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.


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