Tools of the Imagination

Tools of the Imagination

This week’s episode of Tools of the Imagination is live at Inglourious Fiction. I talk about the somewhat-controversial anime series, Terror in Resonance, and why you shouldn’t bother.

I also want to announce two up-coming conventions. I will be a surprise guest at Anime Mid-Atlantic 1/2: Third Impact next month as part of Virginia ComiCon. That will be November 22-23.

And in January, I will be returning to MAGFest! In National Harbor MD January 23-26, MAGFest is one of the biggest video game conversation toons around. In the next month, I’ll be posting more information about my panels there, it for now, mark your calendar. It’s going to be epic.

Tools of the Imagination

Tools of the Imagination – Murder By Decree

So this is a bit of a departure. I generally try to isolate my ToI entries to toys and cartoons; things that stir the imagination. Not just inspire but exist as a means by which the imagination works and expands. Movies and television, I feel, direct the imagination. Not a bad thing at all, but definitely a different outcome of exposure all the same.

And yet, I feel compelled to talk about this movie, Murder by Decree.


This is a tragically unremarkable Sherlock Holmes movie, starring the underrated Christopher Plummer and a very bored James Mason. Pitting Holmes against Jack the Ripper (sort of), it is a slow-burning film that captures the melancholy of the post-Rathbone years before House MD and the Guy Richie movies would reinvigorate the franchise.

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Tools of the Imagination

No Tools Of The Imagination This Week

Sorry, kids, but it’s more quarterly week off. I am supposed to be relaxing like a cat in a sun beam, but alas, I am knee-deep in other projects. I’ll be back on the job next week.

For now, enjoy life. Toys are meant to be enjoyed, meant to facilitate the imagination and all it can do. Be sociable with your toys. Share some of your treasured collection with your own kids, or nieces/nephews, or grand kids. Throw a toy party (it’s like a wine party but where everybody comes over and plays with Legos or action figures or whatever).

Toys are meant to be played with.

Tools of the Imagination

Tools of the Imagination – Top Ten Television Episodes

Television, as an artistic medium, is wonderful. There has been, and continues to be, so much wonderful television in the world, it rivals almost any other artistic medium. Oh, there’s awful TV out there too, make no mistake. And television is hardly the end-all of art. However, at the end of the day, TV provides is consistently with some of the most entertaining….entertainment there is.

Some, however, is better than others.

What follows is a totally subjective and terribly biased list of my favorite episodes of television of all time. I’ve tried to be systematic about this, ranking episodes on production quality (especially compared to comparable shows of the time), performance and execution (acting and directing versus special effects or animation, which would fall under production quality), narrative excellence (how it furthers the larger story of the show it is a part of), and overall awesomeness.

This is just for fun and to spark lively debate. Enjoy!

Also, please note, spoilers below.

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Tools of the Imagination

Tools of the Imagination – Ripley

Space Marine Lt. Ellen Ripley
by Kenner, part of the Aliens toy line, produced 1992

The Cart Before The Horse

(Image courtesy of

Aliens is one of the best movies ever made.
It’s an intelligent action movie. It’s an ambitious visual tour de force. Good acting. Great sets and special effects. Nominated for everything from Academy Awards to passing the Bechdel Test. Pretty much, the question is just ‘how much does someone like aliens’. It’s never a matter of whether or not they do like Aliens.

In the wake of the 1986 film, the franchise had become a staple of science fiction, especially comics. Dark Horse Comics had produced a slew of titles for years, each more popular than the last. With the 1992 third installment, it seemed the franchise was going to heat up all over again, and so it’s little surprise that merchandisers would want to get in on it.

What is a little surprising is that those merchandisers would include children’s entertainment.


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