Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 52, or, The Cult Classic Finale

I did it, gang! 52 weeks and 52 episodes (plus four bonus episodes, just saying) and the Pony Tricks Comic Cast has come to an end. It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun, but now I need to go a week without talking to myself out load about comic books. Don’t worry though, a new podcast will be coming to Pony Tricks soon enough.

This week: Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers v. X-Men: Axis, Batman and Robin, Black Widow, Daredevil, Justice League, Multiversity

Lastly, now that the Pony Tricks Comic Cast is over I’m going to explore new options for hosting my podcasts on the web, which means that as of a month from now I’ll no longer being paying for hosting on SoundCloud, which means all 50+ episodes the Comic Cast won’t be available here in a month. But I’ll do my damnedest to make sure they’re available somewhere else. Stay tuned to ponytricks.net for more information about where these episodes will ultimately end up, as well as whatever podcast I waste my time on next.

Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 50, or, I Can Admit When I’m Wrong

Here I grapple with the hardship of having a Wednesday for a Monday.

This week: Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers vs X-Men: Axis, Detective Comics, Superman Unchained, Swamp Thing

Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 44, or, 1-800-555-TOPH

Subtitle: My Magnum Opus. Amongst an episode mired in general unpleasantness from my trash ASUS laptop I go through the last week of DC Comics’ Futures End month and blah blah blah, look kid, I got a great idea that needs to get to the ears of Topher Grace. If you talk to him before I do let him know I’m trying to talk to him and he wants to hear what I got to say. Also I forgot to use my good mic for the first half. Whatever.

This week Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl, Booster Gold: Futures End, Edge of Spider-Verse, Outcast, Saga, Superman: Futures End, Superman: Doomed

Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 33, or, Disgruntled

For your listening pleasure: the original rerecording of the classic, and mysteriously instantaneously deleted, original recording of the 33rd episode of the Pony Tricks Comic Cast, recorded mere moments after said deletion. Not that I’m bitter. Also, another, unrelated, weekly whoops.

This week: Amazing Spider-Man, American Vampire, Daredevil, Detective Comics, Justice League United, Superman/Wonder Woman and The Walking Dead.

Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 31, or, Sitting is the New Smoking

This was a pretty fantastic week for comics. Not a dud among them. But there are more important things to discuss than the quality of this weeks comics or quantity of the monsters within them. Like whether or not you’re killing yourself by sitting your way to an early grave.

This week: Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Justice League, Ms. Marvel, Outcast, Saga, Superman

Pony Tricks Comic Cast Episode 23, or, 5th Wednesday

It’s the 5th Wednesday of the month, a.k.a. the 5th new comic book day of the month, a.k.a. a slow week. But there’s plenty to talk about! I still haven’t beaten Dark Souls. And I still haven’t seen Amazing Spider-Man 2, but I did read Amazing Spider-Man #1! So yeah, there’s plenty to talk about? Right?

This week: Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Eternal, The Flash, New Avengers, Silver Surfer

 

Some house-cleaning: In the near future I’ll be resubmitting the Pony Tricks Comic Cast’s feed to iTunes with a stat tracker so that I can gather data on, ya know, stats. This probably means PTCC won’t be available on iTunes for a short spell. But it will still be available here and on SoundCloud.

Swap Thing, or, Dan Slott and the Very Idea of Spider-Man

SPIDER ATTACK

SPIDER ATTACK

Spoilers ahead for the ending of Amazing Spider-Man #700, as well as the general idea of Superior Spider-Man

I’d wager a guess that Peter Parker is one of the most famous, recognizable alter-egos in comic books, right up there with the likes of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Parker’s youth and wit define the Wall Crawler, who’s just as likely to swing from webs as he is to be a wise ass in the face of impending death. It’s safe to say that there couldn’t really be a Spider-Man without Peter Parker behind the mask.

Or could there be?

It’s a question writer Dan Slott has been pondering for over a year in the pages of The Superior Spider-Man, something of an interlude between the end of Amazing Spider-Man with issue #700 and the rebooting of Amazing Spider-Man with next week’s issue #1.

Comic books, am I right?

The Superior Spider-Man sees a dying Doc Ock, in a stroke of villainous genius, switch bodies with Spider-Man, leaving Peter Parker to die in the body of a gross old man while the consciousness of that same gross old man gallivants about in Peter Parker’s nubile young body, assuming both his personal and super-heroic identities and dedicating himself to becoming The Superior Spider-Man.

Hey, that’s the name of the book.

I won’t lie, when I first learned of the aforementioned setup to Superior Spider-Man I immediately wrote it off, because I’m open-minded. Freaky Friday Spider-Man sounded like all of the wrong kinds of silly and ridiculous, the makings of many a retrospective eye-roll.

But I wanted something new to read over the holidays and damned if I didn’t really miss Spider-Man. I gave the first volume of Superior a shot and immediately after I burned a hole in my pocket collecting back issues.

A body swap story could have been the most derivative drivel this side of Top 40 radio, but in Superior Spider-Man Dan Slott took a tired trope and used it as an existential springboard to ask not only what defines both what defines an individual and what defines an iconic superhero whose status in popular culture has far surpassed his comic book origins?

DA END

The end..?

Is Peter Parker a warm body? Is he a mind? Is he a soul? Or is he perhaps a collection of memories and experiences somewhere between all three?

And if the definition of Peter Parker is up in the air, what of Spider-Man? Is the hero defined by his alter-ego? Or perhaps his superpowers? Or is Spider-Man an elemental avatar for personal responsibility?

Classic superheroes go through something of a swap every month.

In any given week Batman could be the concoction of Scott Snyder, or Pete Tomasi, or Grant Morrison. Multiply that by 75 years and hundreds of creators and you have a wealth of different iterations of Batman. And yet whether you’re reading The Dark Knight Returns or The Court of Owls there’s never a question as to whether Batman is Batman because the character is built upon fundamental truths and represents a specific facet of the human experience.

The same can be said for Spider-Man or any other classic superhero worth their legions of fans. Slott’s Superior Spider-Man, much like Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, is a definitive examination of both the fluidity and resilience of superheroes not as characters, but as ideas.

In the midst of reboot madness, Marvel could have simply ended Amazing Spider-Man #700 one month and turned out Amazing Spider-Man #1 the next. Instead, Dan Slott took Spider-Man on a winding existential journey that tasked readers with defining not only what Spider-Man fundamentally is, but what Spider-Man fundamentally isn’t. And after the events of Superior Spider-Man I’d say the brand has earned a fresh start and a new #1.

...or the beginning, AMIRIGHT?

…or the beginning, AMIRIGHT?

One day The Superior Spider-Man is going to be released in its entirety in some monster hardcover collection of all 31 issues for like $60. It will be totally worth it.

 

 

For weekly comic book coverage check out the Pony Tricks Comic Cast, available on Pony Tricks, SoundCloud and iTunes.