On this episode I discuss my recent fascination with action figures and I have some comic book recommendations.
Action Figure Fever
I played with the figures till my late teens. When girls, partying and 16-bit video games started coming into play, I began leaving them alone.
Today in my 40s, I'm rediscovering toy play but on another level.
Now it's scriptwriting, diorama-building. Filming, special effects. Buying miniature props. Hiring voice actors from Fiverr. Animation, drawing. It's like making a real movie(I think). It doesn't have to be this. I choose to do this. I'm inspired by other YouTubers who've put together their stop-motion videos. I don't intend to make my videos entirely stop-motion, just a bit.
I'm becoming informed about current events with toys. I'm learning the figure makers besides the mainstays such as Hasbro and Mattel. NECA, Mezco, SH Figure Arts, Diamond Select. These are a little expensive for my blood but the toys look incredible and their articulation is unprecedented.
I visit local Gamestops in my area and go straight to the clearance section. Mostly Star Wars and Marvel Legends figures which haven't sold very well can be found. At times there are one-offs. Like a random McFarlane figure from Walking Dead or Stranger Things. I prefer the 6" figures for there poseable abilities. So to say my action figure collection currently is varied would be appropriate.
I've found toy store websites such as Big Bad Toy Store and Toy Wiz. They have blowout/clearance sections where loads of figures are available for sale. I've purchased some there as well. The most fun discovery is Extreme Sets. The website sells detailed cardboard locales such as a sewer, alley, building hallway, train station and much more. They are so cool!
Additional money has been spent on the production side of things. The tools for building the diorama are not overly expensive but purchasing Final Cut Pro and Motion(Apple movie production software) along with some video transition packs was an investment.
Where I've stumbled; getting in front of the camera and playing with the toys. That's the gist of it all. I've got to stop with all the prep and get right to it.
During my collecting phase mentioned earlier, I purchased 3.75" figures, Lego, Transformers, Duplo. I recently ran into a two-week financial rough spot. I noticed I was really only playing/planning scenes with the 6" figures. I purchased all the other kinds of toys thinking, one day I will do something with these. Today was not that day, so I began selling everything I wasn't using. A powerful reminder to myself and anyone reading this. Buy what you need, not just-in-case stuff. Unless it's for emergency preparedness.
Even writing about this presently, I'm excited to go on and play with the figures. I love revisiting my childhood interests. I think it's something that eventually happens to many of us. This is another big ah-ha moment I've had this year.
Comic Book Recommendations
You're in the comic book store or browsing Amazon or Comixology looking for something great to read. So many choices can be daunting. I'm going to help you with that! These here are books I've read cover to cover and feel confident in recommending.
Why am I reading comic books regularly at the age of 43? I love re-discovering my childhood interests. I remember sitting indian style on the floor of my bedroom and reading my older brother's comics. Titles such as Marvel's Power Pack, Alpha Flight, Uncanny X-men, Strikeforce Morituri, seeing Walt Simonson's art in Thor. Since that time I've read comics on and off.
I prefer graphic novels because I like whole story arcs in one book. Recently, begrudgingly, I made the change to reading digitally full time. I say begrudgingly because in reading traditional comics I'd give my eyes a break from all the screens I run across all day. But it's made my backpack easier on my shoulders. These are my recommendations.
-Super Sons Vol. 1 by Peter Tomasi, Jorge Jimenez, Alisson Borges
Here is the book synopsis https://bit.ly/2FDYVvX
This was electric. The relationship between Jon(Superboy) and Damian(Robin)was fun. Most times it's competitive between the two but they do work together. Robin eggs on Superboy and he challenges him right back. This book also has guest appearances from Batman, Superman, and Lex Luthor. I learned about this book from the Geek History Lesson Podcast.
Buy it here https://amzn.to/2PYsIo1
-Predator: Life and Death TPB by Dan Abnett, Brian Albert Thies, Rain Beredo, Dave Palumbo
Find the book synopsis here https://bit.ly/2Byhc9O
This is a combination of the first Predator, the legendary Aliens, and Prometheus films. I am a fan of these movies. This book gave me shock moments. Last time I had this happened was while reading the Walking Dead and major deaths occurred. A horror-action book in essence. I loved the artwork but there was a panel or two where I didn't understand what was going on. Predator: Life and Death was the first book I blazed through on the Comixology app. I was engaged from start to finish.
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2DJyJNL
-Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher.
Story synopsis here https://bit.ly/2TLk36w
I've never read Nancy Drew but I'm sure this series has grabbed some inspiration from those books. I loved the sci-fi elements, the adventure. The town they lived in reminded me of old horror, thriller teen movies from my youth such as the Monster Squad, Fright Night, Night of the Creeps to name a few. The twist, in the end, makes me want to come back for more. This was written by Brian K. Vaughn. I loved Y, the Last Man, Ex Machina and I've enjoyed Saga as well. Mr. Vaughan hasn't disappointed.
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2RejdgV
-Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth by Rick Remender, Wesley Craig, Lee Loughridge
As a child, I had a fear of zombies which turned into a love for them by adulthood. My own version of a weird Stockholm syndrome. I used to love zombie comics, video games, movies.
The Forbidden Planet store in NYC was a regular haunt for me about 8-10 years ago. I asked Matt who worked at the store for a comic recommendation. He pointed me to Xxxombies by Rick Remender. I never read any of his stuff before, but after reading this book that would change.
Fast forward to present day, while perusing the Comixology app I punched in his name and Deadly Class popped up in the search results.
Here's a synopsis of the story https://bit.ly/2DZasV3
I was fascinated by the afterword at the end of the book when Mr. Remender talks about his real-life influences in writing this story such as bullies, friends being killed, skateboarding, moving around often as a teen.
These characters are not good people, I root for them as their stories unravel. This is not a superhero book, but teenagers looking to belong, looking to connect with others in their same age group. All the while having a dark, murderous tone.
One story hiccup in the beginning which I didn't understand and I feel won't spoil things, but I didn't understand why the police where chasing Marcus. Willie tells him its a sting. How was Marcus involved in this scenario?
The artwork had a little bit of an Akira/Katsuhiro Otomo vibe except it was a lot dirtier which was great!
Buy it here https://amzn.to/2QpAFC4
-Black Science Vol 1. How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender, Dean White, Matteo Scalera
Find the story synopsis https://bit.ly/2SeDH9n
Another book by Rick Remender. Matteo Scalera's art gives me a Bill Sienkiewicz vibe, except there are clean lines and long characters.
What did I like about this book? The desperation of the characters trying to get home. The situations they land themselves in which leads to fighting the unknown simply to stay alive. Flashbacks which tell of Grant's project and how it affects everyone on the team. The rivalry with Kadir. This was a page-turning, sci-fi adventure from the start.
Buy it here https://amzn.to/2DK1VEr
I read these books and only wish I can put together stories like these. Hopefully, with all this writing and reading, I'll get there someday.
Check out these recommendations and tell me what you think. By purchasing the books through the provided links you will be supporting myself and the publishers of these titles. Thanks!
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