PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Toy Fair 2017: The Link List

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bfcd67126bcffef4920de8185d3c80beThe PopCult Toybox

You know the drill, PopCult could not attend The International Toy Fair in New York, which is going on NOW.

To help keep you up to date, here are links to some of folks who were lucky enough to attend.

Twin Peaks Toys

Dread Central has notes on Bif Bang Pow’s line of Twin Peaks Collectibles, while The Nerdist shows off Funko’s line of Twin Peaks action figures and Pop Vinyls.

DC Comics

Comics Alliance has the latest on DC Collectibles slate of comic-book-store releases due out this year. .Comicbook.com looks at Mattel’s upcoming Wonder Woman action dolls. Mashable raves about the R/C Batmobile from the upcoming Justice League movie. The Nerdist presents a detailed look at NECA’s Superman vs. Muhammad Ali 7″ figure set. Newsarama presents us with even more photos and details on what to expect from DC Collectibles.


Yahoo Movies shares images of Mattel’s 12″ Justice League Action 12″ figures (most of which are in stores now) along with new additions to the DC Superhero Girls line and new Teen Titans Go! figures that apparently pass wind. You[ll also find news on The Fast and The Furious and Marvel Comics Hot Wheels.

32971879035_caf47dc9a1_cPirates of the Caribbean

The Brothers Brick show photos of the new LEGO sets based on the upcoming fifth installment of Disney’s pirate franchise (we swiped one, seen right). There will also be Pirates of the caribbean toys coming from Spin Master, Diamond Select and more. Keep checking PopCult for more details.

Wrapping up today

marvel-legends-series-high-end-figurines-02Cnet has a comprehensive photo essay showing off all the latest offerings from Mattel and Hasbro.This one hurts a bit to share, because your PopCulteer was invited to the same early media events and couldn’t go. Still, killer pictures by Sarah Tew for cnet. We’re showing you a couple, with Marvel Legends at right and Transformers below. Follow that link to see them all.



Check PopCult all weekend for more news and links about Toy Fair.

01rfc37montageThis week we are going back to March 2008 for “Fantastic Four Shirt,” episode 37 of Radio Free Charleston. This is a very special episode because it features two acts who were alumni of the original RFC radio program, but were just making their first appearance on the video version of the show.  Lady D is, of course, Doris Fields,a legend of the West Virginia music scene. Blue Million was also an RFC radio vet–Their front-man, Alan Griffith, appeared performing solo on one memorable night, backing up me and The Stunning Janice as we butchered Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Also on the this episode is an installment of “The Android Family,” and part four of Frank Panucci’s series of enlightening animation, this episode is called “Porky Bang.”  Host segments were shot at LiveMix Studio’s Quarrier Street home.

You can read the orignal production notes HERE, but remember, many of the links are deader than crap.

Toy Fair 2017: The World’s Biggest Decepticon

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The PopCult Toybox

(Ages 8 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $149.99/Available: Fall 2017)

Hasbro unleashes the world’s largest Decepticon this weekend at Toy Fair in New York.


The TRANSFORMERS battle explodes into uncharted territory when the TITANS RETURN! To control an ancient race of giant, city-sized warriors—TITANS—the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS must harness the power of TITAN MASTERS, smaller bots that give bigger bots enhanced abilities in battle.

tformcityThe ultimate Decepticon weapon is joining the Titans Return battle! Trypticon will destroy everything and devour everyone in his path. The Titan Class Trypticon figure is the largest figure in the 2017 Titans Return universe and is also the biggest Decepticon figure ever made.

The towering T-Rex converts between 3 different modes: dino, spaceship (seen above), and city (seen left).  When the figure is in city mode, it connects to Titans Return Leader Class figures (each sold separately) to form the giant Nemesis Command.

tformdinoWhen the figure is in T-Rex mode, it can “eat” Titan Master figures: Trypticon can chomp them down, then you can open his stomach to get them out. Comes with a Deluxe Class Full-Tilt figure and a Titan Master Decepticon Necro figure. Additional Titan Master figures are each sold separately, but with so many to collect, the Titans Return battlefield is a veritable all-you-can-eat bot buffet for Trypticon.

Full-Tilt figure attaches to the Trypticon figure’s chest. Titan Master figure becomes the head for the Full-Tilt figure and works with all Titans Return Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader Class figures (each sold separately). Also features a storage compartment in the figure’s tail.

In 2015 Hasbro gave fans the option to vote for their favorite character to become the next Generations Titans Return Titan Class toy. The ballots were counted and fans voted on TRYPTICON.

Coming in the fall, the TRYPTICON figure is the largest figure in the 2017 Titans Return universe and is also the biggest Decepticon figure ever made. It converts between three different modes: dino, spaceship and city.

Transformers don’t get more impressive than this behemoth.

The PopCult Toybox

mcf14456In this post we’re going to look at some of the cool new action figures and toys that are going to be officially unveiled this weekend at The International Toy Fair in New York. These are some of the biggies with huge collector followings.

The Walking Dead

McFarlane Toys will continue producing 7″ action figures based on The Walking Dead TV Series in their “Color Tops” line. It also looks like their popular 5″ line of TV figures will be be exclusive to Walgreens for the time being. The 5″ comic book series will continue. Let’s quote the press materials about the Color Tops series:

“AMC’s The Walking Dead television series is the most watched drama in basic cable history, shattering records along the way! Season 6 finds Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors seeking refuge in a desolate and post-apocalyptic world and discover there are greater forces to fear than just the walking dead. McFarlane Toys is sitting shotgun for the ride with more amazingly-detailed action figures from AMC’s The Walking Dead.”

The two most-anticipated TWD Color Tops figures are Carl, due out any week now, and Negan, who will show up late this summer.

mcf14425Carl (seen left) features a spectacular likeness of Carl Grimes sculpted from images of the actor Chandler Riggs. The figure features a bandaged head and is sculpted in his outfit from Season 6 of AMC’s The Walking Dead. In addition to that, this figure includes an alternate gunshot wound head, removable bloody poncho and removable hat. It’s a 7″ figure complete with multiple articulation points and a stylized brand specific display base.

The Negan figure (seen above) will feature a stunning likeness of the actor Jeffery Dean Morgan and is sculpted in his iconic outfit from Season 7 of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Negan has over 14 points of articulation and includes a scaled version of “Lucille”, his barbed-wire baseball bat, as well as a stylized display base. Like all other figures in the Color Tops Collector lineup, Negan is packed in a numbered window box package that is perfect for display in your collection.

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toy_fair_banner_2017The PopCulteer
February 17
, 2017

As you know if you’ve been reading PopCult this week, I will not be able to attend The International Toy Fair in New York like I have for the past two years. The big show kicks off tomorrow, and I’m going to do my best to cover it from right here in West Virginia.

All weekend long I’ll be bringing you the latest news as it leaks out, and today I’m going to post several long reports filled with all of the last-minute pre-Toy Fair scoops that I can gather. Don’t expect anything resembling a rational organization of topics. This is an avalanche.

So sit back and keep hitting “Refresh,” it’s going to be a heavy weekend at PopCult.


gavin_webresNormally I don’t cover tech toys in PopCult. I am not at all well-versed in the ways of smartphone technology, and toys that require phones or tablets just don’t seem like toys to me. However, that’s largely because I’m old. HOLO CUBE, from Merge VR, is so cool that it even impressed me.

Merge VR is a very popular headset that allows people to turn their smartphones into virtual reality devices. It was an instant success last year when it hit the market, and now they’ve developed an augmented reality toy that goes with it.

Rather than try to explain it, here’s the sizzle reel for HOLO CUBE…

The world’s first holographic toy, HOLO CUBE uses augmented reality (AR) technology so users can hold and interact with holograms in new ways.

“Toys are the tools we use for growing up, and our HOLO CUBE offers brand new ways to learn, play,and connect with others,” said Merge VR Founder Franklin Lyons. “Rather than using the typical interfaces of 2D screens, we’re developing physical products that merge the real world with the digital, and creating new ways for imagination and creativity to flourish.”

Merge introduced HOLO CUBE at CES and showed how they bring the cube to life in users’ hands — from drawing with music to caring for a virtual space pet to building a mini-block world. Pairing HOLO CUBE with the company’s marshmallow-soft Merge VR Goggles lets users interact directly with holograms while freeing both hands for a fully immersive experience.

“We want to unlock an entirely new digital world for children that’s always safe, exciting, positive, and playful,” said Merge VR co-founder Andrew Trickett. “HOLO CUBE continues what we started with our revolutionary soft goggles, and it’s just the beginning. We are developing an entire line of products that will create more magical experiences for kids everywhere.”

Merge also unveiled several new colors of its Merge VR Goggles at CES, and will be showing them at Toy Fair this weekend. In addition to the signature purple, they were made available in new colors beginning January 4, 2017 on the company’s website.

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Comforting Words For The Resistance

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The PopCult Bookshelf

51a-ndsjflDaily Inspiration for Progressive America
by Danny Kuhn
ISBN-13: 978-0989169660

Let’s face it, these are 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.

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 a 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.

The PopCult Toybox

4600ec29-1bea-4d73-abf3-118c266d4b50Much to the delight of the young ladies who live for Hot Topic and all things goth and moody, Mezco premieres the first doll for their newest brand: LDD Presents – Harley Quinn.

Harley Quinn, the deranged and psychotic poster girl for the terrifying allure of chaos is the darling of DC Comics. Both adorable and dangerous Harley Quinn is the Joker’s devoted girl friend. When not up to no good what pleases Harley most is making the Clown Prince of Crime happy.

Now Mezco proudly presents her in all her deranged glory.  This is the Harley Quinn for the purist, wearing her traditional red and black harlequin clown costume with matching jester hat, Harley is ready to do whatever “Mistah J” needs.  Her look is complimented by a permanently affixed domino mask.  She comes complete with her oversized hammer, perfect for squashing any pesky bats who try to ruin her puddin’s fun.

Harley Quinn is fashioned on Mezco’s signature LDD PRESENTS body . She stands 10 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. She comes packed in a specially die cut window box perfect for display, but just like Arkham, it may not hold her for long.LDD Presents- Harley Quinn is available for pre-order HERE. She breaks into local retailers starting in July-September 2017.

This is a major brand extension for Mezco’s Living Dead Dolls line, and they couldn’t have picked a better match for their first licensed LDD. The doll itself won’t be seen out of the shadows until this weekend, but we have these preview images to give you a hint of what to expect now.


Radio Free Charleston Marathon: 24 Hours of Local Music

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rfc-2-14Just a reminder, Wednesday at midnight we begin a 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Tune in at Midnight Wednesday for a special 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston. This is one full day of nothing but the best local music from West Virginia. No other radio station can bring you this much local music, and we wanted to flaunt our committment, just because we can.

You will hear everything from brand-new music from The Wren Allen Band, Speedsuit, Bon Air, Fabulous Head and The Company Stores to classic tracks by Stark Raven, Qiet, Go Van Gogh, Big Money and Mother Nang to deep archive music from Hasil Adkins, The Amazing Delores and The Rose Garden. This goes on for one full day, so you’ll hear all that and much, much more.

We’ll bring you rock, pop, metal, punk, ska, Americana, jazz, classical guitar, progressive experimental music, EDM and more, all of it with ties to West Virginia.

And if that Bataan Death March of local music doesn’t wear you out, stick around because at Midnight Thursday The AIR brings you seven hours of the best Swing Music from the last century with The Swing Shift. It don’t mean a thing, you know, if it ain’t got that swing.

2-15-logoIt’s all about wearing your gifts proudly The AIR today at 1:30 PM and 7 PM, where you can hear a brand-new episode of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum on The AIR website, or on this embedded radio player…

This week Michele’s message is “Love doesn’t come with a warranty, but your talents do. The Divine gave you gifts that would bring joy not only to you, but to the world. Use them. Don’t leave them hanging in your closet, tags still dangling from them when you pass out of this world. Tap into the desires that burn in your heart and you are guaranteed to be on your path, even if you feel lost. “

page1Sunday at noon, Michele will appear on the nationally-heard radio program Behind The Paranormal with Paul and Ben Eno. This show originates from Boston and can be heard online on OnWorldwide,com Radio.

Michele will be discussing her book, Rain No Evil and her encounters with the unexplainable that lead her to create Life Speaks.

Continuing this week is the “Heal Your Heart” contest with prizes including copies of her book, Rain No Evil,  and a one hour heart-healing session with Naturopathic doctor Dr. Jeanie Short.

The grand prize winner will be announced March 6th at noon in a live video on Michele’s Facebook page. For details on how you can enter the Heal Your Heart contest, go HERE,

rfc-2-14At Midnight Wednesday we begin a 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston. This is one full day of nothing but the best local music from West Virginia. No other radio station can bring you this much local music, and we wanted to flaunt our committment, just because we can.

Also on The AIR Wednesday is our regular line-up of amazing, intelligent radio:

Wednesday on The AIR:

7:00 AM     The Swing Shift
9:00 AM     Radio Coolsville
11:00 AM   The Mystery Hour
Noon           Curtain Call
1:00 PM     On The Road with Mel
1:30 PM     Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum
2:00 PM     The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe
3:00 PM     Curtain Call
5:00 PM     Indie Music On The AIR
7:00 PM     Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum
7:30 PM     Word Association with Lee & Rudy
8:00 PM     Prognosis
10:00 PM   The Comedy Vault
Midnight     The Radio Free Charleston Marathon

Toy Fair 2017: Bandai’s Star Wars Model Kits

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The PopCult Toybox

sw_ep7_millennium_falcon8Bandai’s Star Wars Model Kits Now Available In North America

Bandai’s new Star Wars model kits debut at retail across North America starting next month. Bandai’s Star Wars Plastic Model kits feature trademark color injection molding techniques resulting in intricately detailed vehicles consistent to their on-screen counterparts. Select kits also include themed display bases that can be combined with display stands from other Bandai Hobby Star Wars vehicles to create expansive battlefield dioramas.

Originally available only for the Asian market, these official U.S. releases include English instructions and have product support provided by Bluefin, a top distributor of Asian toys in the US.

Bandai’s Star Wars Plastic Model kits feature trademark color injection molding techniques resulting in intricately detailed vehicles consistent to their on-screen counterparts. Select kits include themed display bases that can be combined with display stands from other Bandai Hobby Star Wars vehicles to create expansive battlefield dioramas. Bandai’s new Star Wars model kits debut at retail in North America starting next month.

sw_x_wing_starfighter3Manufactured in Japan by Bandai Hobby, the Star Wars Plastic Model line features notable vehicles from the classic Star Wars films as well as from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Originally available only for the Asian market, these official U.S. releases include English instructions and have product support provided by Bluefin.

Bandai Hobby is internationally renowned for its high-quality model kits that blend complex detail and innovative construction that builders of all skill levels will enjoy. A nipper or sprue cutter (sold separately) is highly recommended for assembly, but the following kits do not require glue.

Bandai Hobby’s 2017 line of Star Wars kits includes:

71srdbvwkdl-_sl1500_Star Wars 1/72 Scale X-Wing · MSRP: $28.00 · Available March 2017

The 1/72 X-Wing features opening and closing S-foils and a cockpit with 2 different canopy options. Death Star panel themed display stand can connect with stands from other vehicles to recreate the iconic Death Star Trench Run.  The exhaust of the trench and 2 proton torpedo effects are also included to recreate the Rebel victory in “Star Wars: A New Hope.” Kit includes seated pilot, part swappable landing gear options, and decals.

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