The Siskoid Awards 2012

We survived! And that means another New Year AND the SBG's annual Geek Gala! Once more, I'll award prizes (do not try to collect, there are no prizes) for excellence in stuff I've seen, heard or read this year (regardless of when it was originally released, though I do try to have new stuff in the Top 5 at least). As usual, only newly experienced material will be up for consideration. For television episodes, no more than one per show can be put up for nomination. Other limits may apply. So sit back, get your pool cards out, and see if you can guess who the winners will be.

Best Book of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. MetaMaus (Art Spiegelman)
4. A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin)
3. Running Through Corridors (Robert Shearman and Toby Hadoke)
2. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story (Sean Howe)
...and the Siskoid goes to: A Storm of Swords (George R.R. Martin) - Yeah, I got into this whole Game of Thrones phenomenon this year, just like everybody else, and though the first book is indeed a grabber, I can't wait to see how the THIRD book will be adapted for TV after the somewhat disappointing second season/book. Book 3 is real exciting, guys. This is the stuff. Fates denied, mysteries revealed, and Daenerys gets to do something other than whine about her stolen dragons.

Best Comic of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. Adventure Time (Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, Braden Lamb, and co.)
4. Mind MGMT (Matt Kindt)
3. The Underwater Welder (Jeff Lemire)
2. Hawkeye (Matt Fraction and David Aja)
...and the Siskoid goes to: Locke & Key (Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez) - Read the entire series for my Old 52 series of posts and loved it. Hill and Rodriguez create a deep world of fantasy inhabited by characters that have the ring of truth and for whom you can't help but care. The latest mini-series, Omega, is slated to be the last, I think, and I look forward to gifting the entire collection, once available to the people I love, like my sister, a horror fan who responds well to the comics I've given her in the past, even if she wouldn't know what's what walking into a comic book store by herself. Locke & Key is the kind of book tailor-made for someone like her. Read my review for more.

Best Film of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. Finding Neverland (Marc Forster)
4. Young Adult (Jason Reitman)
3. Marvel's Avengers (Joss Whedon)
2. Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley)
...and the Siskoid goes to: Norwegian Ninja (Thomas Cappelen Malling) - Not Avengers or some other (excellent) piece of nerd bait? Why no, I've gone to the weird side on this, but Norwegian Ninja captured my imagination earlier this year and it won't return it unless I accede to its demands! How do we describe Capellan Mailling's Norwegian Ninja? Let my original capsule review try: "Imagine you asked Wes Anderson to make an action/martial arts film in the style of Blair Witch Project, featuring a real person famous in the 80s but re-imagined as a zen Norwegian James Bond, and use traditional stunts, models, and computer effects from the 80s. What might you get? I don't even know if it would come close. SEE THIS FILM! It's primed to become a cult favorite. It is INSANE. It tells the 'true story' of how real-life diplomat/spy Arne Treholt, condemned to 20 years in jail in 1985 for doing spy work for the Soviets and Iraq, was actually the head of a Ninja force pledged to protect the Norwegian way of life with chi power, ninja invisibility tricks, Bondian vehicles and enlightenment, all from their base on a remote island/animal preserve. It weaves in mysterious and unsolved terrorist attacks and incidents from the time. It's obviously a spoof, but the fact it is so earnest and never winks at the camera is what makes it so good and crazy. And the action scenes are well done too, with plenty of style. I say again, SEE THIS FILM." Can't argue with my months-younger self on that.

Best TV Series of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. Game of Thrones Season 1
4. The Newsroom Season 1
3. Parks & Recreation Seasons 1-4
2. Justified Seasons 1-2
...and the Siskoid goes to: Freaks and Geeks - Everything else on my list is at least partly from the last year or two, but the prize still goes to this 1999 masterpiece. Again, I'll let Earlier-Siskoid tell you about it: "At only 18 episodes, many of which never even aired, Freaks and Geeks definitely ended before its time, and yet, it manages to be a satisfying experience. If you don't know it, and I can't stress how much I recommend you soon do, this 1999 high school series that takes place in 1980 is about the people these kinds of shows are never about - the eponymous geeks (nerds, brains and the gymnasium inept) and freaks (burnouts, stoners and problem kids). It does so in an incredibly naturalistic way that will remind you of your own teenager anxieties and heartaches, and give a voice to people who are either never seen in teen shows, or written as clichés. The pilot, and then almost every other episode, had me laughing out loud AND tearing up within the space of 45 minutes. It features, among others, Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen and Busy Phillips, and it's really too bad these kids never did anything after that... A most realistic look at high school (no glammed up 20somethings playing teens) facing real issues and yet managing charm and humor. An immediate favorite, folks."

Best TV Episode of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. The Other Woman (Mad Men Season 5)
4. Amen (The Newsroom Season 1)
3. Remedial Chaos Theory (Community Season 3)
2. Chuck vs. the Goodbye (Chuck Season 5)
...and the Siskoid goes to: A Scandal in Belgravia (Sherlock Series 2) - Controversial choice? I know not everyone liked the idea of Irene Adler as a dominatrix, but it does create a unique relationship between Holmes and the Woman, and is impeccably plotted, a trademark of writer Steven Moffat. A joy from the montage of Sherlock's new found fame to the final punchline. In each 3-episode series, two of them are genuinely exciting mysteries/thrillers (hint: it's never the middle one), and Belgravia is my choice for the better of the two this year.

Best CD of 2012 - The runners up are...
5. Doctor Who Series 6 Soundtrack (Murray Gold)
4. Survival of the Fittest (Big Finish's Jonathan Clements with John Ainsworth and Lee Mansfield)
3. Belmundo Regal (Radio Radio)
2. Drive Soundtrack
...and the Siskoid goes to: The Destroyer of Delights (Big Finish's Jonathan Clements) - Here what I had to say about the audio play earlier this year: "The second chapter of the Key2Time serial is, I'm glad to report, a great story. In The Destroyer of Delights, writer Jonathan Clements has crafted a wonderfully verbose and witty tale of the 1001 Nights, throwing meticulous historical research in with spaceships and robots in the Sudan to inspire the story of Ali Baba. The 5th Doctor and Amy the Key Finder (not Pond) are wonderfully used in the setting, but Clements offers one more entertaining element: Modern versions of the Black and White Guardians that are actually funny and endearing. The Black Guardian is played by David Troughton, and man does he ever sound like his father on audio. I wouldn't be surprised if this was still one of my favorite CDs come Siskoid Awards time next January." So I guess I'm NOT.

Stupidest Move in the Geekaverse 2012 - The runners up are...
5. 48 frames per second (Peter Jackson)
4. Big Bird Must Die! (Mitt Romney)
3. Fake Geek Girls (Tony Harris)
2. One Million Moms vs. the gay superheroes (1MM's Facebook page)
...and the Siskoid goes to: DC Comics, the Complete Works - In my notes, DC Comics clearly owned the entire Top 5 and more, so I thought it best to consolidate their bonehead moves, which naturally, made them "win". Let's list their greatest hits, shall we? The new puddin' cup logo. Antagonizing Alan Moore and many of his fans while simultaneously tying up a ton of talent with the entirely unnecessary (and, it seems, interminable) Before Watchmen. Using Joe Kubert's death to shill the damned thing was just a tasteless cherry on top. Jettisoning Captain Marvel's name, calling him Shazam, and then turning him into the shared universe's very worst hero. An editorial-led hatred of characters like Stephanie Brown (removed from out-of-continuity digital comics, even) and Lois Lane (sidelined in favor of Superman dating Wonder Woman, a "power couple" rammed down our throats again and again). "Who's Who" pages proudly touting every character's true first appearance was in 2011. When Rob Liefeld's book was cancelled, immediately giving him three more books to write or draw (the kiss of death, surely), while somehow also treating him badly enough that he quit (publicly on Twitter, of course), following industry legend George Perez out the door. Meanwhile, fan favorite writer Gail Simone is fired from the best-selling Batgirl via email, only to be rehired when fans react with outrage / Simone gets lots of offers from competitors. Congratulations, DC, you've won this prize twice in a row! PLEASE don't go for the Grand Slam. And you, dear reader, you're a sucker for punishment? Then I'll also point you to my dissertation on DC's communications clusterfarce and its very interesting comments section. You'll find dead horses and beating sticks.

What would YOUR picks look like? Tomorrow: The Technical Achievement Awards as given in a ceremony prior to this one!

4 comments:

Jeffry Willis said...

Yay for Freaks and Geeks AND for Scandal in Belgravia. Two of my favorite things, also!

d said...

Freaks & Geeks seems to be a blind spot with me, I still haven't made it past the 2nd episode. Or maybe its Judd Apatow stuff in general I don't like. Happy New Year Siskoid, my favorite blogger!

Matthew Turnage said...

Still catching up from the holidays.... My favorite comic series of 2012 has been Harbinger. While I've enjoyed all the books of the Valiant relaunch, Harbinger is definitely the best comic on the stands IMO. Joshua Dysart is knocking this one right out of the park. If you haven't given it a shot, I think the first trade is out this month, and the zero issue is out in February.

Siskoid said...

I most definitely HAVE given it a shot, and given high marks to each of the Valiant books. I don't think Harbinger is my favorite (Archer & Armstrong maybe?) but I look forward to reading it each month.

 

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