Thee Comic Column #114: My Favorite Comics of 2014

a-voice-in-the-dark-04Wow. I read a lot of comics this year. Not just the stuff I’ve been reading, continually from year to year (there’s less and less of that with ‘classic’ titles/characters as reboots continue to constantly re-boot, rejuvenate (?) and re-evaluate the ongoing properties of the big 2) but there was a literal flood of great, new comics that hit the shelves this year. And some old friends of course; not everyone is interesting in covering up old scars. And even with all that I did read it’s clear I didn’t get to them all – reading fellow Joupitter Tommy’s year end blow-out spectacular I was shocked to see his favorite was Spread. Shocked because, well, I don’t remember even hearing about this book! Couple with that quite a few other titles on my radar that I missed out on and you’ll see this isn’t  a list compiled by someone who read everything there was to read in the 2014 world of comics, but by someone who tried really hard to read as much of it as he could. All that said, this list isn’t only for new books, simply the best comic series I read in 2014, continuing or new.

Shawn’s Top Ten Albums of 2014

So much good music this year and I didn’t even get a chance to hear everything I wanted to! Let’s get right into it, with my favorite first.

 

tune_yards_nikki_nack1) Tuneyards: Nikki-Nack

Thee Comic Column #113: Elephantmen

2089608-elephantmen_036__2011__pagecoverOne of the most difficult truths for me to accept is that due to the nature of our perceived reality, to money and, increasingly, time, there is simply no way I am going to be able to read everything I want to during my lifetime.

First world problems, I know. Still…

The Joup Friday Album: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers “Damn the Torpedoes”

51a3EG7uUKLThis will be the first time I post something for the Joup Friday Album that I am not intimately familiar with. And yet, Damn the Torpedoes, especially the singles, has surrounded me to greater and lesser degrees for as long as I can remember. Refugee in particular I have memories of as a child; a wee lad of three of four, cuddled up at night with the powder blue AM/FM transistor radio that I always insisted on taking to bed with me. Refugee‘s sound made an impact on me – although obviously molded from what we now think of as traditional rock and roll influences Tom Petty and his band did things a little bit differently and really, in some ways helped guys like Elvis Costello and U2 update the popular rock music charts with elements other than tried-and-true 50’s style rock. Released in 1979, Damn the Torpedoes has obviously influenced a lot of what came immediately after it, so again, it’s always been slightly familiar to me. But intimate? No; Petty’s catalogue was always music I took for granted, was never something I sought out and consumed 100%. That changed recently, and when it did, I found that his late 70’s/early 80’s work still sounded fresh as hell to me, even through the wonderfully nostalgic and very much “of-its-time” 80s recording stamp it wears so well.

Thee Comic Column #112: She Makes Comics

She-Makes-Comics-Logo-Medium-660x880I’ve been reading comics for more of my life than not and since almost day 1 there have always been women’s names I associated as key creators within the medium. For me Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson were first, Karen Berger was a little bit later. These are women who actively helped define my world by defining the books that I read, books that helped shape the interior landscape I then in turn used to define the world around me as I grew up in the 80s and 90s. Ms. Nocenti’s work on Daredevil and Spiderman and Mrs. Simonson’s work as both editor and later writer on the X-books were among the earliest comics I fell in love with preadolescence. Later, in high school, many of the key books and creators that Karen Berger brought to her Vertigo imprint at DC etched their way into my very soul, most especially Sandman. That may sound a bit overly dramatic but it’s not; in a very real way the person I am today has roots in those books. Comics have never been any different than prose to me, every bit as important as the fiction I love; every once in a while along comes a Louise Simonson, an Irvine Welsh, a Neil Gaimen or a Donna Tartt and an entire new wing is added to the ego-scaffolding that is, more or less, Me. To me, both comics and prose are literature and literature is food for the soul. So the idea that women may not have a level playing field in the world of comics when they are so revered everywhere else in writing is insane to me and perhaps a little bit of a clue that the comics industry isn’t quite as established or ‘grown up’ as the world of prose.

Thee Comic Column #111: The Real John Constantine

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.30.20 AMHoly cow. Now this my friends, this is John Constantine. I mean, if you can hold in your mind’s eye the *eck* movie version from 2005, add to it the current NBC version and then watch this short made with a super small budget and barely any effects at all, well, I think you’ll agree that this isn’t just John Constantine done right, this is John Constantine done probably as close to perfect as we’re ever going to get in our lifetime by a video production company.

Thee Comic Column #110: Wytches

WYTCHES-Cover-1-Final-7cd41I will admit that when I first heard about Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches my interest was tinged with a small swathe of trepidation. I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but after recently re-reading Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake I wasn’t too hot on the idea of jumping on a new series by Snyder. This is because, in The Wake‘s case, I love the set-up, LOVE the art (Sean Murphy can do no wrong in my book) and love the characters, love the story and the way it’s two stories that tell one bigger story. What I didn’t necessarily love however was the ending. Honestly, it left me a bit flat. Of course it’s true that the journey is just as important as the destination, but I just don’t know if the ending to The Wake does the rest of the story – and oh what a story – any justice. That more than anything else may be what bothers me about the book and had me a little trepidatious about starting out on a new path with Mr. Snyder at the helm.

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