Upcoming Awesomeness in 2013!

Ah, a new calendar year. The whole notion of a fresh twelve months rife with potential is generally awesome, but often given little note beyond inquiries as to whether or not you've made any resolutions. For the past two weeks you've been bombarded with "Top Ten" lists both nerdy and muggle alike describing everything from comics to games to the words and phrases that appeared most in a given search engine. Don't get me wrong, those recaps can often be a lot of fun, either as fodder for future "I should go see/do that" lists or just pure reflective amusement, but, beyond that, you've got a whole lot of stuff that already transpired and perhaps a nagging sense that you missed out on something.

With this in mind, I wanted to compose a list of nerdy brilliance that we can expect in the year ahead. Let's give nostalgia its due and then start looking forward to something! 2012 was a truly blockbuster year for Geekdom in just about every arena so it stands to reason that last year is going to be a hard act to follow. Fortunately, the pipeline of nearly every geeky industry is chock-full of would-be goodies. For facility's sake, I've subdivided the list by media type. Also, this list is limited to those projects that have a definitive release date attached to them. Anything with a debut scheduled for "sometime in 2013" or something equally vague can be featured when it decides to get its act together and give us a more concrete date.

Nerdy properties broke out in a colossal way in 2012 and one of the single most powerful agents for this new phase of the Nerdaissance were well-executed, widely received movies. A single twelve month period brought us John Carter, the Hunger Games, Cabin in the Woods, the Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey amongst quite a few equally geeky, but less illustrious releases <ehm…Prometheus…cough>. If only we could distill the brilliance that brought this about and see that it's included in the daily intake of the professionals who are/will be undertaking similar projects in the future.
The dominant theme of 2013 is the sequel/spinoff and, while that may seem to have been the case every year for the past five or so, it's going to be particularly endemic to this one. Furthermore, those entries onto the 2013 cinematic docket that aren't successor volumes in a beloved series are themselves potential foundation for major franchises. The stakes are extremely high, as is the corresponding prospect for disappointment. So it is with the guarded blend of both hope and cynicism that many of us know all too well that I present the 2013 candidates for your hard-earned ticket money. (Disclaimer: the below are release dates for the US/Canada, debut dates in other countries may vary)

January: John Dies at the End
            Yes, this movie was technically available for completely legal download starting on the     27th of last month, but it's coming to brick-and-mortar theatres on January 25th. This tale
            of a covert alien invasion conducted under the premise of a psychedelic new street drug
            promises an excellent viewing experience, a chance to support independent filmmaking,
            and Paul Giamatti.

February: The Sorcerer and the White Snake
            Originally released approximately a year and a half ago in China, this latest work of Jet
            Li is finally coming stateside. Based on a Chinese legend, the film centers around a
            young physician who falls in love with a beautiful woman. Of course, just the guy's luck
            that the woman is an ancient snake demon in disguise. Cue Mr. Li to bust up some demon
            skulls in what the actor called the most challenging role he's done to date.

Billionaire, genius, playboy: Robert Downey Jr.
May: Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness
       For those of us chomping at the Marvel bit after 2012's the Avengers, we fortunately have not one, but two releases in 2013 to tide us over. Entry number 1 thereof is the third instance of Robert Downey Junior reminding us just why he truly is Tony Stark. Add to this another rendezvous with Captain Kirk and company (had to include Picard above 
to provide equal treatment for both captains), which I gushed a bit about in last week's post. 

June: Man of Steel, World War Z, Kick Ass 2
     Here's where things might start to get uncomfy in geekdom. We have a film from DC, who has fallen so anguishingly far behind Marvel in just about every conceivable way and now, without Christopher Nolan and Batman, desperately needs to step up. Is Man of Steel going to answer that call? Concurrently, we'll get the film adaptation of Max
            Brooks' beloved and harrowing account of a post-zombie apocalypse Earth. I'd feel better
            about this movie if it didn't recently undergo a marathon post-production sequence that
            included reshooting most of the film. We'll have to see if those extensive extra tweaks
            were worthwhile. Finally, we'll get Kick Ass 2 which maybe, just maybe, will be a bit
            more faithful to the source material than its predecessor. Hey, a girl can hope.

July: Despicable Me 2, Pacific Rim, the Wolverine, Oblivion
            The summer popcorn movie season switches to high gear in July. We'll be treated to
            various alien villainy, gargantuan aliens and the equally titanic mechs deployed to
            combat them, and a pair of anti-heros (both castoffs searching for meaning...one's a
            mutant and the other is Tom Cruise).

August: Elysium
            In a not-so-distant future the wealthy reside in an idyllic space station while the
            rest of humanity languishes on a ruined Earth. Matt Damon aims to balance out the
            socio-economic scales and change the course of human civilization. No pressure.

October: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
            Seven years after our first grayscale glimpse we cross paths again with the grittiest
            inhabitant's of Frank Miller's Basin City.      

November:  Ender's Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Thor: The Dark World
            This month gives us two adaptation's of bestselling novels and our second inoculation       against Avengers fever (since 'more cowbell' seems ineffective). The production stills
            alone for both Ender's Game and Catching Fire have been impressive. If these films can
            remain on schedule we could be in for one of the best Thanksgivings in recent memory.    

December: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug
            My thoughts on the first installment of the Hobbit trilogy can be found here. Given that
            the majority of the non-battlefield related plot takes place in the middle third of the actual
            book, perhaps we'll see an improvement in the second entry of the series.

Much of the literary landscape for 2013 is still being shaped as the post-production efforts associated with a book allow for a greater degree of freedom than, say, those required for making a film.  Interestingly enough, the trend of sequel/spinoff seems to have extended beyond cinema. As it stands at present, this year should highlight at least two new works by Stephen King: the throwback carnivale 'whodunit' Joyland and Dr. Sleep, a sequel to 1977's the Shining (due out in June and September respectively). Bonus: King is releasing the final chapter in the Dark Tower: Gunslinger series next week!

If all goes according to plan, we may actually get something from George R.R. Martin by October. If you read that sentence over exuding every ounce of skepticism your being could muster you'd be justified, as said release is not the Winds of Winter, lamentably enough. Fret not though, as the upcoming release, A World of Ice and Fire, may be a morsel to help get us through these lean times. A World of Ice and Fire is more akin to an overly involved coffee table book than anything else we've seen from Martin to date. Filled with maps, 'artifacts' from Westeros, and snippets of folklore, the book is meant to broaden our understanding of what it's like to live in Essos or the Seven Kingdoms. At this point, anything that proves that Martin is, in fact, still writing gives me unspeakable comfort.

PC/Video Games
The last quarter of 2012 was riddled with frustrations for both gamers and developers alike as title after title met with delays. Fortunately that wait is mostly over and 2013 gets to boast a very impressive pipeline as a result. I attempted to temper my bias towards PC gaming with the below so my apologies if the listings are a bit skewed in terms of available platforms.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (February 12th) - for Xbox360, Playstation 3, and PC
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (March 12th) - for PC
Gears of War: Judgment (March 19th) - for Xbox360
Bioshock Infinite (March 26th) - for Xbox360, Playstation 3, and PC
Star Wars 1313 (December 31st) - for PC
Elder Scrolls Online (December 31st) - for PC
Injustice: Gods Among Us (December 31st) - For Playstation 3, Xbox360, and Wii U

TV has arguably paced alongside movies as the media vehicle of choice for nerdy properties within the past three years and 2013 looks to continue this trend.

Archer, Season 4 - January 17th
Venture Brothers - It's been over two years since we've had any run-ins with our favorite super scientist, his now-mortal sons and/or the Guild of Calamitous Intent; a span of time that would cause angst to all but the most weathered fan of George R.R. Martin. Fortunately, there's a lot of overlap in the fan bases and most Venteroos are frothing at the news that we will be getting Season 5 this year (possibly as early as this month)! Ancillary appendages crossed that we'll be bopping along with the theme song sooner rather than later.
The Walking Dead, Season 3: Part 2 - February 10
Game of Thrones, Season 3 - March 31 

Board Games/RPGs
After months of anticipation, we'll  finally get our hands on some of the games that were up for demoing during some of last year's convention season, namely Gen Con. Rather than rehash all the gaming goodness from a few months ago, I'll just list out when you can sample the games for yourself.

Fantasy Flight Games: Android - Netrunner the Card Game and associated expansions (January 2013
FFG is also slated to release expansions for Talisman (though, sadly not the Warhammer 40K incarnation Relic), Warhammer: Invasion, A Game of Thrones LCG, Blood Bowl, Rogue Trader, Call of Cthulu, and Dust Tactics during the first quarter of 2013. 

Mayfair Games: Catan: Explorers and Pirates (April 8, 2013)

Z-Man Games: Robinson Crusoe:Adventure on Cursed Island (March 2013)

Asmadi Games: Consequential. After some developmental enhancements in the tail end of 2012, Consequential is set to make its global debut at PAX East 2013.

And all that goodness is just to start! Grab some friends (and potentially your dice) and get ready for what could be a seriously sock-rocking year!

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