Friday, January 2, 2015

Donist World Year-End Roundup - Part 2!

(Sung to the tune of Enigma’s “Sadeness”)

Chanting (Ummm…yeah, uh…a bunch of Latin sounding stuff that I don’t understand.)

Hey there, denizens, and Happy New Year…sort of. I am joined as ever by CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / healthcare (non)specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). This post is incredibly late, as I am currently sick as a dog, which is not exactly true, since Tulip and Obie appear to be perfectly fine as they wolf down the ham sandwich I can’t stomach to look at. No sleep last night, no sleep today, I gots the fever, and feel like I can hoark at any moment. Ugh. Because of this, yeah no song this week, and the last seven entries were written through fever dreams, but I didn’t want to miss a post. So, please have a look at my top 28 heavenly things of 2014, while I stress to Obie that I need to leave the office (my mom’s basement) and go somewhere to relax and try to recover (upstairs).

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Probably NOT Spoilers Below***

If you have a moment, check out our past FSoH/SitW Year-End Roundups for 2014 (Part 1)20132012, and 2011 to see all things heavenly from the past. For the comic series listed below, I provide an image of the best way to experience the comic if you have not yet read it. Basically, I will try to show an omnibus, then a hardcover, then a trade, and finally, if no trade is yet available, the first issue of the series. We at Donist World, thank you for reading and hope you enjoy these things as much as we do.

Donist World 14 (Times Two) Heavenly Things (In Alphabetical Order)

Read More

  1. Adventure Time (Cartoon) The third season came out early this year, and the fourth season released a month or two ago. Bizarre, brilliant, bountifully-beautiful Adventure Time is a show I initially wrote off as lacking in quality and imagination… that is until I sat down and gave it a try; sometimes being so decidedly wrong about something can be the best thing in the world. Seasons five through seven cannot come out soon enough.
  2. Arrow and The Flash (Television Show / Blu-Ray) - I shudder to think about what would have happened to my teeny-tiny brain had these two phenomenal and highly addictive shows been around when I was but a young Donist. I don’t think I could have handled the intensity or the excellence of these back then, heck, I can barely manage my excitement each time a new episode pops up on Hulu. I’m ’bout ready to seek out Arrow/The Flash sheets and curtains after the recent crossover, by golly. 
  3. Avengers Arena (Graphic Novel) - Over the past year or so, I had heard and read a bit of positve things about this series that brings aspects of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale over to the Marvel Universe. Luckily, while wandering the expanse of the Wondercon 2014 floor, I came across the first trade and hammered through in no time flat. The same with the second. I just picked up the third volume last week, and I know what I’m going to be reading over the next couple of days.
  4. The Avengers Versus Thanos (Graphic Novel) - I gushed about this one here. I have been a fan of Jim Starlin’s Marvel cosmic comics for the majority of my life, especially when it come to Adam Warlock and Thanos. The cool think is that this compilation contains those treasured early tales, as well as the “Cosmic Cube” stories that I had been wanting to read for three decades; I’m so glad to have finally read them all. If you want the Holy Grail of cosmic space opera, then look no further.
  5. Beer (Beer) - Yes, denizens, I am an adult, and I enjoy many adult-only things. You know what I’m talking about…it’s right there in the header. I do a bit of homebrewing now and then, but when you want quality, you gotta go with the pros. This year, I especially loved the following: Pliny the Elder (Russian River), Pump[KY]n (Avery), Lukcy Basartd (Stone), Wookey Jack (Firestone), Celebration (Sierra Nevada), Lagunitas Sucks (Lagunitas), and SOOOO many more.
  6. Big Hero 6 / Taste (Movie) - Anytime there is an animated release that is not from Pixar, my doubts creep in, but I need to stop that. This year saw some fantastic movies come out, none of which were from Pixar. Big Hero 6 is a wondrous joy that left me cheering, exhilarated, and at times trying not to cry. When you include the darling Taste, a short about an adorable Boston terrier, you can’t help but win this ol’ curmudgeonly Donist over. Yeah, I’ll be picking this one up on Blu-ray when it releases in 2015!
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Movie / Blu-ray) - I tried to avoid trailers and spoilers, but buzz was exceptionally high on this one, and it seemed like everyone on the planet had seen it before it was officially released. Still, I avoided knowing anything about it, and on the official release day, I did the ritual Hollister Brewing Company beer and lunch, before attending an early showing. Mind blowing movie. An action-packed thriller, an espionage powerhouse, and one of my top three Marvel movies thus far. I bought the Blu-ray the day it was released, and I kind of want to stop writing this so I can go watch it again for the fourth time…
  8. The Good Wife (Television / DVD) - Whoa! A television show that is not animated, linked to a comic book in some fashion, and does not center around the glory of hops?! One might think we’ve entered bizarro land, but no dice, denizens, we are merely stepping into the world of well-written television. And by well-written, I mean that even the weakest episode of the past five seasons of this character drama is better than the best that many other popular shows tend to offer. Smart, intelligent, and captivating.
  9. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Movie) Again, whoa! A movie not related to comic books, or cartoons, or beer?! Are you kidding?! Nope. I love Wes Anderson’s films and this goofy adventure set at a hotel — one I wish was nearby — was such a complete joy. Amy (my wife, Donist World intern) decidedly calls this the best film of the year, and although I would not go that far — my choice follows below — I can safely say I am excited to experience this beautiful film all over again in the very near future.
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie / Blu-ray) - Remember all of two sentences ago how I mentioned my favorite movie of the year? That was all set to be Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but then I watched this gem. Guardians is one of my top five movies of all time, denizens, no doubt about it. On the subject of doubt, I had plenty, but fifteen minutes in and I had that old Star Wars feeling I had as a kid…I never wanted the movie to end. I just rewatched the movie, and I would have no problem popping it in right now, and then watching it again after that. I desperately want to be on Starlord’s ship of miscreants. I want to be one of the we of “We are Groot.” Ack…I’m tearing up just thinking about that.
  11. How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Movie / Blu-ray) - Remember above how I said for the longest time I only trusted Pixar to bring out animated movies of worth? Well, the first How To Train Your Dragon proved me so very wrong. With vikings and a lead character who I relate to a bit too much, the first movie captured me with the opening narrative, then with Toothless the dragon who acts with the mannerisms of both cats and dogs, I was hopelessly lost. The second movie loses no steam, and is every bit as enjoyable, touching, and at times as scary as the first. I am counting the days until my Blu-ray arrives. Now I need to watch the cartoon series too.
  12. Kibbles ’N’ Bots (eBook for the Kindle and Kindle Apps) - I have no shame, denizens, and I’m cool with that. This is indeed the all-ages novel I wrote about my dog Tulip. If a Boston terrier puppy hooked on superhero comic books gained superpowers just as a bunch of good-for-nuthin’ robots started committing dastardly deeds, then this is exactly what would happen. Tulip’s puppy brother, Obie, also features prominently throughout. I am exceptionally proud of this book, and would be thrilled if you all checked it out. Book two is already in the works.
  13. Kingdom Rush: Origins (Video Game, iOS App and Other Systems) - I try my darnedest to stay away from ye ol’ video games, but as you will see both here and below, I don’t always succeed. Origins is the third installment in the addictive-as-heck, as-much-fun-as-a-basket-of-goblins, and challenging-as-all-get-out Kingdom Rush series. If you have played any of the three in this brilliant and beautiful tower defense series, then this is a must-buy game, and at a ridiculously low price, you can’t pass it up. You can start with any of the three games, but why not start with the first one. Say goodbye to your productivity.
  14. Legend of Korra (Television / Blu-ray) - Oh my goodness, this show is freakin’ fantastic! If ever there was a show I wish I could have written for, besides Adventure Time, it is The Legend of Korra. Gorgeous imagery, compelling characters, an epic fantasy story of marvelous creatures and incredible powers, The Legend of Korra is fun, while not shying away from serious subject matter. This series is something all comic fans can enjoy. It ain’t just for the kiddies, and I guarantee if you give it a chance, you’ll be hooked. Now I just have to plow through the final season. 
  15. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Video Game, PS3 and Other Systems) - This game is a total hoot. You start off playing as only a couple characters, but as you beat levels and gain gold bricks, you unlock TONS of playable characters that you can then use to wreck havoc around the city. Whether flying around as the Human Torch, beating up a baddie as Iron Fist, or smashing down a wall as the Red Hulk, the time will fly by as you seek to unlock every aspect of this amazing game. Dang, even watching your character explode is fun. Cute, funny, and challenging all while maintaining a cool story. 
  16. The Lego Movie (Movie / Blu-ray) - Here is another animated movie that I was dead set on not seeing. My initial belief was that this was a totally-kiddie waste of time that I would find little enjoyment in. (Cue the buzzer) WRONG! After repeated positive reviews from respected sources, I caved, saw the movie, and had a blast. A wonderfully crafted story, at times hilarious, and even deeply touching, The Lego Movie is pure joy. I made my wife and her father watch it, and they too thought it was the cat’s pajamas. Also, Chris “Starlord” Pratt voices the lead. Cast away any doubts you might have and check it out, so you too can see that “Everything is awesome.” 
  17. Locke & Key (Graphic Novel) - I have to admit to committing a grievous error here on Donist World, denizens. I have not heaped enough praise on either the individual chapters of Locke & Key, nor on the series as a whole. Yes, I trade waited this series — or rather, I gorgeous-hardcover waited it — but bottom line is this amazing, adult-themed, horror tale from Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist) is a masterpiece of all things heavenly. You will gasp at the horror, you will amaze at the magic, and your cold, steely heart will fracture with this VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED series. I will be rereading Lock & Key from start to finish in early 2015. 
  18. Manifest Destiny (Graphic Novel) - Okay, I bought this because of the low retail price of $9.99 and because of a particularly light release week at the ol’ LCS. I read the first couple pages, and I knew I was a goner for this amazing series of Lewis and Clark exploring the American frontier and their encounters with horrific monsters. Freaking. Amazing. The second trade comes out in two weeks, and if you want to listen to me gush about the first trade, you can read my review here
  19. The Micronauts (Comic Books) - Early in 2014, I began a series of reviews over an installment I called “Micronauts Monday.” In these posts, I wrote a review eventually covering every single Marvel Comics’s The Micronauts book released from the ’70s through the ’80s. For each issue, I gave my remembrance of each issue as a child, and then told of my experience rereading as an “adult.” Long story short, the series proper more than stands up to the test of time, and remains one of my top three favorite series of all time. Licensing nonsense prohibits trades from being released, but the old school individual issues are not all that expensive for those willing to make the journey to find them. Please do, they are amazing.
  20. The Metabarons and The Technopriests (Graphic Novels) - Sorry, all, these are both currently out of print, but as of today still has The Technopriests available until Humanoids Publishing gets around to reprinting. I basked in the glory of each of these releases here and here respectively, and I rounded out the 2014 experience by watching the brilliant Jodorowsky’s Dune on Blu-ray. Alexandro Jodorowsky is a complete mad man, but he is every bit the kind of mad man I love. These books are hard sci-fi at its best, and are not meant to be merely read, but experienced to the fullest. Best of luck getting a hold of them, they are definitely worth the search.
  21. Miracleman (Graphic Novel) - Come to think of it, I have not really talked about this comic series all that much since the start of Donist World, so I will stress right now that this comic series was a HUGE influence on me as a kid, especially with Alan Moore’s “Olympus” storyline. I have patiently waited out the legal nonsense concerning the rights to the property, but now that it is cleared up, we have the first two hardcovers to this important series, with the third coming in April 2015. The recoloring is fine, and the pages are beautiful. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll even see how it all was supposed to play out. 
  22. Revival (Graphic Novel) - This phenomenal horror comic is one that I do not give enough props, mostly because I came to it late via the must-read trades. Tim Seeley (writer) and Mike Norton (artist) have put together a spine-tingling, gruesome, and — oddly enough — humorous tale of a town where the dead come back, but something about them just ain’t right. Revival is definitely worth the time of any household’s fright enthusiasts.
  23. RISE: Comics Against Bullying (Comic Books) - Hey, another no-shame plug for something I am involved in and that will be released in the very near future. My story, “Sunny Side,” is set to be in one of the issues, and with any luck the one with Howard Chaykin and Marc Guggenheim. This is an incredible opportunity to speak up about bullying in a positive forum. GLAAD, Stand for the Silent, Prism Comics, and Northwest Press are all making this happen, and I even went so far as to publish my own experiences with bullying that you can read about here.
  24. Snowpiercer (Movie / Blu-ray) - “And the train kept a rollin’ all night long…” or rather year-after-year. This little sci-fi treasure, based on a graphic novel of the same name, didn’t even make it to Santa Barbara as far as I could tell, but I heard so much buzz about it, we bought it on iTunes. Now you can buy the Blu-ray, or stream on Netflix, which I recommend you do immediately. The world covered in catastrophic cold, humanity’s only chance of survival rests on the train “Snowpiercer” as it travels the globe, with a host of the poor at the back and the supposed “elite” near the front. Chris Evans means to change that. 
  25. Saga HC (Graphic Novel) - “Yeah, we get it,” Donist, “you love Saga.” I don’t know, denizens, I don’t think you realize how far gone I am with this series. I have the singles, the trades, and the gorgeous hardcover that the USPS attempted to kill by drowning one Sunday afternoon, but I’m happy to report that my copy is doing fine, and is waiting for me to check out the host of extras. Boy howdy!
  26. Temples and TV on the Radio (MP3s) - Sorry, denizens, this illness has me fading fast. Just know that you need to check out these bands. One is like ’60s garage rock, and the other is freakin’ rockin’. I’ve been playing both pretty much non-stop.
  27. True Detective and Game of Thrones (Television and Blu-ray) - The first is one of my all-time favorite television shows and scared the bejesus out of me. The other is fantastic-yet-harsh and upsetting fantasy that is all kinds of awesome.
  28. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Movie and Blu-ray) - I loved this one, and that’s something when I went in with a heck of a lot of doubt…that line of thinking was complete rubbish. Sure some of the time travel stuff was wonky, and Kitty could do some interesting things, but in the end, this film was a blast. I “heart” Quicksilver!

The "Pending" Reading List
Parker "The Score"
Alien Legion
From Hell
Locke and Key…the whole dang thing (rereading!)
Woodwork - Wally Wood
Chew (rereading!)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (rereading!)
Stray Bullets - Uber Alles Edition
Hellblazer Volumes 4–6
Amulet Vol. 6
Pluto (rereading!)
Preacher (rereading!)
A Bunch of Kickstarter Comics

If there is anything you think I should be reading (or beer I should be drinking) then let me know either here or on twitter (@TheDonMcMillan) or email me at Thanks for reading Donist World and all the best for you in 2015!


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