Tag Archives: Marvel

We Can Be Heroes

This week the Eleventh Stack blog is celebrating Pittsburgh’s Pride Week with a series of posts about the Library’s LGBTQ/QUILTBAG resources. Although any time of year is a good time to read LGBTQ literature and history, this week is very special to many of our readers and patrons. We hope you enjoy our efforts.

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The Advocate published a great piece around the time Man of Steel was released on how that film works as a gay allegory. It hits on a lot of the reasons why I wanted to focus on superheroes for this post – primarily the struggles dealing with secret identities and being seen as “other” (#mutantandproud, yinz.) Luckily, we’ve been given some actual LGBTQ characters over the past few years to push it even further.

Northstar hangs with the X-Men. He’s French-Canadian. He has superhuman speed and durability. And he was one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comic books. Yep, he came out way back in 1992. However, it wasn’t until he joined the X-Men as a regular member in 2002 that his love life became a part of stories. He married his boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu, in 2012. That looks like my kind of wedding.

I love the Runaways series. They have a dinosaur named Old Lace, for Pete’s sake.  Basically, a group of teens learns their parents are not at all who they thought they were and they themselves have powers. Karolina Dean finds out that she is an alien – part of  the Majesdanian race (aren’t alien names great?). After harboring a crush on her fellow Runaway, Nico, she married Xavin – a shape-shifting alien, who naturally takes female human form.

Renee Montoya was a long -time detective with the Gotham Police. But after being outed by Two-Face and framed for murder, she had enough of that biz. She spent some time with the Birds of Prey, but she has since taken over the mantle of The Question. I’ve only known Renee as Jim Gordon’s second-in-command, so I was excited to find out about this new direction for her. (The original Question was the inspiration for The Watchmens Rorschach, so he has to be good!)

Batwoman is probably the most high-profile lesbian comic book characters out there. She’s dated Renee Montoya, but has been in a relationship with Maggie Sawyer, another Gotham detective, since 2011.  She’s super smart and even led the Detective Comics series for a bit, following the Battle for the Cowl run.

For even more from DC:

A few bonus reads: Rat Queens came recommended by a few co-workers and is described as “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack.” I definitely want to go to there. And while not a comic book, Perry Moore’s Hero follows Thom Creed, a young superhero in training who has to decide whether or not to join the organization that once spurned his father, at the same time as coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

– Jess, who thinks a cape is the perfect accessory

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Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Marvel Studios and Disney will continue to print their own money with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron today. In preparation for the movie, which has already made over $200 million overseas, I’ve been rewatching the previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I put more planning into this months-long marathon than I do into what I eat. I usually hope patrons will bring us cookies or something equally tasty.

Anyway, top ten lists are always fun (and it’s been a while since I did a top ten list) so, without further delay, I present my ranking of the films of the MCU.

Warning: These are only the films since, apparently, the television shows, tie-in comics and one-shots only complicate the movies.
Warning: This is only my preference. Save your nerd-rage for something else.
Warning: This list contains spoilers.

10. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

I’m probably one of the only people who enjoyed Ang Lee’s 2003 iteration of the big green monster. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I remember that it at least it tried to be cerebral. Louis Leterrier’s version, on the other hand, is bland; I feel like he only makes horribly average movies for people who hate movies (see Clash of the Titans, The Transporter and Now You See Me). He’s like a French Michael Bay. This film is clearly the black sheep of the MCU as it’s hardly ever referenced, save for the one-shot The Consultant and a line in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I promised to keep this cinematic. I think it would be incredible (see what I did there?) if the Hulk just stayed in Avengers films or other team-up films in the future.

9. Thor (2011)

I think this is the only film in the MCU that I didn’t see in the theaters. I’ll openly admit that I don’t particularly care for fantasy/mythology stuff. I realize that may seem a bit hypocritical when I’m listing off comic book movies, but let’s move past that. When Kenneth Branagh was announced as the director, I thought it was a match made in heaven. For a time it seemed like Branagh was set on adapting all of Shakespeare’s plays and I’ve always felt the story of Thor is inherently Shakespearean. While the finished product never reaches the Shakespearean epic I had in mind, there are snippets of it bubbling below the surface, specifically when you watch Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston act off each other. You really feel for them as brothers and I’m not just saying that because my brother is blonde and muscular whereas I am dark haired and, well, not (see my earlier comment about eating).

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Again, knowing that Alan Taylor (someone who’s directed six episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones) was directing this sequel got me excited. I’ve never seen the show–I’m not that kind of nerd–but people really seem to enjoy it and it seems pretty similar in tone to Thor’s mythology. Again, I was disappointed. It’s super-close, but I’m ranking this sequel above Thor because of the Guardians of the Galaxy midcredits tag, the expansion of Thor and Loki’s relationship and because this scene had me cracking up in the theater. I could watch Tom Hiddleston all day.

7. Iron Man 2 (2010)

I know, I know, after I spoke so highly of Robert Downey Jr in my last post, how could I possibly list one of his films so low? Of the three Iron Man films, this is the one I feel like watching the least. It seems there’s a need in sequels to escalate everything so I will give credit to Jon Favreau and company for making the action of the climax less end-of-the-world-threatening than other sequels (see: Thor: The Dark World). Still, the ending was essentially the same as the first Iron Man–people in metal suits fight each other and blow stuff up. Also, Sam Rockwell was wasted in this movie, but  it was a delight to see him pop up in the All Hail the King one-shot (Sorry! I’ll stop venturing from the cinematic part of the MCU).

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Let me say this right off the bat: I’ve never really been a fan of Captain America. I like my heroes flawed and Cap’s always seemed too good. An argument could be made that he’s essentially a junkie because he gets his powers from a series of injections, but that is a blog post for another day. Also, I agree with Tocqueville about patriotism; overly showy displays annoy me. That said, I actually do enjoy this film. The World War II setting is great because it forced the writers to deal (to an extent) with technological hindrances of the day. It’s also not a time period we normally see in these types of films and in a market that is quickly becoming saturated with comic book movies, being different is important.

But more on that later …

Which films made the top five? Click through to find out!

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