Best of 2012

2012 found a few epic movies, a lot of great new music and some very good and some very bad comics. Check out these staff favorites of 2012.

KD Shaw– Editor (@TheDarlingDork)

♦Favorite 2012 music find is Holiday Friends. Their album “Chicks” began it’s life in 2009 and released in Spring of 2012. A rarity in music this is an album you can listen to without pressing the next button to skip tracks.

♦Favorite Comic series is Zenescope’s Alice. Raven Gregory reached further into the madness and continued his rad Wonderland series bringing us the story of Alice this time.


♦Favorite Game…World of Warcraft. As if there would be another. The game releases of 2012 were definitely epic, but I’m giving kudos where kudos are due to the newest expansion Mists of Pandaria. The concept of allowing players to get to know their toon before making them choose good or evil is brill. Blizz made up for some past errors by releasing this great expansion.

♦Favorite Movie by far Wreck it Ralph. While Avengers is an obvious choice for any geek as the best of 2012, I haven’t had so much fun in a theater as I did watching Wreck it Ralph and finding all the fun Easter eggs…Warcraft anyone? Sitting in the theater we were the only ones to bust out when we saw the cartoon version of Walter Day. Bonus points for having the best animated short Paperman.

♦Best Pop Culture Moment saying goodbye to Amy and Rory my Roman on their final episode of Doctor Who. I cried my eyes out not once, but twice, you cheeky bastards. Just when I thought it was over there was more.


Lance Alexander – Gaming (@LanceAlexander2)

fred-jill♦My favorite New Music for 2012 is the band Huntress.
I saw this band for the first time at the Hawthorn Theater here in Portland a few months back, and they rock! I managed to get the incredibly gorgeous Jill Janus to sign my t-shirt (and nearly fainted because this beautiful woman surprised me by hugging me) I got a chance to talk to the rest of the band. Awesome people who really love what they do, and it shows in their music!

♦Favorite Comic Series
The New Conan the Barbarian comics (by Dark Horse) rock my socks!

♦Favorite Games
Honestly, this year has been pretty amazing for me game wise. Between Xcom, The Walking Dead Game, Halo 4, Planetside 2, and Guild Wars 2 I haven’t had any spare time (after work and school anyway).
Since I have to pick, The Walking Dead Game, Planetside 2 and Guildwars 2 win.
The Walking Dead Game by Tell Tale Games was a whirlwind of emotions. I never expected to care about this game, much less what impact my choices would have on Clementine would make me feel like. I would literally restart whole ‘episodes’ if a choice I made somehow made Clem disappointed in me. I honestly couldn’t stand the idea of making her sad. Damn you, Tell Tale, for making me experience emotions!!
Planetside 2  was something of a curiosity when I first got into the Beta. I’ve been excited about attempts to make MMOFPS games before, and I’ve always been disappointed. But Planetside 2 has become a literal hobby in my life. The Clan I signed up for, Toxin Raiders are organized and very, very helpful. The combat is simply… Glorious. There is this real thrill about getting into a tank fight with 80+ people when suddenly the enemy Airforce comes in and bombs the living hell out of you. If you haven’t already, go give this game a try. Also, watch me and Toxin play every day here or watch me play occasionally here
Guild Wars 2 sometimes infuriates me (Mad Kings Clock Tower, FUUUUUU) but I really love this MMO game. Of course, I played the original Guildwars game from the day it launched, so I have a lot of history with the GW franchise. This game didn’t disappoint, and if anything, made me love this game series even more. Course, allowing me to play as a Charr really made me happy!

♦Favorite TV/Movie
Since I don’t watch TV, my favorite movie of this past year has been the Avengers! Of course, this might change after I see the Hobbit, but right now the Avengers was simply the best movie I saw in theaters this year!


Christian Miller– Wrestling and Comics (@ChristianGMill)


♦Favorite Song: (if it can be that) Strange World by HIM
♦Favorite Comic: The Hive by Charles Burns
♦Favorite Game: Borderlands 2
♦Favorite Movie: Prometheus
♦Favorite Pop Culture Moment: Alton Brown on a Doctor Who themed episode of Dork Fork on the Nerdist channel
♦Wish For 2013: CM Punk holds the WWE Title until Wrestlemania and fights the Undertaker in a streak vs. streak match


Nate Derr– Music and Comics


♦New Music: Grimes- “Genesis”
♦Graphic Novel: Jim Woodring, “Congress of the Animals”
♦Movie: Drive





Random Jordan– Comics and Books (@RandomJordan)


♦2012 new music discovery: Emilie Autumn
♦Favorite Graphic Novel of the year is: Once Upon a Time Machine
♦Favorite Game of the year is: Guild Wars 2
♦Favorite Movie of the year is: Brave
♦Favorite Pop Culture Moment: Disney buying Lucas Film and all the memes and comics produced from that
♦Wish for 2013: To be on tabletop with Wil Wheaton


Christopher Guyton– Gaming (Plastic Villains)


♦Favorite Comic – Avengers vs. X-Men
♦Favorite Game – Marvel vs. Capcom Origins
♦Favorite Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man
♦Favorite Pop Culture Moment – Dave Grohl and Kris Noveselic rocking out with Paul McCartney at the concert for Sandy. And Saturday Night Live. Excellent.


Charles Meier– Comics (@LokiSkywalker)

Favorite New Music Of 2012: Alcest, Les Voyages De L’Ame


I considered recusing myself from this category, because I listened to embarrassingly little new music this year. The new Mastodon, the new Pig Destroyer, the new Between The Buried And Me…all managed to escape my ears’ grasp. I didn’t even get around to the latest Swans, whom I apparently think are the best band ever. I usually buy enough new albums in a year to at least fill a Top 5 list, but not this time around for whatever reason.

Of the few I did buy/hear, however, this would have to be the best. Alcest is one of those projects who, so far at least, manage the difficult trick of making each record better than the last. While not employing the black-metal elements to the same extent as its predecessor, Les Voyages is still a masterpiece of epic, slightly sinister beauty. To listen to this record is like being lost in a misty forest, cresting a hill to see nothing resembling civilization within eyesight. Scary as your situation is, you can’t help but admire the view. You realize you likely won’t make it out alive, but right at this moment you can see the upside. Try listening to this album while on a hike sometime–you’ll find the experience nothing but enhanced.

I Also Liked: Dawnbringer–Into The Lair of the Sun God, Nachtmystium–Silencing Machine

hellboyFavorite Comic of 2012: Hellboy In Hell #1

Yeah, yeah, I know: haven’t I praised this book enough already? Actually, no, I haven’t you jackass. Glowing though my review may have been, it barely captures one-tenth of my appreciation for this comic. I fully expected this comic to be good; I just wasn’t prepared for it to be quite this good. I do wonder slightly about the timing–it seems to have come out juuust in time to nudge out all its competition on end-of-year lists such as these. Just a month ago, I would have sworn blind that Prophet would occupy this space. Now? Fantastic as it is, I can’t even imagine putting it here. This is the comic that cements Mignola’s place as one of the true masters of the sequential-art format, thankfully sans pretense. My signed copy of this issue is one of my most treasured possessions, one I’d only sell in the direst of financial straits.

I Also Liked:Fatale, Hawkeye, Multiple Warheads, Prophet, Batman Incorporated (New 52), Archer and Armstrong, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Stumptown vol. 2, Adventure Time

Favorite Game of 2012: Mass Effect 3

While it ended up having more competition than I predicted, I remain steadfast in my decision. This game was pretty heavily criticized on a number of points–you couldn’t import your face, your decisions throughout the series didn’t matter as much as initially promised, Allers sucks, Mordin’s new voice actor wasn’t that great, the game didn’t keep track of which sidequests you’ve completed, Tali’s face was a shoop, the original ending was a disaster, and so on. All these criticisms are completely fair and accurate, but none of them stop this game being great. Even that awful, awful ending got fixed with a free DLC a few months later. Overall, it’s a pretty satisfying ending to Commander Shepard’s story, especially for those who went Paragon–all those good deeds paid dividends after all. The Reaper War turns out to be even more brutal than we all knew it would be–Shepard may well be the greatest hero in the history of his/her species, and your task still feels damn near insurmountable. Little wonder s/he starts showing signs of, no joke, PTSD. And your crewmates? Not a one of them is real, and you still feel honored to have served with these people for so many years. Even the multiplayer is pretty great, when I was certain it wouldn’t be–you’d never realize you’re fighting bots. It’s not perfect by any means–the second game is still my favorite of the series–but Mass Effect 3 is still better than many would have you believe.

I Also Liked: Dishonored, The Walking Dead, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Asura’s Wrath, Max Payne 3, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings

Favorite Non-Comic Movie of 2012: The Raid: Redemption

Come on, what the hell else was I gonna pick, frigging Melancholia? Screw that. Watching this film, I didn’t even feel annoyed I had to wait thirty years to see the best action movie ever made. And it’s a foreign film, no less! At long last, we reclaim the rest of the world from the cinema snobs–(no, not that one).

This movie has, no joke, the most exhilarating fight scenes I’ve ever seen. The martial arts employed are the most practical in any movie I’m familiar with–”oh, you’re blocking my punch? Okay, I’ll just hit you with my foot! Or my knee! Or my elbow!” That this much havoc is going down over what looks to be the shittiest apartment block on the planet is just a bonus–setting the movie at the Ritz-Carlton wouldn’t have made any sense. Here, internally decapitating someone with the busted-off lower segment of a door just seems the sensible thing to do. There is an actual story here, and while it’s pretty good, it can be pretty safely ignored. This movie isn’t the least bit original, and it’s still the movie action films will be ripping off for the next twenty years–it’s that good.

I Also Liked: Killer Joe, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, The Cabin in the Woods, Melancholia, Bernie

hawkeye_issue_1_reviewFavorite Pop Culture Moment: Comics, Everybody!

You want to know something? It’s been an incredible year for comics. DC is specifically excluded from this statement–some rare flashes of competence notwithstanding, their relaunch continues to be one long misstep. Also, they keep publishing Superman: Earth One. Apart from that, however, I’m amazed at all the stuff that’s been going on within the industry. There’s been no less than three amazing comic-related movies in theatres–I had to fight to come up with a non-comics example for my “favorite movie” entry. As for within the medium itself, well…if you’d told me a year ago that there’d be a Hawkeye ongoing series, and that it’d be one of the best things Marvel has ever published, I’d have thought you were crazy. Had you gone on to tell me that Image would relaunch a bunch of Rob Liefeld series from the early 1990s, and that it wouldn’t be a complete disaster? I’d be getting a 5150 declared on your ass. In fact, with titles like Prophet, Fatale, and Multiple Warheads, this really was the year Image finally came into its own, standing as the true artistic (in addition to moral) superior to the Big Two. Also, Marvel’s reboot turned out to be far better executed than DC’s, due mostly to not being a true reboot at all. Chris Roberson flipped DC the bird, and his new digital-only Monkeybrain imprint shows all kinds of promise. The best children’s comic of the year was a licensed comic two of them, in fact. Valiant came back, and against all logic wound up kicking all sorts of ass with the new X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Archer & Armstrong. That horrible Wonder Woman pilot didn’t get picked up. On the Dark Horse side of things, the Hellboy franchise continues to kick ass. What’s not to like? Plus, there were two new issues of Tales Designed To Thrizzle. Sure, losing Moebius and Tony de Zuniga sucked, and the mainstream industry still has a lot to learn when it comes to acting like human beings (‘cuz, you know, corporations are people and all), but you take the rough with the smooth.

My Wish For 2013: Simply put, more originality. Like I said above, Valiant got relaunched this year, and while I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them so far, you have to admit it’s one giant throwback. In fact, most if not all of the comics I liked this year are either reboots or based on already-existing properties. To look back on the greatness of the past is in no way a bad thing, so long as you use it as inspiration to move forward. Looking at the mainstream industry in particular, when was the last time Marvel or DC introduced an original character? Even Dark Horse has been on the revival kick lately, rebooting characters and series from its long-defunct Comics’ Greatest World continuity. Seeing as how CGW succeeded only in producing some of the least interesting comics ever published, the cracks are now officially starting to show in this whole looking-back kick. I’d like to see American comics stop spinning its tires, I guess is how I’d put it.


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