The Cultural Gutter

hey, there's something shiny down there...

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

Fun! Charm! Thrilling Adventure!

AmeliaP

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

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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

    Andy Khouri celebrates “the Happy Hunks of Tom of Finland” at Comics Alliance. “Tom of Finland was the Jack Kirby of gay porn. Working in a section of the comics industry that most fans perhaps spend little time exploring, Tom was a masterful artist, a pioneer, and an inspiration. His work helped establish a gay aesthetic and made him a celebrated figure on the New York art scene of the 1970s. His art, once sold from under counters in brown paper bags, has been exhibited at some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He’s surely one of the 20th century’s most pirated artists — and one of comics’ great cultural icons.”

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    NPR interviews cartoonist Alison Bechdel on the occasion of her MacArthur Genius Grant. “I guess I’m proudest of just really sticking with this odd thing I loved and was good at — drawing comics about marginal people (lesbians) in a marginal format (comics). I never thought much about whether that was responsible, or respectable, or lucrative.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Kate Leth provides, “Roll With It”–an interactive tool for deciding on your Halloween costume this year.

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    Tom Burtonwood has created Folium, a book of three-dimensional printing of bas relief, for the Art Institute of Chicago from its collection. (Via Boing Boing)

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    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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