Thursday, May 26, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/27/2011

When the moon is in the Donist World House
and Tulip aligns with Obie (my harshest critic)
Comics will rule the planet
And love will steer you here you see

This is the Donning of the age of the Donist World
The age of the Donist World
Donist World!
Donist World!

Hey man...and lady if that's how you flow, welcome.  We've had like a really groovy week here at Donist World, man.  You grock what I'm saying, right brothers and sisters?  There's all these comic books with their art and stories and, you know, colors and, it's all such a trip to read these funny books with really deep...I mean REALLY deep messages that will blow your mind, man.  Have a seat by that lovely, vital and spiritual tree my brother.  Here's some tea, I added a little something if you get my meaning.  Relax and trip on these visuals and most important of all don't let THE MAN keep you down, man.  Get ready to groove on...

Friday Slice of Heaven


DV8: Gods and Monsters
Gods and Monsters
DV8: Gods and Monsters TPB - Written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs, published by DC Comics, originally published under DC Comics imprint Wildstorm.  Last night I decided to read the first eight issues collected in this book that had received positive praise during its original run.  I read the first five issues, ate dinner and read the rest.  I was blown away.  I had never read any of the original DV8 run before Brian Wood resurrected the title, and doing so is not required to enjoy this look into the darker aspects of not just the superhuman soul, but personal responsibility.  
The book begins with Gem Antonelli, "Copycat," in a holding cell and explaining to her mysterious captors what happened while she and the rest of DV8 were stranded on a planet.  "Stranded" is not the appropriate word as the group were dropped from the sky onto a primitive world with no recollection as to how they were captured or why they were abandoned there.  The inhabitants consist of a half dozen warring tribes all armed with clubs, spears and shields and now eight beings of immense power have dropped from the sky.  Are they gods or are they monsters?  That is not for the people to decide, it is a decision for DV8.  Already a group at odds with themselves, they split off to aid or rule a tribe of their own until they are inevitably brought into conflict with one another, until a devastating problem arises. 
DV8 pulled me in immediately and I could not put the book down.  Intriguing and fully fleshed out characters--although I am still unsure of what Gem's powers actually were--lead an intense and thoughtful story that weighed on my mind when I went to sleep and again when I woke the next day.  Rebekah Isaacs artwork flows beautifully and furthers the story with amazing sequentials that are elevated by Carrie Strachan's coloring talents. 
When those with the power lead, how they conduct themselves is determined by what lurks inside, and oftentimes their interests run counter to the necessities of those who follow...kind of relevant in today's world.  DV8: Gods and Monsters is now one of my new all-time favorite trades.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  You need to read this.

Xombi #3
Xombi # 3 - Written by John Rozum and illustrated by Frazer Irving, published by DC Comics.  This issue provides a little insight into the methodologies of Roland Finch, who looks to be the antagonist of the series and his plans to put the Maranatha into play against his enemies.  Who Finch is otherwise or if he appeared in the original issues of Xombi back in the '90s I'm not sure (c'mon Comixology and DC...the fans want these).  With the release of the Maranatha, David Kim (Xombi) the undying man must face off against the creature that exists only to destroy and what follows is some brutal treatment for our hero as he desperately attempts to provide enough time for his friends to escape the rampaging creature's wrath.  When the powerful Catholic Girl, Nuns with Saint bullets, a mustached guy who can apparently cause things to combust and a couple of golems join the fray, the situation becomes dire.  Also, what does Roland Finch want with the mysterious chart that he stole?
Xombi continues to be one of my most anticipated releases each month despite the fact that I am still a little in the dark as to what is going on.  I'm assuming some of the characters are holdovers from the old series, but I'm more than happy to piece things together along the way.  Again, Rozum's writing is top-notch and Frazer Irving's art and colors are something to marvel at.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Ruse #3
Ruse #3 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Minck Oosterveer, published by Crossgen, a Marvel Comics imprint.  Yet another book that I have not read the original run, but this followup series, complete with the original writer, Mark Waid, has me wanting to dig up the original series...if I can find them.  Again, Comixology I'm looking at you, help us out here.  
Ruse is the story of master detective Simon Archard, "the smartest man in the world," and his assistant partner the beautiful Emma Bishop.  When Simon's closest friends and peers turn up murdered, but without any clues as to the identity of their killer, Simon and Emma frantically attempt to track down the culprit before he can strike again; unfortunately the killer is exceptional at what he does.
The relationship between Emma and Simon is amusing in that Simon is a difficult man to work with and is willing to jeopardize not only his life to find an answer, but also risk Emma's life in the process.  He is usally correct in the risks that he takes, but he does leave me wondering if he has a mental disorder or two.  For instance this issue opens with Emma in the middle of an all-woman, bare-knuckled fighting ring that Simon had signed her up to compete in--without Emma's knowledge--all so he could get ahold of some ledgers pertinent to a case. The fact that Emma is able to successfully work with a man who has chased off all of her predecessors is proof of her strong character and she oftentimes shows to be every bit as intelligent, if not moreso, than Simon.  Death traps, mysteries, conspiracies, and life-threatening predicaments make this a fun and addictive read.
This is not my typical type of comic, but I am happy to say that I a hooked.  RECOMMENDED!

Obie and Tulip
Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday dear Tulip and Obie (my second reader and harshest critic after my mom).  Happy birthday to you.  The puppies turned two this week and although we didn't have a party for them, we celebrate them all the time.  Love the doggies!

Slice Into the Woods

Slight Lack of Productivity This Week - After spending the past two weeks in pain from the back/shoulder/chest problem, I guess this week was about catching up on missed sleep.  While  I should have been writing the kid's book or working on the second issue of the comic script, Monday was spent sleeping through the alarm and Tuesday and Wednesday were slow going to say the least.  Oh well, you have to sleep sometimes. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/20/2011

Hello there friends and welcome to Donist World!  Have a seat and I'll be right with you to take your order, but I first must recommend our special Donist World Rapturecakes.  What are Rapturecakes you ask?  Why, only the best pancakes this side of the Sin City.  Make normal pancakes with whole-wheat flour, mix in a little flax seed, add milk, an egg, a tablespoon of oil and a healthy helping of sin and you got yourself some yummy Rapurecakes...just add peanut butter and some apricot jelly for some mmmm-mmmm deliciousness; don't let yourself get left behind.  In the meantime, have a look at our special menu of favorites.  *wink*

Friday Slice of Heaven


Echo, Vol. 5: Black Hole
Echo, Vol 5:
Black Hole
Echo, Vol. 5: Black Hole - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  After the first four amazing chapters of Echo this one almost lost me due to...totally kidding here.  Volume five takes an already amazing series and ratchets up the tension and sense of urgency and expands on the action in ways that are exhilarating and at times kinda gross.
In this volume, Hong Liu makes his revolting return in a desperate attempt to save his mangled and deteriorating body by forcing an unconscious Julie to give up the liquid metal known as Alloy 618.  Ivy makes a cruel and possibly warranted decision in light of a bleak revelation, and both Ivy and Julie begin to exhibit some startling physical changes.  Cain captures the HeNRI scientist Vijay, one of the last remaining people involved in the creation of Alloy 618, for a final (?) confrontation with Julie.
As I have said all along, Echo is an incredibly well-crafted story, with Moore's gorgeous art--complete with subtle character changes along the way--and an intensity that leaves me biting my nails for the release of the concluding chapter in the next couple of weeks.  I honestly cannot wait to see how this series wraps up and it is now one of my all-time favorite books.  Did I mention that I like this comic?  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Killer Volume 2 (v. 2) (Killer (Archaia))
The Killer Vol.2 HC
The Killer Vol. 2 - Written by Matz and illustrated by Luc Jacamon, published by Archaia.  In this follow up to the fantastic first volume, The Killer continues to impress and is an infectious read.  This volume contains the original run of issues five through ten as opposed to the four issues found in the first volume.
In this volume, our nameless killer is found by the Columbians who have money to spare and possibly information on who put the hit on him in Paris.  What's worse is The Killer's new found employer pairs him with a partner, Mariano, the godson of the man in charge.  In addition to now having a partner, who is quickly becoming a friend, The Killer's girlfriend becomes more important to him, and then there is the neighbor in the flat upstairs who happens to be a nice guy down on his luck.  Relationships bring complications and as The Killer learns who put him in harm's way and who beat up his girlfriend, leaving him little choice but to right the wrongs enacted against him.
The Killer is still a well-written look at a man that I should dislike on account of his profession, but Matz does a tremendous job of making me sympathize with this character and wanting to see him come out ahead.  The uncertain nature of the book has me questioning the motivations of everyone including the newfound friend and the girlfriend who accepted The Killer's profession with indifference.  As with the first volume the art of Luc Jacamon is mind blowing primarily in the color palette and lovely shading he adds to set the mood of a scene (see pages 89-91 and 128-131).   A strong writer and a talented illustrator who are equally impressive on their own, but when combined produce a phenomenal book.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*my only negative comment has nothing to do with the content, but the build of my particular copy of the book.  Unfortunately page 147-150 was missed at the time of binding and that page fell out while reading it.  Hopefully this was only a problem of my particular book.

Chew #27
Chew #27 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image comics.  This issue does something frickin' weird.  It jumps ahead nine issues and two story arcs ahead.  Essentially, Layman and Guillory hopped into the Image time traveling machine and went ahead about a year--I guess there will be some slight delays in the release schedule--and brought back this book, but neglected to bring back info on this weeks winning Lotto numbers...thanks.
Anyhow, this book opens with Tony near comatose and on life support in a hospital bed and he is being cared for by his sister, Toni (Antonelle).  Toni is working for NASA and even has a run-in with D-Bear, an old pain in the ass from her brother's life.  D-Bear has messed with one of Toni's old...friends...and not only roughed him up, but he also stole his entire collection of chogs, which are frog/chicken hybrids that are a non-FDA approved method of bypassing the poultry laws.  Chogs supposedly taste like chicken.
What happened to bring us to this point?  Hell if I know, but I can't wait to see how we got there and where we are going afterwards.  So much fun and VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

THUNDER Agents #7
THUNDER Agents #7 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Cafu, Mike Grell and Nick Dragotta, published by DC Comics.  This issue opens with Colleen on the hunt for her mother the Iron Maiden, to which a solid two pages are dedicated to this endeavor.  The remainder of the book offers a brief look into the woman who has historically been the scourge of THUNDER and a glimpse into the woman in the sexy armor.  
Mike Grell offers up the art for the the first half of Iron Maiden's story and combined with the coloring provides an eighties retro vibe that I really enjoyed.  Nick Dragotta then pulls time back even further with a seventies style of illustration that works equally well in furthering the story and showing more history on this intriguing character.  
Although I enjoyed this issue, I can't help but feel that it was somewhat rushed and was not as strong an issue as those that preceded it, but I need to restate that it was still very good.  This remains a book that more people need to be reading and now that THUNDER Agents is available on Comixology on the cheap (issue one is currently FREE!) there is absolutely no reason to ignore this wonderful series.  Here's to hoping that Nick Spencer--who seems to be writing more books than a normal human being can handle--sticks around on this series for as long as DC will let him.  RECOMMENDED!

Heroes For Hire #7
Heroes For Hire #7 - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and illustrated by Tim Seely, published by Marvel Comics.  Heroes for Hire is one of the last remaining superhero comics that I am reading and enjoying, and with good reason.  HFH sticks to maintaining an exciting story with a cast of revolving characters that has kept the series fun and unpredictable thus far.   
In this issue Spider-Man strikes out alone with only the voice of Misty Knight to aid in his quest to stop the delivery of an Atlantean designer drug.  But even the impressive Wall Crawler bites off more than he can chew and an injured Paladin and a desperate Misty are the only ones that can rescue the hero from an old foe teamed with some very-very-very-very...yeah, very old foes.  I'm excited to see what comes next.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Reinjured - Awesome!  Great!  Sarcasm!  Dang I am sick of this.  After finally being on the mend, it seems that I have reinjured myself and spent another night attempting to sleep sitting upright to avoid the pain associated with such mundane tasks such as lying down, sneezing, coughing, burping or get this...breathing.  Yeah, not fun, but what hacks me off the most is that the lack of sleep has put me slightly behind in working on the kid's book and on getting a head start on this blog.  Stupid injuries.  Maybe I need a quick dose of Alloy 618 to get me back in shape by healing my back muscle and making me twenty years younger.  Ack.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/13/2011

“These dreams go on when I close my eye-eye-eye-eye-eyes.  Every second of the night, I live another life.”

Last night I dreamt that Sean, Obie’s owner, and I were working at an orca training facility located just off of State Street at De La Vina Street.  The orca pools managed to extend about a city block out and were a city block deep.  The pools did not end there, they also extended out to remote areas via underground, water-filled tubes, many of which extended to the ocean, which is how the majestic black and white creatures made it to the training facility. 

Great computers from the late eighties stood ready to record the vital stats of the killer whales and the lovely view from the lab window afforded a Santa Barbara-wide horizon of mountains and blue skies.  Working with our wild orca friends, who voluntarily traveled the miles of tubing from the ocean to the lab to be studied for some reason, became mysteriously docile upon entering the great tank. 

Towards the end of the dream, Sean and I ordered lunch, which arrived far past the promised thirty-minute cut-off, but the pizzas looked amazing and the sandwich was the size of a large house cat.  The delivery girls were mad that they could not find our office, despite the fact that the address was clearly labeled on the door, the receipt and their iPhones, so I’m not really clear on what their problem was, but the main point to remember is that they were H…O…T…fine-ass ladies.  Two brunettes and a blonde all with crummy attitudes, but as Motley Crue would attest, they had the looks that kill.  Then I woke up.

Now, what does this have to do with comics and why am I mentioning this dream.  Well, nothing actually.  It was a very short week for me comicwise, but come to think of it maybe there was more to it.  Maybe the orcas, in all their black and white glory represent Obie, Sean’s Boston Terrier and my harshest critic.  Maybe, the orcas voluntarily coming to work with me was my mind subconsciously telling me to work more closely with Obie and that we can finally come to some sort of an agreement.  Maybe Donist World is actually an orca testing facility located in the heart of Santa Barbara where two hot brunettes and a hot blonde with crappy attitudes can deliver beautiful pizzas and sandwiches and remind me that there is always…

Friday Slice of Heaven


Echo Vol. 4
Echo Vol. 4: Collider - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  I need volume five immediately.  This installment manages to ratchet up an already intense story another notch or two.  Julie and Ivy come to an agreement after Julie is able to use her new found powers in an amazing new way.  Cain is back and is possibly more bat-shit crazy than before, and is again in possession of the metal, but Julie took it from him in the previous encounter.  How did he reacquire the metal?  I guess we will see.  Characters croak left and right in this volume, including one that I was cheering for and another who we only just meet and who goes down in the wrongest of ways.  A person previously assumed dead becomes a disgusting new foe and HeNRI continues to need some heavy-duty regulating.  
Moore has an amazing ability to tell a story with expression, emotion and mannerisms and to bring the reader fully into his world.  Add the dialogue and captions to flesh out the story and you have a thoroughly addictive read.  I care deeply for the safety of Julie, Dillon, Ivy, the "deceased" Annie and all the rest.  I am genuinely worried for these characters and the arrival of each new threat leaves me hoping for the best and wishing that I could help.  Echo is one of my favorite books...ever.  You should be reading this.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!   

The Killer:
Volume One
The Killer: Volume One - Written by Matz and illustrated by Luc Jacamon, published by Archaia.  The Killer has been on my radar for a while as I have been hearing about it for some time.  I just finished Matz and Jacamon's first four issues of Cyclops, which I loved, and I knew I could not go wrong with this book.  It's nice when I am right.
The Killer is about, well, an unnamed (unless I missed it somewhere) killer.  An assassin to be exact, and he is on the verge of leaving the business.  Written in the first person, this compelling series follows a killer for hire as he pulls a job in Paris that just doesn't seem right and he is tailed to Venezuela, his future place of retirement, and he deals with his pursuer.  The Killer agrees to take one final assignment back in Europe only to discover the mark is not who he is supposed to be, and The Killer has become the target.  
Well written and insightful into the mind of this interesting character, who, although despicable, gains my sympathy and interest.  I also must mention the lovely art of Jacamon that has an almost cartoonish quality, while depicting emotion in a manner unlike anything I have seen.  Jacamon's coloring is worthy of mentioning as it is intense, vibrant, beautiful despite nearly being flats with minimal shading.  But it is the minimal touches on the characters themselves and the lush designs on the settings that impress the most; after seeing these pages I want to retire in Venezuela.  
A fantastic book all around and I am glad to jump immediately into the next one.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman & Robin:
Batman Reborn TPB
Batman & Robin Volume 1: Batman Reborn - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely and Philip Tan, Published by DC Comics.  At a time when I am moving further and further away from mainstream superhero comics, I decided to take a chance on Batman & Robin and I am glad that I did.  Morrison can be hit or miss for me and this is a a definite hit.  
Batman & Robin follows Dick Grayson (formerly Nightwing and formerly Robin) as Batman during Bruce Wayne's absence and the new Robin, Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne's son...I have been gone for a while) joins him.  Damian is a complete brat, but at just ten-years-old, he is a genius and ruthless fighter and argues often with Dick as he does not believe his predecessor to be up to the task holding the title of Batman.  What Morrison does so perfectly is show the trust and respect slowly building between these two characters in-between the constant bickering.  Still on the character side, Morrison (re)introduces some truly oddball and terrifying characters that are the stuff of nightmares (see Pyg and Scarlet) and gives them hefty doses of menace that works well for this series.  
Also worthy of mention is one of my favorite artists, Frank Quitely, who although seemingly rushed in some panels, delivers unparalleled action and tension.  Although I would have liked to have seen Quitely throughout the series, Tan does a good job of keeping the mood and the only thing that struck me as odd was that Damian looked different from panel to panel.  
Overall a great superhero comic and one that is a lot of fun to read.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Technology - Damn.  Technology does wonders for our lives, doesn't it?  Who would have ever thought that I could transfer the all-time favorites from my pr0n collection to my iPad, a laptop or to my PS3, or hell, even all three.  This here Donist World thing would not be possible without technology and therein lies the rub.  Throughout this month, the Playstation Network was hacked and has been down for what seems forever.  Blogger, via Google, went down for a few days and before that (and currently) my Amazon link widget has vanished with the new "upgraded" interface.  When these things go down, what do I do?  What if they never come back?  What if my login, password, credit card, personal information are leaked into the wild west that is the internet?  Scary stuff and time for some backups and rethinking of passwords.  
Technology, making certain aspects of life easier, while compounding the difficulties and stress of others.  What would I do without you?


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/06/11

"Yes, Obie."
"Is the water warm enough?"
"Yes, Obie."
"Shall we begin?"
"Yes, Obie."
Wait a second, hate warm water.  You equate warm water to taking a bath and Boston Terriers don't like baths, so what are you talking about?
Donist World is a one big bath with jacuzzi jets, floating trays of bourbon and a television tuned to the Venture Brothers 24 hours a day.  A push of one button sends garlic duck fat fries into a bucket and for those of us watching our figures, the all-you-can eat salad bar is the way to go and you don't even have to leave the comfort of the tub.  Then there are the comics, the glorious comics being projected on a 72" screen and I have the sole control to turn the pages.  So, grab yourself a salad, some tasty fries, a generous serving of bourbon, sit back by one of the jets, and have yourself a gander at...

Friday Slice of Heaven


Sweet Tooth #21
Sweet Tooth # 21 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint.  It's safe to say that any week involving Sweet Tooth means this title will be on FSoH.  I love this richly dark, foreboding, yet occasionally uplifting post-apocalyptic tale so much that the monthly wait for each issue is a painful one.
The tension between Jepperd and Gus reaches its zenith just in time for the two to be confronted by the deadly menace of a grizzly bear (no spoilers here, look at the cover).  The girls continue to talk to the possibly too-good-to-be-true Walter Fish and enjoy the amenities of the ecological wonder of the dam abandoned by the secret Project Evergreen.  A character begins to fall ill and a heartfelt reunion left me feeling choked up.
Because of the dark subject matter, Sweet Tooth is one of those books that might be difficult for some to read, but for those who can get past the bleak world Lemire has built, there is a real gem filled with characters that you will grow to love and admire.  The resolve to survive in a world so dire and after so many catastrophes is admirable and every minor victory is something to be celebrated.  You will gasp, you will cheer and possibly cry, and that is what good comics are all about.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Axe Cop:
Bad Guy Earth #3
Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth # 3 - Written by Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by Ethan Nicolle, published by Dark Horse Comics.  The final issue of the Bad Guy Earth mini-series arrives and it dutifully provides a realistic explanation of the Axe Cop world and it's, no it doesn't.  I'm totally lying.  This book continues the madness and there is no explanation of really anything, but that is fine and I found myself laughing with every page.  This book is almost impossible to review without resulting to quoting directly from the book itself.  For instance: "Her name was Tuwasso.  She just bounced all around smashing dogs with her huge bottom and fire farting on them.  So Dinosaur Soldier shot her in the bottom.   She died, but her pet grizzly bear was really mad. So he shot it.  Bear blood splattered on Dinosaur Soldier. He became Bear Cop." Bear Cop is a bear with police shades and an uzi and what I just transcribed is one page of this insane book.
Nothing on the stands is like this and if you want a break from the same old superheroes, then give this title a try, and/or check out the Axe Cop TPB from Dark Horse comics, which reprints the webcomic.  Insanely wacky stuff, but so much fun and a perfect book to read after something as grim (yet compelling) as Sweet Tooth.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Heroes for Hire #6
Heroes for Hire #6 - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and illustrated by Brad Walker, published by Marvel Comics.  I was about ready to drop this title after the last issue as it fell a little flat for me, but the latest installment brought me back on board.  In this issue Misty Knight is trying to rebuild her Heroes for Hire program, but after being controlled by the Puppet Master, few are willing to trust her.  Paladin, a former villain, is an exception, although he is still being paid.  No big spoiler here (look at the cover) but Spider-Man makes an appearance and he is willing to lend a hand in stopping the distribution of the Atlantean narcotic Hook and to work with Paladin.  This book is exciting and left wanting to read the next issue, which is great for a title that I am glad to have not dropped.  RECOMMENDED.

Slice Into the Woods

Back Pain - What the hell does this have to do with comics, movies, music or art in any way?  Well, I've always found agony to be a great stifler of creativity when I try to write, but maybe that's just me.  Thankfully, the pain has seemed to chill a lot and I am about to take the dog for a brief walk, have lunch/beers and see Thor with some friends--I will load up on the Ibuprofen.  Here's to hoping I'm healing and that I don't do whatever it was that I did to myself ever again.
*sidenote-when the pain was so bad yesterday that I had to crawl into a hot bath to relax the muscles, my Boston Terrier, Obie's sister, Tulip, sat outside of the tub the whole time.  She knew something was wrong, and her concern definitely helped matters.  Good dog.