Marvel’s Slotto Blocktavius melds with Judge Dredd, hurts sales and industry

It was just one year ago that I made the leap to YouTube and began a channel with the intention of providing honest reviews of comic books and the industry at large. I met up with a small group of individuals who sought to counter the Marvel-approved content that was published by mainstream websites, and before long we started to gain traction.

I knew it was only a matter of time before our collective efforts struck a nerve, and July seemed to be the first of many industry-wide screams by its ideologues.

My latest YouTube review covers the reaction by Dan Slott of The Amazing Spider-Man to guys like Diversity & Comics and Captain Cummings. His obsessive blocking of fans and critics on social media has even earned him a new nickname: Slotto Octavius.

Tune in for all the details on Slotto Octavius, the decision to liken his efforts to Judge Dredd, and the Twitter hashtag #BlockedByDanSlott. As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below. I’m always eager to hear what you have to say.

Editor’s Note: I’d like to say a big thanks to Mr. Dystopian for the artistic compliment below!

Douglas Ernst Fan Art

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‘Peter Parker: The Chiptacular Zdarsky-Man’ more clown than hero

There was a time not too long ago when I was excited about Chip Zdarsky’s take on everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man gave fans hope that Marvel would get back to basics and away from Peter Parker: The Not so Spectacular Tony Stark Clone.

Sadly, it appears as though Mr. Zdarsky’s take on Spider-Man continues Marvel’s obsession with turning the character into an immature man-boy. The superhero is most certainly a funny guy, but he isn’t a total goofball.

Readers should never wonder if Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive clown instead of a radioactive spider, but that is unfortunately the case with PPSSM #2.

Check out my latest YouTube video for a more extensive run-down, and be sure to subscribe if you enjoy the video format.

Editor’s Note: A YouTube subscriber asked me to share this image on the blog for future reference. Critics often say that guys like me are imagining things when we say Marvel writers and editors use the books to push an agenda. 

Spectacular SpiderMan 2

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ saves Sony’s bacon (just don’t you dare mention the writer’s ‘slavery’ sucker punch)

There are times when I wish that I never made the leap to YouTube and instead stayed on my little old blog churning out content for people who understand things like nuance. My reaction to Spider-Man: Homecoming highlighted that fact quite nicely yesterday.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger said that he loves the movie and wants people to see it, but that a weird scene involving “MJ’s” comment on slavery was a social justice-y sucker punch out of nowhere. I then used that scene to discuss real-world “MJ’s” populating college campuses and influential circles of activists across the nation.

Translation:Doug is an SJW! Doug is triggered! Doug can’t enjoy anything that includes a whiff of SJW politics.”

Sigh.

Below are my videos on the old web-head’s return to the big screen. As always, if you enjoy the content then be sure to subscribe. And if you too think I’ve gone full “SJW” then go for it in the comments section. Let me know! I find this conclusion fascinating.

Here is the full review with one major spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film.

Marvel Fall Previews 2017: Lies, like Venom symbiote, envelop company

Anyone who has a job knows that you do not want to make a habit of over-promising and under-delivering with you boss. A person who does that too many times will soon find themselves in the unemployment line.

Marvel Comics under Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, for some weird reason, does not seem to have learned that lesson. It’s almost like every person who was habitually fired for over-promising and under-delivering got together and managed to land top jobs at Marvel.

For example, take this week’s Marvel Previews 2017 issue. It was billed as evidence of an industry-changing event when, in reality, fans are getting more of the same. Cosmetic changes have been made that allow for a ‘Happy-Happy Joy-Joy press’ release, but everything that caused sales headaches for the company over the past year remains.

In short, Marvel is showing the world what happens when a company lives out so many lies that it no longer knows the value of telling the truth.

For more on the sad state of affairs that is Marvel Comics in 2017, check out my YouTube video below. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Amazing Spider-Man #29: Dan Slott’s infantile hero needs Mommy Marconi

Question: What happens when a comic book has strong art, strikes the right tone and nails the pacing, but the author’s fundamental understanding of the main character is flawed?

Answer: The world gets something along the lines of The Amazing Spider-Man #29, Marvel’s Secret Empire tie-in featuring the collapse of Parker Industries.

As this blog has demonstrated for years, writer Dan Slott often emasculates Peter Parker as a means of elevating female characters (some created by the author) in his sphere of influence. ASM #29 further solidifies that case, as the hero — an intelligent grown man — is treated like an irresponsible teenager by Anna Maria Marconi. She, another near-perfect woman in his life, scowls and wags her finger at him like an overbearing mother. She sparks epiphanies that he — an intelligent grown man — should have realized on his own months ago.

A Homer Simpson-ized version of Peter Parker also appears in scenes with the villain,  Doctor Octopus, but for more on that I will direct you to my latest YouTube video.

As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spectacular Spider-Man #1: Chip Zdarsky’s joke machine debuts with slew of extras

Peter Parker fans had high hopes for the past few months as Chip Zdarsky’s Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man neared its released date. Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man, even for those who enjoy his work, is like eating a ham sandwich every day for roughly 10 years. Therefore, you can’t blame a guy for grabbing peanut butter and jelly at the first opportunity.

But was it any good? The short answer: It’s complicated.

If you think Peter Parker should be a joke machine, then this book may be for you.

If you think Spider-Man must constantly have an ensemble cast around him in order to truly shine, then this book may be for you.

If you think Peter Parker would have a hard time trouble-shooting his own web-shooters, then this book may be for you.

There is more to say, but for that I invite you to check out my latest YouTube review. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’m interested in hearing your take.

Amy Pascal officially Kevin Feige’s Mephisto with MCU blindside, proves this blog’s 2015 warning prescient

Kevin Feige
The world is only days away from Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the Spidey buzz got real over the weekend when Sony Pictures producer Amy Pascal blindsided Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige during a promotional event. She directly contradicted previous statements by Mr. Feige that Sony’s “Venom” and “Silver & Black” (Silver Sable and Black Cat) would not be connected to the MCU.

Ms. Pascal said:

“Well, those movies will all take place in the world that we’re now creating for Peter Parker. They’ll all be adjuncts to it. They may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world. They will all be connected to each other as well. […] There’s a chance [Tom Holland will appear]. There’s always a chance.”

The look of utter disbelief on Mr. Feige’s face — and one monstrous swallow — are proof that he severely underestimated how devious the woman can be.

It also proves that Mr. Feige would be wise to take some advice from yours truly, perhaps the only one who warned that his “deal” with her to get access to Spider-Man was his very own “One More Day” moment.

Yes, that’s right, Amy Pascal is Kevin Feige’s personal Mephisto.

Mephisto Amy Pascal

I wrote on Feb. 10, 2015:

“Question: Will Amy Pascal become Kevin Feige’s Mephisto? […] It will be a sad day if Kevin Feige’s name is attached to future Spider-Man failures because of Amy Pascal’s intransigence. While Spider-Man fans should be thrilled that the character will show up in future Marvel Studios movies, they should seriously ask themselves if Marvel made a deal with the devil when total victory was within reach.”

Marvel Studios had Sony on the ropes. Through Sony’s own moronic moves under Pascal’s leadership, the studio ran its reputation into the ground. And while it’s great that the world will now see Spider-Man in the MCU for Avengers: Infinity War, there is no doubt that individuals like Ms. Pascal are petty, vindictive, and untrustworthy.

The Sony hacks by North Korea demonstrated it, and the point was hammered home further by the viral video.

The good news is that Kevin Feige is about 10,000 times more intelligent than anyone at Sony. He will likely come out on top in the end. The bad news is that Sony’s suits know this and will subject Marvel Studios to all sorts of public and private pain for the ignominy of taking orders from their betters.

Cross your fingers that Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t a train wreck, but if it is then just watch this video with Ms. Pascal to remind yourself who is to blame.

Amazing Spider-Man #28: Dan Slott’s nostalgia smokescreen can’t hide horrible writing

The Amazing Spider-Man #28 sounds on the surface like it would be a great book. It features classic bad guy Norman Osborn going face-to-face with Peter Parker in a “no holds barred” brawl. Neither man has his powers to rely on, which means it’s just a gold old fashioned slugfest — the winner will likely be the guy with a deeper reserve of intestinal fortitude. Sadly, writer Dan Slott once again over-promised and under-delivered.

If you ever wondered what Marvel’s editors like Nick Lowe do these days, ASM #28 provides the answer: not much.

  • This is the kind of comic you get when you use nostalgia as a crutch to hide a lack of character development.
  • This is the kind of comic you get when you want to be buddies with your writer instead of his editor.
  • This is the kind of comic you get when you, as the writer, create a digital echo chamber and block anyone who offers intelligent criticism of your work.
  • This is the kind of comic you get when you think that giving a tacit nod to your critics somehow erases the legitimacy of their claims.

Aspiring writers should read ASM #28, if for no other reason than to see what happens when a decent idea crashes head-first into a wall of hubris.

Listen to your critics. Learn from them. Humble yourself before the collective wisdom of your fans and then adjust to what you’re hearing because if you don’t then you will write stories that fall flat.

For more on this topic, I invite you to check out my latest YouTube review. As always, make sure to subscribe if it’s up your alley and leave any feedback you have in the comments section below. Whether it’s on YouTube or this blog, I read them all and try to respond to as many as possible.

Spider-Man #27: Ends justify the means in Dan Slott’s ‘Private War’

Question: What do you get when you take 3/4 of a cup of “ends justify the means” and 1/4 of a cup of “moral relativism” and mix it in a bowl with one serving of Peter Parker and a bag of goblins?

Answer: The Amazing Spider-Man #27.

My new YouTube review details how “A Private War” is a sterling example of what happens when every character in a comic adopts a “might makes right” mentality. It’s hard to root for any character — including the protagonist — when a properly functioning moral compass is nowhere to be found. The heroes in ASM are whomever Dan Slott says are heroes, even if their idea of justice is defined as, “Whatever I want to do at any given moment.”

Check out the video below and be sure to ask yourself the following question: Would Spider-Man really make a moral equivalency between his personal vendetta against Norman Osborn and  Captain America fighting with the Allied Powers during World War II?

I say “no.”

Renew Your Vows #6: Gerry Conway, Ryan Stegman give Marvel blueprint for success

The sluggish sales of Marvel comics as of late is no secret. The “House of Ideas” is on fire, and anyone who has paid attention to the industry for the last couple of years knows it. Luckily, there is a way to extinguish the flames, and the answer comes from the creative springs of writer Gerry Conway and artist Ryan Stegman.

If Marvel truly wants to fix what ails it, then it will look to Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #6.  Sound storytelling, strong art, respect for classic characters and an absence of weird political preaching is the key to motivating readers who are disgusted with the Marvel brand.

For more on this topic, check out my latest YouTube review and hit the “subscribe” button if that video format is up your alley.

As always, I invite you to leave your two cents (or more!) in the comments section below.