Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 12/7/2012

(Sung to the tune of some guy I don't know singing outside of BevMo "O Christmas Tree")

O comic books, o comic books
Swamp Thing's left me reeling
Poor Abigail, poor Abigail
Arcane's so gross it's hard dealing

This Hawkeye guy's so awesome dear
His arrow true so never fear
O comic books, o comic books
Madame Masque scares the ever-loving bejusus out of me with her cigarette dialogue and what she's gonna do to Kate...dang, son

O burning tie, o burning tie
Blast Furnace is so mental
O thieving guy, o thieving guy
Did he get that 'stache on rental

Obie? C'mon, man. It's not my fault Animal Man #15 didn't ship to our LCS. You need's not my fault!
Oh. Hi there Donist World readers. You've probably guessed that I'm attempting to talk Donist World CFO and my friends' Boston Terrier, Obie, back from the ledge of anger and blame, which he is so cruelly venting on me. You see, Obie is a fan of comics like all us (all three of us) here at the Donist World offices. First and foremost he's an Animal Man fan. Obie even went so far as to dye all of the white parts of his fur crimson in his anticipation of this week's release and to show his support of the animal kingdom known as the Red. All that I can say is it's kind of like when you see those crazy, shirtless, portly fellas all painted up at football games in snowy weather. Nuts, right? Only in Obie's case, he's in a warm home, sipping a dog-sized Irish coffee with a bowl of kibble nearby so he can enjoy the proper atmosphere for reading one's comics. He's also a bit surly over the fact that Tulip (his sister, my dog, and Donist World marketing director/party planner/administrative assistant/Adventure Timer) got her favorite book Swamp Thing with no problems. In fact, he's about as green with envy as she is green with the dye coloring the white parts of her fur. I think they look ridiculous and that they're a tad overly enthusiastic in their love of comic books. Plus they look more like Christmas tree ornaments than fans of the Red and Green, but since when has what I thought mattered to them? Anyhow, I'm going to ignore my not-really-gainfully-employed pets and help myself to some Irish coffee before this purple Hawkeye paint sweats off my shirtless and hairy chest. Criminy, it's hot in here.

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Hawkeye #5
Hawkeye #5 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Javier Pulido, published by Marvel Comics. Know what, bro? I love this series. Every panel of every page of every issue. Sure we're only a mere five issues into the tales of "Hawkguy," but each one has been a stellar, fun-filled, non-stop barrage of action, fantastic dialogue and character development, and pizza dogs. It almost seems as if this series was written with me in mind with the exception of pizza dog being some sort of a labrador instead of a Boston terrier. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. In summary, to clarify, to get down to the nitty gritty, and werd to the mother...yes, I love Hawkeye.
You know you're really living the highlife when your five-star hotel room includes "tied to a chair" and "beaten senseless" vacation packages, but when they throw in a "ninja attack and turndown" service (this ain't cheap, folks) you know you've got something special. Actually, Clint Barton (Hawkeye) doesn't know this, but falling to your inevitable death can take the enjoyment out of such ritzy amenities. Thank goodness he's got friends in fast places. Kate Bishop (Hawkeye...Hawkeye II? Lady Hawkeye? Hawkgal?) gets caught posing as Madame Masque, with the real deal NOT being happy about being tied up at all. Masque gives one of the scariest "this is what I'm going to do to you" moments I have ever read in a comic book. Hawkeye and Hawkeye seek to retrieve the video that has the damning evidence on it, but first have to beat the bejesus out of some evil pajama-wearing henchmen. Follow all of this with some gnarly downplayed scenes of ouchness that makes me wince with each bloodstained step, and the videotape is explained. <whew>
When the first panel of a comic has the hero tied to a chair and plummeting to his death after jumping through a hotel window, you know you can expect some action, and action is what you get. Fraction has transitioned Hawkeye, or rather Clint Barton the man, from a superhero character that I have always thought was cool, to a fully-developed character I actually care about. I'm invested in Hawkeye who is at one moment relatable, another has him gaining my sympathy and another shows me why Clint Barton is a hero in the first place. To a slightly lesser degree is Kate Bishop, who only needs a little more time to shine..."Special" issue of Hawkeye focused on Kate and written by Fraction? Huh, huh? C'mon...
Javier Pulido again does a wonderful job of stepping in for David Aja, especially in the silhouette scenes against the Madripoor night sky and with his telling facial expressions. But the key transitioning element between the two artists is Matt Hollingsworth, whose colors tie all the issues together with their "Hawkguy" look. Hollingsworth's colors are crucial to the tone of the series and the minimalist-yet-tense coloring of the Madame Masque I'm-going-to-kill-you-both scenes stand out as both striking and cool. I do miss Aja on this book and I also miss his Spotify Hawkeye playlists and hope that he continues posting the links to those on his blog; he returns next month.
My main disappointment with this series is that there will not be a TPB available in time for Christmas; I really wanted to give it to my brother as a gift. Other than that slight problem, there is no such thing as "enough" of Fraction's Hawkeye, a comic every superhero fan should be reading. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Blast Furnace V.1:
Recreational Thief
Blast Furnace Volume 1: Recreational Thief - Everythinged by Ryan Browne and published by Ryan Browne. You bet your sweet patootie if there ain't no better feelin' than gettin' a successfully funded Kickstarter comic sent right to your doorstep. Not only did I receive a nearly-manga-sized book of the first year (hopefully more are coming), but my copy had a sketch in the interior, a post card with unique art, and a sticker of the front cover. As insane and funny--and oftentimes bewildering in the best of ways--as this comic is, it's also one hell of a beautiful book with professional production through and through. Now to explain what it's about...
Okay, here goes nothing. Blast Furnace is a guy who loves to steal. If it's not bolted to the floor, you might as well call what-ever-it-was gone. With his trademark mustache, shades and flaming tie, Blast Furnace will rob you blind.
BF begins the tale by busting into the non-descript warehouse known as "Non-Descript Warehouse"where he kills a guard for no reason, stumbles upon some talking ostrich workers, and has to unleash his electro-stache on a terminator-style business man. Then there's a flashback with a talking bear cub, a kindly owl who murders some rabbits,  a cursing dragon bartender, and a tribal warrior named "He Who Looks Exactly Like a Horse But Is Actually Just a Hideously Deformed Man" This is impossible. You can read this mind-boggling awesomeness for free on Browne's website, and then get back to me with your thoughts of what this book is about. Don't forget to buy a copy of the book, though.
From the website: "1 full year ÷ 5 pages a week + 0 planning = 1 sweet ass story." Browne is completely correct. The chaos that is Blast Furnace was a "blast" to read. For something that he put no planning into, I found myself lingering on some pages wondering if I actually just saw Owlice behead a Rabbit police officer or not, while marveling at some of the insane sound effects. Trust your ol' pal, Donist, on this one. Please give it at least 10 pages and if you have a good sense of humor, or you're insane, or you're completely messed up, or (d) all of the above, then I think you just might dig this experiment-gone-right. Like what you see? If so, then support this creator-owned project and buy a copy. Treat yo' self! If you want even more awesome craziness, then you must check out Browne's other comic God Hates Astronauts, which I absolutely love and will be on Kickstarter in January 2013. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing #15
Swamp Thing #15 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics. Groove on this month's homage to the Swamp Thing (original series) #7 cover, peoples. Go on, groove on it. Pretty cool, and a reminder that the current run of my decades-long love of Swamp Thing contains the best elements of the Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson run and the treasured Alan Moore, John Totleben and Steven Bissette issues. "Rotworld: The Green Kingdom" continues to be exactly the horrific tale starring one of my all time favorite comic book characters I was hoping to read.
William Arcane, the young warrior of the Rot, has been promoted to the position of "King of the Dead Seas." Swamp Thing and Deadman don't stand a chance of fighting against one who controls the carcasses of all the creatures beneath the waves. Luckily, Deadman has a plan, although it is a bit final in regard to what he calls life. Abigail is in her Uncle/Father's clutches and learns a horrific secret of what he has been up to in his castle fortress. She's not happy with what she learns and luckily good ol' Uncle/Father Anton is there to listen to her complaints before she sets off to find the Parliament of Rot. Finally, Alec finds Batman, who's not entirely himself, and an unexpected ally makes their presence known.
Snyder excels at moments of creeping horror such as when Arcane lurks before Abigail or when a sea teeming with dead sea creatures prepares to break upon Swamp Thing and Deadman. He also provides each character with their own voice and personality, with most of the emotional impact of this issue carried by Abby, who is far more than a mere damsel in distress or a love interest. Hell, Snyder's Abigail is such a strong character I would love to see a mini-series focused entirely on her life growing up in the shadow of her twisted Uncle/Father while having to cope with her power over the Rot. Of course his depiction of the title character ain't half bad, either.
Marco Rudy fills in again on art for Yanick Paquette, delivering a few great closeup shots, but I found some of the pages confusing as all get out, especially pages two and three, where I had to stare at the images and attempt to figure out what was actually happening. Same with the critical action panels occurring on pages 14 and 15; I'm still not exactly certain what happened. Rudy is definitely a talented artist, but trying to match Paquette's style made reading sections of this comic difficult and some of the coloring did not help matters. All confusion aside, this issue of Swamp Thing was Rottenly beautiful in its look and "Rotworld: The Green Kingdom" has me biting my nails for what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Dave Brubeck Passes - I know, I know...what the heck does this have to do with comics, Donist? Not much, but anytime an artistic, influential creator dies, regardless of the delivery system used for their passion, the world is left with a void. Thankfully, Brubeck lives on through his vast body of work. Have a listen to the must own Time Out and see what this great Jazz performer was all about.

My Missing Animal Man -'s safe to say that every two to three weeks, Diamond invoices my LCS for comics they neglect to actually ship on time, causing me to wait about two weeks for the missed books to actually arrive. Usually, I'm missing The Sixth Gun, Sweet Tooth or an Image book, but this week they decided to mess up with Animal Man, which I always love to read immediately after Swamp Thing. Nope, not this week. Yes, I could go digital, but I love print and will never pay full cover price for access (not ownership) to something that I paid for. Oh well, I guess this is what happens when monopolies exist.

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