Category Archives: Comics

Secret Wars

A sign that I’m getting old is that I recently referred to Marvel’s upcoming Secret Wars event comic as Crisis for the Marvel universe. However, the most recent reboot of DC was caused by Flashpoint and resulted in the nu52 universe.

From what I can tell, this will be a full reboot.

What  will they call the new Marvel Universe? Will it still be the 616 universe? Will it get a new number?

I’ve seen the setup coming for a while. There’s Daredevil revealing his identity to the world and being forced to move to California to practice law. The death of Wolverine. Superior Iron Man screwing around with Extremis and mainstreaming it into a designer lifestyle. The desire to completely remove the original Nick Fury from the universe and replace him with Sam Jackson retroactively.The death of Xavier and whatever is going on with the young original X-Men and Cyclops. Plus the Uncanny X-Men tampering with the time stream in recent issues.

All of these changes could be reset on a smaller scale but there’s still the “What do you do with the Ultimate Universe?” problem.

Marvel must have known for some time that this was coming. Why else would they allow all of these situations to get to a point where at the least a soft reboot would be required (a la Mephisto and Spider-Man telling the world that he’s Peter Parker).

Marvel, the House of Ideas that used to mock DC’s continuous stream of hard(ish) reboots every 10 years or so, has painted themselves into various corners where a hard reboot is required.

There was talk of some of the different groups, like the X-Men titles, having their own worlds after Secret Wars. Axel Alonso has said that isn’t the case for the X-Men but maybe it will be for some like the Fantastic Four.

Which Fantastic Four will be in the nuMarvel Universe? Who will be Spider-Man? Peter Parker? Miles Morales? These and many other questions are waiting for us on the other side.

Most importantly: Will they be able to erase the Milo Manara Spider-Woman cover from memory? Can they save Jeremy Renner from his Black Widow bashing self?

Robert W is a software consultant who has graciously set aside plans of world domination to focus on comic book multi-verses.  You can follow his thoughts at


Daredevil and Netflix

Dr. Z
Daredevil has never caught my interest.  Granted my knowledge of comics is passing–at best.  I rely on Robert and Zimm for background information and the Suburban Prof for reading lists.  Regardless, Daredevil has never seemed that interesting despite a clever premise and a sort of cool outfit.

Zimm, though, has been bugging me to watch the new Daredevil series on Netflix.  So to keep the peace, I pulled it up while sending out emails.

Some of the scenes are cliche, tired–in particular the office exchanges could have been cut and pasted from any Law and Order episode.  But the fight scenes define the show; they are when the series is at its best.

In one, the camera follows Daredevil down a hall.  We follow him down the hall.  But we stay in the hall as the battle moves from one room to the next.  Thugs fly through doorways; file drawers are thrown by unseen combatants.  We wait and watch almost afraid to move.  In another, we crane our necks from the back seat of a car to see what is going on.  Like Kurosawa or Tarantino, the director has made us a part of the story.  We are in the film.

Unlike Flash or Arrow or even Batman, Daredevil is not performing for us.  In fact, we are in his way, interlopers,  seeing what is not meant to be seen.

The Hulk

Comics as Literature Continues
Dr. Z
Zimm pointed out the similarities between the Hulk and Hyde.  Both deal with the doctor being overtaken by repressed emotions.  Both are products of scientific experimentation.  What I think is interesting is the repression.  According to Jung, a shadow becomes more powerful the more it is repressed (Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy).

Hyde is a shadow of Victorian society.  He assaults women and is vulnerable to bullets.  But Hulk?  Does he represent the degree of repression of his culture?  If he is the shadow of the scientific Banner, then the repression is kind of intense.

Robert W
The resemblance between Banner/Hulk and Jekyll/Hyde is intentional. Stan Lee is on record saying that he was trying to create a modern Jekyll/Hyde. Continue reading The Hulk

Comics as Literature (Part 1)

Dr. Z
Stanley Fish nuked the notion of literary canon in the ’80s (capitalizing on research from linguists).   But it is a fun literary exercise.  The creation of a canon reflects more about the compiler than “literature.” (In the same vein, I could never include Orwell or Golding in a list of anything other than a how to for Spark or Cliff notes.)

If you had to determine the canon for comics, what would be your list?  So many of the scholars are going for works like Maus, and Persepolis.

Robert W
I like cannons. The big shiny brass ones are my favorite.

Canon is virtually non-existent with mainstream super hero comics any more. Continue reading Comics as Literature (Part 1)

Graphic Novels and American Literature

Literature and Graphic Novels

Dr. Z
American Lit class is going to have to select a graphic novel and track the literary ancestry of one of the characters.  Graphic novels are beginning to make appearances in college anthologies, texts.  But they are all of the literally safe ones–Persepolis, Maus.

The bias is there.  I have yet to see any including superheroes anthologized.  (Note that The Rolling Stones carefully culls the superheroes.)

With all of that said, any suggestions for my class?  (One group has already claimed Deadpool.) Continue reading Graphic Novels and American Literature