as if he had lost his mind. He kept pointing with one hand at something only he could see. Where his other hand should have been, there was nothing but a ragged stump of oozing blood.

The Dead Hand

#4 – Hoo-Ha’s

Some people call those shivery, shaky, screamy feelings the “heebie jeebies” or the “screaming meemies.” The poet T.S. Eliot called them the “hoo-ha’s.”

Hoo-Has

#3 – Is Something Wrong?

As he stood in the road panting, trying to catch his breath, he felt something tap him on the shoulder. He turned and found himself staring into two big, bloody eyes in a grinning skull.

Is Something Wrong?

#2 – The Haunted House

Her hair was torn and tangled, and the flesh was dropping off her face so he could see the bones and part of her teeth. She had no eyeballs, but there was a sort of blue light way back in her eye sockets. And she had no nose to her face.

The Haunted House

#1 – “Oh, Susanna!”

“I’m having a nightmare,” Susannah told herself. “When I wake up, everything will be alright…”

Oh Susanna

Did you have these books? Do you remember being freaked out by them? And if so, wouldn’t you agree that we’re all MUCH BETTER OFF for having been exposed to such awesome, scary things at an early age? Challenged book list be damned!

Terry Brooks’ Epic Fantasy Series ‘Shannara’ Coming to TV

Shannara

“Scions of Shannara”  artwork by Keith Parkinson

Way back in 2008 I did a round-up of my most-anticipated fantasy films for the year 2009, which included Elfstones of Shannara, the first book in Terry Brooks’ epic Shannara trilogy, which, at the time was still in development. Well, that movie obviously never materialized (while I’m on the subject, that entire list I put together turned out to be one big shitpile of disappointment) but according to new news today the Shannara series will be re-worked for TV instead.

Variety reports:

Sonar Entertainment has acquired the rights to author Terry Brooks’ bestselling fantasy series “Shannara” and is partnering with Farah Films to produce a television series based on the books.

Farah Films principal Dan Farah and Sonar Entertainment CEO Stewart Till will exec produce with Brooks. Producers plan to recruit a showrunner and director before they shop the project to network buyers.

Set hundreds of years after the destruction of our civilization, series follows the Shannara family, who are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. The plan is to base the show’s first season on “The Elfstones of Shannara,” the second book in the series.

The 20th bestselling book in the 25-year-old series has just premiered at No. 2 on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Two more books in the series are set to be published in 2013.

[via Variety]

I’m all for more fantasy series being adapted for television versus big-budget movies. It’s not that I don’t love the Lord of the Rings films, it’s just that most fantasy films that aren’t LOTR have been huge disappointments (Eragon, The Seeker) or weren’t very successful (The Golden Compass), not to mention it sucks having to wait so long in between installments (The Hobbit). Until we can clone Peter Jackson so he can direct every epic fantasy film, I believe television is the better option.

It’s unlikely the Shannara series will de-throne Game of Thrones as best fantasy book-to-TV series, because, frankly, the books themselves just aren’t as juicy as what George R. R. Martin writes and HBO has set the bar pretty high. However, I’m glad Game of Thrones has become something of a paragon that’s inspiring producers to consider more shows like it. Fantasy series that are as ridiculously long as A Song of Ice and Fire or Wheel of Time can’t be easily distilled into two-hour movies fit for general consumption*. With made-for-TV special effects and production values getting better all the time plus the advancements in second-screen technology and social media generating huge successes for the networks, why not bring more fantasy books to television instead of the big screen?

*Unless it’s Harry Potter.

Did Hogwarts really exist or was it all in Harry Potter’s head?

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

Today I came across this weird article in my news feed, which discusses a theory about the Harry Potter books I had never heard before:

“Here’s one that might be new to you: there’s a rumor going around that the entirety of the Harry Potter franchise existed completely within the realm of one troubled boy’s imagination – and that his abusive aunt and uncle drove him to insanity by making him live in a cupboard.”

Fascinating. I did some additional poking around and found this lengthy post (extreme tl:dr warning!) on a philosophy board about “The True Meaning of Harry Potter” which suggests that the Harry Potter series is about mental illness and that Hogwarts is an insane asylum. “I’ve heard it suggested to me more than once that Harry actually did go mad in the cupboard, and that everything that happened subsequently was some sort of fantasy life he developed to save himself,” Rowling said in a behind-the-scenes interview with Steve Kloves for the Harry Potter Wizards’ Collection box set. It’s interesting that she didn’t confirm or deny it, though.

There’s certainly plenty of evidence to suggest the “Harry is insane” theory could be true:

  • The Magic realm is invisible to Muggles (for the most part).
  • Harry’s pre-Hogwarts life with the Dursleys could definitely be classified as child abuse
  • The Dursleys’ embarrassment, fear and over-zealousness to rid Harry of any and all abnormalities
  • And perhaps most convincingly, this quote spoken to Harry by Dumbledore toward the end of the last book: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

I’m sure you can conjure up many additional examples that I haven’t bothered to list. However, I don’t believe any of these theories are true, or that making us believe something wasn’t quite right in Harry’s head (other than that whole Voldemort mind connection thing) was ever J.K. Rowling’s intent.

These insanity theories are always fun to knock around, but they’re completely subjective and like most creative interpretations, you can find always find evidence to support your wild theories if you squint your eyes and blur the details enough. Some people have a hard time simply accepting things at face value and always try to search for a hidden meaning; I guess in this case it’s because they don’t feel Harry Potter is awesome enough without some extra layer of headtrippy LIKE WHOA Sixth Sense “He was dead the whole time!” bullshit.

Not everything is a conspiracy theory, guys.

Game Over for ‘Nintendo Power’ Magazine

Nintendo Power Logo

Sorry for the cheesy headline. I couldn’t resist. After 24 years, Nintendo Power magazine is ending. Joystiq reports:

Nintendo has chosen not to renew its licensing agreement with Future Publishing (the company that currently produces Nintendo Power) and has no intentions to take over the publication itself, according to insider sources speaking to Ars Technica. This information is corroborated by Nintendo Power senior editor Chris Hoffman, who tweeted that he and his staff will “try to make the last issues memorable.”

Reportedly “difficult to work with,” Nintendo is said to have taken no interest in working with Future on expanded online initiatives to strengthen the Nintendo Power brand. Editors and staff members were told that the magazine would be shut down sometime last week and have since begun transitioning to other Future publications.

[via Joystiq]

For gamers, it’s truly the end of an era. The magazine has been a source of news, reviews, previews, tips and strategy for all things Nintendo since 1988. I haven’t actively maintained a subscription since the early 90s, but I’m still sad to see it go.

Just for old time’s sake, here are my favorite TMNT-themed issues of Nintendo Power through the years:

Nintendo Power TMNT

Nintendo Power TMNT

TMNT Nintendo Power

Watch out for Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark!

I stumbled upon this crazy comic book while hunting down images for my Top 10 Cartoon Sharks list yesterday. It’s two years old, but I couldn’t let Shark Week go by without posting something as ridiculously cool as this.

Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark - They Got Mixed Up!

Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark: They Got Mixed Up! is pretty much exactly what it looks like. It’s a comic about a bear and a shark that, after a cosmic reversal of space and time, got left behind in the natural order of the world and now inhabit the opposite of land and sea, respectively,  just waiting to unleash brutal attacks on unsuspecting humans.

It’s two twisted tales of evolution in one, with Sea Bear written and drawn by Jason Howard and Grizzly Shark written and drawn by Ryan Ottley. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if sharks roamed the land and bears lurked in the depths of the sea, this book will provide those answers (mild-spoiler alert: lots of rawr-tastic, gorey things).

The book is available as a digital download in PDF format. It’s a whole lot of awesome for just $2.

Just for the record…

I’m Team Grizzly Shark.

OH SHIT IT'S GRIZZLY SHARK!

‘The Wheel of Time’ is a fantasy series so epic, I need comic books to digest it.

Wheel of TimeThe Wheel of Time, if you’re not familiar with it, is a series of epic fantasy books by the late Robert Jordan that currently spans fourteen novels published over a period of 23 years, since 1990. The latest three books in the series, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and the upcoming fifteenth (counting the prequel) and final book, A Memory of Light, are posthumous works completed by author Brandon Sanderson from Jordan’s notes.

According to this chart over at Gamma Squad, The Wheel of Time clocks in at #5 on the list of longest fantasy series ever written with 11,362 pages. For comparison’s sake, A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones, thanks to HBO) logs a paltry 5,705 pages. There’s also somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,600 distinct characters.

WoT Books

I began my journey into Randland last year with an audio book of The Eye of the World and have since continued the adventures on my Kindle and made it as far as The Shadow Rising, the fourth book in the series. Needless to say, this undertaking isn’t exactly what you’d call light reading and I still have a long way to go. Keeping up with the intricate plots, huge cast of characters, and vast map of locations is difficult, especially if you aren’t reading the books with regular consistency.

That’s why I’ve decided to start supplementing my reading with The Wheel of Time comic books:

WoT Comic Books: Eye of the World #1

It’s a monthly series from Dynamite Entertainment that begins with the first WoT book, The Eye of the World, and breaks the story down into more easily-digestible parts, and has gorgeous artwork to boot.

If you’re into digital comics (which is my latest addiction), Comixology is running a sale right now on all Wheel of Time comics, which are 50% off. For only 99 cents a pop for the digital version, right now is a great time to get started or catch up.

My New Addiction: iPad Comic Books

If I haven’t been posting much this weekend, it’s because I’ve been feeding a new addiction: reading digital comics on my new iPad, which I told myself I’d be purchasing primarily for gaming purposes. Ha!

Then I remembered from a news item a while back that there was a new TMNT Comics iPad app from IDW, powered by Comixology, which comes with three free issues of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and includes all the original Eastman & Laird books available for purchase.

Comic books are something I’ve just recently been getting back into, and as far as digital comics go, I’m completely new to the experience. This is what I’m used to:

Boxes of Comics

I have physical copies of the first three IDW TMNT books plus the Raphael micro-series, but I’ve been wanting to catch up on the rest and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test the waters to see if I’d enjoy reading comics this way. It started innocently enough…

I proceeded to spend about $30 in one sitting and wasted the rest of my Saturday night furiously swiping my way through the story, completely absorbed.

IDW TMNT Comic on iPad

TMNT iPad Comic Panels

As it turns out, I really enjoyed myself and was thoroughly impressed by the experience. So much so that I also downloaded the main Comixology app, signed up for an account, and started getting into even more trouble catching up on The Walking Dead and Morning Glories.

The “Guided View” technology that Comixology seems to have perfected is what really makes the reading experience so enjoyable. I love the way it zooms in and pans around to each panel, enlarging the text and artwork and framing the action in an exciting way. It makes the story feel up close and personal.

Comixology’s “buy once, read anywhere” model works like Steam in that once you’ve downloaded a comic, it is available to your account to read from the Comixology website or any of the iOS, Android, and Kindle devices Comixology supports. The prices for digital versions of comic books seem to be about half of what their physical counterparts cost.

It’s easy to get addicted when you can push that tempting little “Keep Reading!” button and instantly hold the next chapter of the story in your hands for a few bucks a pop.

150 Movies You Should Die Before You See

I recently received this book as a gift:

150 Movies You Should Die Before You See

I didn’t have the heart to tell the person who gave it to me that I’ve already seen 86.2% of the movies in it. (Seriously, I did the math.)

As a self-proclaimed aficionado of bad movies, I would love to be able to say I could recommend this book to you, which would look great on your coffee table and might even trick people into thinking you’re hipper than you actually are, but sadly I don’t feel it’s deserving of the official ShezCrafti Stamp of Approval.

Why?

  • The author is extremely unfunny.
  • Actual product description: “Sure, everyone’s seen The Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. But as you’ll learn in this shockingly tasteless collection of great awful movies, there’s so much more to the world of truly bad film.”
  • It includes Suspiria. 
  • It includes Kung Fu Hustle.
  • It includes Red Dawn.
  • …and many other cult classics that don’t deserve the lame attempt at mockery that Steve Miller is peddling here.

The thing about “bad movies” is that “bad” doesn’t always mean “not a good film.” Yes, truly bad movies do exist, but most of the ones in this collection are horror movies that are supposed to be bad, cult films that actually are good, and experimental oddities that are notable or groundbreaking in some way. And the majority of them are horror films.

Since all 150 films are listed right in the book’s table of contents–which is freely available to preview at Amazon–I feel no guilt whatsoever in revealing them to you right here:

  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • Bride of the Monster (1955)
  • Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)
  • Hideous! (1997)
  • Troll 2 (1990)
  • The Black Dahlia (2006)
  • The Conqueror (1956)
  • Heaven’s Gate (1980)
  • Howard the Duck (1986)
  • Hudson Hawk (1991)
  • Ishtar (1987)
  • Sahara (2005)
  • The Spirit (2008)
  • Black Dragons (1942)
  • Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
  • Red Dawn (1984)
  • Trapped by Television (1936)
  • Zombies on Broadway (1945)
  • Amityville Dollhouse (1996)
  • The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
  • The House on Skull Mountain (1974)
  • Lady Frankenstein (1971)
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Cemetery Man (1994)
  • Dead Alive (1992)
  • Deep Red (1975)
  • Demons (1985)
  • The Machine Girl (2008)
  • Re-Animator (1985)
  • The Ruins (2008)
  • The Street Fighter (1974)
  • Susperia (1977)
  • The Traveler (2006)
  • Urban Flesh: Rebirth Edition (2007)
  • April Fool’s Day (1986)
  • My Bloody Valentine (1981)
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
  • Satan’s Little Helper (2004)
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)
  • Bad Taste (1987)
  • The Bloody Brood (1959)
  • Cannibal: The Musical (1993)
  • Dementia 13 (1963)
  • Hangmen (1987)
  • Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987)
  • Return to Horror High (1987)
  • Ten Fingers of Death (1971)
  • 1941 (1979)
  • Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • City Heat (1984)
  • The Love Guru (2008)
  • On Deadly Ground (1994)
  • The Reaping (2007)
  • The Black Cat (1934)
  • From Beyond (1986)
  • Modesty Blaise (1966)
  • Moonraker (1979)
  • The Punisher (1989)
  • The Raven (1935)
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches (2008)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)
  • Bite Me! (2004)
  • Boogeyman (2005)
  • Cry of the Banshee (1970)
  • Die Hard Dracula (1998)
  • Evil Bong (2006)
  • The Fury of the Wolfman (1972)
  • The Giant Claw (1957)
  • Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
  • Jack Frost (1997)
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  • Kung Fu Zombie (1982)
  • The Manster (1959)
  • Monsturd (2003)
  • The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)
  • Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005)
  • Snowbeast (1977)
  • The Sound of Horror (1964)
  • Tsui Hark’s Vampire Hunters (2002)
  • Undead or Alive (2007)
  • The Wasp Woman (1959)
  • Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory (1961)
  • Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)
  • Attack of the Monsters (1969)
  • Black Magic Wars (1982)
  • City Hunter (1993)
  • Fantasy Mission Force (1982)
  • For Your Height Only (1981)
  • Gammera the Invincible (1966)
  • Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
  • Ninja Champion (1985)
  • Ninja the Protector (1986)
  • Reincarnation (2005)
  • Sister Street Fighter (1974)
  • The Ape Man (1943)
  • Buttcrack (1998)
  • Cadaverella (2007)
  • The Creeps (1997)
  • Dead Dudes in the House (1991)
  • The Demons of Ludlow (1983)
  • Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980)
  • Gothic (1986)
  • Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter (2001)
  • Nudist Colony of the Dead (1991)
  • Postal (2007)
  • Satanic Yuppies (1996)
  • Skeleton Key (2006)
  • Suburban Sasquatch (2004)
  • The Witches’ Mountain (1972)
  • Danger: Diabolik (1968)
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
  • Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D. (1990)
  • Ultrachrist! (2003)
  • Alien Blood (1999)
  • Bad Channels (1992)
  • Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
  • Xtro (1983)
  • Alone in the Dark (2005)
  • An American Carol (2008)
  • The Astro-Zombies (1968)
  • Back From Hell (1993)
  • The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969)
  • The Dead Talk Back (1993)
  • The Evil Brain From Outer Space (1965)
  • Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
  • Future Force (1989)
  • Graveyard of Horror (1971)
  • Hobgoblins (1988)
  • The Isle of the Snake People (1971)
  • The Killer Eye (1999)
  • Laser Mission (1989)
  • Maniac (1934)
  • Monster a-Go-Go (1965)
  • Night Crawlers (1996)
  • The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)
  • Ninja Phantom Heroes (1987)
  • Oasis of the Zombies (1981)
  • Ring of Terror (1962)
  • Rockabilly Vampire (1996)
  • Scream Bloody Murder (1973)
  • Sin, You Sinners! (1963)
  • See No Evil (2006)
  • Skeleton Man (2004)
  • The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)
  • Track of the Moon Beast (1976)
  • Transylmania (2009)
  • UFO: Target Earth (1974)
  • The Undertaker and His Pals (1966)

Copy & paste for the win.

ShezCrafti’s Rating:

3 out of 10 stars.

                                           

Fecal Kinesis: Poop as a Superpower

Fecal Kinesis - The Super Power of Poop

Think “fecal kinesis” sounds like a lame superpower? Wrong. This hilarious new Rosalarian comic explores what it would be like to wield the power of poop.

It’s about eight pages long, but I promise you it’s the most awesome (and gross) web comic you’ll read today. Go here to read the full thing.

Turd Cyclone

[Hat tip to Ohmz.]

 

This Kindle, iPad & Nook Cover is the Answer to ‘The Neverending Story’

Neverending Story Kindle Cover

For today’s post about cool but frivolous products I shouldn’t be spending money on, I discovered these handmade covers for iPad, Kindle and Nook designed to look like The Neverending Story, one of my favorite ’80s fantasy films. It even has a perfect reproduction of the Auryn symbol, just like the dusty old book in the movie.

Each one is handcrafted by Grimcat Productions (who also makes this kickass Mario question block cover) from leather and suede and bound with filigree. If I hadn’t already spent a lot of money on a light-up leather cover for my Kindle Touch, I would totally buy one of these, which range in price from $58.95 to $65.95 depending on your device. Maybe if I ever get an iPad…

I can just imagine curling up on a rainy day with this thing wrapped around a good fantasy book. Now excuse me while I go try to get that damn song out of my head.

Comic Miniseries ‘The Stuff of Legend’ Picked Up by Disney

The Stuff of Legend

Deadline is reporting that Disney has just picked up The Stuff of Legend, a comic miniseries produced by Th3rd World Studios.

Disney has just made a pre-emptive pitch deal for Stuff Of Legend, with Pete Candeland attached to direct and Abduction‘s Shawn Christensen writing the script. The intention is to make a live-action film set in a CGI world, like Alice In Wonderland.

(Source: Deadline)

I’m not familiar with The Stuff of Legend, but it’s being described as Toy Story meets The Chronicles of Narnia, mostly because of its World War II setting. Here’s the official synopsis:

The year is 1944. An allied force advances along a war-torn beach in a strange land, outnumbered and far from home. Together, they fight the greatest evil they have ever known. Never ending waves of exotic enemies come crashing down on them, but they will not rest. Thousands of miles away, the world is on the brink of destruction. But here in a child’s bedroom in Brooklyn, our heroes, a small group of toys loyal to their human master, fight an unseen war to save him from every child’s worst nightmare.

Led by the toy soldier known as the Colonel and the boy’s faithful teddy-bear named Max, the toys enter the realm known as The Dark. There they will face off against the Boogeyman and his army– a legion of the boy’s forgotten, bitter toys. Fighting to survive insurmountable odds, the toys will discover this is a battle not only for the soul of a child, but for their own as well…

As a fan of dark, dream-like fantasy stories like Fairy Quest and The Brothers Lionheart that revolve around children, The Stuff of Legend looks right up my alley.

These three magazines were my life in the early ’90s.

Out of Print Magazines

How do you like that acid wash denim background, by the way? I’m pretty sure I had a few pairs of jeans just like that around the time I would have been an avid reader of these three, nerdstalgically cool magazines from my childhood:

Sega Visions Magazine

There was nothing, NOTHING that gave me greater reading pleasure than a freshly-minted copy of Sega Visions Magazine (Sega’s short-lived answer to Nintendo Power).  As a huge fan of all things Sega, I would read these things from cover to cover–usually two or three times–taking time to carefully absorb all the previews, reviews and bits of Sega-y goodness scattered throughout each issue. I even enjoyed the ads, which were of course for upcoming Sega games. I loved how the magazine was divided up into different sections for each of Sega’s consoles, like Genesis, Sega CD, and 32X (which obviously didn’t last long).

Sega Visions Magazine

I can recall many hours poring over the reviews and screenshots for games like Shining Force CD, Boogerman, Jurassic Park, Earthworm Jim and Dark Wizard. A new issue of Sega Visions meant a trip to the my local video rental store, for which I would agonize over my list of potential games to choose from, as I was never allowed more than two at a time. There may have only been 25 issues of Sega Visions ever published, but I will fondly remember it for having introduced me to some of the greatest games I’ve ever played.

Fox Totally Kids Magazine

When I was growing up, most of my favorite shows were on Fox, the network that had something of an empire for cool kids’ shows in the early ’90s. My daily after school cartoon regimen consisted of Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and Batman: The Animated Series, and on Saturday mornings it was The Tick, Eek! The Cat, Taz-Mania, Bobby’s World, and X-Men. And I’ll even admit that at one point I was kind of into the The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but I was already a little too old for it at the time, so I think I only watched the first season.

Anyway, Totally Kids Magazine was required reading for Fox Kids Club fans, and as far as I can tell, was nearly impossible to avoid. I don’t ever remember having subscribed to it, yet it appeared in our mailbox month after month like clockwork.

Fox Totally Kids Magazine

 The articles, if they can even qualify as articles, were a bit on the shallow side, but I didn’t care. What I loved most about this magazine were the big, bold pictures of all my favorite cartoon characters spanning its bright, colorful pages–just look at that fantastic Tick cover up above, for example. Some issues even had pull-out posters, like this awesome X-MEN one. Totally Kids Magazine was one of my favorite go-to sources of reference material for use in my shitty middle school drawings. And you gotta love that helpful programming guide right on the front cover.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine

Around 1988 or so was when my huge obsession with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began. I will never forget my first introduction to the Turtles, which came in the form of an episode of the original TMNT cartoon that I randomly saw at my babysitter’s house one morning. (I still remember which exact episode it was, too: “Enter the Fly”.) I couldn’t have known then that my happenstance viewing of that particular episode would be the beginning of a lifetime of Ninja Turtles fandom.

Thankfully, for the obsessed kids like me, there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine. I can still recall one article in particular, “Catching Up with Keno” (or something to that effect) that was published around the time Secret of the Ooze was in theaters. It was an interview with Ernie Reyes Jr. (Donatello’s stunt double in the first movie & the character of Keno in the second) about his life, hobbies, and how he got started in martial arts. Fascinating stuff, I know!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine

Matt from X-Entertainment once wrote an exhaustive retrospective of TMNT Magazine that serves as a much better and more thorough tribute than I could ever dream of writing, so I’ll direct you TMNT fans there for a fun trip back in time through Turtles history.

So tell me: what old magazines did you used to love as a kid?

‘Fairy Quest’ Comic Comes to KickStarter (and Takes My Money)

Yet another awesome KickStarter project that just makes me want to start throwing money at the computer screen:

Fairy Quest Outlaws

Fairy Quest: Outlaws is the first book of the Fablewood saga, a long-term project and collaboration between renown comic industry veterans Humberto Ramos and Paul Jenkins, the creative team behind Marvel Comics’ Spectacular Spider-Man and Peter Parker: Spider-Man, and Revelations.  The pair describes their work on Fairy Quest as “a labor of love.”

The book first appeared as a limited edition hardbound run in 2011 and immediately sold out of its 1000-copy print run after just two convention appearances.  The creators have taken to KickStarter to self-publish and raise funding for a second print run, in the form of this beautifully bound hardcover edition:

Fairy Quest Comic Hardcover Book

Backers who pledge $30 or more will receive the book, but for $40 you’ll get a signed and numbered copy.  The visuals in this book are absolutely gorgeous. Ramo’s amazing artwork leaps off the page with Leonardo Olea’s brilliant coloring. To see more, check out this 6-page preview.

What is Fairy Quest?

If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Fairy Quest, here’s a snippet from Comic Book Resources’ recent interview with creator Humberto Ramos:

“Fairy Quest: Outlaws is the first of four books that tells the story of the Fablewood Kingdom, a place where all the fairy tale stories exist for one sole purpose: to tell their story. Every day they have to go to “work” and replay the stories every mom or dad read to their kids at bedtime. Life is quiet and simple if you follow this simple command: “Do not deviate.”

But well, things are about to get shaken up a little in Fablewood because some of the inhabitants aren’t happy anymore following the rules. Take Little Red and Mr. Woof, who both decide they wanted to stop being enemies and become friends; not a big deal, right? Everybody wants to have a true friend for like, but in Fablewood this is a problem… a big one.

So suddenly Little Red and Mr. Woof turn from the most dearest of Fablewood’s inhabitants to dangerous outlaws, and they find out the only way to keep their treasured friendship is to leave the kingdom.

That’s where their journey begins.”

(via CBR)

This makes the third KickStarter project in as many months that I’ve pledged. Can this be considered an addiction?

Greetings from the Sewer! TMNT Postcard Book from 1990

Going through stuff in my basement, I discovered  a box full of old crap I’ve been holding onto for one reason or another. Found a few gems in there, like this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles postcard booklet from 1990. I don’t recall if it’s something I bought myself, or was given to me as a gift, but evidently it cost $4.95 at the time.

TMNT Postcard Book

Though I’m quite sure I thought these were the coolest things ever when I was 10 years old (so cool that I felt they were precious enough not to rip out and use) but looking at them now? Not so much.

The artwork is pretty sad. The Turtles look like they need bariatric surgery and everyone is drawn in extremely awkward-looking poses.

It’s so awful you know I just had to scan in all 24 postcards just to share with you. Let’s make fun of them together!

[nggallery id=3]

 

By the way, sorry to inundate this blog with so many Turtles-related posts lately, but my TMNT fangirlism has been kicked into high gear this week, what with the news of the upcoming Nickelodeon show, live-action film, and documentary.