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

“10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel is NOT One)”

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“If the RZA didn’t exist, then we would have had to invent him.” Charles Webb shares his list of “10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel is NOT One)” at Topless Robot.

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 […]

White Scripts and Black Supermen

The trailer for White Scripts And Black Supermen: Black Masculinities In Comic Books, a documentary directed by Jonathan Gayles. And there are some extended interviews at the documentary’s YouTube Channel.

“Remembering Dwayne McDuffie On His Birthday”

Comics Alliance remembers Dwayne McDuffie. “McDuffie was an incredible talent who was often seen as a “black writer” as opposed to just a writer, largely due to both his stature in the industry, and his ability to eloquently discuss the difficulties that face black writers in comics.”

“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.

Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity

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Since alex, Chris and I decided to write about masculinity this month, I’ve been thinking about Superman. Actually, I’ve been thinking and rethinking Superman almost as long as I’ve been writing for The Cultural Gutter. I began really thinking about him while watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I’ve spent most of my life—and […]

“Never Ask Her If She’s Wearing Colored Contact Lenses”

Pages from Dwayne McDuffie’s script for Fantastic Four #547: “I told Dwayne how much I loved pages 6 and 7 with the Thing and Storm. He laughed because someone online had complained about the scene – arguing that a woman would never be bothered by people talking about her looks behind her back. Dwayne’s incredulous […]

A League of One

A documentary about Milestone Media co-founder, comics creator, screenwriter and director Dwayne McDuffie.  

Interviews with Dwayne McDuffie

Remembering Dwayne McDuffie on the anniversary of his death with an interview from an unfinished short on Milestone Comic by the makers of  the documentary, White Scripts and Black Men:  Black Masculinities in American Superhero Comics. And Dwayne McDuffie explains the secret history of  Luke Cage’s exclamation, “Sweet Christmas!” (Update: McDuffie discusses the “rule of […]

Comic Script: JLA Wedding Special #1

The first 10 pages of  the Dwayne McDuffie’s script for JLA Wedding Special #1.

“Frankly, Static deserved a lot better.”

John Rozum writes a comment about why he left DC’s comic, Static Shock. It will have some resonance for people who remember Static Shock’s co-creator Dwayne McDuffie’s posts about the difficulties he had writing for DC’s Justice League of America. Update: Comic Book Resources has more.

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 […]

Bootstrap Theory and Superheroes

‘It seems to me,’ said Booker T.– ‘I don’t agree,’ Said W.E.B. –Dudley Randall In February, I wrote a piece about how much I like Dwayne McDuffie’s writing. Sadly, a few days later, he died. I’m still stunned .  I feel like I’ve just begun exploring his work, so I decided to look for his […]

RIP, Dwayne McDuffie

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Animation and comics creator Dwayne McDuffie has died. Among his many accomplishments was the founding of Milestone Media, the animated Justice League, the Ben 10 animated series and most recently the animated All-Star Superman. Comics Alliance has more. And Pop Culture Shock remembers him. (If you are interested, Carol recently wrote an article about him).

Origin Story

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How did Carol Borden become a fan of DC superheroes? Did she uncover the truth that criminals were a cowardly and superstitious lot? Was she packed into an interstellar cradle and shot into space with the blind hope that she would be found and raised to value truth, justice and the superhero way? Or was […]

Disconnected Viewing

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I don’t have cable right now so I’m rewatching old shows and movies. A lot of them are animated. Such is my way. I’d like to have a nobler reason for rewatching them–something like when James revisited his favorite childhood books. And it’s true—he did inspire me. But it’s also true that I don’t have […]

The History of Black Comic Book Heroes Through the Ages

Dart Adams Presents: Black Like Me: The History of Black Comic Book Heroes Through the Ages, Part One (1900-1968)and Part Two (1969-2008).  (Click it! It’s amazing).

Milestone!

So much Milestone going on! Milestone creator Dwayne McDuffie talks with The Atlantic about “reinventing personal mythologies, pop-cultural representations of race and an investigation of what shapes our moral frameworks” and how much he likes writing romance.  Meanwhile, Evan Narcisse shares his memories of Milestone Comics–with pictures.

Scarred by SuperFriends

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Friends, I wasn’t always the superhero-loving comics reader you see before you. I underwent a tribulation, a trial of faith, wandering in a wilderness without capes. My resistance to superheros and the Justice League of America in particular stemmed from one root: The SuperFriends. I can’t, in general, argue with the idea of super-friendship, but […]

Comic Critics Comic

The narrative frames and meta possibilities of “Comic Critics” webcomic could crack my head open, but they don’t. Instead it’s a neat, deeply geeky take on comics, criticism and the industry with a storyline. Special neatness includes this interview with Brian Cronin and this dramatization of Dwayne McDuffie’s time as JLA editor. (via Comics Should […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Salon, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll write about irony and cynicism, sincerity and honesty in art: “At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion.

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    Eastern Kicks has an interview–and a gallery of photos of–director Park Joon-hung.

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    Get ready for a new season of Mad Men with this collection of Absurdist Mad Men promotions, which the Cultural Gutter participates in and even encourages. Duck Phillips rules an undersea advertizing empire and “Pete feels slighted.”

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    Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film.

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    Al-Jazeera America profiles John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, a documentary about Cambodian rock’n'roll and musicians who survived the Khmer Rouge. “Until 1975, music thrived in Phnom Penh, with clubs full night after night, crowds gathering in the streets around transistor radios to hear the latest releases, and the biggest stars being feted by the king. Enter the Khmer Rouge, communism and the war on intellectuals. Between 1975 and 1979, about 2 million Cambodians, roughly a third of the population, were rounded up and either were killed or died of starvation. Artists were particularly disliked by the Khmer Rouge, which saw creativity as decadence: Almost all of the biggest names perished during that era.”

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    Architecture Daily has an excerpt from City of Darkness detailing the development of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. “By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to have reached a mere 7 square feet per person. The yamen area had somehow remained an exception to the vertical development, leased to a missionary society in 1949 for use as an almshouse and old people’s home. Eventually, it defined the sole substantial void within the Walled City, with visible sky above it.”

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