VODKA O’CLOCK 1341: YEAR IN REVIEW with @DennisTafoya & @Mplacko

featurebanner_amber_interviews2013AMBER LOVE 30-DEC-2013 Let’s take a look back on the good times and the controversies of the year. For VODKA O’CLOCK’s Year in Review, I was joined by author DENNIS TAFOYA and multi-media star MEREDITH PLACKO.

I’ve posted 42 episodes of the Vodka O’Clock podcast in 2013. I am grateful for every single guest. I’ve been fortunate to have some return guests like Ande Parks, Dirk Manning, Jeremy Holt and Paul Allor who don’t mind coming back for updates or special occasions. As you know VOC is not only about comics. My favorite episode of the year was with Ande when we did an impromptu Father’s Day episode. Then there was the surreal time I chatted at length with the one and only Shannon Wheeler who I practically worship. I managed to talk about such a diverse range of topics from entertainment to the harsh world of harassment and rape culture we try to battle. That’s been my goal for the show all along. It’s not a “comics” show. It’s about talking to people that I find fascinating whether they’re writers, artists, musicians, literary agents, or lobbyists.

Download the Year in Review episode on iTunes, Stitcher or listen here.

dennistafoyaMy first guest for the Year in Review is DENNIS TAFOYA (dennistafoya.com). His books include THE WOLVES OF FAIRMOUNT PARK, DOPE THIEF, and THE POOR BOY’S GAME (coming in April 2014). We chat about how much fun research is but how it’s also a sneaky way to procrastinate instead of writing.

Dennis’ favorite books:

Other authors to watch:

Dennis’ favorite music for the year:

Dennis’ favorite movies for the year:

  • * Mud
  • * Take Shelter
  • * American Hustle
  • * All is Lost

Jennie Lawson Bloggess Letpretendthisneverhappened3Amber’s Reading: A fair amount of my “reading” was actually audio books because of my long drives. I enjoyed ten really good audio books in 2013. A couple stand out: Aisha Tyler’s SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS, Carrie Fisher’s SHOCKAHOLIC, and Jennie Lawson’s LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED. What’s significant for me is that these three books that stood out are memoirs by some brilliant and funny women. It’s not a conscious common denominator but I enjoyed them more than any of the others I got. I felt connected to each of these women as I listened to funny and tragic stories about their lives.

Self Inflicted Wounds

Aisha Tyler

On Writing

Stephen King

The Cat’s Claw

Susan Wittig Albert

Shockaholic

Carrie Fisher

The Ethical Slut

Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy

Point & Shoot

Duane Swierczynski

Cuckoo’s Calling

J.K. Rowling / R.Galbraith

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Jenny Lawson the Bloggess

Mockingbird

Chuck Wendig

Supergods

Grant Morrison

Cat’s Claw

Susan Wittig Albert

I’m a rather slow reader so I only finished seven books. That’s actually a really huge accomplishment for me but I know I have a exceptionally literary friends that read that much each month. I love books! I happen to be slow in enjoying them and I don’t always finish them either. That’s true of novels and comic omnibuses. My room is a tomb of books I may never get to. I can’t stop buying them and I love getting them as presents. When someone gives you a book, that’s a pretty special token.

Wollstonecraft

Jordan Stratford

Blue Blazes

Chuck Wendig

Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?

Dan Bucatinsky

Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics

Dirk Manning

How to Spot a Histrionic Personality

Joe Navarro

Anthem

Ayn Rand

The Ambitious Card

John Gaspard

I didn’t get to view many movies this year. I really prefer marathoning shows over feature films. Of the few I watched, LOVELACE, stood out to me the most. It’s the memoir of 1970’s porn star Linda Lovelace notorious for the movie DEEP THROAT. She didn’t spend much time in the porn industry yet she and that movie made such a monumental impact for that day. She went on to leave her terribly abusive marriage and start a new life which included writing the memoir, ORDEAL.

As far as music for the year, I wasn’t very experimental. I loop contemporary standards like Lana Del Rey, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford & Sons. For the sultry rockabilly style, check out Beth Hart. I also got hooked on The Samantha Fish Blues Band which I saw perform in New Jersey at the Blues Bash.

PART TWO of the Year in Review episode is a fabulous chat with MEREDITH PLACKO (meredithplacko.com) known for her news coverage and cosplay. We kicked off the recap with a discussion on the issues of harassment in the comics community which is not exclusive to cosplay. We moved the conversation along to recap our best moments of our cosplay this year, plus some of our memorable charity events; for Meredith it was even more personal because she needed to raise money for her cat Angel’s vet bills. She even took the extra and donated it to a local adoption center. For me, I not only helped host another successful Superhero Weekend at Comic Fusion but I also accompanied the 501st and other superheroes to a playground dedication honoring a victim of the Sandy Hook Connecticut school shooting.

VACC 2013 virginia comic conMy personal cosplay highlight was when I attended was Virginia Comic Con where I tagged along with Jim Kuhoric, his friends and special effects artist Brody Williams. I was able to be Jim’s character Annie Belle from DEAD IRONS for about half of a day after a three-hour makeup session with Brody. I partnered up with Bryan Treakle who played Annie’s brother Silas, the protagonist of the story. I continuously messed up at the photoshoot. It wasn’t like anything I had ever done. I’m used to having a photographer snap off hundreds of shots in order to get a couple dozen that are great. This was very limited. Every shot needed to count. It was also my first time doing cosplay work against a green screen. I feel like I was able to add the unique components of special effects and green screen to my modeling resume now. I’ve heard some really exciting news about where these photos will appear and I can’t wait to share it when the time comes.

Meredith’s favorite comics for the year:

  • * East of West (Image)
  • * Saga (Image)
  • * All New X-Men (Marvel)
  • Trese (Alamat)

I’m pretty sure there’s no way I logged every single comic that I read but I tried to remember to jot down titles when I could think of it and get to my Google Drive. IDW’s MY LITTLE PONY comics are still tops for me as they were last year but I put reading them on the back burner in order to spend time exploring new things like Image’s LAZARUS, Action Lab’s JACK HAMMER, Boom’s IMAGINE AGENTS, Monkeybrain’s AMELIA COLE and STRANGE NATION, and Fabian Rangel’s independent creation DOC UNKNOWN which is one of my favorite comics of the year. I’m one of the few die hard readers of Dynamite’s LONE RANGER series; the recent single-issue stories are perfectly suited for any new reader to jump on and enjoy one issue at a time.

Death Sentence CoverI can’t forget to mention the comic that stood out for me a lot, DEATH SENTENCE by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling published through Titan Comics out of the U.K. Not only is the comic itself composed of quality elements for storytelling but the staff is wonderful. Titan Comics has some of the best press relations I’ve ever experienced. They’re receptive and engaging when I write to them through email or Twitter; and they were friendly when I finally met them at New York Comic Con even giving me signed copies of DEATH SENTENCE #1 for a contest. DEATH SENTENCE follows three carefree, punk rock, wild and spontaneous characters who have contracted the sexually transmitted “G” virus. When you’re G+ you only have six months to live but you get superpowered abilities that can cause a ton of trouble. There’s Weasel the washed up punk singer; Verity the painter who seems to be the lost soul of the bunch; and Monty, a vulgar stand-up comedian who uses sexual exploits as a personal challenge eventually landing him to shag a nun and the Queen of England.

The books I enjoyed, I definitely made note of and compiled this helpful spreadsheet:

GhostTown

Dave Dwonch +more

comic

Action Lab

Ehmm Theory

Brockton McKinney, Larkin Ford, Jason Strutz

comic

Action Lab

Jack Hammer

Brandon Barrows and Ionic

comic

Action Lab

Chambers

Wes Locher, Kristian Rossi, Kefas Armando, Amanda Kent

comic

Arcana

IMAGINE Agents

Brian Joines, Bachan, Ruth Redmond, Deron Bennett

comic

Boom

Lone Ranger

Parks, Esteve Polls, Marcelo Pinto

comic

Dynamite

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Price/Cook

comic

IDW

MLP microseries

various

comic

IDW

Wild Blue Yonder

Raicht, Howard, Daniel, Harrison

comic

IDW

Thumbprint

Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella

comic

IDW

Mara

Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire

comic

Image

Revival

Norton, Seeley

comic

Image

Lazarus

Rucka, Lark

comic

Image

Sheltered

Ed Brisson, Johnnie Christmas, Shari Chankhamma

comic

Image

Pretty Deadly

DeConnick, Rios

comic

Image

Velvet

Brubaker, Eptin

comic

Image

Three

Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly, Jordie Bellaire

comic

Image

Love Stories to Die For

Dirk Manning

comic

Image

Krampus

Brian Joines, Dean Kotz

comic

Image

Jupiter’s Legacy

Millar, Quitely

comic

Image

Amelia Cole

Knave, Kirkbride, Brokenshire

comic

Monkeybrain

Strange Nation

Paul Allor, Juan Romero

comic

Monkeybrain

Watson & Holmes

Karl Bolliers, Rick Leonardi, Paul Mendoza (based on story by Mendoza and Brandon Perlow)

comic

New Paradigm Studios

World War Mob

Vito Delsante, Giancarlo Caracuzzo

comic

New Paradigm Studios

Owlgirls

Dave Ryan, Rachel Aragno

comic

Red Anvil Studios

Chickens

Eric Grissom, Claire Connelly

comic

self pub

Doc Unknown

Fabian Rangel Jr., Ryan Cody, Ed Brisson

comic

self pub

Mixtape

Brad Abraham/Gervasio/Jok

comic

self pub

Pulp

Jeremy Holt, Chris Peterson

comic

self pub

Zoe: out of time

J.Michalski, Alexander Lagos, Derlis Santacruz, Oren Kramek

comic

Comixology’s Submit

Sanctuary

Stephen Coughlin

comic

small press then self pub

Death Sentence

Monty Nero, mike Dowling

comic

Titan

Tabatha

Neil Gibson, Caspar Wijngaard, Anja Poland, Comicraft

comic

Tpub

Like Titan Comics, I have had wonderful press relations with other smaller press publishers including Action Lab Entertainment, IDW, and 215ink. The publishers and creators are always willing to consider when I need prizes for the show or for the annual charity fundraiser at Comic Fusion. I don’t simply promote everything that comes through my inbox. When I truly love a product, you’ll know it. This happened with Action Lab’s original graphic novel for the toy line VAMPLETS which is one of my favorite things ever. And 215ink has been responsible for most of my favorite titles in 2012 and giving me even more in 2013 with books like Jennie Wood and Jeff McComsey’s FLUTTER and the Perkins Brothers’ sci-fi comics BEWARE.

In all honesty, I took a taste of some new series but don’t have any desire to follow them through. Such was the case with Image’s THREE, a story of the Spartans. There’s nothing wrong with the story; it just isn’t my cup o’ tea and I felt no compelling desire to see what’s happens next. For other people, they might really dig that sort of story. The same thing happened with only one audio book, THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, a legendary book for comic fans that I simply could not get into at all.

capotekansas-cvr ande parks chris samneeAs far as original graphic novels, I highly recommend MARCH: BOOK ONE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, a memoir of the American Civil Rights movement published by Top Shelf; also Ande Parks and Chris Samnee’s CAPOTE IN KANSAS, a dramatization of Truman Capote’s life during the time he was writing his famous book IN COLD BLOOD; and also unforgettable was Ellen Forney’s MARBLES: MANIA, DEPRESSION, MICHELANGELO AND ME: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR.

Vamplets

Dave Dwonch +more

OGN

Action Lab

Are You My Mother?

Alison Bechdel

OGN

Mariner Books

I Thought You Would Be Funnier

Shannon Wheeler

OGN

Boom

Marbles

Forney

OGN

Gotham

Flutter

Wood, McComsey

OGN

215ink

Golgotha

Harrison, Slominski

OGN

215ink

Ghost War

OGN

215ink

Ghost Lines

Bertolini, Carl Yonder

OGN

215ink

Too Much Coffee Man omnibus

Wheeler

OGN

Dark Horse

Blacksad v.1

Canales, Guarnido

OGN

Dark Horse

Capote in Kansas

Parks/Samnee

OGN

Oni

Twisted Dark

Neil Gibson, various anthology

OGN

Tpub

Batman/Superman – UK edition

various

OGN

Titan

March Book One

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

OGN

Top Shelf

 

Meredith’s favorite blogs:

Amber’s favorite blogs of the year:

 

SHW2013 WWD amber loveTHANK YOU!

I wanted take this time to recap more personal moments in my year. There’s nothing unique about it as I’m sure most people will post on their blogs or Facebook what they look back. Since I’ve returned to life as a full-time employee again and not a temp or freelancer, my life instantly changed. Paychecks now come in regularly but I’ve had to give up some of my favorite modeling jobs that were during daytime hours like the Kubert School, duCret and Montclair Museum. I had a rather unfortunate experience getting to a great night modeling in Newark. I didn’t have the energy to make a full blog post at the time but I typed it up quickly on Facebook: fb_110613 newark harassment modeling

The new job means I have better finances to get to conventions but I don’t necessarily have the vacation days to actually get to the shows. What I’m doing might be the same number of shows as before but often hitting them on only Saturdays. I also had the opportunity to fly to a con for the first time which was Detroit Fanfare. I had an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety surrounding that trip but it was special for personal reasons. I met several great folks that I have stayed in touch with but I doubt it’s in my cards to return in 2014. My goal is to see new cons as often as possible. Even though Baltimore seems to steadily be my favorite and one I hate to miss, I’ll check out what other ones I can drive to reasonably. Because of the job, I spend a lot of time in my car so I’m not exactly thrilled for road trips anymore.

There were three projects that I’m quite proud to be part of that were supposed to come out in 2013 and haven’t. They are not dead in the water, thankfully. They are delayed but I’m anxious to see the work come out whenever that happens. For 2014, I’ve already begun talking to a new creative partner about projects. It’s exciting work but leaves me scared to death thinking of the potential of screwing up something other people have worked so hard on already. I have tons of trepidation but they are projects I wouldn’t pass up unless I had a really good excuse for not trying.

VODKA O’CLOCK IN 2013:

1301

Jennie Wood (Flutter)

1/3/2013

1302

Jeremy Whitley – Action Lab

1/10/2013

1303

Jeremy Holt (Cobble Hill)

1/17/2013

1304

Nick Dedual

1/24/2013

1305

Lillian Cohen-Moore with Mike Perkins

1/31/2013

1306

Artists Assemble Panel 1 comics as art

2/3/2013

1307

Artists Assemble Panel 2 Women in comics

2/3/2013

1308

Bryn Pryor Cowboys/Engines

2/6/2013

1309

Rich Clark – art talk

2/14/2013

1310

Steve Wang special f/x

2/21/2013

1311

Brockton McKinney, Larkin Ford, Ehmm Theory

3/7/2013

1312

Eric Ruben lawyer/agent

3/14/2013

1313

Lela Gwenn

3/19/2013

VODKAVERSARY

3/9/2013

1314

NJ Blues Bash

3/27/2013

1315

Shannon Wheeler

4/10/2013

1316

Lee Delray

4/17/2013

1317

Tommy Salami

4/24/2013

1318

Mario C – Ashes

5/1/2013

1319

Karl Slominski – Golgotha, Ashes

5/8/2013

1320

Joe Martino – The Mighty Titan

5/17/2013

1321

Ryan K. Lindsay – Action Lab Ghost Town

5/29/2013

1322

Howie Noel – Tara Normal

6/3/2013

1323

Ande Parks – Father’s Day

6/12/2013

1324

Rebecca Nagel/Hannah Brancato – rape culture

6/14/2013

1325

Chris Moreno

6/26/2013

1326

Dirk Manning

7/3/2013

1327

Jeremy Holt (After Houdini)

7/10/2013

1328

Jeff Mach Geek Creation Show

7/17/2013

1329

Eric Ruben lawyer/agent

7/24/2013

1330

Adam P Knave – Amelia Cole

7/31/2013

1331

Jordan Stratford – Wollstonecraft

8/7/2013

1332

Appleseed Con

8/13/2013

1333

GoTopless Day

8/22/2013

1334

Mark Stegbauer

9/4/2013

1335

Fabian Rangel Jr – Doc Unknown

9/25/2013

1336

Brad Abraham – Mixtape

10/21/2013

1337

Paul Allor

11/13/2013

1338

Dirk Manning

11/19/2013

1339

Jeremy Holt

11/22/2013

1340

Vito Delsante – World War Mob

12/11/2013

1341

Year in Review: Dennis Tafoya & Meredith Placko

12/30/2013

2 comments on VODKA O’CLOCK 1341: YEAR IN REVIEW with @DennisTafoya & @Mplacko

  1. Jim
    January 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm (8 months ago)

    Wow, what an exciting and full year you had. You brighten all of our days when you post your musings, reviews, pics and Vodka O’clock. I wish you Health, Happiness and all that you need in 2014!

    Reply
    • admin
      January 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm (8 months ago)

      Thanks, Jim! You too!

      Reply

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