PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Forbidden Gallery Returns Again!

The PopCult Comics Bookshelf

Forbidden Gallery #4
edited by William Mull
Writers: Ed Devore, Nicola Cuti James Hudnall, Dan Johnson, William Mull
Artists: Portaveritus and Jeff Austin, Luca Cicchitti, Benito Gallego, Karl Comedador, Dan Day, Portaveritas and more.
Published by ACP Comics
details for ordering coming soon from ACP Comics

It’s been more than a year and a half since the last issue of Forbidden Gallery, a great independent horror comics anthology, and I’m happy to report that the fourth issue should be available this week (maybe even later today). William Mull and ACP Comics continue in the tradition of short-form horror/sci-fi anthologies of the past, telling new tales of mystery and suspense with a fresh perspective.

In this latest installment, readers are treated to five stories that run the gamut from revenge on the farm to hauntings to Kaiju to outer space adventure and a wonderful period piece with a twist that will not be revealed here. In fact, one of the difficulties of reviewing this comic is trying to describe the stories without giving away too much of the plot. I’ll do my best here, but If it seems like I’m skipping over too much detail, that’s the reason why.

As with the previous issues of Forbidden Gallery, each story is preceded by a pin-up/splash page which acts as an introduction by the book’s host, Archimedes, and gives the presentation a cool Night Gallery vibe.

The opening tale is a quick one. “Weird of the Woodchuck” is a clever story with gorgeous artwork that can’t be described in detail without spoiling it. It’s a fun opener from writer, Ed DeVore, and artists Portaveritas and Jeff Austin.

“Into The Drink” is a cautionary tale about driving while intoxicated. This story is among the last published works written by James Hudnall, who had a long career for Eclipse Comics, DC Comics and Marvel, and co-created the television series Harsh Realms. The artwork is provided by Luca Cicchitti, and serves the story well.


Next up with one of the highlights of the book, “End of the Line,” a tale of wandering Gypsies set in an unspecified post-Medieval time. The story, by Dan Johnson, is a well-structured bit of pre-gothic horror, but the real star is the artwork. Benito Gallego manages to make this story look like what you’d get if you combined the art of the late John Buscema with a gloriously-photographed Hammer Horror movie. It is simply spectacular. That’s the opening panel, above.

That gem is followed by another, an epic superhero/Kaiju mash-up, “Particle Man: Rise of the Fukisharm!” written by William Mull with art by Karl Comendador. This is the story that will thrill and delight your inner-eight-year-old, as we basically get an action-packed pastiche of Godzilla and Ultraman, with a dash of Captain Atom thrown in, and what I suspect is a deliberate nod to They Might Be Giants. The intro page is seen at right.

Closing out this issue we have “Contamination,” written by the late Nicola Cuti with art by Dan Day. This is the outer space adventure, and I’m not going to spoil any more details than that, other than to say how great it is to see new art by Dan Day.

It’s clear that Forbidden Gallery is a labor of love. This is one of the most fun comics being published today. It harkens back to the kind of concise, disciplined graphic storytelling that used to be the norm, but is now all too rare. It’s a bit that sad that this book contains two stories written by authors who have passed away in the last year, but at least they are well-represented, with clever stories that are well-drawn and entertaining.

Forbidden Gallery is great fun for folks who loved horror comics like Creepy, Eerie, House of Mystery or the EC Comics classics. You can order the three previous issues, and this newest issues at the ACP Comics website. Issue Four should be available shortly after this review is published. You will have your choice of six different covers, including the main cover by Steven Butler, or you can go for a package deal and get them all.

You can find my review of the previous issue (which has links to reviews of earlier issues) HERE.

The 2020 Hypothetical Tony Awards Show

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call and Curtain Call is a special show devoted to the Tony Awards that weren’t. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 2 PM, your humble blogger returns with the penultimate Beatles Blast that takes us one step closer to the conclusion of what has turned into a 20-part series, The Lost Beatles Project. This brings together bonus material from deluxe reissues of The Beatles’ group and solo albums and weaves them together in a flowing stream of consciousness mixtape that allows the listener to pretend to be a fly on the wall in the studio while the Fab Four make their magic.

After we conclude the Lost Beatles Project series in June, Beatles Blast will revert to it’s usual format, presenting The Beatles group and solo material mixed with cover tunes by other artists, music from related acts (like labelmates, offspring, or former collaborators) and songs that feature guest contributions from the boys.  Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 10 PM, Friday at noon, Saturday at 4 PM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

3 PM sees the debut of Mel Larch’s 2020 Tony Award Nominees show on Curtain Call.  This was rather tricky to assemble, since there are no 2020 Tony Awards, and there haven’t been any live performances on Broadway since the middle of March.

So with no nominees and no shows currently running, Mel will bring you the hypothetical nominees, with selections from several shows that could have been in the running for the Tony Award for Best Musical, had the awards been awarded this year.

You will hear selections from Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Jagged Little Pill, Six, American Utopia and Moulin Rouge. In the background of Mel’s introductions you’ll hear Oscar Peterson playing “Something’s Coming,” from the musical, West Side Story, which may have been in contention for best revival of a musical, unless it was as bad as everybody who saw it in previews said it was. This was as close as we could get to bringing you the annual Curtain Call Tony Nominees show. Sunday night, during the regular marathon of our Showtunes showcase, since it’s the time that would normally see the Tony Awards Ceremony being broadcast on CBS, The AIR will present encores of all of our previous Tony Nominee episodes of Curtain Call, plus a couple of shows that featured the winning shows. That will begin at 6 PM.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight.


Radio Free Charleston Goes Classic

We offer up new episodes of our speciality music shows Tuesday on The AIR with fresh editions of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift. You can jump over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and listen to this exquisite little embedded radio player…

Tune into this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday for a how loaded with an eclectic mix of music–all of it by local musicians, or at least recorded at local venues.

We open with music from a new/old release from The Big Bad. “Dreading Sundown” is from the new EP, The Big Bad Year of the Mad Bats, which collects demos and stray tracks recorded eight or ten years ago when Big Bad frontman, Zack Bassham, was experimenting with other bands. You can find the entire EP at their Bandcamp page.

After we open the show, I sort of slack off a bit. I discovered a four-hour block of local music that had no back-announcing. I’d prepared it for use five years ago when The AIR was known as “Voices of Appalachia.” I don’t remember if we ever actually ever broadcast it, but it’s got some terrific stuff on it.

Some of the tracks are local classics. Others are rareties, recorded live and not often heard. I trimmed this down by an hour and attempted to come up with a playlist. I’m sure I got a couple of song titles wrong, and some are just guesses, but here’s your chance to hear three solid hours of local artists from all over the musical sprectrum. On thing’s for sure, this is a pretty heft serving of music from the RFC Archives.

Check out this playlist…

RFCV5 018

hour one
The Big Bad/Mad Bats “Dreading Sundown”
Beckner, Price and Panucci “Got Drunk, Got Married, Got Screwed”
Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands “To Be Lied To”
Decomposing in Paris “He Loves Me”
Trielement “mystery song”
Qiet “The Indie Song”
Mother Nang “Shine”
Hellblinki “Dancing With The King”
The Tom McGees “There’ll Be More”
Three Bodies “Gardens of Hope”
Red Audio “Girl From Outer Space”
Tofujitsu “Darjeeling”
Mother’s Blues “Purple Rain”

hour two
Under Social “I Don’t Care”
Remains Unnamed “The Sky Is Falling”
HARRAH “I Don’t Deserve You”
Joseph Hale “Time”
Old School Abbey “Stumble Home”
Science Fair Explosion “Science Fair”
Stephanie Deskins “The Fall”
The Renfields “Ramones Zombie Massacre”
Blue Million “Don’t Leave”
The Big Bad “We Own This Town”
Under Surveillance “City Boy”
Paul Calicoat “Trampled Flowers”
Unknown Hinson “Alkyhol Withdrawal”
69 Fingers “To Be Continued”
Strawfyshh “Netted Fish”
Crazy Jane “Echo of a Season”
Go Van Gogh “Requiem For Pepperland”
The Nanker Phelge “21st Century”

hour three
Time And Distance “War”
Hasil Adkins “If You Wanna Be My Baby”
Hydrogen “Deadly Passion”
Crack The Sky “Maybe I can Fool Everybody”
Todd Burge “XMas Song”
The Horse Traders “Nothing At All”
Flare Baroshi “The Vampire Mafia”
Liquid Canvas “Spirit Molecule”
Whitechapel District “How Heavy Is Thy Crown”
dog soldier “Christmas Song”
Pepper Fandango “Scotch Whiskey”
Hellblinki “Sanjula’s Junk”

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.

At 1 PM today, we’ll replay last week’s edition of Mell Larch’s Disco Music showcase, MIRRORBALL.

2 PM sees a brand-new episode of Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack. When pressed for Details, Nigel could not produce a full playlist, but he tells me that it opens with a song by The Herd, Peter Frampton’s first group, and continues with “really groovy” music from The Beatles, The Seeds, The Turtles and more.

Psychedelic Shack alternates weeks with NOISE BRIGADE Tuesdays at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM and 10 PM, Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at Noon, Saturday at 8 AM, Sunday at 4 PM and Monday at 7 PM.

We have a new episode of The Swing Shift at 3 PM Tuesday, but as I write this, I have no idea what will be in it. I’m recording it Tuesday morning, which is no help here because I’m writing this post Monday evening. Believe me when I tell you it will Swing with the white-hot heat of a thousand swinging suns.

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 5 PM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Op Art


Richard Anuszkiewicz, a pioneering practitioner of Op Art in the United States before that perception-altering style was even given a name in the 1960s, died on May 19 at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 89. Anyone’s who’s seen my geometric abstract works has seen the undeniable influence that Anuszkiewicz has had on my work. His pioneering work that combined mathematics with color composition into a sublime style that was both complex and simple, enigmatic and solvable. When I began making art primarily in a digital medium, I found that I could emulate his style, and use it to springboard into new areas of expression. For the month of June, Monday Morning Art will feature new works by me, inspired by the work of Richard Anuszkiewicz.

Today’s piece is untitled. It combines a twirled radial background with a spherical mandala design, and radiating linear gradients at four intersecting spokes of the underlying spiral. It’s as much math as it is art. Or perhaps it’s simply a nice combination of the two practices.

You can click the top image if you want to see it even larger than that.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR, we have a marathon of Beatles Blast that runs from 7 AM to 7 PM. June 1 is unoffically “Sgt. Pepper’s Day,” because I said so, and in this marathon you will hear eight episodes of Beatles Blast that have a high Pepper content. You’ll hear three complete covers of the album, along with additional covers and tons of studio outtakes by the Fab Four themselves. Then at 3 PM, we are eagerly anticipating a new episode of Prognosis, presented by Herman Linte, and slapping you upside the head with two hours of progressive rock. This week Herman presents a tribute to the late Florian Schneider with a two-hour mixtape presentation of the music of his band, Kraftwerk.

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