And all I can say to that is 'thank goodness for that!!'
In general, I don't think 2017 was a particularly good year for anyone and so it probably isn't much of a surprise that I too am glad to see the back of it (although mine was probably not as bad as it was for others).
This goes doubly so when it comes to my comics. 2017 saw a number of controversies hit the medium, with the hiring (and firing) of harassers, a doubling down on gimmicks like lenticular covers and an apparent culling of diverse comic titles .All of these things amongst others had really gotten to me by the end of the year as I've felt incredibly despondent about the comics medium as a whole and all of these reasons being partly responsible for my pull list (along with money) being decimated down from the opening six titles (itself an all time low) to just one.
Of course, my year wasn't all bad and this was down to three specific things. First up, there came the small comic I created back in April with my buddy Adobarin Ayoade (whose a really cool artist and needs to be checked out) which not only gave me a taste of what true comic creators do, but also gave me the privilege of appearing on the Longbox a Review comic podcast. Then, I got the privilege to finally meet in person my pal Matt Garvey when he came to a small press signing at my local comic shop along with a number of other creators. That was a good day as it gave my local community the chance to see how great small press is.
But, finally, what kept my year somewhat positive was the comics, specifically of the small press variety. During 2017 I got to read a fantastic number of small press comics, culminating in a lot of (although not as many as I had hoped to put out) positive reviews, reinforcing what I've known for a while that Small press is becoming where the quality is at. Of course, while mainstream had its problems, I still found some great books which made up for all the negative with titles like Lazarus, Star Trek Mirror Broken, Daredevil (after a rocky start), Autumnlands, James Bond and Black Science.
However, the best thing about this year came in just the final few days as, in response to a rather negative top '10' comics article which was posted, all I saw on Twitter right up until the wire was list upon list of fantastic comic books from absolutely every creator, reader and reviewer out there. This action (or maybe, more accurately, reaction) reinforced my love of comics after all the critical actions of the prior 12 months and made me think that, going into 2018, the new year might definitely be a better one.
So now we are into the new year, I have a lot of plans and resolutions I want to put into practice. First up, I want to rebuild my pull list and read more comic series over the year. I'm already putting this in motion with early year solicits including the introduction to the Terrifics, possible maintaining of Black Magick and the return of Black Science to go with Lazarus while also apportioning for a subscription to the Comichaus app for the main purpose of ensuring those great small press comics I review get the cut they deserve.
But while doing this, I also intend to refine my comic collection as it currently stands, spending more time re-reading some of the titles I already possess and selling on those which no longer appeal to me to other readers who may be interested. This resolution may be the toughest to implement as my time is limited enough but a lot of these books just sit there gathering dust and, given I need the space, it would be nice to go down memory lane and pass on to others if necessary.
Of course, reading comics isn't the only thing I want to do this year as I want to be a little bit more creative as well. This consists of a lot more writing as I would like to hit a target of 40 pipedream reviews through the year (which averages 3-4 a month) as well as 24 posts on this blog (2 a month) as a way of being a bit more consistent. My hope to do this not only allows for a consistent output but also helps maintain a bonus resolution I have to be more positive and shout out about more good comics.
Finally though, not only do I want to write about comics but I'd also like to try my hand at writing comics as well. The mini-comic competition I entered back in April, as well as all the creators I met in May and even back in February at True Believers, has given me bit of the bug and, while I'm most likely not very good, I have a tonne of ideas swirling in my head that maybe I should try and do something with. This is only an idea and, while it may not come to much, maybe it might be good for me to stretch myself a little, if not to fully appreciate what the creators of the comics I read go through and appreciate their work better.
So, I've rambled a little bit there but that's my thoughts on the year just gone a my plans for the year to come. I just hope that the rest of the comics world ends up as positive in 2018 as I'd like it to be.
But if last week's viewing of Star Wars the Last Jedi taught me anything, it's not a bad thing to hope.