Having decided to extend The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, we no longer find ourselves in the homestretch, so we can settle into this year’s format, and recommend three online retailers from which you can choose a bounty of cool gifts for the loved ones on your shopping list.
Monday we’ll be focusing on three local Brick and Mortar Bookstores.
This is almost a flashback day, as we have recommended all of these fine folks before, but they still offer cool and distinctive stuff, so why not share their links again?
While these are all online retailers, rest assured that none of them are Amazon, so you won’t be putting money into the pockets of any wanton billionaires (unlike 90% of my other gift suggestions). However, I will vouch for their prompt shipping so you can be sure to get your gifts in before the holiday.
Full disclosure: I’m friends with the folks who work here. Who wouldn’t be? I buy tons of their GI Joe-compatible figures, toys and equipment every year. Cotswold Collectibles carries a great assortment of vintage GI Joe and Action Man items, ranging from the 1960s to the revival toys in the 1990s and beyond, and they also make their own Elite Brigade items that bring back the glory days of The Adventure Team and also veer into the military side of things. I mean, I’ve known the owner for over thirty years.
This is pretty much the coolest action figure shopping site on the planet. It’s a clearing house for all things 1/6 scale, but they’ve also branched out into 1/12 scale and MEGO-sized figures and accesories, and they carry a wide variety of stuff to suit any budget.
Cotswold Collectibles also carries the World Peacekeepers line of 12″ military figures that used to turn up every holiday season at Big Lots. These fully-articulated, high-detail figures are now available from Cotswold, who are also carrying some of the extensive vehicle and diorama sets, which haven’t been sold in the US for over fifteen years. On top of that, they have incredible small-batch custom offerings from Huxter Industries, Artlab Designs and more.
In recent years Cotswold Collectibles has also reached out to import terrific new 1/6 scale items from Spain, Brazil and France and they also offer a great selection of products from Dragon Models, Sideshow Toys, Hot Toys, Threezero and many other top 1/6 high-end companies. If you have a collector of the original 12-inch GI Joe action figure on your holiday shopping list, you need to shop at Cotswold Collectibles.
Archie McPhee is another online retailer that produces a hilarious catalog. This is their fortieth anniversary, and they are as weird as ever. That’s a good thing.
Originally a surplus novelty house, back in the 1980s, Archie McPhee quicky exhausted their supply of weird stuff, so they had to start making their own. You find products created for Archie McPhee under their “Accoutrements” label all over the place now, but if you want to go to the source, visit their website for a wide selection of things like rubber horse heads, super librarian action figures, Goth Cats, chicken-flavored candy canes and stuff like that. It’s fun, and perfect for the person on your holiday shopping list with a healthy sense of the absurd.
Among the silly stuff you can get there is a line of pull-back racers…but they aren’t cars. You can get racing babies, grim reapers, tardigrades, possom and rubber chickens.
In fact, Rubber Chickens are their spirit animal, and Archie McPhee offers a huge variety in all sizes, shapes and forms, along with ANCILLIARY RUBBER CHICKEN MERCHANDISE!
Other great new items include the Itty Bitty Line of minature bizarre things, meditating animal figures, the world’s largest selection of finger puppets and this year’s feature item, The Bigfoot Basecamp playset. I should probably point out that the Itty Bitty Bigfoot and Itty Bitty Aliens would be right at home on a HO Scale train layout, and many other Itty Bitty items would work as props for action figures.
This is seriously one of the most fun websites, filled with tons of goofy, silly and wacky things that you can spring on your loved ones this Christmas. We have never needed a laugh more than we have with an election year and all it’s depressing atmosphere looming, and Archie McPhee is there to give you a big one.
A laugh, that is. Although you can also find a Giant Rubber Chicken there.
American Science & Surplus has been around for decades and publishes one of the most entertaining catalogs on the face of the Earth. I’ve mentioned them here in PopCult before, and Mrs. PopCulteer and I have even made the pilgrimmage to their store in Chicago. They sell surplus items that include electronic components, gadgets, tools, toys, military pouches, cooking supplies, art supplies, pop culture oddities, educational materials and anything else they can get their hands on, cheap.
This is a great place to find gifts for the science enthusiast on your shopping list.
They sell all kinds of motors and lights that can be used for home robotics. They also have military suplus gear that can be repurposed into all sorts of things. And where else can you find a three-foot-long test tube, listed in their catalog as “Test Tooooooooooobe?”
Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife made a pilgrammage to their store in Chicago a few years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. Not everybody can run up to the Windy City, but their website is the next-best thing, in terms of finding offbeat, unusual, extremely useful stuff that you didn’t know you needed.
The American Science & Surplus website is the first stop for gag gifts, or “different” ideas for the “different” people on your holiday shopping list. Seriously, they have tons of cool stuff. Just go look at their site.