Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and Miles Morales: Spider-Man: When Authenticity Matters

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INT. MILES’ APARTMENT – BEDROOM MILES MORALES draws HOME-MADE STREET ART NAME-TAGS at a desk, headphones on, singing along to a song he’s too young for (”Sunflower”), but he doesn’t quite know the words yet.

It’s no secret that part of what launched Into the Spider-Verse into the stratosphere and gained it tons of love from critics and audiences alike was how, for an animated movie starring superheroes and a cartoon pig from another dimension, real and relatable a film it was.

Spider-Man is one of the most relatable superheroes out there and when he’s not relatable, you know he’s not being written well. Even in the recent Spider-Man video games, little and large things alike serve to make you feel like you get insight into Peter Parker’s familiar life. Sure, he’s a superhero that swings across the skyline saving folks from all kinds of crime, but he’s also a nerd who loves his aunt and gets distracted by cool weird things and makes bad jokes.

Peter has had decades of being written to be relatable. Recently, he almost always feels like an authentic example of a millennial trying to make it work in New York.

Miles… hasn’t exactly had that.

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[Stitch Likes Stuff] Venom (2018)

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Everything I saw my friends say about Venom on social media was spot-on.

From the use of Eminem on the soundtrack to Tom Hardy’s EVERYTHING, Venom feels like it fell into a timewarp right before it was originally supposed to air in 2004 and fourteen years later, we got it.

This movie appeals to my inner:

  • superhero fan
  • anti-hero stan
  • monster fucker
  • cannibalism (in fiction) fancier

Seriously, it has something for everyone and it’s entertaining to boot.

Venom is NOT a serious superhero movie even when it tries to be a couple of times. It’s an action-comedy that’s more about Eddie Brock’s fall from grace and how he and Venom develop together than anything else. Sure, Riz Ahmed is in the film playing Carlton Drake, a scientist with eugenicist dreams, and Michelle Williams is Eddie’s long-suffering ex-girlfriend Anne, but the movie isn’t really about them.

It’s about two losers realizing that they literally can’t live without each other and falling in love.

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[Book Review] Miles Morales – A Spider-Man Novel

Miles Morales Cover

Title: Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel
Author:
Jason Reynolds (Twitter)
Rating: Super Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Superheroes, Slice of Life, Spider-Man, Young Adult, Race and Representation
Release Date: August 1, 2017

Publisher:  Marvel Press/Disney Hyperion

Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE)  | AMAZON (HARDCOVER) | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and that’s what you’re getting.

SYNOPSIS

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

REVIEW

Jason Reynolds’s Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel is the kind of Miles Morales content that I’ve been craving since the second Brian Michael Bendis had Miles straight up not get that him being “the Black Spider-Man” was significant representation for kids.

Reynolds’ novel portrays a version of Miles that fans of the character (and some of his lingering detractors) need to be reading. It is, easily, a portrayal of Miles that is more honest and authentic than any we’ve seen so far. Reynolds’ imbues the novel (and Miles’s life) with details about his day to day life at home and in school, giving us a look at Miles’s life that we so far really haven’t seen in the comics themselves.

What’s fantastic about Miles Morales, is that this is a novel where we really get to know not just Miles, but the people around him. When Spider-Man Homecoming came out, everyone was beyond pleased with the fact that we had more time with Peter and his friends and in his neighborhood than ever before.

We got to know the kid under the mask.

That’s what Jason Reynolds does for Miles.Read More »

Bendis, Opportunism, and Bad Judgment Calls in a Terrible Time

Note: This post contains spoilers for Invincible Iron Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, and Marte Gracia.


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Earlier today, Marvel Comics’ writer Brian Michael Bendis made a bad judgement call.

With people all over the world reeling from the fact of a Trump presidency, Bendis decided that there was no time but the present to do one thing: ply his comic, the upcoming Invincible Iron-Man #2, as a distant distraction.Read More »

The Reality of Bendis Writing Blackness

Riri Williams and Tony

In theory, I know I should be happy that we’re getting more diversity in the form of Riri Williams,  a young black woman/girl taking over the role of Iron Man from Tony Stark.

In reality?

I’m getting sick and tired of these companies swearing up and down that they really want to promote diversity before putting yet another white male writer on a book with a character of color as the focus. (You know… instead of finding writers of color — especially Black female writers — to handle the character.)

I’m especially vexed that the man behind this is Mr. Brian Michael “My Spider-Man doesn’t see what so important about him being Black in a world that loves Blackness but hates Black people” Bendis.

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Another day, another bland MCU casting

SpidermanI’m sure that Tom Holland will do an admirable job as Spider-Man in the MCU.

What I’m also sure of is that we really didn’t need another white teenage version of Peter Parker.  This is our third live action Spider-Man and it’s not like they’re going to do anything different about this film to warrant this casting decision.

Peter Parker’s backstory is set in stone.

You do the character as a teenager just starting out and you have to do it all over again: the deaths of his parents,  the loss of Uncle Ben,  betrayal at the hands of his friend Harry, and him coming to terms with his new powers.  I’m all for superhero origin stories but not when we’ve gotten five Spider-Man films in the past twelve years with two of those films revolving around the same main plots of Peter’s life.

At this point, Peter Parker as a teenager just isn’t interesting.Read More »