Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/25/2011

The power was out last night.  From the moment I walked through the door until sometime around 11:00PM when the lights that we had forgotten to turn off popped on.  We had no TV, no computer, no music.  I fully intended to take care of the goddamn property taxes, finish up a friend's taxes, and possibly get a head-start on the ol' FSoH/SItH (which sounds like something out of Star Wars), but it was not in the cards.  And you want to know something, mom and my best friends' dog, Obie, it was all right.  We cooked dinner on the gas stove by candlelight, ate at the kitchen table like grownups, and afterwards had a couple of beers and just talked.  Talked.  I had almost forgotten what that is like.
"As charming as that is, Donist, I didn't come here for some kind of treehuggin', Kenny-G-inspired romance fest, I came here for Friday Slice of Heaven by golly."
Well a good frickin', gosh-darned wakey-wakey, can't-wait-to-embrace-the-day-with-pasted-on-grin-as-opposed-to-a-grimace to you too, Obie the Boston Terrier.  So here you go you impatient little mongrel, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Stonekeeper's Curse (Amulet, Book 2)The Amulet Vol. 2 "The Stonekeeper's Curse" - Written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.  Last week I began with the first volume of the wonderful The Amulet series, and sure enough I had to immediately have more.  I ran to the closest Borders to pick it up--no where else in town had it in stock--and rushed home to read.  The book continues where the first left off, only with even more beautiful artwork and a driving story that had me plowing through the pages.  Emi, Navin and their entourage of robots continue the search for a cure to the poison that threatens to kill the children's mother who was poisoned by a monster that looked like a cross between a squid and a frog or yak or something along those lines.  The group takes their robotic house (you just have to see it) for aid and meet new character Leon Redbone Redbeard (couldn't resist, that would be too weird though) an anthropomorphic, sword-weilding fox who mentors Emi in the use of the powerful amulet that threatens to take control of her.  This chapter also sees the group splitting, Navin finding his strength, assassin elves and deadly battles.  The art is even lovelier than the first installment and the story continues to enchant.  I already bought the third volume.  If you are a fan of Bone, you really cannot go wrong with this all-ages tale.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Sixth Gun #8 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press.  Okay...FINALLY I get this issue in hand and I am so thrilled to finally catch up.  We find Drake Sinclair, the mysterious gunman, in the middle of the swamp and finally finding the home of Henri Fournier, a wicked man who might hold the key to breaking the curse of the guns that afflicts Drake.  Becky Montcrief has another encounter with the all-too-charming Kirby Hale and a butler goes bad...really bad.  The Sixth Gun continues to be one of my top three comic books being published along with Sweet Tooth and The Stuff of Legend.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Thankfully, I also was able to read...

The Sixth Gun #9 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press.  Good things come to those who wait, or at least to those who were forced to involuntarily wait longer than necessary, but at least I finally got the copy due to me.  Drake Sinclair and Gord Cantrell discuss the cursed guns and the vault that they naively attempted to open during the Battle of the Maw.  Kirby and Becky get better acquainted, and Woodmael the bad, bad butler gets...errr...badder and unleashes a hosts of wicked animals on the group.  The evil of the guns threatens to destroy the lives of everyone in their path as the allure of these most powerful weapons in existence draws all manner of people seeking to possess them.  Brian Hurtt's illustrations in this issue seem even tighter than what he has already expertly crafted in previous installments and Cullen Bunn continues to leave me immediately wanting more.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and not enough people are reading one of the best books being released.  Just try it won't be sorry that you did.

Who Is Jake Ellis? #2 - Written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, published by Image Comics.  Alright, just say it already.  "Why are you reviewing this now?  Doesn't number three come out next week?"  The answer is yes, it does, but my LCS hosed me on this issue and I am just now reading last month's installment of this great series.
This issue offers a squinted-eye glimpse into Jon Moore's past and his first encounter with Jake Ellis, who helps him escape from some manner of testing site.  In the present Jon escapes from the French and has a chance to interrogate one of the Americans with Jake's help.  Other than that, I'm not completely certain what the hell is going on, but I know that Edmondson has a definite end in mind and that when the series completes the readers will be left happy...this isn't the third season of Lost after all.  I am also excited to eventually read the entire five issue run in one sitting.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Echoes #4 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Rahsan Ekedal, published by Minotaur, an imprint of Top Cow.  The penultimate issue in this dark, rich tale of a man plagued with schizophrenia and the knowledge that his father was a serial killer of children continues to unfold.  This installment offers a reveal that I suspected, but with roots that came from out of the blue and that made me gasp in shock and now I am questioning everything.  Expertly told and beautifully drawn by Ekedal, I cannot wait for the final issue of this mini-series that is unlike anything else that I have read before.  If you are fine with frantic levels of suspense mixed with small doses of terror, then this is the book for you.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Slice Into the Woods

A Whole Lotta Nuthin' - Oddly enough, there wasn't really anything that hacked me off this week.  "What?!  Are kiddin' me?" said Obie, Donist's friends' Boston Terrier and only other reader of his blog other than Donist's mother.  "Cripes man!  You're always whinin' and cryin' and complainin' about somethin' or other.  You're kind of known for that.  Now fetch me my cigar, ya ignoramus."  Uh...yeah, thanks Obie, everyone knows that Boston Terriers love cigars, so let me get you one.  My only complaint is that I don't have the latest The Sixth Gun #10 in my eager mitts because my LCS shorted me again, but besides that let's just leave happy for a change.
Wait a minute...what's that?!  A religinut is attempting to ban a book they have never even read and convince a child's parents that comic books are an instrument of the devil?  Quick, to the Donist Mobile.
RRRRKKKKKK, this just in.  This just in.  A complaint that I just remembered...

Borders To Close Its Doors In Goleta - Within the past six months, a Borders and a Barnes & Noble (they were directly across the street from each other) closed their doors and now the Borders in Goleta will be shuttering in May.  This will leave only Metro Comics (my LCS), a smattering of used book stores and the wonderful locally-owned Chaucers as the only bookstores in Santa Barbara and Goleta.  Please believe that I have no love of Borders as its arrival many years ago chased out the once-great Earthling Bookstore and harmed many local businesses, but anything that brings books and graphic novels to current and potential new readers is a positive.  With any luck, a new and locally-owned business will rise to take its place and bring some of Santa Barbara/Goleta's charm and soul back to stand  before any sort of big business interest.  Lack of accessibility to literature whether through a store or library is a detriment to our city, state and country.  Sad.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/18/2011

Hi there, all you happy people.  Usually I begin the Friday Slice of Heaven section with something funny or weird or just plain stupid, but this week I read a bunch of amazing books that I need to shed some light on and convince y'all to run out and support the creators by buying.  What a great week.  In no order of preference, but in the order I read each book, with some SPOILERS here is the...

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1)The Amulet - Created by Kazu Kibuishi, published by Graphix an imprint of Scholastic.  I don't remember where I first heard about this wonderful all-ages graphic novel, but I am glad that I did.  Although I say, "all-ages" be warned that some heavy situations occur within the first twelve pages of this nearly 200 page book, that could scare some children.  Since I already mentioned that there would be spoilers, I will say that the tragic loss of the children's, Emily and Navin's, father is emotionally draining but handled very well.  After the tragedy, we see Emily, Navin and their mother unable to make ends meet and on the road after leaving their home.  They eventually retreat to an old, abandoned family-owned house which they intend to make their new residence.

The house once belonged to their missing grandfather who was an inventor and collector of wondrous things.  The family quickly discovers that they are not alone and Emily gains possession of a mysterious amulet as their mother is abducted by a grotesque monster lurking in the basement.  The children give chase and find themselves in a fantastic world of robots, monsters and evil beings set on recovering the immensely powerful amulet that has now become linked to Emily.

Exciting, beautifully told and a page turner.  My only disappointment is that it took me this long to discover this book, but the upside is that two more volumes are readily available.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Morning Glories #8 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  No spoilers here --and as indicated on the front cover--this issue focuses on Hunter, the nerdier and somewhat-of-a-mess recent Morning Glory Academy student.  This issue provides a brief flashback into the life of a boy who has always had a problem with time, a problem, as we have come to expect from Mr. Spencer, that is much more than it seems and a possible basis as to why Hunter was chosen for the Academy.  Back in real time (can't be sure of that with this series), Hunter asks Casey on a date and Jun offers some tips   showing a developing friendship.  Throw in a couple of nutsoid bullies, a troubling secret from Jun, and awful stomach problems and you have an issue that I rather enjoyed.
Although this series has been likened to Lost, and I do agree somewhat, that is where the comparison ends.  Both throw mystery and intrigue into their stories at a fast past, but where Lost lost its direction over a couple of seasons, Morning Glories does not read that way.  I can tell with each minuscule reveal that Spencer knows what he is doing and has an end in sight.  Everything is in here for a reason and more questions will be asked before they are answered, but unlike Lost I believe all will be revealed in time.  I continue to love this book.  RECOMMENDED.

THUNDER Agents #5 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Cafu and Ryan Sook, published by DC Comics.  I love this non-DC-Universe-out-of-continuity tale, which sadly tells me not to become too attached to the series as it is probably on the chopping block.  That said, people need to be reading this book if they are fans of well-told superhero tales and the unexpected twists and turns that Nick Spencer can be expected to throw the reader's way.
The secret behind SPIDER begins to unfold and the mystery behind Toby the Salesman is revealed...with much more to him than I ever thought.  The Menthor Helmet shows up, although its purpose is still unclear, and the other THUNDER Agents come to arms to show the devastation they are capable of delivering.
The immediate fast paced reveal of SPIDER had me at smirking at first, but upon further thought, it made sense and left me sympathetic for the brothers who want to change the world.  The twist upon twist was also welcome and neither were anticipated.
One small complaint, but one that took me completely out of the story for a moment was the lettering/editor slip up almost midway through the comic where Colleen says to a distraught Lightning, "Yes. You keep doing this, you will be die.  But if you don't--they will."  "You will be die?"  "All your base are belong to us" more like it.  A forgivable mixup, but one that took me a moment to figure out what the hell Colleen was saying at a key moment in the action.  Aside from that snafu, this was another fantastic issue that people should be reading.  RECOMMENDED.

Bad Dog #4 - Written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by Diego Greco, published by Image Comics.  First of all...I am deeply offended by the shear volume of blatant sex, drug and alcohol usage, rock and roll, Las Vegas, prostitution, Elvis impersonators, talking heads in plastic bags stuffed in a refrigerator, 97% werewolf nudity, 98% female nudity, 98% dwarf nudity, and vomiting of blood...this comic is awesome and I relish in its assault on my morals.
This issue picks up where issue #3 leftoff, with the werewolf, Lou, and his ultra-violent pal, Wendell, seeking to...ummm...yeah...what were they doing back then?  You see, it has been about a year and a half since issue #3 came out, but this book is so over the top and out of control that I do not care in the least.  Regardless of what happened in the first three issues, #4 sees Lou and Wendell getting their Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas on and finding themselves in all manner of bizarre situations with Lou possibly finding his guardian angel...a hooker named Ruby.  Loads of fun and the first three issues are at the top of my reread stack.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1 - Written by Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by Ethan Nicolle, published by Image comics.  Where Bad Dog #4 is crazy, wacky fun that should not be allowed within twenty feet of anyone under the age of eighteen, Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1 comes along and is crazy, wacky fun that should be required reading for all ages.  For those living under a rock, Axe Cop has been around as a web comic for a while now and I found out about it around the third episode.  The series is written by a now six-year-old boy and illustrated by his thirty-year-old brother, and I cannot begin to give justice to this book by describing the insanity that exists in a young boy's mind and put onto the comics page.  Crazy, at times nonsensical, an entourage of characters whose physical features and powers are a revolving door of change, coupled with refreshingly beautiful and unique art make this book a treasure.
Keeping this brief, there is a cop with an axe named Axe Cop, his brother (?), a cop named Flute Cop, who was transformed into Dinosaur Soldier and they have vowed to kill all bad guys.  Throw in their pals Wesker, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with machine gun arms, Ralph Wrinkles, a dog with shades who does god-only-knows-what, and Sockarang, a crazy looking dude with socks for arms and you are set for a good time unlike anything you have ever experienced.  Check out the website or buy the trade from the beginning of the series and I think you will be hooked.  It is refreshing to find something so new and unlike anything on the racks.  And always remember, "Axe Cop saw a cup of water sitting at the next table.  So he drank it...and it screamed," and that is only the first four panels of page one.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Slice Into the Woods

The Tragedy That Continues To Unfold In Japan - Not much more to say on this one, other than I hope for the best and that the situation does not continue to worsen.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/11/2011

A site
Where nobody dared to go
The random stuff that doesn't usually blow
They call it Donist World

And now
Pull your head out of your butt and see 
What I have written is real
We are in Donist World

A million comics are dancing 
And there you are
A shooting star
An everlasting world
And you're here with me 

Donist World, Donist World
(now we are here)
In Donist World
Donist World, Donist World

(now we are here)
In Donist World

A warm thank you to Ms. Olivia Newton-John for singing this oddly familiar song and to the Solid Gold Dancers for really bringing the visuals home...roller skates?  Where does one buy roller skates these days?  Magical, simply magical.  

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Stuff of Legend: The Jungle, Part 4 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rdworld Studios.  Criminy! The Stuff of Legend series began with a bang, but The Jungle has carried that bang into an explosion.  This issue sees the conclusion of The Jungle storyline where the toys, lost in the jungle area of The Boogeyman's Dark, find a group of animal toys led by their king, a giant cobra appropriately named King.  King has replaced the original leader, a lion that perished in a war with the Boogeyman, and the giant venomous snake has a deep-seeded enmity of the more "human" toys and has sent them into the jungle to be hunted like animals.  The non-bipedally inclined faction of the toys are embraced by the animals, but they are forbidden by the King from continuing their journey to rescue their boy, prompting Max the bear to challenge the gigantic ruler for the right to the title of king.  Closely-held secrets are revealed, a possible new character is introduced, a would-be betrayal is discovered, a newer character's life ends horribly and a hard-won victory is bittersweet.  The Stuff of Legend continues to not only be well-written and gorgeously illustrated, it is one of the best series on the stand that consistently gets better.  A trade for The Jungle will be released in May and a trade of the first volume, The Dark, is available now.  This is a must-read comic deserving of increased exposure.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and a MUST OWN series.

The Stuff of Legend Volume II, The Jungle #4

The Comics Experience Monthly Book Club With Jason Aaron - This past Tuesday, the Comics Experience Book Club was joined by Jason Aaron to discuss the first trade his amazing Scalped series (which everyone best be reading, by golly).  Typically, on the night of the monthly book club, we discuss the life and works of the creators, discuss themes and characters and other topics many of which are presented by volunteers for the benefit of the discussion.  About once a quarter, we are joined by the creator of the work to hear their tale of the creation of their story, their experiences in the comic industry and towards the end of the evening a Q&A session is opened, which I have found invaluable.  Mr. Aaron was exceptionally honest and open and inspiring to the point of being encouraging.  If I had not found the Comics Experience, I would not have "met" Jason Aaron, Nathan Edmondson, Jim McCann, Rob Guillory, John Layman or any of the immensely talented people who attend the meetings and participate in the forums.  I also would not have had a script critiqued by Jason Aaron that prompted me to enter the piece in the Eagles Initiative, or had another script critiqued by Jim McCann (coming soon).  Delving into the great pool of sappiness that I often cannonball into, joining the group has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Check it out.

Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country
Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country

The Comics Experience Introduction to Comic Book Coloring with Chris Sotomayor - Alright.  Look.  I swear to a god of an undisclosed nature that I am not paid to say these things about the Comics Experience, but again the opportunities, advice, critiquing of my work and seeing the work of my peers have been priceless.  Thus far I have attended the first class for the Introduction to Comic Book Coloring taught by Chris Sotomayor, colorist of The Avengers, X-Men, Supreme Power, Batman and Firestorm, and I am loving the class iself and even the gobs of homework that were assigned.  Thus far I have flatted a splash page for a western and will flat a sequential Batman page on Sunday.  I can't wait for Monday night's class.

Slice Into the Woods 

No Really Great Comics This Week With One Incredible Exception - There were some good titles (Superboy), but nothing that blew me away with the exception of The Stuff Of Legend: The Jungle #4.

The Globe Weaver Spider In the Back of My Car - What does this have to do with the arts?  Well...a whole lot of nuthin', but I was adequately freaked out to see a spider with an abdomen the size of a nickel sitting in a web in the back seat of my car.  Who knows how long I have been chauffeuring him around town as he gazed at the pulsing veins in my neck.  Brrrrrrrr...creepy.

The Pathetic Corporate Pawns Seeking to Destroy the Future Creative Minds of America - I hope that the people in the hometowns of Walker and the Koch douches begin to refuse service in any and all capacity to these evil, America haters and show them that their war on the majority of Americans is starting to piss them off.  What does this have to do with creativity?  Everything.  If we lose our most seasoned and knowledgeable teachers because of these traitors, where will the creativity go?  Already teachers and administrators are fighting to keep arts and music offered in their schools, and with our once fine establishments morphing into mandatory testing ghettos, where will our next critically thinking and wondrous authors, artists and leaders (of any socioeconomic background) come from?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/04/2011

It's funny how some weeks see the release of many of my favorite comics and others see the release of precious little.  Then of course come the weeks that I am sent into a seething rage expressed through hours upon hours of pouting and just a little bit of weeping...softly...into my pillow...mailman be damned and leave the box at the door, I'm not coming down kind of weeping.  You know what I'm talking about, right?
But, here at Donist World where all your dreams come true there is never a need for tears with the exception of tears of joy and ecstatic delusion that leads into laughter, the scary kind that makes people lock their doors.
Furthermore...what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, comics.  Sorry mom and my friends' dog Obie, back on topic.  How did this week fare, well there was a hefty bill at the comic shop for sure, but only two books stood out, and of course there was a gem hidden in the trade paperback section that I am very happy to have read.

Friday Slice of Heaven

Sweet Tooth #19 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire with additional illustrators Nate Powell, Emi Lenox and Matt Kindt, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint.  Gawd dammit, Jeff Lemire.  C'MON!  Buddy, you really need to stop tearing my heart out of my chest on a monthly basis.  Seriously.  This month a second slightly experimental shift in format to follow last months storybook-styled horizontally laid out comic.  Issue #19 features a girls day out focusing on Luce, Becky and the little pig-girl Wendy.  Three different artist illustrates the flashback of one character while Lemire illustrates the scenes between the stories.  In other lesser comics using this technique does not work, but that is not the case in this issue.
The reader is given a glimpse into the mostly bleak and all too briefly uplifting backstory of these once minor characters whose status within the world of Sweet Tooth is rising.  In reading this issue, I went from empathy, to a feeling of being let in on a secret that I always suspected, to horror, to dread, to horror, to sadness, to meandering dread-filled happiness, to horror, to exhilaration, and back to sadness.  And that is just with the backstories alone.  Not to spoil anything, this issue ends with a shocking conclusion.  I cannot wait for the next issue.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  If you are not buying this book, then there is quite seriously something wrong with you.

Sweet Tooth #19

Chew# 17 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  
Chew continues the steady string of great issues with the second installment in the flambe storyline.  Chu and Colby investigate a case involving a high school lunchroom massacre that might be linked to the writing in the sky and to another seemingly unrelated tragedy.  A new food-based power is revealed, Chu's daughter helps out, and a villain from the past resurfaces.  Overall, another solid issue with the only missing component being Amelia Mintz...maybe next issue.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chew #17

The Damned Volume 1: Three Days Dead - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press.  As I mentioned above, I got lucky in finding this nearly Manga-sized TPB collecting the five issues of The Damned at my LCS.  After reading the amazing The Sixth Gun, I set out feelers to find all other comics that Bunn has written and was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to search long to get my hands on this highly entertaining earlier work.  
The Damned is set during the time of Prohibition, only with the twist of demons running the mob families and trafficking not only in the usual wares but also souls and curses.  Enter Eddie.  Eddie, a dead mobster, is pulled from his grave and put on the case of locating a missing bookkeeper by the demonic mob boss, Big Al.  Eddie's journey to find the truth gains the attention of rival gangs and the truth threatens to send him to the grave...this time permanently.  
A fun and exciting book that now has me scrounging to find the second chapter:  The Damned: Prodigal Sons.  How could I have not heard about this Cullen Bunn guy sooner?  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Damned Volume 1: Three Days Dead (v. 1)
The Damned Volume 1: Three Days Dead

Slice Into the Woods

The Passing of Dwayne McDuffie - I feel bad for not commenting on Mr. McDuffie's passing last week.  I mostly knew his work from the fantastic Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoon series and his countless contributions to the comic and cartoon world in general.  A highly talented and creative man who will be missed, but his contributions will be remembered fondly for many years to come.

The War on Teachers - Rant time.  The abhorrent behavior of many of our political "leaders" is downright evil.  Evil.  Few other words can describe what is happening throughout our country.  The rhetoric being spewed on supposed "news" channels such as FOX and all of the other usual suspects borders on criminal.  With what we see and hear on these greed-fueled media outlets and from many of our politicians, it is as if every teacher in the public schools is systematically destroying our children's future.  Really?  How is it possible for say a secondary school teacher to destroy a child's education when they see the child for 50 minutes a day--not counting the time involved to take attendance for ever-increasing class sizes.  
"But," these assholes say, "what about the lavish benefits these teachers receive and the cushy time off during the summer?"  Lavish benefits?  Again, really?  Teachers in Santa Barbara currently pay $362.24 per month for health insurance and the ever-increasing co-pays and decreasing coverage; ten years ago, my wife paid roughly $0.  There are other options available: one is a more expensive (PPO), and the other is cheaper with minimal coverage amounting to little more than catastrophic insurance.  As for the summer break, it is hardly a break.  My wife, an English Teacher, and her colleagues are pressured to fill their summers with multiple-week-long "trainings" and "seminars" from various testing/education/textbook businesses as to how they can help our country's children while no one suggests adding more teachers so that the proposed methods can be practiced.  Wow.  Some break.  Who in their right mind would call weeks of being beaten down a break?  Probably Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his financial backers the traitorous Koch Brothers, but those America-destroying scumbags are another rant for another time.
Back to the war on America's teachers.  Throughout the country, teachers and librarians are being routinely pink-slipped and they will not know if they have a job until right before school starts up again in the fall.  How's that for morale boosting?  "Not only are you failing our children, but you might not have a job next fall.  Stick around, though, you might be one of the lucky ones who gets hired back."  Class sizes will increase without increases in teacher pay and loads of papers to grade will increase as well.  My wife currently has 147 students this school year.  147 students.  She estimates about six minutes to grade each paper, so do the math.  147 students x 6 minutes/paper = 882 minutes/week, or 14.7 hours on top of a full work week.  What a way to spend the weekend.  Keep in mind that this does not take into account planning, collaborating, detentions, helping students, parent calls, parent meetings, etc which only adds additional hours to the work week.  This is all for FREE.  
I can go on and on and on, but best to stop here for now lest I become even more angry.  I haven't even broached the subject of No Child Left Behind--or No Child Properly Funded as I like to call it--the testing prisons that our schools have become, or the war on child creativity; creative minds question after all.  As for poor-quality teachers--of which there are few--why are people not more concerned with the rampant poor-quality of our politicians, such as the corrupt Scott Walker, or the mega-corporations and rich attempting to control our lives.  Something to think about.