Monday, June 30, 2014

Turtles in the Bay – Thoughts On the New Ninja Turtles Movie

For some odd reason I feel it necessary to share my thoughts on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Possibly because there’s a lot of hate online that I feel is, at this stage, unwarranted. I posted the second trailer for the movie on Facebook the other day, and while the comments in my own post were mostly positive, I saw a post elsewhere (and if this person saw mine and decided to start their own complaining post I appreciate that) that was a whole bunch of people that absolutely hate this movie. Most of whom have presumably not seen it yet. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Toy Commentary - Masters of the Universe Classics 2015

A few days ago the following message was posted on This was following the release of the above ominous image on Matty’s Facebook page.

This post does not specifically describe 2015 as the final year of Masters of the Universe Classics. It does, however, outline some interesting things about the 2015 Club Eternia subscription, which goes on sale starting today. My reactions are notated in purple.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Video Games Aren't Funny?!?

I recently read an article on asking if video games can ever be funny. It suggests that while video games have yet to be funny, that some may be emerging in the near future. While I might agree that historically video games might not have been chock full o’ jokes, there are indeed some extremely funny games out there already. Sure there are a lot of very serious shot ‘em ups and RPGs in the world of gaming, but games are as diverse as the people who play them. Gamers aren’t all super intense dudes out for blood or adorable little children playing pretty pony salon, and games have to appeal to different groups to grab an audience. They’re about entertainment, and some of us are greatly entertained by humor. Don't get me wrong, I love a serious zombie killing or intense RPG, but I'm just not always in the mood. Sometimes I want to kill, sometimes I want to chill, and sometimes I want a good laugh. While movies and TV offer plenty of that it's nice to interact with the jokes in a game now and then. It can also lighten up what could otherwise be some pretty serious story telling. There have been a lot of games that tried and failed to be funny, but there are also many that have succeeded. To prove my point here’s a list of some of the best. In order of my favorites, of course…

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Wrestling Fan's Best Friend by R.T. Ewell

The WWE Network has been a long time coming. Two years ago WWE was running ads for it including original programming on their flagship show Monday Night Raw. In fact, all of their shows were soon flooded with ads talking about how the network was about a year away from being available on your local cable and satellite providers. Well, the time came and went and surprise, surprise - no WWE Network.

Apparently it was a tough sell. I mean it was promised to be 24/7 programming of nonstop wrestling. In case you haven't noticed, the wrestling business doesn't have the following it used to. Back in the mid to late 90s explosion I'm sure it could have been easier to convince the big wigs that this was a good idea.

So earlier this year WWE held a live press conference (I believe on YouTube) and the buzz was that it was concerning the network. Well, the buzz was correct. WWE announced that the WWE Network was just a few months away but the news that followed surprised many including me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 26: LEGO Master Builder Chris Steininger

Everything really is awesome.

Today's Needless Things Podcast continues my special LEGO coverage that is leading up to this weekend's LEGO KidsFest at the Cobb Galleria Centre. I had the opportunity to talk to somebody that I consider to be a true superhero of the toy industry – LEGO Master Builder Chris Steninger.

Monday, June 23, 2014

LEGO® KidsFest Atlanta, Georgia

Award-winning interactive event makes its Georgia premiere
June 27 - 29, 2014

Okay, Phantomaniacs – time for something I have never done before.
If you’ve been following Needless Things for any amount of time, you know that I’ve never done any kind of press release stuff. Partially because it’s not really my thing, but mostly because I can’t seem to convince anybody to give me anything for free. I did a little bit for Dragon Con last year despite the fact that I had already paid for my badge and feel like I do more than enough by way of coverage for those guys anyway; but I’ve never done anything for a major corporate entity.
Until today!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Best Cartoon Ever (of the Month) - Beetlejuice by Kalan

Greetings Ghouls and Goblins! I know it's been more than a month since we last gathered for cartoony goodness, but give a ghoul a break, I've been working and making a surprisingly successful attempt at a social life! That doesn't mean I've forgotten about you nor have I abandoned my love of all things animated. I've been watching cartoons that don't meet the criteria for this article – like a pallet cleanser of sorts.... for my brain. Thanks to the rather persistent nagging of everyone Phavorite Phantom and a renewed enthusiasm for cartoony reviewing, HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Saturday Morning Fever By R.T. Ewell

If you are over the age of 30(ish), when I mention Saturday mornings you will automatically think of one thing. Cartoons. That's right, years and years ago, cartoons dominated almost all of the networks for most of the morning. Being that I am of the ripe old age of thirty six, I will be talking about my experience from roughly about 1984 till 1993.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heroes Convention 2014 Preview

I went into last year’s Heroes Con with absolutely no idea of what I was going to do or who I was going to talk to and ended up getting a number of fantastic interviews. I did lose one of those interviews, but this year I have an actual digital recorder instead of a phone app, so hopefully that won’t be an issue.
What might be an issue is once again having to overcome my desire to not bother people. It’s a powerful thing, you guys.
This year is going to be different because rather than staying at the lovely Westin we are spending Thursday night at the Hilton and staying with friends that live nearby – hopefully very nearby – Friday and Saturday night. This will save us a good bit of money; possibly even enough to cover that Imperial Shuttle I bought at Wizard World.
Oddly, this should free me up to investigate some of the nightlife that occurs at Heroes. Since we treat this as our family Con we always have Lil’ Troublemaker with us and that limits our ability to go out at night. But now I know I will at least have Friday night to see what’s happening in the Charlotte superhero scene. Of course, here’s the thing about that – I have no idea what’s going on. Unlike Dragon Con, the Heroes evening activities are unrelated to the con. So you can’t just go to the website and see what’s happening. And I don’t really have any connections in Charlotte so I’m going to have to figure out how to find out where things are going on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Want New Playsets

The other day I wrote a thing about playsets that was supposed to be sort of nostalgic and fun. I mentioned some favorite playsets from my childhood. The plan was to lead into a list of playsets that I would want to see now. Instead, I tapered off into a depressing reminiscence of my parents and old toys. I never made it to the new playsets thing because I had to stop writing before I threw myself off a cliff.

But today I will stay on track! I am older and wiser and won’t spend any more time looking at the past! Unless I need to do a post on old toys or something.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Vintage Troublemaker: Year 34

New logo by Belligerent Monkey!
This was originally posted on May 11, 2009 – the day after my thirty-third birthday. I am reposting it now because I just did a thing about Star Trek and next week I’m going to be reviewing the Masters of the Universe Classics version of the character Blade from the 1987 Masters movie.
I made the decision to clean this article up and re-post it while I was writing the introductory paragraph for Blade. I was going to say some things about the Masters motion picture and then remembered I had already said some things about it and that I was mostly right that time.
This was basically just a recap of my birthday weekend. Five years ago I used to celebrate my birthday by watching movies with friends and stuff instead of just being at my shitty job all weekend. HAHAHA NO – I’m not bitter at all!
So I had this weekend that was so awesome and full of dorkery that I was compelled to write about it. I think it’s a fun piece. I have cleaned up my grammar – which was not as good in 2009 – and added in some pictures and stuff. Also, I stand by most of these reviews. My opinions haven’t changed on any of them. Except GI Joe – I’ll explain when I get to that. Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: Saturday Night’s Alright (for Phantoming)

I just got some very important, game-changing news and I’m sharing it here first because you guys deserve that for being loyal readers.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Toy Review – Doctor Who Captain Jack Harkness by Underground Toys/Character Options

I think pretty much everybody loves Captain Jack Harkness. Certainly Captain Jack does.

Jack Harkness is probably one of the best things to happen to Doctor Who since the return in 2005. He’s a proactive character that very much has his own agenda and is not beholden to the Doctor, but at the same time when he shows up the story doesn’t switch to focus on him. He enhances the show without taking the spotlight away from the title character. And thanks to the natural charm and ability of John Barrowman, Harkness very much feels like a character that has a life of his own; even before he got his own spinoff series in Torchwood.
This figure is specifically from Doctor Who, so I’m not going to discuss Torchwood here. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ancient Toys of Yesteryear: Star Trek by Playmates

***NOTE: This is part retrospective, part review, and part opinion piece. This is by no means a comprehensive look at Playmates Toys’ Star Trek line. It is, however, a lot longer than I originally intended.***

I’m on a huge Star Trek kick right now. These things happen to me occasionally – when one of my secondary loves will take front and center for reasons that may or may not be clear.
Before any Trekkies that might be reading this stand up and go sputtering out of the room (or just click away from the page), let me explain that whole “secondary” thing:

I fucking love Star Trek. The original series is sacred to me in a way that not many things in the media are. I think the sixties Batman TV show is the only other thing that occupies the same sort of place in my heart. Those two shows were in syndication when I was a small child and were the first television programs that I would say I was devoted to. The Monkees is probably up there as well, but for obvious reasons does not have the same staying power as Star Trek and Batman.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 25: Tim Clarke

Join Phantom Troublemaker and Mr. Beau Brown as we talk with Tim Clarke!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Maleficent Review

Tis’ the season for big blockbuster movies featuring lots of CGI. So rather than go see X-Men: Days of Future Past yet again, last week we decided to go and see Maleficent. I like fairies and shit like that, and I figured Angelina Jolie would make a pretty good evil bitch. There are lots of fairies, and Angelina certainly is evil, but there’s also plenty of stupid to go around.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Toy Review – Star Wars: The 6” Black Series #06 Boba Fett

Boba Fett is my favorite. Definitely from Star Wars, maybe from everything. I’d have to seriously consider that one.

People either hate Boba Fett because they feel like a character with roughly 14 seconds of screen time across six hours’ worth of movies doesn’t deserve love, or they love him because… well, lots of different reasons.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Walking Dead Escape Atlanta 2014

This post is actually a continuation of Tuesday’s Wizard World Atlanta recap. You don’t have to read that if you haven’t already, but you might as well. It’s where I tell you how Jonathan of got me a media pass for The Walking Dead Escape at Phillips Arena last Saturday.

The first I ever heard of the Walking Dead Escape was before 2013’s San Diego Comic Con. I wanted to say that G4 did a report on it, but I’m pretty sure G4 was already dead by then – and my heart still aches with the loss of X-Play and Attack of the Show; though the latter died long before it went off the air. I saw a report about it being a presentation from Skybound – Robert Kirkman’s publishing imprint under Image Comics. This is important because it means that the attraction is based on the comic book and not AMC’s television series. This is reflected in the art related to the event as well as the font used on the event’s promotional materials and merchandise.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews June 2014: DAMMIT!

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, June 3, 2014

Wizard World Atlanta 2014

I had a busy and awesome weekend.

I knew that I would be attending Wizard World Atlanta on Saturday. I didn’t attend the show a couple of years ago, but I didn’t hear anything good about it. This year’s production looked a little more interesting and appeared to be put together more professionally. As a member of the media I was intrigued by the idea of attending a big media convention and reporting on the differences between it and my beloved fan cons. It would be an opportunity to provide the Phantomaniacs with an engrossing article about the success (or lack thereof) of Wizard’s transition from influential publishing entity to traveling media convention.
Also, Karen Gillan was going to be there.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Toy Review – Batman: Arkham Origins Deadshot from DC Collectibles

The other night we downloaded the new “Cold, Cold Heart” level for Batman: Arkham Origins. It’s pretty fun, though it has the same lazy design as the main game. Rather than creating innovative and thoughtful challenges they just throw a bunch of generic, too-powerful bad guys at you. It’s still fun, but there’s just that feeling of cheap difficulty rather than genuine challenge so far.

The new designs in the game, however, are fantastic. There’s a new Batsuit and a new (old) Mr. Freeze design that demand the action figure treatment. They are both dynamic and intricate designs that will look great in plastic.

As opposed to today’s puffy-jacketed, generic villain.