Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/4/2013

(Sung to the tune of Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now")

Obie behave
Get your paws off the petty cash box
There's not much to pay
Again shorted books now?

And so we're
Tryin' to come up with a tight plan
Missed I Vampire is bummin' me out, man
Plenty of stuff to read this winter's night

And I see the tall stack of comics
Springing forth from the cold ground
And then I read, Jack Joseph's alone now
Underwater Welder's a great book I've found

Hello Donist Worldists and Happy New Year. Today it's just Tulip (my Boston terrier and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/homebrewer) and I manning the ship as Obie (Tulip's brother, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) is out to recover from a dog attack, but I'll get to that in Slice Into the Woods. For now, Tulip and I are left with a light week after being shorted on I, Vampire at the LCS. Seeing as how this happens all too often, Tulip put on her Holmes hat, put a pipe in her mouth and grabbed a magnifying glass to get to the bottom why we were shorted this one book that we were looking forward to reading. Our preliminary investigation and eye witness interviews mentioned that I, Vampire did indeed arrive at the LCS, yet mysteriously, a copy never made it into the Pull of the Donist. Iiiiinnnnnterresssssstttting. Anyhow, Tulip's on the case and...hey! What are you doing? Where did all those damn ants come from? Crap! Tulip's investigation has actually found a trail of ants going from the front door of the Donist World secret headquarters, across the living room floor conference room floor and into Mom's the kitchen to climb the trashcan to get at some discarded salmon skin. Yeah, gross. Tulip's actually trying to burn the ants with her puppy sleuth magnifying glass, but there are some factors working against her: it's 6:00 AM, the sun hasn't yet risen, we're indoors. Oh well, I'll leave her to it and she can get back to the mystery of our comics being given to other customers later. For now, let's crack into one of the books in the recently constructed holiday bounty of comics looming in the corner. It's ADVENTURE TIME!...sorry, I've been watching too much of that groovy show. Let's try that again. It's time for...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Underwater Welder GN
Underwater Welder GN - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Top Cow. I suspect that when many people hear the name Jeff Lemire nowadays, they think of Animal Man with the Red and the Rot, Justice League Dark with Constantine and that groovy purple lady, or possibly even Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. There were even those Superboy books from before the New 52 (or is it the Current 52? The post-graduate 52? Semi-retired 52?). Far fewer people know of his tremendous Sweet Tooth that featured Lemire as writer/artist. From there, however, after shaving off a few more readers you have those who read Nobody or the must-read Essex County
It's actually Essex County that best describes my feelings on Lemire as a comic book writer. The second story ("Ghost Stories") follows the lives of a pair of brothers who love hockey. They live, eat and breath the stuff. In fact, the sport of hockey is key to this story. I don't like all. This of course includes hockey, yet here I was reading a story about something I could give a flying fig less about, and it was engrossing. I couldn't put it down. The story--and the other two as well, let's be honest--brought this thick-skinned Donist to tears. It was beautiful. From that point, I knew I was going to follow this Lemire and his work, which lead me to the recently released triumph of The Underwater Welder.
Jack Joseph is a Canadian underwater welder who works far below the surface repairing oil rigs. Within the embrace of the cold and the dark, he has solitude, quiet. The world is his own. Back home, his real home, his wife and his unborn son await his return. Impending fatherhood has pushed Jack further and further away from his family, but then one evening below the waves something mystical happens that will bring back the past and uncover hidden memories and lost treasures.
<sigh> <sniffle> Okay, Donist, you can do brave. Lemire has created an emotionally charged mystery of sorts that at first reveals bits of the past already known by Jack Joseph, but as the story progresses, the reader and the Jack begin to experience his discoveries together. You start by observing Jack, but over the course of reading you and Jack are one and the same. It's easy to put yourself in Jack's shoes, even if you don't have a wife or impending fatherhood, it's the feeling of being overwhelmed with life that makes this story so applicable to the reader, no matter what their situation might be. Who hasn't felt lost and wanted to escape to better times, or at least times perceived as being better. Lemire makes it all too easy to sympathize with Jack, which is not an easy thing to do, but getting readers to love his characters is this creator's strength. The unique style of Lemire's illustrations only cement an attachment to the story. He knows when to throw in an abundance of panels with plenty of word balloons such as when Jack is talking with his wife--the times when Jack is feeling overwhelmed--and when to be economical with panels, such as when Jack is underwater or remembering his father. Just look at the beautiful splash pages toward the beginning that show Jack at peace. By the end, the artwork alone dictates the state of Jack's mind in a brilliant way. Art and story combine beautifully and let you know just where this man stands.
No superheroes. No Rot monsters. No robots. None of that. Haunting, relatable, and compelling, Underwater Welder is a look at one man's life, and the things weighing heavily on his soul. Much like Essex County this is a real world story only with some fantastic elements that are sure to go straight for your heart. Damn you, Jeff Lemire. See what you done? You gone made me mess up my makeup again...thank you for that. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Golly Gee Willikers! How
Will we ever get to these?
Binders Full of Women - Just kidding.* How about a monumental stack of comics and graphic novels instead? Well, Donist World readers, that's what I got. Some are from Amy, many are from the 20 comics I sold back for credit to Anyhow, here is what awaits to be read beside my bed, on weeks that are short, I'll read 'em instead (poet and didn't know it).
  • Berserk# 36 - Been reading this for a while. Will talk about soon. Love the Anime, love the manga, love the recent OVA.
  • Blacksad: A Silent Hell HC - The first one was amazing. I expect more of the same.
  • Chew Omnivore Edition V. 1 HC - I've been threatening to get this for a while. I love this series and it deserves to be on my shelf as a HC. Now to get volume two.
  • Cloak and Dagger (1983) #1-4 - I read this as a young Donist. I wonder if it holds up to the test of time. Originally lost in the great "Must-sell-comic-collection-so-I-can-eat" days of college.
  • Daisy Cutter - A Kazu Kibuishi (The Amulet) Kickstarter that I helped fund. Can't wait to read this early work now back in print.
  • Dancer TPB - Nathan Edmondson is a fantastic writer. The Light and the Who is Jake Ellis? minis were great and I know this will be as well.
  • Dr. Strange: The Oath #1-5 - Been wanting to read this again for a long time. I remember this as being a touching look at a doctor with mystical abilities and the friendship he has with his manservant. Huh?
  • Finding Gossamyr #2 - A great first issue--I need to talk about it soon--and this one has much promise.
  • Hercules (1982) #1-4 - I read this as a young Donist. I wonder if it holds up to the test of time. Originally lost in the great "Must-sell-comic-collection-so-I-can-eat" days of college.
  • Hercules (1984) #1-4 - I read this as a young Donist. I wonder if it holds up to the test of time. Originally lost in the great "Must-sell-comic-collection-so-I-can-eat" days of college.
  • Infinite Horizon - A retelling of the Odyssey in "modern times."
  • Jimmy Olsen One Shot (not pictured) - Loved this when I first gave it a read. Nick Spencer wrote a great story here.
  • Metabarons Ultimate Collection HC - I know very little about the Metabarons, but until now the series has seemed a tad impenetrable. Really looking forward to reading this one.
  • Neonomicon TPB - Alan Moore and adult-oriented Lovecraftian horror. Sure, sign me up.
  • Pride and Joy #1-4 - An early Garth Ennis story that I had forgotten about and I'm anxious to be reacquainted.
  • Richard Stark's Parker "The Score" HC - Darwyn Cooke...what else do I need to say? This is the third book in a beautiful series. Must own material.
  • Skullkickers V.1 Treasure Trove Edition HC - Jim Zub rules. He was great for showing up at Comics Experience a while back, and his gut-checking blog posts on the reality of the comic book world is enlightening (and occasionally depressing). Skullkickers is a blast as well. Support this guy!
  • Superman #712 - For dog lovers who feel like mugging themselves emotionally. Brilliantly written, but so sad I could barely tell my wife about it without sobbing...seriously.
  • Underwater Welder - See above.
  • Who Is Jake Ellis? - Again with Nathan Edmondson. Great spy series. I'm currently reading the followup Where is Jake Ellis? and loving that. This one was fantastic the first time around.
  • Wolverine: Debt of Death (not pictured) - I just read this and it was good, but the David Aja art is phenomenal and showcases his earlier style. Worth seeking out.

*sidenote - who has "binders full of women" nowadays? Be honest. A computer file folder named "Sports Statistics" full of women, sure, but binders? So very '80s.

Homebrewing - I'm totally new to this. There I said it. You see, the Wife-o'-the-Donist (kind of like a Will-O'-the-Wisp only way better) gave me a Brooklyn Brewshop Everyday IPA home brew kit. How cool is that?! Anyways, this past Tuesday I went at it over the course of 3-4 hours of stirring and temperature taking and measuring and applying hops, all in the hopes that this lil' alchemist-at-heart could create pure liquid gold. Some things I learned: an 8" strainer is too small, three large pots work better than two large and a medium, a nylon grain bag would be immensely helpful, I should have probably put a lid on the pot after "mashing in." Tomorrow I will install the air-lock and probably bring the 1-gallon fermenter into the house for a slightly warmer environment of continual darkness where it will sit for two weeks. Then I will bottle and let sit for an additional two weeks. Then I will enjoy (hopefully). In the end, even if I create a new life form (at the worst), or some truly icky tasting stuff (bad case scenario), or something wonderful, it was a great learning experience and one that I will attempt again very soon. Looks like I found a hobby for in between writing comics, novels and blogs.

Slice Into the Woods

Obie Was Attacked By a Pit Bull - No, I wish I was kidding. My friend was out walking Obie the other night and a young pit bull on the loose charged up to him. Obie is not exactly keen on other dogs and snapped at the pit bull, but before things could get ugly, my friend yanked Obie up into his arms. Not to be deterred, the pit jumped up and bit Obie's ass. A few stitches later, a cone, some meds and Obie was back home. Unfortunately, he then ripped a stitch and will now have a battle scar. I feel terrible for the poor little guy and for my friend who had to go through this crap and pay the emergency vet bills.
"Where was the owner?" you might ask. Inside his house. You see, this is the second time this has happened. I am not one of those "Pit bulls are evil" people. They, like all other dogs, can be lovely gentle animals. The failure is with the moron who owns the dog. "He keeps getting out" is not an excuse for poor pet ownership. He needs to exercise his dog, secure it inside and out as opposed to letting it run loose on a busy street (again, moron) and decide if pet ownership is something he is ready to handle. I'm certain there are other incidents, how could there not be? Poor Obie though. A back leg that dislocates if he runs too hard and now a dog-bitten's hoping for a speedy recovery.

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