Comic books are a vast medium. Every genre you can imagine can be found between the covers of one comic or another. While often seen solely as the setting of superhero stories, there are horror comics, memoir comics, true crime comics, comic adaptations of classic literature, fantasy comics, sci-fi comics, comic adaptations of films, YA comics, comics about history, comics which continue the runs of favorite TV shows, and on and on. The comic medium truly has something for everyone. And, as someone who’s loved comic books for nearly forty years, I don’t care about any of those other stories XD. I’m sorry! But I don’t! Bring me my superheroes! I have novels and movies and TV shows and short story collections and memoirs and nonfiction books for all those other experiences. When I open a comic book, I want my Marvel heroes, my DC heroes, and nothing else. Except Saga. I want Saga. I want all the Saga. Saga is the brilliant, blazing, beautiful exception to my rule! With sixty issues released and forty-eight still to come, Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist) have created a masterpiece of love, family, loss, trauma, trial, and healing…while also telling one of the most poignant antiwar stories I’ve ever read.
Bill McKibben’s introduction to his 2019 book, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, begins by reflecting on his 1989 text, “As the title indicates, The End of Nature was not a cheerful book, and sadly its gloom has been vindicated. My basic point was that humans had so altered the planet that not an inch was beyond our reach, an idea that scientists underlined a decade later when they began referring to our era as the Anthropocene. This volume is bleak as well – in some ways bleaker, because more time has passed and we are deeper in the hole…Put simply, between ecological destruction and technological hubris, the human experiment is now in question. The stakes feel very high, and the odds very long, and the trends very ominous.” This is why a part of me can’t help but root, however conflictedly, for Poison Ivy in G. Willow Wilson (writer), Marcio Takara (artist), Arif Prianto (colorist), and Hassan Otsman-Elhaou (letterer)’s new miniseries, Poison Ivy, despite her goal being, you know, the absolute end of the human race. Because maybe we kinda deserve it? At least maybe we don’t not deserve it.
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.
I have read a lot of articles and social media posts by black authors and activists over the last week who have said the same thing. In this moment in time, the role of white allies is to listen to and learn from black voices, to stand with the movement and march in solidarity, and, if needed, put our white privilege to a just use by placing our white bodies between the police and black bodies during peaceful demonstrations. What was stressed again and again is that this is not the time for white voices to lead, to speak out, and/or to make it “about us” – something, sadly, all too rare in American history. What is most important is for white Americans to listen and learn, to hear what our black sisters and brothers are saying and to follow their lead in the struggle against the sin of systemic racism. 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
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
Okay, I’ll keep this short. I don’t want you to read; I want you to act. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to end net neutrality in the coming weeks. With Ajit Pai at the helm, the anti-neutrality votes have a 3-2 edge. If you are reading this and you are American this will directly affect you. It will affect you in an even more personal way if you’re a blogger. If this passes we will all be paying for the internet and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will bundle websites as cable companies bundle channels. We have roughly three weeks to stop this.
WE NEED TO CALL AND KEEP CALLING! Here’s a link to Battle for the Net which will give you all the links you need to call those you should to speak out against this. And here’s a link to 5 Calls.org (care of The Imperial Talker) that helps you see who specifically to call on a variety of issues, including net neutrality. Call and let those you speak to know you support net neutrality and are opposed to ending it. Continue reading
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
I’m returning to form this week, after last week’s more personal and theological reflection on the Kingdom of God and how it affects my personal politics. As always, it seems there’s a lot to cover. Let’s see…ah, the GOP’s still trying to rob many of the fundamental human right of health care in the name of profit and power. That being said, let’s get to it shall we? This series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world. Continue reading
Granted, I don’t write about DC often on this site. Yet just because Marvel has always held my heart doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy DC’s characters in their own way. Nor does it mean I don’t spend time thinking about them. In fact, Superman is one of the heroes who most often rattles around in my head. There is a story I’ve always wanted to see, a struggle that’s uniquely Superman’s. And I think about it all the time. Continue reading