The Valkyries Comics, Films, TV and Video Game Round-Up 2020
There is so much that can be said about 2020 but let’s just try and keep to the positives. We have read/watched/played so many incredible titles this year it was really hard to narrow those down. Of course, we would love to feature everything, but these are just some titles in particular that stood out. We know that not being featured in this kind of lists can be disheartening but, we could not be more proud of all the creators who helped us all get through 2020 and who worked so hard to create something that helped ease the strain of the current situation. So for that, we thank you eternally.
It has been a pleasure for all of us to share this year with you and to bring you content, that we hope you’ve all enjoyed, so Georgie and I will take you through our highlights of the year. You can also watch the round-up in our two-part end of year special on youtube ( part one and part two ) or listen via the podcast!
The Comics Round-Up
Blue in Green
Created by: Ram V & Anand RK, Publisher: Image Comics
A very (very) close second for my comics of the year came in the dulcet and elegant tones of Blue in Green. Between Ram V and Anand RK, Blue in Green brings music as close to art as I have ever seen it come. Created just like a classic jazz melody, the story of Blue in Green haunts the pages of the graphic novel and flows with the ease and elegance you would expect from both this genre of music and the team involved. Horror, music, and the most gorgeous art and words you can imagine – Blue in Green is masterful. Listen to our interview with Ram V here!
A Dark Interlude
Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan, Pencils/Inks: Andrea Mutti, Colours: Vladimir Popov, Letters: Deron Bennett (Andworld Design), Publisher: Vault Comics
In a move that will surprise literally no one, A Dark Interlude #1 has pipped a few major contenders to my top spot of comic of the year. You can put it down to anticipation, excitement, loyalty, or just damned fine craftsmanship, but the follow-up to my previous favourite Fearscape doesn’t put a foot wrong. The art and colours are nostalgic and reminiscent without being samey, and the writing is prickly and abrasive without being too pride wounding (mostly). Mostly, though, it is just oh so beautiful. What can I say? I have a type, and A Dark Interlude’s creative team have it down to a very fine art. Read our full review of issue 1 here.
Home Sick Pilots
Writer: Dan Watters, Art: Casper Wijngaard, Letters: Aditya Bidikar, Design: Tom Muller, Publisher: Image Comics
Home Sick Pilots was my most anticipated comic of 2020 and it really did not disappoint. It is so intensely my cup of tea with a blending of coming of age horror tales, haunted houses, village levelling robots and of course, that 90’s punk/ grunge life. It is going to be a massive series. Read our full review of issue 1 here.
Writer: Tom Woodman, Art: Rupert Smissen, Letters: Aditya Bidikar, Editor: Lizzie Kaye, Publisher: Cast Iron Books
It feels like Future has been a long time coming, and I know the creators feel the same. But something 2020 could not do, was keep them from delivering this beautiful book. No only is it a considered and well-crafted story with some of THE most beautiful artwork, but also it just looks so great on the shelf! Read our full review of Future here.
Writer: Fraser Campbell, Artist: Lucy Sullivan, Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Logo design: Alasdair Wood
Ind-xed was not only a wildly successful Kickstarter from the minds of a wildly talented creative team, but also an unexpected balm to the year 2020. Set in a brutal dystopia, it doesn’t on the surface seem like the escapism it really is. From the delicate and subtle colours, the unique lettering, and the heart-wrenching story, Ind-xed was a triumph in the darkest of times. Read our full review of IND-XED here.
Writer: Daniel Kraus, Artist: Chris Sheehan, Colours: Jason Wordie, Letters: Jim Campbell, Publisher: Vault Comics
If you wanted to round up my favourite things about comics, and horror, and horror comics, then all you need to do is check out The Autumnal. A stunning example of Rural Gothic in colour, The Autumnal keeps you on the edge of your seat, rooting for our protagonists as they drift through a picturesque town before the fear and horror truly seeps in. A folkloric pay-off, and a lesson in New England Creepy that could teach Stephen King a thing or two, The Autumnal is a must read for any fans of fear. Read our full review of The Autumnal issue 1 here.
The Video Game Round-up
Developers: Polygon Treehouse, Platform: PC and Switch,Genre: Adventure/puzzler
The minute I saw the concept art and the in-progress shots on Polygon Treehouse’s twitter, I knew that I was going to love Röki. You make your way through a forgotten snowy world to save our younger brother. But this is no ordinary world, this is a world full of magic, mystery and monsters. It was both utterly captivating and charming right from the get-go. I honestly could not recommend it enough, and it has more than earned its place as my personal Game of the Year. Read our full review here.
Developers: Supergiant Games, Platform: Switch, PC, Genre: Roguelike/hack and slash
Hades has absolutely taken the world by storm whilst certainly ramping up the thirst. I am not the only one who fancies literally all of the gods/goddesses am I? ANYWAY. Hades took the top spot on so many top lists this year and rightfully so. The game an absolute delight, and I say this as someone who very rarely to never plays roguelikes.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
The TV Show Round-up
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, even though you insist there is only one. I could (and have in a few previous articles) go on forever about why The Mandalorian is my top TV pick of 2020 in this round-up, but at the same time there is absolutely no need to, because I know you all know, and most of you feel it too. From the cast to the cinematography, The Mandalorian changed TV and Star Wars for the better and forever, giving me a re-New-ed Hope (get it?) about the upcoming slew of new Disney+ content. The reverence, care, attention, and adoration that went into every scene is a sight to behold. And that final episode? Never mind best of the year, that’s one of the best in recent memory.
The Queen’s Gambit
I wasn’t going to be surprised by much this year, all things considered, so my sudden and rabid interest in chess after watching The Queen’s Gambit was no shock. I think I am finally an Anya Taylor-Joy convert, though – but again, no shock. With a mind-blowing 62 million viewers since its release, The Queen’s Gambit was a luscious and slick lesson in the aesthetics of cinema, and chess. Seamlessly edited and put together, The Queen’s Gambit is a testament to trying and to overcoming. A look into the destructive powers of perfectionism, The Queen’s Gambit is a portrait of a woman obsessed (even though her “rock-bottom” look is still effortlessly glam and cute…male writers, honestly). That being said, Jolene (Beth’s best friend) could certainly have benefited from some heartier characterisation that didn’t just involve helping out her white friend…
The Umbrella Academy S2
Today, Netfilx updated the credits to The Umbrella Academy to read Elliot Page, who was undoubtedly the star of The Umbrella Academy Season 2. It seems like TUAS2 was released so long ago (thanks, 2020), but it earns a much deserved space in our Best of 2020 TV Round-Up. Taking us back to the 60s, far away from any of this 2020 nonsense, TUAS2 provided a nostalgia for a totally fictional life we never lived. After the dancing and the balmy warm colours however, we also saw hugely salient social issues addressed, that feel more poignant this year than any other. TUAS2 reminds us that among the flash and fancy and cults and updos, we still have work to do with each other. Goddamn but that soundtrack is still incredible, and those fights scenes warm my soul Weird? Maybe. Season 3 will be a blast. Read our full review of TUAS2 here.
Dead to Me S2
I caught up with Dead to Me during Lockdown and what a journey you are taken on. Episodes will have you ugly sobbing, shocked to the core and laughing your ass off the next. The show is absolutely bananas but there is something about it that is so addicting. In particular, there is a moment in the second season where a romantic choice is made by one of the characters and the handling of it is so natural. That moment was easily one of the highlights of the year for me in TV.
Look, you cannot talk about TV of 2020 without mentioning Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The pair defined Lockdown 1.0 and brought the world together in what can only be described as some kind of weird feline acid trip. The sun was shining, we thought everything would be back to normal by Christmas, and we were optimistic. Looking back now, with snow on the ground, locked in our houses still, it seems forever ago that we were all united by this bizarre phenomenon – and for that, it deserves its place int he round-up. All we can be certain of this year, it seems, is that Carole Baskin killed her husband and fed him to the tigers.
The Disappointments of the Year Round-Up:
Oh, Supernatural – how the mighty fell from Heaven (and Hell, and Purgatory). My comfort show since 2005, the final few episodes of Supernatural broke my heart over and over. Did we get what we wanted in that Destiel confession? Not really. Did we get satisfying ends for the boys who have been by our side for a decade and a half? Barely. I admit, there was never going to be an ending that could do the show justice (especially as it felt like we were watching it slowly sputter and run out of gas in the latter seasons…) but this just felt…well…very 2020. Oh well, to the fanfic sites instead.The Haunting of Bly Manor
Unfortunately, similar to the Haunting of Hill House, I found Haunting of Bly Manor to be all style, limited substance. Whilst the complex storyline was well crafted, the final reveals were not at all shocking, especially if you have seen The Innocents. Couple telegraphing those shocks with some god awful child accents and it makes for a grating watch. Jamie the gardener, Owen and Mrs Grose all deserved better.
The Film Round-Up
Dir: Thomas Vinterberg, Starring Mads Mikkelsen
Film of the year in the 2020 round-up not just for the last five minutes, but they could do it too. My first LFF this year saw me take in some incredible cinema and some that was…well…they were definitely films. Another Round justifiably won the audience choice for best film of the festival and provided an unexpectedly heartbreaking and heartwarming entry into the best films of the year. Tragic, comedic, full of normal life and its difficulties, Another Round reminds us that even in the ordinary, there is joy – just don’t indulge in too much of a good thing…Read our full review here.
Birds of Prey
Dir: Cathy Yan, Starring Margot Robbie, Ewan McGreggor, Rosie Perez
Thanks to Birds of Prey, Cats was not the last film I saw in the cinema this year!! Not only is Birds of Prey an absolute riot to watch, but it has a soundtrack that does not quit! There is so much life in these characters and I love to see DC films that are not just 50 shades of grey and brooding! I hope we get a sequel and some spin offs with the new girl team. I have a real soft spot for morally ambiguous characters, the more the merrier! More in our review here.
There we have it!
So that is our round-up for 2020. As we said before, we are proud and thankful to all the creators this year, who’s work helped light up some dark and tough times. Here’s for a better 2021 and moving forward!
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