Saturday, September 15, 2018

Comics Lust 9/15/2018

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/Bibi Ji enthusiast Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Criminy, Denizens. We bigged it up last night by going to the amazing Bibi Ji restaurant, where I had the “Chef’s Tasting” along with the beer pairing. It was so much amazing and spicy Indian food, that I left the restaurant both floating on an endorphin rush and dragging from the volume of amazing food and beer I was able to sample. So, forgive me if I seem a little slow today. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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

Five Furious and Fast: Warren Ellis (Part 1)


When I talk about my all-time-favorite comic book series, say my top 25, or the books that would make life bearable on a deserted island, three of those series would be written by Warren Ellis. But if you take a look at say my top 50 or 100, you’re going to find a whole mess of other books by the prolific writer that are positively must-read material. Looking at just five? Yeah, seems kind of criminal, but don’t worry, we’ll return to the works of Ellis more than a few times in the near future. For now, let’s start with one of those three books I can’t live without.


Stormwatch V.1 #37–50, V.2 #1–11

(Written by Warren Ellis; illustrated by Tom Raney, Oscar Jimenez, Bryan Hitch; originally published in 1996 by Image Comics)
Aside from owning the random early issue or two of this early Image series, I never really paid attention to Stormwatch. But then, a few years later, I saw the cover of the fourth Stormwatch trade paperback by Warren Ellis called “A Finer World” featuring two new superheroes: Apollo and the Midnighter. They looked pretty cool. Then I saw them on the cover of some comic called The Authority. I needed to know more, but I had to do this right by starting from the beginning, or rather Ellis’s beginning. The story begins with a massive team of superheroes being called together by their commander, Henry Bendix, the Weatherman. The Weatherman promptly fires nearly all of the characters, not just from the team but from the series itself. In the pages of his first issue, Ellis then adds new characters of his own creation and sets up three strike teams of three people each: Stormwatch Prime to handle superhuman threats in warlike situations; Stormwatch Red to display the greatest destructive capabilities in an effort to deter hostile forces; Stormwatch Black for covert operations. Prime consists of Winter (Russian energy absorber), Hellstrike (a green, sentient gas energy projector), and Fuji (a Japanese, sentient energy powerhouse in a massive robotic suit). Red has Fahrenheit (fire creator), Flint (superstrengh and invulnerability), and Rose Tattoo (deadly assassin with a history clouded in mystery). And finally, Black consisting of Jenny Sparks (controls and projects electricity), Jack Hawksmoor (his strength and powers increase based on the size of the city he occupies), and Swift (winged, aerial tactician). I hammered through that first trade and quickly bought and read the other four, loving every exciting page as Ellis’s commentary on politics, the US government, and international relations set amidst an action/adventure/horror backdrop carried me into the even more amazing The Authority. The best way to catch up on these issues is through the fairly recent Stormwatch Volume One and Stormwatch Volume Two collections.


Global Frequency #1–12

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by various artists, originally published in 2002 by Wildstorm Comics)
There are 1001 anonymous members of the Global Frequency, an intelligence agency designed to stop the machinations of malevolent individuals and organizations located around the world. The Global Frequency targets terrorists, cults, the paranormal, rogue operatives, and everything in between. Ellis wrote all 12 standalone issues of the series with each issue featuring a different artist. Global Frequency was supposedly written to be like a crime procedural show where you could pick up any single issue and be able to follow along with no problem, which is probably why this thrilling series has seen multiple attempts to bring it to the living room screen. The best way to read this amazing series is with the Vertigo Global Frequency collection. This has jumped to the top of my reread list.


Fell #1–9

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Ben Templesmith, originally published in 2005 by Image Comics)
This one is going to hurt, Denizens, I’m not going to lie. You see, there are nine issues of this slow burn, creepy-as-hell, crime drama and that is all. Heck, I only recently learned of the existence of the ninth issue, as the solitary Fell collection contains only the first eight. Issue nine also came out over a decade ago with no progress on the concluding seven issues as a hard drive crash destroyed the scripts for the final six issues of the series and Image refused to print issue 10 unless Ellis and Templesmith also had completed scripts for issues 11 and 12. Fell was an experiment in producing a cheaper comic with a lower page count and received two Eisner Award nominations back in the day. The story follows homicide detective Richard Fell, who was banished to Snowtown, a city plagued with crime, poverty, and a police force of three and a half (you’ll have to read the book to get the joke) that has practically given up on their duties. Fell decides to fix Snowtown and vows to uncover the story of a strange, stocky person dressed in a nun’s habit and who wears a Richard Nixon mask while always appearing around areas they shouldn’t be in. The story is a dark, creepy, noirish, crime and character drama that saw the first issue go into six printings. I am dying to see how it all ends, but to be honest I don’t know if the series will ever finish. Don’t let the lack of an ending dissuade you, though, from checking out the glorious issues that have been released. Regardless of whatever happens, I will be here waiting patiently on the off chance we do get more.


Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #12–21

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Leonardo Manco, originally published in 1994 by Marvel Comics)
I’ll start by saying that issues 1–20 weren’t all that bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed them, but things definitely kick into high gear once Ellis makes his American Marvel Comics debut with issue #12. The series follows that ’70s darling, the Son of Satan himself, Daimon Hellstrom. Heaven and Hell. Demons and the Gargoyle. Ex-wife Patsy “Hellcat” Walker. A series of mage murders. A mysterious woman named Jaine Cutter who has armor forged of iron from the River Styx and has a weapon called the Breathing Gun. Hellstorm: Prince of Lies has it all. Gone are the days of red and yellow tights and capes, and hair gelled up into makeshift horns. In are the days of true horrors and conflicts of light and darkness. As great as Ellis’s run was, it wasn’t enough to keep the series from being canceled with issue #21. If you don’t feel like back issue bin diving for these damn-fine issues, then you can pick up the Hellstorm by Warren Ellis Omnibus, which commands a prohibitive $75 retail price tag given that it contains only 10 issues of Hellstorm. Even the inclusion of the four issues of our next book might not be enough to prompt you to sell your soul to get ahold of a book that ought to only cost about half of what they’re charging. That even shorter-lived series is…


Druid #1–4

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Leonardo Manco, originally published in 1995 by Marvel Comics)
Following the demise of Hellstorm: Prince of Lies was Druid, a comic that was originally meant to be a series, yet ended up only making it thru issue four, where it was wrapped up much too fast for my liking. This does not mean you shouldn’t read this horrific tale of a man who, tired of being a sorcerous joke, taps into a far greater power to become a major player—briefly—in the mystical Marvel U. In these four issues, we see Druid’s disturbing transformation into a taloned, tattooed, skinny, bearded powerhouse of nature who fights monstrosities of unseen worlds and demons and monsters only to fall into madness in his quest for ever more power. Yes, I was disappointed to see this chilling series brought to an early conclusion, but what we did get was simply magical. Seek these out as soon as you can, but if you do decide to pick up the Hellstorm by Warren Ellis Omnibus you can lessen the blow of the steep price tag knowing that the collection also contains two issues of the unpublished Satanna comic series by Ellis that never made it to a store shelf.


That’s it for this installment, Denizens. Now, go forth, collect, and read! Also, don’t worry, we’re not even close to being done with Mr. Ellis, so there’s more to come. See you next time!


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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Comics Lust 9/8/2018

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/frantic furry friend Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Howdy, Denizens. Even though I had Monday and Tuesday off from work this week, I kind of paid for it over the past three days. Boy howdy, did I pay for it…come to think of it, I still am as I prepare to do some more work. Such are the ways of the digital age. At least the puppy executive team and I work like a well-oiled machine together and we will continue to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 3)


I’ve always been fascinated by those who both write and draw comics. I have personal experience with multiple steps in the creation process, and I know that doing just one of the necessary duties can be incredibly time-consuming. Whether you write, draw, ink, flat, color, letter, design and layout, or publish, each of those vital steps takes a degree of skill in order to create something that is truly remarkable. But when you find someone who can both script and dialogue a comic as well as illustrate it, you have that rare someone who is worth celebrating. With these amazing people, you have what I like to call an “Everythinger.” And every once in a blue moon, you find a unicorn, that certain someone who does it all. For instance, take…


Copra

(Everythinged by Michel Fiffe, originally published in 2012 by Copra Press)
I’m a little late to the birthday party on this one, but that just means I get to hammer through the whole shebang without having to suffer through waits between issues. And what painful waits those would have been as Copra is a fantastic, thrilling superhero comic. Now, when I say everythinged by Fiffe, I literally mean “everythinged!” This guy did it all. He even put out some trade collections of his books—with the help of Bergen Street Press—which is going to create a couple of problems for everyone wanting to read these damn-fine comics: the print runs were low, and finding issues is not gonna be easy. That said, if you have to, do what I did and buy a bunch on ComiXology. At the time of this writing, I bought the first 25 issues and I’ve read up to issue eight; I should have bought up through issue 31 as well as the two volumes of Copra Versus. My goodness! I love this series! Basically, Copra is a love letter to DC’s Suicide Squad and even goes so far as to have a character named Lloyd Flawton who bears a striking resemblance to a certain character from said Suicide Squad. The homages don’t end there with characters clearly influenced by the flip side of the Big Two coin with various Marvelesque additions to the story. Where Fiffe’s story differs is when the Copra team faces off against their superweird villains such as Vitas and Dy Dy: a pyramid-headed, jester-looking, faceless creature; and a massive brain in a bowl atop a bio-mechanical carriage and with glued-on lady eyes and a pretty bow attached to the bowl. Fiffe’s writing is engaging, his storytelling compelling, and the overall look and feel of Copra is that of indie professionalism with stories enjoyable by even the most steadfast of Big Two fanatics. Visit his site at www.michelfiffe.com to pick up some amazing comics and see what you’ve been missing. Now, I need to get ahold of his recent Bloodstrike: Brutalists run over at Image Comics. I think we’re just getting started with this ultra-talented everythinger.


The Black Beetle

(Everythinged by Francesco Francavilla, lettered and designed by Nate Piekos of Blambot, originally published in 2012 by Dark Horse Comics, Inc.)
I don’t feel like I mention Francavilla as much as I should. I was originally introduced to his work in the pages of Detective Comics with writer Scott Snyder (collected in the must-own, must-read Batman: The Black Mirror) and then in the exceptional-yet-eternally-delayed Afterlife with Archie. I then started seeing his cover art everywhere and I found many posters of his work that had long since sold out and were unobtainable—that said, I did get a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina poster of his featuring Madam Satan that I am looking at as I write this. But in between comics about the Dark Knight and zombified Archie characters, I found a series that belonged strictly to Francavilla and I fell in love. It wasn’t just his impeccable storytelling prowess, but also his stunning, mostly-flat coloring style. As for the book, the Black Beetle is the mysterious, masked protector of Colt City and he stalks the seedy mobsters, neer-do-wells, and costumed villains who seek to endanger his city’s inhabitants. We know little about the hero known as the Black Beetle and I kind of hope it stays that way as the mystery behind this character is part of the allure. What I can tell you is that the character is what you get if you mix one-quarter Batman with three-quarters pulp hero and fold him gently into a film noir setting with a dash of the supernatural. Thus far, you can read two collected hardcovers of this character, both of which demand your attention: The Black Beetle: No Way Out and The Black Beetle: Kara Bocek (a prelude that explores how the Black Beetle found his greatest weapon).


Daredevil

(Everythinged by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
Growing up, I always had a handful of Daredevil comics laying around, but to be perfectly honest, my brother was the die-hard Daredevil fiend. He was the one who pulled me from the pages of whatever other great comic of the ’80s I was reading and told me I should check out the issues that Frank Miller had recently started writing. Don’t tell my brother I said this—we don’t want him to get a big head about it—but he was so very very very right! Miller began illustrating Daredevil with issue #158, but it wasn’t until eleven issues later in the landmark #168 that he began both writing and illustrating and began his steady rise to greatness. Not only did Miller create what would become one of the most influential and greatest of runs for Daredevil, he also created Elektra and introduced the threat of The Hand, a menacing group of ninjas. Miller made the Kingpin a viable threat, Bullseye a terrifying maniac, The Hand formidable, Elektra a complex friend/foe, and he also gave us the occasional guest-appearance with the likes of The Punisher and Black Widow. Damn, this series is great on all fronts and with good reason, it appears on most all “Essential Comic Book Series” listings, including mine. The best way to read Miller’s seminal everythinger run is through the three volumes of Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson or through the massive Omnibus.


Batman: Ego and Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score

(Everythinged by Darwyn Cooke, originally published in 2000 and 2002 by DC Comics)
We lost one of comicdom’s greatest creators in 2016. Thankfully, I got to see him in 2007 at the San Diego Comic Con, but I wish I had taken the time to meet him, thank him for his work, and to support him directly with a purchase of some kind. Cooke originally worked for DC Animation but vaulted to prominence in the comic book world with Batman: Ego, a prestige one-shot that featured a psychological tale about Bruce Wayne and the Batman talking about their lives and the repercussions of their various choices. Cooke’s style is the perfect bridge from the animated world of Batman: The Animated Series to that of comics. Following up such a great everythinged comic as Batman: Ego is no easy feat, but Cooke—in my opinion—surpassed it with the stunning Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score, an everythinged graphic novel that served as a prequel to the four issues of the amazing Catwoman series he worked on with Ed Brubaker. Thankfully, you don’t have to hunt around for the individual graphic novels. Instead, you can get them both in one fell swoop with the beautiful, Batman: Ego and Other Tales.


Shade the Changing Man

(Everythinged by Steve Ditko, co-written by Michael Fleischer, originally published in 1977 by DC Comics)
Okay, I know. This one wasn’t completely everythinged by Ditko, but he did have a credit as a co-scripter on this short-lived, eight-issue series. I distinctly remember having issue #2 and #5 in my collection as a kid and having no idea what to make of the craziness within those pages. I had seen the adverts for the first issue in the various DC comics I was reading at the time, but I unfortunately never got ahold of it. The issues that I did manage to find blew my socks off with Ditko’s strange, psychedelic worlds and trippy villains. Even the lead character, Shade the Changing Man, was a tad bit frightening when he powered on his “M-Vest” and got totally weird. I have to say, Denizens, reading a Ditko illustrated comic was the closest thing this seven-year-old got to experiencing hallucinations outside of a really bad fever. Dang, now I’m jonesing for a hit of this groovy series, which we can all do by picking up The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1.


That’s it for this installment. Next time, we’re taking a break from the everythingers for a bit and going on to a different topic. See you then!


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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Comics Lust 9/1/2018

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/four-day tranquility hound Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. We have a four-day weekend ahead of us and have to get running to…to…to do nothing. Nothing?! Yes, nothing! No commitments, no travel, and nowhere to be is simply glorious. Because of this, Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I are scheduling up some fresh obligation: get tacos at Corazón Cocina, beer at The Garden, comics reading, movie watching, and maybe a stressfree walk around the neighborhood or something. Yes, indeed, the only obligation is to relax and enjoy life for a change. We’re going to…oh, no…that’s the doorbell. No one move, no one make a sound. Hopefully, whoever it is will go away. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 2)


Most comic book creators either write or they draw, but when you find someone who can do both, well…that’s something worth celebrating. Those writer-artists are what I call everythingers—the comic book equivalent of a unicorn— and they are a rarity. Many everythingers are found in the realm of the indie comics scene, but they occasionally find their way in the more mainstream comic offerings as they make their mark on the world of superheroes. Of course, no superhero comic written and drawn by the same individual is greater than the industry-altering and defining Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but everyone should already be familiar with this seminal work (if not, get out there, buy it, and read it immediately) so I’m not going to retread that well-covered ground. What I am going to bring to your attention are some of the not-as-explosively-successful superhero comics stemming from the writing and illustrating of one person.


Alpha Flight

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
Hot dang, Denizens, My brother and I were so amped for this comic when it first debuted in the early ’80s that we snatched it up the day it appeared on the new release table at Andromeda Bookstore (RIP, good buddy) and stuck around for a good long while afterward. We were huge fans of The Uncanny X-Men and the issues that introduced the various members of the Canadian group Alpha Flight—especially where they teamed up against the Wendigo in issue #140—were among some of our favorites. So, when the bold, yellow cover showing Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Puck, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman, and Marrina pushing aside Marvel’s stable of heavy-hitter superheroes, we knew we had a book we could not pass up. It was exciting to get in on the ground floor of something exciting from an artist we already knew and adored, but then to find out he could build new worlds and write a compelling as hell series sealed the deal. Within the pages, there were heroes, monsters, myth and magic, villains, allies, and adventure abound. We were even teased with other divisions within the Canadian government program: Beta Flight and Omega Flight which had us salivating for more. Whether you read this series back in the day or you recently read one of the collections, the Byrne issues more than stand up to the test of time as some truly great comics. Hey, there’s even an Omnibus if you don’t want to deal with the trades.


Fantastic Four

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
Although Byrne had illustrated many issues of Fantastic Four, issues I still love to this day, it wasn’t until 1981 that he took up both scripting and illustrating on what would become a much-lauded five-year run. It is also a run for which I have far too many gaps. You see, this was before I had discovered my first LCS and my comic buying was limited to whatever I found on the newsstands and spinner racks at the grocery store. So, yeah, there were a lot of holes in my FF reading; something I still need to fix in the near future. That said, the few issues I did have were tremendous. I actually find myself getting pumped just thinking about the Galactus/Terrax issues and the time Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny fought the Shiar Imperial Guard and…and I think I need to remedy this reading gap right now! An updated Omnibus comes out in September and if you search you can find eight volumes of the Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne lurking out in the wild. Best snatch ’em up before I do.


The Sensational She-Hulk

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1985 and then 1989 by Marvel Comics)
You should already be well aware of my love of the Marvel Graphic Novel line of oversized, standalone tales that rocked my world in the early ’80s, and The Sensational She-Hulk is one that I…never picked up. I know, I know, but we can’t buy and read all the books, can we? Well, I guess we can certainly try and I intend to pick this up in the very new future. I also intend to pick up the Byrne everythinged issues of the series that popped up four years later. Hey, Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, figured prominently in Byrne’s historic FF run and the fact that he gave her a graphic novel and bunch of issues in her own series says there must be some exciting She-Hulk stories to tell. I can’t wait to dive in with the two trades.


Namor the Sub-Mariner

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1990 by Marvel Comics)
Another one that I sadly did not pick up on the regular was Byrne’s run on Namor the Sub-Mariner. This series saw the misunderstood and complicated undersea dweller portrayed as an environmental hero seeking to protect the ocean from the perils of pollution by stopping the offending companies in the best way possible: from the boardroom of his own company, Oracle. Don’t let this trick you into thinking Namor won’t strip off the suit and tie in favor of his green-scaled Speedo because when he’s not toiling over mission statements, he’s out punching fools in the face and riding the supervillain known as the Griffin. There’s also some craziness involving Iron Fist who has supposedly been resurrected—wait, he died?! Just kidding, I knew that—that I am very interested in checking out. Byrne, the Sub-Mariner (one of my favorite anti-heroes), Iron Fist (one of my favorite superheroes), the Griffin, fighting pollution and corporate greed? I’m in 100%! You can get these issues in two Namor Visionaries: John Byrne volumes.


The Man of Steel

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1986 by DC Comics)
Five everythinged superhero comics by Byrne?! Yup, you bet your bottom dollar. At least this one is from a publisher other than Marvel, and what a comic it is. Hot off the heels of the tremendous Crisis on Infinite Earths is Byrne’s updating and modernization of DC’s most beloved superhero: Superman. I remember buying the entire six-issue series and finding it to be a bit more than I could handle as a kid at the time, but I respected what was being done with the character and I absolutely loved all of the art; it was just a bit wordy for someone who wanted more punching of bad guys. Now, I better understand what Byrne was doing and I now absolutely love this mini-series. What I did like was the Superman series written and illustrated by Byrne that followed The Man of Steel and had more of the bad guy punching I was looking for. On top of all of this, and a comic that I was sadly not buying, was Byrne’s everythinged run of Action Comics that began with issue 584. Get a load of this, Denizens: Byrne was writing and drawing both Superman and Action Comics at the same freakin’ time! The best way to pick up these monumental Superman books is to get the Superman: The Man of Steel trades. You’ll be happy you did.


I know it seems like John Byrne wrote and drew all the superhero comics back in the day, and he practically did, but next time we’ll look at some other everythingers and their great takes on superheroes. See you then.


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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Comics Lust 8/25/2018

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/frantic panic Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. Birthdays, weddings, and no time to write, oh my! It’s another jam-packed weekend—dang, I’ve had a lot of those lately—so Tulip and Reverse Obie pulled a couple of posts from over 500 entries ago that they thought would be a great interlude between talking about comic books. Most of us have fond memories of walking into our first LCS and getting struck by the comic bug. I’m incredibly nostalgic for those hours upon hours spent in that store, so why not talk about my first greatest of enablers: Andromeda Bookshop. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

My First LCS (An Interlude)


As a kid living in Akron, OH, I always had comics around from a very young age. I’m not completely certain where they had come from, whether my mom or dad bought them for me, or maybe they had been lugging some around for some reason, I’m not sure. All I know is I had quite a collection. Of course, I had your typical Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, The Fantastic Four, The Legion of Superheroes, and The Avengers—the usual superhero fare—but I also had some titles most adults would consider worthy of contacting child protective services.

Would you let your
six-year-old read this?
Yeah, this six-year-old loved to read himself some horror funny books. Weird War Tales, Werewolf By Night, Tomb of Dracula, Man-Thing, Godzilla, The Unknown Soldier, House Of Secretsand House of Mystery all of which completely rocked my world. I recall the odd Richie Richor Casper the Friendly Ghostor Hot Stuff (which I liked…y'know…a devil baby, c’mon) titles kicking around my collection, but for me, the creepier the comic, the better. It’s no surprise Swamp Thing #10 is the issue that solidified my love of comics.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly reading the issues way back then, mostly I flipped through and enjoyed the monster mash show, but that one issue of Swamp Thing…dang, I just could not get enough of it. Swamp Thing made me love comics, but I still only bought my books on occasion off of spinner racks at convenience stores and grocery stores. That was until the day I bought my first issue of The Micronauts—cue the “Hallelujah” chorus from Händel’s Messiah. The amazing Micronauts toyline had utterly consumed me for some time, but the day I saw The Micronauts #2 sitting on the rack at the newsstand, it seized my eyeballs as I seized 35¢ from my mom to buy it up. On the cover, there’s Acroyear, Space Glider, and my soon-to-be-favorite character, Bug, who I prayed would someday be made into an action figure—I’m still waiting. One read through this sci-fi adventure with gorgeous art by Michael Golden, I had suddenly changed from a kid who bought comics willy-nilly, to a monthly buyer and collector.

Oh my gosh!
Deep breaths. Breathe!
My poor parents. I kind of feel sorry for them at this point. Not only did I beg to go to the toy store at the mall, but more so I wanted to go to the newsstand a couple times a week, just on the off chance the latest issue of The Micronauts had arrived. My love and devotion to this series followed me from Ohio to California, where I was still able to find all my new issues at the grocery store, 7-11, and K-Mart. I was happy as could be until the day Micronauts #37 arrived to shatter my world. The death knell of buying comics at grocery stores and newsstands had sounded. The Micronauts was one of the first series to go to the magical realms known as “comic specialty stores” and “select retail outlets,” which made zero sense to my 11-year-old mind. I then entered into what I call The Micronauts Void, a time of uncertainty, panic, and dread that one of the things I loved with my whole heart would forever be beyond my reach.

VICTORY!!!
This period lasted roughly a year and a half until by some weird miracle I found out about Andromeda Bookshop. The first time I set foot in this L-shaped store, I was initially disappointed by the overstuffed shelves of sci-fi and fantasy books, but once you walked further in and hung a right…glory. Before me was a large, square room with cubbies full of comics behind the counter on the left and back walls and new comics on racks to the right. There was also a table in the center that held the week’s new releases, and multiple bundled series climbed the right wall toward the ceiling; we won’t go into the XXX books crammed into the corner. I had found it, my own pirate’s treasure trove. I had entered Olympus itself, and it bore riches beyond my imagining. More importantly, there sitting upon the Andromeda comic racks was that which I coveted beyond all else: a new issue of The Micronauts, #50 to be exact

Dave Sim signing
I have tried to find pictures of Andromeda for
years and finally found one. I was not here for
this event, 
but this is the room. Photo by Ted Mills.
I was back in business. Not only could I buy new books, I could also fill the many gaps in my collection—once I had saved up enough allowance, of course. This would take some time, as new and what would become legendary comics—Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Miracle Man, Watchmen, The Saga of the Swamp Thingand so many more—were dropping like joyfully dark rain upon the gritty concrete streets of darkly dark nights of darkness…hey, it was the theme of the times.

Over at least two summers, my brother and I made the couple-times-a-week walk from our house to the comic store downtown (4.25 miles round trip) so we could torment the employees by making them drag out all The Micronauts, Daredevil, Uncanny X-Men (the Claremont issues, by golly) back issue stacks, so we could marvel at the covers, and bemoan the out-of-our-price-range costs. These journeys were in addition to our mom driving us to Andromeda every Saturday once we had been paid our $2/week allowance. We were obsessed.

Nerds are cool and all, but this nerd
prefers Volcano Rocks.
Admittedly, the walk downtown wasn’t just about the comics; although that was the primary force for making the trek. We also got to stop by the State Street Video Game Arcade to play Bagman, Joust, and Crystal Castles. Then there was a quick visit to the game store inside the Piccadilly Square mall, not to mention spiced potato logs, lime Slush Puppies, and Willy Wonka Volcano Rocks at Fernando’s Market on the way back home…if we had any money left over, which we rarely did.

A few years later, in the mid-eighties, a Goleta Andromeda Bookstore opened on Calle Real and although half of the store was for books, the other half was devoted strictly to comics and was almost as good as the downtown store. It was here that I met Mike Baron, Stan Lee, attended a comic book auction, and discovered Neil Gaiman's Sandman. I loved the store, but to be honest, it could not compare with the downtown location, which was closer to our house, not as humongous in square footage, and had more of “Santa Barbara secret” feeling about it; it was our store. Unfortunately, the Goleta Andromeda did not last very long and closed it's doors a year or two later—it was just too big and too generalized in its product scope.

Andromeda on De La Guerra, eventually shut its doors as well so that it could open a new location on the ever-costly and local-business-crushing State Street. This store was great and had a lot of space as well, but looking back, that was probably working against it; non-negotiable square-footage lease rates are usually Kryptonite to our local businesses that actually need to turn a profit to survive as opposed to writing off the losses as marketing expenses as I suspect is the case of the big chains that litter the downtown area. Also working against the store was the comic implosion of the nineties, where, like the housing market crash a few years ago, gamblers—sorry, I meant investors—snatched up droves of variant and gimmicky covers of really bad comics amidst a flooded comic book market in the hope of becoming rich overnight, which did not happen for the vast majority of people.

Another contributing factor to Andromeda's impending demise was that Metro Entertainment opened a few blocks up the way—off of State Street—and with what I assume was a much cheaper lease; Andromeda finally closed up shop in the early nineties thanks to high rents and the ’90s comic crash. Months before Andromeda shut down, I had already defected over to Metro after visiting the new store on its opening day. It felt more like the friendly neighborhood comic store I had loved so much as a kid and even though the store has since moved across the street, I am still shopping there twenty years later, and despite the uncertainty of the digital age of comics, I hope to still be shopping there for twenty years to come.

I still miss Andromeda, tucked away in its little nook at a time before downtown had morphed into the multinational, high-rent, chain-store soullessness it is today, but thankfully Metro Entertainment came along and I have been shopping there ever since. I also miss the twice a week, 4.25-mile walk downtown with my brother, but now I drive to my LCS and I have big boy money to spend, which given current comic book prices means I can roughly buy about the same number of books as I could back when I was a kid. Goodbye Andromeda, I will never forget you or the fact that you introduced me to some of the best comics ever created. Thank you for the good times and the fond memories.

*note* At one point in Andromeda's history, one of the founders Ralph Holt split from Andromeda to open his own store in Ventura called Ralph's Comic Corner, which is also a GREAT comic shop. I usually make it down there once or twice a year just to look around. Definitely worth a visit.


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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Comics Lust 8/18/2018

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/floatation device drifter Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. And we’re back! From vacation that is. Amy the Intern (my wife), Tulip, and I just got back from a few relaxing days up (way up!) at Lake Arrowhead. While there we ate, read, chilled, read, hiked, and read some more. It was a much-needed break. Reverse Obie stuck around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) to review our trajectory at maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company and in order to binge watch episodes of the Netflix show Aggretsuko, which is a short, animated series that I relate to waaaaayyyy too much. It’s essentially about a cute, soft-spoken, red panda woman whose workplace and life frustrations drive her to levels of frustration that can only be dealt with by singing death metal at a karaoke bar. Wait...what exactly is Reverse Obie trying to tell me? Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Comics by the Poolside (Part 2)


Summer is rapidly coming to an end, which means the days of chilling on the beach and drinking tropical blended drinks you would never dream of consuming back home are also about to end. A return to the job and the unfathomable depths of your full inbox looms ahead as does back to school madness for the kids. Thankfully, we have a bridge, a crutch, a lending hand to ease us through this impending transition. We have a bank of carefree comic book reading by the poolside to carry us along. Great comics saved for just such a time that there were no distractions and we can escape from our escape into exciting new worlds. Here are some great comics to read whether you are on vacation or not.


Space Riders, Volume 2: Galaxy of Brutality

(Written by Fabian Rangel Jr., illustrated by Alexis Ziritt, lettered by Ryan Ferrier, published in 2018 by Black Mask Studios)
Talk about timing. Last year, Amy the Intern (my wife), Tulip, and I all went on vacation to Lake Arrowhead where we stayed at the lovely Pine Rose Cabins. It was there by the poolside that I first experienced the mind-bending, psychedelic, sci-fi glory of Space Riders, Volume 1. Now, just over a year later, and again at the Pine Rose Cabins, by the same swimming pool, I returned to the cosmos to follow Capitan Peligro and his crew of Yara (female robot), Mono (brutal yet enlightened baboon warrior), and Doña Barbara (lovely, mysterious, green-skinned sorceress) aboard the great skull ship the Santa Muerte. This time, the Space Riders have an evil god of destruction to stop and a whole mess of old foes and ne’er-do-wells stand in their way; thankfully, Capitan Peligro has some unexpected help on his side. Gorgeous, trippy art and colors and a no-nonsense story continues to make Space Riders one of the most fun comics I have read in ages. The creators even go all out on the design of the book with a beautiful matte cover, interior pages that look artificially worn, and a color palette that is a mix of Bronze Age comics and ’70s black light posters. All that and you even get a damn space squid to make this series one of my most prized collections. Grab yourself another cold one, and make sure the unicorn pool toy is fully inflated as we embark on this groovy adventure.


Doctor Strange: Damnation

(Written by Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and others; illustrated by Nino Henrichon, Rod Reis, Symon Kudranski, and others; published in 2018 by Marvel Comics)
As you might recall from “Comics by the Poolside (Part 1),” we all went on a quick vacation back in July to Ojai where I read Doctor Strange: God of Magic and absolutely loved it despite not having read a Doctor Strange comic for years. Hot off the heels of that exciting chapter where Strange is pitted against the new Sorcerer Supreme, Loki, comes the thrilling Doctor Strange: Damnation. In this substantial collection, which I also read at the Pine Rose Cabins, sees Strange attempt to set things right after some sort of Marvel event that I never read; turns out you don’t have to have read the event to understand what is happening here. Of course, everything goes wrong and Mephisto now resides in Las Vegas and it is up to Wong to gather a group of heroes who have transcended death to save the day. Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Man-Thing, Brother Voodoo, Blade, Elsa Bloodstone, and ghost dog Bats set out to rescue Strange and stop Mephisto…after they fight their way through demonically possessed citizens and the mightiest of corrupted Avengers. The book is a blast from beginning to end…provided you know the correct reading order, which Marvel confusingly attempts to give you on the indecipherable “Reading Chronology.” Why is this a problem? Well, instead of printing the issues in chronological order, Marvel instead opted to give us Doctor Strange: Damnation #1–4, then Doctor Strange #386–389, then Damnation: Johnny Blaze - Ghost Rider #1, then Iron Fist #78–80, and finally Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #15–17. Why not put them in the proper reading order so you don’t have to flip around and possibly spoil things, and instead leave me to research online the proper reading order?! No idea, but to help a Denizen out, here is the recommended reading order of things for you:

  • Damnation #1
  • Doctor Strange #386
  • Damnation #2
  • Doctor Strange # 387
  • Scarlet Spider #15
  • Damnation #3
  • Iron Fist 78
  • Scarlet Spider #16
  • Johnny Blaze - Ghost Rider #1
  • Doctor Strange #388
  • Iron Fist #79
  • Iron Fist #80
  • Scarlet Spider #17
  • Damnation #4
  • Doctor Strange #389
Don’t let the reading order stuff dissuade you from reading this exciting mini event. Although some chapters are stronger than others—Doctor Strange continues to be amazing, and Iron Fist is fun, too—on a whole Damnation is damn worth your time and money. Best reapply the sunscreen, things are heatin’ up.



Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino: The Deluxe Edition

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Marcelo Maiolo, published in 2016 by DC Comics)
It might be hard for some of you to understand, and you might not believe what I am about to say, but sometimes I make mistakes. I know, I know, it’s true and it happens on very rare occasions. The mistake I made a bunch of years ago was not continuing on with Lemire and Sorrentino’s entire run on Green Arrow. Now, after reading through this must-read collection, I am well aware of the error I made, but I am thankful for getting a chance to hammer through the whole shebang in one fell swoop. My goodness, this book is fantastic in writing, in art, and ultimately for new and old fans of the Green Arrow character. This massive collection contains the New 52 Green Arrow #17–34 as well as a bunch of extra one-shots. You definitely do not need to have read issues 0–17, to follow this story and like me, you can dive right in with this single volume. Here, a deadly archer known as Komodo effortlessly takes everything away from Oliver Queen and the emerald archer is forced to find new allies and to try to find a way to beat a seemingly unbeatable adversary. Oliver’s journey will lead him to life-changing discoveries, devastating conflicts, and ultimately back to the island that made him the hero he is today...among other things. With so many twists and turns and so many jaw-dropping visuals and fight scenes from Sorrentino, you will definitely need to cool off in the pool once you finish reading this hot potato.


Thor, God of Thunder: The God Butcher

(Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Esad Ribic, colored by Ive Svorcina, published in 2014 by Marvel Comics)
Hey, not everything you read by the poolside needs to be new to you. Sometimes you want to read something familiar, something you haven’t experienced for a good long while. That was the case for Thor, God of Thunder. Aaron’s run on Thor is nothing short of epic, and with the cosmic glory that is Ribic and Svorcina’s art, Thor’s battle with Gorr the God Butcher throughout the ages comes across as one of his most unnerving and insurmountable challenges the god of thunder has had to face to date. Although I re-started my journey with Thor while sitting around the pool, I sadly had to leave before finishing and have since taken up the rest of the final chapter (volume 2, Thor, God of Thunder: Godbomb) at the next best place: on the porch while drinking a beer. Hey, sometimes the swimming pool is just gonna have to exist in your mind and a suitable place of peace will have to take its place. Regardless of where you are physically, ALL of Aaron’s Thor books will get you where you need to be mentally.


The Legion, Volume 1

(Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, mostly illustrated by Olivier Coipel, published in 2017 by DC Comics)
I also read this one on the porch, and can happily say it was the perfect environment. This hefty collection contains Legion of Super-heroes #122–125, Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files #2, and Legionnaires #78–81. Now, if you haven’t read the loads of stuff that came before this, I can bring you up to speed by saying that...yeah, no idea, I got nuthin. Although I was a pretty big fan of the Legion throughout the ’80s, I dropped off for a decade or two and I’m only now coming back to the team, all because of Abnett and Lanning. I’m so glad I did. Sure, there are a bunch of characters I had never seen before, but the creators do a great job of both bringing you up to speed and just going with the flow and expecting you to catch up; it wasn’t that difficult to get into the swing of things at all. Here, the Legion faces off against the dreaded, highly-advanced Blight, beings that spread across vast distances of space to take and absorb and convert all into Blight. But can the great heroes of the 30th century stop the very creatures that are rapidly converting the Legion ranks into Blight pawns? Let’s just say their odds aren’t great. This is epic sci-fi space opera at its best, Denizens. When you’re done with this chapter, be sure to pick up The Legion, Volume 2, which I read before the first volume and that covers the fantastic Legion Lost #1–12. If you take a dunk underwater, it’s almost like you are sailing amongst the stars with your very own Legion flight ring...almost.


That’s it for this installment. Now get back to the grind!


This Week’s Reading List

I'm out of time as usual and need to get back to the pool. Here's what I have read thus far:
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #11(Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics)
    Only four more issues until the Mage trilogy comes to an end. I both can’t wait to see how it all ends and dread seeing something I love come to a definitive conclusion.
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Gideon Falls #6
    (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettering and design by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
    Dang, this series gives me the heebie jeebies! Part Ghost Story, part Twin Peaks, all psychological horror. The mysteries continue to build as does my anticipation to see what happens next as the first chapter ends.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Death or Glory #4
    (Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Bengal, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, produced by Erika Schnatz, published by Image Comics)
    Glory has helped Pablo find his sister but their situation goes from bad to worse and getting away from her ex-husband’s…associates…looks to be easier said than done. If Glory can’t get her hands on the money she needs, Pablo might have found the next best thing.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
See you next time!



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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Comics Lust 8/11/2018

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/triple-booked-trouble Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. I did not have time to write a new, full-fledged post, but I am including a revised version of an older post that was a precursor to “Comics Lust”; it definitely fits the mold quite nicely. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics (Part 2)


The idea for the topic of “Great Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Comics” came to me a year and a half ago after listening to the audiobook of The Handmaid’s Tale, which got me thinking about the scourge that is the #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.


V for Vendetta

(Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by David Lloyd, published by DC Comics)
You can’t really start a conversation about important dystopian comics without talking about Alan Moore’s most important work Watchmen, which I already did a couple installments ago. A fantastic runner-up to that industry-changing series is V for Vendetta. Granted, this series was a response to the conservative extremism of England, and Moore—as he states in the introduction to the first issue in 1988—wrote this 1984-esque comic out of the belief that the threat of nuclear war would lead to fascism. Three decades later and a quick hop across the pond, sadly, little has changed. In this important work, the citizenry is under constant surveillance by the ruling fascist regime, and all hope is lost…until a man in a Guy Fawkes mask blows up Parliament and begins to effect change. V for Vendetta is varsity-level comics, Denizens, but there’s a reason this all-too-relevant, dreary tale is considered a masterpiece and you will need to (re)experience it for yourself. The movie wasn’t half bad but you’ll definitely want to read the comic first.


Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

(Written and illustrated by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley, lettered by John Costanza, published by DC Comics)
Remember how I just mentioned the “industry-changing” comic Watchmen? Well, the other massively important work and equally dark tale Batman: The Dark Knight Returns forever changed popular superhero comics. Gone were the days of Batman gleefully spanking a misbehaving Robin, or Superman spanking a misbehaving Lois, or Wonder Woman getting spanked for misbehaving—dang, spanking was all the rage during the Silver Age. The tone had shifted to more dire and desperate subject matter. Here, a much older Batman comes out of retirement to combat a new, more aggressive form of violent street gangs hellbent on turning Gotham City into their own wasteland. All of this while the superpowers of the world (actual countries, not superheroes or supervillains) edge closer to nuclear war. Reading the dialogue of the US President (who bears a striking resemblance to Ronald Reagan) in this book rings all too true when compared to the nonsensical ramblings and lies of #45. If you haven’t read this comic, then you must have recently climbed out of your 1980s bomb shelter, and now’s the time to grab a copy…and then climb right back into that same bomb shelter. The DC Animated version of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Blu-ray is a dang-fine follow-up to the trade, both of which you need to check out.


Y the Last Man

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Pia Guerra, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint)
Given that House Republicans—a group of predominantly white males—not that long ago passed their evil and inhumane healthcare bill, some might take solace by looking to the recent past for a comic book that solved the problem of corrupt males in positions of power. Unfortunately, in this highly-praised series, all decent men were factored into that fix as well. In the phenomenal Y the Last Man, every male mammal on Earth (those with a Y chromosome) simultaneously dies horribly…all males except for college student Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The last two males on the planet are joined by a geneticist and a mysterious Federal agent as they attempt to learn what caused this catastrophe and try to find a way to save the human race. This is a phenomenal sci-fi adventure, and if you are already familiar with Vaughan’s work, then you know to expect startling cliffhangers, splendid characterization, flashes of humor, and moments that will break your heart. What I found most interesting—as mentioned in the first issue—the effect of losing the world’s men all at once varies from country to country: some countries have a robust female navy force, others are better equipped for food production, others have more robust science programs, and so on. Vaughan also touches upon religion, expectations on appearance, and how those formerly oppressed by men carry on. Dang, Denizens, you’ll flip when you see how various groups of women react when they discover that one man still roams the land. <shiver>. I desperately need to reread this great series, and if you missed it the first time around, then I STRONGLY recommend you catch up with the five available trades as soon as possible. It also appears that Y the Last Man is slated to be a television series…fingers crossed we all get to see it as well as read it someday soon.


The Private Eye

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Marcos Martin, colored by Muntsa Vicente, published by Panel Syndicate)
Seeing as how #45 and his ilk are all about repealing net neutrality and infringing on our right to privacy, the easy pill to quell your anxiety and anger—well, at least for a moment—is yet another tremendous Vaughan comic, The Private Eye. In this not so distant futuristic tale, the internet figuratively exploded, exposing everything about everybody: the good, the bad, and the awful. Years after that tragic day, people and government have gone the other direction, the way of extreme privacy. Now, there are no longer cameras at stop lights, many people conceal their identities and physical traits behind elaborate disguises, and exposing someone’s secrets or private life is a most heinous crime. When a woman hires private investigator P.I. to uncover all the skeletons of her past, the situation becomes complicated when that same woman winds up dead. Unfortunately for P.I., the woman’s sister, Raveena, believes P.I. to be the murderer. P.I. quickly learns there’s much more going on than a simple crime of passion, and he and Raveena set out to uncover the truth. The ultra-groovy thing about this 10 issue series is that it was originally a digital-only-first series that you can download for the low-low price of whatever-the-heck-you-want at www.panelsyndicate.com…this includes FREE! That’s right, Denizens, you can read this incredible and beautiful story in its entirety for free! But you wouldn’t do that to these talented creators, right? I gave them $4 per issue, which meant that they directly and immediately reaped the rewards of their work with no printing costs and no middlemen to cut into their profits. How sweet is that!? The Private Eye is a thrilling adventure about what happens when everything, whether you want it or not, becomes public knowledge to all and the world shifts to extreme privacy.


Supergod

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Garrie Gastonny, published by Avatar Press)
With #45 talking trash to a country that operates much like a cult, as he attempts to restart an arms race mostly put to rest three decades ago, why not feast your peepers on a comic where superbeings are the new form of weaponry. The superbeings are for the most part horrific, but what’s more terrifying is seeing the repercussions of the powers-that-be losing control of their weapons. Don’t expect to be smiling after finishing this one, Denizens. At worst, it’ll be difficult to shake the creeping unease Supergods will undoubtedly leave you with. At best, you will be thinking of key moments for days afterward as you draw unnerving parallels to the course #45 wishes to set us upon. Again, this ain’t no feel-good funny book, but it’s one I read every other year or so. Speaking of which, I think I’m due for a reread…the main difference this time is that some of the situations have become more thematically relevant. Egads.


Prez

(Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, published by DC Comics)
Dang…after taking a look at Supergod, I think we all need something to lighten the mood a bit, and what better book to do that than the Donist World Darling Prez. For those of you who enjoyed Russell’s critically acclaimed The FlintstonesPrez is the political satire comic you need now more than ever. Basically, through political greed and manipulations and the fact that corporations are now allowed to run for office, teenager Beth Ross is elected President of the United States of America after the removal of the age limit. Of course, it helped to have the “Corndog Girl” video go viral as well as people being allowed to vote via Twitter. Laugh-out-loud funny, devastatingly accurate, and at times prescient, Prez pulls no punches when examining the desperation of the poor for a better life, corporate power, CEOs gone wild, armchair warfare, healthcare, entertainment, and the horrendous state of American politics. Straight up: I adore this series. If you’ve read Donist World over the past couple years, then you definitely already know this comic stands tall amongst my favorites of faves. I do have a slight disclaimer, though: there are currently only six issues (one trade) of Prez, and it’s doubtful the concluding six issues will ever see the light of day. Yes, DC decided to cancel the maxi-series after the first half—despite critical acclaim—probably because of low numbers and possibly because of the “controversial” nature of the series during the tragically disappointing 2016 election. With a #45 stolen presidency, Prez issues 7–12 could have been a grand achievement for DC, and a collection of the whole shebang could have reached MANY non-traditional comic book readers. But, don’t let that discourage you from checking out the greatness of this first trade, and we’ll all cross our fingers that we someday see the conclusion that Russell and Caldwell intended for this important comic. BETH ROSS FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020!!!


This Week’s Reading List

I haven’t even been able to make it to my LCS this past week, so...ugh. Oh well, more to read next time.

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Comics Lust 8/4/2018

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/leaning towards lunch Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. Again, I’m keeping this short as this Donist needs a shower and a burrito ASAP. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read 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.


***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 1)


Most comic book creators either write or they draw. Oftentimes, they have additional team members who can do anything from inks, to flats, to color rendering, to lettering, to design, to editing. But when you find someone who can both write and draw a comic…well, that’s something rare, something you definitely don’t see every day. Those writer-artists are what I call everythingers—the comic book equivalent of a unicorn—and when they strike gold with a truly fantastic series, it is cause to rejoice.


X-Men: Grand Design

(Everythinged by Ed Piskor, originally published in 2017 by Marvel Comics)
I honestly can’t believe we have this treasure gracing the shelves of our LCS. It’s more along the lines of something you would see back in the day when Marvel was a pre-publicly traded company and hadn’t yet been purchased by the “Mouse.” X-Men: Grand Design has the look and feel of the special, experimental comics of the ’80s when you had the rise of the miniseries, the introduction of the larger form factor Graphic Novels, and the super-rare Big Two crossover comics. The difference being that this six-issue limited series is not just a love letter to that industry-changing time from over three decades ago, but it serves to introduce—and perhaps reintroduce—readers to the world of the X-Men. And here’s the crazy thing: Piskor takes the term everythinger to the extreme. He not only wrote (more on this in a moment), illustrated, inked, colored, lettered, and designed this masterwork of a comic, he also chose the particular paper it is printed upon and the printing process of well. Outside of hand delivering these dang-fine books to the distributor, he did everything. Everything! Each issue is 48-pages printed on a marbled, yellowed, non-glossy, high-weight paper stock with heft and texture you notice the moment you pick up this must-own book. The design and packaging alone are worth the $5.99 price of admission, but once you actually read the comic from page one through to the end, that is when you are completely hooked.
X-Men: Grand Design is a summary of all things X-Men, from times before the first X-Men comic saw the light of day (X-Men: Grand Design #1–2), to the Chris Claremont days that cemented this Donist as an X-Men fanatic (X-Men: Grand Design - Second Genesis #1–2), and finally to the as-yet-to-be-titled-as-of-this-writing third chapter of two issues. So, basically, when all is said and done we will have 288 Piskor everythinged pages that cover at least 500 issues of X-Men comics spanning over 50 years of material and convoluted continuity and presented in a way that makes sense of our favorite Marvel mutants. It’s also a pure joy to read. Criminy! I imagine Piskor’s home looking like a True Detective-esque wallboard of characters, times, and places all connected by crisscrossed, multi-colored string; someone should probably check on the guy to make sure he’s okay...maybe take him a burrito and make sure he’s getting his vitamins. All joking aside, Piskor took a Herculean, nigh-impossible task and not only made it seem easy, he also presented the work in one heck of a gorgeous package; this doesn’t even take into account the oversized “Treasury Edition” (collecting the first two issues) that matches the format of his equally impressive Hip Hop Family Tree collections. X-Men: Grand Design is the real deal. You need this.


The Mighty Thor

(Everythinged by Walter Simonson, originally published in 1983 by Marvel comics)
I have loved Marvel’s Thor ever since I was a kid. I was there gleefully reading along as the Norse God of Thunder fought Jack Kirby’s beautifully designed Destroyer and Mangog. I was thrilled by Mark Gruenwald’s “The Eternals Saga” conclusion and his collaborative efforts with Ralph Macchio that brought in the heralds of Galactus into the fray. I, of course, enjoyed the weirdness of the Doug Moench issues as well. But…the day I saw issue #337 I knew my world was about to be rocked to its core. Here we have a monstrous being dressed in the regalia of Thor, God of Thunder. Not only that, this creature holds Mjolnir which he uses to obliterate the book’s title with one deadly swing. Holy-freakin' moly. Jump to the first three pages of this issue and you see a veiled blacksmith taking the remnants of a star to forge it into something sinister with thunderous strikes of “DOOM” ringing across the cosmos. This is the introduction of not just Beta Ray Bill to the Marvel Universe, but of Simonson as an everythinger on one of the most celebrated Thor runs of all time. Gods and Goddesses. Dark elves and demons. Aliens and dragons. Family strife and Ragnarok. This run has it all with both an epic story and Simonson’s trademark style. I return to this influential run every year or two and continue to fall in love with this grand work again and again. Go for broke with the Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus or you can grab the three recently released trade paperbacks with a fourth releasing soon.


Batman: Year 100

(Everythinged by Paul Pope, originally published in 2006 by DC Comics)
It has been far too long since I read this story and I am definitely due for a reread. For those not familiar with Pope’s intricate detailing and flowing-yet-precise line work and character acting, you should check out his Heavy Liquid, 100%, and Battling Boy comics/graphic novels…after you read this sci-fi Batman tale, of course. In the year 2039, Gotham is still a dystopian city engulfed in violence and cruelty, but there is hope: that hope is the Batman and Detective Gordon. But this is the future, and those heroes we know and love are long gone. This Gordon is the grandson of Jim Gordon, and this Batman is…somewhat of a mystery. This is problematic in a world that no longer has secrets, where everything is known and at the waiting for exploitation; all except the Batman. You can readily pick this up in the recent hardcover or the older trade collections.


DC: The New Frontier

(Everythinged by Darwyn Cooke, originally published in 2004 by DC Comics)
2016 was a shitty year for comics and music…among other things. Many of my real-life heroes died as many real-life villains came to power and influence. One death that hit hard for many was that of Darwyn Cooke. Cooke was a master writer-artist whether he was working on spectacular crime comics like his Richard Stark’s Parker graphic novels or whether he was immortalizing Batman or Catwoman. His greatest, most lauded superhero work can be found in the six issues of DC: The New Frontier. This series retells the origin stories of some of DC’s still popular Golden Age heroes as they leap into the Silver Age. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman come to meet the newer heroes of the ’50s like The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and others ultimately leading them to work together against a grand menace. Beautifully told, masterfully illustrated, and a chronicle of both comic book superhero and world history, DC: The New Frontier is readily available in trade format, as well as an animated feature film for you to celebrate this pillar of comic book excellence.


Machine Man

(Everythinged by Jack Kirby, originally published in 1978 by Marvel Comics)
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t yet talked about any of Jack “King” Kirby’s works before now (with the possible exception of my much-loved The Demon). The truth is that writing about Kirby is kind of a daunting and intimidating thing. Here we have the guy whose work was all over my ever-expanding comic book collection as a kid, whether it was The New Gods, Omac, Devil Dinosaur, or the tons of other titles. No matter what book you were reading, if it was drawn by Kirby, you had something heavenly in your hands. His work was always there to excite you with wide-eyed men screaming as they reached off the page toward you while some of the coolest and most inventive monsters and robots you have ever seen threatened to destroy the world amidst a backdrop of gorgeous “Kirby Krackle”. So, when you have one of those insane robots end up being not just a ’70s superhero but a veritable Swiss Army Knife of gadgets and weaponry, you have a character that had young-Donist trembling with excitement to learn all about him. I was not disappointed. Machine Man is the last surviving X-51 robot and everyone is after him. With telescoping limbs, fire knuckles, and a whole host of other weaponry, Machine Man the Living Robot, takes on the Army and alien robots while trying to protect his human friends and establish his own identity in the world. More importantly, HE TURNS INTO A DANG MOTORCYCLE! I love all nine of Kirby’s issues and now need to get ahold of issues 10–19, which were written by Tom DeFalco and Marv Wolfman and illustrated by none other than Steve Ditko. Thankfully, you can get the whole kit and kaboodle in the recently released Machine Man: The Complete Collection.


That’s it for now, but there’s definitely much more to cover in future installments of “Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics.” See you next time.


This Week’s Reading List

I had eight books in my pull this week and I have only read the below four thus far. I’m out of time, I need a shower, and I dang-well need to eat something. Here's what I have read thus far:


  • Seven to Eternity #10
    (
    Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics)
    Man, I don’t even remember the last time this book came out, but I’m glad it’s back. The God of Whispers and Adam Osidis travel Zhal and are getting along a little bit too well. Stunning, gorgeous art, and a thrilling story that is well worth the wait.
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Mister Miracle #10(Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics)
    Not much happens this issue in the way of action, but that is 100% fine as Big Barda and Mister Miracle struggle with Darkseid’s conditions to end the war.
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #2(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Dylan Burnett, colored by Antonio Fabela, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    Hot off the presses, following the fantastic Thanos Wins, Cosmic Ghost Rider is back with a toddler Thanos involuntarily by his side. We get a bit more history behind Frank and Galactus’s partnership, and the cliffhanger ending promises to keep things good and weird.
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Death of the Inhumans #2(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    I dropped off the Inhumans side of things a long time ago, but Cates and Olivetti deliver an intense rollercoaster ride that succeeds in making me a Black Bolt fan. The cliffhanger is a shocker and I desperately need to see what happens next.
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Peace out, Denizens!


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