Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/31/2012

(Sung to the tune of Wall of Voodoo's "Tomorrow")

Went to my LCS, then rushed home to bed
Got myself all freaked-out by the comic books that I read
Get your freak on Rachel Rising, them dead walk down the street
So I'll re-read it tomorrow--that seems like a pretty good idea to me

Batman's got no laughter, Freeze is a creepy-ass dude, okay
You think you know him, you don't and that's all I'm gonna say
Red, Green and Rot at war, Animal Man makes you want more
See--but I'll re-read it tomorrow--that seems like a pretty good idea to me
What's wrong with tomorrow? Read 'em now, read 'em then, it's cool ya see.

It's been an oddly stressful week, short as it was, but we all know what's needed to take the edge off, don't we Donist World readers? That's right, good comics...that and happy gas. I'm here with my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO, Obie and seeing as how the Donist World corporate office (my home) was just tented for termites, we decided to put up the tent once again and instead of pumping in life-threatening poisons, we're going to pump in happy gas; it sure is hot in here though. What is happy gas you ask? Simple, it's the essence of everything that makes Obie and I happy. There's freshly printed comic book paper smell, pizza from Rudi's, eau de Black IPA beer, freshly cut grass, chocolate chip scones, mint and fresh air (which is not that easy to get, folks, believe you me) and more comic books. So, without further ado, let's destress this joint and get happy. Go to it, Obie. Release the happy gas! Now, we'll just sit back and...wait a minute. That's not happy gas?! Obie! What are my friends feeding you. Criminy. Anyhow, while I take down the tent and open some windows have a gander at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Animal Man Annual #1
Animal Man Annual #1 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Timothy Green II, published by DC Comics. When I was a wee little Donist, comic book annuals were something that I always anticipated, but by the time I got a hold of the actual books I was usually disappointed and left wishing I could have my allowance money back. Stories were usually throwaways, art was almost always not in line with what was being used in the book proper, it was usually a let down. Congrats and thanks to DC's New 52 for breaking that trend with this fantastic look at the balancing act that is the war between the Rot, the Red, and the Green.
This issue follows immediately after issue nine, with none of the Baker family aware of what has happened to Buddy. Maxine, the current avatar of the Red, and Socks, a past avatar of the Red, wander away from the RV to take care of business. Maxine, in a way that only works for a kid, convinces Socks to tell her a story about when the Red and the Green worked together to thwart the Rot. As excited as she is to hear it, the story may not be what she was hoping for.
Now this is how you write an annual. This issue is written by the person writing the main title and although you don't need to read the annual to bridge the gap between #9 and #10, there is a lot of supplemental information about the Red/Green/Rot conflict that will be appealing to fans of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. Lemire keeps this installment relevant to the main story through the use of the existing characters while contributing new, historical avatars to the lore through Socks's tale without leaving the reader feeling as if a ton of exposition has been dumped on them. Green II provides striking artwork, that at times reminds me of P. Craig Russell and fits well with the likes of Travel Foreman and Steve Pugh. Add Lovern Kindzierski's lovely colors, which have graced each issue, and you're left with an outstanding looking book that is also an excellent read. If you have been following Animal Man and Swamp Thing then this is not a book to miss and is a redemption for the many bad annuals of the past. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman Annual #1
Batman Annual #1 - Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with illustrations by Jason Fabok, published by DC Comics. I bought two annuals this week despite having sworn them off years ago. But with two of my favorite writers working on the issues, I had to pick them up. I'm glad I did. Years ago, annuals from The Micronauts, X-Men, and many others left me with a hollow, ripped-off feeling, but this week there's nothing but smiles at Donist World and after reading Snyder and Tynion IV's Batman offering...winces and uneasy feelings in the best of ways with the introduction of the New 52's Mister Freeze
Victor Fries is locked up in Arkham Asylum, but he has no designs on staying there; he has work to do after all. He wants nothing more than to revive his cryogenically frozen wife, Nora, so that the modern sciences can heal the woman's damaged heart. He casually makes his escape maiming and killing without remorse so he can destroy the man responsible for keeping the cold-blooded killer and his Nora apart, Bruce Wayne. Of course Mister Freeze will have to get past the Bat to see his twisted dreams made real.
Creepy as all get out! Snyder and Tynion IV defrost Mister Freeze into the New 52 in the most familiar of ways so that this essential villain is easily recognized, but at the same time they tweak the character enough to make him new and ultimately disturbing. The annual works as a standalone issue while also loosely tying into the Night of the Owls, but is by no means required reading for the event. That said, if you're a fan of Snyder's Batman, you are doing yourself a disservice if you pass this issue up. Jason Fabok delivers some exciting art and sequentials that work well for the title and hopefully we will get to see more from Jason in the near future. I was happy to find myself actually enjoying an annual, but I really can't be all that surprised given that Snyder was involved. Definitely worth picking up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising 8
Rachel Rising #8 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  Alright troops, call to action, Admiral Obie commands it and you know you don't want to disobey Admiral Obie. Right? According to a tweet by Terry Moore on May 30th, sales for the fantastic Rachel Rising are dropping and torrents are through the roof. C'mon. This is a beautifully written and illustrated book that is a frightening joy to read and Mr. Moore is putting this book out on his own. That's writing, illustrating, inking, lettering, design, production, paying for printing and allowing Diamond to take a massive cut of the cover price and then it delivers to our eager little mitts. He gets paid much later. With ALL of the solo work going into this comic, Rachel Rising continues to be one of the best books on the stands.
Odd and disturbing things are happening in Manson, least of which is the fact that Rachel is up and walking around when she should be dead. Then there's Jet, who should also be dead, but is chatting up a storm despite being in much worse shape than Rachel. There are more dead walking around the city than just Rachel and Jet, but one of them is host to a deadly creature with murder on its mind. It's up to Rachel to find her killer and to discover what has happened to the once quiet town of Manson.
It's not really clear as to what is happening in this story, but then who wants to be spoon fed everything upfront? Moore's horror tale continues to shine in both story and illustrations, and although the reasons for the escalating events are not yet apparent, it's the characters of Rachel, Jet, Earl and the rest who pull the reader into the story. Rachel Rising moves at just the right pace to develop the world of Manson and its inhabitants to the fullest, while keeping the suspense high. If you're a fan of Moore, intelligent horror or better yet both, then this is the comic you've been waiting for. A trade of the first six issues is available, so it's easy to catch up on one of the best books on the stand while supporting one of the best independent creators in comics. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:

TMNT Fugitoid
My Friend and Colleague's First Professionally Published Work - My friend, colleague and Brutal Circle member (uh...yes, we'll post something soon), Paul Allor, just announced his first professional work is set to be published by IDW. Allor is writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series featuring the Fugitoid with illustrations by Paul McAffrey and will be available for pre-order in July. You can also read a bunch of Allor's Clockwork Volume 1 comic shorts at his website (featured on Donist World here) or better yet support this creator and order his lovely Clockwork here and buy his Fugitoid comic in August/September. Trust me on'll be seeing more, a lot more, from Allor in the near future. I can't wait to buy his comic.

Slice Into the Woods

Work Week Woes - Nothing major this week, just that after a pretty glorious three-day weekend of productivity and relaxation, I had to pay for it all over the past three days and probably today as well. Oh well, at least I am working toward my goals and getting novels revised and comic scripts tightened and that is what really matters.

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