The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

“I Love Superheroes But They Don’t Love Me”

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At Feminist Sonar, Elsa writes about the representation of disability and superhero comics and movies. “Some days I wonder if I take things like this too personally, but honestly, in a world where Hawkeye was once Deaf but is now hearing, in a culture where Oracle has been returned to her walking self and is […]

DC Variant Covers by Mike Allred

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A gallery of Mike Allred’s covers for twenty of DC’s titles. (via @profmdwhite)

RIP, Carmine Infantino

Comic artist Carmine Infantino has died. Infantino is most famous for his work on Barry Allen, The Flash, as co-creator of Batgirl and on the 1980s Star Wars comics, but he also worked as an editor, freelance artist and teacher.  Comics Alliance, The AV Club and Robot Six have obituaries. Gary Groth interviewed Infantino in […]

Thinking about Gail Simone’s Batgirl

Adam Bateham wrote a response to Gail Simone’s dismissal from Batgirl and his feelings about the character: “[Simone] ‘got it.’ She didn’t use Batgirl’s inability to walk as a cheap plot point. Simone wrote a character that struggled to move forward because she was weighed down from years of hurt, unfairness, and frustration. A character determined […]

Good-bye, Oracle. Hello, Batgirl.

Comics Alliance says good-bye to Barbara Gordon as Oracle and hello her as Batgirl in the DC relaunch, with some nice art by Phil Noto.

“Batgirl! The Secret Origin”

In a guest post at DCWomenKickingAss, former DC Comics’ editor and writer Scott Peterson discusses the secret origin of Batgirl!

Good-Bye, Oracle–Hello, Batgirl

As part of its massive “reboot,” DC Comics will make Barbara Gordon Batgirl again. This means, though that her 20 year history as Oracle, peerless hacker and information broker with an eidetic memory, leader of The Birds of Prey and one of the few examples of a differently-abled hero in comics, is gone.  Some readers […]

Gail Simone Interviews John Ostrander

“When I first wrote Villains United, I was eager to have my chance to write one of the coolest characters in the DCU, Deadshot.   I knew full well, like a lot of writers before me, that John [Ostrander] was THE Deadshot writer, and I knew if I had the chance, I would do whatever I […]

Nobody Dies: The Eternal Return of LEGO Batman

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I’ve written before that I was put off superhero comics by all the dying and resurrected X-Men—the eternal return and the attempts to escape it. You might have noticed that DC and Marvel’s superhero titles have become a bloodbath. Sure, it started it with big crossovers and the death of Superman. Captain America’s death at […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.”

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    Pornokitsch’s One Comic Podcast looks at Red Sonja #10: “To everyone’s surprise, despite some of the covers and the character’s reputation, this isn’t the exploitative boobs’n’swordplay production it could have been. How did it achieve that? Listen and find out.”

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    Los Angeles Magazine has a gallery of self-portraits of Bunny Yeager and a bit about the career of a model and photographer most famous for her pin-up photographs of Bettie Page. “Having dedicated her life to photography and modeling, not to mention publishing 30 books on the subject (one of which shares a name with the Gavlak exhibition), Yeager had an influence on a generation of artist-photographers including Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Arbus even went as far to call her ‘The world’s greatest pin-up photographer.'” (Thanks, Stephanie!)

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    Arch Daily has a gallery of images of remarkable sandcastles built by Calvin Seibert. Smithsonian Magazine has more, including a 2012 interview with Seibert about his work. (via @lordwoolamaloo)

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    While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game where I’m compelled to save the day not because of abstract threats, damsels in distress, or a desire for personal vengeance, but because the beauty of Gotham City compels me to protect it. Instead, I’m left for the fourth time with Batman and his playground.”

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    At Die Die Danger Die Kill, Todd thinks about Karel Zeman’s Vynalez Zkasy. “Vynalez Zkasy (released in the U.S. as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) may represent Czech FX pioneer Karel Zeman’s quest to emulate the style of 19th century fantasy illustration—to the end of presenting the future through a Victorian lens—at its most extreme. That does not mean that it is any less fascinating than, nor nearly enchanting as, films like The Stolen Airship and Cesta do Praveku/Journey to the Beginning of Time. It only means that there is a vague miasma of obsession that threads through the movie’s general air of wonderment.” (The Gutter’s own Keith has posted images from Karel Zeman’s work here).

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