Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/21/2017

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 / New Order fan Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Amy the Intern (my wife) surprised me with some tickets to see New Order at the County Bowl this week. Now, I wasn’t overly excited to see them given the fact that I saw them perform at the same venue almost thirty years ago for their Technique album (I talk about that show in this really old post). Where the old show left me less than thrilled, THIS show was spectacular. They played an even amount of old and new material (“Plastic,” “Ceremony,” and “Temptation” being my favorites), and the visual effects on the five monitors and the stunning light show made the concert both an aural and visual experience not to be forgotten; some things DO get better with age. Anyhow, Reverse Obie and Tulip are calling for me to play “Weirdo” or “Regret” or some other classic tune, and you know how they get. So, listen to some great New Order songs (both old and new), stay positive, do some stretches to limber up in anticipation of The Guardians of the Galaxy 2, 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


Descender #21

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Thus ends the fourth arc of my favorite comic book series currently hitting the ol’ spinner rack, and as is to be expected from these amazing creators, we are left with not one dire cliffhanger but two. I ain’t gonna spoil ’em. What I will tell you, is that I was riveted from beginning to end, especially given that the previous issue left us with TIM-22 revealing himself to be an imposter to Telsa and Dr. Quon. We also picked back up with TIM-21 held captive by The Hardwire, and then Andy, Blugger, Bandit, and Effie (aka Queen Machine) on their search for TIM-21. Three separate groups of characters — Driller is a fourth, but he does not appear in this issue — all spiraling toward one another; it’s nerve-wracking in the best of ways. As I often say with Lemire’s work, he draws you in quickly and before you know it you’ve grown to love his characters. You share their losses, you celebrate their wins, and you worry for their safety. This feeling is compounded by Nguyen’s gorgeous watercolored art. I muttered, “Oh…” on the panel where Andy, a robot scrapper, looks at his old robodog, Bandit, and says, "I remember when I used to understand you.” The look on his face, one of nostalgia, one of regret, is so emotional my ol’ Donist heart cracked…the next page was even more heavy, more honest, devastating. <sniffle> Ugh, excuse me a moment. I think I got a little somethin’ in my eye… You need to be reading Descender, Denizens. It is an epic, sci-fi, space opera that leaves me desperate to see what’ll happen next in the “Rise of the Robots” storyline come June. You MUST catch up with the three available trades — the fourth is released in June — so you can get drawn into this amazing Donist World Darling of a series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #29

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Although there was a two and a half month delay between issues, we are immediately thrust back into the thick of things with this iisue, and in true Black Science fashion, we are lead on a whirlwind, rollercoaster, sci-fi, adventure that’s sure to get your heart racing. We join back up with Grant McKay, who has to escape from an insane asylum to evade a race of sentient, parasitic gas who want to conquer Earth and have McKay create more dimension-hopping pillars. Remender sets up some disturbing horror-tinged scenes, and Scalera shows why he’s a storytelling mastermind as McKay flees through the asylum and later gets into a thrilling car chase. Between reading the words on the page and following the invisible paths of the action you have little choice but to whip through this issue; I went back through a second time to better appreciate Scalera’s art and to enjoy Dinisio’s exciting colors. Remender has a bunch of fantastic creator-owned books currently being published, and Black Science continues to be as great a read as ever. If you aren’t reading this fine series in floppies, then you can catch up with the five available trades (the sixth drops in July), or the oversized hardcover…you’ll be glad you did. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Low #17

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. New issues of the heavenly Low might come out at a slower pace than Remender’s other books, but I am always excited to have a new issue in my grubby mitts. For those of you not reading this lovely — both in writing and in art — series, it is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, underwater, adventure comic set in a world that is dying. This month, we see that Tajo is very much alive after she was left to drown by her twin sister, Della. Her rescuer is a friend of Tajo’s mother, and they are joined by the intriguing new character, Io, a form of artificial intelligence. To be honest, little happens this issue, but even though there’s no battles or thrilling chases, the interactions between the characters are great, and I love seeing Tocchini’s design of the merwoman Mertalli and of the bizarre tech of this world; McCaig’s colors really draw the eye, especially the warm tones on Mertalli against the cool backgrounds. At a time when everyone needs more hope in their lives, Low, whose characters struggle to maintain hope despite the most horrendous of situations, is a book that can give you a spark of light to combat the dark. Three trades are available. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Royal City #2

Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Each member of the Pike family has their fair share of problems; Pat’s marriage and writing career are in shambles, and Richie owes the wrong people a lot of money. Their father suffered a stroke and is in a coma, and their mother is as judgemental and disappointed with life as ever. Then there’s the third brother, Tommy…you see, Tommy died. Royal City is closer to The Underwater Welder and Essex County than it is to, say, Sweet Tooth. This story is a look at a damaged family, one, I suspect, many people can relate to in some fashion. It’s a look into where the Pike family are and how their memories of Tommy help them make it through the day. We don’t yet know what happened to Tommy, and with this type of story, we might never know the circumstances of his passing. What’s important is the effect Tommy’s death has had on this family for whom we get tiny snippets into how things have gone wrong, and it is up to the reader to fill in the gaps. Lemire’s art might strike those unfamiliar with his work as…different, but once exposed to the pure emotion of his line and the mood set by his haunting watercolors, you will be hooked. Royal City is not the comic to read if you are looking to smile, or if you are in need of a laugh. But if you want to share the experience of another’s damaged family in a beautifully written and illustrated book, then this slice of life comic is something you need to read as soon as possible. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods


I Know These Things Can’t Be Rushed, But… - I need to repeat this from last week…#45 and all of the halfwit monsters in his administration need to be removed from office for treason — and in many cases for being unqualified idiots…I’m looking at you, DeVos and Pruitt — as soon as possible, before any more missile strikes or bombs are dropped and jeopardize our lives further. This is madness.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/14/2017

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 / princess of pizza Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It was a slim week for new comics here at Donist World this week. In fact, we only had one book sitting in our pull. Of course, we compensated by picking up the trade for Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer comic from Dark Horse, but we probably won’t even get to crack it open this weekend the way things usually go. We’ll just have to wait and see; the important thing is we have it. The one amazing comic we did buy heads up the list below of what we are calling “Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics.” The idea came to me last month after listening to the audiobook of The Handmaid’s Tale, which got me thinking about my 1/27/2017 post listing the various books to read in the dark times of a #45 presidency. So, why not compile a list of post-apocalyptic and dystopian comics where bad men have taken control, or religion has been twisted to enable individuals to seize power, or biological weapons have decimated populations, or corporations have taken over, or the wealthy tread on the poor. Basically, we’re going to look at what happens when sh_t becomes some f_ed up sh_t. So, sit down, strap in, and prepare to not be smiling by the time you get through these books, you will, however, be glad you read them. 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***

Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics (Part 1)


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. Get ready to be frightened. Be ready to be made uncomfortable. Be ready for some pretty dang great comics.

Seven to Eternity

Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, published by Image Comics. Okay, this one might be a bit of a stretch for today’s topic, but issue number five was the only comic in my pull this week and since this fairly new series is now tied as my favorite comic on the stands with Descender (by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen) I simply had to include it on the list. But now that I think of it, this spectacular fantasy series fits all the criteria of what I’m looking for in a post-apocalyptic / dystopian world. You have a tyrannical ruler seeking to bend everyone to his will, the stripping of freedom, the demonizing of others, empty promises, and the backing of deadly forces. The difference is that there’re also giant flying squid ships, magical superpowers, as well as all sorts of cool beings inhabiting this doomed world. The only hope of freeing the populace from the control of the God of Whispers is to capture the formidable being, take him to an ancient wizard, and hope there is enough power to end the evil creature’s reign once and for all. So, yeah, there are some parallels to what’s going on in the real world. As I mentioned above, Seven to Eternity is one of the best comics being published and I am desperate to see what happens next. Oh, yeah, issue five…it’s phenomenal, gorgeous, and comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Lazarus

Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark, published by Image Comics. I think it’s been two weeks since I talked about the latest issue of Lazarus, and if you’ve been following Donist World for a while then you know I tend to have quite a bit of praise for this brilliant series. If that is the case, then you also know that this comic tends to scare the bejesus out of me. Why? you might ask. Well, because this comic’s dreadfully bleak world is one that I can very much see coming to pass. The world of Lazarus is not one divided by political lines, but rather it is divided up by a handful of ruling families along the lines of wealth. The creators clearly spend a substantial amount of time researching everything from eugenics, to military weaponry, to caste systems, to biological sciences, all while having the bad guys betray those inside and outside of the respective families. I won’t lie, Denizens, this series can be terrifying in its parallels to our modern world, but the strength of the characters, the storytelling, and the lovely illustrations make this a must read for sure.

The Omega Men

Written by Tom King, illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda, published by DC Comics. I’ve been reading comics for most of my life, and over the years, there have been plenty of series that I just could not buy at that particular time. One such comic from the ’80s is the original The Omega Men series. Thankfully, however, a revamped version came out that I did pick up, and it happened to be one of the best things I read last year. In this telling, The Omega Men are a group branded as terrorist by the all-powerful Viceroy of The Citadel. The problem is that The Omega Men have captured the White Lantern, Kyle Rayner, and executed him on live television in an effort to have their message heard. The truth is that Kyle Rayner is very much alive and The Omega Men want him to join their group. Unfortunately for Kyle, things are not always black and white, and The Omega Men might just be every bit as bad as The Citadel they wish to defeat. Gorgeous art and an intricately plotted story that will challenge readers’ morals on what it takes to be on the winning side. Religion, order, safety versus freedom, and classism all clash in this powerful MUST READ space opera. I will definitely be rereading this series many times over the coming years.

Sweet Tooth

Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. You know I love Lemire’s work — especially when it comes to the Donist World Darling Descender — but one book that completely blew me away, while tearing out my heart and stomping it repeatedly on the floor, is the post-apocalyptic masterpiece Sweet Tooth. Dang, dang, dang, I need to dig this series out of the spider-ridden Closet of Doom and settle in for a week of gut-wrenching, beautifully-told tragedy. In this world, a plague known as The Affliction has decimated much of the world’s population, leaving scant humans and bizarre human-animal hybrid children to struggle for survival. The deer-antlered Gus is one such child. When a group of hunters seeks to enact their ill will upon Gus, a mountain of a man known as Jepperd rescues the boy and promises to lead him to the safety of a place known as The Preserve. <phew> Just thinking about this dark journey and the toll it takes on the many characters (and this Donist, too) is staggering Sweet Tooth is a remarkable series and one that is so beautifully told that I’m looking forward to crushing my heart all over again.

The Micronauts

Written by Bill Mantlo; illustrated by Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, and others, published by Marvel Comics. You know I love The Micronauts, right? I only mention it every other post or so. In fact, I’m simply silly for this series, and in the first half of 2014, I wrote the weekly column “Micronauts Monday” where I talked about every single issue of this great comic from the perspective of both my younger self and my current self. I had a blast writing it. The Micronauts is the story of the microscopic universe known as the Microverse, where a tyrannical madman known as Baron Karza rules over all with his gauntleted fist, giving leniency or favor to the wealthiest and most morally compromised of individuals. Only a band of alien rebels lead by Commander Arcturus Rann have the slightest chance of freeing the Microverse from the crushing weight of Karza’s heel. I adore the characters and the story is intense with severe stakes, and relentless action. There’s love, loss, victories, and the bitterest of defeats, all while having the occasional guest appearance (something which usually does not work) from a Marvel hero or two, and a story that more than stands up to the test of time. Now comes the disclaimer: Reading this one is no easy task given that the rights are tied up with a Japanese toy company, so there might never be a trade released. So…get thee to the back issue bins!

The Watchmen

Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics. If you have never heard of The Watchmen, then I must congratulate you for finally resuscitating from your cryofreeze or for your newfound freedom from the bunker you escaped from. That said, given the state of the world because of #45, you might want to go back to the bunker for a spell while things get sorted out. The story… when a former member of an old superhero group is murdered, one lone hero begins investigating the murder and seeking the aid of his former comrades. But as secrets begin to unfold, and more people tied to The Watchmen begin to die or disappear, tensions between the US and other countries escalate and the world finds itself on the brink of nuclear war. Scary, right? I mean, this series written in the ’80s was not just a deconstruction of superhero comics but also a terrifying commentary on the Cold War / nuclear war. The Watchmen is the quintessential graphic novel to show the power and importance of the comic book medium. It’s also terrifying that the subject of nuclear war is once again surging. So, yeah, The Watchmen is a book to read if you want to freak your ass out. It’s also damn good.

Slice into the Woods


I Know These Things Can’t Be Rushed, But… - #45 and all of the halfwit monsters in his administration need to be removed from office for treason — and in many cases for being unqualified idiots…I’m looking at you, DeVos and Pruitt — as soon as possible, before any more missile strikes or bombs are dropped and jeopardize our lives further. This is madness.


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Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/7/2017

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 / healer of stomach ills Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Crudddddddd, Denizens. I had a terrible week. Not sure what happened, but I woke up last Saturday with a piercing headache and was barfing by early afternoon. I lay in bed all day Sunday and stayed home from work on Monday. I had hardly any sleep, and, not counting the past couple of days, ate only saltine crackers and low-cal Gatorade (purple and blue flavors). Thankfully, I had my puppy executive team to take care of me and make all the big decisions as my brains were pretty darn scrambled. Oh well, at least I got a jump on the weight loss challenge I wanted to start. Geesh. Anyhow, today’s post is kind of short, not just because I’m still reeling from the stomach flu, but also because most of the books that were supposed to come out this week look to have been delayed. Again, oh well, it’s for the best it was a light week, we’ll still have fun. So, take care of yourself, don’t barf, pour yourself a cold revitalizing Gatorade, remember the late and exceptional Bernie Wrightson, 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 Flintstones #10

Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Steve Pugh, colored by Chris Chuckry, lettered by Dave Sharpe, published by DC Comics. If you read last week’s post, then you know you I wasn’t as jazzed about the Booster Gold & The Flinstones Special #1 as I am about the phenomenal The Flintstones series proper. That’s fine, especially when we get a return to form that had me laughing out loud to the point my wife kept asking, “What’s so funny?” All I could tell her was that she has some catching up to do on this satirical comic that is deeply relevant to the world we currently live in. It’s also a crack up from page one to page twenty-two. There’s a look at cinema, war, budget cuts, masculinity, puppet leaders, the art world, consumerism, different cultures, death (not spoilin’, but then the cover gives it away), as well as other subjects. At first glance, topics such as these don’t appear to be all that humorous, but in Russell’s skillful hands I couldn’t stop laughing…except for the death part, that was actually quite touching and troubling for reasons you will have to read to understand. Pugh’s art is gorgeous as ever and riddled with clever sight gags that require you to linger on every panel lest you miss something neat. If you’ve been enjoying The Flintstones as much as I have, then you already know why the critics adore this smart, edgy comic. To be honest, I kinda don’t think DC knew what was actually being released until about three issues into the series, which at that point it was too late to pull the plug. If you aren’t reading The Flintstones, then you best get on that, Cuz, because there’re only two issues left in the creators’ run, but with a trade of the six first issues readily available, you can catch up lickety split. If you love Russell’s work here, then be sure to pick up Prez in trade and also Snagglepuss when it debuts in the fall. Love it, love it, love it. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #13

Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, flats by Dee Cunniffe, published by Image Comics. Okay…I really don’t know what the fizzatch is goin’ on in Paper Girls, but for a book so well written and so beautifully illustrated, there’s no way I won’t be here in four weeks to see what happens next. Plus, I’m right there with KJ, Mac, Erin, and Tiffany, who no sooner had they finally been reunited are once again split apart. Sure one group has a tech-toting prehistoric ally with a baby helping them out, but the outside dangers look to stop them all before they can make it back to their actual time period. Writing and artwork, of course,  are fantastic, but I am really digging Willson’s stunning colors — dang, just take a gander at the colors on the covers for this arc — which greatly enhance the story and set the tone. Do I even need to tell you to read this suburban, sci-fi, time traveling, adventure, coming of age story about four paper girls from Ohio in the ’80s who are thrust into worlds of monsters and mayhem? Of course not. You can pick up the first two trades to get caught up on this thrilling comic that I hope to someday see as a kick-ace television show. So much fun. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods


The Stomach Flu Sucks - Big time suck. Ugh. Barf me out. Gag me with a spoon.

Keeping it Short this Week - That said, I still want #45, Sessions, and the rest of the liars to be thoroughly investigated and removed from their posts before they can f_ up our country even more than they already have. Heck, I hope they take those corporate, self-congratulatory tools, Ryan and McConnell, while they’re at it. Sad.


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