Celebrating a Hero Like The Doctor – A Birthday Reflection

I wasn’t planning on writing today.  It’s my birthday after all!  Why go out of my way to make work for myself on my birthday?  But then an idea for a post struck and, when a new idea is unfolding, writing isn’t work.  It’s fun!  So with that in mind, you know I love Doctor Who.  And I thought, what with it being my birthday and all, it might be kind of fun to reflect a little on what leads me to love certain characters or fictional worlds.  Out of all the stories – novels, comics, movies, or TV shows – I’ve consumed in my life, what makes one stay with me?  What makes me want to return to that world and visit those characters again and again and again?  What captures my heart and mind? Continue reading

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Spider-Man: Life Story – An Evocative Argument for Letting Superheroes Age

I’m not trying to be hyperbolic when I say, Spider-Man: Life Story is the future of the comic book industry.  Now I don’t mean to imply the comics industry as a whole is going to follow Chip Zdarsky’s elegant lead with every comic.  I’m just saying I think they should.  In Spider-Man: Life Story, Zdarsky (accompanied by my all-time favorite Spidey artist Mark Bagley (yay!)) explores what Peter Parker’s life could have been like had he aged naturally, with each issue of this six issue miniseries touching on one decade in Peter’s life.  For example issue #1 is set in 1966, four years after Peter was bitten by the radioactive spider (as Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spidey in 1962 (see how that works?)).  Issue #2 looks at the ‘70s and so on as Peter ages in real time.  He isn’t perpetually stuck in his late 20’s or early 30’s.  Four issues in, I’ll confidently say this will stand as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told.  It’s the most interested I’ve been in Peter Parker’s adventures as Spider-Man in almost twenty years too.  In allowing Peter to age, Zdarsky has illustrated the hidden potential of the comic book genre. Continue reading

The Four Comics I Can’t Live Without

A few years ago, when I was counting down to my hundredth post on this site, I profiled the four comic books I’d found since my return to reading comics which had become indispensable to my reading life.  These were the comics that, even if I stopped collecting comics again, I couldn’t imagine putting down.  They showcased, for me, the best of what a comic could offer while doing things I never imagined a comic book could.  They were (in the order I wrote about them in my countdown), Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW’s Ghostbusters, and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Thinking of those titles now, I can still feel the burgeoning excitement and awe that accompanied my return to comic reading.  They also make me think of impermanence. Continue reading

Tony Stark – Marvel’s Cinematic Masterpiece

“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

Star Wars ComLINKS: Favorite Female Character

Much like Woody Allen Wednesdays took a hit when teaching slowed my participation in joint blogging adventures (papers don’t grade themselves…phooey), I’ve been sadly absent from Anakin and His Angel‘s Star Wars ComLINKS for a few months.  But I’m back baby!  This month, in honor of the Forces Of Destiny cartoon shorts on the Disney YouTube channel, Jenmarie has focused our ComLINKS posts on favorite female characters.  There are so many strong women I love in Star Wars.  Where would we be without Princess Leia??  And we have Padmé Amidala, Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, Admiral Natasi Daala, Shmi Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano too!  But for me, this post belongs to Mallatobuck.  Malla is Chewie’s wife and their relationship serves as a moving meditation on the strength of love. Continue reading

Squirrel Girl’s Subversive Genius

Aaaahh!  This is it!  This is my 100th post on My Comic Relief.  Yay!!!  To mark such an important occasion, I want to take a look at the one comic book that’s become truly indispensible to me.  If, for some reason, I could only read one comic book a month, Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl would be it.  There’s no contest.  No other comic is more enjoyable or more important to me.  I could think of no better way to celebrate hitting 100 posts than by celebrating why I love this brilliant comic so much. Continue reading

Top Five Wednesday – Used To Love ‘Em But…

Top Five LogoOkay, full disclosure, I’m writing this post as I’m watching the Election Returns so I’m sorry if my writing seems a little off.  I’m distracted you know?  Even though I’m still hopeful and optimistic anything can happen (and has been…) and I’m kind of freaking out.  Sooooo I figured I’d write a blog post!  And thankfully our faithful moderator Sam from Thoughts On Tomes has given the T5W Goodreads group another great prompt.  The task?  Find five characters I used to love but now don’t, whether I’ve outgrown them, have come to hate them, or am just now casually indifferent to them.  So here’s who comes to mind when I’m trying not to worry whether or not my country’s about to implode under a Trumpocalypse…  Continue reading