Sunday, December 30, 2018

Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup - Part 2

(Sung to the tune of Enigma’s “Sadeness”)

Chanting. Ummm…yeah, uh…a bunch of Latin-sounding stuff that I don’t understand, but the perfect soundtrack for contemplating the things we love. Welcome to…

Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup - Part 2!

Hey there, Denizens, and a soon to be Happy New Year! I am joined as ever by CFO Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier, whose surly attitude changed for the better after his fur colors swapped when a corrupt businessman’s curse backfired) and by marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/New Year kibble nibbler Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). We hope you enjoy the top 20 heavenly things of 2018 while Reverse Obie, Tulip, and I take our past-due “long winter’s nap” before mapping out the course of our lives for the coming year.

***Probably NOT Spoilers Below***

If you have a moment, check out our past FSoH/SitW Year-End Roundups to see all things heavenly including Part 1 for 2018. Now, keep in mind that some of the items listed below might have come out before 2018, but 2018 was the year that we read, watched, drank, or ate them, thus their inclusion here. We at Donist World, thank you for reading and hope you enjoy our selections as much as we do.

Donist World 20 Heavenly Things (In No Particular Order)

1) 11 O’Clock Comics (Podcast)

Yup, still my favorite podcast after all these years. You catch that? Not just my favorite comic book podcast, my favorite podcast. Period. David, Jason, Vince, and the occasional special guest have helped me get through some dreadful times at a job long past and currently make my work commute infinitely more tolerable. They discuss everything from current mainstream comics, to lesser-known titles, to books of the past, to the comics industry as a whole, to other media, and regularly have comic creators take up the fourth chair. I’ve never met these cats, but they feel like family at this point and I adore their show…even though they are wrong about The Goon...just sayin’. I contribute to their Patreon, and you should too.

2) The Last Podcast on the Left (Podcast)

While we’re on the subject of podcasts…Marcus, Ben, and Henry also seem like my younger brothers from other mothers. If you are looking for a podcast that is laugh-out-loud funny while being painstakingly researched on such topics as serial killers, cults, cryptids, conspiracy theories, UFOs, and the supernatural, then look no further. I will admit that it took two episodes for me to fully get into the show, but once it became clear how much work they put into each installment and how informative each one is, I was 100% in. Over the past two years, I’ve listened to all 340+ episodes—some multiple times—made my wife a believer, and have been contributing to their Patreon for almost a year now. You can also visit their site here.

3) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Movie)

Talk about a complete surprise. I first heard about this one earlier in the year and I honestly wrote it off as a Meh, maybe I’ll watch it when it comes to streaming. Then the buzz started happening. Work colleagues who don’t care about comic books or movies about comics were carrying on about it, and reviewers I trust and follow were going crazy about it as well. I decided why not check it out. HOLY MOLY! It is a masterpiece. Everything from animation, music, and most importantly story contributed to a cinematic triumph that is not only the best animated film I saw in 2018 but one of the best films I have EVER seen. I cannot wait to rewatch and to pick up the Blu-ray whenever it is released. Definitely, see it on the big screen with a great sound system, you will be so glad you did.

4) The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling (Graphic Novel)

My brother surprised me with this book for my birthday. I had never heard of the publisher or the creators and I had no idea that this book even existed until he placed it in my grubby mitts. This well-researched book explores the roots of wrestling from back in prehistoric times to carnival sideshows to the current multibillion-dollar industry it is today. Jeff and I became fanatics right around the time of the WWF’s Wrestlemania II and followed for many years after. This book touches upon not just those halcyon days, but well before and well after. I especially enjoyed learning about the insane business dealings and inside politics of “The One True Sport.” Whether or not you are a wrestling fan this is one you should check out. (Created by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno, published by Ten Speed Press)

5) Kingdom Rush: Vengeance (iOS Game)

One franchise of tower defense games will rule them all! Kingdom Rush sucked me in. Then came Kingdom Rush: Frontiers followed by Kingdom Rush: Origins. Heck, Ironhide Game Studio even took a fun-as-all-get-out leap into outer space with Iron Marines, but now they’re back on Earth with their latest installment Kingdom Rush: Vengeance! This time around, you take the side of the evil Vez’nan as you control goblins, dark elves, the undead, and all manner of hellishly cute creatures as they strike back. I am already anxiously awaiting updates to my favorite iOS game franchise of all time.

6) Avengers: Infinity War (Movie)

After years of building off of the massive success of the first Iron Man film, the moment I never thought would see (I also never thought I’d see an Iron Man movie) finally arrived: Thanos on the big screen. All the Avengers, Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Spider-Man somehow broke through oppressive corporate nonsense to come together to face their most dire foe. Their meeting was better than anything I could have ever hoped for. After nearly two and a half hours of action and thrills and staggering shocks, I left the theater completely exhausted and not sure how to process the tragic (yet completely expected by this comic book fan) events of the movie. I will be taking the day off of work the Friday the sequel debuts so I can grab lunch, have a few beers, and see how it all ends.

7) Thanos Wins (Graphic Novel)

Donny Cates has been blowing me away for the past year and a half. He has been crushing it with his Marvel work on titles like Doctor Strange, Damnation, Venom, and The Death of the Inhumans. He even wowed the Donist World puppy executive team with Cosmic Ghost Rider, a character he created (or rather, created off of previously created characters and concepts), but what blew us away the most was the series that introduced that character in the first place: Thanos Wins. Now, I’ve said many times, that Jim Starlin is the only one who has ever really handled Thanos to my satisfaction, but then Cates comes in and gives us a tremendous look at what happens when Thanos gets what he has always wanted. We finally see what happens when Thanos wins. I am definitely rereading this early in the new year. (Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw and others, published by Marvel Comics)

8) Deadpool 2 (Movie)

I always thought the character of Deadpool was…whatever. He was fine, but not something I really gave much thought about. Then I saw the first Deadpool movie. Oh. My. Gawd. I was laughing so hard I was crying, and that was during the opening credits. The rest was even better. Then came the sequel. I don’t know what it says about me, maybe it’s the times, but I had little hope for what the sequel would bring. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. Deadpool 2 was every bit as good as the first with the introduction of Cable (Josh Brolin...awesome) and Domino (Zazie Beetz...awesome…and gorgeous) and the rest of “X-Force.” I just watched this for a second time a couple days ago and I’m already gearing up for a third. Great action, great comedy, great thrills, oh my!

9) Marvel on Netflix (Television)

Yeah, I know, I’m totally cheating, but it’s my list and I can do whatever the hell I want, including lumping a bunch of great shows into one category. Daredevil season three was definitely the best of the four series we saw this year, but Jessica Jones was exciting, Luke Cage was consistently better than the first season, and Iron Fist miraculously rallied into something I thoroughly enjoyed after the fairly-awful first season gave one of my favorite Marvel superheroes a thousand-palms strike to the midsection. Man, I was even thoroughly stoked for the hinted at third season of Iron Fist…only to find all of the series had been canceled. WTF?!?! We’ll see what happens in the new year, but my hopes for a Heroes for Hire or Daughters of the Dragon series are probably going to be dashed.

10) Unnatural (Graphic Novel)

Whoa! Oh my. Excuse me as I fan myself, for I do believe I have the vapours. My goodness. First off: not for the kiddies and NSFW. Lordy no. Just look at the cover and you will get a hint as to why. This is a world where anthropomorphic animals run the show, and some of them—specifically the star, a pig girl named Leslie—are S-E-X-Y as hell. Leslie works a dumb job, spends time with her housemate, obsesses over sushi, and often dreams about her big, bad wolf. The problem with Leslie’s involuntary fantasy is that the totalitarian government (ugh, so much totalitarianism these days) has decreed that interspecies relationships (and homosexual relationships, for that matter) are “unnatural” and a punishable crime. Breathtaking art and colors bring to life this beautiful statement about love and the perils of oppression in a twelve-issue series from the hyper-talented Mirka Andolfo. Part social commentary and part drama with a dash of the supernatural, Unnatural is a thrilling and sexy-as-hell comic that I can’t wait to see more of in 2019. (Everythinged by Mirka Andolfo, published by Image Comics)

11) Spider-Man (PS4 Game)

Sigh. I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t. But I know The Last of Us 2 is going to be coming out someday hopefully soon, and Best Buy was having a sale on the PS4. I bought one. For $199.99, I got a PS4 bundle that came with the new(ish) Spider-Man game and I was in no way ready for the experience. Yes, the story is great, the animation is gorgeous, and it’s mighty satisfying to web some fool to a wall before he knows what hit him, but the highlight of this game is being Spider-Man as he swings all across New York City. Man, climbing to the tippy-top of a skyscraper, leaping off into the vast sky, plummeting down countless stories only to catch yourself at the last minute with a strand of webbing before swinging to a senses-shattering leap across the park to land atop a light post before striking down some muggers?!?! Okay, beating up the muggers is fun, too. This game is pure joy and I still have so much to see and do.

12) Extremity Volume 2: Warrior (Graphic Novel)

The first volume of Extremity took my breath away in 2017 and the final, concluding volume did the same in early 2018. An odd mixture of Hayao Miyazaki’s manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and the film Mad Max: Fury Road, Extremity follows Thea of the Roto clan as she continues her path of bloody vengeance against a rival clan that took her family and her greatest gift. The cycle of revenge and violence will never cease unless Thea can somehow change, and change is never easy. This is the book that turned me on to Daniel Warren Johnson who is now not just one of my favorite artists, but one of my favorite writers as well. I truly hope Extremity one day gets the oversized hardcover volume it so rightfully deserves. Brutal, haunting, yet beautiful all the same. This one is a must-read, must-own series. (Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, published by Image Comics)

13) Space Riders, Volume 2: Galaxy of Brutality (Graphic Novel)

Okay, Denizens, dim the lights, pop a relaxing edible, finish that glass of beer/wine before pouring yourself a fresh one, and embrace your chill. Be sure to have some prog rock playing to fully embrace the mood…before having the needle on the record scratch and sharply kick into some late-’70s/early-’80s, melt-your-face-off heavy metal as you jump forward in time while simultaneously traveling backward to four-color, cosmic COMIC CALAMITY!!! That is what reading the mindbending awesomeness of Space Riders is like, a warm, velvet-gloved hand slapping you across the face. Join Capitan Peligro and the crew of the Santa Muerte as they right the evils corrupting the galaxy. Kirby meets LSD while under a black light. You need to read volume one first, before diving in deep on this fun as hell series. Fuck, yeah! (Written by Fabian Rangel Jr., illustrated by Alexis Ziritt, published by Black Mask Comics)

14) The House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)

This massive tome was a birthday present to myself this year and I’ve been loving every one of its 860+ pages. This thing isn’t the easiest to read—it sure does weigh a lot—but it is so very worth it. With stories of horror and general creepiness from the ’70s as narrated by horror host extraordinaire Abel (of Cain and Abel fame), I have but five issues remaining until I reach the end. Of what I have read thus far, I would say that roughly 85% of the stories are great with the rest being merely good. Inside, you will find such talents as Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Don Heck, Jim Aparo, and so very many others. I can only hope a second volume arrives soon, but I will merrily pass the time reading the companion book The House of Mystery: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Volume 1 when it releases next week. (Written and illustrated by various, published by DC Comics)

15) Invincible Compendium, Volume 3 (Graphic Novel)

I originally read Invincible in trades but fell off the series around volume 14. No reason why. I still adored the book, I just lost track of things. Then, years later, I heard it ended and it got me remembering about what I had been missing. So, I got all three compendiums and read them back to back. Oh, my stars and garters, had I been missing out. This ultra-violent story of young Mark Grayson finally coming into his superhuman powers and becoming a superhero who has to navigate secret identities, legacies, parental baggage (which is extensive to say the least), love, duty, betrayal, and so much more, ended up being one of the best superhero sagas I have ever read, and it’s not even one of the Big Two. I will also say that the finale is one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read. Well worth reading all 144 issues from beginning to end in one fell swoop. (Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker, published by Image Comics)

16) Black Hammer Library Edition, Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)

As a huge Jeff Lemire fan, I have to admit I definitely lagged a bit on picking this one up. I’m not sure what the holdup was, but when I finally read the first trade, I instantly understood exactly what I had been missing. Black Hammer is essentially a love letter to the comics of old that celebrates superhero/horror/mystery genres by featuring new characters who are amalgamations of the classic Marvel and DC characters we all know and love. In Black Hammer, a group of heroes is trapped in a mysterious, lone town in the country where they have to hole up and try not to be discovered by the normal townsfolk. But even after the greatest of them is killed while attempting to leave the area, some begin to grow accustomed to rural life while others will do anything to escape it. This series is one of my top five comics currently being published and I love the various spin-offs as well. When this greatly oversized volume stuffed with extra goodies was released, I knew it had to be mine. There’s a reason why this series has been optioned for both movies AND television. Take the plunge and get it, get it, get it!

17) The Venture Bros. Season 7 (Television)

Wow. It’s been a good, long while since we last heard of The Venture Bros. so imagine my surprise when I did a random search online only to find that the first new episode in years was dropping in less than two weeks. Joy. The Venture Bros. is animation gold that is 100% for adults and rightfully so—especially given the Eyes Wide Shut-esque episode that had full-frontal nudity throughout. I have been with the show for nearly fifteen years now, and I will be with it until it ends while laughing time and time again with each rewatch. For those unfamiliar, The Venture Bros. follows the Venture Family: Dr. Venture, a former “boy adventurer” and now an ethically-challenged super scientist forever overshadowed by his father’s legacy; Hank and Dean Venture, Dr. Venture’s sons who tend to get into all sorts of trouble be it lizardmen, villains, or the prospect of girls; Brock Samson, the Venture family’s murderous bodyguard; and H.E.L.P.eR., a oftentimes useless robot. The Ventures are constantly under threat from b-list villains, like the Monarch, and their endless supply of henchmen. Basically, it’s a modern, comedic twist on Jonny Quest with curse words, satire, nudity, laugh-out-loud goofiness, and a whole lot of pokes at all the pop culture I love. So very good!

18) Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Television)

I was crazy for the Afterlife with Archie comic when it came out so many years ago, and I was equally thrilled by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina when it, too, was released. I LOVED the new horror twist on Archie and was always eager for the next issue…until they stopped coming altogether. That was a few years ago. Now, we at least get somewhat of a bone thrown our direction with the Netflix release of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Although not exactly as dark and doom-ridden as the comic, the television show is an immense and welcome surprise. Everyone has their moment to shine in this series with Kiernan Shipka stealing the show. Scary, funny, touching, and thoroughly entertaining, Sabrina tends to pay homage to many of the great horror films of the past, while offering plenty of clever commentary about society and religion as the menace of Satan looms in the wings. A great Christmas special just came out to tide us over until the series returns in April 2019!

19) Deadly Class (Television)

You all know I’m a huge fan of Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class comic, but I was a little worried when I heard that SYFY had picked up the rights to the television show. After seeing the advance premiere of the pilot episode, it is safe to say I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The show does not pull any punches in regard to the action and violence seen in the comic and it remains set in the ’80s with a kickass soundtrack that matches the time period. Every actor perfectly encapsulates their role and although there are some minor plot changes here and there, the pilot completely rings true to the comic and does what it is supposed to do: it leaves me desperate for the next episode. Dang! Best buckle your seatbelts, this one is going to be a helluva ride.

20) Beer (Beer)

As always, let’s close out with a look at the beers that wowed me the most in 2018. Some of these will pop up year-after-year, while others make their shiny first appearance:

  • Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) (Imperial stout aged in Bourbon Barrels from Founders Brewing Co.) - Man, this one came and went too fast. At least I have two bottles left until this tried and true Donist World darling returns.
  • w00tstout 2018 (Imperial stout from Stone Brewing) - Hells yes! They put this out in six-packs! Hells no! I only got one six-pack and never found anything other than a single 22oz bomber after that. You came and went too fast w00t, much too fast.
  • Pliny the Elder (Double IPA from Russian River Brewing) - Finally. We are finally starting to see more Russian River beers here in town. I have had Pliny on draft at a tap room and bought a bottle at another. Still one of my top three beers.
  • Pump[KY]n (Imperial pumpkin porter aged in bourbon barrels from Avery Brewing Co.) - I had this one two days after my birthday while watching Avengers: Infinity War at home. It might be $14.99 for a 12oz bottle, but this baby packs an 18.6% ABV punch. Man, I love this one.
  • Spruce Tip Sculpin (IPA with spruce tips from Ballast Point Brewing Company) - Yes, I know they’re almost considered “Big Beer” because of their partial buyout, but dang if this update on the classic Sculpin isn’t all sorts of great. A perfect beer for the holidays.
  • Celebration Fresh Hop IPA (IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) - Speaking of great holiday beers, this classic never gets old…especially since it’s about to vanish from store shelves until next year. Time to get some more.
  • Big Bad Baptista (Imperial stout from Epic Brewing Co.) - I wish I had bought a few more bottles of this super-duper stout aged in whiskey barrels with vanilla, cinnamon, Mexican coffee, and cacao nibs. Damn, this one’s good.

That wraps up this year’s roundup. If you think of anything I should be reading, watching, playing, or drinking, then please let me know. I hope you had a fantastic 2018 and I wish you all the best for 2019! Thank you for reading.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup! (Part 1)

(Sung to the tune of The Sound of Music's “My Favorite Things”)

Death by sweet hot licks and shredding hot metal
Black Barns in farmlands and cities unsettle
X-Men through history perfection sings
These are a few of my favorite things

Robots and humans at war out in deep space
Vaughan and Fiona stream tears straight down your face
Venom and the Hulk true horror they bring
These are a few of my favorite things

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank expand on a classic
That book by Tom and Mitch is freakin’ fantastic
Desperate heroes vanquishing Mud Kings
These are a few of my favorite things

Diamond misships
Then my beer spills
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Slice of Heaven For the Year!

Happy holidays, Denizens! Oh, what a year it has been. From December 2017 until mid-November 2018, things were kind of rough for the Donist. I lost my Grandma, my uncle, my other uncle, there were fires, floods, mudslides, more fires, evacuating in the night during a 104-degree heatwave, Tulip and I were attacked by a couple of pit bulls, and all sorts of chaos that I did not want in my life, including the scourge that is the Dotard in Chief.

Thankfully, we had a few sources of light to guide us through this dark period, one of which being an unending flow of great comics. So, take this time to retreat to your bunker of deflection, that place where no invading relatives can disrupt your chill. Grab a winter warmer beer, or whip up some smooth-as-silk hot chocolate and be sure to line up some tacos (or X-Mas tamales, if you got ‘em) and have at the ready some gingerbread cookies (with the oh-so-crunchy frosting), and settle in to read about the comics that rocked our world the most throughout 2018. Then, once you’re done, create your own top ten list and let me know about your favorites if you’re so inclined. I should also mention that if you hear a pounding on your bunker door, ignore it. It’s probably just Uncle Billy Joe Jim Bob—who invited him over this year anyway?—desperately wanting to edumacate you on some sort of bullshit or other (witch hunts, the myth of climate change, the Dotard is innocent, HER emails, etc.), but the pounding should stop once he passes out; he did drink a full bottle of sweet vermouth, after all (gross). You have our permission to take some time for yourself and to take a deep calming breath before letting go of all those worries for just a little while.

***Probably NOT spoilers below***

If you have a moment, check out our past Slice of Heaven Year-End Roundups to see what’s stayed the same and what’s changed over the years. I had quite a few pleasant surprises this year, so let’s get to it!

Donist World Top 10 Favorite Comic Series of 2018 (In No Particular Order)


(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics)
What can I say, Descender continues to be my favorite comic year after year. But this is the final year that you will see this transcendent sci-fi series on the “Year-End Roundup.” If you are not reading this amazing series, then you might assume this is because the series has ended, that it is done, that it is terminé. Well, you are correct and wrong. Descender, the first chapter of Lemire and Nguyen’s story, has indeed ended, but the second chapter, Ascender, will begin at some point in the first half of the new year. This series has all of the right components of an epic space opera that gives me the right kind of chills: robots, giant robots, aliens, spaceships, mysterious worlds and beings, and a crew of characters I positively adore. Descender is the tale of TIM-21, a boy companion-bot who awakens after being “asleep” for 10 years to a universe that was decimated by the Harvesters, enigmatic robots the size of moons that rained down devastation before vanishing as quickly as they appeared. Robots then were deemed too dangerous to exist and scrappers rose up to capture and kill them all. But TIM-21 might hold the key to stopping the deadly Harvesters. Lemire’s story is fantastic and Nguyen’s otherworldly, watercolored artwork is a thing of pure beauty that you have to see to believe. I will definitely be rereading the six trades of this remarkable series before the eagerly anticipated Ascender arrives.

Murder Falcon

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, published by Image Comics)
F_ yeah! I am throwing up some devil horns and banging my head to a heavy metal anthem no one else can hear as I think about this damn fine series. So. Much. Shred! Okay, okay, Murder Falcon is the story of Jake, a once up-and-coming heavy metal guitarist whose life completely fell apart after a tragedy, prompting him to give up music in its entirety. Now, he pretty much exists in a state of perpetual malaise. Unfortunately, the world is also beset by gigantic, deadly monsters but when one of these monsters threatens to kill Jake, a magical guitar appears along with a muscular, humanoid falcon with a mechanical arm: Murder Falcon. Jake and Murf (as Jake calls him) are connected and the more Jake shreds on the guitar, the stronger Murder Falcon becomes. But the monsters are getting bigger and deadlier and Jake might have to get the band back together with magical, musical instruments of their own. If this description isn’t the most out-there thing you’ve heard all week, then I’ll be a monkey’s uncle (what the hell does that phrase even mean?). I only recently discovered the oh-so-gorgeous works of Daniel Warren Johnson, and I have to say that he is now one of my all-time-favorite artists and someone I MUST figure out how to get a commission from. He’s also a freakin’ helluva writer and an impressive heavy metal guitarist to boot. I am with this series until the kick-ass end.


(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, published by Marvel Comics)
Not only is there a Marvel superhero book on my top-ten list, but a freakin’ comic starring Venom?!?! I never thought I’d see this day. I’ve always thought Venom was fine as a bad guy or good guy or whatever the hell he’s been for so many years, but it was definitely Cates’s name that grabbed my attention more than that of the character. So, even without a clue as to what came before, I gave it a try and I’m so glad I did. You don’t need to know what happened in the past, as Cates quickly lets you know that Venom (the alien symbiote) has once again bonded to Eddie Brock—the original Venom—and that despite the alien somewhat being a major factor in the destruction of Brock’s personal life, it also allows him to lead a somewhat superheroic life and the two are forever entwined. But the situation becomes dire as a cosmic god of the symbiotes awakens an ancient creature previously trapped on Earth, and Venom will be forced into a fight for the fate of their world. Cates is another creator I recently discovered and one whose entire catalog of work I am attempting to track down. Cates weaves a story that is part redemption, part superhero, part horror while Stegman gives us some of the most spectacular action sequences blended with a solid storytelling prowess to give us one of the most thrilling titles Marvel currently has to offer. These creators have made me a believer. Check out the first trade.

Mister Miracle

(Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics)
Mister Miracle began in 2017 and recently concluded in what has been a fascinating take on this B-list superhero/New God. Even if I decided to tell you how this series ended, I would definitely have to think on it for a bit, as the creators gave us much to ponder. What I will tell you is that the series begins after Scott Free, Mister Miracle, has failed at a suicide attempt. His wife and fellow superhero/New God, Big Barda, is the one who finds Scott and the two have to move on from there. The series deftly juggles topics of life and death, hope and despair, family obligations, duty, dysfunctional families, war, politics, careers, fate, and so much more. Gerads beautifully illustrates the entire series in a nine-panel grid format and at times adds a mysterious visual effect that continuously reminds readers that something is not quite right in Scott Free’s world. I was captivated by Mister Miracle from beginning to end and it is no wonder that it was one of this year’s critically-acclaimed darlings. Oh, my stars and garters. This one was a trip and a half to read and one I eagerly await rereading in a solid 12-issue chunk. Let’s hope we one day get a hardcover collection for this masterwork from King and Gerads.


(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics)
Oh, for the love of…I’m pissed. I am so pissed! Not because the creators have opted to take at least a year off for a hiatus after the completion of the ninth story arc (nine trades are now available to read). No, that’s not what’s got me in a tizzy. I am upset because of what the creators have done to one or more characters in the final issue of said story arc. You DON’T do that to ______ and ______. It’s mean, it’s cruel, it breaks my freaking heart, it makes sense to the story, it’s been hinted at since the beginning, it’s…dammit! It’s what had to happen. Yes, I know that, but…arrrrgh…it still hurts! This is what reading Saga is like. You positively love and adore these characters. They become family, even as you watch them make incredibly bad decisions, you still love and wish them the best. Sometimes, Vaughan and Staples have you crying because you are laughing so hard (Fard), or crying because you are made so uncomfortable and grossed out (the dragon), or just plain crying because a very real tragedy strikes. The thing about this series is that the creators instill this emotional investment in their comic beginning in the first issue and that feeling carries through to issue #54. The combination of Vaughan’s honest and heartfelt scripting and Staples’s gorgeous painting—I still can’t figure out how she actually pulls off the imagery found in this amazing title—roped me in years ago, and although I know the future will hold plenty more heartache I cannot see this fine book not being in my life. I can’t wait for its return.

X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis

(Everythinged by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics)
Things that surprised me about X-Men Grand Design: that Marvel allowed it to be made in the first place; that Piskor is able to take decade after decade of convoluted material that is at times contradictory and that is cherished by its fans and refine it all down into what will eventually be six oversized issues; and that Marvel would give Piskor full control over every aspect of the book right down to the quality paper stock. The thing is…this book works on every imaginable level. The textured, artificially aged look of this impeccably designed and produced book lets you know you have something different the second you crack open the cover. But once inside, you see that Piskor knows his subject matter, that he has every panel of every page plotted out to an obsessive degree. He widdles down 100s of issues into one and the story makes sense and keeps you thoroughly enthralled. Then you have his masterful illustrations that perfectly blend the Indy style those familiar with his Hip Hop Family Tree have come to love with flat-colored, Bronze Age, superhero glory. One small thing that means the world to me is when Piskor brings in solid white for certain characters (Iceman) and special moments (explosions) that show the power of using piercing white at just the right time. The final two issues are coming out in 2019, and I will eagerly be awaiting their release. Two oversized collections are out that demand to be placed on your most prized shelf.

The Immortal Hulk

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Joe Bennett, published by Marvel Comics)
Three Marvel books on my top-ten list?!?! I’m as shocked as you are, but it’s totally deserved; this isn’t even considering a trade or two I’ll be looking at in part 2. I will say that it was the premise that originally lured me in on the first issue. Think of it this way: what if you take the Hulk, make him an unkillable force of nature that seeks to stop evil permanently, and thus morph the tone of this widely-known character into a superhero horror book? There was no way I could resist. I honestly expected this series to be a train wreck that I would have abandoned after the first issue, but Ewing completely pulled me in as the Hulk sought revenge against a normal person on behalf of a normal person who could not seek justice on their own. It’s a dark issue but I had to see this bad guy brought low and see it we did. Bennett knows when to come in close to shock the reader and when to pull out wide to continue shocking the reader, all the while delivering the drama and excellent storytelling to keep you from being able to turn away. The other stories thus far push the scary and unnerving angle ever further and The Immortal Hulk shines for it. My only nitpick is that I would rather see superhero guest appearances kept to a minimum and the focus kept on one or two-issue story arcs—with a broader story building in the background, of course—and keep the focus on Banner and the Hulk, while keeping a rich, unsettling feeling looming throughout. There’s a very good reason everyone is raving about this book, and you can leap in with the first trade.

Seven to Eternity

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, published by Image Comics)
I’ve been in love with Seven to Eternity since its release in 2016. A strange, new world of magic where a single person seeks to control it all as a lone family refuses to bend the knee and side with this so-called Mud King, this God of Whispers. Then there’s the dwindling group of beings in possession of great abilities seeking to thwart the tyrant in a last-ditch effort to free everyone from the Mud King’s influence. This was not all. It’s also written by my hero, Rick Remender, and so gorgeously illustrated by Jerome Opeña, who gives as much intimate detail to the background as he does to his stunning character designs with every page being something truly spectacular to behold. Seven to Eternity was everything I could ever want in a comic. Then the delays came and we waited almost a year for the next issue to arrive, which happened in August of 2018. I was bummed about it up until the time I cracked the cover and saw Opeña’s lovely art and I remembered (mostly) why I love this book so much. I need a reread as soon as possible and you should check out the first two trade when you can.

Gideon Falls

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by Image Comics)
Lemire and Sorrentino, the same creators who brought The Green Arrow and Old Man Logan to life, join together to bring a comic series that is like a more horror-tinged Twin Peaks. A couple issues in and it was optioned for television after a bidding war. What more do you need to know? Gideon Falls tells the tale of a priest with a mysterious past coming to live in a small town that has been plagued throughout history by the occasional appearance of a Black Barn that brings death and despair. However, in the city, a presumably mentally ill man scours the area’s trash for fragments of the Black Barn, which has appeared and disappeared there as well, but when his psychotherapist also begins to see things, the pair begins to seek answers. All will converge as the madness grows and the Black Barn slides into view. Phew! I will warn that you need to be ready to tackle this one as it is definitely a cerebral journey that will leave you reeling in its wake. That’s why I’m thrilled to reread all the available issues back to back to see what clues or patterns I can find in this bizarre and engrossing psychological thriller. There’s currently only one trade available to catch up on, which you should definitely do.

Doomsday Clock

(Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, published by DC Comics)
Yeah, there’s been a bit of a delay between issues, but I am still loving this follow up to Alan Moore’s seminal work Watchmen. Doomsday Clock is also a bridge of the heroes of the DCU and those of Watchmen’s universe, which sounds kind of…not appealing…at first, but then you have to take into account the creators involved. Both the narrative and the visuals flow very well from the inspiring work and although the premise might seem a little hokey at first, rest assured it is not. The DCU is in shambles as Superman, Batman, and the other surviving heroes find the world on the brink of nuclear war with an ever-increasing blame being shifted towards the heroes. Sound somewhat familiar to Watchmen. This is by design. Throughout the eight available issues thus far, we jump around from Rorschach to Batman to Ozymandias to Superman and back while being introduced to two of the coolest new villains I have ever seen: Marionette and the Mime. I won’t lie, this one is bleak, but it is definitely thrilling and despite what the naysayers say, many of whom probably haven’t even given this maxiseries a try, I am loving every page of it. I have no idea how Johns and Frank intend to bring it all home in the final four issues, but I do know I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I’m 100% in.

But wait, I’m sure there's more...

I'm sure there are plenty of other comics I somehow forgot to mention or have not yet bought or read in 2018. If there are any glaring omissions, please let me know. There's plenty of room at the Donist World corporate offices for more comics and...hold on a sec...actually, Amy the intern (my wife) has corrected me and said that "No, there is not plenty of room here." <psssttt...hey denizens, let me know anyways. I can totally sneak more comics in on the down low. Just let me know. We can do this…>

Stay tuned next week for the “Donist World 2018 Year-End Roundup! (Part 2)”


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Comics Lust 12/15/2018

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/connoisseur of the cozy Tulip. Dang, I love this time of year. I’m not talking about the holiday that seems to be making everyone drive angrier and/or has them stressing out of their eyeballs for last minute gifts they feel they have to buy but can’t really afford or how they will navigate a labyrinth of familial guilt and expectations. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the cooling of the weather and bundling up to get warm, of sitting on the couch with a comic and a cup of coffee (or a winter warmer beer) with my dog and my wife. All is calm, all is chill…until I realize I forgot to buy eggs and will have to once again navigate the angry crowds on the way to and from Trader Joes. Ugh. It’s simply crazy to me that so many services pop up beginning in November to help people emotionally and mentally deal with the holidays; do a search for “holiday stress help” and you’ll see what I mean. It shouldn’t be this way. The Christmas songs repeatedly tell us that this is the “Hap-Happiest Season of All,” and I’m sure that for some people it is, but for many, it can be quite difficult. Please, don’t let it get you down. Protect yourself. Do what’s right for you and embrace your own chill. Create your own tradition that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself and use those free services if you need the help. Dang. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to 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: Ed Brubaker (Part 2)

Everyone knows that Brubaker’s run on Captain America was simply phenomenal. You could also make the point that he actually had two runs on the title with the events leading up to “The Death of Captain America” and then the run after where Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, took up the mantle during Steve Rogers’s absence. Both are great. Both are deserving of your time. But again, everyone knows this…plus, this is called “Five Furious and Fast,” not “Six Furious and Fast.” So, Denizens, here are some books you might not know about, but definitely need to investigate. ***Note: In attempting to navigate the reading order of Brubaker’s Captain America run, I fell into a confounding rabbit hole of multiple series, renumberings, rebrandings, miniseries, one-shots, side stories, etc. to such an astounding degree that I will have to do a separate post on how to accomplish the unnecessarily herculean task of actually reading Brubaker’s entire run with in-print trades/omnibus volumes. I will mentally prepare for this in the coming weeks***


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Michael Lark, originally published in 2006 by Marvel Comics)
How do you follow an epic run on a character by someone of the caliber of Brian Michael Bendis? Not to mention, what do you do when by the end of Bendis’s final issue, Matt Murdock is sent to prison and everyone knows he is Daredevil? Simple. Call in Brubaker. Now, I'm not going to tell you that his take on Daredevil is the most uplifting of storylines. It isn't; not in the slightest. Brubaker puts poor Murdock through the meatgrinder for most all of issues #82–119 and #500. Murdock will have to navigate prison, the legal system, friends and lovers he has scorned, fight foes like Mr. Fear, Lady Bullseye, Tombstone, and, of course, the Kingpin, all while trying to raise doubts that Matt Murdock—a blind attorney—is, in reality, a superhero/vigilante; it won’t be an easy road. But as much as you might want to scream “for gawd's sake, chaps, give ol’ hornhead a gosh dang break,” you will be unable to put this intense, expertly plotted story down. I read this through the seven not-quite-readily-available trades, but there are three kinda-hard-to-find Daredevil Ultimate Collection by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, Vol. 1–3 trades, or the somewhat scarce Omnibus.

The Fade Out

(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2014 by Image Comics)
How do you follow up the immensely popular and highly regarded crime noir comic series Criminal? Easy. With the beautifully tragic The Fade Out. Set in late-’40s Hollywood, at the beginning of the Second Red Scare blacklists made real by the evils of McCarthyism, the story begins with Charlie, a popular screenwriter plagued by the horrors he experienced in the war. The problem is that Charlie has a secret, a secret that would devastate his career if the higher-ups were to catch wind of it. But Charlie’s problems have only just begun when he wakes from a blackout to find an up-and-coming starlet dead in his apartment. And speaking of Studio Execs, one has a secret of his own which the sadistic security chief will protect at any cost. The beauty of The Fade Out is that there is so much more to this rich story of desperation, dashed hopes and dreams, abuse, racism, sexism, murder, greed, PTSD, and lies that it is difficult to believe that only 12 issues tell the complete story, but Brubaker and Phillips pull it off flawlessly. Easily one of the best books I read from 2014–2016, you can easily experience it through the single deluxe edition trade, or through the lovely, oversized hardcover. If you enjoy crime dramas or film noir movies, The Fade Out is one you can’t miss.


(Written by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke; illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart, Paul Gulacy, and others; originally published in 2002 by DC Comics)
Selina thought she had finally left the life of crime behind her, but when a serial killer starts claiming victims in her old stomping ground, Selina takes up the mantle of Catwoman once again in a slick, new costume and sets her sights on bringing the killer to justice…her version of justice. Holy smokes, this series is a blast. Not only do you have Brubaker and Cooke on writing, you also have Cooke on art for a good chunk of the earlier issues. Even after Cooke drops off of the series, Brubaker maintains a solid run from issue #1–37 as we follow Selina, private investigator “Slam” Bradley, and Holly Robinson—a teen Selina has taken under her wing—as they stop murderers and child abusers while the Catwoman tries to walk on the side of the angels for once…sort of. Three impressive trades will set you right on this thrilling, fun, and, at times, serious run that brought Catwoman back into the spotlight.


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Steve Epting, originally published in 2013 by Image Comics)
Most people see Velvet Templeton as a highly effective Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, but what few people know is that Velvet retired from the world of secret agents 20 years ago. But when the world’s current best secret agent is murdered, Velvet reluctantly comes out of retirement to find out what happened and to prove that there is far more to her than anyone would ever suspect. Brubaker and Epting take us on a shocking thrill ride of an adventure filled with twists and turns and starring a mature and sexy-as-hell spy who could easily give Nick Fury a run for his money. At only 15 issues in this first arc, I seriously hope we someday soon see more of Velvet Templeton. You could pick up the three available trades, but I would suggest opting for the aesthetically-pleasing Velvet Deluxe Edition hardcover.


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2012 by Image Comics)
Confession time: As much as I purport to be an admirer of Brubaker's work, I have only read a couple issues—thus far—of Fatale. I’m acutely aware of this misstep and failure in my judgment and I should tell you why. In Fatale, a reporter becomes instantly obsessed with a beautiful, young woman only to discover that she has been around for a very, very long time. Photos from the ’50s depict a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the object of his desires, only the woman in the photos has led a parade of people to their untimely demise. Will he be next? The twist on this noir tale is the horror angle of demon mobsters and monsters lurking in the shadows. Fatale is a rich mix of Lady from Shanghai and the most twisted works of H.P. Lovecraft all in one. You can easily find the five trades, or supersize your entertainment with the two hardcover collections of this 24-issue series. Just be aware, you will be waiting in line behind me to complete your purchase. I can’t wait.

That’s all for this installment of “Comics Lust,” Denizens, and we will return in a couple weeks with more comic goodness coming your way. Next week, we’ll be bringing you the first part of our “Year-End Roundup.” See you then!


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Comics Lust 12/8/2018

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/taco connoisseur Tulip. Oh…my…god, Denizens. I had the most amazing food at Corazón Cocina today: a short rib taco and a chorizo with potato taco alongside their chips and guacamole. I tried to refrain from telling my puppy executive team about it, but I just couldn’t help myself. They are so mad that I didn’t bring them back anything that they stopped talking to me. I later told them that I also had the “Restraint” brown ale from Institution Ale Company and…I guess you can say they are upset as Reverse Obie calmly walked over to the corner of the meeting room of our corporate office (Mom’s basement) and peed. Care to make a guess as to who is running downtown to pick them up some tacos and pick up some brewskis on the way? Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to 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: Ed Brubaker (Part 1)

When you think of modern crime comics, the first name that should come to mind is Ed Brubaker, followed by his longtime collaborator, illustrator Sean Phillips, and rightfully so on both accounts. However, despite Brubaker currently focusing entirely on his creator-owned series, it’s worth mentioning some of his past phenomenal runs at the Big Two, where he successfully tackled some of their most prominent characters. Today, we’ll take a shotgun approach to his broad stable of comics.


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2003 by Wildstorm, a DC Comics imprint)
I don’t know what put the first trade in my hands—maybe it was a review I read somewhere, maybe it was my love of his work on a certain Marvel superhero book I adore—but whatever prompted me to buy this series, I was in no way prepared for the fantastic, intense story that would ultimately pull me in deep. Holden Carver is a sleeper agent deep undercover within a massive crime organization run by the criminal mastermind Tao. Every day is a balancing act to keep from being discovered and keeping himself in the good graces of those whose service looks to corrupt his soul. But Holden’s nearly completed his mission. It’s almost time to come out of the cold after all this time. But there’s a problem: his handler, the only person who knows he is on the side of good, lies in a deep coma and may never awaken. Now, Holden has to avoid former colleagues who see him as a traitor while trying not to plummet ever-deeper into a world of evil and treachery. If this isn’t enough to grab your attention, you should also know there’s a subtle element of superpowers that some of the characters rely upon. Again, this book caught me by surprise and both season one and two (24 issues in total, and each collected in their own trade) are must-read comics. This was also my first exposure to Phillips’s work, whose exceptional storytelling, and ability to use heavy shadows to impart a crucial noirish tone to perfectly complement Brubaker’s words make this grossly underrated series something that should be on everyone’s favorite bookshelf. Oh...there’s also a prequel titled Point Blank (written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Colin Wilson) that I have not yet read, but will do so in the very near future; the latest Sleeper: Season One trade contains the five issues of this story as well as the first 12 issues of Sleeper. A new printing of Sleeper: Season Two comes out in early 2019!

The Immortal Iron Fist

(Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja and others, originally published in 2006 by Marvel Comics)
I’m pretty sure The Immortal Iron Fist was my first exposure to Brubaker’s writing. So, yeah, I was a little late to the party on his older titles, but that just meant I had a bank of material to quickly catch up on. I’ve been an Iron Fist fan for most of my life, which mixed with the buzz about this comic made the purchase a no-brainer. I was blown away by what I read. Danny Rand fighting Hydra goons, a resurrected Steel Serpent, a second Iron Fist named Orson Randall (who is freaking badass), appearances by Luke Cage and the Daughters of the Dragon, and seven mystical cities that participate in Kung-Fu tournaments, made this book everything I could ever want. Plus, it’s all gorgeously illustrated by Aja whose thrilling action scenes draw particular attention to critical blows with magical names like the “Palm of Forty Sorrows” and “Good Fortune Thunder Kick.” I hadn’t even finished the first issue and I was head over heels in love…I only wish the team’s run lasted longer than sixteen issues but, hey, I’ll take what I can get. If you love Brubaker, you need this. If you love the character of Iron Fist, you need this. Straight up, you need this. Want to read it all in one shebang? Then check out The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Volume 1.

Gotham Central

(Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka; illustrated Michael Lark, Stefan Gaudino, Greg Scott, Kano, and others, originally published in 2003 by DC Comics)
When the television show Gotham was announced, many in the comics community hoped the show would be based on Brubaker and Rucka’s cult-favorite comic Gotham Central; although there are traces of the much-revered comic book series in the show, it just isn’t the same thing. Thankfully, we got 40 fantastic issues to read and reread when we need one of the best crime dramas in comicdom. Essentially, this is the story of the Gotham City police department and trials they endure in the line of their work. The writers collaborated on the first story arc before splitting writing duties to where Rucka wrote about the police on the day shift with Brubaker taking the night shift. Stories dealt with cold/unsolved cases, run-ins with various costumed villains, corrupt cops, a lesbian officer being outed to the department, and so much more, with the Batman making only brief appearances yet his existence proving to be a major factor in the lives of everyone. This multiple-award-winning comic is the real deal and is something fans of crime procedurals and damn-fine comics absolutely must seek out. Four trades will get you sorted proper.

Kill or Be Killed

(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2016 by Image Comics)
Ever wonder what life would be like for an actual vigilante? The lies that person would have to tell to explain the lack of sleep, the steady stream of injuries, and the inevitable retreat from friends and family? The lengths this person would have to go through in the name of justice would surely be devastating to not just his victims but to many innocents no matter how tangentially they are connected to him. Meet Dylan: a depressed college student whose failed attempt at suicide leaves him making a bargain with a supposed demon who requires that the young man kill in order to continue living. But was the demon real or a delusion? Dylan only knows that his pain and illness stops the moment he kills his first “evildoer.” Thus, his journey begins and the lives of those around Dylan steadily begin to fall apart. A quick, 20-issue series that is as fascinating and addictive as it is bleak. Four trades collect it all, but as much as I enjoyed this comic, the granddaddy of all Brubaker and Phillips’s crime work is without a doubt…


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2006 by Marvel Comics and currently being reprinted by Image Comics)
Criminal is a series of standalone story arcs that can cover anything from a bank heist to revenge to murder to gambling to drugs to sexual obsession. The beauty of this long-running series is that you can pick up any trade and be able to easily follow the story, but as you move from story arc to story arc, you begin to notice that characters flow in and out from time to time and are clearly all part of the same world, just from differing times. Criminal returns in 2019, but no need to wait as there are a bunch of compelling noir tales to keep you busy until then:

  • Criminal Vol. 1: Coward - The story that started it all. Leo is your go-to-guy if you need a heist carried out, but Leo will ONLY take the job if almost all of the risk can be mitigated. But sometimes, the reward—and a particularly convincing woman—is worth the risk.
  • Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless - The Lawless family name carries a certain weight and ruthlessness, and when Tracy Lawless returns home to find those who killed his kid brother, and no one better stand in his way.
  • Criminal Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying - One story from three points of view weave and interlock together into a whole.
  • Criminal Vol. 4: Bad Night - Maybe Jacob’s life falling apart wasn’t enough. Maybe he needs to fall further as obsession and greed gnaw at his soul. One bad night is all it takes.
  • Criminal Vol. 5: The Sinners - One year after the events of “Lawless,” Tracy Lawless returns as crime bosses are dropping like flies and Tracy is tasked with finding out who is killing them.
  • Criminal Vol. 6: The Last of the Innocent - All seven Criminal trades are great, but this one is by far my favorite. Riley Richards is willing to throw away a life others would kill for, as he willingly returns to the seedy world he left behind and begins plotting murder. Nostalgia and a yearning for times past make “The Last of the Innocent” an absolute must-read.
  • Criminal Vol. 7: Wrong Time, Wrong Place - We return to the Lawless family as Teeg Lawless brings his son, a young Tracy, along on a hit job.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the immensely talented Brubaker, but this list should keep you good and busy until the next time. Take care.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Comics Lust 12/1/2018

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/gingerbread gobbler Tulip. November was a crazy month, but time seemed to slow down for the past two weeks which is great as far as we’re concerned. My puppy executive team and I bonded as we chilled in the Holiday Bunker where we ate pumpkin pies, drank some good beer, and read some great comics. Now that it is December, we’ve vacated the Holiday Bunker to rub our eyes at the shock of real light while rejoicing in the feel of the sun on our skin/fur for a couple of weeks before we have to retreat back to bunker for the next round of holiday madness; we are prepared. 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

More Bang for Your Buck: The Omnibus (Part 2)

How are those muscles treating you, Denizens? A little sore? I’m sure you are, but that’s because you are building muscle mass and getting stronger after hefting all of those omnibus (omnibi?) around from last time. But don’t get too comfortable. Today, we’re going to work through the pain and we’ll be hefting even more omnibus collections around because if you stay at the same weight all the time you won’t continue to strengthen not just your body, but your mind. So best warm up with some light stretching and light cardio before tackling the books on this list. Be mindful of your form and lift with your legs. You got this.

Invincible Compendium Volume One

(Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated at first by Cory Walker and primarily afterward by Ryan Ottley, series originally published in 2003 by Image Comics. This volume collects Invincible #1–47)
I’ve been on a journey for the past couple weeks, Denizens, which is definitely what started me on talking about this whole giant-sized collection thing. I originally joined the Invincible bandwagon right around the time the fifth trade had been released; after reading the first I was instantly hooked. Here we have a brand new superhero story unburdened by the continuity constraints of the Big Two, which made it not only accessible but fun and interesting. By the time I made it through the third trade when everything dramatically changes after Invincible and his father have the discussion, I was hopelessly hooked and continued to be hooked up until the amazing “Viltrumite War” which concluded with issue #78. The events of that book were brutal, thrilling, and utterly devastating. And then…I just never picked the remaining trades or issues; I’m not sure why. Thankfully, I ended up getting the three compendiums, which collect issues #1–144 but kept putting off starting the reread of the familiar material and diving into the new. That is until recently. I just finished issue #84 and this ol’ Invincible train is in no ways stopping until I reach station #144. The basics: Mark Grayson is your normal, everyday high schooler until the day he goes to take out the trash from his dead-end, fast food job and accidentally tosses the bag into orbit; his powers have finally kicked in. What the world at large does not know is that Mark is the son of the fiercely powerful superhero named Omni-Man, an alien from the planet Viltrum, and Mark is poised to become Earth’s newest protector, Invincible. I can’t begin to properly tell you how fantastic this bloody, violent, heartbreaking, and triumphant series is; you will just have to read it for yourself. I can tell you that Walker starts the series off with some great art, but Ottley quickly comes in and makes the series his own for the majority of Invincible’s epic run. The compendiums are all softcover and are a ridiculously inexpensive way to read this series that I am thrilled to have reread as I now dive into thrilling, uncharted territory. Each volume is 1000+ pages long. You MUST read this series. Oh, did you catch that this is written by that guy who wrote a little ol’ thing called The Walking Dead?

Werewolf by Night Omnibus

(Written by Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Doug Moench, and others; illustrated by Mike Ploog, Don Perlin, and many others, series originally published in 1972 by Marvel Comics. Collects Werewolf by Night #1–43 and so much more!)
I bought this 1176-page book in 2017 as a birthday gift to myself; boy howdy, do I give the best gifts! You see, Werewolf by Night is one of the first comics I remember reading. Again, I have no idea who gave it to me or how I got a hold of it, but I would guess that I was around six or seven and that somehow Giant-Size Werewolf #5 somehow survived a year or two to find itself to my grubby little paws. It left quite an impression with the cool werewolf, the negative warrior with the weird rod thing, and the creepy magicians; I flipped through this comic until it disintegrated and had to be thrown away. Almost 40 years later, I read that story as well as the ones featuring Dracula and Iron Man (against the Tri-Animan) and it was an absolute trip and a half to re-experience something that blew my mind as a young boy. For decades, I had images and recollections of these comics in my mind, some of which were spot on, others that had somehow changed, and things I had forgotten came slamming back to the forefront of my mind. It was nuts. All self-reflection aside, this omnibus is freakin’ fantastic. You have Jack Russel (I know, I know, just roll with it) coming fully into the curse of the werewolf on his 18th birthday and from there you jump from horror stories to random weirdness to supervillains and even see the first appearance of Moon Knight. Ploog’s art is by far my favorite although there are plenty of lovely pages from other artists. I know I will be doing some tricep extensions with this beauty in a few years when I start it all over from the beginning.

Batman by Neal Adams Omnibus
(Written by Neal Adams, Len Wein, Denny O’Neill, Marv Wolfman, and others; illustrated by Neal Adams; first issue in collection originally published in 1968 by DC Comics. Collects a whole mess of stuff!)
This was another treat I bought for myself at a price that couldn’t be beat. I’m so glad I got it. Adams is unquestionably a comic book master with much of his finest work covering none other than the Dark Knight. Some of the comics in this collection had originally made it to my kiddie hands in the past and subsequently died the death of pet dogs, sticky candy-coated fingers, and the general neglect one can expect from a child. Much of the material was new to me, including the Batshit craziness that is Batman: Odyssey…back to this in a sec. The main story that made me smile was the reprint of the Power Records Robin Meets Man-Bat which I read as a kid while the 45-rpm record played over and over again. The art is really something to behold, and many of the standalone stories are great representations of what the Bronze Age had to offer. As for Batman: Odyssey, I don’t want to give anything away, and I honestly can’t even really tell you what the story is about with any degree of confidence, but what I can tell you is that there are loads of cameos, Batman riding a giant bat, a caveman Batman, a dinosaur/humanoid robin, dinosaurs, Batman with guns, and…a pretty much naked, Playgirl-esque Bruce Wayne narrating the story in countless “come-hither” poses that were something to behold. I owe myself a reread of Batman: Odyssey in the near future, if not the entirety of this fantastic collection. The tons of comic covers at the end of this 1072-page behemoth are well worth checking out as well.

Stray Bullets: Uber Alles Edition

(Everythinged by David Lapham, series originally published in 1995 by El Capitan, and this collection published by Image Comics. Collects Stray Bullets #1–41)
Stray Bullets had a dedicated following in the mid-‘90s through the mid-2000s for its 40-issue run. The problem was that there was one final issue, #41, that did not come out until nine years later in 2014. This vignette crime comic series mostly featured standalone or stories that covered only a few issues and had an impressive roster of characters. The beauty of this oftentimes harsh series comes at the point where characters only touched upon in earlier issues come back around to have an aspect of their life told or when the paths of characters who have somehow managed to survive the violence of Lapham’s world intersect; sometimes it goes well for these characters, other times not so much. I missed out on this must-read-for-crime-junkies series the first time around but this beautiful, 1200-page collection quickly brought me up to speed and corrected a grievous mistake on my part. Lapham has since picked up where he left off so many years ago with Stray Bullets: The Killers #1–8 and Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses which is about to see its 42nd issue. Who knows, maybe we’ll get another lovely compendium in the near future. Beautiful art and beautiful—if not occasionally beautifully-tragic—stories that I can safely say make this a must-own book. Cool beans!

The Tomb of Dracula Omnibus Volume 1

(Written by Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, Archie Goodwin, Chris Claremont, and others; illustrated by Gene Colon, Mike Ploog, and Don Heck, series originally published in 1972 by Marvel Comics. Collects The Tomb of Dracula #1–31 and so much more!)
Weighing in at a measly 768 pages, what this omnibus lacks in comparative bulk, it more than makes up for with cult status. I don’t own this one. I need to own this one. I will also need to own the subsequent volume 2 and 3 that will someday soon see the reprinted light of the moon so we don’t have to seek out those pricey out of print tomes. Now, I had a bunch of issues for the series back in the day, but they have long since vanished from my collection. I guess we’ll be able to experience this one together. I can’t wait!

That’s it for now, but I’m sure we’ll return to the realm of must-read omnibus/compendiums the next time I feel like doing some heavy lifting. Take care.