Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/22/2013

(Sung to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal")

Gaze through the LCS window
Many comics, what should you do
Donist can help you don't lament
Afterlife With Archie's good money spent
Rachel Rising on the table
Best scoop up if you are able
Animal Man hits with a loud boom
The Wake brings its awesome portent of doom

Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
(Ok...if there's anyone out there named Annie, please let us here at Donist World know that you are indeed "ok" as this part of the song goes on and on and on inquiring if you are "ok." If you are not "ok," then I'm willin' to bet a heapin' helpin' of my mama's diablo chili that you will be after reading the books below. Just know that your state of okayedness, Annie, is of vital importance to us here at Donist World.)
Are you ok, Annie?
You should def try
You should def buy
Sex Criminals

Happy Friday, Donist World Denizens! I'm here with our CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/stress management supervisor Tulip (my dog, and Obie's sister) and we're kind of running around my mom's basement the corporate office like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. You see, denizens, the dreaded holidays are upon us: a time for stress; a time for rampant flu viruses; a time for ridiculous travel; a time of unrealistic expectations; a time for inevitable, bitter, crushing disappointment (What? Still no freakin' pony?!?!). Anyhow, in addition to all of that, it was a big comic book week this week, and we also read a bunch of really cool stuff that we just don't have time to get to today. Poor Obie has been pacing back and forth on the rug, chugging coffee, and cursing up a storm as if he was a Tourette's Syndrome victim trapped in a monestary. Tulip says he's just acting up so he doesn't have to write any reviews, or research cross-geo synergized strategies to maintain our Fortune 320,000 company status; I'm inclined to agree. I also think, he's waiting for me to get wrapped up into a project so he can sneak off and continue playing the freaking fantastic The Last Of Us PS3 game, which kind of seems like something I might be into starting up again, seeing as how I already finished my first play through. Yup, doin' it. While I get a refresher on my coffee and startup the ol' machine, take a look at this week's awesomeness on...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sex Criminals #3
Sex Criminals #3 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, flats by Becka Kinzie, published by Image Comics. *Sorry, denizens, if you're a young 'un (a real young 'un), then this book might not be for you; not yet anyways. But that's cool, that's normal. You'll get there. Have a look at the next few heavenly items below and you should be good to go. Cool? Cool.*
The tooth fairy hasn't come to visit me for quite some time. Yeah, sad, I know. It's been over two and a half decades since the last visit. Maybe she (or he, it's 2013 and equal opportunity and all) fell on hard times, or was laid off, or maybe she updated her computer system and my name was misspelled (wow, college all over again) and there are a treasure trove of quarters piled up somewhere just waiting for me. Or maybe it's just because I haven't lost any dang teeth for a while. So what happens when you stop loosing teeth and the tooth fairy bids you adieu? You get a new fairy to guide you through the world. You get...the porn fairy, of course.
What does the porn fairy have to do with this issue? Nothing really, I'm just jawin' here, but bear with me a sec. From what I've read upon the Donist World tea leaves, Sex Criminals sold out the initial print run and I believe the second printing is kind of hard to come by as well. You're going to have to do some digging to get ahold of the actual floppy of the first two issues until a third printing arrives. At this point, people might trade wait the series, and I'm afraid I must insist you do not do this. You need the floppies, plain and simple. Not only do you get what is one of my favorite comics on the stand--I'm enjoying this as much as Saga--you also get the hilarious back matter and letters pages, that left me rolling with laughter. I suspect the trade will not include these letters, which is kind of a bummer. Now, because this book has glowing dinguses (dingi?), boobies, sexy time thingies, you cannot buy Sex Criminals through the Comixology iPad app on account of Apple's concern over having sex/nudity of any sort coming across their iTunes store. This is in spite of the fact that this is an incredibly sex positive comic made for adults who could enable parental controls to keep youngsters from seeing something they don't want them to see. Heck, it's also art, but depict some boobies, and puritanical interest curtail its distribution, while other forms of art depicting grisly acts of violence skate by with no problem. There's a few ways around this if you wish to buy digitally: buy from the website (not the app) and like magic, it will appear in the app for your viewing pleasure (Hey! Click the link and you can get the first issue for free!); or can buy from where the first issue is also FREE! I'm not certain if the aforementioned letters column is included in the digital versions (for your sake I hope so), but if you have not read the first issue, then you cannot beat the price.
Anyways, the porn fairy. Okay, I thought my brother, cousins and I were the only ones to be visited by the porn fairy, but according to the Sex Criminals letters column this is simply not the case. Who/what is the porn fairy? Well, denizens, the porn fairy is simply a magical, invisible fairy who distributes porno mags throughout the woods, on roof tops, placed above towering hay bale stacks, or for the more lazy porn fairies in manure piles. You see, about the time the tooth fairy was making her exit, the porn fairy began leaving porn hidden in the woods for us to find. The findings were rare and it was never expected, porn just happened to be there when I jumped over a rock, or investigated the root system of a fallen tree or wondered what was in the box sitting by the babbling brook. Now, the reason I've gone on and on about this is that I always assumed this "porn in the woods" thing was specific to me, the letters column confirms this is simply not the case and has happened to most everyone. Unfortunately, I believe the porn fairy has been added to the endangered species list with the coming of the digital age. I don't expect to find any laptops or thumb drives stashed away under a log anytime soon; you're more likely to find a leprechaun's pot o' gold. Oh yeah, I ramble, the Sex Criminals comic itself...fantastic.
Suzie and John were all set to rob a bank. They had the perfect plan: enter the Quiet (what Suzie calls the time-stopped world), steal as much money from the bank (where John is employed) as possible, get even with the lame bank job, take the stolen money to save Suzie's beloved library from the very same bank seeking to close it, have fun along the way. The problem is that three freaky individuals dressed all in white are able to enter the Quiet and they do not approve of Suzie and John's meddling with time. Also in this issue, we learn about John's first few encounters and we see a cute musical number set to Suzie's favorite song, only minus the rights to print the actual lyrics, which makes the scene even better (stupid, dinosaur, white-haired, stupidly-rich, white, corporate muckety mucks stuck on antiquated business models...this issue could have been free advertising and could reinvigorate music sales. Might happen in the trade). And finally, a startling third-to-the-last-panel image!
If I had to limit my description of Sex Criminals to one word, that word would be "charming." If I could throw some more words in there, then I would say "A charming, well-told, beautifully-illustrated comic that does not shy away from the terribly awkward days of growing up, or the wonderful moment when you first meet someone who finally 'gets' you. Pure fun from beginning to end." Fraction's writing is so honest, and rings so true that I can readily relate to this book minus the Quiet portion of course. His commentary as to what went wrong with the licensing during the musical scene is fantastic and an unplanned interesting look at the state of the music industry who is increasingly running out of their own feet to shoot. This is also a reason to not trade wait, for if the creators do receive permission to reprint the song lyrics (I'm not going to state the band's name, why help out-dated and potentially abusive business practices?) the awesome commentary pasted over the lyrics might not be included. I hope the creators opt to NOT pay any sort of licensing fee and keep the commentary in place, it works well with the style and tone of the book.
Zdarsky's art continues to floor me. Simply gorgeous imagery and character acting and I kind of sort of have a crush on Suzie. The coloring succeeds in turning stunning art work into something otherworldly when taking a trip through the Quiet, or during a certain musical also tells me I have a ways to go with my own coloring.
Okay, I'm off to take Tulip out for a quick walk. I think we'll cut over from the parking lot, at the laundry facility and take the path to the railroad tracks. You know, through the woods. Who knows what we might find. While we're gone, check out Sex Criminals, you should be pleasantly surprised. Hey...what's that over there by that stump? VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Afterlife With Archie #2
Afterlife With Archie #2 - Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications. I said it last month with the incredible first issue of Afterlife With Archie, I said it when I was completely blown away by the first Archie The Married Life TPB (I need the three followups), then yet again with The Best of Archie Comics TPBand I will say it a fourth time with this week's issue...I have been missing out on a whole segment of comic book awesomeness for much of my life.
We open with Cheryl and Jason Blossom arriving late to the Halloween dance and things inside are not going well. A jump in time later, Veronica is telling her father, the mayor, about what happened at the dance and about the zombified Jughead. She also told her father what her mortal enemy (still Jughead, for all you non-Archie versed denizens) did to poor Ethel Mugs in her cute Snow White outfit. Pop Tate's gets a visitor, Archie gets heroic, and the gang--the ones who are still alive--come up with a plan.
My goodness gracious, I love this comic. Aguire-Sacassa has each character's voice down completely. Each piece of dialogue fits each character despite the grave (see what I did there?) nature of this comic. The funny thing with this issue is that it actually is kind of scary and horrific, but there are lighthearted, humorous moments as well as touching scenes such as the one between Nancy and Ginger, which showcases just how progressive this comic book can be.
Francavilla...yeah, I just love the man's illustrations and colors on everything he does. As much as I would be the first to admit that I never imagined Francavilla working on an Archie book, his style is dang perfect for this zombified mini; I wonder if there will be prints of these covers for sale...
This book is a prime example of why Archie has held steadfast for so many decades. The company is not afraid to take risks with their properties whether gay characters are getting married, long-single ones get married only to find adulthood tough, members of KISS come to visit, or a lesbian couple disagrees about coming out. Now we have zombies in Riverdale and some of our most beloved characters don't survive the ordeal, and I wouldn't have it any other way. If things get too intense, you have six decades worth of material to pick you back up and make you laugh. Don't trade wait this one, denizens, because you also get a bonus, recently-discovered spooky story from Gray Morrow. I eagerly await the next issue of this must-own series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Rachel Rising #21
Rachel Rising #21 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Astract Studio. I'm going to be honest here and let you know that although the cover is really cool, there are no giant vine snakes tracking a trail of blood in this issue. Whatever, man, I'm still feelin' this amazing comic, ya dig?
After the plague of rats afflicting the town of Manson, a killer frost has set in that is chilling the inhabitants to the bone. This is a minor problem for Rachel. The bigger issue is that Rachel's Aunt Johnny was recently poisoned, died, had her soul transferred into her dog, and the dog has run off. In comes Dr. Siemen who knows a thing or two about death and attempting to cure it. Meanwhile, Zoe has taken up shelter from the cold in a gas station bathroom--along with her special knife "Jack"--but when a station dog discovers her as does the station owner, Zoe will be forced to make an interesting choice.
The scene with the dog had me worried and nervous for what the homicidal Zoe would do, and Moore completely had me unsure of how the scene would play out. I love how he handled the situation. I don't recall him ever really drawing a dog to this degree, but the panels here were shocking, brutal, wonderful. Of course all of the acting and sequentials are without compare and although the story takes a pause from progressing forward, this issue is still fascinating. Even if there are only 20 pages per issue, Moore consistently gives the reader more bang for their buck than you would expect. If you are not reading Rachel Rising, then you are missing out, but you can quickly catch up with the three trades that are out. This is another title that I don't trade wait, as I cannot imagine going for so long without my monthly(ish) dose of one of comic's most important creators. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Wake #5
The Wake #5 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Okay, another confession: I was totally wondering what the heck this title was going to do for the next five issues, and a seed of doubt popped into the back of my mind as to whether the creators could actually pull this series off. You know what, denizens? Take a deep breath, everything looks like it's going to be okay.
Lee, the murderous Meeks, and two other humans are the only ones left alive down at the deep sea rig. They're totally screwed. Not only are there thousands of the vicious sea creatures waiting to annihilate them, there's also the one monstrous merman who can easily flatten the rig, which it does to a lesser degree. The people survive, but Lee knows what it is the monsters intend to do and it won't be good for any land dwellers. Thankfully, Meeks has a plan and a little secret he has kept stashed away. The final two pages tell us exactly where the final half of the series is headed.
That was intense! Amirite? Man...Snyder and Murphy completely setup a change of protagonist for the series in a way that reminds me of the ultra-amazing The Passage (I'm still reading it...just need more hours in my day so I can finish). The opening sequence of the first issue--that always felt a bit out of place to me--finally comes back into play and the future world makes sense now that we can deduce what brought about the water dominated world of the future. The dialogue in this issue is great, and the science and animal information is fascinating. Meeks still rules.
Murphy's art, especially on the terrifying creatures, is hyper-charged, stressful action, that when complemented by Hollingsworth's otherworldly pinks melting into blues left me madly wanting to see what happens next, while wanting to absorb every detail of these deadly creatures. The backgrounds and ship designs are also incredible.
Sooooooo...this is what the first five issues were leading up to. I thoroughly enjoyed what I have read thus far of The Wake, but that last page has me positively thrilled for what is to follow. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #25
Animal Man #25 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, Colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, published by DC Comics. I'm certain I've mentioned before--like, last month--that I was a hop, skip and a jump away from dropping Animal Man after the "Rot World" event left me a little less than happy and more than wishing both this title and Swamp Thing were still Vertigo books. Don't get me wrong, "Rot World" was fine for a superheroy sort of thing, but I fell in love with the darker side of these characters back in the '70s and '80s and that is kind of what I want to read; there are 50 other superhero titles after all. Anyhow, an issue or two past the end of the event, plus a great annual, and I'm excited again for one of the best of New 52 original launch titles.
A bunch of (red) skull-faced fanatics have taken over a Hollywood award show (I wonder how their Theta levels fare) to challenge Buddy Baker (Animal Man) to stop them. On the first page splash the leader then says something so horrendously harsh that Buddy is more than eager to hand out some beat downs, but he's not going anywhere without his wife Ellen who demands to go with him. The fanatics are actually under the thumb of their mostly-silent leader, Brother Blood, who has forcefully taken the role of the Red's avatar along with the help of a rogue member of the Parliament of Limbs (I understand that some of you will have ZERO idea what the heck this all means, and you should probably start with the excellent first trade found here). Meanwhile, Maxine, Buddy's daughter, is trapped in the Red and on the run from Brother Blood who seeks to end her life. Fanatics get smacked around and something out of the blue happens.
Yup, still enjoying this series. Lemire continues to play up the family dynamic of this book to such a degree that after that first page even I wanted to go beat up that DB cultist who was serving up all too many dick waffles. Ugh...I'm still pissed at that character; that's what I call good writin'. One criticism of this book arc is that Baron Blood, the so called evil of evils, has said all of a handful of words. I never (regrettably...I intend to remedy this) read The New Teen Titans where Brother Blood was a huge menace, so I fail to see how this guy is a threat since we haven't seen him do anything villainous or say much of anything...he kinda just stands around, when he shows up at all. The end of this issue also left me scratching my head, but I'm curious to see where the story goes.
Albuquerque is great at delivering both the drama and the action of a scene, never pulling the reader out of the experience as the eye flows from panel to panel. I especially loved the look of the few pages of Maxine and socks in the Red.
If you aren't reading Animal Man and you want a book that skirts the line between horror and superheroes, then this is definitely the book to check out. Yes, you can jump in after the "Rot World" event and you'll be fine (the trade is not yet out yet, though), but you should really start off with the first and second trades and even pick up the "Rot World" portion which is still worth checking out. This issue is RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

 So Many Books So Little Time! - Man, where does the time go? I have tons of trades and Kickstarter items to read (many from my talented friends) that I am sure will be popping up on FSoH/SitW some time soon. I also have stacks of stuff that I have read, but have been unable to squeeze in with the weekly releases as a result of so much awesomeness. It really bums me out that I can't talk about them all without sacrificing time spent on my own projects. I'll get them on here with more detail, but in the meantime here are some freakin' amazing titles you should check out: Battling Boy (just finished this...awesome Paul Pope work), Revival (must-buy material for horror fans), The Strange Tale of Panorama Island (gorgeous, trippy, not for kids), Creepy Presents...Steve Ditko, The Walking Dead, The Bunker (a digital comic from Joshua Hale Fialkov), Heathentown (oh man is this creepy), Kinski (interesting story around a dog and the man obsessed with it), Monster on the Hill (I bought on a digital sale and think this is one I need as a hard copy on my favorite bookshelf).


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