Saturday, 29 December 2012

Review of 2012




Well, the world didn't end. We still aren't in space. But the time comes to take stock and look back at the year. It's become a blog tradition to compile lists of favourite culture from the year. I like to think I'm pretty much immersed in popular culture (well, aspects of it at least) but I'm still playing catchup with things released in previous years. I've been reading more Cormac McCarthy, catching up with Neil Gaiman, and a whole bookshelf of books that I've bought and not read yet. So, let's do highlights then.
Graphic novels:
At the risk of leaving out some really good stuff, I'm going to pick the first three that come to mind to me as standouts:
1. Science Tales by Darryl Cunningham
I'm a big admirer of Darryl's way of thinking. It's always worth checking out his blog to follow his debunking, common sense and compassionate approach to conspiracy theories, urban myths and misconceptions. Darryl tackles a number of topics to do with science in Science Tales from Myriad Editions, a non fiction book in graphic novel form.

2. Goliath by Tom Gauld
I love this book. Like Darryl's book, it's a beautiful hardback. The cover is beautifully textural and tactile, the interior telling the tale of the warrior Goliath, a bit sad, a lot extremely witty. It's deceptively simple and spare storytelling that really uses the form of graphic novel much more effectively than a hundred superhero comics.

3. The Complete Rainbow Orchid by Garen Ewing
I've never been a big fan of Tintin. There. I've said it. It's worth saying it, as Garen's book so often gets compared to Herge. For me, it's more than that. Okay, I'm probably a bit biased as Garen's a friend and I've tracked the progress of RO over the years, but this adventure story set in the 1920s is part Tintin, part Indiana Jones, part H Rider Haggard, but very English. In some ways it's very traditional but in other ways the pages just zing, enthralling kids and grown ups alike. Proper all-ages storytelling. Garen is a major talent and if you're looking for something to get youngsters away from TV and reading something that also gives them visual appeal, here it is.

Books:
Well, loads, very few of which actually came out in 2012. I'll come back to that in another post I guess, as I've taken in Cormac McCarthy, Malcolm Gladwell, Ian McEwan yada yada yada. That's English teachers for you. My favourite book of 2012 however is...
Marillion: Separated Out...Redux by Jon Collins
It's a book about the history of the rock band Marillion, told from the point of view not just of the band themselves but the extremely loyal fanbase. There are few bands who can sustain such success without major record company support, but Marillion do, under the radar, ignored by radio, but going from strength to strength. This book won't convert you to the cause, but if you have any interest at all in Marillion, it's worth checking out. Listen here.
Music:

Best album of the year is Sounds That Can't Be Made by Marillion - lush, beautiful, angry, sad, exultant, soaring, it's everything and I love it. Even more proggy is IQ, who remixed their 80s album Tales From The Lush Attic in 2012 and put on a great bash in London just before Christmas.
Movies:
Well, I love movies. Quick runthrough: Dark Knight Rises was great, although I was distracted by some niggly logic gaps but it was a great end to the trilogy. Avengers was a wonderful thrill ride, made even more incredible by Ruffalo's Hulk. My favourite film of 2012, though, was God Bless America - satirical, clever, and available to view on Lovefilm. I subscribed to the streaming service this year and watch movies on my Smart TV and ipad. Just a great way to see films I wouldn't otherwise get the chance to. I don't get many chances to go to the cinema, and when I do it's usually kids' films. We really enjoyed Rise of the Guardians this year, and of course, Skyfall brought Bond back in line.
Events:
personally one of my highlights this year was doing Thought Bubble, a great pleasure to hook up with like minded friends, buy comics, sell comics, and talk comics. I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.
So to 2013:

Happy New Year, everyone!

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