Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/30/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Prez, Weirdworld, and Chew

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / Halloween costuming specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well. Gone are the days of pilfering the petty cash drawer to buy top-shelf kibble and tacos. Away are the questionable meetings where he attempts to unleash his fringe management styles upon Tulip, Amy the intern (my wife), and I. Get a load of this…today, I came into the office (Mom’s basement), and found the latest comics neatly stacked on my desk (the fold-up card table) along with a list of talking points and words of encouragement. He also went into the dreaded Closet of Doom and excavated a stack of older comics that he felt I would enjoy rereading. Not only that, he gave me a cup of piping-hot coffee, and delivered it with a “Thank you, Boss-Man.” Is it wrong if I don’t look into reversing the curse (or blessing in this case) afflicting my CFO? I kind of like the new attitude. Anyhow, pour yourself a cup of Joe, order in some tasty tacos, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

ALSO, please check out our special “The Donist World Required Reading Halloween Bash 2015” from earlier this week for some truly spooktacular comics worthy of your reading time.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Prez #5
Prez #5 - Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Jeremy Lawson, lettered by Travis Lanham, published by DC Comics. The Good Ol’ US of A has done quite a bit of good over its existence, but it has also made more than its fair share of mistakes; some of which are pretty bad. Thankfully, teenage President of the United States Beth “Corndog Girl” Ross has a rather simple solution to begin to set things right.

I love this comic, Denizens. With the arrival of the Not-New-52, new DC Comics, Prez was the comic that sounded the most interesting of everything being offered. No capes, no tights, no powers, or masks, just a world set in the not so distant future, where a teenage girl becomes the President by a fluke in the electoral process of the current guard’s own creation. In all honesty, Prez should have been released as a Vertigo book. Heck, if it had been set to release during October, I have no doubt that it would have fallen under that umbrella, and rightfully so.

Visually, the comic appears to be a lighthearted, heartwarming tale of a teenage girl accidentally rising to the role of one of the most powerful people in the world. But don’t let the oh-so-gorgeous art fool you. Russell and Caldwell’s book is a dark satyrical look at the world we’ve allowed to come to pass, and the stark trajectory we are currently on in regard to politics, corporate malfeasance, corruption, extremism, healthcare, greed masquerading as ideology, elder care, and the unstoppable progression of technology. With Prez, I laugh and smile at many of the more ridiculous notions as I read each issue, but then the creators’ true meaning begins to push through, and although I still gleefully hammer through the comic, it becomes clear that those ridiculous notions unfortunately ring all too true. Prez touches upon the terrifying realities of our world to such a degree that merely categorizing the comic as a comedy (a hilarious one at that), is actually a disservice as the book can easily be filed under “horror” once you begin to really think about it. Yup, this is a Vertigo book through and through.

The art and story are a perfect balancing act of harmony and conflict with subtext creeping in to change laughter and glee, to nervousness and unease once the realization that the absurdity of what you are reading is actually kind of happening. Criminy…I can feel a shiver rattle down my spine, but I can’t help but laugh every time I see that Pharmaduke. <brrrrrrrr> Caldwell’s cartooning is so filled with joy, and oftentimes goofiness, and Lawson’s vibrant, mostly-flat colors so exciting and cheerful, that it is all rather disarming once the underlying meaning of what you are seeing sinks in. But more than the fantastic colors and characterization, the visual storytelling and character acting are phenomenal from page one through to the end; dang, I really want some Caldwell art to display in my house.

Prez is easily my favorite new series for 2015, and it continues to boggle my mind that this is a DC book. I don’t mean this as a knock on DC, but as I said above, this book is as far removed from traditional superheroes as you can get. The keyword here is “traditional.” President Beth “Corndog Girl” Ross is in no way a traditional hero, but her outsider’s look at our political system and the world we have built looks to be everything our country needs to progress; she doesn’t require powers, a cape, or brightly colored outfit, just intelligence, and a rational mind. Don’t wait for the February 2016 trade release of this amazing comic, Denizens. If you are not reading Prez, then head out to your LCS and pick up the available five issues to ensure we continue to see Russell and Caldwell’s series reach its intended end. Prez is a timely triumph that will have you cracking up even as you realize it’s touching upon reality. Screw the other candidates, Beth “Corndog Girl” Ross for President!!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
* Side note: I find it interesting that despite Prez’s commentary about the invasiveness of multinational corporations, we get a full-page ad for the KFC and The Flash comic book, The Colonel of Two Worlds. No, sadly, I am not joking. I am looking forward to a Superman Saves WalMart in the near future. Geez Louise.

Weirdworld #5
Weirdworld #5 - Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated and colored by Mike Del Mundo, color assists by Marco D’Alfonso, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics. When we last saw Arkon, he was a tad distressed (an understatement) about never being able to reach his home of Polemachus. But he was filled with something more powerful than despair, a great seething rage with which to unleash upon Morgan Le Fay, and even Weirdworld itself. Best not stand in his way.

Holy furious dragon doo-doo! This is one of the most insane comics I have read from the Big Two in I don’t know how long. Whoa… Dang, Denizens, I was upstairs on the tiny porch, enjoying my second Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (sooooo good) and Weirdworld was the last comic in my stack for the night — what a way to end a healthy bout of comic booking. I gave a hearty cheer (ummmm, or rather mumbled audibly causing Amy the Intern, my wife, to look up from her book in annoyance) more than once at multiple guest appearances, a killer double-page spread, and an awesome last page splash. Even writing down my experience reading this issue, and flipping through the pages, I’m grinning like a Man-Thing playing croquet with his dope-ass staff. This issue was a heck of a great way to end the five-issue mini, left me wanting one surprise guest appearance to appear in their own book once again, and excited for the new ongoing series coming in December from Sam Humphries and Mike Del Mundo. I soooooo cannot wait.

If you are looking for a positively bonkers adventure comic book as written by one of the best writers in comics today, and gorgeously illustrated by the same artist who provides the striking (regular version) covers, then look no further than the five-issue Weirdworld, which will be available in trade mid- to-late December. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that the many ads (including two super-obnoxious fold out pieces) really disrupt the reading experience; this is not the creators’ fault in the slightest. I took a chance on this title, and boy howdy am I glad I did. I can see returning to this fun-filled adventure many times in the future, and I suspect you will, too. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #51
Chew #51 - Written and lettered by Jonathan Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Now that Tony Chu has handed the serial killing Collector his ass (if you missed last issue, then you done messed up, son!), it’s time to check in on Toni and Olive Chu. Oh yeah, check it out…Chonks!

Last issue wrapped one of the major arcs that has been playing out since the beginning of the series. I talked about it here, but to summarize: it was hella awesome, and the three month wait for the followup was painful, yet, as always, so very worth it. Although we now only have ten issues <sniffle> remaining with this Donist World Darling — and possibly a Poyo!!! special — the countdown to the end of Chew has begun. Even though the Collector storyline ended, there’s still plenty that awaits some answers: Was the Avian Flu a grand hoax? What about the mysterious, fiery space writing? How about our beloved Poyo? Or the space fruit that tastes like chicken? Not to mention all of the various awesome character arcs. Although I don’t want this series to ever end, I can’t help but want every single remaining issue in my grubby paws now now NOW! I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Not to mention…Chonks?!?!

I know I’m not really going into any detail of this specific issue other than to say that we see a cute preview of what’s in store for a few characters, we’re introduced to a new character, a new creature shows up, E.G.G. shows up, and Tony doesn’t even grace a single panel (okay, maybe one), which is fine. In fact, I don’t even mind that the lead character doesn’t show, I’ve spent so much time with all of these characters and the creators have developed them all so beautifully that I love them all. Heck, I love this series so much that I have reread the first three Chew: The Omnivore Edition volumes and the fourth is next in my queue (I discuss the actual presentation of the volumes here). If you are new to Chew (what is wrong with you, you monster!), then just jumping in now is not advised. My recommendation is to go with the lovely, slightly-oversized The Omnivore Editions, but if you must go the route of the trades, then that is an easy option for you to get started with the most unique comic on the stands. I weep for the approaching end, but I celebrate this fantastic comic created exactly as Layman and Guillory intended; their way. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

A Fire Hits Montecito - Ack…we were so close to having the El Nino storm that is supposedly (most likely) going to pummel the bejesus out of Santa Barbara in the very near future. Having lived in Santa Barbara for 35 years, I’ve seen my share of fires come through, and I have to say that there are few things as freaky as seeing the mountain range blaze in fury, or blue skies turn a sickly yellow as ash falls like rain, while I scramble to make plans for what items to pack up in the event we have to evacuate. Now, the Gibraltar brush fire is small — and hopefully extinguished soon — but having spent the last year with nerves on edge with every siren I hear is getting old. “Rain, rain, come today. Stick around for many days.” It’s about time this heatwave and the drought went on its way.

And on that nervous note…

(Sung to the tune of The Pixies “Debaser”)

Got me some comics
I want you to know
Prez, Chew, and Weirdworld
I want you to know
They are so groovy
I want you to know
So very good it’s true
But I am un bien lector de comic ah
I am un bien lector de comic ah
I am un bien lector de comic ah
I am un bien lector de comic ah
Wanna grow
Up to be
Be a comic lover, lover


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