Venom the Antihero: My Preparation for the Venom Movie

If I’m being honest, I’m not that excited for Sony’s Venom.  I’ve always loved the character – he’s my all-time favorite Spider-Man villain and I read all his solo series in the ‘90s.  But this…I don’t know.  I want to be hopeful!  I want to like it.  And I do have my tickets for opening night.  But doing a Venom movie completely disconnected from Spider-Man doesn’t make sense to me.  Also, I’m not wildly in love with how the symbiote looks in the film.  It’s a bit too cartoony for me.  But I want to be excited (even if I end up disappointed).  So to try and put myself in the right headspace for the film, I reread the Venom solo series from my youth to reacquaint myself with Venom, the antihero. Continue reading

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Can the MCU Become Too Interconnected?

Okay, I know this seems ridiculous.  How can I be worried about this?  How can I even introduce it as a topic of conversation??  The interconnected nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was historic.  When The Avengers came out in 2012 we’d never seen anything like it before.  Iron Man!  Black Widow!  Thor!  Hawkeye!  Captain America!  The Hulk!  Nick Fury!  Maria Hill!  Erik Selvig!  Pepper Pots!  Loki!  They were all together telling the same story which flowed out of their solo films.  It’s funny to think how we’ve come to take this for granted over the last eight years.  But Marvel Studios changed the game forever with the MCU.  It’s why Warner Bros. and DC have been rushing their interconnected DCEU.  It’s why Sony won’t let go of their painfully dumb idea for a Spidey villains universe of movies.  It’s why Universal wants a Monster Universe even if it keeps fumbling.  Heck, as Jeff told me, there’s even talk of a Dwayne the Rock Johnson Universe.  But…can it become too much? Continue reading

The Real Villain in Marvel’s Infinity Wars Event is Boredom – or – My Struggle with Loyalty in Comic Buying

In synergetic anticipation for the “most ambitious crossover event ever,” Marvel Comics first gave Gerry Duggan the reins of Infinity Countdown and now Infinity Wars – a yearlong event replacing their regular monthly Guardians comic and bringing the Infinity Gems Infinity Stones back into existence in the Marvel Universe.  I’m sure it was an attempt to make what was happening in the comics mirror their cinematic bonanza, Avengers: Infinity War, and thus hopefully attract new readers.  However, unlike their literary masterpiece Secret Empire, this has been a HUGE miss for me. Continue reading

As They Became Movie Stars: Brian Michael Bendis’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

Reading Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy a few weeks ago yielded an epiphany of sorts.  I realized, or rather remembered, I shouldn’t look for comics that feel like James Gunn’s oh-so-perfect film.  Rather, I should embrace the Guardians as they are in the comics which will always be a different animal.  That’s how it works.  The comics inspire the films but each is unique unto itself, shaped by the vision of its creators.  I’d never went backwards before, from the movie to the comics, and I guess I wasn’t ready for the differences when encountered from this direction.  But I fell in love with Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians, no matter how different they were from Gunn’s, because they were great characters involved in exceptional stories.  Naturally I couldn’t wait to meet their next incarnation, Brian Michael Bendis’s take on the team! Continue reading

Black Panther: The Struggle of Faith When God Is Silent

Modern comics tend to focus on shorter, four-to-six issue story arcs.  The ever-present wariness about the mercurial taste of readers, accessibility to potential newbies, as well as the fact each title will be collected and sold as trades two or three times a year shapes how stories are told.  Yet Ta-Nehisi Coates has embraced a longer form of storytelling, with great success, since taking over Black Panther.  His first “season” (as he describes it) was “A Nation Under Our Feet,” a yearlong story exploring the nature of people and politics, what it means to rule and who has the right to do so.  His second season, “Avengers Of The New World,” is another thoughtful, multifaceted yearlong story.  In it Coates eloquently and gracefully depicts the struggle of faith when God is silent. Continue reading

Before They Were Movie Stars: Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

It’s no secret, like a large portion of the world, I immediately fell in love with the Guardians of the Galaxy when I met them in James Gunn’s masterpiece.  I’d never seen Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, or Groot before and only knew Gamora, Drax, and Nebula from their Infinity-related exploits of the 1990’s.  This team was like nothing I’d ever seen and everything I always wanted!  It’s also not a secret, loving the films as I do, I’ve sought comics with the same feeling.  But no matter what I read it wasn’t enough like Gunn’s vision.  This is a major (first world) problem because I want more Guardians in my life!  Well, for my birthday this summer Mom and Dad got me the collections of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008-2010 run with Guardians Of The Galaxy, the comics that inspired Gunn’s film!  And I finally met the Guardians before they were movie stars… Continue reading

First Impressions: The Fantastic Four

This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for ages.  I originally envisioned it shortly following the “First Impressions: The X-Men” post I wrote last year.  But, for one reason or another, I always stopped short of finishing it.  Now, on the eve of the Fantastic Four’s return, shepherded by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, the time is right.  So let’s take another trip down memory lane and revisit the very first Fantastic Four comic I ever read!  It was 1993 and the cover leapt out at me from the spinning rack in a local grocery store (the now long-gone Loblaws on W 12th St, if I remember correctly).  It was Fantastic Four #374 and, while I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to meet the characters who’d become my all-time favorite comic book team.  To this day, they still hold this place in my heart! Continue reading