Today in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide, we don’t have a theme. You know, we can’t have one every day. Today we have toys for adults, toys for kids, music for everybody, art for the discerning and a little black book for the batchelor on your shopping list. Here are five random cool gift ideas, based on stuff I told you about earlier this year here in PopCult.
$32.50 to $50 at Stevo’s Toys
I told you about these last September, 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.
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.
RAW 10 Series Two
Exclusive to Walmart and Walmart.com
McFarlane Toys has announced a second series of RAW 10 action figures, exclusive to Walmart. In July of 2020 I told you about the first series HERE, and they also made last year’s PopCult Gift Guide.
I don’t know if these have shown up locally, so I’d suggest getting them from the website.
The RAW10 are truly a force to be reckoned with and nw we have these two new cool entries in this nifty original-equity toy line.
Recommended for kids and adult collectors, this line of action figures takes the concept of wild animals and combines with robotics to create some really cool-looking new monster figures.
Toy and Comics impressario, Todd McFarlane continues with this cool line of action figures based on ideas he introduced in his Spawn comics.
These are detailed enough to be great gifts for adult collectors, and sturdy enough to be cool playthings for the imaginative kids on your shopping list.
You can visit the RAW10Toys website to experience the RAW10 World and be on the lookout for more upcoming online RAW10 comics series coming soon.
by The Stranglers
Available as Vinyl LP, CD or Download
I did not expect to be reviewing a new album by The Stranglers in 2021. I’ve been a fan of the band for over 40 years, and was very sad last year when their keyboardist, Dave Greenfield, died from Covid early in the pandemic. I was not aware that they’d been working on a new batch of songs since 2018, and it was a pleasant surprise when I got a pre-release notice from them earlier in the summer.
Dark Matters is the first Stranglers album since the retirement of their founding drummer, Jet Black, and it includes eight tracks with keyboards recorded by Greenfield before his death. Its actually their first full album since 2012.
The Stranglers are survivors of the original 1970s UK punk scene, and they survived by evolving. They always had prog-rock leanings due to the keyboard artistry of Greenfield, and and as the 80s progressed, they grew musically to the point where, at times, they sounded more like Pink Floyd than Pink Floyd did.
Musically, the album ranges from pure, classic Stranglers on the songs “Water,” “This Song,” If Something’s Gonna KIll Me (It Might As Well Be Love),” and “No Man’s Land.” That style melds smart lyrics with thumping basslines and catchy elements of pop music with a harder edge.
There is no “bum track” on the album, as every song is remarkable in its own way. “White Stallion” sounds like pure, vintage New Wave, with a bizarre auto-tuned vocal break that could almost be a contribution from the blue Diva in “The Fifth Element.”
LP and CD copies of Dark Matters include a bonus CD tribute to Greenfield, with 8 live recordings from the last seven years, including two songs from this album, recorded in 2019. The Download version has four bonus cuts, which are acoustive versions of songs from the album.
Dark Matters is an excellent album, a great gift for any Stranglers fan, and well worth listening for anybody who wants to hear sophisticated and powerful music with roots in punk and prog-rock.
Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez 1980-2020
by Jaime Hernandez
edited by Katie Skelly
ISBN-13 : 978-1683964452
I have been a fan of Jaime Hernandez (and his brother, Gilbert) for well over 40 years. I first saw his spot illustrations in The Comics Journal, and I’ve been reading Love and Rockets since its first issue in 1982.
Queen of the Ring is a very different book, but it is spectacular in its own right.
Queen of the Ring is a collection of drawings of Women Wrestlers of the 1960s and 70s that Hernandez has done over the course of forty years. These drawings were done for his own amusement, and were not intended for publication. He drew them on copy paper, with cheap markers and colored pencil, and are a body of work that is more personal and more intimate than his comic book work.
Interspersed throughout this collection of drawings are Hernandez’s own words, taken from an interview (with the book’s editor, Katie Skelly), and these quotes, set alongside the drawings, give a real insight into the creative process of Jaime Hernandez.
Hernandez has always been a master of drawing the female form in a realistic and appealing manner, and he he does this throughout this book, showing the beauty, rage, glory, dispair and power of women who look like truck stop waitresses who could kick your ass.
Queen of the Ring is a gem of a book, a must-have for any fan of Love and Rockets, but also a great gift for art lovers and also fans of professional wrestling. You should be able to order it from any bookseller, using the ISBN code, or find it discounted at Amazon.
Bachelor Pad’s Little Black Book
We have plugged Bachelor Pad Magazine in the past. This digest-sized compendium of Burlesque, Tiki, Lounge and Cool Culture is still delivering four regular issues a year, along with numerous special editions, and now there’s a print-exclusve “Little Black Book.”
As their publisher, Java, explains…
We now have a collection of some of our favorite Bachelor Pad Gals and all their vital information! It’s the Bachelor Pad Magazine Little Black Book!
When we say “little” we aren’t kidding! This booklet is a whopping 4 inches wide, 5 inches tall and checks in at a pocket-straining 160 pages! Within those pages, we profile 75 Bachelor Pad Magazine pin-ups! We are featuring classic photo sets (both from our regular and Nightcap Editions) as well as tons of previously unpublished photos. Some models even took photos especially for this project! This is a must for any fan of Bachelor Pad Magazine!
This special edition has nudie-cutie images and is meant for sophisticated readers. Please allow three weeks for shipping. This issue is available ONLY IN PRINT.
This is a great gift idea for fans of pinups and burlesque, and also for folks who love old-school “For Men Only” type semi-raunchy publications. It’s not for everyone, but chances are you may know somebody who’d get a real kick out of this Little Black Book.