The Cultural Gutter

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

RIP, Menahem Golan

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Producer and director Menahem Golan has died. Golan produced (and sometimes wrote and directed) many, many films including: The Delta Force (1986), Death Wish (1974), The Apple (1980), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Missing In Action (1984), Invasion U.S.A. (1985), American Ninja (1985), Lifeforce (1985), Cobra (1986), Masters of the Universe (1987) Bloodsport (1988), Breakin’ […]

The History of the Eye Close-Up

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) Like this:Like Loading…

Stories Are Important

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This week SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star! Stories are important, we all know this. I hasten to add: and they should be fun too, otherwise why bother reading them? Every once in a while, I run across a new author that balances “something to say” and “have fun saying it” […]

“Character and the Audience: The Hyper-Capable Wounded Sparrow”

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Debbie Moon ponders the “Hyper-Capable Wounded Sparrow” and Captain America: The Winter Soldier: “The Hyper-Capable Wounded Sparrow is always male, and he’s that guy who can kill a roomful of people without breaking a sweat – but who is massively emotionally vulnerable, has no social support system, and is incapable of interacting with civilized society. […]

D&D Module Walkthroughs

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Artist Jason Thompson creates illustrated walkthroughs of a Dungeons & Dragons game modules. And for more retro gaming fun, Retroist has a 1993 video TSR produced as a tutorial for the boardgame, Dragon Strike, and here is a trailer for TSR’s Wild Space. (via SharpCrye and Gravediggers Local) Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Meshach Taylor

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Actor Meshach Taylor has died. Taylor had roles in Mannequin (1987), Designing Women, Buffalo Bill, Criminal Minds, Ned’s Classified School Survival Guide, The Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor and the Broadway production of Beauty And The Beast. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and NPR have obituaries. Here Wendy Williams talks with Meshach […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Trinity Syndrome

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“For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.” Tasha Robinson writes more about this in […]

“The World of Kamandi”

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Comic Book Cartography has Jack Kirby’s map of “The World of Kamandi.” (Thanks, Lt. Wilkes!) Like this:Like Loading…

Finnish Weird / Suomikumma

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Download a collection of Weird stories from Finnish authors Emmi Itäranta Jenny Kangasvuo and Tiina Raevaara. “The community of weird writers in Finland is thriving, and producing memorable stories that blur and bend genre boundaries with their unbridled flight of imagination. This publication introduces you to suomikumma, “Finnish Weird”, showcases a few of its bright […]

“It’s Adventure Time”

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Maria Bustillos takes an in-depth look at Adventure Time, an amazingly in-depth look bringing Roland Barthes, video clips and discussing the show with producers Pendleton Ward, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, and Jack Pendarvis. “Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of […]

“The Wayward World of Wuxia”

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“While the 1950s were considered a tumultuous period of history for the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was undergoing an incredible revitalization of literature and cinema, a period informally known as the Golden Age of Wuxia (武 侠), or martial arts fantasy.” Terence Hsieh has more on wuxia, wuxia novels and wuxia novelists at The Word Of Chinese. Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Al Feldstein

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Al Feldstein has died. Feldstein got his start at EC Comics, creating Tales From The Crypt and several other titles, and later became editor for MAD Magazine. The Comics Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine and Robot 6 have obituaries. NPR’s All Things Considered remembers Feldstein. At The Atlantic Wire, […]

Recognizing Colorists

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AV Club’s Big Issues focuses on giving comics’ colorists their due. And Jordie Bellaire is mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. Like this:Like Loading…

On the Abandoned Cities of Azeroth

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At The Gameological Society, Samantha Nelson ponders the hidden beauty of World of Warcraft’s abandoned cities.   Like this:Like Loading…

Blurry Images Coming Clear: Hong Kong Cinema, Censorship and Me

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Every April, we like to switch things up at the Gutter, with the editors writing about something outside their domains. This week, Comics Editor Carol writes about subtitles, censorship and Hong Kong cinema. I don’t remember the first kung fu movie I ever watched. I am terrible at remembering “firsts.”  But I do remember the […]

The Geologic History of Westeros and Essos

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Learn all about the geology of Game Of Thrones at Generation Anthrophocene. Like this:Like Loading…

“Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers”

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At Existential Comics, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida play Dungeons & Dragons. Like this:Like Loading…

“You Don’t Have To Be Eurocentric To Make It To The Future”

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“’You don’t have to be Eurocentric to make it to the future,’ said Andrea Hairston, a professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, whose side gig happens to be writing award-winning science fiction. ‘We have to figure out how to be different together. [And t]hat is what storytelling is all about, […]

“Tiger Lily doesn’t equal Human Torch”

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“And bottom line, if you feel so disenfranchised by one role out of TONS of roles being changed up ethnically, if you are saying you can’t possibly relate to a character who is another race from you, well, I think that’s more a problem of your own than anything else. But don’t worry, the stastics […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

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    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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