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

Knowing is Half the Battle

Cobra Industries promotional video.

Real Life Superheroes

Usually, when the media talks about Real Life Superheros they mean firefighters or EMTs or police.  NPR’s Monkey See blog means something more awesome: costumed superheroes, featuring the World Superhero Registry. If only they’d included the superheroes’ one costumed mad scientist, Professor Widget.

Crocheted Dalek Doom!

Crochet your own dalek with amdown’s pattern–or planetjune’s modifications–force humans to hollow out the earth so you can drive it around the universe. Daleks conquer and destroy!

Marvel’s Kings of the Night Time World

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In 1977, the most powerful band on earth was KISS with their pyrotechnics, monster boots and the largest army a band had ever fielded, the KISS Army, fully prepared to rock and roll all nite, party every day and read comics in between. Marvel had their ever-lovin’ fingers on the pulse of the youth and […]

Perfect Candidates for Costumed Aggression

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Alienated, ranting about how the world could be perfected if only the fools would listen, plotting intricate schemes, focusing great minds on tiny slights, losing their beloved and scarred by experiments gone awry, revenging themselves on the world, supervillains are where it’s at. Here are some of my favorite villains–in alphabetical order to avoid retribution.

10 Comics I Liked in 2007

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The “best of” list is a tricky seasonal form and I’m no master.  I might not know what’s best, but I do know what I like.  So here’s ten good comics I read in 2007.

Stainless

Fearing what he can do.  Fearing what he won

Recently, one of my friends told me that Superman was an inch from becoming a dictator. It didn’t seem likely to me, but I didn’t have any arguments, just a sense that Superman wasn’t inclined toward world domination. Luckily enough, the public library system provided me with, The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at […]

Civil Engineer

Sad citizens? Buy them some entertainers!

Jeff Chapman started playing Civilization (MicroProse, 1991) when it came out and never stopped. He’s played the strategy turn-based videogame series for the past decade I’ve known him. Far from letting it consume him, he’s balanced his job as editor of History Magazine with a plethora of other projects, and so I thought he would […]

Easy Prey

You can

Prey is the latest science fiction thriller from perennial best-selling author, Michael Crichton. It’s been a few years since I read any Crichton novels so I was curious to see if my memory of his work – topical, easy to read in the way that bestsellers have, but flat and unoriginal – holds true for […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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    Matt Zoller Seitz has written a lovely meditation on Robin Williams at RogerEbert.com: “Williams wore the invisible garments of depression. He carried that burden. A lot of the time we didn’t see it, because he was a bright and enthusiastic comic performer and a great actor. But the weight was always there.

    Somehow he lived 63 years.

    What a warrior he was.”

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    At Kaiju Shakedown, Hiroshi Fukazawa interviews director Ringo Lam. “Not as flashy as John Woo, never as hyperkinetic as Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam is one of Hong Kong’s most underappreciated directors. He made his name with sophisticated, downbeat crime dramas that came to define a certain style of urban Hong Kong cinema in the Eighties and early Nineties. After getting his start in television at CTV and TVB, he directed five features before finding his stride with 1987’s City on Fire, the movie that provided the blueprint for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.”

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    “[Grace] Jones — who was famous not just for her music, but also for her acting and modeling — took Lundgren to New York, where they partied at the legendary Studio 54 and Andy Warhol took pictures of Lundgren. Jones introduced Lundgren to the world of show business. Meanwhile, Lundgren was still set to begin his Fulbright scholarship at MIT. ‘I started sort of thinking, “Wow, this is kind of cool,”‘ Lundgren remembers: ‘”I don’t know if I want to go back to engineering after this.”‘ More at NPR.

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    “A mid-20th century collaboration between artists, poets and printers gave rise to a unique book of surrealistic creatures accompanied by complementary typographic art poems.” See more at BibliOdyssey. (Thanks, Andrezo!)

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