I had meant to grade papers today, but the online system is down for maintenance until later today, and well, that’s when the Kentucky game starts, so, well…
I’ll cheerfully agree that Marvel has dominated the comic-book movie realm (And yes, the Spawn and I saw Black Panther, and thought it was a solid, entertaining movie, though a bit heavy-handed at times). And in my teens and twenties, I generally found the Marvel titles stronger than the competition’s as well. But most of my favorite characters over the years have come from DC. There are the Big Three, of course, but two of my all-time favorite comic characters have been career B-list members.
Specifically, I’ve always been a fan of the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre. It’s probably a reflection of my own metaphysical interests (and rather Lenten worldview), but there is just something about the two that pushes my “cool” button. Indeed, I’ve told the Spawn on occasion that if I were ever to do cosplay, I’d want to be the Stranger (but while my hair is now sufficiently white for the gig, I’d have to shave, so it’s not likely. Also, there’s the whole white, pupil-less eyes thing.)
So where I was going with this is that I was in Real City yesterday, and stopped by the local used media emporium before returning home. I swung by the graphic novel section, and ran across a collection of Spectre stories, from John Ostrander‘s run as writer back in the 90s. Ostrander studied theology and at one point, and his vision of the character as the incarnation of God’s wrath has some meat on it. In particular, the Spectre’s decision to annihilate nearly the entire population of Vlatava (a fictive Balkan country meant to remind the readers of breakup-era Yugoslavia) as irredeemable reminds us of how much we rely upon Grace. (Interestingly, a Heavenly Tribunal later essentially declares the act to be justifiable homicide, as the population was bent on destroying one another anyway, and even the few innocents were going to be slaughtered soon enough.) The Stranger makes an appearance, leading a team of supernatural characters in an attempt to prevent something similar from happening to the entire planet. It made for a lively, interesting read.
Anyway, I know that while both the Stranger and Spectre have had their own titles lately, neither have managed to sustain their audiences over the long haul. Still, I like them, and wouldn’t mind seeing them more frequently. Heck, they could even have the Stranger grow a beard.
As you might expect, I’ve been keeping track of the NCAA basketball tournament, and will continue to do so unless and until my beloved Kentucky Wildcats are eliminated, after which point I shall cease to care. In any case, I had a great time watching the Retrievers of the U of Maryland — Baltimore County vanquish the top-ranked squad from the U of Virginia last night, and apparently I had a lot of company. CBS reported this afternoon that as the game went on, so many people tried to access the University’s website that the server crashed. Prior to this, I believe the school was best known for its chess program, which offers scholarships.
It’s a feel-good story, and I wish the team well — at least until they face Kentucky.
Well, Mrs. M has made a container of Southwest-spiced hummus for me, so I think I’ll close this post off and nosh a bit. And as is my custom, I’ll do it with a bit of music. Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll go with Irish-American Celtic rockers Flogging Molly. I was introduced to the band by Chris Fletcher, a student in my Seven Deadly Sins class (which I’ll be reprising next year, it appears), and it wasn’t until later that I realized the lead vocalist, Dave King, had held the same post in Fastway, the post-Motorhead effort of Fast Eddie Clarke and UFO’s Pete Way. As for Chris, he’s now teaching FroshComp while working on a Masters at another school in South Carolina. I think he’s likely suffering enough. Without further ado, here’s “Seven Deadly Sins.”
See you soon!