Marvel comics deny the 21st century

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Iron Man coverI grew up reading superhero comic books, like many boys my age.  I was always partial to Marvel’s comics, but I read some DC heroes too, being drawn to artists and interesting stories as opposed to just being tied to specific characters.  My interest hung on longer than some, lasting well into my adulthood; and even though my primary tastes evolved to science-fiction-themed graphic novels and stories, I still occasionally returned to my superhero roots in order to enjoy a good capes-and-spandex yarn.

It had been years since I’d spent much time looking at superhero books, when I discovered something new from Marvel: The Ultimates line was essentially Marvel’s plan to update its familiar characters for the 21st century, to bring some more modern relevance to them.  The first books I saw were an updating of the Avengers, now dubbed The Ultimates.  We were being given new or slightly modified origins for Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Giant Man and The Wasp, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the Falcon, and even a new Nick Fury and SHIELD headquarters… all of which had more resonance with a post 9/11, terrorist-infested, nano-developing, metal-fiber-wearing, cyber-hacking and genetically-experimenting world.  And I, for one, thought this was a fantastic way to make superheroes more popular with modern kids… and adults like me.

So I was disappointed when it ended up dying. Continue reading

Excelsior, my @$$

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avengers now

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

It’s got to be an interesting week for you, if you’re into comic books.  In one week, I found out that three major characters in the Marvel lineup are undergoing major changes (though I’d bet they’re all temporary): The mantle of Thor will be taken up by a woman, Tony (Iron Man) Stark would unleash his ego uncontrolled upon San Francisco, and Sam (The Falcon) Wilson will become the new Captain America.

This, after a year of Peter (Spider-Man) Parker’s mind being taken over by his nemesis Dr. Octopus, and the recent revelation that Captain Marvel would now be a young Muslim girl.  And we’re not even including the alternate universe Spider-Man who was a young Black man.  What’s next… Luke Cage turns gay?  Squirrel Girl turns out to be a Skrull? Continue reading

Motorcycling for the 21st century

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Honda Silverwing

Honda Silverwing: The superior two-wheeled commuter vehicle.

I’ve been a fan of motorcycle transportation, ever since I was left without a car for a short time in my forties.  Over the years, I’ve owned a standard-configuration bike, a sporty-standard and a cruiser, and I’ve used them for commuting and recreation.  I donated my last bike when public transportation to my job was so convenient that I found myself not riding it (my wife was uncomfortable on the back seat, so it had limited recreational value).  I think about bikes every so often, and I can see myself buying another one someday.

But God, how I want my next bike to have joined the rest of civilization in the 21st century. Continue reading

I’m ready to replace the word “Computer”

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ENIAC computer viewed through smartphoneOkay, so we’ve reached 2013, firmly embedded in the 21st century, and I say it’s time to address an anachronism in our modern language.  Specifically, a word that needs to be replaced with something better.  A word from the last century that should stay in the 20th century, and needs to be substituted with a 21st century word better suited for our times.  The word is “computer.”

Maybe I really am the only one who thinks the word “computer” belongs in the 20th century, where it was born.  Maybe I’m the only one who thinks the word “computer” does not adequately describe the things our modern devices can do.  Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that using old words can hold us back and make it harder to envision their potential for growth and improvement.

But just in case I’m not… let’s talk. Continue reading