Friday, January 4, 2013

Annual Report 2012: Reading

(Click to Embiggen)

Reading this year entailed way less actual books than 2011 did, but a massive rise in comics (trade paperbacks). Overall I was up from 42 total in 2011 to 53 in 2012, but down on pages read from 10,881 to 10,763. In this category and in games, pure numbers do not a happy boy make though. Quality beats out quantity every time, but thankfully I had both this year.

With an extremely light reading list (5), this section is an easy, if not regretful, one to write. The A Song of Ice and Fire books were great reading and paired nicely with the TV show and my on going table top game. Ender's Game was a nice surprise in that it lived up to it's Sci-Fi classic billing. Hunger Games fell short for me. The novel concept of kids fighting to the death to reinforce government control was already laid bare for me in Battle Royale. So with that off the table it had a hard time living solely on it's teen romance narrative. Crown Conspiracy was a D&D campaign in book form. Weak sauce!

Comics went deep this year. I read so many good books that are worth sharing and worth your time. A lot of that can be attributed to my iPad and new found love of digital comics. The other half of this glut of comics can be laid at the feet of my return to the big two. Way back in 2007 when I picked up the comic torch again I didn't do it for capes and cowls.  I did it for the indie stuff, the non-super stuff. Now it is 2012 and I am regularly reading Thor, Hawkeye and Batman.

Most Disappointing Comic: B.P.R.D.
After tons of Hellboy/Mignola work enjoyed and under my belt I assumed I'd love B.P.R.D. I was wrong. The plots are mildly confusing and the characters are not as compelling as Hellboy. I wanted to love it, but I didn't.

Most Surprising Comic: Hawkeye
Not being a super hero guy, usually, this book was surprising in two parts. One that it was a super hero book and two that it was Hawkeye. A character I have very little history with save a great movie and an arcade game I loved. Fraction's Hawkeye is the time when he isn't saving the world with the Avengers though. He is just Clint Barton, battling a Russian mobster that owns his apartment building or saving a stray dog. The writing is fantastic, the stories are mostly one shots and the character is great. I love the simple and subtle art too and the page layouts feel like nothing I have seen in comics before.
Honorable Mention: Thor: God of Thunder

Best Comic: Saga
Vaughan's Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina series are some of my favorites in comics. So why I was caught off guard by how great Saga was is a bit of a mystery. Once I was on board though it quickly rose to the top of my weekly pick/read list. It is equal parts Sci-Fi, fantasy, Romeo and Juliet and romantic comedy. The characters are flawed, but endearing and when paired with the world they inhabit make for fantastic reading.
Honorable Mention: Hawkeye and Conan the Barbarian

Best Return to a Series: Invincible
I created this category solely for the purpose of giving some love to series I have raved about in the past and came back to in 20 doz. In the shadow of the Walking Deads success Invincible seems to fly under the radar a bit. I'd argue that it is as good or better and that Kirkman's work on it this year has been consistently amazing. I started with the Ultimate Collections volumes years ago and then got into the habit of not buying mixed format books. It left me waiting for more Invincible for too long. This year I caught up in trades and then in floppy when those ran out. It is a great monthly read that seems to be getting better with every issue.
Honorable Mention: Fear Agent

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Miles Logged

Books Read

Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
Batman: Batman and Son
100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Uzumaki, Volume 1
Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
Batman: Hush, Vol. 2
Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Other Strangeness