Tag Archives: Wolverine

The Mount Rushmore of Superheroes

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This is Mount Rushmore. It is basically a mountain that has 4 massive Presidential mugs carved into it. 4 Presidents that were not selected by accident. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, selected each of these men based on what they had accomplished and their impact on our nation. Today, people will refer to the Mount Rushmore of Basketball Players, or football player, or actors or even superheroes, as a way to discuss who were the greatest of all time. I saw someone post an image of their Superhero Mount Rushmore, and I began to wonder who would be on mine? Who would I consider the greatest 4 superheroes of all time, and I thought that would make for an interesting post. Then my wife suggested I pick four heroes and tie them in with the Presidents that were selected, which I thought sounded even more interesting. So, here is who would be on my Superhero Mount Rushmore. I am not saying these are my 4 favorites, but each played a role in the history of Superheroes, somewhat similar to the Presidents who are up on the mountain. (Some of it might be kind of a stretch, but it’s all for fun anyway).

George Washington-Superman

f_washingtonGeorge Washington was selected because he was the original. He was the first President of the United States, he started it all. His place on the mountain was assured because of that, if for no other reason. However, he was also the general that led the colonists against the British and helped us gain our independence. He seems to stand for everything we think of as making America great, and if all the Presidents were to ever sit down and have a meeting, George Washington would be the head of that meeting.  I always liked the legend of George Washington refusing to be crowned King. He had just fought a war to liberate us from a king, he didn’t want us to return to that. The people gave him all the power, and he could have taken advantage of that, but he didn’t.

3605753-1936874063-31646Similar to George Washington, Superman was the first Superhero, or at least the first one that really caught on. For me, this was the easiest connection to make. Without George Washington, there wouldn’t be the other Presidents, and without Superman, there wouldn’t be the other Superheroes. Superman has the power to be a god over the people of Earth, and it’s a good possibility that id he asserted that power, people would follow him willingly, and he could be king of the Earth, but he doesn’t do that. Like George Washington, he acts responsibly with the power he has been given. You may not agree with all of my entries on this list, but it would be hard to have a superhero Mount Rushmore without Superman.

Thomas Jefferson-Batman

Mount-Rushmore-Natl-Monument-Thomas-Jefferson-SD-1-2011-09-14_496x684It seems like Thomas Jefferson is always stuck in George Washington’s lofty shadow. George Washington was the 1st President, Jefferson was the 3rd. George gets the $1 bill, Thomas gets the $2 bill, a bill no one ever uses. Yet, it would be hard to argue that any one man did more to frame the foundation for the liberties we enjoy today. Thomas Jefferson is credited for writing the Declaration of Independence, a document that is probably more important to the history of our country and our world than almost any other document. Jefferson was also a big proponent of the government stepping in and being more involved, where as Washington was a little more hands off. Plus, it is only proper that Jefferson be up on this mountain, since his Louisiana Purchase bought the actual mountain and made it part of the United States.

3084172-2727164-batman_by_el_grimlock_d4sntu0Batman and Superman are opposites in a lot of ways, but they both have similar goals, to protect the innocent and all that stuff. This is similar to Washington and Jefferson. Each performed their role as President very differently, but each had the same end goal: to prosper and protect our young nation. Batman continues to sit in Superman’s shadow, at least in the mainstream, but I think he likes it in the shadows, so it’s ok. Batman, as we have seen in many story lines, is ok with stretching his influence as much as he can to bring order to Gotham, where as Supes seems to want to minimize his. One thing that you have to credit Batman for is his story which has become the ultimate Superhero archetype. Plus, Batman has spread the popularity of comics further than Superman ever could have on his own. If Superman gave us the Superhero model and laid that foundation, then Batman expanded and built it up to what it is today.

Theodore Roosevelt- Wolverine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheodore Roosevelt has always seemed like the odd man out to me on Mount Rushmore. He was wildly popular in his time, and he did establish the National Parks, and Rushmore is a National Park, but really he didn’t do anything especially mountain worthy. Looking into it a little for this post, I realized that when this sculpture was started in 1927, Roosevelt was a pretty big deal still. He brought our nation into the 20th century and into an economic boom. He was feared and respected as President, especially by those who would threaten our country. He coined the phrase to “talk softly, but carry a big stick.” It seemed to work for him as President. Plus he was a world traveler and renowned hunter. Then there was the Panama Canal which offered a quick connection between east and west. Then there were his days with the rough riders- he was a man’s man, which made me think of…

0147…Wolverine. Also a world renown hunter, and survivor of multiple “military exploits,” Wolverine is a man’s man kind of Superhero. He may not carry a big stick, but his 6 adamantium claws are a pretty good substitute. Wolverine became the face of marvel comics during a boom time as well: the 1990’s. Since then, his face has been everywhere. He may not be as old or as iconic as the others on this list, but for the modern generation, he may be just as important, similar to Teddy. Wolverine goes his own way, not really fitting into the traditional Superhero mold. Similarly, Theodore Roosevelt felt like he didn’t fit into the traditional mold of his political party, so he started his own, the Bull Moose Party. Because of his past, many may have thought that Wolverine was not really leadership material, but as of late he has taken over as the head of the Jean Grey school, and has done alright, proving to be more of a leader than some gave him credit for.

Abraham Lincoln- Captain America

4861843101_074edf2665_zThe thing that Abraham Lincoln is best known for is abolishing slavery and holding our country together through the Civil War. He knew what was right and what was wrong, and he wasn’t going to let anyone tell him differently. He would not back down, and believed that the Union would prevail in the Civil War because it was on the right side of the debate. After the war was over, Lincoln’s plan was to be very forgiving with the former confederate states to help speed along the recovery and peace of our country. Unfortunately, he was gunned down before he could move too far into his reconstruction plans. As a result, our country was left in quite a mess. More than almost any other man in history, Lincoln seems to embody everything America is about or what it should be about, especially considering he had political loss after political loss before becoming President and stepping into his shoes as one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world.

1163159-80_marvel_adventures_super_heroes_3There can be only one Superhero that embodies all of that, and it would be Captain America. He stands for everything good about our country and he sometimes has to stand for it all alone. He also led one side of a civil war in the comics, knowing his side would prevail because they were right. In fact, Steve Rogers has found himself in quite a few of those kinds of conflicts, and he always seems to find a way to bring everyone back together again.  Sometimes, that’s no easy task. In addition, he was also gunned down by an assassin’s bullet, leaving the Marvel fictional world to figure out where to go next and what to do next. I think the biggest reason I thought to connect these two was because like Lincoln, when Cap knows something is right, he knows it and that’s where he stands, even if he is all alone.

There you have it, my Superhero Mount Rushmore. Just to be clear, this is all in good fun, and by no means do I mean to belittle anything any of these 4 great leaders have done by comparing it to fictional characters. It’s just not the same, and I recognize that. Just for fun, i thought I would include 2 more Mount Rushmore lists, with just the names, not descriptions. One is the DC Universe Rushmore and the other is Marvel.

DC

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern

Marvel

Captain America, Reed Richards, Hulk, and Wolverine

Who would be on your Mount Rushmore of Superheroes?  I am sure our lists would disagree somewhere.  Let me know about it in the comments.

Death in Comics

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One of the big, if not THE biggest, story lines of the Fall this year is the Death of Wolverine in Marvel Comics.  The creators, artists, writers, everybody at Marvel are all saying that this is it for Logan.  He is not coming back, his death will be final, no coming back.  And everyone who has ever read a super hero death storyline just smiles when they hear Marvel say that, because we all know the truth.  We are all sitting here, ready to call “BS” on Marvel.  Yeah, right.  If there is one thing death isn’t in the comics, it’s permanent, at least for heroes.  As a side note, the lovely cover art you see above is a Salt Lake Comic Con exclusive cover for this issue.  There will only be 3000 available, and they will only be available at Salt Lake Comic Con, if you’re interested.

Death is a funny thing in the comics.  We all know that when a hero dies, it is only a matter of time.  I remember being a young lad when Superman “died.”  I was shocked.  He was always my     favorite, and I was shocked to see him go.  I wondered what the world would be like without the Man of Steel in it.  How would it go on?  Even at the age of 10 or 11, I was intrigued to find out.  DC did let this play out for a little while, but eventually, Big Blue was back, better than ever.  And by eventually, I mean it was about a year. Of course, one of the huge benefits for DC was the number of issues they sold of the “Death of Superman.”  This was a pivotal moment in comics.  There had been deaths before.  Some of the more impactful ones would be the death of The Flash, Barry Allen, the death of Robin, Jason Todd, and the death of Phoenix, Jean Grey.  These each had been a big deal, and very meaningful in their respective series, and in the case of the Flash, to the whole DC Multiverse.  Up to this point, though, by and large, the heroes had remained dead. We saw how the world moved on after each of these deaths.  For example, Wally West stepped in to fill the shoes of the Flash, and became a very popular character in his own right.

Killing off Superman was a big deal, though.  This would have greater ramifications than any other super hero would, and where would you find a replacement Superman? You couldn’t.  DC tried with 4 different versions, and none of them would have worked out long-term.  They knew the issue would be huge, and it was, but they also knew it would be huge when he came back.  The Death and Return of Superman basically set up a model for super hero deaths that has been followed again and again.  DC may be a slightly worse offender, but it is by a narrow margin.  Since Superman died we have seen the death and return of Batman, the Green Lantern  (Hal Jordan, a couple of times), and the return of Barry Allen and Jason Todd.  Big Blue set the precedent.  In Marvel, the biggest name to die and come back has been Captain America, not to mention Jean Grey who came back, and then died and came back and then died again (at least I think she is still dead), a trick she must have learned from Charles Xavier who has also died and returned multiple times. We have even seen the return of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier.  Bucky had been dead so long, that it even became a running joke that all the other heroes come back except Bucky.

Death just doesn’t have any permanence in the comic book world for heroes.  This is actually kind of sad, and deprives the fan from a little bit of realism.  I write that with a grain of salt, realizing that we are talking about comics, a world where there is not a lot of realism.  Death happens in real life.  Sometimes it happens to the good guys.  In fact it happens a lot to the good guys.  It would be nice to see a little bit of that in the comics.  See how the world goes on with Batman or Superman.  I was intrigued when Batman died a few years back.  For the first time in a long time, I picked up a Batman issue (it’s true, I don’t read Batman, not at all.  Ask my comic book guy, Greg, at Black Cat Comics, he’ll tell you).  I bought it, because I was intrigued by the idea of Dick Grayson taking over for Bruce Wayne.  It was a story line that had a lot of potential with time, but DC barely gave it a shot.  Batman was back before we knew it.  Bucky filled in for Cap, and it was interesting to read his adventures as Captain America, but soon enough Steve Rogers was back.  I think comic book companies are really missing out on some great opportunities to tell some great stories and allowing us to get to know these characters in some new ways.  But it never really happens.  The hero never stays dead.

The strangest part is how pivotal death is to a lot of characters.  Some characters are dead and have remained dead and never come back.  Uncle Ben and the Waynes are the two best examples.  Uncle Ben’s death was the most important event in the history of Spider-Man.  Without that happening, Peter Parker would not be the hero he is. Period, end of story.  The same thing for Bruce Wayne witnessing the death of his parents.  These characters can never come back because that would change everything too much.  The truth is, look at how much depth they have added to the characters they have affected. That is what a good death could do.  It would add some depth to the characters that are left behind.  IT would also leave the door open for some other characters to step up.

I don’t know if Wolverine is going to stay dead (doubt it), but I hope he does.  His death would mean more if it was permanent.  It might actually matter.  Either way, Marvel will sell a ton of this series.

My Salt Lake Comic Con Wish List

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Salt Lake Comic Con officially kicks off two weeks from tomorrow.  That means it is right around the corner.  It also means that the guest announcements are going to begin coming fast and furious over the remaining 14 days.  Just in the last 2 days, 2 Doctors have been announced, Paul McGann and Colin Baker.  I expect more major announcements coming.  That’s typically how it happens.  This is for a variety of reasons.  One is that it creates a lot of buzz right before the con begins.  Another is that a lot of celebrities can’t really confirm until right before because they have so much going on.  This is a good thing.  I like being surprised when I hear a guest is coming instead of disappointed when I hear a guest is coming, and then can’t at the last-minute.  Whatever the reason, this is the time when the big announcements are made.  Heck, Patrick Stewart wasn’t even announced until the first night of FanX. So if theta one guest you’ve been hoping for hasn’t been announced, just wait.  It could be coming.

Knowing all of this, i began to think about who my dream guests might be.  Who would I love to see show up to one of these?  Who would I love to go listen to for an hour or two?  The list is long, it’s true, but I  narrowed it down to my top 5.  I didn’t want to get greedy, and I fully anticipate that Salt Lake Comic Con is going to read my list and make it happen.  I mean, why not? I’m a fan, a paying customer.  I don’t think bringing in 5 A-list celebrities with short notice is too much to ask.

So, in no particular order, except numerical order of which I would like to see the least of these 5 to the most, here are my top 5:

5. Viggo Mortensen

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I love Lord of the Rings.  I know, that’s a shocker, a geek who likes LOTR.  We’re hard to come by. One of my favorite characters in the film and in the books was Aragorn.  He was just awesome.  Noble, royal, kingly, Jesus-like, there was just a lot to like about him.  That’s not why I want him to come.  I think it would be cool because i have heard he is quirky person, so I think it would be interesting to go to a presentation where he is the speaker.  Plus, I don’t think he does a whole lot of these conventions, so it would be cool if he came here and did ours.  It would also be very cool to hear about his experiences while filming the LOTR films. And about horses.  I hear he loves horses.  I heard that the horse he rode in the films was his own horse, in real life.  And he learned elvish just for this role.  Again, quirky, that would make a great panel or two.

4. Mark Hammil

"Guardians Of The Galaxy" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals

I mean, of course every geek out there would like to meet Luke Skywalker.  The whining, teenage moper who eventually became our favorite Jedi, but Hamill has done a lot more in the geek community.  Just think of your image of Joker, pre Heath Ledger.  I bet you’re picturing the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series.  That was Mark Hamill.  He did the voice, and let’s face it, the voice made that character.  He was incredible as the Joker, almost as good as Kevin Conroy was as Batman.  Wait a minute…I’m getting an idea…Mark Hamill/Kevin Conroy: A Batman Super Panel.  They could discuss their work on the series and how awesome it was, and maybe even do a reading for us.  It would be awesome.  I mean, I’m sure Hamill isn’t really doing anything right now…What’s that?  He’s filming a new Star Wars?  Wow. Who knew?

4B.  Mark Hamill’s beard

I know that typically lists like this don’t have extra entries like 4B, but this is my site, so my rules.  Look at that awesome beard he is sporting.  He is totally trying to pull off the older, wiser Jedi look, and it is awesome.  His beard could have its own booth and sign autographs.  I’d buy one.

3. Hugh Jackman

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Salt Lake Comic Con just announced that they would have an exclusive Death of Wolverine variant cover at the con from Marvel.  I think in honor of that, and since Marvel is “really killing off” Wolverine in the comics, we should have Hugh Jackman come.  Mr. Wolverine himself.  I don’t know what is going to happen when he decides to stop being Wolverine, but it will be sad. It would be great to hear his stories about filming each of the 300 X-Men movies he has been in.  He must have a ton of great stories.  Plus, let’s not overlook The Prestige and Van Helsing.  This, of course would be huge.  The biggest problem would be getting his claws past security.  Yeah, I’d like to see security try to stop him.

2. Chris Evans

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This one is mostly for my wife.  She loves Captain America.  She says it is the character, how he is so good and always stands up for the little guy.  She swears it has nothing to do with how dreamy he is.  It’s ok, I’m not jealous.  I have eyes, I can see how dreamy he is.  I loved Winter Soldier.  I thought it was faun film, and a good film.  It would be great to have him here, or anyone from the Avengers.  One of the panels is supposed to be on the Marvel Phase 3, wouldn’t it be great to have some of those actors there?

1. David Tennant/Matt Smith

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Either one, or both would be fine.  This would be great to have them there along with Baker and McGann and have a Doctor Who super panel.  These two are my favorite Doctors, so it would be cool if they came.  I think I would even pay money for their autographs.  If either of these two came, the place would be packed.  If both came, it would be madness.  Plus it would be just in time for Doctor Who’s 51st anniversary…err…

Who would be in your top 5, or is there just one special guest you’re hoping for?  Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle

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Maybe I am a little behind the times, but I missed this great documentary when it premiered on PBS last year.  Luckily for me, the three-part series is available on NetFlix, and is totally worth the time.  Each episode is 55 minutes long, so it can be easily broken up over three evenings.  This production talks about Superheroes, as indicated in the title, but it discusses them in their purest form: Comics.  I love comics, and for me they are the canon of the superhero world.  Whenever a movie comes out and it doesn’t agree totally with the comics, I always think to myself, “That’s not what really happened.”  Somehow, because this is where they originated, comics have always held a stronger value for me.

This film starts at the beginning of Superheroes in the comics.  The 1930’s and Superman. That’s where it all began.  Say what you will about Big Blue, but he was the original, and without him, you wouldn’t have Batman, or Spider-Man, or Wolverine, or the Avengers or any of it.  It all started with this creation by two boys name Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This film does a great job of setting the historical atmosphere for the early days of comics and Superheroes.  I think this is very important, because understanding Superman in his historical context helps us understand why he is such a goody-two-shoes.  That was what was expected at the time.  Plus, with the depression and the war in Europe, we needed a hero who was above it all and could do all the amazing things he could do.  This film also talks briefly about the boys who created Superman personally, and how that influenced how he looked and what powers he had.  IT was very interesting.  Of course, as Superman became more popular, we begin to see the rise of more heroes.  Many are copycats of Superman.  Many others are copies of what was found in another medium of the time, the Pulps.  This is where some of the darker, non-comic heroes lived, like the Shadow, who was a big influence on Bob Kane’s “The Batman.”  The Batman was really something else, as this film discusses.  He wasn’t from another planet, or have magical powers.  He was just a normal person who put on the tights and fought crime to avenge the death of his parents.  While hitting on the bigger names like Batman and Superman, the film also mentions some of the lesser known heroes like Bullet Man and the Blue Beetle.  It describes how many of the titles were so similar to each other, and all of them were trying to catch up to Superman.

I love that this documentary talks so much about the History that was happening in the United States as comics hit the scene and so on.  The next segment in this first episode goes into WWII, and the United States joining the War.  This presented a problem for the writers of Superman.  He was a man who could single-handedly end the war in one day if he wanted to, so how would he fit in with what was happening?  This is also where we see the emergence of Captain America. He was of course, very popular during WWII, and everyone could get behind his patriotic message.  More importantly, Joe Kirby’s art was monumental with Captain America.  They discuss this in detail in the movie and talk about how there was just so much movement in every panel.  As more and more women were going into the workforce to do their part in the war effort, society was becoming more receptive to a super heroine.  Enter Wonder Woman.  She had the basically the same powers as Superman, with the addition of the lasso of truth.  She believed in sisterhood and women’s rights.  She was ahead of her time.

The first episode ends with the 1950’s, which was a rough decade for the comics industry.  The things being portrayed in the books were being called into question.  The film discusses how comics are linked to delinquent behavior and how congress ends up setting up a watchdog organization and a comics code to make sure that the content is all appropriate in each title and issue.  many titles were not allowed to continue, and those that were were strictly monitored.  At the same time, TV was catching on, and it didn’t take long for superheroes to show up on the small screen.  Superman, again was the first.  He now represented Truth, justice, and the American Way more than ever, in an attempt to win over the people who now believed that comics led to juvenile delinquency.

All of that was the first episode.  It was great to see the origins of the comics I grew up reading and seeing how the outside world influenced the stories and the content in the books.  IT was also interesting to see how this truly American art form began to take shape and change over time.  The second episode begins with the 1960’s which means we see the beginning of Stan Lee and his work, and how it was much more relatable than what was in DC at the time.  I don’t want to give you a whole rundown of everything in the show, but I recommend checking it out on Netflix.  It will be worth your time.  It explains the difference between DC and Marvel better than most things that are out there, and gives historical context for why the difference is there.  Superman has always been my favorite superhero, but honestly, the Marvel heroes are much easier to understand and identify with.  Yes they have amazing powers, but really they are just regular people, just like me.  Again, check out this three-part documentary called Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. It is available right now on NetFlix.  It is also a PBS production, so you can also find it at PBS.org to purchase.  Worth the time, I promise, if you are into Superheroes at all.