stuff of mine what came out in 2018

Looking back, it wasn’t the most prolific year of my career (for one thing, it’s the first time since 1997 that there’s a calendar year without a new novel by me published), but I had a bunch of stuff out…..

Short stories

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“Six Red Dragons: An Adventure of Shirley Holmes & Jack Watson” in Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot

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“House Hunting” in They Keep Killing Glenn

 

Vignettes

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Each month on Patreon, I wrote a vignette featuring one of my original characters:

  • Super City Cops: “Plea Bargain” and “Fuck, Marry, Kill”
  • Dragon Precinct: “A Unexpected Trip to Sandy Brook Way,” “Don’t Ask the Question if You Don’t Want the Answer,” “Gan Brightblade and the Swamp of Kormak,” and “The Streak”
  • Shirley Holmes & Jack Watson: “Repaying a Favor” and “An Inherited Phone Case”
  • Cassie Zukav: “Papa’s Pool”
  • Bram Gold: “Sunday Night at the Kingfisher’s Tail,” “The Principle of the Thing,” and “The True Meaning of Hanukkah”

 

Comic books

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Farscape Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 (reprinting all the Farscape comics published by BOOM! Studios from 2008-2011, including 48 comics scripted by me)

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Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection Volume 33: TNG: Perchance to Dream (reprinting my 1999 comic book miniseries)

 

Essays

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How the Cloak & Dagger TV Series Compares to the Comics” on Tor.com

And Related Subjects: Come for the Health, Stay for the Self-Improvement—One Writer’s Martial Arts Journey” on Tor.com

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“‘Fool for Love’: Railroaded” in Outside in Takes a Stab: 138 New Perspectives on 138 Buffy Episodes by 138 Writers

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“Brave Heart: Why Tegan Jovanka was a 21st-Century-Style Companion Before the 21st Century” in Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who

 

Reviews

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Every Friday, Tor.com presents “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch,” looking back at all the live-action movies based on superhero comic books. This year’s rewatch entries covered: Steel, Spawn, Howard the DuckNick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America (1990), Fantastic Four (1994), Generation X, Justice League of America, The Spirit (1987), The Spirit (2008), Blade, Blade II, Blade Trinity, X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns, The HulkSpider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Daredevil, Elektra, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Witchblade, Catwoman, Constantine, Man-Thing, Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, Logan, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Red Sonja, Dick Tracy (1990), Men in Black, Men in Black II, and Men in Black 3

In addition, for Tor.com, I reviewed the following: Mary Shelley, Luke Cage season 2, Iron Fist season 2, Venom, Aquaman, and all the episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks as they were released.

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On Patreon I reviewed the following movies: Proud Mary, Black Panther, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Incredibles 2, Ant-Man & The Wasp, BlacKkKlansman, First Man, Animal Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Also on Patreon, I reviewed the following TV shows: the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas Special, Major Crimes, Feed the Beast, Breakout Kings, Black Lightning (both the initial episodes and a later overview of the first season), The Alienist, M*A*S*H seasons 3-11, Lucifer, Lethal Weapon, Mindhunter season 1, Jessica Jones season 2, Doctor Who‘s “The End of the World,” “City of Death,” and “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” Deception, New Tricks seasons 1-9, NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Magnum P.I., Claws, Better Call Saul, The Good Place, Snowfall, Daredevil season 3, and Animal Kingdom.

 

Other stuff

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Diary text in Poison Ivy Hardcover Ruled Journal

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Also, eSpec Books reissued my extant “Precinct” booksDragon Precinct, Unicorn Precinct, Goblin Precinct, Gryphon Precinct, and Tales from Dragon Precinct. The four novels were released with bonus short stories: “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty” in Dragon, “When the Magick Goes Away” in Unicorn, “Baker’s Dozen” in Goblin, and an all-new story “Chaos Theory” in Gryphon. In addition, eSpec reprinted Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido.

 

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: X-Men: Apocalypse

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For the second time in a row, a trilogy of X-Men movies has a total dud for a third movie, but where the last one messed up two great stories, this one has its source material to blame. Apocalypse was always boring in the comics, and he’s even more boring on film. The great superhero rewatch slogs through the most lifeless film of Bryan Singer’s directorial career, X-Men: Apocalypse.

An excerpt:

No effort is made to make [Michael] Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, or Lucas Till look twenty years older than they were in First Class. No effort is made to make Summers’s transition from whiny teenager to future leader of the team in any way convincing. No effort is made by Sophie Turner to actually make Grey a compelling character. She’s supposed to be a struggling, tormented young woman, but she comes across instead as someone acting in a high school play who just wants opening night to be, like, over so she can go hang out with her friends. (Her performance, which is totally lacking in all luster, does not bode well for her upcoming focus in Dark Phoenix.)

Singer’s first X-film was one of the best superhero films ever done at the time it was made, the vanguard of a revolution in the subgenre that we’re still enjoying the fruits of eighteen years later. His last X-film (Simon Kinberg is scheduled to direct as well as write the next one) is one of the most bland and dull, two words I wouldn’t use to describe any of Singer’s other films (except maybe his first, Public Access). Even the wrongheaded Superman Returns was better than this dud.

my spoiler-filled review of Aquaman

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Over on Tor dot com, I review Aquaman, the new DC film starring Jason Momoa, and it’s a big dumb goof of a movie. Not the best movie ever, but tremendous fun, an adjective I would never use to describe a 21st-century DC movie not directed by Patty Jenkins.

An excerpt:

As expected, given his scene-stealing performance in Justice League (not to mention, y’know, his entire oeuvre), Momoa makes the movie. His relaxed charm, his obnoxiousness, his snide earnestness all keep things moving nicely. But more to the point, we never lose sight of the fact that he’s a hero.

There are few things in superhero films I have less patience with than the reluctant hero. On the one hand, yes, it gives your protagonist a journey to go on. But when you’re doing a superhero movie, the reluctant-hero trope is just tiresome, because—especially when it’s an adaptation of a character whose creation predates the attack on Pearl Harbor—we know the outcome. Aquaman rather sensibly avoids this, instead giving Curry a different journey to go on. Instead of a reluctant hero, he’s a reluctant king. Throughout the movie he resists the notion of claiming his birthright as King of Atlantis, only claiming it at the end because the alternative is his dickish half-brother.

Friday fanfare: Tom Lehrer’s holiday songs

The great Tom Lehrer wrote two great seasonal songs. The first was simply called “A Christmas Carol,” an ode to the commercialization of the holiday to the tune of several favorites. The second was a Hanukkah song, “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica,” which Lehrer wrote because he felt there was a dearth of songs for that Jewish holiday — mostly, he observed, because most of the Jewish songwriters were too busy writing Christmas carols…..

“A Christmas Carol”
“(I’m Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica”

looking ahead in the great superhero movie rewatch

We’re almost at the end of 2018, and I have some fun plans for the final week in “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch” over on Tor.com.

First off, next Friday, the 21st, I’ll do the most recent X-film, X-Men: Apocalypse, having done X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past the past two Fridays.

Then on the three weekdays between the holidays — Wednesday the 26th, Thursday the 27th, and Friday the 28th — I’ll be looking back at some 20th-century films I overlooked in the rewatch: Red Sonja, the 1985 film that debuted Brigitte Nielsen’s film career (she’s a comics character on a technicality, which I get into in the rewatch), Dick Tracy, the 1990 film produced, directed by, and starring Warren Beatty, and the three Men in Black movies from 1997, 2002, and 2012.

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After that, we dive back into the regular rewatch. We kick off 2019 with phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: January and the first two weeks in February will cover Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man. We’ll polish off February with Michael Bay’s two 2010s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

In March, we’ll get silly with Deadpool and Deadpool 2, then spend the rest of March and most of April with the DC Extended Universe: Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Aquaman. The last week in April will be the 1940s Dick Tracy movies, which I discovered while researching the 1990 film, and which will make an interesting change-of-pace after the DCEU.

May will continue in the hard-boiled vein with the two Sin City movies, and then we go with a couple of standalones: the 2015 Fantastic Four and the 2018 Venom. Bridging May and June will be the two Kingsmen movies, and then we dive back into the MCU through the rest of June, all of July, and most of August: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Captain MarvelAvengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.

After that, we’ll see. By then, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, New Mutants, and a new reboot of Hellboy should all have been released, so they’ll likely be next. Either way, though I’ve got plenty to keep me busy through the end of next summer………………..

 

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: X-Men: Days of Future Past

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One of the most iconic X-Men comics stories is adapted into movie form, bringing the McAvoy/Fassbender X-Men together with the Stewart/McKellen X-Men. The great superhero movie rewatch looks at Bryan Singer’s semi-triumphant return to X-directing in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

An excerpt:

Fassbender continues to play Magneto as tormented. By the time of the first three films when he’s played by McKellen, Magneto is quite comfortable in his role as a super-villain, but here we see the other two ends of it. Fassbender’s Magneto is still angry and unfocused (and has also mostly been in jail since last we saw him), while McKellen’s older, more tired Magneto has found himself once again under the heel of fascists, only this time they’re robotic fascists.