The Year Of KISS: Animalize (1984)

“I wanna put my log in your fireplace….”

Hot on the heels of their Lick It Up Tour, KISS headed back into the studio to record their next album, 1984’s Animalize. The band’s popularity was growing once again and they needed to put out an album that could keep their name in the magazines, their faces on television, and, perhaps most important of all, their music on the radio and the charts. There was a problem, however, because Vinnie Vincent was gone and the group needed a strong lead guitarist to replace him as quickly as possible. Luckily for the group, Mark St. John was ready to take Vinnie’s place and he did so with blisteringly fast playing ability.

Much like Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John apparently didn’t mesh very well with the rest of the group. According to St. John, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons didn’t trust his playing. In numerous articles over the years, St. John mentioned how Stanley and Simmons would insist on being at the studio while he was recording his parts for Animalize. Stanley even accused him of being unable to duplicate or replay solos and other parts of songs.

Another source of aggravation for the band was Gene Simmons. Surprisingly, he had become more focused on his own film career and his work as a band manager at the time. Over the years, Simmons has admitted that he “lost his way” with the band when he removed his makeup. Paul Stanley called out Simmons as well during this time and ultimately Simmons praised Stanley for not only being honest with him, but for keeping the band alive while Simmons found himself. Despite all of the issues with St. John and Simmons, the album was recorded and eventually released on September 13, 1984.

The album featured nine tracks. It was a huge success. It outperformed Lick It Up and became the band’s biggest-selling album since Dynasty. That being said, only one of its two singles, Heaven’s On Fire, managed to chart. That song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and #49 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The other single, Thrills In The Night, failed to chart. Heaven’s On Fire is the only song from the album that has remained in the band’s live show over the years.

Track Listing:

  1. I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)
  2. Heaven’s On Fire (Single)
  3. Burn Bitch Burn
  4. Get All You Can Take
  5. Lonely Is The Hunter
  6. Under The Gun
  7. Thrills In The Night (Single)
  8. While The City Sleeps
  9. Murder In High-Heels

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, Mark St. John (lead guitar), Eric Carr (backing vocals, drums, percussion), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass), Bruce Kulick (guitar solos on Murder In High-Heels and Lonely Is The Hunter), Jean Beauvoir (bass on Get All You Can Take, Under The Gun, and Thrills In The Night) Mitch Weissman (additional guitars), Desmond Child (backing vocals), and Allan Schwartzberg (drum overdubs)

As you can see from the personnel list, producer Paul Stanley brought in a number of outside players to get the album’s sound just right. In standard KISS fashion, no one has ever said just how much of the actual band’s input was kept on the album. Five of the album’s tracks were co-written by Paul Stanley. Eric Carr received one co-writing credit. Gene Simmons wrote Lonely Is The Hunter and Burn Bitch Burn. He also co-wrote two other tracks. Jean Beauvoir, Desmond Child, and Mitch Weissman co-wrote many of the tracks as well.

While the album was a financial success and kept KISS reasonably close to the upper echelon of pop culture, the album is about fifty-fifty for me. I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) is one of the best album openers that KISS has ever cranked out in my opinion. It’s followed up by two great songs, Heaven’s On Fire and the surprisingly fun-to-sing-along-with Burn Bitch Burn. Then the quality drops off considerably in my opinion. Of the remaining tracks, Under The Gun is pretty decent and Thrills In The Night deserves more attention than it has received over the years. The rest of the songs are forgettable. In particular, Get All You Can Take is easily one of my least favorite songs by KISS overall. Paul’s voice grates my ears in that song and that’s rare for me as I quite like Paul’s vocals on most tracks.

Mark St. John’s guitar work is ridiculously fast. It’s so fast that it sort of sounds like it’s falling off of the rails at times during songs. His style to me is essentially Vinnie Vincent at 2X speed and with slightly less talent. St. John just never clicked with me. He could obviously play the guitar very well, but of all of KISS’ axe men over the years, he’s my least favorite. I hate saying that considering how tough his life was after exiting the band, but it’s the truth.

Speaking of St. John’s exit, he didn’t even finish the Animalize tour with the group. Roughly two months after the album’s release, St. John was fired from the group and replaced by Bruce Kulick (pictured above with Stanley and Simmons). Suffering from reactive arthritis, St. John’s arms and fingers would swell to the point that he could not play his guitar. According to St. John, his arthritis was used as the public excuse for his firing but in reality, it was the fact that he couldn’t get along with the rest of the group. He only managed to play two full shows on the tour. Kulick was brought along and waited backstage in case he was needed to finish a show. Kulick would remain with the band until the eventual reunion of the original lineup in 1996.

My favorite songs on this album are the two singles, with Heaven’s On Fire being one of my favorite KISS songs overall. I know that that might not make much sense due to the fact that I am not big on St. John’s style, but it was perfect on that track to me. I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) is another track that occasionally makes it into my rotation. It’s a brutally powerful track.

Overall, Animalize just doesn’t register with me like a lot of KISS’ other albums have done over the years. It’s one of the albums that I listen to the least and I rarely talk about it. I believe that it would be a lot more memorable if the band had taken a step back for just a few more months, hired a guitarist that they could work with instead of one out of necessity and due to time constraints, and spent more time on the songs. The band’s next album, 1985’s Asylum, is, in my opinion, a much better album. I’ll be reviewing it next month. It’s the first album to feature Bruce Kulick as an official member of the band.

Thanks for reading my post. Did Animalize work for you? Do you wish that Mark St. John would have had more time with the band? Let me know in the comments.

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Martian Manhunter (2022)

“The future is worth the fight.”

J’onn J’onzz may use too many apostrophes in his name but no one can deny that he’s one of the coolest superheroes that DC has ever dreamed up, Martian Manhunter! Using his DC Rebirth likeness as the basis for their figure, McFarlane Toys knocks another one out of the park! The figure was released in 2022 and yours truly just so happened to get his hands on one recently.

The figure features some great paint apps. The purples and greens contrast one another to perfection. The deep reds used for Martian Manhunter’s eyes look amazing. The purple and black on his soft rubber cape also looks wonderful. Heck, event the trim on suit looks great! This is one of the best looking figures that McFarlane has put out in a long time in my opinion.

The figure is very limited on accessories, unfortunately. In fact, he doesn’t come with any accessories unless you count the standard collector card and DC figure stand. He definitely should have come with a flight stand and I don’t see why that wasn’t included given the fact that A) Martian Manhunter can fly and B) we didn’t even get a second pair of hands or a second head! This is my only gripe with this figure. I really wish that I could have been given a pair of closed fists instead just the one fist and a hand that looks like it could hold something.

Of course, fans of McFarlane toys are used to not getting many accessories with their figures, so I’m going to let that slide and mention that of all of the recent McFarlane figures that I’ve picked up, this Martian Manhunter figure has some of the best points of articulation that I’ve seen in awhile. All of the joints are solid and move easily. They maintain their position extremely well. If I have any complaints, it’s that J’onn’s head is a bit hindered by his collar. Other than that, he’s perfect. Just keep him away from matches!

I’m not kidding when I say that this is a beautiful figure. He looks great on my shelf. I often find myself just staring at him and another figure that I’ll be reviewing very soon. If you’re a fan of Martian Manhunter, get this figure. If you simply love beautiful figures, get this figure. You won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading my post. Some of you might have noticed that I’m attempting to take more interesting photos of my figures using light boxes and different lighting techniques. Please bear with me as I attempt to improve my amateur photography skills.

See you again real soon!

McFarlane Toys Gold Label DC Multiverse Parallax (2022)

“I’ve taken the name Parallax.

Way back in 1994, DC decided to drive Hal Jordan insane. In the Emerald Twilight story, Hal absorbed all of the power of the Central Power Battery on Oa, wiped out the rest of the Green Lantern Corps (except for Ganthet), and became the baddie that we all know and love as Parallax. McFarlane recently released their Walmart Exclusive Gold Label version of the character and I was lucky enough to find one. Yes, you’ll have to visit the Big Blue Box Store to pick up this figure (or order it online), but it’s worth the trip.

There was only one Parallax figure on my store’s shelf, and the box was damaged on the top. Since I planned on opening the package, this wasn’t a big deal to me. I just made sure that all of the included accessories were there. Thankfully, everything was intact so I grabbed Hal and a Flash figure that I’ll review soon and headed for the checkout.

The figure comes with a collector card featuring artwork from the Emerald Twilight books. It also comes with a DC figure base, a lantern, and two green energy orbs. Unfortunately for me, one of the orbs was slightly brown on the inside as if it had burned during its creation and the coloring actually bleeds through to the outside of the orb. I’m also a bit miffed that the figure did not come with a flight stand. The lantern and other orb looked great, however, and I have other flight stands that I can use for posing the figure.

The figure looks amazing. The contrast between the green and black coloration is beautiful. Hal’s hands are green and translucent, as if he’s about to inflict some damage with them. The green orbs fit fairly well on Hal’s hands and he holds the lantern with relative ease. The figure comes with over twenty-two points of articulation (the box officially lists twenty-two but I count twenty-five). All of his joints are surprisingly strong and hold their pose.

The paint applications look great and I love the design of the cape on the figure. The figure is very imposing and looks great on the shelf, especially when paired up with comic versions of characters like Superman. This is a great figure overall and I really recommend you snap one up if you get the chance.

Thanks for checking out my review. I really like this figure and have been attempting to take better photos with it. I’ve been experimenting with a ring light and the above photo is just one of the many photos that I took. Hopefully I’ll be able to add a bit more “pizazz” to the images in my reviews as I continue working with the ring light.

See you again real soon!

NECA: The Original Superheroes Flash Gordon

NECA gets lazy

I was very happy to see that NECA would be releasing classic King Features Syndicate versions of at least three of their most popular characters: Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and Ming The Merciless. To date there have been three different versions of two of these characters (Ming and Flash), two versions of the Phantom, and only images of three other characters, Mandrake the Magician, Lothar, and Garax (which will apparently hit store shelves next month according to The Toyark). When the first line of figures (Defenders of the Earth) was released, I fell in love with them. All three figures were painted fairly well with just a few minor gripes here and there in my opinion. I’ve reviewed all three in previous posts. Then NECA released repainted versions of Flash and Ming on cardbacks based on their looks in the classic Flash Gordon Filmation series. I passed on both of these figures as I wasn’t impressed by either of them.

Next, NECA released a trio of repainted figures based upon the old King Features Syndicate comic strip versions of Flash, Ming, and the Phantom. I immediately snapped up a Phantom figure because it looked like the Phantom that I fell in love with many years ago. I have yet to open the box or review that figure. I don’t want to mess with it. I also wanted Flash, but wasn’t willing to pay full price for what was essentially a repainted figure with one different head and a cooler looking raygun than the Defenders version of the character. Poor Ming looks atrocious, and I have no plans to purchase him at all.

I eventually found Flash on clearance at a price that I was willing to pay. The figure features the same body as the Filmation version of the figure with an additional gun holster and a peg hole on the waist to attach Flash’s sword sheath. It also comes with a repainted version of the Filmation raygun, two blaster bolts (a short and long one), a sword, a second set of hands, and an additional head (the same mold from previous versions of the figure). It also features the signature stiff points of articulation that I’ve just come to accept as par for the course from NECA.

This figure, while cool to look at, has to be one of the laziest additions to the NECA Original Superheroes line. They used the standard body mold that they have used multiple times in this line already. The holster will not close while the gun is in it. The sheath looks nice when attached to Flash’s belt but it easily pops off of the figure. They also repainted the sword from previous versions of the figure. The only new thing is the Flash head with the aviator cap on it. Everything else is recycled.

The long blaster bolt broke while I was attempting to attach it to Flash’s blaster. Neither it nor the short bolt actually fit onto the tip of his raygun. The secondary head (the one without the aviator cap) also featured a splotch of paint on Flash’s cheek. It’s just very sloppy and recycled. If I paid full price for this thing I would not have been happy. I understand reusing molds to keep the price point lower, but NECA just doesn’t seem to care much about this specific line of figures.

The Defenders of the Earth Flash (L) and the King Features Syndicate Comic Strip Flash side by side for comparison.

Do I recommend buying this figure? No, unless you absolutely love the look of this particular figure and either haven’t purchased any of the previous versions. This figure was a huge disappointment for me and I will definitely be hesitant to purchase future figures in this line.

Thanks for reading my post. Let me know what you think of this figure in the comments section. See you again soon!

The Year Of KISS: Lick It Up (1983)

“It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself.”

September 18, 1983 will go down in history as one of the most pivotal points in time for KISS. Ace and Peter were gone. Record sales and the band’s popularity were low. Creatures Of The Night failed to give the group a boost despite being an amazing album. The group needed something to bring the old fans back and attract new fans. That something was the removal of the band’s signature makeup and the release of Lick It Up. The band, now featuring Vinnie Vincent on guitar, appeared on MTV without their makeup for the first time and announced the release of their new album.

Watching the video of the band’s revelation was awkward in my opinion. Despite telling fans that appearing without makeup was comfortable, Gene appears to be noticeably uncomfortable to me. Paul initially appears uncomfortable but, being the showman that he is, quickly falls into his “promo” mode for the band. Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent appear to be just fine.

Lick It Up was recorded almost immediately after the band wrapped up their less than stellar Creatures Of The Night tour. Stylistically it is nothing more than a continuation of Creatures to me. It features blitzkrieg fast guitar work by Vinnie Vincent, the same wonderfully powerful drums of Eric Carr, Paul Stanley’s strong vocals and rhythm guitars, and Gene Simmons’ growling bass and vocals. Unlike Creatures it lacks a ballad. That wouldn’t be the case for the band’s next few albums, as the power ballad would prove to be one of KISS’ strong points later in the 1980’s.

The album cover features the band standing shoulder to shoulder in front of a white background. Outside of Gene sticking out his tongue and the classic KISS logo, nothing else about the cover calls back to the band’s first makeup era. It’s the harbinger of a new time for KISS.

The album featured ten tracks. It jumped up to #24 on the US Billboard 200 and peaked in the Top 20 in ten different countries. It went gold by December of 1983 and would eventually hit platinum status in 1990. The album featured two singles, the title track and All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose. Despite amazing album sales, neither single impressed on the charts, with Lick It Up topping out on the US Billboard 100 at #66 and All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose peaking at #71 on the German Singles Chart. Even though it fared poorly on the radio, Lick It Up is a live show staple for the band.

Track Listing:

  1. Exciter
  2. Not For The Innocent
  3. Lick It Up (Single)
  4. Young And Wasted
  5. Gimme More
  6. All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose (Single)
  7. A Million To One
  8. Fits Like A Glove
  9. Dance All Over Your Face
  10. And On The 8th Day

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (lead vocals, bass), Vinnie Vincent (lead guitar, backing vocals), Eric Carr (drums, backing vocals), Rick Derringer (guitar solo on Exciter)

After a number of album releases featuring multiple outside artists, it was refreshing to see KISS go somewhat back to basics with the four members doing almost all of the work on the album themselves. Michael James Jackson produced the album along with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

My favorite track on this album is Not For The Innocent. The 1980’s would slowly see Gene Simmons take a step back on KISS’ albums and Not For The Innocent is, at least in my opinion, his last real “Demon” track until the release of 1992’s Revenge and the single Unholy. Simmons has frequently stated that the Unmasked era for the band was a distant time for him. He said that he was more interested in becoming a movie star at the time than for being in KISS and credits Paul Stanley for keeping the band alive during that era.

The title track, despite its hokey post-apocalyptic music video, is also a favorite track of mine. Other standout tracks include the speedy Young And Wasted, the groovy rocker Fits Like A Glove, and the album’s closer, And On The 8th Day. I’m not much of a fan of the rest of the album. It’s okay, but even though it sold much better than Creatures, I feel as if that album is far superior and actually deserved more attention than it received with its initial release.

Of course, you can’t talk about Lick It Up, the No Makeup Era, or the revival of KISS without mentioning the enigmatic Vinnie Vincent. Despite his brief tenure with the group, Vincent deserves a lot of credit for breathing new life into the KISS machine. Vincent not only played on six tracks and co-wrote three songs (including the massively popular I Love It Loud) for Creatures, he also co-wrote eight of the ten songs for Lick It Up including the title track. He was booted from the band in 1984 but eventually returned as a songwriter for 1992’s Revenge. To this day there is a strained relationship between KISS and Vincent.

With Lick It Up, KISS was back in the news, back on the charts, and making waves once again. Vinnie Vincent injected new life into the group but his personality proved to be too much for the other members of the band. Gene Simmons was about to seek fame on the big screen, leaving Paul Stanley alone to run the show. Eric Carr, ever the professional, was content with pounding the drums for the group and being perhaps its most fan-friendly member at the time. What was next for the group? Find out next Friday when I return with another installment of The Year Of KISS.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’ve got some wonderful updates coming very soon and even more KISS related posts waiting in the wings. See you soon!

Day Shift (2022)

DAY SHIFT. (L to R) Dave Franco as Seth and Jamie Foxx as Bud in Day Shift. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2022

“Mowing down vamps with my best friend, Bud.”

Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg, and Dave Franco team up to take down Karla Souza in J.J. Perry’s Day Shift. In the film, available only on Netflix, Foxx portrays Bud Jablonski, a down-on-his-luck vampire hunter who gets Big J (Snoop Dogg) to convince the vampire hunting union to reinstate him so that he can collect enough fangs to pay off his daughter’s school tuition and get her fitted for braces so that she and his estranged wife won’t move to Florida. Despite numerous past violations, the union boss, Ralph (Eric Lange) allows Bud back into the union but only if he hunts with a union representative watching his every move. That representative, Seth (Dave Franco), has to tag along for all of Bud’s hunts despite never having stepped foot out of the union office.

The duo soon find themselves the target of Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), an ambitious vampire that plans to take over the city by using real estate to build a vampire community. As the hunters become the hunted, Bud and Seth battle it out with Audrey and a number of other vampires. They team up with the Nazarian Brothers, another vampire hunting team, at one point as well. Does Bud manage to prevent his wife and daughter from leaving for good? Does Seth become a field man? Does Snoop save the day? Find out in the hilarious action yarn Day Shift!

Perhaps it is the fact that I set a very low bar for this film but I really, really enjoyed it. The action sequences are simply amazing and surprisingly light on CGI. Contortionists were used for many of the fighting sequences involving vampires, giving them an even creepier vibe. All of the action takes place at a neck breaking pace and serves as a wonderful bridge between plot developing scenes.

There’s also a ton of humor in this film. It’s laced throughout the story at perfect intervals, allowing viewers to take a break from the action and story development, laugh a bit, and then jump right back into the action. The film, despite being about vampires, doesn’t have a lot of horror elements (primarily gore), but that does not mean that it isn’t a horror film. It’s a great blend of horror, comedy, and action and I believe that J.J. Perry did a fine job directing all of it.

The cast was great. Foxx was funny but never too over the top. Franco was hilarious as well. Snoop Dogg’s role is limited but very enjoyable. Souza does a good job as Audrey, but never comes across as an unstoppable beast thanks to the injection of humor into the film. Meagan Good and Zion Broadnax portray Bud’s estranged wife, Jocelyn, and daughter, Paige, respectively. Zion is especially fun to watch on the screen. Eric Lange’s Ralph Seeger is hilariously annoying and I could easily see him become an enemy in a sequel. Oliver Masucci provides a ton of muscle as Klaus, Audrey’s right hand man. Natasha Liu Bordizzo has a small but significant role as Heather, Bud’s new neighbor. Steve Howey and Scott Adkins give Bud some muscular backup as the Nazarian Brothers in one of the film’s biggest action sequences.

I also have to mention the amazing soundtrack for the film. Featuring everyone from Body Count and Ice Cube to A.C.E. and The Blackbyrds, this film has great music that perfectly fits into each scene. There’s also a new track by J. Young called Bob (Mowing Down Vamps), which might just be my favorite track in the whole movie.

This movie is fun. It has great action, tons of humor, and excellent production quality. I keep seeing professional reviewers refer to it as a B-movie but they have it all wrong. This film could have easily been released on the big screen and would have made a solid chunk of money. It’s an excellent film that never tries to be more than it is: a buddy comedy/action/thriller/horror film. I’m just happy to see that it’s available on Netflix, and I believe that you need to watch it. It’s right up there with Bright as one of my favorite Netflix films.

Let me know what you think of the film in the comment section. I really like it and hope that you enjoy it as well. Thanks for reading my post. I’ll see you again real soon!

They/Them (2022)

Respect, Renew, Rejoice….

As soon as I saw the trailer for Blumhouse’s They/Them (pronounced They Slash Them), I knew that it wouldn’t be just another run of the mill slasher film. Yes, it has a cast filled primarily with LGBTQIA+ actors and takes place at a gay conversion therapy camp, which automatically makes it unique as a horror film, but that’s not what I believed would set it apart. I thought that it might utilize the horrors of conversion therapy as the catalyst for the horror and ultimately attempt to teach us about the evils of conversion therapy, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, or something along those lines. Instead, the film is more of a “hunter becomes the hunted” type horror thriller that, well, lacks thrills.

Spoiler-free review ahead!

The film follows a small group of LGBTQIA+ campers as they spend time at Camp Whistler, a conversion camp headed up by Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon), his wife, Cora (Carrie Preston), who is the camp therapist, two activities directors, Zane and Sarah (Boone Platt and Hayley Griffith), and the brand new camp nurse, Molly (Anna Chlumsky). Initially, Owen and his brood of conversion counselors appear to be friendly and accepting of the campers. As the week progresses, however, the facade begins to chip away to reveal a sinister group of people intent on scaring the gay away from the campers.

While that might be scary in and of itself, the real horror comes in the form of a slasher that begins to take out individuals. Without giving too much away, the killer targets specific people to eliminate, and the film goes from being a potentially excellent reflection of the horrors of conversion therapy and the struggles of LGBTQIA+ in the world to a generic slasher film with an underwhelming and predictable conclusion.

I picked out the villain almost immediately. Certain characters were alluded to as the potential killer, but they were so forced that I was drawn to another character who, not surprisingly, was also blatantly obvious as the killer. The whole film has a forced tone to its horror, and the movie suffers as a result.

Don’t get me wrong. There were some amazing performances in this film. Monique Kim stood out from the pack as Veronica, the cooler-than-cool kid who eventually reveals their heart in the movie. Quei Tann, who portrayed Alexandra in the film, also gave a stirring performance. The rest of the young cast, especially Darwin del Fabro and Austin Crute, also gave great performances. Sadly, Theo Germaine, who played Jordan and was the focus of the film, delivered one of the weaker performances of the young cast members. Of the veteran actors in this film, Kevin Bacon pretty much phoned in his performance and Anna Chlumsky wasn’t given much to work with overall. Carrie Preston was sinister as the camp therapist and I wish that we would have had more of her on the screen.

This film wasn’t an entire bust. The performances of the young cast carried it enough that it held my interest. There’s a brilliant twist featuring one of the campers as well. As for the slasher, the mask was amazing and there’s definitely potential for a sequel. I just hope that if there is another They/Them film, it will either fully embrace the slasher angle or pursue exposing the evils of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people. It’s worth a watch if you have Peacock, but it’s not a must-see film.

Thanks for checking out my review. I have a few more reviews up my sleeve that will be coming soon and next week I’ll be post my next entry in The Year of KISS. See you soon!

Spin Master “The Batman” Figures

The Bat and the Cat…..

On my local toy shelves, Spin Master has been in a bit of a rut. The pegs are littered with multiple Batman figures from the company’s last few lines and a few Robin and Batgirl figures as well. The only new figures added to the pegs have been from The Batman film. That collection itself is pretty limited, with a few different Batman, Catwoman, and Penguin figures and a couple of playsets (one which features Lt. Gordon, who I hope to get one day). Those figures don’t seem to be moving that well. It’s probably because the film is a lot darker than most of the shows and toys that interest Spin Master’s target audience. With that said, The Batman figures have started hitting clearance shelves and I’m swooping in to grab as many of them as I can. This particular line didn’t really interest me (except for Gordon and the Batcave) so I never pulled the trigger on a full price purchase. Now with prices dropping, my interest in the line has increased.

Oddly enough the Catwoman figure that I picked up was on clearance for five bucks but the Batman figure was still full price. The Penguin figures were on clearance for seven dollars. I’m not sure why Catwoman was cheaper, but I’ll take it. I decided against buying a Penguin figure because it looks exactly like the one that I received in my Batcave set awhile back. I didn’t see any point in buying a duplicate.

Neither figure looks very much like their live action counterpart from the film. Both of them come with three accessories. Catwoman comes with a knife, her signature whip, and a pair of claws that look ridiculous when placed on her hands. Batman comes with a chest plate, a Batarang, and a red, oversized grappling gun. Both figures also come with a mystery card that reveals “evidence” for play. I actually like the cards but don’t see kids getting much mileage out of them.

The figures feature the standard POA for all of Spin Master’s four-inch line. Batman’s cape was creased and looked as if it was about to come off of his shoulders. Both figures do look really nice on my Batcave stairway, though, and I’m ultimately very fond of both of them. I might go ahead and snag the Wingsuit Batman if the price goes down soon, as that’s the only other figure in this line besides Gordon that I’m interested in collecting.

While these figures are definitely not on the same level as Spin Master’s standard Batman and DC lines (those figures are so much fun), they are worth checking out for purchase. The Penguin and Lt. Gordon figures pretty much look like two average citizens, but that actually makes them cooler in my book.

Thanks for checking out my review. Let me know what you think about these figures in the comments section and be sure to share any of my posts that you enjoy. I would really appreciate the support!

Calcasieu SerialFest Chapter 8!

Welcome To The Jungle!

Calcasieu SerialFest made its triumphant return to Sulphur, LA on July 30th! After a small event in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and no event at all last year due to the total destruction of the Brimstone Museum in Sulphur after Hurricane Laura hit southwest Louisiana, retro film fans were hungry to visit classic serial cliffhangers. The Henning House hosted SerialFest this year in place of the Brimstone. Both buildings are part of the same property, so while we definitely miss the Brimstone, the Henning House was a wonderful place to hold the event.

Deacon William Necessary was in attendance yet again and he brought along a number of his classic cosplays. Throughout the day, Deacon Necessary suited up as The Phantom, Captain Africa (below, next to a dashing jungle explorer), Captain Marvel, The Green Hornet, and the Lone Ranger. Between chapters of serials, Deacon Necessary would give the audience historical information and trivia tidbits, all while in costume. He also posed for pictures with anyone that asked and was happy to discuss how he created each costume.

This year’s event was the best attended ever if my memory serves me correctly. We had a number of visitors throughout the day who watched serials, ate popcorn, and talked about their favorite characters and serials. They also helped themselves to some wonderful freebies including stickers, 8″x10″ prints of The Phantom, Phantom rings, Green Hornet rings, and festival masks. They also got a sneak peek at a few of the items that will be on display during the Henning House’s upcoming Chaos Theory art event. I won’t post any photos of the Chaos Theory display, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone that plans on attending the event.

This year’s lineup of chapters.

Calcasieu SerialFest continues to grow and I’m proud to say that Ken’s Alternate Universe was a sponsor in kind this year and will remain so for as long as the event takes place. If you’re in southwest Louisiana in July, be sure to swing by and check out this wonderful event!

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