Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 2/12/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Descender, Low, Black Science, and Weirdworld

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 / bagel specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). With the long weekend ahead of us, I’ve decided to close up the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) early so we can enjoy the rest of this unnaturally lovely February day. Reverse Obie has gone off to fetch a melon baller (not sure why, as I don’t think melons are even in season), and Tulip was talking about adding a touch of mint and some cucumber slices to the dog water so we could stay refreshed before ending our symposium on maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Me…I’m off to get a bucket of French fries, because fries were born to be served out of a bucket; we all know this to be true.  So, order up some tasty tacos and a nice ginger brew, put on some ’80s retro synth music, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

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

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Descender #10
Descender #10 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Telsa and Dr. Quon worry about their hosts, as TIM-21 and TIM-22 connect. Andy’s wife makes her debut, and the UGC’s precognitive division has a terrifying vision.

<singing> I got a brand new issue of Descender! Donist World Darlin’ ain’t no other contender! <end singing> Okay, enough of that…I will say that seeing a new issue of this Lemire / Nguyen masterpiece in my pull is always enough to make my cold, dark, winter-hardened heart see double rainbows of joy. The funny thing is that this amazing sci-fi series is by no means a happy tale. It’s a story of death, loss, growing up, fear, hate, reestablishing previously lost relationships. Come to think of it there have been very few laughs. Still, with such an interesting premise of a futuristic galaxy decimated by impossibly monstrous robots, Descender’s charm comes from the drama, intrigue, and the ever-expanding list of fascinating characters who all have their secrets as well as their part to play in this impressive space opera. Descender is my favorite comic currently hitting the shelves, which is saying a lot given the many heavenly titles out there. It manages to spark that feeling I had when I first discovered sci-fi movies and television shows as a kid, while simultaneously feeding my adult mind the mysteries and complexities of an epic story told well. Dang, I love this comic.

Descender’s story hooked me within the first couple of pages of the first issue, and the perfect introduction of TIM-21, Bandit, Dr. Quon, and Telsa, all of whom I instantly fell in love with, left me desperate to know more about them. The same is true of Tullis, Driller, Andy, Blugger, and I expect Psius, TIM-22, and the sure-to-be-amazing Queen Between, who has to be seen to be believed (which you can do by feasting your peepers on the cover).

As I’ve said with previous issues, the writing and story alone are enough to make me love this book, but Nguyen’s gorgeous watercolored art takes it all to a new level of heavenliness. Every page of this comic demands you give it your full attention, and you can rest easy knowing that the quality of the work seen on Nguyen’s covers is fully reflected in the interiors. Standout moments in this issue are the video game sequence, the splash of Queen Between, and that damn final page that made me want to shout, “More more more.” But as striking as moments like these pages are, there’s also minor details that are certain to astonish if you take the time to appreciate them such as the crack on the right side of Psius’s face, the ethereal Robot City, Telsa’s beautiful scowl, and so much more. This is a gorgeous book.

You get it, right? I love this comic. I want spinoffs, annuals, a Trinket Tocket and his Toy Rocket children’s book, and anything else the creators want to throw at us just so long as I get more from the great world of Descender. Buy it, denizens. You can easily find the first ridiculously inexpensive trade and then pick up the floppies of issues 7–10, because I can guarantee you will be as hungry for more of this fantastic series as I am. Descender…so shiny, so chrome, so VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Low #11
Low #11 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. After so much time apart, twin sisters Tajo and Della have finally been reunited. So much has changed, but some things have stayed the same — mainly the need to join their mother on her quest to the surface.

Low is probably my favorite among Remender’s creator owned work currently hitting the shelves, which is not a knock against Black ScienceDeadly Classor Tokyo Ghost, which are all fantastic in their own right. But this series manages to press all of the Donist buttons: sci-fi, post-apocalyptic world, underwater adventure, monsters, compelling characters, unique and carefully thought out design, hopeless odds, and a strong will to survive. Oh, yeah, it also has Tocchini drawing the Caine women…bonus.

With this issue, we briefly get more of Tocchini’s lush cityscapes and backgrounds and cool mech suits (the robo-polar bear transformation just has to be seen), but most of the issue centers on the dramatic reunion between the sisters as they struggle to accept their pasts and move forward. This is fine by me. As much as I love the sea monsters and the intense action, it was time to slow things down and focus on the characters and the story, which the creators did beautifully. McCaig on colors continues to impress, but golly gee willikers, Denizens, the blues and reds on page two and three manage to pull you into the scene as if you were traveling in a mini-sub alongside Tajo and Della; so very beautiful.

If you’re a fan of Remender or Tocchini, or you like any of the subject matter mentioned above, then there is absolutely no reason to not be reading this amazing, epic comic series. You can easily catch up with the two available trades, which I highly encourage you to do. I, for one, am counting the days for an over-sized hardcover to better showcase the lovely art. I can’t wait for what remains of the Caine family to be reunited as they journey toward the Earth’s scarred surface. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #20
Black Science #20 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Grant McKay has finally seen the light and knows what he has to do: get his people back as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some old enemies have expanded their reach to other dimensions and stand in the way.

I kind of want to stand up and cheer for my boy. Y’know, Grant...the insufferable prick who we’ve never really liked all that much ever since the first issue. But things have changed. We’ve gotten to know Grant a heck of a lot better over the course of this “Godworld” arc, and we’ve seen some of the horrible events of his childhood that lead him to become such a monumental dick…but like I said, “things have changed.” Now, he is determined to right the wrongs he has caused and looks to become — dare I say — a hero. I’m totally cool with that.

Scalera and Dinisio’s art on this issue is simply otherworldly. One look at the cover and you see what you’ll get with the interiors in the way of powerful imagery that would also look great as a blacklight poster hanging at home (seriously, how dope would it be to get a Black Science blacklight poster?!), but there is also so much more. Scalera’s character acting, character design, costuming, vehicles, and weaponry are phenomenal, and with Dinisio’s colors making all the exciting imagery leap from the page (especially the scenes with Grant’s helmet during the fight!), one flip through this issue is sure to amaze. Black Science has always looked great, but man oh man this issue showcases some stunning work all around.

I believe the solicits for this series said something to the effect that it was going to be like Indiana Jones in space, but they neglected to mention the thrilling roller coaster sensation that awaits you within the pages. Black Science is what good comics should be: a heck of a lot of fun. If you like Remender’s sci-fi extravaganza Fear Agent, then you are definitely already reading this fantastic comic. Right? If not, then you can catch up quickly with the beautiful, recently-released, oversized hardcover, or slightly-less-impressive trades. Whatever you do, just be sure you are reading this great series. I believe it’s about time for a reread. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Weirdworld #3
Weirdworld #3 - Written by Sam Humphries, illustrated by Mike Del Mundo, color assists by Marco D’Alfonso, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics. Lava monsters, wizard hunters, and Grand Mechanics, oh my!

Weirdworld is the best comic Marvel is currently putting out. Now now. Simmer down, Denizens. Simmer down. Weirdworld is also the only Marvel comic I am buying these days (which tells you something), so it is fair to say it is my favorite from the House of Ideas. (Oh, crud…does saying I actually love this book mean it’s now going to be cancelled? Cripes, I hope not.) Anyhow, whether you classify this comic as fantasy, humor, adventure, or whatever, all you need to know is that it’s a blast.

Humphries’s dialogue made me laugh out loud multiple times and snicker through the others. Del Mundo’s art had much the same effect, only I was also awestruck by the sheer beauty of what I was seeing. Holy schmoly! The Grand Mechanic’s machine! The dance off! The background critters running around everywhere! The BIG fight! Oh, man, the big fight is stunning. The book is unlike anything else out there. At this point, I’m kind of leaning toward Del Mundo being a Weirdworld inhabitant as he is employing some serious magicks to make his work look this phenomenal. <mmmmmm…sigh...I need a cigarette, Denizens, and I don’t smoke!>

Weirdworld is indeed weird, and I mean that as the highest of compliments. It is humorous, ridiculous, touching, and possibly a bit psychotic. But no matter how you look at the comic, it is above all a joy to read. If you have not picked up the “Volume 0” trade of the original limited series, I strongly encourage you to do so, and then you MUST check out the new ongoing. You’ll laugh, you’ll be amazed, you’ll want to see what happens next, and at only three issues in on the series proper, catching up will be a breeze. Now, excuse me while I head out to slay some wizards…it’s whatchagottado. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Keeping it Positive this Week - I finally got some much needed good news, so I want to keep it positive this week. Maybe I’ll go see Deadpool, or have a beer, or finally play some of that Lego Batman 3 game, or…I know… (d) all of the above. Peace, Denizens.

Have to cut out, so no song this week, but enjoy this clip from the second season of Danger 5 (which you can stream on Netflix!!!).


Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 2/5/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Paper Girls and Universe!

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 / It’s Saul Good consultant Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). The intro’s gonna be a tad short (again) as it has been a roller coaster of a week (again), and we don’t know if we’re coming or going. So as my puppy executive team and I take a deep breath, center ourselves, and prepare for some more nuttiness, allow us to suggest ordering up some tasty tacos and a nice ginger brew, put on some ’80s retro synth music, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

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

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Paper Girls #5
Paper Girls #5 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Image Comics. The conclusion to the first arc is here, but is it the conclusion of Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and K.J.’s story — and possibly their lives — or just the beginning?

It’s 6:30 a.m., the sun is rising, I got Mitch Murder’s “Interceptor” album playing (’80s retro synthpop awesomeness!), and a sense of calm has pervaded my being; the paper girls have long since delivered their bounty to all homes current on their newspaper subscription payments. I’m also kind of stoked — jazzed even — after reading yet another issue of the phenomenal Paper Girls series.

As I’ve said before, Paper Girls is the story of four young girls in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in 1988, in the early morning hours after Halloween. Each girl heads out to deliver the paper only to find the world fallen to chaos with butt-ugly weirdos, monsters, and vanishing people; it is here that they meet each other. Thanks to the immense talent of Vaughan and Chiang, it is at this first meeting where we fall in love with the characters, the setting, and the eerie situation in which they find themselves; this is roughly five or six pages into the first issue, and things only get better from there. Each issue is riddled with new and old questions as the reader only receives small bits of knowledge beyond what the girls know. We learn alongside Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and K.J. as they figure things out, and although we do get some answers, we are left with many dangling questions by the end of the first arc. This is fine because the issue does its job perfectly: it makes darn sure we’ll be back to see what happens next…in June (that long?!?).


Four months is going to be a painfully long wait, especially after the crazy cliffhanger the creators dropped in our laps, but great comics transcend time, and this Donist will gladly wait to continue getting stories and art of this caliber. And what great art it is. Chiang completely outdoes his already heavenly work with not just his beautiful storytelling,  character acting, and character design, but with the futuristic backgrounds and technology that are so bizarre you can’t help but linger on the page. Left at the black and white stage of the process, this comic series would still be great, but Wilson’s colors bring it all to an otherworldly level of life. I have cheered Wilson’s use of color knockouts on the lines of characters’ faces to soften their expressions, and I’m still nutty over the analogous color palette of blues, purples, and pinks that so throughly set the mood of this strange, altered world. It has to be seen to be believed.

You need to be reading this book. It’s Vaughan. It’s Chiang. It’s Wilson. It’s really good. Sure you won’t be getting all of the answers to the myriad questions raised over the course of the five issues, but this isn’t a done-in-one story, Denizens. Nope. If you are looking for easy reading and easy answers, then gag me with a spoon, you can find that kind of stuff easy enough. No, this is a rad story that’s set to run for a good while. It’s best that you hop on your bike and book on over to the newsstand (your local comic shop) and get to reading. Be sure to grab a cola ICEE on the way home, throw on some “Devil Inside” by INXS, and sit back and enjoy the Paper Girls ride…just be sure to lay off the Arkanoid a bit. The first trade is available around the end of March, but I’m sure you can scare up the floppies with little trouble. If you don’t give this awesome comic a chance…well…barf me out. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Universe! #4
Universe! - Everythinged by Albert Monteys, published by Panel Syndicate. “Join the New World! Join the Light! Join the Light! Join the Light!”

I absolutely LOVE this humorous, cynical, serious, rich sci-fi series from Monteys. In case you are not familiar with Panel Syndicate, it was created by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin as a digital-only experiment where the creators would post their comic books on a semi-monthly basis, and charge a “whatever you want to pay, including nothing” fee for the right to download a pdf, cbr, or cbz file in either English, Spanish, or Catalan. Doing this means only the creators (discounting hosting costs and Paypal fees) receive the money for their hard work. There are no publishers, retailers, or monopoly-based distributors in the mix, and the creators have full control and ownership over their creation(s). The Private Eye (mandatory and exciting reading by the way) was the first offering, Barrier was the third, with Albert Montey’s sci-fi tales being the second. He is thus far the only other creator showcasing his work through Panel Syndicate, and after having read four amazing issues of Universe! I can see why. Honestly, I was hooked midway through the first issue.

Universe! is solicited as stand alone tales, but now that we are four issues in, it is clear that the stories are interconnected in slight and potentially major ways. This issue focuses on a pair of aliens who have a bizarre, yet mutually beneficial parasitic relationship as they struggle to remain themselves amidst a drive to “join the Light.” It is in this fourth issue that Monteys has begun to reintroduce characters and events from previous issues that have given me that “Ahhhhh…it does all tie together” realization. But here’s the thing…even if the issue were truly little islands of self-contained stories and worlds, I would love this series, but now that facets are beginning to connect, I can safely describe this lovely work as brilliant.

Each installment requires a couple readings to fully understand what is happening and to see clues that have led up to the twist of the issue. In fact, a second read through is certain to uncover little sight gags or detailed intricacies tucked away in a background. At the very least, a quick reread will give you the opportunity to simply enjoy Montey’s beautiful character designs and the intricacy and attention spent on each and every panel. The gorgeous, vibrant colors of his cartooning are worth lingering over to fully appreciate what you are seeing.

Again, I love…no, I adore Universe! I guess if I had to narrow down a specific comic genre that I gravitate toward the most, it would have to be sci-fi, and this comic knocks it outta the park. Fantastic, seemingly simple stories that offer a complete and immersive escape from reality that will at times make you laugh (not so much with this issue, though), but will definitely leave you thinking about the story for long after you shut down the computer / tablet. It’s a beautiful book and although Universe! does not come out all that regularly, each issue is well worth the wait. Please please please give this one a try. Heck, you can check out all four issues for free, and by “free” I mean “legally for free.” Do it. Grab the first issue, read it, and you will see just how great this comic is. Then go back and throw Montey’s $3 or $4 (or more if you got the scratch) so we can continue sliding into the Universe! experience for many years to come. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I Also Picked Up the Third Trade of Manifest Destiny But Have Not Had Time to Read it!!! - Manifest Destiny is freakin’ fantastic! I have been counting the months to when this third trade would be released and I got it on Wednesday, but have had no time to read it yet. This is upsetting. This is not right. This is something I MUST remedy over the weekend. The first two trades (the first of which is $9.99 retail) are both Donist World Darlings that come VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I have no doubt the third will impress as well. Argh…I can’t wait to pour a special beer and see what madness, mayhem, and monsters the creators have in store for poor Lewis and Clark. This series is beyond great. Check it out.

(Sung to the tune of Pet Shop Boy’s “West End Girls”)

Sometimes you need books with some cred
Not just the ushe, but somethin’ else instead
But don’t get mad, bang the table
Kick it right here and park in this stable
Check ’em out today, they won’t make you frown
They’re a blast to read, won’t let you down
Let’s run down, the best in town of these comics
They’re the best around

They’re the best around, shout to the world
Oh Universe! and Paper Girls


Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 1/29/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Saga, Southern Bastards, Deadly Class, Chew, East of West, and The Twilight Children

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 / ULE (User Life Experience) designer Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). The intro’s gonna be a tad short (again) as we picked up six heavenly new releases this week and we wanna get to them all. We were also slammed with MANY staff meetings at our corporate headquarters (Mom’s basement) where we have been laboring over the next steps for the followup to my all-ages novel Kibbles ’N’ Bots; I just finished the second draft yesterday. Now, between the racket of the washing machine, dryer, leaf blowers, and lawn mowers, we are narrowing down a title, cover designs, and how to best approach the third draft to get the next book out as soon as possible. All this, a bag of chips (Sriracha style, baby!), and some fantastic comic books to boot! So, order up some tasty tacos, get yourself a nice ginger brew, put on some music by David Bowie, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

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

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #33
Saga # 33 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. With The Brand having left the realm of the living, Upsher and Doff are back to investigating the largest news story of the…well…the universe!

It has been a while since we last checked in with Upsher and Doff, the aquatic alien, writer / photographer, gay couple, journalistic team, since their efforts to find Marko and Alana were greatly discouraged (i.e. threatened with being killed to death by The Brand), but this issue belongs to them; as well as a couple of other characters who have been absent for far too long. The creators perfectly reestablish the importance of these two likable characters, bringing them back from the void and into prominence in a way I should have anticipated…but didn’t. They also bring back Ginny (the cute, purple, bat-featured dance instructor) and introduce her husband, who is only too perfect in his look, style, and demeanor; I couldn’t help but laugh.

As much as I want to talk about the characters at the end I won’t. I will say that my spirits elevated (actually, the issue just kept getting better and better from the page one “golden triangle” Parliament reference) upon turning the page to a key reveal. I was then confused, and ultimately was left cracking up. But more than anything, I am completely amped to see what happens next, especially now that seemingly-minor aspects of the story from many issues past have returned and are clearly no longer minor story points.

A mediocre issue of Saga is always great when compared to most all other books on the stand, and this current arc has been nothing but awesome. If you are not, you need to be reading this series. Sci-fi, fantasy, humor, adventure, drama, romance, the occasional shock-your-socks-off image, ALWAYS stunning art, and a compelling as hell story, Saga has everything you need from a great comic book. You can get the single issues…ummm…actually, you probably can’t anymore as those early issues will break the bizzank. Never fret. You can pick up the gorgeous over-sized hardcover of the first three arcs, or dive in with the first five trades, which you should do immediately on this “mature readers” Donist World Darling. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Southern Bastards #13
Southern Bastards #13 - Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. It’s the most important day of Craw County’s year. Of it’s life, actually. It’s Game Day. It’s Homecoming. It’s the Craw County Runnin’ Rebs versus the Wetumpka County Warriors!

Yup. I still hate football. This issue doesn’t help in that regard at all, and to be honest it kind makes me hate the sport all the more. That said, I L-O-V-E this comic. Love it. The crazy thing is that I am usually turned off when most of the characters are so thoroughly wicked, and the Jasons have crafted some truly despicable characters. However, these characters practically live and breathe on the page, and some have very good reasons for being so thoroughly evil. As I have said before, I hate Coach Boss, but past issues shined such a light on the character’s past and motivations, that there were times that I actually sympathized with the coldblooded killer.

The sentiment didn’t last long.

I’m not only back to despising him, but I am just waiting for him and his cronies to finally get what what’s coming to them. This is by design. The creators even go so far as to remind us of five sets of individuals looking for some payback, and this is before Earl Tubb’s daughter is set to arrive next issue. Holy moly, I can’t wait to see what’s next. The dialogue is amazing and thoroughly develops characters and setting and motivation, while Latour’s art continues to be raw, stunning. Again…this issue focuses on a football game…and I absolutely love it. Football!

Huddle up and listen, Denizens. Read this series. I want you to give 110% and get out there and read read read. The game ain’t over yet, and there’s two trades (a third drops in May) or a beautiful hardcover for you to check out, which I strongly encourage you all to do. Now get out there and let’s see some readin’! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #18
Deadly Class #18 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. It’s finals time at Kings Dominion Atelier, and in order to pass the “haves” need to kill the “have nots,” and the “have nots” just need to survive.

Talk about riveting, white-knuckle excitement! Man, if you’re on heart medication, then you should probably steer clear of the current story arc as it is pretty intense. The creators have the bad-by-situation scrambling to stay alive and the bad-by-choice acting downright vicious; it is awesome to behold. Now, remember back in the first issue when we saw exactly what a badass Saya is? Well…yeah, more of that here, and we also gets twists and insights into other characters (that Shabnam…dang) to such a degree that I had to give a hearty “Awwwwww shucks” when I reached the last page of the issue — it was over much too soon.

Now, I’ve praised Craig’s artwork in the past, and I vaguely remember saying how his work gets better and better with each passing issue. That thought hasn’t changed. Man, oh, man. This issue is beautiful. Craig’s storytelling is phenomenal as we go through the higher panel count dramatic moments, only to have him crank the dial up to 11 as he speeds up a scene with fewer panels that each succeed in packing a helluva punch. Couple the art with Boyd’s strongest mood-setting color schemes to date, and you have one heck of an exquisitely written, paced, illustrated, and colored triumph of a comic.

I think I mentioned last issue that I had been considering going to trades (of which there are three), but after reading this fantastic issue, I am firmly definitely sticking with the issues. Not only that, I think I’m about ready for a reread of yet another brilliant creator-owned book by Remender. Man, this is a great series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #54
Chew #54 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Mason Savoy has had it with trying to get FDA agent Tony Chu to do what he wants. Time for drastic measures.

Crud. We are rapidly approaching the end of the series with only a Poyo special (YAY!) and six more issues to go.  After the events of this issue, I need to repeat myself by saying crud. I didn’t see what happens in this issue coming — although I should have; needless to say I was pretty shocked. That’s the thing about Chew: you smile from issue to issue as you laugh at the ridiculous situations and sight gags, but then the creators suckerpunch you with something fairly devastating, which is exactly what happens this month. The funny thing is that you will still end up laughing and smiling up until ________ happens. Dang.

I love this series; I have for quite sometime. But if you have never read what is easily the most unique book on the stands, then do not start here with the floppies. Nah, son. We’re at the end of this joint, and you need to do the creators a solid by starting from the first trade (10 trades available!), or, better yet, you can sit at the big boy table with the awesome Omnivore Edition volumes (five hardcovers available to date) that I am gleefully collecting. However you wish to consume (see what I did there?) the fantastic Chew, just be sure you give this important comic a shot. You’ll be glad you did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #24
East of West #24 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. The Prophet Orion sends a new version of The Message to each of the seven of The Chosen.

As I like to remind current and potential new readers of the great post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, Western, adventure, political drama, fantasy series East of West, you best be prepared for a complex story, set in a complicated world, with a whole host of different characters. You can’t really do this series justice if you attempt to read it while tired, or without warming up with some jumping jacks or some other form of cardio. It’s quite rich. So much so that previous issues tend to focus on one or two characters, but for the first time in quite a while, we check in with practically all of the major players, wherever they may be.

We have one issue left in the story arc, so we probably won’t be seeing an issue for a few months after early March. This is fine and actually gives everyone who has been reading East of West a chance to reflect on what has happened in the past, what transpires in this issue, and what might be in store for the future. It is also a great time to reread the series from the beginning, so we can find more of the clever clues Hickman and Dragotta have hidden along the way and to clarify plot lines that might not have made much sense the first time around. If you have not previously been reading this dang fine series, then reading everything in one or two sittings via the four available trades or the beautiful hardcover is a great way to experience this deep, rich series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Twilight Children #4
The Twilight Children #4 - Written by Gilbert Hernandez, illustrated and lettered by Darwyn Cooke, colored by Dave Stewart, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. The magical realism, supernatural tale of a sleepy seaside town besieged by strange occurrences comes to a conclusion.

Well…that sure wrapped up quickly. After so much had happened with the story and the characters and we were left with such a major cliffhanger last issue, this final installment seemed like a rush to the finish line. It almost seemed as if The Twilight Children was originally slated to be six issues, with the first three issues having been completed, only to have the final three issues condensed down into the fourth. Relationships and proclamations of love come out of nowhere — although to be fair, Tito jumping from one person to the next on the turn of a dime makes sense — two characters are revealed to be…alien ghost thingy imposters(?), and people become happier for some reason. It all goes down waaaaaaaayyy faster than I would have liked.

All that said, I still enjoyed reading the issue, and I still love the series as a whole, but the dramatic shift in pacing is jarring and seemed out of place given the first three issues. Hernandez’s words are still lovely, Cooke and Stewart’s art breathtaking, and the book is something fans of either creator should seek out…if you can wait for the hardcover edition that releases in May. I’m sorry to say that the individual issues (priced at $4.99) are so riddled with ads that the experience of reading this beautiful story in issues was nowhere near as enjoyable as it could have been. I guess what it all comes down to is me wanting a few more issues to allow the ending the space it needed to breathe, as well as giving every character their time to shine or to slowly flicker and fade as the case may be. This series is still very much worth checking out, and I would say that the series comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but this final issue, because of its change in pacing, is RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

No Song this Week - “Two weeks in a row?!?!” Yeah, sorry, Denizens. I’m already way late delivering this post as I was at an interview this morning and I was tutoring a Publication Design course yesterday. With six comics to talk about in addition to those things, I just plum ran out of time. So, with that, I will let you know that I have been jamming to some “retro” “’80s” synth bands lately that are just phenomenal, that you can and should check out on Amazon Prime: Mitch Murder, Miami Nights 1984, and Lazerhawk are all worth giving a listen.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 1/22/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Rachel Rising, Tokyo Ghost, and Kaptara

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 / Space Oddity Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics 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. I gotta keep the intro short this week as my puppy executive team and I are buried under a bunch of different projects. We’re also still bummed about a bunch of personal heroes dying recently, and…look, I know we’re all upset about Bowie, Lemmy, Rickman, and Frey, but don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, honor them by continuing to experience and enjoy their art — whether music or film or both — and celebrate the lives and contributions these artists made as opposed to focusing on their passings. So, order up some tasty tacos, get yourself a nice ginger brew, put on some “Heroes” by Bowie, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rachel Rising #39
Rachel Rising #39 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Earl and Aunt Johnny discuss Earl’s love interest as well as what awaits them in the morgue. Rachel arrives in time to “read” a couple of corpses…she won’t like what she finds.

The pacing of this issue slows once again, but this is to be expected, and even anticipated, for a Moore book. With Moore’s work, it is predominantly about his characters who readers learn to love — usually by the first issue. With less-seasoned creators, I would usually be calling for them to keep things moving. But not here. I am fine taking a moment with Earl and Aunt Johnny as they discuss love and protecting one's heart, and also the matter of the hit and run victim that has Earl so unnerved. Moore puts the characters into a situation that is completely outside of the current storyline, but the depth of each character’s emotions, their subtle changes in posture or expressions, and Rachel’s arrival — who is pissed about Aunt Johnny’s smoking — all contribute to the character building moments that warm the heart and have, on a few occasions, nearly brought this Donist to tears. Don’t believe me? Just read Rachel’s page six, panel five dialogue. Okay? Now stare at the sixth panel and tell me you didn’t get a little misty. Criminy…it’s still messing with me, even after the fourth viewing. <sigh>

If you only read the dialogue or only saw the art, Moore’s solid grasp on each succeed in pulling you into his world. But combine the two into the comic book format, and you, too, will care deeply for Rachel, Aunt Johnny, Earl, Jet, and even Lilith. Earl’s crooked smile, Rachel crying, Aunt Johnny solemnly staring over the rim of her glasses…ack…let’s just say nothing bad better happen to anyone in this book! Yeah, I’m certain I’m in for some massive heartache down the road, but for this charming and scary book I will gladly set myself up for the pain time and time again.

Rachel Rising is a freakin’ fantastic comic. Every issue not only draws you into this bizarre, fictional world of resurrections and witches and demons, it makes you feel as if you know each of the characters as if they were your closest of friends and family. If you are not reading this tremendous series in floppy form, then you can easily find the six available trades and quickly catch up, which I encourage you to do at your earliest convenience. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #5
Tokyo Ghost #5 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. The love of Debbie Decay’s life is dead. In his place stands Led Dent and now Tokyo will burn.

The action and mayhem continues from last month into this issue as Led — now spurred on my Davey Trauma — takes on all of Tokyo in an effort to hand it over to the Isles of Los Angeles. After last issue’s intense fighting and violence, I was kind of hoping to see more of the repercussions of Kazumi’s fall before Led’s inevitable one-man assault showed up; at least we get a page of Kazumi’s backstory. From page four on, it’s all about explosions, arrows, stabbing, shooting, fighting, gettin' all blowed up, and dying ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with all that stuff, I just found Kazumi and the world she had created quite fascinating; I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet. That said, I realize the title of the book is Tokyo Ghost and not The Garden Nation of Tokyo. Breakneck pacing aside, Murphy and Hollingsworth’s art and storytelling is gorgeous, and the story is still a heck of a lot of fun…stressful, but fun.

This issue wraps the first arc, and the first trade looks to be available sometime in March. If you have been holding off on picking up this futuristic, dystopian adventure about the perils of too much connectivity, then you know what you need to do to right this wrong. This goes doubly so if you are a fan of Remender’s other recent work: Low, Black Science, Deadly Class, Fear Agent. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Kaptara Vol 1:
Fear Not, Tiny Alien
Kaptara Vol 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien - Written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Kagan McLeod, color assists by Becka Kinzie, edited by Tommy K., production by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Keith Kanga never expected to be stranded on an impossibly bizarre world, but here he is. Weird aliens, naked and bearded wizards, dart-shooting princes, and all sorts of terrifying monsters inhabit the planet…Keith kind of loves it. But when the Earth is threatened by an evil alien warlord, Keith might not have a choice but to get involved.

I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from Kaptara, but given my love of Zdarsky’s hilarious-yet-beautiful illustrations on the Donist World Darling Sex Criminals and his humorous writing on Jughead, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with this bargain priced trade. Pip pip, cheerio, good call on my part.

Kaptara is…how to explain this…a sci-fi, fantasy tale that is a mix of Lost in Space with the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon with an added dash of The Lord of the Rings. The key ingredient, the secret sauce as it were, is the addition of Zdarsky’s crack-up dialogue and situations combined with a McLeod’s vibrant and hilarious art. She-La and her mount. The battle cat tank things. The weird proclivity to the art of dart blowing(?). A naked Gandalf-type character who wears his impressive beard as a loin cloth(?!?)…sometimes. The wealth of background gags mixed with amazing creature and character designs. Kaptara has it all, and I could not put the dang thing down because I had to see what oddball things these mad creators had in store for me next. Let’s just say that they never failed to surprise and that you just need to see it all for yourself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the five issues contained in this collection. Not only was I cracking up throughout the entire book, I also connected with Keith and easily sympathized with his belief that life on Earth sucked, and he never wanted to go back. Dang. Who hasn’t felt like going off-world on a scientific expedition and getting stranded on a strange new planet? A new start and all that, but of course the new home unfortunately has to have its own form of evil — much like Trump or the Koch Bros. — to ruin things there, too. So, yeah, Kaptara is a blast for which I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m sure I will revisit this one often. *pssst…hey, you. Yeah, you. You can get Kaptara digitally as part of the awesome Image Comics offerings over at Humble Bundle. There’s only a few days left, so hurry over and help them out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I Didn’t Get the Job - <sigh> After three and half months of multiple interviews, introductions, and skills testing, I did not get the job I was in the running for — it went to the other candidate. I’m happy I made it so much farther than everyone else, but I am still disappointed. Everyone I met was cool, and it was for an institution I wholeheartedly believe in, but whatchagonna do. Oh, well…wasn’t meant to be. Back to the drawing board.

No Song this Week - I know, I know. If anything ever has to be cut as a result of time issues, then it is usually the weekly song. BUT now that I have my Graphic Design certification and there is no homework coming due, I have been cranking through the second draft of the followup to Kibbles ’N’ Bots, and I am having a blast experiencing the story through the revision process. I hope to be done with this draft by the end of next week, which is quite doable. Then it will be on to draft three, and then to beta readers. I can’t wait to share it with the world. Still no title as of yet…it’ll come to me.