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.

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