Saturday, August 6, 2016

What's in the Box?!?: Subscription Box Round-Up: July Nerd Block and Firefly Cargo Crate

Just a couple of weeks after I republished my “I Love the Rocketeer” blog, this news of a new movie came out. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited by the prospect of a new Rocketeer movie. And I am fine with it being a reboot/sequel, with a new person wearing the helmet and rocket pack. I feel like that may be the best way to honor the original movie, rather than redo/recast the original characters. I also think that if Dave Stevens is no longer around to chart the course of the characters he created, maybe the best way to respect his memory is to move the series on with new characters, while still being faithful to the spirit of the original. (How do I square this attitude with the Rocketeer comics created after Stevens’ death, featuring Cliff Secord, Peevy and Betty? Stay tuned to a future blog to find out.)

Oh, and I am fine with the new Rocketeer being a black woman. I haven’t looked at any comments on any of the news articles about this new movie, and the idea that the new Rocketeer is neither white nor male, but I am sure that fandom is being completely reasonable, adult, and respectful of this, and not acting like a bunch of racist, sexist whiny boys. What other reasonable response could there possibly be?

On to July’s Nerd Block. Once again, the outside of the box is exactly the same as it is every month. Feel free to refer back to earlier Nerd Block blogs to see what that looks like.

Last month’s card promised 4 exclusives in this month’s Block, featuring items from Suicide Squad, Attack on Titan, and Transformers. I like the Transformers movies and the Transformers Prime TV show, and my wife and I are gradually warming up to the idea of maybe seeing the Suicide Squad movie. Attack on Titan, however, I know nothing about. So I wasn’t sure how I’d react to this month’s contents.

The first of the exclusives is a little plush Joker from Suicide Squad, made by Bleacher’s Creatures. The photos and clips I’ve seen of the Jared Leto Joker haven’t totally won me over, and this is a pretty ugly doll. However, it’s pretty well-made. I appreciate that it’s actually got a nose and ears, and that the tattoos and other details on the face are embroidered, not printed. However, it’s not going into the bed alongside the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from an earlier Block.

The next exclusive item is a Ghostbusters t-shirt from Shirt Punch. As an old-school Ghostbusters fan, I appreciate this, and it’s an eye-catching design. (I also really enjoyed the new version of the movie, by the way, if we are keeping score as to my reactions to male characters being recast as female.)

The third exclusive is a Transformers Autobot pin. This is nice, but if this is the first time someone has manufactured an Autobot pin, I’ll eat my exclusive Joker plush.

The final exclusive is a Harley Quinn black and white Funko! Pocket Pop keychain. Honestly, this is probably the nicest item in the box, but my wife claimed it for herself. That’s fine (sob).

The final item listed on the card is an Attack on Titan blind bag backpack hanger. My wife tells me I got a zombie. Whatever the hell it is, it is possibly one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen, and I probably won’t be hanging it on my backpack.

That’s all that was listed as being in this month’s box, but that’s not all I got! For whatever reason, this box included a pretty random assortment of items that had been included in earlier boxes. I got (another) pair of Alien mini figures; I can’t remember if I received this exact same pair earlier, but I feel like I might have.

I also received a(nother) copy of the Awkward Family Postcards book. I don’t know what happened to the first copy; it’s probably still boxed up from our move last year. This second copy is completely superfluous.

Finally, I received a second Arrested Development Tobias dress-up magnet. I still haven’t watched Arrested Development, and gave the first set away (or maybe I still need to mail that out; Sorry, Amanda, if I haven’t done that yet). If anyone wants this set, feel free to request it.

The title of this blog is This Makes Me Happy, and I almost didn’t write about this month’s Nerd Block, because it didn’t make me particularly happy. It was a bunch of ugly stuff based on properties I don’t particularly care about. The “bonus” items don’t really make up for it, because it’s all stuff I already have, because Nerd Block already sent it to me. 

Next month’s Block promises items from Lord of the Rings (which I like, but am not passionate about), the Simpsons (which I probably stopped watching maybe 10 years ago), Masters of the Universe (which I never got into) and Ghostbusters, which I love. So we’ll see.

When we first subscribed to Nerd Block, I was really enjoying what I was getting. I still like a lot of the things they send, but it feels less exciting now. I get more fulfillment from the more targeted boxes, like the Marvel Collector Corps and Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty. I’m not sure how many more Nerd Block boxes we have on our subscription, but my wife and I are feeling like we may not be renewing it once it runs out.

Speaking of the more targeted boxes, we also received the Firefly Cargo Crate this week. This month’s box came adorned with a travel sticker for the planet Hera, home of Serenity Valley.

The focus of this month’s box is Zoe, and, as usual, the prize of the box is the exclusive Mini Master figure. I have to wonder if they have the license for the actors’ likenesses, because, like the previous figures, the figure captures the feel and attitude of the character than it does a photorealistic likeness of the actor. Still, these figures are great, and we look forward to having the complete crew.

I had to look up what a challenge coin is, but having read the definition (a coin you can produce to prove membership in something), this Independents challenge coin is pretty nifty. It was from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which probably upsets the people who got one there. Don’t care!

Another exclusive to the box is the Big Damn Heroes lapel pin. My wife plans on wearing this one to work.

My wife was also pleased to see the Serenity journal that came in this month’s box. It’s not listed as an exclusive, but this faux-leather notebook is so gorgeous, it doesn’t matter.

As usual, this month’s box included a Q-Bit mini mystery figure. The possible figures were either Mal or Wash; we received Mal. He’s so adorable!

The exclusive T-shirt this month is particularly exciting: it’s designed by Firefly costume designer Shawna Trpcic. It’s so nice!

This time around, the exclusive print is a certificate of valor for Zoe. It looks pretty cool.

And, of course, we got a copy of the travel sticker from the box.

Finally, there’s the magazine, which continues to be very well-produced. Unfortunately, there’s no interview with Gina Torres, the actor who played Zoe. Maybe she was too busy on the set of Suits. But there is an article about Zoe, a recipe for wife soup, and an interview with series writer Jose Malina which was pretty interesting.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed the Firefly Cargo Crate box over this month’s Nerd Block. Part of that is just knowing that, as a Firefly fan, the stuff I get in that box will be 100% Firefly related, as opposed to the crap shoot of something like Nerd Block. But I also felt like the Firefly box had more of a focus to it, whereas the repeated extra items in Nerd Block really made it feel like they just filled it with whatever was lying around in the office.

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking about those magnets the other day! I was worried they may have gotten lost in the mail...
    That Serenity journal is so nice - I might have to sign up for one of these boxes sometime :)