2005: The Year in Review…

§ December 31st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on 2005: The Year in Review…

…well, more or less. I’m really terrible at this sort of thing (go see Dave for a good year-end review, and not just because he said something nice about me in it…Alan David Doane and Chris Allen have a good’un as well), but I did it last year, and by golly, I’m gonna do it again.

Actually, the temptation was to go all movie-reviewer on you, and just make a year’s-ten-best list comprised entirely of comics that came out this week, but, well, I’ve been a jerk enough this year, I think. Not that’ll stop me from being a jerk anyway.

Favorite comics: I know I’m gonna leave some things out of my “favorites” lists, but lemme try anyway — Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crisis II (a funny and imaginative follow-up), Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman (only one issue, and they’ve already impressed), Morrison’s Seven Soldiers project, The Stuff of Dreams #3 by Kim Deitch (one of my all-time favorite cartoonists), Fell (good and inexpensive), Love & Rockets (a perennial favorite), and several others I’m sure I’m overlooking. I really need to plan for these year-end posts.

Favorite conniption-causing comic book: Countdown to Infinite Crisis was a contender, if only because the death of the Blue Beetle caused everyone who previously couldn’t give a rat’s hinder about him to suddenly declare their undying love and affection, which almost certainly will not translate to sales for DC’s forthcoming Blue Beetle series.

However, I gotta give it to Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman & Robin…I admit I wasn’t sold on it with the first issue, but once the second issue came out, I got into Miller’s “big budget Hollywood action movie on paper” vibe. The fact that he’s also screwing with the uptight Bat-fans is a plus.

Favorite trade paperbacks/graphic novels: Daisy Kutter: The Last Train (sci-fi western with appealing cartoony art), Demo (a handsome collection of the excellent Brian Wood/Becky Cloonan mini-series), WE3 (Morrison and Quitely cybernetic animal comic…attractive and affecting), Black Hole (Charles Burns’ terrifying horror comic, finally collected after its decade-long run), the Complete Bone (every issue of Jeff Smith’s fantasy series, collected into one volume at the bargain-of-the-century price of $39.95), the new Acme Novelty Library (in just under the wire), and Absolute Watchmen (finally bringing the extras from the old Graphitti Designs hardcover back into print).

Favorite reprints: DC’s Showcase line…like Marvel’s Essentials line, only with better printing and a more interesting (to me, anyway) selection of comics. Dark Horse’s Little Lulu series also continues to impress.

Favorite comic strip collection: While the Fantagraphics collections of Peanuts continue to excel, the Complete Calvin & Hobbes takes the cake, just for the sheer spectacle of it. I mean, holy cow.

Biggest surprise: For me, anyway…being nominated for the sexiest man in comics. Or, at least, of that comments thread.

The other biggest surprise…being linked to by a National Review column.

Biggest disappointment: No announcements of further digest-sized reprints from DC (unless I missed something, somewhere).

Best irony: Liberality for All, a “satire” of left-wing attitudes, primarily being purchased by liberal-minded folks to laugh at, not with.

Best comic book related toy: Thanos. Just look at it. It’s a freakin’ huge chunk of plastic.

Best comics related thingie in another medium: The fact that they were apparently mispronouncing “Constantine” in the Constantine movie. Oh, okay, seriously, the Batman Begins movie was surprisingly good, proving once and for all a healthy dose of Michael Caine can improve anything. (Jaws: The Revenge notwithstanding.) The Naked Cosmos DVD is just barely comics-related, but it stars Love & Rockets‘ Gilbert Hernandez, and that’s good enough for me. Oh, and it does come with a comic book, so there you go.

Online trends that need to stop: Page by page, panel by panel, angry and allegedly-humorous screeds lambasting certain “event” comics…pal Dorian should have been the final word on this sort of behavior, but alas….

Favorite “meme:” …And by “meme,” I mean “quiz/questionnaire/fad that everyone posted in their weblogs.” I’m gonna say the “100 Things I Love About Comics” craze from Valentine’s Day, which started with Fred Hembeck, continued with Alan David Doane’s magnum opus, and eventually copied by me. You can find links to more Top 100 lists in my post.

Most needed mercy killing: The ill-advised Doom Patrol revamp, featuring a “all previous versions of DP retroactively did not exist” angle that everyone else working in the DC Universe pretty much ignored.

Favorite weblog: Usually, I cop out and say I love everybody, since I don’t want to play favorites and hurt anyone’s feelings. I do love reading all the different weblogs out there, don’t get me wrong…but I do want to point out a weblog that started at the beginning of the year, written by another fellow in the funnybook selling business: Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog. Go, visit, enjoy.

And enjoy the other comic weblogs out there as well…there’s a little something for everybody!

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