Best of 2021

2021 was still a crazy year when compared to just about any other, but at least life returned to some semblance of normalcy after the tumultuous 2020. Thanks to vaccines, society has been able to safely reconvene on a more frequent basis, getting back to the gatherings and activities that slowed dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m thankful to be vaccinated (and boosted, no less!), and I hope everyone continues to take precautions so that as many of us as possible can stay healthy during this time.

I’m grateful that artists and content creators in all fields were able to get back to their work similar to pre-Covid conditions and entertain us. Heaven knows we all need a distraction once in a while as we navigate a global pandemic. There were a lot of great offerings this year, making a my decision in a few of these categories among the most difficult that I’ve ever made for as long as I’ve done this end of year list.

Favorite Movie – Zack Snyder’s Justice League

More than anything, I was thrilled to see a man finally be able to realize his vision after it was taken away from him by personal tragedy and corporate meddling. Even better, Zack Snyder’s uncut take on the Justice League also turned out to be a really fun watch. It was a grandiose blockbuster that featured terrific portrayals of DC’s most iconic superheroes.

Favorite TV Show – Pacific Rim: The Black

As a huge fan of the first Pacific Rim movie, I was ecstatic to hear that we would be getting an anime, and it somehow exceeded my expectations. Pacific Rim: The Black explores a very different and fascinating part of the Pacific Rim universe. It tackles some bleak themes in a way that neither movie did, but it still has the awesome mecha/Kaiju action and wonderful character moments that made Pacific Rim a hit in the first place.

Favorite Video Game – Monster Hunter Rise

I don’t say this lightly — Monster Hunter Rise may be the best Monster Hunter game ever. In a series that has boasted numerous stellar outings, Rise feels like all of Monster Hunter’s greatest attributes coming into one. It had the quality of life updates from Monster Hunter World, plenty of new mechanics like the Wirebug and Palamutes to make combat more frenetic, and all of that same charm that we’ve always known from the series.

Favorite Comic – Witch Hat Atelier

This has quickly become one of my favorite mangas going right now. Witch Hat Atelier features an impressive amount of world building, the kind you would normally expect to find in a series of high fantasy novels as opposed to a manga or comic. The many allegories for artwork that are seen in the story’s magic system is simply brilliant writing, and it really hits home for someone like myself who is learning to become a comic book artist!

Favorite Novel – Cytonic

I consider Brandon Sanderson to be one of the very best speculative fiction writers of our time, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed series such as Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive, I actually think that his Skyward series is becoming my favorite by him. Cytonic was an excellent third entry in his wild space faring tetralogy, taking the adventure to one of the most unique settings I’ve ever come across in a novel, and introducing even crazier sci-fi elements. I can’t wait to see how the series ends!

Favorite Sporting Event – Buffalo Bills playoff game vs. the Baltimore Ravens

The Bills playoff win over the Colts — their first in almost 25 years — was incredible, but their win over the Ravens in the second round was even better. The Buffalo defense was darn near impregnable all night, completely shutting down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense. Taron Johnson’s 100+ yard pick six made me absolutely lose my mind (and everybody else’s who was at the watch party I was attending). With this dominant win, the Bills cemented themselves as one of the very best teams in the NFL.

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