Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fanholes Sentai Saturdays Episode 2: Dairanger "Kiryoku Daaā!!"

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Join the Fanholes, and special guest Jan Christophersen from the CAN-AM Infection Wrestling Podcast, as they discuss the Japanese television series that inspired Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Dairanger in the second episode of what is now Fanholes tradition, Sentai Saturdays!

Fanholes Sentai Saturdays Episode 2: Dairanger "Kiryoku Daaā!!"

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fanholes Episode # 97.1: Reggie Started The Zombie Apocalypse

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In this special Point One episode of Fanholes, the gang talks current comic books they have been reading. Titles discussed- Afterlife With Archie, Sex Criminals, Velvet, Moon Knight, Amazing X-Men, Green Hornet, Lords of Mars, Captain Victory, Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. and Earth 2.

Fanholes Episode # 97.1: Reggie Started The Zombie Apocalypse

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chainclaw's Top Ten Forgotten Toy Lines!

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Well hello there. Welcome again to the ramblings of a verified geek. I'm Chainclaw, and as I was going through some old boxes the other day, I had a chance to relive a bunch of old toylines that many have forgotten. These lines had maybe one or two assortments, and quietly faded away. Sure, I may collect Tansformers now, but as a kid, anything that looked remotely cool was fair game. For all the G.I. Joe and Transformers, there were literally dozens of others that went the way of the dinosaur. Even if their line was made up of toy dinosaurs.

In lieu of that, I figured I'd throw the old nostalgia goggles on today and take a look back to the magic 80's and their plastic goodness. So join me in Chainclaw's Top Ten Forgotten Toylines!

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10. Ring Raiders- This line was actually rather popular back in the day. Granted, the line was made by Matchbox, a proven seller and rival to the Hot Wheels line of die cast cars. Good enough of a line to have a lot of product out, and even a cartoon. However, even as a kid I just did not get the appeal. Small fighter jets attached to rings to help simulate flying action I guess. They were, again though, apparently popular enough to get a lot of them released in the short time they were around. They're one of those toys you find in the bottom of an old box, and you know for sure you didn't buy the damn thing.

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9. Food Fighters- Yet another toyline popular enough to have a few waves of toys, but still long forgotten by the millenium. These guys were weird, take food, put a face on it, and make them soldiers. But wait! Make sure those face sculpts are creepy as all get out, and not even in a comical way. They really oogied me out, they make the list because despite their fugly mugs, they managed to sell a few toys before going belly up.

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8. Warrior Beasts- [i]Oh[/i] yeah full on 80's mode here. In the early 80's one of the kings of the toy aisle was He-Man, and smaller toy company Remco figured jumping on that band wagon was smart. Ya know what? It was, I admit owned a few of these cheap looking guys. They made excellent no name bad guys for Skeletor to throw at He-Man. The line eventually grew to include licensed characters from DC Comics Warlord and Arik. Their only seal of quality? The sticker proudly claiming "Plays with He-Man and Masters of the Universe Figures!". Yeah, the 80's were more lax on that stuff it seems.

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7. GUTS!- This is a line I kinda thought had some legs. Kids even today still play with green army men figures, and GUTS! were simply detailed army men with more varied "branches" of service. Sure you had army and marines and whatnot, but also ninjas and future themed soldiers. I also think they were building on the popularity of the M.U.S.C.L.E. line. Non articulated figures are quick and easy to produce, but the extra paint apps made a five pack of these guys 5 bucks.I suppose in the end they were a little expensive compared to the 80 green guys in a bag for 2 bucks competition.

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6. Mantech- Look who's back! Remco shows up again with a more original concept with their Mantech line. Basically bigger, clunkier Micronauts, the arms, legs, hands, and feet of these guys could all easily pop off to exchange weapons and looks with other Mantech figures. I honestly think they look silly, again though I can't lie, I owned one or two of these guys, as well as one of the vehicles. So I still have a little nostalgia for them, they were big, clunky heroic fun, even if they are kinda derpy looking.

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5. Sky Commanders- Hey look! Kenner made the list! Kenner was one of the big boys in the 80's toy game, producing and releasing figures and whatnot for the Star Wars franchise. Even the big guys can fumble though. Sky Commanders was an interesting concept on paper. Basically every figure had a wrist mounted bungee line, and for the vehicles a long string, or a thick wide fabric band that could stretch across your room and connect to like doorways, or shelves, or whatever. The selling point was that these guys worked in high altitude environments and used this advanced cable system to get around. Neat? Yeah. Complicated as hell? Damn right. Hence why I think the line fizzled. Kenner's quality and design work was all over this though, and I'm sure there are a few cult fans of this rather bizarre toyline.

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4. Starcom- I loved this line when it came out. Tiny astronauts with magnetic feet, and vehicles with a self winding "rapid deploy" gimmick that made weapons and special action features pop out of everywhere with a touch of a button. Most of all the quality is what sold me. Even as a kid, I knew these things were on par with Transformers and Star Wars in that they were solid, the gimmicks worked, and everything seemed well planned and slickly produced. Sadly, as cool as they were, the concept just never caught on. Poor Coleco just had horrible luck with boys toylines after their Cabbage Patch Kid boom. Speaking of Coleco....

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3. Sectaurs- A creepy(and unlike the Food Fighters, in a good way) insect warriors themed line again seeming to cash in on the wave of He-Man's hi-tech barbarian popularity. There was a big difference, however, the aforementioned Coleco made this line and it was made beautifully. The toys were detailed, sturdy, and full of character. One of the main gimmicks of the line was the ridable mounts the heroes and villains used. The "legs" of the larger insect mounts were in reality a glove, so your hand would simulate the legs, that's some articulation there! This line was just beautiful, great figures, a great world, but again sadly, it just never caught on huge. Even though forgotten with any new toylines, Sectaur and Starcom toys fetch big bucks on Ebay, so there is some comfort knowing people remember the quality of these toys.

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2. Starriors- Originally an offshoot of the Zoids concept from Japan(notice the Zoid pilot in the head/cockpit?), Starriors were robots with wind up action gimmicks. Things like a spinning saw in the chest, or like this guy, a big ass rotating drill.They also sported the Mantech deal as you could switch their heads/arms/legs around. I really liked the design of these guys, I'm just a big fan of retro styled robots. I owned more than a few, and a good friend of mine at the time had the massive cobra headed base. They weren't the best ever, and by today's standards have that dated look, but I really liked them as a kid. They are also hard to find in some cases online, depending on the figure. That means some people love these little guys.

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1. Megaforce- I, to this day, still love this line. Megaforce was troop building and epic scale concepts done right. The small toys were three packs of die cast tanks, planes, and helicopters, one colored slightly different or having a larger missile or whatever to be the "leader". They even included small battlefield fortifications like blast walls, or landing pads. These small troop builders were neat, but the stars of the line were the massive carrier vehicles. These bad boys could handle maybe one jet or tank in the smaller offerings, or carry a fleet of them on the larger ones. I just loved the scale, the concept(there was no actual hero or villain, just two armies, you got to choose your antagonist, unheard of nowadays), and the designs of these monsters was, indeed epic in the proper use of the word. Thinking outside of the box, this wasn't a cookie cutter idea. I wish there had been more of them.

Well that's a look at the toybox in my brain. The 80's weren't just breakdancing and bad clothes, it was an era where toys really, I think, established a golden age of creativity and design. Great old toys like these that maybe should have gotten a better chance, but hey I know I'm not the only one who remembers them, and that has to count for something right? Thanks for reading, Tony/Chainclaw.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chainclaw's Top Ten Armored Heroes (...who aren't Iron Man)!

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You know who's cool? Iron Man. I completely blame him for my huge fascination of mecha and robot characters. I could do a top ten on armored heroes easily. However, Tony Stark is ridiculously popular now a days. Everyone knows the Iron Man armor. Seems doing a top ten of favorite armored heroes would be anti-climatic when you know Iron Man will be numero uno. Then it hit me, "Hey Chainclaw, what should you do about this pretty simple problem?" I asks myself. I answered "Armored Suits! But no Iron Man!" out loud, feeling silly for yelling at the walls.

Anyway, that's what we have today, so without further ado... Chainclaw's Top Ten Armored Heroes(Who Aren't Iron Man).

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10. Rocket Red- Well this was an interesting idea from DC. Instead of one armored super hero.... why not a whole army of 'em? In the DCU, Russia intiates the Rocket Red program, a whole slew of identicle armored soldiers. Identified only by there armor number, they seem expendable, but can be tough customers for your average supervillain.

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9. Blue Beetle 3- Jaime Reyes is a teenager who was bestowed the power of the Scarab that gave Dan Garrett his powers. Unlike Garrett or his successor Ted Kord, the Scarab bestowed Jaime with a more potent armored form. Able to shapeshift/morph weapons and gadgets from his suit, Jaime is a very different Blue Beetle, but I dig him. The suit looks cool and it's a neat new take on a legacy character.

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8. Spitfire and the Troubleshooters- "New Universe? What the hell is that?", you may ask. Well it was an imprint from Marvel comics in the 80's to try experimenting with a universe of super heroes, in slightly more realistic and mature settings. Spitfire here was their armored hero, and in a nice change in status quo, a woman pilots the suit. In fact, actually, "Spitfire" is her nickname, not the name of the suit(that would be the MAX Armor). I just like the big clunky design, it looks powerful.

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7. The Guyver- I will be the first to admit, I have seen one or two anime's featuring the Guyver, and the two live action movies so not amazingly well versed with the character. On top of that, that was a long time ago, so my memory is a little spotty. However, one thing I do remember is an alien artifact implants itself in a young man's head, and when there's trouble, the Bio Booster Armor envelopes him. The big thing about this suit is unlike the first few entrants, this armor looks mean. The narrow eyes, the form fitting alien look, and the blades that jut from the elbows. Intimidating and not something you wanna be on the wrong side of. While a hero, Guyver isn't a shiny, friendly, shaking hands type. He's a warrior, and he looks the part.

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6. Warhammer 40K armor- Ok there's a bunch of variations of the basic armor, let's just use the Terminator image as an example. Warhammer 40k is a futuristic role playing game with minatures in either standard or epic scale. Hordes of intergalactic baddies need to be vanquished by your rough and tumble team of armored space marines. The best way to do this is by getting encased in these tanks with two legs. These things just have that "English style" to them.... even if for the life of me I can't nail down what the hell the specifics of that style is. Rivets, simple general shapes with intricate symbols? I dunno, they just look cool. No Space Ork is having an easy day against one of these metal monsters.

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5. The Big Guy- Ok..this suit is not exactly human sized. Fair enough. However, it's also not a twenty story high Gundam, so it fits. Big Guy is amazingly strong, has flight capabilities, and seemingly endless array of weapons(lethal and non-lethal). Not to mention he just looks so damn heroic in his good guy pure white. He's just awesome, nuff said.

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4. Exo-Squad E-Frames- I'll lay it out. I never watched the cartoon. I really don't even know when it aired in my area. However, the Exo-Squad figures and designs are just freaking cool, cool enough I bought some of the toys. Sure some of the suits are more like mechs, but the bulk of them are just slightly larger than human sized E-Frames with a host of weapons, gadgets, and features. Not to mention, you have almost a whole army of these guys, each suit different. It's a mech suit fans dream.

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3. "Azbats"- I never knew when I may have the chance to give Jean-Paul Valley a little fan love, but lo and behold here it is. Some say the Quesada designed Knightfall suit is overly complex, and busy. Screw that, it's awesome. Not as big a fan of the red version, I love the traditional blue. It's supposed to be a different man taking over the mantle of the Bat, and this suit shows it. Teched out and heavily armored, Batman is just scary looking in this interpretation. It may not be many people's favorite, but it's one of mine.

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2. Samus Aran- Aha, pulled that one out of left field didn't I? Samus has awesome armor. As a bounty hunter, her armor is outfitted to the nines with weapons, enhanced abilities, and it can take a beating. Even better, you get to put the suit through it's paces by being able to play as Samus in the Metroid games. What is better than a cool suit of armor that you can pretend to be inside of? Well that would be our number 1....

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1. Cyclone Armor- You ever see that one thing in a sci-fi movie or show, and as soon as you saw it, you desparetley wanted it to exist in reality? That would be the Cyclone for me. A cool tricked out motorcycle, and if you happen to be hunted by evil robot crab aliens, a flick of the switch and you're suddenly in an armored suit with weapons and flight capabilities. One thing the Cyclone always wowed me with was it's speed and agility. It has everything you could want. It looks cool, it has weapons out the wazoo, and best of all, it's all in a suit that turns into a fricking motorcycle. Awesome to the nth degree. To this day I still want this to be a real thing you can buy at like a Honda dealership.

Well, time to power down, there's my top ten armored heroes....who aren't Iron Man, hope you enjoyed! Thanks, Tony/Chainclaw.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fanholes Sidecast #34 - Whistler and Doyle are Secret Brothers!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Justin (Grimlock) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on Kevin Smith's Bionic Man from Dynamite Entertainment, Angel & Faith and Aliens: Inhuman Condition from Dark Horse Comics !