Yes, we're very late. What can we tell you, we're a High Street Retailer, and it's the week before Christmas. And believe us, we are so very very grateful to be so busy! Anyway, this is it. Another year over - how was it for you?
Not gonna lie - for us it's been challenging. It's a tough time to be on the High Street, but with the support of you lot - our loyal and valued customers, and some other wonderful people (Everyman Cinema - we're looking at you!) we're still swinging!
It's been a year of very high highs, and very low lows. The shop moved out of the Westminster Arcade, where it had been since Darren founded the place in 2005 and started Pottering about* under the stairs at the Everyman Cinema. We miss our old home, but we love our new one. For the first time in a long time we're accessible to people who have wheelchairs and pushchairs, and far more people find us now, which really helps.
It has, generally speaking been a good year for comics - and comics related media. On the big screen we've had a Black Panther, an Infinity War, and Aquaman and we've gone Into the Spiderverse.
That's four - four! comic book movies in one year! And they were even good!** This is astonishing to me - if you'd told me back when I was a kid that we'd have four comic book movies in one year, and not only would none of them be embarrassing, they'd be fantastic and that non-geeks would go and see them? I honestly wouldn't have believed you.
Indeed - I can scarcely believe it now! And there's more to come in 2019!
We've had trailers drop recently for Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel and Hellboy in recent weeks - and it isn't just the big screen where our comics characters have made an impact.
Over on Netflix Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist all had new seasons, and all were great - even Iron Fist! Sadly we know that Daredevil, Cage and Iron Fist will not be back, and it seems likely that once their next seasons are done Jessica Jones and Punisher will go the same way - killed not by low ratings but by inter-company politics as Disney moves to take more control over its intellectual property.
Still, the Marvel shows aren't the only game in TV town - even at Netflix. 2018 also gave us the wonderfully inappropriate adaptation of Grant Morrison's wonderful Happy!, a heartwarming tale of a debauched, degenerate hitman and his relationship with Happy!, the six inch high blue flying unicorn who is the imaginary friend of a little girl who has been kidnapped by a very bad Santa indeed.
Not a show to watch if you're easily offended (or offended by anything at all, really...) but it's a masterpiece of adaptation. We loved the original four issue comics series, but genuinely thought it was unfilmable.
We are very happy to be wrong.
It's bonkers, brilliant, shocking and relentless, building well on the source material and not shrinking from any of the madness that Morrison likes to inflict on his readers - and there's more to come in 2019! That said, although it's set at Christmas it's possibly not the most Christmassy viewing - if you haven't seen it yet, maybe leave until the New Year - the horrific bits are genuinely horrifying and while there are deep laughs, this is a show that really will make you uncomfortable...
Then there was Black Lightning.
Not as strong as the Marvel/Netflix shows to be sure, but your grumpy dad as a superhero is a fun trope, and it has lots of passable special effects and characters you can sort of care about. I do wish they'd turn the lights on occasionally, but it's not as grimdark as Arrow - so maybe I'll let them off.
The unexpected highlights though were the debut of Cloak and Dagger over on Amazon Prime. If you haven't seen it, we can't recommend it highly enough.
True, they did avoid putting either character into proper costumes (although they did an excellent job of giving Cloak his cloak in a way that felt meaningful) but that's OK - Dagger's comics accurate costume features a dagger shaped hole down the front and would have been a nightmare to make and wear in real life.
The show does an excellent job of showing the flaws in the characters - and sort of tips a lot of audience expectations on their head - which is always fun. Even better, Cloak and Dagger has already begun filming a second season, which means it's escaped the cancellation massacre that over ran Netflix - at least for now!
So yes - what an amazing year for comics related movies and TV! But we're not a movies and TV shop, we're a comics shop - so what's been good on the rack this year?
Well. Where do I even start? Not everything was good news of course - Kate Kane fought her last (for now) battle as Batwoman