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!
This month marks the 80th Anniversary of Wonder Woman!!! I didn’t read her comics as a kid but Diana of Themyscria is a character who’s come to mean very much to me. As Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017) was my gateway to Diana and her world, it felt apropos to mark this occasion by (finally) posting the piece I wrote after seeing Wonder Woman 1984. I LOVE the movies. Since I got my driver’s license, rarely more than a week went by in between trips to the theatre. However, after a 10:05 pm showing of Brahms: The Boy 2 on 7 March 2020, lockdown hit. So when I saw Wonder Woman 1984, it’d been over TEN MONTHS since I’d went to the movies. I wanted my return to be special and WW84 was the logical choice. I wasn’t disappointed! Wonder Woman 1984 was a worthy successor to the masterpiece that was Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did it again! They captured lightning in a bottle twice…at least as far as I was concerned. I was stunned when I began talking to friends – close friends who often share my opinion of films – and learned not everyone felt the same. Some did, but some didn’t. Granting all art is subjective, I still became curious, wondering what they saw in this film. Many conversations followed and this piece was born of my side of those conversations. This is an exploration of all I see in WW84.
Four years ago I wrote a piece titled, “Captain America and the Defense of the American Dream.” I posted it on Inauguration Day and it considered how we, as a nation, should respond to Trump’s election, using Captain America as the frame for analysis. It examined Captain America as a character, his history, and what lessons he could offer when the world we thought we knew was turned so completely upside down. Now, four years later, Joe Biden is about to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States alongside Kamala Harris – the first woman, first Woman of Color, first Indian America, and the first Asian American to hold the office of Vice President. I find myself looking to Captain America once again, to the brilliant narrative Ta-Nehisi Coates’ has been telling in Captain America since July 2018, as I try to process the last four years and consider my roll in the future.
All the creatives and stars of Avengers: Endgame joined in a massive social media campaign asking everyone to be decent human beings and #DontSpoilTheEndgame…for two weeks until Marvel Studios used MASSIVE spoilers for Endgame in their trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. It was clear they were seeking to use all the emotions flowing in the wake of Endgame to motivate advanced ticket sales for Far From Home. Marvel Studios was very direct about how Spider-Man: Far From Home served as the epilogue to Avengers: Endgame. I enjoyed the film but was – and remain – frustrated by a plot point with seriously troubling implications.
Note, this has spoilers for both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home (obvs.). Continue reading
As a character, the Ghost Rider fascinates me. But, with the exception of the ‘90s Spirits of Vengeance title that teamed the Dan Ketch-possessed-Ghost Rider with his (then) demon-free first host Johnny Blaze, I’ve read very few of his comics. Looking back, outside of movies like Ghostbusters 2 (which scared the $#!T out of me), Spirits of Vengeance was really my first foray into horror. Well, horror-lite. Well, horror-lite for a comic book. Well, after I’ve come to enjoy things like Penny Dreadful, It Follows, and The Shining and have had to endure horrors like Hereditary (WORST THING EVER), I wouldn’t really call Spirits of Vengeance “horror” anymore. It’s more a supernatural thriller. But for young me, it was the first time I willingly and intentionally entered the (Ghostbusters-free) world of demons, possessions, and fiery hellscapes. Lately, I’ve found myself thinking of the Ghost Rider. A lot. I can’t stop imagining what shape this Spirit of Vengeance would take if it flamed into being in 2020. Continue reading
In a recent post about the first teaser trailer for Black Widow, I discussed my excitement for the film while pointing out the criticism Marvel received almost as soon as the trailer premiered for fat shaming again. In addition to all the (fair and deserving) praise Avengers: Endgame received, it also received some (fair and deserving) criticism for fat shaming in their presentation of Thor. The trailer for Black Widow does the same with the character of Red Guardian. A comment left on that post led to the idea for this one. While putting together my reply, I decided it warranted its own post. I write often of the intersection of comic books and social justice issues on this site so it’s not just natural but important I address this because fat shaming, or weightism, is a justice issue. It’s also one, sadly, many people in our culture don’t understand or, worse, don’t even acknowledge as an issue at all. Thankfully that’s starting to change and now seems like an opportune time to add my voice to that chorus. Continue reading
Once upon a time, Mom bought li’l three-year-old me a copy of Web Of Spider-Man #12 at the grocery store. So began a lifelong love affair with the character Spider-Man, the medium of comic books, and the world of superheroes. When I turned sixteen my comic budget turned towards gas money. But then, four years ago, I decided to return to my local comic shop and something magical happened. I rediscovered an old love and found something I never expected in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. This month Ryan North (writer), Derek Charm (artist), Rico Renzi (colorist), Travis Lanham (letter), and Wil Moss (editor) – with a surprise dash of Erica Henderson (artist) – have brought this remarkable title to an end. That leaves me with a lot on my mind. How do I say goodbye to something that’s come to mean so much to me?
There will be no significant spoilers for the final issue/arc here, just lots of feelings :). Continue reading
When Captain Marvel opened on 8 March 2019 it was kind of a big deal. After a decade of dragging their feet, Marvel Studios was finally putting the solo spotlight on one of their female superheroes. Brie Larson was bringing Earth’s mightiest hero – Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel – to life! This film would also mark the entrance of the Skrulls into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race, have plagued the (comic) Marvel Universe since the ‘60s. As happened with Black Panther/Avengers: Infinity War the year before, it was a shame Avengers: Endgame came out so soon after Captain Marvel. Attention from this brilliant film was quickly redirected first to speculation about, then reaction to, and finally analysis of Avengers: Endgame. But there is so much in Captain Marvel that warrants a closer look, one point in particular being the Skrulls themselves. Continue reading
I loved Chelsea Cain’ Mockingbird. It was a comic as fun as it was intelligent and laugh-out-loud funny, easily one of the best Marvel was publishing…until they prematurely cancelled it. So you can imagine my elation when I realized Chelsea Cain was back together with her entire Mockingbird team to do another comic! This time she’s writing for Image Comics and the result is the darkly satirical horror/comedy comic Man-Eaters. It’s narrative is richly symbolic and deeply mythological all while delivering a unflinching assault on patriarchal oppression. It’s funny and creepy and has this fascinating slow building mystery. If you’d like to know more (and who wouldn’t?!?) then you can click here to read the piece I wrote exploring it for Reads & Reels! I would be super happy if you clicked and read because I dig the piece, love the comic, and am happy to be featured on Reads & Reels :). So, um, what are you waiting for? Click away! Continue reading
This is a milestone for me :). This piece is my 300th post on My Comic Relief!! I’ve been trying to figure out which comic was worthy of such a tribute since about my 256th post. Then, like a blinding flash of lightening it hit me. I adored Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s work with Jane Foster in The Mighty Thor. She’s become my definitive Thor. I’ve written several pieces exploring the brilliance of this run but I’ve never written about the end of Jane’s time wielding Mjölnir. To do so, I wanted it to be special. Instead of another analysis, I aim to simply pay tribute, to eulogize in the wake of “The Death of the Mighty Thor,” to talk about why I fell in love with this character and this comic. In short I want to explain why Jane’s time as Thor became MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK STORYLINE OF ALL TIME. In my heart, she’ll always be who I mean when I invoke the name “Thor.” Continue reading