Pop Culture References in Oscar Wao


There are many comic book and sci-fi/fantasy references in Oscar Wao and they are vital to the story. Here are a few that we found to be the most important to know for the story.

Captain Marvel


Captain Marvel: This is a comic book hero published by DC Comics. With a premise that taps adolescent fantasy, Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson. He is a young boy who was chosen by a wizard named Shazam to become a hero. Whenever Billy speaks the wizard's name, he is instantly struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six legendary figures. Those six heroes are Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. He differs from other super heroes because he was given his powers through use of magic. He is considered Earth’s mightiest mortal.

(Image courtesy of minimediaguy.org)

DC Comics Heroes & Villains
DC Animated Wiki

Dr. Who


Dr. Who: Dr. Who is a British science fiction program, the original version of which first aired in 1963 on the BBC.  The show was about the adventures of an alien known as The Doctor who travelled time in his space ship, fighting enemies and exploring the universe.  Dr. Who is recognized as the longest-running science fiction series of all time, running from 1963 until 1989, followed by a 1995 television movie and a TV re-launch in 2005 that is still running.  The Doctor was portrayed by eleven different actors, explained by his ability to re-generate a new body in the event of his death.

(Image courtesy of Dr. Who Insania)


Dr. Who on BBC
Dr. Who Fansite

J.R.R. Tolkein

Tolkein: J.R.R. Tolkien was an English author best known for his The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. He is also considered the father of modern fantasy literature. Most recently, his The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been made into a movie trilogy. There are also plans of making his book The Hobbit into a two film series within the next few years. Here are a few good sites for more on Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Lord of the Rings.com

The One Ring

Lord of the Rings.org





Watchmen: Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes were
once a major part of the society but are now shutdown by the government. There are serious tensions going on
with the Soviet Union and the United States during the course of this story. When one of his former colleagues
is murdered Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.
As he reconnects with his former teammates Rorschach glimpses a conspiracy with links to their shared past and
catastrophic consequences for the future. This story was originally produced in a comic book series by Alan Moore.
It has recently been adapted into a feature film version.

Watchmen Movie

DC Comics

The Marvel Universe


Marvel: The Marvel Universe is the shared setting of a number of publications by Marvel comics, and is the home
to their most iconic characters, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk. Because there are
Marvel publications that are set outside of continuity, the universe has been specifically designated as Earth-616. 
Among the residents of Earth-616 are the Fantastic Four, a group of four astronauts who gained powers when
bombarded by cosmic radiation.  Their arch-enemy, Dr. Doom, was the supreme dictator of fictional Latveria, and
their adventures often took place on a cosmic scale, resulting in encounters with the world-eater Galactus, and
Uatu the Watcher, an alien assigned to observe earth’s solar system.  Also residing in Earth-616 are the X-Men, a
group of superheroes whose powers come from a genetic mutation that causes them to be considered outcasts in
society.  Long seen as a metaphor for racism and homophobia, the X-Men battle evil and intolerance under the
tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, seeking to promote peace between mutants and humans.  They often battle
Magneto, a former friend of Xavier’s and Holocaust survivor who believes that  the mutation signals natural
superiority and dominance over  “normal” humans, ironically mirroring the Übermensch philosophy that caused
the ordeals of his youth.


Marvel Universe Connections

 “The only way out is in. And that’s what I guess these stories are all about.” –Lola de León