The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

“We Need Diverse Books”

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The Washington Post has a transcript of American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints creator Gene Luen Yang’s speech at the 2014 National Book Festival Gala.  “We’re afraid of writing characters different from ourselves because we’re afraid of getting it wrong. We’re afraid of what the Internet might say. This fear can be a good […]

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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.” Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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.   Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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). Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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 […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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