We are now several days past what had been planned as the end of The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, and with four days left in the new plan, we are officially off the rails.
Today we have no theme, other than these are great gift ideas, and instead of just recommending three things, like I’ve been doing most of the month, today we have five random and cool gift suggestions.
Today we have an art book, two graphic novels and some toys.
Tomorrow the themes return for one day as we finally get around to recommending some video gift ideas.
As always, I’m sticking with physical objects that can be wrapped. You should know your giftee, and if they’re cool with e-Books, downloads or other virtual gifts, go for it.
I’m still a real-world guy, so here are today’s picks…
Polynesian Pulp: The Tiki Art Of Robert Jiménez
by Robert Jiménez
ISBN-13 : 979-8854675079
$25.95 at Amazon
If this seems familiar, I told you about this book as part of a Kickstarter Alert a few months ago.
Polynesian Pulp: The Tiki Art Of Robert Jiménez is a book and a trading card set, and instead of showcasing his monster or wacky parody art, the book and card set collect some of his awesome Tiki Art from the past decade. This gift suggestion is for the book, but you can also find the trading card set HERE.
The Polynesian Pulp Art book is a hardbound book measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. It collects the art from entire card set along with an extra 40 images and my copy was signed because I got in on the Kickstarter campaign. I’m a huge fan of Robert’s Tiki art. I even wore one of his shirts on the latest video edition of Radio Free Charleston. I am also on record as being a fan of Tiki culture, even if I’m just a Tiki Poser at the end of the day. The trading cards are wonderful, but seeing Robert’s art printed in a larger size is a special treat for my aging eyes.
You can order the book from Amazon now. Eventually Robert will have it for sale in his Zerostreet Store, but you want it in time for the holidays because this book will put a huge smile on any fan of Tiki art, culture or music, and you can’t go wrong by giving the gift of art.
1/32 scale Toy Soldiers by MARS
Made in Ukraine
$30 to $35 from Amazon, Classic Toy Soldier or Michigan Toy Soldier
This is a set of fifteen figures (eight different poses) depicting current Ukrainian Freedom Fighters, the guys trying to fend off the attack by Russia, who have been surprising the world with their tenacity for almost two years now.
The size of traditional Green Army Men, these highly-detailed figures are sold unpainted, molded in a sort of light olive tan color, and ready to be painted by a hobbyist, or played with by anybody who loves toy soldiers.
The sculpting and manufacturing is impeccable, and the fact that these were sculpted, molded and produced in Ukraine, while the country is under siege is just amazing.
I picked up a set of these from James Wozniak last June at the Marx Toy Show in Wheeeling, and was mightily impressed by the quality.
These will be a great gift for the toy soldier collector, Ukrainian supporter or model painter on your shopping list. There is also a set of 1/72 scale figures in this line, and aside from the stores listed above, you may be able to find them at your local hobby shop.
by Richard Corben
Dark Horse Books
ISBN-13 : 978-1506734743
I’ve been a fan of Richard Corben’s work, probably, since I was eight years old. My older brother bought Warren’s Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella comics magazines, and I fell in love with Corben’s art. Nobody drew like him, with a unique mix of cartoon dynamism and ultra-realistic rendering.
Dark Horse is collecting Corben’s work in a series of deluxe hardcovers, and this first release, Murky World, collects, for the first time, stories that were originally published by Dark Horse and in Heavy Metal Magazine over the last ten year’s of Corben’s life.
It is remarkable that in his long career, he never lost a step. This work is as rich and vital as the first stories I saw by him, over fifty years ago.
In addition to Corben’s entire Murky World series, this book features never-before-seen sketch material, the Dark Horse Presents one-shot, and an introduction by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, all presented in a gorgeous hardcover with a dust jacket.
The story is in the spirit of Corben’s Den and Mutant World sagas, sword-and-sorcery epics with sci-fi overtones, set in a surreal barren wasteland and populated with grotesque mutants and hyper-muscular heroes. The story moves briskly, filled with Corben’s trademark humor, sexuality and action and the presentation is just beautiful, with Corben’s art fully restored and remastered and impeccably printed.
This is the first volume in Dark Horse’s Corben library, and subsequent volumes have since been published. This makes both a good jumping-on point for a new fan, and a great way to catch up with his lesser-seen latter day work for an established fan.
Recommended for any person who admires beautiful, but grotesque artwork, and stories with more than a little adult content.
Murky World can be ordered from any bookseller and select comic book shops by using the ISBN code or at a discount from Amazon.
The Collected Works of Mike Vosburg
by Mike Vosburg
Available directly from The Artist
Now we come to the work of another comic book artist that I’ve been a fan of since the 1970s. I was delighted to discover that Mike Vosburg is not only still alive and kicking, but he’s also producing cool new work, and his independent comics that were published over the last several decades are available directly from him.
I’ve been a fan since I discovered his work in Star*Reach and in the pages of DC Comics around the same time in the mid-70s. Let me swipe part of his bio to explain some of what he’s done over his career…
As a teenager Mike edited and produced the fanzine Masquerader, which introduced him to many of his cohorts in the comicbook world and helped jump start his career. He worked for Marvel and DC for a number of years until moving to LA in the mid 80’s where he branched out into the fields of animation, advertising and film. He has produced artwork for the LA Museum of Tolerance, has drawn the entire run of cover inserts for the HBO Tales from the Crypt series, won an Emmy as a director on the HBO animated series Spawn. Besides any number of advertising projects he has done storyboards for a number of music videos for the like of Emimem, Marilyn Manson and Gwen Stefani. Most recently Mike has storyboarded The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawntreader and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
In his spare time Voz continues to attempt his pursuit of excdellence by attending weekly figure drawing workshops and doing still life drawing exercises every day. Voz now concentrates on continuing to produce his own comic book creations, most recently finishing The Mad Mummy , as well as his Reel Art illustrations. And while the vertical leap is long gone, he still shoots baskets in his back yard when he finds time.
I’m recommending two of his collections (I haven’t got the others yet). These are great gift ideas for the comics lover on your list who enjoys adult-oriented action and humor and appreciates the work of veteran storytellers.
The LORI LOVECRAFT OMNIBUS is 348 pages, black and white, featuring all of the Lori stories produced over the past 25 years and may of the Linda Lovecraft stories from Star*Reach. Plus there are lots of pinups and special features, including a brand new Lori tales done especially for the Omnibus, and a never before seen penciled Linda story. This 25th Anniversary edition, personally signed by creators Pete Ventrella and Mike Vosburg, will be limited to only 200 copies. It’s $30, shipping included.
The Retrowood Omnibus is a 296 page, black and white book with eight complete stories and several extras. J. Parker Wrighte is an upwardly mobile private detective from the slums who now works for the movie industry in the city where celluloid dreams are made. Noir with more than a touch of merriment. 100 copy limited print run. It’s also $30, shipping included.
And be advised that Mike is generous with the extras, so you might wind up with a thumbnail sketch or piece of original art. You can order both books HERE.
Tura Satana Action Figure
by Odeon Toys and White Elephant Toyz
Tura Satana is a cult icon movie star, exotic dancer and feminist hero, famous for appearing as “Varla” in Russ Meyers’ 1965 exploitation classic, Faster Pussycat, Kil, Kill and the sci-fi shlock epic, The Astro Zombies.
With a life that at times seemed more exciting than the wild movies in which she starred, this martial-artist who took revenge on her rapists in Japan, danced burlesque at the famed Trocadero nightclub, posed nude for Harold Lloyd, turned down a marriage proposal from Elvis Presley and survived being shot and breaking her back in a car wreck managed to live life on her own terms and inspire independent women along the way.
She became an underground movie favorite and was sort of a Japanese-American Bettie Page who could easily kick your ass. Satana was popular at comic book and pop culture conventions, and enjoyed a huge resurgence in her popularity and acclaim before she passed away in 2011.
Odeon Toys, who are the toy company arm of our friends at Plaid Stallions, previously made the Brick Mantooth action figure, procured their first-ever license to produce a MEGO-scaled version of Tura Satana, dressed in her iconic Faster Pussycat outfit. They teamed with White Elephant Toyz, who are producing all kinds of terrific collectible toys right now, and they signed big-name artist, Joseph Michael Lisner, to create the package artwork.
The packaging, as you can see on the right, is a bit of a tribute to the Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. package artwork of the 1970s. Tura comes packaged in a top-opening box that will fit right in with your vintage or recent MEGO boxed figures.
The articulation is terrific. She bends and holds her poses very well. The rooted hair gets a little hard to tame, like Ms. Satana herself, and actually makes her look even more like she did in Faster Pussycat.
The end result is a killer action figure who seems ready to burst out of her package and beat the living crap out of your MEGO-sized Batman and Spider-man figures. You can order Tura from either of the links above.