Three Things I Have Recently Discovered

As the title implies...isn't the old bromide true that you "learn something new every day"? It is for me.  In fact, it's often a brand new world every morning for me.  Cue Poke-a-honkas singing: "A WHOLE NEEEWW WOOORRRRRRRLLLD!" 
On second thought, don't.  Instead, benefit from the wisdom I am about to bestow.  On you.

1) When doing a "vanity press," self-produced album (which will inevitably end up in a thrift store thousands of miles away--somewhere between Hootie and Kenny Rogers--because the people who've given it away know that there is no danger of ever running into you again), please make sure that your name actually fits on the cover.  That, or think of a snazzy "stage name" for yourself, that is easier for your potential fans to spell.  Like "H" for example.
2) This is really more of a "heads up," but before we get there, let me first thank Amazon for offering buyers the chance to buy used merchandise at lower prices...thank you, Amazon!  That said, there ARE some things that simply should not be allowed to be sold in "used" condition.  Don't they have any rules?

3) But I saved the best for last.  If you take anything away from this post, dear friends, it should be this:  there are some things that should NOT be portrayed in "stuffed animal" or "plush" form.  Case in point:
So there I was, at the thrift store (which means it must be a day that ends in a "Y")...and I see this...thing.  The answer is, yes, it's what you think it is.  I did not recover from my shock until I had photographed it.  At least there was a plastic bag between me and the...item.
So, how many anthropomorphic, plush enemas have YOU held today? Nevermind, I do NOT, NOT, NOT want to know.


Kaijubilee #10 "Same Rodan Time, Same Rodan Channel"

This was the kind of thing that worked so well, I can't believe somebody hadn't thought of it yet.  Enjoy!

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Kaijubilee #10 "Same Rodan Time, Same Rodan Channel" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Kaijubilee #09 "Postcard From NYC '68"

I wanted to portray the (mostly cut) Manda & Godzilla romp in New York City from DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.  I also wanted to give it a wavy "fringe" edge like old postcards have, but then I thought, who even sends postcards anymore?
And, I've pointed this out before, but Manda completely lost his whiskers between ATRAGON and DAM. Weird!

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Kaijubilee #09 "Postcard From NYC '68" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Trauma In the Toy Aisles!

First off, let me get this out of the way:


I will get to that in a moment, but let me just say that there has been a long drought of very little interesting domestic collecting product, and by that I mean action figures.  But lately, it seems that everything is coming out at once--6" Star Wars figures with amazing sculpts, new rounds of Marvel Universe; you name it.
So, I have been going to stores every day...Targets, TRU's, Wal-Marts.  Every day.  And thus far, I have found very nearly nothing.  Yesterday was a high point:

This is the new "Chibi Figures" series from Bandai, and they are quite cute.  You can get them in three ways (not sure that was such a bright idea, Bandai): single-packed, two-packs, or the boxed set of all 6 for $20.  So, that was a good thing to find.  It got me through the day.
But, after looking for new Marvel figures for weeks--and I should point out that I only want two here, the Mysterio for me, and the Rhino for my youngest...that is all--I started to look on Amazon, because Ebay was just wrong.  At first, they were available at store prices ($11.99), but their stock was quickly exhausted, and it kicked over to what scalpers had for sale ($20.99).  When, one day, very suddenly, they suddenly (I said that) got more in at store price...with free shipping...I jumped on it.
Well.  Days later, I found a box on my doorstep that was crushed.  Like an elephant sat on it.  This would be tragic for some people, but I tell myself, no worries, they are going to be opened anyhow!
Unfortunately, upon opening the box......I got this.
Now, just to be clear, compare the following photos:
Not Right.

You know, I'm not a guy to complain about an occasional paint blob, but this is ridiculous.  That is damage, like something has been ground away, broken--or even not properly molded--leaving a hideous, gaping hole...now, I could blame Amazon, (and true, it shouldn't have gone out the door) but the real culprit here is Hasbro.  And it is at this point that we will resume my previous rant:  WHY DO YOU HATE ME, HASBRO? Do you have any idea of how much money I have given you over the years and years?! Instead, you continually give me all your Chinese screw-ups (such as here and here, and that's just two examples).  Do you not have any quality control? Great Caesar's Ghost! Hour of Mischief! Does paying Malaysian runaways fifty cents a day not guarantee two DIFFERENT BLOODY FREAKING HANDS on a body?
New "Choir Boy Mysterio" with Enunciating Action!
Come to think of it, maybe THIS is what they were going for...
So now what am I to do, wait an eon to find one in a local store? Do I return this piece of crap to Amazon, and take a chance on getting something worse? Sigh. SIGH!
For more on this situation, let's go to our Field Reporter, H.E.R.B.I.E., who is on the scene:
Here are some photos I saw on an Ebay auction, that sort of explain a bit more what is going on:
You can see here (I always hear Admiral Ackbar's voice when I start a sentence like that) that there is a sort of slot where Mysterio's dome meets the cape.  Apparently, if this is positioned right, it doesn't show....I can't verify this, since I don't have a figure that's not completely wrecked, of course.  But it does sort of help me to understand what's wrong with my figure, namely that some Southeast Asian factory workers were having a bet as to who could more successfully operate the router with their feet, and assemble a figure.
As interesting as that is, this is even more interesting:

I can understand wanting to have a shadowy, human-shaped head visible under the dome...in fact, I applaud the designers in doing this.  It really pays tribute to the classic design.  I imagined that it would simply be a blank head, but as this photo shows, it's not! In fact, it has features...well, there really isn't a nose at all.  He sort of looks like the Harry Potter villain.  I guess what I want to know is, was this specially sculpted for this figure? You would think any head would do.  Was there a reason that it was done this way? Who knows?!

ULTRA Q has arrived on DVD!

I am still stunned to consider that I am living in a time where both ULTRAMAN, ULTRASEVEN, and now ULTRA Q have been given official DVD releases with English subtitles.  Like many, I owned a copy of this show, but never watched very much at all, since there were no translations available.  I have seen the famous first episode (featuring a '64 Godzilla-In-Disguise), but little else.

Until now! Shout Factory has done it again.  Run, don't walk, and do whatever you have to do to obtain this set. I am not going to bloviate on the picture, sound, or subs, but everything is excellent so far, and now I'm finally getting the TWILIGHT ZONE/OUTER LIMITS feel they were going for...and how the next logical step was to develop a giant hero to save the earth, in the form of Ultraman.

An interesting side note:  Ultra Q was dubbed in English (as was the first Ultraman), in an attempt to get the American market to pick it up.  There are conflicting theories on whether the entire series was really dubbed, but the evidence suggests it was...at any rate, it was news to me, but Episode 3 (with the giant snail/slug Namegon) is out there:

I think it would have been amazing if the dubs could have been included on the new DVDs....so maybe they don't all exist....but such is life, it's still a stunning release. BUY IT.

Recently, a set of RETURN OF ULTRAMAN (Jack) DVD's has gone up for sale in Malaysia, with somewhat-dodgy English subtitles, but now it makes me wonder if Jack couldn't be far behind for the American market too? Time will tell!


Kaijubilee #08 "The Toys of Gigan"

There is a very old device used in comic book covers and movie posters, where the villain (usually) is shown larger than anything else in the frame, sometimes even holding the hero in his hand.  (Of course, when it comes to kaiju, they usually ARE the largest thing around.)  There is another old device that is used a lot, which is a large map or globe in a supervillain's headquarters, sometimes with models or figures on them.  I think both of those cliches came to mind here...and how Gigan 
plays with toys without thumbs is a mystery worth exploring.
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Kaijubilee #08 "The Toys of Gigan" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Kaijubilee #07 "Volleyball With Baragon"

All I can say is, when you are picking teams on Monster Island, put some thought into it.

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Kaijubilee #07 "Vollyball With Baragon" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


GODZILLA vs. MEGALON - Original U.S. Painting! (FANGORIA #1, 1979)

I realized that my vintage Godzilla collection would not be complete without the first issue of FANGORIA, which launched in 1979 with a cover story on "25 Years of Godzilla"! A nice surprise in the well-written article (by Godzilla scholar Ed Godziszewski) was a full-page photo of the artwork for the MEGALON poster, without the logos and lettering! I have always loved this amazing painting. You can zoom in and see tiny people on the roofs of the Twin Towers! (I still need to do a feature on close-up details in American Godzilla posters, come to think of it).  The issue also includes a pull-out poster that is based on the artwork for the Italian re-edit of "King of the Monsters."  It was also interesting to read the articles, and be transported back to 1979 (one article was on aliens that were left, or cut, out of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, which was very interesting!).  Worth picking up, and not even pricey.  My copy was $15...probably the only issue of FANGORIA I will ever own.

By the way, here's the poster for good measure---I didn't want to remove mine from the magazine either!


Kaijubilee #06 "This Looks Like A Job For..."

This is one of my favorites! I keep saying it, but this is another one I want to make a T-shirt of. Enjoy!

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Kaijubilee #06 "This Looks Like A Job For..." by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Kaijubilee #05 "I Was Just Leaving"

It's no secret that I dearly love Angilas, and I was thinking one day about how often dog-like qualities are used to describe him...he's loyal, tenacious, scrappy, and of course, walks around on all fours (well, sort of).  This got me to thinking about the way urban canines are often portrayed in classic cartoons.  If Angilas was a stray in a big city, what would he be doing? Why, rooting around trash cans, of course...this in turn led to the thought that like Oscar the Grouch, Hedorah would also love to live inside of a trash can.  You can tell I spend entirely too much time thinking about these things, but honestly, I really do. Enjoy!

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Kaijubilee #05 "I Was Just Leaving" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Kaijubilee #04 "Chicken Love"

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Kaijubilee #04 "Chicken Love" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Dear Japan...

Dear Japan,

I know you have characters and mascots on every product in your country.  I know this is true because I just finished reading an excellent book about it called "HELLO, PLEASE!" that I enjoyed very  much.

I even learned your word "kawaii" for these cute characters...you  know, I had a keyboard as a teenager that was made by Kawaii, but it didn't have a face on it, or big googly eyes, anywhere.

You are very precocious, Japan, and I think sometimes you are just having fun with us, as evidenced in the photo of your "milk mascot" character below. 

In fact, you really are too much.  You make all of the other countries jealous because they are so boring. They sit around the lunch table and say mean things about you, but you don't care. After all, you can go home and make violent animes about their mothers.

Thank you for all the awesomeness you have given me over the years.


Sam the Q