PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

2017 PopCult Gift Guide: Wonder Woman: The True Amazon

gg-ww-01Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
story and art by Jill Thompson
DC Comics
Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-1401249014
Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1401274504

The Wonder Woman movie has propelled DC’s iconic super heroine back into pop culture prominence, but this graphic novel by award-winning writer and artist, Jill Thompson, offers up a very different take on the origins of the Amazonian princess. Originally published last year, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon is now available in paperback as well as the original hardback and is the perfect gift for any fan of Wonder Woman, or comics in general.

In this story, which hews closer to the original comic book origin than the movie, we learn the background of The Amazons and how they came to live on the island of Themyscira, and we see how Princess Diana is brought to life after being formed out of sand. We see her grow up as a spoiled and arrogant brat until a series of tragedies changes her life forever and sets her on the course of righteousness.

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon does not follow the Amazonian princess into “Man’s World.” The action (and there’s plenty of it) takes place mostly on Themyscira. The storytelling is brilliant, with an engaging plot, wonderful dialogue and breathtakingly beautiful painted artwork.

Jill Thompson is an acclaimed writer, illustrator and comic book artist. Her Scary Godmother tales have been featured in graphic novels, comics, a play and two animated holiday specials seen on the Cartoon Network, and she has published three volumes in her Magic Trixie series of children’s books from HarperCollins. Her comics work includes a celebrated run on Neil Gaiman’s THE SANDMAN, several related works set within the world of the Dreaming (including DEATH: AT DEATH’S DOOR , THE DEAD BOY DETECTIVES and DELIRIUM’S PARTY: A LITTLE ENDLESS STORYBOOK), and, most recently, the adventures of the Beasts of Burden, co-created with writer Evan Dorkin.

ww1-editedThis is a really amazing piece of work. It offers a fresh take on Wonder Woman and really fleshes out her background, which has occasionally been a weak point of the character. This origin story really explains her motivations in a logical and relatable way, and any longtime fan of Wonder Woman is sure to enjoy the rich storytelling.

It’s also a fresh take on the legendary Gods of Mount Olympus and adds to that mythology as well. This is actually such a well-done work that I’d go beyond recommending it to fans of Wonder Woman, superheroes or comics. Anybody who enjoys a great story will appreciate this book.

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon can be ordered from any bookstore and most comic book shops, or you can find it, appropriately enough, at Amazon. I would recommend you spring for the hardcover edition because this story is so well done that it really deserves the first-class treatment. It really is a masterpiece.

There is also a local connection to this book. The lettering was done by Saint Alban’s own Jason Arthur

UPDATE: Your PopCulteer has just noticed that the paperback edtion of this book will not be published until the day after Christmas, so if you want a copy of this great graphic novel to put under the tree, get it in hardback. At Amazon the price for the hardback is less than the retail price of the softcover version anyway.

2017 PopCult Gift Guide: The Sgt. Pepper Box Set

gg-ppper-box-01It would be sort of pointless to have a day devoted to The Beatles in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide and not recommend any of their music, so we are going to suggest a gift that will please any die-hard fan who doesn’t already have it, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper Super Deluxe 4 CD/DVD/Blu Ray Box Set.

Last June marked 50 years since the release of the undisputed “most important album in the history of rock music, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album took the most successful rock band in the world to new creative and commercial heights and changed the face of music, while also providing the soundtrack for 1967’s “Summer of Love.”

To commemorate the anniversary, the Beatles authorized a very special package. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo, sourced directly from the four-track masters at Abbey Road Studios in London, and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin. This extensive collection gives an unprecedented insight into how The Beatles made their ground-breaking album. The box set features a new stereo version by Giles Martin and 33 tracks from the Sgt. Pepper sessions that place you in the studio as the group develop the songs.

I have been a Beatles fan for my entire life, and I have dwelled within the “rabid fan” catagory for nearly the last forty years. I’ve heard just about every bootleg that’s been released, and there was tons of material among the bonus tracks that I was hearing for the first time. The music includes a new stereo mix of the album by Giles Martin. Sgt. Pepper Sessions on 2 CDs with over 100 minutes of audio illustrating how the album was created. Newly mixed from the original four-track tapes, most of the material is previously unreleased. The set also contains the original 1967 mono mix of the album and bonus tracks including three previously unreleased mixes.

The Blu Ray and DVD feature the fully restored 1992 documentary The Making of Sgt. Pepper, including interviews with Paul, George and Ringo and fascinating in-the-studio footage introduced by George Martin. There are also restored promotional films for ‘A Day In The Life’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane,’  a 2017 Giles Martin 5.1 surround sound mix and high-resolution stereo audio in 96KHz/24bit of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band plus ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’.

gg-ppper-box-02There’s more than that crammed into this box. You also get a 144-page hardback book featuring an introduction by Sir Paul McCartney, comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, in-depth essays about the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context… and much more. Illustrations include photographs from the recording sessions, handwritten lyrics and Abbey Road documentation. On top of that there’s a replica of the original card insert and two bonus posters. The box is in a slipcover and includes a lenticular 3D rendition of the iconic album cover. This is a hefty set, with a price tag a bit North of a hundred bucks, but it would make a wonderful gift for the Beatlemaniac on your list. Any record store that doesn’t have it in stock can probably order it, or you can go the Amazon route.

The only problem with this Super Deluxe Sgt. Pepper set is that a real die-hard Beatle Fan might already own it. I know I had mine delivered on the day it was released. If that is the case, there are some last-minute items that might still be the perfect musical gift for the Beatle freak on your gift list. On December 15 The Beatles will release a boxed set of colored vinyl 7″ single versions of their fan club Christmas records. That’s also the day that they release the 2017 mix of Sgt. Pepper as a picture disc, a single vinyl disc and an audiophile edition. You can find out about those releases HERE, and watch the video for the Christmas records below…

gg-beatle-car-01Back in the spring Mattel released a set of five “Pop Culture Collection” Hot Wheels with graphics taken from classic Beatles albums. Beatles fans rejoiced at the news, but were disappointed when a nationwide conspiracy of scalpers proceeded to cherry-pick just two of the designs, making it nearly impossible to complete a set. They probably used the “dark web” that you keep hearing about on TV to cook up this scheme. I even wrote about it in The PopCulteer.

However, Beatles fans can now pick up a complete set, including the two “rare” cars, for about what it would have cost to buy all five in the first place…and you get a really cool presentation box as well. Toys R Us is offering this set as a holiday exclusive. It was supposed to hit stores in late October, but the last time I checked, they had yet to show up in Charleston. However, you can order them online, and I saw them in great quantities when I was out of town last week.

Any Beatles fan will love this special collector’s box of 5 Hot Wheels Pop Culture vehicles. Each fan-favorite vehicle represents a classic album from the Fab Four’s influential career. Each premium collector diecast car has a metal body and metal chassis, Real Rider tires, and deco details inspired by different memorable albums. The five cars are a ’67 Austin Mini Van (Sgt. Pepper), the “Haulin’ Gas” bus (Magical Mystery Tour), a Dairy Delivery van (the US version of A Hard Day’s Night), and the two cars that were nearly impossible to find: A Ford Transit Supervan (Rubber Soul) and the Hiway Hauler (The Beatles “The White Album”).

gg-beatle-car-02It is a pure delight to see the dreams of scalpers crushed like this. Those last two cars, which sold at retail for around five dollars each, were all over eBay with asking prices ranging from thirty to eighty bucks each. What was really odd was that they chose the car based on “The White Album,” which, as you can see to the left, is the least interesting of the lot. As a whole the cars are really fun representations of the albums they represent.

With this set not only do you get really cool Hot Wheels with great Beatles graphics, you also get to stick it to the troll-like Hot Wheels scalpers who make life unpleasant for everybody. The cars in this set are exactly the same as the cars that were sold earlier this year, the only difference is the presentation box that’s included as a bonus.

You ought to be able to find this collector’s set at any Toys R Us, or order it online. It’s perfect for any Beatles fan who’s still young at heart.


gg-beatle-comicThe Beatles: All Our Yesterdays
by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma
Campfire Heroes
ISBN: 978-93-81182-22-2

Our first pick for “Beatles Day” in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is a book I reviewed earlier this year. The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays is a graphic novel retelling of the very early days of The Beatles, told in graphic novel form and aimed at young adults. It’s a little too accurate in its depiction of drugs and sex to make it appropriate for young children. If it were a movie, it’d probably be rated PG-13. It is a great introduction to the early days of the Fab Four, told in comic book form.

The book begins with a full page of disclaimers and acknowledgements that explain that the events depicted in the book are dramatisations, and that list the source material, which includes a nod to the ultimate chronicler of all things Beatles, Mark Lewisohn. The writer, Quinn, has done a great job of capturing the pre-fame lives of John, Paul and George. Ringo seems to get the short shrift here, but that’s because he officially joined the group on August 22, 1962, and the story ends about six weeks later.

We get a glimpse at the childhood years of the group, then pick up as they meet as teens and become the group that went on to dominate the music world. The lack of glaring errors is a nice surprise, given the scant research that goes into many books about the Beatles these days. This is a well-researched account of what really happened.

All the pre-fame important points are here: The formation of the band; the acquisition of Pete Best as their drummer; the death of Stu Sutcliffe; John’s marriage to Cynthia; the trips to Hamburg; dumping Allan Williams, their first manager; meeting Brian Epstein and eventually releasing their first single. It is the release of “Love Me Do,” that brings this book to a close, though there is a four-page epilogue that doesn’t really add much more than a cursory condensation of fifty-five years of their history after they started releasing records.

Quinn’s script whisks us from one important scene to another without bogging down or getting repeititive. He does a great job of translating the docu-drama format into comic book form. Sharma’s art serves Quinn’s script well, with intelligent layouts that move the story forward while keeping the narrative clear. He does his best to incorporate photographic reference into his normal artistic style and mostly he succeeds. The Beatles: All Their Yesterdays is a very good graphic novel take on the pre-fame story of The Beatles. It’s admirably “warts and all” and does not attempt to whitewash history. The book does offer some good insight into how four lad from Liverpool became the most powerful musical force in the world in the twentieth century. It can be ordered from any place that handles ISBN codes.

Look for two more gift ideas for Beatles fans later today in PopCult.

gg-kuhn-bookDaily Inspiration for Progressive America
by Danny Kuhn
ISBN-13: 978-0989169660

I first reviewed this book last February, and we need it now more than ever. These are indeed dark and depressing political times for all but the most far-right-leaning of politically-aware people in this country. Through machinations and manipulation, poltical forces that are hell-bent on undoing a century of progress on social issues while finalizing the USA’s move from Democracy to Oligarchy have seized power. Despite record-low approval ratings for the culprit-in-chief, there seems to be no quick end in sight for this longer national nightmare. Chances are that you know someone who is absolutely distraught over our political climate, and this book is the perfect gift to help them keep their head up.

We are poised for dark times ahead. It’s hard not to give in to pessimistic thoughts. Morale among the enlightened is low as the anti-intellectual crowd acts validated and the most wretched of once-ostracized poltical factions has found a way to attempt to legitimize their most contemptible bigoted viewpoints.

Those of us who are determined to stay on the right side of history need some hope. We need a light at the end of this dark and nasty tunnel. West Virginia native, Danny Kuhn, has compiled just the book to help us remember why we need to fight the good fight.

Daily Inspiration for Progressive America is a page-a-day primer filled with quotes, stories, anecdotes, and most importantly, facts that serve to remind us why we have to continue to resist the oppressive forces that want to drag us back into the Confederacy.

Before the contrarians made “liberal” and “progressive” into insults, people were free to speak out against racism, sexism, isolationism, xenophobia, ignorance, pollution and the imposition of a state religion. Kuhn collects a wealth of inspirational material to remind us why that was such a good thing.

Daily Inspiration for Progressive America delivers quotes from John F. Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Frederick Douglas, Henry David Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, Booker T. Washington, Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other of the greatest political minds this planet has known, all to shore up the defenses of the downtrodden modern-day leftist.

Each day is skillfully annotated by Kuhn, with well-chosen facts and context and a bright and entertaining style of writing. He makes great points about the folly of artifical divisions (such as the rather silly “boomers vs. millenials” war) and keeps everything in a healthy perspective.

Daily Inspiration for Progressive America is the ammunition you need to get up every day and do the right thing. You can order it from Amazon or any book store that doesn’t have a huge, unironic display of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity books.

Just to provide some equal time here, if you have someone on your shoping list of the opposite political stripe, someone who thinks that things are going great in our country, you can find the perfect book for them, in subject matter and reading skill level, right here.

gg-companystoresNext up in our annual list of holiday gift suggestions I have to recommend one of the best albums by a local group released this year. “Little Lights,” the second album by The Company Stores manages to avoid the sophomore slump, delivering a stunning collection of original and uncatagorizable songs.

The musicianship is astounding and vocalist Casey Litz is a documented force of nature, and this album continues their genre-defying ways with a sound unlike any band, local or national. The album was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, NC with Grammy Award winning record producer Julian Dryer. Initial recording and promotion costs were funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and the group continued to headline major venues and festivals all year long.

There are ballads, story songs, funky dance numbers and a genre-hopping cadre of excellent, original music. This is the synthesis of modern contemporary music, blending a wide range of influences in a brand-new sound made by real musicians who have something real to say. It stands head and shoulders above the cookie-cutter, pre-manufactured slabs of sound that you hear on commercial radio.

You can check out the video for their lead single, “So Good,” below (and a promo clip for the album below that), and pruchse the album from the band’s website, or CD Baby. You can purchase a download, but I am recommending the physical CD. For one thing, it’s something you can wrap. I think you may be able to find hard copies of this CD at Budget Tapes & Records, Sullivan’s Records and Taylor Books, as well as at live shows.

I wish it were easier to buy the physical CD is because of the gorgeous artwork by local artist, Chris Woodall, that makes this album a very special package.

I’ll bet you can also buy a copy of the CD at their shows, and they do have some upcoming gigs of note: November 18 they will be at Adelphia Music Hall in Marietta, Ohio; December 15 they are performing at The Clay Center in Charleston; The Company Stores play The Grove in Fayetteville, WV, the next day; A little late for Christmas, but a killer time will be had as the band rings in the New Year at The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV, on December 31.

Great live music AND a CD might be the best gift of all.

b-and-i-01Today’s toy pick for the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is part of a wonderful new toy line that mixes building toys with dollhouses, action figures, dress-up dolls and let’s kids use their imagination to create their own incredible inventions. Build & Imagine is a great new play system that uses a patented magnetic construction that captures the fun of the old Colorform-type playsets, but brings it into three dimensions.

The line is aimed at girls, and includes a healthy dose of STEM play, but I see vast potential for boys to play with these toys too. A great entry level package is their Career Dolls set.

Build & Imagine’s Career Dolls comes with two wooden dress-up dolls and 79 colorfully illustrated magnetic clothes and accessories that correspond with 12 different careers. It features a reusable carrying case for easy storage and travel, and 2 standing magnetic scenes (a town and the moon) to enhance the imaginative play possibilities. From police detective to chemist to space explorer, children will explore a dozen different careers, some of which defy traditional gender expectations.

Career Dolls is a great gift item to introduce a child to the world of Build & Imagine, or a fun way to extend the storytelling possibilities if you already have Build & Imagine StoryWalls building sets. The characters and magnetic clothing are compatible with other Build & Imagine sets and the carrying case provides a helpful way to store your Build & Imagine magnetic accessories and dolls. This set retails for under twenty dollars, making it a very affordable way to empower young girls. You can order it from their website or Amazon, or find it in select Target stores.

b-and-i-02The play value is ample here. The dolls are solid and well made, but the clothing goes on and comes off as easy as it does with a paper doll, easier actually, since there are no tabs to fold. Kids can use their imagination to create their own adventures without any limits. They can tell traditional stories, or make up stuff about space police or superhero dog walkers. The handy tote bag makes it a great travel too, too.

If you want to move beyond the Career Girls set, Build & Imagine offers a growing world of terrific playsets at varying price points. The larger StoryWalls sets include buildings that can be constructed in as many ways as a child can imagine, and every set can inter-connect. You can find information about their more elaborate sets, which include a pet portrait studio, a fairtale theater, a marine rescue center as well as houses and a large castle at their website. With high-quality construction, clever design and loads of play value, Build & Imagine sets can be toys that a child will cherish for their entire lives.

b-and-i-03I was particularly impressed by their Draw & Build Dollhouse, which is a blank house that kids can draw on with wipe-off markers, adding a whole new level of play as kids have complete control over what type of house they make and also draw the people who live in it. This set is very affordable and can be found at their website and at Amazon.This is the kind of toy that I would have loved to have as a kid.

I’m going to quote from their website, just in case my description isn’t doing it justice: “Build & Imagine is a magnetic dollhouse–like building blocks meets dollhouse meets dress-up dolls. It’s a unique mashup featuring adventurous characters and rich illustrated details that inspire girls and boys alike to build and imagine.

“We can approach toy design in a more thoughtful way, and doing so is important. The simple act of combining shapes to form a three dimensional structure helps kids to develop foundation skills for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Skills like spatial reasoning, problem solving, creativity, and design.

‘Kids will be engaged for hours with Build and Imagine. The dollhouse is new and different every time you play, and there are different building set themes to choose from. Endless design possibilities mean endless hours of creativity.

“Build & Imagine is women-owned and mom-invented.”

2017 PopCult Gift Guide: Behaving Madly

madly-01Behaving Madly
by Ger Apeldoorn and Craig Yoe
classic reprints written and drawn by various talents
Yoe Books
ISBN-13: 978-1631408564

Next up in the gift guide we have one of my favorite books of the year, another gem from Yoe Books, in fact. Behaving Madly is a collection of work taken from the many imitators of Mad Magazine that began springing up following the massive sucess of MAD after it was converted from a comic book into a magazine.

Apeldoorn has written extensively about the books of this period and, together with Yoe, has crafted a detailed look at the best of the also-rans, which might not be a fair way to describe this book. After all, with 200 pages of never reprinted material by comic book legends Bill Elder, Jack Davis, John Severin, Al Jaffee, Joe Maneely, Jack Kirby, Ross Andru, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Basil Wolverton, Steve Ditko, Lee Elias, and many others, Behaving Madly is a pure treasure trove of unexpected delights.

Behaving Madly shows off the versitility of some of the greatest artists who ever worked in comic books. We knew that the Mad Magazine artists like Davis, Wolverton, Elder and Jaffee could do great humor work, but who would have expected Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath and Steve Ditko to have such an accomplished manic side (okay, we knew Kirby could be funny, but his art here is revelatory)?

For fans of sick humor, parody, and mid-century mayhem, Behaving Madly is a gold mine. It works both as an historical document of a time when the comic book industry was struggling and top talent was looking for new avenues to earn a living, and also as a collection of very entertaining, very funny, humor comics from a legendary time.

Behaving Madly can be ordered from any bookstore using the ISBN code above.

Cryptid Cinema: The Movie-land of Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Bayou Beasts, Backwoods Bogeymen and Bloodwater Brutes!
by Stephen R Bissette (Author),‎ Steve Fenton (Editor),‎ David Coleman (Introduction),‎ Lou Mougin (Contributor),‎ Tim Paxton (Designer)
ISBN-13: 978-1975938130

bissette-01Stephen R. Bissette is very well-regarded as a legendary comic book artist, writer and publisher, hi smost notable credit was as the artist on Alan Moore’s run of Swamp Thing and the co-creator of Constantine. In his new book, Cryptid Cinema: The Movie-land of Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Bayou Beasts, Backwoods Bogeymen and Bloodwater Brutes!, he presents an astonishing, fully-illustrated menagerie of monstrosities, curiosities, and wild & woolly weirdos from the 1950s to the present day.In these pages, you’ll find celluloid and TV incarnations of ‘real world’ cryptids like the Yeti, Sasquatch, and the Jersey Devil plus movie creatures and television monstrosities.

Cryptid Cinema covers cryptid appearances in TV series from ONE STEP BEYOND to STRANGER THINGS (offering a complete ‘study & viewing guide’ to the first season), as well as comic books, toys, action figures, and other media. In these pages, you’ll meet a host of eccentric creators like (and the creations of) H.P. Lovecraft, Ron & June Ormond, Jerry Warren, Arthur C. Pierce, Virgil W. Vogel, Janos Prohaska, and others, on up to today’s trail-blazers like Kevin Smith, Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler, and the Duffer Brothers!

This isn’t a comprehensive guide or history book—it is an illustrated celebration of Cryptid Cinema via in-depth essays on a few favorite (and often long-forgotten) film fiends, designed and written for older readers (there is some mature content in this first volume, given the nature of the 1960s and 1970s Bigfoot novels, movies and comics). Independent filmmakers and low-budget ‘grindhouse’ and drive-in exploitation features are given special attention, as are the first-ever Bigfoot documentaries.

Readers will learn about the classic stop-motion animation ‘amateur’ movie, Equinox; the behind-the-scenes secrets of the rare direct-to-video Upper New York State gem, The Glasshead; the backstories behind the Swedish-American extraterrestrial Yeti opus, Terror In The Midnight Sun; the made-in-Florida Walking Catfish-Man epic Zaat, (AKA The Blood Waters of Dr. Z); and the surgically-created Walrus-Man movie, TUSK.

bissette-02This is the first volume in a series of books on Cryptid Cinema™ and Paleo Pop™ Culture from Bissette, who’s been working the monster beat in pop culture since his days as a contributor to The Monster Times, over forty years ago. The 245-page book is crammed with cool monster facts and illustrations

Stephen R. Bissette, a pioneer graduate of the Joe Kubert School, teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Renowned for Swamp Thing, Taboo (launching From Hell and Lost Girls), ‘1963,’ S.R. Bissette’s Tyrant®, co-creating John Constantine, and creating the world’s second ’24-Hour Comic’ (invented by Scott McCloud for Bissette), he writes, illustrates, and co-authors many books, include illustrating The Vermont Ghost Guide and The Vermont Monster Guide, writing Teen Angels & New Mutants, and contributing short fiction to Hellboy: Odd Jobs, The New Dead, Mister October, etc. Bissette co-authored Comic Book Rebels, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman and The Monster Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and regularly writes for Monster! and Weng’s Chop; this book is his first, self-published volume of Cryptid Cinema™ and he is currently completing the Midnight Movie Monograph for Electric Dreamhouse/PS Publications on David Cronenberg’s The Brood; he’s also hard at work on his first art instructional book series, S.R. Bissette’s How to Make a Monster.

Required reading for any fan of monster movies and fantastic creatures, Cryptid Cinema: The Movie-land of Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Bayou Beasts, Backwoods Bogeymen and Bloodwater Brutes! is available as a print-on-demand book directly from CreateSpace. As I write this, they are offering it at a discount. Chances are, you have someone on your holiday gift list who will love this book.

ht-01Welcome to the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide. It’s our annual collection of holiday gift suggestions that we hope are unique and new to you. This year we’re going to shoot for three entries per day, for almost three weeks, with an extra week of last-minute ideas after that, as they straggle in.

As has become tradition, our first entry is this year’s HESS Toy Truck. We tell you about this one first because it’s a limited edition, and if we held off, they might sell out before you can get your hands on one. Once sold in HESS Oil gas stations, these keepsakes are now only sold online, since HESS sold their retail outlets to Marathon Oil a few years ago. This year it’s another winner as HESS produces their first Dump Truck.

The 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader is a powerful partnership of heavy-duty earth movers.  With over 30 brilliant LED lights plus realistic sounds, this oversized dump truck and 2-way motorized, track-driven loader are a versatile team, ready to tackle the toughest jobs!

The first ever Hess Dump Truck is boldly designed with a solid green base, white upper body, and green side stripes.  The elongated hauling bed, on a dual-axle rear chassis, is custom-designed as a transport for its work partner, with an innovative fold-down tailgate that is also a hidden pull-out ramp for the Loader to drive right up into position!  A cab-mounted button activates the hydraulic lift pistons (and associated sound), raising the bed into the dumping position.  4 additional buttons trigger 3 more sounds (ignition, horn and backup) and flashes all of the brilliant lights.  Chrome detailing includes front grille and bumpers, sunshield, cab steps, grab rails, and exhaust pipes

The self-propelled, multi-direction powered Loader has a 270° rotating cab with a side-mounted extending boom featuring a jointed excavator arm and bucket combination that can bend and swivel in just about any direction.  2 top-mounted switches activate the lights and the motorized tracks in either forward or reverse direction for ultimate maneuverability!    Chrome accents include the exhaust pipes, side mirrors and grille.

Totaling 350 parts and measuring approximately 12″ long, this construction duo is the heaviest and most complex Hess Toy Truck ever. Let’s go over those features in detail:

ht-03Dump Truck:

26 total lights that work in flash or steady mode, including super bright LED headlights
Button activated hydraulic powered dumping action with sound effect
3 additional button-activated sound effects (ignition, horn, back-up)
Fold down tailgate / pull-out ramp
Free-rolling wheels
Chrome accents
3 Energizer ‘AA’ Batteries included


Motorized track drive (forward and reverse)
Independently rotating cab
8 lights that work in steady mode
Extending boom and excavator arm with jointed, rotating bucket
Chrome accents
2 Energizer ‘AA’ Batteries included

This is an incredible toy truck set that young kids will love to play with, and older collectors will drool all over. The 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader is sold exclusively at www.hesstoytruck.com for $33.99 plus tax, which includes 5 Energizer® batteries and free standard shipping. Order it now, before it sells out, and you’ll have it in plenty of time for Christmas.