The 25th Anniversary Edition 1992 Version: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1992. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1992. We now turn to the year in comics in 1992. There were several storylines and characters that made their debut that year.

On the Marvel front, the big crossover event was Infinity War.  It was a six issue miniseries which was a sequel to the previous year’s Infinity Gauntlet.  The storyline would also be dealt with in Captain America, Daredevil, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man and other comic series.  This comic event is going to be adapted for the big screen next year in The Avengers: Infinity War.

infinity war
On the DC front, there wasn’t a big huge crossover event.  There were several characters that made their debuts but we’ll get to that in a moment.

As far as debuts are concerned, the first to address is a new publishing company.  Image Comics made its debut in 1992.  Along with that saw the debut in May of Spawn, a character created by comic book artist Todd MacFarlane, who had previously drawn Spider-Man.

There were several characters that made their debut in 1992.  For Marvel, there was the debut of James Rhodes as War Machine in Iron Man #282.  For DC there were two characters related to the Batman franchise that debuted.  Detective Renee Montoya debuted in Batman #475 in March and Azrael debuted in the miniseries Batman: Sword of Azrael in October

There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1992. Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane. We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1993. Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.

My Favorite Films of 2016

Last year I shared my favorite films that were released in the past year.  I thought I’d make that a yearly tradition and so here is my list of favorite films for 2016.   They are in no particular order, just in the order that I can remember them from the beginning of the year until the end of the year:

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday

Though Only Yesterday released originally in Japan in 1991, the English dubbed version came to North America this year.  Only Yesterday is the story of Taeko Okajima and her life in two parts.  It tells one part of her life as an 8 year old child in the late 1960s Tokyo as well as an adult in the 1980s.  It was one of the last Studio Ghibli films to be dubbed into English and includes the voicework of Daisy Ridley, Dev Patel and Ashley Eckstein.

I Saw The Light

I Saw The Light

Based on the true story of country singer and legend Hank Williams Sr., I Saw The Light tells the story of his life as a singer just before his big break to right before his tragic death.  Hank Williams is played in the film by Tom Hiddleston and Elisabeth Olsen plays Audrey Williams, Hank’s first wife.  I’m usually a fan of a good biopic and when it’s a subject like that of Hank Williams I was drawn to it.  I thought the performances in the film were done well especially that of Hiddleston and Olsen.  It is hard to act and sing especially to play an iconic figure but Hiddleston was up to the challenge in my mind.

The Legend of Tarzan

LEGEND OF TARZAN

The Legend of Tarzan is a new take on an old story.  It tells the further adventures of Tarzan and how he and Jane (along with American George Washington Williams) take on some corrupt Belgians who were trying to exploit the Congo.  There are several nods to the classic Tarzan character while telling a story that resonates today.  And while most people this year will look at Margot Robbie’s other big role in 2016 (Harley Quinn), her performance as Jane Clayton is a showstealer.

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

A remake of a classic (which in turn was a remake itself) The Magnificent Seven tells the story of a ragtag group of seven men who help to defend a mining town from a evil and corrupt businessman and his hired army.  The cast for this film included Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio among others.  I enjoyed the original The Magnificent Seven and to me this film honors that film while also telling it’s own story.

Amanda Knox

amanda-knox

Probably the documentary of the year for me in 2016, Amanda Knox was a Netflix film that tells the story of Amanda Know, who is most well known for being found guilty and later acquitted of the death of a fellow student in Italy in 2007.  For this documentary there is lots of archive footage and interviews as well as interviews today from some of the key people including Amanda herself.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Out of the two Marvel movies that released this year, Doctor Strange was my favorite of the two.  Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job as Dr. Stephen Strange.  Strange went from an arrogant doctor over the course of the movie to the Sorcerer Supreme.  It was a good origin story for a character that is not as well known in the Marvel Universe as others.  And it didn’t kill off the main villain at the end of the movie.  It is a good setup for what’s to come in Phase 3 of the MCU.

Arrival

arrival

If there is a “Film of the Year” for me, I would say it’s this film.  From the first trailer to seeing it on the big screen, Arrival was interesting and compelling.  With a cast that included Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker, Arrival tells the story about humankind’s interaction with an alien species and the key to communicating lies with a language professor (played by Adams) and a physicist (played by Renner).  But it’s a different take on that familiar trope.  The visuals are stunning and the story makes you think.  This is a film I’m interested in seeing multiple times because of seeing the all the puzzles pieces in place.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

An interesting film that I found on Netflix, Blue Jay is the story of two high school sweethearts that meet up some 20 years later.  Jim (played by Mark Duplass, who also wrote the screenplay for the film) returns back to his hometown to settle some affairs after his mother passed away.  He runs into Amanda (played by Sarah Paulson) at a grocery store and the two reminisce about old times.  It is a very poignant film and one that deals with heavy issues in a thought provoking way.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogue-one

Of course a list of my favorite films would have to include a Star Wars movie.  Rogue One is the first Star Wars anthology film and is set right before A New Hope.  It tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the first Death Star and the group that did it.  It had one of the best battle sequences I’ve seen in a Star Wars movie and there were a lot of cool references that tied into the Star Wars universe.  Thought I still have the original trilogy in my top 3 of Star Wars films, this one is right there in the running for 4th along with The Force Awakens.

What Defines You: Thoughts on Doctor Strange

I finally went and saw Doctor Strange today.  This was a film that I had been looking forward to seeing for a long time.  I’m a fan of the Marvel films and I expected this to be another good one and I wasn’t disappointed.  It was a great film and gave me a lot to think about both as I was watching but also afterwards.

Doctor Strange

I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here (for those that haven’t seen it yet, there’s not really any spoilers here).  The film tells the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, a world famous neurosurgeon.  He is the best and he knows it.  He lives in a penthouse suite in New York City.  He has the best car, best clothes and lives the high life.  For him, his life centers around his practice of medicine.  That all changes when one night he’s in a horrific car accident and is badly injured.  His hands are so badly hurt that he is unable to do neurosurgery ever again.

At this point, Strange is lost.  The thing that he thought defined him as a person was gone.  He viewed himself as first and foremost a doctor and when that was taken away from him he didn’t know what to do.  He then goes on a journey that leads him to Katmandu, Tibet and would eventually lead him to become the Sorcerer Supreme and defend Earth against all magical and mystical threats.

That thought, that question of what defines a person is one that is something that resonates with everyone.  We all look to find what defines us individually.  For some like Stephen Strange, it is through career.  For some it is through a relationship.  For others it may be status.  Whatever it may be, there is a desire to find that thing and point to it as what defines us.  But what happens when something happens to us like what happened to Stephen Strange?  What if someone loses that job?  What if that relationship ends?  What if that thing that we thought defined us isn’t there anymore?

For me I have had to learn that ultimately what defines me is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  First and foremost I’m a follower of Jesus.  Things in my life may come and go but He is constant.  He never changes.  He is always there.  I can trust in Him through thick and thin.

Doctor Strange was a fun action comic book movie.  It was also a good movie in that it makes you think.  Anytime a film can make you think and reflect is a good thing.  And it is good to reflect on who we are and what does define us…or who defines us.

Vengeance and Luke Cage

Like most everyone this past weekend or so, I started watching the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage.  And while I haven’t binge watched it all the way through like some (I’m still a couple of episodes from finishing), I have watched a good amount of episodes since its release.  (FYI, there maybe minor spoilers but nothing major ahead)

luke-cage

And while there are a lot of things to think through with this series, there is one that my mind keeps going back to.  This is due in large part to one character in the series.  That character is one of the major villains of the series by the name of Willis Stryker aka Diamondback.  Many times throughout the episodes that Stryker is on screen he is either quoting Scripture or he’s holding a Bible in his hand.

The backstory of both Stryker and Luke Cage are linked due to the fact of both of them having the same father.  That father also happened to be a preacher who had an affair with his secretary which led to the birth of Stryker.  Stryker resented Luke and the “sins of the father” would later come to terrorize both Luke and the people of Harlem.

Stryker is unfortunately a reminder that you cannot separate the story of the Old Testament with the New Testament.  Much of what Stryker quotes is Old Testament.  He seems to live by the code of ‘eye for an eye’ or even more so a perverted sense of justice.  He hasn’t really known much about the New Testament and grace.  I would imagine the Bible that he carries around Him doesn’t get opened much around the Gospels.

To translate it from the small screen to real life, I think a lot of us live with the sense of wanting vengeance.  When we are wronged, we want justice.  It is that reminder that deep down there is a true moral right and standard.  However, because we all have a sinful nature, it tends to skew it sometimes away from justice and more towards vengeance.  The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19 “never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  God is the only one who can rightly judge in the end.  We are to called to forgive, even when we have been deeply wronged.

One of the hardest things in the world to do is forgive.  We see that in stories in TV shows like Luke Cage and in books and movies.  We see it in real life.  When we’re wronged, the default in being hurt is to rage and want revenge.  But like for Willis Stryker, it consumes you and you lose out on all the good that you can be.  Watching this series has reminded me of how much grace and forgiveness is needed in this world today.

The 25th Anniversary Edition 1991 Version: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1991. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1991. We now turn to the year in comics in 1991. There were several storylines and characters that made their debut that year.

On the Marvel front, the big crossover event was the Muir Island Saga.  It was a five issue crossover between The X-Men & X-Factor.  The results of the saga included seeing Professor X losing the use of his legs again as well as the members of the X-Men go back to wearing individual uniforms instead of team uniforms.

X-Men Muir Island Saga
On the DC front, the big crossover event was Armageddon 2001.  The event ran May through October and was featured in all the big DC chararacters’ annual comics as well as a limited series specific to the event.  The other big DC comic was the #1 issue of Superman:  The Man of Steel which debuted in July.  With this comic series, it meant that at the time that there would be a new Superman comic book every week of the month.

dc-comics-armageddon-2001-issue-1Superman_Man_of_Steel_1

Another huge comic book miniseries that released in 1991 did so through Dark Horse Comics.  This was a new story in the Star Wars universe.  That title was Star Wars:  Dark Empire.  The first issue debuted in December and told the further adventures of Luke Skywalker and the gang.  These stories, along with many post Return of the Jedi stories, are now apart of the Legends canon of the Star Wars Universe.

Dark-Horse-Star-Wars-Dark-Empire-1

There were several characters that made their debut in 1991.  I’ll highlight two here.  The first is Cletus Kassady, better known as Carnage.  He debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #344 in March and would eventually become the “darker version” of Venom.  The second one is someone that is pretty popular given the recent movie that came out this year and that is Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool.  Debuting in The New Mutants #98 in February, Deadpool was initially a villain but his popularity drove the writers to morph him into the anti-hero character that he is known for today.

Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_344New_Mutants_Vol_1_98_001

There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1991. Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane. We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1992. Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.