Another year around the sun means that the year 2014 has come to an end. As with most years there is both good and bad that we all go through. One thing is for certain is that one more year is added to the pop culture chain of events. There were a lot of things that happened in 2014 and here are some of the highlights.
The story of Batkid warmed the hearts of the world and showed that there are real superheroes in the world. Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal came roaring back to the small screen and the second season hit the ground running and showed that a network show can be as great as a cable show. This was the year that Saturday Morning network television finally closed up shop but that had really happened years ago. Superheroes made big splashes on television this year with DC Comics placing three new network shows The Flash, Gotham and Constantine and there are more to come with their success.
Cosplay was a big topic this year from harassment issues and creators complaints about conventions being flooded with them and squeezing them out. ComiXology made a lot of comic readers very unhappy with getting rid of the in apps purchase feature that made buying comics super easy for the general public. This was the year that the art reproduction book may have hit the saturation point. With IDW, Titan, DC/Graphitti Design, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite, and Genesis West all releasing high-end books the novelty has worn off and sales are down. At over $100 each buyers are becoming reluctant to buy all that they used to. IDW seems to be over saturating the market with nearly one release announcement per month. The big surprise was the DC and Graphitti Design DC catalog with their first release of The Kelley Jones Batman Gallery Edition that was a great taste of things to possibly come.
There was big news in the Star War universe this year. First Dark Horse Comics officially lost the rights to do comics with Disney buying the franchise and returning the license to Marvel Comics (also owned by Disney) in 2015. There was also the surprise release of a teaser trailer for the J.J. Abrams Star Wars: The Force Awakens that nearly broke the internet with people trying to watch it.
This years crop of films had a lot of disappointments but there were some surprises. Godzilla returned to the big screen after the last disastrous film in 1998. While the reception was mixed it was very much the Godzilla that we knew and loved. Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise hit of the summer and cemented Marvel’s cinematic hold on superhero films. But it was the X-Men Days of Future Past that was the best superhero film. Adapting John Bryne, and Chris Claremont’s story from 1981 issue #141 & #142 into nearly one of the best superhero films to date. Another great surprise were great animated films that graced the screen with the big surprise being The Book of Life that was so visually captivation that really broke new ground and was really outside the box on every level. There were also How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Lego Movie, Boxtrolls, and Penguins of Madagascar.
While the blockbusters of the year were disappointing quality wise it was Christopher Nolan that came to the rescue with Interstellar that proved that you could have a blockbuster film that had a great story. It was also one of the few films that was shot entirely on film with over an hour of footage shot on IMAX film. Sadly as more films are shot digitally the art of filmmaking is slowly vanishing. It was the smaller films that came to the recuse of our intelligence once again this year. There were many great films that really showed what film can do so well. The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Boyhood, Life Itself, Jodorowsky’s Dune, and The Theory of Everything.
Of course the biggest Hollywood story of the year has to be the hacking of Sony and the most talked about film of the year The Interview. The film was released through independent theaters because the major chains would not touch the film. The hacking was the last thing Sony needed this year with the film division many misses the release of emails, personal information and threats was and still is a public relations nightmare.
It was another big year for great catalog films to be released on Blu-Ray. While the major studios are indifferent about them there were many smaller labels like Shout Factory, Criterion and Twilight Time that came to the rescue and there were many surprise releases. Of course the biggest was the release of the classic 1966 Batman television series that has been tangled in a web of legal nightmares for years finally got the release late in the year. There were many surprises and welcomed releases like Twin Peaks (with the surprise announcement of the return of the show in 2016) , Nightbreed, The Blob (1988), It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World, Tootsie, The Big Chill, A Hard Days Night, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Eraserhead, The Puppetoon Movie, Phantom of the Paradise, and many others.
There are those who have left our world but have left a legacy that will continue for generations to come. Robin Williams made us laugh and cry and was a huge loss this year. Harold Ramis who co-wrote one of the funniest films of all time Ghostbusters also left this world to fight ghost in the next journey. There are many other that left us and remind us that our time in this world is precious and we should share and give as much as we can. James Garner, Richard Kiel, Mike Nichols, Jan Hooks, Joan Rivers, Ann B. Davis, Glen A. Larson, Stan Goldberg, Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Bob Hoskins, Maya Angelou, Casey Kasem, Lauren Bacall, Richard Attenborough, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eli Wallsch, Joe Cocker, H.R. Giger, Gary Edson Arlington, and many others.
One that left us was Sharon Sakai. It’s one of the rare times that the comic book world lost someone who didn’t work directly in the industry. The wife of Stan Sakai who is best known for his Usagi Yojimbo. Sharon was a staple at conventions with her husband and they were both the nicest people you could meet. She had battled a debilitating illness from a brain tumor for many years and over the last year she needed 24 hour care and medicines. The comics community opened their talent and wallets to help them out. There was donations and a benefit book spearheaded by CAPS (Comics Art Professional Society) published by Dark Horse Comics where 100% of their profits when to help the Sakai’s cover cost not covered by their insurance. Sharon passed away on November 25th but the outpouring of love and money really showed the best of the comic book community and are ready to help those in need.
There were many other events that shaped the year 2014. So as we bid farewell to 2014 I hope that you and your friends and family have a strong and safe 2015 and hope to continue to inform and inspire in the new year. I want to thank you for taking time out of you busy schedules to stop by and read all of our ramblings and reviews. Here is to 2015 and have a Happy New Year!