Black Widow: Forever Red – Some Thoughts on YA

A month or so ago Jeff alerted me to the exciting reality that Barnes & Noble (at least the one by him) had the hardcover editions of BOTH Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow novels – Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance – in their bargain section.  A hurried trip to and quick investigation of my local Barnes & Noble yielded the same prize!  I love Margaret Stohl’s work on the Captain Marvel seriesI love Black Widow as a character.  So, naturally, they both came home with me.  Given all the grading that comes with the end of the school year, I didn’t have the chance to read either until now.  I finished the first novel, Black Widow: Forever Red, the other day and I enjoyed a great deal of it…but it also highlighted one of the problems I find at times with YA novels in general.  And this, I felt, warranted a little reflection. Continue reading

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From Tony to Riri and Back Again: Considering Iron Man’s Return

This week’s New Comic Book Day brings two major Marvel milestones.  The first, Tony Stark returns to active duty as the Armored Avenger, shaking off the coma that’s sidelined him since the end of Civil War II.  The second, The Invincible Iron Man #600 marks Brian Michael Bendis’s final Marvel comic.  There’s lots to reflect on with Bendis’s move to DC, to be sure.  However, as someone who writes often of the vital importance of Legacy Characters on this site, I’d rather discuss something else.  What does it mean for Riri Williams – for Ironheart – to have Tony return? Continue reading

My Grail – The One Comic I Covet

Last week Kalie and I were in Indianapolis presenting at the PCA/ACA Conference on Popular Culture.  It was so much fun!  Both of our papers were well received (mine (as I’ve mentioned once or twice) explored Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor) and the whole week was an enriching, stimulating experience.  It was exciting to meet so many other people who teach through popular culture and there were papers on just about everything you could imagine.  To see all these different scholars in all these different areas, utilizing pop culture and speaking to its value in an academic setting was incredible.  While we were there, Indiana’s Comic Con was going on down the street.  And THAT got me thinking about the one comic I covet… Continue reading

Thor Odinson vs. Roxxon: You Can’t Serve Two Masters

In preparation for my paper on Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor at the ACA/PCA Conference on Popular Culture at the end of the month, I’ve finished reading his entire Thor: God Of Thunder series.  Following Gorr the God Butcher, Aaron introduces another villain who is equally rich in menace and theological significance.  Dario Agger, CEO of Roxxon Energy Corporation, will challenge first the Odinson and then Jane Foster when she becomes Thor.  In continuing his exploration of what makes a worthy god Aaron uses Agger as the personification of two of our most sinful and dangerous traits – the idolatrous worship of wealth and wanton environmental destruction.  These then are the forces a worthy god opposes.  Continue reading

Thor’s Battle with Gorr the God Butcher: A Question of Divine Implications

Jason Aaron began his run writing Thor: God Of Thunder by introducing the villainous Gorr the God Butcher.  For millennia Gorr travelled the cosmos, killing all immortal beings he encountered in the most macabre fashions he could imagine.  The story is obviously rich with theological implications, considering both the nature and purpose of our ideas of the divine as well as introducing the question that will form the core of Aaron’s run to date – what is a worthy god?  In preparation for a paper I’ll be presenting on Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor at the ACA/PCA Conference on Popular Culture next month, I’ve been reading all of Aaron’s work with Thor (both Odinson and Jane Foster).  My research also led me to many articles interpreting Aaron’s work as a sort of atheistic manifesto, something I felt warranted further discussion. Continue reading

Um, Amazing Spider-Man, I’m Feeling Trapped…and a Little Unhappy

Part of me didn’t want to write this post.  Then a bigger part of me didn’t want to share it.  It feels inappropriate.  This feels like talking about problems with a significant other in public when it should be handled privately, just between the two of us, and behind closed doors.  But I keep wrestling with it and I write a blog about comic books (and, you know, other stuff) so I figured it was time to just be out with this.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll glean some insight here. Continue reading

The Elegant Nature of Black Panther

This is a piece I’ve wanted to write for a long time.  I’ve tried before but could never find the right words.  Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin’s Black Panther was one of the titles I was most excited by as I returned to reading comics in 2015.  While the Black Panther was only ever a guest star in the comics I read in my youth, Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of my favorite contemporary authors.  I follow his work in The Atlantic and have read his memoir Between The World and Me several times.  An author I so respect coming to a medium I’ve loved since before I could read was almost too good to be true!  The results proved even better than I’d imagined.  The pages of Coates, Stelfreeze, and Martin’s Black Panther held a story with an elegance unlike any I’d found in a comic book before. Continue reading