Saturday, December 9, 2017

Comics Lust 12/9/2017

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/emotional-support Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s been a shit week. My grandma died suddenly on Tuesday. A heart attack or blood clot. Not completely sure. It was quick, which was how she would have wanted it to be. She would not want to suffer and more so would not want to have anyone fussing about on her account. Still, it was terrible, but the thing that warmed my heart was how many people who worked in the retirement community where she lived took the time to tell me how much they adored her. Each expressed what a joy she was and how sorry they were for my loss, but seeing the earnest love these people had for my grandma it was clear that they too had lost someone dear to them. She was an amazing woman. I loved her dearly. I am sorry for our collective loss. To compound matters, the Thomas Fire in Ventura has been a nightmare that has caused work friends and colleagues to evacuate from their homes and for my workplace to be in jeopardy—it’s still in jeopardy three days later. I’ve been working from home this week and only able to go outside for brief periods of time as the smoke and ash have reached out into Goleta and are a health hazard; even now the sky is a sickly, menacing, grey-yellow mass of awfulness. It’s scary out there and I’m dreading hearing that someone I know has lost their home. Like I said, it’s been a shit week. But life must go on. So, respected Denizens, love those close to you, appreciate what you have, lift a drink in honor of someone you’ve lost, 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

The Gift of Giving (Part 4)Big 2 Superhero Comics for Those Who Like the Movies and TV

The funny thing about “Comics Lust” is that days, weeks, and even months after writing a post I have these Oh no, I forgot to talk about xxxx, yyyy, and zzz moments where I have to jot down notes to remember to talk about involuntarily omitted titles for a later post. This week, I’m extending the running theme to pick up a couple titles that clearly slipped my mind the first couple times around.

I have found the X-Men movies to be hit or miss, but the ones that “hit” really hit with a bang. I love X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan was one that completely took me by surprise as a stunning and powerful character-driven drama with severe stakes. So, for someone who likes those films as much as I do, there really is no better choice than to start them down the addictive X-road paved by writer Chris Claremont. X-Men Epic Collection: Second Genesis (Written by Chris Claremont and others; illustrated by Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, and others; the first issue was published by Marvel Comics in 1975). This beast of a book has the first appearance of the most popular incarnation of the X-Men, which includes Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, among others and most of the issues are ones I remember reading over and over again as a kid when the X-Men were a huge part of my life. At 520 pages, this book is a treasure trove of material in and of itself, but it also serves as a leadup to the mind-blowingly amazing The Uncanny X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga (Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Byrne and Terry Austen, first issue published by Marvel Comics in 1979). Here you have the Hellfire Club, Phoenix being manipulated until she becomes Dark Phoenix, and an emotional roller coaster as our greatest heroes struggle with having to take down one of their own. I reread this one often and it never gets old, and frankly, you could probably give your loved one this collection first, and then the Epic Collection once you have them good and hooked, but that call is ultimately up to you. Come to think of it…you might as well also give them the Wolverine mini-series (Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Frank Miller, originally published by Marvel Comics in 1982), too. A dark, perilous journey through a portion of Wolverine’s secret past with real-world threats and only one supervillain to be found. With two powerhouse creators joining forces on this exceptional comic, it’s no wonder my brother and I read this four-issue miniseries until the books literally fell apart. There are a bunch of entry points into the quagmire that is The X-Men continuity, but these three collections are a heck of a good start.

Not everyone subscribes to Hulu, but those who do and who have been watching Runaways knows that the streaming service has something special on its hands. The 18-issue first volume of Runaways (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Adrian Alphona, originally published by Marvel Comics in 2003) is an odd story in that it had practically nothing to do with the regular Marvel Universe (although Cloak and Dagger show up much later) and thus allowed the creators to tell the story they wanted to tell without fear of getting wrapped up in any sort of “event”; it was a…runaway…hit. I loved the comics when I read them many years ago, and from what I can remember, the show mirrors the source material quite nicely. I do want to reread the series, but I think I will let the first season of the show run its course to avoid spoiling anything I might have forgotten. Even if there was no Runaways show on television, Runaways comic book series is a fantastic gift for younger and older readers alike. So very good.

This Week’s Reading List

Batman Vol. 1 and 2 (Rebirth) (Mostly written by Tom King, mostly illustrated by David Finch and Mikel Janin, colored by Jordie Bellaire, published by DC Comics.) Why, oh, why did I wait so long to read these? I’m a diehard fan of King’s must-read Omega Men (Illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda, published by DC Comics), The Vision (Illustrated by Gabriel Walta, published by Marvel comics), and the best new title of 2017 Mister Miracle (Illustrated by Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics), but for some reason I was reluctant to jump into a twice-a-month superhero title. Now, having finally weakened enough to dive in, I‘m hooked. Both volumes are great, with the first focusing on new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl, and the second focusing on the “Breaker of the Bat,” Bane. Both volumes are beautifully illustrated, and the stories are powerfully told, but I will admit to being thoroughly confused by a page in the Bane story where Batman wedges himself on the wall with his fist and knees and cracks his own back. (???) No idea what that was about, but other than that, I am eager to read volume 3, and also the Batman: Night of the Monster Men trade, which occurs in-between volume 1 and 2, and is comprised of two issues of Batman, two issues of Detective Comics, and two issues of Robin…looks like I have some reading ahead of me! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Detective Comics Volume 2: The Victim Syndicate (Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by many, published by DC Comics.) Way way back, I was surprised and thrilled by the revamp of Detective Comics. This Bat book features Batman on occasion but primarily focuses on the team led by fan-favorite Batwoman, which includes Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan, Batwing, and shockingly enough Clayface. I had no idea who half of these characters were before reading the thrilling first volume, but that didn’t matter; a few pages in and I was on board with them all. This volume focuses on the super-creepy The Victim Syndicate, a group of villains whose lives were destroyed after being caught in the crossfire of Batman’s war on crime. The conflict within the team and the pain of a supposed loss (nope, not spoiling) kicks the tension through the roof on this fantastic series. I just have to throw this out there…Batwoman is my favorite with Clayface taking a close second. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Comics Lust 12/2/2017

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/truly-tired Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Dang, denizens, I’m barely standing after this hectic week, and from the look of my puppy executive team, they’re pretty much toast, too. So, we’re going to keep the intro short and get right to it. But before we do, load up on some grilled chicken tacos, pour yourself a nice session beer, take a long nap, and when you’re feeling refreshed 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

The Gift of Giving (Part 3)
Big 2 Superhero Comics for Those Who Like the Movies and TV

We love our comics. We also love to share our love of the medium whenever and wherever we can, which is why I’m always happy to spread some happiness when someone tells me how much they enjoy a movie or TV show yet have never read the very source material from which the show originated. When just such a moment arises, you can come to the rescue of your friend/significant other/family member/coworker with a few easy entry points into the wonderful world of comics.

All Star Superman (Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Frank Quitely, published by DC Comics, 2005) is a fantastic choice for those who love the Man of Steel, no matter what movie or television version we are talking about. Originally released as a 12-issue miniseries, All Star Superman tells the tale of what happens the day Superman rescues a group of scientists exploring the surface of the sun and he then has to look to his greatest enemy to understand what that much exposure to the sun has done to him. Beautifully illustrated and vibrantly colored, this award-winning series is enough to make a luke-warm fan of Supes into a diehard believer. There’re huge stakes, fun, excitement, and above all a sense of hope that we all could use a little bit more of. On the “old school” ’80s side of things, The Man of Steel (Written and illustrated by John Byrne, published by DC Comics, 1986) is a fantastic retelling of Clark Kent’s origins and early days as a hero. Equally amazing and somewhat of a cheat is Superman: Secret Identity (Written by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Stuart Immonen, 2004). What I mean by “cheat” is that although the story is about Clark Kent, it is about someone who happens to have the same name as the fictional superhero from the funny books. This Clark is even teased about being able to “leap tall buildings with a single bound”…until the day he can actually do exactly that. Superman: Secret Identity is a powerful and moving book I bought on a whim and one I need to re-experience in the very near future.

When it comes to the mostly-great Marvel movies, as much as I love Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok, my favorite to date is still Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The story is one of redemption, second chances, righting of wrongs, and a belief in the system that has let our hero down, all mixed in with a spy/espionage thriller of a movie. Captain America (Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Steve Epting, published by Marvel Comics, 2005) kicked things off with a new number one and with the “Winter Soldier” storyline from which the movie gains much of its staying power. It is definitely a darker tale but coupled with the espionage and betrayal angles and some great appearances by the Falcon and the Black Widow, this spy thriller will keep you whipping through to the end to see all of the differences between the page and the reel. Thankfully, I have the out-of-print Captain America Omnibus, which I definitely need to hit up again some time soon.

Leaving the silver screen and tuning in to the small screen at home, I was thrilled by what I saw during the first few seasons of Arrow. If you want someone to have a parallel experience to what goes down on that riveting show, then Green Arrow: Year One (Written by Andy Diggle, illustrated by Jock, published by DC Comics, 2007) is a exciting retelling of the character’s origins, specifically his time on the island. If you want to go with a more retro ’80s vibe, look no further than Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters (Everythinged by Mike Grell, published by DC Comics, 1987), a three-issue, prestige-format, limited series that gives the Emerald Archer a new look, a serious adversary, and some legitimate and lofty problems. From either of these two books, a jump into Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s New 52 Green Arrow run (issues 17–34) wouldn’t hurt either given the younger Oliver Queen and his quest to stop a deadly rival archer.

Now, I have been a huge fan of the Netflix Marvel shows despite some of the episodes not quite hitting the mark, but overall I’ve been stoked to watch them and eager to see what comes next. This is also true for plenty of non-comic readers, too. The strongest entry to date for me is Daredevil, which practically begs for newcomers to read the works of the man who reinvigorated the Man Without Fear to new heights: Frank Miller. Miller’s Daredevil (Written by Frank Miller and others, illustrated by Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen, published by Marvel Comics, 1979) is a must read for everyone, especially when Miller begins writing and drawing the series. Follow that up with the Daredevil: Born Again storyline (Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, published by Marvel Comics, 1986) and I promise you people’s minds will be blown. For Jessica Jones fans, Alias (Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Michael Gaydos, published by Marvel Comics, 2001) is pretty dang close to the television material with some intriguing expansive looks into the character. One of my all-time-favorite superhero stories is The Immortal Iron Fist (Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja and others, published by Marvel Comics, 2006) and offers not just Aja’s freaking stunning artwork but a cool and exciting take on Danny Rand and what it means to be an Iron Fist; man, I love this run. For Luke Cage, Power Man and Iron Fist (Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Byrne and Dan Green, published by Marvel Comics, 1978) goes to show just how awesome a Heroes for Hire type show could be and solidifies how bad-ass Luke Cage is on his own or as a member of a heroic duo.

There you have it. Plenty of material to covert those you care for into fellow weekly LCS visitors, and possibly some stuff you need to reunite with yourself. Enjoy.

This Week’s Reading List

Doomsday Clock #1 (Written by Geoff Johns; illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, published by DC Comics) I know I’m a week late in reading this issue. I honestly had no intention of buying it. But after many positive reviews and an otherwise mellow week, I decided to pull the trigger; I’m so glad I did. I know many would call it sacrilege that this new 12-issue expansion of the industry-changing Watchmen (Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics, 1986) even exists, I will say that at one issue in I am sold and eager to see what happens next. It’s difficult to avoid spoiling anything so I won’t even go into any story elements, but just know there are some definite cool twists to what happens after the events in Moore’s masterwork. Johns beautifully tells the story and Frank and his fantastic art and adherence to the nine-panel grid used in Watchmen made me feel right at home. My main concern—as with all events—is the merging of one world with another: the Watchmen universe is going to crossover with the DC superhero universe as seen with a couple of pages featuring Clark Kent. This event book is not going to be an easy thing to pull off, but with Johns and Frank at the helm, my confidence in the success of Doomsday Clock is pretty high. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swords of the Swashbucklers (Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Jackson “”Butch” Guice and others, published by Dynamite Comics). Swords of the Swashbucklers is one of those series I’ve wanted to read since I saw my first issue back in the late ’80s, but never had enough money leftover to give it a try. Then this series vanished for a couple of decades. Now, thanks to the hard work of Jackson Guice, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and my digital reward, I was finally able to read yet another treasure from my personal writing hero: Bill Mantlo. The collection contains both the 1984 Marvel graphic novel and the original twelve issues of the series that followed until its cancellation in 1987. It has everything I could want in a series: Mantlo, Guice, pirates, outer space adventures, a lovely hero, a cool new hero with superpowers, aliens, epic battles, monsters, and an engaging story that springs from actual historical characters. I loved every bit of this collection with the exception of the rushed ending (as I mentioned it was canceled, not the creators’ fault), but Guice has mentioned there might be further tales to tell of the space pirates known as the Swashbucklers. I truly hope to one day see them sail the stars again. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Friday, November 24, 2017

Comics Lust 11/25/2017

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/turkey-taster Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Well, Denizens, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) was closed for Thanksgiving and Friday as an active recovery day from the bounty of turkey, bourbon-barrel-aged beer, and pumpkin pie we merrily consumed. To be honest, we’re still a bit sluggish today, but we’re powering ahead to bring you the next installment of “Comics Lust” for your reading pleasure as you try your dagburned best to avoid yet another awkward conversation with Uncle Seth and Aunt Edna. (Don’t worry, they should hopefully be leaving by late afternoon today…please let them leave today.) Anyhow, good luck dodging those relatives who seek to make your life miserable, drink some water (hydrating is good), go for a nice walk, and round out the afternoon reading 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

The Gift of Giving (Part 2)
Big 2 Superhero Comics for Those Who Like the Movies

Comic books are in our blood. We read tons of ’em, we love ’em, they are our obsession. So, it makes sense that we want to share our love of the medium with anyone we can: significant others, siblings, friends, co-workers, and possibly even our parents. One thing I’ve noticed over the past ten years is an increase in the number of people who are thrilled by the Marvel and DC movies yet they have never cracked open a comic book to experience that which made the movie possible. The stalwart champions of comics that usually come to our minds when we want to bring someone into our world usually goes straight to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Everythinged by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley, published by DC Comics, 1986), or more likely, Watchmen (Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics, 1986), but as monumental as these works are they might be considered “next level” comic books for those who’ve only visited the cinema or streamed at home; don’t worry, though, your recipient should be ready for those by the second or third round of gifting. When someone raves about Thor: Ragnarok or Wonder Woman, you gotta be ready to drop some Thor or Wonder Woman truth on them while the spark is fresh.

Speaking of the Thor: Ragnarok movie, The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Volume 1 (Everythinged by Walt Simonson, published by Marvel Comics, 1983) is a great way to ride the lightning of the God of Thunder’s popularity that will return them to the idea of Ragnarok, bring back the villain Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, and give them some alien action with the awesome Beta Ray Bill. Simonson’s entire run is a blast showcasing his gorgeous art and an exhilarating story with massive stakes that make the book difficult to put down. Your friend will probably have some questions but that’s when you jump in to save the day and get some conversations started. If you REALLY want to style-out your friend, you can literally go big with the recently released The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus (or get it for me; that thing’s lovely) or point them in the direction of the second volume releasing in January to keep the love going. Come to think of it, you could also start them out on Thor: God of Thunder Vol. 1 - The God Butcher (Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics, 2012) for a story that also has huge stakes, glorious art, and that will carry them into the Lady Thor issues, all of which are a fantastic jumping off point for Thor’s further adventures.

Since I also mentioned the fantastic Wonder Woman movie, fans of the film can easily slide into Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 1 (Written by Len Wein, Greg Potter, and George Perez; illustrated by George Perez, published by DC Comics, 1987) which not only retells the origins of Diana, but also Paradise Island, Steve Trevor, Ares, and so much more. The story is great on its own and more than stands up to the test of time—I just read this volume a few months ago—but I have to be honest that Perez’s masterful art is the main draw for this series. You can’t help but feel Wonder Woman’s joy upon seeing the outside world for the first time, her smile stretched across her face in wonder at something new. You also never doubt that she can hold her own in a fight as she battles her way across cityscapes, the bluest skies, and backdrops of wondrous myth. There are two volumes currently available unless you’re feeling really generous and kick down the Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol. 1. If you want to delve even deeper into the Princess of Power, this time with the writer taking the lead on the series, then Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka is also a very safe bet as Rucka perfectly inserts Diana into the modern world as a diplomat from Themyscira. Princess Diana is a symbol of hope and strength not just for girls, but for everyone, and the runs by these two creators more than deliver that hope through great art and story.

If we’re going to talk superheroes, then it’d be positively criminal not to bring up The Batman. Now, there are plenty of great Batman stories out there, but if I was going to introduce someone to the comics of the Dark Knight after they had watched Batman Begins an/or The Dark Knight, I would have to go with The New 52’s Batman (written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics, 2011). We don’t have The Joker (yet), or The Riddler (yet), or any of Batman’s extensive villainous nemeses, but rather the new and unnerving Court of Owls. Fans of the films will be right at home with Snyder’s writing as it slowly and steadily ratchets up the tension while dancing along the edge of horror. Capullo’s expert storytelling, character design and acting, and detailed backgrounds capture one’s attention and refuse to allow you to look away. (Man, I really need to reread this phenomenal 12-issue storyline.) After that taster, I would definitely follow up with Batman: The Black Mirror (Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, published by DC Comics, 2011). Originally published in Detective Comics #871–881, you will probably have to attach a note saying that this Batman is not Bruce Wayne, but rather Dick Grayson (aka…Robin/Nightwing), and that Dick is standing in for Bruce for reasons I don’t remember and that don’t really matter to the story. Again, this is an expertly told and freakin’ stressful as all heck tale that is both scary and unnerving. Jock and Francavilla alternate on art depending on which character we are following, and both artists deliver some of the most stunning and memorable work on a Bat-title I have ever seen. I know plenty of Batman fans will take umbrage with what I’m about to say, but Batman: The Dark Mirror just might be my favorite Batman tale of all time.

The Avengers movie…yeah, I never thought I would see the day. I mean, I’ve been flipping through the comics since before I could read, but as a kid, I never thought there would be a movie, or that it would be so gosh-darn good. But recommending or gifting a comic to someone who has only seen the movie? Wow. Yeah. Not an easy thing to do given just how much continuity there is out there. I would, however, feel good about starting someone out with The Ultimates (Written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Marvel Comics, 2002). Back when I was buying this in issues, it was utter torture to wait for new issues of this series I so completely loved. Millar’s dialogue is sharp, humorous, at times badass, and when mixed with Hitch’s “widescreen,” thrilling splash pages and art the scope of the story is too large to describe. Readers will quickly identify most of the characters with their movie counterparts as well as see some parallels between the stories. Dang, this is a fun series. But then comes your friend’s dreaded question: Who’s this Thanos guy? Okay…well, they’re just gonna have to go with the flow here when you hand them the worthy-of-worship The Avengers Versus Thanos (Mostly written by Jim Starlin, mostly illustrated by Jim Starlin, published by Marvel Comics, ) trade. This collection holds most of my top-five-favorite-comics material concerning Thanos and Adam Warlock as well as stories about Captain Marvel (the original one) and a whole host of other characters not (yet) found in the movies, but it will definitely give them a sense of who Thanos is and why he is very bad news for The Avengers. You will probably have to do some handholding on this one as your friend works through the comic, but that just means they’re interested.

There are just too many great kick-off points for the ol’ movie to comics transition, and I’ll cover some more in another chapter down the road.

This Week’s Reading List

Weirdworld: Warriors of the Shadow Realm TPB (Written by Doug Moench; illustrated by Mike Ploog, Pat Broderick, and John Buscema, select stories painted by Peter Ledger, published by Marvel Comics) This week there were no books in my pull. I know, I know, there is one particular massive event that I did not pick up, but I’m going to wait to get that one in trades at some point down the road. I did receive a Kickstarter series that I am thrilled to finally be able to read, and there is a certain massive tome that I am steadily making my way through, but I won’t be talking about either of those until I have finished reading them. One rather substantial collection that I just finished and have been wanting to read since I first saw the ad back in the ’70s was Weirdworld. Originally appearing as a short, black and white story in the magazine Marvel Super Action #1, the ad I saw was actually for Marvel Premiere #38, which was a colored expansion of the black and white tale. Elves, swords, scantily-clad women, and a hideous sea serpent as illustrated by the great Mike Ploog called to me, but, alas, finding that comic just wasn’t in the cards for this here Donist. It’s probably for the best, though, as attempting to gather the various stories of this magical world would have driven me mad. Also included in this collection are the following: Marvel Fanfare #24–26 (1986), Marvel Super Special #11–13 (1979), and Epic Illustrated #9, 11–13 (1981). I don’t understand the order in which the material is presented in this trade, but each of the chapters is standalone and do not need to be read in the order of their release. The first story predates the animated The Lord of the Rings and Wizards films as a source of fantasy adventure and each tale of lost homes, evil wizards, monsters, and quests is just as thrilling today as they were back then. Ploog’s art kicks off the story and believe me when I say it is gorgeous, and so is Broderick’s, but it’s when we get to Buscema’s lovely line work and freakin’ Ledger’s fully and painstakingly painted pages from the Marvel Super Special issues where I became even more spellbound than I initially was. Moench has written many comics throughout the years that I wholeheartedly love, and Weirdworld is right up there with the rest. If you’re in the mood for some swords and sorcery action, then you need to get this collection as soon as you can! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Comics Lust 11/18/2017

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/pumpkin-lovin’ Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s Amy the Intern’s birthday next week, so my puppy executive team and I are in full lockdown: red light blinking, “Do not disturb” signs hung outside the corporate office (Mom’s basement), and a pyramid of assorted burritos stacked six high as we work out the details of her main gift. Not only that, we are trying to juggle how to even get our mail to receive her presents after some evil moron took a crowbar to the complex’s group of mailboxes late Wednesday evening. Ridiculous. Anyhow, while we get back to planning, pour yourself an early winter-warmer beer or hot cocoa, grab a burrito off the top of your own burrito pyramid, 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

The Gift of Giving (Part 1)! - The Comics I Like to Give

The holiday season is upon us once again, and with it comes the deluge of stress, guilt, bickering, awkward dinner conversations, and the feeling of wanting to run home to snuggle up near the heater with a nice glass of wine and your favorite comic book. Ahhhhh…peace, relaxation, zen. Wow, started going dark there for a moment, but I pulled myself back from the abyss; every little thing’s gonna be all right. The holidays aren’t all doom and gloom, though, sometimes it feels good to give a loved one, a family member, a friend, or a colleague something that means a lot to you and that you think they will enjoy. So, today I’m going to give a quick hit list of five trades from the past and five trades for series currently running that I like to give to those who are interested in comic books but might not know where to start. As for already established comics fans…we’re an obsessive lot and tend to have read tons of material already, so best to get a list of things they specifically want to read to avoid duplicating anything.

There’s no order to this list other than starting with five already completed series and following that with five continuing series and knowing that there are way more than just 10 books that I like to give to new comic readers; those titles will appear in subsequent installments.

Now, you might be thinking that I bring up Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing (DC Comics, 1984) every other week and you’re probably right, but there’s a very good reason for that. It has held a solid position in my top five favorite comics of all time since the day I read Moore’s first issue. This is a book I give to those who might like a good horror tale that is also tinged with a love story. The book focuses on the person that was Alec Holland as he finds his place in the world now that he is a monster. There are very brief appearances by superheroes, but this comic belongs to the Swamp Thing and Moore was pretty much given free rein to do whatever he wanted with the book whose sales were in decline before he came aboard. Moore’s run began with issue 20 and really gets going with issue 21, but the beautiful thing is that you don’t need to have read any of the prior material to know what is going on. Couple that with gorgeous art by John Totleben and Stephen Bissette and you have the makings of a masterfully told story that will resonate with readers for a good long while. There are six available trades in this must-read run.

Preacher (written by Garth Ennis, illustrated by Steve Dillon, published by DC/Vertigo, 1995) is also one of my top five favorite comic books of all time and something I think everyone with an open mind and an interest in comics simply must read. It’s also a no-brainer for those who like the television series as the comics are lightyears better than what I have seen on the show, which honestly isn’t that bad. Preacher tells the story of what happens when small-town preacher Jesse Custer is inhabited by a strange and powerful entity that imbues him with the word of God. But it’s so much more. Preacher has an impressive cast of characters: Tulip, the love of Jesse’s life who he has to win back; Cassidy, Jesse’s hard-drinking friend from Ireland who holds a bizarre secret; the Saint of Killers who you will have to learn about on your own; and Herr Starr, a twisted man with his own ideas of how to fix the world. I’m surprised there haven’t been more book burnings of Preacher because of its commentary on God and religion, but for open-minded friends looking for stellar characters and one helluva compelling story this heavenly series belongs on everyone’s best bookshelf. Preacher ran for 66 issues and had a bunch of one-shots, but they are all gathered in six beautiful sets.

Fear Agent (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Tony Moore and Jerome Opena, published by Image Comics then Dark Horse Comics, 2005) is a sci-fi adventure comic that pulled me in the moment I read the first trade. I immediately switched to floppies because I couldn‘t wait for each new collection to come out; I definitely made the right choice. Fear Agent is the story of Heath Huston who was once your average Texan raising a family but is now one of the last spacemen known as Fear Agents set on ridding the Earth and the galaxy of alien threats. Every issue is a tale of weirdness, loss, and setting things right. Fans of pulpy sci-fi should love this beautifully written and illustrated tale. There are six trades from Dark Horse that might not be in print, but, better yet, there are the two Fear Agent Library Edition hardcovers that I need get for myself. Hint hint hint.

For some reason, I did not pick up the individual issues for the amazing The Vision (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, published by Marvel Comics, 2015) as they were coming out. Looking at the brighter side of life, I was able to power through this I-can’t-believe-Marvel-is-letting-them-do-this-but-I’m-glad-they-are 12-issue series that focuses on the character of the Vision and the android family of a wife and two kids he has built for himself. The Vision and his family move to the suburbs and try to have a normal life, but nothing is normal about an android superhero and his makeshift family attempting to fit in with a society that fears them. There are uplifting moments and even more unnerving moments in this story that is what you get if you mix superheroes with Twin Peaks. There are two trades available, but it looks like a hardcover collecting the entirety of this critical darling comes out in January 2018.

I’m a huge fan of Mark Russell’s sadly unfinished political satire Prez (Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, published by DC Comics, 2015), but I’m just as much a fan of his latest critically-acclaimed 12-issue run on The FlintstonesThe Flintstones (written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Steve Pugh, published by DC Comics, 2016) offers not only political satire, but also commentary on capitalism, religion, economics, consumerism, war, veterans, love, and so much more, all while focusing on the first family of Bedrock. There are plenty of laughs to be found both in the writing and in Pugh’s lovely backgrounds. Given our current awful political climate, The Flintstones is a smart, funny comic to help brighten anyone’s mood. There are two trades available for this series.

Of the current comics seeing release, Descender (written Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics, 2015) is one I talk about often and is one I have given to at least three friends to read thus far. The story is appropriate for all sci-fi buffs who are ready to fall in love with a large cast of characters and to possibly get their hearts broken on occasion all while enjoying adventures with aliens, robots, monsters, and intergalactic battles. The story is about the boy robot TIM-21 who awakens ten years after massive robots known as The Harvesters decimate much of the populations of the nine planets in the United Galactic Council, and TIM-21 might just hold the answers to the secrets of the dreaded Harvesters. I positively love love love this series both epic story and lovely watercolored art. There’re four trades (a fifth in January) and a deluxe hardcover that I must have (again…hint hint hint) comes out the middle of December.

It’s no surprise that Rick Remender shows up twice on this list as his current creator-owned Deadly Class (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, published by Image Comics, 2014) is a fantastic comic that we will be able to watch as a television series on Syfy come next year. The story is set in the ’80s and follows the travails of Marcus as he attends a high school for assassins. The story is pretty heavy as it deals with teen assassins, the craziness of adolescence, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The cast of characters is huge and I will warn that you shouldn’t get too close to any of them as life at King’s Dominion does not promote long life spans. I also have to point out that Craig’s high panel count pages add a level of urgency and intensity that you’d be hardpressed to find in very many comics. To date, we have 31 issues, five trades (sixth mid-December), and one hardcover with a second at some point in 2018.

Saga. (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics, 2012) Oh, Saga. How I love thee. Okay, straight talk for a second, folks: Saga deals with some occasionally shocking adult situations (sex, nudity, death, drugs, violence) so you don’t want to be giving this one to any kids or work colleagues, but rather only someone you have known for a very long time. Trust me on this. Got it? That said, Saga is a Romeo and Juliet meets space opera series that primarily follows Marco and Alana, each of a differing warring alien species, happen to fall in love and have a baby, Hazel. Hazel is proof of the possibility of peace that those in charge do not want the populace to know about. The cast of characters is huge, no one is safe, the humor will make you laugh out loud, and there might be a moment or two where you actually cry. Saga is a huge success in the world of creator-owned comics and is one that can turn someone who knows little to nothing about the medium into a lifelong fan through Vaughan’s all-too-real and compelling story and Staples’s gorgeous, painterly art. There are two hardcovers and seven trades that your LCS should definitely be stocked up on.

Manifest Destiny (Written by Chris Dingess, illustrated by Matthew Roberts, published by Image/Skybound, 2013) is another one I love and have given to more than a couple of friends. If you know someone who has a particular fondness for history, then this revisionist historical take on the adventures of Lewis and Clark is an easy way to make them smile. Manifest Destiny is a look at what would happen had Lewis and Clark’s task not just been about exploration, but also about cataloging and eradicating the monsters that plague the untamed West. And by “monsters” I mean actual monsters: humongous frogs, giant insects, zombies, minotaurs, etc. The characters are intriguing and the mystery of the terrible arches scattered across the lands leaves me nervously whipping through the pages of this awesome serious. The fifth trade just came out and I read it in one sitting; I can’t wait for the sixth!

Since I’ve already talked about Rick Remender twice, I might as well mention Brian K. Vaughan again, too. Paper Girls (written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by Image Comics, 2016) is the book I give to anyone who loves the Netflix original television show Stranger Things as much as I do. You’ve got the ever-retro ’80s, kids on bikes, weird monsters, mysterious outsiders willing to help, and of course forces at work no one understands. The main difference between the comics and the show is that instead of four boys being put in nightmarish situations, you have four girls—paper girls to be exact—who are put in nightmarish situations, time travel, and enter new nightmarish situations. Unlike Vaughan’s other work, Saga, Paper Girls is for everyone provided they can deal with some fowl, yet realistic, language. Funny, touching, exhilarating, and sometimes scary, Paper Girls has something for everyone. You can pick up the three trades or jump right in with the oversized hardcover.

I’ll look at other gift ideas next time. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Read some great comics!

This Week’s Reading List

Descender #26 (written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics) The “Rise of the Robots” event comes to a close and I am SO amped to see what happens next. Seriously can’t wait. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Mage: The Hero Denied #4 (Everythinged by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Shutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics) Man, I struck gold this week. Kevin takes on Ereshkigal, Mistress of the Underworld and she might very well prove to be more than he can handle. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #35 (written by Johnathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics) Death and his son, Babylon, are finally together and taking some time to finally get to know each other as the remaining three Horsemen of the Apocolypse grow impatient. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #33 (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics) Most of the gang is back together…which is not a good thing as Kadir makes a tragic choice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Future Quest Presents #4 (written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Ron Randall, lettered by Dave Lanphear, published by DC Comics) We learn the tale of Space Ghost’s meeting with The Galaxy Trio and how they might not have perished by the evil tentacles of Omnikron. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Bug: The Adventures of Forager #5 (written by Lee Allred, illustrated by Mike Allred, colored by Laura Allred, lettered Nate Piekos, published by DC Comics) Forager’s adventures continue as he crosses paths with none other than OMAC: The One Man Army Corp. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!