The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

"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!) Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like […]

“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). Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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

    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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