Feb 19, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #62

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #62
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

The Inhuman Queen, Medusa, is approached to be the model for a hair spray brand. Tiring of the modeling work, Medusa trashes the agency's office. Spider-Man goes after her, because comics are awesome.




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Here's another Mary Jane Watson thought balloon.


DUY: Just realized this is one of MJ's only and early thought balloons, and it's her being surprised that Peter actually misses Gwen, and I'm sure that says something about her character.

BEN: Are you calling her dumb?

DUY: It's either dumb or self-centered.

BEN: Let's say self-centered. Don't want the hate mail.

DUY: Maybe I do.

BEN: Okay, she's both.

DUY: About Medusa, at this point in time, Medusa has been a part of the Frightful Four (featuring the Fantastic Four villain The Wizard, the Human Torch villain who would eventually be a Spider-Man villain, and the Spider-Man villain the Sandman. The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man are inextricably linked). She suffered from amnesia. Then she rejoined the Inhumans in Attilan, got trapped, got out, and now she's here scouting out the human race.

BEN: Finally, this is number 3 on the "Gwen Stacy cries" consecutive issue count.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I've got nothing. The Inhumans have always sucked.

DUY: I thought this was a fun issue because it's so silly. The fact that a hair spray agent causes all this trouble just so Medusa can make him millions is some much-needed comic relief after the events of the last few issues. Also, between the wrestling promoter, JJJ, and this guy, pretty much anyone working in the media, entertainment, or advertising industry up to this point in the series has been a shark.

BEN: What’s weird is I do like some Inhumans individually, like Medusa.

DUY: I tend to like them in concept.

BEN: Black Bolt looks cool.

DUY: Crystal is fun in other titles.

BEN: I do love Crystal.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  Angrily exploring a possible relocation into human society? That hasn't aged well.

DUY: "Didn't they ever tell you not to broadcast your plans? But that's the trouble with women -- they just can't keep their mouths shut." Sadly, this is a typical Stan Lee line where women are involved.

BEN:  Different times. It was probably bad at the time, but Stan was already old by then.

DUY:  Yeah, but even then it doesn't work -- all his villains monologue, but he'll only say a sexist line for Medusa.

NITPICKS

BEN: I know his spider sense is inconsistent, but he’s technically in no real danger here.


FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: I have two. One is the Mary Jane panel we posted earlier, because Peter putting off MJ is great. But the other one is Medusa cracking her hair like a whip:


DUY: Because it reminds me of WWE NXT wrestler, Bianca Belair:


BEN: Stop sending me wrestling stuff that's not Becky Lynch.

DUY: Medusa kinda looks like Becky Lynch, The Man.



BEN: They should cast her in the Inhumans movie they'll never make. Because the Inhumans suck.


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Peter blowing off MJ at the end makes this issue a Gwen Stacy win.

BEN: Everything is a Gwen Stacy win..

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!

Feb 12, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #61

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #61
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

With Captain Stacy still under the influence of the Kingpin, Spider-Man has his hands full trying to save both him and Gwen!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
DUY: “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 2.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY:  I think Gwen being a good daughter who accompanies George even though it's dangerous, like going with him even as he's clearly being kidnapped, is stupid, butpretty cool.

BEN: Everything Gwen does is cool. She need a better comic to be in.

BEN: This is such a slow turn. The low moments of the Ditko run were at least interesting because of how weird they were and how it seemed he and Stan weren't even communicating. This is just like everyone has been phoning it in. "Peter realizes he loves Gwen! Let's take three issues!"

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: Kingpin needs to use Norman Osborn's resources behind his back, and it really downplays his wealth and the amount of resources he would be shown to have eventually.

BEN: He’s not much of a Kingpin so far.

DUY:  And "There are more than two billion people alive today, and half of them are males," at this point, is MJ's defining quote.


NITPICKS

DUY:  Peter used to solve things by inventing cool stuff. This time he.... makes a mask out of his web.


BEN: Who’s got the time to invent?

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  Chubbins!



DUY: Osborn remembering the Green Goblin is some nice foreshadowing... and happens in the same story where Peter realizes he loves Gwen.


BEN: Are you suggesting there’s some sort of foreboding connection between the two?

DUY: Why, not at all. What would make you say that?

BEN: I'm not interested in your spoilers. I'm sure she'll be fine.

DUY: Of course she'll be fine. She's a Spider-Woman now, y'know.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: I guess Osborn wins. We're reminded he exists, we're reminded the Goblin exists, and we're reminded of the internal conflict within.

BEN: Gwen survived her first death trap, she wins.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!

Feb 5, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #60

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #60
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

The Kingpin is revealed to be the Brainwasher, and he's hypnotized Captain Stacy!



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • The Kingpin: 5
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: Peter realizes that he loves Gwen.

DUY: And unlike him being "in love" with Betty, this time it's for real. But this is also the first time Gwen will "never forgive Peter" for something that she would eventually forgive him for.



BEN: This looks like it might be the beginning of her melodramatic turn, which is much later than a lot of haters would have you believe. In fact, let’s get a “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count going.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I’m glad they skipped past Harry being mad at Peter for never being around and made him a supportive friend. He’s always giving him the benefit of the doubt when he disappears, and sticks by him when the two thugs wreck their apartment.


DUY: It's a nice moment for Harry. Character growth.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: The Kingpin is way more hotheaded than he would become.

DUY: He's clearly a prototype of what he'd later become. But my answer is still Aunt May. Holy crap, she's so damn unbearable. "Isn't he a pussywillow, Anna?" Ugh.


BEN:  There’s a dark story where Peter finds May’s murdered body and written on the wall in blood is “For the last time, it’s pussycat!”

NITPICKS

DUY: Kingpin being strong enough to basically be invulnerable to Daredevil makes sense. But for him to overpower Spider-Man is just.... he has to be superpowered, right?



BEN: Kingpin’s strength doesn’t make sense. I’ve been trying to get so fat that I’m super strong, but it’s not working.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  A teenager?!



DUY: I have to give it to Harry telling Pete he's gonna stick by him, posted up above.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY:  No one. Look, we get a lot of flak these days for writers decompressing too much. Sure. But that was around even back then, and this story is running too long and it's not even engaging.

BEN: This is what it sounds like, when doves cry.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!

Jan 29, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #59

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #59
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

As Mary Jane dances for her first paying job, Spider-Man has to deal with a new mind-controlling threat: The Brainwasher!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:

  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • The Kingpin: 4
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2

DUY: Mary Jane's first thought balloon:



BEN: And second:


DUY: I want to keep track of when exactly her next thought balloon is going to show up. I think it's the relative lack of thought balloons that made her so ripe for retcons.

BEN: And also, Peter and Gwen's first kiss, which she gives after seeing him for the first time since his amnesia episode.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: I like the idea that Captain Stacy has been investigating Spider-Man this whole time. We know that by the time he dies, he'll have known who Peter is. Let's keep an eye out for when the most likely time is for him to have figured it out.

BEN: Spoilers!

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: I dunno, this has been a pretty unimpressive stretch of comics. I'm gonna mention too that I don't like the way Romita draws webs, where it's more of a net. Ditko drew them as a line with unintelligible scribbles, while we're two decades away from McFarlane inventing spaghetti webbing. But the net-webbing has never really worked for me.

BEN:  It’s clear Heck did more work on some pages than others.

DUY: Also, I don't know how well in the 21st century that Mary Jane dancing for money has aged. Especially with the PS4 game giving her a journalism background and having more agency. I don't want that to sound like I'm knocking women who have such jobs. I know it's a legitimate job and legitimately something they want to do and enjoy doing. But it seems that in 2019, a leading lady would have been given another job.

BEN: She's technically not the leading lady.

DUY: Ah true, I'm jumping in time.

BEN: Aunt May is the leading lady.

NITPICKS

BEN: More of an error than a nitpick, Aunt May’s dialogue balloon is a thought balloon.



FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Their first kiss:



DUY: Same.


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: I'm going to say Mary Jane Watson here. It's interesting, both she and Gwen are drawn with relatively the same body type, but MJ is just drawn with more sex appeal. At this point it may be her defining characteristic, and that may be good, and that may be bad, but she wins the comic.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!

Jan 27, 2020

Out of Nowhere! The Top 5 Comics That Made My Decade

You thought the Best of the 2010s lists were over? Well, here's one more from Out of Nowhere!

The Top 5 Comics That Made My Decade
by Migs Acabado

The past decade brought a lot of changes to my life. Most of those changes were good and there were also a few setbacks. In the beginning of the past decade, I was searching for Clone Saga–related articles. There I discovered a comic book website called The Comics Cube. I loved its content and it became one of my favorite websites during that period. Little did I know that I’ll be a part of its team of writers, fast forward to 2016. Through that website I also met some of my very good friends. It is really fun to reminisce our early years hanging out. But that is not what I’m here to talk about today. It's already the start of a new decade. As we welcome the year 2020, I would like to share the 5 comics that rocked my 2010s.

Before we proceed to the top 5, I have some honorable mentions:

  • Tom King’s Batman – Tom made Bruce Wayne relatable to every reader. Before I only care about the scenes involving Batman. But during Tom’ run on the main Batman book, we get to know the human side of him.
  • Mark Waid’s Daredevil – This came out when I was still being introduced to the world of Matt Murdock. It felt like a breath of fresh air since the previous stories that I’ve read from Frank Miller and Ed Brubaker are grim and gritty. Waid’s run brought the word Fun back to DD.
  • The Fade Out – Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s mystery crime thriller about a Hollywood scrennwriter and the dark secrets of Hollywood.


5. Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron



Back in Christmas 2011, my uncle sent me a Christmas gift from the US, a huge box of random comic books. The first issue of this series was included in that box. I read it quickly and I thought the first issue has a potential. I was right. This is one of the best X-Men comics ever! The writers rarely thrive in portraying the school setting of X-Men comics. But in this run, it was well written. You’ll laugh, cry, get angry, and cheer with all the characters. You’ll feel for most of them even with Toad. The character development of the series was done greatly. Having Wolverine as a headmaster seems to be an impossible aspect to work with but it was one of the highlights of the book. After I finished reading the whole series, it became one of my favorite X-Men comics ever.

4. DC Comics by Geoff Johns



I can’t pick any specific DC book done by Geoff Johns in past decade because I like all that I’ve read. From Aquaman (A comic book that I thought I'd never ever read) to the Watchmen sort of sequel, Doomsday Clock, he doesn’t disappoint. Some of the highlights are making Alfred a badass in Batman: Earth One, Cyborg and the Metal Men kicked ass in Justice League, Superman fighting Doctor Manhattan in Doomsday Clock and crafting the Darkseid War. Geoff Johns may have infinite tricks on his sleeve for every DC Comics Character.

3. Ultimate Spider-Man/Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis


This was my go-to comic book in the 2000s and it continued the trend in the 2010s. This comic book generated a lot of buzz in 2011 with the death of the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Then Bendis introduced Miles Morales who went on to become the star of 2018’s Into the Spider-verse movie. I followed this comic book until Bendis’ last issue in 2018.

2. Dan Slott’s Spider-Man


Dan Slott began his tenure as the solo writer of Amazing Spider-Man in the end of 2010. At first, I was not thrilled to have him as the sole writer of the book. I wanted a different writer but he proved me wrong. He gave us a lot of memorable storylines like Spider-Island, Dying Wish, No One Dies, Clone Conspiracy and the very famous Spider-Verse. He also “killed” Peter Parker and have him replaced by Doctor Octopus as the Superior Spider-Man which I think is the highlight of his run.

1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples



I am a huge fan of BKV. Y: The Last Man is one of my favorite comic book series of all time, and when Saga came out I became very excited. The story is about two star-crossed lovers who are on the run to save their baby because their relationship is forbidden since both of their respective race is at war with each other. This series tackles family and the place of belonging, not to mention it has a very Star Wars feel. It’s the series that got me very excited every time I see a new volume coming out.

My experience in reading comic books in the past decade was pretty exciting and I can say pretty stacked since I read a lot of books. Although I am now busy with work-related stuff and writing basketball articles for a certain basketball league, I still find some time to keep up with my comics. Reading and collecting comic books is something that I don’t think I’ll be giving up. So come 2030, I’ll do another round of top 5 comic books of the decade.

You may have noticed Miles Morales is on this list twice, so here's a shameless plug for Into the Spider-Verse:

Jan 22, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #58

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #58
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

Professor Smythe returns with an all-new, all-improved Spider-Slayer, just as Spider-Man gets his memory back.



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Kingpin: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • Shocker: 1
DUY: We find out Robbie Robertson used to serve in the military, and Stan actually does it in an organic, natural way: John Jameson just asks him if he ever feels like getting back in uniform.




WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Spider Slayers. They're basically drones.

DUY: The nuance given to JJJ in this issue will eventually be the type of nuance that will come to define him.

BEN: He just wants to catch him, not kill him.



WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: All apologies to Don Heck, but you’re no Romita, even with him doing the layouts.

DUY: Yeah, much respect to Don Heck, but I... do not like his work.

BEN: Smythe is also defeated by a phone book, which would not work today.




NITPICKS

DUY: Where did Ka-Zar get the rope he's swinging from in the splash page, and how did he get it high enough to swing from it? Did he take a rope, climb a building, tie it there, go back down, and get Spider-Man?



BEN: And Spider-Man's amnesia is cured by cold water, when Ka-Zar fished him out of the lake in the previous issue?

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  Mine:


DUY: Wow, Ka-Zar is an idiot. "This civilian is giving me the same vibes as Spider-Man, whose face I've never seen. Oh well!" And here's mine:


DUY: I had misremembered this issue — and really anything involving the Spider-slayers —as JJJ just doing a criminal action for his obsession. It was nice to see that he just legitimately thinks Spider-Man is a menace and he wanted to play hero, but that even he doesn't want Spider-Man dead if it's unnecessary.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: There were no winners in this one.

DUY: I can name a loser. Aunt May.



BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!