Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

SPOTTED: Starscream in Top Gun!

Remember that “X-E Dissects” series on the old site, where we visited fictitious locales like Fred Savage’s bedroom and the wacky store from The Facts of Life, searching for real life retail goodies?

It was one of the last things I was totally into doing on X-E, and I have every intention of continuing that series on Dino Drac.

Course, there are plenty of fun things hiding in movies and TV shows that don’t necessarily warrant a complete dissection. So let’s consider this a spinoff of that, on a smaller scale.

It even has its own banner:

Pro, right?

What this is: Sometimes, you’ll be watching a film or a show, and some random character will have some random brand name item from real life. Because familiarity is such a rockin’ thrill, whenever this happens, you flip.

“Oh my God, that guy is drinking Apple Slice. I remember Apple Slice. I drank Apple Slice!”

SPOTTED (the exclamation point is optional) pays tribute to those happy moments, whenever and wherever they’re found.

In an unexpected twist, we’re gonna start with the Starscream action figure, from the G1 Transformers line.

That’s Starscream, next to a onion. He’s missing his wings, fists and a bunch of other pieces, and he looks like dogs have been chewing him, but make no mistake, that is Starscream.

Even in their ‘80s heyday, the G1 Decepticon jets seemed more for collectors than kids, with so many of the critical parts being so easy to lose. Many of the early Transformers toys were that way, and if we’re reaching, they inadvertently taught us important life lessons about patience and responsibility.

No kid wanted to spend all afternoon crying because Starscream had no hands, or because Optimus couldn’t find Roller. If you didn’t take care of that shit, there were consequences.

I’m getting away from the point, so let me run back to it. Envision loud footsteps here.

Starscream didn’t only appear in Transformers-related things, and in photos next to onions.

He was also in Top Gun! Read More…

Ten things I wanted to buy at Monster-Mania.

We dropped by the Monster-Mania horror convention in Cherry Hill last night, pretty much on a whim. Wasn’t planning to stay over, and with the last remaining rooms being $179 a night, I’m glad we didn’t.

I haven’t been to the New Jersey version of the con in years. This visit was confirmation that I like their Maryland-based conventions better. It’s a longer drive, but the Maryland hotel is much weirder/cooler/more fitting, not to mention roomier.  Perhaps I should’ve opened this paragraph with the phrase, “dear diary.”

Monster-Mania has grown wildly popular. Even on Friday night, when the convention was just getting started, the crowds were enormous.  Especially impressive when you consider that the original autographing headliner, Clive Barker, had to cancel. I refuse to believe that so many people came out for Carl Weathers. At this stage, Monster-Mania seems to be making its way on name alone. Good for them!

I’m not a convention guy by any stretch, but these just have such a friendly atmosphere, and despite the crowds, you never really feel as though you’re among the cattle. While you’d be silly to go to one if you’re not at all into horror movies, that theme is widely defined. So long as you can stand the sight of Freddy Krueger, there’s something for everyone.

I won’t bother with a full con report, because I wasn’t there for the whole con. Nor did I give the autograph rooms more than a passing glance, because after paying the guy from Gremlins to draw me a jack o’ lantern last year, there was nowhere to go but down.

Not fronting. The only reason I went there was for the dealer rooms. Yes, $50 in admission costs for me and the missus, just so I could buy things.

I had Dino Drac’s first Halloween season on the brain. The mission was to find a few things worth covering whenever those festivities end up starting. I think I made out okay, but what I left behind will haunt me for weeks. I didn’t want to be an idiot with my money, but man, there were some great things there. I thought about them the whole ride home. Even took pictures, because those are the mementos I don’t have to feel guilty about.

With that, here are ten things I kinda sorta wanted to buy at Monster-Mania, but didn’t. Read More…

Marshmallows From Outer Space!

I wanted to create something out of marshmallows, so I asked the folks on Dino Drac’s Facebook page for suggestions.  There were plenty of good ideas, but this one stood out:

“A fluffy spaceship, obviously. With super interesting aliens who have a unique, snack-based culture.”

Thank you, Damon. You saved me from having to think for myself. This sounded like a wonderful way to kill a half hour, and it was.

Armed with marshmallows and markers, I made the best damn marshmallow spaceship that thirty minutes would allow. Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe I made some really ugly thing that would only resemble a spaceship if I begged you to say it did. You’re the judge and jury here, fuckers.

It’s the 7X-FGG212, a new model boasting top speeds with virtually no turbulence.  The perfect vessel for smooth interplanetary travel.

It may look like the 7X-FGG212 has the odd distinction of being a spaceship with an open top, but of course it doesn’t. In fact, the ship employs an invisible canopy, allowing its passengers to feel like they’re in plain space even when they’re completely and totally protected from it.

This journey was no mere pleasure cruise, mind you.  The crew of the 7X-FGG212 has a story to tell, and it is a goddamned marshmallow doozy. A tale of intrigue, sure, but also one of frightful oppression. If we’re lucky, it could become one of hope, too. Read More…

Come home to me, brainy.

Okay, technically, I found “Kraang,” not “Krang.” But still.

I got some e-mails asking if I was gonna cover the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, spun from the fast approaching Nickelodeon show. Well, of course. But it wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t start with Krang.

Sorry. Kraaang.

Kraang was a bitch to find. Actually, my local Toys “R” Us has barely had any of the new TMNT stuff in for weeks now. A couple of Splinters (eternally doomed to be the last one kids go for, no matter the generation), and if I was lucky, a Raph or two. It wasn’t until my pal Jason gave me the tip to “check Target” this afternoon that I finally found one.

And Krang/Kraang was worth the wait.

I spew hyperbole like the worst writer in the world, but if there’s one thing I could never exaggerate, it’s my love of Krang. That was the character that got me hooked on all things Ninja Turtles. To this day, pound for pound and all things considered, I honestly couldn’t name another character, from any walk of entertainment, that I appreciate more. From aesthetics to persona, Krang inspires and delights me like a beautiful disembodied muse.

Of course, this figure isn’t based on that same Krang. It represents just one member of the “Kraang” species — aliens allied with Shredder in the new cartoon, who travel around in “Kraang-droid exo skeletons.”  In schematics, they’re more like the Utroms than the scourge of Dimension X, but at least these guys look like the real Krang. Same bulbous, pink, tentacled brain. Weird eyes. We can pretend. Read More…