2016 was a pretty busy year for ComicBook.com as the last 12 months was a non-stop roller coaster of big news stories. From tragic deaths to big movie news, ComicBook.com provided coverage of all this year's biggest events. And while it seemed at times that this year took a lot, it also provided something for fans of just about every kind of "geek" franchise.
With just a few days remaining on the calendar, we've collected this year's biggest stories in a handly slideshow to help close the door on 2016. When you're finished flipping through our list, be sure to tell us what you felt were the most important stories of 2016 in the comments below.
Deaths....Too Many Deaths
2016 was a pretty brutal year in a lot of ways, especially as it claimed far too many of our favorite people. Just about every corner of pop culture was affected by 2016's endless parade of death, as the world lost countless icons, celebrities, and influential figures.
Famed comic creators Darwyn Cooke and Steve Dillon passed away this year, as did music icons George Michael, Prince, and David Bowie. We lost Star Wars actors Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker, and Star Trek movie actor Anton Yelchin. We lost the actors behind Willie Wonka (Gene Wilder) and Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), as well as Joe Alaskey, the voice behind Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
We also lost sports figures Muhammad Ali, Kimbo Slice, and Jose Fernandez, as well as sports commentator Craig Sager. Former wrestlers Chyna, Iron Mike Sharpe, and Blackjack Mulligan also passed away this year.
Each of these people brought joy into their lives through their acting, their music, their comics, or through one of their other talents. We'll mourn their passing and remember their remarkable accomplishments.
The Pokemon franchise experienced a major resurgence in popularity in 2016, thanks to Pokemon Go. The innovative "augmented reality" game allowed players to capture Pokemon in the real world using their mobile phones. Millions of Pokemon Go players explored their local neighborhoods, seeking out rare Pokemon at public parks, iconic local landmarks, and even the occasional business.
Sadly, Pokemon Go couldn't keep up with its popularity and suffered frequent server crashes during its early weeks. Thanks to the intermittent servers and the removal of a popular tracking feature, the game's popularity soon faded back to more traditional gaming levels....although it still has a fervent fanbase around the world.
Pokemon Go also brought attention back to the Pokemon franchise, which was in the middle of celebrating its 20th anniversary. Thanks in part to Pokemon Go, the newest "traditional" Pokemon game, Pokemon Sun and Moon, experienced record sales of its own in November.
Brie Larson is Captain Marvel
Every summer, thousands of fans flock to San Diego for Comic-Con International to be the first to hear exciting new announcements and see new footage from their favorite television shows and movies. This year, Marvel brought the thunder with a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser and the long overdue announcement that Brie Larson would be Captain Marvel in several upcoming Marvel films.
Larson was a popular choice, having appeared in a mix of critically acclaimed films and more traditional Hollywood film. She's also no stranger to comic book movies, having played Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Larson will appear in the 2019 Captain Marvel movie and is rumored to appear in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.
DC's Unexpected Crossover
DC Comics relaunched their line of superhero comics for a third time in five years with DC Universe: Rebirth #1. DC billed Rebirth as a return to basics, with a focus on DC's biggest superheroes and the reintroduction of several superheroes and concepts missing from the DC Universe since its 2011 reboot.
However, it wasn't DC's sales strategies that made news, but rather the bombshell hidden inside the pages of DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Although fans were excited to see the "original" Wally West return to the DC Universe with his memories of the old DC Universe intact, they weren't expecting the cause for his 5 year absence from comics.
Wally warned Barry that someone had tampered with DC's timeline, stealing years from the universe and blaming it on Barry's actions during Flashpoint. It wasn't a DC supervillain behind these changes, but rather Dr. Manhattan, the omnipowerful metahuman from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's monumental Watchmen.
Since that bombshell, we've seen hints that other Watchmen characters have also infiltrated the DC Universe. A mysterious Mr. Oz has been keeping tabs on Superman, while capturing characters like Tim Drake and Doomsday for an unknown purpose. DC has promised more answers in 2017, so we'll see if any more Watchmen surprises are in store.
A Return to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Harry Potter fans were delighted to get two new entries into JK Rowling's Wizarding World that had sat dormant since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows ten years ago. The first was the stageplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a sequel to the Harry Potter books that showed Harry as an unhappy bureaucrat and his son Albus as an isolated member of Slytherin House. While the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child received acclaim from critical sources, the play was not nearly as well-received by fans, many of whom criticized the characterization of Harry and other familiar characters. However, a published script of the play became on 2016's top selling books, so people clearly wanted more Harry Potter in their lives.
Luckily, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them proved to be a much more enjoyable excursion into Harry Potter's world. Set in the 1920s, Fantastic Beasts followed Newt Scamander and his disastrous trip to New York. While we knew that Fantastic Beasts would be the first in a series of new movies, it wasn't until just before the movie's release that we learned that Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore's childhood friend turned powerful Dark Wizard, would be involved with the new series of films. Fantastic Beasts was a great first chapter in the expansion of JK Rowling's magical world.
A Good Year for Television
2016 was a great year for television, even as the industry struggled to adapt with the rapidly changing ways viewers watch their favorite shows. From new series like Westworld, Stranger Things, and Luke Cage to already established shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, it seemed like there was always a high quality show to watch every week of the year.
Superhero and comic book adaptations also thrived in 2016, as networks fell back on comics to stop a gradual decline in ratings. Outcast, Wynonna Earp and Preacher all debuted this year, largely to strong acclaim. The CW picked up Supergirl from CBS, meaning that they had a comic book series on each night from Monday to Thursday. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that CW capped off 2016 with an ambitious four show crossover, featuring a small army of DC superheroes fight back against the invading Dominators.
2017 holds an uncertain future for television, as millions have cut their cable cords and opt for various streaming services. Although the industry is changing, it seems like there's more good television to watch now than ever before.