Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The 2014 Phantom Awards - The Best of the Year!

Hey, Phantomaniacs - it’s time for the biggest awards event that Needless Things produces all year long! That’s right, just like every other site on the internet, at the end of each year I put together a list of the very best stuff.

Next year I might actually do some kind of voting thing; at least amongst the writing staff here. But I didn’t think of that in time this year, so this is all my opinion.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toy Review – Batman: The New Batman Adventures Mr. Freeze from DC Collectibles

Preface: Before I get into today’s review of this new Mr. Freeze figure, I want to address the quality control issues of this line and DC Collectibles’ reaction to them.

I have already reviewed New Adventures Batman and Animated Series Catwoman. Both figures are beautiful and yet critically flawed. As I did with Funko’s Game of Thrones figures, I reviewed the figures based on their production and design and hoped for less QC issues in future releases.

I look at it like this – a figure that breaks in the course of normal handling is obviously a failure. It pretty much deserves a zero out of five. But how many of you would accept this as a toy review:

Toy Review – Batman: The New Batman Adventures Batman from DC Collectibles

The first one of these I got had a clear, unpainted elbow joint. One of the second one’s extra hands broke when I tried to move the joint.

0 out of 5
Don’t buy this figure:

That would be ridiculous. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Nerdy Look At 2014

At the very end of 2013 I was scanning through Facebook when I saw a post from our good friend Phantom Troublemaker. He was asking for people to do articles for Needless Things. Now, what many people may not realize is that i was a huge fan of the site before i started writing for it. I was and still am amazed at the amount of articles that Phantom produced. In my opinion he does some of the best toy reviews on the web or anywhere else for that matter.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Phantom Troublemaker Goes To Marvel Universe Live!

I took the family to see Marvel Universe Live this past Monday and it was exactly as fun as I was hoping it would be.

If you don’t know, Live is a huge stunt show featuring a cast of Marvel’s highest-profile characters, as well as Cyclops and Storm.

Haha! That’s just my little joke. I love the X-Men. Apparently a lot more than whoever scripted this production, but I’ll get more into that later; as well as delving into potential conspiracy theories about said X-Men.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-The Top 10 Funniest Quotes

It's no secret that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation that is my all time favorite Christmas movie. I watch it a few times a year to this day whenever I need a laugh and boy, does it do the job. So I have put together my Top Ten of the funniest Quotes of the movie with my quick thoughts after each one. It was a tough job and I had to leave out some good ones but here goes.....

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Movie Review

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am a big ol' nerd. I'm not bragging about how nerdy I am, because who really would? It's just that I'm okay with my nerdiness, and don't really give a crap what other people think anymore. So I've seen every single one of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien based movies as close as possible to opening day. I still watch the movies or read the books every few years (because it's one or the other. It takes so long to get through that you can't really do both in the same year). I've even labored through The Silmarillion a few times, but then I've always been a big fan of the elves. I almost entirely blame my school-girl style crush for Orlando Bloom on Peter Jackson. I don't think I would had ever been giddy over what seems to be such a douchey human being if he hadn't been made cool by the Lord of the Rings movies. I mean what I consider cool, that is. And I took my Tolkien nerdiness up to 11 this year by seeing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on pre-opening night. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Toy Review – Pacific Rim Kaiju Comparison: Trespasser vs. Axehead from NECA

I love Pacific Rim. I think it’s an absolutely incredible movie. Visually it’s breathtaking every time I see it – and I’ve watched it several times now. I saw it in the theater by myself and then went back so my son could see it on the big screen. I want him to have big movie memories like I do. He loved it.

Side Note: I do wish there were Pacific Rim toys for kids. These NECA toys look great, but they are fragile and chock full of dangerous, pointy parts. 
People that are generally unhappy with life talk about Pacific Rim having a weak story or poor character development or whatever other problems such people like to come up with to attribute flaws to things that are fun, but I think it was perfection in storytelling. This movie was not about building a cast of characters that would be remembered in the annals of great cinema for centuries to come. If it had been about that it would have been boring as shit and I wouldn’t have liked it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Couch Crusader - Looking Back at Batman '66 by Geena Phillips

Batman season 1, episode 15: “The Joker Goes To School”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Quick LEGO Christmas Gift List

I wanted to make list that may help people buy LEGOs for a fan no matter their age. Grant you some of these are not the newest things out there but I chose a variety that could appeal to many different fans. Also, I tried to think about price points too. I chose one crazy expensive set and then went somewhat mild on the others. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Toy Review – Doctor Who Time of the Doctor Action Figure Set from Underground Toys

Doctor Who’s descent into the realm of television that I do not enjoy began with Matt Smith’s final story – “The Time of the Doctor”.

I didn’t like it and I haven’t liked much since.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Final Day of the Zenescope Entertainment Winter Wonderland Contest!

Today is the final day to enter!
Needless Things & Zenescope Entertainment
The Winter Wonderland Contest!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 41: The Atlanta Toy Meeting

Phantom Troublemaker has been trying to get in with the folks of the Great Atlanta Toy Convention for a while now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Couch Crusader - Looking Back at Batman '66 by Geena Phillips

Batman (1966) Season 1, Episode 13: "The Thirteenth Hat"

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews December 2014: Light Offerings

The rest of the pictures in this one are way better. I promise.
If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Preview Of LEGO Minifigures Series 13

I'm going to start off this article saying that I love LEGO minifigures. If you have read my articles in the past then this will not surprise any of you. They will always be my first love of LEGOs ever since I started collecting a few years ago. I don't exactly know what it is about the little figures but they are possibly the most addicting toy I have ever collected.

Many years ago when I first heard about blind bag packaging I thought it was just plain dumb. I mean why would someone buy something that they didn't know exactly what they were getting. It seemed insane to me and I swore that I would never partake in collecting such a thing. Well, that was a long time ago and before LEGO started selling their minifigures in that same said packaging.

There is just something about opening that package and not knowing exactly what you are getting. It's like christmas morning. And I don't know how they do it but just by putting that little insert into each bag I can never tell which figure is in there. No matter how long I mash on that bag trying to decipher each piece I just can't do it. So I usually end up with a lot of duplicates but I'm okay with that due to how much fun I have opening them.

So let's get down to business. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, LEGO released pictures of all 16 minifigures in the next series which is number 13. I was elated because I didn't expect pictures to be released this quickly. I wanted to do a quick rundown on my thoughts on the series based on the pictures that were released.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Toy Review – 6” Star Wars Black #02 Darth Vader from Hasbro

I’m not collecting the 6” Star Wars Black figures. I am collecting the 3.75” Star Wars Black figures. So far this makes two 6” SWB reviews and zero full 3.75” SWB reviews, though I did review a batch last Friday.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Toy Review – Star Wars Black Friday!

See what I did there?

I wanted to do something kind of special today since we didn’t post yesterday and Black Friday is sort of a significant day. I don’t typically venture out on Black Friday (although I will be hitting the local independent record store to pick up some Record Store Day releases), but I appreciate the madness that happens between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the following Monday, now known as Cyber Monday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toy Review – Grimm Fairy Tales Alice in Wonderland from Zenescope Entertainment


Be sure to listen to Episode 41 of the Needless Things Podcast for your opportunity to win today's figure, as well as a bunch of other great stuff from Zenescope Entertainment! More details coming soon!
When I first started talking to the Zenescope rep about covering stuff on the site I pointed out that our main thing was toys, so if Zenescope ever put out toys we’d love to review them. Sure enough, Zenescope is now producing figures. They have a line of Minimates and hopefully I’ll get to check those out at some point, but they’re also releasing 6” scale figures sculpted by a guy that’s a true legend in the field of comic book action figures – Clayburn Moore!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 40: Music and Black Friday with Joel Brody

Earlier this year Phantom Troublemaker became quite taken with the idea of Record Store Day.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Toy Review – Batman: The New Adventures Batman from DC Collectibles

I couldn’t even count the number of action figure lines I have been excited about over the years. I love toys and there’s just something in my nature that gets me excited to see how new toys are going to look and play; even if they’re a license, franchise, or concept that I have only a passing interest in.

I can, however, count the number of toy lines that I have been anticipating in a way that was borderline obsessive – the Star Wars relaunch of 1995, Sideshow’s Universal Monsters, the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line, and the 4 Horsemen’s Outer Space Men.

And then there’s the toy line that has filled me with a singular excitement that has left me almost literally on the edge of my seat every time I’ve read about it. The line that is based on my favorite – and arguably the greatest – animated franchise of all time. The line that is being produced by a toy manufacturer that over the last three years has stepped up their game to the point where they went from near the bottom of my list of great companies to the very top. The line that has the potential to top Masters of the Universe Classics as one of the most integrated and amazing toy lines ever produced.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Earth Station Who Episode 88: Series 8 Overview

Series 8 Episode Posters by Stuart Manning
If you’ve been listening to Earth Station Who – and you should be – then you know that I wasn’t very happy with this most recent season of Doctor Who.

It seems like the two most vocal groups online are those that hate Stephen Moffat and those that hate those that hate Stephen Moffat. Both groups consist of a bunch of loud, overly involved asshats that are clearly unfamiliar with the term “middle ground”. I think they’d get along really well if it weren’t for Stephen Moffat.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Underoos Situation

Even superheroes dream about Underoos.
It has been brought to my attention that Underoos are back. This is a situation that cannot be properly addressed through a social media comment. I need a venue with a longer form to properly address all of the various minutiae and ramifications of this new paradigm.

Also, I just needed a post for today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition from Zenescope

As our loyal readers know I have recently become an official reviewer for Zenescope Comics. This means that I receive PDF copies of everything that they release. Obviously I can’t personally review everything that they release, but as long as I hit a certain number each quarter they’re cool with it. I’m bringing another regular writer on board to help with that, so we’ll be putting them up a bit more frequently than that.

In this Comic Book Wednesday I’m taking a look at the Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition. It’s available today at your Local Comic Book Shop! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LEGO "MIXES" It Up With Mixels

Whew, October was a crazy month. Needless Things delivered some absolutely amazing content to celebrate the creepiest month of the year. It's been far too long since I have done anything concerning LEGOs. Today I am going to remedy that. This is not going to be an official review of one item. Instead this is going to be an overview of LEGO's new series Mixels.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 39: Jim Stacy

On this week’s Needless Things Podcast, Phantom Troublemaker sat down with Emmy winning television host, restaurateur, chef, artist, musician, writer, and comedian Jim Stacy of Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Earth Station Who Episode 87: Death In Heaven

I missed being on the last episode of ESW due to scheduling difficulties, so it was good to be back for the big finale of the season.

This season of Doctor Who has been a roller coaster for me, but I’ll get more into that when I write about our forthcoming season wrap-up episode. For now I’ll just say that I was hoping for an epic conclusion and have no plans to buy the Blu-ray when it comes out.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Couch Crusader - A Look Back at Batman '66 by Geena Phillips

Batman (1966) Season 1, Episode 11 - "A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away"

"Gotham City International Airport; a pleasant day..." From this narration, we can surmise that the stock airport footage shown is NOT from Philadelphia international Airport.

Enter the wise, benevolent (and most importantly, U.S.-friendly) King Boris. As sole monarch of an unnamed vaguely-European country, King Boris has arrived bearing an important gift of friendship betwixt our two nations (in case you didn't know this was a fictional European country).

His arrival is marred, however, when a Madeline-themed porn actress hands King Boris a bouquet of flowers which, lo and behold, turn out to be a clue from… The Riddler!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cowabunga, Yo Joe, & I Have The Power Fever

This is the third part to a series I have written about cartoons. One was called Saturday Morning Fever & the other was Weekday Afternoon Fever. In those, I skimmed over some of the more popular shows that I wanted to talk more about, so I hope you enjoy the third part in my "cartoon fever" series.

I probably don't have to tell you that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is extremely hot right now. With a blockbuster summer movie, a well made cartoon on Nickelodeon, and a toy line that is filling the toy aisles, there seems to be no stopping this oddball juggernaut. This is a 20 year resurface for the four shell shocked brothers but in truth they have never really went away.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Star Wars and Griping - But Not Griping About Star Wars

I’m sitting here at the computer knowing that I need a post for Monday (it’s Saturday right now). I don’t want to put up a toy review, but there’s not a holiday or event in the near future that I can write about. I made it through the incredibly busy month of October, only derailed by a bout with Strep and a fairly significant mental breakdown at the end of the month. The source of the former is undoubtedly my job where I work in close proximity with a large number of people with varying degrees of hygienic integrity. The source of the latter is the same.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Goat Man from Mattel

I was really into cryptozoology when I was a kid. I checked out every single book on the subject that my elementary school had available. There were ones devoted to the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Yeti, and aliens. But there were also larger volumes with multiple entries to include the lesser-known cryptids – the Jersey Devil, the monster of Lake Champlain, the Moth Man, and of course the Goat Man.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Horror Of Adam Green

I listen and read so much horror, I sometimes forget where I discover things. It was a few years ago that something led me into the direction of Writer/Director Adam Green's work. I can't exactly remember what led me there but boy am i glad it happened.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews November 2014: Trimming the Fat

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Couch Crusader - A Look Back at Batman '66 by Geena Phillips

Batman (1966) Season 1, Episode 9 - “Zelda The Great”

"A quiet, peaceful night in the city of Townsville Gotham City; except at the First National Bank, at precisely 8:37." Then, an explosion straight off a sound-effects record rings out, and the establishing shot of the bank's exterior shakes a little!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Zombie 5,000 (BONUS FEATURE) By R.T. Ewell

The Zombie 5,000 has a somewhat unusual beginning. It actually started around 2009 before I even started pursuing writing as a serious venture. A podcast I was listening to at the time was holding a flash fiction contest. It asked that we write a five hundred word zombie story. I thought it would be an interesting challenge so I submitted it. Nothing ever came from it but I enjoyed writing it and often thought about returning to the zombie tale. The first chapter of The Zombie 5,000 is called Zombie Day At The Ballpark and that is what I submitted to the contest.

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Tales from the Crypt

I’ve mentioned it several times on the podcast and a few times here, but I’ve been watching Tales from the Crypt all month. Late in September I got the heads-up from Son of Celluloid that Walmart had all seven seasons of HBO’s classic horror anthology show for ten bucks apiece. That’s an incredible deal for a legendary show, so I immediately went on the hunt for them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - The Halloween Blu-ray Box Set

So I caved and bought the new Limited Edition 15 Disc Halloween Blu-ray Box Set. You know, this one:

31 Days of Halloween – Earth Station Boo 3 - Season of the BOO!

Calling all dorky demons and geeky ghouls! It is once again the time of year where spooky spirits roam the dusty corridors of Earth Station One and Phantom Troublemaker possesses the transmission to bring you the creepiest and scariest show of the year!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Halloween – Comic Book Wednesday – Charmed #1 from Zenescope Entertainment

Reviewed by Jason Frazier

Available now

Charmed was a television show that aired from 1998 to 2006. The premise behind the show was that there were three sisters who were destined to battle evil using their witchcraft. They are the Charmed Ones. The show started out with Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and Shannen Doherty as Piper, Phoebe, and Prue Halliwell. After three seasons, and some back stage drama, Prue was killed off. Miraculously there turned out to be another sister, Rose McGowan as Paige Matthews, who Piper and Phoebe’s Mom had after her divorce from their father, with her Whitelighter. A Whitelighter is a guardian angel for good witches and future Whitelighters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days of Halloween – The Headless Horseman of Silly Hollow at The Center for Puppetry Arts
Monday was Lil' Troublemaker's birthday, so on Tuesday we took him out of school to see the current family performance at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts. 

31 Days of Halloween - Movie Review - Detention

I had planned on reviewing the movie Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead today, but I was so deeply underwhelmed with it that I just don't have enough to say about it either good or bad. It wasn't good enough for me to talk about how much I liked it, and it wasn't bad enough for me to tear it a new one. Instead I'll be using my time to talk about what is easily the best movie I've seen this month: Detention. See my husband and I always take advantage of the Halloween season by watching as many previously unseen horror movies as we can. We usually start at the top rated Netflix movies and work our way down, and there were several that had 3 or more stars that I added to our viewing list. Detention was the very best of those. It came out in 2011, but I hadn't heard of it before, and imagine it only got what moderate play it did from the fact that it stars and was co-produced by Peeta from the Hunger Games. I know he has a real name, and I don't care. He's Peeta from the Hunger Games forever. If he has to live with it so do you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - The Horror Of Rob Zombie By R.T. Ewell

I was a pretty big fan of White Zombie in the 90's which of course was led by lead singer Rob Zombie. Their hit More Human Than Human was played more times than I could count. It's also one that I still consider a kick ass song. If I want to get fired up, than thats the one that I want to penetrate my ears. In the late 90's I remember hearing rumblings of Zombie wanting to pursue a career in film with a horror movie that he had written. I can't remember the exact timeline of when he started to film, when he finished the film, and when the film was released but I know it was years between each other with a hint of controversy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - The Zombie 5,000 (Final Installment) By R.T. Ewell

The Zombie 5,000 is a short story that is exactly 5,000 words with the undead as the subject matter. The story is ten chapters so each one has five hundred words (minus the chapter titles) in it. This story is only available to read on Needless Things! Every Saturday in the month of October, a new installment will be released with the conclusion happening right here on the last Saturday (which just so happens to be today!) of the month!

Below is the fourth & final installment of The Zombie 5,000. If you missed the previous installment don't fret just Click Here to read the third installment!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 37: New York Comic Con 2014 & Toy Guru Leaves

In this week's episode we divert from Halloween festivities (sorry, boils and ghouls) to address what is potentially the biggest news the toy industry has seen in over a decade - Scott Nietlich - AKA Toy Guru - has resigned from Mattel due to an offer from an as-yet unnamed competitor.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Beth V's Saturday Walker Stalker Con Recap

After a fairly inauspicious start to the con on Friday I was hoping for a little more on Saturday. More attendees, more celebrities, and just generally more to do. I got most of what I wanted and in some cases a little more than I wanted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Comic Book Wednesday - Horror Visits Riverdale (A Look At Afterlife With Archie) By R.T. Ewell

When I was growing up, most of my friends liked the superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. I like those characters as well but more when I was a teenager. When I was young, let's say, under ten it wasn't a superhero that I looked up to or enjoyed to read. It was this normal, everyday guy named Archie Andrews.