It’s time to say hello to the New Year. 2018 is ready to kick 2017 in the face so we can all move on. Before we can do that, it seems the obligatory thing to do is look at all the best things that happened in the year. Then we can properly lay it to rest.
2017, for me, was a very interesting year. Big changes happened, as you may be aware. A ten-year old chapter ended, and it was time to move on to new things. Big thanks to everyone that stayed by my side and continued to support my endeavors.
While I may not be the biggest fan of the Top *** Things for the year lists, some people have asked my opinion. And that’s what these lists really are–people’s opinions. So here’s a bunch of the best stuff for the year. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything.
The lists won’t be numbered because I’d rather just celebrate all the really cool things in each category rather than assign each item a numerical value.
Top Ten Comics? Pssh. How about 13? Also, because they’re all awesome, I’ll run through them in alphabetical order.
All-New Wolverine Written by Tom Taylor. Art and colors by Juan Cabal and Nolan Woodard, and Leonard Kirk and Michael Garland. Laura Kinney is Wolverine. Along with her “sister” Gabby and Jonathan (a real wolverine), they’ve had some crazy adventures lately. Gabby now has a great codename, and the three are currently working with Daken (who just lost an arm) to fight the Orphans of X. To make things worse, the Orphans got a hold of the remains of the Muramasa blade–the only weapon that can stop their healing factor and kill them.
Batman Written by Tom King. Art and colors by Clay Mann and June Chung, Mitch Gerads, David Finch and Jordie Bellaire, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones and Dave Stewart. Tom King is taking Batman to new territories. You think you know Batman? King’s given us a new look at how Bruce Wayne grew up and dealt with the loss of his parents. We’ve seen Kite-Man elevated to a new status. King has also convinced me, emphatically, that Batman and Catwoman deserve to be together after his proposal.
Batman: White Knight Written and drawn by Sean Murphy with colors by Matt Hollingsworth. This is a different take on Batman and Gotham. Murphy has given us an over-the-top Batman and a seemingly “cured” Joker. A great story along with great art. You can’t lose with this one.
Bug! The Adventures Of Forager By Lee Allred, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred. The Allreds could put out a comic book about shopping in a grocery store in the dead of night and I’d read the heck out of it. This six-issue miniseries about Forager escaping from the ravages or the war between Apokolips and New Genesis and making his way through some odd adventures in different dimensions.
Deadly Class By Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Jordan Boyd. This is a comic series I can’t go without. I’ve written about this on so many different versions of “Best Of…” lists on ComicVine and GameSpot. It’s about a school for assassins in San Francisco set in the 80s. Remender puts the characters through some insane situations. No one is safe. Just when you think you know what’s going on, the story slams you across the head–in a good way. Read. This. Book.
Descender By Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. There’s always something about seeing creators do whatever they want with their own creations. This sci-fi story has shown the ravages of a mysterious robot attack. Picking up ten years after the brutal attack, things are never what they seem. I often shy away from sci-fi comics because they don’t always translate well, in my opinion, in this medium. Lemire and Nguyen are making it work.
Doomsday Clock By Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson. What? There’s only two issues, but man-o-man! Johns is a busy guy these days. This takes him away from writing comics. When he does, fasten your seatbelts. Who else could make a crossover between the Watchmen characters and the DC Universe? The events of the story have been brewing for a bit, and the second issue shows there’s another big problem coming known as “The Superman Theory.”
Hawkeye By Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Michael Walsh. Kate Bishop was always a cool character, but Kelly Thompson combines action, humor, intrigue, and suspense in the comic month after month. Romero’s art and layouts keeps me glued to each page. With Madame Masque up to her evil shenanigans and the mystery of her mother’s death, this is a comic that needs to be read each month. Sadly, it seems the book is ending with March’s issue #16.
Mister Miracle By Tom King and Mitch Gerads. King is on fire. This isn’t a comic you read. It’s a comic you experience. It’s not often you read a comic and are left with a feeling of awe. After the first issue, I just sat there to take it all in. King always pulls out deep and heavy moments in his stories. Gerads art and colors gives everything the perfect look. The only bad thing about this is it’s a miniseries.
Moon Knight By Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire, James Stokoe, Francesco Francavilla, Wilfredo Torres, and Michael Garland. When Lemire took over writing the character, he took readers on a wild ride. Moon Knight has always been a complex character with a fractured psyche. Lemire took it even further. Smallwood’s art is always a joy to see. When we got art by Stokoe, Francavilla, and Torres, it added to the complexity of the story. Their run on the character sadly ended in May.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man By Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert, Jordie Bellaire, Michael Walsh, Ian Herring, Juan Frigeri, and Jason Keith. Spider-Man has gone through big adventures when Peter Parker started his own company and also worked with SHIELD. This series gave us the familiar and more grounded Spidey. Zdarsky also brought Peter’s “sister” Teresa into the main comics after she was introduced in the Spider-Man: Family Busines graphic novel by Mark Waid, James Robinson, and Gabriele Dell’Otto. There’s been a lot of espionage and a shocking development between Spidey and J. Jonah Jameson.
Silver Surfer By Dan Slott, Mike Allred, and Laura Allred. This creative team gave us a new way to look at the former herald of Galactus. Silver Surfer’s adventures with Dawn Greenwood became so much more than I thought they could. What an ending.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool By Christopher Hastings, Gurihiru, and others. There’s just something about Gwenpool. Let’s get it straight–she is not related to Gwen Stacy or Deadpool in any way. She’s an oddball character, and Hastings has been crafting layered stories that take us all over the place. I have to admit, I really dig when the art is by Gurihiru Studios. There have been other talented artists on certain issues, but it doesn’t feel quite the same to me. Although, Irene Strychalski’s art with Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors really fits in with the vibe of the character. February’s issue #25 is slated to be the final issue…
Other Best Stuff
This is getting to be longer than I intended, but how about a look at other best stuff as well?
This was quite a year for the superhero/comic book movies. Logan blew me away. I actually just watched it a couple more times this week–regular and the noir version. That ending still gets me. Wonder Woman finally gave us the movie for the character we’d been waiting for. Thor: Ragnarok allowed Chris Hemsworth to show how funny he really is. Baby Driver is a movie that caught me off guard. It was great seeing something that felt new and fresh. Loved Trainspotting 2. The Greatest Showman was another surprise. Loved the soundtrack. I had no idea it was a musical. I just didn’t pay attention to any of the press around it. It gave us a Stephen King adaptation we could enjoy. Of course, Get Out was fantastic and definitely worth mentioning. Coco was a nice surprise. And hate on it all you want, I really enjoyed The Last Jedi.
Best TV Shows
I said I wasn’t going to actually rank things, but without a doubt, Twin Peaks: The Return was the best show this year. It was something I waited 25 years for. It surpassed my extremely high expectations. David Lynch and Mark Frost delivered 18 hours of television unlike anything we had before. Many were confused, but if you followed all the episodes and are familiar with the other information released (like in Frost’s two recent Twin Peaks books) it all makes sense.
Other shows that were great include Rick and Morty for being so wacky each week, Agents of SHIELD for continuing to evolve and surprise us, Stranger Things for giving us more of the story, The Punisher for showing me I could actually care about the character for 13 episodes, Outlander for its great performances and amazing visuals, American Gods for being able to adapt Neil Gaiman’s novel, and The Gifted for showing me an “X-Men” show could actually work on network television. Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu has been pretty great as well.
Sad we didn’t get any new episodes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead this year.
A soundtrack for the Twin Peaks show was released with the “perfromances” and music played at the Roadhouse. I never thought I’d see “The Nine Inch Nails” on the show or hear ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” on the same soundtrack as James Hurley/James Marhall’s “Just You.” This year gave us a new Gorillaz album. It came out last year, I finally got around to picking up Blink-182’s deluxe California album. Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba singing together? Heck, yeah. Foo Fighter’s Concrete and Gold was good as well as Weezer’s Pacific Daydream. I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s Reputation A LOT in the car with my daughter, and I enjoy it. And I’m not big on musicals, but The Greatest Showman really caught me off guard, as mentioned in the movie section.
Best Funko Pops
Of course the two Moon Knight Pops I got have to be mentioned. Also, I cannot express how thrilled I am to have so many Twin Peaks Pops (Agent Cooper, BOB, Laura wrapped in plastic, Audrey, Log Lady, Audrey, the Giant, Leland, and the exclusive two-pack with Cooper and Laura in the Lodge). I really dug the Wonder Twins two-pack from SDCC (which I realized I never posted a pic of on my Instagram). There’s just so many more I could mention.
Special thanks to Hasbro for making Moon Knight and Death’s Head II Marvel Legends figures even though this is under Best Funkos of 2017.
Best Business Trip
Big thanks to Warner Bros for their trip (in February) to London to get the chance to see some Wonder Woman footage and hear what Patty Jenkins had to say about it. I may have been sick and was trying to make phone calls to “industry” folk in Los Angeles, but I was able to walk around the city and take a bunch of photos. I need to go back when I’m not sick and working so much.
Best Pizza Toppings
Black olives and artichoke hearts.
I’m sure I left too much off the lists. I apologize. I should’ve started this earlier. Thanks again to everyone that stuck around and continued to support me. Here’s to an even better 2018. I will continue to give you everything I have in my posts, reviews, and on the Podcast From Heck. Happy New Year. You guys are the best around.