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.


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