2022 Reading Recap

My reading slips holder is stuffed, so it’s time for this year’s recap of stuff I read. The grand total is, let’s say around 80 books & comics. I counted the slips of paper, but there was one duplicate, and at least one book I forgot to write down, because I read it on my iPad while away from home. Plus, I expect I’ll squeeze in at least one or two more books before the year is out.

In no particular order, here are some highlights:

  • I re-read both the original Ms. Marvel run by G. Willow Wilson and Paper Girls, thanks to new series coming out on Disney+ and Amazon, respectively. It’s always interesting to see how the stories change when they jump from one medium to another. The Paper Girls comic is definitely better than the streaming series.
  • There was only one DC comic in the whole pile — Wonder Woman: Dead Earth. The note I scribbled for that one is “BATMAN ALWAYS WINS.” She uses Superman’s spine as a weapon, if that tells you anything.
  • No surprise to anyone who follows comics, but Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands was a standout.
  • The vast majority of my comics reading is somewhere on the indie spectrum, or at least not Marvel/DC. Some worth checking out: Weegee: Serial Photographer, Kabul Disco, Rat Queens (always), Impossible Jones, Ron Randall’s Trekker, the Reckless series, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, Dragon, Second Coming, vol 2.
  • I re-read two novels, Foundation and Earth and The Secret History. Revisiting Asimov is a trip. Tartt’s book probably holds up better, though Asimov will always have a special place for me, since he was my introduction to adult sci-fi back in the day.
  • Razzmatazz (sequel to Noir) was a hoot, and may be my favorite novel of the year. Reading Noir first isn’t required, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to.
  • Holy shit, Sin du Jour. Seven novellas, reads like a Netflix limited series, highly recommended if you like twisted urban fantasy.
  • In YA/MG, I would recommend The Clackity, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, and The Bridge Home. The first two of those are more fantastical, while the last one is most definitely not. In fact, The Bridge Home is probably the biggest gut punch I’ve read in a while. Horrible things always happen to kids in YA/MG, but there’s a difference when the element of fantasy is entirely removed.

…and just for completeness, I’m currently reading The Spare Man and Slow Horses. The jury’s still out on both, though I am enjoying them so far (and I super dig the Slow Horses series on AppleTV). I do have questions about Mary Robinette Kowal’s use of “nethers,” though…

UPDATE: I almost forgot non-fiction! These get their own bulleted list:



There’s no big story here, just something I wanted to make. The original design is taken from a 1968 book titled I See the Earth!, which I originally learned about from Dreams of Space – Books and Ephemera. Highly recommended if you’re into vintage space stuff or retro futurism.


What are you hiding from, lil buddy?

Inspired by a re-read of G. Willow Wilson’s (art by Adrian Alphona) Ms. Marvel run. I had completely forgotten about Loki showing up and leaving behind the Lightning Golems, let alone the random kids showing up in full hazmat gear for no apparent reason.

A process note, if anyone cares — I modeled and rendered the characters in Maya, but couldn’t come up with an environment I liked. So, I pulled a render into Procreate, redid the line work and then used RetroSupply Co’s ColorLab to create the distressed halftone look. Click the image for a larger version that shows the halftone better.


Holy Moley White People Are Awful


Sacrificial Dance

That ghoulish dance [censored] performed at the NRA makes a lot more sense when you put it in the context of the God they worship.


Here we go again

First, these people have lost their damn minds. And by “these people” I mean everyone associated with the GOP. Case in point:

Florida’s vicious attack on transgender children

GOPer Sends Fake Appointment Confirmations For ‘Your Child’s Gender Reassignment Surgery’ in Fundraising Texts

Thank God for people like Ian and Mallory:

This is why I’m posting, though:

So…yeah. This is Yet Another Goddamn Moment in what seems to be a never ending series of Goddamn Moments lately where “conservatives” lose their mind over some made-up menace, let their bigot flag fly, and engage in hateful rhetoric and lawmaking that’s going to get people hurt. As Harry Vanderspiegle would say:

So repeat after me:

Trans women are women.

Trans men are men.

Trans people are people, goddamnit.


Dear God Just Make It Stop

Just to recap:

  • 2016: sucked
  • 2017-2019: living in suck-land
  • 2020: super sucked
  • 2021: maybe…oh, wait. No, still sucking.
  • 2022: hold my beer

Sighs heavily



This is from a recent Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction prompt, “Grim Reaper.” Tossing up here because why not.

“Hey, buddy. How’s it going?”

“Pretty good, G.R. How about yourself?”

“If I’m being honest? Not so good.”

“Aw, man. I’m sorry to hear that. Did something happen?”

“It’s just…you know, everything.”

“I hear you. If it helps, it’s going gangbusters on our end.”

“Yeah…that’s kind of why I’m calling. Can you guys maybe cool it a bit?”

“What do mean? I thought you liked to keep busy.”

“I do. It’s just…it’s kind of a lot right now.”

“Ha! What’s the matter old man, you can’t keep up?”

“This isn’t funny, asshole. Do you have any idea what it’s like for me? It’s not like the old days. There are billions of humans now, and they’re literally all over the goddamn planet. At least you guys have horses. I have to walk.”

“Oh, come on. It can’t be that bad. I know Pestilence got a little carried away, but you’ve been keeping up. And the humans have science now. It’s not like back in the day when he killed half of an entire continent.”

“Ugh. Don’t remind me. I still haven’t gotten the smell out of my cowl from that month in Paris. Listen, all I’m saying is, I need a breather, okay? Can you maybe pump the brakes, just so I can have time to get a fresh pair of sandals, and maybe sharpen my scythe?”

“Okay, okay. I’ll see what I can do. No promises, though. I overheard him giggling about something called ‘Upchuck Upsilon’ last week.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“Nope. He’s calling that his ‘summer blockbuster.’ War has a bet with him that humanity won’t let it get to that, but Pestilence is pretty confident.”

“*sigh* I can’t say that I blame him. Tell War I wouldn’t take that bet.”

“Hey, maybe you can tell him yourself. I hear he’s heading to Ukraine soon.”


“Hello? You there?”

“I hate you guys.”


2021 Movies Edition

Because why not– I did it for books (why do my fingers keep wanting to capitalize that?) & comics, and I’ve got a Letterboxd membership where I’m tracking movies, so let’s do those, too.

Before getting into this, I should note that we didn’t watch a whole lot of new movies in 2021, and there’s a larger number of rewatches than would be typical for me. Some of this is thanks to COVID, some of it not.


We only watched four movies the whole month, so I’ll just list them all:


We spent February re-watching the Avengers/Captain America movies, with a couple new items sprinkled in. None of them were particularly memorable, but I’ll give Flora & Ulysses a shout-out since that was the reason for the short story contest I entered.


February’s Marvel marathon led me to finally watch Point Break, though the better/more interesting films were:


We somehow managed to watch all three Witch Mountain movies in a day, which was kind of like watching one each Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig Bond flick. The movies are all in the same world, but they’re very different from each other. That aside, the two highlights of the month have to be Blood Simple and Promising Young Woman.


Three movies that were better than I expected:

One movie that I’d seen before, and would watch again in a heartbeat:

His Girl Friday


Two Disney movies: Raya and the Last Dragon didn’t do much for me, but I did enjoy Luca. My favorite of the month has to be A Colt Is My Passport, which sent me hunting for the soundtrack as soon as the credits finished. Streets of Fire was…interesting.


Two “what did I just watch” flicks: Zola and Tank Girl. Also of note:



Two action movies of note here– The Fugitive and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Speed also holds up pretty well, though George of the Jungle maybe not so much.


October was Universal Horror month, though I have to confess that I fell asleep during half of them. Creature from the Black Lagoon is the best of the bunch, IMHO. I also watched Jennifer’s Body, which was much funnier than I had expected.

Another in the category of “what did I just watch”: Mind Game.

However, Dune was far and away the best movie of the month.



Finally got around to watching Parasite, and caught The Matrix Resurrections on opening weekend. We also took in No Time to Die, and are looking forward to the new series starring Ana de Armas that they are surely making, right? Right? Our most notable re-watch was Matchstick Men.

…and we bridged the new year with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Whew…thassalotta movies.


2021 in Books and Comics

Quick recap— mid-2020 I made a little paper/pen holder with a deposit slot behind it. For every book or graphic novel I read, I tear off a sheet, jot down the title and date I started reading. I use it as a bookmark, and when I finish, I note the end date and write a little note about the book/comic. Sometimes I doodle a picture.

Somewhere out there, Mrs. Millen is rolling her eyes and saying to the person next to her, “Now he starts tracking what he reads?”

If you’re curious, the grand total for 2021 was 80 little slips of paper, representing 24 books, 41 graphic novels, 13+ individual issues of comics (because sometimes I’ll use the same sheet if I read multiple issues in a sitting), and a couple books that are collections of one panel comics or tweets.

Last year I published a timeline of everything, but that was more work than I want to do today. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few titles from each month that stood out, for whatever reason. I’ll note going into it that several of the comics I learned about from a “best of 2020” list, so if you’ve heard of them before, that’s why. 


Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?
This book is hysterical, and would be worth the price even if all it had was that “Bwoocy hungy” line.

A vampire and a werewolf start dating. Single panel comics, adorably goofy.

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacy
My guess is that Black people will absolutely believe what happened to Lacy. The stories here run from hilarious to horrifying, and should be required reading for white people.

Impossible Jones
Kickstarter comics tend to be hit or miss, but this one is a lot of fun. Their website describes her as “A little bit Harley Quinn, a little bit Plastic Man.” She’s a hero in air quotes.


Superman Smashes the Klan
Yes, that Klan. Based on a radio play from the 40s, and disappointingly relevant today. Again, white people…just do better, okay?

Second Coming
I just found out the second volume of this is available, so I’ll probably be re-reading it. Jesus comes back to Earth and rooms with a super hero (who’s also in group therapy). Things don’t go well. Also, his dad is a real asshole.


Star Wars: Into the Dark
Part of the “High Republic” series of releases Disney kicked off last year. I’m still not sure about the whole Nihil thing, but this story was solid enough.


Exiles vol 1 & vol 2
Characters from different timelines come together to save the multiverse. If that sounds like “What if?” and the Loki series on Disney+, you’re pretty close. 

Gotham Central
Think “The Wire” but in Gotham. Light on super heroes/villains, heavy on detectives in Gotham PD. The Omnibus is a beast of a book, but it’s well worth reading. 


Lumberjanes (multiple)
Monstress (multiple)

I bounced back & forth between these all month. Lumberjanes is as light and goofy as Monstress is dark and intense. 


The City We Became
I dug this a lot more than N.K. Jemison’s “Broken Earth” trilogy, and am super looking forward to where the series goes next.


Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History
Four-plus decades of D&D art, with the history of the game alongside them.

The Book of Accidents
I’ve been surprised to find myself reading horror novels recently, largely thanks to Chuck Wendig. I just drew a picture of an owl on my slip of paper for this one. *wink*

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
More romancey than I was expecting. A fun read if you like silly Victorian magical hijinks.


Bandette vol 4: “The Six-Finger Secret”
Presto! We love our Bandette in this house.

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?
If I were to pick a book of the year, this would (probably) be it. Eddie Gein was the inspiration behind Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Leatherface), etc… Seriously messed up dude. 

Both interesting and maddening. Interesting because it takes the story of rubber ducks dumped in the ocean and spins it out into climate change, manufacturing, supply chains, pollution, etc. Maddening because the writer meanders as much as the damn ducks. If you like stories in the New Yorker, you’ll love this.


Hawkeye (Fraction/Aja)
Bro, we have a two-book collection of these stories, not the omnibus I’ve linked to. Not sure what’s up with that cover art, bro, since the meat of the story doesn’t have him in that costume, nor is it the art style the stories known for. Anyway bro, this is the stuff the Disney+ series is largely inspired by. It also features an issue entirely from Pizza Dog’s perspective, bro.


Foundation Trilogy
This is the third (at least) time I’ve read the series. The show on AppleTV+ barely resembles the original books, which is what prompted me to revisit it. The books are…definitely of their time, but as one of the first authors that got me into sci-fi, they’ll always have a special place for me.


The Lady From the Black Lagoon
Not sure why there hasn’t been a movie or one of those limited series about Milicent Patrick, yet. She deserves one.


The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Second time I read this one. Yeah, that angel is pretty stupid. He means well, though.

Special mention

You Can Do Anything, Magic Skeleton!
We kept this book on the dining room table and used it for daily motivation, reading a page out loud a day. I expect it will come back out again at some point in 2022 for a second run.