Louisiana Comic Con 2021!!!!

I have returned!!!!!

Next weekend I’ll be attending my first comic convention and presenting my first in-person panel since 2019. Louisiana Comic Con was the last convention that I attended in person and it’s fitting that it will be the first convention that I get to attend in a world put on hold by COVID-19. I’m vaccinated and will be masked up for the show and I hope that I’ll be able to see some of you there as well.

The convention has a ton of amazing guests that will be in attendance. I’m most excited to meet Judith Hoag and Ernie Reyes, Jr. from the original live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. I’ve been in love with Judith Hoag ever since she graced the screen as April O’Neil and Reyes was in the suit as my favorite Ninja Turtle, Donatello. I’ll definitely be getting autographs and photos with them and I’ll share them here after the convention.

It will also be exciting to see the lovely Bonnie Gordon again. I saw her the last time that she attended Louisiana Comic Con and plan to say hello again. Doug Jones, who has probably been in more films that you’ve seen that you never knew that he was in, will also be in attendance. I’ve met Doug Jones before and have to say that the convention bagged an awesome headliner with him. He’s extremely nice, hilarious, and has come a long way since I first met him.

My panel will take place in Panel Room One on Saturday, August 28th, at 12:15 PM immediately followed by Ms. Gordon’s own panel at 1:15 PM. The panel that I will be presenting is The First Heroes: Classic Serials of the 1930’s-1950’s. I’ll be taking a look at the earliest live action performances of superheroes on the big screen and talking about the men and women that brought them to life. I might even have a surprise or two to give away!

Republic Pictures photo of Spy Smasher poster.

Let me know in the comments section if you’ll be attending this year’s event. I can’t wait to get back into the convention world again to see old friends, make new ones, and maybe snag an autograph, selfie, amazing piece of art or more!

Thank you for reading my post. I can’t wait to see some of you next weekend!

All photos, except where noted, taken from the Louisiana Comic Con Facebook page. I love those guys and hopefully they are cool with me sharing their images.

Outpost: Biloxi, MS

Home to one of my favorite pop culture and comic conventions, CoastCon, Biloxi, MS holds a special place in my heart. I’ve now made four journeys to this wonderful little beach town and will definitely go back. Back in July my wife and I decided to take a quick weekend getaway to Biloxi to chill out after a brutal year in 2020 and early 2021. It was definitely a much needed vacation.

We journeyed to Biloxi with absolutely zero plans. The only thing that we knew for sure was that we would be staying at the White House Hotel. Established in 1895, this hotel is reasonably priced, features a restaurant and two bars, and is nestled right across the highway from the Gulf of Mexico. Our room was wonderful. It featured a glass walk-in shower, a big TV, and a view of the neighborhood behind the hotel. The neighborhood is full of old homes that reminded me a lot of New Orleans, LA residential areas. On our next trip, we’re going to reserve a room with a beach view just because we want to see what that looks like from our hotel window.

After settling into our room we decided to hit one of my favorite souvenir shops, Sharkheads. We grabbed some shirts for our kids (who were having fun with their cousins in Galveston, TX) and a few other things. Then we had a nice supper at The Reef. Despite having visited Biloxi a few times I never was able to try The Reef. It’s Guy Harvey-esque facade that faces the highway always attracted me, but our paths never crossed until this trip. The restaurant is located right on the beach in Biloxi and features amazing seafood and other delicious items. My wife had a salad (I can’t recall the name) and I had Firecracker Shrimp Tacos. We also had fried pickles for an appetizer. It was all very tasty.

On Saturday morning my wife decided that she wanted to lay out on the beach and catch some rays. While she was doing that, I headed over to the USS Biloxi Memorial and also visited the Old Biloxi Cemetery. With graves dating back to the early 1800’s and some beautiful oak trees, this cemetery was simply lovely.

If you can’t tell already, the sun made almost no appearance at all the entire weekend. My wife did catch a few rays on Saturday morning while she was on the beach, but she went back to the hotel earlier than she wanted to due to a few rain showers. When lunchtime hit, I caught up with my good friends and Southern Geek founders, Rafe and Shannon White. We met them at The Blind Tiger on the beach near the casino area. I had fried shrimp and my wife had nachos. We spent hours catching up and Rafe attempted to catch some fish as well. The day remained cloudy with a little light rain here and there. As our second day drew to a close, my wife and I headed back to the hotel to rest.

Sunday morning found me headed out to early morning Mass at the beautiful Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The stained glass windows inside the cathedral were breathtaking. The service was beautiful as well. After Mass ended, I took another drive through the area and snapped a few photos of places. Unfortunately my wife was still in bed battling a migraine. I eventually headed back to the hotel to pick her up and check out. Before we left Biloxi, though, we stopped at a couple of gift shops and grabbed a few more goodies. We also saw a shark at Walmart!

We made plans on our trip back home to return to Biloxi in the very near future. There’s so much to see and do that we want to take the kids with us on our next visit. If you’ve never been to Biloxi, I definitely recommend checking it out. There’s plenty of new things to do in the area but there’s also a ton of things for history buffs to check out. I definitely recommend staying at the White House Hotel if you do visit Biloxi. The staff was amazing and the hotel is gorgeous. The views from the hotel, from the grounds to the top floor, are beautiful.

Well, that’s all for this post. Let me know if you’ve been to Biloxi or any other beach town that stole your heart. Thanks for checking out my blog. I’ve got some exciting news for my next post which I hope to crank out over the weekend.

Throwback Thursday: Square Pegs (1982)

“All we have to do is click with the right clique…..”

Two freshman enter Weemawee High School and do whatever they can in order to become popular in 1982’s Square Pegs. Each episode saw the freshman interact with other students and faculty at the school and featured a surprisingly solid list of guest stars and musical guests. The series consisted of twenty episodes and, despite being both popular and critically acclaimed, was dropped after one season. I’ll get to the reason for the cancellation later. For now, let’s take a look at the series itself.

The stars of the series were Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker. They portrayed Patty “Stringbean” Greene and Lauren “Fang” Hutchinson, respectively. Lauren was more intent on becoming popular than Patty was and would often give Patty advice on how to successfully become a part of the popular scene. Their schemes almost always failed but every once in awhile they would connect briefly with one or two of the popular kids.

In the first episode of the series Patty and Lauren befriend two offbeat misfits named Marshall Blechtman (John Femia) and Johnny “Slash” Ulasewicz (Merritt Butrick). Marshall hopes to become a successful stand-up comedian and Johnny, despite being very shy, has a band whose drummer is John Densmore, the actual drummer for The Doors, and has connections in the music scene and in the city. Both of the guys have crushes on Patty and Lauren and spend most of their time with them. Marshall bonds with some of the popular kids, in particular with Vinnie Pasetta (Jon Caliri), a popular tough guy. Johnny unintentionally becomes popular whenever it is discovered that he is a home run hitting machine. His popularity is short-lived, however, because Johnny believes that baseball is too violent with all of the hitting.

Patty and Lauren often try to impress Jennifer DiNuccio (Tracy Nelson) and her best friend, LaDonna Fredericks (Claudette Wells). Much of the time, Jennifer and LaDonna tolerate Patty and Lauren in order to achieve some type of goal. Once they get what they want, they toss Patty and Lauren aside. Vinnie is Jennifer’s boyfriend throughout the series.

Another adversary for Patty, Lauren, and pretty much everyone else is Muffy Tepperman (Jami Gertz). Muffy is a know-it-all, goody-two-shoes who heads up just about every committee and board at the school. Much like Lauren and Patty, though, she is ultimately an outsider who is trying to find a way to be popular. She and Patty duel for the affections of senior Larry Simpson (Ben Marley).

The series also featured some excellent adult cast members such as Basil Hoffman as Principal Dingleman, Craig Richard Nelson as Mr. Spacek, and Catlin Adams as Ms. Loomis. Steven Peterman portrayed the students’ favorite teacher, Mr. Donovan. Martin Mull guest starred as Dan Vermillion, host of It’s Academical, a high school game show that visits the school. Bill Murray guest starred as Mr. McNulty, a substitute teacher who, at least in my opinion, got a little too touchy-feely with a few of the students, especially Patty, as he briefly dethroned Mr. Donovan as the school’s favorite teacher. I don’t believe that his character would work as well in the 2020’s.

The series also had some amazing musical guests. Along with Densmore, the series also featured a couple of up-and-coming New Wave acts. Devo appeared as themselves in one episode. The Waitresses, perhaps best known for their song I Know What Boys Like, performed the show’s theme song and appeared as themselves in the series pilot. Appearing on the final episode of the series and almost never mentioned in articles about the series, Jimmy & The Mustangs perform at Vinnie’s party and eventually end up crashing at Johnny Slash’s house.

The show was created by Anne Beatts. Episodes were directed by a number of people, most notably Kim Friedman and Terry Hughes. It did an amazing job of portraying high school life in the early 1980’s. While most shows divide students into cliques that almost never interact, Square Pegs put students in somewhat realistic situations where the popular kids acknowledged the nerds and outcasts when they were beneficial and even sought their help on personal issues. It was a funny show that unfortunately met its demise due to the fact that drug abuse was apparently rampant on the set. The production company, fearing bad press and unable to control the situation due to the distance to the set (an actual school about twenty miles from the studio), decided to end the series before any series damage was done.

Some of the cast would go on to have very successful careers. Sarah Jessica Parker became a legitimate superstar who appeared in multiple popular films and won multiple awards for her work on Sex And The City. Tracy Nelson starred or guest starred in a number of popular television shows. She’s probably best known as Sister Stephanie in The Father Dowling Mysteries. Jami Gertz appeared in The Lost Boys, Quicksilver, Twister, and Jersey Girl and many more popular films. She has also appeared in numerous television series over the years including Still Standing and The Neighbors. Merritt Butrick had a short but successful career. He starred as David Marcus in the second and third Star Trek films and guest starred on multiple TV programs. Sadly, Butrick died of toxoplasmosis, which he suffered from due to contraction AIDS. He was only twenty-nine when he passed away.

The series has had a solid cult following since it originally left the airwaves. The series was released on DVD and can currently be streamed for free on Crackle.

I hope that you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. Were you a fan of Square Pegs? Let me know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading my post.

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Rebirth Bizarro

“Me not human….me not creature….me not even animal!”

McFarlane Toys outdid themselves with their beautiful Rebirth Bizarro figure. As you can see from the photo above, I managed to pick him up for about half of his original price. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have purchased Bizarro at full price as I had not yet purchased any villains in the line yet. None of the villains (as well as almost all of the Batman figures) have really grabbed my attention….until now.

This figures is simply amazing. It’s quite possibly my favorite McFarlane figure from the line based upon its looks alone. Bizarro comes with twenty-two points of articulation. His accessories include two open hands that can be used in place of his two closed fists. Unlike the Superman figures in this line, Bizarro does not come with a flight stand which is sort of a downer, but I can use one of the other flight stands if I choose.

The box that Bizarro was packaged in is like every other McFarlane package in this line. Unfortunately it’s scraped in the front (which makes for a poor photo) and generally banged up. The included collector card was in perfect condition, however, so it went into my bin with all of the other cards in the line.

The paint applications look very good. The base mold for the figure is a dark greyish blue. The face, hands, and red and yellow colors are all paint applications. The cape is made of soft plastic and looks quite nice. On my figure the cape sits just slightly off of Bizarro’s upper chest, leaving a small crack where the cape should attach to his suit.

This figure simply looks great. He’s the centerpiece of my McFarlane collection. This figure proves that you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to be a beautiful piece of art. I definitely suggest picking up this figure. He looks wonderful on the shelf, especially when flanked by Superman and Red Son.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’m planning on making at least two other posts this week, so be on the lookout for them.

Classic Horror: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

“And when the sun went down….”

Based upon an actual killing spree that took place in Texarkana, TX between February and May of 1946, The Town That Dreaded Sundown was directed and co-produced by Charles B. Pierce. Pierce is perhaps best known for The Legend of Boggy Creek, a documentary-style film about a Bigfoot creature in Fouke, AR. Sundown is an easily digestible thriller that both suffers and thrives at the hands of its director who utilizes his entire small budget to serve up a few morbid scares and some off kilter humor.

Just FYI, there will be spoilers throughout this review. Stop now if you don’t want the film to be spoiled.

The movie takes place in the small town of Texarkana, AR. In it, a series of grisly attacks take place primarily on young couples who drive down secluded roads for a little alone time. The assailant wears what looks like a pillowcase on his head that is held in place at the neck by a string. His first attack leaves a young couple bloody and beaten but alive. The young woman, Linda, is found with vicious bite marks on her breasts, back, and stomach, but was not raped by her attacker. A second attack occurs that leaves a young couple dead. A deputy discovers the two victims. The young woman was tied face-first to a tree and then murdered. The young man was found shot to death in a ditch. The town becomes frantic, buying up all of the available guns and ammo and locking themselves up at night in fear of the Phantom Killer. Schedules are adjusted so that no one finds themselves out at night. Desperate for help, the local sheriff requests a famous Texas Ranger to be brought in to help solve the crimes and catch the murderer. Despite a massive manhunt involving bait cars, the Ranger and deputy discovering the pattern to the murders, and chasing solid leads, the Phantom is never captured and he attacks two more couples before apparently vanishing from the town. The movie ends with a shot of its own premiere in Texarkana, TX and the feet of the killer are seen in the line for the film.

As I mentioned above, Pierce was well known for squeezing every dime out of his film budgets. As he did with Boggy Creek, Pierce relied heavily on locals to portray most of the characters in the film. He did hire three professional actors for key roles in the movie. Ben Johnson, known for starring in films such as Shane (1953), The Last Picture Show (1971), and Angels In The Outfield (1994), starred as Captain J.D. Morales, the Texas Ranger brought in to help solve the murders. Andrew Prine portrayed Deputy Ramsey. He is known for his work in films such as The Miracle Worker (1962) and Chisum (1970) and a ton of starring and guest starring roles in television shows such as Hawaii Five-0 and The Fugitive. Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, portrayed Helen Reed, one of the killer’s victims, in a small but key role. Pierce cast himself as Patrolman “Sparkplug” Benson, who provides some much needed humor in the film but often at awkward times.

The film has an atmosphere of morbidity about it. Pierce knows how to make a scene creepy and how to make a viewer uncomfortable while watching. Sure, in any other film a killer attaching a knife to the end of a slide trombone might seem funny, but in Sundown, it’s twisted and brutal even though there is almost no gore seen. When the deputy walks up on the second pair of victims, you can feel the creepiness of the whole situation. It’s a talent that Pierce doesn’t get enough credit for in my opinion.

Of course, for everything that Pierce got right, he got plenty wrong as well. The humor injected into the film is often misplaced. I felt bad for laughing during certain sequences. The film’s audio is also a bit gritty. This adds to the atmosphere but it also makes it difficult to understand some of the dialogue. The special effects are okay and entirely practical, but could have been more convincing.

Pierce did take a few liberties with the murders in the film. He also moved the location of the attacks to Arkansas instead of Texas. Knowing that this film is based upon actual events makes it that much creepier, and I’m surprised that there wasn’t a quick chain of sequels cranked out after the film’s release. A second film was eventually released in 2014, but it didn’t make much of an impact in the world of horror. Also, you can’t deny how iconic the film’s movie poster is, especially since it was created by the amazing Ralph McQuarrie.

I definitely recommend checking out The Town That Dreaded Sundown. It’s an atmospheric thriller that shines thanks to the fact that it is based upon a true story. One could say that Charles B. Pierce put northeast Texas/southwest Arkansas/northwest Louisiana on the map with his films and I wouldn’t disagree with them.

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

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Masterverse Battle Cat!

Roaring into action!

I recently watched and reviewed the new Netflix series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. You can read my thoughts on the series here. I was also fortunate enough to receive a free MOTU:R Masterverse Battle Cat to review as well! This figure is wonderfully massive, has great articulation, and looks awesome standing on my desk. He takes up a lot of real estate, but he’s too beautiful to box up and put away. Read on to get a more detailed review of the figure.

The packaging is beautiful. It features original artwork on the back and one side panel. When you open the top of the box, the words By The Power Of Grayskull are revealed. Getting Battle Cat out of the box was simple enough. I simply opened the top of the box after slicing one small adhesive closure and BC slid right out with ease. Getting him out of his security bands and the plastic casing was a different story.

The first thing that I noticed about this green kitty was that Mattel definitely wanted him to stay put! There’s a clear plastic band across his waist, tail, and all four legs. There’s also two bands holding his head and helmet in place. The right side paws of Battle Cat were rather tough to get to with a knife, but I managed to cut them without damaging the figure. The plastic case also holds BC in place securely, so be ready for a little bit of a fight to get him out of the plastic.

Once out of the box, I took a look at the figure with his full armor in place. The helmet stays put by snugly locking into place behind Battle Cat’s ears and jaw. It features painted eyes that look exactly like the ones on Battle Cat in MOTU: R. The saddle is held in place with two belts. One sits at BC’s midriff and the other sits near the rear hindquarters. You can adjust the belt’s fit to your liking. Both the helmet and saddle can be removed to reveal Prince Adam’s best bud, Cringer.

Cringer looks simply wonderful. I’ve read other reviews that state that this is the first time that we get a true Cringer action figure, but as a guy who grew up with the original series and literally saved all of his pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to buy the He-Man and Battle Cat combo set, I can say that whenever I removed that old Battle Cat’s armor, he was Cringer in my book. Sure, he had a menacing growl on his face, but he was still Cringer to me.

One thing that I have to mention is that the box claims that there are thirty points of articulation on this figure. By my count, there are only twenty. You could argue that there are twenty-two if you claim the up and down movement of Battle Cat’s two torso POAs is separate from their side-to-side articulation. In any case, I’m missing eight to ten POAs and would love it if someone told me where they might be on this figure. Would that have prevented me from getting this figure? Nope, but I just thought that I’d bring some light to that misinformation on the box.

The articulation on this figure is exceptional. It’s very easy to pose BC and he looks awesome in just about any position that you place him. I’m especially fond of his head and torso articulation which makes him very cat-like. I do wish that the tail had one or two of POAs, but it looks fine as is.

Since I don’t have any of the other figures in this line at the moment, I decided to include a photo of Battle Cat with the only other hero that I believe he would make a good companion with, the Phantom. I think the contrasting of purple and green looks pretty smart. How about you? In all seriousness, I’ve included this photo to give you a size reference.

I definitely recommend sinking your claws into the Masters of the Universe: Revelation Masterverse Battle Cat action figure. He’s big. He’s beautiful. He’s a wonderful toy.

Thanks for reading my post. I’ll be posting about an upcoming event that I’ll be attending in the near future, so be on the lookout for that post!

Marvel Legends Series: Marvel’s Katy

Hopefully this review isn’t too “Awk” ward, cough, cough……

I happened to be strolling the aisles of my local Target the other day when I noticed that the Marvel Legends Series Shang-Chi figures were on clearance. Having collected all of the figures in the Build-A-Figure line from the film (all of which I reviewed in my blog), I thought it pointless to even look at what Target had to offer. I was wrong. The Target exclusive Katy figure was never really on my radar. I just wanted to grab the heroes for the Mr. Hyde build and go on about my day. However, with a clearance price of just $6.89 (just over one dollar per inch of the figure) and the fact that Morris was featured as an accessory, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge on the figure.

Not much is known about Katy. She’s a new character in the film and based on the brief moments that I’ve seen her in the trailer, she’ll probably be comic relief. The fact that she comes with a bow, arrows, and a quiver as accessories makes me think that she might actually be a protector in disguise. I guess I’ll find out soon enough in September!

The first thing I noticed about this figure was it’s amazing likeness to Awkwafina. The gang at Hasbro nailed her look. Her robe and belt is nicely done as well. I’m especially fond of the belt. As with many of the other figures in this line, the robe greatly hinders Katy’s poseability. Her left leg can barely move due to the robe and her right leg has a little more freedom thanks to a slit down the side. Her arms move well enough, but her right elbow popped right out of the socket while I was posing her for photos.

Due to the restricted legs on the figure, posing Katy is very limited. I had to tilt her back at the waists to balance her for many of the photos, making the figure look a bit awkward. Her pegs in her heels are also very short, which means the NECA stands that I had on hand didn’t fit her well enough to allow her to stand in any other fashion than straight with a tilted back. This makes me glad that I was able to get the figure at a discounted price.

The primary reason that I broke down and purchased the figure was for one accessory. Katy comes with an extra set of hands, a quiver, a single arrow, and a bundle of arrows. She also comes with Morris. I don’t know how Morris will factor into the film, but rumor sites and hard thinking fans believe that he might be a DiJiang. According to cryptidz.fandom.com, a DiJiang is “a mountain patron god in Chinese mythology” who “lives in a perpetual state of confusion and causes chaos wherever it goes.” In the MCU, I’m betting that Morris will most likely cause a ton of comical chaos as that is basically Marvel’s MO in films.

Morris has no articulation. He’s basically a hunk of plastic not unlike the old Snarf figure that came with Lion-O way back in the day. Morris has six legs, is chubby, and has four wings where his head should be. He’s definitely a bizarre little creature but I really like his look. The rest of the accessories are okay. The quiver sits awkwardly across Katy’s body and never really settles into place. It does hold the bundle of arrows securely. The included hands are closed fists.

While Katy will never be a favorite figure of mine, I do like her overall look, especially her likeness to Awkwafina. I just can’t see paying full price for a figure that has such hindered mobility and poseability. Maybe Hasbro will release new molds of some of the figures, Katy included, after the release of the film that won’t have limited movement.

This is the first MCU flick that I’ve been excited about in a long time. Hopefully the characters are as good in the film as they look in figure form. Keep an eye out for my review of the film soon after its release. Thanks for checking out my review of the Katy figure from the Marvel Legends line. I have a really special figure review coming very, very soon!