It’s time for the fifth installment in my li’l series using only Spider-Man comics and characters to examine the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life). Cindy Moon attended the same scientific demonstration Peter Parker did when he was bitten by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers. Before it died, the spider would bite Cindy, too. She gained the same basic powers as Peter – albeit with a more attuned spider-sense, faster speed, and the ability to spin organic webbing from her fingertips – and would eventually take on the name “Silk” and become a superhero in her own right. She and Peter also have an overwhelming physical/sexual attraction to each other. Their relationship, such as it was, represents those “purely physical” attractions we have in our lives. It’s fun and it’s so hot but it was never really going to last nor was there any way they could’ve ever been “the one” as it was only ever just a physical thing. Continue reading
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
One of the things I love contemplating about Doctor Who is each companion’s first trip in the TARDIS. Not their first meeting with the Doctor, when they get caught up in the wake of adventure, danger, and world-saving. But the first willing trip they take after the Doctor invites them to travel along with them for a while. While it’s not my favorite “first trip” episode, “The End of the World” (S1,E2) is the most fascinating to me. Just having helped the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) save London from the Nestene Consciousness, a sort of living plastic that was controlling store mannequins, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) bounds into the TARDIS in search of adventure. Where the Doctor decides to take her says so much about where he’s at on his own emotional journey. How she responds to this says so much about who she is and why the Doctor needs her. Continue reading
For the fourth installment of my series exploring the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) using only Spider-Man comics, I’m considering the first great love of Peter Parker’s life – Gwen Stacy. To write this, I went back and read the entirety of Gwen’s time with Peter, beginning with her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (from December 1965) through issue #120 (from May 1973). Over the years, Gwen has taken on a hallowed significance in Peter’s life as his great, irreplaceable lost love. But in reading these comics I realized she – and her relationship with Peter – illustrated something far more universal and far more interesting. Gwen and Peter perfectly present our first love with all the awkward, emotional, angsty, and idealized moments that come with it. Continue reading
Kate Kane, the Batwoman, is a remarkable character. Even after a lifetime of being bored by Batman, I found her so compelling James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics – with Batwoman leading Batman’s team in Gotham – became a permanent part of my pull list. Her solo Rebirth Batwoman title, penned by Marguerite Bennette and Tynion IV, soon followed. Last Christmas I was excited to find trade collections of her earlier New 52 adventures had made their way under the tree. What draws me to Batwoman is, while she wears the bat symbol, she transcends the most serious faults we see in the Batman. In so doing, she’s not just a character I connect with and love reading about. She’s also one who instructs and inspires transformation in her readers, as only the most important characters do. Continue reading
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag is one of those shows where I wonder how I lived without it. My first time through the series (I watch it often), I watched all of Season One in a day and Season Two the following day. My pause between them was only to allow myself time to try and process all the feelings the first season left me with. The show is hysterical while also being one of the most moving shows I’ve ever seen. It’s wildly intelligent and the emotional journey it takes you on is unforgettable. Returning to this was one of the first things I did when quarantine hit – it’s a thoughtful comfort show, making me laugh, think, and feel in equally strong waves. As I watched it, I realized I’d never written about my love for this series, something I want to do now with this reflection on a remarkable juxtaposition done in the fourth episode of the second season.
Note, there will obviously be spoilers (but not beyond S2,E4). I’ll be as general as I can be with the plot but if you haven’t seen this show maybe watch it now? I don’t wanna be bossy but it’s brilliant. Every. Single. Moment. Continue reading
One of my favorite Doctor Who tropes is the use of alien creatures to explain legends and myths (as well as integrate these creatures – in a very Doctor Who-esque way – into the show). We’ve seen a Haemovariform crash-land on Earth and be mistaken for a werewolf in Scotland in 1879 (S2,E2). There was a band of Saturnyns creating vampire-like “brides” for their remaining male population in 1580 Venice (S5,E6). The reason beings on most planets are instinctively afraid of the dark is explained with the presence of the flesh-eating Vashta Nerada, who we see as the dust in sunbeams (S4,E8). The occasional movement we see flicker, out of the corner of our eye, when we look in mirrors is the “daughter” of “the Family of Blood,” forever trapped in all mirrors by the Doctor (S3,E9). The list goes on. But the one most fascinating to me is when the Doctor and Rose encounter “the Beast.” Continue reading
This is the latest installment in my series exploring romantic archetypes in literature and in life through Spider-Man comics. So far I’ve used Peter’s relationship with the Black Cat as a lens to examine our relationships with the people we can’t stop flirting with even though we know it’ll be trouble yet we passionately jump in anyway. Then I used Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane to consider the idea of a Soul Mate as well as the experience of finding and losing “the one.” This time I’m looking at the alternate reality comic series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows as a way to contemplate the romantic idea of the “What if…?” person (or people) we all have in our lives. Continue reading
Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker got married on 9 June 1987, in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. For someone who began reading comic books in March 1986, their marriage was a central tenant of my experience of Spider-Man. You don’t have Spider-Man without Peter Parker and you don’t have Peter Parker without Mary Jane! Despite Marvel’s editorial staff having “instant regrets” about their wedding, fans have passionately embraced the marriage for over twenty years. As their relationship evolved, especially as it approached it’s end in 2007’s “One More Day” storyline, Mary Jane and Peter were increasingly painted in the light of Soul Mates. Their relationship then allows us to ponder one of romantic love’s most intoxicating questions – are Soul Mates real? It’s end allows us to reflect on the potential of finding and losing the one. Now let’s see if I can write about them without getting overly emotional and/or angsty… Continue reading
As the old year turns to the new, we become reflective. We think of our blessings, trials, challenges, and our hopes and dreams for the year to come. When we consider all this, it’s only natural we think of love. What, after all, is more important than love? Perhaps no modern cinematic tale more accurately (or more hauntingly) presents love’s all-important nature than 2003’s Love, Actually. I’ve always loved (hmm…that seems redundant) this film because it celebrates love in so many shapes and forms. It shows us romantic love, platonic love, familial love, sacrificial love, unrequited love, new love, old love, love won…and love lost. Of it all, Mark’s story teaches us the most important lesson. We should pay attention, careful to heed its warning. Continue reading