The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 Presents a Feminist History

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Pixar

As a kid, I always suspected the inanimate objects in my life had secret lives of their own. It wasn’t so much that I thought they got up and walked around when I wasn’t looking, but that they had feelings and aspirations and friends that they cared about. That was the bit about Toy Story that really hit me when it came out — that my toys were desperate for my love and attention, and they felt neglected when I turned my attention elsewhere. Worrying about the feelings of inanimate objects speaks to some of my most well-worn neuroses, but I’d defend those early experiences as helping me practice sympathy for other humans. I hesitate to call Toy Story a feminist history, since the marginalized perspective it adopts is entirely fictional, but it certainly has the shape of a feminist history, cuing us (or, at the very least, eight-year-old me) into the heretofore ignored plight of children’s toys. (To be clear: “feminist history” isn’t the history of feminism, but feminist approaches to history — approaches that highlight otherwise overlooked perspectives and narratives in history.) With Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1, Saladin Ahmed and Garry Brown achieve something similar, retelling the classic arc “Alien Costume Saga” from the perspective of the Venom Symbiote. Continue reading

An Early Start Sets Crude 1 on an Unusual Course

by Drew Baumgartner

Crude 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Every story is a mystery at its start. Themes, settings, characters, and their motivations are all unknown to us at the outset, so the opening chapters of stories are often defined by which of these questions they answer, and which they leave open. In that way, a story ultimately defines what its hanging questions are by where it begins. Does it open generations before the protagonist is born or on the day of the inciting incident? Does its scope start wide and zoom in, or does it start in tight and zoom out? Or, more to the point in many mainstream comics, do we meet the protagonist before or after their loved one is murdered, propelling them on some kind of quest for justice/vengeance? With Crude 1, Steve Orlando and Garry Brown’s choices on where and when to start their narrative reveal a great deal about what they think is interesting about their narrative, but in doing so, may have buried the lede. Continue reading

Iron Patriot 1

iron patriot 1Today, Shelby and Greg are discussing Iron Patriot 1, originally released March 26th, 2014.

Shelby: Work-life balance is a hard thing to maintain. You need to work to, you know, live and stuff, but if you can’t have a non-work life then what’s the point? Even if you’re one of the lucky few who happens to love your job, you need a life outside of it to stay sane. I actually have two jobs, and even though I love my weekend gig working at my local comic shop, I still strive to remember to take time for myself. Hard as it is for me to maintain a healthy work-life balance, I have to imagine it’s nearly impossible for someone like James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine, a.k.a. Iron Patriot. When your job consists of being a costumed superhero working for the United States government, is there ever really a point when you’re not working?

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