Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/22/2013

(Sung to the tune of Abba "Voulez-Vous")

Comics everywhere
Dang things are overflowin', but I don't really care
Ouch I hurt my back
Nah, I'm good, twin Sixth Gun books waiting in my stack

And Saga's here again, midwives give fright, The Will gets pissed
Heavens to Betsy!
Gods slain at hands of Gorr and now his sight's set on Thor
Man, that cat is mean

Translation, "do you want it"
Books for you to get
Captain Marvel, sure, you bet
Ain't no big decision
Daredevil's for you
La question c'est voulez-vous

Alrighty, puppies. That's a wrap. Let's call it a day. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Hi Donist World readers. Talk about a jam packed comic book week, especially after the two measly (but amazing!) books from last week. 12! That's how many came in, not counting one title that ran out and is now on order for me (Black Beetle #2). Next week I have something like two books coming in. Can you comic book companies with your marketing things and economic doohickeys break this stuff up a little more? You know, something that works better with the Donist World schedule? Tell you what, I'll have Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) draw up a more tenable release schedule with Tulip (Obie's sister, my dog, and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/head nurse) and shoot that over to you Monday morning. How's that sound? Done deal, good meeting. I know it's only 7:00 AM, but Obie, Tulip and I are going to shower, slip into something a little more comfortable, and start happy hour a little early today. Maybe we'll watch some Tales of the Gold Monkey or something. All I know is it's time to take it easy and chill for a while. Come to think of it, you should come over and hang out too and while you're chillaxin' have peek at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Sixth Gun #29
The Sixth Gun #29 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. I reckon you know I love this series. You've heard me gripe every darn time Diamond mis-shipped this title to the point I was simply fit to be tied. You've heard me carry on about how happy I was to finally get this little filly into my dust covered paws. Well, here we are again, and by golly with nary a delay to be seen. In fact,  The Sixth Gun fans struck gold this week as we not only got the issue proper, but a new mini-series to boot, but more on that later. If you have not read this series, and you like Westerns, or the supernatural, or better yet one hitched up with the other, then you have four trades available to keep you entertained. And entertain you they will, that's a Donist promise. Alrighty then. Enough jawin'. Belly up to the bar, get yourself something cold and learn yourself a little something about this spectacular comic book.
Gord Cantrell did it. He succeeded in bringing Becky Montcrief (possessor of the sixth gun) and Drake Sinclair (possessor of the first, second, third, and fourth guns) back from the mystical realm of the wendigo. Someday Gord will have to pay up for that little feat, but not today. Drake is in rough shape and minus a couple fingers. Becky is overjoyed to be back until she sees Gord is in the company of Kirby Hale, who she is none too fond of. As Kirby attempts to repair not just burned but decimated bridges, he makes matters worse and sends Becky on a rampage against Missy Hume (the holder of the fifth gun). It turns out that Missy was instrumental in causing Becky's father's death, and Becky taps into the twisted powers of her gun to pay Missy and her men a visit they will never forget.
Rootin' tootin'...okay, enough cowboy talk. This issue was fantastic. For a while now I have been saying that I have been glad to see Becky take a more active roll in the series (rescuing Drake from the Sword of Abraham, combating the wendigo), but in this issue, Bunn has Becky not just take an active roll in the story, but kick some major tail in the process. I've always liked Becky, but after this issue I love her...she also scares me a little bit now, but that's okay. Also in this issue, the sense of urgency kicks up tremendously as we look to have only 20 issues remaining in the series with a whole lot of story yet to tell. Hopefully Bunn begins to let slip more of Drake's backstory, which I'm sure is coming.
Hurtt's art in this issue succeeded in improving upon the already beautiful artwork prominent throughout the series. I'm not sure what it is about this issue, but both creators gave it an extra jolt of energy that you can clearly see. Becky's Joy at seeing Gord, her disdain for Kirby, Drake literally dying on his feet, and the adrenaline rush imagery of Becky using her gun's powers was all gorgeous. Bill Crabtree's colors turned the already wonderful art from lighthearted while in the forest to explosive with  Becky's assault on Missy Hume (great knockouts btw!).
The Sixth Gun has always been good and one of my top five comics being released, but as I mentioned above, something kicked into high gear with this issue. It was both sentimental and thrilling, while instilling a sense of a coming dread. This issue had a few extra pages this time around, but it was still not enough as I blazed through to the end and was left wanting more. There's a reason that a television pilot (and hopefully a full season) is being made of this comic and as I say with every issue, "you should be reading this." The sad thing is that my friend Bill just told me his LCS mentioned he was the only one at the store buying this comic. This disturbs me to no end. There is no reason this damn fine series should not outsell major "events"--you know, like Super Secret Infinite War Invasion Crisis for instance. This is one all comic stores should be pushing heavily, as here at Donist World it comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Saga #10
Saga #10 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics. <sigh> Darn you, you mean comic creators, you. Argh...I won't spoil the ending of this issue, but C'MON! I just...grrrr. Saga is my favorite book on the stands. Nothing but praise comin' from this ol' Donist. Even when you introduced the disturbingly sexy Stalk, and roped me in emotionally to the character only to off her in the next issue, I wiped my nose, dried my eyes and said to myself, "Self. It's for the good of the story." Immediately after that my wife said, "Donist...I'm trying to sleep. Stop talking to yourself," but that is neither here nor there. The ending splash page...that's ought went too darn far! Because of this, I will continue eagerly awaiting and buying every single issue of this fantastic series, I will buy the hardcover edition when it is released--I'm fancy like that--and I will continue to sing this comic's praises. So how do you like them apples, huh?! Yeah that's right, keep walkin', Saga creators. Keep walkin'. Do a thing like that to one of my favorite characters. I tell ya...
We begin with a glimpse back at the early days of Marko and Alana's romance, one to which we can all relate. He is a prisoner wearing no shirt with a literal ball and chain attached to his ankle as he wields a sledgehammer against a rail. She in her warrior's garb reading their favorite story aloud (it's how Amy and I met). She risks her life to free him. They kiss. Back in the present, Marko and his mother search for the ghost girl Izabel, who Marko's mother banished to what she thought was a planet. As it turns out, this "planet" is actually an egg that will soon hatch into a monstrous Timesuck monster. They meet the "midwives" of the Timesuck, nightmarish women who are utterly terrifying and will haunt my dreams for the remainder of my days (thanks BKV and FS). Meanwhile The Will (intergalactic bounty hunter), Gwendolyn (Marko's angry ex), Slave Girl (ex-slave girl), and Lying Cat attempt to find Marko, Alana and Hazel, but when the Timesuck hatches and Gwendolyn's rage gets the better of her, tragedy strikes.
Once again, Vaughan heightens the interest and love of his characters as another piece of Marko and Alana's budding relationship is revealed. Still we want more. Then there's the relationship between Alana and Barr, Marko's father, which is deeply touching especially knowing what we know about Barr and his secret. Finally getting to see Izabel after her multiple issue absence left me smiling and cheering as she appeared to save the day and take some well-deserved verbal jabs at Marko's mother. With all the characters involved and the story brewing between them, Vaughan has the reader eagerly anticipating the day when the family, The Will and his group, and Prince Robot all finally meet. With the enmity The Will has built up on all accounts, it should be something to behold.
Staples's art wins big with the emotions exhibited in this issue. We feel Alana's shy friendship and love for Marko at the beginning. Izabel's teen angst is relatable, while Alana and Barr continue to become an even a closer knit family right before our eyes. There's also the matter of the great page one splash, the awe inspiring double-page spread of the Timesuck hatching, and the "oh no..." moment of the last page spread. It's really just more of the gorgeous work we've come to expect and love on this title.
The biggest question from this issue...What happened to Fard? Actually, that is my second biggest question. The first is will my beloved character at the end be okay?! The wait between issues of Saga is painfully wonderful, and thus far each issue has more than delivered. If you read this series, you already know this, if not, you're nuts...Fard would agree (giggle). The first trade is a measly $9.99, so there's no reason not to give the best selling non-Big Two book on the stands a try. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun:
Sons of the Gun #1
The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun #1 - Written by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, and illustrated by Brian Churilla, published by Oni Press. Ever since issue one of the amazing The Sixth Gun series I have wondered about General Hume's lieutenants, twisted beings who were more monster than human. Who were these holders of four of the six mystical cursed guns that could bring about the doom of the world? Where did they come from? What was their story? We never found out since Drake Sinclair destroyed each of these madmen and took possession of their weapons. Now, thanks to Bunn, Hurtt and Churilla, we get a closer look at the men who were General Hume's riders and the evil lurking in their hearts, starting with "Bloodthirsty" Bill Sumter.
It's years after the fall, first death and burial of General Hume and "Bloodthirsty" Bill Sumter is alone in the desert and dying, not even the buzzards can wait for him to properly die before they begin pecking away at him. (Un)Fortunately, Bill is not as alone as he thought as a trio of wicked men find him and decide to include him in their group. Then the trio's leader learns Bill holds the first gun and the greed of the wicked sets firm, but Bill is not one to be messed with.
This is a great introduction to the lieutenants as Bunn and Hurtt leave the question as to why Bill is away from his three "brothers," while lifting the veil on some of what makes this character tick. Churilla is an excellent artist for this spinoff series, both providing an art style similar to Hurtt's while adding his own distinct take on things. If you love The Sixth Gun you cannot go wrong by picking up this great title. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thor: God of Thunder #5
Thor: God of Thunder #5 - Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics. This issue could almost be titled Gorr: God Butcher and it would be spot on as we see much of Gorr's motivation and beliefs. Aaron actually had me convinced for a while that maybe Gorr was onto something, that his actions were justified, but the last word balloon on the fourth page of the actual story slapped me back to reality. Then for the rest of the issue I danced between questioning Gorr's rational and despising him, but the fact remains that Aaron took a serial killing monster and made him a somewhat sympathetic character for the reader, which is an incredibly tricky thing to pull off. He does this with ease. We also see the fatal flaw in Gorr's "plans" as the hater of the immortal, the butcher of gods, sets himself up to become a god himself.
Esad Ribic's art continues to honestly boggle my mind with the beautiful attention to detail and the intensity of Gorr's startling mood swings. One moment this evil character is filled with rage, the next with an almost benevolent kindness; we see this creature's madness from panel to panel and it's kind of scary. Adding to Ribic's beautiful art is the gorgeous colors of Ive Svorcina, especially on page two as Gorr drifts through space to find a tittering god creating "life"; the emptiness and silence of this universe sent chills down my spine.
I believe this is the fourth Marvel book to pull me back into the Marvel fold and it has been a blast to read thus far. I'm glad to be back. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Daredevil #23
Daredevil #23 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. This is wrong. It's totally wrong. Waid made a total mistake on page one of this issue of Daredevil. No way! Page one, panel two to be exact and he ain't doing ol' Hornhead's history any justice as he continues to...oh. Wait a minute. Waid totally done gone all tricksy on us and it's all quite clever and more than anything totally messed up. Anyhow, after last issue's revelation that Matt Murdoch's friend and law partner, Foggy Nelson, might have the big "C," we're treated to some brilliant, touching moments between the two. Then the chaos starts and it is both weird and great, leading us to the devastating ending.
I have to admit that I wasn't completely on board for half of the Coyote/Spot arc, but last issue brought me back in and this one actually affected me. In a mere 20 pages Waid had me confused and doubting, cracking up, confused and interested, touched, and finally very sad. Talk about your emotional roller coaster. Then there's the overall mystery of who exactly is attempting to pull Daredevil's strings and ruin his life in every possible creepy way imaginable, and you have a dense read that is over much too soon. Samnee's art is stellar as ever with the scenes of the fundraiser madness taking the cake (see what I did there? Page 11, Panel four). This is solid storytelling and something all superhero comics should dare to achieve and strive to surpass. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Captain Marvel #10
Captain Marvel #10 - Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick and illustrated by Filipe Andrade, published by Marvel Comics. A cool and timely thing happened this week. On Tuesday, the day before the release of this very comic, I attended the Comics Experience book club night with DeConnick and Captain Marvel editor Sana Amanat. Both were kind enough to offer insight into this great title, their history with the book, their histories with comics in general and much more. This only solidified my love of this title.
Andrade continues with his different yet stunning artistic style which made last issue such a joy to read. The battle scenes in this issue with Deathbird were great, but the standout pages are where Carol carries the train to safety; I even cheered when she touched the third rail for a power boost.
In DeConnick's hands Captain Marvel is no longer merely T&A material with her butt hanging out, but someone I wished I was cool enough to hang out with. She's admirable, worthy of being called a super hero. That's what makes last issue's revelation that Carol has a brain lesion that could burst if she utilizes her flight so shocking. She's potentially the most powerful female Marvel character, yet the reader can relate to her scheduling problems, her love of her friends, her willpower, and unfortunately the random health issue that can touch anyone. She is equally one of us and beyond us, and I can't wait to see what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Indestructible Hulk #4
Indestructible Hulk #4 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Lionel Yu, published by Marvel Comics. All right. I get it. You can't have a book called Indestructible Hulk and not have green jaws appear heavily in the book and smash stuff. Yup, I get it. Those parts are vital to the appeal of this Jekyll and Hyde hero, and Waid does a fantastic job of pitting monster against monster; the action is insane. What I like even more, though, are the Dr. Jekyll moments, the time when Bruce Banner takes center stage. That is when Indestructible Hulk really shines. Take for instance the opening four pages of Bruce getting ready to go to work. He washes up, gets dressed and walks out to say hello to his neighbors...neighbors who are nothing more than weathered mannequins from an atomic testing facility. The whole scene is macabre, but Banner accepts having to live in a ghost town to lower the risk of the Hulk harming any bystanders. It's all quite tragic. When he finally meets his new lab assistants, everyone's on edge. These are all incredible character moments I have not seen before on this title. Then Waid has to go and shoot Banner out of a torpedo tube at the onslaught of Attuma's army and I have to say I love the Hulk character, too.
Yu draws some mean lookin' sea monsters and some great Hulk scenes, but the underwater version of the SHIELD helicarrier, the Dreadnought, was most impressive. As reluctant as I was to try this comic, I'm glad I picked up what is turning out to be one of the best runs of the Hulk to date. RECOMMENDED!

Happy #4
Happy #4 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Darick Robertson, published by Image Comics. The end to Morrison's first creator-owned comic book mini-series is here, but did it deliver the goods? If it didn't, it wouldn't be on Donist World now would it?
Nick Sax is running out of time to save not just his daughter, but a group of abducted children from a perverted Santa Claus set to do all kinds of unspeakable things to them on a pay-per-view live internet feed that the criminal Mr. Blue seeks to make a fortune on. Sax isn't a moral man by any stretch of the word, but even his vile methods won't be enough help him save the kids. He needs help and that help comes in the form of his daughter's imaginary friend Happy, a tiny blue winged unicorn.
Well now, that was a hell of an action packed, non-stop, cussing-ladened violence fest that...I actually enjoyed quite a bit. Morrison gives us a twisted, little noir tale that began strong and stayed true throughout. The ending is satisfying and oddly enough touching and well...happy. After reading this book, I can't see anyone but Robertson bringing this harsh, dirty world and it's harsh, dirty characters (not Happy of course) to life in a truly beautiful way. The theme of blue shines in the colors of this drab world and in the story itself; I'm sad the ride is over. As much as I enjoyed this series in individual issues, I have a suspicion it will play out even better in one continuous read, which I hope to do in the near future. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Sick - I swear. Every single time I let up, or relax just a little bit the sicknesses running rampant through Santa Barbara descend on me. This weekend, Amy and I were in Ojai celebrating our 16-year anniversary, which I spent half of in bed sneezing uncontrollably and looking out the window of our beautiful room at the Blue Iguana Inn. We had a great time, but man I was a mess. I actually just started feeling better today (Friday). Hopefully the worst is over.  Before I got sick though, we went to Surf Brewery, Hypno Comics, Ojai Beverage Company and I managed to make it to the fantastic Suzanne's before we left Ojai. Take that <achoo> you stupid cold!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/15/2013

(Sung to the tune of Oran Juice Jones "The Rain")

I saw Bats (and him) dancing in the rain
Batman freaked me out, Bat Fam will never be the same

The Stuff of Legend, yeah it'll treat you right
Broke toys? Toy Maker can help ease their pain
Boogeyman's freaky to Joker's deaky
These two cats corner the market on insane

I saws Bats (and him) dancing in the rain
Batman freaked me out, Bat Fam will never be the same

Okay, what the heck is going on here! C'mon! That's just mean, you guys. <sigh> Hi there faithful Donist World readers. I just finished watching some Transformers episodes at my mom's house that I taped almost three decades ago on VHS rolled into the Donist World corporate headquarters and guess what I found? No guess? All righty, I'll tell you. Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and CFO of Donist World) and Tulip (my Boston terrier, Obie's sister and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/cupcake connoisseur) have taped brown paper bags--you know, the kind for sack lunches--to each of our desks with our names spelled out in glitter on each with "Happy Valentines Day" intricately detailed above our names. Let's see...Obie's bag is overflowing with Dora the Explorer, Friendship is Magic, and GI Joe Valentines. Tulip's bag has those message heart candies, a Starbucks gift card, and a ton of Valentines featuring Iron Man, the Hulk, Strawberry Shortcake (?) and others. In my bag I have a note saying we are out of glitter and tape. Nice, Tulip. Nice, Obie. Okay, while I run out to buy some more tape, glitter and a pack of Valentine's Day cards to write to myself, have a look at the Oran Juice Jones video in the link above ("you're nothing but a squirrel trying to get a nut!) and then head on down to...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Stuff of Legend, Vol. IV
The Toy Collector #3
The Stuff of Legend, Volume 4 #3 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios. If you're new to Donist World, then you are well aware of the love I have for this series. If not, then get thee to this link to pick up the first trade of the New York Times Bestselling Graphic Novel, or better yet, this hardcover Omnibus of the first two trades. Still don't want to take my word for it? Okay, the pitch then. "The Stuff of Legend is the darker side of the movie Toy Story. What happens when a boy is abducted into the dark by the Boogeyman, and the boy's toys came to life to venture out and rescue him?" That's the story in a nutshell, but there is so much more. You have a large cast of characters, each of whom have their moments to shine throughout the series, a creative and intriguing world, a viable threat, toy politics, and a quest with stakes. There's actually nothing like this beautifully-done comic book on the stands. You owe it to yourself to take a peek into that dark scary closet and experience this phenomenal series.
Jester (Jack in the box) has survived the ordeal of the previous volume, although he is a bit worse the wear. He has Rebecca (doll), leader of the dolls, to thank for taking him to the robotic Toy Maker (robot). Percy the Pig (piggybank) and Filmore (reformed former Mayor of the game Hopscotch) have heated words as the toys' boy and his "friend" stand by. Harmony (music box dancer), Quackers (toy duck) and the animal toys attempt to find their missing friend, Max (teddybear), but only find capture at the Boogeyman's wicked general's hand. Max's group finds trouble at the edge of the Deep Dark Woods in their quest to find a magic whistle that can turn the tide of battle against the forces of the dark. Finally, we see a glimpse of the Boogeyman before he became the monster he is today.
Although this volume is titled "The Toy Collector," we have seen very little of the mysterious toy tasked with gathering all of the broken/dead toys in the land. This is fine as the character looks to feature prominently in the final two chapters of this volume and with everything put in place by Raicht and Smith each issue is jam-packed with story and action. 22-pages fly by much to fast as I sped through each of the various characters' storylines, but this is not a knock against the writing. In fact, despite the many characters and the many stories happening simultaneously, Raicht and Smith hold the book together with their tightly constructed story. Both excitement to see what happens next and fear for the safety of the reader's favorite character(s) keep The Stuff of Legend an addictive page turner issue to issue.
Wilson III delivers some truly stunning pages with the brutal battle of the animals against Slugger, being the standout sequence of this issue. The action is fierce, realistic and terrifying as the Boogeyman's general tears through foe after foe with little trouble. Also of note is the Toy Maker's work shop and the design of the dilapidated robot himself, which was fascinating to see but over much too fast. Wilson III's storytelling is just as phenomenal in this issue as it has been throughout the entirety of this series.
It would be criminal not to mention the unique and eye-catching colors and design of Jon Conkling and Michael DeVito. I guarantee this book is not like other comics you have seen in the past, with it's non-traditional shape (comic store owners aren't sure how to "bag and board" this one) and the beautiful interiors that give the comic the look of an old, weathered children's book from the 1940s. Their efforts add greatly to the charm of this series.
So, yes, you can call me a fan of The Stuff of Legend. You have strong and compelling storytelling, gorgeous art and beautiful production, and there's no doubt it is one of my top five books currently being released. Don't just listen to me, though, get out there and give it a try! I also think it's time I double-dipped and put that lovely Omnibus on the treasure shelf; it should fit quite nicely up there. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman #17
Batman #17 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. There are some things you can expect to see in a modern Batman comic book: Batman (duh), colorful villains, the Bat Family, action-filled fights, dark nights, darker moods, a "issue that will change the Batverse forever!"--usually involving a death (Robin meet's crowbar) or an act of terrible cruelty (Batgirl gets paralyzed). Then you put Scott Snyder into the mix and know what you get? All of the above expectations, but just not in the way you expected things to all. That's the tricky part of writing the Joker, but when it comes down to it, what you can expect from Snyder and Capullo is one heck of a fantastic--if not terrifying--issue of Batman. If you have not been following "Death of the Family," first of all, why not? Second, I'm pretty sure you can pick up all of the issues at your LCS or at the least get the digital copies, don't trade wait this's a blast and you will be surprised.
After submitting to Joker's will last issue and subjecting himself to an electric chair, Batman awakens to a vision of hell. The Joker has arranged quite the elaborate dinner party. With Batman at the head of the table, he is joined by the entire Bat Family (Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl), each of whom's head is covered. Unfortunately, Joker has made use of Batman's unconscious state and passed the time whispering insidious sweet nothings into their ears. Alfred also makes an appearance, but he is a changed man. With all the guests in attendance the hoods come off and each Bat Family member finds their faces bandaged and bloodied, and a covered silver platter sitting before them. It's a "what's in the box!" situation made real, as Batman has to choose whether to save his family or stop the Joker once and for all. What ever choice he makes, no one will ever be the same.
Disturbing, haunting, exciting, tragic...I could go on, but you get the point. Batman #17 delivers everything promised to the reader while steering clear of copying past storylines and cliche "this is it, folks, in this issue someone dies," type tricks that rarely ever stand the test of time. The conclusion to "Death of the Family" is a finely tuned story that succeeds in meeting all of my hopes and successfully avoids every single one of my fears. Snyder avoids the usual cheap tricks of a Superman save, a "shocking" death of a hero that won't stick, a physical cruelty dished out to a hero to push everyone over the edge. Instead he gave me what I did not expect. Snyder toys with the reader. He tricks you into thinking you know what's going to happen with each page turn, but a quick flip either stalls the moment or leaves you blinking in disbelief with the reveal. At each and every point in this story, I was off balance, on the ropes and finally knocked out. I need to reread this one, because I'm sure there're things I missed.
Capullo. Criminy, the art this guy puts out. Page two and three...<brrrrrr, shiver, I want my mommy>. After drawing pages like this, he must have to decompress and draw pictures of cute little kitties or something. Then again, maybe that's when he comes up with the two faced kitten with the light on its head (don't try to understand this comment if you haven't read this issue). Nightmarish horrors aside, this issue is simply gorgeous.
I have no idea what's coming next, but after this issue I could sure use a drink and cigarette, and I don't smoke, kids, never even tried. After these 19 ("0" issue and annual included) issues, what Snyder and Capullo can expect from this Donist is that I will be eagerly awaiting issue 18 and how they top "Death of the Family." Great, chill-inducing fun. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Hercules (1984)
Hercules: Prince of Power (1984) #1-4 - Everythinged by Bob Layton, published by Marvel Comics. You might remember a few entries back when I talked about Hercules: Prince of Power here. But here's the confusing thing. In 1982, Marvel released H:PoP and I loved the series, and imagine my surprise when I saw H:PoP show up AGAIN in 1984. Nothing indicated this was a followup to the original mini. No "II" or "The Prince of Power Strikes Back," nothing. It was only the image of the skrull that lead me to believe this was a whole new story. At $.60 and the fact that the latest issue of The Micronauts was not out that week, heck why not revisit a character and series I liked so much two years prior?
The story picks up well into the future, the year 2385 to be exact, and Hercules and his trusted friend the Recorder are still scouring the universe for adventure and opportunities to right the occasional wrong. In their travels, they meet Skyppi, an old grizzled skrull trying to con his way through life. A new team is formed. But when the immortal god begins to develop a few grey hairs, he knows something has gone wrong back on Earth. As Hercules and gang arrive at Olympus, Hercules discovers that his father, Zeus, has gone mad and slain all other members of the Greek pantheon. Only Hercules, Recorder and Skyppi stand against the most powerful god of them all.
Yup, one fun story. Despite what the tone of my summary of the four issues comprising this mini-series indicates, Layton ups the humor aspects of this chapter from the first. Some parts are a bit corny, but the overall story is sound and Layton's art is phenomenal with some amazing action scenes. You can probably find both the '82 and the '84 volumes on the cheap in bargain bins or at where I picked these up. RECOMMENDED for fans of Hercules, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for nostalgia-craving fuddy duddies like me!

Amy and My 16 Year Anniversary of Being Together - Yeah, nothing to do with comics, but I am so happy to have spent 16 years of my life with this amazing woman. Actually, there is a comic book angle as I was the one who got her reading comics like Sandman, Preacher, Saga, Locke & Key and many others to begin with.

Slice Into the Woods

Release Schedules - Again, nothing major, but this week I only had two books in my pull. Two. That's it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, boo-boo, each of those books were stunningly great. "So what are you griping about now you never-satified big galoot?" you might ask. Well, sonny-boy/girl, let me learn ya sumthin'. Next week I have at least 11 comics showing up in my pull. Man, thems a lot of books to not just read, but I suspect I will like AT LEAST half of them, which means I'm not sure how I'm going to handle next week's FSoH/SitW post. I know, I know. It's a good problem to have. jobs and that whole working for a living thing. I'll make it work, we can do this.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/8/2013

(Sung to the tune of Culture Club "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?")

It is time
Comic books are sublime
They're all too surreal
Within each a big surprise
Cold hearts melt for real

You should really have a look-see
You should really give these books a try

Rachel Rising really scares me
Green Arrow is the book to buy
Rot World ending has brains churnin'
To me Swamp Thing's still a star
Animal Man really thrills me
Anton Arcane's gone too far

You should really have a look-see
You should really give these books a try

Hello there, Donist World readers. Today we have nothing else to do we're taking a much deserved break from all of the mounds of paperwork we have piling up and have instead decided to marathon through Netflix's new phenomenal original series House of Cards. Tulip (my Boston terrier and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/pastry advisor) has stolen a box of Toaster Strudels from my mom's cupboard arranged catering for the event and Obie (Tulip's brother, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO), after being inspired by House of Cards, is crunching the numbers to see about taking Donist World public so he can get his paws on some of that oh-so-sweet cash-money. Unfortunately, he missed the part where Kevin Spacey says how the quest for money is short-sighted, but the quest for power is something worthwhile. Obie's a bit disappointed as he's come to the conclusion that we would actually have to pay shareholders to own our stock, and that just doesn't help our initiative to become a $100 company. Come to think of it, I'm glad Obie didn't hear Spacey's bit about power...who knows what schemes might come up with then. Oh, got to go...Tulip scored some grape-flavored Kool-Aid from Mom's cupboard tasty beverages for our viewing extravaganza. While we get back to this great show, take a little peek at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Green Arrow #17
Green Arrow #17 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. Which came first, the green or the purple? Well, that's a question a quick search on the interwebs/wikki-doohickey thingamajigger can answer (I know the answer), but honestly who cares? The last Green Arrow books I read were the Kevin Smith "Quiver" arc from back in 2001 (good), the Diggle and Jock's "Year One" from back in 2007 (really, really good), Mike Grell's "Longbow Hunters" from way back in 1987 during young Donist's comic book formative years (kinda great). That's it. Let's do the math. Three Green Arrow titles in 26 years...multiply by 52, carry the...okay, forget the math. The bottom line is I have not really been following Green Arrow at all over the years, but after reading Lemire and Sorrentino's first issue of the emerald archer, I'm more than ready to keep this book in my sights (ugh), take aim (groan), and shoot it straight toward my heart (enough already!).
Oliver Queen (a much younger Oliver per the New 52, word!) has lost it all: his company, his fortune, his standing as a hero. What happened to bring the renowned Green Arrow so low? A few things actually. Emerson, the man appointed by Oliver's father to be in charge of Queen Industries, has lost the company to rival Stellmoor International. When confronted about the take over, Emerson tells Oliver of legacies and "true birthrights," but before he can explain, Emerson is shot and gruesomely killed by an arrow. Then everything spirals out of control. Oliver is blamed for the death, his trusted friends are killed and he finds himself in a fight with Emerson's killer, an archer named Komodo with abilities rivaling Oliver's own skills.
This is how you start a new chapter in a comic! Page one had me hook, line and sinker. As I mentioned above, I have not read a Green Arrow book for years, yet page one tore most of the past down and gave the character a new starting point. The rest of the story is flashback as to what brought Oliver to that point, but Lemire focuses on a brief three-week period to bring a mystery (the "birthright," the rival archer, and why he is being set up), take care of the character's help (Oliver's friends), set everyone against him (falsely accused), and leave him completely alone. Green Arrow is reborn. Aside from a couple of references to past story points, this reboot within a reboot succeeds in making issue 17 an easy jumping on point for anyone not familiar with the events of the past year and a half (this is NOT a knock against the previous creators on the book, I just wasn't reading the series).
I am a HUGE fan of Sorrentino's art from the I, Vampire series which is sadly coming to a close in the next month or two, and he does not miss a beat in the transition to this series. Beautiful, dark, moody lines convey more emotion and thrills than I could have ever hoped to find in this title. Despite missing I,Vampire's colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Sorrentino's colors are still impressive and I love the two-color dramatic panels that draw extra attention to intense moments in the story.
I made the leap to this book solely on my love of the creators involved. Indeed, I chose wisely. Green Arrow #17 is the perfect jumping on point and you need little information on this hero to be brought fully up to speed. In fact all you really need to know is that Oliver Queen was rich, he was a superhero, and his world has been shattered; you get all of this on the first page. This is a great issue that looks to be a bullseye (again?!) and you should not hesitate to include Green Arrow #17 in your quiver (criminy, Donist). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #17
Animal Man #17 - Written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, illustrated by Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II, published by DC Comics. Alrighty, folks, it's here, the event that has been building for the past year and a half has delivered. It's the end of Rot World--or at least the first half of the end of Rot World--as we know it, and after reading this issue, you wanna know something? I feeeeeel fiiiiiine. Not only do I feel fine, but I'm actually pretty pumped for what's coming in the second half. Before we get into it, I will say that Animal Man was the book that after seeing the cover in the issue one solicits, I knew this was one title I had to try. 19 issues later (including a "0" issue and an annual), I'm still enjoying the comic that succeeded in pulling this lapsed DC reader back into the fold. Now, have a sip of bourbon, channel your inner animal (I'm a Boston terrier, thank you very much) and let's get into the this books guts (ewww).
The end game is in motion and Animal Man (Buddy Baker), Frankenstein, Black Orchid, Steel, Green Lantern (Medphyll) and Beast Boy are all that stand against the forces of The Rot's psychotic avatar, Anton Arcane. Unfortunately for our heroes, Arcane has converted the heavy hitters of the Justice League into mindless thralls of The Rot, and these super-powered monsters are tearing The Red's champions to shreds, literally. Unbeknownst to Buddy, the Swamp Thing and his  ragtag group of resistance fighters are engaging Arcane on the other side of the mad monster's citadel. As team Red receives reinforcements, they also suffer a tremendous loss, and one of their own experiences an unexpected change. Finally, The Green and The Red join forces to face Anton himself, and Buddy and Alec aren't going to like the surprise he has in store for them.
What a great bridge to to the concluding chapter. I was captivated for the entirety of Lemire and Snyder's story and oftentimes found myself gasping at the horrible moments while a cheering a few panels later with the acts of fantastic heroism. Then the writers pull the rug out from under the reader and leave them with an ending that although expected, was still shocking in the lengths they allow Arcane's evil to sink. Speaking of Arcane, his appearance was all to brief in this issue, but with Swamp Thing queued up as my next book to read in the stack, I have a hunch he will feature prominently.
Pugh continues to offer up some of the best revolting imagery to date on this book, with some of his interpretations of The Rot-infected JLA members giving me a severe case of the willies. Just take a moment to dig that Flash action, man. Those teeth alone will haunt my dreams this evening, and his Cyborg...yeah, Cyborg's just gross as a bunch of nondescript lumpy flesh shapes attached to machinery. Yuck in the best of ways. Pugh is a part of Animal Man I hope to see illustrating this title for some time to come. Green II is also stunning on this issue as he takes up the pages focusing primarily on the Swamp Thing and The Green's champions. His art is a stark contrast of crisp, clean line work to Pugh's thicker and darker toned imagery. Together, although the change in artist from page to page is noticeable, I found myself not minding the jump in points of view at all. This is one heck of a great looking comic book.
The worst part of reading Animal Man #17 is that I unfortunately only had enough time to read this one issue on my lunch break and I had to wait another four hours to read the second half. I should have spared myself the painful wait, but I've loved these books since the beginning, and I did have enough time to read one book. I can't wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Swamp Thing #17
Swamp Thing #17 Written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, illustrated by Andrew Belanger, published by DC Comics. The finale of "Rot World" is here! I've been waiting for this moment for a year and a half and now that it has enough. This ending just wasn't what I was expecting, or rather it wasn't the ending I was anticipating.
For me, Swamp Thing has always been about the underlying horror of the series and the smart ways the main character, Alec, deals with each impossible situation. For the most part, this New 52 version, as well as Animal Man, have stuck to that tradition. The finale of "Rot World"however relied all too heavily on super heroics, fisticuffs and an expanded roster of other superheroes who make Alec and Buddy's "win" possible. Beast Boy sacrifices his life (not sure of this) as the new Green Lantern protects the fallen hero long enough to send him back into battle. Meanwhile, the Swamp Thing carries the "Batbot" into the sky because of Steel's sacrifice, and Alec utilizes the deceased, Rot-infected Batman's plan to drive off Arcane. Without the help of other well-known heroes, what would Alec and Buddy have done? I honestly don't know, and THAT is the story I was hoping for. Next issue (Snyder's last) will hopefully deliver on Alec and Buddy's final confrontation--without outside established superhero help--with Arcane. Then there was the art.
As I keep mentioning, this story has been building for a while. With this issue being the "Rot World" finale, I question the decision to bring in new artist, Andrew Belanger, an incredibly talented artist (not knocking the guy), who's style is vastly different from the dark, stylized art used throughout the series. I would like to see Belanger's art on a one-off Swamp Thing story, or a lighter-hearted arc, but for this year and a half long moment, the change was jarring. I'm also confused by Arcane's change in appearance from last month.
Okay, my confusion aside, there was plenty to like in this issue. The reveal of Abigail(s) and Maxine in Animal Man is shocking and Buddy's decision of how to deal with his daughter in this issue is tragic. The Swamp Thing carrying the biorestorative bomb into the atmosphere was also fantastic, but it is the Parliament of Rot and the revelation of what really has been going on that redeems "Rot World." There is also hope as the last page looks to make good on what I hoped to see in this issue, which was still fun to read. RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #14
Rachel Rising #14 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. If you've been reading Donist World for any length of time, then you know I love me some Rachel Rising. What you have with this series is some good ol' well-paced horror with a dash of Twin Peaks-style weirdness, only you get the occasional answers that actually make sense.
Moore is fantastic at creating characters the reader quickly learns to love and the story surrounding these characters pulls you right into the thick of things. All of that said, this was my least favorite issue of the series thus far. Now, before y'all go running to grab your pitchforks to drive the devil outta me, realize that just because I enjoyed the previous 13 issues more, does not mean this is a "meh" issue. Now, you all know if I don't like a comic, it doesn't get a mention...well, this issue is merely pretty darn good. It's mostly a calm before the storm situation and I'm certain what's to come will be a total kick in the pants.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if you're willing to step outside of the capes and tights funny books and you aren't reading Rachel Rising, then something is seriously wrong with you. If you ARE reading this series, know exactly how fantastic this thoughtfully scary book really is. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Quest For the Elusive Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA - To be fair, I have't really begun my quest, but I'm pretty sure I've tapped out most places in Goleta that could have the Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA in stock. I LOVE this brewery, as do many people, but it wasn't until I chatted with my good friend, Bill Yurkas (a talented writer and comedian), that I learned of this beer's existence. The 120-Minute IPA is a $9.99 per 12oz bottle of a limited release beer that should be served in a brandy snifter at red wine temperature. It also has a 18% abv and is suggested to be split with a friend (Obie?), which I plan to do if I can find one. Tomorrow I will head downtown in hopes of finding this little treasure. Hopefully, I will not need to hire Indiana Jones to get a bottle or two in hand. Fingers crossed.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/1/2013

(Sung to the tune of Dragon Sound's "Against the Ninja")

We love that Hawkeye
What will he do for the win?
We love that Hawkeye
What will she do now with him?

Buy it! Buy it!
Buy it! Buy it!

You best go feast your eyes
On Hurtt's Sixth Gun art
The action really flies
Bunn's writing's really smart
Evil seems to thrive
Held by wendigo
Will they escape alive?
Just go read it, bro.

Clint will help the dark storm's victims
Kate will give a good what for
Clint will help the dark storm's victims
Fraction come on give us more!

"Friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty, stay together through thick and th-in. Friends forever, we'll be to-gether, we're on top cuz we play to wi-in." Hello Donist World readers. Ahhhh, we can just feel the power of Dragon Sound here in my mom's basement at our corporate offices. As you might have guessed (or more likely have not), Tulip (my Boston terrier and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/Dragon Sound groupie), Obie (my friends' Boston terrier, Tulip's brother, CFO of Donist World) and I just finished watching the amazingly not-so-great-but-is-really-actually-totally-killer-in-the-best-cult-classicy-kind-of-way-that-you-must-buy-it blu-ray of Miami Connection. We watched the movie for R&D on future story lines for the novels and comic books currently in the early stages of development here at Donist World, but in the end, all the puppies and I could focus on was the shear awesomeness of this movie. I do need to disclose that I had been ill for the past few days and unable to move from the couch, and Obie said he was feeling under the weather as well, although I suspect he was out late last night with the petty cash that was missing from the drawer; we all know how much he likes his Mai Tais. Tulip, on the other hand, was definitely not in the best of health as evidenced by her barfing in the bed (we had just put on new sheets) and was feeling just as lethargic as me.  To be fair, though, Tulip probably brought about her own illness by carrying a disgusting log that was as big as she was for our entire 2.5-mile walk the day before, all because she didn't want Obie to have it...she knows her brother well. Anyways, Miami Connection. BUY IT, WATCH IT. You won't be sorry. To quote my wife who came home while I was watching the brilliance, "Is this intentionally making fun of '80s movies??? This is terrible." No, no, sweetie. This is totally legit and you will never understand the love that Tulip, Obie and I have for this pure Slice of Heaven. Speaking of "Slice of Heaven," take the thermometer out of your mouth, take the ice pack off your head, and take another hit of that delicious Thera-Flu ambrosia, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Hawkeye #7
Hawkeye #7 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Steve Lieber & Jesse Hamm, published by Marvel Comics. Listen up, Donist Worldists, as I'm about to tell you palookas somethin' about that Matt Fraction fella, besides what I said a few years ago here. He's one class act. There you go. Not only is this cat giving the victims of Hurricane Sandy some fresh attention--which they need as many people are still suffering the effects of its fury--he up and decided to give a portion of the profits from this book to relief efforts. THAT is the type humanity we need nowadays, not whatever genus of Protozoa the politicians who blocked relief aid currently fall into (the relief bill was just signed on January 29, 2013, three months after Sandy hit). Thank you, Mr. Fraction for your kindness and for providing another hell of a good story.
It's October 29, 2012 and Sandy is coming to town. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) Sandy is not your evil second girlfriend who still hasn't returned all your CDs, but rather Hurricane Sandy. Clint Barton (Hawkeye), upstanding citizen he is, agrees to help his neighbor, "Grills," get his stubborn father out of his house, which lies right in Sandy's path. Meanwhile, Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) is dead set on attending a New Jersey wedding despite the impending fury of the hurricane. When the bride-to-be's mother falls ill and is in need of medication, Kate sets out into the storm to find help. What she finds is looters and something totally unexpected.
Bravo, Fraction, Lieber and Hamm. Another great issue of a great series and one that seeks to be informational without being preachy or forced in any way. Fraction's aim (get it?) on this book has always been to focus on Barton's time spent outside of the Avengers as he helps real people, one at a time. Through his characters' wonderfully-written dialogue we learn so much about not just Barton, but the side characters such as Grills, who I liked an issue or two ago, but now truly feel for with this issue. Hell, I would gladly help this completely fictional character out if he was in a bind and if Barton came by needing a cup of sugar, you betcha I would help him out too, superhero or not. Fraction coaxes you into liking these guys, and you genuinely hope things end up okay for them.
Lieber handles the art for the Barton portion of the story and I can gladly say he is a fantastic stand-in for David Aja on this issue and hopefully future issues as well. Hell, make a spinoff series with Lieber (Fraction writing of course) and I would be a happy camper. The character expressions are perfect and the storytelling and action riveting. If you have a chance, pick up the exceptional Underground and Whiteout for more beauty from Lieber.
Kate Bishop's story is illustrated by Jesse Hamm, who I unfortunately previously only knew from his work on Paul Allor's "Cage Around My Heart" story from his Clockwork anthology. Hamm provides a different art style than I am used to seeing on this comic, but his style is wonderful and emotionally charged, providing a fantastic second (not girl)Hawkeye story. I hope to see more work from Hamm in the near future...Captain Marvel?
Fraction hasn't had a weak issue yet. To be honest, he hasn't even had an issue that was a measly "good." Hawkeye has become my goto book for introducing non-superhero comic book readers to the world of superheroes. Yes, it is a bit of a stretch, since Barton and Bishop rarely show up in costume and most of the time they are fixing more realistic small-scale problems, but as this issue shows, just helping the guy down the hall can elevate the Average Joe (or not-so average Hawkeye) to superhero status without resorting to colorful tights. I can't wait to double dip this series with a nice, shiny new hardcover...get on that Marvel! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #28
The Sixth Gun #28 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. Yeeee Hawww! I can't tell y'all how happy this here cowpoke is to know The Sixth Gun television show done had a pilot ordered a while ago. Sure thang, this here supernatural Western ain't gonna be appearin' on no SyFy Network, but actually will be appearin' on NBC hopefully some time in the near future. Here's hoping that no soulless suits strive to make the pilot "more accessible to a broader demographic," or attempt to input a "fresh!" take on the story, and stay true to the source. But we're not here to talk the moving picture box, dagnabbit, we're here to talk about this here funny book, which is one of my top three indies, by golly.
Becky Montcrief is on the run and in a parallel world ruled by a wendigo, a powerful creature of hunger and cold, a creature that has possessed the body of her friend Drake Sinclair. The wendigo knows of Drake and Becky's mystical cursed guns, and it means to keep the weapons in its realm where it can keep a close watch on them. Meanwhile, Kirby Hale, Gord Cantrell, and the nine-foot tall mummy Asher Cobb know where to find Drake and Becky, but first they must evade a secretive group who desperately want the six guns for their own purposes. As Gord makes a deal with a literal devil, will he be in time to free his trapped friends before they kill each other?
Alright. I usually talk about how Bunn has a fabulous and unique story, with cool characters and a looming mystery that leaves me coming back for more. I also usually talk about how Hurtt has a style that is so perfect for this comic that regardless of the talent of the occasional fill-in artist, the book is just not the same without him--oh yeah, his storytelling skills are phenomenal, too. Without Bunn and Hurtt, this comic would lose most of its charm. Today, however, were going to talk about Bill Crabtree and Douglas E. Sherwood, the colorist and letterer respectively.
Crabtree's colors bring a remarkable depth and mood to the series, all while avoiding the hyper-realistic styles seen in many of today's comics, causing his covers to stand out amidst a sea of competition. At every turn he reminds us that we are reading a comic book and uses his color palette to pull your eye directly to the characters and the action, even when we are seeing the monochromatic winter world of the wendigo. A quick flip through this issue and you will see just how different his style is.
In the 250+ Donist World posts, I don't believe I've said more than a sentence about a letterer on a given book, but on this particular issue, the lettering is a HUGE component to the story and Sherwood's talent is worthy of praise. Yes, we have the usual well-crafted parchment-like captions that disappear into the art to the point that you pay little attention to them. If you read a comic and don't notice the lettering at all, then you are experiencing lettering done right. Wendi-Drake's word balloons are fantastic with their two-toned blue scheme driving home that all is not well with our "hero." Then there are the fantastic sound effects that weave in and out of Hurtt's artwork, to the point of being sometimes in front of a tree, sometimes behind a tree and other times weaved throughout the branches. In the world of Photoshop, these are called clipping masks and are not an easy thing to do. Providing the "invisible art" is unfortunately oftentimes a thankless job, but Sherwood's lettering in this issue was so creative I had to call it out. Trust me, take a look and see.
A wonderful story/characters/dialogue, beautiful art, striking colors and brilliant lettering all make The Sixth Gun a fabulous book that more people need to be reading, especially now that a television series is on the way. This month we had another great issue, and after seeing next month's cover, I'm hungry for more...wendigo hungry! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items: 
I, Vampire #16
I, Vampire #16 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Scott Clark (also illustrated by Fernando Blanco, Szymon Kudranski, Charles Nelson Reilly, Rob Halford, Bo Obama, Bruce Willis, and that guy who hangs outside of BevMo), published by DC Comics. Dang there were a lot of illustrators on this issue. Seriously. Oh well, whatchagonnado? Anyhow, ever since issue three or four I have been wondering what I, Vampire would have been like if it had been a title outside of the New 52 continuity. Heck, put it on Vertigo, but keep all other series out of the mix, just let Fialkov tell the story he wants to tell. Yeah, wishful thinking best left for Image titles. I'm really saddened by the news that this book is being cancelled, but it had a good run despite the outside crossover/event interference.
This issue has Cain telling a story John, Mary and Deborah don't want to hear, while Andrew and his gang find the Van Helsing weaponry cache. Armed to the teeth, Andrew sets a trap for his old friends that could be the death of them all.
All griping about multiple artists aside, I did like all of the artists' work involved in this issue. The jump in styles within the same scene, however, was terribly distracting and only serves to pull the reader out of the story with each turn of the page. The story was good as ever and we can only hope that Fialkov has enough time to satisfactorily wrap up this series. It's really too bad that sales on this book dictated the onslaught of guest appearances, crossovers, and mini-events that took a bite out of the rich story Fialkov had to tell. Still, I will say I, Vampire is RECOMMENDED!

My first "flatting"
exercise from 2011.
Guess who I picked.
Coloring Night With Chris Sotomayor - This past Wednesday--a couple hours after watching Miami Connection--I attended the Comics Experience online live session with colorist extraordinaire Chris Sotomayor. During this live session, Soto took a cover image from flats to completion(ish) in two very short hours. All while working on this piece, Soto described his processes, talked of his colorful (get it) beginnings in comics, answered questions and everyone had a fantastic time. It was also a bit daunting to see a master of his craft at work and do in two hours what it would take me a week to produce to a much lesser effect. For those of you interested in learning the art of comic book coloring, I cannot stress enough that you should sign up for Soto's coloring course. As of Wednesday, there were only two spots left, but act fast as even those might be gone by now. I took Soto's course nearly two years ago and it was definitely money well spent as I prepare to at least flat two black and white stories that I had artist illustrate...I may actually attempt to complete them as well, but we'll see how it goes. Both Soto's work and his class are VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and being part of that evening reminded me just how much I missed attending Soto's classes; heck, I might just have to spring for the Advanced Coloring course the next time it is offered.

Slice Into the Woods

"Colorists Aren't People, My Friend"- A week ago some comic book convention promoter refused to grant colorist Jordie Bellaire (Captain Marvel) a table at their convention, telling the comic professional "this is not a colorists thing." This degree of short-sightedness is simply appalling. This promoter basically relegated Bellaire to production, hell, he/she might as well have pushed him to being part of accounts payable while they were at it. Not allowing Susie in AP her own table at a con makes sense (sorry, Susie in AP), but if this promoter had any clue as to the amount of artistry, time and dedication that goes into a coloring a comic book then maybe they would change their tune. Come to think of it, maybe the promoter should have attended Soto's coloring night, or maybe the promoter should try reading a dang comic book.