Tag Archives: Dr. Mike Robinson

Nerd Factor: Thanos’ Big Dumb Idea

Dr. Mike Robinson, UofL Communication Studies Professor~

By now, you’ve probably seen Avengers: Infinity War. Or you’ve had someone tell you what happened in the end. If not, stop reading now.

Thanos killed half of the population of the universe.  With a snap of his fingers—and the unimaginable power of the Infinity Gauntlet—Thanos’ will was enforced and a number of beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe characters crumbled to dust. Read more

Nerd Factor: Who is Superman?

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

The answer seems simple enough.  But there is a certain genius in that small, factual sentence.  

Eighty years ago, Superman arrived in “Action Comics” #1. The cover of the comic depicts Superman lifting a gangster’s car over his head and crashing it against a rock.  By today’s standards, that seems like a light day’s work for the Man of Steel. But the harried look on the face of the fleeing villain in the cover’s bottom left corner shows us how startling it was at the time.   Read more

Nerd Factor: Let Thanos Win

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

While this edition of the Nerd Factor does not contain spoilers per se, it does reveal information about past Thanos stories that might give something away.

Thanos of Titan is one of the greatest antagonists in the Marvel Universe.  That’s not bad for a guy who was, by his creator Jim Starlin’s admission, a rip-off of DC’s Darkseid.  Like the best baddies from ole Marvel, Thanos does not see himself as a villain. Oh, he does terrible things, but he often sees these as actions taken for the best.   Read more

Nerd Factor: For the Love of HAL

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the release of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” one of the most important science fiction movies ever made. This sprawling vision of human history was directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, who also co-wrote the film with another legend, prolific writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke. The movie opens in prehistory as our primate ancestors struggle to survive. It closes with a hallucinogenic journey into the unknown that ultimately hints at the destiny of our species.  However, it’s the middle of the film that often garners the most attention (and not just because it’s easier to understand). Read more

Nerd Factor: “My Cat” Magazine

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Many years ago when I got my first cat, I accidentally subscribed to a magazine called “My Cat.”  I say that I accidentally subscribed because I honestly do not remember asking for it. It just started showing up one day, probably after I sent in some kind of rebate offer for Iams cat food.  

As an early aside – yes, that is how “they” got you before the internet.  Not quite as easy as clicking on an advertisement and having that advertisement follow you for life across the internet, but it was a similar process. Read more

Nerd Factor: Who Mourns for Geoffrey?

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Nostalgia is a powerful force in popular culture.  The very thought of losing Toys “R” Us has sent many people swirling back through their own recollections to a time when their lives seemed to play out to the chain’s iconic jingle.  Gilded memories of a place that seemed larger than life because it was seen from the low-angle perspective of children flash before their eyes. Read more

Nerd Factor: Winged Victory?

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Longtime readers of the Nerd Factor will no doubt recall that this column remains more than a little dubious on subject of superpowered flight.  Although people often name flying when asked to fantasize about having a superpower, the ability itself is fraught with potential problems. Ease of high altitude transportation, for example, has to reckon with the difficulties of navigating from high altitudes.  Of the many and various ways that superhero stories have presented flight, one of the most problematic subsets of this power is the possession of actual wings. Read more

Nerd Factor: We’re Number One

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Professor~

Welcome to the very first issue of the Nerd Factor.  As of today, this column will be starting with an entirely new numbering system.  Oh, it’s the same old creative team (me), but this new number one designation will drive up reader interest as well as encourage collectors to pick up extra copies, one for reading and one for collecting.  Just think, someday in the far future, your grandchildren will look up in awe at you when you tell them that you have the first issue of the second volume of Nerd Factor. Read more

Nerd Factor: Fear of a Black Panther Planet

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Professor~

Earlier this month, the Rotten Tomatoes review site headed off an attempt to sabotage the scores of Black Panther and committed itself to eliminating hate speech in viewer comments. This weekend, reports surfaced of a number of falsified stories about black audience members attacking white viewers at showings of Black Panther.  Spread across social media, these accounts repurposed or altered other images already on the internet to imply that physical violence was being rained down upon white viewers who had dared to see a movie not for them. What is the cause of all of this?  Simple, it’s the fear of a Black Panther planet. Read more

Nerd Factor: You Might be Dating a Super villain if…

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communications Prof.~

Supervillains are a deceptive lot, by definition.  They plot and scheme in anonymity for as long as they can. Such people are unlikely to be forthcoming in their personal lives.  Because the Nerd Factor cares deeply about your emotional well-being, here are some tips for telling if you might really be dating a supervillain:

If your sweetie’s idea of getting dressed up for an evening out involves rocking some thigh-high boots and a cape, then you might really be dating a supervillain. Read more

Nerd Factor: Super Sports

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

So, the Superbowl is over. As I write this, I have no idea who won.  However, I can guess that you are either disappointed by your favorite team or you are starting to feel the euphoria of victory wane.  That’s a difficult high to come down from and while other sports are in play, there’s nothing quite so special about them yet.* Read more

Nerd Factor: Worse Than Redshirts

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

There’s a rule for the classic Star Trek television series.  If you see someone in a red shirt, and that someone is not Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott or Communications Officer Nyota Uhura, then chances are that character is going to die.  This makes some sense.  Jobs are color-coded on the U.S.S. Enterprise and security happens to be one of the jobs under the red designation.  So it’s not surprising that security officers, called “Redshirts” by the fans, would die horrible deaths.  After all, the main characters can’t be killed off all the time.   Read more

Nerd Factor: Immortality Rules

Dr. Michael Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Immortality is an interesting superpower.  But as a matter of practicality, how does one figure out that one is immortal?  Obviously, one figures it out by not dying.  But there are complicated rules to staying young throughout eternity.  The movie Highlander (1986) offers an interesting solution.  Someone else comes along and teaches you.   Read more

Nerd Factor: By Any Other Name

Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor,

CAUTION – This article contains potential spoilers for Star Wars movies that you really should have seen a long time ago.

The Skywalkers are a curious bunch.  The family has a habit of forming emotional bonds in ways that many of us would not consider normal, thus giving the family a creepy vibe.  Much sport has been made, for example, with Anakin’s almost stalker-like pursuit of Padme Amadala in Attack of the Clones.  And of course Luke yearned for Princess Leia, unaware at the time that she was his sister.   Read more

Nerd Factor: Santa’s Resume

Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Way back in Sensational She-Hulk #8, writer/artist John Byrne introduced Nick St. Christopher to the Marvel Universe.  Nick was an interesting fellow, because he could tell who was naughty or nice.  He could enter any residence with a chimney, and he could travel anywhere in the world almost instantly.  As such, his powers were uniquely suited to private detective work, but mostly during the summer months when he was not doing his main job.   Read more

« Older Entries