Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/29/2012

(Sung to the tune of Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces")

I've got my comics
After a week without them
I've got my comics
I missed some doozies, my friend

Do you have any doubts that Saga ruled?
The Will wants some action. Lying Cat big deny
Alana, Alana, Marko's a suave guy
Cut him some slack, and I've got my comics

I've got my comics
Not bad, I'm right as rain
I've got my comics
I'm stoked, Obie feels the same

Andrew and Mary battle out of love 
Doom has Daredevil trapped blind in Latveria 
A missed week's a cause for hysteria
I'm not sad, 'cause I've got my comics

*Phew* High-five...errrr...high-paw, Obie. I finally made it back to the Donist World offices and back with my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO, Obie. Reunited and it feels so good. Anyhow, despite horrendous delays from United Airlines that threatened to push me over sanity's edge, I'm here and have no desire to be involved in traveling in any sort of enclosed tubes crammed full of people for some time to come. The big relief, however, came when I walked in at 12:30 AM Monday morning--Obie apologized for thinking I was a prowler and nearly attacking me--and saw that the comics I had missed while I was away were sitting on my desk for Obie and I to get to reading; thank you, Amy. Now that I've read my comics--except for the STILL missing Sixth Gun @#%$--I'm ready to...ah...ah...ah...*achoo*! Crapcakes. Flight Flu from the recycled air. Lovely. Thanks again, United. Anyhow, get a load of this, it's *achoo*...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #4
Saga #4 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published Image Comics. Okay, let's just open up the latest issue of Saga and...oh my...what the @#$% am I looking at? Yeah...the very first page, a splash, is one heck of a disturbing image. Don't get me wrong, I mean this in the best of ways. Yes the image is shocking and makes you want to upchuck in your mouth a little, but turn to the next page and...yup, still gives me the heebie-jeebies, but the absurdity of the situation sets up great moments later in the story. This one is NOT for the kiddies. No boy howdy.
The Will has finally arrived at the pleasure planet Sextillion for some much needed r&r, although he owes Lying Cat big time for his(?) sacrifice. Marko's awake, and he has some questions to answer about who exactly this "Gwendolyn" character is. Then again, Marko has some questions of his own, namely who exactly is this pink-glowing, ripped-in-half ghost girl named Izabel who will be with Alana and him for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, The Will is not exactly finding the sort of depravity he's seeking and a Sextillion proprietor learns why walking on eggshells around a Freelancer is often a good idea.
You never know what you are going to get in an issue of Saga and that is part of the appeal for this wonderful sci-fi/fantasy/romance comic. In issue one, Vaughan succeeded in investing the reader in the plight of Marko, Alana and baby Hazel, while introducing some interesting side characters, like The Will who receives most of the focus for this particular issue. This is a good thing. The main story of Alana and Marko and answering the question of who Gwendolyn is, was handled well and gave insight into some of Marko's history, which was great. But I've been wondering about this "normal looking" The Will since the first issue and we finally get to see that he is going to be a problem for the family in the near future. Also, did anyone catch that his cape does not actually have a hood, but a superhero mask attached to it that he does not wear? Vaughan gives us another great issue, but Fiona Staples's lovely art seals the deal, with the eyes of each character telling the story in each panel while the dialogue provides the clarity. And hey, an all-nude, all-male marching bands in a human pyramid getting whipped by a bondage elf? Not my cup of tea, I'd rather hang out at the top of the stairs personally, but hey whatever floats your boat; Those fellas do look like they're having the time of their lives though. Now comes the horrendously long 30-day wait for the next stellar issue. Saga is simply the comic I have been hoping for and what it delivers is so much more. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Daredevil #14
Daredevil #14 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. There can be only one! *Lying!* Sorry, Lying Cat just caught me lying...what I meant to say is that there should not be only one Marvel comic that I am currently buying, but unfortunately that's the way it is. I will probably go back and pick up Rucka's Punisher in trade and Remender's Uncanny X-Force as well, but for now Daredevil is it and that's okay. In addition to the fact that there's a welcome lack of heroes punching other heroes in the face, there is drama, intense situations and forward moving action to propel the character along. In other words, this is how superhero comics are done.
You know how it is. You're hanging out with some friends, going to the refrigerator to grab a cold one, but then a teleportation beam comes along and bip, bop,'re in Latveria. Sucks. It's like traveling to see the "world's largest mud ball" with your parents instead of going to the water slides. Imagine how much worse it is for Daredevil. Trapped in a glass box that deflects his radar with only six breathing holes to "see" out of. Much worse than a six hour car ride. At least Doom is gone at a synergy retreat, that's good news, but Beltane, minister of the Bank of Latveria, is by no means a softy. Daredevil is pumped full of nanodroids and although he escapes, and is making his way to the Latverian border, he begins to loose his remaining senses one at a time, and unfortunately Doom's guards are closing in. Meanwhile, Foggy is looking into what Matt has been up to and he's not happy with what he's finding.
Okay, yes, I was poking fun above, but this issue of Daredevil is a claustrophobic and scary ride that Waid expertly drags the reader into and keeps the action flying as Hornhead attempts to make his escape. The ticking clock aspect works well and each scene increases in tension as Samnee--an exciting, and welcome addition to the title--brings every panel to life as the situation becomes more desperate. There's a reason why Daredevil is the only Marvel book that I'm currently buying, and although it's the same character who's been around for decades, the stories are new, exciting and a heck of a good read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I, Vampire #10
I, Vampire #10 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. No crossover/team-up/guest appearance percentage counter this week folks, as this issue is comprised of only the title's characters. No capes, no tights, no "follow us in next week's title that you don't buy," only the comic book I originally signed up for and it's pretty darn tootin' exciting at that.
Mary Queen of Blood has had it with Andrew. Here she thought that her love was a new vampire, a creature of power who shares her ideology on controlling the world, but that is not the situation. Under the gaze of 60% of the world's vampires, Mary challenges the monstrously powerful Andrew, but she doesn't stand a chance. Meanwhile, John and Tig--well, John at least--has a tense philosophical debate with the leader of the Order of Van Helsing. But as the discussion breaks down, the Order mounts a hopeless attack on Andrew and the vampire colony, but for the Order, losing is half the battle.
This issue seemed like Fialkov was finally able to get back to the story he wished to tell since the beginning of the series with little interference and it shows. John's futile attempt to talk the Order out of attacking the vampires was well-written and you could almost hear the man struggling to maintain his calm while talking to the unbending and fanatical leader. The battle with Mary, while incredibly one-sided, also showed that Andrew has changed and probably not for the better as he smirks at her attempts to harm him. The subtle acting of the characters would not be possible without Sorrentino's gorgeous art and Marcelo Maiolo's striking colors. The next issue promises to be a wild ride that I anticipate, but here's hoping that the scheduled Stormwatch crossover doesn't detract from the great story that Fialkov should be allowed to tell. RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
The Legend of Korra Season 1 - As seen on the Nickelodeon channel. The Legend of Korra is the followup to the fantastic Avatar: The Last Airbender television series which aired for three seasons and started as a kids' show that ended up becoming so much more--including almost bringing this big ol' sap to tears. LoK begins a few generations after the conclusion of The Last Airbender and saw a few welcome changes technically in the form of lush, gorgeous cinematography and an improved soundtrack. There was also a change in the appearance of the Avatar world that has evolved from a more fantasy-based primitive world, to one that is more technologically advanced with steampunk leanings. From some reviews that I have read, some folks were not exactly thrilled with the upgrade, but I am not one of them. I LOVE the changing of the times and the progress of the world as a new Avatar begins to learn the responsibilities of her role. The show is not exactly for the little tikes anymore as there are some intense and downright scary moments (only enhanced by the increased production and sound) and the story centers around the political struggle of the Benders and the non-Benders and a radical group that is terrorizing the city. I have also read some complaints about the characters not being developed as well as the old series, and while I agree to some extent (barely), LoK is only in the first season and only has twelve episodes as well; for what we get, the characters are just fine. My main criticism of the show is the decision to have something tragic happen in the finale only to backtrack and "fix the glitch" before the finale end. Now, I trust the creators of the show with this decision, but at the same time if they had left the event as it was, the moment could have been a tremendous opportunity to really dig into the affected character in season two. With twelve episode seasons, perhaps there just wasn't enough time, but as I said, I trust the creators. Overall, I loved every moment of this wonderful show and I can't wait for the second season. If you have not watched Avatar The Last Airbender, it is available on DVD and is streaming on Netflix. Give it a few episodes to get going and understand that the show takes a while to find its feet, but when it By the time you watch all three seasons, The Legend of Korra should be available on DVD. Both shows are excellent. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Airlines...Particularly United Airlines - I just got back from a trip to Ohio for my step-sister's wedding, and although being there with my family was great, the getting there and the leaving were traumatic messes. I won't break down the long painful streams of delays, just the overall numbers. Going to Ohio, I had 3 hours of delays and coming back I had a whopping 7 hours of delays. I estimate a total flying time of about 11.5 hours and total delays were 10 hours for a near 1:1 ratio of flying time to delays. In my book, that sucks, folks. None of it was due to psychotic weather or anything in particular, just scheduling problems on United's side. So, what do you do when stuck in an airport? Spend money on overpriced food and beer while you question your life and the decisions that you have made throughout it. This was also the case of three people who I saw melting down at the gate (all for different flights) and who were ultimately threatened with airport security. What happened to the good old days when flying was exciting, prestigious and reliable? I will say that I feel for the poor people trying to help the throngs of angry passengers while having their hours increased, pay cut, benefits cut and life made hell. Airline industry, c'mon!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/22/2012

(Sung to the tune of David Bowie's "Space Oddity")

LCS to Obes and Don
LCS to Obes and Don
Come pick up your pull and get your comics on
(Ten) LCS (nine) to Obes and Don (eight)
(seven, six) Ohio plane ride (five), miss out son (four)
(three, two) Wheres my Sixth Gun (one), is that a (Blastoff) double dip of Chew?

This is LCS to Obes and Don, there's cool stuff to be read
You're missing out on Saga it's not standard fare
And we have your Wonder Woman, don't you care?

This is Obes and Don to LCS, We're at a coffee shop
On an island in Lake Erie, Put-In-Bay
Wait, what? There's no comic store in sight, no way!
Here we're sitting without Daredevil, Mobile Donist World
Obes and Don are blue and there's nothing we can do.

Hello Donist World readers, as I said last time, this week's post is void of any of the current releases--and my late copy of The Sixth Gun, which still really chaps my hide--but I was able to find some time to talk about a few heavenly goodies with the grace of a wi-fi spot I discovered out in the wild. Contrary to what David Bowie sang in our introductory song, Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and CFO of Donist World, was unable to accompany me to Ohio as he instead had a manned (as opposed to dogged) space flight scheduled in which he was set to travel to a distant alien world to discover the mystery of great comics and something else...oh yes, life or something like that, the mystery of life. Obie's ship is called the Prome...Proboscis, Protagonist,, those aren't it. Oh yeah, Characterization, that's what the ship was called. Anyhow, we hope to have our comics by Monday and here's some brief thoughts of what was too cool for school and rocked the bells. In the meantime, check out and learn about...

Friday Slice of Heaven

I...Vampire TPB
I...Vampire TPB - Written by Mark J. Dematteis (and others) and illustrated by Mark Sutton (and others), published by DC Comics. I remember being a kid and sitting at the Albertson's grocery store spinner rack with my brother while our mother shopped. We would pour over the Micronauts comics (pre-direct only), New Teen Titans, Swamp Thing and tons of others, including glimpses of House of Mystery. Unfortunately, our limited allowance never allowed us enough to pick up HoM and experience the full effect of the "I...Vampire" story and the tragendy of Andrew Bennett and Mary Seward, aka Mary Queen of Blood. At times overly dramatic and oftentimes fill-in artists interrupted the tone of the story, "I...Vampire" still has that '80s horror touch that made it compelling and made the reader sympathetic to Bennett's cause of defeating his former love, Mary Queen of Blood. Despite the lead character's desperate need to get with the times and get out of the outfit that made him look like a total Dracula (which he was, so I guess it's okay), the story was fascinating and well-told through to the tragic end. It's no wonder DC decided to reboot the character and bring him back into the modern world. If you like the old '80s horror comics and great characters, this one is for you. Recommended!

Mr. Murder is Dead HC
Mr. Murder is Dead - Written by Victor Quinaz and illustrated by Brent Schoonover, published by Archaia. I believe I first heard about the beautiful Archaia release of Mr. Murder is Dead on the 11 O'Clock Comics podcast sometime in 2011 and I knew that I had to have it. Gould Kane used to be one of the best detectives on the scene, but now in the twilight years of his retirement his life is without purpose and he could use a little excitement. But when his arch-nemesis Mr. Murder is murdered, he decides to solve the case while going down a bad road himself. A fantastic story and gorgeous art that mimics the old crime/noir comic strips of the past--think Dick Tracy--that also mirrors the styles of illustration, coloring and lettering of the times as the decades pass. The experience of reading this book is one that should only be experienced in print, as digital, which will still look nice, honestly cannot compete with the amount of craft and love of the form that makes this book a must own. This is a top-notch hardcover, whose design equals the story and the art and one that fans of the wonderful Tale of Sand (also from Archaia) should wish to display on their best shelf. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Beer School "Lesson in Hops" - Taught by Zach Rosen at the Mercury Lounge.
Firestone - Wookey Jack - Black Rye India Pale Ale
Santa Barbara Brewing Co. - Rincon Red (four stages)
Sierra Nevada - Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada - Southern Hemisphere Harvest IPA
Scheider Weisse and - Edel-Weisse American Style Hefeweizen
Green Flash Brewing Co. - Le Freak Belgo-American IPA

Yup, this is how I spent the past Saturday night and I have to tell you that it was an education. School was NEVER like this before, although if it was, some teachers would have been in jail by golly. Anyways, each of the beers above was paired with a bread and cheese with the last two beers being paired with carmelized ginger, and grapefruit gummies. For the Rincon Red from the Santa Barbara Brewing company, we were able to taste the beer at its four stages: 1) sweet and malty, 2) sweet, malty and hoppy, 3) tasted more like beer, but smelled like a cross between ass and a mildewed dish sponge...haggard, 4) the final awesome product. If you ever have a chance to go to a beer school taught by a trained Cicerone, I strongly recommend attending. Of all, the Wookey Jack was my favorite as I'm a huge fan of Black IPAs. I can't wait for the next class. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Plane Delays and Charges for Everything - A three hour delay does not a fun beginning of a trip make. C'mon United, I hear about your high plane delay rates pretty often. Let's hope the trip home is on time, but I can't really argue with the flight itself...aside from the $9 hamburger thing they were offering for "food." 

I'm Using Blogsy on My iPad - Not a bad thing, but I'm sure there will be a learning curve. Let's see how this turns out formatting wise. If I can, expect to see another entry early next week.