Despite that our ‘hover boards’ don’t actually hover and our shoes don’t lace themselves, 2015 still turned out to be a pretty epic year. It seemed like yesterday when we were launching out together, anticipating the new Avengers 2, SDCC 2015 and Star Wars Episode VII. As expected, as the year unfolded, there were many surprises, twists and a few disappointments. In my final post of 2015, I’ll cover the milestones that meant the most to me but please leave your highlights in the comment section below!
1. We went Back to the Future!
Humanity should be proud that we didn’t end up destroying ourselves before we got to the year Marty arrived into the future (Oct 21). Sure, most of Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future 2 predictions were way off but it was a great opportunity to celebrate one of the most endearing franchises in history- even the USA Today had fun with it. It was nice to see our culture pause and acknowledge that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. To mark the occasion, a group of my friends dressed as the BTTF trilogy!
2. DC Dominates the TV Universe
While yet another year passes with DC heroes absent from the big screen, they have clearly taken over network TV with shows like Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, iZombie, Gotham– and Legends of Tomorrow is around the corner. Even the failed Constantine had some redemption with a key cameo in an episode of Arrow this past season. Sure, each of these shows ranged in quality and accuracy to the source material- but overall this DC family of shows have provided an endless amount of fan buzz all year long. From crossovers to spinoffs, the fun doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. 2016 is going to be awesome.
3. Diversity in Pop Culture
As we work through the ramifications of #BlackLivesMatter, pop culture had a chance to subversily address the pains of our nation through the medium of entertainment as we continually discover that heroes comes in all shapes, sizes, color and gender. For some, the issue goes unnoticed. For many, the emerging representation helps to break stereotypes, inspires change, heals wounds and shapes a culture. From little to large, many heroes and shows contributed to move the needle of change- like Amadeus Cho (Hulk), Ms Marvel, Spider-Gwen, Asiz Ansari’s Master of None, Jessica Jones, The Walking Dead, ABC’s Fresh of the Boat, Jane Foster (Thor), Sam Wilson (Cap), Empire, Black-ish, and of course, Star Wars’ Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), just to name a few. A lot of progress has been made but we have a long ways to go… but 2016 is shaping up to be another year where we take big steps.
4. Movies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Every year, a handful of films seems to define what we chatter about for 12 months around the water cooler- and it seems the geeky ones always leads the way. This year was no exception. While Birdman showed us the emotional lashing out of a tormented artist, Inside Out gave us a glimpse of what that struggle might look like on the inside. Whether it was the beautifully simple Mad Max, to the intellectually charged The Martian, or the exhilarating adventures of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, these visionary films shared little in common but all stood out as the best in 2015. And of course there was Star Wars… but we’ll talk about that later. Marvel influence continued to grow despite a lack luster Avengers 2 however Ant-Man had a ‘small’ but powerful contribution to the universe.
5. San Diego Comic-Con 2015
No ‘year in review’ post would be complete without talking about this year’s SDCC. Some of my favorite memories include hosting the Game of Bloggers Meet Up, moderating the Wrath of Con Bloggers and GEEK WARS panel, attending the Her Universe Fashion Show, exploring my Heroes Within Project, and hanging out with you all. In a serendipitous turn of events, I hit my 10k Twitter follower, on my 10th anniversary to Comic-Con, on July 10th! It was destiny! On a serious note, SDCC is less about the celebrities and panels but more about you all. Whether I am meeting followers for the first time or seeing old friends again, it’s like a big family reunion. I am always touched by the instant camaraderie formed by our weird little online community. It’s the best time of the year and I can’t wait till the next. This was also the year that you rallied and helped me recover my fake Facebook page. After a couple of years, your complaints got it released back to me within a few hours. You rock!
6. Stop, Collaborate and Listen…
A humbling part of every year is reflecting on the fun and exciting partnerships that have formed. One of the strengths of our nerdy tribe is that there are so many amazing organizations, sites and podcasts willing to collaborate for the greater good of comic con nerdom. This past year, I had a blast working with the awesome team of Shout Factory to create a SDCC Survival Guide web series. Since I like to blab, I joined the CON RADIO team and the DC/TV podcast family talking about Legends of Tomorrow and other DC/WB properties. It’s also been an honor to work with Wizard World conventions with the programming team and moderating panels. Hosting the cast of ARROW in Louisville was a personal highlight. Most recently, I have joined forces with CONtv to do some online hosting and represent them as their Twitter Brand Evangelist. It was an exhausting year but so rewarding!
7. Netflix and Chillaxing
No doubt, we are enjoying the fruits of what can only be described as a ‘superhero renaissance’, But even with a solid film line up for the next decade and a bloated DVR of superhero shows, there was still something missing- and we didn’t even know what it was. It wasn’t until Netflix released their entire first season of Daredevil followed by Jessica Jones that a whole new level of fandom was born. Now we can experience the grittiness and big budget of film, yet the episodic and steady character arcs of TV. Netflix has become the perfect platform for Marvel to realize their ‘street level’ heroes- and we are hooked. Jessica Jones paved the way for female heroines (finally) and we can’t wait for the rest of the Defenders to show up. I can easily say these two are the best superhero TV shows ever made. We also all became intimately familiar with the term ‘binge watching’.
7. Making Stuff
As much as I love consuming content, writing blogs, being on social media and hosting stuff, something deep inside me has to make stuff. I can’t escape it. It doesn’t matter how busy I am with awesome high profile opportunities, if I can’t get my hands dirty making some craft, I literally feel like a loser. Not sure what that is, but creating something out of nothing brings me a joy that I can hardly describe. I especially like taking something that is ordinary and turing it into something unique. A few of the notable creations included my San Diego Comic-Con Converse (left) I wore to this year’s show. My BB-8 Pumpkin which was featured on StarWars.com and WIRED. And finally, just in time for Episode VII, my graham cracker Millennium Falcon, which was featured on CNET.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Dec 18, 2015 will be forever known as the day Star Wars was reborn. Over a year ago, fans were teased with the very first images from Episode VII. With the wounds still fresh from the Prequels from over a decade ago, fans speculated over anything they could get their eyes on… except for me. I shielded myself from any and all teasers, trailers, commercials, interviews, or articles. And believe me, it was not an easy year. However, I can safely say it was worth it. Experiencing all that The Force Awakens had to offer for truly the first time was a spectacular experience. I loved it. Instead of gushing, you can hear more about it in my recent podcast or in my written review. Overall, it delivered what it needed to. Not only did it heal an older generation, but it rallied the new and the old together under a new banner. As a culture, I feel like we experienced a galvanizing of fandom that we won’t ever probably feel again. It surrounded us, penetrated us and bound us all together. The best part; this is just the beginning. May the force be with us all.
Below are some of your tweets of what made 2015 so nerdtastic. Leave a comment below to add your thoughts too!
“Does HAMILTON count? Because it is like my history nerd dream come true.”
“The Force Awakens (& specifically Rey), The Flash on CW (& specifically King Shark/Grodd), Wizard World Chicago (personally), Doctor Who “Heaven Sent”, Jane Foster as Thor, Amadeus Cho as Hulk, Sam Wilson as Cap, Cindy Moon, Spider-Gwen”
“Star Wars, Jessica Jones, Mad Max, Paper Girls, Lumberjanes, Gravity Falls, Rick & Morty…been a good year haha.”
“The Force Awakens: how it was marketed in mainstream and SDCC, and just how damn good it was as a movie”
“BB-8. That is all. 😉 I love that little droid!”