Friday, November 24, 2017

Comics Lust 11/25/2017

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/turkey-taster Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Well, Denizens, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) was closed for Thanksgiving and Friday as an active recovery day from the bounty of turkey, bourbon-barrel-aged beer, and pumpkin pie we merrily consumed. To be honest, we’re still a bit sluggish today, but we’re powering ahead to bring you the next installment of “Comics Lust” for your reading pleasure as you try your dagburned best to avoid yet another awkward conversation with Uncle Seth and Aunt Edna. (Don’t worry, they should hopefully be leaving by late afternoon today…please let them leave today.) Anyhow, good luck dodging those relatives who seek to make your life miserable, drink some water (hydrating is good), go for a nice walk, and round out the afternoon reading 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 Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

The Gift of Giving (Part 2)
Big 2 Superhero Comics for Those Who Like the Movies

Comic books are in our blood. We read tons of ’em, we love ’em, they are our obsession. So, it makes sense that we want to share our love of the medium with anyone we can: significant others, siblings, friends, co-workers, and possibly even our parents. One thing I’ve noticed over the past ten years is an increase in the number of people who are thrilled by the Marvel and DC movies yet they have never cracked open a comic book to experience that which made the movie possible. The stalwart champions of comics that usually come to our minds when we want to bring someone into our world usually goes straight to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Everythinged by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley, published by DC Comics, 1986), or more likely, Watchmen (Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics, 1986), but as monumental as these works are they might be considered “next level” comic books for those who’ve only visited the cinema or streamed at home; don’t worry, though, your recipient should be ready for those by the second or third round of gifting. When someone raves about Thor: Ragnarok or Wonder Woman, you gotta be ready to drop some Thor or Wonder Woman truth on them while the spark is fresh.

Speaking of the Thor: Ragnarok movie, The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Volume 1 (Everythinged by Walt Simonson, published by Marvel Comics, 1983) is a great way to ride the lightning of the God of Thunder’s popularity that will return them to the idea of Ragnarok, bring back the villain Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, and give them some alien action with the awesome Beta Ray Bill. Simonson’s entire run is a blast showcasing his gorgeous art and an exhilarating story with massive stakes that make the book difficult to put down. Your friend will probably have some questions but that’s when you jump in to save the day and get some conversations started. If you REALLY want to style-out your friend, you can literally go big with the recently released The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus (or get it for me; that thing’s lovely) or point them in the direction of the second volume releasing in January to keep the love going. Come to think of it, you could also start them out on Thor: God of Thunder Vol. 1 - The God Butcher (Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics, 2012) for a story that also has huge stakes, glorious art, and that will carry them into the Lady Thor issues, all of which are a fantastic jumping off point for Thor’s further adventures.

Since I also mentioned the fantastic Wonder Woman movie, fans of the film can easily slide into Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 1 (Written by Len Wein, Greg Potter, and George Perez; illustrated by George Perez, published by DC Comics, 1987) which not only retells the origins of Diana, but also Paradise Island, Steve Trevor, Ares, and so much more. The story is great on its own and more than stands up to the test of time—I just read this volume a few months ago—but I have to be honest that Perez’s masterful art is the main draw for this series. You can’t help but feel Wonder Woman’s joy upon seeing the outside world for the first time, her smile stretched across her face in wonder at something new. You also never doubt that she can hold her own in a fight as she battles her way across cityscapes, the bluest skies, and backdrops of wondrous myth. There are two volumes currently available unless you’re feeling really generous and kick down the Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol. 1. If you want to delve even deeper into the Princess of Power, this time with the writer taking the lead on the series, then Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka is also a very safe bet as Rucka perfectly inserts Diana into the modern world as a diplomat from Themyscira. Princess Diana is a symbol of hope and strength not just for girls, but for everyone, and the runs by these two creators more than deliver that hope through great art and story.

If we’re going to talk superheroes, then it’d be positively criminal not to bring up The Batman. Now, there are plenty of great Batman stories out there, but if I was going to introduce someone to the comics of the Dark Knight after they had watched Batman Begins an/or The Dark Knight, I would have to go with The New 52’s Batman (written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics, 2011). We don’t have The Joker (yet), or The Riddler (yet), or any of Batman’s extensive villainous nemeses, but rather the new and unnerving Court of Owls. Fans of the films will be right at home with Snyder’s writing as it slowly and steadily ratchets up the tension while dancing along the edge of horror. Capullo’s expert storytelling, character design and acting, and detailed backgrounds capture one’s attention and refuse to allow you to look away. (Man, I really need to reread this phenomenal 12-issue storyline.) After that taster, I would definitely follow up with Batman: The Black Mirror (Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, published by DC Comics, 2011). Originally published in Detective Comics #871–881, you will probably have to attach a note saying that this Batman is not Bruce Wayne, but rather Dick Grayson (aka…Robin/Nightwing), and that Dick is standing in for Bruce for reasons I don’t remember and that don’t really matter to the story. Again, this is an expertly told and freakin’ stressful as all heck tale that is both scary and unnerving. Jock and Francavilla alternate on art depending on which character we are following, and both artists deliver some of the most stunning and memorable work on a Bat-title I have ever seen. I know plenty of Batman fans will take umbrage with what I’m about to say, but Batman: The Dark Mirror just might be my favorite Batman tale of all time.

The Avengers movie…yeah, I never thought I would see the day. I mean, I’ve been flipping through the comics since before I could read, but as a kid, I never thought there would be a movie, or that it would be so gosh-darn good. But recommending or gifting a comic to someone who has only seen the movie? Wow. Yeah. Not an easy thing to do given just how much continuity there is out there. I would, however, feel good about starting someone out with The Ultimates (Written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Marvel Comics, 2002). Back when I was buying this in issues, it was utter torture to wait for new issues of this series I so completely loved. Millar’s dialogue is sharp, humorous, at times badass, and when mixed with Hitch’s “widescreen,” thrilling splash pages and art the scope of the story is too large to describe. Readers will quickly identify most of the characters with their movie counterparts as well as see some parallels between the stories. Dang, this is a fun series. But then comes your friend’s dreaded question: Who’s this Thanos guy? Okay…well, they’re just gonna have to go with the flow here when you hand them the worthy-of-worship The Avengers Versus Thanos (Mostly written by Jim Starlin, mostly illustrated by Jim Starlin, published by Marvel Comics, ) trade. This collection holds most of my top-five-favorite-comics material concerning Thanos and Adam Warlock as well as stories about Captain Marvel (the original one) and a whole host of other characters not (yet) found in the movies, but it will definitely give them a sense of who Thanos is and why he is very bad news for The Avengers. You will probably have to do some handholding on this one as your friend works through the comic, but that just means they’re interested.

There are just too many great kick-off points for the ol’ movie to comics transition, and I’ll cover some more in another chapter down the road.

This Week’s Reading List

Weirdworld: Warriors of the Shadow Realm TPB (Written by Doug Moench; illustrated by Mike Ploog, Pat Broderick, and John Buscema, select stories painted by Peter Ledger, published by Marvel Comics) This week there were no books in my pull. I know, I know, there is one particular massive event that I did not pick up, but I’m going to wait to get that one in trades at some point down the road. I did receive a Kickstarter series that I am thrilled to finally be able to read, and there is a certain massive tome that I am steadily making my way through, but I won’t be talking about either of those until I have finished reading them. One rather substantial collection that I just finished and have been wanting to read since I first saw the ad back in the ’70s was Weirdworld. Originally appearing as a short, black and white story in the magazine Marvel Super Action #1, the ad I saw was actually for Marvel Premiere #38, which was a colored expansion of the black and white tale. Elves, swords, scantily-clad women, and a hideous sea serpent as illustrated by the great Mike Ploog called to me, but, alas, finding that comic just wasn’t in the cards for this here Donist. It’s probably for the best, though, as attempting to gather the various stories of this magical world would have driven me mad. Also included in this collection are the following: Marvel Fanfare #24–26 (1986), Marvel Super Special #11–13 (1979), and Epic Illustrated #9, 11–13 (1981). I don’t understand the order in which the material is presented in this trade, but each of the chapters is standalone and do not need to be read in the order of their release. The first story predates the animated The Lord of the Rings and Wizards films as a source of fantasy adventure and each tale of lost homes, evil wizards, monsters, and quests is just as thrilling today as they were back then. Ploog’s art kicks off the story and believe me when I say it is gorgeous, and so is Broderick’s, but it’s when we get to Buscema’s lovely line work and freakin’ Ledger’s fully and painstakingly painted pages from the Marvel Super Special issues where I became even more spellbound than I initially was. Moench has written many comics throughout the years that I wholeheartedly love, and Weirdworld is right up there with the rest. If you’re in the mood for some swords and sorcery action, then you need to get this collection as soon as you can! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


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