Typical people receive gifts on birthdays and Christmas day. Ambitious collector, however, dream of receiving wondrous boxes of joyful toys every day. Although that dream may still be a fantasy for most people, the prevalence of monthly surprise subscription boxes has brought the dream much closer to viability for most people than ever before. Monthly subscription boxes are now available in specializations of virtually every conceivable focus, including anime, comics, snack food, survival gear, beauty supplies, and even adult novelties. Relatively new kid on the block Power Up Box seeks to out-muscle rival “geek culture” subscription boxes like Loot Crate and Nerd Block, and its premium May release goes a long way toward overpowering its competition.
The premium Power Up Box arrives in an unmistakable large shoebox with bold printing and nicely angled exterior flaps that signify at first glance that the box is a step above the ordinary cardboard box. The May release includes:
A 50-sheet Angry Birds Star Wars notebook. The 5×7 inch notebook has heavy-duty illustrated front & back covers and interior pages lightly illustrated with the Rebel logo. The wire spine is tight enough to hold the notebook together but just loose enough to allow all of the pages to flip easily. This particular notebook retails at $6.49 on Amazon.
What good is a notebook without a pen to write in it? Thoughtfully, the Power Up Box provides a matching Angry Birds Star Wars jumbo ball point pen. Appropriate to the epic scale and popularity of the Star Wars and Angry Birds franchises, the pen measures a whopping 11.5 inches long and a full inch around, making it a pen suitable for noting big, bold statements or beating off annoying Imperial assailants. These pens seem to typically cost about $3.
The 100-piece Star Wars jigsaw puzzle from Cardinal Industries features a dynamic illustration of Luke battling Darth Vader in Emperor Palpatine’s throne room from the climax of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. The completed puzzle image measures just over 9×10 inches, making it ideal for easy framing and display once completed. The retail price of this puzzle appears to hover from $6.50 to $8.
Exhibiting some sly British wit, the “For Fox Sake” coffee mug from UK-based manufacturer Paladone is a cute, functional ceramic mug that makes a pair of compelling statements. At first glance it’s merely a mug with a cute animal design. The more linguistically insightful will soon realize that “For fox sake” is a subtle sarcastic jibe that gets its point across with wit in place of crude profanity. This mug retails at $11.16 on Amazon.
Men can feel like whimsical Jack Skellington while wearing a lovely pair of Nightmare Before Christmas crew socks. The pleasant-feeling acrylic & polyester socks are size 10-13, fitting shoe sizes 6-12, which ought to include most average men. The black socks feature Jack’s smiling skeleton face embroidered in white thread on the upper leg, just above the ankles. Since the image is not silkscreened on, it won’t ever fade or flake off. These socks retail at 11.17 on Amazon.
Hanna-Barbera Productions’s Frankenstein, Jr. and the Impossibles cartoon aired back in 1966 and despite being only 18 episodes long still managed to carve out a niche for itself in the memories of American pop culture awareness. The FunKo POP rendition of Frankenstein, Jr. is a particularly cute one. I have to admit that a handful of the FunKo POP figures that I’ve purchased for myself recently have disappointed me with cheap, sloppy paint jobs. I’m pleased to see that the paint application on this figure is just a little bit rough around the left eye but otherwise much sharper and precise than I’ve seen on many other recent POP figures. Whether you’re familiar with the original cartoon or not, this figure is definitely cute enough to be appealing to anyone. At its cheapest, this figure retails at $9.97 on Amazon.
The May Power Up Box premium edition includes a copy of this month’s release of Marvel’s Star Wars comic issue 4. Marvel’s 2015 Star Wars comic has satisfied critics and set new sales records for the comic book industry, suggesting that an awful lot of readers really like this new series from writer Jason Aaron & illustrator John Cassaday. My copy arrived with a bit of smudging and scuffing on the UPC and bottom left corner, so technically my issue wouldn’t grade as Very Fine – Near Mint, but doubtlessly discriminating archivist collectors that want to save pristine copies of every issue will have already acquired a copy of this issue for their collection. For the rest of us, since the Marvel Star Wars comic is a relatively recent series, getting issue 4 provides an ideal excuse to invest some time and energy into tracking down copies of the three prior issues. This comic has a $3.99 cover price.
New collectables pair up perfectly with treats. The premium Power Up Box includes a package of Frankford Candy’s Lightning Bugs gummy candy. The 1.4 ounce baggy includes a pair of battery-powered light-up tongs that will make the strawberry and lemon flavored “gummy grubs” “magically illuminate with an eerie glow.” Granted, the idea of consuming grubs isn’t entirely appealing, but gummy worms are delicious, and the ability to make them glow only adds additional fun novelty to the treat. A single package seems to retail at about $1.50.
Complimenting the Return of the Jedi-themed jigsaw puzzle, the May edition of the premium Power Up Box includes an officially Star Wars.com licensed Return of the Jedi logo t-shirt. My shirt came in a pleasant aqua blue color with a prominent silkscreened classic ROTJ logo on the chest. I assume that most readers know the average cost of a licensed t-shirt these days.
The Power Up Box is available monthly in a deluxe edition that contains 4-6 items plus a t-shirt in whichever size the recipient requests, and a premium edition that contains 6-9 items plus the t-shirt. The deluxe monthly box costs as little as $16.95 per month plus shipping & handling. The premium box costs as little as $24.95 per month plus shipping & handling. Considering that the cost of separately acquiring the items in the May premium power up box would be over $75, the value of the subscription Power Up Box is extraordinary. In fact, even if individual subscribers don’t enjoy every single included item, the overall value plus the sheer exciting fun of receiving a monthly box of geeky gifts is well worth the investment.
If you’d like to power up your comic culture collection with a new assortment of collectables each month, the AnimeNation Blog & Forum would be grateful if you’d register for your Power Up Box subscription by clicking this link. Also, don’t forget that a monthly subscription to the Power Up Box is a fantastic gift idea for any geek culture enthusiast.
Update: subscribe via one of the links in the prior paragraph and apply the coupon code AnimeNation to receive an additional 10% discount on your first month’s box!