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tom-whalen-autobots-acidfree-gallery

Tom Whalen Has Released Transformers Miniprints

I may not know art but I know that I like Tom Whalen’s artwork. I bet if you do a quick search here on The Retroist you will see we dig his style. The Wolf Man, Popeye, The Great Pumpkin, The Goonies, The Twilight Zone, Gigantor, and even Soundwave from the Transformers.

They have all been subjects of Tom Whalen and to a one are beautiful illustrations. He has managed to capture the spirit – the essence of each subject perfectly. The other day at the Acidfree Gallery they began to sell limited edition prints of Tom Whalen’s take on the Transformers. Some of the iconic Generation One Transformers that is!

Makant88

So which Transformers made the cut?


Tom Whalen has split the miniprints into two different sets. The heroic Autobots and the dastardly Decepticons of course. First up let us take a look at which of the Autobots were chosen…
Optimus Prime. Hey, can you really pick a more iconic character than the leader of the Autobots?
All images courtesy of Tom Whalen and Acidfree Gallery.

All images courtesy of Tom Whalen and Acidfree Gallery.


Prowl
tom-whalen-prowl-acidfree-gallery
Ratchet
tom-whalen-ratchet-acidfree-gallery
Bumblebee
tom-whalen-bumblebee-acidfree-gallery
Jazz
tom-whalen-jazz-acidfree-gallery
Also included and as the Acidfree Gallery states on their site – Tom Whalen’s illustration for Ironhide will be randomly inserted. Only twenty of the Ironhide miniprints will be made by the way. So he is the chase miniprint I guess you can say?
tom-whalen-ironhide-acidfree-gallery

Which Decepticons did Tom Whalen choose?


I think that the artist went with some rather interesting choices with the ‘Decticreeps’. It is completely understandable of course that Megatron was picked – especially with Prime chosen for the Autobots.
All images courtesy of Tom Whalen and Acidfree Gallery.

All images courtesy of Tom Whalen and Acidfree Gallery.


Starscream is a solid choice as well…
tom-whalen-starscream-acidfree-gallery
As is Soundwave. Three solid characters that make up the core of the Decepticon forces.
tom-whalen-soundwave-acidfree-gallery
Tom Whalen might have went with another of the Seekers like Thundercracker or even Skywarp but chose Shockwave
tom-whalen-shockwave-acidfree-gallery
The artist also chose to shine the spotlight on Rumble instead of say Laserbeak or Ravage.
tom-whalen-rumble-acidfree-gallery
For the Decepticons it is Frenzy that has been given the honor of being the chase Miniprint.
tom-whalen-frenzy-acidfree-gallery

So that makes actually three of the illustrations for the Decepticons that involved Soundwave in one form or another. Which if Transformers: The Movie taught us anything is logical as Soundwave is superior…

Karulovecat

Each set of five miniprints will cost fifty dollars and there are some variant versions that run a little higher. I can only tell you that there are differences in what looks to be the material it is printed on. Although some of the higher priced sets include original sketches by Tom Whalen. So if your home or office need some beautiful Transformers artwork I suggest you hop on over to Acidfree Gallery.

red_dwarf_the_end

What the SMEG is a SMEGAZINE?

And if you don’t know what a SMEG is…

Sensible readers amongst you might guess that a smegazine is the PR exercise of the high-end Italian appliance-maker Smeg. It isn’t. The British readers amongst you will almost certainly jump to a conclusion about the mining ship “Red Dwarf” and her crew. They, or course, would be abso-smegging-lutely right!

Red Dwarf, the TV show, is about to start broadcasting its 11th series, some 28 years after its 1988 debut. For many British sci-fi fans, this is very special, as we’ve grown up with the ‘boys from the Dwarf’.

The series premise is pure comedy gold; the Mining Ship ‘Red Dwarf’ finds itself far from Earth, 3 million years into the future, with a crew consisting of Dave Lister (the last Human alive), his evolved cat (the aptly named Cat!), a Hologram of Arnold J. Rimmer (the long-dead crew member who spoke the most words to Dave, most of which were Smeg!) and Holly, a super-computer with an IQ of 6000 who has gone a little peculiar during her time alone. A later series introduced the service mechanoid Kryten.

Now, onto that Smegazine…

smegazine issue 1

In 1992, after 4 increasingly successful seasons, Red Dwarf gained its first monthly magazine. Issue 1 (above) was jut a magazine (that couldn’t be sold to SMEG HEADS). By issue 3 they’d coined a new term, and the smegazine was born. Running for 23 issues, the smegazine contained a mixture of news, reviews, interviews, comic strips and competitions and you can read them over at archive.org – you’d be a total gimboid to ignore the opportunity, the comics are a particular highlight!

Issues one to three contain a comic for the first TV episode ‘The End’ and the artwork is amazing! Other highlights in issue one include a beginners guide, an interview with Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Holly’s Amazing Facts (including her fascination with footballer Kevin Keegan!), a surprisingly in-depth Studio Report, and lots of silly competition and trivia pages. Issue two has details of America’s attempt to re-create the show, the start of a TV series guide to the episodes thus far (in the wrong order!) and the diaries of Arnold J Rimmer! Seriously, go and start reading them!

smegazine issues 2 and 3

You might have spotted that I mentioned a US pilot. You can see the first 1992 pilot over on Youtube… warning, it isn’t great!

And for reasons that are ‘too stupid to go into’, they had a second stab at another pilot IN THE SAME YEAR! Warning, this isn’t great either!

Fortunately the British original has plenty of clips on Youtube to remind you of its brilliance!

What a SMEG HEAD!

lego-dimension-knight-rider-set-io9

There Is A LEGO Knight Rider Set. No, Really!

That isn’t a fanmade Knight Rider set from the Brothers Brick, that is an official LEGO set – a Knight Rider set that should hit store shelves next February.

So this Knight Rider set means LEGO is going to take over the world, right?


Pretty much. At least in regards to pop culture retro related properties. I mean, please don’t get me wrong but who is it that you think LEGO is aiming this Knight Rider set to? I say it is most definitely the likes of us that visit The Retroist!

That isn’t all that LEGO is making for us retro-minded fans though. I previously shared the information about the upcoming LEGO Dimensions sets besides Knight Rider back in June. You might remember we are also getting Gremlins
lego-dimensions-gremlins
The A-Team
lego-dimensions-the-a-team
Mission Impossible
lego-dimensions-mission-impossible
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
lego-dimensions-e-t-the-extra-terrestrial
and last but not least The Goonies – or at least Sloth from that film.
lego-dimensions-sloth-the-goonies

Why should we care about a LEGO Knight Rider though?


I know there may be a few of you out there that are asking yourself this very question. You are all dead to me. Just kidding of course – but how can you not get excited about a LEGO minifig version of David Hasselhoff, I mean Michael Knight?
Image courtesy of io9.

Image courtesy of io9.


My friends, please listen to me. We are lucky enough to live in a time where by next year you will be able to have Dr. Peter Venkman of 1984’s Ghostbusters driving K.I.T.T. through Gremlins’ Kingston Falls!
Image courtesy of io9.

Image courtesy of io9.


I kind of think that LEGO has made some amazing and excellent choices with Knight Rider and the other retro properties. In fact I believe I couldn’t be more impressed if they suddenly announced they were releasing a set for…

A huge thank you to Andrew Liszewski of io9 for the heads up on the Knight Rider set. Hey, if like myself you are geeking out over this release and need to pass the time until February, you can always keep Hasselhoff’s True Survivor on constant loop, right?

[via] DavidHasselhoffVEVO

automan-toy-acamas-toys

There Was An Automan Action Figure?!

Automan was a television series that aired on ABC starting in 1983 for a mere one season. Obviously inspired by TRON which the showrunners must have believed was going to be the megahit of 1982 – sadly, much like that film this sci-fi/superhero series failed to find it’s intended audience.

Image courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Image courtesy of Shout! Factory.


In all honesty – the reason I loved the series so much is that Automan premiered at the exact right time for someone like myself who was devoted to video games, computers and of course TRON. Even though it took far too long in my humble opinion, Shout! Factory has come to the rescue and released all 13 episodes on DVD.

Video S.

So what is Automan about?


Automan was the brainchild of the late great Glen A. Larson who you might know from Battlestar Galactica, B.J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, and Magnum P.I. to name a few. The story is about a Police Officer named Walter Nenicher, played by Desi Arnaz, Jr. who is also a computer programmer. One night at the station while working on a holographic program for an ‘Automatic Man’ – the creation is brought to life and the duo quickly team up to fight crime. Automan by the way was played by Chuck Wagner.

The duo were helped by Automan’s sidekick named Cursor who could ‘draw’ solid light creations for Automan and Walter when needed like a car that was capable of 90-degree turns…
automan-car
…a helicopter which was always my person favorite…
automan-helicopter
and even a combination of car and jet when needed.
automan-car-jet
I remember once or twice that Cursor also became a motorcycle – I just couldn’t find any images of it.

Thanks for the history lesson, now what about this Automan toy?


Why is everyone in such a hurry these days? I was getting to the point. While I was certainly a fan of the television show the disappointing ratings not only killed any hopes for a second season but the prospect of toys. Or at least that is what I always thought. It turns out that the series did in fact have quite a few toys created – the catch though is they weren’t sold in America.

I was under the impression for the past 33 years that there was no merchandise whatsoever – so when I stumbled across an image of the Automan action figure by Acamas Toys the other day…I naturally assumed it was a fake. A custom figure. I was totally wrong.
automan-toy-acamas-toys
A big thank you to 80sKid.Com for the images you see below – because Halloween costumes, die-cast vehicles, and even a toy watch that launched ‘drone’ copters were made and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com

Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com


Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com

Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com


Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com

Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com


Take a closer look at that Automan costume set – 80sKid.Com totally has it signed by Chuck Wagner!
Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com

Image courtesy of 80sKid.Com


So when you have a few moments, make sure to visit 80sKid.Com and check out all of the merchandise that was created for Automan…if you need me I will be on eBay trying to get some of this stuff for myself.

Chuck Wagner
Wait a minute…that last video is from Chuck Wagner?! Like as in the actor who played Automan?

retro-radio-memories-ep-77

Retro Radio Memories Ep. 077 (The Batman Mystery Club)

The Batman Mystery Club is a failed 1950 radio pilot whose aim was to help secure a radios series for Batman and Robin. Naturally. They had enjoyed success on their guest appearances upon the hugely popular The Adventures of Superman television show, so why not their own vehicle?

Why didn’t The Batman Mystery Club not get picked up?


Well, contrary to popular opinion on the subject matter, the Joker wasn’t behind this Old Time Radio series being picked up. The truth of it is that no one really knows why it wasn’t given the greenlight…or I guess that should be the Bat-Signal, right?

Yes, that was totally so I could share my favorite moment from Batman Returns.

All right. So what is The Batman Mystery Club all about?


The radio series premise was that Bruce Wayne and Robin, who totally calls him Batman in front of the assembled members of The Batman Mystery Club, would share a past adventure every week. With a focus on proving to children their was no truth in the supernatural and that they shouldn’t be scared by such stories.

The first…well…the only episode is entitled The Monster of Dumphrey Hall and finds the Dynamic Duo visiting a friend of Bruce Wayne’s at a secluded manor located on the moors. While Bruce is adamant that there is nothing to fear or real about matters supernatural – the manor has earned a reputation for possessing a room that no one can stay in. Called the Death Chamber!

So come join us on Retro Radio Memories as we attend a meeting of The Batman Mystery Club!

Theater Curtains
If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was graciously provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com.
Subscribe To The Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes. I sure would appreciate it if you might leave us a rating to help spread the word about the show while you are at it!

Directly download the Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

Batman -  1989

Happy Batman Day! Siskel And Ebert’s 1989 Review

You probably have already noticed from various online sources that today is in fact National Batman Day. So why not join us on the The Retroist as we dance with the Devil by the pale moonlight and see what the late great Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel felt about Tim Burton’s Batman?

[Via] 1989 Batman Movie

Was Ebert being fair in his criticism with Batman?

Yes and no. My takeaway is that Ebert didn’t hate the movie. He just couldn’t get past some of the story elements like Vicki Vale, played by Kim Basinger, not kind of freaking out more when she discovers that Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) is Batman. Not enough at least to enjoy it as much as Gene Siskel did in this case.

Here though is why I respectfully disagree with Ebert’s argument:

  • Early on in the movie, Bruce demonstrates some rather odd behavior, right? After spending the night together Vicki wakes up to see Bruce “exercising” and looking very much like a hanging bat.
    batman-1989
  • Vicki also spots Bruce on the streets of Gotham visiting the spot where his parents were murdered in crime alley. Something that causes her to research what happened to him as a kid – to which even the character of Knox mentions that he thinks Bruce is messed up in the head.
  • Then of course there is Bruce’s confrontation with the Joker in Vicki’s apartment. Which results in Vicki losing a perfectly good vase and watching Bruce get gunned down by the jealous Joker. Then he ends up literally leaving the apartment without her seeing him…probably climb out the window.
    batman-1989-bruce-and-the-joker
  • Vicki is a reporter besides being a well known photographer – she is not stupid. It only makes sense that she would put all of those pieces together and come to the conclusion Bruce is also Batman.
    batman-1989-vicki-and-batman
  • Plus I bet there was a scene before Alfred escorts her down to the Batcave where she grills him about knowing Batman’s true identity. Probably a threat about revealing who Wayne really is if Alfred doesn’t let her see him.

So today why not take a moment and join in on the celebration of National Batman Day? Re-watch 1989’s Batman or one of the other films – or better yet pick up and spend some time reading some Batman comics?

Who knows…maybe you should keep an eye on the night sky?

spices