The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

Interview with Denys Cowan

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“Legendary comic book artist and Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan joined CBR executive producer Jonah Weiland in the CBR Speakeasy for a lengthy discussion covering Cowan’s career, diversity, and the current state of Milestone properties at DC Comics. They begin by discussing Cowan’s seminal work on The Question with Dennis O’Neil and the mistakes he […]

Ask Chris #173: The Trouble With Harley Quinn”

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Chris Sims writes about Harley Quinn, Batman: The Animated Series, and the problem with getting Harley wrong. “See, that’s the tragedy of Harley Quinn, the thing that makes her so compelling underneath all the bright, poppy cheer. She’s in love with someone who will never, ever love her back. Someone who can never, ever love […]

“Everything is, AND ALWAYS WAS, Very Very Serious”

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Chris Sims reviews DC’s Superman: A Celebration OF 5 Years. “It’s divided into different eras….But thematically? There’s not a lot of variety. They focus overwhelmingly on one idea of how they want you to see Superman, and the Superman they present is a depressed sad sack who never wins. That’s the Superman they want you […]

Bruce Timm’s New 32

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Alternate cover designs for a relaunch of DC’s comics based on the work of DC Animated Universe’s Bruce Timm.

“DC Comics and ‘The Normal Course of Business’”

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At Comics Alliance,  Andrew Wheeler writes about DC Comics and its many crises:  “With almost all 52 books designed to appeal to the taste of one type of man, it’s inevitable that creators with their own ideas and stories would chafe in such an environment. It’s inevitable that diversity would die in such an environment. I […]

“Artists Respond To DC’s Harley Quinn Contest”

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Here’s a gallery of artist responses to DC’s Harley Quinn contest. (Thanks, Mark!)

Powerpuff Art!

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“Comics Should Be Good” has a nice gallery of Powerpuff Girls art in its exploration of the comics legend that “DC wouldn’t let John Byrne draw Superman into a Powerpuff Girls pin-up for an issue of PowerpuffGirls…by DC Comics.” (via @profmdwhite)

Paul Jenkins talks about DC, Marvel, and Boom!

Paul Jenkins explains why he’s leaving DC and Marvel in an open letter at CBR. Bleeding Cool interviews Jenkins about what’s wrong at DC and Marvel and what’s right at Boom! Studios. (Thanks, Mark!)

Karen Berger and Vertigo

The New York Times profiles Karen Berger, former editor of DC’s Vertigo comics imprint. “When the Vertigo imprint was introduced in 1993, it was a way for writers and illustrators to retain ownership of their work and be free of the restraints that governed superhero stories.”

“Goodbye for Now, Wonder Woman”

Girls Gone Geek‘s Erika Peterman on why she’s no longer reading Wonder Woman. “At this point, it’s crystal clear that Brian Azzarello is not going to write the Wonder Woman comic I want to read. There’s a big disconnect between Cliff Chiang’s show-stopping, vibrant presentation of the character and the narrative, in which Wonder Woman […]

RIP, Carmine Infantino

Comic artist Carmine Infantino has died. Infantino is most famous for his work on Barry Allen, The Flash, as co-creator of Batgirl and on the 1980s Star Wars comics, but he also worked as an editor, freelance artist and teacher.  Comics Alliance, The AV Club and Robot Six have obituaries. Gary Groth interviewed Infantino in […]

“The DC New 52 Timeline of Departures, Firings, and Bridge-Burnings”

Gutters and Panels has a convenient timeline of notable departures, firings and bridge-burnings at DC Entertainment since 2010.

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 […]

Nancy A. Collins’ Swamp Thing

Author Nancy A. Collins talks about writing Swamp Thing at Hasslein Blog.  The Den of Geek writes a paean to Nancy Collins’ al-too-brief run. “As the run progressed, it became evermore enchanting, tense, witty and imaginative (not to mention the fact that it produced the first ever comic to be released under DC’s mature Vertigo […]

“Welcome To Black History Month”

At Comics Alliance, David Brothers takes us on a walk through Black history in comics from Krazy Kat; Orrin C. Evans’ All-Negro Comics; Billy Graham’s Panther’s Rage; Hardware and Milestone Comics to now.

Dave Lartigue On Orson Scott Card And Boycotting Comics

“Orson Scott Card isn’t being taken to task solely for his opinions, idiotic and thuggish as they are, but also for his actions. He sits on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which lobbies and works against basic civil rights for gay people. He is not merely a tool spewing hatred and bile […]

“Outrage Deferred: On the Lack of Black Writers in the Comic Book Industry”

“[T]wo major initiatives over the past 18 months from the two biggest comic publishers in this country [were] meant to update their brands in an attempt to better reflect the world we currently live in. Yet somehow, from the angle of a black writer trying to break into comics, this current era in the industry […]

“The Best of 2012 for DC Women”

DC Women Kicking Ass counts down the Best of 2012 for DC Women! Movies! Comics! Animation! Marketing! Batman!

“The Year in Comics: Biggest Disappointments of 2012″

At Gutters and Panels, John Gholson shares his 3 biggest disappointments in comics this year.

Thinking about Gail Simone’s Batgirl

Adam Bateham wrote a response to Gail Simone’s dismissal from Batgirl and his feelings about the character: “[Simone] ‘got it.’ She didn’t use Batgirl’s inability to walk as a cheap plot point. Simone wrote a character that struggled to move forward because she was weighed down from years of hurt, unfairness, and frustration. A character determined […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    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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