Saturday, January 13, 2018

Comics Lust 1/13/2018

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/distraught by disaster Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Remember last week how I said, “Well, it’s been a long month after losing my grandma, ending a position at my company, starting a new position at my company, having two harrowing weeks with the Thomas Fire, dealing with the holidays, and now dealing with a knock-down, drag-out cold.”? Things have not gotten better. This week, Santa Barbara County suffered yet another disaster, this time in Montecito where deadly flooding and mudslides have killed and displaced many people, destroyed homes and businesses, and indefinitelyshut downn the 101 freeway. I know people who woke in the middle of the night and had to immediately evacuate to safety, people I work with have lost loved ones and have damaged homes, Neither I or my Santa Barbara-based coworkers can get to work, and businesses already struggling after the December fires are once again losing business all around Santa Barbara. Honestly, it has been fucking awful. But we will get through this. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, drink plenty of water before enjoying that beer, cherish the ones you love, 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

Comics Worth Rereading

The wonderful thing about comics is that there are so many I completely, wholeheartedly love. There are certain series that I read over and over again throughout the years to where it has become somewhat of a ritual (The Micronauts, Preacher, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock and Thanos material). However, having a love of comics means there’s always something new, something that you hear is amazing and worthy of your time and dollars, vying for your attention every bit as much as the most treasured books in your collection. But then you look at your bookshelf or come across some issues from a fairly recent comic that somehow slipped your mind and you know you MUST reread them again as soon as possible. That’s what we’re looking at today: The comics I have not read for quite some time that are beckoning me to immerse myself in their rich realms once again.

Fear Agent (Written by Rick Remender, predominately illustrated by Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña, published by Dark Horse Comics)
Back when Fear Agent was first being released, I kept hearing and reading rave reviews for this weird, sci-fi, adventure series; I ignored them for over a year. The praise just kept on coming, and one fateful day, with a $20 Borders gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I said, “Fine. I’ll give this Fear Agent thing a shot.” I’m so glad I did. Having a definite beginning, middle, and end, the creators were able to tell their story exactly how they wanted to tell it. Fear Agent is about the last member of an intergalactic peacekeeping group who calls themselves Fear Agents, Heath Huston, whose life changed the day warring alien species chose to make Earth their battleground. Now, having lost everything, Heath balances killing himself slowly via the bottle and getting justice against the alien hordes that decimated his planet be they space amoebas, reptilian conquerors, or ruthless robots. Fear Agent is fun, touching, thrilling, and devastating all at once as it merges war, sci-fi, and horror comics all into one amazing package. Remender’s story is phenomenal and Moore and Opeña’s art is both a gorgeous homage to pulp sci-fi and a gold standard to which many comics hold themselves to today. I am dying to jump back in on this amazing tale. Trades and two oversized hardcovers are readily available. Get it now!

Locke & Key (Written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, published by IDW)
This was another series that I resisted buying despite the heaps of praise circulating about. So, the day I saw the first issue was available free digitally, I downloaded the comic. And there it sat for months. I eventually got around to reading it and ordered the first hardcover shortly thereafter. I was blown away by the mix of horror, family drama, and supernatural mystery in this beautifully illustrated and impeccably told tale about the horror that follows a family—three children and their mother—devastated by the grisly murder of the father/husband. Deciding to heal by retreating across the country to their remote family estate, one of the Locke family discovers a key that unlocks a bizarre power along with a malign spirit bent on completing a diabolical mission. I immediately ordered the next two volumes, and then was forced to endure the painful wait between hardcover releases until the day the sixth and final volume, “Alpha & Omega,” arrived. Locke & Key greatly surpassed all of my expectations as I cringed, smiled, laughed, worried, cried, feared, and rejoiced throughout this marvelous series. I have since listened to the audiobook version (different, for sure, but fans should check it out) and I am beyond excited for the television release from HULU.

Descender (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics)
Not all comics on this list have long since wrapped. In fact, Descender is very much still being published and continues to be my favorite comic book hitting the stands. Lemire and Nguyen’s compelling space opera oftentimes seems as if it were written specifically for me: lovely, ethereal watercolored art; a ’80s sci-fi vibe; aliens and robots abound; a heartfelt, character-rich, complex story. Descender sets the stage with the robot culls that happen after nine immense robots appear out of nowhere to devastate all nine planets that make up the United Galactic Council. The story follows one boy robot, TIM-21, who awakens after ten years of being offline to an extremely different universe. I absolutely love this series, and now that the fifth chapter, “Rise of the Robots,” has finished, I am biting my nails in anticipation for what comes next. You can easily find the five available trades, or you can pick up the recently released hardcover which I opted not to buy because it is standard size and has no bonus material at all, but it will give you three trades in one collection. Regardless of how you read this great series, just make sure you do!

Runaways (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Adrian Alphona, published by Marvel Comics)
I picked up the hardcover of the first 18 issues on a whim a while ago and loved what I read; it has a been a good long while since that day. Fast forward to 2017 where Amy and I are watching the first episode of HULU’s Runaways television show, and it all came rushing back just how much I enjoyed the comic book series. I also realized there’s a ton of stuff I don’t remember and I now want to compare the book to the show—we just watched the awesome season finale—and see how it differs. What’s it about? Basically, being a teenager ain’t easy, especially when the bad guys we all make our parents out to be is 100% true. This motley group of childhood friends—some with strange abilities, some with powerful tech gizmos, one with a pet dinosaur—uncover some of what their parents have been secretly doing, and are forced to run for their lives. If you love the television show as much as we do, then you definitely need to check in with the comic book series from which it was inspired.

Ex Machina (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Tony Harris and others, published by DC Comics)
What do you know? Another comic written by BKV! But given all the amazing comics Vaughan has written throughout the years, it’s not all that surprising. Mitchell Hundred, mayor of New York City, was once the world’s first superhero, but it is a life he desperately tries to leave behind after realizing the amount of sacrifice required brings almost no reward. But try as he might, Mayor Hundred and his ability to talk with all forms of machines and electronics keep being forced to deal with those who want him to return to superheroics, while others with mysterious abilities make their presence known. I remember loving this series with every trade that came out, but for the life of me, I can remember very little about this comic I enjoyed from back in the day. Ex Machina will most likely lead me back to Vaughan’s Y the Last Man, which I begrudgingly left off this list, before the end of the year as well.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by many, published by DC Comics)
After mentioning this powerful comic book event last week as one of my “Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island,” I really fanned the flames of fandom and now need to experience this marvelous epic all over again. This storyline sees the yellow lantern Sinestro tapping into the power of fear and creating his own corps of yellow lanterns to sew fear and transform the universe into Sinestro’s idealized vision. It is a ruthless war/space opera tale that spans many galaxies, with stakes so high, I often felt like putting the book down and doing some stress-relieving jumping jacks before diving back in. I can’t wait to revisit Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, but I also don’t want to stop there. I fully intend to carry on to the Red and Orange lantern storylines and on through to Blackest Night, which I remember as being somewhat of a letdown, but I’m curious to see what I think after reading it with fresh eyes. The beginning of this journey, however, is definitely solid gold.

This Week’s Reading List

Mister Miracle #6 (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics)
I’m still not sure who or what is messing with Mister Miracle, but I AM sure that I totally love this 12-issue miniseries thus far. This issue utilizes a nine-panel grid from beginning to end and simultaneously shows what total badasses Mister Miracle and Big Barda are while accurately depicting a (painfully) honest husband and wife conversation over “redoing” the house. For most of the issue, I was chuckling along with the spousal banter with periodic moments of my god, Mister Miracle just cleaved that guy in half, and Barda just annihilated that other dude. The reasoning behind their conversation took me by surprise, but not as much as the final-page reveal. Issue seven needs to get here ASAP. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman Vol. 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mikel Janín, published by DC Comics)
We might as well stay on the Tom King love train, as I finally read this captivating storyline about what happens when the Joker and the Riddler go to war and the impact on everyone caught in the crosshairs. The story shows how ruthless and cunning each criminal can be, as well as how determined the Batman is as stopping them. The issue about Kiteman is hands down my favorite and…let’s just say you won’t believe what a raw deal this poor d-level criminal bastard receives—man, I still feel bad for the guy. Trust me when I say this isn’t just King’s best Batman tale (thus far!), but one of my favorite Batman tales period. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Comics Lust 1/6/2018

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/chicken soup sous-chef Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Well, it’s been a long month after losing my grandma, ending a position at my company, starting a new position at my company, having two harrowing weeks with the Thomas Fire, dealing with the holidays, and now dealing with a knock-down, drag-out cold. Let’s just say that we at Donist World are ready to see some good times roll for a change. Anyhow, mind your health, drink plenty of water before enjoying that beer, cherish the ones you love, 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

Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island

I ain’t gonna lie denizens, this brutal cold has me feeling quite a bit brain broke, so I’m going to…borrow…a recent idea from my favorite comic book podcast, 11 O’Clock Comics. Today, I’m going to list the top ten books I would want with me were I to be stranded on a deserted island. Now, there are some rules that I have to adhere to, namely nine of these books have to be collected editions that have been offered or will be offered in the near future. For the tenth spot, I can have a custom omnibus collection of the series of my choosing; I actually own just such a custom bound series, but we’ll get to that towards the end. For now, in no particular order, the ten books I would need to keep me entertained for a good, long while.

1) Mage: The Hero Discovered (Everythinged by Matt Wagner, published by Image Comics)
There were a ton of titles that thrilled and wowed me back in the ’80s, books that are part of the most revered period of comics history. But even with such a wealth of material, if I had to choose one to accompany me to my deserted island, it would have to be Matt Wagner’s Mage: The Hero Discovered. 15 issues in length, and revitalizing a mythical character in the form of Kevin Matchstick, Mage kept me desperate for each subsequent issue and never let me down despite breaking my heart on more than one ocassion—dang, I love those characters—all the while reminding me of the hero who dwells in us all. The third and final chapter of this fantastic trilogy is currently being released.

2) Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume (Everythinged by Jeff Smith, published by Cartoon Books)
I’ve mentioned before that I suggested a friend have his son read the incredible Bone collection…he heard my suggestion as me giving him my copy. That’s cool, though, his son loved the series and probably read this hefty collection until the pages fell out. Still, I need a replacement copy so I can bring this fun, all-ages, fantasy-adventure comic along for my long period of isolation. Cartoony, whimsical, and fun, this oh-so-gorgeous series also held some gravitas and danger. Bone has been on my mind for quite some time now and looks like I need a replacement copy asap. Bones, and dragons, and rat things, oh my!

3) Age of Apocalypse Omnibus (Written and illustrated by a bunch of people, like Mark Waid and Scott Lobdell, published by Marvel Comics)
At over 1000 pages, you might have to have a spotter to help your heft this beast of a book. One thing I love about the immensely successful Age of Apocalypse event is that it broke away from the painfully complex continuity of the X-titles and created its own alternate universe free of the constraints of decades of stories. At the time the issues were coming out, I had not touched anything X-Men related in years, but because of the many recognizable characters, as well as plenty of intriguing new ones, and a new world, I gave most of the revamped series a chance, and I’m so glad I did. The entire event has a beginning, middle, and end, and although I had no idea of what led up to this event, I was able to follow along just fine. Oh, and for the record, I LOVE the new Sunfire design.

4) Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Written by Paul Levitz, illustrated by Keith Giffen, published by DC Comics)
Oh, how my brother and loved this storyline. Oh, how we still do. Jeff and I were already huge Legion of Super-Heroes fans, with its massive roster of cool good guys and bad guys, but when you bring Darkseid and his genetically altered clones into the mix…we had struck comic book gold. The cool thing about this volume is that it contains the issues leading up to the arrival of the first minion, which were issues we had somehow missed the first time around. It also contains all of the glorious issues we did have, the ones that have practically disintegrated from hundreds of rereads. It’s the Legion’s darkest hour, and It’s one of the brightest spots on my favorite bookshelf, as this treasure more than stands up to the test of time. Not bragging—which means I’m about to brag—but my copy is signed by Mr. Levitz, as well, and will some distant year join me in my tomb.

5) Planetary Omnibus (Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by John Cassaday, published by DC Comics)
Dang. I knew I had to put either Planetary or The Authority on this list, and given that Ellis and Cassaday’s Planetary is the longer of the two—27 issues versus 12 issues—I was able to make the difficult choice. The fact that the end of Planetary is so touching that it brings me to the verge of tears with every single reread also doesn’t hurt. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, The Drummer, and Ambrose Chase are all some of my favorite comic book characters because of this masterfully told and illustrated love letter to pop culture; there’s no way I’d leave home without it. My only gripe is that this supposed omnibus doesn’t also collect the Planetary/Batman standalone tale, but whatchagonnado. ( can, however, get the recently released Planetary: Book One trade and then the Planetary: Book Two trade in March, and you’ll have the whole kit and kaboodle for cheaper.)

6) Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1 (Most notably written by Len Wein, most notably illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, published by DC Comics)
Since starting “Comics Lust” I’ve mentioned that Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing is what made me fall in love with comic books. I could not go without this treasure. Not only does it contain all of the material they created together, it also contains the stuff that came after Wrightson left the series (which I have sadly not yet read), as well as The Saga of the Swamp Thing material before Alan Moore came aboard (which I have read and definitely love). One of my all-time-favorite characters as created by two of my all-time-favorite creators, my life would be lessened were I not to have this 724-page beauty by my side.

7) Guardians of the Galaxy: Solo Classics Omnibus (Created by many people with Jim Starlin being my personal hero, published by Marvel Comics)
I was close to putting Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet on the list, but even though I love that storyline, Starlin’s early work on Adam Warlock and Thanos won out in the end. I LOVE that stuff, but when you wrap that treasured material In a monster burrito of content containing the likes of Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax the Destroyer, and many of the mainstream heroes we know and love, there’s plenty to be happy about with this 1100+ page beast. What’s even better about this collection is that I haven’t read a bunch of it, so with the sun at my head and the surf at my toes, I will have something new to while away the time.

8) Fourth World by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Everythinged by Jack Kirby, published by DC Comics)
Speaking of stuff I haven’t read before…I’ve actually only read some of the New Gods material, and have not read a single issue of Mister Miracle or The Forever People, so this 1500-page behemoth would be a welcome addition to my deserted island or to the comfort of my home. I love Darkseid from the Legion books and for being a menace to the DCU in general, while Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, and the rest have all appeared in so many titles throughout the years that they are practically family. Unread comics: check. Jack Kirby material: check. Cool characters I dig: Check. Now that I’m on the subject, I really want this ultra-groovy tome.

9) Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Vol. 1 (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by many, published by DC Comics)
I really enjoyed Johns’s run on Green Lantern: Rebirth, but his “The Sinestro Corps War” storyline is one of the best DC events…ever. Why should the Green Lanterns be the only ones with rings of power? Why is Sinestro the only one with a yellow ring? Are there rings that harness the power of the other colors in the spectrum? Well, this beautiful collection answers all those questions and more and succeeded in turning this Donist from someone who always liked the character into a Green Lantern fan. Dang, I really need to reread this run and I will probably continue on to the material that can be found in the Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Vol. 2 collection.

10) The Micronauts (Written by Bill Mantlo; illustrated by Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, Butch Guice, and others; published by Marvel Comics)
Here is my cheat book. Many years back, I took my treasured collection of The Micronauts and had them library bound into a three-volume collection. As I mention often to anyone who will listen, this is the series that made me a comic book collector: I love it with all my heart. For this deserted island, I would want one collection to rule them all of the Mantlo penned issues, including the four-issue miniseries of The X-Men and the Micronauts. I also painfully realize that because of the nightmarish licensing purgatory that is The Micronauts property, it will be a while before we see any sort of legit collection or omnibus of this Donist World Darling of a series. The Micronauts…don’t get stranded on a deserted island without it.

What’s your “Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island” list?

This Week’s Reading List

Doomsday Clock #2 (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, published by DC Comics)
Oh, my gosh! I am LOVING Doomsday Clock. I had completely written off any attempt at a sequel to Watchmen, but Johns and Frank have not only accomplished the impossible task of following up a masterpiece, they are also merging two comic book worlds into one! I love the new villains of Marionette and the Mime, and this issue (again) knocks it out of the park with both the story and the art. You need to be reading this. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

X-Men: Grand Design #2 (Everythinged by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics)
I freaked out about the first issue, and I am freaking out about this second issue as well. Again, Piskor flawlessly takes the quagmire that is the X-Men’s continuity and focuses it into an enjoyable, coherent, and accessible story. The art and production are beyond gorgeous in this double-sized, must-own treasure. I can’t wait for the summer when the next chapter is set to arrive. Come late March, Marvel will be releasing a collection of these two issues, which I fully intend to pickup…I'm just hoping it ends up being oversized despite what the specs currently say. This is must-own material in every form that sees release. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 (Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Mike Feehan, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by Dave Sharpe, published by DC Comics)
I love Russell’s Prez. I love Russell’s The Flintstones. If this impressive first issue is any indication of what is to come, then it’s safe to say I will love Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles as well. Set in the ’50s, Snagglepuss is a closeted gay playwright about to become the target of a “Subversives” hunt. At one issue in, this comic is a historical, satirical look at the base elements of McCarthyism, while taking a shot or two at the stupidity of today’s toxic political climate. Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is one you best grab right away. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Donist World 2017 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.)

Donist World 2017 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 2017 while the Reverse Obie, Tulip, and I take our past-due “long winter’s nap” before we map 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 for 2017 (Part 1)2016 (Part 1), 2016 (Part 2)2015 (Part 1)2015 (Part 2)2014 (Part 1)2014 (Part 2)20132012, and 2011 to see all things heavenly from the past. Now, keep in mind that some of the items listed below might have come out before 2017, but 2017 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) - I listen to a fair amount of podcasts while at work: 11 O’Clock Comics is not one of them. Instead, I listen to my favorite podcast only while driving to and from work or when I go for a run. I think of it as a reward for doing something I normally wouldn’t want to do. It is during this time that I get to listen to David, Jason, and Vince talk about our favorite subject: comics. They recently hit their 500th episode this year and the special guest episode with Ed Piskor (X-Men: Grand Design and Hip-Hop Family Tree) is one of the best interviews I’ve heard all year. They’ve also had a successful Patreon campaign to which I will be upping my pledge in the new year. If you love comics as much as I love comics, then you can’t miss this podcast.
  2. Stranger Things 2 (Television Show - Netflix) - If you read last year’s installment, you know I was over the moon for the first season of Stranger Things. It touched on practically everything I love about the ’80s: Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars, design and film aesthetics, an amazing soundtrack and score, monsters, friendships, superpowers, and secret government experiments go awry. So, naturally, I was quite worried that the sophomore effort for what is one of my top-five-favorite television shows would be lacking. Not the case. Stranger Things 2 is everything I could have hoped for in the second season and can be enjoyed whether you lived through the ’80s or are just now gaining an appreciation for the time period many decades later.
  3. Blade Runner 2049 (Movie) - When I heard Blade Runner was getting a sequel, I was again quite skeptical on how it would fare when most sci-fi films today go for style over substance; Blade Runner 2049 has both. Adhering to an ’80s style of storytelling very much in line with the first film, while at the same time fully exploiting the advances in special effects technology three decades can provide, this enthralling piece of cinema is a success of story, sound, and vision that I cannot wait to rewatch upon the Blu-ray’s release.
  4. Game of Thrones, Season Seven (Television Show - HBO) - Do I really need to go into how amazing this show is? Yeah, another one of my top-five favorite television shows, this shorter season also managed to be my favorite in the series as many of the characters we both love and love to hate began to come together and realize the threat of the White Walkers. For every episode of this beautiful/terrifying/enchanting/nerve-wracking series, I made sure our schedule was clear of any obligations and that I had a bottle of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk to help weather the storm of this triumphant fantasy series. I have no idea when the final season will air, but I promise I will be there, beer in hand, to help carry me through to this epic television show’s end.
  5. My Favorite Murder (Podcast) - My friends at work kept telling me about this My Favorite Murder podcast thing they love, so I checked one out. Then I went back to the beginning and steadily made my way through each episode until I caught up. I am now a “Murderino.” Karen and Georgia—with production and anything and everything technical by Steven—talk about murders, both small town and famous, in a lighthearted manner with just enough details to keep your morbid interest from beginning to end. I will be writing to them with my own hometown murder in 2018 and I fully intend to “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” Their fantastic podcast led me to…
  6. The Last Podcast on the Left (Podcast) - I first learned of The Last Podcast on the Left after listening to a bunch of My Favorite Murder episodes, so I gave them a shot. They are now one of my favorite podcasts…period. They cover all manner of subject matter but primarily focus on serial killers, government conspiracies, ghosts, UFOs, cults, cryptids, and the occasional Creepy Pasta reading. Impeccably researched and hilariously presented by Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel, and Henry Zebrowski, The Last Podcast on the Left has brought me to tears of laughter on MANY occasions while at work, and I have frequently had to pause an episode to take a walk and regain my composure. I hammered through every episode available (episode 300 just came out), I’ve relistened to many of them, and I even got Amy hooked on the boys as well. I will be signing up for their hugely successful Patreon in early 2018.
  7. Iron Marines (iOS Game) - I adore Ironhide Game Studio’s tower defense series: Kingdom Rush, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, and Kingdom Rush: Origins. So, when they announced forever ago that they would be making a sci-fi installment among their otherwise fantasy roster, I was 100% on board. Even though the game only came out a few months ago, I’ve received every available achievement, maxed out every character I own (I still need to buy a couple other characters), and loved every second of hostile alien squishing and evil robot smashing. The next expansion cannot come soon enough.
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (Movie) - Man, this is a fun movie. Any fears I had of the sequel not measuring up to the original were quickly allayed within the first few minutes of the opening credits scene. Checking back in with my favorite family of cosmic misfits was a blast from beginning to end that had me laughing, crying, and crying because of laughing as the GotG universe expanded and introduced us to some cool new characters to boot. Once I buy the Blu-ray, I see a double-header viewing night of the first and second movie in my near future. One of my top-five-favorite sci-fi film franchises of all time.
  9. My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Book/Graphic Novel) - My wife gave me this book for X-Mas and I have to say it is now one of my most prized possessions; I’m also only about 30% through the book as of this writing. Everythinged by Emil Ferris and published by Fantagraphics, this absolute treasure is part graphic novel, part fictional memoir, an homage to pulp and monster magazines, a murder mystery, an exploration of art, and a family drama all rolled into one. To make this work of art even more impressive is the fact Ferris illustrated the vast majority of the book using Bic ballpoint pens (red, black, blue, and green) on lined, three-hole punched paper. She primarily uses a system of intricate cross-hatching to depict shadows and the illusion of a broader color palette than what she actually used, and her style shifts from realism to surrealism to cartoonish to horrific as required by the young werewolf girl, Karen Reyes. Please please please please please check out the cover and see that it was drawn with only a couple of ballpoint pens, take a quick look inside, and buy this thing of beauty that everyone simply must own. I can’t wait to continue reading, and I can’t wait for volume two to arrive in August 2018. I must implore you, however, do not buy the digital version! This one is meant to be held in your hands as you turn each glorious page.
  10. Legion (Television Show - FX) - I can’t believe a cable network actually allowed this highly experimental, thoroughly engaging show about a mutant from the X-Men universe to actually grace our television sets. Clocking in at a short eight episodes, Legion follows the possibly crazy, possibly abused, possibly an addict, possibly possessed, possibly the most powerful being in all existence David Haller as he makes his way about a mental institution and falls in love with a beautiful young woman who refuses to be touched. I love everything about this engrossing, trippy, unnerving show whether it is the great cast, the rich soundtrack, the moody score, and especially the bizarre cinematic effects you won’t find anywhere else. Season two can’t come soon enough.
  11. Rick and Morty (Television Show - Adult Swim) - My younger coworkers had been telling me for quite some time that I needed to watch Rick and Morty, that I would love it. So I gave the first episode of the first season a shot and had watched all three seasons within the span of two weeks. I’m a convert. I now totally understand why everyone is goo-goo for gaga over this very intelligent, wholly inappropriate cartoon show. I now worship at the altar of Pickle Rick and look forward to rewatching this show beginning to end until season four is graciously unleashed upon us all.
  12. Marvel Puzzle Quest (iOS Game) - I hate you, Marvel Puzzle Quest. I’ve given you much too much of my time, and I’m ready to call it…wait a minute…I have a shot at a yellow-powered Captain America (Peggy Carter) card!!! Crap! If I get that, it means I only need one more power card—whether that’s red, blue, or yellow—from making this my first fully promotable four-star character!!! Dang, I simply cannot quit you! Marvel Puzzle Quest is a puzzle game involving heroes, villains, battling three on three, getting purple crystals, coins, and stars so you can expand your roster of Marvel characters. Stupid addictive.
  13. Runaways (Television Show - Hulu) - I really liked the Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona comic book series from back in the day, and this new Marvel television series is REALLY doing the comic justice. I love all the actors and their characters, the settings are perfect, the effects are cool, and Runaways is something I look forward to watching with Amy every week. I totally intend to reread the comics once this first season wraps. Enjoyable by all.
  14. The Girl with All the Gifts (Movie) - One weekend when Amy was out of town, I thought, Why not find a cool horror movie to watch. I saw the disturbing poster for The Girl with All the Gifts on Amazon Prime and thought this zombie flick might be the way to go. I got SO much more than a mere zombie movie. The character of Melanie is completely OWNED by Sennia Nanua in this post-apocalyptic masterpiece that gave far more than I could ever hope for. Imagine my surprise when I learned of…
  15. The Girl with All the Gifts (Book) - Nope. Your eyes do not deceive you. I did not know that the amazing movie was based on an equally amazing novel by M. R. Carey. What I also did not know was that M. R. Carey is also comic book writer Mike Carey. The book follows a series of characters in a post-apocalyptic world trying to understand and cure the blight of zombies that has decimated the world, and the strange and brilliant Melanie might hold the key to mankind’s survival. I won’t say anything else other than read it.
  16. Logan (Movie) - At a time when I thought the X-franchise might be done, Logan came along and totally blew me away. Brutal, sorrowful, tragic, and beautiful all at the same time, the film follows an older Wolverine and an ailing Professor Xavier as they encounter a mutant girl who is eerily like Wolverine not just in powers and physical characteristics, but in animalistic attitude. What really drew me in on this film was the atmosphere that reminded me of both the video game The Last of Us and the movie/novel The Girl with All the Gifts. I have this on Blu-ray and intend to watch the regular version followed by the included Black and White version as well.
  17. The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Graphic Novel) - Everythinged by Sonny Liew and published by Random House, is a phenomenal story about comic book artist Charlie Chan Hock Chye. The book is partially a history of Singapore and partially a character study, but is wholly a work of wonder. Liew utilizes so many different art styles in this beautifully produced book that it is mind-blowing to know it was both written and illustrated solely by one person. Although this book was released in 2016, I did not read it until this year. The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye deserves to be on everyone’s premiere bookshelf. You can read more of my thoughts about this lovely book from my earlier post here.
  18. Thor: Ragnarok (Movie) - Thor: Ragnarok is not just the weirdest of the Thor movies, it is the weirdest of the Marvel movies, and is now one of my top three—along with the first Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier. This film is actually three movies in one: the story of Ragnarok, an outer space romp with the Hulk, and the confrontation with Hela. Typically, cramming so much into a movie would make it a hot mess, but not here. Thor: Ragnarok is a thrilling, funny, roller coaster ride that had me cheering and smiling from beginning to end. Even Amy, who is fiercely critical of the superhero movies, gave it a seven out of ten, which means comic book fans outta love the heck out of it.
  19. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Television Show - HBO) - Dang. We really need John Oliver to come back seeing as how so much as happened since the show went on hiatus until 2018. As the Dotard in Chief and his ever-expanding team of villains continued to assail our democracy in 2017, Oliver exposed it all, broke it down, and told the truth, all while making us laugh despite the horror of it all. It’s only been a couple of months and so much has happened. Come back, John Oliver! We need you to shed light on the truth and to bring some much-needed laughs while you are at it.
  20. Beer (Beer) - Yes, Denizens, 2017 has been all about the barrel-aged beers, which means much higher ABVs (yay) and much higher calorie counts (boo). Here are some of the ones that floored me, as well as some of the staples of the Donist World corporate headquarters (Mom’s basement):
    • Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) (Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Co.) - I was able to pick up two four-packs of what is my favorite beer for celebrating a special occasion. Cave-aged in bourbon barrels for one year, this kicked-up version of Founders’s breakfast stout is a must-find for all beer lovers. I only have three left, but thank goodness this seasonal is about to return in the next month or two.
    • Pliny the Elder (Imperial IPA from Russian River Brewing Co.) - Yeah, Pliny still reigns king. If you’ve tried it, then you know. If you haven’t, seek it out. Amy surprised me with a case of this at the beginning of the year.
    • High West Barrel-Aged Victory At Sea (Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Co.) - Victory at Sea is easily my favorite porter, but when you barrel-age something that is already special, you get a beer that is ever specialerer. This is right up there with KBS for a beer to truly mark a momentous occasion.
    • Stygian Descent (Black IPA from Stone Brewing) - I was thoroughly bummed when Stone canceled my favorite Sublimely Self-Righteous black IPA. Thankfully, this barrel-aged beauty crossed my path. If only it wasn’t so dang expensive.
    • w00tstout (2017) (Imperial Stout from Stone Brewing) - I satisfied my dream of visiting Stone Brewing this summer and got to have this black-gold treasure on tap and by the bottle before the rest of the country got the chance. A lovely, complex, barrel-aged beer that will be vanishing from store shelves soon.
    • 120 Minute IPA (Imperial IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery) It is a pain in the butt to find this in town, but when I do I buy a bottle or two. Clocking in at 18% ABV, don’t expect to do anything of substance afterward. 120 Minute IPA is one to sip and to allow to warm as you enjoy the complex flavors. 
    • Xocoveza (Imperial Stout from Stone Brewing) - The perfect winter beer. till love this special treat.
    • Breakfast Stout (Imperial stout from Founders Brewing Co) - Rejoice denizens! The base beer for my much loved KBS is fantastic on its own and now available year round. I drink ’em out of a Founders Breakfast Stout mug. Why? Because I can.
    • Dragon’s Milk (Imperial stout from New Holland Brewing Company) - Booze…you can taste and feel the booze, and that is a good thing. Don’t watch Game of Thrones without it.
    • Grapefruit Sculpin (IPA from Ballast Point) - Regular Sculpin is one of the best IPAs in town, but you add grapefruit to an already established champion and you get this treasure. The habañero version is interesting, and the pineapple is good, too.

If there is anything you think I should be reading, watching, playing, or drinking, then please let me know; I’d love to hear it. Thanks for reading Donist World and all the best for you in 2018!


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Donist World 2017 Year-End Roundup - Part 1!

(Sung to the tune of The Sound of Music's “My Favorite Things”)

Giant-sized robots torment the planet
Scott Free’s my hero I’m telling you, dammit
Cruel-hearted Mud King, Doomsday Clock it rings
These are a few of my favorite things

X-Men historian does what most cannot
Stone Age critique of the have and the have not
Hero Matt Wagner’s Matchstick finding kings
These are a few of my favorite things

Six bizarre heroes stuck in the country
High school assassins yearning to be set free
Berzerker warrior’s deadly ax it sings
These are a few of my favorite things

Diamond misships
Then my beer spills
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Slice of Heaven For the Year!

Happy Holidays, denizens! Needless to say, it has been a harrowing past couple of weeks. My grandma died, many cities around us burned for three weeks, I had to work remotely, the air was toxic, my work nearly caught on fire, I started a new position at my job, we fled to Morro Bay for a couple days, and…and…and… Let’s just say Saturday was the first chill day I’ve had for some time. But everything seems to be back on track so long as you don’t look at what the Dotard in Chief and his GOP minions are trying to do to our democracy…but let’s not go there today.

Instead, let’s acknowledge that the holidays aren’t necessarily “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for everyone (I do like that song and video, though), and they can honestly be quite painful to many. So, let’s spread some much-needed cheer with some winter warmer beers—last night I had a Ballast Point “High West” barrel-aged “Victory at Sea”…a beautiful beer, indeed— some gingerbread cookies, and some whiskeys and ryes by the fire as we reflect upon the comics that captured our hearts over the course of 2017. So, if you have your own “forced family togetherness” making things unbearable as Uncle Billy Joe Jim Bob once again shouts pantless from the roof as he swigs from a bottle of cooking sherry, then, by all means, you owe it to yourself to swipe an innards-warming beverage as you abscond to your place of peace to enjoy some most wonderful comic books. Oh yeah, be sure to grab some of them there Christmas cookies, especially the ones with the crunchy frosting, before you take a deep, calming breath and let all those worries go for a little bit.

***Probably NOT Spoilers Below***

If you have a moment, check out our past FSoH/SitW Year-End Roundups for 20162015201420132012, and 2011 to see all things heavenly from the past. For the comic series listed below, I provide a linked image of the best way to experience the comic if you have not yet read it. Basically, I will try to show an omnibus, then a hardcover, then a trade, and finally, if no trade is yet available, the first issue of the series. We at Donist World thank you for reading and hope you enjoy these comics as much as we do.

Donist World Top 10 Favorite Comic Series of 2017 (In no particular order)

1) Descender

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics.I know I have said this every year since the first issue’s release, but Lemire and Nguyen’s Descender is still my favorite on-going series hitting the stands and even though I say “In no particular order” this sci-fi, space opera extraordinaire cements its spot at number one. The creators keep me desperate to see what happens next as the ever-expanding roster of amazing characters—comprised of robots, humans, aliens, and cyborgs—begins to come together to unveil the secret of the monstrous robots known as the Harvesters. Lemire makes you love even the villains of the series as he exposes their pasts and gets you to sympathize with their plight—I’m looking at you, TIM-22. The writing stands on its own, but with Nguyen’s gorgeous watercolors depicting such breadth of emotions for the characters, such intricately detailed spacescapes, and such amazing character designs, Descender continues to be a powerhouse of a comic worthy of displaying on your favorite bookshelf for all to see. There are also four trades available in addition to the lovely hardcover.

2) Seven to Eternity

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, published by Image Comics. I’m of a firm mind that all “Top” or “Best of” lists for the year have to have at least one title by Rick Remender. He currently has four series running, all of differing genres, and I love them all. But if I had to choose one, the fantasy adventure Seven to Eternity is hands down my favorite. Remender and Opeña have not only created a unique world, they have established religions, rules of magic, and creatures like no other. Our dying protagonist’s quest to break the evil Mud King’s terrible hold on the denizens of this treacherous world is positively fascinating as are the mysterious cast of characters rounding out the story. Opeña’s art is stunning; his designs, line work, and intricate backgrounds are mesmerizing in their beauty with each panel being worthy of taking a moment to linger over. My only complaint rests on the delays between issues and arcs, but part of this lies in just how captivating this series is thus far and my desire to see how it all plays out.

3) X-Men: Grand Design

Everythinged by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, I just read this on Wednesday and I have to say it is one of the best things Marvel has released in at least a decade. It is clear Piskor not only knows his X-Men history, but he wholeheartedly loves them as well. For those not in the know—and also almost certainly out of luck for getting a first-print copy of this MUST-OWN limited series—X-Men: Grand Design is a summarization of the history of the X-Men. Piskor has given himself the nigh-impossible task of refining decades of material down to its base elements while making sense of convoluted storylines and making the book enjoyable to boot; he totally knocks it out of the freakin’ park. His art clearly is his own, never towing any sort of house style, and if anything has an indie vibe. The design of the wonderfully lengthy first issue is spectacular: newsprint-feeling paper stock, yellowed-appearing pages, halftone dots and primarily flat color schemes. In reading this issue, I was torn between staying on a page to admire it for as long as possible, and whipping through the thing to see what happens next. In two painfully long weeks we get the second issue, and then in May of 2018, we will get an oversized collection of the first two issues. Hot diggity dog, I can’t wait! I also need to pick up Piskor’s gorgeous Hip-Hop Family Tree.

4) Mister Miracle

Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics. This is starting to get ridiculous. King blew me away last year with his Omega Men and The Vision series, and now he’s gone and done it again with the phenomenal Mister Miracle. We only have five issues of the twelve-issue series thus far, but with just the first issue I knew Mister Miracle was going to be one of the best new series of 2017. The book opens with Scott Free’s attempted suicide, but something isn’t right. Something’s off and we don’t yet know what that is. Gerads’s solid storytelling and emotional character acting make each issue a powerful and intricate look into Mister Miracle and the weight that being a New God has on him. I still have no clue as to what is going on behind the scenes of this story, but the frequent staticky images imply something nefarious is pulling Scott’s strings; I will be there every step of the way to the end. This series is certain to pull in tons of awards and rightfully so.

5) Doomsday Clock

Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, published by DC Comics. Again, we have a solitary issue showing up in my Top Ten of 2017 list, and it’s also a comic I was initially dead set against buying. How things change. Like many, my initial thought was to just leave Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen alone and in no way did I want those twisted Charlton Comics characters mingling with the DC proper. I was convinced it could not be properly done. This one issue, however, leads me to suspect Johns and Frank just might pull it off. We see why Ozymandias and Rorschach are still running around, as well as the impact of Rorschach’s journal coming to light on the world; it’s damn terrifying. The first issue also briefly checks in with the Man of Steel and left me wanting more more more. Johns and Frank tonally and visually sync with the original creators’ work, delivering the feeling of tension and dread that made Watchmen such an iconic masterpiece. Time will tell if Doomsday Clock can remain true to the source material while melding two distinct universes; I have high hopes.

6) The Flintstones

Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Steve Pugh, published by DC Comics. Yes, I’m still bitter that Russell’s critically-acclaimed Prez was canceled before it could finish, but what better way heal that wound than with another critically-acclaimed series: the twelve-issue The Flintstones. Collected across two trades, the first family of Bedrock comes together in a hilarious satire that oftentimes hits far too close to home to be comfortable. Russell and Pugh cover everything from consumerism, to religion, to our treatment of war veterans, to local politics, to capitalism, to family, to marriage, to friendship, to work, to corporatism, to economics, and everything in-between. Pugh’s characters are a hybrid stylization of the cartoons of old and traditional comic characters—with the exception being gorgeous women, like Wilma—and he layers so many sight gags into his pages that readers of The Flintstones are rewarded with missed surprises with each reread. Anyone looking forward to Russell’s 2018 revision of Snagglepuss as a gay playwright should definitely give the brilliant social commentary of The Flintstones a try.

7) Mage: The Hero Denied

Everythinged by Matt Wagner, published by Image Comics. I can honestly say that Mage: The Hero Discovered is not just one of my favorite comics of the ’80s, but one of my top five favorite comics of all time. Mage: The Hero Defined was also incredibly fun, and was well worth the eleven-year wait. Now, eighteen years after the second series wrapped, we finally head into the third and final chapter of the Mage Trilogy. The wait was worth it and my enthusiasm for Kevin Matchstick and his trials has only grown. Now with a wife and child to protect, Kevin is once again ushered onto the hero’s path as the stakes increase. Words of warning, though: if you have not yet experienced Mage, then you really should start from the beginning and follow along through to the rapidly approaching end. A truly epic tale.

8) Atomahawk

Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ian Bederman, published by Image Comics. What do you know. Another single issue, and who knows when the official first issue is set to come out. This oversized #0 comic is madness from the getgo as we follow the metallic Cyberzerker and his bloodthirsty weapon, Atomahawk, as they cleave their way across land and space. This one is a trip and a half given the mind-bending visuals of whites, reds, blues, and blacks and acid-trip cosmic adventure. You have to see this comic to believe it, and I highly recommend you listen to some Iron Maiden or Judas Priest as you marvel at the insanity of this lovely beast. It was originally serialized in recent issues of Heavy Metal magazine, and I am not sure if they continue to serialize stories or not, and I also don’t know when we will see the next installment. What I do know is that Atomahawk is an amazing experience you can have again and again with each reread. Turn on the blacklight, things are about to get crazy.

9) Black Hammer

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dean Ormston, published by Dark Horse Comics. This comic series blew me away after I read the first trade and now that I got my grubby little paws on the just-released second volume, I am thoroughly amped to dive in…I’m going to reread the first trade first, though. This series is what happens when Lemire wants to write an homage to Silver Age characters. Black Hammer follows an oddball group of heroes stuck in a town from which they cannot escape. What/who stranded them there? Who is happy with the situation? Who will do anything to escape? You will have to just wait and see like the rest of us. Ormston’s illustrations are eerie, haunting even, and tell the story beautifully. I especially like the tripped out Captain Comet (?) analog known as Colonel Weird. I cannot wait to immerse myself back in, and I’m also excited for the spin-off miniseries Sherlock Frankenstein and The Legion of Evil.

10) Deadly Class

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, published by Image Comics. There’s a reason why Deadly Class is set to have a television pilot premiere in 2018, and it’s that this comic about a high school for young assassins is a nail-biting, roller-coaster adventure. Set in the ’80s, the first year of school shocked my socks off with the lethal freshman finals (sorry, not going to spoil), and the second year, with the introduction of some new fresh faces for the meatgrinder manages to keep my heart rate ever elevated. Remender makes every twist and turn impactful, and Craig’s gorgeous art and kinetic high-panel-count pages keep things zipping right along. Be warned: don’t ever get too comfortable with this book, because the creators are certain to throw you for a loop just when you least expect it. You can currently pick up the first six trades if the hardcover route is too long a wait between releases.

But wait, I’m sure there's more...

I'm sure there are plenty of other comics I somehow forgot to mention or have not yet bought or read in 2017. If there are any glaring omissions, please let me know. There's plenty of room at the Donist World corporate offices for more comics and...hold on a sec...actually, Amy the intern (my wife) has corrected me and said that "No, there is not plenty of room here." <psssttt...hey denizens, let me know anyways. I can totally sneak more comics in on the down low. Just let me know. We can do this…>

Stay tuned next week for the “Donist World 2017 Year-End Roundup - Part 2!”