DC Comics Cover Art: 350 Of The Greatest Covers In DC’s History

Before You Get To The Story…..

Without a great cover to draw you in, books will simply sit on shelves unread. If the cover works, however, great stories can be discovered and shared with others. This book, DC Cover Art: 350 Of The Greatest Covers In DC’s History, celebrates the nearly one hundred years of DC Comics covers that have drawn in readers of all ages to enjoy the adventures of a mighty stable of interesting characters. The holy trinity is obviously well represented, as works featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are well represented. It’s the other covers, those of the less popular characters that aren’t as well known by the general public, that really shine in this book.

We get to look at iconic covers featuring Swamp Thing, The Phantom Stranger, Sandman, Johnny Thunder, and other wonderful characters. Each cover is given a brief description, sometimes focusing on the artist, sometimes the character, or another tidbit of historical information. Nick Jones, who compiled this collection of covers, does a wonderful job of giving readers just enough information to drive them to learn more about each artist, cover, and character. In fact, Jones does a great job of making me want to hit the local comic book shop to find a few of these covers.

Booster Gold #32 (2010) by Kevin Maguire.

The eighty-plus years of DC Comics are broken down into five ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze, Steel, and Modern. Within each age there is a focus on certain artists who are given short biographies. Some of the many talented artists included in the book are Alex Ross, George Perez, Amanda Conner, Joe Shuster, Jenny Frison, Neal Adams, and Creig Flessel. I’m a massive fan of many of these artists, especially Perez and Ross, and love looking at their brilliant covers.

The iconic The New Teen Titans #1 cover by George Perez, one of my favorite artists.

Ultimately this is a coffee table styled book that one can leaf through at their leisure. It contains an amazing amount of historical information about DC Comics and the artists that brought so many of their characters to life, but it works just as well as a picture book. I’m amazed at the varied styles that each artist brings to the covers of DC Comics. It’s also fun to compare the different styles of the artists, especially from the Golden Age and the Modern Age.

Lois Lane #1 (2019 variant cover) by Jenny Frison.

Fans of DC Comics will definitely appreciate this collection, but those that appreciate art in general will love it as well. There’s a cover for everyone in this book (actually, quite a few covers), and I can’t wait to see which covers from future DC Comics will be added to this collection in the coming decades.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review. Thank you for taking the time to check it out. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite artist or cover. This book covers a number of brilliant artists, too many to list here, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance!

Note: This review is an enhanced and expanded review that I originally posted on Amazon. I’ve added a few more sentences and paragraphs and photos as well.

Mega Construx MOTU Set: Trap Jaw w/Laser Cannon

It’s All In Skeletor’s Head!

If you’ve read any of my previous Mega Construx Masters of the Universe set reviews, you know that I am entirely in love with them. So far I have only been reviewing larger sets, most of which come with multiple figures. I also have a figure set that I will eventually review as well, but it’s packed away in my Hurricane Laura storage building and I’m not sure exactly where it is at the moment.

The Trap Jaw set that I am reviewing today is fun from the word go. It’s a simple build with only seventy-six pieces, but it’s a great little build that adds to the growing Mega Construx MOTU line. What I love best about this build is the container. It’s literally a small Skeletor head that’s jam-packed with all of the pieces for the build. There are three Skeletor heads in the line so far, with one being the traditional head with a purple hood, a second head that has a purple hood with a glow-in-the-dark face, and a final head that features a black hood and a golden Skeletor face. Each set features a different figure: Trap Jaw, Fisto, and He-Man.

The instructions are standard for Mega Construx sets and easily guide builders of all ages to completion. The Trap Jaw figure can be a bit of a pain as his jaw is a separate piece that can easily be lost (I almost lost the piece in my set). He also comes with four arm attachments that can be swapped out on his robotic arm. The four attachments are a claw, a hook, a fly swatter, and a laser gun.

The set also includes a laser turret cannon and a control center complete with a monitor. The cannon can turn side to side and be angled up or down. It features a firing laser with two laser bolts. The control center’s monitor includes a view of a planetary system. The turret cannon can be placed on the purple display platform along with Trap Jaw and the control center tucks nicely into the back of Skeletor’s head.

You can break down the cannon and control center and store them inside Skeletor’s head along with the Trap Jaw figure. You can also set the head on your desk at work if you want to impress your friends! I’m tempted to pick up the other two sets in this series, as all three Skeletor heads are pretty impressive.

If you have any other sets in this line, you already know how much fun they are to build. This small set is a nice build that looks wonderful and doesn’t take that long to build. Thanks for checking out my quick review, I’ll see you again real soon!

The Pop Ninja Podcast

From Punxsutawney To The Swamp Lands Of Louisiana

If you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s like I did and have fond memories of those decades, you should be listening to the Pop Ninja Podcast! Hosts Lisa Everetts and Patrick Bennett take listeners on a journey back in time to the days of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, Air Supply, Manimal, and so many more wonderful TV shows, films, and musical groups. Most episodes feature a favorite film, musical artist, and television show from Lisa and Patrick, who riff off of one another as they talk about each subject. Some episodes focus on specific topics, such as favorite Christmas toys, and a few even feature interviews with celebrity guests!

Just one of the many guests to be featured on the Pop Ninja Podcast, Billie Rae Bates!

Some of my favorite episodes include interviews with author Billie Rae Bates and film stars Adrienne King (Friday the 13th) and Paul Kelman (My Bloody Valentine). Other excellent episodes include interviews with Stella, the Maneater of Manayunk, and producer Dick Atkins.

Karen Scioli, better known as Stella, The Maneater of Manayunk.

Every episode includes a giveaway. In order to be eligible for the giveaway, you have to listen for the secret word mentioned during each episode. Past prizes include signed DVDs and books (I won an autographed copy of Let’s Roll, Kato by Billie Rae Bates), exclusive prints, and even a bag handmade by Charlotte Steward from Little House On The Prairie!

Manimal.

Be sure to check out the Pop Ninja Podcast on social media and on their webpage. The webpage is very active as is the Facebook page. You can find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Overcast, and just about anywhere else you get your podcasts.

Thanks for checking out my latest post. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me, so I’m sorry for the delay in posts. I’ll try my best to post more often in the coming weeks.

Spin Master Batman Vs. Bane

The Juice Is Loose!

Spin Master continues to hit it out of the park with their new Bat-Tech wave of action figures. Part of that wave includes the Batman Vs. Bane Moto-Tank set. There are two versions of this set available. One set includes an exclusive Batman figure, Bane figure, the Moto-Tank, and twelve accessories. The other set features the same figures and tank minus the multiple accessories. I’ve seen both sets in abundance at Walmart, especially the set with the twelve accessories, so if anyone wishes to purchase the set at the retail price, it’s up for grabs. Don’t fall for the insane prices on eBay and other sites like it. Despite being a Walmart exclusive, it’s still available on the shelf.

The set comes in a great looking package that features a photo of the Batcave. It’s the same photo included on the inserts for individual action figure packs in the Bat-Tech wave. Also included are twelve accessories in a light blue color. These accessories can all be found in other figure packs, but the color is apparently exclusive to this set.

The Moto-Tank is essentially a souped up motorcycle. There are no firing projectiles or features on the tank. It’s simply a cool looking vehicle that Batman and other figures in this line can ride on or, at least in the case of villains like Bane, can be tossed around at playtime.

The Batman figure looks great. It’s the same mold as the Bat-Tech Batman figure in the standard line but with a few slight differences in the placement of the bright blue color on the figure. The most notable difference between the two figures is that the Batman in the Moto-Tank set has completely blue forearms, less blue on the chest, and no blue at all on the legs.

The Bane figure is the largest figure that I’ve seen in the four inch line. In the photo above, I have a Batman and Killer Croc from the Caped Crusader series for reference. The figure looks great and goes to show that Spin Master is willing to give both children and collectors a scale-accurate figure.

This is a great set for children and collectors alike. As with every other figure in the Spin Master line, most of the accessories are forgettable for collectors. Children will love them, however, and they (and, admittedly, probably most collectors) will love the bright blue colors as well. Snag this set for yourself or your kids!

Thanks for reading my review of the Spin Master Batman Vs. Bane Moto-Tank set. More Spin Master reviews are on the way!

Dime Store Reads: The Predator: Hunters and Hunted

The Reapers Take Aim At A Yautja

At the end of 2020, I offered up my first Dime Store Reads post. It was a brief review of the novelization of the film The Predator from 2018. I enjoyed the book well enough so I decided to head back to the same Dollar General that I purchased the novel at to pick up its prequel, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted. Written by James A. Moore, Hunters proved to be even more enjoyable than the film and book that it sets up.

In the story, an elite group of soldiers called the Reapers have been training for years in preparation for engaging and capturing a Yautja (Predator). Trained by Pappy Elliot, the only survivor of an attack in Vietnam, the group finds themselves outsourced to other departments to dispatch drug rings and other ne’er do wells. The group is lethal and chomping at the bit for a real challenge. Unfortunately, funding is on the verge of being cut for the team and Project Stargazer, a research project that hopes to study one of the Yautjas in order to reverse engineer its technology for the benefit of the U.S. government.

With two members of Project Stargazer in Washington, D.C. pleading their case, the Reapers finally get to engage a Predator on the Florida/Georgia border in the Okefenokee Swamp and the surrounding areas. They quickly find themselves in a battle for their lives while attempting to capture the alien visitor. After successfully trapping the Yautja and suffering major casualties, the group bring the hunter back to Project Stargazer’s base of operations. The monster manages to escape and the thinned out group has to battle it once more. With the loss of their comrades in mind, the Reapers plan to kill the Yautja in their second confrontation. Who wins? Read the book for yourself and find out!

Moore does an excellent job of alternating the story between the perspectives of the Reapers, the Predator, and other characters in the story. The Reapers feature some very interesting characters that are all given a decent amount of development. My favorite Reaper was a character named Hyde who, based on a quick search on other reviews of this book, proved to be one of the most popular characters in the story overall. Two characters featured in the film that follows the book, Traeger and Keyes, make an appearance, with Traeger getting some heavy development in the novel.

Parts of the story remind me of the first two Predator films, especially the second one starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey. There are brief callbacks to both of these films but this novel does well to stand on its own. Moore is no stranger to writing stories based upon established film and television series. He’s written novels that are parts of the Alien and Buffy The Vampire Slayer universes and is also a successful novelist of original series as well (Seven Forges novels, Bloodstained series, etc.). In this novel specifically, he does a great job of setting up and executing battle scenes. A favorite of mine is the Predator’s encounter with an alligator.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to see some of the surviving characters return in other novels or even in future films in the Predator series. As stated before, I picked this book up at Dollar General. It cost me three bucks and was more than worth it. I definitely recommend this novel.

Thanks for checking out this post. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this novel or any other Predator books. Feel free to tell me what you liked, disliked, or absolutely hated about any of the books.

Classic Horror: Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932)

“Do they still burn men for heresy?”

Just over a year after the release of the film that made him an icon of horror, Bela Lugosi traded in Dracula‘s cape for the wild eyebrows of Dr. Mirakle in Universal’s Murders In The Rue Morgue. Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name, the film tells the story of Dr. Mirakle and his attempt at finding a mate for his gorilla, Erik. In order to do this, he captures young women (primarily prostitutes) and injects them with gorilla blood in order to see if they would be a suitable mate for Erik. Those who fail to be successful candidates are murdered and dumped into the river. When Dr. Mirakle sees the lovely Camille (Sidney Fox), he notices that Erik is fascinated by her. Mirakle has Camille kidnapped and attempts to mingle her blood with Erik’s. Can Camille’s pre-med fiancee (who has a passion for forensics) figure out what is happening to the young women of Paris before she becomes Erik and Dr. Mirakle’s next victim? You’ll have to watch Murders In The Rue Morgue to find out!

The film was ripped by contemporary critics for multiple reasons. One of the more justified reasons is the poor editing throughout the film. Many critics also believed that the film exploited the young women in the cast and, in a personal favorite critique, a Variety magazine critic accused the film of being “sexed up to the limit.” As time has passed, the film has become a favorite of both Lugosi and horror fans in general. The film consistently receives praise for the amazing cinematography by Karl W. Freund, who would go on to direct another Universal classic, The Mummy (1932), and invent the unchained camera, a predecessor to numerous camera techniques and designs.

The film’s cast is wonderful in my opinion. Lugosi’s commanding presence stands out from the pack, but Sidney Fox does an excellent job as Camille as well. Camille’s fiancee, Pierre Dupin, is portrayed by Leon Ames. He does a fine job as a man framed for murder and intent on finding the true fiend. His best friend, Paul (Bert Roach) and Paul’s girlfriend, Mignette (Edna Maron), along with some of the townspeople, provide some much needed comedy in an otherwise serious horror film. Other standouts include Noble Johnson as Janos, Dr. Mirakle’s assistant, D’Arcy Corrigan as the Morgue Keeper, and Brandon Hurst as the prefect. Joe Bonomo portrayed Erik the gorilla in closeups and action scenes involving human interaction.

This was a very dark film. Much like 1934’s The Black Cat, another Poe adaptation, Murders In The Rue Morgue pushed the limits with its violence and subject matter. For this reason alone it is an important film. Director Robert Florey (Daughter of Shanghai) does a fine job with the film as a whole, but the film is stilted by some of the jarring edits done my Milton Carruth (Imitation of Life).

With a mad scientist, a woman-hungry gorilla, and a med student turned detective, Murders In The Rue Morgue is a cinematic curiosity. Brilliant cinematography and direction lift the film above its poor editing. Come for the gorillas and the prostitutes, stay for the sickening story and great pacing.

Thanks for checking out my post. See you again real soon!

Dime Store Reads: Pacific Rim Uprising Official Film Novelization

Getting “Pentecost”-al!

My latest discovery on the Dollar General book rack happened to be the novelization of a film that I enjoyed for the most part. Pacific Rim Uprising was a decent film but it lacked the style and overall “coolness” of its predecessor. The printed version of the story was a fun read, but the battles between the Jaegers and Kaiju lost something on the page. Whether that was due to Alex Irvine’s writing style or my inability to visualize the battles in my head, I’m not sure.

Irvine is no stranger to writing film novelizations. He wrote the novelization for the first Pacific Rim film as well as others including Independence Day: Resurgence and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so I’m not sure why his descriptions of the battles in Uprising came across as flat. In his defense, the battles in the film were a tad flat as well, so it might just be that the source material needed more dressing up than Irvine could provide.

The book’s plot is relatively simple: It has been ten years since the Battle of the Breach. The Jaeger program, deemed to be too expensive to maintain any longer, is about to be replaced by drones designed and manufactured by the Shao Corporation. When a rogue Jaeger attacks members of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps while assessing the new drones, Jake Pentecost, son of PPDC hero Stacker Pentecost, and a young woman named Amara Namani are thrown into an entirely new war with the Kaiju. They join up with an old friend who feels slighted by Jake and a team of young recruits to battle new Kaiju designed by the Precursors and a surprise ally. The story is fast, full of action, and pretty entertaining for the most part.

I picked up this book for three dollars. It’s definitely worth that much. I recommend giving it a shot. I also recommend checking out the film that it is based upon. It’s not as good as the first film, but it’s still a fun ride.

Thanks for reading my post. I’m already reading another Dime Store Read and can’t wait to tell you about it!

Spin Master Batman Figures Wave 5

Hitting Shelves As You’re Reading This!

Spin Master’s newest wave of 4″ Batman figures is starting to hit shelves. In fact, I’ve been seeing them on the shelf for about a month now. There’s a packaging redesign, a few new molds, a few old molds with repaints, and a couple of new characters added to the lineup.

L to R: Wave 5 Joker and Robin, Wave 4 Armored Batman, Wave 5 Bat-Tech Batman.

Like previous figures in this line, articulation is decent and the paint schemes pop with color. The Bat-Tech Batman appears to have a new sculpt as does the Joker (same head as before, new body). Some of the new additions to the lineup include the Riddler and Mr. Freeze, a Target exclusive who is already showing up at bloated prices on Ebay. Hopefully I can find one in the wild and purchase it at its retail price.

On the left is Batman with the original packaging for the first four waves. The left figure is in the updated packaging.

I’ll be completely honest and state that I do not care much for the new package design. The classic design featured an opening panel that revealed a collectible card and three “lockers” that you could open to see which three “surprise” accessories you received. The new design also features the accessories in secret compartments (and just like the other waves, the accessories are mostly lame) but it’s a pain to open them. Both the compartments and the figure have to be accessed by the back of the package. The collectible card is (sadly) not included with the new packaging but a decent looking poster featuring Batman and Robin in the Batcave is included with the figure checklist.

While I miss the collector cards, I do like many of the paint schemes on the new figures. Another wave is expected in the spring. Most of the figures appear to be repaints from previous lines. I’m not completely sure, but I do believe that the Batgirl figure is a new addition to the upcoming line. She features the Bat-Tech paint scheme, which makes me believe that there was a figure of her in one of the earlier lines in this series.

These figures are fun to collect and, at least in my opinion, look great on a shelf. Yes, they are geared toward children for play, but there’s something very satisfying about looking up at a shelf full of these colorful characters.

Thanks for checking out this post. I’ve got a few more of these figures that I could review, but there isn’t much to say about them. I may highlight one or two specific figures, especially some of the Target exclusives. Let me know what you think about these figures in the comments section. See you again soon!

Fave Five From Fans Podcast

“From the creepy swamps deep in the heart of Cajun Country…”

I’ve been attending conventions for over a decade now and one of the things that I enjoy most about going to them is the journey there and the ride back home. Why? Because while me and my friends are cruising down the highway to a convention, we talk about things. Those things range from memories of prior conventions to upcoming book and film releases. We also make lists: top five favorite…, top ten best…, etc. The Fave Five From Fans Podcast took this type of discussion that many con-goers engage in and put it in podcast form.

Host Jamie Ray invites a friend (or two…and in at least one case, three) to join him on the air to share their list of their five favorites of a specific subject. The subject can literally be anything from their five favorite Chuck Norris movies to their five favorite slasher towns. The guests and Jamie take turns alternately revealing their favorites from fifth to first with a couple of honorable mentions tossed in for good measure. They also give their reasons for putting things on their lists. Some of the reasons are sentimental, others are more technical, and a few might even be admittedly silly. That’s what makes each episode so much fun. You never know what’s going to be on the list and the reasons that things make the list can open up some excellent conversations.

Two of my favorite episodes featured Jamie and guest Matt Hernandez discussing Batman. Specifically, one episode dealt with Jamie and Matt’s favorite versions of Batman from the comics and the other episode focused on Batman in films and television. It was interesting to hear how Jamie’s list contrasted with Matt’s list and how their own lives molded their viewpoints on each version of Batman that they chose for their list. Other episodes include favorite Disney films, shark films, Six Million Dollar Man episodes, and even Jimmy Stewart films.

I met Jamie at a convention (surprise) a few years ago and we’ve talked with one another at conventions ever since. He’s an extremely nice guy and a wonderful podcast host. I highly recommend Fave Five From From Fans. The show is available on multiple podcasting platforms and has a large social media presence across the web. Visit the show’s website to learn more about the show and the find links to all of their podcasts and social media accounts. Hopefully I’ll get to be a part of the show in the future. I’ve got plenty of lists in my brain.

Thanks for checking out my latest post. I’ll be covering more podcasts, more Dimestore Reads, action figures, and a new tabletop game in the very near future!

Son Of Kong (1933)

“Boy, look at him scrap! Just like his Old Man!”

With a smaller budget and a smaller ape, 1933’s Son of Kong still manages to delight. It was released just a few months after its predecessor. Returning for the sequel are King Kong stars Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, and Victor Wong, all reprising their roles from the original film.

Spoilers ahead!!!!!

The film plays out as somewhat of a redemption story for Armstrong’s Carl Denham and, to a lesser degree, Reicher’s Captain Englehorn. Both men are broke and Denham is hated by everyone in New York City. The duo team up with Wong’s Charlie (the cook from the first film) to sail the seas as cargo shippers. In the port of Dakang, Denham, Englehorn, and Cook run into the other primary players in the film, Hilda (Helen Mack) and Nils Helstrom (John Marston). Helstrom kills Hilda’s father in a fight. Attempting to escape the authorities, he has a chance meeting with Denham and Englehorn. Denham immediately recognizes Helstrom as the man who gave him the map to the island where King Kong was first discovered. Helstrom lies to Englehorn and Denham, telling them that there is a treasure on the island and he offers to show them where it is in return for safe passage out of Dakang. Hilda befriends Denham and eventually stows away on Englehorn’s ship, not knowing that Helstrom is also aboard.

By the time the ship has arrived at the island, Helstrom manages to stage a mutiny and the crew throws Englehorn and Denham off of the ship. They also force Hilda to leave as well. Charlie decides to go with his captain because he doesn’t like the rest of the men on the ship. In a surprising turn of events. the crew also toss Helstrom overboard, refusing to allow him to be captain.

The ousted group eventually make their way to the island. There, they are forced to seek shelter on the far side of the island by the natives who blame them for the destruction of their village. Denham and Hilda pair off and Charlie, Englehorn, and Helstrom form another group. Denham and Hilda befriend “Little Kong” after helping him escape quicksand and patching him up when he hurts his hand. Little Kong battles a number of beasts to protect the group and eventually leads Denham and Hilda to a treasure trove on the island. Apparently after taking the treasure from the island, an earthquake and violent storm are triggered. The island begins to crumble, killing all of the natives and dinosaurs. Helstrom is killed by a sea serpent and Little Kong sacrifices himself to save Denham. Luckily for the survivors, Denham manages to save a bit of the treasure.

The movie is okay. Although Denham feels guilty for ruining (and ending) King Kong’s life and tries his best to redeem himself by helping Little Kong, his redemption never really materializes. In fact, Denham, Englehorn, and Charlie come out pretty good thanks to the treasure that Little Kong leads Denham to in the film. Hilda makes out pretty good as well.

Ernest B. Schoedsack, who co-directed King Kong with Merian C. Cooper, does a decent job of giving viewers a solid action flick. What the film lacks in plot and character development is made up for by having a big dose of humor and tons of dinosaur/giant bear/Little Kong fight sequences. Music composed by Max Steiner for the first film was reused in parts of Son of Kong as were some of the models and armatures created by Willis O’Brien, who also handed new effects created for the film.

The cast is excellent. Armstrong carries the bulk of the film on his shoulders and Victor Wong gets to expand the character of Charlie a bit. Reicher injects a decent amount of humor on his own as Captain Englehorn. John Marston is seedily perfect as the evil Helstrom. Helen Mack really shines as Hilda. She’s absolutely gorgeous and stole my heart the minute that she showed up on the screen.

Son of Kong isn’t a stellar film, but it is very fun. The cast does a great job and the action is really amped up despite only being a small part of the film. If you’ve never seen it before, give it a look and let me know what you think about it in the comments section.

Thanks for checking out my post! See you all again real soon!