The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

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

Dear DC Comics

Lois Lane writes DC Comics a letter about being killed off again.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

“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).

“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.”

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. 

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

    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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    Matt Zoller Seitz has written a lovely meditation on Robin Williams at RogerEbert.com: “Williams wore the invisible garments of depression. He carried that burden. A lot of the time we didn’t see it, because he was a bright and enthusiastic comic performer and a great actor. But the weight was always there.

    Somehow he lived 63 years.

    What a warrior he was.”

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    At Kaiju Shakedown, Hiroshi Fukazawa interviews director Ringo Lam. “Not as flashy as John Woo, never as hyperkinetic as Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam is one of Hong Kong’s most underappreciated directors. He made his name with sophisticated, downbeat crime dramas that came to define a certain style of urban Hong Kong cinema in the Eighties and early Nineties. After getting his start in television at CTV and TVB, he directed five features before finding his stride with 1987’s City on Fire, the movie that provided the blueprint for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.”

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    “[Grace] Jones — who was famous not just for her music, but also for her acting and modeling — took Lundgren to New York, where they partied at the legendary Studio 54 and Andy Warhol took pictures of Lundgren. Jones introduced Lundgren to the world of show business. Meanwhile, Lundgren was still set to begin his Fulbright scholarship at MIT. ‘I started sort of thinking, “Wow, this is kind of cool,”‘ Lundgren remembers: ‘”I don’t know if I want to go back to engineering after this.”‘ More at NPR.

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    “A mid-20th century collaboration between artists, poets and printers gave rise to a unique book of surrealistic creatures accompanied by complementary typographic art poems.” See more at BibliOdyssey. (Thanks, Andrezo!)

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