Spider-Man and the Avengers: Considering the Web-Head’s Place Amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

I feel I write about Spider-Man and his being a member of the Avengers tangentially in a lot of posts.  It’s often an aside, here or there.  Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of Spidey being an Avenger (or part of the Fantastic Four’s Future Foundation or anything).  I’ve always seen Spider-Man as a solo act, Peter Parker’s character not readily lining up with the whole “super team” thing.  Plus, is swinging around and sticking to things really the type of small-time power set you want when battling Thanos, Kang the Conqueror, Annihilus, or Ultron?  Still, that’s my bias and it’s anchored in my preconceived notions.  So I decided I wanted to sincerely look at the idea of “Spider-Man, Avenger” with an open mind.  The time to make an informed decision had come! Continue reading

Rose and the Doctor – Bonding at the End of the World

One of the things I love contemplating about Doctor Who is each companion’s first trip in the TARDIS.  Not their first meeting with the Doctor, when they get caught up in the wake of adventure, danger, and world-saving.  But the first willing trip they take after the Doctor invites them to travel along with them for a while.  While it’s not my favorite “first trip” episode, “The End of the World” (S1,E2) is the most fascinating to me.  Just having helped the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) save London from the Nestene Consciousness, a sort of living plastic that was controlling store mannequins, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) bounds into the TARDIS in search of adventure.  Where the Doctor decides to take her says so much about where he’s at on his own emotional journey.  How she responds to this says so much about who she is and why the Doctor needs her. Continue reading

Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy: All the Beautiful Angst of First Love

For the fourth installment of my series exploring the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) using only Spider-Man comics, I’m considering the first great love of Peter Parker’s life – Gwen Stacy.  To write this, I went back and read the entirety of Gwen’s time with Peter, beginning with her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (from December 1965) through issue #120 (from May 1973).  Over the years, Gwen has taken on a hallowed significance in Peter’s life as his great, irreplaceable lost love.  But in reading these comics I realized she – and her relationship with Peter – illustrated something far more universal and far more interesting.  Gwen and Peter perfectly present our first love with all the awkward, emotional, angsty, and idealized moments that come with it. Continue reading

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

Batwoman: Free of Guilt, Driven by Faith

Kate Kane, the Batwoman, is a remarkable character.  Even after a lifetime of being bored by Batman, I found her so compelling James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics – with Batwoman leading Batman’s team in Gotham – became a permanent part of my pull list.  Her solo Rebirth Batwoman title, penned by Marguerite Bennette and Tynion IV, soon followed.  Last Christmas I was excited to find trade collections of her earlier New 52 adventures had made their way under the tree.  What draws me to Batwoman is, while she wears the bat symbol, she transcends the most serious faults we see in the Batman.  In so doing, she’s not just a character I connect with and love reading about.  She’s also one who instructs and inspires transformation in her readers, as only the most important characters do. Continue reading

F.N.V. – Songs and Love Stories

A few years ago, Rob – of My Side Of The Laundry Room – began a series called “F.N.V.,” taking it’s 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.  But I was driving around the other day and I heard a song.  It sparked a memory of love gone by…or, more accurately, of an attempt at love gone by.  I started thinking this could be a fun premise for a new piece in this series, to walk through some pivotal romantic experiences from my past – some sincerely sweet, most catastrophically awkward – and pair them with the songs that embody those memories. Continue reading

Reylo’s Role in Rendemption – A The Rise of Skywalker Reflection

With The Rise of Skywalker just weeks away, speculation is rampant.  Will Rey turn to the Dark Side?  How the heck could the Emperor have survived the destruction of the second Death Star?  How much of the film do Rey, Finn, and Poe really get to be together?  How will Leia’s character be handled with Carrie Fisher gone?  What role will Luke’s Force ghost play?  Will Anakin return in some form?!?  Of all the questions vexing Star Wars fans, perhaps none are so divisive nor as heatedly debated as the issues of Reylo and Rendemption.  Given the prevalence and the passion for and against each, I wanted to explore them more closely. Continue reading

Spider-Man and The Spider Family: A Look At What Might Have Been…

This is the latest installment in my series exploring romantic archetypes in literature and in life through Spider-Man comics.  So far I’ve used Peter’s relationship with the Black Cat as a lens to examine our relationships with the people we can’t stop flirting with even though we know it’ll be trouble yet we passionately jump in anyway.  Then I used Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane to consider the idea of a Soul Mate as well as the experience of finding and losing “the one.”  This time I’m looking at the alternate reality comic series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows as a way to contemplate the romantic idea of the “What if…?” person (or people) we all have in our lives. Continue reading

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

When Love, Actually Misses You, You Wait for Death Among the Walking Dead

As the old year turns to the new, we become reflective.  We think of our blessings, trials, challenges, and our hopes and dreams for the year to come.  When we consider all this, it’s only natural we think of love.  What, after all, is more important than love?  Perhaps no modern cinematic tale more accurately (or more hauntingly) presents love’s all-important nature than 2003’s Love, Actually.  I’ve always loved (hmm…that seems redundant) this film because it celebrates love in so many shapes and forms.  It shows us romantic love, platonic love, familial love, sacrificial love, unrequited love, new love, old love, love won…and love lost.  Of it all, Mark’s story teaches us the most important lesson.  We should pay attention, careful to heed its warning. Continue reading