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Forces of Geek 2019 Father’s Day Gift Guide

This Sunday is Father’s Day, an actual holiday, dedicated to selling neckties and paperweights.

And while most dads (or paternal figures) are likely happy with an afternoon in their man cave watching Jaws or RoboCop undisturbed, or an uninterrupted bowel movement and a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, here are some of our suggestions that would make the most of the day.

And no neckties or paperweights.

 

Father’s Day Pop Culture T-Shirts

Our friends at 80sTees.com offer an amazing selection of officially licensed Father’s Day Shirts celebrating pop culture.  Among the choices are Star Wars, Marvel Comics, WWE Legends, Masters of The Universe, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Rocky and many more.  A number of the shirts feature iconic dads such as Darth Vader, Al Bundy, Mike Brady, Howard Cunningham, Peter Griffin, Clark Griswold and more.

All of the shirts are machine washable, tagless, and are made of either 100% cotton or a cotton/poly blend (depending on the design).  As you spend Father’s Day paying tribute to your dad, it’s not a hard decision to help him show off his pop culture tastes with an awesome shirt!

 

Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home Blu-ray

Palm Springs, a small desert oasis 100 miles east of Los Angeles, was Frank Sinatra’s home for fifty years. During his brief yet turbulent marriage to Ava Gardner, Palm Springs was center stage. And for the rest of his life, the Rancho Mirage compound on Frank Sinatra Drive was the sanctuary he called “My Heaven.” Palm Springs still feels the ghost of the legendary performer.In this documentary film, director Leo Zahn explores Sinatra’s deep attachment to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, capturing the spirit of the Sinatra era and paying tribute to his unique lifestyle. Featuring more than fifty clips from his movie and television appearances as well as revealing interviews with Barbara Sinatra, Mel Haber, Tom Dreesen, Bruce Fessier, Trini López, Michael Fletcher and many others who knew and lived and played with Mr. Sinatra, Zahn offers a fascinating insight into a true icon of entertainment.  Extras include trailer and featurettes.

 

Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter

As America acknowledged the recent 75th anniversary of D-Day, a new graphic novel connects the reader with the true heroes of yesteryear, the armed forces who fought to ensure the freedom of the United States.

June 1944. World War II. D-Day. 182 members of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division parachute into the French countryside–a full eighteen miles southeast of their intended target. Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter is an original graphic novel from DC Vertigo is the true story of a World War II battle that took place in the small village of Graignes, France for six days and the people that survived to tell the tale.

In the worst misdrop of the D-Day campaign, a group of soldiers are rattled to find themselves even deeper behind enemy lines than anyone had intended. Miraculously, the citizens of Graignes vote to feed and shelter the soldiers, knowing that the decision would bring them terrible punishment if their efforts were discovered by the Germans. That day of reckoning comes faster than anyone could expect.

As a small German militia passes through, the world’s war comes to their remote town in the countryside and for the the next six days, the small band of American paratroopers and French citizens must fight for their lives to hold back 2,000 enemy combatants.

Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter is a true story of survival, loyalty, the brutality of war and a triumph of the human spirit so rarely brought to the comics form. Writers Kevin Maurer (#1 New York Times bestseller No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden) and Robert Venditti (Green Lantern)–whose uncle fought in the Battle of Graignes and is a key character in the tale–completed exhaustive archival research in preparation this unbelievable untold story from World War II.

 

Wire in The Blood: The Complete Collection

Robson Green (Granchester, Strike Back, Touching Evil) stars as Dr. Tony Hill, a clinical psychologist called in by the police to help investigate serial killers. The DVD 13-Disc Set features all six seasons (23 feature-length episodes) and a bonus episode in collectible packaging. The hit ITV and BBC America series aired from 2002-2008.

Possessing an uncanny insight into criminal behavior, Dr. Tony Hill is called upon to assist the police in building profiles of serial killers in Northern England. His unorthodox methods and off-putting personality alienate people at first, but he soon proves to be a considerable asset to the force. Along with his colleagues, DI Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris, MI-5, Cold Feet) and, later, DI Alex Fielding (Simone Lahbib, Loch Ness), Tony investigates the atrocious crimes committed by psychopaths, serial killers, and other deviants.

Based on novels by acclaimed author Val McDermid, these chilling, twist-filled mysteries also star Emma Handy (Doc Martin), Mark Letheren (Delicious), and Mark Penfold (The Bill), with guest stars including Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey, Loch Ness), Kenny Doughty (Vera, Love Lies & Records), Pip Torrens (The Crown), Ellie Haddington (Foyle’s War), Felix Scott (Doc Martin), and John Hopkins (Midsomer Murders, Poldark).

 

Game of Thrones: The Storyboards

Go behind the scenes of HBO’s global television phenomenon with Game of Thrones: The Storyboards—an official collection featuring striking storyboard art.

In this exceptional art collection featuring scenes from seasons one through seven, Game of Thrones storyboard artist William Simpson shares the brilliant work that is an integral part of assembling each episode of the award-winning series.

This gorgeous book features a unique behind-the-scenes look into pivotal moments and early conceptual art from Game of Thrones. Curated from Simpson’s extensive archive, this revealing collection represents the exemplary artistic development involved in one of the most visually dynamic shows on television.

Game of Thrones: The Storyboards is the definitive compendium of storyboards for this hit series and captures the impressive scope of its rich development and artistry. This unique collection is housed in a finely crafted, deluxe slipcase and is a must-have for all fans of this breathtaking show.

 

Blood on Black Wax: Horror Soundtracks on Vinyl

Are you obsessed with John Carpenter’s iconic music for the Halloween series? Do you thrill to the unforgettable stabs of the Psycho score, or the pounding synth of Goblin’s soundtrack to Suspiria? Do you find yourself being pulled into the hair-raising modern scores for the likes of Get Out, Hereditary, and The Witch?You’re not alone.

Blood on Black Wax is a defining horror soundtrack volume that spotlights iconic franchises such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Jaws, The Exorcist, and George A. Romero’s Dead films, highlighting both the music and the amazing, often rare artwork that graces the record sleeves. It also tells the stories behind the soundtrack, from the mouths of the musicians who made them, including John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi, Christopher Young, Harry Manfredini, Charles Bernstein, Pino Donaggio, John Harrison, and more.

Aaron Lupton and Jeff Szpirglas, both of Rue Morgue magazine, have curated Blood on Black Wax to reflect their own passion for the darkest slabs of soundtrack music. Their journey into the fascinating history of horror movie scores contains reviews, release details, and wild stories about both renown and unusual releases everything from the orchestral sounds of Hammer and Universal horror, to the truly experimental albums for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Eraserhead, to the outlandish punk and metal songs of ’80s soundtrack albums like The Return of the Living Dead and Shocker.

Go back to your favorite horror films one more time, through the jaw-dropping, spine-tingling music that helped solidify their place in cinematic history!

 

Hellboy 1/12 Scale Action Figure

Courtesy of 1000toys and creator Mike Mignola and released through Dark Horse Direct comes this amazing figure of Hellboy, the world’s greatest paranormal investigator.  The fully articulated, 1/12th scale action figure is made from PVC and stands at 7.5” tall, making him the perfect size to punch his Right Hand of Doom into the throat of pretty much any other figure in your collection.  As a full-fledged member of the B.P.R.D., Hellboy comes with and interchangeable head, closed fist hand, open hands for holding other accessories, separate gun, utility belt, and removable cloth jacket.  This figure is a must-have for any Hellboy or Mignola fan, looking as if he just stepped off the comic page onto your desk.  Pancakes not included.

 

Rainbow Bluetooth Speaker

As more and more people find themselves listening to music via their phone, having Bluetooth speakers throughout your home has become fairly standard.  And the Rainbow Bluetooth Speaker rates among the best I’ve ever come across.

Whether you’re after a tranquil glowing ambience for a quiet night in or a frenzied light show to liven up your house parties – prepare to get touchy-feely with this little lamp to explore its various light modes. Simply swipe along the top to cycle through three different brightnesses and five vibrant colors.

Not just a tasteful lighting accessory, this flashy device packs some serious punch in the portable speaker stakes too. You can effortlessly blast out tunes via Bluetooth or go “old school” and connect your phone with the included aux cable, or even whack in a microSD card.

What’s more, the Rainbow Bluetooth Speaker has a convenient built-in microphone so you can make technicolor hands-free phone calls. With a range of 10 meters, the Rainbow Bluetooth Speaker makes an ideal addition to your nightstand, allowing music, soft light and a speaker phone, all within a short reach.

 

Trial & Retribution: Complete Collection

Created and written by BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Lynda La Plante, “the playwright laureate of women crime-stoppers” (NPR’s Weekend Edition)-this long-running British series displays the same hard-bitten sensibility and emotional resonance that made Prime Suspect a television landmark. The 22 feature-length mysteries in this complete collection each follow a case from the scene of the crime to the courtroom verdict. Boasting innovative storytelling and uncompromising realism, Trial & Retribution powerfully portrays the psychological scars that violence leaves behind.  The DVD 18-Disc set features all 12 seasons (1997-2009) and almost two hours of bonus features, including a behind-the-scenes documentary and cast and crew interviews.

David Hayman (Sid and Nancy) stars as DCS Mike Walker, with Kate Buffery (Wish Me Luck) and Victoria Smurfit (About a Boy) as his partners. Guest stars include Hugh Dancy, Iain Glen, Simon Callow, Greg Wise, Gemma Jones, Corin Redgrave, Charles Dance, Rosamund Pike, and Michael Fassbender.

Milton’s Red Swingline Stapler

“They’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire… “

Crisis averted.  As any fan of Office Space knows, Milton takes his red Swingline stapler seriously.  And in order to avert any other arson attempts, Swingline has made sure that Milton’s stapler is available.  Both a trusted desktop tool and a nod to one of the funniest films of all time, Milton’s desktop stapler is designed for long-term durability and consistent performance, constructed with a strong metal base and a sturdy plastic top. The high-performing stapler fastens up to 20 sheets of paper (perfect for your T.P.S. Reports) and works best with standard sized Swing line S. F. 4 Premium Staples. Easily tack papers to bulletin boards: open the top of the stapler and you’re ready. The stapler can also produce pointed staples for temporary pinning: just reverse the anvil.

And it’s a hell of a lot more useful than a Jump To Conclusions Mat.

 

The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD

The Toys That Made Us is a documentary web television series created by Brian Volk-Weiss. Originally streaming on Netflix, the 8-episode documentary series focuses on the history of important toy lines. Season 1 focused on the Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Barbie and He-Man toy lines and Season 2 featured LEGO, Transformers, Hello Kitty and Star Trek.  Like VH-1’s Behind The Music, The Toys That Made Us often follows a similar pattern as it follows the minds behind history’s most iconic toy franchises as they discuss the rise, and often fall, of their billion-dollar creations. For those pop culture aficionados with a nostalgic love of their childhood, The Toys That Made Us is the next best thing to waking up on Christmas morning.

 

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History

On the twentieth anniversary of the seven-time Emmy Award-winning Fox animated television series comes Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History, a fully illustrated, full-color visual guide honoring its reign—from storyboards to character sketches to script excerpts to cast and crew interviews—and giving fans exclusive access behind the scenes. This comprehensive guide is an essential collector’s item for the millions and millions of Family Guy fans around the world.

Featuring 240 pages of concept art, exclusive interviews with crew and cast members—including Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein, and Mike Henry—script excerpts, production notes, and countless insights on the making of the episodes as well as fan favorite characters Meg Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, Brian Griffin, Lois Griffin, and Cleveland Brown, this is the ultimate guide to one of the most popular animated shows ever created.

Commentary from the crew will walk fans through every step of production, from conception meetings to the final print, detailing not only the artistic process but the history of its creation as well. Featuring storyboards, costume designs, reference photographs, immaculate background paintings and much more, the world of Family Guy and its memorable characters has never been revealed in such gorgeous detail before.

 

Soundasleep Smart Pillow

I personally can’t fall asleep without a bit of background noise and wearing earbuds has me waking up twisted in wires or from the occasional awkward movement that digs the bud uncomfortably in my ear.  Fortunately, the geniuses at Soundasleep created this futuristic smart pillow. Not only is it ridiculously comfy to rest your weary head on, this thing has a built-in bluetooth speaker to help soothe you to sleep.

Wirelessly connect the pillow to any bluetooth-friendly device (like your phone or laptop) in seconds to hear your favourite music, TV shows, podcasts, or even white noise through the 1.5W speakers as you drift off. It can play whatever you queue up for 8 hours continuously, so you don’t need to worry about being woken up by eerie quiet in the middle of the night.

The accompanying app even features a sleep tracker, snore manager, and smart alarm to wake you up in one. You don’t even need to go scouring the web for mindful ambient noise, this thing has everything you need to have you drifting off, from guided meditation to sounds from all of your favourite nature scenes.

Made of 100% polyester hollowfibre filling under a polyester microfibre outer cover, this hypoallergenic pillow. takes 3-4 hours to charge for a continuous 8 hour playtime. A perfect gift so your dad can finally get some sleep!

 

Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Hardcover

DC did a great job with last year’s Action Comics #1000.

Here, they actually might have topped themselves. It’s unbelievable!

The Batman’s “Longest Case” starts off the issue. This one is by the fan favorite creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. It has to do with a case from long ago involving forgery and a business magnate who is killed by his son. We first see Batman scaling a wall and we find out all the particulars about the case.

Then he encounters a bunch of other detectives from the DC Universe. This story is used as a framing device for the other stories in the book. Snyder and Capullo do a great job of it too. The story is fun and well drawn and makes for a great entryway for the other creators in this issue. It got the issue off on the right foot and after that I just dug in. (Kudos to Capullo for his interpretations of some of the great DC detectives).

The next story is the collaboration between Kevin Smith and Jim Lee. It has to do Matches Malone going into a place called the “Gotham Gift Shop.” This is a place apparently where a bunch of things that have been lost in Batman’s fights are for sale. And it’s pretty insane. The owner has guns that have jammed on the Riddler for sale. He’s got one of the Mad Hatter’s hats as well.

It’s a nice story with some great creativity in it. Matches is looking for a particular item. And it’s an item that is linked to Batman’s past. The art is okay on this story. I’m not the biggest Jim Lee fan but he does a capable job here of Illustrating Smith’s story. It’s a fairly simplistic ending but I liked it enough for my tastes.

Next up, we have a story by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. I love this creative team as they are simply awesome. They tell us the story of Knute Brody. Brody was a henchman for some of the greats. But he’s also the world’s worst henchman. It’s a simple tale that is very funny. We get to see Knute foil some big plans for some of the greats including Poison Ivy and the Riddler. I laughed out loud a few times during the story. The ending is quite funny too. Dini and Nguyen work perfectly together as always here.

We get a story by Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan that was very simple and very awesome. In it, we get to see Batman tracking criminals to a warehouse. It leads to a battle and it’s quite explosive. And then, at the end Batman gives one of them criminals a choice to either give up crime or face big consequences. It’s a strangely powerful tale the team gives us here. That’s because Cloonan is a fantastic artist who makes the whole thing feel like a big theatrical performance. It’s all so streamlined that you can’t help but love it. This is Batman boiled down to his core and I just loved it.

Up next is a story by Denny O’Neil and Steve Epting. This one has to do with Leslie Thompkins having to stop Bruce from doing something terrible. The story starts and we see a robbery. Then, we see Batman meeting up with Leslie. They talk. And just like that, the criminals and Batman cross paths. Batman takes them out, of course. The scene is pretty brutal. Is Batman about to lose control? Leslie feels she has to stop him. This leads to a harsh and sad ending. The story is good(though I wonder if Leslie just gave the criminals Batman’s identity at the end?) and Epting is a fantastic artist who does great work here as well.

Then, of course, we get the obligatory Neal Adams Batman story. But it’s written by Christopher Priest so it got me a little excited. We get to see an incident from Bruce’s past and how it relates to a current situation. And then I lost track of what was happening. Priest seems to have written a good script that Adams just ignored.

There seems to be a body found in Gotham. Bruce does some digging into who it is and how it got there. It all leads to a confrontation with Ra’s Al Ghul who swears he has nothing to do with the case but gives Batman a clue. This leads into the ending and I have no idea what happened. But oh well!

The next tale is by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. It is called “I Know” and it starts off in the future. The Penguin is walking on a waterfront type of area and he encounters another man in a wheelchair. He then tells this man that years ago he figured out that Batman was actually Bruce Wayne. And from there it flashes back. We get to see how the Penguin came to find out.  It’s no secret that the man in the wheelchair is Bruce Wayne. And it leads to an obvious ending. The flashback is well done and the art by Maleev however are more than worth the price of admission. It stands as some of his best work and that is really saying something. The colors especially are spectacular in this one.

From there, we get a very cool tale by Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones. It opens in a very interesting way. The Bat-Signal pops on and Damian talks about how it hasn’t popped on in a month. We then get to see a very different dynamic for the Bat-Family. Apparently, Gotham has been crime free for a month and the family jumps at the chance to solve a crime! Things get downright bizarre. Apparently, Batman and Catwoman are together here and they have kids and even a dog. And they all fight crime. The ending does make sense of it all and it ends up being a charming tale. Kudos go to Kelley Jones on this one for his Illustrations. They are  really awesome and they give us a nice helping of emotion at the end.

James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez-Bueno have the next story and it’s my least favorite of the issue. It’s about the precedent that Bruce sets up for his partners. It’s a short story thankfully and moves quickly as there wasn’t much to it. That’s not to say it’s awful (it’s not). It just a standard story. Not amazing, but not terrible either. The art is pretty spiffy but I was ready to move on by the end of it. So, moving on.

The next story by Tom King and Joelle Jones and Tony Daniel is awesome. I was confused a bit what was happening at first. Apparently, all of Batman’s sidekicks and partners are there and they are all gathering for something. It seems to be something big too. The revelation had me reeling. Apparently, he got them all together for a family photo. He even says “Say Cheese!” It was fantastic. The art by Jones and Daniel is great here too and really gives this inventive story an incredible weight while maintaining the fun.

Lastly, we get a story by Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke. The whole thing is a bunch of flashes of Batman’s battles over the years. It shows the history. It shows what has happened before. It shows us a preview of the current Arkham Knight storyline.

In addition, the book features a new 12-page Batman story, written by Robert Venditti with art by Stephen Segovia. “Table for Two” pits Batman against a Gotham City gauntlet of his most dangerous rogues, as Two-Face unites half of the Gotham underworld to eradicate the Dark Knight once and for all. Plus tribute art from Jason Fabok, Mikel Janin, Amanda Conner, and Paul Mounts.  Rounding out the book is a gallery of 32 unique retailer-exclusive variants, plus the nine decade-themed variant covers from artists such as Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Jim Steranko, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Miller, Tim Sale, Jock and Greg Capullo.

This is an anniversary tribute that earns its place in history. DC really did an incredible job here and it shows on every page. This is one to savor.

Happy Birthday, Batman and Happy Anniversary to Detective Comics, and Happy Father’s Day!

 

Special thanks to Lenny Schwartz for the assist.

 

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