Saturday, August 11, 2018

Comics Lust 8/11/2018

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/triple-booked-trouble Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. I did not have time to write a new, full-fledged post, but I am including a revised version of an older post that was a precursor to “Comics Lust”; it definitely fits the mold quite nicely. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health, 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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics (Part 2)

The idea for the topic of “Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics” came to me a year and a half ago after listening to the audiobook of The Handmaid’s Tale, which got me thinking about the scourge that is the #45 presidency. So, why not compile a list of post-apocalyptic and dystopian comics where bad men have taken control, or religion has been twisted to enable individuals to seize power, or biological weapons have decimated populations, or corporations have taken over, or the wealthy tread on the poor. Basically, we’re going to look at what happens when sh_t becomes some f_ed up sh_t. So, sit down, strap in, and prepare to not be smiling by the time you get through these books, you will, however, be glad you read them.

V for Vendetta

(Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by David Lloyd, published by DC Comics)
You can’t really start a conversation about important dystopian comics without talking about Alan Moore’s most important work Watchmen, which I already did a couple installments ago. A fantastic runner-up to that industry-changing series is V for Vendetta. Granted, this series was a response to the conservative extremism of England, and Moore—as he states in the introduction to the first issue in 1988—wrote this 1984-esque comic out of the belief that the threat of nuclear war would lead to fascism. Three decades later and a quick hop across the pond, sadly, little has changed. In this important work, the citizenry is under constant surveillance by the ruling fascist regime, and all hope is lost…until a man in a Guy Fawkes mask blows up Parliament and begins to effect change. V for Vendetta is varsity-level comics, Denizens, but there’s a reason this all-too-relevant, dreary tale is considered a masterpiece and you will need to (re)experience it for yourself. The movie wasn’t half bad but you’ll definitely want to read the comic first.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

(Written and illustrated by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley, lettered by John Costanza, published by DC Comics)
Remember how I just mentioned the “industry-changing” comic Watchmen? Well, the other massively important work and equally dark tale Batman: The Dark Knight Returns forever changed popular superhero comics. Gone were the days of Batman gleefully spanking a misbehaving Robin, or Superman spanking a misbehaving Lois, or Wonder Woman getting spanked for misbehaving—dang, spanking was all the rage during the Silver Age. The tone had shifted to more dire and desperate subject matter. Here, a much older Batman comes out of retirement to combat a new, more aggressive form of violent street gangs hellbent on turning Gotham City into their own wasteland. All of this while the superpowers of the world (actual countries, not superheroes or supervillains) edge closer to nuclear war. Reading the dialogue of the US President (who bears a striking resemblance to Ronald Reagan) in this book rings all too true when compared to the nonsensical ramblings and lies of #45. If you haven’t read this comic, then you must have recently climbed out of your 1980s bomb shelter, and now’s the time to grab a copy…and then climb right back into that same bomb shelter. The DC Animated version of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Blu-ray is a dang-fine follow-up to the trade, both of which you need to check out.

Y the Last Man

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Pia Guerra, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint)
Given that House Republicans—a group of predominantly white males—not that long ago passed their evil and inhumane healthcare bill, some might take solace by looking to the recent past for a comic book that solved the problem of corrupt males in positions of power. Unfortunately, in this highly-praised series, all decent men were factored into that fix as well. In the phenomenal Y the Last Man, every male mammal on Earth (those with a Y chromosome) simultaneously dies horribly…all males except for college student Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The last two males on the planet are joined by a geneticist and a mysterious Federal agent as they attempt to learn what caused this catastrophe and try to find a way to save the human race. This is a phenomenal sci-fi adventure, and if you are already familiar with Vaughan’s work, then you know to expect startling cliffhangers, splendid characterization, flashes of humor, and moments that will break your heart. What I found most interesting—as mentioned in the first issue—the effect of losing the world’s men all at once varies from country to country: some countries have a robust female navy force, others are better equipped for food production, others have more robust science programs, and so on. Vaughan also touches upon religion, expectations on appearance, and how those formerly oppressed by men carry on. Dang, Denizens, you’ll flip when you see how various groups of women react when they discover that one man still roams the land. <shiver>. I desperately need to reread this great series, and if you missed it the first time around, then I STRONGLY recommend you catch up with the five available trades as soon as possible. It also appears that Y the Last Man is slated to be a television series…fingers crossed we all get to see it as well as read it someday soon.

The Private Eye

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Marcos Martin, colored by Muntsa Vicente, published by Panel Syndicate)
Seeing as how #45 and his ilk are all about repealing net neutrality and infringing on our right to privacy, the easy pill to quell your anxiety and anger—well, at least for a moment—is yet another tremendous Vaughan comic, The Private Eye. In this not so distant futuristic tale, the internet figuratively exploded, exposing everything about everybody: the good, the bad, and the awful. Years after that tragic day, people and government have gone the other direction, the way of extreme privacy. Now, there are no longer cameras at stop lights, many people conceal their identities and physical traits behind elaborate disguises, and exposing someone’s secrets or private life is a most heinous crime. When a woman hires private investigator P.I. to uncover all the skeletons of her past, the situation becomes complicated when that same woman winds up dead. Unfortunately for P.I., the woman’s sister, Raveena, believes P.I. to be the murderer. P.I. quickly learns there’s much more going on than a simple crime of passion, and he and Raveena set out to uncover the truth. The ultra-groovy thing about this 10 issue series is that it was originally a digital-only-first series that you can download for the low-low price of whatever-the-heck-you-want at…this includes FREE! That’s right, Denizens, you can read this incredible and beautiful story in its entirety for free! But you wouldn’t do that to these talented creators, right? I gave them $4 per issue, which meant that they directly and immediately reaped the rewards of their work with no printing costs and no middlemen to cut into their profits. How sweet is that!? The Private Eye is a thrilling adventure about what happens when everything, whether you want it or not, becomes public knowledge to all and the world shifts to extreme privacy.


(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Garrie Gastonny, published by Avatar Press)
With #45 talking trash to a country that operates much like a cult, as he attempts to restart an arms race mostly put to rest three decades ago, why not feast your peepers on a comic where superbeings are the new form of weaponry. The superbeings are for the most part horrific, but what’s more terrifying is seeing the repercussions of the powers-that-be losing control of their weapons. Don’t expect to be smiling after finishing this one, Denizens. At worst, it’ll be difficult to shake the creeping unease Supergods will undoubtedly leave you with. At best, you will be thinking of key moments for days afterward as you draw unnerving parallels to the course #45 wishes to set us upon. Again, this ain’t no feel-good funny book, but it’s one I read every other year or so. Speaking of which, I think I’m due for a reread…the main difference this time is that some of the situations have become more thematically relevant. Egads.


(Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, published by DC Comics)
Dang…after taking a look at Supergod, I think we all need something to lighten the mood a bit, and what better book to do that than the Donist World Darling Prez. For those of you who enjoyed Russell’s critically acclaimed The FlintstonesPrez is the political satire comic you need now more than ever. Basically, through political greed and manipulations and the fact that corporations are now allowed to run for office, teenager Beth Ross is elected President of the United States of America after the removal of the age limit. Of course, it helped to have the “Corndog Girl” video go viral as well as people being allowed to vote via Twitter. Laugh-out-loud funny, devastatingly accurate, and at times prescient, Prez pulls no punches when examining the desperation of the poor for a better life, corporate power, CEOs gone wild, armchair warfare, healthcare, entertainment, and the horrendous state of American politics. Straight up: I adore this series. If you’ve read Donist World over the past couple years, then you definitely already know this comic stands tall amongst my favorites of faves. I do have a slight disclaimer, though: there are currently only six issues (one trade) of Prez, and it’s doubtful the concluding six issues will ever see the light of day. Yes, DC decided to cancel the maxi-series after the first half—despite critical acclaim—probably because of low numbers and possibly because of the “controversial” nature of the series during the tragically disappointing 2016 election. With a #45 stolen presidency, Prez issues 7–12 could have been a grand achievement for DC, and a collection of the whole shebang could have reached MANY non-traditional comic book readers. But, don’t let that discourage you from checking out the greatness of this first trade, and we’ll all cross our fingers that we someday see the conclusion that Russell and Caldwell intended for this important comic. BETH ROSS FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020!!!

This Week’s Reading List

I haven’t even been able to make it to my LCS this past week, so...ugh. Oh well, more to read next time.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Comics Lust 8/4/2018

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/leaning towards lunch Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. Again, I’m keeping this short as this Donist needs a shower and a burrito ASAP. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health, 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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 1)

Most comic book creators either write or they draw. Oftentimes, they have additional team members who can do anything from inks, to flats, to color rendering, to lettering, to design, to editing. But when you find someone who can both write and draw a comic…well, that’s something rare, something you definitely don’t see every day. Those writer-artists are what I call everythingers—the comic book equivalent of a unicorn—and when they strike gold with a truly fantastic series, it is cause to rejoice.

X-Men: Grand Design

(Everythinged by Ed Piskor, originally published in 2017 by Marvel Comics)
I honestly can’t believe we have this treasure gracing the shelves of our LCS. It’s more along the lines of something you would see back in the day when Marvel was a pre-publicly traded company and hadn’t yet been purchased by the “Mouse.” X-Men: Grand Design has the look and feel of the special, experimental comics of the ’80s when you had the rise of the miniseries, the introduction of the larger form factor Graphic Novels, and the super-rare Big Two crossover comics. The difference being that this six-issue limited series is not just a love letter to that industry-changing time from over three decades ago, but it serves to introduce—and perhaps reintroduce—readers to the world of the X-Men. And here’s the crazy thing: Piskor takes the term everythinger to the extreme. He not only wrote (more on this in a moment), illustrated, inked, colored, lettered, and designed this masterwork of a comic, he also chose the particular paper it is printed upon and the printing process of well. Outside of hand delivering these dang-fine books to the distributor, he did everything. Everything! Each issue is 48-pages printed on a marbled, yellowed, non-glossy, high-weight paper stock with heft and texture you notice the moment you pick up this must-own book. The design and packaging alone are worth the $5.99 price of admission, but once you actually read the comic from page one through to the end, that is when you are completely hooked.
X-Men: Grand Design is a summary of all things X-Men, from times before the first X-Men comic saw the light of day (X-Men: Grand Design #1–2), to the Chris Claremont days that cemented this Donist as an X-Men fanatic (X-Men: Grand Design - Second Genesis #1–2), and finally to the as-yet-to-be-titled-as-of-this-writing third chapter of two issues. So, basically, when all is said and done we will have 288 Piskor everythinged pages that cover at least 500 issues of X-Men comics spanning over 50 years of material and convoluted continuity and presented in a way that makes sense of our favorite Marvel mutants. It’s also a pure joy to read. Criminy! I imagine Piskor’s home looking like a True Detective-esque wallboard of characters, times, and places all connected by crisscrossed, multi-colored string; someone should probably check on the guy to make sure he’s okay...maybe take him a burrito and make sure he’s getting his vitamins. All joking aside, Piskor took a Herculean, nigh-impossible task and not only made it seem easy, he also presented the work in one heck of a gorgeous package; this doesn’t even take into account the oversized “Treasury Edition” (collecting the first two issues) that matches the format of his equally impressive Hip Hop Family Tree collections. X-Men: Grand Design is the real deal. You need this.

The Mighty Thor

(Everythinged by Walter Simonson, originally published in 1983 by Marvel comics)
I have loved Marvel’s Thor ever since I was a kid. I was there gleefully reading along as the Norse God of Thunder fought Jack Kirby’s beautifully designed Destroyer and Mangog. I was thrilled by Mark Gruenwald’s “The Eternals Saga” conclusion and his collaborative efforts with Ralph Macchio that brought in the heralds of Galactus into the fray. I, of course, enjoyed the weirdness of the Doug Moench issues as well. But…the day I saw issue #337 I knew my world was about to be rocked to its core. Here we have a monstrous being dressed in the regalia of Thor, God of Thunder. Not only that, this creature holds Mjolnir which he uses to obliterate the book’s title with one deadly swing. Holy-freakin' moly. Jump to the first three pages of this issue and you see a veiled blacksmith taking the remnants of a star to forge it into something sinister with thunderous strikes of “DOOM” ringing across the cosmos. This is the introduction of not just Beta Ray Bill to the Marvel Universe, but of Simonson as an everythinger on one of the most celebrated Thor runs of all time. Gods and Goddesses. Dark elves and demons. Aliens and dragons. Family strife and Ragnarok. This run has it all with both an epic story and Simonson’s trademark style. I return to this influential run every year or two and continue to fall in love with this grand work again and again. Go for broke with the Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus or you can grab the three recently released trade paperbacks with a fourth releasing soon.

Batman: Year 100

(Everythinged by Paul Pope, originally published in 2006 by DC Comics)
It has been far too long since I read this story and I am definitely due for a reread. For those not familiar with Pope’s intricate detailing and flowing-yet-precise line work and character acting, you should check out his Heavy Liquid, 100%, and Battling Boy comics/graphic novels…after you read this sci-fi Batman tale, of course. In the year 2039, Gotham is still a dystopian city engulfed in violence and cruelty, but there is hope: that hope is the Batman and Detective Gordon. But this is the future, and those heroes we know and love are long gone. This Gordon is the grandson of Jim Gordon, and this Batman is…somewhat of a mystery. This is problematic in a world that no longer has secrets, where everything is known and at the waiting for exploitation; all except the Batman. You can readily pick this up in the recent hardcover or the older trade collections.

DC: The New Frontier

(Everythinged by Darwyn Cooke, originally published in 2004 by DC Comics)
2016 was a shitty year for comics and music…among other things. Many of my real-life heroes died as many real-life villains came to power and influence. One death that hit hard for many was that of Darwyn Cooke. Cooke was a master writer-artist whether he was working on spectacular crime comics like his Richard Stark’s Parker graphic novels or whether he was immortalizing Batman or Catwoman. His greatest, most lauded superhero work can be found in the six issues of DC: The New Frontier. This series retells the origin stories of some of DC’s still popular Golden Age heroes as they leap into the Silver Age. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman come to meet the newer heroes of the ’50s like The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and others ultimately leading them to work together against a grand menace. Beautifully told, masterfully illustrated, and a chronicle of both comic book superhero and world history, DC: The New Frontier is readily available in trade format, as well as an animated feature film for you to celebrate this pillar of comic book excellence.

Machine Man

(Everythinged by Jack Kirby, originally published in 1978 by Marvel Comics)
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t yet talked about any of Jack “King” Kirby’s works before now (with the possible exception of my much-loved The Demon). The truth is that writing about Kirby is kind of a daunting and intimidating thing. Here we have the guy whose work was all over my ever-expanding comic book collection as a kid, whether it was The New Gods, Omac, Devil Dinosaur, or the tons of other titles. No matter what book you were reading, if it was drawn by Kirby, you had something heavenly in your hands. His work was always there to excite you with wide-eyed men screaming as they reached off the page toward you while some of the coolest and most inventive monsters and robots you have ever seen threatened to destroy the world amidst a backdrop of gorgeous “Kirby Krackle”. So, when you have one of those insane robots end up being not just a ’70s superhero but a veritable Swiss Army Knife of gadgets and weaponry, you have a character that had young-Donist trembling with excitement to learn all about him. I was not disappointed. Machine Man is the last surviving X-51 robot and everyone is after him. With telescoping limbs, fire knuckles, and a whole host of other weaponry, Machine Man the Living Robot, takes on the Army and alien robots while trying to protect his human friends and establish his own identity in the world. More importantly, HE TURNS INTO A DANG MOTORCYCLE! I love all nine of Kirby’s issues and now need to get ahold of issues 10–19, which were written by Tom DeFalco and Marv Wolfman and illustrated by none other than Steve Ditko. Thankfully, you can get the whole kit and kaboodle in the recently released Machine Man: The Complete Collection.

That’s it for now, but there’s definitely much more to cover in future installments of “Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics.” See you next time.

This Week’s Reading List

I had eight books in my pull this week and I have only read the below four thus far. I’m out of time, I need a shower, and I dang-well need to eat something. Here's what I have read thus far:

  • Seven to Eternity #10
    Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics)
    Man, I don’t even remember the last time this book came out, but I’m glad it’s back. The God of Whispers and Adam Osidis travel Zhal and are getting along a little bit too well. Stunning, gorgeous art, and a thrilling story that is well worth the wait.
  • Mister Miracle #10(Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics)
    Not much happens this issue in the way of action, but that is 100% fine as Big Barda and Mister Miracle struggle with Darkseid’s conditions to end the war.
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #2(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Dylan Burnett, colored by Antonio Fabela, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    Hot off the presses, following the fantastic Thanos Wins, Cosmic Ghost Rider is back with a toddler Thanos involuntarily by his side. We get a bit more history behind Frank and Galactus’s partnership, and the cliffhanger ending promises to keep things good and weird.
  • Death of the Inhumans #2(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    I dropped off the Inhumans side of things a long time ago, but Cates and Olivetti deliver an intense rollercoaster ride that succeeds in making me a Black Bolt fan. The cliffhanger is a shocker and I desperately need to see what happens next.
Peace out, Denizens!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Comics Lust 7/28/2018

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/dinnertime destiny dog Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. Way out of time. Got a late start, so keeping this short. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health, 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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Adventure Comics (Part 1)

The act of creating a comic is no easy feat. You have writing, pencils, inks, letters, an editor, possibly a colorist and a someone to do flats (the base colors added to black and white art upon which the colorist begins rendering), and then someone to bring it all together in production; this doesn’t even count the amount of work it takes to actually go through the printing and publication process. It’s usually a huge collaborative effort that—with the exception of pencils and inks—I have personally taken part in. I have first-hand experience in the amount of work that goes into each issue, so when I practically bow down before the might of those who do the brunt, if not all, of the work, it’s because of my deep respect and admiration for those rarest of beasts: the writer-artist. When these unicorns of the comic book world deliver an all around great comic, it is something to rejoice, it is something to celebrate. I give to you…Everythinged, those who write and draw and possibly ink, color, and letter their books as well. Behold true magic!

Mage: The Hero Discovered

(Everythinged by Matt Wagner, colored by Jeremy Cox and James Rochelle, later inked by Sam Kieth, originally published in 1984 by Comico)
By this point, you should be well aware that Matt Wagner’s Mage: The Hero Discovered is one of my all-time favorite comics. Period. If I was going to be stranded on a deserted island, this series dang-well better be there with me to help weather the storm. It is the story of a down-on-his-luck loner named Kevin Matchstick who happens upon what he believes to be a mugging, only to discover the assailant is a chalk-white, hairless humanoid with poisoned spurs on its elbows. Driven to stop the assault, Kevin exhibits powers well beyond that of normal men, but even with newfound strength and possible invulnerability, Kevin is too late: the victim dies and the monster retreats. Reeling from the experience, Kevin meets a person he assumes to be a beggar, but this beggar has fantastic magical powers and thus begins our hero’s journey that leads him to new-found friends and a threat of mythic proportions. Originally published as 15-issues, the series was followed over a decade later by Mage: The Hero Defined, and even later by the currently running conclusion to the trilogy Mage: The Hero Denied. The story and art are equal triumphs with two particular moments that still to this day—three and a half decades later—wreck havoc on my emotions and make this great series something I frequently return to. The ‘80s were a magical time for comics, and this series proves that magic is indeed green. The first and second parts of the trilogy are currently being reprinted in trade format by Image, and are waiting for you to discover the hero within.

Cursed Pirate Girl

(Everythinged by Jeremy A. Bastian, designed by Jack Absinthe, originally published in 2009 by Olympian)
The Kickstarter campaign to collect the long out-of-print and ridiculously rare three issues of Cursed Pirate Girl was the first Kickstarter I ever contributed to, and let me tell you it more than delivered: I received a signed and now rare trade, a glorious poster that unexpectedly arrived, and a bunch of other goodies. It was all quite exciting, but nowhere near as exciting as cracking open the book and reading this painstakingly detailed and marvelously illustrated tale of a young pirate girl whose swashbuckling adventures take place both above and below the sea as she encounters ruthless pirates, misshapen members of royalty, and bizarre creatures of the sea. Most every page of this beautiful book’s intricate line work is worth lingering over to avoid missing anything. Equal parts comic book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Cursed Pirate Girl is a true labor of love that has to be seen to be believed. Dang! I just saw there is a follow up Cursed Pirate Girl Annual I need to hunt down!


(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Arielle Basich (assistant) and Sean Mackiewicz, originally published in 2017 by Image Comics)
Yes, this one I have been freaking out about for months now. But when I come across a comic that truly “wows” me, I can’t help but climb to the top of the mountain—or to be real my second-floor window—and shout out how great this comic is. Imagine your favorite Studio Ghibli animated film mixed with Mad Max: Fury Road and that is the vibe you get with Extremity. Young artist Thea loved her family and clan, the Roto, and was not ready for the day rival clan the Paznina came to murder those she loved, steal her home, and take her greatest gift. Filled with anger and vengeance, Thea and what remains of the Roto seek revenge and to reclaim their floating home; if she loses her soul in the process then that is the price she feels she is willing to pay. Fantastic storytelling, stunning creatures, and incredible character acting counter the extreme violence of this wonderful journey that I never wanted to end. You MUST pick up the two available trades at once. Dang, I really hope an oversized hardcover comes out for this treasure. Rest assured, Denizens, I will be mentioning Extremity a few more times over the remainder of the year.

The Sword

(Everythinged byJoshua and Johnathan Luna...aka The Luna Brothers, originally published in 2007 by Image Comics)
Okay, I am kind of cheating with this one, but because the creators are brothers and they mix it up as to who is plotting, writing, doing layouts, illustrating, and all the rest of it, I’m going to count this as an “Everythinged” book. It has been a long while since I last read this grand 24-issue series of myth and magic and self-proclaimed gods, and to be honest, I don’t really remember how it all ends; I need to remedy this soon. The story follows Dara Brighton, a college student whose life is destroyed the day three strangers who command the powers of the elements come seeking a mystical sword. Faced with her impending death, Dara later stumbles across the sword and upon touching it finds the tool needed to finally balance the scales. Beautiful art, a heroine worth rooting for, and a creatively built world and mythology just begging to be explored. You can read the four trades, or splurge on the Complete Deluxe Edition.

Shaolin Cowboy

(Everythinged by Geoff Darrow, colored and lettered by Peter Doherty, originally published in 2004 by Burlyman Entertainment)
Shame, Denizens, on those who have never before had the opportunity to bear witness to the heavenly glory that is the art of Geoff Darrow. Oh, wait, who am I kidding? There is no shame to be had if you have not yet experienced Darrow’s incredibly detailed work. I’m honestly just jealous that you get to have your mind blown by this master artist for the first time. Fellow Darrow fans know exactly what I’m talking about. If this cat has worked on it, then it is something you need to experience. Notice how I don’t use the word “read.” You don’t just read a Darrow comic, you become part of it. My first experience with this creator was on the brilliant Hard Boiled, written by Frank Miller, and it is exactly what its name implies: an intense, frantic, nerve-wracking, visual extravaganza of action and unbridled mayhem. The same can be said of Shaolin Cowboy, which follows...well...a Shaolin cowboy and his trusty, talking burro as he fights all manner of unsavory fellows, animals, demons, monsters, and everything else imaginable. Every…single…page…is filled to the brim with highly detailed backgrounds, foregrounds, vehicles, and characters that require you to read the book once through and then dive back in to slowly appreciate and marvel at everything you are seeing. The original issues are ridiculously rare, but thankfully Darkhorse has released the following in heavenly hardcover format: Shaolin Cowboy: Start Trek, Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign?, and Shaolin Cowboy: Shemp Buffet. You definitely want to catch them all. Seeing is believing, Denizens.

That’s it for this installment, but I will definitely come back to “Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Adventure” in the near future!

This Week’s Reading List

I had six books in my pull this week and I am still missing a couple, but I'm out of time and need to eat something. Here's what I have read thus far:

  • Descender #32
    (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Descender comes to a gnarly conclusion that left me gasping for air and thoroughly anticipating Ascender #1 to debut in 2019. Damn, this is one of the best series on the stand.
  • Saga #54(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics)
    Holy crap! I was totally not ready for that. Saga cuts to a year hiatus—possibly longer—in a true gut-punch manner. Shit, Denizens, I’m not sure how to process the events in this issue. Still, I can’t help but say Saga is…
  • Doomsday Clock #6(Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, published by DC Comics)
    This Watchmen follow up is still freaking great. This issue tells the origin of my new favorite villains the Marionette and the Mime. Mix in the Joker and the Comedian and a defeated Batman and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Thankfully, we are only halfway through, but I do kind of wonder how they are going to bring it all together and wrap things up in only six more issues. Whatever. I’m loving it.
  • Venom #4(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    Was this the best week in comics or what?! Eddie Brock meets a truly terrifying and ancient god who holds utter control over all symbiotes. We learn the origin of this being and Cates establishes some amazing connections to another superhero comic I love from a few years ago. Don’t miss out on the book that pulled me back to Marvel
See you next week!


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Comics Lust 7/21/2018

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/belly flop specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. I am so grateful it’s the weekend and that the weather has been fairly cool thus ain’t gonna last. My puppy executive team and I are loading up on lime popsicles and we’re scrounging as much mint as we can so we can make a fuel-tanker-sized batch of iced tea to help get us through the next week...or longer...gulp. Anyhow, keep cool—the heat returns here tomorrow, ugh—be kind to each other, mind your health, 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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Comics by the Poolside (Part 1)

Summer is here. Or you’re on a non-summer vacation. You finally have some time to yourself where you have no commitments and you had the foresight to turn off your phone’s ringer and you’ve taken a vow of abstinence from the horrid social media. You might have an immense swimming pool just feet from your toes, or maybe you have one of those plastic kiddie pools filled via the garden hose, or maybe you’re on the deck where no one can bother you. You have iced tea/water/beer/coffee close at hand or you’re lucky enough to have a high-falutin’, fancy-pants margarita. You aren’t being chill, you define chill. You reach down and pull out a brand-spankin’ new comic; just be sure there’s no sunblock on your hands and your swimsuit is dry enough to not get your comics wet. With your nirvana skill unlocked you can finally slip into some fantastic new worlds.

These are the poolside comics that brought me to that heavenly state…

Thanos: Thanos Wins

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, colored by Antonio Fabela, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, trade published by Marvel Comics in 2018)
I’m overly critical of any writer who tries to tackle the Mad Titan Thanos who isn’t Jim Starlin. There are a few who’ve done right by the character—Hickman, Abnett and Lanning, Lemire—but Starlin still reigns supreme. This Cates cat, though...dang...he has written the best non-Starlin Thanos I have ever read. Not only does he give us the Death-obsessed demigod and the tragedy and destruction that readers expect to see follow in Thanos’s wake, but we also get intense action, thrills, and the occasional bits of humor. We are even introduced to a new character, the Cosmic Ghost Rider—now in his own killer, five-issue miniseries!—whose origin is sure to throw you for a loop and I’m not about to spoil it for you. Thanos faces some startling adversaries and his throne…let’s just say I gulped audibly once I figured out what it was. The story is gorgeously brought to life by Shaw’s intricate art and compelling storytelling and his character design on the Cosmic Ghost Rider has to be seen to be believed. Even the coloring takes this book to the next level with a vibrant palette that contrasts nicely with the dark subject matter. This is what happens when a madman gets everything he desires. This is what happens when Thanos wins. You definitely need a dip in the pool after reading this fantastic series. You don’t need to read what came before to follow this trade, which collects issues #13–18 and Annual #1.

Space Mullet!

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, trade published by Dark Horse Comics in 2016)
I was first introduced to Daniel Warren Johnson through the must-own, must-read, please-Image-release-an-oversized-director’s-cut hardcover collection of Extremity series, and immediately after ordered the cosmic-ass-kickin’ Space Mullet! Oh, my dawg! I love this series and I’m floored that although this is one of his earlier works, it is every bit as intricately plotted and gorgeously illustrated as that of a seasoned pro with many decades in the comics world. At its bare bones, Space Mullet! starts with the story of ex-Space Marine Jonah and his alien partner Alphius roaming the spaceways trying to scrounge up some sort of living and all too often coming up short. Jonah has a dark past that haunts and shames him, but through an ever-expanding roster of characters, he might just find a crew that gives him purpose. Part Firefly, part Akira, all space opera comic goodness, Space Mullet! satisfies everything I want in a sci-fi comic. It was originally released as a webcomic, partially collected by Dark Horse, and there’s much more to read online that has not yet been collected, I really hope to see more than just a couple more trades of this grand epic everyone needs to read. Oh, looks like my margarita needs a little refresh.

Doctor Strange: God of Magic

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta with some art by Niko Henrichon, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, trade published by Marvel Comics in 2018)
Collecting Doctor Strange #381–385 and yet another comic that grabbed my attention because of Cates and the one-two knockout punch of Walta—who illustrated the critically acclaimed The Vision—there was no way I could pass this up. Why is Loki now the Sorcerer Supreme? What the heck is Doctor Stephen Strange doing as a veterinarian? What is this battle he supposedly lost? Thor shows up briefly and a mystery hero appears to fight a grand enemy?! Why is the Sanctum Sanctorum floating twenty feet above the street? I honestly wasn’t sure, and that’s fine. Cates does a fine job of filling in just enough gaps as to what came before to keep you immersed in his tale as well as desperate to see what happens next. I haven’t read Doctor Strange in…well…hmmm…forever, and this series had me madly hitting the “spend my money” button to get the just-released Doctor Strange: Damnation - The Complete Collection which I have at the ready for my next personal pool party. Well, looky there, Marvel’s pulled me back in with the magic of Doctor Strange. Oh, I should get in the shade for a bit.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated and lettered and colored by David Rubín, flats by Kike J. Díaz, trade published by Dark Horse in 2018)
Lemire is the writer of my favorite book on the stands Descender among a host of other books. One such book is the phenomenal Black Hammer series which I should have been buying in floppies but did not pick up until the first trade came out; it was the best new-to-me series of 2017. Black Hammer is a love-letter to the bronze/silver age superhero comics of old with amalgams of Marvel and DC’s most famous heroes. It’s also a horror/mystery comic with heavy elements of sci-fi that everyone must read. But, Donist, why are you talking about Black Hammer, when this is about something called Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil? Simple, Denizens, Sherlock Frankenstein was once the greatest foe of Spiral City’s heroes, but since the heroes vanished after defeating Earth’s greatest threat, Sherlock Frankenstein has also vanished. The Black Hammer’s daughter, Lucy Weber, now ten years older and a journalist, believes her father and the other heroes are still alive, and if she is to find him, only the brilliant mind of a terrible villain looks to provide the answers to bringing them home. Okay, you don’t need to have read Black Hammer before reading this heavenly book, but it most certainly helps. If this story was illustrated with stick figures I would probably still recommend it, it’s that strong, but when you add Rubín on art you should probably run to your LCS to secure a copy. So very, very good and almost made me cry...dang that Jeff Lemire. I need some more poolside snacks: taquitos it is.

Ether: Death of the Golden Blaze

(Written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by David Rubin, trade published by Dark Horse in 2017)
Well whatdoyouknow, another glorious comic illustrated by the immensely talented Rubín. Hey, and check that out, written by frequent Lemire collaborator Kindt. There was no way I would not like this, I just wasn’t ready for how much I loved it. Ether is the story of obsessed scientist and explorer, Boone Dias, who discovers a doorway to a fantastical world of strange beings and mysterious magic. The only problem: Boone doesn’t believe in magic and seeks to prove anything described as such can be explained away through science. But when the denizens of this bizarre world hire Boone to solve the murder of the Blaze, protector of the Ether, his disbelief in magic is put to the test as his grasp on his own reality begins to fade away. Rubín’s art is vibrant, lovely, and the many groovy monsters, creatures, buildings, objects and everything else are so inventive and much deserving of your time and money. The story is amazing and I cannot wait to read the follow-up, Ether: The Copper Golems. You should probably think about turning over to even out that tan.

Rumble, Volume 4: Soul Without Pity

(Written by John Arcudi, illustrated by David Rubín, colored by Dave Stewart, designed and lettered by Shanna Matuszak, trade published by Image in 2018)
Anyone else notice a little theme goin’ on for these last three books? Here’s a hint: David Rubin is a dang-fine artist whose work I recently discovered and now have to acquire everything he’s ever worked on. Yeah, I’m loving how Rubín’s work can just transport you to another world and make you forget all the problems found in your own. If you’ve not read Rumble before, then this is one that kind of requires that you have read the first three volumes—which were illustrated by former Rumble artist James Harren—in order to properly follow along. Don’t worry, though, Rumble is a great series about a dead warrior-god whose soul was placed into the body of a scarecrow that now walks the streets of modern times accumulating a ragtag group of human allies. The world is steeped in a rich mythology with monsters and magic and mayhem aplenty and this fourth volume keeps the action flowing. This trade finds Rathraq, the scarecrow warrior god, at his darkest and deadliest as his friends attempt to bring him back to their side. The Rumble series is one you can buy all four volumes at once and know you made the right choice and are in good hands.

And with that...time for a poolside nap. Until next time.

This Week’s Reading List

I had eight books in my pull this week and I was even missing two, but I'm out of time and need to get back to the pool. Here's what I have read thus far:

  • The Immortal Hulk #3(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by a bunch of different artists, published by Marvel Comics)
    Another great, creepy, horror-tinged issue.
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #10(Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics)
    Oh, no, we are 2/3 through the concluding act of the trilogy! Still love love love it!
  • Gideon Falls #4
    (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettering and design by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
    Yup, a month behind and new issue #5 missed this week...go figure. Creepy as hell in the best of ways.
  • Oblivion Song #5
    (Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Lorenzo De Filici, colored by Annalisa Leoni, lettered by Rus Wooton, associate editor Arielle Basich, editor Sean Mackiewicz, published by Skybound an Image Comics imprint)
    Given the current state of our country, I can see where the inhabitants of Oblivion are coming from.
  • East of West #38
    (Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics)
    Although many delays between issues, I’m still along for the complicated and intense ride.
  • Royal City #12(Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
    I knew it was going to be a rough journey, and I suspect the last few issues are going to be a heart-rending affair.
  • Stellar #2(Written by Joseph Keatinge, illustrated by Bret Blevins, lettered by Rus Wooton, associate editor Arielle Basich, editor Sean Mackiewicz, published by Skybound an Image Comics imprint)
    They had me at space superheroes. Interested to see where this one goes!
I have one more comic to read from this week and hope to get to it later this afternoon. See you next time!