Silk 19

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 19, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Often, when we talk about the qualities of a hero, the conversation revolves around their bravery in the face of danger.  Silk has taken the opposite road, however. Rather than an exploration of what makes Cindy Moon brave, the series has focused on what makes her afraid. In doing so, the series has tended to focus more on Cindy’s mental state instead of her heroics. Now, at the end of its run, it is apparent Silk stands unique among superhero comics because it has dared to focus on Cindy’s fear rather than her bravery. That choice matters in the final issue, and serves to remind us that good story telling, more than anything else, needs great character development. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 25

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 25, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Spencer: As Aunt May herself points out this week, Peter Parker’s always been a busy guy. Add running a major international company to his already impressive pile of responsibilities and it’s almost guaranteed that something will start to give. The massive Amazing Spider-Man 25 digs into that dilemma from all angles, reminding readers of every task Peter’s got on his plate and what’s at risk if he fails at any one of them. It’s an almost overwhelming issue, a trait that effectively puts readers in Peter’s overstressed shoes. Continue reading

Silk 8

silk 8

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Silk 8, originally released May 11th, 2016.

Drew: I had a bit of an identity crisis when I got to college. Well, “crisis” is an overstatement, but I certainly had to reevaluate how I defined myself. Some of that came down to being in a new place with new people, but the bigger part was that the things that distinguished me in high school, say, my passion and talent for music, were no longer remarkable in a conservatory full of musicians. I suspect this is a common experience for a lot of teens, even if the details change a bit (maybe it’s not college, but a music scene, or space camp, or whatever), which is why identity is such an important subject for them. Of course, for all of our struggles to further define ourselves, our identities are much more stable than those of comic book superheroes, whose identities are managed by numerous writers, artists, and editors, but are often split between costumed and civilian personas, and might even run into alternate versions of themselves. Suffice it to say, Cindy Moon was not in a great place to define (or defend) her personality even before she ran into her evil doppelgänger, which lends every decision she makes in Silk 8 an almost visceral tension. Continue reading

Silk 6

silk 6

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Silk 6, originally released March 16th, 2015.

Taylor: Many of the stories I’ve encountered in my time reading comics exist in a world that is split into two halves. There are those who are good and those who are bad. S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Hydra. The Light Side vs. the Dark Side. While these worlds are the setting for compelling stories, they aren’t necessarily a reflection of our own world. It’s rare today that something or someone can be considered entirely good or evil. Silk 6 recognizes this, and in doing so, shows us that sometimes choosing between right and wrong isn’t as easy as most comics would have us believe.

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Silk 3

Alternating Currents: Silk 3, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Silk 3, originally released January 13th, 2016.

Drew: Superhero comics are full of tropes, from character types to specific situations our heroes find themselves in. There are a number of ways that a savvy creative team can avoid those tropes, but over a long enough publishing history, even the most innovative series will come upon ideas that have been done a million times before. Without characters and situations to distinguish one series from another, tone ends up being the signature of most superhero comics. Batman is darker than Superman, Deadpool is sillier than Spider-Man, and while those tones can change with creative teams and time, they tend to stay in the ballpark precisely because its the tone that separates one book from another.

I might make the same argument for sitcoms — any number of shows might have similar storylines or characters, but Seinfeld will never get you invested in character relationships the way How I Met Your Mother might. The notable exception is the “very special episode” — particularly common in family sitcoms in the ’90s — where shows would often jettison their tone wholesale in order to address a “serious” subject. These tend to be few and far between, but M*A*S*H is famous for slowly turning into a “very special episode” factory, eschewing the silliness of the early seasons in favor of earnest (though often heavy-handed) anti-war messages. That change wasn’t necessarily seen as a negative — indeed, M*A*S*H‘s final episode is still the most watched finale of any television series — but it must have been an odd transition for those who tuned in for irreverent fun. I find myself in a similar situation with this volume of Silk, where the tone seems to be shifting rather deliberately from the whiz-bang fun of Silk’s earlier adventures. Continue reading

Silk 7

silk 7

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Silk 7, originally released September 2nd, 2015.

Taylor: At one point or another we’ve all pondered what we would if the world was ending. At first glance it seems like a macabre question but in truth it’s anything but. Essentially the question is asking what’s important in life and what you value. Rather than focusing on death, I find that to be a rather life affirming question. Luckily, it seems unlikely any of use will have to face this scenario, but those in the Marvel universe aren’t so fortunate. As the world ends, due to the Secret Wars, Cindy Moon (aka Silk) must decide how she wants to spend her last day on planet Earth. In the process, I came to see exactly what she values in life and what drives her to be a hero.

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