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Best of 2013 Part 2b: Graphic Novels

A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.

So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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Comics Picks of The Week 11.12.2013

Looks like its going to be the month of busy weeks. The last two weeks I’ve read two graphic novels each along with all my regular monthlies and this past week proved to be no different. Both Detective Comics Volume 4 and The Flash Volume 4 proved to be exceedingly good and now I have two more series that I need to catch up on for the New 52. Tall order, but doable. And as regards the usual monthlies, there were comics across the board, in all sorts of ways: genres, publishers, characters, etc, etc. The year has slowly transformed over the months into a really solid year for comics overall.

I still haven’t made any dent in the pile of graphic novels I have to read, but I’m not too worried about any of it, to be honest. Already used to that phenomenon from my novel reading.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Comics Picks of The Week 13.11.2013

Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.

No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!

In the meantime, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Comics Picks of The Week 16.10.2013

This was another week with me reading far more non-DC comics than DC comics, as was the case in September. Lots of great variety in the comics this week, especially a lot of exciting new series with their first issues. There are a few other series that I’m looking forward to reading in the next few days, particularly catching up with some favourites like Bill Willingham’s Fables, of which I’ve read the first two volumes, and some Top Cow books.

Which brings me to the my usual complaint with my comics reading: the lack of being able to read any graphic novels. I fully expected to be able to move through at least two this week but I got caught up reading a really big fantasy novel that proved to be a tough slog, not to mention a sudden fascination with the Candy Crush game on my iPad and my smartphone, so I’ve been whiling away a lot of time. No idea what’s gonna happen this week, but as always, I’m hopeful!

In the meantime, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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DC Cinematic Universe: Some Concerns

So apparently, we are definitely getting a new Batman in about two-years’ time, and the role will be played by actor/producer/director Ben Affleck. For the uninitiated, we saw Christopher Nolan wrap-up his Batman movie trilogy last year with the Christian Bale-starrer The Dark Knight Rises and Ben Affleck has done comic book roles before in Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil.

This is certainly an interesting time for DC/WB since they just recently launched their own cinematic universe with this summer’s hit Man of Steel and we know that there are going to be three more movies in this “phase 1” at the least: Batman vs Superman (2015), The Flash (2016), and Justice League (2017). I blogged a while back about how DC could start building its own cinematic universe to counter what Disney/Marvel have been doing with an incredibly successful line of Marvel movies.

This “plan” of mine, called Justice League: Strange Union, called on WB studios to make movies with characters that we haven’t yet seen in a live action adaptation for the cinemas and to keep any characters they wanted to reboot for the eventual Justice League film where Martian Manhunter could be added in as a new character for people to get to know.

As things stand though, based on the information that came out of San Diego Comic-Con last month and from all Hollywood sources last night, my plan is pretty much what I knew it would be: a mere hopeful fantasy.

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Justice League: Strange Union

Its absolutely no surprise that following the immense success of Marvel Studios’ various superhero movies, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers have announced their own plans for movies based on DC’s famous characters. Over the last eight years we’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, and Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern. There has been next to no continuity between these films, unlike the Marvel films which have all been connected through various agents of S.H.I.E.D and their infamous Director, Nick Fury. In fact, such interconnectivity has been one of the selling points of Marvel’s films.

You might ask, why is that? What makes the Marvel movies so different from the DC films?

Its straightforward. Marvel Studios stepped into the business with a clear direction of what they wanted to do. I don’t know exactly if it was the intention or not, but all of their films, especially from Iron Man 2 and out, have been building up towards a specific point, The Avengers. One by one, they released movies that would all tie-in together to culminate in the premier Marvel superhero team-up, thereby bringing their “Phase 1” to fruition.

And they’ve succeeded enormously. Which is where DC and WB step in because they want to mirror the success with their own properties. But its not easy to do that. All attempts so far have pretty much tanked. There just isn’t the same vision, and the same ability to face challenges at WB, from what we can see. Their various Wonder Woman projects seem to keep getting stalled for one reason or another. There are talks of a Green Lantern and Batman reboot already, and we are just about to have a new Superman movie that is another reboot after Singer’s Superman Returns from 2006.

A few weeks ago I was discussing this with fellow book blogger and friend, Nick Sharps, and I outlined the basics of what DC and WB should do to make sure that they are able to reproduce Marvel’s success.

It all ends up being about the vision.

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