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…

by Thomas Wheeler
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8364123015

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

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

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.