Where is the line for what can and can’t be changed in regard to certain characters? Or rather, where is the line for what changes can be permanent as opposed to those inevitably reverted by future writers? This question has been on my mind a lot last month (well, in addition to being terribly sick and having to do my end of term grading – but all my extra mental energy has been focused on this). As a genre, comics demand new stories for their most popular characters every month (sometimes multiple times a month) unceasingly for decades without allowing characters to age more than five or ten years. It’s easy to see why reboots, alternate realities, Legacy Characters assuming a mantle, time travel, alien doppelgangers, mind-wipes, and so on always pop-up. How do you keep an unending story fresh? One trope employed to this end is the redemption of a villain and this, specifically, has been on my mind. Continue reading
When I was growing up, no one talked about comic books, not really. Sometimes teachers would disparage comics as books for kids who could not—or would not—read. Sometimes librarians would do the same. Even five years ago, I still knew teachers and librarians who did not believe reading comics counted as reading. Perhaps there were students in my classes who did read comics. But, in a culture where liking comics was equated with laziness and stupidity, I can see why no one would have dared to talk about them. Continue reading
So you’re new to comics…or you’re new to the Marvel Universe…or you’re new to Spider-Man and you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, I’d like to immerse myself in the amazing world of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man BUT there’s over sixty years of comic books out there. That’s intimidating! How do I just jump in with decades of characters and continuity?? Where do I even begin?!?” Well you’re in luck. I’m here to help in my new series, “My Comic Advice,” where I’ll outline the best place for any newbie to begin reading a popular comic series. What makes me the person for this job? Well, I’ve loved comics for over thirty years but, more importantly, you are here reading this so it seems like we already have a bond :). That being said…where do you begin reading Spider-Man? Let’s find out! Continue reading
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.
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
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
It’s been a busy few years for Spider-Man cinematically. Peter Parker swung into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War with Tom Holland wearing the webs. In 2017 he had his solo MCU debut, Spider-Man: Homecoming. This April he suited up next to the Avengers and Guardians to battle the Mad Titan and his Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War. And Friday Sony releases their animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with Jake Johnson as Peter Parker – and far more excitingly – Shameik Moore as Miles Morales and Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy!!! So it’s easy to forget where Spider-Man’s modern movie career began. We, as a culture, tend to proclaim each new incarnation as “the best [fill-in-the-blank] ever!” While I enjoy Tom Holland as Spider-Man and I can’t wait to see Into the Spider-Verse, as far as I’m concerned NO ONE’s come close to capturing who Spider-Man really is more than Sam Raimi with Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004). Even after all this time, his Spider-Man Trilogy can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the MCU. Continue reading