Saturday, July 8, 2017

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

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

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

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

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

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

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


Seven to Eternity #7

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

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

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


Slice into the Woods

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


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