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"Forever 16", the comic formerly known as "Maxwell Silver Hammer"
I wanted to do a comparison to see if the 2000s were really "the worst decade ever" as some folks have called it...but Cracked.com beat me to it. [link]
(Pretty good list, but I would have switched the 1940s and the 1990s around.) So instead, I'll simply rank the past ten years in ascending order from worst to best, in a two-part retrospective of the decade that most recently was. Hit it, Paul!#10: 2008
The lowest point of the decade as far as I'm concerned. Seems like every morning when I rolled out of bed, the first thing that popped into my mind was how the economy was in the toilet, health care was failing, the environment was eating itself, and the president didn't give a rat's ass about any of it. Normally, I'd turn to popular culture to escape, but what did it have to offer? The WGA strike nearly killed network television, Twilight
made the sparkly leap from poorly written novels to a poorly acted movie, and I couldn't turn on the radio without hearing Li'l Wayne whining at me, or Britney Spears showing off to the world that she just learned what the word "womanizer" means.
On the plus side, though, we did get Wall-E
, one of my favorite Pixar movies ever. And also, Michael Phelps kicked ass at the Beijing Olympics; that was pretty cool too. Oh, and AC/DC released their first album in eight years, and that definitely helped to make 2008 feel a little bit nicer. But still, throughout most of the year, I couldn't help but feel a sense of dread. Thankfully, the results of the 2008 election lifted my spirits a lot (and it could have been a lot worse - the phrase "President Palin" still sends shivers down my spine.)#9: 2001
This year tried to warn us of what was about to come, but we didn't listen - at least not until September. Any year that begins with the swearing-in of history's dumbest president does not bode well. If the sharp economic downturn and general air of political incompetence wasn't enough to let you know that the 1990s were officially over, then the terrorist attack certainly sealed the deal. Nothing says "major bummer" like the simultaneous deaths of thousands of New Yorkers. Meanwhile, you've got "Fear Factor" lowering the TV bar practically through the floor, Pearl Harbor
taking historical inaccuracy in new and interesting directions, the XFL making a mockery of the entire concept of football, Bratz dolls telling little girls that it's okay to dress like hookers, and Dale Earndhart dying a fiery death on the racetrack. What is there to offer solace in this bleak and dreary outlook on the future?
Well, how about Monsters, Inc.
? Good ol' Pixar, always knows how to cheer me up. Oh, and then there's "Invader ZIM", one of the best new Nicktoons in years. The Xbox pretty much revolutionized the way people play video games, the iPod changed the way people listen to music, and the Segway...well, I guess it was supposed to change the way people travel, but hey, at least it looked funny.#8: 2006
This wasn't a terrible year, but it definitely heralded a change in the winds of popular culture. For years, it seemed like pop culture in general was mostly swayed towards boys; all the most popular things were centered around action heroes, monsters, robots, aliens, pirates, ninjas, what have you. Then came the Disney Channel's two biggest cash cows, "Hannah Montana" and High School Musical
. All of a sudden, everybody had to emulate these two mega-media monsters, and girls were in control. And hey, more power to the females in the world, but I have to admit, I prefer the days when anyone
could watch Disney and not look like a sicko. Meanwhile, some other general unpleasantness persisted - Vice President Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face and got away with it, Panic! At The Disco proved that emo rock actually could
get wussier, Justin Timberlake brought sexy back despite none of us actually wanting him to return it, and anyone who bought an HD-DVD player was S.O.L. at the end of the year. Oh yeah, and you remember Kim Jong-Il? He could conceivably blow us all up at any moment.
But again, all is not worthless. Julia Louis-Dreyfus officially broke the Seinfeld Curse with "The New Adventures of Old Christine", and "Heores" proved that there actually was still something interesting to do with the superhero genre...for one season, at least. Casino Royale
gave us a grittier, less obnoxious James Bond, while Snakes on a Plane
reminded us why Samuel L. Jackson is beloved by Internet meme creators everywhere. And let's not forget the Nintendo Wii, the video game console that actually got the nation's fat kids off the sofa.#7: 2007
The truth shall set you free, even if it's inconvenient. This was the year when Al Gore stepped up and pointed out that Earth was well on its way to turning back into an uninhabitable ball of molten rock if we don't step up our A-game and go green already. Few things are more depressing than the idea of drowning polar bears. We need a hero in times like these...but don't look for them in professional sports, as Barry Bonds was revealed to be a juicer and Michael Vick got busted for dogfighting. The Geico cavemen somehow got their own sitcom, the Plain White T's wouldn't take the hint that Delilah just wasn't interested in them, Jon and Kate Gosselin revealed their scummy, punchable faces to the TV-viewing public, and Soulja Boy started cranking dat and refused to stop, even when we begged him to. Oh, and if you're not tired of hearing about Britney Spears, you're in luck - this was her year of head-shaving, kid-dropping, red-light-running, paparazzi-flashing shamelessness.
But here's where the plusses start to outnumber the minuses. At least one good TV show finally came along in the form of the engrossing "Mad Men". Rihanna reminded us why we all love her so - who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to join her under her um-ba-rella-ella-ella-ey-ey-ey? J.K. Rowling sent Harry Potter out with a bang, the Simpsons made their long-awaited leap to the big screen and didn't disappoint, Mika Brzezinski stood up for journalistic integrity, Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen perfected the equation of "loser comedy", Pokémon Diamond and Pearl brought the whole Pokémon series to new 3-D heights, and "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" reminded us that children are the future...and they're doing a lot better than the adults are in the present. And if someone had to replace the inimitable Bob Barker on "The Price is Right", the lovable Drew Carey was as good a choice as any. Come on down!#6: 2005
An okay year...so long as you didn't live in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina must have been pissed about not being invited to Mardi Gras, given how badly it crashed the party. That's one "heck of a job" you did there, FEMA. Oh, and where does Kanye West get off thinking he's the voice of a generation or something? Regardless of whether or not George W. Bush cares about black people, you didn't have to say
it on national TV! In non-weather news, the world mourned a Pope, Tom Cruise did a number on Oprah Winfrey's couch (thus proving his insanity to anyone who still doubted it), and Martha Stewart actually got out of prison - put her back in, she's not done yet! Music took a sharp nosedive with the Pussycat Dolls somehow convincing themselves that we wished our girlfriends were hot like them, while Gwen Stefani's insistence that she "ain't no hollaback girl" drove us all bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S), Fall Out Boy and the All-American Rejects took the concept of alt-rock and pussified it by about 150%, and the Black Eyed Peas made the worst song ever written. No, Fergie, nobody wants to get love-drunk off them humps, so stop trying to make us. And in the world of animation...the less said about "Loonatics Unleashed", the better.
Cinematically, though, things looked up. I'm glad that we as a nation were able to move away from our prejudices and successfully make the first serious gay cowboy movie. March of the Penguins
combined two of the coolest things in the world (penguins and Morgan Freeman), while The 40-Year-Old Virgin
proved that nobody played a better funny regular guy than Steve Carrell, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
became the best of the Star Wars prequels purely by not sucking as much as the first two. Oh, and Batman Begins
pretty much rescued ol' Bruce Wayne's movie career. Sudoku made numbers cool again, YouTube revolutionized the entire friggin' Internet, and "Battlestar Galactica" did the impossible by being a good remake of a TV show.
Coming soon, the remaining top five years of the 2000s! Stay tuned, millennials!
Supporter of King-Cheetah: DA's most underappreciated genius
And if you
, go read "Cantrip the Magic Rabbit": [link]
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