The PopCulteer
January 14, 2011

Charleston United

There is a very exciting new music project afoot in Charleston. Charleston United is the brainchild of Jake Ong, who along with Ian McNealy and Rhyme Rock Records is bringing this project to life.

Basically, this is a CD project that will also include live shows over the next few months. Team Captains will be responsible for instigating four original songs, and assembling an all-star line-up out of all the participating musicians for each song. The goal is to cross genres and mix up all the great talent we have in this town to create some unique and exciting new music, and possibly cross-pollinate the music scene while bringing all the different factions together.

You’ll be reading more about Charleston United in The Gazz next week, in an article by Nick Harrah. If you are a musician interested in being a part of this project, check out the Charleston United Facebook page, or make it a point to attend the next meeting, Tuesday night, January 18, at 8 PM at The Blue Parrot on Capitol Street.

There are already some steller musicians committed to this project. Members of The Diablo Blues Band, Linework, Harrah, The Nanker Phelge, InFormation and many others were at the meeting last week, and more folks are signing up every day.

Over the course of the creation of this project, the Radio Free Charleston cameras will be on hand to document the recording process. This could be one of the most fun, creative musical happenings in this town in a long time, and we’re really excited to be a small part of it.

Cool Comics

For one week only, the Cool Comics are back as a part of The PopCulteer. This week we’re plugging the Vampirella Archives from Dynamite Entertainment. You may know of the horror comic magazines Creepy and Eerie, which got around the Comics Code Authority by printing their black-and-white comic books in a magazine format from the 1960s to the 1980s. Inspired by the classic EC Comics (and in the early days featuring lots of work from EC veterans) these books, published by James Warren’s Warren Publishing, filled a void and brought sick, twisted joy to the hearts of many young fans of gore and horror.

In 1969 Warren introduced a third title, Vampirella, into the mix. Hosted a by a sexy vampire chick in a bikini that defied physics, this title started out as an anthology series hosted by the titular femme fatale, but with the eighth issue, the hostess took the lead slot with her own series of adventures that fleshed out her back story quite a bit.

In the first issue, Vampirella was brought to life with a memorable cover painting by Frank Frazetta, with an “origin story” written by Forrest J. Ackerman (of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine) and drawn by Tom Sutton.

Vampirella’s story really took off in the eighth issue when editor/writer Archie Goodwin revamped the character into an alien from the vampiric planet, Draculon, where blood flowed in rivers to support the inhabitants habits. When the supply of blood dried up, a few survivors came to Earth in a space ship, where they feasted on the blood of humans.

The reason nobody cared about the idiocy of that premise was two-fold. First, Archie Goodwin, one of the finest writer/editiors in the history of comics, could make anything work. Second, no matter how silly the premise, there’s something about a really hot vampire chick running around nearly naked biting people that resonated with the youth of America. At least it did with the male youth.

Dynamite Entertainment has released the first volume of The Vampirella Archives, which sadly only presents the first seven issues, when the book was just a companion to Creepy and Eerie. However there’s some fine writing by folks like Don Glut and Al Hewetson, and some great art by the likes of Neal Adams, Ernie Colon, and Tom Sutton. A big plus for this edition is the inclusion of full-color covers with artwork by Frazetta, Vaughn Bode and Jeff Jones, among others. Another big plus is that this collection is printed in the orginal magazine-size, instead of shrunk down to standard comic book-size like Dark Horse’s collections of Creepy and Eerie.

The first volume of The Vampirella Archives is out now, and volumes two and three are in the pipeline. This first volume presents the issues from right before the book hit its stride, but they’re still great fun and the presentation is top notch.

You can order The Vampirella Archives from Amazon or from Taylor Books. ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-175-5

Weekend Spotlight:

The big show this weekend is Rubber Soul, our local Beatles tribute band, playing The White Album, at The Alban Arts & Conference Center in St. Albans, Friday and Saturday night at 8 PM. Tickets are ten bucks, and you can get a taste of the show by watching this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston, right here…

RFC 117 "The Beatles Shirt" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Another fun show will be Saturday night at The Empty Glass as The Diablo Blues Band returns. The cover is seven bucks. The show starts around 10 PM. And you can see the band right here…

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned to PopCult for all your poppy cultural needs.