Happy Tuesday, my comics-loving babes! If you are reading this, I will assume that you survived Thanos’s snap. But did you survive the three hours and one minute that was Avengers: Endgame this weekend?
Trust me. We’re getting to that in a minute.
We’re entering the hot season for conventions, folks. Between Awesome Con in Washington DC this past weekend and Galaxy Con coming up at the Richmond Convention Center next month, almost every illustrator, writer, and comic fan is going to be full of buzz for the next convention. Lucky for us, local illustrator Jordan Kincaid took time out of her super-busy schedule to tell us the lowdown on what she is digging into these days.
Kincaid is a Richmond-based illustrator and VCU alumnus who most recently has been featuring her work as part of the OwlCrate subscription service for Young Adult books and media. Her work often focuses on a whimsical, fairy-tale aesthetic. And if that sounds like it might be in your wheelhouse, then you’re really going to dig the recommendations she has for us.
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
Following the current modern retelling trend, Smythe’s Lore Olympus online webtoon retells the infamous myth of Hades and Persephone, and asks — what if they started as just good friends?
“Hades is incredibly thoughtful, kind, and respectful, especially to sweet little Persephone,” said Kincaid. “The entire cast is so colorful, both literally and figuratively. The comic also very respectfully handles more serious issues, especially regarding consent, sexual assault, and processing that trauma. Note that Hades does not commit this horrible act. The series is still ongoing, and I honestly look forward to reading each new chapter every Saturday night.”
The Girl from the Other Side by Nagabe
“A cursed monster who goes by the name Teacher comes across a small girl named Shiva in the woods,” said Kincaid. “Knowing that Shiva would most likely die if he doesn’t do something, he takes the child and raises her as his own. However, he cannot touch her, as he is a cursed being who can pass his curse to humans just by simply touching them. Throughout the series, he protects her from the other monsters in the woods and the even more monstrous humans that enter their realm.”
If you’re a fan of dark anime, and just of Rogue from X-Men as a person (same, thanks), then you need to add this to your list.
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
A blacksmith’s apprentice named Greta just so happens to save a tiny tea dragon one day. When she takes it to an older couple who know how to help him, she and her new friend become embedded in the world of tea dragons. Color me jealous.
“I find that I always feel warm after reading this,” said Kincaid. “This short and calming tale is a perfect read before bed, for kids and adults alike. Each panel is so colorful and full of whimsy. It also has great LGBT representation through Hesekiel and Erik. Even though the comic is short, you will still get swept away in the colorful and whimsical world of Tea Dragons.”
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
“Although this series is older, it has become more relevant recently due to its 2019 anime reboot,” said Kincaid. “This manga series is like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day. Tohru is such a caring protagonist, and each zodiac member is filled to the brim with character as well. The romance that the series portrays is incredibly innocent and sweet. You can’t help but fall in love with all the zodiac members, or at least have a favorite 😉 Mine is the year of the Dragon, Hatori.”
Mias and Elle by Jenny Clements
“Mias, a wizard from a Tudor-like dimension, whisks away Elle, a girl from our dimension,” said Kincaid. “A magical belle told him to pick her for some reason that he still can’t figure out. Elle wants nothing to do with this, as she has experienced a recent loss and just wants to move on with her life. Instead, she is trapped with a handsome wizard, helping him with god knows what until he can return her home safely.”
Kincaid also added that if you’re into British humor and “saucy wizard men, this this comic is for you.”
Beauty and the Beast by Megan Kearney
“This rendition of the Beast is very gentle, formal, and so pure of heart that you just want to scoop him up,” said Kincaid. “The chemistry that Belle and the Beast share together is really strong. Their relationship develops very naturally, and you can’t help but sigh between every adorable scene these two share. The atmosphere is beautifully gloomy. You can feel how cold and hostile the castle is, in contrast to the Beast’s warmth — so much so that you don’t want him to change back into the prince at the end.”
Alright, folks. We’re getting to the meat of this issue. I’m only going to say this once, but if you have not yet seen Avengers: Endgame, then you’re going to want to turn away now. Unless you’re into that kind of thing.
Once again. Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame are about to occur. This is your final warning.
[I won’t see it until Thursday… so I’m not editing the rest of this. Sorry, Ash. -ed.]
WHAT THE HELL.
This past weekend was the long awaited opening weekend for the finale of Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame. Eleven years and twenty-two films in the making later and it concludes with a grand total of $1.2 billion worldwide opening weekend. Clocking in at three hours and one minute exactly, it is also officially the longest film released thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and subsequent director’s cut editions but this didn’t feel like three hours at all. The pace was easily the most consistent out of all of the MCU franchise films, in regard to both narrative and action. I felt like it was a pretty even balance, which can be difficult to do, especially because going in we already knew that this film was going to be packed. There is a lot to unload to get us from point A to point B.
It was emotionally exhausting in the best way that it could be. Most of the loose ends were tied up, and honestly, if you keep up with casting news then quite frankly you already knew how this was ultimately going to play out. I was not surprised that Tony Stark died, especially since Robert Downey Jr has been sharing to the world for the last five years or so that he’s ready to move on.
However, I was a little surprised that Steve Rogers did not die. I was completely ready and expecting Marvel to pull a very parallel Death of Superman moment on Cap, especially after we learned that he is in fact worthy of Mjolnir. Rogers passing the Captain America torch to Sam aka Falcon was something that I was hoping would happen for a long time, but I was prepared for MCU to cater to the majority and pass it off to Bucky.
When I got what I wanted you could probably hear me screaming over the river.
As much as I loved this film, and without shame will share with everyone how I ugly cried for three hours and change, I did have some issue with it that I can’t ignore, especially as we take some time off before we enter Phase 4 of the MCU.
Just when exactly is Natasha Romanoff going to catch a damn break?
Natasha has had exactly two good films in the MCU – Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. The rest followed the trend of starting her off strong, and then ending very weak when the writers got bored with her. One of the biggest issues that still bothers me is how Natasha being sterile was treated so poorly.
I get that she can’t have children, it’s canon, it’s what it is. That is not my issue. My issue is how in the MCU it was treated so lazily and almost to the point that it was lumped in with the “red on her ledger” that she continues to speak of. It was mentioned for ten minutes and then dropped.
This is not the damn Budapest gag between her and Clint Barton. This is not a throw away gag. This is a very serious, very real issue that you can’t just bring up so flippantly when you are too lazy to take the time to actually develop her character and move her story along. That’s a sign of a terrible writer.
Enter Endgame. Five years into the future Natasha has entered a powerful leadership position. She’s understandably stressed and exhausted, but she’s the leader we all knew she could and should be. She even gets her bestie back to go skipping into the sunset with, and if you subscribe to the (also painfully weak and poorly written) romance between her and Bruce Banner, then she also gets her honey back. Life’s coming up Milhouse, y’all.
Except oh no, oh wait no it isn’t because we’re also going to kill her for the soul stone.
I’m not mad how, Natasha died. I want to make that crystal clear. I am mad why she died.
I knew that Hawkeye and Black Widow were going to fight it out to see who would sacrifice themselves. What I did not (and honestly shame on me because I totally should have) seen coming was Black Widow’s rationale was because she “does not have have a family” and Clint does.
Then who the hell was this ragtag band of misfit toys that she has spent the last eight years with?
I could also go into another further tangent about how gross it was that Natasha never got a funeral but Tony Stark did, and well really anyone else and how it felt like she died to serve as a motivator for the men in her life but we don’t have that kind of time. Also Gamora already had to do the same thing, apparently in Avengers: Infinity War last year so.
That being said, I do want to make it clear that despite some personal issues I have with the film, as an overall piece and conclusion? I did love it. I absolutely loved it and I will undeniably go back both alone and dragging my partner along to see it about thirty more times. At least.
Also, between Brie Larson campaigning hard for an all female Avengers, and the panoramic shot of all of the women about to tear it up? Oh, yes. We’re just getting started here.
Until next time, RVAvengers.
Top Image by Jordan Kincaid, via jkincaidillustration.com