Thursday, December 25, 2014

Culturally Significant Christmas TV Holiday Special 2014

It has come, that time of the year where we're all a little nicer to each other and we watch an onslaught of holiday specials. The problem with most TV specials now is there don't feature those classic commercials during the winter time that use to drive us wild with excitement. Your McDonalds with Ronald skating. Your Foldgers with the son back from Africa. Your Silent Night, Deadly Nights

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Your 90s Holiday Sitcom Playlist

Greetings, readers and fellow Squad members!

It's been awhile for Willa Murray, aka, Junior Professor of Bad Jokes. I've been gallivanting around the city in my attempt to obtain a piece of paper that says I'm officially a Master of the English language. But, no matter! I'm off for the next three weeks. This Christmas season I've been left to my own devices: alone the evening before Christmas Eve with nothing but white Russians, my fish, and YouTube to keep me entertained. Also, I've found that the best cure to keep the troll named Depression at bay is nostalgia: specifically 90s and early 00s sitcom nostalgia. The following YouTube playlist (cleverly entitled "CHRISTMAS") is filled with over 24 hours of television episodes, short animated films, and muppets. Because tis the season.

"CHRISTMAS" by Willa Murray

Playlist includes episodes and videos from...

  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Home Improvement
  • Roseanne
  • Frasier (duh)
  • Whose Line is it Anyway? (feat. Stephen Colbert)
  • Just Shoot Me
  • King of Queens
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Becker
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • 30 Rock
  • Ally McBeal
  • Spin City
  • Cybill
  • Dharma and Greg
  • Saturday Night Live
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Sesame Street (Bert and Ernie's "Gift of the Magi")
  • Boy Meets World
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Will and Grace
  • Patton Oswalt's "Christmas Shoes"
  • John Robert's "Christmas Tree"
  • A Muppet Family Christmas
  • Seinfeld
  • Charlies Brown

Video quality is low, but nostalgia quality is high. I tried my damnedest to find full episodes of Friends, Seinfeld, and Bob's Burgers. However, FOX keeps their copyrighted episodes tied up like the Krampus keeps his children: obviously very tight. (Come on. He's not letting them go. Give up hope already.)

With all my love and wishes for the Festivus/Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa season,

Willa Murray,
Head Librarian
Willa Murray at 4. Still not Krampus food after 21 years.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter has Come. Culturally Significant Holidays 2014.

Ok, I officially have the Christmas blues.

This seasonal blues doesn't come from a place of despair over the fast-approaching holidays or the depression of consumerism. I'm fine with all that. I have the blues because I feel that I have once again dropped the ball when it comes to blogging on a regular basis. I built up Octovember to barely post anything. And now my first post for December comes days away from Christmas. Yeah, I've been lacking...but with purpose.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Noah Van Sciver's Wasted Youth

Noah Van Sciver is a Denver-based cartoonist who has been working for some time, and in the past couple years began receiving more attention. I remember hearing his name here and there last year, but it wasn't until this year that I got to know his work, thanks to Fantagraphics' Tumblr page, where they would occasionally reblog some of his own posts. I think it was a diary comic that got my interest, as I'm a fan of those. After that, I started following Sciver online, and finding out more about his work.

His latest book, YOUTH IS WASTED (AdHouse Books), is a collection of short stories originally published between 2010 and 2013, as far as I can tell. Most of them appeared first in his one-man anthology, Blammo, though some of them came from various anthologies. The book is pleasantly designed, and includes author's notes on every story, which is always appreciated, and an introduction by his brother, DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver. It's interesting that both brothers chose careers in comics, in such different ways.

There is a total of 15 stories in this book, and they are a great introduction to Sciver's work. Though there is no shortage of comics about mundane and personal stories these days, a lot of them seem to not hit the spot for me. Sciver hits it way more often than misses it, offering honest, brutal, and sometimes amusing portrayals of common people. He is open about his admiration for R. Crumb and the influence shows, but at the same time, his stories read very differently than Crumb's. I would say Sciver is gentler than Crumb, whether he likes it or not.

Sciver's characters are largely losers, by his own admission. He is interested in the underdogs, people who have known loss, and still have to deal with it. He's attracted to the moments when things go wrong, to the small failures in our lives. A cynic might accuse him of whining or belittling his characters, but anyone with a modicum of empathy will know that is not the case. His stories simply express feelings that are more and more common in our generation, and offer a way of dealing with them, both for the reader, and, I suspect, the author.

My favourite story was "Because I Have To", in which a young man, still coping with the death of his younger brother helps a little girl who got separated from her brother on Halloween night. It's a very touching tale with small toucher of humour that work very well together. My least favourite - the only one in this collection I didn't care for, really - was "Punks vs. Lizards", which I might've liked if it was maybe two pages long. Still, I'm glad it was included in this collection, as it helps present a very wide range of stories by the same author. He goes from the silliness of "Punks vs. Lizards" to the bleakness of "1999", stopping by one-page nihilistic experiments and fairy tale adaptations along the way. And most of it works.

Excerpt from "Because I Have To"

Noah Van Sciver's art is an acquired taste. It didn't please me at first, I must confess, but the more time I spent it with, the better I started liking it, and the more it seemed to fit his stories. This book also registers his improvement as a draftsman and storyteller. The stories are not organised chronologically, but every story is dated, and one can notice the evolution of his art style through those four years. And from following his Tumblr page (which I recommend, also because he is often very funny online), I know he is still improving, refining his art more and more.

Besides YOUTH IS WASTED, Sciver put out in 2014 another book: THE LIZARD LAUGHED (Oily Comics). He already has two books scheduled for 2015: SAINT COLE and FANTE BUKOWSKI, both to be published by Fantagraphics. The latter was all posted on his Tumblr as he progressed, and you can still read it over there (though it might be a tad inconvenient to track the pages down).

Most of my favourite cartoonists that tackle these subjects that interest Noah Van Sciver take an awful long time to put out new work, so it's nice to see a young cartoonist on his way to join that select group being so prolific. I highly recommend YOUTH IS WASTED to anyone who's ever felt like a loser, and enjoys reading about common people.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Turkey Day 2014!

Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the grand old tradition we will be hosting the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon all Thanksgiving day. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday: Episode 39 "Drool, The Dog-Faced Goblin"

I was always very struck by the episode. One reason was some of the amazing visual forms the main antagonist takes on. The monster in the closet is especially frightening for RGB.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Let's Disqus Culturally Significant!

In minor news, to keep Cultsig! more relevant and open for all commentary we have decided to utilize the Disqus for comment hosting. What does this mean? Not much. Disqus allows for more social networking and making commenting easier (I mean, it was easy before). Disqus does not require an account but if you want to sign up go here. That is all. To test the system, please comment on the below image. Thank you.

Octovember II: Fall Has Returned

Well, it's happened. No longer can we deny it. The Autumn Equinox has come to a close and with it the end of All Hallows' Eve, the feast day the Holy Roman Church ordained to co-op the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain.

Essentially...Halloween is over.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

IT Came From Indiegogo: The Lost Mysteries Collection Art Book
I know that I haven't done a "IT Came From..." for quite some time. and I also know that I still need to publish an article outlying Octovember, but this is a special case. When I get attracted to a crowdfunding project, whether it be on Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and I believe in the campaign I want it to succeed. If this means giving it a push, even with our small fan base, then that makes all the difference in the world.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday: Episode 8 "When Halloween Was Forever"

After taking a break we are back (much like in GB2) with our #30DaysofGhostbusters for the celebration of #Octovember. In honor of the end of Halloween and the start of Octovember we present...

Video Provided by Ghostbusters Animated

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great Nintendo Horror Games: "The Return of the Living Dead: Partytime"

If you haven't read the article that preceded this one, it's here. Now onward.

I now, it's been a while since we talked about GNHG (THAEBWOBA) but since it is October and this is apparently an annual tradition for me I thought it would be prudent to bring it back.

Re-visit our last review: "Monster Squad: The Game". 
The Monster Squad Game

Before we get into the review there's a little bit of history we need to get into. The history of the arcade light gun shooter.
"You mean you have to use your hands?"

Prepare, 30 Days of Ghostbusters is...Extended!

And now, a brief message from 
Culturally Significant! 
head contributor M.E. Strange-

I think I might of bitten off more than I could chew with the 30 Days of Ghostbusters.
...and that's a lot to chew, even with hot coco.
When I first conceived of posting an article related to 'Ghostbusters' for almost every single day in October I failed to factor in my work schedule, my personal relationships, enjoying Halloween activities, and general burnout. I planned out the articles and what they would cover but didn't prep the articles in advance. I usually write in the now and most of my features I write from the hip (as you can tell from my grammar and syntax). This proves problematic, especially in this instance, but I feel gives the pieces more energy and life. Why am I disclosing all this? If you'v been following the 30 Days closely, or just popping-in now and then, you may have noticed that I have begun to fall behind. Features have not been posted on their scheduled times and because of this there are holes starting to appear.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday: Episode 73 "Egon's Ghost"

This week I decided to go for what I feel is one of the darker RGB episodes "Egon's Ghost".  

This episode begins with the belief that Egon has been destabilized completely, but in truth what it feels like is that Egon has died. Let me just repeat that, this episode flirts with the notion of Egon's death.  
  Yeah, children of the world I'm sure had a similar experience. Throw in demons and the Netherworld and what settles is a rather grim episode. Will Egon return?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Countdown to Halloween: Strange Kids Club HALLOWEEN TREE and MAD MONSTERS Prints

With the recent collab between CultSig! and SKC we thought it be cool to point out the awesome Halloween prints they have made available.

Glen Brogan, "HALLOWEEN TREE". 18 x 24.
Zach Bellissimo, "MAD MONSTERS'. 24 x 18.

Why Ghostbusters? featuring Rondal Scott of Strange Kids Club

Okay, we are late into the 30 days and this is the first guest spot. In fact, the 30 overall days has had a couple of hiccups with some missing holes. Have no fear, some of our featured articles have no been able to go up on schedule but they will. Take my word, when it comes to the end there will be 30 posts of Ghostbusters related goodness.

With "Why Ghostbusters?" I wanted a place for guest contributors to come and explore their love of the Ghostbusters franchise. Of all the people I wanted to get for these pieces, Mr. Rondal Scott of Strange Kids Club was high on the list.

Strange Kid and his creator, Rondal Scott III (Image by Strange Kids Club)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ghostbusters Trailer Tuesday: 'Ghostbusters II" (1989)

So, with this week's Ghostbusters Trailer Tuesday we will step in it, sequel territory that it. This is 'Ghostbusters II' (1989).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday: Episode 90 "The Grundel"

For this Friday we look at the scary side of The Real Ghostbusters with episode 90 "The Grundel".

The Real Ghostbusters was always spooky show but it was a fun kind of spooky, like school haunted house. But on a handful of occasions the show became outright frightening and this episode was perhaps the most troubling. This episode, and its antagonist, actually scared me when I was younger. The idea of a monster that would knock on your window and attempt to draw you out had too much of a child abductor vibe to it for me to sleep soundly. Still to this day, when I hear a creak in my house, I wonder if the Grundel is near.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Art Deco, Very Nice: Chogrin Presents No-Ghost Logos

 We're back for some more fan-driven Ghostbusters art. Tumblr in recent years has become a spawning ground for not only Sherlock fan fiction but also highlighting great upcoming artist. One of these artists is Joseph Game aka Chogrin.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ghostbusters Trailer Tuesday: The Summer of 'Ghostbusters' (1984) and After.

Last week we watched the trailer for 'Ghostbusters' (1984) in all it's glory, but what about after the film came out. 'Ghostbusters' (1984) was a monster success and it's influence was felt long after the summer of '84. This GTT we wanted to look at the TV spots and other associated trailers released in the wake of the 'Ghostbusters' effect.

Art Deco, Very Nice: Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Show (Part 3: The Final Chapter)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)
We finish our exploration of Gallery 1988's 'Ghostbusters' 30th show with one final collection.

Matthew Skiff, "Are You A God?". 18 x 24.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Free The Real ghostbusters Friday: Episode 66 "Rollerghoster"

We're back with another episode from The Real Ghostbusters. Let's get straight into it, episode 66 "Rollerghoster".

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ghostbuster Trailer Tuesday: 'Ghostbusters' (1984)

Teaser trailer Tuesday has been given a break for 30 Days of Ghostbusters. In its place we will be looking at trailer associated with...can you guess?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Art Deco, Very Nice: Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Show (Part 1)

In the world of pop culture 'Ghostbusters' holds a special place for fans, this is no different with artist. Many have expressed their love of the boys in gray (even if they wear tan) with stylistic interpretations and re-visions. Here we post some more extraordinary work by some of the leading graphic designers today who have a fondness for those Ghostbusters.

Gallery 1988 is a pop-art gallery in California that has risen quick due to the amount of artist they get to collaborate and their genre themed exhibits. Well known for their "Crazy4Cult" show, they have steady been proving to as influential as other such gallerias like Austin's Mondo or Brooklyn's Bottleneck. Starting May 17th the unveiled a traveling Ghostbusters exhibit honoring the 30th anniversary that hit various cities and cons, featuring the work of dozens of graphic artist and designers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday: Episode 11 "Citizen Ghost'

Free The Real Ghostbusters Friday is where we showcase episodes from The Real Ghostbusters, the animated 'Ghostbusters' series that ran for six season. For many born after 1984 this may very well have been the first exposure to Ghostbusters. The show proved successful and lead the way for a marketing machine that held youth domain over the show's run. You couldn't turn around without seeing toys to toothpaste with the RGB insignia. We will choose episodes that help reflect the best of the series and explain how it affected us. Today's curator is M.E. Strange for Episode 11 from season one titled "Citizen Ghost":

I choose "Citizen Ghost" for the first "FRGBF" because I feel it best encapsulates 
the series, or at least season one. Unlike the first episode, "Ghosts R Us", this episode 
picks up straight from the first Ghostbusters film and ties the entire series together. It feels 
like this was planned to be the pilot for the series but wasn't aired for some reason. 
This episode was written by J. Michael Straczynski, famed Sci-Fi TV writer who worked not only as a writer for the first season of RGB but also as the head story editor. This is one of J. Michael's better scripts for the show before leaving due to all the changes consultants wanted after the success of season one.