Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Retrospective of the Year and What's Ahead in 2015

Looking back over 2014…

As another year draws to a close, it is time to pause, reflect on the year’s activities and assess how one measured against the goals set for the year. Looking back at my retrospective post the last day of 2013, I did not provide a list of goals, however, there were two items on my mind when I wrote that post. First, I wanted to finish editing and submit my completed manuscript of my book and second, to post timely and consistent posts throughout the year. On the former, I did complete the editing process and submitted a manuscript I could be proud of, to the publisher at the beginning of May (read the Behind-the-Scenes post). By November, my book, James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictionalized Superspy, was out and available to order from the publisher and a number of online booksellers. That said, the first printing batch sold out at the publisher (McFarland & Company) earlier this month, so that was a very exciting moment. And, in time for Christmas, the book is now back in stock. I haven’t seen my book in a bookstore yet, but I figure that will happen eventually.

My second goal of delivering regular posts fell short. In 2013, I averaged just under 2.5 posts per month, but this year that figure slipped to just over 1 post per month.  Part of my shortfall was due to the amount of time required for the editing process of my book, but I was also writing more for the online popular culture site, Bleeding Cool throughout this year (see my list of articles here). And like many, writing and research is a secondary job to a primary position that finances the other. Heading into autumn, I experienced a lot of changes at my day job, which cut into my available free hours. While I could always management my time more efficiently, I still wish I had more time in the day.

Now, I’m going to turn to the fun part of the post: revealing my top five posts of the year. I selected the top five posts based on number of views received for each over the year. So, without further adieu…

Interview with Moriarty's Corey was #5
Number 5

I had met Daniel at the Long Beach Comic Con and Horror Show in late 2013 and he had kindly provided me with a copy of Moriarty: The Dark Chamber to read because his story included mention of MI5 in its infancy and had spy elements. I enjoyed the story and nods to the spy world, flourishing in the years leading up to World War I. Corey masterfully weaved an intelligent story that many of us are now familiar with, thanks to BBC’s Sherlock. Corey has been hard at work the rest of the year: his new series, Red City, in which Corey creates an interplanetary noir story, was just released in trade paperback from Image. 

Number 4

Cue the music! Oh yeah with Kenny Loggins’ The Danger Zone playing in the background, it was time to open the trading card set for Archer this past March. The set spotlighted lots of nudity and sexual innuendoes and provided many moments in which I groaned and rolled my eyes, yet it was all with a sense of fun. I seriously need to sit down and watch all the seasons now…..Lona? Lona?! LONA!!!

Number 3

I led out with a strong post at the start of 2014 when I reviewed and discussed the first issue of Taran Killam and Marc Andreyko’s The Illegitimates. While I did finish reading the series, I failed to post a follow up article to discuss further how Killam and Andreyko played with established tropes. If you get the chance, pick up the series and check it out.

Number 2

I was surprised that readers were as interested in my report regarding the annual conference I attend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association. In spite of the fact that I was suffering from a severe cold, the conference provided me the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones too.

And, at the top of the list for 2014…..

Person of Interest was most interesting to my readers in 2014
Number 1

This was a quick post one evening after watching an episode of Person of Interest starring Jim Caviezel as rogue CIA agent John Reese and off-the-grid billionaire Harold Finch, played by Michael Emerson. The episode had quite a bit of back-and-forth banter between Reese and Finch, each kind of trying to one-up the other, resulting in many in humorous moments. It made it so fun to write my own post and honestly, I’m glad that so many of my readers enjoyed this one too.

Before leaving this topic, I do want to mention of one of my posts that particularly impacted me this year:

Honorable Mention

What a treat for me this year at Comikaze when not one but two panels focused on James Bond! Not only did I get to listen to experts and fans of Bond, but I got to meet and chat after each panel. The Battle of Bonds, which included the non-Eon Productions Bonds, was a fun hour to compare which Bond was the best…I don’t think there was any clear winner and I’m fine with that. And, a headier panel discussing the qualities that have seen filmic Bond endure for over half a century! Both panels were hosted by Jessica Tseang and again a huge thank you to her for putting the panels together!

Honorable Mention: Near and dear to my heart, Comikaze panel Battle of the Bonds

Looking forward to 2015….

Okay, so what’s on the horizon for Spyfi & Superspies in 2015? Well, I’m going to keep it simple: MORE posts! One of the ways I’ll be doing that is through daily posts acknowledging and celebrating the world of James Bond that is inclusive of his literary roots and filmic franchise. Basically, think of it as a desk calendar with the theme “Bond 365 Days.” I have been working on this project for the past couple of months and I’m not done. Hence, I will state now that this project is organic and evolving, so it may seem that I’ve missed something along the way. It may be, or more likely, I just haven’t touched upon that information yet. It is my hope that readers will come forward where I do have gaps – be it dates and/or photos. I would like this to interactive and eventually a helpful archive.

Along with the daily Bond post, I’m planning to post a weekly blog that explores in depth on the wider spy genre topic from the various popular culture outlets – film, television, literature, comics, video games, etc. I know there are spy films scheduled for release next year such as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Spectre (of course!), television shows aplenty and it will be interesting to see what comic book stories Dynamite writers come up with to entertain and sate our appetites for James Bond now that they an agreement with Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. There are older books and films out there I would like to visit and of course, a whole world of espionage and Eurospy out there too! In addition, I hope to finally read and write about my thoughts regarding the Ian Fleming books and from revisiting the Bond films. And, I’m sure there will be other items, yet unknown to report and talk about in the next year.

I hope you will come along with me in the coming year. Please bookmark my site and consider following me and see your photo over in the right margin with the other good folk already congregated there. In advance, I thank you and I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate your support!

Wishing all my Spyfi & Superspies readers a fond and joyous New Year! See you January 1! 

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