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The perfect Christmas gift for your horror-loving friend…

I wasn’t planning to post any Christmas gift ideas until at least November 1, but I don’t know how long this deal will be available so I’m posting now…

Universal Classic Monsters

FOR A LIMITED TIME (AND I DON’T KNOW HOW LIMITED) YOU CAN GET THIS HORRIFICALLY WONDERFUL BLU-RAY BOXSET FOR $70.

Universal Classic Monsters

Those who have been long-time readers know that I love horror movies, especially the older stuff like this. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy…it’s all here. Even my favorite, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I cannot wait to have this set in my hands (Saturday) and start watching.

Universal Classic Monsters

Here is the almost full list of movies included…

Universal Classic Monsters

I say “almost full list” because there is a thirty-first film included as a bonus feature: the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula. In addition to all the movies, there are documentaries and commentaries and archival footage and theatrical trailers…it’s packed with extra features.

I’ve already ordered mine, and can’t wait to start binge-watching. I don’t know how long the price will stay this low (more than half-off the regular price); order now so you don’t miss out! Your horror-loving friends will love you to death!

Christmas gift ideas for your Zeppelin fanatic

I didn’t run out of ideas when doing my “Christmas gift ideas” posts, but I’ve had other things going on. I appreciate all who have clicked on the links so far, as I get a tiny kickback from Amazon and can put it toward things that I really shouldn’t be spending actual money on…but “gift card” money, that’s a whole different ballgame. Even if you don’t buy the products I post, if you click one of my links before browsing and making your purchase I get a little credit.

Perhaps the biggest hard rock band of all time is Led Zeppelin, and not without reason. Not only is “Stairway to Heaven” a masterpiece, but nearly every song on the first four or five albums is perfectly put together (even if they were not all written by the band). For these lists, I’ve made three sections. First we have other projects of the members of Led Zeppelin. Second we have artists that sound like they were inspired by Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham. And in many cases, they were. Finally, tribute albums to one of the greatest classic hard rock bands in history.

Zeppelin members’ other projects

  • Lead singer Robert PlantLed Zeppelin solo projects has released numerous solo albums; the most recent is 2017’s Carry Fire. He also collaborated with Zep-mate Jimmy Page and classic rock guitarist Jeff Beck in 1984 on The Honeydrippers, Volume One. In 1994, he joined Jimmy Page for an MTV special and released No Quarter, followed by Walking Into Clarksdale in 1998. In 2007, Plant teamed up with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss for Raising Sand.
  • Guitarist Jimmy Page’s post-Zeppelin output is not as straightforward as Plant’s. He started by recording the soundtrack for Death Wish II, but that one is going to cost you a pretty penny as it is no longer in print. His only non-soundtrack solo album, Outrider, did not perform well. One other soundtrack was recorded for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, but is not currently available unless you want to drop nearly $400 on the vinyl. In 1985, Page contributed to Roy Harper’s Whatever Happened to Jugula? 1985 also saw the self-titled debut of The Firm, a supergroup featuring Page, Bad Company/Free vocalist Paul Rodgers, bass extraordinaire Tony Franklin, and then-future-AC/DC drummer Chris Slade. A follow-up record was release by The Firm in 1986, Mean Business. In 1999, the guitarist joined the Black Crowes for two shows; most of those recordings were released in 2000 under the title Live At the Greek, but singer Chris Robinson was not enthused about the performance.
  • Bassist John Paul Jones wrote the soundtrack for the movie Scream For Help, which also includes contributions from Page and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. In 1994 he appeared on the album The Sporting Life with Diamanda Galas. Jones has also released two solo albums, Zooma (1999) and The Thunderthief. In 2009, Jones joined a supergroup with Josh Homme and Dave Grohl; unfortunately only one album has been released, the self-titled Them Crooked Vultures. Lastly, Jones contributed to two records released by the band Seasick Steve, You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks and Hubcap Music.

Artists that sound an awful lot like Led Zeppelin

  • Greta Van Fleet Sounds like Led Zeppelinis the band getting a lot of attention right now, as they should. They have taken the rock world by storm and don’t appear to be slowing down. From the Fires was released last November, and Anthem of the Peaceful Army had an October release this year. Watch this band closely as their star is still on the rise.
  • Rival Sons have been around for several years, but is just now starting to gain some traction in the mainstream. You may have heard “Do Your Worst” from the soon-to-be-released Feral Roots on the radio, but the title track from 2011’s Pressure and Time really exhibits the Zeppelin connection.
  • Wolfmother‘s debut over a decade ago exploded on the scene, but then the band imploded. Three more albums have been released since the debut, but none have sold as well.
  • Zebra gigged for years playing Zeppelin songs before releasing their self-titled debut in 1983, and while there are some enduring classics on the record, it is not a cover-to-cover masterpiece like most of Zep’s catalog.
  • Kingdom Come is often cited as a hair metal version of Led Zeppelin, and Lenny Wolf’s vocals were certainly reminiscent of Robert Plant. The songwriting isn’t going to land them in the Rock Hall, but Kingdom Come has proven to be popular enough to release thirteen albums since 1988.
  • Whitesnake may be the most all-around Zeppelin sound-alike. David Coverdale’s vocals are spot-on. Whoever is playing guitar, be it John Sykes or Steve Vai or Doug Aldrich, does a great job laying down some Jimmy Page-like riffs.
  • Coverdale/Page may have been a slap in Robert Plant’s face for refusing to do a Zeppelin reunion in the early ’90s. Guitarist Jimmy Page recruited David Coverdale, one of the most Robert Plant-ish singers around, to record an album of new tracks. The band probably would have lasted more than just one album had Page been able to convince John Paul Jones or Jason Bonham to participate.
  • Speaking of Jason Bonham, he had a band in the late ’80s and early ’90s called Bonham featuring a Robert Plant clone, Daniel MacMaster, on vocals. Their most popular (and most Zeppelinish) song was “Wait For You” from 1989’s The Disregard of Timekeeping.

Tribute albums

Christmas gift ideas for bookworms

Darth Vader reads to Luke Skywalker

I’m glad I can read. So many books published over the years have made an impact on me, both as a child and as an adult, it would be impossible to list them all. I recommend starting a library, however small, of books that you love and add to it at least once a year (more if possible). If you have small children, start a library for them with Dr. Suess and Curious George and Little Golden Books. If you have grade school kids, grab some Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books. For high schoolers…well, good luck. I’m blessed with children who love to read, but I know others really struggle getting teens to sit down with a book.

Take a look at the list below. Some of these suggestions are for younger readers, while others are intended for more mature minds. What is missing from your library? What books would you add to the list?

Books

Christmas gift ideas for Thundercats fans

ThundercatsI mentioned Thundercats yesterday, so I might as well throw a few ideas out there that the Thundercats fan in your life will love.

Visual Media

Music

Thundercats Superman comicBooks

Toys and Collectibles

Feline Rhapsody Queen parody ThundercatsAttire

Other odds & ends

Coming Soon…

Thunderbrats Garbage Pail Kids parody

Christmas gift ideas for your Force-sensitive friends

The original trilogy is classic. The prequel trilogy, not so much. J.J. Abrams’ first entry into the third trilogy restored the faith for fans of the classics, but Rian Johnson shredded that renewed fandom in less than three hours. Ron Howard’s Solo was excellent (ignore the negative reviews from so-called “fans” who never even bothered to see it). Abrams is back in the driver’s seat for the ninth and final episode of the Skywalker saga, due next year, and I am hopeful and optimistic that he will finish well.

While the Star Wars bandwagon has slowed considerably, there are still many gifts suitable for those who have not abandoned that galaxy far, far away. Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Visual MediaStar Wars DVD Blu Ray

Music

BooksStar Wars Shakespeare

Toys and Collectibles

Attire

Other odds & ends

Christmas gift ideas for your He-Fans and She-Ravers

By the Power of Grayskull! He-Man has one of the strongest fan bases of any 1980s cartoon series, and the merchandise available to choose from is insane. Here are just He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Speciala handful of suggestions for the He-Fan or She-Raver in your life.

Visual Media

He-Man minicomics

Books

Comic Books
He-Man Thundercats

Toys and Collectibles

AttireShe-Ra shirt

P.S. — If anyone wants to get me something for Christmas (because I’m not spending this type of money on a CD), I would love the Filmation Original Soundtrack. $45 just seems a little steep to me.

Masters of the Universe soundtrack

Christmas gift ideas for your aspiring comic book writer/artist

A few years ago I published a list of books that might interest those who dream of becoming professional comic book writers and/or artists. It was one of the most popular posts on the site, and continues to receives several hits each year as Christmas time nears. I have decided to expand the list since several new books have been released in the interim. I have not reviewed all of these, but would love to add a few to my small collection, especially the second and third “Regrettable” books in the last section.

Writing and drawing for comic books is a true art form, and the skills needed to succeed Comic Book Writers and Artists Christmas Gift Ideasare much different than what a short story writer or novelist might utilize. Here are some books to help those who are exploring their talents in the comic art form.

We just lost one of the all-time great names in the world of comic books. The late Stan Lee contributed to a handful of books for creators.

Stan Lee

Maybe your aspiring artist is tired of being an aspiring artist and wants to start putting pencil to paper. Here are some blank comic book templates to get them started.

Most writers who dream of working in comics love to read them as well, so they may also enjoy the books below.

Regrettable Superheroes

Christmas gift ideas for #ChicagoCubs fans @Cubs

I became a Chicago Cubs fan in 1989 when my dad took me to Wrigley Field. Rick Sutcliffe pitched that day against the Montreal Expos; Jerome Walton, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace all played. And my favorite baseball player at the time, Shawon Dunston, was the shortstop. The vibe of the ballpark, sitting in the bleachers, just the whole experience enthralled me. I rooted for the Cubs through the end of high school, but the strike of 1994 soured me on baseball in general. I have since come back to love the game for what it is, and root for the Cubs when they make the playoffs. CubsThe Reds are my #1 team, but the Cubs are a pretty close second.

The Cubs will always be one of the more popular teams in baseball, and as such, there are a lot of choices when it comes to Christmas gifts. Here are a few suggestions for the Cubs fan in your life.

Christmas gift ideas for your horror nut

Stephen King ItMost people don’t think of horror during the Christmas season, but for the true horror nut the genre is a year-round obsession. If you have someone on your to-buy-for list that thinks Halloween should be a month-long holiday rather than one day, here are some suggestions.

Christmas gift ideas for your Star Wars nerd

Star Wars ShakespeareFor nearly forty years, Star Wars has been a cultural phenomenon. I remember receiving Star Wars action figures and playsets as a child, from Jabba the Hutt to the Ewok Village. They were always my absolute favorite gifts. Whether your Star Wars nerd is four or forty, you can’t go wrong with books and merchandise from a galaxy far, far away.

There are several titles being released related to The Force Awakens, and while I have not had an opportunity to personally review them, I have little doubt that they will be amazing. Most of these titles are available for pre-order only as they will not be released until Friday when the movies debuts.

The Force Awakens

Again, if your Star Wars nerd isn’t a reader, you can’t go wrong with the soundtrack, action figures, or this sweet clock. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with a calendar. If you’re buying for dad, you can select from a wide array of Star Wars neckties. The possibilities are endlessthere is Star Warsthemed merchandise for everything.

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