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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Marvel-ous Nerd Words

Why couldn’t we have had vocabulary lists like this back when I was in school? In honor of this weekend’s opening of hotly-anticipated-by-comic-nerds-everywhere The Avengers, Wordnik has culled together a list of Marvel vocabulary words. The cool thing about homeschooling my kids is that they get to have cool spelling and vocabulary words like this because their mom is a geek. See how many of these you can work casually into your own conversations this week, and whether people who don’t know what they mean nod knowingly as if they do.

Here’s a sampling of Wordnik’s Marvel Vocabulary list, the full list can be found over here.

1. Adamantium

Use it in a sentence: “Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him a superstar, as the fierce fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, adamantium claws, and a primal fury known as berserker rage.” (“Wolverine Movie Extended Synopsis,” Comic Book Movie, April 16, 2009)

Definition: Adamantium is, according to the Marvel Universe Wiki, “an artificially-created alloy of iron that is the most impervious substance known on Earth.” The term first appeared in July 1969 in Avengers #66, and may be a play on the noun form of adamant, “a name applied with more or less indefiniteness to various real or imaginary metals or minerals characterized by extreme hardness.” Adamant comes from the Greek adamas, “unconquerable, hard steel, diamond.”

2. flame on

Use it in a sentence: “Instead of giving them terrible illnesses [the cosmic radiation storm] of course turns them into Übermenschen of various sorts, though only Johnny’s new abilities are an unmixed blessing: by shouting “Flame on!” he converts himself into a flying ball of fire.” (Peter Bradshaw, “Fantastic Four,” The Guardian, July 21, 2005)

Definition: Flame on is the catchphrase of Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch. Storm first appeared in 1961 in The Fantastic Four #1.

3. Legacy Virus

Use it in a sentence: “In the well-established and often convoluted ‘X-Men’ lore found within the Marvel comic’s continuity, Pyro was a rambunctious villain with the ability to control fire who was a onetime ally of Mystique. He eventually succumbed to the Legacy Virus, a mutant-only disease that posed a danger to all of the series’ main characters.” (Ryan J. Downey, “New Mutants Added to X-Men 2,” MTV.com, May 30, 2002)

Definition: The Legacy Virus is “a deadly disease that attacked the mutant gene, causing its host’s powers to flare out of control before death.” The virus was “based on one that was used 2000 years in the future.”

4. mandroid

Use it in a sentence: “Hammer created the Mandroids with the assistance of the evil genius Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash (Mickey Rourke), and plans to mass produce them for the military.” (“New Iron Man 2 Stills, Viral Mystery, and Interactive Content,” Reelz, May 4, 2010)

Definition: The mandroid is “battle armor designed by Tony Stark [Iron Man] for use by S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and is a blend of man and android. The mandroid first appeared in December 1971 in Avengers #94. The word android, “an automaton resembling a human being in shape and motions,” was coined in 1847, and comes from the Greek andro, “human,” and edies, “form, shape.” The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that android was “listed as ‘rare’ in [Oxford English Dictionary] 1st edition (1879),” and was popularized around 1951 by science fiction writers.

5. Spidey-sense

Use it in a sentence: “Spider-Man, you will recall, has a ‘spidey-sense‘, which alerts him to impending disaster and gives him time to react suitably.” (Giles Coren, “I had my Spider-Man moment. And I failed,” The Times, May 29, 2010)

Definition: Spidey-sense refers to Spider-Man’s ability to sense danger before it occurs. It “manifests in a tingling feeling at the base of his skull, alerting him to personal danger in proportion to the severity of that danger.” Spidey-sense also refers to intuition or instinct in general.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook