Ms. Marvel #22 (2007) by Greg Horn
Thanks to the Internet, comic book characters who would normally be obscure oddities have become memetic and omnipresent. Look no further than Marvel’s Deadpool, who’s perhaps the patron saint of this phenomena. Thanks his online following, an oft-delayed Deadpool movie finally made it into theaters this year, and —against all odds— made a pretty damn penny for it. The power of fandom can’t be underestimated.
Unless you’re Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel.
Carol shouldn’t be such a hard character to grasp a handle on. Her elevator pitch is basically “Superman, but backwards — and female.” The Carol Corps are among the most rapid followings in fandom. A Captain Marvel movie is finally being developed by Marvel Studios. So … why can’t Marvel seem to make Carol work as a solo character in their comics?
Marc Felion and Faustos Fernós as Batman and Superman … by way of Vivacious and Trixie Mattel (credit)
In marathoning RuPaul’s Drag Race ahead of the eighth season, I couldn’t help but start pondering funny little concept: the intersection between drag and superheroism. Vastly unrelated topics at first glance, sure, but one episode of All Stars tasks the girls with creating (and dressing as) their own superheroes, so I couldn’t help but start connecting the dots. What can I say? My interests are very eclectic.
Drag isn’t merely an aesthetic; it’s performance, usually pertaining to gender expression. Men dressing as women, women dressing as men, any gender dressing as another; the permutations are endless. Regardless of the fine details, all drag artists set out to transform themselves into people distinct from their natural persona — not unlike superheroes.
“Professional” critics & cultural “pundits” are great and all, but what does Nico think about stuff? With The Nico Review, you’ll soon find out! In this post, he’s talking about New Avengers, vol. 4 (#1 — #6).
property of Marvel
New Avengers vol. 4, #1— #6 (Words by Al Ewing, art by Gerardo Sandoval, colors by Dono Sánchez Almara, letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Young Avengers (as we knew previously knew them) are over. Kate is busy being Hawkeye alongside Hawkguy, America’s fighting cosmic threats with The Ultimates, Cassie only stopped being dead last year, and the other ones are otherwise languishing in editorial apathy. Where are you, Tommy Shepherd? Eli Bradley? And … Noh-Varr? I don’t care for Noh-Varr.
As for Billy and Teddy? They’re legit Avengers now. Not Avenger-adjacent like America, nor are they holding onto “honorary” status. Thanks to Sunspot, they’re the real deal — kinda. (They’re technically on the unofficially-sanctioned Avengers Ideas Mechanics, but that’s beside the point.)
Thanks to a bonkers creative team and an especially bonkers team, the latest volume of New Avengers has become quite a treat. Especially if you’re into psychic Cthulhu monsters, Diversity (TM) , and Squirrel Girl.
Made it past the headline and think I’m crazy for making an argument for Ant-Man, of all people? Fantastic! I got a point here, I swear!
Scott Lang as Ant-Man (property of Marvel)
Thanks to his big screen debut in Ant-Man, Scott Lang’s public profile is bigger than ever — and if some leaked toys are any indication, he’ll literally become enormous in this year’s Captain America: Civil War. Despite this, lots of people perceive Scott (or more accurately, the general concept of Ant-Man) as too ridiculous to be taken seriously, and I can’t say I fault them for it. In a universe populated by literal Gods, slinky spies, and hunky super-soldiers, what can a guy named Ant-Man possibly offer?
For as long as I’ve been familiar with Ant-Man, I could never quite agree with that mindset. Hank Pym —the original Ant-Man— was a founding Avenger in the comics, and I believe all fictional characters have their potential, no matter how potentially silly. I mean, are we really going to pretend a super-shrinker like Ant-Man is any more dumb than a big green meathead like The Hulk, or a human battery pack like Iron Man? Come on, now!
But that’s all beside the point, because I’m not here to talk about the merits of Ant-Man as a character in the Marvel Universe. What I’m actually here to discuss is the idea of Ant-Man (specifically Scott) as a cipher for depression.
Hear me out.
So what’s up with these straight characters pretending to be gay, anyway?
Nick Jonas as Boone Clemens and Tate Ellington as Simon Asher (property of FOX and ABC, respectively)
It’s a disappointing reality that overt queerness doesn’t come very often in mainstream fiction. As a demographic starving for better representation —outside of niche spaces, anyway— we’re fairly critical about the times we finally get to see ourselves in the stuff we like, and while queer representation has been steadily improving in recent years, there’s infinite room for improvement.
So call me a cynic for saying this, but I don’t think this recent trend of “gay-for-play” characters on shows like Quantico and Scream Queens is doing much good for the queer community.
“Professional” critics & cultural “pundits” are great and all, but what does Nico think about stuff? Thanks to The Nico Review, you’ll soon find out! In this post, he’s talking about Groot #6.
Groot #6 (Marvel)
Words by Jeff Loveness, art by Brian Kesinger, letters by Jeff Eckleberry
When the final issue of Jeff Loveness & Brian Kesinger’s run on Groot arrived, I came to a lingering (and partially unexpected) realization: that I was really, really going to miss this series. Who knew a talking tree could give me so many feelings, all at once? Not me.
Aw, nice! Another blog on the Internet. Just what everybody needed.
Welcome to my blog. Dunno how you stumbled upon it, but I’m not complaining. Since you’re here, I may as well put some effort into it, no? On this blog, I’ll be writing about stuff I deem worthy of putting down to digital pen. Because that’s how writing works, apparently? You have ideas and record them for posterity? Hell if I know.
Anyway, thanks for visiting. I’ll try to make it worth your while. Add me to your bookmarks or whatever you feel like doing. Not my choice! Sadly. If it were that easy, I’d be married to triple threat actor, director, and voiceover artist John Krasinski by now. Darn.
xoxo, Nico Frank Sprezzatura.
(BTW — I actually am on twitter, so follow me maybe? Or don’t. You do you.)