Thursday, May 31, 2007

Heroes For Hire.

I have half of a post for What If #4 written, so hopefully I'll finish that up tonight and post it tomorrow, but I thought I'd post something today. I was talking with Chris at the show about this new Heroes for Hire run Marvel is putting out, and I haven't picked up any of any of them yet, but from what I've seen online, it's totally out of control. Take the cover off to the left here (Heroes for Hire #13). Wow. I don't know when it's coming out, but I'm going to make a special trip to my comic book store to pick it up. What is that liquid on the Cat's chest? Seriously. I know they intended it to be slime from those tentacles, but c'mon, that's not what it looks like. Totally out of control. But in a good way. This would have never flown in the good old "Comics Code" days.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Star Wars Celebration IV- Revenge of the Bantha Burger

Well, Star Wars Celebration IV has come and left Los Angeles a smoking pile of scrap metal just like scavenging Jawas would have done. It was about what I expected - lots of (somewhat) interesting panels, lots of people in costumes, and lots of people selling the exact same things. The highlights for me were seeing Star Wars in 30 Minutes and the 3D Clone Wars cartoon trailer. To say it looks impressive is an understatement.

I only got one autograph, but went with my brother as he got the rest of his. We took pictures with most of the actors and they were all very nice. I got the signature of Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti). I didn't get it because she's hot, I got it 'cause Shaak Ti rules! It's just a bonus she's good looking, though I can't understand why Lucas would hire hot girls like her or Amy Allen, then hide them in make-up and costumes.

We went to a panel with Daniel Logan, Temura Morrison and Jeremy Bulloch - the Fett family! It was entertaining - the guys were funny, but to think an actor who walked around in a costume for two movies and didn't say his own lines gets a standing ovation with dozens of flash photographs is a little silly. But I guess that's the point to Star Wars, and moreso, a Star Wars Celebration. Hey look, it really is the little person who hung out in a trash can for six movies - we love your work! Hence why I paid $20 for the autograph of a Jedi that was mostly in the background.

A SW convention is also the only place people would get excited when a Starbucks barista calls out "Order 66 is ready!" Swear to God, I heard it. Well okay, I heard about it. The only merch I walked away with was a Yoda magnet, but there was a dope booth with tons of pop culture t-shirts where I got an Avengers shirt, a GI Joe shirt and an early birthday present of a Captain America sweatshirt. Yeah, I went to Star Wars Celebration IV and all I spent on Star Wars merchandise was $2.50.

I think the people in costumes were one of the more interesting things - a curious thing were people dressed up as V (from V For Vendetta), Captain Jack Sparrow and Barf from Spaceballs. Although, I guess if you made a Barf costume back in 1987, you'd be thankful you had a chance to dust it off. A handful of photos from the event:

The Elvis Trooper:

That's no moon, it's a space station!

Join us and together we will rule the galaxy!

This isn't the mailbox we're looking for.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Star Wars Celebration IV, Part Deux.

Wow, this was a long day. I would say the coolest thing happened was the first thing we did, which was sit and listen a talk about the new The Clone Wars animated series. It was ok, even though they had massive technical difficulties with the mics and the air conditioning didn't kick in until about halfway through the presentation. The best part was that we saw the first public viewing of the trailer for the series, twice. It was dopesauce. I cannot wait for it to start airing on TV, too bad we have to wait about a year and a half for it. The second coolest thing we did was the second thing we did, which was going to see Star Wars in 30 minutes (Choo! Choo!). It's a really good time. While we were waiting in line for something else, I read some of Chris' brother's Dark Horse Star Wars comics, and I guess now I've gotta start collecting them. Thanks, Andy. Jerk. First stop, eBay. Second stop, my local comic shop, which I still haven't stepped foot in yet. Anyways, here are some of the highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view) in pictoral form for your viewing pleasure:

Yes! I found him! The Elvis Stormtrooper!

I really don't know what happened here...

100% Pure Bantha Beef Burger.

I don't know who's creepier, the people in this photo, or me for taking the picture. I think it's me. Like most guys of my generation, I have a strong and strange attraction to Slave Leia...

Lego Threepio.

Lego R2.

Barf! (And Chris and Kareena)

The Death Star is fully operational...

Lego Chewie.

Dude, Chaka's still in jail, man...

Luke's severed head.

Oh. My. Gawd.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend...

Pesky Jawas.

It was a lot of fun, but I'm offically tired of walking.

Star Wars Celebration IV.

Chris and I are headed off to Star Wars Celebration IV with some friends this morning. I hope we are able to survive somehow. I will try and take my camera in and if we do end up surviving, I will post some pictures tomorrow. This should be a very interesting day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Iron Man, The Movie.

I guess someone should post something here. Even though I'm not the biggest Iron Man fan (I'm still going to write that 1500 word essay on why he sucks), I am totally excited to see this movie, and it's barely started filming. I think that if any comic book movie is going to benefit from the advances made in CGI, it's going to be a movie about a guy in a suit of armor. From what I've seen so far (just posters and stills) they're doing everything right. I'm not so sure about the choice of the super-villian (the Mandarin), but then again, Shellhead really never had a top notch, big name nemisis. Apparently Iron Monger is going to be in the mix, which I think will be good because Iron Man mainly fought villians in suits of armor, so it'll be good to have that represented in the movie. I just hope they learned from Spidey 3's mistakes and don't try to pack it too full of characters/story. Leave some for the sequel, you know there's gonna be one, especially from what I've seen so far (They could do the alcoholism storyline and maybe throw in Warmachine in the sequel). Special effects are great, but there's no substitute for a good story Favreau, so start there first and worry about the CGI later. Anyways, I haven't seen every comic film made in the last couple of years, but this one (along with any of the X-Men films) I would pay full price and probably go see the first day it's released.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heroes Finale Thoughts and Series Overview

The first season of Heroes wrapped up last night - I freakin' loved this show all season long and was kinda let down with the finale. I blame Entertainment Weekly for hyping it up: "Heroes creator Tim Kring, saunter[s] onto the set just minutes after writing the final sentence of the season's final episode, in which the show's sprawling, far-flung cast...will finally come together Super Friends-style in an attempt to save New York from being torched by a human A-bomb. 'The fifth act is ridiculous,'' chuckles the 49-year-old Kring. 'It's like a $90 million movie. It's just...big.'" So...where did all that time and money go? The parking meter prop? I was looking forward to a huge climactic battle at the end but the big smackdown barely lasted five minutes.

Maybe I was expecting more out of it, but two specific things that bugged me: 1) No one checked to make sure Sylar was dead. For someone they've been chasing across the country and they know is such a huge threat, I find it ridiculous to believe no one verified his death. You would think both Mohinder and Mr. Bennett would make sure. 2) Peter can fly. So why couldn't he just fly himself up and explode in the sky? He'd crash down and be okay, thanks to Claire's regeneration powers. My guess is that Peter can only use one power at a time, but they have never established that one way or the other.

I love the concept of the show and the originality they bring to it. Comic book movies try to portray their heroes as real life, but this show portrays real life people as heroes. I really like the progression of the characters. Some characters that I hated in the beginning I ended up loving, and vice versa. Take Peter Petrelli. He started off as a whiny bitch but now he's become one of, if not the, most powerful heroes. Hiro is a great character, too - somewhat comic relief, but a serious threat. Niki/Jessica and DL started off cool, but by the end, I wanted all two (three?) of them to die.

One of the things they've really pulled off in the series is the belivability. Mostly, these people aren't experts at using their powers and they do real world things with them. If I could talk to machines, I'd clean out an ATM just like Micah did. Good job, kid. I also enjoy the aspect of (most) heroes having only one power. I think in comics, if a new character showed up and "all they can do" is fly, you'd be let down. But these are all engaging characters and a lot of the powers are balanced. DL could make himself intangible if Nathan tried to fly and ram him, or if Jessica tried to punch him. So it may seem like an average or lame power on the surface but it's cool.

I'm looking forward to next season. And even moreso, next season's catchphrase.

Sidenote: that commercial for the new Fantastic Four movie with the missles coming at Silver Surfer was totally awesome. Way better than whatever Tim Kring used his budget for.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why Spider-Man 3 Sucks, Part 2.

I just got back from seeing Spidey 3 and yeah, there was some disappointment. I was going into it with low expectations, and left still feeling disappointed. Here are my thoughts, obviously there's a spoiler alert because there are plenty of them ahead:

1. I know there are a lot of hot looking women in New York, but seriously, what was the deal with having smokin' hot chicks in every scene? And I'm not just talking about the Saturday Night Fever scenes, every scene had hot women everywhere. Every scene. Even in the lab where they were controlling the experiment that mutated the Sandman there were there where like three of them in lab coats. C'mon, how about showing some normal looking people? There were no normal people in this movie.

2. Stan Lee. Please stop. Your cameos were cool in the first couple of movies, but it's getting old. We know you're the guy that created all of these characters (or at least you're taking credit for all of them). We know this. Please stop destroying your legacy. I'm begging you. Please.

3. So, if you're made out of sand, how is it physically possible for you to cry? I know Comic Book Physics can pretty much explain anything, but I was laughing out loud at the scene at the end when the Sandman was crying. It was just funny for some reason.

4. Harry/The Green Goblin II. I totally agree with my sidekick Chris, this could have been done so much better. It could have been a whole movie. The amnesia part was lame, and you could see the ending coming from a mile away, you knew he was going to help him and get killed. I called it about an hour before it happened, when he was still "Good Harry". And having the butler tell him about cleaning his Dad's wounds was super lame. Why didn't he step up and do that months (or a movie) ago? I did like the snowboard he got at Marty McFly's garage sale though, that was pretty cool.

5. The scene when they were talking at the French Restaurant was killing me. Just shut up already, both of you. And for some reason, I knew the Bruce Campbell scene was coming, even though I had heard nothing about it. I yelled out Bruce! right after he came onscreen. I thought THAT was a nice cameo. Take some notes, Stan. But, I don't understand why Parker didn't recognize him as the usher that kept him out of MJ's play in the first one. They could have thrown in a "have we met before?" with Bruce's character denying it, and that would have been cool with me.

6. The part at the end where Spidey shows up to fight Venom and the Sandman and he lands for a split second right in front of the American flag was super lame. Seriously? That's what you've got? You can't get any more heavy-handed than that. And, again, it was totally lame.

I would like to see a fourth one, but I think it needs a fresh voice. I love Sam Raimi, but I think he got a little too full of himself and bit off more than he could chew. Too many storylines, too many characters, too many villians. I don't really think there's a word to describe how disjointed this movie was. It was just so choppy. You could tell it was trying to do too much. And two and a half hours? I had a headache by the time I left the theater. I won't be buying it on DVD and it's a good thing I only spent six bucks on it. If you can see it as a matinee for six dollars, I would recommend it, otherwise, wait for it to come on HBO in a coupe of months.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Amazing Spider-Man #282.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I thought I'd publish this one because my sidekick Chris wrote about Spider-Man 3 a couple of days ago, and this comic kind of, sort of, relates to the movie a little bit.

My cousin Dave bought me this comic. This is significant because my cousin Dave lives in Canada and I've only ever met him like two or three times. In the summer of 1986, my family drove from Los Angeles to Niagara Falls, where my Aunt and my Cousin live. So one day while we were there, and Dave decided to bring me along to get some groceries from a nearby market. We zoomed over at about 48 KPH (I specifically remember asking him what the heck a Kilometer was) and arrived at the store. While we were in the checkout line, he saw me looking at comics and told me to pick one out. The Amazing Spiderman #282 was sitting on the rack and that ended being the winner, mainly because there wasn't a whole lot of other options. Published in "November" (really July) of 1986, it featuring the super rad cover with most of the Marvel Universe in a cool border treatment. I think I ended up buying G.I.Joe #53 after the trip because I was away for a month (G.I.Joe was the main title I was collecting at the time), so I had no idea that Marvel was doing this on all of their covers for "November" of 1986 in honor of their 25th Anniversary. As a kid, I thought this cover treatment was totally rad, and as an adult, I still think it's pretty cool, because I love covers that have a ton of heroes crammed into them. However, on this cover, I have no idea why the half of the Avengers are covered up by the UPC box when they could have moved Luke Cage over there. Now, I love me some Luke Cage, but seriously, in 1986, was he really in the upper echelon of super heroes in the Marvel Universe? He gets a spot right below the FF and above most of the West Coast Avengers? Really? Power Man? I refuse to believe he was that popular in the eighties. I don't even think he had his own book at the time. And as much as I really hate Ant-Man, he totally got jobbed on this deal. Cage got a prime and undeserved spot and Ant-Man gets half of his super small body covered by a big white box. He's Ant-Man for Christ's sake, they couldn't have found room for him? He's super small, you can stick him anywhere and he'll be visible, except for behind a big white box. Meanwhile, Powerman's cold chillin' on the other side of the frame without something covering his face or body, which would have been the right thing to do. I'm just sayin'.

Anyways, in buying me this comic, Dave would send me down a path that, at the time, he had no idea he would be sending me down. This issue had a guest spot featuring X-Factor. Up until this point, I was mainly collecting G.I.Joe, Transformers and a few other "kid" comics. The mutant titles, like X-Men, X-Factor and The New Mutants, were for adults or teenagers, or at least that's what I think my reasoning was at the time for some strange reason. Six months later I would purchase X-Men #213, and my life would be forever changed. But THIS comic set the groundwork for that life changing event.

Anyways, to get to the review, it starts off with a recap of recent events; Peter Parker's good friend Flash Thompson has been framed for the crimes of the Hobgoblin which was a big news item at the time. Mary Jane comes home to her apartment to find Spidey passed out in the bathroom, after getting his bell rung by the Rhino in the previous issue:

A quick sidebar: this issue featured Spidey in his super cool black costume. Now, as an adult I can fully recognize this for what it was; a total gimmick. Giving Spidey a new costume was a way to try and increase book sales. Look! It's Spidey! He's got new costume! Buy this book! I understand this now, but when I was ten, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Spidey had the same boring costume since about 1961 so he was due for a change. In fact after the success of this costume change, Marvel made a major costume/look change for each of their major characters, by the time they got around to Cap, I was kind of over it. However, since this change was the first one, I thought Spidey's new costume was totally rad and I remember thinking, "Look! It's Spidey! He's got a new costume! I'm gonna buy this book!" Ok, I admit it, 10-year-old Tyler drank the Kool-Aid, but in his defense, 10-year-old Tyler was pretty naive. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The same could be said for the new movie. Look! It's Spidey! He's got a new costume! Go see the movie! Adult Tyler hasn't seen it yet, and he might end up waiting until HBO starts playing it in six to nine months)

Ok, so we've established that this comic is totally rad for two reasons; the kick-ass cover and Spidey's black costume. But we're just getting warmed up. It also features X-Factor, aka: the orginal X-Men. Ok, so we need an angle for them to get into the story. If only JJ was standing around in his office talking to Robbie to give us some expository dialogue:

Yes, exactly like that. Good thing Jonah's around. Anyways, to recap: blah, blah, blah, he hates Spider-Man, blah, blah, blah, he wishes there was something he could do about it, blah, blah, blah. What would be really cool is if there was a TV on in the background with a commercial playing that could help him with his problem...

...alright, now we're cookin'. He calls X-Factor, and they're gonna totally, finally get rid of this Spider-Man pest, once and for all. For sure this time. Not playin' around. It's really gonna happen. Take it to the bank. Guaranteed. Hmmmm, it could happen, right? Um, yeah, probably not.

Cut to X-Factor training at their headquarters, and in the time honored tradition of "The Comic Book Guest Spot™", within the first page or two of appearing, each character must refer to all other guest stars by their name, in bold, so the readers will know who they are (enlarge the image to the right). Ok, so did we get everyone? Looks like we're good to go. Like most DangerRoom or training sequences, one team's members collide with each other in a ball of mutant arms and legs so Cyke can stand above them with an irritatingly superior demeanor. Yeah, I'm not the biggest Cyclops fan. The guy's a sick-in-the-mud. Anyways, Hodge (aka Judas) gets on the horn and informs them they've got a job to do; they have to hunt down Spidey. Wha? Spidey's not a mutant. Or is he?

Now, I'm gonna tell you the truth, I really never got the rationale behind X-Factor's gig. They help mutants under the guise of hunting them down. They have two identities, one as X-Factor in which they "hunt" mutants down, and one as the X-Terminators, where they're mutants that "fight" X-Factor and help the mutants that are being persecuted. I understand that they're trying to form some kind of mutant underground railroad while sticking it to the mutant racists that call them, but man it's kind of complicated to follow. No wonder they dropped that storyline after 25 issues. And seriously, no one can figure out that when they're in their civilian clothes, the guy with the ruby quartz sunglasses is Cyclops and the guy with the freakin' huge backpack is Angel? I thought Warren Worthington III (Angel) was a public figure because he was a multi-millionaire and I'm also pretty sure it was public knowledge that he was a mutant because it's kind of hard to hide those super huge wings he's got. So no one can figure out that he's running around with four other people as X-Factor and then when the X-Terminators show up he's the Angel and there happens to be four other people fighting with him? Sigh. Also, no one apparently can put two and two together because everytime X-Factor gets a gig, the X-Terminators show up and save the mutants that are being hunted down. Everytime. Sometimes comic book logic frustrates the hell out of me...

ANYWAYS, to get back to the story, Spidey slips out of MJ's apartment and he goes out to try and find his buddy Flash. But he's having a hard time keeping it together because he doesn't feel too good, he's still a little hungover from the fight with Rhino. The X-Terminators (X-Factor in disguise) are in the city looking for Spidey, and, wouldn't you know it, they find him in no time. They try and talk to him, but Spidey's got a migraine, so he's not thinking too clearly. He thinks they're out to get him. They fight, and at some point, Angel accidently knocks Spidey into Marvel Girl (aka: Jean Grey). Way to go Angel, you're a total pro at this Super Hero racket (I'm not the biggest Angel fan either). Spidey tries to save her, but passes out right after he shoots his web which he hopes can stop her from falling in time. Luckily, Jean's a telekinetic and can fly, so she saves herself. The weird thing is how Spidey passes out. He's still totally buffed out. This is totally not possible. Check the pic off to the left if you don't believe me. It just doesn't look right.

So while he's still passed out, the group then debates what they should do and they come to the obvious conclusion: they stick to JJ bigtime. They refund his money because Spider-Man isn't a Mutant, and they hunt mutants, not Super Heros. I mean, they have morales, Jonah. JJ does not take the news too well and in typical JJ fashion, he starts tearing everyone a new one. X-Factor just decides to ignore him and walk out (why didn't anyone think to do that before?), but Robbie takes offense to JJ's rant and turns in his key to the executive washroom. Whoa dude, calm down. Let's not get crazy here. Quick Sidebar: So. Executive washrooms. Are companies still doing this in the year 2007? Because it seems like a pretty lame idea. As if owners/executives aren't hated enough, they've gotta do their business and wash up seperate from everyone else? Doesn't sound like the greatest idea to boost your company's morale.

So later, after Spidey recovers in a van and Iceman tells him that Jonah hired X-Factor to hunt him down (still trying to keep up the lame gimick), and he tells him to take it easy. Spidey then goes back to looking for Flash, and it's like this whole story didn't even happen. How can this be? In a comic book? Oh, wait, I think I just answered my own question. So, to wrap things up, we cut back to the Bugle and Robbie receives an interoffice package (what, they don't have email?). He opens the package, and it's his key back. See, Jonah does have a heart of gold, it's just really, really, really buried deep in a pit of hate and self-loathing. So everything's ok, Robbie and JJ ride off into the sunset and the status quo is maintained. The status quo must be maintained at all costs. That's the lesson for today, kids. Anyways, I read this one a lot as a kid, and it does remind me a lot of that trip my family took in '86. I also still think it's a pretty good comic, despite all of it's faults and it's timely, given the fact that Spidey 3 features the super cool black costume that at somepoint becomes Venom. So go buy this comic! Or see the movie! Sorry about that. So, yeah, that's about it; Amazing Spiderman #282, two thumbs up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Welcome to Asteroid F.

My sidekick Tyler and I started this blog because no one really gives a crap when we talk about comics (or related topics) on our individual blogs. We've decided to combine forces and make our home here on Asteroid F. But unlike The Wonder Twins, there is no catch phrase we utter in order to post on here. Oh, and we're not twins.

Here's a quick and useless rundown on my background: much like every other comic fan in my age range, I got into comics as a kid. I distinctly remember the first two comic books I owned, which I will have to dig up and review at some point. I was with comics through the '90s "collector" frenzy up 'til the early '00s. I have a general knowledge and love of comics, but am no longer a regular collector. Perhaps I'll get into the reasons at some point, but in the meantime, I have a healthy stash of back issues and other topics to mock here on the 'Roid.*

Alright, time to do some maintenance on the inhibitor fields. 'Til next time.

* - we should probably come up with a different abbreviation. AF, perhaps? Just as long as the metrosexuals don't confuse us with Abercrombie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Spider-Man 3 Sucks.

Spoiler warnings aplenty, but here are the main reasons why Spider-Man 3 sucks:

1. The Retcon of Ben Parker's death. Completely. Lame. Hey, you know this new villain, the Sandman, well, he, uh, just happened to be responsible for killing your uncle a few years ago. Oh, no wait, he was accidentally responsible. It was just there to give Spidey a reason to get aggressive against him. The point in the comics is that it was a no-name criminal that killed Uncle Ben - this inspires Peter to take on all criminals, from small-time thieves to supervillains.

2. Too many poorly developed villians and cheesy dialogue aka the Batman Forever Factor. Green Goblin II was the only interesting villain of the three, and they could have done so much with the former friends dynamic. Instead, he's evil, then amnesiac, then evil again, then he redeems himself. Sandman looked cool, but did he really have a reason to go after Spider-Man? No. Spidey was trying to stop him from stealing money (which is not ok) but ultimately forgives him for murdering his uncle (which apparently is ok). Venom was extremely out of place - the rivalry between Eddie Brock and Peter Parker was rushed. And okay, this alien symbiote just crashed to Earth and immediately picks out Peter Parker as a host? There was no explanation for this meteorite crashing, why it chose Peter, nothing. And the line Venom says when he's got Mary Jane captive: "My spider sense is tingling. If you know what I mean" just about made me throw up! Stan Lee's cameo was incredibly cheesy, too.

3. They don't explain anything / more things seems out of place. Mary Jane doesn't tell Peter she got fired from the play. Um, why not? He's your boyfriend. And like Spider-Man would really kiss another girl in front of Mary Jane. That was so out of place.

4. Mary Jane is the damsel in distress. Again. Okay, so three times now a villian has captured Mary Jane and Spidey has to save her. Any idiot can trail Mary Jane and find out she is, at the very least, friends with Peter Parker and then piece together that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. No single girl in New York City gets kidnapped that much.

And while I'm ranting, Kirsten Dunst has said that nobody would go see Spider-Man 4 without her, Tobey Maguire or director Sam Raimi. Um, no. They'd get another cast and people would still go see it 'cause it's Spider-Man. If the story is there and it entertains, people will see it. I don't like Dunst as an actress and now I don't like her as a person, after her dumb and self-congratulating comments. I still think they should have gotten Alicia Witt to play MJ from the start.

The first Spider-Man was great, the second Spider-Man improved upon every single thing the first one did and this one just crapped on the whole mythology. I will not be buying this one to complete my Spider-Man trilogy collection. Let's hope they make a Spider-Man 4 and they get it right. A thousand jeers to Sam Raimi for tanking this one.

Comic Book Ads #2:Hostess® Ads.

Part Two of an Epic Two Parter! Apparently, in the late '70s/early '80s, all you really needed was some kind of Hostess® brand snacks and you, a mere mortal, could be a superhero. You heard me right, all you needed was a couple of Twinkies, a Fruit Pie, or some Cup Cakes, and you could thwart some evil-doer's dastardly plans for world domination. Case in point, take the ad to the left. The Thing is innocently on his way back from the grocery store, lecturing some kid about the positive aspects of being "streetwise", when some lady yells out that someone has stolen her purse. Seeing a easy way to stop the cutpurse AND demonstrate his point about being "streetwise", the Thing throws some Cup Cakes at the dude to distract him, then he grabs the guy and shakes him upside down (a staple move in any superhero's repertoire) to make sure all of the stolen loot is accounted for. See what I mean? This kind of stuff happens everyday people, you should be prepared. Hopefully this is a wake up call and y'all will start planning ahead. These are life and death situations here.

Another perfect example of what I'm talking about, villians were running so ramant in the late '70s, that Bruce Banner couldn't even go to the freakin' Post Office without having some Cuban Nationals bustin' into the place, guns blazin'. Seriously, this was an epidemic in the fall of 1978, you couldn't go anywhere without some Cuban Nationals waving their submachine guns around and taking hostages. Also, exclamation points! We can't seem get through a single sentence in this ad without one! They should be used all the time! Anyways!, the situation is diffused by, guess what, yes that's right, a quick thinking kid who just happens to have a Fruit Pie in his back pocket. You think I'm making this up? This is real life people! This kind of knowledge will get you out of a bank or post office robbery! Also, sidenote, this was obviously before the term "going postal" became popular, because in hindsight becoming a Postal Employee seems like absolutely the last job you'd want Bruce Banner to take. He'd Hulk out on the first day. I'm just sayin'.

This one to the left is probably my favorite of all-time, and I really don't know why. Maybe it's because I probably could have made the "Computer Man" costume out of some old boxes and some green paint.

After that ad, they kind of started to get out of control. If you've got some more time to waste, here's one about the Fantastic Four on a river rafting vacation and here's another one involving Iron Man, some metal rhinos, and a couple of Twinkies. I have no idea why the FF would go on a lame river rafting trip when they travel to another freakin' Univervise. Seriously, if you could go check out an entirey different planet, would you do that, or go river rafting? If you say river rafting you are a moron. Also, mechanical Rhinos on the loose seems like a weak premise, but you get the basic idea, no situation can't be overcome when you've got the power of Hostess® on your side.

So, I guess the lesson for today is this: next time you're at a 7-11 or Quick-Stop and the joint gets robbed, you'll know what to do. Just throw some Hostess® Cup Cakes at them and while they're eating, call the cops. You'll be a hero, guaranteed. Just don't blow your reward money on hiring Van Halen to play at your birthday party. Even if it's the 1982 version of Van Halen. It's still a waste of money, Spicoli.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Comic Book Ads #1: Comic Book Amway.

I bought this shirt from Threadless a couple of months ago because it reminded me of the classic "Earn Famous Prizes or Cash" comic book ad to the left (click to enlarge). I freakin' LOVED looking through these ads as a kid because I would try and figure out what I'd get if I got suckered into selling their products. Fortunately, I knew at an early age that I was a horrible salesman and avoided this scam, because if I did try and sell their "products", my Mom would still probably being using some of their stationary to this day because she would have had to buy all of the stuff I didn't sell. I stuggled mightly with those school fund raisers where you had to sell M&Ms or candy or whatever. My Dad was an electrician, so it's not like he could take that stuff to work and sell it for me like EVERYONE that I work with does. I swear I get hit up at least once a month with one of those order sheets. Selling stuff for your kids is lame, force them to go door-to-door like in the old days. Anyways, so if I was imagining what I would get if I was a kick-ass salesman, and if this was 1984 I would still be totally into my BMX bike, so I'd probably have go with the Bike Speedometer (sell 10 items), or the Bike Generator Light Set (sell 10 items) [I think a friend of mine actually had this exact set, it came with turn signals so you could let your friends know you were cutting down an alley or something, I really don't know why you'd need turnsignals on your bike, but it seemed totally rad at the time]. Also, the G.E. Walkie Talkie Set with Morse Code (sell 19 items) might have been a strong contender [I think we actually got these for Christmas one year and they sucked because the range was pretty much five feet]. And I would have had to have sold a ton of items, but the Tyco U-Turn Chase Race Set (sell 25 items) would have been my ultimate prize because I loved slot cars and always wanted one of these Tyco tracks, especially the "Gravity Defying" one where the track went up the wall. Sadly, young Tyler missed out on cool stuff like that.

I also loved the fact that all of the normal prizes have crazy names to get you excited about them. Like the Nomad Day Pack (sell 8 items) . Dude, it's just a crappy backpack. A close second, the Action Wallets (sell 7 items). I think the "action" comes from the velcro. Velcro wallets, I know some adults that still rock them.

I would say that this ad ran for a solid eight to ten years, with different prizes mixed in every once in awhile, but one thing always remained the same: Ask For Janet. Apparently, Janet was a very loyal employee to the Olympic Sales Club, Inc. because she was the only operator ever featured. At least that I can remember. Also, they were available 24/7 (even Sundays). Man, Janet must have been overworked. Also, the Operators can only take your name and address only? No questions? Yeah, this doesn't sound like a scam at all...

I also like that "Captain O" is a cross between Captain America and The Flash, so they were covering both sides of the comic book spectrum; Marvel and DC. Why does Captain O need a jetpack? Apparently he's not a real superhero. He's just some dude with a costume and a jetpack. Highly disappointing. I am working on a sequel to this, based on the Hostess ads that ran in the '70s and '80s. In the eighties, all you needed was some Hostess Cup Cakes or some Twinkies and you could solve any problem. More on that later. So, to wrap this up, call toll-free today!

::UPDATED:: I found this older version of the ad when I was flipping through some comics looking for Hostess ads. There's some pretty cool stuff in there. I also found another version that I forgot to scan in and that one had "Jill" listed as the operator. At least they kept it in the Js. This one was a business reply card that you had to send snail mail, it was before the 24/7 800 number. I like the group of kids where one guy is playing the guitar, the girl is singing, but obviously they're pretty bad because the third kid is sitting on the floor listening to his headphones.

I also found two other novelty item ads that I loved looking through. Fake Vampire blood! Police "Style" Handcuffs! Hercules Wrist Band! Midget Camera! Shock Book! Phoney Money! 1001 Insults Book! "Secret" Book Safe! There's some gold in both of these ads, peruse at your leisure: Fun Factory Super Gifts & Gimmicks, and Johnson Smith Company Novelties. Enjoy.