If you are in debt, see my previous post. You should be using any free money to pay down or pay off your debt, not adding to it.
A simply essential Youtube channel for sensible money management tips is :
A lot of it is seemingly common sense, but if common sense was common, most of America would not be drowning in debt, and a person who did not win the popular vote would not be in the oval office.
So we can not have too many people… talking sense to us.
Obviously as a nation and a world, common sense bears repeating often. 🙂
Anything you buy, should not be bought on credit until any existing debt is paid on first. If you can pay cash for it, after paying down on your debt, than go for it.
For the few of you who have done this, this list is for you:
For COMIC BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL/SLIM Fans:
First get the comic book fan in your life, quality bags, boards and tape. As a fellow collector I speak from experience, few things are as aggravating as a disorganized collection.
So let us start there, by helping the comic bibliophile in your life get more organized.
Every single comic fan needs comic book bags and backing boards, and typically never gets enough or the right kind for themselves.
I’ve done the hard work for you. Here are the ones to get:
Comic Book Bags AND BOARDS:
E. Gerber without a doubt is the name to trust in this hobby, and his MYLITES2 a must own. Get “standard size” as that will support not just today’s smaller comics but the older, larger bronze, silver and golden age comics. But plastic is not enough you will also need a backing board (preferably full back as it is acid free on both sides) to keep the books from getting damaged when stored or being moved.
Also with the board each bag can store two comic books, with the books facing out. Storing it this way actually better protects the books. Buy the bags and boards together and save money.
Get them here:
Now, traditionally to close the bags a little bit of scotch tape was used, but that proved to be an issue as that tape would end up sticking and damaging the comic book, when it was removed or inserted into the bag. Some people use painters tape, but it defeats the purpose of having these books beautifully displayed in crystal clear mylar, if you are going to use unsightly blue tape to close the bags.
No, a good upgrade from both scotch and painters tape is two sided tape. There are several varieties one that works well for me is :
There is arguably nothing more outdated about this hobby, than grown ass men and women filling their homes with these unsightly cardboard boxes. 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong, for many years I was one of these men. I think sometimes we go on inertia, and what worked for us yesterday, we continue with today and into tomorrow, unexamined.
And if you are still a kid, or even a bachelor, living by yourself, maybe that comic box fits your needs. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you outgrow it.
The surest way to entrenched failure, is to not continually reexamine the constants of your life.
It is like people voting along party lines, or treating elections like a horse race, or a basketball game. Where we need our team to sweep, rather than putting the best person in the position. That is not the way. You have to always reexamine, on a case by case basis, who we love and who we hate, because everything changes.
Midterm elections, is an example.
I had several Democrats, a couple Republicans, a couple green party, because sometimes the label does not tell you who best represents your or your family’s or your community’s best interest. That is the problem with America, we are voting for the label, and not the measure or voting history of the specific man/woman.
All this highly political tirade, — hey its my thing, to say always be on the lookout for the better mouse trap.
And the standard comic book box or even the newer drawer box, may not be the better mouse trap for you.
Here in 2018 I have completely transitioned away from the standard comic book box for a variety of reasons. Cardboard is a nice home for bugs, particularly spiders, silver fish, etc.
I love watching those storage reality shows, and people grab these comic book boxes, and the boxes are stained and rotting away around the comic books. And even when brand new, it is not something for a more mature, tailored environment.
And while your comics may be safely bagged and boarded the cardboard box itself is a convenient home and meal and breeding ground for such pests. And whether a storage unit or your home, insects, particularly spiders, find a way. Especially if cardboard is involved. Now definitely keeping your collection in a temperature controlled location, with ceiling fans constantly gently moving the air, and dehumidifier material/desiccants (such as that derived from volcanic rock) helps. But until you remove the main attractant for humidity and moisture and pests, stacks of cardboard, you are fighting an uphill battle.
So what do you do instead? You replace the cardboard box. You put all that cardboard where it needs to be… in recycling bins.
There are 5 great options out there, to replace your outdated comic book box. Two display options and 3 portable options.They are:
IKEA’S KALLAX is just wonderful for displaying books, graphic novels, and even bagged and boarded comics, to include certified CGC/CBCS sized comic books. I own six of the above Kallax cubes and they are one of the best purchases I have made.They look GREAT in any room, and display your collectibles beautifully as opposed to the horrendous traditional comic book box.
Price them here:
Another great and essential storage and display unit, that also resolves the cleanliness and organization and appearance issues with traditional cardboard boxes, is the above CASA PURA METAL STORAGE SHELVING UNIT. I have the 4 tier unit, that is rated to hold 155lbs per shelf.
Price them here:
Okay now while great for displaying your collection, the Kallax and Casa Pura storage units are not portable options. That is where the next options come in…
MUSCLE RACK BLACK MILK CRATE fits perfectly in the above KALLAX or is great stacked on the CASA PURA. Very reasonably priced and holds as many comics as the standard short box. Conservatively 150 bagged and boarded comics per milk crate. That means inserted into the Kallax you can hold up to 600 comics. And used 2 to the shelf on the Casa Pura you can hold at least 1200 comics with space in between for trades and hardcovers.
Made of hard plastic, you can toss away your stain and bug collecting cardboard box. As these MUSCLE RACK CRATES will not trap humidity (the enemy of paper based products) like your traditional comic book box.
Price them here:
Okay for strictly display needs, the above three items will handle everything you could want. They will turn your comic collection space, from a kids room, to an adults room, where your collectibles will not cause your significant other or guests to groan upon seeing it. The above items would be equally good for record or figurine or movie collections.
However, portability for the books you do not need displayed, but still want easy access to, and to be able to easily move them; you need something more. We will go over those last two options in the upcoming installment.
If you have found this post helpful, please like it up, spread the word, and use the associated links. You get great items and it generates helpful pennies for this blog.
Thanks! And more next installment!
20 Best Under-seen Horror Films Available RIGHT NOW on Amazon Prime
UNDER THE SKINUnder the Skin [Blu-ray]
JOHN DIES AT THE END
AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY
BIG BAD WOLF
WHISTLE AND I’LL COME TO YOU
CRAWL OR DIE Crawl Or Die
BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
NINJA III THE DOMINATION
MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)
FUN SIZE HORROR VOL 1
Completing (Yay! Finally!!) the list of 15 favorite DVD commentaries!! Here are selections 11-15.
THE LION IN WINTER- A seminal film, the finest performances of all involved and commentary by the director, Anthony Harvey. The Lion in Winter
T-MEN/RAW DEAL- Not a commentary per se, the excellent 2 part DARK REFLECTIONS audio/video essay by mystery writer Max Allen Collins is a must listen as it examines two of the best films by the legendary team of director Anthony Mann and Director of Photography John Alton. Very, very informative covering film noir, Dick Tracy, Eisner’s Spirit and more.Anthony Mann Film Noir Double Feature: Raw Deal/T-Men
DESCENT- 2 director commentaries, one with cast, one with crew. The crew commentary is more than a bit bland, the cast commentary is definitely more lively with a bunch of giggling, possibly tipsy, actresses, and it takes a bit to determine who is who, but still an enjoyable insight into this fantastic film. The Descent (Original Unrated Widescreen Edition)
SEVEN- no less than 4 great commentaries to choose from! Seven (New Line Platinum Series)-this is the only version that has all four commentaries
KING OF NEW YORK- great commentary by maverick director Abel Ferrara.King of New York (Special Edition)
Well that’s it! The wrap up of the 15 Favorite Commentaries!! The links to previous sections are below, and feel free to suggest your own favorite commentary!
Thanks for viewing and if you like this post, take the time to give a ‘like’ and also take the time to purchase using the links provided.
“She loved me. That’s the root of the business. But she knew… she knew I thought more of my wife’s footprint in the mud, than I did of her body and soul.”
— A fantastic performance by Ciaran Hinds as Jim Browner, telling Holmes about the sister-in-law who connived to destroy his marriage, with tragic results. From THE MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES adaptation of THE CARDBOARD BOX.
In this age of streaming and Netflix, the DVD/Blu-ray is still the format of choice for those who want to do more than ‘see’ the movie, but explore it and enjoy it. I’m speaking of special features.
Specifically Director’s Commentaries.
As a rule I don’t purchase DVDs/Blu-rays, unless it is a movie or series I intend to watch more than once. And as such a director’s commentary is an essential part of the DVD for a film fan such as myself.
I can watch the DVD once for the program, then go back and watch it for the cast/crew insights into the film. So that said, what are the best DVD/Blu-ray commentaries?
Best is a problematic designation, so let’s go with favorite… here are my 15 favorite DVD commentaries:
Robert Altman’s IMAGES/THE LONG GOODBYE- I put these two films together as one, because they are Robert Altman at his most experimental, and to my mind, while not his biggest or most lavish or most acclaimed films, IMAGES and THE LONG GOODBYE are his most interesting and stylish and surreal films (and they also sport two of the most amazing, experimental scores).
They are my favorite Altman films. And while endlessly watchable on their own, the excellent special features push them over the top. While not really a commentary, the films instead sport brief interviews with Robert Altman, but such informative and formative interviews. Altman gives a great insight into the division of labor between Director/Writer and Actor, and how as a writer a work is 2D, and it is incumbent on the actor and others to make it 3D, to bring it to life. Between the film and the interviews, it’s a class on film-making, for the price of a DVD.
Michael Mann and Tony Scott are two of my favorite directors, they make fantastic films, and their commentaries are full-on clinics in film-making. So just about any movie they make, I purchase as much for the commentaries… as the film. So you can easily fill a top ten or twenty list with just these two directors.
But for the sake of brevity we’ll limit each director to just one:
Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER [There are numerous DVD and Blu-ray versions of this film, but the link below is the only DVD that sports the Michael Mann DVD commentary.]
Manhunter (Restored Director’s Cut Divimax Edition)
[And as honorable mention check out Michael Mann’s COLLATERAL, from covering using the digital camera to the landscape of mercenaries, to the actors, it is just a riveting commentary. Collateral (Two-Disc Special Edition)]
Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE showcases two excellent commentary tracks.
Man on Fire
Another one of my favorite directors is Werner Herzog, and his commentaries are always things of high drama and art onto themselves. Everyone of his films are worth owning as much, and in some cases more for his commentary. Just a fascinating director, and a fascinating man.
Like Mann and Scott, every one of his commentaries could fill a best of list, but again for the sake of brevity we’ll narrow it to one.
AGUIRRE WRATH OF GOD- cause it’s always entertaining hearing him discuss Klaus Kinski
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS- Put together a novel from one of my favorite writers, a few of my favorite actors, and one of my favorite directors in Carl Franklin, and you have a movie that makes anyone’s purchase list. Add a riveting commentary from director Carl Franklin, and you have DVD as film and film-experience.
And rounding out the first five for this list of 15 Favorite commentaries is
THE COMPLETE FARSCAPE- People who are fans of this show, a show that at its heart is this great love story, are fans because they are so connected to the characters that the actors and writers bring to life. Outside of possibly BABYLON 5, FARSCAPE is the most emotional and best acted show of the fantastic (Browder giving wrenching, award worthy performances). So the chance to reconnect with these shows, especially by listening to Ben Browder and Claudia Black, who obviously have as much chemistry off screen as they do on… is just a joy. Even lukewarm episodes of FARSCAPE, rare but they do exist, are made ‘must-haves’ by the commentary. A fantastic series, adorned with fantastic commentaries.
We’ll begin this with a definition of pulp, pulp heroes, and pulp writing, then get into my list of favorite pulp characters and pulp runs.
The perceived definition of a pulp character tends to be a character that takes place in the 20s to 40s, in an America besieged by the spectre of War, and consists of slam-bam action, and a colorful larger than life hero and outlandish villains.
It’s with the cementing of pulp heroes to a specific milieu, a specific time, that I take issue with that definition. Characters such as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE and the AVENGER were pulp sensations AT THE TIME OF THEIR PUBLICATION because they spoke to present fears and issues, in colorful imaginative ways.
But now the nostalgia bunch wants to calcify the definition of pulp adventure to a particular time frame or particular writers. I don’t think pulp heroes need to be set 80 or a 100 years in the past, that’s not what Marcel Allain, Norvell Page or Walter Gibson or Paul Ernst (writing as Kenneth Robeson) or any of the pulp writers we idolize today, were doing.
Now I’m not saying ignore the pulp heroes of yesterday, or not set new pulp stories in the 20s or 30s if you want. But what I am saying is… you’re largely missing the point of what the pulp writers were really doing. They were putting these heroes in a world that really needed them, the present world.
I am saying the pulp fiction of Warren Murphy’s REMO WILLIAMS or Marc Olden’s BLACK SAMURAI or Don Pendleton’s MAC BOLDEN are far truer representations of pulp fiction, pulp heroes, than today’s current writers who are making nostalgic re-workings of 1920s, 1930, and 1940s stories.
Again I have no problem with modern writers setting stories in that time frame, I quite enjoy and have championed many of them, but there seems to be this faulty conclusion in the minds of modern writers and readers that setting them in a specific past time frame, makes it pulp. No. Nothing could be further from the truth. Setting it in that time frame makes it a pastiche.
If Gibson or Page or Allain were writing today their heroes would be set in today, and their horror and villains… expressions of timely concerns. Allain’s FANTOMAS or Gibson’s SHADOW would be hanging the president of Exxon or Shell out of a window, saying “You want to explain those gas prices to me now?”
That’s why I love books like BLACK SAMURAI and THE DESTROYER because they are the pulp aesthetic continued, and have original things to say and original menaces to say it to, rather than simply the tendency to nostalgia, and aping dead writers.
When pulp heroes of yesterday fought nazis and gangsters, that wasn’t simply kitschy entertainment, that took some balls. Because gangsters were very much real things, and Nazis a very real threat, and nobody wanted to touch these topics. The way no one today wants to deal with topics of Guantanamo Bay, or Middle Eastern massacres, or corporate over-lobbying of representatives.
Pulp fiction of the 10s (the wonderful, and horrifying Fantamos),20s and 30s and 40s… was timely and controversial. Pulp fiction (and pulp heroes) was about giving the common man a hero who could stand up against the evils of the day, be those evils foreign or domestic. That is pulp fiction, not this nostalgic, safe, hermetically sealed, removed from any relevance of today, pastiches that people want to sanctify.
True pulp fiction, is a fantastic, white-knuckled, adrenalin inducing and entertaining tirade against the evils of its time. Sometimes in-dispute evil.
People forget there was a portion of America, the loud vocal right wing that were pro-hitler and pro the nazis, right up to and even after Pearl Harbor. So for these books to come out in the 1930s with Nazi Villains took balls. It was controversial. They got their share of grief from the Rush Limbaugh’s of the day.
So when people say “Well, true pulp fiction/pulp heroes needs to be set in the 20s to the 40s”, to that I say “only if you’re living in the 20s to the 40s”. True pulp heroes are an answer… an answer to the truths and the lies of your nightly news.
So while it’s wonderful we have this resurgence of so many writers doing pastiches in the pulp vein, it’s unfortunate so few modern writers are actually doing real pulp novels ala Warren Murphy or the late Marc Olden or even the late Ian Flaming.
So few current writers are doing books with great, even salacious covers, breakneck speed, thrilling action, and larger than life protagonists in conflict with outlandish villains, set in a present/timely context. That is the definition of true pulp fiction, and true pulp heroes… and what we are in dire need… of more of.
-to be continued-
Part II will bring you the list of 15 favorite pulp heroes. Your jaw will drop!!! 🙂
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In no particular order. Feel free to leave your own recommendations, suggestions.
Quien Puede Matar A Un Nino/Who Can Kill A Child?
Who Can Kill a Child?
Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain)
Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) – 2008
The Eye (Gin Gwai)(Hong Kong/Singapore) – 2002
Pulse (Kairo) – 2001
Ringu – 1998
Rec – 2007
Memories of Murder (Korea)- More a thriller, but one of such nail-biting suspense it bleeds into the Horror category the way SEVEN would
Diabolique (France)- if you can see this film without being spoiled, or knowing anything about it, it’s an incredibly powerful film, and earns its place on any list.
M (1931-German)- Everything you know about horror film, from the brilliant to the bloody, about tension, about atmosphere, about darkness that walks at day, is sourced from this film. Even if a horror/suspense filmmaker hasn’t seen this film, they’ve been influenced by a film or filmmaker, that was influenced by this film.
Brotherhood of the Wolf (French- A drama/thriller but it bleeds enough into horror to be considered. In-fact it’s more disturbing than most straight up horror movies)