The Cultural Gutter

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Gutter Favorites 2012

The CG editors list their favorite pieces of 2012 here at The Cultural Gutter.

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 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)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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.'”


    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


    At Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!, Todd reviews the two part Ghanian director Ninja’s film, 2016. “2016 is a movie that I am obligated to review by virtue of my having long ago joined the internet chorus of people trumpeting on about its insane trailer—and this despite the fact that all of you with any interest in seeing it have most likely tracked it down already. In that case, you already know that it is essentially a no-budget remake of Independence Day set in the suburbs of Ghana. And if that sounds like a massive over-reach to you, you obviously know very little about Ghanaian action cinema, and even less about the films of maverick multi-hyphenate Ninja.”

    Read about part one, here, and part two, here.


    Look, it’s the trailer for “The Abominable Snowman” a new episode of classic Thunderbirds. Huffington Post UK has more: “It’s exactly half a century since we heard the ominous tones of voice actor Peter Dyneley bringing us the Thunderbirds intro ‘5 -4 – 3 – 2 -1 Thunderbirds are go’, and to celebrate, the team are producing three brand new original episodes, based on audio-only recordings made in 1966, which means fans will get to enjoy the original voices, with some 21st century gadgetry thrown in on screen.” (Thanks, Todd!)


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