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/fire-and-smoke-avoider Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Well, Denizens, this week has been a little bit better than the last, which isn’t saying much. The Thomas Fire is still causing havoc across Ventura, Ojai, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, and parts of Santa Barbara. Evacuation warnings come and go, and come and go, and it has been an ordeal for many of our friends and colleagues. I am not yet sure if anyone we know has lost their home, but plenty of people have been evacuated. Amy the Intern (my wife) and I live on the border of Goleta and Santa Barbara where we are not currently anywhere near an evacuation zone, but the smoke and awful ash make going outside an unhealthy endeavor. My job’s office has mostly been under evacuation notice and air quality there is toxic and I’ve had to work from home this entire week. So, yeah, been getting a bit stir crazy at home, and Tulip doesn’t understand why her walks are so short and sucky, but we get out of the house when we can, and exercise at home when possible, but it is all rather depressing. Here at Donist World, I spend hundreds, if not thousands, of words every week talking about comic books and superheroes, but right now the firefighters combatting this flaming behemoth are the true heroes risking their lives to protect us all. All of that said…I still miss my grandma. So, respected Denizens, love those close to you, appreciate what you have, lift a drink in honor of your city’s firefighters, go see the Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!
***UPDATE*** Okay. After starting this post, and completing the intro above, Amy and I decided to leave town and head north. The air quality was horrible, ash was raining down, the fire had greatly picked up in aggressiveness, and things were getting crazier by the minute. To make matters worse, an oil tanker overturned an exit away from us blocking ALL northbound traffic on the 101, dumping fuel everywhere, and practically halting traffic trying to get out of Santa Barbara. That was it. We had to go. Once we decided to gain a break from the past week and a half of depressing fire conditions closing businesses, causing friends to evacuate, burning homes, creating toxic air, we made up our minds to leave. We almost went south, but then saw that another vehicle had overturned going southbound on the 101 in Carpinteria, so we said screw it and went north. Currently, our home is not in an evacuation zone, and we have neighbors keeping an eye on things. We just had to get away. To add even more stress to the equation, I am starting a new position at my job on Monday, and was supposed to have been training all last week, and providing a smooth transition for those in my old department, but that didn’t happen because Carpinteria was under evacuation. It’ll all work out, but this is a hell of a stressful time not just for us, but for everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.
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.
The Gift of Giving (Part 5) - Kid Stuff
When I was a kid, there weren’t really any specific comics for kids other than stuff like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the like. So, I made due with any and all superhero comics I could get my hands on. Back then, superhero comics weren’t all that worried about continuity, and you didn’t need to have read the previous 20 issues to even attempt to follow along. No one cared how Spider-Man could help out the Human Torch in one book, team-up with Iron Fist in another, and battle Captain Britain in yet another all while having his own title. We just wanted cool, fun stories. So what if seven-year-old me had only a handful of Fantastic Four issues to my name? With my limited reading skills and an active imagination, I could totally tell that Reed Richards had been possessed by the Molecule Man’s wand and created a monstrous stone golem out of an apartment building to fight the Thing (issue #188, written by Len Wein, illustrated by George Perez, 1977). Nowadays, however, most of the comics I loved as a kid have matured with my age group. They are darker, more cynical, and definitely more adult. Thankfully, there are plenty of comics that are fun, intense, and wonderfully crafted for both those of the younger persuasion and for bitter, old cusses like myself.
***It was here that we packed up and went north, so this is going to be a very abbreviated post.
- Superman Family Adventures (Written by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, illustrated by Art Baltazar, DC Comics, 2012). I have not yet read this sadly short-lived series, but I have heard great things about it. Baltazar’s art style is fun, bold, and vibrant, and—best of all—the characters aren’t drawn with monstrous heads and there are no babyified versions of the characters. For even younger kids, the creators have the amazing Aw Yeah Comics for all to enjoy!
- Batman Adventures (Written by Kelly Pucket, illustrated by Ty Templeton, published by DC Comics, 1992). Since we are already on the DC train, fans of Batman the Animated Series can expand their love with this thrilling series.
- Bone (Everythinged by Jeff Smith, originally published by Cartoon Books in 1991 and later by Scholastic in a colored version). A few years back, my best friend came to me asking about a book I would recommend to his young son. I went upstairs, grabbed my black and white Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic and told him that love this book and his son would as well. He thanked me and took my copy, thinking I was giving it to them. Dang…I still need to get a replacement copy as this originally 55-issues-long series is a complete work of art. Funny, serious, scary, glorious, inspiring, Bone has it all. Human characters look amazing, as do the monsters, and as goofy as the Bone creatures might appear, they are exceedingly lovable with character arcs that make them all too human. Everyone must own and read this treasured series whether you opt for the black and white version or go for the colored versions from Scholastic that kids seem to gravitate toward more. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this series.
- Amulet (Everythinged by Kazu Kibuishi, published by Scholastic Press, 2008). Okay, I also love this series and need to get the latest volume as the end of the series slowly approaches. There is family drama, cartoony characters that are in no way offputting, lofty stakes, friends, foes, allies, and tenuous alliances all beautifully painted in this fantasy/adventure series that will have kids and adults whipping through the volumes and starting over from the beginning before the next volume’s release. I can’t say enough good things about this great series.
That’s it for now, and I hope to return to “The Gift of Giving - Kid Stuff” someday soon when my city is not burning down.
This Week’s Reading List
Mister Miracle #5 (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics). A very touching installment that shows Scott and Barda spending their final day together before Scott’s execution by High Father Orion the next day. An amazing, personal issue that is a hit on every level: writing, pacing, art, and tension. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Paper Girls #18 (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by Image Comics). Paper Girls continues to be a fun and oftentimes nostalgic romp through time with a great cast of characters thrown into bizarre situations. Dinosaurs, and robots, and weirdos. Oh my! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!