Category Archive – Reading Lounge

Week 5 of TSRC!

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Hiya guys.  We’re entering Week 5 of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, which means we are just about at the halfway mark.  Keep reading!  All the reading!  And the missions!

And for reading ideas, here’s some YA fic with a road trip theme for that special summer feel *thumbs up*

Week 3 of TSRC starts today!

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Fry from Futurama in “The Day the Earth Stood Stupid”, found in Volume 3.

We’ve now entered week 3 of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge.  Stop by your local library to find books to add to the total number of pages read and to find this week’s missions.

And for all you mystery lovers and/or fans of Sherlock, I’ve got some reading recommendations just for you.

Week of Geek: Spider-Man! An Appreciation!

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Spider-Man!  Spider-Man!  Does whatever a spider can!  Spins a web, any size!  Catches thieves just like flies!  LOOK OUT!  Here comes the Spider-Maaaaaaan!

That song’s been around since the 1960s.  About as long as the character it features.  Yep, we’re gonna talk about everyone’s favorite web-head today, which seems timely seeing as how his first solo MCU film comes out this weekend.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is Spidey’s 6th movie in 15 years, which is a high turn-over rate in film.  It’s actually his 7th if you count his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and this is his first solo film since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let me break it down and bring you up to speed…

ComicsHis first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy issue #15 in 1962, and he was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  He was one of the first teens in comics who wasn’t a sidekick or side character, and he was specifically created with teens in mind as a relatable hero, with power but also insecurities and awkwardness.  He’s been a regular in Marvel ever since and has become one of the publisher’s most iconic characters.

TV – Spidey’s been in other media almost since he appeared on the scene.  The first was an animated series that ran from 1967 to 1970 (and that’s where his theme song comes from).  One version I saw a lot of was an animated series that ran from 1994 to 1998.  But he’s been a steady presence on small screens, with a new series coming out this year.

Broadway – Probably the less said about this, the better.  But still, it did happen.

Movies – OK, buckle up, ’cause this gets a little complicated.  A really great article just came out that outlines the whole sordid affair, but let me sum up.  Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t seen Spidey on screen with the Avengers up until now.  Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that.  Back in the 90s, before the big super-hero boom in film and before they created their own movie studio, Marvel sold off the film rights to some of their most popular characters, most notably the X-Men to 20th Century Fox and Spider-Man to Sony.

Sony had tremendous success with it’s first 2 Spider-Man films, 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2, both starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker.  But trouble started to brew in 2007 when Spider-Man 3 debuted.  Though it did alright financially, it was panned by the critics and is still a sore spot for Spidey fans.  So, Sony tried to reboot the series a mere 5 years after the first trilogy (that’s a big thing you start to see when you follow pop culture trends; movie studios are first and foremost a business, and they want to make money).  This brings us to Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, starring Andrew Garfield, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.  These were met with resounding ‘meh’s from audiences, so Sony, after having three under-performing films, decided it was time to open up communications with Marvel Studios, who have been killing it with their extended universe of films.  Sony didn’t want to give the character back to them, per se (as was the case with Daredevil and maybe Fantastic 4), but to partner up.  Thus, Spidey appeared in Civil War, with Tom Holland (the 2nd Englishman to play the part) taking over as Peter and he will now get his own film as a joint Marvel/Sony project.

So Spidey returns to the fold!  But I wouldn’t hold your breath when it comes to the X-Men.  Fox is still making good money on those characters and will likely want to hold on to them.

Other characters – The world of Spider-Man has many interesting players to read up on, especially when you get into the multiverse.  There’s Miles Morales, an alternate universe Spidey who is biracial and made a big splash when he first debuted.  One of the most recent and popular characters is nicknamed Spider-Gwen.  She’s an alternate universe version of long-time Parker love interest Gwen Stacy, but in this reality she’s the one who was bitten by that pesky radioactive spider, and became her universe’s version of Spider-Woman.  Fans were thrilled to have Gwen back and staring as the hero, considering what happened to the main universe’s version (spoilers).  And Spider-Man has a heck of a Rogue’s Gallery, some of which have had their own comics.

So there’s a relatively brief rundown, considering the character is 55 years old.  Anything important I missed?  Post in the comments section and if you go see the film be sure to let us know what you think on the Write It website.  Any and all Spider-Man comics you read this summer do count in the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, btw.  And click here and here for more MCU vids to watch.

Until next time, End of Line, and remember…

To hiiiiiiim, life is a great big baaaang up!  Wherever there’s a haaaang up, you’ll find the Spider-Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!  (It’s hard to tell in print, but I’m actually a half-way descent singer, I swear!)

Week 2 of TSRC Begins!

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Week 2 of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge begins today!  Pop by your local branch for this week’s missions and keep reading!  And Happy Canada Day!

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 4! Slash Fiction and Final Thoughts!

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Hi again Geeklings!

So June is almost over (can you believe it?) and this weekend Canada celebrates 150 years on July 1st.  So let’s wrap up Pride Month with the fourth and last part in my series on LGBTQ characters (Click for Parts 1, 2 and 3).  This time, however, we’re going to get a little unofficial.  We’re delving a bit into Slash fic.

What is that?  Well, let me throw a few terms at you.  “Shipping” in Fandom circles is when fans romantically match characters, regardless of if that match is canon or not.  If you write about, draw about, paint about, or just support a certain couple you “ship” them (you may hear the term OTP as well; that means One True Pairing, the couple you love above all others… though, let’s face it, you often can’t pick just one).  “Slash” is shipping where both of the shipped characters are guys; for two girls it’s often known as “Femslash”.  There are MANY famous slash pairings out there, often with mash-up names.  Very few of them are canon, but fans really want them to be and, honestly, they might as well be, considering the TON of fan art and fanfiction out there around them.  And on the rare occasion a ship DOES become canon… my gosh, that’s a happy day for fans!

Some examples of slash pairs include Destiel (Dean Winchester and Castiel from Supernatural), Johnlock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and that’s one of the oldest slash pairings out there), Spirk (Captain Kirk and Commander Spock from Star Trek, and like many other things in fandom, slash as it’s known today really began with Trek, appearing in fanzines before the internet became a thing), Sterek (Mieczyslaw “Stiles” Stilinski and Derek Hale from Teen Wolf), and of course the ultimate question amongst Avengers fans; Stony or Stucky?  (Meaning, who should Captain America end up with?  Iron Man or Winter Soldier?)  A couple of examples of femslash pairs include Pangie (Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli from Agent Carter), Allydia (another Teen Wolf pairing, this time between Allison Argent and Lydia Martin) and Korrasami (Korra and Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra), though that one actually became canon.

So why do we ship?  And why do we slash?  There are a lot of theories out there, but some of the ones I like the best is that it’s a way for young fans to explore romance; that it’s a way for LGBTQ fans to find representation in pop culture which, though getting a bit better, is still lacking; and it’s proof that there are many versions of love, and that who we’re attracted to can be hugely fluid, which is always a good thing to know and normalize.

So I encourage you guys to imagine the possibilities.  And I encourage you to share your fanfics on Write It!, ’cause we’d all like to read them.  Who are some of your favorite ships?  Post away in the comments section too (but no shipping wars; all ships are valid!).

So, some final thoughts; why did I write this series on LGBTQ characters, both canon and non?  Four posts covering four different formats featuring many orientations (gay, lesbian, bi, pan, ace, etc.) and many characters.  What heck?

Well, pop culture, and really any type of art we make, is a reflection of us; as a whole, as individuals, as a society, etc.  It represents our hopes and dreams, our problems, what we wish we could change and what we shouldn’t change for anything.  Our strengths, our flaws, and the many, many ways we go through the human experience.

And I wanted to take this month to highlight LGBTQ characters because, for some of us, we may find ourselves in a position where we know something might be up with us in regards to sex or romance or who we feel we should be or whatever, but we’re just not sure what it is.  And we may find ourselves in a position where we have absolutely no one to talk to about it.  Maybe, for whatever reason, your family or friends or community isn’t really all that open to talking about homosexuality or anything non-heteronormative.  Or maybe they are, but you’re too nervous or afraid to ask.  It could totally rock what you thought you knew about yourself.  Or maybe you don’t know what to ask.  It’s a process, let me tell you.

So it’s kinda nice when you can open a book or turn on a TV or sit in a movie theatre and see a character that makes you go “Huh.  That sounds or looks an awful lot like me.”  This is why representation in our culture is so important, for all types of people.  When you see someone like you it inspires you to be your true self.  Then when you are ready to ask some questions, to vocalize all of this, it’s helpful to envision that character, or even just to know that somebody, somewhere, created something that echoes what you’re feeling.  You are NOT alone, whether support comes from nearby or from a writer writing in Hollywood or somewhere.  And just the knowledge that you aren’t alone can be very powerful, regardless of where it comes from.

Stormpilot anyone?

So if you’d like to learn more, we have resources and we have links.  As library staff we encourage people to not to be afraid to ask questions.  Allow me to promote that here.

Thanks everybody.  Happy Pride!  Don’t forget about TSRC, and until next time, End of Line.

Oh yeah, and apparently this is a thing now 😉