The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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). Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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) Like this:Like Loading…

Maurice Sendak, Grump without Peer

Maurice Sendak displays his unparalled curmudgeonly powers in an interview with The Guardian. Like this:Like Loading…

Interview with Maurice Sendak

Listen to Fresh Air‘s interview with Maurice Sendak about his secret stash of work, death, this time that is for him and him alone and his favorite lines in his new book, Bumble-ardy Like this:Like Loading…

Minimalist Children’s Classics

Flavorwire has a gallery of Minimalist cover designs for classic children’s stories and fairy tales. Like this:Like Loading…

The Kids Are All Right

Despite my whinging last month, I do in fact both read and love a lot of young adult Romance.  I  may not be fond of the ‘Supernatural Boyfriend of the Week’ subgenre (and no, Stephanie Meyer did not invent it; it’s been out there for decades), but that still leaves me with a large field […]

Fandom is Magic

In the year 2001 I discovered a magical world. Not Harry Potter (that was a few years later) and not the Internet (although it was responsible), but a world that captured my attention and hasn’t let go ten years later. It has to do with fanfiction; unpaid fiction that is written by fans of a […]

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    Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

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    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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