Best of Nashville 2011: Heroes & 'Villians 

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Nashville. A bustling metropolis where many live, few sleep, and everyone plays guitar. Home to glamorous residents, cultural treasures — even a frozen-yogurt shop or two.

On its streets, there is a newspaper, intrepid, fearless — and above all, free. For 22 years, its readers have celebrated the biggest, boldest and best their city has to offer. Dynamic achievers! Friendly neighborhoods! Meat and threes! Artists and creators of every type. And of course ... music in all its forms.

It is a glorious time to live in the city. It beckons to the world beyond. And every day, visitors come to partake of its wonders.

Only some are better informed than others ...

Scroll down to see all this year's Readers' Choice and Writers' Choice winners.


About the Illustrator

While we're on the subject of heroes, this issue features the work of a comic-book artist, writer and creator whose identity should be anything but secret: Eric Powell, the Mt. Juliet native and Lebanon resident who cut his teeth in the industry with early inking gigs for Marvel and Dark Horse on comics such as The Incredible Hulk. But his enduring creation is The Goon, a square-jawed, two-fisted brute who clobbers crooks the way Gallagher smashes melons.

The acclaimed Goon comic recently published its 35th issue, and a movie version to be produced by David Fincher and Blur Studio is currently "in the 'give us some money' stage," Powell says, laughing — though test footage caused a sensation online. Among the several projects he typically juggles at any given time, Powell mapped out and drew the superhero saga in these pages over the space of a month, brainstorming locations and ideas with fellow roller-derby enthusiast Andy Young.

In fact, Powell says, if he had to award his own Best of Nashville, it would go to the Nashville Rollergirls for "best of everything." (Not coincidentally, his girlfriend is jammer Ramb0 Samb0, one of the top vote-getters in this year's polling.) "They put a lot of work into what they do for not a lot of reward," says the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award winner, who was there in Kansas City last weekend to cheer on the Rollergirls as they advanced to the 2011 championships in Denver. Check out his work at thegoon.com. JIM RIDLEY

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