Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Monkees Celebrate 50 Years at Winspear Opera House


The Winspear Opera House played host to one of the most legendary bands of the late 1960s on June 29th. Musicians Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork were in perfect form as representatives of The Monkees for their 50th Anniversary concert. Guitarist Michael Nesmith was absent because of other professional duties and vocalist / heartthrob Davy Jones passed away in 2012.


Let me take a moment to stress my use of the word “musicians” when describing Mr. Dolenz and Mr. Tork. Decades went by with The Monkees being ostracized as television actors unable to play their own instruments. The hearsay was no more true the evening of their performance than it was fifty years ago when the four members of the group were brought together. Micky handled vocal, guitar, and drum duties with ease. Peter played guitar, keyboards, and the banjo flawlessly throughout their two hour-plus set.


I was very surprised by the songs chosen to be performed for The Monkees 50th Anniversary tour. My speculation was that the duo would only play songs they sang with one or two tributes with Davy Jones’s vocals piped in digitally via pre-recorded track. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Quite a few of Michael Nesmith’s cuts were executed with Dolenz and Tork sharing lead vocals. They did the same with a number of Jones’s memorable numbers.


The Monkees were backed by a band who you could tell respected the legacy of the two men they were in the company of. The ensemble worked wonderfully together and really didn’t miss a beat musically. Both Dolenz and Tork were at the top of their game vocally, which many might find surprising for guys who have spent the better part of five decades belting out hit songs. You’d think by the age of 70 they’d have worn their throats and chords out by overuse. This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and their backing group were adorned by a large screen playing clips of “The Monkees” TV series and behind-the-scenes footage of the band traveling, playing live, and goofing around. Many of the songs performed were accompanied by the footage used when the individual tracks were aired during their respective episode. During “The Porpoise Song” from their movie “Head”, Dolenz gazed up at the screen for a moment. A scene of him floating underwater amidst a sea of psychedelic colors was showing. You could imagine what he was thinking in that moment. “Wow, that’s me up there fifty years ago.”


The present members of The Monkees did a wonderful job saluting both of the absent members of their group. Michael Nesmith’s country-fueled contributions to the band provided both Dolenz and Tork the opportunities to highlight their versatile musical backgrounds and talents. They used what they called a wayback machine to honor fallen Monkee Davy Jones with performances of “Daydream Believer” and “Shades of Grey”. The late talent’s voice was cued in via backing tracks as Micky, Peter, and their group played and provided backing vocals.


I saw The Monkees on their reunion tour in 1986, which featured Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones. The twosome and their backup musicians sounded just as astounding now as the band did way back then. Impeccable skills and an engaging blend of hit songs from a long and fulfilling career made The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour a night fans will never forget.

Check out The Monkees' official website to see where they'll be stopping near you.

You can see more pictures from The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour right here.

The Monkees Celebrate 50 Years at Winspear Opera House


The Winspear Opera House played host to one of the most legendary bands of the late 1960s on June 29th. Musicians Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork were in perfect form as representatives of The Monkees for their 50th Anniversary concert. Guitarist Michael Nesmith was absent because of other professional duties and vocalist / heartthrob Davy Jones passed away in 2012.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"The Last Crusade" Takes Us Before "The Dark Knight Returns"


DC has one heck of a planning team. I'm utterly amazed at how they can strategically tie together their books and cinematic universe so flawlessly. They orchestrated the release of a major motion picture like "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" to come out the same year as the 30th anniversary of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”, which is a big chunk of the source material it's based on.

To top that all off, they also give fans a new sequel to "The Dark Knight Returns" co-written by Miller himself. Now comes the mandatory prequel to explain to everyone just how and why everything comes to be.

“The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade” takes us back in time to when Batman and Jason Todd’s Robin were still waging their war on the criminals of Gotham City. The Caped Crusader realizes he has limits and trains Jason to take up the mantle of the Bat one day. After the Joker escapes Arkham again, he sets in motion his own plans to give the Boy Wonder a lesson in hard knocks.

Although I’m not a huge fan of John Romita Jr.’s art style, it is unique and brings another level of grandiosity to “The Dark Knight Returns” legacy. In “The Last Crusade”, he does an exceptional job of melding his vision with that of Frank Miller’s. It makes for a visually striking and entertaining experience for its audience.

I didn’t see a rating on “The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade”, but I would give it a T for Teen. It contains violence, profanity, and frightening and intense sequences. Things do get a bit bloody at times, but if you’ve seen any of the “Batman” or “Dark Knight” movies, you know what to expect.

As much as I'd like to say “The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade” offers us something we haven’t seen before, I can't. Unfortunately, it leads to nothing more than a condensed rehashing of “A Death in the Family”. Keep in mind, that it all comes with Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller’s added social commentary and grit. I’m not saying it wasn’t an enjoyable read full of Bruce Wayne’s personal reflections and great action. I just expected something more coming from two such esteemed writers.

“The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade” is available now in print and digital editions.

"The Last Crusade" Takes Us Before "The Dark Knight Returns"


DC has one heck of a planning team. I'm utterly amazed at how they can strategically tie together their books and cinematic universe so flawlessly. They orchestrated the release of a major motion picture like "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" to come out the same year as the 30th anniversary of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”, which is a big chunk of the source material it's based on.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Star Wars" Night Takes Over Texas AirHogs Stadium


I know close to absolutely nothing about the game of baseball. You hit balls and then run around bases until you either get tagged by another player who caught the ball or you make a homerun. That’s about the extent of it. One thing I do know about is “Star Wars”, though. Anytime someone wants to celebrate the greatest space saga ever made in my neck of the woods, I’m more than willing to participate. That’s exactly what “Star Wars” Night was all about at Texas AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX on Friday, June 24th.


The Texas AirHogs is a professional baseball team based in Grand Prairie, Texas, in the United States. The AirHogs are a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They chose their game against the Joplin Blasters as “Star Wars” Night. I can’t think of a team with a better name to face off against on such an occasion.


Revengeofthe5th.net partnered with podcast and live show The Rantcor Pit to cover “Star Wars” Night for the Airhogs. The Rantcor Pit’s very own Eddie and Colleen Medina joined me as we interviewed attendees about “Star Wars” and what brought them to the game. A podcast was recorded on location in which we discussed the game and other assorted topics relating to “Star Wars”.


The night was kicked off with Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne throwing out the first pitch of the game. She’s thrown out the first pitch at a couple different baseball games by now. Mrs. Payne has a pretty good arm for it because of that.


The entire AirHog team wore special “Star Wars” Night jerseys which featured C-3PO and R2-D2 on the front standing on Tatooine. A landspeeder is seen on the back of the uniform. The jerseys were being auctioned off for a cancer awareness organization affiliated with Relay for Life. Many of them went for upwards of $300.


Aside from opportunities to get their pictures taken with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, and team mascot Scout, folks were given the opportunity to get an autograph and a picture with Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne. Paper Chewbacca masks were provided for her to sign. Candace was very cordial and greeted everyone with a warm smile and kind words.


“Star Wars” Night was a lot of fun and I would consider it to be a successful event. Unfortunately, the Texas AirHogs didn’t win the game. “Star Wars” fans won an entertaining game of baseball and cosplaying, though. Add to that the chance to meet Chewbacca Mom and some fearsome characters from a Galaxy Far, Far Away and you have the makings of an unforgettable evening.

Click here to see more pictures from "Star Wars" Night at Texas AirHogs Stadium.

"Star Wars" Night Takes Over Texas AirHogs Stadium


I know close to absolutely nothing about the game of baseball. You hit balls and then run around bases until you either get tagged by another player who caught the ball or you make a homerun. That’s about the extent of it. One thing I do know about is “Star Wars”, though. Anytime someone wants to celebrate the greatest space saga ever made in my neck of the woods, I’m more than willing to participate. That’s exactly what “Star Wars” Night was all about at Texas AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX on Friday, June 24th.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Star Trek" Complete Series Blu-rays Celebrate 50th Anniversary


"Star Trek" has always been a part of my life it seems. I would come home from school and catch episodes in syndication. My parents bought me the Mego Enterprise playset with all the dolls. I remember the whole family standing excitedly entering the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX to see "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979.

A new "Star Trek" movie was almost as exciting to see in the theater for me as when a new "Star Wars" film came out... almost. It's a close second or third behind that and the Indiana Jones movies. I remember where I saw every entry in the franchise and only missed seeing three of them out of the blah on the silver screen.

CBS Blu-ray celebrates 50 years of Gene Roddenberry's epic vision of the future by releasing both "Star Trek: The Original Series" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in two new separate Blu-ray sets that each collect every season of the respective shows in one package. If you've yet to grab these in high-definition, then now is the time.

"Star Trek" follows the crew of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise as it completes its missions in space in the 23rd century. Captain James T. Kirk -- along with half- human/half-Vulcan science officer Spock, ship Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Ensign Pavel Chekov, communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, helmsman Lt. Hikaru Zulu and chief engineer Lt. Cmdr. "Scotty" Scott -- confront strange alien races, friendly and hostile alike, as they explore unknown worlds.

"Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" is the remastered and digitally updated versions of the episodes that hit the market shortly after George Lucas re-tooled the original "Star Wars" trilogy in 1997. A lot of purists detest these altered editions. I really don't mind them so much, just like I wasn't bothered by the "Star Wars" Special Editions.

Featuring a bigger and better USS Enterprise, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is set in the 24th century. Instead of Capt. James Kirk, a less volatile and more mature Capt. Jean-Luc Picard heads the crew of various humans and alien creatures in their adventures in space -- the final frontier.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” contains all 176 episodes of the show the way they were seen originally. Of course they’ve been remastered and look better, but no enhancements or changes were done to the special effects. They look just like they did when they originally aired starting on September 28, 1987. I remember it was a Sunday night, because I faked being sick to skip church and see the premiere. Sorry, Mom.

Both "Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" and “Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” are chock full of bonus material. “The Original Series” contains Behind-the-Scenes featurettes, preview trailers, Comic-Con panels, audio commentary and more. “The Next Generation” most of the same special features plus reflections on the show like “Reunification: 25 Years After ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Inside the Writer’s Room”.

If you haven’t already picked up either of these comprehensive collections, now would be the right time. They come in convenient amaray cases that hold all the discs within one shell for “The Original Series” and two for “The Next Generation”. My one complaint is that the packaging is oversized for Blu-ray, in that its height is a tiny bit more than that of a DVD. The comfort of knowing I have every episode of these classic “Star Trek” television shows far outweighs that minor annoyance, however.

"Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" is available now on Blu-ray.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” is available now on Blu-ray.

"Star Trek" Complete Series Blu-rays Celebrate 50th Anniversary


"Star Trek" has always been a part of my life it seems. I would come home from school and catch episodes in syndication. My parents bought me the Mego Enterprise playset with all the dolls. I remember the whole family standing excitedly entering the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX to see "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour Coming to Dallas on June 28th


Here they come. Walking down the street. They still get the craziest looks from everyone they meet. Hey, hey, it's The Monkees and they continue monkeying around after 50 years. The boys are back on the road in support of their first album since 1996's "Justus" and Dallas, TX is one of the stops on the tour.

I remember getting home from school in the afternoons in the mid and late 1970s and turning on the TV to watch reruns of The Monkees’ show. I remember loving not only the music, but the slapstick humor the band brought to life onscreen. They were like The Three Stooges if they were rock stars.

The Monkees continued to be a pivotal band in my life as they were the first real rock concert I attended. I saw Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork when they reunited for their 20th Anniversary Tour in 1986. It was an exciting moment for a kid who grew up listening to and watching them on television every day.

The 2016 tour is centered around two things. One is the 50th anniversary of The Monkees. The other is the release of the band's 12th studio album, "Good Times". Those are 2 great reasons for celebration for everyone who grew up listening to and watching Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, and Davy Jones pal around with each other every week or day in syndication.

After an album entirely performed by just the members, all 3 of the surviving Monkees came together to record songs written by themselves and a gang of talented musicians any group would be blessed to work with. “Good Times” features tracks written by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, The Jam’s Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher of Oasis, XTC’s Andy Partridge, and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. Schlesinger handled production duties for “Good Times” as well.

The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour is headed up by Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. The two are backed up by a full band as Michael Nesmith opted out of participating. Davy Jones passed away in 2012 or I’m sure he would have loved to be involved. The set list for the tour includes hits from their chart-topping albums in the 1960s all the way to “Good Times”. Dolenz handled most of the lead vocals throughout the band’s recorded career, so there’s no lack of songs for Tork or he to choose from.

Aside from a great performance by the legendary duo of Dolenz and Tork, we get a visual treat as part of the stage setup for The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour. A screen behind the live band shows snippets from the television show and more that made the group famous. It truly is a night of celebrating The Monkees and all the joy they brought their audience then and still bring to them now.

The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the AT&T PAC – Winspear Opera House in Dallas, TX on June 28th. The concert starts at 7:00 PM. An evening of magic, music, multimedia, and memories is promised by the group. For more information on The Monkees' new album "Good Times" and their 50th Anniversary Tour, visit the official website right here.

The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour Coming to Dallas on June 28th


Here they come. Walking down the street. They still get the craziest looks from everyone they meet. Hey, hey, it's The Monkees and they continue monkeying around after 50 years. The boys are back on the road in support of their first album since 1996's "Justus" and Dallas, TX is one of the stops on the tour.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rantcor Pit/Revenge of the 5th Co-Host Air Hogs' "Star Wars" Night


"Star Wars" is taking over the Texas AirHogs' Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX on June 24th and Revengeofthe5th.net and The Rantcor Pit podcast are teaming up to bring you all the crazy fun antics and activities taking place at the event through a live show. We'll be on location to help celebrate a Galaxy Far, Far Away and want to see you all there! Come dressed as your favorite character and show us your "Star Wars" spirit. Check out the info for "Star Wars" Night at AirHogs Stadium after the jump.

You've seen her viral video on Facebook, "Good Morning America" and the "CMT Awards", now see Candace Payne in her hometown at "Star Wars" Night on June 24 at AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie. The Texas AirHogs are pleased to announce our honored guest from a galaxy not so far, far away, Grand Prairie native, Candace Payne, otherwise known for her Chewbacca Mom video.

Payne received overnight fame after posting a video of herself laughing while wearing a Chewbacca mask. The video went viral and has since received over 156 million views and became the most-viewed Facebook Live video ever. Her infectious laugh brought joy to millions across the world. Payne has made numerous guest appearances on shows including "The Late Late Show with James Corden", Facebook’s headquarters, Lucasfilm Studios and many more.

As the AirHogs honored guest, Payne will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in front of her hometown fans. Payne will also be on hand for a meet and greet with fans during the game. This will be timed and run on first come, first serve basis. Attendants will be treated with a video montage of the Chewbacca Mom and her journey since the viral video.

Fans can expect a fun-filled night of "Star Wars" and Chewbacca Mom in-game entertainment. There will be "Star Wars" trivia, “Dizzy Bat” race with light sabers, best wookiee noise contest and an evil vs. good race with the "Star Wars" characters. Additionally, there will be "Star Wars" characters on hand for fans to pose with for pictures. Fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite "Star Wars" character. Payne will decide the winner of the best dressed contest and they will receive a prize.

Players will sport specialty "Star Wars" jerseys that will be auctioned off. Proceeds from ticket sales and the jersey auction will be donated to Relay for Life on behalf of Gonsiorek Allstate group and the Texas AirHogs.

Get tickets and more information for "Star Wars" Night at the team's official website.

Rantcor Pit/Revenge of the 5th Co-Host Air Hogs' "Star Wars" Night


"Star Wars" is taking over the Texas AirHogs' Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX on June 24th and Revengeofthe5th.net and The Rantcor Pit podcast are teaming up to bring you all the crazy fun antics and activities taking place at the event through a live show. We'll be on location to help celebrate a Galaxy Far, Far Away and want to see you all there! Come dressed as your favorite character and show us your "Star Wars" spirit. Check out the info for "Star Wars" Night at AirHogs Stadium after the jump.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Young and the Brave Assemble for Detective Comics #934


Batman is putting the band together in Detective Comics #934. The return to the original numbering for DC Comics' oldest title is a move to celebrate for fans who hold a deep reverence for the history of the medium. Writer James Tynion IV and Artist Eddy Barrows kick things into high gear and unfold an ensemble of characters that brings to mind the television's "Legends of Tomorrow" and the Suicide Squad comic series.

An unknown predator begins outdoing Batman, taking down dangerous threats with military precision in Detective Comics #934. It’s up to the Dark Knight and Batwoman to rally and train the young heroes of Gotham City to end this mysterious threat! Spoiler, Red Robin and Cassandra Cain are perfect fits for a new team. Is the villainous Clayface ready to join up as well?

Detective Comics #934 starts off strong with an appearance by Azrael. He’s always a welcome character to see return. Although it isn't such a surprise considering the character has been in the spotlight thanks to “Gotham”.

Eddy Barrows’ striking artwork brings the right amount of grim and foreboding flavor to the table. His cover art for the issue serves as a wonderful glimpse into what we’ll find within its pages. His is a style that lends itself to realism covered in shadows of darkness.

Detective Comics #934 is rated T for Teens. It contains violence, thematic elements, and frightening and intense scenes. There’s nothing out of the ordinary we haven’t seen in past issues of the series.

James Tynion IV is taking the Dark Knight and his pals to entertaining places in Detective Comics #934. Bringing together second tier characters and giving them the opportunity to shine as a team is a great plot device. It will open the doors for interesting personal and professional interactions between the different warriors. The inclusion of a villain as a member gives way to compelling narrative about redemption and atonement. I'm excited for where we're heading in this new age of DC Comics.

Detective Comics #934 is available in print and digital editions.

Click below to see a sneak preview of Detective Comics #934.
Detective Comics #934 Preview

Young and the Brave Assemble for Detective Comics #934


Batman is putting the band together in Detective Comics #934. The return to the original numbering for DC Comics' oldest title is a move to celebrate for fans who hold a deep reverence for the history of the medium. Writer James Tynion IV and Artist Eddy Barrows kick things into high gear and unfold an ensemble of characters that brings to mind the television's "Legends of Tomorrow" and the Suicide Squad comic series.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Star Wars Rebels: Season 2" Coming to Blu-ray / DVD


The Epic Battle to Defeat the Evil Empire Continues in "Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two"!

Available in Your Galaxy on Blu-ray and DVD August 30, 2016


"Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two" delivers all 22 action-packed episodes of the hit CG animated series’ second season, plus exclusive, never-before-seen bonus material on DVD and even more exclusive footage on Blu-ray! Available August 30, this thrilling continuation of the Star Wars Rebels saga depicts the continued efforts of the crew of the starship Ghost to defeat the evil Empire.

Amid growing Imperial oppression on Lothal, the rebels are forced to seek out new allies throughout the galaxy and additional resources to sustain their fight against the Empire. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghost bands together with a secret rebel cell and ex-soldiers from the Clone Wars to join a fledgling alliance determined to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy.

As Ezra continues his journey to become a Jedi under Kanan’s guidance, the threat of the dark side looms large over the fate of the growing rebellion. Darth Vader himself will dispatch new Inquisitors to snuff any spark of resistance, setting the stage for a climactic showdown in which past lives will be revealed, terrible truths will be discovered, and the lives of our heroes will be changed forever.

"Star Wars Rebels" was created by Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”), Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Sherlock Holmes”), and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm Animation production is also executive-produced by Filoni and Kinberg.

Featuring the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr. (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall (TV’s “Young Justice”) as Hera, Steve Blum (“The Boxtrolls”) as Zeb, Tiya Sircar (“The Internship”) as Sabine, Taylor Gray (TV’s “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures”) as Ezra, Ashley Eckstein (Her Universe apparel) as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker (“American Dad,” “Phineas and Ferb”) as Captain Rex and all the clones, David Oyelowo (“Selma” and “The Butler”) as Agent Kallus and Sarah Michelle Gellar (“The Crazy Ones,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) as the Seventh Sister Inquisitor.

Bonus Features:

Blu-ray:

· From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka (Exclusive to Blu-ray) – Executive Producer Dave Filoni reflects on the climactic ending of the season, when Ahsoka Tano finally confronts Darth Vader in a long-awaited, fierce and epic lightsaber battle.

· All DVD Bonus (see below)

DVD: · "Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season Two" – Uncover hidden references, easter eggs and connections to the "Star Wars" universe found throughout the season.

· "Rebel Recons" – Blast off with 20 fun, fast-paced episode recons, featuring behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew, and more!

Disc Specifications:
Release Date: August 30, 2016 Format: Blu-ray (3-Disc) & DVD (4-Disc)
Rating: TVY7 FV; CE: PG; CF: G (Bonus Material Not Rated)
Run Time: Approximately 485 minutes (not including bonus)
Closed Captioned: Yes
Aspect Ratio: 1:78 (Widescreen)
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Languages/ Subtitles: English, French, German & Spanish

"Star Wars Rebels: Season 2" Coming to Blu-ray / DVD


The Epic Battle to Defeat the Evil Empire Continues in "Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two"!

Available in Your Galaxy on Blu-ray and DVD August 30, 2016


"Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two" delivers all 22 action-packed episodes of the hit CG animated series’ second season, plus exclusive, never-before-seen bonus material on DVD and even more exclusive footage on Blu-ray! Available August 30, this thrilling continuation of the Star Wars Rebels saga depicts the continued efforts of the crew of the starship Ghost to defeat the evil Empire.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LEGO Brick Universe Comes to Dallas, TX


LEGO Brick Universe is an annual convention that takes place in a few different areas throughout the United States. One of those locations happen to be Plano, which is a suburb of Dallas, TX. The Plano Centre opened its arms to thousands of LEGO Maniacs on June 11th and 12th as they came together to celebrate their favorite multi-colored construction blocks.


The event featured several different building stations where families could let their creative juices flow and then showcase their creations for all to see. The Building Zone was an area where participants could make whatever they wanted with thousands upon thousands of different colored bricks provided for attendees. The Architecture Zone challenged builders to sharpen their skills using only white LEGOs. The Big Brick Building area was for children 5 years and younger to hone their talents using the larger LEGO Duplos.


My personal favorite building area was the one themed after "Star Wars". There was an entire section dedicated to a Galaxy Far, Far Away where you could create a spaceship or character inspired by the iconic movies. A professional LEGO display was surrounded by participants' personal creations which were all heavily guarded by jumbo Darth Vader and Stormtrooper action figures. Members of the 501st Garrison were in attendance to help keep things under control and take pictures with attendees.


A few vendors sold some great and hard-to-find LEGO sets and mini-figs in the Brick Market. Customers could find collections and items ranging from LEGO Friends to Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Bionicles, and more. There were booths where you could build your own custom mini-figures.


A group of artists were even doing drawings of attendees as LEGO mini-figures. Each one was an exclusive colored portrait of you or your child fit for framing. They really were something you would cherish forever as a fan of the popular building bricks.


Several different LEGO artists were in attendance to show off their amazing works. Brooklyn-based Jonathan Lopes brought along his creations which included a 14-foot long Manhattan Bridge and life-sized Mr. Tiger for folks to pose with. Brandon Wike and his team of builders brought along several of their displays. Brickmania featured historic scenes and transports such as a 24-foot long display of a Pacific Beach Landing and 27-foot long scaled model of the USS Missouri.


If you or your loved ones are LEGO enthusiasts, Brick Universe is a must-attend event. My son would stand at a building station for 45-minutes at a time creating things. For the most part, everything takes place in a large conference room, which makes it convenient to keep track of where you need to be or go. It was also a well-organized event with a wonderful and attentive staff. I very much look forward to next year's LEGO Brick Universe.

For more information on Brick Universe, just go here.

You can see more pictures from LEGO Brick Universe by clicking below.
LEGO Brick Universe 2016

LEGO Brick Universe Comes to Dallas, TX


LEGO Brick Universe is an annual convention that takes place in a few different areas throughout the United States. One of those locations happen to be Plano, which is a suburb of Dallas, TX. The Plano Centre opened its arms to thousands of LEGO Maniacs on June 11th and 12th as they came together to celebrate their favorite multi-colored construction blocks.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Seasons Change in Batman: Rebirth #1


DC Comics reintroduces us to the Dark Knight of a reborn universe with Batman: Rebirth #1. Writers Scott Snyder and Tom King (Grayson) show us not much has changed in Gotham City except our hero has a new orange outline around the symbol on his costume. Mikel Janin (Grayson) provides the illustrations for the book.

The Dark Knight Detective recruits a new sidekick as he takes on evil 365 days a year. Calendar Man looks to destroy Gotham City using a tool which could annihilate the entire population: nature. Can the Caped Crusader stop the madman’s plans before it’s too late?

Batman: Rebirth #1 takes what Scott Snyder was doing with the series and marches forward with the assistance of Tom King. King takes what many consider to be one of the sillier villains of the Dark Knight's Gallery of Rogues and gives him a respectable amount of menace and motivation, thanks in part to the striking and unsettling artwork of Janin. The promise of a fresh new Robin and costume for the sidekick add to the excitement. DC Comics is setting their new initiative up to be a grand and entertaining breath of fresh air.

While DC Universe: Rebirth #1 promised a remarkable switch in tone, Batman: Rebirth #1 really keeps in line with what was going on throughout the New 52. I didn't expect too much to change within the parameters of the Batman books, as they've always been rather dark and it works for the character. The campy ever-smiling sci-fi Caped Crusader from the 1950s and 1960s definitely wouldn't work during these days.

Batman: Rebirth #1 is available in print and Kindle editions.
Batman: Rebirth #1 Preview

Seasons Change in Batman: Rebirth #1


DC Comics reintroduces us to the Dark Knight of a reborn universe with Batman: Rebirth #1. Writers Scott Snyder and Tom King (Grayson) show us not much has changed in Gotham City except our hero has a new orange outline around the symbol on his costume. Mikel Janin (Grayson) provides the illustrations for the book.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Travel to "Zootopia" for Fun and Mystery


Walt Disney Home Entertainment brings us their family-friendly version of "48 Hrs." and "Blue Streak" with the release of "Zootopia" on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download. The movie is directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled”, “Bolt”), Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”), and Jared Bush (“Big Hero 6”) from a screenplay by Bush and Phil Johnston (“Wreck-It Ralph”). Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon a Time") and Jason Bateman ("Horrible Bosses") voice the bunny cop and foxy hustler thrown together to solve a baffling crime and a string of disappearances.

From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.

“Zootopia” is rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action. Judy Hopps is bullied by her classmates, which might disturb younger viewers or ones who are victims of that sort of abuse. Christians will be offended by the use of God’s name in vain in a couple of scenes as well. Judy and Nick visit a nudist colony where animals don’t wear clothing. The sequence might stir up some questions about what exactly a nudist colony is.


The Blu-ray edition of “Zootopia” contains an abundance of bonus material. Six featurettes delve into the making of the movie. They expand on the film’s musical score, easter eggs, deleted characters, and origins. A music video for Shakira’s “Try Everything” is found as well. Seven deleted scenes with optional introductions round out the special features.

Disney's "Zootopia" is an amusing and action-packed addition to their long history of animated classics. However, at times, the message of the movie does start feeling heavy-handed. We got it the first three or five times: you can do or be anything you want as long as you believe in yourself and go for it. There’s also nothing quite like a wholesome half-dressed pop star telling our children to “Try EVERYTHING”, right? Aside from those two gripes, a great vocal cast and well-placed humor bring everything together quite nicely.

"Zootopia" is available on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

Travel to "Zootopia" for Fun and Mystery


Walt Disney Home Entertainment brings us their family-friendly version of "48 Hrs." and "Blue Streak" with the release of "Zootopia" on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download. The movie is directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled”, “Bolt”), Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”), and Jared Bush (“Big Hero 6”) from a screenplay by Bush and Phil Johnston (“Wreck-It Ralph”). Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon a Time") and Jason Bateman ("Horrible Bosses") voice the bunny cop and foxy hustler thrown together to solve a baffling crime and a string of disappearances.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dallas Fan Expo 2016 Satisfies Geek Cravings


I get confused as to whether I’m supposed to refer to the event I’m about to write about as Fan Expo Dallas or Dallas Comic Con. People call it both at different times and hashtag it on social media under both names as well. From now on, I’ll be calling it Fan Expo Dallas.

Either way, the convention was once again a raging success with thousands upon thousands of attendees lined up to meet all their favorite actors and artists from movies like “Star Wars” to television shows such as “Arrow” and legendary comic book creators like Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Neal Adams. I only made it out on Sunday and the show floor was packed full of people. I can’t even begin to imagine how crowded it was on Saturday.


Let’s get the negative out of the way before concentrating on the positive. John Cusack wasn’t even there on Sunday. He was one of the celebrities I wanted to see the most. Joan Cusack had to cancel at the last minute, which was a bummer for me as well. The entire Dark Knight III creative team made up of Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Andy Kubert was also gone by Sunday afternoon.


I love taking my son with me to Fan Expo Dallas with me. Celebrities love talking to younger fans. I get to tag along and casually chat up any of them I’m actually interested in speaking with. It was a pleasure to meet “Daredevil” actor Jon Bernthal. My son knew him from “The Walking Dead” as well. I know him as the Punisher, who totally steals the Netflix show from the actual character it’s based on.


As a child of the 1980s, I spent many summer days watching “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” over and over again on HBO. It was easier to access than the first movie because it was rated PG-13. Booger was one of my favorite characters, of course. Getting to say hello to actor Curtis Armstrong, who played the grotesque nose-picking geek, was an absolute honor. I told him thanks for helping make my childhood a little more tolerable. He shook my hand and said, “You’re welcome.”


“Star Wars” was more than well-represented by C-3PO Actor Anthony Daniels and voice actors Steve Blum and James Arnold Taylor. Blum voices Zeb Orrelios on “Star Wars Rebels”. Taylor is well-known as the man who brings to life Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. He also voices Jedi Master Plo-Koon and several other characters on the show.


Taylor spoke with my son and me for quite a while about all the characters he voices. As he went through the list, he would change his voice to match the one he was pointing out. It was hilarious and gave you a glimpse into the great talent this guy has. When asked if he would be in “Star Wars Rebels”, he told us he didn’t think he should be. If Obi-Wan was doing his job correctly, he’d be too busy on Tatooine guarding Luke Skywalker to go running off on any galactic adventures. He said maybe if the “Rebels” crew visited Tatooine for some reason, it would make sense.


Comic Book Writer Grek Pak was in attendance meeting and greeting fans. He was also doing commissions for those who wanted original artwork. Pak works with DC Comics, and I asked him what he thought about the current DC Universe: Rebirth event and the introduction of the “Watchmen” characters into the DC Universe proper. He said it was fine and that reboots and blending characters and universes is what comic books are all about. It’s what keeps the comic book industry alive and fresh.


The 501st was in fine form, raising money for the charities they were with. Attendees could pose with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Kylo Ren, the Seventh Sister, and any number of Mandolorians. Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne even made her way over to pose with the members of the costumed club.


I looked forward to meeting Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne because she’s from my neck of the Texas woods and find her to be a ray of sunshine in a world of pessimists and geeky snobs. She was a wonderful lady who you can tell completely celebrates in her newfound fame, whether it be for fifteen minutes or longer. Candace is a bright light and a pleasure to be around.


One of the coolest things I saw at Fan Expo Dallas was a life-sized Ark of the Covenant from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I asked one of the guys who makes them if it was built from the actual specifications given in the Bible. He told me it was built based on the original specs given to the manufacturers of the actual movie production prop. The object was a thing of sheer beauty and would look lovely in my living room. They only cost $3,000 for the kit to build it yourself. If you want it assembled and delivered to you, you’re looking at upwards of $35,000.


Any pop culture fanatic in the world would find something to enjoy at Fan Expo Dallas. Literally hundreds of booths and vendors line the convention room floors. They sell anything from toys and collectibles to t-shirts and weapons. No subgenre is left untouched, from anime to superheroes and science fiction. If you’ve never been, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on. If you’ve been before, you know you have to go back next year.

Click below to see more pictures from Fan Expo Dallas 2016.
Fan Expo Dallas 2016