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Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

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The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Sixteen: Retailers

Finding ourselves in the homestretch, we enter the final week of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide with a more general set of recommendations of cool retailers, both real-world and local to Charleston. I believe all of these folks offer gift certificates or e-Gift cards, so rather than do the shopping yourself, you can just take the coward’s way out. Or you can just go there and find something perfect for someone on your shopping list yourself, you know.

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization devoted to celebrating and preserving the legacy of the contributions of West Virginians to the world of music. They aren’t strictly a retailer, but they do have cool stuff to sell.

You can help them in their mission by buying stuff from their webstore, where all proceeds go to the WVMHOF. They have lots of music, apparel and other gifts that could brighten up the life of the music lover on your gift list, and you could also buy a membership for someone, so they can feel the joy of supporting local music themselves.

The brainchild of Michael Lipton, the Hall of Fame sprung to life in 2005. They regularly induct new sets of West Virginia music stalwarts, and currently have a physical location in The Charleston Town Center(second floor) that also includes a shop that  features CDs and more by state musicians.

Visit their website for the full story of their mission and history, plus information on how you can join and make donations. You can also shop their webstore for music, apparel and other gifts.

It’s a great way to support the local scene, support the WV Music Hall of Fame and make the local music lover on your gift list very happy.

Kin Ship Goods

They just moved two doors down from their original location, but you can also go online and shop at their store that’s filled with cool apparel, accessories, home goods and other neat stuff at Kin Ship Goods.

You can order and pay online through their secure webstore, and have your order shipped directly to you, or visit the store at its new locatin, 617 Tennessee Avenue, on Charleston’s West Side.

You’ve probably heard of Kin Ship Goods, a brand of apparel, accessories, and home goods designed by Dan Davis & Hillary Harrison. They are based in Charleston, returning to their roots after having started their business in Louisville.

Once you find that perfect gift, be it a mug, a shirt, a hoodie, a hat or someting else cool, Kin Ship Goods offers reasonable shipping options, or you can pick up your order at the store, or better yet, go into the store and check out their new digs and buy tons of stuff.

Oddbird Gift Emporium

Oddbird Gift Emporium  offers a collection of quirky, fun gifts for the home, office, beauty, baby, garden and everywhere in between. Resurfacing as a brick and mortar retailer after the pandemic, you can visit them at their new location, 221 Hale St, Charleston.

Oddbird Gift Emporium has a good number of items made right here in the Mountain State. Oddbird also carries some fun clothing lines and has some cool gift cards and holiday ornaments.

Aside from the clothing and ornamets, Oddbird Gift Emporium is loaded with cool housewares, knicknacks, cooking items, custom-made soaps and candles and more. You’ll also find art prints, pottery, dinnerware, mugs and tons of other neat things. They even sell some specialty teas now.

Oddbird Gift Emporium is happy to return to the world of brick-and-mortar but you can still visit them online for snarky, hilarious and slightly offensive goods. You can shop at their webstore, or keep up with them on Facebook.

Plaid Stallions Shop

The nostalgia-merchants at Plaid Stallions.com (which is really Brian Heiler of MEGO Museum fame) have created a new toy magazine, Toy-Ventures, which I have recmmended in the past.  It’s an absolute treat and if you visit their shop, you can buy all of the back issues, and in some cases, you’ll even get the early-bird bonus items that come with the mag.

Among the several issues you’ll find article on MEGO figures, The Lincoln International Monsters, The Outer Space Men, Rack Toys, toys based on Planet of the Apes, Space: 1999, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” The Munsters, Star Trek, KISS, Godzilla, Doctor Who, and tons of other cool toys from years past.

But that’s not all. You can also get signed copies of Brian’s two great books, Rack Toys and Knock Offs, and you’ll  find the MEGO-sized action figure, Brick Mantooth. Coming soon (hopefully before Christmas) he’ll be adding the officially-licensed Tura Satana action figure, and the Polyester Pals mini-figures.

There’s hours of great reading material that’ll be perfect for the toy-lover on your shopping list, plus you can never go wrong with Brick Mantooth.

American Science & Surplus

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 couple of years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. We don’t recommend that this year, since you’d have to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in 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.

Come back tomorrow for another installment of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide as we suggest even more books!

Monday Morning Art: Driving

This week see your PopCulteer returning to his trusty Blackwing Palamino pencil for a drawing based on a composite of five or six (I forget how many) photos taken while driving on Interstate roadways between Columbus and Atlanta over the years. I wanted to use reference for the different elements, but mix up the features so that it doesn’t look like any place specific.

It took about three weeks to complete this, working in spurts while my fingers were functional, and alternating with a painting you’ll see here next week.

This was another instance of me basically just trying to perfect some technique instead of expressing any grand ideas.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a recent episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a recent edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page.

On Psychedelic Shack, Nigel Pye offers up an hour-long mixtape of Psychedelic Music that, on this show,  kicks off with Smooth Motion.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM.

On a classic Prognosis, Herman Linte presents his usual assortment of prog-rock classics mixed with new tracks, and he opened this show with music from Jethro Tull’s “The Zealot Gene.”

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear Neil’s Heavy Concept Album, with a bonus of Ade Edmonson reading Dr. Suess on The Comedy Vault.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of MIRRORBALL, hosted by Mel Larch. We’ll kick this off with her latest episode, which premiered last Friday.

And check back around noon. That’s when we plan to post Day Sixteen of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide! Today we’ll have five more book ideas.

Sunday Evening Video: Mystery Of The Batman

This week PopCult brings you the first two chapters of a previously unknown 1939 movie serial based on what was then a very new comic book character, Batman. Or do we?

Here’s what is says in the YouTube description for this amazing discovery:

Here it is… Chapter 1, completely uncut, with a special introduction by Michael Monroe, Dean of Film Studies at the Dini College of Arts. Monroe is the author of “WHAT’S IN YOUR SERIAL? THE BUSTER CRABBE STORY.”

Discovered in December, 2015, MYSTERY OF THE BATMAN is a little-known serial which would have featured the first appearance of DC Comics’ Batman, in any medium, outside of comic books.

Young “Batman” author, Bob Kane, had gone to Hollywood, early in his career, in the hopes of pitching The Caped Crusader as the star of a film series. This was just as the character was being introduced in the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS magazine.

Originally intended for twelve chapters, MYSTERY OF THE BATMAN was produced by BJC Pictures, an obscure poverty row studio, which went bankrupt with only six episodes filmed and completed.

All of the studio’s assets were thought to have been destroyed, until a massive collection of 16mm prints, video transfers and original posters turned up in a barn outside of Beeville, Texas.

Thanks to the passionate effort of historians and fans, the existing chapters of MYSTERY are currently undergoing an extensive digital restoration.

It sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Well it is. See this isn’t really a long-lost find, but is, in fact, a meticulously-produced fan-made hoax, which is a loving tribute to Batman and to the early days of movie serials.

They give it all away further down in the description:

Before anyone feels too clever, I’m sure by now it’s obvious this project was produced in 2016, and in NO WAY is intended to be anything other than a loving parody.

This short film was done in good fun, as a love letter to the history of Batman and his family. Please stay tuned till the very end for the proper credits.

Thank you!- Ryan Bijan, Director

This is a real blast.  The credits are loaded with in-joke references to folks who have worked on the Batman comics over the decades. The art direction and music are spot-on, and the only big give-away that this is not a real period piece is the acknowledgement of Bill Finger as Batman’s co-creator.

In truth, Finger was not give proper credit until more than forty years after his death in 1973.  It’s a nice touch for the filmmakers to risk the joke in order to give credit where it was long overdue.

Any fan of vintage movie serials will appreciate the nods to the form, and the direct tributes in some of the shots.  This was obviously a labor of love. Ryan Bijan and his crew deserve major kudos for this.

Many thanks to Jon Raider for turning me on to this cool project. Tonight and over the next two weeks, PopCult’s Sunday Evening Video will bring you all six chapters of Mystery Of The Batman, two per week, so you can enjoy it for yourself and also enjoy waiting a week between some of the episodes, just to give you the movie serial experience.

If you’re impatient and want to watch all the chapters now, you can go to the YouTube page for Big John Creations, and visit their Facebook page for all kinds of cool behind the scenes info and other cool stuff.

Chapter One is at the head of this post, and Chapter two is below…

The RFC Flashback: Episode 38

From March, 2008, we jump back to a special episode of Radio Free Charleston.  This was our 38th show, “Captain America Shirt” featuring music by Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars with Joe Slack and The Spurgy Hankins Band .There’s also a commercial for the Chevrolet Corvair and some animation from Mars.

The show sports location footage from The Blue Parrot, Capitol Roasters, Capitol Street, and The Quarrier Building, home of LiveMix Studio.  This made two episodes in a row where we used The Quarrier Building for some of our host segments. At the time I was sheepishly apologetic about it, but now it’s sort of bittersweet, since that building was taken away from Charleston’s artistic community.

I’m not sure, but this might have pre-dated Bill Lynch’s regular donning of a Captain America shirt, so we may have been trailblazers.

This was a special episode because it was our first attempt at going weekly with Radio Free Charleston. We managed to squeak out four or five shows in consecutive weeks for the first time. Little did I know that, just a few years later, I would manage to do that for months at a time. Read the original production notes HERE.

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Fifteen: Deja Vu

Today being Black Friday, a day many people are out of the office and therefore not reading PopCult at work, I have decided that this is a good day to revisit some gift suggestions that I’ve made in previous years. These are all for stuff that is still available, and one or two of the items have been updated, so they’re sort of new. It’s rerun day in The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide. And yes, I did this on Black Friday last year, so even the idea is recylced.

Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture
by Mark Voger
TwoMorrows Publishing
ISBN-13 : 978-1605490977
$43.95

This is a book that was due out in 2020 but was delayed by the pandemic until the spring of 2021. I reviewed it in March, and here’s why you should consider giving this as a gift to the person on your shopping list who needs a little prodding to get into the holiday spirit.

Mark Voger has written a series of wonderful books of pop culture nostalgia for TwoMorrows and Holly Jolly is no different. It’s basically a collection of short, entertaining essays, lavishly illustrated, that celebrate Christmas as a pop culture phenomenon. Sections of the book are dedicated to the history of the holiday, the toys of Christmas, the books, movies, decorations, television and music of Christmas and even holiday memories from celebrities.

Holly Jolly is a brisk, enjoyable survey of fond recollections that doesn’t have to be devoured in one sitting. This is going to punch the nostalgia buttons of readers of a certain age (like yours truly) more than others, but the experiences are universal enough that anyone who grew up enjoying Christmas can identify.

Voger touches on everything from Captain Action to Gumby to “I Love Lucy,” to classic animated Christmas specials to hit holiday songs to beloved movies.

Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture is a nice blast of Christmas spirit, and it’s really too much fun to hold off and read only during the holiday season. You might be able to order it from any bookseller using the ISBN code, but Amazon has it in stock now. The publisher is sold out of print editions.

Stevo’s Horses
$32.50 to $50 at Stevo’s Toys

I’ve told you about these  cool toy horses several times in PopCult, and you can still get your hands on some of these high-quality reproductions of the Marx Thunderbolt Horse, in new colors, with, or without, the cool riding gear. In fact, they’re not exactly repros. These cool toy horses are made from the original Marx molds!

These are terrific 1/6 scale horses, perfect for any 12″ action figure (or fashion doll). You can order them HERE, and be sure to check out the rest of his site for other cool Western accesories for your 1/6 scale cowboys.

These would also make great gifts for the horse lover on your shopping list who wants a little equestrian reminder of their favorite animal to keep on their mantlepiece or display shelf. The horses are available in gray or dark brown, with custom, hand-painted details. The saddle and tack is available in white, red and brown.

To make these, Stevo uses the actual 50-plus-year-old molds for the original Marx Thunderbolt horse, the faithful steed of Johnny West. As folks of a certain age are well aware, this horse is compatible with GI Joe, Captain Action, Barbie and any 12″ action figure with the proper leg articulation. These are terrific 1/6 scale horses, perfect for any 12″ action figure (or fashion doll). You can order them HERE, and be sure to check out the rest of his site for other cool Western accesories for your 1/6 scale cowboys.

Superman Smashes The Klan
writen by Gene Luen Yang , art by Gurihiru
DC Comics
ISBN-13: 978-1779504210
$16.99 (discounted at Amazon)

First off, Superman Smashes The Klan is a terrific Superman adventure. It presents the iconic, original superhero at his best, fighting bigotry and injustice and other anti-American ideals in an engrossing and entertaining story. Secondly, the story frames this adventure in a nuanced and intricate tale that explores the immigrant experience in post-World War II America. Lastly, it makes it clear that The Klan are the bad guys, something that cannot be repeated often enough or loud enough these days when White Supremecists seemingly have allies in very high places.

Written by American Born Chinese author and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Gene Luen Yang, with art by the Japanese art duo known as Gurihiro, Superman Smashes The Klan is a very timely story, executed in a near-perfect style. While totally appropriate for younger readers, the story has enough complexity and characterization to satisfy any adult reader.

Based on a summer 1946 story arc from The Adventures of Superman radio show, this is the story of Superman coming to the aid of a Chinese-American family that has just moved to Metropolis, and finds themselves under attack by The Klan of the Fiery Cross.

That radio story was created in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, and is credited with doing serious harm to the KKK’s recruitment efforts. The Klan even tried to organize a boycott of Kellogg’s, the radio show’s sponsor, which failed, proving that boycotts only work when they’re justifed and moral.

Yang keeps the 1946 setting, but updates and expands the story to address additional themes of the immigrant experience, and manages to very effectively tie them to Superman’s Kryptonian origins, which Clark Kent confronts for the first time in this (non-canon) story. He re-centers the story with a focus on the Lee family, and adds a daughter, Roberta (Lin-Shan) who is really the star here.

In this story Superman’s confidante on the Metropolis Police Force, Inspector Henderson, is depicted as African-American. In the regular comics he has been race-flipped before, but here it’s particular effective and greatly adds more layers of depth to the story.

This story does not only show the racism of the Klan, but also touches on the sensitive relations within the Asian community and between Asians and Blacks. It even addresses the concept of “passing,” in ways that are particularly touching. That it does so without clubbing the reader over the head with it is a testament to the talents of the storytellers.

Being that this is a stand-alone tale not set in any established continuity frees Yang from having to deal with any of the heavy baggage that 80-plus years of Superman adventures bring with them. This an old-school, liberal plea for tolerance and acceptance, the kind that bigots and demagogues despise.

A major subplot involves Superman discovering his roots for the first time, which is a new take on a story that’s been often told, and then retold before. This fresh take is really well-done.

In addition to a great script, the art by Gurihiru is perfectly suited to the story, combining the look of the Max Fleischer animated shorts with Superman: The Animated Series, and a hint of Manga, to create a slick, clean, yet detailed world that makes perfect sense.

Originally published in 2019, this three-issue series was collected into one volume, and it’s a great 220-page story that can be read without any prior exposure to the Superman mythos. The end of the book contains a great essay by Yang that gives the background of the original radio story, the history of The Klan and his own experience as an Asian-American. Given the continuing racial tension coming from the spiritual descendents of the KKK, this book is more relevant now than ever.

If you enjoy great Superhero adventures without a ton of continuity issues, but with a clear and important underlying theme, then Superman Smashes The Klan is the book for you. Available anywhere books or comics are sold.

The Art of Glen Brogan (Second Edition)
by Glen Brogan
published by HGC Art
$60.00
available from HGC Art

Charleston’s Glen Brogan is the type of artist that makes his fellow artists want to give up and pack it in. His art is so good that it’s hard to imagine anybody topping it. With a sleek style and a strong appreciation of the coolest elements of pop culture, Glen has made a name for himself with exhibits in New York and Los Angeles and work commissioned by Disney, King Features Syndicate, Marvel Comics and more. His first book was published in conjuction with an exhibit at HGCArt in Los Angeles. This new edition has even more of his amazing art.

You can order the book from HGC Art.  And that’s not the only way you can buy some of Glen’s artwork.

So, as we  have been doing for six or seven years, we are once again going to recommend the art of Charleston’s own Glen Brogan.  At his Albino Raven website you can find links to where you can buy Glen’s artwork on T shirts, prints and more.

Seriously, we’re talking about eye candy of such a high grade that it can mess with your blood sugar.

This is a great way to support a local artist who’s making his name on the international scene and treat your gift recipient to a wonderful work of art.

Marvel Comics Mini-Books Collectible Boxed Set: A History and Facsimiles of Marvel’s Smallest Comic Books
by Marvel Entertainment, Geoff Spear and Mark Evanier
Harry N. Abrams
ISBN-13 : 978-1419743429
$29.99 (heavily discounted at Amazon)

You’ll have to excuse me for being old enough to remember this, but when I was just turning four years old, the idea of finding Marvel Comics in gumball machines was mind-blowingly epic. Thanks to some older fellow comic book fans I got to see some of these treasure years later, but I was not allowed to open them because they were so fragile. These were fifty-page comic books that were smaller than a postage stamp.

Being four when they were published, I literally didn’t have a dime to spare, if I’d ever have been able to find a gumball machine stocked with these in the first place, but for years I wondered what the books were like on the inside. Now I don’t have to wonder any more.

As the blurb goes…

Reprinted for the first time, the world’s smallest comic books—originally printed in 1966 and now enlarged to a more readable size—in a seven-book collectable boxed set

In 1966, Marvel printed what the Guinness Book of World Records certified as the world’s smallest comic books. Smaller than a postage stamp, and sold in gumball machines across the country, these six books told the quirky origin stories of Marvel’s most beloved characters at that time: the Amazing Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Captain America, Sergeant Nick Fury, and Millie the Model.

Marvel Comics Mini-Books reproduces facsimile editions of all six books in one affordable box set—along with a seventh book written by Mark Evanier that details the history and creation of these rare, vintage collectables.

That seventh book is the icing on the cake that makes this package worth more than just a novelty. It includes an essay by Mark Evanier that attempts to identify the creators of these comics (many are clearly drawn by Marie Severin) and weaves his personal quest for these when they came out with the sketchy history of the company that made them. Also of value in this seventh book is that each of these mini comics is presented actual size as a two-page spread.

That may seem redundant, since each mini-comic is also printed much larger as one of the other six books in this small slipcover edition, but the truth is, they actually read better at the tinier size.

Each of the seven books measures about four by six inches, and each small hardcover fits into a slipcover that is nicely decorated with the gumball machine insert graphics for the mini comics.

Geoff Spear did an amazing job photographing and enlarging the printed mini comics, but as small as these books are, it looks like they’re actually presented here larger than the size they were originally drawn.

These are cute and quaint and scratch the itch for collectors who have wanted to see them for more than fifty years, but they’re also a pretty cool gift for new fans of the Marvel Universe who are curious about the early days of Marvel’s merchandising. The “comics” are mostly one-panel drawings facing a page of text, but they’re a pretty cool example of forced minimalism in comics.

You might be able to order Marvel Comics Mini-Books Collectible Boxed Set: A History and Facsimiles of Marvel’s Smallest Comic Books from any bookseller using the ISBN code, or, since it came out over two years ago, you can snap it up from Amazon for almost half the original price.  It’s a great gift for any longtime Marvel Comics fan.

And that wraps up The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide for this week. We have one more week to go, that’s a mere 25 more suggestions, so don’t forget to check back here Monday, but also, don’t forget our regular weekend features here at PopCult.

MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat are NEW Friday!

The PopCulteer
November 25, 2022

It’s one month before Christmas, and Friday afternoon we offer up new episodes of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a collection songs from the heyday of polyester, gold lamé, mirrored balls and lighted dancefloors. We don’t have a fancy theme this week, just meaty, beaty, funky Disco music. Check out the playlist…

MIRRORBALL 063

The Three Degrees “The Runner”
Sister Sledge “Lost in Music
Boney M “Gotta Go Home”
Voyage “Let’s Fly Away”
Dan Hartman “This Is It”
Edwin Starr “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio”
Diana Ross “The Boss”
The Isley Brothers “It’s A Disco Night”
Cher “Take Me Home”
Shalamar “Take That To The Bank”
Giorgio Moroder “Knights In White Satin”
Stars on 45 “Abba Medley”
Odyssey “Native New Yorker”
Rose Royce “Is It love You’re After”
Chic “My Feet Keep Dancing”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays throughout the following week.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with the a dancey new episode of  of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.  This time around, Sydney is so happy that she wants to dance, and that means we get the sixth Big Electric Cat mixtape of New Wave 12″ extended remixes. She does begin the show on a slightly somber note, with a quick nod to the late Keith Leven.  Peruse this here playlist for a preview…

BEC 098

Public Image Limited “Death Disco”
B 52s “Rock Lobster”
M “Pop Musik”
Ian Dury & The Blockheads “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”
Flying Lizards “Money”
Lene Lovich “Lucky Number”
Japan “Life In Tokyo”
Sparks “Beat The Clock”
Big Audio Dynamite ” E = MC²”
Thompson Twins “Love On Your Side”
Soft Cell “Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go”
The Sisters of Mercy “Temple of Love”
Dead or Alive “My Heart Goes Bang”
Toyah “It’s A Mystery”
Aztec Camera “Somewhere In My Heart”
Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday”
Scritti Politti “Hypnotize”
Oingo Boingo “Not My Slave”
Cyndi Lauper “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

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.

Saturday evening at 9 PM, instead of our usual mini-marathon of MIRRORBALL, we will be running three episodes of Mel Larch’s other show for The AIR, Curtain Call, which will pay tribute to the legendary Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, on the first anniversary of his death. We’ll also run this Sunday evening beginning at 6 PM.

That’s what’s new on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back later today for the ghosts of gift suggestions past in The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide, and come back for our regular features every day.  Next week is the final week for the gift guide, so hunker down and start buying this stuff already!

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Fourteen: STUFF TO DO

It’s Thanksgiving Day and hardly anybody is going to be reading the blog until tomorrow, so today, instead of suggesting material things you can buy, The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide presents five things that folks local to Charleston, WV, can do on Friday and Saturday.

Black Friday Artwalk
Downtown Charleston

From 5 PM to 8 PM Friday, Charleston’s downtown galleries and art-friendly spaces will play host to artists selling their wares. Art makes a great gift, and this is a great way to support the local scene.

Highlights include Jake Fertig’s work at Stray Dog Antiques; The work of Appalachian Gothic at WV Market; Blacklight ArtWalk at Aronfield will have art by folks at Hole in the Wall and live music by Emmalea Deal; There will also be Holly Jolly Brawley set up in the Brawley Walkway and downtown stores will stay open late so you can shop local, support the local scene and keep your holiday dollars in the community.

Record Store Day
Budget Tapes & Records and Sullivan’s Records

A great place to find gifts for the music lover on your list is this year’s Black Friday Record Store Day, the national movement to get people into records shops by offering hundreds of exclusive releases on one day each year, has expanded to a second day in recent years with a smaller, but still impressive slate of exclusive limited edition vinyl releases on Black Friday.

Locally, Budget Tapes and Records (3708 MacCorkle Ave SE, in Kanawha City) and Sullivan’s Records (1588-A Washington Street East on Charleston’s Historic East End) are participating, with special vinyl releases from Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Ultravox and dozens of other great artists, and new and unreleased music from history’s greatest musicians. You can find a full list of available records HERE. Sullivan’s opens at 8 AM and Budget opens at 9:30.

Black Friday & Small Business Saturday at Eclectic Goods Market

The area’s newest cool shopping destination, located in the teeming Metropolis of Dunbar, will be open Friday and Saturday with tons of discounts and specials. This very large antique and artisan mall will be open 11 AM to 6 PM both days, and they’re promising all kinds of holiday shopping specials as vendors will have discounts up to 50% off and are stocked up on loads of new inventory.

Among the weekends specials there will be:  Gift card giveaways up to $100 (Saturday only);  Gift Wrapping prices starting at $3;  Free kids craft kits;  Curated gifts under $20.

Eclectic Goods Market is located at 1401 Charles Ave, Dunbar, WV. If you’re old enough to remember, it’s the former location of FAD Furniture.

Scarpelli & Kehde’s MARY: A Rock Opera
Elk City Playhouse

Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde’s rock opera, MARY,a Charleston tradition, opens this coming Friday. This is the first production of the show following the death of its composer, Mark Scarpelli, earlier this year, and while it’s bittersweet, it is good to see the tradition carry on.

Let me repeat myself from a few days ago and remind you that, to get in the mood for this production by Charleston Youth Arts Company, you can sample a Radio Free Charleston playlist of clips from previous  productions in Sunday Evening Video from a few days ago. This year MARY happens at the Elk City Playhouse at 218 W Washington St, Charleston, on the city’s historic West Side.

MARY: A Rock Opera returns for its 26th season on Friday, November 25th and runs through December 4th. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The story follows Mary, the young girl destined to be the mother of Jesus, through the 9 months prior to the birth of Christ. MARY paints a poignant picture of an ordinary girl thrown into the ultimate of extraordinary circumstances.

Seating is limited, so we suggest you purchase tickets ahead of time HERE.

Live Music at The Shop (Dunbar) Sam’s Uptown Cafe (Charleston)

John Inghram Band and The Settlement will be at The Shop Friday, November 25th 2022. Doors open at 8 PM and the show begins at 9 PM. Admission is $12 at the door.

Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, John Inghram was steeped in the historic music of the region. His mother’s side of the family were church musicians, and he was exposed to bluegrass, country, gospel, and old-time music as a kid. On his self-titled debut album, John Inghram, the accomplished bass player seizes the present moment to step into the spotlight as a front man. With a collection of 60’s and 70’s psychedelic rock tunes, Inghram sets modern experiences to vintage sounds, allowing his listeners to feel time as circular in nature, hitting on the right now with both nostalgia and innovation.

The Settlement is a funk-fusion jam band from Huntington, WV. Cleverly combining rowdy rock riffs, complex jazz harmonies, funky bass lines, dreamy pop melodies, jammin’ reggae grooves and a multitude of diverse world music influences, the eclectic ensemble truly offers something for everyone. Each member has their own unique flavor and contributes to the bands’ vast array of sounds. Each set is different from the last, offering an original live performance that thrives on energy, improvisation, communication and creativity.

Both bands are heard often on Radio Free Charleston, on The AIR.

BYZANTINE’s CD RELEASE show happens at Sam’s Uptown Cafe Friday night. Join BYZANTINE and POTTERA (Pantera Tribute Band) for the official release of BYZANTINE’S new EP, BLACK SEA CODEX. This show is sponsored by Blackened Whiskey. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The show is general admission and doors open at 8 PM.

There are also VIP tickets that allow fans to hang out with the band at the merch booth, get pics and autographs along with finger foods and complimentary beverages until showtime.

BYZANTINE are internationally acclaimed Metal Gods, based here in Charleston, and getting the chance to see them in an intimate setting is a rare treat. They are also heard frequently on Radio Free Charleston.

That is our Thanksgiving Day sort of gift guide entry. Check back tomorrow for new radio shows and another edition of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide. And Happy Thanksgiving from PopCult!

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Thirteen: Books

Today The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide offers up five gift ideas, which have no unifying theme other than they are all books. Every book on this list is available in a physical format, so you’ll have something to wrap and stick under the tree.  For the readers on your shopping list, here you go…

TALES OF THE STARCHILDREN
by Thomas Wheeler
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8364123015
$17.00

First up today we have a sequel to the first novel from my friend and fellow pop culture journalist, Thomas Wheeler. Thomas is well-known for his expertise with toys such as the Real American Hero: GI Joe and Masters of the Universe. Tales of The StarChildren continues the adventures of the young denizens of the future.

This would be the perfect gift for fans of old-school science fiction and adventure. It’s a throwback to the golden age of science fiction, with echoes of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne, but with an modern setting.

Here’s what the Amazon blurb says:

Months after saving the world, the StarChildren face new adventures, including the arrival of some long-lost friends who bring news of the future from which the StarChildren arrived. But what is the mysterious news, and what impact will it have on the entire population of StarChildren?

Described as “Star Trek meets Jonny Quest”, the first StarChildren novel introduced readers to a remarkable band of youngsters from dozens of worlds in a future time. Now the sequel carries on their amazing science-fiction adventures!

Available directly from Amazon. You can also find his original StarChildren novel there.

Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale
by Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8801403045
$25 (Paperback)
$34.99 (Hardcover)

Anyone interested in toy manufacturing, Northern West Virginia history or post-war industrial America should seek out Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale. It’s a great gift for folks who are curious about any of those topics.

Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller have crafted an exhaustive history of the Marx Toys Glen Dale, West Virginia plant, pre-dating Marx toys and going all the way to the days of the Marx Toy Museum. They do this by weaving deep research with a stirring oral history provided by dozens of Marx Factory employees and their families. The book is also generously illustrated with photos and images from the factory.

Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is a fascinating look at how toys were made in the days before OSHA, before outsourcing to other countries, and before Marx Toys themselves shut down operations.  We learn how life was for an every day worker at the factory, including some downright frightening tales of dangerous incidents at the plant and the aftermath of chemical exposure. However, the overwhelming aura of this book is that of a fond rememberance of a factory that provided employment for hundreds, if not thousands of households in the Glen Dale/Moundsville area for decades.

The book winds up with a profile of Francis Turner and a history of The Marx Toy Museum, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It follows the opening of the museum, the closing and even the visit by American Pickers a few years ago. I think Francis deserves a book of his own someday, but this is a great start and taught me a lot of new facts about my friend.

While Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is obviously a must-have book for any fan or collector of Marx Toys, it will also appeal to anybody who would like a well-crafted story about a small factory town and the people who lived there.

You can order Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale from Amazon in Hardback or Paperback editions. You might also be able to order it from your local bookseller using the ISBN number above.

It’s All in the Mind : Inside the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Vol. 2
by Robert R Hieronimus and Laura E Cortner
Hieronimus & Co., Inc.
ISBN-13 9781736049808
$32.49 Available from the author

Over twenty years ago I discovered the most comprehensive book ever about the making of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Now the author has returned with a new volume loaded with more insider stories on how favorite scenes were made, on-set hijinks, the Swinging 60s. Why the Yellow Submarine makes us feel so GOOD, interpretation of symbolism and the subconscious. Full-color, 203 illustrations.

This new book details the merry and wildly creative tribe who produced The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, the ground-breaking, one-of-a-kind visual adventure, first released in 1968. Get to know the formerly undiscovered artists and the technical wizardry behind your favorite scenes. Discover symbolic interpretations and subconscious messages of peace and love, plus in-studio hijinks by frustrated animators that were hidden in the movie.

How does Yellow Submarine inspire such wonderful feelings of peace and love? This book lifts the veil of the animation screen to see behind The Beatles and detail that one magical year, during the Summer of Love in Swinging London, when a band of young artist-fans fell into the groove and brought their heroes to animated life. Part two of the internationally acclaimed Inside the Yellow Submarine: The Making of the Beatles Animated Classic by Dr. Robert R. Hieronimus and Laura E. Cortner.

This is, of course, the perfect gift for any Beatles fan or anybody interested in Yellow Submarine. You can order the deluxe paperback from the author, or other booksellers, but be warned that the version on Amazon is a cheaper printing, with no color graphics.

Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream
by Dennis L. Prince
Titan Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1803363066
$49.99

Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream is the official behind-the-scenes book featuring the spine-tingling stories and tantalizing talent behind the Creepshow series. This is the inside look at Greg Nicotero’s television continuation of Stephen King and George Romero’s Creepshow franchise.

Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream, produced by AMC Networks Publishing and Creepshow showrunner and executive producer Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), is a coffee-table book which brings fans behind-the-scenes of the acclaimed Creepshow series with deep dives into its riveting origins, gripping development, provocative production, sinister special effects, and much more.

The book features a foreword by legendary storyteller and Creepshow co-creator, Stephen King, and an afterword by horror aficionado Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s lead guitarist. Based on the hit anthology series from Nicotero, Cartel Entertainment, Striker Entertainment, and in partnership with Titan Books, the book is written by Dennis L. Prince, designed by John J. Hill, and co-produced by Julia Hobgood.

The series has been heralded as “an irresistibly macabre package,” (Slant Magazine) and “an undeniable love letter to all generations of horror fans,” (CBR), and over three seasons, has been one of the most watched programs on Shudder.

Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream is the perfect gift for any fan of the show, or for folks who have an interest in horror filmmaking.  Available from any bookseller, using the ISBN code.

The Kinks: Every Album Every Song (On Track)
by Martin Hutchnson
Sonicbond Publishing
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1789521726
$21.95

The Kinks don’t get a lot of ink. While libraries full of books have been written about The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors and other major rock bands of yesteryear, there haven’t been a great deal of books written about The Kinks.

Hailing from Muswell Hill in London, The Kinks were one of the top British bands of the sixties, with over twenty hit singles including a trio of number ones (including the famous paean to their home city ‘Waterloo Sunset’). They had over a dozen top ten’s, thanks to the clever and sometimes sardonic songwriting of Ray Davies, who dominated the band and deservedly went on to be knighted.

When the seventies came along, they recorded a number of critically acclaimed concept albums, and their live shows became more theatrical with the band shifting focus to become pioneers of arena rock in America. Following a resurgence of commercial popularity in the late seventies and early eighties, the band continued to record interesting and lyrically insightful albums.

They last performed together in 1996. The combination of Ray’s songs and the musicianship of the band – including his brother Dave Davies, with whom Ray had a rather tempestuous relationship, has resulted in The Kinks being named as a major influence for many bands. This book examines all the tracks released by The Kinks, both singles and albums, and provides a valuable insight into one of music’s greatest groups.

The Kinks: Every Album Every Song (On Track) is the ideal gift for any fan of The Kinks, but it’s also a really good introduction to the band for the non-fan, and would be welcome in any music lover’s pop music library.

You might be able to order this from any bookseller, but it’s an import and Amazon has it in stock now.

That is today’s entry in The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide. Tomorrow we’ll be telling you about some local, Charleston, West Virgina retail events scheduled for Black Friday.

 

Revolving Around The Circle of Life on The AIR

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a special new episodes of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  You can tune in at the website, or if you’re on a laptop or desktop, you could just stay right here and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player lurking elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM Beatles Blast Dives headfirst into the new Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles’ Revolver album, with an hour of new mixes, previously unheard demos and rehearsals and all sorts of cool studio outtakes.

Revolver is considered the band’s best album by huge chunk of Beatles fandom, and it’s amazing how they were able to use audio technology invented for The Beatles Get Back project to isolate the voices and instruments on the original four-track recordings to create a bold new mix. The bonus cuts are revelatory, showing how the band wrote their songs and tracing the evolution of different tracks.

This week’s show gives you a taste of this must-have boxed set of Beatles’ rarities.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 11 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday afternoon.

At 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch salutes  25 years of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. Naysayers didn’t see how an animated film about talking and singing animals could be translated to the stage but Julie Taymor devised a way to do it that works so well that the play is still running on The Great White Way and touring all over the world.

With additional songs by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer fleshing out the songs written for the movie by Elton John and Tim Rice, and innovative puppets helping represent the animals, The Lion King has proven to be a timeless classic of the stage.

In this episode of Curtain Call, Mel assembles a mixtape from the Original Soundtrack Album, the Original Broadway Cast album and even the Mexican Cast Album to  pay tribute to the many successful iterations of this beloved musical.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM, Saturday at 8 PM and Monday at 9 AM. A six-hour marathon of classic episodes can be heard Sunday evening starting at 6 PM, and an all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

Also on The AIR, Wednesday at 11 PM,  The Comedy Vault revisits its fifth episode, as our comedy showcase takes the rest of 2022 off.. The Comedy Vault can be heard every Wednesday at 11 PM, with the featured episodes replayed a couple of weeks later, Monday at 8 PM. New episodes begin again in January.

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Twelve: Graphic Novels & Comics

Today we’re going to recommend some graphic novels, or collections of comics, in The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide.

Captain Action: The Classic Collection
by Gil Kane, Jim Shooter, Wallace Wood
forward by Mark Waid
IDW Publishing
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1684058907
$29.99 (discounted at Amazon)

Captain Action was a 12″ action figure that could be dressed up as a variety of superheroes, using outfits (each sold separately). Thanks to the less-sophisticated licensing deals of the day, Ideal Toys was able to offer outfits for the Captain featuring heroes from DC Comics, Marvel, King Features Syndicate and more. It was a great gimmick and the toy line did good business until the 1960s superhero boom went bust after a couple of years.

However, during that time DC Comics picked up the license to produced a comic book based on Captain Action. It lasted five bizarre and intriguing issues, and those make up the bulk of this book.

Captain Action: The Classic Collection collects the entire five-issue run of the comic book, complete with covers and bonus material.

Since the character was pretty much a blank slate, much of his mythos had to be created out of thin air by the writer of his first two issues, a teenaged Jim Shooter (later to be a controversial editor at Marvel and Valiant Comics). Shooter, under the guidance of editors Mort Weisinger and Julie Schwartz, came up with his secret identity (Clive Arno), his job (Archeology Professor with a Museum named after him) and a source of super powers (magic coins imbued with the power of the gods).  The series featured spectacular art, with the first drawn solo by the legendary Wally Wood, and the second with Wood’s inks over the equally legendary Gil Kane.

After the first two issues, which told the origin of Captain Action and gave us a great Silver age super hero action story, Shooter was gone. With the third issue, Kane took over as both the writer and penciller (and he even inked the fourth issue himself). It was at this point that the series took a turn toward the psychotronic.

With Gil Kane in charge (under the editing of Julie Schwartz), Captain Action became one of the first truly psychedelic superhero comics. Dr. Evil was introduced, but instead of simply being his “enemy from Alpha Centuri,” as the toy was identified, Dr. Evil in the comics was an alturistic scientist mutated by an accident who becomes a god-like blue-skinned alien with an exposed brain and telepathic powers…who now hates humanity.

Captain Action is very much a work of its time, and when Kane took over writing the book, the influences of Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, and a culture that was experimenting with all kinds of ways to expand your mind were in the air. Kane’s stories are cosmically aware, yet are still filled with superhero action and great comic book melodrama.

Highly recommend for the toy collector/comic book fan on your holiday shopping list.

Fantastic Four: Full Circle
by Alex Ross
Harry N. Abrams/Marvel Arts
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1419761676
$24.99 (discounted at Amazon)

Fantastic Four: Full Circle is a stunning valentine to Jack Kirby and his brilliant late-1960s run on Marvel’s Fantastic Four. With dialogue and editing by Stan Lee, Kirby told epic superhero tales of cosmic adventure that set the standard for the Marvel Universe.  Alex Ross has long been established as a master of telling dynamic superhero stories with a photorealistic style. Full Circle is the first time that he’s handled both the writing and the art solo, with no collaborators.

This is the first “Marvel Arts” book, a joint venture of Abrams Arts and Marvel, and it gets the imprint off to a strong start. Ross jumps right in, unburdoned by decades of complicated continuity, and tells a direct sequel to a couple of Kirby/Lee FF stories from the 1960s.

The end result is a spectacularly-illustrated 64 page story that reads like a lost classic Fantastic Four Annual from thecomic’s peak period. The artwork of Alex Ross is pure eye candy, and he shows off the strength of his layouts here as well. He perfectly recreates the fast pace of the classic comics and crams tons of action into a very short space.

Ross did not paint the art here. It’s drawn traditionally and colored by Ross with Josh Johnson in wild day-glo hues, with digital effects to lend the art the hand-separated dot-pattern look of old school comics. It’s got just the right touch of nostalgia, without turning it into a gimmick.  Another really nice touch is a fold-out dustcover that retells the origin of The Fantastic Four, just to bring new readers up to speed.

The story itself is an adventure in the Negative Zone, which spins out of dangling storylines left over from the Kirby days. It is everything a fan could want in a Fantastic Four story set in the Negative Zone.

Ironically, despite its setting in the Negative Zone, the story is overwhelmingly upbeat and positive. Thematically it would fit right in with the treasury-sized specials that Ross did with Paul Dini at DC over twenty years ago.

Fantastic Four: Full Circle is a must-have gift for any fan of classic Marvel comics.

The Spider: Crime Unlimited
written by Jerry Siegel, Donne Avenell
art by Aldo Marculeta. Giorgio Trevisan
Rebellion Publishing
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1786184658
$24.18

From British comics of the 1960s comes The Spider. The Spider was the most accomplished criminal in the world, to the point where he got bored hanging out with other criminal masterminds and started fighting crime alongside the police. Because he was the smartest man in the world, nobody every really trusted him, but when it came to foiling epic plots to dominate the Earth, he was the go-to savior of the planet.

The character is a bit sinister-looking. He had a large nose, pointed ears and a widow’s peak. That he usually wore a black bodysuit makes him bear an uncanny resemblance to the Golden Age depiction of Captain Marvel’s strongest foe, Black Adam. However he didn’t have that kind of superpowers. He was sort of like a Bond villain who would switch sides and help the good guys. It’s also worth noting that while The Spider’s adventures span the globe, he is based in New York City, which was a bit unusual for a British comic of the day.

This hardcover reprint volume collects two long adventures of The Spider from 1967, and there’s a lot of note here.  The first story is written by none other than Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman, who found himself begging for work after DC Comics (then National Periodical Publications) blacklisted him for trying to reclaim ownership of his creation. Somehow he found himself writing for the top publisher of comics in Britain, and his work here is among his best.

Although the pacing and structure of the comic book is very much in line with UK comics aimed at kids, the ideas at work here are more subtle and sophisticated than one might expect. The dialogue is state-of-the-art 1960’s spy/action jargon, but the plot of this story, which opens with The Spider robbing a retirement trophy from the police commissioner, veers into the morality of mind control as a professor attempts to create a ray that will turn evil people good, and that experiment backfires, turning the professor evil instead, while giving him super powers.

The Spider: Crime Unlimited is a great introduction to one of the more unusual British comic book characters of the 1960s. I highly recommend it for fans of the period, fans of the spy/crime genre or just anybody who likes good comics. You ought to be able to order it from your favorite comic book shop or bookseller, or through Amazon.

Love and Rockets: The First Fifty: The Classic 40th Anniversary Collection
by GILBERT HERNANDEZ, JAIME HERNANDEZ, MARIO HERNANDEZ
Fantagraphics
ISBN-13 9781683965541
$400.00

This is the most expensive non-regrigerator gift suggestion in this years PopCult Gift Guide, but it’s worth every penny. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Fantagraphics’ flagship series, this prestigious box set presents bound facsimiles of the original fifty issues of the Love and Rockets comics magazines.

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are now recognized as two of the greatest cartoonists in the history of the medium — award-winning, world-renowned, critically acclaimed. But in 1982 when the first issue of Love and Rockets came out, they (occasionally working with their brother, Mario) were two young, struggling, unknown cartoonists who were bucking the dominant comic book trend of costumed characters and adolescent content with intimate, complex, humane, novelistic stories told in comics form. Love and Rockets has appeared in a variety of formats over the years and continues to this day, but the original 50-issue run represents a milestone in comics history. Fantagraphics is celebrating and honoring the 40th anniversary of Love and Rockets and the debut of the Hernandez’s’ first published comics with a gigantic eight-volume slipcase reprinting each issue in a facsimile edition.

Their organic body of work is available in a series of scrupulously and logically organized graphic novels, but here Fantagraphics honors the original quarterly format by presenting the comics as they appeared between 1981 and 1996, recreating not only the reading experience of tens of thousands of fans, but of a particularly fecund period in comics history when a new generation of cartoonists was exploding the idea of what comics could be. Painstakingly recreated in issue-by-issue facsimile, this boxed set includes every cover, comics page, and letter column (even advertising!) in seven hardcover volumes. An eighth volume densely collates selected essays, reviews, and profiles that appeared in the popular (and unpopular) press between 1981 and 1996, along with over 100 pages of additional, rarely-seen comics from the period by all three Brothers, plus dozens of book and magazine covers – a virtual history of the growth of Love and Rockets and the simultaneous rise of the literary comics movement of which they were exemplars and trailblazers.

Love and Rockets: The First Fifty: The Classic 40th Anniversary Collection is part of the Love and Rockets series. Recommended for the comics fan on your holiday shopping list that you love enough to drop four hundred bucks on.

Groo Meets Tarzan
by Sergio Aragones with Mark Evanier and Thomas Yeates
Dark Horse
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1506722375
$19.99 (discounted at Amazon)

Groo The Wanderer, the hapless barbarian created by Sergio Aragones for a benefit comic forty years ago, has proven to be one of the most durable independent comic characters ever since, appearing in books published by Pacific Comics, Eclipse, image, Marvel’s Epic imprint and Dark Horse Comics.  Aided and abeted by Mark Evanier, Aragones has told his tales of the clueless harbinger of destruction at a steady pace for decades now.

In Groo Meets Tarzan, jungle adventure, time travel and wizardry come into play as the bumbling barbarian encounters the cunning lord of the jungle. Will Groo wind up destroying the jungle itself or teaming up with Tarzan to fight slavers?

With cartoonist Sergio lost and running from hungry lions in Chula Vista’s Jungle Safari Land and script writer Mark doing panels all day at Comic-Con International, how will this comic get finished? Legendary Tarzan artist Thomas Yeates swings in to help! Plus—the legendary Rufferto backup strips from the comic series and an introduction by Mark Evanier are also included! The confident lord of the jungle meets the dangerous master of cheese dip!

This book collects Groo Meets Tarzan comics #1 to #4, and is a great gift for fans of Aragones’ work in MAD Magazine, fans of Groo, fans of Tarzan or just any comics reader with a healthy sense of humor.

Available from any bookseller, or from Amazon, at a discount.

There you have five gift suggestions for today. Check back tomorrow as The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide brings you a day filled with totally randome gift ideas.

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