Friday, June 29, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of June 29th, 2007)

It’s been a rather hectic few days, Gentle Reader. There has been a family emergency for the Reads Clan in New Orleans, and due to the holiday weekend, I can’t get a flight home. Since I will not be able to be there physically, I have been asked to Write Something so I can be there, in spirit. As I’d rather save my writing energies for that, and as I’ve had little time for anything fun or comic the past few days, frankly, including the time to run to My Local and pick up My Weeklies, I will have little to offer you today.

Instead, I ask you, if you have the chance, to revel in the One Thing This Humble Author Likes About The Fourth Of July: the Twilight Zone Marathon on the Sci Fi Channel. Friends, I watch this Marathon religiously every 4th, and every New Year's Day, as not only do I love the Twilight Zone, but also I Rather Dislike the 4th, and New Years, each of them. I have eschewed invitations to countless barbeques, drunken binges, fireworks displays, etc. in order to stay home, cook something comforting and fun, and sit, All Day, in front of the television.

So in an effort to offer you Something Today, I offer you my Ten Favorite Twilight Zone Episodes, almost all of which will be playing on the 3rd and 4th of July, on the Sci Fi Channel. I’ve the DVR cued up, the grocery list for a wonderful dinner planned, and I am ready to enjoy it all.

Top Ten Twilight Zone Episodes

1) A Stop at Willoughby – The classic belief that things were better the way they used to be. A man takes a train ride and finds the place of his dreams.

2) The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street – Another classic, as Twilight Zone always deals in classic fears. This time, We are the scariest monsters out there.

3) The Eye of the Beholder – One of the greatest twist endings of any Twilight Zone episode. We forget, sometimes, how we wash everything to look Just Like Us.

4) Shadow Play – This one is Mr. Reads’ favorite episodes, and he’s very unhappy that it’s not showing this year. This episode asks whether it’s true if you believe something and no one else does.

5) Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? – Another fantastic example of the power of fear working during The Red Scare.

6) It’s a Good Life – Just wish it into the cornfield, please. We want none of it here.

That’s a very good boy, Anthony.

7) The Midnight Sun – This episode amazes me, every time I see it. In fact, I still don’t think I’ve wrapped my brain around it completely.

8) Five Characters in Search of an Exit – And here we come to This Humble Author’s favorite Twilight Zone episode. There is a story attached to this one, and it’s rather simple, really. Every year, twice a year, during this marathon, I wait for this episode. Inevitably, I go off to get lunch or run an errand, and when I come back, Mr. Reads or Daddy Reads informs me that *I just missed it*. I’m ready for it, now. The DVR is programmed.

9) To Serve Man – To serve man! To Serve Man!!! Very Soylent Green, and very fun.

10) Nightmare at 20,000 Feet – And finally, the classic to end all classics: William Shatner, in an airplane, battling something perhaps only he can see.

I promise more comics-related discussion soon, Gentle Reader, as I’ve just finished Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, which was Utterly Brilliant, a Must-Read for any comic book fan, and perhaps one of the best books I’ve read since Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box or Scott Smith’s The Ruins, except, you know, not as scary.

Well, not as obviously scary, that is.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of June 22nd, 2007)

It’s a Comic Book Fangirl’s Dream Come True this week, Gentle Reader, and all I can say, really, is thank you, DC, thank you, Mr. Meltzer, for making me the Happiest Fangirl in the World. I teared up yesterday reading JLA #10, and… well, who am I kidding, Friends? I cried, outright.

No one likes a Spoil(er)Sport, so I’ll refrain from mentioning the specifics of the Utter Fantastic-ness of JLA this week. Rather, I’d like to call your attention to the companion piece to this saga: the JSA crossover.

’ll admit, Friends, that my knowledge of the JSA is only in reference to the JLA. I’m a JLA girl at heart; Wonder Woman is a member, as is Batman, and Flash, and my other favorites. Mr. Reads and Several Of You have mentioned to me, again and again, how wonderful the JSA is, and frankly, I’ve ignored you, forgotten your suggestions, and just Out and Out waved you off. For that, This Humble Author humbly apologizes. You were right; I was wrong. Never let it be said that I am afraid to admit my failings.

I’m amazed, utterly amazed, at the Quality of Writing, of Characters, of Character Development evident in the JSA. I enjoy the JLA, too, of course, and find the Quality high there, as well. But reading the JSA was like meeting new characters, for the very first time. There really is no other way to express my utter joy over Liberty Belle, over Stargirl, over Power Girl.

Power Girl is a character with whom I am passingly familiar, but not immediately friendly. That is to say, I *know* who she is, and I *appreciate* her, but I don’t believe I’ve ever read a truly compelling presentation of her. Enter JSA. Enter Geoff Johns’ writing of her. Enter Strength, and Beauty, and Power, and Humor, all in one.

When they ask her to serve as chairwoman, she not only says yes but says, Hell, yes! That kind of enthusiasm, the understanding she has of her role in this organization is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Further, the immediate friendship between Stargirl (although I confess, Friends, that I keep wanting to call her Star-Spangled Kid) and isolated outcast Cyclone is charming and poignant, all at the same time. Further, as a scholar who works on literary presentations of fashion (it *is* the Dissertation, Gentle Reader!), I found the Giant Room Of Costume Parts to be perhaps the most adorable and *right* comic scene in comics to date. That is to say, of *course* there is a giant room of costume pieces and parts, considering how these costumes get ripped and torn on a daily, and indeed hourly, basis!

But there are other things, too: the complexity of these characters, of their relationships with each other, with other Super Heroes, with the JLA, in fact, and how they know each other, of course, but also *know* each other. They know their strengths, their weaknesses, that even The Batman can be swayed by rare editions.

Separate, they are intriguing characters part of interesting groups. Together, they are utterly fascinating, compelling, and beyond all else, Completely Heroic. This crossover event gave me a chance to meet new characters, fall in love with old ones again, and most importantly, add another title to my pull-list.

While Mr. Reads has read the JSA for Some Time Now, and in fact had given me the entire backlog to read, I hadn’t. Time, perhaps, or blind allegiance to the JLA. Wonder Woman was there, after all. But I’m a convert, albeit a recent one, and I am thrilled to be so. I for one can’t wait to read more about, say, Liberty Belle, whom I knew from Flash, but now know on her own merits.

I’d love to Read the Week with you more, Dear Readers, but as far behind as I was on JLA, I am even Further Behind on New Avengers. And as I have a few minutes of free time—as one cannot be expected to work at 9:00 at night, no?—I am going to take advantage of them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wondrous Girls and White Weddings: The DC Solicits Are Up!

I’ve been a Very Busy Girl, Gentle Reader, but as things are beginning to calm down a bit, I’ve been able to ease back into my pop cultures. I spent the majority of my free time the last few evenings reading through a vicious backlog of comics, watching through the dozens of hours of recorded TV on the DVR with Mr. Reads, and trying to get my Feet Back Under Me Again. That is to say, My Academic Article has been submitted to An Academic Journal (huzzah!), The Dissertation Chapter Revision is almost done (double huzzah!), and my class is going swimmingly (triple huzzah!).

Now that some of those things are off of my plate (and salad plate, and sorbet bowl, and coffee cup-and-saucer), I can get back to enjoying my free time instead of sacrificing it to the Sometimes Unforgiving and Always Demanding Graduate School Gods. And that means, of course, catching up on Comic Book News, and, well, Comic Books In General.

The name of the game in Comic Book Catch-Up is JSA/JLA Crossover, and really, Friends, I must ask: why did no one insist more, well, insistently, that I read JSA? Mr. Reads has been Quite Vocal about this, of course, but One doesn’t always listen to One’s Spouse, no? I’ve a post In The Works about the marvelous Liberty Belle, Cyclone, Stargirl, and, of course, the Ever-Fabulous Power Girl, but that needs a bit more time.

The *solicits*, however, need No Time At All, because I am ready to Shout from the Rooftops my complete happiness over a Wonder Girl mini-series. I *adore* Cassie, and have since she first arrived on the scene. I find her character development to be everything *a teen girl’s character development should be*. That is, no skeletal presentations for her! Angst, certainly, and confusion, and despair, as any teenager would experience, particularly with 1) the after-school job Cassie has, and 2) the sacrifice her boyfriend made to save the world. But moreover, Cassie is *complex*. She’s interesting, well-developed, and smart, in All of the Books in which she appears. That kind of kid-sidekick-complexity, Gentle Reader, seems only, to this point, at least, Bat-Enabled.

Other Interests include Infinity Inc., the Booster Gold run, the fantastic new direction for Supergirl (she looks like a real girl now!), the Black Canary/Green Arrow Wedding (and the fact that Superman, it seems, is the only man invited to the Bachelorette Party), and the hint that—can it really be true, Gentle Reader?—my beloved Wally West is coming back.

There are some puzzlements, as well, including the question of why The Flash is being attacked by *ahem* A Rather Large Piece Of Symbolism, why Black Canary’s costume, in black, doesn’t look nearly as naughty as it does in white, and why you, yes, You, DC Comics, will not give me a Big Barda Title.

More free time Looms Near, Gentle Reader, and that means playing more Catch-Up, with New Avengers, with the Batman titles (Detective and Batman and Confidential, oh my!), and with a Rather Large Backlog of The Authority and Hellblazer checked out from the Library. And, of course, finally composing my thoughts on JSA and the recent Action Comics.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Super Dads: A Comic Book Father’s Day Retrospective

Happy Father’s Day, Gentle Reader! We Reads are looking at a rather dreary day, weather-wise, which means a rather pleasant day, Reads-Wise! We so very much enjoy rainy days, gray skies, and anything else that makes the Southern Sun go away for a few hours, at least. Of course, our barbequing plans have moved from outdoors to in, but if that means we can look and go outside without squinting or melting, we’ll take that any day!

I’ve already spoken with Daddy Reads this morning, and wished him well indeed on such a day. Daddy Reads is one of those peculiar breed of somewhat conservative men: he is Father to a Daughter, and therefore has Different Ideas about what Women can or cannot do. That is to say, This Humble Author was brought up to believe she *could* be that horseback-riding, novel-writing, rich-and-famous, U.S. President Princess of the World she so wanted to be at age 5 (and age 10, and with a few tweaks, age 30). Daddy Reads encouraged things like ambitions, and dreams, and when it was important, and not about a pony, never told me “no.”

Of course, this makes me think of other Fathers, of Fictional Fathers, and that inevitably leads to Comic Book Fathers. And so, I offer you My Ten Favorite Comic Book Fathers. Please, Friends, add to this list! Let’s see it grow.

Ten Favorite Comic Book Fathers

1) Wally West/The Flash – I would scream it from the mountaintops, if I could, but Wally West epitomizes Good Comics Fatherhood to me. His love of the twins, his happiness when Linda latches on, twins in hand, before they’re all sucked into the Speed Force has never ceased to Make Me Smile. And, if the rumor-mill is correct, Gentle Reader, I may just see my Beloved Flash Again!

2) Bruce Wayne/Batman – This Humble Author is Quite the Activist regarding the promotion of adopted and surrogate parents and children, and I think One Year Later, Bruce Wayne is demonstrating that he is A Strong Hero, A Strong Father, and more importantly, A Loving Father.

3) Bigby/The Big Bad Wolf – Although he disappeared from Fable-Town for reasons still rather shaky for my liking, he has proved, without a doubt, that he is a dedicated, loving father to his multitude of children. And, well, he’s the Big Bad Wolf. Who better to protect children (if not gobble them up, for cuteness)?

4) Luke Cage/Power Man – What image more defined the human face of Marvel’s Civil War than Luke Cage protecting his wife and daughter as they made their escape to Canada? The size of Luke, his raw power, in direct contrast with his tiny, newborn daughter, was nothing short of heartbreaking. Further, his defense of his family and others who refused to register proved that registration was and still is an immoral, unconstitutional thing.

5) Jonathan Kent/Superman’s Dad – Not a Super Hero of the Flights and Tights variety, certainly, but he is the Strength behind the Flights and Tights, so to speak. And for those of us Coming of Age before Smallville, we knew Jonathan Kent a little less earnest but just as adored, and we wanted him to take care of us, too.

6) Alan Scott/The Green Lantern/The White King – I admit that I am not as familiar with the Green Lantern Corps as some of my Sister Bloggers, and it’s a failing I admit freely. When asked to name the first Green Lantern, even, I was sometimes—just sometimes, Gentle Reader!—hard pressed to remember Alan Scott. But I am trying to rectify this situation, because what I know of Alan Scott, as a Hero, as a Father to Jade and Obsidian, the latter I adored in Manhunter, I Just Love. So he deserves, without question, to Make the List.

7) Benjamin Parker/Spider-Man’s Uncle – Here we have a legal guardian in the role of Father, once again continuing this running theme of alternative fatherhood. Uncle Ben helped define Peter Parker not only as Super Hero Spider-Man, but also as Good Man Peter Parker. Uncle Ben’s simple philosophy “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” is indeed a phrase to live by, and his death, while tragic, was the impetus necessary to push Peter Parker into his Spider-Man persona.

8) Alfred Pennyworth/Batman’s Butler – Again, I would like to argue for alternative definitions of “Father” as Alfred has kept My Beloved Batman sane, time and time again. More than a mere butler, yes, of this we’re all familiar, but further, he marks the compass of Right and Wrong for Bruce Wayne. He loves Bruce Wayne, unconditionally.

And finally, two villains that, while not my favorites, deserve to be on a list about Comic Book Fathers.

9) Magneto – Father of the Brotherhood of Mutants, of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and Polaris, he tries to save Mutants from the world, or the world from mutants, or drive everyone away, or just blow everything up, or any of the thousands of plots Magneto has hatched. But he is dedicated, to his cause, to himself, sometimes to his family, but not *all* the time, and… well, if you read any X-Men line, you know exactly what I mean.

10) Captain Boomerang – A bad guy that’s not always a bad guy, or he is, but sometimes he at least Somewhat Sane, and then, finding himself obsolete, he reaches out to his son. More importantly, his death, like Uncle Ben’s for Spider-Man, urge the second Captain Boomerang to action, and then, ultimately, to reformation.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Harpies, Hotheads, and Other Such Heroes: Thoughts on Comic Books on the Big Screen

I know, I know, Gentle Reader. I just said, not a few hours ago, that I had Nothing For You Today. And I asked you, yes, You, for suggestions, and already, I’ve received an excellent one from Matthew of Legion Abstract Fame. But Mr. Reads and I just sat through a brutal hour viewing of Ghost Rider—I say an hour, since we fast-forwarded through most of it—and spent the majority of the movie, when not complaining, discussing recent, and not-so-recent, incarnations of Comic Books on the Big Screen.

Let me say this: I did not like Ghost Rider. I am not invested in or familiar with the character, so that may have a tiny bit of influence on my decision, but also, it just Wasn’t Good. And even Mr. Cage, an actor I normally enjoy, did nothing to compel me, the Viewer.

But this seems symptomatic, no? A rash of not-so-compelling Super Heroes presented on the big screen. This is beyond, I think, mere preference, as I Adore Batman Begins and others find it Rather Dreadful. This speaks to Quality, and frankly, there just wasn’t any here.

Other movies, other Comic Book movies, while not of excellent quality still find themselves slightly compelling. The Fantastic Four movie, for example, wasn’t all that enjoyable, but the character of Johnny Storm, as played by Chris Evans, redeemed the movie. He was charming, he was in character, and he was good enough that even This Humble Author, a Tried-And-True DC Girl with Very Few Marvel Leanings, is willing, nay, desirous, of seeing the second Fantastic Four movie, just for him.

Of course, there are those movies that defy all comparisons and clearly exist not only as Excellent Examples of their genre, but also as plain Just Good Movies. Spider-Man II, touted as *the* Super Hero Movie To End All Super Hero Movies, is the best of the best. It certainly ranks among my top movies ever, sharing a billing with such gems as Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Princess Bride, Amelie, and Garden State. Not only does it, as a sequel, avoid the standard trap of the Super Hero Genre Movie, the origin story, it offers a clear view of the Hero’s Journey, as well. Spider-Man’s journey into darkness, not of the Black Suit Kind but rather of the Self-Doubt kind, is a journey into Personal Despair. Just when we, the audience, think that Peter Parker Has Had Enough, he is handed yet another disappointment, yet another trial, yet another pain. And he manages to come through The Other Side with aplomb, strength, and courage.

That, Friends, is a Great Comic Book Movie. That is just a Great Movie, Period.

Others, too, although I fear that you, Gentle Reader, may disagree with some of my choices. Mr. Reads and I often feel alone in the Ang Lee’s Hulk camp, as we both find it a gorgeous, smart, and compelling movie. I like Superman Returns, and I can’t Rave Enough about X-Men II. Batman Begins, as mentioned before, and Sin City is Just Brilliant. Also, I love V for Vendetta, and I even find Things To Like in Daredevil and Constantine, although I am Ever Willing to admit that they are not the greatest examples of their genre.

But, and here’s the but, Friends, they are *fun*. And really, that’s almost all I ask of a movie. I don’t regret the money spent on them, and, let’s be honest, We Reads own Daredevil *and* Constantine. And let’s not forget the Dark Horse Contender, either; Hellboy is a fantastic romp, a good movie, and again, yes, we must say it, *fun*.

Regarding Hellboy, I must confess that I wasn’t that familiar with the character or franchise before I saw the movie. As I’ve said before, I’m rather new to the Hellboy legacy. But I adore the movie, and I adore the animated movies Even More, and the comic book series just Blows Me Away.

So I was not that familiar with Ghost Rider going in, and frankly, I’ve no desire to become more so. That’s where the fault is, you see: it didn’t make me want to become A Fan. Hellboy did. X-Men II, Spider-Man II, Batman Begins, all characters I was a fan of Before the Movie, and characters I am even more a fan of now.

Even The Fantastic Four which is, and I’ll admit freely, Rather Silly, has some dying spark of hope to feed (gratitude, Mr. Arnold). Sue Storm *is* interesting. Johnny Storm *is* charming. Even Reed Richards and The Thing have their moments. Even, on rare occasion, Dr. Doom, although he failed to do The One Thing I wanted, and that was the loud, plaintive “RICHAAAAARRDDDDDDDSSSSS!!!!!!” with fist raised high in the air.

And it’s difficult to make a Comic Book Movie. That much is painfully obvious. Sometimes I feel that the special effects get in the way. Certainly, the Ghost Rider *looked* interesting, but cuts were made in dialogue, in character development, in plot. Batman Begins, on the other hand, in its gritty dirtiness, its somewhat awkward handling of costumes and Batmobiles, feels absolutely 100% right. It *feels* like a beginning should feel. The awkwardness, the gentle clumsiness, all intentional, of course, or at least, as it seemed, lends itself well to a story All About Origin. All About Beginnings.

In a rare moment of self-reflection, I must tell you, Gentle Reader, that I find it Rather Ironic I write my second post of the day about Beginnings and Origins when one of the failed “Amy Reads the Week” columns was All About Conclusions. But here are two moments where comic books stutter, and the Comic Book Movie stutters along. The *middles* are easy, it seems. Just the beginnings and endings are awkward.

It still Breaks My Heart that Wonder Woman will not be written by Joss Whedon, the same as X-Men III broke my heart in its execution, its overarching theme of “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned,” its complete mishandling and misunderstanding of beloved characters, all of them women, all more courageous and smarter than the movie ever gave them credit for. Because in this long list of Comic Book Movies, one thing is certain: there has not been a good Comic Book Movie about a Super Heroine.

This isn’t a new song, Gentle Reader, so I won’t sing it too loud or too long, but it needs to be mentioned, in a post such as this. Girlfriends, wives, harpies, villains, terribly executed heroines, gentle souls to soothe savage beasts, but outside of ensemble casts such as X-Men II, V for Vendetta seems to be the only Comic Book Movie that offers a strong female protagonist *in a leading role*. That is to say, Evey’s a Hero, a Leading Hero, and in the end, she takes the mantle on. She becomes the Super Hero.

At least, the only one that I can think of. Please, Friends, if you have others to offer, I ask you to do so.

Two movies open this weekend, Gentle Reader, and both are of The Heroic Variety: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Nancy Drew. You may have deduced this by now, but I am A Huge Fan of Nancy Drew, and I will, most likely, pay to see it before I pay to see The Fantastic Four. Mr. Reads, even, has determined that he will accompany me, if for nothing else than to see me, as he put it, “geek out over Nancy Drew.” But here’s an example of a strong character, a strong hero, a strong young woman, who has survived for over 60 years and is still, yes, it’s true, Friends, Just As Popular Now as She Was Then. I loved Nancy Drew when I was ten, and yes, I confess that I love her just as much today. Mr. Reads and I already have started our godchild’s collection of Nancy Drew books, and she just made one year old just recently (!!!).

But let us learn our lesson from Nancy Drew and pooh-pooh those naysayers who declare that Super Heroines just don’t have the Pulling Power to bring in the monies. Nancy Drew’s been pulling them in for a very long time, in various incarnations, and she will, of this, I’m Certain, for a long time to come. We are *here*, we fans of Strong Women, of Strong Men, of Super Heroes, of Good Plots and Fun Movies and Interesting Stories, and while Nancy Drew might not wear a cape and fly, she has titian hair and a roadster, and she does save the day, and has, these past 60+ years, An Awful Lot. That makes her a Super Hero, and a successfully marketed one, In My Book.

Amy Reads the Week (of June 15th, 2007)

I’ve nothing for you this week, Gentle Reader, or rather, I should say I’ve nothing for you that you would enjoy reading. Four drafts of this column exist, about four vastly different topics, and the none of them I like.

So instead, I ask you for insight. Any particular topic you would like to see me cover, in glorious, Victorian prose and high-falutin’ Amy-Reads-Speak? That is, any feminist pop culture topic not touched upon? Any questions, snide comments, or pyramid schemes you’d like to share?

(Please, please, Friends: No Pyramid Schemes).

Until then, I’ll simply say that the BBC’s Robin Hood is Quite Glorious, Maid Marian Quite the Proto-Feminist, and Robin Hood Himself Rather Dreamy. On the docket this week: Ghost Rider, Freaks and Geeks Disc 4, and How I Met Your Mother, Disc 1.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of June 8th, 2007)

And what a week, Gentle Reader. What a week. Things have been Awfully Busy in Chez Reads as I have been drowning, yes, Drowning In Work. Teaching prep, Dissertation rewrites, Dissertation future-writes, it all Overwhelms, and Overwhelms All At Once.

As a result, I am behind, woefully behind on my pop culture. Granted, it is summer, so that means no real television of which to speak, but Mr. Reads and I have been exploring our missed TV options, and I must admit, the BBC’s Robin Hood has made it Quite High on that list. But other than the occasional television show, I haven’t had time for anything Pop Culture Related, and that means, of course, my beloved Comic Books.

So instead of offering you nothing this week, I’ve decided instead to offer you a meme that I meant to do weeks ago, but kept missing the chance. Instead of nothing, Gentle Reader, I offer you This Humble Author’s 50 Reasons to Love Superhero Comics, as inspired by the Awe-Inspiring Kalinara and Ragnell.

50 Things I Love About Superhero Comics

1) The interconnectivity. Across the Universe, and even Across The Universes, sometimes, it comes as no surprise to find Spider-Man guesting in Daredevil, or Batman showing up in Keystone City to offer Wally some much needed advice and de-Spectre-ing.

2) Batman knows he’s a bit OC. Superman knows he’s a bit nerdy. Wonder Woman knows she’s a bit haughty. And they’re completely fine with that.

3) When Wonder Woman laughs, you have to laugh with her. Her laughs are always, *always* Drawn Wonderfully.

4) Sometimes new costumes are silly. Sometimes the characters understand that way too well. I point to Colossus in Whedon’s run of Astonishing X-Men as proof.

5) Now that I think about it, Joss Whedon.

6) And Gail Simone.

7) Let’s not forget Greg Rucka and Brad Meltzer while we’re at it.

8) Also, Mike Mignola, Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Michael Bendis, Grant Morrison, Sean McKeever, and Geoff Johns.

9) Beautiful, gorgeous art that Gets The Characters. I point to Jo Chen, in particular, and her amazing covers for Runaways.

10) Rebellious teenagers who are Role Models. We need more of those.

11) Catwoman knows how to use a whip. Wonder Woman knows how to use a sword. Big Barda knows how to use her mega-rod. There are less jokes about these things than one might expect.

12) Redemption is possible. Always.

13) Sometimes the villains aren’t exactly bad guys. This happens a lot in Keystone City.

14) Sometimes the villains are Incredibly Scary Bad Guys. This also happens a lot in Keystone City.

15) Comics make jumping across rooftops look hard *and* fun at the same time.

16) They also remind me that I don’t have Superpowers or Excellent Agility, so I should never try #15.

17) Speed Force! Speed Force! Speed Force!

18) When else do men and women look Very Sexy wearing tights and capes?

19) Once, Hawkeye killed people with his own fingernails.

20) The Passing of the Mantle, from Father to Son, from Mother to Daughter, from Person to Person, and all of these are Completely Acceptable.

21) In normal, everyday life, rich people are Awfully Boring. In superhero comic books, they use their wealth to fight crime and build nifty toys. Because honestly, how many Batplanes does a billionaire need, anyhow? Lots and lots, when he crashes them constantly!

22) Heroes learn from their mistakes.

23) Sometimes, the villains do, too (This also happens a lot in Keystone City).

24) Ninjas can bring anyone back from the dead, if they like you enough, or if someone pays them lots of money.

25) There are characters whose Superpower is Control Over Probability. There is also a man who absorbs matter. And a woman who is the Spirit Of Her Century. These are incredibly fascinating things.

26) Matt Murdock’s not necessarily a nice guy. And he knows this. And we love him anyways.

27) There are few people in the world who know all of Donna Troy’s various lives and incarnations without extensive cheat sheets.

28) Time travel is possible. So is the Speed Force. And most aliens want to help. Some even police the universe. There is no limit to Imagination.

29) Robin looks 12 when he’s in Batman’s book, and 17 in his own book and the Titans. Both of these are a matter of perception.

30) DC’s actually fixing Batman, and he’s no longer Quite So Broken.

31) And this is due, in Large Part, to Robin.

32) That is, *all* of the Robins. Including Stephanie.

33) Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman has completely redefined the way I view the Amazon Princess, and that’s A Very Good Thing.

34) Black Canary is Chair of the JLA.

35) Power Girl is Chair of the JSA.

36) And Renee Montoya is The Question.

37) Kate Spencer (Manhunter) is perhaps the most realistic woman ever portrayed in a superhero comic.

38) Superheroes, despite the seemingly small fan base, are universally recognizable for what they are: Heroes.

39) Harley Quinn moved from the television show to the comic book, not vice versa. That’s the power of Good Writing.

40) No matter how Bad the Bad Guys are, the Nazis can be brought back and make any Superhero shake in her (stylish yet affordable) boots (gratitude, Buffy Summers), and rightly so.

41) Many, many superheroes have no Superpowers whatsoever outside of a little pluck, moxie, and determination. That, more than anything else, is Inspiring.

42) Molly Hayes beat up Wolverine and the Punisher. With her bare hands. And everyone knows it.

43) More often than not, the human Sidekicks are the only things keeping the Superheroes grounded. And inevitably, the Superheroes figure that out, and are incredibly grateful.

44) In the tradition of Great Literature, Superhero Comics have universal, timeless storylines with universal, timeless, relatable characters.

45) Actions have consequences. When they don’t? The unfairness of that is brought to light.

46) “Don’t forget the fiffdetuuu!” (gratitude, Legion) has become almost a battle-cry in The Reads Household.

47) Also, “Oh my God. You teach ethics?” (gratitude, Astonishing X-Men). Both of these things, and many, many others, are testaments to the truly Great Writing we’re seeing in the majority of comic books today.

48) Moral ambiguity marks fascinating storylines. Always.

49) Superheroes are only as strong as the people who love them.

50) Superheroes don’t fight only for truth, justice, and the American way. They fight because they’re needed. They fight because they must. They fight because they can.