Sunday, November 18, 2018

Comics Lust 11/17/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/vacation maximizer Tulip. It’s been a brutally stressful week, but Friday brought some much needed good news. This coupled with the fact that my puppy executive team and I have this coming week off means we got to get down to some serious chillaxin’. Heck, we might even try giving this thing called “a full night’s sleep” a shot; we’ll see how it goes. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving week. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Excelsior! Cheers to the “The Man”

It was probably at some point in my early teens when I began to gravitate more toward creators than characters. Sure, as a young boy, I could point out that the art I loved on a book was not as good as it had been, or when a story just didn’t have that oomph I had been enjoying previously, but I will say this: I sure as hell knew who Stan Lee was by the time I was learning to read. Stan was everywhere. Caricatures of him appeared in my favorite Marvel comics, he showed up in my Marvel activity/puzzle books (Mighty Marvel Superheroes Fun Book), and as the narrator of some of my favorite cartoons (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends). Then there were those three wonderful words on most covers while I was growing up: “Stan Lee Presents.” All I knew back in those early days was that Stan Lee made my favorite comic books. All of them. I soon realized that there was this guy, Jack Kirby, who was also involved in so many of my favorite books, and then there were other writers and artists, but the thing that persisted was The Man.

Even though Stan created/co-created and wrote/co-wrote many comics before my time, I was still exposed to much of his works through many form factors other than comics. I had comic books reprinted in novel-sized format, regular reprints, massive treasury editions, and so much more. I also had many well-loved and tattered actual comics that had somehow ended up in my collection and that would be worth a pretty penny had I known preserving comics was the way to go. Regardless of the degree, Stan “The Man” Lee was instrumental in bringing about many of the characters I have loved and cherished for 90% of my life. Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Daredevil, Black Panther, Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, The X-Men, and so many others were in the comics I read, on my clothes, on my bed sheets, on my puzzles, and featured in my favorite cartoons. His characters made up the bulk of my toys and informed the way I wanted to portray myself to the world. I wanted to be a good guy. I wanted to be like Spidey. This hasn’t changed.

I’m fairly certain my first Stan Lee read was Marvel Treasury Edition #10: The Mighty Thor. This 10” x 14” beast was one of my most prized possessions and I read it often. The book was published in 1975 and reprints Thor #154–157 and featured Stan as the writer and Jack Kirby on art and was pure comics glory. I would build my blanket and TV tray fort, spread out the book, and marvel at the sequentials with my Thor Mego doll “reading” alongside me. I worshipped Thor and my eyes widened at the sight of the Asgardians as they fought the menace of Ulik the troll and my favorite monster for many years, Mangog. Even if the 1,434,572 rereads hadn’t savaged the physical integrity of this book, my dogs made sure its time was nigh after I came home from school to find they had eaten most of my precious oversized comic. I’m pretty sure I cried that day. You can read this story today in Thor Epic Collection: To Wake the Mangog.

Thankfully, The Fantastic Four Pocket Book #1 (published in 1977, and reprinting The Fantastic Four #1–6) arrived at the Acme store and I was able to plead with my mom to buy it for me. Again, this was a brain-melting experience as here was The Fantastic Four I knew and loved, but in a paperback-sized volume and again with the Kirby art I knew so well and the all-too-familiar “Stan Lee Presents” emblazoned on the cover and with him scripting the story. This book had it all: the group’s origin, the Mole Man, monsters, the Sub-Mariner (I called him the Submareener for years), sea monsters, Dr. Doom, and by golly it had my gosh darn heart and soul. I read this with my Fantastic Four Mego dolls and would come to rue the day the book suffered near destruction after I somehow found it soaked with water. I don’t know if I dropped it in the bathtub, or if melted snow got to it. All I know is that when I found the saturated thing, I had the bright idea of placing it atop the heater vent to help dry it out. Yeah, this caused all of the pages to ruffle and warp, making the paper extra brittle and causing the book to be perpetually fanned out. Dang. I loved that book. Today, an easier-on-the-eyes collection called The Fantastic Four Epic Collection: The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine is the way to go.

What I DO have is Marvel Treasury Edition #21: The Fantastic Four (published in 1979, written by Stan Lee, illustrated by John Buscema), which reprints The Fantastic Four #120–123. This is the way you drive a young Donist to madness, a joyful madness, but madness nonetheless. If you mix The Fantastic Four, Galactus, and Silver Surfer into one book and then add a new herald named Air-Walker, who looked like an armored knight with a flaming cape, into the mix, you get a child who could barely contain himself. At least this book survived the move from Ohio to California and decades of reading. It’s beat to hell, but at least I still have it. It’s also signed by Stan Lee from back in 1986…more on that in a sec. Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. 12 collects these issues, but it might be hard to find.

I’m sure I had other Stan Lee penned books—plenty of them, in fact—but the next one to really stand out to me arrived almost a decade later in 1988 when Stan and Moebius released the two-issue miniseries Silver Surfer: Parable. Now, of course, I knew who Stan was but I also knew of Moebius as I had been titillated by his art in Heavy Metal, with his masterful linework and designs leaving an even longer lasting impression than that of his depictions of lovely women. But here we have the Surfer as written by Stan and art by Moebius. What is there not to love? It doesn’t look like there are any collections in print, so you might have to hunt these down.

Anyhow, one great thing is that my brother and I got to meet Stan back in the 80s when he visited the sadly short-lived Andromeda Books in Goleta. I remember a fair amount of people there waiting to meet The Man, and I remember feeling starstruck for the first time in my life. Here was the person responsible (to varying degrees) for most of my favorite Marvel characters. I had been reading and collecting his work for most of my teenage life, I had seen his face countless times, I knew his voice, and here he was signing our stuff. He was kind, gracious, and seemed every bit as thrilled to be there as we were. Let’s just say it was a good day.

Stan Lee and his (co-)creations impacted my life tremendously. He deepened my love of comics and made me want to be a better person and to expect the same of others (which, sadly, causes me no end of grief in today’s political climate, but whatchagonnado). He lived to the age of 95 and was up until recently having cameo appearances in the movies about many of his characters that continue to thrill untold millions of viewers. He left a massive mark and will continue to leave a mark for ages to come. Rest In Peace, Stan Lee. Excelsior!


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Comics Lust 11/10/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/still-acting-as-nurse Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). After two weeks of this stupid sickness, I think I’m about over it thanks to the diligence of my puppy executive team who’ve brought me tissues and cough drops and plenty of hot toddies to help work the ickiness out of my system. They queued up episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Walking Dead S8, and the grand rewatching of Game of Thrones, and sat with me as we read through the massive The House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1 tome they got me for my birthday. All of this, while tirelessly working to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Not. Too. Shabby. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

It Ain’t Over ’til This Comic Book Sings - Space Operas (Part 1)

Space Operas are my jam, my jelly, my peanuts, and my peanut butter. I love ’em, by golly, and I thank my stars and garters there’s no lack of material out there to keep me drawn in with happy reading for a good long while. Now, for those thinking, uh oh, here he goes again on that master of the space opera Jim Starlin, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going to go into Starlin’s work here. Nope. The guy already has his own section of adoration (see this post here), not to mention tons of mentions throughout “Comics Lust”, so we’re going to instead take a look at some other creators and their lovely, expansive worlds, galaxies, and universes, as well as the characters who traverse them.


(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, originally published in 2015 by Image Comics)
Yes. I know. I have a tendency to extol the brilliance that is Lemire and Nguyen’s phenomenal Descender, and it is safe to say I’m not shy about my love of this series. The story begins on the day the nine planets of the United Galactic Council are devastated by massive robots called Harvesters that vanish as quickly as they arrived with no reason for the deaths they caused. This leads to any and all robots being hunted and destroyed by fierce Scrappers, but when a lone robot boy named TIM-21 awakens after being offline for ten years on a dead mining colony, everyone in the galaxy sets their sites on capturing him. TIM-21 might hold the key to learning the mystery of the Harvesters, but all TIM-21 wants is to survive and find his human brother Andy. There’s no shortage of robots, aliens, spaceships, or monsters in this compelling odyssey that will both thrill and at times break your heart as many secrets are slowly revealed in this 32-issue first chapter. Lemire’s writing alone breathes such life into the characters that you feel you know them by the end of the first issue, but when coupled with Nguyen’s lush, lovely, watercolored character designs and expansive backgrounds, you can’t help but have one of the best books on the stands. The series is currently on hiatus until early 2019 when the second—and very different—second chapter starts, so you have some time to pick up either the hardcover (another on the way?) or the six trades and get caught up on this stellar series.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War

(Written by Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons; illustrated by Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Angel Unzeta, and Ethan Van Sciver, originally published in 2007 by DC Comics)
I can’t claim to have ever been a Green Lantern superfan. Don’t get me wrong, I always liked the guy and his goofy green creations as a kid, but I never really sought out comics about him. This changed the day I flipped through an issue of Green Lantern after seeing Sinestro’s striking new costume and the eye-catching “Sinestro Corps War” title on the cover. I totally knew who Sinestro was and always thought it was a cool idea to have an antagonist whose yellow ring countered Hal’s, but here he was on this cover, no longer the big-headed cornball I knew as a kid. No. Sinestro was now in his intimidating new outfit with his own fear-based army of monstrous evildoers; Green Lantern was now very much on my radar. But true to me being me, I couldn’t just dive in. I needed to know everything, so I picked up the first four Green Lantern trades and then bought the two Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War trades and was hooked by the promise of the new ring spectrums and the stakes of this monstrous new threat facing the galaxy. Johns made this series can’t-put-it-down great, and I stayed along for the ride through Blackest Night. With the mountain of spacefaring destruction and chaos out there in the Green Lanternverse—most of it tremendous, btw—“The Sinestro Corps War” stands strongest of them all. Dang, now I HAVE to reread them. If you’re a fan of space operas, you need to start this impressive journey from a decade ago ASAP. You can go my route by starting with Johns’s first issue on the character all the way through to the end of “The Sinestro Corps War” with the lovely Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 or skip to the main course with the Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War all-in-one trade.

The Omega Men

(Written by Tom King, illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda and others, originally published in 2015 by DC Comics)
The Omega Men was the second book written by Tom King that I was exposed to. Or rather it was the first book of his I read that was written solely by him; Grayson, co-written with Tim Seeley, was my first. After that I hammered through his other work, especially loving both of his critically acclaimed, must-read  The Vision and Mister Miracle series. The Omega Men, however, is equally deserving of praise as this planet-hopping statement on extremism, propaganda, terrorism, media optics, and so much more is one of the favorites of my collection. Here, the terrorists known as The Omega Men, have captured the White Lantern Kyle Raynor (formerly a Green Lantern) and on live television seemingly execute him. Never fear, Denizens, Kyle’s fine…sort of. Rather he is the Omega Men’s prisoner and they mean to bring him over to their cause of destroying the totalitarian Citadel and its tyrannical ruler Viceroy. The White Lantern will have to decide not only if the horrors committed by the Citadel are worth breaking his oath of non-interference, but if adopting the Omega Men’s methods will destroy the man he believes himself to be. I always wanted to read the original The Omega Men from way back in the day, but never got around to it. That said, you don’t need to know what happened in that series to completely lose yourself in this intense, political, space opera that must be part of your collection. The all-in-one trade is what you want to get, and let’s hope we someday get a hardcover of this impressive masterpiece.


(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, originally published in 2012 by Image Comics)
The title alone lets you know you’re in for something truly epic. The original solicits gave the logline of “Romeo and Juliet in space,” which is spot on as far as descriptions go. Mario and Alana are of differing, warring races: one whose people has horns and possess great magic abilities, and another whose people are winged and have access to deadly technologies. Despite their people’s intense hatred for one another, the two fall in love, go on the run, and have a baby girl, Hazel, who has both horns and wings. The fact that peace and love can exist together must never get out to the warring masses and the new family must evade assassins and bounty hunters, and all sorts of malcontents as they travel the galaxy in search of somewhere, anywhere, to live without fear or war or being discovered. Unfortunately, family, robots with TVs for heads, angry ex-girlfriends, and money woes pose just as much of a threat of tearing them apart as the war. I must warn you, Denizens, that you will fall in love with these characters. You will love them and get pissed off at them when they screw up. You will laugh out loud, you will be disgusted and shocked in the best of ways, you will cheer at the various characters’ victories, and sympathize with their setbacks. You will also have your heart and soul crushed by various events throughout the 54-issue first season. Vaughan’s story and characterization are enchanting, and Staples’s unique art style gives an almost painterly quality that has always confounded me as to how she does what she does and she makes every page worth lingering over. Saga is a beautiful thing, Denizens, and I can honestly say no comic has elicited so many emotions in me as I accompanied Marco, Alana, and Hazel on this wonderful journey. The book looks to be on hiatus until probably late 2019, so now is the time to get caught up with the two hardcovers (third on the way?) or the nine readily-available trades. Saga is a phenomenal story on all fronts and very much deserving of your time, just be ready for one hell of an emotionally tumultuous ride.

Dang, I love this genre, and can’t wait to (re)introduce you to even more of these fantastic space opera comic books. I’m excited to dig into some more, but that’s for next time.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Comics Lust 11/3/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/nurse Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The crud done struck me low, Denizens. Last Saturday, after posting last week’s “Comics Lust,” I sneezed and knew that I was done for. You know that type of sneeze, the one where you have a slight ache in your throat and no amount of rye is going to burn the germs away. Long story short, I’m finally on the mend, but still reeling from the illness. Thankfully, my puppy executive team was there to hand me plenty of hot toddies to burn away the ickiness…at least temporarily. And to think, I was really hoping to make it a full year without getting sick. Yeah, better luck next year. Anyhow, be kind to each other, VOTE!, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics before checking out Daredevil Season 3 on Netflix. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Five Furious and Fast: Jim Starlin (Part 1)

It’s no secret that Jim Starlin is one of my heroes. His space opera work for Marvel is high up on my top-five list of comics that would need to accompany me on a long stint on a deserted island. Heck, if I had Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection and Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection, I think I would be good to go for a good, long while—provided I was stranded with a crate of assorted IPAs as well, of course. But I’m not going to go into the man’s work with Marvel. Nope. I’ve done that a hundred times. My love of everything Warlock, Thanos, and Captain Marvel should be something firmly felt in the bones of all Denizens. Instead, we are going to look at some of his other amazing work—yes, there is much goodness to go around as you will see in…


(Everythinged by Jim Starlin, originally published in 1980 by Marvel Comics)
I know, I know, I’m leading with a book that I have only partially read, but you will see in a moment why I have this gap given the convoluted publishing history. Dreadstar is a grand space opera that surrounds the character of Vance Dreadstar, the sole survivor of the destroyed Milky Way galaxy, and his crew: Sysygy Darklock, a sorcerer of great power; Willow, a telepath; Skeevo Phlatus, a mercenary; Oed, a cat person; and Rainbow, Willow’s pet. The team finds themselves caught between the two less-than-savory forces of the Monarchy and the Instrumetality (a theocracy), but they end up forming a tenuous relationship with the Monarchy. Thereabout ends my experience with Dreadstar with issues 1–12 of the Epic Comics series. However, the epic story and the oh-so-gorgeous Starlin art has always left me wanting more more more, as his all-too-brief introduction to this expansive world touches on the familiar themes of corrupt and oppressive religions and regimes found in books like Warlock. But where Starlin’s run on that series ran far too short for my liking, Dreadstar delves so much deeper. A couple years before the particular issues I read, Starlin began this universe in the pages of Epic Illustrated #1 with what is known as part one of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey,” and which only featured Vanth Dreadstar briefly in issue #3. Instead, this chapter follows the Orsirosian named Ahknaton, who had a decidedly Egyptian deity look about him…and I distinctly remember a very beautiful and very naked woman with an Afro gracing the pages, but no big surprise as to what sticks in the mind of a kid. Anyhow, if you want the full Starlin Dreadstar experience, here is the chronology of material; best hold onto your hats:

  • Epic Illustrated #1–9 (Published in 1980 by Marvel Comics) These stories comprise the first part of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey” storyline and was painted with grays but eventually shifted to colors.
  • The Price (Published in 1981 by Eclipse Comics) Part two of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey” and is a black and white graphic novel that follows the sorcerer known as Sysygy Darklock and is meant to be read alongside…
  • Marvel Graphic Novel #3: Dreadstar: The Metamorphosis Odyssey Part 3 (Published in 1982 by Marvel Comics). A beautifully painted story that I remember flipping through many times, yet never had enough allowance to buy.
  • Epic Illustrated #15 (Published in 1982 by Marvel Comics) Features an untitled Dreadstar story that is a lead-in to the character’s own series…
  • Dreadstar #1–26 (Published in 1982 by Epic Comics) All stories written and illustrated by Jim Starlin.
  • Dreadstar Annual #1 (Published in 1983 by Epic Comics) A colored reprinting of The Price and an all around cheaper way to experience the story...if you can find a copy.
  • Dreadstar #27–40 (Published in 1986 by First Publishing) A jump to a new publisher with Starlin as writer/artist on 27–32, and as writer only from 33–40.
  • Dreadstar #41–64 (Published in 1989 by First Publishing) Peter David picks up as writer.

Boy howdy is this publication history a mess, but you can avoid hunting down a good chunk of the material by first reading Dreadstar: The Beginning (published by Dynamite Entertainment and which contains all three parts of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey”) and then reading Dreadstar Omnibus (published by Dynamite Entertainment and which reprints issues 1–12 of the Epic Comics run). After that, you’ll be in the same boat as I as we scramble for the rest of the individual issues.

Cosmic Odyssey

(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Mike Mignola, originally published in 1988 by DC Comics)
Originally published as four, prestige-format, 48-page issues, Cosmic Odyssey brought DC Comics a Starlin space opera that intermixed their impressive stable of superheroes with that of Jack Kirby’s New Gods as illustrated by a pre-Hellboy Mignola. In this tale, Darkseid finds a nearly-dead Metron and with the help of New Genesis’s Highfather discovers that the Anti-Life Equation has come to life and split into four aspects that have gone to four worlds to destroy them. These aspects are enough to cause Darkseid and Highfather concern and they reach out to some of Earth’s mightiest heroes to aid in stopping each aspect before all succumb to the power of the Anti-Life Equation. The road will not be easy. And neither was my road to reading this series, as I did not pick it up back in the day and rather first read the comics roughly six years ago. The story is thrilling with a real sense of stakes and although I would have preferred to see Starlin also illustrate the series, Mignola’s take is a great precursor to his style on his creator-owned Hellboy. With shocks and surprise characters and alliances abound, Cosmic Odyssey is a series worth checking out, which is easy enough to do with the latest Cosmic Odyssey: Deluxe Edition hardcover collection.

Mystery in Space

(Written by Jim Starlin; illustrated by Jim Starlin, Shane Davis, Ron Lim, and later by Bernie Wrightson; originally published in 1988 and 2006)
Okay, this one might seem a little…weird…get it? No, okay, you will in a sec. Anyhow, Mystery in Space is an eight-issue limited series from 2006 that that focuses on two characters: Captain Comet and The Weird. Each issue is 48-pages long with the first part covering Captain Comet and written by Jim Starlin with Shane Davis illustrating. The second part is everythinged by Starlin and covers his weird character, The Weird, who looks somewhat like a misshapen ninja with a sash, thus earning his name. If you are wondering who The Weird is, then you will need to go back to 1988 to read Starlin and Bernie Wrightson’s four-issue limited series titled—you guessed it—The Weird which introduces the immensely powerful character to both the Justice League and comicdom at large. With this setup, Mystery in Space follows the return of both Captain Comet (after the events of 52, which you don’t have to have read to follow this story) and The Weird as they both try to uncover the mystery of why they are alive. Davis’s art is somewhat reminiscent of Jim Lee’s style and he does a fantastic job of covering the cosmos and its myriad aliens (as well as a super-cute bulldog!), while Starlin brings the gorgeous, expansive, mind-bending, cosmic greatness that reignites my love for his work again and again. It’s been years since I read either series, and I honestly couldn’t tell you anything at all other than I loved them at the time. I guess this one gets shuffled up near the top of the reread stack. Lucky for you though, if you pick up the two trades (if you can find them) you get the first five issues of Mystery in Space in volume one and the final three issues plus The Weird #1–4 in volume two. That there’s the whole enchilada, Denizens!

Gilgamesh II

(Everythinged by Jim Starlin, originally published in 1989 by DC Comics)
Gilgamesh II is what you get when you allow Starlin to tell his own story outside of the confines of superheroes and licensed characters. Written and illustrated by Starlin, this four-issue, prestige-format miniseries tells the story of an alien baby whose ship crashes on Earth to be found by a hippie couple—whose pot farm burns down in the process— and the child eventually becomes the most powerful being in the world. Sound kind of familiar? Yes, but the twist is that this baby, Gilgamesh, believes himself to be unique. He is not. What he fails to realize is that another baby, Otto, crash landed in South America and grew up having all of the same abilities as Gilgamesh, but where one uses his vast strength for personal gain, Otto grows up to become the protector of the rainforest. The two eventually meet in combat, cause massive destruction, but instead of killing one another, they realize they are brothers and become friends. Thus, the adventure begins in this reimagining of both Superman and the myth of Enkidu and Gilgamesh. This series is a heck of a ride, but unfortunately, there are no trades available as of this writing and you are going to have to hunt down the issues to get this great story.

Batman: The Cult

(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, originally published in by DC Comics)
Hot off the heels of The Weird, Starlin and Wrightson joined forces once again for the four-issue, prestige-format miniseries. (Dang, he loves those prestige books!) The Bat takes on the mysterious Deacon Joseph Blackfire and his cult of axe-wielding, homeless maniacs…and loses. Captured by Blackfire, the Dark Knight is starved, drugged, and brainwashed to the point of becoming one of Blackfire’s minions. But has Batman truly been broken, or will he break free of Blackfire’s influence and discover what the cult leader is truly up to? I bought this one as it came out back in the day and loved it as much then as I do now. Starlin weaves a dang-creepy story that Wrightson’s art brings to life in a satisfying Batman tale for the ages. There was a collection not too long ago, but it looks to have gone out of print; hopefully, it comes back soon so everyone can enjoy this outstanding standalone series.

That’s it for this installment, but we’ll return to my hero Starlin later—come in close as I whisper this, Denizens, as I’m going to floor you by admitting this—after I finally read Batman: A Death in the Family. I know. I know. I’m ashamed to admit it myself, but I’m getting to it. There are a few other gaping holes in my Starlin reading, which I fully intend to fix over the next year as well. See you next time.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Comics Lust 10/27/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/pumpkin-spice-is-nice specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The news continues to be increasingly appalling this week, so let’s escape from the all-too-real horrors and idiocy of this Drumpf world for a bit, and focus on a more fun-filled type of horror: Halloween. Now, my puppy executive team and I have some pumpkin pancakes, iced pumpkin cookies, and an Imperial Pumpkin Porter aged in bourbon barrels waiting for us out on the porch right now as well as some choice reading to get to, so we're going to keep this short. We also have to beg Amy the intern (my wife) to bake some of her famous pumpkin chocolate chip cookies before we head on out. Anyhow, be kind to each other, VOTE!, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics before checking out Daredevil Season 3 on Netflix. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself…and Comics! (Part 2)

Oh, my goodness gracious, Denizens, when Halloween comes around there’s nothing I want to do more than watch loads of spooky movies, drink and eat pumpkin-flavored everything—can a Donist get a pumpkin chocolate chip ice cream for Pete’s sake?—and read scary as all get out comics. I can already tell you, I have the Donist World Darling The Upturned Stone waiting for my annual reread, and I will finally have a chance to crack open The House of Secrets: Bronze Age Omnibus and Swamp Thing: Bronze Age Omnibus volumes I bought for myself as birthday gifts this year. I also have an ultra-groovy Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Porter from Epic Brewing just for the occasion, but given the size of these lovely tomes, I suspect the beer (nor I, for that matter) will last long enough to make much of a dent in the reading material, which means the scares will last for a good long while. But for those seeking more digestible chunks of reading, feast your peepers on some of the spine-tingling titles that follow.


(Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Jock, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Clem Robins, originally published in 2014 by Image Comics)
Yeah, this one. Criminy. Denizens, if you want to be scared, Wytches is the book you need to read. No joke, no exaggeration, but when I was reading this series in issues, I had to take Tulip outside to go to the bathroom before we went to bed. It was particularly dark that night, windy to the point of rustling the leaves in the trees and obscuring all other sounds of the night. All I could think of as I waited for her to do her business was what lurked out amongst the trees of the nearby woods and if I had actually heard the “Chit. Chit. Chit” intermixed with the rustling of the leaves. Once Tulip finally finished, I sped her back into the house. This is the power of a great horror writer paired with an illustrator and colorist who can bring a terrifying scene to life in a manner that sticks with you. Wytches follows the Rooks family who has recently moved to a small town in NH after a tragic event, but an ancient, dark force of evil watches them from the woods, waiting to tear them asunder. It’s been a couple of years since I read this comic and the creatures, the wytches, still give me the willies with their misshapen forms and terrible powers all brought to life by Jock’s beautiful line work and storytelling and Hollingsworth’s unique coloring effects. You can buy Wytches in trade today, and then pick up the standalone issue Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special that will serve as a prequel to the next, eagerly-anticipated story arc. If you have a fear of the woods, the dark, of being watched, of supernatural malice, of being isolated, of having loved ones taken, of anything for that matter, then this is the book that will pull all of those strings. You’ve been warned. Enjoy.

Rachel Rising

(Everythinged by Terry Moore, originally published in 2011 by Abstract Studio)
Rachel Beck comes back to life in a shallow grave in the woods to discover she has no recollection of how she got there or who killed her. Now, with the help of her friends, Rachel seeks to solve her own murder at what seems to be at the hands of a serial killer. But the sleepy town of Manson has a secret history of nightmares, and even a girl who is beyond Death’s reach might not be ready for them to stand revealed. For those who have read Moore’s masterpiece Strangers in Paradise, Rachel Rising might seem like a huge departure from the type of material fans fell in love with, but it really is not; only the genre has changed. We still get the brilliantly developed characters who you end up loving with all your heart and soul (Aunt Johnny and Jet!), fantastical situations somehow made realistic, moments of sadness mixed with moments of humor, and a compelling story you can’t put down. The main difference is that you also get scenes that are downright unnerving and scary. Rachel Rising ran for 42 issues and although I still believe the series could have benefited from at least another six or more issues to let the conclusion breathe, the ending is indeed satisfying. Luckily, you can read the whole shebang through the seven trades, or the done-in-one omnibus.


(Written by Tim Seely, illustrated by Mike Norton, colored by Mike Englert, lettered by Crank!, originally published in 2012 by Image Comics)
Although Rachel Rising and Revival both have a main character who come back to life after being murdered and with no recollection of how either victim died or who killed them, that is where the similarities in the two stories end. Revival tells the story of a rural area in Wisconsin where on one day the dead came back to life. Some of the dead act as if they had never died, others are horribly changed, but for those that seem normal, something is just…not…right. Enter Officer Dana Cypress who has to solve a violent murder in a town under government quarantine where the list of suspects now includes those who were, up until recently, dead. I am only halfway through the trades and I love this series. Revival can be absolutely terrifying—the old lady pulling out her teeth as they quickly grow right back into place—and at the same time touching and humorous as the Cypress sisters deal with each other and their overly-judgemental father. The strange ghosts/aliens/entities that lurk in the woods are unnerving to be sure, but some of the worst monsters in this book are the “normal” humans who seek to profit off of the catastrophe of the dead rising or those looking to cover up their own heinous crimes amidst the chaos. You can catch up on this great series through the eight trades or the four hardcovers.

Gideon Falls

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, originally published in 2018 by Image Comics)
You already know I’m a huge fan of Lemire’s work, but when you throw in his immensely talented collaborator from the days of Green Arrow, then there’s no way I could pass up their dive into the horror genre. Thank goodness I got in on the ground floor of what reminds me of a comic book take on the vibe of the old Twin Peaks television show. In Gideon Falls, The Black Barn has appeared and quickly disappeared throughout history, leaving a trail of death and madness in its wake. Few, however, know of its existence. The story follows two men: Father Fred, a Catholic priest who moves far too often, is sent to replace the previous priest whose death might not be what it seems; and Norton, a mentally disturbed individual, compelled to pick through trash to find splinters of the mysterious Black Barn which suddenly appears to Norton’s psychiatrist. Gideon Falls has its roots more in the psychological side of horror as opposed to that of monsters and ghosts, which is what makes it so damn compelling. The threat in Gideon Falls isn’t a werewolf or zombie out terrorizing the streets, but might rather be something far less tangible and might very well be one’s own mind seeking to destroy them. The crazy thing is that Lemire and Sorrentino take us briefly into The Black Barn in the first six issues, and trust me when I say the experience is…unsettling, but beautifully rendered by a stylistic shift in Sorrentino’s art that needs to be seen to be believed. This one is already set to become a television show after a studio bidding war and for good reason: it’s an excellent and haunting series. You can get in on the ground floor with the first trade today.

Manifest Destiny

(Written by Chris Dingess, illustrated by Matthew Roberts, colored by Owen Gieni, lettered by Pat Brosseau, originally published in 2013 by Image Comics)
For some reason, I resisted picking up this series, but after countless reviews and many recommendations, I finally gave it a chance with the first trade; it only took about 10 pages to know I was in for the long haul. Manifest Destiny follows Lewis and Clark as they explore the untamed American frontier in service to their country, but with the secret mission of cataloging the various supernatural elements they encounter along the way. They are accompanied by soldiers, criminals, and the pregnant but deadly Sacagawea as they come across horror after horror, while towering, ominous arches loom where the nightmares are the worst. The characters are complex and realistic with the “heroes” at times acting disturbingly non-heroic and a steady procession of monsters keeps the story thrilling from beginning to end. I cannot properly state how much I love this series and how even though I just finished reading the sixth trade, I’m preparing for a grand reread from one through six to bide my time until the next exciting chapter drops.

That’s it, Denizens. Get yourselves some creepy material that will keep you up all night, while loving every second you spend in these terrifying worlds. Have a great Halloween.