Gear4Geeks Year End Awards 2017

As 2017 draws to a close we look back on the year and present the Gear4Geeks Year End Awards 2017 featuring Rasmus Carlson (The Great Discord), Livio Ramondelli, Matt Booker (Fantha Tracks) and Liam Davey (Toybox Soapbox).

Awards for Comic of the Year 2017, Superhero of the Year 2017, Game of the Year 2017, Movie of the Year 2017, TV Series of the Year 2017, Actor/Actress of the Year 2017, Band of the Year 2017, Album of the Year 2017, Product of the Year 2017, Toy of the Year 2017, Wrestling Match of the Year 2017 and Wrestler of the Year 2017. 

2017 was a very odd year but we’re going to concentrate on the good for this article, look at all the amazing things that happened this year in our odd corner of the world and hand out the first ever Gear4Geeks Year End Awards 2017!

Comic of the Year 2017 – Stray Bullets

Stray Bullets Comic of the Year 2017

Due to staff changes our coverage of comics has been negligible this year so we asked an expert – Matt Booker, owner of Automattic Comics and Editor over at Star Wars news site Fantha Tracks.

Matt Booker Fanthatracks
Matt Booker as part of a panel at Star Wars: Celebration Orlando

Matt awarded Comic of the Year 2017 to David Latham‘s Stray Bullets thanks to it having a “solid run this year, a great story and art ”

Runners up

  • Eclipse – Image
  • Poe Dameron – Marvel
  • Dastardly and Muttley – DC
  • Silver Surfer – Marvel
  • Paper Girls – Image

For us at Gear4Geeks, we want to recognise To the Death – An online only 18 issue comic series which was somewhat revolutionary and brought to you by the Transformers, Deaths Head and Dragon’s Claws team of Geoff Senior and Simon Furman.


Superhero of the Year 2017 – Wonder Woman

Gear4Geeks Superhero of the Year 2017 Wonder Woman

2016 undeniably belonged to Deadpool and 2017 saw two characters elevated dramatically – Aquaman, thanks primarily to Jason Momoa‘s sex appeal and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman’s appearance in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teased good things and the Wonder Woman movie was a smash hit, catapulting Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins to A list status. While the character has always had a female following, now there is a movie franchise for the fans who generally aren’t going to be interested in the comic medium and it seems somewhat strange that a character who first appeared in 1941 hasn’t had a movie sooner.

Runners up

  • Aquaman somehow became cool this year, although it’s 100% down to female appeal thanks to Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa, not that that is a bad thing.
  • Deadpool was still riding the wave of 2016’s movie but the teasers for Deadpool 2 kept the fan favourite firmly in the spotlight.
  • Spider-Gwen continues to enjoy massive popularity which kinda defies all odds.
  • Deathstroke has always been one of DC‘s best villains, albeit one who was way below the radar. 2017 has seen the character’s popularity continue to build and with DC trying to establish it’s own cinematic universe, will a movie materialise?
  • Harley Quinn is still possibly the most cosplayed character and best merch shifter this year as the character celebrated her 25th anniversary.

Game of the Year 2017 – Fortnight

Fortnight Game of the Year 2017

2017 has been a year for games studios crapping on their customers, especially EA‘s Battlefront 2 nonsense and Bungie‘s Destiny 2 with it’s online gambling model. If it weren’t for Fortnight, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn, we may have given this award to Gems of War or Warframe which both continue to give free content to players on a regular basis while ensuring paid content can be earned totally free even though neither game was released in 2017. While Fortnight is essentially a beta, the free to play 100 player Battle Royale is incredibly impressive thanks to it’s playability, it’s ultra quick loading times and being able to fight against 99 other players without horrific lag. Considering Bungie can’t even update Destiny 2 without breaking it, Epic Games have accomplished a miracle.

Runners Up

  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild recaptured the magic of Zelda.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn featured breathtaking graphics with a unique story.
  • Destiny 2 did more wrong than it did right but it is still incredibly playable and gave us a cliffhanger ending that will keep most players invested in the franchise.
  • Resident Evil 7 restored some faith after the divisive sixth instalment, even if it was first person and had no real ties to the rest of the Resident Evil games.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was a surprise hit and became the source of material for lazy sites like LadBible and Buzzfeed.

Movie of the Year 2017 – It

Movie of the year 2017 IT

This was a close one. Logan was the top film for us all year long until we got to October then along came It which took the top slot thanks to the combination of terrifying horror, side splitting comedy moments and stellar acting from all involved.  Many complained that It wasn’t as good as the 1990 TV movie two parter but those people evidently haven’t watched the Tim Curry low budget version in a long time and remember it through rose tinted nostalgia goggles. Bill Skarsgård‘s Pennywise is terrifying and everyone puts in brilliant efforts with all of the children being completely believable as their characters, even Nicholas Hamilton‘s evil Henry Bowers feels like a real character when he could have easily been a two dimensional villain. The only criticisms of the movie are that the effects will date, especially as the film seemed like it was made for 3-D with everything charging towards the screen, plus the sequel won’t have that 1980’s feel or the charm of the children as it moves the story forwards to 2017 and a grown up cast.

Runners Up

  • Logan brought grim and gritty to the Marvel Universe with this Western style story of the old gunslinger’s ride into the sunset.
  • Wonder Woman was a huge hit and it was about time we saw her get some respect. While the film broke ground for having a female director and female lead, it still fell short of what we expected as it had the titular hero not standing up for herself as much as she should have in a male dominated world.
  • Dunkirk had audiences on the edges of their seats for all 1 hour and 45 minutes, restoring faith in Christopher Nolan after the disappointing Interstellar
  • Blade Runner 2049 proved that even the most hardened and jaded of film fans can be lured back for a sequel
  • Get Out was the surprise hit for horror fans.

TV Series of the Year 2017 – Stranger Things

Gear4Geeks TV series of the year 2017 Stranger Things

Sure Game of Thrones brought the drama this year but Stranger Things series 2 was easily the most anticipated…anything this year and with the exception of that episode, it didn’t disappoint.  It didn’t quite live up to series 1, Eleven was annoying throughout but Max made up for it and the addition of Sean Astin was wonderful, adding extra depth to the cast. The new villain, The Mind Flayer, is a monster that far exceeds the Demogorgon from series 1 and could likely become one of those neo classic creatures alongside The Gentlemen, The Silence, The Weeping Angels and other baddies whose names begin with ‘The’.

Runners Up

  • Game of Thrones turned the heat up with fire. Lots and lots of fire, courtesy of Daenerys’ dragons.
  • Star Trek: Discovery looks like it may become the very best Star Trek series despite being visually inconsistent with everything else in the canon.
  • The Punisher exploded onto screens this year and lived up to the considerable expectations.
  • Speaking of hype, Twin Peaks returned and didn’t fall flat on its face. It didn’t seem to meet the hype but then it never was going to.
  • American Gods debuted, confusing and bewildering viewers as you’d expect from Neil Gaiman.

We decided we needed an expert opinion so we asked Livio Ramondelli, the incredible artist responsible for design work on Hasbro toys and movies, Sony’s DC Universe Online, IDW’s Transformers comics, the Google mobile game Ingress and a whole lot more. 

Livio Ramondelli

TV Series of the Year – The Punisher

Truly, this was not the Punisher series I expected ( I thought we’d get a lot more trenchcoat-wearing and machine-gun blasting set in some New York alleyways). But I found the series amazing. It tackled in a very serious and meaningful way the lives of military veterans, and the future that awaits them when they return home. I’ve always loved the character of the Punisher, and it made me see his world in a whole new light.

 

The Punisher Netflix

Honorable mention: Mindhunter:

David Fincher continues a career of master filmmaking. Moody, beautifully shot, and filled with a dark ( and straight Fincher) sense of humor. Takes very well-worn serial killer territory and makes it feel fresh and new.

You can check out Livio Ramondelli’s fantastic artwork on his website and go follow him on Instagram

 


Actor/Actress of the Year 2017 – Finn Wolfhard

Gear4Geeks Actor/Actress of the Year 2017 Finn Wolfhard

This was a tough call for us as we weren’t sure whether to go for purely acting ability or to go for the bigger picture of the biggest breakout star. In the end we went purely for acting which meant that Finn Wolfhard beat out Gal Gadot in this category by a mile. Wolfhard’s role as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things series 2 took a backseat to Gaten Matarazzo‘s Dustin Henderson though he still delivered a great performance, but it was in It that Wolfhard really shone as he stole the movie even from evil clown Pennywise. When It begins, Wolfhard is ‘that kid from Stranger Things‘ but very quickly becomes Richie Tozier and Mike Wheeler is quickly forgotten about. It’s easy to think that his performance was just about the comedy but even in more serious scenes where the kids discuss their fears and Richie finally sees Pennywise in Bill‘s garage, Wolfhard proves that the role isn’t just about laughs. While there’s still humour to it, Tozier’s line about having to beat Pennywise to death carries a gravity that sets Finn above his co-stars and cements him as being the star of the film.

Runners up

  • Gal Gadot would have been the winner if we weren’t assessing this on acting alone as she became Wonder Woman, smashed box office records and became 2017’s highest earning actress.
  • Sophia Illis turned in a fantastic performance in It as Beverley Marsh.
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan turned in another stellar performance as Negan despite The Walking Dead floundering.
  • Gaten Matarazzo was side splittingly funny as Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things
  • James Franco’s performance in The Disaster Artist is so convincing that I personally thought Tommy Wiseau has been cast as himself when the teaser trailer aired.

Band of the Year 2017 – The Great Discord

Social media and independent access to information has brought about a revolution where the main stream press’ power has steadily decreased, especially in the last two years. This year the music mags and sites who base their reviews and awards on the amount of advertising a music label has bought from them have been faced with a challenge in the form of The Great Discord. Here’s a band who are Swedish and on a small label but are also one of the most talented bands around with an absolutely rabid fanbase of Little Rabbits who aren’t confined to just Europe. The Great Discord are sweeping year end awards on independent music sites and even the big boys have had to cover this powerhouse five piece as they carved out their piece of the metal pie thanks to a huge sound, driving riffs and the incredible vocal talents of Fia Kempe. Make no mistake about it, all five are some of the most talented musicians around at the moment and if they were on a large label with an advertising budget they’d be band of the year on every metal and hard rock list this year.

If you’re unfamiliar with the band you can check them out here:

Instagram: Thegreatdiscord

Facebook: Facebook.com/thegreatdiscord

Twitter: Twitter.com/thegreatdiscord

Runners Up

  • Royal Blood cemented their position as one of the UK’s best bands.
  • Mastodon had a whomping tour in support of a whomping album, Emperor of Sand.
  • Linkin Park‘s new album was met with a poor reception but the death of front man Chester Bennington opened a dialogue about depression and suicide to a massive audience. Their tribute gig to Chester was highlighted by tear jerking versions of Numb and In the End where Chester’s vocals were performed by the crowd.
  • Danzig were a surprise this year as Glenn Danzig seemed to return to form after a number of albums that didn’t quite hit the mark.
  • Guns N Roses reformed and generated more money than is imaginable. As much as people love to hate the band and Axl Rose, the tour was a sellout and hugely successful.

Album of the Year 2017 – The Rabbit Hole by The Great Discord

Very rarely are there albums you can listed to over and over endlessly; Metallica‘s Black Album, Megadeth‘s Rust in Peace, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, Nirvana‘s Nevermind, Slayer‘s South of Heaven, Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction, Ghost’s Meliora and Nine Inch NailsPretty Hate Machine all spring to mind, all of which are timeless classics thanks to being genre definers. This year The Great Discord’s The Rabbit Hole has joined that list as three months on we’re still listening to it on repeat as there’s nothing else like it. A strange merge of HIM, Evanesence, Burn My Eyes era Machine Head and Genesis (?!) it’s clear that the band have varied tastes in music but have merged them into some kind of new super strain of metal. It’s no surprise that The Rabbit Hole has spawned three singles with a rumoured fourth on the horizon because atmospheric tracks aside, every song on this album is a blistering hit waiting to happen. In our review of the album we called this a contender for album of the year and album of the decade – one down, one to go?

Runners Up

  • Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
  • PriestNew Flesh
  • Danzig – Black Laden Crown
  • Ghost – Ceremony and Devotion
  • Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

Single of the Year 2017 – Darkest Day by The Great Discord

This is an unofficial ‘award’ of sorts as we’d ummed and ahhed over whether we should have this category or not but at the last minute we decided to include it as the band of the year and album of the year categories wouldn’t reflect some of the great releases this year. The winner is without a doubt The Great Discord’s Darkest Day which is impossible to dislike if you’re a metal fan. Ghost’s He Is was released as a single this year and while it is one of the best songs on the Meliora album, it’s hard to understand why a song from a 2015 album would get released in 2017, especially as the single was a blatant cash in with terrible alternative versions of the song. Danzig had something of a return to form with The Last Ride, Priest released the ridiculously catchy The Pit and second single The Cross, Magna Carta Cartel reformed and released a reworked version of fan favourite Sway, but something we have to acknowledge thanks to it’s absolute ridiculousness is Big Shaq‘s Man’s Not Hot which gained meme status across all musical tastes. Also on the comedy front, the Lazy Town song We Are Number One and its various fan remixes including this blistering mashup with Slipknot‘s Psychosocial became viral sensations with the original version clocking up over 35 million views as part of the internet’s viral fundraising for Robbie Rotten actor Stefán Karl Stefánsson after he was diagnosed with cancer.  Stefán is currently cancer free after being diagnosed as Stage 4 but is still recovering and spending time with his family; if you’d like to donate you can do so via Gofundme.

Rasmus Carlson of The Great Discord
Rasmus Carlson of The Great Discord

We spoke to Rasmus Carlson of The Great Discord to give him the news that the band had swept up in our awards:

First of all I’m gonna thank you wonderful people at Gear4Geeks for your great, warm words about our music. It feels like you’ve been with us from the start and giving us support for what we do. We are looking forward to keeping our friendship growing with you guys. A big, “Thank you” to you! 

We also asked Rasmus for his expert opinion for Band of the Year and  Album of the Year:

Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?

Best Band:  Royal Blood

Best Album: Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

 

Royal Blood, a rock duo from England with only drums and a bass guitar, but don’t let that fool you. The sound is massive, and their songs are brilliant. You can also hear a bit of Led Zeppelin in their songs, which is a good thing in my book.

An obvious choice for Best album and band! 11/10 !

Rasmus’ runners up for Band/Artist of the Year were the following:

  • TesseracT
  • Humanity’s Last Breath
  • Tigran Hamasyan
  • pglost
  • Dolly Parton

You can follow Rasmus on Instagram: Basmedplektrum


Product of the Year 2017 – Transformers Autobot Long Sleeve

We have a shop to run which pays for this blog so naturally there has to be some shilling. Our product of the year was a huge surprise as we’d ordered in this clearance shirt on a whim and thought it wouldn’t sell very well, but the first delivery sold out in 3 hours and the second delivery sold out of most sizes within the day. It’s still in stock (hint hint) but it outsold everything else this year.

Runners Up

  • We specifically started a music category on the site as we were being asked if we could stock The Great Discord’s The Rabbit Hole on vinyl and CD. The CD sold out on preorder and is our best selling music item to date.
  • Funko Pop Vinyls are everywhere and we decided to start cautiously stocking them this year as they hadn’t sold well for our former sister company Masterforce. However, the Stranger Things Eleven Pop’s popularity convinced us to keep stocking them.
  • Voodoo Vixen‘s tea dress was a huge seller this year which was somewhat surprising.
  • The Walking Dead was still a consistent hit despite the TV series starting to flag. The Negan Eeny Meanie Shirt was a definite highlight.

Toy of the Year 2017 – Transformers Titans Return Trypticon

This was so so very  close as it was neck and neck between Transformers Titans Return Trypticon and Transformers Masterpiece Megatron, but Trypticon pipped it just because we never thought we’d see a 2 foot tall updated Trypticon. This phenomenally detailed giant robotic dinosaur is amazing and playable, plus it also includes the deluxe figure Full-Tilt so it’s great value for money.  If you don’t on it, you can now find it on clearance so you owe it to yourself to get one.

Runners Up:

  • Transformers Masterpiece Megatron
  • Hot Toys Suicide Squad Harley Quinn
  • SH Figuarts WWF The Rock
  • Star Wars 6″ Black Series Admiral Thrawn
  • Marvel Legends Hela

We also decided to ask Liam Davey of Toybox Soapbox for his expert opinion on 2017’s best toys.

Liam Davey Toybox Soapbox
This wasn’t Halloween, it’s how Liam dresses all year round.

 

My favourite toy this year was Transformers Masterpiece MP-36 Megatron. Not only did Takara manage to perfectly capture both forms but it boasts the sort of engineering that would make Nasa blush and comes packed more accessories than Claire’s. Beast Wars may have taken the masterpiece spotlight this year but Megatron was an incredible high point in a quieter year for G1. Transformers Titans Return Trypticon ran it pretty close amongst some real highlights from 2017, including Titans Return Misfire, X2 Toys pea headed Skycrusher, Maketoys Downbeat and Figma EX 32 DX Link…although I think that was released last year. I am always fashionably late.

 

Transformers Masterpiece Megatron

 


Wrestling Match of the Year 2017 – The Royal Rumble

Sure there were plenty of matches which scored a higher star rating but we’re awarding this to The Royal Rumble match thanks to the crazy booking which kept fans on the edge of their seat. The long awaited return confrontation between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar saw Lesnar quickly eliminated in a shocking moment. Surprise entrant The Undertaker seemed to be the guaranteed winner, especially as rumours had persisted that he’d be facing John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania. While the Rumble winner has been obvious in previous years, the fans loved The Undertaker’s participation due to his rare appearances. Mesmerised by The Dead Man, fans totally forgot that there was one more entrant left to appear; when Roman Reigns‘ music hit, the WWE had masterfully trolled their audience. When Reigns quickly eliminated The Undertaker the fans in attendance were furious as they’d been robbed of their favourite and now knew they were looking at another Reigns victory. Randy Orton‘s victory surprised and confused fans who ultimately were happy that anyone other than Reigns had won what was easily the least predictable Royal Rumble in the history of the event.


Wrestler of the Year 2017 – Braun Strowman

This was a very tightly contested award as there were so many standouts this year but it ultimately has to go to Braun Strowman. Despite still being green, Strowman has been booked incredibly well all year and he’s held up his end of the deal with performances that made his matches highlights of every event he was on. Strowman has nicely replaced the tired Big Show as the WWE’s monster and was a credible contender for Brock Lesnar as he dwarfed the champion. WWE has been very smart in pushing Strowman as the unstoppable monster attraction and not over exposed him in the process. Behind the scenes, Strowman’s Instagram and Tinder have shown him to be a likeable nice guy totally at odds with his on screen character.

Runners Up:

  • Charlotte Flair
  • Asuka
  • Kenny Omega
  • Samoa Joe
  • Chris Jericho

Cosplayer of the Year 2017 – Kinpatsu Cosplay

There are a lot of talented Cosplayers around but we chose Tayla Barter aka Kinpatsu as she has consistently turned out amazing outfits which are both intricate and incredible on a very regular basis in great looking pictures.  We estimate that Kinpatsu has had around 30 costumes this year, the vast majority requiring a lot of molding and working, which is pretty impressive and her blog details how these outfits are created.

Runners Up

  • Padfoot Cosplay
  • Onyxeia
  • Meg Turney
  • Anna Quinn
  • Beke Cosplay

Congratulations to all of our 2017 winners and a huge thank you to our experts Rasmus Carlson, Livio RamondelliMatt Booker and Liam Davey for their nominations!

 

Morg

Gear4Geeks' owner and interviewer.

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Gear4Geeks' owner and interviewer.

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