Merry Christmas from the Stephens Family

Teaser for XTC documentary "This is Pop" on Showtime

Oh yeah! One of my favorite bands. Need to see this.

Empire mag posts new "Black Panther" cover

New music releases Dec. 22, 2017: Herbie Mann; Kenny Burrell

New and notable. Click the links to order from Amazon:

Pop Culture Roundup: Scooby-Doo's Daphne; The Adventures of Alfred; Neal Adams; Harvey Kurtzman; Mike Allred; Chris Samnee

Actress Heather North, who voiced Daphne for many years on the Scooby-Doo cartoons, passed away this week.


Via The Fabulous Fifties: Golden-age comics stories featuring Alfred, Batman's butler.


A video interview with the great comics artist, Neal Adams:


Via The Bristol Board: A Marvel promo comic with cover art by Mad Magazine founder Harvey Kurtzman.


The 2018 Free Comic Book Day t-shirt features art by the great Mike Allred.


Beautiful art commission pieces by the fantastic Chris Samnee.

Video find: Animated "A Christmas Carol" adaptation, 1971


The excellent 1971 animated version of the Charles Dickens classic. Animated in the style of 1800s engravings by the great Richard Williams Studio. Featuring the voices of Alistair Sim Michael Redgrave and Michael Hordern reprising his 1951 performance as Marley's Ghost . Animation by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, among others. Produced by Chuck Jones. This film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for 1972.

Merry Christmas from Anne Francis

Christmas album of the day: "Snowbound for Christmas"

Issued by the UK "public domain" label Jasmine, this one is a real grab bag, but it includes some real gems - namely seven seasonal tunes by Les Paul and Mary Ford. The pair do their overdub thing, performing lovely renditions of "Jingle Bells," "The Christmas Song," "Silent Night" and more with lots of great guitar and harmony parts.

The only dud is "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer," sung by Mary in a grating baby-talk voice. There's lots and lots of other stuff, too, spread out over this two-CD set, including several tunes by the Anita Kerr Singers, songs from Dinah Shore, Red Foley and more, including a handful of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Singers performance you likely have on Bing's own Christmas releases. Still, it's cheap.

Video find: "The Andy Williams Christmas Show," 1966

New comics Dec. 20, 2017: Batgirl Bronze Age Omnibus; Silver-Age Teen Titans; Stardust Kid

New and notable. Click the links to order from Amazon.

Christmas album of the day: "Big City Christmas"

Issued last year by Bear Family, this is a compilation of seasonal tracks from the German reissue specialist's lineup of rock, rockabilly and pop releases.

The most familiar track, "Run, Rudolph, Run" by Chuck Berry, is featured in splendid sound, as are all the more obscure tunes, such as Johnny Preston's (I Want A) Rock And Roll Guitar," Sheb Wooley's "Santa Claus Meets The Purple People Eater" and a rare alternate version of Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" titled "This Year's Santa Baby."

Merry Christmas from 7-Up

Christmas album of the day: "A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas" by the Three Suns

I first heard this one several years back as an online "sharity" needle drop and it's been in seasonal rotation ever since. Now that Real Gone Music (another plug. I swear, they don't even send me review copies) has reissued it in remastered form, it's even nicer to hear.

The album is goofy, instrumental fun. Arrangements of classic carols bounce alone to a tuba beat, suddenly veer into guitar jazz and tumble back into a nice section played on accordion. Also, lots and lots of bells. All the tunes are upbeat. There's not solemn "Silent Night" to be found. But for Christmas cocktails and trimming the tree, this one will put you in the spirit.