Thursday, January 28, 2010 rules the online world of retail

Amazon's 4th Q of 2009 (Christmas shopping time for you laymen) was up an eye popping 71% over the previous year! Most retailers are celebrating positive returns in the single digits.

Nice try spending tens of millions on your new online revamp Target...too little and far too late.

Also very happy to report that is looks like Amazon is back to deeply discounting Blu-Ray titles once more! Fuck Yeah!

Newest deal that fanboys will love...pre-order Planet Hulk on BR (Feb 2nd) for only $17.99!

BitterNews for Thursday, January 28th, 2010

• BREAKING NEWS: Miramax – the amazing indie film company run by the Weinstein brothers, has closed shop. Miramax brought you many of your favorite 90’s films but struggled after moving away from Disney. Inglorious Basterds was one of their last high-profile releases.
• According to US Weekly Jessica Simpson ripped a big one during a business meeting and her mom called her on it in front of a room full of executives. Yikes.
• Lou Reed is going to reissue and tour Metal Machine Music, the industrial noise album he made in the mid-70’s in an attempt to escape his record label at the time. Now he’s acting like it wasn’t a piece of shit prank that accidentally escaped, but is actually a work of art. What a tool!
• Michael Douglas’ son is going to do hard time on account of sweet drugs.
• JD Salinger is dead. In the rye.
• Brittany Murphy’s Husband (ex-husband?) is filing a wrongful death suit against Warner Bros films because not putting her in Happy Feet 2 is what killed her. Not her pre-existing condition or the drugs. Happy Feet 2. My feeling is if Happy Feet 2 is all that will keep you alive, the world is a better place without you. And are all the rest of us who aren’t Happy feet 2 doing to die as a result? TELL ME DAMMIT!!! UPDATE: And now Warners has responded.
• The Haiti Relief album is the first album to hit #1 with no physical counterpart.
• Heidi McDonald’s Beat comic blog is moving from Publisher Weekly to it’s own site in the coming weeks.
• Frank Kozik has a new bust to follow his Beethoven/Clockwork Orange mash-up; it’s Dead Che.
• Olivia Newton-John is going back to movies – playing a Canadian Hockey Mom.
• Skeletor sold out.
• The South Park guys are putting together an off-Broadway musical.
• Playmates is making new Shrek toys before they finally go out of business.
• NBC is putting Biggest Loser against Lost premier. So they want to end Biggest Loser.
• Clone Wars episode this week introduces a three-part Mandalorian storyline, for all you Fett Fags.
• David Spade has cut a deal to make a Joe Dirt cartoon with TBS. This is probably the most improbable news of the day.
• Hot Toys Blade 2 figure is out in HK. Sideshow orders will probably be filled in about 30 days if history means anything.
• HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! The iPad won’t run FLASH!!!!! who cares?
• BM Bendis & Zac Efron – a match made in heaven. I know the kid is huge, but this is kind of a joke in my book.
• There’s going to be a Punisher story in Marvel’s “Girl Comics #1”. Bet there’s a girl in it.
• A bunch of Marvel books due to be released next week were significantly damaged and will be delayed or partially shipped as a result. Siege #2 is the main problem, I’d guess, but about 24 titles total are affected.
• Borders laid off 124 people at their HQ today. The march towards death has begun.
• Beloved cancer-beating stand-up Robert Schimmell was on Howard Stern this morning, and he dropped a few bombshells; first he’s divorcing his soon to be ex-wife (the best friend of his daughter, BTW – who didn’t see this coming) and second, he needs a liver transplant. It was a real bummer segment and Stern was audibly shaken. First Artie, now this? Schimmell’s new DVD is out at Amazon or you can buy signed copies direct from Robert’s website.
• Billy Idol and Paul Rogers being considered by Joe Perry for Steve Tyler’s place in Aerosmith. Apparently neither are very interested, with Idol bailing on the meeting with “a cold”.
• UK Toy Fair happened and there wasn’t much exciting. Tron figures, new Legos, etc, etc…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BitterNews for Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Relatively dull day for Nerdgasms, but here goes:

• Apple killed the Kindle with it’s newly revealed “iPad” which has to be the worst name they could’ve come up with, as the internet nearly broke from all the tampon jokes.
• The CEO of Borders split like a Haitian running out of a tall building. They are doomed.
• Diamond will now sell any old shit, after their experiment with order minimums failed.
• Skeletor did not sell out on Matty today, so that must mean something…
• The next Romero Dead film has a real date: April 30th for VOD and limited theatrical starting on May 28th. OOOoooookay.
• The second wave of Mattel’s Public Enemies line is finally starting to hit Targets.
• Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool wrote one of the stupidest pieces he’s ever written (really saying something) about how the new Kotobukita Thor & Cap A statues were likely reveals of the movie costumes. Rich should not write about things he doesn’t understand. Like toys.
• Katy Perry should take over for Simon on American Idol.
• Pete Doherty brought heroin to court. Why won’t it kill him?
• Weird Al is making a TV movie with Cartoon Network (live action).
• Devo will play at the Olympics, giving us another reason not to watch.
• No hot chicks did anything interesting today.
• Great day for comic books. New FF was, as usual, astounding, and Spider-man is coming out of it’s slump. New Morrison Batman seems to be finally moving the Bruce is Dead story forward, although that may be a bait & switch, and the Cap Reborn conclusion was a doozy!
• And apparently some guy who is President is going to say something on TV tonight.

Marvel's New Direction

About fucking time.

So bored with Super-Heroes who are bigger assholes or idiots than the bad guys they chase around.

DC was supposed to be on a similar track after Infinite Crisis then lapsed again and again (Coming soon kids! Asshole Green Arrow!)

Pretty stupid to place a gorilla in this image when you clearly want it to be picked up by mainstream media...Black Widow is only in here because of the forthcoming Iron Man 2 film.

Sure going to be a lot harder for Brian Bendis and Mark Millar to write stories now...don't know if they really know any other way to portray Marvel Heroes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hot Toys Reveals! Ghost Rider, Watchmen Rorschach!

Take these with a grain of salt, but considering that they arrive from the same source, it seems likely they are not fakes. There has been much speculation as to when or if the Watchmen line would continue at HT, with many fans despondent that the star of the film has yet to be made – but here he is. The Ghost Rider figure was already announced, but these are the first pics. Note that both figures are not final versions.

BitterNews for Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

• After an unexciting Barb Wire reveal a few weeks back, Triad Toys has pics of their upcoming Ghost figure. The pic above does not do justice to the figure. Check out Triad’s page for more info.
• Tomorrow is tablet day. We suggest you check out the MacRumors website, which will provide consolidated coverage of the event as it takes place Wednesday, January 27th at 10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern.
• According to the NYTimes: “The tablet is expected to be a multimedia device that will let people watch movies and television shows, play games, surf the Internet and read electronic books and newspapers. Though companies like Toshiba Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have introduced Windows-based tablet computers before and Inc. and others sell similarly-sized digital-book readers, people briefed by Apple say the company intends to carve out a new product category.”
• Apple are absolutely carving out their own distribution system, which will likely add books to the iTunes store, at a much higher return to publishers per sale than any other reader or system currently in place. Add this to the expected quality screen and the continuing Apple Mania, and if I was Kindle (or any other online delivery system), I’d be pooping my pants.
• Stop the planet - Keith Richards stopped drinking. If he quit, something must be drastically wrong (dead liver), but we at BG hope that isn’t the case.
• eBay is introducing a new selling tier structure that allows users to sign up for one year at $49.99 and have free access to their Seller's Assistant Pro (previously a $25 a month program) and lower insertion fees.
• Michael Monroe (ex-Hanoi Rocks) revealed the line-up for his new band, which includes former Hanoi Rocks bandmate Sami Yaffa (bass), as well as Ginger from The Wildhearts and from Danzig/Samhain, guitarist Todd Youth (fresh from a stint with Glen Campbell!). This band will play SXSW and they have already written a bunch of songs for a release this fall (meaning 2011 in rock n roll time).
• John Travolta is sending scientologists to Haiti. Jessica Simpson is sending shoes. Therefore Jessica Simpson= smarter than John Travolta.
• The IRON MAN 2 soundtrack is ALL AC/DC – not a cheap proposition, BTW. A video from the album debuted online today. It’s like Maximum Overdrive all over again, except the Green Goblin isn’t in it.
• Lego are going blind-box with a new line of minifigs sold in separate boxes. Price is expected to be in the $2-$4 range. So far, no licensed figs are shown.
• Lauren Hill (ex-Fugees) who has burned through millions of dollars and many years working on a follow-up to the Miseducation of Lauren Hill album of many years ago, sang in New Zealand this weekend. Sony execs still not expecting to see their return on investment any time soon.
• continues to be a clusterfuck. Today Digital River sent out notices to many customers, notifying them that their Club Eternia subscriptions had expired. These customers had so far only gotten the January figure in a 12 month subscription, so of course the internet broke. Matty issued this: “All customer service issues with order numbers have been gathered and are being reported to Digital River today. Facebook pages are proving to be too difficult to navigate b/c there are so many posts (pages are slowwwww to load and prone to crashing the farther back we go) so once the Fan Forums launch, we'll be gathering issues there. FOR NOW, PLEASE POST ISSUES TO THIS NOTE.”
• “Shortly thereafter they sent this: Regarding the emails you've been receiving advising that your subscriptions are cancelled, we just verified with Digital River that they are NOT CANCELLED.” Just another day at Mattel!
• The Who announced their Super Bowl set list. I’d think the NFL might be pissed about this – it’s sort of anti-climactic – like announcing the winner of the game.
• Mark Millar is doing another charity auction, this time to name the bad guy in his upcoming book, Nemesis.
• Apparently Elin is not going to Divorce Tiger. He must be one smooth-talking, check-writing motherfucker.
• DELUSION OF THE DAY: Here’s a quote from the guy who plays Ando on Heroes regarding their plummeting ratings: "I'm not worried about it all, because I think that it's very misperceived. We have a larger audience than ever, but they're completely scattered in so many different platforms. People are watching "Heroes" not only on television but mostly on the computer and on their iPods and phones. They're doing NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu, NBC, DVDs, you name it. It's amazing how fast technology has evolved even in the past four years. The way people are watching media has changed completely." Yes, Ando, there are more platforms than ever to not watch Heroes on.
• Actor Pernell Roberts died at age 81. He starred on 'Bonanza’ and 'Trapper John, M.D.'
• The ABBAWORLD theme park / Museum opened in London. Now you know where to take your mom.
• Reports are trickling in of DCUC Wave 12 showing up at Wal-mart. Strangely, the cases include Iron, Spectre, Eclipso, and Dr.Midnight, but not the figures that are already being sold through specialty retailers (Mary Marvel, etc). No word on a date for solid case sales through Matty.
• The Secret Wars series with Thor, Hawkeye, etc is being found regionally.
• And finally, the Fall/Winter Xeric Awards were announced. I’m sure I’ll never read any of them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

BitterNews for Monday, January 25th, 2010

• Mattel Named to FORTUNE’s 2010 “100 Best Companies to Work For” List; it must be great to work there – they never fire anyone, no matter how bad they are!
• 3A Toys have been dropping hints about upcoming projects – in addition to already announced collaborations with McFarlane (Spawn), 2000ad (the entire Universe), and Metal Gear Solid, today they hinted that Tank Girl is coming to 3A. I’d love a Hewlett designed 1:6 comic style Tank Girl…
• Cold Space is a new comic book series co-written by Samuel L Jackson and Eric Calderon drawn by Jeremy Rock, published by Boom! Jackson & Calderon worked together on Afro Samurai.
• Gareb Shamus is Vince McMahon-ing the comic con business, since the San Diego crew seem unwilling or unable to take it national. Wizard is launching a new Wizard World comics convention, in New Jersey. (what exit?). It will be October 15th-17th this year at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center (NJCEC), in Edison.
• Will Joseph Gordon-Levitt Be The New Spider-Man? It looks likely, esp in the wake of the Director announcement. So, if you weren’t already convinced that Sony fucked up ditching Raimi, this should do it. This guy must have a golden tongue (and I don’t mean fer talking with), because one of the top female execs at Sony has been looking for a franchise for him to take over and look what dropped in his lap. Ugh.
• AT&T may be losing it's iPhone exclusivity as early as Wednesday at Apple's media event. Jobs is calling the tablet “the most important thing he’s ever done.”
• Good Charlotte finished an album and have scrapped it – apparently it didn’t meet their high standards (!).
• Nikki Sixx has broken up with Kat Von D, giving hope to aging irrelevant rockers and aging pickled whores everywhere.
• Aerosmith begins auditioning singers soon.
• Gary Coleman arrested for domestic violence. If reports are true, he’s still a virgin, so I can see why he might beat his wife of many years.
• Sag Awards were essentially a re-run of the Golden Globes.
• Throwing Muses recording new album with “Donations” from fans. Time to hang it up.
• Fox beat out Lion’s Gate and Paramount in bidding war for domestic rights to Robert Rodriguez’ “Machete” – spin-off of Grindhouse trailer. Film is already completed.
• LA Johnson, director who worked closely with Neil Young has died.
• MAKE IT STOP!: Jane’s Addiction recording new material. Just stay broken up, please. Thanks.
• Roman Polanski ordered to return to US for trial. Looking forward to the testimony about how he drugged and ass-raped a minor.
• Avatar #2 film of all time in USA, proving people are stupid.
• Gremlins 3 is in the works; might be 3-D.
• Planet of the Apes re-re-boot happening, now called “Ceaser” and a new take on “Conquest”.
• John Edwards (after finally admitting he is the father of his mistresses child) is getting self-kicked in the crotch again, this time by a sex tape he made with his baby-mama, which was discovered by the former aide who not only tried to cover up the affair because he believed in Edwards, but who now is probably the one leaking it in advance of his own tell-all book, the Politician, which comes out in early Feb. Andrew Young (the author and ex-Aide) will be on 20/20 Friday to promote the book.
• Damages starts season 3 tonight – a major character is supposed to die in the first episode. Remind your mom.
• The cast of Jersey Shore is holding out for more money for season two from MTV. Wow. Can’t they find more semi-literate Ugnaut whores that’ll suck anything? Snooki must have a few sisters, probably some she hasn’t even met yet!
• David Bowie is dumping out another live album tomorrow, in hopes of keeping up with those bond payments. He’s also reissuing his debut album as a 2CD set, but only in the UK.
• Also in stores, the only two albums by the Other Two, the husband/wife team from New Order that didn’t start Revenge or make records with the Pet Shop Boys after New Order broke up the first time. These are less than marginally interesting records, avoid.
• Another Fozzy album comes out, too. Yikes! Did Michael Alago get another A&R job that allows him to hang out with shirtless rock boys?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

You think you have a decent retro toy colletion?

You don't.

Compared to this at least. The organization alone is worth praise.

This is where I want to be buried when I die.

BitterNews Roundup for Weekend of January 22-24, 2010

• Conan (the Barbarian, not O’Brien) has been cast. It’s Jason Momoa, some greasy stud from Stargate – which is at least a bit more accurate to the character than a right wing Austrian.
• Lots of hubbub over stupid speculative article about Paul Levitz’ replacement at DC, proving a lot of indie comic nerds are more fruity for the big two than they would admit at Mocca gatherings in Brooklyn.
• Next Friday (Jan 27th) is release date for the new 3A 1:6 World War Robot release from Ashley Wood. Look for Dropcloth to be available in many versions. It’s not clear yet from the 3A news as to how many and in what configs they will be sold, but right now it looks like singles (some packed with a bonus exclusive square) a 4 pack and perhaps an 8!!! Pack. As these are $130 each for singles, hard to guess at what an 8 pack will cost. Also there appear to be Nightwatch & Daywatch versions coming (this is typical for Wood) which may or may not be random or part of a multipack only.
• Today’s picture is Lt Uhura’s nipples. You are welcome.
• Flint is the next 1:6 Joe from Sideshow. Let me guess, it’ll blow and be overpriced?
• Avatar is still not as good as you think it is.
• Touma is doing Alien and Predator super-deformed vinyls. Both look great and much nicer than previous Medicom attempts.
• The new KISS Medicom dolls are as nice as any recent Hot Toys figure. Hopefully this is the sign of a new start for Medicom who were veering into Sideshow territory with their recent releases.
• Everyone has a beard now. Everyone is stupid.
• 21st Century Toys, who helped spearhead a renewed interest in 1:6 Military figures in the US (and also did the Misfits figures) before going bankrupt, are now coming back as Go ???. It is not known if they are doing more 1:6 or if they are abandoning the scale in favor of 1:18, which they successfully sold to Wal-mart, K-mart, TRU and K-Mart before they screwed the pooch the first time. Good luck, guys!
• The trailer for “Diary of A Wimpy Kid” is online.
• The Gorillaz, fake cartoon band co-created by Martin Hewlett of Tank Girl fame are back with a new album, surprisingly on EMI, who have done much to alienate singer Damon Albarn (also of Blur fame). That Blur have reformed and may have a new album in the works (their first in many years, and featuring the return of guitarist Graham Coxon) – is the Gorillaz album a deal-ender to get Albarn free of the poisonous EMI? Blur are huge everywhere around the world except the USA.
• Some of the stuff I am selling on eBay is overpriced.
• Pee-Wee Herman appeared on 2nd to last Conan episode – slightly frightening, yet eerily similar to his 80’s heyday.
• Peter Gabriel is looking for a new label situation in the USA. Catalog and Real World included – no wonder there hasn’t been a deal yet.
• Haitians get 58 Million from Clooney & pals show – more money to be generated by downloads of largely evil performances from show.
• Gerald McCabe, founder of one of THE greatest Los Angeles venues, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, has died.
• Here are your Tuesday new album releases: Animal Collective - Campirefire Songs, Corrine Bailey-Rae – The Sea, Beach House - Teen Dream, Jason Castro - Jason Castro, Citay - Get Together, Evacuate Chicago – Veracity. Joe Firstman - El Porto, FredriK- Trilogi, Four Tet - There Is Love In You, Charlotte Gainsbourg – Irm, Gorevette - Lustfully Yours [EP], Lady Antebellum - Need You Now, Locksley - Be In Love, Jennifer Lopez - Love?, Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring, The Magnetic Fields – Realism,
Never Shout Never - What Is Love?, Patrick & Eugene - Altogether Now (Birds Bees Flowers Trees), The Silent League - ...But You've Always Been The Caretaker, Three 6 Mafia - Laws Of Power. Not sure what is scarier; all the beard rock or the J-Lo album.
• As we move to a lease-based entertainment society, DVD sales are so down that Best Buy and Papa Johns are offering a free pizza with purchase of select titles this week. Is that smell melting cheese or desperation?
• Quincy Jones is going to remake “We Are The World” for Haiti. Not everyone from the original lineup will be participating, like Kim Carnes and Michael Jackson, albeit for different reasons.
• Prince’s new theme song for the Minnesota Vikings Football team is so gay that a greased gerbil in leather on Christopher Street called it gay.
• Wilco is giving away free live shows on it’s website, with the understanding that you’ll donate money to Haiti charities if you partake. I donated the money in the name of never having to hear their boring new stuff any more.
• Latest Apple Tablet rumors – has front facing camera for video chat, still no carrier determined for what is assumed to be a cloud based machine that will always be connected to the internet via the 1 Billion dollar data center Apple is building near Atlanta. We’ll know more Wednesday.
• Speaking of Wednesday, Captain America Reborn #6 is coming out this week, so you can find out why Cap is in all those books you’ve been reading for the last few weeks since this was SO LATE!! Just another reason to kill these multi-book storylines.
• Chris Morris, one of the most interesting (if not consistent) British comedy provocateurs has a new project about a group of terrorists planning an attack. This is a comedy piece and promises to skewer these idiots with the same delicious wit as Morris has used to pop various other douchebags in the past.
• Powers TV series has a script and director. I haven’t heard of either.
• Jay Mohr is filming a new Clint Eastwood / Matt Damon film.
• Based on Adjusted gross (inflation, etc), Gone With The Wind is still no 1 film. Avatar is #36. And a piece of shit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Too Far Sideshow

So no fanboy who is married would dare display this much less want to justify the purchase.

No fanboy who lives with his mother still or hopes to one day bring a girl home could put this on the shelf and justify it in front of 'em.

And any fanboy who has neither really isn't likely to have the money to spare...

sooooo what kind of fanboy would you think that leaves who would be more than excited to drop $200+ and stare at or handle this "bust" in his man cave all day and night?

Yes, THAT kind exactly. And you wonder why geeks have such a bad rep.

Oh, and she sold out the first day.

BitterNews Roundup for January 21st, 2010

• Conan (O’Brien, not the Barbarian) & staff get $42 million for sitting it out until only September 1st (???) when they will return on Fox at 11 and crush Leno once and for all. Nice one. Oh, and Tonight Show ratings up 50%. Leno show – not so much…
• Heidi McDonald’s Beat was down most of today, back up now.
• Hurt Locker not as good as film awards & critics think it is. My capsule review: War is scary. Defusing bombs makes you tense. If you go to war, you’ll meet a lot of people you wouldn’t have otherwise and some of them will handle their circumstances better than others. I just saved you two hours of your life.
• Opening Friday: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the Tooth Fairy, Indiana Solo in Extraordinary Measures (looking OLD dude), and our “least of many evils” pick, Legion, which gets the pick because of the old lady that crawls on the roof like Spiderman while rotating her head like Reagan in the Exorcist. The rest of it probably sucks.
• Sideshow admits they fucked up Firefly and are now looking to fix it. Sold out anyway. They also state that their intention is to make the Joes “real life” versions of their RAH counterparts, which frankly seems stupid to me when that whole license you paid for is really the sales driver. And is Cobra Commander based in any reality? Snake-Eyes’ mask? Just saying.
• Avatar is still not as good as you think it is.
• New DVD releases for Tuesday: Surrogates with Die Hard, Saw 87 with no one, Michael Jackson: I Can’t Sleep Doctor, Whip It (maybe the worst Drew Barrymore movie EVER – can your mind handle it??), and our pick, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell – because we didn’t see it and it’s supposed to be really offensive.
• Thor movie started filming this week.
• New DC Direct To Video animated feature will suck like all have (except New Frontier).
• Kick-ass #8 next week. Previews up online.
• Air America shuts down – thanks Scott Brown.
• Robot Chicken picked up for two more seasons. Still won’t make Seth Green any taller or less insecure.
• Pee-Wee Herman show is back – live only in LA, but with much of the TV cast!
• Lady GaGa is losing money touring. Great.
• Sundance is underway.
• “Red” film based on comic book drawn by Cully Hamner is shooting with Bruce Willis.
• Kanye West not invited to Clooney’s Haiti benefit. Quel Surprise’.
• Wall Street doesn’t like fiscal responsibility. Dow drops 200pts.
• New Runaways clip is online.
• Scott Pilgrim test screenings get great reports.
• Brian Eno compares record sales to whale blubber. Got analogy while looking in mirror.
• Apple tablet update: looks like flattened iPhone and will have two dock connectors
• Artie Lange spoke briefly to Howard Stern on air yesterday.
• After the “Fall of the Hulks” storyline, look for a mini-run called “Hulked Out Heroes” where other Marvel characters become Hulk-like creatures.
• The Four Horsemen (sculptors of DCU line) have issued some bullshit about why Darkseid sculpt is the size it is. Who cares?
• According to her husband, Brittany Murphy died of a broken heart because she wasn’t hired for Happy Feet 2. He’s not on drugs much.
• Rhianna’s new boyfriend beat his ex. STEEERIKE TWO!
• Drea De Matteo from the Sopranos has an AC/DC logo tattooed right over her cooch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BitterNews Roundup for January 20th 2010

• New MacGruber trailer online. Since this SNL skit is only funny by virtue of the fact that it’s still on the air, don’t expect it to be funny over 90mins.
• “500 Days of Summer” director confirmed as new Spidey director. Will be emo-y piece of shit and we’ll look back fondly at Toby’s stupid “evil” haircut in SPM 3.
• Next George Romero “Dead” film has release date – SPRING. What does that mean? Will be VOD before theatrical, so I won’t have to sit in theatre with idiots. Thank you!
• In other “Dead” news, Walking Dead pilot has greenlight - hope it rocks.
• Amanda Bynes is nearly nude in Maxim.
• New Secret Wars 2-packs are showing up in stores and online – at least there are some new figures (Thor, Enchantress) in these sets, although they still have huge heads and short limbs.
• Axel Alonso, Steve Wacker & Tom Brevoort promoted to VPs at Marvel.
• Rob Liefeld set to end Deadpool’s wave of popularity by returning to book.
• Republicans sell lies better than democrats.
• Vampire Weekend has #1 album this week. Paul Simon pissed.
• Heidi Montag lies about nearly dying during umpteen millionth boob enlarging surgery, according to doc. Her album, which reportedly cost 1-2 million of her own money sold less than 1000 copies in first week.
• Twilight manga will have print run of 350K!
• Skeletor returns to on Jan 27th
• Sideshow shipping Hot Toys Mars Attacks figures soon. Medicom KISS and Hot Toys Silk Spectre hitting homes this week.
• Apple to debut Tablet next week?
• John Mayer interview in Rolling Stone confirms he is massive tool that beats off.
• My Chemical Romance has finished the follow-up to Black Parade; no title yet, but two songs are "Black Dragon Fighting Society" and "Light Behind Your Eyes." Band supposedly playing small clubs before moving show to stadiums, etc.
• New DC Direct offerings confirm they are bankrupt of ideas for merch people will buy. How long will they last under scrutiny of new overseers?
• Sideshow offering 18” Premium Format Gambit this week. Like anyone wants that.
• Hot Toys Inglourious Basterds Aldo headsculpt revealed. Nice likeness, but dumbfounded expression is a fail. The boards agree.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Spider-Man 4, Raimi and Toby gone for good.


It's funny how this news is "rocking" the entertainment industry and the geek realm of the internet this week.

C'mon. Spider-Man 1 and 2 were great but this same crew made the third outting for the web-slinger so god-awful and unwatchable it's like they purposfully hatched a scorched earth plan with the franchise while making it.

Toby clearly wanted to wear the mask less and less as each film passed by and the character of Mary Jane had been ruined on screen for eternity when Kristen Dunst sang in #3.

The other problem both the film and nerd worlds needs to face is how difficult casting has become for any comic film post Dark Knight. Heath Ledger had raised the bar so high after his spellbinding protrayal of the Joker that any actor that gives you anything less can only be perceived as phoning in old school, '60s TV Batman camp. Go back and watch Topher Grace portray Venom now.

Speaking of the villains, the word was that Raimi was steadfast in his demand that the main baddie in Spidey 4 would be the Vulture. The fucking old, decrepid Vulture when he had a universe of bad guys and gals to choose from. While Hasbro toys has to be pissed that this now ruins thier finacial plans for 2011 with this setback, they have to at least be relieved they don't have to figure out how to sell multiple versions of one of Spidey's lamest enemies to 8 year olds.

For the money at stake Sony made the right call. They were going to have to pony up way too much to the original cast and crew for number four when the odds were that at best, it couldn't possibly live up to at least the first two films or worse, be as bad or even more of a train wreck than the third film. They may as well start over with a younger, cheaper and hungier cast and director.

Be seeing you guys! We'll always remember how you raised the bar for Super-Hero films early on. But like most Hollywood was great in the begining but ended poorly. Time to chase younger tail.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

DC Universe Classics 11 & Flight Stand Review

While still in the process of writing 2000 other pieces, two DCU 11 sets arrived today and I wanted address this new wave quickly.

I’m not going to litter this piece with pictures – with a simple Google search you can find plenty of pictures better than anything I can be bothered to take. The one picture here is meant to illustrate the lameness of both the figure and “flight” stand.

After 10 previous waves and many box sets, lots of the same problems that have plagued this line since day one are still present:

1) the ball-jointed neck that doesn’t look up or down
2) the generic nature of the sculpts
3) the blocky ankles that make the flight poses look awkward because the lines of the body don’t look natural.
4) ill-advised love affair with Super Powers
5) Stupid T-crotch
6) Ugly & obvious thigh cut
7) It's called ENGINEERING

Hopefully the shifting of ToyGuru to the GL movie line will result in a fresh set of eyes that will save DCUC from extinction and rectify the stupid shit ToyGuru has failed to fix over the past few years. For example, this wave is not exactly packed with A-listers. Here’s what you get:

Katma Tui: Both of mine have paint issues as does John Stewart. Oddly, the issue is on pieces that are molded in solid green plastic but are both painted solid black – which is not only a waste of paint, but also an unneeded application. The female body sucks. The arms are too spindly. In this case the head is also huge, which adds to the disproportionate look of the figure overall. By the way, FIRST TIME IN SIX INCH!!!!!! "Oh mommy, can I get it? This character I've never heard of has finally been made as a six-inch figure!! The power of lazy meaningless marketing compels me!"

John Stewart: Yawn, although the accessories (detachable Lantern fist & gun) are nice, especially as there are hardly any accessories in this line (another issue that should be fixed). Same paint issues as Katma.

Steppenwolf: There are two versions, the comic version and the Super Powers version. Again, a D-lister. Execution is fine, but they will rot on shelves. No one under 40 knows either version. Even in the 80’s Kenner knew this character needed to be a mail-order figure. Twenty + years later, neither new version comes with a C&C piece – the lack of which would normally make him the least desirable figure in the Wave, but ToyGuru has dug deep and found a less appealing character. Who is less sellable than Stepenwolf? Welcome…..

Shark: Hello peg-warmer! This ugly execution of an interesting character design is completely ruined by the connection of the head to the neck. Also, kids don't buy characters in shiny pink jumpsuits. If you can’t execute properly, why bother with this D-lister? Please note there are running changes with this figure including a cute “Bubbly-Bubble” and a revision to the paint job that eliminates the pupils.

The Question: This is the fan poll winner (according to the sticker on the package – as if that will drive sales in any way). Thin arms and a rubber overcoat restricts movement to such a degree that much of the articulation is compromised. Hands are sculpted to hold guns that aren't included. yay.

Deadman: Horrible headsculpt and once again, the thin, spindly body looks wrong. Thin, yes. Monkey arms, no. I thought they were going for classic looks in this line.

Cyborg Superman: Fine, but again, articulation is unnecessarily compromised.

Kilowog: Here’s your C&C figure; nice except there’s an issue with either the T-crotch being too large or the range of motion in the hip joints are too limited, but regardless of the cause, the legs & crotch don’t fit together well. This means that even with the side swivel ankle joints, Kilowog’s legs can’t move close enough together to get his feet flat on the ground, making this top-heavy figure ready to fall over if a gnat farts in the next room.

OVERALL: As usual the C&C fig is pretty good, although this one has a huge flaw that is impossible to overlook. The case ships with more Flash, Batman and Superman reissues. So the new figures are two marginal Lanterns (& one from second-tier), a Superman variant, and the others are basically unknown or unexciting to anyone except hardcore DC fans. This line is being brand managed out of existence.

And while I’m shitting on Mattel, you’ll notice the pic of Deadman in the “flight” stand. These were sold on the Matty website, at the outrageous price of $12 for three (!). I was surprised to see these are made from the same crappy plastic as your mom’s old Tupperware (she brought me a slice of apple pie in it after I did her in your old bedroom). It’s translucent, not clear, so the illusion of flight it’s supposed to simulate is lost. Also, as you can see, the stand isn’t very high, so in the case of Deadman, you can’t even have him hovering in the air, because his TOES TOUCH THE GROUND. It looks like he’s practicing ballet. And come to think of it, that’s the face I’d make if I had to walk around on my toes. So in case you were wondering where I’m going with this, these stands are overpriced, badly-conceived pieces of shit that should be avoided at all costs.

Best Toy Retailer of 2009 - TRU

Toys-R-Us has good reason to celebrate the 2009 Holiday shopping season. The company released their December 2009 financials today and despite difficult economic challenges in the marketplace, they had a very positive December.

WAYNE, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--January 07, 2010-- Today, Toys"R"Us, Inc., the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, announced its comparable store sales for the month of December and the 2009 holiday selling season.

For the month of December, the Toys"R"Us, Inc. Domestic division reported a comparable store sales increase of 4.6%, while the International division reported a comparable store sales increase of 1.1%.

"We are very pleased with our December results, which reflect the successful execution of our overall strategy for the holiday selling period," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "This strategy focused on our breadth of product assortment, including the hottest toys, a commitment to quality products, providing good value, and offering expert service. Our toy authority position was clear, as consumers turned to us in increasing numbers for their toy buying needs this holiday season."

We watched the marketing of the major retailers closely over the 2009 shopping season and could tell TRU had finally put a very solid game plan together to compete against the likes of Wal-Mart and Target. They had it all covered.

* Competitive pricing out of the gates starting in October linked with strong marketing that never let up with compelling circular and television ads.

* Strong inventory control, finally! This is where TRU had the most difficulty over its history and just had too much of everything. This year, they planned ahead by backing off on lines that are lower in demand while pumping up the sure fire brands such as Lego. TRU was the only major retailer left with decent Lego selection still on shelf late in December. Both Target and Wal-Mart were completely wiped out by then.

* Their buyers displayed insight early when they were the only major retailer that bought into the Zhu Zhu Pets toy line. They then artfully capitalized on it all season with free press as it turned into 2009's hottest toy of the Holiday season. All other retailers played "follow the leader" on this one.

* Video Games, Video Games, Video Games. This is the gift leader that puts traffic in your store in November and December and TRU had some of the best video game deals every single week of the season. Practically every kid out there has some sort of game console (or wants one) and develops a game or accessory want list for Christmas. This is one retailer that knows how to capitalize on this need.

* TRU took a risk and aggressively expanded by opening roughly 80 temporary pop-up holiday stores in shopping malls and about 260 temporary toy stores within Babies-R-Us locations nationwide.

As a hardcore toy guy, I'm very happy for TRU and extremely pleased to see they pulled it off. This is a retailer that has struggled from time to time over the years and made very bad decisions that nearly closed its doors at one point. They have made quite a strong comeback over the past two years. Thanks in part to the leadership of Jerry Storch (A former Target leader).

Of course they still have some work to do with managing their inventory and the buyers need to be better at recognizing when to bail out of poorly selling licenses (Star Trek and Hulk come to mind). But it's absolutely vital to the health and diversity of the toy industry that the world's largest toy retailer remain strong and can compete against the big two. You can imagine how bad it would be for an entire industry if it had to shrink down its offerings to fit into a handful of aisles at a Wal-Mart, Target or even a K-Mart.

We can imagine some serious celebrating going on in Wayne NJ this week. Much deserved.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mattel's Matty Mego Misfire

Straight from, I received the first in a new line by Matty and company: The 1970s Mego 8" Super-Hero knock off, the Green Arrow. Or 'Retro-Action Super Heroes' as they calls 'em now. Mattel's Toyguru and his DC Universe team were oh-so-proud of launching this retro knock off when the line was unveiled during the 2009 San Diego Comic-con.

We should have known better...this launch is the next in an ever growing list of mis-fires by this incompetent group. Oh, we know now that Toyguru has moved on within the ranks of Mattel and he will no longer be mis-managing the the DCU brand but as this figure shows, his legacy will linger on at least until 2011.

It's not so much the figure itself we dislike. As usual for this group it comes down to shitty execution. Look, the retro idea seems ok for what it is but both Toy Biz and Hasbro (Twice) have played with this retro Mego idea. Twice in the 1990s ('Famous Covers' for TB and 'DC Super Stars' for H) and once in the past decade (Spider-Man Origins). Every time, no matter how they were produced or marketed, these lines just could not connect with today's collectors. Eight inch male dolls with cloth outfits just don't work anymore. Not even on some small scale collector level. Period. The only potential collectors of Mego are well over the age of 40 at this point. If they really want to have a Mego figure in their collection, they generally have the income to go buy originals. The originals are, of course, quite pricey at this point but that only adds to the desire to own vintage toys from one's own childhood. It's a simple proven fact that any major toy company that attempts to cultivate a new collector line based upon ideas in the Mego-like realm is in for major disappointment.

So here we are with Toyguru's dream of remaking the World's Greatest Super-Heroes. And here's the big launch with DC Comic's Green Arrow on a blister card that is also supposed to be a reproduction of the kind of packaging the originals were sold within. So imagine my shock when I see how piss-poor the packaging quality of the actual sample turned out. The card itself is flimsy and warped within the outer white box package. Great. Thanks for selling a warped collector toy on a collector retail site to a collector. We love that.

The real shock here is the absolute shoddy printing across the front and back of this blister card. The colors bleed into one another and it's all blotchy. For fuck's sake, no one proofed the final packaging? A team of brand managers and artists working at one of the world's major toy companies couldn't see this or correct before it went into production and shipped all the way over from China? Inexcusable. And don't try to tell us it's fucked up on purpose and is in keeping with some retro/vintage, shelf worn look they were actually striving for. I've bought and sold plenty of the real thing before. Hell, the other Bittergeek on this blog has a collection of the real deal and be hard pressed to find any in his carded Mego collection that look anywhere close to this shitty.

What a crappy launch. My first and last purchase of Mattel's Retro Hero line. Can't wait until Matty starts begging in posts online for collectors to purchase more and support the line.

We'll let the photos take over now and speak for themselves. Click for a closer look. I gotta go dump this turd on ebay before others figure it out.