[Editor's Note: Special thanks to Fanbase Press' Bryant Dillon and Michele Brittany for their work in compiling and highlight the below content.]
The Fanbase Press staff and contributors provide a multitude of reviews throughout the year, covering several different mediums of entertainment, including comics, movies, television, books, gaming, theatre, and more. Below are our three most popular reviews from 2019:
1. ’Doorkeeper:’ Graphic Novel Review - By Fanbase Press Contributor Erik Cheski
“The entertainment industry has a problem: They run out of stories regularly, leading to sequels, reboots, prequels, and a rehashing of the same 'ol sh!% over and over again. Funny thing is, if they looked beyond a white male centric view, maybe they'd find a whole slew of interesting ideas and stories that are interesting, as well as novel to their audience. The success of Black Panther and Get Out certainly recommend that deeper stories from outside a certain experience are craved by the entire audience, and not just parts of it. That's what makes it so infuriating that creators who have a unique, non-European perspective have to work so hard to "break through" and get stories based on their history and worldview into the public eye. The Chuas have created a wonderful collaboration to bring Philippine-based stories to life with Doorkeeper, a graphic novel that reveals that we sometimes make our biggest decisions in our lives when we're not looking to…”
2. An Advance Look at the ‘Alien’ 40th Anniversary Shorts Proves It’s Time for a Female Director to Helm the Franchise - By Fanbase Press President Bryant Dillon
“One thing that was absolutely clear from the screening was how the shorts directed by women ("Alien: Ore" and "Alien: Specimen") noticeably stood out from the pack. Both shorts smartly focused on quickly connecting us with grounded, relatable characters, made great use of the “Cassette Futurism” aesthetic Scott established in Alien and show us people and places that we have yet to see in the franchise. Both shorts are “must sees” for any passionate Alien fan and make it undeniably apparent that it’s long past due that we hear a female filmmaker’s voice in the franchise…”
3. ‘The Monster Under the Bed:’ Book Review - By Fanbase Press’ Senior Contributor Jodi Scaife
“The Monster Under the Bed is a standalone novel by Penny White series author Chrys Cymri, and it fundamentally is a coming-of-age saga. Michael must face numerous trials to decide what matters most to him and what type of adult he wants to become; however, I think the story can also be interpreted as an allegory about faith (although I may be reading a lot into it) with a little less pointed symbolism than The Chronicles of Narnia….”
From one-shot retrospective essays, articles celebrating milestone anniversaries, and in memoriam commemorations to a series of essays discussing influential television shows, Fanbase Press' editorials have covered many facets and themes from popular culture. Below are the the editorials that resonated the most with our readers this year!
1. ‘Locas’ and Me: Or, How My Nostalgia for the Hernandez Brothers’ Comics Will Never Fade
Contributor and progenitor of the editorial series, "Between the Panels," Kevin Sharp invited readers to share in his retrospective journey of the Hernandez Brothers’ Locas as he explores the power of nostalgia.
2. ‘Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 4: The Last of the Starks’ - TV Analysis
Guest contributor Kevin Wetmore analyzes pivotal dialogue in “The Last of the Starks” (episode four) of the last season of the hugely popular Game of Thrones.
3. ‘Batman’ 80th Anniversary: Bruce Wayne, Dating Extraordinaire – A Brief History of Batman’s Love Life
In honor of Batman’s 80th anniversary, Contributor Erica McCrystal took a different approach to the caped crusader by exploring his love life.
Every year, the Fanbase Press staff and contributors interview dozens of creators of all kinds, including writers, actors, directors, artists, and more. We encourage you to check out our back catalog of interviews, but below are this year’s three most popular:
1. SDCC 2019: Dee Wallace on Being a ‘Badass’ in ‘Critters Attack’
At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Fanbase Press' Bryant Dillon talks with actor Dee Wallace (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Critters) about her return to the Critters franchise, her role in the upcoming Critters Attack, and more
2. SDCC 2019: ‘Batman: Hush’s Phil Bourassa on Getting The Dark Knight in the ‘Trunks’ Again
At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Fanbase Press' Bryant Dillon talks with character designer Phillip Bourassa (Young Justice, Reign of the Supermen) about why Batman: Hush stands out for him personally, the changes he made to character designs for the film, and more.
3. Fanbase Press Interviews T.L. Bodine on the Novel, ‘River of Souls’
The following is an interview with writer T.L. Bodine regarding their latest novel, River of Souls. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Bodine about the inspiration behind the novel, what they hope that readers will take away from the story and characters, and more!
“Fundamental Comics” is a monthly series that was born from an interest in gaining insight into the sequential art medium, but also in introducing readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level. Each month, a new essay examined a familiar or lesser-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant theme(s), and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.
The titles presented this year delved into a number of important themes including bravery, broken heroes, Muslim identity, classicism, mythology, inequality, and explorations into our own humanity. Below are the top three essays this year featuring the Aliens Trilogy, The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, and Monstress. A huge thank you to all of the writers that contributed to this year’s Fundamental Comics series!
1. Fundamental Comics: Back to Earth for Ripley, Newt, and Hicks in the Alternate ‘Aliens’ Trilogy: ‘Outbreak,’ ‘Nightmare Asylum,’ and ‘Earth War’ and the Study of Humanity
Guest Contributor Carl Wilson analyzes Dark Horse Comics' Aliens trilogy - Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, and Earth War - published from 1988 through October 1990. In this alternate universe of events, the theme of humanity is critically studied this IP where humans are expendable, and humanity is often tested to the point of breaking.
2. Fundamental Comics: Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes’ and the Rise of Modern Classicism, Graphic Literature, & Realistic Myths in Comics
Frequent contributor to Fanbase Press in helping readers/viewers to better understanding the Games of Thrones and Westworld HBO series, here, Kevin Wetmore's memories and readings of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes from 1989 reveals and revels in the development of Gaiman's mastery to combine literature, mythology, and classicism in sequential art.
3. Fundamental Comics: ‘Monstress’ and Finding Ways to Live in a World of Inequality and Hate
Travis Lakata, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor and creator of the Geeky Parent Guide explored themes of inequality and hate in Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda's Monstress Volume 1: Awakening published by Image Comics in 2016. Mired in a dark, dangerous work, Liu is skillful of creating hope.
GEEKY PARENT GUIDE
The Geeky Parent Guide (GPG) is a semi-monthly editorial series – posting the first and third Thursday of each month – in which Fanbase Press Senior Contributor S.T. Lakata explores a myriad of popular culture mediums and offerings. As a father of two, Lakata traverses the challenges of participating in geekdom and presents information so that parents and caregivers like himself can make informed decisions about how and when their children are ready to engage with films, television, video games, toys, books, and other media.
One of the most enriching aspects of this series is that while Lakata is looking at ways to positively navigate pop culture, he and readers are learning about themselves as parents, consumers, and geeks. This year, the following editorials were the top GPG essays!
1. Geeky Parent Guide: Setting a Positive Example with ‘The Great British Baking Show’
The Great British Baking Show is one of those streaming shows that is suitable for adults and kids. While it is an opportunity to marvel at all of the creativity expressed through cooking, this show also showcases that comradely and friendship are just as important as being star baker.
2. Geeky Parent Guide: Highlighting Image Comics for Free Comic Book Day 2019
This year, Lakata highlighted some of his personal favorite comics from publisher Image Comics. These titles are geared for parents and caregivers!
3. Geeky Parent Guide: Kid-Friendly Technology for Young Kids
Technology abounds and is ever changing, making it difficult to keep up. In this article, Lakata discusses how to safely introduce our children to play-based technological devices.
BETWEEN THE PANELS
“Between the Panels” is a bi-monthly interview series helmed by Kevin Sharp (Bookmarks, The First Line, After Dakota) that highlights comic book creators of all experience levels, providing insight into their creative process, working space, passion for the sequential art medium, and more. Below are the top three most popular entries from this interview series in 2019:
1. Between the Panels: Writer Mario Candelaria on Comics vs. Comedy Writing, Setting a Mood through Music, and Warring Fast Food Mascots
Brooklyn native Mario Candelaria wears different writing hats, whether he’s breaking a story for a new comic book or preparing a set for performance in a comedy club. Mario and Kevin had a wide-ranging conversation, from his secret origin as a comics reader, to setting a creative mood through music, to lessons learned along the writer’s journey — oh, and his love for X-Man and the Red Hood.
2. Between the Panels: Artist Jay Fosgitt on Good Comic Covers, Licensed Properties, and Soda Addiction
Since starting his professional comics career, Jay Fosgitt has worked for Marvel, Image, BOOM! Studios, and several other publishers. He also knows what it’s like to transition between creator-owned work and licensed properties like Popeye and My Little Pony (to name but two).
3. Between the Panels: Editor Heather Antos on Honesty, Collaboration, and When She Finally ‘Got’ Superman
Heather Antos established her professional reputation at Marvel Comics, where she edited an array of titles including the Star Wars and Deadpool lines, and, of course, the runaway sensation that is Gwenpool. In 2019, she’s stepped into a new role as editor at Valiant Comics.