’300: Rise of an Empire – The Art of the Film’ Review

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Whether you like it or not, Zack Snyder’s 300 is a film that’s pretty hard to forget.  Between it’s innovative use of green screen, it’s multi-speed camerawork, and it’s washed out color palette, it’s instantly recognizable and influential even 8 years after its 2006 debut.  But for anyone who has seen the film – or knows their history book – they might have been surprised when a sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, was announced for 2014.

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Christopher Tupa’s Wish Book Captures Pre-Christmas Toy Anticipation

Posted 4 months ago by in Art, Books, Toys | 1 Comment

Christopher Tupa's Wish Book

For a kid, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas has to be the most excruciatingly slow time of year. It’s a never-ending wait to see what toys will be you under the tree come Christmas morning. When I was little, I would spend this time making wish lists and browsing through the toy pages of the store catalogs. I’d revise my list again and again in hopes of getting the perfect mix of loot.

Now as an adult, I remember those in-between days fondly. Like many things in life, I know that anticipation is equal to, if not greater than, the event itself. As a parent I also now realize how impractical my vast Christmas wish lists were. I wanted so many different things that a certain degree of disappointment was inevitable on Dec. 25. There were always things on those lists that were left unfulfilled.

Christopher Tupa remembers those days as well. The artist and toy collector has created a book of toys and collectibles he wanted as a child but was never able to receive. His free ebook can be downloaded from his website.
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Book Review: ‘LEGO Space: Building the Future’ is a triple treat

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Lego Space: Building the Future

Lego Space and I go way back. I vividly remember going to my neighbor Jason’s house when I was young to play the sci-fi-themed building blocks. It must’ve been 1980 or ’81 and Lego had introduced its space theme just a few years earlier.

Jason was lucky enough to have most every set. We would pool all the loose bricks together and take turns picking pieces. Then we’d head to a separate corner of his bedroom to build a massive space ship. The goal was to out-cool the other person with our creation.

For us it was all about the build rather than imaginative play. We didn’t need to role play to enjoy Lego. That was the beauty of the toys. Lego’s multiple dimensions of enjoyment are part of its success all these years.
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Book Review: Monster Massacre

Posted 7 months ago by in Books | No Comments


Monsters are an odd phenomenon in the human psyche.  When we’re little, the thing under the bed or hiding in the closet seems entirely too real.  But once those fears have been conquered, kids with vivid imaginations often embrace the creatures of their nightmares, and suddenly the razor-sharp fangs and slimy exteriors become endearing, instead of frightening.  For those kids, Titan Books has just released Monster Massacre, a compendium of comics, short stories, and artwork of those things that go bump in the night.  The book features a wide variety of creepy crawlies, from Lovecraftian cephalopods to mutant insects to demi-gods to good old fashioned dinosaurs.  Essentially, if you like monsters, there’s something here for everyone.  Unfortunately, the quality of the work presented is as varied as the creatures lurking within.

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The Muppet Picnic Cookbook [1981]

Posted 7 months ago by in Books | 1 Comment


This past weekend I went somewhere I hadn’t been in a few years and hunted through 72,000 square feet of antiques, collectibles, and weird-ass junk looking for cool geeky treasures. The Exit 76 Antique Mall is about 30 miles south of Indianapolis and is crazy-huge. About 80-90% of the booths there are filled with the type of antiques I have no interest in, but in a place that size there’s about something for every taste.

I was on the lookout for toys, kids’ books, trading cards, and anything TMNT or Muppet related. I did better than I thought I would, and one of the cool things I found was this Muppet Picnic Cookbook published by Hallmark in 1981. Lately I’ve been on the lookout for lots of 80s/90s Muppet related books, and I had just read about this one on the Muppet Wiki, so I was pretty excited when I saw it hanging out with vintage sewing patterns and Good Housekeeping issues.
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