You might be wondering why my 2013 Year In Review post is so late, coming as it does nearly 1/26 of the way through the New Year. The first and most important answer to that is quite simply that I am lazy and I tend to procrastinate.
My lack of ambition notwithstanding, nonetheless I have always preferred, on my various blogs over the years, to put off doing my Year In Reviews until the year is actually over. You never know when some earth shattering, game changing bit of news is going to occur on New Year's Eve, leaving all the other bloggers who wrapped up their post mortem on the year the week before Christmas slapping their foreheads and making Homer Simpson noises. To be sure, that didn't happen in 2013, but one of these years it will and I shall be hailed far and wide as prescient and a visionary.
Enough preamble, on, at last, to the business at hand:
On a personal note, I did somewhat better at keeping up the blog in the year past, with 88 posts compared to a mere 58 in the twelve months previous. However, as is my typical pattern, I sort of slacked off in the latter half of the year.
Since September, my contributions to this blog have mostly been limited to my weekly reviews of Star Trek: The Animated Series. These have turned out to be some of my most popular and well received posts, so you can rest assured that I shall, as promised, be resuming the series with the second season of six episodes come September. Its perhaps worth noting that, other than my observance of it here, the fortieth anniversary of the debut of the animated version of Trek went largely unheralded by fandom. On the other hand, I am fairly certain that such shall by no means be the case in two years when the original series reaches its fiftieth anniversary year.
One anniversary that did not slip by unnoticed by fandom was the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who's debut on November 23, 1963. I feel that the anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor," was one of the best Who episodes since Series 5, which I consider the best of Stephen Moffatt's term as show runner. The only real flaw in the episode is that I feel that Moffatt dropped the Zygon invasion plot about five minutes too soon, just short of an actual satisfying resolution. Of course, the Zygons were not the point of the episode. The real point was to lay to rest once and for all the specter of the Time War and to absolve the Doctor of his guilt for the supposed destruction of Gallifrey. Retroactively making it so that Gallifrey was never really destroyed may seem to some a bit of a cop-out, but Moffat pulled it off in an emotionally satisfying manner and without contradicting anything that the series has established in the eight years since its return to the airwaves in 2005.
The year in Doctor Who not only saw the end of Matt Smith's reign as the Doctor, but gave not just one, but three regenerations, and all within the space of little more than a month. The on-line short "The Night of the Doctor" brought back eighth Doctor Paul McGann to show his transformation into John Hurt's "War Doctor"; the anniversary special ended with Hurt turning into the ninth Doctor; and, of course, there was the the Christmas special, featuring Peter Capaldi's first appearance as the Doctor, or his second if count his brief cameo, in extremely extreme close up, in "The Day of the Doctor."
Turning, finally, to the ostensible niche of this blog, the world of comics, it would appear that my powers of prognostication are perhaps not as prodigioous as I pretend. That bit of somewhat strained alliteration refers to the fact that in my previous Year In Review post, I forecast that when I sat down to write the post that you are reading right now I would be reporting the demise, sometime during the previous year, of DC's creator owned, mature readers imprint Vertigo after two decades of existence. Unheeding of how it my affect my self-esteem, it turns out that the venerable imprint is still chugging along. However, it was announced a few weeks ago that the line will soon be losing its latest flagship title. Bill Willingham's popular and long running Fables is due to cease publication with its 150th issue, due to appear on comic store shelves in just over a year.
Meanwhile, a prediction that I ventured to make back in 2012 has, indeed, proven accurate. Dark Horse's license to produce comics based on the Star Wars franchise is set to expire in the upcoming year, and it has recently been announced that Lucasfilm's new owners, the Walt Disney Corporation, which also, not coincidentally, happens to own its own comics publisher, will be, as I foretold at the time of Disney's aquisition of the Star Wars property, shifting the Star Wars license back to its original home at Marvel Comics. Of course, you don't have to be Nostrodamus to realize that it makes more sense for Disney to produce Star Wars comics in-house if they, as they, in fact, do, have the means.
The past year saw the deaths of a trio of notable artists of the Silver Age of comics.
Carmine Infantino's passing I noted when it occurred this April past.
Veteran Superman artist Al Plastino, who expired in November, had recently been in the news due to a legal conflict over some original artwork from a 1963 Superman story that he had wished, at the time, to be donated to the John F. Kennedy Library, but which, obviously, never ended up there.
To my mind, Plastino will always be the artist who was called in to "fix" Jack Kirby's Superman and Jimmy Olson faces during the King's run on Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen in order to bring them more in line with the look of the other Superman titles. I also was somewhat surprised to learn when I read Schulz and Peanuts, David Michaelis' biography of the Charlie Brown's creator, that, back in 1978, Plastino had been in line to take over Peanuts if contract renewal negotiations between Schulz and his syndicate went sour. It is my understanding that Plastino actually worked up about six weeks worth of Peanuts strips, just in case. I've never seen them, but I've heard that they were fairly awful.
In November, the comics world also bade farewell to Nicholas Viscardy, better known to fans of his artwork on Aquaman, Teen Titans and The Brave and the Bold, among other titles, not to mention countless DC covers during the 1970's, as Nick Cardy.
Finally, speaking, as I was earlier, of anniversaries, I cannot believe that, being the huge fan of the Doom Patrol that I am, I failed to realize, and thus to mark the occasion on this blog, that 2013 had been the fiftieth anniversary of the team's debut in My Greatest Adventure #80, cover dated June 1963--which, of course, means it may have been on newsstands as early as March. In belated recognition of this milestone, I refer you now to this post from the very earliest days of this blog detailing the publication history of the Doom Patrol series around the time of the debut of the title's most recent incarnation, as well as all of the other posts I have composed about the team over the life of this blog.