Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 11/20/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Tokyo Ghost, The Autumnlands, and Rachel Rising

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 whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / Queen of Chill 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…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. This week has been a ball of stress as tightly wound as a wet cat covered in Scotch tape squares, but thankfully I had Team Tulip and Reverse Obie, who ordered in breakfast burritos and coffee as we discuss the really important things…namely what movies / shows we are going to marathon over next week’s holiday weekend; I’m pretty sure we’ll be powering through some Jessica Jones and stuffing ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie. I can’t wait. Anyways, I hope you all are not traveling next week, and that you steer clear of any Black Friday nonsense, but for today you should order in some breakfast burritos of your own, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Tokyo Ghost #3
Tokyo Ghost #3 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Debbie Decay and Led Dent — or should we call him “Teddy?” — have arrived in the tech-free marvel that is Tokyo. It’s everything Debbie has hoped for, but for Teddy…let’s just say tech withdrawal is a bitch.

Dang, Denizens, after Remender, Murphy, and Hollingsworth’s depiction of Tokyo, I’m kind of ready to pack my bags and head on out to that wonderful fictitious land void of technology and the ills of the world. Of course, doing so would mean no more Donist World unless I wrote it on scrolls or something. There would also be no writing with spellcheck, no Adobe Suite for graphic design or comic book lettering, no comic books period, no Vitamix, no Bonavita coffee, no Two Dots on my iPhone, no Kingdom Rush on my iPad. Hmmmmm…yeah, I think I could swing it. Donist World Unplugged would be all about the pen and paper, baby, and hopefully a good printing press, but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, this latest issue of this fantastic new series really got me thinking about what life might be like void of the technology that surrounds everything we do. It all looks mighty appealing as I stare at a computer screen and barrages of emails and texts and ads pummel my senses, reminding me that I am ever slipping further and further behind on my to-do list. Yeah, the creators’ version of Tokyo looks mighty appealing, especially after we see Debbie and Teddy as they adjust to their new surroundings, and finally achieve a sense of happiness. But this is a Remender book; we all know it ain’t gonna last.

Remender’s writing and pacing alone is enough to add appeal to Tokyo, but when Murphy and Holllingsworth immerse you in the “city” alongside our protagonists, the allure of the place is unescapable. The “Gardener” (not sure of her name) is radiant in every sense of the word, with lovely character acting and an entourage of forrest animals, while the pinks that color her and knockout the black inks make her otherworldly. Complement the Gardener with lush green backgrounds and the effect is stunning, especially when compared to the drab of Neo Los Angeles. This is one beautiful book, which should come as no surprise for those already familiar with this masterful art team.

As with the previous two issues, the story and art manage to stick with me for quite a while afterwards, as well as making me more conscious of the interruptions I allow tech to make in my life. In addition to the awesome story, I love the characters, who I want to see succeed and find peace together, but not without going through some serious trials first, of course; I’m sure I will not be let down. This is a great series, Denizens, and I suggest not trade waiting this one as it is a thrill to see a new issue show up in my pull, and this issue definitely does not disappoint. Anyhow, I'm off to pack my bags for this Neo-Tokyo…errrrrr maybe after the new Netflix Original Series, Jessica Jones, is released, and I finally play Lego Batman 3 while sipping coffee from my Bonavita. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Autumnlands #7
The Autumnlands #7 - Written by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Ben Dewey, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered and designed by John Roshell and Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft, published by Image Comics. The war with the bison tribe is over, and now it is time to pick up the pieces. The magicians tend to their wounded, as Dusty and Learoyd crawl from the river to a most peculiar discovery.

That seemed like a particularly long hiatus, but I’m glad for Autumnlands’s return. After the exciting events from last issue, there is little in the way of action this month, but that does not mean the story is any less compelling. The creators add a new character to complicate political matters for the wizards, especially for Gharta and Sandorst, who are near ready to tear each other apart with tooth and claw. The majority of the issue is spent with the Champion and Dusty as they get their bearings and talk. Much to Dusty’s dismay, his discussions with Learoyd mostly serve to deflate the boy’s opinion of the Champion, which is beautifully portrayed through Dewey’s art.

Dewey brings Dusty, an anthropomorphized bull terrier boy, to life with gorgeous drama and characterization work. Every expression that Dusty makes mirrors that of an actual bull terrier, from furrowed brow and lowered ears, to shock with uplifted ears, to sad realization. Each of these realistic expressions perfectly fit with the mood of the conversation, and you can clearly see Dusty’s optimism dwindle from page to page. The same holds true for all of the animal characters. Have you ever seen an enraged great-horned owl? How about a large and in charge bald eagle? Dewey flawlessly lets the reader know exactly what is going on with these characters in a way that makes you forget you are seeing a bunch of anthropomorphic characters squabbling; they all seem so human.

Admittedly, I had forgotten what had previously happened, but it quickly came back to me as I made my way through the issue. Yes, not much happens with the characters, but I’m happy to have The Autumnlands back, and I’m eager to see where the creators take us next. If you are not reading this amazing fantasy / sci-fi tale, then you can easily catchup on the ridiculously cheap trade (contains issues 1–6 and priced at $6.28 as of this writing). The Autumnlands is a fun, beautiful, epic tale that continues to enchant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #37
Rachel Rising #37 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. The immortal evil that is Malus has always been, and he will always be. But maybe, just maybe, that last bit is something Rachel, Zoe, and Lilith can work with.

Not much happens this issue, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t yet another fascinating installment of Rachel Rising. Although we never actually see Malus the demon, he is at the top of the characters’ minds, and we gain some insight into what he has been up to these countless years. That said, if anyone holds the top billing this issue, it is definitely Lilith, who Moore has a wickedly good time portraying as an uncaring a_hole with a series of scenes so screwed up and cruel I could not help but laugh, while feeling bad for doing so…kind of. I ain’t gonna go into specifics, but, dang, it’s totally messed up.

If I have any complaints about this issue, it’s that even when I picked it up, I could tell that it was light on content, and indeed there is only 18 pages of material and a $3.99 price. Usually, I would be out the door on something like this, but Moore has crafted such an amazing Twin Peaks-esque horror comic with characters I positively adore and care about — even the naughty ones — and with some of the best cartooning in comics, there’s no way I can keep away from this fantastic title. If you have not been reading Rachel Rising, then do not start here, but by all means start collecting the six trades so you can catch up on this Donist World Darling. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Remember How I Keep Being Slammed and Stressed Out? - Criminy!!! Okay, I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving so things hopefully slow down. I finished with one of my classes, and I’m focusing in on the other with laser-like focus, I had a last-minute design project, job hunts, and interview preparation, in addition to tutoring, and helping a friend with her portfolio project. Dang, and I still have a comic to read. Yeah, Thanksgiving is going to be great. It’s gonna be…oh yeah…that’s right, I’M making dinner. No worries, though, cooking is therapeutic for this here Donist. Wish me luck for the remainder of this week, Denizens. I need it.

And on that Stressy-Bessie note…

(Sung to the tune of Pat Benatar’s “Promises in the Dark”)

Tokyo Ghost will totes mess with your head
Deb and Led reach new shores
It soars great heights, tech addiction dread
The Autumnlands is way cool my friends
And Rachel Rising is lotsa fun, I never want it to end

Life is rough but why wear a sad frown
A new book can turn it upside down
We’re shoutin’ readin’ comics is so smart


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