Monday, August 19, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Back To School =(

The title says it all..."Back to School"

 "Back to School".....three words anyone in the education field hates hearing in the summer! It starts in mid July and that little voice in the back of your mind whispers "eh I've got weeks left" they're just tryin to sell a few copy books. Then the huge signs show up and the "Back to School" aisles spring up in stores everywhere. The sad truth that your summer is slipping away begins to become a reality! As the weeks pass you begin to accpet the fact that the party, as they say, is over. With that I said I've still got two and half weeks of summer left so I'm going to approach this topic in a different way. I arrogantly, if not foolishly, choose to remain in denial for at least another week! Anyway here's what I've got.....

In No Particular Order.....My All Time Favorite "School" Movies!

Varsity Blues
 When this movie was released I was about the same age as the characters in the movie. I could relate to that transitioning period before college and remember enjoying this one.

"Let's go out there, and we play the next 24 minutes for the next 24 minutes, and we leave it all out on the field. We have the rest of our lives to be mediocre, but we have the opportunity to play like gods for the next half of football." - Johnny Moxen

Napoleon Dynamite 
  This was one for the books! I remember the night a few friends and I headed out to see this. Definitely weird but oddly entertaining. I'd say Uncle Rico stole the show!

"How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."- Uncle Rico

Back To The Future
I don't have to tell anyone that this one's a classic.

"Last night, Darth Vader came down from the planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Loraine out he'd melt my brain!" - George McFly

Pretty in Pink

This one's got nostalgia written all over it! It's John Hughs for one thing. This guy had teenage angst down to a science. He had the uncanny ability of capturing that coming of age feel in so many of his movies.

Uncle Buck
 Can't really go wrong with this combination. The 80s, John Candy, and John Hughs. Classic!

"Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam." - Buck Russell
I've got to admit, I only just watched this movie for the first time back in June. A friend who knows of my affinity for all things 80s asked if I'd ever seen it. To her surprise my response was "no". When I did finally watch it, the things I enjoyed most were the simplicity of the plot ( uncommon idea these days), the music, and the memories of that time this movie shook loose. Certainly a trip down memory lane!
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  I think everyone at one time or another played hookie. I can remember milking that cold for one more day or playing up my symptoms a bit so I could stay home and play SNES Sim City or watch a Scoobie and Scrappy Doo marathon on TV. I never did anything even close to old Ferris' day off....honestly I doubt anyone has!

"That's Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago!"

American Pie
 Here's another one that I could relate with. This came out right around the time my friends and I started chasing girls around. Again I was just about the same age as the characters in the movie and could relate to a lot of what they were experiencing. Parties, friends, planning for college (who was going away, who wasn't), prom, and a bunch of other stuff going on in the movie.

"Stifler's mom!"

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial 
 This may very well be my favorite movie of all time. Yes, the story is amazing, and yes, the John Williams' score is incredible. Those certainly contribute to my love of this movie, but honestly, I think it's what this movie represents that elevates it to the top of my list.
"I'll..... be.... right...... here"
The Man Without a Face
  Not technically a "school" movie, but Norstad (the boy from the movie) seeks out Mel Gibson's character to tutor him so he can get into a boarding school. It's great story and I've always enjoyed this one.
"....whatever the dream, there's always a face that I can't see, that I keep missing, out there beyond the edge of the crowd."
Dead Poets Society
Here's an exceptional film, filled with great acting, poignant moments, and good lessons. I guarantee a few scenes that will give you the chills for sure! 

"Oh Captain, my Captain..."

Last, but certainly not least... Dazed and Confused
 I love this for loads of reasons. Where to start! Obviously it's loaded with high school/college nostalgia, under age drinking, summer time, fast cars, and a bit of hazing. The soundtrack is great and there are some heavy hitting actors too! In my late teens, early 20s I was the guy with the fast car. I started with a Chevy Camaro and eventually upgraded to a 5.0 Mustang convertible. Friends would jokingly say upon entering my car "hey man, watch the leather". Good times!
As dubbed by friends, "Big Blue" up top and "The Stang" down below.

So that it'll do it for me and this Back to School business.

Be sure to check back for League updates! Until then, check out Cool and Collected

Monday, August 12, 2013

League of Extraordinay Bloggers - Bootlegs - Super Powers Style!

The League has spoken:

"Bootlegs, knockoffs, and third-party products."

It's sort of funny that in the world of collecting bootleg isn't such a bad word. In fact, often times, bootlegs are worth massive amounts of money....sometimes even more than the real deal. Collectors seem to view bootlegs as an opportunity to expand their collection and add some wow factor. Being a huge fan of the Kenner Super Powers Collection I decided to highlight some of the many foreign companies to produce their own versions of the iconic characters Kenner masterfully sculpted and beautifully presented.

The Super Powers Collection ran from 1984-1986. Three seperate waves of figures were released resulting in a total of 33 unique action figures. A fourth series was planned and many figures reached the prototyping stage before the line was ultimately cancelled.

A piece of concept art in my collection which depicts Kenner's idea for what a Batmobile toy would look like. This was drawn in August of 1982 to be used to present to DC in order to procure the license to make DC action figures.
Production Batmobile (not too far off from the concept created 2 years prior to the release of this toy)
This cover is attached to the concept art....DC & Kenner mean SUPERTOYS (Kenner really wanted that license!)

Well ultimately Kenner got that license. As I said they went on to produce arguably the most popular line of vintage Super Hero toys.

Now that the back story is out of the way onto the bootlegs!

Like I said, the line wrapped up in 1986. Not long after Kenner granted several foreign companies the license to produce toys using the sculpts and artwork featured on the Kenner toys. These companies included Estrela (Brazil), Gulliver (Columbia), and Playful/Pacipa (Argentina) to name a few. Each of these companies produced figures with varying degrees of quality....however the lack of quality doesn't deter die hard fans of Kenner's line from seeking out and collecting these toys.

Gulliver Juguetes (Brazil)
Gulliver's versions of the Super Powers line are known for poor quality.  They were carded using very flimsy cardboard, low quality plastic, and cheap glue. All of these factors contribute to the rarity of carded Gulliver figures. Especially ones in nice condition.
Unlike their Kenner counterparts, the Gulliver toys lacked articulated knees, free mini comics, and clothe capes. They instead came with free posters and vinyl capes.

Another very interesting addition to Super Powers collecting was provided by the Gulliver Toy company. They are responsible for creating the character El Capitan Rayo or Captain Ray.  Captain Ray was made using a re-purposed Superman body with an Aquaman head. Due to him being totally made up, they used Super "Heroes" rather than "Powers" on his cardback. Regardless of this change he remains one of the rarest, most valuable, and most sought after figures for Super Powers collectors. A holy grail as they say....

Pacipa and Playful (Argentina)

The Argentinian companies Pacipa and Playful each produced super hero toys under the name "Super Amigos".  These figures, like Gulliver, were relatively poor in quality when compared with those of Kenner. 
No free comic or poster

Pacipa (left), Kenner (right)

Playful (left), Kenner (right)

 Pacipa (left), Kenner (right)

A few of the characters were given different character art on the card backs for their foreign release. Green Arrow or Fleche Verde was one of them.

Playful and Pacipa (like Gulliver) are responsible for releasing another unique character. Rather then make up their own character, the Argentinian companies took a Green Lantern mold and reused it to create The Riddler or El Acertijo.
The Riddler represents another rare and highly sought after figure among Super Powers collectors. I personally love the character art of The Riddler and am happy to have him in my collection.

Estrela (Brazil)
The Estrela toy company from Brazil is widely regarded as being responsible for making the highest quality figures of the South American toy companies.  They used clothe capes, higher quality packaging materials, and included free mini comics (even for a few characters who never had them for their US release).
Estrela, like the previously mentioned toy companies, is responsible for creating another Super Powers rarity. As you can see in the above photo, one of the Batman figures is wearing an all black suit. Leading up to the release of Tim Burton's Batman, Estrela reused the Super Powers Batman mold to sell Black Suit Batman figures. This was short lived, adding another fun, and fairly rare figure for Super Powers collectors to hunt.

So there you have it. A bit of information on the many Super Powers knockoffs. Don't let the inferior level of quality fool you! Many of the figures from these lines have some serious price tags and are treasured by die hard me...I'm one of em!

"Will this be the end for our heroes in the Batmobile?!?! YOU DECIDE!!!"

More League Knockoffs and Bootlegs to come! Until then check out Cool and Collected!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nerd Nook Spotlight - Knex Super Mario Series 2 Minifigures: Secret Codes Revealed with Daisy and Wario

Been quite a while since I've done any new figure spotlights. Figured this very neat new line of Knex Minifigures would be a great way to get back in the swing.

Knex has been releasing some very fun minifigures. They have captured the likenesses of some of Nintendo's most beloved characters and turned them into great little minifigures. Lets take a closer look at these awesome little toys....

Princess Peach (re-released) and Daisy (limited to 2 per case)

Dry Bones

Koopa Paratrooper

Shy Guy



If you're liking these figures as much as I am and want to pick them up here are the secret codes to prevent getting duplicates.

On the back of the packets you'll find a code. Here are the unique codes for each figure:
Shy Guy: Second to last # underlined once.

Boo: Last number underlined once.

Wario: 5 underlined once.

Dry Bones: 3 underlined once.

Koopa Paratrooper: 1 after the 3 underlined once.

Daisy: first zero underlined twice. Remember Daisy is the rare figure limited to only two per case.

Hope these codes help you score these figures! Remember....Keep it nerdy guys!

Friday, August 9, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - What a Nightmare!

Wow, has it really been almost a month since my last post! I guess this is a solid topic to get back into the swing of things. This week's assignment for the League: "What a Nightmare!"

As a kid I had what you'd call a vivid imagination. The sky was truly the limit for me if something worked itself in my brain and stuck. Here are a few of the most terrifying creatures to haunt my dreams and thoughts as a kid.

The Troll from "Cat's Eye"
As a kid growing up my grandmom and her brother (my great uncle) lived with us. My uncle was a great guy. Super silly and very fun to spend time with. He loved goofing around with my brother and I. We would always go into his room, flop on his bed and watch TV with him. Usually he'd be watching some wildlife show on National Geographic that we'd enjoy also. Well every once in a while he'd have some creepy show or movie on....being the silly, irresponsible uncle he was, he'd let us watch. I will never forget the day we saw "Steven King's: Cat's Eye". Long story short, it's about a little girl who is visited at night by this creepy troll that came out of a tiny hole in her wall. It would crawl on her while she slept and terrorize her. The cat, thought to be the villain by the girl's mom, ends up saving her (if memory serves me). That damn troll scarred the sh*t out of me! Took me weeks to get that little guy out of my head!
My Uncle loved "dressing up" people in silly outfits and disguises. That's me and my bro with plastic mustaches and cigars!

The Priest from "Beetlejuice"

I'm semi ashamed to admit that this weird little dude scared me. I don't know what it was about him but he really freaked me out! I can still hear my brother in my ear teasing me that I was afraid of this guy! But hey, whenever he did I'd just remind him of how lame he was for wanting to be older (sort of like in the movie "Big") so he could marry Lucy Deacons! She's the girl from "The Great Outdoors". I don't think I'll ever let him live that one down!

"The Candy Man"
I guess anything that involved looking into a mirror and saying a person's name freaked me out. I hated the "Bloody Mary" story and this was pretty much the same deal! I remember many late night trips to the bathroom where I'd do all I could to avoid any eye contact with the mirror!

"The Exorcist"
I suppose you could say I saved the best for last. This movie literally scared the hell out of me!I was about 8 or 9 years old when I first watched this. Yet another irresponsible adult exposed me to this horrifying movie. Quick bit of back story. One of my best friends growing up had a father who was the epitome of a big kid. He'd let us eat crappy food all the time, stay us late, and of course watch shows and movies inappropriate for kids. Anyway one night we turned off the lights and watched this movie. After that I don't think I got a good nights sleep for months! I'd wake up in sweats literally terrified! I think it was the fact that this could be real that got to me. Luckily at that point in my life my brother and I shared a room together. He was equally terrified so we'd push our beds together and do our best to get some sleep. Honestly, even at my age now, I'm still freaked out by this movie!
There were other creepy things that scarred me as a kid but those mentioned were the ones that really stood out and stuck around!

Be sure to check out some other Nightmare posts from around the League!

The Goodwill Geek Shares a terrifying nightmare from his childhood...
Stunt Zombie shares a first nightmare....
Ashley dreams of an invasion!