the caped crusade book

Welcome to The Water Cooler, a weekly feature where the /Film staff is free to go off-topic and talk about everything except the movies and TV shows they normally write about. In this edition, the joys of collecting Ghostbusters action figures, the trials of a new diet, the agonizing wait for Kingdom Hearts 3, an excellent book about Batman, an excellent book about L.A.’s poker scene (that Aaron Sorkin in making into a movie), and the harrowing joys of the video game Thumper.

Diamond Select Ghostbusters Action Figure Diorama

Ethan Anderton Has Been Collecting Diamond Select’s Ghostbusters Action Figures

Diamond Select makes a lot of memorabilia that’s just plain junk. But when it comes to some of their action figure lines, they knock it out of the park. Such is the case with their line of 7-inch Ghostbusters action figures. In addition to being super articulated and accompanied by an impressive array of accessories, what’s really cool is what you see above.

Each of the 15 figures in the Ghostbusters action figure collection comes with a piece of a diorama that recreates the rootop scene from the end of the movie. This month brings the final three figures to shelves, so fans who have been collecting this series since last spring can finally complete the diorama. One of those fans is me.

As a die hard Ghostbusters fan, seeing images of this diorama when it debuted at the New York Toy Fair had me immediately itching to get my hands on all these figures. These Ghostbusters figures are the best pieces of merchandise to be available at an affordable price. The likenesses of the actors is pretty great for such inexpensive figures, and seeing them lined up on the rooftop diorama makes them look even more awesome.

In addition to the figures above, there’s also Gozer the Gozerian, a terror dog (I’m gonna have to buy two to properly recreate the rooftop scene), Walter Peck, the zombie taxi driver, the grotesque form of the librarian ghost, Slimer and alternate versions of Ray Stantz and Peter Venkman. I have all of them except the final three coming out this month, and I can’t wait to complete this rooftop set.

Of course, Diamond Select is following up this line with a Ghostbsuters II set of action figures, each coming with a diorama piece that will recreate the front of the Ghostbusters firehouse. Since I’m not as in love with Ghostbusters II as the first movie, I’m not sure if I’m keen on collecting that line or not. Though there will be a series of the Ghostbusters wearing Santa Claus hats, which could make for a nice alternative Christmas decoration. Plus, the figure of Louis Tully in Ghostbusters gear is pretty cool. I’ll have to wait to see what the other figures in the line-up will be before I decide to spend the money on them.

Hoai-Tran Bui Has Grown Frustrated Over the Wait For Kingdom Hearts 3

It’s been 84 years.

Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it has been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released. And since then, I’ve been waiting, subsisting on the after-credits tease (and now, this week’s new gameplay trailer), for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Now, I’m no gamer, but I would drop absolutely anything for Kingdom Hearts. It’s a video game series that I’ve kept up with since I first picked up the original in middle school, enchanted by the melding of Disney characters with high fantasy anime-style characters. I tried out a few Final Fantasy games — barely finishing X, X-2, then giving up after getting lost for an hour in XII — but they never quite captured my fascination like Kingdom Hearts did. Kingdom Hearts had possibly the most ridiculous story I’d ever seen — a boy wields a giant sword shaped like a key, exploring different Disney worlds while accompanied by a decked out Goofy and Donald — but dumb little 12-year-old me thought it was the deepest stuff that ever existed. I’ll admit that I bawled when Sora and Kairi were separated at the end of the game, and I bought Utada Hikaru’s songs and cried listening to them again. I eagerly bought and played the Game Boy sequel, Chain of Memories, and waited with bated breath for Kingdom Hearts 2 a year later. Then … nothing.

Yes, I’m aware of the billion spin-off games, prequels, and in-between-quels (I cried again to 358/2 Days), but I had long gone from being a broke middle school kid to a broke college kid. I tried my best to keep up with the increasingly convoluted story, out of some loyalty to the series that defined my childhood, even watching a 10-hour YouTube walkthrough of Birth By Sleep. This series has taken half of my life, but still, still Tetsuya Nomura won’t give me Kingdom Hearts 3. The latest gameplay trailer is not enough to quench my thirst for this game — I want a date, and an accompanying Utada Hikaru song. I will buy a PS4 console just so I can run around as Sora, swinging my Keyblade and reliving my favorite childhood video game.

the caped crusade

Ben Pearson Has Been Reading Glen Weldon’s 2016 Book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture

In a cosmic coincidence, I was literally reading a chapter of The Caped Crusade that discussed the impact of the 1966 Batman TV series when my wife told me that Adam West had died. Kind of a downer, but as I continued to read Weldon’s enthusiasm about that show in his book, it helped softened the blow of West’s passing for me.

The Caped Crusade isn’t only about the ’66 Batman show: it’s a comprehensive analysis of practically everything involving Batman, from the character’s initial comic appearance all the way to his cameo in last year’s Suicide Squad. It’s also just a solid piece of writing. It’s lighthearted, funny, but informative, and though it gets into some deeply nerdy corners of the Bat-canon, it never reads like a textbook. As someone who only read the highlights of Batman comics growing up – Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, The Long Halloween, etc. – this book turned me on to entire eras of Batman’s comic history that I had never even heard of.

Plus, it delivers a cogent analysis of why some Bat-fans are so damn hardcore, and traces the toxic subculture that sprouted up in response to negative reviews of The Dark Knight Rises. I wouldn’t recommend this to super hardcore Batman fans who have been reading the comics their whole lives, because a lot of the book might be redundant, but for anyone else with an interest in the Dark Knight, this is a quick, terrific read.

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