Every year a group of bloggers and I write about fearless fictional women to celebrate International Women’s Day. Each of these bloggers will be featured on my blog this year. The blog-a-thon started with Michael of My Comic Relief and, after my post, will go on to feature Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2 and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Here’s my contribution to the Blog-a-thon this year!
Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho opens in the warm home of a quaint British town, a home where main character Eloise basks in her vintage-inspired bedroom listening to music from the 60s. The opening scene is so reminiscent of life sixty years ago, in fact, that we may suspect that we are in 1961, not 2021, and because of Wright’s ability to establish a scene we may also feel like we’re temporarily inhabiting a much more idyllic time period than our own. Certainly, that is what Eloise/Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) imagines, the main character who we meet in the film’s beginning. Ellie has just been accepted to fashion school, and we get the impression, based on her excitement, that a glittering life in Great Britain’s fashion hub looks just as perfect, just as idyllic, as the 1960s do in her eyes. But sometimes attractive surface appearances mask a more insidious lurking reality—a fact which may be true of Soho in general, and is definitely true of Soho in the 60s, a reality that Ellie will soon find out.
Literally my first impression of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor was he seemed stern. I thought this long before I saw him play the Doctor or even knew his real name. It was just my immediate reaction to the images/pictures the BBC usually chooses when they show all the Doctors. Maybe it was the dark hair? Maybe it was the piercing stare? I don’t know. But once I began my journey through Classic Doctor Who I knew I’d see if there was any truth to my uninformed first impression (my bet was there wasn’t). And my journey’s progressing! This is the second installment in my series of feelings/impressions upon meeting each Doctor! Patrick Troughton’s run as the Doctor would span three series, from 5 November 1966 to 21 June 1969.
While Harley Quinn is often framed as an antihero in the comics, she most certainly isn’t. She is as much a superhero as anyone in the DC Universe and, being a survivor of abuse, she is stronger than just about any hero DC has, too. Since falling in love with her character (thanks Harley Quinn on HBO Max!) I’ve read every Harley comic from 2013 to the present and she’s not done anything remotely antihero-ish in any of them. Yes, Harley’s wild, a little chaotic, and has an impulse control problem (all of which she admits) but being a free spirit isn’t the same as being morally ambivalent. Her actions in the comics, again and again, are remarkably heroic. And I will die on this hill ;D. Since seeing The Suicide Squad I’ve been wondering if the same holds true in the movies. In the comics, Harley Quinn is a true superhero and the type of character we should all aspire to be like – as compassionate, loving, and open as she is brave. But what about the DCEU (DC Extended Universe)? Is Harley an antihero in the films or, like the comics, is she a superhero lacking the recognition she deserves?
Harley Quinn has had legions of loyal fans for ages. For a long time, I mainly knew her as the Joker’s girlfriend on Batman: The Animated Series. I knew DC had brought her into their comics’ continuity. I knew she and the Joker had broken up (maybe? sort of?). I knew she’d shifted from villain to antihero to star in her own comic. I’d heard her referred to as “DC’s Deadpool.” But what about her brought such adoration among readers? In a 2016 interview with Vulture, DC Comics’ Publisher and CCO Jim Lee said, “I refer to her as the fourth pillar in our publishing line, behind Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.” That’s HUGE. Lee is equating Harley to DC’s Trinity, their Big Three, the foundation upon which DC is built. After reading the near 100 comics comprising Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s run on Harley Quinn (yes, I got excited and bought them all (no, I have no regrets)) I get it.
“Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” – with four words Joss Whedon defined the character of Tony Stark for a generation. But it was never the words alone that transformed a b-level character into a worldwide icon and the anchor for a groundbreaking interconnected cinematic universe. It was the man inside the armor delivering those lines. While it’s easy to forget, eleven years and twenty-two films in, back in 2008 Marvel Studios was far from a sure thing. Marvel had sold their most successful characters (Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four) to other studios and was left to make their own movies with their second tier. Robert Downey Jr. made it work. He incarnated Tony Stark perfectly, seamlessly blending cockiness and charisma, arrogance and vulnerability, snark and heart. He presented a character who resonated and who meant something. He carried the world of comic books into the mainstream on his armored shoulders, all but single-handedly paving the way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No matter how much brilliance followed in his wake, this is why Tony Stark will always be Marvel’s cinematic masterpiece to me. Continue reading →
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 →
As early news for 2012’s The Avengers began to spread, we learned (much like in the comics) the villain who would unite these heroes for the first time was a familiar face. Loki Laufeyson had survived his self-imposed fall from the Bifrost at the end of 2011’s Thor and would be leading a Chitauri invasion force to take Earth as his own. This had two major implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, most obviously, it gave the Avengers a reason to form. Second, it showed the MCU was finally ready to depart from the default/cliché ending to almost every superhero movie ever. A villain had lived! This would be a game changer. In allowing Loki’s character to evolve (over the course of five films by the time Avengers: Infinity War hits), fans have been able to embrace him as Tom Hiddleston has built an engaging, complicated, and evolving character. Continue reading →
My original plan was to re-watch all three of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man movies, both of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man movies and then re-watch Captain America: Civil War in preparation for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Then I was going to write this post about which film version I liked best. It was going to be a sort of who-really-embodied-my-Spidey-the-best kind of a thing. But a realization hit me. While I’ve loved each and every Spider-Man I’ve seen swing across the screen in their own way (yes, I even see a bright and enjoyable silver lining to Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2), not one of them have felt like my Spidey. However, this has nothing to do with writers, directors, or actors. Rather, it has everything to do with when I grew up. Continue reading →
It’s a looong weekend ladies and gentlemen so let’s pop in a good mix, consider what our music says about us, and appreciate some tunes! Yes, the music in James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy films create an unbelievably fun, catchy soundtrack we all want to play on repeat forever BUT it’s ALSO as unique and important to the plot as the crew of the Milano. More than most films, the Awesome Mixes give Guardians Of The Galaxy its soul. It makes sense! Our music is an intimate part of who we are and, as a result, an honest, heartfelt mix tape is a gift where we share something deeply personal with another. In the films, Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and 2 are gifts to Peter from his mother, Meredith Quill. In sharing the music she loved with him she also gave him a beautiful part of herself. So, in the Awesome Mixes, we aren’t treated simply to a fun soundtrack. Rather, we see a picture of who Meredith Quill was and we find an important part of what shaped Peter Quill into the man he became. Continue reading →