“Preludes & Nightmares!”
Writer: Ben Raab
Pencils: Jim Calafiore
Inks: Rob Hunter
Colours: Kevin Tinsley
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Editors: Frank Pittaresee & Jason White
Original publication date: April 1998
Excalibur #119, “Preludes & Nightmares!” feels more like a sequel than a prequel, but maybe that’s just the effect of us being haunted by 133 episodes. But social psychologist and comics scholar Dr. Eric Wesselmann is here to help us keep things fresh, talking Jungian jumbles, Ben Raab’s crusade against the avant-garde, and the proper tools for drawing on the human body. Plus—previewing the breakup we’ve all been waiting for!
“Nightmare is the demon god of nightmares. It’s his one ability. And yet, he’s bad at it.” -Mav
“Kurt fearing disability is potentially interesting, since he’s gone through a disability journey before… but it doesn’t really go anywhere.” -Anna
“In order to both fit in and feel unique, we need to find friend groups that nurture that equilibrium.” -Eric
“We’re one hundred and nineteen issues into this story, and Meggan remains an object in her own story. Her only psychological beat is, thank god I’m not ugly or my boyfriend wouldn’t love me anymore.” -Anna
On making it worse:
“Emphasizing Kitty’s youth versus Pete Wisdom’s age, and presenting him as having corrupted her in some way… that actually takes away Kitty’s agency and makes the whole relationship worse.” -Anna
On sympathy for Pete's sake:
“Raab seems to want us to mourn for this grown man losing this woman he’s in love with, except that he’s not depicting her as a woman, he’s depicting her as a child.” -Mav
Want more Eric Wesselmann?
Dr. Eric Wesselmann is a social psychologist who studies the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion in daily life. He has taught several classes connecting psychology to topics such as popular films, fandom, horror entertainment, and the X-Men media franchise. He has contributed chapters to ten volumes of the Popular Culture Psychology series (e.g., Spider-Man Psychology, Stranger Things Psychology, Wonder Woman Psychology). Eric regularly discusses the overlap between psychology and popular culture topics at conventions both local and national. He has contributed to several podcasts for WGLT Psych Geeks, writes essays on psychology and cult films called FilmCULTure, and has a YouTube channel called Digital Golgotha Productions.
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