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President Superman, Man-of-Steel-in-Chief – Action Comics Annual #3

October 30, 2014

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Here’s an American Election Day special, folks. People will travel to the polls from coast to coast next Tuesday, holding their noses as they try to decide which utterly contemptible preening egomaniacs they want to put in charge of their and their children’s lives. As they do, maybe they can reflect on how great it would be if the Man of Steel held the reins as the Leader of the Free World. President Superman — it has a ring to it, you know?

Or maybe it doesn’t. [Sinister music plays...] Read more…

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The extended Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer will melt your circuits again, for the very first time!

October 29, 2014

We saw the first look at the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron last week, since an early leak forced Marvel to post the real HD trailer McCoy earlier than intended. They had originally planned to air it during last night’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, which subsequently left a synergistic promotional void — one filled by the extended trailer you see embedded above. Which means we get to see (some of) the Avengers horseplay/banter glimpsed in the San Diego Comic-Con footage. Win-win for us, I guess. Thanks, Internet Leakers. Read more…

Can Avengers: Black Musketeers be far behind?

October 29, 2014

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Marvel’s announcement yesterday of its mammoth upcoming Phase 3 slate set off much rejoicing that old friend T’Challa will soon be joining the fun, both in a standalone Black Panther film and as a component of other projects — including the suddenly Downey-infused and thus very intriguing Captain America: Civil War. But I think we can safely rule out four characters who won’t be making it up on screen to share his Wakandan adventures. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week – Last Action Hero (1993, Topps)

October 28, 2014

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Last Action Hero isn’t a great movie, but it isn’t a terrible one either. It’s a modestly enjoyable experience, at times eliciting smiles even from jaded moviegoers with the wry Hollywood commentaries of its metafictional make-believe world. Still, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first bomb after a stunning series of box office hits: Predator, Total Recall, Terminator 2 — that’s a vita with a lot of $$$ in it, no matter what et als you sprinkle in. But thanks to its being released in the shadow of Jurassic Park, LAH didn’t find much of an audience in what was a total eclipse of available cash. Its underwhelming performance in the summer of 1993 led to it being consigned to the dustiest bin of flops. Indeed, for the better part of the last decade the only in-print home video available was a lame Pan and Scan DVD.

It was a desolate post-release apocalypse. All that was left were the trading cards. Read more…

My. Name. Is. Strange.

October 27, 2014

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Of the many names that have bopped around for the title role in the upcoming Doctor Strange, Umberto Cumberbund Benedict Cumberbatch’s has been one of the most appealing. (Always better to be appealing than appalling, right?) So this is good news. Read more…

Bill & Ted’s Bogus NES Game?

October 27, 2014

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Yes, another Bill & Ted movie is an increasing possibility, a sure sign that American pop culture’s never-ending wave of nostalgia has finally gone to plaid. So track down their video game adventures to prepare yourself for their silver screen return, which will either signal the dawn of a new enlightened age, or be the opening gong of the End Times. Read more…

Boardwalk Empire, considered

October 26, 2014

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Boardwalk Empire is coming to a close tonight, and it seems like it’s going before its time. The fast-forwarded plot of this last truncated season has felt perfunctory, like someone being hooked from an awards show stage before they can finish thanking everyone on their list. And that may very well be the case, why we’ve been rocketed out of the Roaring Twenties and into the Great Depression on the eve of Prohibition’s repeal. It might be that all the available HBO production money is being vacuumed up by the wildly successful Game of Thrones, and a more intellectual critical darling like Empire, which has never enjoyed as wide an audience, has drawn the short budgetary straw. Maybe we should just be thankful that it’s getting to wind up loose ends and isn’t being left to dangle, like Deadwood or Carnivale, two tragically abbreviated shows of yore. Take a moment to recall that Al Swearengen came and went in three years, but we got eighty goddamn seasons of that insufferable Sex in the City crap. Life isn’t fair, you know? Take what you can get, and enjoy it.

Anyway. To flip our Shakespeare: We come not to bury Boardwalk Empire, but to praise it. And praise it we shall. Read more…

Because nothing says “World Series” like John Kruk’s gut!

October 25, 2014

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It’s World Series time, so might as well put up an old baseball card ad to go along with the recent goofy Mike Piazza and crappy (literally) George Brett posts. Read more…

Dudley Do-Right done right? – King of the Royal Mounted #20

October 24, 2014

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Canada’s Mounties certainly rank as one of the most easily parodied national constabularies. The red coats and flat brims and upright reputation are ever ripe for satire, whether it comes in the form of an aggressively-chinned boob like Dudley Do-Right (Nell!) or a long-forgotten professional wrestler most remembered for his “Loser Goes to Jail” match with the Big Boss Man. But the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have their paragon too, their fictional marble model by which all their numbers are judged. And that standard-setter is King of the Royal Mounted. Read more…

The Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer has come to melt your circuits!

October 23, 2014

While the above trailer is light on inter-character dialogue, there’s no shortage of visuals to make a comic fan’s heart melt — as well as a bounty of shots of people staring at things off-camera, mouths agape. Many of us lamented that none of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Comic-Con footage leaked from San Diego this summer, but what we have here is better late than never. Read more…

Indiana Jones and the 3 Musketeers of Doom?

October 22, 2014

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Hot on the heels of 2001: A 3 Musketeers Odyssey, here’s the Indiana Jones iteration of candy bar marketing. Not to argue with its unnamed hero, but if Indy taught us anything it’s that it always belongs in a museum. Read more…

Join the zero other people in the Steven Seagal fan club and get loads of Steven Seagal junk!

October 21, 2014

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Steven Seagal long ago passed deep into the realm of unaware self-satire, but there was indeed a time when he was a legit B-level action star — a genuine accomplishment for someone with the acting range of a turnip. And the 1991 ad above is a relic of that bygone age. Seagal posters! Seagal t-shirts! Who can resist? (Probably everyone!) Read more…

Get your shrunken Amazonian Indian heads here! With real skin! Wait, what?

October 20, 2014

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When you first see this itty bitty ad shrunken heads on a page full of other itty bitty ads, you might well be forgiven for reading “Made From Skin by AMAZON INDIANS” as “Made From Skin of AMAZON INDIANS.” And then feeling a surge of relief when your eyes double back to that text and realize that, no, that’s not the case. No worse than a mail order skunk, then.

And then you pause again. Double back again. Whose skin exactly is it they’re using to make these heads? Read more…

Sunday Stupid: Vince McMahon wants you to “Stand Back”!

October 19, 2014

The glory of professional wrestling isn’t the matches, the staged athletic contests where bodies are slammed and elbows are dropped from the top rope. It comes in the ephemera, the amped rigmarole that surrounds them. The pomp and pageantry, if you will. That’s where the fun is, in the promos, the interviews, the vignettes. Those are the things that draw people in and that they remember long after — the stuff that’s so dumb and out of this world, it’s great.

Today we have one of the dumbest and therefore great ephemeral moments in the history of the WWF/WWE: Vince McMahon performing his debut single, “Stand Back,” at a fake awards show for fake music made by fake athletes supported by a veritable who’s who of babyface wrestlers pretending to play musical instruments. George “The Animal” Steele on tambourine, fercrissakes! Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week – Kingdom Come Xtra (1996, SkyBox)

October 18, 2014

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Alex Ross has now settled into some vague plateau of ossified veneration, where his superhero artwork is appreciated in a circular way: it’s good because it’s good because it’s good. A cover here and there, a $20,000 appearance at a convention now and then, and everyone’s happy. There’s an unfortunate static quality to his brand, though, one perhaps appropriate for an artist whose figures are often frozen like statues, a bit too closely resembling the stiffly posed friends and family who serve as his models. Would it kill him to once, just once have a character whose eyes appear to actually be focused on something, and not staring off into the void?

But there was a time when Ross and his realistic watercolors of comic book heroes were fresh. New. Vibrant. Yeah, let’s hone in on that. Read more…