PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Toy Fair 2020: Superheroes part two: Marvel and More

Since your PopCulteer decided not to attend Toy Fair in New York this year due to health reasons, we are once again doing our coverage remotely, borrowing images from folks who are on-site, and linking to their coverage so that they can get the proper attribution and hits and everything.We will be linking to sites such as ToyArk, Bleeding Cool, Figures.com, Mego Museum, The Toy Book and more.

Some of our images were picked off of social media, with no attribution given, so we will note that when it happens, and correct it if the persons responsible come forward.

When it comes to toys, Marvel is a little easier to cover than DC.

Hasbro has the master toy license, and they’re pretty stingy about sharing it with other toy companies. Basically, you have Marvel action figures that most people can afford, and then you have very expensive collector figures made by smaller companies for the hobby market.

Hasbro’s bread-and-butter is the Marvel Legends line, and you can see galleries of it HERE, HERE and HERE. They have a ton of cool stuff coming out, and Marvel fans and collectors should have plenty to look forward to in the coming year.

Hasbro also makes the budget-line, 12″ Titan Heroes figures, which I think suck, but they sure do sell in high numbers. You can see what they have planned for the next Venom Movie HERE.

You can see the Mezco One-:12 Marvel figures HERE. These are pricey, but look incredible. That gallery has tons of non-Marvel stuff in it, too, but it all looks really cool.

S.H. Figuarts offer really cool-looking, really expensive figures too. And you can see their Avengers offerings HERE.

Look for our post about other superheroes next week. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.

Since your PopCulteer decided not to attend Toy Fair in New York this year due to health reasons, we are once again doing our coverage remotely, borrowing images from folks who are on-site, and linking to their coverage so that they can get the proper attribution and hits and everything.We will be linking to sites such as ToyArk, Bleeding Cool, Figures.com, Mego Museum, The Toy Book and more.

Some of our images were picked off of social media, with no attribution given, so we will note that when it happens, and correct it if the persons responsible come forward.

There are tons of Superhero toys coming out this year, with DC, Marvel and other super-powered characters arriving in toy aisles to fight crime and bust budgets. We have a lot to go over here, so let’s start with DC Comics. We’ll cover Marvel and the others in later posts.

DC Comics

The image at the head of this post is the first official shot of prototypes of the upcoming 8″ DC Comics figures coming from MEGO. These are from Toy Fair and are courtesy of our friends at MEGO Museum, who have more photos and info at their site. MEGO Museum was given the okay to publish these photos after an unscrupulous “toy journalist” took photos, despite there being signs asking people not to take them, and smeared them all over social media, which caused quite a headache for MEGO, since these toys are still early in the approval process, and these are not what the final product will look like.

These were announced (and some of them shown) last year at MEGO Meet, but those of us in attendance were asked not to even take photos. Sadly, some folks feel that they don’t need to honor such requests. It’s cool to get a look at this work in progress, but it’s a shame that it was because the images were leaked by somebody with no ethics.

We are still awaiting word on the final price and which retailers will carry these figures, but the line is going to be a shared exclusive among three or four retailers, and the price is said to be on par with what MEGO figures already sell for, so it’s safe to guess the final retail price will be in or near the fifteen-dollar range. The finished product will look much better than these prototypes, with re-sized heads and improved tailoring and packaging.

There are also DC Comics Multiverse figures coming from McFarlane Toys, and you can see a photo gallery of those at ToyArk.

McFarlane’s DC Comics Multiverse figures are already showing up in stores, since his license began on January 1 of this year.

In the collectors market, Diamond Select will be offering several DC Comics statues and collectibles, while the DC Direct name has been resurrected, and will be used on statues and action figures. You can see their full line-up HERE.

Iron Studios will be offering a line of “DC Comics Through The Ages” statues.

Medicom will release insanely-expensive figures of Batman and Shazam. You can see those HERE, along with Michael Jordan.

Jada Toys will have a full slate of DC Comics Die Cast in different scales, which you can see HERE.


Spin Master has the main, mass-market toy license for DC Comics, and you can see a gallery of photos from their booth HERE. These are also in stores now, with both 4″ and 12″ figures showing up at Walmart and Target. Bleeding Cool has a good gallery of photos from the Spin Master booth HERE.


Mezco will be offering 4″ collector figures based on Batman 66 and the Max Fleischer Superman. You can see those in this gallery at Bleeding Cool, even though their reporter didn’t recognize the Fleischer Superman, and thought these were from Kingdom Come. That gallery is a lot of fun, because you can also see the upcoming One:12 figures of DC and Marvel characters, plus Popeye, Conan, Aliens, Living Dead Dolls and everything else that Mezco makes.



Later today we’ll bring you updates on Marvel Comics action figures. Keep checking PopCult.

Dive Into The Archives On Radio Free Charleston

Tuesday on The AIR we deliver a special new episode of Radio Free Charleston. You may point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this happy little embedded radio player…

Tune into this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday for a special show that opens with a new tune by Rel-X, but then re-presents almost three hours of a Frankenstein show made up of most of two episodes of RFC Volume 3, as heard five years ago on Voices of Appalachia Radio. These shows haven’t been heard since before VOA mutated into The AIR back in 2016, and they have some great material, including the entire First Step Sampler from 1990.

The second hour of the show comes from a special episode cohosted by my then newly-wed wife, Mel Larch, who chipped in to get her feet wet before she started hosting her own shows.

Your PopCulteer (and radio host) is a once again bit under the weather this week, or more precisely, under the Myasthenia Gravis, so I decided to harvest the best of two great episodes of the old show that would have otherwise been forgotten.  It’s a little bit of a cheat, like it was a few weeks ago when we pulled a similar stunt, but it’s also a great show that I think new listners will enjoy, and old listeners have probably forgotten.

Check out the playlist…

RFCv5 008

hour one
Rel-X “Mission”
Qiet “Little Window”
Io and the Ions “There’s A Light”
Wolfgang Parker “The Mice, The Demons and The Piggies”
Todd Burge with Kathy Mattea “Change”
Sasha Colette, John Lilly and Jonathan Glen Wood “Walking Cane”
Underdog Blues Revue “What You Say”
Trielement “Seven Dirty Words”
Stephen Beckner “Falling Star”
Paul Calicoat “Trampled Flowers”
DEVO “Clockout”
Hasil Adkins “She Said”
69 Fingers “How To Get A New Life”

hour two
David Synn “Battle of Anihilation”
John Lancaster “Phantom Moon”
Black Cross Brotherhood “Megido”
Bobflex “I’m Glad You’re Dead”
Lady D “Higher”
Spurgie Hankins Band “Dirty Rule”
Donny Iris “River of Love”
Company Stores “Rise”
The Boatmen “Heartbreak Hangover”
Joe Vallina “Year of the Wicked”
John Radcliff “Hanging On”
Foz Rotten “Funklips”
South Park Enterprise “Next Level”

hour three
The First Step sampler


side one
Slick Six “Terri Ann”
Debut “Free Your Mind”
Night Fire “Change”
Big Money “Words On The Street”
Spyce “Freeway Rider”
Territories “Ghostown”

side two
Act 1 “Winners”
Xtasy “Give Me A Chance”
Tempest “What It’s Like To Be Me”
Annex “Blindsided”
Sound Advice “Say That You Love Me”
Brian Diller and the Ride “Don’t Stop at Anything”



Jim Wolfe “The Goober Special”
Atomic Cafe “The Trax”
Blue Million “Everything Inside Out”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

The rest of today’s programming on The AIR will be encore presentations, but you should still listen in because they’re pretty damned good.

Monday Morning Art: RFD


This week’s art started out as a bit of a digital doodle.  I’d re-installed some old digital brushes that had been lost in the great PC crash of 2018, and started pushing blues around to make a sky. As I got lower down the virtual canvas, I decided to try to capture the feel that I had riding around in rural Pennsylvania late last Summer. All it took was a road, some mountains and some weeds, plus a few hints of structures, and there it was.  A backwoods road.

Quick ‘n’ sloppy, but it does look like a real painting. Sort of.

You can click the image if you want to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon runs from 7 AM to 3 PM, and brings you eight recent episodes of Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch. You can tune in all day Monday and get your musical theater fix.   At 3 PM, we will present an encore of a recent edition of Prognosis, because show’s host, Herman Linte and all our collegues at Haversham Recording Institute are all still tied up providing stringer coverage to international new agencies covering the Brexit mess and now the Coronavirus scare, too.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Sunday Evening Video: Toy Trains In Saint Albans

Yesterday your PopCulteer attended the 15th annual Kanawha Valley Model Train and Craft show in Saint Albans, and to be honest, I didn’t intend to make a video. I’ve been plugging the show here in PopCult for weeks, but it hadn’t occurred to me to shoot video.

Luckily, I had my trusty Samsung J7 on hand, and when we saw the different train layouts on display, well, I just had to shoot some video. That’s become a de-facto “PopCult Instant Video.” That’s the video at the top of this post.

Had I planned in advance, I would have brought a camera with a more stable focus, so I apologize for the occasional blurriness.  I did get about ten minutes of footage, blending several different layouts together. It’s all set to YouTube library music, so that I don’t bring down the wrath of the copyright strikers.

Since I shot so much video, I pretty much forgot to shoot still photos. Sorry about that. What you see here is pretty much what I got.

The plan is to, at some point, make it to the Kanawha Valley Railroad Association HQ in Coonskin Park, and shoot some better footage of the layout up there. That has been the plan for several years now, but I’m going to have to make it happen soon. Since our visit to the Barbie show held at EnterTrainment Junction in Cinncinnati last fall, I’ve been re-bitten with the model railroading bug.

In the meantime, enjoy this video, and go visit the KVRA yourself. It’s really cool that we have an organization like this in the area.

Toy Fair 2020: MEGO

Since your PopCulteer decided not to attend Toy Fair in New York this year due to health reasons, we are once again doing our coverage remotely, borrowing images from folks who are on-site, and linking to their coverage so that they can get the proper attribution and hits and everything.

Some of our images were picked off of social media, with no attribution given, so we will note that when it happens, and correct it if the persons responsible come forward.

This one is easy.

If you want to keep up with all things MEGO, head over to the MEGOMuseum.

They have a post with all the MEGO Toy Fair 2020 reveals, and they’ve been keeping track of all the pre-Toy Fair leaks and teases.

You can see photos of the next wave of MEGO figures, including Captain Picard, Stan Lee, Mr. Hyde, The Fly and more.

Plus they have a post on their front page with information on their upcoming 8″ DC Comics line.



Toy Fair 2020: LEGO


Since your PopCulteer decided not to attend Toy Fair in New York this year due to health reasons, we are once again doing our coverage remotely, borrowing images from folks who are on-site, and linking to their coverage so that they can get the proper attribution and hits and everything.

Some of our images were picked off of social media, with no attribution given, so we will note that when it happens, and correct it if the persons responsible come forward.

First up, we are going to link to ToyArk, who always do fantastic comprehensive coverage of Toy Fair. This year is no exception, and you can find their photo gallery for LEGO’s upcoming offering HERE.

You can find more details, such as on-sale dates and prices at 9To5Toys.

And finally, you can find info about an upcoming LEGO Spider-man set at The Brothers Brick.


The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 23

This week we go back to May, 2014, for a show where we finally got the numbering of The RFC MINI SHOW straightened out. After discovering that we had two episodes numbered “seven” and two numbered “fifteen,” we skipped a couple of numbers and arrived at this show, which was properly numbered 23.

And what a number 23 it was!

The Living Deads are Randee and Symphony and whichever guitarist that they have most recently kidnapped. They tour the country in their RV, spreading the gospel of Punkabilly where ever they go. They live full time in their RV (Irv) and tour the world, printing T-Shirts and burning CDs while on the road. They have been known to kidnap guitar players from time to time, drag them on stage in a Burlap sack and force them to perform. When we caught up with the band at The Empty Glass in April, 2014 they had Wyatt Mundy on guitar, having just abducted him from his job at an adult bookstore.

The Living Deads (Randee Mcknight and Symphony Tidwell) have featured guest artists such as Danny B Harvey, Chuck Hughes, Lance Romance. Hank Hays, James Hunnicutt, Steven R Trent, Mondo Cortez, Chad Hasty, JD Holopter, Scotty Spears, Mr. Conrad, Matt Allen, Dr. Void, Sean K. Preston, Tony Burlingame, Trevor Rogers, Craig Gory along with several more.

They describe themselves thusly, “A Rhythm section born of Hate, Hellfire and Brimstone. With a book of matches, can of gas, and a Louisville slugger we’ll have a party.”

You’ll see them again next week, when we bring you RFC 198 in this space.

The Long And Winding Return Of Captain Action

The PopCulteer
February 21, 2020

This week we are bringing you a detailed review and deep dive into the newest incarnation of one of my favorite action figures, Captain Action. That him to the right.

I’ve written of the good Captain many times here in PopCult, going back to our first month of covering pop culture way back in 2005. Over the years we have seen revivals of the original 12″ Captain Action, as well as his return in comic books, new forms of pop culture figures, other scales of action figures, and even Art Baltazar’s Captain Action Cat.

Joe and Ed at Captain Action Enterprises have more cool stuff up their sleeve for our hero, but they have to keep it close to their vests for the time being…with one exception.

This latest version of Captain Action comes to us courtesy of ZICA Toys, of Kentucky, who are known for several high-quality collectible figures of Buck Rogers and The Six Million Dollar Man, many in the popular MEGO-size and style.

There is quite a saga of how this project, which was funded through Kickstarter, took over four years to make it from the idea stage to my front porch, where it landed yesterday afternoon.

First, though, I have a genuine scoop, courtesy of Joe Ahearn, from Captain Action Enterprises, who licensed their character to ZICA for this project. Despite the ordeal that ZICA endured bringing this project to us (I’ll get to that later on, I promise), they are eager to proceed with a second series of figures that, if there is enough demand, will include Captain Action’s sidekick, Action Boy; his fellow agent, Lady Action; his arch-nemesis, Dr. Evil; and his distinctive mode of transportation, The Silver Streak.

Check out the image below, and click to see it larger.


In order for this to happen, it would help if the current run of figures sells out quickly. You can order the figures in series one directly from ZICA, or from Big Bad Toy Store. As I write this, Big Bad Toy Store is already sold out of four of the figures, and they’re still on pre-order (folks like me who kicked in on the Kickstarter campaign get theirs first).

It also wouldn’t hurt to let ZICA Toys know how much you’d like to see this line continue. You can leave comments on their Facebook page if you want to help the cause.

Of course, you’re probably wondering if the figures themselves are any good.

Yes. They are excellent. These may be the best figures I’ve seen in the 4″ scale. I counted 16 points of articulation. The sculpts are as impressive as some high-end 1/6 scale figures that I’ve seen. The joints are tight and hold a pose. The figures are balanced well, but also have tiny magnets in their feet, so you can use them with metal bases for even more action poses.

For the purpose of this review, I only cracked open one figure (so far). I chose the Stealth Captain Action, who has a gray variant of Captain Action’s original blue uniform.

I should point out here, that to get this line off the ground, the first series (of eight figures) all use the same basic body, only with different colors and chest emblems. This works better than you might think. It allowed them to focus on designing one high-quality body, with a variety of head sculpts. As you can see in the image I posted earlier, the second series will feature at least three new body designs.

I will also point out that this line went through a few changes while in the pipeline. Originally it was going to be called “Adventure People” and for this line, ZICA was going to revive the defunct REMCO name to put on the package. For reasons that don’t really affect the end product, REMCO was not used, and the name of the line was changed to “Comic Adventure Heroes.”

If you go way back to where I recommended the Kickstarter Campaign, you’ll see the different names. I’m not sure what happened to the collector-friendly packaging, but considering what ZICA had to go through to get these toys made, it’s a small sacrifice for the collector.

These are high-end 4″ figures, aimed at collectors aged 15 and up. They do have tiny pieces that would be a choking hazard to kids, so don’t mistake these for the toys you find at stores and keep them away from the mouths or other orifices of pets or small children.

Each figure comes with an alternate head (except for the Strike Force Trooper and Captain Evil’s Henchman) and several sets of alternately-posed hands.


Each figure also comes with a collection of weapons. Captain Action (In three different color schemes) comes with his lightning sword, raygun and space rifle. Captain Evil and his Henchman have the same weapons with different paint schemes, while Action Jackson, Jet Jungle and the Strike Force Trooper have the space rifle, but a more standard pistol and knife. Captain Action and Captain Evil also come with a removable Captain’s cap.



There are other nice details along the way: Action Jackson’s alternate head is clean-shaven. Jet Jungle’s alternate head has white hair instead of blond.

As with the sculpting and design, the paint jobs on these figures are fantastic.



If you collect 4″ action figures, then you will want in on these. The line combines three legendary action figures of yore (Captain Action, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle), with new enemies and…I’m not sure if the Strike Force Trooper is a good guy or bad guy, but he looks cool, and that’s all that counts.

What we have here is a series of great action figures that will scratch that itch among 4″ figure collectors. ZICA has also revived the Sectaurs line, and these figures are compatible with those. They are also compatible with the new 4″ figures in the JazWares Fortnite line, so you can create all sorts of wild scenarios with these guys.

Like I said, if you want to get in on the (Captain) action, check out ZICA or Big Bad Toy Store.



This has been a long process. It’s actually not the longest I’ve experienced for a Kickstarter project, but it has been over four years since I kicked in my money. Craig Owen, the owner of ZICA Toys, has gone way above and beyond to see this project to fruition.

The first factory he hired in China turned out to be totally incompetent, making promises and failing to deliver. He switched to a new factory, and a year after the original delivery date, decided to throw in the towel, cancel the project, refund everyone’s money and take a huge personal loss.


After being assured by the factory that they could indeed produce the figures at the quality Craig wanted, he reinstated the project and kept plugging along.

More than a year after that, he moved the project to a new factory. Lesser men would have thrown in the towel, and I really have to give Craig credit for sticking with this. He has been completely honest and transparent with his backers throughout this entire harrowing project.



The new factory had to fix a lot of the work that the previous factories had messed up, but they finally got everything going smoothly, and the figures hit the US just last week. And now the 4″ Captain Action and friends are in my hands, and I have to say, it was worth the wait. I’m really glad I ordered the entire set to add to my collection. I know some collectors of the original Captain Action are purists who despise any Captain Action figure that isn’t in their favorite scale, but they have to understand that it’s projects like this and earlier figures in other scales and formats that keep the Captain Action name alive, and make a future revival of the 1/6 scale line possible.



That’s this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for fresh content every day, and all our regular features, plus bonus coverage of Toy Fair starting this weekend.

News On GI Joe, AEW Action Figures and 1/6 Scale Horses

The PopCult Toybox

Pre-Toy Fair News

The New York Interntational Toy Fair kicks off this weekend, but people are already starting to leak images of the cool toys headed our way.

You can expect PopCult to be toy-heavy for the next week or two as we do our best to bring you as much news as possible.

We’re kicking things off today with some updates on stories we brought you a few weeks ago, plus some other cool news.

GI Joe: Classified Series

Hasbro will be releasing 6″ “Marvel Legends” scale figures based on GI Joe this summer. Images of a convention exclusive figure of Snake Eyes have turned up on social media, and we have them for you here, so you can get an idea of what to expect from “GI Joe: Classified Series.”

Thanks to Thomas Wheeler for bringing these to my attention.

As you can see, it’s a clever package design, with a star-shaped window that wraps around five sides of the box. The foam insert and extra weapons are part of a convention set, but the box you see is pretty much what will hit stores.


It’s still not clear if there will be an additional 4″ line of figures, possibly licensed to another company, or if there will be an additional line based on the Snake Eyes movie that’ due out this fall.

AEW Unrivaled Action Figures

We have the first photos and a cool video of the new All-Elite Wrestling figures, which should be in stores this summer from Wicked Cool Toys/JazWares. The first assortment will include Jericho, Cody, Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega and both of The Young Bucks.

Future assortments will follow, with Jon Moxley, Luchasaurus, Dr. Britt Baker, MJF and more. You can see the first wave being presented to the AEW wrestlers in this video…

Let’s look at the photos of the first wave, interspersed with quotes from the press release…

AEW UNRIVALED collectible action figures will boast 25 points of articulation, real 3d scanned likenesses and a variety of accessories and authentic ring wear. With multiple Waves per season, fans can collect the stars of TNT’s new, popular weekly show AEW DYNAMITE, including MJF, Darby Allin, Dr. Britt Baker, Brandi Rhodes, Hangman Page, Jurassic Express and many more.

Each Wave will include limited edition and rare variants to add chase and elation to every release.

Other authentic items for Fall 2020 will include the AEW UNRIVALED: Action Ring to play-and-display UNRIVALED figures and the AEW World Championship Title Belt, with even more formats and innovations in development for future seasons.

“AEW has very quickly become one of the most provocative, engaging and relevant wrestling brands of all time. It is a league embraced by generations of fans and collectors in a genre with a huge appetite for authentic product,” said Jeremy Padawer, EVP / Partner Jazwares. “We plan to build out the kind of program that can appeal both to the display collector and also to younger fans who want a tangible way to play and interact with their heroes,” said Michael Rinzler, EVP /
Partner Jazwares.

“When AEW launched just over a year ago, we couldn’t have imagined there would be a toy line this soon, featuring our wrestlers, making its debut at Toy Fair in New York City,” said Dana Massie, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer. “But, we’ve always known from the start that we have the greatest fans in the world, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to positively engage and connect with them in ways that matter. Our partnership with Jazwares ramps up our commitment to fan engagement, and we hope our fans will love the AEW action figures and collectibles representing the personalities who have become part of their lives each Wednesday on TNT, at our pay-per-view events and beyond.”

Steve-O’s Horses

Our last item for today is news that Steve Corn, who owns one of the original molds for the Marx Thunderbolt horse has made up a new batch, and they’re up for order on his website.

I first wrote about Steve’s horses a few years ago, and it’s one of our most-read posts here in PopCult. This new batch of horses was made in deep brown and light gray, and he has bright red tack in stock now,with more colors coming soon.

You can order the new horses made from the orginal mold that Marx used to make Johnny West’s faithful steed over fifty years ago at this link. While you’re there, check out the rest of his site for his cool, hand-crafted 1/6 scale Western gear, and the full story on how he came to own the Thunderbolt molds.

Tomorrow the PopCulteer will be devoted to a detailed review of a new iteration of one of the greatest action figures of all time, complete with photos and exclusive news on what the future holds.