Black Panther: The Struggle of Faith When God Is Silent

Modern comics tend to focus on shorter, four-to-six issue story arcs.  The ever-present wariness about the mercurial taste of readers, accessibility to potential newbies, as well as the fact each title will be collected and sold as trades two or three times a year shapes how stories are told.  Yet Ta-Nehisi Coates has embraced a longer form of storytelling, with great success, since taking over Black Panther.  His first “season” (as he describes it) was “A Nation Under Our Feet,” a yearlong story exploring the nature of people and politics, what it means to rule and who has the right to do so.  His second season, “Avengers Of The New World,” is another thoughtful, multifaceted yearlong story.  In it Coates eloquently and gracefully depicts the struggle of faith when God is silent. Continue reading

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Before They Were Movie Stars: Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

It’s no secret, like a large portion of the world, I immediately fell in love with the Guardians of the Galaxy when I met them in James Gunn’s masterpiece.  I’d never seen Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, or Groot before and only knew Gamora, Drax, and Nebula from their Infinity-related exploits of the 1990’s.  This team was like nothing I’d ever seen and everything I always wanted!  It’s also not a secret, loving the films as I do, I’ve sought comics with the same feeling.  But no matter what I read it wasn’t enough like Gunn’s vision.  This is a major (first world) problem because I want more Guardians in my life!  Well, for my birthday this summer Mom and Dad got me the collections of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008-2010 run with Guardians Of The Galaxy, the comics that inspired Gunn’s film!  And I finally met the Guardians before they were movie stars… Continue reading

First Impressions: The Fantastic Four

This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for ages.  I originally envisioned it shortly following the “First Impressions: The X-Men” post I wrote last year.  But, for one reason or another, I always stopped short of finishing it.  Now, on the eve of the Fantastic Four’s return, shepherded by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, the time is right.  So let’s take another trip down memory lane and revisit the very first Fantastic Four comic I ever read!  It was 1993 and the cover leapt out at me from the spinning rack in a local grocery store (the now long-gone Loblaws on W 12th St, if I remember correctly).  It was Fantastic Four #374 and, while I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to meet the characters who’d become my all-time favorite comic book team.  To this day, they still hold this place in my heart! Continue reading

Marvel Rising – A Miniseries Deserving Of An Ongoing Title!

Did you know Marvel has an incredible new miniseries out right now by Devin Greyson, G. Willow Wilson, and Ryan North staring Ms. Marvel AND Squirrel Girl?!?  Did you know I wrote about that very same series in a guest post for Graphic Novelty2?!?  Well, whether you knew or not, you know now!  So you’re welcome.  I’m super excited about this series and about having the chance to talk about it on Nancy and Kathleen’s fantastic site.  So there’s not much else for me to say outside of please click this link and give it a read!  I had a lot of fun with this one and I hope you enjoy it too. Continue reading

Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley: A New Era for The Amazing Spider-Man!!!

I’m usually not one to do single-issue reviews or reactions.  I tend toward essays with a larger focus.  That’s just how my mind works.  But after Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s debut on The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (or #802 as I see it; I love the legacy numbering) I just couldn’t wait.  To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, I got excited.  I just wanted to…shout it from the top of a mountain.  But I didn’t have a mountain.  I had this blog.  Look, I write about comics, that’s what I do.  And today’s top story, in Michael Miller’s world read something like this – I love Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s The Amazing Spider-Man!  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

Marvel’s Champions – The Youth Shall Lead Us

Back in March, Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos ended their eighteen issue run on Champions, the team they introduced in 2016.  Consisting of Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, Viv Vision, the Hulk, and Cyclops, these teens united with the very real belief they could make the world better.  While adult superheroes tend to spend all their time with things like supervillains, monsters, alien invasions, and stupid/senseless/pointless Civil Wars, these kids sought to tackle real issues, believing in their potential to fix things and inspire others to do the same in the process.  This run was one of the most important things Marvel’s produced of late, a story that speaks to their youthful readers while reminding us older ones what’s worth fighting for by showing us what real heroes do. Continue reading