Candy or nutrients?

A common reaction to a child reading comics is that comics rot your brains. They’re not real books, as they’re just pictures, with a handful of words in word balloons.

Let’s examine a recent series of comics from an educational perspective. There was a recent major crossover in the Marvel Universe entitled, Spider-Man: The Other. It covered 12 issues, or approximately 280 pages. 4 of the 12 were marked All Ages, and the other 8 Teens + (Brief summary: Spider-Man was killed, came back to life, and has gained some cool new powers.)

I catalogued all the scientific references, cultural references, and vocabulary words I could find, looking at it from the perspective of a young teenager. It’s been a few years since I was that age so I may have misjudged.

Scientific References

Cellular degeneration
Blue dye canisters
Human genome
Code blue
Stabilizing patients
Arterial tear
Upper vena cava
Intracranial bleeding
Duodenal ulcer
Types of spiders: Cannibal, Pirate, Katipa, Redback, Recluse, Orbweaver
Spiders carry young on their backs
Chronal displacement

Cultural References

“To everything there is a season. A time to live. A time to die”
Anansi, the spider god
Indiana Jones
Gregor Samsa turning into a cockroach
Leonardo Da Vinci
Vitruvian man
Eddie Haskell
Survivor’s guilt
Sing out Louise
Troma movie
Man of La Mancha / Don Quixote / Aldonza
Tom Cruise / Color of Money
Steinbrenner / Yankees
Ivana Trump
“Queer eye for the dictatorial guy”
Back to the Future
Coup Contra Coup
“Lucy, I’m home!”
Magic Eight Ball
Presidential pardon
Groucho Marx not wanting to belong to any club who would have him as a member
Steven Seagal ponytail
“Though I walk through the valley of death…”
Martha Stewart
Helen Keller
The Fly


Tai Chi
How many of you can say you know all of the above without looking them up? If a child’s been properly trained to look stuff up if they come across something they don’t understand, look at everything they’d have learned from just those 12 comic books.

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