The Cultural Gutter

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

The 25 Best Horror Games of All Time

Gameranx dares name the Top 25 Best Horror Games of All Time! (via Denis at The Horror?!) Like this:Like Loading…

A Tyrannosaurus is in your Guest Center killing your ‘raptors.

Wolf Gnards explores the many ways a tyrannosaurus can get into a theme park guest center–or any building, really.  We vote for “Those tiny arms have evolved over millennia to pick locks.” Like this:Like Loading…

Second Place Ain’t Second Best

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Previously, I wrote a column about Meredith Duran, who got her start in publishing when her first novel, the astonishingly good Duke of Shadows, won the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. I liked the interesting and collaborative nature of the online contest. Entrants posted their first chapters on the Gather.com site for the community […]

Fooling the System

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“Fisher,” they’d cry, “we’re going to find you.” They were looking in the wrong place. I was already somewhere else. And as they approached the last position they saw me, that somewhere else was right behind them. Either a clean bullet to the head or some other form of quick, close, personal death, they slump […]

Kirkbride, Castles of the Midwest.

Kirkbride Buildings are the castles of the American Midwest. They’re also 19th century State Hospitals. Like this:Like Loading…

Shape of–An Unpayable Mortgage with My Face on It!

“What the Wonder Twins Would Take the Form and Shape of  if They were Sent to Correct the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” is a McSweeney’s article that is most likely not providing cover for a heist. Like this:Like Loading…

A Magician in the C.I.A.

“In 1953, [John] Mulholland was hired by the C.I.A. to adapt his craft for its agents. The documents he produced…were discovered in 2007 by two C.I.A. historians, who have recently published The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception. What could a magician teach spies? Much sleight of hand… used for dosing drinks, passing pills […]

Old Becomes New

The Vintage Game Club starts Thief: The Dark Project soon. Like this:Like Loading…

Vive La Difference!

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Britain and France have a long history together. Okay, much of that history consists of having wars with one another. But if you look at the past as a whole, having wars is pretty much what Britain did. First, it fought at home, its various tribes jockeying for position, struggling with invaders, taking over other […]

More Ninjas!

Ninjas throwing swords and flipping in the forest and Ken’ichi Matsuyama from Death Note and Detroit Metal City plays another manga hero in Kamui Gaiden. Like this:Like Loading…

Bond, Jane Bond

Back in the day, HK studios assumed films with male leads couldn’t cut it in the theaters. So during the 1960s spy era, Hong Kong had Jane Bond films featuring masked spies in catsuits way before Maggie Cheung in Irma Vep. TarsTarkas gathers the resources all in one place, all you have to do is […]

SpyCast!

Get the skinny on spying with the International Spy Museum’s SpyCast.  The Background Briefings about East Germany’s “Romeo agents” and “Spies of the Kaiser” are pretty neat, too. Like this:Like Loading…

Sebastian Faulk’s License to Kill

Chandler had his Poodle Springs. Ian Fleming might have his Devil May Care. Sebastian Faulk takes up James Bond on his centenary. Excerpt here. Like this:Like Loading…

Psychedelic Spies and Swanky Podcasts

Like your spies swank, Sixties and psychedelic? Jiangtou from Spiltpopcorn found The Pschedelic Spy, a 5-part BBC radio drama over at Greylodge, where there’s a whole lotta podcast swank going on. Like this:Like Loading…

Mary, Queen Of Hearts

Mary Stewart

Despite being a rapacious reader of just about everything, during my formative years I managed to miss any number of writers who are the bedrock of their particular genres. For instance, I read Terry Brooks long before Tolkien (and yes, I’m aware of the gravity of that mistake). I didn’t discover Diana Wynne Jones until […]

Ask a Ninja!

A compelling case for the importance of editing in video: compare Ask a Ninja 1: Ninja-Mart Store to the latest, brilliant Ask a Ninja Special Delivery 4: Net Neutrality. Like this:Like Loading…

Teaching the Value of Human Life

Handcuffs or hand grenades?

When you’re put behind the crosshairs of a gun, do you assume you have to shoot to kill? Better still, do you have to shoot to win? For the majority of First Person Shooters, that is certainly the case. What if you were given the choice to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but still be able to […]

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…

Indie-meets-industry shindig

Buckets of beer at the GDC.

It might have been the buckets of beer or just the balmy San Francisco night that had me feeling so upbeat after the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival but even in sober retrospect it was pretty remarkable. On a basic level, it was simply seeing the best videogames of the year […]

Antagonistic Amusement

A biomod or two is OK, but the Omar go too far.

Now that the Matrix franchise has collapsed under its own hype and mystical mumbo-jumbo, it’s refreshing to see a well-executed cyberpunk tale in what is perhaps its ideal medium: the videogame. Because it’s not just about the style — the leather overcoats and the sunglasses — that shit was embarrassing in the ’80s when it […]

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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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