Alright... haven't quite had the time I wanted to post and such this year overall, but, y'know... here's the stuff I liked/loved this year.
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL YOU PROBABLY READ
Pride of Baghdad
BKV shows us why he's the best damn writer in comics yet again with... god forgive him... a talking animal book. Really splendid stuff that manages to be poignant, heart-breaking, and pulse pounding at the same time.
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL I'D BET MONEY YOU DIDN'T READ
Lone and Level Sands
While you probably don't know the initials ADL as well as you do BKV, I'd bet you probably will soon enough. LaLS is the book about some obscure Egyptian folks with crazy names like Moses and Pharoah. All kidding aside, I'm far from a fan of just about anything bible related, but ADL and mpMann manage to make a book that's researched without sacrificing compelling story for factual accuracy. Of course, from what I can tell, it doesn't go too far off the known facts/biblically accepted truth, either. It's really a splendid piece of work that shows exactly what the medium of comics is capable of.
BEST ONGOING SERIES
Hmmm. This is harder than I thought it would be. 2006 was the year I stopped reading monthly comics. The ones I do still read are Ex Machina, Fables, Captain America, Powers, and a handful of others. The best though, is the book that I've read consistently for nearly twenty years now. Usagi Yojimbo. There's just literally nothing better than Stan Sakai drawing the book he loves. That's right. That would be the SECOND talking animal book on my best of the year list.
A Scanner Darkly
In a year that saw me go to the movies less and less, and miss virtually every movie I wanted to see, there was one that I made an effort to see, and loved it so much I saw it twice, and have already watched all of the special features and the feature once or twice since picking up the DVD a few days ago. The movie manages to do a couple of things that have never been done. 1) Almost perfectly capture a Phillip K. Dick novel. 2) Almost perfectly capture a GOOD Phillip K. Dick novel. 3) Redefine for a new generation what a Sci-Fi film can be. The movie is small, almost miniscule, by plot standards, yet is about big, big ideas. Bigger than any movie, bigger than any piece of literature. It's a movie that's about blame... and how sometimes EVERYONE is to blame, instead of just one side of the equation. The animation is fantastic, a real huge step forward from any other rotoscoping that's been done (including Linklater's other wholly different (and still wholly awesome) Waking Life.
Anyways, this is speculative Sci-fi filmmaking at it's best. Although I hear Children of Men accomplishes a lot of the same in a very different, and very excellent way.
Oh, and Rocky Balboa is a fucking blast. Well worth the price of admission.
BEST DVD RELEASE
Homicide - The Complete Series
Holy Fuckballs, this is what I'm talking about. Every episode, including the crossovers with Law and Order, the Movie, all the documentaries etc. from the individual sets, and probably the best packaging of a box set ever. Holy Shit. This is how one of the best shows ever made deserves to be presented, and it's worth every penny. A masterclass in research-based writing that knows when to put the research aside and let the character and story take over. There's never been a better cop show, and I severely doubt there ever will be.
Oh, and thank god for the impending Writers and Actors strikes that got them to finally release my beloved St. Elsewhere.
Fast Man, Raider Man by Frank Black
You sort of just wait for a guy to make a solo record like this. Frank Black's had some pretty great solo stuff, but aside from Teenager of the Year, nothing that quite rivalled that of the early Pixies stuff. This does. Equal parts Rock and Roll and Rockabilly Country, FMRM is just an amazing piece of work from a still vibrant pioneer of a an entire genre of music. As long as he keeps making albums even half as good as this one, I think we're all lucky to have him.
SO I'M ASHAMED TO BE A LATECOMING FAN OF...
I'd seen the movies, enjoyed the 3rd and 4th one a lot, and the girlfriend coaxed me into reading the first book. It's a big improvement over the movie, and despite the increasing length the books manage to become more engaging as they go on. I'm fucking ashamed, man.
I'M NOT ASHAMED TO BE A JOHNNY-COME-LATELY TO...
I remember watching Doctor Who with my older brother as a child. I never quite grasped what the fuck was going on, but I always seemed to enjoy it. Of course, I always thought it was a lesser version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxybut that was clearly just my own stupidity (aside from it pre-dating Hitchhiker's, Douglas Adams was a story editor on Who while developing the Radio show. ) Doctor Who from the very first episode has always been Boys Adventure to the nth degree. It has more in common with TinTin than Star Wars, and that's why it's lasted so long and becomes so all consuming. You want to follow these characters because they're so much fun, and despite the effects, every script is beautifully crafted, and the actors always do their best to capture that sense of childhood fun that is missing in so much children's entertainment. The new shows are perhaps a bit too adult considering the source material, but, it's something that I for one look forward to watching with my kids once they, y'know... exist.
Genesis of the Daleks is a good place to start. It's a Tom Baker, it's got assloads of Daleks, and, well, it's the shit.
BEST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR
That's an easy one. Christina. Meeting her was like a dream come true, and I couldn't be happier, seriously.
WORST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR
Also fairly easy. That'd be how I had virtually no creative output this year, thanks to circumstances beyond my control.
WHAT'S ON TAP FOR 2007
Well, next year you'll see the complete Elk's Run, the long awaited premiere of Punks, Noel and I will be unveiling Three Rivers and Tumor, J-Rod's superbly excellent, Postcards (which has a cover... it's pretty sweet), and who knows what else in the new year.
Plus, I've got a bunch of work for hire on the way. You won't be getting rid of this guy any time soon.
So, have an amazing New Year and go buy stuff.