Perhaps alone in the Marvel Universe, Black Panther is taken seriously as a political statement, both in the content of its stories and in how the films are produced. Wakanda purports to present an alternate historical condition of Africa had it not been colonized. Mark, Lawrence Ware, Anthony LeBlanc, and Viola Burlew discuss the comics and films, getting into the political … [Read more...] about PMP#146: Black Panther Films and Comics
In light of the recent release of Matt Reeves' film The Batman, we consider the strange alternation of darkness and camp that is Batman. Is he even a super hero? What's with his rogues' gallery? What's with DC's anti-world-building? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by philosophy prof/NY Times entertainment writer Lawrence Ware, improv comedian/educator Anthony … [Read more...] about PMP#124: What Is Batman?
What is it for a super-hero to represent America? Though the character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941 may have been a way to capitalize on WWII patriotism, it has since been used to ask questions about what it really means to be patriotic and how America's ideals and its reality may conflict. We're of course talking about race, a theme explored by Sam Wilson, … [Read more...] about PMP#98: The Spirit of Captain America w/ Anthony LeBlanc
The long-awaited debut Disney+ Marvel superhero series is... a tribute to classic sit-coms? Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Rolando from the Remakes, Reboots, and Revivals podcast try to figure out what kind of storytelling this really is, whether this experiment was successful, whether you have to be a Marvel die-hard (or old enough to have watched those sit-coms) to get it, and … [Read more...] about PMP#85: What the WandaVision!? w/ Rolando Nieves
The holiday film release season has passed us with only one real blockbuster, which is the return of Wonder Woman, and we likewise have a returning hero: Our college-going young guest from ep. 33 on heroine journeys has now grown into a grad student just studying comics and brings her deep WW knowledge to consider the new film in context with Erica, Mark, and … [Read more...] about PMP#76: Wonder Women (84 and Others) w/ Vi Burlew
Is there no end to the seemingly endless fascination with superhero media? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by Travis, who teaches political philosophy at Concordia) to discuss. Travis sees their resonance as a matter of metaphor: How can we do more with the abilities we have? His book Superhero Ethics matches up heroes like Batman vs. Spider-Man for ethical comparison: Both … [Read more...] about PMP#63: Superhero Ethics (and The Boys) w/ Travis Smith
Mark, Erica, and Brian finally cover a current film, and of course use it as an entry point in discussing the social function of super-hero films more generally, how much realism or grittiness is needed in such stories, whether to repeat or bypass the origin story, everlasting franchises, the use of multi-verses as a storytelling device, exaggerating the potential in a story of … [Read more...] about PMP#8: Spider-Man: Far From Home (and Elsewhere)