Saturday, January 19, 2019

Comics Lust 1/19/2019

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/Real Food Challenge trooper Tulip. We are in the deepest pit of the Real Food Challenge, Denizens, and we have been without dairy, corn, gluten, sugar, peanuts, and a few other things since Monday morning. It ain’t easy. If that wasn’t difficult enough, we are only allowed grains once per day, and beer…well, beer is a strict no-no. Thus, we suffer. Six days are down with 24 more to go. Thank goodness, my puppy executive team and I have plenty of great comics to help pass the time. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to some tacos (which we can't eat except for the meat and veggies), 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

Otherworldly Wonders (Part 2)

As readers, comics guide us to other places whether it is a character’s life of relative normalcy or the most extreme of the fantastic. They take us somewhere new, somewhere different. That’s a given. But sometimes these stories deal with new worlds that intersect our own, whether the characters are the travelers or the characters are dealing with visiting/invading strangers—or some combination of both—is what we are looking at today. The main point is that the planet Earth is central to the story. So, what better way to celebrate other worlds than to open by re-experiencing one of the best comic book series of the past couple years.

Black Hammer

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dean Ormston and David Rubín, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Todd Klein, originally published in 2016 by Dark Horse Books)
As I have said before, I didn’t jump on this series right away, and it was a grave error on my part that I quickly remedied; thank goodness I did. Black Hammer is the story of a group of superheroes who upon succeeding in stopping a world-ending threat are seemingly destroyed in the aftermath of their victory. This not the case. Ten years have passed and the heroes, despite most of Earth believing them dead, are alive and well (relatively) on a farm in a rural town from which they cannot escape. One is dead, most desperately want to leave, and a few seem to enjoy their new life, but when a newcomer travels to this otherworldly version of Earth, she discovers all is not right in this odd town.
Lemire brings to life multiple amalgamations of the finest Gold, Silver, and Bronze Age heroes from The Big Two while injecting a grand mystery as to what exactly is keeping the heroes stranded and whether or not they are even on Earth at all. Ormston’s fine lines are a bridge between Lemire’s style of illustration and that of traditional superhero comics and his work truly shines when it comes to the character acting which lets the reader know exactly what the characters are feeling even when their words might suggest otherwise. Stewart’s muted color palette beautifully sets the tone for each moment, while the two issues illustrated by Rubín create a vibrant cross between traditional comics and the cartoony—and subsequently left me scrambling to read everything, like Ether, that Rubín has ever illustrated.
Lemire and Ormston kicked off not just one of the best comics of the past decade, they also created a Black Hammer universe that has branched out to side stories, one-shots, and even a new series, ALL of which you need to be reading. Here are the releases to date:

Not only these titles, but there will be a Black Hammer ’45 four-issue miniseries (Co-written by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, illustrated by Matt Kindt) releasing March 2019 and who knows what other goodies are heading our way in the future given that there will one day be a Black Hammer movie and television shows coming our way soon. Whether or not you have read the books in this ever-expanding world, you owe it to yourself to pick up the impressive Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1, which contains Black Hammer #1–13, the annual, a whole mess of bonus material, and is greatly oversized so you can enjoy the finest Ormston and Rubín have to offer. Dang, I can’t wait to finally dive into my new Black Hammer: Age of Doom trade next!

Paper Girls

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, originally published in 2015 by Image Comics)
Nostalgia for the ‘80s? Yup. Love of sci-fi, time travel, monsters, and four paper girls trying to make sense of the madness that has engulfed their lives? Double yup. A story that will complete after five more issues with issue #30? Heck, yeah…although I will definitely be sad to see it go. Vaughan, Chiang, and Wilson brought us this fantastic series of what happens when a rip in time/space brings monsters and weirdos from the future into a Cleveland suburb in the ‘80s and it’s up to a team of kids on bikes to set things right. Sound kind of familiar? I’m sure it does, but know that this fine comic came out before the great Stranger Things Netflix series. A thoroughly entertaining story and gorgeous art await you and can be bought in trade or glorious hardcover.

The Micronauts

(Written by Bill Mantlo; illustrated primarily by Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, and Jackson Guice, originally published in 1979 by Marvel Comics)
I told you I can’t go longer than a few months without mentioning the Donist World Darling that is The Micronauts, and with good reason: it’s one hell of a damn fine comic in both story and (usually) art. But what makes it relevant to today’s installment is the tagline “They Came From Inner Space.” This team of heroes struggling to thwart the diabolical Baron Karza’s attempts to dominate what is known as the Microverse. The Microverse, however, is right here on planet Earth, only it exists at the subatomic level. Commander Rann, Princess Mari, Bug, Acroyear, Biotron, Microtron, and a whole host of others find themselves crossing between their world and ours in an effort to put an end to Karza’s reign. Exciting, thrilling, and at times devastating this series is forever on my top-five list. Unfortunately, a licensing nightmare prevents this must-read series from getting the omnibus treatment it so richly deserves. To the back issue bins with you!

Kill 6 Billion Demons

(Everythinged by Tom Parkinson-Morgan, originally published online beginning in 2013 at, and originally published in print in 2016 by Image Comics)
Angels and demons, gods and devils, none of the above is what you want to come calling when you are…you know…doin’ it for the first time with your college boyfriend. Then suddenly, WHAMMY, an angel/demon or whatever shows up gets kilt and sticks a magical key type thing into your forehead immediately after the things that kilt the angel/demon thing grab your boyfriend and vanish into another dimension called Throne. We’ve all been there, right? Anyhow, the magic doohickey in Allison Ruth’s head blows her away...literally...and dumps her in the bizarre world of Throne.
Now, although this series first began appearing digitally one page at a time in 2013, it is definitely new to me. I freaking love it. You have a true everythinger delivering a trippy as hell story with trippy as hell art to match. In this wonderfully developed world, there are no two creatures alike and, trust me, there are TONS of creatures to see in this vibrant, funny, thrilling, highly imaginative series that strikes me as what you would get if Hayao Miyazaki was a bit more twisted and developed a story for adults. I’m currently on the fourth chapter and loving every page of this comic. Check it out online, but this is one you will want to ultimately get in print and have on your favorite shelf.

The Stuff of Legend

(Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by C.P. Wilson III, designed and colored by Jon Conkling and Michael De Vito, originally published in 2009 by Th3rd World Studios)
What if traveling to another world, one in which your favorite toys were alive and walking and talking with one another, was only a matter of stepping into your darkened closet. That would be nice, but in this instance, the Boogieman is very much real and has abducted the toys’ boy into the realm known as The Dark. Now, it’s up to the boy’s favorite toys to venture into the closet and into The Dark to rescue him from the clutches of the wicked Boogieman. I positively love this comic and although there are brutal delays between issues, it is very much worth checking into not only for the fascinating and oftentimes harsh story from Raicht and Smith, or for the fantastic character designs and beautiful storytelling skills of Wilson III, but also for the book’s unique and gorgeous production and design. These black, white, and sepia-colored comics, trades, and hardcover collections have a square form factor and mimic the look of old children’s books from the ’40s and ’50s. I just hope the creators are able to finish it someday soon, as this one is something special.

That’s it for this installment and I hope you get to travel to many magical worlds over this three-day weekend. All the best. See you next week.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Comics Lust 1/12/2019

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/w00t Stout sipper Tulip. Reverse Obie, Tulip, and I are going to keep this intro a bit short as we’re about to head out to get some beers at M*Special before we start our month-long Real Food Challenge on Monday. If we’re lucky, there’ll also be a food truck that has French fries or something along those lines that we can gorge on as our days (months, actually) of free eating are numbered…one and half days to be exact. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to 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

Otherworldly Wonders (Part 1)

After reading the latest issue of today’s first entry—we’ll get to it in a moment—I knew I had to come up with a topic that would ensure this particular title would be at the forefront of today’s post. Then I read my second new comic of the week—that follows second, of course—and I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you today: comics about other worlds. Whether people are traveling to other worlds/planes of existence or those worlds/planes are sending their inhabitants to ours, that’s what we are looking at today. So, sit back, relax, and open your mind as we open doorways to places that tend to not be all that welcoming.

Murder Falcon

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, lettered by Rus Wooton, published originally in 2018 by Skybound Entertainment an Image Comics imprint)
I love this comic. I love this comic. I love this comic! I first became aware of this creator through his exceptionally written and illustrated Extremity series (a comic everyone MUST read) and I knew I would be following him on anything and everything he touched both prior to and after that incredible series. Then, along came Murder Falcon. In this series, Jake has all but given up on life: he’s lost the one he loves, his band, and the will to play music. To complicate matters, the world is besieged by monsters and one just showed up in Jake’s living room. Thankfully, Murder Falcon, a warrior from a realm known as “The Heavy,” has appeared and needs Jake’s help to fight the terrors seeping into our world. Yes, the premise sounds kind of ridiculous, but trust me, it’s all in the execution, which Johnson does beautifully. The story is heartfelt, heart-wrenching, and always earnest, while the art delivers monster-stomping goodness with a heavy metal vibe that can be felt deep in your bones. The dynamic use of sound effects within the art (in addition to Wooton’s lettering), and Johnson’s switch from thin or thick straight lines to jagged ones—implying ferocious speed—accentuates his masterful storytelling prowess, giving us a helluva damn fine comic. We’re halfway through this thrilling run that features not just one but two worlds besides our own, and I suspect once we reach the end we will have something that transcends to even higher planes.

Oblivion Song

(Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Lorenzo De Felici, colored by Annalise Leoni, lettered by Rus Wooton, published originally in 2018 by Skybound Entertainment an Image Comics imprint)
Now, this one snuck up on us out of the blue, but that was by design. Per the notes of the first issue, Kirkman and De Felici had a good number of issues in the bag before announcing this thrilling new series. In Oblivion Song, a large portion of Philadelphia swapped places with another dimension, losing over 300,000 people and replacing them with nightmarish monsters. Years have passed and the monster problem at home has been dealt with, but Nathan Cole continues to jump into the world called Oblivion to find and rescue the humans still stuck there. But are Nathan’s efforts truly altruistic or is he searching for something else? De Felici’s cartooning is quite different from what you will find in most Big Two comics, which makes it stand out as his work brings life to the characters through his excellent storytelling and grasp of drama, while Leoni’s colors bring a vibrant excitement to the dark subject matter of this thrilling comic. Oh, and the monsters…those things are otherworldly and terrifying. There is one trade currently available with the second on the way soon.


(Written by Matt Kindt, art and letters by David Rubín, originally published in 2016 by Dark Horse Books)
I’ve known of, read, and enjoyed many of Kindt’s comics, but it was Rubín’s art in a couple of guest-artist issues of the Donist World Darling Black Hammer series that had me searching out everything the man has illustrated. Thankfully, Ether soon found its way into my grubby, little paws. If the inhabitants of alternate worlds won’t come to us, then Boone Dias goes to them. Boone has used his extraordinary gift for science to burst into another dimension, but this dimension believes heavily in magic, something Boone attempts to explain away with science at every opportunity he can. But when a hero of the Ether is murdered with no logical explanation as to how it was done, the Ether’s inhabitants hire Boone to solve the case. Kindt’s story is sculpted into something truly delightful as Rubín brings to life some of the loveliest magical beings and monsters I have ever seen in a comic book and when you couple this with his bold, vibrant colors, you have a stunning work worthy of your favorite bookshelf. The first trade, Ether Volume 1: Death of the Golden Blaze, has been out for a while now, and the second trade, Ether Volume 2: Copper Golems, drops in the next month; I couldn’t be more excited! The magical world of Ether is one I will return to time and time again.

Doctor Strange: Damnation

(Written mostly by Donny Cates and Nick Spencer; mostly illustrated by Rod Reis, Szymon Kudranski, and Niko Henrichon, originally published in 2018 by Marvel Comics)
Some alternate worlds are more well known than others and who hasn’t heard of H-E-double hockey sticks? Yes, Hell, and I’m not talking about the hell that is getting caught in a conversation with your Aunt Bonnie, or facing a tower of dirty dishes, but rather the hell that begins with a capital “H.” In this fantastic mini event, Mephisto has brought Hell to Las Vegas and enslaved many of Earth’s strongest heroes while doing it, including Doctor Strange. Now, it’s up to Wong to gather a group of heroes who have transcended death to free the others and to miraculously restore a soul to Las Vegas. Cates was 100% the reason I sought out the thoroughly amazing Doctor Strange: Damnation the Complete Collection, which you simply must read, but with a warning. The book is a blast from beginning to end…provided you know the correct reading order, which Marvel confusingly attempts to give you on the indecipherable “Reading Chronology.” Why is this a problem? Well, instead of printing the issues in chronological order, Marvel instead opted to give us Damnation #1–4, then Doctor Strange #386–389, then Damnation: Johnny Blaze - Ghost Rider #1, then Iron Fist #78–80, and finally Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #15–17. Why not put them in the proper reading order so you don’t have to flip around and possibly spoil things?! No idea, but to help a Denizen out, here is the recommended reading order of things for you:

  • Damnation #1
  • Doctor Strange #386
  • Damnation #2
  • Doctor Strange # 387
  • Scarlet Spider #15
  • Damnation #3
  • Iron Fist 78
  • Scarlet Spider #16
  • Johnny Blaze - Ghost Rider #1
  • Doctor Strange #388
  • Iron Fist #79
  • Iron Fist #80
  • Scarlet Spider #17
  • Damnation #4
  • Doctor Strange #389

Don’t let the reading order stuff dissuade you from reading this exciting mini event.

The Authority

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, inked by Paul Neary, colored by Laura Depuy, originally published in 1999 by Wildstorm)
The Authority is up about as high as it goes when it comes to must-read, must-own comics. Ellis’s run would definitely accompany me during any sort of prolonged stay on a deserted island. The crazy thing is that Ellis was only around for the first 12 issues—although there’s a grip of comics in his Stormwatch run, which led up to The Authority, that would certainly keep me entertained, as well—but those 12 issues are the ones that hold a special place in my heart. Jenny Sparks (master of electricity), Swift (winged aerial specialist), Apollo (solar-powered superman), The Midnighter (master combatant who sees all possible outcomes), The Engineer (nanobots in her blood that allow her to create anything she conceives), the Doctor (a man of magic), and Jack Hawksmoor (a being whose abilities escalate depending on the size of the city he inhabits) meet the most severe threats to the world head on and make sure those threats are ended quickly and with extreme prejudice. These mighty, god-like beings inhabit a living ship known as the Carrier that allows them to teleport and to travel between parallel worlds through a dividing barrier known as The Bleed. Unfortunately for both The Authority and the Earth, other worlds have the ability to navigate The Bleed which pits our heroes against an invading parallel Britain called Sliding-Albion which is ruled by a blue-skinned alien despot. More than anything, this series made me wish I was sitting aboard The Carrier as it surfs The Bleed and I witnessed its many wonders. You absolutely must check out this series whether you do so in issues, trades, or the recent hardcover.

That’ll do it for this installment. I love the idea of parallel dimensions and other worlds whether or not contacting them is in anyone’s best interests. I will definitely revisit this topic at some point in the future. Take care.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Comics Lust 1/5/2019

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/New Year notable Tulip. I’m going to keep this one short as I'm still physically exhausted from Thursday’s food poisoning and I definitely need a beer. Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I all want to wish you a happy New Year and one that will be much much much better than 2018. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to 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

Running the Maze: Ed Brubaker’s Captain America

A few entries ago, I mentioned Ed Brubaker’s fantastic Captain America run. It’s an enthralling, roller coaster of a ride spy thriller that would see the return of Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, a character thought dead for many decades. After much praise back in the day, I decided to give good ol’ Cap a try; I had not read a Captain America comic since I was a kid. It rocked my world. I was more than happy to talk about Brubaker’s run, in fact, I was quite eager to dig in and tell you all about which books to read and in what order, but I hit a few snags: namely, renumberings, one-shots, miniseries, renumberings again, new series, and stuff I had never even known about. You absolutely do not want to miss out on the intrigues and thrills of the story or any of the fantastic artists who brought Brubaker’s words to life, not to mention Cap’s ”death,” his crucial stand-in, Steve Rogers’s rebirth, the villains, the introduction of the Winter Soldier, and most importantly all-around great, must-read comics. So, today, we are going to run the maze of Brubaker’s run from issues to trades to omnibus editions and try to make some sense of this convoluted, overly-corporate mess so you know where to start and where to end. Let’s hope I can make it through this with my sanity intact.


It all started off simple enough unless you take into account that this is the “2005, Fifth Series”—meaning this is the fifth reboot/renumbering of Captain America—but with this new number one comes the official start of Brubaker’s run.
  • Captain America #1–50 (Fifth Series) (Primarily illustrated by Steve Epting, published from Jan 2005–July 2009) pretty straightforward. All good. No sweat following along. This is the start of the “Fifth Series.”
  • Captain America 65th Anniversary Special #1 (Illustrated by Eric Wight, published May 2006) And thus came unto us the first special/one-shot issue. Hey, at least it was an extra-long 48 pages.
  • Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 (Illustrated by Lee Weeks, published Feb 2007) Yes, another one-shot, but dang if this is not getting freakin’ good!
  • Captain America #600–615, 615.1, 616–619 (Some co-writing by Sean McKeever, primarily illustrated by Butch Guice, published Aug 2009–Aug 2011) Okay, here we go: renumbering to classic “First Series” numbering, with a 615.1 issue released as a jumping on point. Okay, fine. This is still part of the “Fifth Series.”
  • Captain America: Reborn #1–6 (Illustrated by Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice, published Sep 2009–Mar 2010) Let’s add some extra difficulty into the mix by offering this miniseries one month after the renumbering to issue #600 and having it run concurrent to the main series. Kind of like tie-in issues during big “Event” comic runs.
  • Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 (Illustrated by Butch Guice and Luke Ross, published Mar 2010) Let me get this straight: it’s March 2010, you’re already buying the renumbered Cap book with #602 dropping this month, you’re about to finish off the Reborn mini with issue #6, and now you’re also getting WWWtS. A triple-ship month. I’m not even certain which came out when during the month, but best be certain you read them all in order!
  • Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4 (illustrated by Dave Eaglesham, published Sep 2010–Dec 2010) Somehow I missed this one, which is easy to do as it came out during Captain America #608–611.
  • Captain America & Bucky #620–628 (Illustrated by Chris Samnee, Francesco Francavilla, and others, published Sep 2011–May 2012) Okay, I didn’t even know this had happened and I need to get a hold of it…preferably in a nice, nifty collection, but if your grandpappy saw this on the shelf, he might be wonderin’ about the other 619 Captain America & Bucky issues that are floating around out there, which actually do not exist.
  • Captain America #1–19 (Sixth Series) (Some issues co-written by Cullen Bunn; illustrated by Steve McNiven, Patrick Zircher, Alan Davis, Scott Eaton, and others; published Sep 2011–Dec 2012) Let me try to understand this: Brubaker writes 50 issues of Cap, then the numbers switch to being in the 600s, then the title changes to Captain America & Bucky while retaining the numbering scheme in the 600s, then this new series comes along that is also titled Captain America that starts over with issue number one and also has an artist named Steve. Toss in a bunch of specials and mini-series, and any Brubaker fan should be able to follow. No sweat? No way. Best loosen up by listening to some Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” before going down this road to madness.
  • Winter Soldier #1–14 (primarily illustrated by Butch Guice, published Apr 2012–Mar 2013) I am ashamed to say I have not read these issues...something I fully intend to remedy. That said, this one released alongside Captain America & Bucky for a few months of kinda-sorta double shipping.

Not only do you have all of this, but you have some “events” getting involved with Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America, then “House of M” touched down in 2005’s Captain America #10, followed by Civil War with Captain America #22–24,


Yeah, traversing the quagmire above seems an insurmountable task, but thankfully, there are some trades out there…provided you can find them. To start, I’m going to cut out the first eight trades and start with the “Ultimate Collections”:

Okay, now. THAT’S a bit easier to digest. But if you want to make things even easier, then pick up the…

Omnibus Editions

Denizens, if you got the coin and the means to track them down, then this is by far the easiest route to go to get the whole kit and kaboodle.

After following the breadcrumbs and retracing my steps in the snow, I was finally able to make it through this grand labyrinth of Overlook Hotel proportions. It makes me wonder…wouldn’t it all be much easier for both current (at the time), new, and future readers if Marvel had put out two series and two limited series and cut out the single issues, renumberings, and miniseries? Like, put out Captain America #1–100 (or whatever), Winter Soldier #1–19Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4, and Captain America and Bucky #1–9. Then you can roll Captain America: Reborn and all of the other stuff into the main series—double ship on some months, if you must—and clearly number all of the trades, labeling that they are all by Ed Brubaker. Sheesh. Anyways, I hope I don’t have to type the word “Captain America” again for a good long while, and I could sure use a drink. All work and no play makes Donist a dull boy. Until next time.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup - Part 2

(Sung to the tune of Enigma’s “Sadeness”)

Chanting. Ummm…yeah, uh…a bunch of Latin-sounding stuff that I don’t understand, but the perfect soundtrack for contemplating the things we love. Welcome to…

Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup - Part 2!

Hey there, Denizens, and a soon to be Happy New Year! I am joined as ever by CFO Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier, whose surly attitude changed for the better after his fur colors swapped when a corrupt businessman’s curse backfired) and by marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/New Year kibble nibbler Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). We hope you enjoy the top 20 heavenly things of 2018 while Reverse Obie, Tulip, and I take our past-due “long winter’s nap” before mapping out the course of our lives for the coming year.

***Probably NOT Spoilers Below***

If you have a moment, check out our past FSoH/SitW Year-End Roundups to see all things heavenly including Part 1 for 2018. Now, keep in mind that some of the items listed below might have come out before 2018, but 2018 was the year that we read, watched, drank, or ate them, thus their inclusion here. We at Donist World, thank you for reading and hope you enjoy our selections as much as we do.

Donist World 20 Heavenly Things (In No Particular Order)

1) 11 O’Clock Comics (Podcast)

Yup, still my favorite podcast after all these years. You catch that? Not just my favorite comic book podcast, my favorite podcast. Period. David, Jason, Vince, and the occasional special guest have helped me get through some dreadful times at a job long past and currently make my work commute infinitely more tolerable. They discuss everything from current mainstream comics, to lesser-known titles, to books of the past, to the comics industry as a whole, to other media, and regularly have comic creators take up the fourth chair. I’ve never met these cats, but they feel like family at this point and I adore their show…even though they are wrong about The Goon...just sayin’. I contribute to their Patreon, and you should too.

2) The Last Podcast on the Left (Podcast)

While we’re on the subject of podcasts…Marcus, Ben, and Henry also seem like my younger brothers from other mothers. If you are looking for a podcast that is laugh-out-loud funny while being painstakingly researched on such topics as serial killers, cults, cryptids, conspiracy theories, UFOs, and the supernatural, then look no further. I will admit that it took two episodes for me to fully get into the show, but once it became clear how much work they put into each installment and how informative each one is, I was 100% in. Over the past two years, I’ve listened to all 340+ episodes—some multiple times—made my wife a believer, and have been contributing to their Patreon for almost a year now. You can also visit their site here.

3) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Movie)

Talk about a complete surprise. I first heard about this one earlier in the year and I honestly wrote it off as a Meh, maybe I’ll watch it when it comes to streaming. Then the buzz started happening. Work colleagues who don’t care about comic books or movies about comics were carrying on about it, and reviewers I trust and follow were going crazy about it as well. I decided why not check it out. HOLY MOLY! It is a masterpiece. Everything from animation, music, and most importantly story contributed to a cinematic triumph that is not only the best animated film I saw in 2018 but one of the best films I have EVER seen. I cannot wait to rewatch and to pick up the Blu-ray whenever it is released. Definitely, see it on the big screen with a great sound system, you will be so glad you did.

4) The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling (Graphic Novel)

My brother surprised me with this book for my birthday. I had never heard of the publisher or the creators and I had no idea that this book even existed until he placed it in my grubby mitts. This well-researched book explores the roots of wrestling from back in prehistoric times to carnival sideshows to the current multibillion-dollar industry it is today. Jeff and I became fanatics right around the time of the WWF’s Wrestlemania II and followed for many years after. This book touches upon not just those halcyon days, but well before and well after. I especially enjoyed learning about the insane business dealings and inside politics of “The One True Sport.” Whether or not you are a wrestling fan this is one you should check out. (Created by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno, published by Ten Speed Press)

5) Kingdom Rush: Vengeance (iOS Game)

One franchise of tower defense games will rule them all! Kingdom Rush sucked me in. Then came Kingdom Rush: Frontiers followed by Kingdom Rush: Origins. Heck, Ironhide Game Studio even took a fun-as-all-get-out leap into outer space with Iron Marines, but now they’re back on Earth with their latest installment Kingdom Rush: Vengeance! This time around, you take the side of the evil Vez’nan as you control goblins, dark elves, the undead, and all manner of hellishly cute creatures as they strike back. I am already anxiously awaiting updates to my favorite iOS game franchise of all time.

6) Avengers: Infinity War (Movie)

After years of building off of the massive success of the first Iron Man film, the moment I never thought would see (I also never thought I’d see an Iron Man movie) finally arrived: Thanos on the big screen. All the Avengers, Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Spider-Man somehow broke through oppressive corporate nonsense to come together to face their most dire foe. Their meeting was better than anything I could have ever hoped for. After nearly two and a half hours of action and thrills and staggering shocks, I left the theater completely exhausted and not sure how to process the tragic (yet completely expected by this comic book fan) events of the movie. I will be taking the day off of work the Friday the sequel debuts so I can grab lunch, have a few beers, and see how it all ends.

7) Thanos Wins (Graphic Novel)

Donny Cates has been blowing me away for the past year and a half. He has been crushing it with his Marvel work on titles like Doctor Strange, Damnation, Venom, and The Death of the Inhumans. He even wowed the Donist World puppy executive team with Cosmic Ghost Rider, a character he created (or rather, created off of previously created characters and concepts), but what blew us away the most was the series that introduced that character in the first place: Thanos Wins. Now, I’ve said many times, that Jim Starlin is the only one who has ever really handled Thanos to my satisfaction, but then Cates comes in and gives us a tremendous look at what happens when Thanos gets what he has always wanted. We finally see what happens when Thanos wins. I am definitely rereading this early in the new year. (Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw and others, published by Marvel Comics)

8) Deadpool 2 (Movie)

I always thought the character of Deadpool was…whatever. He was fine, but not something I really gave much thought about. Then I saw the first Deadpool movie. Oh. My. Gawd. I was laughing so hard I was crying, and that was during the opening credits. The rest was even better. Then came the sequel. I don’t know what it says about me, maybe it’s the times, but I had little hope for what the sequel would bring. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. Deadpool 2 was every bit as good as the first with the introduction of Cable (Josh Brolin...awesome) and Domino (Zazie Beetz...awesome…and gorgeous) and the rest of “X-Force.” I just watched this for a second time a couple days ago and I’m already gearing up for a third. Great action, great comedy, great thrills, oh my!

9) Marvel on Netflix (Television)

Yeah, I know, I’m totally cheating, but it’s my list and I can do whatever the hell I want, including lumping a bunch of great shows into one category. Daredevil season three was definitely the best of the four series we saw this year, but Jessica Jones was exciting, Luke Cage was consistently better than the first season, and Iron Fist miraculously rallied into something I thoroughly enjoyed after the fairly-awful first season gave one of my favorite Marvel superheroes a thousand-palms strike to the midsection. Man, I was even thoroughly stoked for the hinted at third season of Iron Fist…only to find all of the series had been canceled. WTF?!?! We’ll see what happens in the new year, but my hopes for a Heroes for Hire or Daughters of the Dragon series are probably going to be dashed.

10) Unnatural (Graphic Novel)

Whoa! Oh my. Excuse me as I fan myself, for I do believe I have the vapours. My goodness. First off: not for the kiddies and NSFW. Lordy no. Just look at the cover and you will get a hint as to why. This is a world where anthropomorphic animals run the show, and some of them—specifically the star, a pig girl named Leslie—are S-E-X-Y as hell. Leslie works a dumb job, spends time with her housemate, obsesses over sushi, and often dreams about her big, bad wolf. The problem with Leslie’s involuntary fantasy is that the totalitarian government (ugh, so much totalitarianism these days) has decreed that interspecies relationships (and homosexual relationships, for that matter) are “unnatural” and a punishable crime. Breathtaking art and colors bring to life this beautiful statement about love and the perils of oppression in a twelve-issue series from the hyper-talented Mirka Andolfo. Part social commentary and part drama with a dash of the supernatural, Unnatural is a thrilling and sexy-as-hell comic that I can’t wait to see more of in 2019. (Everythinged by Mirka Andolfo, published by Image Comics)

11) Spider-Man (PS4 Game)

Sigh. I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t. But I know The Last of Us 2 is going to be coming out someday hopefully soon, and Best Buy was having a sale on the PS4. I bought one. For $199.99, I got a PS4 bundle that came with the new(ish) Spider-Man game and I was in no way ready for the experience. Yes, the story is great, the animation is gorgeous, and it’s mighty satisfying to web some fool to a wall before he knows what hit him, but the highlight of this game is being Spider-Man as he swings all across New York City. Man, climbing to the tippy-top of a skyscraper, leaping off into the vast sky, plummeting down countless stories only to catch yourself at the last minute with a strand of webbing before swinging to a senses-shattering leap across the park to land atop a light post before striking down some muggers?!?! Okay, beating up the muggers is fun, too. This game is pure joy and I still have so much to see and do.

12) Extremity Volume 2: Warrior (Graphic Novel)

The first volume of Extremity took my breath away in 2017 and the final, concluding volume did the same in early 2018. An odd mixture of Hayao Miyazaki’s manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and the film Mad Max: Fury Road, Extremity follows Thea of the Roto clan as she continues her path of bloody vengeance against a rival clan that took her family and her greatest gift. The cycle of revenge and violence will never cease unless Thea can somehow change, and change is never easy. This is the book that turned me on to Daniel Warren Johnson who is now not just one of my favorite artists, but one of my favorite writers as well. I truly hope Extremity one day gets the oversized hardcover volume it so rightfully deserves. Brutal, haunting, yet beautiful all the same. This one is a must-read, must-own series. (Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, published by Image Comics)

13) Space Riders, Volume 2: Galaxy of Brutality (Graphic Novel)

Okay, Denizens, dim the lights, pop a relaxing edible, finish that glass of beer/wine before pouring yourself a fresh one, and embrace your chill. Be sure to have some prog rock playing to fully embrace the mood…before having the needle on the record scratch and sharply kick into some late-’70s/early-’80s, melt-your-face-off heavy metal as you jump forward in time while simultaneously traveling backward to four-color, cosmic COMIC CALAMITY!!! That is what reading the mindbending awesomeness of Space Riders is like, a warm, velvet-gloved hand slapping you across the face. Join Capitan Peligro and the crew of the Santa Muerte as they right the evils corrupting the galaxy. Kirby meets LSD while under a black light. You need to read volume one first, before diving in deep on this fun as hell series. Fuck, yeah! (Written by Fabian Rangel Jr., illustrated by Alexis Ziritt, published by Black Mask Comics)

14) The House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)

This massive tome was a birthday present to myself this year and I’ve been loving every one of its 860+ pages. This thing isn’t the easiest to read—it sure does weigh a lot—but it is so very worth it. With stories of horror and general creepiness from the ’70s as narrated by horror host extraordinaire Abel (of Cain and Abel fame), I have but five issues remaining until I reach the end. Of what I have read thus far, I would say that roughly 85% of the stories are great with the rest being merely good. Inside, you will find such talents as Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Don Heck, Jim Aparo, and so very many others. I can only hope a second volume arrives soon, but I will merrily pass the time reading the companion book The House of Mystery: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Volume 1 when it releases next week. (Written and illustrated by various, published by DC Comics)

15) Invincible Compendium, Volume 3 (Graphic Novel)

I originally read Invincible in trades but fell off the series around volume 14. No reason why. I still adored the book, I just lost track of things. Then, years later, I heard it ended and it got me remembering about what I had been missing. So, I got all three compendiums and read them back to back. Oh, my stars and garters, had I been missing out. This ultra-violent story of young Mark Grayson finally coming into his superhuman powers and becoming a superhero who has to navigate secret identities, legacies, parental baggage (which is extensive to say the least), love, duty, betrayal, and so much more, ended up being one of the best superhero sagas I have ever read, and it’s not even one of the Big Two. I will also say that the finale is one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read. Well worth reading all 144 issues from beginning to end in one fell swoop. (Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker, published by Image Comics)

16) Black Hammer Library Edition, Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)

As a huge Jeff Lemire fan, I have to admit I definitely lagged a bit on picking this one up. I’m not sure what the holdup was, but when I finally read the first trade, I instantly understood exactly what I had been missing. Black Hammer is essentially a love letter to the comics of old that celebrates superhero/horror/mystery genres by featuring new characters who are amalgamations of the classic Marvel and DC characters we all know and love. In Black Hammer, a group of heroes is trapped in a mysterious, lone town in the country where they have to hole up and try not to be discovered by the normal townsfolk. But even after the greatest of them is killed while attempting to leave the area, some begin to grow accustomed to rural life while others will do anything to escape it. This series is one of my top five comics currently being published and I love the various spin-offs as well. When this greatly oversized volume stuffed with extra goodies was released, I knew it had to be mine. There’s a reason why this series has been optioned for both movies AND television. Take the plunge and get it, get it, get it!

17) The Venture Bros. Season 7 (Television)

Wow. It’s been a good, long while since we last heard of The Venture Bros. so imagine my surprise when I did a random search online only to find that the first new episode in years was dropping in less than two weeks. Joy. The Venture Bros. is animation gold that is 100% for adults and rightfully so—especially given the Eyes Wide Shut-esque episode that had full-frontal nudity throughout. I have been with the show for nearly fifteen years now, and I will be with it until it ends while laughing time and time again with each rewatch. For those unfamiliar, The Venture Bros. follows the Venture Family: Dr. Venture, a former “boy adventurer” and now an ethically-challenged super scientist forever overshadowed by his father’s legacy; Hank and Dean Venture, Dr. Venture’s sons who tend to get into all sorts of trouble be it lizardmen, villains, or the prospect of girls; Brock Samson, the Venture family’s murderous bodyguard; and H.E.L.P.eR., a oftentimes useless robot. The Ventures are constantly under threat from b-list villains, like the Monarch, and their endless supply of henchmen. Basically, it’s a modern, comedic twist on Jonny Quest with curse words, satire, nudity, laugh-out-loud goofiness, and a whole lot of pokes at all the pop culture I love. So very good!

18) Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Television)

I was crazy for the Afterlife with Archie comic when it came out so many years ago, and I was equally thrilled by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina when it, too, was released. I LOVED the new horror twist on Archie and was always eager for the next issue…until they stopped coming altogether. That was a few years ago. Now, we at least get somewhat of a bone thrown our direction with the Netflix release of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Although not exactly as dark and doom-ridden as the comic, the television show is an immense and welcome surprise. Everyone has their moment to shine in this series with Kiernan Shipka stealing the show. Scary, funny, touching, and thoroughly entertaining, Sabrina tends to pay homage to many of the great horror films of the past, while offering plenty of clever commentary about society and religion as the menace of Satan looms in the wings. A great Christmas special just came out to tide us over until the series returns in April 2019!

19) Deadly Class (Television)

You all know I’m a huge fan of Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class comic, but I was a little worried when I heard that SYFY had picked up the rights to the television show. After seeing the advance premiere of the pilot episode, it is safe to say I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The show does not pull any punches in regard to the action and violence seen in the comic and it remains set in the ’80s with a kickass soundtrack that matches the time period. Every actor perfectly encapsulates their role and although there are some minor plot changes here and there, the pilot completely rings true to the comic and does what it is supposed to do: it leaves me desperate for the next episode. Dang! Best buckle your seatbelts, this one is going to be a helluva ride.

20) Beer (Beer)

As always, let’s close out with a look at the beers that wowed me the most in 2018. Some of these will pop up year-after-year, while others make their shiny first appearance:

  • Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) (Imperial stout aged in Bourbon Barrels from Founders Brewing Co.) - Man, this one came and went too fast. At least I have two bottles left until this tried and true Donist World darling returns.
  • w00tstout 2018 (Imperial stout from Stone Brewing) - Hells yes! They put this out in six-packs! Hells no! I only got one six-pack and never found anything other than a single 22oz bomber after that. You came and went too fast w00t, much too fast.
  • Pliny the Elder (Double IPA from Russian River Brewing) - Finally. We are finally starting to see more Russian River beers here in town. I have had Pliny on draft at a tap room and bought a bottle at another. Still one of my top three beers.
  • Pump[KY]n (Imperial pumpkin porter aged in bourbon barrels from Avery Brewing Co.) - I had this one two days after my birthday while watching Avengers: Infinity War at home. It might be $14.99 for a 12oz bottle, but this baby packs an 18.6% ABV punch. Man, I love this one.
  • Spruce Tip Sculpin (IPA with spruce tips from Ballast Point Brewing Company) - Yes, I know they’re almost considered “Big Beer” because of their partial buyout, but dang if this update on the classic Sculpin isn’t all sorts of great. A perfect beer for the holidays.
  • Celebration Fresh Hop IPA (IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) - Speaking of great holiday beers, this classic never gets old…especially since it’s about to vanish from store shelves until next year. Time to get some more.
  • Big Bad Baptista (Imperial stout from Epic Brewing Co.) - I wish I had bought a few more bottles of this super-duper stout aged in whiskey barrels with vanilla, cinnamon, Mexican coffee, and cacao nibs. Damn, this one’s good.

That wraps up this year’s roundup. If you think of anything I should be reading, watching, playing, or drinking, then please let me know. I hope you had a fantastic 2018 and I wish you all the best for 2019! Thank you for reading.