Sunday, January 01, 2006

Top o' 2005 to you! Here comes 2006!

With no rhyme or reason, here's just a few of my faves of '05. More to come tomorrow, promise:

* Fave Graphic Novel Reading Experience: Charles Burns's Black Hole -- a hole-in-one at last, after over a decade of single installments (and at least two publishers), adding up to the most delicious, delirious comic-reading experience of all for me this year of pretty-damned-good comic reading.
Second Place: All the great comics the Center for Cartoon Studies students gifted me with this past semester -- their comics, mind you! Some very imaginative work and some very lovely packages, too. I can't wait to see/read more, and it'll be a hoot to be working with them drawing at last.

* Fave "I've Always Wanted to Read This!" Collection of Archival Material: The grand, glorious, over-sized (actually, 'actual size' of the original Sunday newspaper comics pages) Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays!. Lovingly compiled, edited, and packaged by Peter Maresca and his imprint Sunday Press, the book of the year in a great year of books. Hey, I got 'Sunday' in here four times on a Sunday -- wait, that's five!
Second Place: At last! The rare 1969 French comic series Wampus by Franco Frescura and artist Luciano Bernasconi has been collected under one cover (cover by yours truly, I might add) and available in English, thanks to Jean-Marc Lofficier and Hexagon Press. I ate it up when my copy arrived and have already reread it, it's such grand fun; a heady stew of bogus sf/alien/espionage/terrorism circa the '60s, working up to staggering global political/social collapse (orchestrated by the translucent noodle-bodied badboy Wampus) that builds upon the anarchistic spirit of none other than Diabolik -- hence, a missing link of sorts in European comics history, between the archetype of Fantomas and the coming wave of underground comix radicalism. Love, love, love it, highly recommended! (More on Wampus on this blog this week.)

* Fave "I-Can't-Believe-This-is-THIS-Bad!" Theatrical Movie Experience: Hands down, George Lucas's glittering abomination Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, which proves at last you can polish a turd -- though it's still, like, a very shiny turd. Within the first five minutes, Marge and I were glancing at each other in disbelief, dumbstruck at how unbelievably insipid the dialogue was -- and it was all downhill from there. The much anticipated climax, 28 years in the coming, of Darth Vader in full gear reborn and resurrected had many in the theater (ourselves included) laughing uncontrollably, recalling as it did Peter Boyle's monster in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein more than anything else. I went back again within the week to wallow in it all over again -- and to make sure it really was as dreadful as it had seemed. It was (sigh) worse. For shame, George, for shame, but thanks for the hearty laughs!

* Fave Fun-In-A-Movie-Theater: Seeing Godzilla: Final War at FantAsia fest in Montreal with my son Dan in a jam-packed, not-an-empty-seat-left-in-the-house big-screen theater brimming with nothing but fellow devoted Gojira geeks of all ages (literally from 6 to 60!) revelling in the spectacle. 19-year-old Dan was completely disoriented at first, looking around dazed as the crowd screamed with glee every time another beloved old Toho kaiju eiga monster debuted on the screen, until his male teen ultra-cool dissolved and he fell into the party atmosphere wholeheartedly. We had a grand fucking time! It was thoroughly intoxicating fun, and the closest he's ever come to experiencing what something like Rocky Horror Picture Show was like with a dedicated midnight movie audience circa 1977-78, and big fun for this Dad. God bless you, everyone at FantAsia, for making it possible.
Second Place: Even tie between Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Peter Jackson's King Kong, both savored with Marjory, the former thrice (including a Cape Cod showing with dear amigos Mike Dobbs, Mary Cassidy, and Mark & Jeannie Martin).

* Fave TV Watched While My Wife was Out of the Room: Bill O'Reilly on FOX ranting about Christmas -- for fucking weeks on end! Amazing, hilarious television. We've come a long way from Morton Downey, Jr. and haven't far to go to arrive at the Third Reich's locking up the Jewish population so as to not blemish our sacred holidaze. O'Reilly is fucking insane, and FOX is the most shameless network on US TV, and man, that's saying something.
Second Place: Nip/Tuck. Marge can't stomach the gore; I'll have to wallow in the DVD collections at some point.

* Fave TV for the Couple that Barely Watches TV: The faux-Karl Rove (played by the great Robert Picardo) getting a ballpoint pen jammed clip-deep into his eye socket seconds before having his fucking skull methodically bashed to bloody oatmeal by an undead soldier who faux-Rove tried to force into complying with the party line by incarcerating the G.I.'s mother and putting the poor woman on the phone with her (un)dead son, in Joe Dante & Sam Hamm's "Homecoming" for Showtime's Masters of Horror. We laughed our asses off, and then wished it could be so. If television was like this more often, we'd watch it on occasion. (Special thanks to Tim Lucas for providing this Showtimeless household with one of the highlights of this or any year.)
Second place: Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens so pissed he could barely contain himself (on C-Span), after the cynical attempt to graft his drilling-in-Alaska-national-forest bid onto the latest defense-spending bill went down in flames. We lucked into the raw feed footage as his rant happened, and it was almost as good as the faux-Rove demise.

* Fave True-Colors Commemorative Alexander Haig "I'm In Charge Now" Moment: President Bush claiming the right to illegally circumvent standing process and laws to wiretap American citizens; the Divine Right of Kings, Mein Fuehrer?
Second Place: Vice-Prez Dick Cheney flying in from his diplomatic (chuckle) overseas tour to cast the eleventh-hour deciding vote on a budget-slashing bill that further depletes the very social support systems we saw tattered beyond repair when Hurricane Katrina hit. Right up there with Cheney's "Go fuck yourself" to our own beloved Senator Patrick Leahy: we hear ya loud & clear, Dickie boy.

* Fave ReBiblican I Know and Love: Mark Martin. Love ya, baby-blue.

More later!