Best Back Issue I Read This Year
DC, Legion of Super-Heroes #28, written by Tom & Mary Bierbaum, drawn by Keith Giffen & Jason Pearson, 1992
I read a lot of comics this year. Why is this one my favourite? Before I read this book I knew very little about The Legion, knew nothing about Sun Boy and had only read a scant few issues illustrated by Jason Pearson. The story within these pages almost made me cry. This isn’t some indie-book that tugs at the heartstrings with autobiographical tragedies; this is a genuine super-hero title. I knew the Bierbaums and Giffen could tell a story, but this came out of nowhere. It’s one of the finest single-issue character studies I’ve ever read, structured in a completely unique way, drawn with lines that are both cartoony and utterly heartbreaking. I’m a grown man! I shouldn’t be sniffling after reading an issue of LoSH.
Best CD I Purchased From a Thrift Store
Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming (2011)
I found this hidden gem from Daptone Records for a whole 50cents. Charles Bradley yells his lines like he’s James Brown recording from the other side of town, but his band is second-to-none. This is classic, gorgeously arranged soul, produced in the year 2011.
Best Series I Bought This Year
I found 19 issues (with cover dates ranging from 1959-2000) in excellent condition. I bought the whole stack for $50. It’s been a great year.
Best Thing I Bought This Year
For some reason, I had to have this pump-organ from the 1890’s. It was in such beautiful condition, sounded like a hazy dream-come-true and was built right in my hometown before even my grandparents were a twinkle in their parents’ eyes. Oh that’s right; I bought it because it’s awesome. That was the reason.
Best Movie (that I saw for the first time this year)
Guardians of the Galaxy
What a safe, silly choice. But it’s true. Most movies I saw this year really disappointed me, the others I must have forgotten about. If I’d kept track I’m sure there’s another one out there that was better than GotG, but it clearly didn’t leave a big enough impression—or I would have remembered it.
Best TV Show (I just happened to watch this year)
Animaniacs (Seasons 1 & 2)
I loved this show when I was a kid, but it takes on a whole new meaning watching it as an adult. Jokes about Milton Berle, Hamlet, Perry Como and Hearts of Darkness finally make sense. It was always funny back in the day, but now I realize just how brilliant it was. Also poop jokes, burping and physical violence—HA!
Best Live Act This Year
Have you heard of these guys? They hang with the Odd Future crowd these days, but I don’t really care for that scene. They’re a trio of nerdy, white, uber-talented music-majors that are basically taking everything we love about hip-hop and transforming it into the new jazz scene for kids that like to mosh. Their show was pretty nuts—in fact it was almost the worst show I’d been to all year. They hired a DJ to play an hour and a half set in between acts and the audience was ready to pop. Luckily they came to the stage just in time to wake us up. And they totally rocked it. I’m only 25, and this was a sold-out jazz show where I was almost the oldest person there.
Best Non-Comic Book I Read This Year
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King / Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (tie)
Mother Night is classic Vonnegut, which by default makes it the best book I read all year. The only reason The Dark Tower contends for top spot is the anticipation I had going into it. It exceeded my expectations (a hefty feat, indeed), but was it better than Mother Night? Ehhhhh…
My Favourite Comic Book Creator This Year
Jack “They Don’t Call Him ‘The King’ For Nothing” Kirby
“But Jack Kirby died in 1994!” you say. Well that may be, but this year I finally went back and read his original New Gods series. My mind was (as I expected it would be) thoroughly blown. I also read a bunch of Kamandi, a few OMAC issues I hadn’t yet gone through and a couple Eternals to top it all off. Kirby rocks every year you decide to pick up one of his books.
Best News Item (that actually happened)
Return of Twin Peaks
It could be awful, but that’s not what makes this the best news item of 2014. The fact that it’s not fake—that’s what got me. I mean, they’re really going to make more Twin Peaks. Crazy…
Best News Item (that I wish happened, but didn’t)
Michel Fiffe will be writing 2016’s Suicide Squad movie!
Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever? If you doubt me, go to http://michelfiffe.com/ and read Copra.
Best Moment of the Year
Call me self-indulgent, but this year I got engaged. Hearing “YES”—there’s no contest that that was the best moment of my year.