The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"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

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    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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