Tuesday, March 17, 2015

12 Fictional Bands That I Didn't Mention on Nerd Lunch Episode 170



The Nerd Lunch Podcast Episode 170 is now available for download! It's all about fictional/fake bands from various forms of entertainment. Tim Lybarger, CT, Pax, and myself offer some of our favorites and then later in the show we try to guess some really obscure selections! After you listen, check out my list of fictional bands below that I didn't get a chance to mention on the podcast.


12. Danger Kitty, Discover Card Commercial, 2001
They've been enjoying the biggest success of their career as Steel Panther, and to think they started as a cover band playing '80s hair band songs in Los Angeles! Originally they were known as Metal Shop, and then Metal Skool and they gained quite a following, now, as Steel Panther they're touring the world, literally. Everyone loves a some good, tight zebra skin spandex and vagina jokes. Early on, the band appeared as Danger Kitty in a Discover Card commercial where they played a kids Bar Mitzvah. In 2001, at their website, you could get a CD single of the track they played in the commercial called "Love Rocket," and you can imagine that I requested mine in about .02 milliseconds. Of course, I still have it and have been obsessed with the band ever since.

11. Arsenal, Rock of Ages Musical, 2005-present
Rock of Ages has been a staple musical since 2005 in various parts of the country and touring all over the world. The show spawned a 2012 film adaptation which I still haven't watched in fear that it's nowhere near as good as the stage show. The main band in the show is Arsenal and they play actual '80s arena rock tunes, but what makes them so special to me is that all of the stops on their fictional first tour were to random New Jersey towns! If you want to see proof, I have their original promotional t-shirt and there are photos in my review of the off Broadway production from 2008. This early incarnation of ROA reviewed here was the best before they started tweaking the story, characters, and actors.

10. The Barbusters, Light of Day, 1987
The band in this rock drama is comprised of Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett in one hell of an oddball mash up. The title track was written by Bruce Springsteen. Bon Jovi also appears on the soundtrack.

9. The Lost Soulz, The Perfect Age of Rock n Roll
This rock and roll road movie was filmed partly in New Jersey and my friend Jasin Cadic from the band Starkiller co-wrote it! Check out my review from when it was released.

8. Black Roses, 1988
A monstrous metal band turns everyone into monsters - quite a masterpiece. I recommend adding it to your Halloween time viewing if you haven't done so in the past. Tracks like "Dance on Fire" and "Soldiers of the Night," are staples of my Fall playlists. Bands that appear on this rare soundtrack include Lizzy Borden and King Kobra.


7. Vesuvius, The Rocker, 2008
For a while I was watching The Rocker at least 3 times a week. That's what happens when HBO gets a hold of a new movie. Rainn Wilson and Christina Applegate star in the comedy, but it's a who's who of comedic actors such as Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, and Jeff Garlin. It's well worth your time if you are into silly comedies about rock bands like Spinal Tap. The direct result of watching this movie constantly: I was obsessed with "Promised Land" and listened to it on loop on the way to work for several months. The tunes by Vesuvius are attributed to singer Keith England and his band Lazlo Bane.

6. Stillwater, Almost Famous, 2000
A young music journalist embarks on tour with his favorite band Stillwater to document their exploits for a possible published spot in a rock magazine. Said to be based off of the early years of director Cameron Crowe's life. I've had a couple of Stillwater songs on my iPod ever since I owned an iPod. The authentic track, "Fever Dog," it sounds like it was a lost track made recorded in the mid '70s, and it's not surprising because the Stillwater songs were written by Crowe, his ex-wife Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Peter Frampton which helped give it that special vintage sound. Although the film did not knock 'em dead at the box office, the soundtrack won a Grammy for best soundtrack/compilation.


5. Dyver Down from Holliston, 2013
Used mostly for comic relief, the Van Halen tribute band Dyver Down, lead by Lance Rocket (Dee Snider) actually has a track available on iTunes called "Love It Down Your Throat" and a schlocky, badass music video to go along with it. This was my favorite aspect of the show, well, this and Laura Ortiz of course.


4. Mouthfeel and Juggernaut, Gettin' The Band Back Together
You're almost guaranteed not to be familiar with these next bands, (it's a twofer, I cheated) but you will be soon if all goes well. I was lucky enough to see the play getting the band back together with Miss Sexy Armpit at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick in its early phase. It's been rumored for a while now that it's on making it's way to Broadway. If this happens, you may be seeing Rock of Ages take a back seat because that is how funny and entertaining this play is. The comedy/rock musical hybrid is about, you guessed it, a guy who gets his band back together to save his home and neighborhood. They get into a battle of the bands which pits the evil Mouthfeel against the rock heroes in Juggernaut. The original songs are '80s arena rock style and a select few are available on iTunes. Unfortunately the self titled track "Mouthfeel" isn't available. I hope Mouthfeel's tracks make it to the Broadway show otherwise I'm protesting in '80s hair band attire.

3. Eddie and the Cruisers, 1983
This Jersey classic is possibly one of the most successful fictitious band songs ever. "On The Dark Side," by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, scored a number one hit on the Mainstream Rock singles and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives, arrived in 1989.


2. Tears of Blood, Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about how my life has spun out of control ever since Netflix removed Wizards of Waverly Place from their streaming service. I was completely devastated. It was like a punch in the gut! It's one of my favorite shows of all time and it never fails to make me happy. One minor aspect of the show references a rock band called Tears of Blood. They get mentioned in a bunch of episodes and there's even a poster that shows up on the wall in one scene. TOB is crazy popular with the teenage crowd within the universe of the show. They even get mentioned in other Disney shows which was always surprising considering the very un-Disney-like name of one of their tracks, "Crying Blood for You." I can't be certain anyone has actually heard their music though. If anyone has Tears of Blood music, send it my way!


1. The Hex Girls, Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo fans are ultra familiar with this "eco-goth rock band." You can see and hear them perform in several Scooby outings, but I suggest you check out the Mystery Inc. episode "In Fear of the Phantom" while it's still streaming on Netflix. In it, Daphne joins the band as a temporary new member, Crush, voiced by the lovely Grey DeLisle-Griffin. Look out for the influences of Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, and an awesome little surprise cameo from Vincent Van Ghoul from the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo!

Who are some of your favorite fictional bands? Leave 'em in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ExtraComicular Activities #3: The Clifton Comic Book Expo!


Comic purists usually shoot a cross with their fingers at me when I admit that I stopped buying actual comic books years ago. As soon as it was available, I switched abruptly to digital through Comixology. While I absolutely hate the fact that I can't purchase the comics directly though their app anymore, I still love the immersive, guided reading experience that they offer because it's the closest I can get to replicating the similar feeling I got when I was a kid reading the old See, Hear, and Read book and record sets, only sans audio.

Regardless of not collecting hard copies anymore, that doesn't mean I don't love a good comic expo. I've been to shows that had 5 tables of comics and to the ones where you can barely navigate through the sea of cosplayers. Fortunately, in the middle, are Pug's Comic Expos of North Jersey. Pug Productions has faithfully put on comic book shows around North Jersey ever since I can remember. My Dad took me to these in the early '90s when they were basically the premiere comic convention in Jersey without having to cross the river over to New York. Mind you, these shows are far from being on the level of a New York Comic Con, but they make up for their scale by laser focusing on comic books. Sure, there's always a few tables with some action figures, trading cards and random plush toys, but for the most part, the Pug comic shows are meant for serious comic collectors without all the B.S and veiled advertising of the big shows.

Sunday welcomed the early signs of Spring and I happily absorbed every bit of it. The insane sub zero conditions and constant snowstorms made this winter excessively depressing in New Jersey this year, so this was a perfect chance to get out of the house and look through a hundred long boxes of dusty old comics with Matt from Dinosaur Dracula, who actually came up with the great idea to go. With the sun shining and temperatures warm enough to start melting mountains of snow that piled up throughout this abysmal winter, a quick drive up the Garden State Parkway was just what the doctor ordered.


Arrived: Community Recreation Center - Clifton, NJ

I noticed the old school NJ Devils mural above me as I walked into a big bright room that was starting to fill up with a bunch of mellow comic lovers. It was as if it was in some kind of artists loft.

Since I wasn't looking for anything specific, I really left fate in the hands of the cover art. If it grabbed me then I grabbed it. With comic books, the covers are deceiving and are rarely a good indication of whether it's going to be a worthwhile read or not. Chances are slim that I actually wind up reading any of these though. They'll probably get more of a thumb-through job at most. Sounds pretty dirty, but accurate. The two limited collectors' editions may get full-on reads, but I'll get to them last.

It's been unpopular to be a DC guy for most of my existence on Earth (Earth-One that is!), but I've been one for better or worse since 1982. Hence, as expected, my haul was DC heavy with a GI Joe and Vampirella thrown in for good measure. Most of the comics I bought ranged from 50¢ cents to $10 dollars. Let's see what I came home with:

JLA #121, December 2005 
DC Comics


Arrow and Black Canary on the cover was the driving force of this pickup. Actually, who am I kidding? There was no way in hell I would pass up Black Canary's lady parts all up in my face! C'mon, we know Canary is agile and even acrobatic, but in this issue, every chance she gets she's putting her vajayjay on displayay. There's no way the artist didn't realize this. Before even opening the book, there was a possible 69 situation with one of my favorite female characters in all of the DCU, but after skipping through merely 3 pages...BANG there's another one! As Black Canary narrowly escapes the path of Green Arrow's exploding arrow, she's spread eagle again, er, spread Canary more appropriately. For the record, here's a "Hey now!" Worth the price of 50¢ cents, I'd say.

Canary Crotch Count: 3


GI JOE ACTION FORCE #13, May 1987 
Marvel Comics


I was pretty pumped to come across some back issues of Action Force for $2 bucks. Quickly, I remembered their larger format didn't necessarily equal quality due to their super-thin paper that gives them a cheaper, newspaper supplement feel. It's unimportant though when you check out the diabolically evil face on Destro playing Cobra like a marionette puppet. I love the concept and the colors really pop here too.

Inside, there's a cool little scene where Scarlett takes the ferry to Manhattan from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, our neighbors. You can see the Twin Towers in the background as they sail back from Manhattan. Later in the issue Destro stars in a Casablanca parody, you know, cause he loves his Bogey films.


VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA #18, September 1995
Harris Comics


Although I've owned some Vampirella comics for many years, I've never actually read any of them. I've always meant to though. Although I adore it's cover, this issue is not going to be my first foray into the exploits of the half naked seductive vampire. Not too much of interest inside this one, although the back cover is a completely different story. Hello nurse! I was greeted with a full page of Vampirella cosplay advertising Vampirelly strikes #1. And this stupid autocorrect keeps changing Vampirella to Vampirelly. VampiREALLY? Get off my back.


THE NEW TITANS #71, November 1990
DC Comics

This double sized issue is the first in a nine part storyline and it's probably the most intriguing and well written of the stash I brought home. Why do you seem so stressed out, Nightwing? What I gather from the cover is that The New Titans 10th anniversary party didn't go well so now Dick has to seek counseling. Starfire wasn't happy with the puff pastry hors d'oeuvres and the Crab Rangoon was cold, WTF? The balloons were overinflated and they started to pop midway through the party (f*cking seriously?) which caused a ruckus in Cyborg's earpiece. Shucks, this party was a bust guys.

Seriously though, Nightwing reminiscences about his team on their anniversary and we get a tour through his mind and get a front row seat of his thoughts and memories of each member. We see a retelling of some origins and his perspective of what qualities each member brings to the team.

There was also an interesting piece about how the Titans now have to keep track of all their cases, likely because it was becoming the technology age. As he sat near a computer, Dick described how different the team operates now, in some ways it's easier but more challenging in others. Unlike the old days, they now worry about their finances! Can you imagine an entire one-shot comic detailing the bumpy road that Cyborg had to navigate to successfully file his income tax return? See, things were even meta back then since Dick was talking about licensing each team member for their own action figures.


A bizarre coincidence happened when I read through a panel that took place at the opera. A quick cameo by one of my favorites, Jillian Jackson, a.k.a Beast Boy's girlfriend, made a comment to him about how she had tickets to see New Kids. What are the chances there would be an NKOTB reference in this comic? This proved to be even more weird since I bought Miss Sexy Armpit a couple of packs of unopened New Kids on the Block trading cards at the comic expo as well.





Possibly my favorite part was this whacked out convo about why Starfire needs to wear a bathing suit at the beach and how bathing suits make her feel inhibited. Meanwhile Dick is disguised as a '70s porn star. This was the best thing in the whole comic haul. As an added bonus, there's a cliffhanger with Deathstroke getting enlisted to help the Titans against that bastard Wildebeest to continue the story into the next several issues.





SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, LIMITED COLLECTOR'S EDITION, 1976
DC Comics

This book was a dollar originally, and if it came out today, given it's size and the overinflated prices we see nowadays, it would probably be $12 at least. The first thing that hit me when I opened it up is that it totally stinks inside. The inside smells so foul it's like a castle dungeon from the dark ages filled with decomposing corpses. That may have been too graphic, but I know actual people who were born the same year this came out and they don't smell half as bad.


The book is in excellent condition otherwise and it was well worth the price of $10 bucks, in fact I might actually read this one eventually if I can survive the paper of eternal stench. The two page spreads of the diagram of Legion Headquarters and the wedding photo pinup of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel are awesome and frame worthy.

The other grabber for me here was Saturn Girl. I may cut her out and hang her on the wall of my prison cell if I ever wind up in jail.


SHAZAM: THE ORIGINAL CAPTAIN MARVEL, LIMITED COLLECTOR'S EDITION, 1974
DC Comics


My motivation for getting this one, in addition to mildly enjoying the character, was actually assembling the diorama that's touted on the cover, but that would mean ruining the comic. I decided to look through all the pages to see what I'd be massacring. Turns out that it was filled with some pretty goofy, comic-strip type adventures. There's no doubt that I enjoy these types of stories, but not enough to make me say say that I won't cut the shit out of the back cover. Sorry Shazam. All things considered, I think having the diorama is going to be more fun in the long run than stashing away the comic in a pile of comics. Of course, when the Shazam movie comes out and this book's price skyrockets to $150 on eBay, I will be kicking myself in the nuts with the strength of Hercules.

--
When buying stuff from discount long boxes under the tables, it's easy to feel like you spent too much money since you're probably going home with a bunch of books, but then you remember they were the least desirable books in the rec center that day, so you feel justified. You too can give books like these a new home for merely a stack of coins. Next show is March 29th! http://www.njcomicbookshows.com

Monday, March 02, 2015

Jon Stewart to Appear on WWE Raw Live from Newark, NJ Tonight



WWE Superstar Seth Rollins recently called out the soon to be former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart. The Money in the Bank winner declared that he could be Stewart's replacement and actually make the show watchable.

After Stewart cut his own rebuttal, Rollins ambushed him on one of his recent shows by making it seem like he was beamed in via satellite when he was actually right there in the studio. WWE has now confirmed that Stewart will appear on Raw tonight, live from The Prudential Center in Newark to possibly confront Rollins. Will they settle their gripe at WrestleMania? Doubtful that Stewart would actually take a bump, so it's likely he will be in the corner of Rollins' opponent at WrestleMania. Right now, it looks like Rollins will be facing "The Viper" Randy Orton.

Although he was born in New York, Jon Stewart's family moved to Lawrenceville, NJ, where he lived for many years. When thinking of the path to becoming a household name in stand-up comedy and Television, it's easy to forget the odd jobs one takes on the way to the top. Before satirizing the news on The Daily Show, appearing in movies, and a possible appearance at this year's WrestleMania, Stewart held various jobs in Jersey, including working as a contingency planner for the NJ Department of Human Services and a bartender at the famous City Gardens night club in Trenton. Stewart is also a big Bruce Springsteen fan, naturally.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ExtraComicular Activities #2: Mars Attacks the REAL Ghostbusters!


From the Comixology description:
Something even stranger is in the neighborhood when the restless spirits of some merciless martians are stirred from their slumber to attack again! It's up to the REAL Ghostbusters to save New Jersey from this angry red threat. Well...if they must. Written by: Erik Burnham with Art by: Jose Holder and Ray Dillon
--

In 1996, Tim Burton revived Mars Attacks! and brought it to a worldwide audience. I was working at the local movie theater when it was released and it was one of a string of films during that time that I remember loving, but it didn't seem to catch on. Although it broke even at the box office, it's largely seen as a disappointment, except to many of us geeks and Tim Burton fans. But, it turns out these aliens have got a lot more to say than just Ack, Ack, Ack!

The inspiration for the movie was a series of controversial trading cards that debuted in 1962. Apparently, alien invaders wreaking havoc was very controversial in the '60s, OK? Other than merely knowing that the series existed, I never became acquainted with the Mars Attacks! on again off again comic book series that spawned from the trading cards. But, one thing I am vastly familiar with is Ghostbusters! Whether it's live action, Filmation, or the REAL guys, I've been crazy about them since I was a little kid. To have the chance to read a comic book that combines these two entities sounded immediately appealing to me.

Presently, the comic company IDW prints an all new Mars Attacks! series, but back in 2013, they pulled off a pretty epic mini-series consisting of one-shots that pitted Mars Attacks! aliens invading five other IDW comic book properties such as Transformers, Judge Dredd, Popeye, and even my favorite rock band of all time, KISS. The issue I wanted to read even more than the KISS issue though, was Mars Attacks the REAL Ghostbusters.


Released January 1st 2013, Mars Attacks The Real Ghostbusters actually ties in four concepts, not only two as the title suggests. The third aspect of this book includes a recurring War of the Worlds theme. You know what that means: it takes place in New Jersey! Of course, it's not much of a stretch to have the Ghostbusters drive over the bridge to bust some ghosts in Jersey, but weaving in the Mars Attacks! aliens with War of the Worlds was pretty f'n cool. And last but not least, the nod to War of the Worlds also alludes to my favorite holiday because the historic radio broadcast that they parody here was a Halloween special that aired on mischief night in 1938.


A showdown where our cartoon heroes The REAL Ghostbusters attempt to take down some alien scum instead of a class 5 full roaming vapor might sound weird to you at first, but check it out for yourself because there's a couple of cool twists along the way. As whacked out as some of the ghosts and villains on the REAL Ghostbusters cartoon were - angry, big-headed aliens in space suits fit right in.


This comic one-shot isn't too highly rated, and it won't blow your mind or prompt you to write a thesis on it, but this was a quick, amusing read and I recommend it if you are looking for light comic fare that depicts the REAL Ghostbusters with alien opponents that will only happen in this book and probably never again.


Things to look out for:

- The Mars Attacks! aliens crash land in Elmo's Hill, NJ. This is a play on Grover's Mill, NJ the site where aliens crash landed in the War of the Worlds radio broadcast. One part Sesame Street Muppet + rhyming word = parody alien crash site.

- I always loved the REAL Ghostbusters TV bumper where the ghost in the No Ghost sign welcomes us back to the REAL Ghostbusters. He does just that in this comic, a nice little touch to make it feel like an episode of the animated series.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Columbus Chronicle: Part Two


Where were we? Oh yes, we were driving up the New Jersey Turnpike after the Monster Mania convention and decided to make a little detour...

With the record breaking cold temperatures here in New Jersey, reminiscing on one of our warm weather adventures is comforting. We saved the best for last and did our exterior inspection first. The outdoor portion of the Columbus Flea Market is an endless sea of vendor tables. I may be off by one or two, but there must have been 75,000 vendor tables selling everything from knockoff colognes featuring scents like Sweaty Taint and Phys-ed Funk to multicolored belts, statues, and cheap sunglasses. Naturally, we made it our f'n mission to literally walk through every single aisle as if the tables were the hedge maze and we were The Torrances.

Let's see how much more I can elaborate on the junk at the outdoor tables. We're talking cheap motorized toys, belts, gaudy sweaters, faux jewelry, generic brands of laundry detergent, and lots of other weird, totally random shit. And then the handbags. Jeezus, ladies and their handbags. If guys were girls they would have one handbag, but girls are girls and they have like 12 and they're always looking for two more, one for that wedding they have to go to and the other because the ones they have just can't fit everything. I think I just had a heat stroke. Man it was hot out there.

My body does not handle the sun and heat very well, so we made our way inside to see what treasures awaited us. As we passed through the entrance, Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," lightly trickled out of the ancient P.A system like a refreshing mist of cool rain.

"...Nothing ever lasts forever..."

The white tile floors, no longer shiny, coated with a decade of dust, forced my eyes to the storefronts that housed all kinds of bizarre bullshit. To the left, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the neglected vending machines, red, encasing charms that now easily exceed their quarter price due to their age. A dollar at least, by today's eBay standards. Soda machines had the cooler, early '90s logos. We were in a blissful wonderland, one of the biggest and oldest flea markets in the state and we were having a blast.

You always know the types of stuff that will set off your nerd alerts, but there are also things there that you'd never expect would excite you. For example, I never thought I'd pop so big for Rebecca's Soft Pretzels, mostly because I barely ever eat pretzels, unless they're from WaWa and filled with sweet cream, but their menu signage was so damn gigantic, hanging from the drop ceiling like a cumulonimbus cloud made of toasted almond sprinkles, it was hard not to be enticed. I didn't wind up getting a pretzel, but for some reason Rebecca's Pretzel's stuck out in my head. Probably because it was nestled in an offshoot wing of the flea that might have been some sort of Amish haven, if I recall correctly. But, I might be pulling a Brian Williams here, so don't hold me to that. #WhoopiePies

The reason I go anywhere is if there's a possibility of seeing or buying old toys, records, or collectibles, because what else is there in life? We immediately zeroed in on one store in particular. I'm sorry Wicker emporium, tablecloth store, Bologna Kitchen, and bedazzled ladies leisure wear shop, you can all go screw.

That Dracula blow mold!! I vant it.

As we continued exploring the shops, there was one store window that had plush toys and giant stuffed animals that looked as if they were manufactured sometime in 1993. If you've seen one knock off Lots-a-Lots-a-Leggggggs you've seen them all, but, coincidentally, it was another storefront where Jason Voorhees himself brought our Nikes to a screeching halt. "15% off marked toys," read a homemade cardboard sign laying underneath Grover and Scooby. Yuuup! It was a collectible shop and we were heading inside in full force.

What did we do next? Dove right into this ginormous mess of CRAP, some call it treasure. In this case, it was like a collector's neglected musty basement where stuff was thrown in every corner. There was absolutely zero organization and no logic to where items were tossed. Put it this way, if you were a contestant on Finders Keepers and had to find a baseball buried in this store, you'd be completely fucked.


It was impossible to process the magnitude of stuff that was stacked, scattered, hanging, and buried around this shop. Paint the picture in your mind of the following items in complete disarray: old magazines, records, statues, loose toys, playsets, sports memorabilia, autographs, mint in box and carded Star Wars and Wrestling toys, masks, ride-on toys, Cabbage Patch Kids, the list goes on and on. Really, none of it was in the best condition, but if there was one specific item that you were looking for, and they happened to have it, you'd be one happy camper.


This lack of organization was like anarchy. It can cause an unfathomable amount of anxiety to a collector. Seeing so many collectibles in such shambles agitated me a bit, but I also found some charm in all of it at the same time, since it created a stark contrast to one of those cold, museum-like stores with no personality. Here, it seemed more likely that there was something really amazing buried beneath the debris. Would we find it?

I kept gravitating toward a full wall-sized shelf that was packed with tons of random retro relics (how ya like me now?). The shelves were like the walls of the 53rd precinct and were literally bleeding junk out of each compartment. I needed a closer look.

OWNER: "You can't go back there"

ME: "I'd like to look at something I want to buy."

OWNER: "Nobody goes back there, you'll knock everything over."

This was a 12-15 foot span of wall shelving set behind another span of lower shelving chock full of stuff that the owner would not allow anyone to inspect. After his warning, a middle aged woman complained to me that she had the same issue with him and she didn't understand why. Things couldn't really get more messed up in there anyway. My eyes kept locking in on old Munsters and Gremlins stuff. Much of the stuff was still in its original, worn boxes.


Eventually, I pitched gaining access to the store owner again because there was one thing I wanted to look at further, I can't remember what it was, but at the time it was screaming for my attention.

ME: "Can I please just go back there for a minute? I promise I won't touch anything or knock anything over."

Somehow, I must've assured him enough that I wouldn't mess anything up and persuaded him to let me get in there. It was during all this that Matt was having a moment not too dissimilar to the time when Janosz locked eyes with Vigo, except picture Dino Drac and a 1979 12" Kenner Alien figure. It was broken, of course. Even though the figure was loose, far from mint, and its leg was removed, the owner explained how Matt could fix it. The ludicrous price tag for such a fixer upper was so not worth it. It was so expensive that Matt wasn't heartbroken when he had to part with it when we left. Now, if the Alien figure came with a homemade crutch and the broken leg had a cast on it with a fake Sigourney Weaver signature on it, I think Matt may have paid the guy double for it. Further down to the rear of the store you can see the $4,000 dollar Watto, he was out of both of our price ranges too.


Being in this store was both amazing and completely underwhelming at the same time. Then the mood became borderline sad. "The whole store is on sale for $50,000," the store owner told me.

Smirking, I looked at Matt and we tried desperately to decipher if we both really just heard that. The price was a bit preposterous. He didn't mean 50k for the actual deed to his space in the flea market, nope, just the garbage inside of it.

I decided to ask him the prices on a few things just to see if he was trying to scam customers. A vintage Cher doll was a "Hundred bucks." She was loose, had messy hair, and didn't have the original clothes. The high prices seemed to be a recurring theme in there. We didn't buy anything.

I'm sorry to do this to you. Talk about an Empire Strikes Back ending.

A few months later, the poor old guy who ran the store died of a sudden heart attack at the flea market one day. I couldn't help but think the guy may have been trying to raise money for his own medical bills, or pay some kind of debt, but who knows? Either way, without knowing the specifics and personal situation of the owner, the message I glean from this whole story is that you can literally become buried in your own stuff, and it can weigh you down and cause anxiety. So, why not open a shop and sell all your shit immediately for 50 grand?


Fast forward to November 2014. News broke that a large portion of the indoor part of the Columbus flea market burned to the ground, well at least the majority of the building did. I was shocked. What's crazier is that I hadn't heard about any of this until last week when a friend at work mentioned it. Most people I talk to knew about the fire, but not the owner of the store.

It's been a few months since the fire, and we're mere weeks away from the next Monster Mania, so there doesn't seem to be a more appropriate time to reminisce. Looking back, not jumping right away to post a blog and pictures from this trip was probably for the best. It's given me the chance now to look back on this place and the quirky memories of the day we spent there.

If you're a collector or just like to go to weird junk places, they sort of all bleed together in your mind after being to so many of them, but this one definitely stands out, not for the bizarre toy den, but more for the PIZZA. Ahh, see, for a second you thought this post was booked to be the most grim in Sexy Armpit history, but, nope, I have other plans.


You've heard the old quote about how all pizza is good pizza, and even bad pizza is good because it's still pizza, right? Unless we're talking certain kinds of frozen pizza, that statement always rings true.


Inside the Columbus flea market we sat ourselves down at the stools of a large rectangular bar that served pizza. We were lured into Pete's Pizza because it smelled amazing and the sign was glorious. Their mascot was like a cross between Little Caesar and Frenchy Martin. It was one of the best pizza places ever. Why? Well, a lot of it had to do with the lady behind the counter being so attentive to us, and of course, the pizza was delicious, but what cemented this honor was their choice of dinnerware. Our pizza was served on Happy 5th Birthday paper plates! This is the only thing that can help you forget about the death, disorder, and fiery madness that you've had to endure in this post. Happy 5th Birthday!

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