The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

Vampire, Or Maybe, Werewolf

When’s a vampire really more of a werewolf? When it’s Toppei from Osamu Tezuka’s Vampire. Todd from 4DK writes about the mostly live-action television adaptation, starring Tezuka as himself, beret and all, and they remind him of both Kurosawa’s High and Low and Fukasaku’s Black Lizard. Like this:Like Loading…

5 Blogs, 1 Production Company

The B-Masters Cabal unites to ponder the films of foremost B-movie purveyor, American International Pictures.  5 blogs look at Roger Corman, misleading advertizing, crappy monsters and what finally took AIP down. Like this:Like Loading…

See the Fury!

Black and white wuxia? Animated chi? See the devastating fury of Buddha’s Palm! Like this:Like Loading…

Aerial City 008: Operation Spring

1960s Japanese science fiction Supermarionation. Scary or supercool? (Scroll down for a complete episode of Aerial City 008). Like this:Like Loading…

FEARnet does Halloween up right

In fact, FEARnet does Halloween up right with all their FEAR Fest treats:  Streets of Fear, a review of Haunted houses and tricks of the costume trade. Like this:Like Loading…

The Modern Master of Suitmation

It’s a little Minoru Kawasaki retrospective:  Calamari Wrestler (2004); Executive Koala (2005); Beetle, The Horn King (2005); Kani Goalkeeper (2006); The World Sinks Except Japan (2006). Like this:Like Loading…

Space Monster Guilala Awakens!

After a space sabbatical of over 30 years, Space Monster Guilala returns in Minoru Kawasaki’s Monster X Strikes Back:  Attack the G8 Summit, aka Guilala’s Counterattack the Toyako Summit One-Shot Crisis.  The Guilala song, the suitmation, the kaiju movie white guy–It makes me feel good in too many ways to count. More here. (via Kaiju […]

Godzilla vs MechaRealism

Yes, it

A while ago I watched some Godzilla movies with some people who don’t exactly appreciate the aesthetics of suitmation / kigurumi, or, in less technical language, a guy in a rubber suit. One of the things I like best about Godzilla movies is that as soon as I glimpse Godzilla rising from the depths or […]

Ninjas vs. Pirates

It’s an idea whose time has come: Ninjas vs. Pirates! Sounds homebrew too: “Almost all scenes in NVP were shot in front of 9 sheets of 30-cent green posterboard in a 12’x13′ apartment living room, lit with $12 Wal-Mart halogen work lights.” Like this:Like Loading…

The Grouchy Snob

Talking about Lucas brings out the worst in me

When people find out that I like science fiction (and write about it), they often try to find a familiar example to talk about. This is a better reaction than to say, “Oh, that crap?” or something along those lines. But recently, the example has inevitably been Star Wars — and what was up to […]

Well-rendered Television

The show’s opening sequence starts with a woman in a black bodysuit facing off against a hulking monster. When she finishes him off with a jump-kick, the music swells and the words “Game Over” come up. “Did you ever wonder what happens after the game ends?” a voice reminiscent of Laurence Fishburne intones. “Welcome to […]

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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.”

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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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