If I ever write a self help book, I think I’m going to call it Don’t be That Guy. You know that guy? He’s the one who took two brownies even though everyone was asked to only take one and then there weren’t enough for everybody. He’s the guy who completely failed to notice you standing there and took your turn. He’s the guy who totally didn’t think through the thing that just came out of his mouth and then compounded it by failing to apologize. No matter how great he is the rest of the time, nobody likes that guy when he’s being That Guy, and I definitely do not want to be in his shoes if I can help it. Continue reading…
This site is updated Thursday afternoon with a new article about an artistic pursuit generally considered to be beneath consideration. Carol Borden draws out the best in comics, Chris Szego dallies with romance, alex MacFadyen stares deeply into the screen and Keith Allison probes science fiction.
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Since DC’s reboot, I have hinted publicly about the comics I want other people to make so that I can read them. And by hinting, I mean, “talking about them endlessly until I inevitably lose friends.” However, hinting doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. So I’m harnessing the inconceivable power of The Cultural Gutter to advocate for my desires. These are comics that should be. These are comics that I would like to read. These are comics that humanity deserves. And even with my love of marginal characters and comics, I can’t imagine them being much more marginal than this. Continue reading…
I read, not so very long ago, an article intent on wringing its hands over just how dark and bleak and apocalypse-obsessed modern young adult fiction tends to be. It’s all full of kids getting oppressed, leading uprisings, getting hunted down for sport, surviving the destruction of the earth and trying to make a new life. And while there may be a certain bleakness to be sure, I was wondering if the author of this article had ever read any previous generations of young adult fiction. I mean, I grew up in a time when “child must kill a beloved pet” was a whole genre, and while that may not be apocalyptic, you can’t tell me Old Yeller isn’t substantially more devastating and dark than the destruction of the world.
Young adult fiction, in all its iterations from Robinson Crusoe to The Hunger Games, often explores dangerous, tense, and sometimes downright horrifying scenarios. And it’s no surprise that these tales, whether they are adventure or post-apocalypse, appeal to kids while puzzling the adults who forgot how to appreciate such stories. Their sense of adventure appeals to a yearning for freedom at a time when children are straining under the yoke of parental and academic rules. Their forays into apocalypse speak to the feeling that something is wrong with the world, that the older generation has done a terrible job, and that struggling to survive in a ravaged aftermath is preferable to doing what aged and corrupt politicians command. Continue reading…
(…because Famous Penultimate Words just doesn’t have the same ring…)
Next month I will write my last column for The Cultural Gutter.
I wrote my very first column as a Gutter Guest way back in 2005, about Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson. Although Ibbotson died in 2010, she was then and remains today one of my favourite writers, and Magic Flutes is still one of my favourite books. A lot of things have changed during my tenure with the Gutter: it’s good to know my feeling for that particular book is still the same.
I came on board as a Gutter Editor back in… holy crap, was it really 2007? How is it that I’ve been writing this column for so long and yet am strangely no older than when I started? Weird. We’ve covered a lot of ground since then. Author profiles; book reviews; comparisons and contrasts; lists; patterns; likes and dislikes; recurring themes; new advances — there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the largest slice of the fiction publishing pie. And I’ve had a great time doing so.
But now it’s time to say goodbye.
Or just about. Next month is December, which is the perfect time for a listy, best-of-the-year sort of column. I want to keep that spot open for the chance to highlight the books I’ve liked most and possibly even make predictions as to what might come next. So this month I thought I’d enumerate some of the reason I read Romance. Those are some of my own personal reasons: your mileage may vary. I hope it does. Continue reading…
Posted August 19, 2012
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Of Note Elsewhere
Project Gutenberg has a copy of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” complete with scans of the cover and John Leech’s illustrations from the first edition.
Comics Editor Carol shares a wholesome seasonal story mixing the Alpine monster Krampus in 1960s-style space opera.
Bertha Antoinette Mason Rochester as a Disney Princess by Shipwrecked’s Sinead Persaud.
Actor Billie Whitelaw has died. Whitelaw was Samuel Beckett’s “perfect actress” and she also appeared in television and films, including: Gumshoe (1971), Frenzy (1972), The Omen (1976), Space: 1999 (“One Moment of Humanity”) (1976), The Dark Crystal (1982), The Secret Garden (1987), The Krays (1990), Jane Eyre (1996), Quills (2000) and Hot Fuzz (2007). The Guardian, the BBC and Variety have obituaries. Here Whitelaw performs in Beckett’s “Happy Days” and “Not I,” written by Beckett for Whitelaw.
At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims talk abouts the art of lettering in comics. “Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it’s also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you’ll never be able to not notice it again. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it’s one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it’s done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated. The thing is, when it’s good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.”
Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”