The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

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.

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

Minimalist Children’s Classics

Flavorwire has a gallery of Minimalist cover designs for classic children’s stories and fairy tales.

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 […]

Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake Clip

Illustrator Natasha Allegri drew some fantastic designs and comics of the characters of Adventure Time with their genders switched–Finn and Jake became Fiona and Cake; Lady Rainicorn and Ice King became Lord Monochromicorn and Ice Queen. Now there’s footage from a full episode of Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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    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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