The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the Weight of the Shield

I just finished the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and I’ve had a question bouncing around in my head since the first episode.  It never once occurred to me reading about these characters in comic books but it rises when you place them within the nature and structure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The piece will have light plot spoilers for the first three episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Solider so if you’ve not seen any of it and you don’t want anything spoiled, feel free to click away now.  I enjoyed your visit!  If you don’t mind light spoilers, then by all means read on.  You do you :D.  With that being said, this piece will consider the question of the emotional and moral weight of trying to carry Captain America’s shield once Steve Rogers himself is gone.

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Norma Bates – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Kalie Zamierowski of Just Dread-full

One thing worth noting about the horror genre is that it produces images that resist quick mental erasure.  From the statuesque model who turns into a decrepit, decaying old woman in the infamous shower scene of The Shining to the bloody womb hanging limply outside the skin of Nola Carveth in The Brood, horror does nothing if not supply us with grotesque images of often monstrous women.  Psycho’s Norma Bates, then, is no exception.  In Hitchcock’s original film, Psycho, we see Norma not as a mommy so much as a stereotypical mummy; all that is left of her is a skeletal, eyeless frame and some tousled hair pulled back in a bun. We hear her character, and therefore understand her character, only through Marion Crane’s ears as the delusional Norman voices her from afar in the antiquated Victorian house on the hill outside Bates Motel.  But Norma is a famous mummy, and a famous mommy, to be sure, one who lingers in the mind of the viewer long after the theater lights go on, and one who has lingered in the cultural imagination now for sixty-one years and counting.  Significantly, Norma Bates didn’t get to speak for herself until 2013, when the hit TV show Bates Motel rescued and re-invented her character through Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of her as Norman’s mildly cooky but vivacious and loving mom.  As a woman who navigates an excruciating past, a corrupt, drug-infested city, and a psychotic son with surprising sangfroid, Norma Bates in Bates Motel is who I choose to feature this year for the annual Fiction’s Fearless Females blogathon. 

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Lieutenant Nyota Uhura – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Nancy of Graphic Novelty2

In celebration of Women’s History Month and for my entry in this year’s Fiction’s Fearless Females series, I am choosing Star Trek’s original fearless female – the one and only Lieutenant Nyota Uhura! This is the third year that Kathleen and I have participated in this series and joining us is Michael of My Comic Relief, Jesse of the newly revived Green Onion, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Please give them a follow to catch their posts (all have great content outside of #FFF), or look out for them here, throughout the month. Continue reading

Lisa Simpson – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Green Onion of Green Onion Revival Project

Oh, it is good to be back in the blogging ring. Specifically, when it comes to collaborating with all the other amazing bloggers. And once more I am grateful to throw my words into the Fiction’s Fearless Females series.

Fiction’s Fearless Females (#FFF) is a cross-blog event that has been going strong for years now. Each year a collection of my favourite friends and bloggers come together to celebrate women in fiction.

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Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2

Guess who’s back, back again?! #FFF is back, tell a friend! This time, I’m kicking off our annual series about your favorite fictional ladies of the fearless variety 😉 Joining Nancy and I are Michael of My Comic Relief, Jesse of the newly revived Green Onion, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Please give them a follow to catch their posts (all have great content outside of #FFF), or look out for them here, throughout the month. Continue reading

My Personal Literary Canon – A Self-Portrait in Books

There is great debate about which texts deserve to sit in the canon of literature – debates shaped by people far more informed than I.  Sure, I’ll talk about canon in Marvel or Doctor Who or Star Wars but F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway?  Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle?  Et cetera and so on?  I’ve opinions but few are fully informed by academic scholarship.  Last summer I was reading one of my favorite blogs – I read that in a book – and I came across a post titled, “Personal book canon – a self-portrait in books.”  I loved the post and I loved the idea and I immediately began thinking of what would make up my own personal literary canon.  In the comment section of the piece, I talked of how I was eager to “steal” the idea and try it myself.  This was something I could speak to in an informed way!  I thought it a really fun idea, too, to look at the books which have most shaped my life.  So today, in my 400th post (!!!!), I’m going to do just that :D.

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“Fancy a Trip in the Box?” – Considering the TARDIS and Each Companion’s First Trip

One of my favorite things about Doctor Who is the first trip the Doctor makes with any new companion.  Now I’m not talking about their first adventure, where they meet the Doctor and get pulled into a much larger world than they knew existed the day before.  No, I’m talking about their first trip, the moment they decide they want to travel through time and space with the Doctor inside that little blue box.  I love it, in part, because these episodes always make me think how would you even begin to choose?!!?  If you had allllllllllll of time and space laid out before you, where would you even want to go first?  How could you pick?!?  Or, if you were in the Doctor’s place, how do you decide what first to show your new companion?  

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Nightmares of Absolute Carnage

I hadn’t planned on writing about this.  As the school year began, I found myself reading lots of Spider-Man comics just for fun.  With all the pressures of pandemic teaching plus all the anxieties always weighing on our hearts and minds living during a pandemic plus the toxic exhaustion of our political age all adding up to make everything in life constantly harder, I turned to something familiar and fun.  I’ve loved Spider-Man since I was three-years-old.  I’ve read his comics, watched his cartoons, and enjoyed his movies my entire life.  For thirty-five years the web-head has entertained me.  So I sought comfort, security, and escape in the character I’ve loved the longest and most consistently in my life.  Getting caught-up on Nick Spencer’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man with Marvel Unlimited (I cut the title from my pull list with the “Hunted” storyline as it a) felt derivative of what I read in the ‘80s and ‘90s and b) overtly ignored alllllllllll the character development done with Kraven in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), I came to the “Absolute Carnage” tie-in issues.  Loving symbiotes and getting nostalgia flashback feels from the “Maximum Carnage” crossover of my youth, I decided to read the whole event.

I was not ready for what I’d find.  And I ended up having to write about the experience.

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Black Widow: A Comic Book Retrospective – ‘00 through ‘10

Back when the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War was released, a conversation with Kiri (of Star Wars Anonymous) about whether Black Widow was ever blonde in the comics led me to realize how few of her comics I’d actually read.  Because I had no idea if she was!  This was unacceptable.  Since I’m me, I then waaaay overcommitted.  I’ve spent two and a half years now refining my reading list, finding the titles, and reading my way through decades of Black Widow stories.  Four months ago I wrote the second piece in this series, looking at Natasha’s most important appearances in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Now it’s time to turn my attention to 2000–2010 as I continue my little expansive journey through her comic book history, from Natasha’s first appearance in Tales of Suspense #52 (1964) up to The Web of Black Widow (2019-20).  My hope is to finish before Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is released!

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A Life in Love – My Tribute to Grandma

This piece is my eulogy for Grandma, delivered at her funeral on 8 August 2020.  The pictures throughout are family photos and the featured image, as with many of the pictures within, came from one of our many Friday night dinners at Grandma’s.

Grandma first asked me to write her eulogy ten or fifteen years ago.  Every year or two she’d circle back around to the request, double checking I remembered I said I’d do this and making sure I was still planning on it.  I always assured her I did and I would.  But even for me, someone who writes a lot for fun and is kinda paid to talk for a living, this is intimidating.  How do I begin to pay tribute to Grandma?  How do I begin to capture all she means to me? Continue reading