Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/28/2011

This week I'm cheating.  I started writing my little column on Thursday (*gasp*) not on Friday (*no!*), whatever is wrong with me.  Plenty, actually, but that is not the point.  I wanted to be sure that I had everything set and ready to go for Friday morning.  If something happens before the end of tomorrow, I will make an adjustment.

Friday Slice of Heaven

My Eight Page Comic Short - I'm in the home stretch on this one.  All of the completed artwork is in, I have everything lettered including captions, sound effects, and a few word balloons, and I have flattened files almost ready to go.  I have a few adjustments here or there and two more sound effects to add, but those should not be a problem.  My main concern right now is receiving confirmation from Eagles Initiative on the exact specs for a double-page spread and I am set to submit on Saturday with two days to spare to the deadline.
As for the artist, his name is Juan Romera and he is honestly the driving force of the little script I wrote.  Don't get me wrong, I am proud of my script, but Mr. Romera is the one who brings the beauty and the horror, the setting and the mood.  He has been a joy to work with and professional to the nth degree.  Win/lose, we created something pretty cool and as stressful as the past two weeks have been, the experience has been priceless.  Check out Juan's site and see why he is someone to watch!

ZAGGmate with Keyboard -  Okay, I'm in love.  I have used this ZAGGmate detachable bluetooth keyboard/case twice for an extended period of time and I love it dearly.
First a bit of history.  My trusty old netbook has served me faithfully.  It has served me well.  But in recent months I've noticed the old girl has not been able to perform quite as well as she used to back in her heyday.  Sure she wasn't the best netbook around, and definitely not the fastest (even with maxed memory), but she helped me write my first novel and she will always have a place in my heart for that.  Like I said, though, things changed a while back.  She only holds about an hour and fifteen minutes of battery time, I shutdown the wireless capabilities a while ago and she still is slow to boot, slow to open programs and slow to work on.  Don't get me wrong, when she is up and raring to go...and plugged into the wall...she still works like a charm provided I only use word and maybe play some songs in iTunes...that's it.  I may still use her now and then, but for now I put her out to pasteur (in the closet) and will check on her from time to time.
My new workhorse, my there is a real beauty.  I have access to the web, emails, a comic book download service (ComiXology), iTunes, photos, Sketchbook and most importantly Pages, Apples writing app for mobile devices.  I emailed my newly started kid's novel (15 pages thus far) to myself, opened it up in pages and was ready to write--except for the onscreen keyboard, which is not an option for long-term writing.  In walks the ZAGGmate Keyboard.
The iPad slides snuggly, but easily into the aircraft-grade aluminum-backed keyboard which becomes a protective shell for the iPad.  The glass screen never touches a single key.  Gently pull the two apart, turn on the keyboard (which I have still not had to charge to this day), flip up the stand on the keyboard, turn on the iPad which syncs immediately (after you have performed the sync operation once) and you are ready to go.  Sure the keys are a shade smaller than those of my netbook, but I was able to become used to the slightly altered layout in a few minutes and was off to continue writing the kid's novel, which I retrieved from my email; there are also options to use iDisk as well.
I still have a lot of exploring to do with the capabilities of my new beauty, but thus far this is a match made in heaven.  Lighter than my netbook, FAR faster, and honestly more convenient.  If you write and have an iPad, give it a try, you will be happy that you did.

ZAGGmate with Keyboard
ZAGGmate with Bluetooth Keyboard

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents - Written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Cafu and Howard Chaykin, published by DC Comics.  I am still loving this book.  Nick Spencer's deliberate and at times maddeningly well-paced superhero comic continues to amaze.  This issue focuses on Professor Anthony Dunn, the blue-skinned THUNDER Agent who wears the cloak of invisiblity.  I don't want to give away the odd circumstances of his other powers, but he is brought back into the fold to help rescue Raven from SPIDER (yes...I know, just trust me on this).  Deceit and mysteries prevail and I am dying for the next issue.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #3

Morning Glories #6 - Written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  Aside from Chew and Stuff of Legend, this is the book whose release I eagerly await above all others.  A new character is introduced and a twist that I was not expecting smacked me in the face.  A powerful book that I wish could be released daily...yes, daily; the wait is torture.  I honestly cannot say anything else about this other than the beautiful art, and the amazing story.  I'm hooked.

Morning Glories #6 

Sweet Tooth #12 - 16 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint.  What more can I say about this comic series other than after reading the first two TPB's I had to immediately switch to floppies to avoid the painfully long wait between trades.  A Fantastic series filled with suspense and raw emotion that is over far too quickly with each issue.  Lemire has the rare ability to manipulate the reader with but a single silent panel commanding sympathy, outrage or shock, and at times all three.
These particular issues see Jepperd come to a decision that we all knew was coming, more information as to the nature of Sweet Tooth is revealed, new and tenuous alliances are formed and friends are made.  Oh yeah, there's also some disturbing stuff with the animal hybrids under the control of a new player.  Honestly, just buy the first two trades and struggle to catch up.  This book is completely worth the ride.
Now if I can get my hands on the out of stock issue# 17!  Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods and Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity are readily available everywhere, or click the link to order from  If you're not reading this then your family should disown you.  Just kidding...not really.

Sweet Tooth #12

Slice Into the Woods

Sleep - The lack of it and the need to have.  Stupid...stupid...sleep.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To All the Concerts I Loved Before - Part 10

Alrighty then...I missed last week in order to devote time to my comic book short that I will be submitting to this week, but the deadline is looming at January 31, 2011.  I'm almost there though, but that has nothing to do with music and that boys and girls is what we are gathered here to discuss today. Last time was mostly about a couple of really bad shows that I went to, but today the shows on a whole were fan-freakin-tastic.  On with it.

Le Tigre at the Glasshouse, March 9, 2002 - Talk about a fun day.  Amy, Rachel and I drove down to Pomona, stopping first in Pasadena to have a look at the Norton Simon Museum--I strongly recommend a visit btw--had dinner and then we were off to see Le Tigre.  First up was Chicks on Speed who I knew relatively little about, but their music was catchy and fun and seemed to be emanating solely from a laptop with some other items around the stage adding to the songs.
One of the things that stood out more than anything else about the show happened during the intermission.  The three of us were waiting for the headliners to appear and out of nowhere someone completely bumped into me.  Relying solely on prior concert-going experience I thought, "Great, someone's picking a fight with me.  Awesome."  I turned to see a shorter guy.  I cocked my head to the side saying, "Ughhhhh."  But he spoke first saying, "I totally wasn't watching where I was going, sorry about that."  I told him it was no problem and that I didn't care and he walked off.  This was a first.  No harsh exchange of words.  My wallet was still in my pocket.  My glasses were not busted up.  It was all an accident, and the man was sincerely sorry.  I then looked around the audience and noticed just how polite everyone was being.  No slam dancing, no male displays of aggression, no douchebaggery of any sort.  It was utterly refreshing.  Joy.
Le Tigre then took the stage touring for their absolutely rocking album Le Tigre.  Again there was a laptop, but this time there were also guitars and they went on to play a great show with everyone politely dancing and smiling the night away.  I have not experienced anything like it since.  "Deceptacon" and "Let's Run" ruled the set list.  A total blast.

Cake at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, Aug 8, 2002 - I almost shouldn't list this as a concert at all.  A friend of mine had free tickets to this show and an extra ticket.  The problem was that another friend of ours was celebrating her birthday and that of course took precedence.  As luck would have it, the night ended sooner rather than later and we rushed out to catch what we could of the show.  Thank god we did.  Now, we did not catch ANY of Cakes set, but we did make it in time to see the last five songs from The Flaming Lips who were touring their Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album.  My first thought upon making our way to our seats was, "What the fuck have we stumbled into?"  There were disco balls, laser lights, confetti, people dressed in animal costumes dancing around, a screen playing a movie of the drummer as he pounded the hell out of his drums in time to the video.  It was complete madness and I was hooked.  Five songs is all we caught and I would have done anything to stay in that wonderfully psychedelic place for hours more.  Dreadfully not enough time, but an amazing show none the less.

Beck at the Arlington Theatre, Dec 5, 2002 - Now this is more like it.  Beck was touring the Sea Change album, which is very well composed, yet somewhat of a downer when compared to his earlier works, but the real draw for this show was that the Flaming Lips were opening for Beck and that his band would be comprised of the members of the Flaming Lips.  Bonus!  The Flaming Lips brought the crazy with their performance in a continuation from the August 8 show that succeeded in being more nuts than the last time.  There were even more furries running around and more mayhem than before and the crowd received far, far more than they paid for.  I don't remember the song, but at one point they were projecting an ultra-violent scene from Battle Royale while they performed a song that did not match  the tone of the video they were playing.  Very weirdly amazing show.
Then Beck came on stage and the music was great for the past upbeat favorites, but on the semi-downer Sea Change songs, the mood and energy would falter and confuse the audience only to kick up into "New Polution" or "Devil's Haircut."  Fantastic show all around, but The Flaming Lips lead the charge.

Blackalicious at Absinthe, January 17, 2003 - Ugh...okay.  Old age setting in.  I honestly do not remember this show at all.  I remember liking it okay, but for the most part I wanted to go home and catch some Z's.  What the hell was wrong with me.  Like I said, though, I remember that it was a good performance.

Built To Spill at the House of Blues L.A., May 24, 2003 - I really don't remember what album they were touring for this show, but after the performance that changed my opinion of this band the year prior, I was excited to see them again.  The general admission floor was completely packed, so Amy and I went upstairs to watch the show and were treated to seeing one man punch the shit out of another, requiring four security guards to drag the lunatic away.  This kind of put a damper on the evening for me.  Sure, Built To Spill put on a fantastic show, but in the end I was left seeing the crowd that comprises their fanbase...drunken, angry, douchebag men.  Such a vast difference from the Le Tigre show and The Flaming Lips joy fest.

Back again soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Donist World Top Ten for 2010

Every other blog and website in the US has done a top ten list and lacking in creativity I thought, "Hey Donist, wouldn't it be swell if you put out a Top Ten for 2010 list like everyone else did weeks ago?"    You know what, self, you're right.  I should do a few top tens for all the world to see, or at the very least for the viewing pleasure of my mom and my friend's dog.  I could be unique and do a Top 2010 for 2010 list, but that would take a while and I don't think there are 2010 things that enjoy that much.  Although, come to think of it...

Top Ten Graphic Novels Released in 2010 - (That I have read)
I should mention a few things.  If a graphic novel is part of a series that saw multiple volume releases in 2010, I will only list the first TPB issued that year.  It is safe to assume that subsequent volumes are equally great and worthy of owning, as are earlier volumes.  The titles are in alphabetical order, and not in any order of preference.  *note - I own but have not yet read Return of the Dapper Men and I suspect this book would bump something from the list or at least take it to 11.

1.   All Star Superman, Vol. 2 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely, published by DC Comics.  I would have never thought a superhero book, let alone a Superman book, would be on my must read list, but this out-of-continuity tale from Grant Morrison is filled with heart and soul and just plain beautiful.
2.   Batwoman: Elegy - Written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by J.H. Williams III, published by DC Comics.  Yeah, here I go again on the superheroes, but then again, this book has Greg Rucka, J.H. Williams III, an incredibly strong female lead and one of the most compelling stories around.  Buy it for the immense beauty of the artwork, stay for the wonderfully told tale.
3.   Ex Machina, Vol. 9: Ring Out the Old - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint.  Ex Machina 9 and 10 finish off Vaughan's take on a hero in the world of politics and what the journey does to a person.  Striking and possessing an ending that I would not have expected, yet now that I have read the book, I cannot see it ending any other way.
4.   Planetary Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint.  Planetary is a strong contender in the books to bring when stranded on a desert island.  Characters who I adore, conflicts that push the limits of my fragile nerves, and an ending that had me cheering while shedding a tear.  A must own series.  Thank you, Warren Ellis.
5.   Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 2: The Outfit - Written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, published by IDW.  Crime noir at its best as written by a master and retold by another master.  A beautiful book that makes me smile every time I see it on my bookshelf.  Cooke has created a masterpiece that has a broad appeal.
6.  Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Written by Bryan Lee O'Malley, published by Oni Press.  The end of a series that I never would have bought had I not heard the guys on iFanboy raving about the first three volumes.  My life would be missing something had I not listened to them and faithfully bought each installment the day they were released.  A great movie, too.
7.   Secret Six, Vol. 3: Danse Macabre - Written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander and illustrated by Daniel LuVisi, published by DC Comics.   Wow, three mainstream books on my top ten list?  Who would of thunk it?  All joking aside, Gail Simone has taken some seriously fucked-up and perverse characters and made me truly care about them.  Deadshot is terrible, yet I really, really, really want him to score with the tramp he met at the bar.  Ragdoll is so delightfully perverse that I don't even get the chills at the thought of his missing genitalia.  Bane is Bane and he rules.  So well done.
8.  The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios.  This book holds a special place in my heart and I would not be surprised if it shows up in my top ten music albums or restaurants of all time, too.  Expertly told and beautifully illustrated, this piece of art strikes at the root of your childhood wishes while pulling away your security blanket to unleash the nightmares.  Not enough people are reading this incredible book.
9.  Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  I bought the first two trades and went to floppies on this one.  A unique look at the post-apocalyptic tale with animal hybrid children.  Sweet Tooth leaves you hoping for the best for Gus, the deer boy, but you always know that things are going to get worse.  God I hope Jepperd can get to him in time.  This is the real deal.
10. The Walking Dead Volume 11: Fear the Hunters - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics.  *sigh*  What else can I say about this amazing hit comic and equally amazing hit television show that has not already been said.  If you watched the show--which was great by the way--and liked it, then you MUST buy the series.  It is different from what you watched on AMC and you will be shocked by what happens.  I read the first issue and then bought the first four TPB's.  One of the best things on the shelves.  Period.

Top Ten Graphic Novels of All Time
As above, these are in no particular order other than alphabetical.  Unlike the previous list, this Top Ten goes to eleven, as a last minute book popped up that I could not leave off and desperately need to reread.
1.  The Authority - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comic Imprint.  Probably my favorite comic book about superheroes.  God, I want to be ANY of the characters in this book.  Even non-superhero readers can find something to admire and cheer for in this book that I read twice a least!
2.  Chew - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  Nothing like this exists, plain and simple.  When I first heard about this series my first reaction was, "C'mon.  You have got to be kidding."  Then I read more and more about it, and took the plunge.  I am so glad that I did.  One of my most anticipated comics month to month.  Expertly told and expertly illustrated.  Layman and Guillory deserve all of the praise they receive for this one.
3.  Essex County - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Top Shelf Productions.  Dammit.  It takes a lot to make me cry and Lemire's magnum opus is one of the best paced and emotionally told graphic novels of all time.  Essex County actually tricked me into giving a damn about hockey, and I pretty much dislike all sports.  Not an easy thing to do.  Just buy it and you will understand.
4.  Planetary - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint.  What do you know, here it is again.  I reread the first three volumes for the tenth time--at least--in preparation for the fourth and final installment and the book is as engrossing as ever.  Nearly each chapter is an homage to some literary hero or myth, whether comic or not, and all but one issue blew me away.  Another one that made my cold, cold heart melt.  Who IS the fourth man?
5.  The Preacher - Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  This one holds a special place in my heart and it is safe to say that The Preacher is my favorite comic book of all time.  An epic story, with humor, tragedy, horror, and the most suspense that I have ever felt from a comic in my entire life.  I felt joy with each victory and the deepest pain with each terrible mistake made by the characters.  I didn't name my dog Tulip after a fucking flower, so take one guess were she got the name.  Damn I need to reread this one again.  Powerfully addictive.
6.  The Saga of the Swamp Thing - Written by Alan Moore, and illustrated by John Totleben and Stephen Bissette, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint.  This one rocked my childhood.  Alan Moore took a character who was honestly one of my all-time favorites and turned him into something god-like...literally.  Not only did Moore accentuate the horror, he also found the love and peace through the form of an elemental force of nature.  Bissette and Totleban turn the grotesque into something beautiful to the point that even I want to live in the swamp.
7.  Strangers in Paradise - Written and illustrated by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  Okay, yes I was sniffling and snuffling on a train ride from San Diego after reading the final chapter in this wonderful story of true love and the relationships that weave in and out of our lives.  Some of the best characterization in the comic form ever.
8.  The Stuff of Legend - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios.  No surprise here.  I should probably change the blog from DonistWorld to Donist Likes The Stuff of Legend, but it's too late for that.  I already mentioned it above and in many prior posts, but in case I was not clear, this book is something special.  I believe the second volume "The Jungle" is to be collected mid-way through the year.  Buy this and keep an eye out for the second TPB.  Simply delightful.
9.  Sweet Tooth - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  Another repeat, what do you know.  I guess I'm a Jeff Lemire fan.  I like Sweet Tooth a lot, love Essex County, really enjoy Superboy, dug the Strange Tales II story and need to buy The Nobody ASAP.  The TPBs of this are ridiculously inexpensive, so there is no reason to wait.
10. The Walking Dead - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics.  Yeah.  This zombie book rules.  Incredible characterization and situations, and NO ONE is ever safe in this amazing series.  Be warned, it will stress you out in the most sinister of ways.
11. Bone - Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, published by Cartoon Books.  I need to reread this tome.  There is a reason why this book is such a hit in school libraries and with comics lovers alike, but to put it plainly, this all-ages tale is accessible.  Smith has created a rich and wonderful world of cartoony characters and horrific monsters that is so mesmerizing and important for the comic medium as a whole that words cannot do the book justice.  "The Great Cow Race" rules!

*Note - Okay, now I know there are those who will bitch and moan about the following being excluded from this list:  The Sandman, The Watchmen, V For Vendetta, The Dark Knight Returns, Cherry Poptart (just kidding) and such.  Don't get me wrong, I love those books, too.  Let's just count those as #12.  Miracleman would be on there if it was fucking available to the general public.  I would also be remiss to not mention Eric Powell's The Goon, which I bought every single trade available in the span of two months; one of the most fun series out.

Top Ten Comics of 2010

1.  Chew - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  One of the best new books to hit the world of comics.
2.  Daytripper - Written and illustrated by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  Dang.  What is this, the fourth book that made me cry?  Seriously, it's not an easy thing to do, but Day Tripper is one of the BEST comics to ever be written and drawn.  A beautifully paced bit of tragic heaven with each issue.  I cannot say anything about this title without giving away the premise.  Just buy the unbelievably inexpensive TPB--out soon--and be prepared to live the magic of the life of one Brás de Oliva Domingos.  Remarkably lovely.
3.  iZombie - Written by Chris Roberson and illustrated by Michael Allred, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  A fresh new take on the supernatural genre with a lead zombie female character who I...kind of...find hot.  Always a fun book.
4.  Morning Glories - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  This is the one that I am biting my nails to get in my hands every month.  A incredibly odd boarding school where terrible travails and events are part of the curriculum.  I do not completely know what the hell is going on, but who cares, I am sold on this.  I need to pick up #6 tomorrow!
5.  Planetary - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint.  Issue #27 came out in 2010 and the funny thing was that I did not even realize that there was an issue #27 coming out, but I am glad that it did.  This book wrapped up an incredible series and I was sad to see it go.
6.  S.H.I.E.L.D. - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics.  Warring factions between the greatest minds of all time with a dash of the Marvel universe as well.  Deep, difficult and deliberately paced.  This is a book to watch.
7.  Stuff of Legend - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios.  Third times the charm.  Not much more to say other than I cannot wait for the conclusion to volume two, "The Jungle."
8.  Sweet Tooth - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint.  Yup, went from trades to floppies and I am dying to read the next issue.
9.  T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Cafu and guests, published by DC Comics.  A dusted off old superhero series that is turning out to be great thus far and is written by Morning Glories superstar Nick Spencer.  Heroes with an expiration date...classic
10.  The Walking Dead - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics.  You know what it is and how much I love it, buy it!

I will also say that I also like Heroes for Hire quite a bit as well.

That's it for now, I will add if I missed anything.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/14/2011

Well good morning to you!  Yeah, I know.  "What's so g.d. good about it, Donist?  Plus, it's early and your talking to g.d. much!"  True, I don't know what's so "g.d." good about it other than I will be heading off to get a breakfast burrito in the next hour, but after that things will inevitably fall apart.  But thankfully, although on the sparse side this week, I read one great thing and some mixed bag stuff.  Get ready for...

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Stuff of Legend - Volume II: The Jungle #3 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, and illustrated by C.P. Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios.  Getting my hands on the latest issues of The Stuff of Legend is always somewhat of a journey, although a journey that should not be as complicated as it almost always ends up being.  The first two issues of The Jungle were on my pull list at my local comic shop and for whatever reasons the issues never appeared.  Thankfully had the issues in stock so I ordered with them and was happy as could be.  
Fully predicting the absence of the third installment, I ordered through again and lo and behold a copy was sitting in my pull.  A guilt trip from the store followed, requiring a guilt trip of my own for the many missed items over the past few months and they returned that issue to the shelves.  Although I had to wait a week longer, this is a good thing, because now the book sits on the shelf waiting to hopefully pull in a new reader who will in turn recommend to someone else, who then purchases the magnificent TPB of The Stuff of Legend and the word continues to spread for this criminally under-appreciated book. 
Anyhow, that's the long drawn-out story of the nonsense I have to go through to merely put this wonderful comic in my hands, but I'm not complaining--I would call it baby bitching or at least whining--I'm more than happy to make the journey for every release.  The Jungle #3 finds the toys captured and at the whim of The King, who is not what I was expecting with the back story of how he came to power told in a beautiful combination of cave paintings and the word of Monty, a new character sympathetic to the plight of the toys.  The heroes are divided, a startling confession is revealed and Jester--my favorite character--shows what a formidable combatant he is and even gets his own amazing splash page.
I do have a foreboding for the fates of these characters who I have grown to adore and each tension-filled page turn ratchets up the stakes and leaves me sighing with relief that no one else has died.  
At this point, I might as well write out mini reviews of the finale and the future volumes with all of the "wonderfuls," "beautifully and compellingly written," "amazing illustrations demanding larger-sized posters (hint)," "an epic tale worthy of multiple readings," because honestly I expect every issue to be fantastic and the wait for subsequent issues to be painful.  Highly recommended and will even be double dipping on the Jungle TPB when it is inevitably released.  The Stuff of Legend is a book everyone should be reading.  Again...Movie/tv show, toy line with a Jester, Quackers, Harmony and Max figurines, and prints/posters.  Amazing stuff and a damn fine read.  

The Stuff of Legend Volume II: The Jungle #3

Strange Tales I and Strange Tales II - written and illustrated by various artists, published by Marvel Comics.  Okay, I just received these in the mail from and although some of the stories are a mixed bag, some are fantastic and well worth the steep price of admission while others completely put me off.  Basically, each issue features short tiny stories by independent comic creators who inject their own style into the Marvelverse's characters.  The stories range from thoughtful, funny, dark, absurd and downright nonsensical.  Some of the standouts:
Strange Tales #1 - Paul Pope's take on the Inhumans and primarily Lockjaw is the real star of this issue and very fun.  Following this is the uber-weird "Welcome to Spider Town" by one of my favorite artists--who I met a few years ago in San Francisco--Junko Mizuo.  Dash Shaw's "Dr. Strange vs. Nightmare" was, well, strange, with Strange receiving a message in his alphabet soup.  "...And Call My Lover Modok" by Nick Bertozzi was touching, bizarre, sad and back again to bizarre.  The two single-page Perry Bible Fellowship stories were both darkly funny.  The rest were not my favorites, but still entertaining.  Strange Tales #1 was the best of the first three issues.
Strange Tales #2 - Tony Millionaire's take on Iron Man was one of the weirdest and most disconcerting things I have ever read, but I think I liked it...still kind of scratching my head about that one actually.  "Anything But Retail" by R. Kikuo Johnson cracked me up with a tale about Alicia Masters and her Puppet Master father demanding she go out and get a job.  Jhonen Vaquez's "M.O.D.O.K. 'n' Me" was kinda fucked up, which made it fun.  Jonathan Hickman's posters for Galactus and his heralds sees the writer return to the drawing board with some beautifully stylized picks that would look great on the wall, especially the Firelord page.
Strange Tales #3 - Stan Sakai's "Oni" deals with a cursed samurai gaining the power of the hulk and using the inherent rage on the battlefield.  "Fantastic Fool's Day" by Jeffrey Brown cracked me up and I wish there was more.  A beautifully drawn story of The Beast fighting Morbius titled "La Querelle Des Monstres" by Jay Stephens was cool.  An Elseworlds-like story, "The Punisher," by Jonathan Jay Lee was darkly drawn and told and had almost nothing to do with The Punisher, but I liked it.  Finally Becky Cloonan's fun "...Here Comes the King Crab" finishes off the issue.
Strange Tales II #1 - Rafael Grampa's Wolverine story is by far one of the best comic shorts that I have ever read and seen.  His trippy and frighteningly-beautiful art style and screwed up look into Wolverine's love of pain had me wishing for more...a lot more.  Damn, I would love to have this guy illustrate one of my stories someday.  I have a feeling that Grampa is going to be huge; he also supplied the cover for this issue.  "The Fabulous Frogman" by Gene Luen Yang was funny.  "The After Party" by Jillian Tamaki sees Dazzler combating a couple of oddball club kids.  Jeff Lemire's awesome "A Civilized-Thing" had a great twist that I did not see coming and his tale is a close second to Grampa's.  Jhonen Vasquez has a screwed up tale that sees a very down and out Wolverine gorging himself on hotdogs.

Slice Into The Woods

The Arizona Shooting - What else was there to be saddened by and disappointed by this past week?  A nutball asshole with a gun...a gun that someone sold to the psychopath...a gun that someone sold to the psychopath along with a clip to hold more bullets than the gun was meant to hold.  Now, if this terrorist had been denied access to the gun--a gun with more bullets than it normally should carry--would he have simply stayed at home and ranted in a pool of his own drool?  Probably not.  I'm sure he would have gone for a knife or something of like deadliness, but then there would be fewer deaths and fewer injuries.    If Sarah Palin's crosshair map did not exist and did not have Gabrielle Gifford's name clearly listed, would there have not been an attack on her life resulting in death and injury to others?  Maybe not, but this psychopath would have struck out at someone at some point, some where; Palin's little target listing could only have helped guide this man.  No gun equals no shooting.  No map detailing "threats" means less of a chance of a directed attack.  Woefully tragic on so many counts.  


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To All the Concerts I Loved Before - Part 9

I was almost tempted to blow off writing this installment in favor of working on the new kid's book I started on Monday, but at the same time it would be nice to wrap up this little retrospective.  I estimate there to be about two or three more.  Unfortunately, I have to start with...

Tricky at the Ventura Theatre, August 13, 1998 - This show had the potential to be great, and from the beginning seemed to be headed that way.  Amy, Lael, Rachel and yours truly, The Donist loaded in the car and headed down to lovely fairly nice Ventura.  We parked and decided to check the scene at the Ventura Theatre before heading over to the Busy Bee Cafe Diner for some damn fine greasy spoon eatin's, and to take a necessary peek in Wild Planet, which used to be a pretty amazing little odd-ball music store.  While walking past the theatre, who do we almost literally walk into?  Oh yeah, Tricky and his posse.
Now I know you're thinking, "C'mon, Donist, we already know that you claim to have seen Scar-Jo outside of the bowling alley sipping a Coors Tall Boy, and that Shaq is a 5' 10" white guy who lives across the way in a one-bedroom condo, so why should we believe that Tricky was just walking around the streets of Ventura in the light of day?"  Well, jackass, let me tell you.  When I nearly ran into him, I thought I had stumbled into a kid, and then I looked down at the guy and no doubt about it, it was him.  Just look at the cover of Angels With Dirty Faces and you will understand what I mean.  That and the guy was seriously about 5'1" tall.  A group of displaced-looking characters including a very attractive woman who I thought was Martina Topley-Bird, but I'm not totally sure about that, loomed behind the man and continued on their way past us.
The four of us were pumped after our chance encounter with the musician and could barely calm down enough to eat dinner or shop, but we did and practically ran back to the theatre to watch the show.  The place was semi-full and the curtains pulled back to reveal a large band including a giantess of a fair-skinned blond woman in an all-white jumper playing guitar.  We were psyched.  When Tricky and (possibly) Martina Topley-Bird took the stage, the crowd went wild.  The performers walked to the center of the stage and turned their backs to the audience while the music kicked in--they remained that way for most of the set.
Seriously.  Seriously!  What the fuck is that about?  Is that a schtick of some sort?  No idea, but we were all put off by the display and with each song we foolishly believed that they would turn and acknowledge the crowd to some degree, but nope.  Perhaps they did at the end, but we (and many, many others) would never know as we piled out of the theatre before the show ended.  The only positive I can say about the show was that the backup band was ultra-groovy and impressive.  If only they had been the only ones performing.  This was one of the worst shows of all time.

Built to Spill at the Yucatan, Wednesday April 7, 1999 - I did not want to go to this damn show.  I had heard Amy playing the various Built to Spill albums around the house and they just didn't grab me.  They were fine I suppose, but nothing I wanted to spend money on, but begrudgingly I agreed and thank god I did!  This concert was out of control with exploding energy and amazing sound from a band that you would be tempted to toss a quarter to if you came across them on the street.  With none of the fancy-pants glamour of a majority of the bands from this time, Built to Spill blew me away.  Although indifferent at first, I now count Keep It Like A Secret as one of my favorite albums.  A wonderful show.

The Go-Go's with Terri Nunn (Berlin) at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, July 9, 1999 - I was interested in seeing this concert, but had to be talked into going because of the steep ticket price.  Luckily, I pinched the pennies and I'm happy that I did.  The ever-sexy and fine Terri Nunn took the stage to perform newer material and plenty of her classics from her days in the group Berlin.  Her band kicked the adrenaline up a bit for each song, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and when she disappeared for a moment only to reappear atop the 10' tall amp to sing "Metro," Amy and I could have called it a night and been happy as clams.
The Go-Go's then kicked off their portion of the show--after a painfully long stage setup--and they destroyed.  For the life of me I can't remember the album that they were touring, or if there even was a new album, but they played a few new songs and, more importantly, all of their classics with "Vacation" and "How Much More?" among my favorites.  In between songs, they were charming, funny and just damn entertaining.  I would gladly see them again, even though it's eleven years later.

Kool Keith at the UCSB UCEN, February 24, 2000 - Okay, I am torn as to whether or not this was the worst concert that I have ever attended or if the honor goes to Tricky, but giving the rudeness and my anticipation of Tricky's show...yeah, Tricky definitely gets the crown.  *sigh*  Okay, the problem with Kool Keith's show is that I was halfway hoping for some mental Dr. Octagon material and I believe he only played one song from that album and chose to focus on his newer material and go back to his rap roots as opposed to maintaining the Dr. Octagonecologist vibe or the Black Elvis/Lost In Space style for the album that he was supposedly supporting.  The show started dreadfully late, was packed with hot, sweaty frat guys (possibly a plus for some readers, which is fine) and Kool Keith barely performed any of his songs, opting to let the multitude of guys--I knew not a single one of them--on stage and they performed all of the songs.  For the most part, Kool Keith just sort of bobbed his head and smiled in the background.  At the end, one of the unknowns thanked the audience for coming, thanked god or some shit and wished us good night.  We hung around for a while half hoping that what we just witnessed was the opening act, but no such luck.  Damn disappointing.

That's it for now...