The Daily Zombies: Year Two

Posted by Grey Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seven hundred and thirty days removed from August 31st, 2009, The Daily Zombies closes our Year Two with a retrospective on our undead days this past year.

As Samuel Beam from Iron & Wine has noted in his 2004 track, "Passing Afternoon", "there are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days." While our days are all seemingly endless, we all knew deep down that they are numbered, and all this mulling and dwelling that we do on a daily basis are just parts of a prolonged procrastination that drift and seep away both knowingly and unknowingly.

Today marks the end of Year Two of The Daily Zombies, and here I am, kicking off our obligatory anniversary retrospective article by waxing lyrical, bordering on either Zen or Nihilism. Hi, for the uninformed undead, I'm Grey, the undead brain cell behind The Daily Zombies. Personally, 2011 has prove to be most difficult with a heartbreaking loss of an utmost importance, resulting in an unprecedented temporary blackout here at The Daily Zombies back in early June. But like everything else, for better or worse, Earth never stand still for anyone and the world move on, with or without your acknowledgement. And the most effective and best way to deal with loss turned out to be just as practical: You roll with the punches as you bite the bullet. Nihilistic or not, The Daily Zombies continues, doing what we does best: Chronicling the world in our undead perspectives while providing an alternative zeitgeist on what intrigues us in this time and age, be it pop culture or current affairs.

Continuing our time-honored tradition since our inaugural retrospective article on The Daily Zombies: Year One , we swiftly bid farewell to any sustaining melancholy on the passage of time and take a quick look-back at the past three hundred and sixty five.

Immediately after our anniversary entry last August, we covered on "Judge Minty", the capable fan film directed by British-based Graphic Designer Steven Sterlacchini. On the topic of fan films, we also covered "Wolverine vs. The Hand", a cool fan-made trailer directed by commercial and music video director, Gary Shore; the "Find Makarov" trailer that caused quite a storm for the Modern Warfare fans; the "Superman Classic" animated short created by animator and storyboard artist Robb Pratt; the adorable retro Batman short film featuring a very, very Dynamic Duo, directed by Joe Valenti; animator John Banana's charming animated short film made in tribute of the 20th anniversary of the film adaptation of Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer comics; and the recently posted Street Fighter mock-documentary, Balrog: Behind the Glory.

We have witnessed quite a significant number of outstanding web comics emerging this past year, from Jim Rugg's Rambo 3.5; James Stokoe's "Murderbullets"; Emily Carroll's amazingly macabre "His Face All Red"; artist Greg Hinkle's horror anthology, Parasomnia (where Greg himself responded on the comments); and last but not least, the extremely eerie and not-for-the-weak-of-heart, "Bongcheon-Dong Ghost" (봉천동 귀신).

For the mainstream comic market, we continue to play the role of the big-headed Watchers, closing monitoring the ups-and-downs of the Marvel Universe. Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher reverted back to the land of the (punishing) living from his previous status of being "FrankenCastle"; T'Challa, AKA The Black Panther became the new Man Without Fear, as the cataclysmal "Shadowland" arc came to a close; Ultimate Captain America (the douchebag edition) gets his first solo outing, courtesy of writer Jason Aaron and a familiar face, artist Ron Garney; the Marvel Universe goes full Tron to commemorate the release of the then-much-anticipated (eventually disappointing) Tron: Legacy; Johnny Storm, AKA The Human Torch, bit the big one and as a result, Spider-Man took his position in the now-rejuvenated FF (Future Foundation, not Fantastic Four); the Summer big crossover event "Fear Itself" tore the "Heroic Age" apart; the death of Ultimate Peter Parker and the eventual rise of Miles Morales, a young half-black/half-Hispanic teenager as the new and improved Ultimate Spider-Man, as well as the X-Men imploded in "X-Men: Schism".

However, it is not the usual comic book field that Marvel excel in this past year. Marvel Studios scored a major home-run with the continuation of their shared Cinematic Universe: Both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger opened to relatively warm reaction and strong box office results. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox's X-Men: First Class was surprisingly one of the very best films of 2012, besting even the critically acclaimed X-2 directed by Bryan Singer despite the slightly disappointing box office returns. Will Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man fare as well come next year? Perhaps the more important question on every Marvel Zombies' undead mind would be for The Avengers, the superhero epic blockbuster directed by Joss Whedon. We have witnessed the painfully short (but absolutely exhilarating) teaser trailer that was shown as the post-credits kicker of Captain America: The First Avenger. While we have refrained from posting the leaked set pictures and video clips from the Cleveland shooting of the film, we have taken a sneak glimpse at the stuff an are pretty convinced that this should be "The Film" every Marvel Zombies can hoped for.

On the topic of Superhero film, we are filled with regret to declared that DC's Green Lantern pretty much tanked big time. Thankfully, we knew for sure that Christopher Nolan's swan-song to his epic Batman Trilogy, The Dark Knight Returns will almost be a guaranteed kick-ass film to save the DC cinematic universe once again. In fact, the film is the single one reason why we are not calling Joss Whedon's The Avengers the most anticipated film of 2012. That said, we still have Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, set to be released in 2013. While we are pretty much lost hope in Snyder after the extremely disappointing "Sucker Punch", we are quite hopeful for this one with Nolan's involvement. But we remained quite concerned over the red trunks-less new outfit of Henry Cavill's Superman.

Quite the opposite when compared to Marvel, DC is doing relatively well with their comic book output. In fact, their bold new (not to mentioned controversial and divisive) campaign, "DC Comics: The New 52" Directive, has tremendously enhanced the performance of numerous new titles although we are still uncertain of the long-term effect of the scheme. Before the relaunch, we witnessed a particular bold move from DC and Grant Morrison with the launch of Batman, Inc. last year, following Bruce Wayne's "starling revelation" in the pages of Batman and Robin where he amde a public announcement confirming that he has been the financial sponsor of Gotham's most notorious vigilante, Batman. We have thus far been reading easily the comic book series of the year with the ever-innovative Batman, Inc. Will the relaunch ruined every great stuffs that was set up in Morrison's new status quo for the Batmanb family books? Meanwhile, Green Lantern goes to war (with the Green Lanterns); John Constantine and the Swamp Thing are back in the DCU; as the whole DC Universe gets reimagined in Flashpoint (which should be called the "Real Final Crisis" for its cataclysmic after-effects).

The recent wave of "Summer Blockbuster movies" was earlier touted to be a bloody war the likes unseen before, and as we have noticed, there are indeed quite a few unlikely victims and unlikely heroes. The much-talked-about "superhero fatique" did not really happened in our opinion despite the massive onslaught of superhero films across the entire Summer. The aforementioned critical and box office failure of DC's Green Lantern is the result of the way the film is constructed as opposed to the "superhero fatique" theory. Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger is easily the best evidence to support that fact. Apart from that, Cowboys & Aliens suffered a most humiliating defeat for sharing the top spot with the live-action adaptation of Smurf in its first weekend, and subsequently falling further away from the horrific blue ones during the second weekend. In addition, the earlier mentioned "Sucker Punch" got what it deserved after an almost-universal negative word-of-mouth spread like wild fire.

On the other hand, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes surprised us both in terms of the quality and in the box office during the Summer box office war. But the winner of the war can only be Warner Bros.'s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, an epic closure to a truly phenomenal pop culture mainstay which has by now sat comfortably on the throne of the lord of box office this year. While talks of a IMAX release with special cuts for Transformers: Dark of the Moon (previously the number one film before the release of the last Harry Potter film) were reported, we are quite certain that "The Boy Who Lived" has nothing to fear from "The Robots Who Sucked". Yes, while we were hopeful that the third chapter of the live-action adaptation of the beloved Saturday morning cartoon series would be a much better improvement over its dismal previous installment, we are pretty much convinced by now that we are not sitting in for a fourth outing with this terrible franchise (despite the fact that it is indeed an improvement over Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).

That said, we noticed a severe lack of high quality films for 2011. Till now, apart from X-Men: First Class, we find Peter Chan's seminal reexamination of Wu Xia film, the aptly titled Wuxia (武侠) among the very best films of the year. You can check out our review on the film right here. Looking ahead, we have Taiwanese director Wei Te-Sheng (魏德聖)'s epic two-part feature film, Seediq Bale (賽德克‧巴萊), Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, Andrew Niccol's In Time, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, Tarsem Singh's Immortals, Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to look forward to.

Meanwhile in the wrestling ring (particularly the WWE's, as we intentionally snub TNA for their abysmal bookings), things are looking up. With Triple H running the show now being the key authority role of WWE (storyline-wise, of course), CM Punk given a much-higher profile than ever before, Daniel Bryan being the blue brand's Mr. Money in the Bank, Christian being the lead heel of SmackDown, the potential is much intriguing than before. While Christian's rise to main event status is largely the result of Edge's sudden retirement (thank you Edge, and sorry that we just can't get to roll out with our "Thank You" memorandum for you), the consistent work-rate of Captain Charisma is something not to be overlooked. But it is the past Summer that really set the wrestling world on fire. An we even have a name for the eventful Summer: Summer of Punk. CM Punk, having created a true wrestling moment with John Cena at July's Money in the Bank, made yet another awesome moment at the Comic-Con, incorporating the kayfabe storyline right into the attendees of the event. And it was only with his involvement that "The Biggest Event of the Summer", SummerSlam, got the incredible heat it deserved. While the angle hasn't exactly set the ratings on fire, we are adamant that this is the right step to go for WWE. With The Rock and John Cena unprecedentedly setting up the main event of next year's WrestleMania XXVIII, we are certain we are in for more bumpy rides ahead.

Staying in the topic of TV, AMC's The Walking Dead (incidentally The Daily Zombies's TV Series Of The Year and Zombie Of The Year 2011) is arguably the most-hyped series to grace the TV in a year where we bid farewell to 24, Dollhouse, FlashForward, Heroes, and Lost, with HBO's Game of Throne being the other contender. Meanwhile, BBC One and Starz's joint-production, Torchwood: Miracle Day has proven to be some intriguing TV entertainment. With high concept new series such as NBC's Awake, Fox and J. J. Abrams's Alcatraz, ABC's Once Upon a Time, a intriguing-looking American Horror Story (more on that later), and the second season of The Walking Dead looming, the TV scene is still far from dead for now.

Over at the video game front, most of our Top 13 anticipated titles of the year have been released, with the exception of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3, and Mass Effect 3. Among these titles, we have the most hope for Batman: Arkham City, for the awesome experience playing the role of the Dark Knight that we had for Batman: Arkham Asylum (incidentally, The Daily Zombies's Game Of The Year 2009). Of the tiles that wasn't announced back when we conjured our list at the beginning of the year, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is easily the most intriguing title.

An ongoing favorite feature of our own, "It's A Strange World... Let's Keep It That Way" where we chronicles the quirky news of the world, we have had our share of peculiar news items for the past year indeed. From the "uncovering" of real-life Mi-go, the creature in H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, the arrest of a real-life master of disguise, the space-spanning "Photoshop Disaster", a puny human's insane claim to the ownership of the Sun, the unveiling of the Dynamic Duo of Russia (thanks to Wikileaks), the sale of a Philip K. Dick-annotated personal bible, to the sense-shattering emergence of the five teenage "All-American Girls Fighting Satan". What can we say? "It's A Strange World... Let's Keep It That Way".

On a more serious note, the past three hundred and sixty five days saw some tremendous loss to this worldly plane with Irvin Kershner (the director of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back), comic book legend Gene Colan (best known for his work on Marvel characters like Captain America, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange), and last but definitely not the least at all, the one and only "Macho Man" Randy Savage. The Daily Zombies would like to take this opportunity to once again pay our tribute to their respective great works.

There is without a shadow of a doubt that a retrospective article as such totally fail in justifying a complete look at our output for the past year. We could have jabber incessantly about our Top 13 entries, gloat aloud over our Wrestling PPV Previews, go in depth with our weekly features like Zombie of the Week or Undead Monday, etc., but I decided to just go with the flow and talk about what come to my mind first and foremost.

During the past year, The Daily Zombies has evolved considerably. Out outputs are much more frequent than those of our Year One so much so that the articles thus far for 2011 are already more than what we had for the entire year of 2010. And with that, our unique visits (not page loads) have grown by ten fold. In our first anniversary, I noted that we have a total of 22,917 unique visits since its inception. At 2359 on August 31st, 2011, we have a total of 252,439 unique visits. On a daily basis, we have close to a thousand unique visits, thus making the 22,917 figure that we had during our Year One Retrospective easily achievable in a month's time. And while I still insist that this is absolutely insignificant when compared to the populist blogs out there (not gonna mention Asian blonde-wannabes or gluttonous pseudo-journalists), I would like to take the time to thank both our hordes of undead that have been following us all this while, and those who have recently come on board. Anyway, we have kicked off with our social media tools just a couple of months ago. Feel free to follow us at Facebook or Twitter.

To Year Three and on.

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