Publicly admitting you read comics means you’re willing to put up with a perplexingly persistent notion of the medium as the exclusive domain of the super heroes. Even in the current realm of savvy pop art dabblers as likely to pray at the altar of independents like Image Comics as they are the Big Two there’s this lingering idea that in the beginning there was only the cape and spandex set and it’s just in the past three decades that we’ve really let in the serious Graphic Novelists and autobio peddlers. Sneering intellectual jokesters will spit at the funnybooks without recognizing the origins of that alternate name and basement dwelling dilettantes will tell you it was only when the bearded British men came to our shores that we got hip. But comics have always been weird. Comics have always contained multitudes.On a weekly basis at the start of the 20th century, Winsor McCay cranked out surrealist panel breaking masterpieces lushly detailed enough to inspire both Dali and Moebius decades down the line, with nary a cape in sight. Before Marvel was even an idea, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created romance comics, presaging the soap operas that would eventually inspire Chris Claremont’s convoluted narratives in that other misbegotten Kirby co-creation X-Men. And then there was Herbie. Continue reading…
This site is updated Thursday afternoon with a new article about an artistic pursuit generally considered to be beneath consideration. Carol Borden draws out the best in comics, Chris Szego dallies with romance, alex MacFadyen stares deeply into the screen and Keith Allison probes science fiction.
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I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions. The idea of a chance to reset the clock on things I keep meaning to do more consistently or successfully than I ever seem to manage is appealing, but it seems like a bit of a gimmick to me. It’s never really a clean slate because you can’t actually erase what you’ve done. On the other hand, everything you’ve done is untouchably in the past and you’re always starting from whatever moment you’re in, so you have a continual stream of chances to do it differently and each chance has the potential to be brand new. It’s not that what’s come before has no impact on the present moment, but I do think that the success of resolutions, whenever you choose to make them, is closely intertwined with how much you let your past determine your future. Continue reading…
I’m sure we’re all glad to see 2014 go. I know I am. But you know, comics are always here for you, and so is the Gutter. I thought I’d do something a little different with the list this year. Last year, I was invited to do a “Best Comics of 2013” list at Popshifter and tried to do something new for the fine people there. This year, I am implementing some of those changes here, while keeping it to ten comics and adding a little extra.
Behold, it lives, my new hybrid Frankensteinian list with science fiction, piracy, adventure, steampunk and Rock’n’Roll! Continue reading…
At the beginning of Han Solo’s Revenge, Han and his loyal friend Chewbacca are running a drive-in movie theater out of the back of their spaceship, the Millenium Falcon. Later, Han is irritated by a musical bottle of wine while Chewie chugs beer with gusto. Later still, Chewie fashions a hang glider out of a dead pterodactyl.
This is not the Star Wars universe people expect. Continue reading…
In the year 2001 I discovered a magical world. Not Harry Potter (that was a few years later) and not the Internet (although it was responsible), but a world that captured my attention and hasn’t let go ten years later. It has to do with fanfiction; unpaid fiction that is written by fans of a […]
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Of Note Elsewhere
A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)
At The Los Angeles Review Of Books, Suzannah Showler writes about the complexity of the reality tv show The Bachelor and her complicated love for it. “I love The Bachelor the way I love most things, which is to say: complicatedly. On the one hand, I think it’s a fascinating cultural product, one I find great delight in close-reading. But I also love it, frankly, because I just like watching it. I think it’s top-notch entertainment, and I will straight up hip-check my politics out of the way, and give up many hours of my life, in the name of being entertained.” (Via @idontlikemunday)
At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims recounts that time the Punisher battled Dr. Doom. “It starts off with Dr. Doom kicking it in an extradimensional conference room set up by Loki to coordinate mass villainy, where he is just ripping into the Kingpin for being unable to kill the Punisher….Thus, in a sterling example of the ‘well then why don’t you do it’ school of super-villain cameraderie, Dr. Doom, a man who built a time machine in his basement, heads off to try his luck at fighting the Punisher, a man who has a gun. He does this, as you might expect, by luring him to a quarry and — after a brief exchange between a Doombot and a minigun — attempting to blow up his van with a tank.”
The Swiss Literary Archives have made their Patricia Highsmith collection available online here. (Thanks, Kate!)
Andy Kaufman has breakfast with Classie Freddie Blassie in My Breakfast With Blassie (1983) (via @GCDB)
Writer J.M. DeMatteis shares the script for, “Misfortune Cookies,” an unproduced episode of Justice League United: “One day, way back in 2004, I got a call from two of the show’s incredibly talented writer-producers, Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie. They’d cooked up an idea—based, in part, on the Oreo addiction Keith Giffen and I had given to J’onn J’onnzz during our original Justice League International run—and wanted me to develop it into an outline. At first I thought they were putting me on—the story, especially J’onn’s arc, was pretty outrageous, even by Giffen-DeMatteis standards—but they were dead serious. I remember sitting in my office taking notes as the two of them laid out the beats of the wonderful, and very funny, plot—which, had the episode made it to air, could have been the JLU equivalent of Star Trek’s ‘The Trouble with Tribbles.'”