featurebanner_meashley1AMBER LOVE DEC-2012 This year Ashley agreed to join me in collecting together some lists of things that stood out from the rest. We couldn’t fairly call anything “Best of 2012″ considering how much of our reading materials were pre-2012 publications. We also don’t get to declare “best” because we aren’t experts. We are a couple of ladies with particular tastes for stories, design, and community. (PART ONE: 2 hours) 

Download on iTunes or listen here. Part 2 just got posted separately.

nycc2012_ashley215inkI’m not sure if it’s because I’m following even more people on Twitter or if it’s because people are actually being more vocal about sensitive and controversial issues but things from Twitter made a greater impact on me this year. Those things include subjects like “the fake geek girl,” “cosplayers are whores looking for attention,” and “can you still be a fan of someone’s work if you think he/she is an asshole?” Those issues made for a year of Twitter that is quite memorable. Let’s not forget there are uplifting and positive things as well. Remember to use hashtags like #creatorlove, #amwriting, #makecomics, or #fridayreads to join in.

I devoted a considerable amount of time coming up with some alternative categories that other pop culture centric bloggers might miss. My life isn’t entirely comics nor entirely costumes. I allowed myself to expand my horizons and in doing so, I was able to stand back and strictly be an observer at times. I wanted to show appreciation for photographers who are responsible for making sure that models and costumes look their best; favorite charity event and movement that came from a subculture; memorable moments that resonated and evoked change; and role models who inspire us to do better.

Undoubtedly, you may have questions about how on earth we came to our decisions. By all means, add a comment. Due to some problems we have with inappropriate comments, you do have to provide a name and email address. We’d appreciate it if you’d use something that does reflect that you are a real person even if it’s an internet alias. If you’re going to formulate an opinion and espouse words somehow, own it. Use your name. Stand by your comments. Comments from “Batman” or “Wonder Woman” will not be taken seriously and deleted. We will gladly explain how we came to decisions if you really want to know. Since it’s hard for two people to author one post, what we did was make a table with our choices. I tried to include as much information as possible whereas Ashley was content in providing her specific favorites even if she read a lot more.

One area that you might wonder about is how I voted XOC by Matt Demicki superior to UNDERWATER WELDER by Jeff Lemire. For me, it came down to surprise. XOC successfully surprised me. First of all it was a serious original graphic novel about a great white shark, her turtle companion, and other marine life as they are affected by each other, the environment and of course, humans. XOC had several subplots taking the shark through more than one challenge until the end. The ending was a surprise because the outcome could easily have gone happy or sad. It was a solid story and lovely art with overall great presentation. UNDERWATER WELDER was certainly a fine story by Lemire but it didn’t surprise me at all. I love Lemire’s mystery-building but I never sat on the edge of my seat worrying about the main character. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s why I chose XOC instead. Yes, I loved UNDERWATER WELDER too. I emphasize that in case people think “zomg she hated Underwater Welder what a fucking illiterate fake geek!” In fact, if you enjoyed UNDERWATER WELDER find a copy of Alex Robinson’s TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN because you’ll find similarities and enjoy that story too.


Determining which charitable movement driven by fandom was our favorite was definitely a biased decision. Ashley and I worked very hard with Stacy, Bill, and the volunteers of Comic Fusion to create another fantastic SUPERHERO WEEKEND & WONDER WOMAN DAY in October. Our fundraisers benefit SAFE in Hunterdon, a local shelter for domestic violence victims and survivors. They provide many services to the local community and we do whatever we can to show that our comics and gaming subculture audiences care about them. The comic book professionals from writers and artists to publishers and marketing coordinators, help us out by donating products and sketches for our auction and raffles. For 2012, we raised another $7,000 which brings our totals to over $43,000 since 2007.

We love to see all of charitable movements from our networks of geeks. These events range from small intimate one-shop gatherings like ours to massive fundraisers composed of smaller events like all of the various STAR WARS fandom fundraisers (Course for the Force relay, the 501st and Rebel Legion cosplay events, etc.). Emotional circumstances surround some of the highest publicized events such as when Christian Bale visited the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting and when the comics community rallied to raise money for them under the banner Aurora Rising.

Hurricane Sandy affected us personally. In times of crisis like that, it is evident how important entertainment is to us. Some people might become aloof and consider it “mindless” to invest so many hours of our lives in escapism. We see this it as healthy and necessary. One thing is certain: this year has been filled with game changing entertainment. When MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC outsells major mainstream comic book franchises, you can see that there is something for everyone.

With VODKA O’CLOCK, I’m pleased to say that we’ve had 40 wonderful episodes in 2012. I don’t have great stats on them since some of it is on iTunes where there are no stats and some are played directly through this server. From the Hipcast stats (which is what feeds iTunes), the most popular episode has been #1223 with DIRK MANNING. He’s a powerhouse for promoting his work and open-minded when he stirs up controversy.

Comics: Ongoing or Maxi Series (12 issues or more)THE LONE RANGER (Dynamite Entertainment)SAGA (Image)
Comics: MiniseriesDEADHORSE (215ink)
Comics: Favorite new comic introduced, mini, maxi or ongoingCOBBLE HILL (215ink), M3 (Schultz/Alcazar)MIND THE GAP (Image)
Comics: WriterAnde Parks (LONE RANGER)Duane Swierczynski (BIRDS OF PREY)
Comics: Artist (These titles happen to have artists who did their own inking.)Phil Sloan (DEADHORSE)Fiona Staples (SAGA)
Comics: Color ArtistDonna Gregory (GUTTER MAGIC), Marcelo Pinto (LONE RANGER), David Halvorson (DEADHORSE)Sonia Oback (MIND THE GAP)
Comics: LetteringChris Mowry (NIGHT OF 1000 WOLVES)Fiona Staples (SAGA)
Comics: Publisher215ink - has once again provided me with a year of enjoyment in diverse selections of comics, my favorites being mysteries and suspense; also IDW for Night of 1000 Wolves, Godzilla and My Little PonyImage - another strong year of non-cape stories like Saga, Revival and Fatale
Comics: Original Graphic Novel, Trade Paperback or AnthologyXOC by Matt Demicki. Also read Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire, Godzilla volume 1 and several pre-2012 trades and OGNs: Cursed Pirate Girl, Fogtown, Little Heroes, Wicked West, Extinct, Green River Killer, Jesus Hates Zombies
Comics: CharacterSophia (NIGHT OF 1000 WOLVES), Starling (BIRDS OF PREY)

Sophia was co-created by Bobby Curnow and David Wachter; Bobby developed a female protagonist that surprises the story by, in my opinion, stealing the show in a tribal tale that focuses on the men for much of it; Wachter was tasked with created characters of historical Norse backgrounds that had to resonate as truthful in a world with supernatural lore.
Starling (BIRDS OF PREY), Sophia (NIGHT OF 1000 WOLVES)

Starling was co-created by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz; she's a troubled character with controversial methods of succeeding in her missions and she covers up her emotional side which only seen by those closest to her; her rockabilly fashion makes her stand out as a stylish female in a world of spandex and capes.

Comics: Breakout SurpriseMY LITTLE PONY (IDW) by Katie Cook and Andy PriceSPACE GIRLS by Stacie Ponder as part of WOMANTHOLOGY: SPACE #1
Comics: Example of DiversityGODZILLA (IDW) - Swierczynski created a mercenary team with a Brit, a woman, a gay Mexican, and a person with a disability who is mute. I've never seen anything like it.SAGA (Image) - Vaughn & Staples have expanded the visibility of speciesism and artistic controversies with their comic.
Comics: Cover ArtNIGHT OF 1000 WOLVES #3 by Dave Wachter, DEADHORSE #1 by Phil Sloan
FATALE #1 by Sean Phillips, BATWOMAN #0 by J.H. Williams III
Book Cover DesignBLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig, cover by Joey HiFi
BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig, cover by Joey HiFi
Blogger/Social Media PresenceChuck Wendig at TerribleMinds.com and Twitter, Grammar Girl at Quick & Dirty TipsChuck Wendig
PodcastNerdist Writers' Panel hosted by Ben Blacker, Writing Excuses, The JV Club, Tell Me Something I Don't KnowNerdist Writers' Panel hosted by Ben Blacker, PolyWeekly, Pop My Culture, Vodka O'Clock
Cosplayer"Eric Brooks" known for Blade, Morpheus, Nick Fury.
Ann McManus known for Artemis, Black Widow
David Cap Santiago known for Nova, Bucky/Cap, Ares, Immortal Iron Fist
Cosplay or Convention PhotographerKassandra Purcell


Honorable Mentions: Knightmare6, Babs Daniels

Babs Daniels

ConventionSteampunk World's Fair (vendors, costumes, entertainment, absinthe testing!)

Baltimore Comic Con

Wizard World Philly
Steampunk World's Fair

Baltimore Comic Con

Wizard World Philly
Small EventSuperhero Weekend & Wonder Woman DaySuperhero Weekend & Wonder Woman Day
Geek Role Model* Paul Allor, writer

* James Hannon, liaison for the 501st Northeast costumers

* Scott Snyder, writer
* Amber Love

* Dirk Manning for handling himself like a pro
Charity Movement by Geeks* Superhero Weekend & Wonder Woman Day

* Philip Bonneau photography/bodypaint Heroes & Villains for AID Atlanta

* Superheroes for Hospice comic book sales throughout the year

* Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh window washers dressed as superheroes
* Superhero Weekend & Wonder Woman Day

Memorable Moments in Geekdom* Mandy tells off creeps while she's Black Cat. Cosplay uprising ensues including #CosplayAppreciateDay on Twitter.

* Felicia Day launches Geek & Sundry

* Liefeld goes crazy on Twitter

* Christian Bale shows up to Aurora, Colorado in the wake of the massacre.

* Tard the Grump Cat becomes the best meme of the year.
* Launch of Vodka o'Clock podcast.

* GeekNation launch

* Gangnam Style phenomenon

* Hobbit movie release

Favorite Episodes of Vodka O'Clock1201 Duane Swierczynski

1209 Chuck Wendig

1202 Tim Kang
1209 Chuck Wendig

1231 Stephen Blackmoore

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