(Were I on a “best of” list, it would likely be for Most Egregious Overuse of Quotation Marks and Hyphens. And Parenthesis.)
Suburban Nation, by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck is a fascinating and infuriating survey of modern civic planning, or lack thereof. You’ll never look at a cul-de-sac the same way. It probably shouldn’t be in this category because it has pictures, now that I think about it. I like pictures.
Paper Fan, by Terry Gould, is the true story of a Canadian investigative reporter’s search for a fugitive Triad boss who fakes his own death. Hunting a crimelord who doesn't want to be found is only a slightly better idea than frolicking with Mr. Chocolate. A gritty, compelling look at the Triad underworld and the societies that enable them to exist, Paper Fan reads like an Elmore Leonard novel, full of colorful rogues and snappy prose.
I’m also one of those blog geeks that loved Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, which seemed fresh and – forgive me – full of wonder. But holy shit does Superman have a huge neck in this comic! It was a little distracting.
What else? I enjoyed We3, Seven Soldiers, The Bulleteer (boobs!), and Alan Moore and Gene Ha’s The Forty-Niners. That Gene Ha can draw buildings like a mofo. I also liked Villains United, Wonder Woman, She Hulk, The Goon, and Brubaker's Captain America.
Those little penguins in March of the Penguins were hella cute and the cinematography was incredible, so that gets a thumbs up from me. I thought Batman Begins was keen. Come on, you know it was the best Batman movie, admit it.
Stop laughing at me! Tell me Kelly Preston doesn't look hot in body armor!
On DVD this year I enjoyed David Mamet’s Spartan, with Val Kilmer in full-on cryptic bad-ass mode. I know, it came out in 2004, but I didn’t see it until 2005. Same with House of Flying Daggers and Spirited Away – they were new to me. I saw Ong Bak this year and nearly had a religious experience. If you like the fu, you must check it out.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE BLOGS
All my favorite blogs are over there to the right. See them? They all get the big Dave’s Long Box thumbs-up. It’s difficult to single out particular blogs, but if I must:
Beaucoupkevin: Jesus, what a smart-ass. Kevin Church rocks out with his sock out on this acerbic and funny comics blog, home of Otter Prime and the Shit That Is Killing Comics feature, in which Kevin picks over the offerings in Previews like a big, sarcastic vulture. That can type.
Neilalien: Holy shit! It’s a motherfucking palindrome! Nelialien is Lord of the Linkbloggers and Devoted Disciple of Dr. Strange. He seeks out cool stuff so I don’t have to. A classic blog.
Comics Should Be Good: This blog has my favorite regular feature, Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed! The title says it all; Brian Cronin plays mythbuster with the shadowy tales that float around the comics world.
Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin: The ultimate comics blog! EVER!
Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog: Chris Sims is funny as hell. I wouldn’t pick him up if he was hitchhiking, but he’s funny as hell. Just stay on the other side of the computer, Chris.
Comic Book Galaxy: “Pushing comics up your bum since 2000.” I swear, that’s their motto. Okay, it’s not really a blog, it’s an online magazine run by Alan David Doane, the grand auteur of online comic criticism. With articles and columns by smart people, Comic Book Galaxy has a mission and you had best get the hell out of the way. Good stuff.
Brill Building: Ian Brill lands great interviews and writes insightful essays about comics. Plus, he is a kick-boxing champion who defeated a French savate master in The Kumite. ‘Nuff said.
The Savage Critic(s): Brian Hibbs’ round-up of recent comics, and online roost of Graeme MacMillan of the late Fanboy Rampage. I like to read their reviews of shitty comics so I can still feel like I know what’s going on without actually buying every damn book...