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

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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