The Cultural Gutter

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

Punching Cthulhu in the Face

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Although his prose and his politics can be problematic for some readers, the influence of weird fiction writer HP Lovecraft is substantial and reaches out from beyond the grave like one of his indescribable elder gods. Although not particularly successful financially — which is really just another way of calling him a writer — Lovecraft […]

Chester Himes on the BBC

Listen to BBC Radio 4’s production of Chester Himes’ crime classic, Cotton Comes to Harlem. Only available for a short time. (Thanks, Andrew Nette) Like this:Like Loading…

Interview with Australian Pulp Fiction Historian Toni Johnson Woods

“The first book I read was Carter Brown’s The Unorthodox Corpse. The Fryer Library (at University of Queensland) had a battered copy and I loved it.” Pulp Curry talks with Toni Johnson Woods about Australian pulp fiction. Like this:Like Loading…

Pulp, Comics and Games in TO!

This weekend’s the Toronto Comic Arts Fair plus the  Pulp Show and Sale at  Lillian H. Smith.  Visit both and our friends from The Hand Eye Society at TCAF’s  TIFF Nexus Comics vs. Games (trailer here).  Hooray for the Toronto Public Library!   Like this:Like Loading…

John vs. Patrick vs. Carol

John Perkins interviews the Gutter’s Comics Editor and Evil Overlord, Carol on the John vs. Patrick Podcast. There’s some talk of Gutter history and a warning that you don’t want to mess with Romance Editor Chris, she will cut you. Like this:Like Loading…

Michael Chabon of Barsoom

Wired and io9 interview Michael Chabon on his screenplay for John Carter, his love of Edgar Rice Burroughs and writing genre fiction. Like this:Like Loading…

The Last Canadian

Grady Hendrix reads London Free Press editor William C. Heine’s The Last Canadian, a plague-driven, apocalyptic pulp set in Montreal. Unfortunately, the protagonist’s citizenship papers haven’t come through before the plague hits.  For Canadian pulp fiction featuring full Canadian citizens, check out Tales from the Vault, curated by own own Screen Editor Emeritus, Ian Driscoll. […]

The Blade Runner Sketchbook

100 pages of Blade Runner glory, out of print, but online and free. (Thanks, @matt_kay) (Fixed link!) Like this:Like Loading…

TinTin and the Lessons of Pulp Racism

In adapting Tintin, Noah Berlatsky writes, “Spielberg provides spectacular ship-to-ship battles, requisite car chases, and improbable fights between construction cranes. But he left out the thing that made the Indiana Jones films most like the Hergé books. That is, racism.” Like this:Like Loading…

Pulp Fiction, Chronologically

Pulp Fiction remixed in chronological order. Watch it soon if chronological narrative is your thing. Like this:Like Loading…

Summer Fun Time Reading ’11

It’s summer time and instead of beer bottles exploding out of coolers in a shower of refreshing ice, bikini-clad hotties and fireworks as we know it should be, everything is wilting and perhaps even melting. As far as I can tell there are only two possible explanations—Hot Lava Monsters have readjusted the earth’s thermostat to […]

Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s “Black Rainbow”

Ryan Holmberg reads Tatsumi Yoshihiro’s Black Blizzard closely with Tatsumi’s memoir, A Drifting Life, and discovers Black Blizzard is an adaptation of pulp mystery writer Shimada Kazuo’s story, “Black Rainbow,” then puts Tatsumi’s work in the context of other mass entertainment of its time.  The piece itself is worth it for the discussion of Shimada […]

Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts!

Here at the Gutter we like our podcasts. We especially like Infernal Brains and The Projection Booth. At Infernal Brains, Todd and Tars discuss Thai pulp hero, Insee Daeng and Wisit Sasanatieng’s recent screen adaptation, Red Eagle.  Meanwhile, at The Projection Booth, Mike and Mondo Justin report on Robocop (including news on Detroit’s statue) and […]

Soulless Gialli

“What have they done to gialli?” wonders Allison Nastasi about new giallo films and then offers up 5 examples of the genre at its best. Like this:Like Loading…

Thailand’s Pulp Hero

As part of a look at Thailand’s pulp hero, Red Eagle / Insee Daeng in film, Tars Tarkas has written an excellent piece on pulp fiction and pulp heroes in Thailand.  Make sure to check out the articles on the Insee Daeng film series, including the recent Wisit Sasanatieng version. Like this:Like Loading…

Conquer the Galaxy and/or the Mysterious Mind

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An iconic character in the earliest pulp novels and the latest multiplex blockbusters: the heroic space explorer, striding manfully forward, saving the natives, grabbing the treasure and the babes, and so on. What’s going on inside his head? Like this:Like Loading…

Badass Women of the Pulp Era

14 Badass Women of the Pulp Era from around the world.  Like this:Like Loading…

“Tomorrow Never Say Never” Starring George Lazenby

The Random James Bond Movie generator gives you a title, a plot and a particular Bond. (Also provides book titles). Like this:Like Loading…

10 Comics I Liked in 2010

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget why I like comics and 2010 was a particularly tough year, in comics and otherwise. But here are 10 that reminded me why I do like them. There’s a lot of crime, anthropomorphic animals, gorgeous art, silly fun, people dealing with things the best they can, and plenty of Greg […]

What Do Zombies Mean to Americans?

Meanwhile, Annalee Newitz presents, “A Brief History of Zombies in America.” Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Actor Billie Whitelaw has died. Whitelaw was Samuel Beckett’s “perfect actress” and she also appeared in television and films, including: Gumshoe (1971), Frenzy (1972), The Omen (1976), Space: 1999 (“One Moment of Humanity”) (1976), The Dark Crystal (1982), The Secret Garden (1987), The Krays (1990), Jane Eyre (1996), Quills (2000) and Hot Fuzz (2007).  The Guardian, the BBC and Variety have obituaries. Here Whitelaw performs in Beckett’s “Happy Days” and “Not I,” written by Beckett for Whitelaw.

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims talk abouts the art of lettering in comics. “Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it’s also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you’ll never be able to not notice it again. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it’s one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it’s done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated. The thing is, when it’s good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.”

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    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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