Comics Corner: The Amazing Spider-Man 149


Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Issue Number: 149
Release Date: October 1975


  • Death of Anthony Serba, and Jackal
  • Jackal knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man
  • Jackal lays out why he created the clone of Gwen Stacy, being an "admirer" of her, and feeling heartbroken when she died
  • First appearance, and at the time, also the death of the Spider-Clone, retconned in the 90's as Ben Reilly
  • The Gwen Stacy Clone says goodbye to Peter Parker
  • Peter and Mary Jane hook up in the end
Low Points
  • In hindsight, it's the story arc many fans wish never happened, leading to the awful, and excessively drawn out Spider-Clone saga of the 90's
  • Tarantula, who was prominent in the past two issues of the arc is nowhere to be found in the final act
Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)

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Comics Corner: The Amazing Spider-Man 148


Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Issue Number: 148
Release Date: September 1975


  • First appearance of Anthony Serba
  • Reference is made to The Amazing Spider-Man 144
  • Peter and Ned Leeds start to put the clues together of how the Gwen Stacy clone came to be
  • The return of the long forgotten Spider-Signal
  • Jackal reveals his identity, Professor Warren, to Spider-Man
Low Points
  • None
  • None
Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)

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Retro Spins: Faith No More - The Real Thing

Many people forget that Faith No More was not only relevant in the 80's, but also had their biggest hit from their 1989 album, The Real Thing. This is most likely contributed to the fact that the album had been out for a full year before Epic finally hit the charts in June of 1990. It would just barely make it into the number ten spot in late August, and eventually make it to number nine. However, soon thereafter it would drift away amidst the bloomers of the 90's.

Falling To Pieces would eventually land on the charts and make it's way to the number forty spot by October. While it wouldn't be the last chart topper for the band, it would be for this album.

Personally speaking, for as much as I enjoy the song, Epic, I much more prefer We Care A Lot from their 1985 album of the same name, later re-recorded and added to their follow up, Introduce Yourself (1987). This may be bias though since the song references Transformers and Garbage Pail Kids. Hits a nostalgic note with me.

But, enough about songs and albums I like more. Let's talk about the one at hand.

Question - Is your impression about music supposed to be that it's, "Loud?" Cause that's my honest first impression of this album. Even though it's turned down relatively low, it feels like a wall of sound pushing against me. It's kind of unnerving. Almost uncomfortable.

The Real Thing marked a change for the band. It saw the departure of original singer, Chuck Mosley, and introduced Mike Patton as the new front man. Patton's voice was unique unto its own with the tendency to be almost nasally, powerful and forceful if necessary, but also smooth and silky when called for.

The album had some "good" points in it, despite being overly loud. Of course, Epic, is a solid tune. But so too was the title track, The Real Thing. Then there's War Pigs...

Look I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you can't improve on a cover, then don't do one. It shouldn't just be a throw away track to fill space on an album.

Overall, The Real Thing was forgettable. It's loud, it's bland and it doesn't have much to offer. Perhaps on the cusp of 1990 it was something to behold, but times have changed. Maybe it just didn't have the oomph to age well.

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DC Comics Super Heroes (ERTL)

DC Comics Super Heroes

It's been a hot minute since I've done a good ol' fashion toy cataloging post. Boy oh boy was it fun to get back to basics, researching a line I was unfamiliar with, and tracking down package samples. Good stuff!

Join me today as I take a look at the 1990 diecast line of DC Comics super heroes produced by ERTL. Play wise, there's little you can do with them as toys, what with being formed metal on pegs. What you see is what you get.

However, if you think outside of the box a bit, you could definitely see the usability of incorporating these into a tabletop miniatures or traditional pen and paper roleplaying game. Of course, they also simply display nicely.

In total, ERTL produced eight different characters across ten figurines. Despite the volume of them, there are glaring omissions, as well as a very off balance hero to villain ratio.

Rather than produce two of Batman, and two of Superman, the line could have been more suitably fleshed out with the likes of Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and any number of iconic nemesis of the heroes. I suppose their absences made for the perfect opportunity for a follow-up wave. However, that never came to be.

Each figurine came packed with a collectible trading card which featured a classic DC Comic cover. However, this too feels like a missed opportunity where the cards could have featured the books which were the characters actual first appearance. Superman appears to be the only one to receive that honor in the line.

Back in the day, Toys R Us sold these for $1.99 each, making them relatively affordable for what you get out of them. Sadly, secondary markets these days are not as kind. Most sellers can't even give these away, and if / when they do sell, which is few and far between, it's usually for a dollar each. Occasionally, a seller offloading a full set as a lot can fare well. However, the norm is that they're usually overpriced, contributing to the multitude which go unsold.

The cardback itself is relatviely plain, utilizing the logo produced for the consecutively released Toy Biz line of the same name. While neither were very popular, at least with the latter you got some great artwork on the packages.

The back of the card is all the more boring with its neutral color and excessive text. It's very obvious that the idea here was to keep these "toys" cheap, cutting corners at every turn possible. Fortunately, the level of detail on the figurines themselves were not impacted by this plan.

Those looking to get the majority of the characters in one fell swoop could pick up a six pack released in correlation with the single cardbacks. At $9.99 (original retail price), this essentially meant you were getting one free.

The multipack seems to be harder to find than the single carded ones, but this doesn't necessarily equate to dollars in return. Some sellers have been successful in getting $10.00 for the pack, but much like the singles, they are typically priced higher than most people will pay.

I've personally never been a fan of miniature figures, but I can appreciate them for what they are. Even at a quick glance, it's no mistaking who each character is supposed to represent, and the attention to detail for not only how small they are, but the original retail price, is impressive. These would definitely be great to collect for a collector on a budget, with minimal space, or simply wanting to get a few more pieces to fill in the gaps of a shelf. Of course, they're also perfect for the collector who simply wants to own them.

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Comics Corner: The Amazing Spider-Man 147


Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Issue Number: 147
Release Date: August 1975


  • Reference is made to Giant-Size Spider-Man 5, and The Amazing Spider-Man 135
  • Mary Jane's jealousy for Peter comes out in light of the return of Gwen Stacy
  • Peter learns that Gwen is a clone
  • Jackal reveals that he created the Gwen clone
  • Jackal and Tarantula take Spider-Man prisoner, and throw him off the top of the bridge, mirroring the death of Gwen Stacy in a cliffhanger ending
Low Points
  • Odd comedic moments take you out of the flow of the story (see below)
  • Tarantula is able to craft two spike tipped shoes while in prison, using the prison's grinders, but no guards ever bothered to check in on this?
  • Odd moments of comedy unlike any I've seen in a Spider-Man issue before

Rating (based on a 1 through 5 Stans grading system)

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Retro Spins: Great White - Once Bitten

Great White is a band who I jumped on the bandwagon with when they had their high point, and then promptly jumped off shortly thereafter. For those of you who don't know what period that falls under, that would be their 1987 album, Once Bitten, and their follow up 1989 album, ...Twice Shy. Even then, I could count on one hand the songs I know about from them. Number one, Rock Me. Number Two, Once Bitten / Twice Shy.

The purpose of today's Retro Spin is to rectify this. Hopefully, in doing so, I find a few more songs from them that stand out as goodins - Okay, that's not a word, but it should be.

Rock Me became the bands first ever chart topper when it entered at number ninety-six in August of 1987. The song eventually went to number sixty. This mild success was followed by, Save Your Love, which charted at number eighty-one in January of 1988, peaking at number fifty-seven.

As I listened to the album, I found myself getting bored with it. I'm not sure if this was because of fatigue from listening to several albums this day, or it was from the songs just not being all that good. It wasn't "bad" music. It was just a little draining to have to continue sitting there listening to it, turning into a wall of sound.

Unfortunately, because of this, Great White didn't end up knocking my socks off, nor becoming my next favorite band. I might have to give it another try at a later date to see if I gave it an honest and fair try.

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Homemade Seared Japanese Sushi Tuna


I'm not a seafood fan by any means. In fact, I can't really stand most iterations of it. However, my girl does, and so quite frequently, I'll make her something strictly pleasing to her taste buds.

Today, that something was seared Japanese Sushi Tuna.

This is a quality cut of meat, and being sushi grade, this is literally ready as is to be sliced and eaten raw. If you're a connoisseur of that kind of eating, then this would probably also be really good to you. However, I'm going to zhuzh it up. Let me show you.


2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
Furikake (enough to cover the tuna)

Start by peeling and grating up your ginger. You could technically use a pre-ground powder ginger, but again, this is a quality cut of meat, so I'm going to treat it with a certain level of respect.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and add the ginger to it. Set it aside, and let it sit for about ten minutes.

Spoon the mixture over the tuna, and flip it over, repeating to coat all four sides. Let this sit for another ten minutes to allow the fish some time to absorb some flavor.

On a flat surface, sprinkle some of your furikake to provide a bottom base. Basically, what you want to have happen is that when you put your piece of fish down on it that it immediately adheres, and you don't lose any of that soy sauce mixture to the surface.

You want to reserve that liquid, as well as the ginger, so gently remove the tuna, making sure the brush off a bit of that ginger as you do.

Side Note: What is furikake?

Excellent question.

It's a popular condiment used to season a variety of things, such as rice, vegetables or fish. It usually contains a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and MSG. This can be readily found at Asian markets, and a popular brand is Pokekake.

With your furikake in hand, sprinkle a light layer on each side of the fish, gently pressing it down, making sure to also hit both ends.

I'm going to let the meat sit a moment while I focus on my wasabi.

Sure, you can cut to the chase and buy wasabi pre-made in most grocery stores. Or, you can go for the homemade version. Not only is it fresher, but packs one heck of a punch when compared to those prepackaged versions.

Simply take five tablespoons of the powder, and add three tablespoons of water to it. I use spring water, because I want a clean flavor, and you won't get that from most tap water.

Using a rubber spatula, mix and press the water and powder together. You may be tempted to add more water, but don't. Simply keep pressing everything together with the spatula to blend it all into a soft paste.

This is ready as is, but if you flip that bowl over and let the wasabi sit, it will trap gasses, and draw out more heat.

When finished, roll it into a ball, and seal it in plastic wrap to stay soft.

In a medium size frying pan, add a small dollop of sesame oil, and heat it over medium / high heat. As it gets hot, move it around the pan to coat the bottom. You literally want just enough oil to have a shimmer on the pan.

Add your tuna to the pan, and sear each side, making sure to also hit the two ends. This should take no more than thirty to sixty seconds. You're looking for fish to turn brown no more than one centimeter before flipping it. The goal is seared, but raw. Of course, you could cook it to whatever temp you like.

Since I was simply searing it, the quick cook time was not a conducive scenario to take additional photos.

When you've done all sides, and the two ends, remove the fish from the pan, and let it rest.

Turn your heat down to medium, and add your reserved soy sauce mixture, and stir it frequently until it thickens. This will not take long.

I served this over a piece of seaweed, with a side of sticky rice, which I sprinkled with more furikake. This was accompanied by some pickled ginger, and of course, the wasabi I made. The sauce is spooned over the fish, but could also be left on the side, or spooned onto the rice..

Again, fish ain't my thing, so this certainly wasn't something I dove into. My girl on the other hand jumped right in, and enjoyed it down to the last bite.

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Birthday Gifts From My Girl, Plus Dinner And Cake!

After a long day out on the road yesterday, we just wanted to be home the rest of the evening. As such, when it came time to decide on dinner, we opted to simply order out from a local Italian eatery which has been in the area for decades.

This place makes the best spaghetti sauce in town, and they are by no means skimpy with the portions. This literally looks like an entire box of noodles. I dare say there are four+ portions in this container. Even after eating our fill, we'll get multiple revisits to this trough before it's gone. Of course, we kept it light because we knew there was a cake to follow.

First though, my girl gave me some gifts.

When my girl saw that I had obtained my own 9.8 copies of Spider-Man number one she was pretty disheartened. However, after reminding her that I already owned 60+ copies of the book, and professed how ecstatic I was to add yet one more to my collection, she changed her mood.

No foolies on this one. I'm giddy as a school girl to have four graded copies now. This is great!

I actually opened my gifts in waves. As those of you who remember my Christmas traditions, I'm not about rushing through events. I wanted to take my time, and saver the moment of each gift.

The first half of them consisted of several classic cartoon DVD's which were on my want list, as well as an ebay gift card from her son, and the 1989 Joker van from the Toy Biz movie line.

I've wanted this van for a long time to complete "my" collection, but could never justify the buying price of $100+ for something so generic. I say, "my" in parentheses, because I have no desire or intentions to get the Batcave. As for the van, believe it or not, we found this at an estate sale a couple weeks ago.

Check out the shelves as they are as of today! Apart from having a lot of these as a kid, what makes this line extra special to me is that my girl and I put this set, together. She bought all the figures from the 1989 film, as well as the Batmobile, Batwing, and now, The Joker Van. I picked up all the remaining figures, the cycles, and the candy heads.

As the evening turned into late night, I opened the remaining gifts, which consisted of all the more classic cartoon DVD's, and a really cool set of book ends. It was at this time that my girl confessed that Amazon had a major blow out sale on these discs, and took full advantage of it. Hey, I'm not complaining. I love me some cartoons.

These book ends are straight up awesome! I'm going to use these to sandwich my music video DVD's together on the top shelf of one of my CD shelves. For now, it's holding up all the cartoon DVD's I got. These are really heavy, and feel incredibly durable. Plus, they just look incredibly rad!

With all the gifts open, and me chomping at the bit to go play, we fueled up the internal emergency tanks with sugary cake.

Knowing my love for kid type cereals, my girl made me a Fruity Pebbles tres leches cake from scratch. Bros and girls, this cake was fantastic! She made the cream topping with heavy whipping cream and mascarpone cheese, and then baked the cereal into a vanilla cake, which she saturated with a mixture of evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk (the tres in tres leches).

The only downside was that I told her there was no way the two of us could finish an entire cake of this size. Let alone before the milk spoiled. I recommended she share some with her co-workers tomorrow, as she returns to work, while I am off the rest of the week.

Overall, this was one great birthday...well...with exception of the colonoscope the day prior. Good outings, good gifts, good times. Now all I have to do is relax these next few days. With a bunch of CD's cartoons, comics and new toys, that shouldn't be a problem.

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Birthday Outings

One of the things I like about my birthday is that my girl and I will wander around a shop or two off the beaten path. Of course, this is typically a toy, CD or comic shop, but hey, that's alright with me. That's my idea of fun.

Though I had eaten by birthday bowl of cereal at 4:30 AM, by 9:00 AM, I found myself getting hungry again. My girl was too, as she had just recently woken up. As such, we decided to head to a local diner, Joe's Cafe. With a name as plain as "Joe", you know it's gonna be good eatin'!

We frequent this place, so much to the point that I pretty much know the entire menu front to back. I got me a delicious chorizo breakfast burrito.

From there, we...well...truthfully, we headed back home. Chorizo doesn't mix well with a body that has no gall bladder. I'm sure it didn't help much that I also had my procedure the day prior.


A short while later, we were headed back down the road towards College Park, Maryland, to hit CD Depot. I'd been here before, and while I remember the place being cluttered, and difficult to maneuver as a result, I still wanted to go back. With so much stock, there had to be something to find in the world of used CD's.

The place didn't disappoint, in terms of the mess and disorganization. Nothing has changed here.

I wouldn't want to be anywhere near this place if a fire broke out. I certainly wouldn't want to be inside.

As I set upon perusing, one thing I was quickly reminded of was the poor organization of this place. While things are relatively in alphabetical order, things don't necessarily continue feasibly as one would expect. For example, the rock section starts on the far left wall. While you would think that upon hitting the end of the row that the albums would either continue on the back wall, or behind you on the shelf there, this isn't the case. Rather, you have to go to the opposite side of the store to find P through Z. This nonsensical organization riddled the store a virtual maze, and this wasn't helped at all by flow being impeded by boxes upon boxes. I'd wager this place has no clue what their inventory consists of.

It was around the letter "D" that I abandoned completely looking at the miscellaneous section under each letter, and simply stuck to the labeled title cards for popular bands they deemed worthy of showcasing with a dedicated section. Despite this, I found some good titles to walk away with.

I had to edit myself while at the store, putting back about ten CD's which I simply was not going to allow myself to buy. As it is, I bought too many.

On the way home, we also stopped at Wonder Books in Frederick, Maryland, which was not only on the way, but got us out of a traffic jam. I didn't take any photos here, but in conjunction with CD Depot, I've started my newest addiction collection.

I'm now on the hunt for DVD's (or VHS if necessary) which have 80's music videos on them. This concept piqued my interest a few weeks ago when my girl and I were watching a three hour block of music videos from the past, and really enjoying it. I'm sure this is a whole new rabbit hole I don't need to go down, but I've already broken ground with my shovel, and I'm well on my way.

Prior to departing College Park, we stopped at a local ice cream shop, Insomnia Cookies.

Mind you, we weren't necessarily hungry. We just love ice cream that much.

I got the deluxe s'more cookie with some kind of purple s'more flavored ice cream.

It was good, but way too big and rich. I got about half way before giving up.

Ready to be home, we continued our trip to there where much later we had dinner and birthday cake, and my girl gave me some really nice gifts. But, that's a post for later today.

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