The Inevitable Year in Review, Part Two

The first five hit the internet yesterday to... the usual level of interest, so here's the second half of my 2012 retrospective.  I'll be honest with you - this one skews a bit more negative.

Worst Trend, Animation:  The Disappearance of Action Shows from Cartoon Network.  This one is kind of self-explanatory; CN had a reputation as a place for high quality action shows, and they've decided to let it slide, even actively hastening the removal of the genre they used to champion.  I would argue that its two most successful originals, Adventure Time and Regular Show, manage to be "stealth" action shows, but they're also known for their humor.  Out of all the DC Nation shorts to take to series, they choose the fine-in-short-bursts Tiny Titans instead of the series that fans actually demanded (but that's due to CN's well-known sexism as much as anything).  Toonami's return is entirely dependent on internet word of mouth to promote it (Steve Blum being the main cheerleader).  And its only existing non-DC action series, Ben 10, has deteriorated into a particularly half-assed attempted comedy.  Meanwhile, Hasbro is picking up CN's older cast-offs that are still well-loved as well as using their action licenses to good effect on The Hub, and Nick has revived TMNT & committed to even more Korra.  While they're still half-assing it, Disney is at least bothering to do PR for their Marvel 'toons.  But the network that, for at least a decade if not its entire existence, was known as THE place for action shows is trying to hasten their demise.  And as someone who always dreamed of writing for action-animation and likes a lot of the licenses CN/WB is letting rot to dust, this is particularly painful.

Worst Trend, Gaming: Grimmification Reaches the Casuals.  This one is on the list more for my mother than for me, but I empathize with her frustration, as it's the same thing that keeps me from any current consoles.  Mom liked the time management games that could be found at sites like Big Fish Games, but they've been releasing fewer of those & the ones that they do release skew very young.  As in, they're so simple that they're absolutely boring.  Meanwhile, everything on their page is a dark & spooky hidden object/puzzle/adventure game series of some sort, and not all of those are very good anymore (BFG absolutely ruined their flagship entry, Mystery Case Files, by trying to add as many bad actors sending you on fetch quests as humanly possible).  These really aren't her thing, and the fact that it mirrors the huge divide in taste & content & presumed age that I see with consoles is disappointing.  I guess console & casual game makers aren't as different as their markets would like to believe, at least when it comes to misconceptions.

Worst Internet Pests:  A Tie - Online Bronies versus Guys Who Genuinely Believe in Fake Geek Girls.  The first are taking a subculture that the media has generally portrayed positively (even Fox News did a salute to military Bronies that was remarkably devoid of nastiness) and try to turn it into a nasty, hypocritical, incredibly shrill horror show.  Apparently the majority of online Bronies really don't believe in "loving & tolerating the shit out of you", since they see no problems threatening a writer for changing a background character's name or Hasbro for selling a not-100%-accurate toy.  That's certainly been my experience with Bronies who weren't already friends.  As for the latter, they seem to (a) think that people want to be lumped into the "geek" ghetto for some weird new definition of popularity I've never seen and (b) mistake "specializing" for "not knowing or caring".  I know plenty of women whose first exposure to comics (especially after this summer) came from movies; them preferring the relatively simple, easier to approach movie mythology of, say, Hawkeye is not the same as them "faking" it to inexplicably win your apparently extra-special favor.  Each is another example of people trying to approach a new favorite "thing" and being put off by the vocal, belligerent online world who seem to think they're being "invaded" whenever new people want to join in the fun.  And while I expect a super-specific thing like Brony-ism to die out eventually, as it's tied to a single show, this isn't something comics as a medium can afford to do unless it wants to die with its pigheadedly protective audience.

Best Trend, Comics: Rise of the Independents.  Y'know what one of my favorite comics this year was?  Like so many others, Saga.  I picked up the trade after Major Spoilers reviewed the first collection, and I was BLOWN AWAY by it.  Elsewhere, for those that like horror, we've seen The Walking Dead become even more huge than you'd expect from a TV-adapted book.  And like I said yesterday, Valiant has made a very strong comeback.  IDW continues to combine creator-owned works with revivals of existing licenses (I'm looking forward to their use of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents).  For all the frustrations I've had with the Big Two over the past year and sadness over the sharp decline of Boom! Studios, I've been impressed with the sheer strength of offerings from other corners.  Thanks to Comixology, it's easier than ever to access these and find a much-needed alternative.  It feels like a return to the 80s independent boom, and here's hoping it lasts longer & stays just as rich with variety.

And so we close out on a positive note.  Here's hoping 2013 is a much more solid year.  I personally am looking forward to more Saga, more Korra, and that third all-new Madoka movie.  I'm also looking forward to many, many angry Bronies proving my point in the comments.

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