Blogging is an undertaking. It challenges you as a writer and a visual artist. Your work is instantly showcased around the world thanks to the immediacy of the internet. But, it's the praise from fellow bloggers that makes the experience truly rewarding. The internet can be a daunting place riddled with extremely negative opinions, however, the kindness of these bloggers trumps all that. There's an undercover support system of friends, mostly people that have never met. Everyone reads each other's work and challenges one another to bring their best.
One of the internet's best is Stunt Zombie (aka Chris). His blog covers a variety of topics - movies, food, toy collecting, reminiscing childhood tales, and local stories from his homestead in Virginia. We've been blogger pals for a bit, frequently visit each others sites and chatting on Twitter. We have yet to hang out in the real world, but I'm confident that day will come along soon enough. In the meantime, Chris sent me a package in the mail. Although he told me to keep my eyes peeled, it still caught me by complete surprise. The contents inside was incredible! And best of all, it fueled this post. Let's see the surprises the great Stunt Zombie sent my way!
The first item I plucked from the package was a Deluxe Movie Edition of Topps trading cards from the original TMNT movie. Although I occasionally see these in the wild or online, it's not often I get to feel the stiff cardboard in my own fingertips. The packaging itself is also unique. Instead of an individual pack with just a handful of cards, this box holds 66 pieces! I thumbed through each one with a smile, reminiscing all my favorite scenes. I never realized that the cards showcased many images not from the movie. The scenes are the same, but the moment captured is from an alternate angle - not the exact shot from the movie. There was most likely an onset photographer, snapping pictures that were later used for the film's marketing and merchandise. And I love that the cards feature this alternate aspect. It's like seeing history from a different perspective.
I missed out on the last batch of McDonald's TMNT Happy Meal toys. Luckily, Chris came to my rescue. My favorite Turtle of the group is here, perched in attack position on a color-coordinated top. I'm not sure exactly how you play with this thing...is there a launcher or do I spin it like a conventional top? Am I getting old? I don't know how to play with toys!
I've heard lots of chatter about adult coloring books during the past few months. It seems to be a growing trend, an alternative to reading a book or watching a movie - easing one into a meditative mindset. I haven't dipped my toes into the movement just yet, but with this Crayola Coloring Book, I may be tempted. Will this be my TMNT-themed gateway drug?
The pages inside are hard to resist. Twenty textless scenes that are begging to be filled with color. I also love the layouts, which are very cinematic in shape. Crayons, markers, colored pencils - I must choose my destiny!
The hits kept coming as I dug through the box. Tucked away inside a clear plastic bag was this dude, Mutatin' Raphael. The classic figure is from the 90s Mutations line, and surprisingly, one I do not have. I sadly missed out on that wave of toys when they were originally released. They often pop-up at toy shows and online, but they're in such poor condition - wrecked with scuff marks and never having any of the fun accessories. That's why Mutatin' Raphael is so special. Not only is he in stellar shape, but all the wacky accessories are included (shape-changin' sais, pizza tossin' ninja star, retromutagen ooze canister, pet turtle food can)!
Do you know where the island of Moorea is located on our planet? If not, now is the time to learn. Chris stumbled upon this insanely cool TMNT activity book while visiting the place for his honeymoon. The French Polynesia island of Moorea might be paradise, but its gear like this that makes me want to book a trip. Foreign TMNT objects fascinate me. I love seeing the familiar characters surrounded by unfamiliar languages and culture. It's an alternate universe of collecting.
From front to back, the activity book is entirely in French. It's also a throwback to something from another era, a time when magazines went over-the-top to lure you in. This is no skimpy issue, featuring comics, activities, games, posters, and much more. But the most obvious piece of awesome is the included bow and arrow set. Yes, the magazine comes with a toy weapon! Flip through the pages and you'll discover a bunch of targets to practice your archery skills. Just don't shoot your eye out, kid.
Another section of the magazine I found ultra-fun features user-submitted artwork. It's so cool seeing Turtle Power hit at a global level. I love the concept of French-speaking kids sketching their favorite mutants, then submitting their creations to a magazine - one that isn't even published in our part of the world!
The next issue looks just as impressive. I mean, com'on, it comes packed with a Nerf-like dart gun! Dimension X technology fused with the French language leads to nothing but fun.
Goals for the year: 1. Brush up on my French. 2. Visit Moorea! 3. Submit artwork to this magazine.
What a heap of TMNT artifacts! Not only is this very appreciated, but also inspirational. The winter weather often forces me into hibernation, but digging through and displaying this haul of treasures ceased any seasonal blues. The power of blogging at its finest! Thanks again to Chris of the Stunt Zombie fame for making both the internet, and life outside of it, a blast.