Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 8/9/2013

(Sung to the tune of Motley Crue's  "Home Sweet Home")

This comic's a screamer
But it has a heart of gold
It will bring you up high
Then this issue will make you shout, "NO!"

Things just ain't goin' right
Everything's gone dreadfully wrong
Rachel Rising's where it's at, the book's
Still goin' strong

A wolf eats a hunter's heart
These reborn witches are mean as rocks
Just one more book
I can't take this wait
Moore totes rocks the socks

Now I'm on my way, I'm on my way
Home sweet home

Hello there, denizens, and welcome to the "mobile" installment of Donist World! *Translation: I have been on vacation and have been no where near my LCS to pick up this week's comic books, but I do have a few things to talk about below.* As ever, I am joined by Donist World CFO extraordinaire Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and by the ever-lovely Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/wine specialist Miss Tulip (my Boston terrier and Obie's sister...who has just reminded me that her credentials go beyond just her good looks, and that stating her looks as business acumen opens me to various lawsuits, which got Obie drooling). On this Donist World California tour, we stopped in Saratoga, Santa Rosa, Guernville, and Healdsburg where we have visited such great wineries as Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Moshin, VML (I want to live at this winery, it's beyond beautiful), La Crema and stopped at Russian River Brewery (bought a 6-pack of Pliny the Elder, the #1 craft beer in America), Bear Republic Brewing Co (Did the Specialty Flight favorite was the 05256 Rebellion and the Cafe Racer 15) and had some wonderful food. We also met tons of bears in Guernville--not the four-legged kind--since we unknowingly overlapped with Lazy Bear 2013. 
From ocean to river to vineyard, the Donist World executive team sought inspiration to improve our Fortune 320,000 standing and spread the word of the Donist World story. What this means is that Tulip and I kicked back by the pool with Donist World intern Amy (my wife), while Obie ran off with some locals dressed in suits, who clung to the shadows while uttering phrases like "venture capital," "hybridized CDOs," "time shares," and "used cars." But unfortunately, all vacations come to an end, and we are recharged. While we check out of the hotel (H2 Hotel in Healdsburg...which is fantastic btw), and Obie stops high-fiving the shady businessmen out behind those gnarled trees, have an abbreviated look at a series I was finally able get caught up on. Excuse me one second...Obie, don't you dare sign that contract before I read it!

Friday Slice of Heaven

Rachel Rising #16
Rachel Rising #16 - 18 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Holy calamity, scream insanity! I finally got a hold of my missing issue of this Donist World favorite comic, by a Donist World favorite creator. I've been sitting on issue 17 and 18, and multiple times I considered skipping the absent issue, because the wait was killing me. I stayed strong, denizens. I stayed strong, by golly! The past fifteen issues of Rachel Rising have been a slow-burn horror roller coaster ride, but it has ALWAYS been a fantastic comic book through and through. I strongly advise against trying to jump into the series at anywhere other than the very beginning. Sorry, folks, that's just the way it is, but never fret, there are three trades available at this point, so you're covered. However, we're here to talk about the issue I was missing and the two issues that follow. Was it worth the wait, which required that I order from since three comic stores that I visited could not get me a copy. Oh my goodness, yes!
Rachel, Jet, Aunt Johnny, and Carol (Aunt Johnny's love) are trying to wrap their heads around some problems, namely resurrection, undeadness and Jet's missing memories. Meanwhile, Zoe, the murderously confused little girl, seeks refuge in a church, which seems like a good idea, except a demon has inhabited the body of the priest. Poor little Zoe's going to get all the wrong encouragement, such as an exceptionally sharp knife previously owned by a man/killer named Jack. Lilith decides it is time for a change and does her best imitation of a phoenix, while Mary Scott and Hannah wait patiently; at least they can pass the time on a couple of overly-touchy hunters. Zoe learns to get medieval on someone's posterior. Lilith is reborn, but suffers an emotional setback at the sudden appearance of Ma Malai. Someone in Rachel's group makes a bad decision (!).
The intentionally sparse three-issue summary above does little to show just how emotionally intense or how perfectly the tension for each character builds from page to page; there's little to break the momentum...except for the painful wait for issue 19. Moore's greatest strength--and he has many strengths--is the characterization found in his gorgeous art and within his carefully formulated words. You love these characters, even the evil ones, to such a degree that you cannot put the book down until you reach the end of the issue, and even then you might find yourself immediately rereading an installment as I did. Such is the power of Moore's work, and after issue 18 I am very worried for the well being of a couple of my favorite characters.
Moore's creator-owned work is some of the best comic book material out there. The dramatic and heartbreaking/touching Strangers In Paradise left me hammering through all six Pocket Editions, with the final volume leaving me an emotional wreck and fighting back the tears as I rode a train from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Echo is a crazy sci-fi epic that I never wanted to end--and that I hope to see return someday. Rachel Rising is...really starting to freak me out, but no matter what happens, I just can't turn away...I  do not want to, ESPECIALLY after what happened in issue 18. Moore is my favorite writer/artist and his creator-owned stories feature prominently on my all-time-favorite comic book list. His ventures deep into the darkside are exactly the type of horror I love and this is a comic I cannot give enough praise. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Revival Vol. 2 TPB
Revival Vol. 2 Live Like You Mean It TPB - Written by Tim Seeley and Illustrated by Mike Norton, published by Image Comics. Okay, denizens, I'm going to keep this unfairly brief as I have not yet discussed the first volume, which I read, and loved, back in February (?); I promise to get to it some time soon. Just know that you should  buy BOTH volume 1 and 2 if you are a fan of the following: 1) creator-owned comics, 2) horror comics, 3) either/both creators, 4) subject matter that might unnerve you, 5) well-told stories with compelling characters, 6) all of the above. I must have been needing a horror fix or something which I got in droves this week. Never mind that both comics deal with women who were killed and are now very much "alive" as they attempt to solve their own murders...that is where the similarities stop. Both stand on their own merit and both are books that Donist World very much loves. Tighten your belts, denizens, as this one might just scare the pants off of you, and we all know how embarassing it is to be caught without pants on...unless you are a total weirdo, which is cool, too, I guess. As I said, I will come back to both of these volumes soon, just know that Revival is VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:

Trillium #1
Trillium #1 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Wuv...true least that is what I believe the solicits for this new Vertigo release from Jeff Lemire promised, but that is not totally clear after this issue. This is fine, we have a lot of interesting prep work to get through before our two time-crossed lovers meet.
Lemire gives the reader two choices, two perspectives to choose from to begin the story: "The Soldier - 1921," and "The Scientist - 3797." All you have to do is flip the book to choose your starting point. I began with the story concerning Nika from the far future, but I would actually suggest holding off on the fascinating sci-fi future and begin with William in the past to work up to Nika's story; either way you get to your destination. William is a war-damaged ex-soldier intent on finding the Lost Temple of the Incas. His search will lead him through hostile territory and to a confrontation that will bring back all the horrors of the war. Then he finds not only the temple, but a woman in strange clothing. Nika is a scientist attempting to establish communication with an alien race known at the Atabitians, who she hopes to eventually barter with to obtain a new source of the flower known as Trillium. Humanity is on the verge of extinction as an intelligent space virus known as the Caul has actively pursued and decimated the human population. Around 4000 people remain, but the Caul is on their way, and Trillium is the only possible last defense. With time running out, she finds a pyramid that transports her to a jungle where she meets a mysterious man.
I have had a void in my comic book loving heart since the incredible Sweet Tooth series ended a while back. I honestly missed that feeling of being put through the emotional wringer you get from a Lemire (non-superhero) title, and this book fills happily fills that gap. Thinking of Essex County, The Nobody, The Underwater Welder, Sweet Tooth, and Lemire's other work, "happily" is probably a poor word choice, where "harsh" and "beautiful" and "amazing" might be better suited. This is a short series with only seven issues remaining, but I can tell you it's off to one heck of a start. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Satellite Sam #2
Satellite Sam # 2 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Howard Chaykin, published by Image Comics. Storywise, I can safely say that that the first issue of Satellite Sam was not at all what I expected. This is not a bad thing, quite the opposite. I was expecting some sort of space-faring story about a phantom spaceman or some such who was murdered by a sexy lady in lingerie (that's what showed on the cover at least), but instead read a period piece about a doomed television network with a popular show and calamity of dysfunctional talent with the star gone missing. I like what we got better...although I do hope to see lingerie-clad outer space femme fatales someday.
As Mikey White slips deeper and deeper into the bottle after he finds his father dead in a flophouse room, containing stacks of photographs of scantily clad women, Dr. Joseph Ginsberg struggles to save the floundering LeMonde Television Network. Joseph attempts to secure funding, he attempts to keep the Satellite Sam cast from imploding, and he will do whatever it takes to keep Satellite Sam scribe Dick Danning on the show for as long as possible. Mikey realizes Joseph is not being completely honest with him, and he also recognizes one of the ladies in his father's photograph collection. Satellite Sam must stay on the air!
Not much happens in this issue to further what happened to Mikey's father, but this is not solely Mikey's story, and what we get with the other characters is both intriguing and captivating. A great story by Fraction and beautiful art by Chaykin who gives the reader the impression that they too are sitting at the bar or visiting the diner or standing on the set along with all of the Satellite Sam cast. I'm excited to see what comes next. RECOMMENDED!

Russian River Brewery On-Tap List
Beer - Aside from music, what else goes so well with comics other than beer? Okay, nature, I'll give you that, nature goes well with comics. Oh, and hot dang if burritos and pizza don't go well with comics, too. Go-go dancing also fits in there with comics somewhere, but right now I'm talking about beer. On this trip, I was lucky enough to visit The Bear Republic and The Russian River Brewery. If you like beer, then you should be familiar with Bear Republic's Racer 5, Red Rocket Ale and Hop Rod Rye, but after taking part in the eight beer tasting I can strongly recommend the Cafe Racer 15 (double IPA, limited bottle release) and the 05256 Rebellion (single hop IPA, draft only...sorry).
Then there's The Russian River Brewery. "Ooo, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooo, heaven is a place on Earth," and that heaven can be found in Santa Rosa, CA. Here's what I have had: HUGElarge SOUND "Czech" pils (a fantastic pilsner...draft only?), Row 2, Hill 56 (easily the best pale ale I have ever had. Draft and bottles, but no bottles available that day), Pliny the Elder (Double IPA, the grand daddy of all IPAs. Simply the best. I had draft and have five bottle going home with me!). I also bought Blind Pig IPA and Shadow of a Doubt Porter, which I have not yet tried. Russian River Brewery is a must visit for craft beer lovers as their offerings can barely make the demand of the immediate area, much less Southern California or out of state. I know I will be drinking something special the next big comic book release day. Beer and comics make the world go around.

Wine - Keep in mind, denizens, that I only encourage those of legal drinking age to imbibe of the spirits, and please realize that I don't drink to excess, but I am a grown ass man who just happened to be visiting both wineries and breweries. When I get back to life and back to reality, I will be hitting the water, and the trails as I attempt to run off all of the extra calories. Anyhow, I have an appreciation of wine that, although not as robust as my love of beer, is still pretty strong. This trip we tasted Cooper-Garrod (my wife's family's winery), VML (most beautiful building for a tasting room I have ever seen), Moshin and La Crema. Come to think of it, wine pairs well with comics, too.

Slice Into the Woods

Live Wire (Not the Motley Crue Song) - On the way back from Healdsburg, we (Amy, Tulip, and I) managed to make it about a mile before traffic came to a complete stop Southbound on the 101. We sat for a few minutes before we started noticing drivers getting out of their cars and wandering around on the freeway attempting to gain a better view of what was causing the delay. This was problematic for me. You see, denizens, I am a fan of horror films and have seen MANY in my days including a fair amount that fall in the zombie category. My Donist mind ran wild. I was just waiting to hear an explosion followed by woman's scream as a car is flung over top of us stranded travelers. Then the undead slowly make their way towards us...or they would descend upon us like a great rushing river depending on your favorite type of zombie. Thankfully, none of this happened.
It turns out a live wire had come down across the freeway and traffic was being diverted onto the once sleepy neighborhoods of the area. We managed to do a 180 degree turn, drove done the wrong way of the freeway, and escaped the traveling throngs by heading into the back country with newfound designs on stopping at the Russian River Brewery. Huh...I've also seen a ton of horror films based in various remote countrysides...

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