The Cultural Gutter

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

Coming Up Roses

Susana Kearsley

Like many in the book business, I get most of my books for free or at cost.  While I rarely have the patience or skill to bargain for any other object, when it comes to books the thought of paying retail is, to me, rather absurd.  The major exception to my self-imposed rule is in […]

How To Write An Entry About A Naked Werewolf

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Some titles are born great.  Some titles achieve greatness, usually through the hard work of an editor, agent, or author (who probably ripped out chunks of her own hair in the process).  And some titles will never come closer to greatness than possibly containing some of the same letters. Like this:Like Loading…

Second Place Ain’t Second Best

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Previously, I wrote a column about Meredith Duran, who got her start in publishing when her first novel, the astonishingly good Duke of Shadows, won the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. I liked the interesting and collaborative nature of the online contest. Entrants posted their first chapters on the Gather.com site for the community […]

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011. Like this:Like Loading…

High Point Down Under

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Canadians and Australians tend to go together well. Our affinity makes sense: we have so much in common. We both have a lot of British in our backgrounds. We both live on the edges of our very large countries. And our climates are quite extreme (although in opposite directions). Plus there’s all that beer drinking. […]

Camera Obscura

Watch the first 3 episodes of Camera Obscura, a webseries about a woman who captures demons with her grandfather’s specially-altered camera. (Also, the grandfather? Played by Jack Klugman). Like this:Like Loading…

AX: An Edged Collection

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There are reasons I left alternative comics for superheroes and there are reasons I keep going back. They each have their wonder and joy; they each have their irritating and sadly heartbreaking points. Nothing’s perfect, not Superman, not Jimmy Corrigan. But there is a way to find comics that you love and avoid ones that […]

Genre on TV: Fantasy, Zombies

HBO has a teaser up for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.  Meanwhile, AMC has a clip up of actors learning to act like zombies for its upcoming The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic. Like this:Like Loading…

Pencak Silat!

In Merantau a young Minangkabau man goes to Jakarta, where he uses pencak silat for the power of good. Like this:Like Loading…

Nak Prok’s Shadow

Wise Kwai reviews, Shadow of the Naga / Nak Prok, and talks a little about the film’s legal problems and the fear of a Buddhist backlash. Like this:Like Loading…

Good Things Gro-o-ow in To-ron-to

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Right. So you’ve joined the RWA, and are enjoying the information and advocacy your membership entitles you to. But National’s a long way off, and RWA headquarters is in Texas, and you’re starting to get a little lonely. So what do you do? You join your local chapter. Where I live, that means the Toronto […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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.”

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    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.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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