I recently completed listening to the six episode podcastThe Phantom Never Dies. Hosted by the amazing Maria Lewis, The Phantom Never Dies takes a look at the world’s first superhero. From the printed page to the big screen and on all formats in between, Kit Walker, a.k.a. The Phantom, has been around since 1936.
Lewis takes listeners on a journey that starts…well…at the beginning of the Phantom’s story. If you check out the podcast (and I hope that you do), you’ll learn how Lee Falk came up with the idea of the character and how a man who is very much mortal manages to never die. You’ll get juicy information on attempts to make a film prior to the Billy Zane fronted 1990’s film. You’ll learn about the Phantom’s impact on Indigenous Australians and the Wahgi People. You’ll also get to hear about Defenders Of The Earth, the Fantomen, and the Jennifer Lopez connection to the character.
If you regularly read my blog posts or happen to be my friend in the real world, you know how much I love the Phantom, especially the classic serial starring Tom Tyler. You also know that I’ve reviewed the NECA Defenders of the Earth action figure released awhile back, the Billy Zane film, and (SPOILER ALERT) I’ll be reviewing the most recently released NECA figure of the Phantom very soon. Finding this podcast fueled my love for the character even more and encouraged me to seek out some of the old comics.
I’ll be talking about the Phantom and other serial superheroes on April 2, 2022 at CyPhaCon. I’ll definitely mention The Phantom Never Dies as well. I hope to see all of you there and I hope that you hit me up about Maria Lewis’ amazing podcast.
Thanks for checking out my post. You need to listen to The Phantom Never Dies. It’s really fun and delivered by Lewis with a ton of energy and a twinkle in her eye!
“Just gotta go faster than the speed of light…..far beyond the speed of light.”
Catching a McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Flash figure from the Justice League 2021 line has been almost as impossible as catching the actual Flash. Thankfully McFarlane released a second version of the figure, Speed Force Flash, and I found a number of them on the shelf at my local Target. I’ve only seen the original Flash figure from this line once in the wild and, to be quite honest, I’m glad that I passed on it and picked up Speed Force Flash instead.
Speed Force Flash comes with the standard McFarlane list: generous points of articulation, a collector card, a display stand, and far too few accessories. Okay, in this case, SF Flash comes with four “speed force” trails that can be attached at different points on his body. I know that there aren’t many other accessories that you could add to this figure so I’m not too worried about the lack of accessories.
The figure has a pretty good likeness of Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. I also really like the detailing on Flash’s suit/armor. I know that this particular design isn’t as popular with audiences and comic book fans but I really like it and think that it looks great. Barry’s hands feature fingers that are spread out as he’s accelerating his speed. The feet and legs can be easily manipulated into a number of running poses as well.
What really sets this figure apart from the rest of the pack is the “speed force” effect that is achieved by having many of the pieces of the figure either a blue translucent color or having the red fade into the translucent blue coloring. It looks amazing in my opinion and gives the illusion of movement of the figure. You can attach the “speed force” trails to the figure to add to the look or leave them off as well. In either case, the figure looks great. It should be noted that balancing Barry on one foot on the display stand can be a bit awkward. The ankle POA has a tendency to slip to one side or the other. After a few attempts at posing the figure I managed to find a sweet spot, though, and he hasn’t fallen over yet.
I’d also like to mention that whenever I was picking out which Speed Force Flash figure to purchase, I noticed that one figure had considerably more blue translucent pieces and effects than the other ones had. I decided to pick up that figure for two reasons: 1) He looked a lot cooler than the other figures and 2) I’m hoping that he’s a variant or some type of fluke. While I expect to see a few minor differences in paint applications across a line, the figure that I purchased was much more translucent than the other figures. Sadly, the comparison photo that I took above had poor lighting due to Target’s lights, but I hope that you can see the difference in the figures. Also, if you are aware of any variants or fluke versions of Speed Force Flash, let me know in the comments.
While he isn’t the original figure released in the Justice League 2021 line, I do believe that Speed Force Flash is the superior version of the figure. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Speed Force Flash is my favorite figure in this line as a whole. I just love the look of the figure. Great job, McFarlane Toys!
Thanks for checking out my post. There are more posts on the way!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not too long ago, I made a post about some newly acquired Spin Master 4″ DC figures from the Caped Crusaders and Heroes Unite lines. If you’d like a more in-depth look at the articulation, accessories, and pros and cons for the line, check out that post. This post is strictly for the bad guys. Yes, I also acquired some of the DC villains from the Caped Crusader line and decided to show them a little love.
I love the selection of villains in this line. It includes tried and true favorites like the Joker and Talon, but it also includes villains that don’t necessarily register with fans (especially those that don’t read comics) like Firefly and Killer Moth.
Much like their heroic counterparts, the villains come with a collector card, eleven points of articulation, and three mystery accessories. I will say that as lame as many of the accessories are, the villains definitely have better ones than the good guys. I’m especially fond of Killer Moth‘s cocoon gun. I also love how brightly colored Killer Moth is as well. He’s probably my favorite figure in the series as far as villains go, and that’s odd for Killer Moth to be loved for anything since he’s often the butt of a lot of jokes and/or just terrible at being a villain.
If any other villain could beat out Killer Moth as my favorite figure in the villain line, it would be Talon. He comes with an owl and is one of the more highly detailed figures in the line overall. He’s also still a fairly new villain, and I’m glad to see him getting some love from toymakers.
The Joker figure that I received is one of two variants in the line. My Joker has a black suit. The other figure has the more traditional purple suit. Joker comes with gag weapons (as he should), and has a very nice sculpt.
Other villains in the line that I received include Bronze Tiger and Man-Bat. Man-Bat‘s articulation is somewhat limited due to his wings (which are removable), but the figure itself looks pretty good. Bronze Tiger‘s tail is a tad bit awkward, but his overall size and detail makes up for this small fallacy.
Bronze Tiger also features a pretty cool shield accessory. Man-Bat‘s accessories are probably my least favorite of all of the villains, but he doesn’t necessarily need weapons to punish the good guys.
Let me know if you have any of these figures or any of the villains that I don’t have like King Shark and Black Manta and tell me what you think about them. I’d love to get your opinion on this line of heroes and villains. I have a few more heroes to review and I hope to add a few more of these figures to my collection soon.
Thanks for reading my post. Be on the lookout for another review of other Spin Master figures in this line soon!
Batman is, was, and always will be my favorite DC Comics superhero. He’s my favorite overall as well, with Marvel’s Nightcrawler having been nudged into second place after a thirty plus year run as my co-favorite with Batman. Superman was popular with me as a child, but as I grew older, I became bored with the character. He was too powerful in my mind and thus, almost impossible to defeat. This meant that no matter who he faced off against, he really had no equals in the world.
Well, perhaps in my old age I have become tenderhearted or maybe I’m just feeling really nostalgic, but over the last five or so years I have grown to love the character of Superman once again. He’s still not my favorite, but he’s squeaking into the top five. The character is simply iconic and impossible to ignore. When McFarlane Toys took over the DC toy contract, I was immediately on the hunt for some of their six and seven inch characters. The first one that I purchased wasn’t Batman, however. It was the DC Rebirth Action Comics Superman. It’s wonderful.
Yes, you can play with this action figure, but it’s entirely too brilliant to be wasted on such juvenile things. This figure needs to be displayed prominently! With twenty-two points of articulation, swappable hands (fists or open hands), a soft plastic cape, and a display stand that allows for Supes to be “in flight,” this figure will look great in a display case, on a shelf, or on a desk.
The attention to detail is excellent, but the figure isn’t without a few issues. For one, notice in the photo above that there are a few specks of white on the figure. Those specks are blue in real life, but show up as white in the photo. They are actually small abrasions on the figure either from packaging or from the mold. You can’t notice them when looking at the figure in person, however.
Similar abrasions are found on the legs but, again, they aren’t visible to the eye in person. If these types of things bother you, you may want to hold off on purchasing this figure. Personally they don’t bother me since I didn’t notice them until looking closely at the figure.
The figure looks great on my desk at work and I’ve had a number of people ask me about it. Of all of the action figures and collectible items that I have on my desk, Superman is the one that gets the most compliments and comments. His mass appeal is not lost on hardened contract workers, older employees, or even retired military. Everyone seems to love the Big Blue Boy Scout, myself included.
There are a number of other figures in this line, and I’m eyeing Nightwing and one of the many Batman figures that have been released so far. I hope that you enjoyed this quick glimpse at Superman. Thanks for reading this post.
As many of you already know, my home was lost in the destructive path of Hurricane Laura. My family and I will be spending the next six to eight months (possibly more, hopefully less) in a temporary home until our house is repaired and rebuilt. I still plan on going ahead with my Thirty-One Days O’Horror in October, but I probably will not be posting on all thirty-one days.
One special surprise that I was going to hold off on announcing was a review of the book Hollywood Gothic by David J. Skal. However, I decided to go ahead and announce it today since I probably won’t be reviewing another book that I hoped to sink my fangs into, Legendary Comics’ Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I really want to buy this graphic novel, but I probably won’t have the time nor the money to pick it up. Sooner or later I will get a copy and review it, but it probably won’t be for October of this year.
The story will be a more direct interpretation of Bram Stoker’s famous tale than the classic 1931 film featuring Bela Lugosi. It will feature illustrations that include Lugosi in the role that made him, and vampires in general, a worldwide phenomenon. El Garing and Kerry Gamill will breathe new life into the immortal Lugosi as he takes the stage (at least on paper) one more time as the infamous Count Dracula.
As far as the previously announced Disney horror films that I’ve mentioned, I’ll definitely review the films that I haven’t seen, but I might hold off on films that I’ve already reviewed like The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Haunted Mansion. Just know that I’ll do my best to keep Thirty-One Days O’Horror interesting.
I lost some collectible items as a result of the hurricane but I did manage to save all of my film and television Blu ray/DVD collection. If you are able, please donate time, money, or supplies to southwest Louisiana. My family and I will be okay, but many other families will continue to struggle long after the government and volunteer groups have left the area.
Despite some questionable and rather cheap special effects, 1948’s Superman is a very enjoyable serial. It starts with the story of Kal-El’s exodus from his home planet of Krypton just prior to its destruction. The first three chapters establish him as both Clark Kent and Superman on Earth. From there, we are introduced to the sinister Spider Lady and her plans to maintain control of Metropolis with the powerful Reducer Ray. Superman must battle the Spider Lady and her henchmen in order to save Metropolis over the rest of the chapters in the serial. Is he successful? You probably already know the answer, but it’s definitely worth your time to check out this serial.
Kirk Alyn stars as Superman in this serial. With a background in dance and musicals, Alyn had the physique for the character and also did an excellent job of portraying Clark and Superman as two different personas of the same person. The rest of the cast was pretty solid, especially Noel Neill as Lois Lane and Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen. They worked will with one another and with Alyn, giving solid comedic and dramatic performances. The weakest link in the film was, sadly, the Spider Lady (Carol Forman). Forman’s delivery was very rigid at times and seemed forced.
The special effects were also poor, especially when compared to Republic’s 1941 serial, The Adventures of Captain Marvel. That serial used both a seven foot long model of Tom Tyler (who portrayed Captain Marvel) and suspended him from wires for certain flight sequences. This was done by the famous Lydecker Brothers, who would go on to create effects and miniatures in multiple successful projects including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Columbia Pictures and Superman‘s producer, Sam Katzman, were notorious for slashing budgets on their projects, and opted to use animation for Alyn’s flight sequences. Thankfully the story and performances of the majority of the cast were strong enough to lift the serial above this miscue.
The serial proved to be very popular and would result in a second Superman serial in 1950 entitled Atom Man Vs. Superman, which would bring Lex Luthor to the big screen for the first time. Alyn, Neill, Bond, and Pierre Watkin as Perry White would reprise their roles from the first serial.
Superman is by no means a masterpiece, but the actors are so likeable, especially Alyn, Neill, and Bond, that you just can’t help but enjoy it. Better Superman films would eventually make their way to the big screen, but few actors would manage to portray Superman/Clark Kent as well as Kirk Alyn in my opinion. In fact, he’s probably my third favorite Superman behind Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh.
Be sure to check out 1948’s Superman. You won’t be disappointed. As always thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!
I’m not a huge collector of LEGO products. My son is completely infatuated with them, though, and I enjoy watching and/or helping him build his many sets. I do enjoy looking at many of the minifigures that come with the sets and those that can be purchased individually. One minifigure collection that caught my eye in recent weeks is the LEGO DC Comics Series 16 Minifigures.
Released earlier this year, the set includes versions of the DC Holy Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman), popular heroes, and a few lesser known individuals that don’t necessarily register with general audiences that only know DC from its films and animated ventures.
It was great to see characters such as Metamorpho (pictured above), Mister Miracle, Bat-Mite, Jay Garrick’s Flash, and Sinestro in his classic suit. I also enjoyed seeing the 1941 version of Wonder Woman, the Simon Baz Green Lantern, Huntress, and Cyborg. The only letdown in my opinion is the inclusion of the wretched 1990’s version of Aquaman with his harpoon hand.
The real treat in this set is the 1939 version of Batman. Featuring his original purple gloves (which were apparently due to a printing mistake), simplified bat logo, and those brilliantly flared ears, the minifigure comes with two batarangs and a grappling cable. The figure instantly reminded me of the classic live action versions of the character from his two serials released in 1943, starring Lewis Wilson, the first live action Batman, and 1949, starring Robert Lowery.
I have to admit that I am biased about the Batman minifigure. Even my casual readers know just how much I love the character. To see a LEGO version of the classic Batman just made me smile. Hopefully I’ll be able to snag one without having to buy ten blind bags full of my least favorite version of Aquaman!
That’s all for now, folks. I plan on seeing Birds of Prey in the very near future and will post a review of it despite its ho-hum opening weekend. I never follow trends when it comes to movies, so I’m going to see the film before writing it off as a bomb.
I normally avoid mentioning much of anything about San Diego Comic Con in my blog because there is so much hype and noise about the event that I am pretty sure that anything I say has been covered a hundred times over already. Saying that, I just had to pop in and mention that there were actually some pretty big announcements made at SDCC.
First and foremost was the announcement that Brandon Routh would once again don the cape and tights of the Man of Steel, Superman, in the upcoming CW Crisis On Infinite Earths event that will span across most of DC’s popular CW shows including Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. Black Lightning will most likely not be a part of the event as it has its own established universe according to industry insiders.
But doesn’t Routh already portray Ray Palmer, the Atom, in the Arrowverse? Yes, he does, but in the Crisis event, he’ll portray another Superman. Specifically, Routh will portray one of my favorite incarnations of the Big Blue Boy Scout, the Kingdom Come Superman. Tyler Hoechlin will portray the same version of Supes that he has been portraying ever since he was introduced on Supergirl. I wonder how the two versions of the hero will interact with one another? We can only wait and see this fall!
Also joining the Crisis event will be Burt Ward, best known as the classic 1960’s Robin from the Batman television series. Mums the word on exactly which character he will portray, but I’m glad to see Ward getting a nod in the CW line of DC shows.
Not to be outdone by DC Comics, Marvel offered up their slate of upcoming series and films in Phase 4 of the MCU. Rumor has it that the list isn’t complete, but Marvel and Disney are definitely hoping to keep the ball rolling after the success of the first three phases of the MCU.
Television shows such as The Falcon and Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and the animated What If…? were announced as well as films like Black Widow, The Eternals, and Thor: Love and Thunder. With many of these titles featuring characters that are unfamiliar with mainstream audiences, it will be interesting to see how successful this phase of the MCU will be.
Also teased at SDCC were two highly anticipated film announcements. Blade and The Fantastic Four were mentioned but not given release dates. Mahershala Ali (criminally underused in Luke Cage and brilliant as Prowler in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse) was officially announced as the Day Walker himself in the upcoming Blade film and I am honestly extremely happy with this announcement. Hopefully the character will find a good home in the PG-13 friendly MCU. It would be great if the MCU allows Blade to play out in all of his R-rated glory.
One announcement that was met with both excitement and criticism was that Natalie Portman would be reprising her role as Jane Foster in the fourth Thor film. It was also said that her character would take on the mantle of the Mighty Thor just like she did in the comics. This put a sour taste in a lot of fans’ mouths.
So what’s the problem? Despite many people saying that it’s Marvel’s perceived attempt at forcing an agenda on movie audiences by having a female take hold of Mjolnir (which actually did happen in the comics), I honestly believe that most of the issues people are having are with Portman herself. Portman has been very vocal about how she didn’t enjoy being in any of the Thor films and was MIA in the MCU after the first two Thor films. In fact, old footage of her from the first Thor film was used in Endgame. She only recorded a few lines of dialogue for the scenes. Top that off with the popular opinion that Portman just didn’t do a very good job as Jane Foster and I can definitely see why fans are a tad miffed.
Also teased by Marvel at SDCC was the upcoming Captain Marvel 2 and Black Panther 2. Nothing is set in stone for either film except for the obvious lead roles, but it will be interesting to see where Marvel takes both of these characters. I’m particularly interested to see what happens with Captain Marvel as I didn’t particularly care for the first film. It will be tough to reproduce the success of the first Black Panther film, but hopefully the sequel will give fans something to cheer about. The first film’s cast was superb for the most part, and I hope to see all of the core characters return for the sequel.
There were tons of other announcements and reveals for established franchises such as Star Trek and The Walking Dead, and also plenty of surprises from upcoming series such as The Watcher and the new The Dark Crystal Netflix series. So many, in fact, that I can’t list them all here. Thankfully Gizmodo has a one-stop shop for all of your SDCC news here. It breaks down pretty much everything you want and/or need to know about SDCC, so give it a look if you so choose.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you’re most excited for in the comments section and feel free to share this post.