The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

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

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”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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At Tor.com, 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

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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

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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 […]

“I Love Superheroes But They Don’t Love Me”

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At Feminist Sonar, Elsa writes about the representation of disability and superhero comics and movies. “Some days I wonder if I take things like this too personally, but honestly, in a world where Hawkeye was once Deaf but is now hearing, in a culture where Oracle has been returned to her walking self and is […]

Katsuya Terada Live-Drawing Demonstration

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Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

“Iris Allen, Laurel Lance & Lois Lane Syndrome”

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Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”

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    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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    At Autostraddle, Heather Hogan has “a Recap of Jem and the Holograms’ Truly Outrageous Lesbianism.” (Thanks, Sara Century!) “If you are a woman over the age of 30, I have some information that is going to send you cartwheeling back to 1987 to high five your young self and shout “We knew it! We knew it!” right in your own tiny gay face: Stormer and Kimber from Jem are truly, outrageously, canonically queer….This is good news. Great news. But it’s not really news news. Of course Stormer and Kimber are gay. They’ve been in love since 1987!”

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    “Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been binge-watching one of the most innovative series on television. Like many of the gems of the current TV renaissance, it features extended narratives with complex plots, intricate backstories, and layered characters. Its approach to storytelling is remarkably adventurous, shattering television, and even cinematic conventions.

     I’m speaking, of course, of General Hospital.” Noah Berlatsky writes about the influence of soap operas on “prestige television” at Quartz. (And make sure to click through to Akash Nikolas’ “Yes, Mad Men is a Soap Opera and that Shouldn’t be an Insult”).
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    Here’s the first Gutterthon 2015 Geektastic Song–“Fortune Cookie” by Chica Non Grata. Chica Non Grata kindly offered to write 3 songs based on topics offered by 3 lucky backers. So listen up and get down. “A song about pop-up ads and how creepy they are and how they seem to be reading your mind and maybe there is actually an artificial intelligence who is stalking you.”

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    Friend of the Gutter, Nitrate Diva writes about 13 women who helped shape cinema. “Hollywood is, in many ways, a more male-dominated environment today than it was 90 or so years ago. Scary, huh?

    In order to perpetuate a culture where more women make movies now, we need to recognize the women who made movies in the medium’s formative years. Let’s take our editing shears and snip the ‘boys only’ myth right out. It belongs on the cutting room floor.”

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