The PopCulteer
July 6, 2012

After a week where most readers of PopCult didn’t have any power, we’re jumping back into the PopCulture stew with a review of a new Audiocomic, a eulogy for a cable channel, news on a punk show in St. Albans and a few other scattered items.

So let’s plug in, power up and tear into it, shall we?

Audiocomcs presents Honey West in “Murder On Mars”
Adapted for audio by ELAINE LEE from the Moonstone
mini-series by ELAINE LEE and RONN SUTTON.

It’s been almost two years since we reviewed Audiocomics’ excellent audio adaptation of Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta’s graphic novel, “Starstruck,” and we have a brand-new batch of really cool audio adaptations of comic book and graphic novels from this company. We’ll be looking at these in the coming weeks, kicking off with this terrific take on G.G Fickling’s female private detective.

Murder on Mars” is a fun, sexy murder mystery.  The action revolves around the set of low-budget sci-fi movie, where the fading sex symbol star has died under suspicious circumstances. It’s 1962, and Honey has been hired, paid in advance with cash by an anonymous person, to investigate the death. She does this by going undercover as an extra on the movie so she can figure out who done it, and who hired her.

This is a great story, told in three fast-moving acts. It’s essentially a radio drama, with top-flight music and sound effects and a very strong cast. One of the strengths of Elaine Lee’s work is that, coming from an acting background, her dialogue sounds very natural when spoken aloud. Her adaptation of the comic book series she did with Ronn Sutton just sounds right. The characters are all believable and the story is engaging. Director, William Dufris, and a sharp cast, featuring Carrington MacDuffie as Honey West, bring Lee’s script to life and capture the spirit of the era and the dark side of Hollywood denizens in decline in a perfect manner.

This is the audio debut of Honey West, who starred in a series of novels before making the transition to television in the mid-60s show that starred Anne Francis. A couple of years ago, Honey made the transition to comic books, courtesy of Moonstone Entertainment, returning to the sexier types of adventures that didn’t quite make it to the TV show. “Murder on Mars” is smart, sexy fun, and I hope it’s the first of many Honey West adventures from Audiocomics.

HONEY WEST‘S AUDIO DEBUT IS NOW AVAILABLE THROUGH iTunes, Amazon, AND AudioComics Digital Direct! CD’s ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THROUGH The AudioComics Webstore and Moonstone Books Online!

HDNet, We Hardly Knew Ye

The world of cable television lost another cool, obscure channel last Monday, as HDNet, the eleven-year-old delightfully directionless Hi Def channel, mutated into AXS TV, a lamer, tamer channel, in an attempt to become profitable.

HDNet was launched in 2001 by billionaire jerkwad, Mark Cuban, as a the first exclusively-high-definition cable channel. It had a schizophrenic schedule that included Dan Rather Reports, live Rock Concerts, Mixed Martial Arts, re-runs of JAG, and uncensored Girls Gone Wild shows. Buried among that bizarre schedule were gems like Iris Bahr’s “Svetlana,” and “Deadline” with Katie Daryl, a show that took the idea of pandering to the dumb guy demographic and made it entertaining.

Katie Daryl will still host live events for AXS TV, but her show, "Deadline" appears to be out of production

But that’s all changed. AXS TV is going to jettison the male-oriented programming. They immediately booted Girls Gone Wild from the channel and cut Deadline from twelve airings a week to one. “Svetlana” seems to have ended with the second season. The “Guys Night In” programming block is gone. They’re going to lose UFC soon.

To make up for the loss of most of HDNet’s original programming, AXS TV has added a lot of movies to the schedule, which is pointless because their sister channel, AXS Movies (formerly HDNet Movies) shows the same films without commercial interruptions. They’ve also added more concerts, which will be okay, if they acquire more to show, and if they continue the HDNet policy of not editing them for language.

The change is because Cuban has taken on new partners, AXS Promotions, a live-concert promotion company, and…this does not bode well…Ryan Seacrist Productions.

Which reminds us of the first rule of cable television: Any really cool channel will either go out of business, or turn into crap.

Pop-Punk In St. Albans

Sadly, this show was canceled over the weekend.

Monday night in St. Albans, at The Alban Arts and Conference Center, five bucks will get you in the door for an All-Ages show featuring Pop-Punk bands from all over the East Coast.Doors open at 5 PM, the show starts at 5:30.

Bands include: Par 6 From New York; Connecticut’s All Hands On Deck! ; A Cityscape, from Massechsetts; and from right here in West Virginia, Surrender, Neilhouse and Corey Hager. This is an all-;ages Pop-Punk show with simple rules:  NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. DO NOT TRASH THE VENUE.  Break these rules and you will be thrown out without a refund.This should be a killer night of exciting music.


Bonanza Lost Episodes on Encore Western…Monday, July 2, Encore Western started airing reruns of the “Lost” episodes of the classic TV show, Bonanza. It’s not widely known, but the episodes shown on TV Land and in syndication only include a little more than half of the shows from Bonanza’s 14-year run. The “Lost Episodes” package includes 170 episodes, from eight seasons, that haven’t been shown anywhere for seven years. Being on Encore Western, they will be shown commercial free and uncut, too.  The lost episodes of Bonanza air at 7:05 PM on Encore Western, Monday through Friday.

Marvel to Imitate DC’s reboot..Announced this week, Marvel will roll out “Marvel Now,” a relaunch of their line of books with new #1 issues and fresh creative tems beginning this fall.  Rather than launch the entire line at once, Marvel promises a new first issue or two every week for five months. Apparently the company-wide reboot has replaced the company-wide crossover as the desperate attempt to boost sales.

Adventure Time DVD next week…The complete first season of Adventure Time will be released as a two-DVD set next week, complete with cool bonus features. Yay!

Jim Starlin to possibly derail Avengers 2…Thanos is set to be the big villain in Avengers 2. It looks like the character’s creator, Jim Starlin, may have an ace up his sleeve  according to Comic Book Resources.  That could throw a monkey wrench into those plans. Starlin has proof that he created the character before he worked for Marvel, and reportedly, Marvel can’t find any agreement to assign any rights to Marvel for ownership of the character.  It’s about time a creator finally won one of these battles.

Tartakovsky to direct CGI Popeye…From Cartoon Brew comes news that Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, and the director of Star Wars: Clone Wars and the upcoming Hotel Transylvania, will helm a CGI Popeye feature film for Sony. This could be a great combination, even if the idea of a CGI Popeye makes us a little nervous.

Zac Brown Band video by Mike Judge..Also from Cartoon Brew, Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space) has directed an animated video by The Zac Brown Band…

Post Apocalypse Power Party with The AK Forty Sexuals and Miniature Giant…Saturday night at The Empty Glass at 11 Pm. Cover is five bucks if you get there before 11, seven if you show up late, slacker! These are two of the areas best punkier-sounding bands. You need to go and get your face rocked off with original music.

RFC 163…coming Monday, with music from Tofujitsu, Mother blues, Red Audio and surprises. That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check PopCult for our regular stuff. You know the drill.