Oh, Twenty Twelve, what a sort of year you were. It was the year the Mayans may or may not have tried to kill all of us with our own media. It was the year I watched not, once, but twice, as our elected officials decided that talking points were more important than the world economy. It was the year that I turned thirty. It was the year that my birthday dinner turned into monthly culinary explorations. It was the year that I did pretty much nothing creatively. It was the year that I went to Disney World and rediscovered what creativity was and why I need it. It was the year that I closed one door and opened another.

But, more importantly than anything else, it was the year that I got married to the love of my life.

And, for that alone, I’ll always look back on it favorably.

Before we go, here are some leftover bits of recommended consumption from the end of the year.

Three Comics You Should Read

SagaBrian K. Vaughn + Fiona Staples - This is BKV’s first large scope book since the end of Y: The Last Man, and Staples’ first book to get her the attention she’s been deserving for years. It is a space-opera about star-crossed lovers that is charming, frightening, exhilarating, small and huge all at the same time.

FataleEd Brubaker + Sean Phillips - The team that brought us Sleeper, Criminal, and Incognito is doing an “ongoing with an end” that’s pretty much Lovecraft meets noir gangster fiction. So, simply put, peanut butter and chocolate in horror comic form.

The Manhattan ProjectsJonathan Hickman + Nick Pitarra -Hickman is taking apart 20th century’s super scientists and sticking them back together into something that it too complicated to explain, but completely approachable and completely him. It doesn’t hurt that Nick Pitarra’s art is utterly gorgeous and reminds me of a less restrained Frank Quitely.

Sidenote: Three books, all on-goings, all with top-level talent, all creator-owned, and all published at Image and not the Big Two. Expect more of this as time wears on.

Three Video Games You Should Play

DishonoredThe third outing from France’s Arkane Studios, and their first internally created IP. Dishonored is what happens when Deus Ex: Human Revolution, BioShock, anything Steampunk and the Combine from Half-Life 2 are put in a blender. What comes out is absolutely delicious, if just a little flat on the back-end.

XCOM: Enemy UnknownFiraxis’s re-do of the classic PC strategy game is an awkward masterpiece. Masterpiece because the unflinching brutality of the original hold firm to the new sleek, modern bones of the update, but awkward because you can tell that somewhere along the line this got upgraded from being a direct-to-download title to a AAA holiday contender. Some of the edges could use a bit more time to be smoothed off.

Borderlands 2The sequel to Gearbox’s smash-hit that no one saw coming is honestly a little less fun than the original, but an absolute improvement on the formula. The game manages to hit emotional highs and lows that should’ve been impossible, but pulls them off with aplomb. And Handsome Jack may go down in history as one of my most hated villains ever, which might also make him one of the most successful.

Three Albums You Should Listen To

Murder by Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon - This year’s release from one my favorite bands is their most polished entry yet, which is both good and bad. On songs like Lost River and I Came Around it lets them tell more affecting stories, but when they double track the main vocal on certain other tracks, the result is less compelling.

The Protomen – Present: A Night of Queen - The Protomen took a break from making records about video game people to show the world just how good they are by covering Queen better than anyone ever has.

Make-Up and Vanity Set – 88:88 - An album written for an experimental film that MAVS also did the score for. Wonderful and simplistic yet deeply atmospheric, provided you are into that kind of thing.

And for this year? The Twenty Thirteen? What of it?

No resolutions, because as my wife pointed out on New Year’s Eve, they are simply set-ups for failure. Or, they are limp-wristed, inconsequential things that you probably didn’t need to make in the first place.

Instead, we have goals. Things to achieve and do that will result in objects of substance. For I declare this year to be the Year of the Concrete, the Year of the Tangible, the Year of the Existent.

I have four goals. All simple, yet still tricky.

  • Cook a meal that I’ll never forget.
  • Write a story I am proud to share.
  • Take a picture that came out exactly as I wanted.
  • Then do all of them better.

Oh, and I’ve got one hell of an announcement about where I’ll be spending most of my time, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one.

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