Like every other sun-deprived nerd on the planet, I'm counting down the days until The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises give my 2012 some meaning. But there's another reason this summer will go down in history as one of the all-time best: In July, Topps will release Mars Attacks Heritage, a 50th anniversary reissue of the greatest trading-card series ever made.
A little background for those of you who haven't obsessed over these 2½x3½-inch works of art since you were five years old: The original Mars Attacks series from 1962 consisted of 55 illustrated cards depicting an invasion of big-headed aliens who spend their time on Earth searing the flesh off meddling humans, getting all grabby-hands with our women, and blasting the hell out of some poor kid's dog. Classic. The heritage series includes the original 55 images printed on old-school stock (none of that fancy crap they use for baseball cards these days), plus 25 new cards, including a handful based on sketches left over from the 1962 series and brand-new paintings by the guy who's drawing a new comic book series, which is also launching this summer along with other tie-ins like toys, T-shirts, and Christmas ornaments. If that ain't enough to charge your ray gun, there are special chase cards, including parallels, 3D, and one-of- a-kind sketches. Best of all: The eight-card packs are housed in the vintage bright-yellow wrappers, as fun to look at as Scarlett Johansson in her Black Widow costume.
It wasn't exactly on my bucket list, but being within punching distance of Richard Kiel at Cinema Wasteland a couple weeks ago was still pretty awesome. It didn't matter that the guy who played Jaws in a couple of the James Bond movies looked bored shitless and a little irritated to be there; I certainly wasn't going to tell the 7-foot-1 star of Eegah! to cheer his ass up. He fought a shark in The Spy Who Loved Me and won.
The next Cinema Wasteland takes place during the first weekend of October at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville.
Finders Keepers, a collectibles store in Fairview Park that opened at the end of February, is starting to get a little geekier. Many of the shelves are filled with die-cast cars, Disney memorabilia, and creepy figurines of old sailors in raincoats, but we recently spotted a Superman statue and some action figures from both Star galaxies — Trek and Wars. And apparently there's more to come, as owner Mike Dezort realizes that sci-fi fans collect memorabilia like Grandma collects cat sweaters.
For Your Shelf
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 7: Didn't see the first six parts? It's never too late to jump into this anime reboot of the original series.
The Guild: Season 5: This DVD gathers the latest episodes from geek fave Felicia Day's web series (which she writes, produces, and stars in) about her life as a gamer.
Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death: A collection of the first six issues of Terry Moore's comic about a woman trying to figure out why she was left for dead in a ditch.