Saturday, September 16, 2017

Comics Lust 9/16/2017

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/chicken burrito biter Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). <phew> We had a break in the heat, and with any luck, we can ease into fall, my favorite season, a bit early. Nothing beats getting cozy with my puppy executive team and some amazing comics while drinking a pumpkin ale served in a cinnamon-rimmed glass. So, while we start to plan our spooooky reading list for the month of October, 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 magiks 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.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introductionction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Chocolate and Peanut Butter: Cross-Company Crossovers (Part 1)

As a kid, I frequently wondered what would happen if Daredevil met Batman, or if Superman fought the Hulk, or if Thanos fought Darkseid. I knew there was a Marvel comics and a DC Comics, each holding the reins to their own stable of characters, but I didn’t understand why they couldn’t frequent each other’s worlds and fight or work together to face the common enemy. The only time such epic meetups occurred was when I busted out my Mego dolls. What I didn’t understand was that Marvel and DC are comic brands vying for an increased market share and that those brands needed protecting and to not be diluted; the customer needed to know which character belonged to which company. I didn’t understand that intermixing of properties involves multipage contracts dictating which company owned what, who would be paid what percentages, what formats were covered by the agreement, whose name would be listed first, what creators would be involved, was there an anti-poaching clause for the talent, movie rights, digital rights, reprint rights, print runs, and so much more. There are so many moving pieces involved in getting my dream Swamp Thing and Man-Thing meetup—I’m still waiting for this one to happen, by the way—that it’s a wonder any cross-company crossovers occur at all, especially when the Big Two are concerned.

But they do happen.

The earliest crossover I remember was the Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man Treasury Edition, a 96-page beast written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano. For those not in the know, Treasury Editions were giant-sized comics much larger than even most magazines at a 10"x14" format and although they often reprinted popular stories, some contained original content as is the case with Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. Even during the dark ages of no internet, I knew of Marvel and DC’s first joint venture from 1976 because of the deluge of ads promoting the book in all of the comics I was reading at that time. I would love to check out the first meeting of Spider-Man and Superman as they take on Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor, but I will probably have to settle for reading one of the regularly-sized—and still pricey—versions lurking out in the wild. There are also a couple of other cross-company, Treasury editions:

When I first saw Marvel and DC Present: The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans #1, I had to rub my eyes to be sure I was seeing things correctly. My brother and I had already been falling deeply in love with all things The Uncanny X-Men, and The New Teen Titans was always on our radar as a comic we wanted to read but was usually the one left on the spinner rack after Mom gave us the dreaded, “I said you could each have one comic book.” The need to own this particular comic-to-end-all-comics, however, forced us to launch a “Please please please please please” barrage on our poor mother before which even her steely resolve stood no chance to deny. Released in 1982, written by Chris Claremont, and illustrated by Walt Simonson, this comic had everything: our favorite X-Men characters, the Teen Titans characters we wanted to know so much more about, Deathstroke the Terminator, the evilest-of-evil Darkseid, and the glorious scourge of the universe Dark Phoenix. We literally reread this issue until it completely fell apart. Thankfully, there is a not-too-badly-priced 1995 reprint version easily found that all comic book fans need to check out.

It would be roughly 12 years until Marvel and DC  once again tossed their properties into the collaborative blender, but the blossoming black and white indie scene stepped into the crossover arena on a few occasions to bridge the gap. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello joined forces with Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8. Then in Mark Bode’s Miami Mice #4, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cerebus stopped by on the short-lived series. Cerebus the Aardvark met Bob Burden’s The Flaming Carrot in Cerebus #104. The turtles got crazy in The Flaming Carrot #25–27. Then in Stan Sakai’s epic Usagi Yojimbo #10, his samurai rabbit meets Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Usagi Yojimbo and the Turtles would cross paths a few years later in Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 2, #1–3, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #1–4 saw the popular terrapins reunite with a certain combustible-vegetable-headed guy. Man, those were some delightfully weird times.

In the mid-’90s, Marvel and DC once again had their characters collide in a handful of issues, but it was the massive events that garnered the most attention. DC Versus Marvel #1–4 (written by Ron Marz and Peter David, illustrated by Dan Jurgens, Claudio Castellini, Joe Rubenstein, and Paul Neary with issues 2–3 actually titled Marvel Versus DC) was the event I would have fainted over had this been around when I was kid. It is essentially a knock-down-drag-out battle royale of a mini-series where DC characters meet Marvel characters in one-on-one combat. Think Thor versus Captain Marvel, Batman versus Captain America, etc. The mini has been collected, but it is currently out of print and fairly pricey.

Possibly the weirdest collaboration between the Big Two came in 1996 and 1997 when the companies merged a character from Marvel with a character from DC to create such pairings as the JLX (Justice League of America with the X-Men), Dark Claw (Wolverine and Batman), Doctor Strangefate (Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate), and so on. In a more bizarre maneuver, Marvel and DC merged their logos and brands into a fictitious company called Amalgam Comics. Each publisher subsequently released six individual issues for these newly created characters as if they had been around for years. These 12 issues all dropped between the third and fourth issue of the DC Versus Marvel event.

Then, at the end of 1996, the companies released a four-issue mini-series titled DC Marvel Access #1–4 (written by Ron Marz, illustrated by Jackson Guice and Joe Rubenstein), which again pitted hero against hero.  In 1997, following DC Marvel Access, each company published another six issues under the Amalgam name with some new combinations of characters and a return of others from the previous year. To top all of that off was Unlimited Access (written by Karl Kesel and illustrated by Pat Olliffe and Al Williamson). It took me a while to wrap my head around the whole sequence of events for these books as it is all quite confusing, but realizing the effort involved to make this incredibly fun event happen is a daunting thought. I can picture a couple insane accountants from each company still attempting to work through the quagmire of royalty payments two decades later. In an effort to maneuver through this complicated, multi-year, cross-company crossover event, here is the release schedule:
As confusing a roster as this is, and as difficult a task as it may be to locate the scarce issues/collections, what the Amalgam comics offered was a fresh take on superheroes free from the constraints of adhering to continuity. Most of all these Amalgam issues were fun, with the Versus and Access issues giving us comic fans the rare opportunity to settle some disagreements with our friends over who is stronger than who. Okay, probably not, but it definitely got us talking.

One mini-series that I only just learned about is JLA/Avengers #1–4 written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by George Perez from 2003. How did this get by me? How could I have not known about this? How hard is it going to be for me to track this one down? I have no idea, but I do know I need to read this as soon as possible. I don’t want to know what this one is about until I’ve actually tracked down a copy of the trade, but I’m sure resourceful fans can find a synopsis of what is certain to be one heck of an entertaining book.

There are scores of other cross-company crossover comics out there with many of those concerning Batman and Superman, Predators/Aliens/Terminators, and of course Archie Comics, but those are for another day. Now, to see if I can track down some of the ones I somehow missed out on the first time around. With any luck, Marvel and DC will get around to reprinting or offering some of the more rare comics digitally. Fingers crossed.

The Week’s Reading List

Mage #2 (Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colors by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics) Oh boy…I am so loving this comic; the nearly two-decade-long wait was so worth it. Here we see Kevin Matchstick interact with his family and see the toll that constantly moving to avoid the forces of the Umbra Sprite has taken. We also see Kevin attempt to keep his abilities secret from his increasingly observant son. The ending battle and awesome final splash page made me want to give a victorious cheer. The third issue needs to get here quick! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Mister Miracle #2 (Written by Tom King, illustrated/inked/colored by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics) I have to admit I don’t exactly know what the heck is going on in this issue, but I also have to admit that I do not care. I love it! I know that Orion has enlisted Mister Miracle and Big Barda to partake in a battle against Granny Goodness and her forces, but when it comes to who’s pulling whose strings, I’m not certain; which is where King wants us. The intimate moments between Scott and Barda are rough going given their issues from the first issue, but the meetings with Granny Goodness are the definite shocker of the issue. King and Gerads are owning this tremendous book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #31 (Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Mateo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics) Grant McKay is back as he attempts to save his children and his world from invading space ghosts and death cult millipedes. One problem: maybe Grant’s children are the ones who will be doing the saving. This issue kicks off the latest chapter of Black Science and continues Remender’s streak of fantastic creator-owned comics. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rest in Peace, Len Wein

Your body of work gave me a love of comics and influenced me to become a writer. I am so glad I got to meet you. You were taken from this world far too soon.
Image by: Lex Larson


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Comics Lust 9/9/2017

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/overwatcher Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Although it was a short week because of Labor Day, Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I still found ourselves quite busy with our work, side projects, and exercise schedules, but we are here and ready to go and…and…and…ready for a dang nap. So, while we catch some much-deserved shut eye, order a burrito, 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.

In case you missed the post Introduction to “Comics Lust” where I explained the slight change in direction I’m taking with Donist World, what you need to know is that every week I will tackle a different topic and provide a bunch of comics I have read and recommend, or the names of titles I hope to read in the near future. I will then follow with a brief rundown of the comics I read that week. Cool? Cool. Let’s go.

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Heartbreak

The act of contributing one aspect of the comic creation process—whether that be writer, penciller, inker, colorist, or letterer—is a herculean endeavor in and of itself. But having someone who tackles one or more responsibilities on a book is something not often seen. If that person is both writer and artist, it is truly rare. Show me someone who successfully does absolutely everything on their comic and you have someone quite special, indeed. Whenever I use the term everythinged, I’m generally not exclusively referring to the type of creator who handles it all, but rather I use the term as a general catch-all for someone who is at least a writer-artist.

In this exclusive club, Jack “King” Kirby has to be at the top of the list, but I will save looking at Kirby for later as he deserves a chapter all to himself, which I will write in the near future. That said, Happy recent 100th anniversary to the “King,” and I am definitely eyeing that Fourth World Omnibus that will have all of his work from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, The New Gods, The Forever PeopleMister Miracle, and other goodies coming December 2017.

Writer-artists cover the spectrum of comic book genres, but if you’re in a bit of a mood, then nothing will feed that monster of self-reflection and sadness more than the titles I mention below. I recommend grabbing a pint of ice cream (mint chip is my favorite), grab a box of tissues, and know that things might get a little rough from here.

Jeff Lemire is one of my favorite modern comic book creators. He had his start in the indie scene but has since created a respectful body of work published by Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and Valliant covering everything from superheroes to sci-fi. The must-read work that put him on the Big Two’s radar is Essex County, a trio of intertwined, real-world tales that strike so close to the heart as to leave readers wiping away the tears. One of the stories centers around a hockey player, and although I loathe sports, I was so drawn in by the character’s story, I could not put the book down. Such is the way with much of Lemire’s comics, especially the ones from smaller publishers. Expect plenty of heartbreak from his writing and cartooning found in the likes of The Underwater Welder, Lost Dogs, Royal City, and Roughneck (which I have not yet read). He also made his mark on DC Comics’s Vertigo imprint with the time and space love story Trillium, the Invisible Man inspired The Nobody, and my personal favorite of all his writer-artist work Sweet Tooth, about a boy with antlers in a post-apocalyptic world where animal-hybrid children might hold the key to mankind’s survival in world that might not be worth saving. Lemire’s work has a tendency to leave me an emotional wreck, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Any of his books work as a starting point and you can then jump from one to the next.

Terry Moore’s masterwork, Strangers in Paradise , is the only comic book I ever had to briefly set down lest I break out sobbing on a train ride home from San Diego back in 2008. One particular moment in the story was so harsh, yet so overwhelmingly beautiful, so hopeful that I could barely keep myself together. Strangers in Paradise, or SiP as it’s known to its fans, is the story of Katchoo, a woman who has much going for her, who is in secretly in love with her best friend Francine, who’s life is not going so well, but then David arrives and is determined to win Katchoo’s heart. Moore’s art can tell you the emotional weight of the scene with but a few panels detailing a slight shift in a smile or the narrowing of the eyes. His women are also positively gorgeous but all his characters ultimately charm. His work doesn’t end with SiP, as he followed with a wonderful sci-fi epic about a woman who comes in contact with a mysterious metal that gives her special abilities called Echo that delivers its share of gut punches and excitement. He followed that with Rachel Rising about a woman who rises from the dead and attempts to find the man who killed her and left her in a shallow grave. Predominantly a horror title with a fair sprinkling of laughs, Rachel Rising invested me so deeply in its characters that I fell completely in love with them, especially secondary character Aunt Johnny. You can’t go wrong with any of Moore’s books, and I suspect that his newest title, Motor Girl, won’t let you off easy yet will dazzle you nonetheless.

I read Craig Thompson’s 592-page, emotional roller coaster, Blankets, over two days and related to the book almost too much. I was lucky enough to escape the perils of semi-abusive parents bent on inflicting a fundamentalist Christian religion upon my little brother and me, but the rest of this beautifully illustrated book was a warm reflection to much of my own life experiences: my brother and I shared a love of art; I remember the cruelty of other children, of isolation; the melting away of the world and its myriad problems with a first kiss; the abyss of your first love falling apart. Blankets is a rough read, but one I found impossible to put down. Rest easy, though, it’s not all gloom and doom. There’s hope, growth, and a personal acceptance of who you are and being okay with that. I seem to remember going for a long walk after reading this wonderful book in an effort to reflect on my own life and finding joy in the things that truly matter.

Asterios Polyp is the masterwork of David Mazzucchelli, who many know all too well from his legendary illustrations on Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again—both written by Frank Miller. Here, Mazzucchelli, who also teaches cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, handles everything on this beautifully produced book from Pantheon. Asterios Polyp is a middle-aged Architect and teacher who, for better and usually worse, has used his position and status to bring multiple students to his bed, but when a fire burns down his New York City apartment, he takes stock of his life and finds it empty without Hana, the love of his life. Mazzucchelli uses both precise line and flat color schemes to tell the story every bit as much as his characters’ dialogue as he jumps back and forth from the past to the present. By no means an easy read, Asterios Polyp is an essential one, and the physical copy of this treasure rests firmly on the top left of my favorite bookshelf. I think it’s time to give this one a re-read.

Now, I realize there are many more writer-artists out there who could fall into the “Heartbreak” category, but some of the others I was considering also fall more prominently in different categories such as humor or adventure or historical or what have you than in the realm of broken hearts and paths not taken; I will examine them in other chapters. For now, though, pour that glass of wine, turn your phone off, slip into a hot bubble bath, and prepare to be enveloped in lovely art and words all created by one person who will lead you to love and care for their characters to such a degree you don’t to see them suffer. Unfortunately, life is not easy.

The Week’s Reading List

Seven to Eternity #9 (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics) This is hands down my favorite fantasy comic book on the shelves, and is tied with Descender (by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen) as my favorite comic series of 2017. Opeña is back on art after a two-issue break to deliver some of the most stunning character work, storytelling, backgrounds, and creature design you will find anywhere else. Hollingsworth’s colors—dang, those mushrooms!—are captivating, and Remender actually turns the deplorable Mud King into a sympathetic character, which is something I thought impossible. It will be a long four months until the next much-anticipated issue.VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Rise of the Batmen (Rebirth) (written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Eddie Barrows and Alvaro Martinez and Al Barrionuevo, inked by Eber Ferreira and Raul Fernandez, colored by Adriano Lucas and Brad Anderson, lettered by Marilyn Patrizio, published by DC Comics) Okay, I had pretty much checked out of DC’s Rebirth comics, but ended up buying this Detective Comics trade on a whim. Holy Guacamole! I have been missing out. Batman gathers Batwoman (love what Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III did with her), Red Robin (Tim Drake, who I know little of but totally dig), Clayface (a groovy goop monster who was once a villain and given a chance at redemption), The Spoiler (who is Stephanie Brown, a character I know nothing of yet need to remedy that ASAP), and Orphan (a kind of creepy ninja force of nature who I need to know more about ASAP, as well). Basically, an army of Batmen appear who have been monitoring Batman and the rest of the group and have a mysterious agenda for which no one will stand in their way. Super fun and with high stakes that had me biting my nails throughout. I MUST get the second volume and quick. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Comics Lust 9/2/2017

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/heat hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). All righty, Denizens, are you ready for an extended weekend? We sure as heck are. Full disclosure: we had Friday off, too. So yeah, the Donist World executive team cut out of the corporate office (Mom’s basement) a little early on Thursday and hit up Rincon Brewery in Isla Vista for some beer and pizza. We stayed up a little later than usual to watch some Arrow on Netflix and had every intention of spending Friday writing the first official chapter of “Comics Lust,” which totally did not happen. Nope. Instead, we watched some TV, spent about three hours cleaning the balcony and the front and back patios, and a lot of time generally putting everything back in order in the aftermath of the dudes painting our complex. We then worked out—ever seen a dog with a six-pack?—and followed up with porch, beer, comics, dinner, beer, and more TV. We basically took a day off from thinkableizing or using our braininesses. It was glorious, but we’re back, we’re refreshed. So, wish the best for Houston and help if you can, 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.

In case you missed last week’s Introduction to “Comics Lust” where I explained the slight change in direction I’m taking with Donist World, what you need to know is that every week I will tackle a different topic and provide a bunch of comics I have read and recommend, or the names of titles I hope to read in the near future. I will then follow with a brief rundown of the comics I read that week. Cool? Cool. Let’s go.

Comics Lust

Monster Mash

As I mentioned in the Introduction, the monster comics were my jam, my jelly, my peanut butter, and my peanuts; I could not get enough of them. And when I talk about the monster comics of my youth, I am, of course, referring to the Universal Monsters, from Universal Studios: Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, and the Mummy. I should also take a moment to thank my mom for including me in her love of the classic horror films and their extension into the uber-creepy Hammer Horror offerings that I still love to this day. My love of nightmarish creatures didn’t stop there. I also had Godzilla, Gamera, and the mishmash of weirdos hailing from Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot to leave my imagination whirling as if I had done an hour-long session on a Sit ’n Spin.

One thing to remember is that my introduction to the world of monsters happened in the mid-to-late-‘70s. There was no such thing as “on-demand” viewing. There were no movie stores. We only had what happened to come across the antenna. Us poor primitives might as well have been beating rocks and bowing down before the might of a roaring fire compared to what we have available today. We actually had to chance upon a show while we turned the dial of the television—we also did not have remote controls…I know, the horror—or we had to have an ever-diligent parent (love you, Mom!) to scour the newspapers to find exactly when something of interest was on. These were dark times, indeed, but that is where having a healthy stack of monster comics became an essential tool for survival.

I remember having a few creepy comics like DC’s Weird War Tales, The Witching Hour, and The House of Secrets laying around, but my favorite monster comic and one of my oldest memories is of Marvel’s Werewolf by Night #18. In this issue, Jack Russell—no, I am not making his name up—is the Werewolf by Night, and he is pitted against another werewolf, a purple one, that he must battle as he fights to keep his animal side at bay. I loved this comic so much it eventually fell apart in my hands. Thankfully, I also had issue #43, which had Russell team up with none other than Iron Man to combat the horror of the beast known as the Tri-Animan. Having Iron Man appear in this issue, not only confirmed my appreciation of the superhero, it vaulted him to new heights of greatness in my eyes. Many writers and artists took a shot at telling Jack’s story, but Doug Moench and Don Perlin took the reins for most of the series. It has been nearly four decades since I read those comics, and I have the massive Werewolf by Night Omnibus squarely in my sights. I’m also happy to see a collection of three lengthy trades coming out starting in October 2017.

A little less compelling to Young Donist, but of vital importance to monster comics, was Marvel’s cult smash Tomb of Dracula, predominately written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gene Colan. I had a few issues in this 70-issue run, but my favorite thing was the Power Records Dracula: Terror in the Snow comic and 45 rpm record combo that my brother and I played constantly. Dracula was a more complex title than your average seven-year-old could comprehend, but I still appreciated seeing the fanged gentleman in the flowing cape transform into bats and mist and other creatures of the night. What’s even more impressive were the times Jack Russell and the Prince of Darkness crossed paths in what always ended up being a knock-down-drag-out battle royale. If a full-blown comic book series wasn’t enough, there was also two short-lived magazines: Dracula Lives and Tomb of DraculaThree omnibus volumes were once available, but those are long since out of print. Thankfully, like Werewolf by Night, it looks like Marvel will start reissuing this tantalizing tale of terror come October 2017. Now, as an adult, I’m excited to see what all the hubbub was about for Tomb of Dracula; I have a lot of catching up to do.

In the ’70s, Marvel completely had the monster comics genre down, and if you’re going to talk about the Wolf Man and Dracula, then you absolutely cannot forget the third piece of the holy triumvirate: Frankenstein’s Monster. With The Monster of Frankenstein—later titled The Frankenstein Monster in issue #6—writer Gary Friedrich, followed later by Doug Moench, and an assortment of artists including Mike Ploog and Val Mayerik, delivered a tale of a monstrous being who just wanted to have his own place in the world and not to be tormented by men with pitchforks and torches. Over the course of the 18-issue series, our favorite, beleaguered creature ran across Dracula and countless other monsters making this comic a close second to my much-loved Werewolf by Night. Lucky for all of us, we can get the entire series as well as a host of other Frankie appearances in the readily available The Monster of Frankenstein trade paperback.

One title I wish I could have gotten ahold of as a kid was Tales of the Zombie, a black and white Marvel magazine that looks to have been Marvel’s answer to the Warren horror magazines of old. Although I have never read a single issue of the series, I was very much aware of Simon Garth the Zombie, as the character appeared on various sticker cards and even in a kid’s activity book I had. Unfortunately, reading this series means either locating the rare issues or finding a copy of the out-of-print Essential: Tales of the Zombie to get the whole story.

While we’re on the subject of hard-to-find Marvel titles, we have to remember Supernatural Thrillers starring The Living Mummy. I never read a single one of these issues, but man do I wish I did. Hopefully, ol’ N’Kantu makes a return to the land of the living some day in the future.

There are TONS of other monster comics out there, especially when you consider the brilliance of Jack Kirby, muck monsters, giant lizards, giant robots, and the myriad of other things that lurk in the shadows. There’s even a bunch of supernatural heroes and villains out there that are sure to give your grandparents cause to worry for your soul or to suspect you’re playing far too much Dungeons & Dragons or Magic the Gathering. But that, Denizens, is for another section…

The Week’s Reading List

Thanos #10 (written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Germán Peralta, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics) I love Lemire. I love Thanos. But I’m probably off the book when Lemire leaves after issue 12. Still, this series is pretty fun. RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #30 (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics) Man, this series just gets better and better. Craig’s art is gorgeous, and this issue has some of the original class and some of the new class finally come together. It ain’t gonna be pretty. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Saga #46 (written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, Coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics) It’s Saga. You know I love it, and I think you do/will, too. This issue is pretty damn heavy, but a new romantic endeavor lifts the mood considerably. Still as great as ever. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Grendel vs the Shadow (written and illustrated Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Michael Heisler, published by Dark Horse Comics, Inc.) Dude! Denizens! I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved this three-issue mini-series. Pulp, noir, crime, and one of my favorite characters, Grendel…I was born to love this comic. This made me not only want to get all of the Grendel Omnibus volumes but also take look into Wagner’s The Shadow stories. Freakin’ great! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Uncanny Avengers TPB Vol. 1–4 (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by a ton of people, published by Marvel Comics) Rick Remender can do no wrong with me, especially when you look at his mighty volume of creator-owned work (see Deadly Class #30 above, for example). That said, although I very much enjoyed The Uncanny Avengers, there were certain plot points introduced in the third volume that just never materialized. Still, the Apocalypse Twins are awesome, as is the rather demented machinations of the Red Skull. What made this series a struggle for me was the onslaught of rotating artists and rushed work on what should have been a showcase series. Worth reading, but the art could have been more solid and Remender should have been allowed to tell the tale he wanted to tell. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Comics Lust 8/25/2017

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/deadline delegator Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, no messing around. We are cutting the intro short, as we are dreadfully late. Reverse Obie just posted the last image and Tulip finished the first round of edits, so we’re running with what we have. Anyhow, we’re going for a walk to get some breakfast burritos, the ones stuffed with tater tots, and to start planning the next year’s worth of posts. So, as you settle in for the introduction to our new feature, 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.

Alrighty, Denizens, I’m going to try something a little different for a change. Something that will still let you know about some great comics only in a slightly different format with a topic that will change from week to week. Why am I doing this? Well, I’ve been reviewing the new comics of the week since early 2010—without fail, thank you very much—and writing out a review of say Super Duper Comic Bonanza #1, Super Duper Comic Bonanza #57, and everything in between has begun to diminish my enjoyment of my weekly Wednesday haul. Now, I will still jump in and go into detail about specific new books (or at least ones that are new to me) from time to time, I just won’t be saying the same thing over and over again every month about the same comics I always talk about.

So, topics can cover anything and everything, and if you’ve been with me since the beginning—love you, Mom!—then there will certainly be some repetition of stuff I’ve previously mentioned over the past seven years. Some comics will probably appear multiple times here and there, but that will mostly depend on the topic at hand. That said, I promise there will also be a bunch of new stuff coming at you to stretch your wallet and fill your book shelves. I will provide links to the most readily available, and most affordable version of the books I talk about. So, if a comic or trade strikes your fancy, please click the link and make a purchase so that I can get a little somethin’ somethin’ from or—hey, if you buy a book from, feel free to also buy a lawnmower or a refrigerator so I get the commission from that too.

Anyhow, let’s get this thing started! On to…

Comics Lust


I have been reading and loving comic books for most of my life, just over 40 years to be exact, and my love and appreciation of the medium have, for the most part, only grown with age. Every day I touch upon the comic book world in some manner, whether I’m checking news sites or a much-loved creator’s Twitter feed, to scouring the web for new collections, to actually reading and re-reading comics in their myriad forms. I have individual issues (also known as floppies), trade paperback collections, hardcover collector items, and virtual tons of digital comics just waiting to be download to my antique of an iPad. To be honest, they’re a bit of an obsession, one I’m only too happy to have. Hence Comics Lust.

I’m not completely certain where my earliest comic books came from or if my parents actually paid enough attention to look under the Casper the Friendly Ghost issue to find the odd Batman or Spider-Man issues or the more intense Weird War TalesSwamp Thing (issue #10 to be exact), and Sandman waiting beneath. All I know is that I had an impressive stack of bent, battered, and bruised beauties to flip through and to be amazed by. I was much too young to know how to read, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t understand the gist of what was happening from the sequential art, and in the event certain scenes didn’t make sense, I made up what was happening in the story in my head. It was all good.

The more kid-oriented books were fine—I loved their vibrant colors—but it was all about superheroes and monsters for me. Werewolf by Night drew me in every bit as much as The Mighty Thor, and with my already established love of movie monsters like Godzilla, and amazing television shows like Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot and the animated Speed Racer, I no longer had to wait for a scheduled show to air. Through comic books, I could now enter strange, fantastic worlds whenever I wanted; I visited often.

The thing about comics, like jelly beans, once you sample one or two you only want more more more. My treasured stack of books never failed to entertain, but I soon noticed that things often seemed unfinished by the final page of the issue. There seemed to be something else, something more waiting to be discovered. As a seven-year-old, I had no way of knowing what else was out there. The few cartoons on TV made me excited for the characters I loved on the page, and the Mego action figures I hoarded, despite being routinely eaten by my dogs, only compounded my enthusiasm for monsters and superheroes. But comic books were never located in the toy aisle. They did not have commercials on TV. The problem was that I did not know where comics came from or, more importantly, where they ended up.

Then came the day I saw my first spinner rack.

For those not running around department stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and the currently endangered beast known as a “newsstand” back in the ’70s and ’80s, a spinner rack was a tall rack upon which eight baskets hung vertically on four sides, giving you 32 baskets loaded with comic book goodness. You could move your way up and down through the loaded baskets, and then turn the rack to the next side of comics. Now, there was usually no sense of order to the books, but to Young Donist it didn’t matter: there were twice as many comics on display than I had ever seen in my life. In fact, there were far too many. It was equally frustrating and heavenly. Thankfully, issues typically sold for only $.30 a pop, so I could get a couple comics such as Marvel Two-In-One or The Invincible Iron Man or The Amazing Spider-Man and some Willy Wonka Bottle Caps candies if I begged my parents enough.

During these formative years, there were two comics that changed everything for me: Swamp Thing #10 and The Micronauts #2. With Swamp Thing, it became apparent that not all artists are created equal, and that when it came to the gorgeous lines, the mastery of anatomy—the muscle definition, the lines at someone’s eyes when they smile, the stance one has to take to maintain one’s balance—no one could come close to Bernie Wrightson. His work was shocking, his monsters horrific, his hero equally disturbing, but no matter how utterly terrifying I found his character, Anton Arcane, I would read this comic over and over again. I would linger on every single panel, appreciating the blades of grass and leaves on the trees just as much as the grinning, misshapen death’s head of Arcane as he tormented the heroic Swamp Thing. When I bought my first issue of The Micronauts, a story about a strange blend of heroes from a microscopic universe imperilled by a terrible despot, I had already fallen in love with the awesome toys, but it was finding issue two at the newsstand at the Summit Mall in Akron, Ohio, that I became a comic book collector. I could no longer miss an issue without that dreaded feeling of missing out on something important. I was hooked and now knew I had to be diligent in my trips to the news stand, I had to be sure to not miss a single part of what became my favorite series of all time.

I also learned something else. Some stores carried larger comic books, or rather, magazines, ones that I knew better than to ask my mom to buy for me. I am, of course, talking about magazines such as “Heavy Metal” and anything from Warren Publishing. While my mom shopped at the local Click store, my brother and I would hang out in the magazine section, and it was there that I found a new level of horror comic in “Creepy” and “Eerie.” Here I found art by my idol, Bernie Wrightson, and was immediately stunned by a new—to me, at least—master of illustration, Richard Corben. But sitting alongside these titles was the titillating “Vampirella,” featuring the adventures of the iconic, scantily-clad, alien vampire from the planet Drakulon. Ramping things up another notch in the naughty-magazines-a-nine-year-old-should-not-be-reading was “Heavy Metal,” which went even beyond “Vampirella” with full nudity and sexual situations, often times illustrated by my new hero, Corben. Yeah, there was no way mom would buy these for us.

When I turned ten, we moved to Santa Barbara, California, where I found spinner racks in even more stores and my brother and I discovered The Uncanny X-Men and the character most of the country now knows about, Wolverine. Unfortunately, the days of finding anything other than books from Archie Comics at your local 7-11 or grocery store were coming to an end with the onset of selling exclusively to the direct market, in other words, comic book stores. This shift was a dark time for my brother and me, as we had no idea that such a thing as a store devoted predominately to comic books was an actual thing. It was an especially tough blow when my beloved The Micronauts announced at the end of issue 37 that it would no longer be sold at news stands, but rather to the direct market.

A year later, we discovered our first comic store, Andromeda Bookshop, and all was once again right in the world. I was there for the greatest period in comic book history, the mid-eighties, where I experienced Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Teenage Mutant Turtles, and countless other comics that put the industry on the map. It unfortunately also caught the attention of speculators and the creation of a comics bubble that would go on to nearly destroyed the entire industry. Multiple comic stores had popped up on or just off of the main street, and all but one would eventually weather the implosion that shuttered the rest, including Andromeda. It was during this period in the mid-nineties that I completely dropped out of comics for a few years, but I, of course, went back; most of my life had been devoted to the medium, it was part of me.

Since then, I have seen the ebbs and flows of Marvel and DC, and the rise and fall and resurrection of many of the independents. I now pay attention to, and understand, much of what occurs in the industry, and know what it is like to be a comic book creator—writing scripts, hiring artists to illustrate my stories, digitally lettering and coloring an artist’s work, pitching to small publishers—but all the while keeping up with new comics, hunting down missed treasures from the past, meeting my creator heroes at conventions, and rereading my favorite titles for umpteenth time. Put it this way: if you ever need to find me, just go to my LCS (local comic shop) on new comic book Wednesday at around 3:45 pm, and, without fail, that’s where you’ll find me. See you there.

The Week’s Reading List

Lazarus X+66 #2 (written by Greg Rucka and Aaron Duran, illustrated by Mark Chater, lettered by Jodi Wynne, edited by David Brothers, publication design by Eric Trautman, published by Image Comics). Another cool side story this time focusing on Joacquim. At times a little hard to follow, but enjoyable nonetheless. RECOMMENDED!

The Dying & the Dead #5 (written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Ryan Bodenheim, colored by Michael Garland, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics). This chronically late series is still intriguing, although diving into the side story of the war without any of the mystical aspects found in the first three issues is a very odd choice. RECOMMENDED!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #8 (written by Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa, illustrated by Robert Hack, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publication, Inc.). Another very delayed issue, but when you have such an expertly-told, creepy-as-heck story with art reminiscent of the best of the Warren Magazine days, then the wait is definitely worth it. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #15 (written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, color flats by Dee Cunniffe, published by Image Comics). My LCS never ever received this issue, so I picked it up elsewhere. Glad I did. Great chapter conclusion that leads into the exciting next adventure. Still a great series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tarantula (written by Fabian Rangel Jr., illustrated by Alexis Ziritt, lettered by Evelyn Rangel, published by Adhouse Books) Straight up…go out and buy this book, especially if you love Space Riders as much as I do. A scantily-clad, whip-wielding woman of mystery, the skull-faced Señor Muerte, a luchador detective, and a whole host of retro comic oddball characters make this diminutive hardcover a new prize in my collection. Love it! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/18/2017

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/on the mend Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It wasn’t the best week this week. Between racist morons, four days of migraines, shattering a bowl, forgetting a housing association meeting, not sleeping enough, and Tulip not feeling well (don’t worry, she’s better now) I’m glad it’s finally Friday. But let’s not dwell on the negative, and instead focus on some truly outstanding comics! Also, let’s get amped for some Defenders action on Netflix. Heck, yeah! Anyhow, we’re going for a walk to get some breakfast burritos, the ones stuffed with tater tots. So, as you settle in to watch some Defenders, 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 #1

Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colors by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics. If I wasn’t so worried about damaging my copy of this comic, I would be luxuriating in a bubble bath with my hair wrapped up in a towel and a fine bourbon gracing my lips as I finished reading what is the actual beginning of Kevin Matchstick’s final journey. What I mean by “actual”—in case you happened to miss it—was the Mage: The Hero Denied #0 issue from last month. This prelude is not critical to following the story, but as a die-hard Mage fan, it was mandatory I procure a copy; come to think of it…you should seek it out.

As a brief refresher, the first issue of the first part of the Mage trilogy, Mage: The Hero Discovered, was released way back in 1984, followed by Mage: The Hero Defined in 1997, and now, after a nearly two-decade hiatus, we finally have this Donist World Darling in our eager, shaking hands. But was it worth the wait? Holy guacamole, yes!

We pick up with Kevin Matchstick years after the events of the second chapter, and much has changed for our hero. He’s married. He has a young son. He has an even younger daughter. He has also become proficient in his mighty powers and perhaps even a bit content. To be honest he might even be…happy. Unfortunately, when you are the Pendragon, the mystical forces of darkness will try to destroy you, and those forces just found Kevin and his family.

I love this issue, Denizens. It was so easy to slip right back into this magical world that so thoroughly enchanted me back in the ’80s, again in the ’90s, and looks to fill me with that same warm thrill today. Seeing Kevin so confident and so strong, so at ease in his own skin is a beautiful touch, but it will not last given Kevin’s antagonist who makes me quite worried for our hero. The fight scene (one of the enemies I will call “Knot-Dingus”) made me gasp in awe at Kevin’s display of power and Wagner’s dialogue kept me transfixed throughout. His art has evolved along with the protagonist, and Brennan Wagner’s colorist skills are tremendous given the importance of color in this tale.

My main disappointment with Mage: The Hero Denied falls squarely on the fact that we now only have 14 issues until this series, which I hold so near and dear to my heart, comes to an end. If you have not read the Mage series, then you simply must start at the beginning with Mage: The Hero Discovered, move onto Mage: The Hero Defined, and THEN jump into this final chapter. No hyperbole, I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Descender #23

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Okay, after the terrible week I’ve had, having such phenomenal new comics to read definitely helped me maintain my sanity. We are full swing into the “Rise of the Robots” event and it does not disappoint. In the last issue, much happened on many different fronts, and most all of it was dire: Dr. Quon took on Tim-22; Andy, Blugger, Queen Between, and Bandit were captured by the UGC, Telsa was drowning, and The Hardwire had Tim-21 in their clutches as they enacted their deadly plan. I’m practically sweating with nervousness just thinking about it all, and this issue definitely does not help as it keeps the pressure on.

I still love this ’80s-style, sci-fi space opera and it seems to only get better the further along we go. I truly care about all the characters in this great series and really can’t call any of them evil now that I know what each one has been through and what drives them; this includes Tim-22. Getting readers to empathize with his characters is one of Lemire’s many talents, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have Nguyen’s oh-so-lovely watercolors bring them all to life. This is one beautiful book, Denizens, in both written word and painted image.

You’re reading Descender, right? It’s been my favorite comic currently hitting the stands for a couple years now, so please trust me when I say this is a really really really good book. If you are new to the series, then rest at ease, because you can pick up the first four trades today and then double dip on the oversized hardcover, like I will, come December. The world of Descender is one which I hope to be immersed in for a good, long while. Love it!


Southern Bastards #17

Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated and colored by Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. I’m not really sure what’s happening with the release schedule of this fantastic comic that, hopefully, will one day become a hit television series, but all I know is that it’s been seven months since we got the last issue. So I had no idea what had happened in the past and no idea what I was about to get into.

Then I read the issue.

I’m still a little shaky on some of the newer characters, but one thing I had not forgotten is just how vile a human being Coach Boss and his cronies are. The ending made me cheer and then made me bummed as I dreaded another lengthy delay in the release of this raw, Southern crime story set in a small town (Craw County) where college football brings life its desensitized populace.

Then I saw the letters column…and the reason for the delays. My condolences to Latour for the loss of his father.

As I’ve said before, I don’t care about sports. I find them boring. But Aaron’s riveting story and Latour’s wonderful storytelling and art have made this harsh comic one of the best crime books on the stands. You can catch up on this much-lauded series with the three available trades or the lovely oversized hardcover. Coach Boss has ruined many people’s lives, and it looks like his time of reckoning is at hand, but I’m sure he won’t go off into that good night easily.


Slice into the Woods

45 and His Pals the Nazis and White Supremacists  - How are these idiots still a thing? How can these angry, white men actually believe the shit they are spouting? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Thankfully, there are way more of us than there are of them.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/11/2017

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/Fenrir of Fitness Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). All right, I have but minutes to write a little intro as my puppy executive team and I are rushing out the door to continue our commitment to not only maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company but to lead healthier lifestyles, to not sit at our desks for hours on end, to get up and move, and to strengthen our bodies alongside our minds!!! <ahem> Anyhow, we’re going for a walk to get some breakfast burritos, the ones stuffed with tater tots. So, before you get up and get active, 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

Mister Miracle #1

Written by Tom King; pencils, inks, and colors by Mitch Gerads; lettered by Clayton Cowles; published by DC Comics. The week I heard Tom King was doing a Mister Miracle comic, I immediately had my LCS add it to my pull. Seriously, how could I not secure a copy of what is certain to be one of the most talked about superhero comics of 2017? After being so thoroughly blown away by both the critically acclaimed The Vision and the less lauded yet equally fantastic The Omega Men, it’s no surprise that the first issue of Mister Miracle has already sucked me in.

I initially wanted to say that Mister Miracle “charmed me,” but that is not the appropriate term given the opening splash page and the subsequent double-page spread. I’m not going to spoil what you see, but I will say that it is worrisome, it is alarming, and you will most likely carry those feelings with you through to the end of this 12-issue maxi-series. Even Jack Kirby’s original run from the ’70s had a certain edge lurking behind the cheerfully colored yellow, red, and green hero. Mister Miracle (aka Scott Free) was raised in an orphanage within the hell that is Apokolips where he learned to become a master escape artist. Despite Scott’s many adventures and meeting his wife, Big Barda, his time on Apokolips was a rather dreary experience, one which King only briefly mentions, yet carries through via the underlying emotions of his current situation in life.

There are no grand escapes, epic battles, or explosive confrontations in this issue. In fact, the actual moments of physical violence, when Orion appears, are deliberately paced to show the callous expectations these New Gods place upon one another. The menace lingering in those early Kirby issues is now front and center in King’s take on this character, very much making Mister Miracle a worthy follow-up to what he achieved with The Vision and The Omega Men.

If you are expecting the art to be reminiscent of Kirby’s work, then you might be in for a shock. Much like the story itself, the imagery is darker. Here you will not find the lively color palettes and characters performing daring feats, but rather more character acting and murkier color schemes set the tone of what is a thematically heavy book. Never fear, though, once Scott and Barda don their costumes on the final two pages, there is a slight elevation of hope that will have to carry us over the course of the painful month-long wait for the next issue. One interesting thing I have to mention — and I am not sure I believe — is that my guy at the LCS said that if you wear X-Ray Specs while reading the intentionally blurry television interview sequence, then you are in for a cool experience…I don’t have X-Ray Specs, but I kinda want to test this out.

If you are a fan of King’s other superhero reimaginings, then Mister Miracle better be sitting on the table next to you as you read this. If not, rush out and pick up a copy before they’re all gone. As I said, I expect this series to be talked about from issue one all the way through issue twelve and for good reason. One thing I am unsure of is how Mister Miracle will read to someone less familiar with the New Gods mythos and the many characters like Darkseid, Orion, High Father, Granny Goodness, and all the others. If you have a basic knowledge of Kirby’s Fourth World, you will be fine, and if not, then a little time on Wikipedia should bring you up to speed on what is sure to be one of the most important comics of the year. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Thor Vol. 1 & 2 and The Mighty Thor Vol. 1 & 2

Written by Jason Aaron, mostly illustrated by Russell Dauterman, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, I’m not going to go too far into these four thrilling collections other than to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and to give you the gist of what is going on. Cool? Cool.

First off, I feel it is necessary to beat Marvel up a little bit over their asinine numbering, renumbering, rebooting, renaming quagmire that is the sequencing of their titles. If you could only look at the covers of Thor Vol. 1 and The Mighty Thor Vol. 1, would you have any way of telling which one you needed to read first? I suspect the answer is “no.” Just looking at them, I have no clue which one you should read first, and there is a definite order to these collections that must be followed, but enough griping, here’s the order:
  1. Thor Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder
  2. Thor Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer
  3. The Mighty Thor Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins
  4. The Mighty Thor Volume 2: Lords of Midgard
Now that we got that settled, you might be wondering who is this woman claiming to be Thor? What happened to Thor Odinson, and why is he no longer worthy? Why were nerds so irate over a cool new twist to a comic that needed a little shaking up? Well, discovering who this woman is is part of the mystery of the book, which is part of the allure of the series. As for Thor Odinson…something happened in an event book that I wasn’t really interested in, and I should probably check into what happened sometime just so I know. And the overly vocal nerds…they can 1) shut it, 2) let Aaron and Dauterman tell their compelling as heck story, and 3) rest assured that things will be right back to normal all too soon.

All four books are masterfully written and gorgeously illustrated with appearances by the Destroyer, Ulik the Troll, Odin, Thor Odinson, Malekith, Loki, and everyone else under/above/upon the Bifrost Bridge. Sequences range from humorous to dire and the battles are as epic as a comic about Norse gods should be. The Goddess Thor is an awesome force to be reckoned with and it’s great to see her use her powers in new and exciting ways that Odinson never imagined. Not only that, the issue devoted to the hidden origin of Mjolnir is especially cool.

If you’ve been following Donist World for a while, you will notice that I have not been reading all that many of the mainstream superhero books as of late, but with Aaron and Dauterman’s fantastic take on the new Thunder Goddess in town, The Mighty Thor is a Big Two superhero comic I am more than happy to read. Now, if only I can figure out what the heck the next trade is supposed to be called…


Slice into the Woods

45 and North Korea  - What in the actual fuck?!?! Someone needs to put our imbecile of a traitorous president in prison and quick.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/4/2017

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 / working-for-the-weekend puppy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Now that we’re back from our vacation and my puppy executive team has forgiven me for Tulip’s trip to the vet, we’re once again working to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. We’re kicking tail and taking names and ever placing orders with the Taco Guy truck which should be swinging by the corporate office (Mom’s basement) any time now. Hopefully, it won't be much longer until our delicious carne asada tacos are once again in our grubby, little paws. Oh, and that salsa…oh boy! Anyhow, while we pace up and down the hall in anticipation of a tasty treat, have a look at our next batch of comics (see the first batch here) that we love so much we can’t help but come back to them again and again. Enjoy. Take care. 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***

Books To Read Again and Again and Again

As always, these are in no particular order other than as they come to mind or as I happen to see them on the shelves; they’re all treasures.

The Upturned Stone

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you have certainly heard me mention Scott Hampton’s brilliant hardcover of The Upturned Stone. In fact, you have probably seen me mention this heavenly treasure many, many times — on six additional occasions, but who’s counting. It definitely bears repeating, because it took me a good long while to learn of the existence of this cross between Stand by Me and Ghost Story with a dash of evil thrown into the mix. Each of the 64 pages of this beautifully watercolored graphic novella manages to both charm and haunt the reader while the story sparks memories of the deep friendships you used to have as well as the things that made you lose sleep at night. I read this Donist World Darling every Halloween season while drinking a cinnamon-rimmed pumpkin ale, a tradition I intend to keep for the rest of my days. Now is the time to finally pick this one up, as the new bargain bin price is now $1.50 per copy if you buy direct from Heavy Metal. I think I’ll order a batch of five to give to friends. If you want to read my original thoughts on this book then jump to this 2013 post. This story is not to be missed.


Crud. I guess I’ve been doing this Donist World thing for so long, I completely forgot to go into any sort of detail about one of THE books of the ’80s. I’ll have to remedy that at some point in the future. Anyhow, Miracleman is a book that kind of blew me away back when I was a teen, and it still stands up to the test of time today, but then how could you expect anything different coming from Alan Moore, who soon after stunned the world with his seminal Watchmen series. Miracleman is one of the earliest deconstructions of the superhero and Moore does not hold back. Right from the first issue, you know this is going to be a dark twist to the Marvelman comics of the ’50s, and Moore wastes little time in setting Michael Moran against one of the wickedest villains of all time. One thing I must stress is that you stick around through the third arc, “Olympus,” to see one of the harshest, most vile battles I have ever seen on a comic book page (beautifully illustrated by John Totleben). Neil Gaimen later picked up the reins of the fourth arc and hopefully, after 30 years, Marvel and Gaiman will some day give us a proper conclusion to this monumental series.


Stormwatch is one of my first experiences with writer Warren Ellis and also with any of the Stormwatch characters. He began his run with issue #37 where he quickly killed a character or two, banished one character from Earth, broke up the Stormwatch team sending most of them packing, and reformed what was left into three much smaller teams; things quickly go crazy from there as Henry Bendix, The Weatherman, sends them on startling and bizarre missions to protect the citizens of the world. Ellis also introduces us to one of the weirdest, but one of my favorite characters, Jack Hawksmoor, whose abilities become stronger depending on the size of the city he is in; he is definitely not a country boy. Even better is the character Jenny Sparks, a nearly one-hundred-year-old, chain-smoking, trash-talking woman who barely looks old enough to drink a beer yet who controls all forms of electricity. The first volume went to issue 50 before continuing another 11 issues in the second volume, which leads us to…

The Authority

I remember coming across the second or third issue of Warren Ellis’s amazing The Authority at my LCS and was blown away by Bryan Hitch’s epic, cinematic layouts. I also desperately wanted to know more about the Batman and Superman analogs (Midnighter and Apollo) and the ultra-groovy metal woman (The Engineer). So, after doing a little research, I found out that The Authority is a continuation of Ellis’s Stormwatch where many of the characters were introduced. I rushed out to pick up Ellis’s entire run of Stormwatch so I would be properly prepared for what would become one of my favorite superhero team books of all time. What grabs me the most about this series — besides the thrilling stories and jaw-dropping art — is how these relative strangers with distrust and personal issues begin to grow closer and more like a family as they face threats of massive proportions. If you are looking for an edge-of-your-seat adventure, then look no further than the stunning achievement that is The Authority. Come to think of it, it’s about time for me to take this journey once again. Hey, it’s also a sister book to the heavenly Planetary!

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War

Ever since I was a wee Donist I have liked Green Lantern. I had a few action figures here or there as well as a few comics, but I wasn’t what you might call a superfan of the character. I, of course, knew who Sinestro was, but that elongated forehead of his was something that made him look a little…well…goofy. Enter Geoff Johns. While the series was coming out, I kept hearing about how great “The Sinestro Corps War” is and what wonders Johns was putting into the series, so I broke down and bought the Green Lantern: Rebirth collection and I immediately became a Hal Jordan fan. I caught up on Johns’s other GL trades and then dove completely into DC’s grand space opera. Not only was there a Green Lantern Corps, but Sinestro had built up his own army to strike fear into every corner of every universe, creating a very real and thoroughly terrifying threat to everyone. Now, this was enough to have me eagerly whipping through the pages to see what would happen next, and the red ring bearers followed by the rest of the spectrum kept me reading for a good, long while. Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War is a heck of a lot of fun, and is something I am preparing to soon tackle once again.

Slice into the Woods

45 and His Cronies  - Still waiting on ALL of the Stupid Watergate players to lose their jobs and go to prison where they belong.