Monday, January 28, 2013

BEST COMICS: 2012

SAGA, by Vaughan and Staples



Shortcut links:
> Best Graphic Novel
> Best Comics
> Worst Comics
> Graphic Novels
> Best Collections
> Movies And TV
> "V For Vindication"
> Best Media Sites
> 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
(softcover)


"I was, and am, a huge fan of STARSTRUCK, which I think was one of the most brave and elegant experiments in comic book story-telling."
-CLIVE BARKER

"Favorite comic of all time: STARSTRUCK, by Lee and Kaluta."
-MIKE CAREY

"Pick up this book, because not having read it is sort of like not having read POGO, or listened to "Trout Mask Replica", or seen a Hayao Miyazaki film."
-John Hilgart, THE COMICS JOURNAL

"STARSTRUCK could be both silly and smart, was progressive but unpretentious, and clever but not so impressed with itself that it ever forgot to entertain. IDW’s reprint of the series is a service to fans of science fiction, aficionados of comics as an art form, and anyone who loves a good story."
-W. Andrew Shephard, THE NEW INQUIRY


Buy from IDW

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





B E S T
C O M I C S :


- - - - - I N D I E S - - - - -


-LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: 2009,
by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

It was always about the extraordinary woman.




-SAGA,
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Space Fantasy gets a challenging and adult rethink.
Excellent.



-FASHION BEAST,
by Alan Moore and Malcolm McClaren with Antony Johnston

In the late '80s, Alan Moore wrote a script for a Malcolm McLaren film that didn't get made. Now the screenplay has been adapted into a 12-issue maxi-series by Antony Johnston.



-BLACK KISS II,
by Howard Chaykin

In the late '80s Chaykin's gothic noir was so raunchy that it was sold sealed in black plastic bags. This new sequel was too much for European distributers, who refused to import it.>



-FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE,
by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson

Wrightson. Frankenstein.


-STAR TREK, by Mike Johnson, with Stephen Molnar, etc.

J.J. Abrams' STAR TREK films rebooted the original series in a different timeline. Johnson's underrated follow-up comic fills out the 5-year-mission by taking classic episode stories into new directions.






W O R S T
C O M I C S



- - - - - D C - - - - -

The modern comics landscape was recreated by Alan Moore.

When corporations betray> great creators>> for a buck>, they don't get my money anymore.


- - - - - M A R V E L - - - - -

The vast marvel landscape was blueprinted by Jack Kirby.

When corporations betray> great creators> for a buck>>, they don't get my money anymore.






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




-ARE YOU MY MOTHER?,
by Alison Bechdel
The companion to the phenomenal FUN HOME (2006), which was TIME's Best Book of the Year.

-THE HIVE,
by Charles Burns
The second book in Burn's trilogy about a postpunk Tintin.

-THE COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS,
by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

-Harvey Pekar's CLEVELAND,
by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant

-BABY'S IN BLACK: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg,
by Arne Bellstorf





B E S T
C O L L E C T I O N S :




-The Extraordinary Adventures of ADELE BLANC-SEC, volume 2,
by Jacques Tardi
Between TINTIN and LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, there was the dour Adele.

-The Complete POGO, volume 2,
by Walt Kelly

-CORTO MALTESE: The Ballad of the Salt Sea,
by Hugo Pratt

-OCCUPY COMICS,
by various creators>





B E S T
M O V I E S
a n d
T V:





-THE AVENGERS
> Four Color Films review

-THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
> Four Color Films review

-THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
> Four Color Films review


-JOHN CARTER

-SKYFALL

-ALTER EGOS

-CHRONICLE

-COMIC-CON Episode 4: A Fan's Hope

-ARGO
(For the Jack Kirby connection.)



-MISFITS, fourth season


See also:
> BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012





V For Vindication, Dept:

or, "Alan Moore knows the score."




Who cares about Hollywood adaptions when you can make your own films?

Alan Moore has teamed with filmmaker Mitch Jenkins to create a unified continuity of short films about a cabaret purgatory.

UPDATE: The short chapters were collected into a total film under the title SHOW PIECES.
Available here.





BEST MEDIA SITES





-io9
Under the mentorship of famed authors and founders Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz, this site has continually presented the best genre media analysis around.

-The Mary Sue

-The Afro Futurist Affair




R E S T
I N
P O W E R



Jean Giraud, a.k.a., MOEBIUS

Our father, whose art is heaven...




Nuff said, pilgrim. Excelsior!


© Tym Stevens



See also:

-FourColorFilms: THE Comics Film Review Site!


-BEST COMICS: 2011

-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

-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



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BEST MUSIC: 2012, With Music Players!


Santigold






Nevermind those suburban-angst
"Best Music" lists that taste like paste!

These tunes will slink your slant
and everywhere your derriere!


Shortcut to Music Players:
BEST ALBUMS: 2012
COOL SONGS: 2012
BEST RE-ISSUES: 2012






B E S T
N E W
A L B U M S : 2 0 1 2

This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.
BEST ALBUMS 2016


This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.



-Moon Duo, "Circles"

-Santigold, "Master of My Make-Believe"

-Tame Impala, "Lonerism"

-Pepe Deluxe, "Queen of the Wave"




-(Film Soundtrack), "DJANGO UNCHAINED"

-Jesca Hoop, "The House That Jack Built"

-Dr. John, "Locked Down"

-THEEsatisfaction, "awE naturalE"




-Gary Clark, Jr., "Blak and Blu"

-Rocket Juice & The Moon, "Rocket Juice & The Moon"

-Lucky Jim, "The Lovers"

-Nona Hendryx, "Mutatis Mutandis"




-Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers, "A Hill of Feathers"

-Father John Misty, "Fear Fun"

-The Bamboos, "Medicine Man"

-La Sera, "Sees the Light"




-Antibalas, "Antibalas"

-Soundgarden, "King Animal"

-Tom Tom Club, "Downtown Rockers"

-Garbage, "Not Your Kind of People"




-Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, "It's About Time"

-The Hives, "Lex Hives"

-Georgia Anne Muldrow, "Seeds"

-thenewno2, "thefearofmissingout"




-Galactic, "Carnivale Electricos"

-Led Zeppelin, "Celebration Day"

-Public Enemy, "Most Of My Heroes Still Don't Appear On No Stamp"

-Public Enemy, "The Evil Empire Of Everything"




-Django Django, "Django Django"

-Ty Segall Band, "Slaughterhouse"

-The Delfonics, "Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics"

-Gemma Ray, "Island Fire"




-Cody Chesnutt, "Landing On A Hundred"

-Boonaraaas, "More Knick-A-Knacks For Your Bric-A-Brac Shelf"

-Gossip, "A Joyful Noise"

-Lee Fields And The Expressions, "Faithful Man"




-Bush Tetras, "Happy"

-David Byrne, St. Vincent, "Love This Giant"

-The Honorable South, "I Love My Tribe"

-J.D. McPherson, "Signs And Signifiers"





C O O L
S O N G S : 2 0 1 2




AfroBeat! Psychedelic! Funk!
Soul! Spaghetti Western! PostPunk!
Electro! Riot Grrrl! Derangement!

This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.
COOL SONGS 2012




Jesca Hoop; La Sera;
Lucky Jim; Lianne La Havas

8 hours of brain-flaming, booty-scootin' music, featuring:
Jesca Hoop, Tame Impala, Galactic, White Fence, A.C. Newman, Geoff Barrow (Portishead), The Ting Tings, Sleigh Bells, David Byrne & St. Vincent, iamwhoiam, Hollie Cook, Nona Hendryx, Jack White, and 'the one and only Billy Shears'!






B E S T
R E I S S U E S : 2 0 1 2



Quality is timeless.



This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.
BEST REISSUES 2012


This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


1930s-1940s

-Woody Guthrie, "Woody At 100" box set (1930s-40s)


1950s

-Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightning" Chess box set (1950-60s)


1960s

-The Winstons, "Color Him Father" vinyl (1969)

-Daughters of Albion, "Daughters of Albion" (1968)

-Quincy Jones, "The Adventurers" soundtrack (1970)


1970s

-Rodriguez, "Searching For Sugar Man" soundtrack (1971-73)

-Paul & Linda McCartney, "Ram" (1971)

-Marvin Gaye, "Trouble Man" soundtrack (1972)

-T. Rex, "The Slider" (1972)

-David Bowie, "Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars" (1972)

-Various Artists, "Ancestors of Rap" (1970s)

-Black Sabbath, "Iron Man: The Best of..." (1970s)

-Various Artists, "Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro-Rock Exponents 1973-1977"

-Roxy Music, Catalog Remasters (1972-82)

-Sex Pistols, "Never Mind the Bollocks" (1977)

-The Avengers, "The Avengers" (1979)

-Francis Bebey, "African Electronic Music 1975-1982"

-23 Skidoo, "Seven Songs" (1979)

-Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Blue Sky: The Best of..." (1970s)


1980s

-Feedtime, "The Aberrant Years" (1980s)

-Tom Tom Club, "Tom Tom Club"/"Close To the Bone" (1981/1983)

-Talk Talk, "Spirit of Eden" (1989)

-Pixies, catalog box set (1987-92)



1990s

-Bikini Kill, "Bikini Kill" (1992)

-My Bloody Valentine, Catalog Remasters (1990s)

-Massive Attack, "Blue Lines" (1992)

-Soundgarden, Vinyl Catalog (1989-96)


2000s

-Goldfrapp, "The Singles" (2000s)


© Tym Stevens






"A splendid time is guaranteed for all!"






See also:


BEST MOVIES & TV: 2016

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2015
BEST MUSIC: 2015

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014
BEST MUSIC: 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013
BEST MUSIC: 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010




Monday, January 14, 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012


The Great, The Good, and The Interesting!




Shortcut links:
BEST MOVIES: 2012
BEST DOCUMENTARIES: 2012
BEST TV: 2012



"And...Action!"


B E S T
M O V I E S :
2 0 1 2





E R O S




-PARIAH
✭✭✭✭✭
One of the best movies of the year.
Rings true and deep in every moment.

-HYSTERIA
The origin of the Vibrator: a love story.
Spread the good vibes!

-SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
A special gem.

-Q (a.k.a., 'Desire'; France)
Lust is all you knead.

-CLOUD ATLAS
Love is all you need.





T H I N K



-BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
✭✭✭✭✭
One of the best movies of the year.
Startling, fearless, intimate, epic.

-RED TAILS
Good, with some clumsy moments but many more great ones.
There can never be enough movies about the Tuskegee Airmen.

-THE KID WITH A BIKE (Belgium)
A quiet mystery that takes hold of your heart.

-ON THE ROAD
Pretty darn good translation of the book.
A bop prosody for film.

-ARGO
A true C.I.A. rescue mission using a fake Sci-Fi movie storyboarded by Jack Kirby.
Well, what are you waiting for?

-ARBITRAGE
Do The Rich always get away with murder?

-LINCOLN
A fine companion to A Color Purple and Amistad.
Now if only someone would make "Douglass" and "Tubman".

-DJANGO UNCHAINED >
a) Truly, every Western is just a fantasy, folks.
b) Slaver-racists get wiped off the Earth very painfully,
and I'm just fine with that.

-ZERO DARK THIRTY
Mixed feelings, honestly, but the climax is undeniably riveting.
The true star is Kathryn Bigelow's direction.

-WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
The women in a Lebanese village use every scheme to stop the dumb-ass men from killing each other over religion.
A bittersweet parable from writer/director/star Nadine Labaki.



The Dark Side of Genius, Dept.
Alfred Hitchcock

(l) Anthony Hopkins; (r) Toby Jones and friend.


See Hitchcock and The Girl, in that order, for a letter-perfect double feature.


-HITCHCOCK
First see this deviously wry take on the making of Psycho (1960) and its trying toll on Hitch's wife, Alma (Helen Mirren)...

-THE GIRL
...and then this more tensely dark take on the making of The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1965), and Hitch's unfair toll on Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller).






S M I L E



-SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Low-key greatness for the ages.
Sharp, tender, tricky.

-INTOUCHABLES (France)
✭✭✭✭✭
Excellent, cocky, touching.
I laughed more at this film than most of the comedies below combined.

-EXTRATERRESTRIAL (a.k.a., 'Extraterrestre'; Spain)
Maybe aliens have invaded, but there's always time for an affair.

-TO ROME WITH LOVE
A good cast, but Woody steals the screen every time.

-2 DAYS IN NEW YORK
A fine sequel to the great 2 DAYS IN PARIS (2007): hilarious!
Julie Delpy writes, directs, stars in, scores for, and edits it all.

-YOUR SISTER'S SISTER
That ubiquitous Mark Duplass flails in an unlikely triangle with Emily Blunt and her sister.

-THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Uneven, but fun and charming. Judi Dench.

-THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN
The dialogue's a little flat, but it's generally good.

-SEARCHING FOR A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Low-key, left-field, softly poignant.




D R E A M



-SKYFALL>>
The darkest, deepest, and most daring Bond ever.

-HAYWIRE
A lo-fi homage to early '70s action films, by Soderbergh.
When Gina Carano punches you, you stay punched.

-UPSIDE DOWN
Once past the syrupy narration intro, there's sweet love and eye candy.

-JOHN CARTER
Truth: This is a fine homage to the novels that spawned all modern Sci-Fi and superheroes; smart folks like Neal Adams, Walt Simonson, and Howard Chaykin loved it; and it made its money back globally.
False: Any comment from snarks ignorant of the seminal novels which created every modern thing they love.> Go get a tardy pass, kid.

-LOOPER
This is a fun B-movie, clever and a little moving.
Reviews trumpeting it over "John Carter" and "Prometheus" are ill-considered.

-CLOUD ATLAS
Irregular parts but I enjoy the sum.

-LIFE OF PI
What's the narrative of your spirit?

-THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey
It's all there and done lovingly fine.




N I G H T M A R E




-PROMETHEUS
✭✭✭✭✭
There have been enough remakes of Alien.
Instead, Ridley Scott bravely gave us something more visionary with a new direction.


-CABIN IN THE WOODS
A metatext, not just on horror movies,
but -more deeply- audiences.

-THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH (French/Polish)
Understated, deft, mysterious. Between Hitchcock and Roeg.

-THE POSSESSION
Nothing will ever approach The Exorcist.
But this is pretty solid, with a good cast and a fresh Hebraic angle.

-SOUND OF MY VOICE
Co-writer/producer/star Brit Marling (Another Earth) wins again.



THE COMEBACK KID?, Dept:
Jennifer Lynch


In the early '90s, David Lynch was riding high on the initial success of TWIN PEAKS, while his daughter Jennifer also wrote the excellent tie-in bestseller, "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer".

When PEAKS was cancelled, David was unofficially blackballed for these last two decades. This kneejerk backlash also derailed Jennifer after her directorial debut, BOXING HELENA (1993).



Jennifer finally came back via Canada with SURVEILLANCE (2008), an intense and underrated thriller with Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman that no one saw.

With no support, she was finally forced to make an exploitation horror film in Bollywood. It was a nightmare that may ultimately turn out for the best.


-HISSS (a.k.a., Nagin The Snake Woman, 2010)
The final edit was taken from her.> (Even the name says 'His'.) And yet it's still pretty good.
A goddess star, inspired eroticism, elegant cinematography, and a sense of humor shine through. Herrrs, baby.


Jennifer then returned to Canada to make a low-key thriller.

-CHAINED (2012)
Dark, claustrophobic, anguished.
As good or better than any other thriller director out there not being routinely blacklisted.


But now a beam may have come through the clouds...

-DESPITE THE GODS (2012)
A documentary about Lynch's horrible trials trying to make "Hisss" in India.
Critically lauded, the film earned uniform sympathy for Lynch and her travails.
> despitethegods.com


Jennifer has a new thriller film with Tim Roth called "A Fall From Grace" in development.

In the meantime, her universally-loved "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer" has returned to print in a new edition, with intros by PEAKS creators Mark Frost and David Lynch.


".elyts ni kcab emoc ot gniog si
ekil uoy mug tahT"




G R A P H I C
I M A G E S



-THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
> Four Color Films review
The Harvard of hero films, the highest standard, comes to a majestic close.

-THE AVENGERS
> Four Color Films review
Writer/director Joss Whedon perfectly balances about 74 hot potatoes in this film without breaking a sweat. Miraculous.

-THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
> Four Color Films review
The reboot we all dreaded came out great.
Think of it as the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' equivalent for films.

-CHRONICLE
From smarts and pure verve, this stunning indie gets everything right.

-ALTER EGOS
No-budget indie comedy with some savvy moves.




A R T F L I X



-BRAVE
This should have been a great film about a warrior princess' journey.
It's still a pretty good one about family.

-THE LORAX
Some inspired invention, a crucial moral.
Strongest when satire, softest when saccharine.

-WRECK-IT RALPH
I like that it made all video games into a mythos, and turned them inside out with respect.
Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch.

-PARANORMAN
Irreverent, edgier, adolescent. Not perfect, but different.

-HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA
Pinballs between Pixar inspiration and Dreamworks clatter, but still worth the ride.
By Genddy Tartakovsky ("Samurai Jack").

-ZARAFA (France)
The only hand-animated film here, where an African boy travels far in his promise to protect a baby giraffe.
Progressive, satiric, heartfelt, a slyly transgressive marvel.





B E S T
D O C U M E N T A R I E S :
2 0 1 2



-WE ARE LEGION
The rise of Anonymous and hacker activism.
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

-THIS IS NOT A FILM
A Iranian man in a room with a camera, incarnating the entire war of the creative soul versus the tyrannic state.
This is for real.

-PAYBACK
Does the concept of debt and payback really work toward justice around the world?, asks author Margaret Atwood.

-THE INVISIBLE WAR
The ongoing cover-up of rape in the U.S. military.



-THE DUST BOWL
Ken Burns.

-SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Sometimes quality finally gets its due.

-COMIC-CON Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
"Turn and face the strange." A doc on the Mothership of genre conventions, by Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me").
Creatives are the real culture rebels.
> How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!





B E S T
T V :
2 0 1 2

(The season number follows each title.)



D R A M A




-GAME OF THRONES 2 ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
The finest, deepest drama on television.

-THE KILLING 2
a) The original Danish first season was 20 episodes, a bit wobbly toward the end before a grand save.
b) The American version wisely split the story across two seasons,
expanded the character depth, ironed out the wobble, and closed with a different fine ending.

-MAD MEN 5
Jessica Paré and 1967 refreshed it.




W O N D E R



-FRINGE 5 ⇧
The show that fought the good fight bows out.

-AWAKE 1
Gone too soon, but good while it lasted.




U K



-SHERLOCK 2 ⇧
✭✭✭✭✭
The best got better.
The opener, "A Scandal in Belgravia", is greatness that increases with each viewing.


-THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE 1
A quartet of female WWII codebreakers reunites to stop a serial killer. Excellent!

-DOCTOR WHO 7
More focused, less frantic than 6. And a promising new Companion.

-MISFITS 4
There's a new cast. Can it stay fresh and go forward?
I'm feeling Yes and No the whole way.

-THE HOUR 2

-COPPER 1

-RIPPER STREET 1
COPPER is always good, RIPPER is always great.




C O M E D Y



-ELEMENTARY
I was the loudest grouch about 'America ripping off SHERLOCK'.
And it turned out just fine on its own merits.




Y E S / N O

Or, "Good Intent and Craft with Moments, But...," Dept.


These excited and frustrated equally.


MOVIES:

-TWIXT
Coppola has earned the right to experiment.
But this one isn't as solid as Youth Without Youth and Tetro.

-KEYHOLE
This experimental Noir is gorgeously shot and edited.
Too many moments ring pretentious, but the craft is stunning.

-THE MONITOR (Norway)
Was doing well as one film before misstepping into another.

-HOLY MOTORS (France)
Inspired puzzle or skits for shock?
Yes.



TV:

-ALCATRAZ 1
Repetitive without momentum.

-TERRA NOVA 1
Coloring book.

-THE RIVER 1
Bruce Greenwood's arrival course-corrected it at the end, but too late.

-LAST RESORT 1
Great ingredients unevenly cooked.

-REVOLUTION 1
The Civil War shtick wears me out.
They should get free of it to follow the 'restore-electricity' angle.




N O




-THE RAVEN
Winning elements, but mediocre beyond belief.

-SINISTER
Formula.
See The Woman In the Fifth instead.

-RED LIGHTS
How can a movie with Sigourney and DeNiro go so wrong? Don't find out.

-THE RAID: REDEMPTION
Shooter game with stabby-stabs.
See Attack the Block instead.

-FRANKENWEENIE
Burton's movies are all black...except for any of his pale characters.
His spoiled suburban angst is myopic.




THINGS TO CATCH UP ON, Dept.




(Drama)
-360

(Comedy)
-ROBOT & FRANK
-A LIAR'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

(Documentary)
-5 BROKEN CAMERAS
-MANKIND: The Story of Us All
-A BAND CALLED DEATH

(TV)
-BOARDWALK EMPIRE 3
-TREME 3


© Tym Stevens



See also:

Four Color Films, THE Comic Movies Review Site!


BEST MUSIC: 2016

BEST MUSIC: 2015
BEST MOVIES & TV: 2015

BEST MUSIC: 2014
BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013
BEST MUSIC: 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010



How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!


"Cut!