2013 is gone…it’s dead and I killed it! YAY! Sure, the past year brought out some good things in our lives. I just felt that the negative seemed to outweigh the good in a lot of ways, both personally and creatively. Even Pop culture seemed to have a darker edge to it.
Iron Man 3 (An excellent movie) gave us a neurotic, damaged Tony Stark. Man of Steel (Spoiler commencing in 5….4…3…2…1) featured a Superman whom killed his enemy as a last resort rather than having a firm line against killing. (I warned you about the spoiler…the movie stank so don’t bother.) Worst of all was the harbinger of death that was the MTV Video Music Awards of 2013….Let’s not even speak of that unimaginable horror.
Not all of 2013 was bad…there were a few bright spots and despite it all, through the grace of God…we made it out alive! So, with that venom leached out of my system, let’s put the bad behind us and concentrate on the good. Here now, submitted for your approval is a list, just like all the other lists that Nerds such as myself love to compile. This is the list of….
THE BEST OF THE NERD WORLD 2013
(This is all my opinion. If you disagree…nothing at all will happen.)
BEST COMIC SERIES OF 2013
As with every single year, 2013 saw the release of many different books, some new, some re-launches and reboots. The book that had me hooked with every single issue was Astro City, hands down! This was Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s return to the hit series that they launched in the mid 90’s.
This new volume brought us a strange new character known as the Broken Man…a somewhat cosmic being (SPOILER AHEAD…He might also an inmate of a loony bin) who narrates the first issue and warns of a new menace. Busiek returns to doing what he does best and giving us super hero stories as witnessed by everyday people. Brent Anderson and Alex Ross help bring these already believable characters to life, creating excellent interiors (Anderson) and photo realistic covers (Ross). I think the best issue of the new launch is issue 5. This story deviates from the usual formula where either a hero or man on the street is the focus. In this issue, we are once again in the presence of the Broken Man and he is putting us in the driver’s seat as we witness his crazy home made timeline. We, the reader wander off and receive small tidbits of really promising storylines that we have to savor like an appetizer before the Broken Man pulls us away. It is an amazing issue that showcases the storytelling strengths of both Busiek and Anderson with one of the best covers Ross ever painted.
BEST SINGLE ISSUE OF 2013
Locke and Key Alpha #2
The Locke and Key saga from IDW by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez started waaaay back in 2008 and was released in a slow drip. Like morphine in an IV drip at a hospital. Also like morphine, the series was wildly addicting. Telling the story of the Locke family and their battle with evil, the book gave us all too human characters over the years. We meet the Locke Family and soon witness the murder of patriarch Mr. Locke by a psychotic young man named Sam Lesser. Soon the family moves to the ancestral Locke family home, the Key House and that’s when things really get weird. The house is host to mystic properties, most importantly magical keys that grant various powers and abilities. Soon a generations old evil is released and an unfinished family story is forced to unfold. Alpha #2 gives us the final curtain call…in the most perfect way possible. (Sorta Spoilers ahead) Evil is not only vanquished, but pardoned and released from eternal torment. Those whom were thought to have fallen return (Okay, just one. Everyone else who dies in the Drowning Cave stays dead. Sorry.) And the family grows, leading to the possibilities of future adventures. I do not recommend this story for a new reader, it’s not that kind of single issue. However, in one single issue, the amazing story is wrapped up in a brilliantly written and lavishly illustrated bow.
BEST NERD FLICK OF 2013
Just like with Locke and Key, the Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Science Fiction, Action Comedy World’s End is the ending chapter in an amazing work of art. What started in Shawn of the Dead and continued in Hot Fuzz is wrapped up in World’s End. While the movies aren’t related story wise, they are all created by the same people and loaded full of Easter Eggs and bonuses that tie each film together. The major tie is that an Ice Cream flavor from the Cornetto company is featured some way in each film. This story is the most mature and dark of the three, it still has a major amount of laughs and thrills that any warm blooded Nerd would love. The movie handles action in a way that makes me very, very excited to see the Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie. If Wright can make a pub crawl this exciting, imagine what he can do with the Avenger’s most over looked member.
BEST SUPER HERO FLICK of 2013
IRON MAN 3
Since this movie came so early in the year, it is sort of hard to believe that it was released in 2013. Giving us a psychologically damaged Tony Stark, we bear witness to his world crumbling apart after the events of the Avengers. Directed and Co-Written by Shane Black (And Co-Written by Robert Downey Jr.) Iron Man 3 was everything that a super hero follow up should be…intriguing. The movie pulled you in because it didn’t follow the all to predictable path. Even the end of the movie left many people wondering about the status quo of Iron Man. The villain of the film was another really cool twist because it gave us something that we just didn’t see coming. Was it true to the comic book…every part but the Mandrin’s movie origin was as close as you would expect from a movie adaptation. Whether you’re a comic book fan or just an action movie addict there is something to be found for everyone. Unless you were a fan of the traditional Mandrin…but he was sort of a walking, talking racial slur, so you shouldn’t be a big fan.
BEST ETC. OF 2013
Here is a quick list of the people, places and things that I Nerded out on in 2013
Day of the Doctor (The 50th anniversary of Dr. Who)
John Hurt as The War Doctor
Superior Spider-Man becoming a surprisingly great book
Arrow on television
Agents of SHIELD
Ben Affleck cast as Batman (Just kidding.)
A look at 2014…since we’re actually in 2014.
As the new year approaches, my family and I are all in brighter happier moods. Yes, we are still not on our feet financially but our faith has strengthened ten fold, so did our love. (Sorry to get sappy, but the truth is the truth.) Good things are on the horizon for 2014. I am going to start working in Special Education again, my lovely wife, Mercedes has just returned to college to finish her Childhood Development degrees, My teen, Michelea is even more teenish than ever before (Yay?) and is going to start her Junior year of High School sooner than I want to think about, and the toddler is turning Three and her throat condition is officially gone. (YAY!)
On the writing front, my good friend Gerry Castro and I are working on a Magazine about the Paranormal that will see the light of day later in 2014. We’re shooting for Fall….Summer if at all possible. The magazine will tackle all sorts of topics related to the weird and unexplained. Of course it will have a sense of humor and wit that you’ve come to expect…or hate. More details on that to come…If you have any stories or encounters with the paranormal, feel free to contact me.
Back in this blog, expect to see more comic book reviews, movie news, and some more obscure exposes on Nerd topics. Next up….After our move from Alhambra to East Los Angeles, I finally went through my box ‘o books and found that old Strayer stories book about M.L. Strayer. I will post the very rare 1954 Interview of Stayer and her Husband just months before they disappeared. Plus…A Strayer update of sorts….2014 is going to be a wild year.