Now is the time of the year where we high-powered, in-the-know comic book bloggers focus our mighty minds on the endless task of telling you, the lowly reader, what to think about the year you just experienced for yourself. Here on my own personal Mt. Olympus, I have gazed far and seen many wonders which I will now relate to you from my god-like perspective as an all-powerful force for good, able to grasp the entire comics industry in my palm and shake it like as if it were but a pair of dice and yet bend it to my will so that the results when I toss it always come up in my favor...
Actually, I spent the first four or so months of 2010 in Japan, the final 8 looking for a job and my comic book obsessions have always been peculiar to myself—so what I found noteworthy this past year is probably going to seem a bit skewed. Enjoy the When Comic Books Ruled the Earth retrospective, Top 10 style!
10) Green Lantern? You Poor, Poor Bastard. You probably shouldn't judge a movie by its trailer, but you certainly can determine if it's something you'd like to see. And Green Lantern isn't something I would like to see. Not even as an in-flight movie on my way back to Japan. (November)
9) Onion A/V Club Writer Fired for Writing Review of an Unpublished Book. And becomes endlessly repeated in-joke on the message boards there in the classic A/V Club tradition. What if you were assigned to write a review for a book that hadn't been published yet? How would you handle it? Hopefully, you wouldn't do what this guy did and write a review of it anyway. It cost him his job, spawned a minor war of words between a comics blog and various A/V club regulars and now we have to put up with a lame-ass reference to this incident on practically every comment thread at the Onion. (December)
8) Cassandra Cain Returns to DC Continuity. And for once, Cass-fans don’t have to take to the web to angrily denounce it! While the in-story reason for her absence doesn’t appear to make any sense and despite some rude treatment the last few years at the hands of various writers and artists, Cass bounced back in 2010 courtesy of… Fabian Nicieza? Who saw that coming? She made a 5-page appearance in Red Robin #17 and was appropriately bad-ass and taciturn. Thanks, DC! (November)
7) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Changes the Game… and Flops! Edgar Wright's colorful and fun adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley's Scott Pilgrim graphic novels garnered positive reviews but couldn't turn them into ticket sales. The end result is an odd little one-off comic book movie adaptation with a game cast and a crackerjack soundtrack that’s probably destined for cult status. (August)
6) Spider-Man Musical Determined to Kill Its Cast. Spider-man Broadway musical all about your friendly neighborhood guy who wears webs on his costume and swings from webs while spinning webs debuted with impressive production credentials—Julie Taymor as director and co-writer, music by Bono and the Edge. How could this thing fail? Massively! Apparently, the Sinister Six took offense at their lack of inclusion and sabotaged the whole thing. $65 million, a disastrous opening night, brutal reviews and a stuntman in the ICU… and a legend is born! (November/December)
5) Walking Dead Kills for AMC. AMC’s The Walking Dead series debuted to much acclaim and… uh… killer ratings. Then producer Frank Darabont axed all the writers. Okay, I should have made some kind of zombie-related joke there. I’m sorry. I let you down. I let my family down. Through six episodes, Darabont and his team took Robert Kirkman’s comic characters into places strange and unfamiliar. It’s “loosely adapted,” I suppose. While I’m a huge fan of the books, I’m glad they’re not just throwing those stories up on the screen. I like the idea the TV show can still hold surprises. Especially the second season debut where Rick gets turned into a zombie and eats Dale. Oops! Spoiler alert! (October/November/December)
4) Meanwhile, Batman Rises. This time with Pop-n-Fresh as his sidekick for more warm-from-the-oven storytelling fun! Director Christopher Nolan scored a huge financial and critical hit with his The Dark Knight sequel, buoyed by the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker. As befitting such an anarchic character, a lot of ridiculous rumors have been swirling about this production—including the ever-popular “Robin Williams as the Riddler” and "Cher as Catwoman" ones that pre-date modern European history—but one thing is certain: it will be called Bram Stoker's Tyler Perry's Crow T. Robot's The Dark Knight Rises: The Motion Picture Part One: Fellowship of the Rings (Human Centipede). (October)
3) Yazawa Ai Released from Hospital. Renowned mangaka Yazawa Ai continues to recover from a mystery illness that led her to lay down her pen and ink and put her massively-popular serial Nana on indefinite hiatus. While it seems unlikely she’ll continue her work anytime soon, we wish her a happy and healthy 2011. Take care of yourself, sensei. Your fans will always love you! (April)
2) New Spider-Man Movie Series! You can’t keep a good money-making franchise down. People love Spider-Man and they also love Spider-Man movies… with cash. So when Sam Raimi, Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst decided they didn’t want to make anymore Spidey flicks, you didn’t expect Sony and Marvel to just give up, did you? Now they’re taking advantage of our adoration for all things Webhead by combining it with our uncritical acceptance of that other Hollywood phenomenon, the “re-boot.” Director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will take the Spider-Man movie franchise into bold, new directions. By which I mean, yet another re-telling of the origina story but in 3D and updated with even quicker editing and stylistic flash for today’s audience for whom the years 2002, 2005 and 2008… probably occurred before their birth. My New Year's resolution: Stop being so cynical. (January)
1) Al Williamson and Dick Giordano Pass. These hurt. I’ve been an Al Williamson fan almost as long as I’ve been a comic book fan and I spent years trying to learn how to draw like him before giving up. His lush ink line and flawless figure-work will always set the standard and when I think of high adventure and science-fantasy, the settings will always look as though they flowed from Williamson’s brush. His influence extended beyond the illustrative medium-- it's hard to see Han Solo with his strapped-down sidearm, super-tight pants and tall boots as anything other than the cinematic descendant of any number of Williamson's sci-fantasy heroes. Dick Giordano was not only an inker par excellence, but he was also an editor and later Vice President/Executive Editor at DC and editor-in-chief at Charlton Publishing. He brought a clean, sharp look to DC’s house style-- particularly in collaboration with Neal Adams and George Perez-- and mentored many young inkers. While some of his views generated controversy, there's no denying his immense positive impact on the look of superhero comics. Another great loss. (June/March)