I guess I’m old fashioned but I would let my son watch My Little Pony #MLPFIM

mlp fim

OH MAH GAWDZ WHAT ABOUT THE MENZZZZZZZ! THIS ONE LITTLE CARTOON IS MAKING ALL THESE 21ST CENTURY MALES INTO WOMINZ. WHAT EVER SHALL WE DO????!!!!!

And now for the rebuttal to idiocy and opinions based off of ignorance.

First of all, I don’t know if there’s a rule book or something out there, but I know that it was up until the mid-20th century before colors like pink were assigned to femininity. Second of all, as a Brony who is also Christian and straight, let me just say that the people who are really old fashioned VALUE THE LIVES OF WOMEN AND THEIR THOUGHTS. The dogmatic view that pink means girly is RELATIVELY NEW.

Walsh:

“I’m not actually sure if this is true — and I suspect it isn’t. If the kid was literally assaulted by groups of boys, I find it hard to believe that none of the offenders have been punished.”

Myself:

No offense to survivors and current members of homeschooling, but Mr. Walsh, stick to speaking at homeschooling conferences. You have no idea what it means to work in a public education setting. You see, kids can getaway with a lot, and they find the most ridiculous ways to hide what they do. And hey, how about we not shame victims of violence? Oh that’s right, you are already doing so. 11 year Old Michael Morones, a boy who loves Jesus and Pinky Pie was bullied into feeling worthless and attempted suicide. Here is a boy who carried his Bible everyday and went to church regularly. And he liked the emotionally excessive party pony Pinky Pie. I used to carry my Bible in my backpack to school when I was his age, and I had very few options, so I watched X-Men the Animated Series and Eek the Cat, and The Tick and oh Power Rangers. Boys and Girls used to love power rangers, then they became stale and uncool. If it was okay for girls to like MMPR back in the 1990′s (something marketed at boys) I don’t see the problem with young and old fans of MLPFIM.

Walsh:

“They say the school is wrong, the boy should keep wearing the backpack, and we should all celebrate the individuality and self-expression of a male who watches a TV show about unicorns.”

and

“It isn’t fair or right that a boy’s enthusiasm for a show called My Little Pony – featuring unicorns named Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie”

Me:

YO DAWG DON’T YOU KNOW THAT UNICORNS ARE IN THE BIBLE! YES THE BIBLE ACCORDING TO THE BONAFIDE LEGIT INTERPRETATION OF THE PEOPLE FROM ANSWERS IN GENESIS, UNICORNS ARE IN THE BIBLE. YOU MATT WALSH SIR, HAVE AN UNCHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW!

Also, the show (which has great animation and storytelling btw), has more than just unicorns. It’s filled with Earth Ponies, Pegasi, Alicorns, Dragons, Dogs, fairies, Griffiths, and Buffaloes, just to name a few other creatures. Any show with Dragons should definitely begin a chance. Except for Game Of Thrones.

Speaking of Game Of Thrones and why I don’t watch it.

MLPFIM is a cartoon that does not show violence. “Boy stuff” G.I. Joes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can glorify violence at times. Why must masculinity be defined by violence? Enter Walsh once more:

“If Grayson were my son, I certainly wouldn’t tell him that he deserves this treatment — far from it. I’d take him aside, as my dad did with me, and tell him that he must always be prepared to stand up for himself. I’d tell him that nobody ever has the right to abuse him. I’d tell him that he may even need to respond physically, and I’d give him the two caveats that my dad gave me: 1) You may hit back in self-defense. 2) You may hit back in order to defend some other innocent person.

Never instigate. Never provoke. But always stand tall with conviction and courage.”

Well, way to vaguely approve of violence, my friend! See, the positive feminist values taught by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, are that from a relational perspective. I would prefer to teach my son (if and when I ever get married and we choose to have kids), the way of persuasion and dialogue. See, just because MLPFIM is a cartoon does not mean it can’t teach anything. In fact, one of the things about books, television, and other media is that they have a teaching function, since all media is value-laden. There’s really no such thing as a neutral sphere. I mean when I was a kid, The Flintstones and The Jetsons learned us about family, The Smurfs about communism, G.I. Joes about Patriotism, He-Man: Masters of the Universe about well, just plain awesomeness. I want to teach my son to love his enemies, and forgive those who persecute him, just like Jesus would. This means a complete rejection of worldly (read: violent) definitions of manhood. I also plan on teaching my daughter(s) and/or son(s) to be anti-racist as well; and as I have mentioned before, MLP:FIM has a few episodes dealing with race and empire. If a show like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic makes it that much easier for me to do so, then a show like that is okay by me!

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h00die_R (Rod)

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Afrofuturism and daring to dream!

So, while I was scrolling along my favorite tumblr, Kenobi Wan Obi , I came across this incredible quote that explains a narrative that many blerds would identify with:

In the beginning there was a story, a telling of what it meant to be a Black body in the White Western European imagination. A simple account constructed to explain extant narratives, told to maintain a lucrative status quo. Then there was awareness of counter-narratives challenging the status quo, undermining the easy acceptance of received ideas.

Afrofuturism has emerged as part of an urbanized culture, set against systematic and structural estrangement and disenfranchisement of global Blackness. It is not a movement in the traditional sense. Instead, Afrofuturism is a culture and aesthetic understanding addressing all manifest forms as it seeks ways to tell the Black story of rebellion and engages divergent forms of communication. Music, art, spoken word, dance, literature, and religion are some major forms of expression. Afrofuturism is a post-modern deconstruction of a Western European meta-narrative. 

Imagine a Black person in living memory, and long before that, having to look at their life as lived, their past and present. It is an easy realization that it has not been a good past and present (on most parts of the planet), and it is in the future that a viable and desired existence has a possibility. Or perhaps only in a parallel universe, or even better still, on another planet altogether, in a land far, far away, that the possibility of the Good Life exists.

Science and science fiction (in many forms beyond the written text) have emerged as a solution to the impossibilities that reality proposes. As a consequence, writers who deal with Afrocentric questions, such as Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Greg Tate, and Nalo Hopkinson in writing, and Sun Ra and George Clinton, and Parliament Funk in music, have been seen as proponents of Afrofuturism. There is always an awareness of what it means to place the Black Body in the future, in Space. Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon attests to this.

Imagining a future, and being able to act on that impulse, has often been treated as a marker of freedom, especially personal freedom. The human spirit, individual and collective, has been rather resilient in maintaining growth, a conceptualization that allowed for a flourishing self-identity capable of resisting psychical death. New cultural forms have emerged to counteract imposed narratives, Afrocentric future-origin myths capable of counteracting the erasure and denigration of the many histories that Blackness endures around the world. 

While easy to argue that loss of identity only happened in the United State through the transatlantic slave trade, the reality is that Africans on the Continent and in the diaspora have had to negotiate their history and identity through a mediated narrative, mediated and reinforced by global colonial relationships, and Afrofuturism has become a viable methodology. Afrofuturism allows everything to be thought through again. Nothing is left untouched. The future allows for ease of interrogation of even the most unspoken taboos of lived life. Afrofuturism therefore allows for a new look at Blackness itself, a re-imagining of the self in relation to the other, the ability to tell one’s own story.

—Raimi Gbadamosi

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTLSm_a9B3OibkBS64bSDIDeon5jdGmkupBSCokQuVRUIikxUeCoA

Harry

Like a Lotus: Born into the murky, muddy waters I was, l ived, I breathed In awe of starry veil above me and the verdant radiance around me I gazed, I glowed, I gasped Striken with gale winds I braced, I fell, I felt Like a dove He descendeth He is, He lives, He breathes Like a lotus summoned by the sun’s rays I opened, I blossomed, I live

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The Dallas Cowboys: Star Wars Remix

I thought I would never see the day, but, THIS IS AWESOME!

dallas cowboys star wars

YAVIN REBELS

Check out the rest of the NFL at this gallery on imgur.com

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New Year’s Review of New 52: Geoff John’s Aquaman!

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQzgK0lKXC0EI0QRQPuZzsSdyNJmSvGvTKIMkV7l9L41L4gd0f4

This past summer, Political Jesus got SOAKED with a wave of posts ( so many puns!) relating Aquman New 52 and environmental justice! I mainly did topics relating to black American slave perceptions of nature and the physical environment and its suprising, if even a bit elusive, connection to Arthur Curry’s (Aquaman!) own experience as the King of Atlantis.

Aquaman

Aquaman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After having gone through the first 3 volumes (Vol. #0,#1, and #2) I would like to say that all-in-all, I ADORED the comics. I am very much happy with this attempt at blowing new life into a superhero that rarely gets taken seriously to begin with! From the updated cosmetic art-style to the deep , profound story-line and development of Aquaman’s back-story, I became enamored from the first pages of Vol #0!

 Vol # 0: As mentioned, Aquaman was given an edgy storyline with depth. We’re introduced to the fact that the often-mocked superhero, harbors a deep sadness for his father as he’s looking through the pages old photo albums with his red-headed aqua-vixen girlfriend, Mera. It is revealed that his father, who was once keeper of the lighthouse , was swept away by creatures , never to return again. What’s more? Arthur is supposed to inherit the thrown of Atlantis- the epicenter, the political capital of this strange, cold, dark, underworld! While I may have used this fact as an axiom for how black American slaves felt in during slave-holding America, these plot details , even this early in the series, provide a fascinating juxtaposition of a king who has come to reign over a region ( the oceanic depths) that doesn’t receive him. His rejection by the citizens of Atlantis and the ocean at large (the aquatic creatures) is evident through Curry’s father’s death at the hands of the ocean and one of the opening scenes where our hero is swimming through the ocean and narrowly misses an angry shark swipe, hungry for blood! Excellent, excellent plot set-up in Vol. #0!

Custom Aquaman minifig

Custom Aquaman minifig (Photo credit: Roo Reynolds)

Vol. # 1: More lovey-dovey between Aquman and his femme fatale – but one thing I can say ( and perhaps I’m speaking too soon…) is that there is no excrutiating display of affection between the two. I’m not one for sappy love stories so if that’s youas well then Vo. #1 shouldn’t make you wanna vomit or anything. Without giving away too much of the developing plot, the most memorable scene in Vol. #1 was Aquman at a seafood restaurant!  A wiseguy cracks a joke about Aquaman ordering fish, although he “talks” to fish… there are also a few stabs at his relative mediocrity to other D.C. universe heroes (#hatersgonnahate!)…  being a sucker for breaking the fourth wall, I found this amusing! Vol. #1’s pace was a bit slower than  #0  yet still ended on a cliff-hanger, not forgetting the main plot!

 http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120327153336/aquaman/images/8/83/The_Trench.jpg

Vol. #2: Definitely the most high-throttle point in the plot of the three I’ve read!  Vol. #1 was definitely the calm before the storm! The foreshadowed , anthropogenic gremlins of the deep “rise to the surface” of the plot! (ha!) Excellent action shots featuring the combative prowess of Mera and Aquaman as they try and fend of the creatures of the trench that were proving too powerful for law enforcement. Little does Curry know…these creatures are coming for their king… Staying true to the first two issues, Vol. #2 also ends on quite the cliff hanger!

So far, I would give Aquaman New 52 a stunning 4.5/5 stars!!  It features moments of exhilirating action, a captivating storyline rendering Aquaman respect in the D.C. universe and fascinating implications for the environment, politics, and even religion. Perhaps I’ll read the next 3 and do yet another review!

Also, if we learned anything this Summer from this update for Aquaman….

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Harry

Like a Lotus: Born into the murky, muddy waters I was, l ived, I breathed In awe of starry veil above me and the verdant radiance around me I gazed, I glowed, I gasped Striken with gale winds I braced, I fell, I felt Like a dove He descendeth He is, He lives, He breathes Like a lotus summoned by the sun’s rays I opened, I blossomed, I live

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Book Review: The Quest For The Creed by @dlongenecker1

 

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A few months ago, I received a review copy of Father Dwight Longenecker’s The Quest for The Creed: What The Apostles Really Believed and Why It Matters. You can find the book on Amazon here.

I read this book as a CredoBaptist: Nicene Creedal Faith + Free Church baptist. This work is a series of geeky reflections on the Nicene Creed, with quite a bit of a personal touch. Longnecker believes that it is the scandal of paradox that is the best way to confront our modern/post-modern society with it’s “Men from Missouri.” Missouri, you see, is the Show-Me-State, that it has a reputation of having people who need to see it before they believe it. In one trip to a museum, Longenecker meets a POC who acts as a Man From Missouri, and Longnecker writes on the importance of being culturally inclusive based “Beauty is in the eye of the beheld” and how beautiful the “scandal” of particularity is as a reflection on the Incarnation and Miraculous Conception.

By completing this work written by a Catholic clergyperson, it has made me a better Christian, and Baptist. I only wish that Longenecker would take more seriously the problem of sin and its impact on humanity socially. That, and I feel that his enthusiasm for the Jedi side of Star Wars was a tad bit much for this Sith warlord. Overall, I would recommend this book to laypersons and persons who would like an introduction to the history of Christian faith.

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Doctor Who: The Time Of The Doctor

 Stephen Moffat‘s War On Christmas Women

The Doctor has changed appearance ten distinct...

The Doctor has changed appearance ten distinct times. These are the eleven faces of the Doctor. (Top) L-R: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (Middle) L-R: Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann (Bottom) L-R: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight the Christmas special of Doctor Who aired on BBC America at 9pm EST/8pm CST.  While all Doctor  Who Christmas specials are meant nowadays to be memorable, this one will be remembered as Matt Smith‘s last episode as the Doctor.  The episode starts off with of course the unrequitted love between the Doctor and his companion, Clara.  Clara invites the Doctor to Christmas dinner because she has made up an imaginary boyfriend.  The Doctor of course obliges, and Clara chooses to cook the turkey on the TARDIS.  While on the TARDIS, the Doctor runs into Tasha Lem, the Mother Superior and chief religious figure of the Church of Papal Mainframe.

Tasha Lem allows Clara and the Doctor to pass through her force field while they investigate a planet with possible Gallifreyan connections.  I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but I will say this, that like last year’s Christmas special, I could understand what was going on, unlike many other times during the Moffatt Era.  I remain a fan of Clara and I hope they make her character stronger.  I liked the way that the 11th Doctor died of old age before his regeneration, and there seem to be some real Star Trek like speculations when it comes to religion such as  “everyone enters the church naked.”  My biggest frustration with  the Moffatt Era continues to be his inability to write women, and much of the time, his portrayals are sexist.  At one point, there’s a disturbing scene where the Doctor kisses Tasha Lem without her consent, and when she confronts him about that fact, the Doctor dismisses her concerns with “humor.”

Much like Moffatt’s dismissal of having a woman Doctor Who (comparing a woman Doctor to a man “playing” the Queen), the Doctor seems not to care for the free will of women like Tasha Lem.  Rape culture dismisses arguments for consent with “she was asking for it.”  I can only hope , that with the new batch of regenerations, Moffatt will choose to make wiser writing choices, and take the sexism out of his story-telling.  As for Capaldi’s 12th/13th Doctor, I wish that they can go back to the Untamed Storm/ angry professor style of Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor. We shall see.

h00die_R (Rod)

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Musical Jesus: What do Pokemon and Jesus have to do with each other!?

 

flikrhivemind.net

Knowing that many folk who happen across this fine blog are self-proclaimed or labeled nerds ( and I’d certainly consider myself one!), the stereotype is that we don’t have much musical inclination – while it may be true for some, not all! I’m no Stevie Wonder, but I have an appreciation for music and know a bit about voice singing techniques and can even read sheet music (played flute for 3 years in middle school!). For those of you who maybe aren’t as familiar with some music theory, one thing you should know is a thing called “Common Meter”!

Google.com defines common meter as “a metrical pattern for hymns in which the stanzas have four lines containing eight and six syllables alternately rhyming abcb or abab.”

In fact, it’s called common meter precisely because it’s a pattern you see in music in MANY songs!

Here’s a list of common songs containing common meter: (note how widespread it is in genre)

“God rest Ye Merry Gentleman
O God Our Help In Ages Past
Amazing Grace
Yankee Doodle
America the Beautiful
Brighton Camp
The Marine Hymn
O Susannah
The Happy Wanderer (verses)
The Alpha Phi Omega toast song
I’ve been Working on the Railroad
Amazing Grace
Giligan’s Island
Greensleeves
House of the Rising Sun
Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
The Yellow Rose of Texas
Joy to the World
Auld Lang Syne
Beverly Hillbillies Theme
Ghost Riders in the Sky
Stairway to Heaven
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Navy Hymn ( Eternal Father)
Angels We Have heard On High
Down By The Riverside”

-instructables.com

So finally, what does Jesus have to do with Pokemon? COMMON METER!:

Link to youtube video

That’s right! – The original pokemon theme song is ALSO in common meter! Who knew?

 

Harry

Like a Lotus: Born into the murky, muddy waters I was, l ived, I breathed In awe of starry veil above me and the verdant radiance around me I gazed, I glowed, I gasped Striken with gale winds I braced, I fell, I felt Like a dove He descendeth He is, He lives, He breathes Like a lotus summoned by the sun’s rays I opened, I blossomed, I live

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Red Lanterns Volume 1: Blood and Rage

A few days ago, I purchased Red Lanterns Volume 1: Blood And Rage

Red Lantern Corps

Red Lantern Corps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE & BLOODSHED AHEAD

and as always, SPOILER ALERTS

I must give credit where credit is due. Optimist Chad first introduced me to the rebooted version of the Green Lantern lore, and I haven’t really looked by since. I like the idea that the stories cover the color spectrum, with each color representing an emotion.  My favorite is Red.  In Green Lantern The Animated Series, Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Armada are the Season 1 “Big Bad.”  One of the major players from the comics, Bleez, was unfortunately missing. Probably because her story is not that safe for children, or rather, it’s something parents should be talking to their kids about, and not the media.

Laira's Red Power Ring

Laira’s Red Power Ring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For starters, the Green Lanterns are the policemen of the universe, protecting planets and sectors; their power is green for will-power. Green Lantern rings choose their bearers, as these rings were forged by the Guardians of the Universe who want to see order in the universe.  The Guardians have a history of mistakes, and one of these mistakes was that they created, before the Green Lantern Corps, robots called the Manhunters who sought to destroy all sentient beings who had emotions.  One of their victims was an alien named Atros, who was one of 5 persons to survive the Manhunter onslaught of Sector 666 (yikes!!!, I know).

Atros changed his name to Atrocitus and became a terrorist bent on revenge versus the Guardians.  Atrocitus’ backstory is as a survivor of genocide.  Atrocitus’ quest for vengeance leads him on an existential journey where his closest confidant is the corpse of Krona, the Guardian who planned Atrocitus’ planet’s destruction.  Atrocitus gathers an army in Blood And Rage, but the members lose their intelligence unless they are baptized in a pool of blood on the Planet Ysmault.  Atrocitus struggles with the decision to make one of his soldiers his lieutenant, and therefore have their capacity to think and remember restored.

The first member of the Red Lantern corps Atrocitus chooses to give back her free will was

 

Bleez, of the Red Lantern Corps, from Green Lanterns Wikia page

When Bleez regains her conciousness, her memories also come back.  Atrocitus trusts no one because of his experience, and so instead of one sidekick in Bleez (whom he fears is leading a mutiny), Atrocitus gives the rest of his army freel will.  Red Lantern Corps members consistent of victims of violent crimes as well criminals themselves.  Unlike the heroic Green Lanterns, Red Lanterns are a messy collection of villains and anti-heroes.  Part of the appeal to me for this book was Atrocitus’ inner monologues, and who he considered “The Worthy.”  By “the Worthy,” he means those events and persons who were most deserving of being avenged.

Red Lanterns Volume 1: Blood and Rage is about a group’s quest to seek out justice.  Within the storyworld, humans are the beings who resist  having their free will taken away/losing their consciousness when they become Red Lanterns. I found it interesting that one of the first humans picked was a homeless man because of all of the injustices he had to witness on a day to day basis.  Because of Blood And Rage, I now want to read the rest of the Red Lantern volumes, especially since I have read on the blogosphere that a member of Superman’s family will become one!

Super Girl going after a Red Lantern ring, courtesy of HeroFix

h00die_R (Rod)

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A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Conclusion

A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Conclusion

Posted on November 19, 2013 by 

Check out the introduction for background on this series of posts!
Check out part 1: Green Lantern. Check out part 2: Captain America.Check out part 3: Wolverine. Check out part 4: Power Girl. Check out part 5: Aquaman. Check out part 6: Luke Cage. Check out part 7: Iron Man. Check out part 8: Spider-Man. Check out part 9: Wonder Woman. Check out part 10: John Constantine.Check out part 11: The Incredible Hulk. Check out part 12: Batman. Check out part 13: Static. Check out part 14: Black Canary. Check out part 15: Superman. Check out part 16: Thor. Check out part 17: the Phantom Stranger. Check out part 18: Green Arrow. Check out part 19: the Flash. Check out part 20: Animal Man.

What were the final scores?

In order from least points to most, the scores were:

Iron Man: 1.0666666  points
Phantom Stranger: 3 points
John Constantine: 4 points
Hulk (Mr. Fixit): 4 points
Captain America: 4 points (1 bonus point)
Green Lantern: 4 points (1 bonus point)
Aquaman: 4.5 points
Luke Cage: 4.5 points
Black Canary: 4.5 points
Thor: 5 points
Wolverine: 5 points
Hulk (Smart Hulk): 5 points
Green Arrow: 5 points
Wonder Woman: 5.5 points
Batman: 5.5 points (1 bonus point)
Power Girl: 6 points
Static: 6.5 points
Spider-Man: 7 points
Hulk (Savage Hulk): 7 points
Animal Man: 7 points
Superman: 7 points (1 bonus point)
The Flash: 7.33 1/3 points (1 bonus point)

Before I comment, I want to make a critique of my methods. 

Justice League

Justice League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, my categories were too binary. There is a large difference, for example, between the worldview of Animal Man and the worldview of Luke Cage, but the binary “yes or no” did not leave much room for exploring that. In fact, I admit I fudged the numbers a bit by using decimals when that binary became too restrictive. If I were to revisit this series again, I would use a scale of some sort, not a yes/no.

Second, this list is nowhere near as diverse as I would have liked. While I did speak about race and gender to some degree, there remains a lack of diversity on my list. Given unlimited time and energy for this project, I should have included Cyborg, Steel, Storm, Black Panther, Falcon, Batgirl/Oracle, Supergirl, Katana, Black Lightning, Vibe, Stargirl, and others as representatives of minorites. But instead, I chose the representatives that I already had some affection for, and contrasted them with the more standard heroes of the Avengers and Justice League.

The "Heroic Age" roster of the Aveng...

The “Heroic Age” roster of the Avengers. Cover art for Avengers vol. 4, #12.1, by Bryan Hitch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Third, there are doubtless many other heroes that I could have reviewed that would have scored much higher than those represented here, and certainly there are heroes that are not represented that are fan-favorites of people very near and dear to me. To you folk, I apologize. I simply ran out of steam for the job, and people were already threatening to boycott Political Jesus if I continued, lol. So perhaps one day, I will give Blue Beetle, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Gambit, Nightwing, and Boris the Beat their due, but it won’t be today.

Conclusion:

Having said all that, I believe that I am in no shape to give a whole-hearted devotion to a super-hero the way I have done for Green Lantern in the past. In dissecting these heroes over the last few months, I have gained an appreciation for them beyond how they fit into my categories. Phantom Stranger and Constantine rated very low, but why do I enjoy reading them so much? Thor rated fairly high, but I have little desire to read his book monthly just because he did well on my list.

Still, there were a few heroes that really outshone the competition and made me appreciate who they are. Spider-Man and Superman are heroes that have always been in my periphery. I tend not to like more mainstream heroes. But I simply cannot deny that they represent the best of who we want to be. I am now committed to diving into their stories a bit more over the coming year. I was surprised Hulk rated so high, but Hulk has always been a favorite of mine, especially in his Savage (childlike) persona.

Variant incentive cover for The Flash vol. 3, ...

Variant incentive cover for The Flash vol. 3, #1 (April 2010). Art by Tony Harris. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The true front-runner (no pun intended) however, is the Flash. He surprised me. I have been reading a lot of these heroes in preparation for this blog, but I was really struck by the Flash in a way that the others didn’t strike me. In particular, his boundless hope and his humanization of even his enemies, and unwillingness to settle for anything other than the best outcome was truly inspiring. And I don’t mind saying that this is coming at a great time for Flash fans, who have a TV show on the horizon, a great comic to follow, a whole slew of t-shirts to wear, and a new advocate on Political Jesus. The new Flash fan – ME!

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Optimistic Chad

Chad really really hopes things are going to turn out ok. He loves his wife - with the passion of 1000 exploding suns, and is a diligent, but surely mediocre father to his brilliant and subversive children. He likes Chinese food.

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A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 20, Animal Man

A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 20, Animal Man

Posted on November 19, 2013 by 

Check out the introduction for background on this series of posts!
Check out part 1: Green Lantern. Check out part 2: Captain America.Check out part 3: Wolverine. Check out part 4: Power Girl. Check out part 5: Aquaman. Check out part 6: Luke Cage. Check out part 7: Iron Man. Check out part 8: Spider-Man. Check out part 9: Wonder Woman. Check out part 10: John Constantine.Check out part 11: The Incredible Hulk. Check out part 12: Batman. Check out part 13: Static. Check out part 14: Black Canary. Check out part 15: Superman. Check out part 16: Thor. Check out part 17: the Phantom Stranger. Check out part 18: Green Arrow. Check out part 19: the Flash.

Animal Man (comic book)

Animal Man (comic book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animal Man is not likely a superhero that many recognize. Up until recently, he has been somewhat obscure, even among comic fans themselves. Having said that, he has a very well selling book at the moment, and has made a few surprise appearances on the DC Shorts segments of the DC Nation block of cartoons on Cartoon Network.

Who is Animal Man?

Buddy Baker is unique among many heroes in that he has a family. Not just a long time girlfriend or wife, but a wife he is faithful to, along with 2 children. He has a day job, has other interests outside of superheroing, and has written a book. He comes to all of this with the ability to tap into the metaphysical web of life surrounding the Earth and borrow powers from any animal that is close to him.

Is this character heroic? Yeah. It gets him into trouble, and often puts his family at risk, which is problematic, but he does the right thing when it counts.  (1 point)

Does this character represent the “powers” or fight against them? Leaning towards against. He is a resolute environmentalist, vegetarian, and pacifist, and often participates in social action against the powers. So, there really isn’t’ any wiggle room here. (1 point)

Does this character kill? No. He believes in the intrinsic value of ALL life, even down to the smallest of creatures, which he has felt the life force of, and thus feels kinship with. He is like a superhero version of St. Francis. (1 point)

Does this character have a spirituality? Ish. Not traditional though. He treats his environmentalism as a sort of religion, and his book is chock full of religious, spiritual, and philosophical dialogue about the nature of things, the universe, our role, family, etc… So while we likely won’t see Buddy in church any time soon, he gets a point.
(1 point)

Does this character have an interesting (and sustainable) story to inhabit? For the most part, yes. I really depends on the writer. When you get a metaphysical sort on the book, it can be great, if sort of preachy. When you get a rather non-introspective person in the job, Animal Man seems boring and episodic. Currently, the run has been great, but it hasn’t always been so. (.5 points)

Does this character have a supporting cast that isn’t just around to make them look good? Not really. The big exception is Buddy’s family. The interaction with them is great, but they are small in number. Animal Man doesn’t seem to branch out and interact with others as much as he could.  (.5 points)

Does this character have a T-shirt I can buy in size XL? No.  (0 bonus points)

Does this character represent, in broad terms, an outlook on life that I can support? In very broad terms, yes. His philosophy hits on some important points that I believe in like the value of all life. While I approach hypocrisy with my love of carnivorism, Buddy literally won’t hurt a fly. We need heroes like that to spur us onto greatness. Buddy also puts his money where his mouth is and is an activist and writer for the causes he cares about. He is also a great example of a loving husband and dedicated father.  (1 Point)

Are this characters powers (or lack thereof) interesting? Animal powers can get boring after a while. The source of Buddy’s powers has been undergoing a large change in its status quo, and so “the Red,” the newer name for the web of life around our planet, has been interesting to explore, especially in contrast to “the Green” (plants) and the “the Grey” (decay). I hope that savvy writers are able to draw on that rather than become intimidated by it.  (1 point)

 

Verdict: 7 out of 8 points

Tune in next time for a wrap up discussion on my new favorite superhero…

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Optimistic Chad

Chad really really hopes things are going to turn out ok. He loves his wife - with the passion of 1000 exploding suns, and is a diligent, but surely mediocre father to his brilliant and subversive children. He likes Chinese food.

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