Tag Archives: Spider-Man

In Memoriam: Stan Lee 1922-2018

We all know how much Stan Lee meant to the world. There are few figures in the twentieth century that have had as significant an impact on popular culture as had the Forever Face of Marvel Comics. While he modestly downplayed his contributions to society, Stan’s indelible mark on history has given, without question, joy and inspiration to several generations of fans and followers. And will continue to do so for generations to come.

I can’t properly enumerate all the ways in which his enthusiasm, his vision, and his words have influenced me. Without his contributions to the industry, I may never have become the avid devotee of the medium that I am today, and my lifelong Marvel fandom owes everything to his prolific output and creative genius. Stan’s larger-than-life personality is matched by a portfolio of characters that transcend comics, themselves becoming a vital part of our social fabric, and many of whom have meant a great deal to me personally.

So as a small means of tribute, here is the first in a series of reflections on some  of my favorite Stan Lee co-creations, and the related comic book issues that recollect childhood excitement and have earned lasting admiration.


Amazing Spider-Man #50
It really began for me with Peter Parker. I can’t remember how old I was when I thumbed through my first Spider-Man comic — no more than five for sure — but I do have vivid memories of watching that old syndicated cartoon on a tiny tube television from the floor of my family living room. I had committed the “does whatever a spider can” theme song to memory, and convinced two kindergarten classmates to perform it with me at a school-wide talent show. The only things I remember from that performance is that my two friends didn’t sing a word (boy did they look stupid standing next me, closed-lipped) and my folks didn’t try to talk me out of wearing my Spider-Man Underoos over my corduroys (damn, I must’ve looked cool). Continue reading In Memoriam: Stan Lee 1922-2018

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man

For many people my age, Spider-Man, Batman, and the X-Men, are their definite heroes. I can only translate that to the popularity of each of their animated shows. For the past few years, I haven’t really been keeping up with the ol’ webhead. While I have enjoyed parts of Dan Slott’s years-long Spider-Man run (Superior Spider-Man was excellent), overall, I haven’t found it clicking with me. I’ve always liked  the low-stakes drama of Peter’s social life/job while dealing with street-level villains, so Slott’s corporate Parker and his globetrotting adventures hasn’t been my thing.

Enter Chip Zdarsky.

For years, I only knew Chip as that really funny guy on Twitter that all the comic creators I followed interacted with. Eventually, I realized that he is a hilarious writer and fantastic artist (If you haven’t seen his saga with Applebees, check it out). In recent years though, Chip has had a comic outpouring in great books like Jughead, Howard the Duck, and the still running Star-Lord. The sense of humor and surprising amount of pathos in his books had gotten me terribly excited for his Spider-Man run. All the hype I built up in my head did not prove to be too much as I loved every second of this book.

Continue reading Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man

Ranking Marvel NOW! 15 – 6

Iron Fist

Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins

Iron Fist #1 begins the way every Iron Fist story should, with Danny Rand recklessly throwing his fists in his search for something deeper. The book also uses first person narration in a similar way to the original incarnation of the series, which featured second person narration as a means of placing the reader in Danny Rand’s shoes. While “heroes without their powers” stories are not always spectacular, especially since they often lack the action of a traditional story, this book feels like the beginning of a promising journey for Danny. The colorful and gritty art also helps sell a martial arts world that, while somewhat dark, is also full of strange characters. Lastly, any Iron Fist book that uses the narration to accurately call each of Danny Rand’s expert techniques is fine by me. Iron Fist #1 Upward Cannon Punches and Tiger Tail Sweeps its way to success, even if it isn’t the most exciting book on the Marvel NOW roster. – IP

Better than the PM&IF book. Formulaic, but fun. I’m in for now. Brisson’s writing has potential, and Perkins’s grittiness gives this kung-fu epic the appropriate 70’s vibe. – MMDG

First collection: Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Gauntlet (October)


Moon Knight

Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood
beginning with #10

First off, Greg Smallwood’s layouts and Jordie Bellaire’s colors make this one trippy book. Delving into a character’s broken mind is something that comic books are very good at depicting. I already feel very into learning more about Marc’s fractured psyche and his quest to find out what is real and what isn’t. Lemire makes me want to read the next issue. – MeanOldPig

Collection: Moon Knight, Vol. 3: Birth and Death (October)


Continue reading Ranking Marvel NOW! 15 – 6

The Best of All New All Different Marvel #3: Spider-Man


Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli

Even though he climb walls, swings from buildings and has the proportional strength of a genetically modified spider, Miles Morales has had the burden of proving to the world that he’s Spider-Man. Since being brought to life in 2011 by legendary scribe Brian Michael Bendis and legend-in-the-making artist Sara Pichelli, people both in the fictional and real world have struggled with someone else taking up Peter Parker’s mantle. With an awareness of the public’s reaction to Peter Parker dying (in the Ultimate Universe) and the expectations placed on his replacement, the two artists built Miles’s story around the idea of inheriting the legacy, rising to become not just a hero, but a symbol.

Like Peter Parker, Miles Morales is a reluctant hero. Both were victims of super science, though the original Parker was more from carelessness. In the Ultimate Universe, both the Parker and Morales spider-bite are directly related to Norman Osborn, who was trying to use genetically engineered spiders to recreate the effects of the Captain America super soldier serum. Parker’s motivations to be Spider-Man stem from the death of his Uncle Ben, his beloved father-figure, who could have been saved had Parker only used his powers responsibly. Miles decides to become Spider-Man after the death of Ultimate Peter Parker, who gave his life stopping the monstrous, Ultimate Green Goblin. Destined for greatness, the only other person to get a radioactive spider-bite, Miles accepts the call to be Spider-Man, but not without hesitation. The responsibility of power is the legacy of Spider-Man, and dealing with the pressure to do what’s right at the sake of yourself is a persistent challenge faced by both characters. Peter Parker has sacrificed a lot to be Spider-Man, and Miles has suffered, too. As Spider-Man, he fought to the death with his Uncle Aaron, the Ultimate-thief, Prowler, and his mother died after his father was crippled during a confrontation with the Venom symbiote. The new Spider-Man underwent a gauntlet of classic Spidey scenarios, and he emerged from the separate but equal world of the Ultimates, then survived the Secret Wars, and now plays a significant role as an Avenger. So, I feel good saying Miles Morales is Spider-Man.

This point doesn’t need to be revisited so often, except that the skin color of Spider-Man matters a lot to some people. Reading the letters to the editor in the first Ultimate Spider-Man issues is a disappointing exploration of the intolerance of some fans. But as the issues go on, more people write in recognizing the good work that Bendis and Pichelli were doing, and showing support for the ideals that came with Miles Morales. Still, I think the creative team has been very sensitive to transitioning Miles into Spider-Man, and they’ve detoured many stories so that recognizable characters can give their blessing to Miles.

Continue reading The Best of All New All Different Marvel #3: Spider-Man

New Comics: Black Panther

We’re still posting our rankings for the first six months of Marvel’s relaunch, but the hits keep on coming from the House of Ideas, and I don’t doubt that had we waited until All New All Different Marvel – Week 27 to tabulate results, Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze would have made the Top 10.

In an interview with NPR, National Book Award recipient Coates talks about how working with Marvel, despite his first experience writing comics, nonetheless makes him “feel back at home.” And home, in this case, is taking a character that debuted fifty years ago in the pages of The Fantastic Four, and making him powerfully relevant in the present.

IMG_0620Given Black Panther’s impending appearance in Marvel Films’ Captain America: Civil War, and a planned solo movie, it would have been easy for the company to simply inundate the comic shop with team book appearances; new series, both limited and ongoing; and half-hearted attempts at putting his face on as many covers as possible. You know, like Deadpool.

Granted, T’challa is part of Ewing & Rocafort’s The Ultimates, but this Coates and Stelfreeze series is the definitive Panther book, and by no means  a requisite media tie-in. And despite a fair amount of back-story to churn through, including the current state of Wakanda, the fictional African kingdom ruled by the T’challa, this new Black Panther delivers on Marvel’s promise to offer an excellent jumping-on point for new readers. Continue reading New Comics: Black Panther

All New All Different Marvel – Week 18

Four months in on Marvel’s major All-New, All-Different relaunch, and we finally get treated to the continuing adventures of Miles Morales. After a significant role in Secret Wars, and testing the waters of his new Marvel universe in the pages of All New All Different Avengers, Spider-Man #1 is the real coming-out party.

And, appropriately, this party is hosted by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, who introduced us to Miles in 2011.

Just as Bendis’s run on the original Ultimate Spider-Man has become treasured as many comics fans’ first exposure to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko’s wallcrawler, this new Spider-Man figures to do the same for a whole new generation of webheads. (I did my part this past Christmas. Little cousins? Comics all around.)

All New All Different Premieres
Spider-Man #1

Continuing and related titles
A-Force #2
Captain America: Sam Wilson #6
Captain Marvel #2
Contest of Champions #5
Deadpool and The Mercs for Money #1 (of 5)
Doctor Strange #5
Guardians of Infinity #3
Howard the Duck #4
Invincible Iron Man #6
Nova #4
Rocket Raccoon and Groot #2
Scarlet Witch #3
Spidey #3
Uncanny Avengers #5
Uncanny X-Men #3
Vision #4
Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 18