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Cowa-Bungee: Jazwares Flick-To-Stick Bungees

jazwares, bungees

Just a few of the Flick-To-Stick Characters in the Jazwares Bungee Universe.

Flipped Out…
This year’s “HoliDay of PLAY” event, sponsored by Woman’s Day Magazine and Toy Insider, offered a great opportunity to discover some new toys to report on. One particular line, JazwaresFlick-To-Stick Bungees, drew my attention immediately for it’s miniature game pieces and turned out to be more than met the eye.

In their cartoon universe the various Bungee characters attempt death defying acrobatic feats to capture their appointed discs. Here in the real world Bungees are collectible game pieces that mesh some tried and true modes of play from marbles to Pokemon with escalating competitive possibilities. At it’s simplest, contestants attempt to gain the highest number of points by flicking their magnetic bottomed Bungees onto metal discs. Players are rewarded with the highest points for landing on their own character disc, but points can be gained by landing on other crew members’ discs too. That said, several crews don’t play well together and in advanced scoring mode you can lose points for landing on non-compatible discs.

jazwares, bungees, flick-to-stick

This Bungees Master Arena Affords Many Unique Game Play Elements.

You Know My Name, Look Up the Number…
Each Bungee character comes with a corresponding metallic disc, basic gaming rules, and card that delineates their name, crew affiliation, attitude, point hierarchy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cards are not just ephemera but are magnetic as well and can be integrated into the game play. A very nice touch. Advanced games use a point system listed on the back of each disc.

One of nicest things about the Bungees universe is a pretty much unlimited selection of ways to play. Game “fields” can be purchased or invented. The Master Arena Set is Jazwares’ ultimate multi-player tournament site. It includes ramps, a clear surround, and a set of flippers to attempt to eject your opponents. Alternately, a set-up of makeshift obstacles like empty coffee cans, cardboard boxes, and stretched rubber-bands for bumpers could offer as interesting a challenge on that disused ping-pong table in your recreation room.

bungees, jazwares, flick-to-stick

Bungees’ Statistics Cards Can Also Be Part of Gameplay

Bouncing Souls…
Though flicking skills will aid your chances of landing on your chosen target, the inherent randomness of which way a bungee will bounce or rebound keeps gameplay unpredictable and entertaining. Speaking of skills, kids will need to get their math heads in gear as score keeping will be done the good old fashioned way, with a pencil and your brain.

Travel is as easy as flipping several bungees and their related discs and cards in a zip lock bag. No electricity required. A nice respite from screen only competition.

SkeletonPete Says…
As an “only” I was always looking for games that didn’t necessarily require group play. Bungees offer the opportunity for single-player “woodshedding” sessions to build skills between group matches with just enough unexpected outcome to stay engrossing but not frustrating.

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Great Balls of F.Y.R.E: Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1

Operation SIN, Peggy Carter, Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1, Gabriel Hardman’s Variant Cover.

Boogie-Woogie Battle Call…
Those looking forward to the January 6, 2015 two hour ABC Television premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter, the Agents of SHIELD mini-series spin off, should also be aware of the concurrently launching Marvel Comics series Operation S.I.N..

Shake, Rattle and Damage Control…
While the television series tells the story of Carter’s immediate post World War II exploits in the S.S.R.(Strategic Scientific Reserve), Operation S.I.N. #1 will feature a 1950’s cold war scenario that pits Peggy Carter and Howard Hughs analog Howard Stark (Iron Man’s Dad for the uninitiated) against burgeoning H.Y.D.R.A. forces. They’re all on a collision course to recover powerful alien tech that is planted far behind the Iron Curtain.

We Were Promised Jet-Packs…
S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will be happy to know that “The Man on the Wall”, alien fighting hero Woodrow McCord Jr. will also feature prominently in the new book. His origins were revealed last October in Marvel’s Original S.I.N. Annual and now we’ll presumably learn how he first became connected with Howard Stark.

Marvel Comics' Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.

Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.


Written by Kathryn Immonen, with interior art by Rich Ellis, Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. teaser panels promise some butt kicking action and Bondian espionage. Find it in your local comic shoppe on January 7, 2015.

SkeletonPete Says…
I, for one, am really enjoying how Marvel Entertainment is handling their cross-media plotline on the road to Avengers: The Age of Ultron, with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show expanding the Kree technology story, while Agent Carter will fill in the historical backstory of the pre-Nick Fury agency.

I’m thinking we’ll need Disney Infinity 2.0 Carter and Stark figures to do some video game stealth work.

Thanks to Ken Pierce of the PiercingMetal website for the heads up on this one.

Marvel's Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.

Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.

Quack, Quack, Waddle, Waddle: Diamond Select’s 1966 Penguin Bust

DST's perfect Penguin mini-bust is due spring 2015.

DST’s perfect Penguin mini-bust is due spring 2015.

Umbrella Fella…
While I’ve enjoyed nearly everything about the Gotham television series’ first fall season, especially Robin Lord Taylor’s scenery chewing portrayal of the young Penguin, there will always be a special spot in my heart for Burgess Meredith’s version. His emotive squawking got many an imitative 6th grader, myself included, in hot water at school but it was irresistible to mimic.

Color My World…
In 1966 my family was the first on our block to have a color TV which automatically designated our living room ground zero for every friend on Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 7:30. Along with the pop art biffs, bangs and pows, Penguin’s psychedelic purple top hat and tie were the most eye popping things to behold on that fresh CRT.

A Rogues Gallery of Diamond Select Mini-Bust Prototypes. Licensor Approval Pending.

A Rogues Gallery of Diamond Select Mini-Bust Prototypes. Licensor Approval Pending.

Busted…
Keeping “Boomer” generation collectors enthralled (we waited ages for this franchise to license goodies)Diamond Select Toys has announced a late spring 2015 release for their latest Batman related mini-bust. It’s a spot on sculpt of the Burgess Meredith Penguin right down to the monocle. It will join the already released Adam West Batman, Burt Ward Robin, Ceasar Romero Joker, and soon to be available Frank Gorshin Riddler (January 2015).

At NY Comic Con back October, DST was also showing yet to be authorized prototypes of Julie Newmar as Catwoman and Otto Preminger, the blue skinned Mr. Freeze. Yvonne Craig in Batgirl guise would clearly be a welcome addition to the mix.

The mini-busts average six inches tall and share a base that features bat-signal/city-scape artwork from the classic show’s opening credits.

Diamond Select's Batarang and Batman Logo serve double duty.

Diamond Select’s Batarang and Batman Logo serve double duty.

“Boomer”-Rang…
If you are expecting Santa to slide down your chimney with the 1966 Batman DVD box set, you could do worse than add DST’s Batarang bottle opener to your stocking stuffer wish-list. It’s gonna take a raft of six-packs to get you through 120 episodes.

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Strapping Young Lad: Hellboy & the B.P.R.D. (1952)

Hellboy joins the B.P.R.D. for his first mission in 1952.

Hellboy joins the B.P.R.D. for his first mission in 1952.


Portrait of the Agent as a Young Hellboy…
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola (with John Arcudi) spins up a new mini-series for Dark Horse Comics charting the earliest mission of the big red guy. It’s 1952 and the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense is adding a global vision to its explorations. They’ll be investigating the possible occult nature of mass murders in a small Brazilian mountain town and, at the urging of B.P.R.D. Director Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, taking along their until now sequestered ward.
Mike Mignola's issue #1 alternative cover art.

Mike Mignola’s issue #1 alternative cover art.


Shadows and Tall Trees…
Artist Alex Maleev (George Romero’s Empire of the Dead) renders atmospheric, “hard lit,” panels that convey the nuevo-noir feel of 1960’s – 70’s Italian giallo films like those of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. It’s an appropriate analog to Mignola’s own stark style and to my eye reminiscent of Eugene Colan’s work (Daredevil, The Tomb of Dracula) in the unabashed use of swaths of opaque black. Longtime Mignola collaborator Colorist Dave Stewart(Baltimore) heightens the effect by establishing a monochromatic pallet that makes the Hellboy’s red complection all the more incongruous and striking.

If there are any Hellboy novices left after 20 years of publication and two Guillermo del Toro films, the first issue of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952 offers readers enough backstory to make this an easy entry point. Issue one hits comic stands on December 3, 2014 and the 5 issue mini-series will run monthly through April 2015. The tale promises to be a core addition to the HB mythos.

A look ahead to Alex Maleev's issue #3 cover art.

A look ahead to Alex Maleev’s issue #3 cover art.

Into The Woods: Folkmanis Hand Puppets

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.


This past weekend CBS2 Sunday Morning News in New York featured Toy Insider Mom and Founder Laurie Schacht’s presentation of playthings of note for the 2014 holiday season. To keep Black Friday commandoes fore-warned and fore-armed with information Laurie spotlighted a cross-section of goodies from the electronic and ergonomic to the eco-friendly and economic.

Along with the ubiquitous singing Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen there were fun entries from Crayola, Dora The Explora, the new Flick-n-Stick Bungees game, Paw Patrol, the Nintendo Amiibo toy-based video game and the Kurio Xtreme Tablet especially curated for kids. I was especially happy to see she included some examples from one of my favorite toy producers Folkmanis Puppets.
Lend A Hand…
Puppets are a wonderful method to give the young entertainer in your house a voice for their imagination. Think of them as non-digital avatars. From behind the theater curtains, or more likely the living room couch, your kids can stage any number of creative scenarios.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.


Folkmanis has an expansive line of puppets that range from finger to dual hand styles with hyper-realistic to fantastic designs. The baby owl puppet featured on the CBS segment reminded me of how much fun it was to peruse the beautiful Folkmanis display booth at Toy Fair with its cornucopia of engaging creatures peering out from every nook and knothole in their fantasy forest setting. I’m always tempting to bring a sleeping bag and just move in. Take a peak at the images below and I think you’ll agree.

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