I loved ‘Marvel Comics: The Untold Story’ which is a gossipy history of the second greatest comic book publisher and was especially interesting in its portrayal of Stan Lee. I also really enjoyed ‘The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon’ which really gave an insight in to the inner workings of the monolith that is Amazon these days.
I read a lot of comics this year and less and less of them were pure superhero stuff. Image Comics have really changed the game in recent years publishing a wide range of amazing books covering every genre and other publishers are catching up. There were lots of amazing ongoing books — Saga is still as good as it gets, Fatale finished up with a brilliant ending, East is West is just getting better and better and Lazarus is a stunning sci-fi adventure. Of new books in 2014 though I loved the supernatural Western that is Pretty Deadly, the noirish Southern Bastards and the revisionist take on the Bond like super-spy — with ‘Moneypenny’ being the hero that is Brubaker’s Velvet.
Movie closest to my heart was obviously Veronica Mars (as my massive signed and framed poster testifies to!) but favourite of the year was too close to call between the two big Marvel movies this year — Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Both showed that it is possible to do clever and fun movies in the genre that can be hugely popular. If only DC would learn.
Like everybody I loved True Detective (apart from the ending) and I get the impression I am having more fun with Gotham than most but my show of the year was ‘Penny Dreadful’ — so wonderfully weird. Eva Green especially is amazing in this show and I am not sure it get anywhere near the love it deserved.
My favourite couple of albums of 2014 came right at the end of the year. J.Cole dropped the wonderful, almost orchestral ‘Forest Hills Drive’ and after 15 years with his feet up counting his royalty cheques D’Angelo released ‘Black Messiah’ with his band The Vanguard (rumoured to consist of Questlove amongst others.) The most soulful and funky ‘record’ in years. Shamelessly old school and all the better for it.
My Moto-G budget phone has been a revelation this year. For a start I haven’t smashed it which is a minor miracle but beyond that it is just a brilliant phone (and not brilliant for the money — just plain brilliant.) It stays up to date with the latest Android and offers a pretty vanilla version of the OS (due to Google owning them I guess). It also has a battery that doesn’t give up the minute I start using the 3G. Other than my phone my other favourite toy this year was another cheapy — my Chromecast. What a wonderful little gadget — so simple and it has made my Netflix account less of a waste of time!