The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

Mike Le asks Joss Whedon a Question

“One of the things I loved about Firefly  was the exploration of the fusion of Asian and American cultures. Many Asian Americans go through a similar journey. I was wondering, if you were to explore that again in the future, if you would be willing to include Asian or Asian American performers?” More at Racebending. […]

The Avengers and Philosophy

The first chapter from the book, The Avengers and Philosophy, is available online–for free! Like this:Like Loading…

The merits of space cowboys and vengeance demons

Realism has a lot to answer for. For instance, the number of raised eyebrows I’ve received when recommending tv shows like Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even when I talk about them in terms of artistic merit, interesting narrative structure and social relevance, more often than not I get a pause followed […]

Wonder Woman in Pants

Wonder Woman would’ve also had pants in Joss Whedon’s version. But if she has to have spurs, I’m a sucker for this cowgirl version with invisible pony. (And, following Chris Sims, could go with a Fistful of Dollars poncho). Like this:Like Loading…

Picking It Apart

Another reason to love This American Life. Joss Whedon performs part of the commentary track for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. (via Film School Rejects) Like this:Like Loading…

Home Stretch

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I have a theory that television shows get a lot of practice in the cliff-hanger, in hooking the viewer to come back next week, but almost zero experience in creating satisfying endings. Structurally, commercially, the need for such a thing just doesn’t compute. A few genre shows in the throes of concluding long-term stories right […]

So Many Fan Films!

The monkeys over at See Monkey round up a whole whack of fan film action including “the greatest fan film of all time,” which “def[ies] all laws of God, man and intellectual property and cramming vastly different fictive universes — Marvel, DC, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, you name it — into one great big ball […]

Defending Dollhouse

A woman with her personality wiped and a new one programmed in every week? Joss Whedon talks about misogyny, identity and Dollhouse. Like this:Like Loading…

Follow-Up Visit

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I love shiny new things. I’m also getting more ruthless about my time than I used to be. Those competing impulses get resolved in a simple activity that everyone does naturally: following writers who have proved themselves in the past. On that note, here are a few follow-up visits to Gutter pieces of the past. […]

Nobody Dies: The Eternal Return of LEGO Batman

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I’ve written before that I was put off superhero comics by all the dying and resurrected X-Men—the eternal return and the attempts to escape it. You might have noticed that DC and Marvel’s superhero titles have become a bloodbath. Sure, it started it with big crossovers and the death of Superman. Captain America’s death at […]

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Everybody loves a supervillain. Especially a low-end one. Especially me. Here’s a teaser for Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. And here’s the crosspromotional Captain Hammer comic. Like this:Like Loading…

Spoilerific

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I’m the person who hates spoilers, mainly because they wreck a book or movie for me. I’m a stickler for experiencing something in the way that the creator intended (whether this is a smart or helpful habit is quite another question). In the case of, say, a TV show like Buffy or Angel that’s been […]

He Can Say This Because He’s a Browncoat

Henry Jenkins says Snakes on a Plane might do better than Serenity, two films with comparable prerelease internet buzz, and thinks Whedon should have broken out of the broadcast media mold: “…if he had gone that route, we would have been able to enjoy many more hours of quality science fiction/western action on television, where […]

Kicking Ass, Literary Style

The cast is fabulous, a strong point in the show

I don’t have much patience for vampire stories, so I never felt much attraction to the Buffy and Angel universe. I could see how people would get pretty wrapped up in it: ongoing storylines, smart characterization, constant action, snappy one-liners, reportedly the whole bit. When Joss Whedon, Buffy creator, decided to do a science fiction […]

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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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