Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spider-Man – Mega-Pack Collection

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ONLY: $49.99

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Includes:

1 Spider-Man Movie – 2-Disc DVD

3 Spider-Man Collectible Cars

1 Amazing Spider-Man #400 (Tombstone Cover)

2 Spider-Man Collectible Magazines

FREE Marvel Comics 5-pack Comic Book Set

All items are NEW and in Mint Condition!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DC Comics – 25pk – Mixed Lot – Low Price

AVAILABLE NOW: DC Comics – 25 pack – Mixed Lot – Low Price!!


Condition: NEW!! Mint/NM

ONLY: $14.99 

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Includes Mixed Lot of 25 DC Comics:

DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. DC is the world's largest English language publisher of comic books, with one of the largest shares of the direct market of the United States' comic book industry. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of characters - many of which have been considered among the most influential in their genre's history. These include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and their teammates in the Justice League.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mighty Thor – Marvel Superheroes 1966 Cartoons

Featured Cartoon: The Mighty Thor – Marvel Superheroes 1966 Cartoon Collection

Thor is a fictional superhero who appears in publications published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character is based on the Thor of Norse mythology. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and has been a perennial member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each of the four volumes. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, clothing, toys, trading cards and video games.

About The Cartoons: The cartoons ran initially in broadcast syndication from September 1, 1966 to December 1, 1966. The series, produced in color, had extremely limited animation produced by xerography, consisting of photocopied images taken directly from the comics and manipulated to minimize the need for animation production. The cartoons were presented as a series of static comic-strip panel images; generally the only movement involved the lips, when a character spoke, the occasional arm or leg, or a fully animated black silhouette.

MIGHTY THOR 1966 ep 1 PART 1



Mighty Thor - The Terror of the Tomb - part 1



The Mighty Thor - Enter Hercules PART 1



The Mighty Thor – Enter Hercules Part 2



Mighty Thor - Mr Hyde Part 1




Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller

AVAILABLE NOW: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns [Paperback]

Frank Miller (Author), Klaus Janson (Author), Lynn Varley (Author)

1986 Edition (ISBN: 0930289137)

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Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: DC Comics (October 1986)

If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre, then The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller--known also for his excellent Sin City series and his superb rendering of the blind superhero Daredevil--is probably the top contender. Batman represented all that was wrong in comics and Miller set himself a tough task taking on the camp crusader and turning this laughable, innocuous children's cartoon character into a hero for our times. The great Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, the arguably peerless Watchmen) argued that only someone of Miller's stature could have done this. Batman is a character known well beyond the confines of the comic world (as are his retinue) and so reinventing him, while keeping his limiting core essentials intact, was a huge task.

Miller went far beyond the call of duty. The Dark Knight is a success on every level. Firstly it does keep the core elements of the Batman myth intact, with Robin, Alfred the butler, Commissioner Gordon, and the old roster of villains, present yet brilliantly subverted. Secondly the artwork is fantastic--detailed, sometimes claustrophobic, psychotic. Lastly it's a great story: Gotham City is a hell on earth, street gangs roam but there are no heroes. Decay is ubiquitous. Where is a hero to save Gotham? It is 10 years since the last recorded sighting of the Batman. And things have got worse than ever. Bruce Wayne is close to being a broken man but something is keeping him sane: the need to see change and the belief that he can orchestrate some of that change. Batman is back. The Dark Knight has returned. Awesome. --Mark Thwaite

Watchmen - Book and DVD - Collectors Set

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ONLY: $39.99

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Includes

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Paperback)

Watchmen (Director's Cut) (2009) DVD 

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood (2009) DVD 


Has any comic been as acclaimed as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen? Possibly only Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, but Watchmen remains the critics' favorite. Why? Because Moore is a better writer, and Watchmen a more complex and dark and literate creation than Miller's fantastic, subversive take on the Batman myth. Moore, renowned for many other of the genre's finest creations (Saga of the Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and From Hell, with Eddie Campbell) first put out Watchmen in 12 issues for DC in 1986-87. It won a comic award at the time (the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist combination) and has continued to gather praise since.

The story concerns a group called the Crimebusters and a plot to kill and discredit them. Moore's characterization is as sophisticated as any novel's. Importantly the costumes do not get in the way of the storytelling; rather they allow Moore to investigate issues of power and control--indeed it was Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Dark Knight, that propelled the comic genre forward, making "adult" comics a reality. The artwork of Gibbons (best known for 2000AD's Rogue Trooper and DC's Green Lantern) is very fine too, echoing Moore's paranoid mood perfectly throughout. Packed with symbolism, some of the overlying themes (arms control, nuclear threat, vigilantes) have dated but the intelligent social and political commentary, the structure of the story itself, its intertextuality (chapters appended with excerpts from other "works" and "studies" on Moore's characters, or with excerpts from another comic book being read by a child within the story), the finepace of the writing and its humanity mean that Watchmen more than stands up--it keeps its crown as the best the genre has yet produced. --Mark Thwaite


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Watchmen - Movie Trailer





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Batman and Houdini: The Devil's Workshop

AVAILABLE NOW: Batman & Houdini: The Devil's Workshop [Comic] - Howard Chaykin

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Comic: 48 pages

Publisher: DC Comics (1994)

Not unusual for Houdini, actually. What is unusual is his involvement with a certain man in a bat costume. Yes, another Elseworlds Batman story in the world of Gotham By Gaslight.

This story is narrated by Houdini. An interesting twist has been added to Batman lore. If Houdini is a contemporary, then Wayne could not study his posthumous writings. Thus Batman is not very good at picking locks or making escapes. Not to give away the plot other than it involves missing children and a very interesting twist on the Joker (who shows up in style but not name). It also adds an interesting twist to the life of Houdini, a man who spent a great deal of time debunking the supernatural.

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Batman: Madness : Legends of the Dark Knight

AVAILABLE NOW: Batman: Madness : legends of the Dark Knight : a tale of Halloween in Gotham City – Special

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Comic: 48 pages

Publisher: DC Comics (1994)

All Hallows Eve has come 'round again...and the Dark Knight of Gotham City has a midnight appointment with terror when he faces the twisted genius of the Mad Hatter! Teenager Barbara Gordon has recently moved in with her uncle, Gotham City Police Captain Jim Gordon. But a Halloween night quarrel leads her to run away...and Barbara's horror is just beginning when she falls into the clutches of the Mad Hatter, one of the most disturbing villains in Batman's rogues gallery. Faced with one of the worst nightmares of his life, Jim Gordon's only hope of recovering his niece rests with Batman. But terrors of the past as well as the present haunt the Dark Knight. That may cost Barbara dearly at the hands of the Mad Hatter and the grotesque workings of his damaged mind, raising fear and human drama to even greater heights! Written by Jeph Loeb, with art and cover by Tim Sale. Prestige Format. 52 pages.

Batman and Poison Ivy – Cast Shadows

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Buildings cast literal shadows, creating real darkness that many people cannot bear. People cast figurative shadows, creating unreal expectations that many people cannot bear. One particular building and a certain Batman are casting huge shadows over Gotham City, especially to the discomfort of one Poison Ivy, who at the moment cannot bear either one. Ann Nocenti's cautionary and metaphorical tale about casting shadows explores the highs and lows of reaching for the stars, again both literally and figuratively, mostly through the eyes of our lovely yet lethal Ms. Ivy. The highs and lows are both exemplified by one particular skyscraper that is blocking the sun from entering Ivy's plant adorned cell at Arkham, while at the same time contrasted against Batman's tireless and noble yet arguably fruitless and detrimental mission in life. Poison Ivy's multi-faceted character with its' many different shades of gray, or in this case green, ideally suits this style of story, where things and people are not as simple and straightforward as they appear. Nocenti succeeds at producing a story that makes one ruminate afterwards, and kudos to her for accomplishing that rare and laudable feat.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ren and Stimpy Comic Book Collection

AVAILABLE NOW: Ren & Stimpy Comic Book – Graphic Novels 3-Book Set

ONLY: $14.99

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Includes collected sets:

Ren & Stimpy: Your Pals
Ren & Stimpy: Don’t Try This At Home
Ren & Stimpy: Pick of the Litter


Playstation 2 Sports Package 5

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Includes 20 FREE Sports Trading Cards

ONLY: $34.99

NEW! No scratches, no skips. Plays good.

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This collection includes:

Madden 2005
MLB 2004
Hot Shot Tennis
Hard Hitter Tennis
Bode Miller Alpine Skiing

Trigun Maximum Vol 11: Zero Hour

AVAILABLE NOW: Trigun Maximum, Volume 11 [Paperback] - Yasuhiro Nightow

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With so many intense scenes and watershed moments taking place in volume eleven of Trigun Maximum, it's next to impossible to write descriptive solicitation text. But readers have come to expect excellent action coupled with dramatic tension and timely comic relief from Yasuhiro Nightow, and volume eleven exceeds expectations. This volume is titled "Zero Hour." That means everything is climbng steadily to a crescendo, and you won't want to miss what lies in store for the people of the planet Gunsmoke.– 192 Pages (2007)

Trigun Maximum Vol 12: The Gunslinger

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With a fleet of rescue ships from Earth facing off against Knives, the humans in chaos on the ground, Livio renewing his struggle against Elendira, and Vash trying to keep everyone from getting hurt, Trigun Maximum promises a dizzying array of action. But in the midst of this multiple-front battle, Yasuhiro Nightow flashes back to the past, letting readers in on some background information on Knives, Vash and even Legato Bluesummers. – 240 Pages (2008)

Babylon 5 – 3-Book Set FREE CD

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This collection includes the following in paperback:

Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corps
Deadly Relations : Bester Ascendant
The Shadow Within

James Axler – The Outlanders 4-Book Set

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This collection includes the following:

#26 Sea of Plague
#28 Mad God’s Wrath
#29 Sun Lord
#31 Uluru Destiny

Condition: Items are in Excellent Condition. No torn or ripped pages 

Set in the same fictional universe as the Deathlands series but separated by a century, Outlanders follows the adventures of a core group of explorers, Kane, Grant, Brigid Baptiste and Domi who operate out of a secret military base known as the Cerberus Redoubt.

Two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust devastated the Earth, the chaos and barbarism as depicted in the Deathlands series gave way to a centralized, despotic government ruled by nine mysterious barons.

Material taken from redoubts, secret preholocaust military installations with stores of weapons and the home of the gateways, matter-transfer devices, supplied the baronial rule in what was known as the “Program of Unification.”

Rearmed from redoubt stockpiles, the barons consolidated their power and reclaimed very advanced technology created two centuries before by the so-called “Totality Concept”.

Their power bolstered by the invisible authority known only to an elite few as the Archons extended beyond the fortified city-states into what came to be called the Outlands. There, the rootstock of humanity survived, eking out an existence in hellzones and hounded by black-armored Magistrates, the enforcers of the barons’ laws.

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Lisa Gardner - Say Goodbye - Paperback

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FREE Mystery Radio Show CD with Purchase

ONLY: $1.99


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In the latest Kimberly Quincy thriller, the FBI special agent is five months pregnant. Most women might be thinking about taking things a bit easy, but not Quincy: not only is she still working full time but she also stumbles into what might be the biggest case of her career (and, as regular readers know, she has already tackled a few big ones). A serial killer is targeting young women. This in itself isn’t so unusual, but here’s the twist: he is, or so it appears, using spiders as murder weapons. Kimberly is convinced she is on the trail of a psychopath, but without any bodies or hard evidence, she is having a difficult time convincing her superiors she isn’t on a wild-goose chase.

Robotech 4-Book Generations Collection

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NEW! Item in excellent condition. No torn or ripped pages.
FREE Manga with Purchase

ONLY: $29.99


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Includes 4 Robotech Paperback Novels

Robotech First Generation #3 Homecoming
Robotech First Generation #4 Battlehymn
Robotech First Generation #5 Force of Arms

Robotech Second Generation 3-Books-in-One:

- #7 Southern Cross
- #8 Metal Fire
- #9 The Final Nightmare

Although it helped to create an audience for Japanese animation in the United States, Robotech (1985) has always been an anomaly: an anime series that was never seen in Japan in its final form. Producers at Harmony Gold edited together footage from Super Dimension Fortress: Macross, Genesis Climber Mospeada, and Super-dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross, three similar-looking series from Tatsunoko Studios, to create an 85-episode sci-fi epic with a new story line. Toys, role-playing games, and novelizations have kept Robotech alive in the hearts of its fans, although it went off the air in the early '90s

Finding Nemo – Playstation 2

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You'll guide Marlin, Dory and Nemo through ten levels of underwater adventure, as you try to reunite the family

Challenging puzzles and wild arcade action as you control all three characters

Interact with other great characters from the film, like Bruce, Crush, and the Tank Gang

Features film clips that capture the fun of the hit movie

The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations DVD

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ONLY: $7.99

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A man with the ability to leap back and forth though time attempts to help a childhood friend solve her sister's murder, in the process breaking his own golden rule and creating an evil that didn't exist previously. Sam uses his gift to help solve the crimes that leave detectives cold. Though it pains him to know that he can never intervene directly during his leaps, he knows that the consequences could be terrible if he does. Approached by his old friend Elizabeth to help track down her sister's murderer, Sam obliges. But this time things are different, and Sam's inner demons force him to break the one rule that he has always upheld. Upon returning from his leap, Sam discovers that his slip up has given birth to a maniacal serial killer that would never have existed otherwise. Now, as the death toll continues to rise, it's up to Sam to dive back into the past and uncover the killer's identity before any more lives are lost

Steamboy - Director's Cut DVD (Widescreen) (2005)

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The first feature Katsuhiro Otomo has written and directed since his watershed Akira (1988), Steamboy offers a fantastic, sepia-toned vision of the past-as-future. In place of the dystopic Neo-Tokyo of Akira, Steamboy is set in England in 1866. Young Ray Steam receives a Steam Ball, a mysterious, powerful device, from his inventor grandfather. Governments and businesses covet the Steam Ball, and Ray finds himself in a murderous conflict over its possession. He's also caught between his father, a 19th century Darth Vader who builds terrible weapons for an American arms merchant, and his grandfather, who believes science should improve people's lives. Otomo uses computer graphics to create dazzling visuals that few recent films--animated or live action--can match: monumental systems of gears and pistons; machines that dwarf the Tower of London; antique weapons of mass destruction.

Dirty Harry - The Enforcer DVD (1976)

AVAILABLE NOW: The Enforcer (Deluxe Edition) (1976)

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Product Description

Released in 1976, The Enforcer marks the third installment in the Dirty Harry franchise. The film’s plot has Inspector Callahan (Clint Eastwood) paired with a new partner, policewoman, Inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly), as they hunt for a group of terrorists that are blackmailing the city of San Francisco for two million dollars. Callahan, none-too- pleased by being teamed up with a woman, must put his job first and the two attempt to shut down the terrorists. Moore, however, proves herself after she and Callahan pursue the terrorists to their hideout in the prison of Alcatraz. Special Features • New Commentary by director James Fargo Director Fargo takes an entertaining look at the film that launched his career as a director, including the day Clint Eastwood nonchalantly let him know he had the job. • New Featurette The Business End: Violence in Cinema An unflinching look at the ongoing debate on violence in cinema. • Featurette Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films • Trailer Gallery

The Hits of The 90’s – 10 CD Set

AVAILABLE NOW: The Hits of The 90’s – 10-Disc CD Set

ONLY: $49.99

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A great collection of CDs that went on to define the early-to-mid-90's music landscape – Some were number one hits and others part of the Alternative Rock underground. Some evoke memories while others just remind you of the time when music
was
stripped down and creativity flourished.

Including in this one of kind collection are:

1. Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen
2. Bjork – Debut
3. Blues Traveler – Four
4. Everclear – So Much For The Afterglow
5. Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience
6. Live – Secret Samadhi
7. R.E.M. – Automatic For The People
8. Sarah McLachlan – Mirrorball (Live CD)
9. The Wallflowers – Bringing Down The Horse
10. Toad The Wet Sprocket – Dulcinea






The Uncanny X-Men #42 – Comic Book

AVAILABLE NOW: The Uncanny X-Men #42 – Comic Book (VERY FINE/NEAR MINT)

ONLY: 29.99

SOLD OUT!!


Email us to receive notification when this item will be available again at: aimcollectibles@gmail.com 
 
Writer:
Roy Thomas

Penciller:
Don Heck, Werner Roth

Penciller (cover):
John Buscema

Inker:
Herb Trimpe, George Tuska

Letterer:
Al Kurzrok, Sam Rosen

Editor:
Stan Lee

Orig. Published:
March 10, 1968

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sandman Mystery Theatre - The Crone – Complete Set

AVAILABLE NOW: Sandman Mystery Theatre - The Crone – Complete Set: Acts 1 – 4 (Issues 53 - 56) – (MINT condition / No torn or Ripped Pages)

ONLY: $24.99


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Writer: Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle
Artist: Guy Davis
Colorist: Dave Hornung
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Karen Berger

Sandman Mystery Theatre is a comic book series published by
Vertig
o, the mature-readers imprint of DC Comics. It ran for 70 issues between 1993 and 1999 and retells the adventures of the Sandman, a vigilante whose main weapon is a gun that fires sleeping gas, originally created by DC in the Golden Age of Comic Books. In a similar vein to Batman, the Sandman possesses no superhuman powers and relies on his detective skills and inventions.

In this film noir-like series by writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle, Wesley Dodds (the Sandman) and his girlfriend Dian Belmont (daughter of the District Attorney) encountered several, often grotesque, foes in multi-issue storylines. The team of Dodds and Belmont were a nod to Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man novel and movies.




















Grafik Muzik #1 - Michael Allred – Comic Book

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Includes 3 FREE Comic Books With Purchase

ONLY: $24.99


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The first issue published by Caliber Comics, Nov. 1990

Story and art by Michael Allred, this includes Madman's first appearance in color.

GI Joe 155 – The Last Issue 1994

AVAILABLE NOW: G.I. Joe #155 – The Last Issue 1994 (MINT Condition - No Torn or Ripped Pages)

Includes 5 FREE Comic Books With Purchase + FREE Shipping and Handling!!! (U.S. Domestic Resident Only)

ONLY: $129.99

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Even as G.I. Joe HQ is being mothballed, Snake-Eyes receives a letter from the adopted son of his old war buddy, Wade Collins. Sean wants to join the army, and asks Snake-Eyes what it's like to be a soldier. Snake-Eyes, expressing his feelings for the first time to readers, responds with a lengthy letter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tom Clancy - Executive Orders [Hardcover]

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Condition: NEW – Hardcover

ONLY: $5.99

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Tom Clancy goes to the White House in this thriller of political terror and global disaster. The American political situation takes a disturbing turn as the President, Congress, and Supreme Court are obliterated when a Japanese terrorist lands a 747 on the Capitol. Meanwhile the Iranians are unleashing an Ebola virus threat on the country. Jack Ryan, CIA agent, is cast in the middle of this maelstrom. Because of a recent sex scandal, Ryan was appointed vice president, a slot he doesn't hold for long when he lands in the Chief Executive's chair. He goes after the Iranians and then tries to piece together the country and his life the only way he knows how--with a fury that we've grown accustomed to in Clancy's intricate, detailed, and accurate stories of warfare and intrigue.

Tom Clancy - Rainbow Six [Hardcover]

AVAILABLE NOW: Tom Clancy - Rainbow Six [Hardcover]

Condition: NEW – Hardcover

ONLY: $5.99

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Rainbow Six is a techno-thriller novel written by Tom Clancy. It focuses on John Clark, Ding Chavez, and a fictional multi-national counterterrorist unit codenamed Rainbow, rather than Jack Ryan and national politics. There is a series of video games by the same name.

Several NATO countries have collectively organized an elite counter-terrorist unit, composed of the best soldiers from the militaries of several nations, named Rainbow. Based in Hereford, England (real-life home of 22 SAS, the UK special forces unit), the team is led by John Clark (who had the idea for Rainbow), a recurring character in Clancy's novels. Rainbow is "blacker than black," its American funding directed through the Department of the Interior by Congress, then through The Pentagon's Office of Special Projects, with no connection whatsoever to the Intelligence Community. Fewer than a hundred people in Washington, D.C. know that Rainbow exists.

Pope John Paul II: A Life in Pictures

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Includes FREE Hardcover Book: “Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way” by Pope John Paul II

ONLY $124.99

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Condition: NEW! In mint condition. No torn or ripped pages.

Pope John Paul II: A Life in Pictures is the most extensive—and the most beautifully produced—visual diary ever compiled of Karol Józef Wojtyla, who became one of the most respected religious figures and world leaders of the twentieth century. From his days growing up in the small town of Wadowice, Poland, through his extensive travels around the Christian and non-Christian world to his recent passing, mourned by the faithful worldwide, this astounding collection bears witness to the transformation of Wojtyla from a small child in Poland to the Bishop of Rome, the vicar of Jesus Christ, the patriarch of the West—Pope John Paul II. From his earliest years, we travel alongside Wojtyla from Wadowice with his humble parents to Kraków as an energetic student of literature and philosophy, an actor in an experimental theater troupe, and a poet participating in readings and discussion groups. After World War II, during which he began his religious training in an underground seminary, we watch as Wojtyla was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1946. Pope John Paul II then follows along on the path of his faith as he becomes a chaplain to university students, an archbishop, a cardinal, and finally, the pope. In 1978 Wojtyla, taking the name John Paul II, became the first non-Italian pope since the sixteenth century and the youngest pope in 132 years. Dedicated to Catholics the world over, John Paul II was the most-traveled pope in history, making a point to nurture his flock wherever they could be found. Pope John Paul II follows his extensive trips around the world—including the first papal visit to Auschwitz, with Fidel Castro on his historic tour of Cuba in 1996, and among throngs of admirers throughout Europe and the United States. Seen at the pulpit delivering sermons that gave hope to the destitute with his support of human rights, Pope John Paul II struck fear in the powerful as he condemned autocracies from the U.S.S.R. to Chile. We are also given lesser known but equally powerful moments, such as his visit to forgive the imprisoned Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot him in 1981, and his arrival in Sudan at age seventy-three as he kissed the ground at the Khartoum airport. A special tribute to a life and faith that reached around the world, Pope John Paul II culminates in his passing and the mourning of hundreds of millions around the globe from all faiths and political systems. The most comprehensive and superbly reproduced collection of photographs of the Supreme Pontiff ever compiled, Pope John Paul II provides visual testimony to his life as one of the most admired and revered men in the world.

The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy

AVAILABLE NOW: The Bear and the Dragon [Hardcover] Tom Clancy

ONLY: $12.99

Condition: NEW - Hardcover: 1028 pages

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Each thread carries a handbook's worth of intoxicating, expertly researched seemingly inside information, about advanced weapons of war and espionage, about how various governments work, complemented always with ponderings about the tensions between individual honor and the demands of state. Add to that the excitement for Clancy fans of this being the first novel to feature not just Jack Ryan but also, in significant subordinate roles, Jack Clark and Ding Chavez of Rainbow Six and other tales, and you've got a juggernaut that's going to hit #1 its first week out and stay there for a good while.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wynton Marsalis - Selections From the Village Vanguard Box

AVAILABLE NOW: Wynton Marsalis - Selections From the Village Vanguard Box CD [Live]

ONLY: $7.99

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From Jazziz

Setting out to document a bandleader's and ensemble's transitions during a four- and-a-half-year period between 1990 and 1994 is a monumental task, especially if the backdrop is the hallowed Village Vanguard. And at seven CDs that total more than eight and a half hours with three varying groups, it could seem a supreme act of self-indulgence. But trumpeter Wynton Marsalis pulls it off, even if it is largely a hard-hat-and-lunch-bucket-type listening session. Or for those with less free time, it's a librarian's exercise in cataloging because each set mixes and matches ensembles without much regard to chronological order. Yet there's a smoothness, elegance, diversity of emotions and dynamics, and swing to the entire proceedings that makes it seamless and enjoyable from beginning to end and never redundant or overwhelming. Spiked with some of Marsalis' corny and cutesy humor, Live at the Village Vanguard covers an immense amount of musical territory from spirituals and field hollers to elements of what some neo-traditionalists have derisevly refered to as the avant-garde. Pieces like 'A Long Way' and 'Egyptian Blues' as easily evoke, say, Cannonball Adderley as they do Julius Hemphill and Arthur Blythe in their sinuous rhythms. The sumptuous re-creations of Ellington on tracks like 'Rubber Bottom,' the spiky version of Monk's 'Evidence,' or the second-line marches, stomps, and chants of tracks like 'Uptown Ruler,' and the jaunty stroll of 'Down Home With Homey' exhibit not only a deep knowledge of, but an organic connection to, the vocabulary of the entire African American musical vernacular. Though not successfully emulated by many of his peers and followers, Marsalis has at least paved the way for a redefinition of the modern jazz vocabulary with his small ensembles. Perhaps most telling are some of the longer cuts such as 'Citi Movement' that hurtle, honk, and snarl with both urbane grace and menace. Or perhaps 'The Sweet Embrace of Life,' which weaves, wobbles, and even boogies into full-out, take-you-to-church shout choruses. Studded throughout these recordings are countless sounds and solos, enigmatic and daring rhythmic changes, odd harmonies and melodic variations. So even if an indulgence, this box provides much that's superb. - Don Palmer, JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright © 2000, Milor Entertainment, Inc.