Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: January 2018 (Page 1 of 4)

Heavenly Cupcakes and More Beatles On The AIR Wednesday

cupcakeA special one-hour block of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle and two more of our Beatles Week shows highlight Wednesday’s schedule on The AIR. Check it all out at the website, or listen in on this cool embedded player…

Last week on Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, Michele spoke to Teri Blevins, the owner of Lil’ Bit Of Heaven Cupcakes, located on Main Street in St. Albans in the first of a two-part interview. Due to popular demand, today at 1 PM, with a replay at 7 PM we will present BOTH parts of the interview as a one-hour special.

Michele speaks with Teri about her line of sugar-free desserts, plus the history of how she started her business, first with her husband in their home, and then with a public shop. She also discusses their plans to sell their distinctive baked goods online, while maintaining Teri’s high standards of freshness.

And if that isn’t sweet enough, Beatles Week continues as we celebrate this Friday’s “With A Little Help From Our Friends” marathon concert by Rubber Soul. You can find details on the concert HERE.

beatle-show-smallAt 2 PM you have another chance to catch this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston, as yours truly plays an hour of Beatlesongs performed by local artists, including Rubber Soul, Casey Litz of The Company Stores, Melanie Larch, Go Van Gogh and more. This week RFC and Beatles Blast come together for an hour of local Beatle bliss.

Then at 3 PM the Beatles invade Curtain Call, as Mel Larch presents The Fab Four, plus Paul and Ringo  solo,tackling some Broadway classics, we also bring you rare music from the Broadway run of Beatlemania, and some of the remixed Beatle music that is heard at the Cirque Du Soliel Beatles Love show in Las Vegas.

Not content with that, at 5 PM we bring you a new edition of The AIR Audio Playhouse with a focus on Ringo, as you can hear highlights of his rarely-heard children’s album, “Scouse The Mouse,” and his cinematic comedy with Harry Nilsson, “Son of Dracula.”

That’s all Wednesday on The AIR!


Beatles Week On The AIR!

beatles-weekThe AIR marks two years of existence with a special BEATLES WEEK!  We’ve found a way to turn most of our key music programs into Beatles Tribute Shows, to remind everyone about the the “With A Little Help From Our Friends” concert by Rubber Soul this Friday. (read about it HERE)

You can tune in at the website, or right here on this embedded radio player:

Tuesday, Radio Free Charleston will jump into the Beatles fray with an hour of Fab Four tunes performed by top local musicians, including Casey Litz of The Company Stores, Melanie Larch and Erin Elizabeth, who will all be part of Friday’s big show. You’ll also hear Beatlesongs by Go Van Gogh, Under The Radar and Captain Crash and The Beauty Queen, plus rehearsal recordings of Rubber Soul from 2009 and 2011. You can hear the Beatles episode of RFC Tuesday at 10 AM and 11 PM on The AIR.

This very special episode of Radio Free Charleston will also air in place of Beatles Blast on Wednesday, and will be replayed several times this week.

We got quite a surprise when we told our colleagues at Haversham Recording Institute about Beatles Week. Dexter Checkers, who had stepped down from doing Ska Madness (the show has been in re-runs pending it’s exit from The AIR) got out of his sickbed and recorded a new intro for an hour of Ska Beatles covers from the famous Trojan Records Beatles Box. You can listen to Ska Madness pay tribute to The Beatles at 2 PM.

At 3 PM you can hear Swing and Jazz covers of songs by The Beatles on The Swing Shift. Artists like Sugarpie and The Honeymen, Ella Fitzgerald, Ramsey Lewis, Tito Puente, Sarah Vaughn and more put a new beat into the Beatles’ music.

You can find out more about Friday’s Rubber Soul Beatles concert in THIS POST and buy tickets in advance HERE.  Tomorrow we’ll have news about a one-hour cupcake-centric episode of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, and we’ll also have an announcement about the future of PopCult.  Meanwhile, you can keep track of our schedule with this handy embedded schedule…

Monday Morning Art: Chutes and Ladders



This week we kick off with some abstract art, a digital doodle that I did a few years ago and then set aside for a time when I was too swamped to do anything new. Between computer problems and a pressing magazine assignment, that time has come. It’s called “Chutes and Ladders” and I hope it’s fun to look at.

We plan to run a few special programs on The AIR this week to promote Friday’s marathon tribute to the Beatles being held at the Capitol Theater. If I didn’t get any further rehearsal videos posted on Sunday after I’m writing this, look for them later in the week.  We’ll tell you more about the radio programs on Tuesday. You can also read about the concert HERE, HERE and HERE. and listen to The AIR on this embedded radio player…

Video Bonus: Casey Litz and Rubber Soul

beatle-show-smallAbove you see a rehearsal performance of “The Devil In Her Heart,” sung by Casey Litz with the band, Rubber Soul. This was recorded last Wednesday evening during rehearsals for this Friday’s big benefit concert. Casey, of course, is better known as the lead singer for the band, The Company Stores.

Earlier today I posted video of Mel Larch singing “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” with the band. You can see it by scrolling down the main PopCult page to the next entry, to find full details of the “With A Little Help From Our Friends” benefit for Charleston, West Virginia’s Fund For The Arts.

Video work is progressing slowly due to some computer issues, so check back later in the week for more clips of rehearsal performances by Casey and Mel and Erin Elizabeth.

Sunday Evening Video: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

1-23-beatles-showAbove you see a rehearsal performance of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” sung by Mel Larch with the band, Rubber Soul. This was recorded last Wednesday evening during Mel’s first rehearsal with the band.

On February 2, 2018, Rubber Soul is staging a marathon concert of over 200 songs that The Beatles recorded. This benefit for Charleston, West Virginia’s Fund For The Arts will require the assistance of dozens of guest performers during the twelve-to-fourteen hour show. That’s why the concert is called, “With A Little Help From Our Friends.” Due to the sheer number of songs being performed, most guests will only get one rehearsal with the band. This video shows Mel’s first performance of the song with Rubber Soul.

This video was recorded with one camera and ambient microphone and nobody mixing sound, but it still gives a hint of how special this concert will be.

Advance tickets for the event can be purchased from Showclix.

If my rapidly failing computer cooperates, later tonight you will see a few more videos from that night. One more of Mel, plus Casey Litz of The Company Stores and Erin Martin. Keep your fingers crossed that the PC keeps working. This clip was rendered in standard definition, just to reduce strain on the old girl.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 124

rfc-124-01-montageThis week we still find ourselves in March, 2011 for an episode of Radio Free Charleston filled with an eclectic mix of music and some great short films.

The show kicks off with Frank Panucci’s “Prelinger Finger Zinger,” yet another collection of public domain footage from Prelinger Archives, set to a jaunty industrial dance tune. Our first musical guest is Slate Dump, a one-man-band ,formerly of Morgantown and currently based in Memphis.

Following some animation from Frank, we have Electro Biscuit which was Greg Wegman, Kai Haynes and RFC Big Shot, Brian Young. This performance was recorded at LiveMix Studio shortly the beloved institution was shut down by minions of the Pope. Wrapping up the show we have the RFC debut of Red Audio, a great pop punk band from Summersville that just recently reunited.

Next week the RFC Flashback presents episode 125 with music from Mother Nang, Pepper Fandango and Adrian DeQuiros. Also included in this show is Kitty Killton and the most wholesome animation we’ve ever shown! Host segments will mess with your mind.


Beatles, The XFL, Spinal Tap and Giant Robots: Random Notes From The World Of Pop Culture

1-23-beatles-showThe PopCulteer
January 26, 2018

There’s plenty going on in the world of Pop Culture, so we’re doing the short, random news format this week in the PopCulteer. How about we get right to it?

Beatles Marathon Concert

One week from today at The Capitol Theater in Charleston our local Beatles tribute band, Rubber Soul, under the direction of Mark Scarpelli, will undertake the task of performing over two hundred Beatles songs in a sprawling all-day concert that will start around Noon and last until after Midnight.

The band will accomplish this with a little help from their friends, which coincidentally is what they’re calling the show. Guest performers will step in for a song or five and help bring the music of The Beatles back to a live audience. Mrs. PopCulteer, Melanie Larch, is one of the guests and I was lucky enough to be allowed in to a rehearsal Wednesday night where Mel, Casey Litz from The Company Stores and Erin Martin got their first chance to work with the band. I’ll be posting video from that session this weekend here in PopCult.

49506Other local performers lending their talents to this project include Larry Groce, Ron Sowell, Julie Adams, Ryan Hardiman, Ryan Kennedy, Jonathan Tucker, Spencer and Devin Elliott, John Inghram, Kim Javins and many, many more. I’ve even signed on to help a little behind the scenes.

Proceeds from The Marathon Concert will benefit Fund For The Arts, and the show kicks off at noon on Friday, February 2, at the Captiol Theater, 123 Summers Street, in Charleston. There is a $25 pre-sale available at Showclix, and tickets will allow you to come and go all day, just in case fourteen hours of Beatles is a bit too much for you to take in one sitting.

Next week The AIR will present special episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Curtain Call, Beatles Blast and Radio Free Charleston International to get you in the mood for this very special concert. You can read all about those radio programs and see exclusive rehearsal video here in PopCult.

This is going to be an epic event that every local music fan and every Beatles loyalist will want to witness. Having been some months in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

The Return of the XFL

screen-shot-2018-01-25-at-3-01-09-pmContinuing the real-world tendency to make parody and satire irrelevant, Vince McMahon announced the return of The XFL this week. It was pretty obvious that this was coming, as McMahon sold off a hundred million dollars worth of stock in WWE last month to finance a new company, Anthem Sports, which will allow him to revive his failed football league without risking any of WWE’s money.

On one hand, this seems like a genius move. Due to a recent ESPN special, interest in The XFL is higher than it was at any time since the first game aired. A small segment of right-wing fans are boycotting the NFL over the peaceful protests of some players and may be looking for alternatives. And television networks are desperate for live sports content to keep viewers from cutting the cord and watching everything on demand.

On the other hand, this looks insane. The NFL’s ratings had been nose-diving for years before the whole “taking a knee” controversy. People are just sick of football. There’s already too much of it. What used to be a special event that you could only watch on Sunday afternoon or Monday night is now also on Thursday nights, Sunday nights, some Saturday afternoons and nights, with replays all week long on the NFL network. And the games just aren’t as interesting or as fun as they used to be since fans are starting to realize the real, long-term damage that so many of the players sustain. Changing the rules to eliminate violent hits has only served to alienate the more bloodthirsty members of the viewing audience.

McMahon’s revived league will begin their season in January or February and run for ten weeks, with four teams making the playoffs, going on to a championship. This is a time of the year when everybody who hates The Patriots is so sick of football that they won’t have a crap left to give. On top of that, it’s going to overlap with baseball’s spring training. And the weather is generally worse in the late winter than it is during the regular football season.

McMahon says that there will be eight teams, each with a forty-man roster, and that players will make more money for winning, which I assume means that winning teams get bonuses. When asked about players like Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick, McMahon said that, if they can play at the level he wants, they’ll be welcome, but that they’ll have to follow the rules, which may include standing for the national anthem.

McMahon also made it clear that he won’t launch the new league until 2020, so they have two years for that controversy to fade away before setting any rules about it. They want to have a faster-paced game that will be over in two hours, but no specifics were given about how that will be accomplished. They could eliminate instant replay, or they could play four ten-minute quarters or give the players less time between plays to re-set. At this point, everything about the league is still being formulated. Nobody knows what cities will get teams, how much the player’s will be paid, whether or not they’ll be using nicknames on their jerseys like last time or where the games might be shown.

McMahon is promising that there will no crossing over with WWE. Unlike last time when he had Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler as his lead announce team, the plan for the relaunch is to keep The XFL as a separate entity. Nobody at the press conference asked if he’d sign Eric Arndt, a division III college ball player who became a free agent this week.


Derek Smalls Solo Album

smallsDerek Smalls of the band Spinal Tap, who bears an uncanny resemblence to comedian and actor Harry Shearer, is preparing to release his first solo album, and it can be pre-ordered now with lots of available bonuses.

For this one, we have to go to the PR:

Derek Smalls, formerly of the band, formerly known as Spinal Tap, is back! The bass force of the fabled heavy metal band announces his return to centre stage with the release of his first full length solo venture, his new album Smalls Change, Meditations on Ageing. The album will be released globally on April 13, 2018 on Twanky Records / BMG on Digital, CD and Vinyl.

Smalls Change is a poignant and oftentimes furious contemplation on ageing that explores the passing of time and all things loud. With styles that cross the gamut of musical bases, the album possesses the edgy rawness and Rock God sensibility that was always shared by Derek and his fellow former band members, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins and, is now all too evident in his solo work. The album also features some of the greatest talents of rock and roll music and beyond including Peter Frampton, Donald Fagen, Dweezil Zappa, Rick Wakeman, Richard Thompson, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, Waddy Wachtel, Michael League, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Paul Shaffer, Steve Vai, Larry Carlton, Judith Owen, Jane Lynch and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra. Smalls Change is produced by C J Vanston.

If that doesn’t sell you on this project, then you know nothing of music. Check out the amazing assortment of special bundle deals and signed CDs and Vinyl HERE.

And you need more convincing, watch this…

Mazinger Z: Infinity In Barboursville

mazingerz-infinity-keyvisualFans of classic Anime should make plans to head to Barboursville next month for a special presentation of the new MAZINGER Z movie, show in Japanese with English subtitles. MAZINGER Z: INFINITY will receive a special two-day-only presentation at more than 450 theatres across the U.S. on Sunday, February 11 and Monday, February 12. Cinemark Huntington Mall 12 theater in Barboursville is one of those theaters, and they’ll be showing it a 12:55 PM on Sunday and 7 PM on Monday.

MAZINGER Z is one of Japan’s most revered sci-fi properties. The new film, which was produced by Toei Animation, takes place ten years after the conclusion of the famed Mazinger Z TV series.

The MAZINGER Z: INFINITY movie is based on the classic manga series by the immutable creator, Go Nagai. It follows our hero, Koji Kabuto, in an action-packed adventure where only he can choose his ultimate path! Ten years ago, the villainous scientist Dr. Hell led his wicked followers, known as the Underground Empire, in a struggle to destroy all of humanity. It was against these forces that the young hero Koji Kabuto fought, piloting the legendary super robot “Mazinger Z.” Koji’s victory stopped Dr. Hell’s evil plan and returned peace to the Earth.

eac7586ee2b63a681b5b57a575bb8bb1Now Koji has left the pilot seat behind and become a scientist in his own right, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Yet an unexpected encounter deep under Mt. Fuji triggers an even greater threat to mankind than ever before and alters Koji’s destiny forever. With humanity’s fate in their hands, Koji and Mazinger Z face a choice between good…and evil.

“MAZINGER Z is one of Japan’s most celebrated sci-fi properties and is an instantly recognizable icon of the super robot genre,” says Masayuki Endo, Toei Animation Inc.’s President & CEO. “We are very pleased to work so closely with VIZ Media to bring this exciting new anime movie to fans across North America.”

“Fathom is thrilled to partner with VIZ Media to bring this well-loved franchise to cinema audiences across the U.S.” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said. “Our anime events continue to fill auditoriums with excited fans and we know MAZINGER Z: INFINITY will do the same.”

“MAZINGER Z is a groundbreaking property that has helped to define the super robot and mecha genres for over four decades,” says Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media’s Director of Animation Marketing. “The new film is a fitting testament to the enduring popularity of the franchise as well as the iconic works of Go Nagai. We look forward announcing details on the theatrical premiere in the very near future.”

Yeah, guys. You had me at “super robot.”

Weekend Notes

This weekend the plan is for us to maintain our regular features here in PopCult, while possibly slipping in a video or three from Wednesday’s Rubber Soul rehearsals. We haven’t had time to check the video for quality yet, so if I screwed up, this may not happen, but I don’t often screw things like this up, so it’ll probably be worth your time to check back to see what I’ve posted.

With that, we wrap up this week’s PopCulteer.

A Batch Of Toy News

The PopCult Toybox

For the first PopCult Toybox of the year, I’m going to bring you a few shorter items. There is a lot going on in the world of playthings, and we’ll be bringing you more detailed looks at some of these topics in the coming weeks. Toys R Us just announced a huge wave of store closings. The London Toy Fair is underway. The International Toy Fair in New York is next week, and we have early leaks of some of the news from there. The PopCult toybox will turn up once a week or more for the foreseeable future. So let’s jump right in…

Bankruptcy R Us

toys-r-us-closing_2Last year when Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection, I wrote a post about how their real problem was the private equity firms that acquired them, saddled them with instant debt of billions of dollars and replaced their management with people who had no prior experience in the toy industry, or even retail, before that.

Yesterday TRU announced the closure of over 180 stores. That’s about 20 percent of their American retail base. The reason suggested by their filings was that these were stores that overlapped service areas, and many were just a fifteen minute drive from another TRU location. The truth is that these were stores that either had leases expiring, or leases that could be broken without any major financial penalties. Amazingly, none of the stores closed in this round are located in West Virginia. You can find a full list of stores that are closing HERE.

In an email from Dave Brandon, the CEO of Toys R Us, he did his best to assure customers that the store closings were part of what needed to be done to keep the company going, and assured everyone that all their commitments would be honored. He also promised a more robust loyalty program, more competitive prices and an improved online store experience.

This is not likely to be the last round of store closings by Toys R Us. Some analysts think that they need to shutter another three hundred stores to ever have a chance of emerging from bankruptcy intact. They are still carrying five billion dollars in debt, and closing so many stores is only going to make it harder for them to earn enough money to pay down those debts. Right now, they still control about 20% of the market share in toys in this country, but as they shut down more stores, and other retailers like Walgreens and Kroger get more agressive about carrying toys, especially during the all-important Christmas season, that market share is bound to shrink.

Some analysts see Target as the big winner here, because so many of the TRU locations that are closing are in the same shopping centers as Target stores. We shall hope for the best and wish that TRU can pull out of this tailspin before they hit the ground.

REVOS Promise A New Wobble

revospngFactory Entertainment announced that they will unveil a new take on vinyl figures at the International Toy Fair in New York next month. REVOs (pronounced rē-vōs) are, according to them, the world’s first vinyl figures with a unique twist, collectibility and play value.

From the teaser image (right), it looks like these will be figures that can spin around on a Weeble-style base, possibly incorporating bobble-head movements, with multiple points of bobble (pardon me for not knowing the technical term). To be totally honest here, they may not have bobble-head movements. That’s just a guess on my part, based on the photo.  They may just be figures with a base that’s rounded on the bottom so that they can spin like tops. Either way, it looks like this might be a new concept that could encroach on the aging Funko Pop line of collectible figures.

According to their PR, the secret is a proprietary, self-righting mechanism built into the base of every REVO figure which allows the figure to revolve, rock and wobble. Not having seen them in person, I can’t tell you just exactly how revolutionary this concept is, but with Funko rapidly nearing the end of its fifteen minutes, REVOs may well be the concept that takes their place.

The figures are less cartoony than Funko’s, and each four-inch figure comes attached to a base with a rounded bottom, so that they naturally move about a bit. The figures are done in a “big head” style, but they’re much more recognizable than most Funko Pops. So far the announced licenses are Jurassic Park, Justice League, Stephen King’s “It,” and The Wizard of Oz. Many more are expected to be announced soon. Suggested retail for these figures will be around twelve bucks. We’ll keep you posted on how they turn out.

Dirty Donny Digs GTX

amt1065-2In the last two PopCult Gift Guides I’ve recommended books devoted to the art of Dirty Donny Gillies, and now we’re going to point you in the direction of the latest model kit that he’s helped design for AMT. He’s teamed up with the company for a wild interpretation of a marvellous muscle car.

Made from modern tooling and featuring intricately detailed parts, AMT’s ’69 GTX is available now from AutoWorld, and they say that it builds up like a dream. Not content with offering a great muscle car classic, they’ve added in groovy graphic decal designs from Donny the mod monster artist. You also get special packaging designed by Donny.

This Skill 2 (requring paint and cement) kit features modern tooling, molded in black with many extra parts included, pad-printed redline tires and all new decal art and package illustrations from Dirty Donny. You can order it from AutoWorld HERE.

New From NJ Croce

croce-star-trek-02One of the things we’ll miss because we’re not going to the International Toy Fair in New York this year is chatting with Nick Croce, the man behind NJ Croce Toys. He has a genuine passion for toys and a sense of fun that many in the industry are lacking.

NJ Croce makes the cool bendy figures, including Gumby and Pokey, and this year they have a few new entries, which you can see below and to the right.

They announced last year that they had acquired the license to produce bendy figures based on Star Trek: The Original Series.

We get our first look at those this year, plus we get a new line of cute, super-bendable DC Comics figures and series of products based on the Michael Keaton Batman.

NJ Croce offers a lot of other cool bendable figures, like Mr. Bean, Red Sonja, Classic TV Batman, Justice League: New Frontier, Betty Boop, The Simpsons, and more. You can find them for sale at all kinds of places, from Cracker Barrel to Magic Mart to national book retailers and major discount stores. They’re well worth seeking out.


This is the first glimpse of the Star Trek line, due out in March. Kirk and Spock will be sold separately, or you can spring for the boxed set and get Scotty and Bones McCoy too.


This new line of DC figures will appeal to kids, and they stand on their own and have a greater range of bendability than standard bendys do. Suggested retail is four bucks, and expect Aquaman to be added to the lineup.


The 1989 Batman movie is well-represented with a figure and a movie Batmobile that comes with a three-inch figure scaled to ride it.


Charlton Neo Fundraiser

PopCult Comix

27159958_1516641643-5281Longtime PopCult readers know that I am a big fan and supporter of the Charlton Neo movement. This semi-revival of the beloved Charlton Comics was born out of a Facebook page and became one of the most positive forces in fun comic books over the past few years.

The original Charlton Comics was an also-ran comic book company from Derby, Connecticut that was a low-budget launching ground for many of the top names in the comics industry. John Byrne, Mike Zeck, Roger Stern, Paul Kupperberg, Jim Aparo, Roy Thomas, Denny O’Neil, Roger McKenzie, Don Newton and dozens of other comics greats had their first professional work published by Charlton Comics.

Back in 2014, nearly thirty years after Charlton closed up their comics division, a group of fans led by Fester Faceplant fostered a revival of the Charlton spirit in that Facebook group. Several Charlton vets teamed up with fans and newcomers and created The Charlton Arrow, an anthology that carried on the tradition of fun and unleashed creativity that made Charlton such a memorable force in comics. It was the most unlikely comic book revival ever, and it was loads of fun.

196288_1109881_1Last year The Charlton Arrow, which had previously been independently distributed outside of the comic book shops served by Diamond Distributors, relaunched with a new first issue and a foot in the door of comics shops, as they finally made it into the Diamond system via a deal with Americomics.

Unfortunately, it appears the timing was not great for that move. Even with the return of the highly-acclaimed “E-Man,” by the original creators, Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton, The Charlton Arrow has been able to sell many copies. While Diamond is making the books available for order, they’re not doing such a great job getting the books to the stores that ordered them. 2017 was a disastrous year for the comics industry, as Marvel flooded the market with books that simply did not sell, leaving comic book shops wary of trying out any new titles from other publishers. Last year was so bad that over fifty American comic book shops closed their doors for good.

Charlton Neo has seemingly been cursed with the same luck as their inspiration. Charlton Publications was founded in prison, survived a flood in the 1950s that wiped out their offices and printing facilities, and were easily crowded off of newsstands in the 1970s the first time that Marvel flooded the market with books that nobody wanted. After switching to publishing nothing but reprints for a few years, Charlton sold off their best-known characters to DC Comics, and withdrew from publishing comics in the mid-1980s. Charlton Neo hasn’t fared much better, luck-wise.

stl062761Landing The Charlton Arrow at Diamond was a major coup, but Diamond has not done a stellar job of handling their end of things. As an example, I am a customer of Westfield Comics, a long-running and well-established mail order comic book subscription service. I’ve been with Westfield for twenty years now. In that time, I have never missed an issue of a comic book that I’ve ordered. At least I hadn’t missed one until I ordered issue #2 of The Charlton Arrow. It was delivered to stores almost two months ago, and Westifield Comics hasn’t gotten it yet. They haven’t given up hope, but Diamond has yet to send them their copies of the book.

Publishing a comic book through Diamond is a financial risk in the first place. If you sell a comic directly to the public, you keep the entire cover price. If you sell to Diamond, you only get forty percent of the cover price. A publisher has to sell more than two-and-a-half times as many comics just to make the same amount of money that they do selling direct.

Theoretically, having your book for sale in thousands of comic book stores where way more people will be exposed to it would make selling that many more books possible. But you have to convince the stores to order enough copies to have some left over to put on the shelves for people to see, and you have to count on Diamond to deliver those books on time.

Niether of those things has happened yet with The Charlton Arrow, and now the Charlton Neo movement is in trouble. Couple that with the fact that a few financial calamities that have befallen the publisher, and there have been some major unexpected and expensive delays with their Kickstarter projects, and Charlton Neo is in need of a quick cash infusion. The recent hacking of their Pix-C website compounded the problem, because that was one of the incentives for their Patreon supporters.

26993616_1606085649471126_8098287507612688930_nSo Charlton Neo has turned to GoFundMe, and the campaign offers some really nice incentives for donors: starting with digital comics, and increasing to prints, hard copies of comics, a really cool Mr. Mixit T Shirt (seen right, modelled by the artist, Steven Butler), limited edition autographed comics and even original art.

I’m really hoping this works, because the GoFundMe page says, “If we don’t get some backing soon, we may have to discontinue our comics… and there are some great ones in the pipeline!”

I’m going in for the T Shirt, and possibly more. I hope that some of you have become fans of Charlton Neo through my blog, and decide to kick in as well so that we can get more of these fun comics in the future. These are comics that are indeed a labor of love, and contain more fun in a single issue than most corporate comics manage in one of their two-year-long story arcs about the death and resurrection of their heroes.

You can find the GoFundMe page HERE, and order back issues of their great comics HERE.

This Week On The AIR

1-23-air-logoNext week marks two years since the debut of “OnTheAIRadio,” which evolved (or devolved) into the internet radio station we now know as The AIR. The station has changed quite a bit since then. Originally I was simply one of three or five contributing programmers, supplying shows to the station that grew out of the ashes of Voice of Appalachia radio.

However, as the original owner became tied up on other projects, ownership was transferred to a trio of us programmers, and as the other two members of the trio became tied up with other projects, The AIR became a solo act, and I quickly jettisoned “On” and “adio” and reverted back to my original suggestion for the station’s name.

We beefed up our musical offerings and added cool talk shows like Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle, The Third Shift, and The Real with Mark Wolfe. Last year we welcomed The (BS) Crazy Show and the all-night marathons of The Swing Shift (very popular in Europe!) to the station, and our international listenership soared to new heights, just shy of what we’d need to ever monetize it.

Tuesday, to mark the anniversary of our humble beginnings (and not because your PopCulteer had to spend a big chunk of Monday at the DMV), The AIR will re-present the first episode of Radio Free Charleston volume 4, which kicked off this new destined-for-obscurity internet radio powerhouse. Trust me, we have a really good reason for doing this a week early.

rfc-ai-logo-0022You can tune in at the website, or right here on this embedded radio player:

You can hear the rebroadcast of the debut episode of RFCv4 Tuesday at 10 AM and 11 PM on The AIR, and you can read the production notes and playlist HERE.

At 3 PM you can hear the first two episodes of The Swing Shift. My Swing Music program is not celebrating an anniversary any time soon, but I was stuck at the DMV when I should have been recording a new show, so I figured let’s just go back to those humble beginnings too.

Wednesday you can definitely expect a new episode of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle at 1:30 PM, with a replay at 7 PM. At 3 PM there is a remote possibility of a new episode of Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch, but Mel has a lot going on this week too, so we may go with reruns for that as well.

1-23-beatles-showThe project that Mel is working is the “With A Little Help From Our Friends” Beatles Marathon Concert that Rubber Soul will put on a week from Friday.

Next week PopCult and The AIR will bombard you with information and plugs for this concert, and that’s why we’re marking our anniversary a week early. Next week expect Beatle-centric episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Curtain Call, Beatles Blast (of course) and maybe even The Swing Shift, if I can pull it off. All that Beatle-ing is why we’re marking our second anniversary a week early.  Well, that and the whole DMV thing.

You can find out more about the Rubber Soul Beatles concert in THIS POST and buy tickets in advance HERE.

Thursday expect a new RFC International, and I believe we have new episodes of Radio Coolsville and Big Electric Cat lined up for Friday. Meanwhile, you can keep track of our schedule with this handy embedded schedule…

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