Archive for the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Category

Amazing Arizona ComiCon Hall Costumes and the unimpressive Trollgod   3 comments

On Saturday, January 25, I grabbed my little camera, and took myself to the Phoenix Convention Center to take pictures of hall costumes. Arizona fans have really been getting into cosplay the last few years, and the costumes keep getting better and better. I like cosplay, and cosplayers–they are so friendly, and some of them are really creative. They enjoy showing off their costumes and are usually very happy to be photographed.  So, since I was born to have adventure, I went off to see what I could see.

The trouble with giant conventions downtown is parking.  It is very expensive to park downtown. Event parking was $20 for the Con, and I didn’t want to spend that much money. The solution–park for free at ChrisTown and ride the light rail into the heart of the city. An allday pass is just $4. This is the first time I’ve bought a light rail pass since the line started, and I didn’t know how to do it–but a passerby helped me get through it. So, I bought my ticket, got my receipt, and didn’t know enough to pick  up the actual plastic boarding pass. The transit police explained it all to me as I was riding downtown. Luckily, they did not arrest me. At least I had my receipt. The other thing that went wrong at the beginning was that when I tried to take a picture of the train at the beginning of the trip, the camera shut iself down–battery power too low.  So, the whole photo expedition was not going to work because of lack of power. Luckily, I figured that out before I got downtown and tried to take pix with a camera that wouldn’t work. (It is truly better to be lucky than good.) I jumped back off the train, quick walked 2 blocks to the nearest Walgreen’s drug store, and bought myself a package of AA batteries–an unanticipated expense, but at least I have a supply of new batteries that that should last a couple of months.  The rest of the trip was uneventful.  I came out with some 87 usable  pictures from my trip, and they’re all available on my Facebook page, but here I’m only going to share 42 of the best (in my estimation) shots.  87 might be a bit much . . . 🙂 Oh, this is funny, the pix filled up  all the  space available to me in this blog, and so I was only able to caption 2 of them. You’ll have to figure out all the rest. Bwa  ha ha ha ha!

The first costume I saw on arrival. This  young lady is Big Barda, a new god from D.C. Comics.

The first costume I saw on arrival. This young lady is Big Barda, a new god from D.C. Comics.

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Three warrior maidens from Asgard posed with me, the totally out of place Trollgod. From left to right, the Enchantress, Thor’s Lady Sif, and a valkyrie. The goon in black is me, Ken St. Andre, Trollgod.

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The Flash squares off against Deadpool.

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Wonder Woman bounced some invisible bullets for me.

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Captain Hook went outside to get a break.

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along with his scurvy crew.

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This Predator told me he was cooking slowly inside his amazing outfit. He looked really uncomfortable, but graciously gave me the shot.

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The giant robot handed out Con literature and provided lots of photo ops.

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Robin, red Robin!

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I believe this woman is Ghost.

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This might be Harley Quinn, the colors are right, or just a vampire lady, but a beauty in either case.

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A character from the end of the Bleach manga. He told me his name, but I forgot it. Maybe one of  you viewers can explain  him.

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I don’t know who this is supposed to be, but it’s professional grade body armor if I ever saw any.

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This girl was so colorful and bright that I had to take her picture, nor could I exclude her mystical black-garbed friend.

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Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, looked like he was ready to rock and roll.

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Animated from anime!

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Batgirl has gone public. No mask for this crimefighter.

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I don’t think Ms. Marvel believed me when I told her I was in love, but she gave me a 20 megawatt smile.

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Roller Derby Harley Quinn ditched her Puddin to be with Captain America. In fact, Harley was all over the place and seemed to be hanging with everyone but Mr. J.

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She’s just another pretty face, but sweet and so close.

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I think it’s some kind of superhero lineup.

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Looks like Tinkerbelle has finally gotten Peter to notice her.

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Princess Aurora was the soul of curtsy (pun intended)

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Alien Smurfette or just a very brainy blue girl???

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Rocket Raccoon was gratiied that I recognized her.

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I talked to this guy a bit. He said he’s just an ordinary dude, but is his own character. He tricks out ordinary ties with all kinds of punk and kitsch ornamentations.

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Wyatt Earp looked a little out of place in this crowd, but I think he qualifies as a 19th century superhero.

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Most awesome shoes ever for a male character.

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Who wants a Kiss?  Not me!!!

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The Adam West Batman showed up  Great costume, but remarkably restrained by today’s standards of cool and awesome. Look! He actually has a batarang.

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Jean Grey and Bucky Barnes seem like an unlikely pair.

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Marvin the Martian promised not to deliver any earth-shattering kabooms while the Con was in session.

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Batgirl as friendly supermodel. It works for me.

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Jay Garrick, the original Flash was still prepared to run circles around his later imitators.

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I did not recognize the outfit, so I asked her about it. She said she was the girl from Sucker Punch, the movie, which I have not seen. I asked for her picture, and wound up getting one taken with her by her companion. It’s the Hat–it gets me the pretty girls all the time.

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Future Foundation Spider-Man looks absolutely terrified for some reason.

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Harley and Ivy.

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To infinity and beyond?

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This is not Lady Blackhawk gone bad, but someone from Japanese anime. You can tell by the hair color. She liked the idea, though.

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On my way out, I saw this graceful ninja flowing through a sword dance.  The whole dance will probably be available on the ComicCon Facebook page.

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Pirate Harley Quinn. This mixed-up villain has more looks than the Man with 1000 faces.

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Amazingly enough, I was there for almost 2 hours and didn’t see a single person I knew, but what a lot of extremely cool people I did see.  The Trollgod tips his beat-up old begoggled hat to all of them as well as to all the great costumes that you can see on Facebook, because I didn’t want this blog to be too long. It is too long, I know, but it could easily have been twice as long.

If you’ve ever seen cool hall costumes at a convention, why not leave a comment.  If  you recognize yourself in here, why not sign-in and tell the world what you were doing at the Amazing Arizona ComiCon.

–end

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The Amazing Spider-Man number 700   8 comments

I don't think I understand this cover.

I don’t think I understand this cover.

A hero died last week.  The villain won, and in a big way.  Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius, managed to switch his consciousness into Peter Parker’s healthy  young body and put Peter into his own dying, cancer-ridden carcass.  That happened in Amazing Spider-Man #698.  In #699 Peter comes up with a desperate plan to save himself.  In #700, he gives it a hell of a try, but he fails.

Ok, it’s a comic book.  Not real.  In the real world, hundreds, perhaps thousands of real heroes die every week.  Cops, firemen, doctors, soldiers, professionals of all sorts who help real people, die, and no one except friends and family of those real life heroes ever knows or cares.  Every one of those deaths is a tragedy for someone.

But there is a sense in which the imaginary death of the imaginary Peter Parker is more real than that of the real death of real heroes. Spider-Man has been on the world scene since 1963–that’s 50 years.  He lived in that timeless comics world where he aged about 10 years while the rest of us got old.  I remember the first issue of Spider-Man.  I owned it at one time, and foolishly sold it when I thinned my comics collection in 1973 when I got married.  Peter was known to and admired by tens of millions of people.  The heroes of the real world are lucky to reach a hundred or a thousand people.

They are clever bastards at Marvel.  Peter’s body lives on.  His memories remain in his physical brain.  All that has really happened is that he has had a personality change.  He’s no longer Amazing.  From now on he will be the Superior Spider-Man.  I think that may come back to bite them.  How long before the new Spider-Man gets to be known as the Inferior Spider-Man?

Some people are saying that no one ever stays dead in comics, and that is pretty much true.  Peter Parker could return from the dead–writers have infinite power in imaginary worlds.  I have already thought of a way to do it, and I’ve read about at least two other methods that could be used. Bringing people back from the dead is easily accomplished.  D.C. Comics is perhaps the worst offender.  Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Hawkman, and Green Arrow–just to name the big guys have all really died, and really come back to life in the last decade or so.  A little over a year ago, D.C. killed off (discontinued–it’s pretty much the same thing) the entire universe, and rebooted it.

None of those deaths affected me emotionally the way the recent death of Peter Parker has affected me.  I haven’t bought Spider-Man comics for decades, but I made a point of buying this issue.  This tragedy will be the comic book event of 2013.  I’m wondering about buying The Superior Spider-Man #1 which comes out next week.  These two issues will certainly be highly collectible in 10 or 20 years if the world and comics last that long.

I’ve been a comics fan all my life.  I’ve seen dozens of comic book deaths.  They all saddened me, but none has made me feel as bad as this one.  And that is because all of those deaths had one thing in common–the hero died heroically.  They may have been killed, but they weren’t defeated.  Their deaths accomplished something.

Dan Slott, the writer who killed Peter Parker, might say the same thing for his story, but it’s a lie.  Peter’s final action is to make Otto understand that with great power comes great responsibility.  Otto vows that he will continue the Spider-Man legacy of heroism, and will be a better Spider-Man than the original.  He will be THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN!

Does anybody see the same arrogant selfish pride that characterized Doc Ock for the last 50 years?  Ock is callous and scheming.  He treats people like objects–he calls Mary Jane “woman”, and bosses her around like a hired hand.  Despite his promise to the dying Peter, I don’t think Otto Octavius has been redeemed at all.  I think the bad guy won.

Marvel has always been slightly more “realistic” in its depiction of the world and the people in it than DC has.  This death of Peter Parker follows that trend.  In the real world bad guys often win, at least as often as good guys do.  In the real world it isn’t often easy to say who is good and who is bad–none of us are perfect.  Villains have won before in comics, but never on this scale–never with quite this emotional impact.

I am not so much saddened or enraged by the death of Peter Parker as I am betrayed.  I feel that Marvel comics has betrayed their public by letting Parker die this way.  I feel betrayed in a way that the death of Superman or Batman did not make me feel.  I really feel that Evil has triumphed.  Good has been perverted and crushed, just the same as the dying body of Doc Ock was crushed.  Every time I think of it, I feel sick.

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There are some other issues that the “death” of Peter Parker raises for me that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else.  (They may have been.  I haven’t really searched the web to see what other bloggers are saying about this event.)  This gimmick of mind switching calls up the Question of Identity.  What is identity?  What makes you or me who we are?  Is it our memories?  Octavius mind in Parker body has Parker’s physical brain and all of Parker’s memories.  Parker in Octavius body had Ock’s brain and memories.  When they made the mind switch, they also carried all their personal memories across the gap.  In essence they became the same person, but with different mind-sets/personalities.  The Parker personality died, but everything else that was Peter Parker lived on.

Or is it soul that determines identity?  There is a short sequence in 700 when Parker is “dead” for 3 minutes, and goes to “heaven” where he is re-united with all the important people that have died in his life:  his parents, Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, Silver Sable (wait a minute!  Sable is dead? Awwwww!  She was such a fox.  When did that happen?)  This is portrayed as a happy ending for him.  Death is not a tragedy.  Death is the final victory.  If you believe in souls, you could see things that way.  I call bullshit on that.  We will all die.  Some will die horribly; some will die well; most of us will probably expire quietly in a hospital some time.  I happen to think it matters how we die.  Slott gave Parker the most horrible death he could imagine–cut off from all his living friends and family, in agonizing pain, in another man’s wrecked and ruined body, cursed and reviled wrongly by everyone in the world that he had spent his life helping and saving.  Talk about your martyr’s death!  We have all been empathizing and identifying with Parker for a long time.  In a sense Slott gave us all that same hideous death–it is not a death any of us would have wanted, nor would many of us even wish it on our worst enemies.  I feel sick.

The people who run Marvel Comics are probably laughing all the way to the bank about how much money the “Death of the Amazing Spider-Man” has brought them.  Slott has said that even though fandom feels betrayed and sickened right now, the fans will get over it.  New readers will come to the title, and Parker will mean nothing to those newcomers.  Spider-Man will continue.  Spider-Man is a title, not a person.  Whoever wears the suit, whoever swings on the webs, that’s Spider-Man.  That is one way of looking at it, and it is a true way of looking at the situation.  Spider-Man is the institution.  It doesn’t really matter who is behind the mask.  It could even be a total creep like Otto Octavius, so long as he fights the fight and carries the colors.  I don’t believe it.  I feel sick.

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If you were at all affected by the “death of Peter Parker” why not leave a comment?