Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 9/6/2013

(Sung to the tune of Bauhaus's version of the song "Telegram Sam")

Satellite Sam
You're a groove program

Chew for the win
Toni, Toni protects kin
Trillium heat
Sci-fi love story
Time travel that can't be beat, beat

Tellin' you, man
Comics to fix your jam

Tellin' you, man
Comics to fix your jam

Why good day there, denizens! Or is it morning? Or possibly evening? With the internet, as long as you are connected to the magic of mysterious ones and zeroes and hang a garland of blueberries above your desk you can time travel back to any posting I've ever made. You can use your LCD screen--unless you are traveling to this post from the far future, in which case you're probably using you're iMind cerebral display or something--to see what comics we liked and to possibly get a little insight into my mood at the time of writing. Then again, maybe my backup hard drive was found, after the great cloud collapse, among the possessions of a mutant boss under the control of the diabolical One Koch, One Corp corporation who rules the wastelands and...
Ohhh, sorry, I started to do the big thinkings and got confused. I'm here with Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and our director of marketing/administrative assistant/party planner/ridiculous gimmick specialist Tulip. We just finished a highly productive meeting (with kibble, waffles, beer, and plenty of dog water) to discuss the Donist World business cards. Obie has been in contact with some business men from times past who wish to be referred to as "creatives," who gave us loads of samples for our new Donist World cards to maintain our standing as a Fortune 320,000 company. We have Donist World cards with holofoil, chromium, glow-in-the-dark, die-cut, and more than anything the "creatives" offered us 3D business cards that had "Donist World" practically LEAP off the paper. Granted, these cards are all way more expensive than the average business card, but according to the "creatives" you have to make an impression and promote the brand. The emphasis on promoting the brand is so strong that Obie's name, Tulip's name, nor my name appear anywhere on the cards at all. How's THAT for brand promotion. Yeah, despite Obie's insistence on going with the "touch-the-gravy" business card, which he ate, we just went with cards from another company that focused on the essentials of a non-gimcky price we're accustomed to, and the names of the founders of the company listed alongside the brand they represent.
Wait a minute? What are we talking about?! While I try to rein in my ramblings, have a look at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Trillium #2
Trillium #2 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. It's a classic case of boy meets girl, denizens. He: a man searching for a rumored temple, lost in the jungle, his exploration party brutally murdered by the locals. She: a botanist attempting to convince an alien populace to grant her access to a flower called "trillium" that might just hold the answers to stopping the alien virus known as the "Caul" from snuffing what remains of the human race. All it takes is one weird temple and a taste of the hallucinogenic flower to bridge the gap of nearly two millennia to bring them together. Awwww...happens all the time, y'know? It reminds me of how Amy, the Donist World intern (aka my wife), and I first met. Me: a poorly-dressed assistant manager with exceptionally bad hair of the downtown location of a failing overly-corporate music store. She: a young college student quickly regretting her decision to seek employment at the downtown location of a failing overly-corporate music store with a weirdo boss who can barely dress himself. See, denizens, it was meant to be. This book speaks to US, and it'll speak to you, too.
It is the year 1921 and William's life has not been going well. Over the past couple of hours, he has witnessed his exploration troupe murdered by an indigenous tribe before his eyes. Not only that, his brother quite possibly shared their fate, and he is lost in the Amazon jungle, but at least he found his pyramid. He also found an oddly dressed woman with white hair who cannot speak his language. The woman's name is Nika, and she cannot understand a word the panicked William is saying to her. What they do know is that the mysterious pyramid before them has something to do with their predicament; it is also surrounded by fields of unattended trillium that might hold the answers they seek.
When Lemire's incredible Sweet Tooth ended with issue 40, a large hole was left in my monthly(ish) comic book reading. It seemed like DC was opting to focus solely on its superhero properties. This coupled with the odd goings-on at Vertigo (Karen Berger leaving, Hellblazer ending with Constantine going mainstream to appear in 90%+ of the "dark" titles, etc.), I feared for the survival (not really, they have a few other titles of note, but you get what I'm sayin') of the imprint that brought me Preacher, Saga of the Swamp Thing, The Sandman, Y the Last Man, and a whole host of other titles. Despite some of the business decisions being made with Vertigo, the fact that they have Lemire (and Scott Snyder, can't forget him) continuing to produce series gives me hope for the imprint.
Lemire's storytelling, both art and writing, is as strong and compelling as ever, which is saying something, as there are no action or fight scenes anywhere in this issue. Almost every single page consists of William and Nika attempting to communicate, but it is the acting and the drama of how the two "talk" that is so fascinating. Lemire drops hints throughout their interactions that they get what is being said, just look at Nika's terrible stick figuredrawing that makes them both smile; the looks on their faces say it all. I was also thankful that the universal language that provides the first bit of understanding as to their situation is not love, as Hollywood would like for us to believe, but rather numbers, time, and math; love comes later for Nika and William. Lemire hints at some sort of history between the two on page five, panel six, which shows a link that we have yet to fully understand, but one I care so very much to see play out.
If you've been reading Donist World for any length of time, you know that I am a fan of Lemire's work. Whether you're reading the harsh yet amazing Sweet Tooth, the brilliant gut punch that is Essex County, the fantastic The Nobody, or the powerfully emotional journey that is The Underwater Welder it's safe to say you cannot go wrong with his creator-owned and Vertigo work. We're only two issues in thus far and Trillium looks to continue Lemire's streak of thought-provoking and exciting comics. Buy this time-traveling, sci-fi, love story! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Chew #36
Chew # 36 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. that explains the toe Tony Chu found in his freezer last issue. <ahem> If you've never read an issue of Chew before, then the previous sentence will not make all that much sense. That said, what the hell is wrong with you for not reading one of the most imaginative and entertaining comic books of the past decade?! If that is the case, better late than never, and glad you're here with us now. Anyways, this issue is what the creators have called issue 29 1/2 as it fills in some of the questions after the incredibly harsh issue 30, that still kind of bums me out now that I think about it. This is not a bad thing, but rather a good one since Layman and Guillory made me care so much about a character, that when that character died, I was stunned and upset by the death; it mattered.
In this issue we meet Tony and Toni's sister Sage--she has food based powers like her siblings--who is in a bit of a bind with the mob. With Tony hospitalized (see the "Baseball, Hotdogs, and Apple Pie" storyline), sister Toni rushes to the rescue. We get a kickace Poyo double-page spread, Paneer in a spacesuit, assassins who kill with kitchen utensils, and an eye-opening yet sad look at how a person who knows exactly when they are going to die spends their last few days.
There. That's all I'm going to give you on the story. Despite being a sad issue of Chew--I never thought I would say such a thing--it was still funny in all the right parts and a blast to read. Layman and Guillory are sharp as ever on this tremendously fun and at times disgusting series. If you've already read Chew, then you know it's fantastic. If you haven't and you can handle some decidedly gross moments that are quickly surpassed by a compellingly bizarre but hilarious story with gorgeously unique art, then this is the must read comic for you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Satellite Sam #3
Satellite Sam #3 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Howard Chaykin, published by Image Comics. Satellite Sam is a story surrounding a cast of characters for a '50s sci-fi show, where the lead, Carlyle White has died. As the cast and crew try to position themselves for what's next, Carlyle's alcoholic son, Mike, discovers his father's hidden photo stash of over a hundred beautiful women in various compromising positions. When Mike recognizes a women in one of the photographs as his father's co-star from Satellite Sam, he has some questions for her. The answers are more than Mike expected. Meanwhile, the assistant director, Libby Meyers, receives reel upon reel of "special" film slated for the deceased Carlyle himself.
I love the mood and pacing of this series. Fraction crafts a beautifully told period piece that reminds me why I enjoy the television show Mad Men while luring me deeper into the mystery of what happened to Carlyle White. It's true there is not much in the way of action, but Fraction can take all the time he wants to tell this tale, so long as he stays true to the fascinating characters and setting he has created. His page one character roster is wonderfully concise and gives you everything you need to know about the stars of this series.
Chaykin's art is stunning in both acting and panel progression, with the first two panels of the jazz club scene being two of my favorites from the issue. He also draws some knockout pinup girls.
Three issues in and I am enjoying Satellite Sam quite a bit and look forward to seeing what the creators have in store for us. As I mentioned in the review of the first issue, this series was not at all what I expected, but what I got just so happens to be so much better. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Attack on Titan V. 1
Attack on Titan Manga and Anime - I'm going to keep this one brief, folks. Back when Tulip, Obie and I were on the Donist World corporate retreat, we read in the newspaper that some manga called Attack on Titan had multiple volumes on the best-sellers list and was up there with Saga and the Walking Dead. I'd never heard of it, so I made a note to look into the book when I got home. Before I could do this, however, I saw on my Playstation Store that there was an anime sale going on and that the first episode of the Attack on Titan anime was available for free. Holy crud cakes, I loved it! I immediately ordered the first volume of the manga and began to research the anime in earnest. What I found was that the PSN has the anime series available for download for a price, but has the subtitled series available for free (in crappy SD with ads, but you can view on your computer or iPad) or for a small subscription you can have HD, no ads and watch on your TV through your Playstation. Thus far, I'm 19 episodes in on the anime and I've read up to the second volume with volumes three and four waiting on my leaning tower of yet-to-be-read comics.
In short, the world as we know it ended a few centuries ago with the arrival of the nearly unstoppable titans. The titans have one purpose: to consume the human race. Human in appearance, but of varying monstrous sizes, the titans seem to be unintelligent, including the occasional, random "aberrant" which behaves in odd and unpredictable ways. The thousand remaining humans constructed three enormous circular walls to keep the titans out, but humanity must stay caged within. All remains calm until the day an intelligent 50-feet-tall titan appears out of nowhere to destroy the first wall and unleash the mindless smaller titans upon humanity once again. The only chance of survival rests with the brave men and women trained in the use of complex 3D movement gear and the secret weapon that might be the human race's last hope.
Man, this series is unnerving and scary. I will hopefully do a proper write up some day of both the anime and the manga, but trust me when I say that this gross, but addictive, horror/post-apocalyptic story is VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

I Think I Said It All In the Intro Above - Continuing my little rant from last week, you can also read between the clearly drawn lines of my "business card" nuttiness above. This kind of gimmickry nearly crushed the comics industry in the '90s and I hope it does not become a "thing" going forward.


No comments:

Post a Comment