Another piece up on Tor.com, about the recently-concluded X-Factor comic book from Marvel, which has consistently been one of my favorite titles (despite its low-selling b-list cult status) for the last 7 years or so.
I’ve had a busy few weeks of pontificating on geeky pop culture things — I mean, professionally, as opposed to the normal all-of-my-free-time that I spend doing precisely that — and so I’ve got a few new articles / essays / thinkpieces / posts / whatever-you-wanna-call-’ems up on Tor.com:
- “Ten Characters We’d Like To See On Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” in which I foolishly sacrifice all of my brilliant ideas for stories on the upcoming television show by organizing them into a list to show off my intense / obscure knowledge of the Marvel Comics canon;
- “‘I Am The One Who’ Thinks Breaking Bad Counts As A Genre Show,” in which I discuss the Shakespearean fall of Walter White, and how it fits into the different loose definitions of “genre,” and what the hell that even means, anyway;
- and “Batwoman’s Lesbian Marriage Problem,” in which I react to the latest controversy regarding diversity in comic books with (hopefully) a little more rationale and insider awareness that most major news outlets gave to the situation.
So check ’em out, leave your comments, and then eagerly await the next installment of “Thom Talks Nerdy.”
Over at Tor.com, I talk about Nick Payne’s Constellations, a play which I unfortunately have not seen, but one that I have read and would absolutely love to see. Except that maybe in the world of this simultaneous-multiverse-hopping-romance, I have actually seen the play somewhere. Plus every other parallel reality happening possible. It’s kind of nuts, and kind of beautiful, but I describe it better over there, so check it out:
I recently read through the original Stan Lee – Jack Kirby (and later, all Jim Steranko all the time) run of Strange Tales: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, which first introduced the cigar-chompin’ one-eyed Nick-Fury-as-Super-Spy to the Marvel Universe. I’ll be honest, I don’t always love older comics because their hokey nature and heavy exposition, but these were some pretty awesome spy stories. And even better they were filled with some of the most unabashedly ridiculous spy gadgets imaginable. Everything was so over-the-top and psychedelic, and with absolute no regret or embarrassment about it. And so I shared a list of my Top 10 SHIELD toys over on Tor Dot Com, mostly hoping that Joss Whedon’s now SHIELD TV series will feature every single one of them.
Instead of the usual political opinions, I tried instead to write a piece that explores politics without being overtly political. Although my editors at Tor were initially hesitant of the controversy, they were ultimately pretty pleased with the product! And so, my latest article at Tor Dot Com explores the centrist politics of Brian K. Vaughan’s Superhero-Turned-Mayor-Of-New-York-City epic Ex Machina, which actually takes an impressively (if ultimately depressing) nonpartisan view at the ups and downs of American politics, only with lots more punching and invaders from alternate realities (obvi).
In an effort to combine my seemingly disparate interests, I pitched an idea for a new column to my editor at Tor.com, focusing on the depiction of sci-fi and fantasy in the world of theatre. People don’t typically think of plays as being bastions for weaving elegant tales of aliens and dragons and cyborgs (oh my!), but in fact, you’d be surprised! (In theatre, we just cover up the “genre” gimmick by giving it some pretentious name like “magical realism” or “futurism” etc).
Anyway, here’s the first of such columns, exploring RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a Czech play from the early 20th century that actually introduced the word “robot” to the world.
Is there anyone alive who doesn’t agree that Batman is totally awesome? No? That’s what I thought.
It’s also well documented by anyone who’s ever met me that I have a serious fascination with comic book writer / chaos magician / Scotsman / rockstar / occasional fictional character Grant Morrison, who, by sheer coincidence, has been guiding the adventures of the Dark Knight for the past 7 years or so as the man behind the pen. The good folks at Tor.com were kind of enough to let me indulge my Morrison obsession and love for clever poetic puzzles, and I re-read his entire story (so far) to provide a critical analysis of what appears to be his deconstruction of the identity of Batman — both as a symbol or piece of mythology, and as the man himself behind the mask, Bruce Wayne.
This undertaking proved to be much more epic than I had originally anticipated, but I’m still quite pleased with the end results. So check it out, even if you haven’t read all of Morrison’s Bat-epic (but really, you should probably do that).
Judging by Facebook feed, we are now officially in the throes of Election Season. Which is kind of like mating season for most animals, but with more blood, and more assholes. And so to lighten to the mood (read: FURTHER contribute to the orgy of political posts that are currently consuming all of your various news outlets and social feeds), I’ve compiled a list for Tor Dot Com of my preferred third party options in the 2012 Presidential Election. This whole two-party system is whack, anyway; when do I get to vote for the Jedi Council?
BONUS: This is the single greatest speech ever written in cinematic history. Oh man.
Here’s a new article I wrote for Tor.com about how Superman is either the most boringest superhero ever or the most powerful example of a modern folkhero — or possibly both. Join the debate! Them be fightin’ words, right?