This week Kalie guest lectured for my MARVELous Justice course, my class which uses comic books and comic book movies to examine social justice issues and the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns in particular. Kalie is getting her PhD in literary criticism, with her focus on the mad monster. I’ve asked her to come in a few times to give my students an introduction to Monster Theory so they can add it to the avenues of analysis we use for the comics and films we explore. As part of her presentation, Kalie always asks my class what their favorite childhood monster was and why they liked it. The first time I heard her ask this question, I found myself lost in thought. What was my favorite monster as a kid? Did I even have one? I never liked being scared, that’s for sure. The answer hit in a bolt of clarity! What an easy question! It’s no contest! My favorite monster was Venom. As soon as Eddie Brock bonded with the symbiote, I was hooked. I love Venom! I adore Venom! Looking at my relationship with this monster as I followed along with Kalie’s lesson taught me a lot about myself, too.
How To Top Thanos Vol. 1 – Annihilus
The first generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – now officially “The Infinity Saga” – has come to a close with Avengers: Endgame. While I’m only beginning to process all the film had to offer, I still can’t help imagining what will come next. More Black Panther! More Captain Marvel! More Dr. Strange! Plus we know there are movies in the works for new characters like the Eternals and Shang-Chi. But, as the name “Infinity Saga” implies, it’s not all about the heroes. The name points towards the reality that the past eleven years and twenty-two films all led to our heroes’ iconic encounter with the Mad Titan Thanos, in an attempt to stop his destruction of half of all life with the Infinity Stones. So, thinking of the future of the MCU naturally begs the question…what villain comes next? Who can possibly follow Thanos?? My (first) guess? Annihilus – the Living Death that Walks. BOOM. Continue reading
The Despicable Deadpool: What’s So Entertaining About Pain?
When I returned to comics in 2015, one of the first trades I read was Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan’s hardcover collection Deadpool (Vol. 1), containing the first twelve issues of their run going back to November 2012. It was a Christmas gift from Kalie and my first real experience of the Merc with a Mouth, outside of occasionally seeing him as an X-Force villain back in the ‘90s. I was instantly in love with the character! Posehn and Duggan’s take became the primary lens through which I view the Regeneratin’ Degenerate. With The Despicable Deadpool #300, Gerry Duggan ends his five-year run on the title. Over the years the tales have gotten darker and darker, as he’s broken Wade Wilson to a painful degree. As I read these stories my heart hurts, and I can’t help but wonder why do we partake in stories where the characters we love are damaged so severely? Continue reading
Lovin’ Loki: When A Villain Evolves
As early news for 2012’s The Avengers began to spread, we learned (much like in the comics) the villain who would unite these heroes for the first time was a familiar face. Loki Laufeyson had survived his self-imposed fall from the Bifrost at the end of 2011’s Thor and would be leading a Chitauri invasion force to take Earth as his own. This had two major implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, most obviously, it gave the Avengers a reason to form. Second, it showed the MCU was finally ready to depart from the default/cliché ending to almost every superhero movie ever. A villain had lived! This would be a game changer. In allowing Loki’s character to evolve (over the course of five films by the time Avengers: Infinity War hits), fans have been able to embrace him as Tom Hiddleston has built an engaging, complicated, and evolving character. Continue reading
The Symbiote Makes the Man: Thoughts On Loving Venom
Apparently the Venom symbiote gets around! When I was a kid, it was only ever bonded to Peter Parker and then Eddie Brock. But during my time away from reading comics the Venom symbiote has bonded to Eddie Brock’s wife Anne, Angelo Fortunato, Mac Gargan, Flash Thompson, the Red Hulk, Flash again, Otto Octavius (while in Peter Parker’s body), Flash another time, Groot, Rocket, Drax, Flash yet again, the space pirate Mercurio, once more with Flash (big surprise), Peter Parker (again (for a bit)), Flash a final time, and Lee Price before finally coming home to Eddie Brock. Whew! With the “Venom Inc.” crossover winding its way through my regular read The Amazing Spider-Man, I’ve found myself thinking back on the ultimate Spider-Man villain and coolest antihero of the 1990’s. Continue reading
Walking Through The Walking Dead (Season Six): Who’s the Real Villain Here?
I did another guest post for Kalie over at Just Dread-Full! This is a look back at the last season of The Walking Dead and the introduction of (from my knowledge) their soon-to-become super villain Negan. I examine what makes a villain and do a little contrasting between the roles of hero and villain. It’s also another attempt to help allay some my anxiety in obsessing over what may happen in the Season Seven premiere by focusing on the last season instead! Soooo if apocalyptic zombie-fueled reflections on heroes and villains sounds like a fun and exciting way to spend a little part of your day, you should totally click here and read it! Please and thank you :).