The Greatest Kraven Story Ever Told

Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for The Amazing Spider-Man #15.  The son of a Russian noble family who fled to America in 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution, Kraven’s self-identity was defined by being a big game hunter.  In an attempt to prove he was the world’s greatest hunter, Kraven became obsessed with defeating Spider-Man.  He hunted the web-head from his creation in ’64 until his death in 1987’s critically acclaimed “Kraven’s Last Hunt” story arc.  As with many comic characters Kraven would ultimately be resurrected, in this case by his family in 2010’s “Grim Hunt” storyline.  In the fifty-four years since his creation, Kraven has featured in some of Spider-Man’s most iconic storylines and stood among the web-slinger’s fiercest foes.  But which is the greatest Kraven story ever told?  To my mind, dear reader, there is only one answer.  (Oh, there will be spoilers, obvs.) Continue reading

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Spider-Man and the Black Cat: Flirting with Perfection

It’s no secret I love Peter and Mary Jane together.  Their relationship was the foundation of all the Spider-Man comics I read as a kid, getting into Spider-Man the year before they got married.  Heck, the very first image on the very first page of the very first Spider-Man comic I ever had (Web Of Spider-Man #12) was Peter and Mary Jane standing together, in the remains of his ruined apartment.  For me, they’ve always been Marvel’s power couple (sorry Reed and Sue) and a testament to love’s power to endure all things.  I still resent Marvel for breaking them up in 2007’s contrived “One More Day” storyline.  Boo.  HOWEVER, despite my eternal love of Peter and Mary Jane there’s just something about the Black Cat.  She’s an incredible character and she balances Peter in an important way.  After Mary Jane, no one’s close to Felicia Hardy in my favorite love interests for Peter – not even Gwen Stacy.  And, despite my love of Mary Jane, I think Felicia fits with Peter in a way none of his other love interests can.

GASP.  I know, right?!  Here’s what I mean. Continue reading

Ten Surprises I Found When I FINALLY Read Marvel’s Civil War

That’s right world, I finally did it!  I FINALLY read Marvel’s “Civil War.”  It only took me twelve years to do it :).  This was, arguably, the biggest thing to happen to comic books during my seventeen year break in reading them.  It was a company-wide crossover unlike anything Marvel had attempted before.  It was a story working perfectly in-universe while also serving as one of the defining allegories of the times.  Parts of it worked as comic books do when they are operating at their highest level.  It was a shining example of a modern myth.  Naturally, I’ve always been intrigued by it and it was certainly impossible (well impossible if you’re interested in comic books) to not have heard all about it.  So it’s been a treat, as I’ve spent the last few months reading this modern epic, to find a few things which legitimately surprised me. Continue reading

Stan Lee: A Reflection

There have been plenty of memorials and obituaries written to honor Stan Lee since his passing yesterday.  There’s nothing I can say about his life that isn’t being said/hasn’t already been said.  Yet, at the same time, I can’t not say anything.  I was talking to Jeff when the news broke.  He told me.  David called soon after.  Texts began coming not long after that.  As with many pop culture deaths, I find myself mourning someone who was a major part of my life despite our never having met.  Unlike most pop culture deaths however, few have influenced my life to the degree Stan Lee did.  His worlds and characters have shaped me since Mom bought me my first comic book – Web Of Spider-Man #12 – when I was four years old.  When I heard he’d died I was at a loss.  All I could do was read.  I had exams that needed to be graded (exams I got back to later that night) but for that moment in time, as I sat with the reality of his passing, the only place I could go to find comfort was back into the worlds he created. Continue reading

Spider-Man’s Modern-Day Frankenstein Tale – “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy”

Alright, originally I intended this as a Halloween post.  I was going to finally read “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy” and write about it, analyzing how Dan Slott expands the premise of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a modern setting.  However, life and work got in the way and I just got around to finishing reading it the other day.  I contemplated saving it for next year but I’m impatient and it’s more fun to keep the spookiness alive anyway.  When I finally jumped into Dan Slott’s world of Spider-Man tales, I avoided this storyline.  I’d heard conflicting reports about it and wasn’t ready for something with that sort of “baggage” as I was meeting his Spidey for the first time.  What I found upon finally reading it was a haunting tale that left me more emotionally shaken than I could have expected. Continue reading

The Immortal Hulk: Rooting for and Fearing the Monster Within

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!  In honor of this spookiest of all holidays, I’ve written a guest post for Kalie over at her horror blog, Just Dread-Full, about Al Ewing’s new horror/superhero hybrid series The Immortal Hulk.  As all the best Hulk comics do, this gives us all sort of superheroic destruction while leading us to look deeply into our own hearts and contemplate our own inner demons.  It’s an intriguing comic and I’m proud of the post so I think you should head over to Kalie’s blog right now to read my post about The Immortal Hulk.  Please?  PLEASE.  C’mon!  Just click this link and you’ll make me sooooooooo happy 🙂.  Please and thank you!

The Most Ridiculous Facet of Tony Stark’s Ego (In My Opinion)

It’s no secret, I love me some Iron Man.  Yes, Tony Stark can be a huge tool and our favorite “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” isn’t known for his humility or restraint.  He’s great.  He knows it.  And he’ll happily let you know it too.  However, I maintain Tony’s ego – and his struggle with both the trouble it brings and learning his own limitations – is part of what make him so important as a character.  While I doubt many of us have an ego quite the size of Mr. Stark’s, we all wrestle with ego.  Or at least I do.  So I see parts of myself in Tony Stark as well as lessons I need to learn.  I put a lot of value on that.  However, regardless of the relatability we (or at least I) can find in this particular fault, there is one MASSIVE expression of Tony Stark’s ego that even I find ridiculous.  Continue reading