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

John Ostrander on The Spectre


John Ostrander talks about working with Tom Mandrake on The Spectre. “The Spectre was an interesting amalgam of both supernatural and superhero. Created in 1940 by Superman creator Jerry Siegel and artist Bernard Baily, the central character was hardnosed plainclothes detective Jim Corrigan who falls afoul of mobsters and is murdered. He’s sealed into a […]

“The Return of Captain Invincible”

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At Teleport City, friend of the Gutter Todd Stadtman writes about Christopher Lee, Alan Arkin and Philippe Mora’s The Return of Captain Invincible. “It also has to be said that the novelty and humor of Venerated Horror Icon Christopher Lee™ performing rousing musical numbers while doing jazz hands is clearly lost neither on the filmmakers […]

Beta Ray Bill, Fin Fang Foom and Frog Thor!

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Thirteen Covers celebrates Walt Simonson’s birthday with… 13 covers, including Beta Ray Bill, Fin Fang Foom and Frog Thor!

Return To The Planet Of Monkeys vs. Robots

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It’s time to return to a question I first confronted five years ago in  “A Matter of Evolution: Monkeys vs. Robots” and faced again in“Terror of Monkeys vs. Robots.”  The eternal question of Monkeys vs. Robots. Not just who would win in a fight. That question has been ably considered by James Kolchaka in Monkey […]

Gail Simone on Yvonne Craig

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Gail Simone remembers Yvonne Craig. “I knew a lot of boys who wanted to be Batman. But from that day to this, I wanted to be Batgirl. And to me, Yvonne Craig was Batgirl.”

John Ostrander on The Killing Joke Animated Feature

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John Ostrander writes about the upcoming animated feature of The Killing Joke, his reaction to the assault on Barbara Gordon and his and Kim Yale’s reinvention of Barbara Gordon as Oracle. “The last story that Kim and I worked on together before she died was Oracle Year One, drawn by the wonderful Brian Stelfreeze. We […]

“Watercolor Superheroes Made Of Big Color Splashes”

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deMilked has a gallery of lovely superhero watercolors by Blule (Clementine Campardou). (via S. L. Johnson)  

“Superheroes, Cities and Empty Streets”

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While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game […]

Eiji Tsuburaya Made Godzilla Come Alive–And It Changed Film Forever”


At Vox, Phil Edwards profiles special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya and interviews August Ragone about Tsuburaya’s career. “A director, cinematographer, and producer, Tsuburaya is best known for creating the special effects behind Japanese classics like Godzilla (1954), Mothra (1961), and many other films where the giant monsters called kaiju terrorize the good people of Tokyo. […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’15

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The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us, and I’m sure you all have your wicker men (or factionalist bee helmets) nearly done and your bonfire safely planned. (Remember, Lord Summerisle recommends nude leaping as the crucial component in bonfire safety). And just in time for the arrival of summer, I have a short selection of […]

“Floating Eyeballs, Trained Bees”

At NPR’s Monkey See, Glen Weldon reviews Jon Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superheroes and considers the most intriguing comic book heroes of yore. “Truth in advertising: The Eye was a mysterious, giant, floating, all-knowing eyeball that hectored people to fight crime on its behalf. Which they did, and can you blame them?” (Thanks, Pauline!)

“The Re-Masculinization of Cyborg”


Comics Alliance‘s Andrew Wheeler writes about David F. Walker’s impending run on Cyborg and “the re-masculinization” of a Black male superhero. “At Emerald City Comic-Con earlier this year I was lucky enough to be on a panel on diversity and representation with David F. Walker, two months after his Cyborg title was announced. During the […]

“The Marvel-Industrial Complex”


In “The Marvel-Industrial Complex” James Rocchi has some thoughts about Disney’s Marvel movies–and some things to say in response to the responses to his essay. “In the ’80s, Spiderman told me that with great power comes great responsibility; Marvel Studios, via Disney, has money and power both, and we’ve given it to them; as consumers […]

The Core Dynamic; or why I won’t give a show half a series to figure it out

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I want to talk about why I don’t watch Marvel’s Agents of Shield. The reason I gave it four episodes and then walked away from it in spite of everyone telling me ‘it gets much better about halfway through the series’. I want to talk about why ‘halfway through the series’ isn’t good enough and […]

“Humanity Not Included: DC’s Cyborg and the Mechanization of the Black Body”


At The Middle Spaces, Robert Jones, Jr. writes about Cyborg: “DC Comics’ Cyborg is my least favorite black character currently being published in comic books. He illustrates how the black body functions in a white supremacist framework and embodies so many different offensive stereotypes of black people that it is necessary to enumerate these characteristics […]

“She-Hulk, Attorney at Law”


At Bitch Magazine, Tammy Oler writes about the history and legal life of Jennifer Walters, attorney and She-Hulk. (Thanks, Mark!)

“The Pull List: Black History Month”


At, Alex Brown shares her top ten favorite Black comic book characters. “For all their talk about diversity and inclusion, comic books still tend to be pretty straight, white, and male (and catered to same). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of great characters of color that do more than fill the […]

My Year With The Fantastic Four


Days after we rang in the New Year, I finished a year spent reading all of the Fantastic Four comics, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s earth-shattering first issue in 1961, which explained how four family members and friends were transformed by cosmic rays into super-powered adventurers, through the latest issues in 2015 by James […]

Little Fat Nothing: Herbie Popnecker and Early Meta-Comics Narratives


Publicly admitting you read comics means you’re willing to put up with a perplexingly persistent notion of the medium as the exclusive domain of the super heroes. Even in the current realm of savvy pop art dabblers as likely to pray at the altar of independents like Image Comics as they are the Big Two […]

10 Comics I Liked In 2014

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I’m sure we’re all glad to see 2014 go. I know I am. But you know, comics are always here for you, and so is the Gutter. I thought I’d do something a little different with the list this year. Last year, I was invited to do a “Best Comics of 2013” list at Popshifter […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Open Culture has a re-vamped trailer for a film adaptation of  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic The Incal. One that never happened. “[Incal‘s] success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.” (Thanks, Felipe!)


    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


    Tony Zhou has a new video up at Every Frame A Painting. This time, he looks at Buster Keaton and, “The Art Of The Gag.”


    At Dirge Magazine, friend of the Gutter Less Lee Moore writes about the cinema of Richard Kern. “My introduction to Richard Kern was an issue of Spin magazine from the mid-1980s. Having recently fallen under the spell of the feral pleasures of Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – a.k.a. JG Thirlwell – I was intrigued by lurid descriptions of pornographic short films featuring Thirlwell and paramour/collaborator Lydia Lunch, whose snarky sound bites I scrawled in the margins of my diaries.”


    Art Of The Title looks the opening credits for The Man In The High Castle, True Detective and at Momentum, Alex Maragos interviews Andrew Geraci about making the opening credits for House Of Cards.


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