The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

“Haunted Houses: Tokyo’s Real Estate Listings With Problems”

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“Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, […]

An Excerpt from Resistance

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Tor has an excerpt from Resistance, the latest book by friend of the Gutter, Samit Basu: “A giant lobster rises slowly out of Tokyo Bay. It is an old-school kaiju, 300 feet long, and stands upright, its hind limbs still under water, in defiance of biology, physics and all codes of lobster etiquette.” Like this:Like […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Interview with Natsuo Kirino

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Japan Review interviews Natsuo Kirino, an author best known for her dark crime novels:  “I don’t think I exclusively tell stories of women criminals. However, being a woman in this society is mainly an anonymous existence. I don’t think the fact that the environment is such that women are nameless and overlooked is a good […]

RIP, Noribumi Suzuki

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Filmmaker Noribumi Suzuki has died. Suzuki was probably best known for School of the Holy Beast (1974), Sex and Fury (1973) and his Torakku Yarõ / Truck Yaro / Trucker Guys films starring Bunta Sugawara. Here Suzuki talks about working with actresses Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, who appeared in his  pinku eiga/ “pinky violence” […]

RIP, Donald Richie

Writer Donald Richie has died. Richie is best known for his writing on Japanese culture and film.  The Japan Times and The New York Times have obituaries. Fora.tv has a conversation with Donald Richie in 2009, “Life in Japanese Film: Donald Richie.” Like this:Like Loading…

New Osamu Tezuka Manga

The Japan Times reports on an unpublished manga created by Osamu Tezuka in his teens. Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Isuzu Yamada

Actress Isuzu Yamada has died. Yamada worked with a range of directors including, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu and Kinji Fukasaku. The New York Times has an obituary.  The Gutter remembers her with a scene of her performances as Lady Washizu in Throne of Blood.   Like this:Like Loading…

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011. Like this:Like Loading…

The Iwai Detective Agency

Slouching Towards Bethlehem has found tantalizing evidence of a detective agency operating in Meiji Era Japan, The Iwai Detective Agency. Like this:Like Loading…

Portrait of the Artist (with the Sound of Cicadas)

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Tatsumi Yoshihiro’s A Drifting Life is all the proof anyone would ever need that comics can be serious art. It will show up at the top of year end lists and on syllabi. The fanciest of blurbs will be written about it. Comic fans will hound the unsuspecting at parties and in their homes to […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2008

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Here they are, ten comics I liked in 2008 that I haven’t written about yet. All ready? Alright. Like this:Like Loading…

The Road To Mundo Fine: Zombies vs. Robots

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The road to the end of the world is shorter than we think. Just when we’ve adjusted our rear and sideview mirrors and selected a soundtrack, the end stands before us, eyes shining in our halogen lights, ready to total our engine block. The only question now is: zombies or robots? Like this:Like Loading…

Detroit Metal City: No Music, No Dream

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We live in a time of film adaptations of comic books massive and tiny, from Iron Man and The Dark Knight to Wanted and The Surrogates. But I don’t need to see any more. I have seen Detroit Metal City and it is a testament to awesomeness. Like this:Like Loading…

2008 Madness Begins

The 2008 Midnight Madness films have been announced.  If you’re in Toronto then, you’ll have a chance to see movies like Chocolate, Detroit Metal City, JCVD and The Burrowers (no trailer) on the big screen. I’ma be there. Like this:Like Loading…

Red Eye

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15 hours on the road and I was my own red-eye on I-94’s corridor of stripclubs, fireworks and roadkill, racing past dead deer in Michigan, then Gary, Indiana’s steel mills and through Chicagoland, the Sears Tower in the distance waiting for its evil eye, till the highway gave out in Wisconsin. Yes, I went to […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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    Neill Cameron has re-imagined the characters of Parks & Recreation as members of Starfleet. (Via @neillcameron)

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