Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Twenty: Really Cool Stuff!

This is the final day of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide, and I sorta saved the coolest for last. Today’s gift ideas are all for really cool stuff. That’s our theme.

Cosmic Force: Purple Yogz Foot Soldier Figure Set
From Cotswold Collectibles

From our friends at Cotswold Collectibles comes a really cool 12″ alien action figure set. Perfect for the 1/6 scale science-fiction oriented collector on your shopping list. I’m just going to quote from their description here…

Purple YOGZ are an advanced technical Alien race that pretends to be neutral, but will side with whom ever suits their needs best at the time. They will retreat though when the odds do not favor them. An assault team consists of one YOGZ commander 10 assault troopers of varying abducted races; cyborgs, android, or robotic beings, all wearing a control collar. YOGZ have many social and political classes which are constantly, but covertly maneuvering for power.

They were to first to learn about and use the Space Gates created by the “Old Ones”. These black masses in space are gateways that allow interstellar space travel. These Space Gates are scattered throughout the Universe with one just past Pluto in our solar system. They can only be accessed if the Star Ship has a crystal key cube which the Old Ones have hidden on planets and moons in the trillions all around the Universe. Anything without a key cube is destroyed by the Space Gates on contact.

This figure set includes:

– Elite Brigade Body w/Black Gloved Action Hands
– Purple Yogz Fuzzy Head Sculpt
– Green Super Bodysuit
– Black Super Boots
– Ironblood Mask (Green)
– Action Rifle (Green)

Set made using components from Elite Brigade, Grungatoys, and Mattsquatch Customs.

This is just pretty damned cool, and everybody needs a purple alien around the house!

Everyone Is Awesome

Yep, it’s a pride-oriented LEGO set, and you have to admit, it looks pretty amazing.

Available exclusively from LEGO, Everyone is Awesome celebrates the power of playing together with this colorful new set. It’s simple, colorful and just looks great.

Matthew Ashton is the Vice President of Design at the LEGO Group and Designer of the Everyone Is Awesome model. He explained what inspired this LEGO set:

The starting point for this was my feeling that we, as a society, could be doing more to show support for each other and appreciate our differences. Being LGBTQIA+ myself, I knew I needed to step up to the plate and make a real statement about love and inclusivity, and generally spread some LEGO love to everybody who needs it. Children are our role models and they welcome everyone, no matter their background. Something we should all be aspiring to.

I think by taking small steps and having products like “Everyone is Awesome” out there and people representing the LGBTQIA+ community, it allows everybody to see that things do get better over time and there is a place for everybody. That’s what’s been so important to me in getting this set out with a message that we can be really proud of.

in a way, this set is not just for the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s for all of the allies – parents, siblings, friends, schoolmates, colleagues etc. – out there as well.

Design-wise, I love how bold yet simplistic the set is. It sends a powerful message, but it is also fun and quirky and doesn’t take itself too seriously. We’ve made sure to include black and brown colors to represent the broad diversity of everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community. We’ve also added in the pale blue, white and pink to support and embrace the trans community as well. I purposely put the purple drag queen in as a clear nod to the fabulous side of the LGBTQIA+ community. I hope it’s a joy to build and a joy to look at, and hopefully it will bring a lot of joy to people’s lives.

You can order Everything is Awesome directly from LEGO.

The Lights of Broadway 2022
On sale online December 4!

I’ve been plugging The Lights of Broadway show cards for years in PopCult, but they have a new set on the way. In fact, it goes on sale Sunday, December 4. Let’s see what they have to say about their 2022 Edition:

The 2022 Edition features 147 core cards (99 full edition, 48 rare). The primary cards feature actors, writers, directors, choreographers, and shows as usual; AND we once again have a special nine-card puzzle feature but in the full-card roster. In the Rare roster, we add to our Golden Age, If It Only Even Runs A Minute, Off-Broadway, and Broadway Up Close Theater series. We continue to celebrate the diversity of Broadway past, present, and future; and we also hope you have fun collecting, learning, and celebrating with us!

Our nine-card feature this edition celebrates nine legendary Broadway stars and roles iconic to them, with a collage of more of their star turns made up on the backs of the cards.

And moving into our RARE cards, we’re happy to continue in our celebration of amazing designers and music department notables. Our Honors this edition include the dearly departed as well as the now and next. And another in our recent bounty of great movie musicals.

Once again, our SUPER RARE cards include two foils and six lenticular (tilt) cards. The foils are themed around The Phantom of the Opera that ends its record-setting 35 year run in April 2023. Our lenticulars feature:

Milky White: The James Ortiz-designed cow and Kennedy Kanagawa (puppeteer) of the 2022 revival of Into the Woods.

Patti LuPone: Six of La LuPone’s eight Tony-nominated roles, including her three wins.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Musicals: A Strange Loop became the tenth musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This card features all ten, going back to Of Thee Sing (1932) through South Pacific (1949) and A Chorus Line (1975) to Hamilton (2015) and our latest winner (2020).

Six Words: Well, four words from Six. This is a tilt version of Squigs’ A BroadWAY WITH WORDS series.

Stephen Sondheim Celebration: In tribute to the maestro, here is Mr. Sondheim surrounded by collages of Squigs’ illustrations of his many works, original and revival.

Wonderstudies: Lightcatchers were polled about their favorite understudy/standby performances and we chose 26 to represent all of the amazing stage heroes, from Shirley MacLaine to Julie Benko.

And once again, there are 40 of Squigs’ pencil sketch cards sorted into the edition as well.

If you have someone on your shopping list who falls in the middle of that Venn Diagram of Theatre fans and Trading Card collectors, then head over to Lights of Broadway this Sunday.

The Journey Internal
Order it from Robert Berry’s website

The Journey Internal: a Graphic Novel is based on the songs of SiX By SiX, and is the result of a collaboration between the band and renowned Chicago-based artist J.C. Baez. SIX By SIX is a new supergroup consisting of former members of 3, GTR, Saxon and Saga, and I’ve been playing their music on Radio Free Charleston for a few weeks now. We shall momentarily turn things over to the press release…

Though not conceived as a concept album, the band and the artist have woven the songs into a compelling tale of one man’s adventures and struggles. THE JOURNEY INTERNAL is a poignant and captivating story of his quest to find beauty and peace. Drawn in dramatic graphic detail, it chronicles the journey of Reign searching for sunlight in a very dark world. Following him from the highest highs to the lowest lows. The pages turn from battles of fire to demons in dungeons, from the confines of Reign’s inner mind to the realities encountered on the streets. From his solitude in battle to finding inspiration from a dream not yet realized.

Ian Crichton comments: “This graphic novel is amazing. The way that J.C Baez has blended the lyrics and captured the emotion of each song into a visually stunning graphic interpretation is simply amazing.”

Nigel Glockler comments: “One word sums up this incredible visual feast: stunning!!!”

Robert Berry comments: “When J.C. approached us we were intrigued to see what he would come up with based on our songs. The results are masterful.”

J.C. Baez, a Chicago-based artist has collaborated with Jon Anderson of Yes, Steve Hackett of Genesis, and Walter Koenig, of Star Trek fame, and now Six By Six.

J.C. Baez comments: “I am fortunate to be working with Ian, Nigel, and Robert, bringing their amazing musical ideas into the visual realm. The process has been very much a collaboration and I’ve been made to feel like part of the Six By Six family. This story is dynamic and exciting and I’m thrilled to work on this graphic novel which is in the vein of Genesis’s ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and other classic albums.”

Recommended for fans of comics, concept albums and prog-rock. Order it HERE.

MEGO 50th Anniversary World’s Greatest Super Heroes
Available from many retailers, including Amazon and ZLC Collectibles.
Under $20 each.

Note: Though technically a pre-order, three of these figures have already shown up locally at Walmart.

Fifty years on from the debut of one of the most successful action figure lines in history, MEGO is back with The World’s Greatest Super Heroes and DC Comics!

Released in vintage-style boxes, TWGSH line is back in stores with almost exact relicas of the outfits, accessories and headsculpts that were featured in the line half a century ago, all mounted on MEGO’s new, sturdier and more articulated body.

These toys cross the line from being terrific nostalgic recreations while also being sturdy enough for kids to enjoy. They have re-created the quirky and charming eccentricities of the orginal toys, including the “oven mitt” gloves and the costume details that don’t exactly match the comics, and that is a big part of the nostalgic appeal of these guys.

Superman, Batman and Robin have already shown up in the Charleston area. Online retailers should start shipping Aquaman, Shazam, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and The Flash next week.

Those last two are a big deal for MEGO collectors because they were never made into MEGO figures back in the day. Nobody remembers why, but two of DC’s top characters were passed over for lesser-known heroes like Green Arrow and The Flash’s sidekick, Kid Flash. This time around MEGO even went so far as to give these two heroes catalog numbers that match what they would’ve had back in the 1970s.

Longtime reader of PopCult know I’m a huge MEGO fan, and these figures absolutely scratch that nostalgic itch, and they’ll also make a great gift for any fan of DC Comics.

Look for them in the “Collectors” section at Walmart’s Electronics Department, or online.

And with that, The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide is in the books. Next Friday I’ll post the Master List here, and then we’ll be about two weeks away from the big day!


  1. Thomas H. Wheeler

    First of all, Rudy, thank you for your PopCult Gift Guide and for showcasing my novel and T-shirts along the way.
    As for today’s offerings, well, topping the list has to be the Megos. I lost my super-heroes 45 years ago when my parents threw them out and told me to grow up. That didn’t work out terribly well. I’d love to bring them back into my collection. Hopefully finances will allow.
    That Cotswold Cosmic Force figure is cool. Nothing I’m terribly inclined to get, but it definitely looks very cool.
    That Lego set mostly reminds me that when I was a kid, Lego’s color palette was a lot more limited. Bricks came in black, white, red, yellow, blue, and clear — with a lot of red and white. You’d only find green in these trees that came with building sets, and gray on these platforms you could buy to build on. That was it.
    Merry Christmas to you and Mel, and to all PopCult readers!

  2. Roy

    Lots of cool stuff this year. Nice on Lego for making that really great set, and of course those wonderful Megos!

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