It’s time for the fifth installment in my li’l series using only Spider-Man comics and characters to examine the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life). Cindy Moon attended the same scientific demonstration Peter Parker did when he was bitten by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers. Before it died, the spider would bite Cindy, too. She gained the same basic powers as Peter – albeit with a more attuned spider-sense, faster speed, and the ability to spin organic webbing from her fingertips – and would eventually take on the name “Silk” and become a superhero in her own right. She and Peter also have an overwhelming physical/sexual attraction to each other. Their relationship, such as it was, represents those “purely physical” attractions we have in our lives. It’s fun and it’s so hot but it was never really going to last nor was there any way they could’ve ever been “the one” as it was only ever just a physical thing. Continue reading
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
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
It’s no secret I love Peter and Mary Jane together. Their relationship was the foundation of all the Spider-Man comics I read as a kid, getting into Spider-Man the year before they got married. Heck, the very first image on the very first page of the very first Spider-Man comic I ever had (Web Of Spider-Man #12) was Peter and Mary Jane standing together, in the remains of his ruined apartment. For me, they’ve always been Marvel’s power couple (sorry Reed and Sue) and a testament to love’s power to endure all things. I still resent Marvel for breaking them up in 2007’s contrived “One More Day” storyline. Boo. HOWEVER, despite my eternal love of Peter and Mary Jane there’s just something about the Black Cat. She’s an incredible character and she balances Peter in an important way. After Mary Jane, no one’s close to Felicia Hardy in my favorite love interests for Peter – not even Gwen Stacy. And, despite my love of Mary Jane, I think Felicia fits with Peter in a way none of his other love interests can.
GASP. I know, right?! Here’s what I mean. Continue reading
Alright, originally I intended this as a Halloween post. I was going to finally read “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy” and write about it, analyzing how Dan Slott expands the premise of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a modern setting. However, life and work got in the way and I just got around to finishing reading it the other day. I contemplated saving it for next year but I’m impatient and it’s more fun to keep the spookiness alive anyway. When I finally jumped into Dan Slott’s world of Spider-Man tales, I avoided this storyline. I’d heard conflicting reports about it and wasn’t ready for something with that sort of “baggage” as I was meeting his Spidey for the first time. What I found upon finally reading it was a haunting tale that left me more emotionally shaken than I could have expected. Continue reading
I’m usually not one to do single-issue reviews or reactions. I tend toward essays with a larger focus. That’s just how my mind works. But after Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s debut on The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (or #802 as I see it; I love the legacy numbering) I just couldn’t wait. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, I got excited. I just wanted to…shout it from the top of a mountain. But I didn’t have a mountain. I had this blog. Look, I write about comics, that’s what I do. And today’s top story, in Michael Miller’s world read something like this – I love Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s The Amazing Spider-Man! Continue reading
[Deep breathe…you can do this.] Listen, baby, I’ve got something to say. I’m sorry. Four months ago I said I wasn’t really digging you. I said you bored me. I said you were turning into a bland retread. I was thinking of…oh my gosh, it’s so hard to say. But I started this li’l tiff in public so I need to reaffirm my love in public too, awkwardness be damned. I said I was thinking of breaking up with you. There! I said it! But I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. Every single issue since that post went live has been amazing. It’s some of the best Spidey I’ve ever had in my entire life! So Amazing Spider-Man, I’m sorry. I love you. Can you ever forgive me?? Continue reading
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