Monday, January 23, 2012

BEST COMICS: 2011


STARSTRUCK



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> Rest In Power






B E S T
G R A P H I C
N O V E L :




-STARSTRUCK Deluxe Edition, by Elaine Lee, Michael Wm. Kaluta, and Lee Moyer

Still the smartest, funniest, and most creative series there is.

And this lavish, giant-sized omnibus packed with goodies blows all other competition away.

> STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!
> The Roots And Branches Of STARSTRUCK





BEST COMICS:




D C





-BATWOMAN, story by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman; art by J.H. Williams III/ Amy Reader ⇧ _______
The best of the best.

-SWAMP THING, by Jeff Lemire and Yanick Paquette _______
Pulls off the impossible, by bringing back all of the best elements of the Wein-Wrightson original, the Moore-Bissette-Totleben renaissance, and with a new sense of surprise. Astounding so far.

-ANIMAL MAN, by Todd Snyder and Travel Foreman _______
Matches the original heyday of Grant Morrison with better art and its own sophistication. A fine companion piece to the new SWAMP THING.

-ACTION COMICS, by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales _______
The 1938 Superman was a populist everyman who fought for the workers and took down the fatcats who lorded over them in the Depression.
The new Superman is again an avatar of the foreclosed, the downsized, and the penniless under the heels of the greed machine.
Look, up in the sky...it's our raised fists!




V E R T I G O



-THE UNWRITTEN, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross




M A R V E L




-ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli ⇧ _______
While some jerks overreacted to a new Hispanic/African American Spider-Man, what we really got was a tender coming-of-age story of a charming teen kid starting his path to glory. Excellent all around. >

-MOON KNIGHT, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev _______
Bendis and Maleev...hey, what more could you ask for?




T O P
S H E L F




-LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDIANARY GENTLEMEN: 1969, by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill ⇧ _______
Alan Moore takes on the literature and pop culture of late-'60s London.
A dream come true.




D A R K
H O R S E




-DOLLHOUSE: Epitaphs, by Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Andrew Chambliss, and Cliff Richards ⇧ _______

The DOLLHOUSE tv series reached its height with the shocking leap into a dystopian future in its final "Epitaph" episodes. The scriptwriters return to sketch out the deeper details of that future in this mini-series, with the promise of more to come.




G R A P H I C
N O V E L S :





-HABIBI, by Craig Thompson ⇧ _______
BLANKETS (2003) was an intimate story with a wide canvas.
HABIBI is an intimate story on an epic scale that encompasses religions, countries, cultures, and gender. Ambitious and stunning.


-GREEN RIVER KILLER: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case _______
Noted pop culture writer Jeff Jensen details the personal dimension of a notorious true-life case solved by his father.

-CELLULOID, by Dave McKean _______
One of the best fine artists in the field doing an experimental meditation on erotica.

-BATMAN: NOEL, by Lee Bermejo _______
Lee. Bermejo.

-NEONOMICON, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows _______
Alan Moore deconstructs and rethinks the H.P. Lovecraft mythos, turning its latent biases and psychological underthemes inside out into new fruition.



-FINDER: VOICE, by Carla Speed McNeil

-ANYA'S GHOST, by Vera Brosgol

-HARK! A VAGRANT, by Kate Beaton

-DAYTRIPPER, by Gabriel Ba



-LUCHADORAS, by Peggy Adam






B E S T
C O L L E C T I O N S /
R E I S S U E S :





-WONDER WOMAN Chronicles, vol.2, by Wm. Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter ⇧ _______
Moulton's 1940s proto-feminist parables are still light years ahead of any version of her done since, and Peter's nouveau art is still as wonderful as it is unsung. >



-MISS FURY Sensational Sundays 1944-49, by Tarpe Mills _______
The pioneering cartoonist given her proper retrospective.

-FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH, by Andrew Loomis _______
The seminal illustrator's classic tutorial book is reprinted, with a foreward by his acolyte Alex Ross.

-WILLIE AND JOE, The WWII Years, by Bill Mauldin _______
Mauldin's cartoons from the front personified the grunt caught in the cogs, and were an early Neorealist window for the USA public on the realities of war.

-The Complete POGO, vol. 1, by Walt Kelly _______
The definition of smart art. Absolutely essential.



-Will Eisner's PS MAGAZINE, by Will Eisner _______
After his legendary run on "The Spirit", Eisner did 20 years of cartoon work for the U.S. Army.

-KAMANDI Omnibus, Vol. 1, by Jack Kirby _______
Jack Kirby in the early-'70s. Unbeatable.

-CREEPY Presents Bernie Wrightson, by Bernie Wrightson _______
WRIGHTSON's early horror work compiled.

-The Extraordinary Adventures of ADELE BLANC-SEC, Vol. 2, by Jacques Tardi _______
More fun with the taciturn adventurer.



-CHASE, by D. Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III _______
Fans may know Chase from BATWOMAN; this overdue volume collects all her early adventures, with art by J.H. WILLIAMS III.

-X-STATIX Omnibus, by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred _______
A huge compilation of their fun and satiric X-FORCE and X-STATIX series.






O U R
C R E A T O R S :






-LILY RENEE, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer, by Trina Robbins _______
Historian emeritus Trina Robbins shines light on another creative woman who deserves her place in the pantheon.

-JOE SIMON: My Life In Comics, by Joe Simon _______
The dynamic duo of Golden Age Comics creators was Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Listen up and learn.

-The Adventures of HERGE, by Jose-Louis Bocquet, Jean-Luc Fromental, and Stanislas Barthélémy _______
A biography of Herge done in the style of his beloved TINTIN books.

-The Art Of JOE KUBERT, by Bill Schelly; Joe Kubert _______
JOE KUBERT was an invaluable throughline from the Golden Age of Comics to the 21st Century.
His rustic line and human stories offset the slick in every era, and his School Of The Visual Arts trained droves of great comics creators.


_______________


-SUPERGODS, by Grant Morrison _______
Grant's insights on comic history are required reading.

(His judgement on Alan Moore is lacking, and can be corrected by reading...)

-ALAN MOORE: Storyteller. by Gary Spencer Millidge ⇧ _______
The most comprehensive overview on the multi-talented maestro, including an exclusive CD of his performance recordings.






B E S T
M O V I E S
A N D
T V



I write and illustrate reviews of all comics-sourced films at the Four Color Films site.


- - - M O V I E S - - -

Super 8; Hugo; Tintin


-THOR _______
> Four Color Films review
Kenneth Branagh really went for it all. The Earth stuff was a little rushed, but Asgard was glorious.

-CAPTAIN AMERICA _______
> Four Color Films review
A refreshing surprise. No irony, no jingoism, just a great pulp adventure homage with all the right instincts.

-SUPER 8 _______
My personal favorite of the summer.

In the mid-'70s, science fiction films were declared dead. Then STAR WARS remade the movie industry like The Beatles revised music.> All those 13-year-old fans then made the pop culture of the next three decades. J.J Abrams brings it all full circle with this mysterious and tender homage to the 1977-1982 movies that ignited everything to come.

-HAUNTERS (S. Korea) _______
The bridge between UNBREAKABLE and PUSH. Sharply made, great characters, constant surprises, a rousing finish.

-HUGO _______
A beautiful love letter to early film and classic books. And perhaps the most thoughtful use of 3D yet seen.

-The Adventures Of TINTIN _______
> Four Color Films review
My old saw is, "Do Herge's actual clean-line style mapped onto CG puppets."
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson did the opposite -wedding Herge's world to 3D realism, noir lighting, and Hitchcock angles- and pulled it off spectacularly. A breathtaking avalanche of smart fun.

-The Extraordinary Adventures Of ADELE BLANC-SEC (France) _______
> Four Color Films review
The grumbling adventurer gets a fine film treatment of her illustrated exploits by Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element").



- - - Good Also, Dept.: - - -

-GREEN LANTERN _______
> Four Color Films review
(Wait for it.) I like the 2/3 with the Lantern Corp and outer space.
The remaining third, the earthbound scenes with Mall-Friendly-Star and Model-Of-The-Minute, was hokey and cringe-inducing.

-SUPER _______
A bent Indie comedy take on what would really happen if you tried to be a superhero, featuring an unhinged Ellen Page.

-GRIFF THE INVISIBLE (Australia) _______
A modest take on homemade superheroes, with an engaging romance and some twists.


-X-MEN: First Class _______
> Four Color Films review
One-third of this movie is great (Michael Fassbender). Another third is generally good.
But the story is wildly uneven; the Civil Rights opportunity is inexcusably ignored; and reaching beyond 1962 to homage culture styles beyond it creates an anachronistic clusterfunk.

___________


- - - T V - - -

Game Of Thrones; Misfits; Fringe/Fringe


-GAME OF THRONES _______
Only 5% of this is 'Fantasy'. The other 95% is the best character drama about court intrigue one could imagine.

-MISFITS (U.K.) _______
The Sex Pistols of 'superheroes'. Sacrilegious and hilarious.

-FRINGE _______
X-FILES never paid-off any of its set-ups well. FRINGE always does, in an unwinding tapestry that only gets better as it goes.

-THE FADES (U.K.) _______
A supernatural thriller. Like reading one of the finest Vertigo Comics of 1993, with in-jokes galore.

___________


A N I M A T E D


-CHICO AND RITA (Spain/U.K.) ⇧ _______
Beautiful to watch, to listen to, and to feel. Wonderful.

-THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY (Japan) _______
Another gem from Studio Ghibli, this charming tale of miniature people is a winner all around. Smart, heart, art.

-BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD _______
Here, Bat-Mite points out that this show is a love letter to the Silver Age Of Comics. And he's right.
Before we got too dark and serious, comics used to be about fun, wonder, and impossible non-sequiters. This show brings all of that back with hyper zeal. It's great fun in all the right ways.

-BATMAN: Year One _______
An anime take on the classic Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli origin. Effective, though Mazzucchelli's grittier artwork was more effective.

-FUTURAMA _______
Hey...It's Futurama!

___________


D O C U M E N T A R Y

-GRANT MORRISON: Talking With The Gods _______
Grand writer holds forth.






R E S T
I N
P O W E R



  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • Gene Colan
  • Jerry Robinson
  • Joe Simon

From you, we exist.
Because of you, we persist.





Nuff said, pilgrim. Excelsior!


© Tym Stevens



See also:

-FourColorFilms: THE Comics Film Review Site!

-BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
-BEST COMICS: 2011
-BEST COMICS: 2012
-BEST COMICS: 2013
-BEST COMICS: 2014
-BEST COMICS: 2015
-BEST COMICS: 2016
-BEST COMICS: 2017

-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2000-2010
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2011
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2012
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2013
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2014
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2015
-BEST MOVIES AND TV: 2016

-BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2011, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2012, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2013, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2014, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2015, with 3 Music Players
-BEST MUSIC: 2016, with 3 Music Players

-STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!
-STARSTRUCK: The Roots and Branches of Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta's space opera
-How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!

-THE CANON 1: 50 Books That Created Modern Pop Culture
-THE CANON 2: 50 More Books That Created Modern Pop Culture



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