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.  


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