Greg Carpenter

Greg Carpenter is a writer, teacher, and recovering coffee addict. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Mississippi and has published essays on a variety of writers including Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jerry Robinson, August Wilson, and Tennessee Williams. He is currently writing a book on comics for Sequart and is a frequent contributor to PopMatters. He has taught a wide variety of classes, including Comics, Modern American Literature, Shakespeare, and Screenwriting/Playwriting. He currently teaches at a university in Nashville. He also holds an M.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. from Arkansas State University.

MAGAZINE CONTENT BY GREG CARPENTER (73 TOTAL)

from Age of Ultron, Black WidowSuperhero Movies and the Curse of Familiarity: The Age of Ultron

The art of adaptation as well as the challenge of sequels is to allow the audience to experience things in new ways—strange ways—in order to destabilize us. [more]

Dark Knight 3, promotional art copyFrank Miller, Bernie Krigstein, and “The Master Race”

As many of you probably know, last Friday DC Comics announced plans to publish a new sequel to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  While details were sketchy, it was clear that Miller would be… [more]

Batman v SupermanWe Don’t Want What We Want: Thoughts on Superman and Movie Trailers

When I sit down to read a comic or watch a movie, I don’t know specifically what I want. And I think that’s a good thing. [more]

The Westerner (1960)“It’s Not a Game!”: Sam Peckinpah’s The Westerner

You remember that amazing TV show that got cancelled after just a few episodes?  The one from the respected TV writer who then went on to become a famous filmmaker?  The show was sort of… [more]

Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice, by Janet K. LeeJane Austen, Art, and Women in Comics: A Conversation with Janet K. Lee

Do I have to drink hot tea in order to talk about Jane Austen? That’s the question that kept running through my head as I made my way to Sip Café in East Nashville.  I… [more]

Crockett statue in downtown LawrenceburgBorn on a Mountaintop in Tennessee: Davy Crockett and the Early American Superhero

A century before the Shadow, the Phantom, and Superman, the Crockett Almanacs had turned Davy Crockett into one of the first American superheroes. [more]

Everything's Eventual by Stephen King copyThe Literary Art of Stephen King: “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away”

In this story, King is elevating an entire medium of expression that almost no one takes seriously, even though in many ways it has a purity that most of the finer arts lack. [more]

SphereTracing Some of the Roots in Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, Part 2

[A quick word of caution.  What follows is an analysis of some of the literary antecedents for The Sculptor.  As such, spoilers abound.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!] If you read last week’s column,… [more]

The Sculptor by Scott McCloudTracing Some of the Roots of Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, Part 1

In the midst of this very Postmodern setting, The Sculptor winds up echoing some very old legends with roots tracing back through 19th century Germany, 16th century England, and 1st century Rome. [more]

Leonard Nimoy, from Amok TimeIn Search of the Early Leonard Nimoy: Kid Monk Baroni, The Balcony, and Deathwatch

Like the rest of the world that could only see him as the logical Mr. Spock, I had typecast him, but in my case I had done so in a way that was doubly wrong. Not only had I misread Spock, but I had misread Nimoy as well. [more]

Don't Bite the Hook, coverOn Internet Outrage and Choosing Not to “Bite the Hook”

Last Monday, The Guardian published a piece on contemporary comics that asked the question, “When did the comic-book universe become so banal?”  It was written by an art critic and former comic book reader who… [more]

Too Late Blues (1961)Too Late Blues: Cassavetes, Darin, and Changing Masculinities

Last year I enjoyed writing about a relatively obscure jazz film, All Night Long, so I was excited a couple of weeks ago when I discovered another interesting one of the same genre.  Too Late… [more]

Birmingham Protests, March Book Two“We Will Not and Cannot be Patient”: On John Lewis’s March: Book Two

If I had to pick one moment from the second volume of John Lewis’s March to explain what makes it so special, I know what I would choose.  It happens at almost exactly the halfway… [more]

Six Million Dollar ManThe Sixty-Seven Million Dollar Man*: (*Adjusted for Medical Inflation)

“It feels like a Six Million Dollar Man night tonight!  Who’s with me?” Those were the words that escaped my lips last Tuesday evening.  I still don’t know where they came from.  It wasn’t anything… [more]

Tom BradyToo Big to Forfeit: Deflategate, The Goon, and the Business of Football

It’s Super Bowl Week at Sequart, so you know what that means! What’s that you say?  You think it probably means nothing?  Just the usual assortment of insightful articles about comic books and movies and… [more]

Selma, poster, main imageTired, Weak, and Worn: Humanizing Martin Luther King in Selma

I was standing at a urinal when the man next to me suddenly blurted out,  “You just saw Selma?” “Um … yeah,” was all I managed to stammer in response.  I figure the world is… [more]

Michael ChabonThe Amazing Adventures of “Stan” and “Jack”: Michael Chabon’s “Citizen Conn”

A couple of years ago, Michael Chabon gave a reading at our local library.  He was promoting a new novel, Telegraph Avenue, and the auditorium was packed.  Given my academic background, I’ve had to attend… [more]

Forever, posterSuperheroes in the Autopsy Room or: How a TV Star Tried to Save my Life

As I write this week’s column, it’s New Year’s Day—that one magical holiday when most of us sit around following a week of indulgences and resolve to do all manner of great things.  It’s one… [more]

It's Superman! by Tom De Haven, coverQuintessential Superman: Tom De Haven’s It’s Superman!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column praising Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony.  Near the end of that column, I called the Grammy-winning piece one of “the quintessential creative works” about Superman, listing it alongside… [more]

Edward Scissorhands (1990)Subversive Season’s Greetings: Tim Burton’s Christmas Trilogy

One of my favorite Christmas songs is the opening track on Elvis Presley’s first holiday album.  The album itself was a largely traditional collection of songs—“O Little Town of Bethlehem” and such—but Elvis insisted that… [more]

Charlie Brown, footballCharles M. Schulz and Peanuts: The Longest Jazz Solo in History

The panel opens on a barren sidewalk.  Two unnamed children, a boy and a girl, sit on some steps, leading to another, equally barren sidewalk.  There are no trees, no buildings, no animals, no cars… [more]

Judenhass, Cover by Dave SimWriting the Collective Page: Dave Sim, Judenhass, and Tolerating Injustice

When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made… [more]

The Multiversity Pax AmericanaGrant Morrison, Watchmen, and the Art of the Polemic

In order to criticize a movie, you have to make another movie. —Jean-Luc Godard A few years ago I stopped reading monthly comic books.  It wasn’t an ideological decision—just a reader’s.  Most of the comics… [more]

Albert EinsteinConfessions of a Paranoid Humanities Scholar: On Big Hero 6 and Interstellar

A couple of weeks ago I parked next to an SUV covered in decals all warning about the coming “zombie apocalypse.”  I chuckled, largely because I’ve never had a moment’s worry about zombies.  But there… [more]

The Metropolis Symphony, by the Nashville SymphonySuperman Goes to the Symphony: Michael Daugherty’s The Metropolis Symphony

One of the old adages about writing says that you should write the thing that scares you—so here goes.  For this week’s column, I want to take a look at a piece of classical music. … [more]

Eugene V. Debs for President, 1920The Original Science-Fiction Hero, Part 2: Buck Rogers and the Art of the Reboot

In last week’s column, I wrote about the original novella from Amazing Stories that first introduced Buck Rogers.  This week I want to look at two recent attempts to reboot the character. Whenever I talk… [more]

Duck Dodgers in the 24th CenturyThe Original Science Fiction Hero, Part 1: Buck Rogers, Philip Francis Nowlan, and Armageddon 2419

When I heard that Sequart was celebrating science fiction this week, I knew pretty quickly what I wanted to write about.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by iconic characters from pop… [more]

The Shining, PosterThe Strange Case of Dr. Pretentious and Mr. Clown

I’ve always loved Halloween.  It’s one of the few holidays that is fun and festive but requires no travel and only nominal shopping.  When it’s done right, it’s a wonderful excuse to dress up, eat… [more]

The NewsroomHow to Talk Like a Smart Person in 6 Easy Steps: Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom

Last year, while re-reading Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, I was amused by the references to “smart drinks,” a popular ‘90s fad of high-powered, supplement-infused juices said to stimulate brain activity.  While I never tried one… [more]

Photo by Do615Obsession and Superhero Movies: Scenes from a Comics Convention, Part 2

If you read last week’s column, you know that I recently attended the second annual Nashville Comic Con.  This week, I’d like to talk about one of the panels that made a particular impression on… [more]

William Shatner, Nashville Comic ConThe Shatner News No One Covered: Scenes from a Comics Convention, Part 1

Recently, Denise Dorman, the wife of the great Star Wars artist, Dave Dorman, posted a blog where she described the financial difficulties faced by many of the comics creators who attend conventions.  Hers was a… [more]

From Hell Chapter 10, page 15Delivering the 20th Century, Part 3: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell

In re-reading From Hell, it’s hard not to marvel at the liberation Alan Moore seems to be enjoying.  Despite the brilliance of his earlier superhero and horror stories, there was often still a sense of… [more]

Chapter 4 page 32Delivering the 20th Century, Part 2: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell

Last week’s column looked at the origins of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell.  This week it’s time to dive into some of the highlights from the first half of the book. The Prologue,… [more]

From Hell, CoverDelivering the Twentieth Century, Part 1: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell

If you’re like me, you’ve read with interest the recent news stories about a man named Russell Edwards who claims to have finally and definitively solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper.  Much like the… [more]

Red Tide, Revised ArtFrom the Steranko Files: The Hunt for Red Tide

The sun was going down and the shadows from the Venetian blinds made the desk in my office look like it was covered in zebra skin.  It had been a long day and my eight… [more]

All Night Long, PosterPrisoner Number Six, Willie the Shake, and All that Jazz

Will you do me a favor?  No matter what I write in the next paragraph, I want you to commit, right now, to continue reading this column—no matter what.  Do we have a deal?  Okay,… [more]

Hunger Dogs, Splash PageNo Country for Old Men: Jack Kirby, The Hunger Dogs, and the Modern Age of Comics

Jack Kirby’s a great artist.  He just can’t draw very well. –Anonymous comics fan Okay, so it was me.  I’m not proud of it, but that “anonymous” quote was something I actually said a few… [more]

from Inside the Actor's StudioWhen Vultures Weep: Reflections on Robin Williams and the Alchemy of Joy

I didn’t want to write this column.  From the first moment I heard about the death of Robin Williams, it was hard enough just to process the news.  Besides, I knew millions of other people… [more]

Marlon Brando WritingMarlon Brando and the Problems with Collective Cartooning

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud defines the act of cartooning as “amplification through simplification.”  In other words, a cartoon ignores most of the details, focusing instead on only one or two key components.  In the… [more]

Original concept painting by Ralph McQuarrieA Much Longer Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: On Reading The Star Wars

Star Wars began for me in the toy section of an old five and dime store called TG&Y.  It was there I discovered a whole collection of new and unusual looking figures—“dolls” as my Arkansas… [more]

FireflyGuarding the Galaxy, Part 2: Cosmic Avengers

One of the papers I usually assign in my composition course is a cultural antecedents essay.  The students choose something from popular culture and then examine its relationship to its cultural antecedents.  Or, put in… [more]

The Ocean at the End of the LaneCompleting the Trilogy: Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I’ve never been much of a summer person.  I can barely swim, don’t really enjoy the beach, and hate hot weather.  But something about summer clicked for me this year.  Even though we weren’t able… [more]

Love and War, Cover by SienkiewiczIt’s Pronounced [sin-KEV-ich]

For years I called him Bill “See-EN-key-a-wix.”  That is, until somebody told me it was “SINK-a-vich.”  Of course that was wrong too, but in a way, that’s as it should be.  Most of us don’t… [more]

Star-Lord killing his UncleGuarding the Galaxy from the Discount Bin: Star-Lord: The Special Edition

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m not in love with the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer.  I know this puts me in the comic book community’s version of the flat Earth society, but I’m fine with… [more]

Dick and Liz CheneyLarry Gonick, Thomas Jefferson, and the Fourth of July

The first time I proposed teaching a comics class, someone asked me what I wanted to call it.  “Um … Comics?  Comic Books?  Something like that,” I said, thinking it should’ve been pretty obvious.  The… [more]

Optimus PrimeThe Transformed Man: Close Encounters of the Optimal Kind

One day, just another day of organized happiness Like all the others I closed all the doors behind me. –all quotes from William Shatner’s “The Transformed Man,” words by Frank Devenport About a month ago… [more]

MaleficentA Father’s Day Post-Mortem: Maleficent, Gender, and Fairy Tale Romance

Down with eyes romantic and stupid Down with sighs and down with Cupid Brother, let’s stuff that dove Down with love. –Bobby Darin, “Down With Love” Whenever someone asks me what’s the best part of… [more]

Layout 1Not Your Father’s Classics Illustrated

“Who’s there?” It’s the opening line of William Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet, and it’s also one of the most important.  Like all great opening lines, “Who’s there?” sets the tone for the entire story. … [more]

Neil Gaiman and Hayley CampbellThe Lion, the Witch, and The Art of Neil Gaiman

Does Neil Gaiman ever get into your dreams?  I don’t mean literal dreams where you toss and turn in the middle of the night and wake up convinced that the Goodyear Blimp is being piloted… [more]

Falstaff and ShallowIf a Bell Chimes at Midnight, Does it Make a Sound?: Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight

It’s my favorite picture.  If I wanted to get into Heaven on the basis of one movie, that’s the one I would offer up. [1] –Orson Welles This week Marvel releases the first collected volume… [more]

Giant Size X-Men 1, CoverDear X-Men… It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’ve been putting off writing this column for a while now.  When I first heard we were doing an X-Men week here at Sequart, I wasn’t too worried.  After all, I’ve got a shelf full… [more]

Amazing Spider-Man #122, CoverThe Amazing Spider-Man 2: Pop Tragedy or Just Sad?

[Author’s note: If you haven’t seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and it feels like your Spidey sense is tingling, it’s probably because you’re about to encounter major spoilers.] I’ll always remember when I went to… [more]

Kind of BlueAbsolute Editions, 3D Movies, and the Silent War on Democratic Art

Last summer I decided to re-read the entirety of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  Even though I’m a big fan, it had been years since I sat down and systematically went through the whole ten-volume series, so… [more]

PeanutsThe Spider-Man Moment

This is not the essay you were supposed to read today. When I first heard that we were having a Spider-Man week at Sequart, I knew pretty quickly what I wanted to write about.  While… [more]

Dark Knight Returns 2, cover“‘Cause It’s Witchcraft, Wicked Witchcraft”: Wicked, Broadway, and Revisionist Super-Heroes

When you write a weekly column, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself talking about something you don’t know anything about.  For me, that moment is now, and I just want to get that… [more]

Charlie Gibson and Sarah PalinThe Politics of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

CHARLIE GIBSON:  Do you agree with the Bush doctrine? SARAH PALIN:  In what respect, Charlie? GIBSON:  The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be? PALIN:  His world view. GIBSON:  No,… [more]

A Small Killing, CoverAlan Moore, Oscar Zarate, and One Killer of a Graphic Novel

I was reconnecting with some of my former professors at a reception this past weekend when one of them asked what I was working on.  I said I had almost finished writing a book about… [more]

From Uncle Sam, art by Alex RossCaptain America, Alan Moore, Alex Ross, and the Truth

I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus.  The Captain America film is coming out, but I’m not happy.  I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.  I just don’t understand Captain… [more]

Xerxes becoming a god300 Things I Hate about 300: Rise of an Empire

[NOTE: the following essay contains spoilers.  As to whether a film that’s already rotten can be “spoiled” … well, that’s a debate for another time.] You know it’s a bad sign when you only have… [more]

Edison vs. TeslaJeff Smith Delivers the Old Rasl Dasl

One of the running gags I used to enjoy on The Simpsons was the dreaded educational filmstrip.  Whenever Bart or Lisa’s class would settle in to watch one of these out-of-date filmstrips, the faded color,… [more]

Understanding Comics, CoverUnderstanding Comics on the Wabash Cannonball

I took the last “left” to Clarksville because, contrary to popular belief, there is no train.  Driving up the Interstate from Nashville, I wondered idly how many other people had been disappointed to learn that… [more]

CARPENTER To the Heart of the Storm, CoverTo the Heart of Will Eisner

Some of you may remember that back in January, when I first started writing this weekly column, we conducted a poll of Sequart contributors who ranked the greatest works and most important creators in comics… [more]

CARPENTER Batman Odyssey CoverIn Praise of Bad Batman

“Bless me Father Jack, for I have sinned.  It’s been . . . well, this is my first confession.  Actually, I’m not even Catholic.” Father Jack puffed on a cigar and squinted.  “Well, this ain’t… [more]

John Lewis, Presidential Medal of FreedomAin’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: John Lewis’s March

The story begins on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with a long line of marchers in the center of the top panel.  They walk two-by-two on the left side of the road, hugging the railing, prepared… [more]

Michel FoucaultThe Foucault Gospel: Grant Morrison, French Philosophy, and One Mangy Coyote

William Shatner has said that one of the secrets to a fulfilling life is learning to say “yes.”  Sure, you sometimes make mistakes, but if you say “yes” enough times you wind up recording albums… [more]

CARP Trial of Sherlock HolmesThe Curious Case of the Omnipresent Consulting Detective, Part 2: An Interview with Leah Moore and John Reppion

You’re in for a special treat this week.  In my last column, I talked about the flurry of Sherlock Holmes projects that have appeared over the past five years.  This week I wanted to turn our… [more]

The Koch BrothersThe Curious Case of the Omnipresent Consulting Detective, Part 1

He’s one of the most popular characters in literary history, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a time when Sherlock Holmes was more visible than the past five years.  Offhand, I can’t think of another… [more]

Will EisnerOn Canons, Critics, Consensus, and Comics, Part 3

This week marks the final installment of our search for a comics canon.  As I mentioned in the first column, I recently conducted a survey of the people who contribute to Sequart.  A total of 25… [more]

Dark Knight ReturnsOn Canons, Critics, Consensus, and Comics, Part 2

As I explained in last week’s column, I recently asked my fellow Sequart contributors to answer the following question:  “What are the 10 greatest works in the history of the comics medium, and who are the… [more]

1753719-kingdomcomehdOn Canons, Critics, Consensus, and Comics, Part 1

The semester was nearly over.  As a class, we had spent nearly four months reading and discussing comics, and now, in the final two weeks of the term, each student was delivering an oral presentation… [more]

The Goon ChinatownConfessions of a Suburban Criminal or: How I Nearly Got Busted and Why I Blame Eric Powell

As I wheeled my Honda minivan into the parking lot of the Kustom Thrills Tattoo Studio, I didn’t realize I had a cop on my tail. I had come for the opening of Eric Powell’s… [more]

Fast Forward #1Romantic Reflections in “A Glass of Water”: Morrison and McKean Unplugged

When you do research for a book, you often find yourself searching through the more obscure work of a writer or artist, naively hoping that between all the usual awkward experiments and routine exercises in… [more]

Violent CasesPeeking from Behind the Sofa: The 25th Anniversary of Violent Cases

Violent Cases is the greatest comic ever written about an osteopath.

STATISTICS FOR GREG CARPENTER

Total Words for All Magazine Content: 122,147