Today’s guest for the Best of the Year has to be one of the most prolific scribes in the business right now, a writer who mixes scripting major mainstream characters like the X-Men, Hellblazer and Fantastic Four with his own highly acclaimed series like Lucifer and Unwritten and somehow has also found time to pen one of my favourite series of prose novels, the excellent supernatural Felix Castor books (published by Orbit), which I highly recommend. I’m also delighted he managed to squeeze selecting some works from 2009 into his hectic shedule as he’s contributed to all our previous Best of the Year features and it wouldn’t be the same without his picks. Ladies, gentlemen and associated cross-dimensional being, Mike Carey‘s favourites from the last twelve months:
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Mike: Greek Street (Vertigo). Prodigal son Peter Milligan returns to the Vertigo stable with this dark re-mix album of ancient tragedy and modern sleaze. In Soho’s Greek Street, old stories find new puppets to play themselves out. With a cast of gangsters, loners and losers, a chorus of strippers, and a flavour all its own, this is one you should definitely check out.
Three Shadows (First Second). I picked this up on a whim and absolutely loved it. Pedrosa’s background is in Disney animation, but he’s working in a somewhat darker vein here. A family live in perfect happiness in their isolated farmhouse – until three shadowy riders take an unsettling interest in their son. Part family drama, part allegorical fable: read it and weep.
Boody (Fantagraphics). This is an utterly fantastic compendium of stories written and drawn in the 1940s by Boody Rogers – humour strips with a surreal sensibility. It’s hard not to fall in love with them, especially the ones featuring Babe Boone, baseball’s female phenomenon. I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than the much-celebrated I Will Destroy All Civilized Planets, Fantagraphics’ great period reprint collection from 2008.
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Mike: Coraline (Laika/Focus). I love the book – in fact, I think it’s the best thing Neil Gaiman has ever written – so I came to the movie version with caution. But it satisfied on all counts, including the crucial one of being scarier for grown-ups than it is for kids. Great use of 3D, too, not to hit you in the eye with flying objects but to immerse you a little deeper in this thrilling, disquieting world.
Up (Disney/Pixar). Yeah, so I watch a lot of cartoons. What’s your point? My God, this was good. Dazzling adventure, perfectly placed emotional beats, a dogfight with real dogs… If ever there was a movie that the whole family can enjoy together, this is it. And like all Pixar movies, it’s the sole occupant of its own genre: grumpy-old-man-and-obese-boy-scout-go-to-South-America adventure stories.
The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight). You can smell the sweat and tears in this agonising portrayal of a wrestler (Mickey Rourke) growing old reluctantly and gracelessly – trying to connect with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), almost getting inside the emotional guard of a wary lap dancer (Morisa Tomei) and finally refusing to compromise his fucked-up professional ethics in a last, disastrous grudge match. Outstanding.
FPI: How did 2009 go for you as a creator?
Mike: I’ve got a new monthly book out from Vertigo, The Unwritten, which IGN has just selected as Best new Series for 2009. Plus I’m still writing X-Men Legacy and the Torch for Marvel, and I’ve had two Castor novels out this year (Thicker Than Water and The Naming of the Beasts respectively – Joe).
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2010?
Mike: Next year… first Unwritten trade is out in January, I’m writing a horror book for Raw Studios and I’ve got some more Marvel projects still to be announced.