Everybody at Biff Bam Pop! is talking about Top Fives, so I guess it’s my turn. Put on your seat belts, because as the regular readers around here know already, my tastes are not normal. I liked Santa Claus and hated Dark Knight. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Next, after the jump, my top fives in film, music, television, and comic books. Look out.
I’ve written about the films I loved this ad nauseam both here and other places on the interwebs. I loved John Carter a lot, and was much dismayed by the reception it got. I did however notice that once it hit DVD and Blu-Ray, some folks began to come around. It was just a matter of folks making fun of what they don’t know, and haven’t seen. I thought it was a brilliant production of the pulp hero I loved as a kid. Whether it happens of not, I want to see more.
In the class of movies being far better than I expected would come SkyFall, the best Bond flick in years, and a hardcore straight ahead action movie with a fantastic Paul Leonard-Morgan industrial soundtrack – Dredd. That last one is another, like John Carter, don’t listen to the critics, and just see it, amazing guy flick.
I would kick in an honorable mention at Life of Pi for visuals, and Les Miserables for musical soundtrack, but my favorite movie of the year 2012 should be a no-brainer for anyone who knows me. It’s Marvel’s The Avengers. Yeah, baby. A dream come true, my favorite superhero team from my favorite comic book, on the big screen, and done right? Yeah, of course this was my favorite movie. Love love love it.
A lot of the music I’ve listened to this year and enjoyed has been influenced by my friend Andy Burns, editor-in-chief here at Biff Bam Pop!. We share musical tastes, and I have to refer to him and his earlier article on the music of 2012, and say I agree. It was refreshing to hear new yet retro sounds from KISS, the Rolling Stones, Rush, and the Beach Boys. The last one’s album actually lent a song title to the name of BBP’s short story anthology, Strange World. That’s how inspiring the music was around here.
Andy also turned me on to the new live Led Zeppelin album, and I’m not usually a fan of live stuff. We also both listened to the Bob Dylan album together as we talked about it the same day through the magic of the internet. 2012 was also the year I discovered The Heavy, and yeah, I know I was late to that party and I regret it. I also got into an amazing local Philly band called Radium Angels, sort of a glam rock Bowie meets superheroes concept. Maybe Marie Gilbert, our resident steampunk granny, will talk more about them when she sees them later in the month. They are definitely an experience.
Everybody loves “The Walking Dead” and “Doctor Who,” so those are a given. I caught up on Showtime’s first season of “Homeland” before watching the current season. Against my better judgment, I have been enjoying the heck of that, despite Claire Danes’ crazy eyes. “The Hour” and “Downton Abbey” are both highly recommended BBC programs from across the pond as is “Copper.”
I have to let my geek flag fly and mention these last two. “Arrow” was sure to be a disaster, as a non-spin-off of “Smallville” featuring a revamped Green Arrow, and not the one we had all grown to love on that show. It turned out to be much much better than I ever thought it could. I’m hooked. And then there’s “The Legend of Korra,” the fun, dangerous, and decidedly adult sequel to “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” It is spectacular animation on a show built for all ages, yet talking down to none. I can’t wait for its return.
This is the one you’ve been waiting for, right? The top five comics from the crazy comics guy. High on my list from Marvel Comics is Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. Told in the Marvel style, it is incredibly cinematic, and also very human. I love this book, it’s one of the best designed and visually stunning comics on the shelf right now.
Notice how I said one of – the best designed, and the most visually stunning comic out there is The Flash written and illustrated by Francis Manapul among others, and published by DC Comics. Want to know what comics will look like in the future, pick up an issue of The Flash. Not only does it look fantastic, the stories are great too. I’m an old school Silver Age Barry Allen Flash fan, and a relentless curmudgeon when it comes to altering continuity – but I am enjoying the reintroduction and reimagining of these concepts. Hawkeye and The Flash get my highest recommendations for the best comics of 2012.
I have also been enjoying Dynamite’s rendition of The Shadow, and even more so been digging the pulp crossover event Masks, wherein The Shadow teams up with the Green Hornet, the Spider, and other pulp heroes. Great stuff. In the underrated category, I also loved James Robinson’s The Shade, a book that slipped by most folks but was a very satisfying read – the best book you didn’t read this year. Go seek it out.
Rounding out my top five would be the startling new vision of Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Not the Amazon princess I necessarily want to be reading, but I devour the book each month wanting more. I sooo dig the world they have created for her, and now they are reintroducing Jack Kirby’s New Gods into the mix. It can only get better.
Speaking of only getting better, I can’t wait to see what 2013 has to offer!