The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

Anything Can Happen In Riverdale

Fiona Staples

I never expected to be reading Archie comics. Archie Andrews’ irresistible appeal to ladies mystified me and I came late to an appreciation for soap operas and straight melodrama. Then there was residual stuff around romance, a punk rock hostility towards the wholesome squares, a dash of internalized sexism mixed with gender dysphoria and a […]

Dear DC Comics

Lois Lane writes DC Comics a letter about being killed off again. Like this:Like Loading…

Jim Lee on NPR

Worlds collide as DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee is interviewed about the new DC line on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Includes a quartet version of “I Am (Superman).” Meanwhile, NPR’s Glen Weldon goes into a little more depth. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“Batgirl! The Secret Origin”

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

Interview with Devin Grayson

The Womanthology blog interviews Devin Grayson, as part of their neat  series of interviews with female comics  creators, “Inside the Creator’s Studio.” Grayson discusses acting and writing, writing game scripts, and writing Dick Grayson in his Nightwing guise. Like this:Like Loading…

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 […]

The Last 5 Minutes of St. Elsewhere is the Only Show on Mono-Earth

Long before DC decided to reboot its entire continuity, Dwayne McDuffie argued against shared continuity, envisioning a world in which the last 5 minutes of St. Elsewhere was the only tv show, and warned against a shared universe in “Crisis on Mono-Earth” (parts 1 and 2).  He says sagely, “Shared universes are too hard to […]

DC’s Big Bang Theory

Everything’s going all kablooey at DC as they reboot their entire line and move everything toward simultaneous release. Comics Alliance analyzes the situation and brings up concerns with piracy and Apple’s hardcore content restrictions. Like this:Like Loading…

What Would Superman Do?

Comics Alliance reports on Superman taking on a more global role by renouncing his citizenship and there’s a blow out in their comments thread. Meanwhile, Colin at Too Busy Thinking About My Comics has been pondering Superman, community and Superman belonging to the world in a series of thoughtful and provocative essays for a while […]

From Arthur To Orin

LBFA Presents: The History of Aquaman Explained! Like this:Like Loading…

What’s the Matter with Comics?

Comics at the Big Two are in rough shape. Greg Burgas and Chris Sims see similar problems (nostalgia, Kurt Busiek) creating more problems (blandness, resistance to change, retcons, killing of heroes of color to replace them with white heroes of the Silver Age…). We noted Chris’ article before, but it’s worth reading with Greg’s. Like […]

“A Cosmic-Scale Meta-Textual Ghetto”

Chris Sims writes a thought-provoking article about how DC’s universe reboots are fueled by fan nostalgia that shoves characters of color aside in favor of white “legacy” characters and unintentionally builds “a cosmic-scale meta-textual ghetto.” Read it.(And this little addition to it). Like this:Like Loading…

“Alien 0 or Alien 5?”

Continuity’s at risk in the new Alien prequel.  Faced with “the space jockey,” xenomorph eggs in the cargo hold and what the corporation knew and when they knew it, Martin Anderson foresees “some nasty acts of canon-hacking.” Like this:Like Loading…

Matter Eater Lad Before the Retcon

Again With The Comics misses Matter Eater Lad’s solo adventures eating matter already, now that the Legion of Super-Heroes has been retconned in Final Crisis. There are scans.  Like this:Like Loading…

Nobody Dies: The Eternal Return of LEGO Batman

batman and robin 80.jpg

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 […]

13 Ways of Looking at a Bat

All the Batmans holding hands!

“Among twenty empty warehouses, The only moving thing Was the eye of the Batman.” –sorta Wallace Stevens You should know right from the start that I’m a terrible geek—not extremely geeky, but bad at being a geek. Continuity in the sense of an overarching, epic and harmonized chronology just isn’t that important to me. What […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Haitian art collective Atis Rezistans and photographer Alice Smeets have created some amazing photographs recreating images from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. See them here, watch a video of members of Atis Rezistans talking about the project and read an interview with Smeets. “The spirit of the Ghetto Tarot project is the inspiration to turn negative into positive while playing. The group of artists ‘Atiz Rezistans’ [sic] use trash to create art with their own visions that are a reflection of the beauty they see hidden within the waste. They are claiming the word Ghetto, thus freeing themselves of its depreciating undertone and turning it into something beautiful.”

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    Graveyard Shift Sisters reviews Adilifu Nama’s Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film and looks at the history of race in science fiction films from teh 1950s to the present. “Adilifu Nama concocted a thorough read that blends a critical look at science fiction cinema’s milestone works in conjunction with American sociopolitical history, specifically with some of the most profound shifts in American race relations and policy.”

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    There’s a fine piece at Nitrate Diva about the 1935 film, Kongo. “In this monument to morbidity, nearly all the taboos festering at the edges of pre-Code cinema come out and play: blasphemy, drug addiction, prostitution, torture, slavery, bestiality, and (spoiler alert!) incest. The movie positively wallows in depravity. Degradation is its subject, its project, its study.”

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    At Bitch, Liza Dadoly writes about Never Alone. “Never Alone’s plot is based around Alaskan indigenous folklore, specifically the story ‘Kunuuksaayuka,’ a tale told by storyteller Robert Nasruk Cleveland of the Inupiaq people. ‘Kunuuksaayuka’ tells of a young boy who goes out into a blizzard to discover its source and, by doing so, save his people and their way of life from the terrible storm. According to Never Alone’s website, nearly forty Alaskan Native participants, including storytellers and elders, were involved with the development of the game. These Inupiat representatives and Never Alone’s development team worked together to turn ‘Kunuuksaayuka’ into the game, notably changing the protagonist from a young boy into a young girl, Nuna, and giving her an adorable fox to accompany her on her quest.”

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    Quartz has a gallery of Jessica Fulford-Dobson’s photographs of the skater girls of Kabul, Afghanistan.

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    PBS’ Newshour has a gallery of Norbert Ostrowski’s amazing automotive design sketches from 1946 to 1973. “The designs were never meant to leave the studios. Automakers routinely destroyed early sketches for fear they would fall into the wrong hands. But some of them made their way out of Ford, GM and Chrysler, as well as now defunct Studebaker, Packard and AMC. According to one designer, they were smuggled out in boxes with false bottoms. One employee famously hid his sketches inside the liner of his trench coat.”

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