Sneaking in at the very end of the annual FPI Best Of Year lists comes Clark Burscough, one of the people behind Leeds’ excellent Thought Bubble comics festival, an event that goes from strength to strength each year. Mark it in your diaries now – 12th-18th November 2012.
Thanks to Clark for getting involved….
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?
I stopped buying single issues of comics many years ago, after my Dad finally got fed up of having 10 boxes of old 2000 AD progs clogging up his attic, so I tend to stick to graphic novels and webcomics. I think this year has been brilliant for both of the latter, so I was pretty hard pressed to pick my favourites.
1) Dungeon Quest volume 2 – by Joe Daly
Childish, purile, hilarious, brilliant. I am completely in love with Joe Daly’s series at this point, and the second volume continues in the same vein as the first; namely, silly stoner-esque humour, with a love for RPGs at its heart.
2) Scalped Volume 7 – Rez Blues – by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
I absolutely adore Jason Aaron’s writing in Scalped at the moment, without a doubt my favourite crime book currently being published: dark; blackly comic; and you just know that no one’s leaving the Rez alive/unscathed. It speaks to the quality of the series that issue 35 (found in this collection) is one of my favourite single issues of a comic ever. A poignant, stand-alone tale of one elderly couple’s attempt to survive winter on the reservation, it’s both totally incongruous to the rest of the series and yet perfectly placed.
3) Batman & Robin volume 3 – Batman & Robin Must Die! – by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart
I am an unabashed Grant Morrison fanboy, and I could probably have filled this list with his books, what with the recent release of Joe the Barbarian (excellent, by the by), but the culmination of his run on Batman & Robin takes the spot. I’ve been following this extended storyline since Batman and Son, way back in 2006, so seeing all the disparate threads come together, and Batman truly kick some ass (with the help of the Joker) delighted the bat-nerd in me no end.
1) Homestuck – by Andrew Hussie
Andrew Hussie’s magnum opus is one of my favourite comics at the moment, and is seriously pushing the boundaries of what readers should expect from the medium. Universe spanning, fourth wall breaking, interactive storylines, a killer soundtrack, all dosed with a knowing sense of humour. Give it a read, but beware the sizeable chunk of spare time it will take to catch up with the story so far. Truly epic.
2) Vattu – by Evan Dahm
Evan Dahm’s tales of Overside are consistently some of my favourite webcomics, long for storytelling, fantastical characters, and high fantasy storylines all combine to create gripping page-turners (screen-turners?) that reward the loyal reader. The latest story, Vattu, about a young hunter/gatherer captured by a warmongering empire and indentured could be his best work yet.
3) Three Word Phrase – by Ryan Pequin
Ryan Pequin’s Three Word Phrase is definitely not safe for work, and is consistently hilarious. Dumb and irreverent, but overall – fun.
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
1) The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
Kaufman’s previous novella All My Friends Are Superheroes would probably be more appropriate for this list, but I read The Tiny Wife most recently so it gets the plug. The hardback edition is lovely, as is the story within. Give it to someone special in your life.
2) Anathem by Neil Stephenson
Detailed discussions of allegorical philosophical/quantum science concepts all rolled up in a ball with Kung Fu monks, parallel universes and a story that grips for the duration of its 900+ pages. Perfick.
3) The City and the City by China Miéville
I finally got round to reading this over summer, and I think it’s my favourite novel by Miéville. I think. The central conceit is deceptively simple, but challenges the reader’s perception of the story throughout. Like a post-Blade Runner Naked Lunch.
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?
1) Adventure Time
My favourite cartoon ever, after the Venture Bros. It has a magical talking dog, completely non-sensical storylines, dubstep on the soundtrack, and a great theme tune. Wonderful.
2) Bored to Death
I was torn between picking this and Community, but Bored to Death’s latest series was brilliant, and Ted Danson is amazing in it. But watch Community too, so long as it is just on “hiatus” now, and not cancelled.
Game of Thrones got the fanfare (and deserved it eventually), but for me the best thing on telly this year was Treme. Great soundtrack, laser precise writing, and the second season saw all the previous series’ disparate storylines coalesce in a pleasingly organic way. It’s that good it makes me be all pretentious and stuff. Wicked.
1) Kill List
Leon: The Professional meets… The Wicker Man? Kind of. Michael Smiley was great in it, and it had that whole Mike Leigh, Shane Meadows vibe to it, that’s always handy when the BAFTAs roll around.
I saw Hanna with my Mum, and we both enjoyed it, though probably for different reasons. Great soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers, and everyone likes it when Eric Bana does accents, right? Saoirse Ronan was great as the eponymous heroine, and Tom Hollander is always a good watch, even when playing a psychotic neo-Nazi.
Probably on everyone else’s lists, so, yeah, I agree with everything they said (probably) – another great soundtrack, and, yes, Ryan Gosling is dreamy.
FPI: How did 2011 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
2011 went well for Thought Bubble, we put on our biggest festival ever, both in terms of size and attendance, with surprisingly few hiccups, so we’ll class that as a win. We also put out our first ever anthology (through Image comics) with all profits going to the Barnardos charity, held the second annual Leeds Graphic Novel Awards (won by Sarah McIntyre), and Northern Sequential Art Competition (winners to appear in 2012’s anthology), and gave away a whole bunch of free comics through our book crossing initiative. Fun.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2012?
Our biggest festival yet! We say that every year, but it continues to be true. We’ve got more expansion plans for 2012, and we’ll be revealing some of them in the new year, and then throughout 2012 in the run-up to next year’s Thought Bubble which will take place 12th – 18th November 2012 as part of Leeds International Film Festival.
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Kristyna Baczynski! Her work’s amazing, and I hope 2012 is the year that she receives the recognition she deserves, e.g. ALL OF IT.