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‘Watchmen,’ ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ and Mr. Rogers Among Fanbase Press’ Top Picks of 2019

As the end of 2019 draws near, the Fanbase Press staff and contributors wanted to take a look back at the year’s media from our very own geeky perspectives. Much like our readers and fans, one way we view and connect with the world around us is through the stories, characters, and heroes that we enjoy or look up to, and it’s always interesting to hear other’s opinions when it comes to their favorites of the year. After much consideration, below are a number of moments, stories, creators, and fandoms that we here at Fanbase Press believe were worth highlighting.

The Most Emotionally Impactful Fictional Story of the Year

“One line from Avengers: Endgame provides the most emotionally impactful fictional story of the year. “I love you 3000.” These words reflect a profound connection with Tony Stark, as if we were his own children saying those words to him.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

“The first time I saw Darth Vader walk onto the screen was at an outdoor movie theatre in Return of the Jedi, his silhouette enfolded by the night sky behind him. This month has been full of Star Wars for me, getting on board with The Mandalorian sobbing my way through the last two seasons of Rebels, re-watching the first six films in order (which I haven’t done before), and capping it off with The Rise of Skywalker, which has left me overwhelmed. The Rise of Skywalker has overfilled me. The only thing that might top it is when I go to see it again in two days.” – Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Avengers: Endgame.  The film provided an opportunity to connect and resolve so many incredible stories and characters, each of which may have resonated in very real and very impactful ways with audiences across the globe.  It was not only a cinematic feat to be recognized, but an incredible vehicle to illustrate the impact that stories and art can have on our lives.” – Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder

“R. J. Palacio’s historical graphic novel, White Bird, is structured around a grandmother who relates her WWII experiences to her granddaughter, discussing themes arising from the Holocaust.  On par with Anne Frank’s seminal The Diary of a Young Girl, this story provides an excellent entry-point for pre-teens to be introduced to important historical events, but Palacio’s story is intertwined with the message of kindness.  Palacio illustrated White Bird with Kevin Czap providing inks, resulting in gorgeous visuals that are accentuate the emotionally journey beautifully.” – Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

“There were a lot of fantastic and emotionally resonating stories throughout 2019, but nothing hit me on the same level as Avengers: Endgame. I near-perfect ending to a twenty-plus cinematic journey.” – Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder


Most Visually Impressive Fictional Story of the Year

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.  Not only did the series provide a hopeful and emotionally resonant story, but the skill and craftsmanship with which the creative team combined the art of puppetry with minimal special effects was truly astounding and to be applauded.”
– Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder

“This may be something of a cheat, but I’m going with DC’s Absolute Arkham Asylum book. Recolored editions of older material vary — for this reader — from decent to meh to atrocious; in this case, artist Dave McKean let me see a longtime favorite with new eyes. It was pure joy to get lost in these pages once more (and I could even read all of the Joker’s dialogue for the first time ever!)” – Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor

“My laptop backdrop has been the cover art for issue 11 of Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda for the last 7 months. There have been other comic books, posters, and films that have come really close to matching my page-by-page verbal reactions to Bergara’s stunning artwork on this series, but his beautifully crafted, perfectly colored, emotionally powerful images left my mouth agape every page of every issue. I whispered, “Wow,” aloud to myself more than once.”
– Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

The Mandalorian. The first Star Wars live-action TV series is knocking it out of the park with its bold, beautiful visual style inspired by both the Western and Samurai film genres.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder

“Seeing the band of female superheroes come together while battling against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame was fantastic to see. Besides Endgame having incredible visual moments, this sequence gave me hope that we’ll see a standalone film with any or all of those characters – proving that women are equally worthy of leading the charge in the MCU.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor


Standout Geek Hero (Fictional or Non-Fictional) of the Year

Dave Filoni continues to inspire me. His world and character building in each of his Star Wars series often leaves me breathless. His work has given us some of the most powerful Star Wars stories and some of its most memorable characters.”
– Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

“I love when my kids tell stories, dress up in costumes, draw pictures, paint their nails funky colors, or do anything that makes me feel that maybe my geekiness has transferred to them from me in some way. It makes me feel like maybe I’m doing a good job, and I hope they continue to have fun and be charismatic, because they inspire me to want to be more like them. LOVE those kids.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

Rey in The Rise of Skywalker. The use of empathy as a tool for connection and healing is a powerful one.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder


Standout Character of the Year

Vita, the hired bodyguard from Crowded Volume 1, is my standout character of 2019. Vita uses incredible ingenuity to offset her client’s inability to stay out of trouble and is easily one of the most badass characters I’ve ever seen in fiction”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

Emperor Palpatine. Maybe because I’ve just re-watched the first six Star Wars films and followed Ian McDiarmid through both rickety scripts (The Phantom Menace), better scripts (The Attack of the Clones), and amazing scripts (The Revenge of the Sith, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker), but Ian McDiarmid has had the opportunity to fashion one of the greatest villains to grace any medium, and he has controlled every moment on screen. It’s not through pure nostalgia that he continues to exist, it is the character’s unwillingness to be outdone.” – Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Hooded Justice. I won’t spoil why for anyone eager to catch up on HBO’s Watchmen series, but that character easily had one of the most remarkable years ever.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder


Standout Geek Romance of the Year

“In Far From Home, seeing Peter Parker fall in love with MJ all over again, especially an MJ that was real and grounded and not a high school fantasy, whisked me away with its humor, giddy awkwardness, and tenderness. I could watch Peter and MJ fall in love over and over again, but this has been my favorite version of this story line.” – Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

“I’m going to be *that* person:  Reylo.”
– Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder

Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter. They finally got their dance.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder

“I can’t get the romantic vibes from The New World (TPB) off my mind, where two characters have a chance encounter, and then go on the run together when one is ordered to arrest the other. Not only are they trying to figure out staying alive, they’re also discovering each other and building a bond in a super crazy world. I guess finding love in rough times is a good story to hold onto.” – Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor


Standout Fandom of the Year

“I was pleasantly surprised by the widespread love for Mr. Rogers this year.  It’s wonderful to know that his messages continue to have an impact on the world.”
– Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder

Star Trek: Picard begins in January, but the builduphas made me more intrigued with being reintroduced to my favorite character of all time. In a time when things seem so bleak, this one character gives me hope to believe in something where the backbone of the character revolves around doing the right thing in the face of adversity.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

“Who would have thought that baking would not only inspire one’s creativity in the kitchen, but also prove that friendly competition could be a virtue? The Great British Bake Off is a gem amongst UK programming that is currently streaming on Netflix and, honestly, each season gets better and better.  In the past three seasons, the bakers quickly forge friendships between their Signature, Technical, and Showstopper Challenges that often continue years after one baker is crowned best amateur baker, and, more importantly, their gracious showmanship and camaraderie are recipes for star role models for the rest of us fans.  It’s a standout fandom in my cookbook!” – Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

“I have to say Star Wars. How can I not say Star Wars? Climbing from the edge of the precipice of a split and hostile fandom to now overtaking streaming and once again cineplexes. A lot of people wondered what the future of this franchise would look like. Now, we know. I personally have loved every step, but this was a big one for them.”
– Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor


Standout Creator/Creative Team of the Year

“How much fun was it to be talking about the X-Men again?! Thanks to Jonathan Hickman & Co, House and Powers of X were some of my favorite comics of 2019, with a beautiful balance of emotion, action, and history. Top level product in every department.”
– Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor

“H. P. Lovecraft was well known for leading his hero towards unspeakable cosmic horrors without revealing to the readers just exactly what the hero saw.  This style of narrative has been difficult to translate into a visual medium, and those that try are severely challenged, often leading to lackluster results.  This year, Dark Horse released manga artist Gou Tanabe’s adaption of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness in a two-volume set, and if ever someone was able to channel the spirit or cosmic horror that Lovecraft envisioned, then Tanabe was not only up to the challenge, but he delivered a tensive, horrific, jaw-dropping translation that is near perfection.” – Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

“Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige continues to have the creative ability to walk on water. Landing the ending with Avengers: Endgame was a stunning and graceful achievement. The buzz surrounding the next phase of the MCU and the upcoming Marvel Disney+ series seems even more ambitious and thrilling, and I absolutely can not wait to see what Feige will be doing in regards to the announcement that he’s working on a Star Wars film.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder

“Creators of Gideon Falls: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Dave Stewart. It’s genuinely difficult to frighten me, especially in a comic book, but these three haven’t just created an intriguing story with complex characters, they create an atmosphere that breaks apart the traditional comic book format and takes you into another state of mind.”
– Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

“The creative team behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to generate dynamic stories that continue to further the bonds created with outstanding characters. Season 6 is another example of twisting preconceived notions within the narrative and learning to adapt to changes – all while not wanting any of it to end.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor


Standout Actor/Cast of the Year

The cast of Watchmen.  It was so refreshing and exciting to have a female-led cast with performers of varying age, race, and ethnicity tackle such interesting and thought-provoking content.”
– Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder

The Big Bang Theory ended in May in such a fashion that let its viewer to truly know that change is possible. The cast of this show, spanning twelve seasons, put together a final season and series finale with incredible moments, filled with laughter and tears. The cast’s ability to define what it means to love and cherish one another is seen on screen ,and its lasting impression will always be close to my heart.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

“The entire cast of Watchmen was outstanding, but special praise goes to Regina King who carried the show both at its most human and most outlandish. There were certainly flashier characters than Sister Night; there were none more real, with King’s performance a big reason why.” – Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor

“Kudos to the cast of Avengers: Endgame for showing what the end of a ten-year character arc for multiple characters looks like. Seeing a current Captain America face off against his past self was the perfect microcosm of the work they did.” – Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

baby yoda

Biggest Geeky Surprise of the Year

“That the Star Wars fandom (and the rest of the galaxy) rallied around The Mandalorian’s “The Child” (a.k.a. “Baby Yoda”). I’ve heard criticism of The Mandalorian, but everybody loves “Baby Yoda.””
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder

“Speaking of Regina King, Watchmen wins this for me hands down. I’ve been firmly in the “leave it alone already” camp when it comes to DC picking at the bones of Moore and Gibbons’ original series; here was a sequel I, at first, never wanted… and then never wanted to see end.”
– Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor

Natalie Portman as Thor. That’s the best surprise of 2019, and I love it.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

“There have been a few. That JJ Abrams pulled it off. Not only making a film that stands on its own, but a film that wraps up the trilogy, and also the saga, in a more than satisfying way. That Joker was the success it was, putting DC back on the map in ways I don’t think anyone was expecting. But also, that I can unknowingly kill hours of time simply climbing mountains in Breath of the Wild.” – Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Defining Geeky Theme of the Year

“Geeks supporting geeks on social media. Much like Fanbase Press, others have taken time to share other people’s works online or be honest about dealing with creative frustrations or mental health awareness. It’s inspiring, and I’m trying my best to be equally as supportive and open to help others with whatever they need.”
– Travis Lakata Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, Senior Contributor

“Hope. Against all odds, we’ve seen hope win out against cynicism. Not only in our fandoms, but with the fans. I think in 2018, we hit a breaking point, and I saw in 2019 people being better to each other or maybe we’re just not giving the cyberbullies and incels as much attention as we used to. I think everyone is effectively tired of it. I saw films embracing something that I think a lot of people have thirsted for; that something that makes them feel hopeful, and that has projected itself in how a lot of people have treated each other and been affected by each other. All three Marvel offerings this year gave us a good start to that.”
– Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

“The closing of certain chapters in Geekdom. Whether the Skywalker saga, the Infinity War saga, HBO’s Game of Thrones, Image Comics’ The Walking Dead, or more, this year saw the final lap reached for many stories we have all followed for some time. It’s a great moment for reflection, on both what has gone on before and what is yet to come.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President, Co-Founder




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