Author: Ed Catto

A voracious reader, Ed has been enjoying “books on comics” ever since he’d read Jule’s Feiffer’s classic The Great Comic Book Heroes a chapter at a time at a local book store. The cover price was $14.95 and he knew that he could never afford such an enormous sum to actually buy this treasure. Things changed, and Ed could eventually afford the books he loved. His reading, and history illustration and art has guided him through a life-long love of comics, collections and graphic novels. As a branding and advertising executive, Ed’s career has evolved to include a focus on entertainment marketing in many ways: A founding partner of Bonfire Agency, Ed helped establish the world’s first marketing firm focused on connecting brands, in authentic ways, to passionate and enthusiastic fans of comics, graphic novels, games and movies. Ed has also shepherded the rebirth of the iconic 60s toy, Captain Action, in collectibles, books, comics and even a national toy line. An animated television series is currently being shopped for development. A convention enthusiast, Ed helped develop Reed Pop’s New York Comic-Con (now the nation’s largest con) and is currently doing the same for Syracuse’s Salt City Comic-Con. 
Ed speaks nationally as a panelist and moderator at conventions, leading conversations on entertainment marketing and comics history. Ed has also appeared on CNBC’s Squawkbox, BNN Business News Network , and PBS’s Superheroes documentary. Ed recently started teaching at Ithaca College, sharing his experiences and enthusiasm for business and entrepreneurship to both MBA’s and undergraduates. As an artist, Ed also leads graphic novel classes for kids of all ages. In October of 2018, The Adventures of Captain Graves will mark Ed’s debut as an illustrator for publisher Airship27. Ed and his wife Kathe currently live in New York’s State’s Finger Lakes Region, enjoying the area’s local comic book shops and wineries. Between consulting, teaching and drawing, Ed continues to work very hard to whittle down the teetering tower of books on his nightstand.
With Further Ado #157: A Kiss is Just a Kiss…?

With Further Ado #157: A Kiss is Just a Kiss…?

I just had Ken Quattro, the Comics Detective, come speak to one of my summer classes. You may also recognize his name as the recent recipient of an Eisner Award for his ground-breaking book, Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books. It’s an enthralling and important deep dive into the lives of several black artists.

And just like every time Ken rolls up his shirtsleeves and gets down to business, it’s meticulously researched. Ken brands himself as a comic book detective, but like so many focused writers, he’s an exceptional historian.

I love writing about comics history for publications like TwoMorrow’s Back Issue Magazine and Overstreet’s Comic Book Price Guide, but I’m not in the same league as a historian like Ken.

But having written that, I think I found something new in the pop culture milestones to which historians usually refer.

Kiss Me, Captain

The original Star Trek TV series was groundbreaking in so many ways – everything from thoughtful, allegorical episodes to anticipating devices like cellphones and voice activated smart speakers.

Star Trek was also gutsy enough to debut the first interracial kiss on network TV. Granted, the characters, Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhuru did not kiss of their free will – the bad guys made them kiss one another. But still, Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura’s kiss was a milestone.

Back in 2016, Hollywood Reporter reflected on the milestone this way:

There were reasons for the cast about this TV first – the show was in its third season, and cancellation was imminent. But it was NBC that was reluctant to pull the trigger. Network execs were worried that the interracial scene would upset Southern affiliates, so an effort was made to shoot coverage where Kirk and Uhura don’t actually lock lips. “We did a few takes, but Bill was deliberately trying to flub it”, recalls (Nichelle) Nichols. “At one point, he even crossed his eyes to make me laugh.”

(To be fair, as a kid seeing Shatner behave like a horsey was the part that really bothered me, but that’s another story.)

In comics, the first interracial kiss was in Warren Publishing ‘s black-and-white horror-comics magazine, Creepy #43, published in January 1972. The kiss was part of the story, “The Men Who Called Him Monster” by writer Don McGregor and artist Luis Garcia.

For color comics, the first interracial kiss is generally considered to be in Marvel’s Amazing Adventures #31 from July 1975. This comic showcased a “War of the Worlds” series, where a hero named Killraven and his merry band adventured in a post-apocalyptic world of which H.G. Wells could only dream. Don McGregor wrote this series too. It’s illustrated by the alarmingly talented P. Craig Russel. Don recently told the story behind the story here.

It makes sense that Don McGregor wrote these stories. He’s a brilliant writer who always looked forward and delighted in writing about the human condition. He’s a kind guy full of warmth, enthusiasm and all the attributes that make good men become great ones.

He’s also a hopeless romantic. For my money, he’s written some of the very best love scenes in comics. And if you have the good fortune to meet him in person, he brings the definition of charming to a whole new level.

You might get the impression that I’m gushing about Don McGregor. And you’d be right. I think the absolute world of Don McGregor as a writer and as a person.

An Unrecognized Milestone

Even so – I think I uncovered a historic milestone. It’s in DC’s color comic, Korak, Son of Tarzan #54 published October-November 1973.

This series was all about Tarzan’s son, Korak, on a long quest to find his abducted girlfriend, Miriam. As you can imagine, he had many adventures along the way. In issue #54’s story, “Blood Brothers”, written by Robert Kanigher and illustrated by Murphy Anderson, Korak makes a new friend, Mnumbo. After a few close scrapes together, Mnumbo introduces his lovely sister, Salamma, to Korak.

It’s easy to see that Salamma is smitten with Korak. And either she or artist Murphy Anderson read a lot of Prince Valiant comics, because she performs a fetching campfire dance that may have been inspired by Aleta’s (Valiant’s girlfriend and eventual wife) most famous dance.

And as the adventure ends, and Korak is getting ready to ride into the sunset (well, to walk into the sunset, but you know what I mean), they share a passionate kiss.

I believe that this is the first interracial kiss in color comics.

And you know what? I think there was almost the second interracial kiss in color comics in the very next issue. In that adventure, an Asian woman, Lotus, is embracing Korak and is about to plant one on him until a bad guy interrupts them.

Let’s Get Serious for a Moment

I think this is important. In the early 70s, as a kid, it was important to me to be shown love ought to be colorblind. We didn’t say “love is love” back then, but that was idea.

And to a young fan like me, it was important that my favorite creators, guys like Don McGregor and Murphy Anderson, showed the way. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare. There were no cover blurbs proclaiming these were special collectible issues. It was more about measuring the true worth of someone and following your heart.

On a personal level, one of my favorite uncles, (he was actually a great-uncle), was my Uncle John. He was Italian by way of Sicily, and married my Aunt Ruby, a wonderful Jamaican woman. He was white and was black. As an adult, I’ve learned that he suffered, and fought, bias and prejudice. But he never let the struggles show. He was consistantly confident, fun-loving and in love with his wife.

I hope that 20-somethings reading this think “what is the big deal?” And I hope that their kids think it’s even less of a big deal, and the next generation thinks it’s even less of a big deal.

For my part, I’m so appreciative I had folks like my Uncle John, Murphy Anderson and Don McGregor to help me get my head on straight at an early age. And I’m grateful now for guys like Ken Quattro researching and spotlighting the lives of brave creators who often suffered discrimination.

One last thing: go find someone you love and kiss ‘em!

* * *

Just to be thorough, there is one technicality: some consider the very first interracial kiss in a color comic to be in a Golden Age Blackhawk story where the a dying woman’s request, a kiss from the hero Blackhawk, was platonically granted. The woman was Asian, and Blackhawk seemed pretty WASPy (even though he was really Polish).

 

With Further Ado #153: Toxic Fandom – 60s Style

With Further Ado #153: Toxic Fandom – 60s Style

Art by Sean Lewis

It’s a strange paradox.  You can love Star Wars but hate all the recent “Star Wars movies. You can be a passionate Batman fan but not buy a single issue of current Batman comics.  Star Trek might be your favorite thing, but you can still vehemently loathe the most recent Star Trek TV series. And you might even be hate-watching them each week.

All this opens the can of worms as to who “owns” characters and  intellectual property (IP)? Is it the creators? Corporations who buy the IP from creators? Or is it fans?

Look, I get it. It’s easy to understand each side of the argument, and I find myself hopping from one point of view to the other depending on the particular fandom.

And in certain fandoms, the fans get very pointed and passionate.  Star Wars fans, for example, can articulate their hatred of certain movie executives and directors with a high level of understanding that one might expect in academia or at The Hollywood Reporters internal meetings.

I was surprised to see this level of toxic fandom in 1967 in an issue of a “less popular” comic…that was about to close up shop.

“If I Had a Thunderbolt In Mine Eye…”

Thunderbolt was a unique superhero series that was ahead of its time.  As noted on the covers of this Charlton series, Thunderbolt was in reality Peter Cannon, a reluctant hero who was trained by in the mysterious ways of Asian spirituality. He learned to unlock the power of the “90% of the human brain that lay unused”.  Unlike typical 60s heroes, Thunderbolt would often lament that solving problems via superhero fisticuffs wasn’t the best way.

Even if you never read a Thunderbolt comic, you may feel like you know the character. One reason is that Thunderbolt sort of borrowed his costume design from the Golden Age Daredevil, created by Charles Biro and Lev Gleason. (And have you read Bret Dakin’s bio of Lev Gleason yet? It’s been nominated for an Eisner.)  The character lived on recent, subsequent iterations in both DC and Dynamite comic series.  And, most famously, Ozymandias, the Watchmen character, was based on Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #59

For a couple years in the mid-sixties, Thunderbolt was published by Charlton Comics.  Each issue was signed by the mysterious PAM. He had a distinctive, almost Alex Toth-ian style, heavy on drama and storytelling.  At the time, PAM’s true identity was a better kept secret than Thunderbolt’s true identity. PAM was actually a NYC local, originally from Park Slope in Brooklyn:  Peter A. Morisi who had a whole ‘nuther career as an NYPD policeman.  In addition to Thunderbolt, PAM worked on several other series, including Vengeance Squad and created Johnny Dynamite.

The numbering was a bit wonky for Thunderbolt comics. It all officially started with issue #51, but by issue #59, in an Elvis-has-left-the-building moment, Morisi only supplied the cover.   The interior Thunderbolt story was written, penciled and inked by Pat Boyette.

Boy, were fans steamed!

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #60

I recently rescued a copy of Thunderbolt #60 from the bargain box at Fat Cat Comics in Binghamton.  The cover is fascinating as it showcases, in a last-ditch effort, an entirely new logo.   The series is edited by Dick Giordano, and both the lead and back-up features are written by Denny O’Neil.  The back-up series is an odd one, deserving a whole column of its own, and is illustrated by Jim Aparo.   With three major (future) Batman creatives contributing to this issue, it almost should be filed under “B”.

And in this last Thunderbolt issue, it’s astounding to see the fan letters commenting on the previous issue, #59. These fans were NOT HAPPY with PAM’s departure in that issue, nor with Pat Boyette picking up the art chores. They let editor Giordano have it with both barrels.

 

Like fans today (fans of Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc.) these fans knew their stuff and weren’t afraid to let the “higher ups” and the world at large, know how they felt!

With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.

With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.

D.O.A. is one of those film noir movies that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t ever let you forget it. Like many noirs, it uses flashback to kick things off. At the outset, we’re introduced to Edmund O’Brien who staggers into a police station to announce his own murder.  The basic premise is this: he’s been poisoned, and he has only hours to catch his murderer before he dies. Talk about motivation!

One of AfterShock Comics‘ latest series, Out of Body reminded me of the thrills of that classic. But it offers a whole lot more.   In this one, Dan Collins wakes to find he’s on life support in a hospital, and he has to solve the mystery of how he got there and who did it to him.

Peter Milligan, the creator and writer, is an established pro with a long list of favorites I’ve enjoyed over the years.  Not content to rest on his laurels, I’m amazed how fresh and clever this series is. He’s the type of writer that convinces you he has an infinite number of stories to tell, and that each one will be a step up from the last one that was your favorite.  It’s surprising but it shouldn’t be; he’s created another favorite.

I first became a fan of artist Inaki Miranda with Vertigo’s Coffin Hill a little less than a decade ago. He’s an engaging artist with a solid sense of storytelling. Miranda’s creating so much outstanding artwork lately, but it never seems rushed or hurried. Continue reading “With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.”

With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer

With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer

On those long summer days in the early ’70s, reading comics was so much fun because, in part, I didn’t know much about comics.  I was right at the starting line, ready to sprint into it all.  The world that comics cracked the door open to was endless and endlessly fascinating.  There was so much to learn about the characters, about publishing history, about creators. I wanted to know it all: the past, the present, and the future – those coming attractions of what was just around the corner.

Paradoxically, it’s kind of a shame that now I know a lot of comics history. Maybe you do too. I can’t help but pick up a copy of an old Fantastic Four, for instance, and think about the conflicts and struggles of the creators. In those glorious summer days of yore, oblivious to the backstories of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Martin Goodman, etc., I would just frantically devour the comic and worry, “How the heck will the FF would defeat Dr. Doom this time?”

I just bought a brand-new comic. Marvel Double Action #1 is part of a Marvel event called Heroes Reborn.  Although the nomenclature is recycled from a reboot I’m happy to forget about, this event focuses on an alternate reality where the Avengers never existed.

The Most Fun Batman Adventure this Month

In this slightly “off” reality,  Nighthawk is essentially Batman. He has the all the Batman tropes – his own cave, his custom car, his own “batarang”.   Creators Tim Seeley, Dan Jurgens, Scott Hanna, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit have created clever new riffs. In this version, the hero’s career in national politics has replaced the millionaire philanthropist angle. There’s a whiff of Bridgerton in it too. The interracial cast interacts without all the angst and tensions that so often accompany race relations in the real world and the fictional world. How refreshing, right? Continue reading “With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer”

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

It’s getting to be that time of year when I want to get my summer beach reading all lined up. That’s one reason why I was so eager to speak with author Roy Schwartz about his new book Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero.  Here’s my five-and-a-half questions and Roy’s five-and-a-half-answers:

Question 1:

Ed Catto: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Roy? And are you a comic fan?

Roy Schwartz: I’m a huge comic fan. I grew up on comics, it’s how I taught myself to read and write. My favorite has always been Captain America—and this goes way back, when people would say “who?”

I used to have a decent collection. 42 long boxes, which isn’t huge, but it was well-curated. I had a complete run of every Cap comic published from October 1964’s Tales of Suspense #58 (signed by Lee & Kirby!) to October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my storage unit and with it my lifelong collection overnight.

I’d like to give a shout-out here to Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics, who heard about it and sent me a few boxes of back issues. It was the sweetest gesture. This is a guy who spends his time and money volunteering for homeless causes around Denver. He’s a real-life superhero.

I don’t collect with the same gusto anymore, but my home office looks like a comic shop. I have a framed copy of Avengers #4, Cap shield and helmet replicas, life-size bust of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, a bunch of Hot Toys and other cool stuff.

When I’m not in fanboy mode I’m disguised as a mild-mannered director of marketing & business development for a great metropolitan law firm.

Question 2:

EC: Your book, Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero looks fascinating. What’s the book about? Continue reading “With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?”

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

In recent weeks, I’ve written about Bill Turner, who has been running the ITHACON comic convention for over 45 years. It’s quite a feat.  And when asked how it all started, Bill will tell the tale of the local comic club – where fans would meet to discuss and trade comics.

In today’s world, so many of those actual clubs have been replaced by online groups. I’m in a few comic-focused groups, and I find them to be (generally) fun and enlightening.

One group is dedicated to the DC character Hawkman. Ever since I was a kid in 1967 and I laid my eyes on Brave and the Bold #70, I’ve been a fan. This dynamic Carmine Infantino cover, with inks by Joe Giella, shows – astonishingly – Batman and Hawkman locked in a particularly brutal struggle. They aren’t messing around. Their costumes are shredded. The Batmobile is smashed-up.

”How could this be?”, my five-year-old mind screamed!

That sparked my Hawkman fascination. Just one step over from my Batman obsession.

Fast forward to today: Tim Board’s Hawkworld FB group has re-ignited my Hawkman passion. I’ve written about Tim back in With Further Ado #23.  And really, how could any classic comic fan not like Hawkman when so many fantastic creators have contributed their talents to this character?  Favorites like Gardner Fox, Ryan Sook, Rags Morales, Tim Truman, Mike Gold, Robert Vendetti, Tony Isabella, Graham Nolan, Tim Truman, Bryan Hitch …the list goes on and on.  And it includes two of my favorite, undeniable comic legends:  Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson.

Joe Kubert worked on Hawkman in the Golden Age and then helped relaunch the character during the Silver Age. After a few try-out issues in Brave and the Bold (that was a thing back then), he handed the artistic reigns over to fellow New Jerseyan Murphy Anderson.

Note: Murphy would become the cover and interior artist when Hawkman #1 debuted in 1964.

I had the supreme honor of getting to know both Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson a bit. Their artistic talents were off-the-charts. Beyond that I was really struck by how kind, humble and professional each of these gentlemen was. These were both exceptional people, in addition to being exceptional entrepreneurs, exceptional family men and exceptional artists.

That’s why, when I recently purchased a copy of Mystery in Space #87, one of the tryout issues for Hawkman, I was surprised-not-surprised to find the following letter in the letter column.  In this issue Joe was officially passing the baton to Murphy.  I was so impressed to find this gem as the first letter in the Letter to the Editors page, entitled (underwhelmingly) Via Rocket Mail.

Kubert rolls out the red carpet for his successor, Anderson. Does it get kinder, classier or more professional than this?

{And sharp-eyed comics fans will note editor Julie Schwartz stealing Stan Lee’s “nuff said” in his response to the letter.}

Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson. Geez, what great guys.

*Although I will always think of Murphy as a true-blue Tarheel!

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

Andrew Sumner is a dynamo wrapped in a fireball with the limitless energy of a blazing supernova. I’m always fascinated by everything he’s doing and the launch of his new podcast, Hard Agree, (I’ve become a regular listener) provided a great excuse to catch up with him!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: You’ve got so much going on now and such a cool origin story, Andrew.  Can you tell us a little about who you are and how you ended up at your current position at Titan?

Andrew Sumner: My grandfather and best friend, Pops Smythe, served with an American unit in Normandy in WWII, and when he came back to Liverpool, England in 1947 (after spending two years as an MP on clean-up duty in post-Nazi-occupied Paris), he came back with a great love of America, Americans and American popular culture – as personified by movies, big band music and the comic books he’d received as part of his US Army rations. He transferred all of those passions to me – when I was three, he bought me my first US comic (Batman #184) and I was hooked for life. Continue reading “With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner”

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

You’ve read Adam Philips work for many years, but you may have not known it. He’s one of those hard-working, behind-the-scenes guys.  But now he’s embarking on a new stage of his career and it all seems fascinating. So, let’s catch up with Adam Philips in 5 and ½ questions!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: We’ve known each other a long time, Adam, but for this column, can you please give us a little background on who you are and how you came to be?

Adam Philips: Sure! I’m a lifelong comics fan – I was a Marvel zombie in the 1970s and an early proponent of the Indie comics scene. I got started in the field in the 1980s when I wrote articles for Marvel Age magazine, which led to me being hired as the assistant editor on Marvel Age, as well as the Doctor Who reprints, a Howard the Duck one-shot, and a few other Marvel projects. I also did freelance work for Archie, Eclipse, Topps, and Fantagraphics, and I even wrote about comics for Entertainment Weekly in an early issue.

After a few years in magazines, I joined Welsh Publishing Group as an editor, where I worked on titles for young readers starring Superman and Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Real Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Garfield, the Simpsons, and more. I was hired by DC Comics in 1994 as their first-ever copywriter, where I conceived and wrote ads and posters. I then moved into marketing, where I ran DC’s solicitation process, created their retailer emails, and created and presented content at retailer events, and lots more. I left DC this past February.

Even after all that, I’m still a comics fan at heart! I’m currently blogging the entire run of Marvel Age at MakeMineMarvelAge, and I’m working on two comics-related podcasts that will debut soon.

Question 2:

EC:  Your new venture, Untold Stories Marketing sounds fascinating. What’s the idea behind this agency? Did you see an unmet need in the marketplace?

AP: A few months ago, I was having conversations with some comics companies about what my post-DC life might look like, and over the course of those chats we identified certain areas where they thought they could use some marketing help. That, aligned with something I’ve heard from retailers so many times, which is, “If I knew more about it, I would have ordered more.” What clicked for me was the idea of an agency that would provide information on new series to retailers so they can order with confidence and tell their customers what those titles are all about.

I’ve worked closely with publishers, writers and artists, distributors, and retailers, which makes me uniquely qualified to take a publishers’ direction, get information direct from the creative team, and use the distributors’ platforms to communicate to retailers in language they respond to.

Question 3:

EC: 3. Love the logo. What can you tell us about it?

AP: It’s orange! I worked with a friend who’s a logo designer and gave him some direction. I wanted it to have the vibe of a “Hello, my name is…” sticker, and the name itself is a play on the old “imaginary stories” and the concept of “untold stories of your favorite hero.” And I want to help creators tell their untold stories.

Question 4:

EC: Do you think it’s mandatory that an agency like Untold Stories Marketing is run by a long-time comic fan/enthusiast? Could the firm still succeed if that wasn’t the case?

AP: You probably don’t have to be a comics fan, but it helps. This is a quirky industry like no other, and while there are marketing concepts that can apply to just about anything, knowing the players and the institutions is important. There’s no substitute for familiarity with the history of the field, or with having actual relationships with retailers.

Question 5:

EC: 5. You’ve been in thick of it for a long time. What’s the most interesting thing, or the most challenging thing, about the industry today?

AP: The most interesting thing to me is the breadth of product out there. A lot of smaller publishers have come along in the past few years with some great titles – publishers like Aftershock, Ahoy, Vault, or Scout, to name just a few. That said, retailers are stretched thin in trying to keep up with it all. Helping publishers sharpen their messaging so retailers can take away what they need to know and order with confidence…well, that’s what Untold Stories Marketing is all about.

Question 5 1/2:

EC: How will your experiences at comic conventions – when they start up again – be different, Adam?

AP: I can’t wait to get back to conventions so I can run into folks like you, Ed! In the past, my convention experience tended to mostly be me running back and forth between panels, where I would run the A/V for a PowerPoint I created for DC. That let up a bit in the past couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to focus on my work as a retailer liaison. I anticipate a lot of meetings with publishers and retailers, and I’ll probably spend more time than I have in the past walking and talking in artists’ alley. And picking up some comics here and there!


You can find Untold Stories Marketing on their website or on Twitter and Facebook.

With Further Ado #144: Guest Column First Runner-Up – Insecure Made Me Confident

With Further Ado #144: Guest Column First Runner-Up – Insecure Made Me Confident

As we bring you some of the highlights of the writing assignments from my Ithaca College Promoting and Managing ITHACON class, this week is the first runner-up by Maya Lewis.

Maya’s column spoke to us from the a very emotional and introspective place. Some of the things that good media can do is promote introspection and inspiration. Maya found that in the HBO show Insecure. The way that she relates to the show and how it has affected her are what we are looking to promote here at Pop Culture Squad.

Insecure Made Me Confident

by Maya Lewis

Growing up, my mother was always against me watching copious amounts of television, to the point where she had me convinced that if I watched too much TV, I would lose brain cells. And I believed her, that was until I got older.

I started to find a comfort and joy from bingeing shows and fell in love with the feeling of immersing myself into the lives of different characters and their storylines, both emotionally and mentally. It was both therapeutic and freeing, and nothing compared to the feeling I felt, when I was able to recognize parts of myself within certain characters, allowing me to form a deeper connection with both them and the show itself. Unfortunately, this feeling did not occur often, as I rarely encountered shows that starred young black women as leads, who did not play into stereotypical tropes. However, this feeling changed during the summer of 2017 when I discovered Insecure, which is a comedy-drama television series set in Los Angeles and stars Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, who plays her best friend, Molly. The show is centered around these two women, who are both in their late 20s, navigating through different aspects of their lives. Continue reading “With Further Ado #144: Guest Column First Runner-Up – Insecure Made Me Confident”

With Further Ado #143: Guest Column Contest Second Runner-Up – Make Mine Marvel Movies

With Further Ado #143: Guest Column Contest Second Runner-Up – Make Mine Marvel Movies

At Ithaca College, the class Promoting and Managing ITHACON was presented with an assignment. They were challenged to write a guest column for this space. The submissions were varied and showed that the student writers gave the assignment a lot of thought and effort. Some of the topics that were tackled were surprising and made the reviewers challenge some of their own perspectives.

In the end, we found that there were three spectacular entries that we will post over the next three weeks. The second runner-up entry will be published first. It is by Jordan Green and it made our little old fanboy hearts well up with joy.

 

With Further Ado Writing Assignment

by Jordan Green

Marvel Entertainment has a special place in my heart. When the first Iron Man movie was released, I was nine years old. Today, I am 22 years old and cannot think about my life without reflecting on the impact Marvel Entertainment has had on me. My father used to read Marvel comic books growing up, but that love for reading comic books was not passed on to me. Marvel Entertainment found a way to close that gap between my father and I by creating so many amazing movies and series that have created long lasting moments in my life. Marvel Entertainment has created numerous fantastic projects that have impacted my life in ways both in and outside the movie theater.

The first Marvel movie that I remember watching was Captain America: The First Avenger. It is a fantastic introduction to Steve Rogers and how he became an American hero. History has always been one of my favorite classes in school, so having a story based in the second World War immediately grabbed my attention. Chris Evans was perfect for the role of Captain America, getting better with each new movie that incorporated my favorite Avenger. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite movies of all time, not just Marvel movies. Joe and Anthony Russo perfectly brought Captain America into the present day and made a then 15-year-old Jordan love Captain America even more.

Starting the movie off with the “On your left” scene was fantastic at setting the expectations of fans everywhere and introducing fans to a new Avenger, one that will have a [current] Disney+ series. The elevator fight scene from Winter Soldier is one of the coolest action sequences I have ever watched. I was on Captain America’s side in Captain America: Civil War and further loved what the Russo Brothers did with his character arc in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The Russo Brothers were able to show how a military hero lost faith in authority. I loved the ending Captain America was given in Avengers: Endgame. Every time I watch Captain America dance with Peggy Carter, I tear up. Steve Rogers finally got to have a dance with the love of his life after being denied that opportunity for so many years because of his heroic sacrifice. This was the ending to his story arc that I wanted for him. I truly loved Captain America’s character arc throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Entertainment has helped grow many of my relationships with family and friends. I remember seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron with my father and older brother in theaters. I remember the group of friends I saw Infinity War and Endgame in theaters with, and how much closer it brought us. Both movies were released on Fridays, and once all of us finished classes, we drove as fast as we could to the movie theater to get afternoon tickets to see these blockbusters. After seeing Infinity War, I frequently heard my friends quoting funny moments from the movie when we all spent time together. One of my best friends that I saw these movies with is incredibly tall, so we nicknamed him “Groot” based on the character from Guardians of the Galaxy. That made “I am Groot, I am Steve Rogers” even funnier every time that quote was referenced. This was one of the many moments that Marvel Entertainment helped strengthen my relationships with family and friends.

The sheer shock and awe in the theater during each of these movies are experiences I will never forget. Some of the moments I remember the most were Thor’s entrance in Infinity War, Captain America hoisting Mjolnir in Endgame, and the emergence of the blipped heroes from portals before the final battle in Endgame. It was too perfect that the Russo Brothers referenced Winter Soldier with Falcon saying “On your left” to Captain America. People in the fully packed theaters started clapping during these moments, which usually is highly disliked, but felt acceptable at the time. I look back on these experiences with a great deal of fondness, thinking about these moments as all-time life experiences I will tell my future children. As I write this during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wish I could relive these experiences again. I grew up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and my life would be drastically different

 

Editor’s Notes:

This type of fandom and excitement about pop culture is what we strive to support here. Thank you to Jordan for sharing your feelings about the MCU.

Also, Jordan submitted this before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Disney+. We are very interested in what they think of the show. Maybe Jordan will come back with a guest review column if we can convince them.