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

A Warning to the faint of heart
And eight year olds

When I was in grade two, my school thought it’d be a great Halloween activity to have a movie screening of old horror films. They showed us the 1931 adaptations of Dracula and Frankenstein, the original 1932 The Mummy, and the 1954 3-D classic, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. At age eight I had […]

Tim Gunn vs. The Green Lantern Corps!

Crazy Sexy Geeks team-up once again with Tim Gunn to critique superhero fashion.   This time it’s Green Lanterns Alan Scott, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner.

From Arthur To Orin

LBFA Presents: The History of Aquaman Explained!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Science Fiction Again

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It’s been years since I’ve read any straight-up science-fiction. You know, the classic stuff by authors like Arthur C. Clarke or Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov. But I got back into it recently through A.E. Van Vogt, having picked-up a used copy of Empire of the Atom.

Giant Golem vs. Nazi Robot Dinosaur

Giant Golem vs. Giant Nazi Robot Dinosaur. There are scans…

Even More Project: Rooftop Projects

Just as Project Runway has Models of the Runway, so too Project: Rooftop has spin-offs. Now there’s features like: “All Ages All-Stars,” redesigning superheroes for all ages (for example, Martian Manhunter); “How It’s Done,”  spotlighting official superhero redesigns (like the Iron Man briefcase armor); and “Retrofix,” giving Golden and Silver age comic characters a new […]

The Biography of Ebony White

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“People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.” –Malcolm X / Malik El-Shabazz, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (As Told To Alex Haley)

Super Wizard Stardust and Fantomah, On the Air!

Just can’t get enough of disturbing Golden Age comics auteur Fletcher Hanks? Stardust the Super Wizard and Fantomah go on the air on WFMU. Or at least Paul Karasik discusses Hanks, which is a much better situation.

Many Golden Age Comics In One Place

Golden Age Comics Downloads might overwhelm your hard drive, but it’s probably worth it. 

Edd Cartier, RIP

The Shadow wouldn’t have been The Shadow and pulp wouldn’t have been pulp without Edd Cartier, who died at 94 on Christmas Day. People at Penciljack have posted art and links to his art.

Killer Panda!

Worse than killer bees or killer jellyfish are pandas! Deadly, bitey pandas that must by shot by white men on safari!  Behold and shudder: scans of “Facing Death in a Panda’s Mouth!” 

Yellow Peril

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I’ve learned something reading Terry and the Pirates:  There’s no way around the yellow peril in the Golden Age. Good comics sometimes have racist renderings in them.

The Vizigraph

It’s a reprinted letters page from the Golden Age magazine, Planet Comics.(And more Futura scans). 

Aliens need earth ladies–earth ladies fight back!

Sleestak has an overview of Planet Comics, which published some Fletcher Hanks stories. Even better, he has scans of Futura, an Alex Raymond-influenced space opera about a secretary kidnapped because aliens need earth ladies!  “Over the course of her story Futura quickly becomes less of a victim and her journey from frightened breeding stock to […]

Saga of the Swamp Things

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Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing was my favorite comic in my younger, more gloomsome days. I probably liked it more than my other favorite comics at the time, Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. But Swamp Thing wasn’t the only swamp monster in comics.

10 Comics I Liked in 2007

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The “best of” list is a tricky seasonal form and I’m no master.  I might not know what’s best, but I do know what I like.  So here’s ten good comics I read in 2007.

Stardust Returns

“Almost like a crazy person is holding the pencil.”  My God, Mike Allred has created a comic featuring Fletcher Hanks’ disturbing and punitive hero Stardust. (Thanks to Again With The Comics)

Superheros on a Slant

Justice pared down to punishment

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! brings back fond memories of the passionate works of maniacal genius I’ve occasionally scored at book fairs and zine shows—tracts with titles like “Thousands of Degrees Hot!” and minicomics like “Linda Saves Detroit” or “The Brain Parasites.” Fletcher Hanks’ comics are crazier, more inspired and more disturbing than […]

Hopped Up on Speedrunning

Keeping up with the Joneses in the fast lane

Shortly after 2 pm on the afternoon of May 18th, 2005, Brandon Erickson stepped back from the Star Wars arcade cabinet he’d been playing continuously, with no deaths, extra credits, or nap breaks, for the past 54 hours, having failed to break the Twin Galaxies record of three hundred million points in 49 hours established […]

Tired of Saving You

Worn down and fighting the good fight

There’s a panel in Secret Agent X-9 that fascinates me. In it, X-9 tells a woman and her father, “I’m tired of saving your lives.” The panel appears in the second half of Dashiell Hammett’s first Secret Agent X-9 storyline, “You’re the Top!” That’s right—Dashiell Hammett scripted a daily comic. Alex Raymond, whose Flash Gordon […]

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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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