Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/27/2012

(Sung to the tune of Louis Armstrongs "Wonderful World")

Hornhead beats on AIM, Spidey does too
Pissed off Frank will blast them to goo
Should you read it yourself?
Check it on Donist World

Events come and go...another?! No!
"Omega" ain't bad, you should check it yo.
You should read for yourself
Hey thank you Donist World

Andrew Bennett has risen and flown up to the sky
Sportin' magic and powers, Cain now go bye-bye
Enough events, JLD I bid you adieu.
Deadly, blue-skin Mary, I love you

Obie...clear my schedule this week. We have a lot of work to do and we can't be bothered with all these distractions and obligations trying to soak up our time, money, and energy. What do you mean the calendar is too full to reschedule? Arrgh. Events, events, events? I tell ya, Obie, I can't take it no more, no how, now way. I...
Oh, hi there faithful Donist World readers. I'm Donist and I'm here with Donist World CFO, Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and my most trusted advisor. You see, folks, it seems all around me I have events planned in my life: weddings (no more, please), baby showers (whoever thought to include men in these should just...never mind), work parties (ugh...just...ugh), property meetings (seriously? Okay the termites ARE bad), parties (grrr...yes, these will be fun) and the occasional scheduled things that I might enjoy all add up to commitments. Even Obie has events that he must go to like the vet, parties and indictment hearings for his financial misconduct concerning the Donist World coffers. As time crunched as we all are these days events not only happen in our lives, they happen in our comic books and those can be brutally expensive if you try to follow them and most in the past have left this Donist none too thrilled. But every once in a while, some good ones come out...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Daredevil 11
Daredevil #11 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Marco Checchetto, published by Marvel Comics. Hold on a moment, please. Let me do the math. Issue 10 + Issue 10.1 + issue 11 = 31.1 divided by...forget it. I think this issue of Daredevil makes the third book in the series that I have bought in the past four weeks. Now, according to various release notices, the next installment comes out next week. Fancy that. I'll be darned. Anyways, I'm usually less-than-thrilled whenever crossover books popup, but thank goodness this "Omega Effect" mini-event only went across three issues...that and it was also pretty good.
Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Punisher have teamed up in an effort to stop Megacrime (Hydra, AIM, Agence Byzantine and the Secret Empire...all possibly funded by the Koch Dominion, but that's neither her nor there) from obtaining the Omega Drive a hard drive made from the Fantastic Four's unstable molecules and that contains damning secret information about the group. The three "heroes" have a strained relationship to say the least and the fact that Cole, a female ally of the Punisher, has shot Daredevil with rubber bullets and taken the Omega Drive doesn't help matters. Cole finds that the Omega Drive has a problem...the information stored on it can only be accessed with special equipment found in the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building. Hornhead confronts Punisherette and gets through to her, reclaiming the drive, but Megacrime still needs a beating and the three "heroes" are only too happy to oblige.
Confession time. I did not read part one and two. This is not a knock against Spider-Man or the Punisher--I've heard great things about both--but I buy the books I buy and of the three that's currently only Daredevil, although there's a good chance I will get those titles in trade. As I mentioned above, I'm not one for crossovers that typically span around one hundred issues to get the entire story--that's cash-grab malarky. However, a story over three different titles over only three issues is not a hard pill to swallow and although I would have enjoyed "The Omega Effect" better had I read the other titles, Daredevil was still enjoyable on its own and easy to follow...although I still don't know who the hell Cole is. Checchetto filled in on art for this issue and did a great job of it even though I'm not sure how Daredevil can swing on a line that is strewn all over the place. For an "event" book, this one was not a painful (or expensive) venture and Daredevil continues to be a joy to read. RECOMMENDED!

I, Vampire #8
I, Vampire #8 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. Speaking of events and crossovers...I, Vampire is a book that I instantly loved for the first three issues. Then the crossovers started. I liked the issue with Constantine (issue 4), but something changed after that. Although I am still enjoying the book, having Batman appear for a couple issues, then the Justice League Dark cats show up and pull the story into their book for a couple issues and by my count I, Vampire has been 62.5% crossover/guest-appearances. I do not blame Fialkov for this, more the readers not trying something different--and quite frankly awesome--leading DC to try to spark interest (sales) through other means. That said, it is still a good comic.
Something happened in Justice League Dark #8 that I have no idea about other than Madame Xanadu bringing Andrew Bennett back to undead life. Cain (primordial evil incarnate) get's his ass handed to him by Andrew who has a whole host of new powers that cause his old love, Mary Queen of Blood, to swoon and his old teammates to worry. With his new abilities, Andrew pushes the reset button on the events of the past few issues and he and Mary leave with Andrew's army to start a new vampire nation as Tig and John are left wondering what just happened.
As I alluded to at the beginning, I don't believe this is the story that Fialkov initially set out to tell. When I, Vampire began, it was Andrew and Mary's story, a story of a powerful love falling apart, but one that promised terrible repercussions as Mary gave into her evil vampiric nature and Andrew remained steadfastly himself. I can see the Cain storyline as something that was originally scheduled to happen about twenty issues down the line after the repercussions of Andrew and Mary's conflict had developed more and supporting characters Tig and John received more time in the spotlight as well. Then come the super heroes. Still, this book is enjoyable. What is most striking about this issue is Andrea Sorrentino's beyond beautiful artwork...just look at the first page alone. I love his design of Mary and of the various forms that Andrew takes and I want to see more, more, more. On its own, Sorrentino's art is a marvel, but add in Marcelo Maiolo's colors and the images become all the more powerful. From Mary's lovely blue tinted skin, to the night sky, to the stunning glows of the magic gliding through the sky, Maiolo delivers the mood and the mysticism of each panel. This is a beautiful comic book and with the crossovers out of the way, I,Vampire has hopefully seen a boost in sales and Fialkov can tell the story he set out to tell since the first couple of issues. RECOMMENDED!

Other Items Deserving of Heavenly Praise:

Thor Visionairies Walt Simonson Volume One - Written and illustrated by Walt Simonson, published by Marvel Comics. I found this at my LCS in the 50% off bin. Perfect condition with no creases, bends or signs of excessive readings and I'm left to wonder what the hell is wrong with the people in my city that they did not buy this before me. Their loss. I'm only about a third of the way through the book, but then this is not the first time I have read this story that had a tremendous impact on me years ago when the issues were originally released. I LOVED the horse-faced alien who could stand toe to toe with the Mighty Thor as well as the back story slowly building from issue to issue. I tried to find those much-loved comics a few months ago and found only a few of my Simonson issues, with no idea what happened to the rest. What the hell? Did I sell them decades ago out of financial desperation and stupidity? Whatever, I have the first third of them now and they more than stand up to the test of time. I will definitely be buying the other two volumes. Shhhhh...can you hear it? If you listen carefully you might just hear it...DOOM...DOOM! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Kingdom Rush iPad App Update - Yeah, yeah, what does an update to a game have to do with anything? Well now, Donist World readers, let me learn y'all somethin'. Kingdom Rush is an incredibly addictive tower defense game for the iPad and for play on the web (I have not tried this version though) and it has everything I want in a casual game: cheap price, tower defense, leveling of troops, strategy, a decent and brief story, great designs, cool effects, humorous voice tracts, hidden extras and a challenge. What's not to love? Yesterday's update added a new (and painfully hard) level with a new boss, and also added six "heroes" to aid you in your monster bashing skills. Oh yeah, and the update is free. I keep looking for a Kingdom Rush 2, but no word that I can find yet on where that stands, but as long as the developers keep kicking out updates with new levels and features, I'll happily wait until the day I can throw money at them for the next installment.

Slice Into the Woods

A Week of the Mundaes - It's funny--okay, not-- how this happens, but every time I complete a project I am working on, the self-doubt tries to creep in and claw it's way into my being. Over the past month, I have completed lettering on two comic shorts, expanded out a five-page comic story to twenty-two pages, got my first legit publishing credit (out in August) and finished the second draft on my kid's book. I've been busy. I am proud and thrilled with what I've done, yet comes the self doubt. It sucks, and I am told that every writer deals with this. "How do you get past this feeling?" you might ask. Not easily, but by not dwelling, working to improve my craft and always, always, always having new projects and ideas going and in various stages of development at all times. If you impose deadlines and goals on yourself, then you are too busy to have time to dwell on unproductive negative thoughts and you are always moving forward on your projects. Still...not easy sometimes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/20/2012

(Sung to the tune of Pulp's "Disco 2000")

In the pages of Batman's a story like no other
Court of Owls have Talons to frighten your mother
There is a plethora, plethora.
They'll scare the pants off ya.
Batman with Talons to beat up
White skin, blue veins don't make him throw up
These guys are endless. Bat Family rough go of it.

Oh Obie, do you recall?
Becky went and shot 'em all
Stitch-faces make my skin crawl
Sixth Gun is such a ball
She and Drake said nothin' at all

I say, Rachel Rising is damn fine and scary
It's kinda strange but its one you must own
A grave yard explodes and the corpses now have flown
Then there's Hades who hopes to get married
Waxhead don't want to live on his own in
In the pages of Wonder Woman, yo.

Obie! You faker, you're not as sick I am. Heck, you're not even sick. Howdy folks, my friends' Boston terrier and CFO of Donist World Enterprises, Inc feels that since I am sick that he is sick as well. Obie is laying on the bed with me, a bag of ice on his head and a thermometer in his mouth when he should be up fetching--yes I said "fetching" you faker--me orange juice and chicken soup. Maybe I should point out that dogs don't get their temperatures taken from the mouth, but that's neither here nor there. I'm going to let you all in on a little secret here...the cure for the common cold...comics. Lots and lots of comics, and this week had four books that were amazing and all were of the same high caliber of storytelling that Donist World loves. So sit back, blow your nose, cough and drink two pints of TheraFlu, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #8
Batman #8 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. As I mention with each new issue of Batman, Snyder was the one who succeeded in getting me to care about The Dark Knight after almost two decades of indifference. His Detective Comics run was as terrifying as it was engaging and he has carried that momentum over into Batman which is firmly in my top three books of the new 52 relaunch along with his other title Swamp Thing and Jeff Lemire's Animal Man. If you like superhero books and are fine with a heavy leaning toward the scary and stressful, you can't go wrong with this title (pick up The Black Mirror while you're at it though).
Bruce Wayne might have survived his first confrontation with the Court of Owls, but that does not mean he is free from the torment that they put him through. He still winces at the vague memory of what happened to him while in their capture. The idea that they have existed in Gotham without his knowledge is equally disturbing, but Wayne is going to have to get over his fears and doubt as the Talons of the Court have been set loose upon him and the Bat Family. Hopelessly outnumbered by the genetically altered threat, Bruce and Alfred lock themselves in the Bat Armory with a plan and way to even the odds.
This book is a blast. Seeing Bruce Wayne pull himself up from near mental defeat to confront not just one of the walking nightmares known as the Talon, but against an army of near-ageless warriors, defines what makes a hero great. Snyder has already carefully constructed the creepiness of the Court of Owls and their Talons and that feeling carries through this book. Capullo's art only improves month to month and FCO Plascencia's colors enhance the already lovely art to set the mood for each page. "Night of the Owls" has begun and wastes no time pushing the threat into high gear. Although I never thought I would be excited for an "event" book, I have to admit that I am. This one I can safely say comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #7
Rachel Rising #7 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. With Strangers in Paradise Moore gave the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated tale of friendship and love. With Echo Moore gave the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated sci-fi tale of a woman inhabited not just by a new and dangerous metal, but by another person's mind. With Rachel Rising Moore brings the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated horror tale with great characters and a building mystery as to what exactly is going on in the strange town of Manson.
Since the terrible accident from last issue, Jet is dead and Aunt Johnny is hospitalized with severe injuries, but Rachel is fine...aside from being a tad dead herself that is. While watching over Aunt Johnny, new character Detective Corpell arrives to question Rachel as to what exactly happened in the accident that also left the other driver dead. Jet doesn't take well to being of the deceased and the strange little girl who vanished from the scene of the accident witnesses something startling and terrifying in the graveyard that has to be seen to be believed.
This is how you write a horror comic. No chainsaws, or cruel inventions of torture, or splatter gore, this is the real stuff, the suspense of something building and expanding at a slow rate. Something that cannot be avoided, and holds everyone in its control. Moore does a fantastic job of leading the reader into his sleepy, quiet town and revealing odd events that you cannot help but see what happens next. Combine that with his talent of getting you not just to like his characters, but to love them and you are left with one of my favorite books on the stand. This is the book for non-comics readers and current comics readers alike and one that I cannot wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #21
This Sixth Gun #21 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. I bought this title after reading the first trade and was hooked after the first few pages. I immediately sought out the next couple issues and from that point forward switched to buying the series month to month. With cool characters, a great story and terrible forces working against the heroes of this supernatural Western, there is little not to love. After "meeting" Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (my brother and I actually met Hurtt last year...great guy) through the Comics Experience Creators Workshop last month, you also get two damn nice creators with a passion for their book, one of the best comics being released today.
Becky Montcrief has been through hell to find her missing friend, Drake Sinclair, and now that she is close to finding him, ain't no one gonna stop her, especially not when she has the power/curse of the Sixth Gun at her hip. Rescuing him won't be easy, but she has picked up a few new--and spooky--tricks and she is not afraid to use them. She finds Drake just in time as he is about to have his face eaten by a nasty little crab monster. Rescue completed but with the Knights of Solomon on their trail, leaving won't be easy. An old, strange, and grand painting causes concern and more questions, but a new evil seal and its resident lake monster prove to be more pressing.
Sweet hot damn. Another great installment in The Sixth Gun series that was not only extra long at 28 pages of story but also one without a single word balloon or caption to be found...and it was great. It's not an easy task for a writer/artist team to tell a tale with no words and have it come across without a problem, but Bunn and Hurtt pull it off. The sequential panels are clear as to what is happening and the action is urgent, not forced. One look from Becky or Drake says everything that is needed and with Bill Crabtree's always striking colors this comic continues be be scary, exciting and highly enjoyable. I can't wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #8
Wonder Woman #8 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics. The last issue of Wonder Woman created quite a stir among some comic readers with its depiction of the Amazons as murderous, rapist, dirtbags, which came to a shock to many and deeply offended others who felt that portraying the Amazons in such light was somehow misogynistic. I, on the other hand, loved Azzarello's new interpretation of the inhabitants of "Paradise" island. Azzarello is focusing on the myth of the Greek gods as meddlesome and oftentimes cruel beings with little care of the lives of the humans they ruin, and the Amazons, being close to gods themselves, are no better. This is where something called character motivation and character arc come into play as Diana realizes her people are NOT who she thought they were and now she must redeem herself--and her people if possible--through her own actions. Bravo.
Diana prepares for war as she arms herself with Hephastus's more traditional arsenal of weapons, but the monstrous god insists that she take Eros's guns as well. Having little choice in the matter, Wonder Woman allows Hermes to join her on the journey to Hades since he is the only one who can transport her the realm of the dead to find the abducted Zola. Hades ends up not being anything that Diana could ever expect and she is immediately attacked by its grotesque creations. They find Zola, but Hades is unwilling to give her up without receiving what he wants in return...a queen.
I have enjoyed this series since the first issue, but Wonder Woman only seems to get better as it progresses along. Azzarello's interpretation of Greek myths combined with his own imaginative ideas make for an incredibly interesting world for Wonder Woman to discover along with the reader. Chiang's depictions of Hades and its denizens is creepy, especially with the fused, skinless horse and rider that plagues the lead characters throughout their search for Zola--the disturbingly creepy woods are also worth mentioning. Then there's Mathew Wilson's beautiful colors and his understanding of how the red light of Hades affects the qualities of skin color and the tints of metal, or how a light source--such as a speeding bullet from a love god's gun--illuminates a body. All combined, this is a beautiful book and a compelling story that is well worth reading. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
After far too many years, I am rereading Frank Miller and David Mazzuccelli's fantastically bleak Daredevil: Born Again TPB and it is a doozy of harshness that probably began the whole "make Matt Murdoch's life suck more and more with each passing issue" that Mark Waid has recently decided to break from. Don't get me wrong, Donist World loves the Bendis and Brubaker runs, but Miller was the one who redefined Daredevil back in the day and his insane decision to have Murdoch's old love sell out his secret identity for a drug fix and the repercussions that has on his life are terrible. I can't wait to rediscover how this series ends. Thus far HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Neon Indian at Soho. One of the bands that I really like nowadays is Neon Indian and their latest album Era Extraña plays often in both the Donist Mobile and the Donist Home. Apparently this band is also popular with the kids and the hipsters as the show was sold out. They played pretty much all of my favorite songs, which is not difficult as they only have two albums released thus far (check them out and BUY THEM if you like 80's style alternative music!). This could have and should have been one of the best shows I had ever been too, IF the club had the capacity to turn up Alan Palomo's mic so people could actually hear him sing. The music was fantastic, and Palomo and company were clearly giving their performance their all, it was just difficult to hear any singing. Other than that--which is a HUGE that--the show was great and everyone was having a great time, including the seven or eight hipster dudes with beards engaging in some sort of "dance as weird as you can" dance party at the back; I'm pretty sure they didn't know each other. Argh. The show should have been in the very highly recommended range, but sound problems not to be blamed on Neon Indian made the show merely RECOMMENDED! These guys are on a massive world tour so catch them if you can, they're well worth it.

Slice Into the Woods

Sick of Being Sick - Okay, there are two things that can possibly be working against me here:
1) Whenever I have a planned day off / vacation planned, I always get sick. This is a pretty standard curse, but it sucks all the same.
2) The Spartacus Workout is to blame. Okay. What I mean by this is that for almost every time that I suffered through the deceptively difficult Spartacus Workout I get sick a day or two afterwards. It's like the gods of Azzarello's Wonder Woman are telling me that I will never have a 300/Spartacus-style body, not if they have anything to say about it. No siree Bob. The lack of a "totally ripped bod" could not possibly be due to beer, duck fat French fries, steak melts or chocolate chip cookies. Oh...chocolate chip cookies...back in a bit.
I clearly pissed of an old gypsy somewhere along the line, so hopefully I can shake this curse once I cover a dead snake in salt or something equally gross and disgusting. Now where are those cookies?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/13/2012

(Sung to the tune of Asia's "Heat of the Moment")

Alana and Marko know where it's at
Too bad The Stalk wants to kidnap their brat
Scary, gross assassins from outer space
Kick-butt Saga has storytelling grace

Maggie Sawyer wants to give love a chance
Kate Kane's not the best at prolonged romance
Batwoman smirks she thinks it's all a gas
Falchion and his crew? Yeah, she'll kick their ass

You need to read some cool comics
Donist World's got you covered
Read these cool comics, they'll open your eyes.

Obie? OBIE?! Fine. Sit there with your back to me. I don't care. No, I really don't. Oh, what? You're giving me the silent treatment now? If that's how it's going to be then--.
Oh...hi folks. Don't mind us. Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World chief operating officer, and I are in a tiff. He's just in a foul mood and blaming me for it, which he loooooooves to do. You see, I was shorted this week's The Shade #7 at my LCS and poor little prickly-pants, Obie just can't wrap his puppy brain around the fact that I was shorted and there's nothing I can do about it except wait. He just needs to let it drop. Never mind that I have two damn-fine comics to talk about, noooooo. Let's not focus on what I did do right. Let's concentrate on the negative. How's that sound to you, Obie? Huh? Still not talking? Fine. Mother was right about you, I should have listened, but nooooooo. You can be mad at me all you want, but let's see you stay mad after...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Saga #2
Saga #2 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image comics. The first issue of Saga was a great read the first time through that only improved with an additional read, but with the arrival of the second issue any fears of the story diminishing were negated. Sci-Fi, fantasy and horror meld wonderfully in this love story set on a weird world and the introduction of a terrifying new adversary keeps the tension high. One thing is clear about Saga...everyone should be reading this book.
The Will is hot on the trail of former rival soldiers turned family members, Alana and Marko, in the hope of capturing their forbidden child, Hazel. But when The Will hears a new "free lancer" known as The Stalk has also been called in, he decides it is best to let this job go; no one survives The Stalk. Assassins aside, the forbidden-love couple and their child may not last long enough to be killed by a hired hand given the treacherous woods might be able to finish the job for free. The Stalk makes her terrifically horrendous appearance and confirms why she is someone to be feared, but even hardened killers can be scared of The Horrors of the woods. As The Stalk flees, the young family's situation looks to have gone from worse to dreadful.
I love this book. Vaughan and Staples have created an intriguing world with characters who I wish to know more about and who have me worried for their safety. I want to know more of how Marko and Alana met and how they escaped their former roles in life to begin a new one. However, my interests in the characters does not stop with the protagonists. Even the "villains" are fascinating whether it is the robot prince, an assassin lacking confidence, or a killer who is one of the scariest creatures ever seen, the reader finishes the comic wanting more. Staples manages to provide artwork that is even more striking than the already beautiful first issue and the colors work to force the eye to the creators' whim, especially in the scenes with The Stalk in the haunted woods. Saga is exactly the type of vaccine that an ailing comics market needs. If I had one criticism of this issue it would be...umm...hold on...yeah...I got nuthin'. I am so on board for this exciting ride. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batwoman #8
Batwoman #8 - Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, illustrated by Amy Reeder and published by DC Comics. The different and slightly experimental storytelling of the latest Batwoman arc continues and although the leaps forward and backward in time are a bit jarring, there is still plenty to enjoy.
Batwoman continues her quest to free the missing children from the clutches of the mysterious Falchion and his minions: Killer Croc, Bloody Marry, The Hook and The Weeping Woman. Luckily Kate Kane has the help of some new and interesting technology provided by her more-enemy-than-frenemy, Cameron Chase. The Hook and its host gain a brief origin story that is disgusting in a cool way and Falchion is much more than he seems. Chase continues to poke and prod Kate by instilling doubt about Kate and Maggie's relationship and by pointing out the problems involved in sleeping with a detective when you are a masked vigilante. Finally, just when Batwoman looks to have lost, she receives an unexpected reprieve, but whether this person is an ally or a worse enemy remains to be seen.
Another exciting installment in the "To Drown the World" storyline has come and gone, and as interesting as some of the backstories on the villains have been, the main arc with Batwoman squaring off against Falchion and his mythical warriors has only progressed up a stair or two. Thus far this is okay and I'm curious to see how Williams III and Blackman bring the many past threads together over the next couple of issues to wrap up this chapter. Pulling this off won't be easy. The art was beautiful as ever and I am disappointed to hear that Amy Reeder will be leaving the series. Following Williams III's gorgeous art and stunning layouts was no easy task and Reeder has done an excellent job of it. As odd as the storytelling choice might be, Batwoman continues to be a good read with one of the strongest female characters outside of Wonder Woman. RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
King City TPB
King City TPB - Everythinged by Brandon Graham, published by Image Comics. Disclaimer: I'm only about halfway through this hefty 400+ page tome, but I can tell you with certainty that I am loving what I see. Now, exactly what it is that I see, well, I don't know that I can properly put it all into words.  Joe, an assassin, has returned to King City as a cat master. "What is a cat master?" you say. Well, a cat master has a cat that can transform into a multitude of tools and weapons depending on the contents of the syringe injected into the cat, appropriately named Earthling J.J. Cattingworth the Third. Earthling can transform into a periscope, a parachute, lock pick...just about anything. Joe's friend, Pete, is a ski masked, doughy guy who happens to be in love with a beautiful aquatic alien who he is forced to sell into slavery. Joe's ex-girlfried is now in love with a Xombie War vet, who is transforming into the very drug he is addicted to. Then there are the gang of weirdos called the owls. Aside from that, I don't know what the hell is going on, but I do know that I like it. Thus far, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! <--and teetering on a "VERY" being added to the front of that. This book retails for $20, so just pull the trigger and give it a shot...just like you would a cat if you were a cat master.

Justified Season Three - Amy and I just watched the season finale of Justified Season Three and the show keeps to the same high standard of the previous two seasons. Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is confronted with a man who makes the many other bad guys in town quiver in fear and its up to him to stop the insane killer before the body count gets too high; unless of course the body count includes some of Lexington's other less savory characters. Justified is a great series on FX that not enough people are watching. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for ALL three seasons.

Another Short Comic Lettered - I finished lettering the art for the third comic script I ever wrote and it turned out wonderfully. Look for it in print before the end of the year, if not sooner. Now to letter another script I had illustrated and find some artists to illustrate a few others. Of course I'm also working on expanding my original five-page script for "Down by the Pond" out to a full 22-page comic after the most amazing critique I received from Scott Snyder last month. Busy, busy, busy.

Saturday and Sunday at the Park - Is there a better way to spend the weekend than at the park--which we had to ourselves--with wine, bread, cheese, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and our Boston terrier (Obie's sister) Tulip. No, I think not.

Slice Into the Woods

Tired and Run Down this Whole Week - I'm not sure what the deal is, but I've been exhausted all week, but did that stop me from getting up at 5:15 AM each morning and writing? No, siree, Bob. I would have felt worse if I didn't get up and write.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/6/2012

(Sung to the tune of Weezer's "Buddy Holly")

What's with these homies beatin' on Chu?
Why they gotta go be jerks?
What did he ever do to these guys?
Who profit on food based quirks?

Hoo, hoo
Rot animals drool
Hoo, hoo
Buddy Baker rules
Hoo, hoo
The Red makes him their tool

Oh, wee-ooh, Swamps is no longer Alec Holland
Oh, oh, Abby's not that hot no more
Who the hell does Sethe think he is anyways
Why'd he go do that?

Beep, Beep! Whoa now, mind that forklift as you bring those comics and graphic novels into the house. We're on a deadline to get all of these new additions to my collection into the house and concealed as if they have always been here before my wife, Amy, gets home. Hi there Donist World readers (Mom). I'm here with our shipping/receiving manager, Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and my main Donist World enabler. We bought a lot of comics and graphic novels this week that we'd like to tell you about, as well as let you know about some exciting news, so stay out of Obie's path unless you want to be run over by a piece of heavy machinery--who gives a dog a forklift operator's license anyway? It time for...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Swamp Thing #8
Swamp Thing #8 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics. This month's installment of Swamp Thing makes writing a review all the easier and reminds me of why I hold comic books in such high regard. The Swamp Thing of the '70s were captivating to young Donist because, well, it had a cool looking plant monster who fought grotesque monsters like Anton Arcane and his Un-Men. Then a decade later the Swamp Thing was revived and became cooler than ever when Alan Moore took over, giving me an even more incredible character tormented by a dark, terrible burden. I was hooked. I was in love. Unfortunately, with the departure of Moore, my interest waned and I dropped my favorite muck man comic. Another decade later, I made a few half-hearted attempts to get back into the comic, but the stories did not grab me. Another decade passed and everything changed again and I am reunited with the series I have been missing all these years.
The Rot has set up a kingdom of pestilence under the rule of Sethe and his influence is growing, but he does not stand unopposed. As the Green died last issue, Alec Holland found a workaround past their faltering power and took on the Green's might to become the Swamp Thing once again. Now, armored and ready for battle Alec flies into the heart of the Rot demanding the release of Abigail Arcane, who Sethe has taken to be his queen. After easily thwarting Sethe's legions, Alec gets a twisted version his wish as Abby is reborn as the queen of the Rot and the woman he sought to protect might be forever gone.
This is how an action comic is written. This is how horror and tragedy is written. This is also how a writer like Snyder leaves his readers writhing in eager, agonizing anticipation for next month's issue. Criminy! I loved every panel of this book and cannot wait to reread Swamp Thing from the beginning. Snyder and Paquette do a wonderful job of bringing the hope that Alec Holland has a chance to rescue the woman who he remembers loving once upon a time, and they push the hope further by having a brutal and warlike Swamp Thing smash the opposition, but then in two pages they take that hope and crush it underfoot. Marco Rudy does a brilliant job illustrating the first half of the issue with colorist Nathan Fairbairn providing a harmonic color bridge to the absolutely gorgeous (or is that GOREgeous...sorry, couldn't resist) artwork for the remainder of the book. I was stunned in the best of ways by Swamp Thing's new look as an angel warrior of the Green. The sword, shield, armor, greaves and the face mask/helm give him the look of a truly terrifying warrior who is not to be opposed. I hope to see Alec Holland in many different versions of his plant armor depending on the location and plant life of the region, which should give Paquette plenty of space for innovation when it comes to the look of this ever-changing character. After this issue I need a cigarette...and I have never even tried smoking. The month of May cannot come soon enough. Bravo. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #8
Animal Man #8 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Steve Pugh and Travel Foreman, published by DC Comics. How better a way to follow up the amazing Swamp Thing than with its excellent sister book. This New 52 comic is one of my top three favorites of the reboot and has renewed my curiosity of the old Animal Man issues from the '80s and '90s. But I have to remember that the Animal Man from back then focused on the odd and weird, whereas now it is very much steeped in the realm of horror and very much Jeff Lemire's own creation. I may very well pick up the old books for nostalgia's sake, but THIS is the Animal Man I want to know about and follow.
The Rot is at Buddy Baker and his family's doorstep...literally. As Buddy decides to take the fight outside, Maxine darts past him to attempt to talk to the twisted creatures that wait to destroy them. She fails, leaving Buddy and Ellen to watch in horror as the dead animals descend upon their only daughter. In a fit of rage, Animal Man tears into the monsters, but all is not as it seems as Maxine exhibits one of her new powers, a power that is every bit as disturbing as the Rot's army. Relieved to find that his daughter is yet among the living, Buddy sends his family fleeing in the opposite direction as he flies to town to protect the people under siege by the Rot. Unfortunately, Buddy might have miscalculated as the fight goes awry and something terrible and unexpected happens.
The Swamp Thing / Animal Man one-two punch is a great way to start the month. If you enjoy being terrified and disgusted by an incredibly well-written character piece that is also exciting and touching, then this title and Swamp Thing are for you. Lemire provides a fantastic look at a man struggling to protect his family and fighting against a foe that is far more powerful than he is. He also shows Buddy Baker's ever-evolving daughter as a fascinating character with interesting powers, but he manages to seed the more disturbing components of those powers into the story to hint at possible problems to come down the road. Travel Foreman and Steve Pugh provide beautiful art, but I will say that for this book I would like to see one or the other provide the illustrations for the entirety of the book as the jump is slightly jarring. Lovern Kinderzierski's coloring is as striking as ever.  With two of my favorite books released at the same time, the beginning of each month is a treasure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #25
Chew #25 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. This series never gets old or tired. Not one issue has left me feeling that I had been down a certain road before. Anything is liable happen and it's fair to say that every issue of Chew is going to have approximately 3.54 (trust me, Obie crunched the numbers) "What the hell?" moments--see the very first page of this installment--and that is definitely a good thing.
Everyone wants to find the missing Tony Chu, who has been abducted by the sadistic and twisted Dan Franks who has forced the cibopath to provide the dirt for his novel, "Superstar Sluggers Untold Sex Tales." Tony's old partner John Colby wants to find Tony, but he's in a bit of a touchy situation with his boss, that requires his complete attention. Then there's Amelia Mintz, Tony's girlfriend, who thankfully decides enough is enough and puts on her thinking cap to find her missing love. She succeeds in finding him, but it's a bad scene and after the abuse Tony has suffered, saving his girlfriend might very well be his final feat. Finally, Colby gets a new partner, but when he learns who that partner is...let's just say he might have had a safer situation going before.
Hell's bells, this book is a hoot. As I mentioned above, Layman and Guillory's tale can go anywhere and never fails to shock, captivate or thrill. This is not to say that events happen out of the blue for no reason, Layman ties everything back into the main story and he succeeds in pushing the story along at a pace that is perfect to give all of the main characters ample amounts of face time. Guillory's unique and wonderful art continues to define Chew, as does his color palette; even void of word balloons, his sequentials tell the story just fine. You never know what to expect next from Chew, but you can count on this great series to be gross and entertaining to the maximum. Do yourself a favor and buy the first Omnivore HC book to catch up with one of comics' most unique and fun series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items: 
Sweet Tooth #32
Sweet Tooth #32 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. If I had more time, I would have popped this title up above for sure. Gus, Bobby and Wendy make their move on Haggerty, but the wicked man is not going down easily. Meanwhile Jepperd meets an unexpected friend from back before the catastrophe, and a death rocks the group to the core. Another great issue, for one of the best non-capes-and-tights comics on the rack that all fans of post-apocalyptic futures will enjoy. Lemire's strong sense of characters and their relationships to one another make this series an excellent read that I eagerly anticipate each month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Daredevil #10.1 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Khoi Pham, published by Marvel comics. I believe the whole "x.1" comics from Marvel are to be jumping on points for new readers. These issues were made to bring people up to speed, provide a bit of background and let them know what's been going on all in one issue. Waid accomplishes this with ease. Matt Murdoch is hired to defend the criminal "Pyromania," who might be a closeted Def Leppard fan, but that storyline is probably reserved for a future issue. The problem is that Pyromania tried to assassinate Murdoch, hence the jail sentence in a prison that is designed to destroy the criminal's ability to concentrate enough to start fires with his mind. Waid expertly jumps between the present and the incident that got Pyromania arrested with great dialogue between the two. Finally Daredevil decides that he doesn't want to wait around for the members of Megacrime to kill him and instead takes the fight to the evildoers and shows just how ruthless Daredevil can be. Another great issue and the perfect jumping on point, but honestly...just buy the hardcover and pick up the other three most recent issues along with this one and you cannot go wrong. RECOMMENDED!

Archie the Married Life: Volume 1 - Written by Micael Uslan and Paul Kupperberg, illustrated by Norm Breyfogle, Andrew Pepoy and Joe Rubenstein, published by Archie Comics. I finally finished reading this amazing and stark look into the lives of Riverdale's favorite teens who are now adults with real responsibilities and real problems that are entirely relatable. This is heavy stuff folks, but there are enough light and cheerful moments to remind you that these are still the characters that so many grew up loving, and there is always hope in Riverdale for all, regardless of whether Archie marries Veronica or Betty.  That said, I was nearly moved to tears by some of the events toward the end, and I am still kind of sad this morning, but sad in the best of ways that only master creators can hope to evoke. Archie The Married Life: Volume 1 is incredibly moving and a joy to read. Although it took 40 years for me to read my first Archie comic, I can proudly say that I am now a fan and despite the vast amount of time that has passed, I feel warmly welcome in Riverdale and I'm happy to have these new friends. On to the next volume! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Graphic Novel Bonanza: This week I received Daredevil: Born Again TPB (written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, published by Marvel Comics), King City (Everythinged by Brandon Graham, published by Image Comics) and Drops of God: Volume 3 (Written by Tadashi Aqi, illustrated by Shu Okimoto, published by Vertical) all in one very welcome box left on my doorstep. Then at my LCS, while picking up my week's comics, I spied on their 50% off table a copy of Thor Visionaries Walt Simonson #1 TPB. There was no way I was passing this little puppy up, as I have always regretted the day many years ago, when I was a starving college kid, and I ended up selling a huge chunk of my comic collection. Crud. I probably bought beer with the money back then, which is beyond foolish. The problem was that my much loved Simonson Thor with the introduction of Beta Ray Bill was in one of the long boxes that I sold. There were also some other gems that I regret not holding on to, but my shame is such that I won't even say what those were. If someone would like to comment on one of their biggest comic mistakes (sold or otherwise) let me know and I might divulge more of my shame.

I'm Going to Have One of My Comic Stories Appear in an Awesome Magazine! - No matter how I do this, it's going to sound like bragging, but goes. One of my eight-page comic stories is going to be appearing in the summer edition of Indie Comics Magazine and you can read my bio piece through the link, which links back to Donist World at a click. My story will be appearing alongside those of four of my favorite comic creators and friends from the Comics Experience Creators Workshop so this will be an issue not to be missed. I will post Diamond codes and all the details as they become available. In the meantime, some of the previous issues can be found here for order. This is my first published (non-selfpublished) work and I cannot be more excited to be in such a great publication.

Slice Into the Woods

Staying Quiet this Week - Trust me, I have plenty to gripe about in regard to the fact that good-tasting-yet-calorie-free beers do not exist, and on a more serious note, I can go on and on about the war on education (abysmal drops in funding, overcrowded class rooms, rampant disrespect of the teaching profession, etc.) and literature (Ender's Game as pr0n? Stupid idiots, get real) being waged on our public schools, but I'm pretty happy with the week thus far (no whammies, no whammies) so we'll come back to that in another post.