The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

Fun! Charm! Thrilling Adventure!


The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a beacon in a grittily realistic, grimdark pop culture landscape, one guiding lost souls to fun, charm and adventure. And I’m glad to see The Thrilling Adventure Hour adapted from podcast radio play into graphic novel because I like what it portends for fun stories in the future and because […]

On The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

“Of course I have a copy of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on video, but I don’t watch it very often. I even have, on tape now, the audio and video versions of those missing scenes. But it comforts me to know that they are still incomplete, and that there remain other scenes from […]

Scouting the Orientalist Fantasy of a Perfect Chinese Restaurant

Scouting NY writes of the difficulty of finding a Chinese restaurant that satisfies directors’ ideas of a Chinese restaurant in New York, because that restaurant doesn’t exist. “Literally every time I get asked to find a Chinese restaurant, it’s the same description. ‘I want a place with really over-the-top Chinese decor,’ our director will say. […]

Looking Back on 25 Years of Star Trek: The Next Generation

“The Next Generation awakened in me a feeling of terrible and suffocating yearning — that hopeless childish escape wish that’s the wake of a certain kind of fantasy. That feeling that in a different world you’d be happy. I carefully recorded each episode on our VCR — I remember buying the VHS tapes, in cellophane-wrapped […]

Interview with Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein talks about Portlandia, Wild Flag, and nostalgia. “[A]s we went into the second season and now the third, the analogy we used was a record. Your first album can be a series of singles – like “here’s our opening thesis” – and you have a couple of hits. It might not be cohesive […]

The 5 Stages of Star Wars Fandom

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and Star Wars.  (Thanks, B-Sol!)

Unboxing the Past

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The Gamer Hermit reminisces about his first experience with D&D and unboxes a mint set. ” My sojourn into the magical world of fantasy role playing games began back in the summer of 1981. My brother had just returned home from his enlistment in the Air Force and…out of the blue one day…asked me if […]

Gallant Past, Gallant Future

‎Keith at Teleport City reviews Gallants, the new kung fu film starring several old Shaw Bros. regulars and finds “a film that looks to the past without pandering to it or being trapped by it, resulting in a movie that is uplifting and bittersweet, and ultimately, a refreshingly honest meditation on growing old, feeling obsolete, […]

What’s the Matter with Comics?

Comics at the Big Two are in rough shape. Greg Burgas and Chris Sims see similar problems (nostalgia, Kurt Busiek) creating more problems (blandness, resistance to change, retcons, killing of heroes of color to replace them with white heroes of the Silver Age…). We noted Chris’ article before, but it’s worth reading with Greg’s.

“A Cosmic-Scale Meta-Textual Ghetto”

Chris Sims writes a thought-provoking article about how DC’s universe reboots are fueled by fan nostalgia that shoves characters of color aside in favor of white “legacy” characters and unintentionally builds “a cosmic-scale meta-textual ghetto.” Read it.(And this little addition to it).

I Can See Forever

It’s like the 1980s are a black hole and the event horizon reaches forever: The A-Team, The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tron, Ghostbusters, Conan The Barbarian, Red Dawn, Short Circuit and Wall Street.

The Necessary Elements for UFO to be a Hit

Purple wigs, gull-wing doors and lack of affect–Todd from 4DK provides “a list of some elements from the [1960s British] TV series [UFO] that, if they were to be included in the movie, would lead me to forgive a multitude of sins.”

A Perfect Frame


Early in Eddie Campbell’s painterly “picture novel,” The Black Diamond Detective Agency, the main character, Jackie Hardin, says, “We thought we had all the time in the world…. Tomorrow can take it all away” (7).  And with the implied death of a young daughter and a bucolic description of Lebanon, Missouri, prefaced with the description, […]

Read Only Memories

I’m fairly suspicious of nostalgia, and I hate how advertisers leverage our emotions to sell us the same products twice. So while I’m happy that people are rediscovering videogames from their youth, and that the games and their blocky aesthetic are mushrooming up all over the culture, I wonder about the retro-gaming phenomenon. Are these […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


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