Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/14/2017

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 / Spider-Bostie Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Before we jump right in, I just have to mention that Amy the Intern (my wife) and I went and saw Spider-Man: Homecoming this past weekend and we loved it. Amy actually said it was hands down the best superhero movie she has ever seen, which is high praise from someone who just saw and enjoyed Wonder Woman. I will definitely be buying Spider-Man: Homecoming when it comes out on Blu-ray. Anyhow…comics. I had four comics in my pull this week, two of which I have not yet had time to read, and the new issue of Deadly Class #29 by Rick Remender and Wes Craig is very highly recommended and amazing, but it’s the new issue discussed below that rocked the socks off the Donist World executive team. So, before you dive in, grab a tasty beer or refreshing iced tea, relax, and while you’re at it check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven


Mage: The Hero Denied #0

Written and Illustrated by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics. Boy howdy, Denizens, I have been waiting a good long while for this one, and when I heard the news a few months ago that Matt Wagner was going to be releasing the concluding chapter of Mage, I had to check to be sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day or some such nonsense; it wasn’t. So, here we are in 2017, and I am super pumped to be holding a new issue #0 in my trembling hands.

This 12-page prelude is probably not necessary to jumping into next month’s 15-issue main series, but if you are a Mage fanatic like me, it is absolutely vital that you pick it up. It is also vital is that you start at the beginning of this epic hero’s journey in order to better understand, love, become frustrated with, and feel for our hero, Kevin Matchstick. The first chapter is Mage: The Hero Discovered (first half and second half), the second is Mage: The Hero Defined, with the third and final act being Mage: The Hero Denied. Again, you need to read these things in order. Trust me, you will be well-rewarded for taking the time to get to know the ragtag cast of characters and celebrate their tremendous victories as well mourn their terrible defeats.

All of that said — and there’s a whole heapin’ helpin’ more on the subject of Mage below — this brief reintroduction does not disappoint. As he waits for the big bad monster to make its appearance, Kevin meets a younger, newer hunter named Steeze, a big-talkin’, know-it-all with a ’90s-comic look and a skateboarding set of powers that work well enough, but his general lack of experience quickly puts him in harm’s way and it’s up to Kevin to save him. Kevin is older now, balding, and more confident, but still dresses in his standard black t-shirt with a white lightning bolt, jeans, sneakers, and trench coat. He also possesses some electrifying new abilities. He’s bad ass and he knows it…which has been a problem with Kevin in the past and looks to be a problem in the near future.

To put it mildly, I’m in.

Wagner’s son provides the lovely colors atop Wagner’s gorgeous art and from the very first page, I was brought back to the magical world of Mage as if the decades since the first issue had never happened. I am super excited for the emotionally-wrought final tale upon which we are about to embark. I know there’s going to be laughs and an equal amount of sorrows to follow in these final 15 issues, but I will be there, eagerly awaiting each issue as the epic tale of Kevin Matchstick finally comes to a close. I can’t wait! Magic is green, Denizens. Magic is green!

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Mage: The Hero Discovered

Written and Illustrated by Matt Wagner, inks by Matt Wagner and Sam Keith, colored by Jeromy Cox and James Rochelle, published by Image Comics. I have made a HUGE mistake, Denizens. In all the years that I have been writing Donist World, with all the praise and love I have heaped on countless comics, I somehow failed to talk about the Mage series. I don’t know how I could have possibly missed mentioning this heavenly comic, but I’m positive it was originally on a curated list of comics to mention that somehow got misplaced. To be honest, when I saw Mage: The Hero Denied #0 in my poll, it popped into my head that I would definitely have to reference an early post where I gushed about this pivotal series. I did a search. It wasn’t there.

Let’s right this wrong.

I actually came to Mage a bit late. In fact, I first discovered Matt Wagner through his Grendel: Devil by the Deed collection which I received for Christmas back in the mid-eighties — I later went on to read and love Wagner’s Grendel series as well. Before that, it was an ad in the back of publisher Comico’s Elementals (written and illustrated by Bill Willingham) that initially put Wagner on my comic radar. Still, it wasn’t until my high school drafting class, after discovering a mutual love of Grendel, that my friend Billy sold me on the need to get into Mage.

Unfortunately, my LCS only had some of the back issues on hand, and they were a bit out of my price range at the time, but they did have the first (and only) two volumes of Magebook which collected issues 1–8. I devoured them with a feverish fervor and promptly read them again to tide me over until I could get back to the LCS and pick up issues 10 and 11 which were still on the shelves; it would be a while before I could get my hands on a copy of missing issue #9. The wait between new issues was painful, but Billy and I had much to talk about back in 1986, with the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, The Watchmen, Miracleman and Saga of the Swamp Thing blowing our minds. It was a damn good time for comics, one I doubt will ever be repeated, but Mage was there riding the waves of greatness along with the other big-time comics, yet never quite managing to garner the praise and acclaim those other books would go on to receive.

I can still picture seeing issue #14 on the new release table at Andromeda Books in Goleta, California, and the heart-skipping thrill of finding issue #15 on the stands at Andromeda Books in Santa Barabara; the story and art of each was more than I could have ever hoped for. By the end, I was a little heartbroken over the cost Kevin’s quest had taken upon him and those he loved, but his victory was still glorious, and I have reread this series every other year since it ended — come to think of it, I’m about due for another read. The best thing about the end of the final issue, though, was the “Coming Soon” page soliciting the next chapter.

11 years later, and after bugging the poor LCS workers for the first five of those years for news of Mage: The Hero Defined, it finally appeared at my current LCS, Metro Comics. Of course, there were the four, four-page installments of new Mage material in Grendel #16–19, that got me good and pumped early in those 11 years, but by the time I found an actual new zero issue sitting on the shelf, I had all but given up hope of seeing the second, let alone the third chapter.

Nearly a decade after Mage: The Hero Defined wrapped, Amy and I attended our first comic convention at the San Diego Comic Con, where I got to meet Matt Wagner and he graciously signed my Mage: The Hero Discovered #1 and 6, Grendel: Behold the Devil #0, and my hardcover Grendel Archives, inside of which he drew a quick little Grendel sketch. All of these items will be buried with me in my tomb at the time of my death when I turn 112. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to meet one of your greatest heroes and find out they’re as nice of a person as they are a master of their craft.

The only negative I have to say about the current collections of Mage is that I prefer the original colors on the series, which I believe were achieved by Wagner blowing through a special type of marker to achieve an airbrushed look to the comic — it’s stunning, but whatchagonnado. At least I have all of the original issues, the two Magebooks, and the two softcover collections to fit my mood…all of which will accompany me in my aforementioned tomb.

So, that all said, what is all the fuss about Mage? What’s it all about? Well, I can’t say much other than it’s the story of Kevin Matchstick who’s down on his luck only to find that a chance encounter with a street beggar sets him on a path of heroics against the demonic forces of evil. On his journey, Kevin meets Mirth, Edsel, Sean, Joe, Kirby, and Wally and you will fall in love with them all. There is a twist to the story that occurs near the end of the first chapter, but I’m not about to spoil it for you. You MUST read this series, Denizens. It’s a Donist World Darling of the highest degree, and something ALL fans of great comics need to experience. It’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite comic series of all time and…actually, come to think of it, make that top five. You need to get on this!

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods

Please Just Put #45 and All of His Scum in Jail Already - Before they can commit any further damage. “Stupid Watergate” needs to end.


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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/7/2017

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 / BBQ beauty Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Yup, I know I’m late, Denizens, but I have a good reason. You see, it was Amy the intern (my wife) and my 13-year wedding anniversary this past Thursday. We decided to do it up in style and skip out on exercising to hit up Figueroa Mountain Brewery for a beer followed by a dinner of Spanish-style tapas at Loquita, and later that evening watching some romantic television once we got home: Supernatural season 12. Now, I would have forgotten about our celebration if not for the efforts of my Boston terrier executive team greeting me at the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) in matching black bowties with an already picked out anniversary card and reservations already called in. Man, my team is the best. Anyhow, sorry for being late, but I had a good reason. So, grab a tasty beer or refreshing iced tea, relax, and while you’re at it check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven


The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Everythinged by Sonny Liew, published by Pantheon Books. Yes, Denizens, as far as I can tell Liew illustrated, researched, wrote, lettered, and colored this lovely hardcover OGN (original graphic novel). He did it all. But as impressive as it is to create every aspect of a book outside of the physical printing of it, this is the least noteworthy aspect of this must-own treasure, which is saying something as the art, writing, lettering, colors, and production are all spectacular in their own right. What lofts The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye to the realm of a masterpiece is how fluidly Liew changes up his art style to mimic the popular styles of the times. He does this while simultaneously giving us an intimate look into the life of artist Charlie Chan Hock Chye as he grows from a child to an old man all while the history of Singapore unfolds around him.

The story begins in 1948 when 10-year-old Chan is working in his father’s store and devoting any and all free time to drawing anything he can find. He also has a love of manga and American and European comics which spurs him to create his own work, eventually catching the attention of Bertrand, who becomes his friend and partner in their endeavors to create their own comic book series. Bertrand writes, Chan draws, and the pair’s work shifts from giant robots to futuristic science fiction to cartoony wartime comics all the while incorporating more and more of Singapore’s political and social matters into their works: British colonialism, the formation of Malaysia, feuding political parties, extreme nationalism, and the myriad of abuses of those in power.

As we follow Chan on his nearly 70-year career as a comic book artist, we see his art style change to reflect inspirations from Osamu Tezuka, to that of “funny animal” comics that offer thinly-veiled social commentary. On his sci-fi jaunt, you see the influence of Wallace Wood, while his crime-fighting superhero, Roachman, borrows some of his design from the likes of The Shadow only with superpowers given by the bite of a mysterious cockroach, purportedly predating our own Spider-Man. There are even some Mad magazine-esque moments that dangerously parody the story of Singapore through the use of two comedians. Not only do we see yellowed pages, or taped on panels, or the halftone dots found in the comics of the time, we witness the art style also change during Chan’s interviews and when showing the interviewer (Sonny Liew). Intermixed within the pages are newspaper articles, photographs, acrylic paintings, and a whole host of other media to make this one of the most artistically diverse books by a single creator I have ever read.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye hooked me with the inside cover and kept me amazed all the way through to the end. It’s been some time since I’ve read an OGN that made me go “Wow! Everyone needs to experience this book.” As a historical piece, it works. As a work of art, it is a staggering display of Liew’s range and mastery of storytelling and illustration. As a biographical story of a famed artist, it is without compare…despite the fact that Charlie Chan Hock Chye is a fictional character. You read that right, Denizens. Charlie Chan Hock Chye never existed. He is entirely Liew’s creation, only he is given so much life, so much personality, and his story is told in such an authoritative manner that it is nearly impossible to believe Chan is not real. But after reading this amazing work, Chan became real to me. I love him, I love his amazing body of work which doesn't actually exist; I truly wish it did. Buy this book and experience this wonderful story as soon as you can, it desperately requires your immediate attention.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Seven to Eternity #7

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by James Harren, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Even though Opeña is taking a break over the next few issues, when I found the newest issue of the spectacular Seven to Eternity sitting in my pull, my heartbeat increased because I knew Remender had left us in good hands with James Harren. You might remember from a few weeks ago that I gushed over Harren’s art on the incredibly fun Rumble (written by John Arcudi), where he drew some amazing monsters and brought to life one badass scarecrow god. I can think of no better title for him to follow up on than the Donist World Darling Seven to Eternity.

This month, we split from Adam Osidis and the Mud King in order to follow the rest of the Mosak crew who recently joined with Adam’s daughter, Katie, a woman with a mysterious ability to control animals. Katie has tracked her father only to find the Mosak surrounding the fallen Jevalia who is losing herself to the will of the swamp Adam left her to die in. The situation is dire.

Remender continues to do no wrong with any of his many heavenly series and Seven to Eternity has quickly become my favorite of the favorites. The story is not hurt in the slightest with guest-artist Harren, who is a great fit to this epic fantasy series. In fact, I would LOVE it if Remender and Harren created a prequel Seven to Eternity mini-series to immerse their readers in as we continue to move forward in this dire yet gorgeous world. You can catch up on this amazing series with the first trade, which will definitely leave you hungry for more more more. Dang, this series is out of this world.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods

POTUS #45 Continues to Embarrass the USA - I am dreadfully late, but just wanted to point out how #45 finally got some dreamy man-on-man-on-man time with Putin and Tillerson this week in a behind-closed-doors meeting that was supposed to last 30 minutes but actually went on for more than 120 minutes. God, Stupid Watergate just continues to go on and on and on.


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Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/30/2017

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 / puppy patriot Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Awwww yeah, Denizens. We’re talkin’ about a four-day weekend, y’all. I'm all about blueberry muffins, pizza, beer, and possibly some McConnell’s mint chip ice cream. Heck, some mint iced tea might be in order if the temperature happens to creep up too much. Here at the corporate office (Mom’s basement), we’re keeping the meeting about maintaining our Fortune 320,000 status to a tight schedule so we can have a nice puppy-Donist-puppy lunch and cut out a little early before the traffic gets too bad. So, while we prepare to join the masses on the drive home, pour yourself a refreshing beer or ginger ale, put out your flag, DO NOT light fireworks (we’re still in a drought, are you insane?), sit down, strap in, and think about those comics you might have skipped all those years ago. Thank you for reading!

*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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Ones that Got Away (Part 3)


“What the heck kind of doggone title is that, Donist?! Do we need to be worried about you?! Are you okay?!” Never fear, Denizens, all is well with the Donist and Donist World. I just happened to be sitting in our conference room — the area roped off by hanging sheets in Mom’s basement — and thinking about all of the comics I wanted to read throughout the years but had missed for one reason or another. As I thought about them, I realized there were tons of series that snuck by me somehow, and I’m not even counting any comics from the past two decades. So, let’s have a look and see what can be done about this now that we are in the age of the internet where online shopping and digital services can help remedy this dire situation. As I prepare to stumble into the confessional booth, I want to hear about your regrets concerning comics you missed out on over the years, so please let me know about them by posting a comment. I’m happy to lend an ear, to commiserate, to help you work through the emotions and try to find a way to move on. Together, we can set things right. (You can check out “Part 1” and “Part 2.”)

The Uncanny X-Men

Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Dave Cockrum, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, okay, settle down, Denizens. I know you’re fiercely typing, “How can you call yourself a comic book fan and never have read the freakin’ best run of the X-Men ever?!?!” The truth is that I have read most of the Claremont X-Men run, but I missed a bunch of the early issues and then dropped off a bit after the time John Romita, Jr. came on as artist. You see, my brother, Jeff, and I started around issue #149 and it was love at first sight. From that issue forward, in-between his obsession with Daredevil and my fanaticism over The Micronauts, we spent our summers walking down to Andromeda Book Store two to three times a week to plague the poor LCS workers’ existence with demands to haul out their back issues of The Uncanny X-Men so we could drool over all of the older issues we had missed and could not afford. Even back then, those first few issues starring the new roster including Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine were well out of our price range, but issue #140 which, although expensive, was part of our reality and would soon become the oldest issue of our collection. Still, we would make the trek to the LCS and we would dream of everything that came before.

In an effort to torment ourselves even further, we bought a black and white magazine that showed every single cover of The Uncanny X-Men ever printed (sorry, I don’t remember the magazine’s title) and we would ponder aloud about why the Proletariat looked like Colossus, or what the deal was with the Phoenix.  Thankfully, we wouldn’t have to wait too terribly long. Marvel soon realized the limitations of having a massive hit comic that tons of new fans desperately wanted to read yet they could not find the back issues needed to get the whole story. Thus, Marvel released The Dark Phoenix Saga trade in 1984. Jeff and I reread this book so many times it literally fell apart in our hands after a couple of years. Now, after all these years — and a helluva Marvel digital sale — I have X-Men Epic Collection: Second Genesis just waiting to be read.

Wanna know what’s in it? Okay, best strap in for the rundown of everything contained in this beastly 528-page beauty. Here’s what you get: Giant-Size X-Men #1, The Uncanny X-Men #94–110, Marvel Team-Up #53, 69–70, Marvel Team-Up Annual #1, Iron Fist #14–15, material from Foom #10. So, yeah, this one’s gonna keep me busy for a good long while. I honestly can’t wait to dive back into the issues I’ve already read and even more so to immerse myself in the many issues I’ve been dying to read for all these years. So exciting!

Excalibur

Written by Chris Claremont, mostly illustrated by Alan Davis, published by Marvel Comics. Alright, Denizens. You have full permission to get on my case about this one. You have to realize, though, that at the time, I was already behind on the whole New Mutants tip, so you gotta forgive me this one. I also have to admit that although I love Nightcrawler, the rest of the gang did little for me. I could not understand why Captain Britain had a new costume, or what the deal was with Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, and Meggan. Trust me, if I had a few extra bucks laying around, I would have been happy to give this title a chance, but the truth was funds were limited and there were many books calling my name.

I then started to hear more and more about Alan Davis and his gorgeous art, but it was the Captain Britain graphic novel written by Alan Moore and featuring Davis’s illustrations that showed me I had greatly underestimated ol’ Brian Braddock. At this point, I knew more of the characters and wanted to see how the UK’s heroes mixed with the US’s characters, especially when it became clear that Claremont was the one writing the stories. Unfortunately, there were a lot of books I had missed, so I just had to let it go…until now.

With the Excalibur Epic Collection: The Sword is Drawn, we have yet another behemoth of a book clocking in at 496 pages of what looks to be a heavenly series. In this collection you will find the following: Captain Britain 1–2, Excalibur 1–11, Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn, Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem, The Mighty World of Marvel #7, 14–15, Marvel Comics Presents #31–38. Hot diggity dog, I’m excited to finally check out the world of Excalibur, however, it will be a little while before I can crack into it, but when I do, the Denizens will be the first to know.


Batman: A Death in the Family

Written by Jim Starlin and Marv Wolfman, illustrated by Jim Aparo and George Perez, published by DC Comics. Ummmm...yeahhhhh. Huge Starlin fan here. I definitely love me some Wolfman, too. And that Perez guy, the one who is currently wowing me with his amazing past work on Wonder Woman…love everything he’s done. But…I. Haven’t. Read. This. Series. Daggnabbit! I know. I’ve not just disappointed all of you, Denizens, I’ve disappointed myself. This coming from the guy who worships Starlin and Perez’s (not to forget Ron Lim’s) work on The Infinity Gauntlet and still I have persisted in not reading this series. This is something I need to change.

Part of the reason for not picking up this series back in the ’80s was I remember being turned off by the notion that someone had to die in this comic, and it seemed a bit much that DC was accepting votes by telephone to determine which character would end up buying the farm. It was all kind of heartless. Despite reading some fairly brutal comics from the likes of Frank Miller and Alan Moore, I guess I was fine with Batman being a dark comic, but offing Robin — or rather, one of the Robins — seemed a bit sensationalist. But what did I know? I was just a kid.

Now it looks like I need to finally see what all the fuss was about and crawl up under the hood of this popular storyline. It’s on the “Need to Read” list, and I hope to delve into Batman: A Death in the Family before the end of the year. I’m especially curious as to what the Denizens think about the death in this issue and about the storyline as a whole. Let me know! This volume contains Batman 426–429 and 440–442, and New Teen Titans #60–61.


Slice into the Woods

POTUS #45 Continues to Embarrass the USA - I am totally not surprised that this treasonous buffoon is throwing a lie-riddled Twitter-tantrum about a couple of television news show hosts. I could go on and on about the countless other things this sociopath is doing (you know, like treason, obstruction of justice, cronyism, etc.), but I don’t want to go to bed mad. Counting the days until impeachment with the hope of an arrest being the cherry on top.


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/23/2017

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 / heat hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Dang, Denizens, with the heatpocalypse going on around the country, my puppy executive team and I are ever thankful for the June gloom that has been keeping things on the cooler side, and we also appreciate the concrete flooring of the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) helping things stay bearable. This week, we only had one comic in our pull and we were unable to make it down to the ol’ LCS in time for this post. So, what better time than to revisit “Keeping Up with the Trades” for a book I have been sitting on for at least the past two years. So, brew up some mint-flavored sweet tea (don’t overdo it on the sugar), put on some chill tunes, and check out some great comic books. Thank you for reading!

*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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Keeping Up with the Trades


I read a lot of comic books, Denizens, and not just the Wednesday new releases. Actually, I have tons of older comics, trades, rereads, and digital comics I read every week. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to mention some of these awesome titles, but no longer. In “Keeping Up with the Trades,” I will pick a selection of heavenly titles I recently read, love, and that you all need to know about. I hope you enjoy them.

Vampirella: The Essential Warren Years Volume One

Predominantly written by Archie Goodwin, T. Casey Brennan, Steve Englehart, and Flaxman Loew; mostly illustrated by Tom Sutton, Jose Ortiz, and José Gonzalez; published by Dynamite Entertainment. I’ve mentioned the store Click (now called Acme) a few times over the course of Donist World’s existence and how it was fundamental to nourishing not only my love of sci-fi and horror but to my love and adoration of the comic book medium as a whole. But in order to properly talk about this beautiful yet flawed (more on that later) collection of the first 37 issues of the Vampirella magazine by Warren, I need to hop in the Way-Back Machine and transport you to Akron, OH in the late '70s.

Long before Lebron James moved onto the property where I used to live (he’s still there), and during the time that a young Jeffrey Dahmer (he lived less than two miles away) might very well have crossed my brother and my paths while we played in creek across the road, I was solidifying my deep love of sequential storytelling. I had already become enchanted by Bernie Wrightson’s masterful storytelling and his uncanny understanding of anatomy and horror with Swamp Thing #10, and I would soon learn what it meant to be a comic book collector with my introduction to the heavenly The Micronauts series, but it was my first trip to Click where I first fell in love with the Warren magazines.

Now, you have to remember this was the ’70s and it was perfectly normal for my mom to drop my brother and me in the magazine section while she went off to do the days shopping. Jeff and I would then comb through the magazines for a bit, roam to the toy aisle, head upstairs near the front to the pet section to have a look at the scorpions and reptiles and wonder who it was who bought “Monkey Chow.” This is usually where Mom found us before we began begging for her to buy us one of the various treasures we had found along the way. Anyhow, we spent most of our time in the magazine section where I would move counter-clockwise from the sci-fi and horror section where I would peruse the Famous Monsters, Starlog, and somewhat unsettling Fangoria magazines before completing the rounds at the illustrated section which featured the likes of Creepy, Eerie, Heavy Metal, and — blessed be — Vampirella. These oversized, black and white comics had everything a boy could ever want: there were monsters, robots, spaceships, stunning art, battles, and mayhem as far as the eye could see. But they also had something else, something new, something my superhero comics didn’t have: beautifully illustrated and oftentimes naked women.


N-A-U-G-H-T-Y. Naughty. By golly, those magazines could be naughty. Yes, Marvel had Red Sonja in her chainmail bikini slaying marauders and demons alike, but Vampirella – and some of those other Warren mags at Click — offered even more for a young, impressionable mind to see. I was still very much interested in the monsters and aliens, but…yeah…nekkid ladies. Of course, there was no way my mom would buy the book for me given the covers, so when we moved out to California, my time with Vampirella came to an end. That is, until last year.

Vampirella tells the story of, well, Vampirella, a woman from the planet Drakulon who is forced to flee her world when the rivers of blood run dry. She comes to Earth and quickly finds herself plagued with the choice of feasting upon humans or dying of starvation. Her adventures lead her to friendship (Pendragon), to love (Adam Van Helsing), enemies (the Cult of Chaos), and the discovery of a special serum that slakes her eternal hunger for 24 hours. Most all of the chapters are done-in-ones with an overarching story running throughout. There are madmen, witches, demons, gods, and ghosts to send chills and thrills on every page. The thing about reading this 450+ page book, is that most all of it is exceptionally well-crafted, especially when it comes to the Goodwin segments. Each of his chapters, as well as that of many of the others, have that Warren tone, that unexpected twist that longtime fans of these magazines love so dearly.

The art at the beginning of the collection is fine, but when Gonzalez’s art first appears, there is a shocking, glorious shift in the visual style that forever changed the course of the book. When I think of Vampirella, it’s Gonzalez’s fine lines, character acting, and superb storytelling that comes to mind. It’s also the drop-dead sexy way he portrays not just Vampirella, but both the other women in the story and, come to think of it, some of the men as well. His use of quick, yet delicate lines for the curve of a hip, or the intricacies in the frills of a ruffled shirt, or the details found in a mansion’s decor lead me to think that Gonzalez had worked in advertising or the fashion industry to some degree before applying his skills to sequential storytelling. What affected me most were each of the introductory splash pages which I would love to blow up to triple size and frame to hang throughout the house like a movie poster. His illustrations are lovely and I am now eager to find what other work he has out there waiting for me to discover.

One thing you will not find in this collection, however, is full-on nudity. Vampi’s…ummm, battle outfit…may not leave much to the imagination, but it’s what you don’t see that makes her so sexy. I’m reminded of the joke that men used to say in regard to Playboy magazine: “I read it for the articles.” With Vampirella: The Essential Warren Years, it’s safe to say the articles, or rather the stories, are almost as great as the art and they mostly stand up to the test of time. My only two complaints are that there is no second volume, and the first printing is missing four pages in one of the stories to the point that I have no idea what happened. Despite those two quibbles, I greatly enjoyed reading this fantastic blast from the past.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods

No Additional Negativity for Today, #45 - I’ve spent too much time being dismayed about #45 and his band of criminal sociopaths. As more and more revelations come to light, the hope for impeachment rises, and I ever hold out for some legitimate jail time for these monumental morons.


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/16/2017

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 / bacon breakfast burrito believer Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The Donist World fuel gauge is running pretty close to empty this week, Denizens, but never fear, we still have a little somethin’ somethin’ for you to check out below. Of course, it has been a crazy week and I got home much too late from a work event but the lights of the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) are always on. That is unless the landlord (Mom) tells us to knock it off and go to bed, which she just did. Okay, fair enough. We can’t hope to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company if my puppy executive team and I can’t keep our eyes open long enough to read a darn comic. Amirite? So, while Reverse Obie pulls down the blanket and Tulip takes the good pillow, pour yourself a cup of “Sleepytime Tea” and check out some great comic books before you crash out. Thank you for reading!

*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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Keeping Up with the Trades


I read a lot of comic books, Denizens, and not just the Wednesday new releases. Actually, I have tons of older comics, trades, rereads, and digital comics I read every week. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to mention some of these awesome titles, but no longer. In “Keeping Up with the Trades,” I will pick a selection of heavenly titles I recently read, love, and that you all need to know about. I hope you enjoy them.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Volumes 1–4

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by Marvel Comics. A month and a half ago, coming hot off the wonderful yet brutal film Logan, I mentioned I wanted to reread Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s equally brutal yet enjoyable as heck Wolverine: Old Man Logan storyline (see this post about post-apocalyptic and dystopian comics). I reread it over two days shortly thereafter and it reminded me that I never mentioned having read Lemire and Sorrentino’s continuing take on the character. Thankfully, I’m finally fixing that oversight. However, thanks to Marvel’s recent bout of renumbering madness, navigating the world of Old Man Logan can be a bit tricky.

First of all, you have the Millar and McNiven introduction of the character (mentioned above) that originally appeared in Wolverine #66–72 and Wolverine: Giant Size Old Man Logan from way back in 2009. Then, years later, in the onslaught of 2015’s Secret Wars event, Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino released Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–5 (collected here), which I have not yet read. Finally, my hero Jeff Lemire took over writing duties on the new 2016 series Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–24. Wait. What?! See what I mean, Denizens? Kind of a mess if you’re new to the character or just saw Logan and want to dive into a comic. My recommendation is to start with the Millar/McNiven trade to get familiar with what happened in the future, but you should be fine diving into Lemire/Sorrentino’s run headfirst as Lemire catches you up quick with our favorite berserker mutant.

Now, keep in mind that I have read the first two trades and I started the third last night, which I’m actually quite eager to get back to reading. This series begins with a grizzled Logan from a tragic future, one where he saw everything that was good destroyed right in front of his eyes, awakening to our modern world. Everything is wrong: his friends are no longer dead, his enemies have not seized control of the world, and those who live are all much younger than they should be. Realizing he has traveled back in time, he sees an opportunity to make certain his world never comes to pass by eliminating key evil figures one by one. Unfortunately, maneuvering around the younger, living friends he loved so dearly complicates matters.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan gives me everything I want from a Lemire comic: strong characterization, emotional beats that hit at all the right moments, and an intricately plotted story that keeps me fully engrossed in this fascinating take on one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Sorrentino’s art captures the dour atmosphere that pervades Logan’s world view and the darkness that weighs upon his soul. If you are a fan of Sorrentino’s work on the tragically short-lived I, Vampire or on his and Lemire’s run on Green Arrow, then you definitely need to see his work here, as it is lovely indeed. Please excuse me, I have to run upstairs and continue with volume three before jumping immediately into volume four of this outstanding series.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Manifest Destiny Volumes 1–4

Written by Chris Dingess, illustrated by Matthew Roberts, colored by Owen Gieni, published by Skybound, an Image Comics imprint. Oh, how I love this series, Denizens. I originally talked about volume one (here) and volume 2 (here), but I only mentioned volumes three and four briefly on the 2016 Year-End Roundup; that’s not good enough for this dang fine series. So, no time like the present than to restate my deep love for the amazing horror comic that is Manifest Destiny, especially seeing how trade number five is nearly upon us come August of this year.

Manifest Destiny is a historical reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the untamed American Frontier. Much is the same, including the team of enlisted men, convicts, and other unsavory miscreants, it is the secret mission that holds the twist. Unbeknownst to Lewis and Clark’s crew, the real reason they are exploring the uncharted wild is to catalog any monstrous flora and fauna— physically and through Lewis’s journaling — and where possible, eliminate any and all threats that get in their way. There’s also the ever-present threat of angry natives and mutiny among the crew, but they thankfully have the aid of the fierce Sacagawea, who is a total murder machine and who also happens to be pregnant. Their journey is a trying one at the best of times.

Each volume, thus far, focuses on a specific region that just so happens to be inhabited by a towering arch that is somehow linked to the various horrors plaguing all forms of humanity whether they be explorer or native. Thus, each volume contains a few types of monsters that Dingess and Roberts use to terrify their readers with, and trust me, these monsters are as unnerving as they are imaginative –ugh, that flying one with the head thing…I still get the willies thinking about it. The great thing about this exquisitely paced and intricately illustrated adventure/horror tale is that the “good guys” really aren’t all that good. I was fine seeing a few of Lewis and Clark’s crew meet their horrific ends, but I was also deeply disturbed by certain actions taken by the explorers in volume three; I suspect you will find some of the grim undertakings to be extremely troubling. But as unsettling as things might get, you will most certainly be back for more.

Manifest Destiny is one heck of a compelling series. Roberts’s art is flawless in both storytelling and character design, while Dingess’s dialogue and pacing make this revisionist history tale of monsters and mayhem a thrill ride you will never want to end. The arrival of volume five in August cannot come soon enough.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods

The Traitor Jeff Sessions - Liar liar pants on fire. DANG. Satan’s very own Keebler elf of darkness put on quite a show of lies, contradictions, fabricated rules, and immensely selective memory this past Tuesday, but hopefully, his numerous counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and that pesky treasonous behavior not only ruins his career but ultimately lands his racist ass in prison. It’s about time the AG learned a little something about obeying the law.


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Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/9/2017

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 / dog gone Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Huh? Now, where are my puppy executive team members? I was just telling them about my trip to the dentist and mentioned that Tulip and Reverse Obie should probably get their teeth cleaned too, and the next thing I know I’m the only one in the corporate office (Mom’s basement). I guess the mere mention of the word “teeth cleaning” is enough to send them scrambling out the door and into the loving embrace of the taco truck. Oh well, looks like it’s just me working to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. So, while I roll up my sleeves, pour yourself a refreshing beer or ginger ale, order up a taco platter, and check out some great comic books. Thank you for reading!

*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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Keeping Up with the Trades


I read a lot of comic books, Denizens, and not just the Wednesday new releases. Actually, I have tons of older comics, trades, rereads, and digital comics I read every week. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to mention some of these awesome titles, but no longer. In “Keeping Up with the Trades,” I will pick a selection of heavenly titles I recently read, love, and that you all need to know about. I hope you enjoy them.

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka

Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by J.G. Jones and Drew Johnson, published by DC Comics. Yes indeed, Denizens. You know I saw the new Wonder Woman movie last weekend, right? Boy howdy, I saw the movie and I, of course, loved it. But we’re not here to discuss how Gal Gadot truly IS the princess of power, or that I kind of believe she could actually smack a fool with a tank. Nope. For now, we’re taking a look at Greg Rucka’s initial run on Wonder Woman in this hefty collection containing Wonder Woman: The Hikateia and Wonder Woman the series, issues 195–205. All are must-read material.

Originally published in 2002 as a standalone hardcover OGN, this trade quickly establishes Diana as a Themysciran ambassador to the United States who finds herself charged with protecting a young woman, Danielle, against all who might cause her harm. Diana’s aid is sealed by an ancient Greek ritual that will destroy her if she ever breaks her oath. Unfortunately, The Batman knows why Danielle is on the run, and he means to bring her to justice. Jones’s art and storytelling are lovely and the collision of myth and the real world and that of superheroes is expertly handled by Rucka. There are some action sequences, but this story mostly centers on the dramatic, which very much works in its favor.

The comic series itself pretty much picks up where Wonder Woman: The Hikateia leaves off, but be prepared to be introduced to a host of characters and villains, many of whom appeared at some point in the previous 195 issues. Never fear, though, Rucka will help you catch up just fine. A cybernetic angel woman? No problem. A murderous dwarf with ruthless psychic powers? You’ll catch on. Much like the first quarter of this collection, each story leans more toward the dramatic with occasional action sequences that will make you gasp. Even though there’s not much fighting — although a fierce warrior, Diana stands for peace and love — Rucka’s Wonder Woman is charming, bold, a pillar of nobility who inspires most of the people she meets. Dang, what I wouldn’t give to have her take me on my own personal flight (no innuendo, I’m being honest here, read the book and see, pervs).

If you like the latest series or the movie, or you love Wonder Woman and missed out on Rucka’s first run, then you must pick up this fantastic trade. The cool thing is if you go to Comixology before Monday, 6/12/2017, then you can get it digitally along with tons of other Wonder Woman goodness for only $5.99. As luck would have it, volume 2 of Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka releases mid-July, which I will definitely be picking up!

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Rumble Volume 3: Immortal Coil

Written by John Arcudi, illustrated James Harren, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Joe Sabino, book design by Vincent Kukua, published by Image Comics. Did you know this book was 100% made for me? That’s right, Denizens, the creators must have crept into my dreams as a child — or possibly as an adult, this book spans the ages — and delivered the heavenliness that is Rumble unto me. Hot diggity dog, this is what happens when an “immortal,” monster-slaying warrior-god, Rathraq, falters only to have his spirit cast into the frail form of a scarecrow. Throw in awesome flashbacks of the good old days, monsters posing as humans in today’s world, and a few humorous human characters in the know, and you have everything in the world a Donist could want. Dang, there’s even stuff I never knew I even wanted: a hydra playing fetch (in the first trade)…yes siree Bob.

Arcudi brings both hearty laughs and heartfelt sorrow to this installment. Rathraq is, of course, awesome whether looking at his warrior-god past or his scarecrow present, but the human sidekicks, something I usually do not like, make this series so very compelling. Bobby, Del, and Timah all have their parts to play in the knock-down-drag-out-slice-and-dice fest. Harren’s art is freaking phenomenal in every aspect regardless of if you are talking about character design, storytelling, fight choreography, character acting, or drama.

As I said, this book was made for me. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s touching. It’s tragic. But more than anything, it is a joy to read. With this trade, you get a gallery of covers, pin-ups by other artists, as well as some sketches by Harren (who will soon be taking over art duties on two issues of the must-read Seven to Eternity by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña) to round out this awesome monster-mash comic. This might be (not totally sure) the last collection of Rumble, but I know I will be returning to it often over the years.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated Dean Ormstom, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Todd Klein, published by Dark Horse Books. I know, I know. It’s been a while since I mentioned a Dark Horse comic, but this isn’t a slight against them, there’s just a lot of great comics out there. The best way to pull me in a desired direction, however, is to put out a comic by Jeff Lemire and he will Pied Piper my exquisitely-sculpted behind (I hope Gal Gadot is reading this) to his book, regardless of the publisher. My biggest regret with Black Hammer is not jumping on sooner.

Black Hammer is Lemire’s take on some Big Two characters…oops…I meant to say his take on a group of bizarre superheroes, who are pulled from their home of Spiral City and left trapped in a small town from which they cannot escape. Some members relish the idea of leaving superheroics behind and staying on the farm, but most want to escape by any means necessary. Why are Abraham Slam, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, Golden Gail, Barbalien, and Talky-Walky stranded in this small town, and who or what is keeping them there? Only time will tell, and I can tell you, Denizens, I will be there to see what happens next.

The first issue in this collection introduces us to the cast of characters and their plight. The remaining five issues continue to move the story forward, but each focuses on a particular member of the group, looking into their past, and helping us understand who they are. True to most all of Lemire’s work, it’s easy to become attached to each character, even those who at first rub us the wrong way, but succeed in gaining our sympathy as we begin to know them. If Lemire is not going to provide the art for a title, then an illustrator like Ormstom is the perfect person to bring an overall sense of mystery and an unsettling eeriness to this strange world, while occasionally bringing scant moments of hope when needed. Stewert’s colors push the mood of Ormstom’s art from the plain palette of the farm to the otherworldly hues of the more supernatural moments.

Black Hammer is a damn-fine book that is certain to please fans of Lemire’s Descender and Sweet Tooth, while also being one of the best non-Big-Two Big Two Elseworld books on the stand. You definitely need to be reading this awesome new series. I cannot wait to see where Lemire and Ormstom take us next.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Mega-Marvel Digital Sale at Amazon


Holy moly! Man, I went a tad crazy with Amazon's digital Marvel sale. It will probably be a while before I get to all of these as some are part of the issue-packed “Epic Collection” line, but I’m excited to dive in. In no particular order, here’s what I picked up:
See what I mean? A virtual ton of reading material; I can’t think of a better problem to have.


Slice into the Woods


For Once, Let’s Keep it Positive - Here’s hoping James Comey’s testimony sets in motion everything needed to rid us of the traitors.


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Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/2/2017

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 / Wonder Puppy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Dagnabbit, here we go again. Both members of my puppy executive team are wandering around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) pretending to be Wonder Woman in anticipation of the movie releasing this week. They somehow even managed to make aluminum foil tiaras with matching bracelets. They’re also wearing red tops that I believe were cut from the legs of my comfiest sweatpants. It’s all rather impressive, but given the level of disappointment they’re about to suffer when I sneak out of the window to see the film, I’m willing to overlook the demise of my worn-out loungewear. Anyhow, I thought we would once again take a look at some comics I sadly missed the first time around yet hope to remedy by reading in the near future. So, pour yourself a refreshing beer or ginger ale, sit down, strap in, and think about those comics you might have skipped all those years ago. Thank you for reading!

*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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Ones that Got Away (Part 2)


“What the heck kind of doggone title is that, Donist?! Do we need to be worried about you?! Are you okay?!” Never fear, Denizens, all is well with the Donist and Donist World. I just happened to be sitting in our conference room — the area roped off by hanging sheets in Mom’s basement — and thinking about all of the comics I wanted to read throughout the years but had missed for one reason or another. As I thought about them, I realized there were tons of series that snuck by me somehow, and I’m not even counting any comics from the past two decades. So, let’s have a look and see what can be done about this now that we are in the age of the internet where online shopping and digital services can help remedy this dire situation. As I prepare to stumble into the confessional booth, I want to hear about your regrets concerning comics you missed out on over the years, so please let me know about them by posting a comment. I’m happy to lend an ear, to commiserate, to help you work through the emotions and try to find a way to move on. Together, we can find a way to set things right. (You can check out ”Part 1” here.)

Wonder Woman by George Perez

Written by Len Wein, illustrated by George Perez, published by DC Comics. With the Donist World corporate office bursting with anticipation of this week’s official release of the Wonder Woman movie, there’s no better title to start this week’s post than George Perez’s Wonder Woman . Now, as you might remember from my first installment of “The Ones that Got Away,” I had missed out on The New Teen Titans, which was also gorgeously illustrated by Perez, and I had remedied my error by picking up the first three collections through a digital sale — I’m now on volume 2, by the way, and loving it. I did the same dang thing again and picked up this little puppy with some slashed pricing through Comixology. I’m thrilled to finally check it out after all these years.

This run on Wonder Woman is written by Len Wein — who we all know co-created and wrote the first run of my beloved Swamp Thing series — and is one that nearly won my limited allowance funds on many occasions as a kid. This wasn’t only because the art is by Perez, who completely melted my eyeballs with his stunning art on both Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Infinity Gauntlet, but because Wonder Woman is simply badass.

Even before I was old enough to read, Wonder Woman was there every time Lynda Carter twirled into magnificence right before taking out some bad guys or stopping a major calamity. She was there for me on the Super Friends cartoon as a kid, and there on the Justice League cartoon as an adult, while frequently showing up in one comic book series or another. I have read fair chunks of Greg Rucka’s run and Brian Azarello’s run, but the series drawn by Perez is the one that has been sitting in the back of my mind for far too long. Now with this comic ready to go and the movie being released, I have a sneaking feeling I’ll be picking up Wonder Woman: War of the Gods, while it too is on sale. I cannot wait!


The New Mutants

Written by Chris Claremont and others, illustrated by Bob McLeod and others, published by Marvel Comics. Seeing this title on the spinner rack month after month was enough to drive this Donist a might crazy. Thankfully, I was usually able to console myself with copies of The Uncanny X-Men, but then again Charles Xavier’s premiere mutant team featuring Marvel’s rising star Wolverine was part of the problem. You see, my brother and I were positively bonkers for The X-Men, and having a second book loosely tied to their universe put this title firmly on our radar. That pesky allowance limitation, though…oh well. Still, we were able to somewhat get to know Sam, Bobby, Xi’an, Danielle, and Rayne as they made the occasional appearance throughout many comics of the Marvel Universe.

It wasn’t just the fact that this new team of mutants is closely tied to the X-Men, but seeing them on the cover of Marvel Graphic Novel #4 definitely caught my eye, especially Sunspot with his Kirby Krackle and the energy encased Cannonball as he launched into battle. I often flipped through the books wondering what enemies they would face and if some of those evildoers might be former X-Men foes. Oh, the torment of it all. Now, I finally get to see for myself who crosses their paths as I anticipate the arrival of Magma and Warlock.

I, of course, just picked up this collection in an amazing sale that I could not pass up and it is now in the queue for this summer’s reading. I do have to say, that as excited as I am to dive into this series, I am most looking forward to the next “Epic Collection” release as it will contain the “The Demon Bear” storyline and art by the amazing Bill Sienkiewicz. Still, getting to that point should be a heck of a lot of fun.


Strikeforce: Morituri

Written by Peter B. Gillis, illustrated by Brent Anderson, published by Marvel Comics. I remember seeing this one on the shelves at the LCS back in the day, but it never really caught my attention as it came out in 1986 and we all know there was another title from another publisher that was soaking up all of the attention back then, namely Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Sadly, I didn’t realize Strikeforce: Morituri was such a revered book in and of itself and that it was one I desperately needed to check out; perhaps if it had only come out a year sooner…

Anyhow, it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I started noticing more and more mentions of this series as something of great import. After some research, I learned the comic is about an alien invasion of Earth and the only hope of stopping the invaders is by giving humans amazing superpowers…unfortunately, those powers will kill its host within a year. Holy schmoley, what’s not to love about that horrific premise?

Yup, that’s all I know. Sold! And I’ve been sold on this comic for quite some time now. Thankfully, I askeed my Magic 8-Ball if I will be able to read the first volume of Strikeforce: Morituri in the near future, and it told me“It is decidedly so.” I can’t argue with that.


Slice into the Woods

#45 to Withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement - Because of course he would. This was completely expected, but nonetheless frustrating. Thankfully, it should be put back in place once that traitor is impeached and spending some quality alone time behind bars…where he belongs. Enjoy your two scoops of ice cream and your chocolate cake while you can, loser.


Grown Men Whining About Wonder Woman - Oh, yeah, before I go…I would also like to say, “Suck it, man-babies!” to all those “men” crying about the select women/girls-only advance screenings of Wonder Woman. What the heck don’t you get? It’s a movie about a female superhero who is meant to champion women and provide someone for women/girls to look up to. An extra week to wait is not a big deal. Comic books have sat predominantly in the older male realm for far too long, and when more people become interested in comic-related properties, that means more money, more attention, and a higher likelihood of seeing even more fantastic movies and comics in the future. We all win if Wonder Woman is truly as great as early reviews suggest, crying because you don’t get your way this one time is simply pathetic.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 5/26/2017

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 / bathday-Bostie Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s been another one of those weeks, Denizens. You know, like when you get home, the sun’s still up, and you think, dang, I could totally go to sleep right now. Only we didn’t do that. Instead, Tulip and Reverse Obie decided to treat me to a spa day. The thing is, a spa day to my puppy executive team is pouring me an IPA, turning on some Mitch Murder, and drawing me a bath at home; it’s the thought that counts. Anyhow, they took off running shortly afterwards in case I decided to treat them to baths, but that’s fine, it gave me plenty of time to reflect on this week’s books while amidst the gingerbread scented bubbles. So, while I drape this hot, damp cloth over my weary eyes and let Calgon take me away, grab a tasty beer or a hot green tea, relax, and while you’re at it check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven


Seven to Eternity #6

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Every time a new issue of this spectacular series is released, my heart races in anticipation of discovering what new torment awaits the seven on their quest to end the reign of the "God of Whispers” once and for all; at six issues in I have yet to be disappointed. Seven to Eternity is high fantasy at its finest with an impressive cast of characters, races, beasts, and rules of magic that slowly become more apparent as the series progresses.

Remender and Opeña have quickly introduced us to the few surviving members of the Mosak Knights long enough to enchant us with their strange abilities and their amazing designs while giving only enough insight into their backgrounds and motivations to keep us desperate to know more. But don’t get too attached to any of these characters as some have already perished in their fight to destroy the Mud King. At this point, I wouldn’t even count Adam Osidis, the dying protagonist of the series, to make it all the way through to the end, and I find myself nervous for everyone’s survival with each turn of the page. In fact, I wish we had a series of one-shots for each character in this book. I want to know how Spiritbox served and betrayed the Mud King and how he is able to call forth beast-like swords, or what the deal is with the blue-glow eel arrows that Katie Osidis shoots from her bow, or what exactly the floating woman in white reveals to the swamp spirits when they knock her helmet from her head. I guess what I’m trying to say is this world is so rich, so fascinating that the main series leaves me wanting to know everything about everyone.

Opeña’s art is gorgeous. I mean it is staggeringly gorgeous. Everything from the storytelling, to the character acting, to the killer designs, and intricate backgrounds. The pencils and inks alone are enough to dazzle anyone who lays eyes on his pages, but when combined with Hollingsworth’s vibrant colors, the imagery takes on an otherworldly nature, specifically when magic is at work.

Yeah, Denizens, I’m already setting aside some space on my favorite bookshelf for the oversized hardcover that probably won’t release until late 2018, but Seven to Eternity is so good that I am already anticipating its release. The next two issues will feature guest artist James Harren (Rumble) — a worthy stand-in — and will focus on the red-skinned fairy Jevalia. I can’t wait. If you aren’t reading Seven to Eternity, then you need to immediately right this grievous error by picking up the first trade today.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Deadly Class #28

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Okay, Denizens, full confession time: at some point in the middle of the first 22 issues of yet another phenomenal series from Remender, I was considering switching to trades. I know, I know, what the shizzle was I thinking? But somewhere just before the “Final Exam” third arc, things started moving and they started moving quickly; the pacing has rarely slowed since then.

It’s difficult to talk about this issue without spoiling a bunch of gnarly things that happened prior to issue 21, so I’ll just give the basics: one character’s about to break a promise in order to save Saya, the new batch of freshmen try to explain what happened to Saya to Headmaster Lin (as scary an old bastard if there ever was one), Shabnam tries to show he’s in control, and Saya learns just how depraved her brother really is. Like always, Craig’s art is on another level from most books, and Boyd’s mostly flat colors — especially on the first five beach scene pages — are breathtaking.

I’m 100% in, Denizens. I have been for a while now, and I encourage you to be as well. If it’s a creator-owned book and Remender’s writing it, you can be sure that no matter what the book is you need to be reading it. You can catch up on this great story about a high school for assassins set in the ’80s with the deluxe hardcover or the five available trades. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Dying & the Dead #4

Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Ryan Bodenheim, colored by Michael Garland, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. Okay, now you might remember that over the previous three issues the Colonel, a much older gentleman, was looking for a way to…ummm…extend the life of his ailing wife through the aid of…oh, geez, what were they called again? Anyhow, those totally white people are ageless and have been existing alongside humanity since…probably a long time. Then there’s the Colonel’s crew, who are also getting older, and they have to…ummm…retrieve a spear or something. At least I think that’s what they were doing. Oh, yeah…these Cobra-looking dudes (as in the G.I. Joe villains) stole the spear because a hot-looking clone told them to. Does any of that sound right? It’s kind of hard to remember as it has been a year and eight months since issue three came out.

The thing is that I remember positively loving those first three issues. I raved about them. They’re great. But I need to go back and reread them in order to remember what the heck happened and to be able to get back into the story. Thankfully for those not caught up with this stellar-yet-dreadfully-late series, Hickman and Bodenheim released the first three issues in a $9.99 direct-market-only trade alongside this issue. Now, if I had reread what came before, then this issue would have probably resonated more as there are no reminders as to who the main players are or what is going on. I will say that my fondness for what I read back in the day combined with Bodenheim and Garland’s beautiful art helped carry me through this mostly conversational issue, that still left me eager to see what is to come. I suspect the next issue won’t see as long of a delay, and I also suspect that if you like well-told adventure stories that you will like this one too.
RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods


The  #45 - What a buffoon. #45 pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of his way to be front and center for a NATO photo opp. He probably insisted on more scoops of ice cream than every one else, too. Criminy, the world is laughing at us.

Betsy DeVos - She is an embarassment and a monumental fool. She is the female version of Skeletor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, who should take a couple of those school vouchers she loves so much and look toward educating herself.


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 5/19/2017

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 / poolside sweetheart Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). I’m beat, Denizens. Totally exhausted. You see, this week I spent Sunday–Wednesday on a work trip with today being my first full day back at the office; this doesn’t even factor in time at the Donist World corporate headquarters (Mom’s basement) which was spent in some epic meetings with my puppy executive team devising strategies for maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Thankfully, I only had two comics in my pull, and despite having plenty of older books and trades I wanted to talk about, I just don’t have the time or mental clarity to effectively go into anything other than the two. Because of this, I'm including a letter I wrote to my father in response to a rightwing article he sent to me on the topic of diversity efforts bringing about the demise of Marvel Comics. I hope you enjoy what I had to say. So, while I go grab some desperately needed shut-eye, sit back, have a tasty beer or a strong ginger ale, take care of yourself, and while you’re at it check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven


Low #18

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Sweet baby Bejebus, Denizens, I am loving all of Remender’s current work. I can’t even give you an “I especially like…” as everything he’s producing at Image is heavenly. I will say that Low is my favorite underwater, sci-fi, dystopian adventure comic, though.
Although this arc has not shown us the fates of either Stel Caine or of Della and her stolen Helm Suit (a vastly deadly weapon), the story of Tajo Caine and her friends is more than enough to keep me glued to each page. Tajo is hunting for Lena, the daughter of the man who abducted her when she was but a little girl. With this issue, we are led on a rollercoaster of a chase, much in the same vein as Remender’s amazing Black Science, through the seedy underworld of the dying submerged city of Salus. Roachtown, the place where fatalists and degenerates go to indulge their every pleasure before they die, is the flipside of the beauty that the creators have previously shown us of doomed Salus. Here there is violence, sex, drugs, you name it, and we catch a glimpse of it all, which is why this series is 100% for adults only; no kiddos allowed, NSFW, and I wouldn’t go gifting it to your momma or your boss. <phew> Sorry, gotta cool off after that Lena scene. Geez, Louise.
Anyhow, Tocchini’s art is gorgeous on every page — not just the lascivious Lena moments — and the storytelling of the chase scenes will keep you whipping through the issue. McCaig’s color tones change wonderfully depending on the city district: the purples of the drug bar, the reds of Lena’s room (oh my), the cooler blue-greens of the upper regions, to the chaos of oranges and yellows toward the end. Every aspect of this comic works beautifully as an example of what happens when all those involved are perfectly in sync.
Provided you are mature enough to handle the content, you need to be reading this fantastic comic, and catching up is an easy thing to do. You can start with the first three trades today — a fourth comes out in August — or you can wait until October for the oversized hardcover, which I have been hoping for ever since I read the very first issue. Man, I love this comic.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Royal City #3

Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Alrighty, Denizens, this review is going to be a drastic shift from that of the previous comic. Actually, it’s going to be a drastic shift from most of what Lemire has been producing for quite some time now. With Royal City, you won’t find any superheroes or villains, spacemen or mutated children, or anything of the like. No. This brutally honest series is more in line with Lemire’s masterwork Essex County (one of the few comics that’s ever made me cry) in that we have a beautifully scripted and intricately illustrated tale of a family as it collapses in upon itself after a tragic event. Of course, I’m not going to spoil what that event is, and in fact, we, the reader, don’t fully know what happened yet anyways. The Pike family — comprised of three brothers, a sister, a mother, and a father — has so much history, such painful memories, that they can barely manage to interact with one another or those close to them in a civil manner. If it wasn’t for the one common thread to which each clings (I’m not saying what), I suspect this family would fall to ruin.
If you are familiar with Lemire’s art, then you can expect the looks of pain and hopelessness in his characters’ eyes, or the resentment and disappoint in the lines of their faces, and the weariness that burdens their frame. In other words, you’re not going to be smiling by the time you finish reading an issue of Royal City, and even though there doesn’t appear to be any bright spots in the near future, the  emotions on display, the character development, and the heartbreaking honesty of the story will keep you coming back for more. Lemire looks to have yet another masterpiece on his hands.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Slice into the Woods


The Traitorous #45 - Here is hoping that #45 and all those involved in destabilizing our country, including Pence, get what is coming to them: impeachment, disgrace, and severe prison sentences. Heck, let #45 get those high ratings he’s so preoccupied with. I’m more than fine with #45’s arrest having the highest ratings ever seen.

Roger Ailes - Speaking of vile human beings…good riddance to a sexual harassing fearmonger.


The Letter I Sent to My Dad


Hey Dad,

Comics are definitely one of my most favorite things on the planet. I’ve been reading them for 40+ years, I’m a comic book creator, and I pay attention to the industry as a whole. I’m kind of a fanatic, but I’ll try not to go full on War and Peace here.

Anyhow…

Bleeding Cool (online site about the stuff I love) points out quite nicely why Marvel is hurting. https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/04/01/axel-alonso-david-gabriel-say-marvel-changed-many-characters-publisher-not-politics/

Being PC and trying to be more inclusive—whether via artists or writers, or via comic book characters—is NOT killing Marvel Comics. Short-sighted, short-term money grabs, high cover prices, accellerated shipping schedules, multiple books for a group (9 X-Men comics per month for example) and an adversity to risk taking in an effort to appease shareholders as opposed to building their fanbase, is what’s hurting Marvel Comics. To be fair, Marvel receives mixed feedback from fans: “We want more heroes like me,” “We want things to stay exactly the same, “We want something new,” ”We want skimpy outfits and huge knockers so we can have boners,” “You are being sexist.” The thing is, most of Marvel’s readership falls predominantly on white dudes in their 40s. Translation: me. Marvel says they want to bring in new readers, but they predominantly only cater to older, white dudes. This blows my mind as women make up 51% of the population, there are tons of youngsters which most of their offerings are not geared toward, and they fail at every turn to capitalize off of their kickass movies. I never see free, promotional comics being handed out to moviegoers at every film, or collectible posters with links to Marvel Unlimited (digital comic book service), or to Comixology (digital comics purchases). These things are generally looked at as too big a risk, or too costly, yet these movies make 100s of millions of dollars.

*Note: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is a FANTASTIC history of Marvel Comics and its creators and the multiple near deaths Marvel has suffered over the decades. I’ve listened to the audio version twice and will definitely listen to it again as it is a fascinating history about the carousel of egotistical, ignorant, and abusive head honcho moneymen hellbent on destroying an industry. Also, selling off The Fantastic Four and X-Men rights to FOX, and selling off the Spider-Man rights to SONY didn’t do them any favors either.

Where I stand…I am now reading ONE Marvel Comic. I used to read a ton, but dropped series after series primarily because of Marvel’s decision to constantly run “Event” books, which are special storylines that start as a separate new comic book series (Secret Invasion comes to mind) that sprawls out into every other series they publish, interrupting storylines, and requiring readers to buy dozens of titles in order to get the complete story. This is a money grab, and the sad thing is it works…at least in the extreme short-term. The first issues of event books usually sell quite well, but then flounder as the series suffers through delays, art changes, and, frankly, erratic stories that only serve to lead into yet another “Event.”

This has little to do with diversity. Diversity does not hurt comics and has actually saved Marvel’s ass on a few occasions with the huge popularity of Ms. Marvel (a teenage, Muslim hero written by a Muslim woman) among teen girls, or of the character Thor recently being replaced by a woman (I love this book btw). 

Oh, and that one book I currently read…the creator is leaving Marvel to focus on his creator-owned work, so I will be reading zero Marvel books in the near future. I’m hopeful this will change.

Marvel’s other huge problem is the hemorrhaging of creative talent, which also applies to DC Comics. Unstable working conditions (most everyone is an outside contractor with no health benefits), disparate pay, demands to accommodate “Events,” exclusivity contracts, unexpected ramps in shipping schedules (rushed work), and creators having little to no ownership of their creations that can potentially go on to make 100s of millions of dollars if those characters end up in a movie, all contribute to creative talent leaving. The old model to break into comics was to create your own work, pray you were noticed, and that Marvel or DC hired you. Now, creators look to make a name at Marvel or DC so they can leave with an established fanbase and work on their creator-owned books where they own the property and are rewarded for their efforts. I GREATLY prefer these creator-owned works as I follow the writers and artists versus blindly following characters I might have once historically loved.

Alright, already at War and Peace length here. So I’ll wrap up. The guy who wrote that article is an idiot. He is more interested in spreading ultra-rightwing nonsense about an industry he does not fully understand. He’s also a white male commenting on something he has no comprehension of: being LGBTQ, a woman, black, hispanic, etc. He’s more interested in slamming an admittedly left-leaning creator like Nick Spencer (who regularly gets death threats on Twitter for recently having the black superhero The Falcon, step into the role of Captain America) or Brian Michael Bendis for being liberal (I never noticed this being a big thing with Bendis, but the article author slams him for making a new version of Spider-Man who is half Puerto Rican and half black and loved by most comic readers while an overly vocal minority send Bendis death threats). The article author is bolstering a narrative that mostly isn’t true. Yes, some of the books come off as ringing false as they attempt to be more inclusive, but at least Marvel has made some attempts to be inclusive. Diversity is not hurting Marvel, an inability to retain talent, to release consistent quality products, high cover prices, over-saturation of properties in the market (too many X-Men and Avengers titles), failure to reach broader markets, and short-term money grabs are what is hurting them.

Donist



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