Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/24/2011

(Sung to the tune of Madonna's "Material Girl")

Some cats read Marvel, some cats read DC
Those superheroes can be so fun
But they should also try the indies
Refusing to do so is kinda dumb

Image is rockin' and IDW is too
Check out somethin' without capes or tights, no tights
You might miss out on Nonplayer or Sixth Gun
Don't close your eyes to such awesome sights

'Cause we are living in a Donist World
You should give Sweet Tooth a whirl
You know that we are living in a Donist World
You should give Stuff of Legend a whirl

Okay, with that out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks.  I have changed the music to Julie London performing "Easy Street." It's 6:30 AM, I've poured myself a morning glass of bourbon for my meeting with Don Draper and Roger Sterling where we're set to discuss how to save the comics industry and its slipping numbers as books are now only selling in the mere hundreds of thousands.  Wait a minute, what year is this?  Oh.  Aside from the bourbon, Julie London and the 6:30 AM time, the rest must have been a dream.  Regardless, I'll stick to my guns and say the comics industry should just put Joan on the cover of every comic issue for a year and that should about do the trick, but I'm willing to hear the boys out and see what they have to say.  Bring it Don Draper, bring IT!


Friday Slice of Heaven

Echo Vol. 6
The Last Day
Echo Volume 6: The Last Day - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  The wait is over for the final volume of Terry Moore's scientific epic Echo and what a ride it has been.  This installment also sees the story linked to the Strangers in Paradise world with the reintroduction of two characters from that equally-engrossing yet leagues-different series.
Julie, Ivy, Dillon, Vijay, and Annie--the dead woman whose mind exists in the Alloy 618 that covers Julie's body--make their way to Alaska to to stop a madman from sending his specimen of the alloy through an army super-collider to create a black hole.  Not only is the clock ticking to stop the test that threatens humanity, but the age regressing effects the alloy has had on Ivy threatens to turn her into an infant, while Julie becomes taller and stronger.  Unfortunately, the secret base is protected by not only the army's best security, but also the same assassin that has be troubled the group in the past.  With minutes to spare and desperation taking hold, it's do or die in this nail-biting climax to one of the best series around.
To say that I have enjoyed this series from start to finish is an understatement.  Everything from the sequentials to the character development and dialogue has be well-paced and engaging.  Moore has a knack for drawing the reader into his world and leaving them loving the people living within it and Echo  is no different.  My only complaint on this must-read series is that the final issue seemed a tad rushed and I would have preferred an extra issue or two to really wrap things up at the same pace that the majority of the story had been told.  This is not to say that I did not like the ending, I loved it, but a few things closed a bit abruptly.
If you are interested in this series, but have not read it, keep in mind that an affordable all-in-one volume will be released in August (I believe).  If you have been following along, then you must read the final installment as soon as you can.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Ruse #4
Ruse #4 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Mirco Pierfederici, published by CrossGen, a Marvel Comics Imprint.  The final issue of the Ruse  miniseries arrives and ends this fun, inventive story.
Detective Simon Archard--the smartest man in the world--and his partner Emma Bishop seek to end the murders of everyone Simon holds dear.  But when Simon  supposedly perishes in his water-filled deprivation tank, his former mentor, the evil Mr. Lightbourne, doubts the validity of the news.  With Lightbourne's schemes coming to light, will Emma and Simon be able to stop the mastermind who taught Simon everything he knows?
A well-written and immensely enjoyable four-issue series that I need to read again in one sitting.  If you like mysteries and something different than superheroes and supervillains, then be sure to give this series a try.  Hopefully, more Ruse will follow.  RECOMMENDED!

Demon #1
Demon #1 - 4 - Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, published by DC Comics.  Alrighty, let's jump into the time machine and travel back to 1987 to have a look at a miniseries that is one of my favorite comics, written and illustrated by one of my favorite creators, about one of my favorite characters.  At the time that I first bought this series, I lost my mind with the book that had everything that I wanted and years later I am still not disappointed and enjoyed reading this comic for the umpteenth time. 
Jason Blood has been cursed to share his body and soul with a yellow-skinned, immensely powerful demon named Etrigan for hundreds of years.  Worse still the curse was handed down to Jason by none other than Merlin the wizard, who also happens to be Etrigan's half-brother.  Etrigan has never been fond of being tied to an immortal human who can summon him at will.  To add a level of difficulty to the matter, the two cannot occupy the same realm at the same time making ending the curse a decidedly difficult venture.  Even worse, Merlin likes to have his ferocious half-brother at his beck and call, and has taken measures to be sure that the pair stay forever linked.  Etrigan and Blood, working with Blood's friend Glenda travel across the globe seeking to unravel the mystery of the magic that joins the two, while fighting the minions of both Merlin and the demon lord that looks remarkably like Etrigan himself.
There are no trades for this miniseries, but the four issues are not too difficult to find and can generally be bought on the cheap.  Worth finding.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Slice into the Woods

Never Enough Time - Not much more to say on this besides what I have commented on over at, but even with all the little tweaks I make to find the time to write, it still doesn't feel like enough.  Oh well, I will take what I can get and as long as I am continually moving forward that is what matters.  Tomorrow it is onto my script about one of my favorite yellow-skinned characters...take a wild guess who that might be.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/17/2011

(sung to the tune of Adam Ant's "Stand and Deliver")

I'm the dandy comic buyer, who likes to write and tell you.
I spend my cash but not on Flash because I prefer to read Chew.
The devil take your digital files and your Spawn collection
Just have a look and don't disqualify the things that I'm suggestin'.

Stand and deliver
Grab a copy of The Stuff of Legend
Try and explain to Obie
It's Friday Slice of Heaven.

Alright, I'm not going to lie to you my two faithful readers, Mom and my friends' Boston Terrier Obie.  I didn't make it to the comic store this week, at least not yet.   I only have the final issue of Ruse waiting for me in my pull, which I'm dying to read, but I just haven't had a chance to make the drive. This doesn't mean that I don't have a little somethin'-somethin' to talk about this week.

Shake your paws, Obie and let's get this thang started.

***Possible Spoilers***

Friday Slice of Heaven

Comics Experience Book Club on 6/14 - I mention the wonderful Comics Experience and the amazing opportunities that it has opened up to me often. This past Tuesday was no exception. For the monthly book club (included in the subscription to the Comic Creators Workshop) we were joined by all three creators of one of the most innovative and unique comics currently in publication, The Stuff of Legend: The Dark. Co-writers Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrator Charles P. Wilson III were on hand to discuss the history of this Donist World favorite, and to offer a candid discussion of their respective backgrounds and creative processes. The night was inspirational to say the least.
Although I hope that they make it back to the Comics Experience someday in the future, I would prefer to see them receive more and more of the attention they deserve for the wonderful world and characters that they have created. There are currently two trades--The Dark and The Jungle--available for The Stuff of Legend series with the third storyline--A Jester's Tale--beginning in July; I cannot wait.
If you are at all interested in creating comics and being involved in a positive learning environment with opportunities to speak with professional creators, then by all means take a class or join us in the never know what you might miss with each passing month. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark
The Stuff of Legend Book 1:
The Dark
The Stuff of Legend Book 2: The Jungle (Stuff of Legend (Th3rd World Studios))
The Stuff of Legend Book 2:
The Jungle

Secret Six: The Reptile Brain
Secret Six:
The Reptile Brain
Secret Six: Reptile Brain - Written by Gail Simone and Paul Cornell and illustrated by J. Calafiore and Pete Woods, published by DC Comics.  Every time a new trade for Secret Six is released I think I want to go to issues, but I never get around to doing it.  Now that DC is set to do a reboot of the series and Gail Simone is no longer associated with the soon to end title, I will just finish off my trade collection of this fun, well-written story with characters that I love to love, no matter how bad they actually are.
The first four issues of the latest installment finds a fractured Six set in opposition to one another as one group, under the watch of Spysmasher, attempts to take over a fantasy-inspired savage land called Skartaris.  The remaining Six follow in an attempt to stop Bane and his team from conquering the inhabitants resulting in a brutal war.  The results are particularly bloody for a DC comic and King Shark (I never heard of this guy before) had me laughing out loud.
The final two issues in this trade deal partly with the crossover event--here we go again--of the black lanterns, yet manages to minimize the intrusion and maintain much of the series's integrity.  Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage are the villains among villains and although the story is good, it seemed like something was missing.  This doesn't mean this trade is bad, it only means that it is not quite as good as some of the past installments, although in its defense, there are panels of Bane riding a dinosaur, which rules.  Still, I have to give this a RECOMMENDED and a must-own for fans of Secret Six, but if you are new to this series, best start from the beginning.

Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Ibraim Roberson, published by DC Comics.  Okay, I bought this comic predominantly because I'm a fan of Jeff Lemire's other works and I am glad that I did.  Supposedly this three-issue mini is part of the whole FlashPoint thing, but it will continue in a slightly altered form with the whole DC reboot, which is exciting.  I knew nothing of DC's Frankenstein character which wasn't a problem, and instead discovered a crazy, entertaining book unlike anything I am used to reading from Lemire.
In 1941 US army lieutenant Shrieve is saved from German soldiers by Frankenstein's monster, who goes by the name Frankenstein.  A year later, Frankenstein and Shrieve are introduced to their new team composed of monstrous "super soldiers"in the forms of a man-made vampire, a werewolf and a woman sea creature.  This four-creature army wages a war of fear and terror on the Nazis leading up to a scene I will not spoil.  When the war ends and Frankenstein's crew expect to have their humanity restored, they are double-crossed and forgotten for sixty-five years, before awakening to find a very different world from the one that they left.
I know.  This sounds like a crazy story, and it is, but it was fun and I was flipping through to the end and wanting more.  Mission accomplished Frankenstein, I can't wait to see the next issues.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Tempting Fate - For all my boastful "suck it, resistance" and "suck it, pain" and writing through the rough times...well, all that it took was a touch of food poisoning to stop the 'ol Donist Train from rollin' for two whole days. I dared to dream, I tell you. I dared to tempt the very gods themselves. I mocked Obie and his critical canine eye. I fought the law and the law won. I got taken down hard. So this week it's "Suck it, Donist." Drats...foiled again. Here's to better, healthier times.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/10/2011

(Sung to the tune of "Islands in the Stream")

Comics in the stream
That is what I read
Digital or Print?
How can I go wrong
Write to please my mom, also my friends' dog Obie
We can read them together, ah-ah
From one comic to another, ah-ah

Hi there all you happy people.  "Islands in the Stream" is what was going through my mind when I first opened my eyes yesterday morning at 5:00 AM.  Why is that?  Was I dreaming about Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton?  I don't think I was, but you know how dreams go.  Or maybe it was a sign that Donist World needs to take on a sponsor like Kenny Rogers Roasters, but then again, according to Wikipedia, there's only one store left in the US, but in Asia the chain is flourishing.  "Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man," sings Rogers on his song "Coward of the County" and sometimes you gotta sponsor Donist World with Kenny Rogers Roasters.
Anyhow, COMICS!

***Possible Spoilers***

Morning Glories #10
Morning Glories #10 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  Jade is the focus of this month's issue as the story opens with some revealing (?) nightmares plaguing our depressed but loved Morning Glory.  The implications of Jade's dreams reveal possible multiple lives by offering looks into her past, and she later has a talk with her future self.  Casey has a talk with the time repressed Hunter that does not go the way he had hoped, and Casey and Jade attend class with what has to be the worst teacher ever with an informative lesson on nooses that leaves Jade dead and me wondering how that particular lesson fits in with modern teaching standards.  The uppity Ike also makes a brief appearance and Casey makes it all too clear that he is not to talk to any of them.
This issue leaves me wondering if Jade is able to actually talk with people from her past lives through dreams and if she can talk with future selves by having near-death (or actual death) experiences.  More questions are raised than answered, but that is fine...I'm in this for the long haul, not for quick pass through.  Morning Glories continues to be one of my favorite comics on the shelf.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Deluxe Edition)
LOSH: The Great
Darkness Saga HC
Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Deluxe Edition) - Written by Paul Levitz and illustrated by Pat Broderick and Keith Giffen, published by DC Comics.  In my closet, sealed away are some whupped Legion of Super-Heroes issues that contain the original Great Darkness Saga.  These issues were originally published in the early eighties and I probably found them at the grocery store in a spinner rack, so this is really back in the day.  The corners are bent, one has a slight rip on a page, but the books did not come that way.  Years of reading and rereading caused the damage to what was one of my favorite comics for many years.
Jump ahead nearly thirty years and I now own the exceptional hardcover--that I recently had Paul Levitz sign--of this childhood favorite series that still stands up to the test of time.  Sure there are thought balloons and the occasional lengthy recap exposition, but the main story and the voluminous cast of characters that Levitz manages to successfully juggle is what pulled me in as a kid and it is what keeps me interested decades later. 
I'm going to give away the villain on this one.  It's Darkseid.  Boom, how you like them apples?  Don't worry, if you failed to read the disclaimer, failed to notice the title of the book and failed to notice the super-sized creep on the front cover then you have problems of your own.  When first released in the '80s, "The Great Darkness Saga" managed to keep the main villain secret and hidden, oftentimes offering only brief glimpses that slowly grew in scope until the eventual reveal of the evil antagonist.  Darkseid's formidable servents gave a sense that the Legion was fighting a loosing battle but when the master steps forth the situation turns from dire to hopeless and I was left anxiously biting my nails in much the same way that I did when I read the issues as a kid.  
If you like The Legion of Super-Heroes, but have not yet read this storyline from almost thirty years ago, do yourself a favor and pick it up.  It still stands up to the test of time and is an example of great storytelling.  HIGHY RECOMMENDED!

The Upcoming DC Reboot - When I first heard about this, my initial thought was "marketing gimmick," and "what are they going to do, multiple covers, polybag and hidden trading cards?"  But then the actual 52 books that are to be released in the coming months, started pulling my attention and sparked interests when I had all but given up on almost all DC (not Vertigo) titles.  The following are the books that I am considering picking up:

  1. Wonder Woman - Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
  2. Aquaman - Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
  3. Batman - Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
  4. Batwoman - J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder
  5. Swamp Thing - Scott Snyder Yannick Paquette
  6. Animal Man - Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman and Dan Green
  7. Demon Knights - Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert
  8. Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE - Jeff Lemire and Alberto Pointicelli
  9. I, Vampire - Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino
  10. Legion Lost - Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods
  11. Legion of Superheroes - Paul Levitz and Francis Portela
  12. Stormwatch - Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda
  13. Grifter - Nathan Edmondson and Cafu.
There might be another one or two to add to this list, but I really would like to see a summary of all 52 titles, their month/week of release and the creators attached.  C'mon DC, send a summary out so this previously-on-the-outs fan can begin making some decisions and lock these titles down with his LCS.  Hopefully this is the shot in the arm the industry needs and even more titles...written by me, the Donist...are seen in the near future.  My only request is DO NOT stop publishing one of my top three favorite series, Vertigo's Sweet Tooth!

Slice Into the Woods

A Hellacious Work Week Unlike Any Others - Sorry, can't go into it.  I still kept up with my writing though, so suck it resistence.

Revistited by the Pain - I woke up at 1:00 AM this morning to the pain in the shoulder that plagued me a few weeks ago.  Just started to get back into exercise and that mysterious thing called sleep, and then this had to happen.  It was nothing like the pain from last month but still not pleasant.  I still kept up with my writing though and will work on the kids book during my lunch, so suck it pain.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/02/2011

Alrighty, folks.  I'm running late on this installment and I'm going to keep the intro brief as it is Saturday, I'm hungry for duck-fat fries and beer at Hollister Brewing Company, and I'm excited to see X-Men: First Class after lunch.  In other words, this shizzle is about to get real REAL.  On top of that, there are six comics that I need to mention this week and all were released on this past Wednesday.  Talk about a nice problem to have.  So, Mom and Obie (my only two Donist World readers)...I present to you...

Friday Slice of Heaven


Sweet Tooth #22
Sweet Tooth #22 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint.  Every time I finish the latest issue of Sweet Tooth I am left wanting more of this dark, yet occasionally beautiful story.
In this issue the group reunites at the dam currently under the watch of  Walter Fish, and Jepperd immediately suspects the crippled man of treachery despite the protests of his friends.  Singh begins to question the path of science and sees himself as a spiritual guide to bring Gus to Alaska where all will be answered as detailed in the boy's father's bible.  Johnny, Singh and Bobby come face to face with those who Walter vocally fears, but in the ensuing violence and death, one key detail is missed by Gus and his ragtag family.  A detail that brings me to the nail biting and dread that I have come to love from this amazing series.
Although the creeping tension of the current storyline--and the series as a whole--leaves me fearful of what lurks behind every corner, it is not done in the annoying "this will never be resolved" Lost way.  Lemire and his amazing Sweet Tooth deliver consistently and when least expected making this series one of my favorite monthly books.  Some pain is coming for this mismatched family of necessity and although I want the best for them all, I would not have it any other way.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Last of the Innocent #1
Criminal: The Last of the Innnocent #1 - Written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics imprint.  Criminal is my favorite crime comic on the stands.  This latest installment kicks off what looks to be the strongest entry into Brubaker and Phillip's world to date.  
Riley Richards owes some bad men money, but when his father is diagnosed with stomach cancer, he returns to his hometown of Brookview, a place he has not returned to for five years.  He hooks up with old friends, Lizzie and Freakout (a nickname by golly), and the nostalgia of better times, a time before his cheating wife, Felicity, and her overbearing and elitist family, convinces Riley he needs to escape his current life.  The only way out, the only way to recapture the old times is to murder the woman he married.
A hell of a start with this issue and one that sucked me in immediately.  Brubaker had me disliking Riley, then not caring for him, then sympathizing and now I'm on Riley's side despite the mess that he put himself into.   Phillips does a wonderful job of portraying the innocence of childhood remembrances by switching to a cartoony fifties style of art for each flashback that works well and contrasts with his usual harsh line work.  If you like crime/noir stories this is where you need to be.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Who Is Jake Ellis #4
Who Is Jake Ellis #4 - Written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, published by Image comics.  I have been enjoying the Who Is Jake Ellis ride from the beginning and with one issue to go--unless the rumor of WIJE becoming a monthly is true, which is fantastic--I cannot wait to see how this fast-paced and addictive spy/mystery turns out.  
Jon and the possibly-imaginary Jake track their unsuspecting mole to a remote office in Marrakech, Morocco and are on the verge of uncovering the secret of what happened to Jon.  Nothing is ever easy.  As the pair infiltrate deeper and deeper into a building that is a front for some type of medical experimentation facility, the all-knowing Jake begins to express feelings of doubt and uncertainty, but most shocking admits that he had a memory.  Not just a memory, but an emotion.  The startling conclusion of this issue leaves the reader with further insight into Jake and of course more questions that look to be answered in next month's conclusion.
Nathan Edmondson has created an addictive little series, with a believable partnership between a spy and a man who might possibly not exist at all.  I really hope that Edmondson's WIJE does become a series as it is exciting, riveting and stands apart from most everything on the comic shelves.  Also worthy of mention is the lovely, stylized art of Tonci Zonjic, whose storytelling abilities give the feeling of motion on a static page.  Zonjic's color palette draws the right amount of attention at the appropriate time to give a feeling of urgency or to show how displaced Jon and Jake actually are.  Next month cannot come soon enough.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Superboy #8
Superboy #8 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Pier Gallo, published by DC Comics.  Another Lemire book this week and one that I am glad I stuck around for after the "event" from the past couple of issues interrupted the story and left me considering dropping this book.
In this issue, Superboy returns to form and the storyline hinted about in the first few issues with the appearance of a creepier-than-usual Phantom Stranger.  While possessing the body of a Smallville resident, the Phantom Stranger relays to Connor Kent a slice of history of the Kents, the Valentines and the terrifying Took family.  The Tooks were a family of cruel and reclusive loners who clashed with the law-enforcing Kents and Valentines and who were suspected to be responsible for the mutilated corpse of a child.  As everyone knows, mobs and psychotically murderous families don't mix and the Tooks go down in flames...literally.  Back in the present day, Superboy and Valentine meet up with the actual Phantom Stranger to rescue Lori Luthor, who happens to live on the Tooks old property.  The issue ends with a frightening yet beautiful splash page that needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Hats off to the letterer of the last page with the old-timey horror look that brings an extra level of suspense and eeriness.
Left on his own, Lemire succeeds in bringing Superboy back to the story that he has been revealing since issue number one and this is right where I want him to be.  RECOMMENDED!

SHIELD #2 (Vol 2)
SHIELD #1 (Vol 2) - Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics.  SHIELD returns a bit earlier than I expected and I couldn't be happier.  
As the battle for control of the Brotherhood of the Shield escalates between Da Vinci and Newton, Michelangelo must stop the war between free will and fate and Leonid, Newton's son, is the key.  The Nightmachine (Nicola Tesla, who is also Leonid's adopted father), Stark and Richards (the fathers of Tony and Reed) return at just the right moment to join with Leonid in ending the war of ideals and power struggles that divides the Brotherhood.
SHIELD is an intelligent and complex book that is not for those who prefer to see two superheroes punch each other in the face, but for those who want a rich story set in the universe with which they are familiar, a universe filled with mystery and suspense.  RECOMMENDED!

Heroes For Hire #8
Heroes For Hire #8 - Written by Dan Abenett and Andy Lanning and illustrated by Brad Walker, published by Marvel Comics.  Hold on a second...didn't I just talk about issue seven like two weeks ago?  Did Heroes For Hire go bi-weekly?  Oh well, fine with me as this series continues to be a lot of fun and keeps me buying the Marvel superhero books. 
This issue continues with an exhausted Spider-Man battling for his life in a pit of velociraptors and The Scorpion in a crazy new suit, while Batroc the Leaper and other dregs of society cheer on the carnage.  Paladin, injured and refusing to stand down, attempts to stop Batroc and rescue Spider-Man, but finds himself under fire from demonica weapons and receives help from a "hot" source.  Upset that her two heroes are not listening to her and getting themselves deeper into trouble, Misty Knight steps in for some ass whupping. 
HFH has plenty of action and story and is a highly entertaining change from the more serious books that I usually find myself reading.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

The War on Education Continues - I'm going to keep this brief, as I am short on time, but the asinine treatment of our country's librarians is morally reprehensible.  Many school districts across the country, including LA Unified are firing school librarians, arguing that they are not necessary or actual teachers.  Not actual teachers?!  Librarians are required to have not one, but two credentials, one is for teaching one is for library sciences, and they are required to stay up-to-date with technology.  Not to mention that they are a wealth of knowledge for the children they teach.  Librarians are instrumental in getting students to actually read and enjoy literature, which is also being undervalued.  How very sad.