2015: The Year in Review

Looks like this really is one of the only blog posts I’ll write this year!

====BOOKS====

Favourite: Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
The pleasure of seeing Tolstoy’s words on the printed page was almost tactile. I very often read for plot and distraction. With this novel, I stopped by to visit the worlds created by the characters’ voices. Yes, even the dog.

Disappointment: too few candidates!

Surprise: too few candidates!

Observations: The saddest year of reading since I bothered keeping track. I think I know what one of my 2016 Resolutions will be

====COMICS (Print)====

Favourite: THE PITIFUL HUMAN-LIZARD
Pure comic-book fun: an office-drone takes his dad’s promotional lizard costume out for nightly patrols of Toronto’s streets as a “real superhero”… and is terrible at it. Even his dojo won’t take his money for martial arts lessons that don’t stick. But a funny thing happened when he tested an off-the-books experimental drug: he can’t powers of regeneration, just like a lizard! Now he’s ready to stand alongside the real superheroes of Toronto. It’s so darn cute and sweet and earnest and funny that I hope it lasts for years.

Disappointment: I HATE FAIRYLAND
Naomi loves Skottie Young’s art, and I loved his adaptations of the Wizard of Oz, so this crazed Mad-magazine style adventure of a human girl growing old and cranky while lost in Fairyland should have been a home run…but it’s just too gross for my tastes. Nobody tell Naomi about it.

Surprise: WE STAND ON GUARD/ PREZ
WE STAND ON GUARD is a war comic about occupation, rebellion and torture…set in a future war between the USA and Canada. The Yankees have invaded us ‘Nucks with their giant war robots because we have the water they need…or, at least, the water the elites tell their people they need. Contains the single most disturbing panel in a sequence about virtual-reality interrogation that I’ll ever read (there was nothing horrible to see, but the mental imagery lingers, which is the point).

PREZ is the latest timely reboot of the crazy Joe Simon character from the 70s: a teenaged President of the USA. Beth Ross stars in an unfortunate viral video, and is elected as a write-in candidate on the official Twitter ballot – actually, it’s way funnier than that, from a policy-wonk perspective, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Her avowed enemies are Boss Smiley and the megacorps, but she has unusual allies among the disenfranchised. Like Batman, we get the Prez we deserve.

Observations: Canada is the theme of my reserve list this year: We Stand on Guard, Pitiful Human-Lizard, a returned Captain Canuck, and two volumes of the True Patriot anthology kept me up late reading.

=====COMICS(Electronic)====

Favourite: THE MASSIVE
An engrossing environmental catastrophe series about the years after the oceans rose and upended the world. The crew of the pacifist environmental activist vessel Kapital try to find out what happened to their sister ship, the Massive. It all goes a bit predictably sideways in the final volume, but I was engrossed with the story of every ex-mercenary and wide-eyed college tourist on that ship.

Disappointment: EDGE OF THE SPIDER-VERSE
I bought these alternate-reality tales of Spider-Man for a single reason: Spider-Gwen. That issue was fantastic. The rest are dreck…senselessly gross and ridiculous.

Surprise: SHE-HULK
Charles Soule only had 12 issues with Jennifer Walters and Patsy Walker, but they were extraordinary. She-Hulk tries to help Doctor Doom’s son defect to America, and defends Captain America against charges of treason…all while uncovering a larger mystery. Terrific stuff. And those Kevin Wada covers were simply gorgeous.

Observations: Valiant really does a full-court press on Comixology sales, and I’ve been able to catch up with almost every book in their catalogue for just 99 cents an issue.

=====GAMES(Mobile)====

Favourite: TAP TITANS
I don’t know why this clicker game appealed to me: the art style? The adorable character names and abilities? The nested progression ladders? In any event, it keeps me busy on mass transit, and literally requires no attention and I can quit anytime I want. No really, I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough.

Disappointment: DUNGEON RAID for Android
I love the game on Apple devices, but the animations simply won’t run on my Nexus. The lag interferes with the fun.

Surprise: LITTLE ALCHEMY
Start with four elements (earth, wind, fire, air) and then mix them. Create mud, pottery, humans, knights, dragons, nuclear missiles and, eventually, the One Ring. Or earlier if you get lucky, or are just ridiculously single-minded about making combinations. I didn’t find everything, but I found items that my officemates didn’t, and that’s good enough for me.

Observations: I will love a game eternally if I can play it on the metro without needing a cell or wifi connection.

=====GAMES(Tablet)====

I downloaded a batch of tablet games, but barely played any. The kids have pretty much taken over the iPad for gaming. I use it to watch TV shows and read comics, nowadays.

====MOVIES (First-Run)====

Favourite: TURBO KID
The most fun I’ve had since stumbling into the theatre to see WOLF COP. I couldn’t imagine a more entertaining retro-cool apocalypse without Apple.

Disappointment: THE EQUALIZER
Angry Old Guy Denzel is just as fascinating to watch as any other Denzel, but this film is like the worse of the Bronson DEATH WISH sequels: no heart, just a series of coordinated death traps. Killing is easy…it’s the living that’s hard, and this movie doesn’t know how to live.

Surprise: FANTASTIC FOUR
It’s a much more interesting film as metatext: Josh Trank as Reed Richards, trying to follow his childhood inspirations despite interference from the funding classes, is fearful of losing credit for his work, and doesn’t see the damage cause by his single-mindedness until it’s too late.

But it’s not a superhero film, whatever else it is.

Observations: The hours were tighter this year, so I didn’t see as many films as I would have liked

====MOVIES (DVD/Stream)====

Favourite: TRACKS / Wild
Take your pick: Walking from the middle of the Australian Outback to the sea, with three camels, an Aboriginal escort, and the occasional National Geography photographer for company…OR…walking the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, from California to Oregon. Either way, I got teary at the sight of that struggle and beauty, and wanted to travel more.

Disappointment: COPENHAGEN
If I realize the movie stars yet another callow 20-something American boy on a Grand Tour, I’ll turn off the movie even faster.

Surprise: BOOK OF LIFE
Ben and Naomi told me I’d love this movie, and they were right. They have strong film recommendations now, and I want to see what they see. But they still can’t see Deadpool.

Observations: Funny story: I wouldn’t have bought a single DVD this year if it wasn’t for the kids.

====MUSIC====

Favourite: CALIFORNIA NIGHTS by Best Coast
When the guitar riffs jangle just right, you can see the moonlight on the surf. True story.

Disappointment: LEAVE NO BRIDGE UNBURNED by Whitehorse
This pains me…because they Whitehorse are a favourite. Only one surefire sizzler (“Fake Your Death and I’ll Fake Mine”), but, for the rest of the tracks, the production gets in the way of the songs. Also, I think I only really like Whitehorse songs where Melissa McClelland sings the lead.

Surprise: E*MO*TION by Carly Rae Jepsen
“History doesn’t repeat itself/It rhymes” and I am digging reinvented, reinvested vision of the 80s love and heartbreak tracks from Carly Rae Jepsen. Brings me right back to the high-school dancefloor. Amazing.

Observations: I’ve got to give credit to Twitter for helping me discover new music this year: following the various trade magazines led me down a couple of interesting rabbit holes.

====TV SHOWS (First-Watch)====

Favourite: JESSICA JONES
This is the only show that could knock ORPHAN BLACK out of the top spot – a self-contained survival story, and the best VERONICA MARS riff in existence. I never read the comics, so I could just sit back, relax, and be horrified/enthralled in equal measure. Everyone has a figure of abuse to overcome. Everyone has someone to protect. I have no idea what they could do for an encore.

Disappointment: DCCTOR WHO S9
Sonic sunglasses. A guitar. Just…no. I watch this show for the kids, and we’re six episodes behind. This needs a good boot to get in gear.

Surprise: SUPERGIRL / THIS LIFE
With SUPERGIRL, You will believe that superheroes can be fun. You will believe in sisterhood, women in the workplace, and feminism. Naomi is completely hooked. She identifies strongly with Supergirl, and I can’t say anything about the show because that’s her hero. It’s wonderful to see.

Carol and I were struck by THIS LIFE, a CBC drama filmed in NDG, about a single mother who is dying of cancer, and the way both she and her family face the remaining days. It’s not maudlin, but rather hopeful and hilarious as everyone’s private and secret lives are given a chance to shine, from the grandparents through to the teenaged children. And I can’t say enough good things about the sun-drenched opening title sequence.

====TV SHOWS (Catch-Up)====

Favourite: MISFITS S1
Good gravy, this was unexpectedly great, like the first season of HEROES. Simple powers, displayed with complexity, a time travel prophecy that surprises, and the finest comedic scenery chewing from Nathan. Really, the show lives and dies with him…

Disappointment: MISFITS S3-5
…without Nathan, there’s not much left to go on. The third season involved swapping powers, a plot to kill Hitler, and wraps up the last lingering bit of time travel paradox. Season 4 opens with new Misfits, and somebody sawing a handcuffed briefcase off somebody’s hand. I stopped halfway through that episode.

Surprise: BLACK MIRROR
Perfect horror films about how the paradigms of social media and ubiquitous recording devices perfect the worst in human nature. Instant opinion polls, microtransactions and gamification, perfect recordings, the political-entertainment complex, ghosts in social media, mob justice…it’s our recognizable world.

Observations: It’s possible to have access to too much TV. I cancelled a Shomi subscription within the 30-day trial period because I couldn’t stand the idea of increasing my backlog.

Brainstorm Box

Game pieces
Many boardgames sacrificed their tokens to make this kit…

Given that I got into the game design biz via technical writing and boardgame enthusiasm, I find it easier to think with my hands…pushing a pencil across the page, the buttons on a keyboard, or plastic figures on a cardboard map. Even if the game is distributed digitally, they’re still fundamentally tactile.

So, to keep the ideas flowing, I put together a brainstorm box out of materials scavenged from old boardgames. There’s a little bit of everything here:

  • Robot figures – from the Avalon Hill re-release of the much-loved Roborally
  • D&D Miniatures – from one of the many 2nd edition AD&D starter sets. Great for skirmishes.
  • Cthulhu – many games use a token to indicate who is the active player. People pay attention to Cthulhu
  • Wooden pawns – Simple, classic, effective. Four colours.
  • Cavalry figures and markers – in 4 colours. From a truly terrible game called Tenjo. Useful for goalposts and double-long figures
  • Dinosaurs – I mean…why not! From the Dino Hunt game by Steve Jackson Games.
  • Games Seeds – a terrific set of game mechanic inspiration cards with adorably blobby illustrations. Available here
  • Poker decks – 2 versions, so distinguish players 1 and 2
  • Chess set – magnetic, of course. Great for any time I need a board or want to map out a tactics game.
  • Rocket ships – A dozen stackable rockets in four colours. From the Avalon Hill edition of Cosmic Encounters. Great for indicating power-ups, captures, etc.
  • Letter tiles – 2 sets of 40. From Zynga’s attempt to break into the physical game space
  • Sand Timers – 30 seconds (from Roborally) and 2 minutes (from the kids’ dentist)
  • Glass Beads – a boardgame staple
  • Dice – Classic six-siders in a variety of colours and sides. use them as counters, pawns, randomizers or pieces!
  • Plastic coins – 12 glid, 18 silver, 24 copper. From a pirate-themed game called Bounty. Everybody loves money!
  • Tape Measure – for measuring distance and line of sight in tactical games
  • Pliyhedrons – I think Kepler was right: these shapes make up universe.
  • Rulers/Protractor – for sketches. I might use the protractor as a goal for a game of quarters
  • Scholi supplies – it’s not enough to have the ideas…you have to write them down.
  • Notebook – this is where the ideas live
  • Post-Its – for annotations, pirate sails or cozy blankets

2014: The Year in Review

If I write only one blog post a year, it’ll be this one.

====BOOKS====

Favourite: THE QUARRY, by Iain Banks
An autistic teenager watches his middle-aged father die of cancer while their house slowly collapses into a quarry. Dad’s old university friends show up for a final Big Chill bash, and try to keep old secrets buried. Banks’ final novel is the most Banksian of them all…except all the adults in the novel are roughly my age.

Disappointment: THE LONG DARK, by Stephen R. Donaldson
What started twenty-odd years ago as nightmare-fuelled solipsistic psychodrama fizzles as Thomas Covenant resolves his anger issues by inviting at least four outsiders back to the Land and settling for fantasy instead of reality. This was a marathon I wish I hadn’t run.

Surprise: DIVINE MISFORTUNE, by A. Lee Martinez
There are good comic fantasy novels written by folks not named Pratchett or Morrow. Given that the main character is a racoon-shaped God of Luck, it helped that I had already seen Guardians of the Galaxy!

Observations: 2014 was the year I finally caught up with my unread pile of books! Sure, I gave some unread books away, but I worked my way through the Howards, Kays, Atwoods and Banks that were glaring at me from my bookshelf.

====COMICS (Print)====

Favourite: MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER / SOLAR: MAN OF THE ATOM
I have always loved the Gold Key characters, from summer vacations with the family through Valiant to the Jim Shooter-led reboots at Dark Horse (but I didn’t like the Acclaim years). This year, Dynamite books took up the charge: Magnus was reimagined as something thoroughly modern, with jokes about the Singularity and the Bechdel Test, and Solar was Erica the architect, haunted by the nuclear ghost of her foolhardy and aloof father, Phil. Alas, they will only last for twelve issues apiece, but it was a wonderful ride.

Disappointment: KILL SHAKESPEARE: MASK OF NIGHT / DOCTOR SPEKTOR: MASTER OF THE OCCULT
Two mini-series, two disappointments. Kill Shakespeare pushes the “all Shakespearean characters in one universe” one joke too far. Perhaps it comes from me systematically reading the plays, but the I could see all the twists and turns a mile off, and the mismatched quotes were annoying rather than clever. Doctor Spektor is a rare failure from Mark Waid: he normally excells as locked-room mysteries and master detective characters, but this mystery was convoluted without being engaging. I wonder if the licensor imposed too much interference.

Surprise: NELVANA OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
Thanks to the efforts of Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey, I discovered the “Canadian Whites” — the WWII-era, all-Canadian produced comics. The artwork is gorgeous. The content…is of its time. Naturally, I’ve jumped on the next restorations: Johnny Canuck and Brok Windsor. Oh, Canada!

Observations: As titles fall of my list, I’m not replacing them. This leaves more room in the budget for comics for the kids!

=====COMICS(Electronic)====

Favourite: FIVE GHOSTS
This feels like a comic book from another era: pulp adventure by Frank J Barbiere and drawn as if by Joe Kubert and inked by Klaus Janson (actually Chris Mooneyham — his art is just that good). The high-concept: a treasure hunter is haunted by five pulp archetypes, represented by Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Merlin and Miyomoto Musashi. The abilities kick in (and occasionally take over) as temples are raided. Great stuff from start to finish

Disappointment: FINAL CRISIS
Comixology sales are a great way to catch up on series I missed in print. I wish I had left this Grant Morrison-penned epic crossover alone. It’s a mess of Monitors, Apokalips, transmogrified heroes and villains and a missing Superman. I don’t think Morrison should write crossovers where half the info is left out…he should only write mini-series.

Surprise: WE3
Speaking of which, Morrison’s military take on “The Amazing Journey” is action packed and affecting. I thought it would be just twaddle as the trio of a dog, cat and rabbit demobbed from military service as remote-controlled killing machines. Instead, I got something in my eye.

Observations: I picked up more comics by volume electronically than at the local store. The Comixology sales and Humble Bundles are great incentives. I’ll almost always stick to the physical books for trades, but this will be how I pick up floppies in the future. I don’t mind waiting, and you can’t $1/book is just the right price.

=====GAMES(Mobile)====

Favourite: LETTER QUEST
This is the spelling/combat/rpg that I’ve always wanted, which a nifty array of power-ups, villains, special game conditions and quests. I gladly paid for the premium version…twice (once on iOS, once on Android).

Disappointment: DOCTOR WHO: LEGACY
I’d prfer my Doctor Who games be closer to Puzzle Quest than Puzzles and Dragons. This version was plainly tedious, no matter how steeped in Whovian lore.

Surprise: THREES!
Most folks play the 2048 rip-offs, but this adorable slider puzzle is worth full price AND Apple’s Mobile Game of the Year honours. I’ve almost missed my train stop on several occasions due to this game, but I keep coming back for more.

Observations: All these mobile games have retrained my gaming expectations. I know want to play short sessions in rapid succession, but I have no patience for longer games. I don’t know how I’d handle a console game at this point (though, really, when do I have the time?)

=====GAMES(Tablet)====

Favourite: DEAD MAN’S DRAW
I believe this game started as a physical Kickstarter product and the app was a bonus. I’m glad it was, because it’s a simple and entertaining push-your-luck style card game with a ladder of unlockable power-ups. Now I want the physical deck!

Disappointment: DUNGEON KEEPER
I work in F2P mobile games, and I personally enjoy the builder/raider variety. This game served neither genre particularly well. I must admit that the soft-launch version was more flexible and fun, but it probably didn’t monetize well, because the official launch version had even higher costs and longer wait timers.

Surprise: DWARVEN DEN
This is a fun little randomized dungeon explorer game that could have been a harsh time and money extractor, but it kept me playing because it left all the important gameplay choices to me. If I ran out of energy before reaching the target, I felt that it was because I made a sub-optimal choice. I didn’t blame the dungeon randomizer. I didn’t keep playing, but it was a a fun month while it lasted.

Observations: I “finished” 3 different builder games this year: MY LITTLE PONY, ARCHIE: RESCUE RIVERDALE, and SPONGEBOB MOVES IN. (By “finished” I mean that all the territory had been unlocked and the only tasks left to complete cost real money.) I enjoy reaching the end point of supposedly “infinite” games.

====MOVIES (First-Run)====

Favourite: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER / BOYHOOD
WINTER SOLDIER is my favourite action film since the BOURNE trilogy — some of those stunts actually made me gasp. Cap is disappointed with the future, Black Widow is both whimsical and world-weary, and Falcon is terrific addition to the team. Only in this film will I acknowledge Bucky’s return from the dead.

BOYHOOD almost felt like an uncomfortable documentary. Some of the moments were too intimate and heartbreaking not to be real. Exceptional work from all the actors from start to finish.

Disappointment: INTERSTELLAR / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Honestly, neither film was bad. They were just too…self-aware, and I found myself watching the spectacle of their existence instead of falling into the story. But I won’t soon forget TARS or Quicksilver.

Surprise: LOCKE / CASSE-TETE CHINOIS
I had no plans to see either of these films when I did, but sellouts and subway led me this way. I’m glad they did.

LOCKE is a the single best thing I’ve seen Tom Hardy perform in…and all he’s doing is talking to 4-5 people on speakerphone during a late-night drive to London. It’s a one-act play more than anything else, but utterly engrossing. I find myself talking in the car in much the same way.

CASSE-TETE CHINOIS is a French rom-com about a 40 year-old divorced man who follows his ex-wife and his university friends to New York City. The whole film had a shaggy, comfortable and playful feel, as all the characters and actors had known each other for years…and it turns out, they did! This is the third movie in a series (AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE and POUPEES RUSSES), and I’d be happy to revisit this gang every 5 or 6 years.

Honourable Mentions: VERONICA MARS / WOLF COP
My cinematic world is a better place because these crazy crowdfunded films!

Observations: I saw many more films than usual this year, seen three movies more than once, and generally been working the Cineplex movie points system hard.

====MOVIES (DVD/Stream)====

Favourite: MOONRISE KINGDOM
Wes Anderson can stop making movies after this excellent coming-of-autumn/coming-of-age tale of misunderstood young love at a sleepaway camp. Nobody really speaks as they do in Anderson films, but the kids here convince me that they do.

Disappointment: TO DO LIST
Aubrey Plaza is so breathtakingly dry that I thought she’d be hilarious in a Wet Hot American sex farce. Instead, it’s just gross and annoying. I stopped watching half an hour in.

Surprise: POPULAIRE
A delightful 60s-set French rom-com about…an international speed-typing competition! Sexy and silly from start to finish.

Observations: It seems like every other film I stream is foreign, independent or bilingual…and often all 3 at the same time!

====MUSIC====

Favourite: THE GOLDEN ECHO, by Kimbra / PLECTRUM ELECTRUM by Prince & Third Eye Girl
A pair of funky albums rounded out my soundtrack of the year. Kimbra’s sophomore effort goes full-bore experimental (apropos of nothing: parts of it were recorded near my office!), and Prince’s new band is as glitzy and glam as I remember him being 30 years ago. If you need an up-tempo groove for marching in the street or something slick to seduce that special someone…these albums have you covered.

Disappointment: Turn Blue, by The Black Keys
It’s not them, it’s me: this was not the divorce concept album for me. In fact, last year’s disappointing album was also a divorce album. They should come with a warning.

Surprise: BLANK PROJECT, by Neneh Cherry
OMG! I’ve had her under my skins since we used to hang in a Buffalo Stance. Her new album feels like we reunited after never growing apart. This is better than a nostalgic rediscovery. Plus, there’s a track with Robyn!

Observations: Every album I bought, I was able to stream a preview either on iTunes, NPR, Rolling Stone, Spotify or CBC Music (which means I shouldn’t have been surprised by the disappointment…or bought the album at all, really).

====TV SHOWS (First-Watch)====

Favourite: ORPHAN BLACK S2
Breakneck pacing from start to (almost) the finish for all the clones AND, more interestingly, for all the supporting characters. Mrs. S and Donnie had a particularly eventful time this season. The cliffhanger sets up a terrific obvious-yet-unexpected twist for Season 3 (which can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned).

Disappointment: JUSTIFIED S5
Season 4 ended on a false note, literally: Raylan is an accessory to a perfectly justifiable mob hit, and he walks off to the strains of his own bad-ass theme song. All season, I expected him to pay the price, but he didn’t. It was glossed over. Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder takes such a business beating that I felt badly for him, and the cliffhanger setting up the final season does not look promising. I’m hoping not to be disappointed.

Surprise: DOCTOR WHO S8
Well, well, well. Doctor Who as a cranky uncle is a delight! My kids and I watch each episode and identify all the moments when he behaves as a jerk. It’s a relief to be free of the Pond and Song plotlines.

Observations: I’m bummed that AirMiles is making it harder to redeem points for iTunes certificates. Next year’s worth of TV will feel more expensive.

====TV SHOWS (Stream)====

Favourite: DAMAGES
Flash-forwards, waking nightmares and death glares from steeliest eyes in the business: DAMAGES is perfect for a binge watch. But as much fun as I had watching Glenn Close veer between obsessive to guilt-ridden to evil, I enjoyed Rose Byrne’s reluctant transformation into a hard-nosed attorney who raged with the best of them. But the highlight each season was the fixer character who worked for the big bad — especially Martin Short. He was spectacular.

Disappointment: BROTHERHOOD
I wanted to like this show much more than I did: Jason Isaacs is always great in a crime story (Malfoy who?), and the Cain and Abel setup is terrific, but I couldn’t get past the over-the-top petty crime plotting, small-town politicking (man, Rhode Island is teeny!) and ear-chopping. I stopped after 4 episodes.

Surprise: RECTIFY
The most slow-paced, arresting series I’ve watched. Start with Daniel Holden, a man released from a 20-year long stint on death row, and spent a couple of weeks watching him try to find his way into his family, town, home…even his own clothes. His precise degree of guilt is left an open question, but he’s clearly no innocent.

Observations: 50 episodes is pretty much the outer limit for a series I’ll binge-watch on Netflix. I can’t muster the energy to attack long-running shows like FRINGE or THE GOOD WIFE. Better to get in the ground floor.

Quotes of #Shakespeareyear

One of my 2014 resolutions was to finally read all Shakespeare’s plays, and, at an irregular pace of one play per week, I made it. I bookmarked interesting quotes or turns of phrase in the Shakespeare app, and then tweeted one quote for each play. Here they are:

1. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: “How shall we beguile/The lazy time, if not with some delight?”

2. ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL: “Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon.”

3. ANTONY & CLEOPATRA: “Some innocents scape not the thunderbolt.”

4. AS YOU LIKE IT: “O, sir, we quarrel in print by the book, as you have books for good manners. I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too with an If.”

5. CORIOLANUS: “These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.”

6. CYMBELINE : “Those that I reverence, those I fear – the wise:/At fools I laugh, not fear them.”

7. HAMLET: “Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.”

8. HENRY IV, PT 1: “Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying!”

9. HENRY IV, PT 2: “Presume not that I am the thing I was.”

10. HENRY V: “Ils sont les mots de son mauvais, corruptible, gros, et impudique, et non pour les dammes de honneur d’user.”

11. HENRY VI PT 1: “It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp/Should strike such terror to his enemies.”

12. HENRY VI PT 2: “But then are we in order when we are most out of order.”

13. HENRY VI PT 3: “‘Tell him,’ quoth she, ‘my mourning weeds are done,/And I am ready to put armour on.'”

14. HENRY VIII: “Is’t possible the spells of France should juggle/Men into such strange mysteries?”

15. JULIUS CAESAR: “Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.”

16. KING JOHN: “Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.”

17. KING LEAR: “Fut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenl’est star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.”

18. KING RICHARD II: “The cares I give I have, though given away / They tend the crown, yet still with me they
stay.”

19. LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST: “too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it / were, too peregrinate, as I may
call it.”

20. MACBETH: “These deeds must not be thought/After these ways; so, it will make us mad.”

21. MEASURE FOR MEASURE: “O, it is excellent/to have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous/To use it like a giant.”

22. MERCHANT OF VENICE: “I can easier teach 20 what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.”

23. MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR: “I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.”

24. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: “O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.”

25. OTHELLO: “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.”

26. PERICLES: “We cannot but obey/The powers above us./Could I rage and roar/As doth the sea she lies in, yet the end/Must be as ’tis.”

27. RICHARD III: “Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow.”

28. ROMEO & JULIET: “And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something, make it a word and a blow.”

29. THE COMEDY OF ERRORS:”Nay, ’tis for me to be patient; I am in adversity.” Better seen on the stage than the page, methinks.

30. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW: “Come, madam wife, sit by my side, and let the world slip, we shall ne’er be younger.”

31. THE TEMPEST: “These are not natural events, they strengthen/From strange to stranger.”

32. THE WINTER’S TALE: “These are flow’rs/Of middle summer, and I think they are given/To men of middle age.”

33. TIMON OF ATHENS: “Let no assembly of twenty be without a score of villains.”

34. TITUS ANDRONICUS: “…But we worldly men/Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.”

35. TROILUS & CRESSIDA: “Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery, nothing else holds fashion. A burning devil take them!”

36. TWELFTH NIGHT: “O time, thou must untangle this, not I,/It is too hard a knot for me t’untie.”

37. TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA: “Alas, how love can trifle with itself!”

38. TWO NOBLE KINSMEN: “Friend, you must eat no white bread; if you do,/Your teeth will bleed extremely.”

The One Bling

Back in 1994, I spent the summer selling tickets for the Montreal Impact. Summer turned into fall as the Impact kept winning games…including an unlikely championship at Claude Robillard Stadium.

Two weeks after the win, I closed the books and focused on school.

Two months after that (or so), I received a team ring! It was huge and gaudy and inscribed with my name and position (T for Tickets, but I like to say it stood for “The Goalie”).

Two years after that, I sold the ring to a jewellery buyer for the gold value. I always wondered what happened to it. I scouted eBay and randomly Googled with no luck.

Twenty years later, I found it! I wouldn’t have bought it back at that price, but it’s nice to have a picture:Legendary Auctions link.

Top 75

For fun, I decided to try to cut down my book and comic collections down to 75 volumes each. Imagine how much shelf space I’d save!

Well, I couldn’t be THAT drastic, but I could do something along these lines:

  • 75 novels…but series and related entries count as a single entry
  • 75 non-fiction books…but reference books don’t count
  • 75 comics series…rather than individual books. Properties published by multiple companies, such as Magnus and Harbinger, count as a single entry.
  • 75 trade paperbacks…but each series counts as single entry, and every Matt Kindt book counts as a series

Want to see what I kept (***)? Want to see what I cut? Take a a look at the long, long, loooong list below the cut…

(of course, when it came time to put the books in the boxes, I flinched at a couple of spots…)

Books (75 volumes/series)
1. ***Atwood, Margaret. Maddaddam trilogy 1-3
2. ***Banks, Iain M. Against a Dark Background
3. ***Banks, Iain M. Consider Phlebas
4. ***Banks, Iain M. Excession
5. ***Banks, Iain M. Feersum Endjinn
6. ***Banks, Iain M. Inversions
7. ***Banks, Iain M. Look to Windward
8. ***Banks, Iain M. Matter
9. ***Banks, Iain M. State of the Art and Other Stories
10. ***Banks, Iain M. Surface Detail
11. ***Banks, Iain M. The Algebraist
12. ***Banks, Iain M. The Hydrogen Sonata
13. ***Banks, Iain M. The Player of Games
14. ***Banks, Iain M. The Use of Weapons
15. ***Banks, Iain M. Transition [should be Iain Banks]
16. ***Banks, Iain, Canal Dreams
17. ***Banks, Iain. A Song of Stone
18. ***Banks, Iain. Complicity
19. ***Banks, Iain. Dead Air
20. ***Banks, Iain. Espedair Street
21. ***Banks, Iain. Stonemouth
22. ***Banks, Iain. The Business
23. ***Banks, Iain. The Crow Road
24. ***Banks, Iain. The Quarry
25. ***Banks, Iain. The Steep Approach to Garbadale
26. ***Banks, Iain. The Wasp Factory
27. ***Banks, Iain. Walking on Glass
28. ***Banks, Iain. Whit
29. ***Barthelme, Donald. 40 Stories, Barthelme, Donald. 60 Stories
30. ***Basilieres, Michel. Black Bird
31. ***Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions
32. ***Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
33. ***Donaldson, Stephen R. Mordant’s Need 1-2
34. ***Donaldson, Stephen R. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant 1-2-3
35. ***Donaldson, Stephen R. The Gap Cycle 1-5
36. ***Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose
37. ***Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man
38. ***Erikson, Steven. Blood Follows, Erikson, Steven. The Healthy Dead, Erikson, Steven. The Lees of Laughter’s End
39. ***Erikson, Steven. The Malazan Book of the Fallen 1-10
40. ***Farmer, Philip Jose. Dayworld
41. ***Fry, Stephen. Making History
42. ***Heinlein, Robert A. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
43. ***Heller, Joseph. Catch-22
44. ***Herbert, Frank. Dune, God emperor of Dune
45. ***Howard, Robert E. Conan trilogy
46. ***Howard, Robert E. Kull, Exile of Atlantis
47. ***Howard, Robert E. The Savage Sword of Solomon Kane
48. ***Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day
49. ***Joyce, James. Ulysses
50. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. A Song for Arbonne
51. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. River of Stars
52. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. Sarantine Mosaic
53. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. The Fionavar Tapestry (Complete)
54. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. The Last Light of the Sun
55. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. The Lions of Al-Rassan
56. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. Tigana
57. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. Under Heaven
58. ***Kay, Guy Gavriel. Ysabel
59. ***King, Thomas. Green Grass, Running Water.
60. ***Lightman, Alan. Einstein’s Dreams
61. ***Mallory, Thomas. Le Morte D’Arthur. Vol 1-2
62. ***Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick
63. ***Morrow, James. Towing Jehovah
64. ***North, Ryan. To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure
65. ***Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club
66. ***Pratchett, Terry. Feet of Clay,Pratchett, Terry. Guards! Guards!,Pratchett, Terry. Men at Arms
67. ***Priest, Christopher. The Prestige
68. ***Resnick, Mike. Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future
69. ***Robbins, Tom. Skinny Legs and All
70. ***Shelley, Elizabeth. Frankenstein (1818 edition)
71. ***Smiley, Jane. Good Faith
72. ***Stoker, Bram. Dracula
73. ***Tolkien, J.R.R, The Lord of the Rings vol 1-3, Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit
74. ***Vonnegut Jr., Player Piano
75. ***Wallace, David Foster. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
===cut===
76. Moorcock, Michael. Elric of Melnibone
77. Donaldson, Stephen R. Daughter of Regals and Other Tales
78. Donaldson, Stephen R. Reave the Just and Other Tales
79. Vonnegut Jr., Kurt. Mother Night.
80. Mighton, John. Possible Worlds/A Brief History of Night
81. Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.
82. Amis, Martin. Time’s Arrow
83. Asimov, Isaac. The Foundation Trilogy
84. Bauer, Douglas. The Very Air
85. Borges, Jorge Luis. Ficciones
86. Buckley, Christopher. Thank You for Smoking
87. Burroughs, Edgar Rice. A Princess of Mars
88. Burroughs, Edgar Rice. Tarzan of the Apes
89. Caroll, Lewis. The Annotated Alice
90. Clarke, Susana. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
91. Coetzee, J.M. Foe
92. Cook, Glen. Darkwar
93. Cook, Glen. Shadows Linger
94. Cook, Glen. The Black Company
95. Cook, Glen. The Tower of Fear
96. Cook, Glen. The White Rose
97. Davies, Robertson. What’s Bred in the Bone
98. Davies, Valentine. Miracle on 34th Street.
99. del Rey, ed. The Day the Sun Stood Still
100. DeMille, James. A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder
101. Eco, Umberto, Baudolino
102. Eco, Umberto. Foucault’s Pendulum
103. Eco, Umberto. The Island of the Day Before
104. Erikson, Steven. Crack’d Pot Trail
105. Esselmont, Ian Cameron. Night of Knives
106. Estes, Rose. Dungeon of Dread
107. Farrow, John. City of Ice
108. Farrow, John. Ice Lake
109. Ferguson, Trevor. The True Life Adventures of Sparrow Drinkwater
110. Findley, Timothy. Not Wanted on the Voyage
111. Frankowski, Leo, The Flying Warlord
112. Frankowski, Leo. The Cross-Time Engineer
113. Frankowski, Leo. The High-Tech Knight
114. Frankowski, Leo. The Radiant Warlord
115. Fry, Stephen. The Stars’ Tennis Balls
116. Gaardner, Jostein. Sophie’s World
117. Gibson & Sterling. The Different Engine
118. Govier, Katherine. Creation
119. Govier, Katherine. The Immaculate Conception Photo Gallery
120. Heinlein, Robert A. Stranger in a Strange Land
121. Herbert, Frank. God Emperor of Dune
122. Hogan. James P. The Giants Trilogy
123. Howard, Robert E. Almuric
124. Hughes, Monica. Crisis on Conshelf Ten
125. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 1: The Eye of the World
126. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 2: The Great Hunt
127. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 3: The Dragon Reborn
128. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 4: The Shadow Rising
129. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 6: Lord of Chaos
130. Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time vol 9: Winter’s Heart
131. Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
132. Kuttner, Henry. Elak of Atlantis
133. Laurence, Margaret. The Stone Angel
134. Leacock, Stephen. Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich
135. Leacock, Stephen. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
136. Leiber, Fritz. Swords Against Death
137. Leiber, Fritz. Swords Against Wizardry
138. Leiber, Fritz. Swords and Deviltry
139. Leiber, Fritz. Swords and Ice Magic
140. Leiber, Fritz. Swords in the Mist
141. Leiber, Fritz. The Swords of Lankhmar
142. Lightman, Alan. Good Benito
143. Lightman, Alan. The Diagnosis
144. Lovecraft, H.P., At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror
145. Lowry, The Giver
146. Mamet, David. Glengarry Glen Ross
147. Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables
148. Moorcock, Michael. The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
149. Moorcock, Michael. The Weird of the White Wolf
150. Moore, C.L. Black God’s Kiss
151. Moore, C.L. Northwest of Earth
152. Morrow, James. Only Begotten Daughter
153. Morrow, James. Shambling Towards Hiroshima
154. Morrow, James. The City of Truth
155. Morrow, James. This is the Way the World Ends
156. Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of a Lion
157. Palahniuk, Chuck. Choke
158. Pears, Iain. An Instance of the Fingerpost
159. Perez-Reverte, Arturo. Captain Alatriste
160. Perl, Gabel. Sparrows Don’t Drop Candy Wrappers
161. Pratchett & Gaiman. Good Omens
162. Pynchon, Thomas. Gravity’s Rainbow
163. Reynolds, Alastair. House of Suns
164. Robbins, Tom. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
165. Ross, Sinclair. As for Me and My House
166. Schoemperlin, Diane. Forms of Devotion
167. Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree
168. Smiley, Jane. Moo
169. Smiley, Jane. Ten Days in the Hills
170. Vance, Jack. Tales of the Dying Earth
171. Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle
172. Vonnegut Jr., Slaughterhouse-Five
173. Wallace, David Foster. Infinite Jest
174. Welsh, Louise. Tamburlaine Must Die
175. Wharton, Thomas. Icefields
176. White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web

NON-FICTION
1. …Ansary, Tamim. Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes
2. …Appelcline, Shannon. Designers & Dragons
3. …Atwood, Margaret. In Other Worlds
4. …Atwood, Margaret. Payback
5. …Baichtal & Meno. The Cult of Lego
6. …Barrow, John. D. The Book of Nothing
7. …Blom, Philipp. To Have and to Hold: A History of Collectors and Collecting
8. …Bragg, Melvin. The Adventure of English
9. …Brock, William. H. The Chemical Tree
10. …Brown, ed. Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans
11. …Cardwell, Donald. Wheels, Clocks and Rockets: A History of Technology
12. …Clegg, Brian. A Brief History of Infinity
13. …Conway, Gerry, ed. Webslinger: Unauthorized Essays on your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
14. …Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag
15. …Daniels, Les. Superman: Complete History
16. …Davidson, PhD, ed. The Psychology of Joss Whedon
17. …Debaene. The Number Sense
18. …Espenson, Jane, ed. Finding Serenity
19. …Espenson, Jane, ed. Serenity Found
20. …Hatch, Richard, ed. So Say We All
21. …Hindmarch, Will, ed. The Bones: Us and Our Dice
22. …Hutchison, Don. The Great Pulp Heroes
23. …Kocher, Paul. Master of Middle-Earth
24. …Lentricchia & McLaughlin. Critical Terms for Literary Study
25. …Lowder, James. Family Games: The 100 Best
26. …Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best
27. …Manguel, Alberto. A History of Reading.
28. …Martin, Steve. Born Standing Up
29. …Metcalfe & Struthers. How Stories Mean
30. …Milledge, Gary Spenser. Alan Moore: Storyteller
31. …Mlodinow, Leonard. Euclid’s Window
32. …O’Neil, Denny, ed. Batman Unauthorized
33. …Pearson and Uricchio, eds. The Many Lives of the Batman
34. …Pflughaupt, Laurent. Letter by Letter: An Alphabetical Miscellany
35. …Porter, Lavery, Robson. Saving the World: A Guide to Heroes
36. …Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind
37. …Raphael & Spurgeon. Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book
38. …Raviv, Dan. Comic Wars
39. …Ro, Ronin. Tales to Astonish
40. …Rosenberg, ed. The Psychology of Superheroes
41. …Saul, John Rolston. Voltaire’s Bastards
42. …Schuchardt, ed. You Do Not Talk About Fight Club
43. …Singh, Simon. Fermat’s Enigma
44. ***Battles, Matthew. Library: An Unquiet History
45. …Singh, Simon. The Code Book
46. …Smith, Roger. The Human Sciences
47. …Strathern, Paul. Dr. Strangelove’s Game
48. …Strickland. The Annotated Mona Lisa
49. …Thomas, Rob, ed. Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars
50. …Turner. The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language.
51. …Turok, Neil. The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos
52. …Wardrip-Fruin & Harrigan: First Person
53. …Wardrip-Fruin & Harrigan: Second Person
54. …Wardrip-Fruin & Harrigan: Third Person
55. …Weisman, Alan. The World Without Us
56. …White, Mark. D, ed. Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality
57. …Yeffeth, ed. The Man from Krypton
58. ***Pennac, Daniel. Better Than Life

________________________________________
REFERENCES
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms
The Canadian Style
The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, 1st ed.
The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, 2nd ed.
Braithwaite & Schreiber. Challenges for Game Designers
Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer’s Design Book

Comics
1. ***1963 1-6
2. ***Alpha Flight (2011): Chaos War, 0.1, 1-8 & Alpha Flight 1-28, 87-90, X-Men and Alpha Flight 1-2
3. ***Amalgam I: 1 -12 & Amalgam II: 1-12
4. ***America’s Best Comics 64-Page Giant
5. ***Archer & Armstrong 0-12 & Archer and Armstrong (2012) 1-9, 0, 11
6. ***Astro City (Wildstorm)1/2 – 22 & Astro City Dark Age: Book One 1-4 & Astro City Dark Age: Book Two 1-4 & Astro City Dark Age: Book Three 1-4 & Astro City Dark Age: Book Four 1-4 & Astro City Flip Book 1& Astro City Local Heroes 1-5& Astro City Special: Astra 1-2 & Astro City Special: Beautie 1 & Astro City Special: Samaritan & Astro City Special: Silver Agent 1-2 & Astro City Special: Supersonic & Astro City Visitor’s Guide 1 & Astro City (Vertigo) 1-11
7. ***Atlantis Chronicles 1-7
8. ***Avengers Forever 1-12
9. ***Blood Syndicate 1-35
10. ***Bloodshot (2012) 1-13, 0
11. ***Boom Tales: Ninja, Pirate, Pulp
12. ***Captain Johner & the Aliens 1-2
13. ***Challenger Deep 1-4
14. ***Criminal 1-10, 10.1, & Criminal vol 2: 1-7 & Criminal: The Sinners 1-5 & Criminal: Last of the Innocent 1-4
15. ***Crisis on Infinite Earths 1-12
16. ***Cthulhu Tales: One Shot & Cthulhu Tales: The Rising & Cthulhu Tales: Tainted & Cthulhu Tales: The Series 1-12
17. ***Daredevil (2011) 1-27, + Crossovers
18. ***Daredevil vs Punisher: Means and Ends 1-6
19. ***Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom 1-8 & Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom / Magnus: Robot Fighter FCBD 2010 Special 1
20. ***Doctor Strange: The Oath 1-5
21. ***Eternal Warrior 1-8
22. ***Firearm 1-18
23. ***Flex Mentallo 1-4
24. ***Frankenstein. Agent of SHADE 1-12,0, 13
25. ***Fray 1-8
26. ***Harbinger (2012) 1-8, 0, 9-14 & Harbinger 0-25 (#0 comes from TPB bundle) Harbinger Files 1
27. ***Harbinger Wars 1-4
28. ***Hardware 1-34
29. ***Heroes 1-6
30. ***Hexed 1-4
31. ***Icon 1-37
32. ***Incognito 1-6, & Incognito: Bad Influences 1-5
33. ***Incorruptible 1-30
34. ***Irredeemable 1-37, Special 1
35. ***JLA 1-58 + One Million, New Year’s Evil: Prometheus 1
36. ***Justice League: The New Frontier 1-6 & Justice League: The New Frontier Special 1
37. ***Kill Shakespeare 1-12 & Kill Shakespeare: Tide of Blood 1-5
38. ***Kobalt 1-16
39. ***League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 1 1-6 & League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 2 1-6
40. ***Long Hot Summer 1-3
41. ***Magnus Robot Fighter 0-25 (2 copies of #5) & Magnus Robot Fighter vs. Nexus 1-2 & Predator vs. Magnus Robot Fighter 1-2 & Magnus Robot Fighter 1, & Magnus, Robot Fighter 1-2, & Magnus: Robot Fighter 1-4, & MRF: Magnus Robot Fighter 1-18
42. ***Martian Manhunter 1-36 + One Million
43. ***Midnight, Mass. 1-8 7 Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters 1-6
44. ***Mighty Samson 1-4
45. ***Mind MGMT 1-6,0, 7-19, ***Dark Horse Presents 19, 31
46. ***My Name is Holocaust 1-6
47. ***Potter’s Field 1-3 & Stone Cold 1
48. ***Rai 0-8 & Rai Companion 1
49. ***Rex Libris 1-13
50. ***Ruse (2011) 1-4 & Ruse 1-12
51. ***Sensational She-Hulk 1-20
52. ***Shadow Cabinet 0-17
53. ***Shadowman (2012) 1-4 & Shadowman 0-25
54. ***Solar, Man of the Atom 1 & Solar, Man of the Atom 1-26, & Solar: Hell on Earth 1-4 & Solar: Man of the Atom (one-shot) & Solar: Revelations (one-shot)
55. ***Static 1-32 & Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 1-4 & Static Shock Special (2011) 1 & Static Shock (2011) 1-8
56. ***Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier 1-4 + Captain America Specials 1-5
57. ***Talent 1-4
58. ***The Avengers (1998) 0, 1.5 1-54
59. ***The Escapists 1-6
60. ***The Fantastic Four 337-341, 343-354
61. ***The Foundation 1-5
62. ***The Incredible Hulk 364-425
63. ***The Infinity Gauntlet 1-6
64. ***The Mighty Thor 341-382
65. ***The Unknown 1-4 & The Unknown: Devil Made Flesh 1-4
66. ***Tom Strong & the Robots of Doom 1-6 & Tom Strong & the Planet of Peril 1-6
67. ***Turok, Dinosaur Hunter 0-15 & Turok: Son of Stone 1-4
68. ***Underground 1-5
69. ***Unity 0-1 (2 copies of each) & Unity: The Lost Chapter, & Unity 2000 1-3 (no more issues exist)
70. ***Valiant One Shots
71. ***Wise Son: The White Wolf 1-4
72. ***Worlds Collide (basic version) & Worlds Collide (sticker version) + Superbook
73. ***X-O Manowar (2012) 1-8 & X-O Manowar 0-25 & X-O Manowar Database 1
74. ***Xombi 0-21 & Xombi (2011) 1-6
75. ***Zombie Tales: One-Shot & Zombie Tales: Death Valley 1-2 & Zombie Tales: Oblivion & Zombie Tales: The Dead & Zombie Tales: The Series 1-12
====cut===
76. 1602 1-8
77. 2 Guns 1-5
78. 3 Story: Secrets of the Giant-Man
79. 7th Sea: Prelude to Ruin 1-3
80. Aztek: The Ultimate Man 1-10
81. Batman/Hellboy/Starman 1-2
82. Codebreakers 1-4
83. Dead Run 1-4
84. Dial H for Hero (2012) 1-4,0, 5
85. Enigma Cipher 1-2
86. Hitman 1-14, The Demon Annual 2
87. Human Defense Corps 1-6
88. JLA: Paradise Lost 1-3
89. Justice League of America (2009) 27-31 [Milestone crossover]
90. Mr. Stuffins 1-3
91. Near Death 1-8
92. Necronomicon 1-4
93. Pax Romana 1-4
94. Punisher (2011) #10
95. Red Mass for Mars 1-4
96. Secret Avengers 1-12.1
97. Secret Files and Origins: Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating…
98. Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs Nighthawk 1-4
99. Station 1-4
100. Supreme Power: Nighthawk 1-6
101. The Avengers 194-200
102. The Fantastic Four 1234 1-4
103. The Kree-Skrull War 1-2
104. The New Mutants 59-61, 64, 71-73
105. The Nightly News 1-6
106. The Rinse 1-4
107. The Shade (2011) 1-12
108. The Shade 1-4
109. Transhuman 1-4
110. West Coast Avengers Annual 1

Comics -Prestige
1. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1-3
2. Planetary: Night on Earth, JLA, Authority
3. The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist 1-8
4. Comics’ Greatest World: Arcadia & Comics’ Greatest World: Golden City & Comics’ Greatest World: Steel Harbor & Comics’ Greatest World: Cinnabar Flats
5. The Little Endless Storybook
6. Sandman Midnight Theatre
7. Milestone Forever 1-2
8. Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham 1-3
9. Batman: The Killing Joke
10. Batman: Nosferatu
11. Breathtaker 1-4
12. Green Lantern / Superman: Legend of the Green Flame
13. JSA: The Liberty File 1-2, JSA: The Unholy Three 1-2
14. Just Imagine Stan Lee’s DC Universe
15. Justice League: The Nail 1-3
16. OMAC (1991) 1-4
17. Superman’s Metropolis
18. Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
19. Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon
20. Kingdom Come 1-4
21. The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect
22. Plastic Forks 1-5
23. Deathmate: Prologue, Blue, Black, Red, Yellow, Epilogue
24. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser 1-4
25. Leave it to Chance 13
26. Mondo 1-3

Comics – TPBS
1. ***100 Bullets 1-4
2. ***A History of Violence
3. ***All-Star Superman 1-2
4. ***Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions (hardcover)
5. ***Arrowsmith: So Smart in Their Fine Uniforms
6. ***Astro City: Life in the Big City
7. ***Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
8. ***Bone: One Volume Edition
9. ***Captain America: Operation Rebirth. Captain America: Man Without a Country
10. ***Captain Britain (Alan Moore)
11. ***Chronicles of Conan 1-12: Tower of the Elephant
12. ***Chronicles of King Conan 1-3: The Witch of the Mists
13. ***Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever
14. ***Crossover Classics: The Marvel/DC Collection
15. ***Dark Horse Archives: Russ Manning’s Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. vol 1-3
16. ***Elric of Melnibone,***Elric: Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock’s Elric: The Dreaming City
17. ***Empire
18. ***Ex-Machina 1-10
19. ***Fables 1-16
20. ***Frank Miller’s Ronin
21. ***From Hell, ***From Hell: Companion
22. ***Global Frequency 1-2
23. ***Gotham Central 1-5: In the Line of Duty
24. ***Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset
25. ***Harbinger: The Beginning (hardcover)
26. ***James Bond 007: 1-7
27. ***JLA/Avengers
28. ***League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 1-2 + Black Dossier
29. ***Leave It to Chance Book 1-3: Shaman’s Rain
30. ***Lone Wolf and Cub 1-28: The Assassin’s Road
31. ***Magnus: Robot Fighter – Steel Nation & Magnus: Robot Fighter – Invasion, ***Predator vs Magnus: Robot Fighter, Dark Horse Archives: Russ Manning’s Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. vol 1-3
32. ***Marvel Masterworks vol 1: The Amazing Spider-Man
33. ***Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars
34. ***Marvels (hardcover)
35. ***Matt Kindt books: Mephisto and the Empty Box, Pistolwhip & Pistolwhip: The Yellow Menace, ***Revolver, ***3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, Red-Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes, ***The Tooth, ***2 Sisters
36. ***Maus vol 1-2: A Survivor’s Tale
37. ***Nemo: Heart of Ice, Roses of Berlin
38. ***Planetary 1-4
39. ***Promethea Book 1-5
40. ***Queen & Country 1-8: Broken Ground
41. ***Ring of the Nibelung 1-2
42. ***Robocop vs Terminator
43. ***Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea vol 1-2
44. ***Saga 1-3
45. ***Sandman 1-10
46. ***Shockrockets: We Have Ignition
47. ***Sleeper 1-2
48. ***Solar: Man of the Atom – Alpha and Omega & Solar: Man of the Atom – Second Death, Dark Horse Archives: Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom vol 1-4
49. ***Star Trek: The Key Collection 1-5
50. ***Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago… 1-5
51. ***Stargazer vol 1-2
52. ***Starman 1-10: Sins of the Father
53. ***Superman: Red Son
54. ***Super-Spy & Super-Spy: The Lost Dossiers
55. ***Supreme Power 1-3: Contact
56. ***Swamp Thing 1-6
57. ***Tangent Comics 1-3
58. ***Terra Obscura: S.M.A.S.H. of Two Worlds
59. ***The Books of Magic (limited series)
60. ***The Golden Age
61. ***The Middleman: The Collected Series Indispensability & The Middleman: The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse
62. ***The Road to Perdition
63. ***The Winter Men
64. ***Tom Strong Book 1-6, Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales Book 1-2
65. ***Tomorrow Stories Book 1-2
66. ***Top Ten Book 1-2 + The Forty-Niners, ***Smax
67. ***Underwater Welder
68. ***Unity Saga Volumes 1-4 (slipcase)
69. ***V for Vendetta
70. ***Watchmen
71. ***Weapon X
72. ***Whiteout & Whiteout: Melt
73. ***Wizard Masterpiece Edition: The Greatest X-Men Stories Ever Told
74. ***X-O Manowar: Birth (hardcover)
75. ***Y: The Last Man 1-10

===cut===
76. Bad Island
77. Batman: Arkham Asylum
78. Batman: Batman and Son
79. Batman: Year One
80. Captain America: The Death of Captain America vol 3
81. Captain America: War and Remembrance
82. Daisy Kutter: The Last Train
83. Death: The High Cost of Living
84. Dragonslayer movie adaptation
85. Dune movie adaptation
86. Fairest: In All the Land
87. First Wave
88. Flashpoint: Batman
89. Flashpoint: Superman
90. Gregory Treasury vol 1-2
91. Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
92. Icon: A Hero’s Welcome
93. Iron West
94. JLA: Earth 2 (hardcover)
95. Manhunter 1: Street Justice
96. Matrix Comics 1-2
97. Parker vol 1: The Hunter
98. Powers 1-4
99. Rai
100. Sandman Mystery Theatre 1-3:
101. Shadowman
102. Sin City
103. Spider-Man 2099
104. Squadron Supreme (Mark Gruenwald)
105. Ultimate Galactus 2: Ultimate Secret
106. Ultimates vol 1-4: Super-Human
107. Dark Phoenix Saga
108. Wolverine Classic 3: The Gehenna Stone
109. X Omnibus 1-2

2013: The Year in Review

BOOKS

Favourite: Maddaddam, by Margaret Atwood. Giving voice to the Crakers is a delight.
Disappointment: all of Fleming’s James Bond novels. They have not aged well at all.
Surprise: Destiny Disrupted, by Tamim Ansary. The history of the world comes from more than one viewpoint.
Change: I actually read books this year! 21 in total! I haven’t read that much in years…

COMICS

Favourite: Astro City. Welcome back, Busiek & Anderson
Disappointment: Valiant comics. But only because they’re so expensive and I can’t keep up with them all. Or any of them, actually. I folded after the immensely satisfying Harbinger Wars event.
Surprise: Monkeybrain Comics. I rush towards every new issue of Edison Rex, High Crimes, Bandette and Masks & Mobsters.
Change: The kids’ comics outnumber my purchases by 2-1.

MOVIES

Favourite: The Wolverine. Call me crazy, but 2/3 of an excellent Wolverine story is better than
Disappointment: Star Trek Into Darkness. Risible dreck, saved by the great 30-minute alternate take on Wrath of Khan. Then, I believed.
Surprise: Gravity. I mean….c’mon. The only film truly worth the expense of IMAX 3-D.
Change: Now, I’ve seen most films with the kids, but I’m also more willing to go to the theater alone.

TV

Favourite: Orphan Black. Believe the hype. Tatiana Maslany is AMAZING.
Disappointment: Dexter. Just…no. Business defeated art in this case. Everybody should stop watching with Season 5.
Surprise: The Americans. I tried this show on a lark, and spent a week glued to my computer. Made me think of the old Falcon and the Snowman novels I read as a kid, for some reason. Must the low-tech espionage.
Change: Netflix and iTunes are my main sources of shows these days. The cable cord is staying cut!

GAMES

Favourite: Castle Dice. The best Kickstarter purchase from 2012 wins over all comers.
Disappointment: RPGs. I gave away a passel of books this year, keeping only the cream of the crop in hardcover.
Surprise: OGRE Designer’s Edition. I knew it would be big. I HAD NO IDEA HOW BIG! Kudos to Phil Reed for the factory tour video
Change: I didn’t buy a single boardgame this year in a store, and backed only one game project on Kickstarter (Moby-Dick, or The Card Game). I’m going through a fallow phase.

MUSIC

Favourite: Heartthrob by Tegan & Sara. The full hookup/breakup cycle on one danceable album.
Disappointment: Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon by K.T. Tunstall. I feel bad that she’s sad. She made better music when she rocked.
Surprise: CBCMusic.ca is now my go-to streaming portal for tunes and music discovery. Kudos to their curators, and their social media team.
Change: I bought about one album a month this year, up from previous years. Who said that digital doesn’t drive sales, again?

KICKSTARTER

Favourite: Veronica Mars. My goodness, that film funded quickly! I’ve got my stickers, and I’m hoping the theatrical release reaches Montreal. If not…I’ll have my DVD!
Disappointment: Inspector Spacetime. Both attempts to fund a more ambitious 2nd season failed. I doubt very much there will be a third. Maybe it can be funded one episode at a time.
Surprise: Nelvana of the Northern Lights.The first comic-book superheroine (beating Wonder Woman to the newsstands by 6 months) is Canadian! And two hard-working archivists/documentarians are going to reprint her adventures. Can’t wait!
Change: I funded 3 projects this year compared to 19 last year. The bookmarking system on Kickstarter has allowed me time to track interesting projects without committing to them. Sober second thought is good for my wallet.

SIDE PROJECTS
This is a year when I worked on hardly any side-projects: 4-5 short pieces for StormBunny Studios, a longer piece for Zombie Sky Press, and a single logo for Kobold Press. I had to turn down two large contracts because I knew I couldn’t make the deadlines. 2013 may be the year that I conceded there are only 24 hours in a day (and I need at least 7 of those for sleep).