Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 23



Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Issue Number: 23
Release Date: April 1965

Highlights
    • The Green Goblin returns
    • First appearance of Lucky Lobo
    • Frederick Foswell is out of prison (see issue 10) and returns to work at the Daily Bugle
    • Lucky Lobo's entire gang gets busted
    Low Points
    • The back and forth distrust between Peter Parker and Betty Brant has officially worn thin - One issue she doesn't trust him, the next he doesn't trust her
    Oddities
    • Peter Parker leaves his Spider-Man outfit just sitting on a hanger in the attic?
    • Spider-Man stops mid-fight to call Aunt May and tell her he won't be home in time for dinner
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 22



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 22
    Release Date: March 1965

    Highlights
    • Return of the Ringmaster and his gang
    • The gaggle of circus creeps toss Ringmaster out of his own gang
    • Peter talks about Dr. Henry Pym - As in Pym Particles, Ant Man, etc.
    Low Points
    • Simple heist story with little imagination, very boring
    Oddities
    • Spider-Man knows how to hypnotize people?
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 21



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 21
    Release Date: February 1965

    Highlights
    • The Beetle appears in The Amazing Spider-Man for the first time, but it's not his first appearance in comics
    • Shameless plug for Coke, yup, that's a highlight
    • Peter Parker shouts down Johnny Storm in public 
    • Peter Parker really takes it to heart that the people of the city fear him
    Low Points
    • From a personal perspective, Human Torch needs to politely exit Spider-Man's spotlight and go back to the Fantastic Four where he belongs 
    • Betty Brant continues to prove she's nothing but emotional baggage
    Oddities
    • Human Torch assumes Spider-Man is behind his girlfriend going missing just because he finds webbing in her home - He's too dumb to think Spider-Man may have been trying to help?
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)





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    Retro Spins: The Transformers The Movie



    I've never pretended to be a big Transformers fan, both of the toys or television show. In fact, I never even saw the movie until the 90's, when a friend of mine from high school ordered me a copy of the VHS from Canada - The only place it was available from at the time. It was okay, but what stood out to me much more than the film itself was the awesome soundtrack.

    There's an evil new force in the universe. A monster planet that devours everything in its path. And it's heading for the small planet of Cybertron where a unique race of transforming robots continues to fight a civil ware-a war between good and evil that has raged for millions of years.

    The evil Decepticon Transformers, led by the manical Megatron, have sworn to crush their enemies, the Autobots. To this end, they have relentlessly pursued them across the galaxy from planet Cybertron to planet Earth and back again. But the heroic Autobot Transformers and their courageous leader Optimus Prime are not easily defeated. - Back cover of the original VHS

    One of my favorite aspects of this album is how "raw" it feels. Lots of thrashing style songs, heavy guitar licks and amazing drumming and bass work make it equal to that of your high profile heavy metal hair band of the 80's. It's mixed well with a handful of wonderful ballad and uptempo synthesizer led instrumental tracks from Vince DiCola.

    Some of my all time favorites include Instruments of Destruction from N.R.G., Dare from Stan Bush, Nothin's Gonna Stand In Our Way from Spectre General, The Transformers from Lion and Escape from Vince DiCola. Though it's by no means the only way you can hear or get it, I also enjoy how the album ends with "Weird Al" Yankovic's Dare To Be Stupid, a track heard in the film during the scene on Junkion.

    It's got its hits and misses, but overall, The Transformers The Movie album is pretty solid and it stands up to the test of time. Unfortunately, it's a little tough to come by these days. It crops up on ebay in batches, but it's going to cost you between $30.00 and $70.00, depending on the seller.

    There's also an equally costly 20th Anniversary edition which includes a few bonus track, all of which are from Vince DiCola. Additionally, there's an alternate take of the opening theme by Vince DiCola and Stan Bush. After having a listen to this version, I'm glad Lion got the honors for the theme. Their version is far superior. 

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    The Game Of Jaws (Ideal)



    The Game Of Jaws
    Ideal
    1975

    You know, if I've seen Jaws, I don't remember it. I think I've seen it...I remember owning it on VHS along with Jaws 2, Jaws 3D and Jaws: The Revenge. I have to believe because of this I've seen it. However, now that I think about it, I don't really remember any of the content in the films. Hmm....

    Despite its popularity, it's difficult to make merchandise around that of a shark and the few humans which were relevant in the movie. Of course, considering it was 1975, and nobody was really banking big money on movie tie-in merchandise, it's irrelevant. Not only was there limited Jaws merchandise available, the stuff that did exist was all only relatable in the name, and not the human characters.

    Take for example the 1975 Ideal game, The Game of Jaws. The concept was a take on Milton Bradley's Operation (1965). Although, without the buzzers and body parts.

    The premise was to fill Jaws' mouth with all the games "junk pieces", and then be the first person to remove four from his mouth with your gaff hook. If you didn't do it correctly, the mouth would snap shut, and your turn was over. 

    Honestly, it doesn't sound like all that bad of a game. I could see a younger version of myself having a lot of fun playing this with my siblings and / or friends. Heck, it wouldn't even have to be called Jaws to sell it. A game like this could have easily stood on its own.

    The downer to this game is finding one complete with all the pieces and being relatively cheap. Getting one in the box with all the parts will easily set you back seventy dollars or more. Ouch. While I know there are some high tech board games out there these days that can set you back that kind of scratch, this one here is by no means fancy in any way. Not sure I would personally see the value in that, but then again I can't even remember if I've seen the movies or not. So, you know, not exactly a fan over here.

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    2020 Toy and Comic Events Calendar



    Like toys? Like comics? Live in the Northern Virginia area? Mayhaps it would be desirable for you to patron these local events in 2020! I know I am.

    Shoff's Comic and Cards (Sports and Non-Sports) Card Show
    Date: February 23, 2020
    Hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Location: Annandale Fire House Expo Hall - 7128 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Virginia 22003
    Admission: $3.00

    Shoff's Comic Con
    Date: March 8, 2020
    Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Location: Frederick Maryland Calarion Inn - 5400 Holiday Drive, Frederick, Maryland 21703
    Admission: $8.00

    Shoff's Comic and Cards (Sports and Non-Sports) Card Show
    Date: March 29, 2020
    Hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Location: Annandale Fire House Expo Hall - 7128 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Virginia 22003
    Admission: $3.00

    The Great Philadelphia Comic Con
    Date: April 3 - 5, 2020
    Hours: Varies based on package
    Location: The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19460
    Admission:Varies based on package, 3-day pass $69.95

    Awesome Con
    Date: May 1 - 3, 2020
    Hours: Varies based on package
    Location: Washington Convention Center - 801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC 20001
    Admission: Varies greatly, 3-day pass $80.00

    Tidewater Comic Con
    Date: May 16 - 17, 2020
    Hours: Varies based on day
    Location: Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
    Admission: Varies based on day, weekend pass $75.00

    Shoff's Comic and Cards (Sports and Non-Sports) Card Show
    Date: May 9, 2020
    Hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Location: Annandale Fire House Expo Hall - 7128 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Virginia 22003
    Admission: $3.00

    Fredericksburg Comic and Toy Show (Formerly Fredcon)
    Date: July 11, 2020
    Hours: Varies based on ticket, no later than 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
    Location: Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center - 2371 Carl D Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401
    Admission: $10.00 - $15.00


    Dave Hart's Baltimore Toy and Collectibles Show
    Date: July 18, 2020
    Hours: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Location: Timonium Fairgrounds - 2200 York Road, Timonium, Maryland 21003
    Admission: $5.00

    Dave Hart's Mega Flea Market
    Date: July 19, 2020
    Hours: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Location: Timonium Fairgrounds - 2200 York Road, Timonium, Maryland 21003
    Admission: Free

    Brickfair Lego Fan Expo
    Date: August 1 - 2, 2020
    Hours: Varies by day
    Location: Dulles Expo Center - 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, Virginia 20151
    Admission: Varies based on day

    Fairfax Comic Con
    Date: August 22 - 23, 2020
    Hours: Saturday - 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Sunday 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM
    Location: Dulles Expo Center - 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, Virginia 20151
    Admission: $12.50 - $35.00

    New York Comic Con
    Date: October 8 - 11, 2020
    Hours: Varies based on day
    Location: Javits Center - 429 11th Avenue, New York, New York, 10001
    Admission: Not available yet

    Do you know of any I didn't mention? Please post it in the comments section!

    You can fill in your down time between all of these great shows by hitting some awesome toy and comic shops in the area.

    Big Planet Comics
    426 Maple Avenue E
    Suite 4721
    Vienna, Virginia 22180
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Wednesday 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Sadurday 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    (703) 242-9412
    Other locations in Washington DC, Bethesda Maryland and College Park Maryland

    Lost In Time Toys
    11200 Scaggsville Road
    Suite 105
    Fulton, Maryland 20759
    Monday through Saturday 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM and Sunday 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    (301) 776-8697

    The Toy Exchange
    1001 Twin Arch Road
    Suite 12
    Mt. Airy, Maryland 21771
    Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    (301) 829-0700

    Tosche Station
    7521 Huntsman Boulevard
    Springfield, Virginia 22153
    Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    (703) 489-2912

    Victory Comics
    586 S Washington Street
    Falls Church, Virginia 22046
    Monday through Friday 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    (703) 241-9393

    Know of any other vintage toy or comic shops? Drop their name in the comments section!

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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 20



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 20
    Release Date: January 1965

    Highlights
    • First appearance of the MacDonald Gargan / the Scorpion
    • Ned Leeds leaves for Europe
    • J. Jonah Jameson is responsible for creating the Scorpion - Officially making J.J.J. a villain in my book 
    • Spidey gets a whoopin' - Twice!
    • Great story, great villain and great action - One of the best stories since Spidey was created
    Low Points
    • The mystery cliffhanger from issue 19 is a letdown - Simply a guy being paid by J. Jonah Jameson to follow Peter Parker in order to find out how he gets photos of Spider-Man
    Oddities
    • Spider-Man makes a bat out of webbing and uses it to startle a man he's following
    • Gargan is willing to submit himself to a scientific experiment for only $10,000.00 - Sure, that equates to $83,624.25 on the inflation calculator, but still, that's not much for something so risky
    • Scorpion comes out of nowhere, landing on Spider-Man's back in mid air as he swings
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 19



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 19
    Release Date: December 1963

    Highlights
    • Human Torch joins the fight (ties back to Strange Tales 127, but is not a necessary read for Spider-Man's story line)
    • Sandman and the Enforcers return 
    • Peter Parker meets Ned Leeds
    • Mysterious cliffhanger ending
    Low Points
    • Spider-Man and Human Torch don't capture Sandman because they both get tangled up in Spider-Man's webbing
    Oddities
    • The Enforcers have a backpack that sprays foam to extinguish Human Torch
    • Betty is concerned she's lost Peter as a boyfriend, yet she's actively dating Ned Leeds
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)





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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 18



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 18
    Release Date: November 1963

    Highlights
    • Very story driven with a deeper look at Peter Parker and Aunt May
    • J. Jonah Jameson revels in Spider-Man being labeled a coward 
    • First appearance of Ned Leeds , but not by name - just seen with Betty Brant on a date
    Low Points
    • Spider-Man is barely in it and there's no battle with any villains
    Oddities
    • Peter is so desperate to make money that he's even willing to sell the formula to his web fluid
    • Throughout the entire issue, Anna May Watson is incorrectly referred to as Mrs. Watkins
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: Strange Tales Annual 2



    Title: Strange Tales
    Issue Number: Annual 2
    Release Date: November 1964

    Highlights
    • A necessary read if you want to connect the dots in The Amazing Spider-Man 18
    • Spider-Man and Human Torch work together for the first time
    Low Points
    • Spider-Man is considered guilty until proven innocent - Even by Human Torch
    • Fox is a very boring "villain"
    • Secondary story is unrelated to Spider-Man, or super heroes in general
    Oddities
    • Spider-Man randomly carries around silicone crystals with him and can manipulate them with a microscope?
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)






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    Retro Spins: The Goonies



    The Goonies is a timeless classic, and yet it's funny how my perspective of watching has changed from that as a kid to an adult. For those of you who remember the film as vividly as I do, picture if you will the scene where Mama Frutelli shoes the kids out of the restaurant, slamming the door behind them. She rests her back against it and mutters, "Kids suck." As a child, I would always shout at the TV, "Hey, screw you, lady!" As an adult, I can't do anything other than shake my head in agreement and proclaim, "Boy, you said it, lady." Funny how time changes us.

    The Goonies, a tightly-knit band of misfit youngsters, are breaking up. With greedy developers about to raze the neighborhood, the kids spend a final drizzly morning together, trying to find a way to say goodbye. Instead, they find a real honest-to-gosh 17th century pirate map - and set out on a dazzling, day-long quest for treasure rich enough to save all their homes.

    The Goonies follow the map (and their dreams)...and enter a fabulous subterranean world filled with caverns, crooks, skeletons, booby-traps, a magical, moldering pirate ship and marvelous milquetoast of a monster (ex-Raider football star John Matuszak who has swivel piglet ears and a face only Dr. Frankenstein could love.

    Steven Spielberg (creator of E.T. - The Extraterrestrial, the Indian Jones films, Gremlins, Back to the Future and other blockbusters) and Richard Donner, director of Superman, Inside Moves and Ladyhawke) combine their cinematic wizardry to create The Goonies, "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" sings Cyndi Lauper in the film's title song...and you'll agree because The Goonies is part Hardy Boys, part Treasure Island, part Our Gang and 100 percent adventure! - Back cover of the original VHS

    Cyndi Lauper does indeed sing "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough", but is the soundtrack?

    No.

    Thank you for reading. Goodnight.

    I kid, but unfortunately not about the album being any good.

    It's a pretty big thud for such a monumental film. Cyndi Lauper's above mentioned track is decent, or, "good enough", if you will. However, let's be honest. It's by no means her best material. Nor is it a top ten hit.

    This is disappointing as this album is not easy to track down in CD format, neither is it necessarily cheap. You'll easily spend between $30.00 and $50.00 for the few which appear on ebay here and there.

    Overall, the soundtrack is like a sandwich. It starts with Cyndi Lauper's track as a nice piece of bread, and finishes with the instrumental theme from Dave Grusin as the second piece of delicious bread. Unfortunately, in between said bread is a bunch of moldy meats and cheese with soggy vegetables and out of date condiments.

    This is quite a bummer because it's not like this album is packed full of a bunch of random no name bands. It's got the likes of Philip Bailey, The Bangles, REO Speedwagon, Luther Vandross and Joseph Williams (who would later join Toto, and is the son of composer John Williams). These are not nobodies in the realm of 80's mainstream music. Cyndi Lauper even has a second track on the album, but it's nothing to write home about. It's as if the producers went to all of this trouble to find some of the hottest names of the 80's, but none of them wanted to bring their "A" game to the project.

    Now that I've totally stepped all over the soundtrack, let me be fair to one track which gets an honorable mention. Teena Marie's 14K is a pretty good track. In fact, it may be better than The Goonies 'R' Good Enough. Glaringly omitted from the soundtrack is the on the edge of your seat opening queue, Fratelli Chase, where the family break brother Jake from prison and lead the police on a chase across town, introducing us to most of The Goonies in the process.

    I proclaimed a couple Retro Spin posts ago that I was having a lot of fun with this year's albums. After The Lost Boys, and now, The Goonies, I'm starting to get a little bored of it all. I need to dig deep and find a good soundtrack to get me back on a positive mindset.

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    Knight Rider (Colorforms)



    Knight Rider
    Colorforms
    1982

    David Hasselhoff has this mystic way about him of turning anything he touches into gold. He's dabbled in television, film and music across the span of four decades, and these days makes a lot of money just appearing as himself. That's how you know you're big in the industry. People want you to play yourself.

    Though he had a successful run from 1975 to 1982 in the daily soap opera, The Young And The Restless, most adults from my era remember the Hoff as the one and only Michael Knight from TV's Knight Rider.

    The original Knight Rider series ran for four seasons, a total of 90 episodes, and with it brought hours of entertainment to fans young and old. Michael Knight and Kitt were, in their own right, a dynamic duo.

    With the success of the franchise came the inevitable merchandise tie ins. Knight Rider had something for everyone; t-shirts, toys, coloring books and today's topic of choice, Colorforms Rub n' Play Transfers!

    These things have become a bit of an addiction for me as of late. I'm having a blast tracking down the vast array of transfers which Colorforms produced. As I said in a prior post on the subject, the company released a ton of sets based on 80's properties. This certainly won't be my last time discussing these things here at The Toy Box.


    The "meat" of the collection was the Transfer Set. This featured a massive page of backgrounds in comic book panel style, and of course a fun set of transfers themselves. With the use of a basic number two pencil and your imagination, the story unfolded as you transferred each Rub n' Play onto the page in the spot of your choice.


    Colorforms also produced a smaller Adventure Set (above) and the even smaller Transfers Pack. Both featured their own backdrops to incorporate the transfers onto, and would be what I would call more travel friendly for the child of the 80's on a family trip.


    Sadly, Colorforms Rub n' Plays were like Underoos. Kids used them, and then they eventually got tossed out because they weren't of any further use. Because of this, some of these sets have become pretty rare and valuable on secondary markets. They're fun to collect, but by no means do I recommend dropping fifty to one hundred dollars on one only to pull it out of the box and play with it. No, instead these pieces are more so relegated to display only these days. It's kind of sad in a way because these things are so much fun.

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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 17



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 17
    Release Date: October 1964

    Highlights
    • Green Goblin returns for revenge, and this time he has his classic goblin glider
    • Flash Thompson launches the Spider-Man Fan Club, Forest Hills Chapter
    • Aunt May continues to try to get Peter to go on a blind date with Mary Jane Watson - Who we still don't get to physically see
    • Green Goblin shoots his goblin sparks from his finger and throws pumpkin bombs for the first time
    Low Points
    • Green Goblin uses toys as weapons - Bats, frogs, etc.
    • Spider-Man abandons the fight with Green Goblin to make an appearance as Peter Parker
    Oddities
    • Green Goblin uses a toy frog to break Spider-Man's webline
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: Annual 1
    Release Date: August 1964

    Highlights
    • Doctor Octopus's arms are removed from his body
    • First appearance of the Sinister Six - Sandman, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Doctor Octopus, Electro and Vulture 
    • Uncle Ben's death recape
    • Aunt May meets Doctor Octopus and we can see the kindling of her becoming smitten with him
    • Fun rogues gallery pinup section after the main story
    • Great secondary story showcasing the origin of Spider-Man, as well as, his skills, powers and devices which help him with his crime fighting
    Low Points
    • Peter Parker loses his Spider-Man powers yet again...Then randomly gets them bask as soon as the fighting starts because it was all psychosomatic
    • Temporarily losing his powers serves no purpose other than to include a whole bunch of random cameos from other Marvel heroes to give shameless plugs to other comic books
    • Overall story is contradictive from page to page - Characters say one thing, then do the opposite - See "Oddities" below
    • Kraven the Hunter gives up almost immediately, once again flip flopping between vicious hunter and cowardice prey (see The Amazing Spider-Man 15)
    • Sandman defeats himself with his own airtight trap
    Oddities
    • Doctor Octopus has a telepathic link to his removed metal arms and can still control them
    • Uncle Ben's death is established as happening only months ago, yet Peter seems confused that Aunt May is not over it yet
    • The Sinister Six believe they can defeat Spider-Man if they all attack him at once, then proceed to attack him individually
    • The Sinister Six randomly draw cards to determine who will attack Spider-Man first
    • Though the cards are drawn randomly, Doctor Octopus claims the cards denote a specific location he's chosen because said location is suited specifically to each villains strengths - So then the cards weren't random?
    • Electro battles Spider-Man first and claims that "he" has selected the battle site, but previously it was stated that Doctor Octopus had
    • Spider-Man survives a fully charged electric blast from Electro because he ties a grounding wire around his ankle
    • Kraven the Hunter states to the other villains that he doesn't hunt in a pack because only solo victory will give him the revenge he seeks, but then brings two giant leopards to the fight with him
    • Spider-Man's webbing acts like Silly Putty, transferring images to it by pressing it into the ink
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)





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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 16



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 16
    Release Date: September 1964

    Highlights
    • Spider-Man meets Daredevil
    • Great introduction to who Daredevil is for those who don't read his book
    • Spider-Man meets the Ringmaster
    Low Points
    • Daredevil narrates everything he does, and it's kind of annoying
    • Yet another silly plot revolving around a villain of the week scheming to rob people
    Oddities
    • As a hoax to sell tickets, Ringmaster falsly advertises that Spider-Man will appear in his show - Did he really think Spider-Man wouldn't notice this?
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Retro Spins: The Lost Boys



    As I make my may through 2020's Retro Spins, I actually find myself having a really good time. There's something to be said about songs which can induce visual memories in your head from not only a classic film, but also a point in time of your life.

    The Lost Boys is one of my fondest films of the 80's, and probably  my all time favorite vampire film. Corey Haim, Corey Feldmen, Kiefer Sutherland and Bill S. Preston himself, Alex Winter, all play fantastic characters in this timeless (cult) classic.

    Sam and Michael are all-American teens with all-American interests. Sam likes comic books. Older brother Michael likes girls. But after they move with their mother to peaceful Santa Carla, California, their relationship mysteriously begins to change. Sam still likes comic books. Michael now likes ghouls. Just wait 'til Mom finds out!

    Want a movie with horror, humor, rock 'n' roll? Then sink your teeth into the stylish, with-it horror-comedy The Lost Boys. Filmmaker Richard Donner, whose Lethal Weapon brought a manic twist to buddy-cop pictures, teams with director Joel Shumacher (St. Elmo's Fire) and producer Harvey Bernhard (The Omen) to give a right-now, razor-toothed intensity to vampire tradition in the must-see shocker packed with heart-pounding terror, rib-tickling laughs and body-gyrating rock from INXS and Jimmy Barnes, Lou Gramm, Echo and the Bunnymen and others.

    Also bringing new life to the age-old vampire lore is a superb cast, including Corey Feldman (Stand By Me, The Goonies), Jamie Gertz (Crossroads, Less Than Zero), Corey Haim (Lucas), Edward Herrmann (The Purple Rose of Cairo), Barnard Hughes (The Cavanaughs), Jason Patric (Tough Love), Kiefer Sutherland (Stand By Me) and Dianne Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters).

    Stake out your evening's entertainment and thrill to vampirism at its hippest, funniest, scariest. Party with The Lost Boys! - Back cover of the original VHS

    I'm noticing a trend with 80's VHS covers where they're making it a point to not only promote the films, but also the soundtracks. As if they were hoping it would bring with it more sales of both. Maybe it did. I don't know.

    The Lost Boys soundtrack, a fan I am not. You may boast a timeless movie behind you, but the album itself is pretty much a dud. Also, let's take a moment and look at that album cover. Could it be anymore boring than it is?

    There are a handful of songs which make the album salvageable. I mean, who doesn't love the theme song, Cry Little Sister with it's haunting "Thou shall not fall, though shall not die, though shall not fear, thou shall not kill..."? Lou Gramm's Lost In The Shadows also isn't bad. The Door's classic People Are Strange, as covered by Echo and the Bunny Men, is decent, but truthfully I'd rather just listen to the original versus a cover.

    Speaking of covers, Roger Daltrey's cover of Elton John / Bernie Taupin's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me is also decent, but again, just give me the original. Not only that, but come on. It's Roger Daltrey. Couldn't he have contributed something a little more than a cover song here?

    I Still Believe by Tim Cappello is memorable, but only because of the scene from the film where Cappello is belting it out on the beach with his saxo(ma)phone. Anyone catch The Simpsons reference in that last sentence?

    Around the halfway point of it, I actually found it to be quite annoying and difficult to even ignore. I wanted so badly to turn this thing off, but plowed through it in hopes I would eventually come across something so amazing it would make it all worth the effort. This never happened. Instead, it climaxes with Thomas Newman's circus like instrumental track, To The Shock Of Miss Louise, as if to mock me upon its exit like I was some sort of clown for listening to the whole thing.

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    Back To The Future Part II Skateboard (Valterra)



    Back To The Future Part II
    Valterra
    1989

    While I was by no means a skateboarder, I had one in the 80's. Didn't we all? I think they were state issued across the USA for anyone between the ages of eight and eighteen.

    I remember, on one of those not to bright idea kind of days, locking a bike chain around the bar of the seat on my brother's bike. The intentions were for him to pull me on a skateboard down the street. It sucks how the smallest of rocks can ruin a good day, and even more so, how you always seem to find them on a skateboard. A sudden jolt which thrust me forward through the air and ending with a hard thud on asphalt resulted in a golf ball size bump on my forehead. I think that was the last time I ever got on a skateboard.

    Still, skateboarding was all the rage among many of the kids in the neighborhood. It wasn't hurt by pop culture thrusting the concept down our throats in television and movies. Back To The Future pretty much lead the charge in that regard. As such, it was no surprise that boards would also be made available.

    Valettra not only made boards based on the 1985 film, but also the one featured in it. However, these are a bit difficult to track down. Because of this, I instead thought I would focus on this amazing one from the 1989 sequel, Back To The Future Part II.


    This one was unique in a way simply for the fact that it came in a box. Typically, boards were hung on pegboards, sometimes surrounded by heat sealed wrap, and didn't really display all that well. Adding the simple touch of cardboard packaging made these things pop on store shelves. Not only that, but it made them wrapping paper friendly for parents putting them under the tree or next to birthday cakes without it being obvious what was inside.

    Even the design of the board was different from most skateboards of the era. It had a futuristic look to it, which I suppose makes sense considering the film it was tied into.


    There's definitely a collector's market price tag attached to this board. They're not too common on secondary markets, and can easily set you back $200.00 loose and more for boxed ones. Oddly though, not by much. I've seen boxed ones sell for around $250.00.

    Still this is far less than what you'll pay for an original Valterra board from the first film. Those can set you back anywhere from $600.00 to $750.00! To put it into perspective for you, most boards cost between $60.00 to $80.00. You don't start to see prices in the high hundreds to thousand range until you get into the professional boards market. These Back To The Future ones, while nice, are far from pro boards.

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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 15



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 15
    Release Date: August 1964

    Highlights
    • First appearance of Kraven the Hunter
    • Chameleon returns - This time with his classic blank face
    • First mention of "Watson", as in, Mary Jane Watson
    Low Points
    • Kraven flip flops from fearless hunter to frightened prey from page to page
    Oddities
    • Kraven and Chameleon get deported at the end
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 14



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 14
    Release Date: July 1964

    Highlights
    • First appearance of Green Goblin
    • Return of the Enforcers
    • Guest appearance from the Hulk
    • Green Goblin's identity is kept a secret, adding a layer of needed mystery to Spider-Man villains
    Low Points
    • Green Goblin rides a mechanical broomstick, and not his iconic wing sled
    Oddities
    • Spider-Man goes to Hollywood to make a movie with the villains
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 13



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 13
    Release Date: June 1964

    Highlights
    • First appearance of Quentin Beck / Mysterio
    • Flash Thompson starts to really show his admiration for Spider-Man
    • 2nd time Spider-Man uses his spider tracker (first was issue 11)
    • Fun origin story for Mysterio
    • Panels breaking down how Mysterio's costume works
    Low Points
    • First Mysterio tells Spider-Man his whole plan, then Spider-Man tell him his
    • Spider-Man once again torments J. Jonah Jameson
    Oddities
    • Air-tight web helmet for under water breathing
    Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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    Reading Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man 12



    Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
    Issue Number: 12
    Release Date: May 1964

    Highlights
    • Doctor Octopus unmasks Spider-Man
    Low Points
    • Too soon for another story featuring Doctor Octopus (see issue 11)
      Oddities
      • Peter Parker gets a flu virus in the span of two pages and it culminates in him being defeated
      • Betty Brant materializes out of nowhere to take her job back from the secretary who literally just quit and walked out the door
      Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)


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      Retro Spins: Rocky IV



      Rocky
      1985

      Rocky IV was the first film in the series I ever saw, and truthfully was the only one in the 80's. It wouldn't be until the 1996 20th Anniversary VHS box set that I would get to see any of the other films. Keep in mind, at that point, there's were only five of them and no plans to continue the series.

      Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young and Carl Weathers score a knockout success in the fourth "Rocky" blockbuster, written and directed by Stallone. With more than 75 fights behind him, these days Rocky Balboa is more interested in piling up points with his family than KOs in the ring. Then he meets Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the silent, simmering "Siberian Express." A savage Russian fighting machine trained and honed to physical perfection by Soviet technology, Drago is a towering juggernaut who proves his super-human strength and heartless brutality in a devastating, tragic match against Apollo Creed. And so Rocky faces his greatest challenge ever, as he climbs into the ring against Drago, each determined to destroy the other while the entire world watches and waits...Tense, touching, tough and right on target from beginning to end, Rocky IV is and odds-on winner! - Back cover of the original VHS

      The original cassette I had of this album got run through my stereo and Walkman repeatedly back in the day, and then again through my car stereo when I started driving. It was definitely one of the albums in my collection which needed a CD upgrade when I started my vast collection which I have today.

      Though it does have some duds in between the classics, there are six tracks out of the eleven which remain a staple for me in my iTunes and iPod rotation. Burning Heart, Hearts On Fire, Eye Of The Tiger, Living In America, No Easy Way Out and the instrumental Training Montage are timeless classics in my book. War / Fanfare From Rocky, another instrumental track, isn't terrible, but it's also not something I would actively listen to. The rest of the tracks are a hard pass.

      I do enjoy the fact that Eye Of The Tiger, which was essentially the theme song to Rocky III, makes an appearance on this album. Mainly, because it means I don't have to bother tracking down the Rocky III soundtrack, which consists of mostly instrument tracks by Bill Conti. Though maybe I should since I do enjoy some of his work, such as, The Karate Kid (I and II), Masters of the Universe, and...well, that's actually about it. He did also do all the other Rocky movies.

      Overall, this album is one where I love some of the songs (as mentioned above), but can't really stand the rest of them. Thank goodness I'm not bound to a cassette version anymore, having to fast forward and rewind to the ones I want to hear.

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      Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Sewer Sports Balls (Playmates Toys)



      Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Sewer Sports Baslls
      Playmates Toys
      1991

      Need a cheap and easy product to pad your toy line? Plastic balls have you covered all day long!

      Playmates Toys was riding a big wave in the late 80's / early 90's with TMNT based product and they were willing to try anything to make as much money as possible. If one of the four Turtle's could be incorporated into it, they were open to the idea. Troll Dolls, Frisbee's, Plush and, as you've probably guess already, balls (just to name a few)!


      There's really not much to say here. They're balls. They're in the shape of one of the four Turtles, and you throw them, kick them, or in general, abuse them. What more do you need to know?


      One of each Turtle was produced, and each featured their own sculpts - Something which Playmates Toys was always most notable for. They rarely reused molds for anything during the entire run of original TMNT products.


      Each ball came carded individually in a bubble, and as you can see from the cardback, were hinted at being used in place of a baseball.


      Playmates also produced a much larger football style ball. However, these did not come carded, but rather wrapped in cellophane, and only Raphael was released. To date, this is the hardest out of all of them to find - sealed or otherwise.


      These aren't one of the most popular items Playmates Toys released. However, they are unique and a definite conversation piece among TMNT collectors. Their obscurity is what I think leads most fans to be so intrigued with them. They're pretty darn expensive too. I've seen single carded balls go for as much as $60.00. I've also never seen one of the footballs for sale on secondary markets.

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      Office Toys Surprise!



      When I came into work this morning, I found a very dirty duffel bag sitting on one of the chairs in my office. As I looked at it, a co-worker said, "Look inside!"

      Curiously, I pulled open the flap and found several twelve inch Star Wars Collector's Edition figures from 1996+. Another co-worker and I dug through the bag, organizing characters and sorting through weapons. Last, we set most of them up on the bookshelf.


      There were more than this, but these were the ones which I really enjoyed. It was an awesome surprise and a fun way to start the day!

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      Retro Spins: Purple Rain



      Is it a studio album? Is it a soundtrack? Is it both? I don't know, but it's shear perfection!

      Take a richly-human story of survival and triumph, a now soundtrack by some of the hottest bands around and the startling, brooding presence of 24-year old rock superstar Prince - the man who lived the music - and you've got Purple Rain, which according to Rolling Stone, "may be the smartest, most spiritually ambitions rock-'n'-roll movie ever made."

      This is the passionate behind-the-scenes stuff that rock-'n'-roll dreams are made of, a pulsating, slice-of-rock semi-autobiographical film starring Prince as "The Kid", a Minneapolis club musician known for his lightning guitar riffs and flash-fire vocals. As alienated as he is talented, The Kid struggles with both a tumultuous home-life and his own smoldering anger while taking refuge in his music and his steamy love for sultry Apollonia Kotero (lead singer of the camisole-chic Apollonia 6).

      The turbulent, gutsy film sizzles, seethes and rocks in a way few rock films ever have. Hot-blooded Prince and his band The Revolution give electrifying performances of songs like the exhilarating "Let's Go Crazy", "I Would Die 4 U', the plaintive classic "When Doves Cry" and, of course, "Purple Rain" and other hits from the best-selling Warner Bros. Records soundtrack album of the same name.

      Hailed by Newsweek as "the new Prince of Hollywood" PRINCE and PURPLE RAIN will reign over rockdom for some time to come. - Back cover of the original VHS

      Well, I guess, based on the above, it's a soundtrack.

      Long winded back covers of VHS tapes aside, I have to say, Purple Rain, the album, is spectacular. From start to finish, for me, there's not a bad song among the nine tracks. It's woven together as a true masterpiece of my lifetime, and stands out as one of the very few epics I've ever heard. It's the album that for many, myself included, turned attention towards Prince, serving as a segue into his music and massive discography to come throughout future decades.

      I'd list out all of my favorite tracks, but quite frankly I'd just be listing out all nine from the entire album.

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      Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns



      Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns
      South Bend
      1979

      It's the first toy to utilize infrared technology, and it just so happens to also be a Star Trek product. Before there was the Nintendo Zapper, Lazer Tag or Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, there was Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns.

      Much like Lazer Tag, the object was to shoot at another live player. However, rather than aim for a target disc on their chest, you had to instead disable the other player's phaser with a well placed shot. This was thanks to each gun having a beam emitter and receiver, alleviating the need for any further devices. It also made the game a bit more challenging. 

      The set was produced in 1979 by South Bend, a company which actually got its start by producing croquet mallets and balls back in 1874. It continued to thrive in the doll accessory business with items such as carriages, wagons, rocking horses and other wood based toys throughout the latter 1800's, becoming most noted for its "Willow" brand. In 1960 the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Playskool, which was then obtained by Milton Bradley in 1968.

      South Bend was a family company which was the home of upwards of 400 employees, some of which were second and third generation workers.  Their story ends with a sad tale of what happens when you export everything overseas for manufacturing. By the 1980's, the company was suffering from the cheaper products which were being produced and shipped to the USA from abroad. South Bend prided itself on American made, quality toys, but business was business to Milton Bradley and dimes were dimes. They decided it was time to cease all production and close the doors in 1985.

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      Comic Book Artist and / or Illustrator Wanted




      STOP! Please read ALL aspects of this ad prior to applying. If you are not able to work potentially long-term on a royalty basis, do not apply.

      Writer seeking a highly detailed digital comic book artist who ideally can also ink and letter for a black and white steampunk comic book series planned for submission to Image Comics for consideration of publication. Only individuals who can commit to a potentially long-term project should apply.

      Artist will be compensated $250.00 for their work as it entails to the initial submission package to Image Comics, contingent upon signing a contract guaranteeing and agreeing to complete the series in full over the course of the publishing agreement.The series will consist of a minimum of twenty-five issues and a maximum of thirty-six. Compensation for full issues will be paid out via royalties, split 50 / 50, as paid out by the publisher.

      Candidates are encouraged to read the full guidelines for submission to Image Comics at: https://imagecomics.com/submissions, in order to have a better understanding of the overall requirements.

      Artistic skills should be tailored towards a knowledge and understanding of the steampunk genre, as well as, fantasy and adventure. Artist should also have the ability to draw characters of all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicity, as well as, vehicles and structures. The ideal candidate will be responsible for the full completion of each page, layout, pencils, inking and lettering. Artist must be efficient enough to ultimately be able to turn over a minimum of one fully completed page per day in order to meet a monthly publishing deadline.

      Candidate must have, and be efficient with, a digital drawing software and hardware which supports lossless quality PDF files. Drawing software must also support and have industry standard comic book layouts for use. Support of ePub, CBR and CBZ file formats are a plus, but not required at this time.

      To be considered for this opportunity, please submit three (3) fully completed comic book pages which show detailed and consistent characters, vehicles and backgrounds from multiple angles, poses and perspectives, as well as, display a cohesive ability to tell a story from panel to panel. These pages should include no less than two (2) steampunk style vehicles of your own design (one air based and one land based) and four (4) characters in this same fashion – one (1) male adult, one (1) male child, one (1) female adult and one (1) female child. Be as detailed as possible to showcase your fullest abilities.

      Please include your first and last name, e-mail address and phone number on each submitted page.
      This opportunity is for someone equally interested in the potential opportunity to break into the comic book and publishing industry, while realistically earning it by working their way up from the bottom. Those looking for immediate financial success and a steady paycheck need not apply. 

      Please leave a comment with your e-mail address if you're interested in inquiring further. Your information will not be published. 

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