My Avengers Dream Team

Reading Brian Michael Bendis’ The New Avengers lately (first the issues in “Civil War” and now I’m wading through the equally lengthy “Secret Invasion”) I can’t help but think: He just picked whatever superheroes he liked and made them Avengers.  I mean, c’mon.  Spider-Man?!?  Wolverine?!?  Luke Cage and Jessica Jones?!?  I love Spidey but he’s a neighborhood guy.  The same goes for Luke and Jessica; they’re street-level heroes.  And Wolverine?  The guy’s not a joiner AT ALL let alone randomly becoming an Avenger.  Jason Aaron’s done the same thing with his new team.  Ghost Rider?  Doctor Strange?  What the heck??  But then I realized THAT’S WHY YOU’D WANT TO WRITE AVENGERS BECAUSE YOU GET TO DESIGN YOUR OWN TEAM.  Moments after this realization hit it naturally led me to consider – Who would fill my Avengers dream team? Continue reading

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Spider-Man and Mary Jane: Soul Mates? (Y/N/Maybe)

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

“The Death of the Mighty Thor” – My Eulogy for the Best Comic I’ve Ever Read

This is a milestone for me :).  This piece is my 300th post on My Comic Relief!!  I’ve been trying to figure out which comic was worthy of such a tribute since about my 256th post.  Then, like a blinding flash of lightening it hit me.  I adored Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s work with Jane Foster in The Mighty Thor.  She’s become my definitive Thor.  I’ve written several pieces exploring the brilliance of this run but I’ve never written about the end of Jane’s time wielding Mjölnir.  To do so, I wanted it to be special.  Instead of another analysis, I aim to simply pay tribute, to eulogize in the wake of “The Death of the Mighty Thor,” to talk about why I fell in love with this character and this comic.  In short I want to explain why Jane’s time as Thor became MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK STORYLINE OF ALL TIME.  In my heart, she’ll always be who I mean when I invoke the name “Thor.” Continue reading

After Into The Spider-Verse, You Need to Read Saladin Ahmed’s Miles Morales: Spider-Man!

Okay, I’m sure everyone’s expecting something about Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.  But here’s the thing; right now I have nothing unique to say that wouldn’t just echo the fan and critical praise it’s already generating.  I am in awe of this film.  It’s so brilliant and fun and funny and it far surpassed my exceedingly high expectations.  I’ve seen the future of Spider-Man movies and it is animated.  Eventually, I’ll have something deeper or more thoughtful to say.  But for now, I have to say this: If, like me, you’re beyond in love with Into The Spider-Verse then you need to read Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garrón’s Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1.  For any Miles Morales fan, old or new, this comic is a love-at-first-page experience and the love grows exponentially with each following page.  I’m one issue into the new creative team’s run and I’m already counting the days to issue #2. Continue reading

The Greatest Kraven Story Ever Told

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

Spider-Man and the Black Cat: Flirting with Perfection

It’s no secret I love Peter and Mary Jane together.  Their relationship was the foundation of all the Spider-Man comics I read as a kid, getting into Spider-Man the year before they got married.  Heck, the very first image on the very first page of the very first Spider-Man comic I ever had (Web Of Spider-Man #12) was Peter and Mary Jane standing together, in the remains of his ruined apartment.  For me, they’ve always been Marvel’s power couple (sorry Reed and Sue) and a testament to love’s power to endure all things.  I still resent Marvel for breaking them up in 2007’s contrived “One More Day” storyline.  Boo.  HOWEVER, despite my eternal love of Peter and Mary Jane there’s just something about the Black Cat.  She’s an incredible character and she balances Peter in an important way.  After Mary Jane, no one’s close to Felicia Hardy in my favorite love interests for Peter – not even Gwen Stacy.  And, despite my love of Mary Jane, I think Felicia fits with Peter in a way none of his other love interests can.

GASP.  I know, right?!  Here’s what I mean. Continue reading

Stan Lee: A Reflection

There have been plenty of memorials and obituaries written to honor Stan Lee since his passing yesterday.  There’s nothing I can say about his life that isn’t being said/hasn’t already been said.  Yet, at the same time, I can’t not say anything.  I was talking to Jeff when the news broke.  He told me.  David called soon after.  Texts began coming not long after that.  As with many pop culture deaths, I find myself mourning someone who was a major part of my life despite our never having met.  Unlike most pop culture deaths however, few have influenced my life to the degree Stan Lee did.  His worlds and characters have shaped me since Mom bought me my first comic book – Web Of Spider-Man #12 – when I was four years old.  When I heard he’d died I was at a loss.  All I could do was read.  I had exams that needed to be graded (exams I got back to later that night) but for that moment in time, as I sat with the reality of his passing, the only place I could go to find comfort was back into the worlds he created. Continue reading