Spider-Man's Arch-Villain(s)

So, I was trying to decide who Spider-Man's arch-villain is, and I think most people would say it's Green Goblin, but I've also heard people say that it's Venom, Kingpin, or Doctor Octopus, and, honestly, I think there are good arguments for each of those villains. I think the reason for that is that Spider-Man's arch-villain has changed a few times over the years.

It seems to me that Doctor Octopus started out as his arch-villain for a couple of years until 1964 when the Green Goblin was introduced. Then the Norman Osborn incarnation dies in a fight with Spidey after the death of Gwen Stacy in 1973. After that, the title of arch-villain would have had to switch to someone else, and, from what I know of that era, I would say that title went to the Kingpin. Though Harry Osborn's turn as the Green Goblin started sometime soon after Norman's death (Wikipedia says 1974), I think he was only the Green Goblin off and on, so I'm not sure that he stayed the Goblin consistently enough to be considered an arch-villain. I know his last stint (at least I think it was his last stint) as the Green Goblin was in 1992, but I am relatively sure that he didn't stay the Goblin throughout all of 1974-1992 (in fact, I know he didn't, because he stopped long enough to start a family with Liz...). So yeah, I think I'd say Kingpin was Spidey's arch-nemesis through most of the 1970s and 80s. I don't really know any specific storylines to cite from that time period, but it seems like I've heard that both Spidey and Daredevil spent a lot of their time going after the Kingpin (or vice versa) during that period.

After that, it seems like the title stayed with the Kingpin until the Venom symbiote bonded with Eddie Brock in 1988, and then Eddie would have stayed the arch-villain throughout most of the 90s. Then Norman Osborn is resurrected sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s, and I think it pretty much shifts back to him being Spidey's arch villain for a while. After that point, I'd say it gets a little muddled, because Norman Osborn then seems to have become more of an Avengers villain than a Spider-Man villain (though it's still clear that the two hate each other and are awesome adversaries). And most recently, during Dan Slott's run anyway, I'd say it's pretty clear that Doctor Octopus is Peter Parker/Spidey's arch-villain again (though I don't know who the Doc Ock/Superior Spider-Man's arch-villain would be as I haven't had a chance to read that yet).

So just as a recap, I'd say Doc Ock started out as the arch-villain for the first year or two, then Norman Osborn until his death, then the Kingpin in the 70s and 80s, Venom throughout most of the 90s, then Norman Osborn again, and finally, Doc Ock again.

I would also like to point out that it seems like the Spider-Man animated series from the 90s seems to portray Kingpin as being Spidey's arch-villain throughout most of it's run, with Green Goblin (both the Norman and Harry incarnations) only showing up briefly (though with very significant episodes) throughout the show's five year run. Because of that, before I started reading the comics, I had always thought of Kingpin as Spidey's arch-villain (with Venom perhaps being a close second for that title)... but then of course I read the comics. Anyway, just thought I'd share my thoughts on that subject. Let me know if you agree or disagree with anything or all of what I said!

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Batman and Hugo Strange

I finished reading Batman: Prey a while ago, and I really enjoyed it. I've not read many stories involving Hugo Strange, but I'd say that this is easily the best of the comics that I've read.

While browsing through Batman graphic novels and trades (which I often do), I've come across another popular Batman tale featuring Hugo Strange called Batman and the Monster Men, based on the 1940s story that introduced Strange. I was just curious which most people think the better story is, Prey or Monster Men? Also, did Monster Men knock Prey out of continuity (at least Pre-Flashpoint continuity)?


Best Comic Book Movies of the Year

I finally watched X-Men First Class last night, and that got me thinking about what the best comic book movies were this summer. Out of the five that I can think of (Green Lantern, X-Men First Class, Captain America The First Avenger, Thor, and Cowboys & Aliens), I have seen three (X-Men, Cap, and Thor). Out of those three, I'd say X-Men is the best. I think First Class is just as good as the first two X-Men films (both of which I think are fantastic). I've always loved the relationship that Xavier and Magneto have. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies all at the same time. First Class really showcases that through the story of how the two first meet in the film universe. Oh and I loved Wolverine's cameo in this film (and the fact that this is the first X-Men film that isn't primarily about Wolverine, as much as I do love that character).

Thor is the second best comic book film. It is a great epic film. I think Kenneth Branagh was a great choice for director, though definitely an unexpected one I think. I love his previous Shakespeare films. His adaptations of Hamlet and Henry V are two of the best Shakespeare films I have ever seen. He did another great job in Thor, from showing the vastness of Asgard to showing the very complex, and very human, relationships that the gods of Asgard have.

Then there is Captain America: The First Avenger. Gotta be honest, I've never been a huge fan of Cap. I like him with the Avengers as I think he provides a very important dynamic for the team, but his solo adventures have never been that interesting to me. They have always seemed kind of corny to me, and this movie is no different. I thought it was really well made and very faithful to the comics. There were parts I liked, as the action scenes were engaging and there some very comedic moments throughout the film. But overall, I still found it a bit too corny for my taste.

I am hoping to see both Cowboys & Aliens and Green Lantern (despite the bad reviews of the latter) sometime soon. Perhaps I'll update this blog to see where each of them fit in after I do see them. In the meantime, how would you guys rank the comic book films that came out this year?


My Picks From the New 52

I've posted different variations of my picks in a couple of different places in this site already, but I have changed them slightly once again. Therefore, I decided to write my first blog in order to list my picks and why I'm picking them.
1. Batman- I loved Scott Snyder's run on Detective and can't wait to see what he does with the real Batman.
2. Batman and Robin- I liked Tomasi's previous 3 issue arc on Batman and Robin and am willing to give this title a shot.
3. Nightwing- Nightwing has always been one of my favorite characters. I've always loved how they matured Dick Grayson from Robin into being a more independent hero (though he'll always be a part of the Bat-family).
4. Batgirl- I would have rather them brought Cassandra Cain back as Batgirl, but I like Barbara Gordon and have read that Simone does the best Babs stories, so I'm going to give this title a shot.
5. Teen Titans- I'm going to pick up this title mostly because it is the only one right now featuring Red Robin (which, as with Nightwing, I love how they matured Tim Drake into being a more independent hero). I also liked a lot of the X-Men stories that Scott Lobdell did in the 90s, and I am holding out hope that they re-introduce Raven into this title at some point.
6. GL: New Guardians- Kyle Rayner has always been my favorite GL, so I will most likely at least try this for a while. I had thought about getting Geoff Johns' Green Lantern comic too, but I decided that, if it got good reviews, I would probably just follow that in the trades like I have been doing with the rest of his run. (I am still pretty far behind in it. The last Green Lantern trade that I read was Agent Orange).
7. Justice League- This looks like it will be a fun book to read.
8. Justice League Int'l- This also looks like a fun book, reminiscent of Justice League Europe that came out back in  the early 90s.
9. Wonder Woman- I have never collected any Wonder Woman comics before, but I like the character well enough and loved Azzarello's Flashpoint Batman tie-in, and I also love mythology. Therefore, I shall give this book a chance.