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Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009: The Year without a Best-Of -- I'm not entirely certain, but I think this is the first year in all my online comics writing that I won't be posting a best-of-the-year list. I think A Drifting Life (Drawn and Quarterly) is the only book that comes immediately to mind as really deserving any kind of call-out as the year's best effort, so I do encourage you to read my review if you haven't already, and read the book for yourself, as it is quite an accomplishment.

I did read a lot of comics I liked this year -- as far as floppies go, Buffy (Dark Horse), Conan (Dark Horse), Godland (Image), Criminal (Marvel/Icon) and The Umbrella Academy all entertained me mightily, but I never seemed to find the time to write about any of them. New League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Top Shelf) by Moore and O'Neill did get my keyboard cooking, and I loved the hardcover reissues of Captain Canuck (IDW) and Alan Moore's Swamp Thing (even despite DC's monumental goof on the most important page of Vol. 1), and of course Fantagraphics continued to make life better with its ongoing Complete Peanuts collections, and their Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 was also one of the treasures of the year, filled with tons of the master's weird and wonky comics. (IDW's Art of Ditko also rocked my world).

I also loved but have not yet found the time to write about Top Shelf's two astonishing late-in-the-year hardcover collections, The Complete Essex County and Alec: The Years Have Pants. Two awe-inspiring bricks of great comics that should be on everyone's shelves, and both also available in more affordable softcover editions if you're so inclined.

But my absolute best entertainment of the year was not found in comics in calendar 2009; Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams, knocked my socks off in ways I no longer even thought possible. It recaptured the wonder of Trek in ways I haven't felt since The Next Generation's Best of Both Worlds Part One, and was so thrilling and entertaining that it even eventually won over my Trek-hating Star Wars-obsessed 14-year-old son Aaron. Him finally breaking down and watching it with me on DVD (after refusing to see it in the theater with me and truly breaking my heart just a little bit) and actually loving it was literally the best moment of my year. So thanks to J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and all involved for giving me back something very important and personal that had been missing from my life for quite a few years.

Well, I said I wasn't going to write a best-of, and technically I don't think I have, but I did want to share with you my thoughts on the year in comics (and Star Trek) as I experienced it, and there you have it. I hope you and yours are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season, and I wish you all the best in the year ahead.

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