Saturday, August 25, 2007

Who Wants to be a Superhero? Down to 4!

So... earlier today, we finally watched this week's edition of "Who Wants to be a Superhero?", and I'm kind of let down by this episode.

There were two main things happening here. The first was the heroes went on a mission to foil Doctor Dark, who was diverting power away from the city. In order to foil his plot, the heroes had to crawl through a pipe in the darkness (or near-darkness), past spider webs, snakes, rats, and tarantulas, pull out one of the fuses, and exit. Each hero had to get one fuse, and all five had to do it in no more than six minutes total.

Now, it was obvious to me that the video of the heroes going inside the pipe was "sweetened" a bit... there were some obvious CGI spiders added, scuttling about.

The second main thing happening was that the heroes got a night out, and they went to a (presumably) nearby Mexican restaurant, where they met some of the other customers and interacted with them, especially the kids. The Defuser (the cop) handed a jack to one of the kids as a souvenier from his costume (in his hero identity, it's supposed to be an invention of his he can toss to stop someone from chasing him, so it would be like an explosive or whatever).

The heroes didn't have any money or credit cards on them, naturally, and supposedly they didn't realize the bill wasn't going to be paid, so they had to work off the bill by helping out in the restaurant. Now, maybe I'm being cynical, but I suspect that bit was all set up for the cameras, and is as unreal as this show gets.

Next thing up (it might've been before the restaurant, actually... I forget already) had Doctor Dark calling on the heroes via television to show "shocking" video footage revealing deep, dark secrets of the heroes. This same thing happened last year, with a close friend or family member spilling the beans on something embarrassing that happened to the hero. The Defuser, for example, had to do some drinking as part of his police training (to help learn how to spot DUI's) and was so drunk that when he went to use the restroom, he managed to accidentally trash the place! Whipsnap's secret was that she kind of stalked a guy she was in love with. Hygenia was interested in burlesque dancing, Hyperstrike screwed up a job that he couldn't do an acrobatic stunt for, and I forget what Parthenon's secret was.

The next event was the filing of "mission reports," and one big sticking point was that three of the five heroes thought that Whipsnap was the least heroic of the bunch. And to be fair, she seems to be breaking down and crying from the pressure pretty much every single episode, so that's a fair call, so far as I'm concerned. I'm guessing that the Defuser was one of the heroes who said this... but I don't think that Hygeina would make that call... and I'm not sure that Parthenon would've said that, either... but one of them had to have done it.

The third one was the guy who's becoming my favorite at this point... Hyperstrike. And he admitted it to Whipsnap in a 'private' conversation, because he felt she needed to know he was one who said it. Pretty brave of the guy, but I think Whipsnap respected him for it.

When it came time to head for the roof for elimination, the three called were Hygeina, Whipsnap, and The Defuser. Hygeina was called because she always takes the longest time to perform missions, and her cleanliness thing seems to get in the way a lot. The Defuser was called out by Stan because he gave away that jack to a kid... Stan said he needed to respect his costume more than that... which I thought was really kind of ridiculous, really! He gave a child a souvenier that they'll remember for quite a long time!

I would imagine that next season, a good portion of the contestants will be adding a pouch to their original costume to hold some item that's intended to be given away, in case this happens again.

Whipsnap was called because of the reasons already mentioned.

Now, I don't know if you read any of the coverage from San Diego Comicon on Who Wants To Be A Superhero?, but I did, and in the panel with Stan were Hyperstrike and Hygeina, which led me to believe they'd end up being the final two in the show (which pretty much made watching the show pretty much a waste of time if you were trying to figure out who would stay and who would go). So I knew it was either going to be the Defuser or Whipsnap that would be let go this time... and it was, indeed, Whipsnap's turn.

I'm assuming there will be maybe three or four episodes left in the season. Probably three. In the next two, it'll be the Defuser and Parthenon who will be eliminated, and I'm guessing that somehow, Parthenon will be the first, followed by the Defuser (unless the Defuser gets sick and tired of Stan's criticizing him all the time... let's face it, the Defuser pretty much acts like Captain America does in the Avengers, taking charge of the situation, and he is the natural leader in the group... and I think Cap would gladly give away some small token to children who meet him, to boot. But I do get the feeling that the Defuser's starting to lose some patience with Stan here). That will then lead to a final episode or two in which Hyperstrike and Hygeina will basically face off in a series of tests to help Stan pick the final winner.

To be honest, of the two that seem to be the final two, I'd pick Hyperstrike right now to be the ultimate winner. Why is that? Well, the winner gets their character published in a Dark Horse comic book, and their hero will be featured in a Sci-Fi Channel original movie based on the character (Feedback has been in two... one his own movie, and next week he's in a new movie about a giant snake or something like that... I keep forgetting to see if Sci-Fi's going to re-run the first movie sometime Edit - Apparently "Hyper Snake", which originally aired on the 25th, is the movie debut of Feedback), and there'll also be an action figure made of the character.

Now, while I applaud the idea of it being possible for a woman to win this, I don't think Hygeina's chances of winning the big prize are any better than Fat Momma's chances were last year. I can't see a movie being made of Hygeina that would be anything more than a flat-out comedy about a superhero who fights crime and grime. It's just a silly idea, and it doesn't make for a good movie or a good comic. Not a serious one, anyway. And I can't imagine there's a big line of people wanting to buy a Hygeina action figure (maybe Miss Limelight, but not Hygeina).

It's entirely possible I could be wrong here. I've been wrong before. I'm sure I have, even if I can't remember the last time I was wrong about something. (insert tongue in cheek here)

But we'll just have to wait and see!

Today's Video...

...not that I'm planning on posting a video every single day!

Here's an Isis transformation sequence from one of the episodes I haven't yet watched on my DVD yet...



Jon

Space Toy Saturday!

space_apolloII

The Apollo II American Eagle Lunar Module battery-operated toy pictured above looks very cool, but it's also rather bizarre, if you think about it. Consider what the real thing did... it landed on the moon, and then after the astronauts were finished, the bottom portion stayed behind while the upper portion launched back into space.

This toy? Well, it moves around with a "mystery action" (meaning random turns and so forth)... but it does some other cool stuff too, according to the box!

space_friendship7

Friendship 7, above, is a nice companion piece to the Lunar Module, although they may have been produced by different companies!

space_cragstanspacetank

Cragstan, at least at one point, must've been the kings of mechanical toys, as witness the "Space Tank" (or "Mars Patrol" vehicle, depending on the release date) above! By "friction-powered," I presume it's like toys you can still find today, where you rev it up by pushing it forward a few times before letting it go. The "spinning ball cockpit" seems to be that blue loop you can see, which I suppose if it's spinning fast enough would produce an interesting effect.

It's a very cool design, very retro, eh?

space_moondetector

Also very cool and retro is the "Moon Detector" above... and no, I have no idea why it's called the "Moon Detector"!

Jon

Here's Something I Don't Understand...

One of the comics news sites that I regularly check (usually daily) is Silver Bullet Comics (which is on the linklist, I believe). If you go there, look at the title that appears on the top of your browser... "Silver Bullet Comics - The Internet's Most Diverse Comics Webzine, Featuring All The Rage..." and so forth.

Then look to see when the last All The Rage column was. As I'm writing this, it's just four days short of a month.

It's been kind of an iffy column since the latest guy took it over... iffy in the sense that you never knew when the next column was going to appear, for starters; and even the last few mini-columns, which were done during San Diego Comicon, weren't really dealing with rumors and so forth that is usually the purview of All The Rage.

I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising, given that there have been more mini-interviews and the like appearing in it (some interviews feel like they're the bulk of previous columns). And I suppose part of this is the latest ATR columnist is trying to make the column his own.

But really, is that what the readers want? To be accustomed to a column that's been one thing, but now is something else? SBC could've just cancelled ATR, and let the new guy start a brand-new column, called whatever he wants to call it, and then there wouldn't be the comments on various sites (I think I've seen mention of this at blog@newsarama, for example) about how long it's been since the last column.

It's kind of symptomatic of what's been happening at SBC lately anyway, to be honest. There have been several days in a row where I'd bring up the page on my browser, and there wouldn't be anything new posted there.

I don't know how many of you check out SBC on a regular basis, but if you do, I'd love to read your own comments concerning the new irregular ATR, or anything else about SBC. And while you're at it, if there are any good comics news pages that you think I'd be interested in checking out, let me know about those, too!

Jon

Bride of Frankenstein Trailer!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh Mighty Isis...

Taking a break from watching Laugh-In tonight (because I finished watching the set of DVDs I got from the library, and haven't been back to get the second set), so tonight I'm starting to watch The Secrets of Isis on DVD. As you may recall, I worked on the special features for this DVD, as I have with the other BCI/Eclipse Filmation releases, so I got my copy for free!

Anyway, I'm on the first episode now, and Andrea Thomas is just now transforming into Isis (a series of stock shots which were used in every episode, just like was done in Shazam! as well as later in He-Man, She-Ra, and lots of other shows).

To be honest, the video quality of this set, at least the first episode, is pretty disappointing! I had high hopes for it, especially given how good the quality on Ghost Busters and Space Academy was. I suppose as I see more of these, I'll be able to tell if there were different prints used for different episodes. I know that nobody ever thought these shows would be made available again later! I'm guessing that the film stock used for this series wasn't the same stock used for prime-time shows... I'm guessing they shot Isis on 35mm at best (although some shots almost look like they were shot on 16mm!).

I'm also struck, as I watch, how low-budget the effects really were! In order to stop a car of crooks from getting away, Isis calls on the sun to help stop them... by making the engine overheat (ooh, a smoke bomb under the hood! That must've set Lou back 15 cents, eh?). But then, I'm sure I remembered the effects being more deluxe than they really were.

Joanna Cameron as Andrea Thomas/Isis is just as sexy as I recall her being, although so far, at least, there've been way too few shots of her in costume where you can see those shapely legs of hers! Most of the shots have been from the bottom of the skirt up, with a glimpse of thigh here and there.

It's too bad that Joanna declined to be interviewed for the DVDs... I had hoped that she'd be in the interviews, but alas, it was not to be! But then, she's not the only actor/actress who doesn't want to revisit parts of their careers!

I wonder if the live-action Spider-Man series from CBS will ever be released on DVD? The reason I think of this is that Joanna Cameron appeared in one of the two-hour movies that were made before the series, and in one sequence, the villain has captured her and made her wear a bikini... because he knows this way she can't be hiding any weapons!

Back to this first episode... this is definitely not a pilot by any means! I doubt there's any continuity from episode to episode, because the characters talk about Isis as if this wasn't the first time that they ever met her or heard of her. This probably was so that the network could air episodes in any order they wanted to.

Another note: Although the official series title is "The Secrets of Isis" (it even says that on the box art and the discs), the show itself only says "Isis" on-screen.

Jon

Genre Movie Friday!

OK, so I'm going to start doing something a little different than I've been doing here on the Random Acts! Rather than doing one genre movie post, one comics cover post, one classic collectibles post, and one comics ad post each day, I'm going to instead decide -- at random -- to post a couple of items from those categories per day... and some days, I'll plug in a YouTube video that I think might be of interest (like I did the day before), or perhaps I'll go on a rant or something.

I mean, this is supposed to be Random Acts of Geekery, after all... so it'll be Random!

Today's post is concerning the Bride of Frankenstein! Of course, I've been posting a few photos from that classic for a few days now, but I still have more!

bride12
The Monster is captured by villagers!

The Bride of Frankenstein is one of those true cinema rarities -- a sequel that's arguably better than the original! As much as I love Frankenstein, I have to admit that Bride is a better constructed, better acted, and better written production all the way around...

...so long as you completely ignore the beginning of the film, which introduces the story as Lord Byron and Mary Shelley and others talk about the end of the first movie (which, of course, takes place long after these people have passed on!), and Mary being asked what happens next! And so she begins her tale, and we go on to the movie proper.

One nice touch here, though, is that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, as well as the Bride!

bride11
The Monster takes a Bride?

Every actor is at their best in this sequel, especially Karloff and the brilliant Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius, who practically steals the movie (Colin Clive, reprising his role as Dr. Frankenstein, is pretty much upstaged by Thesiger... indeed, pretty much everyone is except Karloff!). It's amazing, really, how much James Whale (who also directed the first movie) got away with here... Thesiger's obviously a homosexual, and has deviant interests, too (note that I'm not implying that homosexuality is deviant!). I can only imagine the censors were being particularly dense when they watched the film... or maybe there was even wilder stuff that was cut before the theatrical release!

bride10
Dr. Frankenstein, the Bride, the Monster, and Dr. Pretorius

It's interesting that Young Frankenstein has a lot of tributes to Bride in it, maybe even more than it has to the original Frankenstein! For example, the scene with with blind man in his hut is a complete homage/parody of a similar sequence in Bride. And of course, later on in YF, Madeline Kahn does her hair up in Bride fashion, and even does the hiss!

The only other theatrical appearance of the Bride was in Mad Monster Party, and then she was portrayed (as the other monsters and characters were) in stop motion animation... and voiced by Phyllis Diller!

But I digress. And this is probably as good a place as any to end this post!

Jon

Thursday, August 23, 2007

You Bet Your Sweet Bippy!

Something different from me tonight... I've probably never mentioned this before, but I'm a big fan of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, which I occasionally got to sneak peeks of when it was originally on TV, way back when.

The last week, thanks to the local library, I've been watching "The Best of Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In," and I've been enjoying them greatly! But since I can't share all those episodes with you, here's a YouTube clip from Laugh-In guest-starring the Monkees!



Jon

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Genre Movie Image of the Day!

bride13

One of these days, when I have a bit more time, I've got some stuff to say about Bride of Frankenstein to go with one of these pictures!

Jon

Comic Book Ad of the Day!

charlton_03-73_01

Another ad from the March, 1973 Charlton books...

...and isn't it funny what photos are used to show what to expect as a police officer? Especially the first one! You'll be living the exciting life, interviewing sexy babes in short skirts...

...or alternatively, escorting school children across the street!

Jon

Classic Collectible of the Day!

space_apollo-z

The Apollo-Z toy pictured here is pretty sweet, isn't it?

Jon

Comic Book Cover of the Day!

stalmannen_1979.02

I have no idea which issue was reprinted in this issue of Stalmannen! The character menacing Superman is completely unfamiliar to me.

Jon

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

America's Got Talent Finale!

Terry Fator won! I'm very happy with that result!

Although if Cas had won, we would've found that acceptable, too.

We were very glad when it came down to those two.

Good job, Terry! (as if you read this blog)

Jon

Genre Movie Image of the Day!

brideposter

Do I have to tell you what this is? I didn't think so.

Jon

Comic Book Ad of the Day!

charlton_03-73_02

Another one from the March, 1973 Charlton books.

Do you get the feeling that anybody who ordered anything from an ad in a Charlton book was probably just throwing their money away? Let's look at these "Super Values," starting with the stickers, shall we?

It's 1,000 stickers for a buck. Or ten stickers for a penny, if you break it down. That "jump with life" under black light (whatever that's supposed to mean). And they're printed on "gum paper" -- which I'm interpreting to mean that it's like the old postage stamps that you have to lick. And looking at the art of the people holding sheets, I'd bet you that each sheet probably has 100 little stickers, and you'd get ten sheets for your money.

You can imagine how great a value the mini posters and incense pieces are, eh?

Jon

Classic Collectible of the Day!

robot_trainrobot

Today's robot is called "Train Robot."

Why is it called "Train Robot"? No clue. It looks nothing like a train (hey wasn't that a song from "South Pacific"? "There is nothing like a train... nothing in the world. There is nothing you can name, that is anything like a train!" Sorry, my mind makes weird connections sometimes).

Does it move like a train? Who knows? If any of you know why this is called "Train Robot," please let me know, won't you?

Jon

Comic Book Cover of the Day!

Still looking at foreign reprint books, but we're moving away from Superboy... and instead, looking at some Superman reprints!

stalmannen_1979.04

I'll bet pretty much every one of you faithful readers recognize the art as based on the famous Neal Adams "Kryptonite No More!" cover from Superman #233...

...and no, I have no idea why the publisher had some local artist redo the classic Adams artwork.

Jon

Monday, August 20, 2007

Comic Book Cover of the Day!

stalpojken_1971.10

This was the October, 1971 issue of this foreign edition... and since it's a new cover created overseas, with nothing distinctive about it, I have no idea what was reprinted inside!

Jon

Classic Collectible of the Day!

robot_thunderrobot

I don't know why this was called the "Thunder Robot," but it sure looks cool, doesn't it? Even with what appears to be a propeller on its head!

Jon

Comic Book Ads of the Day!

charlton_03-73_03

Another pair of ads from Charlton, this time from a March, 1973 cover-dated book!

The top half is all too typical of comics advertising, not only at Charlton, but also DC and Marvel (although the big two's fitness ads tended to be aimed towards males, not females). I do find it interesting that the "Crash Diet" offered is only a dollar, but really, would someone spend the money on a Money Order for a buck? Well, I suppose MO's were cheaper in 1973.

The bottom ad is one that should be familiar to everyone reading this, at least those of us who were reading comics in the 1970s! It's definitely one of those that I think most of us of a certain age read and thought for sure that you would be getting something like a statue of the Frankenstein Monster or a skeleton, never guessing it was really just a poster!

OK, sure, they were seven-foot-tall posters, but posters nonetheless.

Jon

Genre Movie Image of the Day!

bride01

Another view of Elsa as the Bride of Frankenstein! Well, the bride of the Frankenstein Monster, anyway!

Jon

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Comic Book Cover of the Day!

stalpojken_1976.10

October, 1976 edition of this foreign Superboy comic, reprinting an older Superboy story... Possibly Superboy 64, although that art wasn't used on the cover.

Jon

Genre Movie Image of the Day!

It's Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein!

bride02

Jon

Comic Book Ad of the Day!

charlton_12-78_01

Yes, it's another December, 1978 Charlton ad!

Like I had to tell you it came from the late 1970s.

Jon

Classic Collectible of the Day!

robot_spaceexplorer

Here's another toy that's robotic, but is supposed to be a human! It's called the Space Explorer, and I have no idea if the gauge did anything or not.

Jon