I've been writing since fourth grade and blogging since 2014. I've been a nerd my whole life.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics


The Hulk's Character Development (or lack thereof)

The Incredible Hulk is the movie most likely to be forgotten when thinking about the MCU. Arguably, its poor reception is the reason Mark Ruffalo has yet to get his own Hulk movie. Because Hulk/Bruce Banner doesn’t get solo movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of his character development has to happen in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Analyze what arc or Hero’s Journey he has, if any. Perhaps compare his arc to that of other Avengers.

  • I'm not certain why Mark Ruffalo never got a solo Movie as the Hulk. But, the reason Edward Norton was let go of was, due to problematic interactions with the rest of the cast. I think this topic is interesting as many fans complained about Ruffalo's and Johanson having no romantic chemistry in the films. I would say his arc is more about gaining control over his darker nature (something we see at the happen in Avenger End Game.) – Blackcat130 2 years ago
  • I think this is a good topic. Mark Ruffalo was a major star even before his casting as the Hulk, so for him to not have his own solo film is definitely a question mark on the studio's part. I think it's also interesting to look at his relationships with the other characters and Avengers as a whole. Why is he now paired with Thor? Why did his relationship with Black Widow not grab audiences attention? Also of note is that Ruffalo has worked with multiple directors in his turn as the Hulk, including Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi. It might be interesting to analyze which of these directors, if any, have captured the strongest essence of who the Hulk should be. – Sarah 2 years ago
  • To clarify something. The main reason the Hulk has only appeared in team-up movies and hasn't been given the solo treatment is that the film rights to a Hulk solo film are still with Universal studios, rendering Marvel's ability to produce a solo Hulk film themselves impossible. If you go back to look at the 2008 Edward Norton Hulk film, it is produced by Marvel Studios but distributed by Universal. Seen as how big Marvel, also Disney, is right now, it is unlikely they would want to have another studio distribute the film and get all the revenue. This is also different from the deal Marvel and Sony made for Spiderman, since the box office revenue and production cost are shared between Marvel and Sony if I remember correctly. – askthepen 1 year ago
  • All these comments render the topic's premises inaccurate. It's not always about character development or arcs only. – T. Palomino 7 months ago

Pros and Cons of Fan Theories

Theorizing about things going on in TV/movies/books that may or may not ever be confirmed in canon is a favorite pastime of many fans. But some fan theories take the fun out of things rather than inspiring fun conversations. Analyze what features or circumstances, if any, make a fan theory "worth considering" or not.
Examples to consider include Jon Negroni’s Unified Theory of the Pixar Theory, the 007 Codename Theory, and any of the "They were dead the whole time" theories.

  • This is an interesting discussion, and fan theorizing has certainly boomed alongside social media. It might also be helpful to consider how fan theories might have an affect on ongoing creative work. Fans often theorize what might be happening in a show or series before the finale is written. Do writers ignore these theories? Do the intentionally thwart them? Or do they read fan theories for inspiration? – JaniceElaine 2 years ago
  • One pro I find is that several fans (presumably from all over the world) are able to geek about their respective fandom, and get together and engage in whatever they are discussing. It is a great way to discuss new ideas, and further immerse oneself into the show/game/whatever a group is talking about. One con, however, is someone can go too far with proposing a theory and not letting anyone discuss their disagreements with said theory. People are allowed to have their own ideas, but only if they are allowed to open up criticism to the theories they present. – DrSpaghet 2 years ago

What Makes a Scientist

Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Doc Emmet Brown, Dr. Walter Bishop from Fringe, and characters like them throughout literature and film are categorized as "mad scientists." Sometimes it’s because their science is taboo or outside what society believes is even possible; sometimes they’re suspected of madness or some other kind of mental illness; sometimes it’s both. Why are these characters appealing to audiences, even if they’re not well-liked by the fictional societies they live in.

An analysis could include comparing them to real-life scientists like Galileo and Copernicus who were considered "kooks" but turned out to be right. Also, consider how driven these characters are to prove their theories, even pushing moral and societal boundaries – if they weren’t actually mad before, they can more easily be perceived that way by the end of their story.

  • Hmmm, intriguing. You might begin exploring this topic with what it meant or means to be "mad," both in past eras and now. For instance, Jekyll, Frankenstein, and even Brown were considered "mad" for their eras but would that be true now? If so, is that because of their methods? Should scientists be expected to work within certain boundaries so they and their work will be acceptable to society, or is that too much like "playing God?" I think you have a lot to explore here and look forward to reading a full article. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
  • Through some mishap, the title of this topic left out the word "Mad." That bugs me, but I imagine y'all understand what I meant. – noahspud 1 year ago
  • Real-life examples could also include scientists we would consider downright evil, like those working in concentration camps during WWII. This would contribute to the moral/ethical boundaries of science. – EditingWithEmily 1 year ago

WandaVision: a Sitcom about Superheroes

WandaVision seems to be one of the most unique TV shows ever, yet it pays homage to sitcoms throughout the decades. An analysis could include the aspect ratios, the laugh tracks, the archetypical characters, the wardrobe and set design, the special effects, and much more. Do these comparisons add extra depth or meaning to the show, or are they just fun references for older viewers who remember these classic shows?

  • Fun topic! WandaVision has a lot to analyze! While I was never a big sitcom fan, a lot can be said about the fact that it builds on a lot of tropes and plots from older shows like Bewitched. Another interesting analysis could be how it falls into the "Abnormal person trying to live a normal life" type of sitcoms and why those types of shows relate so well to audiences. – alittle 2 years ago
  • A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. – T. Palomino 4 days ago

The Appeal of Reaction Videos

In a reaction video, someone watches something – a music video, a movie, a TV episode, a meme compilation, etc. – and records their reaction. This genre was popularized for the mainstream by YouTube channels like The Fine Bros., but there are many, many other channels that do it. Videos like "Real Doctor Reacts to Medical Dramas," "Real Lawyer Reacts to Crime in Movies," and "Vocal Coach Reacts to Music Video" have the advantage of being educational.
What is it about this genre that we find so appealing? Is it just the relatability of people feeling the same feelings we have? Do we feel a connection to these people, across time and space?

  • Good topic, one I often wonder about myself. It would be especially interesting to note the difference in modern reaction videos towards reaction videos from the early days of YouTube, back when it still had a reply function; plenty of content creators made their name on just reacting to others. Yet in the modern day, people seem to be more interested in watching professionals or experts' take on certain videos, as made popular by channels like Legal Eagle or the Conde Nast family. Ever since those videos started becoming more popular, you don't really see the regular reaction videos anymore. If anything, you see people trying to emulate the new style with connections that are often flimsy (ex. "Person Who Lives In NYC Reacts To Seinfeld"). Did the audience realize they can do better? What could be the next 'phase' of the reaction videos' evolution? – semroolvink 2 years ago
  • I think part of the allure is that we as humans want to see others amused and entertained. – J.D. Jankowski 2 years ago
  • Reaction videos represent one's opinion or how many ever people are reviewing it and their individual opinions. We may agree or disagree but there is always space to know how others think about certain things especially if any of your favorite videos are being reviewed. – Sujayweaves 2 years ago

Movies based around soundtracks

We’re seeing an increasing number of movies where the majority of the music is unoriginal, but the music is one of the best parts of these movies for many people. Examples include both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the Shrek series, and Gnomeo and Juliet. For the movie Baby Driver, action scenes were carefully choreographed to match the soundtrack, rather than music being composed or selected to match the action. Movies about musicians, like Bohemian Rhapsody and the upcoming Rocketman and Yesterday, are in similar situations. Can we call these films Art Films? Is their unoriginality a flaw? Can they be compared to movies with iconic, original scores by John Williams or Michael Giacchino? Are they only becoming more popular because we are in an era with so much good “classic” music to fall back on?

  • Something interesting to look into would be artists chosen to compose these "various artist" soundtracks for movies: such as how Lorde was in charged with the Hunger Games series. Another interesting thing to note is that many of these movies now have two OSTs -- one with orchestral music and the other with a compilation of more "pop" tracks. – Pamela Maria 4 years ago
  • Definitely something to look into is why these are so popular psychologically for the public and its most likely to do recognition and glossy easy watching. They make the most money but are films that are structurally disorganized, though are constantly stimulating bc of everything visually pleasurable and most importantly: a song we recognize. Think about why films like pitch perfect or Sing were successful... it could be because the time we just wanna sing along because its one big nostalgic throwback. Guardians of galaxy example taking tracks that were canonized by past films, knowing people will love them but give the image of being ‘retro’ hits even tho we didnt grow up hearing those songs on the radio.... we just watched pulp fiction or virgin suicides – ariannacancian 4 years ago
  • I agree with the notes about nostalgia and how OSTs are being carefully crafted to fit films that rely so heavily on songs that are not originally created for the film. More specifically, to the question of art, I'm not sure if comparing them to original scores would be beneficial, but viewing them as a different form of art could be extremely interesting since it does take a lot of thought, time, and artistic skill to select and place songs that will effectively improve certain scenes within films. Baby Driver is a great example that you note because it is a little jarring at times when some songs don't seem to fully fit or hit nostalgia as much as others, showing how the artistic slip-ups can have an impact on the structure of the visuals. Something that affects your engagement with a film so much deserves recognition as art, especially when it is done well. I would love to see this topic fully researched and expanded! – Aaron 4 years ago
  • I have to say that original music is vital to a good movie and I cannot think of one great movie that was written for a soundtrack. I know of a great work in which a director and songwriter collaborated but the screenplay was brilliant and nominated for an Oscar. It is in my top ten American films: P.T. Andersen's:Magnolia. – youngmollflanders 4 years ago

Analysis of Spider-Man’s origin story

In the comments section of my recently published article on Batman’s origin story, the topic of Spider-Man’s origin came up. I’d be fascinated to see an analysis of it. This includes the spider that bit Peter Parker and the death of his Uncle Ben, inspiring him to be a hero.
What changes in the origin story when Spider-Man is rebooted or we get an alternate universe version? What stays the same, and what meaning can be found in that?
What tropes does Spider-Man’s origin story include? Does it subvert any tropes? What impact do these tropes have?
How original, deep, or personally impactful is Spider-Man’s origin compared to others?

  • Oh, one more thing. A commenter pointed out Spider-Man’s origin seems similar to Dr. Octopus’ backstory. That would be an interesting point of comparison and contrast. – noahspud 4 years ago
  • I think there is a significant overlap in content that would be discussed, considering that both involve a murdered love one at some point. Regardless, it would still be interesting to contrast and compare. – Gliese436B 4 years ago
  • Unnecessary personal information provided that does not help to clearly understand the topic proposal. – T. Palomino 7 months ago

Love for fictional characters in fan fiction

I wrote an Artifice article called "Can You Really Fall in Love with a Fictional Character?" (That’s not shameless self-promotion, that’s context for this topic). I got a comment about what the topic looks like in the context of fan fiction.

Based on comments I’ve seen, many people express their love for a fictional character by writing “self-insert” fan fiction in which they have a relationship with that character.
Fan fiction could also be used to express agape, non-personal interest in the well-being of the character. A fan can rewrite the ending of a story so it is happier for a particular character. This is often called “fix-it” fiction.

I’m not sure if there is enough subject matter here for a full article, but then again, I am not enough of a subject matter expert on fan fiction to write it myself. If you know more about fan fiction, perhaps you could flesh it out more?

  • Oh, this I love. I don't write self-insert fan fiction, but I am a big fan of "fix it" fiction. The best personal example I can give you is, I just finished reading Harry Potter for the first time, and I have a *lot* of feelings about Severus Snape. Not a character crush, but I identify with him on some significant levels, and I hate the way his life and arc ended. So recently, I've been hunting fan fiction that redeems this character (without making him nicey-nice), and have even written a bit. It's inspired me to think about other characters and plots I might want to fix, and changed my attitude about canon. (I used to think, if it's canon, you have to accept it, period. You don't mess with it. But now, I'm not so sure). Anyway, as I said, I love the topic and think there is definitely an article in there somewhere. – Stephanie M. 5 years ago
  • I think this would be a very interesting article and I would love to read it once it's written! You definitely have the general topic of it down, but as far as fleshing it out there are a couple of things you could do. The main one would be to read fan fiction. By reading it you can try to understand how and why people choose to write self-insert or reader x *insert fictional character here*. How does it feel to read it? Why did you pick that character to read about? Does reading it satisfy or heighten your feelings towards the character? Another would be to try to reach out to the authors of these fan fictions. No one knows the work better than the ones who create it. Websites like wattpad,, and even tumblr are your best bets for getting replies from authors. I hope these help you start to expand your topic. G'luck! – isabelladannunzio 5 years ago
  • I do read fan fiction, and I probably would reach out to some authors if I was going to write the article myself. But I posted the topic here so someone else - maybe someone with firsthand experience writing self insert fanfic - can write it. That's how this works. Those are definitely good suggestions for whoever wants to take the topic. Thanks for the input. – noahspud 5 years ago
  • I would love to read something about this, since it is rarely discussed, even on sites where it happens almost exclusively, such as Archive of Our Own. I used to write fanfic, mostly "fix it", about The X-Files. But when Mulder and Scully finally did spend the night together in the ep. "Amor Fati", it felt a bit of a letdown. Still, there were many more arcs and great characters, such as the mind-reading Gibson Praise and of course The Smoking Man, a.k.a. Carl Spender. When Duchovny left the series and Mulder went into self-exile, I definitely would have fixed that, since I felt the show began a slow death then. Shippers will often tell you that it all started with Mulder and Scully, though they compared them to the couple on Moonlighting. The lasting favorite seems to be Sherlock, with more fanfiction than you can tally up, usually "fix-it", regarding Sherlock's and John's teased-at romance. Self-insert in this show seems counterproductive, since you would then interfere with the two flatmates and any budding love. Then again, you could always fall in love with Lestrade! Another great companion to fanfic is the Meta, or analysis of a character, arc or trope. Mary Watson, the psychopath, spawned LOTS of these, which went along quite well with both fix-it and self-insert fanfic, usually disposing of her in various, violent and some more humane ways! I just don't know enough about the fanfic of other shows or movies, like Harry Potter, which seems too popular to just leave out of such an article. – SharonGenet 5 years ago

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Latest Comments

Indeed. That story demonstrated that Loki solved problems through trickery, while most of the other gods and goddesses were warriors.

From Mythology to the MCU: Egyptian and Norse

He was the god of thunderstorms, and of course lightning is a part of that. The myths were just about him slaying monsters with his hammer and his strength, sure, but people still believed every lightning bolt and thunderclap came from him.

From Mythology to the MCU: Egyptian and Norse

Evil is about putting your own interests above everyone else’s. This often leads to alienating people, but if you’re charismatic enough, you can manipulate people just long enough to get what you want. If you’re okay with being utterly alone in the long run, evil is a great way to get what you want.
Only problem is if there’s someone stronger than you that cares about punishing evil, like a superhero, or the writer of your story, or God.

Iago - The Perfect Villain

That was thorough.

Comedy: When the Jokes Go Too Far

Good question. I like different mythologies for different reasons. Greek myths have mortals achieving great things, a la Percy Jackson. Norse myths are fun because they feel like one big cohesive story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and clearly defined conflicts.

From Mythology to the MCU: Egyptian and Norse

That is, indeed, one of the more pessimistic views. It’s the view taken by the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 in DC Comics, where evil versions of the Justice League rule the world via a criminal empire, although some of them believe they’re making the world better by keeping humans under control.

Why Don't Superheroes Change the World?

Excellent point. In The Boys, superheroes don’t champion social change because the Status Quo gives them fame, money, and various other perks. They don’t actually care about people. It’s certainly realistic, given human nature, but superhero fans tend to center the discussion around more popular superhero universes like Marvel and DC, in which superheroes do care about people.

Why Don't Superheroes Change the World?

Background music can really, well, blend into the background, but then those who pay attention are rewarded with new meaning to these scenes. Also, when we hear the music again, the memory of the movie/TV show is triggered – hopefully in a pleasant way.

How Stranger Things' Most Important Licensed Songs Compliment Its Story