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Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Comic #1 – The Review

On September 12th 2018, Dark Horse will be releasing Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Comic #1. The 32 page first issue bring the riffing of MST3K off of your television screen and onto the pages of a comic book. Created for comics by Joel Hodgson, the comic book finds some of your favorite occupants of The Satellite of Love foisted into the 1962 (thankfully, now, public domain) comic book Johnny Jason Teen Reporter. But Johnny Jason is played by Tom Servo.

I've been a big MST3K fan for a very long time. The show got me through many a year of college. And since then, I've turned my kids onto the show, back their Kickstarter project, and seen the first of two live shows. And even I was a little skeptical about how the concept (bringing MST3K to comics) would work. After reading the first issue...I'm sold.

Dark Horse, Joel, the other writers and artists have cobbled together something I've never seen before. It's a property that works equally well on the screen as the page...taking advantage of entirely different formats. Instead of sitting in front of the film and riffing, the characters are within the comic book making jokes. And you can see what's been changed by mark of the speech/thought bubbles.

My opinion: This is a must buy for Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans. Or fans of classic comic books. Or fans of things that are funny. 

For a look at some of the pages, check out below. There's also a variant cover by longtime MST3K DVD artist Steve Vance. And if you're in the mood to read the original public domain comic Jonah and The Bots invade, check out Johnny Jason Teen Report #2 at ComicBook+. Spoiler Alert: the original isn't nearly as funny as the MST3K version.

REVIEW: Hashtag Collectibles – Weird Animals

When you think of stuffed animals, images of teddy bears, puppies, and cats probably speckle your mind. You likely aren’t thinking about cuddly water bears or roly poly pill bugs. But Hashtag Collectibles is bringing a boatload of weird animals to plush collections around the world. They’ve sent us a handful (more like two handfuls) of their unique cuddly creatures to get a closer look at them.

Pangolin ($39.99)
Hashtag’s plush pangolin is much cuter than the real thing. I had never heard of the pangolin, so I had no idea what it was or how it looked. After doing a little research (yeah…just Googling), I came across an animal that looks fairly similar to an armadillo. No, these scaly anteaters aren’t bright pink. And they do have long, slender necks and tails. But, for some reason, I don’t think a scientifically accurate pangolin plush would be as cute as this one.

Mudskipper Mini ($15.99)
The mudskipper definitely qualifies as a weird animal. While I was already familiar with the animal (if only from Ren and Stimpy’s Muddy Mudskipper Show), I wasn’t aware that these amphibious fish can actually survive on land for three and a half days. Hashtag went for a look that’s quite close to that of Muddy, giving their mudskipper a blue-green body and blue fins/tail. And he/she has got a big old smile...or is just gasping for air.

Pill Bug Mini ($14.99)
When I was a youngster, I used to dig up all sort of creatures and put them into a homemade terrarium. Pill bugs were heavily represented, as they were in abundance. But I had no idea that they were actually a land crustacean. Yes…like a crab or a lobster. One thing I do remember is that pill bugs are not blue. But Hashtag’s version is by far better looking than the original. And if you try, you can probably scrunch the Pill Bug Mini into a little ball.

Blobfish Mini ($14.99)
Hashtag Collectibles’ blobfish plush is probably their most popular. I think folks like it because of how close it resembles the infamous blobfish photo that circulated several years ago (and likely freaked a lot of people out). This version of the deep-sea fish has its well-known frown and disturbingly human-like nose. This is one of their characters that they have available in all different sizes...including a pair of slippers.

Water Bear Mini ($14.99)
The Water Bear, or Tardigrade, is one of the most resilient animals on the face of the earth, being able to live through extreme temperatures and bouts of dehydration/starvation. Hashtag’s version is equally resilient. I watched my children toss it back and forth to each other without the little Water Bear taking any damage. This plush ‘weird animal’ might be my favorite of the lot, with it’s simple blue color palette and big black eyes.

REVIEW: January 2018 Loot Crate

The January 2018 Loot Crate theme is Discovery.  “The well-worn road is safe, but it hides no secrets. The path less taken is bumpy, almost impassable at times, but if you travel on it, you may find hidden truths, strange worlds, or a whole new destiny. Go ahead. Explore. You’ll be amazed by what you… Discover.

The crate includes the following exclusive items.

Westworld Maze Pin
Licensed by Warner Bros. Made by Loot Crate.
From the hit HBO show Westworld, this pin shows the maze that’s part of the Man in Black’s mysterious background.

Rick and Morty T-Shirt
Licensed by Cartoon Network. Art by Anthony Petrie.
This white t-shirt features a cross-section of Rick Sanchez’s brain. This art was originally seen at the Official Rick and Morty Show that took place at Gallery1988, last year. If you were ever wondering what was on Rick’s mind, well…now you know.

Harry Potter Socks
Licensed by Warner Bros. Made by HYP Hosiery.
What Harry Potter fan wouldn’t want to show off their fandom on their feet? Loot Crate has included a pair of Harry Potter-styled socks that feature the Sorting Hat and each house’s animal emblem.

X-Files Card Game
Licensed by Twentieth Century Fox. Made by IDW Publishing.
All packed up in an FBI looking wallet, the X-Files game is made for two players. You can choose to play as either Mulder or Scully…and I’m sure you’ll be solving some very important mysteries.

Westworld SuperEmoScenes Diorama Figure
Licensed by Warner Bros. Made by Loot Crate.
Artist J Salvador returns with another (the second) exclusive SuperEmoScenes diorama. This one features Dolores and Bernard in what was one of the most iconic scenes from Season 1 of Westworld.

REVIEW: Hashtag Collectibles – Purritos

What do you get when you cross a kitten with a burrito? No, not a #4 from somewhere in taco hell. It’s the Purritos line of plush kitties from Hashtag Collectibles.

Available in three different flavors, these 7-inch tall plush kittens are wrapped in a custom-made, super-soft baby blanket.

The names of the Purritos are Mochi (pink), Pork Bun (yellow), and Tuna (blue). And each plush character has a specific personality.

Mochi: A little shy, and a lot sweet, this kitten hates baths and loves pushing things off desks.

Pork Bun: This high-strung cutie is terrified of mice but can’t resist a good old-fashioned cardboard box.

Tuna: Cheerful and rowdy, Tuna prefers salmon treats and will wake you up by sleeping on your face.

In addition to their unique colors, each Purritos plush features a different expression. Mochi has a frown. Pork Bun looks like she’s going to hiss at you. And Tuna is happy with her eyes closed.

You can order the Purritos for $14.99 each. Or, you can grab the trio for $44.97. When you order the Purrito Special, you get all three kittens wrapped up in foil. (The individual versions are not wrapped in foil)

The Facts



Purritos
Manufacturer: Hashtag Collectibles
Material: Plush
Dimensions: 7 inches tall
Designs: Mochi (pink), Pork Bun (yellow), and Tuna (blue)
Pricing: $14.99 each

You can pick one up at the following:
Hashtag Collectibles: $14.99 each

REVIEW: DST – The Dark Tower Action Figures

If you go by what critics have to say, you’d likely want to steer clear of the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Currently, Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 16% for the movie. That’s not too good. It's like in Adam Sandler movie range. But the audience score is almost 50%.

Being a big fan of the book series, I was looking forward to seeing a big screen version of the epic story. Unfortunately, they decided to not simply adapt King’s stories. They went in a new direction, telling a new story with the main characters from the books

I might be in the minority, but I actually enjoyed the movie for what it was. It was entertaining. The movie definitely wasn’t anywhere on the same level as the books. But it was more watchable than the critics would have you believe.

There were some collectible tie-ins, including several series of toys from Diamond Select Toys. In this review, we’re looking at the pair of action figures that DST released based on the two main characters – The Gunslinger and The Man in Black.

The Gunslinger features the likeness of actor Idris Elba in his cowboy-themed outfit. The figure comes with a pair of pistols, which can be held in special pistol grip hands. Or you can go the non-violent holstered route. There's also the Horn of Eld - which I don't even remember seeing in the movie.

The figure includes a background diorama, which appears to be from Jake Chambers’ room. There are several stickers (each depicting one of Jake’s drawings) that you can slap onto a bulletin board on the diorama’s wall.

The Man in Black also includes a diorama background. His is from the abandoned house that Jake visits. It says “All Hail The Crimson King” on the wall.

The Man in Black figure is based on the likeness of Matthew McConaughey from the film. His lone accessory is a crystal ball that you can sort of balance in either open palm hand. Luckily, since the ball is fairly small, DST includes an extra crystal ball wrapped up in a baggy. (You’ll likely either lose the first one, or – what happened to me – a cat played with it until it ended up under the kitchen stove.

In terms of 7-inch tall action figures, the sculpts of both actors are very good. They are done by Gentle Giant Studios, who are known to produce high level sculpt. These are both recognizable versions of their on-screen counterparts. The paintwork could have been better, but it’s actually slightly above average for figures of this scale.

The number of accessories for The Gunslinger are adequate. The Man in Black is a little light on accessories. Although, I’m not sure what additional accessories are needed with either figure.

For years, I’ve been hoping for a line of action figures (or 1/6th scale) based on an artist rendition of the characters from The Dark Tower book series. I’m not sure if that will ever happen. Nonetheless, getting action figures based on a film version of these characters is a nice consolation.

Luckily for collectors, Diamond Select Toys has the license. And they’ve done a solid job with both of these figures. And at $24.99 each, you definitely won’t break the bank collecting the entire season.

The Facts



The Dark Tower Action Figures
Series: The Dark Tower
Manufacturer: Diamond Select Toys
Sculpted by: Gentle Giant Studios
Material: Plastic
Authorized Likeness: Idris Elba as The Gunslinger; Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black
Dimensions: Approximately 7 inches tall
Points of Articulation: About 14 points
Designs: The Gunslinger; The Man in Black
Accessories: The Gunslinger – pair of guns, Horn of Eld, background diorama, 5 total hands; The Man in Black – background diorama, crystal ball
Pricing: $24.99 each

You can pick one up at the following:

Diamond Select Toys: $24.99 each
Amazon.com: $24.96 each

REVIEW: NECA – Ashy Slashy Puppet

It takes a special person to be an Evil Dead fan. You definitely can’t have a weak stomach. And you’ll need to have a gross sense of humor. Luckily, I’m one of those people.

So, when Starz announced they would be producing the Ash vs. Evil Dead television series (featuring Bruce Campbell), I was super excited. Surprisingly, it’s been critically acclaimed and the crew of Ash, Kelly, and Pablo will be fighting Deadites into a third season in 2018.

If you watched all of Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead, there’s one episode that likely sticks out to you. The 18th overall series episode, Ashy Slashy features a significant “death”. But it’s really the foul-mouthed puppet that makes this one memorable.

The Ashy Slashy Puppet features all of Ash Williams’s undesirable traits - crude and obnoxious. And there’s even a little violent streak (especially towards Kelly) in its stuffing. But whenever it’s on the screen, it steals the scene.

We’ll leave it to NECA to recreate and produce the Ashy Slashy puppet as a collectible replica. The company that’s known for releasing affordable pop culture replicas has dropped a workable version of the Deadite puppet.

The first thing I noticed after taking the Ashy Slashy puppet out of the packaging was that there’s a large cardboard cylinder stuffed up inside of it. It might look like it’s just there to puff up the plush. But don’t throw it away! It’s there so you can display the plush puppet up on a shelf.

The puppet is a stellar replica of the on-screen version. I wasn’t able to pick out any significant differences between the two. It’s shocking that this is only retailing for $59.99.

The plush puppet is designed to look like the series’ main character – Ash. It’s sporting a denim shirt with brown pants. There are a lot of buttons, including a pair for eyes. And the little guy even has Ash’s chainsaw right hand and a few streaks of grey hairs.

Ashy Slashy features a pair of wire armatures inside of the puppet’s arms. This allows you to pose the arms and gives them added stability when working the puppet. Also, if you’re wanting to actually use the puppet, the inside of the mouth includes a pair of cutouts that you slip your fingers into. The lone complaint I have is that there’s no hem on the bottom of the pants, so it will start fraying with any extended “playing with”.

Considering I had my 6-year-old son running around the house with a crazed puppet on his hand, yelling “Ashy Slashy!”, I’d have to say it’s fairly easy to use. And while it would make a great addition to something like a children’s puppet theater, I’d probably limit it to a displayable collectible.

And what a collectible it is. I’d definitely recommend the Ashy Slashy puppet for those folks who are fans of any of the Evil Dead titles. It’s not really limited to viewers of the Ash vs Evil Dead series (even though that’s the lone place where the puppet appeared). Just imagine the joy in your children’s eyes as a puppet-sized version of Ash Williams reads them classic bedtime tales from the Necronomicon.

The Facts



Ashy Slashy Replica Puppet
Series: Ash vs. Evil Dead
Manufacturer: NECA
Material: Plush puppet with wire armature arms
Dimensions: Approximately 15 inches tall
Pricing: $59.99

Pick one up at the following:

Amazon.com: $59.99

REVIEW: Aaron Judge Ballers

Aaron Judge had a pretty solid rookie season. In addition to winning the AL Rookie of the Year award, he was second in the AL MVP voting. Plus, he led the league in homers, runs scored, walks, and (unfortunately) strikeouts.

And since Sports Crate hadn’t released his likeness as a part of their Ballers line, it just makes sense for Judge to be the 5th Yankees’ player to be added to the stylized line.

This is the second round of figures featuring the newly-designed Ballers body. I’m a fan of the enhancements that they made to the figure. It’s more solid. You don’t have the loose ankle joints, which made displaying a little difficult. But they’ve kept the great, stylized look of the series.

And while I had some issues with the svelteness of last Yankees’ Crate Ballers figure – C.C. Sabathia – the Judge figure is an excellent likeness. (Although, he is missing the gap between his front teeth that’s shown on the illustrated box art.)

The Judge figure comes with a pair of accessories for displaying. There’s a stand, in the shape of a base. Also, the figure includes a baseball bat. I did notice that this figure didn’t have the interchangeable gloved hand, which the old design would include.

Of course, this is only one of the items that’s included in a Sports Crate. You’ll get other team specific collectibles, such as t-shirts, cups, games, and plenty of other things. And while those items vary, there’s a Ballers figure included in every Crate. Also, included with every Ballers figure is a Topps trading card of that player.

The Facts



Aaron Judge Ballers
Series: Ballers
Manufacturer: Loot Crate/Sports Crate
Material: Plastic
Authorized Likeness: Aaron Judge
Dimensions: 4.75 inches tall
Points of Articulation: 21
Accessories: Bat; Plate figure stand
Pricing: Included in $29.99 Sports Crate

Pick one up at the following:

SportsCrate.com: $29.99 (includes a Crate full of other team-related items)