Top Black Friday Shopping DEALS for Those Not in Debt! COMIC BOOK FAN Gift Edition!

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 :

MINORITY MINDSET-

https://yt3.ggpht.com/CdRWgeqIDvjAWK7tus78G4gmmWc7sRRvr7wQaocxRQ02MEZS-iRz_CJCkEIP1S9DJg2S5sxCIQ=w1440-fcrop64=1,32b75a57cd48a5a8-nd-c0xffffffff-rj-k-no

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT3EznhW_CNFcfOlyDNTLLw/featured

https://theminoritymindset.com/

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:

https://amzn.to/2TzXHES

 

TAPE:

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 :

XFasten Double Sided Carpet Tape, 2-Inch x 30 Yards
All you need is 1 to 3 very small pieces, maybe 1″ x .5″, apply it not to the flap of the plastic bag, but the back of the mylar plastic bag, where the flap will seal, remove the film, close the bag, and tada you have an almost invisible, very non-obtrusive way to safely seal your comic book bags. And comics may be removed and inserted without risk of tape damage.
Get yours here:
Okay, we got you set with protecting the individual comic, now what do you store them in?

COMIC STORAGE:

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.

 

ComicsDC: PR: Get $2 for your old empty comic box! Beyond Comics!Value of old comics | Comic book worth, appraisal & valuationOld Comic Books | eBay

 

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 Kallax 4 Shelving Unit Black-Brown

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:

https://amzn.to/2S6U9bz

 

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:

https://amzn.to/2DUBYmi

 

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 MK131311-B2PK 11" x 13" x 13" Black Milk Crate (Pack of 2)

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:

https://amzn.to/2P1sRS6

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!

 

 

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TV Show Review : DAREDEVIL Seasons 1, 2, and 3!

cool-poster-art-for-daredevil-season-3-highlights-the-hero-and-villain1

The first season of DAREDEVIL, was and remains game changing , ground breaking TV. In terms of action choreography, and initial complexity of storyline, and some amazing performances.  It remains an astounding season of television, however it didn’t quite stick the landing.

There was something rushed and not quite satisfying in the ending. Something that did not quite live up to the AMAZING buildup.There was always a slight worm in the apple, and that was what was best and most enjoyable and most likable about the series, what was really brilliant about the series, was never the main three protagonists, the great acting of the series was done by the so-called villains such as Wilson Fisk, Alexandra, Wesley  and by the supporting characters such as Ben Urich and Stick.

What was annoying about season 1, was Karen Page, and she got increasingly more annoying, like nails on chalkboard through the season. Her remaining on the show, when two other astounding characters met violent ends, really for me weakened the show going forward. Also Matt Murdock, his maudlin approach, begins to wear thin at the end of 13 episodes.  But all those caveats aside, the strengths outweigh the failings of that first season. A solid A- of a season.

 

Fast forward to season 2 , which has a strong first half, but disintegrates in the 2nd half, Karen Page gets more annoying, Matt Murdock gets more whiny and maudlin, and Elektra storyline doesn’t do much for me. Karen Page playing girl reporter, just emphasizes everything I find annoying about that character, and how much the character of Ben Urich is missed.  Season 2 has its moments, largely due to the Punisher in the first half, but overall is strictly fast forward material through much of the 2nd half of season 2. This season is the definition of uneven, coming in at a C+/B-.

 

Daredevil Season 3 Review

 

The DEFENDERS series plays very much as DAREDEVIL Season 2.5. Because we get to minimize exposure to the weakest parts of season 2, namely Karen Page. Even though the Elektra/Black Star storyline is largely nonsensical and uneven (she can take blows from Power Man, but is affected by blows from Daredevil. Nonsensical.) the series moves at a fast clip, and seeing these actors together, enjoyable. Overall, inane ending excepted, a fun series. Grade: B+.

 

That brings us to the just finished third season of DAREDEVIL. It starts off intriguing, But quickly, particularly in the later episodes, drowns in all the unlikeable characters.

Karen Page is show stoppingly annoying every-time she is on the screen. Also three seasons of watching Matt Murdock suck all the joy out of everything, is just tiring. “Ooh, I have special powers, to make up for being blinded, I have friends, a good job, a great apartment… Oh I’m so angry!” what the hell does he have to be mad about all the time? 🙂

Just a joyless, depressing performance. And I am not saying it is badly acted, the actor is good, it is just he is written with nothing to do but complain all the time.

By comparison all the so-called villainous characters are far more interesting, to the point I was rooting though the later episodes for Fisk and the Mystery Villain 🙂 to take out Karen Page (Again, a fine actress, she is just written with nothing to do but eat the joy out of every scene. And what works in a few scant panels in a limited story, over three seasons… tires), and beat Matt Murdock.

I felt the ending was very unsatisfying.  Matt Murdock/Daredevil just comes across as much a psychotic as those he fights, and a hypocrite on top of it. And again the character flaws that work briefly in panels on a comic page, does not wear as well over three seasons. Add Karen Page to the mix, and you have a season 3 that I lose interest in whenever the three so-called leads are on camera. (To be fair, I quite liked the character of Foggy. He was the one thing that worked in that triangle.)

Overall a very dissatisfying wrap up to DAREDEVIL Season III. Karen Page survives, where yet more good characters die in her stead. I bought the first DAREDEVIL on BLURAY,  I bought the first LUKE CAGE on Bluray, and will be buying the 2nd season when it is available. I might buy the DEFENDERS, its flaws aside, overall it worked very well, and what IRON FIST couldn’t do in his own series (be good) he manages to pull off in the DEFENDERS and LUKE CAGE Season II.

With Luke Cage having been canceled, I don’t see anything to bring me back to the Netflix/Marvel Properties.  Not a fan of PUNISHER Season 1, Jessica Jones I fell off of, Iron Fist show was a train-wreck, and DAREDEVIL can not get out of its own way. Should a MOON KNIGHT show pop up, or a WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, I would definitely give those a look, but for now it appears the great Marvel/Netflix ship of success… has capsized.

 

DAREDEVIL Season 1 A-

DAREDEVIL Season 2 C+

DAREDEVIL Season 3 C+/B-

Overall Grade: B

 

 

 

 

Streaming VOD Channel Review -BLACK NEON- And a review on WOLF and the films of Robert Bresson!

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the benefit of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things are not worth having or keeping. So Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now.

This installment, the channel that is up for review is…  BLACK NEON.

BLACK NEON  – first thing that strikes you about this channel, is unlike the hundreds of options of other channels, this one has a very limited number of movies. Many I have to confess to being unaware of or not having seen on other channels. Always a plus in my book.

To avoid the mishap of doing a lengthy listing of its titles, only to determine the actual streaming service is crap, or ad infested. I decide to pick a movie and test it out.

Wolf (2018)

My eyes gravitate to a film called WOLF, a thriller of some type seemingly, and without reading the description I just start the film. From frame one I’m captivated. And over sixteen minutes in and not a single ad.

I’m loving the movie and the channel so far.

BLACK NEON may be a home-run. I’ll update after finishing the movie and looking around a bit.

***UPDATE*****

Okay I just finished watching WOLF courtesy of the BLACK NEON channel. Do a search for new streaming movie channels to add and you will find BLACK NEON.

Wolf (2018)

They do not have much content, maybe a dozen movies.But it is worth getting the channel just to see WOLF. What an incredibly strange film. Very off kilter, and always has you on the edge and not knowing where it is going, which I find refreshing.

It is very Bressonian. Robert Bresson was a French director, little known, and unfortunately little remembered today, but he used most effectively and most notably the idea of the pregnant frame. An empty frame, and the emptiness, the waiting for it to be filled would create tension.  And while not a horror director, his films such as A MAN ESCAPED and PICKPOCKET (both absolute masterpieces) build incredible amounts of tension by using the empty frame, and our desire to have it filled.

It has been used by directors since, and is used here in WOLF to great effect.  It is a slow burn movie, and has a WTF turn, that you never quite recover from, and is never truly made clear. You leave the film arguably with as many questions as you came, the final meaning of the film, and of what actually happened left up to individual interpretation.

Wolf (2018)

That can be frustrating to some, however I really liked it. I loved it actually, the patience of the film, and its willingness to court confusion.

That does not always work for me, sometimes it is the sign of a lazy filmmaker. But I do not think that is the case here, the filmmaker and writer Michael Jones has crafted a compelling story and wanted to let it finish cooking in the mind of the viewer.

Love it or hate it, I do not think it is a film you will easily dismiss.I fall in the camp of being very impressed by this raw nerve, of a movie.  

WOLF (2016 Australian release/2018 VOD release)

A Michael Jones Film

Grade: B+.

Recommended! This is definitely a movie that deserves to be owned on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

Artbook of the Day : THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIAN STELFREEZE

 

http://amzn.to/2FwbB3o

 

 

This book, THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIAN STELFREEZE, i think I mentioned before , was hands down in a very crowded field of great artbooks last year, was easily my best artbook of the year. Three months into 2018, and it is still my favorite artbook of this year as well.

Boom did a FANTASTIC  job of putting togeter this very large and exquisite looking tome. The design and construction of the book is a work of art, befitting of the art inside.

I love, LOVE, gilded pages on a book. The James Jean REBUS book from 2011, was one of my favorite artbooks of 2011 for many reasons, chief among them the use of just beautiful red gilded pages.

http://amzn.to/2tyCSkf

THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIAN STELFREEZE sports simply astonishing purple gilded pages that makes this book, even before opening it, a work of staggering beauty. Designers Scott Newman & Michelle Ankley should be applauded for such a wonderfully crafted tome.

Huge and imposing at 12″ by 12″ this tome should be on everyone’s coffee table or book collection. If you don’t have it (or REBUS) use the links above. You will be glad you did!

Highest Recommendation.

 

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER in 3D – The Verdict?

I just came from a sold out upscale theater showing of Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER for Marvel Studios.

I’m going to try to be brief. As someone who went into this having avoided all trailers, and spoilers, and special feature exposes (that in my experience is like pre-chewing your food before sitting down to eat, making it impossible for fan or reviewer to truly be surprised by a film) I was… blown away.

 

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTg1MTY2MjYzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc4NTMwNDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg

In terms of look, performance, direction, pathos, and humor, and rock solid action, it is without argument one of the best of the EIGHTEEN Marvel Studio Films released to date. I saw it in 3D and it is worth seeing in 3D. You don’t get the things flying into the audience effect, but the sense of looking down, and into chasms and waterfalls, plays up to 3Ds strengths. So I recommend seeing it at least once in 3D. I say once because like the original AVENGERS film, this is a film that deserves to be seen more than once.

I plan to see it in 2D when I go back next time.

This BLACK PANTHER film, released during Black History month, in my humble opinion is in a three way tie for the #1 Marvel Movie of all time; tied with the original AVENGERS by Josh Whedon and CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER by the Russo Brothers. Those three movies share one shining exquisite truth; they are not just great comic-book movies, they are great films… FULL STOP.

Okay that should be all you need, go see the film now.

Okay still here, the following contains minor spoilers.

Black Panther Movie Poster

BLACK PANTHER is a great film from first frame to last. It is masterfully done; weaving effortlessly between drama, pomp, circumstance, humor, horror, tragedy, and heroism and hope. Chadwick Boseman is astonishing as the titular character, playing him with understated grace and elegance, that carries effortlessly the weight of the film. He is the rock upon which our tale is moored.

Writer/Director Ryan Coogler in three films has catapulted himself as one of the defining directors of our age, and BLACK PANTHER is that talent writ large. This is the tale of the death of kings, of fathers and sons, and things lost in the fire, this is about nothing less than the fate of the world, and about nothing more than the grief of boys for their fathers, a beautifully developed thread in all of Coogler’s films, but never done so well as here.

Coogler takes the admonishment of Hamlet ‘The common theme of life, is death of fathers’ and uses it like a lover and a lance, to both caress and break your heart. And he takes King Henry’s complaint in THE LION OF WINTER ‘I could have conquered Europe all of it, but I had women in my life.’ and here makes of it the saving grace of the protagonist, the film, and the world.

It is the women in this film who save the world, who save the men from their self extinguishing thirst for conquest and vengeance. And taking that line from LION OF WINTER, to also mean parental and familial influence, the difference between T’Challa and Killmonger then ultimately is in their relations to their fathers, even to the structure of their afterlives, one is defined by the inspiration of his father, and one by the lack of his father, and both of them have become completely extraordinary men in staggeringly different ways because of these relations.

It makes for a film of unexpected emotional intensity and depth. Coogler as a filmmaker has my number, as tears unbidden came to my eyes in places in this film. But I would argue he has everyone’s number, if you have the heart to feel, be you Irish or Korean or Ethiopian or American, Coogler will find those places that bind us all,… and squeeze. And then he’ll hit you with the action, then the humor, and sometime when you are laughing, he will squeeze again, and the tears will rise and you will know this is a filmmaker.

And it is wonderful when a director finds his muse, and an actor finds the director that gets him, brings out his best. Coogler and Michael B. Jordan are that combination.

They join legendary director/star pairings such as:

  • Ford and Wayne
  • Hawks and Wayne
  • Kurosawa and Mifune
  • Hitchcock  and Grant
  • Lee and Washington
  • Scorsese and Dinero
  • Scott and Washington
  • Woo and Yun-Fat
  • Ayer and Smith
  • Fuqua and Washington (It is not lost on me that Denzel Washington’s name appears with three different directors. It just shows the kind of fantastic actor he is, the longevity of his career, and that he can embody for many directors, the perfect actor).

Black Panther Movie Poster

Those pairings when they happen are the source of cinematic gold. And it happens in BLACK PANTHER with Coogler and Jordan, two of the respective best of their generation.

Simply a masterful film, with a stunning cast, and great performances. And Kudos to Kevin Feige who with 18 films under his belt, is not just producing films that transcend the source material, he has proved himself the most successful and influential film producer, in the history of the medium.Supplanting such names as Zanuck or Lewton.

It is a success richly earned.

That said, a lot of fans and reviewers care about the numbers, how much a movie makes. I do not. I could not care less if BLACK PANTHER made $1 or 1 Billion Dollars. In this day where studios own the films and the theaters; that is money that is being taken out of local economies. It is good the movie is successful in that we get more such movies from that director, that producer, those actors, but as far as making Disney richer, that does not concern me.

Now should we go back to the days of local and community owned theaters, then that matters, that we should support, because those dollars are staying in the community.

So I’m happy for the movie not because it does this much business, or that much business, I’m happy for the movie, because such visions raise us all, and the success allows such visionaries to keep telling stories.

Grade: An unqualified A+.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Black Panther (#18 of 23)

If you like this movie I recommend the following:

The following movies are too good, to trust in the ‘cloud’ or ‘streaming’ to always have them available, or always have them available in unchanged, unedited, or unaltered versions. The below movies deserve to be owned in physical form, in the age of digital.

Chadwick Boseman in Message from the King (2016)

Chadwick Boseman’s excellent A MESSAGE FROM THE KING
LION IN WINTER
http://amzn.to/2CtUltq
HAMLET
http://amzn.to/2C6aEk6
AVENGERS
http://amzn.to/2C5Lx0W
CAPTAIN AMERICA : WINTER SOLDIER
http://amzn.to/2C3M97v
CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL WAR
http://amzn.to/2szGli8

Richard Carpenter’s seminal 80’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD may just be the best TV show of all Time

‘Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.’ — Richard Carpenter’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD

 

 

 

Richard Carpenter, no relation to John Carpenter, is largely unknown to modern audiences, however he shouldn’t be. In the 80s he created a TV show, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, which became a surprising hit. Here in the states it was broadcast via PBS, and even watching it then, it felt mythic and larger than life. Revisiting it 35 years later, not only does the short lived series hold up as great television, those first two seasons remain the best version of Robin Hood ever conceived.

Richard Carpenter taking the traditional Robin Hood myth, and adding unheard of mystical and Moorish and pagan and Arthurian elements to it, created a show that was the crystallization of myth. Add the perfect confluence of young, hungry actors , a brilliant creator/writer at the peak of his powers, groundbreaking directors and cinematographers, led by Director Ian Sharp, that were rewriting the way action could be filmed, and a score done by Pol Brennan and hot new touring bad Clanad, and you had a show that was as mythic and forged by destiny, as the fiction it chronicled.

 

  • Michael Praed
  • Ray Winstone,
  • Nickolas Grace
  • Judi Trott
  • Clive Mantle
  • Robert Addie
  • Phil Rose
  • Mark Ryan
  • Peter Llewellyn Williams

 

The above actors were the perfect cast (thanks to Beth and Esta Charkham) to give life to Richard Carpenter’s groundbreaking mythic and mystic version of Robin of the Hood.

The writing, married to the performances, is at once eloquent and elegant; and like all great myths it is endlessly quotable and memorable. In the 35 years since, what Richard Carpenter invented for his series, the mystical elements, the addition of a Moor to Robin’s Merry Men, making Marion a vital part of the story, has been stolen by other tv shows and films, but none to any great effect. Because those were part of Carpenter’s vision, and 35 years ago he, with the exact right people, and the exact alignment of stars… gave birth to that vision.

Will someday someone make a Robin Hood series or film as good? Well they haven’t yet, but the good news is ROBIN OF SHERWOOD is available on DVD/Bluray and Streaming for a new generation to discover, and long term fans… revisit.

The first two seasons (called Set 1) are essential television. The third season (Set 2) is fun, but is not essential.

Get your fix here:

http://amzn.to/2H8TSQI

http://amzn.to/2ElZrxo

 

If you would like to try before you buy, Season 1 is available right now via Amazon Prime. But the commentaries in the Bluray’s are a clinic on film-making and storytelling, and are a must listen. As well as the other features, and interviews with the cast, it is… in the age of streaming; a must own Blu-ray.