№28: Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges | Chuck Palahniuk | This Week’s Comic Book Haul | Toy Reviews | Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack [2001]

July 21, 2021

Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the beginning of each week*, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.

This week I zero in on two members of the Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges, the Chuck Palahniuk book I picked up, and my latest Comic Book Haul.

I also break down a couple of Toy Reviews and my movie of the week: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack [2001]

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Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges: Two-Fifths of the Phoenix Suns 2020-2021 starting five

How about those Phoenix Suns!

Coming off the heals of an 8-0 record in the Orlando Bubble last August 2020, the Phoenix Suns continued their assent among the NBA’s elite with shrewd signings (Cameron Payne [June 2020], Jae Crowder [November 2020]), a landmark trade (Chris Paul [November 2020]), and productive draft acquisitions and player development (Deandre Ayton [2018], Mikal Bridges [2018], and Cameron Johnson [2019]).

During the recently concluded 72-game 2020-2021 NBA regular season, the Suns finished on top of the Pacific Division (their first title since 2007) and second overall among Western Conference teams. After winning their respective matchups against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers; the Phoenix Suns have finally booked a return ticket to the NBA Finals after 28 years.

The Suns carried their playoff momentum into the NBA Finals and took the first two games at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. But the storybook ending was not meant to be as the Bucks regrouped and won the next four games en route to their first NBA Championship in 50 years.

With the Phoenix Suns in mind, here are a couple of NBA Autograph cards that I picked up this past weekend.

2015-2016 Panini Clear Vision Signatures Chris Paul #CVS-CP [064/199]. I’ve always wanted to get a CP3 card but the ones that I’ve seen in the past were usually overpriced or that I found something wrong with the signature (smudged or clearly rushed). In the Clear Vision card, Paul’s signature clearly pops out.

During the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers took Mikal Bridges 10th overall out of Villanova but immediately traded his rights to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith (the 16th overall pick) and the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first round pick (which the 76ers no longer own as they packaged the asset in a February 2019 deal involving then Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris).

Bridges has since blossomed into a full-starter while Smith (after two years and a total of 15 games played with the 76ers) is currently out of the league.

Bet the 76ers brain trust rue the day that they decided to traded Mikal Bridges.

The Fully Booked Midyear Sale (July 15-18, 2021)

With 20% off sales like this one not coming by very often, my wife and I decided to visit the Fully Booked branches in Bonifacio High Street and PowerPlant Mall with the intention of JUST looking around. Not long after we arrived, looking around quickly turned to I found something when I remembered Chuck Palahniuk’s book entitled, “Consider This: Moments in my writing life after which everything was different (2020).”

I had actually started listening to the Audible version sometime last year but after one too many pauses, I realized that this was one book that would be better consumed if I had a physical copy. This way, should I come across any valuable writing tips, I could leisurely write them down.

This Week’s Comic Book Haul (July 12th - July 18th, 2021)

From Left to Right: The Department of Truth #9 SSCO store exclusive variants (Bueno & Radhakrishnan Covers), Skybound X #1, and The Walking Dead Deluxe #18

Here is a breakdown of this week’s titles:

1) Department of Truth #9 (SSCO David Romero Trade Dress and Virgin Variants) - I really need to ask my LCS store how they managed to score these Sanctum Sanctorum Comics & Oddities (SSCO) Store Exclusive Variants. Wow!

2) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #284 (Freddie E Williams II Variant | Cover B) - More Sherlock in this one. Part 4 of an on-going storyline.

3) The Nice House On The Lake #1 (2nd Printing) (Alvaro Martinez Bueno Distressed Variant | Cover D | 2nd Print) - Possibly one of the most practical cover gimmick ever! TNHOTL reuses its 1st printing cover but with a burning at the edges look to it. The cover gimmick worked so well that all of the 2nd prints sold out at the distributor level. Publishers immediately went back to press for a 3rd printing which will feature an even more distressed and burnt cover. Series artist Alvaro Martinez Bueno joked over Twitter that if the reprints kept on selling out, there might not be any cover left to reproduce for future printings.

Review: Hasbro Marvel Legends Series Action Figure: The Red Skull (July 13, 2021)

The Red Skull (Johann Hermann Shmidt/John Smith [The English equivalent of his German name])

Whenever I think of The Red Skull, the image that immediately comes to mind is Johann Shmidt in his classic dark green jumpsuit (sans the armband system on his left arm). I liked that version of The Red Skull so much that probably more than 11 years ago, I happened to find a 9.5-inch 2001 Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles Red Skull Resin Statue (Limited to 7500 pieces).

Sculpted by Sam Greenwell, this particular statue shows The Red Skull holding aloft the Cosmic Cube while standing around some debris and loose bricks. I don’t have a lot of statues (they are simply too fragile), but I certainly couldn’t pass on that one.

Which brings us back to this recent Marvel Legends release. Now, I essentially have the same figure (albeit smaller)—but this time with the posable factor.

Addendum: Looking again at the figure more closely for this write-up, it seems that I can put together another unique Red Skull figure with that extra head accessory. Now all I need to find is another Skull body.

Review: McFarlane DC Multiverse: King Shark [Bloody + Chomping Action] (Walmart Exclusive Gold Label Series) (July 16, 2021)

King Shark (Nanaue)

There are two ways that one can look at McFarlane Toys releasing the Build-A-Figure King Shark wave and the Walmart Exclusive King Shark figure [pictured below] so closely to one another: Strike while the proverbial iron is hot or sheer financial suicide (no pun intended) if the movie bombs.

Either way, I had zero plans of getting this figure when I initially saw James Gunn’s vision for King Shark. Instead of a strong intimidating character, he looked somewhat pudgy and dorky. I mean, look at the Build-A-Figure version, doesn’t King Shark remind you of one of those amusement park costumed characters? His right hand—seeming waving to everyone—is a dead giveaway.

But my perception immediately changed when my brother showed me the Walmart exclusive version. Still the same figure but with an articulated bloody jaw and two severed limbs!

We have a winner ladies and gentlemen!

Addendum: While talking about this King Shark release, my brother mentioned that it is quite difficult to come by in the US. Possibly since its a Walmart exclusive.

In Manila, the Gold Label King Shark arrived in limited quantities and the demand—I’m told—is steadily rising. Thanks again to my brother for finding this a retail price for me.

With the addition of jaw articulation, blood, and severed limbs—I’m taking this version of King Shark more seriously. Photo taken on July 16, 2021. ©Tedi Gustilo Villasor

FIC (Fruits In Ice Cream) PowerPlant Mall (July 18, 2021)

If you guys happened to visit Makati Medical Center before the pandemic, chances are that you’ve seen Lulubelle and their array of frozen deserts. Located right in front of the third floor escalator, Lulubelle became my go-to-dessert place after lunch or during breaks from work. My visits were so frequent that the staff already knew what I was going to order even before I said anything. In many ways, there is a lot of comfort in that kind of familiarity.

Of course, that all changed when the world came to a grinding halt in mid-March last year. Lulubelle—like many other establishments—did their best to keep things running despite the challenges of the pandemic. Sadly, I found out a few months ago that they had closed the branch for good.

But one more location remained.

Under the FIC [Fruits in Ice Cream] banner, we stopped by their stall in PowerPlant Mall and saw the familiar faces of the staff. We talked for a bit and then I got this…

Now that I think about it, I can’t remember the last time I had Pistachio ice cream.

Side Note: My orders are more often than not in a Waffle cone. Then I was informed by the staff that cones—even the small ones—were no longer available because of the pandemic.

By the way, for those of you who are from Manila, what’s up with PowerPlant Mall sealing off their first level parking?

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021) is now available on Netflix.

Movie of the Week: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack [2001] (July 16, 2021)

Seriously, that is the name of the movie. Last Friday evening, the family and I sat down and watched this 20-year-old Godzilla classic. It was my first time seeing it and having only been really exposed to Western adaptations of Godzilla, I was really taken aback with him in the role of a pure antagonist and Kaiju’s like Anguirus, Mothra, and King Ghidorah intent on stopping him.

Despite my initial reservations and the predictability of the plot, it was generally entertaining. That’s the secret of Godzilla, I guess. A recipe that resonates with true fans of all ages. ■


Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.

Click here for more information on his work as a psychologist.

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  • Click here to order Lindol (with artist and co-creator Randy Valiente) from our online partner Secret HQ.

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