The Cultural Gutter

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

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

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 […]

“The Best of 2012 for DC Women”

DC Women Kicking Ass counts down the Best of 2012 for DC Women! Movies! Comics! Animation! Marketing! Batman!

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 […]

Lauren Faust on Super Best Friends Forever!

io9 interviews Lauren Faust on Super Best Friends Forever, her animated shorts for Cartoon Network’s DC Nation. There are also clips from DC Nation programming. (Thanks, Dr. O!)

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!

The Batgirl of San Diego

Fans are upset with DC’s drop from 12% female creators to just under 2%, or, well, 3 total.  And fans, most notably the Batgirl of San Diego, asked about it at San Diego Comic Con.  DC’s Dan DiDio responded by demanding of a male fan, “What do those numbers mean to you?” and “Who should […]

Uncomfortable Questions at ComiCon

DCWomenKickingAss reports, “The DC Comics panels at SDCC have been filled with what I being told are uncomfortable and awkward moments around the issues of female creators and characters.”

Planning the Hit on Stephanie Brown

At the Auckland Writers and Readers Fest, writer Dylan Horrocks talked about being in the meetings where  the death of Stephanie Brown, the superhero Spoiler and a female Robin, was planned, :  “As well as a Dan DiDio impersonation, he told the audience that the writers were told two things about the Batman: War Games […]

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 […]

Gotham Girls Episodes

Some kind, considerate fan saved and uploaded episodes of the old web series, Gotham Girls. And they’re right here.

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

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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