Saturday, June 2, 2012

Report: Giant Lego Fan Display!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to bear witness to the Perth Adult Lego Society's giant fan display, erected for the AMRA Model Train Show at the Claremont Showgrounds. For 90% of you I may as well have been speaking an alien language right then, so to summarise: Giant Lego display. Awesome. Check it out!

Firstly, I have to say that I was taken aback at how huge the event was. It took up a massive amount of floorspace across two exhibition pavilions. Yes, most of that was the model trains (more on that in a moment) but it was the Lego I was there to see. The display covered many, many meters and appeared to be a Lego journey through time from the prehistoric ages to the far future.

The attention to detail, coupled with a sense of humour, led to some really outstanding pieces, like this vignette filled Lego skyscraper, featuring a guy getting chased by a ghost, a demonic ritual, and Gandalf having tea with Legolas, among other things...

Join me after the jump to see a browser-clogging ton of images of my favourite things!

El Professore Movie Review: Elvis Meets Nixon

Elvis Meets Nixon

Director: Allan Arkush
Starring: Rick Peters, Bob Gunton, Curtis Armstrong
* * * *
Hilarious, scary, touching, ridiculous and at least 90% true. Hosted and narrated by Dick Cavett and featuring guest commentary from luminaries Graham Nash, Wayne Newton, Tony Curtis, Edwin Newman and even 'Deep Throat' (his back to the camera, of course) and taking place a few days before Christmas 1970, Elvis Meets Nixon portrays a tired, burnt out King of Rock and Roll deciding to flee Graceland - on his own - with nobody else - for the first time in fourteen years. After managing the daunting task of purchasing Airline tickets all by his lonesome, the "incognito" King (decked out in a purple outfit with cape, a septer, and a loaded Colt 45 AND Derringer!) sets out on a series of bizarre flights that eventually lead him to the White House and his infamous meeting with Tricky Dick. Why is Elvis so intent on meeting with Prez. Nixon? Because 'ol E. had an epiphany; he wanted to become a federal marshall under the DEA! Simultaneously, Nixon (being bombarded with war protestors at his gates) is attempting to "connect with the kids" and "make it groovy for them to like me". He sees Elvis as the perfect starting point for such an endeavor.

Full review after the jump.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hot Toys Dark Knight Rises Bat-Pod Available for Pre-Order!

The first of Hot Toy's much anticipated The Dark Knight Rises 1/6th scale product is up for pre-order right now, and what do you know - it's the iconic Bat-Pod! Batman's sleek, skinny, huge-wheeled motorcycle which he rides like he's making love to it! In fact, I think that's how it got the name "Bat-pod", because it crushes Batman's pods while he's riding it!

Early promo images also revealed that Catwoman is going to get to make love to it too, so it could prove to be an important vehicle in the film.

I think that if you're worried that your collection is turning into a row of dolls, then this is a great way to inject some action into it. And it's also a cheaper alternative to the massive Bat plane or tumbler. Our friends at Sideshow are listing this one for $274.99 which is cheaper than I would have guessed. You can pre-order it here: Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series The Bat-pod Sixth Scale (The Dark Knight Rises)

Join me after the jump for a few more action (and in-action) images and thoughts!


Or is it football...

I'm not sure I understand this game. How did they bring back dinosaurs???

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New E3 Tomb Raider Trailer Reveals Lara Hates Tombs!?

With E3 looming around the corner, it's look like we're getting a lot of early videogame reveals. IGN has shared the first full trailer to give us a proper look at the Tomb Raider reboot. This younger, gutsier, Katniss Everdeenier, Hunger Gamesier, Lara Croft proclaims at the end of the trailer, "I hate tombs!" Shit, well that's bad luck becoming a Tomb Raider then! That's like a butcher who hates bacon!

While the actual gameplay looks closer to Uncharted (which was inspired by Tomb Raider so the serpent is eating itself despite the taste) this new incarnation certainly looks a lot darker and grittier. Notice how the blood-soaked, traumatised Lara is now forced to deal with not just corpses, guns and wolves, but also the shadow of rape! Repeatedly press the 'x' button to fend off thug number 4's unwanted advances! This looks like paying to have someone kick the crap out of you for 12 consecutive hours.

Still! I'll probably buy it! What do you think?

Thank GIF it's Friday

I need cake


Dawnguard! Skyrim DLC Trailer is Full of Manbats!

Whether you're an assassin, a werewolf, a wizard, or just like gathering and hoarding cheeses, the massive world of Skyrim is still a number one way to lose track of time. And we can all giddily anticipate investing many more hours in the freshly revealed DLC content Dawnguard which appears to trade dragons for a generous helping of manbats!

So it looks like players are being asked to choose between becoming a vampire hunter (Dawnguard?) or, to quote the charming and talented Corey Haim in Lost Boys, "a goddamn shit-sucking vampire."

I played a vampire all the way back in Oblivion so I already know that I'm Team Edward all the way! They're saying it will release in Summer, which is Winter in my part of the world, and will cost 1600 Xbox live points which, for most of us, is about as meaningful as saying it will cost 500 bananas and a handful of bottlecaps.

I cannot wait!

Comic School Review: Green Lantern #1 (1960). Now Who's Gay?

So a couple of days ago Bleeding Cool reported that DC Comics, in their infinite re-imagining, were planning to make Alan Scott, the original 1940's Green Lantern, gay. This ruffled the feathers of more than a few fans, not because comic enthusiasts are typically homophobic, but because it was: a) Seen as a hollow marketing gimmick, b) Ignored the established continuity, and c) Made Alan's wife of 70 years feel kind of silly. I needed to do some investigating for myself.

But the problem was that I couldn't get hold off any Alan Scott Green Lantern comics! So instead I had to read Green Lantern #1 from 1960, starring Hal Jordan, recently portrayed by Ryan "Let's get these pants off and fly some planes" Reynolds. And I made a shocking discovery! DC Comics got it wrong! Alan Scott was straight, but Hal Jordan is the gay one! And not because of the cover image either, I'm being serious here.

"My eyes are up here, Hal"
I'm not being sensationalist, obvious, or puerile either. I will have a factual, accurate, Freudian analysis of this cultural milestone... After the jump!

Designer Plush Pretzel With Mustard by Steff Bomb

We've seen some really awesome high-quality plush by Steff Bomb in the past year or so (AT-AT, Game Boy, and a great assortment of foodstuff), and the trend continues with this amazing Pretzel With Mustard. It's impossible for me to pass up a pretzel in person, and this one is doing the same thing from halfway across the country and all the way across the internet!
Get one now for only $40.00. It's 100% handcrafted, and sew worth it.

Limited Hot Toys Iron Man Mark VI In Stock NOW!

Our dear friends at Sideshow Collectibles have just announced that they have a very limited stock of the Hot Toys Iron Mark VI 1/6th scale figure in stock RIGHT NOW! So if you've been desperate to add an Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr. to your collection then here's a very rare chance to grab one that you missed. Only 3,000 were produced and it was quite a while ago, so I'd be very quick if you're keen! B

But here's the unforeseen catch! For some reason I can't buy him because he's only available to folks in North America, South America and Europe! WTF, Sideshow! I thought we were pals! Update: Looks like Australians might be able to still add it to your cart. Worth a shot if you're frustrated!

If you've not been shut out, then you can buy him right now: Hot Toys - Movie Masterpiece Series Iron Man Mark VI Sixth Scale Figure - Avengers

Mass Effect: Redemption - Dark Horse and Bioware get snuggly

Mass Effect is a bit of a difficult proposition as a graphic novel for me - primarily because I think a lot of the charm of the game is down to voice acting, party banter, and the epic over-arching story. Since this particular one takes place before the events of Mass Effect 2, and involves some key threads from the Shadow Broker DLC, anyone who’s played the games will have a fairly good idea how it will pan out, meaning the story’s been essentially de-fanged. There can’t be any big revelations, or twists, or deaths, so there isn’t much in the way of suspense.

Redemption is concerned primarily with Liara T’soni and her attempts to secure the body of Shepherd for Cerberus, who are trying to keep it out of the Collectors hands. She teams up with the rogue/scoundrel type Feron, a Drell who also appears in the Shadow Broker DLC, and together they track the location of the body.

Images and dissection after the break!

Iron Patriot Spotted on Iron Man 3 Set and We're Going to Discuss it Like Distinguished Gentlemen.

Now this story has already spread to so many corners of the Internet that even your Grandmother knows about it. An international man of mystery took spy pictures of what clearly appears to be the Iron Patriot on the set of the now filming Iron Man 3. Who is Iron Patriot? He's what happened when Captain America and Iron Man had a baby...

Source: Aint it Cool News.
This guy is so patriotic that he shoots fireworks out his mouth and he never forgets.

So everybody already knows this now, but the difference is that you and I are going to ditch the fanboy speculation and talk about it like mature and distinguished gentlemen. We're going to talk about what this really means in terms of comics and continuity... after the jump!

Announcing Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game!

We've talked about Pixel Lincoln before. We know that it's a video game that's currently in development by Island Officials. The game was designed by J. Tagmire (me!) and inspired by the artwork of many of the contributors here at Fruitless Pursuits.

But... while the DS game is wrapping up development, I had the opportunity to make a tabletop version and it's hitting Kickstarter next week. Throughout the campaign, we'll have full coverage here at Fruitless Pursuits as well as exclusive images. If you like Lincoln, classic video games, hamburgers, dinosaurs, and card games... then don't miss out on this extraordinary adventure featuring the 16-bit President of the United States!

Pixel Lincoln Is Coming To Kickstarter On June 5th!
The 16-Bit President of the United States is starring in his very own deckbuilding game.  
PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 30, 2012:  Island Officials is kicking off the “Summer of Abraham Lincoln” with Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game; a card game version of everyone’s favorite Super Nintendo-era video games. The game was designed by award-winning game designer and creator of Pixel Lincoln, Jason Tagmire and will launch on the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, on June 5th.
Full press release, images and info after the jump. 

172 Hours on the Moon is a Creepy YA Sci-Fi Adventure

One thing I've never been able to sign onto is the relationship between sci-fi and horror. I personally never saw the similarities, but there's a long history of sci-fi and horror that exists well before I existed on this planet, and I suppose it's too late to stop that train. 172 Hours on the Moon is a sci-fi horror novel that mostly gets it right, thankfully.

The premise is as absurd as it is simple - in 2019, a worldwide lottery is initiated to send 3 teenagers along with actual astronauts back to the Moon. There's no way this would ever fly in the real world, but just work with it. The teenagers are chosen, weird things begin happening, and, once they arrive on the Moon, things are happening that no one prepared them for, and we finally learn the real reason why we've never went back.

This book has won a number of awards already, and is finally translated into English, so it's clearly doing something right. There's a lot of the film Moon in it, it handles the horror in a less gory, more suspenseful way (which is not to say there's no gore, mind you), and the book goes out of its way to shoehorn in some actual science (the famous SETI "Wow!" Signal is key to the plot), so there's a lot to like. The characters aren't the most fleshed out things in the world, but the science and setting are ultimately more important.

I'm glad this one appears to be getting a wide audience. It's a solid sci-fi, non-dystopian young adult book, which is something I feel like I haven't seen come around in a while. Definitely worth your time if you're looking for something a little different.

The Greyboy Allstars "Still Waiting"

A little bit of funk and some Muppets

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be Serious For 30 Seconds: Seriously Awesome Short Film

Funny guy Fred Armisen and fellow Portlandia star / ex-Sleater-Kinney singer Carrie Brownstein launched a big collaborative video project on YouTube last week called "Be Serious For 30 Seconds", which is something that is very hard for us to do at Fruitless Pursuits.

It's not quite a competition, but more of a challenge. Users are asked to create and upload a video using the following criteria:
Rule 1: It has to be serious.
Rule 2: It has to be 30 seconds or less.
Rule 3: No more than two people in it.
Rule 4: At least one 5 second dramatic pause.
Rule 5: At least one cutaway to an object.
Rule 6: Do your best acting.
Rule 7: It needs to end with a door slam.
There's even a rules explanation and sample video by Fred (I can use first names because we go way back).

But seriously guys... watch this awesome video submission.

It's an interesting project idea, especially considering there is very little serious content on YouTube (or the internet for that matter.)

Click through the jump for two more favorites and Fred Armisen's sample video.

Review: Nanoblock is like Microscopic Lego!

You know what? I have never seen these before - most probably because they are really, really small. You would need to be physically shrunk by Rick Moranis to see them properly. You would need to be 35 years-old to get that reference.

I'm (eventually) talking about Nanoblock, building toys that are a lot like Lego (Denmark's primary export), but micro-sized for micro hands and eyes. And ants. And unlike Lego instead of building things like Avengers and Gandalfs, you get to build giraffes and electric guitars:  

Stylishly packaged, they are manufactured by Kawada, which I assume roughly translates into "Extreme Choking Hazard". To find out just how small they are and how much fun I had... join me after the jump!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Out? 30th of May 2012

It's New Comics Day! Find out what ships to comic stores after the jump:

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 5/23/2012

Another big week!  Of course the biggest news of all was the triumphant return of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated!  Although it wasn't my personal favourite of the week...that honour goes to the Man of Steel!  Still, news is news so first let's look at....

NEW! Batman Incorporated #1 - Writer Grant Morrison's epic tale of the franchising of the Batman concept and the ongoing battle between father and mother for the soul of Damien Wayne is relaunched in Wave 2 of the New 52!  We open to see Bruce Wayne standing in the rain in a cemetery, telling Alfred to let everybody know that it's over.  Batman is over.  As he says this, Commissioner Gordon and most of the GCPD are closing in, encircling Wayne for arrest.

Of course, this is all one month from "now".  NOW, Batman and Robin are chasing armed assailants through a meat plant where it seems many of the employees are out to get them!  See, Leviathan (an evil organization and also an alias for Damien's mother, Talia Al Ghul) has come to Gotham to take over the underworld and has placed a half-billion dollar hit on the life of Robin the Boy Wonder!

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a meeting of Bat-allies (Batman Incorporated, I suppose!) that are all thought, at least by Leviathan, to be dead, are having a secret meeting.  A mystery hero steps out of the shadows and declares that Batman put HIM in charge and proceeds to lay down a plan that we aren't privy too.

Oh and of course there's a huge cliffhanger at the end of the book in Gotham City...

Overall it's a very entertaining first issue, although if you haven't picked up the recent Batman Incorporated Graphic Novel then it might leave you feeling a bit lost.  I'm not sure how the story fits into the rest of the Batman titles or even the New 52, but a good story's a good story!  Besides...two words:  Bat Cow!!  Holy Heifer, Batman!

You know there's so much more AFTER the JUMP!

Review: Sideshow Commander Cody Militaries of Star Wars Sixth Scale Figure!

After a sluggish start to the year, I've been desperate to get excited about Star Wars collecting again. It's been my primary focus for over 15 years now and with action figures scarce, my interest was waning. But, thanks to our good friends at Sideshow Collectibles, I finally got the shot of Star Wars adrenaline I required! I'm talking about the Sideshow Militaries of Star Wars Commander Cody 1/6th scale (that's 12 inches) action figure. Which also makes me feel a little embarrassed because, as loathe as I am to admit it, I was totally late to this party...

Did you know about these? Have you all been having fun without me? Where have you been all my life Mr. Cody? Now look, I've got plenty of older Hasbro 12 inch figures, and they're not without their charm in a goofy kind of way (I have the Chewbacca that looks like he was shot with a hair dryer and the Hot Leia that looks like my uncle), but I had NO IDEA that Sideshow was producing 12 inch figures of this quality. I thought they be would be good, sure, and I was certainly interested in handling one, absolutely, but I don't think I was adequately prepared for just how far they've evolved. 

I rave A LOT about the wonderful Hot Toys 1/6th scale toys on this site and I want those Avengers more than I want my own legs (I'm probably only going to sit around anyway. If you're from a country that won't frown on such a trade then contact me. They're real shapely!) but this Cody is of a very similar detail and quality to work Hot Toys is producing. In fact, in some aspects I think it might actually be superior. And I can back that up with either facts or my fists.

To find out why it's so exciting (and see a Sith-load of pictures) join me after the jump!

Nerd History: Alan Lomax

I was informed recently that a treasure trove of Alan Lomax's field recordings were released to the public and put online. Alan Lomax was one of the great Renaissance Men of the 20th century - a musician, a politician, a historian, an archivist, his work is underappreciated by the masses and indispensable in regards to our knowledge of music and culture in American history. His Wikipedia entry does a good job scratching the surface, and I've spent perhaps too much time in the sound archives trying to find little treasures along the way.

What's interesting about Lomax is how far his reach is without most of us knowing. He did most of his cultural work decades ago, and secured the copyright and publication rights of many of the field recordings he gathered over the years. This resulted in a recent pecularity regarding Jay-Z's song "Takeover," where Jay-Z samples a KRS-One song - a song KRS-One sampled from Grand Funk Railroad, which is based initially off of a folk song recorded by Alan Lomax, which means Lomax has a piece of a Jay-Z song. This blog post goes into better detail, copyright negativity aside, about how strange the situation is as well as how long Lomax's cultural reach is.

New Mini Episode of The Book Was Better Podcast!

It's time for another mini episode where Jess and I reveal the horrendous new young adult movie novelisation that we inexplicably subjected ourselves to for next week's show, plus we feedback on your comments and insane graph making.

It'll all make sense if you grab this ten minute episode from the official site, or subscribe to us on iTunes so that we can sneak onto your iPod while you obliviously slumber. But whatever you choose to do, ram it into your ears as quickly as you can!

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones! Episode 9: Blackwater!

In the immortal words of the Kool-Aid man: “OH YEAAAH!”

After a couple of smaller, quieter, bridging episodes Game of Thrones finally turns its attention from navel gazing to naval battles! The show has triumphantly switched gears from deep and meaningful to Helm’s Deep and meaningful. This is the large-scale attack on King’s Landing that we have all been anticipating and it does not disappoint!

For much hacking, slashing and screaming... join me after the jump!

Tuesday Bounty: Glorious Bounty is Electrifying!

It's Tuesday and that means I force-feed you a brand new page of sci-fi/humour comic series Glorious Bounty, drawn by the meaty hands of Edward J. Grug III and written by me.

When we last saw the Bounty crew (still in their temporary robot bodies) Funf was in a gold bikini fanning the villain they were supposed to target. It was really awkward.

Click to embiggen or give it a read on the official site.

And if that was confusing or alienating then why not start reading from Chapter One! Go on! I dare you!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Eurovision 2012: Grand Final

Here we are, folks! The Grand Final! The big game! We're in the last innings and bases are loaded! The razzle is dazzling, and the LEDs on the outside of Azerbaijan's Crystal Hall are shimmering in anticipation. Our 20 finalists from the two semis are joined by the automatically-qualifying 'Big 5' (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany & Spain) along with host country Azerbaijan to set us up with TWENTY SIX massive performances.

Given that we've already seen quite a few of these acts before, I won't be rehashing too much, but don't think you won't be stuck with watching Jedward again! Let's get to it!

Comic School Review: X-Men #1 (1963!) : X-Perverts!

For today's Comic School Review why don't we skip those over-saturated Avengers and dip our toe into the (gene) pool of the strangest super-heroes of all! Yes, I am talking about the mutant-powered X-Men #1 from 1963 written by the omnipresent Stan the Man(iac) Lee and the ridiculously prolific Jack the King Kirby!

As always, I grabbed this from Comixology for $1.99. Do the same and you can read along with me!

So, if you want to find out how it all began, meet the original team, and laugh at them being perverts, then do yourself a favour and join me after the jump!

Kickstart the Week: Scanbox - Turn your iPhone into a portable scanner

Sometimes a concept is so simple that it just blows your mind. It doesn't help that this one was executed so perfectly.

Trying to quickly scan something at home is the worst. Not only do you need to have a scanner setup and ready to go, you need to have the programs that can import the scan. Then you get to wait forever while it buzzes around until it finally shows up on your computer. 10 minutes later you are ready to email it out, or whatever you were going to do.

This cuts out all of that.

At a $15 pledge you will get a Scanbox, (which is delivering in July!). The creators made this lightweight, so it's super portable and shipping is very inexpensive. The $25 Scanbox Plus comes with LED lights for poorly lit conditions (such as any room in my house). And if you want a lot of these, you can get 50 X Scanbox Plus for $1150. I'd love to see a personal scanner on every desk at work eliminating the lines in the copy rooms. 

Eurovision 2012: Semi Final 2

The Eurovision train rolls on with Semi Final 2, with none of the glitz diminishing, and with my crush on the goofy male host developing steadily. The final had been nicknamed the Power Ballad semi, but I like to think of it as the Man Candy semi, with Malta, Belarus, Estonia, Slovakia, Norway and Lithuania offering the ladies something to look at in between all the generically beautiful songbirds that Eurovision is famous for.

Let's not waste any more time, join me under the cut for SF2!