Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 1/22/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Rachel Rising, Tokyo Ghost, and Kaptara

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 / Space Oddity 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. I gotta keep the intro short this week as my puppy executive team and I are buried under a bunch of different projects. We’re also still bummed about a bunch of personal heroes dying recently, and…look, I know we’re all upset about Bowie, Lemmy, Rickman, and Frey, but don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, honor them by continuing to experience and enjoy their art — whether music or film or both — and celebrate the lives and contributions these artists made as opposed to focusing on their passings. So, order up some tasty tacos, get yourself a nice ginger brew, put on some “Heroes” by Bowie, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rachel Rising #39
Rachel Rising #39 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Earl and Aunt Johnny discuss Earl’s love interest as well as what awaits them in the morgue. Rachel arrives in time to “read” a couple of corpses…she won’t like what she finds.

The pacing of this issue slows once again, but this is to be expected, and even anticipated, for a Moore book. With Moore’s work, it is predominantly about his characters who readers learn to love — usually by the first issue. With less-seasoned creators, I would usually be calling for them to keep things moving. But not here. I am fine taking a moment with Earl and Aunt Johnny as they discuss love and protecting one's heart, and also the matter of the hit and run victim that has Earl so unnerved. Moore puts the characters into a situation that is completely outside of the current storyline, but the depth of each character’s emotions, their subtle changes in posture or expressions, and Rachel’s arrival — who is pissed about Aunt Johnny’s smoking — all contribute to the character building moments that warm the heart and have, on a few occasions, nearly brought this Donist to tears. Don’t believe me? Just read Rachel’s page six, panel five dialogue. Okay? Now stare at the sixth panel and tell me you didn’t get a little misty. Criminy…it’s still messing with me, even after the fourth viewing. <sigh>

If you only read the dialogue or only saw the art, Moore’s solid grasp on each succeed in pulling you into his world. But combine the two into the comic book format, and you, too, will care deeply for Rachel, Aunt Johnny, Earl, Jet, and even Lilith. Earl’s crooked smile, Rachel crying, Aunt Johnny solemnly staring over the rim of her glasses…ack…let’s just say nothing bad better happen to anyone in this book! Yeah, I’m certain I’m in for some massive heartache down the road, but for this charming and scary book I will gladly set myself up for the pain time and time again.

Rachel Rising is a freakin’ fantastic comic. Every issue not only draws you into this bizarre, fictional world of resurrections and witches and demons, it makes you feel as if you know each of the characters as if they were your closest of friends and family. If you are not reading this tremendous series in floppy form, then you can easily find the six available trades and quickly catch up, which I encourage you to do at your earliest convenience. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #5
Tokyo Ghost #5 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. The love of Debbie Decay’s life is dead. In his place stands Led Dent and now Tokyo will burn.

The action and mayhem continues from last month into this issue as Led — now spurred on my Davey Trauma — takes on all of Tokyo in an effort to hand it over to the Isles of Los Angeles. After last issue’s intense fighting and violence, I was kind of hoping to see more of the repercussions of Kazumi’s fall before Led’s inevitable one-man assault showed up; at least we get a page of Kazumi’s backstory. From page four on, it’s all about explosions, arrows, stabbing, shooting, fighting, gettin' all blowed up, and dying ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with all that stuff, I just found Kazumi and the world she had created quite fascinating; I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet. That said, I realize the title of the book is Tokyo Ghost and not The Garden Nation of Tokyo. Breakneck pacing aside, Murphy and Hollingsworth’s art and storytelling is gorgeous, and the story is still a heck of a lot of fun…stressful, but fun.

This issue wraps the first arc, and the first trade looks to be available sometime in March. If you have been holding off on picking up this futuristic, dystopian adventure about the perils of too much connectivity, then you know what you need to do to right this wrong. This goes doubly so if you are a fan of Remender’s other recent work: Low, Black Science, Deadly Class, Fear Agent. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Kaptara Vol 1:
Fear Not, Tiny Alien
Kaptara Vol 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien - Written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Kagan McLeod, color assists by Becka Kinzie, edited by Tommy K., production by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Keith Kanga never expected to be stranded on an impossibly bizarre world, but here he is. Weird aliens, naked and bearded wizards, dart-shooting princes, and all sorts of terrifying monsters inhabit the planet…Keith kind of loves it. But when the Earth is threatened by an evil alien warlord, Keith might not have a choice but to get involved.

I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from Kaptara, but given my love of Zdarsky’s hilarious-yet-beautiful illustrations on the Donist World Darling Sex Criminals and his humorous writing on Jughead, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with this bargain priced trade. Pip pip, cheerio, good call on my part.

Kaptara is…how to explain this…a sci-fi, fantasy tale that is a mix of Lost in Space with the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon with an added dash of The Lord of the Rings. The key ingredient, the secret sauce as it were, is the addition of Zdarsky’s crack-up dialogue and situations combined with a McLeod’s vibrant and hilarious art. She-La and her mount. The battle cat tank things. The weird proclivity to the art of dart blowing(?). A naked Gandalf-type character who wears his impressive beard as a loin cloth(?!?)…sometimes. The wealth of background gags mixed with amazing creature and character designs. Kaptara has it all, and I could not put the dang thing down because I had to see what oddball things these mad creators had in store for me next. Let’s just say that they never failed to surprise and that you just need to see it all for yourself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the five issues contained in this collection. Not only was I cracking up throughout the entire book, I also connected with Keith and easily sympathized with his belief that life on Earth sucked, and he never wanted to go back. Dang. Who hasn’t felt like going off-world on a scientific expedition and getting stranded on a strange new planet? A new start and all that, but of course the new home unfortunately has to have its own form of evil — much like Trump or the Koch Bros. — to ruin things there, too. So, yeah, Kaptara is a blast for which I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m sure I will revisit this one often. *pssst…hey, you. Yeah, you. You can get Kaptara digitally as part of the awesome Image Comics offerings over at Humble Bundle. There’s only a few days left, so hurry over and help them out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I Didn’t Get the Job - <sigh> After three and half months of multiple interviews, introductions, and skills testing, I did not get the job I was in the running for — it went to the other candidate. I’m happy I made it so much farther than everyone else, but I am still disappointed. Everyone I met was cool, and it was for an institution I wholeheartedly believe in, but whatchagonna do. Oh, well…wasn’t meant to be. Back to the drawing board.

No Song this Week - I know, I know. If anything ever has to be cut as a result of time issues, then it is usually the weekly song. BUT now that I have my Graphic Design certification and there is no homework coming due, I have been cranking through the second draft of the followup to Kibbles ’N’ Bots, and I am having a blast experiencing the story through the revision process. I hope to be done with this draft by the end of next week, which is quite doable. Then it will be on to draft three, and then to beta readers. I can’t wait to share it with the world. Still no title as of yet…it’ll come to me.


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