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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Looking back on 2012

Couple of days late, but year in review time, I guess.  As usual, here for the Ditko and here for the Kirby.

Other than that, kind of a slow year for me in terms of new comics. It was the year I really went digital, after getting an Ipad.  Print first, though...

USAGI YOJIMBO only had two issues before it went on hiatus so Stan Sakai could draw 47 RONIN. I'm not too interested in the latter, might pick it up when it's collected, and might take this opportunity to switch to either collections or digital for USAGI when it comes back. Not an easy decision to make, since I've been reading the book for over 20 years, and with back issue purchases have 198 consecutive issues, plus specials and such, and it's not a matter of quality since the book is still top notch. We'll see, still a few months before I have to decide.

ROB HANES ADVENTURES #13 came out, the first issue in three years, which was a pleasant surprise. Enjoyable issue with two complete stories by creator Randy Reynaldo.

Only one issue of SERGIO ARAGONES FUNNIES came out from Bongo, and the planned GROO/CONAN series didn't come out. Hopefully Aragones' health problems are all in the past and he can get those back on the schedule for 2013.

Picked up a couple of issues of Paul Grist's MUDMAN, and they were enjoyable enough, though I prefer JACK STAFF and KANE. Unfortunately, like just about every Grist project, it's fallen into a black hole of lateness, so I think I'm definitely going to digital or collections for that one.

Mark Crilley got out one book of his BRODY'S GHOST series.  Good stuff, but I do wish it was coming out a bit faster. That really does seem to be a common problem with just about every new serialized comic book I'm interested in.

Alison Bechdel's ARE YOU MY MOTHER?, the long-awaited follow-up to her 2006 book FUN HOME, was pretty good. Maybe a bit too much about the process of writing, too "meta" as the kids say (do they still say that? Did they ever?). I want to re-read the two books sometime to fully form an opinion on them.

DOTTER OF HER FATHER'S EYES by Mary Talbot and her husband Bryan was entertaining, about the relationships between James Joyce and his daughter and between Mary Talbot and her father, a Joycean scholar. Still, I keep hoping every new Bryan Talbot book will live up to SUNDERLAND or ONE BAD RAT or ARKWRIGHT, and so far the last few haven't. I guess that's the problem when a creator has set the bar so high with earlier projects that just "very good" becomes a letdown.

The only other new thing I've picked up is Hunt Emerson's adaptation of DANTE'S INFERNO, but I haven't gotten around to reading that yet.

Couple of new things I'd probably be buying if I went to a comic shop more often (I think I made fewer visits to comic shops in 2012 than in any year since I started going to them  in 1988).  Linda Medley made a surprise return to CASTLE WAITING and had three issues wrapping up the second book. I kind of want to get them, but at this point I'll just wait for the revised second book with the whole story.  JOE KUBERT PRESENTS has some nice looking work from the man in the title, plus some new USS Stevens work by Sam Glanzman. If I was seeing it that would be hard to resist, but as it is I'm hoping for a nice collected edition. Ideally one of the Kubert material, along with more of his later work not available in other books, and the Glanzman stuff as the ending for a complete USS Stevens book. But I'd take just a collection of the anthology. And ADVENTURES OF AUGUSTA WIND is a pretty intriguing looking book from J.M. DeMatteis, which I'm sure I'll buy in some form eventually.

Spent a lot more on reprints, as usual.

CORPSE ON THE IMJIN AND OTHER STORIES BY HARVEY KURTZMAN, I just got and haven't had a chance to read, but just a gorgeous looking book. It's good that someone finally cracked the code on how to do a proper EC reprint series.  Who knew you needed an Enigma Machine to figure out "creator themed collections, split by genre for the more prolific creators". I'm definitely going to pick up the Wallace Wood suspense story book. And I'm disappointed to find out, according to what I just checked, that the Al Williamson book that was supposed to come out last month is delayed a few months.

TALES OF THE BEANWORLD (BOOK 3.5) is a nice little collection of some of Larry Marder's colour stories to prepare for Book 4: Something More, coming... eventually.

It was pretty nice to see a reprint of the Goodwin/Simonson ALIEN - THE ILLUSTRATED STORY movie adaptation. I'd found a copy of the original a few years ago, but it was a bit fragile, so the fresh edition is welcome, and it's good that new people get a chance to discover it.

BONE - THE EPIC CONCLUSION is the third and last of Scholastic Canada's three volume colour hardcover reprint of Jeff Smith's comic. This is my favourite way to read the story now. Nice large pages, good paper, good binding, comfortable in the hand. And a really good story.

I need to catch up on some Osamu Tezuka. I got BARBARA a few weeks ago, but haven't got around to reading it. I think both volumes of the new edition of ADOLF are out, and I'll have to see if I want to replace my old 5 volume version.

I picked up GRENDEL OMNIBUS #1, which has all the Hunter Rose solo stuff by Matt Wagner and various artists, all in black, white and red. I think I prefer the colour version of DEVIL BY THE DEED, but the other stuff, most of which is new to me, has been pretty good, as I work my way through. Haven't decided if I'll pick up the later books.

DOUG WILDEY'S RIO - THE COMPLETE SAGA might be the book of the year. All of Wildey's published Rio stories, with as much as possible newly shot from the original artwork, plus two unpublished stories, one finished and one pretty far along but never completed, which means you get some nice looks at Wildey's pencils and work process. He seemed to work really out of order, with the ending of the story fully done while earlier stuff is still just sketched out, sometimes sketched panels on the same page as finished panels.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS SEA DEVILS #1 and SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE LOSERS #1 are two welcome big thick black and white reprints from DC, with a lot of Russ Heath in the first, and John Severin in the second.

And it was good to see DC reprint THE BIBLE by Sheldon Mayer, Nester Redondo and Joe Kubert.

And, somehow I missed this, the second POGO comic strip collection by Walt Kelly came out, and a copy is now on its way to me. A lot of other good comic strip reprints came out, but I'm way behind on almost everything.

I guess that's enough on comics.  I'll get to the digital stuff in another post.

In movies, I've mostly been trying to make time to re-watch some old favourites and stuff that I should have watched years ago but somehow missed. I mean, re-watching THE USUAL SUSPECTS, FIELD OF DREAMS, WEST SIDE STORY, THE GODFATHER, WILLY WONKA, TIME BANDITS, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THAT THING YOU DO (that was just December) makes me wonder why I'd ever want to see a new movie again. But I did see a few.

LOOPER was a nice diversion, with a few clever bits, all of which completely fall apart once you start thinking about what's going on, even more than most time travel stories, but pretty good as long as you can avoid that trap.

RED TAILS had some decent bits, enough to be worth seeing, but was a pretty uneven movie overall. A shame, as the Tuskegee Airmen story is pretty interesting, and could have led to a much better movie. Not that I think very many more people would have seen it if it had been a better film.

CHRONICLE wasn't too bad.  The "found footage" conceit was kind of strained, especially in the early going, but it led to some pretty clever visuals in the second half. Some very good effects in the super-powers and their "real-world" consequences.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES wasn't, I guess, a bad movie, but it wasn't a very good Batman movie. A shame, as I thought Nolan had a pretty valid interpretation of Batman from the first two movies, but after this I think I was reading in some things that weren't there and ignoring some things that were. Glad to see the end of this version of the character.

When I saw THE HOBBIT a few weeks ago, I walked out of the theater thinking it was one of the worst movies I ever saw. I've softened a bit on that, but I still think it's far from good, and is so far inferior to the LORD OF THE RINGS movies that it's hard to believe most of the same people are involved. Won't be going to see the next two (at least not in theaters), and overall I'm just confused that most people seem to like it as much as they do.

On the other hand, I've been hearing for months that JOHN CARTER is really good, but Disney screwed up the marketing (deliberately or otherwise), and dismissed that. I've now seen it on DVD, and I'll say now that I was wrong. I thought it was a great movie, something I'd never expect from the handful of ads I saw, and now really wish I'd seen it on the big screen with an audience. I can't remember the last new action/adventure movie I saw that worked as well as this, with good pacing, a plot reasonably faithful to the source, if I remember correctly (it's been a while since I read Burroughs), with changes that made sense, rather than being gratuitous, funny bits that were actually funny (as opposed to every attempt at humour in THE HOBBIT), solid special effects, mostly good acting. The movie they put out clearly was not the movie they were selling. No clue if that was deliberate or just run-of-the-mill incompetence, but I'm kind of upset now that the chance of a sequel seems remote.

On TV, I think KEY AND PEELE is a pretty great sketch comedy show, and may be my favourite show now. I liked the final season of COMMUNITY for the most part, uneven but more good than bad, and always watchable and re-watchable. I liked some of the episodes of LOUIE a lot this year, in particular the story with Robin Williams (as a character) and the one with Marc Maron (as himself), and parts of the "Late Night" plot. Almost caught up on BREAKING BAD, which has been pretty spectacular. MAD MEN is still good, but not as good as it was.  DEXTER, already on a long downward spiral since the Trinity Killer season, went right down the drain, so I think I'm done with it. Still enjoy THE COLBERT REPORT and THE DAILY SHOW, though I skip over huge chunks of both (about half the interviews, and most of the field pieces on THE DAILY SHOW). I watch THE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON sometimes, and mostly enjoy what I see.

The only music I bought this year was the new Bob Dylan album, TEMPEST. And that was the first time I bought an album digitally, which makes sense since I don't think I've touched any of my CDs in over a year. A couple of good songs on there, but that title song, a 14 minute song about the Titanic, is kind of ridiculous. If Dylan of old did an epic song about the Titanic, it might be about hubris, or class, or something bigger than a boat sinking. This is a song about a boat sinking.

1 comment:

  1. What's this three volume edition of Bone you're talking about? Sounds like something I want to get.


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