WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for WandaVision Episodes 1 through 6.

“Who invited David Hasselhoff?” you might ask. But seriously, these respective comics covers couldn’t go together much better in depicting (from left to right) The Beyonder, a much-humanized Vision, and the Scarlet Witch. (Reference: From left, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #16, Avengers #251, and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #9 — all from my personal comics collection.)

As I am both a fan of all things comics as well as binge-worthy TV series with core mysteries, it would be an understatement to say that I’m invested in DisneyPlus’s first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The marketing campaign leading up to WandaVision had successfully sold me months ago on the idea that this would be an offering unlike anything we’d ever seen before. And from what I’ve experienced five weeks in, I believe that they’ve delivered on that promise thus far. …


WRITING

It always feels like fall in Pennsylvania’s lightly populated middle counties

A pile of pumpkins from one of the many roadside stands that pop up throughout Central Pennsylvania during October. (Credit: Author)

I’ve spent pretty much my entire adult life traversing the gap between the Keystone State’s two big population centers at least 5 or 6 times per year. And it strikes me that it has always felt like those areas were on the cusp of autumn. For a long time, I supposed this was just a reflection of the Rust Belt on the whole. Only recently have I come to realize how unique this peculiar timeless fugue state is to Pennsylvania or how it impacts my writing.

The several-hour-long drive from the outskirts of the megalopolis to southwestern PA is at…


Streaming on Twitch, DC’s soft-spoken CCO inspires with his skill and humanity

My copy of Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 with my sketching supplies in the background. (Credit: Author)

Anyone who follows my social media presence knows that I have complicated feelings about art. I have always primarily identified myself as a writer, but I periodically find myself dabbling in sketch art despite limited natural aptitude for it — an activity that invariably ends in frustration given that my aspirations quickly outstrip my talent. So it’s with a mixture of reverence and masochism that I will often watch gifted technicians effortlessly spin off drawings and paintings that I could never hope to create. And yet that’s not why I’ve become (not-so-)mildly addicted to Jim Lee’s live streams on Twitch…


As the Mandarin makes news, Far from Home may have quietly set up Armor Wars

Parker Wars? — While Dan Slott’s recently completed run on Amazing Spider-Man may have introduced us to a vision of Peter Parker as a globe-hopping industrialist, the hero’s exposure to Iron Man’s armored foes like Crimson Dynamo (left) and Mauler (right) has been limited. But this too, may change. (Credit: Author.)

While the end of Robert Downey Jr.’s tenure as the golden avenger may have been bittersweet, his run wasn’t short in terms of screen time. Featured in his own movie trilogy, five Avengers films — yeah, let’s be honest, Captain America Civil War was an Avengers film — and Spider-Man Homecoming, Downey spent a decade embodying this most iconic of MCU characters. But curiously, these multiple appearances only scratched the surface of the Iron Man mythos and rogues gallery.

Villains like Baron Zemo, Ultron, and Thanos are more generally considered Avengers foes in the comic source material. And though Iron…


Will the Wizarding World ever really graduate from Hogwarts?

Our well-loved — and, as you can tell, well-read — copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. (Credit: Author)

So I’m going to make a rather bold and continuity-flouting statement: I want to see a Lavender Brown television series.

OK — I realize there’s a lot to unpack there. If you’re asking who Lavender Brown is, then the learning curve is going to be a bit steeper. But even if you’re familiar with this supporting character from the Harry Potter book and movie series, you’re probably still a little confused.

Let me take it from the top. If you’ve not read J.K. Rowling’s novels or seen the movies, there will be some mild spoilers below — so take heed.

Loose Threads and Undiscovered Potential


Marvel had a TV-worthy 1980s comic mini-series that deconstructed superheroes too

Alex Ross cover art from to Squadron Supreme omnibus collecting all 12 issues of the 1985–1986 Marvel Comics miniseries. Credit: Marvel Comics.

If the squadron’s members look familiar, that’s not an accident. Each one has an obvious analog in the ranks of DC’s Justice League — Hyperion to Superman, Power Princess to Wonder Woman, Golden Archer to Green Arrow, Lady Lark to Black Canary and so on. First introduced in the pages of Marvel’s The Avengers, the Squadron Supreme represented a (very) thinly veiled parody of the “distinguished competition’s” greatest heroes featured in various universe-hopping story-lines throughout the 1970s. …


Assessing the impact of Far from Home on Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery

From the cover of volume 5 of the trade paperbacks compiling Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man (“The Ultimate Six”). Credit: Marvel Comics.

While the Sinister Six may be among the most classic examples of a super-villain team-up, few people realize that they assembled relatively infrequently in the first 40 years of Marvel Comics continuity. Introduced in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 in 1964, a group consisting of Doctor Octopus, Electro, The Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman and Mysterio put the wall-crawler through a deadly gauntlet to save the lives of Daily Bugle co-worker (and then love interest) Betty Brant and his Aunt May. But this was treated as a special event by the publishers — one that, for as memorable as it was…


As the content landscape becomes more fragmented, consider your options carefully

Some fun $5 trade paperback finds from my local comic book store’s Free Comic Book Day sale. Image: Author

It’s getting hard to remember what life was like for geeks prior to Netflix. I could say streaming services in general, but I think it was specifically the advent of Netflix — first in DVD rental and later through content streaming — that heralded the modern age of geekdom.

For years, the running joke in our extended family was that everyone rented from the “Schock Video Library” — as we had an extensive collection of first VHS and then later DVD copies of numerous movies and TV shows within the genre that we freely shared with family and friends. We…


Endgame’s timeline opens the door for anti-hero group The Thunderbolts

Cover to Thunderbolts: Justice Like Lightning trade paperback

Be warned that a lot of what is discussed below is going to contain spoilers for Avengers Endgame. (But if you haven’t seen it in either of it’s theatrical releases — really, what does Kevin Feige need to do? Come to your house and drive you to the theater?) Note that there are also spoilers related to the nature of Thunderbolts as a potential branch of the extended MCU— though I suspect that my favorite plot twist wouldn’t survive long in any associated marketing campaign anyhow. Either way, a disclaimer is warranted.

That said, anyone who is aware of The…


Well — at least I think I have.

From left: Star Trek insignia (Credit: Paramount), NSEA insignia from Galaxy Quest (Credit: Paramount), Planetary Union insignia (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

As I’ve commented on numerous occasions in my blog, I don’t have time to consume all of the content that might otherwise interest me. I’ll catch podcasts in the car on my way to work, select first-run movies in theaters with family and friends, and various binge-worthy TV shows as my schedule allows. Since my wife will often defer watching these same shows until I’m available to enjoy them with her, what makes the cut can be a topic of intensive debate. Not surprisingly, I’m up to date on all of the MCU movies, the Star Wars franchise, Game of…

E Thomas Schock

Dad (full-time), writer/editor (long-time), and geek (oft-times).

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