Star Wars Pop! Vinyl Jabba the Hutt 3-Pack

Are you a Funko fanatic? These days it’s kinda hard NOT to be one! Funko has worked their way into every property license imaginable bringing those awkward big heads and happy faces to all facets of entertainment.

Star Wars is easily one of the most marketable franchises ever and Funko has certainly reinforced that. Personally, I think Pop! Vinyl’s pairing with a Star Wars is rivaled only by LEGO’s deserving foothold in a galaxy far, far away.

Looking for a Star Wars Pop! that will stand out among the multitude of other great vinyl options? Look no further than…..

Star Wars Pop! Vinyl Jabba the Hutt 3-Pack


Jabba the Hutt isn’t a stranger to the Pop! Vinyl medium, however, his past appearances have seen him reduced from his true gluttonous glory. This version is enormous! It’s very true to the sleeping, snacking, laughing slug we all know and love from Return of the Jedi.

As if this was wasn’t already a ‘must own’, they also included Slave Leia and Salacious B. Crumb to recreate the entire scene from Jabba’s sail barge. Each character is perfectly sized to make the entire package true to the source material. Salacious B. Crumb is especially fantastic because his shape is unconventional from what Funko has done before.

I love that the base recreates Jabba’s platform but wish it was made of a slightly more durable material than simple cost-cutting cardboard. Most collectors (who dare to remove it from the box) would probably pay a few bucks more if the base felt like more than packing material. Leia is also a tad unstable because of the standard giant bobblehead sitting atop a non-centered frame. Those two factors are enough for me to deduct half a point from my final rating.

Unfortunately, Jabba’s set is exclusive to Walmart but that does ensure it’s cost is lower than it might be elsewhere. Thirty bucks is a downright steal for a what you’re getting! Look for it in your local store closer to the front where they keep the trading cards and other Pop! figures.

My rating of the Star Wars Pop! Vinyl Jabba the Hutt 3-Pack is 9.5 out of 10.

9 out of 10Half a star.png


SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1 by Max Landis & Nick Dragotta


This title is an example of why I’m so partial to DC Comics…. once again they have taken a character that is universally known/established and find a way to make it feel fresh.

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1, written by Max Landis and illustrated by Nick Dragotta, doesn’t try to reimagine or embellish the Man of Steel. Instead, we are treated to a step back when Superman was nothing more than a kid trying to wrap his mind around how extraordinary he is/will be. This issue deals with Clark Kent’s initial gravity-defying exploits which are visually cemented through impressive artwork. It is all approached in a way that has me very excited for the remaining six issues and what super power will be covered next.

Another factor I really enjoyed is how Ma and Pa Kent are almost as much of a focus as young Clark. Jonathan Kent was especially effective as he wrestled with the proper way to guide his adopted son. This is the second story I’ve read in 2015 that hit me on a deeper level as a father (the first being the phenomenal WYTCHES by Scott Snyder).

Comics are my favorite medium because they possess the power to entertain, dazzle, amuse, or move. They resonate with an audience in ways as versatile and varied as the people reading it.

My rating of SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1 is 9 out of 10.

9 out of 10

Keep it up, DC Comics. Storylines like this are what make you great.

Reflections for the end of the world and THE REAPER VIRUS

The day of reckoning is upon us…..
Current versions of my REAPER VIRUS story contain a month and day but no year. However, the original  ‘THE R33PR VIRUS’ blog and its first published copies established that the world would end in 2015. Later printings abandoned this notion as the book was further polished into its current state.

I stumbled across this fake article I created for the original blog. If the Sunday paper resembles it in any way then I Richmond Times Dispatch owes me some money.

I started writing my original story blog exactly 6 years ago. The story, based on my own life at the time, was imagined to take place six years in my future set to the tune of a viral apocalypse. Back then I found myself discouraged, despondent, and eager to do something more. A frightening story ran through my head during my 10:30PM drive into work at the police station. All I could think about was what I would do to be going the opposite direction, back home to my young family, regardless of what stood in my way.
A few hours later, once the evening insanity died down, I realized that the story I imagined was still in my thoughts. Desperate for an outlet, I composed an email to myself with the beginning of what would become THE REAPER VIRUS. I sent the email (from my work email to my personal email) then moved on. A couple weeks later I opened that email, read it through, and was surprised by how much my restless brain yearned for the tale to continue. I found myself at a crossroads with two options: 1) see where this zombie drabble goes and possibly accomplish the lifelong goal of writing a book, or 2) dismiss it all as the byproduct of a rough patch. The choice I made is what brings us to this point six years later.
Life has changed significantly since then. Any longing for the end of days has significantly lessened. Looking back on it all, the thought of my frustrated middle-of-the-night musings in between rare breaks of a buzzing police radio or emergency line seem like just another story of an alternate me. My goal of writing a book/story was accomplished four times over. Then I was able to see it taken to the next level through the typically frustrating trials and tribulations involved with the publishing industry. As the day I originally chose for the outbreak to go ‘full scale’ draws near, I’m given this chance to reflect on how I arrived at this point as well as what’s to come.
Now for the real reason for my reflections…… After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to abandon the Facebook page the was so integral in my success. The original formula was a pairing of a blog website with a Facebook fan page. Through Facebook I was able to connect with potential readers and get to know some really amazing people. I doubt I ever would have made enough impact to get noticed if this hadn’t worked so well for me. Then, Facebook changed.
Their introduction of “Sponsored Posts” would be the death of genuine social media. Don’t believe me? Check this out:
These are the insights for The Reaper Virus from when FB started tracking them in July of 2011 through February of 2014. The first big dead zone corresponds with when the sponsored posts were rolled out. In June of 2013 I caved and paid for a post to advertise the release of the book – that tiny spike in the middle of the plateau is all I got. Increases at the end were due to the new support of fellow Permuted Press authors.
An image like that doesn’t lie. I’ve never been fully inactive with the page. All those spikes before sponsored posts were from people liking then involving themselves. Granted, I was much more active with the page then while I posted the regular blog updates, but that doesn’t change the fact that once Facebook implemented this “great new strategy” everything came to a halt.
Almost two years later things have only become more dire. Facebook added the ability to see how many each post reaches. My current average is a dozen people if I’m lucky (out of over 1100 page followers) all because I refuse to pay them money for wanting to connect with people. This less-than-social network has become counter productive, a disheartening spinning of wheels. I say shame on you, Facebook. If my situation from six years ago was just now unfolding then I don’t know my goals would have been realized.
Don’t see this as a sob story because it couldn’t be farther from that. It’s actually a revelation that I’m ready to move on from the roots that elevated me to where I wanted to be. So I’m deactivating my Belligerent Barnes (formally The Reaper Virus) Facebook page on Sunday, November 15th. That was the day the world was supposed to end so I can’t imagine a more fitting exit.
If you’re reading this, THANK YOU! I appreciate you and feel grateful from the bottom of my black heart. Without the support I received I don’t know I would have escaped that version of me from six years ago. I’ll stay on Twitter (@thereapervirus) for now since I can’t figure out if it’s a good thing or SkyNet. My activity on this blog will continue unimpeded. I love reviewing books/etc and do have plans to resume novel work in the near future.
As I used to say leading up to the end of the world – Sacrifice, Survive, or Succumb. 
-Nathan (The Belligerent Barnes)