2018 felt like the longest year every while also speeding past us.
On New Year’s Eve we played a little game, 2018: Bummer, or Not a Bummer? Personally 2018 was not a bummer for us. We saw a bunch of awesome concerts, spent quality time with family and all the kids, moved to Austin and began renovating our new house.
The continued shit show that is the President and what he’s doing to our country? Definitely a bummer, but the midterm elections – definitely not a bummer.
On to other things that were definitely not a bummer this year.
Superman hit a historic milestone with Action Comics #1000 and the 80th anniversary of The Man of Tomorrow. This issue contains a handful of short stories by authors and artists – including our first look at how Brian Michael Bendis would write Superman. He’s now 7 or 8 issues into both Superman and Action Comics and I’ve really been enjoying him on this book.
Speaking of Bendis, Spider-Man (#240) was his last issue on Spider-Man, a book he had been writing since 2000. It was also his goodbye to Miles Morales, who has been Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe since 2011. It was a great send off for Bendis and a book, and character, I’ve loved for almost two decades. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Miles next.
Going back to Superman, Action Comics Special #1 was a collections of short stories, but the main story – “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor” is what made this a stand out issue. Superman’s home world is reborn, Lex Luthor, his greatest enemy, becomes an unexpected ally. The choices and path Lex takes in this story are great.
Skyward was definitely my favorite new series of 2018. It tells the story of a world where gravity stops working, or rather, it’s drastically reduced. Willa, the heroine of the story, thinks she knows how to fix it based on research done by her father.
2018 was a big music year, at least with live concerts. We saw the Foo Fighters twice, including once against the stage in the pit, Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Fallon, Streetlight Manifesto, Foxing, Titus Andronicus, Leon Bridges, and The National – one of my favorite bands who I hadn’t seen live until this year. Sadly a snow storm ruined my chance to see Springsteen on Broadway, something I’m still upset about.
I’ve keeping both an Apple Music playlist and Spotify playlist updated that includes all of my favorite new songs from 2018. I’ve never done this before, but it’s definitely something I am going to keep doing moving forward.
As far as full albums go, two really stood out for me.
A Productive Cough by Titus Andronicus (Apple Music / Spotify) was a big shift in tone for this band. It’s more mellow, kind of bluesy, and not the hard punk rock you’d come to expect from the band – which, this is more of a solo album than a Titus Andronicus album. It’s also not their most accessible album for new listeners either. For that I would recommend their 2010 effort The Monitor (Apple Music / Spotify)
Stand out songs for me are Number One (In New York) (Apple Music / Spotify), Above the Bodega (Local Business) (Apple Music / Spotify), and Home Alone (Apple Music / Spotify).
Nearer My God by Foxing (Apple Music / Spotify) came out of no where. A friend on twitter wouldn’t shut up about the band and their latest album, so I gave it a listen. At first I got a TV on the Radio vibe from them, but as I kept listening they are definitely their own band. I also went back and listened to their other two albums and while they are strong (especially Rory which may be my favorite song of theirs), Nearer My God is their strongest effort yet, and it shows. They also put on one hell of a show.
Stand out songs for me are Grand Paradise (Apple Music / Spotify), Slapstick (Apple Music / Spotify), and Gameshark (Apple Music / Spotify).
We see a lot of movies, and this year was no different.
Standouts were definitely The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, Avengers: Infinity War, Sorry to Bother You, Blackkklansman, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Death of Stalin, Greenbook, Searching, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and Eighth Grade.
Avengers: Infinity War was incredible in and of itself because of the fact that, one, it happened. And two, it wasn’t a mess of a storyline. It all worked – ten years of storytelling across 18 movies led to this one moment and it absolutely worked. I cannot wait for Endgame in April.
But, the stand out movie for me was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This movie was sooo good. Much better than I hoped it would be. It combines the origin of how Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man and the 2014 comic event Spider-Verse. It’s faithful to both stories, while also grounding it a bit, because the Spider-Verse comics were a bit crazy. The animation was stunning. All of the Spider-people had their own animation style based on their universe. Spider-Hamm was very Looney Tunes, Spider-Man Noir was black and white in a colorful world, Spider-Gwen had neon shades that surrounded her, Peni Parker and SP//dr were anime style – just gorgeous execution. I can’t wait to see this one again.
This was a good year for television. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon was better than I expected, Maniac on Netflix was a hell of a trip, and Daredevil season 3 was amazing.
Out of all of those though, two shows take the banner for me.
Barry starring Bill Hader is the runaway comedy for me. It’s a dark comedy that follows a hit man who wants to quit the business and go into acting. The entire cast is great, including Henry Winkler who won an EMMY for his role.
This is so weird, but Manifest on NBC has been really good. It’s part Heroes and part LOST. It tells the story of the passengers of a plane that disappears mid-flight, and then reappears five years later with the crew and passengers alive, and the same age as when they disappeared. They start to develop a connection to one another while trying to figure out what happened to them. I fully expect this show to go off the rails at some point, but for now I’m really on board.
Some other shows that we watched and enjoyed, though weren’t new in 2017 were The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Patriot (both shows on Amazon Prime).
I play a lot of games, specifically on my iPhone. If you’re looking for good casual games, I can’t recommend Holedown (App Store / Google Play), Pocket-Run (App Store), or Mini Metro (App Store / Google Play) enough.
But, my favorite game of the year is Spider-Man for PlayStation 4. I actually bought a TV and Playstation for my office just so I could play this game, and I’ve played the hell out of it. This is the first console and game I’ve owned since the original X-Box and Halo 2 back in 2005 or so.
I’m on my second play through of Spider-Man now and it’s so much fun. It took me a while to get the hang of the controller and moves, but once I did I was off. Some parts of the game are really challenging (some are damn near impossible on the easiest setting) but overall I love it.