Tag Archives: Spider-Man
Every Wednesday is New Comic Book Day and every New Comic Book Day brings something that enriches my world. I imagine many fellow comic book fans feel the same. They may not do what I do and wake up at 4:30 in the morning every Wednesday to read all the new books on their pull list, but the sentiment is still the same.
The world is a crazy, chaotic place. We’re also entering a time of year where the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and random trips to the beach aren’t as feasible, unless you live in a tropical climate. This is a span of time that is light on holidays, heavy on school, and high on stress. We all need something to help us endure.
For me, having a stack of new comics to look forward to every week doesn’t just help. It energizes my soul. It’s like getting a pep talk from Captain America every week. It just encourages me to get out there, endure all the craziness, and let my love of comics give me the jolt I need every week. It’s a beautiful thing.
This week promises to be even more beautiful than most. Some major events are gearing up, as they often do every fall. Both Marvel and DC Comics love to start major events in the early fall, often allowing them to conclude just in time for the holidays. They make for exciting times, as well as wild speculation on message boards. What more could a comic book fan ask for?
Once again, I offer my pull list and pick of the week. Always, I hope a new batch of comics gives you all the strength you need to endure another week. Enjoy!
My Pull List
My Pick Of The Week
Amazing Spider-Man #74
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
My Pick Of The Week
Dark Ages #1
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
My Pick Of The Week
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #5
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video I’ve been working on for a while and I’m very excited about this one. Once again, I get to make a video where I talk about superhero movies. Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy really was a game-changer for the genre and I’ll be forever grateful for that. However, this time I also get to talk about one of the best and most beloved animated shows in history, “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
I recently rediscovered this show on Netflix and I’ve been eager to talk about it. This video is my first deep dive into the larger concepts behind this amazing show, as well as those that played out in the Raimi trilogy. Specifically, this video focuses on forgiveness and how it can give a story dramatic weight.
I hope this video gets a good response because I had a lot of fun making it. I hope you enjoy it too.
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.
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
My Pick Of The Week
Sinister War #1
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s another thought experiment about superheroes and what makes them effective. It was an extension of sorts of an article I wrote years ago on how to be an effective superhero. However, this video is a bit more open ended in that it takes a big picture approach to heroics. To all that check it out, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy!
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
My Pick Of The Week
King In Black #5
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!