Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back and Looking Ahead to 2012


All told, it was a pretty awesome year for me and the blog. Personally, I read a lot of great stuff, and had the privilege of sharing it with a wider audience. I more than doubled my traffic from the previous year, and I hope to do the same again this coming year.  This year was particularly great because I was lucky enough to make plenty of new acquaintances with fellow bloggers, a couple of writers, and artists too.  Being able to communicate and share my loves with like minded people is what this blog is all about.

Lastly, before I begin to look ahead to 2012, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to stop by Battle Hymns and check up on what I've been reading or listening to.  You people give me the energy and desire to keep this tiny, dusty little corner of the internet going, and I greatly appreciate all the comments and interactions.  I hope to give you all plenty of reason to keep stopping by in the next twelve months.  Cheers!


There is a lot of good reading to be excited about in the new year.  I've already got my eye on a few choice items, and I'm sure my wandering eye will land on a few more before the year is out.  However, I wanted to highlight a few things that I will definitely be reviewing here in the coming year.


I don't often buy new releases, mostly because I can't afford the hardcover prices.  Truth be told, I am primarily a used book buyer at this current stage of my life, mostly due to the fact that my poor ass can't pony up for the all the new stuff I'd like to buy.  Hopefully once I'm done with school I'll be able to  land a sweet job, and buy more stuff new, when I want it, rather than trolling the used book shops hoping for a score.  However, there is one book that I'll be saving my pennies for so I can buy it as soon as it comes out.

The Wind Through the Keyhole: Dark Tower 4.5

It's no mystery that I'm a lover of Stephen King's Dark Tower books.  However, when it was announced that there'd be a new installment in the series, one that is basically a standalone and squeezes in nicely between books 4 and 5, I was a bit put off, I don't normally like it when people tamper with something long after its conclusion. (I'm talking to you George Lucas).

That said, I've had time to reconcile those feelings, and now that the book is less than half a year away, I'm pretty damn excited.  It'll be pretty awesome to read some fresh tales about Roland, Eddie, Jake, Susannah, and Oy.  This one is apparently a story within a story, within a story.  Sounds awesome!

I'm sure there are lots of other great books coming out that aren't on my radar yet, so I'll likely pepper in a few other 2012 releases along the way.

Some 2011 titles I hope to get to in 2012:

The White Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker: It'll be nice to carry on with his already awesome Aspect Emperor series.

All Clear by Connie Willis: This is basically one big ass book broken up into two parts, I've read the first half, and hope that the pay off is worth it.

Emabassytown by China Mieville:  It's pretty much a given that this'll be my annual Mieville reading.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey: I've lots of good things about this one, and I think I need to check it out for myself.

Some authors I've never read, and hope to read:

Ian Tregellis
Graham Joyce
Clive Barker
Carol Berg


There's a ton of great new comics coming out in 2012 from some big names, and you can bet I'll be buying the single issues and sharing my thoughts here.  Some stuff that I consider must haves:

Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips: These two guys are pretty much a comic creating dynamic duo, and now they are making the move to Image, sporting a title that promises to be noir crime with lovecraftian beasts.  Hmmm...I wonder if I'll enjoy that?

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: BKV is one of my favorite comic writers, and he makes his return to the creator owned zone with his new space opera title that looks like it might be the next big thing in comics

Prophet by Brandon Graham and various artists: Graham has been doing his own writer/artist thing for awhile now, and is one of the most talented artists in the business. For Prophet, he'll be focusing his energies on just the writing front, while a who's who of up and coming artists ply their trade on various issues.  Maybe the title I'm most excited about.


King City by Brandon Graham:  I have been wanting to read this for sooooo long, but it is only just now being collected by Image.  I've flipped through some of the issues, and Graham's art is awesome, insanely detailed, and incredibly unique.  Plus, the story is about a guy who is a cat master, yup.  Sounds awesome.  This is also the deal of the year.  You get something like 400+ pages, in harcover, for $20.

Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire: It is a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, that's pretty much a guarantee that I'll be reading it. Plus, Lemire told me it is probably the comics work he is most proud of.  Pretty solid endorsement right there.


Red Fang:  I've been listening to these dudes on the internet since Thanksgiving, but I really operate and appreciate best when I can actually listen to an album in my stereo.  So far I like what I hear, but I want to get the full experience by hearing a whole album.  There's some gift money from the holidays that should remedy that...

Dozer:  I had no idea who these guys were up until a few days ago, but they keep popping up on various Pandora channels I have going, and I like what I hear.  They're a stoner rock band from Sweden, and remind me a lot of Kyuss, who if you don't know who they are, you will soon enough.  From what I've heard, Dozer's 2006 album Through the Eyes of Heathens looks to be the album I'll dig into first.

Mastodon: Yeah, long overdue, but I now own The Hunter, so I just need to give it the proper amount of time to fully sink into my musical pores, and I'll share my thoughts.  First impressions: great stuff, their most straight forward album yet.

So, as of right now, that's the stuff I'm most excited about. How about yourselves?  What 2012 or non 2012 book/comic/piece of music has you excited?


Niall Alexander said...

Can't wait for the new Guy Delisle GN from Drawn & Quarterly, and I'm right there with you on this odd duck Dark Tower. Which is to say: not sure what to make of it... but it has Oy, and that's enough to secure my meagre monies.

As to music I'm looking forward to in 2012, well... new Tool would be nice, wouldn't it? And I guess it could happen. But I'll take a new APC album in lieu, and whatever The Smashing Pumpkins put out in the year ahead.

Cheers right back at you, Ryan! I'll admit I only came across Battle Hymns this year, but it's officially required reading for me in 2012. :)

Ryan said...

Hey Niall,

Yeah, new Tool would be nice, not sure if it's gonna happen. Maynard seems quite content to make his wine these days.

The new Dark Tower book will be good if only because it'll be nice to read new material with much loved characters.

I'm happy to hear that Battle Hymns is required reading!

Cursed Armada said...

Hey Ryan I saw that your a fan of R. Scott Bakker so that makes you a bad ass in my book lol... You should follow my blog too;)

Ryan said...

Done good sir! I put your site on my blog roll as well!

Glad to hear you think of me as a bad ass. I consider that a VERY high compliment!