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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II game had a Pizza Hut tie-in. Of course it did.

September 17, 2014

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The nauseating Michael Bay reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is almost enough to make us forget that the heroes in a half shell were once cool, esteemed enough in the childhood zeitgeist to easily sustain comics, cartoons and oodles of video games. Read more…

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Come spin the Super Friends carnival wheel, where every turn is a winner!

September 16, 2014

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The Super Friends version of the classic carnival wheel has to be the most boring iteration of this game of chance ever conceived — i.e. one with every dollop of risk sucked out. Where are the smelly carnies? Where’s the little hidden switch that the seedy operator flips to make sure you don’t win the jackpot? Shenanigans! Pat Sajak and Vanna White scoff at this supposed Wheel of Fortune. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week (Dreamboat Johnny Depp Special Edition) – 21 Jump Street (1987, Topps)

September 14, 2014

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Long before the 21 Jump Street film became a link in the chain of mimbo Channing Tatum’s inexplicable rise to Hollywood megastardom, there was the original show. A late 1980s staple of the then-fledgling Fox network, it, like its Tatum-infused movie successor/remake, focused on youngish cops going undercover to battle the crime of the week. It was a straight police drama though, with none of the outlandish comedy of the cinema version, and by far its most important contribution to the culture, for better or for worse, was launching the young Johnny Depp into his now decades long acting career. (Edward Scissorhands came out twenty-four years ago. Twenty-four!) Because of the show he became a teen idol back when the term really meant something, when Tiger Beat was still the New York Times publication-of-record for that unofficial status. There would be no Depp without Jump.

Surprise surprise, there were trading cards to go along with the show. Anything to capitalize on Depp’s handsome moneymaker. And, though they ostensibly covered the entire cast, they may as well have been subtitled 21 Jump Street: Johnny Depp’s Face and Crotch. Read more…

Double Dragon III has twice the characters, three times the action, and the same damn goal

September 13, 2014

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Despite this ad’s promise of twice the characters and three times the action, I can’t recall much about Double Dragon III, the third installment in that classic game series. Maybe I was still fuming back then over my inability to master the devastating Cyclone Kick introduced in its predecessor, a move that my good friend could perform with aplomb, a fact he never ceased taunting me about as we, as Billy Lee and Jimmy, chopped our way through waves of villains. (Hey, it wasn’t my fault he had the Nintendo and not me.) But no matter what, it was hard to hate a game that at the end of its original Arcade incarnation had the two players, who had scrapped side by side for the whole game, fight one another for the right to bang the busty bimbo. Vérité. Read more…

What better way to market Fleer’s 1991 baseball cards than with the old Batman TV show’s sound effect graphics?

September 12, 2014

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Score may have had the gentle touch of Don Mattingly to help pimp their 1991 baseball card lineup, but Fleer decided to mine something else to grab the comic book reader’s attention: the graphic onomatopoeia of the 1960s Adam West Batman series. Which is more effective? Who knows? But you have to grant that BAM! and POW! might be the superior attention-grabbers. Sorry, Donnie Baseball. (No KRAKATHOOM! though? LETDOWN.) Read more…

Marvel Does Troma! Troma Does Marvel! – The Toxic Avenger #1

September 10, 2014

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The Marvel family has incorporated any number of outside characters over the years. Rom, that glorious Silver Spaceknight from Galador, was a clunky toy before he became a symbol of 1980s comics. Godzilla, King of All Monsters (not to mention underwhelming summer films), was a full-fledged member of the House of Ideas for a spell, interacting with the leading lights of Earth-616 — and Dum Dum Duggan, of all people, was his arch-nemesis. But sometimes Marvel sequesters a character in a quiet, lonely corner, where they can either take flight on their own or languish in soon-to-be-cancelled obscurity. And today we have the thrilling first issue of one of the latter.

Welcome to B-movie Marvel. Welcome to The Toxic Avenger. Read more…

Mega-Man 3 sounds like a lot of Mega Man games, yet it’s 9000 Mega Man games ago

September 9, 2014
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Back in 1990 when this ad graced comic books, it seemed like three Mega Man games might be enough, that we as a society maybe, just maybe, had reached our Mega Man saturation point. Yet here we are, almost a quarter of a century later, and the character still has some juice left — though it’s been a few years since he had a title to his name. Not bad for a poor man’s Mario (with an arm-mounted cannon). Read more…

Oliver Queen has Hostess Fruit Pie arrows? Yes he does.

September 8, 2014

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Whether it’s Wonder Woman droning on about her “pussy” or Superman foisting sugary confections on children who’ve just been rescued from a near-death experience, the old-timey Hostess ads have often sold the souls of DC’s pantheon for a bag of high-fructose gold. And above it’s Green Arrow’s turn. Hostess Fruit Pie arrows — there you have it. Read more…

Score with Don Mattingly! Score some Score baseball cards, that is!

September 7, 2014

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Though my halcyon days of yore are long behind me, it’s still gratifying to see the hero of said youth, Donald Arthur Mattingly, at the forefront of an old-timey baseball card ad campaign. With a quote and everything! Read more…

Re-enact corporate history and augur your polystyrene Eastern Airlines plane right into the ground!

September 6, 2014

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I owned one of these styrofoam planes back in the day, and it was great. It soared majestically for a time — about five tosses. Then it fell to Earth and snapped in two, and it was that moment I learned that space age styrofoam wasn’t the most repairable of substances, whether it was found in a Whoppers candy mail-in redemption product or the finest flying toy money could buy. Read more…

3 Musketeers: A Space Odyssey

September 5, 2014

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Make sure to play some of Strauss’s Blue Danube next time you nosh on a 3 Musketeers bar! Read more…

Is the Material Girl comic book material? – Madonna #1

September 4, 2014
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There are few celebrities of the past thirty years whose flame has burned as brightly as Madonna’s. Née Madonna Louise Ciccone in Michigan, she grow up to one day lop off both her middle and last names, become a factory of musical standards, and thereby take up residence in the pop consciousness, a locale she’s never left. Though at times her act could become insufferable (Remember when she moved to England and suddenly had a posh accent? YOU’RE FROM DETROIT, HONEY.) and her film career was mostly forgettable, she churned out as solid a collection of radio hits as anyone. And there was ever the manufactured controversy to keep her in the public eye. Always the manufactured controversy.

And a comic book or two. Read more…

Silver Surfer Jet Ski! SILVER SURFER JET SKI!

September 3, 2014
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As discussed yesterday, the Silver Surfer game was a bit lacking — though, in fairness, that could simply be a retroactive failing of its time. Limited graphics, simple scrolling, pewpewpew shooting, etc. But if, say, it was the only video game you had back in 1990, and you played it so much you almost started to go blind, you could maybe, just maybe, win a Silver Surfer jet ski.

Repeat: a Silver Surfer jet ski. Read more…

The old Nintendo Silver Surfer game was kind of lame. But…

September 2, 2014

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This is a two-part post, the first about a dopey game, the second about the unbelievably boss/cool/awesome prize you could get for playing said game.

First: the dopey game. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week – Marvel Universe Series II (1991, Impel)

August 31, 2014

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The first spectacular set of Marvel cards produced by Impel back in 199o has already been covered here. The hosannas for that product can’t be overstated: they were crisp, clean, and beautiful, and a dream come true for a young kid of that era who loved comics and cards. That they remain a gold standard to this day, trumping almost anything produced in the intervening decades, is a testament to their quality. Hell, even ads for them still elicit pangs of nostalgia, if not a full-blown GIMMEGIMMEGOTTAHAVEIT fever. Magnificent — that’s the only word you need for description.

Their rollicking success necessitated that there would be a sequel, and that follow-up is the subject of today’s Trading Card Set of the Week feature: Marvel Universe Series II — not quite as good, but better in some vital ways. Read more…