Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/25/2013

(Sung to the the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lookin' Out My Back Door")

Just got home from my LCS, bolt lock the front door, oh yes
Shut off the dang phone, no one best bother me
All week I've been waitin', but now I am a readin'
Chew, Chew, Chew is the book I adore

Ice giants get their asses beat, Diana's boots are kinda neat
Check out Orion's bucket head, maggot eyes is gross
Toni Chu I'll miss ya, spontaneous combustion
Chew, Chew, Chew is the book I adore

Good morning, dudes. Cowabunga, man. My name is Donist and I'm here at my mom's basement the Donist World corporate offices with Donist World CFO extraordinaire, Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) as well as Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/retro-soundscaper, Tulip (my Boston terrier and Obie's sister). Obie is back to work(ish) after his bad encounter with that escaped pit bull last month and in honor of the nostalgia review below, we are having '80s day here at the office. I am wearing my hammer pants along with a Metallica "Ride the Lightning" t-shirt and playing with a "Noid" doll. Tulip is wearing a very stylish fanny pack loaded with a walkman and listening to a mixtape of OMD, AC-DC and Kim Carnes, while chewing on some Bubble Yum bubblegum...hold on a sec. <give it to me, no, no, drop it, drop it.> Correction, while not chewing on Bubble Yum. Obie on the other hand is wearing some Terminator-style shades, sipping a wine cooler and wearing a Sid Viscious T-Shirt. Ugh...hold on again. <Obie, give me the wine cooler. Give it to me. Drop it, drop it. C'mon! Here, destroy this E.T. doll instead.> Anyhow, we'd all be totally stoked for sure, if you primed up some bitchin' Dire Straits or some Dokken and booked on over to...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Chew #31
Chew #31 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. Game over, man. Game over. This is it, folks. We just dipped our toes into the deep end of the pool that is the comic book series known as Chew. With the beginning of this new five-issue storyline, we are at the halfway point of this amazing series and can no longer say that there are more issues to come than have already passed. <sob> "Donist, be brave." <phew> "Here goes..." Anyhow, this is like that summer love from all those years back. You know, the one where you're scheduled to head off to become an Alaskan king crab fisherman in Utah and she/he is set to be indicted on multiple counts of counterfeiting one dollar bills (y'all). You know it's coming to an end, but you can't bail now. You just can't. You have to see this through, and maybe, just maybe, something will change and you will get more time together. You can't stop true love. There's always more Poyo stories to tell (read the letters column, yo), this universe is ripe for picking up side stories of other characters,'re right. We should just enjoy the time we have and live for the now...this day...this moment. "I love you, Chew."
Tony Chu's family wants blood and they want Tony to do the spillin'. After last issues horrifying and tragic death of Tony's sister Antonelle (Toni) at the hands of the psychopathic, cibopathic serial killer, the Chu family has more than enough justification for their anger. Unfortunately for Tony, this isn't the first death of someone near and dear he has suffered. Thank goodness for the kindness of friends as Tony's partner John Colby has pulled some strings (or is it g-strings...of the male kind) to have them reinstated to full FDA status. With righteous anger and the authority to do something about it, Tony and John take on their latest case in which the large-and-in-charge are spontaneously combusting; they're not going to be happy when they find out who is behind the heinous crime.
Leave it to Layman and Guillory to take a sad, somber toned beginning to a comic and twist it into a hilarious and bizarre new storyline, all while not diminishing the tragedy of the previous issue. This dual-covered book had me at first wondering who had died on the first cover and then stoked up all the shock and anger over Toni's death on the second cover to the point that I found myself right alongside the Chu family and their collective call for vengeance. Layman and his quirky odd book, the one that has left me completely engrossed and LOLing ( am speak english good in this digitamal ages) for the past few years, made me angry. Not for a story slight or some pacing affront, but because of what happened to a character who I adored. Toni's death was not a cheap shot. It made sense to Tony's story and changed him, serving as the catalyst to push him into the final half of the series. Then life goes on, only in Tony's case, with a renewed drive.
Guillory's art, which is crucial to all the LOL-worthy moments, also serves to bring the mood down, especially on the two covers. On the interior cover, the image of Tony, Colby and Olive standing above the grave is a sad reminder of last issue's tragedy, and the following ten-panel page drives home the anger of the Chu family and the sadness and guilt Tony feels. It's all very touching. A few pages later and Guillory has us laughing and disgusted all at the same time, with the ridiculous situations that make Chew so damn entertaining and special--just take a gander at the "Comic Convention Combustion" panel with Layman (pleased) and Guillory (shocked) and you'll see what I mean.
Although we have fewer issues ahead than behind for this Donist World champion of awesomenessnessness, we look to have quite a ride ahead of us. I cannot wait to see what comes next and remember...when it is all over, we will always have the fond memories, and if your memory sucks like mine, then at least you will have the Omnivore Editions to help you out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Wonder Woman #16
Wonder Woman #16 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics. Last issue left off with double cliffhangers of epic proportions. First we have Orion (the New God) versus Wonder Woman (who recently discovered she's a goddess), then we have Heracles (not positive on who this guy is) versus a gang of ice giants. One battle is nasty and bloody and brutal, while the other is totally not those all. A newfound brother reveals the abductors of Zola's baby, but the child already has come into its power. Finally, a goddess appears and an ex-godly mentor seeks the death of the princess of power.
I was actually hoping to see the shizznit go down after the last issue, but alas it was not meant to be. If you've been reading Donist World for any length of time, you know I'll pick a good story over characters pummeling each other into goopy bits, but you know, every once in a while a feller wants to see some fightin'. Don't get me wrong, we get fightin', just not with the star of the show. Still, Azzarello delivers another great story with an ever expanding cast of fascinating characters. Chiang is equally to blame for the appeal of these gods and monsters with his great character designs, such as Demeter the plant goddess and the unique take on Ares of an eyeless, old man with bare feet covered in the blood of war victims. Even Orion gets a makeover that is a more modern improvement on his old look. Although this issue slowed the pace some, it was still highly enjoyable. We can also be thankful that no crossovers or events have come lurking to darken this title that has mysteriously been left to Azzarello to do with as he wants. Bring on the next issue! RECOMMENDED!

Hercules: Prince of
Power (1982) #1
Hercules: Prince of Power (1982) #1-4 - Written and illustrated by Bob Layton, published by Marvel Comics. The good ol' early days of the '80s. Some of us young fogies remember them fondly (here and here) for the deadly serious, dark themed comic books that changed the industry. Some of you youngsters probably weren't even born yet, but if you lend this old-man-baby your ear for a moment, you just might learn somethin'.
Not all books back then were about dark and stormy knights, or former heroes turned monsters, or grand plots to change the world, or heroes in half-shells. No. We still had our Marvel and DC funny books with much of the attention going to Claremont's Uncanny X-Men and Wolfman's The New Teen Titans, but there was somethin' else that also grabbed young Donist's attention back in those days. A little thing known as the limited series had become popular and was truly a thing to behold. Most of my allowance went to The Micronauts and Uncanny X-Men, but Momma Donist discovered the joy that these fully-contained stories brought to Donist and his brother...she also discovered that these limited series/mini-series/maxi-series also helped to keep their dagburned traps shut on long car rides. Thus Jeff and I would sit at the back of the Winnie pouring through our short bursts of comics heaven with Wolverine, Jack of Hearts, Kitty Pride and Wolverine, Sword of the Atom, Gargoyle, Jemm Son of Saturn, Hawkeye, Cloak and Dagger, and many others helping give Momma Donist the peace and quiet we so rarely allowed her. This is how I came across Hercules: Prince of Power.
Hercules returns to Olympus to visit his family, but fails to adhere to his father Zeus's day of "reflective silence" and finds himself banished to the stars to be humbled. With Apollo's gift of his mystical horse-drawn chariot, Hercules sets off and immediately finds trouble. He soon gains the company of a Rigellian Recorder to not just chronicle the god's exploits, but to get him off the alien race's ship to prevent further calamity. Throughout the series, Herc learns that being a god on Earth only means he is a slightly bigger speck when faced with the universe and he learns lesson after lesson as his trusty Recorder becomes more and more battle damaged. In the end he finds himself facing down the mighty Galactus in an effort to save a race of snail creatures with a rather unique skill set that Herc might be able to use to his advantage in dealing with the devourer of worlds.
Layton crafts a blast of story in a mythological and sci-fi mashup that is admittedly silly at times, but also serious, occasionally touching and more than anything exciting in a way only the '80s knew how to do so well. Visually, Layton's art is stunning. Expressions alone convey all the emotions without a single bit of dialogue needed, but it is the design of Hercules's body in motion, the bizarre aliens he comes across, and the beautiful women who grace the page that are something to truly Marvel (get it?) over. Whether words or art, Hercules is a beautifully told story.
To summarize, kids, this series was fun. Pure and simple. Maybe not what you consider to be fun these days. All the Playboxx's and Jolts in the world don't compare to a good ol' comic book. What? Don't believe me? Have a look and you'll see. Ol' Herc gets in fights, smashes things and--if I might be so bold--makes nice with the ladies, if you know what I mean. Uh, you don't know what I mean. Uh...forget about it. Anyhow, just know he punches stuff and it's pretty cool, and he has a robot pal. What more do ya need? Give thyself the gift, mortals. Give thyself a bit of light-hearted joy and a bit of history in the making. RECOMMENDED for mere mortals, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for nostalgia-craving old timers!

Surf Brewery Homebrew Basics - This past weekend, my buddy and I went to Surf Brewery for their excellent beginning homebrewing class. We basically learned that even going the route of beginning with extract (as opposed to grain) beer making is a difficult and complex matter, but with patience and perseverance can be highly rewarding. I especially found the reasoning for staggered hop additions to be the most interesting of topics. I also discovered that being allowed/encouraged to order a pint of beer to drink during class might have helped me out when I was a young college Donist all those years ago. Afterwards we hung out, ordered food from a fantastic food truck and had a six beer sampler with my favorites being the Black & Rye, Surf Black IPA and the County Line Rye Pale Ale. What a nice little Saturday.

Slice Into the Woods

Adventures With Homebrewing -Yeah, I'm new to this. Amy gave me a 1-gallon homebrewing kit for X-Mas and I cut into it a week later. My first foray almost three weeks ago into the whole mashing/boil part of the beer making process went...not all that well. My strainer was much too small, I needed a bigger pot, and I'm questioning my choice for water, but on the plus side, everything appeared to look right when all was said and done, and my disinfecting should have been top notch. Regardless, even if I produced something foul and revolting, I was going to see this through. Last Sunday, I went through the bottling process and...had more difficulty. You see, the whole siphoning thing is not as easy as it seems and I wished I had an auto-siphon to help out with the process, but the situation was what it was. In all, I probably wasted about two and a half bottles of "beer" in my attempt to transport from pot to bottle, but I did get seven and a half bottles out of my first attempt. Next week I will know if I truly have something tasty or I end up in the ER with strange and mysterious new powers. Time will tell, but I had a hell of a good time in the process. More beer kits and an auto-siphon should be delivering later today. Guess what I'm doing this weekend?

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