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This Week’s Sermon - “You’ve Got the Look”

August 14, 2006

A common thread that has been persuasive throughout most of the past PftL columns is the devilish way that I have compared Marvel’s choices of their character-licensed products and the sexual decisions of a drunken Tara Reid on the E! Channel.   Basically, any guy in the bar/club will get a chance with her.   And I’m not exaggerating.  If you don’t believe me, watch an episode of Taradise and try to tell me with a straight face that she’s not looking for a poke-her party with the locals at the very least. 

Marvel HerocutI’m also not kidding about Marvel either.  Some choice Marvel-licensed products include such winners like those Wahl Haircut Kits, the never-imitated, never-duplicated Super Lithos (their website has been off-line for some time due to an unspecified reason – hmm, I wonder why?) and those wonderful half-dollar coins (coins + super-heroes = lame).  I won’t begin to mention their highly sketchy relationships with Dynamic Forces (and their huckster HSN showcases) and Wizard Entertainment (who have somehow become Marvel’s exclusive convention provider).  Now, I realize that there are some Zombies living in this world that will buy tons of merch that is Marvel Comics-related.  (Although, I’m not so biased that I wouldn’t miss out on picking up a low-grade Mjolnir on the cheap for $10 at Amazon.com.)  But when you’re dropping some decent paper on a Captain America-endorsed haircut gizmo, you will buy almost anything.  And that you really don’t care about your physical appearance.

(Speaking about buying crap, is it me or have hard times hit both entertainment stalwarts, Huey Lewis and Sally Fields?  Within a span of a day, I saw Mr. “I Need A New Drug” pushing TimeLife’s “Superstars of the 80s” CD compilations while the old Ma Gump was pushing some calcium supplement called Boniva.  Don’t get me wrong; I would take that endorsement money in a heartbeat.  But these two should have enough dough in the bank so they wouldn’t have to resort to hocking crap in informercial-lite commercials.  It’s truly sad.  Alright, back to the column…)

And I was content with keeping that opinion.  That was until I saw something that caught my eye that would be a perfect item for me to give it the always-tough PftL product quality test.

With the help of moneymaking movies like Superman Returns, the X-Men and Spider-Man franchise, the market for comic book apparel for adults seems to be blowing up.  Okay, that might be an overstatement but it looks that way in my closet.  And nothing feels better in the Metro Washington DC, 110-degree 100% humidity hotter-than-hell summer than flip-flops, cargo shorts and a slick superhero t-shirt.

The Super-LithoBut, in those very same max A/C, fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk summers, that T usually turns into a wet and heavy cotton rag.  Aside from the noxious stench that you might be perpetrating with that shirt, sweating that much doesn’t look all that cool unless you’re strugg-a-ling to run on a 10-minute mile on the old treadmill.  And unfortunately, if you’re a single guy and that shirt has a screen print of Superman or Spider-Man, odds are that those muscle-bound heroes in colorful tights is not going to win too many points with the opposite sex; even if you’re married.  Take it from me, folks.

Now, before I go any further, let me be frank with you guys (and gals).  I’ve got way too many t-shirts.  There’s enough of them to make my wife tell me that I’d better start thinning them out myself or she’ll do it for me (with disastrous consequences, at least my imagination leads me to believe).  So, as my piles of finely woven 100% cotton tees slowly dwindle, I needed to find a way to increase my t-shirt collection on the sly.

Then, I found this site called PureHero.com.  If this is the first time that you’re hearing about this site, then an introduction is needed.  Here’s where they’re coming from pulled right off their website:

We, here at PureHero, believe that superhero fans want and deserve more than the same old tee-shirt. We design premium performance apparel that reflects our love for superheroes, using the best sports designs. Whether playing classic or extreme sports, gaming, or just studying physics like Peter Parker, you’ll love our product – how it feels, how it works, how it looks.

Now, that’s saying something.  But is there truth in their claim of providing premium performance apparel for the superhero fan?  Or it is just the usual internet hype?  I posed those questions to myself when I decided to put one of their more popular products, the Punisher Performance Technical Crew Top, through the PftL quality apparel and situational test.

Britt Schramm - Test Dummy

So, with pen, paper and clipboard in hand ala Dr. Rudy Wells, I started grading how the t-shirt performed in certain “stressful” functions to see how the shirt’s ability to wick away sweat worked.  But first, here were my initial impressions of the shirt when I received it in the mail.

The Packaging – The shirt was polybagged, which give a good understanding that they know their clientele.  Ripping that bag open was somewhat cathartic.  That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me that CBG will decide to start slabbing these shirts in order to drive up the secondary market.

The Look – The skull logo looks sharp.  It’s high quality rubberized gray with a silver metallic trim, which does look better on the shirt than a stark white one in person.  No tired, ghetto-style silk-screening process here.  The Punisher script on the back neck is a nice touch.  The shirt’s color is just that – a straight up, dark as night black; not a lighter shade or heather.  A red Marvel tag on the right side reminds me of a certain jeans company but more in homage way than anything else.

The Feel – The shirt’s weave is buttery soft and feels nice against the skin.  Depending on the size ordered, it can be as tight as those Under Armour Compression shirts or as loose as a regular tee. (In case you were wondering, I’m went with the latter.  I realize that my body may resemble the Comic Book Guy more than I’d care to admit.)

It is Hip to Sell-OutSo, after the shirt passed the initial part of this consumer report testing, it was time for the field work.

Scenario #1 – Rather than get right out there and push the limits of the shirt (stop laughing), I decided to go slow and ramp up the testing.  I broke out the shirt for an impromptu evening screening of Clerks 2 in humid Florida.  I thought that it was a good initial foray into a social gathering among some likeminded friends.  I got a couple of favorable comments on the shirt and there was no outright guffawing by the other patrons of the gigaplex.  And while I wasn’t sweating in the nice air-conditioned theater, the shirt didn’t hamper my ability to laugh my ass off.  So, based on those results, the shirt passed the first test.  But there were two more to come.

Scenario #2 – The next time I wore the shirt, it was to my mother-in-law’s birthday party.  Now, before you say that this is not a test, let me explain a couple of things to you.  First off, my mother-in-law does not like to hang out inside – no matter how hot it is on the outside.  I’ve got nothing against hanging out on the porch but when the temps are almost hitting the century mark, I’m looking for AC, plain and simple.  But at her house, she still likes the inside to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t drowning in my own sweat while I was there, but the shirt did get some work.  The shirt did get a little damp from sweat but it dried within minutes and I actually survived the party without dying from heatstroke.  I don’t know about you but that would definitely get a pass in my book.  On to the third and last test…

Scenario #3 – To prevent that image in the mirror to become more and more like that Android’s Dungeon guy, I decided at the beginning of the year to drop a few pounds.  And thus began my love-to-hate exercise affair.  Unfortunately, a new job has prevented me from working out at lunch so I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon for the time being.  However, since I wanted to test the shirt out, I decided to go out and shoot some raindrops at the work hoop.  At noon during the hottest, damn day in the Metro Washington DC area.  Yeah, I’m not the smartest guy around but you should’ve known that by now.  After a few minutes, the shirt was getting a heavy dose of the wet stuff.  And it was working great as the material was in the process of getting drenched; it dried relatively quickly for that kind of output.  The one slight knock on the shirt is not really on the shirt itself but in the style.  It would’ve been great to get a sleeveless shirt for sports the require full range motion of the arms like basketball or those 12-ounce curls in front of the teevee.  Though, after all was said and done on the blacktop, I left the court like I usually did back in the day – exhausted and limping.  But unlike most of those other times, my shirt didn’t look like it was partying down in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.  Really, no one needs to see that.

Overall – This Punisher Performance Technical Crew Top is a great item and is moving into top rotation in my t-shirt wearing schedule.  It has the science behind it for the active lifestyle but has the panache of a slacker counter jockey.    Again, the only knock that I have is that I want a sleeveless version of the crew shirt so I can dominate on the glass while getting a more complete farmer’s tan.  Truthfully, this shirt should be considered a cross-training shirt; you can wear it from couch to court without looking like a schlub.  I can’t recommend it enough.

To that end, the very generous people at PureHero.com have given my peeps (that’s you guys - my loyal readers) a sweet deal just for reading this column.  Check it out below:

PureHero.com Promo Code

Remember, it only lasts until the middle of September so buy it like you stole it, people.

The PftL Inbox

Fellow Big Planet loyalist Adam J writes:

As much as I love Robert DeLeo, I must say, I doubt Army of Anyone will sell many records.  And this is coming from someone who loved the Talk Show record.  Is this “supergroup’s” (and let’s be honest, anything involving David Lee Roth’s backing band can’t be that super) album even out?

PftL:  Adam, it’s great to hear that there’s someone else who really dug that Talk Show CD, a very underrated effort by the three non-smacked out members of STP and some English guy.  And you’re right; the AoA CD is not out yet.  But a guy can hold out some hope for it do actually be good, right?  And yeah, having a former DLR bandmate doesn’t sound all that super.

Deadpool and Plastic man would be bad ass though.  What about a Madrox/Booster Gold team up…?

PftL:  A Madrox/Booster Gold team-up would be a solid book.  I could see someone well-versed in wordplay like Robert Kirkman writing it with some left field artist like Jim Mahfood or Doug Mahnke drawing the one-shot.  And I could see it sell pretty well.  But as well as Army of Anyone?  Ehh, maybe or maybe not.  How do you like that for decisiveness? 

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Co-chair of the PftL regular emailers’ club, Chet K, chimes in about coming to grips with being an “out” nerd:

Just a note to let you know the harmful effects of this nerd stigma.  I have long wished to attend comic con, but I have so feared the stigma of being labled an uber-nerd that I have never even contemplated actually going.  Now, I am “out” with my close friends and family.  They know about my closet Star Wars trivia addiction as well as my unsightly bouts of utter lunatic excitement that accompanies every new superhero movie and cartoon.  However, as far as my co-workers and other professional contacts might know I could be a die hard Nascar fan, albeit without the requisite mullet. 

PftL:  Hey, Chet, my man, watch the NASCAR fan comments.  I’m a card-carrying member of that club.  And for your information, not all of us have mullets.  (Although I do rock the “all business in the front, nothing but a party in the back” cut, which I cut with my officially licensed Marvel Haircut Clippers by Wahl, and have my old El Camino on blocks in the front yard).  But that’s beside the point.

Now, in my opinion, the biggest roadblock to nerd-dom becoming an accepted social condition is the nerd on nerd hate…A house divided cannot stand.  Nerds must unite and accept one another before we can expect anyone, especially journalists (who are barely sentient anyway) to accept us.  Solidarity brothers (and very few sisters)!

PftL:  There’s a ring of truth in that statement.  I can’t stand that other fans of more niche stuff like Trekkies, LARPers or even Civil War Re-enactors try to come off as better when they put down another group of fans by calling them “nerds”.  And yet, there’s nothing better than making fun of my Trekkie boss by saying that “Voyager” was the best Trek series around when it’s clearly should be “Deep Space 9”.  Gets him every time.

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The wrap-up

First, I’ve changed ISP providers, which means that I have a new mailing address. Just click on my name and you’ll get the new addy. So, make with the clicky-clicky and send some email to yours truly so you can get in this column..

Second, if you’re a new reader and would like to read some of the archived Preachin’ from the Longbox and laugh at my earlier attempts at writing a column or if you just want to relive some good times, just click below and it’ll take you there:

Preachin' from the Longbox Archive

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I’m off the Longbox this week. Don’t forget to keep your bags and boards together and your continuity straight. Until next time…







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