The end of winter is in sight, people. I suspect that, after the terrible storms that swept over the country last week, everyone is ready for this winter to be over. That, or you’re just ready to jump on the nearest flight to a tropical climate. As someone who has been chipping ice off his car almost every other day, I completely understand that sentiment.
It’s not quite over yet, but we’re getting close. I encourage everyone to hang in there and hold out just a little bit longer. It may mean having to dress in layers for a few more weeks, but we’re past the halfway point for the most part. We just have to take things week-by-week. That’s where New Comic Book Day comes in.
When you build every week around when new comics come out, you come to appreciate taking things week-by-week in general. No matter the season or the weather, New Comic Book Day is like an anchor that helps keep things in perspective as time progresses. That’s especially helpful during times like this.
The weather sucks. There are no major holidays to look forward to. We’re still in the midst of a terrible pandemic. Time tends to drag during periods like this. Having something to look forward to every week, like new comics, helps keep your spirit from getting too broken. At a time like this, we all need that.
This week has plenty to offer for those trying to distract themselves from the weather and the news. Once again, here my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
Even the most luxurious palace has a septic system that contains its foulest shit. It’s not just a fact of life. It might as well be a law of physics. In the same way the brightest light still casts a shadow, there’s always a dark underbelly to any world we explore.
The internet is no exception. If anything, the internet has more dark underbellies than most and I’m not just referring to porn sites or nefarious Google searches. Those are all plenty disturbing, but if the internet has an overflowing septic tank, it’s the collective comments section of many sites.
They’re not just the comments section to certain news sites.
They’re not just anonymous image boards like 4chan that pride themselves on excess shit-posting.
Even the comments section of mainstream websites like YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit have comments sections that will give your faith in humanity a hefty gut punch. They come in many forms, but they tend to follow the same patterns.
They’re degrading, insulting, whiny, vulgar, immature, and just plain wrong on multiple levels. I’m not calling for them to be censored or banned, outside the kind of comments that incite violence in the real world. I’m just pointing out that this is the ugly side of the internet and we can’t deny its stench.
I say that as someone who has spent many hours, much of them wasted, in comments sections and message boards over the years. Even during the early days of the internet, complete with dial up and AOL keyword searches, I’ve seen this ugliness firsthand. I also don’t deny that there are times when I’ve contributed to it. That’s something I genuinely regret.
While all toxic comments are different, they often employ similar rhetoric. It really hasn’t changed much from the AOL days. Just the other day, I made the mistake of browsing the comments of a YouTube video. I saw the same whiny, angry ranting that I saw on old message boards in 1999.
The topics may change. The verbiage may differ. Even the arguments made, if there are any, tend to be fairly similar. I could single out plenty of ugly comments I’ve encountered. However, I want to highlight one that I’ve seen a lot more of lately, especially among fans of superhero comics, Star Wars, and Star Trek.
It’s a sweeping, generalized statement. It’s usually said out of a mix of hate, resentment, and tribalism. Ironically, it’s often Star Wars fans who say stuff like this when talking about characters like Rey. It’s ironic because Obi-Wan Kanobi himself once said, “only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
It doesn’t help that these kinds of absolutes are total bullshit encased in wishful thinking that’s built entirely around head-canon. Certain fans want to believe that everyone agrees with them and those who don’t aren’t “true” fans.
It’s basically the old “no true Scotsman” fallacy, but this one is laced with a mix of lies and hypocrisy. That’s because it’s demonstrably provable that these kinds of sweeping statements are wrong.
Not everyone hates Rey, Captain Marvel, or whoever else is the object of resentment at the moment. For one, Captain Marvel’s movie raked in $1 billion at the box office. Clearly, more than a few people liked her.
The same can be said for Rey. You can go onto Amazon and readily find merchandise featuring her. She may not be on the same level as Luke Skywalker, but that’s not a reasonable bar for a character who has only recently entered the franchise.
I can also attest that Rey has plenty of fans. It’s not just that I’m one of them. I’ve been to comic book conventions. I’ve seen women, young girls, and even a few men dress up as Rey. I’ve seen even more dress up as Captain Marvel. She clearly has plenty of fans.
That makes the whole idea that “nobody likes this character” or “everyone hates this character” demonstrably false. Those who say it aren’t just lying trolls. They’re hypocrites.
Now, I’ve made the mistake of arguing with these people before. I can safely conclude that it’s not a productive use of my time. These people will never be dissuaded. They still want to live in their head-canon where everyone hates exactly who they hate and anyone who thinks otherwise is just part of an evil conspiracy out to get them.
Again, I freely admit I’ve posted my share of dumb comments. I’ve said dumb things before, as well. Everyone has. We’re only human. We’re not perfect and never will be. I believe in free speech strongly and I understand that this is a byproduct of that. I’m willing to accept that.
I’m also willing to use that same freedom to point out the idiocy and hypocrisy of those kinds of comments. They’re not just a useless waste of bandwidth. They’re a symptom of a much larger problem. For now, the best thing to do is ignore these people and let them live in their fanciful head-canon. It may not fix the problem, but it’ll keep it from getting worse.
We made it through Election Day. I understand that can still change, but we still made it. That’s progress, in my book. I also doubt I’m alone in being relieved that we’ve finally made it through.
Now, I realize that there’s still plenty of post-election drama to unfold here in the United States. I may end up talking about that at some point. For now, I’d rather focus on something that brings objective joy to the world, namely comics.
The day after such a contentious election is the perfect day to indulge in some comic fueled awesome. I am not just ready. I need this and I suspect many others burned out on politics feel the same. The real world has been objectively awful on so many levels in 2020. An escape has never been more necessary.
That’s exactly what comics provide us. They are a simple, inexpensive joy that takes us out of this crazy world for a brief moment and into one full of wonder. I love every New Comic Day, but this particular day has never been more cathartic. To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!
I love the internet. In general, I think it does more good than harm. Our lives are objectively better because of it. I know it has its share of baggage and drawbacks. Like anything, you take the good with the bad.
However, there are times when taking the bad is just annoying as hell. I’m fine with challenges and struggle. Those help us become stronger, in the long run. The same can’t be said of annoyance. That helps no one. It just makes you want to bang your head against the wall.
This brings me to what I feel is one of the weakest, emptiest, most pathetic displays of internet outrage I’ve seen in recent years. It unfolded last year, but has become relevant again this year. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, certain people still find the time and energy to be so insanely petty about something so banal.
It stems largely from that scene in “Avengers: Endgame.” You probably know the scene I’m referring to. I doubt I have to be too specific. For general reference, here it is.
Just playing it again, I can easily imagine a certain group of people whining like babies, as though someone just stole a piece of their birthday cake. It’s a shot of some of Marvel’s most notable female characters, all in the same scene, getting ready to kick more ass in the final battle against Thanos.
Yes, people actually got upset over this.
Yes, it’s as dumb, pathetic, and petty as it sounds, and then some.
They’re not just men who complain about a female superhero’s bra size. They’re not just women who complain how these costumes are woefully impractical. They call this scene cringy. That’s usually code for, “This doesn’t pander exclusively to me and it hurts my precious feelings!”
Many probably whine about other people who whine about things they don’t agree with, be it politics, video games, or which celebrity had an opinion that hurt their precious feelings. This scene just caught more attention than most, being part of the highest grossing movie of all time.
The outrage unfolded as soon as the movie came out. Here’s just one of the responses on Twitter.
Trust me, this is tame compared to some of the other rage tweeting that went on. Most of it boiled down to people saying the scene was so forced and tried too hard to make a political statement. Naturally, you can’t make political statements these days without attracting trolls, assholes, idiots, and narcissists.
I say that as someone who has made his share of political statements, some of which I know won’t age well. I know I make certain people cringe with what I say and how I say it. Most of the time, it’s understandable. I have enough empathy to realize that hearing something you don’t agree with can be distressing.
This scene, however, is not one of those instances. To see this scene and assume Marvel Studios is making this bold political statement about feminism, female characters, and how men should be ashamed for not letting women shine isn’t just contrived. It’s just plain goddamn stupid.
I’m sorry. I wish there was a more articulate way to say that. Sometimes, you just have to be as blunt and straightforward as possible. There are things worth cringing over. There are things worth getting outraged over. This isn’t one of them.
It’s just a very brief, very colorful moment within a two-and-a-half hour movie that took all but seven second. Somehow, that was enough to evoke whining, outrage, and trolls? Seriously, how does that make sense?
The reason I’m bringing this up now is because this scene has become relevant again, thanks to Amazon Prime’s “The Boys.” Now, I love that show and the comic that inspired it. I hope I’ve made that clear. I love the scene that re-opened this old wound, too. It was a great scene. Watching Starlite, Maeve, and Kimiko beat up Stormfront was very satisfying.
There was nothing political about it, but now it’s getting political because of how it supposedly contrasts with the “Avengers: Endgame” scene. I say supposedly because they’re both very different scenes with very different stories told in a very different context. Linking one to the other to make a larger political statement is just asinine.
When I see the “Avengers: Endgame” scene, I don’t see anything political. I just see an epic shot of Marvel’s female heroes. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. It’s just a fun scene that nicely depicts how many great female characters have developed over the years in the MCU. Can’t it just be that?
The same goes for the scene in “The Boys.” Can’t that scene just be a fun display of three of the show’s best characters beating up some Nazi-loving bitch? There’s no politics in, either. It’s entertainment. It’s fun.
If you’re going ascribe politics to either scene, then you’re missing the point. You’re also whining like an immature child, incapable of accepting a world that doesn’t always pander to every one of your sensibilities at every hour of every day. I don’t care where you lean politically. That sort of misguided outrage isn’t the least bit justified. It’s just flat out pathetic.
In a year so full of objectively awful news, a tiny bit of good news goes a long way. When that news involves superhero comics and upcoming TV shows, it goes even further with me. On that front, such news has been few and far between. This year has been fraught with major delays and cancelled conventions. Fans like me need some good, exciting news for once. We’re due.
Then, this past week, we got it. It’s been in the works for a while now, but now it’s getting real. One of the big Marvel Studios Disney Plus shows that has been in development, “Ms. Marvel,” officially found their Kamala Khan in Iman Vellani. As an unapologetic Ms. Marvel fan who has sung her praises before, this is just the news I needed.
Deadline reported it. Many others in Hollywood circles praised it. Fans like me were just elated that Kamala Khan is set to enter the MCU.
After a long and hard search, Marvel has found its Ms. Marvel. The studio is tapping newcomer Iman Vellani to star in its Disney Plus series based on the comic-book character. Marvel and the streamer recently named Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Meera Menon as directors on the project.
Now, there’s a lot I want to say about this news, this casting, and the prospects for this show. I’ve already touched on some of that before and I have every intention of highlighting even more as the show develops. Ms. Marvel is very near and dear to me as a character. I’ll be among those cheering the loudest for her and for Ms. Vellani to succeed.
Before I get to any of that, though, I want to offer a special message to Ms. Vellani. I doubt she’ll ever read it. I’m sure she’ll hear from plenty of other voices far more prominent and insightful than mine. I still want to put this message out there because I think it’s worth saying.
Dear Ms. Vellani,
First off, congratulations! You just earned yourself the role of a lifetime with an incredible character. On behalf of many other Ms. Marvel fans, I wish you the best. We’ll all be cheering you on as you bring Kamala Khan to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It will be challenging. Anything worth doing is. I believe you’re up for it. I also don’t doubt that you’ll face obstacles, some of which have nothing to do with your acting abilities or your love for the character.
The world of superhero media is an amazing place. Both on and off the screen, there a lot to take in. Chances are, it will be overwhelming at time, but once the fans embrace you, they’ll be your greatest ally. It’s what helped Ms. Marvel become such a prominent, beloved character. That’ll help you achieve success on a level that will do justice to her legacy.
Now, there are parts of that world that are less pleasant. As in any genre, there are critics and trolls who will try to tear you down. They’ll attack you, just as they’ve done to the likes of Brie Larson, Daisy Ridley, and Kelly Marie Tran. Do not let them get you down. Do not let them stop you from being the best Ms. Marvel you can possibly be.
Also know that Kamala herself has attracted plenty of trolls. Some of the ugliest elements of superhero fandom have been denigrating Ms. Marvel since the day she debuted. Some go so far as to attack her creators. These people are no different than the villains Ms. Marvel fights. They do not deserve an ounce of your attention.
The love people have for this character is many times greater than those who go out of their way to hate her. That love is what makes Ms. Marvel special. We hope you feel that love as you don that now-iconic costume. May it carry you through the challenges that await and may it enrich your world, just as Ms. Marvel has enriched ours.
One of the hardest and most important lessons a kid can learn is patience. The ability to wait an extended period of time for something good is one of those underrated skills that makes kids and adults alike more responsible. If you can be patient, then you’re less inclined to whine endlessly until you get your way. There are grown adults who struggle with that.
I like to think that m love of comics gave me some harsh, but necessary lessons in patience. When I was a kid, there was no Comixology or nearby comic shops to get new comics every week. I actually had to wait for them to arrive in the mail every week.
Trust me. It’s even more awful than it sounds.
The books were often late, sometimes for several weeks after they arrived in comic shops. Half the time, the books arrived damaged. I don’t miss those days. I thank the comic gods every day that I live in the era of Comixology where my enjoyment of New Comic Book Day is not determined by the competency of the post office.
As rough as those days were, they also taught me how to be patient while waiting for my favorite books to come out. I’ve heard from younger comic fans how agonizing it is to wait four weeks for another issue. I sympathize completely, but these kids didn’t know what it was like to spend every Wednesday waiting for the mail with baited breath. I envy them.
Now, the post office is off the hook. We can enjoy those new books as soon as they come out. It’s a beautiful thing. It feels like all those years of patience I had as a kid is being rewarded. For that, I thank both the internet and Comixology. As such, here’s my pull list for the week, as well as my pick. Enjoy!
The following is a video I made for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s the first in what I hope to be a series about the special, often overlooked gems in the world of comics. I plan on making others like it. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Below is a video I made for my channel, Jack’s World. It’s based on an article I wrote a few years back by the same name. It tried to expand it in a few key areas, but the spirit of the piece is still there. I also added in a few visuals that I hope supplement my points. Enjoy!
I’ve been reading comics long enough to both appreciate and dread big time comic events. Big events in comics are often framed like big blockbuster movies. Major publishers treat them as this must-see event that will knock your socks off, get your heart racing, and maybe even make love to your soul if you’re lucky.
Most events fail to deliver. I’ll just say that outright because it needs to be said. Most comic fans find that out the hard way.
That said, I still look forward to these events because those that do deliver are truly special. They’re the kinds of stories that make you glad to be a comic fan. It helps that comics, as a medium, can do a lot more than movies, TV shows, and cartoons can do. They don’t need spend millions on special effects, stunt doubles, or catering. They just need artists and writers who have a damn good story to tell.
This year, like many others, had a handful of big events planned. Like everything else in 2020, the pandemic undermined those plans. Now, after a steady reopening of the larger comics industry, some of those events are set to begin. The next couple of months promise to be eventful for reasons that don’t require masks or social distancing.
At this point, I don’t care how the events pan out. I’m just glad to see the comics world getting bolder. We need that in this world right now. As such, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
Reading comics is one of those special activities that works during any time of the year. When it’s cold out, there’s no greater feeling than curling up under some blankets, downloading some new comics via Comixology, and letting the inherent awesome warm your soul. When it’s hot out, there’s no greater feeling than sitting out in the sun, getting your new comics through Comixology, and soaking in both rays and awesome.
New comics can make any season more enjoyable, by default. There have even been Wednesday mornings when it’s pouring rain outside and I still sit on my porch, reading new books while drinking a hot cup of coffee. The experience is nothing short of Zen like. I’ve tried it in a blizzard too. It doesn’t work quite as well, but it still works.
I say that because this is usually the time of year when the weather is nice enough on a Wednesday morning to watch the sun rise while reading new comics. Whether you’re at home or on a beach, it’s a great feeling that I recommend every comic fan enjoy at some point in your lives.
This week is the first of many opportunities. I’ve got another lengthy pull list, including a few books that I’ve been closely monitoring. What follows is the list of books I have on hand this week and a pick that will make that morning sunrise that much more beautiful. Enjoy!
Teenage superheroes are often hit-and-miss. They’re often high-risk/high-reward characters who can either become beloved global icons in the mold of Spider-Man or they can just become annoying, insufferable, and not the least bit endearing. I won’t name names, but I have singled a few out in the past.
By almost every measure, Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan is a hit. She’s probably the biggest hit Marvel has had for a teenage superhero since X-23. She has her critics, but a character doesn’t go from a complete unknown to starring in her own TV series within a decade without being awesome on some levels. “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” perfectly demonstrates why she’s so awesome and why her critics are just being difficult.
This book comes out on the heels of a huge upheaval in Kamala’s life outside her superhero identity. Her father is still recovering from an illness that almost killed him and left him with permanent health issues. Her kinda sorta almost boyfriend, Bruno, is looking for clarity when Kamala isn’t ready to give any. She’s a teenager. Emotional clarity is still an emerging concept.
Through all this drama, she still finds time to go to a county fair and hang out with her friends. She also finds time to fight some magic monster hiding in a fortune-teller’s crystal ball and gain a new side-kick in Fadi “Amulet” Fadlalah. That’s a lot for one teen hero to tackle in a single comic, but writer Saladin Ahmed pulls it off beautifully.
In a single issue, “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” offers a simple, but dense story that has just the right amount of teen melodrama and teen heroism. Those are the key ingredients for any successful teenage hero and Ms. Marvel mixes them better than anyone not affiliated with Batman.
Kamala takes time to be a teenage girl and a dutiful daughter trying to meet her 9:00 p.m. curfew. She also tries to be a good teenage superhero who inspires others for all the right reasons. Her new side-kick, Amulet, is just the latest example that she is having a positive impact. She’s inspiring others, as good heroes do. The fact she does this while still being an emotionally insecure teenager only makes her more endearing.
If you ever need a reminder of why Ms. Marvel is such a special character, “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” offers all that and then some in a single comic. It’s not just my pick of the week. It’s my personal reminder of why I love this character so much and why her upcoming Disney-plus series cannot come out fast enough.