The Goodreads Top Five Wednesday post for this week was an interesting one. Essentially you’re to compile a list of five of your favorite posts. So basically I’m putting together my (still very young) blog’s Greatest Hits. Now I just have to hope that this list is like Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 Greatest Hits album where he went on to make (and continues to make!) some of the best music of his career after he released it and not something like Poison’s Greatest Hits 1986-1996 where it was an awesome album…but then not so much great new material afterwards. (Although, giving credit where credit is due, they did a wonderfully fun cover of “SexyBack” in 2007.) I’ve also included little (new) summaries of the posts and why they made the cut. So there’s new material here too. Anyway, let’s see which posts made the cut!
I had a lot more fun (and struggles!) than I expected, going back through the twenty or so odd posts I’ve had since I started My Comic Relief to figure out what I wanted to include on this list. When it came to the factors I used to see what I’d include, I basically settled on the pieces that I felt the most proud of. One of the greatest things about this blogging effort so far is how I’ve been able to explore my love of comics and comic collecting while also exploring the deeper meanings the genre can carry. I’m proud of all the pieces I’ve posted on this blog (otherwise I wouldn’t post them!) but there are certain ones that stand out. When I’m writing, there are certain projects where completing the post brings with it a sense of relief. An emotional exhaustion results from investing myself in what I’m writing and trying to express all I want to say accurately. When I tiredly click the “publish” button on WordPress, I feel I’ve said something worthwhile and I’ve done the work – and my experience of the work – justice. What follows then are my five favorites in that category.
5) I ALWAYS Know Who I’m Gonna Call! – I love me some Ghostbusters! And I think this piece does a great job of reflecting the varied aspects of that love. I talk about the movies (of course!), the brilliant new comic series, and even a little about the cartoon. However it’s also full of personal stories (a hallmark of how I teach and write) looking back on fond memories of playing Ghostbusters with my brother and how I’ve loved them all through my life. I also talk about why this should be my job!
4) A Real Need for the All New, All Different Avengers – This is an early post but it hits on a lot of what I love about comics and have come to explore in this blog. There’s social justice themes sprinkled throughout but there’s also a lot of discussion about how comic books serve our culture as modern myths and why that’s so important. I’m very passionate about my love of comic books and I’m very passionate about what they can do for our culture. I’m proud of how that’s reflected in this piece.
3) The Killing Joke: The Horror Genre’s Greatest Unclaimed Masterpiece – This was a post I wrote for Kalie’s blog last year. It’s particularly memorable because it was the first blog post I did where I just let myself go. I wasn’t concerned with a page or word count. Before I was always worried about a post being “too long” or “too short” or whatever. Here I just wrote what came from me after reading this brilliant and horrifying graphic novel. I’m very proud of the result and the approach has informed all of my blogging efforts since then.
2) Ms. Marvel: Faith, Family, and Fandom – This post strikes closest to the core of who I am as a person and was very close to being my #1 pick for this list. I have loved comic books since I was four years old and I’ve studied theology for fifteen years. Ms. Marvel is a powerful and important comic book where those two passions cross with regularity and great effect. This post then is my loving tribute to G. Willow Willson’s comic, which I consider to be the most important comic being published right now. You need to read this comic all the time!!!
1) A Lifelong Love Affair With Spider-Man – At the end of the day, no other post could take the #1 spot other than this. It’s no secret that I’m a Spidey guy. This post is my love letter to the character that made me love comics, superheroes, and – in a very real way – love reading at an early age. I associate Spider-Man with so many formative memories and I tie my experience with him so closely to my family. This is the post where I explore that relationship and try to say just how much Spider-Man has meant, and continues to mean, to me.
So there you have it folks, my personal thoughts on what counts as my blogging Greatest Hits. Thank you for taking this trip down Memory Lane with me! Now I’m off to start brainstorming the next post. As I said above, we’re looking to follow the Springsteen model after this look back, not the Hair Band one! Wish me luck.