Marvel Age - Cover

Marvel at this issue of Marvel Age featuring Questprobe!

Marvel Age was a sort of comic book that was published from 1983 until 1994. It actually was kind of an extension of the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins. Which of course offered news about upcoming books and events that all of us Marvel Zombies needed to know. Marvel Age went a step further by offering previews of new titles. In addition I was always impressed with the great interviews with some of the superstars of the time.

Furthermore how can you balk at a publication that featured none other than Crystar? I realize I may in fact be in the minority for my love of Remco’s crystal warrior. But that first issue of Marvel Age totally has a cover by the legendary Walt Simonson as well!
Marvel Age

I have in the past shared my memories and thoughts on the line of Questprobe games. The graphic and text based adventures by Scott Adams. While certainly they might appear to be rather dated in contrast to the Marvel games being made today. I think it’s equally important to remember that in 1984 – when Questprobe featuring the Hulk was released. These were a big deal and offered a new way to experience the adventures of our favorite Marvel Comics characters.

For one thing, you should keep in mind that one of the best Marvel Comic games at this point was 1982’s Spider-Man for the Atari 2600!

[Via] Retro Game Commercials

I certainly hope it doesn’t sound like I’m knocking the Atari 2600 Spider-Man game. As it is in fact one of my favorite games for the system. However when your text based actions help to trigger the transformation of Bruce Banner to the Hulk! That is a magical moment indeed!
Marvel Age - The Hulk

Which brings us to this particular issue of Marvel Age. Knowing my love of the Questprobe series of games. The esteemed Gary Burton picked up this issue at a flea market a little while back. Within the pages there are excellent interviews with the likes of then Editor In Chief Jim Shooter as well as Scott Adams of course. To say nothing of what looked like a bright future for the Questprobe series.
Marvel Age - Chief Examiner

How could they fail? They had twelve games in the works with the most popular Marvel Comics characters at the time. The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and even the duo of The Thing and The Human Torch! In short these were the only three games to be produced which was a terrible shame. The concept was intriguing and moreover they almost had the X-Men game finished when the plug was pulled.
Marvel Age - Spider-Man
Marvel Age - Human Torch and Thing

At the very least we still have those three Questprobe titles and they are readily available to play. Likewise there were 140 issues of Marvel Age to enjoy and they still are an excellent snapshot of the time they were produced.



Now that you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy issue 18 of Marvel Age. Why not check out my earlier posts on the Questprobe games?

For all of you fans of the Incredible Hulk – Here is my article from back in 2011!

Don’t you worry true believers! I also covered Questprobe featuring Spider-Man!

Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen!

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a 240 page tome by Hope Nicholson. While it is a fact that I have had the pleasure of reviewing some really great books lately. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen however is not one that was sent to me. This actually came from one of my co-workers at the Arkadia Retrocade. She felt it might be a great idea to get the word out about the book. She is certainly correct on that!

In fact The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was published on May 2nd. But I must say when my friend handed me the book this was the first I heard of it. Which is an absolute shame. Hope Nicholson has crafted a fantastic compilation of some of the most well known as well as obscure female superheroes. Adding in interesting facts and where one might be able to find the essential reading for each character.

Hope has separated the characters she has selected by decades. With an introduction for each decade explaining how the comics industry was changing. Furthermore she has provided candid commentary on the legacy of the chosen characters. As well as how many of the featured characters have been altered over the years for good or for ill. In addition Hope has selected an icon for each of the decades.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen

Case in point on the candid nature of Hope’s commentary. An excerpt from her entry on Wonder Woman:
“But no one knows how to define Wonder Woman – what her true essence is. She’s what we female comics readers regard as or icon of strength and power, and yet she’s slippery as water to pin down.

And really why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should identity be solid, when everybody changes? Why lock down a character to just one version? And why exactly must there be only one, single, iconic, heroic female figure in comics, when there is no one major male comic book figure?”

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen takes a look at over 102+ female comic characters. Giving we the readers a nice history of how female heroes and characters have changed. Ranging from 1930’s Little Lulu up to Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) as the icon of the 2010s.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Ms. Marvel

Of course I would be remiss to not mention how happy I was to see some of my favorite female comics characters chosen for the book. For example in the chapter for characters of the 80s, we have none other than Amanda “The Wall” Waller of Suicide Squad!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Amanda Waller

Additionally with this many characters you will discover some you’ve not heard of before. In my case I was delighted to learn of the likes of 1954’s Tomboy, 1966’s private eye Tiffany Sinn, 1985’s Sunflower, or 2013’s Bandette!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Bandette

If you love comics as much as I do, seek out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. Hope Nicholson has really done an outstanding job with this book. It is an absolute joy to read and provides a wonderful history of female characters in comics. I certainly hope she is absolutely thrilled and proud of her work.

With Wonder Woman finally getting a movie worthy of such an icon. Perhaps The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen will help to shine the spotlight on equally deserving characters?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

If you are in the mood for equally engaging female heroes you might want to check out my review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed: Heresy!

Lawnmower Man - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: The Lawnmower Man Collector’s Edition

The Lawnmower Man had an interesting cinematic journey. When it was first being advertised back in 1992 it in fact had Stephen King’s name attached to the film. Based on his short story from 1975. Problems arose however when King began to realize the movie had very little to do with his version of The Lawnmower Man.
Lawnmower Man - 1992 Poster

King’s The Lawnmower Man was first published in the May 1975 issue of Cavalier. Although I first read it in a copy of his 1978 Night Shift, a collection of his short stories. The King tales concerns a man who had a rather bad incident while mowing his lawn the previous Summer. Moreover this incident involved a neighbor’s dog chasing another neighbor’s cat under his lawnmower!

I think you can see why the protagonist might feel like letting the yard grow. Finally of course he needs to hire a service and that is when the true terror begins. A large and overweight man comes to mow the lawn and he has a peculiar way of taking care of the grass to say the least. In fact the story was adapted into the Marvel Comics magazine title Bizarre Adventures #29. Furthermore using King’s text and the legendary Walt Simonson’s artwork.
Lawnmower Man - Bizarre Adventures
Lawnmower Man -Walt Simonson
Lawnmower Man - Walt Simonson - Bizarre Adventures #29

I apologize, I got off on a tangent there. Stephen King apparently felt the 1992 film adaptation didn’t have anything really to do with his work. So he successfully sued to have his name removed from all advertising as well as the movie. It was upheld twice in court but New Line Cinema didn’t fix the issue until the third time the author brought them to trial. I found out that King won additional damages as well when the home video release featured his name. New Line was ordered to pay King $10,000 a day for every day they didn’t strike his name from the home media. In addition they had to forfeit all profits earned from those sales.
Lawnmower Man - Laserdisc

Be that as it may, The Lawnmower Man has become a cult film. One of those reasons of course is the then impressive CGI work for the virtual reality sequences.
Lawnmower Man

The story for the film concerns Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) who is employed by Virtual Space Industries. The good Doctor is attempting to craft a software program that uses virtual reality and an experimental drug to boost a subject’s intelligence. In this case it is being tested on Chimpanzees – which of course goes wrong. Dr. Angelo is against the military aspects of his project in the first place and when things go wrong he decides to do research on his own. With the help of Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), a gardener who is slow-witted but has a gentle heart.

Obviously the movie wouldn’t be very interesting if everything went according plan. While Jobe is becoming much smarter, I would say super-humanly so as he learns Latin in just two hours. The man who quite frankly has been abused most of his life starts gaining disturbing abilities. Such as telekinesis and even telepathy. It turns out that Dr. Angelo’s former “boss” has secretly been administering the aggressive drug into Jobe’s treaments. As you can probably imagine this certainly doesn’t bode well for those who used to mistreat the young man.
Lawnmower Man - Mower
Lawnmower Man - Jobe loses it

So it becomes up to Dr. Angelo to confront his out of control creation in the wilds of cyberspace. Up for grabs is nothing short but the fate of the world itself! You’ll have to pick up the The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition to learn who is victorious.
Lawnmower Man - Virtual Reality

This marks the first time the film has been available on Blu-Ray. Scream Factory has of course packed this two disc collector’s edition with all sort of extras:

Disc One – Theatrical Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Cybergod: Creating The Lawnmower Man – Featuring Interviews With Co-Writer/Director Brett Leonard, Actor Jeff Fahey, Editor Alan Baumgarten, Make-up Effects Artist Michael Deak And Special Effects Coordinator Frank Ceglia
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Electronic Press Kit With Cast Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Edited Animated Sequences
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

Disc Two – Director’s Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive With Additional “Director’s Cut” Footage From The Original
  • Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Conceptual Art And Design Sketches
  • Behind-The-Scenes And Production Stills
  • Storyboard Comparison

So prepare yourself for the coming of The Lawnmower Man on 6/20. In addition you can hop on over to Scream Factory and pre-order your copy today!

The Lawnmower Man demands you roll for initiative!


Lawnmower Man - D20

Easter Marvels

Origins Of Marvel Comics Made For Easter Marvels

Ghoul Mourning Maniacs!

It’s almost Easter and I’m organizing some of my collection. I unearthed my copy of “Origins of Marvel Comics” by Stan Lee. As I touched the cover, I was immediately awash in some fun Easter memories from 1977. What’s the connection? Well, read on…

When I was a little monster, my Godmother/Aunt Mary brought me a pad of drawing paper and pastels, with a most amazing book, called “Origins of Marvel Comics” for Easter. This is the first in a series of Marvel Fireside books, which includes “Son of Marvel Origins,” “Bring on the Bad Guys,” “The Superhero Women” and more.
Easter Marvels

“Origins of Marvel Comics” was a great introduction to the first wave of Marvel heroes for a younger reader. The book includes reprints of the Silver Age debuts of The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk , Doctor Strange and The Mighty Thor. Then, fast forwards to some tasty Bronze Age material.

Read with delight as the FF first gain their cosmic powers and battle Mole Man, to the issue 55 showdown between the Thing and Silver Surfer.

Can the Fantastic Four withstand the might of the Submariner?

The Hulk gets his turn in his first tale and tangle with the Gargoyle. He then goes swimming against Prince Namor, the Sub Mariner in issue 118.

Listen to the Hulk attempt to thwart an assassin!

Swing on a web to Spider-Man’s debut in “Amazing Fantasy” 15, and get a jolt from his battle with the Shocker in Amazing Spider-Man 72. Thor gets introduced in “Journey into Mystery” 83, against Stone Men from Saturn. He comes back in the Bronze Age offering of “The Mighty Thor ” 143. He teams up with Balder the Brave and Lady Sif against the Enchanters! Doctor Strange has his origin laid out for you in “Strange Tales” 115, then POOF! there he is in a strip from 155. The sorcerer didn’t get his own mag until a little later and had to share his first comic book home with Nick Fury. Wonder who the goldbrick was?

This was an “EGG-scelent ” Easter treat, and as you can see from the photo of Aunt Mary and I, I have the book in my grubby little hands! The photo was taken in front of Grandma Kaizer’s house and there are many more photos like it of my sisters and I, our cousins and more. It was an Easter family tradition to go to Grandma’s where she cooked her “Dupa”and Babushka off and fed the waves of family all day on Easter Sunday. All the Polish food you could think of. Grandpa would play jazz on the piano and smoke cigars. Then, we’d head outside and pose at that exact same spot for photos. That tradition carried on for at least three or four decades and Easter Sunday at Grandma’s was always a great time and now a great memory.

I Hope Peter Cottontail brings you chocolate and something to make you say, ” EGGcelsior!!”

(Apologies to Stan Lee).

Strange - Blu Ray

Embrace The Strange With Dr. Strange On Blu-Ray!

When it comes to the many comic book heroes and villians that Marvel Comics have produced over the years. Dr. Strange is certainly one of my favorite characters. I think that is pretty evident in the light of how many Super Blog Team-Up articles I’ve written over the years.
Strange

But what makes Dr. Strange such a personal favorite of mine? My go to answer is that he is a deeply flawed character. This is evident in the works of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee back in 1963, with the origin story in issue Strange Tales #115. Which as a matter of fact was his fourth appearance in the comic series.

Before becoming the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange was a brilliant surgeon. Earning large sums of money for his skills and combined with his equally impressive egotism – frequently turned a blind eye to the needy.
Strange

Stephen Strange learns how the other shoe fits when he loses control of his car and crashes. While his life is indeed saved, his hands are ruined and his career as a surgeon is over. Strange’s ego refuses to let himself give up on the notion his hands might be fixed. Burning through his resources, chasing down any procedure that might heal him. To no avail. Which eventually leads him to travel to Tibet where he becomes the pupil to the Ancient One.
Strange - The Ancient One

All things considered while on the negative side, Stephen can’t repair his hands. On the positive side however he does replace the Ancient One, donning the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto. Becoming Dr. Strange – the Sorcerer Supreme!

This origin of course is more or less covered in the excellent 2016 film adaptation of Dr. Strange. Which is available right this second on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. With the movie debuting on Blu-Ray this coming Tuesday the 28th.
Strange - Blu Ray

For Marvel Studios first foray into the magic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe they chose their cast wisely. I mean can you truly say that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t the perfect choice to play Dr. Strange?
Dr. Strange

Coupled with that you have the acting talents of the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity), Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes), Tilda Swinton (Adaptation.), Benedict Wong (The Martian) and of course Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale)!

Dr. Strange manages to blend humor, thrills, and more importantly – delivers on the psychedelic visuals of the original comic books. All the while opening the Marvel Cinematic Universe wider – ushering in the supernatural elements present in the comics.

Of course Dr. Strange on Blu-Ray manages to pack in the bonus extras:

  • A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
  • Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambition, imaginative films ever.
  • The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
  • Across Time and Space – Explore the endless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
  • The Score-cerer Supreme – Join composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
  • Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including MARVEL STUDIOS’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, THOR: RAGNAROK, BLACK PANTHER and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
  • Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
  • Audio commentary with Scott Derrickson.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • And Gag Reel

[Via] Disney Movies Anywhere

So forget everything you think you know and pick up Dr. Strange on Blu-Ray this Tuesday!

[Via] Marvel Entertainment