Here are Marcos Martin’s Spider-Man Through The Decades variant covers for Amazing Spider-Man #692, designated the fiftieth anniversary issue of the title. That’s the original Spider-bite, the death of Gwen Stacy, the symbiote costume that would become Venom, the Clone Saga, and the New Avengers.
I was in the scouts as a kid, mainly as a cub scout from ages 7 - 12 and in the proper Scouts for about six months. And while I was in the scouts I got a total of 1 badge. This one:
I can’t remember what it’s for but I think Ciarán said his dad designed it. So that’s nice.
Looking back on that I see a missed opportunity, and something to do with my free time. So I’m going to try and meet the criteria for every SAI merit badge.
A MAGICAL thing happened to me at Starbucks last night. My wife and I were witness to quite possibly THE WORST first date any two human beings have ever had. I live tweeted the whole thing and have collected the unbearably awkward joy for you HERE. I don’t know why I was chosen to receive this gift, but I will do my best to honor it and share it with the world.
[click to see full sized version]
Theon Greyjoy, as portrayed by Alfie Allen
There are no words to describe my feelings about this relationship. But I’m going to try.
First of all, their parallels. Both geniuses, top of their field. Both suffered an accident that physically changed them, forever, and not in a wholesome Spider-Man kind of way. Both try to do what they can to help others despite their own issues; Banner heals people, Tony works on developing clean energy. And both struggle, in their own way, with duality; Tony and Iron Man, Bruce and the Hulk. Two identities, one body. Only difference is Iron Man’s bad side is Tony.
I mentioned somewhere that Tony sees a bit of himself in Banner because they both have a monster inside them that they can’t control, a creature that springs fully formed from the id, the base impulses and the nasty stuff at the back of the mind. Bruce’s is a giant green rage monster. Tony’s trashed a party in Iron Man 2. Banner has a control over his that Tony hasn’t quite achieved yet; don’t think I didn’t notice Tony pouring himself a whiskey when confronting Loki. Tony is envious, fascinated, and most of all, impressed by Bruce’s control.
So he doesn’t walk on eggshells around Bruce like the others, because that’s not what Bruce needs. Tony sees Bruce’s restraint, sees the quiet, brilliant man making self-deprecating jokes in the corner of the room, sees the way people look at him like he’s going to snap any second, and thinks “nope”. Tony does what no-one else aboard that Helicarrier does. He trusts him. He makes jokes and jabs him and teases him and above all, treats him exactly how he would treat anyone else— he has a great regard for Bruce’s brilliance, and tells him so, but he doesn’t try to ignore the Hulk in the room. When he says “wow, you’ve really got a handle on this, haven’t you?” he’s not saying “gosh, it’s incredible you haven’t snapped yet and killed everyone on board” he’s saying “I know you have a handle on this, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t, so I’m gonna poke you with this sharp object to prove it”. And you can see Bruce relax, and smile, and trust him back.
But then Tony goes even further, and invites Bruce to come to his R&D department. I’m pretty sure the two of them drive off together in Tony’s car at the end of the movie to do just that. And, okay, sure, Bruce is smart, but Tony’s tech is his baby. How many people get invitations to come and see his work? He invites Bruce because he recognises his brilliance, yes, but there’s another reason. He’s inviting Bruce to come down and work with him after this is over. He’s giving Bruce something to do next, a purpose, an alternative to disappearing into the ether to be alone with his monster. Tony knows from experience that being alone with your issues doesn’t end well, so for what’s only the third time in his life he extends the hand of friendship to a guy he’s known barely an hour.
And then, he tells Bruce to let the beast loose. Not just because they need him to fight, but because it will help him. If Bruce can take this thing that he sees as a curse and turn it into a gift, well, that’s going to lift him out of a very dark place. I’m not saying Tony knew about Bruce’s attempted suicide, but I think he had a suspicion that Bruce had been, in his words, “low”. So he encourages Bruce to take all that crap and pain and the Other Guy and use him to help people; after all, that’s what he did.
And it pays off. Nobody— nobody— thinks Bruce is going to turn up for that final battle. You can see the look on Natasha and Steve’s faces when Tony asks if Bruce turned up yet. They’ve counted Bruce out. Guy’s a mess, right? He’s too volatile. Doesn’t play well with others. He could never work as part of a team. No-one thinks he’ll come through when it matters. Except Tony. He has faith in him, and that faith is rewarded. It’s no wonder the Hulk is the one to catch Tony. Tony’s the one who helped let him out. He’s just returning the favor.
So today I watched a movie. Over here it’s called Avengers Assemble so we don’t confuse it with Steed and Mrs Peel (like my mum and granny did, in two separate conversations). I’ve been waiting for this movie for a while. What did I think?
I’ve spent the last hour watching TED talks and playing Solitaire on my iPod rather than write anything. That’s a bad habit. I will break it.
Yesterday was Wednesday so let’s talk about comics.
I just got an email!
As I know you keep perfect track of your many fans, I know that you already know that I am a pilot, and that today’s comic was especially for me.
I read panel one, and seeing as I didn’t have to know about landing airplanes right that moment I asked someone else to print it out for me and fold it so that I can take it with me and read it right when I need to know about landing airplanes, which will probably be in the next few days.
I will then follow the instructions. I will let you know how it goes! I am really looking forward to it. I will also follow my checklists, and do any other things that T-Rex may have left out because they are too obvious to mention. It will be the best landing ever.