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City Parks Foundation 2014 SummerStage Schedule Announced

Shuggie Otis Sent Out a "Strawberry Letter" on a Sunny Central Park Afternoon.

Shuggie Otis Sent Out a “Strawberry Letter” on a Sunny Central Park Afternoon.


Park Life…
Next to hearing the joyously loopy tape loop from a Mr. Softee Ice Cream truck nothing is as sure a sign we’ve finally ditched winter than New York’s City Parks Foundation (CPF) announcing its SummerStage performance schedule. The 2013 line-up was a sublime selection of lazy hazy days entertainment to enjoy in your local park and 2014 promises even more opportunities to enjoy summer in the city.

Full Schedule…
A complete date, artist and park schedule is here. Check out all the good stuff coming your way beginning on June 6.

Last Season's "Diablo Love"  was a mash-up of "Dream Girls" &  "Faust" meeting Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf at the Crossroads.

Last Season’s “Diablo Love” was a mash-up of “Dream Girls” & “Faust” meeting Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf at the Crossroads.


Focus On FANIA…
While last year took a historical look at Hip-Hop that included an outlandishly fun tribute to King Kong, this summer the focus will be on a celebration of the preeminent label of latin music, FANIA Records.

Performances by classic acts like Joe Bataan, Ismael Miranda and Roberto Roena, will be offset by inheritors of the tradition like Ana Tijoux and La Mechánica Popular, spinning out Chilean Hip-Hop Fusion and psychedelic salsa respectively. The season finale in Central Park will be a special Fania All Stars night, conjuring the spirit of Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Yomo Toro and other masters of the genre.

SkeletonPete Says…
Thanks to Greenhouse Publicity for the heads-up.

Cryptography: Mezco Unveils Living Dead Doll Time Capsule @ Ripley’s Times Square Odditorium

Mezco Toyz Unveiled their Living Dead Doll Time Capsule Coffin at Ripley's Times Square Odditorium

Mezco Toyz Unveiled their Living Dead Doll Time Capsule Coffin at Ripley’s Times Square Odditorium

16 Years and a Dead Dolls Chest…
The lingering ghost of winter touched one more frosty finger on NYC the morning of April 16th, 2014 but that didn’t stop Mezco Toyz devotees from beginning to cue up near Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Times Square Odditorium at the crack of dawn, or was it crack of doom? The shivering flock was there to insure a gander at Mezco’s Living Dead Doll “Time Capsule” and its contents before the toy company finds a long term resting place for it. The first 160 early bird fans were rewarded with limited edition LDD coins placed into their cold and clammy claws and a discount to view the fascinating curiosities that line the corridors of the Odditorium.

Sweet Sixteen, and Never Been Bitten?
The coffin shaped encasement commemorates 16 years of Living Dead Doll production. It’s a feat that earned the company special recognition at New York Toy Fair this past February for being the “longest continually produced series of collectible horror themed dolls” in the world. The casket will be loaded with series memorabilia including early production drawings, handmade and production dolls, mini figures, and more. It will also house all of the “What Living Dead Dolls Mean To Me” videos recently created by fans for the year-long anniversary celebration.

Hearsula Pulls Into Ripley's Times Square Lobby to the Suprise of On-lookers.

Hearsula Pulls Into Ripley’s Times Square Lobby to the Suprise of On-lookers.

Ed, Mez and Damian Autographed Living Dead Dolls Collector's Items for Fans.

Ed, Mez and Damian Autographed Living Dead Dolls Collector’s Items for Fans.

Don’t Fear The Reaper…
Series creators Mez, Damian and Ed were all on hand to meet fans, sign collector’s items, and play pall-bearers for the coffin which arrived on Times Square in the “Hearsula,” a tricked out Cadillac hearse. The skull adorned “Cadaveric Superior Hearse” by Joe Baxter and Reaper’s Rides Hearse Limo Service drew surprised stares from tourists and seasoned New Yorkers alike as it u-turned across 42nd street and pulled into the Ripley’s lobby. A lethal legion of gals and guys made up to resemble LDD’s invited unsuspecting passers-by to the event.

Soul Coffin…
With the promotional panache of 1960′s film director William Castle (13 Ghosts, The Tingler) Mezco is earnestly and actively seeking an empty mausoleum chamber in New Jersey or New York for the Coffin Capsule’s resting place. The intention is to revisit its content in 2064 when the Living Dead Doll franchise will reach its 66.6 birthday. Any crypt owner with open space, who relishes the idea of sharing the long sleep entombed with these artifacts should contact Mezco at LivingDeadDollsCrypt@gmail.com with details.

A Brood of Spirited Ghouls Welcomed Attendees to the Mezco/Ripley's Times Square Event.

A Brood of Spirited Ghouls Welcomed Attendees to the Mezco/Ripley’s Times Square Event.

SkeletonPete Says…
The folks at Mezco clearly appreciate all of their fans and Ripley’s tie-in events like this one and last year’s 1966 Batman & Batmobile appearance offer an excellent participation factor for the collector community.

Stay tuned, there are plenty of things to explore at the Odditorium and I’ll be giving the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Times Square a close-up look in the near future.

Season 10 Buffy & Angel Variant Exclusives from Dark Horse at WonderCon – This Weekend Only – April 18-20!

BUFFYS10 #1 Wondercon

 

This weekend WonderCon fans will get a treat. Dark Horse is releasing two exclusive variant covers from the “Buffyverse.”

The first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, has a new cover from Tomb Raider art director Brian Horton, depicting a very realistic likeness of our favorite platinum blonde vamp, Spike (played by James Marsters), in mid-strike. Additonally, the Angel & Faith Season 10 #1 variant cover by artist Steve Morris, will also be unveiled at WonderCon, featuring a rather sultry Faith.

 

ANGELAFS10 #1 WonderCon

 

These gorgeous editions are a must for the Buffy or Angel fan and each copy will be selling for $5 (only five copies per person).

There’s a limited run of 1,000 copies (for each cover) that have been produced, so get them while they’re hot at WonderCon.

WonderCon starts tomorrow, Friday, April 18th and runs through Sunday, April 20th, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

For more information on WonderCon, visit https://secure.comic-con.org/wca.

For more on the Buffyverse, check out my reviews  on Season 10 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Season 10 of Angel & Faith

 

SkeletonPete’s Yester-Play #1: Star-Spangled Warriors

A SkeletonPete "Yester-Play" Tribute to the War That Time Forgot Series.

A SkeletonPete “Yester-Play” Tribute to the War That Time Forgot Series.

Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Play…
Here’s a photographic homage to those thrilling days of “yester-play.” It’s first in a series I hope to continue as the muses allow. The idea is to periodically root through my old basement toy barrel for inspiration and attempt to artistically photograph whatever I pull out. The first “excavation” yielded this fanciful two-headed Tyrannosaurus and triggered a remembrance of one of my favorite comic book series, Star Spangled War Stories.

What It Is…
Some of my earliest comic book encounters came when my parents or grandparents would walk me to the corner candy store to peruse the newsstand and there before my wondering eyes would be a new issue of DC Comics’ Star Spangled War Stories. Why was Star Spangled so special? Well, because in May of 1960 (with Issue #90) DC began an incredible run of stories that mashed up World War II tales with a land-that-time-forgot motif. In other words, G.I.’s versus dinosaurs stories. Usually heralded by spectacular Joe Kubert or Ross Andru/Mike Esposito rendered covers, they launched me into innumerable hours of pitting my John’s Bargain Store green plastic soldiers against an onslaught from my Louis Marx dinosaur collection.

So here for your approval is my imagining of a Star Spangled tale never told. As with my Safari Ltd. “Good Luck Mini’s” tribute to King Kong, this shot was staged as a table-top tableau using bath towels, house plants and garden rocks for the scenery. The really neat metal tank was a serendipitous discovery in the local 99 Cent store, as was the G.I. in the foreground.

This Cover for Star Spangled War Stories #125 Typifies the Dinosaur Island Series.

This Cover for Star Spangled War Stories #125 Typifies the Dinosaur Island Series.


For more information on the original books, here is the Wiki.

All the great covers can be found in DC Comics’ Archive. The “War That Time Forgot” and “Dinosaur Island” stories began with Issue 90 and ended with Issue 137 (March 1968,) after which the book became a vehicle for the Enemy Ace character.
Star-Spangled_War_Stories_124
Incoming…
DC Comics recently announced plans to revive the Star Spangled War Stories title with issue #1 arriving in July 2014. Focus will be on a G.I. Zombie character, but I can’t imagine that the temptation to revisit the land of tanks vs. dinosaurs can be resisted.

To Die For: Dark Horse Expands “Game of Thrones” Figure Selection in Time for Season 4

Dark Horse Daenerys Figure Was Released in January 2014.

Dark Horse Daenerys Figure Was Released in January 2014.


(Andy and Pete give you the old “one-two punch” for Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere night)

Andy Says…
Today, fans worldwide are dusting off their family crests. Well, not their family crests, but whether you belong to house Targaryen, Lannister or Stark, you’re bound to be excited about the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones, debuting tonight on HBO in the US and tomorrow night in the UK.

What it Is…
Based on the books by American author George R.R. Martin, (dubbed by some as the modern-day Tolkein) the fantasy series set in the middle-earth-like isle of Westeros has everything you can ask for – drama, political intrigue, epic battles, swords, sorcery, and zombie-like white walkers.

Mid-Summer Will see 5 More Figures Including this Likeness of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

Mid-Summer Will see 5 More Figures Including this Likeness of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister


Who They Are…
Martin’s characters are complex, with many layers, motivations and conflicting emotions. You love them. You hate them. Are they good? Evil? He takes his time crafting their inner-worlds (giving us each character’s point of view in the books) with as much detail as their outer worlds. With characters like the initially-innocent child-bride-turned-Mother-of-All-Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) and the brilliant, often insightful, imp, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the tomboyish and tough Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), and the morally ambiguous Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey – Sarah Connor Chronicles), we’ve become invested in each one’s journey – whether we like them or not. In Westeros, only the hardest and most ruthless seem to survive. That’s what it takes to rule a kingdom. Even then… any weakness can be exploited. Fortunes and destinies can turn on a dime. The outcome is never certain.
Robb Stark Figure will Arrive in Early August 2014.

Robb Stark Figure will Arrive in Early August 2014.


Personally, with Starks (my chosen house) dropping like flies (if you haven’t heard about “The Red Wedding” by now, I have little pity if I spoil it for you), I’m starting to get a little nervous. Unlike many of us who have read ahead to the bitter end, there are still folks out there who were shocked and horrified by the deaths of Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and his mother Catelyn Stark (Michelle Farley). If you vowed to stop watching at that point, really, who are you kidding? You know you’ll be back for more heart-stopping thrills, chills and heartbreak this season.
Dark Horse "Game of Thrones" Wave 1 Jon Snow Figure.

Dark Horse “Game of Thrones” Wave 1 Jon Snow Figure.


SkeletonPete Says…
If “All Men Must Die,” here’s news and views of some items that Games of Thrones fans will be dying to get their hands on. Joining the previously released Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen figures Dark Horse has several more characters at the ready to celebrate HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere and beyond. These plastic cast models offer a big bang for the buck with a refined elegance usually reserved for items several times their cost. The sculpts are minutely detailed and delicately painted. David Scroggy, head of product development for Dark Horse, noted “…we decided to make these non-articulated, in order to capture all of the small details that would be at risk in a traditional jointed action figure.” They stand approximately 7.5” tall and are sold in a windowed display box. The Spring 2014 release included Tyrion Lannister, Khal Drogo and Ned Stark and will be followed in August by Cersei Baratheon, Robb Stark, Jaime Lannister, Arya Stark, and the White Walker. At a suggested retail price of $24.99 USD they make exceptional collector’s pieces and easy gift choices for the GoT fan in the family.
Limited Edition of Sandor "The Hound" Will Have A  Unique Hinged Hood Feature.

Limited Edition of Sandor “The Hound” Will Have A Unique Hinged Hood Feature.


Hounded…
Also spied at Toy Fair 2014 was a spectacular spin on The Hound, in bust format replete with hinged helmet. The likeness of character Sandor Clegane (portrayed by Rory McCann) is a hand painted and numbered edition that comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity. This one is scheduled for mid-summer release. Also on the limited edition list will be an Arya figure.
Life Sized Map Marker Set Includes Large Map to Plot Your Strategies.

Life Sized Map Marker Set Includes Large Map to Plot Your Strategies.


Map Quest…
Just released this past week is a life sized role playing Map Marker Box Set. Dark Horse press explains the origins, “In the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones, we see Robb Stark plotting the movements of opposing armies using a map of Westeros and a set of sculpted map markers, each hewn into a representation of one of the house symbols. We have reproduced these items in their true size, using the actual props as reference.

The six individual map markers range from 4.5” to 6” in height, and mimic different materials. Each is hand-painted. The map itself is full size, 50” x 35.5” cloth material with a paper backing, reproduced in color. The big size allows the owner to move the map markers in scale and formulate strategic situations or reproduce those from the show. The map markers and folded map are stored in a deluxe, heavy-duty, 14″ x 4.75″ x 18″ hinged-lid presentation box, protected by a full-color, thick-stock sleeve.”

The Weirwood Snow Globe is Ultra Limited to 1200 Pieces. You'd Better .Shake Up a Pre-Order

The Weirwood Snow Globe is Ultra Limited to 1200 Pieces. You’d Better .Shake Up a Pre-Order


Nothing Shakin’ But The Leaves on the Trees…
As if all this weren’t enough April 16th will see another limited edition piece, the Weirwood snow globe. Its blush of blood red leaves atop the face carved trunk will make striking contrast to blowing “snow” inside. Its base is inscribed with the “I Am the Sword in the Darkness, I Am the Watcher on the Walls…” quote. Only 1200 of these unique hand painted items will be minted and like other Dark Horse LE’s they will be boxed with a certificate of authenticity.

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