My earliest memories of my elementary and middle school Scholastic Book Fairs saw massive collections of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps, loads of nonsensical ’90s tech, and the burgeoning mystery genre before it really took off in young adult literature. Super hero graphic novels were almost nonexistent for kids and teenagers in school spaces in the late ’90s and early 2000s, so it goes without saying that best-selling author Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always) and Eisner-nominated artist Pablo Leon’sMiles Morales: Shock Waves is a gift to the teen in me.
Thank god this trash fire of a year is finally over. Still there were some things that made us happy. It’s been a few years, but we’ve reassembled the NOCs of the Roundtable to recount the best nerdy moments of the worst year ever.
There could not be a better time to grab the companion novel to Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales than now. The game dropped on PS4 and PS5 November 12 to rave reviews, as the pop cultural significance of Miles Morales seems to be losing zero steam, and rightly so.
Author Brittney Morris (Slay, The Cost of Knowing and Together, Apart) packs a ton into the prequel novel — from Miles’ dealings with police outside of his uniform, to Peter having to grapple with being a mentor to a Spider-Man whose reality greatly differs from his own. Wings of Fury delivers a story both heartfelt and absolutely action-packed that leads directly into the start of the game on consoles.
Hard NOC Life is still on hiatus; however, we have an exciting bonus episode to bring you!
Last week, Keith was asked to moderate a panel as part of Scholastic’s “Power of Story” speaker series. Two artists, Eric Wilkerson and Pablo Leon, speak about the important of representation in comics and children’s lit. You can also watch the original panel on Scholastic’s YouTube channel and Facebook.
My first real experience as the famous web-slinger, in a purely polygonal sense, came in the year 2000, when my dad surprised me with a copy of Spider-Man for the original PlayStation. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing, and the elation that came from donning original and secret costumes as our one and only friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man was something my little heart could hardly contain at the time.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the films, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Detective Pikachu, and The Sun Is Also a Star.
Although Loving v. Virginia officially abolished all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the United States in 1967, it really hasn’t been until recently where the portrayals of mixed race characters and interracial couples on the big screen have improved significantly. Within the last six months alone, several films have had either mixed race characters as the leads or interracial relationships as the central focus. An added dimension to some of them is that apart from some of the characters being of the younger generation, the focus wasn’t on their race(s). That didn’t, however, stop these films from acknowledging their backgrounds. While it’s good that films like Aquaman are out there that get really real about being mixed, not all mixed race protagonists need to go on a journey of self discovery to that extent.
I can’t believe I live in a world where I was able to see both Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in the same year. Just as the warmth of the Wakandan sun was beginning to fade, I’m swinging through Brooklyn (my birthplace) with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore is Miles; an amazing performance) the Spider-Man of Earth-1610. And I couldn’t be more elated.
Four of the Top Five movies of 2018 are superhero films, with Black Panther, Infinity War, and The Incredibles 2 taking the top three slots. There are literally dozens of live action superhero shows on TV, cable, and streaming. The number goes up exponentially when you factor in animation. Despite this moment of superhero saturation, there is only one character who can claim the title for Most Ubiquitous of 2018. That would be Spider-Man!
This weekend has been all about trailers! After years of anticipation, Sony Pictures is finally giving us a Miles Morales Spider-Man on the big screen! After the jump, check out the just released trailer for the animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now. Growing up snatching up whatever scraps of Latinx representation I could even if it meant settling for stereotypes, whitewashing, secondary character status (if lucky), and their stories ending in death. This is a plight many fans of color and other marginalized peoples can relate to. In comics, Latinx characters are often Latinx in name only, Spanish characters being positioned or promoted as Latinx characters, whitewashed, or having their Latinx identities erased.
I don’t usually, and don’t plan to be the guy that writes reactions to other columns. It’s kind of circular and masturbatory and rarely does the work of informing an audience, as opposed to finger pointing across the table at someone else doing the same thing you do. The issue of the diversity in comics seems to be taking on a larger life beyond simple media commentary, however. And we are always 72 hours away from the next event that brings this conversation into focus. For days (and continuing now) it was the topic of what Marvel and Sony should do with their respective versions of Spider-Man. Debates involving Peter Parker’s race, the likability of Miles Morales (or some saying he’s a C-level character), and just how white the MCU films still are currently, have hit the internet at breakneck speed. I contributed to that malaise as well.
The latest such “where we are in 2015 with race and pop culture” test came with the Michelle Rodriguez story over the weekend. Responding to TMZ about the rumors of her being cast for Green Lantern, she responded with the now infamous “stop stealing white people’s superheroes.” Well, as you can imagine, that led to someone Michelle Rodriguez pays, probably telling her how her message was going viral in the way you don’t want things to go viral, which led to her issuing an apology via her Facebook page. It was your garden variety “I’m sorry you’re offended, not sorry for saying something offensive” type of apology that gets passed out in Hollywood as frequently as gift bags at award shows.
While relatively little is known about the Spider-Man spin-off at this point, what is known that it is slated to hit theaters in November 2016 and the story revolving around the six super villains is one of redemption.
It may have taken four years, but the internet’s “Donald Glover for Spider-Man” campaign has finally found success. No, Avi Arad and the folks at Sony have not changed their minds about bringing a black Spidey to the big screen. Instead, Donald Glover has been cast to voice the hero in an upcoming episode in the new season of DisneyXD’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.
Well for one reason, like Earth 2 Superman, Marvel’s version of Spider-Man is also in an alternate reality, or have we forgotten that?
Changing Superman’s race only works in an alternate dimension because Superman is an established brand and has an established look. Every attempt to permanently change or alter him has failed because the people behind it don’t know the basics of marketing and public perception.
My feelings on Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man are not exactly a secret (you can read all about it here). This has been one of my favorite comics for years, and ever since the introduction of Miles Morales in the aftermath of Peter Parker’s death, this has become the only comic I read on a regular basis.
The Ultimate Universe adventures of Spider-Man — which take places in a different universe from the original incarnation of the character — have been relaunched under the new title of Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man. The first issue of this new series debuted this week, and it is essentially the same book as before — which is just fine with me. Brian Michael Bendis is still the writer, and David Marquez is still killing it on the art.
Over the weekend, The Amazing Spider-Man 2′s $92 million opening — despite a middling reception from critics and comics fans, alike — has all but guaranteed that the powers-that-be at Sony Pictures have got the green light to launch their own foray into superhero mega-franchise-dom and build their Spidey-verse over the course of several movies. What isn’t certain, though, is how many of those coming movies will continue to star Andrew Garfield. Of Sony’s slate of yet-to-come Spidey themed flicks — Sinister Six, Amazing 3, and Venom — Garfield is only contracted to appear in the threequel, and that’s it. So what is Sony Pictures going to do without their lead?
“The details of my life are quite inconsequential…”
If you know where that’s from, then we’re gonna be great friends! Hi — my name’s Will, and I’ve forgotten more about pop culture than you’ll ever know. It even says so on my website! I’ve been invited to tell my “origin story” here, and I don’t quite know where to start. You see, I did this on my own site a few years back, and it ended up being five parts. It’s just kind of hard for me to boil things down to the basics sometimes. Anyway, I guess I was invited because I’m what you might call a “nerd of color.” I’ve never really thought of myself as such, though. To me, I’m just a nerd who happens to be black. That’s the mindset I’ve carried with me over the past 10 years of my blogging “career,” and it’s really only recently that race came into things. You see, the whole “blerd” (black nerd) movement was starting, and I decided it might be nice to appoint myself King of the Blerds. As I saw it, no one had claim to the title, so why not? I’m just another guy trying to make it in these mean internet streets, so why not aim high? It was at that point that I realized there were many more like me out there – more who had more claim to the title than I had. I also started to realize I was the lone black voice to a lot of my web pals. This was great power that I hadn’t asked for because, as we all know, it came with great responsibility.