Thursday, August 29, 2013

The League: Hello, My Name Is....

I guess it's a good thing that I've "signed up" for a tour of duty with The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, because it gives me a challenge every week , a topic to tackle where I might usually slack off with the updates. It's not like I can discover Fruity Yummy Mummy cereal every week, right?

Of course, even that depends on whether or not I choose to skip a week. Like I did last time or how badly I really want to with this week's topic. Sometimes I just don't have anything worth saying, which is especially true this time around...

Hello, my name is… Tell us a little about yourself — even if we all know who you are, there are plenty of new folks wondering if you’re in fact a dog.

I almost wish that I were a dog, because I feel like then I would have something worth talking about. Although, even in canine-form, I doubt I'd be living a very interesting life. No solving mysteries or rescuing Timmies from wells or dog-fights with the Red Baron on Christmas Eve for this pup.

Eh, I've always been more of a cat-person anyway.

See, there you go. We're off to a fantastic start!

Fact Number One: Likes cats.

Fact Number Two: Is not a real vampire, but does dislike sunlight. Possibly part-Mogwai.

Fact Number Four: The Count can't count, but can make obscure Camper Van Beethoven references.

Fact Number Five: Gives awful advice.  Relationship to Wilson W. Wilson, Jr. unknown, but unlikely.

Fact Number Six: Occasionally fits into Boys' XXL tees, despite being way too old to be wearing them.

Fact Number Seven: Is not Zooey Deschanel. Cannot pull off those bangs. Sorry, New Girl, I tried.

Fact Number Eight: Suffers from Frankenstein's Monster forehead.

8.1: "I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other."

Fact Number Nine: Points an awful lot. Not sure why.

Fact Number Ten: Occasionally devours enemies and transforms them into eggs.

Fact Number Eleven: Rumored to be appearing in latest Super Smash Bros. game. No, wait, that's Mega Man. I'm nowhere near as cool as Mega Man, but may be a little taller.

Fact Number Twelve: One time I met Quentin Tarantino while working at a video-store and DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM. Probably the most embarrassing moment in my life and that's including the time I burst into tears in front of the entire class in third grade because I couldn't draw the Abominable Snowman and my team lost a round of Win, Lose or Draw and it was all my fault.

Fact Number Thirteen: Traumatized by the death of Ramona's cat, Picky-Picky, in the pages of Ramona Forever, which was read aloud to my class in, uh, third grade. I guess 1990 was an emotional year for me?

Hello, my name is Brian and this was really dreadful, huh?

Meanwhile, with the rest of The League--

Oh Goodwill, you Devil...

Hey, just who is running The Monster Cafe..? Go find out!

Season's greetings and welcome, Cliff! The Holidaze joins up with the League and it is awesome.

Everything green is gold in our introduction to Geek Show Ink.

And all the rest, here at Cool & Collected

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Summer is Dead. Long Live Halloween.

It's seems sometimes that the "nerd-geek" blogging community is sharing the same nerdy/geeky brain, because on every single blog there is one holiday that rises above the rest and becomes their entire focus months and months in advance.

In the immortal words of The Shaggs, "It's Halloween."

There has to be a reason for it, right? A love for scary movies or getting to wear costumes and go trick-or-treating. One night a year where we, as kids, got to break the rules and take candy from strangers. Stay up late watching R-rated slashers and classic Universal fright flicks. A time when it was okay to dress up like monsters and villains without being labeled a weirdo. Maybe it's just an appreciation for the color scheme, everything orange and green, black and purple and sometimes silver.

Or it could be that even our cereal boxes are suddenly adorned with creatures of the night?

It was only eight days ago that rumors started circulating that in addition to the usual Halloween releases of Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry, General Mills would also be releasing from their vaults the two long-discontinued Monster cereals, Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute. The man responsible for initially spreading those wonderful, amazing words was none other than Matt, he of Dinosaur Dracula and formerly of X-Entertainment. We all trust Matt, because honestly, it feels like he's responsible for the vast majority of us getting into blogging in the first place. The guy practically paved the way for nostalgic weirdos to take to the internet and share their love of all things nerdy and dumb.

Anyway, only a short time after the initial rumors started, it was confirmed. They, all five of the monsters, were coming back this Halloween season. The masses rejoiced. The heavens shook. More stuff happened that was crazy and unbelievable, but now nothing was unbelievable because THEY WERE ALL COMING BACK.

And I already found one of 'em.

Well, to be fair, I found four so far, but I'm not counting the Count, Boo- or Frankenberry. I stumbled upon them at a local Walgreens last week, taking up an entire little display towards the front of the store. I went so far as to overcome my usual anti-social tendencies to ask the cashier if she had seen the other two cereals. She had not.

I vowed to return and claim the missing two, the ones that had eluded me my entire life. I was only two when Fruit Brute was originally discontinued, so I never had a shot of trying it. Yummy Mummy was available during the late '80s to the early '90s, but my own mummy wasn't keen on cereals with marshmallows, so the only memories I have of its short run were the ads that littered Marvel comics during those earlier years.

And then, about an hour ago, I found the now-dubbed "Fruity" Yummy Mummy sitting beside his monstrous brethren and nearly wept at the sight. Instead, totally embarrassed, I shelled out the three bucks to the very same cashier [and who, of course, recognized me] and hurried home to share the news with you.

You might be asking, after all this time, how does it taste?

I don't know! I was so excited to share the news that I haven't even opened the box yet!

It seems like such a huge event to me that it needs to be treated like an experience. Which is precisely why I have The Monster Squad (1987) loaded in my player, waiting for me to pour a bowl and enjoy the "official" launch of my own personal Halloween season. Two months early, sure, but it doesn't matter. This is my time, our time, and their time too, so let's all enjoy it together. Happy Halloween..!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Second "One Man's Trash..." Free Giveaway Results

Things have been awfully quiet here at the ol' blog recently. With a big move creeping closer and closer, there's been less time to hunt down and talk about trash. That doesn't mean I've forgotten about the place or the promises of sharing junk with each and every one of you.


We've wrapped on the second monthly free giveaway. It's time to strike up the band, cue the confetti and the fireworks and announce this month's winner...

Please take a bow, John G. because you've been chosen to receive a boatload of junk from yours truly.

Now, for those of you unaware, John runs a fantastic lil' blog by the name of The Clawful Punch. It's a great site loaded with pictures and reviews of some toy-lines near and dear to my heart, both classic and new. Perfect for reminiscing about old lost treasures like Go-Bots and G.I.Joe and a particularly awesome Remco Warlord figure. So, if you don't already, get over to John's blog, check it out and fall in love with it.

As for the rest of you, well, I can't stomach the idea of sending you home empty-handed. It means so much to me that you take the time to come here and pay me a visit. To show my appreciation, I'm once again offering runner-up "prizes" to anyone who entered that wants one. All you need to do is shoot me an email to-- --with an address and I'd be thrilled to send one of consolation "Trash Packs" your way.

Right, so, nothing more to see here. Hopefully I'll get some fresh content up soon for those of you who follow and read along with my nonsense. And remember to keep an eye out in the weeks ahead for next month's giveaway contest.

Thanks again everyone!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The League: Knock It Off..!

Straight from the mouth of our fearless leader, Mr. Cool & Collected, here's the latest topic we're gonna tackle-- 

This week’s assignment for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers was an idea sent in by Poe Ghostal. Poe originally wanted the topic to be “third party toys, yay or nay,” but I thought it would be fun to open it up even further, so here goes…

Bootlegs, knockoffs, and third-party products.

I had originally planned to follow in the footsteps of other League members and take a look at some trashy pieces of bootleg toys that clutter my collection. However, somewhere over the years, I'd traded away or sold most of my favorite Transformers and Gobots knock-offs. It didn't leave me with a whole lot to share with you. Actually, I managed to only have one piece left and then this guy went and stole my third-party thunder! The nerve!

The Goodwill Geek's favorite Space Defender, Garth Nadir, is nothing more than a glorified Robot Spacebot and I have the proof. In both of the two colors available!


So, now what is a poor Trash Man to do?

Yup, that's right. It's time to take a peek at some comics.

I could easily churn out a quick post by taking a look at all the rip-offs and cash-in duplicates of old favorites like Superman and Batman. Maybe a little history lesson on how, at one time, a cheap knock-off by the name of Captain Marvel [that's Shazam! for all you youngsters] was actually outselling the Man of Steel's books. It's been done before and by far better writers than myself. Plus, sometimes I like the B- and C-level imitations better than the originals.

Then I remembered a local comic convention I attended with an ex- a few years back. Digging through long-boxes of cheap back-issues for forgotten gold together, we found quite a few treasures that reminded us of a much more well-known property. A pop culture giant that spawned all sorts of imitations and pretenders.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Again, I could share a long-winded, poorly-written history lesson with you about the creation of the title by Eastman and Laird and how it became an absolute juggernaut that would conquer the shelves of toy-stores, movie theaters and home television screens around the world. Instead, I'm just gonna pick a handful of small-press/independent titles from the mid-80s that attempted to recreate the magic and success of TMNT. Or at least poke fun at it.

First up is the original spoof of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and probably the most recognizable. Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters was published by Eclipse Comics in 1986. Created by writer Don Chin and artist Parsonavich [seriously?], it followed the exploits of four normal hamsters who were shot into space by NASA in 1977. Their experimental rocket was doused in radioactive cosmic jello, which mutated them into human-sized creatures that crash-landed in Tibet. There, they mastered martial arts, attaining their black belts, and ventured out into the world to combat evil, like thugs and gangs and stuff.

The series ran for nine-issues and supposedly there was talk of a revival as recently as 2008.

Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos is actually my favorite of the bunch. Lee Marrs handled both the writing and the art. And Blackthorne Publishing released it at the end of Summer 1986. Where the Turtles and Hamsters both told tales of humanoid-animals in a more real-world setting, the Kung-Fu Kangaroos' world was inhabited by nothing but animals. They were six "normal" kangaroo-students from Australia who were caught in an explosion at a bio-tech lab while on a tour and granted fantastic powers.

There's actually a very brief appearance by Donatello that Peter Laird himself illustrated in a single panel. Something the cover is all too eager to mention and who can blame them? This was just prior to the Turtles' exposure on TV and the release of their action figure line by Playmates.

Here's another book released by Blackthorne Publishing the very same month, Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos. Billed as "Genetic Mutation at it's Finest", it's the adventures of four ordinary chameleons subjected to government experiments to create the ultimate fighting force. The cover reminds me a lot of the far superior satire, Dinosaurs For Hire, which actually wouldn't be published for another two years.

It's by far the worst I've seen of these knock-offs, with crude art and awful jokes. The only redeeming thing from the entire issue is a battle with a mantis-man adversary. That they then dispatch with a can of RAID in a predictable, cliched climax. Stupid.

I don't have much to say about Mildly Microwaved Pre-Pubscent Kung-Fu Gophers. It came out a month before the two previous entries, released by a company called Just Imagine Graphix, and was created by George Macas and Jim Molina. The heroes are four hamsters caught in the blast of a Microwave Bomb the government was testing, not entirely unlike a certain Rampaging Green Goliath, who cross paths with a camping kung-fu master named Kung. Naturally, he decides to take them under his wing and train them in the ancient arts of fighting.

Which they use to beat up some old ladies and get into a pie-fight. I take back what I said before about the Chameleons' title. This is the worst of the bunch.

The best lookin' of the books is easily The Bushido Blade of Zatoichi Walrus. I almost didn't want to include this one, because it really owes more to the epic film series, Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman and to Stan Sakai's brilliant comic creation, Usagi Yojimbo. This one was published by Solson Publications, written by John Holiwski and illustrated by Chuck Wojtkiewicz.

You might be asking why, prior to TMNT's toy-line and screen success, there would have already been so many imitations and I'm gonna leave the answer in the form of this panel from the original Turtles' knock-off, Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.

Which, sadly, I doubt any of these made. 

Meanwhile, with the rest of the League--

The man who stole my original idea for a post, and subjected you to all this nonsense, is none other than The Goodwill Geek. Be sure to thank him.

Miss M shares a sad story of having to resort to collecting Power Ranger bootlegs. Also, there's talk of Golden Girls, but no mention of Bea Arthur? Go cry foul.

Pop Rewind looks back at a lifetime of bootlegging VHS, so how could I resist?

I never had that Street Hawk G.I.Joe when I was collecting them, which I totally regret knowing I missed, so thanks to Rediscover the 80s for ruining my life.

And for all the rest, be sure to check out Cool & Collected..!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The "One Man's Trash..." Free Giveaway Part II: The Trash-eninging

Exactly one month ago, I hosted this blog's very first [but definitely not last] Free Giveaway contest. With little to no fanfare, I'm now announcing the second. This is your chance, my dear readers and loyal lurkers, to win a box full of random junk. It's an odd mixture of beloved vintage goodies and the latest in useless collectibles that is guaranteed to transform you from a 97-pound weakling into a 97-pound weakling that now owns more trash. Great trash! Mystery trash!

And don't just take my word for it!

Here's a fine post detailing the contents of last month's trash-pack from the winner, The Goodwill Geek..!

That should give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect. There will be toys and comics and DVDs and all sorts of other ridiculous things that, if you've found yourself here checking out this blog, well, you'll probably love. Or you won't and who cares, because you didn't pay anything for it, right?

But wait, there's more.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support and response to the previous contest and wanted to thank everyone who took time to comment by offering consolation prizes. Only one person took me up on the offer, Dex from the fantastic blog, A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Why, and you can check out what he scored here.

Likewise, depending on how much of a response I receive for this month's giveaway, I plan on offering a handful of runner-up prizes to selected participants. It won't be much, but it's a small token of thanks for everyone spending some time here with me at It's Trash Culture.

You have a week to enter the contest and can do so simply by leaving a comment below. I'll be randomly drawing the winner's "name" next Friday, the 23rd, by 10PM. In the meantime, I hope you decide to stick around and check out the blog [if you don't already] and any future posts I might manage to conjure up along the way.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not Quite Junk Mail

There's been a severe lack of updates here, but you can all stop calling me Braddock because I will no longer be M.I.A from here on out. Or maybe I'll disappear again in a couple days, who knows. It doesn't matter.

What does matter is the reason I've returned to you today. Risen from the grave like Jesus Crite himself.

Yup, you heard me.


See, it all started a week ago when I was checking out my usual blogs and I stumbled upon the latest from Freddy in Space. Now, if there was ever a blog that was keeping the horror-community [which I sorta' sometimes skate on the outskirts of] up-to-date with all the craziest stuff going on, it's probably that one. Whether it's the latest gossip concerning a sequel to Killer Klowns From Outer Space or a good look at the newest offerings from toy-companies like NECA. Of course, Johnny also likes to draw attention to more independent projects.

Like Chelsea Bloxsom's Love & a Sandwich.

There is a particular item that he highlighted from her store that I saw and immediately fell in love with. A little over a week after his original post and that item arrived to me today.

That's the envelope that I found waiting for me this morning when I got home from work. It made my extremely early morning shift totally worth it, just to find this sitting on the counter when I walked in the door.

Now, spoilers, there is an absolutely adorable "teaser" that Chelsea drew on the envelope and I think I might love it nearly as much as I love what was lurking inside. Normally, I enjoy tearing into the packages I receive, but I was super-careful in opening this one so I could preserve the little drawing forever and ever and ever.

Too cute, sure, but nowhere near as cute [or as deadly] as the envelope's contents.

I could type out a million heart emoticon things and it wouldn't come close to the love that I feel for this home-made Crite.


Yeah, it's a hand [and machine] sewn Crite from the Critters film series.

I have vague, but fond, memories of the first two Critters movies from when I was a kid. And I saw the first few bits of their adventures in space from the fourth installment back in college. It wasn't until recently that I finally got around to watching Parts III and IV in their entirety and god, I loved them so. It seems total zeitgeist that these gorgeous plush Crites would have been brought to my attention so soon after catching up with their movie counterparts exploits.

Oh, and please, everyone go check out Chelsea's shop and blog. Besides the lovable, vicious Crites, she's created all sorts of incredible plush wonders that are just looking for a home. Plus, there's "pet" projects inspired by Star Wars, Dark Crystal and Adventure Time, so besides being an amazing talent when it comes to sewing, she also has impeccable taste in movies/television.

Seriously, don't hesitate. I didn't and look at this wonderful creature that I will now love forever and also have to worry about devouring me in my sleep.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The League: Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Last week's topic for The League of Extraordinary Bloggers dealt with dreams and it shouldn't be too surprising that I decided to skip out on that one. Ever the defeatist, it's easier for me to focus on the opposite, which is why this week's is tailor-made for yours truly. In three simple words--

What a nightmare! 

I was easily frightened as a child, whether it was by horror films [or the commercials for them], spiders or the bad dreams that were constantly plaguing me. And there were plenty of those. Everything from Freddy Krueger to E.T to a twisted version of Sonny, the Cocoa Puff Bird haunted me, robbing me of peaceful slumber. There were the always terrifying nightmares within nightmares, where I would awaken from a bad dream, "safe" in the belief that I was back in my bed. Then something horrible would pop out from nowhere to devour my soul right before I would wake up for real. Yeah, I've got no shortage of things to talk about when it comes to nightmares.

But instead, I'm going to look at an old episode of G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero.

For the leader of a "ruthless terrorist organization", Cobra Commander came up with some absolutely ridiculous plans during his tenure. Menacing the world with robotic sea serpents and evil fun-houses doesn't seem like very effective ways of conquering it. So, after two mini-series and a full season of bumbling, he was replaced by Serpentor, who was meaner, tougher and carried the snake-motif further than any who came before him. However, like his predecessor, he also concocted his own share of stupid, stupid schemes.

Like commanding Cobra's resident dentist-turned-mad scientist, Dr. Mindbender, to build a machine that would allow them to control the G.I.Joe team's dreams for, uh, reasons.

It mostly translates to to an episode packed with various "nightmare" sequences that involve one of the Joes' greatest fears combined with a giant, fire-breathing king cobra. Viewers get the full picture for some, like General Hawk, who is terrified of making the wrong calls, the sort that lead to his entire team dying in battle. Of course, then he's also forced to bail from the flaming cockpit of his jet into the gaping maw of a monstrous snake.

There are others that we only get glimpses of, but they're still pretty great. Mainframe, one of the team's two tech experts, slowly transforms from man to machine. While Dial-Tone, the other, loses his ability to speak. Tamer, sure, but a no less horrible fate for someone who specializes in communication.

The star of the episode, though, and my entire reason for sharing it with you, is Low-Light.

It's his nightmare sequence that steals the show and left a lasting impression on me as a child. The expert marksman finds himself in a junkyard, surrounded by demonic-looking cars and haunted by the disembodied voice of his father berating him. Piecing it together from this scene, it appears that Low-Light was terrified of the dark as a young boy. Considered a wimp by his dad, he was apparently left alone in a salvage yard until he could provide his father with twenty rat corpses.

Yeah, no wonder it left such an impact.

A lifetime of traumatizing dreams is what eventually allows Low-Light to overcome his fears and save the "day". When Mindbender finally enters the Joes' dreams himself in a final bid to destroy them, it's Low-Light and a trio of rat-car hybrids that come screeching to the rescue. It all leads to a showdown between the floating, fiery head of Dr. Mindbender and a gigantic version of Low-Light, which ends with the latter throwing a block of ice and vanquishing the former.

I don't know if it's inspired or idiotic.


Meanwhile, with the rest of The League--

Random Nerdness has a Top 5 list that includes A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, which has a salvage yard scene that's eerily reminiscent of Low-Light's dreams.

Another list from Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks features some of my absolute favorite fright flicks and a personal nightmare I'm glad I'll never see.

Vikki Verka dreams she's a man and it just gets worse from there.

And for all the rest of The League's contributions, check out the comments here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Piranha

On this day in 1978, Joe Dante's first feature film, Piranha, debuted in theaters. While it was originally thought to be just another in a long string of B-level, Jaws knock-offs, it managed to rise above the rest and endear itself to the movie-going public. The film "literally" spawned a sequel three years later, as well as a couple of remakes in the decades that followed.

Despite being a huge fan of Dante's work, especially the Gremlins franchise, I didn't get around to watching Piranha until my junior year of college, 25 years after its original release. The very same VHS that I rented for that first viewing ended up in my collection a short time later, where it was watched and re-watched until the tape tore to shreds from overuse. Suffice to say, like most of Dante's work, it left quite the impression on me.

I could share all the reasons I adore the film to celebrate its 35th birthday, but I've decided instead to create a visual "love letter". A small selection of screen-grabs from my most recent viewing this morning. Enjoy!