As 2022 draws to a close, our creative directors present their personal picks for the best releases of the year.
Read on to see if your favorites made the cut. And be sure to stop by for giveaways and 2023 teasers at our next Happy Hour, happening Thursday, December 15 at 5PM CT (on YouTube and Facebook).
Eric Garza, Senior Creative Director (Posters):
1. GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER by Kim Jung-Gi - Words fail when it comes to communicating the brilliance of Kim Jung-Gi. His talent and mastery over craft is the closest thing to real magic I’ve ever seen. We’ve had the privilege of working with so many incredible artists over the years, but KJG has always been at the peak of the list. Our hearts still ache.
I can’t stress enough that you find the time to seek out some of his incredible videos - they’re out there. Watch them and experience magic.
2. PARANORMAN by Matt Ryan Tobin - Matt Ryan Tobin is a Canadian Swiss army knife. I was blown away when the final art came in - I felt like Dorothy entering Oz seeing this explosion of color out of Matty.
PARANORMAN is one of my favorite Laika titles, and Matty is one of my favorite humans, so it’s nothing but pleasant vibes seeing the two swirl together so seamlessly.
3. The Vacvvm x Mondo x A24 - This is a full-on cheat, but oh well. We announced this as a gallery show during virtual SDCC a hundred years ago in July 2020. When you’re working with the level of heat The Vacvvm brings - you wait. In total, this is staggering work from a handful of the best artists in our scene making posters for films from the most interesting studio currently making movies.
Every artist conquered in spades, but if I had to pick a favorite - Jessica Seamans’ THE VVITCH gets my rose.
Mitch Putnam, Senior Creative Director (Posters):
1. GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER by Kim Jung-Gi - This is obviously a very emotional pick, given Kim's passing this year. Working with Kim had been a career goal for all of us, and it was such a pleasure finally connecting. He was truly one-of-a-kind, a legend. RIP.
2. MOONAGE DAYDREAM by Shepard Fairey - It's still surreal that we've had the pleasure to work with Shepard Fairey a handful of times. Not only is he such an important artist, but he’s also done more for screen-printed poster collecting than virtually anyone this generation.
As usual, working together was so inspiring. Extra shout-out to our own Gabe Chicoine for his amazing title treatment here.
3. THE LIGHTHOUSE by Nicolas Delort - This is one of those cases where I actually can't fathom how this was made. The fact that the horizon and water in the distance were drawn by hand really is mind-blowing. The time and care he puts in is unbelievable.
Nicolas is one of the biggest talents of our time - I can't believe he even answers our emails.
Hector Arce, Senior Creative Director (Toys & Collectibles):
1. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: BATTLE CAT (1/6 Scale Figure) - A giant Battle Cat with articulated armor, swappable heads and tons of other features - can it really exist? The answer is a Battle Cat-sized YES. Having the chance to create this figure, directing its long journey into existence, watching people's reactions in person at SDCC 2022, and seeing the entire MOTU community light up over it - that is the highlight of my year and most definitely a highlight of my entire career.
2. GODZILLA TOKYO SOS (Premium Scale Statue) - No top three of mine can be without the King of Monsters. I’m extremely proud of how this statue turned out. A huge shout out to Tommy Hodges for sculpting what I humbly think is the best-looking collectible of the GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS suit ever released.
3. BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES - JOKER (1/6 Scale Figure) - BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES is near and dear to our hearts here at Mondo. Having the chance to release one of the most iconic villains of all time as part of this line - now going over five years strong - was one of the highlights of my year. It took a lot of work to nail the Joker’s look in 3D, but I feel like we accomplished it in spades and finally put out one of the centerpieces to this collection!
Mo Shafeek, Senior Creative Director (Music):
1. THE BATMAN - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - I’d love to pretend that after all these years I wasn’t a Michael Giacchino stan, but Spotify straight up killed my cool by telling me in my end-of-year report that I had not listened to any other song more than his new Batman theme. Wild to think - in a year with a new Beyoncé album, incredible new Arctic Monkeys and Taylor Swift - that Giacchino’s deceptively simple new theme for the most iconic and legendary superhero consumed my year.
If you missed the album - don’t fret, we have more on the way early next year (just in time for when it surely gets recognized by the awards circuit).
2. THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack & The Remixes - This one is a bit selfish - it also feels like it happened more than a year ago - but I got to work on packaging for my favorite film franchise, and for one of my favorite films of 2021. THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS was divisive, but it lived up to my incredibly high expectations, and it was a dream come true for me from beginning to end. I hope it finds the audience it deserves in the coming years as the small miracle that it is.
As people talk about autobiographic films like THE FABLEMANS, EMPIRE OF LIGHT and the ilk - Matrix Resurrections belongs in those conversations as Lana Wachowski’s magnum opus. And what Tom Tykver and Johnny Klimek did for that film is nothing short of incredible.
3. GLASS ONION - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - You could accuse this of being proximity effect, but working on this album was an absolute delight. Not to mention, the film is a masterpiece, and Nathan Johnson brings creativity out of Mondo in a way that no other auteur does. He encourages us to go wild, and I’d like to think this lives in the pantheon of LOOPER and the original KNIVES OUT. We’ve gotta get moving on BROTHERS BLOOM and BRICK soon so we can complete the series!
Spencer Hickman, Senior Creative Director (Music):
1. SEVERANCE - Season 1 (Original Television Soundtrack) - Greg Ruth and I have had a wild year working on several projects. Still, none have been as much fun (or as time-consuming) as SEVERENCE, which separated our personalities into innies and outies as Red Hour, Fifth Season, Apple TV+ and Lakeshore let us run riot through the offices at Lumon Industries. Theodore Shapiro’s music is bananas good, setting the mood with mellow piano pieces, semi-industrial passages and earworms of the highest order.
I, for one, can't wait for Season 2, which I hear is nuts.
2. DREDD - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 10th Anniversary Edition - When composer Paul Leonard-Morgan asks if you'd be interested in releasing a 10th anniversary edition of one of the greatest comic book movies ever made, you'd be hard-pressed to say no. Everything about this release fell into place so quickly, Paul, Atlantic, and Rebellion were a pleasure to work with, and 2000AD artist Luke Preece knocked it out of the park on cover duties.
Already an absolute banger, the soundtrack is enhanced here by some breathtaking neo-piano reworks by Paul himself and a bunch of remixes - including a complete jaw-dropper from Mogwai.
3. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - It's no secret that we LOVE working with Michael Giacchino here at Mondo, and it was super tough to choose between this and THE BATMAN, as they are both fantastic. WEREWOLF just edged it for me due to my love of Universal horror movies.
It is easily the best of Phase 4, and I can't wait to see what directorial delights he brings us next.
Rob Jones, Senior Creative Director:
1. Hedorah Anatomy Poster by Mike Sutfin - SNAP.2. Hedorah Soft Vinyl Figure by Candie Bolton (DesignerCon 2022 Exclusive) - CRACKLE.
3. THE WIZARD OF OZ - Expanded Motion Picture Soundtrack - POP (that describes Alan Hynes’ wonderful package, and not the sound of the vinyl).