Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/30/2012

(Sung to the tune of Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil")

There's a book that'll leave you sad with fright
Please don't turn the page
What'd I tell you
Indeed it is Chew
Holey moly
It's all the rage

Legend is the Stuff
I just can't get enough
Thor swings that hammer round
I, Vampire make you quiver
Hulk will deliver
Strong, green, mean come on

Read read read
Read some good comics
Read read read

Your Honor, I would like to state, yet again, for the record, that my client, one Obedicus "Obie" Maximus, who is CFO of Donist World is innocent of the charges brought against him here today. Please know that he is also my friends' dog and is of the breed known as the Boston terrier, which makes him simply adorable. Am I right ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Just look at the little cuss. How can something so cute be guilty of anything other than cuteness?! If your going to charge him for being cute, then I'll throw myself upon the mercy of the court and let him do hard time for his crimes, but unfortunately that is not the case. What is that Your Honor? Understood. Tulip--who is my dog and director of marketing/party planner/administrative assistant/personal stenographer--would you be so kind as to read back Obie's alleged crime. Yes, Your Honor, I understand that you don't speak Boston terrierese, but anyways, yes, Obie allegedly took a wiz on a police vehicle that was parked near our local comic shop, and believe me when I say his is deeply sorry for the act...for which there is no proof that he committed. I would further state--uh...yes, I do realize this is only just a ticket, and that we are not in a courtroom and that the "jury" is just a bunch of drunk college kids and hobos. I--yes, here's the $40 for the won't happen again. <whisper> Obie...stop snapping at that weirdo. I don't want to pay for any more of your nonsense. Anyways folks, as I prepare to have another discussion of right and wrong with my CFO, have a look at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Chew #30
Chew #30 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. What the?!? Are you kidding? I just...crap. I was not expecting that at all. Not spoiling this issue is going to gosh darn near impossible, as I was expecting a different...outcome...than the what goes down in this issue; at least a different outcome for a different person. If anything, the foldout cover/poster (very nice touch by the way) hints at what's to come. Still, John Layman is a very, very, very mean man, but regardless this a great issue.
Toni Chu (Tony Chu's sister) is set to be married to Paneer. As she picks out her wedding dress, she imagines her perfect wedding day: guests fighting, chog licking, folks looking to hookup, a fat naked guy dancing on a table after eating an hors d'oeuvre aphrodisiac prepared by a cibolocutor. It's every girl's dream; too bad it's not going to happen. An abduction puts off all plans, and a visit to Tony--who's still in the hospital--provides an incredibly touching scene with a sucker-punch-to-the-stomach memory from Caeser that goes straight for the tear ducts. Now go grab a drink and a smoke while you sit alone in the dark to ponder this issue.
Again, I was not expecting this issue at all. Layman has gone to the dark place before, just have a reread of the storyline that put Tony in the hospital to begin with. It's cool, I'll wait while you reread it. Okay, now read this issue. Now doesn't all that torture and forced cannibalism seem like a nice day spent catchin' catfish at ol' McGillicutty's fishin' hole. This is not to say that this issue is all doom and gloom, you will still find the laugh out loud wackiness that makes this series so special, but what happens after the silly parts is where the horror aspect of this series comes screaming back to the forefront. Issue to issue, Layman and Guillory have done a wonderful job of giving each character their moment in the spotlight and now that...arggghh...let's just say that despite the grotesque nature of Chew you still end up loving and caring for many of the characters. If you follow this comic, you will be affected.
Guillory continues to deliver immensely humorous and giggle-worthy pages, especially the splash page of the naked fella dancing on the table, but it is the next splash that made me gasp and the double-page spread that actually made me angry over what happened. However, it was a single panel of Caesar recalling a memory from his childhood that changed anger to sadness. The implications of what goes down will push certain characters onto certain paths that will carry them through to the final issue #60 as scores are settled and multitudes of questions (hopefully) answered. For a story that has been fun and ridiculous for most all of the past thirty issues, there has always been a dark undercurrent threatening to come to the surface. That darkness and horror is revealed with this issue. Although I did not see these events coming, they make sense in the grand scheme of the story and have me anxious to see the repercussions. Layman is still a very, very, very mean man. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Stuff of Legend:
The Toy Collector #2
The Stuff of Legend: The Toy Collector #2 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson, published by Th3rd World Studios. Ah-ha! I knew this issue was coming out this past Wednesday and there were no mixups at the LCS, so right on time. The last monthish's issue of the The Stuff of Legend showed up in my pull as a total surprise. You see, my handy-dandy Comixology Pull List app didn't let me know this was coming, probably as a result of the naming convention used on the series. Bah...that doesn't matter. What matters is that I have the latest issue of The Stuff of Legend and you know what Donist World readers? You should have a copy yourself of one of the best and most underappreciated comic books on the stands.
As Princess (Indian Princess) and her people search the train wreckage for Jester's (Jack-In-the-box) body, little does she know that she is being watched by Filmore, the Boogeyman (disguised as a young boy) and the very boy she had originally set out to rescue. Meanwhile, Rebecca (Alice in Wonderland-style toy doll) has found the half-dead clown warrior and seeks to bring him back to full health. Harmony (metallic music box dancer) and Quackers (wooden toy duck) along with a group of animals seek to rejoin Max (teddybear) who now rules over the majority of the wild animal toys. Percy (piggybank) finds himself in dire straits, but luckily the boy comes to the pig's rescue. Finally, Max, Scout (a real life puppy), and their animal crew climb a treacherous mountain in search of a magical night light said to ward off the Boogeyman, but their journey will not be as easy as they had hoped.
Despite the often dark and dreary nature of the fantastic The Stuff of Legend series, I'm always filled with joy to find it in my pull. Raicht and Smith continue to steer the reader deeper into their world that is alive and rich with a host of fascinating characters, and trust me, there are many. Even the secondary characters like Rebecca (who I hope to see much more of in the future) and the ex-villain Fillmore get their brief moment to play their part. Then there's the toys' boy, who begins to show his good nature and is no longer content to run and hide in fear. The boy's abduction is what set the toys on their rescue quest, and to be honest he has been the only character I have not liked; this issue changes that.
Wilson III's art is wonderful in how it can transition seamlessly from a touching moment shared between Harmony and Quackers to a scene of horror as Percy is about to be cooked and eaten. His illustrations are only enhanced by the design and colors of Jon Conkling and Michael DeVito who give the book its unique look, leaving you to feel as if you were holding an antique. The Stuff of Legend is a tremendous accomplishment of story, art and production and remains one of the best books on the shelves. I fear that not enough people are reading this hidden treasure of the the comic book world and if you have not tried this book, do yourself a favor and at least pick up the first trade. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thor: God of
Thunder #2
Thor: God of Thunder #2 - Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics. <sigh> All right. Fine. I'll add this to my pull even though it carries a $3.99 price tag for only 20 pages of material and is littered with ads that break up the flow of the story. You see Donist Worldists, just over a year ago I was all set to drop all Marvel books. Then came Daredevil, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and now this piece of Norse god awesomeness which succeeds in getting me all riled up. Dagnabbit, Marvel. I was close to saying, "I wish I knew how to quit you," but with kick-ace books like this, that thinkin' is a thing of the past.
Young Thor sails across the ocean accompanied by a Viking hoard to battle Slavs and, more importantly, to challenge their gods. Thor finds his Slavs, but their gods are nowhere to be found. What he does find is one of their mighty flying steeds which is covered in blood. Seizing control of the great beast, Thor sees one of his would-be foes, only he no longer has his head. Then the butcherer of gods makes his presence known and the god of thunder finds himself fighting for his life against a remorseless killer. He barely survives the encounter. We also catch a glimpse of today's Thor and the Thor of the future.
For a comic book that used half of its pages for a brutal fight, I found myself entranced with building tension at each turn of the page. Fight scenes are difficult to pull off and do well, and Aaron did just such a thing with this fantastic issue. Equally important to this issue's success is the characterization behind this brash, younger version of the hero I grew up reading and adoring. Aaron beautifully captures the spirit of a naive god who is definitely out of his league when faced with something he never contemplated could ever exist. The dialogue is great and the transition from young to present to future flows perfectly with each change in time period. Ribic's artwork is simply stunning. Whether detailing closeup expressions or the fearsome action of battle, the reader is left feeling as if they were watching each scene in real life. Ive Svorcina's colors take already gorgeous art and give it even more depth and urgency, leaving me to wish I could watch a video showing just how they made each of these lovely pages.
There you go, Marvel. You did it. You done got me good. I'm in for this Thor: God of Thunder book that Aaron and Ribic are making so damn's also kinda scary, which is great, too. No, I don't mean scary because of the God Butcher's groovy speedo. I mean scary, scary. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items: 
Indestructible Hulk #1
Indestructible Hulk #1 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu, published by Marvel Comics. Aarrgh! Marvel NOW? Marvel NOW has me buying more books I didn't intend to buy. It didn't help that Mark Waid wrote this one either. All it took were a couple good reviews and I had to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. $3.99 though...
A Hulk and a SHIELD agent walk into a bar...or rather, Bruce Banner walks into a diner to find Maria Hill exactly where he knew she would be. He's been doing a bit of soul searching and he has a doozy of a two-tiered business proposal for the SHIELD director that she simply cannot let pass by. She agrees and the next thing you know, the Hulk is giving the Thinker something to think about.
Waid gives us a great first issue with a cool concept that makes Banner a character worth reading about, and he has the Hulk actually being utilized for what he does best...SMASH! Yu provides some great character moments and some intense action scenes. I'm not sure if Banner read What Color is Your Parachute and upon completing his "flower" found what truly makes him happy, or if he saw his fate in a burnt piece of toast. Whatever it is, Waid captured something in the character that made this former Hulk meh-sayer into a believer. RECOMMENDED!

I, Vampire #14
I, Vampire #14 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. Note to self: never name anyone, or any thing for that matter, Mishkin. I, Vampire continues its dip into the original story's characters from the '80s, which is great for fans of the original series, and might pose slight confusion for those unfamiliar with the older material. In short, Deborah Dancer and Mishkin (the hombre) have/had history with both Mary and Andrew. They also kinda got the short end of the stick, which is all new readers really need to know.
Andrew Bennett is building an army and it's up to John, Mary and new player Deborah Dancer to put a stop to him. Fire, animal cruelty and seduction abound, and John has an idea that may or may not work in bringing Andrew and Tig back to their senses. nice not to have any guest stars, crossovers or events. Fialkov gets to do what he does best: deliver an emotional horror tale consisting of solid characters the reader can care about. Sorrentino has solidified himself as one of my favorite artists with beautifully illustrated and moving expressive characters while delivering the full-monty of creepiness to the page. A great comic that shines when unencumbered. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods


Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/23/2012

(Sung to the tune of Naked Eyes's "Always Something There To Remind Me")

Of the comics that Donist read, you'll be surprised Marvel had three
Hawkeye ruled and Thor was strong yet Cap Marvel was tops you see
Oh, how can I forget you, comics, when there is
Always something there to intrigue me
Always something there to thrill me

But that's not all, Sword of Sorcery purple chick Amethyst
And I can't help reading groovy Where is Jake Ellis? How cool is this?

Oh, how can I forget you, comics, when there is
Always something there to intrigue me
Always something there to thrill me

I was born to read them and I never want to be free
I'll always be a fan indeed

Obie, some comics,
and Tulip
Arrrrgh!  Okay, okay. I know this post is totally later than usual, but I will not allow the forces working against me against me. Yeah, that's the ticket. You see, faithful Donist World readers (Hi Mom!) I am at war with gluttony. No, not my gluttony, although I did go a bit off the rails with that filthy dirty vodka martini with jalepeño-stuffed olives and something like four chocolate chip pumpkin cookies (oh my stars and garters those were heavenly). I'm talking about the gluttony of Donist World CFO, Obie (my friends' Boston terrier), and his sister the director of marketing/administrative assistant/party planning/turkey gobbling, Tulip, who is my dog. You see, the puppies gorged themselves on turkey, stuffing, wasabi mashed potatoes with gravy, brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, and homemade pumpkin pie (thanks A-M-Y!). I also have a suspicion that they hit up some martinis themselves, but there's no way for me to confirm my hunch. Anyways, they are still passed out and refusing to move. The only good I've been able to squeeze out of those over-indulging knuckleheads is that they read all eight of the books we bought this week, five of which I will discuss below...without the help of Tulip and Obie. Yeah, don't look at me like that, Tulip. You should feel bad. Now I'm left with only my steely resolve to keep Donist World alive and running and <ding>...oh...oh my, my, that a fresh batch of chocolate chip pumpkin cookies? Okay, I promise to get back to keeping this ship sailing, just after I get me some of that slice of heaven known as the chocolate chip pumpkin cookie. Speaking of "heaven," have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Hawkeye #4
Hawkeye #4 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Javier Pulido, published by Marvel Comics. I actually got the shivers when my LCS put this issue in my to-go bag. The shivers I tell you. I mean here I was, six months ago, practically on my way out the door with Marvel comic books, then came this little gem. Now I'm up to three Marvel titles, with a fourth being added to the list--see the next post, Donist Worldoids. On this issue's decent into my brown bag of hope, there was one thing that caught my eye; the lack of "Aja" being listed in the top right corner. Oh no, I thought, I love David Aja on this title. Hawkeye without him is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the blackberry jelly! How can the book continue to be so damn hot without the blackberry jelly? Then I read it and you know what? Grape jelly is also purple and...crud...enough of the metaphors--I just can't do them right without Tulip and Obie's help. So, yes, Aja is missed on Hawkeye, but Pulido is one helluva great fill-in artist on this fantastic superhero comic.
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. The funny thing about hauntings is that they only work well when you've done something bad that you don't want people to know about. Having that moment on VHS only helps to make what happened that much seedier. Hawkeye's plane arrives in Madripoor and he's on a hunt for just such a stolen video. The problem is that the video is going up for auction among the deadliest criminal organizations in the world, with Madame Masque looking to place the winning bid using a stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. AMEX Black card; a card she took from Clint Barton. Some guys can never catch a break.
From beginning to end, Hawkeye is a total blast. Fast-paced action and excitement, great characters, recognizable and appropriate bad guys, and a down-on-his-luck lead who you can't help but root for make this book one of my most anticipated superhero reads. Fraction has the character of Clint Barton down. His nonchalant, resigned-to-his-fate demeanor makes him relatable as well as someone you'd want to have a beer with, while his bravado makes him someone you wish you could be. Aja is missed in this issue, but Pulido easily pulls his own weight, keeping to the style of the book while Matt Hollingsworth's colors maintain the look and tone of the series. If you are trade waiting Hawkeye, I'm inclined to say you're making a terrible mistake and missing out on a great series that operates beautifully on a monthly basis. Not only that, but why would you want to wait on the title that is easily one of the best Marvel comics on the stands. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thor: God of
Thunder #1
Thor: God of Thunder #1 - Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics. Oh come on now! Dammit, Marvel Comics. Here I was with my mind all set that I was going to be down to only a couple of your company's titles. Heck, just over a year ago I was buying none, but then I begin to hear stirrings of a new Thor title that is not just good, but has the potential to be great--not knocking past Thor books, they just weren't for me. Then they have to go and put a writer like Jason Aaron on the book and some amazing artist guy named Esad Ribic, and there's no way I'm going to not check this out. Oh wait...$3.99 cover price for 20 pages of story with advertisements strewn throughout (the Red Baron one with the dude about to shovel the chemical "pizza" into his gaping facehole REALLY broke the momentum) nearly made this purchase a no-go, but I pulled the trigger and bought the book just to see what all the hubbub was all about. Then I read it. Ohhhhhh...that explains the hubbub. Every comic book lover could stand to have a little more hubbub.
When Thor Odinson was a younger, less-experienced, more reckless thunder god, he would still heed the prayers of those who sought his aid. If a village was besieged by say a troll or a frost giant, Thor would answer those prayers. This call should have been business as usual for a god of Asgard. What is not usual is to find the head of another pantheon's god washed up upon the shore. In the present, a more mature Thor arrives at a distant planet of alien beings who need rain. Who better than to answer that call than a god of thunder? It seems the gods of this alien race have long since abandoned them, but Thor brings the rain they desperately need. He also brings a curiosity to find just where these gods have gotten to. He's not going to like the answer. Finally, we see a distant version of a battle weary Thor as he faces the army of the the very enemy that has caused him concern over the ages.
Okay. This is ambitious. Jason Aaron not only leads us through the past, present and far-away future of our favorite Asgardian, he also threads a story throughout each period and successfully shows a different version of the same character at each point in time. The great thing, is this story works with each jump in time flowing into the other. The transitions are not jarring and although each age is itself essentially a different story, the main story of the god killer moves forward. This is not an easy thing to pull off. Before reading this book, I was not familiar with Ribic's work, but his art is tremendously well-suited to the world of Thor, with each time period and location having it's own distinct look that is only accentuated by Dean White's stunning colors. One look inside Thor: God of Thunder and I knew I had to give the title a try, but one read is all it took to bring me on board to anxiously await what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Captain Marvel #7
Captain Marvel #7 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Dexter Soy, published by Marvel Comics. What the heck is goin' on?! Three Marvel titles on FSoH/SitW? I don't remember the last time that happened. Dang, there might not have even been a first time, but hey, better late than never. Captain Marvel continues to be a joy to read.
Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) is out helping colleague Monica Rambeau (once Captain Marvel, too) who requires the use of Carol's talents in an undersea reconnaissance mission. As she explores the vast depths, what she sees startles her, but what she actually finds looks to pose a big problem to each of the bickering Captain Marvels.
DeConnick and Soy continue to show that one of the world's most powerful women can kick a whole lotta ass without having to reveal all of her own ass to that world. Carol Danvers is a character with tons of personality and a lust for life that is inspiring and one that I continue to look forward to reading each month. RECOMMENDED!

Sword of Sorcery #2
Sword of Sorcery Featuring: Amethyst #2 - Written by Christy Marx and illustrated by Tony Bedard, with back-up story written by Aaron Lopresti and illustrated by Javier Saiz, published by DC Comics. Finally, a non-Marvel comic book to talk about. Amethyst (let's call the book by the name of the title feature, okay?) continues to be the interesting and compelling fantasy drama title I have been wanting to read (outside of Saga of course) for some time.
Amaya learns more about her strange new world and also meets the grandfather she never knew she had, which is a huge problem for said grandfather. Her mother, Graciel, decides to share the power of the Amethyst with her daughter, which looks to depower Amaya's aunt, Mordiel. Enemies are put in motion and an enemy might be more noble than anyone suspects. "Beowulf" continues to be enjoyable with even more ties to the DC Universe revealed.
Not one person is hacked or slashed in this issue's main story. Not one. In fact, most of the comic is dialogue, but that is fine as the overall story is one I'm definitely interested in knowing more about. RECOMMENDED!

Where is Jake Ellis? #1
Where is Jake Ellis? #1 - Written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, published by Image Comics. At least now I no longer need to ask where is my copy of Where Is Jake Ellis?. If you've been following Donist World for a while, you will know I'm a definite fan of Edmondson's Who Is Jake Ellis? story of an ex-CIA agent who knew more than he should, as well as things he couldn't possibly know.
Jon Moore and Jake Ellis are separated and on opposite sides of the world. With Jake now awake from his coma and a heaping dose of regret in his heart he's left to wonder what has happened to him while he was gone. He's also wondering who it is who is out to get him. The funny thing is that Jon is kind of wondering who it is trying to eliminate him as well.
Although I thought the second part of that story would be an instant pull at my LCS, I should have known to be more diligent. Oh well, one week late is better than not at all for this beautifully illustrated and intriguing story. I'm glad to have it back. RECOMMENDED!

Things To Be Thankful For - There are so very many, but I will keep it brief. My lovely and impossibly patient wife, Amy. My best buddy, Tulip. Discovering the joy of writing. My friends who I don't see as often as I wish I could see them. My family. Obie (Obedicus Maximus as he calls himself). My Brutal Circle and Comics Experience friends who push me to be a better writer and helped me push past the fear of sharing my work...I hope to actually start meeting these people in person in 2013. Seeing my comic friends' getting their work out there and noticed. I'm thankful for it all.

Slice Into the Woods

Nah...Not This Week - Eat, drink and be merry.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/16/2012

(Sung to the tune of  Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker")

These books are such a tidal wave
Drive ya outta your head
Two amazing books in my pull, yeah
Better than sliced bread

Saga's the best kind of winner
To bridge sci-fi and fantasy
Go ahead and skip dinner
'Cause you know Batman is way scary

They are showstoppers
Cream croppers, sock hoppers
You best check 'em out you see
They are showstoppers
Cream croppers, sock hoppers
You best check 'em out, yeah, yeah, yeah

Alrighty then. You know what time it is Donist World readers? No, I'm not talking about Thankstaking Day, although Tulip (my Boston terrier and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/turkey taster <sigh>) has a sparklingly clean bowl that she is sitting next to and she's growling at me. Neither is it "excessive bonus" day, despite what Donist World CFO, Obie, who is also Tulip's brother, is trying to tell me; he claims it's in his contract regardless of whether he runs the company into the ground or not. No, it's neither of those things. What it is, my friends, is Saga day! That's right, Saga is back this week and we here at Donist World could not be happier--unless of course someone gets some early turkey in her dog bowl, and someone gets to profit off collapsing an economy). To celebrate, I'm sitting at my computer in a repurposed Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band uniform and a hulled out CRT monitor on my head, Tulip has some wings attached to her back and Obie is wearing a single horn ala Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I'm inclined to send Obie home to put on two horns--I haven't seen any unicorn people in Saga yet--but I'm going to let it slide since he is wearing a pretty sweet sword on his back. This is a special day after all, so I will relax my adherence to the words of wrestling-legend Gorilla Monsoon (with props to Mean Gene Okerlund) of "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Anyways, grab a bottle of anything and a glazed donut because it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Saga 7
Saga #7 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics. After a few months' break Saga returns to the stands, but did the much deserved hiatus diminish my interest in the book or hurt the story in any way? Not in the slightest. It's like Grand Pappy Donist used to say, "Good things come to those who wait," and yes indeedy they do, Donist World fans. Saga continues to be my favorite comic release of the year, as well as in quite some time. This issue can be summed up by taking a cue from an Erma Bombek novel and twisting it slightly to something more fitting like "Oh the family ties that bind and gag in with extra unmentionables."
We begin with a flashback of when Marko was a young boy growing up on the moon Wreath. His mother and father take him to the site of the final battle to take place on Wreath with the winged-people of Landfall. Back in the present, Marko's parents meet a nearly-naked Alana and Hazel. This of course is after good ol' mom and pop had blasted the ghostly babysitter, Izabel, with a banishment spell.  Marko sets out to find Izabel with his mother in tow, only to come into contact with something too terrible to mention (trust me on this...seriously, skip that you know you have to look). Alana and Marko's father get better acquainted by exhibiting major trust issues and the revelation of a startling secret. Prince Robot soldiers on and The Will wallows in the misery of the death of The Stalk while watching some "home" movies.
I shouldn't be surprised by the story, or the visuals, or for that matter the emotions I'm left feeling after reading each issue of Saga. I shouldn't. This issue is no exception, especially when the first-page splash is so powerfully touching, so beautiful that I was left smiling and remembering the happy times I had in Ohio with my dogs. Then, leave it to Staples and Vaughan to take that feeling to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, leaving me aghast and recalling the previously blocked memory of walking in on "Tanked" Tim at the college dorm when...okay, let's not belabor the past. Let's just say the mid-point splash page will be burned in my mind until I can adequately suppress that horrid visual; should only take a year or two to bury it nice and deep. As disturbing as the image in question is, it makes you wince, but desperate to turn that page, to see what comes next. Vaughan leaves you wanting to know the fate of each of the characters including the supposed bad guys. The scene with The Will--one shoe and all--is kind of heartbreaking and you know this deadly assassin is in pain as he sits in a darkened room on a tropical paradise. We know little about this guy and the same can be said for all of the characters thus far, yet I love them all the more with each tiny glimpse, each casual reveal.
Sure the delay for this issue was painful, but so long as Saga maintains the standard I am used to and continues to come out on a fairly regular schedule, a couple of months' time is worth the wait. If you are not reading Saga, do yourself a favor and buy the $9.99 ($7.99 at trade and pick this issue up as well. You'll be happy you did. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman #14
Batman #14 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. Last month's issue was a tad...utterly terrifying. Now that a month has gone by and we hold the latest issue in our grubby little mitts, we can casually let the tension rise and <insert scratching record sound>. I'm lying. There is no easing of tension in this issue. There is no gradual build. The story kicks off in a life-or-death situation and pretty much stays at that same level throughout. I have a strong suspicion this will be the case for the rest of the "Death of the Family" storyline as well. You know what, folks? I accept that. Bring it Snyder and Capullo. I'm not ashamed to admit that I will read your comic under the covers with a flashlight, and I'm a grown-ass man. Of course I will look under the bed first, especially after Joker's comment last issue.
Joker's gone off the rails to such an extent that even Harley no longer recognizes her beloved Puddin'. Thing is, she kind of hopes that Bats takes Jokers place after the Dark Knight succumbs to the same chemical bath that made the Joker the demented man he used to be. There is some good news, Alfred is alive, but being in the care of a madman can't really be construed as a positive. That's it for the good news. First Gordon is reached by the Joker in an incredibly disturbing way <shudder>, then Batman is forced to reenact his first fight with his greatest enemy. Unfortunately, Joker's current "look" has pushed him into behaving more erratically, and much less predictably. Not a good combination for a psychopath, especially when he announces his plans for the Bat.
Capullo's rendition of the Joker is the stuff of nightmares, and I mean that in the best of ways. The "mask" with the pointy nose and that strapped-on smile revealing that eternal grin...<brrrrr>. The page two and three escape scene was also stunning, considering the crazy amount of detail that went into the bubbles trailing off of Batman; it was a joy to see. The main attraction of this issue, though, are the expressions Capullo gives to Bruce, Harley, Dick, and especially Gordon. Their fear and terror is infectious, and it sticks with you for the entirety of the issue.
Snyder's story continues to be a well-paced, nerve-wracking extravaganza. He delivers tension in all the right places and the scene with Bruce and Dick discussing the abducted Alfred is fantastically tense as Batman struggles to maintain his calm through the use of code words as a means of disassociating himself from the difficult situation he is in. The backup story (co-written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by the amazing Jock) brings the Penguin into the story as the Joker attempts to recruit his fellow villain into his plans. A great backup with some creepsville imagery.
I really enjoyed Snyder and Capullo's "Court of Owls" storyline, but this "Death of the Family" arc is touching on a much more sinister nerve that leaves the reader feeling just as helpless as Batman in the onslaught the Joker has set before him. It's a great place to be. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
A Couple More Kickstarter Rewards Arrived! - It's so cool to see projects that I helped bring into existence delivered right to my doorstep. Just recently, I received printed versions of Kazu Kibuishi's early work Daisy Kutter: The Last Train (complete with a sketch) and Ryan Browne's psychotically fun Blast Furnace (with a sketch, sticker and postcard). I have not yet started Daisy Kutter, and I have just started Blast Furnace, but I have a strong suspicion they will show up on Donist World in the near future. Very exciting.

Beer School: Beers and Barrels - I tell ya, I should be getting my doctorate in beer any day now. Anyhow, Amy and two of our friends went to the Mercury Bar for my fourth beer school. This time the topic was cask-aged beers. Although most of the beers were not my favorites--the exceptions coming from Stone and Hitachino Nest--it was still a great time. Here's what we sampled.

  1. Firestone Walker Brewing - Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale
  2. Hitachino Nest - Belgian Brown matured in shochu casks
  3. Stone Brewing - Arrogant Bastard Ale
  4. Stone Brewing - Arrogant Bastard Ale Aged in Oak Casks
  5. Brouwerij Bavik - Flanders Oud Bruin
  6. Brouwerij Verhaeghe - Flanders Red Ale
  7. Dogfish Head Brewery - Palo Santo Marron Brown Ale
  8. Allagash Brewing Co. - Curieux
  9. North Coast Brewing Co. - Grand Cru
  10. Uinta Brewing Co. - Cockeyed Cooper 
  11. Cismontane Brewing Co. - Black Dawn
  12. Shipyard Brewing Co. - Double ESB
All and all a fun and informative time...except for the idiots who had to be kicked out at the beginning of the tasting because the event was sold out and they didn't have tickets. You can't just stand in a sold out movie theater, why did they think they could just hang out during a private event. Duh.

Slice Into the Woods

Pay-For-Perfomance In Schools - Ack! I'm running late, so I'll make this quick. Why are politicians so hell bent on this pay-for-performance bullshit? I hate to break it to people, but children are NOT widgets who you can mold into a compliance ratio. All kids are different and not all care about going to college. Sorry. We are not all the same and we are not all living under the same circumstances. When I went to school, there were some kids who were--let's face it--not going to perform as well as me on most tests. The reverse was true as well. No matter how hard I tried, I would NEVER be as smart or high-achieving as my friend Jeff; I would also NEVER be able to beat him in any sort of athletic endevor even if my life depended on it, but that's another matter. It sucked, but it was the truth. There were also kids in my class that could care less about school. They had more pressing concerns such as eating, not getting their ass kicked by dear-old-dad that evening, or trying to avoid the thugs pushing them to try drugs. For those kids, school is not exactly a high priority. How is a teacher, whether good or bad--there are fewer bad teachers than politicians wish you to believe there are--supposed to bring a student to proficiency when that student has no problem telling them to go f_ themselves? Pay-for-performance is yet another push towards privatization and the dismantling of unions. Some may call my thoughts the soft bigotry of low expectations, but I prefer to think of it as the personal experience of the reality of actually having attended a public school. Pay-for-performance should be tied to the salespeople selling their measurably performing physical products (all of which are of nearly the exact same build) and not our over-burdoned teachers.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/9/2012

(Sung to the tune of Pulp's "Common People")

He's really mean, and he's pissed with Rot grudge
That Arcane d_bag holds Swamp Thing's world hostage
He's just that kind of guy

You think he's through? Ask Buddy Baker
Arcane chumps shake their fetid gross Rot money makers
But that's fine
Are you ready for heavy groovy times? Donist said

"You wanna read great comics, people?"
"You wanna see what great comics have in store for you"
"Try to sleep after these comics, people"
Ever had your heart crushed by comics, people? It's true.
Well let me tell you
I said, "Sweet Tooth is for you"

Ack! What is going on here? I just got into the Donist World corporate Mom's basement office and Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO, has banners, hats and buttons strewn about saying "Obie for President - 2016." <sigh> Apparently, he will be running against challenger Tulip, who is Obie's sister and my dog as well as Donist World marketing director, administrative assistant, party planner, editor and food taster (???). Yup. There's the "Tulip for President - 2016." Criminy. Not only do I have to live in a politically divided country, I have to put up with a politically divided basement office. Sitting on my desk is a flyer--well-made by the way and pleasing to the eyes--running a negative campaign against Obie. It states that he is all about "Big Two" superhero comics and that he doesn't give a shake of his non-existent tail to the considerations of the indies or creator owned. It also says that he wants to pull kibble from the mouths of middle class dogs under the guise of trickle-down kibble economics and that he barfs too much. Obie is saying that Tulip is a comics snob with no appreciation of our founding comics fathers, and that she wants a free ride by taking from him to give to puppies who don't want to take the time to be potty trained. Obie's negative campaign flyer also says that Tulip loves to hog all of the toys and not share them with him. As I sort out this mess and determine how much all of this nonsense has depleted the Donist World coffers, have a look a this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sweet Tooth 39...
Sweet Tooth #39 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics Imprint. Oh my expletive. I can't believe he expletive-ing did that. Actually, expletive, yes I can believe he did that. We expletive-ing knew it was coming with all the dream sequences and stuff. Expletive. Expletive. I mean...just expletive. With only one more issue to go on one of the best books to hit the stands in the past decade, I don't know what to expect and as apprehensive as I am to crack open next months final issue, I know it will be at the top of my stack. Expletive-ing expletive, this issue was expletive-ing expletive-ly expletive-ed. Oh man. Keep your mitts off Bobby, Lemire!
Jepperd realizes too late that Abbot's initial attack was a diversion as he and Singh rush to rescue Gus from Abbot's clutches. With a gun to Gus's head and clearly with the upper hand, Abbot sticks the knife in deeper by revealing that Jepperd's son Buddy is still alive. Jepperd has a choice: Gus or Buddy. Abbot didn't account for everything though. Chaos from an unexpected source erupts as Abbot flees into the base leaving Jepperd to save his family from the dog boys. Jepperd, terribly injured, pursues Abbot under the base and into to the tomb of the animal people for the final confrontation with the man who has made everyone's life hell.
<sob> <phew> I need a cigarette and I've never even tried smoking. Okay, let me pull myself together and wrap this up. Lemire has spent the entirety of his exceptional run on this book making you love and care for each of his characters. With each terrible event and situation they have been forced to endure, Gus, Jepperd, Bobby, and the rest have left me eagerly waiting to see what comes next, praying these people would make it out okay. Some do. Others don't. It's difficult to watch some of the scenes play out, but this is a harsh world that is wonderfully developed and written from the heart. Lemire's unique artistic style was shocking at first, but now I can't imagine this comic looking any other way (unless Matt Kindt is stepping in for an issue or two). This series has been emotional and at times tough to read, but that's what makes Sweet Tooth truly great. I am dying to see how everything wraps up, but I can almost guarantee I will be reading the final issue while covering my eyes and peeking between my fingers. Sweet Tooth is the perfect example of why I love comic books. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Swamp Thing #14
Swamp Thing #14 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Yanick Paquette, published by DC Comics. I half expected this issue to begin with a caption box stating "Call me Alec," but Moby Rot aside (check the cover), the second installment in "Rot World: The Green Kingdom" sets Swamp Thing on a course to destroy Arcane. Last week's annual didn't quite pick up where issue 13 left off and actually--despite some inconsistencies--falls chronologically somewhere near the middle of this month's offering. Regardless of the annual's timeline (still buy it!) and this issue's missing characters (Carrotbeard, Knothead and Stewart...probably not their real names), Swamp Thing continues to be my favorite New 52 title as the Rot World saga becomes more terrifying.
The last pocket of green is under seige by the Roteen Titans who are on the verge of defeating Swamp Thing and his newfound allies. As an infected Superboy prepares to deliver the death blow, Alec taps into the full power of the Parliament of Trees and literally stomps the opposition. Abigail has somehow survived the plane crash and looks to find and kill her uncle. Alec decides to take the fight directly to the Parliament of Decay, and Deadman agrees to accompany him claiming there might be a weapon capable of killing the Rot on contact. The heroes set sail on a dead sea for Gotham and run into Aquaman's unlikely replacement.
I cannot imagine something more horrific than riding in a small boat with immense monstrosities  lurking below and Snyder captures this fear perfectly. He also delivers an enraged avatar of the Green, leaving you feeling our hero's pain as he sets out on his hero's journey to find a mighty weapon, to save the love of his life, and to defeat an undying evil. Snyder's Swamp Thing contains everything I adored in my much-read D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths yet updates it to a modern, crueler time of bleak despair with little hope. Paquette is back on the book this month, providing his usual stunning artwork, especially the splash page depicting exactly what happens when you piss off a force of nature. The "Rot World" event lives up to the anticipation and hype put in place since the start of the series. As anxious as I am to see if Alec can succeed in his doomed quest, I also want to stay in this devastated world for a while just to see just how bad things have become. The hopelessness of the few survivors in Rot World is fascinating and I have no idea how Swamp Thing can persevere against these odds, which keeps me glued to the pages and biting my nails for issue 15. Make mine Green! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #14
Animal Man #14 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II, published by DC Comics. Today's Donist World is brought to you by the letter "D," as in "despair." At least that seems to be the case after reading this week's comic books, but you know what, folks? That is a-okay by me, as all three books were a heck of a miserable good time. Oh, I almost forgot...this month's Animal Man is sponsored by a bunch of DC characters who were last worked on by...what was his name again? Was it Rot Leifeld?
The last thing a young kid needs to see is her mother rot-wretching all over her grandmother. That's just the beginning of Maxine's problems as she meets another kid close to her age, but despite appearances, the boy comes from a tainted lineage (and apparently he can be in two places at once). It's a dang shame, but that's the past. The present finds Animal Man, Buddy Baker, in the Red Kingdom beset by agents of the Rot including powerhouses such as Hawk & Dove, Deathstroke, and Grifter (Hawkman was last month), all of whom are led by the mad magician Felix Faust. Fortunately (or is it unfortunately) Faust is merely there to deliver the message that Maxine is alive and well...and in Arcane's care. Buddy, Black Orchid, Beast Boy and Steel decide that if they are to have a chance of stopping the Rot and restoring order to the world, they will need to join up with Swamp thing and the Green. We learn a little bit about Black Orchid, but before she can spill her origin the apes come crashing in.
I have never been a fan of the whole "check it out, it's DC apes and the heroes are turning into monkeys" story lines. Don't get me wrong, having Grodd show up on occasion is fine, but it seems that every couple of years we get the heroes and apes stories. It ain't my bag, but for the Red Kingdom portion of Rot World, this is an instant when bringing in the apes/monkeys actually makes sense in Buddy's story. Lemire handles the many characters of this issue perfectly, leaving me curious to know more about Black Orchid and how she can be of both the Red and the Green, while keeping me sympathetic to just how lost Buddy is in this twisted world. Pugh has some fantastic action moments with the crowning page being the final splash. As I mentioned with Swamp Thing, I am 100% in for the "Rot World" ride and next month can't come soon enough. Make mine Red! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

This Past Tuesday - I'll keep this brief, but yes, I'm thrilled that Obama has won reelection against someone who is a businessman profiteer and servant of the corporations and not the people (corporations are NOT people). I'm also thrilled that 30 passed (this will not fix schools, merely stop things from getting worse and make sure my wife doesn't have 40+ students in a classroom. Much more needs to be done here to make the US once again competitive with the rest of the modernized world...charter schools are not the answer). I'm also glad that 32 went down in flames (protection for know, the unions that gave us sick leave, overtime, minimum wage, days off, unemployment insurance, disability, child labor laws, etc). All of this is great, but a lot needs to be done to fix this country. We'll see, but I'm more hopeful than if Romney had won.

Slice Into the Woods

How Many Vote Suppressors and Election Tamperers Are In Jail? - One I believe. Was it in Oregon? With all of the (failed) efforts to suppress people's votes and to turn people away from the polls (guess which groups those might be) through misinformation, and the breaking of Federal and State laws, why are those "true Americans" who attempted to rig our elections not awaiting sentencing? Whether it ended up being Obama (thank goodness it was) or Romney who won, NO ONE should be allowed to walk free if they were complicit in any sort of effort to take away a person's right to vote. Take Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) and his last minute "experimental" voting software patches, his fight to reduce voting hours, his voter ID nonsense, provisional ballots, ignoring court rulings and all the rest. Are there investigations pending? Are other instances of this type of behavior in other states (Florida) being investigated? I hope so. Letting these criminals get away with this crap just encourages this sort of behavior to escalate going forward.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/2/2012

(Sung to the tune of Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again")...joined in progress

An' here are comic books you need to own
Your LCS has 'em all it must be known
Rachel Rising's scary stuff if you're alone
Have you made up your mind?
Stop wasting so much time

Captain Marvel's gonna fly on to your rescue
A time travelin' gal oh can't you see
But then you got Swamp Thing
Pissed off about Rot days
Wanna know what it means?
Happy and Rachel are the indies of your dreams

No, you do not get to drink
from the Adam Warlock
superhero pint glass.
If one truth has existed since time immemorial it is that you do not drink from another man's Adam Warlock superhero pint glass. Nope. You don't do it. Not only is such a vile act a slap in the face, it's just kind of bad form. It's rude.
Speaking of rude, my apologies, I forget myself. Hello, folks, I'm Donist and welcome to Donist World. I'm joined this week, as ever, by my friends' Boston terrier, Obie, who is also CFO here at Donist World. I'm also joined by Obie's sister, Tulip, who is my dog and Director of Marketing/Party Planning/Administrative Assistant/Psychic (<sigh> seriously? time to change her business card again). Currently, Obie's here somewhere, but he's in hiding. You see, Obie poured himself a pint of dog water in my Adam Warlock superhero pint glass, and your guess is as good as mine as to where he got the dog water from (A toilet? A dog bowl? A puddle?). All I know is I'm once again dragging out the broom of reprimanding and having to correct my CFO for his behavior. My mom's basement The Donist World corporate offices are not that big, so I'll find him sooner or later and...HEY! Tulip! Bad dog/Director of Marketing. That's my Adam Warlock superhero pint glass. Drink out of your own dang bowl. Ugh...alrighty, broom of reprimanding for everyone then. While I take care of this insubordinate behavior, have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rachel Rising #12
Rachel Rising #12 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Shhh...quiet. Can you hear it, children? The questions, the curiosities, they're deepening. After the revelations of the past few issues, Moore's Rachel Rising settles and returns to the slower, tense pace of the first few issues, as new mysteries surface, and the creeping horror of the series grows. This is by design. Never fear. This is not Lost, with its boundless unanswered questions or "it's up to you to decide what happened" moments. No, no, no. Moore knows where this is all going and all will be answered in you fret, and worry, and gasp, and hesitantly turn the page until the next startling reveal. Rachel Rising is horror comics done right.
Ahhh...looky, looky who's awake. Good morning, afternoon and night, Zoe Mann, it seems you survived possession by the demon Malus and death by slit wrists only to be confronted by a dead woman risen. Too bad. It looks like the very demon no longer inhabiting your body had also been inhabiting Rachel's friend Jet, and she/he has plans for you once you're a teensie bit older. And Zoey? Don't worry about Malus, he's already moved onto a different body; you'd appreciate the humor of the situation if you only knew. Then there's the other dead girl, you know, Rachel. She's dug herself free from the ancient mass grave Lilith put her in and unearthed some answers about the witch in the process.
Okay. I have no idea what Rachel learned, why Malus was in Zoe and apparently also in Jet, or why Malus was happy after his conversation with Zoe in this issue, but you want to know something, folks? Who cares? We're not supposed to know, at least not yet. Moore has done a wonderful job of leaving the reader with just enough questions to keep them coming back for more, and then socking it to 'em with a barrage of startling revelations. The fantastic part of Rachel Rising is that the "truths" deepen the unnerving feeling that something is terribly wrong in Manson and each opened door strengthens that tension. The art and storytelling are beyond beautiful, and Moore's characterization left me sad over possibly losing a loved character--for the second time. You can't go wrong with Moore's intelligent and captivating take on the horror genre. Rachel Rising is not just one of the best creator-owned comics on the stand, it's one of the best comics period. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing
Annual #1
Swamp Thing Annual #1 - Ahhh...Now can you feel it, children? That cool breeze, a breeze that flows at the mention of a single word to touch an exposed neck and carries down a spine once rigid with resolve. You know the word of which I speak...say it with me. "Annual." That's right, that which has historically been Donist kryptonite has reared its head yet again. Riding in with a $4.99 price tag, but with 38 pages of material, I held my breath and took the plunge into that which has generally left me less than satisfied most of my comic book reading life. But hark! DC's New 52 has managed to break the curse of the annual, with the releases of Batman, Animal Man and the pretty darn good Swamp Thing. 
The book opens with a scene that has to come after next week's Swamp Thing #14, as we are in the middle of a conversation that is clearly happening after issue 13's to-be-continued battle with a Rot-infested Teen Titans and after Swamp Thing makes like the Jolly Green Giant. This minor detail aside, Alec learns from members of the Parliament of Trees (Carrotbeard, Knothead and Stewert...probably not their real names) that Abigail Arcane, the love of his life, is dead and the Parliament did nothing to stop it. From there Alec learns of an earlier meeting with Abigail that he no longer remembers as a result of exposure to an odd Rot flower. The Parliament ancients tell the tale of Alec and Abigail's love at first site and their brief time together before Anton Arcane makes his first attempt on Alec's life. We also get to see a brief panel--and second mention--of a vital character (and one who I would love to write a story about) to the Swamp Thing mythos. Tired of having his life tampered with in the past and present/future, an enraged Swamp Thing vows to destroy Anton once and for all.
Not bad, not bad at all. Even if this was a regular installment in the series, I would have very much enjoyed this issue. The jump in events did add a disservice to the overall story, and I suspect that it actually falls more after issue 14 than issue 13, so I'm confused by the timeliness of this story coming out on October 31st. But the clarity comes when you take into account that October was a 5-week month for DC and they needed to put something out to maintain a shelf presence. Still... Anyhow, Snyder and Tuft, aside from a couple of awkward dialogue moments, put together an interesting and well-told story that successfully dances between the Wein and Moore years of the series, while still maintaining its new take on the character. The real star of this book, however, is Becky Cloonan who beautifully illustrates a powerful Swamp Thing, a horrific Arcane, and a cute-as-a-button Abigail. After reading this annual, I would love nothing more than to see more of Cloonan's take of the Green, Rot and also the Red. With the Swamp Thing Annual, I have to adjust my view on annuals in general with this fun--although misplaced--addition to the Rot World storyline. A good story and the addition of Cloonan's art kicks this issue up to the status of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Captain Marvel #6
Captain Marvel #6 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Emma Rios, published by Marvel Comics. Interesting character, check. Cool powers, check. Striking costume that is also functional, check. Extra helpings of ass-kickin' goodness, double-check. Captain Marvel is one of three titles that I currently buy from Marvel (Hawkeye and Daredevil being the other two) and after this stellar wrap-up to the first storyline, I'm definitely around for the what's to come next.
Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) and Helen Cobb have traveled in time to the exact time and place where Carol first received her powers via a Kree (humanoid alien race) "wishing machine." As the original Captain Marvel arrives to deal with rogue Kree operative, Yon-Rogg, Carol works out that Helen, the Helen from 2012, was the one who put her in the time traveling plane in the first place. 2012 Helen, wants Carol to decide if she truly wants the power and privilege of being Captain Marvel or to turn her back on it all to have a regular life as a pilot. A new-new Captain Marvel is born, and it's a race to take control of the time traveling plane. A note from issue one reappears to wrap up the story and a few questions are left to hang.
What a fun issue. DeConnick continues to let the character she is quickly making her own, Carol Danvers, define just who both she and her alias Captain Marvel actually are in the world. With the close of the first storyline, we're also left wondering if Helen Cobb still has a bit of the old magic or not and see why present-day Helen has been such a close friend and mentor to Carol. We also see what a tough spitfire Helen was back in her younger days. Emma Rios again provides the artwork and it is gorgeous, both energetic and full of emotion at the same time--dig that Captain Marvels fight page and that plane I'm not exactly sure if Rios is still on after this issue, but if not I hope to see her art on another book in the near future (I wish it was on one of my stories by golly). Captain Marvel continues to be an exciting comic that absolutely requires me to keep my foot in the Marvel door. If you're new to the series, I'm sure a TPB will be out soon, but why wait? If you can, track down the six issues, you have a month before issue seven hits the stands--or is it two weeks, this one double shipped in October, but who's complaining? Compelling, well-written storytelling. I can't wait to see what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Happy #2
Happy #2 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Darick Robertson, published by Image Comics. Grant Morrison's first creator-owned work for Image sees its second issue as Nick Sax seeks to escape from a mob hospital and avoid coming under the sharp knife of a sadistic interrogator seeking a certain password that Nick may or may not know. Enter Happy, the tiny, blue,  cartoony, flying unicorn that only Nick can see and hear, but who just so happens to know information Nick can't possibly know. As it turns out, Happy is the imaginary friend of a little girl named Hailey, and he seeks Nick's help in rescuing her from a deranged serial-killing Santa who is holding her captive. If Happy can convince Nick to stop putting himself in harms way for a second, the ex-cop might have a chance of doing some real good for once. Morrison and Robertson's expletive-ridden, crude, shocking tale continues to be everything I could have hoped for in a comic from these two amazing storytellers. Now at the halfway point of this four-issue mini, I expect things to accelerate to the crazy levels Morrison is known for, but with so much going on, I hope that two more issues will be enough to provide a satisfying ending to this disturbingly fun tale. Bah...who am I kidding? Given the creators involved, I know we'll be fine. Definitely worth checking out if you're fine with blood and gore, some good down-home cussing, and an engaging story. RECOMMENDED!

Gettin' Stuff Done - Lot's of stuff going on. I finished what is my final-final draft of my first novel and I will not be chipping away at it anymore, unless of course someone of influence tells me to take out the ol' hammer and chisel again; query letters to go out in mid-December. I will be back to putting the smack down on my kid's book in the next two weeks for a ruthless third draft. By Saturday I will have five five-page comic story ideas to narrow down for a pitch I was invited to make for a project that I hold in high esteem and on a subject that weighs heavily on my heart. Finally, another script I hold near and dear is about to be illustrated by an immensely talented artist you will all one day soon recognize. All this while working to define the color of my parachute (how's that for vague?). As always, very busy, but everything I have been working on for the past four years are nearing completion. Exciting times.

Slice Into the Woods

Voter Deception, Alabama Style -
Why is this nonsense not illegal? Flagrant misleading attempts by politicians and corporations to steer voters astray have been running rampant for decades, but these efforts seem to become more and more nefarious as election day draws near. In Alabama, a highly-deceptive amendment is on the bill to strip segregationist language from their 1901 constitution. I know, I know, "But Donist? What's wrong with that?" Stripping the ridiculous language is all fine and dandy--doesn't amount to much, really--but the deceptive nature of the amendment is that it puts back into effect language that says there is no right to free education in Alabama. This is clearly an attack on public education in the guise of "setting things right" despite how Amendment 4 sponsor, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur spins his intent. Again, I fail to see how it can be legal to put clearly misleading Amendments and Propositions to vote. They should be required to be called what they actually are, like the "I Don't Want To Pay My Taxes, Even If It Means Only Rich Folks Like Me Get a Shot at a Fulfilling Education Amendment." I am fine having my taxes pay for children (of all socioeconomic backgrounds) who I will never meet to receive a public education, just as I received my public education. The crusade to privatize education (School, Inc.) and strip union protection for our teachers is an evil I will never understand.