Once again, another comic I've thoroughly enjoyed! Like Ms. Marvel, I especially appreciated the ethnic background that fuels the storylines. In this story, we get a Chinese protagonist who has an unhappy mother and ex-fighter father who migrated to America in search of a better life. Similar to Spiderman, Hank's father is shot and he then makes it his mission to defeat the man who did it and bring down the evil hierarchy that endorses such violence and greed. The story utilized spiritual elements that were very interesting. I also found this theme in Ms. Marvel when she would mention the Quaran. Reading these pieces make me feel as though I am getting closer to the culture, learning to respect its traditions and even its downsides, and learning to accept a new type of hero. Coincidentally, that is one of the main themes in this piece: 'something new'. Hank is sensitive, often makes comments that he does not wish to hit girls or a blind man, even if they are trying to kill him. His push-over nature is given extra brawn by his 'shadow hero', the Tortoise. The mother had me busting up laughing plenty of times as well, which definitely made the read even funner. The end where the Anchor is revealed as a robot or human reinforces the idea of Hank being 'something new'. He wasn't just another super hero, like the Anchor, because Anchor isn't even from earth or human presumably so, therefore, he is not a super hero because, as I quote mean girls, 'he doesn't even go here!'. Therefore, with Hank being someone with actual supernatural advantages and deciding to use them the same was as Anchor (rather than his nemesis, who also has a shadow power), he breaks the tradition of both and, in turn, becomes a real super hero. Something new.
Wow... just Wow. As a fan of female heroes, Ms. Marvel left me jaw dropped. I had originally planned to read the issues sporadically throughout the day, but I ended up liking it so much that I finished the first arc in one sitting. I absolutely loved what they did with Ms. Marvel; making her muslim, modernizing the language and setting, making her something other than the typical blonde, voluptuous vixen. I especially appreciated the twitter-esque "LOL" language they occasionally throw in. The entire piece felt very young and hip and it made me want to read it. Honeslty, I don't like to read. I love comics and I love action heroes but I would much rather play a video game or watch a Buffy episode on Netflix. However, this series has me going back for more. Her issues with her family, religion, social status, and feminine roles make the series so much more than just a Captain Marvel comic, but a comic about growing up and coming to terms with who you are, accepting yourself and inevitably detaching from yourself and going through a journey to realize acceptance and initiate growth. It was so creative and I, again, love it. I also liked the little hero references they through in (Avengers, original Ms. Marvel, etc). Truly felt fitting as an addition to the comic universe as a commentary on where comics are-- Kamala is a young girl, gamer, active tech user, and student, something so relatable to youth in this generation.
Considering Watchmen by Andrew Hoberek delves deeply into the rich cognitive natures of the Watchmen and analyzes both the characters and the book as a whole, highlighting its place in the comic medium and elaborating on the process Moore utilized to create such incredibly tragic characters. This reading was fascinating, so much so that I blabbed about it to my dad while I was reading it. At first, when I read Watchmen, I was connecting the heroes and their roles to major elements: Rorschach being war, Dr. Manhattan being God, Ozymandias being an embodiment of the shady agendas that fuel America, etc. However, I was surprised to be informed that the characters went much further than simply acting as personifications of common comic and action tropes, but rather they were the embodiment of the comic experience itself! As is explained in the chapter "Poetics", Hoberek states that Dr. Manhattan represents the comic reader itself, for he is omniscient like the reader but cannot see beyond his own experience, whether it be in the future or past. Just like the comic reader, we can flick back and forth between the previous and future pages to see what happens, but if we do not read it linearly, we cannot understand why it happens. Just like Dr. Manhattan, we see the future in the same type of frame (panel) that he sees the picture of his past self, Dr. Osterman. However, we cannot change it, we can only observe. Like Dr. Manhattan, we are going through the motions and reacting accordingly. Even more fascinating was Ozymandias personification of the story itself, being the big mystery reveal that is common in stories, but also acting as a commentary that his own subjectivity is hidden from the reader in a contrasting point to a story being richer by having a vast character subjectivity. The read was a very interesting one and I exaggerate not when I say this, but Watchmen is one of my favorite comics and I feel my fannish nature already growing as I catch myself watching the movie immediately after finishing the book, being excited to read Hoberek's analysis of the text, and already pre-ordering the Watchmen: The End is Nigh game in hopes that I can write about it for my video game blog instead of Batman: Arkham Asylum (which I had already started playing but am hesitant to write about because I am so currently endulged in Watchmen).
In reading the second half of Watchmen, the chapter that drew my attention most was chapter 6. I had seen the Watchmen movie around 5 or 6 years ago and remembered only very little of it: a few fighting scenes, the bright colors and dark nature of Rorschach. However, the movie did not stick with me for some reason, possibly because I was young and cared little about politics and the 'larger picture'. However, as I grow into my twenties, my attention towards things I never blinked an eye toward began to broaden. When I started reading the book, I was already hooked from the type of commentary it was making on society and humanity as a whole. An unexpected turn in the book was the removal of Rorschach's mask, straying away from the mystery case and now into the psyche of Walter Kovacs. Kovacs represented the arguably good kid surrounded by darkness, with an obligation to fight against it because that is all he knew. Once one looked at the dark elements of life in its' full glory, it is impossible to turn away from the neverending battle. We see everyone in the comic have their own view of why they are quitting being masked heroes, and it is all great and at first I thought Dr. Manhattan was the most interesting, for he was the most poetically logical and mechanical character, but then we got to Rorschach and he is the the one who got me. His explanation was so real and tragic, he had no other choice. He had to let go of his old, innocent, human self and become Rorschach because nobody else in the world was being Rorschach and it was clear humanity needed one. Little girls being butchered and thrown to dogs and a girl being raped with nobody calling for help is a desperate call for strict disciplinary action. Rorschach has just became one of the most fascinating and personally influential characters in my historical comic journey.
My dad is a huge fan of Watchmen, so when I had heard we were going to read this, I was very excited. At first, I thought it was going to bore me a little bit because I was not really able to read it before; the language was very poetic and sometimes was a little dense for me, I was unaware of a lot hero references, and I was politically unequipped. Now, after reading many Superman comics (amongst others), reading Watchmen was a breeze. I now understand why Watchmen is very important, both historically politically and for comics; the story plays on the elements common in super hero stories and manipulates them to fit the pressing issues of our society, and not just crime: homosexuality, rape, identity, psychological issues, disbandment, loss of friendships, etc. This story was so beautiful and I am so happy that I now understand this. The book reads like a poem at times and as I read on, it made more and more sense and the book got heavier and heavier in content. I had to read it very slowly because it was a lot to take in, but so worth every minute. I am actually happy I didn't read this before because reading the comics I did during the course really allows me to see why Watchmen is such a significant piece of work. It is not just a comic but it makes a huge commentary on society, even moreso than previous comics have. "Watchmen" reminded me alot of Frank Miller's "Batman" because, even though it is completely unreal and fantasy, they give it a twisted 'real' vibe to it by incorporating horrible elements of our actual society. The realistic and tragic vibe of Watchmen almost makes the whole idea of hero costumes and such seem completely not-cheesy. Such a great read. Probably amongst the best I've read this semester, and the previous readings have set a high bar.
Hey, readers! Today's blog will be about The New Gods #1 & #7, Green Arrow/ Green Lantern #7, and Bradford Wright's "From Social Consciousness to Cosmic Awareness" pg. 155-174.
I haven't entirely figured out why, but I wasn't that interested in the Orion comics. I think after reading the comics throughout this course, I am leaning towards a more Spiderman type hero, possibly Batman (and Robin, I actually really appreciate Robin's presence in the Batman comics). I guess I found the whole outer-galaxy intergalactic space thing kind of too overwhelming for me, especially since I read it a little later at night when my brain wanted to deactivate. However, I did like the introduction of Darkseid. I had seen him appear in the Mortal Kombat vs. DC video game I played and I thought he was just a Superman character--I didn't know he had appearances in other comics. I guess that's just another mainstream entertainment media assumption of mine.
I also was interested in Green Lantern's change of costume in the comics. A lot more edgier and he looks more serious and developed. What interested me most about the readings was actually the Bradford Wright piece. He mentioned the war and how the entire mentality of the people changed, therefore the comics themselves took a different turn. It was interesting that the popularity of the comics themselves seemed to decrease while the demand for idealism and a response toward political events were high. I, personally, like to see political statements in comics like that. Wright mentioned the first black hero --one that worked alongside Captain America-- and I felt as though that is what literature in its entirety should and has the power to do: make a statement, change peoples minds and force them to critically think. I love the idea of supermen in tights fighting crime, but I love the idea more when it is fighting crime and dangers that are relevant to the now. Another thing I found interesting about the article was the idea of graphic novels and comics being separate entities, GN often being more respected than comics or neither being praised worthy of literary acknowledgement at all, even though the popularity of comic books in the 1970s birthed the debatable praise of graphic novels today.
Today's blog post is based off of the readings: The X-Men #1 (1963), #59 (1969), #135 (1980), The Uncanny X-Men #135-#137 (1980), & New X-Men #114 (July 2001).
So... X-Men!!! I remember when I was just a little kid watching the movies with Hugh Jackman. In these texts, we see the earlier, brightly colored X-men. Because I was first introduced to the X-men in the movies, I was unaware that Beast and Angel were originals of the cast. I was also surprised at how essential Jean Grey was in the entire storyline. At first, I thought she was just some female mutant that happens to gain extreme power and lose control. However, the story was explained much more (i.e. the star and her cosmic ability) and she was a vital part of the storyline, being introduced as the 5th member of an exclusive mutant class.
A friend had told me something that I had not forgotten, especially since I read the comics. They mentioned a queer lens while reading the X-Men and told me that the entire story was about people born differently, but accepting their power rather than hiding it. Looking at this in that lens, I was surprised to see that we can explicate such things, like one could do with Zorro. I was also interested in the amount of emotion the facial expressions used to express the evil nature of the Dark Phoenix. In her issues, there is a point where she begins to show Jean Grey, and that she is fighting against the Phoenix inside of her. The facial expression from Jean Grey back to Phoenix is so well drawn and expresses both characters in just two small pictures.
I really enjoyed these readings, especially since I was already a fan of the movies as a kid. Jean Grey was a lot funnier than I remember, but it was enjoyable and sad to see her turn into the Dark Phoenix. Especially since she was such an important character from the start.
Till Next Time!
Today's blog post will be based off of the following readings: Avengers #1, #4, & #16 (1963-1965), Captain America #107 (1968), Tales of Suspense #39 (1963), And "The Myth of Superman" by Umberto Eco.
Hey guys! Today's readings were especially interesting because I have absolutely no experience with Thor other than seeing commercials, pictures, and occasional movie snippets. Loki, in these comics, is much more badass than I had previously imagined. Especially in Avengers #1, with his face appearing in the sky while cynically conducting schemes to lure Thor out of earth.
Something I found interesting about this issue that the class has previously discussed is the topic of Hulk at the circus and how that particular image is only really acceptable in a comic book medium. I definitely agree with this and found it interesting because while I was reading I did not even stop to pause on that picture because it didn't stand out to me as odd. However, in reality, it is the hulk with clown makeup! If I had seen that in a movie or something, it would be ridiculous. But it made so much sense in the comic and felt fitting for some reason.
I was amused with the Wasp character, who seemed to be really flirtatious all of the time and offered comedic relief that was appreciated. I found the Iron Man costume to be interesting because I had not known that that was a costume for him in the comics. I had only seen the movies and had seen the first suit he made escaping the cave and found it to be strikingly similar to that of the first Avengers issue. I don't know if there is any connection but I found it to be at least worth mentioning.
As I mentioned earlier, many of these super heroes are only apart of my knowledge through film means; I had not read anything about Hawkeye, or Black Widow, or Thor or Captain America. Therefore, reading these after only seeing them present in recent film adaptions was interesting. I found myself overly excited when I'd see them in the comics because I had known them from billboards and films played by people like Scarlet Johanson. It is weird to think that such things can be switched now. Usually it is the other way around.
Captain America's issue was interesting and I found it mirroring the whole PTSD thing. My brother was in the military and had PTSD when he had arrived home for a while and this comic reminded me a lot of his nightmares. It was nice to see how Captain America could mirror the common American soldier, while other heroes could give their persona to other types of people: like small woman (Wasp), large women (Wonderwoman), archers (Hawkeye), science nerds (Spiderman), buff white guys (Superman), bipolar guys (Hulk)-- etc.
For some reason, this reading was unsettling to me. I, too, was fooled by the whole fraternal environment that was my imaginary comic book production company. I always imagined people sitting around, throwing around ideas and participating in a truly collaborative effort that combined multiple brilliant minds and did not shorthand any of them. I had always heard Stan Lee's name whenever the topic of super heroes came out so, in my mind, he was some brilliant master of comics that created this whirlwind of genius that swept over the literary nation.
Its saddening that Jack Kirby, someone who was so inspirational in the entire world of super heroes and concepts, felt singled out in something that should've been so golden and happy in his life. The fact that he poured his life into something that ended up swinging back at him with negativity is really sad to think about. Comics are supposed to be a sort of sanctuary and when someone is a fan of such therapeutic channels must be disappointed in the fact that the behind-the-scenes is actually just as snakey and exploiting as typical business.
On a lighter note, I enjoyed to see that Marvel had numerous fallings before their rise. At times, it's intimidating learning about things in college just to go out into a world that probably will eat you alive. To see successful people like Kirby and Lee witness their furniture being removed from their office and later become a legendary publication company is really reassuring. However, this lighter note still brings me back to what is bothering me. If I have good ideas, good concepts and art, and go out into the world with them, will the business demons that lie inside people come out to exploit them from me? Or cut me out of my rightful recognition? Will I become bitter and attempt to denounce the success of my companions? Editors? The business world just seems too shady to me.
Maybe I'll just be like Kirby, and draw in my house.
Hey everyone! Today's blog post will be on Fantastic Four #45-53 and Amazing Spider-Man #31-33.
I found these comics to be especially enjoyable. Not necessarily because of the action or costumes, which our other readings had plenty of, but because of the witty banter that are prominent in the Spider-Man comics and in Fantastic Four, thanks to Johnny. This element in the text is probably why I am such a Whedon fan-- he is the expert at witty banter (totally my opinion).
Needless to say, I did enjoy the Fantastic 4 comics; their powers were cool, and it was nice to see something other than a caped vigilante run around instilling its own sense of justice. This time, there was a stretching man, a giant, smashing rock guy, a flaming torch and an invisible girl. All of these elements creating this fighting force was awesome to read through. The idea of a complete polar opposite group called the inhumans was cool too, and the reveal of the Black Bolt at the end of issue #45 added the cliffhanger effect that makes me want to read on. I also thought the dog, Lockjaw, was awesome. I also saw that he got his own comic (amongst other animals) that came out in 2009. It's cool to see that spinoffs can happen off of fun, seemingly less significant characters.
The Amazing Spider-Man readings had to be my favorite. I enjoyed the twist and turns of Fantastic Four, the action and creative characters and numerous villains, but it was the in depth character consciousness of Spiderman that captured my attention. Aside from being Spiderman, Peter Parker is also great at science, loves his Aunt May, misses his Uncle Ben, is struggling financially, etc. He is well rounded and in these comics he has such drive and motive to save his Aunt May. In the previous Batman and Superman comics, I was satisfied with the back story because I see what drove them to fight their battles. But these Spiderman issues showed me constantly why Peter fights his battles-- because, if not, his Aunt May will die. Because, if not, Dr. Octopus will prevail. Because, if not, his job is at stake.
There are so many things going on but Spiderman manages to handle all of them not with brawn but with cleverness and strategy. He gets his pictures for the Bugle, manipulates the situation so that the pictures are essential for his boss, utilizes his previous networks to get a serum to heal his aunt, and manages to think of nothing but saving her. Even the bombshell Gwen Stacy was all over him and he still had his family on his mind! This character is so relatable to me. He may have a cool loved-one-got-shot story like Batman, and awesome super powers like Superman, but I found this current adventure most interesting, because it is not just the past that drives him, but a desperate attempt to maintain his happiness in the present that drives him as well.