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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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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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