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! Like this:Like Loading…

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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.” 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…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Projection Booth tells you of days of high adventure in an epic seven hour podcast on Conan The Barbarian (1982).

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    Actor, director, writer and artist Leonard Nimoy has died. Nimoy was most famous for playing Spock in Star Trek, but he also appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), In Search Of…, Ancient Mysteries, Columbo, Fringe, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Faerie Tale Theatre, Mission: Impossible, Dragnet and Bonanza.  Nimoy directed Three Men And A Baby (1987), two Star Trek films and an episode of Night Gallery (“Death on a Barge”) among others. The New York Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Here are some tweets from William Shatner’s online memorial for Nimoy. George Takei remembers Nimoy. Zachary Quinto remembers Nimoy. EW also has other remembrances, including one from President Obama. Code Switch’s Steve Haruch discusses Spock’s importance as a biracial character. Nimoy talks about his work at the Archive of American Television. You can see some of Nimoy’s photography here. And a reminder that Nimoy had an Etsy shop.

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    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Ashlee Blackwell considers Jonathan Demme’s Beloved as a horror film as part of their Black History & Women In Horror Month series. “Beloved takes us on one journey of the Black American experience of slavery through the body of a Black female protagonist.”

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    Watch Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion’s Oya: The Coming Of The Orishas here.

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    At Bitch Media, Sara Century wonders why Michonne isn’t in charge and considers which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: comics or tv. “As I was thinking about the numerous questionable writing choices made with these could-be-so-great female characters, I got to wondering, which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: the TV show or the comic? In other words, which one is less sexist?

    I wrote up a short list of the main female characters that appear both on the show and in the comic to decipher the differences in how these women are written. These descriptions contain spoilers through season five of the TV show, because it’s impossible to write about The Walking Dead without talking about how people die all the time.”

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    Vixen Varsity shares Olufemi Lee-Johnson’s tribute to Milestone Media and Dwayne McDuffie. “For the first time in my life, I was around comic writers of color telling stories that mirror or surpassed the storylines of America’s favorite heroes. Icon dealt with being the ultimate immigrant and not understanding current black culture. Rocket (Raquel Irvin) was his guide, but also aspired to be more than just a woman in the projects. Static (Virgil Hawkins) was just a normal teenager dealing with fitting into school and then was put into this extraordinary circumstance of being a hero. Hardware (Curtis Metcalf) wanted respect from his mentor, but later learned about the bigger picture when it came to being a hero and the characters from Blood Syndicate…they were just trying to make it day by day and maintain their respect as a gang.”

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