Goodbye 2015: Here I go again with my wrap-up for 2015. Compared to the last two years, I hardly got any reading done. But that can easily be explained. I returned to full-time employment at the end of March, and the ever-growing success / workload / reading list for the Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER! For the subject of this blog, I finished seven Showcase Presents volumes and nine Essential volumes.Showcase Presents volumes read in 2015: All-Star Squadron 1; Legion of Super-Heroes 5; Blue Beetle 1; Strange Adventures 1; Ambush Bug 1; Martian Manhunter 2; and Warlord 1. Essential volumes read in 2015: Conan the Barbarian 1; Man-Thing 2; Marvel Horror 2; Wolverine 5; Punisher 3; Dazzler 2; Killraven 1; Daredevil 5; and Rampaging Hulk 2.
Hello 2016: OK, for many years I was a loyal listener to the Collected Comics Library podcast produced by Chris Marshall. Each January, Chris announced his “Adopt a Character” for the year, in which he focuses on reading more about one character, a specific run of a book, or even just focus on a particular creator, over the next year.
For 2015, I had three “Adopt a Character” goals which I came very close to fulfilling!
- I do want to finish the Mike Grell Green Arrow series. I have tracked down most of the Oliver Queen issues of the title after Grell left, up to issue #100, so my plan is to read the last 40 issues plus annuals. Mission accomplished, albeit in the final week of December. I am curious now about reading the Connor Hawke issues that followed this run, so I may be on the hunt in the back-issue bins this upcoming year.
- With the Essential and Showcase lines, I have two long-boxes of books to read. As much as I try to balance 1 DC to 1 Marvel read, I may need to focus more on Marvel this year, as those are the majority of the books due up for review in 2015. Keep reading for more on the blog going forward. Well, my numbers did go down as detailed above. That said, I did read a lot of books that fall outside my usual reading habits. But for every book I did read, I probably replaced it with another volume that is sitting in the To-Be-Read pile. As of today, I have 18 Essentials and 18 Showcase Presents in my collection that are unread. I’m hoping to reduce my pile this year, and limit my purchases – barring an offer I just can’t refuse. Ha!
- Finally, I am looking to find something new to jump into, so I am going to put it out there for my audience. Tell me a title I should be reading, either current or from the back issue bins. Please comment on this post with your suggestions, and the best one will be added to my to-read list for 2015. I initially thought I would re-read the original Marvel Star Wars run from the 1970s and 1980s. Instead, I pretty much read all of the 2015 Marvel Star Wars run, with all of the titles and mini-series.
However, I don’t believe I am going to set official goals for 2016, outside of finishing more Essentials and Showcases than I purchase. Given the success of the podcast, I would like to keep a lot of my reading options open for the new year.
Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER!: So trust me when I promise that I am still fully committed to Essential Showcase. Reviews are still going to be posted once a week, although I may move them away from Saturday in an attempt to get more eyes on the posts. But a good portion of my free time last year went to the podcast that I am doing with two of my best friends, John Holloway and Cullen Stapleton.
We started the podcast in the summer of 2014 as a way to get together once a week and talk comics. About this time last year, the three of us sat down and decided we were going to see what we could do with our entity beyond just a weekly podcast. So for the last year, we have provided new content on our blog Monday through Friday, with previews, reviews, comics, videos, and more. I have been re-using my older Essential Showcase reviews as material for our Throwback Thursday features, although I do mix in other reviews of older material along the way.
Between the three of us, we went to nine conventions, including a free trip to San Diego for Cullen and John. We’ve interviewed – either on the podcast or in a written post – dozens of creators and industry members over the last year. We did in-store appearances in the Kansas City area for Free Comic Book Day and Batman Day. By being in the right place at the right time, we even started hosting panels at some of the conventions. My personal highlight of the year was getting to co-host the Secret Wars panel at Kansas City Comic Con with Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and John Beatty. Some of our other interactions include:
- Interviews with: Jason Aaron, Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Dan Parent, Ande Parks, Greg Pak, Rick Stasi, Steve Lightle, Terry Beatty, Cynthia Martin, CW Cooke, Kathy Garver, Katrina Law, Mike Grell, Tommy Castillo, Matt Kindt, David Mack, Frank Cho, Scott Williams, Chris Burnham, Barbara Kesel, B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jillian Kirby, Meredith Finch, Trina Robbins, Alex de Campi, Joshua Dysart, Chris Roberson, Chris Sebula, Steve Lieber, Freddie Williams II, and more.
- Panels hosted with: Walter Koenig, Bob Hall, Cynthia Martin, David Newell, Billy West & Maurice LaMarche, Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, John Beatty, Colin Baker, Cerina Vincent, Tara Buck, Jamie Bamber, Butch Patrick, and more.
For 2016, we will be attending a lot of shows, either for the full weekend or a few days. You can find one or more of us at these shows in 2016:
- Wizard World Portland
- Emerald City Comic Con
- Planet Comicon
- Smallville Comicon
- O Comic Con
- Kansas City Comic Con
- Rose City Comic Con
- Lawrence Free State Comicon
- Eugene Con
And this list is probably not final. I know of a few more than we might be adding to the list. Please visit our blog (often) to see what we are up to each week.
Houchen Bindery: So via the podcast, I have gotten to know Tim Benson from Houchen Bindery. We’ve spoken to him twice on the podcast, and we’ve got a project in the works with him for later in 2016. Anyway, I have started sending some older comics to Tim to have bound into a hardback book. Tim is a skilled graphic designer, and has made custom covers for my books to mimic the look of the Essentials and Showcases.
In the last year, Tim and Houchen have put together the following books for me: Essential Alpha Flight, Showcase Presents Sandman Mystery Theater, Showcase Presents Who’s Who, and Showcase Presents Silver Age. In my head, I probably have another 20 volumes in mind for future projects. Just a matter of prioritizing and getting the books to Tim.
If you have ever thought about getting your books bound, contact Tim. There are a lot of other great binderies out there, and I am not speaking ill of any of them. But I am saying that Tim is the one I trust with my books.
Thank you!: So I know that what I do here falls into a very small niche of the comic book reading community. I know I will never have spectacular numbers in terms of views, likes, and shares. I get that, and I am OK with that. To me, this is a passion project that I want to see through to the end.
But with that said, there are a handful of you guys that respond on a regular basis. I don’t want to name names, for fear that I leave someone off unintentionally. Just know that I appreciate you taking the time to look at my post and share it with your friends.
All right, let’s have a great 2016!