M – Mm

Mach

A term used to indicate the speed of sound, in comparison to the speed of an object through the same medium.  “Mach 1” is the speed of sound under the same conditions in which the object is moving, “Mach 2” is twice the speed of sound, and so on.  Chuck Yeager, an American test pilot, became the first person to break the sound barrier when his plane reached Mach 1 on October 14, 1947.

 

Mach 5

An incredible supercar from the 1967-68 anime series Speed Racer that was designed by Speed Racer’s father “Pops” Racer.  In this vehicle, Speed would race treacherous routes against dangerous people and come out on top.  Aside from being an amazing racing car, the Mach 5 also featured an array of James Bond-level gadgets, such as autojacks, a spy robot and underwater capabilities.  The amazing automobile also appeared in the 2008 live-action motion picture Speed Racer.

 

Macro

In computer usage, a single programmed action designed to automatically carry out a series of instructions that imitates keystrokes and/or mouse actions in order to avoid repetitive actions.

 

Magic: The Gathering

Invented by Richard Garfield, this card game pits two wizards against each other in a duel of magic, in which players can summon creatures and cast spells to attack their opponent.  Originally released in August 1993, Wizards of the Coast has since released various editions of the game.

 

Magneto

    

Created by Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1963, Magneto made his first appearance in X-Men #1, becoming the first foe of the mutant team.  Alias Max Eisenhardt, Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, Erik the Red, Grey King, White King, Michael Xavier, “the Creator,” White Pilgrim, and Prisoner #214782 over the years, Magneto’s face was not shown until X-Men #62 (drawn by Neal Adams and written by Roy Thomas), when they penned the famous line “Perhaps clothes do make the man!”  In his initial appearances, Magneto was portrayed as a would-be tyrant with a desire to punish all humans, who would often abuse his followers.  Eventually, as Marvel did with many of their long-lasting villains over the years, Magneto was given a more humanized portrayal.  In Magneto’s case, he was a Holocaust survivor who wanted to ensure that mutants would not suffer the same fate his family did for being born “different.”  Magneto has long been the face of mutant separatism, in opposition to Charles Xavier’s ideal of coexistence with humanity.  Believing that mutants are the next stage in human evolution, Magneto sought to assert their dominance over the planet and its inhabitants.  This was Magneto’s means of assuring the survival of his people in a world that hates and fears them.  Though not a hero, Magneto is charismatic, noble and wise.  His long and turbulent friendship with Charles Xavier has been a cornerstone for both men’s lives.

Magneto’s origin story was told in Classic X-Men #12 (1987).  He was born Max Eisenhardt in the 1920s in Germany to a middle-class Jewish family.  After witnessing the brutal murder of his family by the Nazis, Max Eisenhardt was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp.  While imprisoned there, Max met a gypsy girl named Magda. Max and Magda survived the Holocaust, and later were married.  They had a daughter, Anya.  Later, Max first consciously used his mutant powers when his family was trapped in a burning house.  Unable to rescue his daughter from the blaze due to his inexperience, coupled with interference from a hostile mob, he angrily unleashed his powers to vengefully slaughter the crowd.  Terrified, Magda left him, and months later discovered that she was pregnant.  Magda presumably died after giving birth to mutant twins at Wundagore Mountain.  To shake off his pursuers, Max had master forger George Odekirk create the identity of Sinte gypsy “Erik Magnus Lehnsherr.”  Max eventually made his way to Israel, where he worked as an orderly in a psychiatric hospital near Haifa.  He befriended Charles Xavier, with whom he shared lengthy debates, hypothesizing what would happen if humanity were to be faced with a race of super-powered beings.  The pair ultimately revealed their true natures to each other when they prevented Nazi war criminal Baron Wolfgang von Strucker from obtaining a large cache of Nazi gold

Stan Lee stated that he “did not think of Magneto as a bad guy.  He was just trying to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist.  He was trying to defend mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly, he decided to teach society a lesson.  He was a danger of course, but I never thought of him as a villain.”  Lee has also stated that he originally planned for Magneto to be Professor Xavier’s brother rather than simply an old friend.  Max has often expressed the belief that mutants, whom he calls Homo sapiens superior, will eventually be the dominant life form on the planet, and has wavered between wanting to exist in harmony with humans, wanting a separate homeland for mutants, and wanting to enforce his superiority over all humanity.  Calling himself Magneto, Max banded together with his children, now the mutants Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Magneto soon found himself opposed by Xavier and his own group, the X-Men. After a battle against the X-Men and the Avengers, Magneto was presumed dead, but managed to survive.  For a time it was believed that a man called Joseph was a rejuvenated Magneto, but this theory was disproven.

On the big screen, Magneto was portrayed by Ian McKellen in X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014); and by Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

 

Maia

Maia was the eldest and most beautiful of the Pleiades, the name given to the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione.  Being shy, she lived quietly and alone in a cave on Mount Cyllene, in Arcadia.  Zeus (Jupiter), however, discovered the beautiful young woman, and fell in love with her.  He came to her cave at night, to make love to her away from the jealous eyes of his wife Hera.  As a result, Maia bore Zeus a son, Hermes.

 

Maid café

A type of eatery common in Japan and other Asian countries, in which the waitresses dress up in maid uniforms and address customers as “master” or “mistress.”  The theme of these cafes is predominately anime/manga and the customers are typically those who work in computer or technical fields.  Usually, when a customer enters a maid cafe, the maid will say, “Welcome home, master,” and then proceed to perform a variety of services for the customer, such as ear cleaning, spoon-feeding and picture-taking.  This type of business, however, is not considered a form of prostitution.  The male-staff version of a maid café is called a butler café.

 

Mainframe

A high-performance general-purpose computer, usually with a large storage capacity, typically used by large businesses or for scientific studies.  A mainframe computer can usually execute many programs simultaneously at a high speed.

 

“Make it so”

Used quite often by Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer of the starship Enterprise in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the phrase was used as the captain’s consent to proceed with an action, akin to “See to it.”

 

Malory, Sir Thomas

An English writer probably best known as the author of Le Morte d’Arthur, the first English prose account of the rise and fall of the legendary age of Camelot, led by King Arthur (son of King Uther Pendragon) and his Knights of the Round Table.  Even in the 16th Century, Malory’s identity was unknown, though it was often said that he was a Welshman.  At the beginning of Le Morte d’Arthur, the author, calling himself “Syr Thomas Maleore knyght,” says that he finished the work in the ninth year of the reign of Edward IV (which would have been March 4, 1469–March 3, 1470) and adds a prayer for “good delyueraunce” from prison.  The only known knight at this time with a name like Maleore was Thomas Malory of Newbold Revell in the parish of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.  This Malory was indeed jailed on various occasions during the period of 1450–1460, but it is not recorded that he was in prison during the specific year in question.  A “Thomas Malorie (or Malarie), knight” was excluded from four general pardons granted by Edward IV to the Lancastrians in 1468 and 1470.  This Malorie, who may have been Malory of Newbold Revell, was probably the author of Le Morte d’Arthur.

During medieval times, knights followed a strict code of chivalry which required them to be brave and fearless in war, but also loyal, generous and courteous in their daily lives.  In order to become a knight, a man had to train for several years.  Sir Thomas Malory became a knight when he was a young adult.  He was a layman writer (which was a writer without professional knowledge of writing skills or techniques) during medieval times, but his true identity is unknown, and little is known about his life.  In 1971, Professor P.J.C. Field wrote The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Malory, and in that work, he indicated that the events of Malory’s early years were largely unknown.  Sir Thomas Malory was possibly born around 1416 in Warwickshire, England.  As a young adult, he was a landowner and in 1441, he became a knight.  He married Elizabeth Walsh and they had a son named Robert.  Sir Thomas Malory inherited an estate from his father and became involved in the politics of Warwickshire.  Around 1445, Malory served in the British Parliament, but around 1450 he started committing crimes including armed assault, theft, rape and extortion. He was imprisoned for many years and was said to have written his novel Le Morte d’Arthur during that time.  During King Henry VI’s reign, Malory was given a royal pardon for his crimes; however, from 1468 to 1470, he was excluded from royal pardons, possibly due to his reputation for violent crime.  Malory most likely died while serving time for his crimes in prison.  Malory’s tombstone simply read: “Valiant Knight of the Parish of Monks Kirby in Warwickshire.”

 

Malware

Short for “malicious software,” malware is software designed to damage or do other unwanted actions in and/or to a computer system.  Common examples of malware include viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware.  Viruses, for example, can cause havoc on a computer’s hard drive by deleting files or directory information.  Spyware can gather data, from the webpages a user visits to personal information like credit card numbers, from a user’s system without their knowledge.

 

Mandalorian

A citizen from the homeworld Mandalore (such as Boba Fett) in the Star Wars universe, the culture of which was based on militaristic and emphasized honor, personal strength and bravery.  The first Mandalorians were of the Taung race, but as the Mandalorians grew, many other races would join, such as the Togorians and humans, to name a few.  Mandalorian military technology was highly rated in the galaxy.  Mandalorian armor would inspire the protective technologies of many other civilizations, including the Grand Army of the Republic.  The Mandalorian nation eventually waned from its former glory, but still exists under the banner of the Mandalorian Protectors on Mandalore and Concord Dawn.

 

Manga

Originating in Japan in the mid-1980s, manga is comic book or graphic novel art, typically intended for adults and characterized by highly stylized art.  The word means “cartoon” or “caricature,” and is translated literally as “involuntary pictures.”  The term is said to have been coined in 1814 by artist Katsushika Hokusai.

 

Maniakku

A Japanese word used in manga, partially taken from the English word “maniac,” to mean someone with a very strong, but not obsessive or unhealthy, interest in another person.

 

Mapquest

Founded in 1967 as the Cartographic Services division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, the future MapQuest began producing road maps that were given out free at gas stations.  Over the next few decades, they produced road maps and other maps for various companies, and even produced the computerized TripTik system for the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 1993.  The following year, the company went independent as GeoSystems Global Corporation, and on February 5, 1996, MapQuest was launched as a website.  In 1999, GeoSystems Global Corporation went public, changing the company name to MapQuest.com, Inc., and in 2000, MapQuest was purchased by AOL.  Today, MapQuest provides online maps, aerial images, driving directions, business directory information, and gas price maps.  The data used by MapQuest in their online maps comes from NAVTEQ, a Chicago-based company that also provides map data to Google Maps.  According to several reports, MapQuest.com is one of the top online mapping services, and is said to be utilized by more than 40 million online users each month.

 

Marcus Aurelius

Known for his philosophical interests, Aurelius was one of the most respected emperors in Roman history, and for centuries, has symbolized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.  He was born Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, into a wealthy and politically prominent family on April 26, 121 AD, in Rome.  Aurelius was a dedicated student, learning Latin and Greek, but his greatest intellectual interest was Stoicism, a philosophy that emphasized fate, reason and self-restraint.  His serious and hard-working nature was even noticed by Emperor Hadrian, who reigned 117–138 AD.  After his earlier choice for a successor died, Hadrian adopted Titus Aurelius Antoninus (who would be known as Emperor Pius Antonius) to succeed him as an emperor.  Hadrian also arranged for Antoninus to adopt Marcus Aurelius and the son of his earlier successor.  Around the age of 17, Marcus Aurelius became the son of Antoninus.  He worked alongside his adopted father while learning the ways of government and public affairs.

In 136 AD, Hadrian inexplicably announced as his eventual successor a certain Lucius Ceionius Commodus, and in that same year, young Marcus was engaged to Ceionia Fabia, the daughter of Commodus.  Early in 138 AD, however, Commodus died, and later, after the death of Hadrian, the engagement was annulled. Hadrian then adopted Titus Aurelius Antoninus (the husband of Marcus’s aunt) to succeed him as the emperor.  Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161 AD), arranging that Antoninus should adopt as his sons two young men—one the son of Commodus and the other Marcus, whose name was then changed to Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. Marcus thus was marked out as a future joint emperor at the age of just under 17, though, as it turned out, he was not to succeed until his 40th year.

In 140 AD, Aurelius began the first of three appointments as consul, or leader of the senate.  (The other appointments would occur in 145 and 161 AD.)  As the years passed, he received more responsibilities and official powers, evolving into a strong source of support and counsel for Antoninus.  Along with his philosophical studies, he also developed an interest in law.  He married his cousin, the emperor’s daughter Annia Galeria Faustina, in 145 AD, and together, they had many children, including their daughter Lucilla and son Commodus.

In 147 AD, the imperium and tribunicia potestas, the main formal powers of emperorship, were conferred upon him; henceforth, he was a kind of junior co-emperor, sharing the intimate counsels and crucial decisions of Antoninus.  After Anoninus died in 161 AD, Aurelius rose to power as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. While some sources indicate that his adopted father selected Aurelius as his only successor, the new ruler insisted that his adopted brother Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus (usually referred to as Verus) serve as his co-ruler.

Unlike the peaceful and prosperous rule of Antoninus, the joint reign of the two brothers was marked by war and disease.  In the 160s AD, they battled with the Parthian empire for control over lands in the East.  Verus oversaw the war effort while Aurelius stayed in Rome.  Returning soldiers brought disease back with them to Rome, which lingered for years and wiped out a portion of the population.  As the Parthian War ended, the two rulers had to face another military conflict with Germanic tribes in the late 160s AD, when they crossed the Danube River and attacked.  After raising the necessary funds and troops, Aurelius and Verus went off to fight the invaders.  Verus died in 169 AD, so Aurelius pushed on alone, attempting to drive away the Germans.

In 175 AD, Aurelius faced another challenge.  After hearing a rumor about Aurelius being deathly ill, Avidius Cassius claimed the title of emperor for himself.  Aurelius traveled to the East to regain control, but Cassius was murdered by his own soldiers, so Aurelius toured eastern provinces with his wife, re-establishing his authority. It was during this trip that Faustina died.

While once again battling the Germanic tribes, Aurelius made his 16-year-old son Commodus his co-ruler in 177 AD.  Marcus was determined to pass from defense to offense and to an expansionist redrawing of Rome’s northern boundaries. His determination seemed to be winning success when he died on March 17, 180 AD at his military headquarters, having just had time to commend Commodus to the chief advisers of the regime.

A collection of Marcus Aurelius’ thoughts have been published in a work called The Meditations. Based on his Stoic beliefs, the work is filled with his notes on life.  Although they were Marcus’ own thoughts, they were not original. They are basically the moral tenets of Stoicism, learned from Epictetus: the cosmos is a unity governed by an intelligence, and the human soul is a part of that divine intelligence and can therefore stand, if naked and alone, at least pure and undefiled, amid chaos and futility.

Marcus Aurelius was portrayed by Richard Harris in the 2000 motion picture Gladiator.

 

Marcus, Dr. Carol

In the original Star Trek timeline, prior to the 2009 reboot of the film franchise, Dr. Marcus appeared in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as the head of the team that invented the planet-seeding Genesis Device and the mother of Admiral James T. Kirk’s only acknowledged son, David Marcus.  With the reboot, Dr. Marcus appeared again in Star Trek Into Darkness as a science officer specializing in advanced weaponry.  Dr. Marcus was portrayed by Bibi Besch in Wrath of Khan and by Alice Eve in Into Darkness.

 

Mario Brothers

Originally only known as “Jumpman” (but not to be confused with the original arcade video game Jumpman), Mario was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, and made his first appearance in the original Donkey Kong arcade game in 1981.  In all, the heroic twin plumber brothers Mario (the shorter brother in red cap and shirt) and Luigi (in green) have appeared in over 200 versions of various games, including Donkey Kong Jr., Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country and Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure.  Mario was a plumber in Brooklyn until he was sucked down a drain and transported to the Mushroom Kingdom.  He’s known for his do-gooder nature and bravery in the face of danger, Mario has been romantically linked to his share of fair maidens including his first girlfriend Pauline (in Donkey Kong), who was later ousted by Princess Peach Toadstool in Super Mario Bros.  He also once snagged a kiss from Princess Daisy in Super Mario Land.  While Mario is known for his killer high-jump, it’s thought that Luigi can control gravity, which allows him to remain in the air longer when he jumps.

 

Markup language

One of several computer languages designed for the processing, definition and presentation of text, a markup language is human-readable, meaning markup files contain standard words, rather than typical programming syntax.  To define elements within a document, a markup language uses tags, which are codes used to specify formatting.  While several markup languages exist, the two most popular are HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).  HTML is a markup language used for creating webpages, and the tags define the contents of each webpage.  Basic page tags, such as <head>, <body>, and <div> define sections of the page, while tags such as <table>, <form>, <image>, and <a> define elements within the page.  Most elements require a beginning and end tag, with the content placed between the tags. For example, a link to the nerdictionary.com home page may use the following HTML code:

<a>href=”http://www.nerdictionary.com”>nerDictionary.com</a>

XML is used for storing structured data, rather than formatting information on a page.  While HTML documents use predefined tags (like those mentioned above), XML files use custom tags to define elements.  For example, an XML file that stores information about computer models may include the following section:

<computer>

<manufacturer>Dell</manufacturer>

<model>XPS 17</model>
<components>
<processor>2.00 GHz Intel Core i7</processor>
<ram>6GB</ram>
<storage>1TB</storage>
</components>
</computer>

Each XML file is saved in a standard text format, which makes it easy for software programs to analyze or read the data.  Therefore, XML is a common choice for exporting structured data and for sharing data between multiple programs.

 

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is an American comic book line published by Marvel Entertainment, Inc.  Affectionately called the “House of Ideas” by the fan press, Marvel’s best-known titles include Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Daredevil, Thor, Captain America and The X-Men.  Most of Marvel’s fictional characters reside in the same “Marvel Universe,” and can thus interact and cross over into each other’s comics.

Widely regarded as one of the “Big Two” publishers in the comic industry (with rival publisher DC Comics), Marvel Comics was founded as Timely Comics in 1939 by pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman.  Timely’s first comic book was Marvel Comics # 1, published in October 1939, which featured several superhero characters, most notably two heroes that are still around today: The Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner.  The company’s first editor, the writer-artist Joe Simon, teamed with soon-to-be industry legend Jack Kirby to create one of the first patriotically themed superheroes, Captain America, who first appeared in Captain America Comics # 1 (March 1941).  Timely characters were often seen fighting against the Nazis and the Japanese, even before the United States entered World War II.  As the 1940s came to a close, superheroes fell out of vogue with comic book readers, and Timely canceled the last of its books in this genre in 1950.  In 1951, Goodman formed his own distribution company, and Timely Comics became Atlas Magazines from 1952 to 1956.  Though there was a brief experiment in bringing back superheroes such as Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner and Captain America in 1953, Atlas’ output was mostly in other genres such as humor, Westerns, horror, war, crime, romance, spy fiction, medieval adventure, and science fiction.

In 1956, rival company DC Comics ushered in the so-called Silver Age of Comics by re-introducing superhero titles with significant commercial success.  In the early 1960s, Atlas changed its name to Marvel Comics, and for several decades, Marvel and DC were the top companies in the comic book industry. The final comic to bear the Atlas globe logo was Dippy Duck #1 in October 1957.  The first comic book labeled “Marvel Comics” was the science-fiction anthology Amazing Adventures #3, published in May 1961, with cover art by Jack Kirby (penciler) & Dick Ayers (inker).  At that point, Goodman attempted a new direction by following the current drive-in science fiction movie trend, launching or revamping six titles to offer that genre of story: Strange Worlds #1; World of Fantasy #15; Strange Tales #67; Journey into Mystery #50; Tales of Suspense #1; and Tales to Astonish #1.  Their space-fantasy tales proved unsuccessful, and by the end of 1959, most of these titles (minus Strange Worlds and World of Fantasy, which had been cancelled) were devoted to B-movie monsters.  Marvel also expanded its line of girl-humor titles during this time, introducing Kathy (“the teen-age tornado!”) in October 1959 and the short-lived Linda Carter, Student Nurse in September 1961.

In the wake of DC Comics’ success reviving their superhero lines in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with the Justice League of America, Marvel decided to follow suit.  Editor/writer Stan Lee and freelance artist Jack Kirby were asked to create Marvel’s own version of a superhero team, and what they came up with was the Fantastic Four, which debuted in The Fantastic Four #1 in November 1961.  The Fantastic Four became a cornerstone of Marvel and the introduction of a new style of superhero.  The artwork was vaguely reminiscent of adventuring quartet the Challengers of the Unknown, which Kirby had created for DC in 1957, and the new series avoided such common comic-book elements as secret identities (and even costumes at first!).  Having a monster as one of the heroes, and showing its heroes bicker and complain in what was later called a “superheroes in the real world” approach, the series represented a change that helped to make both the series and the “Marvel method” a great success.  Marvel began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and anti-heroes as the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, and Daredevil, and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Galactus, the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus.

This more realistic approach to characterizations built up Marvel’s reputation and began to attract college-age readers.  Stories also began to deal with social issues such as pollution, race relations and drug abuse.  A Spider-Man story arc from 1971 dealing with drug abuse had to be published without the approval of the Comic Code Authority—the self-regulatory body that had policed comic content since 1954—despite the fact that it was portraying drug use in a negative light.  This caused the Comic Code Authority to revise its policy in such matters.

Marvel’s comics were noted for focusing on characterization to a greater extent than any prior comics publisher.  This was true of The Amazing Spider-Man in particular.  Its young hero suffered from self-doubt and mundane problems like any other teenager.  Unlike the perfect, handsome, athletic heroes found in previous traditional comic books, Marvel superheroes were often flawed and seen as freaks or misfits.  Some Marvel heroes even looked like villains and monsters.  In time, this non-traditional approach would revolutionize comic books.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a new generation of creative talent emerge at Marvel.  In 1967, Jim Steranko began to write and draw stories featuring secret agent Nick Fury in the anthology book Strange Tales.  Steranko’s work was influenced by James Bond films and the psychedelic and “op art” movements, and the resulting stories melded groundbreaking visuals with equally innovative storytelling techniques.  Writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne began a long collaboration on The Uncanny X-Men in 1975.  The pair revitalized the sputtering series with characters such as Wolverine and complex story arcs that soon made the X-Men franchise one of Marvel’s best sellers.

Goodman retired as publisher in 1972 and was succeeded by Lee, who stepped aside from running day-to-day operations at Marvel.  A series of new editors-in-chief oversaw the company during another slow time for the industry.  Once again, Marvel attempted to diversify, and with the updating of the Comics Code, achieved moderate success with titles in horror (Tomb of Dracula), martial arts (Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu), sword-and-sorcery (Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja), satire (Howard the Duck) and science fiction (“Killraven” in Amazing Adventures).  In 1973, Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation changed its name to Cadence Industries, which in turn renamed Magazine Management Co. as Marvel Comics Group.

In the mid-1970s, Marvel was affected by a decline of the newsstand distribution network. Cult hits such as Howard the Duck were the victims of the distribution problems, with some titles reporting low sales when in fact they were being resold at a later date in the first specialty comic-book stores. An attempt by Marvel to buy DC was frustrated by DC’s refusal to sell its entire library of characters (wanting to retain control of Superman and Batman).

In 1981 Marvel purchased the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises animation studio from famed Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng and his business partner David H. DePatie. The company was renamed Marvel Productions and it produced well-known animated TV series and movies featuring such characters as G.I. Joe, Transformers, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, and such TV series as Dungeons & Dragons, as well as cartoons based on Marvel characters, including Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  In 1985, Mark Gruenwald started a critically acclaimed 10-year run as the writer of Captain America.  That same year, he also began the miniseries Squadron Supreme (1985–86), a deconstructionist take on superheroes that preceded DC Comics’ graphic novel Watchmen.

The 1980s also saw Frank Miller’s stint on Daredevil, which took that series in a darker and grittier direction, reviving sagging sales and making it one of Marvel’s best sellers.  In 1988, Todd MacFarlane began a popular run as an artist on The Amazing Spider-Man.  In 1990, Marvel begin selling Marvel Universe Cards with trading card maker Impel. These were collectible trading cards that featured the characters and events of the Marvel Universe, which would spawn several more series of cards and imitations by DC.  In 1994, Marvel acquired the comic book distributor Heroes World to use as its own exclusive distributor.

Creatively and commercially, the ’90s were dominated by the use of gimmickry to boost sales, such as variant covers, cover enhancements, regular company-wide crossovers that threw the universe’s continuity into disarray … and even special swimsuit issues!  In 1996, Marvel had almost all its titles participate in the Onslaught Saga, a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters, such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, in the Heroes Reborn universe, in which Marvel defectors Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were given permission to revamp the properties from scratch.  After an initial sales bump, sales quickly declined below expected levels, and Marvel discontinued the experiment after a one-year run; the characters returned to the Marvel Universe proper.  In 1998, the company launched the imprint Marvel Knights, featuring tough, gritty stories showcasing such characters as the Inhumans, Black Panther and Daredevil, it achieved substantial success.  During the 1990s and early 2000s, a new wave of writers, including Brian Michael Bendis (DaredevilThe Avengers), Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four) and Ed Brubaker (Captain America), became well known for their mature and sometimes controversial takes on Marvel’s characters.

In 2001, Marvel withdrew from the Comics Code Authority and established its own Marvel Rating System for comics. It also created new imprints MAX (intended for mature readers) and Marvel Age (for younger children).  In 2006, Marvel’s fictional crossover event “Civil War” established federal superhero registration in the Marvel universe, creating a political and ethical schism throughout it.  In 2007, Marvel began publishing digital comics, and in 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased the parent company of Marvel Comics.  Even though Stan Lee is no longer officially connected to the company, save for the title of “Chairman Emeritus,” and the industry has dwindled to a fraction of its peak size, Marvel remains a key publisher in the comics business.

 

“Marvel method”

The creation of most comic books follows a rather simple formula: the writer writes the script of the issue, then the artist interprets that script, creating the artwork.  Next, the inker, letterer and colorist complete the artwork for publication.  During the 1960s, Marvel Comics editor and writer Stan Lee came up with a way to make the process of creating comics faster.  Essentially, Lee would discuss the comic issue with the artist and create a rough outline of the plot and story.  The artist would then take over and fully create the comic pages from that outline.  Once the pages were created, Lee would then go back through the pages and add the dialogue for the letterer to finish. This enabled Stan to complete multiple books at once and push out an enormous amount of content.  Some have criticized Lee for this style of writing, stating that the artists were the real “writers” at Marvel, and that Lee had minimal input into the creative process while taking most of the writing credit.  Still, some of the most iconic characters and stories were created at Marvel during this time, making many of their creators superstars in the comic book industry.

 

Mashup

A fusion of disparate elements, such as a recording created by digitally combining and synchronizing instrumental tracks with vocal tracks from two or more different songs, a film that mixes elements from different eras in history, or a web page or application created by combining data or functionality from different sources.

 

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)

Any story-driven online video game in which a player, taking on the persona of a character in a virtual or fantasy world, interacts with a large number of other players.  An MMORPG’s programming allows thousands of gamers to play in the game’s evolving virtual world at the same time.

 

Master Chief

The Master Chief is the faceless supersoldier protagonist of the Halo video game series.  He has appeared in the games Halo: Combat EvolvedHalo 2Halo 3Halo 4, and he made a cameo as an Easter egg in Halo: Reach, as well as numerous offshoot comic books and novels.  Born with the name John in about 2510, he lived with his mother and father in Elysium City, on the colony world of Eridanus II.  At the age of six, he was identified by Dr. Catherine Halsey as one of 150 preliminary candidates for the SPARTAN-II Program.  John was an ideal physical and mental candidate, standing a head taller than the majority of his schoolmates, having greater physical proportions, possessing greater strength, exhibiting superior reflexes, and having an aggressive drive for success.  John’s leadership skills were correctly observed, as the result from their mission clearly solidified his role as the overall leader of the Spartan-IIs. He also became the established leader of the Spartan-II’s Blue Team.

At the age of fourteen, John underwent the dangerous SPARTAN-II augmentation procedures, and was one of only 33 Spartans to make it through the process unscathed.  At only fourteen years old, it is said that John had a body of an eighteen-year old Olympic athlete, and the augmentation process gave the Spartans faster reflexes, greater strength, enhanced eyesight and nearly unbreakable bones.  John has since served in over 200 missions against the Covenant.

The Chief’s armored, faceless visage has become iconic and synonymous with the Halo franchise.  Until Halo 4, Master Chief was never seen outside of his armor; the only description of his appearance is in the tie-in novel The Flood, where he is described as being quite tall, with short hair, serious eyes, and rugged facial features.  He is also apparently very pale, more than likely due to spending most of his time in the suit.  Out of his armor, it has been stated that he stands at 6’8” tall, and weighs 287 pounds.  In Halo 4, after completing the game on Legendary difficulty, a scene played in which Master Chief’s helmet was lifted and the parts of his face around his eyes were revealed.

Conceptual artist Shi Kai Wang created the Master Chief’s original design, and he is voiced by Chicago disc jockey Steve Downes.

 

Matrix

A place or point from which something else originates, takes form or develops.

 

McCabe, Mari Jiwe

See Vixen.

 

Meat shield

Term used in combat games and zombie invasion scenarios, meaning an individual who is viewed as obsolete and is used (if living) as bait for an enemy or hoard of zombies, or (if dead) as an actual shield against a combat attack.

 

Medusa

A monster from Greek mythology, one of the Gorgon sisters (the others being Sthenno and Euryale), who were daughters of Phorkys and Keto, and granddaughters of Gaea (Earth) and Oceanus (Ocean).  Her face has alternately been portrayed as ugly or beautiful, with either a humanoid or snakelike body, but the common element in tales of Medusa is that she has living snakes for hair.  According to the myths, anyone who looked directly at her face would be immediately turned to stone.  Originally a fair golden-haired maiden and priestess of Athena, Medusa was devoted to a life of celibacy; however, after being wooed by Athena’s husband Poseidon, she forgot her vows and married him.  For this offense, she was punished by Athena in a most terrible manner: each wavy lock of her beautiful hair was changed into a venomous snake.  Seeing herself transformed into such a repulsive creature, Medusa fled her home, never to return.  Wandering about and dreaded by the rest of the world, she turned into a character worthy of her outer appearance.  In her despair, she fled to Africa, where, while wandering restlessly from place to place, young snakes dropped from her hair; that is how, according to the ancient Greeks, Africa became a hotbed of venomous reptiles.  As part of Athena’s curse, whoever gazed upon Medusa was instantly turned into stone.  Eventually, Medusa was killed by Perseus, who looked upon her only through a mirrored surface, and beheaded her.  While traveling with the horrible head in a sack, Perseus came across the titan Atlas, who was condemned to carry the heavens on his shoulders.  To release him of his pain, Perseus used Medusa’s head to turn him into stone, and thus relieving him of the weight of his burden.  Later, Perseus used the head to turn the sea creature known as the Kraken to stone, in order to save Andromeda from being sacrificed to it.

 

Meiosis

A series of two cell divisions in sexually reproducing organisms, by which four male or female germ cells (gametes) are produced, with each containing one of every pair of homologous chromosomes (that is, with the maternal and paternal chromosomes being distributed randomly between the cells).

 

Meme

A humorous image (typically a photograph, but can also be a video or piece of text) that is copied, often altered in text, and shared among internet users.

 

Memory Alpha

Mentioned in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Lights of Zetar,” Memory Alpha is the central library for the United Federation of Planets.

 

Mercutio

An enigmatic character from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is Mercutio’s violent death that turns the tone of the play from comedy to tragedy.  Possessing a quick wit and a clever mind, Romeo’s close friend is a witty skeptic and an anti-romantic character, who warns Romeo of the negative aspects of love.  Despite being a friend to Romeo, Mercutio seems to exist outside the two dominant families of Verona, and is invited to the Capulets’ ball, bringing his friends with him (including Romeo, a member of the Capulets’ sworn enemies, the Montagues).  Though he is the catalyst to the animosity between Tybalt and Romeo, Mercutio is not a party to the feud, yet he takes Romeo’s role when his friend refuses to fight Tybalt.  Mercutio’s death is a tragic scene, yet in it, he displays his comic character to the very end.  Realizing he has been mortally wounded, he tells Romeo “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.”

 

Merlin

  

One of the most fascinating figures in Welsh literature and Arthurian legend, Merlin is a man of mystery and magic who wore many hats: he was a wizard or sorcerer, a prophet, a bard, an adviser and a tutor.  In his Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain, c. 1137) and in his Vita Merlin (Life of Merlin, 1150), Geoffrey of Monmouth reported that Merlin was a 6th Century prophet living in the north of Britain, whose mother was the daughter of the King of Demetia (a Dyved, kingdom in southern Wales).  Elsewhere, Merlin was rumored to have been the son of a demon or an incubus and a mortal woman who was a nun. Merlin was probably born in the town of Carmarthen. Because of his link with a demon and God, Merlin had great wisdom and powers from the two opposing forces.  Later legend has expanded the amazing birth of Merlin, such as the prose adaptation of Robert de Boron’s Merlin; the adaptation was known as the Prose Merlin or the Vulgate Merlin.

After King Vortigern lost his battle and much of his territory lost to the Saxons, he fled into Wales, where he decided to build a fortress, but every day he had part of the wall built, it would collapse the next day.  He was advised to find a boy without a father, kill the boy, and use the boy’s blood mixed with mortar, so the building would not crumble again.  (While this wording most likely meant that the boy’s father had died before he was born, Geoffrey interpreted it as Merlin’s father had been the devil.  Others wrote that his father had been a demon or an incubus.)  When they found the boy without a father, he was brought before the king.  Merlin told the king the reason why his fortress always collapsed was not building the wall on solid foundation, because there was pool of water underneath. And underneath the pool was two sleeping dragons – one red dragon, the other was white. Another reason why the walls always collapse was that the dragons fought one another since they were trapped underground.  Everything Merlin had told to the king was true. The dragons wakened and rose out of the hole and fought one another.

Merlin then foretold a series of prophecies about Britain.  The significance of the two fighting dragons was that the future kings of Britain would drive the Saxons out of their country, but inevitably, the Saxons would overcome the Britons and rule over Britain.  The red dragon represents the Britons, while the white dragon was seen as the Saxons.  Merlin also foretold that the Boar of Cornwall shall drive out the Saxons giving relief to the Britons.  The Boar of Cornwall was the banner of Arthur, son of Uther.  Merlin also foretold that six descendants of Arthur shall rule after the great king before Saxons would return and conquer Britain.

This episode in Geoffrey’s work was largely derived from the historian Nennius, who wrote the Historia Brittonum (c. 9th century), wrote that Ambrosius (Merlin) claimed his father was a Roman consul.

One night, Uther and Merlin saw a comet in the sky, where the tail caused the sky to light up in the shape of a dragon.  Merlin informed Uther that his brother Aurelius Ambrosius had died from poisoning, and Uther was now king.  This dragon became the symbol of Uther’s kingship, and Merlin gave the new king the name “Uther Pendragon.”

Merlin first appears in extant records (Armes PrydeinY Gododdin) from the early 10th Century as a mere prophet, but his role gradually evolved into that of an advisor, prophet and magician.  Through magic, Merlin became involved in the conception of Arthur Pendragon, when Uther fell in love with Duke of Cornwall Gorlois’ wife, Igraine.  Uther could not control his lust and obsession for Igraine, and asked Merlin to aid him in seducing Igraine. Merlin used his magic to make Uther into Gorlois’ double.  In this guise, Uther had sex with Igraine on the same night Gorlois was killed.  Tintagel and Cornwall immediately surrendered to Uther, and the king married the newly widowed Igraine, who later gave birth to Arthur.  According to the French writer, Robert de Boron, at Arthur’s birth, Merlin gave the infant to Sir Antor (Malory called him Sir Ector) to raise the child in obscure fosterage. Antor was the father of Kay, later a knight who served as his foster brother’s seneschal.

In Geoffrey’s account, apart from the conception of Arthur, Merlin was not involved in Arthur’s life, but according to later authors Merlin was involved in Arthur’s education, and active as the chief adviser throughout Arthur’s reign.  Upon Uther’s death, it was Merlin who informed the barons that only a person who could draw the sword Excalibur from the stone would be the rightful king.  In a fight with King Pellinor (also known as Pellehen in some writing), Arthur broke this sword, and Merlin brought Arthur to a lake, where the young king received a new version of Excalibur from Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.

According to other writers, Arthur was not the only noble advised by Merlin.  In the Didot Perceval, he aided Perceval in several adventures. In Suite du Merlin, Merlin unsuccessfully tried to guide Sir Balin.  Merlin was heavily involved with the Grail in later legend.  In Boron’s trilogy consisting of Merlin, Prose Merlin and Suite du Merlin (c. 1200-1240), Merlin designed and constructed the Round Table.

Merlin foretold particular events surrounding the Grail quests, as well as the greatness of Lancelot and Tristan and their great duel.  Merlin had foreseen that Arthur’s desire to marry Guinevere would one day bring ruin to Arthur and the kingdom, yet he was powerless to dissuade Arthur from this.  Merlin also foretold the treachery of Morgan le Fay, and the deaths of Balin, Pellinor and Arthur himself.  Last of all, Merlin foretold his own death.  In a few tales, a maiden or a fairy trapped Merlin in an enchantment.  The most famous was the Lady of the Lake, who, according to some tales, had been Nimue (in Malory’s version), a former lover of Merlin’s.  Several sites are said to be Merlin’s prison and/or burial place: beneath “Merlin’s Mound” at Marlborough College in Marlborough (Wiltshire), at Drumelzier in Tweeddale (Scotland), Bryn Myrddin (Merlin’s Hill) near Carmarthen (Wales), Le Tombeau de Merlin (Merlin’s Tomb) near Paimpont (Brittany) and Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) off the Lleyn Peninsula (Wales).

Merlin appeared in the Walt Disney animated feature film The Sword in the Stone (1963), and has been portrayed by Nicol Williamson in the film Excalibur (1981), by Sam Neill in the TV miniseries Merlin (1998), and by Colin Morgan in the TV series Merlin (2008-2012).

 

Metropolis

A classic 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, this science fiction tale centers around a then-futuristic society that includes an elite upper class, which lives in an idyllic city, and an oppressed working class, which lives and works out of sight below the ground.  The central theme of separate unequal societies is also seen in other works, such as H.G. Wells’ 1895 novel The Time Machine, and the original 1969 Star Trek episode “The Cloud-Minders.”

The original film has had several subsequent versions released.  In 1984, Giorgio Moroder released a colorized version of the film.  The soundtrack included new songs by Bonnie Tyler, Pat Benatar, Freddie Mercury, Adam Ant and many other stars of the day.  In 2008, a dusty 16mm negative was discovered, with nearly 25 minutes of footage from the original film that had gone missing.  Two years later, the extended “director’s cut” restoration was released.  Lang’s revered masterpiece starred Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich and Rudolf Klein-Rogge.

 

Michelangelo (TMNT)

The wisecracking wielder of the nunchaku is a member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The immature reptile’s hobbies include video games and comic books, and he enjoys pizza more than anything else in the world.  Even if he’s in trouble, he keeps his easy-going attitude intact, but that certainly doesn’t mean he can’t focus when needed. “Mikey” has the skills to back up his attitude, and his spirit and energy make him an invaluable member of the turtle team.  Of all the turtles, Michelangelo has been the one with the most fluid status on the team.  Initially, he was a mediator, then he became a punching bag.  Sometimes he would be close to Donatello, while other times he wouldn’t be particularly close to any of his brothers.  In fact, Mikey has never really been presented the same in any two series.  In 1987, for instance, he was exceptionally close to Raphael, versus the comic, in which he was closest to Donatello.  Like all the turtles, Michelangelo was given a brand new trait in TMNT: The Next Mutation, becoming host of a pirate radio show.  But the 1997-98 live-action show didn’t last long, and a new animated series took him back to who he was: a fun-loving jokester who still had a fair amount of ninja skill.  He was constantly learning what it meant to be part of a team, and was the focus of many episodes geared toward his development as a hero.  The 2012 animated series cast Michelangelo in his familiar role of comic relief.

 

Microblog

As a noun, a blog done with severe space or size constraints.  Such blogging is typically done by posting frequent brief messages about personal activities.  As a verb, to post short entries with brief personal updates into a blog or social network site.

 

Middle-earth

The mythical land created by J.R.R. Tolkien for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth includes several territories, including Eriador (where the Shire, home of the hobbits, lies).  Tolkien wrote that there were hundreds of hobbits at Bilbo Baggins’ birthday party, implying that this was a sizable part of the local population.  In a passage about Samwise’s work to repair the Shire, Tolkien reported that there “… were thousands of willing hands of all ages…” (though it is unclear whether Tolkien was counting individual hobbits or their hands, which would cut the number of hobbits present in half).  We also have the seeming description of the Shire as a place sparsely populated with hobbits and the seeming lack of any major towns or centers of population.  All these point to a relatively low figure for the population of the Shire, perhaps 30,000 – 100,000.

East of Eriador, there are large areas of empty wilderness, but eventually the beautiful elf settlement of Rivendell comes into view.  In the Second Age and early Third Age, it seems to take an active military role, something that doesn’t seem possible for a large house. Rivendell was founded by a force led by Elrond that rescued refugees from Eregion in the Second Age, and then came under siege from Sauron for more than a year.  This group could not have numbered less than a few thousand, and this seems a reasonable guess for Rivendell’s population in the Second Age. Certainly by the time of the events in Lord of the Rings, it had diminished in a similar manner to Lindon, with probably no more than a few hundred residents, perhaps 400 at most.

From Rivendell, the dwarves pass through the Misty Mountains, with Moria to the south and Mt. Gundobad to the north.  Goblin-town, which constituted of a series of tunnels and caverns running through to the far side of the mountains, seemed to be occupied by at least several hundred to a few thousand goblins.  Estimates for the wider hordes of goblins, wargs and great spiders are impossible to number with any accuracy. There were around 2,000 elves, men and dwarves at the Battle of Five Armies, and these were severely outnumbered by the goblins and wargs, which probably numbered between 5,000 and 15,000 but probably around 10,000. These would have been a substantial portion of the northern goblins whose total population could have been around 30,000.  Further south, Moria alone seemed to be home to thousands.  After Bilbo and the dwarves escape from the Misty Mountains, they end up staying in the Anduin valley.  There were a race of hardy woodmen living in homesteads scattered around the west Anduin valley and the fringes of Mirkwood.  Bilbo and the dwarves passed through Mirkwood and were captured by elves from Thranduil’s kingdom, which was made up of Silvan elves with a small nobility of Sindar descent from Beleriand.  It was founded by Thranduil’s father at the start of the Second Age.  Originally, it covered the entire north half of the forest, but later, as Sauron’s power grew, the forest became evil and the Elves retreated north.  The main, and possibly only, town or city was Thranduil’s underground capital, cut into the rocks beneath the hills in northeast Mirkwood.

In the Second Age, Silvan Elves are described as populous and contributing a sizeable army to the Last Alliance of men and elves, but by the end of the Third Age, they had diminished.  Thranduil brought a force of 1000 spearmen and a few hundred archers to the Battle of Five Armies, a total of around 1,200 elves.  There is good reason to think this wasn’t all the troops his kingdom had, but more of an expeditionary force sent to investigate the mountain and the death of the dragon.  Thranduil had at least a few thousand troops.  The total population can be calculated as 3,000 troops, so a total adult male population of around 12,000 and a total population of about 30,000 elves.  After Thranduil, Bilbo and the dwarves reached Lake-Town, the remnant of the once larger city of Esgaroth and then the ruins of Dale, which was surprisingly small, perhaps only 400 x 550 feet with a central pool, which would reduce that area even further.  A reasonable population estimate would be only around 400 – 700 people.
After leaving Lake-town, Bilbo and his companions pass through the ruins of Dale and arrive at the Lonely Mountain.  Rather than sending a muster of the total population to scout out the situation, but faced with a kinsman in danger, a significant portion (but not all) of its forces would have been sent.  Considering a force of 500 warriors was sent, we can assume there would have been a few thousand dwarves potentially under arms in the Iron Hills, with a likely total population range of 10,000 – 15,000.  Wilderland kingdoms could be very small.  In a few generations, Dale would have expanded rapidly, considering immigrants, increased prosperity, an alliance with the re-founded King under the Mountain and fame from the death of Smaug.  Still, it could not have numbered more than a few tens of thousands at most, just due to the lack of men in the surrounding lands to populate it so quickly.  A total of 20,000-40,000 people would logically be possible here.

As for Erebor itself, it was the center of Durin’s folk, described as thriving in the time of Lord of the Rings.  Due to the slow rate of dwarven population increase, the population cannot have come from natural increase.  Almost all of it would have come from a massive immigration as the people of Durin, largely from the Blue Mountains in the far west, but also from various scattered homes to which the Dwarves had wandered after the initial loss of the Kingdom Under the Mountain, as described in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as well as possibly a significant contingent from Dain’s original realm in the Iron Hills.  The total population of Erebor cannot be stated with any accuracy, but given the figure for the population of the Iron Hills, and the expectation that a significantly larger population of dwarves would have gathered in the safer main dwellings of Durin’s folk in the far west, an estimate for the other main populations of Wilderland would be considerably higher than the estimate for the Iron Hills, perhaps in the range of 20,000-40,000.

 

Mighty Mouse

The animated hero was created by Isadore “Izzy” Klein and Paul Terry for Terrytoons (producers of Heckle and Jeckle) and debuted in the October 1942 cartoon “The Mouse of Tomorrow.”  Originally living in fear of cats inside a supermarket, the rodent washed with Super Soap, ate Super Soup and Super Celery, then dove into a hunk of Super Cheese, to emerge as Mighty Mouse.  The character was originally named “Super Mouse,” but a similar character from a rival comic line came out using that name, so Terrytoons changed their mouse hero’s name.  The super-powered mouse originally wore a costume much like Superman’s, colored blue with a red cape, but over time, this was changed to a yellow costume with a red cape.  In December 1955, The Mighty Mouse Playhouse debuted on television as the very first Saturday morning cartoon, lasting through 1966.

Protecting the citizens of Mouseville from villains such as the Claw Gang (a group of cats), Oil Can Harry (a brilliant cat inventor gone bad) and Atomic Mouse, Mighty Mouse displayed the powers of flight, super strength, invulnerability, X-ray vision, and even super hypnosis, with which the hero could move inanimate objects and turn back time.  His alter ego remained nameless until Ralph Bakshi’s 1987 series Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, in which he was given the “real name” of Mike Mouse.  Throughout the years, Mighty Mouse had two girlfriends: In the comics of the 1950s and ‘60s, his girlfriend was Mitzi, but she was replaced later with Pearl Pureheart.

 

Miller, Frank

The comic book writer, artist and creator of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City was born January 27, 1957.  He burst onto the comic book scene with his work on Marvel Comics‘ Daredevil, starting out as an artist for the series, but progressing to both writer and artist within ten issues.  It was during this run that he created the character of Elektra, one of the now more popular characters of the Daredevil universe.  It was Miller’s work on Daredevil that made him famous, but it would be his work on another property that would make him a legend.

Along with Alan Moore, Miller is credited with the birth of the graphic novel, a new term for darker, grittier, more adult material in the comic book field.  Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which he wrote and drew, has been hailed as one of the greatest Batman tales of all time.  First with The Dark Knight Returns and later with Batman: Year One, Frank Miller both rewrote continuity and changed how many comic book would be done in the future. His gritty, dark, and ultimately realistic portrayal of the Batman character paved the way for comic books that would be geared toward adults with a mature theme. These two works have been critically acclaimed have continued to sell well for the past twenty years.

Due to a battle over censorship with DC Comics, Miller went to the publisher Dark Horse for his future projects.  It would be at Dark Horse that he published first a Sin City short series and later graphic novels in a noir style that captured the dark, grimy, and evil town known as Basin City, or “Sin City” to its inhabitants.  Having some experience working in Hollywood, the writer of Robocop 2 and 3 vowed to never have any of his graphic novel work made into films.  That all changed when Robert Rodriguez convinced him that it could work with Sin City by showing him a short film of “The Customer Is Always Right,” which Rodriguez had already filmed and edited.  The Sin City graphic novels have since been adapted into two movies, with Miller assisting in directing.

Miller has since returned to DC with a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns entitled The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2004), a retelling and updating of the Batman story with the All-Star line, and The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2015), a tale about the Dark Knight facing off against Al-Qaeda.  Miller continues to show his creativity and love for comics in many ways and will not just be remembered for his work on Batman, but for his great body of work that has contributed a great deal to the comic book world.

 

Mind meld

See Vulcan mind meld.

 

Mimir

 

In one version of a Norse myth, Mímir was the wisest among the Aesir tribe of gods.  He was sent as a hostage to the rival tribe, the Vanir, but the Vanir decapitated him and returned his head to the Aesir.  Odin preserved the head in herbs and gained knowledge from it.  In another myth, Mimir resided by Mímisbrunnr, a well beneath one of the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil.  Mimisbrunnr contained one of Odin’s eyes, which Odin had sacrificed to be able to drink from the well and receive wisdom about Ragnarok, the Norse end-of-days event.  In still another myth, Mimir was a smith who taught the hero Siegfried his craft.

 

Mini-Me

Featured in the Mike Meyers films Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), Mini-Me was an attempt by the Evil Organization to clone Dr. Evil while he was floating in space.  The procedure didn`t go well; instead of creating an exact duplicate of their leader, they created a smaller version of the character.  Upon his return, Dr. Evil took the clone to his heart, and afterward, it is rare to see one without the other close by.  Throughout the films, Mini-Me has almost no dialogue beyond an occasional frightened “Eeeeeeeeee!” or evil laugh with Dr. Evil.  On most other occasions, Mini-Me prefers to express himself through written notes.  Despite his diminutive size, Mini-Me is a powerful and effective fighter, once giving Austin a considerable beating.  He loves Belgian chocolate and taunting Scott Evil, Dr. Evil’s natural son and rival for the doctor’s affections.  He also has the tendency to dry-hump random things and people.

 

Minions

Small yellow creatures featured in Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me (2010)Despicable Me 2 (2013) and Minions (2015), with Despicabler Me 3 planned for a 2017 release, minions are shaped rather like cold capsules, and each one has either one or two eyes.  Unlike most evil masterminds, Gru loves his minions, and they have a great relationship because of this.  He also knows each of them by name.

 

Minotaur

A creature in Greek mythology with the head of a bull and the body of a man, the minotaur was the offspring of Pasiphaë and a Cretan bull she loved.  The minotaur was confined to live in Daedalus’ Labyrinth on Crete, and was fed human flesh until Theseus slew it.

 

Mint condition

A common phrase among collectors, sellers and buyers of vintage collectibles such as comic books and cars, meaning in excellent, unblemished, undamaged, near-perfect or perfect condition.  It is the highest level of an item’s possible presentability.  The expression, which came into use around 1900, alludes to the condition of a freshly minted coin.

 

Miramanee

As played by Sabrina Scharf in the original Star Trek TV series episode “The Paradise Syndrome,” Miramanee was Temple Priestess of The People, a race reminiscent of (and, as hinted by Spock, possibly seeded on their planet by) Native American tribes such as the Navajo, Delaware and Mohican.  Her station as Temple Priestess is a hereditary one, as the eldest daughter of the Chief.  By tradition, the Temple Priestess always marries the Medicine Chief, and their eldest son would become Medicine Chief in his turn.

When Captain Kirk and the Enterprise landing party arrive to save The People’s planet from colliding with an oncoming asteroid big enough to destroy it, the captain accidentally falls into an obelisk, which is a type of holy relic to The People.  When an amnesiac Kirk emerges from it, in view of Miramanee and her maiden, he is taken for a god.  Kirk soon saves a boy who had taken water into his lungs by using simple artificial respiration methods, but to the primitive people, he performs a miracle, and he is made Medicine Chief.  Kirk and Miramanee, now betrothed by tradition, fall in love during the months it takes a crippled Enterprise to figure a way to destroy the asteroid.

Kirk (who cannot remember his name fully, and mispronounces it “Kirok,” which then becomes The People’s name for him) marries Miramanee – the only time in known Star Trek history that he marries anyone (even though he is not in Kirk’s right mind at the time) – and she becomes pregnant with their child.  When the asteroid nears, causing violent storms, Kirk is expected to know how to enter the obelisk and deflect the asteroid, but he does not.  In their anger and fear, The People stone “Kirok” and his devoted wife.  Spock and McCoy arrive in time to deflect the asteroid and bring Kirk back to his senses via Vulcan mind meld, but Miramanee’s injuries are too severe, and McCoy can do nothing for her.  After she and Kirk share a tender moment together, she dies in his arms.

 

Mitosis

A process that takes place in the nucleus of a cell as it divides into two identical cells, each containing the same number of chromosomes and genetic content as the original cell.  This process typically involves a series of steps consisting of prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.

 

MMORPG

See Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG).