Saturday, June 23, 2012

El Professore Movie Review: Frankenstein Conquers the World (aka Frankenstein vs. Baragon)

Frankenstein Conquers the World (aka Frankenstein vs. Baragon)

Director: Ishiro Honda
Starring: Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Tadao Takashima
* * * 1/2

As a kid in the pre-cable T.V. daze of the '70s, I was always infatuated with Japan's giant monster films. I remember my heart would race just a bit whenever I would find a listing for one of these oddities and couldn't wait for the day it would air (usually either on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon). There was just something about these films that their American counterparts couldn't match (except for maybe a few of the Ray Harryhausen stop motion films, that is). They had a definate feeling of exotica that just seemed to strike a raw nerve at my young age. This hightened excitement on my part however, was sometimes met with a sense of confusion; "just what the hell is going on?" was a common thread that ran through my young and undeveloped cranium while viewing many of these films (it helped later on when I first heard the Japanese term 'Kaiju' and that it translated as 'Mysterious Beast' which kinda, sorta explained some of my bewilderment). Surely one of the oddest Kaiju Eigas that I was lucky enough to catch back then was this positively freaky melding of Universal's most famous monster and Toho's post WW2 fantasy sensibilities.

Full review after the jump.

Fatman on Batman!!

I just had to promote of my favourite writer/directors/Internet personalities and all around funny guy Kevin Smith has added a new podcast to his ever-growing Smodcast network...Not burying the lead here, it's called Fatman on Batman!

Love or hate Kevin Smith, if you're at ALL interested in Batman you'll like this!  Episode 1 features a riveting interview with Batman: The Animated Series writer and producer Paul Dini that made me jones to watch the whole series all over again!

Episodes 2 and 3 are a two-part interview with the man, the myth, the Maniac of Mirth, The Joker himself, Mr. Mark Hamill!  I could not STOP laughing and LEARNING!  Fascinating, entertaining stuff that EVERY fan of Batman should be dying to hear!

Best part?  ALL FREE!  Go to to download free of charge or subscribe on iTunes!  You can thank me later, after you've listened!

Supanova Day 1 Snapshot

We're being big ol' teases here today at Fruitless Pursuits! You may have already seen Luke's post about the goodies he managed to find at Supanova, and now it's my turn to give you a teaser of all the shiny sights and sounds we were assaulted with over the course of Day 1. You can look forward to expanded posts about the cosplay, celebrity guests, and some of our favourite vendors, but for now you can pop below the cut for a little taster.

Supanova Haul Tease.

Giant pop culture expo Supanova exploded all over Perth today as shoulder-to-shoulder (anime-wig-Halo-armour) crowds flooded the exhibition halls. The staff at the event welcomed us with open arms and over the course of an extremely chaotic day we photographed costumed attendees, met celebrity guests, attended panels, sold comics, and bought a hell of a lot of stuff!

One of my big goals with this coverage is to review a ton of new and recent product and showcase some of the awesome Australian stores who can hook you up if you're on our side of the globe. There is much photographing and editing to do but we'll trickle out reviews over the next week or so. But to keep you keen, here is a tease of what you can expect.

Yes. That is a portal gun. Yes. It is awesome. Yes... I'll try to review that first.

Thanks to everyone today for being so good to us! Plenty more soon!

Liam and Me Releases My Most Anticipated Album of 2007.

If there was an award for "Most Shocking Record Release of the Week" or "Worst Experience Trying To Release An Album" it would go to Liam and Me. Their album, Lives We Might Have Lived was released this week.. 6 years after production started, and even a few years after the band disbanded.

What took so long?

The band had massive issues with their record label. First the label bounced the band's advance check, but eventually left the band with no choice but to the album back from the label. This battle dragged on for years.

With their record tied up in litigation, they still pushed on. But there were still problems outside of their control. Liam and Me was scheduled to be the lone opening act for Boy George's huge U.S tour in 2008. Then a few weeks before the tour started, Boy George's visa was denied and the tour was canceled.

You can read all about their difficulties in the liner notes to the album. It's a sad story of success and failure, and the results of the choices that you make in life.
After our quick and promising rise and long protracted fall, morale was at an all time low. We were sick of struggling, sick of each other, sick of the record. We all drank a ton. Some smart and enthusiastic supporters tried to help us get back on our feet, but the disappointment and inertia was too hard to overcome. We owed tens of thousands of dollars to our family and friends. We put the record aside, and started to move on with our lives.
Jon left to go work for our former booking agency and move in with a lovely lady. Dan went to Memphis to get a Ph.D in philosophy. Matt began working in advertising as a copywriter and composer, and moved to New York. McKenzie followed shortly after to work at Sony Music. We all found some success and happiness in other pursuits. But we all miss the music, the experiences, and our friends and fans. And regardless of how things play out for all of us, we’ll always wonder what might have happened if we said yes instead of no, and did a few things differently. The lives we might have lived.
Lives We Might Have Lived is now available for free on their website, and for $9.99 on iTunes for those who want to help them repay some of the massive debt. It's a really slick production that reminds me of early The Killers meets The Cars with a touch of Bloc Party. It would have been huge if everything, or even anything fell into place.

Click through the jump for their 2009 music video for "Say It Out Loud" and details about tonight's reunion show in New York.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pre-Order Hot Toys Joker 2.0 Right Now!

As promised, here's the pre-order link for the incredible Hot Toys Joker 2.0 already! Our pals at Sideshow have him listed right here for $274.99: Hot Toys DX Series The Joker DX 2.0 - Sixth Scale Collectible Figure

And if you need reminding, he comes with a whole lot of stuff including a desk, chair and lamp, and a light up display base. As an added bonus, if you buy from Sideshow you also receive his clown mask and detonator from The Dark Knight's opening heist! Don't miss this one!

Trailer: Kiara the Brave

While I do have a love for the terrible SyFy knockoff flicks (Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus being a favorite) as well as the Asylum direct-to-video stuff, I don't know what it is that bothers me so much about Kiara the Brave. It may be that I hold Pixar as sacrosanct, and what Shemaroo Entertainment and Studio 4 did is thus blasphemous and immoral. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm fairly sure the Nintendo 64 was capable of better CGI than this attempt. Either way, I suppose if you can't get a ticket to Pixar's Brave tonight, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn't your cup of tea...

Pixel Lincoln: End of Week Recap

What better way to end a work week than a BOSS FIGHT!

We've been revealing the cards for Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game each day at both and but here at Fruitless Pursuits you can get them all in one place.

Look for the Beardarang, a taco-throwing Luchador, a head-banging NPC, hi-fiving extra lives, and a totally boss final boss... right after the jump!

Here... We... GO! Hot Toys Joker 2.0 Raises the Bar.

We've teased it but here's the full reveal from the official Facebook page. The uncannily skilled artisans at Hot Toys knock it so far out of the park that it's not even the same game any more. If you thought that Hot Toys had peaked and were incapable of surprising you, then you're wrong. Their Joker 2.0 has two interchangeable heads. This is the laughing one:

No. That's not a photograph of Heath Ledger. That's an action figure. 

Pick your jaw up from the floor and join me after the jump.

Thank GIF it's Friday


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Supanova Pop Culture Expo is This Weekend and We'll Be There!

Supanova is Australia's biggest pop culture expo and this weekend it will be right here in Perth at the Claremont Showgrounds. Our intrepid local team is going to be there and we will bring you all the mad scoops! Which is to say, we will take photos of some things, buy even more things, and attempt to talk to a few people.

Supanova grows bigger every single year and this one is shaping up to be an unstoppable juggernaut of intimidatingly epic proportions. Guests this year include: Christopher "Doc Emmet Brown" Lloyd, Mini-Me Verne Troyer, stunning cyborg Tricia Helfer, the not-so-expendable Eric Roberts, Natalia Tena and Alfie Allen from F**k Yeah Game of Thrones, and the incredible Jennifer Hale voice of my beloved Femshep! All of them are bound to be equal parts pumped and bewildered at finding themselves in the most isolated capital city in the world!

But that's not enough! It's a huge exhibition hall so why not cram even MORE types of celebrities in there! Authors include: Christopher "Eragon" Paolini, and Delorean owner Matthew Reilly. Comic guests include: Tony Moore, David Mack, and artist and ThreeA toys guru Ashley Wood! This is just the tip of the iceberg! EVERYONE will be there. Maybe even Batman...

For more info go to the official site - it's not too late to get tickets. And if you're reading this from the proud and mighty US of A then don't worry, we are your allies and we have you covered. You will soon be shocked to discover that things can and do happen in Perth. And they don't all involve giant spiders and kangaroos.

And to find out some happenings specific to Fruitless Pursuits... join me after the jump!

Toy Oddities: The Black Widow Cosbaby!

My fool's errand to amass bizarre Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow collectibles forced me to dig a little way back this time around. All the way back, in fact, to the heady days of 2010 when Iron Man 2 merchandise ruled the shelves and the Widow had far longer hair and far fewer facial expressions! Yes, today's oddity is the Black Widow Cosbaby, bizarrely produced by the awesome folks at Hot Toys, better known for their super-realistic 1/6th scale collectibles!

So what is a Cosbaby? Well, I guess if we're to interpret it literally, it would have to be a human baby that cosplays as a popular character? A cosplaying baby? Doesn't that just blow your mind? Look at these crazy guys...

I'm not sure what astounds me more: baby Nick Fury, or the fact that baby Whiplash and Tony both rock moustaches. I bet that tickled on the way out.

We'll get to the bottom of all this madness... after the jump!

The Readthrough of Time: The Fires of Heaven

The Readthrough of Time continues this week with The Fires of Heaven, the fourth volume in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. As with the previous books thus far, not a traditional review, blah blah yadda yadda.

Sponsor News: Let's Discuss This Week's Toy and Collectibles Highlights!

Our good friends at Big Bad Toy Store have update their Aladdin's Cave of Wonders with a heaving slew of toys and collectibles available for pre-order and sale this week! As always, I am going to pick out a few highlights to share with you, the discerning and pleasant-smelling collector!

Like these crazy cool Transformers who transform into baseball caps!

Although you can't actually wear them on your giant human head, it's not hard to imagine the chilling scenario where alien robots covertly hide on our scalps, surreptitiously extinguishing humanity by feeding radiation into our brains! This pair of Transformers Capbots by Takara includes the aptly named Captimus Prime and the evil Capticon. When the robots start disguising themselves as underpants it is all over!

You can pre-order them here for $49.99 for the set of two! Or choose from a whole heap of other new Transformers stuff here

And to check out the other things I spied... after the jump!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Lord of the Rings Lego: Gandalf Arrives 9469!

Those plucky Danish, genius, super-scientists at Lego are at it again, this time breaking down the entire Lord of the Rings saga into component bricks. This is my first hands-on look at an actual set, namely Gandalf Arrives (9469), the smallest of the series so far and a great way to test the water (perhaps for lurking Watchers?).

If you like wizards, can tolerate hobbits, and love carrots, then this is a very promising set. But let’s not put the cart before the horse! To read my full review... join me after the jump!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's Out? 20th of June 2012

Let's go to the comic shop and get some new things! Such as:

Pixel Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Today's Project of the Day at Kickstarter just happens to be my very own card game, Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game! This isn't the Nintendo DS version that's currently in development, but the all new card game that features a 16-Bit Abraham Lincoln equipped with a Sausage Link Whip, fighting against puking turtles and skateboarding dinosaurs. DId we mention that it plays like a side-scrolling video game?

Click through the jump for more info, the first gameplay video and the newly announced Kickstarter bonus Pixel Lincoln: Vampire Hunter cards.

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 6/13/2012

Another HUGE week in comics...June seems poised to make me write more than usual.  I'd planned to split this into 2 parts, but life and scheduling conflicts forced me to instead cram everything in at the last minute!  Just like back in school!  Let's get right to it, shall we?

Batman #10 - The "Night of the Owls" is over but Batman's business with the Court of Owls is NOT.  Mayoral candidate and seemingly decent guy Lincoln March managed to give Batman a lead to the identity of at least a member or 2 of the court before being assassinated by a Talon last month.  Now a dishevelled, obviously still hurt and clearly overworked Dark Knight is on a mission to bring them down for good!  No one toys with Gotham City the way they did!

Well that's just the beginning of this issue.  It's pretty impossible to write any more without revealing some major spoilers!  Something goes down that had me exclaiming in disbelief!  ("I don't believe it!" I exclaimed)! You won't believe it either.  Scott Snyder has earned his place amongst all-time great comic book writers with New 52 Batman, and he's obviously FAR from done...

Oh, I can't tell you about the next part of the Jarvis Pennyworth story either, but it also was quite fascinating!  I will say that little 3-year-old Brucie is cute.  Poor little guy just hasn't got a clue what the future has in store for him...

This issue is awesome.  Just look at that cover!  One of the coolest images.  Well, if you're not buying Batman yet, I don't know what else I can do to sell you.  If you buy just ONE comic a month...

Batman's awesome and there's more of him, and lots of everyone else too after the JUMP!

Current Comics Rewrite! Let's Rewrite Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1!

It's been some time since I helped out the fine folks at DC and took it upon myself to rudely rewrite a page from one their modern classic comics! I previously "helped them out" on Red Hood and the Outlaws, Batman and Robin, and Green Lantern Corps. This time I figured I'd help piss off beardy curmudgeon Alan Moore and rewrite a page from Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1!

This page was originally written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke and I have impolitely replaced his words with my own.

Click to embiggen so you can read it properly!

Is there something else you'd like me to rewrite? Let me know!

Update! This is now on Bleeding Cool and getting an impassioned, angry response from the Before Watchmen fans, which I think is pretty great, and also kind of ironic. They don't want me doing crappy, lazy tampering with Cooke's work, and I guess Alan Moore doesn't want DC tampering with his. Hooray! Everyone is unhappy!

But one thing I really did want to clarify is that I didn't write this parody with the intent on characterising the obviously successful and talented artist/writer Darwyn Cooke. I'm a fan of his work and although Before Watchmen is not for me I hold him no ill will for doing it. I'd have done it too. My intent was only to get meta with Hollis Mason and put a twist on what was happening in the panels, e.g. the cardboard box etc. This is Hollis being enticed back from obscurity for this "huge event" and then sitting around doing virtually nothing. See! Now I've over-explained things they really suck. Just like Before Watchmen. I kid!

Why so serious?

Nerd History: Cheng I Sao, the Chinese Prostitute Pirate

This week, I learned of Cheng I Sao, who history shows is actually the world's most successful pirate. While we all know of folks like Blackbeard, Cheng I Sao pretty much ran the show on the Chinese coast in the early 1800s. She ran entire fleets, had spies and contacts on the mainland, and was ultimately able to negotiate outright for freedom when the authorities finally came around.

It's a story I'm surprised I knew nothing about until this week, and Mental Floss did a good quick biography of her. That's clearly not enough, however, as an anthology, volume 2 of Secret Identities, is going to have a piece on Cheng I Sao. The illustration above is one of the first pieces of art we've seen from this, and I'm very excited to see more.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 20: Super Mario Bros.!

Imagine a podcast dedicated to reading, discussing, dissecting, mocking and making puerile innuendo about the wackiest movie novelisations ever! In fact, don’t even waste your imagination - why not just listen to The Book Was Better Podcast where Jessica and I do just that!

This week we set our cruel sights on the novelisation of the blisteringly unnecessary Super Mario Bros. And if you thought that the film was bewildering, just wait until you read the book! Dennis Hopper, Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo trade their dignity for giant fungus and thwomp stompers and we have the scoop!

You can download it at the official site or subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our back catalogue includes: Space Jam, Alien, High School Musical, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Flubber, and a whole lot more!

Tuesday Bounty: Glorious Bounty Gets it Together!

Holy crap it’s Tuesday! And that can only mean a brand new page of sci-fi/humour comic series Glorious Bounty drawn by the rough-hewn hands of Edward J. Grug III and written by me. BUT FIRST... a (relatively) exciting announcement!

The print version of Glorious Bounty Book Three: The Convoluted Killbots will be available at giant pop culture expo Supanova THIS WEEKEND. Grug and I will both be there hocking our meager wares like shameless/desperate hucksters. So if you’re in Perth, drop by and pick up Killbots, plus a bonus PK button and Grug will probably even pop a sketch in it for you. We’ll also have copies of Book One: The Sexy Virus and Book Two: The Sticky Goat Affair, so there’s zero excuse to avoid transferring your hard-won money to our pockets! And if you’re not in Perth, stay tuned because the book will soon be available via other (illicit) methods!

Phew! When we last left the Bounty crew they had beaten the odds and managed to defeat their toughest target yet. Is it finally time to crack them out of those temporary robot bodies?

Click to embiggen or read it on the official site!

And don’t forget there’s still time to catch up on the first couple of books for FREE. You can read them online starting with Chapter One right HERE.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Science Nerds Unite... and Never Forget Pluto!

Is there anything better than a t-shirt to remember an ex-planet?

Well ok, I guess you could write it out on your car windows, or go full force and get a tattoo. But for the next 24 hours, you can forget all of that and get this wonderful t-shirt showing what really happened to the little guy.

For lovers of science and Galactic Empire conspiracy theorists... we present "Never Forget" by RogerRoger.

Available today only at

Review: The Avengers 4 inch Grapple Blast Black Widow Figure!

Today I got my sensual, lady-pleasing hands on the incredibly rare and much sought after The Avengers 4 inch Black Widow figure (with inexplicable "Grapple Blast") based on the likeness of the delightful Ms. Scarlett Johansson.

She's only one per case in a hard-to-find wave, so everybody wants her but not everybody is going to find her. I live on a distant island that used to be a prison, so I had to eBay-cheat to get her. And shiv a guy in the ribs.  Now I covet my tiny graven Scarjo idol, but, for one time only, I'm going to share her with you. ROCK!

Get out of here, Tony!

To find out what I thought of Grapple Blast Black Widow... join me after the jump!

Kickstart the Week: Legend of the Lost Dutchman by Crash Games

Crash Games are back on Kickstarter with their second crowd-funded board game, Legend of the Lost Dutchman. It's an "adventurous game of treasure mining and discovery for 2-5 players", and has been getting great reviews.

In Legend of the Lost Dutchman players take on the role of prospectors trying to find the lost goldmine of Jacob Waltz aka The Lost Dutchman. On their turns players navigate their way across the land grid where they will encounter creatures, disasters, valuable items and treasure of course!
For $35 you will get a copy of the game (plus the mini game "Goldfield Gully"), and for an extra $10 you can get 2 special Dutchman Dice. And for those who have already found the gold, there are pledge levels at $400 and $600 that will get your image and name into the game!

Legend of the Lost Dutchman ships in January. Crash Games previous Kickstarter success Rise!, has finished production and is currently on it's way to America. I've seen the final version of this game, and the quality is wonderful. I would expect that Legend of the Lost Dutchman would be no different.

As of right now, the game is at 21% of it's $30,000 funding goal. There are still over 30 days to go, so head on over to Kickstarter, and check out everything they have to offer. These are great guys, putting out very solid games, and could use your help to reach their goal.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lunar Aid 1985

Your Kickstarter of the day is a $21 million effort to record a folk album on the moon. For $500, they'll even build a statue of your likeness in a crater!
Our big dream is to redefine the genre of space folk music. We want to be the John Denver of space folk! To make our music as authentic as possible, first, we must venture into space. Could Muddy Waters have written what he wrote without the Delta? Could Bob Dylan have written what he wrote without hopping trains?
You know what you have to do.

Internet adrenalin shot

Have you been disconnected from the internet for like a day and need some sweet internets stat?

You should be good to leave the internets for a week now. Enjoy some sunshine, build a go-kart, beat that jerk Billy oh and subscribe to that channel as there are more compilations on the way

Tabletop Episode 5: Munchkin and Episode 6: Castle Panic!

The newest two episodes of Tabletop are online, and we have them right here!

Episode 5 features the deluxe version of the 2001 card-game, Munchkin. Wil Wheaton plays against the creator of Munchkin, Steve Jackson, as well as Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh, who are the subject matter of the most recent Munchkin release, Munchkin: The Guild.

 If you've unfamiliar with Munchkin, it's the MEGA successful dungeon crawling card game where you break down doors to see what's behind them, fight monsters and earn treasure. The game is highly competitive and cooperative at the same time, and always good for a lot of laughs.

Click through the jump for the full episode, as well as Episode 6: Castle Panic (a game which I am going out to buy as we speak).

Comic School Review: X-Men #3 (1964) Beware of the Blob!

Didn't you and I have a super blast when we read X-men #1? So much so that I felt it was high time that we checked back in on Wheelchair Charlie and his band of Merry Mutants. I chose X-Men #3, written by Stan the Man Lee with art by Jack the King Kirby! And imagine my astonishment upon seeing the cover and realising that in this one the X-Men turn against their fans!...

That's a picture of the X-Men attacking frequent forum contributor BobXfan39 or, as they have cruelly dubbed him, "The Blob!". Bob is mostly home-bound and on this particular day didn't have any T-shirts that weren't covered in food stains. Lay off him you X-thugs, he's entitled to his opinion!

I bought this one right here on Comixology and if you want to read along with me you should certainly do the same! Now, let's find out exactly who the real bad guys are... after the jump!