Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Group

Yesterday, two friends of mine welcomed their new baby into the world. As much as I felt happy for them (because babies are awesome), I felt a different emotion later when I thought about what it means to be a parent. We, my friends who meet up at Fantom every Wednesday, probably won't see much of the newly parented couple. Add to this The Boz moving to Cali (by the way, What up, Martin?) and I could see a pattern forming.

My Wednesday group was losing people, and have been since we started going to Fantom. 

It's not that Fantom is a bad spot, it's great. But since leaving our old store, the regular faces have been halved and with three(?) people no longer being regular within weeks of each other, it made me somewhat melancholy. So melancholy that I began working on this post this morning to get the word out to other readers in the area. I wanted to see if I could refresh our group and keep it together. It's not as bad as all that, but it kind of felt that way this morning. Still, like most things I plan on writing about, my melancholy was premature.

As I walked into Fantom, there was a new face there. A woman chatting with my friends about Watchmen, the art of the trade sale, and all the other random, beautiful things we talk about. It's not usual to talk to the other customers of the store. In fact, it's a welcome event when a new person joins in the conversation. But unlike those who talk and walk, this woman chose to accompany us to the food court and for an evening of talk and mall food.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Give It A Chance: The Amazing Spider-Man

Yes, One More Day was THE stupidest story in Spider-Man history. Not only does Mary Jane make a deal with Mephisto(the most trustworthy person in the Marvel U), but Mephisto makes a deal for the lamest reason I ever heard of. So one guy feels bad whenever he sees a woman who stays out of his life? What is that worth, truly, even in a suffering denomination? And I won't get started on why Peter would trade the rest of his married life for a woman who has to be five years from death. Yes, she raised you but bringing her back to life wouldn't keep her out of the hell his life had become. Jesus, that was stupid.

Damn, I'm ranting. What this post is about is that from that steaming pile, something beauty grew, the new era of Amazing Spider-Man. It's more than just a return to past greatness, it's great new stories. Old characters are revitalized in this series. The rise of Norman Osborn, defense czar, has roots in New Ways To Die, where Osborn sics the Thunderbolts on Spider-Man and Eddie Brock returns as Anti-Venom with the usual Venom powers but with the ability to heal people of their "poisons". I initially balked at the idea of Anti-Venom, but the story was great with Spider-Man dealing with the 'Bolts and two dueling Venoms and a confrontation between crazy Norman and a maybe crazy, resurrected Harry Osborn. Awesomeness.

With Mark Waid, Dan Slott, Joe Kelly and Marc Guggenheim running point on this series, Amazing Spider-Man has become one of the best written series published by Marvel (and if  anyone makes some kind of joke about Marvel's writing, remember DC keeps giving books to Bruce Jones). Peter has his wit back and even with his bad luck, isn't going through the depressing crap that characterized the book from the 90's to OMD. His supporting cast has been expanded, giving him the grounding he's been sorer lacking for some time now. I don't remember a clear time when Amazing Spider-Man was as big a draw for me since McFarlane was on the title.

It's a great time to be reading Amazing and anyone out there who been holding back because of One More Day or the lackluster to good years before it, I challenge you to read New Ways To Die or any of the Brand New Day storylines and still stay away. Yes, it was bad before but good times are here again.