Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: July 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

The RFC Flashback: Episode 210

This week we jump back to August, 2015, for an episode of Radio Free Charleston that is jam-packed with cool stuff.  This week we had music from Time And Distance, Christopher Vincent from Qiet, American Murder and Chemical Lizards, plus we had our usual animation and other stuff. We open with a quick jingle from our friends at Route 60 Music.

You can read the full production notes HERE but be warned, the graphics are a mess.  I haven’t had time to fix them all yet.

Monster Cards and Fake Chick Tracts

The PopCulteer
July 30, 2021

Your PopCulteer is on his way to the Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo (read about it HERE), so this is going to be a short column this week. However, it’s going to turn you on to two very cool Kickstarter projects, so don’t skip over it. Best of all, both of these Kickstarter campaigns are already fully-funded, so you know you’re going to get the rewards for your pledge.

Fearsome Weirdos Return

First up we have Fearsome Weirdos: Harvest of Horrors by  Robert Jiminez. I told you about the first series of Fearsome Weirdos in The PopCult Gift Guide a couple of years ago.

Robert’s work has appeared on album covers, in publications such as THE THING: ARTBOOK, VISIONS FROM THE UPSIDE DOWN: STRANGER THINGS ARTBOOK, Tiki Magazine and Pinstriping & Kustom Graphics Magazine, and has shown in galleries including Disneyland’s Wonderground, Harold Golen, M Modern, Creature Features, and Bear & Bird among others.

You can also see Robert’s work in trading card sets for Topps, Cryptozoic, and Upper Deck on licenses such as Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, Mars Attacks, Star Wars, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Rick And Morty, Ghostbusters, Adventure Time and more. Most notably, Robert worked on 8 paintings for the Upper Deck trading card set FIREFLY THE ‘VERSE and 9 paintings for WACKY PACKAGES GO TO THE MOVIES by Topps.


There are 6 days left in the campaign for Fearsome Weirdos: Harvest of Horrors so you need to act fast. Luckily a bunch of people already acted very fast and the campaign was fully-funded in under an hour. Check out this cool trailer…

Harvest of Horrors is a follow up to the Fearsome Weirdos trading card set. This Fall Special mini set consists of 16 All-New cards inspired by some of Robert’s favorite things, monsters and parodies of products and with this set, parodies of some of his favorite authors!

Included are:

10 Petrifying Product Parodies

5 Alarming Authors

1 Wrapper Card/Checklist!

PLUS! 2 Bonus Cards!

Also included is a bonus Metal Card, featuring H.P. Hovercraft and a Taco Hell sticker.

You can get all this for twenty bucks, plus shipping, and if you want you can add on some other cool stuff, too.

To make sure you get your set of Fearsome Weirdos: Harvest of Horrors  just click the title of the set.

Making Fun of Jack Chick!

This next Kickstarter campaign is for a project that pays tribute to what is probably my guiltiest of pleasures.

A few years ago (May, 2009 to be exact) I went to see a really interesting documentary that the WVIFF brought in to the Capitol Theater with the admission being one thin dime. The film was Gods Cartoonist, and it was all about the eccentric and reclusive Christian cartoonist, Jack T. Chick, who has published and distributed hundreds of millions of his unintentionally hilarious religious tracts all over the world. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was in for a series of surprises.

First, the documentary was somewhat respectful in the beginning, but started to lean to the entertainingly bizarre as it progressed.  We see interviews with sincere folks who worked with Chick (Jack Chick would not grant an interview, but he gave consent for everyone who worked with him to do so), and then the documentary takes a bit of an irreverent turn. We get interviews with famous people who collect Chick Tracts and then we hear from The Reverent Ivan Stang, of the Church of the SubGenius.

That was like finding a wadded up piece of paper on the sidewalk and unfolding it to discover it was a million-dollar bill.

Anybody who’s watched Radio Free Charleston knows that we endeavor to hold up the principles of Slack and adhere whenever convenient to the teachings of The Church of the SubGenius.

So I’m sitting in the theater with a huge grin on my face, waiting to tell all my friends who decided not to go what a gem they missed out on, and I get the second big surprise of the afternoon.

The credits rolled and the last one was for the film’s writer/director, Kurt Kuersteiner.

I had been trading email messages with Kurt for weeks for an article I was writing for Non Sport Update. Kurt, in addition to making this movie, also runs Haunted Houses in Florida and produces trading cards based on really cool things.

He never mentioned the movie when I was asking him about the cards. My mind was blown.

The next day I called him and we talked for a couple of hours, and I ordered his book and the DVD of the movie and in the ensuing dozen years I’ve written about his projects for both Non Sport Update and PopCult.

And now he has a Kickstarter campaign for a parody of a Chick Tract, called “The Collector.”  Best of all, you can get this parody tract for three bucks. There are several great add-on rewards, including the book and documentary I mentioned above, and the rewards are all very reasonable, price-wise.

Check out this trailer…

In his pitch, Kurt writes, “Perhaps the best way to remember such an artist is with cartoons. I’m asking fellow comic fans to join me in publishing a top-notch Chick tract parody as an actual 24 page tract. Obviously, it will cost more than my funding goal to produce, but this amount will help with the final phase (the printing). And this campaign will help put these tracts in the hands of people who can help distribute them to other collectors– including future fans who don’t know the colorful history of Chick tracts but will want to collect them once they realize how cheap, intriguing, and/or amusing they are. ”

This project is fully-funded already (more than ten times over) and there’s almost three weeks left, so if, like me, you find the hate-filled hardcore fundamental Christian rhetoric in the famous Chick Tracts to be uproariously funny, you might want to get in on this, at this link.

It’s part tribute, part parody to the late Jack Chick, who five years ago passed on and discovered that he was right about God being a giant faceless entity with a book of his life…right before he cast Chick into the lake of fire.

And with that, we are done with this week’s PopCulteer. Now go support those Kickstarter campaigns while I’m in Louisville buying cool toys. All our regular features will be here as we post fresh content every day, even if some of it is prepared in advance and then warmed up.

Captain America by Kirby!

The PopCult Comix Bookshelf

Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles
by Jack Kirby
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1302930714

This one is a real treat.

Marvel has reprinted Jack Kirby’s 1976 all-original Treasury Edition, Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles, in its original tabloid, treasury edition, size and I couldn’t be happier.

I still have the original Treasury Edition, for which I gleefully plunked down a buck-fifty some 45 years ago, but this new edition is on pristine white paper that shows off the art in a whole new light, and there’s also the bonus inclusion of a few of the uncolored original art pages and Marvel’s 1976 calendar.

Now that we live in a world where failed actors go on FOX News and gripe about how the new Captain America comics (which they admit they haven’t read) have gotten “too political,” it’s nice to remember that Captain America was political the day Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created him, over 80 years ago, and that has never changed.

In fact, Captain America was not only always politically-oriented, most of that time he’s been a champion for hardcore progressive and liberal causes. The cover of his first comic book shows him punching Hitler…and that was a year before we entered World War 2, back when Republican forces wanted us to either stay out of the conflict or side with Germany.

This particular comic was created to tie-in with America’s Bicentennial, which was a marketing bonanza, and since Jack Kirby had recently returned to Marvel and was writing and drawing the regular Captain America comic (some 36 years after co-creating him), Kirby was assigned the task of telling a story about how Captain America relates to The American Dream.

With elements of A Christmas Carol, This Is Your Life, and A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, we see Captain America transported through time for episodic adventures that demonstrate American ideals. He is reunited with his long-dead sidekick, Bucky, during World War 2. We seen him in pre-Revolutionary War Philadelphia, where his appearance inspires the design of the first American Flag.

We also see Captain America in the middle of the Indian Wars of the old West, flying an airplane during World War I, inspiring John Brown to become an abolitionist, witnessing the first atomic bomb blast and even inspiring a young newsboy in Mahattan’s Lower East Side to become a comic book writer and artist. That would be a young Jacob Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby) by the way.

This is all due to the mysterious Mr. Buda, who has summoned Captain America to his lair to send him on this metaphysical journey.

There are many folks in comics fandom who malign Kirby’s writing. I am not one of them. This story is very cleverly done, with a skeptical Captain being jerked around through history until he’s forced to learn the lesson he didn’t realize he needed to learn. Kirby’s dialogue is sharp and funny, with some outright satire mixed in to keep the pro-American message from getting too syrupy or insincere.

Captain America’s nostalgia for his sidekick is touching, while his reaction to Ben Franklin copying his costume for the flag is hilarious. Above all, Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles is a warts-and-all celebration of America. Kirby does not shy away from slavery or our horrible treatment of the Native Americans. The message is one of hope, but it’s not blind to our faults.

The folks at FOX News would probably hate this book.

I have to mention the art. Kirby, of course, is a master storyteller and pencil artist, but he was often saddled with mediocre or uninspired inkers. That is not the case here, as this book has Kirby’s oversized art inked by artists who wanted to be involved. The first chapter is inked by Barry Windsor Smith, who had made his name as the first artist on The Conan comic book, but who had gone on to the world of creating fine art prints by the time this book came around. Smith’s inks over Kirby are glorious, and manage to look ultra-contemporary and look like the work of Kirby’s old partner, Joe Simon, at the same time.

Most of the book is inked by Herb Trimpe, who shows his respect for Kirby with solid work that really adds depth to the pages. John Romita Sr., Marvel’s art director at the time, inks one chapter and some additional pin-ups, and brings his usual professionalism to the job.

As a bonus, the book includes a few pages scanned from the original art, with no colors, so we can see just how well Smith and Trimpe worked with Kirby. Another bonus is the 1976 Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar,which has some nice illustrations by Romita, Trimpe, Frank Brunner, Jim Starlin, Frank Robbins, John Buscema and more.

As someone who still has his original copy, this new edition of Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles is still worth owning. The bright paper, superior reproduction and bonus material make it a bargain. It’s not a hardcover, but the covers are sturdy and the binding is vastly improved from the original.  If you haven’t read this story before, it’s well worth adding to your library. The story is great fun, and the appeal is timeless. Plus by showing Captain America as an anti-fascist hero who believes that Black Lives Matter and Native Americans got a raw deal, it puts the lie to this right-wing nonsense that the character has only recently been politicized.

You should be able to order this from any bookseller using the ISBN code.

A Bunch of Stuff To Do While I’m Away

Your PopCulteer will be in Louisville this weekend for Kentuckiana.  You can read about it HERE and at the bottom of this post. Meanwhile, if you aren’t into cool toys, there’s a lot of fun stuff happening in and around Charleston this weekend, and as usual, I am bringing you a selection of the coolest shows that have decent accompanying graphics.

You should know the drill by now. The pandemic is still not over.  In fact, it’s getting a little worse again. If you are fully vaccinated and ready to do your best to stay safe, you should go check this stuff out. Outdoor shows are okay for reasonable and vaccinated people to go maskless. Indoor shows leave you at the mercy of your fellow patrons, and with the Delta variant surging, why risk any exposure? I know there are folks who hate the idea of wearing masks, even if they’re not vaccinated. Those people are why you shold wear a mask.

So use your common sense and stay safe…and support the local scene. Here’s stuff you can do…




…And In Louisville

A Blast From The Past on RFC Today

Tuesday on The AIR  we deliver encore episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Ska Madness and The Swing Shift. It’s a block of programs that let you support the local scene, skank a little, chill out a moment and then re-learn how to Swing.  You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player over at the top of the right column.

Basically, your humble blogger/deejay is still dealing with Myasthenia Gravis and its very cruel summer, so I’m taking it easy this week so I can feel better this weekend when I go to Kentuckiana in Louisville.  But I’m not just leaving you hanging. Today’s RFC is an episode from February, 2020, which has been offline for just over a year.  This show features our usual mix of fantastic local music and fantastic not-local music. Back when this episode first aired, I didn’t say much about it, opting instead to let the playlist do the talking, so here’s that playlist again…

RFCV5 007

hour one
Bon Air “Slide”
Farnsworth “Green Valley”
Linnfinity “Gingerbread Girl”
Kevin Scarbrough “O is for Operative”
Hellblinki “Rust”
Bad Keys Of The Mountain “Don’t Think Twice”
The Stranglers “Relentless”
Jay Parade “Three Cheers For A Goner”
Crazy Jane “Lemonade Song”
Ona “Lemon Sea”
Dubioza Kolectiv “Space Song”
Lou Reed “Dirty Boulevard”
Pepper Fandango “Scotch Whiskey”

hour two
4OHM MONO “Entertain Me”
Emmalea Deal “Everything I’m Not”
Mark Beckner “Fragile (C’est La Vie)”
Ann Manguson “What Is Pretty?”
Mika “Ice Cream”
Human Pyramids “The MIghty Atom”
The New Division “Modus”
Mother’s Nature “Stand Back”
Spurgy Hankins Band “Seagull”
Creek Don’t Rise “White Coat Man”
Van Morrison “In Search of Grace”
Nektar “The Light Beyond”
Rose Garden “Next Plane To London”

hour three
Red Audio “Moneytree”
Science of the MInd “Toxic Waste”
Mother Nang “Fade”
Mind Garage “Paint It Black”
M-Opus “Holy War”
Jeff Lynne’s ELO “From Out of Nowhere”
Barclay James Harvest “Sperratus”
Hurl Brickbat “World of Fire”
Out of Nowhere “You Know I’ve Tried”
Pale Nova “Never Get Enough”
The Who “Hero Ground Zero”
Church of the Cosmic Skull “Everybody’s Going To Die”
Godmode Broadway “Surfboards and Broadswords”

For those of you keeping track, this show includes 19 West Virginia artists, 4 ex-pat WV artists  3 artists who at least played in Charleston and 13 artists who are NOT local (including one guy who has since lost his freaking mind over the pandemic).

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.


After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and Ska Madness at 2 PM. At three we have three classic episodes of The Swing Shift.

Monday Morning Art: Spin Doctoring

As I mentioned last Friday, I am in the midst of a heat-induced period of Myasthenia Gravis being a dick to me. As such, I did not even attempt to create any real-world art this week. What you see above is 100% digital, created by pushing around a mouse and hitting keys. It’s one of my geometric abstracts, which, to be honest, I can pretty much knock out in my sleep after doing them for close to twenty years. I decided to use a mix of bold primary and secondary colors and now that I’ve done it, I think it might look better animated.

Maybe later.

Click to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, Monday at on The AIR, this week our Haversham Recording Institute friends are still busy providing translation services for The Olympics. We will be running encore plays of recent episodes of Prognosis, Psychedelic Shack and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat for the next few weeks. This afternoon you can hear Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack at 2 PM and Herman Linte with Prognosis at 3 PM.

At 7 PM, partly because today’s art looks a little like a Disco ball, tune in for 12 hours of the best of MIRRORBALL, hosted by Mel Larch.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player at the top of the right-hand column of this blog.

Sunday Evening Video: Return To Kentuckiana!

It’s time to plug a great toy show that’s within easy driving distance of Charleston,  The PopCult crew will make its triumphant return to The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo!

The Eighth Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo happens next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky after taking a year off due to the pandemic. It’s Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport, with an early preview package available for Friday night. This is a great show. I’ve been to a few in the past, and above and below you’ll see videos I made to document the visits. Up top it’s our clip from 2018. At the bottom of this post you’ll see our clip for 2017,

There will be dozens of dealers with great vintage GI Joes, plus GI Joe from the Real American Hero era and brand-new custom uniform sets and figures for 12″ and 3 3/4″ GI Joes. Plus there will be tons of other action figures and toys for sale. You might find MEGO, Big Jim, Super Joe, Johnny West, Major Matt Mason and many other great toys from the past.

This year the convention special is a box/uniform combo wih a focus on the paranormal. Collectors will also be able to enjoy the custom figure and diorama contests.

Convention-goers can also expect other new sets from folks like Cotswold Collectibles, Mark Cole and Mattsquatch Customs. This is some terrific stuff that is keeping the 1/6 scale hobby alive. I believe that there will also be some exclusive 3 3/4″ GI Joe-style figures and items for sale at the show.

There won’t just be dealers on hand. Representatives from other GI Joe shows, like ToyLanta, The Hershey Action Figure and Toy Show and The DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show will be on hand to show their support.

Visit the Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo Facebook event page for more information. It should be a great time, and your PopCulteer will be there for the first time in three years!

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 64

This week we go back to August, 2015 for an RFC MINI SHOW starring The Fabulous Brother’s Steele. We recorded the band at The Empty Glass in July performing “Top of the World” and “Drag The River.”

An extra note: This episode of The RFC MINI SHOW features my nephew, Gino, co-hosting. Gino will be starting college in a few weeks. Amazing how times flies.

Scheisse Dammerung…but you can dance to it

The PopCulteer
July 23, 2021

We have a new episode of our Disco Music showcase on The AIR, but first I’d like to kvetch a bit about my less-than-stellar week.

As I have mentioned countless times here in PopCult, your humble blogger has an auto-immune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis.  It sucks, but it could be a lot worse. It mainly affects my fingers and eyes. Unfortunately, the heat amplifies its affects, and it’s been pretty hot here lately. I’ve been having a very rough time with my fingers and eyes for a couple of weeks. That means that typing is a chore. I pretty much have to stop every couple of words to fix a typo or missed letter.  Reading is also difficult because my eyes don’t want to point in the same direction.

I’ve got a three-foot stack of comics and books to review. I feel like I’m falling behind on things.

On top of that, this week saw this blog crash for the first time since I moved it out from under the auspices of The Charleston Gazette-Mail. It was only down for about forty minutes, but it happened right as I was about to publish a post, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get it published that day .  I realized that I had nobody to contact for help. Luckily, as with cars and odd rashes, it fixed itself. But there was a brief panic on my end.

It hasn’t just been the heat that’s been keeping your PopCulteer indoors. The air quality has sucked thanks to the West Coast wildfires. This is exactly what all the scientists who warned us about global warming and climate change told us was going to happen, but professional idiots are still disputing the facts.

And this world has more than enough idiots disputing facts these days.

All of this bitching and moaning is my way of apologizing for slacking off a bit in the blog. I still have at least one fresh post every day,  you may notice that some of them are shorter and have more pictures these days. I’d also say it’s a safe bet that next week’s Monday Morning Art will be something digital.

Anyway, in case you’ve been wondering that the deal was, that was it.

Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL and encore a recent Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio shation. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player at the top right column of this blog.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents solid hour of some of the best club hits of the classic disco era. It’s a great show, and I’m just going to drop the playlist right here…


Raw Silk “Do It To The Music”
Shalamar “A Night To Remember”
George McCrae “Rock Your Baby”
Bettye Swann “When The Game Is Played On You”
Al Hudson and The Soul Partners “I’m About Loving You”
Loletta Holloway “Love Sensation”
Chic “Good Times”
The Salsoul Orchestra “Run Away”
Aurra “Checking You Out”
Coffee “Casanova”
Starguard “Wear It Out”
Larry Graham “Sooner Or Later”
Retta Young “Sending Out An SOS”
Instant Funk “I Got My Mind Made Up”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  8 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.  This week’s new MIRRORBALL will kick off a Disco Marathon Saturday night until Midnight.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore of an episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat loaded with New Wave 12″ dance mixes, which you can read about HERE .

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR. The Haversham shows are in reruns while the crew there handles translation services for The Olympics.

You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the overnight Haversham Recording Institute marathon that starts every Monday at 11 PM.

That’s what’s up with me, what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back because we have a fresh post every day, wonky eyes and fingers be damned!

Oh yeah, the headline for this post…

Sometimes when I’m alone in the house working on this blog, I will in a moment of frustration utter a random assortment of satisfying consonent and vowel sounds rather than a curse word (don’t wanna use up my quota of those when there’s nobody around to benefit from it). The other day, I spat out the word in the headline. Those you with a cursory understanding of German will be able to figure out why it cracked me up.

Stuff To Do: Four Nights In July

There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in and around Charleston this weekend, and as usual, I am bringing you a selection of the coolest shows that have cool accompanying graphics.

Remember that the stuff I’m telling you about are the cool shows by folks who are kind enough to make cool graphics and leave them scattered around social media so that I may easily find them. There’s all kinds of other cool things you can get into, if you know where to look.

You should know the drill by now. The pandemic is still not over. If you are fully vaccinated and ready to do your best to stay safe, you should go check this stuff out. Outdoor shows are okay for reasonable and vaccinated people to go maskless. Indoor shows leave you at the mercy of your fellow patrons, and be honest…you don’t know where they’ve been. So use your common sense and stay safe…and support the local scene.





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