2010 - A Geek Odyssey

With 2010 coming to a head I thought I would take time to reflect on the highs and lows and what I am most excited about heading into the new year. I've also called in some favours from Twitter pals and a few big name creators including Marvel's finest: Mr Brian Michael Bendis, Jeff Parker, Victor Gischler and the man with a beard to rival that of Jason Aaron, Mr Chris Samnee.


Read on for more!






On a personal note, this year has been extraordinarily eventful. On March the 6th I married my beautiful and super supportive wife. She's the light of my life and my best mate. But all of the sappy stuff aside, this year has been massive for me as a geek! I saw the release of a swag of new X related series, X-Men by written Victor Gischler, X-23 and Daken: Dark Wolverine written by Marjorie M. Liu  and Wolverine written by Jason Aaron. Earth's mightiest heroes, The Avengers have also been relaunced with Avengers and New Avengers restarted by writer Brian M. Bendis and Secret Avengers written by Ed Brubaker. All of these series have taken much loved characters, hit the refresh button while managing to make the characters accessible to new and established readers.


One particular highlight for me was having my interview with Brian M. Bendis published in the back of Scarlet #3. It's a buzz to be published in a comic, it's an even bigger buzz to be published in Scarlet which is undoubtedly one of the best books of the year.


With all of these fresh titles and hard work being put into making these books accessible to new readers it is disappointing to see that sales are well and truly down on last year. With the exception of The Walking Dead TPB's from Robert Kirkman, it seems as though sales across the board are on the decline. Even more upsetting for me was the cancellation of Marvel's Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee, a book which was critically lauded and a personal favourite of mine although unfortunately didn't manage to pass muster. As much as this saddens me, I'm sure that Chris Samnee will have some big offers on his desk and will certainly be a superstar in coming years.


I'm not only excited to further my professional career but also building momentum as your Geek from Oz. I'm also extremely excited for the huge amount of great movies due for release next year, Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, Paul, X-Men: First Class, Sucker Punch and an all new Muppet Movie!


So now I hand over to a number of people to share with us their thoughts on 2010:

Brian M. Bendis
http://twitter.com/BRIANMBENDIS
http://www.jinxworld.com/


What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?
Photo by Luigi Novi
Most of it has to do with my wife and children but I'm sure you're asking me about career stuff. Obviously the successful launch of scarlet, avengers, new avengers, and siege were huge reliefs. Scarlet in particular meant a lot. it was my first creator owned book in a while and Alex's first ever. but honestly the entire year was filled with really fantastic bits of awesome fun. the ultimate Spiderman cartoon was green lit, I wrote my first episode, working on all the Marvel movies, the powers and Jessica Jones TV shows burst into existence. and I started teaching college. but most of all it's the day-to-day of working on projects with artists who I admire so much. some of which are my peers and some of which are my heroes and some of which are brand-new voices who are absolutely blowing my mind.

What has you most excited for 2011?
All kinds of things. I'm curious to see which one or any of the television and film projects I'm work on see the light of day, I'm very excited about releasing our new graphic novel Takio, I have already committed to some interesting projects in other medium and a couple new creator owned projects. A lot of this I will be announcing at C2E2.

But for numerous reasons, the death of ultimate Spiderman and the return of my partner Mark Bagley is a gigantic scary thrill for me.

Which creator/s should we be looking out for next year?

Two words: Sarah Picelli

What would you like to find in your Xmas Stocking?

I'm Jewish. if I even found an Xmas stocking I would assume there's been some sort of break in and call the police immediately.



Deb Aoki
http://twitter.com/debaoki
http://manga.about.com/



What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?
Hm. Meeting and talking with Moto Hagio at Comic-Con was a real highlight of the year for me. She's an extremely bright and interesting woman who was also very humble and humorous too. I have nothing but respect for a woman who, at 60, has been continuously drawing beautifully-crafted, thought-provoking, deeply personal and genre-defying manga for over 40 years.

I am also excited to see so many manga publishers branching out into the world of online publishing in a big way this year. VIZ Media, Yen Press, TokyoPop, Digital Manga and Dark Horse have been expanding their online offerings both via their own websites and through third-party sites like Comixology.

After years of fans clamoring for more manga available in English online, it seems like Japanese publishers are finally ready to open things up a bit. Ken Akamatsu (Negima, Love Hina) launched his J-Comi site, offering free downloads of Love Hina, and a coalition of 37 Japanese publishers are developing a web portal for offering English-language manga online. Kodansha is launching MorningManga.com with comics in several languages.
Digital Manga's Digital Manga Guild is also trying new ways to get more manga published online. So I see lots of positive changes happening.

Another exciting trend is US indie publishers getting into the manga space by publishing stories that the generally shojo/shonen-focused manga publishers generally shy away from. Top Shelf published AX Alternative Manga, Fantagraphics published a luxe hardcover edition of A Drunken Dream by Moto Hagio. Drawn & Quarterly announced plans to publish two graphic novels by Shigeru Mizuki (creator of GeGeGe no Kitaro) in 2011. I'm also
loving the grown-up friendly titles that VIZ Media is publishing from IKKI, like Bokurano: Ours, Kingyo Used Books and Ristorante Paradiso.



What has you most excited for 2011?
I'm very much looking forward to the Shigeru Mizuki books, "Onwards to Our Noble Deaths" and "Nononba" from D&Q. Given how so many manga that were inspired by his yokai tales in GeGeGe no Kitaro are popular now, but it's been difficult to get his work published in English.http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/shopCatalogLong.php?st=art&art=a4cb61ca4344d4

I'm also looking forward to "The Bride's Stories" by Kaoru Mori (the creator of Emma). Her storytelling and draftsmanship is top-notch, so it's exciting to see that Yen Press will be publishing it as a hardcover, to give it that extra touch of class that it deserves. On the trashy shojo side, I'm curious about Ai Ore by Mayu Shinjo (creator of Sensual Phrase) -- it's about an all-girl band (who all look like very hot androgynous boys) and a boy (who looks like a cute, androgynous girl) who wants to be their new lead singer. I've read the first chapter and it's just a mind-f*ck because you just don't know who's a boy and who's a girl -- and the creator is just having a ball tweaking with readers' perceptions. 



Speaking of gender-bending, I'm really looking forward to reading Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. It's about two tweens, one a boy, the other a girl -- or at least now they are. They're both transgendered. It's a rare look at a subject that few western comics creators have dared to explore. This should be very interesting. http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage& roduct_id=1971&category_id=665&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=62

The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo is also one to watch next year. It was scheduled for 2010, but got pushed to 2011. It is based on a novela by Japan's Edgar Allen Poe, Edogawa Rampo and drawn by the master of exquisitely grotesque horror. Last Gasp has a few preview pages up and they're gorgeous.
http://www.lastgasp.com/pre/panoramaisland/


Which creator/s should we be looking out for next year?
Definitely Shigeru Mizuki. Right now, most graphic novel readers' awareness of "classic" manga creators begins and ends with Osamu Tezuka. Mizuki is right up there as one of the most influential creators in Japan, and this publication of his work is long overdue.

Usamaru Furuya is also another one to watch. VIZ just put out Genkaku Picasso, his twisted take on shonen manga. Meanwhile, Vertical is publishing Lychee Light Club, a work that's perhaps more typical of his twisted seinen manga sensibilities.



What would you like to find in your Xmas Stocking?
ooo. I would love to get an iPad, especially now that more comics are available in that format. but that's too big for a stocking, so I would love anything with Chi's Sweet Home on it. I love that little kitty so much, it's silly.


Victor Gischler
http://twitter.com/VictorGischler
http://www.victorgischler.blogspot.com/



What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?
Honestly, there have been a number of good things. X-Men #1 was the top selling comic for its month. So that was cool. And my novel THE DEPUTY came out earlier this year. I'm lucky to have multiple highlights, and those are just two examples.

What has you most excited for 2011?
I have several film projects in the works, and if just one of them could click into place it would make 2011 a banner year.

Which creator/s should we be looking out for next year?
Honestly, most of the names I could say are names you already know. Jason Aaron continues to kick butt, and I want to see what Kody Chamberlain does next. Lots of talent out there.

What would you like to find in your Xmas Stocking?
The next season of VENTURE BROTHERS on DVD.
What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?
Despite my misgivings I would say Inception by Christopher Nolan was a definite highlight. I have issues with the finished picture. I am not sure whether the po-faced Leonardo DiCaprio brought the fun. For entertainment value I would still rate The Matrix higher. For philosophical quirkiness, Mamoru Oshii's Avalon.
Still Inception was one of those classic 'water cooler', movies that got folks excited about going to the cinema. There is a danger that Christopher Nolan could soon have a monopoly on blockbuster movies with some depth - the thinking man's Michael Bay.
2010 was also a good year for zombies. I get why so many are going ape over Frank Darabont's The Walking Dead - truly the best genre show debut since Carnivale - but for me the shuffling undead highlight was Mira Grant's Feed. Smart, subversive and plenty gory for horror fans. I would strongly recommend this book.

A collection of short stories edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, erm titled 'Stories', was also a great treat.



What has you most excited for 2011?
Hands down - DC Universe Online. I know, I know, another MMO. How many hours of my life have been sucked down a broadband connection? World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Warhammer...will it ever end?
The advantage of DCUO is that there is a real sense that players will get to interact with an actual fictional universe that they already know - and hopefully get to know even better.
I am also waiting with bated breath for further issues of Charles Burns weird and perverse take on Tintin - X'ed Out. This is a great follow up to his long-running series Black Hole, managing to plumb even more disturbing depths.



Which creator/s should we be looking out for next year?
In comics - Paul Cornell and Jeff Parker. Both evidence a winning enjoyment in mining comic book history, but also a fantastic ability to innovate tried and tested staples. Agents of Atlas managed to be a bright and enjoyable counterpoint to the quickly bottlenecked Dark Reign.
Captain Britain, Knight and Squire and Lex Luthor's lead storyline in Action have proven that Cornell is the man to watch in terms of world building.



What would you like to find in your Xmas Stocking?
A pony. Failing that, the collected works of Joe R. Lansdale. I'm a fan of his Hap and Leonard novels.

Carolyn Belefski
http://twitter.com/curlsstudio

What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?

For me, 2010 was a year of growth. Professionally, I got more presence in the comics industry from having a panel at New York Comic Con (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j50D1gZMoc) and also being nominated for a Lulu Award. It is nice to be recognized for creative work, so 2010 was a positive year for me. I was also very productive with my Sketch Before Sleep project, which I draw something each day and post online before I go to bed. As far as culture goes in 2010, I enjoyed discovering jeggings, re-discovering legwarmers, the comeback of Paul Reubens, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, My Chemical Romance - Danger Days, Good Charlotte - Cardiology, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the WWE wrestler Alberto Del Rio.



What has you most excited for 2011?I have several projects on the loading deck for 2011. Some include the next Curls Studio Anthology project (2010's Carnival - http://curls-studio.com/carnival.html), new projects for our futuristic burlesque tale of The Legettes and hopefully a book collection of the first 365 Sketch Before Sleep illustrations. In culture I look forward to continue watching Mad Men, the new Pee-wee Herman movie to be produced by Judd Apatow and I'm also going to a live MCR show in May.

Which creator should we be looking out for next year?I am very impressed with Rafael Grampá's work and hope to see more from him. I also enjoy Skottie Young and all of his amazing Oz work for Marvel. Cameron Stewart and Michael Cho are also artists that should advance greatly in 2011.

What would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?For once I have every material item I need to live life, so in terms of gifts I don't actually need anything. The gifts that I need are not anything anyone can buy, they are all things I have to earn by my own doings. BUT... if forced to ask for one crazy thing it would be GPS navigation featuring the voices of Clive Owen and Keith Urban! I'm pretty sure there is a market for this and someone should make it happen.


Jeff Parker


What have been some of the highlights for you in 2010?
Taking on a big book like Hulk, but with a proven team I love to work with like Gabe Hardman and Bettie Breitweiser. I've also enjoyed seeing the reaction to the new direction of Thunderbolts and working with Kev Walker, Frank Martin and Declan Shalvey. It's been a very rewarding year creatively. 
And I bought a crappy old boat for seven hundred bucks, but it's still a boat and it's fun. 

What has you most excited for 2011?
I'm going to dive in on a couple of creator owned stories- one is a little early to announce, but pretty soon I will be doing a webcomic with cartoonist Erika Moen. And that will be totally free!


Which creator/s should we be looking out for next year?
Well if you haven't seen Declan (Shalvey)'s stuff yet, he's going to get lots of attention. Hunt down Roger Langridge's work whereever you can if you don't already follow him. And that unannounceable project I mentioned will feature the storytelling of artist Sandy Jarrell, and I predict people will really get into him once they see what he does. 

What would you like to find in your Christmas Stocking?
A nice cold Bridgeport India Pale Ale, locally brewed here in Portland, Oregon. No wait, it will be morning- a nice cold iced American made with Stumptown Coffee, locally brewed here in Portland, Oregon. 

Christopher "Great" Scott

What were your highlights for 2010?
In my opinion there were many high points in 2010. There was Inception, The Walking Dead, Kick Ass, Iron Man 2, Tron Legacy, Alice in wonderland and red dead redemption but my highlight was Batman: Under the Red Hood. Awesome story and animation which I've now come to expect from these DC movies. 

What are you most looking forward to next year?
If I was being optimistic I'd love to see some Farscape webisodes and Evangelion 3.0 in 2011, but more realistically I'm looking forward to The Green Hornet, Transformers 3, the rum diaries, Pirates of the carribean 3, Thor, super 8,  x-men first class beginners, the adjustment bureau,  Green lantern, dead space 2, batman arkham city (fingers crossed) and more dark knight rises announcements! Also hope the Neil gaiman doctor who episode happens!

Which creators should we be watching out for in 2010?
Not totally clued up on comic book creators coming in 2011 but I always look out for people like Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison and mark miller amongst others. I tend to get people recommended to me. Film wise there's JJ Abrams, Matthew vaughn, Stephen soderbergh and Steven speilberg. 

What would you most like to find in your Christmas stocking?
In my stocking I'd love to find every copy of Avatar in the world crushed and compressed into a tiny cube that can be buried forever!!.....an iPad, kinnect or a flight to San diego comic con! :-)

Chris Samnee
http://twitter.com/ChrisSamnee
http://www.chrissamnee.com/



What was the highlight of 2010 for you?

Professionally I'd say the work I did on Thor: The Mighty Avenger. I'm sad to see it come to a close but it was a wild ride while it lasted. And the fan reaction has been nothing short of incredible. I feel very lucky to have had the year I've had.

What has you most excited about 2011?I'm really looking forward to having some of my new projects announced. Hopefully readers will be half as excited about them as I am. I'm also excited to see many of my friend's stars on the rise as comics professionals. But I'm mostly looking forward spending a bit more time with my wife now that my schedule should be a little less hectic in the coming year.

Which creators should we keep an eye out for next year?Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, The Damned, Superman/Batman), Tom Fowler (MAD, Mysterius the Unfathomable), Declan Shalvey (28 Days Later, Thunderbolts), Jason Latour (Scalped, Noche Roja), Francesco Francavilla (Zorro, Detective Comics), and Paul Tobin (Spider-Girl, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man) to name just a few. There are a ton of folks on the verge of bursting into superstardom this year.

What woud you like to find in your Christmas stocking?I'm pretty easy to please, and I've gotten pretty much everything I could wish for this year. If there's a Snickers bar in there I'll be happy. :)

Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Thanks to Mr Bendis, a man who is largely responsible for the shape of the Marvel Universe as we know it. A talented and prolific writer who presumably owns a time machine, how else could he fit so much into each day? Thanks also for putting our interview in Scarlet #3, one of the high points of my year.

Thanks to Victor Gischler for his fantastic run on X-Men and the best novel I read this year, Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse.

Thanks to Chris Scott for being the go to guy when I want to geek it up about movies and horror gear!

Thanks to Jeff Parker for arguably being the best dialogue writer in comics today. His books are a delight to read.

Thanks to Deb Aoki for being the encyclopedia for all things manga and for recommending Yotsuba&! and Chi's Sweet Home!!!

Thanks to Emmet for his tireless reviewing of books, he makes me want to work harder with my reviewing. Certainly keeps me on my toes!

Thanks to Carolyn Belefski for her sketches and insight into the NYC comic scene, even though we're worlds away.

A very big thanks to Chris Samnee for drawing my favourite new comic of the year. Thor: The Mighty Avenger was an absolutely wonderful read and certainly looked the goods. Thanks for your Twarts and for your Lunch Notes. Here's looking forward to next year!

And finally thanks to you, the reader. Not only for making through all of these words but also for your support this year. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing my geeky passion.

Happy Holidays everyone!

- Ryan

2 comments :

Aw, cheers mate.

21 December 2010 at 21:24 comment-delete

No thank you, sir!

22 December 2010 at 08:38 comment-delete

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