This week, we're all about giving thanks for the people, projects and peripheral stuff that makes our jobs so much fun. After kicking things off with some words from comics legend Stan Lee about what he's thankful for this year, we heard from "Star Trek" duo J.J. Abrams and Chris Pine, "Inglourious Basterds" writer/director Quentin Tarantino (who told us about the comics that inspired his film), "Iron Man 2" actor Sam Rockwell and finally, "Green Lantern" and "Deadpool" star Ryan Reynolds.
And now it's my turn, folks.
In a wild year full of comic book movies of the blockbuster and not-quite-blockbuster variety, the introduction of some very unique new series, crossovers that remind us how fun big events can be and a host of other comics-related happenings, there's a lot to be thankful for in the comics scene. So, here are some of the things I'm giving thanks for in 2009...
1. "BLACKEST NIGHT": These days, it's starting to feel like the sole reason for Marvel and DC's respective universes is to host massive, "nothing will ever be the same again" events. However, despite occasional complaints from fans about the constant stream of crossovers, it's worth noting that some of these big events can be, well... a lot of fun.
Case in point: DC's "Blackest Night" event. Both the main series and its tie-ins are some of the first comics I pull from my stack each week, and serve as a great reminder why massive crossover events can actually be something to look forward to rather than rolling your eyes.
(On a side note, the last crossover event I felt this positively about was Marvel's "Annihilation" saga — so maybe I'm just partial to the space-based stories.)
2. "SPIDER-WOMAN" MOTION COMIC: I'm not a huge fan of Spider-Woman, but I have to hand it to Marvel for having the chutzpah to not only make a lesser-known character the focus of a new motion comic, but to also create an original story for the project. Sure, it's hard to go wrong with any comic featuring a Brian Bendis script and Alex Maleev art (see: "Daredevil"), but the decision to pair them up on this brand new motion-comic project says a lot about Marvel's willingness to explore the medium. The final product was both unexpected and unique — two qualities worth encouraging whenever publishers dip their toes into a new medium.
(Check out our preview of the "Spider-Woman" motion comic and interview with Bendis here on splash Page for more info about the project.)
3. "GOATS: INFINITE TYPEWRITERS" & "THE CORNDOG IMPERATIVE": I'm a huge fan of Jon Rosenberg's long-running webcomic "Goats," so the debut of the first two print collections of his surreal sci-fi series was a big deal around Splash Page HQ. Along with providing a great way to work your way through the webcomic's massive archives in sequence, many of the panels actually end up looking far better on bright, bold paper than I remember them looking on my computer monitor. Rosenberg has spent more than a decade developing the continuity of "Goats," so it's great to see his work make such a smooth leap into a different medium.
4. "HERBIE ARCHIVES" & "CREEPY ARCHIVES": Several new volumes of Dark Horse Comics' collected archives of "Herbie" and "Creepy" hit shelves this year, and if you haven't checked out one or both of these series, you're missing out. "Creepy" was one of the titles that defined horror comics back in the day, and the reprinted stories in these volumes prove just as terrifying now as they ever were in the past.
"Herbie," on the other hand, is possibly the oddest series ever created — and it could be even more strange now than when it was originally published.
(Check out Brian Warmoth's "Adapt This" column about the ol' Fat Fury for more on Herbie Popnecker.)
5. "KICK-ASS" AND "SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD" BUILD-UP: The more we hear about these two comic book movies, the more certain it seems that directors Matthew Vaughn and Edgar Wright were the right filmmakers for the jobs. On one hand, Vaughn earned major comics cred for sticking to his guns (literally) and going for an "R" rating with his adaptation of John Romita Jr. and Mark Millar's ultraviolent series, while also pursuing what looks to be a nearly scene-for-scene recreation of the "Kick-Ass" story.
With "Scott Pilgrim," Wright has assembled an all-star cast and seemed to prove everyone wrong who considered Bryan Lee O'Malley's wild series unfilmable — all without showing us a single scene thus far. The "Shaun of the Dead" director is saying and doing all the right things to win over comics fans, and everyone involved with the project (including O'Malley himself) is spreading the love.
"Iron Man 2" is a given as one of next year's most-anticipated comic book movies, but everything we know about "Kick-Ass" and "Scott Pilgrim" so far makes Splash Page HQ even more thankful that 2010 is just around the corner.