What Made Us Happy This Year: The 2012 Edition

Now that 2012 is over, we thought we’d all chime in with what has made this past year especially fine.

Robin: My own happy this year has been simply seeing this site run so smoothly thanks to my extraordinary crew of editors and reviewers.  Review Editor Snow keeps everything running smoothly and I could not have done nearly so much on our relaunch and over this year without her help, so she gets an extra-giant helping of thanks and hugs from me.  All of my reviewers are the lifeblood of the site, and make it possible for us to post reviews once a day, which is an extraordinary feat to my mind.  I know how much work we all do otherwise in our professional lives, and I’m grateful that everyone is willing to give their time, their wit, and their skill to making this site what it is.

And now for some number-crunching: since we relaunched in October of 2011, we’ve posted:

  • 1,017 total posts
  • 271 reviews of titles for teens
  • 199 reviews of titles for kids
  • 172 reviews of titles for adults
  • 59 What’s Making Us Happy updates
  • 32 Hot off the Press lists (courtesy of Caitlin)
  • 6 creator interviews

Not to mention the delightful Top 5 lists from Sadie, Allen’s excellent Doubletake column on The Walking Dead, and the various lists compiled and staff picks titles selected.

A heartfelt thanks to all of our contributors, and of course, to all of our faithful readers.

Saga1Jack: I don’t think any comic has brought me more happiness this year than Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga from Image Comics.  Saga is a space opera about two kids on opposite sides of an intergalactic war who fall in love, have a baby, and just want a safe place to raise a family but end up being in the crosshairs of everyone in the universe instead.  Vaughan’s likable characters feel incredibly down-to-earth and real, and they balance nicely with the story’s crazy ideas and outlandish settings.  The writing is perfectly bolstered by Fiona Staples’ stunning artwork.  Any given page of Saga features more to look at and soak in than whole issues of most other comics.  Since the trade came out in September I’ve given Saga as a present to 5 different people, and I can’t wait until my library’s copies get processed so that I can start handing it to all of my patrons, too.  I also interviewed Vaughan and Staples for No Flying, which was one of the coolest things I got to do in a year packed with cool interactions with comics creators!

And really it was a damn good year for Image Comics in general!  On top of Saga they’ve got Ed Brubaker’s Fatale, Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects, Brandon Graham’s Multiple Warheads and his work on Prophet, Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories and Bedlam, and many others that are just fantastic.  Both as an Image fan from way back (with a signed copy of Youngblood #1 to show for it) and as big supporter of indie comics and comics for grown-ups in general, I’m really happy to see Image succeeding with book after book this year.  Hopefully we’ll see even more great indie books in 2013!

DeadmanAllen: Anime is what made me happy this year. Although I enjoyed the titles I was genuinely interested in, I made it a point this year to watch a few that fell outside of my comfort zone and wouldn’t you know it, they were good!

Shiki and Deadman Wonderland satiated my hunger for dark, visceral and mind bendy thrillers while Persona 4: The Animation and Devil May Cry proved that video games can be made into GOOD adaptations (crazy, right?). I was also reintroduced to an old guilty pleasure of mine this year: Dragonball Z. I was obsessed with the series in college and after watching the first two volumes of the updated version, Dragonball Z Kai, I nearly ran out and purchased the original run on DVD (yikes!).

I’m anxious to see what comes out next year :)

MarvelNow!Michael: I have two big happys for the year.  The first is Marvel Now! There were rumors as far back as April that Marvel would be pulling a reboot much like DC did. When it was finally announced in July I was really worried. DC’s New 52 had severely hurt my enjoyment of that company’s books and I was only reading a fraction of the comics they had put out from the New 52 compared to what I had been reading before. So I was really worried that Marvel would do the same and that I would lose my enjoyment of both of the “Big 2″. Happily that has not been the case. While Marvel is taking their characters in new directions that make them accessible to first time readers, they’re doing so in a way that respects the history of the characters, rather than erasing it.Just about every book that’s come out has been really interesting and I find myself eagerly awaiting what comes next, rather than dreading it.

My other happy is that I’ve started working here. It’s really been a pleasure. You guys took a chance on me, despite the fact that I’m young and not a trained, professional…..anything. I’ve really enjoyed getting the graphic novels and anime in the mail and then sitting down to write about them. I love that fact that I have the opportunity to get my opinions out in a way that doesn’t have me just be one more voice in the endless shouting match that is comics fandom. I love that my writing has improved wildly because of this. Doing this has been fantastic and I hope to continue to do so for a long time. I’m so happy I got this opportunity. Thank you.

americanelfcoverv04flatnos_lgBonnie: My end of 2012 happy is more bittersweet.  James Kochalka has ended his run of American Elf, a daily strip depicting his family’s life.  Kochalka is a strange character… that’s a huge understatement… but I always appreciated his honesty, his willingness to let us see all aspects of his life (I often felt for his wife and kids), and his dedication.  Picking up the collections of American Elf, you get a true sense of how much work it was to keep the strip going all these years.  Now that I’m a parent, I found many of his comics on raising his two sons to be comforting.  I’ve been following it for many years now and I’ll miss having it as a part of my daily comics.