Still don’t have your holiday shopping done? Well, here is our second annual (and way scaled-down) last minute PopCult Gift Guide. Last year we brought you 45 cool pop culture gift ideas spread over five days. This year you get two days, with ten gifts. Blame the Republicans. Today, it’s stuff you can get almost anywhere.
GI Joe Land Adventurer
$15 at Hot Topic
Exclusive to Hot Topic, the Goth Culture Emporium, is a terrific reproduction of the 1973 Adventure Team GI Joe, with Kung Fu Grip and Lifelike Hair and Beard. It’s a great nostalgic item, guaranteed to bring out the kid in any child of the 70s. This is exactly the way a reproduction toy should be made. It’s an almost exact copy of the original toy, and it comes in a reasonable facsimile of the original packaging. Kudos to Hasbro and Hot Topic for this winner.
Comic Strip Reprint Books
Popeye and Dick Tracy
$30 each at booksellers everywhere
The Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Volume One, published by IDW, presents the first comic strips featuring Dick Tracy, as written and drawn by his creator, Chester Gould. These are masterpieces of twisted fantasy police adventures, with gruesome villains and sharp detective work. One of the greatest comic strips of all time. This is the first of a series of books that will compile all the work by the late Chester Gould.
Popeye: I Yam What I Yam!, published by Fantagraphics, collects the early adventures of Popeye, from the comic strip Thimble Theater. Popeye went on to become one of the most recognizable comic strip characters of all time, but here you can see him in his rawest, most primal form. Elzie Segar’s gritty comics captured the imagination of millions, and paved the way for the successful series of animated cartoons starring the Spinach-eating sailor man. This is also the first of a series of volumes that will collect the entire run of Segar’s Popeye stories.
The Complete Superman Collection DVD
Under $70 where ever DVDs are sold
Even if you think the way the Superman movies treated the comic book canon was horrible, this is still a set well worth having. It contains 1978’s Superman movie, and all three of its sequels, and it also includes the alternate “Richard Donner Edit” of Superman 2. The story goes that Donner was replaced with director Richard Lester when he was more than halfway through production of the first Super sequel. Lester had to reshoot quite a bit of footage just to earn his directing credit. Now, if you loved everything that Donner did in Superman 1, then this version of the sequel is a sort of holy grail. If, like me, you feel he ruined Krypton and Lex Luthor, then this could still be a fascinating DVD to watch. I thought Superman 2was WAY better than the first movie, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of that was Donner, and how much of that was Richard Lester. The real meat in this massive 14-disc set is the digitally-restored Max Fleischer animated Superman cartoons from the 1940s. Though these are widely available for a dollar, those cheap-o discs featured muddy prints and fuzzy sound. The set also includes some of the old movie serials, this year’s disappointing “Superman Returns,” and the two sequels from the 1980s, the less said about the better. Even if you have problems with the movie, this set is a must-have for fans of the Man Of Steel.
The Beatles “Love”
Under $20 where ever music is sold
This is the most exciting Beatles release in years. I’ll be writing a detailed review for NewSounds soon, but if you have a Beatles fan on your Christmas list, you can’t go wrong with this new CD. Created as the soundtrack for a Cirque du Soleil show, this disc is an incredible audio masterwork as the Beatle’s producer, Sir George Martin, and his son went back to the original multitrack recordings and created 26 tracks of beautiful Beatles music, using parts of 106 different songs and state-of-the-art digital technology. You’ll hear combinations of different songs that result in totally new works, as well as cleaned up versions of familiar classics. This is a real gift to Beatle fans everywhere. It’s available in regular stereo, and as a DVD audio disc with 5.1 surround sound.
That’s five gifts to get you started. Tomorrow we look at five gifts with a more local focus, as Charleston takes the main stage at the PopCult Gift Guide.