A Tale of Two Caps

In the wake of Secret Empire’s conclusion, Nick Spencer stepped away from Captain America, the title he shepherded for Marvel from October 2015 through September 2017.  During this time he handled the majority of Sam Wilson’s iconic turn as Cap as well as the (infamously controversial) Hydra corruption of Steve Rogers, resulting in Steve becoming a fanatical white supremacist.  Amidst the most soul-crushing, hopeless storyline I’ve ever read in a comic, Spencer orchestrated the resurrection of hope in a way so authentically powerful, I felt as though I’d been reborn along with Steve Rogers.  Now, in the Marvel Legacy era, Rodney Barnes has taken over writing the brand-new Falcon series while Mark Waid has taken over Captain America.  For me, the results have been mixed. Continue reading

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Doctor Who: Becoming a Fan Without the Fandom

I watch Doctor Who now.  If I’m being honest, I watch Doctor Who a lot.  If I’m being really honest, I am absolutely in love with this show (and I may have developed a bit of a binge-watching problem).  I began watching it at the start of the school year and fell in love immediately.  Soon words like “TARDIS,” “Time Lord,” “sonic screwdriver,” “psychic paper,” “Daleks,” and “Cybermen” had become a regular part of my vocabulary.  However, this isn’t a piece about Doctor Who so much as it’s a reflection on falling in love with a show in isolation, completely removed from whatever fandom exists for the brilliant, beautiful world of the Doctor. Continue reading

#GivingTuesday and The Talker Toy Challenge!

In 2012, an idea was born.  We had Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving when, for decades, stores traditionally offer crazy deals to kick off the Christmas shopping season).  We had Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving when similar sales pop up all over the web).  What if we focused a little of our Christmas-driven consumeristic madness on helping others?  With that, Giving Tuesday – “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration” – arrived on the scene. Continue reading

Make Mine Captain Marvel!

This is it folks…my 200th post on MY COMIC RELIEF!!!  Just as I did with my piece on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for my 100th post celebration, I wanted this one to be extra special.  And I could think of no better subject than Captain Marvel.  Carol Danvers was one of those characters who exploded into popularity during my seventeen year hiatus in comic reading.  She’s also one of the characters I was most excited to meet when I returned!  I don’t think it’s at all hyperbolic to say Captain Marvel represents the future of Marvel Comics.  Reinvented by Kelly Sue DeConnick, shepherded through the Second Superhero Civil War by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, and now under the brilliant stewardship of Margaret Stohl, Carol Danvers has become Marvel’s true North.  Providentially named, I believe Captain Marvel represents the best of what Marvel Comics was, is, and can be. Continue reading

Secret Empire’s Finale: Salvation in Hope

Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire came to a close on August 30th with Secret Empire #10.  As I read the final chapter, I knew I’d write something about it.  I’ve written about Secret Empire a few times and I’m pretty open about my love and respect for Sam Wilson: Captain America.  But I didn’t want to write something right away.  Secret Empire’s finale deserved more than my knee-jerk reaction.  I wanted to take time to really think about it before I tried to write anything.  It was an elegant story, equal parts epic superhero crossover and haunting allegory of our times.  But it didn’t stop there, daring to speak to one of our most intimate and eternal human struggles.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Thank you Nick Spencer for such a thoughtful, moving, important, and inspiring story.  And thank you Marvel for backing such courageous storytellingContinue reading

Reading Captain America #25 in the Wake of Charlottesville

Last week Nick Spencer delivered one of Secret Empire’s most important pieces yet in Captain America #25.  I knew when I read it, I’d be writing about it.  But I hadn’t expected to do so this quickly.  However, as I watched the news unfold on Saturday, I couldn’t get this issue out of my mind.  The comic, dropping “Sam Wilson” from the title with this issue, is simply Captain America once more.  The narrative juxtaposes the approach of two very different Captain Americas.  The allegory is clear.  Who do we choose?  Who are we?  It’s a question calling each reader to deep contemplation on a personal and national level, a question I ask myself daily. Continue reading

Captain America, Black Lives Matter, and the Systemic Sin of Racism

When it comes to Nick Spencer’s work we’re all currently focused on Secret Empire.  With good reason too!  The story’s proved as brilliant as it is important.  But in the wake of the June 16th verdict acquitting Office Jeronimo Yanez of the murder of Philando Castile, I think we need to return to Spencer’s final arc in Sam Wilson: Captain America before Secret Empire began.  In Sam Wilson: Captain America #17-21, Cap finds himself facing America’s oldest systemic sin – institutionalized racism.  The story is uncomfortable to read but when we look at the news with open eyes it makes us uncomfortable too.  The idea that we’ve somehow beaten racism in this country or that it’s not a major problem anymore or that we need to “get over it and move on” is an effect of this sin.  In having Captain America confront it, Nick Spencer proves once again why he’s one of my favorite comic writers.  Who better than Captain America to wrestle with this country’s systemic sins and raise important questions about our future? Continue reading