The Fictional Spectrum: Two Sparkshorts–“Float” and “Loop”

Disney+ has a collection of shorts  made by Pixar called Sparkshorts. Two of the shorts, “Float” and “Loop” are inspired by autism. I decided to watch them and compare or contrast them to see which one is better.


In “Float”, we meet a father whose son is able to float, which is used by the short’s writer and director Bobby Rubio as a metaphor not just for autism, but any disability. I liked the idea of floating, the sparse dialog, and the animation. But I didn’t like the ending at all. At the end, the father is upset because of all the people giving him strange looks because of his child. He shakes the poor boy and shouts “Why can’t you just be normal?” That right there I didn’t like. Couldn’t Alex just accept his child? So what if he floats? I thought it was neat.

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History of Comic Books Chapter IV: The Fantastic Four

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According to the legend surrounding the Fantastic Four, Julius Schwartz and Marvel ‘s Marvin Goodman were playing golf when Schwartz was bragging about the success of Justice League of America. Goodman then talked to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and told them to create a superhero team next.

The Fantastic Four were conceived as a dysfunctional family. Lee made the team dysfunctional because he felt the team would be more realistic. Like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four had to face the same mundane problems their readers faced, such as having to pay rent in the Baxter Building. Reed Richards was the dad, Sue Storm was the nurturing mother. Johnny was her cocky daredevil brother, and Ben Grimm was like a loveable uncle. In the first issue, the four protagonists took a rocket to outer space, where the ship was bombarded by cosmic radiation. The radiation enveloped our heroes, and when the rocket crashed, they all developed powers. Reed became able to stretch his body and bend it any way he wished. Sue could turn invisible and bend light to form force fields. Johnny could become living fire and fly. Ben became a rock-hard monster. They each gave themselves new names: Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl (in the 80’s, Sue’s name was The Invisible Woman), The Human Torch, and The Thing.

Issue #2 introduced the Skrull. They are a race of aliens who are shape-shifters. The Skrull eventually become enemies of the Avengers as well, especially after their enemies, the Kree were introduced.

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History of Comic Books: The Silver Age Chapter III: DC’s Wacky Sci-Fi Heroes

Not every DC debut in the Silver Age was a character who was based on a Golden Age character. This chapter will focus on characters who I feel show the science fiction influence on DC in the Silver Age. These characters aren’t as big a deal as say, The Teen Titans or Supergirl, but I would be remiss if I didn’t bring them up.
Adam Strange is an outer space adventurer who has adventures on a planet named Rand. The stories had a very Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon feel, and were created by Julius Schwartz and Murphy Anderson.
The Challengers of the Unknown are a team of scientists who survived a plane crash. Believing that they “live on borrowed time”, they become a team. They were created by Jack Kirby. That’s right, in 1957–BEFORE he l created his Fourth World concept in the 70’s! (I’ll get to that, folks. 😉)


The Martian Manhunter was a detective who solved sci-fi themed mysteries. He later joined the Justice League of America, and has been a member ever since. He has telepathy, superhuman strength, superhuman intellect, and shape -shifting. He was created by Joseph Samachson and Joe Certa

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History of Comic Books: The Silver Age Chapter II: Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

Stan Lee was writing for Amazing Fantasy when he had an idea for a new superhero. One that would change comic books forever. The magazine was about to be cancelled, but he still wanted to give the character a chance. That character was Spider-Man.
Martin Goodman, the Editor -in -chief of Marvel, didn’t like the idea. He felt that teenagers could only be sidekicks, like Robin or Kid Flash. And who actually likes spiders? But he let Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko do the story because the magazine was being cancelled anyway.
The comic was a success. But the comic was already set to be cancelled. So Goodman created a whole new comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man.

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One Faith, Many Paths: Amy Salazar

This week, I interview ASL interpreter Amy Salazar.

1. What are your favorite childhood memories?

Growing up, I have always loved nature. I would go outside any chance I got. I loved spending time in my Nana and Papa’s garden during summer vacation. I loved running barefoot on the grass and writing stories on their porch.

2. Are you a cradle Catholic or did you convert?

I am a cradle Catholic and a revert. I went through a period of religious exploration during my second or third year of college. I was interested in possibly opening myself to Buddhism or Islam–I was especially drawn to Islam–but then I befriended a friendly priest and his compassion drew me back to rediscovering my faith. Since then, my faith has been challenged many times, but it was the Catholic faith that made me reconsider my Republican beliefs, until finally I had to choose between Jesus and the GOP.  I chose Jesus and never looked back.

3. How did you decide you wanted the be an ASL interpreter?

The Lord placed an interest in sign language in my life by first introducing me to Helen Keller in the 3rd grade. I went to a book fair and picked up a book about her. This was a defining chapter in my life, because Helen’s story inspired me to want to make a difference in the world. It also piqued an interest in sign language. In high school, I was friends with a girl who was hard-of-hearing and she had an interpreter. I still remember trying to watch our history lesson but being mesmerized by the ASL interpreter.

Fast forward to 2014; it was the last year of my Associate ‘s program for an AA in English. I had gone  through the program wanting to  become a journalist, but I came to discover that it wasn’t my passion. On a whim, my mom suggested, “Maybe you could take a sign language class. It might be fun.” It seemed like a good idea, so I enrolled for ASL 101 in the Fall. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I fell in love with sign language on day 1. My professor was Deaf and her signing captivated me. Deaf culture, Deaf history, the grammar and syntax of ASL was riveting. That was when I knew that I wanted to become an interpreter.

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History of Comic Books: The Silver Age Chapter I: Passing the Torch

We’re starting a new era, so I’m restarting the chapter numbers. The Silver Age begins with the reboot of National Publications. Julias Schwartz became the new Editor-in-chief of National Publications. While Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were still around, they had discontinued many of their other superheroes. Schwartz decided to create new versions of old concepts, creating the first legacy characters.

First Appearance of The Flash in Showcase #4 (1956)

Barry Allen became the new Flash in Showcase #4 in 1956, created by Robert Kaniger and Carmine Infantino. While the powers were the same, his origin was different. Allen was a forensic scientist who got his powers from a chemical experiment that was struck by lightning. He was eventually joined by his nephew Wally West when he became Kid Flash after a similar accident.

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