I have always loved Snoopy

When I was a kid, my Mother bought me a Snoopy autograph book that she found unused at a Garage Sale. I proceeded to go around the neighborhood and my house asking people for their autographs. Most of the neighbors were surprised, but they all wrote a little something. Because of this, I now have some great memories of the people who surrounded me as a child. I had more pages than people, so I guess I decided to write some notes to myself and to Snoopy who was featured prominently throughout the book and who I apparently “lobed” even back then.

I wrote to Snoopy on at least two other pages in this book and I finished each one by professing my affection for him. As an adult, my writing has improved slightly, but my feelings for this canine have not. I LOBE SNOOPY and always will.

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Science Ninja Team GATCHAMAN

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Courtesy of our friends over at Section23 Films, I have been able to spend the last few weeks plowing through almost the entire series of (Science Ninja Team) Gatchaman. For the uninitiated, Gatchaman is the ‘70s anime classic about five bird-uniformed young covert operatives who help defend the earth against the forces (complete with wacky bell-bottomed uniforms and crazy mecha) of the extraterrestrial terrorist group called Galactor.

If the titles sounds unfamiliar, the characters and mecha are likely a part of many Gen X kids’ TV-watching nostalgia, as Gatchaman was heavily edited—for both violent content and US syndicated airtime—and packaged as Battle of the Planets. What’s more the series came from the venerable old Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko, who had previously given the US audience another fan-favorite bit of classic anime, Speed Racer (Mach GoGoGo).

Sentai Filmworks’ transfer of the series onto Blu-Ray is nothing short of magnificent. On all 105 episodes. I have been watching the Japanese originals on sources ranging from graymarket VHS to DVD extras on Rhino Home Video’s Battle of the Planets recent DVD releases, and I have never seen the crisp, vibrant transfer that you get on these BDs. It’s as if the animation cels were scanned one-by-one to make the masters for this set. The sound, which comes from circa-1972 monaural sources, is also mixed really well on this set. I only have a 2.0 setup, but the sound was dynamic and the orchestral bits especially popped. Full disclosure: I only watched the Japanese audio with English subtitles. While I appreciate English-dubbed anime, I prefer the experience of original language + subtitles—your results may vary.

The packaging is also really rad! It features renowned comics artist (and Gatchaman super-fan) Alex Ross’ paintings inside and outside the box, on the face of each slipcover AND on each BD disc. No repeats. An unexpected art gallery is there to meet you each time you pop open a clamshell!

This set also contains the 3 direct-to-video (OVA [original video animation]) re-imagined 1994 episodes of Gatchaman. I like these, but they’re an attempt to contemporize the characters for the extreme ‘90s. These also look great on BD. These episodes feature a mixture of the awesome original 1972 score with the main musical pieces by Maurice White (of Earth, Wind & Fire) and Bill Meyers.

This set is a must-have for Gatchaman fans, and is highly recommended for the fans who are looking to broaden their experience into some legitimately cool “old-school” anime.

Order you copy of Science Ninja Team GATCHAMAN via Sentai Filmworks or Amazon.

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Ziggy Played Guitar

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The V-Neck Sweater without an Undershirt??

This look has been very popular at times. I had an Uncle who regularly pulled it off. As an adult I have never even tried this. How do you know if you can pull of the v-neck on bare flesh? If you have to ask, you can’t pull it off.

This guy knows he can pull it off…

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Four Candles vs. Fork Handles, courtesy of The Two Ronnies

Four Candles

I’m going to keep this brief because I could write for hours about British comedy pair The Two Ronnies, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker were a mainstay of my parents TV for many years. Their sketch show ran for 16 years, ending in 1987, and many of the individual sketches have entered British pop culture as classics of the genre.

None more so than their Four Candles sketch which is still utterly brilliant nearly 40 years later!

In 2011, after Ronnie Barker had passed on, British comedian Harry Enfield joined with ‘The One Ronnie’ (Corbett) and parodied the sketch to great effect.

The original sketch is so popular that it is often amongst the top entries in ‘best of’ lists compiled by British media. In 2008, the British public, via UK Gold documentary “When Were We Funniest?”, voted it as the funniest of the 70′s and rightly so!

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Grandpa wants his McDonalds’ Lego Set

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Lego are fun for all ages, so it is sort of unfair for poor Grandpa to have to sit there and watch as everyone else at the table get to play with their Happy Meal toy. Luckily Grandma is there to help out ol’ Grandpa. But what about Grandma you ask? Don’t worry about her, she goes into the kitchen, pours herself and over-sized goblet of white wine, finishes her Chicken McNuggets and goes to work on the Lego Firehouse she bought herself last week.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Ian Miller (Titan Books)

When the ol’ Rollickin’ Retroist sent me Titan Books’ The Art of Ian Miller to review I had but one thought; “Who in the hairy hells is Ian Miller?” Well dear fiends, after thumbing through this lavish tome, I simply cannot believe my ignorance as to the work of this immeasurably talented artist.

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In a way I am happy to have been unfamiliar with the enchanting etchings of Mr. Miller, as it provided me with the pure visceral reaction of seeing his work uncluttered by the sweet miasmic haze of our beloved nostalgia (although we will touch upon that more in a bit). The best way that I can describe the work of Ian Miller is thus; it is the cumulative result of what would happen when a teenage metal head’s notebook doodling forgot it was a sketch and became fine art! Monsters, demons and Elder Gods dance across the pages, brought to life by lines simultaneously sketchy and breathtakingly detailed. It’s a fascinating dichotomy that imbibes Miller’s subjects with both a surreal nature and a sense of plausibility.

With this being the home for so many lovers of pop culture ephemera, special attention should be paid to this book for lovers of two specific genres of nostalgia; namely tabletop role-playing games of the 80’s and outré pulp stories of the 30’s, as Miller unleashed his distinctive aesthetics upon both the seminal RPG Warhammer (as well as the first edition of its off-shoot Warhammer 40,000) for which he provided the illustrations that helped solidify that universe, as well as the covers for paperback editions collecting the work of weird fiction legend H.P. Lovecraft.

In short, if you are anything like me; a lover of fantastic creatures that defy imagination as well as the fantastic environments they call home, this collection is an absolute must have! Head here to order your copy today!

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