Best of the Year 2012: Andrew Girwood
Today’s instalment in our traditional daily guest Best of the Year posts (see here for the preceding posts) comes from Andrew Girwood, curator on the excellent Geek Native site (which you should have bookmarked):
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Andrew: I’m enjoying Edison Rex from MonkeyBrain Comics. A friend introduced the series to me by saying; “Imagine Lex beat Superman but then decided he had to burden the responsibility of keeping Earth safe”.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9! I know – Buffy is still going. It’s ironic but here’s a vampire story that will not die. I stopped Buffy years ago back when the TV series finished, sure that I had had my fill and no comic series could carry the flame. This year I found out I was wrong, I swept through season 8 even if the cosmic ending was a bit of a struggle. Season 9 picks up from the permanent escalation of baddies and consequences that haunted the Buffy series and starts to deal with it.
Lastly, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Hypernaturals holds my attention. It’s a fresh take on sci-fi superheroes which holds together very well. I find myself impatient for the next issue which is always a good sign when you are a few comics into a new series.
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Andrew: Sarah Newton’s sci-fi Mindjammer was my surprise find. I like sci-fi but get slightly cautious when technology and years advance to such an extent that absolutely everything seems alien. In Mindjammer we do have that alien technology and humans who are biologically strange to us but there’s also simply a solid story, given strength by interesting characters that we can relate to and their conflicts.
Turbulence by Samit Basu is a cracking read. I whisked through the pages of this alternative superhero adventure story. Turbulence manages to follow some of the “superhero rules” – enough for it to check in with fans, but then do things differently enough to make it interesting. There’s the obvious Indian spin but also how the characters discover and cope with their powers.
My “mainstream” choice of book would be Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s The Long Earth. This is a road adventure set in a reality where almost anyone can easily hop from one version of Earth into the next version of Earth, and then on to the next one, and the next one, and so on. The is great but Pratchett and Baxter fold a great story into it.
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Andrew: Arrow, which is on Sky 1 in the UK, is the CW’s take on telling the Green Arrow story. It’s a slightly darker story than most “hero” TV shows and more like Batman than the Smallville it is designed to replace in the TV roster.
Now into season two; there’s Grimm. A friendly cop finds out that he is a “Grimm” – someone who can see monsters and comes from a family with a history of hunting and exterminating them. The catch the show introduces is that these “monsters” are far from being a collection of baddies, many are good and brave people who do the right thing. Meanwhile it’s not even clear who the real baddies are and what they are up to.
I was able to watch a few anime movies at Scotland Loves Anime in Edinburgh this year. Lots of good movies to pick from there but if I had to pick a favourite this very second (opinion may change tomorrow) then I’d go with Mamoru Hosoda’s “Wolf Children Ame Yuki”. The blend of fantasy with a powerful and compelling family drama is simply wonderful.
FPI: How did 2012 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
The site is just a hobby, costing money rather than paying the bills but I would like to do more next year especially in building better relationships with true creators. Oh, a trip to the newly announced Scotland Comic Con is tempting too.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2013?
Andrew: I hope to launch a new comic series when Famous Last Words Friday reaches the end of its 10 panel run. If everything goes to plan, the talented V Shane will be impressing gamers again as we start to showcase “Wizards without Coats”.
The aspiration is to push ahead with more original content to plump up the mix of geeky news. I love being able to share geek memes, movie trailers and gamer news but I think the best blogs add extra value for their readers above and beyond the reverberations of the echo chamber. The echo chamber being that blogging phenomena which has everyone share the same discovery all at the same time.
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Andrew: I think you should watch Mike Garley and his projects closely next year. There’s his involvement with Dead Roots, the zombie comic anthology, but also his work with James Moran on the new VS Comics.