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    Latest Articles


    Latest Topics


    Spinoffs and Crossovers in Comics: Good or Bad?

    In comic books many publishers try to expand a certain title or story arcs into spinoffs and crossovers. While some of these are a whole a lot of fun (We would never have had the Avengers or Justice League) others can be downright frustrating, in that you have to buy comics you wouldn’t have read on your own. What are the good things and bad things about comic book spinoffs and crossovers?

    • I think instead of looking at this issue in a Manichean way, whether it is good or bad, you could look at whether a crossover adds anything to the current story arc. If something is frustratingly bad then it could be because of poor integration or a "bad fit" for characters while good crossovers could be the opposite. I think by analyzing the quality of writing, art and the reasons why the crossover happened you can provide a deeper study of the practice rather than just a judgement of it. I think this article definitely has some great potential and is right on trend with not only our contemporary comic habits but also our movie watching habits as well. – DClarke 9 years ago
    • When they become to confusing of the writer seems like they are just trying to make money off of something that shouldn't be there then it is bad – Aim 9 years ago
    • Pretty sure Deadpool has had a story arc with every single Marvel character, he is currently In Deadpool and Cable as of right now; but, he's has one with Spider-Man, Hawkeye, he killed the Avengers at one point, Deadpool Corps where he teamed with Lady Deadpool. Harley Quinn is currently with Power Girl in a series. There's so many crossovers and spin-offs happening! There's so much to talk about! – scoleman 9 years ago
    • Comics are probably the best medium to tell spin-offs and crossovers because comics having fun and outlandish ideas is part of the fun of reading them. With that said, spin-offs can be both good and bad, depending on the character. Batgirl having her own comic series works because she already has a long and loyal fan following, so it makes sense for her to break off from Batman's comics. The reason Drax having his own series does not work is because he really works best when he is with the Guardians, otherwise he is kind of boring. – Aaron Hatch 8 years ago
    • It will be interesting to see how crossovers and spinoffs are perceived differently by comic fans vs. film or TV shows. In the last decade, we have seen a growing number of films and TV shows that take this approach. While of course making profit is a major part of it, the success of such films may tell us a lot about demand on the part of the fans. – Arazoo Ferozan 8 years ago

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. Angel

    Angel, a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was for a time on par with its sister property. But it did not last as long as Buffy or get as much attention from fans (as far as I can guess). What are the differences between the shows that has caused this division?

    • I wonder if one of the reasons Angel didn't last as long was because we already knew his character. We got to know him in the first 3 seasons of Buffy, so there was no need to spend time going over his history when Angel got his own show. – rachelyzara 9 years ago
    • One was about high school and the other was about the work world. Buffy was about standing up for oneself and one's principles, while Angel was about learning how to selectively use and abandon one's principles, for better or for worse. – joubert 9 years ago
    • I think it would be helpful to write about how interesting it is that a show with a female protagonist lasted longer and was more successful than one with a male protagonist. There's this statistic that states that female-lead shows/movies make less profit than male-lead shows. I would definitely have a gander at gender! – itschlofosho 9 years ago

    The Rise of Transgender Stories in Film/TV

    Ever since Caityln Jenner came out the world, we have seen a rise in stories being told about transgender people. This year, we’ll see two feature films that concern being transgender (The Danish Girl and About Ray). Television too has gotten in on the trend which shows like I Am Cait and I Am Jazz. And before that we had Transparent on Hulu. What have been the conditions that have led to this rise in transgender storytelling?

    • These conditions are still very recent and I think it would be a good idea to mention how tabloid headlines mocked Caitlyn persistently during her transitional years...she could have stayed away from the public eye but maybe the public emphasized with her struggle once she was able to look and feel true to herself. – katrinafowler 9 years ago

    Science in the Silver Age of Comics

    Oftentimes comic book historians will talk about the variety of eras in comic book history. For example the Silver Age is said to have taken place from 1950s to the 1970s. In this era comics began to turn into hardcore science fiction stories. Stan Lee starting creating comics during this period and many of his creations, like the Hulk and Fantastic Four, are scientifically based. What were the conditions (socially and culturally) that led to the creation of this era? Both Marvel and DC should be discussed.

    • This is a topic that includes so many aspects that it could lead to some interesting discussions. I think one important reason for the use of science was the end of WWII going into the Vietnam War. People in a short amount of time saw the use of science to destroy the world. People felt the real trauma and pain that could be caused through experimentation. Art tends to blossom after tragedy because people need to understand it in some form. This plays a critical point in the focus on science in comics. There are many interviews with Stan Lee where he discusses this is exact point that are easily found. The world had seen the use of an atomic weapon. These comics struggled with the idea that we could create our own demise and what do we do with that information? – Celeste Reeb 9 years ago
    • This could be a really interesting topic. I mean the science in most silver age comics is fairly inaccurate but the intent was great. Most comics were for children so introducing them to science and thinking about how the world around them works (even through pseudo-science) is really great. – Edward Haynes 9 years ago

    The Difference Between Being a "Love Interest" and a Fully Realized Character

    When critics and audiences criticize a female character they usually say "She’s just a love interest." But what does that mean in the broad scheme of things? Is it possible to be a love interest and a fully realized character?

    • Perhaps it is the difference between "getting the girl," or someone who is "just there" to meet the needs of the protagonist. To me, a fully realized character is one that has many layers and feels like a real person (such as Peggy in Mad Men). A love interest would be someone that we may know about, but we do not truly know a lot about-- enough to make them real in our minds. – Nicole Wethington 9 years ago
    • I think a good example of this can be found in Jo from Supernatural. Dean has plenty of love interests who never develop into REAL characters (such as that woman he had a kid with [see! I don't even know her name and she has been in multiple episodes]) but Jo is odd... on the borderline. I've never met someone who thought of her as a favourite character although she is in quite a few plot oriented episodes. We don't learn much about her so is that the problem with her popularity or is her backstory and personality just overshadowed by her and Dean's "potential" (which never gets actualized but adds a lot of romantic suspense). – Slaidey 9 years ago
    • Brandon Sanderson discusses this in his lectures on character creations. He mentions that the problem a lot of new writers have is designing categories for people to fit into. In order to be a fully realized character, one has to create a character before placing them into a mold. If they are just designed to be the love interest, it can feel forced. – missmichelle 9 years ago

    Improving the Thor Films

    Of all the Marvel solo films, Thor is often considered to be the weakest of the bunch. So much so that title character is often upstaged in his own movie. Thor 3, which will be entitled Thor: Ragnorok, is expected in November of 2017. What can the filmmakers improve upon to make Thor a strong contender?

    • Part of the reason Thor's films are considered weak is because he is a god, and he is more impervious than most of the other Avengers. It's the same problem when writing Superman: how to you write a character that is seminally invincible? The bigger reason the films are weaker is because how Loki has overshadowed Thor in popularity. Thor is simply not as fun when Loki is not on screen, and that is mainly because Loki is more witty and compelling. Loki practically chews the scenery. – Aaron Hatch 9 years ago
    • Whoever takes this up should remember to use statistics when saying things like Thor is the weakest of the bunch? Weakest hero? That's relative. Weakest written? Some argue that honor (or dishonor) goes to the Hulk. So, we need proof with these things. Otherwise, interesting topic. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
    • I think something that could make Thor movies stronger contenders is some backstory, whether it be for Thor, the Warriors Three, Lady Sif, Loki, Jane, etc. We don't know a lot about any of the characters' pasts, so letting us know just what's been happening in the hundreds of years Thor and company have been alive could make them all more interesting. – VelvetRose 9 years ago
    • I don't really know Jane too well and she seems like she's a very interesting person! It would be cool to learn more about her childhood, why she does what she does. I think you can learn a lot about someone with glimpses of their childhood. They did this for Loki and Thor, so maybe something for Jane? – itschlofosho 9 years ago

    The Funny Fat Girl Trope

    Usually in cinema bigger girls and women are often cast into supporting comedic roles. They are often loud, blunt, and lazy. Even when they are cast in lead roles the story often involves their size in the some way. There have been exceptions though, for example Hairspray and possibly Spy due out this summer.

    How is this trope utilized? Are any other forms of media that subvert this trope?

    • Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy are two of the best comedic actresses we have these days, and they're consistently relegated to the Funny Fat Girl role. Or, if not Funny, then at the very least Vulgar. These days, the Vulgar Fat Girl seems to go hand-in-hand with the Funny Fat Girl—because a fat person's sexuality is hilarious, obviously. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) – Andie 9 years ago
    • You could talk about how some say when a "funny fat girl" or man have lost weight due to the entertainment world expectations, they become less funny. Is this true and why is this something that occurs? – silvam 9 years ago

    Breaking the Fourth Wall: How to Use it Effectively

    Breaking the fourth wall refers to when a character addresses the audience directly. Comics, Films, and even books use this technique for a variety of reasons. Sometimes its used for humor purposes. Other times its used to comment on the work itself. Still, there are instances when this can be distracting to the audience and it prevents the story from moving forward.

    How can a balance be maintained?

    • Some interesting sources might be: Annie Hall, House of Cards, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Fight Club, Amélie, and The Wolf of Wall Street (film-wise). – Nicole Wethington 9 years ago
    • I think the character Deadpool from Marvel has been an effective mode of breaking the 4th wall, and they have certainly used that for some great story arcs. Plus I think this is what made a show like the Office work so well. The 4th wall never even existed. It was a fictional reality show about a fake-real life company. I think they mastered the 4th wall without having to break it. – G Anderson Lake 9 years ago
    • There are other more subtle examples like Bitter Rice, at the beginning of the film, or Back to the Future, with Doc. It'd be interesting to look at the different ways you can break the fourth wall, how far you can go and how does it contribute to the whole effect of the film on the audience. Charlie Chaplin is also a good shout – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 9 years ago
    • A play that has a good example in breaking the fourth wall is Hamlet. There are several times throughout the play that Hamlet addresses the audience mid-scene. – ChelseaOtis 9 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Thanks for explaining these insane timelines. I’ve never watched any Terminator films but I’ve seen an episode of the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Time travel is always a sticky issue with writers I feel. Either they do it very well or they just don’t get it.

    The Four Timelines of The Terminator Movies

    You did such a wonderful job with this. I never really considered the nationality of Superman before which seems odd because of the old catchphrase, “the American way.” Thank you for this article!

    Superman: Symbol of Hope Overshadowed by Nationality Identification

    Wonderful list! My personal picks are Sandman and Saga. But they are quite a few on list I don’t think I’ve read such as Chew. Thanks for this!

    Comics That Deserve Their Own Show/Film

    Excellent work. It often feels that the mainstream isn’t aware that Lex Luthor isn’t Superman’s only villain. I’m so glad to see you mention Bizzaro and Silver Banshee, they always need some love!

    10 Superman Villains Who Don't Need Kryptonite

    This a really delightful read. I fell for the series when it was first released but haven’t really thought about it since. This reminds me why I adored it so much. I’m really into this idea of telling stories through vlogging, it requires a lot of trial and error but that’s what makes it worth it! Thanks for this!

    The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: What Made it Click?

    I’m glad! I hope you pick them up someday and enjoy them!

    Vertigo's Fables: Fate, Duty, and Redemption in the Modern World

    Thank you very much! Thanks for helping me process the article as well!

    Vertigo's Fables: Fate, Duty, and Redemption in the Modern World

    Hello! The game takes place twenty years before volume one and has its own comic series called the Fables: Wolf Among Us. The game provides more background to the comics but is very much its own thing. So you could do either one.

    Vertigo's Fables: Fate, Duty, and Redemption in the Modern World