May 21, 2012 | 6:43 p.m.

‘Hunger Games’: District 12 for sale

The next time Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne and Greasy Sae are seen onscreen in “The Hunger Games,” they will have a new landlord — and it could be you. The Henry River Mill Village in Hildebran, N.C. (outside of Charlotte), which served as District 12 in the post-apocalyptic nation Panem in the big-screen adaptation of the book, is up for sale. The 72-acre abandoned mill town, home of fictional spots like the Hob and the area known as the Seam, is valued at more than $1.2 million. It will be sold via sealed bids through the auction house Profiles in History, with a bidding deadline of July 31. The piece of “Hunger Games” history is also the subject of an upcoming episode of “Hollywood Treasure,” the SyFy series that follows Profiles in History owner Joe Maddalena as he […]
April 11, 2012 | 2:42 p.m.

‘Pokémon’ at 15: Success is still in the cards, films and TV shows

After 15 years, 700 TV episodes and 14 feature films, Ash Ketchum and millions of kids are still trying to catch ’em all. In April 1997, the animated version of “Pokémon” premiered on Japanese television. Based on the hit Nintendo Game Boy title introduced two years earlier, the series follows the travels and travails of Ketchum (Satoshi in the original) as he tries to become a Pokémon Master by building a team that can beat other trainers in stylized battles. Traveling with Ash are perennially love-sick Brock, feisty Misty and Pikachu, the “electric mouse” Pokémon. The series scored a huge hit in Japan, and by 1999 the game and show had conquered America. Pokémon paraphernalia were everywhere. The original motto, “Pokémon Getto Daze!” (Let’s Get Pokémon!) became “Gotta Catch ’em All!” The first “Pokémon” feature film grossed more than $85 […]
Jan. 10, 2012 | 4:03 p.m.

‘Star Wars’ flashback: Christmas ’77 left fans with empty feeling

Toy collector Jay West writes occasional guest essays for Hero Complex about vintage collectibles. Today: The empty box that became a holiday gift sensation in 1977.   The hottest Christmas gift for 1977 was the one that wasn’t available — “Star Wars” had opened in May of that year but no one, least of all the toy company called Kenner, was prepared for the film’s galactic success and the massive consumer demand that followed. Kenner was thrilled to hold the toy-making license for the George Lucas epic that was quickly becoming one of the largest grossing movies of all time but aside from a small amount of merchandise that hit stores at the time of the movie’s release, the toymaker was woefully unprepared to handle the hunger for Jedi products and playthings. As the year wore on, that meant a yuletide dilemma that presented […]
Dec. 20, 2011 | 4:16 p.m.

Gift guide update: Last-minute ideas for the geek in your life

If you’re seeking last-minute gifts for the sci-fi, fantasy or comics geek your life, look no further. The 2011 Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide is newly updated and here to save the day. Whether your recipient is a Trekkie, a Whovian, a would-be wizard, a wannabe-Jedi or a caped crusader, we’ve got you covered. Featured gifts include the whimsical (a magic wand TV remote), the practical (a cookbook inspired by “The Hunger Games” books) and geek chic (Batman or Han Solo flash drives). Click here to flip through our gift gallery or browse our price-sorted list of presents, and beam up the perfect surprise for the geek in your life. — Noelene Clark RECENT AND RELATED Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide for 2011 ‘Harry Potter’ photos: Daniel Radcliffe’s decade Damon Lindelof’s love letter to ‘Raiders’ ‘Superman’ photos: The stars of Metropolis […]
Nov. 19, 2011 | 6:49 a.m.

Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide for 2011

Are you looking for a magical gift for that special Muggle in your life? Do you need to send a wrapped present to a Time Lord in the near future? Or maybe you’re an enterprising soul who just can’t figure out the logical thing to bring to the holodeck holiday party? Well, no worries, just mind-meld with us because we’re here to save the day. Look, up in the photo gallery, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide. Flip through the gallery image above to see the best geeky gifts around and read our review (be sure to click the “CAPTIONS ON” option). Also below, grouped by price range, you’ll find those same gift suggestions listed with handy links to help you get your shopping done at light speed. May the nog be with you. — Noelene Clark […]
Sept. 08, 2011 | 9:01 a.m.

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’: A look back at treasured toys of 1980s

In honor of the 30th anniversary of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Hero Complex will be screening the film on Monday with an onstage Q&A with Steven Spielberg. Leading up to the event, we’ve been looking back at the landmark film and its influence on cinema and pop culture. Today, a trip down the toy aisle. As strange as it sounds, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” toys and merchandise were somewhat hard-to-find treasures when the film became a box-office sensation back in 1981. The usual scenario these days is to start launching movie tie-ins weeks or months before a film’s opening weekend, but it was a different landscape three decades ago when Indiana Jones became a box-office sensation. That’s not to say that the fedora hero was nowhere in sight — there were trading cards, a movie novelization, a collector’s magazine […]
July 13, 2011 | 7:18 a.m.

Comic-Con: Walt Simonson’s ‘The Mighty Thor’ is thunderous exclusive

If you’re one of the lucky 120,000 mortals who will cross the rainbow bridge to enter the doors of Comic-Con International this year you’re going to want to bring home some treasures to prove you were there. Here’s one that you should pick up if you are worthy (and if you can spare $100 in Midgard money): “Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition” from IDW Publishing and Marvel. This is a pretty fantastic book that collects up seven issues from Simonson’s landmark 1980s run on Marvel’s thunder god — but instead of reprinting the familiar panels from the published issues this 12-inch-by-17-inch hardcover edition presents the stories as scans of the original black-and-white art. There are two versions of the 176-page edition, one with Beta-Ray Bill on the cover, which can be ordered for home delivery or pickup at Comic-Con, and a second variant version […]
May 09, 2011 | 8:00 a.m.

Disney auction: Is animation art marketplace heating up?

Tyus Wong art of “Bambi.” ( Last week, we showed you some of the sweet artifacts on sale in the upcoming Profiles in History auction, and now animation historian and Hero Complex contributor Charles Solomon writes that the auction might be part of shift in the animation art marketplace. A letter from Walt Disney that changed the history of animation and American popular culture, drawings from some of the Disney studio’s most influential artists, cels from UPA’s Oscar-winning short “Gerald McBoing-Boing,” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” artwork by Tim Burton are among the items to be sold at an auction of animation art and Hollywood memorabilia May 14-15. After two moribund decades, animation may be rejoining the booming art market. During the ’80s, animation art was a hot commodity: In May, 1988, a collector paid $286,000 and $185,000 for two cel and […]
May 06, 2011 | 2:13 p.m.

Free Comic Book Day: From Miami to Berlin, voices of a 10-year tradition

It worked with ice cream, so why wouldn’t it work with comics? A decade after Joe Field saw people standing in line for free scoops of ice cream, the effort to lure new and lapsed readers by offering up free comic books has become an annual event embraced by publishers and comic book retailers eager for new customers. Field, who owns Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Calif., said that the idea for the event, now in its 10th year, was inspired by an ice cream shop. “I noticed a long line of people outside my store. The line was for Baskin Robbins’ ‘Free Scoop Night’ — and I thought to myself, ‘Comics are way cooler than ice cream! We should be able to do something bigger and better than Free Scoop Night.'” He wrote about the idea for an industry […]
April 11, 2011 | 2:57 p.m.

Nicolas Cage’s ‘Action Comics’ No. 1 copy recovered 11 years after theft

The Associated Press reports… A rare and valuable comic featuring the debut of Superman that re-surfaced in a storage locker last week appears to be the same one stolen from Nicolas Cage more than a decade ago, police said. The mint copy of “Action Comics” No. 1 is now in police custody and an investigation into its theft and recovery is under way. Detective Don Hrycyk with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail said Monday the comic has been authenticated and appears to be the one stolen from Cage in 2000. It is unclear whether the 1938 comic will be returned to the Oscar-winning actor. Hrycyk said Cage accepted an insurance payout after its theft and will have to work out the details with the company. Cage is an avid comic collector, and the Action Comics issue is […]
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