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Comics 2014

I read 270 single issues and 15 trade paperbacks this year (yes, I do keep track) (yes, I know I'm a giant nerd) (have you met me?). However, I didn't even come close to reading everything I wanted to; I started a lot of series (especially from Image) but wasn't able to afford to keep up with them (luckily, Comixology has a sale going on right now that will help me catch up) (might have to reread those first issues too). Regardless, I think the comics medium is in great shape, not only because of these great comics...

1. The Multiversity - The long-awaited Grant Morrison series about the DC multiverse finally arrived in August and it completely exceeded my expectations. After an opening issue introducing the concepts and characters (hello, Captain Carrot!), we got 4 one-shots by Morrison and a wonderful group of artists that took closer looks at different Earths. Each one was fascinating and made me want more set in that particular world. Of special note were Thunderworld Adventures (with Cameron Stewart on art) and Pax Americana (with Frank Quitely on art). These are comics that I really need to write about it much more depth than I should go into here. I'm already anticipating the eventual collection of this series will be one of my all-time favorites.

2. Saga - This is the best ongoing series out there and has been since the first issue. This year the series wrapped up its first arc then jumped 18 months in the storyline for 6 more fantastic issues. Fiona Staples continues to gives us amazing art and Brian K. Vaughan is a master storyteller. I hope this comic runs for years to come. I read this series digitally but got a giant hardcover collection the first 18 issues for Christmas; rereading those issues will be one of my early 2015 joys.

3. Astro City - We got 11 issues of one of my all-time favorite series this year and they were all very good to great. This year brought a first to the series as well, as two issues weren't drawn by Brent Anderson. We learned more about a bunch of old favorites like Winged Victory, Samaritan, Crackerjack, and Quarrel and got to know Raitha, assistant to the Silver Adept, The Gentleman Bandit, and Starbright, among others. This is another series I read digitally but plan on getting in collected editions; the first of the current series was another Christmas present. This series has been around for almost 20 years and I hope it's around for at least 20 more.

4. Lazarus - This series is set in a world where the rich have completely taken over the world; corporations are families while most everyone lives in poverty unless they have skills needed by the various families. Political intrigue, family dynamics, longevity, and the Lazari, specialized guardians of each family. Written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark (my second cousin). Great comic.

5. She-Hulk - This series is as much about the law as super-heroics, features Hellcat as a series regular, had a 3 issue story arc with Captain America on trial, is mostly drawn by the sublime Javier Pulido, and is topped by Kevin Wada covers. Oh, Charles Soule is the writer. It's my favorite Marvel series; unfortunately, it's going away after one more issue (though with luck in will return in some form in 2015).


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Sunday Shuffle #413

Summer is here and I'm happy that it is. Jill finished school this week, but Grant and I have to go through Friday. I have the week off from my TTT course, so I'm going to catch up on some reading and TV. There was baseball I could watch yesterday and I can watch some again today, so you can bet I'll be doing that. Few things bring me joy more than baseball and a book in my lap for between innings.

Here's today's ten...

1. I 4 U & U 4 Me (Home Demo)/The Decemberists (15) - last played on 8/19/15
2. Part One/Band of Horses (6) - last played on 5/7/16
3. Shame Chamber/Kurt Vile (5) - last played on 7/23/15
4. In the Eyes of My Friends/Sugar (2) - last played on 10/5/14
5. I Could Have Done This Myself/Lightspeed Champion (4) - last played on 9/1/14
6. Nonstop Disco Powerpack/The Beastie Boys (10) - 5/15/16
7. Mountain/Lucero (7) - last played on 4/29/12
8. Evergreen/Matthew Sweet (1) - played countless times on CD
9. The Sleeping Beauty/American Music Club (4) - …

Sunday Shuffle #448

I'm going to do a bit of a "spring forward" edition this morning, which means I'm going to skip over the first song that pops up and start with the second. I think I'll keep doing that throughout, so you get all the even numbered songs, #2 - #20. Why not?

2. Bechamel/Pernice Brothers (16) - last played on 5/15/15
4. Red Hill Mining Town/U2 (5) - last played on 3/13/16
6. Late-Century Dream/Superchunk (18) - last played on 11/18/15
8. Your Weather/Dinosaur Jr. (19) - last played on 8/3/16
10. Centre For Holy Wars/The New Pornographers (2) - last played on 1/27/15
12. Girls and Boys (Pet Shop Boys 12" Remix)/Blur (3) - last played on 2/28/16
14. Hard To Find/The National (25) - last played on 2/12/17
16. Metal School/Spoon (17) - last played on 1/20/17
18. I'm in Love (With Arthur Dove)/Portastatic (8) - last played on 7/29/16
20. Simple X/Andrew Bird (4) - last played on 5/1/16

5 X 10

I've recently found myself listening to albums that came out 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. Here are some thoughts...

The Broken West/I Can't Go On I'll Go On (2007) - "Down in the Valley" hooked me the first time I heard it streaming on KEXP. At the time, the band was still called The Brokedown, but that would soon change to due copyright issues; that's okay, I like The Broken West as a name better anyway. To get back to "Down in the Valley," what grabbed me were the ringing guitars, layered harmonies, and the organ that weaved in and out. And the lyrics, of course - "I had my feelings like the Dutchman has his gold/Deep in the canyon by the river that runs cold." Speaking of The Dutchman's Gold, that was the name of the EP that I learned had already been out and used my eMusic credits to grab it. "Down in the Valley" was the lead-off track, but there were six other great power pop songs and I was both in love and even mor…