Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” Poster A


I’ve figured out why Frances Ha (2012) is so damn relatable. First, Frances repeatedly embarrasses herself in conversation, but more importantly, it’s about life not going according to plan. We plan out our lives constantly, always thinking about the future, but it never works out that way, and that’s okay. It’s normal to live a life that doesn’t line up with that of your peers. Deviation from the plan is part of the plan. And that’s why everyone can relate to it, because everyone’s life story is filled with unexpected turns.

You can (still) watch this beautiful film on Netflix.


Valmiki’s Ramayana - Subba Rao, Pratap Mulick

It’s an awesome thing that the major epics in Hinduism have been adapted into comics. It makes them accessible and emphasizes the grand quality of the stories. The Ramayana is about Rama, a prince, who is exiled with his wife and brother. Most of the story involves Rama trying to save his kidnapped wife. There’s a huge battle between monkeys and demons.


Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury - Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo

The sheer finality of The Storm and the Fury is incredible. From the beginning, Hellboy has been trying to come to terms with his destiny to unleash the Ogdru Jahad and restart the world by destroying it. Finally, the dragon has been released and Hellboy must decide what to do about it. This is a beautiful and monumental conclusion for the series.


Sin City: The Big Fat Kill - Frank Miller

The Big Fat Kill is an interesting Sin City yarn because it begins with a mistake rather than an act of passion. Most of the story is about Dwight and the girls of Old Town trying to save themselves from a major war. Also, Frank Miller is amazing at drawing scenes in the rain, and he knows it.


Hellboy: The Bride of Hell and Others - Mike Mignola, Richard Corben, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Hampton

More Hellboy one-shots in The Bride of Hell and Others. “Hellboy in Mexico” and “Double Feature of Evil” especially stood out for me. Add those to my list of favorite Hellboy stories. This collection also includes several guest artists.


Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others - Mike Mignola, Richard Corben

The Crooked Man and Others is another great collection of Hellboy shorts. Both “The Crooked Man” and “They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships” took place in America, which was a fresh change from Hellboy’s international adventures. Also, headless pirates are awesome.




Neil Gaiman’s original story is one of the best children’s books I’ve read. Coraline (2009) stays true to the heart of the source material. Coraline Jones isn’t having any fun by herself, but then she discovers another world where she has an Other Mother and an Other Father. It’s perfect. Spoiler: it’s not.

The stop-motion worlds created by Laika are wondrous and nightmarish, often at the same time. People like to talk about eye-candy movies that are a spectacle even without sound, and this is one of them.

NOT AGAIN! I didn’t know them before, but Guided by Voices became one of my favorite bands this year. This is a huge bummer. At least I can still explore the rest of their twenty-two album discography.


Hellboy: The Wild Hunt - Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo

Wow, The Wild Hunt sets up a lot of stuff for the next storyline. This really hits at the heart of Hellboy as a character: creating his own destiny. Plus, giants are cool.


Horrors of Spider Island (1960) is about a dance troupe whose plane crashes in the middle of the ocean. Gary, their talent agent, becomes mutated from a giant spider bite and disappears. Finally, two men in a boat arrive to rescue the girls, there’s a lot of boring dancing, and then they sort of fight the monster. 

The spiders look absurd but inventive. The dialogue is atrocious and the sexism reaches the point of hilarity. There’s no gore, but the island is beautiful.