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’ […]

Taiwanese Noir: Ninjas

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Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!‘s Todd joins Podcast On Fire for Taiwanese Noir 14 in which they discuss Challenge Of The Lady Ninja and A Life Of Ninja. “Ninja double bill! Elsa Yeung! Chen Kuan-tai! Taiwan reefer madness! No intro!”

“Deadly Art of Survival”

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The Gutter’s own Keith writes about No Wave, Black cinema, ninjas, kung fu, cultural sharing, cultural appropriation, music and New York in a piece on The Deadly Art of Survival for Teleport City. “Its curious place in the history of cinema, for instance, [is] as this weird amalgamation of no wave, black cinema, and martial […]

Vintage Ninja

Vintage Ninja offers, “A 1962 Point of View” on “ninjutsu”–including covers and pages from an out of print copy of Jay Gluck’s Zen Combat. My favorite line, “The ninja never swaggered.”

A Hero Dies 50,000 Deaths!

In chanbara, Japanese sword-fighting movies, actor Seizo Fukumoto is a master of the art of dying.  Anthony Kuhn interviews him about his life dying on screen. “In a trademark move, Fukumoto is dealt a fatal blow, then bends over backward, seemingly suspended in midair for a moment of final agony before crumpling to the ground. […]

The Portrait of Sho Kosugi

Dare you explore the illustrated history of Enter the Ninja‘s  Sho Kosugi? “In the 80′s, Sho Kosugi posed for over 73 billion photos in full night gear, laden with weapons, in magazines like Black Belt, Ninja, even Karate Illustrated and Inside Kung Fu. Yet when it comes to movie and video game ad campaigns, you often […]

Cartoon Trailers!

Cartoon Network has trailers for the upcoming animated shows, ThunderCats and Legend of Korra, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender as well as an extended look at Green Lantern: The Animated Series  with a short peek at the LEGO Ninja show, Ninjago.

More Ninjas!

Ninjas throwing swords and flipping in the forest and Ken’ichi Matsuyama from Death Note and Detroit Metal City plays another manga hero in Kamui Gaiden.

So Many Fukasaku Kinji Soundtracks!

Don’t have enough soundtracks by Japanese composers? Wild Grounds will help you out with “The 5 Japanese Film Composers You Must Know” and a whole section of downloadable soundtracks and excerpts from Yojimbo to Battle Without Honor or Humanity.

3 Trailers from Twitch

It’s Twitch round-up time. Supporting martial artists Mike B. and Russell Wong take the lead kneeing and kicking people in the chest in Thanapon Maliwan’s The Sanctuary. Lee Byung-Hun, Kimura Takuya and Josh Hartnett go to Hong Kong and walk the line between the police and organized crime in Tran Anh Hung’s I Come with […]

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 […]

It’s like Math but more Fun

What is Robot x Ninja? Or, Platypus x Lincoln? Creebobby’s Comics Archetype Times Table has the answers. It’s like math, but more fun. (thanks, James!)

Lady Bullseye and Lady Snowblood

Richie muses on Lady Snowblood in manga and film and a little on Lady Bullseye: “That a samurai revenge film from thirty years ago manages to be significantly less exploitative than anything around now speaks volumes. It is, ironically, an excellent twenty first century samurai movie, which keeps the best parts of the genre while […]

SpyCast!

Get the skinny on spying with the International Spy Museum’s SpyCast.  The Background Briefings about East Germany’s “Romeo agents” and “Spies of the Kaiser” are pretty neat, too.

JJ Sonny Chiba, Ph.D.

Kyoto University of Art and Design’s newest teacher is none other than JJ Sonny Chiba. Prof. Chiba will be teaching film acting and swordfighting. And I bet ninjitsu, but secretly. (via Kaiju Shakedown)

Ninjas Strike!

Ninjas strike with “justified yet merciful force” in New Jersey and are arrested by the police.

MAN-BAT NINJAS, NINJA BATMEN AND ART WITH NO CONTENT

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At the risk of tearing up Carol’s yard (a risk I’ll take, since she’s parked on my lawn currently, leaving me nowhere to pull up). I’m going to talk about comics for bit here. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the screen part soon enough.

MK vs DCU screenshots: Dark Knight vs Ninja!

Always wanted to see the Dark Knight go ninja a ninja with Scorpion? Newsarama has screenshots from the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game.

Do You Want Fries With That?

A brief history of advergames

Last year when I heard that Burger King was planning to release a series of video games for the Xbox 360, I thought the game industry was headed for a new low. To me, this went way beyond the shameless hordes of promotional tie-ins to popular movies and TV shows, and seemed more inappropriate than […]

13 Ways of Looking at a Bat

All the Batmans holding hands!

“Among twenty empty warehouses, The only moving thing Was the eye of the Batman.” –sorta Wallace Stevens You should know right from the start that I’m a terrible geek—not extremely geeky, but bad at being a geek. Continuity in the sense of an overarching, epic and harmonized chronology just isn’t that important to me. What […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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