Tag Archives: Marvel

From Amora to Zatanna: Ant-Man Defense

Age_of_Ultron_Vol_1_10A.I._Rivera_Variant_TextlessNow here is where I might lose some of you comic junkies, but hear me out! With the release of Ant-Man in theaters earlier this month, I felt it appropriate to talk about this controversial character and shed some light on why some comic fans, particularly female comic readers, have a bone to pick with him. Namely, I want to talk about the original Ant-Man: Hank Pym.

Warning: This post contains content that may possibly trigger people who have experienced domestic abuse.

Then, in this defense of Ant-Man, I am going to discuss why we shouldn’t write him off just yet. But first, for those of you who know nothing about him.

Ant-Man History:

IMG_1354 First appearing in Tales to Astonish #27, Hank Pym is presented as a genius bio-scientist who unlocks shape altering abilities through his discovery of Pym Particles. As such, he gains the ability to shrink his size and eventually communicate with ants he meets through a specialized helmet. It was then that he adopted the superhero name Ant-Man. During his heroic adventures, he encounters his soon-to-be-wife, Janet Van Dyne, and helps her get revenge for her father’s death by manipulating her size and giving her insect like wings and “stinger” abilities, thus creating The Wasp!

Now, sure, his abilities do not seem too impressive. Eventually, Hank discovers a way to grow in size, becoming Giant-Man and Goliath through his super-career, but even this does not make him that impressive of a Marvel character. What does set him apart, and why some fans love him so, is because of his genius intellect and the trouble it gets Hank into. To shed some light on this, comic circles have often stated that Hank Pym’s intellect reviles that of Mr. Fantastic, who many recognize as Marvel’s smartest superhero. Furthermore, Hank Pym, along with Janet, were the original founders of The Avengers, which Janet aptly named. So with a guy as smart as Hank, how does he manage to get into trouble?

Well, Hank is the original creator of Ultron.

ultron-first-appearance-1 (more…)

From Amora to Zatanna: February 2015

Oh my goodness, comic junkies! I am late yet again on my monthly blog post. This is primarily because I am finishing up my last semester of grad school and my master’s thesis is kicking my butt! Aside from my student turmoil, I wanted to take this month’s blog and examine a pretty important character in the Marvel universe: Gwen Stacy.

8299d295feb249e7663d95d7ff1f8267Now let me start by saying that I never used to be a Gwen Stacy fan. Sure, she was smart as well as beautiful, but I was always more interested in Felicia Hardy (aka Black Cat) and Mary Jane as romantic interests for Peter Parker. I’m not really sure why this is, except that by the time I started reading Spider-Man issues myself, he was already in a relationship with Mary Jane.
And Felicia Hardy was someone I became obsessed with when I went further back into the series to catch up on what I had missed. And, let’s face it, Felicia Hardy is so sexy and sassy!
But Gwen Stacy is really something special. She was, and is, hugely important to comics.

First of all, Gwen Stacy’s death is an incredibly iconic moment not only in Spider-Man’s fictional life, but in comic history. The graphic death of Gwen Stacy by Spider-Man’s hand was shocking on multiple levels. The “snap” sound effect drawn on the page was somehow brought to life as readers collectively heard the bone brake. It was gritty, visceral, and real. It was in this moment that comics also took a firm stance against the Comics Code Authority and proceeded to tell stories in which superheroes were fallible. The death of Gwen, though debated for a few months after the issue’s release, was entirely Peter’s fault. His overconfidence in his abilities and himself as a superhero lead to the heart-breaking death of his beloved girlfriend. And this is someone who is supposed to have an intimate knowledge about physics!
ASM2-Death-of-Gwen-StacyWith Gwen’s death, Spider-Man became less perfect and more damaged, launching a comic movement that drifted away from the Comics Code and towards “grey storytelling.”

From Amora to Zatanna: October

Finally, comic fans, the discussion you have all been waiting for! The Hawkeye Initiative! In the blog I posted two months ago, I discussed the comic art trend dubbed “broken back” women. Many comic artists, typically male artists, have a tendency to illustrate women with anatomically incorrect bodies. The up-to-date tumblr blog known as “Escher Girls” is definitely a page to check out for more discussion about this trend, especially if you’re looking for a particularly overused body trope, such as “helicopter legs” and “serpentine torso.”

From this trend came another, incredibly humorous trend dubbed the Hawkeye Initiative. Before getting into the components, let me try to contextualize this a bit in comic history. It started with the arrival of  the first Avenger’s cinematic poster. In this original promo poster (which is not incredibly hard to find), all the men are facing forward and appear ready for battle, whereas Black Widow, the only woman in the Avenger’s roster at the time, had her back turned towards the camera as she suggestively looks over her shoulder. This was most likely a publicity stunt to infuse the poster with more sexual appeal, and what has more sex appeal the Scarlett Johansson’s bottom?! Naturally, not all comic fans were amused and the promotional poster was quickly changed.


But from this original poster came the birth of a fantastic trend many of us in the comic community have come to love, and some have even cosplayed! The Hawkeye Initiative began with the character Hawkeye being redrawn in the various suggestive and sexualized poses that his female counterparts are typically drawn in. While Hawkeye is the primary hero placed in these hilarious poses, it has extended out to include the entire Avenger’s cast, plus many heroes from the DC universe.

But on a serious note, why is it that we laugh at these hilarious portrayals of men and not of women? unnamedWhy is it acceptable for a heroine to have her back broken to appear more attractive? These questions have been sparked thanks, in part, to the Hawkeye Initiative and has slowly made the comic community realize the unfair treatment of women characters in comparison to men characters. Perhaps this is also why both DC and Marvel have been looking for more women interested in writing or illustrating comics to jump aboard their creative teams. Now is my chance!

If you want to see more images pertaining to the Hawkeye Initiative, a quick Google search or tumble through Tumblr should yield some hilarious, yet poignant, results. As for me? I’m off to Day 1 of Stan Lee’s Comikaze. Sandman’s Death has entered the building. Until next month!

Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Bookish Scarves for Winter

Winter is around the corner, and, in the Northwest at least, the temperature is starting to drop, rain clouds are filling the sky, and people like me are restocking their closets with some warm clothes to get them through the season. Here are ten literary scarves you can purchase on Etsy to help you bundle up! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board for more literary finds.

Marvel Comic Book Scarf

Jane Eyre “I Am No Bird” Scarf

Where The Wild Things Are Infinity Scarf


From Amora to Zatanna: August

From Amora to Zatanna: July Our monthly run down on the comic book world, by our very own Nicole Neitzke.

Well there you have it comic fans! I give kudos to the almighty Marvel and they release the controversial image by the Italian erotica illustrator, Milo Manara, of Spider Woman in a highly suggestive pose. This image is an alternate cover to the newly rebooted “Spider Woman #1” comic franchise and man, did it piss off comic fans! This is just another example of a continuing discussion in the comic community: super heroines are over-sexualized! However, I’m not going to re-hash the same conversation I’m sure many of us have already read regarding this image and topic. Instead, I decided to dedicate this blog to some light hearted japery directed at the comic community. I had it recently brought to my attention by an artist friend just how inaccurate the physiology of these super heroines are, so I decided to post images about a current artistic trend feminists have lovingly called “the broken back.”

This trend is two-fold: it can either relate to a women who are illustrated with not only their full face and bust visible, but both butt cheeks as well; or it can be related to the exaggerated bust to hip disproportions, which hints at back problems due to the weight. This isn’t to say that these body shapes are not possible, mind you, just that our suspension of disbelief for a world populated by these types of woman almost exclusively is stretching it. Without further ado, “the broken back.”

Starting with DC, Catwoman


From Amora to Zatanna: July


Alight comic fans, let’s get right to it this month. Where DC’s “New 52” is just failing in the reboot comic department, “Marvel Now” is kicking ass and taking names. Here are just a few ways Marvel Now is progressing with the ideals mass and geek culture seem to be adopting for themselves:


1) Brian Wood’s and Olivier Coipel’s all-female team for X-Men:

When initially announced, many fans believed it to be a publicity stunt akin to Marvel Divas back in 2009. However, the tight storytelling of Wood and non-sexualized artistry of Coipel has given us a comic series featuring the badass X-(wo)men we have all come to love and admire. The content not only engages the once hidden female comic audience, but your basic male comic audience as well, proving that stories focused solely on women protagonists can be just as exciting as any other story featuring men. Plus, how can you not celebrate the return of Storm’s 80s mohawk?


2) Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel:

Again, the initial announcement of this title was met with criticism. Many groups were thrown by the Muslim American heritage of the new protagonist, claiming the comic to be some type of propaganda. But it is this exact reaction that illustrates the necessity for this comic heroine! Not only is she a woman of color, who are severely underrepresented in most popular culture, but she is a Muslim American. This comic was intended to dispel many of the common misconceptions held by various groups in the US about Muslim Americans and confront them with the truth that they are just like any other American citizen.


From Amora to Zatanna: May


David Goyer imageOkay comic fans, fasten your seat belts for yet another comic junkie rant! A recent Podcast known as Scriptnotes released Episode 144: “The Summer Superhero Spectacular” on May 20, which showcased a extremely controversial comic-talk featuring David Goyer. David Goyer is both writer and producer of various DC movie titles like the recently named Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. This topic has been widely discussed by various bloggers and the conclusion many seem to agree on is one of pure outrage. However, there are still some out there who “don’t get what the big deal is” and felt that Goyer was merely joking. As a result, I thought it wise to explain WHY there was such an outrage with his comments throughout the interview and illustrate how he managed to offend just about everyone. Let’s get started:

1) She-Hulk as a Pornstar: Forget Feminism!

Shehulk1stComic fans who are also women were particularly outraged by this comment, and rightfully so. When it comes to strong women role models in the comic realm, it is fair to say that Wonder Woman for DC and She-Hulk for Marvel are likely the most cited. She-Hulk is the go to attorney for the Avengers and is wicked intelligent besides. As many bloggers have also cited, she is able to control her emotional state while in Hulk-mode, something her male counterpart still struggles with. The team depends on her intelligence just as much as her physical strength. So when Goyer remarks “let’s create a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck,” he strips away the power that was built into the character and has inspired so many women reading her comics. And this agency was built into the character, just ask Stan Lee: “I know I was looking for a new female superhero, and the idea of an intelligent Hulk-type grabbed me.” Furthermore, Goyer’s comments discourage women from entering the comic community, which is a problem we have been facing for quite some time now. We are either “a fake geek girl” because we do not yet know every minute detail about all superheroes, probably because we are constantly assaulted with tests of knowledge when we enter a comic store, or we are “sluts” because we accurately cosplay the heroines we enjoy, which is our fault not the illustrators. So for an iconic, and yes feminist, role model to be degraded to an “extension of the male power fantasy” just excludes the emerging women comic fans all the more. Let’s see what he does with Wonder Woman, right ladies?

2) You Like Martian Manhunter? Clearly You Are a Stereotypical Virgin.

From Amora to Zatanna: April


Welcome back comic fans. This month I decided to crack open my laptop and ransack the Marvel Database for some information on the more obscure superheroes. This month, I decided to look into the spunky blonde X-men member Magik, aka Illyana Raspuntina.Illyana_Rasputina_(Earth-616)_Uncanny_X-Men_vol_3_4_cover

While her background is seriously expansive and fascinating, I will highlight five particularly awesome attributes here. Let’s get started:

1) Illyana is the sister of another mutant of the X-men, Colossus (aka Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin): As some might have noticed, Colossus and Magik share a last name. While they have another older brother, who is also a mutant, it is the relationship of these two that the comics illustrate in great, loving detail. The closeness between them is one of the more touching relationships in the Marvel Universe as Magik is infected by the Legacy Virus, which later kills her, and Colossus leaves the X-men to find out how to save his sister, and later how to resurrect her. She returns this love as she coaches her brother, who has become the new Juggernaut, on controlling his need for destruction. The two even become a part of the Phoenix Five and help Cyclops “peacefully” enslave mankind. How sweet! loveit

From Amora to Zatanna: January

THENicolecolumnbannerHello again comic fans! This is your comic blogger here with a more serious matter. As a new writer to this blog, I expressed last month that I was a comic junkie, but what I did not menton then was how important I think they are not only as popular culture, but as literature.

Now stay with me here, because while I cannot go into a huge dissertation as to why I believe comics can serve as literature, I am going to briefly share some feelings here today.

What prompted me to write this was an article recently published on theguardian. It was an interview with comic legend Alan Moore and his reasoning for leaving the public realm of comics for good. He addressed such concerns as his supposed “racism” and “sexism,” but, for the time being, that was not what caught my attention. Moore opens his interview by stating “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics.”



From Amora to Zatanna: December 2013


Nicole Neitzke
Nicole Neitzke

Hello all! This is your monthly comic fanatic blogger, Nicole Neitzke, reporting for her first blog entry! First, let me introduce myself by briefly sharing my “geek cred” so that you all know where I stand with my comic knowledge. As a kid, I read specific comics, mainly Spiderman and Xmen, and stuck with what I liked. This cultivated an almost unhealthy obsession with Spiderman, who is in fact my favorite superhero still. As I grew older, however, I ventured out and read about other superhero teams and universes entirely. As of now, I am more knowledgable about the Marvel universe and everything encompassed in it, while my DC knowledge is still growing. However, I really do enjoy the “adult” branch of DC known as Vertigo, and I feel that I have a decent grip on the ins-and-outs of that comic franchise. (There are obviously more comic brands, but I’m sure we will discuss those in detail later.) I am always willing to expand my comic knowledge and would appreciate any and all feedback you, the readers, might have for me.

Now enough about me for now, we have ample time to get to know one another. Let’s talk about someone who has made a major impact on the comic community as we know it and is celebrating his 91st birthday today. That’s right, he is your Generalissimo and mine, Stan (the Man) Lee.

In celebration of his birthday, I wanted to share five things you “may not” know about Stan Lee:

1. On this day 91 years ago, Stanley Martin Lieber was born, but you may know him better as Stan Lee. Stan needed to create a pen name for his comic career, and so he took his first name and split it. He wanted to save his real name for a more prominent position, such as his acting career. Needless to say, we all pretty much know who “Stan Lee” is.

This guy (Credit: WorldofSuperHeroes.com)
This guy (Credit: WorldofSuperHeroes.com)

2. When Stan started in the comic biz, he worked as an assistant for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby of Timely Comics, which was known for its Captain America comic book (so no, Stan did not create Captain America). Once the duo left the company, Stan was promoted to interim editor and eventually made Marvel Comics what it is today.

3. Stan Lee was in the military with Dr. Seuss during World War II. No really, just watch his Netflix documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” He worked mainly on training manuals and pamphlets, but did the occasional cartooning job.