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.


No comments:

Post a Comment