Archive for August, 2021


STG201

Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the best superhero series yet returned Tuesday, as Stargirl begins a new season on the CW network.  After the city of superheroes was blown apart in last season’s finale, viewers will catch up with Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl as she tries to lead a new generation of Justice Society of America superheroes.  But is it meant to be?  Yvette Monreal’s Wildcat is reeling from killing Brainwave, justifiably or not.  Cameron Gellman’s Hourman is trying to track down Solomon Grundy.  And Anjelika Washington’s Beth Chapel continues her turn as the saddest character on TV, now losing her relationship with her parents even more, plus Charlie, the cyber entity that no longer knows her.  Worst of all, it’s the end of the school year and Courtney finds she’s stuck in summer school.

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marvel-what-if-trailer

What If…? is a range of comic book series featuring more than 200 stories that allowed creators to jump outside the usual and let their imagination take over.  What if Jane Foster (or Loki? or Rogue?) had found the hammer of Thor?  What if Doctor Strange was a disciple of Dormammu?  What if Phoenix had not died?  What if Vision had destroyed the Avengers?  What if Venom had possessed the Punisher?  What if Silver Surfer (or the Green Goblin) took the Infinity Gauntlet?  What if Legion had killed Magneto?  What if Jessica Jones joined the Avengers?  What if Hank Pym replaced Stark?  What if Disney hadn’t purchased Marvel?  Almost all of these questions have been answered in the pages of the comics.

Avengers what if  Guardians-Of-The-Galaxy-2-Stan-Lee-Cameo 2

Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with an animated anthology series based on the classic comic.  Jeffrey Wright stars as The Watcher, your guide through all ten episodes, who MCU audiences saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2–in a Stan Lee cameo.  Chadwick Boseman’s last performances as T’Challa appear in four episodes.  Hayley Atwell returns as a different version of Peggy Carter.  Samuel L. Jackson is back as Fury.  Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes.  Dominic Cooper returns as Howard Stark.  Djimon Housou is back as Korath.  And Michael Rooker’s Yondu returns from the dead.  Plus lots of superheroes you know with other actors substituting voices for those you know from the MCU.  And it all begins tomorrow, August 11, on Disney+.  A few more trailers/features have been released in the past week, and we’ve bundled them with the previous trailers:

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Ghostbusters novelization

Review by C.J. Bunce

The most eagerly awaited movie of 2021 is also the most eagerly awaited movie of 2020.  That’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a direct sequel to Ghostbusters I and 2, slated for release in theaters November 11, 2021, after multiple delays.  Will it actually happen?  Who knows.  But while you’re waiting, you can get your fix of those days of Ghostbusters past while you’re at the beach, soaking in the sun with the original novelizations thanks to a new reprint combo from Titan Books, Ghostbusters: The Original Novelizations of Ghostbusters 1 and 2.  For anyone who has only watched the movies, you can gain a little more insight to the characters, many who will be back in the new movie.

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Variator sep

Some people can get excited about science simply by watching an episode of Discovery’s How It’s Made But it often takes only one personal discovery, some object in motion, a curious force of nature, or unthinkable technological improvement, and suddenly a wider world opens up.  For me it was my dad making a simple telegraph machine, and later it was marveling on my first flight on an airplane, at last realizing visually how clouds cast shadows on the earth.  Today we’re featuring the final build in our trials of model maker UGEARS′ Stem Kit series of 3D engineering models (check out our other builds if you missed them: the 2-in-1 Arithmetic Kit (reviewed here), the Gearbox (reviewed here), the Random Generator (reviewed here) and the Tachometer reviewed here).  Today’s build is a fully operational, sturdy plywood 3D study model of inventor Milton Othello Reeves’ 1879 continuously variable transmission (CVT), or Variator, first used in sawmills, woolen mills and other Industrial Revolution mechanics, as part of car engines and any machine requiring a smooth changing of gear ratios.

Variator 11

No glue needed, no sanding required, with everything contained in the box, the Variator is part of UGEARS’ STEM Lab series, educational tools and fun models that aren’t just for kids, a way any family can spark an interest in science, and specifically understanding basic engineering assembly and design.

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ST 4 b

It may not seem like it, but it’s been an entire year and a half since we last saw a glimpse at what lies ahead on Stranger Things Check it out here if you need a refresher.  It seems a little… strange… but here we are again and the best that Netflix has for fans of its breakout hit retro-sci-fi-horror series is… another teaser.  It’s so brief that you probably can’t recall how much of it you’ve seen before, and how much is actually new.  So we pulled some images so you don’t have to.  In the meantime, you could travel to Kansas City to get your Stranger Things fix later this month for Planet Comicon to meet Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on the show, and Gabriella Pizzolo, who played Dustin’s friend Suzie, introduced in season 3.

Check out the new teaser for Stranger Things, season 4, below.  And the bad news:  it’s not arriving until sometime in 2022.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

One hundred years after surfer Duke Kahanamoku won an Olympic medal in swimming, surfing finally made it to become an official sport at this year’s games.  A new book coming this month is using the sport of surfing to teach kids about science.  Spinning out of writer-artist Kim Dwinell’s series of Surfside Girls fiction books for kids, The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean is a practical guide full of science facts every kid should know about the ocean and sea life.  Published by Top Shelf Productions, its available for pre-order now here at Amazon for your favorite youth who was glued to the competition at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan last week and looking for more.

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Chilling 9 a Chilling 9 b

Anyone who has followed comic books for a few years knows that you can rarely predict when they will arrive, especially for the very best titles.  Often it’s because of other commitments from the creators, or more important life issues that need to be addressed first.  We’ve seen this with Frank Cho’s Guns & Dinos series, which got a great preview from Diamond–the main comics source for the U.S.–then it never arrived.  Writer-artist Frank Miller’s projects were notorious for not arriving on time.  Some of these are worth the wait, like each new issue of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard (discussed last week here), and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack, and Jack Morelli′s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina from Archie Comics’ Archie Horror imprint.  It’s been four years since we saw the release of the eighth issue of that Sabrina series, but we now have our first look at Issue #9, coming in time for Halloween.

Check out the covers, and a look inside below, and take a look at a surprise from Archie Comics: a continuation of the Netflix Chilling Adventures of Sabrina television series, which ended after its fourth season, heading your way in a new comic book series.  It’s all part of the 60th anniversary of Sabrina Spellman in the pages of Archie Comics.

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Ghostbusters return b

Bustin’ makes me feel good.

The most exciting movie of the year now has tie-in toys, and an early look at the toys appears to telegraph the return of three original Ghostbusters donning their garb again.  That’s Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson, clearly featured as part of several toys coming from Hasbro and other brands for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

GA figs

Hasbro is offering a line of line up higher end figures, the Plasma Series (available here for pre-order now) featuring characters from the 2021 film, including Trevor, Lucky, Podcast, Peter, Winston, and Ray.

GA women figs

Check out more new Ghostbusters: Afterlife toys, including a new Clue below…

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Woody venom

There’s something quite deja vu about the origin story for the villain in the 2021 sequel to Marvel Studio’s 2018 surprise hit Venom Woody Harrelson joins Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams in the second trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage.  In this next trailer (check out the first one here if you missed it), it’s all about Harrelson’s new villain Cletus Kasady, and how he becomes the Venom (literally) spun-off baddie comic book readers know as Carnage.  Yep, the entire sequence is in the trailer, so if you don’t want spoilers you may want to skip this one.  The new trailer is below.  While you’re waiting for its arrival in theaters (which seems every day like it’s going to get delayed), check out the book The Philosophy of Venom, the novel Venom: Lethal Protector, or the giant Venom Factor Omnibus.

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The streaming channel Peacock arrived in a free, ad-supported edition this summer, and it’s pretty much like having a full cable TV line-up for only the one-time price of an Amazon Fire Stick.  The Fire Stick is typically available here at Amazon for between $30 and $50, depending on the options you want, and it’s a great portal to a variety of streaming platforms, from Netflix to YouTube and Disney Plus to HBO Max, as well as all the series and movies on Amazon Prime and the streaming platforms already available via that service, like BritBox.  Named for NBC’s classic trademark logo, the Peacock channel is bigger than it sounds, incorporating the giant NBC network of historic programming, content from channels like Bravo, USA, Syfy, History, Nickelodeon, Fox, The CW, MSNBC, lots of XXXII Olympiad 2020 sports coverage, and more.  On Peacock you get a variety of movies and series, much more than is supported on other TV network-based streaming providers.  Like 46 seasons of Saturday Night Live, plus great fan-favorites like Psych, Monk, Parks and Recreation, six seasons of Vikings, Heroes, Eureka, Charmed, Sliders, and Battlestar Galactica, several seasons of the different flavors of Law and Order, classics like The Carol Burnett Show and Good Times, Cheers, and Columbo.  But what should you watch first?

We suggest bingeing the first season of Stephen J. Cannell’s 1970s detective series, The Rockford Files

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