The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

10 Comics I Liked In 2012

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Tales of derring-do! Girl adventurers! Occult mystery! Infernal foes! Secrets revealed! Pirates! Love, loss & betrayal! Intricate art bound in lovely hardcovers! Indie going mainstream! Original creations! It’s been an incredible year for comics. So many good ones that I can’t even begin to claim to know what would be the best comics of 2012. […]

“What time is it?”

Hero Complex has an algebraic article about Adventure Time!

Kids Do Read Comics

Comics Beat ‘s Torsten Adair goes through The New York Times bestseller list and draws some conclusions, “Right now, it seems that diversity is the zeitgeist, as non-fiction, non-comics publishers are selling well to the general public, and that kids’ books are a growing market.”

RIP, Donald Sobol

Author Donald Sobol has died.  NPR has an obituary.  At  All Things Considered, crime novelist Jonathan Hayes  remembers Sobol’s famous character, Encyclopedia Brown. “I loved these stories because they were about a kid like me, a kid who solved mysteries with logic and common sense, often exposing the hypocrisy of foolishly dismissive adults. I loved […]

Connect the Pop: Interview with R.L. Stine

Peter Gutierrez interviews R.L. Stine. They talk about Goosebumps, reading, “John Landis’ son” and Stine’s influence on librarians: “We grew up on your books, and now we’re reading them to kids.”

Letters from Gene Wilder

In a letter to director Mel Stuart, Gene Wilder suggests changes to Willy Wonka’s wardrobe: “A light blue felt hat-band to match with the same light blue fluffy bow tie shows a man who knows how to compliment his blue eyes.”

RIP, Maurice Sendak

Illustrator and author Maurice Sendak has died.  There are obituaries in The New York Times, The Guardian. The Onion has an obituary as well as reader responses that Sendak would likely appreciate. NPR’s Fresh Air devotes an entire program to Terry Gross’ interviews with Sendak, reflecting their unique relationship. Check through our archives for some […]

John vs. Patrick vs. Carol

John Perkins interviews the Gutter’s Comics Editor and Evil Overlord, Carol on the John vs. Patrick Podcast. There’s some talk of Gutter history and a warning that you don’t want to mess with Romance Editor Chris, she will cut you.

“White Until Proven Otherwise”

The New Yorker‘s Anna Holmes reads Hunger Games Tweets and interviews its creator about reading, race and racism. “If the stories we tell ourselves about the future, however disturbing, don’t include black people; if readers of The Hunger Games are so blind as to skip over the author’s specific details and themes of appearance, race, […]

3 Reviews of The Hunger Games

In three reviews, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Gutierrez and Darren Franich consider what was missing from the film’s adaptation of The Hunger Games book–poverty, class and complicity to start.

Faith Erin Hicks Reflects on The Hunger Games

Faith Erin Hicks has a comic up at Tor.com reflecting on the personal resonances of The Hunger Games. (Hicks has also adapted some of The Hunger Games into a powerful comic).

Faith Erin Hicks Adapts The Hunger Games

Faith Erin Hicks adapted the first several pages of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games into a comic. At Comics Alliance, she adds her thoughts on adapting a novel into a comic.  “Comics are visual. If you are a cartoonist translating a novel to comics, it is your job to take the words the author has […]

RIP, John Christopher

Novelist Samuel Youd, who wrote as John Christopher, has died. Gutter readers might remember him best for his science fiction series, The Tripods, which was adapted for television by the BBC and Australia’s Seven Networks in the 1980s. The Guardian has an overview of his life and career.

Stephen Colbert Interviews Maurice Sendak

Part 1 of Stephen Colbert’s interview with Maurice Sendak. And here’s part 2, in which Colbert teaches Sendak to huff markers.

The Dead Kid Detective Agency Review

Ned Kelly, age 14, reviews, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, by Gutter Guest Star (and interviewee), Evan Munday.  Also, Kirkus reviews it, but Kirkus isn’t 14 years old.

High Fantasy for Young Adults

At The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes about The Lord of the Rings and its influence on young adult fantasy, how Tolkien’s fusing of the epic and the familiarly domestic brought us Eragon and Twilight. “Kids go to fantasy not for escape but for organization, and a little elevation; since life is like this already, […]

An Accidental Masterpiece

Take heart writers and procrastinators, Norton Juster wrote his masterpiece, The Phantom Tollbooth (illustrated by Jules Feiffer), when he should’ve been writing something else. Juster tells the story here.

Dreadful Thoughts

As an adult, my strongest impressions of horror have come from comics. My childhood ones are almost exclusively from tv—the trailer for Magic and a misguided viewing of the beginning of Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein. But as an adult, I remember picking up the first issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (Vertigo) and being so freaked out […]

“Remember, You are the Future that Nobody Wanted!”

Professor Xavier answers all your questions about your changing body in The “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Mutants. (via Comics Alliance)

Maurice Sendak, Grump without Peer

Maurice Sendak displays his unparalled curmudgeonly powers in an interview with The Guardian.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.”

    ~

    Pornokitsch’s One Comic Podcast looks at Red Sonja #10: “To everyone’s surprise, despite some of the covers and the character’s reputation, this isn’t the exploitative boobs’n’swordplay production it could have been. How did it achieve that? Listen and find out.”

    ~

    Los Angeles Magazine has a gallery of self-portraits of Bunny Yeager and a bit about the career of a model and photographer most famous for her pin-up photographs of Bettie Page. “Having dedicated her life to photography and modeling, not to mention publishing 30 books on the subject (one of which shares a name with the Gavlak exhibition), Yeager had an influence on a generation of artist-photographers including Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Arbus even went as far to call her ‘The world’s greatest pin-up photographer.'” (Thanks, Stephanie!)

    ~

    Arch Daily has a gallery of images of remarkable sandcastles built by Calvin Seibert. Smithsonian Magazine has more, including a 2012 interview with Seibert about his work. (via @lordwoolamaloo)

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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 where I’m compelled to save the day not because of abstract threats, damsels in distress, or a desire for personal vengeance, but because the beauty of Gotham City compels me to protect it. Instead, I’m left for the fourth time with Batman and his playground.”

    ~

    At Die Die Danger Die Kill, Todd thinks about Karel Zeman’s Vynalez Zkasy. “Vynalez Zkasy (released in the U.S. as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) may represent Czech FX pioneer Karel Zeman’s quest to emulate the style of 19th century fantasy illustration—to the end of presenting the future through a Victorian lens—at its most extreme. That does not mean that it is any less fascinating than, nor nearly enchanting as, films like The Stolen Airship and Cesta do Praveku/Journey to the Beginning of Time. It only means that there is a vague miasma of obsession that threads through the movie’s general air of wonderment.” (The Gutter’s own Keith has posted images from Karel Zeman’s work here).

    ~

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