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.

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