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  • The 2018 Superhero Watch: Doing Whatever a Spider Can

    The 2018 Superhero Watch: Doing Whatever a Spider Can

    This year, as I’ve mentioned once before, I’ve set a goal for myself: watch and rewatch as many superhero movies as I can. And since I’ve got something of a platform here, I wanted to periodically update you on my progress and tell you what I’ve been thinking so far. (If you want to keep up with my progress, you can follow along on the Letterboxd list I update each time I watch another film.) In my first column about this process, I talked about the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Today, our Venn Diagram is going to have a little bit of overlap, as we look at one of the few characters to have a successful cinematic career before joining the MCU: Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

    I didn’t watch all of these films in order, but I’m going to talk about them more or less that way. Also, In that aforementioned first column, I spent time talking about Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so I’m going to get this out of the way first. Holland’s Spider-Man is the best...
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  • Amazing Spider-Man #800: A Finale That Goes Down With the Greats

    Amazing Spider-Man #800: A Finale That Goes Down With the Greats

    Amazing Spider-Man #800 (Marvel Comics)
    By Dan Slott, Nick Bradshaw, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Marcos Martin, Edgar Delgado, Java Tartaglia, Marte Gracia, Muntsa Vicente & Joe Caramagna

    With the exception of Brian Michael Bendis, I don’t think anyone in history has written Spider-Man as long as Dan Slott, and when you’re talking about the “main” Spider-title (be it Amazing or Superior), Slott probably holds the title outright. With Slott finally walking away from the title and character he has steered for so long, the urge has to be to go out on the biggest boldest, most character-defining story you’ve ever written.

    Slott nails it.

    As we go into the final chapter of “Go Down Swinging,” things are looking bleak. Peter Parker’s arch-enemy, Norman Osborn, has merged with the homicidally insane Carnage symbiote, creating a “Red Goblin” far more powerful than...
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  • The 2018 Superhero Watch: Reflections on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    The 2018 Superhero Watch: Reflections on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    As both a movie lover and a ginormous geek, I like to periodically set movie-watching goals for myself. I’ll try to tackle the films in a certain genre, or featuring a certain character, or built around a certain theme. And as a writer and a ginormous geek, I also tend to document some of these challenges. In the past, I’ve done film study projects about the history of horror, the legacy of horror/comedies, my favorite TV Christmas specials and, one memorable December, 25 different incarnations of Ebenezer Scrooge. That I missed out on that Family Ties episode where Alex P. Keaton plays the part is my one regret in life.

    Like so many other things, though, my movie watching habits had to evolve when my wife and I had a baby. It simply wasn’t feasible to set aside an entire month to watch slasher movies and write a detailed analysis of each one. So in 2018, I set a different kind of goal for myself: to watch as many superhero movies as possible, and in the case of those I’ve...
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  • Three Wishes: Release These Comics!

    Three Wishes: Release These Comics!

    Having several friends who own or work in comic stores, I get a lot of good opportunities to talk about trends in the business. One thing I’ve heard almost universally over the last few years is that the comic book back issue market has completely tanked. Even though selling old comics is what the comic shop industry was built on, shop owners now have to turn to alternative sources of revenue like collectibles, toys, cards, clothing, and appearing on AMC network reality shows. With the exception of rare issues, first appearances, and other things that hold serious monetary value, there’s simply no need to hunt for back issues anymore. In the Oughts, publishers began to grow much more aggressive with their bookshelf program. What once had been reserved for “special” storylines or archival reprints soon began to apply to virtually every comic book published. Nowadays a reader can be fairly well assured that any comic book appearing on the shelf will see print in a paperback or hardcover...
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  • The Cure For Fatigue

    The Cure For Fatigue

    ​Blame James Cameron for this one.

    Recently, the director of Aliens and Titanic has expressed some… shall we say “disappointment” about the proliferation of superhero movies. The man who is working on a Terminator reboot and four new Avatar sequels was famously quoted as saying “there are other stories to tell,” when speaking about the success of Marvel’s Avengers franchise. The man who helped make Arnold Schwarzenegger a megastar and who once almost made a Spider-Man movie went on to bemoan “hyper-gonadal movies about males without families.”

    I’m picking on Cameron a little here, I know, but that’s because he’s the most famous name that has jumped onto this particular bandwagon. He is by no means the first one. Lots of people have talked about “superhero fatigue” setting in, and with so many films in the genre coming out each year, it’s not an unreasonable concern. Marvel Studios is the juggernaut, but let’s not forget Fox’s X-Men franchise (which...
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  • Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    In Three Wishes, we take a look at something in pop culture and express three hopes for the future, whether those wishes are almost inevitable or pie-in-the-sky dreams.

    Spoiler Warning: This article contains all manner of spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. If you are one of the three remaining people in North America who hasn’t seen it, read no further.

    In the run-up to Avengers: Infinity War, more than one person called it the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it turned out, in terms of consequences, it made Empire look like Benji. After killing several of the MCU’s heroes in the preceding 140 minutes, Thanos successfully assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and completed his stated goal of killing off half the population of the universe with a snap of his fingers. People who read the comic books upon which this was based probably weren’t totally shocked, but even hardcore fans lost their breath when the devastation turned out to include...
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