2011 A Geek Review – Bumper Edition pt 1

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Originally published at ComicBooked.com

As my first year with Comic Booked draws to a close, I wanted to take the time to thank all the folks who made it easy for me. The bloggers I have debated with, writers and artists I have interviewed, even the kindly folks who retweeted one of my ramblings – it really means a lot to me. So I decided to showcase a selection of these people, throw some love in their direction as a gesture of my gratitude. Last week I sent a list of four questions out over e-mail and what a response! Now I’m even more gratified.

These kinds souls were asked what their favourite geek property from 2011 was; whether there was a particular creator they wanted to mention; what they were most looking forward to in 2012; and finally what were they currently working on?

Continue reading to get to know some of the folks who have helped me – and help make this fun gig of comics writing all the more enjoyable – then show them some love too!

The first question yielded an eclectic series of responses, proving that 2011 certainly provided a diverse variety of geek manna in terms of comics, film, games and books.DC’s New 52 was one of the biggest stories this year, with many debating over whether the company had successfully reinvented itself, or was just trying to play King Knut with departing waves of comic fans.

Melbourne comic retailers All Star Comics had just opened their doors in 2011 so it certainly proved a momentous occasion. “This hit us just around the 6 month point of being opened and totally took us by surprise” says Mitch one of the owners of All Star. “We hoped that people would get behind it but you can never tell for sure until the first books hit the shelves. The hype was huge and for the issue ones at least, it somehow paid off.” For Mitch, the most positive aspect of the relaunch was the genuine enthusiasm readers displayed for the titles. “The best thing we think that came out of the entire launch, for us at least, was it seemed people were buying the books because they were excited to simply read these titles.”

Sarah, whose writing on Essieteric covers both comics and gaming, like many fans of Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman title had grown frustrated with the character’s repeated disappearances from the DC previews. The relaunch provided some relief, returning the title under the aegis of artist/writer Williams. “It has notdisappointed me – it has allowed me to indulge in the truly gothic, demented images that hide in Gotham’s dark underbelly. Williams’ art embraces a soft aspect of the grotesque, and the harsh lines of Gotham’s justice. The story allows Kate to fluctuate between confidence and anxiety, and somewhere in between is where her connection with humanity really is.”

Sounds like there’s one fan who is happy. Ryan from Geek of Oz  concurs with the success of the Distinguished Competition’s gambit (“The New 52 more than doubled my monthly DC titles”) but it was Marvel’s Daredevil by Mark Waid that from this straw poll raced ahead to take best book of the year. Ryan commended the book for its Silver Age vibe, a sentiment echoed by my Comic Booked colleague, and Jonbot Vs. Martha creator, Colin Bell, particularly in respect of the art. “With beautiful art from Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin that possesses a neo-silver age sensibility, they’ve edged Matt Murdock closer to the light than he has been for years, and it’s been a real treat to see my favourite character revitalized in terms of both character and story. That’s what people mean when they talk about comics being ‘done right’.”

It is important to remember that there are fans who want more than endless crossovers and vaunted epics. One example offered by Fangoria contributor Jorge Solis is Green Wake by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Riley Rossmo “When I read the first issue, Alex Proyas’ Dark City and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks came into mind. Rossmo draws Green Wake as if it were a walking nightmare. Rossmo makes great use of colors, especially with Wiebe’s nonlinear storytelling. With Vol.1, and as the series continues, Wiebe’s excellent writing pushes Rossmo’s artistic talents to another level.” Marc Tyler Nobleman found a rare highlight in the disappointing Flashpoint event, describing Grodd of War as “provocative and fresh”. Brien Gorham from Virgil’s All Night Diner crossed the floor to admire elements of the Fear Itself crossover “While the Fear Itself miniseries was a little hit or miss from issue to issue, Mighty Thor, which provided a critical back story that ties into Thor’s fate, and Journey Into Mystery, which revealed the full extent of Loki’s role and quite a bit of history about the Serpent, added a richness to the narrative that made Fear Itself a truly epic experience.”

Of course this assemblage of geekdom are partial to more than comics. Ed Allen cited indie game Terraria, crediting its Minecraft-esque simplicity and inventiveness (“According to Steam I’ve somehow managed to clock up over 80 hours of gameplay so far – and at £5.99 that’s easily the most fun-per-buck I’ve had in 2011”). Webcomic creator Rob Turner of Reynard City enjoyed one of Marvel Studio’s tentpole films from the year that was. “I think in terms of movies it has to be Thor. I have to be honest I thought it was going to be camp bilge but it turned out to be very good. The right blend of self-parody, seriousness, fantasy and believability, very impressive.” Stacey from Word of Mouse Book Reviews discovered 2010 title Tin Can Forest: Baba Yaga and the Wolf this year. “This slim beguiling comic, an old and particularly eerie folktale gets a new life. I loved that it reminded me of the stories from my grandparents who lived near the Ukraine until they emigrated to Canada.”

Finally Colin Smith from Too Busy Thinking About My Comics – a splendid fellow whose essays on the medium have done a great deal for improving the level of online discussion – weighed in on the excellent British super…well their not quite ‘heroes’ per se, show Misfits. “I honestly think that it’s one of the finest TV shows ever, and by that, I don’t mean just “genre” shows either.  Seriously. The adventures of the Asbo 5 are just the best superhero stories there are in any medium, and I’m looking forward to series 3 arriving on the day after Boxing Day. It reminds me of what being a fan is about.”