This is the latest monthly update to the left column of the blog, updating my favorite comics and TV for the previous month. The listings are alphabetical, not by rank of how much I liked them in comparison. My criteria for what makes the list is when I read them, not necessarily when they were published. This is basically also my own records of what I read/liked for the inevitable "End of Year" lists I feel like making.
It's another huge month for comics, and my early cut of "best of the month" ran well over thirty. Cutting it down, I lost promising new first issues of Midknight (Red 5), Batman and the Outsiders (DC), Angel (IDW), Fearless and Hawaiian Dick (Image). Also not quite making the cut were a half-dozen from Marvel (Marvel Adventures Iron Man #7, Criminal #10, Marvel Zombies 2 #2, Daredevil #102, Incredible Hulk #111 and Immortal Iron Fist #10), two from DC (Brave And The Bold #8 and Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #3) and four from other publishers (Hack Slash Series #6, Usagi Yojimbo #107, Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #3 and Invincible #46). As for what did make the cut? 3 DC (the out-of-continuity, consistently late All Star Superman and two Vertigo books, one of which is gone in the new year, not exactly a strong DC showing), a whopping 10 (half the list!) from Marvel (with Abnett & Lanning and Christos Gage both represented on the list with two different books), 1 from Image, 1 from Red 5, 1 from Oni and 4 from Dark Horse, making it the second biggest publisher on my list. Plus two of the books that almost made the cut were Dark Horse, putting them even with DC even if I expanded to a top 30 and included Vertigo in DC's count. Marvel also has my attention, but mostly for books that are on their fringe, with only Captain America in the top 20 sellers.
Didn't do a lot of reading this month, outside of comics issues. Only read a half-dozen graphic novels or so, didn't start on any of the books that I meant to read. But it was a busy month at work and there were a few trips to Dallas for family visits and Wizard World Texas, plus I was getting ready to start up the D&D game again in December, which meant a lot of prep work.
November was also the last real month of new television for the year, and indeed probably for longer. My guess, given the networks' insulting negotiation tactics, is that the strike is going to go on for a while. Which is OK, although I'll probably start missing shows in a couple months. At any rate, there are a few great series, and a couple that have moved from intriguing to solidly good. But first, the disappointments. I killed off Reaper for good because it was getting repetitive and also because I saw what the CW passed on with the Veronica Mars season four pilot, and I think my interests and the interests of whoever made that decision are nowhere near in line. Heroes regained some strength, but then turned in a two-part finale that may have been the worst episodes the series has ever had. I'm not sure I'll be back for season three. Friday Night Lights continues to have moments of greatness and moments of "what the hell?!" And Scrubs... it bums me out that Scrubs was weak last season and weaker this one, and that it's not going to go out as strongly as it could have if they'd ended a couple seasons ago. Still watching, but not enjoying it as much as the rest of the comedy block.
Then there's the good. The Office went dark early thanks to the strike, but before it did, they turned in three pretty strong episodes. 30 Rock was even better, with three new episodes, two of which could be series favorites for me. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had a great third season, closing out with some hilarious episodes, with the two-part "Gang Gets Whacked," the '70s tinged "Bums" episode and "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off" providing some of the most over-the-top and hilarious moments the show has ever seen. I sincerely hope we see more Rickety Cricket in season four, as every moment with him was gold. Pushing Daisies doesn't quite have its hooks in me the way Fuller's Dead Like Me did, but I love the entire cast and it's definitely my favorite new show of the season. My second favorite, as it turns out, is Chuck, which is like this weirdly perfect blend of McG's Charlie's Angels (in terms of whimsy and action), Alias (in terms of action/soap opera/spy stuff blending) and a few other elements. The music choices and dialogue/characters are strong, and though I never watched it, I'm going to guess those are the hallmarks of The O.C.'s Josh Schwartz.I was also really, really happy with Razor, the Battlestar Galactica movie, which has me wanting to go back and re-watch seasons 1-3 of Galactica. Then there's my favorite show on the air, Dexter, which is having a second season as good or maybe even better than its first. As long as Showtime has Dexter, I will have Showtime. Weeds, too, although Weeds returning next year is kind of bittersweet, as the last few episodes in November really provided a great finale for the series, and I'm wary of them going on too long. And the "good, but not great" sitcoms of How I Met Your Mother and My Name is Earl, both of which have occasional uproariously funny moments (the "writing fantasy" episode of Earl was great, for example) but also occasionally fall into sitcom cliche, continued to be good, occasionally great. Mother was fairly weak in November, so it was number 11 on the top 10 and didn't quite make the cut.
A few new additions to the blogroll this month, mostly a result of the strike. I've added both Deadline Hollywood Daily and United Hollywood, and both have become favorites of mine for their strike coverage. Also added the writer blogs of Ronald D. Moore and Lisa Klink. In non-strike related additions, there was the Flickr blog (semi-daily new pictures), Obama Press (the official newsblog of Barack Obama's campaign), rarely updated blogs from Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office) and Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo), a new webcomic, Real Life Comics, found from a link on Shortpacked! and the Wizards of the Coast RSS feed.