I bought plenty of nothing
And nothing is plenty for me
I read a book
Oh boy yes siree
Folks with few of the indies
They might be looking for more
Than the capes and tights, cousin it's alright
It ain't at their store.
Hello there, Donist World patrons. It was quiet at the LCS this week. Well, maybe quiet is not the right word. How about dead, decimated or non-existent. An odd thing happened, I did not buy a single comic this week, nothing, zilch, nada. Next Wednesday is looking to be a doozy though, and I fully expect my wallet to take one hell of a beating. This should have been okay as we were set to have an appearance by special guest Darkseid, but unfortunately my friends' Boston Terrier, Obie, who is also my second reader after my mom, had to cancel his interview with the dark lord of Apokolips. You see, he just learned that the Anti-Life Equation was not only discovered by a big pharmaceutical company, but it has already been set to go to a generic over-the-counter version called Deadheroitol, which should be fully covered by most HMO plans* (*please check with your provider for potential coverage). So, in lieu of his appearance here today, Mister Darkseid is having to track down his legal team to cross some T's and dot some I's and quite possibly omega beam the bejesus out of some New Gods or something. Despite having no special guests this week, and not buying anything at the LCS, I still have a comic that I have been meaning to talk about for quite some time.
Friday Slice of Heaven
***Possible Spoilers Below***
|Clockwork Volume 1|
Clockwork Volume 1 – Written by Paul Allor and illustrated by various artists, published by Gov’t Comics. I first have to lead with a disclaimer that I have known Paul Allor for over a year now through Andy Schmidt’s excellent Comics Experience Introduction to Comic Book Writing class and also through the Creators Workshop. He is also a member of The Brutal Circle (we will get another post up soon…promise) and one of the most talented and driven individuals I have met. That said I would not go easy on the guy. Hells no. But here’s the thing, if I didn’t honestly like Clockwork Volume. 1 it wouldn’t be here on Donist World. What you hold in your hands—or rather should be holding in your hands—is an impressive anthology of 12 five-page stories consisting of multiple genres and subject matter. All stories were written by Allor and illustrated by 12 different artists, with most of the production work for the entire graphic novel done by Allor. Let’s have a look:
- “Another Life” – Illustrated by Ben Dewey. A gorilla first mate tells the story of the feared and renowned space pirate, The Butcher. Dewey’s wonderful art brings back memories of “weird tales” style stories from the ‘70s for which I have a soft spot. Great story and wonderfully suited artwork. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- “The Hottest Part of Winter” – Illustrated by Carl Peterson. A western tale of a person’s decision to change the path their life has taken. Peterson is a Comics Experience member and his particular lighthearted artistic style is refreshing and perfectly suited to this story. Don't be surprised to see his lovely art popping up in the near future. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "Reach the Sun" - Illustrated by Juan Romera. A thoughtful and all too realistic slice of life look at a young man reflecting on the perceived joys of childhood in relation to the reality of his current teen years. I'm a huge fan of Romera's art and you cannot help but feel for the main character and the sad conditions of his life as seamlessly evoked through each panel. Expect to see more from this talented artist in the future. RECOMMENDED!
- "The Things I See" - Illustrated by Nikki Cook - A blind and deaf woman, who "sees" more than she should be able to, walks into a corner store and multiple lives are changed. Haunting, beautiful artwork with heavy black inks that only enhance the images. RECOMMENDED!
- "Cage Around My Heart" - Illustrated by Jesse Hamm. A robot escapes from its creators and innocently causes havoc on the streets. Whimsical yet heartbreaking, Hamm's art is perfectly suited to this particular story and I can almost hear the music of Yann Tiersen (Amelie soundtrack playing) as BART discovers the world around him. RECOMMENDED!
- "The Day I Go Home" - Illustrated by Leandro Panganiban. A man attempts to return home after being stranded alone on a planet with only the computerized A.I. SAMM for company. Unfortunately, SAMM does not wish to lose its only friend. This story was my first exposure to Allor's writing and was actually his first written script for this anthology. Brilliant right out the gate and the sci-fi nature was exactly my type of story. Panganiban's art was crucial to making this story a success and his ability to shift subtle details made that possible. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "The End of This Story" - Illustrated by Silvio dB. A fantasy tale of a war started thousands of years ago, follows a warrior as she hunts her enemy. Silvio dB's art blows me away and is another one that fits perfectly for both old horror stories of '70s and modern tales as well. Crimony! Keep an eye on this artist. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "Skull Buzz" - Illustrated by Ken Frederick. A man changes a tire on a quiet street, but underneath the calm setting stirs something dark. What this story taught me is to be very, very, very nice to Paul Allor and also that he can go to the dark place and tell a cool yet disturbing story. Frederick is also a member of the Creator's Workshop and his art drips with a tense menace that delivers with shocking precision. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "Mercy Kill"- Illustrated by Brett Weldele. On the day a woman discovers that she does not have long to live, she is involved in an accident that resonates with her and her new situation. A grim story, but one that left me wondering what I would think were I to find myself in the same situation. Weldele provides ethereal imagery with striking effect primarily in the panels involving light sources cutting through the night. RECOMMENDED!
- "Plutoville" - Illustrated by Borch Penya. A space station amusement park falls victim to an unknown menace that kills its inhabitants one at a time. Another disturbing story, that perfectly utilizes tension and the menace of the unknown to great effect. Penya's art expertly brings across the subtle horror of this short, never once giving the reader a moment of reprieve until the unexpected ending. With any luck we will see another collaboration with Penya and Allor in the near future. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "Warlord" - Illustrated by JM Ken Nimura. A five-page short of five related one-page stories about the people whose lives are influenced by a warlord's campaign to stay in power. Nimura, the artist behind the gorgeous I Kill Giants, provides the emotion and drive needed to make this difficult-to-pull-off story work. "Warlord" is an epic boiled down to the base ingredients. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- "X-Row" - Illustrated by Aaron Houston. A self-described experiment in non-sequential storytelling through flashbacks. The captions guide the reader through the story that works in the end. "X-Row" looks at the life of an unrepentant man who is about to be put to death for some of the terrible crimes he has committed. Houston provides a great look at the various stages of the man's life from childhood all the way to his death in quick, chaotic glimpses and reflections. RECOMMENDED!
There you have it. Overall, I enjoyed each story in this ambitious undertaking with my favorites clearly indicated above. Allor obviously has placed much thought and time not only in the production of this beautifully constructed book, but in pairing the right story with the right artist. This is also the most professional-looking self-published book I have ever held in my hands and one whose content reflects the exterior. What you see is what you get, a beautiful book of well-crafted stories.
You can read the entirety of the Clockwork Volume 1 online for free here, or better yet, support this creator by buying a physical copy of the book directly here. Expect to see much more from Paul Allor in the future. Now...where's my Clockwork Volume 2?
Slice Into the Woods
No New Comics At the Store This Week - Alright, this is not necessarily a bad thing as I was able to finally buy Seven Samurai on Blu-Ray, but it would have been nice to break up next week's books some, but whatcha gonna do. I will however head down to comb through the comic store anyways as I am addicted to going there and my week would not feel right if I did not visit at all. I can't shake it, man. I can't shake it and thank goodness for that.