Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 5/1/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven 

Welcome back to Donist World. I’m Donist, and I am joined by our CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / Avenger Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Shhhhhhh…keep it all on the down low, denizens. As it happens with every Marvel Studios release, the dogs are excitedly running around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) believing that they will be attending the viewing of Avengers: Age of Ultron with me this afternoon. <sigh> Every single time it’s harder to sneak out the thin basement window (increasingly so…dang those extra tacos) to head over to Hollister Brewing Company for lunch and beers before the movie as is customary for this special occasion. Awwww…Tulip looks so cute in her Black Widow dog costume, and Obie looks…well, interesting…in his red and yellow tissue box outfit that can only be Iron Man. Anyhow, it’s a shorter post this week, as I am also preparing material for a graphic design portfolio for a presentation tomorrow. Now, while my executive team is distracted, I’m out the door…errrrr, window. So, grab some tacos and a strong ginger ale and enjoy this week’s post...then head on out to catch the new Avengers movie. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Bitch Planet #4
Bitch Planet #4 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro, colored by Cris Peter, lettered by Clayton Cowles, cover design and logo by Rian Hughes, backmatter by Laurenn McCubbin, edited by Lauren Sankovitch, published by Image Comics. Kamau Kogo, a prisoner of the off-world, all-female penitentiary known as Bitch Planet, has been tasked with pulling together a team of prisoners to play in the sport Megaton. Megaton is usually an all-male game, but the male patriarchy has decided to add a little flavor to the sport to spice things up (i.e. improved ratings). But what happens when Kamau learns that the games might not be what she thinks they are?

The title of this comic should tell you that Bitch Planet is not for kids. The “Rated M Mature” on the cover should be a hint and a half as well. The content inside? Well, that will confirm wholeheartedly that this is not for the kiddies. But then again, you wouldn't let your kids stay up late at night to watch old, culty, ’70s women-in-prison flicks would you? Well, that's what this comic is. Bitch Planet has all the makings of the cult and sexploitation films I used to watch as a child (wait, what?!), but that is merely a paper-thin wrapping around a story that is shocking, uplifting, empowering, and that casts a light on a futuristic, sci-fi world that certain weaker-minded individuals would actually like to see become a reality (certain politicians and misogynistic groups come to mind).

After a bit of a painful delay between issues — DeConnick explains what went down in the informative backmatter section —Bitch Planet returns without missing a beat. That said, the 21 pages of material falls dreadfully short of the 96+ pages of bi-weekly comic I desperately WISH we could have from this amazing series. I’ve already mentioned how fascinating and engaging the premise of DeConnick’s story and dialogue are, and how beautifully De Landro’s characters, character acting, and storytelling are, but I want to reinforce the additional strength of the coloring of this comic. Peter uses  predominantly less-saturated colors throughout the story to deliver a sense of hopelessness, while using striking knockouts and halftone dots on the upbeat, brainwashing holographic videos the NCs (that’s noncompliant for those who are lagging jumping in) are forced to endure. On the lettering front, Cowles always keeps readers locked into the art and story, but I was so engaged with this issue, that I almost failed to catch the inmate stats layered in the background of the scene where Kamau is attempting to chose players for her team…a stunning effect that must have required a TON of careful layer masking in Illustrator; awesome. Also, I want each of the gorgeous covers as posters hanging on the wall…dig that negative space!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, this issue also contains “The Obligatory Shower Scene.”

There you have it. I LOVE this series. We’re only on the fourth issue, so there probably won’t be a trade available until the end of summer, but why wait. The first three issues are already in second printing, so a quick stop at the ol’ LCS should get you caught up in no time flat. Do what’s right, join the ranks of the noncompliant. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sabrina #2
Sabrina #2 - Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Robert Hack, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comics Publications. Madam Satan has come to Greendale with vengeance in her heart. Greendale is also home of Sabrina, whose father was once involved with Madam Satan before the relationship went sour. Who better to wreck evil upon than the daughter of the man who wronged her, than the terrifying woman with skulls for eyes?

Okay…now that was a long wait. I believe the first awesome issue of Sabrina came out back in October of 2014, now, six months later, we have the next issue; it was worth the wait. This issue primarily focuses on the creepy-as-all-heck Madam Satan, who — despite the cute depiction by Francesco Francavilla on this cover — is an absolute nightmare. She has translucent skin and skulls for eyes, and that is before taking into account her immense witching powers. Aguirre-Sacasa delivers a grand look into the character and her motivations, and by the time this issue ends, you actually feel sorry for the woman, despite the horrific things she does throughout the issue — bad move, Edward Spellman, bad move. Although we see little of Sabrina in her second issue, the story with Madam Satan is strong enough to carry you shivering with chills to the end.

Hack’s art continues to evoke a style and feel similar to what used to be found in the pages of ’70s and ’80s era Warren Magazines like Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella; this is a massive compliment. There is a tension throughout most panels that keeps you unsteady yet glued to the page, ready for something bad to happen, which of course does…often. I like the drab colors of this series, but I would also be curious to see how this title would look in black and white, and also at magazine size…hint, hint.

So, yes, for a creepy horror comic of Sabrina’s caliber, it was worth the wait, but I really hope we get the next issue much sooner. At two issues in, with the first in second printing, it is not too difficult to see what all the fuss is about. If you have been enjoying Afterlife With Archie — as you darn well should be — then picking up this second entry in the Archie horror line of comics makes perfect sense for when you need a little spine-tingling fun in your life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Last Week - Let’s not get into the disappointment that was last week. <deep breath, denizens> Stay positive!

and on that note…

(sung to the tune of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s “Between Planets”)

Sabrina’s finally here, waited too many weeks
Creepy, witchy, horror fun
Give your nerves a tweak
You should know, you’ll love ’em so

Donist D said here’s the rest
Bitch Planet will amaze
But it’s cool noncompliance rules
In these troubling days
You should know, you’ll love ’em so

So turn around and run to your LCS, son
You must jump on
Go make the trip, take heed these tips
They’ll blow your lid

Man, I love this group. A fan-made video, but cool nonetheless.


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