Today The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide gets a little pricey. All of our gift suggestions today cost more than a hundred dollars, and two of them are pushing three hundred.

So these gift ideas for for people you really, really like. These aren’t stocking stuffers unless we’re talking about gigantically massive feet.

With the caveat of sticker shock in place, since we’re going by cost and not any theme, today’s three entries hit the Gift Guide trifecta: Comics, Music and Toys.

Don’t be surprised if we do this again next week. I try to make sure the Gift Guide suggestions are affordable for all, but sometimes it’s more fun to write about the expensive stuff.

The Complete Hate
by Peter Bagge, with Jim Blanchard
ISBN-13 9781683963554
$119.99 (Discounted at Amazon)

This slipcovered three-volume set is an archival collection of one of the bestselling alternative comic book series — arguably, the Great American Grunge novel — complete for the first time.

The Complete Hate includes the original 1990-1998 30-issue run, the nine subsequent Hate Annuals, and tons of other Hate-related comics, illustrations, and ephemera created for books, magazines, comics, toys, and other merchandise.

Bagge combined his cartoony drawing style with uncomfortably real Gen X characters, and the comic books resonated with readers. Book One (Hate 1-15), focuses on young Buddy Bradley’s travails in early 1990s Seattle. Book Two focuses on Buddy and his girlfriend Lisa Leavenworth’s move back to Buddy’s native New Jersey (and a switch from black-and-white to full color). Book Three features the final arc of Bagge’s magnum opus, as Buddy and Lisa become parents (and buy a garbage dump).

Each volume, along with the slipcase, contains new covers, endpapers, title pages, and other surprises by Bagge.

Bagge is finally recognized as the voice of a generation, and these books are sort of the “anti-Friends,” that depict a grittier, more realistic and much, much funnier version of Gen-Xers than that sitco ever did.

Who’s Next / Life House
The Who
Super Deluxe Edition, Deluxe Edition
Box Set, 10 CD/1 Blu ray, Extra Tracks
$294.06 at Amazon, Also available from other retailers

The WHO’S NEXT / LIFE HOUSE Super Deluxe Edition contains 10-CDs all remastered from original tapes by long time Who engineer Jon Astley as well as a Blu-ray Audio disc with newly made Atmos & 5.1 surround mixes of the original album and 14 additional tracks by Steven Wilson.

The set features 155 total tracks with 89 unreleased tracks/mixes & another 57 previously released tracks with a fresh remix. Included are demos, singles, studio sessions, 2 complete concerts, 100-pg hard back book with new liner notes & imagery & a 172-pg Life House graphic novel. Extras: 2 gig posters, 2 concert programs, 4 buttons & a band photo with printed autographs.

It’s a huge package, and the perfect gift for the absolute die-hard Who fan on your shopping list.

Who’s Next is regarded by many fans to be The Who’s best album, but it has a really interesting genesis. Originally Pete Townshend had planned an elaborate mulit-media follow-up to the mega-successful Tommy. He created an epic science-fiction story that melded his original ideas and criticisms of where society seemed to be heading with the teachings of Meher Baba, his spiritual guide.

The result was a bit of a world-changer…or at least it would’ve been had he been able to pull it off. With a story that pre-dates cyberpunk, alternate realities and artificial intelligence, Life House, had it been released intact when it was conceived over fifty years ago, would have stunned the world.

Instead, when the venture, which was to have been a concert, movie and 2 LP set proved to be far too expensive for the record label to underwrite, the band was told to just cherry-pick the best songs, and put them out as a single LP, with no acknowledgement of the underlying concept.

Since those songs included “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Reilly,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Bargain,” “Going Mobile” and others the album became an instant classic. Decades later, after much of the story of Life House had been relayed in books and interviews, A movie called “The Matrix” appeared, with many of the same story elements.

With this box set, fans can piece together the history of the album, with demos, rehearsals, false-starts, a graphic novel and more. I’m a little surprised that this set doesn’t include more overlap with Pete Townshend’s 6-CD Life House box set from 2000, which used his demos to restore the original planned running order of the concept album, complete with songs that eventually turned up on five later Who albums, but I hate to think what crow-barring six more CDs would have done to the final cost.

As it is, anybody who wants this collection probably has the earlier box set anyway.

SKU : SRS348
Regular price $299.99 (plus shipping)
from Auto World

For the slot-car hobbyist with plenty of room, The Auto World Rallye 4+4 Slot Race Set allows them to build an epic, four-lane race course that will give them hours and hours of fun. If they have a spare fifty-inch by forty-five-inch spot, they can hold epic races without having to worry about the weather or wayward cars careening into the fans in the stands.

Autoworld includes some of the most significant pony cars from a wide ranging history. Mustang, Camaro, AMX and Firebird all helped to shape the destiny of the American pony car.

The four-trigger action wireless controllers are powered by Bluetooth technology and pair to the special wireless terminal track allowing you to be anywhere and still control your car. Each controller can sync to any of the lanes and is charged via USB (Charging cord included). This introduces new technology into slot racing without taking away from the fun have souping-up cars so that they might fly off the track.

This set brings back the action of vintage Thunderjet and AFX racing, with simpler wiring and loads of fun.


  • 12 Feet of 4-Lane Track
  • 4 – Thunderjet Ultra G Slot Cars
  • Adjustable Power Pack
  • 4 – Wireless Controllers
  • 4 in 1 Controller Charging Cable
  • 13 – Guard Rails
  • 22 – Flag Poles
  • 11 – Track Supports
  • 46 – Track Support Pillars

Track and Slot Cars are 100% Compatible with all Auto World & AFX Race Sets. Recommended for the slot-car enthusiast on your shopping list.