Voices of the Syndicate – Hidden Gems of 2013

This week the Geek Syndicate team discuss their  hidden gems for 2013

Vichus – Maybe this counts as a hidden gem because Anime is not as mainstream as it could be. I think that if I could recommend one anime from 2013 that would go over with those who are intimidated/bewildered by jumping in those waters, it would be Attack on Titan.

Attack on Titan takes place in a steampunkish alternate reality where humanity has been greatly reduced by a new predator– giant humanoids called Titans. Humanity is down to three walled cities, and the protectors of these cities travel on grappling packs called 3D maneuver gear. The movements of the soldiers in 3D maneuver gear are really reminiscent of Spider-man. The series is amazing,

Here, see for yourself!

What makes Attack on Titan worth watching is seeing humanity at such a disadvantage, and how their strategy can mean so much against great odds.

BarryDoc Unknown by Fabian Rangel Jr., Ryan Cody and Ed Brisson. As a massive fan of all things pulp 2013 was a great year for me in terms of comics. Everyone was talking about Wild Blue Yonder, Five Ghosts and Half Past Danger who were all knocking it out of the pulp park. However one title that I think was not given enough of a spotlight was Doc Unknown. Now at first when I saw the title I thought this was going to be a cheap Doc Savage rip off but I could not have been more wrong. The five issue mini series which delved into the origins of the pulp world’s latest masked hero was a great read, with art that had that Batman animated series vibe about it. Well worth checking out.


Also Improper Books which is a hidden gem of an indie comic company whose output should make most of the big publishers green with envy.

Ron – For those of you who missed The Tunnel, think Se7en with a Anglo-French Homeland-style conspiracy-theory twist. A brilliant 10-part story with a great story line, made all that better with a striking performance by Clémence Poésy (In Bruges and Fleur in the Harry Potter films) as the almost Sherlockian, Elise Wassermann.

The Tunnel

Secondly, there was Whitechapel, which despite stumbling with that awful 2nd season ‘Kray Twins Clones’ storyline, rebounded with a brilliant plotline this year, and an incredibly creepy performance by Angela Pleasance (yes – his sister!) as Louise Iver. Both these shows were great British (okay, European!) thrillers, produced for TV outside of the Beeb (for a change), with some great performances and equally great claustrophobic videography.

Sara – My hidden gem would be Rat Queens from Image Comics.


It’s about a band of four very violent ladies, an elf, dwarf, hobbit and an ‘atheist human cleric’ all four of them enjoy a pint and a good old fashioned fist fight.

It’s silly, stupid and full of sharp pointy weapons, usually being shoved into Goblins. I’d say this series is sort of a Lord of the Rings meets Tank Girl.

The artwork from Roc Upchurch is really vibrant and fun, while the script if full of silly jokes and even a few nods to other Image books (they have a group of bandits called Brother Ponies….geddit?) Kurtis J. Wiebe is a funny man. It’s only three issues in so I hope this series carries on for a bit.



  • Bates Motel – loved this show and the performance of both the actors playing Jason and his mother. Really catch the essence of Physco and I call already see how the kid can become the Normal Bates we all know.
  • The Americans – Awesome cold war/spy drama.
  • Orphan Black – Might not have been a hidden gem for most of you but I would never have know about this show if not for GS.
  • The Vikings – I’ve been watching this on LoveFilm.
  • Honourable mentions – Sleepy Hollow, Blacklist, The Originals, Utopia, Ray Donovan.
  • This is the End – very funny end of the world comedy film with several actors like James Franco, Seth Rogan Emma Watson and Jonah Hill playing themselves.
  • The Purge – Liked the concept.
  • Pain & Gain – dark comedy film based on a true story of a bunch of body building turned kidnappers and murderers in Miami back in the 1990’s.


Leo – One of my finds this year that seems to have slipped under the radar of most anyone is Template from Quinton Miles and Andres Quezada.
It’s a comic in the Thrillbent-style that progresses a single panel, caption, or character movement at a time. The cyber punk story involves two androids and a government agency and lots of action. Is it perfect? No. But, it does show that a largely unheard of creative team can do digital comics just as good as the big guys like Mark Waid. They even have the first few issues on Comixology right now!
Christi – Okay! I’ll come clean: I’ve been keeping something to myself. Something awesome. However, in the spirit of the new year, I will share this gem with you. For many years now, one of my favorite things in life has been artist Doug Savage and his Savage Chickens comics.

Although Doug has been drawing and sharing his Post-It note comics since 2005, I feel as though his comics just get better and better – 2013 being his best year yet. Now is a great time to become a fan. I recommend signing up for his daily comic in your inbox; it really is the best way to start your day. Doug is a true geek at heart and it shows in his comics. He has branched out over the years and doesn’t just draw chickens. His comics also feature characters like: Zombies, Useless Mutants, Time Travel Chicken, the robot PROD3000, my personal favorite – cats, and more. He has also featured some special guest appearances by Daleks, Batman, GodzillaMr. TChuck NorrisSigmund Freud, the cast of Star Wars, and many others!

You can find his cartoons (and buy his books!) all at his website: www.savagechickens.com. You’re Welcome.

Luke – If you haven’t checked out Hannibal you should. It’s incredible TV. Also there is the bridge that has just started it’s second series on BBC4.

The Bridge

The Bridge

Casey – The only thing that I can really think of is the game Papers, Please. It’s one of those unique gaming experiences that would be very hard to pull off in any other format such as book or film. The interactivity, while basic and administerial, makes a great tool for the story to unfold. I can only imagine how boring a book or film based on the same subject matter would be.
Papers Please
Matt -I’m going to have to go with Improper Books’ “Knight and Dragon”, which the more I think about it, the more I rate the best thing I picked up at ThoughtBubble this year. And conceptually interesting, all-ages comic book with bright, colourful art, this retells the fairy-tale staple of the Brave Knight, the Fair Maiden, and the Fierce Dragon from multiple perspectives. I’ve read it several times now and it never fails to delight.
Knight & Dragon Logo_White_v3

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: