The Four Comics I Can’t Live Without

A few years ago, when I was counting down to my hundredth post on this site, I profiled the four comic books I’d found since my return to reading comics which had become indispensable to my reading life.  These were the comics that, even if I stopped collecting comics again, I couldn’t imagine putting down.  They showcased, for me, the best of what a comic could offer while doing things I never imagined a comic book could.  They were (in the order I wrote about them in my countdown), Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW’s Ghostbusters, and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Thinking of those titles now, I can still feel the burgeoning excitement and awe that accompanied my return to comic reading.  They also make me think of impermanence. Continue reading

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The Unique Magic of G. Willow Wilson’s Wonder Woman

My near-exclusive Marvel fandom has been indelibly stamped on my being for over thirty years however I’ve wanted to read Wonder Woman since I saw Patty Jenkins’ brilliant film.  She redefined everything a comic book movie could be/do in the summer of 2017 and I was captivated.  Diana Prince is a uniquely important character too, who’s been a part of our popular culture since 1941.  She is the archetypal female superhero.  She’s part of DC’s Trinity and, no matter how much I love them, Marvel has no one like her.  In short, she’s a character I should know.  So I tried the first issue of Greg Rucka’s “Rebirth” run but found it more confusing than welcoming.  Yet I kept trying, wanting to experience this character I’d fallen in love with at the movies in the genre she was born into.  I researched “classic” or “definitive” Wonder Woman stories but jumping into the middle of seventy-seven years of stories, almost completely at random, felt a bit intimidating.  Then came G. Willow Wilson. Continue reading

Revisiting (for no reason in particular) 1996’s Marvel Versus DC Event

You know when you have something stuck in your head and you can’t exorcise it until you experience it?  Like a song you need to listen to or a movie you have to watch?  Well, inexplicably, I’ve had 1996’s Marvel Comics VERSUS DC event stuck in my head for weeks.  It’s so strong I’ve even been thinking of those Amalgam Comics they ran between the third and fourth issues of the series.  So, like a particularly hooky song, in order to free my random mental musings from this event I decided to reread it.  Even as a kid it seemed more like a popularity contest than a legitimate story but now, as an adult, I wanted to look at that more closely.  Given these match-ups, do any of the victors make sense for any reason outside of who was the clear fan favorite? Continue reading

The BIG Question: Would You Rather Be Iron Man or Batman?

I spent the last week in New Orleans for a conference…where I saw none of the city as I was stuck in 12+ hours of meetings/seminars/lectures every day.  BUT I did direct some of my mental energy towards contemplating one of life’s biggest, most pressing issues.  You see, Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne essentially have the same character framework.  I’m not the first person to make this observation, but it’s true.  Both are insanely wealthy.  Both have brilliant minds.  Both run huge companies.  Both lost their parents when they were young (albeit in different circumstances).  Both became superheroes.  Both are founding/central members in one of their universe’s most important superhero teams – the Avengers and Justice League, respectively.  Despite their similarities though, they are two VERY different characters with VERY different lives…which leads us to our BIG question – if you could choose, would you rather be Iron Man or Batman??  Continue reading

The Impossible Surprise of James Tynion IV’s Batman: Detective Comics

I have to tip my hat to James Tynion IV.  He’s clearly one of our most talented modern comic writers.  I’ve always been fairly ambivalent about DC.  And I’ve never, ever liked Batman.  I’ve said before I think he’s overrated.  In fact, he kind of annoys me.  He’s this grumpy malcontent whose emotional development stalled as the result of a childhood tragedy and now (somewhat ironically) recruits child soldiers to help him battle the most dangerous and disturbed minds on the planet.  He’s too dark, dangerous, and dour to ever be my sort of superhero.  BUT James Tynion IV has taken this character I’ve never liked and created a comic I love around him.  His Detective Comics is the lone DC book I need to read in my world of Marvel and IDW titles. Continue reading

Wonder Woman: A Salvific Triumph

Even with the Rotten Tomatoes score, I wasn’t ready for this.  Wonder Woman is a revelation.  We now have a new standard bearer for what a superhero movie can do.  There are no spoilers here, obviously.  The movie just came out last night!  Everyone needs to see this and experience for themselves just how inspiring a comic book movie can be.  Marvel, and the world, need take notice too.  DC’s cinematic comic book universe has arrived and Wonder Woman is their flagship hero, carrying both the DCEU forward and the possible potential for all comic book movies.  Finding what I did in watching Wonder Woman was the most incredible surprise.  And you deserve that surprise too!  So I’m not talking spoilers but I will speak of the film thematically and speak to how it managed to move me so profoundly. Continue reading

Wonder Woman…YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

Okay, I shouldn’t be writing right now.  I should be going to bed.  Tomorrow night’s Baccalaureate and Thursday night’s graduation.  And my homeroom kids are graduating!!  Aaaahhh!!  I’ve had these kids for four years and I’m an emotional and nostalgic mess.  I should be in bed.  BUT I just read that Wonder Woman is currently sitting at a superhero-movie-record-setting 97% on Rotten Tomatoes!!!  To give context, the best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done on Rotten Tomatoes is Iron Man at 94%, The Avengers at 92%, Guardians Of The Galaxy at 91%, and Captain America: Civil War at 90%.  (And nothing the DCEU’s offered has rated “Fresh” so far.)  Now, I make no attempt to hide that I’m a Marvel guy through and through.  I also can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of what the DCEU’s offered so far.  But I want Wonder Woman to hold this place and take this title.  DC deserves this. Continue reading