The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

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

The Kraken Wakes

In 1965 CBC Radio adapted John Wyndham’s alien invasion story,”The Kraken Wakes.” Keep watching the skies as you listen here. Like this:Like Loading…

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

Diverse Writers, Diverse Readers and Happily Ever Afters

NPR talks about romance written by and for people of color with authors Brenda Jackson, Michelle Monkou, Camy Tang and romance critic Sarah Wendell at the Romance Writers of American convention. (The radio piece is stronger than the written synopsis). Like this:Like Loading…

Superman vs. The Ku Klux Klan

Listen to Superman defend Tommy Lee and his family from the Ku Klux Klan in the 1946 Adventures of Superman storyline, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” at the Internet Archive. Like this:Like Loading…

WJSV, Washington

“Thursday, September 21st, 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C., recorded their entire broadcast day — from sign on, to sign off.” You can listen at The Internet Archive. (via @SteveSilberman) Like this:Like Loading…

Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity

LTA clark kent thumb

Since alex, Chris and I decided to write about masculinity this month, I’ve been thinking about Superman. Actually, I’ve been thinking and rethinking Superman almost as long as I’ve been writing for The Cultural Gutter. I began really thinking about him while watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I’ve spent most of my life—and […]

RIP, Dear Abby

Columnist Pauline Phillips has died. Ms. Phillips was best known for her advice column, “Dear Abby.” The New York Times has an obituary. At NPR’s Monkey See blog, Linda Holmes writes about why people ask strangers for advice, noting that it’s a “curiously optimistic thing to do.” Like this:Like Loading…

50 Wonderful Things in 2012

Linda Holmes shares 50 wonderful things at NPR’s Monkey See blog. Like this:Like Loading…

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…

Detective Ice King, The Radio Play

Video of participants at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con Adventure Time panel performing, “Detective Ice King, The Radio Play.” Like this:Like Loading…

The Gothic Imagination

BBC Radio 4 presents dramatizations of Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as extras including discussions of the difficulty of performing Frankenstein’s Creature, Vitalism, and who Stoker might’ve based his Count on. Click through to The Gothic Imagination. (via @booksadventures) Like this:Like Loading…

Horrible Imaginings Art Show and Film Festival, 2012

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Director Miguel Rodriguez discusses horror and the festival with KPBS’ Beth Accomando.  The Art Gallery opening is on Oct. 24 and the official screenings begin Nov. 11–participating filmmakers have been posting their trailers here. (Tickets are available here).   Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Donald Sobol

Author Donald Sobol has died.  NPR has an obituary.  At  All Things Considered, crime novelist Jonathan Hayes  remembers Sobol’s famous character, Encyclopedia Brown. “I loved these stories because they were about a kid like me, a kid who solved mysteries with logic and common sense, often exposing the hypocrisy of foolishly dismissive adults. I loved […]

Two Interviews with Divine

Two interviews with Divine from a 1981 documentary and on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Like this:Like Loading…

Star Wars: The Radio Play

7 animation voice actors–including Tara Strong and Kevin Conroy–perform Star Wars at Emerald City Comic Con. (Thanks, Miguel) Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Maurice Sendak

Illustrator and author Maurice Sendak has died.  There are obituaries in The New York Times, The Guardian. The Onion has an obituary as well as reader responses that Sendak would likely appreciate. NPR’s Fresh Air devotes an entire program to Terry Gross’ interviews with Sendak, reflecting their unique relationship. Check through our archives for some […]

Interview with Steven Moffat

Steven Moffat talks about Doctor Who and Sherlock.  “I’m a geek. I’m a writer. I spent all of my time in my childhood obsessing about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. I was alone, I was an outsider — what do you expect?” Like this:Like Loading…

I, Claudius

Did you know there was a version of  I, Claudius shot by Josef von Sternberg and starring Charles Laughton as Claudius? More in a review of the new boxset of the 1970s BBC miniseries. Like this:Like Loading…

Looking Back On The Snowy Day

It’s the 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day.  All Things Considered looks back on the classic picturebook about a boy named Peter encountering snow and interviews Deborah Pope, the executive director of the Ezra Keats’ Foundation about the implications of quietly introducing a non-stereotypical African-American child in a children’s book. Like this:Like […]

Interview with George Takei

George Takei is interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now. Takei discusses his experiences growing up in an internment camp during World War II. Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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.”

    ~

    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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