Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 12/17/2010

Last Friday, I complained about how the week painstakingly dragged its bloody carcass along a rocky beach with its one good arm.  Comparatively, this week was more of the same...without the one good arm.  Tis the season, thank god this week is over.  There were however some stellar books and a great Tuesday evening.

Friday Slice of Heaven

Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by DC Comics imprint, Vertigo.  This volume continues the post apocalyptic story of a world where disease has killed off the majority of the earth's population and left the results of the dwindling child births to be animal/human hybrids.  Enter Gus, a cross between a deer and a boy, who's supposed age predates the arrival of the plague by a few years.  Last volume detailed Gus's meeting with the man mountain, Jepperd and their journey to "the preserve," a supposed haven for animal children.
This volume heavily spotlights Jepperd before the arrival of the disease and the sad path his life had taken, while revealing his motivation behind taking Gus to "the preserve."  Although In Captivity contains an issue more than Out of the Woods, it reads just as quickly if not more so.  Lemire specializes in storytelling through the use of large panels and sparse dialogue and captions, showing the story with the emotions his artwork elicits.
Sweet Tooth is a bleak, dark and depressing book and I love it wholeheartedly because of that.  After this volume, I'm going to single issues so that I do not have to wait for third TPB.  The hunt is on.  Buy it!  $20 to own both volumes, you cannot go wrong.  Highly recommended.

Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity
Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity

The Complete Essex County - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Top Shelf Productions.  Apparently it's Jeff Lemire week here at Donist Compound and that is an okay thing.  At 512 pages, this big boy might be intimidating to some, but it should not be.  This is a must own book to be featured prominently on the shelf and to be reread annually.
Essex County consists of three intertwined stories originally released as three separate graphic novels.  Lemire's distinct art and style in Essex County complement the sparse dialogue and captions and tell a compelling and heartfelt story unlike anything I have ever read.   Essex County is a relatively quick read despite the size of the book, but only some of the blame falls upon the many large panels and splash pages.  The story is engrossing and wonderful and tragic.  Characters dance into the other chapters in a tightly interwoven story in ways that I did not expect and I was compelled to flip back through to confirm moments that I did not at first catch.
A very real and truthful, heartfelt piece of work that encompasses everything that I wish to achieve as a writer.  I never would have thought anything could make me care about any sort of sport, but Lemire actually succeeded in having we wish for the Lebeuf Brother's to succeed in their hockey endeavors and not fall into the sad events that transpire.
The last book to move me to this degree was Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise.  Essex County is destined to be one of the most important graphic novels of all time.  Simply wonderful and oddly beautiful.  Highly Recommended.

The Complete Essex County
The Complete Essex County

The Latest Comics Experience Book Club - The Comics Experience Book Club has recently been wrapped into the Comic Creators Workshop membership.  You buy one, you get access to both.  A pretty damn good deal, seeing as how I am wrapping up my fifth comic script (8-pages) for the December Challenge and this past Tuesday we looked at Chew Volume 1: Taster's Choice.  In and of itself, discussing Chew is an enjoyable venture--currently one of my favorite books on the stand.  This past Tuesday we were joined by the creators, John Layman and Rob Guillory.  They discussed how the book came to be, the heavy resistance met to the pitch for the book and how going it alone really worked in their favor.  Both men were honest, open and more than happy to discuss their successes, pitfalls and hopes for the future.  An exceptionally informative and highly interesting evening on one of the best new books in recent years.  The class itself continues to be fun and greatly helps my writing and my pursuit of a writing career.  An invaluable experience.
CHEW Omnivore Edition Volume 1 HC (Chew the Omnivore Edition)
Chew the HC Omnivore Edition.  Contains the first two trades.  A great deal.

Slice Into the Woods

Top Ten Banned Books for 2009 - Nothing gets my hackles up like a bunch of mental midgets trying to tell me and others, whether children or adults, what we can and cannot read.  Below is the list from the American Library Association's website, or better yet, follow the link and read about what is happening in the war on our libraries and the war on our freedom through censorship.  It is followed by my "Top 10" list of things for those who seek to ban books from our libraries.

Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009
Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom 
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson 
Reasons: homosexuality 
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group 
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer 
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult 
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 

The Donist Top Ten List of Alternatives For Those Seeking to Ban Books
1.  Go fuck yourselves...seriously.  It kinda sounds like you need a little loosening up.  Trust me, Christine O'Donnell does not know what she is talking about.
2.  Get a hobby other than your child.  There's quilting, cooking, exercising, and plenty of other things to do other than guaranteeing that your child will be in a clock tower with a rifle one day as a result of your overbearing demeanor.
3.  Actually read the book that you are attempting to ban.  It's not what you've been led to believe.
4.  If you still don't like the book, vote with your dollars and DO NOT BUY IT.  Simple.
5.  Turn off the FOX "News."  It's just a hunch, but I suspect a strong correlation between those who ban books and those who worship the truthiness of Beck, Hannity and the other clowns.
6.  Go for a hike and appreciate nature for a change.  Exercise is good.
7.  See and experience the world, other people and other cultures.  This can be expensive, so there is always Netflix and documentaries to help with this endeavor.  There are also different types of food.  Try something different.
8.  Start to trust our Educators and Librarians for a change; they are not all failing our children as the media (not just FOX) and politicians seeking reelection would like you to think.  These people have received a lot of training and work ridiculously hard only to be thrown under the bus over and over and over get the picture.
9.  Read a book, read many books.  Reading is good for you.
10.  Don't like what is currently out there?  Write your own damn books.   You'll discover something about yourself and something about the art.

Bonus 11. If you still want to toss the ol' Harry Potter onto the bonfire, then keep in mind that you bought a copy, disposed of a copy that cannot be found in used bookstores and thus another new copy can be bought.  Oh yeah, and go fuck yourself're obviously a nutbag.  Happy holidays.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 12/12/2010

"Wait...what the what, Donist?  It's Sunday you dope!  What the hell is Sunday Slice of Heaven about?"

Well loyal readers--Mom and our friends' dog--Friday is the day that point out the things, whether they are comics, blu-rays, music, books, beer or what have you, that I deeply enjoyed that week.  But today is Sunday, and I have decided that Sunday is the day for bringing up things that I want or expect to be awesome, thus this first entry.

But, and this is a very big butt, I have to rant--like always--for a moment.  Why did no one tell me about this book?  Seriously.  You people say you love me.  You people think you know me.  Fine, I get that, but where were you on this one?  EVERYONE dropped the ball as far as I'm concerned.  I had to find out about this book on my own through a casual glance on the wonderful site, which if you haven't visited, check it out immediately, bookmark it and view daily!

This book holds everything near and dear to me in this peril-wrought world.  It provides a glimmer of hope, that ray of sunshine and a primordial warmth so desperately needed in our hearts during these uncertain times.

I give to you...

...the holy grail...

...of all books...

...this holiday season.

A book at the top...

...of my Christmas list...

...that should be at the top of everyone's list.

I present to you...

The Big Butt Book - Edited by Dian Hanson, published by Tashen.  If covers could speak a thousand words, this speaks ten thousand.
The Big Butt Book

Hey, and don't forget the sister book...

The Big Book of Legs - Edited by Dian Hanson, published by Tashen.  This book probably speaks about five thousand words, or at the very least somewhere around the three thousand word range.
The Big Book of Legs

Whoa...wait a minute.  I get it.  *chuckle*.  You guys...ohhhhhh.  Alright, I'm calming down now.  I know the scene.  Christmas time is coming, and some little Donist has been a very, very good boy this year and will just have to wait to see what Santa Claus brings him on Consumerist Christmas Day!

Okay, understood.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a book about Big Butts!

***Just Added (Thank you, Lael, for informing me of the following***

The Big Book of Breasts - Edited by Dian Hanson, published by Tashen.  Let's go with eight thousand, five hundred and forty two words about this book.

Big Book of Breasts

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 12/10/2010

I'm not sure what the deal with this week was, but it just seemed to drag on and on.  Of course it wasn't the good parts that seemed to go for eternity, no, it was the dull monotonous portions--guess which--that I sat and fully experienced the act of aging.  Why couldn't the moments of daily composing, editing and critiquing seem to last, or the night our friends came over to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead, or the serene walk through the woods with Tulip?  Nope, all flash in the pans.  There were some interesting things though.  Expect minor brief SPOILERS.

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Walking Dead: "TS-19" S01E06 - I downloaded the HD version of this episode through the PSN on Monday morning and the wait to watch it on Wednesday with our friends was excruciating.  Although I was excited to watch the final episode of the all-too-short season, I had a bit of dread over what was to be expected.  Last episode left off with Rick and the gang reaching the CDC and being let in--an event not found anywhere in the comic book series.  My fear was misplaced. 
The episode opened with a sequence that was also not found in any of the comics of Shane desperately trying to awaken Rick from his coma, and at great risk to his own life.  Just when I was firmly planted in the camp of "F_Shane," he has to go and pull something like this, where I really felt sorry for the character and--I'm hesitant to say this--semi-understood his frustration.  But then he returns to form.
Of special note in this episode was Dr. Jenner, played brilliantly by Noah Emmerich, a man as completely removed emotionally from the living as the zombies are removed mentally; in his mind everyone is dead on their feet.  The scene where he explains the zombie process with X-Ray scans of TS-19 is fascinatingly terrifying but confirms for the audience that once bitten you and everything that was you is gone.  
Not much of a cliffhanger for the finale, and the groups position really has not changed much at all, but extensive character development, desperation, and action rounded out this series quite nicely.  I should be able to have plenty of marathon viewings of this show during the long painful wait for season two in October 2011.  Dang.  :(

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 - Written by Nick Spencer with illustrations by Cafu and ChrisCross, published by DC Comics.  I vaguely remember the THUNDER Agents from years ago and admittedly I knew little about them going into this series, making the purchase solely because of writer Nick Spencer.  I am glad that I did.  The intrigue and suspense of the shadowy group S.P.I.D.E.R. takes a back seat to the development of the character, Henry Cosgei, the man who becomes the speedster Lightning.  Cosgei is a Kenyan runner and part of a small group of farmers called the Kalenjin, and an extraordinarily fast professional runner until he is accused of doping and loses everything.  Henry then agrees to wear the Lightning suit, which will eventually kill him with each use of the suit's speed amplification powers.  
This book is compellingly written, the dual art duties of the flashbacks and present day merge seamlessly, and I can't wait for the third issue.  
I don't want to say this, but this book is so good that it will probably go the way of Gotham Central, The Order and a host of other critically acclaimed books as it does not have Wolverine, Batman, or any of the other bigwig heroes.  I pray that I am wrong.  Buy it!

THUNDER Agent# 2 - An exciting fun read

Superboy #2 - Written by Jeff Lemire with illustrations by Pier Gallo, published by DC Comics.  Okay, I'm going to talk about this book in response to a shoddy review I read complaining that Superboy was stupid for even giving Poison Ivy the time of day.  The reviewer argued that the character should have known that Poison Ivy was evil and not gone on her little side quest and that the teen super-powered Connor Kent would never have fallen for her trap.  Bullshit.
Was the reviewer ever a teenager?  Apologies to any of my nonexistent teen readership, but teenagers tend to be stupid as dirt.  Seriously.  I'm sorry, if an incredibly buxom, green-skinned, red-headed, scantily clad and lascivious minded beauty approached a teenage Donist and kindly asked him to help her steal a painting from a bad little museum, I would be forging my mother's name on the school absence slip and catching the next bus to the museum.  Teenagers tend toward irrationality and if someone like the villain in this book came along, hordes of boys would gleefully jump off a cliff to impress her.  This rationale also curiously applies to United States Senators but that is a topic for another day.  
To the book itself, I loved the story, the characterization and the events as they unfolded.  The uber-creepy farmers near the end of the book have me fully intrigued and I'm looking forward to the next installment of this great series.

Superboy #2 - Another great DC book this week.

The Stuff of Legend Vol. II: The Jungle part 2 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios.  I have been semi-slamming my LCS for a while now about skipping comics in my pull or missing them all together.  This issue was another one that somehow missed showing up in my pull.  Luckily, I checked out on a whim and saw that the latest issue had been released, so I ordered it from them.  The bad news is that I had to wait so long to get this, the good news is that there will be less of a wait for part three.
I honestly cannot say much more about this series other than it continues to be excellent and well worth the wait in between issues.  Strong, solid writing resurrects distant memories of the epic wars my own toys waged against the forces of Darth Vader, Baron Karza and Darklon the Evil, and remind me how much I loved those days.  Wilson III's art continues to be devastatingly beautiful, and come to think of it I need to see if there are any prints or posters or the like available for purchase to hang in the house.  A twisted mashup of Toy Story--without the songs and joy--and Saving Private Ryan, The Stuff of Legend continues to be one of the best series I have ever read.
With this issue, The Boogeyman's army leader, The General, sees his backstory come to light and the seeds of his doubt in The Boogeyman's campaign surface.  Percival the pig sinks further into the clutches of evil and the group wander into the dark, mysterious jungle to be brought before The King.
I have two suggestions for this comic book:
1) Multiple motion picture deal.
2) Hardcover Omnibus collecting all three (?) parts when all is said and done.
A magically addictive read.

The Stuff of Legend Vol. II: The Jungle part 2 - Another beautiful installment.

Slice Into the Woods

The Walking Dead TV Series - Now I have to wait, what...nine or ten months for season two?  Sigh.  Oh well, Mad Men will be back before that, but we still have six months to wait for that one, too.

GOP Senators block Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill for First Responders - Fuck you evil anti-American


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To All the Concerts I Loved Before - Part 7

Yeah, I know, I missed another week last week, but I've been in midst of truckloads of stuff.  There were fellow aspiring comic book writers' scripts to critique--lots of them, some fine tuning on my first comic script to coincide with the recently received art, expanding and tweaking of my second comic script for which I have some plans with a January deadline, and of course the novel revisions with little more than 110 pages to go.  Exciting indeed.

As for further past concert stuff, this installment of To All the Concerts I Loved Before is going to read a bit like a Lilith Fair roster, but that was how things played out.  This is interesting, as I had recently kicked my evil second ex-girlfriend out of my life forever so that she could pursue her interests of not working, taking crystal, getting drunk and finding a rich, Slash look-alike boyfriend. The last concert I went to with her was  the Tori Amos concert from the last installment.  After the bitch was gone, I then attended a string of women singer-songwriter concerts with various women who I was enamored with at that time.  So, in addition to judging myself on the merits of the concerts I attended, let's also think of today's entry as a cultural anthropological study of my decimated skills with the ladies during that time period; thanks a lot evil ex-girlfriend, "You Oughta Know" better.

Alanis Morissette at the Arlington Theatre, November 14, 1995 - Yet another concert that I did not want to attend, but was coerced by pressure from my peers, which was odd because that tactic never ever worked on me before.   I went with a group of coworkers from the now vanquished evil music store corporation (downtown branch) and the main impetus for my actually spending the money and going was that I had a wicked crush on one of said coworkers.  It was at this concert that true love sprang from the...the...ALRIGHT.  Nothing happened.  Nothing came of it.  But...I have to admit that Alanis put on a great show and the music was much more rocking and far heavier than what was released on her album; I was impressed.  Everyone left the concert and as far as my crush was concerned, I had firmly cemented myself into the cold stony facade of friendship forever.  *note-Sorry Alanis...I am afraid I will take the fifth on whether or not anyone "went down on me in the theater."  I'm sure you can connect the dots, though.

Ani Difranco at the Ventura Theatre, May 31, 1996 - This show was in support for the amazing Dilate album and I attended this particular concert with...excuse me while I puff up my chest and pat myself on the back...the girl at the clothing store who I had crushed on for over a year.  This crush was pretty bad, but hey, she was talking with me, hanging out with me, going to movies and dinners with me, I had it made right?  Nope.  I willingly fastened the chain to my ankle, connected it to the end of a 100-lb rock and tossed the payload into the dark viscous lake of "just friends."  Regardless, this show absolutely blew me away.  Here was this five-foot tall (is she even that?) woman with elevating boots, playing her guitar in a manner that made no sense to me what-so-ever.  All of her fingers were taped and she consistently hammered the shit out of her poor guitar strings to force out the most beautiful of sounds that were only surpassed by her powerfully gorgeous voice.  I'm still getting goosebumps thinking about it.  Ani Difranco left me with such a rush that I momentarily forgot about the anguish of my crush and went home smiling all the way.

Tori Amos at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, June 23, 1996 - Tori Amos warranted a repeat viewing, only this time with much better company.  Where as the first concert was with the evil second ex-girlfriend, this one was with the same woman I went to the Ani Difranco concert with, only this concert ended with us...yeah, me getting dropped off with an added level of weirdness--back to that later.  My friend, let's call her what she was, somehow got tickets for the third row, which is insane and she invited me to go to the show in support of the Boys for Pele tour, and I agreed for a multitude of reasons.  Great show of course, and--as I later found out--Tori actually pointed out a friend of mine who was seated not too far away from us to say that she liked his hair or something along those lines.  Good show, but unfortunately working for the evil music store corporation had began to burn down the candle of tolerance in regard to my enjoyment of the musician by incessantly requiring we play the album.  After the show, the crush pulled over to drop me off, and what I thought was to be our first kiss, ended up with her crying in my arms telling me how her new boyfriend was going to jail for violating parole for heroin possession.  "Wait, what?  Seriously?  I thought that...I'm sorry.  Wow that sucks.  There, there.  Um...don't worry about a thing.  Uh...every little thing's going to be all right?"  Seriously, heroin?  Why get involved with someone doing that?  He was also shorter, heavier and involved in all sorts of illegal schemes, oh yeah and a heroin addict!  He did dress better than me and did not have bad long hair, so I will give the guy that.

That's it for this installment.  Kinda weird how the theme went from To All the Concerts I Loved Before to To All the Girls I Loved Before, but there you have it.  The next entry in the series will continue on with even more of the same: women singer-songwriter shows, the crush, the new woman and better yet the woman who becomes my wife.  Funny.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 12/03/2010

This week is going to be a little bit light on entries as I have been fairly busy doing god only knows what.  The things that impressed me the most though are pretty stellar.  There are some slight SPOILERS in these brief little rundowns.

Friday Slice of Heaven

Parker: The Outfit (Richard Stark's Parker) - Written and Illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, published by IDW.  The follow up to 2009's amazing Parker: The Hunter, this newest chapter was well worth the one year wait.  Expertly adapted, written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, this story continues following career criminal Parker in his new quest to destroy The Outfit, a consortium of criminals who decided to push the wrong man.   The story is intricately told and in chapter three mixes things up by detailing the exploits of Parker's accomplices as they too hit the Outfit from every corner conceivable while cleverly revealing to the reader how the Outfit ran their various rackets .   A beautiful book worthy of anyone's favorite bookshelf, but be warned that the Parker: The Hunter is a prerequisite to this wonderful book.  The third release is scheduled for 2012 and the year could not come soon enough.  A must own for any fan of pulpy crime noir fun.

Parker: The Outfit (Richard Stark's Parker)

The Walking Dead: "Vatos" S01E04 - I was severely disappointed with this fourth...Ha...just kidding.  This episode ruled.  Continuing a string of great installments, "Vatos" was the first episode completely written by Robert Kirkman and it showed.   Loosely adhering to the original comic book and with the addition of Daryl Dixon from last episode, I was completely onboard with the changes and everything flowed just fine.  Then came the vatos.  At first, I was rolling my eyes at just how stereotypical the portrayal of this ruff and tumble street gang was as in "they were a Latino force to be reckoned with and after a life of growing up on the perilous streets of the city, no one was safe...," but then came the reveal.  This blew me away.  SPOILER....
Rick and his group's interaction with the vatos pulls a complete switch on all preconceptions, and the vatos could quite possibly end up being the most compassionate of people the survivors will ever meet for the remainder of the show.  I was left wanting more, and hope to see more of them later.
Also of interest was Daryl dropping the tough, dumb redneck schtick long enough to show his general concern for the abducted Glenn.  There's a human side to this character hidden somewhere, and hopefully more will show.  Then of course there was the assault on the camp that played all to faithful to the comic, eliciting the horror the survivor's situation...while also eliciting a bone-chilling scream from my wife that scared the dogs.  Great show.

The Walking Dead: "Wildfire" S01E05 - Things slow down drastically from the great "Vatos" episode and we witness the aftermath of last week's finale.  Andrea's raw emotion and refusal to let anyone near her sister, with the exception of Dale, was rather heart wrenching, but gave a first glimpse at the strength within Andrea that will play out in the second season.
We also see the conflict building in Shane as he becomes more unhitched and desperate to return to the life he had prior to Rick's return.  Thankfully Dale is there to witness Shane's contemplated treachery and now he suspects all is not well, even if Rick is too willfully blind to see it.
Finally came the completely new addition of the CDC, which I did not see coming at all, and I am curious to see how that plays out.
With one final episode left in the season--and over a year wait for the second season to debut--I will sit biting my nails to the nub and anxiously awaiting watching it with my friends.  When all is said and done, I will rewatch the series--minus chitchat and screaming--back-to-back to see how it plays out and flows.  Quickly becoming one of my favorite series of all time, second only to Firefly.

Heroes for Hire - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Illustrated by Brad Walker, published by Marvel Comics.  Okay, flat out, I loved this and I am so glad I decided to take a chance on this book.  From the pages of Iron Fist, Misty Knight operates as the "Controller" who instructs the various street-level heroes of the Marvel Universe to partake in missions against a drug running operation.  Enlisting the help of the likes of the Falcon to the Black Widow to Moon Knight and even harsher vigilantes,  the Controller decides who is best suited to what task, based on their oftentimes questionable methods.  Although the character of Misty Knight's Controller dances dangerously close to DC's own Oracle, she succeeds in remaining unique enough to not be a knockoff off.  While I read the comic I could see and hear portions of the film The Warriors coming across with the parallels between the radio announcer and Misty, which is not a bad thing in the least.
Brad Walker's sequentials flow beautifully and I love how he portrays each character.  There is also a shocking reveal at the end that makes waiting for issue number two painful in the best of ways.  Loving it so far, although I still want to see Abnett and Lanning pick up again with Thanos, Starlord, Nova and Adam Magus/Warlock (no way is he dead), but I now also want them to keep writing this book, too.

Heroes For Hire - Engaging read.  Will be back.

Slice Into the Woods

Still No Morning Glories #4 - Gawdammit.  Criminy.  C'mon!  What is it now?  Fucking three weeks since this issue came out?  I should have just ordered the book from and I would have had it by now.  So, I wait...oh how I wait, cringing in the dark with not but a candle lighting my despair ridden features.  I sit alone, wrapped tightly in my blue snuggie, watching the clock and counting every gruesomely stark "tick-tock" emanating from my grandfather's grandfather's watch..."tick-tock, tick-tock."  Each sound translates to one less moment that I have to wait, but the horrid truth of the matter is I have no idea where this imaginary finish line is located.  But, I will continue to wait.
The dog won't come near me anymore.  I don't blame her alone for my missing comic, but I suspect that she might have had something to do with my LCS missing my copy of Morning Glories #4.  I vibe with your scene, Tulip, I vibe.  So what if I switched up your old kibble for a blend of low-fat Innova and EVO small-bites dog food.  It's for your own health and well being.  Damnation!  It's supposed to give you a shinier, healthier fur coat, but if that's how you want to play it, then fine.  We will play that game.  I'm good at games.
Then again, maybe the wife is the one delaying my hope, reading pleasure.  I know that you are jealous of my Morning Glories wife of mine, I know.  But to prevent my LCS from having it for the past three weeks?  Your cruelty knows no bounds and you may as well pour boiling salt water onto that paper cut I received at the cubicle farm.  For all I know, you and the dog are in on it together.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  I know what's going on here.  Try to keep me from my Morning Glories #4....
In summary, I want my damn comic.  Fuck!
I feel like this cover.  In the dark and very, very cold.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/26/2010

Man, lots of crazy stuff going on.  Tis the Season for nuttiness to grind your ass down and make you ill.  Oh well, there were some cool things going on though...

Asterios Polyp - Written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, published by Pantheon.  Again, I'm a little late to the party on this one, but then again, aren't I always?  Asterios Polyp was released in 2009 and won three Harvey awards (best lettering, best OGN, best single issue or story) among many others awards across the board. Oftentimes it was competing neck and neck with Darwyn Cooke's Parker: The Hunter for best release of the year, but the books are so vastly different that I can only say that they are both two of the best releases of 2009 and both deserve to be proudly displayed on peoples' shelves.
Asterios Polyp is the story of Asterios Polyp, a world-reknowned award-winning architect.  The problem is that he has never had a single one of his designs built, and he remains a "paper architect."  Asterios is arrogant, selfish and lost to the needs of others, primarily his good-hearted and brilliant sculptor wife, Hana, and as a fire destroys his apartment and belongings, he sets out on a journey to understand his life and what has led him to the events prior to the fire.
Beautifully written, and remarkably illustrated in an abundance of differing and oftentimes intentionally conflicting styles with a vast array of lettering, this book has it all.  I loved it.  You will love it.  Buy it.

Asterios Polyp
Asterios Polyp...just buy this amazingly beautiful book.

Comics Experience Comic Creators Workshop - Alrighty, I am well aware of the fact that I mention this workshop that I am involved with often enough, if not every single week that I post FSH/SIW, but the group continues to be an immensely inspiring venture.  Prior to this month's meeting I finished the first draft of my fourth short comic script and have received vital feedback I can apply to the second draft that will help me improve not just the script but my comics writing as a whole.  During the meeting, we listened to and commented on another writer's script, and listened to a critique of five beautifully drawn pages of pencils from an artist.  This was only the first hour.
The second hour was led by Panda Dog Press founder and Comic Creator Workshop moderator Rob Anderson for a question and answer session with Nathan Edmondson, writer of The Light, Olympus and the soon to be released Who Is Jake Ellis.  I personally found Edmondson's story immensely inspiring and he provided much to think about.  I cannot express enough the honesty and willingness of Edmondson to answer questions and provide a history of the steps he took to become noticed.  *note - Immediately after the workshop,  I downloaded all five issues of The Light from ComiXology.  The TPB should have a ton of extra info and will be available at the end of December...I just could not wait a month to get it.*
Overall a great night and if you are at all interested in creating comics from any aspect of the medium then you should give this a try or take one of the classes that will be offered next year.  Taking the writing course and signing up for the workshop are two of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Thanos Imperative #5 - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda, pubished by Marvel Comics.  Finally!  I waited for two weeks for this series concluding issue that was left out of my pull to finally show up.  Good things come to those who wait.  I can't say anything about this without giving away anything, so let's just say the shit goes down in this issue.  I will be rereading the entire series again to see if I missed anything...primarily, what the hell happened to Adam Magus/Adam Warlock.  Huh...yeah, where did one of my favorite Marvel characters of all time go.  Weird.  In January, there will be an epilogue issue titled Thanos Imperative: Devastation that I cannot wait to get my hands on, and here's to hoping that I don't have to wait an excessive amount of time to get it.  I'm looking at you LCS!

Thanos Imperative #6 - Definitely worth the wait!

Secret Avengers # 7 - Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Mike Deodato, Jr., published by Marvel Comics.  Yup.  Still loving this series.  All it needs is for Iron Fist to show up and I will be a happy camper.  Shang-Chi, John Aman the Green Mist, Steve Rogers, Black Widow and another surprise--and effectively utilized--character try to research the reasoning for a mysterious groups' attempt to raise Shang-Chi's evil father from the dead.  Still a great book.

Secret Avengers #7 - Still great!

Slice Into the Woods

Getting Sick God Damnit - I really shouldn't be surprised that I'm sick.  For the past 30 years of living in Santa Barbara, every single Thanksgiving and/or Christmas I have been sick with the exception of one of those years.  Why should this year be any different?  For the past week, without fail, I have woken up between the hours of 2:30 AM and 3:15 AM.  The odd thing is that I don't wake up sneezing, or coughing, or in pain, or anything like that, I just wake up.  Then I lay there.  "Humpty hump, I'm a lump, why the fuck can't I go back to sleep?"  I then toss and turn until I finally pass out in a deep sleep...15 minutes before the damn alarm goes off.  *sigh*

Thanksgiving Day Ruckus - This year we stayed in town for Thanksgiving and avoided the whole busiest traveling day bullshit, but unfortunately we were unable to avoid some of the other bullshit that tends follow this "joyous time of year."  Amy and I met my mom, her husband, Grandma and Jeff at Harry's Plaza Cafe for Thanksgiving dinner and apparently so did everyone else in the city.  The place was packed, but after a half hour wait, despite our reservation, we were seated and having Blue Moon Martinis and dinner.  Everything was progressing along nicely and we had just paid our bill when we heard some sort of ruckus over near the entrance, and then the children started screaming.  Someone who looked to be in his sixties was physically fighting someone else.  I'm not sure if it was "Drunken asshole #1" vs. a family member or vs. the staff of Harry's, but the whole event was a nightmare for everyone else in the restaurant and doubly so for the poor children who will forever hate Thanksgiving going forward.  What happened exactly I do not know, but I did hear someone say, "...we have had problems with him in the past."
Here comes Donist's heartless side...I don't understand why people feel the need to put themselves, and in this case complete strangers, through crazy amounts of torment because we are told that Thanksgiving is the time of year to tear down walls and fences and reach out a helping hand to those less fortunate.  That's fine, but what about the rest of the fucking year?  "Oh they'll be fine, just be sure to invite them for Thanksgiving, that's when it matters most."  Last night, I suspect that Uncle Dickwad is an unpleasant person to be around and I am certain that he's sure to make everyones' lives as miserable as the life that he actively pushes upon himself.  "But what about Uncle Dickwad?  He's family!  You can't just leave him at home alone!  It's Thanksgiving for god's sake!"  Well, you leave Uncle Dickwad alone for most of the year because...well, because frankly he's a mean spirited dickwad who makes everyone miserable.  I can see this guy doing this kind of thing every year.  Simple solution, don't invite him back and tell him why.  He's the one who needs to make the effort not the family.
Such a mean, mean ol' Donist, but I did not need to see that, my family did not need to see that, and Uncle Dickwad's family did not see that, especially the children did not need to see that.  I hate what the holidays do to people.  Up next...Christmas, aka how to go broke in 30 days!  

Accidentally Hurting Tulip's Toe - Look...I'm sorry, alright.  Shit, it's not like I did it on purpose?  I love you, you know that right?  Seriously, it was totally an accident.  I would never knowingly hurt you.  Fuck!  Why don't you believe me?  I mean...I'm not mad or anything, but in case you forgot, I was sitting calmly on the couch when you came flying out of nowhere, with that...that...sopping wet plush bone that is as big as you are.  Do you remember landing on my nuts?  Twice for god's sake?!  You totally pushed that thing, what do you call it, "Fuzzby" right in my face.  Did I shoo you away?  Did I call you a bad dog?  No, no I didn't.  I stopped what I was doing, cupped a protective hand over the ol' twig and berries and got down to the tug of war.
Then you bumped your toenail on my hand and yelped.  Sure, I don't doubt that it hurt, I'm not saying that, but why would I ever do that on purpose?  I raised you from a puppy, losing massive amounts of sleep in the process.  I also feed you, come home everyday at lunch to be with you, and play with you., for fucks sake.  Now you skulk over to Amy and climbing into her lap grumbling the whole while, turning your back on me and only looking over your shoulder to be sure that I can see your ears routinely flattening against your head.  I get it, okay.
I'm sorry.  Please, forgive me.  What?  Well, yes I suppose I was giving you a bit of guilt trip, but I went on the defensive.  You know how I get.  Can, I give you a chicken Zukes?  Would that make you feel better?  Okay, FINE.  Sit there on Amy's lap looking all dejected.  See if I care...ummm...can I see your paw?  I'm sorry.  C'mon, let's go get those Zukes.

Donist, your a dick.
Whoa there, cowboy...did you say Zukes?!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 6

@#$# it.  Stupid @#$#ing sleep deprived night of...Oh!  Hello there.  C'mon in, make yourself at home.  Um, sure you can have a's 5:30 AM, but hey it's 5:30 PM somewhere, right?  Yeah, not the Black Maple Hills though, that's only for Donist consumption.  You get the Makers Mark, yeah that one.  Wait, no.  The bottle with the, you got it.

Okay, on with more concerts and weirdness.

Harry Connick, Jr. at the Santa Barbara County Bowl Aug 2, 1994 - My brother forced me to go to this show.  At the time he was a big Harry Connick, Jr. fan and I was working at the evil music corporation store and was all too familiar with Connick's current album at the time She.  Yes I would have preferred to be listening to The Cure, Love and Rockets or the Pixies, but Jeff was frothing at the mouth to go to this show, so I went.  Thank god I did.  It ended up being an amazing performance.  Connick had incredible stage presence and passion for his music and honestly seemed to be thrilled to be performing for everyone.  During the encore, he and his live band rotated instruments during the song until Connick had played a solo on every instrument before finishing out the set.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would gladly see a performance of that caliber from Harry Connick, Jr. again.  Bring it!
*side note* After the show we went to the Wild Cat, which was actually a cool place back in those days--much less douchebaggery and fighting--and when my brother went to the restroom, one of my coworkers came up to me and asked what I would do if she kissed me.  I was shocked, flattered and wholly interested, but I stupidly replied, "If I wasn't with my girlfriend I would love that."  My coworker accepted that, but honestly, I didn't.  The problem is that my now second evil ex-girlfriend was probably off somewhere doing meth and riding least she wasn't there being diabolically cruel to me.  A shame, really, that I didn't take my coworker up on the offer, maybe I wouldn't have been such a quivering fucked up mess once I eventually dumped the evil bitch.

Tori Amos at the Arlington Theatre Aug 28, 1994 - This was for Tori Amos's Under the Pink album and all in all it was a decent show.  It would have been better if two things did not happen:
1)  I had not gone with my stupid, evil ex-girlfriend number two.  I vaguely remember her being in pretty good spirits that night and she was not wasted on meth or being cruel to me, so that was a plus.
2)  Slight setup here.  The Arlington seating situation sucks.  If someone is seated behind me, then they are screwed; I'm 6' 2".  If someone taller than 5' 8" sits in front of me, then I am screwed.  For the first half of the show, there were three empty seats in front of us and it was magical.  Tori played Prince's "Purple Rain" and things were happy-go-awesome, but then the big man came.  The big man was easily a few inches taller than me and definitely 100+ pounds heavier than me.  For the last half of the concert, I essentially watched an incredibly beautiful light show coming out of this guy's ears set to nice music.  At least he left two songs early, but still.

Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Arlington Theatre - Okay, here's the situation.  My second evil ex-girlfriend liked this band so I bit the bullet and bought tickets to this show for her birthday.  As for the show itself, well...I went.  *sigh*

Sarah McLachlan at the Universal Amphitheatre March 3, 1995 - I also saw Sarah McLachlan at some point prior (?) to this concert at the Ventura Theatre.  There was a time that I loved Sarah McLachlan primarily for her Solace and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy albums and the really cool Touch album.  Faithful readers (Mom and my friend's dog) please understand something.  This was before Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was severely overplayed to the point where if I heard that damn song "Ice Cream" I would collapse in a fit of anger, then become overwhelmed with a sense of despair and abandonment from which I could only escape by listing to Nine Inch Nails's song "Wish."  She did, however, put on a great show and she was exceptionally charming and beyond talented and this was before the release of Surfacing which is probably not a bad album.  But, the god damn radio station at my payroll job would years later end up playing that fucking song "Adia" every hour all day long for two years straight.  I can no longer listen to Sarah McLachlan because of that stupid radio station which is probably still playing the same Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Chumbawumba and that fucking "Closing Time" song to this day.  Oh shit!  Oh god no!  I said Paula Cole!  Crap cakes.  Now I'll be hearing "I Don't Want to Wait" in my mind all day long.  Oh the humanity!  *Oh yeah, Paula Cole opened for Sarah McLachlan.  *sigh*

Adam Ant at the Ventura Theatre April 19, 1995 - Okay, finally something I can totally get behind.  Lael and I went this show supporting the Wonderful album tour, but we were and still are, huge Adam Ant fans.  Mr. Ant put on an energetic show that touched on some of the newer songs and hit almost every one of his greatest hits.  I lost my marbles when I heard "Stand and Deliver," "Friend or Foe," and "Desperate But Not Serious."  Marco Pirroni was in the house to rock the guitar and he was a massive guy, towering in all ways over Mr. Ant who danced and strutted his way to a great show.  One thing I could not help but notice was a slight pervading sadness from Adam Ant over the lack of response to his newer material with the exception of "Wonderful" that had throngs of radio listeners, who barely knew any of his other hits, making out in unison.  "Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Gary Tibbs and your truly.  In the naughty North and the sexy South, we're all singing I have the mouth."

Elastica at the Palace October 17, 1995 - At the time, Elastica was a pretty big deal with their Wire sampling hit "Connection" from their self-titled album Elastica.  I remember the show being fairly short, but how could it be anything but short with only one album under their belt?  Addictive pounding energy flowed through the crowd and even though things wrapped up quickly, everyone left happy.  Isn't that what everyone wants?

Wow, where does the time go.  I still have about three or four more of these entries in me.  Back soon.