Girl Gone Geek’s Best of 2014

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Best Use of Boobies and Philosophy in an Anime- Space Dandy

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When I first heard about Space Dandy it sounded a lot like Cowboy Bebop, which is my favorite anime series, so I was all for it. To be honest, Shinichiro Watanabe could make an anime that was just a black screen for twelve episodes I would praise the animation and character development. However, when I saw the first episode of Dandy I thought it was ridiculous. Like really ridiculous. And so was the next one and the one after that… “Well, this isn’t very “Bebopy.” I thought to myself. I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Which made me start to lose faith in Watanabe. Which made me question what was even real. Which made me fall into an existential crisis. But then that crisis was averted when I realized I had to stop expecting Space Dandy to be something it wasn’t. Once that happened, everything changed. By the time the series ended, I loved Dandy just as much as he loves Boobies. (Which is a lot.) When watching Space Dandy, you just have to lose all expectations, relax and enjoy the ride, baby.

 

Best Reason to Call Out of Work- Bayonetta 2

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Dat ass, though.

 

Best Creepy Manga- Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano

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My love for Inio Asano grows every time I read one of his messed up coming-of-age stories and Nijigahara Holograph was no different. I dedicated blog posts to Solanin and Nijigahara Holograph because they are that good and I’ll probably do the same for Oyasumi Punpun, which I just finished reading. Asano-sensei is a brilliant storyteller, artist and one of my favorite mangakas. Despite the strangeness and disturbing quality to his stories, there is a unique beauty to them as well. His brutal honesty about humanity forces us to confront things we’re too scared to address. His manga tell us more about ourselves than we may be comfortable with, and with that, he creates a story so beautiful it’s unnerving.

 

Best Love Triangle to Obsess About- Hirunaka no Ryuusei (Daytime Shooting Star) by Mika Yamamori

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I’m a sucker for a shoujo romance love triangle, but throw a sensei up in that triangle and I. CAN’T. EVEN.

 

Smartest Hour On Sunday- True Detective 

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Since time is a flat circle, I can’t wait until my consciousness inevitability experiences True Detective again for the first time.

 

Best Cowboy in Space Movie- Interstellar 

interstellar_2014_movieI was personally offended when I heard some people didn’t like this movie.

 

The Comic That Was So Good It Was Perfect- Saga story by Brian K. Vaughan and art by Fiona Staples

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DUH.

 

Coolest World You Really Like But Don’t Want to Live in Because It’s Pretty Messed Up– East of West story by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Nick Dragotta

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This was a way for me to dedicate a category to East of West because it’s too good not to mention. Seriously, you should be reading this.

 

Best Eyegasm- J.H. Williams III for Sandman Overture story by Neil Gaiman

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So the real reason Sandman Overture comes out every leap year isn’t because of the creators busy schedules, it’s because if JHW3 releases Sandman Overture art once a month it will literally rip a hole in time and space and the universe will collapse in on itself.

 

Best Reason to Judge a Comic Book by Its Cover- The Wicked + The Divine written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Jamie McKelvie

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When you first see the cover for WicDiv you’re all like, “Oooh shiny!” So you buy it because you like pretty things and figure if the story is terrible at least it’s pretty to look at. And then you realize you’re a really shallow person and get depressed. To distract yourself from this distressing realization you read WicDiv and everything about it is super cool and yet surprisingly smart. Then you stop feeling sad and shallow and pretend that you didn’t just buy the comic for the pretty cover, you bought it for the smart story. I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine.

 

Best Comic to Read in Public Places- Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Chip Zdarsky

sex-criminals3Fraction and Zdarsky prove as long as your comic is great, you can make as many sex jokes as you want.

 

The Comic That Will Take Over 2015- Bitch Planet written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and art by Valentine De Landro

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Feminism means equal rights for all women, but more often than not, the fight for equality is separated between white women and women of color *cough cough* “separate but equal”. Bitch Planet is a punch in the face to patriarchy and I’m so damn happy that all women are included. Thank you Kelly Sue and Valentine!

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East of West #9: The Black Experience Done Right

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Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Dragotta
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Image Comics

People of color are underrepresented and misrepresented in comics (we should all know that by now). However, there are some creators who do diversity right. (Quick shout-out to the creators of ChewSaga and Nowhere Men, to name a few.) This issue of East of West took it a step further and not only had an issue full of black folk, but it gave them depth and realism.

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East of West is a crock-pot that’s brewing an oncoming apocalypse and each issue is an ingredient. Because of this, there isn’t much progression in the story, just more world expansion and history lessons. The newest ingredient is the black Kingdom of New Orleans. This is where Jonathan Hickman does the black experience justice.

Too many black characters in comics are what I like to call “happenstance black”. Their blackness has little or nothing to do with the character’s personality. They are the token black character. Don’t get me wrong, just because a character is black doesn’t mean everything about that character should do with race and racism. But it cannot be ignored either.

The King of New Orleans mentions that the other nations call blacks “oilmen, like it was a slur”. This was a smart way to add an aspect of racial realism. Even the last name of Jonathan Freeman gives the reader more insight into this family and their core values. But these are not simply race-related plot devices just for the sake of it, they blend effortlessly with the story.

East of West shows us that it’s possible to incorporate the black experience into a comic in a genuine way… if you give a damn.

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My Pull List: East of West- The Promise #4

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East of West: The Promise was exciting from panel to panel. I had to tell myself to slow down because I was so exited my eyes were jumping all over the page like a happy puppy not sure where to focus! Nick Dragotta blew me away once again with his art, especially the panels where The Raven and The Wolf transformed. How cool was that?! And we can’t forget about Frank Martin’s stunning coloring, which makes the world and characters blend and pop at the same time.

EoW definitely has some of my favorite character design in a series so far. Death and his black and white crew are the most remarkable. I’m pretty obsessed with The Raven. I also noticed in the scene when Death was kissing Xiaolian, his skin was black, and not the white skin we see now. It makes me think he’s been through some sort of rebirth (that probably has to do with her). Can’t wait to see what that’s all about. He went all Gandalf on us!

The scenes at the House of Mao were definitely the most exciting parts of the issue. When Death knocks on your door, you know sh*t’s about to go down! Not only was there a huge battle going on, but Jonathan Hickman still managed to weave in important dialogue about the story’s mythology. It was a bit of sensory overload, but I didn’t mind.

We get to see Famine, War and Conquest from a different point of view, too. Their tough demeanor falters during the scenes with Mister Chamberlain. You would assume the last thing you want is three-fourths of the Horsemen of Apocalypse angry with you, but Chamberlain told them who was boss, and his name is Death. Actually, I take that back, Xiaolian is the real boss. I mean she’s the one who conquered Death. He fell in love with her. And I hear he’s been around for quiet a while so that must mean something.

This issue showed me that East of West is the story of what happens when Death falls in love.