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The Best of Summer ‘08

By Bert Ehrmann
September 5, 2008

As the summer slowly draws to a close, I thought it would be the perfect time to look back at some of the things I liked best about the summer of ’08.

Iron ManI know many think The Dark Knight was the best movie of the summer, but MY vote for the best film would go to Iron Man. One thing that Iron Man had over The Dark Knight is the main character of Tony Stark (the role Robert Downey Jr. was born to play) was one heck of a likeable guy. Whereas I think people would actually like to spend a week hanging around with freewheeling and fun loving Stark, I’m not sure anyone would want to spend more than an hour or two with dark and brooding Bruce Wayne.

That being said, if Iron Man was the best movie this summer then The Dark Knight was a close second. The Dark Knight perfectly captures the dark mood needed to tell a really great Batman story and features three outstanding performances – Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, the tour de force Heath Ledger as The Joker and the underrated Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Though I might disagree with The Dark Knight currently being listed as the third best movie ever on IMDB, I think there’s an argument to be made from some corners that it might just be the best comic book movie of all time.  

If you liked the Iron Man movie, then you’ll probably also dig the comic book Invincible Iron Man. It’s essentially a continuation of many of the themes of the Iron Man film and shares the same overall tone and feel of the movie. In Invincible Iron Man, Zeke Stane (son of Obadiah) is out to destroy Stark Industries via terrorists using stolen Stark technologies devices turned terror weapons.  

Generation KillI also enjoyed the HBO mini-series Generation Kill and the book of the same name by author Evan Wright. The Generation Kill story is about Wright and his ride with the 1st Recon Marines during the American invasion at the start of the second war in Iraq. But the story is more than that; it’s really an interesting examination of the life of today’s Marine where wars are fought on city streets against a uniformless enemy with civilians caught in the crossfire.  

I’ve been a fan of the TV series Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations for years now, but haven’t ever really commented much about the series. The show follows cantankerous chef Bourdain as he travels the globe searching out local foods and customs. It’s interesting that Bourdain enjoys eating from a local street vendor just as much as he does in a four star restaurant.

The highlight of each summer for me is my annual trip to the Wizard World convention in Chicago. Though this year might not have been as “action packed” as years past, it’s hard to go wrong with 100,000 fans of comics, TV, sci-fi, movies, etc., etc., etc. all locked together on a convention floor during the heart of the summer.

The second season of Mad Men is currently airing on AMC and is as enjoyable than ever. As this issue of the Fort Wayne Reader hits the stands, the series is fully half over and I find myself wishing for more of Don Draper, Sterling Cooper and Peggy Olsen.

Creepy ArchivesI’ve been a collector of the 1964 to 1984 Creepy series of comic-magazines for decades now, but have never had much luck in collecting the really old (aka valuable) issues. I was just about to accept the fact that I might never be able to obtain a complete run of the series when Dark Horse Comics released the first volume of Creepy Archives a few weeks back. This hardbound book collects the first four issues of the magazine (groovy ads and all) in gorgeous remastered quality. I’m not quite sure how Dark Horse did it, but the comic images in the book look as crisp and clean today as the day they were originally published some 40+ years ago.

What’s best is that the next volume of this series is due out later this year. I’ve got my order in for this, do you?