Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Captain Marvel 12, originally released February 11th, 2015.
Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!
Super Mario Bros.
Drew: Ah, the MacGuffin hunt; is there a more straightforward objective in all of fiction? Sure, that may also make it one of the most common objectives in all of fiction, but that hasn’t stopped it from generating some truly great stories. It’s just a clean, simple way to motivate characters to action. “We need the thing for reasons” is the general gist, but there’s actually a cleaner, simpler motivation if the MacGuffin was stolen from the hero. Now the “reasons” don’t need to be mired in mythology about the significance of the “thing” — getting back what is rightly theirs is more than enough justification for action. This is exactly the scenario Carol finds herself in in Captain Marvel 12, jettisoning any need for exposition in favor of high-flying space action. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 11, originally released January 14th, 2015.
Drew: It’s no secret that I don’t have a lot of patience for tropes. Predictable situations, reactions, or patterns are crutches for serialized storytellers, which is only made more apparent by those writers who manage to avoid them. Still, I do understand that certain tropes can be comforting — and perhaps even important to the identity of the work of art in question. I’m willing to forgive The Twilight Zone having the most obvious twist endings, because that’s kind of the point. That willingness to forgive certain tropes varies from person to person, as can be seen in the varied reactions to Christmas movies, albums, and episodes. Are they cheap cash-grabs? Charming acknowledgements of the season? Unfortunate acquiescences to the Christo-normativity of America? Christmas stories aren’t my favorite (I swear, if I see another reimagining of A Christmas Carol, I’m going to lose it), but I’ve seen enough pulled off well that I’m willing to at least have an open mind. Unless, of course, I’m consuming that story three weeks after Christmas, in which case, my patience for Christmas tropes dwindles right back down to zero. Continue reading →
Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing Captain Marvel 4, originally released June 11, 2014.
Suzanne: Have you ever turned on Fox News or MSNBC and listened to the political pundits’ commentary? You’d hear them prescribe the cure for deep-seated political issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a five-minute sound bite. But can they really appreciate the complexity of these conflicts from an outside perspective? That’s not even considering the emotion, levels of tragedy and loss the people involved experience. In the last issue of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers walked into an entrenched political situation wrapped into a public health crisis. The people of Torfa live on a poison planet; people are getting sick and dying and will continue to do so unless they leave. Yet Carol manages to check her assumptions (thanks to Madame Eleanides) and learn from the people of Torfa. And by learning I mean going to other planets and stealing from intergalactic pirates. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Captain Marvel 3, originally released May 14th, 2014.
Yes, but what does it mean?
Drew: We tend to talk a lot about the meaning of a given comic around here, but we’re rarely explicit in what we think “meaning” means. Or, more specifically, whose meaning we think we’re describing. Many folks are interested in authorial intent — who, after all would be better to speak to the meaning of a work of art than its creator? — but I’m personally more interested in the idea that meaning is created by the audience upon consuming a work of art. There may be objective truths about an art, but there are only subjective reactions. Of course, that doesn’t make me immune to the allure of monolithic readings of certain artworks — Virginia Woolf’s work is somehow inherently feminist, or Ernest Hemmingway’s work is somehow inherently macho. We like these readings both because they’re logical (they certainly reflect the character of the author), but more importantly, because they yield meaningful insights. But what about readings that buck those stereotypes? What about interpretations that strain against those meta-narrative to reveal something more meaningful? I suppose notions of “more meaningful” illustrate my point about subjectivity, but I firmly believe that Captain Marvel 3 gains a great deal by being very unlike what we’ve come to expect of this series.
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Captain Marvel 2, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Shelby: Mistaken identities and their resulting confusion have got to be one of the more commonly used plot devices out there. I think just about every play I did in high school drama involved people being mistaken for someone else and a lot of hiding in closets/multiple door antics. It’s commonly used because it’s one small moment that can quickly telescope into an entire story; each person’s unexpected reaction based on the mistake triggers another unexpected reaction, and so on and so forth. It’s so easy when we’re outside observers to see that if everyone would just calm down and think for a second, everything would make sense. As Carol Danvers is about to learn, however, sometimes mistakes happen so fast, you don’t even have a second to spare to think about it. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Suzanne are discussing Captain Marvel 1, originally released March 12th, 2013.
All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.
Drew: The notion that art reveals something about the artist is a popular one, and I think is at least part of the reason artists are such alluring figures in our society — who wouldn’t want to be closer to the mind that whose autobiography is the sistine chapel or the brandenburg concerti? What a work of art says about its creator is a fascinating line of inquiry, but I’ve personally always been more interested in what a work of art says about its audience. It’s this other autobiography that is often ignored when discussing (and dare I say creating) a work of art, but I personally think it’s much more important its success. Could I relate to this work? Could I empathize with its characters? Could I understand their sorrows and joys? As a woman holding her own in a male-dominated field, it’s easy to see Kelly Sue DeConnick’s autobiography in Captain Marvel 1, but as ever, this series is really about the fans. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Captain Marvel 17, originally released November 6, 2013.
Patrick: Drew and I were just having a conversation about Carol Danvers and her Carol Corps. The idea that a superhero has legions of in-world fans makes perfect sense, just as it makes sense that there would be legions of fans in the real world. But the devotion and enthusiasm of Captain Marvel fans — both inside and outside of the Marvel Universe — is a of a different class. We noted at NYCC that members of the Carol Corps love being pandered to, and basically anything that came out of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s mouth elicited uproarious applause from that corner of the room (you know, that corner). From the outside looking in, that’s creepy and more than a little sycophantic. But the beauty in that fandom is just how egolessly they pursue it: they don’t stop to assess why Captain Marvel makes them feel this way, she just does. It’s a naked sincerity that’s echoed perfectly in this good-bye-for-now issue – an earnest celebration of Captain Marvel that dares you to have the time of your life.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Captain Marvel 15-16, originally released August 21st and September 18th, 2013, respectively. These issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.
Options >> Preferences >> Fog of War: Off
Warcraft II, Traditional.
Patrick: I used to play a lot of Warcraft II, and by most accounts, I was very good at the game. I played both the campaigns, all the expansion packs, even played on-line before that was really a thing. But no matter how much I wanted to challenge myself, I would always, always, always go in to Options, Preferences, and then turn “Fog of War” off. The Fog of War feature would gray-out areas on the map that you had explored but in which you didn’t have any units — you could still make out the terrain but enemy activity would be totally invisible to you. I always wanted to see what was going on. Besides, the metaphorical fog of war would set in anyway — with so much activity it became impossible to focus on all of it. Ironically, if I had just let Fog of War stay on, I could have zeroed in on my own army and really understood what they needed to become stronger. Infinity has been playing the game with Fog of War off, and the spectacle of seeing the whole board lit up at once has been astounding, but the Captain Marvel tie-ins relish the Fog, finding focus and purpose and a very specific time and a very specific place. Continue reading →