The Cultural Gutter

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

Comics about Comics

Comic Book Attic talks about comics about comics, with plenty of pages from Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s The Newsboy Legion for your enjoyment.

RIP, Deanna Durbin

Actress and singer Deanna Durbin has died. The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Audie Cornish and Melissa Block remember Durbin on NPR.  Here Deanna Durbin sings, “Good-Bye” in Because Of  Him (1946)

Superman and Transcending Reality

“Words like ‘realism’ and ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ get bandied about Hollywood as if the only merit a story can have is in its verisimilitude, but that’s a lie. Emotional honesty transcends reality; it’s what allows disbelief to be suspended, and yet what makes a story stay true.” Writer Greg Rucka writes more about Superman and […]

Bruce Lee is Kid Cheung

Watch 10-year-old Bruce Lee in his first film role, The Kid (1950).

RIP, Annette Funicello

Actress and singer Annette Funicello has died. The New York Times has an obituary and The Los Angeles Times has an appreciation. NPR’s Fresh Air has reposted a 1994 interview with Funicello. Here she sings, “Pineapple Princess.”

Following How Your Dreams Make You Want To Be

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I’m going to talk a bit about Adventure Time, but I want to tell a story first. When my nephew was a toddler, he liked to play princesses with his mother and me. Usually, we were all beautiful princesses. Once, to show his displeasure, his mother was a “Bad Princess,” which actually was kind of […]

“Persepolis is aimed in part at kids”

“[Persepolis is] aimed in part at kids–not despite the fact that it includes charged material, but because it does. Satrapi shows herself, as a child and then as a young woman, dealing with violence, with sexuality–with moving away from her parents, and failing, and trying again….But even if their exact experiences don’t map onto hers, […]

Stepping Back with The Great And Powerful Oz

“With such a rich tapestry on and off the Oz page, it’s depressing that 2013 finds our return to Oz burdened with a reluctant hero (the dominant kind in the 21st century), and not one of Baum’s plucky young heroines. In a bitter reversal of Baum’s stories, ‘Great and Powerful’ casts the women as the […]

“On One Single Panel in Batman, Inc. #8″

At Too Busy Thinking About My Comics, Colin writes on the murder of Robin, Damian Wayne, as it is depicted in a single panel. “Why does this scene exist? It exists to make entertainment out of a boy’s last, baleful moments. Beyond that, it has no purpose at all. If an objection to that needs […]

The Empire of Crime: Mabuse vs. Wertham vs. Marston

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When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime.” –The Testament of Dr. Mabuse “[W]hatever factors come into play in the cases that we have studied, the conclusion is inescapable […]

Gary Groth Interviews Maurice Sendak

The Comics Journal has published a goodly excerpt of Gary Groth’s interview with illustrator and writer Maurice Sendak. “And one of the passions I have about children is, we don’t know what they see, we don’t know what they really hear. And occasionally they are polite enough to let us in.” Make sure to click […]

Terrifying Tales of Diminuitive Doom!

Monster Island Resort Podcast and Deadly Doll’s House of Horror Nonsense join forces to discuss the terror of the tiny in, “Evil Dolls, Trolls, Children and Other Short Villains!” Both Miguel and Emily are fellow members of The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit.

Using Fantasy To Be Better Than We Are In Real Life

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Instead of raving about Satyajit Ray’s well-known-outside-of-India projects like the Apu Trilogy (Pather Pancahli/Song of the Little Road, Aprajito/The Unvanquished, and Apur Sansar/The World of Apu) or Jalsaghar/The Music Room (available through Criterion), I want to rave about his fantastic fantastical 1968 children’s film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne/The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha.

Behold: Rude Removal!

Adult Swim aired the never before aired Dexter’s Laboratory episode, “Rude Removal” and you can see it here. (via @matthewkumar)

Gutter Favorites 2012

The CG editors list their favorite pieces of 2012 here at The Cultural Gutter.

10 Comics I Liked In 2012

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Tales of derring-do! Girl adventurers! Occult mystery! Infernal foes! Secrets revealed! Pirates! Love, loss & betrayal! Intricate art bound in lovely hardcovers! Indie going mainstream! Original creations! It’s been an incredible year for comics. So many good ones that I can’t even begin to claim to know what would be the best comics of 2012. […]

“What time is it?”

Hero Complex has an algebraic article about Adventure Time!

Abuse and Paranormal Activity

Maria at The Hathor Legacy looks at the Paranormal Activity franchise from the standpoint of abuse, neglect and gaslighting. “It’s also a reminder that one of the franchise’s major themes is that when women and children are victims of abuse, they are not only not likely to be believed, they are also often put into […]

Kids Do Read Comics

Comics Beat ‘s Torsten Adair goes through The New York Times bestseller list and draws some conclusions, “Right now, it seems that diversity is the zeitgeist, as non-fiction, non-comics publishers are selling well to the general public, and that kids’ books are a growing market.”

China Mieville Interviewed By A 12-Year-Old Boy

China Miéville is interviewed by Skelli Scar, who offers Miéville an excellent suggestion: “Lastly I have a suggestion for you, why not write a short story about what the Olympics would be like in Un Lun Dun?” “This is a startling and excellent idea. Immediately various sporting events are suggesting themselves to me. I am […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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