30 Things I Like About Comics—#2 Wolverine

I know what your going to say. Stop it. I don’t care what you think. Yes, he’s all over the place. Yes’ he’s super popular. But its for a reason; Wolverine is awesome. My first introduction to the character came back when I was around 1984, in some combination of the Secret Wars action figure, seeing him on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and in a comic book or two.

What I originally liked about Wolverine was that he didn’t fit in with the rest of the super heroes. He’s so objective about everything. He’s not afraid to use violence, which makes his peers hesitant. But the more I read, the more complicated he is.

I loved the fact that he had no idea about the majority of his life. You wound up being really sympathetic to him, as when both the character and reader learn about his past, it’s usually pretty depressing. But in spite of that, he still keeps going.

Yes, he was modified to be the ultimate killing machine, but Wolverine is really a kind person. Look at the paternal relationship he has with the younger female X-Men, like Kitty Pryde, Jubilee and even his female clone X-23. In recent years, they’ve developed his relationship with Spider-Man, who he’s kind of an older brother figure to.

The great thing about Wolverine as a character is that he can be fit into any situation. He works well in a typical super hero tale, just as much as you can put him in a dark, gritty story. He looks appropriate anywhere, whether he’s fighting aliens, ninja, soldiers or robots.

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the character in the X-Men films is just superb and is one of the best depictions of a super hero in cinema. He has the best mix of sarcasm and bravado, which really bring the character to life.

So yes, Wolverine is ridiculously awesome. We’ll be talking a lot about him in the coming months.


30 Things I Like About Comics–#29 Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends

Having grown up in the 1980s, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was really my first introduction to Spider-Man and the whole Marvel Universe. The show’s premise was very simple. A college-aged Spidey teams up with his Empire State University classmates/super hero pals Iceman and Firestar (who was created specifically for the show) team up and take out evildoers world-wide.

But first they meet up at Aunt May’s house, where she and her inappropriately named dog Ms. Lion would provide some sort of comic relief. They would then go down to the basement, which somehow transformed into some technologically advanced top-secret lair that James Bond would be jealous of.

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was great because it featured cameo appearances by everyone from Marvel. The X-Men, Dr. Doom, Namor the Sub-Mariner, even Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil were all on the show at some point.

Some of the episodes hold up better than others. As a whole, it’s very lighthearted and fun. Occasionally it pops up on ABC Family or Disney XD, and I will get sucked in. The worst was when I was on vacation in Disney World a few years back. We were staying at the Yacht Club and I sound up sitting in the kids section so I could watch Amazing Friends during breakfast, much to the embarrassment to the rest of my travel companions.

To me, the most memorable episode was “The X-Men Adventure” where the Spider-Friends were invited by the X-Men to hang out and use the Danger Room training facility, in the same way as a kid I would go hang out with my classmates after school to take advantage of their Super Nintendo. Everyone is having a great time until Firestar’s ex-boyfriend-turned-cyborg Cyberiad takes control of the Danger Room to get his revenge. He blamed her for the accident that left him a cyborg.Cyberiad

Judging by how Cyberiad wound up looking, Firestar dodged a bullet by not marrying him. I think they might have even had some dialogue in the episode that they were lovers…very awkward for a Saturday morning cartoon show. The two of them wind up fighting, with Firestar zapping him with her microwave powers. Defeated, Cyberiad regains his humanity, tells Firestar he loves her and seemingly dies on-screen.  Again….very awkward.

Sadly, the series is still not available on DVD. If you need a Spide-Man and his Amazing Friends fix, visit Spider-Friends.  It is a great website that chronicles everything Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends related.