Stan Lee Presents The Mighty Marvel Superheros' Cookbook

One of the things I picked up around my birthday was The Mighty Marvel Superheros' Cookbook. The plan was to take the book, and over the course of however long it took, make everything from page one to whatever the last page was.

Size wise, the book was much thinner than I expected. I'm used to tome size cookbooks that are hundreds of pages. However, this one came in shy of just a hundred. Mind you, many of those pages are taken up with glossaries, splash pages of artwork, cooking tips, and what I'll call throw away pages (copyright, blank, etc.).

The artwork inside was really cool. On par with the great comics of the era. It was this that was really driving my interest in which each hero got assigned to which recipe. I was getting rather excited.

Then a problem set in.

As I thumbed through the book, I found myself frowning at the ingredients for the dishes. Most of these recipes were made by simply opening cans and condiments and mixing them together. Many of which include the use of Cream of Mushroom Soup. That stuff is so nasty.

Not only that, but in general, the recipes sounded disgusting. Here's a particular nasty one that made me want to barf:

Deviled Dip (as in Dare Devil)
  • 1 Package Cream Cheese
  • 1 Can Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 2 Cans Deviled Ham
  • 1 Tablespoons Chopped Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Cucumber

GAG! Did people really eat this stuff in 1977? The book is filled with this kind of garbage.

Between that and the overall simplification of other recipes, such as open various cans of fruit and throw it in a bowl - bam - fruit cocktail, I have zero interest in making any of these recipes. It would simply be a waste of food.

I expected so much more from this book. While I didn't necessarily know what I was going to get, I certainly hoped for something edible. These recipes definitely don't qualify for that. I'm so disappointed. 

To make matters worse, this book wasn't what I would call cheap. Getting one (used), will cost you forty to sixty dollars. Mind you, for about half that price, you could get a two to three hundred page cookbook, with far greater recipes.

Well, since this is a cookbook, let's figure out a way to take this lemon and make lemonade. Rather than chalk it up as a loss, I'm instead going to still go through this book and make all the dishes inside. However, instead of following these nasty recipes, I'm going to reinvent them for a more refined pallet. Don't get me wrong, these won't by any means be five star dining recipes, but they'll certainly be better than these, which I would equate to digging through a garbage can. So stay tuned. We're going to be cooking soon.

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Hasbro PulseCon

Hasbro Pulse has announced that they'll host a Youtube channel con, aptly entitled Hasbro PulseCon. The virtual convention will take place on September 25th and 26th, and while not much is known right now, I'm sure as the next twenty-four days will provide further details. In the interim, look to their website for upcoming information.

Hasbro has an official YouTube page, but it's unknown if this is where the convention will stream. Like I said above, keep in tune with their official site for further details. Additionally, you can also check them out on Facebook.

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Mars Attacks Jr. (Heroes In Action)

Mars Attacks Jr.
Heroes In Action

Sure, why not?

I talked about the odd Presidential Monsters / Presidential Monsters Jr. series from Heroes In Action last week, so why not close the loop on that with the short lived Mars Attacks Jr. series?

It's a one and done line, featuring the Martian Soldier figure. For those of you who remember my post from last week, you saw this guy packed in with the SDCC Barack Obama Jr.'s. It's the same figure as released in that 2011 line.

Because of that, there's honestly not much more to tell.

I haven't seen too many of these in the wild. In fact, as of this write up, there was only one floating around on ebay. The seller wanted $40.00 for it, but I honestly don't see that happening. With that said, because I haven't seen too many of these around, I can't really pinpoint what they're worth. Suffice to say, I and apparently nobody else, will pay forty bucks for it.

Still, it's a unique figure from another one of those here today, gone tomorrow toy companies. It's an interesting part of plastic history from that aspect.

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Bill And Ted Face The Music

***Spoiler Free***

For those of you who were anxiously waiting for Bill And Ted Face The Music to hit theaters, wait no longer. In fact, don't even go to the theater. Simply head to your cable box, located within the comfort of your own home and rent the flick for $19.99.

That's what I did, and I'm so glad.

Bill And Ted Face The Music is HYSTERICAL! This is how sequels from nostalgic films SHOULD be done. The characters aren't different. They don't do a 180 on you at any point. Neither of them are financially successful, none of them is any better off than the other. They're just two close friends who's mentality and mannerisms are exactly as you remember them.

To make matters all the better, their daughters are spitting images of them. Both in their intelligence and their love for music.

It's a fantastic film, and one that fans of Bill and Ted should 100% support.

Hollywood, take note. If you want to follow up a classic film with a sequel, this is how you do it successfully.

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G.I. Joe Classified: The Baroness With Cobra C.O.I.L. - Wave Three, Cobra Island Concluded

Today I'm wrapping up the elusive Target exclusive Cobra Island (wave three), with a look at the last figure in the bunch, The Baroness. This figure / vehicle combo pack was a nightmare to track down. With no stores receiving it until August 14th, or after, it has certainly been the most challenging to obtain, and the most expensive on secondary markets.

With a retail price of $39.99, the $120.00 and up prices on secondary markets sure don't promote this line being one worth collecting to your average fan. However, patience is a virtue, and the lesson stands true. Never give in to scalpers. Product can be found in stores with perseverance and patience.

Anyway, enough of the intro. Let's actually dive into the package.

I've talked about the boxes ad nauseam, so I'll keep this relatively short. The biggest thing that surprised me with it is actually the overall size. At sixteen inches long and nine inches high, this package is massive. I don't know what I expected, but I suppose it should have been that it would be hefty.

If nothing else, it terrifies me of the perspective of future vehicles for this line. I'm not very interested in collecting these to begin with, and most of this is driven by the sheer volume of space they would inevitably take up. It's disappointing to think that future exclusive figures may be packaged this way because $39.99 was expensive enough. I don't even want to think about paying $300.00 for something just to get the figure inside.

Fears of future releases aside, you can see that the Cobra Island packaging style is kept in line with the three basic figures released in the wave. Despite being packaged with a vehicle, the numbering scheme continues, with The Baroness being appropriately labeled thirteen.

Because there are numerous accessories inside, let's take a look at those first.

The two assault rifles (or are those SMG's), can either go in the hands of The Baroness, or they can be attached to the sides of the motorcycle. I dare say they look better on the bike because of the large pegs which jut out of the sides of them.

Speaking of the bike, I don't know why the second handlebar had to be packaged loose, versus being attached to the bike. It was quite a pain to get on. So much so, that I thought I was going to break it in half trying to force it on.

The helmet accessory is actually it's own separate head. I suppose this is a good and bad thing. It's good because it means you don't have to risk any paint wear on the head of The Baroness. It's bad because it means one piece is always going to be floating around loose.

As for the remaining items, these include two gold pistols, a cobra emblazon knife and a molded cobra. The latter I found to be quite silly. I get that she's part of Cobra, but come on, including an actual cobra? Cliche much?

The bike itself is straight up disappointing. It's bulky, feels cheap and has an overall feeling of being a glorified Fisher Price toy. It's out of place in the line and lacks any real depth of detail when compared to the figures. In short, it's garbage. This is the kind of toy that belongs in Playmate's original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.

If future vehicles are going to be released, then the quality and care needs to match that of the figures they're either intended for, or accompany in the packages. Otherwise, the increased price tag associated with them is simply not going to be justifiable.

I'm physically frowning at this thing as I look at it. It's total crap.

Fortunately, the saving grace to this set is The Baroness herself. Before I even had her out of the package, I knew she was going to be my absolute favorite in the line to date. She is practically flawless in design.

I say practically, because I did find an issue with her. That would be that while her glasses are removable, there are clear cut grooves in the side of her face to slide them into. Removing them detracts very much from her face, leaving the question of, "Why bother making them removable?" At that point, it's just another piece to be potentially lost.

Minor gripe aside, the details on this figure are superb. From the textured layers of her breastplate, boots and gloves, to the minor details of gold etching on the glasses. Hasbro certainly hit all the right notes with The Baroness.

As you spin the figure around, you can see that there's also a place to store her two pistols and the knife. While it's a little disappointing there are no back pegs for the larger guns, since these can be stored on the bike, and again seem like that was the intention anyway, that's an aspect that's easy to move past.

Here she is all decked out.

And here she is with the bike in front of her. Ugh...Putting them together seems to only amplify just how out of place the bike looks in this line. Hasbro definitely needs to up their game on future vehicles. I foresee a lot of these being offloaded on ebay without the figure.

And to get a look at the entire Cobra Island wave, here they are as a group, sans the bike.

Lastly, here's how my shelf stands in this lineup to date.

Difficulty in finding them aside, this has definitely been one of the best lines I've collected. The overall quality of each figure has been superb.

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G.I. Joe Classified: Arctic Mission Storm Shadow

He's not the Storm Shadow people wanted, but a Storm Shadow nonetheless. Arctic Mission Storm Shadow was quietly and quickly released via Amazon as an exclusive to their site, and sold out rapidly to bots and the very few collector's who got one. Your chances of getting one now are pretty much limited to second hand dealers or someone generous to put one in your hands at cost or as a gift. I've amazingly seen all three of those kinds of people.

Despite being an exclusive, Hasbro has kept the packaging within the realm of the other basic assortment (and exclusive) figures. They've even continued the numbering scheme, denoting this particular one as number fourteen. That puts him just after the Target exclusive Baroness, and right before Profit Director Destro.

What I don't like about the package is how cartoony Storm Shadow looks on the front (and side). I would have much preferred a more realistic look to him, much like that of most of the other packages. I know he's not technically the first to have a box drawn in this style, but it's definitely one of my least favorites.

As I said above, the rest of the box is consistent with the current design for the line. Once again there are the symbols on the side of it, which again can be looked at in detail at the G.I. Joe Classified site, HERE. On a side note, it doesn't look like anything new has been added to their site.

Beyond that, there's not much more to say about the packaging. Well, not that I haven't already talked about in prior figure reviews.

Popping the figure out, I immediately noticed something was off about it. When looking at the figure from the front, nothing really stood out as problematic.

There's a great amount of detail in the Arctic Mission Storm Shadow. The white, black and gold really work well with each other to make details pop. The hood is also removable, but I opted to just leave it in place. Design wise, he looks pretty cool.

Then I turned the figure to its side and saw what was tingling my spidey-sense.

What is up with that leaning syndrome? I turned the figure back around and adjusted him, only to have him slouch back over. The problem appeared to be the torso cut. It was too loose. It's not only a very unfortunate defect on mine, but one I've heard other reviewers talking about. So apparently, this is going to be a common flaw with the figure.

It's like that scene from Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal

It appears the majority of the detail on this figure was reserved for the front side. That's a bit disappointing. Especially considering the minimal detail on the back will get covered up by the accessories. In that regard, those points seem almost wasted.

The opposite side of the figure offers nothing more than the prior.

Arctic Mission Storm Shadow comes with a fair amount of accessories. In the box, you'll find a sword and sheath, bow, quiver, individual arrow, hook with rope and scythe. That's a ton of great stuff!

But here in lies another problem I have with the figure. While the other characters in the line also have included a ton of accessories, there's been a place on them to put them. Not so much with this one.  You're ultimately going to have to pick and choose which accessories you want in the figure's hands, and then the rest are going to have to be stored at his feet or in a box.

The bow and arrow, while cool in paint schemes have their own set of flaw. For starters, the bow has no string. Not even a molded one in plastic. Meanwhile, the quiver and arrows, while they look cool, are essentially a solid piece of plastic, making them more so just decoration. As for the individual arrow, it's not only not in line with the color of the arrows in the quiver, but it's also longer. At the end of the day, it feels like someone wanted to care, but ultimately couldn't invest either the time or resources to do so to the full extent.

I do like the sword. I was glad to see it not only got Storm Shadow's customary white grip, but a silver painted blade. Though it doesn't make sense as to why it would connect to the back of the quiver, it looks pretty cool.

Speaking of the quiver (again), it's also very flimsy in his back, falling out easy at the lightest touch. This whole loose backpacks and back peg accessories is becoming a consistent problem with the line. I don't know what the deal is, but the majority of the accessories simply don't want to stay attached to the figure's backs.

Overall, Arctic Mission Storm Shadow makes a nice addition to the G.I. Joe Classified line, but I think more people would have appreciated a classic look sculpt over this homage to the late 90's. In hind site, it's interesting that they denoted the character as part of Cobra, because for the look he's based on, at this point, he was part of the Joe team.

It has disappointing flaws, and if it weren't for Roadblock V2, Arctic Mission Storm Shadow may very well have ended up being my least favorite in the line to date. But I don't hate this figure by any means.

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"Check Your Mailbox! You're Gonna Like It!"

"Check your mailbox! You're gonna like it!"

It was the cryptic message I received today around 2:30 PM from someone I knew. An odd message, but one I felt intrigued enough to grab my shoes and head outside for. I actually didn't have to go far, as it appeared the mailman had actually dropped the box on my front porch.

With mystery package in hand, I made my way to my toy room / office and snapped a quick photo before diving into it with excitement. After all, with such a sales pitch that I would like it, I had to see what was inside.

Yes indeed, I did like it! I liked it a lot!

For those of you who remembered my post from quite a while ago, I was complaining rather fervently about how I missed out on the Arctic Mission Storm Shadow. While since then I had someone reach out to me and say they had a double I could get from them, this was actually a rather nice surprise from another person.

It's been really amazing to see how the toy community has come together with this line to help get these figures into the hands of collectors who actually want them, versus those who are scalping them for profit.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Retro Spins: Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol

Maybe seven is too many, but Police Academy remains my all time comedy series of films. Part four just so happens to be my absolute favorite out of all of them, and coincidentally, the only one to have a soundtrack released at the time of its debut. It wouldn't be until 2013 that one would be released for the first film. However, that's still five soundtracks unaccounted for.

Hail, hail the gang's all here! The laugh-riot regulars of the nation's #1 film comedy series straps on nightsticks and slapstick for Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, the funny film that gives the blue buffoons 4 hits ina  row, 4 years straight...4 everyone!

Front and center (and anywhere else a joke can be found) for all-new goofiness are popular coppers Majoney, Hightower, Jones, Tackleberry, Zed, Callahan, Hooks, Sweetchuck and Cmdt. Lassard, played by (respectively) Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, Michael Winslow, David Graf, Bobcat Goldthwait, Leslie Easterbrook, Marion Ramsey, Tim Kazurinsky and George Gaynes.

Police Academy 4's manic misadventure finds fuddy-duddy Lassard deciding to toughen up neighborhood watch groups by training them to be Cizitens on Patrol, or COP. And guess who the instructors are? That's right, the same Academy grads who thought the F's on their own report cards meant "Fantastic."

When rival officer Lt. Harris (G.W. Bailey) sees the blue leading the beleaguered, he decides the time is ripe to discredit the Academy. But leave it to our hapless heroes to use their collective 20-20 IQ and save the day, taking to the skies in biplanes and hot-air balloons for a grand, fantastic finale.

You haven't seen it all - until you've seen Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. There's always something new going on and something funny coming down in this loony battle of wits...and half-wits! - Back of the original VHS

For someone like me, who has seen the film back to back to back to back a hundred times, the music is immediately recognizable to the scenes from the film in which the accompany. This makes the album all the more enjoyable to listen to.

With that said, no, this isn't the best 80's music to be found on a soundtrack. Enjoyable? Yes. Top ten worthy? No. Not even close. I dare say if it wasn't a film I was so familiar with, I may not even have liked it.

Noticeably omitted from the album is It Doesn't Have To Be This Way from The Blow Monkeys. This is the song which plays during the scene where Zed and Laura fall in love. I suppose if you wanted to dig deep, there's also a lot of the score missing from the soundtrack - Such as the classic opening theme. Only one track from the Robert Folk's score makes an appearance - The High Flyer - which is a medley.

Overall, I like this album a lot. However, this is not because of the strength of the songs, but rather, the nostalgia and imagery it invokes in my mind. I ended up adding only a couple songs to my iPod and iTunes shuffles for the future, Darryl Duncan's Rock the House and Michael Winslow with The L.A. Dream Team's Citizens On Patrol, because honest, these were the only two tracks I saw myself actively wanting to listen to again.

For those of you on the hunt for this one, it's worth noting it was never released on CD. As such, it's only available on vinyl or cassette. The cassette version is far more difficult to come by than the record.

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Presidential Monsters And Presidential Monsters Jr. (Heroes In Action)

Presidential Monsters
Heroes In Action

Boy, talk about a niche audience. Part President personas, part horror icons. It's an interesting concept, but not one destined for success in your average toy isle.

Each eight inch figure came packed on a unique cardback and featured a decent amount of articulation - On par with your traditional Mego figure of yesterday. They're not bad figures if you're judging them on style, articulation and overall quality. They're just obscure. Odd if you will.

I can honestly say that neither aspect of collecting figures based on US Presidents or monsters is appealing to me, so this is definitely a line I personally would pass on. However, I suppose there's someone out there who would take a strong interest in these. Like I said above, they're not bad quality figures.

In total, there were only seven figures produced for the line. This isn't too terrible in terms of volume if you were looking to add these to your collection. Price, on the other hand, is another story.

In the long run, obscurity has somewhat paid off for this line. Though sales aren't often, figures have been known to sell for fifty to one hundred dollars each, mint in the package. However, in most cases, they typically go for between twelve and thirty, which is not a bad kickback for a relatively ignored line.

Presidential Monsters Jr.
Heroes In Action

Heroes In Action produced a small sub-series to the line the same year the eight inch figures were released. These smaller, four inch statuettes, kept the same motif of incorporating a monster theme into Presidential personas. All of which were re-imaginings of the larger figures above.

There were three individually carded figurines produced, and much like the larger figures, were released on their own individual cardbacks.

Before tapping out of the game, two San Diego Comic Con exclusives hit the convention scene. These too fell under the "Jr." banner. However, the only versions released were those of Barrack Obama. Each one came packaged together with an alien from Mars Attacks - An equally odd combination.

Heroes In Action didn't get the traction it needed in toy isles to break out into the industry. As a result, they closed their doors around 2015 / 2016. The Presidential Heroes / Jr.'s series was only the second of three toy lines they released, and I use the term "lines" liberally. The first being their 2009 Barrack Obama one-shot figure and their last being the 2015 Mars Attacks Jr. Martian Soldier one-shot, the latter being nothing short of a repack of the above noted version. Hardly a "line" when only one figure was produced / released for each.

Like I said above, these figures weren't bad. They were just really obscure. As such, they really were targeting a specific niche audience, which perhaps, didn't exist at the time. With prices as potentially high as they can be on secondary markets, maybe they'll finally get the opportunity they needed to become a hot collectible. Cult success can sometimes be bigger than major success in the long run.

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The Batman

The trailer for The Batman, staring Robert Pattinson dropped recently, and despite the original speculation from fans, IT LOOKS FANTASTIC! I truly believe that Pattinson is going to be to Batman what Heath Ledger was to Joker.

Not only that, but with the film being touted as a noir style murder mystery, it means we'll finally get the first Batman film that may actually be true to the comics. A Batman who is actually the greatest detective of all time, while also being a brutal fighter.

I can't remember the last time I was actually excited for a movie that was coming out, but I certainly am for this one. This would definitely be the kind of film that would get me to go to a movie theater.

If you haven't seen the trailer yet, or want to watch it again, check it out below.

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A Belated Birthday Gift

Today's mail brought with it a nice surprise in the form of a late arrival birthday gift.

It's nice to have multiple eyes searching across the country for something, but I guess at this point I need to update everyone who is still looking for the Target exclusive wave that I have an open set of the basic assortment figures already. The only one I am currently looking for is Baroness.

The gift is appreciated though. Thank you very much!

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Peg Warmer Predictions Coming True

Looks like my prediction about which figure in the G.I. Joe Classified line are panning out true. Of all the Target exclusive figures in the Cobra Island wave, Roadblock is the one consistently showing up on pegs, and currently is the only one available for order online from Target.

Beach-Head is popping up here and there, but definitely isn't common just yet. As for Cobra Trooper, I predict this figure will forever be scarce in the Cobra Island packaging, but will see a re-release in future waves. The only question is, will it be repainted in any form or fashion to make it different? Only time will tell.

What about you? Have you tracked down your set? Did you get them in a store? Or did you cave and go the online route, and shell out to scalpers? Have you given up on the line? Or are you still waiting to see if these will get properly stocked at your local Target? Leave a comment with your stance.

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CD Cellar - This Ain't My First Rodeo

I've been to CD Cellar several times since getting back into the physical media format of music, but oddly enough, I've never appeared to have posted about them. My bad.

My visit to this store was a continuation from yesterday's outing, and if I'm lucky, I'll find somewhere to go today. But, more on that later, if that happens.

Anyway, back to today's post.

CD Cellar has been helping audiophiles groom and grow their collections since they first opened in August of 1992, and while their location has changed over time, their amazing store has always been a must go to spot for your CD and record needs. Sorry, no cassette tapes here.

Because the store was busy, as it often is, I didn't want to take too many pictures. Mainly because I didn't want to impose on the people inside shopping. But, I went ahead and grabbed three, which pretty much encompasses the entire store from right to left.

Much like any good store, it's organized. Rock / Pop are to the right, while you'll find  rap, country, oldies and soundtracks to the center. On the left is the selection of DVD's, as well as, the obscurities - Composers, foreign, etc.

Staff are always helpful to their customers, and in my experience, there's never been a visit here when I didn't find something I was looking for. In fact, several times I've had to pass on things because I can get a little "excessive" in what I grab. Mind you, with prices ranging between $4.00 and $8.00 for most albums, you can get a whole lot of value from this place.

Today I picked up just shy of forty albums. While most of these have been on my want list, there are some which were impulsive buys and others which I didn't know I wanted until I saw them. Then there were also those which would serve as replacements for what I already had. These were mainly the Rush CD's which would replace my Remastered discs with original pressings - Something I've been wanting to do for a while.

Overall, I got a nice variety of 70's and 80's music, with a sprinkle of 90's, via two Smashing Pumpkins discs and a Cool World score. I'm very happy with everything, and eager to start dropping things into iTunes and into my shuffle mixes.

On a final note, I'd just like to remind everyone that despite its convenience, digital media is no replacement for physical. I'm a firm advocate for owning what you buy versus licensing the rights to it. Remember, if those sites go away, so too does all your purchases. Own what you buy and reserve your right to sell it if you want, something you can only do with physical media.

Please also be respectful to the artists you profess to like by not stealing their music. It's one thing to buy it used, it's another to outright take it.

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