Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Category: lists

What Is Best In Life? – 2013 Style

It’s always educational to reflect on the year you just imbibed. I have to admit, having a new baby (and it making two for the house) and scoring some larger writing gigs meant my pop culture intake was down a lot this year. I kept abreast of the best comics around but everything else suffered. Nonetheless, here’s some stuff I dug in 2013.

Top Comic – FATALE

I read the first 3 issues of this and then completely fell off. The singles I bought kept stacking up. The more I hadn’t read the more insurmountable it felt to catch back up, but I kept buying the floppies and I know I’d get there one day. And holy cats am I glad I did.

FATALE is the sort of comic that does what it does exactly as it should so if you want a crime horror comic then this is quite simply perfect for you. For my wheelhouse, this comic is king. I spent a sick day off work reading like 14 of these issues in a row and it was insane how good this book is. I’ve long been a fan of SLEEPER/CRIMINAL/INCOGNITO and this book ably joins the gang as a perennial favourite. Philips is just at the top of his game now where he’s stacking these panels densely and with intense purpose. The writing from Brubaker is airtight with every word feeling like it slipped from an aging paperback. The pacing and plot are great but there’s a tonne of little lines and moments that will stop you and inspire you. I wanted to go write for days straight after reading these issues.

I’ll also say, yeah, I dig this book more than SAGA. And I dig SAGA a lot but this book is just that touch more perfect, and more perfect for me.

Honourable Mentions

HAWKEYE – the top cape book right now (sans capes). This book does so many things right and it’s a process treasure trove.

THE MASSIVE – I love the singularity of this book, it’s like nothing else. The characters all pop, the art teams are so damn fine, and I’m liking the whole painting this story provides.

SEX CRIMINALS – I did not see this coming at all. This romance comic (and that’s what it is) is so damn real and beautiful. This should be the only Valentine’s Day present anyone ever needs again.

LOCKE & KEY – it finally ended and I’m so damn sad.

EAST OF WEST – another entry I was dubious about and yet caught up on the first trade’s worth of floppies and my oh my this book is tight. Hickman delivers a slew of simply amazing lines and Dragotta’s always been great.

ULTRANOVA – my favourite indie one-shot this year, Peterson and Ferrier drop a cerebral sci fi tale that stuck with me all damn year. Buy it on the cheap right here and thank me later!

HIGH CRIMES – the best Monkeybrain book by far this year, Moustafa and Sebela craft this beautiful and intricate character study amidst high altitude crime shenanigans. Also, possibly the best covers of the year.

FIVE GHOSTS – Man, this pulp massacre is just fun to read and so pretty to look at.

DAREDEVIL – Samnee and Waid brought me right back into the fold this year. Some great stories and always gorgeous.

THE WAKE – this is basically an action movie with solid characterisation and I’m digging these mermaids.

SAGA – it is a very good book, don’t you know?

STRANGE NATION – I know I write a column in it, but that doesn’t stop this book thoroughly entertaining me with every issue.

D4VE – only one issue dropped but it was so good. Ramon and Ferrier are doing a book like nothing else, and the sort of thing that should insta-open any door in the industry.

BLACK SCIENCE – I finished reading this and could see the problems with it and yet didn’t care because it was so much fun. I like fun comics.

Special Shout Out

FEAR AGENT LIBRARY EDITION VOL 1 – I finally read this beast and it was beyond brilliant. The art at that size is like nothing else. Remender feels really pure and raw in these pages. It’s pulp sci fi. There is every reason for me to love this book. I don’t even mind that Vol 2 keeps getting delayed. if it’s going to come out this good, I’m happy to wait.

Top Book – Fiction – JOYLAND

This tight pulp thriller from Stephen King through Hard Case Crime was better than I had expected. King is back on a high for me after the very very good 11.22.63 so I hoped for this and he really delivered. The overall plot isn’t too insanely intricate, and parts of the resolution do less than wow, but the craft with which King plans and executes his chapters is like a study of razor precision. There are many great lines in this book and that’s something I really appreciate now – someone who beyond plot knows how to use their words.

This also has me hoping for DOCTOR SLEEP to be good. I’m a fifth of the way in, and I’m enjoying it, and I’m such a fan of THE SHINING that it has to prove itself as good enough to exist so here’s hoping for the coming weeks/months.

Top Book – Non-Fic – MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY

This was a stellar read. I’m kind of the ideal audience as I love comics but also love the behind the scenes malarkey just as much but I cannot state enough how interesting some of the history of Marvel Comics really is. As someone who kind of knew some of this, and knows all the people and characters, this was a perfect read. Sean Howe did a very good job assembling this.

Top Movie – PACIFIC RIM

I’ll have to admit, I think these are the only two flicks I saw at the cinema this year. Admitting this makes me so sad. And while iron Man 3 might prove out to be the better film, I give this to PACIFIC RIM because it was just so enjoyable to watch. I haven’t felt that happy and in awe for a while so it made for a very rad night out. And sometimes I just want a flick to entertain me on the purest level. It’s like PREDATOR, brilliant because it entertains. This flick, the same thing. Though this screenplay was a touch more off in places (really off in some) but I could overlook the cheese and obvious set ups and logic holes just so I could get on with enjoying the show.

Honourable Mentions

IRON MAN 3 – a Shane Black cape flick that plays out exactly how you’d imagine such a flick to play out.

Top TV – BREAKING BAD S5 Part 2

Really, how could there be anything else? This show is the great American novel written in front of us over 6 years. This show had the best writing of any and the character arcs were beyond anything else ever attempted and the writing offered it up but every single actor nailed it. The show ended on a perfect noir note. There will be little else this good in our future.

Honourable Mentions

HANNIBAL – this show is my selection to take up BREAKING BAD’s throne. Deft writing, creative cinematography, superb acting, and an end note that if they can stick it right in S2 will show the world this series is a true contender. And I wasn’t even going to watch this show because who the hell needed more Lecter in our lives? I humbly rescinded my first opinion and now cannot wait until February.

THE WALKING DEAD – I continue to enjoy this show.

Special Shout Outs

TERRIERS – whoo, boy, this show was built for me. I really hope it gets kickstarted one day VERONICA MARS style because that would be immense. I also wish it was a comic, and I could write it.

THE WIRE S4 – I finally watched this. It seems THE WIRE is taking me years to watch. But when I pop a season on, I shotgun the hell out of it. And this one was about teaching so it hit me very hard.

Top Music – ENTER THE DRAGON OST

I discovered Spotify and my life has changed. Man, they have everything on there. So I’ve fiendishly been making playlists for projects but I also set up a list titled OST madness and it’s got a tonne of soundtracks on there, and first up is the ENTER THE DRAGON OST. It’s just great, for starters, but I also wrote a kung fu one-shot you’ll be seeing this year and the dna of this music is infused to its pulpy core.

Top Podcast – LET’S TALK COMICS

This is a late entry but it’s kind of the perfect podcast for me. It’s not shilling, it’s just career talk, process chat, open words. Great creators come on and discuss how and where they started and then every step along the way to breaking in and staying in. It’s fascinating stuff. It’s like the best parts of Word Balloon, which I still love.

Honourable Mentions

NERDIST – with the right guest, this show is amazing.

NERDIST WRITER’S ROOM – I find I don’t even know half the names but it’s all writing process (mostly tv but it all rings true). They also now have a comics themed segment of eps on the pod, and it’s pretty good.

WORD BALLOON – always good, Siuntres knows how to do his job.

VODKA O’CLOCK – this gives smaller creators the chance to chat (myself included) and I like that view from the underground, plus Amber is a top host and superb person.

POP CULTURE HOUND – another great interview show, and they get a wide variety of good guests.

COMICS EXPERIENCE MAKE COMICS – this started on the iFanboy podcast and is now it’s own thing. Good, short, clear, snippets of process talk focusing on one section of the game at a time.

THE Q+A – film chat pod where Jeff Goldsmith asks all the right questions.

FATMAN ON BATMAN – when they have the right guest, and Smith doesn’t get in the way, this can go some really interesting places.

Top iApp – WUNDERLIST

A late discovery but something that’s clearing up my head. It’s just making lists and you have the ability to tick off what you’ve done and it moves down but you can still see it all. You can also add due dates, this helps me not freak out too much. It’s also free, which means the world to me because I am cheap.

Honourable Mentions

ComiXology – gotta love the sales.

Zite – an intriguing media reading aggregating/personalising app that’s bringing me new content to read (when I ever have the time).

Coffitivity – this sounds like such a stupid app, but I kind of love it 😐

Dropbox – perfect for viewing the pretty art people send me on the fly.

Top Kid – My Second One

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She is gorgeous, adorable, cute, insane, and constantly learning little things (tonight she played peek-a-book with her towel and my heart grew three sizes). The perfect person to round out our little family.

So, that’s been my 2013. I hope yours was just as rad 😀

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Top 10 Daredevil Runs

Daredevil is my favourite character. Well, Matt Murdock is, he’s the real draw. Anyway, over on CBR they put together a Top 10 Daredevil Runs list and it was good but I had to know what mine were. Here goes:

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10. David Mack – because Echo was a fantastic creation.

9. D.G. Chichester and friends – because his LAST RITES storyline is still gripping, plus he wrote #297, one of the best Daredevil issues ever, and one of the best Typhoid Mary stories ever.

8. John Romita Jr/Ann Nocenti – because they brought Typhoid Mary into brutal existence, and because they ended with Murdock and Bullseye really getting deep into their relationship. And because somewhere in between Murdock found himself in a Kerouac novel with Inhumans.

7. Gene Colan/Roy Thomas – because Gene Colan, that’s why.

6. Paolo Rivera/Marcos Martin/Chris Samnee/Mark Waid – because it’s really tightly wound and when it’s good, it’s masterful. The storytelling from Samnee is out of this world, and the Moleman story was haunting, and it’s fun but also so very smart.

5. Stan Lee and many friends – because there’s a whole mess of charm and insanity to love about this. But mostly, it’s for Mike Murdock.

4. Steve Gerber and friends – because he went nuts.

3. Alex Maleev/Brian Michael Bendis – because this is operatic crime at its best, everything works here so well and they end on such a high note. The whole run, this one grand novel, is brilliant.

2. Frank Miller, and Klaus Janson – because he actually produced the best Daredevil comics ever with his entire Elektra Saga. They are the pinnacle. These are must read classics. Even the What If? issue. And Roulette might be the best Daredevil issue of all time. Maaaaaybe (though maybe one of the first Born Again issues takes that cake, those issues are tiiiight).

1. Michael Lark/Ed Brubaker – because this is my favourite. It’s pulpy, and lurid, and harsh, and so much damn fun. This run is exactly what I want from a Daredevil comic, jail, crimelords, Europe, ninja, infidelity, and just a sense that I was thumbing a worn 50s paperback with a gold medal in the top corner.

clay mann dd

I don’t expect nor demand my list align with anyone elses. I think that’s the power of Daredevil, even his core audience is divided and the fact we have so much quality to choose from stands to why Daredevil is the greatest character and book out there.

devil is in the details cover

If you are curious about any of my other thoughts on Daredevil, you should go read the book I edited, and wrote in, from Sequart titled THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: EXAMINING MATT MURDOCK AND DAREDEVIL. I write at length about Daredevil’s love life, and then I deconstruct why the Lark/Brubaker run hits me so square. Others write about Mike Murdock, and the Punisher, and Hell’s Kitchen, and the whole history is on the table. As a mega-daredevil fan, it’s the book I needed to see in the world.

daredevil - agent of s.h.i.e.l.d.

Note: I also once wrote for Robot 6 about what I feel are the 6 most widely ignored Daredevil stories. Enjoy.

My Ten Favourite Songs List

10, {explain} – Sarah Blasko
9, Breaking The Girl – Red Hot Chili Peppers
8, Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones
7, The Midnight Special – Creedence Clearwater Revival
6, The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
5, Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs
4, Twilight Time – The Platters
3, Rough Diamonds – End Of Fashion
2, Gravedigger – Dave Matthews
1, Miss Misery – Elliott Smith

*Correct at time of publication. No doubt different now. Completely different. I know I’ve forgotten something.

My Ten Favourite TV Shows List

10. Offspring

9. GI Joe/X-Men/The Smurfs/Masters of the Universe

8. Arrested Development

7. Justified

6. The Wire

5. Rescue Me

4. The Twilight Zone/The Outer Limits/Tales From The Crypt

3. Seinfeld

2. Breaking Bad

1. LOST

My Ten Favourite Movies List

10. Fight Club – David Fincher

9. Blade Runner – Ridley Scott

8. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock

7. M*A*S*H – Robert Altman

6. Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro

5. An American Werewolf In London – John Landis

4. Jaws – Steven Spielberg

3. Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese

2. Miller’s Crossing – The Coen Brothers

1. The Thing (remake) – John Carpenter

*Correct at time of publication. No doubt different now.

**Time of publication now July 2015

My Ten Favourite Books List

10. The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham

9. Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett

8. Eaters of the Dead – Michael Crichton

7. The Books of Blood – Clive Barker

6. Matilda – Roald Dahl

5. Vita Brevis – Jostein Gaarder

4. The Long Walk – Richard Bachman

3. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K Dick

2. The Shining – Stephen King

1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon

*Correct at time of publication. No doubt different now.

**I tried to only put one from each author to stop congestive flow.

My Ten Favourite Comics List

10. Locke & Key – Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

9. Uncanny X-Force – Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, and friends

8. Daytripper – Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon

7. Casanova – Matt Fraction & Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon

6. DMZ – Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli, and friends

5. The Immortal Iron Fist – Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Duane Swierczynski & David Aja

4. Sleeper/Criminal/Incognito/Fatale – Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

3. Vault of Horror/every other EC horror/crime/sci fi book – The EC Crew

2. Y: The Last Man – Brian K Vaughan & Pia Guerra

1. Daredevil – (Brubaker, Lee, Bendis, Miller, Mazzucchelli, Janson, Colan, Gerber, Mack, Chichester, Nocenti, et al)

*Correct at time of publication. Most likely very different right now.

The Clive Barker List

Here’s my take on Clive Barker’s catalogue.

1. The Books of Blood
2. The Thief of Always
3. The Great and Secret Show
4. Galilee
5. Abarat
6. Everville
7. Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror
8. Cabal
9. Weaveworld
10. The Hellbound Heart
11. Mister B Gone
12. The Damnation Game

NA
Imajica
Sacrament
Incarnations: Three Plays
Coldheart Canyon
Days of Magic, Nights of War
Absolute Midnight

Thoughts.

Man, I have long considered Barker one of the high horror masters but looking at this list makes me realise he doesn’t have that deep a bench. Wow, I did not see this coming. I’m kind of saddened by this.

There are two classics in this list. That is all.

The Books of Blood I would rank in my Top Ten of all time, I think. Insanely inventive and gory fun. Barker really thought outside the square on these. I think they work because he’s not so busy building the mythology and so instead just uses all he brings to the page. He’s snappy and scarier for it.

In The Hills, The Cities is one of my favourite shorts of all time purely for the concept. If you do not know of it, track it down.

The Thief of Always is simply superb. Buy this book for every kid you know and enjoy how they light up. Subversive and yet still safe.

I really have fond memories of Galilee but could not concretely tell you why it is so high. I just dug that book. It would be the first one to reread so I could see why it struck a chord.

The Great and Secret Show is really great at many things. It builds mythology, spreads out a far cast of characters, and has that Barker stamp of crazy. It’s well followed up by Everville but the series is one step off greatness.

I’m wondering if the Books of the Art will ever get finished.

Abarat, the first book, has a beautiful opening line. I’ve used it in class for art plenty a time. The rest of the book is pretty special, too.

I have yet to read the rest of the Abarat books. But I will. I hope.

Cabal is a descent book. I think I enjoy the movie more. Gasp.

The Hellbound Heart might be another where the flick really delivered it spot on. Hmm…

Weaveworld just didn’t grab me. A shame, really. The same with The Damnation Game. Man, for a master, there’s a lot here at meh and below.

Mister B. Gone was an interesting experiment but it ultimately disappeared from my mind as soon as I was done.

I don’t think I’ve read Imajica. I think I’d remember something that hefty. Sacrament doesn’t call out to me at all. I tried Coldheart Canyon once and bailed but I blame the time not the book – I will try this one again some day.

I kind of wish I hadn’t done this list now. It’s just showed me all the flaws. Oh well, I’ll always have that which I love.

I can remember going to my second hand book shop in high school and finding a heap of the old Tapping The Vein comic collections of the adaptations of the Books of Blood stories. They were pretty damn good. Steve Niles did a bunch of them.

I also like a bunch of the Barker movie adaptations, though he’s got his fair share of stinkers.

I can remember buying this rare VHS of Barker’s early college flicks – Salome and The Forbidden. They were so weird but it cost me like $50 and I was determined to like them. That tape is long gone now.

Harry D’Amour has always been a favourite of mine. I wrote about him for Horror Factory. Enjoy.

What are your thoughts on Clive Barker?

The Martin Scorsese Movie List

Alright, here’s a long one. Scorsese is a king of cinema, probably my favourite of the movie brats, and he’s been chugging along for a while now. As always, the list is mine, and probably only mine, feel free to tell me yours with comments or links.

1. Taxi Driver

2, Raging Bull

3. Goodfellas

4. Mean Streets

5. The Departed

6. Shutter Island

7. The Last Temptation of Christ

8. After Hours

9. The Aviator

10. Gangs of New York

11. Casino

12. Cape Fear

13. The King of Comedy

14. New York, New York

15. Bringing In The Dead

16. Kundun

17. The Age of Innocence

NA. Boxcar Bertha

NA. Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

NA. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

NA – Hugo

Thoughts.

I’m shamed to have a few entries I have still to see. Getting my hands on copies of these has always proved problematic. Lame. Though, from all I know of them I don’t think any were going to nudge into the top ten anyway, so no worries.

Taxi Driver is one of those movies where it might not be Scorsese’s absolute best flick but it certainly resonates with me. What does it say about a teen when this flick really inspires him (to create, not to be the main character…)?

I have dropped Casino pretty far down purely because it’s Goodfellas Lite and shall be treated as such.

It’s strange putting all these flicks together like this, you realise Scorsese has plenty of good flicks but only  a small handful of great ones. I’d say six – which is actually probably more than so many other directors. Who wouldn’t kill to have six absolute classic movies out there forever with their name on them. I guess I’m just used to thinking of Scorsese as this visionary and it’s surprising to see so many films you like but don’t love.

I do think Scorsese would be one director who people will have plenty of variations to their own list, perhaps that’s his power.

Man, The Departed really is that good. I think it can stand up as a Scorsese classic. Go rewatch that flick and tell me it’s not satisfying and engrossing. Though it never felt to me like a ‘Scorsese’ flick – it doesn’t look or feel like him but the acting is superb.

Mean Streets is one I haven’t seen in ages. That movie is worth all the hype.

After Hours is one that’s good but it will never find its audience. You can love it for that reason, sure, but that doesn’t actually make it great.

Raging Bull might be the best flick on this list. It’s structurally superb.

The Big Shave doesn’t count for this list. But it’s awesome and you should see it.

The music flicks don’t count for this list. Deal with it.

Bringing In The Dead was one I was keen for back in the day but have no desire to revisit.

Gangs of New York feels like it should have been better but it just wasn’t. And Scorsese getting to collaborate with Daniel Day Lewis should have been a complete win.

Shutter Island will finally get what’s coming to it in a few years. Maybe by then people will actually understand the ending.

I liked The Aviator. It’s bold in a fair few ways.

I want to see Hugo. Eventually.

I want to see Boardwalk Empire even sooner.

This is my list, what’s yours?

The James Cameron Movie List

C’mon, I’m a kid of the 80s, of course I got this list in me. I don’t think Cameron is the greatest director in the world but there’s surely no doubting he’s one of the finest visionaries of the business. The man sees in leagues and astronomical units. His movies are complete spectacle and success, even if they lack heart most of the time. I’ve enjoyed enough of his flicks to want to put them in order so let’s make with the fun.

1. Aliens

2. The Terminator

3. True Lies

4. The Abyss

5. T2

6. Titanic

7. Avatar

8. Piranha 2: The Spawning

Thoughts.

Aliens is just about the greatest sci fi action flick ever made. There’s nothing but love for that movie right here because it manages to deliver a decent cast, and rounded characters, all while nailing some chilling and very cool fight scenes. This is the ultimate for what it is.

I would often flip flow between the Terminator flicks and in the end I have to cede that the first one is vastly superior. It’s actually a good flick, and the cast all sell the grittiness completely. It’s so good it actually made Arnie count on screen, something which hadn’t really happened before. And you know what, Arnie is great in this role. Make of that what you will.

Man, I love True Lies. There’s something about it that just speaks to me. I think it’s the fact Arnie, again, actually gives this role what for. Bill Paxton is superb in his little role. Tom Arnold is so great in this movie, it’s like he saved up all his tickets in life and spent them right here. Even Charlton Heston as the grizzled old Nick Fury is genius. Jamie Lee Curtis dancing certainly didn’t hurt it’s hopes with me. This movie is collectively so much better than people remember, or give it credit for. It might not be ‘better’ than some of the other stuff on the list but I certainly like it more.

The Abyss is one of those deceptive flicks that tends to be forgotten. Go back, take your time, and see how enjoyable it really is. Again, it’s the acting that sells it as Ed Harris finally comes into his strength on screen, and Michael Biehn is used in a completely different way. There plenty to love in this one, too.

T2 is a movie that has not aged well for me. The effects are good, and the bombastic nature is still as you remember it, but it’s not that great. It’s certainly not as good as the first one but it just feels so dated to me. The first one is kind of 80s/timeless whereas this one is a real 90s slice of life. I just don’t know how much I dig on that.

The bottom three are an eclectic bunch. Titanic is a good movie, I’ll give it that much. The pure majesty of what Cameron brought to the screen has to be respected but he also carved a damn fine love story into that sinking hull. It’s not to be underestimated.

Then there’s Avatar. Man, that’s just not a good flick. The script is pretty garbage (unobtanium, seriously?) and while it is put together quite well it’s not actually that good. How it made so much money is beyond me. I guess with the cost of 3D being so crazily expesnive it must have only had to sell half the amount of tickets to eclipse Titanic. The shame.

Then there’s Pirahna 2. I saw this one years ago, haven’t seen it since, and it wans’t good. It had the Jamaican guy fishing with dynamite, or was that one of the Jaws sequels? It’s so hard to tell your aquatic slasher flicks apart sometimes. All I know is this one isn’t as good as Joe Dante’s first outing.

I like that Cameron has his usual players in Biehn, Lance Henrickson, even Schwarzeneggar. Not to mention Wild Bill Paxton. Cameron works well with them and they deliver every time.

I do find it interesting that Cameron has only ever really peddled in sequels and remakes. The Abyss and Avatar are his only original ideas. One of them is cool, the other interesting but definitely not well written.

I still don’t understand how Avatar got all that Oscar attention. It’s not a good flick and yet I guess money can buy you love.

Say what you will about Cameron’s King of the World moment when he won the big Ocsar, at that moment he was right.

Cameron has definitely given cinema more than he’s taken so for all that I’m happy to have watched all his films. Though not perfect, they’ve certainly added high quality concepts, technology, and acting performances to the pantheon of the visual arts.

This is my list, what’s yours?

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