The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

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

“No Room For Failure”


MTV News spoke to directors Lexi Alexander, Brenda Chapman and Yulin Kuang about “what they thought of MacLaren’s departure [from Wonder Woman] and how they think it speaks to the bigger problem in the industry – namely, the lack of opportunities women have in film.” If you’d like to know more about MacLaren’s career, including […]

The Gender-Swapped DC Universe


Comics Alliance has a sweet gallery of art, in which artists including Ming Doyle, Erica Henderson, John Quinones, Jordan Gibson, Lauren Moran and Jason Margos gender-swapped the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. (Look for more under #DCBend on Tumblr and Twitter). (Thanks, Mark!)

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 […]

“Marguerite Sauvage’s Wonder Woman and the Slowly Changing Face of Comic Book Fashion”


At Comics Alliance, Juliet Kahn writes about clothing and costumes in comics, getting Wonder Woman right and Marguerite Sauvage’s work in Sensation Comics #7. “The slightest hint of a damn given to the fashion featured in a comic book makes it immediately more immersive, more affecting, more resonant—because suddenly, its characters look more like real […]

Suffragettes, Amazons and Wonder Woman


At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman […]

DC Variant Covers by Mike Allred


A gallery of Mike Allred’s covers for twenty of DC’s titles. (via @profmdwhite)

“Wondering About Wonder Woman”


On her Tumblr page, Gail Simone wonders, “if we have reached a generational shift and we aren’t really aware of it because the people doing all the talking are baby boomers with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FRAME OF REFERENCE for Wonder Woman….There will be a time very shortly when the average person will have no baby-boomer […]

“We Can Be Superheroines”

The Gutter‘s own Carol Borden wrote a review of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines for the 2012 ActionFest Blog: “I’ve seen reviews suggesting this movie is a great one to show your daughter or niece, and it is.  But it’s not just about letting little girls know that they can be heroes, […]

“Goodbye for Now, Wonder Woman”

Girls Gone Geek‘s Erika Peterman on why she’s no longer reading Wonder Woman. “At this point, it’s crystal clear that Brian Azzarello is not going to write the Wonder Woman comic I want to read. There’s a big disconnect between Cliff Chiang’s show-stopping, vibrant presentation of the character and the narrative, in which Wonder Woman […]

The Empire of Crime: Mabuse vs. Wertham vs. Marston

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When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime.” —The Testament of Dr. Mabuse “[W]hatever factors come into play in the cases that we have studied, the conclusion is inescapable […]

Wonder Woman and “Blood-Curdling Masculinity”

At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky writes about the new incarnation of Wonder Woman. “[M]aking Wonder Woman more violent doesn’t make her more mature or more real. It just makes her more conventional.” (via @BlackComix)

“The Best of 2012 for DC Women”

DC Women Kicking Ass counts down the Best of 2012 for DC Women! Movies! Comics! Animation! Marketing! Batman!

“33 Years of Great Comics”

Grumpy Old Fan remembers Karen Berger’s tenure at Vertigo and DC comics. “In more than 30 years, first as a DC Comics editor and then as head of Vertigo, Berger helped to transform the comics industry by shepherding some of the most acclaimed and beloved series in recent memory. Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, The Sandman and […]

Wonder Women! Being the Hero of Your Own Story

Comics Editor Carol did a quick review of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines for the ActionFest Blog.  “[I]t’s not just about letting little girls know that they can be heroes, that they can be anything they want. It’s about knowing that as adults we have great power and great responsibility.  We can […]

ActionFest 2012 Trailers

Trailers for movies playing at ActionFest 2012: Solomon Kane; Manborg; Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines; The Raid; True Romance; Wu Xia; Dragon Eyes;  Let The Bullets Fly; A Gang Story;  The Lost Bladesman; God Bless America; Goon; The Aggression Scale; The Day;  Headhunters; Transit; Sinners and Saints; Bad Ass; The Wild Bunch  […]

On Wonder Woman and Amazons

Kelly Thompson and Colin Smith offer two related criticisms of Wonder Woman #7. Thompson asks, “Is the Destruction of the Amazons the Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics?” And Smith writes, “Of all of the flak fired up to obscure the mean-spirited, thick-headed sexism of Brian Azzarello’s script for Wonder Woman #7, the most stubbornly […]

Wonder Woman vs. Xena

Beau Smith tells the story of the Wonder Woman vs. Xena comic that never came to be–with snippets of his script and pages of Eduardo Barreto’s art. (via DCWomenKickingAss)

Origin Story

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How did Carol Borden become a fan of DC superheroes? Did she uncover the truth that criminals were a cowardly and superstitious lot? Was she packed into an interstellar cradle and shot into space with the blind hope that she would be found and raised to value truth, justice and the superhero way? Or was […]

Wonder Woman in Pants

Wonder Woman would’ve also had pants in Joss Whedon’s version. But if she has to have spurs, I’m a sucker for this cowgirl version with invisible pony. (And, following Chris Sims, could go with a Fistful of Dollars poncho).

Scarred by SuperFriends


Friends, I wasn’t always the superhero-loving comics reader you see before you. I underwent a tribulation, a trial of faith, wandering in a wilderness without capes. My resistance to superheros and the Justice League of America in particular stemmed from one root: The SuperFriends. I can’t, in general, argue with the idea of super-friendship, but […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At The Brattle Film Notes, Kerry Fristoe writes about The Road Warrior and Lord Byron’s poem, “Darkness,” in The Road Warrior or Mad Max and Lord Byron Walk into a Bar…”


    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


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