The history of Marvel Comics began in 1939.  The company was originally founded under the name Timely Publications and the original creator of what is now known as Marvel Comics is Martin Goodman.  Some of the most well known comic book characters came from Marvel Comics and it is also known as a huge corporation called Marvel Entertainment.  This corporation is known worldwide and has impacted the world of comic books in a great way as well as brought in a lot of money.  Timely Comics originally produced great characters and they were known as super heroes. The super heroes gained the interest of many young people and the comic books became very popular in the United States.  One character in particular created during World War II by Timely Comics was Captain America.  Captain America was one of Timely Comics first successes and he was known to be the hero of that time period.  He was continuously battling enemies and during that era the enemies happened to be the Nazis along with other evil men. 

Yet, as styles and interests began to change at the end of the war the comic characters began to change as well.  They went from being once costumed super heroes that gained a lot of popularity and attention to characters on the decline being replaced by new characters to take their places in history.  Also, during that time period Timely Comics became known as Atlas Comics and in order to gain popularity again Atlas changed its comic themes.  The themes went from war time heroes to a variety of other themes including horror.  But, eventually the war time heroes made a comeback soon after their decline to battle the Communist rather than the Nazis.

With that said, the industry of Atlas Comics went under political scrutiny and was forced to change its themes once again. The code authority was then formed and was used as a means for regulating the comic books along with their content.  Soon after the forming of the code authority the comic book heroes began to reemerge right back into the comic book scene. This time period was known as the silver age and comics were then able to feature some new and exciting artwork as well as create some great story lines for the books.  The super heroes of the past were then transformed into newer versions of themselves and their stories included their emotional and personal backgrounds.  This is when Marvel Comics officially emerged in 1961 and the Fantastic Four was created. The Fantastic Four consisted of a group of super heroes that went on to become quite popular and are still very popular today.

The film we watched in class discussed the history of DC and Marvel Comics and gave us insight about the world of comic books.  This included creating the characters, publishing the books, and highlighting all of the highs and lows of comic book history.  The film also focused on discussing the creation of comic book characters that we all know and love.  It explained how they were created and how they became so popular over the years.  Some of the famous comic book characters discussed in the film were Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  All three of those comic book characters became very famous and are still very famous today.

My favorite superhero is Storm who is known as the leader of the X-Men.  Storm is my favorite superhero because she was one of the first superheroes that I connected with when I was younger.  This was because she was an African American female and there are not many African American characters in comic books in general, let alone female ones.  With that said, Storm has the power to perceive and manipulate the forces and elements that govern weather and she is a prominent member of the X-Men, a recent addition to the Avengers, wife of the Black Panther, and the reigning Queen of Wakanda.  She was created by the writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum and made her first ever appearance in Giant Size X-Men # 1 in May 1975.

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http://comicpress101.com/the-history-of-marvel-comics/

http://www.comicvine.com/storm/29-1444/

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The Piano is about a mute woman named Ada whose father forces her to marry a man, Alistair, for money and move to New Zealand with her daughter Flora. Ada has been mute from a very young age and uses piano playing and sign language to express herself.  She is very passionate about her music and eventually falls for a man named Baines who is attracted to her musical talent.  Yet, when Aida’s husband finds out that the two of them are having an affair he board up his home with Ada inside.  Knowing that her husband is aware of the affair Ada forces herself to act as though she is attracted to him and avoids her true love.  Since she cannot see Baines, she sends her daughter to give him a piano key declaring her love for him.  Yet, since Flora has begun to see Alistair as her father she is angered and brings him the key instead.  Due to his anger, Alistair chops off Ada’s index finger with an axe so that she can no longer play the piano.  He then sends Ada and her daughter away with Baines and divorces her.  The piano is ruined on their journey away from Alistar and Ada later expresses her happiness with her new life.  She then starts giving piano lessons and Baines creates a device to replace her missing finger.  Ada also begins taking speech lessons to learn how to speak again.

Pride and Prejudice is set in 18th century England and it is about the middle class Bennett family and their five daughters.  Mrs. Bennet is determined to make sure that her daughters marry young and wealthy men.  Charles Bingley fits that description and has recently moved nearby.   With much anticipation, the Bennetts bring their daughters Elizabeth and Jane to their neighbors’ ball in hopes of one of them connecting with Mr. Bingley.  Even though Jane seems to be connecting with Charles, Elizabeth does not care for his friend Darcy.  Yet, Elizabeth and Darcy seem to constantly run into each other even though they do not like one another.  Eventually, Bingley proposes to Jane and she accepts.  That same evening Elizabeth finds out that Darcy may be engaged to another woman and this upsets her.  Later that night, Elizabeth meets Darcy and he expresses his love for her by proposing.  Elizabeth accepts the proposal this time and receives her father’s consent to marry Darcy.   

In comparing/contrasting Pride and Prejudice and The Piano, there are many elements that define each of the films.  Even though both of the films are about love, they differ in many ways.  The settings of the movies were different as well as the contexts.  Ada was forced to marry a man she did not love while Elizabeth got to explore in order to find out what she truly wanted.  Unlike Elizabeth, Ada was not given the opportunity to be with the person she loved without having to face devastating consequences.  In Elizabeth’s case, even though her parents wanted her to find a wealthy man to marry, it was ultimately her choice whereas Ada was sold by her father without caring how she felt or what she wanted. Yet, despite the different situations the women were in, they both were able to find true love after having to overcome a few obstacles. 

In relation to the verbal and visual elements of the films, the verbal element of Pride and Prejudice replaced the visual elements of The Piano and vise versa.  Due to the fact that The Piano involved a mute woman while Pride and Prejudice did not resulted in one film being more verbal than the other.  Overall, I feel as though the sound of the piano helped to make up for the missing verbal element in The Piano.  Also, the visual elements in The Piano including Ada playing the piano and using sign language stood out to me.  For that reason, I believe that The Piano has richer visual symbolism due to a lack of verbiage. 

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The Chinese Dragon as a symbol in China dates back to 3000 BC (“Chinese Dragon”).  The dragon represents happiness, immortality, procreation, fertility, and activity (“Chinese Dragon”).  The Chinese Dragons were believed to ward off evil spirits (“Chinese Dragon”).  They are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture and many Chinese people often consider themselves to be the descendants of the dragon (“Chinese Dragon”).  The Chinese Dragon is also known as Long and it symbolizes power and excellence, valiancy and boldness, heroism and perseverance, as well as nobility and divinity (“Chinese Dragon”). It is described as one that overcomes obstacles until he succeeds and he is energetic, decisive, optimistic, intelligent, and ambitious (“Chinese Dragon”).

With that said, there is more than one type of Chinese Dragon and all of the types serve a different purpose (“Chinese Dragon”).   These different types include the horned dragon, the winged dragon, and the celestial dragon, all of which support and protect the mansions of the gods (“Chinese Dragon”).   Then there is the spiritual dragon, which generates wind and rain for the benefit of mankind, and the dragon of hidden treasures, which keeps guard over concealed wealth (“Chinese Dragon”).  There is also the coiling dragon, which lives in water, and the yellow dragon, which once emerged from water and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Shi with the elements of writing (“Chinese Dragon”). The last type of dragon is the dragon king, which consists of four separate dragons with each of them ruling over one of the four seas (“Chinese Dragon”).  Those four seas are the seas of the east, south, west, and north (“Chinese Dragon”).

Festivities that center around the dragon include The Chinese Spring Festival where the Chinese Dragon is seen parading in the streets (“Chinese Dragon”).  There is also the Day of the Lanterns which is another celebration where dragons can be seen parading in the streets (“Chinese Dragon”).  In China, the dragon is best known as the ruler of spring that positively influences natural growth (“Chinese Dragon”).  When it comes to wealth, the same principle applies (“Chinese Dragon”).  Wealth will not be achieved in a dragon year if a person’s motivation is pure greed, so a balanced attitude towards life is required (“Chinese Dragon”).

“Chinese Dragon.”  Beijing Service.  n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2012.

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My Newseum experience was a wonderful one.  I have been there multiple times over the past two years and it is one of my favorite places in Washington, D.C.  It is known for being one of D.C.’s most interactive museums and it truly is.  You are able to touch a lot of the things in the exhibits as well as place yourself in different settings.  One of my favorite parts of the Newseum is the NBC News Interactive Newsroom.  In this part of the Newseum you are able to play the role of a reporter by using a microphone in front of the camera to report a news story.  This is very fun especially if you are with friends.  It gives you an idea of what being a reporter would be like and it is truly an experience.  Another part of the Newseum that I enjoy is the gallery of news stories.  There is an abundance of news stories on the walls and in the drawers from many different times.  It is very interesting to see all of the news stories laid out for you dating back to many years ago.  I would have to say my favorite news stories that they have displayed are the ones from the 2008 election.  It was one of the first elections that I was involved in and it’s nice to go back and look at all of the news surrounding it.  In relation to something that we talked about in class, the Berlin Wall Gallery is very nice as well.  It contains news and information about the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as parts of the original wall.  In one part of the gallery there is a piece of the wall for visitors to touch and to have the ability to touch a part of history is truly amazing.  Even though there are many other exhibits in the Newseum, the final and most moving one that I would like to share is the 9/11 gallery.  This gallery has news stories about the attacks lining the walls from top to bottom.  It also has artifacts such as the antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center as well as parts of the plane and cell phones found in the rubble.  Looking at all of these things brings me back to that day in September and it is such an awful feeling.   There is also a video playing in a dark room called “Running Toward Danger.”  This moving video brings a tear to almost every eye watching it.  Once you are done watching the video, you can write your thoughts on 9/11in a book and I think that is a very nice touch.  Overall, the Newseum is a great place to visit in Washington, D.C. and I would recommend it to anyone.

The photo I chose is one that I took of the U.S. Capitol Building during one of my visits to the Newseum.  I chose this photo because it is one of my favorites.  The Newseum has a balcony that provides and amazing view of the Capitol on a sunny day.  I feel that this view is just as much a part of the Newseum as the exhibits since you cannot see the Capitol like this anywhere else.

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This photo was taken on a beautiful day and it has many elements to it.   The Capitol is surrounded by colorful leaves from the trees and I think the trees really make the picture.  They allow the color of the Capitol Building to stand out on its own while still having pops of color from the trees.  In the center, you can see little cars and little people walking.  This makes the Capitol Building seem huge in comparison to all of the things around it including the trees.  This picture reminds me of a postcard and displays an excellent view of the Capitol Building.

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ImageThis picture was taken at the MLK Memorial site on MLK Day 2012.  The image itself is pretty clear in my opinion considering it was taken on a cold and cloudy day.  The colors of our hands and nails pop against the gray color of the memorial.  This picture means a lot to me because it was taken with three of my friends from high school.  We have known each other since freshman year of high school and we never imagined that we would all be together going to school in Washington, D.C.  This image signifies our friendship and represents us coming together as four strong African American women on such an important day.  Martin Luther King Jr. made it possible for us to share this moment together and if it wasn’t for him, we probably would not be attending such wonderful universities with so much diversity.  As far as the picture itself goes, our hands are touching the memorial.  This represents us thanking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for touching the lives of all of us and making so many things possible.  On that day, we were proud to be able to join so many people to celebrate the life of Dr. King.  Every time I look at this picture, it brings me back to that day and I feel nothing but joy.