AHHHHH!!! – OR – Reflections on Dan Slott’s Return to Writing Spider-Man

It’s like Marvel knows it’s my Birthday Week!  On July 1st it was announced Dan Slott will be returning to write a new monthly Spider-Man book – the adjective-less Spider-Man, which first debuted in my youth as a vehicle for the artist/writer Todd McFarlane in August of 1990 – this October.  Dan Slott was part of of the Webhead Braintrust of writers who launched Spider-Man’s “Brand New Day Era” in January 2008 alongside Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, and Zeb Wells and grew to include Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, Fred Van Lente, Roger Stern, Brian Reed, and Tom Peyer before BND ended in November 2010.  He then took over as solo writer for The Amazing Spider-Man which he wrote from that November’s #648 through June 2018’s #801.  Dan Slott can be a bit of a divisive writer among Spider-fans so I wanted to take this chance to reflect a bit on his writing and why I’m pretty excited for the return of such an amazing (heh) Spider-Man writer.  THWIP onward for Spider-Reflections!

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“Embiggen!”: Connecting Kamala’s Powers in Disney+’s Ms. Marvel to Her Comic Origin

I try to guard myself against the “it’s newest so it’s the best EVER” reaction that often permeates fandoms.  We can tend to live and breathe a movie or a show as soon as it premieres, reworking our rank lists to show how this is the best ever…until the next new movie or show in that universe comes out.  I get the excitement.  I often share it myself!  But I’m always cautious about saying “best” when reflecting on a new movie or show.  Yet it’s impossible to deny the sheer beauty and joy of Disney+’s Ms. Marvel show.  Each episode fills my heart in a way nothing else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has.  As far as I’m concerned, it is easily the most joyful entry in the MCU.  I think it’s far and away the most important show Disney+ has done so far, too.  And it may well be the best.  We’ll see ;D.  So I want to explore these emotions through the lens of how Kamala’s powers changed for the Disney+ show…in a way that’s far closer to her comic roots than I first realized.

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Would You Go to Westworld If It Were Real?  Would I Go to Westworld?

This is a piece I wrote awhile back but never posted.  I’d planned to use it to help fill the quiet on the blog as I was writing my book (yay!) but, well, I just kinda forgot.  What can I say?  Life was busy.  But with Westworld Season Four arriving this weekend, I figured it was the perfect time to share it!  Enjoy!

This last HBO show I became completely obsessed with was Westworld.  As I started it just months after I watched (and raved incessantly about) The Leftovers,[1] my brother was worried I’d fall into the “HBO Cult” and become one of those people who ONLY talks about HBO shows.  Granted, this fear was more prevalent and the reality more pervasive in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s before the rise of streaming services changed our experience of TV.  But David’s fear/warning was valid all the same and I agree; “those HBO people” can be SO ANNOYING.  Thankfully, while I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about Westworld, HBO never fully consumed me.  There are still plenty of things I like to think and talk about.  So, let’s think and talk about HBO’s Westworld, shall we?

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Exploring All My Emotions Around Obi-Wan Kenobi

Almost as long as Star Wars has existed, there have been spin-off stories to “fill the gaps” and expand the universe.  Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (or, as it was known then, Star Wars!) was released on May 25th 1977.  Marvel’s Star Wars comic began on April 12th 1977, the first six issues adapting the film followed by original stories.  The first Star Wars novel, Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, was released in March 1978.  Both continued the story George Lucas began and served to sate people’s desire for new Star Wars stories until the eventual sequel arrived.  Almost as long as Star Wars has existed then, fans have navigated their relationships with such stories.  Which, if any, do you read/watch?  Which, if any, become a part of your experience of Star Wars?  Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most ambitious of such spin-offs, with Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), Bonnie Piesse (Beru Lars), and Joel Edgerton (Owen Lars) reprising their roles from the Prequel Trilogy.  As with all Star Wars stories outside Lucas’ six films, Obi-Wan Kenobi forces (ha! no pun intended) fans to consider how, if at all, it fits in their experience of Star Wars.  For me, the show brought many welcome, if at times conflicting, emotions.

THIS PIECE WILL HAVE SPOILERS FOR OBI-WAN KENOBI (E1-6).

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What If You Woke Up to the Wrong World?: A Heroes Reborn Reflection/Discussion

Jason Aaron took over the writing duties on Avengers in May of 2018.  His Avengers roster boasted one of the most powerful lineups in the team’s history, with T’Challa/the Black Panther serving as the Avengers’ chairperson and Steve Rogers/Captain America, Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, Thor Odinson, Tony Stark/Iron Man, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, and Avengers newcomer Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider filling their roster.  Soon, Blade the Vampire Hunter would join their ranks.  Their headquarters is the body of a dead Celestial, a race of cosmic space gods responsible for the creation of much of the universe, located in the unforgiving terrain of Antarctica and imbued with all sorts of universe-shaping tech.  T’Challa’s Agents of Wakanda, led by Okoye, fill the information gathering and covert action void for the Avengers in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. world.  Together they have battled Celestials, waded into a vampire civil war, faced the Phoenix force’s return to Earth for a new host, halted Namor’s holy war against a pollution-spewing surface world, and juggled the always-mounting international tensions as all countries of the world wonder whose interests the Avengers serve.

Then one morning Blade woke up to a world where the Avengers never formed and he was the only one who remembered the way it was supposed to be.  And I can’t stop thinking about this!

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Impressions of the Third Doctor – A Journey Through All 695 Episodes of Classic Doctor Who

I love the Third Doctor.  I love the Third Doctor so much!  In many ways, Russell T Davies’ basic Doctor Who blueprint – the Doctor travelling through time and space with one female companion – was born here.  Despite the familiar model, the Third Doctor’s era held a strikingly unique storyline for Doctor Who with the Doctor stranded on Earth for three of five seasons!  This is the third piece in my series exploring all 695 episodes of classic Doctor Who.  Like its predecessors, it considers my feelings/impressions upon meeting this regeneration of the Doctor as well as considering the “firsts” the Third Doctor’s adventures bring to Doctor Who.  Jon Pertwee’s time as the Doctor covered five seasons, Series 7-11, spanning 3 January 1970 to 8 June 1974. 

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Spider-Man and Danielle: Wait…Is This A Date?

The time has come for this series using only Spider-Man comics to explore the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) to hit LUCKY NUMBER THIRTEEN!!!  What lays ahead to consider in ol’ Peter Parker’s romantic misadventures?  Only one of the most vexing (and potentially awkward) of all romantic quandaries – how do you know if you’re actually on a date with someone or not?  Warning: Reading this piece may yield spontaneous full-body shame cringes which involuntarily rise when we remember awkward memories so proceed with caution.  If there’s one thing looking at all Peter Parker’s romantic exploits teaches us, it’s we’re never alone when it comes to awkwardly pursuing love.  When the web-head meets Danielle, the woman working at a jewelry store he returns stolen diamonds to in the all love stories-oriented Amazing Spider-Man #605, sparks fly.  Emotions run high.  She actually talks to him.  It’s a tractor beam – vzzzzzzzt – and it sucks Peter right in.  But, regardless of sparks and emotions we feel when we meet someone new, how do you know when your hanging out has become a real date?  

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BIG EXCITING NEWS – I WROTE A BOOK!!!!!

That’s right, dear reader, you read that correctly.  I wrote a book!  A year ago I announced I had signed a contract with Claremont Press to write a volume for their Religion and Comics Series.  I promised to update you all with more information when I had it and when I could and…(drum roll please)…that time has come!  Ahhhhhhhh, I wrote a book AND I get to tell you about it.  It’s a super exciting day :D.  So read on, dear reader, and I can tell you all about my upcoming book.  YAY!

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Memory Holobook: My Favorite Star Wars Memories

Today, May 25th, marks the 45th anniversary of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope…or as it was called then, Star Wars!  When I started this blog I wrote about Star Wars all the time.  Now it’s been years (literally!) since I wrote anything about the galaxy far, far away.  My last Star Wars piece was in December of 2019, my reaction to and reflection on The Rise of Skywalker.  I just haven’t had much to say about Star Wars as we go further into the Disney Canon.  However, I wanted to write something to mark this occasion.  Kiri wrote a beautiful (and super fun!) piece over on Star Wars Anonymous a year ago about her favorite Star Wars memories.  I loved her post and told her I was excited to nick her idea and compile my own list of Star Wars memories.  The wheels began turning as memories and moments came to mind…I just never wrote it.  But the 45th anniversary of A New Hope’s original theatrical release feels like the perfect time to get nostalgic!

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And Lo, Jodie Whittaker Begat Ncuti Gatwa: Feelings on the Thirteenth Doctor’s Impending Regeneration

This fall, in a 90 minute special airing in October as part of the BBC’s Centenary Celebration, the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate as the Fourteenth Doctor comes into being.[1]  After all the speculation as to who would follow Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in the TARDIS, the BBC announced Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the Doctor’s fourteenth regeneration[2] (well, you know, fourteenth not counting the Fugitive Doctor, the War Doctor, the Morbius Doctors, and every incarnation of the Doctor we’ve met and/or seen alluded to with the Timeless Child).  Naturally, there’ve been many pieces reporting the announcement and compiling quotes from Ncuti Gatwa, returning showrunner Russell T Davies, Jodie Whittaker, Chris Chibnall, and everyone else in the orbit of Doctor Who willing to comment on the news.  This piece isn’t that.  Others have written it (and have done a better job than I could (that’s not my strength as a writer)).  Instead, I want to talk about feelings (much more my forte!) about this impending regeneration when our ever-changing Doctor will change once again.

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