I’ve always loved the movies. One of the greatest freedoms I gained with my driver’s license was being able to go to the movies whenever I wanted. Long before smartphones let us check showtimes online, I always had the week’s movie listings in my wallet, torn from the paper, so I knew what was playing when. Multiple viewings were the norm. During the free time-filled adulthood your early twenties bring, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see a movie I really loved six, seven, or even eight times in the theatre. Then the count really went up once I had it on DVD! I’ve had this idea for a new series for ages, to go back and rewatch the movies I loved most during my young adulthood and see how they feel now. This isn’t an analysis but an off the cuff stream of consciousness journey. What holds up? What makes me nostalgic? And what feels a bit cringy and uncomfortable now? While I considered many films to kick off this series, there was really only ever one choice. Released on 9 July 2004, I had just turned twenty-two when Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy hit theatres and it was love at first viewing.
Meeting Laura Kinney / Wolverine the Ol’ Fashioned Way: A Reflection on Reading Comics
A few weeks ago I wrote about how, as the X-Men were crossing over with Spider-Man in last December’s Dark Web event, I decided to go back and read four years worth of the Krakoa Era of X-Men comics. It’s the first time I’ve read X-Men comics regularly since the ‘90s and I’m following X-Force, Marauders, New Mutants, Excalibur-cum-Knights of X, and, of course, X-Men. Presently I’m up to August 2022 in all those titles so I’m almost ready to read Dark Web! To say I’ve encountered a few new characters along the way is to put it mildly. To say I’ve encountered so many new characters it’s given me whiplash and I sometimes wonder if authors are just making up names to mess with new/old readers like me because there is NO WAY this many new characters could’ve popped up in the twenty-five years since I last read X-Men comics feels closer to the truth. One of the (many) new characters was Laura Kinney/Wolverine. As she appeared in the pages of X-Men and New Mutants I felt a pull between what I’d’ve done as a kid and how I’ve learned to read comics now. So, how was I to meet Laura? How do I get to know Wolverine? I decided to take a breath, set aside those new habits, and read like a kid again. I kind of loved it! And it illuminated an interesting comparison for me about how we tend to consume narratives today.
F.N.V. – Growing Up With and Within John Mellencamp Songs
A few years ago, Rob – of My Side Of The Laundry Room – began a series called “F.N.V.,” taking its name and inspiration from NBC’s Friday Night Videos (1983-2002). Anyway, I liked it so I totally stole it from him. Kalie liked it and she stole it too, proving far more prolific with her sharing of music videos and stories than I ever am. Today I’m going to do something I haven’t done before – focus exclusively on one artist. Why John Mellencamp? Well, ever since I was a kid, John Mellencamp’s music has led me down surprisingly contemplative roads. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the musings he’s led me to over the years. Continue reading
My Life in Spider-Man Movies
The brilliant new podcast Pods & Ends – “the junk drawer of pop culture” – asked me to write a piece for them about Spider-Man movies. Hot dog! I excitedly agreed and I think you should excitedly read this. In the post, I reflect nostaligically on everything from this Spidey movie whose name I cannot find no matter how hard I try from the ’80s up to and including the MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I was honored to write for this great show and would love you to check it out.
You can listen to Pods & Ends here and you should also follow them on Twitter @pne_pod because they are way awesome people. 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
A “Weird Al” Yankovic Fan For Life…and PROUD Of It!
My brother David is an incredibly talented musician. He’s played the guitar for years. He sings. He writes his own songs. And recently he decided to teach himself the drums. Turns out he’s a great drummer too. He plays a few set open mic gigs around town each week. I’m always impressed to see not just him but all the local musical talent we have spend the night jamming together on originals and covers. Recently one musician performed his rendition of the Kink’s “Lola.” The crowd was digging it and the bar was singing along…only every word I sang came from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Yoda” instead. “Lola” is one of those songs that’s completely lost to me. Al’s version is the only one in my heart and mind. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! Continue reading
X-Men Gold: Will We Seek the Original Over the Familiar?
The idea of X-Men Gold and the whole “Resurrection” (I refuse to spell it with that stupid “X” – I get what you were going for Marvel but it’s dumb and I’m not playing) reboot seemed pretty exciting. After years on the periphery of relevance, Marvel was returning the X-Men to the spotlight. They were going to be battling super villains! Teaching new mutants! Symbolizing those rejected by society as they fought to protect a world that hated and feared them!!! The tropes that made the X-Men a cultural juggernaut in the 80’s and 90’s were coming back baby! X-Men Gold delivers wonderfully…but that’s all it seems to deliver. In being so familiar at the expense of pushing new ideas, X-Men Gold has come to symbolize a major cultural problem for me. Continue reading