A Gift from Area 51!

We got a mysterious package in the mail from….AREA 51! Okay, okay, it’s not allย that mysterious because it’s from Mike, and hisย YouTube channelย is Area 51…but still awesome! XD

Mike sent us a parcel of comic books that he thought we’d enjoy, and we definitely got a huge kick out of them! Check it out!

Marvel Collector Corps Unboxing and Review for April/May 2015

Ladies and gents, fellow nerds and geeks, this is the box that I have been waiting for. In the past year I’ve become a little more than obsessed with subscription boxes, but this is the one that I’ve been most excited about because it seems like it was designed for me. This 6-boxes-a-year box is co-founded by Marvel and Funko – two of my favorite things – and is full of Marvel-themed awesomeness. The boxes are also themed, and the very first theme was “Age of Ultron”, which corresponded with the movie, which I was also super-excited for. Can you feel the joy through my words? Then imagine the joy you’ll feel through the video:

I will readily state right now that I was more than happy with this, the first ever Marvel Collector Corps box. Let’s go right ahead and check out the breakdown:

“Collector Corps” pin: This little pin features an old-school-looking Captain America’s head with the words “Collector Corps” written around it. I’m thinking that this is a “first ever box” kind of addition, and I’m okay with that. It’s a cute little badge to commemorate being one of the first ever subscribers to this brand new box. It’s difficult to put a value on such a thing, especially given that it’s obviously an exclusive item, but since it’s just a little pin I’m going to say it’s maybe worth about $2.

“Collector Coprs” Ultron patch: Okay, so I’m not the kind of person who puts patches on, well…anything, but I’m telling you right now that I will find a use for this patch. It features Ultron’s snarling face, also surrounded by the words “Collector Corps”, and it’s just a nice-looking little addition as well. I’m wondering if each box is going to include a similar item with an image that refers to the theme. If so, I’ll be okay with that. If not, I’ll treasure this one because Ultron is awesome. Patches aren’t exactly a big ticket item either, but I’m guessing a value of about $5 for this one.

“Iron Man VS Ultron” t-shirt: Every Collector Corps box is going to include a t-shirt, and what was cool about this first one was that you actually could have gotten one of four different designs. They all look like old-school fight promotion posters, and each one features one of the four main Avengers – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, or Hulk – against Ultron. It’s a bit of a busy design for my liking, but still pretty cool, and I’m happy to have gotten the Iron Man version because I think it’s the nicest-looking, myself. As with other subscription boxes, I’m going to assign the shirt a standard value of about $15.

Exlusive “Ultron” Dorbz figure: So far, everything in the box was made specifically for the box, and this item is no different. Dorbz – super-cute characters with adorably happy expressions on their faces – are one of the newest items from Funko. The one included in this box is an exclusive super-happy little Ultron figure, which I just love to bits. I don’t see me actively collecting Dorbz because they’re less than half the size of a Funko Pop for the same amount of money, but I’ll definitely accept them as part of my Collector Corps because they’re SO CUTE. Dorbz retail at about $9.

Avengers “Guardians Team-Up” #1 comic with Exclusive Variant Cover: As I said in the unboxing video, I would have prefered a comic of the classic Avengers rather than the new ones with Falcon as Captain America and the female version of Thor, but I’ll accept it none-the-less. It’s a neat item to have in the box because it features so many amazing Marvel characters, and though I don’t normally collect single-issue comics, it’ll still look pretty awesome on my shelf. Giving this a standard comic issue value of about $6.

“Hulkbuster” 6″ Exlusive Funko Pop Vinyl: And I save the best for last, because he is awesome and he makes me so happy that I decided to sign up for this box. The Collector Corps exclusive Hulkbuster Pop is an amazing collectible, especially if you’re obsessed with Pops like me. It’s a beautiful mold with tons of detail, a gorgeous shiny paint job, and the thing weighs a ton compared to other 6″ Pops. He is officially one of my favorite things ever, and I’m super-excited to be able to add him to my collection. As a 6″ Pop, my Hulkbuster is worth about $25.

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $39

So right off the bat, what I have to mention is that this box costs me approximately the same per box as a Nerd Block or Loot Crate subscription. It actually starts at $25, but once you add in the (ridiculous) shipping to get it to Nova Scotia, the cost explodes a bit. However, the value of the box is definitely there, which softens the blow of the cost a little. Plus, since this box only comes every two months, the cost is softened further because I’m not paying it every 30 days.

As for the box itself, in case you hadn’t guessed I was more than happy with it. The Hulkbuster was, of course, the big thing for me, and the box would have been worth it for him alone, but I enjoyed the other items as well. The exclusive Dorbz was a pleasant surprise that I rather love, the shirt is quite nice, if not a little busy, and the comic is a cool item to have. The pin and badge aren’t exactly gamechangers, but they’re both cute and enjoyable none-the-less. Plus, every single item it the box was exlusive to subscribers, which is pretty amazing, honestly.

All in all, I’m very happy with the entire thing, and if this first box was any indication I’m sure I’m going to be enjoying this particular subscription box for quite a while.

What do you think of Marvel Collector Corps? Did you sign up yourself? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Did you sign up for the “Founders” program, in which you recieve a special gift after a year of subscribing? Please share!

Horror Block Unboxing and Review for January 2015

It’s time to round out all the first unboxings of 2015 with this month’s Horror Block, but don’t look to this post for a good review. My face during the video probably says it all, so give it a look:

So as you can see, I was not really the least bit impressed with the first Horror Block of the year. Shall we take a look at the breakdown?

“Normal People Scare Me” t-shirt: The first item in the box made me cringe a little because of all the subscription boxes I’ve been getting this may be the worst shirt yet. It is absolutely hideous, in my opinion, and neither my husband or I will likely ever wear it, so I’m assigning it a reduced t-shirt value of $10.
“Good Guys” Chucky t-shirt: It was a double-shirt month, but I am not a fan of this shirt either. While Chucky is a little more relevant to this household, it’s still not what I’d call a nice shirt, and it also will probably never be worn. $10 goes to this item as well.
“Living Dead Dolls” Pink Posey figure: This little figure is kinda cute, for sure, but it is also miniscule. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would pay $15 for one of these, but that is apparently what they go for.
“Mad Balls”: Okay, first, I just have to ask what genius created the plastic balls that these things are encapsulated in? I’m not joking when I say that I tried for almost five full minutes to get just one of them open before eventually grabbing a knife and almost stabbing myself to snap the two lids apart. You’d swear someone had hidden the meaning of life in these things, based on how difficult it is to open them. But instead, what you get inside are super-ugly balls that look like creepy heads. They’re not even well made; they’re just super-cheap plastic junk. I couldn’t find these exact items online, but I’m not inclined to assign them a value of any more than $1 each because they’re seriously that junky.
“The Twilight Zone” 1st issue comic: This is honestly probably the only item in the box that I like at all, and mostly just because I’m amused by comics. The value for a Twilight Zone comic from Dynamite? About $4.
“Rue Morgue” magazine: And, as always, the magazines, which are a great value for anyone who enjoys them, but aren’t really my bag. Either way, the value of an issue of one of these magazines is about $11.

Total approximate value of box: $52
Total cost to me: $33

So, as usual, the value is technically there. The double shirts and magazine will always bump of the value of a box, but considering that both shirts are awful (at least to me), that doesn’t really work for me this month. When you add in the junky Mad Balls and the hideously over-priced Living Dead Doll, things just don’t add up at all in my eyes. Personally, and this is just my opinion, but I think this month’s Horror Block is absolutely awful, and as I mentioned in my video I’m considering cancelling this particular subscription. There have been good items in it, for sure, but I’ve personally felt that the overall boxes have been tapering off a bit for me, and I don’t feel like I’m getting as much out of them anymore.

But I guess we’ll figure that out next month, since it’s too late to cancel for February. ๐Ÿ˜›

Do you subscribe to Horror Block? What did you think about January’s box? Please share!

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for January 2015

We’re well into 2015 now, and it’s time for the first unboxings of the year to start rolling in! First up we have a Loot Crate with the theme “Rewind”. Be a doll and check out the video:

So there’s the first Loot Crate of the year, and my feelings are mixed about it. Let’s go to the breakdown:

“Voltron” Blueprint t-shirt: As I said in the video, this is by far my favorite item in the box. I’m not a fan of super “busy” shirts, but for some reason these blueprint ones appeal to me, and though I was never huge into Voltron as I kid, I cannot deny the pop culture relevance. Since this t-shirt is a Loot Crate exclusive, I’m assigning it my default t-shirt value of $15.
“8-Bit” sunglasses: I know I’ve seen these in a box before, but I’m not sure if it was a Loot Crate from before I started getting Loot Crate, or if it was a Nerd Block. Either way, these are cute, though I doubt I’ll wear them very often. Believe it or not, these glasses are worth about $8, mainly because they actually do have 100% UV protection.
“Asteroids” tie from Black Tie Geek: I have to say it’s interesting to see something very different like this in my Loot Crate, and it actually is a pretty snazzy tie. Unfortunately I don’t expect it to get worn any time soon, but it’s still a bit of a unique addition to the box. Also, apparently, this is Black Tie Geek’s first product, and their website isn’t completely set up yet, so I can’t find a value for this item, therefore I’m assigning it the average price of a similar tie, which is about $15.
“So Analog” Game Cartridge Figure: With a theme like “Rewind”, you had to expect some kind of super-retro game reference, and this is a funny way to do it. This little cartridge dude with his blaster gun is pretty humorous, I have to admit. There are a bunch of these little dudes, but on the website I can only find 7″ tall ones at a price of $35. Since the one I got in my box is about 3″ I’m going to estimate and say it’s a value of about $15, although I personally think that would be super over-priced for what it is.
Comic Note Book: I can definitely see this being a cute addition to the box for some people, and Loot Crate is also hosting a comic where you can win a year’s subscription by submitting your hand-drawn comic, but it’s not a big deal to me. If anything, I might scribble some notes in it, but I definitely won’t be using it to draw my own comic. These little notebooks go for $3 each.
“Star Wars” #001 Variant Cover comic: I’m a big Star Wars fan, so little things like this are amusing, even if I don’t open them, and I appreciate the fact that Loot Crate regularly gets variant cover comics for their boxes. As usual, since it is a variant cover, I’ll round the price of the comic up to about $5.

Total approximate value of box: $61
Total cost to me: $33

So this is something I’ve experienced before; the value of the box is technically there, but some of that value is meaningless to me. In particular I’m talking about the 8-bit glasses, the Asteroids tie, and the little cartridge dude. All three things are cute, but considering that I probably won’t get any use out of the tie it’s value doesn’t really mean anything, and I feel that the glasses and the cartridge dude are overpriced for what they are.

That said, I love the t-shirt, and comics are always cool, but those two things alone don’t make up the cost of the box so it’s a bit of a wash that way. So you can see where my mixed feelings are coming from…it doesn’t look like a half-bad box, but when considering my personal feelings about each item the value just doesn’t seem to work out. So for the first Loot Crate of 2015 I’ve kinda got one thumb up and one thumb down, and I’m hoping that next month’s box ups the ante a little.

What do you think of the Loot Crate box for January 2015? Do you receive Loot Crate and were you happy with this box? Please share!

Nerd Block (Original) Unboxing and Review for October 2014

If you’ve been watching my YouTube videos or reading these subscription box review posts, you know that I’ve been wanting to cancel Nerd Block for a couple of months now, but it just didn’t happen. This month Nerd Block did two things that convinced me to hang on for yet another month: they began experimenting with themes, and they got Kevin Smith to curate a box. Of course I had to see what the first theme (“Collide”) was going to be like, and I was confident that Kevin Smith would create an awesome block. And I was right!

First, check out the YouTube vid:

Pretty good, right? So let’s check out the breakdown…

Jay and Silent Bob/FatMan stickers: I’m pretty sure these are an exclusive for the box, so it’s hard to put a value on them, but seeing as they’re just stickers I’m going to go with about $3
Legend of Zelda dangler: This always amazes me, but these tiny little dangling figures go for about $6
POW Superhero pins: I couldn’t find the exact same pins, but similar packs of four go for about $7
Arkham Asylum Patient Notes notebook: This is another hard one since it appears to be a Nerd Block exclusive. With the amount of sticky notes/tabs that are inside, plus the value of the notebook itself, I’m going to estimate at approximately $8
Agent Coulson’s Captain America Trading Cards: These are something you can actually purchase on your own, but it’s still difficult to value because the set that you can buy yourself is different from what came in the Nerd Block. The purchasable collection has two sets (“Near Mint” and “Bloody”), plus a display that you can stick the cards in, and that all goes for approximately $40 or so. Since the Nerd Block pack comes with just the one set of cards, I’m going to take off about $10 for the stand and cut the remaining cost in half, pricing the cards at about $15.
FatMan t-shirt: As always, I’m putting a value of about $15 on this exclusive t-shirt
Deadpool (without mask) Funko Pop: As with most Funko’s, this one goes for about $13

Total approximate value of box: $67
Total cost to me: $33

So, as you can see, this month was definitely a win for me, and I’m glad I held on to see what Kevin Smith would do with his curating powers. I love the Deadpool Funko, and the trading cards and Arkham notebook are pretty cool too. All in all, as I said in the video, the only thing that I’m not really impressed with his the Zelda dangler, and that’s only because I got a character I don’t know. So, in conclusion, good job Nerd Block. You’ve managed to make me question whether or not I want to cancel you again. ๐Ÿ˜›

Horror Block Unboxing and Review for August 2014

By far the best member of the Nerd Block family, in my opinion, is the very young Horror Block. There have only been two shipments of this block so far, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them both. First, check out the unboxing video:

And now a breakdown of the items:

Cult Classics Jigsaw Killer figure: Figures like these tend to vary in price depending on where you’re buying them, but the average cost seems to be about $20
Bone Pen: This cute little novelty can be yours for about $2
Alien t-shirt: As usual, I’m assigning the shirt a value of about $15
“Vintage” Tales from the Crypt comic: I’m going to be honest, I really have no idea how to price this one because I can’t find it anywhere online and I’m not willing to spend any more time searching, so I’m going to assign it the value of an average comic today, $5
Zombie wall decal: I couldn’t find the exact decal (the one I keep finding online is the same head but also includes a hand), so I’m going to assign this approximately half the cost of what I’m finding, which is approximately $10
Rue Morgue Magazine: And, as always, if you enjoy Rue Morgue this item is valued at about $10

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $33

So the value for this box was definitely there, mainly because of the Cult Classics figure. There are a lot of characters that I or my husband would have preferred over the Saw killer, but it’s still a great addition to the box. One thing that I will say (that my husband pointed out) is that if we were “serious” collectors we would probably be very annoyed with this Horror Block because the packaging for the Saw killer figure was totally crushed in order to get it in the box. As it stands, we’re the kind of (apparently not “serious”) collectors who rip everything out of the packaging so that we can enjoy it in all it’s glory, but I just thought I’d point that out.

The shirt is also a plus, in my opinion, and the wall decal will make a cute Halloween decoration. All in all, it was a pretty good box. Not as good as last month, but as I mentioned in the video it’s really hard to beat a Sharknado Funko. ๐Ÿ˜€

Dear Marvel: Please Leave My Poor Thor Alone

About a week ago I came across a headline on Twitter that made me do a little bit of a double-take: “Thor is Now a Woman!” I didn’t click on it at the time because I was on a bus that was driving into a cell service dead zone, but I assumed that the claim was one of two things: either a new storyline where trickster god, Loki, casts a gender-bending spell on his hero half-brother…or a joke. Imagine my surprise when my husband texted me the following day to say, “So…Thor is a girl now,” and, “Also I think Cap might be going black.”

I’ll admit right now, at this point I still thought that it was some kind of joke. And then I actually took a moment to look it up online.

image
Meet the "Avengers Now!"

Let me go ahead right now and say that it’s perfectly fine – awesome, even – that Marvel wants to be more diverse.ย  But I really, really don’t think this is the way to go about it. Taking existing, well-established, well-loved characters and changing their gender or skin color does not feel like a progressive move to me. By making these changes I do not feel that Marvel really gets the point behind equal opportunity and diversity. I feel like, instead of putting in the time and effort to make great female and multi-cultural characters that we grow to love, they’re taking the cheap and easy way out. I feel that instead of genuinely trying to convince me that woman and minority superheroes are awesome, they’re trying to force the idea on me by screwing with characters that I’m already invested in.

Let’s get one thing straight. I do not think that making these changes in any way diminishes the core of the character. A black Cap isn’t any less American, and a female Thor is not any less a kickass warrior. What I’m getting at is that it’s unnecessary, backward, and quite a little bit confounding. This move feels to me like an employee firing two perfectly qualified white guys and replacing them with an equally (no more, no less) qualified woman and black man, just to be able to say that their workplace is diversified. The woman and the black guy might be pretty happy with the arrangement, but it’s a hell of a crappy deal for the two white guys and their families.

I’m having a hard time expressing myself on this one because it’s such a baffling concept to me. But I guess what I’m really getting down to is that sure, more women superheroes would be awesome, and sure, more racial diversity in comics would be awesome, but I feel the need to point out that there is also nothing wrong with being a white, male superhero. Does anyone get what I’m saying?

Plus, Thor Odinsdaughter doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’m just sayin’.

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Prologue

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910
It’s been a while since I participated in any kind of blogging challenge, so I was quite interested when I came across a passing mention to something called the “A to Z Blogging Challenge“. Apparently this is a yearly challenge that has been around for a while now, and there’s a good chance that I probably heard it mentioned before at sometime in the past, but this is the first time that I took the initiative to actually go to the website and see what it’s all about. The idea is that if you blog every day except Sunday (because you have to have a day off, right?) through the month of April, you wind up with 26 posts. For the less observant of you out there, that means one post for every letter of the alphabet. So on day 1 you would blog about something that starts with the letter “A”, on day 2 something that starts with “B”, and so on. You can blog about anything you like; you can be totally random or come up with a theme. The only real rules are 26 days = 26 posts, and to use the alphabet as previous mentioned.

I thought it sounded like fun, so I decided to sign up, and was quite surprised to see that approximately 380 people had already signed up by the time I got to the form (back at the end of February). I thought to myself, “Self…that is a lot of participating blogs!” Imagine my surprise, then, when I checked back to the website a week into March and found that there were now over 1000 participating blogs? And that was with three weeks still left to sign up! Yikes!

All that aside, I’m telling you all this because tomorrow is the first of April, which means the first of my 26 alphabetic posts, and I need to explain a few things ahead of time. First of all, since my accountability posts are an important part of my blog, for the month of April there will be two posts each Wednesday: one accountability post and one challenge post. Second, along the same vein, I’m going to continue posting Fiction Fragment Fridays during April, so there will also be two posts every Friday. Lastly, as previously mentioned in the big “Theme Reveal” post, I decided that I am, in fact, going to use a theme for my challenge, and that theme is “Characters”. Whether they be from my favorite books, comics, TV shows, movies, or video games, during the month of April I am going to blog about 26 different fictional characters whom I love. Doesn’t that sound awesome? ๐Ÿ˜€ I think it sounds awesome.

And one final little point: since this challenge is a “blog hop” that encourages participants to spend a little bit of time each day visiting each others’ blogs, the people who run the A to Z Challenge suggest that posts be kept short (so we can all visit as many other blogs as possible). For that reason these 26 posts will be a fair bit shorter than my usual posts. Most are in the range of 400 words (as opposed to my usual 1000 words or more). Don’t get used to the brevity, because I’ll probably be ranting like a lunatic again in May. ๐Ÿ™‚

The fun starts tomorrow! Good luck fellow challengers, and to my readers, I hope you enjoy!

~Merry Post-Christmas!~

Like any good Christmas looney, blogging is the last thing on my mind right now, way, WAY behind playing with all my, er, I mean, helping my daughter play with all her new toys. >.>

So this is just a quick pop in to say that I hope everyone had a great holiday and that you’re all recovering nicely from all the stress/fatigue/food/alcohol/family. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had an excellent day here in the Tobin household, even though the husband and I were feeling a little under-the-weather. The little missy set out at her presents after only about 7 hours of sleep (not much for a three-year-old!) and went around like a lunatic until about 9 in the evening, only after I forced her to go to bed because she looked like she was going to drop. She got everything she could have wanted and more and is currently learning how to use her brand new LeapPad Ultra…which will hopefully keep her away from my tablet!

Photo 12-26-2013, 1 47 07 PMThe hubby got the present he wanted most…a PS4, and I got lots of awesome stuff like the Marvel and DC worlds books that hubby bought me to learn all about superheroes, because yes I’m an enormous nerd, shut up. ๐Ÿ˜›

So again, to everyone out there, a very Happy Holiday! Hope you had an awesome time if you celebrate a gift-giving holiday I hope that you got everything you wanted! โค