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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ok..We're Back.....Finally! Stop by For a Special Year End Wrap Up Edition (Wed-7pm ET) of The Comic Shoppe-Here's A Preview, Courtesy of Daryll B.!

Again, Again.....please accept our apologies for the lack of entries for the past couple of weeks but there's a lot coming down the pike with interviews and my questioning the pursuit of another advanced degree and add the holidays in the mix.....well you get my drift! But enough with the excuses...stop by the Comic Shoppe tomorrow at 7pm as Daryll, Max and yours truly discuss all things pulp as the decade comes to a close. Feel free to call us "live" at 646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com. See you guys at the shoppe and without further ado, here's a preview/synopsis of tomorrow's discussion thanks to the Comic Shoppe's own Daryll B:

You know, it pretty amazing going back and looking over the past year at what was the best of the best. I go back and see everything I hated on and what looks to be awesome is all that is left. It actually sounds bleak when I phrase it like that but as you will see, I had a method to my madness phrasing my theme like this:

TV Show of the Year: Usually this category would be easy for me but towards the end of the year a lot of good science fiction TV hit the airwaves. As you folks know, I loved the SciFi Channel's Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and Battlestar Galactica. CBS's The Mentalist, USA's Psych, and FOX's Bones all had their moments of strong TV. CW had Supernatural eclipse Smallville as their top fantasy show and ABC had Lost regain its footing while adding V to its schedule and giving Pushing Daisies a proper sendoff. From across the ocean, Hex is the heir apparent to Buffy while Torchwood and Doctor Who continued the British trend of strong sci-fi. For NBC's Heroes, it was an effort to regain its lost momentum as FOX's Dollhouse is trying to finish up strong. Weeding out the candidates I could only choose two shows which stood out as my top pick and runner-up.

NBC's Chuck is flat out funny and week after week it was on I had to make it must watch TV. However, that did not make my top spot; that honor goes to FOX's Fringe. Part X-Files, part Twilight Zone with a dash of The Outer Limits and then a dessert of Firefly's dysfunctional yet strong, family team dynamics. All of that is thrown in each episode of Fringe and in my opinion, it doesn't get muddled. Those who watch for the greater conspiracy are treated faithfully each week to something more enlightening / confusing and those who just want to watch a single episode can watch without getting too confused by the weirdness. Great TV and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can.

Movie of the Year: Again a very varied category when it comes to science fiction. I loved Coraline and Monsters vs Aliens while the Unborn had its moments in the beginning of the year. Drag Me to Hell and Orphan had very genuine scares from territory that I thought was already well mined. Watchmen was nearly picture perfect from the book but as a result went about 15-20 mins too long or else it would be in my top 2. For their limited budgets, Thirst, Paranormal Activity and the Fourth Kind were very decent while for the expansive budgets 2012, Ninja Assassin and Avatar had very lush, semi realistic looking science fiction but again I could only choose 2. In animation, the TMNT franchise had a great crossover and homage to their complete history in the ultimate mash-up. DC had great efforts in Wonder Woman and Green Lantern while Marvel gave me a decent effort in Hulk Vs. Those who had heard the show over the last year already know where I am going with my top two.

My runner-up, Let The Right One In, seemed like any other indie international coming of age teen movie. Love, hate, jealousy, confusion, and angst abound throughout the film except for the fact one of the youngsters is a pretty vicious vampire. Yeah I call this the Anti-Twilight and it definitely had me looking at a few shadows after watching it. Let me tell you that this is so not good when taking the NYC Subways after Midnight to get home. However my top spot had to go to my surprise movie of the year: Star Trek. Before its release, I had such a feeling of dread about watching this as an admitted Trekkie. JJ Abrams and the leaks about major changes angrily scared me to no end. But you know what? It worked. It was fun. And kudos to the crew and actors involved for capturing the old fun of the franchise and putting a new spin on old mythos.

Comic of the Year: A-Ha! Finally a category I think I can feel comfortable with, especially with reading through 60% crap week in week out. The art of making a great comic series consistently seems to be a lost art but the quality crop of books beginning from almost the end of last year on my list ALMOST made up for the aggravation. Getting my own biases out of the way first, I am an admitted Terry Moore fan so I loved his Echo and his run on Runaways for Marvel. Chris Giarusso left Marvel to return to his G-Man roots and did not lose his trademark humor. I was sad to see Jay Faeber end Noble Causes but am loving his Dynamo 5. Boom Comics' Incredibles is incredibly fun and they brought back the Muppets to comics successfully. DC has found something special in Batgirl believe it or not while their Green Lantern franchise can be considered to be carrying the company more than Superman and Batman. Image's founders have reunited but books like Walking Dead, Chew and Phonogram continue to carry the company. Top Cow, Aspen and comics in general lost a great guy in Michael Turner but Fathom surprising has re-found his audience. Marvel is undergoing a Dark Reign and has super powered people running all over the place in its Avengers titles and the X-Men are expatriates now. (bad joke I know.) And unfortunately I would have have Captain Britain and the M13 here if it didn't get canceled. Dynamite has a superstar in the making with Leah Moore and their faithful adaptations of properties like BSG, Zorro, and The Good, Bad, & The Ugly. However I could only go with 2 books for my top spot and as nerve-wracking as it was, I cheated myself and went with 5.

Gail Simone's Secret Six is flat out, consistent fun. These deviants and anti-heroes are must reads every month. That is if I could call Bane an anti-hero. Yep, the guy who broke the bat is on the team and he has depth. But the star here is Rag Doll. He's like the psychotic Spidey from the Marvel Exiles series mixed with Plastic Man. You know it is improper, but you have to see more of his antics. Say what you will about the violence in Image's Invincible, but it may be the best superhero book in pure essence on the stands today. Sure it takes a lot of leeway with the lives of its characters but the storytelling is top notch. Marvel has a gold mine In the Incredible Hercules with its humor and the buddy dynamic of Amadeus Cho with the Lion of Olympus is so good that Marvel made sure to put them on the Mighty Avengers for more exposure.

Alas I could also mention Tiny Titans and Secret Warriors but my heart is now settled on two books. Marvel's Nova has become the spine of the cosmos for the company. He may be their answer to Green Lantern but make no mistake, the everyman spacecop has been amazing to read. To knock him out of the top spot for my book of the year took a book with a golden reputation...and sure enough the character has 'gold' in his name. My book of the year is Booster Gold from DC. Nostalgia combined with time tripping and good old fashioned storytelling made BG a must read every month for me. DC's most over (self) hyped superhero is the one with the most humanity and heart. Go Figure.

So there you have it, my picks for the best of 2009. I am pretty sure you folks will disagree with me on all of these but the important thing is that we have such a varied landscape to have selections from. So until 2010 Fantasy Fans, keep dreaming....and watching....and reading...and fantasizing!
- Daryll B.

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