Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/26/2012

(Sung to the tune of Judas Priest's "You Got Another Thing Comin'")

Comic books, I'm gonna snatch 'em up
Halloween Eve, Kickstarter gold I can't get enough
Eve's hot, but her 'tude is way too loud
Cut loose, chick, dress-up holiday love's allowed

I've been reading Wrightson as the years went by
It never gets old, his sweet artwork'll make you cry
Creepy holds a fortune waitin' to be read
You think you'll pass 'em up you're mad
These comic books are really somethin'

That's right, here's where the action is
Mary's human, I, Vampire evil not spent
Read hard, let Donist call the shots
Captain Marvel time travel this story rocks

Halloween's a comin', I'm tellin' you friend,
Read some scary comics that'll thrill you to no end
Eve and Bernie got love, listen to what we've said
You think you'll pass 'em up you're mad
These comic books are really somethin'

"Obie is the night, the beast that hunts the dark. Let evil beware his..." I'm sorry. I can't read this, Obie. I seriously haven't had enough to drink yet; it is only 7:30 AM after all. Hi everybody. I'm Donist and I'm here with my friend's Boston terrier, Donist World CEO, Obie. I'm also here with Obie's sister, my dog Tulip, who is marketing director / executive assistant / party planner / queen of blood...hold it. Tulip, who paid to have these business cards printed with this nonsense on it? These are customer-facing, dammit. Ugh.
Anyways, with Halloween rapidly approaching and the dogs stealing from the Donist World petty cash fund to buy themselves costumes--Obie's silhouette already makes him look like Batman, he didn't need to buy a toddler's superhero costume--we happen to have a couple of timely comics to bring the holiday spirit (see what I did there? Spirit...get it? Ugh). So, grab yourself a pumpkin ale (served in a cinnamon-lined glass), watch a couple scary movies (I recommend the original Halloween, Dolls, and maybe Alien) then have a read below. Trick or Treat!

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Halloween Eve
Halloween Eve - Written by Brandon Montclare and illustrated by Amy Reeder, published by Image Comics, but received via Kickstarter contribution. I've been really loving the whole Kickstarter thing for the past few months. Just this Tuesday I contributed to an anthology project and hope to have the physical book in my hands some time in February. The Kickstarter for Halloween Eve was started back in late June and more than doubled its goal and three and a half months later I'm holding a beautifully delightful comic signed by both creators, an "insider" book (notes, script, layouts, and character designs) and a signed/numbered card. Midway through the Kickstarter, Image Comics even took note and agreed to release the book with distribution through Diamond. With the loot in hand and the knowledge that I helped make this book possible when traditional publishing routes might have foolishly been all roadblocks, I couldn't be happier with every aspect of this fantastic comic. Christmas Eve? Huh? Huh? C'mon...
Eve works at the Halloween Land store, but she's none too thrilled about it. She hates Halloween, she hates people, she's a regular Scrooge only two months early. There's also no way in hell she's going to dress-up like all of the other dopes working the floor. But when Eve's boss "volunteers" her for overtime duty to put the ravaged store back together, devils, mannequins, and Salvador-Dali-style Gorillas come to life to take the holiday-spirit denier on a magical adventure. The rest you have to read for yourself.
Within the first three pages of this comic, my first reaction was, "what the hell is Eve's problem? She's a total jerk to her coworkers and the customers. Why all the hate?" At first glance the character seemed overly exaggerated, but then it dawned on me...crap, it's retail, of course she feels that way. My six and a half years working for a music store chain (blarg) left me feeling exactly the same as she does. Heck, if I wore earrings, I would have probably worn the big "no" symbols as well back then. Once I established how relatable Eve is, the idea of taking a risk, of letting go and finding the joy in life pulled me in and held me through to the end.
Montclare touches on each type of person you're likely to encounter in not just retail life, but everyday life. Whether they are the Halloween Land employees, management or the customers on the all-to-real nine-panel, page six; for better or worse you've met these people before. Then there's Reeder's simply stunning illustrations. Each scene is lovely, even more so once Eve enters her fantasyland of crazy creatures with the patchwork gorilla taking the cake. Every character is expressive, especially Eve, with an insane amount of detail to every costume and creature; my favorite's the sexy witch costume that Eve tries on, but, hey, I'm that kind of Donist. Writing or art, every aspect of this book works.
Disclaimer--if you are set on continually reading comics about Captain Super Guy punching Evilton McVillain in the nads, then this probably isn't a book for you. But, if you want to read a beautifully illustrated, well-written slice-of-life/fantasy story that is charming and fun, then Halloween Eve should not be missed. I simply loved this comic. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Creepy Presents
Bernie Wrightson HC
Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson HC - Written by various writers (yay Bruce Jones!) including Bernie Wrightson and illustrated (primarily) by Bernie Wrightson, published by Dark Horse Books. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the phenomenal Creepy Presents Richard Corben HCthe point in my life (and the exact place) I first discovered his masterful works, and how pleased I was to have that book in my collection. The same holds true for Wrightson's Warren Magazine work, but I can actually go earlier with my exposure to Wrightson's beautifully detailed art. I discovered Wrightson in the pages of DC Comic's Swamp Thing back when I was but a wee seven-years-old Donist. For some reason, my parents had a copy of 1972's Swamp Thing issue #1 and #10 that they had sitting around. I was fascinated by the detail on my favorite swamp creature and also by the terrifying horror that Wrightson displayed with Anton Arcane and the grotesque Un-Men. I couldn't get enough of it. I no longer have copies of those comics as I marveled at them and read them (once I could actually read the big words) to the point that they practically disintegrated (<sniffle>). Now, decades later, I have those early Swamp Thing issues in hardcover form (signed by Len Wein) and this must-own amazing compilation of Wrightson's Warren Magazine work.
Although I only recognized about half of the stories in this beautifully-made hard cover, I ended up loving all but one, and that story was fine, the writing was just not as strong as the art; not Wrightson's fault. One difference between this book and the Corben book, is that Wrightson had about half the body of work with Warren, and because of that, the cover price is a measly $19.99...retail! You can't go wrong at that price for this level of production and for what is contained within. My favorite stories of the bunch are:
1) "Black Cat" - This one I definitely remember reading. As an animal lover, I was appalled and could not help but zip through the panels to the end. When an overly affectionate black cat drives a man to malice, the man learns that cruelty to animals can come back to bite you. Wrightson wrote and illustrated.
2) "Jenifer" - Holy cow! This I definitely read as a kid and decades later I think I'm still messed up from the experience. When a hunter rescues a hideously deformed Jenifer from being killed by a crazy man in the woods, the hunter sees no alternative but to bring Jenifer into his home. Things get disturbing quick. Written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.
3) "Country Pie" - The twist in this one blew my teeny-weenie Donist mind, and still manages to wow me today. A man picks up a lost sister and brother, and he likes the sister a bit too much. Bruce Jones wrote, Carmine Infantino illustrated and Wrightson inked.
4) "The Laughing Man" - Written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Boy howdy, do I remember that second-to-last panel. A pair of explorers seek to find the mythical man-apes of the jungle, but maybe finding them is not the best of ideas.
5) "The Pepper Lake Monster" - Everythinged by Bernie Wrightson. A search for a killer sea monster, brings a journalist to the realization that he just might be the creature's next victim.
6) "Cool Air" - Written by H.P. Lovecraft and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Just knowing the writer is H.P. Lovecraft should be enough to spark your interest in this story, but add Wrightson's stellar grasp of anatomy and lighting and this is one creepy story. Why does the man upstairs live in a virtual freezer?
7) "The Muck Monster - Everythinged by Bernie Wrightson. A Frankenstein's monster-esque story of a reanimated creature who comes into being and questions its maker's decision to bring him to life. Wrightson writing and drawing a Frankenstein influenced story? Yes, please.
As I said, there's a few more stories, but these are the ones that really stood out and a couple of those I read for the first time. Also notice that aside from the Bruce Jones stories, some of the better ones were written by Bernie Wrightson and showcase the many talents of this gifted creator. Wrightson is THE artist that made me truly appreciate comic book art and three decades later I am just as in love with his work--old and new--as I was as a kid. I'm a sucker for the short horror comic story format, but when those stories are illustrated by a master creator, you're left with something that should be treasured. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I, Vampire #13
Arrow New TV Series Wed 8/7c CW TV Now 
I, Vampire #13 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. Sorry. I couldn't resist the knock on the Arrow show, but those banners are getting a bit old. I haven't watched the show yet, and I want to see it, but those banners have got to go. Anywhoooo...yeah, how about that I, Vampire funny book, huh?! Personally, I'm loving this change in direction, despite not quite wanting Andrew and Mary's initial dysfunctional romance situation to not be over with already, but making Andrew ultra-evil and Mary a human? Sure, why not.
Mary Queen of Blood takes the center stage, but now that she is human, she might as well be called Mary Queen of Sulking. Hell, now that Andrew has become more evil than she ever was, Mary is going to have to play nice with Andrew's old friend, John Troughton if she is to have any chance of saving her one love. Here's the thing, Mary has a secret. Shhhh, don't tell, but just because she's now human, doesn't mean that she is necessarily good. She may not be a vampire anymore, but decades of evil wears off on you, and she is every bit as vicious now as she was then. Meanwhile, Andrew and his vampire bride, Tig, track down an old friend (think original series from the eighties).
As I have said since around issue three or four, I feel like the pace of this book was hastened (not by Fialkov's wishes) to accommodate multiple guest appearances and a mini-event or two. I would have liked to have seen at least six issues of material before any of the guest stars dropped by, but whatchagonnado? Honestly, I was close to dropping the title, but this unexpected change to focus on Mary and turn Andrew evil was an interesting move. Fialkov's great dialogue and the intense moment of the shocking mugging-gone-wrong leave me desperate to see what comes next and to see what Andrew's friends will do to try to save him. Sorrentino continues to be stunning and Marcelo Maiolo provides some of my favorite colors of all the books I a currently reading. With any luck, all guest appearances/events/crossovers will take a vacation so Fialkov can continue reeling me back into the story I am once again excited to read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Captain Marvel #5
Captain Marvel #5 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Emma Rios, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, that wasn't so bad. A one week delay is not ideal, but it's better than waiting a month. I'm glad I got my copy. Carol Danvers is time traveling and she finds herself in the company of her good friend, pilot Helen Cobb. The problem is that this Cobb is much younger than the woman Carol used to love and respect, and this Cobb suspects Carol isn't who she says she is. Time is running out for Captain Marvel to determine what is happening before the next time jump.
DeConnick continues to draw me in to the character of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel as well as the mystery of what the heck is going on with the time traveling. The dialogue is great as are the action scenes, and stand-in artist, Emma Rios provides some nice sequentials. With next issue bringing in Yon-Rogg, another "Captain" can't be far behind...of course you can also just look at next month's cover to see who I'm talking about. RECOMMENDED!

My Friend and Doctoral Candidate Paul Hirsch's Presentation "Comic Books and the Cold War" - I was never one to be overly obsessed with history, but if comic books had entered into the equation of my grade school curriculum, I might have taken a much deeper interest in my classes. My friend and doctoral candidate Paul Hirsch gave an informative and fascinating lecture on pre-code comics, the US government's love/hate relationship with them, and the use of comics as wartime propaganda. You can listen to a pre-talk podcast with Paul here, or read the press release here. With any luck--and my ungodly levels of persistence--I can convince Paul to turn his research and dissertation into a novel that everyone can one day read. No pressure, Paul, but give the people what they want...I'll be checking for your name to be listed there.

Slice Into the Woods

Running Out of Time - Working on way to much stuff, but it's good to be slammed with projects that actually matter to me. But for quick gripes: $2.99+ price for digital comics you don't own, voter suppression, non-funding of education, ballooning class sizes, the misinformation by studies that say smaller class sizes do not matter...they ONLY survey classes with 25 or fewer students; my wife has 35+ students per class and that number could increase, the joke that was Donald Trump's "news," and finally koala good, lousy, thieving koala bears; they'll never take me alive.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/19/2012

(sung to the tune of Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream")

Oh what a beautiful day, I went to town
I bought tons of comic books, I was soarin'
You read Hawkeye? Dang, son, it is rockin'
Abducted redhead, arrows a flyin'

Yeah, comic lover's dream
That Bunn and Hurtt speak to me
Drake Sinclair's a mystery, I'll go where the Sixth Gun leads
Comic lover's dream

Chew is damn good, those powers aren't possible
Fuglies easy now on the eyes.
Wonder Woman in her book and in Batwoman
They will whup your ass, I tell no lies

Yeah, comic lover's dream
Daredevil's villain gives me the creeps
Amethyst in Sorcery, purple magic works for me
Comic lovers dream

AAAAGGGGHHHH! Tulip! Grab that phone and tell that insurance agent go do something of a rude nature to themselves. Crudcakes! Who's at the door now?! Criminy! Hi folks, I'm here with my Boston terrier, Tulip, who is also Donist World's marketing director and we are under siege. Under siege I tell you! You see, we had seven whole comics this week (yeah, not much but if you knew how long it takes me to write still wouldn't be phased. Fair enough), plus we are down in man power puppy power. As it turns out, Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) has a problem of dislocating his back knee when he runs too hard and tries to turn on a dime. You know Obie though, work hard(ly) and play hard. So, unfortunately, he is taking a bit of PTO for some R&R, but that leaves Tulip an I with a slammed comic book week of awesomeness; a great problem to have if I do say so myself. We also received a Kickstarter item and a creepy book by Bernie Wrightson (see what I did there) that we can't even begin to talk about this week, so maybe next week. Like I said, we're slammed and...hold on a sec. Tulip just got a text on her iKibble phone. Give it here, Tulip, what's it say? Oh. It's a picture of Obie, drinking a puppy-sized Mai-Tai on the beach?! He does have a cast on, but still. Ugh...anyhow, I need to prepare a passive-aggressive statement for a dog, but while I do that, take a gander at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Hawkeye #3
Hawkeye #3 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja, published by Marvel Comics. So, this Hawkeye book...since his early Avengers days, I've been on friendly terms with the character and I eagerly bought his mini-series in the '80s (now where did my copies go???). At some point, Hawkeye and I lost touch. Then The Ultimates, and their insanely tough rendition of the character arrived a decade ago that carried the awesome through to the Avengers movie, but I still wasn't completely onboard the Hawkeye train. Enter the news that two of the three involved on one of my all-time favorite Big Two superhero comics ever (Immortal Iron Fist) are back and taking a shot (see what I did there?) at the purple archer. With just three issues thus far, it is safe to say that Hawkeye is my favorite superhero comic on the stands.
Superheros have bad days, too. They also make the occasional mistake, but those mistakes tend to lean towards the super in their scope, especially when Clint Barton is making them. What can possibly go wrong when you leave the house to buy something as stupid as tape and end up in bullet-ridden car you just spent a bundle buying, a beautiful redhead you just slept with tied-up and gagged in the back seat, a quiver full of unlabeled trick arrows, a teenage sidekick with a crush driving said car, and the returned tracksuit Dracula squad set on abducting said redhead. All this because he needed some @$%^ing tape?!
I'm listening to David Aja's Hawkeye Spotify set as I write this review, and it is such a cool touch to have a soundtrack to go along with the comic, especially when the artist's music taste coincide with my own while perfectly fitting the mood of the sequentials. Check it out and give a listen. Back to the comic...WOW. It's apparent on the first page that Fraction and Aja are having just as much fun creating this comic as I am reading it. Fraction has the reader immediately going, "Oh no, Clint don't..." and leaves them hammering through the rest of the book anxious to see just how bad things are going to get, and loving the whole journey. As great as Clint is, he isn't Fraction's only star performer in this series. Kate (Hawkeye II? Kid Hawkeye? Lady Hawkeye? Sparroweye?) also has her moments, many of them spent teasingly kicking her mentor/crush while he's down and proving that this teen has her act together much more than he does.
Aja's art continues to be perfectly suited for this series, setting tone and providing tense action to pull the reader so far into the scene that you feel like you're sitting in the back seat, yelling at Clint to pull over and let you out of the damn car. Aja is the perfect artist for this book, bringing excitement, emotion and extra helpings of humor to every page. For colors, Matt Hollingsworth provides a "flats" style of coloring that works for this book far better than hyper-realistic coloring of gradients, glows and drop-shadows, giving the book a '70s feel.
Can you tell that I like this comic book? Are you reading it? If not, what's wrong with you? Get thee to your LCS, or buy it on Comixology, but preferably get the print version for the experience. Crank up the Spotify and enjoy this wonderful comic. It has been far too long since I have been this excited for a Marvel comic and Hawkeye is must-own material and is a blast to read. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #26
The Sixth Gun #26 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. Okay, what the hell is going on? Usually, getting ahold of this comic month-in and month-out is like Indiana Jones retrieving that gold idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but last month I received issue 25 with no problem and--call me crazy--here I am with issue 26 in hand in what seems like only two or three weeks later. ??? I'm not complaining or anything, hell, go weekly on this fantastic title for all I care, just keep 'em coming. But, hey, let's not jinx anything and get right down to it.
As Drake Sinclair and Becky Montcrief sit trapped and freezing in a magically induced snowstorm awaiting a Wendigo's next attack, Drake recounts his first encounter with the mythological beast and what it took to kill the monster. A new character is introduced and an "old" character is given opportunity to shine in pursuit of (or being pursued by) the first Wendigo. Gord, Kirby and Asher (mystically-inclined good guy?, thief, 9-foot-tall mummy respectively) set out to locate Drake and Beck so they can gain access to the five of six cursed guns the pair have in their possession. Meanwhile, Drake knows how to kill the evil hunger spirit, but unfortunately, he also has a suspicion of what happened to the missing townsfolk. Becky's not going to be thrilled with what needs to be done.
I always love when Bunn takes us into Drake's mysterious past and although this glimpse is brief, he introduces us to the new and currently absent character, Abigail, who used to travel with Drake and Billjohn. Follow up the Wendigo history lesson with an exciting covered wagon chase and a terrible decision to come, and Bunn leaves you desperate for the next issue. Hurtt delivers the tension-riddled action and intense emotions, and then brings the scary with the giant stag adorned with heads impaled on its antlers. Bill Crabtree's colors round out the mood and style that gives The Sixth Gun its unique look. With a prequel in the works and a series being developed for NBC, good things are happening for one of the best comics you'll find on the ol' spinner rack. With any luck the next issue will show up on time, or better yet early. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #29
Chew #29 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. Just when you think you've seen and read it all, you read an issue of Chew and realize you were oh so wrong. But that's okay, why would you ever want to be right about something like that? Now, I have to admit that way back when Chew #1 was released, I read the promos and just sort of wrote the series off as a "pass." Then I began to hear all of the crazy reviews and issues became difficult to find. I finally caved and read the first issue, then did the scarce commodity scramble trying to find all the issues I was missing. The moral of the story: read Chewissue to issue it's unlike anything you've ever laid eyes on.
NASA, the FDA and the USDA are forced to work together to bring in a victuspeciosian, or one who can change the physical appearance of individuals through the use of food-based beauty masks. Although this power is temporary, changing ones appearance can hold dastardly implications, especially when there is a power collecting vampire looking to add to his collection. Enter Toni, Caesar and Colby as they rush to find the victuspeciosian beauty salon worker before the collector can gather her up for his collection. But as the trio watch the salon, who's watching them? Also, double-page splash Poyo style!!!
Hot diggity dog! I love this comic. Disgusting, charming, intriguing, baffling, laugh inspiring, and many other "-ings" make this book a total joy to read and reread over and over again. As long as the anti-immigration nuts don't deport Layman back to whatever planet he's from, we can only hope to have new issues of Chew forever and ever. Layman has created some truly wonderful characters to such a point that the supporting cast has been carrying the past few issues and he even succeeds in making horrible a_holes like Applebee relatable at times; these are people you'd want to have a beer with. Guillory is the only artist I can ever see drawing this series and his distinct style is just as essential to the complete work as is the crazy subject matter. Yeah, I like this comic and if you have not read it, you must give it a try, especially before Showtime gets around to airing the adaptation currently in development. Who knew cannibalism could be so much fun. Man, I want that Poyo DPS on my wall. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Daredevil #19
Daredevil #19 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. Speaking of favorite Marvel Comics, Daredevil is definitely a close number two. Waid has turned Matt Murdoch from punching bag to hero, but this issue has a villain from the recent past who returns to make the hero's life hell. We're not sure what turned the C-lister into what appears to be an A-list threat, but the new creepy-as-all-hell costume, that diabolical manicure and the mako shark smile left me going, "Whoa!" Foggy makes a decision that will cause havoc down the line and Daredevil needs to not loose his head with this new villain--yeah, check the cover. Waid and Samnee are a fantastic team on this superhero book that more than deserves all of the praise it has received since issue one. If you haven't been reading Daredevil, then pick up the trade and have a look at what you've been missing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batwoman #13
Batwoman #13 - Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman with illustrations by J.H. Williams III, published by DC Comics. Despite the inopportune timing of the "0" issue--that I really, really liked btw--we pick up chapter two of the "World's Finest" storyline pairing Batwoman and Wonder Woman together to take on the might of Medusa. The pair travel underseas (gorgeously painted on page two and three) to visit the penitentiary of the mythological to see if Medusa is still being detained. Mr. Bones is a cold-blooded bastard, Bette Kane is one freakin' tough cookie, Nyx is terrifying, and Pegasus is so far from what I was expecting I don't know what to think. All in all, Batwoman is more than just a collection of the most beautiful art you have ever seen in comics, but this arc looks to be a fabulous look at two of DC's strongest female characters, both human and divine. The next issue cannot come soon enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #13
Wonder Woman #13 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Tony Akins, published by DC Comics. Wonder Woman continues to be unlike any version of the Princess of Power that I have ever read before...which is why I have happily been buying it each month. I love that this Wonder Woman is part of the Greek Pantheon of gods and goddesses that in no way resembles anything out of my treasured D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, and leaves me wondering what strange new twist Azzarello will come up with next. The story opens with Orion (I think, could be wrong here) biting off more than he can chew (with awesome "chew" SFX) and Apollo sees the problem with those pesky 3000th year family reunions. Tempers run hot at Wonder Woman's home before she heads out to find her half-sister, Siracca, the wind. Tony Akins steps in for Cliff Chiang for this calm-before-the-storm issue. This ain't your traditional Wonder Woman book folks, but it's definitely one of the best and worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!

Sword of Sorcery
Featuring Amethyst #1
Sword of Sorcery Featuring Amethyst #1 - Written by Christy Marx and illustrated by Aaron Lopresti with backup story Beowulf written by Tony Bedard and illustrated by Jesus Saiz, published by DC Comics. Although last month's "0" issue was actually more of an first issue offering, making this issue one more of an issue two, I...sorry, I got lost in my own train wreck of thought. Let's ignore the minutiae. DC opens up the diversity of their comics line, with Amethyst. A young woman raised on boring-ass Earth named Amaya discovers she is actually a princess of a magical world where her Aunt reigns with an iron fist and who seeks to take Amaya's amethyst power from her. We are introduced to other members of other gem houses and see that there might be more to Amaya's relationship with her aunt than we know. "Beowulf" continues the sword and sorcery fun with the tale of a savage "hero" who a boy convinces to help with a slight Grendel problem. We also see a post-apocalyptic nod to current DC continuity. Both stories are enjoyable, well-written and beautifully illustrated, especially by Lopresti. Worth checking out and SoS:A will hopefully be around for some time to come. Not thrilled with the $3.99 decision that will most likely damage sales, but whatchagonnado. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Hey! Where's My Captain Marvel Issue! - Dammit! *sigh* Hopefully next week.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/12/2012

(Sung to the tune of Billy Joel "Just the Way You Are")

Big surprises waiting for me
Down at my local comic store
'Cause Stuff of Legend has a new one
Just when I thought I could wait no more

I sure do love those rich Corben stories
Me and them go back oh so far
Batman's a buggin'. Mr. J know what?
You scare me just the way your are

The Donist gets served...
pumpkin waffles that is.
Tulip sulks on the couch.
Awwww...Obie. Tulip. That's so very sweet of you two. Hi there everybody, Donist here and I'm joined by Donist World CFO, who is also my friends' Boston terrier, Obie. Also joining us is Obie's sister, my dog, Tulip who was Donist World's executive assistant but is now marketing director. The reason for the "Awwww" is that the two chipped in last week to buy me some rather nice beers for my 17th 25th birthday. Yes, I'm fully aware that they bought the beers with money stolen from the petty cash fund. It's like when you were a kid and your mom would pretend to give you money to "buy" her a gift that she picked out, that she then wrapped for herself. Last year, Obie and Tulip gave me hunk of melted plastic with some beads in it and attached it to a leather strap, which they then called a necklace, but hey, it's the thought that counts. Anyhow, Amy has made me some pumpkin waffles, eggs and bacon with coffee served in an X-Men mug, none of which will go to Tulip or Obie...okay, maybe they'll get a morsel or two. While I have my breakfast, put down that boring morning newspaper and get the real scoop with...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #13
Batman #13 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. Apparently, I've missed a storyline or two in the Batverse. This is probably a result of only following two of 147 Batman related comics currently being published on a monthly basis, but don't grow on trees, Donist World readers. Anyhow, at some point last year the Joker lost his face. No, I don't mean that he ate his soup with a fork at fancy-pants party, but rather some really bad man (really, really, really, really bad man) cut his face off or something. I can imagine the voicemail, "Uh, hi Scott. Hi Greg. We kinda put ourselves in a pickle with the Joker, and thought we'd give you guys the opportunity to bring him back. Call us back for the deets. Hugs to the fam. Peace." So what do two of the most talented creators in the comics world do with an impossible situation? They take an already pissed off serial killer and make him utterly terrifying to the inhabitants of Gotham, to other psychopaths and to us lucky readers.
When rivers reverse course and two headed lions are born, the superstitious might suspect that dark times are coming. If Gotham City is involved, then the superstitious would be right. The Joker is back in town and he wishes to set things right, to make himself whole. Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD stand in the way of the Joker's recovering what another deluded madman had taken from him...his face. Gotham City's finest never stood a chance. Enter an unhappy Batman and a nervous Batfamily. The Joker makes a threat on the mayor's life, a message is sent, a psychopathic friend no longer understands the killer, and the Joker's true target is revealed.
Talk about a scary roller coaster ride in 24 pages. For such a nice guy, I'm not sure how Snyder comes up with this stuff. He masterfully builds the tension primarily in the Commissioner Gordon scene at the police department with darkness, the limited lighting of a flashlight, a flash of evil, and beautifully timed sound effects. The results are terrifying and we're only on page six. The brief look at each member of the Batfamily's reaction to the news of the Joker's return provides all the insight needed as to the very real threat the man poses to everyone. The touch with Harley Quinn was unexpected and also upped the ante that even she is not fine with Mr. J's return. Then there's the last page splash, which made me gasp.  "Sometimes I lie under there at night and listen to you sleep." Brrrrrr.
Greg Capullo. That's all you really need to say, but I'll expand a little. Again, the scenes at the GCPD with Gordon's terrifying ordeal leaves the reader feeling the man's desperation, determination and fear all at the same time. The ACE Chemical factory is beautifully detailed and the final splash is terrifying.
The backup story is a fantastic addition written by both Snyder and James Tynion IV, with striking art by past Detective Comics collaborator Jock, who captures this new, more menacing version of the Joker in a blast of ink and color. I had no idea what to expect from the return of the Joker, but Snyder and Capullo have taken a slightly too-over-the-top plot point (he stole my face!) and made it terrifying and something that I cannot turn away from. I'm dying to see what comes next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Stuff of Legend Volume IV:
The Toy Collector #1
The Stuff of Legend Volume IV: The Toy Collector #1 - Written by Mike Raicht & Brian Smith with illustrations by Charles Paul Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios. Sometimes, good things come to those who unknowingly wait. I had no idea the latest installment in the fantastic The Stuff of Legend comic book series was out this past Wednesday, so imagine my surprise finding it in my pull. This book is easily in my top five titles currently being released and one that, after a slight break, I am thrilled to see continuing a trend of greatness in all aspects of its production.
As Monty the monkey chronicles the history of the the Dark, Anya the tiger, lets him know that she means to challenge Max the bear  for leadership of the jungle animals who stand apart from the forces of the Boogeyman. Max is (was) also once a part of a group of toys seeking to find their abducted boy, but once the terrible secret that Max granted the Boogeyman access to his boy's room, the rest of the toys abandoned him and the group fractured. Meanwhile, the Boogeyman continues to deceive the boy by posing as a friend. In between fabricating lies, the Boogeyman charges the goblin-like creature known as the Toy Collector (who is creepy as hell) with retrieving the body parts of all of the dark lord's fallen soldiers for an as yet unrevealed, but diabolical purpose. A small group of toys have a run in with the Toy Collector, a challenge falls flat, and a quest begins.
The Stuff of Legend continues its trend of vastly under appreciated greatness in the fourth volume in the series. Raicht and Smith provide a brief recap through Monty's cave paintings on page one, but if you have not been following the book from the beginning, then you would be best served starting the series from the beginning either through the Omnibus (contains volume 1 and 2) or digitally at Comixology. Despite being mostly setup for the current storyline and to provide the introduction of the chapter's new title character, the lack of action in this issue is not a problem in the slightest. The writers establish the threats and challenges perfectly, while providing a great character turn for ex-mayor and ex-villain Filmore. Wilson III delivers, as always, his beautiful illustrations that have made this series such a lovely standout from all other comics on the stand. Combined with the exceptional design and colors provided by Jon Conkling and Michael DeVito you are left with a rich, beautifully-drawn story unlike any you will find. This is a must own comic! I will soon be double dipping to get the hardcover Omnibus to display on my best bookshelf. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Creepy Presents:
Richard Corben HC
Creepy Presents: Richard Corben HC - Written by various writers (including Richard Corben) and illustrated by Richard Corben, published by Dark Horse Books. Imagine if you will a young child by the name of Donist. His mother is shopping at Clicks, a Kmart-like store, in Akron, OH with the borderline adorable little nine-year-old boy in tow. Of vital importance on this excursion for the child is the toy section. Oh how he prays and hopes that new Micronauts action figures are available. Time permitted, he might even ponder the finer aspects of the Slime Monster Game. But there is a more pressing matter. Mayhaps the child makes his way to the second floor pet store to marvel at the piranhas and the scorpions and to stare in awe at the 20 pound bag of Monkeychow. But that is the last stop. There is an immediacy when he visits Clicks to go to the book section to peruse the Starlog, Fangoria, and more importantly Heavy Metal, Eerie and Creepy magazines. This is always the first and longest stop, for within those pages there be boobies, and not just any boobies, Richard Corben drawn boobies.
Okay, enough clowning around, but honestly, all of the above was true. My brother and I would immediately go straight for the horror and science fiction mags while my mother shopped for whatever other boring items the store actually sold. Although Heavy Metal had much more risqué subject matter, and I would always sneak an extra-long peek, it was the Eerie and Creepy books that drew me in like a high-powered magnet. Monsters, horror, occasional nudity, what wasn't there for a kid to love? But there was something more to the books than just mere titillation. Even at a young age I had an appreciation for comic art and here you could find many of the masters, but the one who left me awestruck was always Richard Corben. His illustrations and far-beyond-the-times coloring left me staring at individual panels for stretches that cut into my toy shopping time; I didn't care, I couldn't pull myself away. Of the stories in this collection, it's safe to say that I had read about half of them and the rest were all glorious surprises. Below are a few of my favorites:
"Lycanklutz" - A werewolf stalks the countryside, but a old man has just the ticket to solve the problem, if anyone will take him seriously. Dark humor.
"Bless Us, Father..." - A Santa serial killer is on the loose as two independent stories merge into one.
"Terror Tomb" - Grave robbers Archaeologists seek a mummy's treasure, but when the mummy gets a load of Sandy, treasure is the last thing on his mind. Ridiculous fun.
"An Angel Shy of Hell!" - A post apocalyptic world with one man looking to set things right.
"The Raven" - Edgar Allan Poe's story. A classic.
"The Believer" - Another holiday story with a murderous Santa(?).
"In Deep" - The story that rocks my world just as much today as it did decades ago at Clicks. Alone worth the price of the book.
"Bowser" - A pet gone wrong and twisted beyond all imagining.
"Wizard Wagstaff" - A humorous werewolf story that still cracks me up.
"Child" - Another one of the all time greats. An experimental narrative spin on Frankenstein that is lovely and haunting.
"Within You...Without You" - Time travel and dinosaurs with some seriously weird changes in story direction in parts two and three.
Those are but a few of my favorite stories, and I found myself wanting to list almost all of them as every one is a gem. I will mention that most of my favorites are written by the amazing Bruce Jones, with Greg Potter providing the first two "Child" installments. If you are a fan of horror comics with gorgeous art, this book is a must own even without the nostalgia factor--if you were around back then--and more than stands up to the test of time. Now I must buy the Creepy Presents: Bernie Wrightson book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Last Weekend's Birthday Revelry (Slackery) - As you might know--from my repeatedly mentioning it--my 17th 25th birthday was last Friday and as such I took off Friday and Monday from the job to get down to some serious slacking. Friday I got up early for a birthday breakfast, finished up Donist World, watched Avengers for the third time, watched a bunch of the blu-ray's extras, played Bioshock 2, went to happy hour at Milk and Honey with Amy and then went to El Cielito for dinner. I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, eating, drinking and being merry in retaliation for last year's terribleness. I also met my goal of having a query for my first novel over to and I'm preparing to blast ahead in the next month on that. All and all, just what I needed.

Slice Into the Woods

Let's Keep It Chill This Week - Sure there was plenty to gripe about: work, a cold, having to return to a normal-non-excessive style of living, lying politicians, but let's coast on out knowing it's Friday. Have a good one y'all.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/5/2012

(Sung to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run")

On Wednesday we're shoutin' out for great comics provided by your LCS team
You know Rotworld's here hold onto your hats for Swamp Thing's Kingdom of Green
Poison Ivy's hot, she's so damn fine
Buddy in Animal Man's set to hava a real rough time
h-Oh, Sweet Tooth's gonna end, it's about to wrap
It's a hard read, it might make your heart crack
Sad yes, but take a chance on 'em, son
'Cause comics like these are still a hella lot of fun

Here at Donist World, when it comes to birthdays, we usually take some petty cash and buy a cupcake (a helluva big 'un at that) for me, or for Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) a special kind of kibble that doesn't make him barf. That's how we roll. We're fancy like that. Today, however, Obie decided for my 17th 25th birthday he wanted to take an extended lunch to visit Goleta Beach. We also invited his sister, my dog, Tulip, who we just hired (for kibble) as executive assistant at Donist World. Hey, get out of the office and stretch the ol' legs? You don't have to ask me twice. So we set the comics down, hopped in the car and five minutes later we're at the beach enjoying the fresh air. How cool is that?! Want to know what's not cool? Let Donist tell you. What's not cool is when your only two employees take off down the beach, find the rotting corpse of a disgusting-looking fish in a mound of old seaweed, and roll on it. I kid you not. How does one consider this a happy birthday gift? Huh? I know two dogs who are getting baths and they better hope that the smell of death now lurking in my car fades. I tell you. Give me ONE industry where you have to reprimand your executives for rolling on a dead animal carcass...not counting Wall Street of course (drugs are bad for you). Anyways, plug your nose, grab a cupcake and have peek at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Swamp Thing #13
Swamp Thing #13 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Yanick Paquette, published by DC Comics. I'm still not completely sold on last month's whole "0" issue gimmick, which ran across the entirety of DC's line of comics. A few that I read were great, a couple were good and some I would have rather passed on. Swamp Thing and Animal Man fell into the "good" category. They were worth the price of admission. Now we are back to our regularly scheduled programming with "Rotworld" and thus far it's exactly what I wanted to see, although I would have rather seen it without last month's interruption.
Alec Holland, the Swamp Thing, has been to hell and back. Okay, not actually hell, but rather the Rot. Time flows differently in the Rot and what was less than an hour there equated to one year in Holland's world. The moment he appears, he meets Deadman and the business end of Poison Ivy's blade. Some discussion goes down and Alec is devastated to find the dessert he is standing in is actually what used to be the swamps of Louisiana. The Parliament of Trees still exists in what is known as the Kingdom of the Green, but it is greatly diminished from its former glory. The Rot attacks with infected superheroes and the Parliament debates the appropriate time to mention Abby's terrible fate.
A bleak world ruled by the Rot, the Green on the verge of dying (again), and Poison Ivy as one helluva hot champion of the green made this book exciting, mysterious, and edge-of-your-seat nerve-wracking. I loved it. Snyder pulls the reader into the story just as confused as poor Alec, and with each revelation, the true horror of the situation becomes apparent. One two-word bit of dialogue--"My forbearers."--sounded out of character for this Swamp Thing and more in line with Moore's version, but that is the only minor quibble I had. I have to also say that I love, love, LOVE this warlike version of Poison Ivy and I hope that she sticks around long after "Rotworld" ends. Also, the mention of something bad happening to Jason Woodrue (aka the Floronic Man) really has me intrigued as I have wondered where that character has been; I have some ideas of what I hope he ends up doing later in the series. In short, the event delivers beyond what was promised.
Paquette's imagery is brilliant whether he is detailing the revolting Rot barfing on a little girl (yeah, yuck in the best of ways), or the gorgeous splash page of the remnants of the Green. With worlds called the Red and the Green, you damn well better have a tremendous colorist and Nathan Fairbairn more than measures up. Together Paquette and Fairbairn make you want to pick out drapes and set up home in the Green forever and ever. The Rotworld storyline is just getting started, and if this is the beginning, I'm dying to see what comes next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #13
Animal Man #13 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II, published by DC Comics. Again, the "0" issue of Animal Man was fine, but the break in momentum from the "Prelude to Rotworld" was jarring and did not serve the story well. An origin was in order, but it might have been better served in the middle of the "Rotworld" arc as opposed to just when things were getting started. Oh well, but here we are, right where we needed to be.
Even though only an hour has passed while in the Rot for Buddy Baker (Animal Man) time has passed differently back in the real world. Buddy appears in what's left of California to immediately be attacked by a Rot-infected Hawkman. Thankfully, Buddy has help in the form of Steel, Beast Boy and Black Orchid, who succeed in splatting what used to be one of Earth's superheroes. We learn the fate of the Red and its totems at the Red Kingdom, which has fared a little bit better than the Green Kingdom has. Buddy learns what happened during his one year absence from a damaged Constantine and we learn Cliff and Ellen's's not pretty.
Yup. This is what I've been waiting for. Lemire captures Buddy's confusion perfectly and throws one emotionally crushing blow after another at the poor champion of the Red. The vague details over everything that has happened and the intentional omission of the key details of what is to come pull the reader deep into the story. The inclusion of Steel, Beast Boy, Constantine and Black Orchid (who I thought was a champion of the I want to know more about her.) does not feel like a crossover at all, fitting perfectly into this series and the overall "Rotworld" storyline.
Pugh delivers a startling view of a California wasteland and more importantly a twisted, Rotified version of Hawkman that is both nightmarish and cool (check out them ribs, baby!). Green II brings some terrific family time flashbacks to the mix and Lovern Kindzierski continues to give Animal Man the unique look I love. It's been a year-long journey to bring us to "Rotworld" and although the experience has been a disgustingly fun ride, I'm so excited to finally be here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #38
Sweet Tooth #38 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Oh no. There are two characters who I want Lemire to consider off limits: Bobby and Buddy. I do not want him to put either character through any further horror shows of life that Sweet Tooth has to offer. What do you know, but here smack dab on the cover is Bobby, who's already been put through enough, dammit. With only two issues remaining you know rough times are coming. But what about the book you hold in your hands? I can guarantee it won't be pretty, but we'll let Bobby tell you what he thinks of #38. "Gussy, me am scared!" Yes, Bobby, "Me am scared" indeed.
Death rides on post-apocalyptic military vehicle wheels as Abbot and his men arrive at the Alaska base with violence on their minds. Jepperd and Jimmy have prepared as best they can and launch a two man assault on the intruders, while Singh is tossed out in the cold, literally. Abbot is at least two steps ahead of the group as he captures Gus and his friends, leaving one character dead and another desperate to save those who still live.
Argh! I should have said so-and-so was off limits for being killed as well. As I have mentioned throughout the 38 issue run, Lemire has drawn the reader so deep into caring for Gus and his posse that you fear for everyone's safety. In the end though, no one is safe. I know it. The reader knows it. But when exactly what you expected to happen happens, it still hurts. You still look at the page and go, "No!" The key to great comics will always fall on the creator's development of the characters and getting you to love (or hate) them to such an extent that you worry about their wellbeing. Just look at my favorite comic series of all time, Preacher. Or my favorite television series Firefly for that matter. When you put the comic down or turn the television off and you are still sad/angry/overjoyed over the fate of a character or characters days later, then the creator has done their job and done it well. This is the case with Sweet Tooth. Two issues of Lemire's fantastic series are left and I am certain I will be thinking about the events to come for years down the road. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Progress - Okay, I think it's time to actually start talking about what I have been up to for the past few years. I mentioned before that I am up, showered, dressed and coffeed before 6:00 AM so that I can write. At night I letter or study online. I have written a novel (done with many revisions), a children's novel (two drafts down, but need another big revision starting in November), and scripted multiple comic book stories (one self-published, one published, two others illustrated, one preparing to be illustrated, and six to be illustrated). I have lettered all of my comic stories, I will color another, and will finish an online course in Adobe InDesign in the next couple days. Last night I sent a query for the novel mentioned above to Query Shark. If by some miracle I am chosen to appear on the site, I will post a link whether it's good news or bad chum.
Before the end of the year I will have queries out for both books, and most of my comic stories illustrated and prepared for print and digital viewing in an anthology of my writing for 2013. What happens after that? Easy, sequels to both novels, more comic stories and additional more advanced learning with the Adobe line (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). I'm always busy, and I couldn't be happier...unless I win the Lotto.

Slice Into the Woods

A Darn Cold - Of course it had to hit me. The semi-annual cold struck and prevented me from sleeping last night. Now here I am on my birthday, home from the job, and all I can do is write, watch The Avengers Blu-Ray, play some Bioshock 2 (one of the very rare times I will play a video game) and then go to dinner with Amy at El Cielito. In other words, I'll be doing exactly what I planned to do before I caught the cold. Aside from no sleep, this isn't all that bad.