Sunday, December 15, 2013

Throwback Themes - Sounds to Bring You Back - "The Joy of Painting"

It's pretty amazing what a simple song can do.  Music has the power to literally transport us back to a time long past and remind of memories we didn't realize we even had!
 Press Play!

Recently I stumbled across a YouTube video which was a segmented complete episode of "The Joy Of Painting". Any one who grew up the 80s remembers this show! The host and artist, Bob Ross, narrarated each each episode as he explained his techniques and coached his audience. In additoin to sharing painting tips and tircks he was sure to impart his words of wisdom as well. Such inspiratinal quotes as "this is your world, you're the creator" and "we don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents". Advice that surely translates to life outside the canvas. Ross was amazing to watch. His calm demeanor was almost hypnotizing, making the show incredibly entertaining.

Anyway, this experience brought me way back! Seeing the episode and hearing that familiar, soothing voice synonymous with so many great childhood memories was really neat. That theme puts me right back in the home I grew up in, completely spellbound, watching a beautiful landscape unfold before my very eyes!

If you grew up in the 80s I hightly recommend watching the episode I mentioned. Above is part 1/5.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Super Powers Spotlight - Steppenwolf

In today's spotlight I'll be taking a look at one of my favorite Super Powers villains: Steppenwolf! Anyone familiar with the line knows that Steppenwolf was initially offered as a mail away exclusive on specially marked "Steppenwolf offer" 12 back figures. His first carded release came with the second series in 1985. Steppenwolf included a mini comic and had one of my all time favorite card backs from the entire line!

Steppenwolf would have two 2nd series variations. The initial release had the "fan club offer" band on the bottom right hand side. 

The other second series variation had the  "Free Clark Kent Offer" which came in the from of a sticker applied to the front of the card.

The final carded offering for the character Steppenwolf came in the 3rd and final series for the Super Powers Collection. As you can see (after comparing the cards) the third series card is significantly different. With the line coming to a close Kenner cut out the free comics as well as any fan club offers. These changes resulted in what most collectors agree to be the most visually appealing card backs. Even with the improvement in card appearance, the second series releases for Steppenwolf are the rarer versions and, in most cases, the more valuable.

The final variation I wanted to share could have come at the very start. This is an example of a cromalin proof that shows what could have been. Cromalins were used internally by Kenners to make changes and identify mistakes  to the card back's design before going forward with the card back production. This cromalin shows that Steppenwolf was initially designed to have blue accents to his gloves, trunks, and chest strap. This ultimately was changed to the red seen on the production cardbacks, making this cromalin a really cool variation!

 A really awesome custom done by a friend and fellow collector next to a loose/production Steppenwolf.

So that does it for this Steppenwolf spot light. A truly classic and awesome villain! Love to hear your thoughts on the character or the line itself! If you'd like to pick this guy up, hit up eBay! There are loads of loose, minty examples to be had!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Return of the Nerd Nook Newbies!

I am trying to get back in the swing of blogging more regularly! With the exception of League assignments, I've sort of put it on the back burner as I focused my attention on my YouTube channel. I've decided that I want to get blogging again and resurrect Nerd Nook Newbies! I'll be honest, weekly updates will probably not occur.....probably bi-weekly will be more feasible!

So with that said, lets have a look at some of my most recent Newbies!

Today I'll be showing you all a few new additions to my Super Powers Collection. First up is a 12 back Wonder Woman. I've been after a nice version of her for quite some time! She is slightly tough to find on a 12 back (first release from 1984) and even tougher in nice condition. Excited to have scored this one! Considering having it graded by the Action Figure Authority. Thoughts?

Next up is a Super Powers 12 back Penguin. Yet another tough one to find on a clean 12 back. He's far more common on a 23 back and being a rather portly character, Kenner had to use a very deep bubble to house him. These huge bubbles were prone to getting crushed, dinged, and otherwise damaged...making this one a really good score!

For today's final newbie I have another tough 12 back, Hawkman. He is another character who is known for having damaged bubbles for the same reason as penguin....the size! With his wings on his back he sticks out even further than Penguin! It kinda sucks he has that sticker rip because it is otherwise in excellent condition.

So that'll do it for my return to Newbies. With these additions I'm only two figures away from completing my 12 back Fan Club offer collection. Hopefully in an upcoming "Newbies" I'll be showcasing Aquaman and Brainiac!

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Watch List!

So it's League time again and I must say this is a pretty neat topic! I'm gonna dive right in and get going on this one!

So for starters, I love Netflix! It's cheap, easy to access, and has loads of great stuff! Recently I finished off a nice binge of "Hollywood Treasure"
This show follows a group of high end auctioneers as they "scour the globe to uncover Hollywood treasure". I'm pretty surprised it was cancelled as the show is pretty darn cool. They deal with some of Hollywood's most iconic props, costumes, and collectibles and auction them (in most cases) for astronomical prices! The auction house is called "Profiles in History" and will be auctioning off Han Solo's blaster on the 21st of this month!

In addition to this I'm currently rewatching "Breaking Bad" with my wife who has never seen it. It is just as good the second time through and I love denying her any information at those moments where you're just like "what?!?!"

The other night I was also super psyched to see they added Disney's classic "The Sword in the Stone". This was a childhood favorite and it still holds up today! Aside from what I mentioned, I love how Netflix offers suggestions based on what you've previously watched. It's a great service and for $7.99 a month you can't really beat it!

I'm gonna go ahead and jump to YouTube. I love you-tube for a ton of reasons. It's got loads of stuff that I enjoy watching from scientific channels to toys and more! I want to go ahead and mention a few of my favorite channels. First up is "Vsause's" more recent upload. They literally blow my mind fairly regularly with their videos. Super interesting and always informative! This one is all about illusions and is well worth watching!

Next up are two movie based channels that make fun of our favorite films. The first being CinemaSins and the other, Screen Junkies. Cinema Sins basically disects our favorite flicks and highlights all the stuff that makes no sense or is otherwise ridiculous in a very funny and entertaining fashion! Screen Junkies, on the other hand, has a series of videos called "Honest Trailers" where they do a similar thing by recreating trailers with the steroetypical movie trailer voice guy. No movie is spared, even some of the best! I linked a personal favorite of mine where they absolutely destroy Will and Jaden Smith's disaster "After Earth".

And finally I'm going to throw in a shameless plug for my own YouTube channel. I created it nearly a year ago (December 18,2012) and use it to showcase my collection. I've recently cracked 300 subscribers and am really enjoying it. For me it's another outlet to expand my hobby, network, and have some fun. I've met some great people and have plans for expanding my content as I approach my one year anniversary. I have roughly 160 videos so check it out if you're curious. Love to hear your thoughts!

Also be sure to check out what the rest of the League is watchin'

More to come as they are posted.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Super Powers Spotlight - Joker!

Hey there Super Powers Fans! I've been wanting to get back in the swing of blogging more regularly and figured a Super Powers spotlight could be just the thing to get myself going. In case you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of the toy line! I grew up playing with these toys and am enjoying them just as much now as an adult collector.

So with that out of the way, let's take a look at this Joker cromalin. For starters, a cromalin is a type of packaging proof that was used to test the layout and make corrections. If you look closely you can see some marked changes on this example of a 12 back Joker card back with the free Steppenwolf figure offer. This particular example also has a sign off sheet on the back side that was used internally by Kenner employees.
Being such a mega fan, I enjoy adding prototype and pre-production items to my collection whenever I can. With Joker being arguable the coolest first series villain (and Batman's arch enemy) I'm thrilled to have this in my collection!
A shot of the cromalin before I had it framed with the metallic purple accent in the top photo  =)
I really dig how it turned out!

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Wish List!

I remember the days scribbling a letter to old St. Nick and my mom fake mailing it! I wish I could go back and experience that once more cause man that was fun! Now as a grown up who still loves toys and collecting pop culture I am tasked with putting together a Christmas wish list!

So last year I was a bit more practical and threw in a few items that were pricey but not completely out of the realm of possibility. This year I figured I'd have some fun while sharing some of the incredible stuff "Profiles in History" will be auctioning off in the near future.

So.....if anyone out there (St. Nick included) has a massive bank account and wants to make this man child's Christmas's what it'll take......

#1: Screen used Han Solo Blaster from ESB and ROTJ

As far as movie props go, it doesn't get much more iconic than Han Solo's blaster. An absolutely amazing piece of movie history. It's predicted to sell between $200,000 and $300,000 but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it go above and beyond that estimate.
 "Hockey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

#2; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Grail Diary
"Last Crusade" is a near tie for my favorite Indy movie. The addition of Sean Connery, the epic score by John Williams, and the religious theme made this one great! For roughly $60,000 this piece of movie history can be yours! I don't think there is a more iconic prop from this movie than this diary! I guess you could argue the grail itself but for plot importance the diary has to take the cake!

 "I should have mailed it to the Marx brothers!"

#3: Screen Used Willy Wonka outfit
That new version has nothing on this timeless classic! Another incredibly iconic outfit that any fan of movies would be proud to own! Includes everything except his top hat and for around $60,000 it can be under your tree this Christmas!

"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...."

#4: Screen Used Golden Ticket 
If you're in the market for a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" prop....look no further! This, in my opinion, is the most important prop one could hope to own from the classic film! 

#5: Screen Used Batman costume by Michael Keaton
"Batman" and "Batman Returns" are my top two favorite "Batman" movies. Owning this costume would be nothing short of incredible. I'd put it at number two behind Christopher Reeve's iconic suit from the 70's. For about $60,000 this can be all yours!

"What kind of world do we live in, where a man dressed up like a bat gets all of my press!"

So that's that. The auction book is easily an inch thick and LOADED with tons of epic and amazing items. I could have easily chosen another 20+ items to add to this list but figured I'd stick to these five selections. They would be the ones I'd most definitely pursue if I happened to win the lottery in the next few weeks!

Be sure to check out some other wish lists from around the League!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Gee Thanks!

Wow I really need to get this blog going again! As I approach the one year anniversary of this blog's creation (11/28) I realize that I need to get back to posting stuff regularly. My lack of activity has been a big case of life getting in the way. That last three months have been busy and hectic and I'm so looking forward to things calming down and enjoying the Holiday season! With that said, and Thanksgiving only a few days away, the League is writing about what they're thankful for......

Now with this being a pop culture site and the League's focus being on nerdy topics I'll get the mushy stuff outta the way quickly and get to the geeky goodness! Here goes....I'm thankful for....

1. My wife and family. They are super supportive, especially my wife who understands how important my collection is to me and how much I love every aspect of collecting.

2. All the good things in my life. I know that's vague but this is a pop culture blog and who wants to read a bunch of mushy stuff? Ammiright?

3. My Man Cave! I have a few names I call my man cave. Among those names is my fortress of solitude. It's a place I go to decompress after a long day and just relax. It's decorated to my liking with various autographs, figures, mementos, photos, etc. It truly is my favorite place to be. 

The "Nerd Nook" portion of my man cave.

My recently painted Star Wars Wall. Anthony Daniels (left), Hamill, Fisher, Ford (center), Williams (right). The red really makes the photos pop!

Recently acquired cast signed "Breakfast Club" 8x10. Love that movie!

My window ledge that displays my only surviving childhood toys (except for the Count Chocula Switch finder)

My entertainment center. I'm working on "Batman: Arkham Origins". To the left is an authentic Coo Coo Clock from Switzerland (a gift brought back by one of my oldest friends), and to the right my Super Powers Batmobile concept art from 1982. That shelf is a work in progress. Part of what I love about having my own space in the form of a man cave is being able to rearrange and redecorate. Still not sure what's next for that shelf...and yes, I have a pillow covered with vintage Star Wars sheets =)

4. My collection! I'll wrap up my thankful post by saying I'm thankful for my collection. I enjoy every aspect of collecting. The hunt, the display, sharing photos with other collectors, the collector community, and most of all the memories I'm reminded of every time I look at my collection.

So that's that for me. I'm looking forward Thursday! We're hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year and I can't wait! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be sure to scope out these other thankful posts from around the League!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers - Halloween!

This week's assignment for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is simply "Halloween". The League is tasked with photographing how their home town celebrates Halloween. Unfortunately I've been incredibly busy every weekend! I haven't really had the opportunity to enjoy low key fall days out and about which makes me sad as I love fall! Anyway, I didn't want to miss out on yet another League assignment so I figured a fun alternative would be to share some old photos of me on Halloweens long past.....

So this is my first Halloween ever and mom saw fit to dress her two sons up in super masculine costumes. The eldest a bumble bee and me a daisy.....thanks Mom! It did set up this photo 31 years later where my niece (big brother's daughter) continued the tradition of bumble bee costumes. She, however, is as cute as can bee!....see what I did there?

Ok, so Mom redeemed herself big time in 1985 with these home made Batman and Superman costumes! I was a Superman fan for as long as I can remember. Super Powers figures were huge and my brother and I had to be our favorite heroes!

A pair of clowns! I guess Mom figured we were a pair of goofballs to begin with...why not dress them up accordingly ;)

My brother and I were on a serious Voltron kick! I'm in blue. I love some of the other store bought costumes my friends have on. The Rambo on the left is pretty epic. Sucks it got cut off!

Late 80s/ early 90s
I can't be sure what year this was to be honest. My best guess would be 89 or 90. My brother has made the obvious transition into a black suited Batman with 1989's Batman having been released. I am a pirate with a pretty sweet stache!

Early 90s
I gotta say this costume was pretty bad ass! I am Frankenstein and my brother was Dracula. I couldn't find a photo of the two us. This will have to do. Grand-mom doesn't seem too thrilled about all of this!

So that's it for me. I couldn't find anymore photos though I'm sure there are loads more buried in the shed.  Be sure to scope out these other posts from around the League!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 6 - Casper

Here's a fun little Halloween themed movie. Bill Pullman and Christina Rici star in this one. Being a kid born in the early 80s I still had a good chunk of childhood in 90s. I remember seeing this one and enjoying it. The bad guy ghosts were fun villains and the haunted house was very cool! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 5 - Madballs!

These things were pretty darn awesome! I vividly remember my brother and I getting these while on a family vacation at the beach. I got the green one (bottom right of the above photo) and my brother got a mummy. I always wanted the football madball but never did get him.

They even went as far as to sell bodies for these creepy and grotesque classic vintage toys! Sadly mine is gone. I wish I could say it was lost in a move or something like that. But the truth is it got away from while swimming in the ocean and floated off never to be seen again.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 4 - Imperial's Monster Toys!

Here's some classic 80's monster toys! Pretty neat little monster characters. I had the above Frankenstein. My uncle took me to a cool local when I was a kid. A place where there were lots of neat and unique shops. I spotted this for sale and he bought it for me. For years and years I displayed it during Halloween time. Sadly it was misplaced when my family moved while I was off living at college. The physical item is gone but the memory lives! I may need to hit up eBay and grab this guy!

Here's a few more photos of some of the other creepy characters....

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 3 - Monster Face!

So who remembers this things?! This was the gross and gory take on the classic Mr. Potato Head. It came with all sorts of gross and creepy accessories you could use to create a grotesque Monster Face. Slime would certainly up the finished result. 80s and 90s were a good time for slime....weren't they?

I'm bet this commercial jogs some quick memories....for me it's Saturday morning cartoons on the carpet with my big bro....

Friday, October 4, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 2 - Beetlejuice Cartoon

Here's an absolute classic! This cartoon was so awesome! Great memories of Saturdays spent in front of the tv with my big bro before heading out for the day. "Skeletons in Your Closet" was my all time favorite episode. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Creepy Countdown Day 1 - Boogedy Man!

In the spirit of the Halloween Season I've decidedt to a daily "Creepy Countdown" photo spotlight. Included will be photos relating to some of my most fond Halloween memories! 

First up is "Mr. Boogedy". Released by Disney in the mid 80s, this tale of a family moving into a haunted New England home stands out in my mind as a fun Halloween memory. Anyone else remember this guy?