Here’s a quick roundup of some personal highlights of 2018 in the categories Movies, TV Series, Music, Books, Comics and Board Games.
Obviously, no one has enough time to see, listen to, read, play everything that gets released in one year, so my favorites follow different rules. I consider everything I stumbled upon that year, regardless when it was released. Let’s go.
Best movie of the year:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I never thought they’d try to use the quite complex Spider-Verse for a movie. Well, they didn’t take the storyline from the comics. Of course not. But still, so many different Spider-… beings together in one film. Even Spider-Ham is there! Thanks, Multiversum! There’s even talk about a Spider-Ham Spinoff.
But the real stars are the design and the animation. A massive difference to other cartoons. I bought the Art Book for the film a few days later. In addition there’s a passable origin story. A lot of humor. A hip-hop-heavy soundtrack. Everything just fits together. And that’s why the movie easily makes it into the top 3 of all Spider-Man movies.
Without any doubt a must-see for all comic and animation fans.
BlacKkKlansman | Spike Lee’s new movie about the first black Cop in the Colorado Springs police department, who decides to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Not as based on some fo’ real shit as the start of the movie claims – but still evenly entertaining and sad. //Trailer
Mission: Impossible – Fallout | Love it or hate it. But I like the franchise for its action sequences – who cares about the bonkers story. //Trailer
One fresh fantasy animation series to try out:
The Prince of Dragons
I didn’t watch that many new TV Shows last year. Instead of recommendations, I could rather talk about all the stuff in Star Trek: Discovery and Jack Ryan I didn’t like. But for all of you who occasionally watch cartoon series, I have a recommendation: The Prince of Dragons.
An American animation series by Netflix. Fresh fantasy about a conflict between humans and elves, including dark magic, interesting characters, and an important dragon egg. The first season offers nine episodes and brings enough material (and secrets) to entertain fans of such series for a few more seasons.
Album of the Year:
The Organ – Grab that Gun
Musically, 2018 was a really good year. I got a see a lot of live acts: Egotronic, Eels, Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, Cypress Hill. I had time for some festivals, mostly smaller ones in Dortmund: Juicy Beats, Etepetete, Reeperbahn Festival (listen to Cliffhanger 005: Reeperbahn Festival 18), Way Back When, Bierschinken.
I stumbled upon my Album of the Year by accident. I was in the backyard of Molotow club in Hamburg one night of the Reeperbahn Festival, when the DJ put a postpunk song on. From the first beats, this one was right up my alley. I had to shazam it, it was The Organ – Brother. From the album Grab that Gun from 2004! And for the rest of the year I listened to The Organ a lot. Too bad the band released only one album.
A Place To Bury Strangers | They were on my must-see-list and luckily they played in Dortmund last year. //Video: Keep Slipping Away
The Soft Moon | I had already seen them in Dortmund once. This time I even went to Hamburg to see them again.// Video: Far
Favorite book I read in 2018:
Ready Player One
I really wanted to read the book before the movie came out. Which was the right thing to do, cause the book is fantastic, while the movie stinks. See my review.
The only thing I am very skeptical about is author Ernest Cline’s desire to expand this story into a trilogy. Why? Because: Mo’ Books Mo’ Films Mo’ Money. I don’t like the idea of a trilogy. The story is fine as it is.
The runner ups are the only two other books I managed to read: The Long Walk by Stephen King and Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling. Two completely different books. Each one quite entertaining.
Which also means that once again I managed to not read any of the SF Masterworks books.
Favorite Storyline in a Comic I read in 2018:
Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers Run
I had read a lot of praise for Hickman’s Avengers Run (2013-2015), but never picked up the comics. Thanks to some sales on Comixology I bought all the Trade Paperbacks – and they did not disappoint. In fact, these are easily among the best Avengers stories I ever read. Old characters, new characters, actually lots and lots of characters, cosmic threats and a really long run with much time to build stuff up. If you don’t know who the Illuminati, the Inhumans, the Shi’Ar or the Kree are, this is not for you. But everyone who reads Marvel comics will enjoy this.
Tom King | Another one who got lots of praise for his work. So I bought his 12 issue series The Vision and Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles. Both are really good.
Worst comic I read
Angel Catbird by Margaret Eleanor Atwood | Yes, I know that Atwood won a lot of awards for her writing. But the comic is just terrible for something that came out in 2016. It is so ridiculous it deserves another blog post (sometime later).
Best of Board, Card etc. Games:
Graphic Novel Adventures
Reading Ready Player One led to Zork which led to a year full of Choose Your Own Adventures. Fighting Fantasy. Lone Wolf. But the best ones I played are Graphic Novel Adventures – Choose Your Own Adventures in comic form. I am so very glad I backed these on Kickstarter. The creators have already announced that they are working on the next Graphic Novel Adventures, which I will back as well. I talk a whole lot more about this in our german podcast Cliffhanger 006: Heißer Dice. //Kickstarter
Gloomhaven | We finally managed to get a party together and start with Gloomhaven. This will be a topic for our podcast somewhere down the line. //Kickstarter
The Shipwreck Arcana | Another game I backed on Kickstarter. I like this a lot. But there’s is some math and logic involved so this is not for everyone. //Kickstarter
The keen eye will have noticed that I skipped over videogames. That’s because videogames will get their very own blog post.
Cover Picture: Crown, silver, white and diamond by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash