Amazing Spider-Man and the craft of writing: A YouTube hangout with Mike McNulty (Stillanerd)

It’s been years in the making, but the stars have finally aligned for your friendly neighborhood blogger and Mike McNulty (Stillanerd) to team up for a discussion on comic books.  If you’ve enjoyed Mike’s reviews over the years — both at Spider-Man Crawlspace and now with Whatever a Spider Can — then you’ll want to check out this YouTube chat. It’s one hour of the two of us talking about craft or writing, The Amazing Spider-Man, and a few other topics of interest to those who tuned in during the live stream.

Mike, as always, was the consummate professional. I hope to have him back again for another YouTube hangout sooner rather than later.

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Amazing Spider-Man #25: Dan Slott’s Peter Parker wonders if punching Asian criminals is racist

It’s a rare occurrence when a Marvel comic is worth multiple blog posts, but The Amazing Spider-Man #25 has managed to pull off the ignominious feat. The anti-faith claptrap that was shoved into Peter Parker’s mouth was covered yesterday, but today I would like to address writer Dan Slott’s decision to turn criminal beatdowns into an occasion for political correctness.

Mr. Slott’s version of Peter Parker literally wonders if there is something wrong with punching Asian thugs while in China.

“Doesn’t it feel weird that we’re only beating up … Asian people? I’m just used to beating up people of all races and creeds,” Peter says after an interrogation. When Mockingbird asks if he would feel better fighting masked criminals he says, “I know it’s a cop-out, but yeah, it would.”

Yes, that’s right, an entire page of of creative real estate was dedicated to the racial dynamics of beating up Asian criminals in China. That, my friends, is Marvel Comics in 2017. Writers like Dan Slott are so concerned about shoring up their PC credibility that they will sacrifice character and plot development in favor of racial diatribes.

There is much more to say, but for that I would like to point you to my latest YouTube video. Make sure to hit the subscribe button if the format is up your alley, and feel free to share your thoughts on all-things Spider-Man in the comments section below.

 

Editor’s Note: I plan on doing a live discussion on YouTube on March 25th at 3:00 p.m. EST. with Mike McNulty (Stillanerd) from Whatever a Spider Can. The topic of the day will be the craft of writing — with ASM as our creative backdrop.

Also, consider this recent tweet by Mr. Slott if you doubt that the ASM creative team was thinking about Richard Spencer when they were thinking about Doc Ock’s new look, haircut, etc., as part of Hydra. When will someone conduct an intervention and tell these people that their obsession with politics is unhealthy?

Spencer

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Dan Slott shoves anti-faith bilge into Peter Parker’s mouth in ASM #25 because reporters shouldn’t believe in God … or something

Dan Slott shoves anti-faith bilge into Peter Parker’s mouth in ASM #25 because reporters shouldn’t believe in God … or something

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Fans of The Amazing Spider-Man plopped down $10 this week to read the start of The Osborn Identity, which was jam-packed with extra stories (some of them not so good). While your friendly neighborhood blogger is happy to talk about the issue as a whole, one exchange in the main story stuck out for the anti-faith claptrap that writer Dan Slott shoved into Peter Parker’s mouth.

Since this issue takes place after The Clone Conspiracy, Peter Parker goes to check on reporter Betty Brant to see how she’s doing. She mentions seeing a spiritual advisor and possibly bringing Aunt May along since her second husband just passed away, to which the hero replies:

“You’re a reporter. You live for facts. When did you start looking to the spirit world?

Note that at this point Peter knew nothing about Betty receiving phone calls from the clone of her deceased husband. All he knew as that she wanted to see a spiritual advisor. And his response?  A condescending remark that people who deal in “facts” should not be turning to spiritual advisors.

Spider-Man fans who subjected themselves to Jose Molina’s atrocious Amazing Grace will note how he also infused Peter with anti-faith smugness. In 2016, however, the message was that faith in God and science are somehow at odds, which is not true at all (my guess is that Dan Slott and Jose Molina have never even heard of Georges Lemaître, for example, but I digress).

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What makes Dan Slott’s decision so weird, as has been stated before, is that it makes even more sense in the Marvel Universe for people to believe in the supernatural because citizens witness it on a regular basis. Peter has literally been to the astral plane, dealt with demons, and knows first-hand that they exist, and yet Dan Slott makes him act like a callous jerk towards a friend who is spiritual.

The absurdity of Peter’s statement is made even more bizarre when, moments earlier, he is seen talking to “Uncle Ben” — a dead man — at his grave. Why would scientists and reporters and superheroes talk to long-dead relatives unless they believed that on a spiritual level their words were being heard?

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And why would Peter behave like such a jerk towards Ms. Brant when Amazing Grace ended with a meeting between he and a priest — “Hey, Father. You got a minute?”

PeterParker Priest

Here are some historical “facts” for Dan Slott.

  • There was once a man named Jesus who made some pretty “bold” claims (Understatement of All Time Award material, I know.)
  • Jesus was crucified — just as he foretold — for those claims.
  • Jesus’ enemies were so terrified of Him that they literally entombed his corpse behind a giant rock and used an armed guard to watch over it. (Yes, an armed guard for a dead body.)
  • Christ’s own disciples, from a historical perspective, had every reason in the world to say, “Well, I guess it’s over,” after he was executed. False prophets came before him, and all their movements soon died with the individual. But these apostles didn’t turn in the towel. They too were eventually executed for telling all the world that Jesus rose from the dead. They traveled far and wide to tell everyone who would listen that they saw him, that they literally put their hands in his wounds, and that He is exactly who He claimed to be.

I can go on and on (What came before the Big Bang, Dan Slott?), but the point is this: Peter Parker would never behave the way he did in that scene with Ms. Brant because it was a total jerk thing to say. If you think that he would say that — despite hanging on occasion with Doctor Strange … traveling throughout the multi-verse … and generally dealing with the supernatural on a regular basis, then good luck making that case.

If Dan Slott is not a religious man, then that is his prerogative, but he should not turn Peter Parker into a condescending jerk when a story delves into spiritual matters.

With that said, I highly suggest checking out Stillanerd’s review of ASM #25 over at Whatever A Spider Can.

I should also mention that the two of us will be discussing the craft of writing (through an ASM prism) on my YouTube channel on Saturday, March 25. As of now we plan on starting at 3 p.m. EST. Make sure to subscribe and hit YouTube’s little bell icon to receive a notification when we go live.

‘Logan’ review: Hugh Jackman goes out on top in final turn as Wolverine

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The world finally has an R-rated version of Wolverine that does everything right.

If you love Wolverine, then you should run out to see Hugh Jackman’s final turn with the character in Logan. It’s a smart film that doesn’t skimp on action, it’s filled with heart, and the performances by Mr. Jackman and Patrick Stewart as Professor X are top notch.

There is much to say about this movie, but instead of doing up two different reviews I think I’ll just share a portion of what I wrote for Conservative Book Club and then ask  you to kindly check them out for the full version.

I wrote shortly after the film’s release:

The world has seen Hugh Jackman play the Marvel superhero Wolverine for 17 years, but it appears as though the actor saved his best performance for last. Director James Mangold’s R-rated Logan hauled in $247.3 globally its opening weekend, and for good reason — it’s a superhero movie that transcends the genre.

What is perhaps the most fascinating about Logan is that while it is chalk full violent deaths, underneath the blood and gore is a film that promotes selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, loyalty, family, and the possibility of redemption for all men — no matter how fallible they may be. Bad characters die, but the film’s message on many levels can be considered “pro-life.” Good samaritans risk everything for children who are treated as expendable tools, while the life an elderly and infirm man is fiercely protected by the protagonist.

Logan (story by Mangold, screenplay by Scott Frank) takes place in a future where all of the X-Men in the 20th Century Fox franchise are dead — wiped out in large part due to the decaying mind of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Wolverine and an ally named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) have been driven underground along the U.S. border with Mexico, although the hero is able make enough cash to get Charles seizure medication by working nights as a limo driver.

Everything changes for the trio when a nurse smuggles a genetically engineered child known as X-23 (Dafne Keen) out of captivity before she can be killed by the villain Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Her goal is to transport the girl a rally point in North Dakota where children with similar capabilities will attempt to cross the border into Canada. Logan, with his failing immune system and broken body, is coerced into the quest by Charles and the surviving shards of virtue buried deep within his own adamantium bones.

“You know, Logan, this is what life looks like: a home, people who love each other, a safe place. You should take a moment and feel it,” Xavier says when they are eventually given food and shelter by a family of farmers.

“Yeah, it’s great,” the reluctant hero sarcastically replies.

“Logan! You still have time,” Xavier implores.

Check out the rest over at CBC.

 

‘Revolution Comics’ podcast: Talking comics, ‘Logan,’ and ‘Wonder Woman’

Your friendly neighborhood blogger will have an official Logan review up soon, but until that happens you may want to hear my general thoughts on another episode of “Revolution Comics” with Capn. Cummings and Captain Frugal. The three of us talk about the comics industry in general, our hopes for the Wonder Woman movie, and the anger of social justice activists over Ghost in the Shell casting.

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Iron Fist’s Finn Jones shows sponge spine with rabid Twitter activists

The next Marvel “team-up” with Netflix will be streaming live within days, which means social justice activists are chomping at the bit more than usual to complain … and complain … and complain. They gave us a taste of what to expect last weekend when they chased Finn Jones of Iron Fist off Twitter for essentially being a nice guy.

I’ve covered the whole “Danny Rand should be Asian!” complaints before on this blog, but I figured it was the right time to revisit the issue since the perpetual victim crowd managed to chase an apparent ally off Twitter. Smooth move, guys!

Anyway, for the full rundown I invite you to check out my latest YouTube video. As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Iron Fist Netflix casting gives ulcers to race-obsessed fans

Daredevil #17: Swipe at OMD the cherry on top of quality issue

Marvel fans have wondered since Charles Soule first took over the reins of Daredevil how the protagonist was able to once again obtain a secret identity. Guys like me were generally just happy he was back in New York City without cheesy red business suits and a life in San Francisco, so we were willing to let the question linger. Running with the Devil, however, will finally address the elephant in the room.

As regular readers know, I was not particularly a fan of Mr. Soule’s handling of Father Jordan in Daredevil #16, but overall he has recovered nicely. The cherry on top of a solid issue is a funny swipe at the infamous One More Day storyline that forced Peter Parker to essentially make a deal with the Devil. As a long-time fan of The Amazing Spider-Man, jokes at the expense of OMD are always welcome surprises.

Anyway, for the full rundown on DD #17, check out my latest YouTube review. As always, feel free to hit the “subscribe” button if that format is up your alley.

Super Sons #1: Peter J. Tomasi writes Super-Awesome DC book

It has been some time since your friendly neighborhood blogger purchased a superhero comic book that made him think, “These guys get it. They really get it,” but that is exactly what happened with Super Sons.

Long story short, writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Jorge Jimenez have put together a DC Comics product with “Superboy” Jon Kent and “Robin” Damian Wayne that is a pure joy. I have historically groaned any time young kids with superpowers appeared in my favorite books, but Super Sons is pitch perfect across the board. Even better, it’s only $2.99.

There’s much more to say, but for that you’ll have to check out my latest YouTube review. If Mr. Tomasi keeps this kind of work up, then Super Sons will be my favorite book on the market. Bravo.

Dan Slott’s ‘Amazing Spider-Man #24’: Blink and you’ll miss Peter Parker in his own book

Reasonable men who pay for The Amazing Spider-Man expect Peter Parker to serve as its main attraction. Likewise, reasonable men believe that an editor would never allow an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man to go to print with a mere two panels allotted to the protagonist. These days, however, reason is in short supply at Marvel Comics, which is why ASM #24 not only turns the main character into an afterthought, but also manages to annoyingly serve as a faux-addendum to Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. Why? Because Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 also fills that role.

Confused? Frustrated? Saddened at the state of affairs for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Well, dear reader, you’re not alone! Tune into my latest YouTube review to hear my thoughts on The Amazing blink-and-you-missed-him-Spider-Man #24.

As always, feel free to share your comments below — and subscribe to the channel if the format is up your alley.

Dan Slott belly flops in ‘Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy’ finale

The finale to Marvel’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy is now in stores — or is it? Yes, the event that began with Before Dead No More has technically ended, but there are so many questions left unanswered that readers will now be forced to buy Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 for some semblance of closure.

Months ago I jokingly predicted that Marvel would come up with After Dead No More and Dead No More — No More, and it looks like readers will essentially get just that because “Omega” sounds edgy and cool…but I digress.

Anyway, the one question that fans of The Amazing Spider-Man should ask themselves right now is this: Was it worth it?

Was DNM: CC worth turning ASM proper into supplementary reading material? Was it worth creatively monopolizing the tie-in books? Was it worth digging up the memories of the original Clone Saga? Was it worth the sheer amount of effort expended by Marvel to try and convince people to care about “reanimates” as much as the original characters?

I would definitively say the answer is “no.”

Check out my latest review, and then make sure to head on over to Whatever A Spider Can to read Mike McNulty’s take. He always does great work, and this time it provided me with a much needed assist for a YouTube review of DNM: CC #5.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts in the comments sections below.