Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/2/2012

(sung to the tune of Bangles version of "Hazy Shade of Winter")

One, one, one
Books in the pull for me
I then looked around
For more possibilites
Donist is hard to please

I looked around
There's a frown
Comic guy
It's no lie the Shade's a winner!

Shhhhh...quiet please. Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and my main reader, and I are pouring through the traffic information for the Donist World blog as provided by Google. Now you might ask, "why are you doing this Donist?" The answer: It was a light week for us, with only one comic book purchased and a beautiful looking hard cover that we'll mention later. The point is that we had time to take a look and see what posts people have been reading this week and we saw that the first in a series called "To All the Concerts I Loved Before" was in the bottom of the top ten.
We went back and read the post and...there he goes, Obie is shaking his head in disappointment again. The problem is that the post is riddled with grammatical errors (probably similar to this post) and there are a couple of points that I don't even understand what it is I'm trying to say. Ugh. Brutal.
Was I drunk when I wrote that post? (Obie nods his head. Yes.)
Was it a first draft that I forgot to revise? (Obie nods his head. Yes.)
Did I curse too much? (Obie pauses. Nods his head again. Yes.)
Should I revise? (Obie shakes his head. No.)
There you have it. We'll let the horridness stand as a testament of growth, plus, despite the glaring errors, it was funny to revisit my old concert-going days and some of the more oddball experiences of the time. This reminds me that I have one final installment of "To All the Concerts I Loved Before" to post, so I should do that soon.
Hold on a second, Obie is shaking his head in disappointment again. He's looking at...oh, man. I wrote that one too? Crud. Anyhow, have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Shade #5
The Shade #5 - Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Javier Pulido, published by DC Comics. We are back to Mr. Robinson's regularly scheduled programming after a brief and amazing interlude with last month's "Times Past" segment. The Shade is a welcome return of a character who looked to have been lost in the cracks (again) over the past decade and thank goodness that is no longer the case as Richard "Dickie" Swift is tied to the DC Dark line with a single word balloon.
The story opens on a Little Red Riding Hoodesque vampire "girl" annihilating some ninjas, but just as a ninja is about to get the drop on the "creature of the dark" The Shade appears to save his old friend who goes by the name La Sangre. The Shade confronts his dying great-grandson who turns out not to be the one who put a hit out on his life, but someone else within the family company did. So, it's off to Barcelona, Spain, where Dickie is in search of a vial of his own blood from the days before it turned completely dark. A new, terrible villain called the Inquisitor wants the heroic La Sangre's heart staked and The Shade reminisces on the night he first met La Sangre on a ship besieged by vampiric pirates. Finally a slightly different spin is added to the nature of The Shade's powers and the hunt for the Inquisitor is on.
The Shade #5 is my favorite of the series thus far. Robinson has a great knack of not only reconstructing old, underutilized characters--like The Shade--and making them his own, but also creating new and exciting characters such as La Sangre and The Inquisitor as he does in this issue. He then sets the stage in Barcelona, Spain--a place I hold dear to my heart--and then places the known vampire, La Sangre, as the hero of the city and through clever characterization convinces the reader that such a thing is possible. There is one twist to the background of The Shade's powers, which came out of nowhere, and although my first reaction to the reveal was not favorable, the more I considered the matter, the more comfortable I became with the updated information. La Sangre is a great new character (she is new, right?) and hopefully she survives the next few issues to go on to appear in other books...I, Vampire (hint, hint). Also new this issue is artist Javier Pulido who is a brilliant choice to continue the next few issues of this arc and the perfect followup from Cully Hamner and Darwyn Cooke. Colorist Hilary Sycamore provides an effective "flats" style of coloring giving a beautiful less-is-more appeal to the book. For a sparse comic week--for me anyways--The Shade #5 filled the void by being something exceptional. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Items of Heavenliness - Man, oh man, this was a sparse week for comics for me. Thankfully next week looks to have at least five books and you can bet that Animal Man and Swamp Thing will be appearing here at Donist World. As I mentioned above, The Shade had the emotional impact of about two or three books, so it more than made up for the lack of quantity this week.

A Tale of Sand
Since it was a a slower week for my LCS, they had a 20% off sale on graphic novels and I decided to take the plunge and buy A Tale of Sand - Written by Jim Hensen and Jerry Juhl with illustrations by Ramon Perez, published by Archaia. I had been hearing much buzz about this book from various podcasts that I listen to, and some friends of mine had mentioned loving it as well, but all it took was cracking the book open and looking at three or four random pages and I knew this was a "Must Own" book. I have not read it yet--probably this weekend--but the physical book itself is a thing of beauty. Rounded edges at the corners, striking yellow on the indented cover with a fantastic font and an elastic band threaded through the back for use as a marker, this graphic novel is constructed with an attention to detail and much pride. I cannot wait to crack this one open, but I feel it is not something that you just sit down and read. For A Tale of Sand, I will be sure the dog is sleeping, calm music is playing (Ahmad Jamal Trio - Awakening) and I will be sipping a nice wine. I know I won't be disappointed.

The Drops of God #2
Speaking of wine...I'm halfway through with the second volume of The Drops of God and I am still loving the series. It is the story of Shizuku Kanzaki, the son of the most renowned, and recently deceased, wine critic, Yutaka Kanzaki. After growing up around wine as a child and his father's obsession with teaching him about taste and smell and proper decanting techniques, Shizuku turned his back on his father's world and had never even tasted wine before. At the reading of his father's will, Shizuku stands to inherit a priceless wine collection and his father's beautiful home, but there is a slight problem. Before his death, Yutaka had adopted a young (and snobby) wine critic, Issei Tomine, and has paired the two against each other to find 13 wines known as "The Twelve Apostles" and the heavenly "Drops of God." The first volume saw Shizuku lose his father's home to Tomine, and the hunt is on to find the 13 precious wines.
Thus far, this volume finds Shizuku Kanzaki helping a restaurant owner whose business was decimated by an unfavorable review from Tomine, restore not just his livelihood, but also the man's relationship with his daughter after the loss of his wife. Also a mysterious woman who leaves a by-the-glass wine bar, gives Kanzaki an incredibly expensive bottle of wine before she drives off in a stretch limousine. The Drops of God name drops wines often and discusses the marriage of food and wine for the first half of the manga. But, instead of being off-putting and the stuff of supreme snobbery, the manga manages to be touching and informative. I will be finishing this book this weekend and looking to buy volume three when it is released later this month. Thus far, Donist World says this book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Briefly...I was sick early this week--when am I not sick?--and took some time to rewatch the film Hanna on blu-ray. It was even better than the first time. A "special" child raised in an isolated frozen land by Eric Banna and trained to be the ultimate assassin, sets off on her own to take out her father's old handler. Beautifully filmed, an engaging story, great Crystal Method soundtrack and an all around cool movie, this is one to own.
On the television front, Justified Season 3 continues to be one of the best shows on televison...actually, it is THE best show on television. It is midway through the season. I have also been enjoying Burn Notice Season 3 with Amy and I have been cracking up while watching Archer Season 2 which is new to Netflix.
Finally, I was thrilled this week to have my 5-page comic script titled "Down By the Pond" chosen to be live critiqued by the amazing Scott Snyder, author of American Vampire, Severed, Swamp Thing, Detective Comics, Batman, and others. This critique will happen over Adobe Connect and will be available only to members of the Comics Experience. This news is much appreciated and unexpected as there are some phenomenal stories submitted by some creators you will definitely be hearing about in the near future. Speaking of Comics Experience, I never would have thought making comics was a possibility, more that it was something people were born into, but through Andy Schmidt's wonderful site and classes this dream is now a possibility. Someday soon (summer?) people will be able to see my stories in print and digitally, including "Down By the Pond." This made my week.
Oh, another finally, congratulations to Archie's Kevin Keller and Clay Walker on their recent marriage! All the best and don't pay attention to the, maybe they will get lives or find a happy marriage for themselves as the two of you did. Also congratulations on selling out of the initial print run.

Slice Into the Woods

Dreams - I woke up this morning at 4:20 AM (I know, laugh it up. 4:20!!!) from a jobby-related dream. Are you kidding me? Not only do I get put through crazy stuff nine hours a day, I have to deal with it in my sleep as well? No way. I forced the thoughts out of my mind and turned the worries toward story and what I needed to do for this post, my novel, and my comics. That got me back to reality and I woke up an hour later happier for it.


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