Episode 325: Summer Movie Preview 2017

Is it true? Can it be? Are Blake and Erin back on the microphone, talking about the big summer movie releases for 2017? Join us as we walk through the next few months at the cinema, as well as explain where they’ve been for so long.

And what’s cool this week? Erin is still in the midst of a Dark Tower re-read, and Blake throws his support behind the relaunch of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the Batman/Flash crossover The Button!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 325: Summer Movie Preview 2017

Three Wishes: LEGO Dream Sets

Welcome to Three Wishes, one of several new semi-regular features I intend to start putting in rotation here at AllNewShowcase.com. In Three Wishes, I’m going to choose a theme and then give a list of three things I’d like to see happen – products made, TV shows or movies produced, comic book dream teams, whatever. And I’m going to start with both one of my oldest and one of my newest obsessions: LEGO.

LEGOs

Like most of you reading this, I loved LEGO as a child. And, like most of you reading this, as I got older I wound up putting it aside in favor of other pursuits. In recent years, though, I’ve drifted back. There’s something about building a LEGO model that’s very cathartic. I think it scratches the same itch as those “adult coloring books” that are so popular now – it allows you to do something creative while at the same time (if you’re following instructions) not requiring you to put any really heavy mental effort into it. Plus, it’s just fun to watch a miniature version of something awesome come together through the effort of your own two hands.

I’m old enough that, when my halcyon days of LEGO ended, they had not yet started branching out beyond their own themes to licensed properties. In fact, many credit the licenses for taking LEGO from the brink of death to being the largest company in the world that specializes in only one kind of toy. They first began by licensing Star Wars and Harry Potter, and have spread out to licenses as diverse as Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Scooby-Doo, The Simpsons, and Doctor Who. What’s more, with the LEGO Ideas program, anybody can design a LEGO model and submit it for consideration to be possibly manufactured as a LEGO set. So that in mind, any one of the sets I’m about to propose could theoretically be made real, if a talented designer submitted it. Sadly, I’m not that person. I’ve got no skill for design. I’m just a builder and a fan. Here, in no particular order, are the three sets I would most like to see created, if money and licensing issues were no factor.

DC Special Series 26Wish #1: Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

LEGO has set a precedent for huge builds with their 3800-piece Death Star and 4600-piece Ghostbuster Firehouse. With the recent announcement of a gargantuan Batman ’66 Batcave, Superman’s Fortress seems the next logical step.

But which version, then, should it be? The Fortress has gone through many, many incarnations, from the original Earth-2 mountaintop retreat to the Silver Age arctic classic with the giant yellow key. Neither of those would be particularly challenging to build, however, so I propose the exterior be based on the crystalline look that originated in the 1978 Superman: The Movie, and which has informed many of the redesigns since then. It would look amazing, but with the crystals all at strange angles, it would take some clever engineering to make real. Ah heck. Throw in the giant key anyway.

Fortress Mortal KombatInside, we need all the best parts of the Fortress from the assorted varieties: the crystal control panel, the statues of Jor-El and Lara, and the cosmic zoo (complete with a few alien animals, like the metal-eater). But a LEGO set isn’t just about construction, it’s also about playability. We need some characters. Superman, of course, should be included, as well as the Fortress’s other part-time resident, Supergirl. We could also include Lois Lane in arctic gear, a Superman robot or two, and Kal-El’s robotic valet, Kelex. And you can’t have a superhero playset without villains, can you? Coincidentally, the two best battles ever to take place in the Fortress both come from stories by Alan Moore. I would throw in Brainiac and Lex Luthor from “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” (bonus points if they can make the figures combine), and a maxifigure of Mongul with the Black Mercy flower from “For the Man Who Has Everything.” Alan Moore would probably despite seeing a toy set inspired by his stories, which of course is the best argument to release it.

Money BinWish #2: Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin

Although LEGO has had many Disney Licenses (including the Marvel Super-Heroes, Star Wars, the Lone Ranger, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Disney Princesses), as far as I know the classic Disney characters have never appeared in LEGO form, although I think a few of them have adorned LEGO’s line for younger builders, DUPLO. With a new DuckTales cartoon scheduled to premiere next year, it’s time for that to change. Although the mass-market version of Scrooge’s iconic money bin couldn’t be as detailed as the fan-made version that turned up online some time ago, there’s still plenty of room for play. Scrooge’s office should be a segment, along with a display for his number-one dime, as well as his famous worry room. The exterior should have a variety of hidden traps (which would be particularly fun to build) to ward off thieves. And of course, there’s the money vault itself: a large open section with a diving board and a bag of loose gold-colored one-peg flat pieces to pour in the center so that Scrooge can dive in and swim around.

Money Bin InteriorSpeaking of Scrooge, he wouldn’t be alone in minifig land. He’d be accompanied by his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as well as his ward Webigail. (Look, I know she’s not everyone’s favorite character, but there just weren’t enough females on that show, and we need her.) For villains, we’d have Ma Beagle and her Beagle Boys attempting to break in.

I’ll cheat a little on this wish and say that I’d love to see this expand to an entire line of DuckTales LEGO sets: Gyro Gearloose’s shop with Gyro, his helper, and whatever apocalyptic invention he’s whipping up that week; ace pilot Launchpad McQuack and his plane; and a Battle For Duckburg set with villains Flintheart Glomgold and Magica DeSpell vs. Scrooge’s accountant Fenton Crackshell and his buildable Gizmoduck armor.

Water TowerWish #3: The Warner Brothers’ (and the Warner Sister) Water Tower

If you don’t know that I loved the 90s cartoon show Animaniacs, you don’t really know me all that well. Perhaps the best animated series of the last two decades, I want to see a Water Tower set complete with Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Although he’s not really an enemy, we also need Ralph the Guard trying to catch them, along with Dr. Scratchansniff and Hello Nurse. It would be easy to throw cameo Animaniacs characters in too – perch some Goodfeathers on the side of the tower, have Rita and Runt roaming on the ground, and so on.

But a Water Tower seems like a kind of simple, almost boring build. That ends when you open it up, to find one of the most ridiculously complicated LEGO builds ever to branch out from the Technic line. Inside the tower we’d find one of Wakko’s insane Rube Goldberg-style devices, with one feature activating the next over and over until it finally triggers a comically underblown finale, as in the episode where he did exactly that simply to make a fart noise with a whoopee cushion. Ah Wakko, you genius.

Some may notice that I neglected to mention two of the most popular characters from Animaniacs in this wish. I didn’t forget, guys. But come on – Pinky and the Brain and ACME Labs deserve their own separate build.

That’s it for Three Wishes. Please feel free to chime in with your own ideas for dream LEGO sets, or to suggest topics for future Three Wishes installments!

Episode 316: San Diego 2015-We Weren’t There Either

Last weekend was the annual bacchanalia of nerddom known as Comic-Con International: San Diego. And just like every year, Blake and Erin… weren’t there. Instead, with the help of Showcasers on the Facebook Page, they spent the week gathering the coolest and most interesting info from the con to discuss on this week’s show. Their thoughts on the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. New directors announced for Star Wars. The return of some classic comics and the launch of some new ones. This week, we go through it all…

And what’s cool this week? Erin enjoyed the first two issues of Starfire, and Blake gives his endorsement to Archie #1 and Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2.

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 316: San Diego 2015-We Weren’t There Either

LEGO Dimensions and the power of scale

I was one of those kids whose action figures always wound up in the same adventure. Some kids would never let He-Man encounter G.I. Joe or the TransFormers to clash with the Go-Bots. I, on the other hand, constructed a massive battle consisting of every toy I owned that took place over the span of about four years. In fact, it’s entirely possible that there are still some minor skirmishes taking place in secluded corners of my parents’ garage. But being the nerd that I am, it always bothered me that the figures weren’t in scale with one another. I had to come up with ridiculous excuses for why Lion-O and the Thundercats were so much bigger than Luke Skywalker, or why Duke couldn’t climb aboard Optimus Prime and ride him into battle as God so clearly intended.

I’m a weird kind of nerd. I love mixing things together. It’s why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so awesome to me, why I actually bought Archie Meets the Punisher when it came out, and why I have far-too-clear memories of that episode of Full House that guest-starred Urkel. I believe firmly that there’s a place for virtually everything in the realms of imagination, and that they can all coexist. And popular fiction bears it out — there’s no reason a horror-rooted character like Swamp Thing can’t encounter the high science fiction of Green Lantern or the fantasy world of Amethyst, and one of the things that makes Doctor Who such a long-lasting property is how quickly it can shift from a comedy to a thriller to a war movie, sometimes in the course of a single episode.

Funkos

There are eleven more in the house that aren’t in this picture. There are millions more that must be mine.

That’s why I like toy lines with a uniform scale that bring in characters from different worlds — Mini-Mates, Pop Vinyl, and ReAction figures among them. Looking at the shelves in my home right now I see versions of Superman, Harley Quinn, Mickey Mouse, the Incredibles, Yoda, the Avengers, Howard the Duck, Ender Wiggin, and Sam from Trick ‘R Treat, and they all match. In truth, it’s only due in small part to common sense and large part to my wife that I haven’t bought mountains of these things and filled every available space in the house.

And when it comes to toy lines that allow you to mix and match characters from all over the landscape in scale, nothing can beat LEGO.

I limit myself from getting TOO MANY, not from getting any at all.

I limit myself from getting TOO MANY, not from getting any at all.

Now let’s be clear — LEGO was already pretty awesome to begin with. But when they began licensing official Star Wars playsets in 1999, they launched themselves into the stratosphere. Their licensees grew over the years, and now it is entirely possible to have Harry Potter and Gandalf on the Millenium Falcon, Superman and Captain America teaming up with the Ninja Turtles to save the Simpsons from an attack of the Indominous Rex, and a fender-bender between Doc Brown’s DeLorean and the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1. Like the Pop Vinyls, I have to limit myself from buying more and more of these things every time I go to the store.

Oddly, as much as I’ve always loved toys, I’ve never been much of a video game guy. I’m at exactly the right age to be a veteran of the Nintendo Wars, but I haven’t had a console since the Sega Genesis my parents gave my brother, sister and me when I was in middle school. And while there have been games that cropped up from time to time that interested me (including several LEGO games) I’ve found that any time I get a game I play it for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then I drift away from it as other things command my attention.

The first game that’s actually tempted me to get a console in years is Disney Infinity. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, but just in case, here’s the appeal: Disney releases a game that requires you to buy different figurines. Each figurine allows you to unlock different levels and in-game items specific to that character. If I’d given in to the first wave, it would have been entirely possible to have Mike and Sully or Anna and Elsa meet up with Sorcerer Mickey or Phineas and Ferb. (Disney also made a major push for The Lone Ranger in this first wave, which no doubt they quickly grew to regret. But I digress.)

Despite the obvious appeal to a nerd like me, I held off. It got harder when Disney Infinity 2.0 came out and added the Marvel characters. It will get harder still when this fall’s Disney Infinity 3.0 throws Star Wars into the mix. If Disney Infinity 4.0 finally gives us the Muppets, I may just break.

That is, if LEGO Dimensions doesn’t break me first.

By now, I assume you’ve all seen the latest trailer. If not, allow me to share it with you:

Yep. LEGO is doing their own figure-based video game, which will allow us to merge the worlds of Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Simpsons and DC Comics. Other properties that have been announced but not seen in the trailer include Portal, The Wizard of Oz, Jurassic World, Scooby-Doo and Ghostbusters. As far as their big licenses go, the only ones missing are Marvel and Star Wars, and that’s pretty much because they’re already tied up in the too-similar Disney Infinity.

What’s more, the figures for this game will include actual LEGO Minifigs, as well as mini-builds for vehicles and locations, like the Delorean or the TARDIS. This game is combining pretty much everything I love.
And yet… still… $400 to buy a console for just one game?

Even if it’s really a lot of games?

I must resist. I must.

If I can handle this, I can beat anything.

Episode 314: Free Comic Book Day 2015

Free Comic Book Day rolls around once again, and once again Blake and Kenny — joined for the first time by Erin — man a table at BSI Comics in Metairie. This time around the gang chats about recent events in the Flash and Gotham TV shows, give their thoughts on Divergence, All New All Different Avengers, Fight Club, Dark Circle and the other Free Comic Book Day titles, and then come back with a review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

And what’s cool this week? Kenny is having a blast with LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Erin is totally biased and chooses her husband’s new book Everything You Need to Know to Survive English Class but slightly less biased with a viewing of the classic Akira, and Blake is still reeling from Batman #40.

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 314: Free Comic Book Day 2015

One Shot #17: How to Shop For Your Geek

It’s time to start your Christmas shopping, and this week, Blake is here to give you guys a few tips. How do you shop for a geek? Where do you look? And what kind of cool goodies are out there this year?

And what’s cool this week? Blake is enjoying the hell out of DC’s LEGO variant covers, and from a story standpoint, is surprisingly into Spider-Verse.

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 310: Six Years of Super Cinema

A few weeks ago, Warner Bros announced their slate of planned DC Comics movies through 2020. Not to be outdone, Marvel hit us with Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a few days later. With Sony and Fox joining the fray with their licenses, there are over three dozen superhero movies in the works that we know of. This week, the Showcasers talk about the movies that have been announced — which ones are we excited for? Which ones have us a bit concerned? And which ones will surprise us if the cameras ever actually roll?

And what’s cool this week? Kenny is into the Constantine TV show, Erin is making her way through Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles, and Blake gives props to Rocket Raccoon #5 and Tooth & Claw #1.

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.