Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up

The_Bella_Twins_WrestleMania_31In this episode, the fellers begin to settle into the new reality of this world gone mad filled with personal upheaval and global sickness as they record their very first episode of 2020 and, boy howdy, is it a snazzy humdinger of an episode!

We start off discussing our various coping mechanisms as Fitz starts fondling little men made of plastic and reviving a long dormant segment about it, then he reveals an earth shattering discovery from the depths of his kidhood that warms the cockles of his adulthood.

Doom tries talking about Star Trek, but gets sidetracked bitching about the WWE Hall Of Fame, which leads to him bitching about a bunch of other Wrestling stuff, and then they ask YOU, the long suffering listeners, for your opinion on the future of The Nerd Blitz, so listen up and tell your friends!

URL: Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up
Direct Download: tnb093.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest #13: Snake Eyes

Welcome back everybody, I hope you’re ready to go deep deep DEEP into the nerdy waters because this week I’m pulling out one of the all time greatest figures ever made.

After touching on this character a little bit last time when we profiled Stalker, I felt it was only natural to follow that up with a full feature about my favorite Joe, Snake Eyes!

Snake Eyes
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Purchase (Venture)
Years In Possession: 38

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With just an Uzi, a satchel of explosives, and an all black outfit, Snake Eyes hit the pegs and became the most unlikely success ever. It is well known that Snake Eyes was never intended to become the complex, tortured badass that he would evolve into over the years. No, Hasbro created Snake Eyes as a complete throwaway character. He was an attempt to fill out the Joe ranks as cheaply as possible, which resulted in the all black paint scheme. Without having to paint tiny bits like belt buckles or backpack straps, they could produce this figure at a fraction of what the other more detailed figures cost.

But thanks to Larry Hama’s excellent characterization of Snake Eyes in the Marvel comic series and the intentionally omitted personal details on the figure’s file card, Hasbro failed at creating a throwaway character and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in creating a character that could rival the likes of Wolverine in popularity.

I have to admit, as intriguing a character as Snake Eyes would become, his original figure was a snooze in my 9 year old opinion. He was certainly one of the last figures I bought. However, the more his character was fleshed out in the comics, the more intrigued I was by his backstory. What the toy lacked in color the comic more than made up for in characterization.

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From the killing fields of Vietnam to a Ninja clan in Japan and then on to being a member of the most elite fighting force the world has ever known, Snake Eyes is easily the most interesting character in all of the G.I. Joe pantheon.

This character supplied me with some of the most memorable and vivid scenes I would ever read in a comic book. Seeing the accident that disfigured him and left him unable to speak, the masterpiece that is G.I. Joe #21, watching him send his ally Kwinn’s body off in a funeral kayak in the arctic, and his epic battles with Storm Shadow.

In the comics, whenever Snake Eyes appeared in civilian clothes (which was rare) he would trade his black face mask for a different mask, a human mask made of rubber and a pair of sunglasses to try and pass as normal and hide his horrifically disfigured face. Such a small touch that gave this character so much humanity. He was almost a god in terms of ability and toughness, and yet you felt bad for him because he could never be just a truly normal person.

As for Snake Eyes the figure, this was the first place I had ever seen an Uzi sub machine gun. It looked so weird, so much different than the M-16 or M-60 models that the other characters came with. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word. Was it Uzzy or Ooozie? Why was there a longer thinner piece coming out the bottom of the gun’s grip? (It’s the oversized magazine, dummy). In fact, I was convinced that the extra plastic on the bottom of the handle was a mistake and broke it off of the original uzi that came with this figure. D’oh!

The glasses molded onto this figure always made me wonder, how did his sunglasses stay on? It wasn’t until much later that I realized they were goggles, you can even see a wonderful little detail on the back of his head that shows the strap of the goggles coming out the mask and going back in. I assume so he can adjust the way they fit?

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Unfortunately as you can see, even an elite mystical ninja warrior is not immune from the dreaded broken thumb disease. For years this figure had the faintest of white lines on the base of that thumb, a telltale sign that it was about to come off. I was extra EXTRA mindful of that, but alas, sometime in the 90s it finally popped off.

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Snake Eyes has gone through many design changes over the years, receiving several costume changes/upgrades including what I consider the pinnacle of this character’s look in 1986, but this is where it all started. The red headed step child of the original Joe team who turned out to be the real star of the franchise. Funny how things like that work out.

That’s all for this week guys, hope you enjoyed it. Come back next time for more broken toys and mind numbing childhood anecdotes!

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TNB Commentaries 045: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

templeofdoomPlease turn off your cellphones and get ready to crack that whip, give the past the slip, step on a crack, break your momma’s back, cause some big bad problems are sure as hell about to come along in this action packed, exciting, and adventurous tale for the ages!

For our 45th Commentary, we travel back to within a sankara stones throw of 1984 for the second installment in this iconic franchise starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, & Amrish Puri in a trip to the deep jungles and dangerous mines of India.

We talk the latest developments in the world of Indiana Jones, for better or worse, why Silent Night sucks asshole ball juice, Billy Joel, why one of us may not like this movie as much as the other, and generational gaps, all while technologically failing to start the damn movie, so buckle up for another typical Nerd Blitz Commentarial ride!

URL: TNB Commentaries 045: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Direct Download: tnbc-045-temple-of-doom.mp3

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2019

Fitz’s Toy Chest #12: Stalker

Welcome back guys to another installment of Fitz’s Toy Chest. This time out we’re headed back to 1982 where a few pieces of plastic and an o-ring combined to make the ultimate soldier.

When Hasbro launched the G.I. Joe 3 3/4 line in 1982, they did so with 13 figures. If you look at those first 13 figures you can tell that one of their mandates must have been to try and make the team as diverse as possible which is something they continued to do throughout the Joes’ run in the 80s.

Sure the majority of the original team was still comprised of the usual array of white dudes, but Larry Hama made sure to include 3 minority characters right off the bat: badass female commando, a Hispanic heavy explosives soldier, and the subject of this week’s Toy Chest, a former gang warlord from Detroit turned green beret…Stalker.

Stalker
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Gift
Years In Possession: 38

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The G.I. Joe comic and the file cards all written by Larry Hama were my first introduction into the world of the military. It was the first place I heard the term “Grunt”, the first place I saw the word “Commando”, or heard about a “Geneva Convention”. It was also where I was introduced to the concept of a Green Beret.

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How I came into possession of this figure was that it was a surprise gift from my grandma. We were at her house one day and she said she had a present for me and she produced 2 G.I. Joe figures from a plastic shopping bag. She said pick the one you want, the other would go to my cousin the next time he came over. The two figures were Breaker and Stalker. I chose Stalker. Why? He was the most interesting looking to me. He didn’t look like the other Joes. Not only was he a different ethnicity than all the other characters, his paint scheme was strikingly unique as well.

Most of the original Joes all used the same couple of body molds and only differed in the paint schemes (obviously Scarlett being the exception). By this time I already had Rock N Roll and Clutch, both bearded white dudes like Breaker, but Stalker was something else entirely. From the camo paint scheme on his fatigues to the green beret on his head. I can remember thinking “What is up with that weird hat?”.

Also, his gun was pretty cool looking too.

Breaker’s military specialty was “Communications Officer”, BO-RING. Stalker’s was listed as “Ranger”. What the hell is a Ranger? I didn’t know but it sounded cool as hell.

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It was not long after I started reading the Joe books, maybe a year or 2, that I discovered the Black Eagles series of novels by John Lansing and learned a whole lot more about Vietnam (it was still a few years before Platoon would hit theaters and probably a decade before I would actually watch it). What drew me to those books initially was a image like this:

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Notice the green beret? I was immediately drawn to this cover by that beret. I knew what that was, that was what Stalker wore and I was instantly intrigued. Who knows, one of these Black Eagles book may show up as a Nerd Blitz Book Club entry….

Later in the Joe series, they delved more into Stalker’s service in Vietnam where it actually served with Hawk and Snake Eyes (before he was disfigured martial arts master). Those panels were the first images I remember seeing of a line of green fatigued soldiers in boonie hats wading through waist high grass, something of a cliche in Vietnam movies but at the time was brand new to me.

As for Stalker the action figure, unfortunately you can see that he suffered the same fate as an incredibly high number of those original 13 Joes, the infamous broken thumbs!

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I recently read in Mark Belamo’s fantastic G.I. Joe reference book that the incredibly brittle thumbs on these figures was due to the composition of the plastic they used. It was found to be too brittle and the next assortment of figures would be the first with a reformulated plastic that was slightly more pliable to solve the broken thumb problem. Sadly, almost all of my originally Joe’s are missing at least 1 thumb. I was normally very careful with my toys even as a kid, but even I could not avoid this problem, much to my dismay.

Join me next week when I pull another gem from my bag of tricks! I promise that soon we’re going to diversify and change things up from the normal Star Wars/G.I. Joe/Transformers-fest that this feature has been up until now. What could that mean? What other vintage toy lines could I possibly have in the Toy Chest? You’ll find out soon enough!

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Episode 092: 1ACX01, BABY, 1ACX01!

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In this episode, the fellers start by getting super dark and then slap on their deerstalkers and do some investimagationing in the most hardcore and nerdy way you can possibly imagine…like, seriously, they vigorously shake up the can and spray a thick layer of pussy repellent all over themselves!

As we do some intense time traveling, Fitz delivers a basement update that will leave you…mildly disturbed, Doom talks about a dead old lady and teases reading letters that illuminate an old Doom family battle, and then there’s hookers!

A old segment is officially given a title and an intro bump as Doom casts a Dan Shamble TV Show, and then they watch the first trailer for SCOOB! and do the deepest of deep dive investigative reports as they follow up on the production code story from last September’s Scooby-Doo 50th anniversary commentary, and then so much more, so strap in for what may be our nerdiest ep yet!

URL: Episode 092: 1ACX01, BABY, 1ACX01!
Direct Download: tnb092.mp3

TNB Book Club 6.06: Shadows Over Baker Street Part 6

511NAV28TQLWelcome back to The Nerd Blitz Book Club!

In this 6th episode of a 9 episode series, we crack open a book we have been wanting to dive into for a long time, the Sherlock Holmes meets H.P. Lovecraft pastiche short story collection, Shadows Over Baker Street.

This week sees us discussing and dissecting the next 2 entries in this book, edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan, The Horror Of The Many Faces & The Adventure Of The Arab’s Manuscript which were written by Tim Lebbon & Michael Reaves respectively.

So find yourself a copy of this gathering of stories and read along with us cause the game is most certainly afoot as the darkest of dark clouds settles in over the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and things get spooky at 221B Baker Street, gang.

Also, a special thank you goes to @gigiamk30
for making this entire 6th series of The Nerd Blitz Book Club possible.

URL: TNB Book Club 6.06: Shadows Over Baker Street pt 6
Direct Download: tnbbc006006.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest #11: R5-D4

Welcome back again guys. It’s time to open up the toy chest and rediscover another vintage treasure!

This week we’re going way back to circa 1979 to take a look at one of the figures released in 1978 as part of the first expansion of the Kenner Star wars line.

The Kenner line started off with just 12 figures but soon expanded to 20 when they began producing figures for “blink and you miss them” background characters like Snaggletooth, Hammerhead, etc.

Our subject this week is one of the more unlikely additions, since their entire on screen performance consisted of rolling forward a few feet and immediately exploding. While this proved to be possibly the most critical turn in the entire Saga, it doesn’t really do much to make for an exciting action figure.

Today we’re going to take a look at none other than the owner of the baddest bad motivator in the galaxy, R5-D4.

R5-D4
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1979?
Acquired via: Purchased ???
Years In Possession: 41

When I think back to those early days of Kenner Star Wars collecting, believe it or not the place that I’m reminded of most is Sears.

I can still see the 60s/70s tile on the floor that looked like millions of tiny stones embedded in the floor. The brown metal door frames of the entrance, with the big wide handles, and the snack bar that greeted you just inside the entrance. It had high bar tables and smelled like butter from all the ever present spilled popcorn on the ground.

It was just past this snack bar that the toy section could be found. My palms still get a little sweaty when I think about seeing the old 12 and 20 back figures on the pegs. I can still remember seeing an endcap display containing a pile of landspeeders and cantina playsets.

And it was there that I saw R5-D4 on the pegs for the first time.

Not the most glamorous figure to be sure, but being the only other astromech besides R2 in the original line made him kinda cool. (Even though this figure is 75% the exact same as the R2 figure)

He has the same leg sculp and body as the R2 figure with just a different color scheme (an odd orange color reminiscent of the sauce in Spaghettios)

One thing about the Kenner astromechs is, they weren’t overly concerned with the accuracy of their dome sculpts. Obviously the technology in the 70s didn’t allow for super detailed figures, but these droids only look like their onscreen counterparts in the loosest sense possible. However, that only adds to the charm in my opinion.

R5’s 3 orange “eyes” are just as real in my head canon as R2’s giant blue “eye”. Neither look anything like the film prop, but who cares?

As always thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon to share some more gems from my personal collection of old ass plastic junk.

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