Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (s01e02)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Summary: The spooky spirit of Halloween sweeps through Stoneybrook. Meanwhile, Claudia explores budding romance and struggles to connect with her parents.

This is one of my favourite books in the series, they’re so silly and sweet and spooky all at the same time, and I’m thrilled to see it in this adorable show. Fingers crossed that I love it as much as I do the book. 

Also: Claudia narration? CLAUDIA NARRATION!

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Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Kristy’s Great Idea (s01e01)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Say hello to your friends!

But this is not that show, as cheesy and wonderful as it was, so let’s get started with the actual show.

Summary: A creative concept comes to life as Kristy starts a club with her best friends — and a new classmate. But is she ready to be a team leader?

Uh, that summary sounds terribly boring. I know they tend to be short, but good lord, that is dry as fuck.

While we recap the books (the first 9 have been done so far) and we will recap the older tv show and the movie, I will not be recapping this tv show, mostly because it seems like the plots align pretty closely to the books. HOWEVER, I have looked forward to this show so damn much, and since this is where I bring my BSC nostalgia, I am going to share my thoughts. Written in real-time, edited only for spelling, adding information like actor names, and formatting for the site.

I AM SO DAMN EXCITED, Y’ALL! IT’S FINALLY HERE! I CANNOT WAIT TO BEGIN.

No more waiting. Let’s do this.

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Posted in Other Comics

Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils #1 by Steve Gerber

SJNSD Cover by Amanda Conner
SJNSD Cover by Amanda Conner

Title: Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils – “Jagged Image”

Writer: Steve Gerber

Pencils: Amanda Conner

Inks: Jeff Albrecht

Colors: Michael Higgins

Letters: Janice Chiang

Editor: Terry Kavanagh

Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Summary: A group of suburban ninjas must face a demonic threat in New Jersey.

Initial Thoughts

With the American Girl recaps finally done, I can freely focus on doing 90s comic recaps without feeling guilt. This particular recap’s been left unfinished since 2018.

Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils is one of my favorite one-shot comics from the 90s, and it is bizarre as the title leads you to believe. Its two immediate claims to fame are being written by Steve Gerber and penciled by Amanda Conner. Gerber’s famous for co-creating Man-Thing and Howard the Duck, while Conner would go on to be recognized as THE Power Girl artist and one-half of the modern day creative team behind the current Harley Quinn mythos (alongside her husband Jimmy Palmiotti). It’s a little weird, because you can recognize Conner’s artwork but this is back when she had more of an adult Archie Comics vibe (well before Riverdale and the rebooted line).

The title immediately brings to mind Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, being published in 1991 (two years before Saban adapted Zyuranger for American audiences), I’m led to believe TMNT was the main source of parody for this book. Not surprising, as a LOT of people enjoyed doing parodies of the TMNT concept. This makes sense since the original TMNT comics were meant as a joke.

Despite being a Marvel comic, the story doesn’t really have anything to do with the Marvel Universe. Gerber throws in a couple of references but not enough to really give a sense these women operate in the same realm as the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man. After publication, the title’s never been referenced again and I’m not even sure you can buy it on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited. I stumbled upon this comic several years ago among a collection of stuff someone brought to the store. It’s an obscure comic, but not obscure to the point it goes for $25 on eBay.

I’m not sure if the reason the book’s never mentioned in the Marvel Universe was due to Gerber’s wishes, or no one particularly cares enough TO reference it. It sucks they didn’t get picked as part of the 50 State Initiative in the post-Civil War status quo, or get referenced during the 2010s Secret Wars event. So once again it’s up to me to bring some cultural to your sad, sorry lives.

One last thing before we begin. Whatever happens in this comic, remember, JUST GO WITH IT.

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #6: Changes For Molly by Valerie Tripp

Changes for Molly Cover
Changes for Molly Cover

Title: Changes For Molly

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Bakes

Summary: Molly can hardly wait for Dad to come home! She’s especially excited because he’ll arrive in time to see her dance the part of Miss Victory in the big Red Cross show. Molly isn’t worried about her tap dancing because she’s the best in Miss LaVonda’s dance class. But she wants to look sophisticated so Dad will know how much she’s grown up while he’s been away at war. Unfortunately, Molly’s hair is all wrong. When Jill finally finds a way to give Molly glorious curls, everything seems to be perfect. Then Molly gets sick. Things couldn’t be worse – until the doctor comes just in time.

Initial Thoughts

Why the hell did I agonize about putting this off for so long when that back summary gave away nearly the entire book?

Seriously though, this project shouldn’t have taken as long as it did for me to complete. That’s all on me, but, I think maybe it’s for the best I did wait until now to finish this recap. Things right now are a nightmare because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are dying and this country’s healthcare system’s finally been exposed as the joke it is. Unemployment’s on the rise and toilet paper’s being hoarded like gold. [Wing: This recap has been waiting awhile for me to comment on it, and I want to recognise the ongoing violence against Black people, including the extrajudicial murder of so many by a corrupt, over-powered, unchecked police force. This is not new, of course, but the wide-spread coverage is bringing light to a problem that Black people deal with daily. I hope the protests and demands bring actual, practical change. The Nostalgic Bookshelf family of recap sites have made donations to various bail funds and community support systems, but there is so much more fighting to do. Here is one potential resource, a Google doc, of things people in the USA can do; it also links to a Google spreadsheet with more.]

Right now both my stadium and census jobs have been delayed and my biggest fear’s losing the comic shop. My sibling works at a Trader Joe’s and my dad’s a security guard at a nursing home, so both of them are dealing with worse shit. In fact, my grandpa’s staying at the very same home and the virus has gotten into the building. Thank God he’s okay for now, but my dad doesn’t feel well and he doesn’t know if it’s the virus or not.

So, re-reading this book, it talks about the way life changes during a time of crisis. This isn’t a war we’re dealing with, but it feels like it. This also talks about doing what you can in similar situations, which makes me realize I need to do more writing for myself and others. I’m not sure how much these recaps can help, but if they put a smile on at least one person’s face that’ll be worth it.

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes (S02E06-07)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Golden Horseshoes

Summary: Mimic comes down with a MYSTERY DISEASE so Megan & the Ponies lie, cheat, and steal their way to collecting 4 MAJIKAL GOLDEN HORSE SHOES that will “save” Mimic. The usual nonsense happens. Stop expecting amazing shit to happen. Set your bar right on the ground because that’s where it belongs.

Grade: It’s complicated. See “Final Thoughts” for reasoning.

Initial Thoughts:

Back to back recaps are killers, you know. Yes, welcome, again, to another one of my miserable attempts to recap My Little Pony ‘n Friends, because either you’re a sadist or a masochist. I’m probably a little bit both, tbh. Dove escapes yet again with just commentary. Lucky, lucky Dove.

No, I mustn’t lie; I asked to recap The Golden Horseshoes because it was one I (seemingly) remember watching when it initially aired. What have I learned on this journey? That my memory is shitty when it comes to this cartoon. Honestly, the only thing I remembered for certain was the hot take on child abuse/endangerment in the entertainment industry, aka Night Shade and his Tale of Woe.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesSo whatever really happens in this episode, I specifically asked to watch it and suffer through it, all based on this particular memory: the deification of Mimic.

Back in the Stone Age of G1 Pony toys, for those too young to remember buying them brand new in Toys’R’Us or KayBee Toys in a mall, Mimic’s toy was released in Y5 as one of the Twinkle-Eyed Ponies, second wave. There were six Ponies in that wave and I can tell you right now, six year old me was not having it with the colours the designers picked. I think I was still very much in my “I wish I was girly but I’m too much of a fucking tomboy” phase and I have always been a very visceral person (part of that is having an artsy brain, part of that is being a Taurus) so the only one of the six I wanted was Locket. Granted, down the line I would come to own Tic-Tac-Toe (I think through a garage sale or something) but I don’t remember ever gaining the others from that set for my collection.

Then this episode of the cartoon happened and I wanted a fucking Mimic.

At that point, finding her was hard. I don’t think, based on the colours, these were very popular with girls. I don’t think they were produced in near the same numbers as the original TE Ponies. Face it, initially, you’re going to see a pea green Pony with a red Macaw as her cutie mark and think “wtf was the designer smoking?” Plus they chose a mold with a pose that was notoriously difficult to make stand on its own. Great going, Hasbro!

Anyway, fast forward some 15 years or so and eBay exists now and someone figures out there’s a ton of collectors who still want a Mimic. So they charge outrageous up-marked prices for theirs, in whatever shape they may be in, and they manage to sell them, because MIMIC. Honestly, I can’t go that far back in my emails (or can I?) (actually, no, I can’t, boo) but it seems I came into possession of a “slightly trimmed mane and tail” Mimic toy somewhere in 20??, uh, early 2000-something. I think I thought paying $25 (or was it $50?) for Mimic was outrageous but 2000-whatever me had not yet met 2010 me, who paid $600 for a piece of nice paper with artwork screen-printed on it, even if it was only 1 of 10 ever made. Whatever, we do what we do to get the things we collect. (I happen to truly love that goddamn expensive piece of paper, where as I’m not sure where Mimic has ended up. I think I last saw her in my garage. My, how fickle I am about Mimic now.)

[Dove: When I first began collecting, my innocent little brain decided that Mimic was the pinnacle of a collection. She was the one that signified that you were one of the powerhouses in the collection community. She proved you would lay down seriously money to collect. And when I got her, I thought I had arrived. And then I realised all I’d done was leave the “vague hobbyist” arena and step on to the entry level tier for collectors. It was quite humbling to step into the bidding war with a brand new credit card attempting to buy an Argentina Sugarberry, only to find the starting bid was above my credit limit. I don’t know how Raven found such a beautiful version of her, but she really is perfect. Her hair is soooo soft. I also have a “Dark Mimic” which I bought at PonyCon 2018. I would love to credit the creator, but unfortunately I didn’t keep a record – if you made her, please leave a comment.]

[bat: Ooo, that Dark Mimic is pretty. Nice find!]

And none of that has anything to do with the recap except to give you context about why I remember this 2-part episode. I mean, I could totally be watching the last three episodes of The Witcher instead but nope, here I am, trying to remember why I liked this episode, beyond MIMIC.

Without further adieu, and more rambling, let’s get to the recap.

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: Spike’s Search (S02E05)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Spike’s Search

Summary: Spike suffers from an inferiority complex when his “flame” is “too small”. Megan makes things worse by telling Spike, it’s not the size of the flame, it’s how you use it. Spike runs off to find more dragons with Danny for accompaniment. WAIT, WHY IS DANNY BACK??

Grade: (a big fat) F

Initial Thoughts:

Welcome back to yet another recap in which Dove and I chronicle our descent into the 17th circle of hell that is known as My Little Pony and Friends. [Dove: Actually, it’s ‘n Friends. The apostrophe makes it cool.] At this point, can you even find differences in our recaps? Excluding the title changes, they’re practically the same.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThis show sucks but we’re not quitters. We fight the good fight and continue to sit through this dreck, slowly losing our minds. We will be different people by the end of this nightmare, but stronger and more wary of taking on complicated recap projects, perhaps. (I say this as I’ve already committed myself to at least two other cartoon recap series that are non-MLP related. I’m stupid, what can I say.)

If I didn’t hate Spike already, I get the “very special Spike-centric” episode to recap. Didn’t I already do one? You know, I shouldn’t have felt sorry for that plastic toy Spike that got thrown away by my babysitter, seriously, I manage one act of (strange) kindness (compassion? empathy??) and I’m cursed by a fucking little purple dragon for the rest of my life.

Oh well. I’m already nauseated by the fact I am stuffed to the gills with antibiotics, why not make myself feel even worse by tacking this recap?! [Dove: I’m coming at this after a two-day buying binge at PonyCon, followed by watching the final episode of FiM. I’m utterly broken. I suspect I’m going to be very bitter throughout this recap. (If you didn’t well up during the final few episodes of season 9, you’re probably made of stone.)] [bat: I am 9 episodes behind AND they have not aired the final three episodes in the States yet. So I am clueless as to what happens.] [Dove: Note from the future, the above was true for half the recap, but life intervened and we both were away from this recap (which can only be a good thing) for a few weeks. So if anything seems to not match the PonyCon/season finale timeline, that’s why. Also, bat has now watched the finale. She has a heart of stone. I ugly cried. All three times I watched it.] [bat: I CRIED AT THE FLUTTERSHY PART! My heart is only 2/3rds stone.]

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Posted in X-Men

Generation X Holiday Special by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina

Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina
Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina

Title: Generation X Holiday Special – “Yes, Jubilee, there IS a Santa Claus,” a.k.a. “The Nanny & Orphan-Maker Christmas Kidnapping Extravaganza”

Writer: Joseph “Joe” Harris

Penciller: Adam Pollina

Inkers: Morales, Faber, Leigh, Wong and Wiacek

Colorist: Paul Tutrone

Letterer: RS/Comicraft/Liz

Editor: Frank Pittarese

Editor-In-Chief: Bob Harras (Boooooooooo! Boooooo on you sir!)

Summary:

A mutant boy named Matthew has trouble with bullies, who torment him until he uses his powers to repell them and they call him even more of a freak than before. You may say he’s “special,” but he’d probably disagree.

Matthew thinks kidnapping Santa Claus will solve all his problems, but the truth is his real problem is with Orphan-Maker and Nanny, who want to celebrate their Christmas tradition of making a mutant child into an orphan. Luckily, Generation X and Santa put a stop to their plans.

Initial Thoughts

For the holiday season it’s time to talk about one of my favorite X-Men teams created by one of my least favorite writers of all time.

Before Marvel sold the movie rights to the X-Men and ended up ruining everything with “House of M” and “Decimation,” they developed at least one teen X-Men group for each decade. Starting in the 1980s, there were the New Mutants, the 90s had Generation X, and the early 2000s started off with Academy X until Marvel stupidly depowered 98% of their mutant characters. From the mid 2000s to this year they burned through several different young X-Men groups that were lucky if they ever managed to make it to double digit issues before getting cancelled. Hopefully, Jonathan Hickman’s “Dawn of X” titles will finally fix the damage.

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Posted in TV

Jude’s Guide to Christmas Episode Identification

Best Christmas Specials
Best Christmas Specials

OH IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMASTIIIIIIIIIME!!!!

It’s my favorite time of year again and for Nostalgic Bookshelf I’ve started this article that turned into something a bit different from what I originally planned.

The Christmas episode, that one special episode a franchise usually creates in time for the holiday season. Sometimes they may be twice as long as a usual episode which means they don’t normally air in regular syndication, but if they’re normal length the stations won’t care enough to pull them from rotation.

You also have commonly retold Christmas stories such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “The Nutcracker” whose plots are so specific they tend to simply be re-adapted as their own tales instead of being used as the basis for an episode.

Sitcoms and cartoons have plenty of stock plots for easy episodes, “Two Dates At The Same Time,” “Miscommunication = Cheating Partner,” “Character Gets Drunk With Power,” “New Job Causes New Problems,” but none are as predictable as Christmas episodes. It can take a lot of effort to breathe new life into these ideas, and sometimes you have to either be really, REALLY funny or willing to make things really, REALLY bleak to stand out from the crowd.

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Posted in Superman

Superman Vol.2 Annual #6: The Feral Man of Steel by Darren Vincenzo

Superman_Annual_Vol_2_6
Superman Annual #6 Cover Artwork by Mike Mignola

Title: Superman Annual #6 – The Feral Man of Steel, a.k.a. “The Super Necessities”

Writer: Darren Vincenzo

Penciller: Frank Fosco

Inker: Stan Woch

Colorist: Darren Vicenzo

Letterer: Albert DeGuzman

Editor: Mark Carlin, Chris Duffy, and Frank Pittarese

Cover Artist: Mike Mignola

Summary

Initial Thoughts

Once upon a time, DC Comics used to tell stories outside of their regular continuity. They called these “Imaginary Stories.” Unfortunately, the variety was a bit lacking as many of them were simply stories about who Superman would marry or who Batman would marry.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #12: Claire Can't Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Claire Can’t Lose

Front Blurb: Zoey still can’t choose between Aaron and Lucas, so Aaron asks Claire’s advice on how to win Zoey’s heart for good. But Claire wants Aaron for herself. If he’s crazy enough to follow her advice then… Claire Can’t Lose.

Back Blurb: Claire can’t lose in the game of love. For once she’s found her soulmate—a manipulative schemer just like herself. And she’ll do whatever it takes to make Aaron forget Zoey forever.

 

 

 

 

Initial thoughts:

These books are blurring into one. I remember the vague storylines, but what happens in specific books is very fuzzy. The titles and blurbs don’t really help either. I guess it must still be the Christmas break and we’re carrying on the love-square of Claire-Aaron-Zoey-Lucas. Yay.

[Dove: Same. I think we can all agree that it’s basically a soap opera right now and each book is not a contained story, but a single episode in an ongoing saga. Which was really frustrating to read as a teenager. Especially when you remember that I bought the books piecemeal and not in order.]

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