Tag Archives: Peter Parker

New Comic Book Day September 1, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

This time of year used to be so bittersweet. The week before Labor Day was often the last week before I went back to school and, as I’ve noted before, I had a less-than-enjoyable experience at school. I would often dread each passing day in this week, knowing that at the start of next week, I’d be going back to a place that made me miserable for seven hours a day. It was nerve-racking, to say the least.

That was often the week I needed new comics the most. It was the week when I needed a quality escape the most. I dreaded school so much that anything I could look forward to was a welcome reprieve. I always made it a point to go to my local comic shop that Wednesday and buy some extra books to get me through. For that, I’ll always thank the owner of that shop for letting me go a little overboard.

Years later, this particular week isn’t nearly as nerve racking. For the most part, it’s just another week. However, I haven’t forgotten how difficult it was in my youth and how comics helped me get through it. I had so many issues back then and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the comics I love. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I swear it’s true.

I know a lot of kids are already back in school. I also know some are poised to return next week. To those kids who dreaded it like I did, I urge you all to hang in there. Be strong and be safe out there. You’ll get through this, just like I did. Hopefully, a stack of new comics will help in some way. Here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Aquaman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1

Avengers #48

Basilisk #4

Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Captain Marvel #32

Dark Ages #1

Harley Quinn 2021 Annual #1

Hellions #15

Infinite Frontier #5

New Mutants #21

Red Sonja #1

Sinister War #4

Star Wars: The High Republic #9

Teen Titans Academy #6

W.E.B. Of Spider-Man #4

Wonder Girl #3


My Pick Of The Week
Dark Ages #1

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New Comic Book Day August 11, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

As I type this, I am on vacation. I am literally just a block away from the beach. Trust me. It’s even better than it sounds. After last year, any vacation is bound to feel ten times more satisfying. As such, reading new comics on the beach should be even more satisfying than that.

There aren’t too many ways to make New Comic Book Day even more enjoyable than it already is. Being able to download my comics to my iPad and read them at the beach on a nice summer morning is definitely one of them. Between the cool ocean breezes, the deliciously unhealthy beach food, and the promise of a nice day of fun and the sun, this is one of those extra special New Comic Book Days.

I cannot overstate how much I needed this vacation. Last year marked the first time since college that I wasn’t able to spend any time at the beach, visiting family and hanging out with friends. It was heartbreaking, to say the least. This trip has been both overdue and cathartic. Having new comics to enjoy on top of it all only makes all of it more rewarding.

Whether you’re on vacation this week or not, New Comic Book Day is one of those days that can make any trip better. It certainly has made mine better. I hope it does the same for everyone else. So, before I get back to soaking up some sun, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Avengers: Tech-On #1

Batman ’89 #1

Batman: Urban Legends #6

Captain Marvel #31

Children Of The Atom #6

Daredevil #33

Defenders #1

Detective Comics #1041

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3

Infinite Frontier #4

Justice League: Last Ride #4

Mighty Morphin #10

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #29

Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #2

Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #5

Star Wars: The High Republic #8

X-Force #22

X-Men Legends #6


My Pick Of The Week
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #5

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Why Superhero Secret Identities Are More Relevant Than Ever

Superman

You don’t have to be a lifelong fan of superheroes to know the role that secret identities play in their over-arching narrative. It’s one of those story elements that often goes hand-in-hand with a hero’s journey. Part of becoming a hero involves forging an identity and, more often than not, this identity can’t function alongside the one they start with.

It’s a story that has roots in the early days of modern superhero comics. It wasn’t just a common plot point. It was practically a given. It was as necessary as capes, colorful costumes, and punishing masked criminals.

From a practical standpoint, having a secret identity has some legitimate merit. There are things Bruce Wayne can do as Batman that he cannot do and vice versa. The same goes for Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and many other iconic heroes. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne set the stage for his secret identity by crafting Batman as a symbol, one that conveyed an idea that went beyond the person in the costume.

In recalling that scene, I think that idea was more prophetic than Christopher Nolan initially intended. When I look at how secret identities have come to define many characters, I believe they’re more important today than they have been in any other era.

I don’t just say that as a long-time fan of superhero comics who has used his knowledge of the genre to explore serious issues. I believe that we, as a society, are entering uncharted territory when it comes to how we manage our identities. The influence of the internet, social media, and an increasingly connected world is more powerful than any fictional hero. It’s already finding its way into superhero media.

This topic became especially relevant for Superman fans because back in late 2019, the release of “Superman #18” officially revealed Superman’s identity as Clark Kent. Now, it wasn’t not the first time Superman’s identity has been exposed, but this time it wasn’t a gimmick. Now, Superman had to learn how to be Superman without a secret identity.

Over the past decade, the value and vulnerabilities of secret identities have been under fire. One of the most jarring moments of the original “Iron Man” movie was the very end when Tony Stark didn’t attempt to hide the fact he was Iron Man. For those not familiar with the comics, it might not have seemed like a big issue. Trust me, it was a major shift.

While Tony Stark debuted as Iron Man in 1963, his identity didn’t become public until the early 2000s. That’s nearly four decades of him operating with a secret identity. In the context of his journey, this was not a trivial decision.

What happened to Spider-Man at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was even more jarring. While his secret identity has been revealed many times in the comics, it’s almost always retconned. Like Batman and Superman, he has to have a secret identity. He has to have a civilian life that’s separate from his superhero life.

There’s even a notable episode of “Superman: The Animated Series” in which Superman flat out admits that he’d go crazy if he couldn’t be Clark Kent. Think about that for a second. Superman, one of the most powerful and iconic superheroes of all time, admits that can’t handle a life without a secret identity. This is someone who can handle Lex Luthor, Darksied, and Brainiac. If he can’t handle it, then what hope do we have?

That question might not have been too relevant 20 years ago. Before the age of smartphones, broadband internet, and social media, a superhero might have been able to get away with having their identity exposed. You could say the same for anyone who happened to have a dirty secret or a double life. Whether it was an affair or a secret hobby, you didn’t have to work that hard to keep it secret.

Back then, not everyone had a fully-functional camera in their pocket or a means of sharing their media on a mass scale. Even if someone did manage to take a compromising picture or video, it wouldn’t be a huge revelation unless it was published by a major news source and even then there was no guarantee it would have staying power, especially if other major stories broke at the same time.

Now, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can capture compromising footage of anyone and share it with the world in seconds. In the world of superheroes, it makes keeping an identity harder than ever. Spider-Man found that out the hard way at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Ordinary people and major celebrities are finding that out as well in the real world.

The internet and social media has created an unusual, yet potent system that skews the dynamics of having an identity, secret or otherwise. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to create an anonymous persona on the internet. With that persona, people are unbound by the propriety of real-world interaction.

It’s part of why the comments section of any website or social media feed is full of deplorable rhetoric that highlights the worst in people. Ordinary people can use the anonymity of the internet to say thing they would never say to another human being face-to-face. At the same time, celebrities and people of influence have the opposite problem.

In this hyper-connected world, every word and every action is permanently archived and subject to greater scrutiny. Every mistake or misstep is amplified and blown out of proportion. Every bit of subtext and nuance is completely lost in the various biases and agendas of the public. In essence, public figures have little to no control of their identity. They are very much at the mercy of how others perceive them.

That kind of scrutiny can have benefits and drawbacks. You could argue that the added scrutiny of social media has held celebrities and people of influence to a higher standard. They can no longer operate in the shadows with impunity. Dirty secrets will come out. Bad behavior will be documented. The O.J. Simpsons and Bill Cosbys of yesteryear could not get away with their deplorable behavior in today’s environment.

That may be a good thing on some levels, but it comes at a cost and not just for those who have had their lives ruined by the internet. In a world where anonymous identities are easily created and valued identities are easily ruined, how can anyone hope to maintain a balanced perspective? Whether you’re an accomplished celebrity or just some random blogger, don’t you still need a persona that feels true?

For people who are stuck in difficult situations, such as those belonging to racial, religious, or LGBTQ minorities, having that secret identity might be the only one that feels true or genuine. If that gets exposed, then those individuals could be in legitimate danger. There are parts of the world who will punish these individuals in ways far more serious than online trolling.

In the past, these kinds of people didn’t have an outlet or a means of connecting with others who share their struggles. They either had to organize in secret or set up their own communities, which often meant making themselves real-life targets. The ability to create an identity, secret or otherwise, can be a powerful mechanism for helping people forge an identity that feels true to who they are.

To some extent, superheroes embody the importance of these identities. They can’t do what they do without them. They can’t remain connected to the people and the world they’re trying to protect if they’re always in costume, trying to maintain this persona they’ve created. Without it, they become disconnected and overwhelmed. As a result, they can’t be the heroes they need to be.

For people in the real world, having these identities is more important than ever. You don’t have to be a superhero to appreciate their value, but as our world becomes more connected, it’s become a lot easier to understand why Spider-Man and Batman work so hard to preserve their secret identities.

The fact they still struggle, despite having super-powers and billions of dollars, is a testament to just how difficult it can be. As the world becomes increasingly connected and increasingly tribal, it’s only going to get harder.

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New Comic Book Day July 14, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Times are changing. The world is a scary, chaotic place. Just keeping your sanity, as well as your sense of humanity, has never been more challenging. I honestly don’t remember the world being this messed up ten years ago. Maybe I’m just getting older, but maintaining a balanced perspective just keeps getting harder.

Thankfully, my love of comics has continued to help me every step of the way. We all have something or someone that helps keep us anchored. Without it, we would be so overwhelmed that we couldn’t leave our homes without a baseball bat and a helmet. For me, comics is a big part of that anchor. It reminds me that there’s still a place for simple, straightforward awesome in this world.

Whether it involves superheroes, real people, or aliens with misshapen heads, comics have always been my refuge, as well as my sanctuary. When watching a news feed becomes too distressing, I pick up my favorite comics and leave the ugliness of the world aside, if only briefly. It’s therapeutic, as well as relaxing.

Wednesdays make spending time in this refuge all the more rewarding. A new stack of comics to start my day is like a massage for my soul. The older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate that feeling. I encourage others to share it with me. The world isn’t getting any less chaotic. Let’s not let that stop us from enjoying something awesome.

To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Hopefully, they leave your soul feeling as refreshed and invigorated as mine. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Action Comics 2021 Annual #1

Batman: The Detective #4

Champions #8

Detective Comics #1039

Excalibur #22

Extreme Carnage: Scream #1

The Flash 2021 Annual #1

Infinite Frontier #2

The Invincible Red Sonja #3

Iron Man #10

The Joker #5

Justice League: Last Ride #3

Mighty Morphin #9

Sinister War #1

Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #4

Spider-Woman #13

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #12

Thor #15

Way Of X #4

Wonder Woman #775

X-Corp #3


My Pick Of The Week
Sinister War #1

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New Comic Book Day April 7, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

There are people who think I spend too much money on comics. Those same people will then get defensive when I remind them of how much money they spend on tobacco, shoes, clothes, jewelry, overpriced coffee, and hair care products. I usually try to explain very slowly that comics are relatively cheap, easy to enjoy, and can be consumed with alcohol. I don’t always change someone’s mind, but I think I get my point across.

Do I spend more on comics every week than most people? Yes, I don’t deny that.

Do I feel like that money is well-spent? Yes, I feel I get a great deal of value out of the comics I buy.

As a hobby, I think the cost of a stack of comics every week is very reasonable. After a while, you get a feel for the release schedule and can budget your money accordingly. I made it through college while keeping up with my favorite comics and my budget was a lot tighter back then.

Let’s face it. There are far worse things someone can spend their money on these days. Between crack, meth, and fantasy sports apps, comics aren’t nearly as damaging. They’re simple, cheap fun. Thanks to digital comic apps like Comixology, you can basically enjoy them anywhere with a smartphone and a good Wi-Fi connection. It’s a beautiful thing and it gives me something to look forward to every week.

Now is as good a time as any to get into comics. The internet has made it easier than ever and I encourage anyone with a passing curiosity to try it out. If you’re looking to get started this week, here is my pull list and pick. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #63

Avengers #44

Avengers Mech Strike #3

Batman #107

Crime Syndicate #2

Excalibur #20

God of War: Fallen God #2

Immortal Hulk #45

King In Black #5

Marauders #19

Non-Stop Spider-Man #2

Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart #3

Squadron Supreme: Marvel Tales #1

Star Wars: The High Republic #4

Venom #34


My Pick Of The Week
King In Black #5

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New Comic Book Day March 24, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

It’s another beautiful day for comics and the world is inherently better because of the awesome they bring. That’s how I feel when I wake up every Wednesday morning. Even when times are tough, waking up on Wednesdays knowing there’s a glut of digital comics waiting for me on my iPad is a wonderful feeling. It makes waking up at 4:00 a.m. feel like a basic reflex.

It’s a reflex that wouldn’t be possible without Comixology. I’m old enough to remember the days when New Comic Book Day was a lot more stressful because you didn’t know if your books would arrive on time in the mail. Most of the time, it was hit or miss. In the days before Twitter spoilers and Reddit, it made waiting to read your favorite comics that much more agonizing.

I never want to go back to those days.

Those who live near a comic shop may be able to enjoy the luxury of just walking to their favorite store every Wednesday to see what’s new, but most of us have to deal with less favorable circumstances. Don’t get me wrong. I still love going to comic shops to pick up actual, tangible books for my collection. There will always be a place for that. I’ve just come to love waking up early and enjoying new comics through Comixology.

The internet, tablets, and Comixology have genuinely made it easier than ever to get into this world. Even if you only know these characters through movies and cartoons, you need only an internet connection and a couple extra bucks to fully immerse yourself in this world. To that end, here’s my pull list and pick of the week. Hopefully, it gets you started. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1029

Amazing Spider-Man #62

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #6

Batman/Superman #16

Cable #9

Detective Comics #1034

Guardians Of The Galaxy #12

Harley Quinn #1

Power Rangers #5

Red Sonja #25

Savage Avengers #19

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #8


My Pick Of The Week
Amazing Spider-Man #62

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Jack’s Comic Gems: Spider-Gwen Volume 0: Most Wanted?

The following is a video for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s another entry into my Jack’s Comic Gem series. This time, I traverse the Spider-Verse to highlight a gem from a character whose rise to fame has been like no other. In addition to stealing the show from “Into The Spider-Verse,” Spider-Gwen has done plenty to make herself one of the most popular characters Marvel has created in the past five years. It may have started with a tie-in, but “Spider-Gwen Volume 0: Most Wanted” helped start her amazing journey. This video shows why that journey is worth following. Enjoy!

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New Comic Book Day November 18, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I feel like the week before Thanksgiving is always one of the busiest weeks of the year for me, regardless of whatever work I’ve got going on. In high school and college, this was usually the week when most projects were due. In most of the jobs I’ve had, this was usually the week where most major deadlines fell.

In terms of timing, it makes sense. Most people want to get stuff out of the way so that they can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday in peace. I’m certainly like that. I don’t want to have any lingering work looming over my head while I indulge in turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It makes this week extra stressful. It also makes new comics extra necessary.

When I get stressed, I tend to rely heavily on the things that bring me joy and comfort. For most of my life, that’s exactly what comics have given me. They’re a simple, concentrated dose of pure joy at a time when everything around me is going too damn fast. For that, I thank every major comic publisher, comic shop, and Comixology.

I need a nice influx of awesome comics more than usual. As a result, my pull list is a bit larger than most weeks. I make no apologies for that. I’ve got a rough couple of days ahead of me. Here are my pull list and pick for the week. Quality comics will help me get through and I hope it helps others in the same way. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #53

Aquaman #65

Batman #103

Cable #6

Captain America #25

Catwoman #27

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

Fantastic Four #26

Hellions #6

Immortal Hulk #40

Juggernaut #3

X-Force #14

Nightwing #76

Spider-Woman #6

Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black #1

Venom #30


My Pick Of The Week
Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black #1

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New Comic Book Day October 14, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I’m not that smart. I don’t deny that. I got good grades in high school and college, but that alone doesn’t make someone smart. It just shows that they now how to pass tests and bullshit their way through book reports or presentations. I’m not saying I ever resorted to that, but that doesn’t make me smarter than those who do.

However, when it comes to comics, I will claim to be above average in terms of general know-how. If there were a class on comics when I was still in high school, it wouldn’t just be my favorite class. I’d be the guy who everyone cheated off of during tests.

I say this not to brag about the depths of my comic knowledge. I offer it as a means of highlighting my credibility on judging all matters related to comics. I’ve lived through multiple eras in comic history, from the heyday of X-Men in the 90s to the New 52 era in DC Comics. I’ve been around the block many times in this world.

As such, I’ve read some incredibly awful comics that made me want to throw up. I’ve also read some amazing comics that have reaffirmed my love for this medium. I like to think I’ve learned to discern good comics from bad.

That’s part of why I do these weekly picks. For those who don’t have my level of comics experience, this is my way of helping you maximize your venture into this world. Here is my pull list and pick for this week. I hope it enriches your world as much as it does mine.


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #50

Avengers #37

Batman and the Outsiders #17

Cable #5

Captain Marvel #22

Detective Comics #1028

The Flash #763

Hellions #5

Immortal Hulk #38

New Mutants #13

Star Wars: Darth Vader #6

Superman #26

Wonder Woman #764


My Pick Of The Week
Amazing Spider-Man #50

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The Spider-Man Paradox: Power, Responsibility, And Guilt

S13

My YouTube channel, Jack’s World, is still very new and still has plenty of room to grow. I really enjoyed making my video on “Dark Phoenix.” That’s not surprising. I enjoy talking about superhero media in general. To that end, I’ve made another video, this time on Spider-Man. I originally intended to make it an article, but I think it works much better as a video. Enjoy!

If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover in a video, especially the superhero variety, please let me know.

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