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, 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.