Sunday, July 15, 2018

Comics Lust 7/14/2018

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/family-visit-scheduler Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. It has been a crazy week on both a work and family front. You might remember me mentioning the loss of my uncle, Gordon, back in April, and this weekend is when my family came out from Ohio, San Francisco, and Long Beach to hold a memorial for him. It was held on a boat in the Pacific on a lovely day and was something that would have made Gordon happy. Because of this, 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 should fit 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 1)


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 of 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.


Seven to Eternity

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña, published by Image Comics)
This spectacular fantasy series fits all the criteria of what I’m looking for in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world. You have a tyrannical ruler seeking to bend everyone to his will, the stripping of freedom, the demonizing of others, empty promises, and the backing of deadly forces. The difference is that there’re also giant flying squid ships, magical superpowers, as well as all sorts of cool beings inhabiting this doomed world. The only hope of freeing the populace from the control of the God of Whispers is to capture the formidable being, take him to an ancient wizard, and hope there is enough power to end the evil creature’s reign once and for all. So, yeah, there are some parallels to what’s going on in the real world. Seven to Eternity is one of the best comics being published—despite the substantial publication delays—with a captivating story, painstakingly gorgeous art, and a highly inventive, complex world built upon a foundation of magic I am desperate to see what happens next.


Lazarus

(Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark, published by Image Comics)
This comic tends to scare the bejesus out of me. Why? you might ask. Well, because this comic’s dreadfully bleak world is one that I can very much see coming to pass. The world of Lazarus is not one divided by political lines, but rather it is divided up by a handful of ruling families along the lines of wealth. The creators clearly spend a substantial amount of time researching everything from eugenics, to military weaponry, to caste systems, to biological sciences, all while having the bad guys betray those inside and outside of the respective families. I won’t lie, Denizens, this series can be terrifying in its parallels to our modern world, but the strength of the characters, the storytelling, and the lovely illustrations make this a must-read book for sure. Not only that, you will want to catch up on this brilliant series before its television debut on Amazon Prime someday in the future.


The Omega Men

(Written by Tom King, illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda, published by DC Comics)
I’ve been reading comics for most of my life, and over the years, there have been plenty of series that I just could not buy at that particular time. One such comic from the ’80s is the original The Omega Men series. Thankfully, however, a revamped version came out that I did pick up, and it happened to be one of the best things I read the past couple of years. In this telling, The Omega Men are a group branded as terrorist by the all-powerful Viceroy of The Citadel. The problem is that The Omega Men have captured the White Lantern, Kyle Rayner, and executed him on live television in an effort to have their message heard. The truth is that Kyle Rayner is very much alive and The Omega Men want him to join their group. Unfortunately for Kyle, things are not always black and white, and The Omega Men might just be every bit as bad as The Citadel they wish to defeat. Gorgeous art and an intricately plotted story that will challenge readers’ morals on what it takes to be on the winning side. Religion, order, safety versus freedom, and classism all clash in this powerful MUST READ space opera. I will definitely be rereading this series many times over the coming years.


Sweet Tooth

(Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint) 
You know I love Lemire’s work—especially when it comes to the Donist World Darling Descender—but one book that completely blew me away, while tearing out my heart and stomping it repeatedly on the floor, is the post-apocalyptic masterpiece Sweet Tooth. Dang, dang, dang, I need to dig this series out of the spider-ridden Closet of Doom and settle in for a week of gut-wrenching, beautifully-told tragedy. In this world, a plague known as The Affliction has decimated much of the world’s population, leaving scant humans and bizarre human-animal hybrid children to struggle for survival. The deer-antlered Gus is one such child. When a group of hunters seeks to enact their ill will upon Gus, a mountain of a man known as Jepperd rescues the boy and promises to lead him to the safety of a place known as The Preserve. <phew> Just thinking about this dark journey and the toll it takes on the many characters (and this Donist, too) is staggering. Sweet Tooth is a remarkable series and one that is so beautifully told. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to crushing my heart all over again? Definitely not.


The Micronauts

()Written by Bill Mantlo; illustrated by Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, and others, published by Marvel Comics) 
You know I love The Micronauts, right? I only mention it in every other post or so. In fact, I’m simply silly for this series. Way back in the first half of 2014, I wrote a weekly column called “Micronauts Monday” where I talked about every single issue of this great comic from the perspective of both my younger self and my current self. I had a blast writing it. The Micronauts is the story of the microscopic universe known as the Microverse, where a tyrannical madman known as Baron Karza rules over all with his gauntleted fist, giving leniency or favor to only the wealthiest and most morally compromised of individuals. Only a band of alien rebels lead by Commander Arcturus Rann have the slightest chance of freeing the Microverse from the crushing weight of Karza’s heel. I adore the characters and the story is intense with severe stakes and relentless action. There’s love, loss, victories, and the bitterest of defeats, all while having the occasional guest appearance (something which usually does not work in other books, yet mostly works here) from a Marvel hero or two, and a story that more than stands up to the test of time. Now comes the disclaimer: Reading this one is no easy task given that the rights are tied up with a Japanese toy company, so there might never be a trade released. So…get thee to the back issue bins!


Watchmen

(Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics) 
If you have never heard of Watchmen, then I must congratulate you for finally resuscitating from your cryofreeze or for your newfound freedom from the 1980s bunker you recently escaped from. That said, given the state of the world because of #45, you might want to go back to the bunker for a spell while things get sorted out. Anyhow, the story… when a former member of an old superhero group is murdered, one lone hero begins investigating the murder and seeks the aid of his former teammates. But as secrets begin to unfold, and more people tied to The Watchmen begin to die or disappear, tensions between the US and other countries escalate and the world finds itself on the brink of a nuclear war. Scary, right? I mean, this series written in the ’80s was not just a deconstruction of superhero comics but also a terrifying commentary on the Cold War and the ever-present threat of nuclear war. Watchmen is the quintessential graphic novel to show the power and importance of the comic book medium. It’s also terrifying that the subject of nuclear war is once again surging. So, yeah, Watchmen is a book to read if you want to freak your ass out. It’s also damn good.


Bitch Planet

(Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and others, colored by Chris Peter, lettered by Clayton Cowles, logo and designs by Rian Hughes, published by Image Comics) 
As the rights of women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ Americans are increasingly under assault in today’s toxic political environment and abhorrent behavior looks to be normalized under the current administration, Bitch Planet is the perfect counter to the all-too-routine bullshit of old, corrupt, rich, white (and orange) men. This comic pays stylistic homage to the sexploitation films of the ’70s while adding a dash of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The story follows Kamau Kogo who, along with thousands of other women defined as “Non-Compliant,” has been sent off to the prison world known as Bitch Plant. “Non-Compliant” can be pretty much anything a man determines to be offensive: too old, too fat, too skinny, overly vocal, non-heterosexual, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kamau and her fellow prisoners have decided enough is enough; it is time to resist. This series is infinitely more timely now given the horrendous changes that have occurred since the first issue’s debut. Now, if only new issues weren’t so dreadfully delayed… We remain Non-Compliant.


Wolverine: Old Man Logan

(Written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven and others, colored by various, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics) 
What happens when the bad guys win? Nothing good, that’s for certain. Following the death of nearly all of its heroes, the world is a wasteland tentatively divided up among the most powerful and menacing of villains. Wolverine and his friend Hawkeye are two of the few survivors of the great attack that laid waste to their country, but a tragic event sets them on a path of redemption. Wolverine: Old Man Logan is one I definitely need to reread in the next couple of weeks, given that some very not-so-super villains are seemingly attempting to create the wasteland reflected in this book; it could not be more timely. I also love love love the Logan movie, which owes much to this thrilling series about resisting the forces of oppression.


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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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Comics Lust 7/7/2018

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/evacuation expert Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Yes, Denizens, we are later than usual, but hear us out; we have a good reason. Remember all of the natural disasters that plagued Santa Barbara this past winter? Well, Goleta saw yet another one with the Holiday Fire that sprang up on Friday night, roughly a mile from our house. Yeah. Scary. That night, we received a text around 9:30 pm from a friend asking if we had evacuated yet. We were actually going to sleep at that time—definitely not party animals—and we quickly tuned into the news. Adequately freaked out, I ran and got a couple of suitcases out of storage, packed up some clothes, grabbed all important documents, and loaded ourselves, Tulip, and Obie (we’ve been watching him while his owners are on vacation) and fled to our friends’ house in Santa Barbara. The night sky was a vibrant orange and we could see flickering flames as we drove away and we knew we had made the right choice to leave despite being just outside of the voluntary evacuation zone. When we got to our friends’ house around 10:30 pm, the temperature was 103 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was insane with the threat of power outages looming over the entire city. Everything ended up being fine, and the fire is mostly under control, but we didn’t make it home until around the early afternoon. Hence, the tardiness… 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.


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

Miniseries to the Max (Part 3)


Big Two miniseries were everywhere during the ’80s and most of them were pretty great. Some managed to slip through my brother and my grasps, but we succeeded in getting most of them either as they were released or in special bundles at Andromeda Bookstore that my mom would buy to placate us during long drives to vacation destinations. Even today, three decades later, I still buy miniseries, usually in trade format, to bring along on vacations my wife and I take just so I can read them by the pool or on the deck so I can fully take in the rush I used to get as a kid. Who says you have to grow up? Anyhow, buckle up and quit messing with your little brother, Denizens, we’re taking a trip with a bunch more miniseries.


Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1–6

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Al Milgrom, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
Most miniseries in the ’80s ran four issues, but don’t let the six-issue length of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine get you down; there’s so much going on that you will be thankful for the extra issues. A little time has passed since the events of the must-read Wolverine four-issue series, and Kitty Pryde finds herself in over her head after she travels to Tokyo to try to fix her father’s problems with the Yakuza. A frantic call to the US brings Wolverine back to Japan where ninjas want him dead, the woman who he loves cannot be with him, and another woman who loves him looks to get him in all sorts of trouble; he also needs to find Kitty before she gets herself killed. It’s been a few years, but I think I just psyched myself up enough to move this to the top of the reread pile! Get the collection after you’ve read the Wolverine mini.


Batman: The Cult #1–4

(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, published in 1988 by DC Comics)
Starlin and Wrightson could create a refrigerator manual and I would seek it out with the passion of a pirate seeking lost booty. Make it a book about Batman, and there’s no way I wouldn’t love this great, but lesser known, miniseries. Batman sets off to investigate the mysterious Deacon Joseph Blackfire and his religious cult whose membership is comprised of those lost to society. But when Batman is captured by the violent cult and plied with mind-altering drugs, how long can the Dark Knight resist seeing the light, their light? The trade of this one looks to be out of print, which is a shame as Batman: The Cult is a book that should grace everyone’s favorite bookshelf. Beautiful Wrightson art and a trippy and compelling story deliver on all fronts.


Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men #1–4

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Jon Bogdanov and Terry Austin, published in 1987 by Marvel Comics)
Okay, let’s bring out the truth serum...I owned this once upon a time, but for the life of me, I can’t remember a dang thing about it. I definitely need to become reacquainted. Two great teams, that taste great together? I’m guessing yes. Do ya feel lucky? If so, then maybe you can find the trade.


Man of Steel #1–6

(Everythinged by John Byrne, published in 1986 by DC Comics)
With all of the recent big-goin’s-on with ol’ Supes over at DC Comics and now that Brian Michael Bendis has joined their ranks, you owe it to yourself to read the limited series that picked up the super pieces of the hit Crisis on Infinite Earths and succeeded in ushering Superman into the modern era. It’s rare to find a comic where a creator revamps a major character’s history and has it pretty much become superhero canon. I’m gearing up to reread this one, too. Thank goodness for the trades!


Ronin #1–6

(Everythinged by Frank Miller, published in 1983 by DC Comics)
Before Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and after an incredible first run on Daredevil, Miller released the excellent Ronin. Take one part Mœbius, one part Lone Wolf and Cub manga, and four parts Miller doing exactly what he wants to do, and you get a mind-bending, futuristic, samurais versus robotic demons comic that I desperately had to pick up as they came out. If you can’t find the individual 52-page issues, then the collection is where you must go.


Firestar #1–4

(Written by Tom DeFalco, illustrated by Mary Wilshire and Steve Leialoha, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics)
Huh? How the heck did I miss this one? Oh well, looks like I have yet another book to track down. Having originally appeared in the animated Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Firestar (aka Angelica Jones) first made her comics debut in The Uncanny X-Men #193 before appearing in her own miniseries and joining the ranks of the printed Marvel U. There are a regular trade and a digest that collect this miniseries, but you might have to do some hunting to find them.


Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown #1–4

(Written by Walter and Louise Simonson, Havoc art by Jon J. Muth, Wolverine art by Kent Williams, published in 1988 by Epic Comics a Marvel Comics imprint)
Ding-ding-ding! Confession time, Denizens! Although I proclaim a deep love of the painted comics of the ’80s, I have never read this series. I think I can scrounge up some issues somewhere so I will get on this one posthaste! I can’t wait. I’m going to assume this comic deals with nuclear war to some degree, which means it—sadly enough—is all too relevant today.


Longshot #1–6

(Written by Ann Nocenti, illustrated by Art Adams, published in 1985 by Marvel Comics)
I used to own this miniseries way back when, but I made the mistake of lending it to a friend many, many, many years ago…I didn’t realize I would only have the one chance to read it. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. At least I was able to reacquire this series in trade format so I can remember why I was so eager to lend my precious issues out in the first place.


Magik #1–4

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Buscema, published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
If you are a fan of Claremont’s spectacular run on The Uncanny X-Men from back in the day, then there is no way you can allow yourself to miss out on the awesome Magik miniseries. That said, before you dive in you must read The Uncanny X-Men #160 first as the surprise twist at the end provides the basis for this series about Illyana Rasputin. Basically, Illyana and the X-Men are transported to the horrific, alternate dimension of the demon Belasco, where they come across either twisted versions of themselves or bear witness to their own gruesome, futuristic corpses. Still, one of this world’s heroes has survived the devastation, but not without losing much of their powers and becoming a magic user who will teach the young Illyana how to survive in Belasco’s cruel world. This series sets the stage for Magik, who will eventually become a major player in the X-Verse across many storylines and titles. Thankfully, you can get the issue and the miniseries all in one fell swoop via the collection. Get it! You know you wanna.


X-Men and Alpha Flight #1–2

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Paul Smith, published in 1988 by Marvel Comics)
Some minis are more mini than others. Such is the case with the two-issue X-men and Alpha Flight series. I honestly don’t remember if I owned this one or not, but I seem to remember a comic with Loki and the X-Men in it, I just have no idea if it was this series or not. Huh? Now that I have looked and found a fantastic collection that has these two issues as well seven other comics about the times The X-Men and Alpha Flight have fought/aided one another, I have my interest peaked. Guess I gotta track it down.


This Week’s Reading List

Since we are so late, we’re going to keep this short, but just know it was a heck of a strong week! I’ve also read a BUNCH of collections that can best be described as “amazeballs!” and I will need to figure out various themes to file them into so I can gush about them in future “Comics Lust” installments. Here we go on the floppies…

  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #1(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Dylan Burnett, colored by Antonio Fabela, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    One thing I just read and that completely blew my mind was Thanos Wins, which first introduced us to Cosmic Ghost Rider. You don’t need to read that series to understand this book, but you dang well owe it to yourself to do so! Anyhow, Burnett’s art on CGR is stunning and Fabela’s colors vibrantly gorgeous with a story that that soooooo has me on board for this five-issue miniseries. Hey...this fits in with miniseries focus, nice! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Death of the Inhumans #1(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
    With a couple exceptions, I haven’t paid much attention to the Inhumans over the past couple of decades. Sorry, that’s just how it is. But when Cates is writing the story…I’m in, and I am so glad I picked this up. Within a few pages, I care about the characters and was stunned by a few of the deaths. With this new five-issue miniseries—yay! another one—I am again 100% in to see how it all ends. That said, one death in particular better not be true! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • The Immortal Hulk #3
    (Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Joe Bennett, inked by Ruy José, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
    Three Marvel comic books in one week?!?! I know, right? Anyhow, true to the original promise, we get a cool horror comic featuring the Hulk and a creepy-as-hell bad guy. I’m still loving this bizarre take and the gorgeous art. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Death or Glory #3
    (Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Bengal, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, produced by Erika Schnatz, published by Image Comics)
    This series keeps getting better and better as Glory and Pablo try to recover the money Glory needs to get her father a liver transplant and Pablo tries to find his sister who was seemingly abducted by human trafficking mobsters. This is kind of hard to do with a bullet hole in your side. Bengal is great at character acting and storytelling and this story about a woman “living off the grid” is downright compelling. Yet another win from Remender. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
See you next time.


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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Comics Lust 6/30/2018

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/vacation lover Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Welcome back, Denizens. The puppies, Amy the intern (my wife), and I all just got back into town after spending four days in Ojai. Tons of good beer, good food, and plenty of reading comics by the pool; I’ll get to those someday in the future. That said, this weeks intro is short short short. Anyhow, binge watch some Luke Cage Season 2, 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.


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

Miniseries to the Max (Part 2)


The miniseries (aka limited series) of the ’80s hold a special place in my heart. Not only were they created to stand up on their own with a definite beginning, middle, and end, they oftentimes expanded upon already popular series and characters while providing an entry point for potential new readers without the burden of impenetrable storylines and continuity. They could even provide a glimpse into the future or into parallel worlds where characters are not quite those that everyone loves. In fact, it was a miniseries that turned the comic book industry on its head and brought it out into the light of the mainstream as the subject matter went ever into darker territories. If you are talking miniseries, there is none higher than…

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1–4

(Written and penciled by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley, published in 1986 by DC Comics)
If you have not heard of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by now, then, to quote Public Enemy, “I can’t do nuttin’ for ya, man.” Just kidding. In fact, I kinda envy you being able to read this monumental piece of comic book history for the first time. Although written as a response to the Cold War, many of the themes should resonate with those suffering through the lies of #45 and the evils he and his lackeys are enacting. TDKR picks up with a much older and retired Batman as he realizes the world has become a darker place in his absence pervaded by hopelessness and despair. With Superman now the poster boy of the government, Bruce Wayne once again dons the cape and cowl intent on righting the wrongs where he can…if only the rigors of age and decades of physical abuse will let him. TDKR is the real deal, Denizens, and it is required reading at least once every two or three years. It is also the first “Prestige Format” comic in that it is square-bound, has a cardstock cover, has higher quality paper for the interior that allowed more elaborate colors, is twice as long as normal comics (52 pages), it has more mature subject matter, and also had a higher price tag. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a vital and historical comic book on every front. You can pick up all four in collected form.


Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1–3

(Everythinged by Mike Grell, colored by Julia Lacquement, published in 1987 by DC Comics)
Prior to this fantastic limited series, I never would have considered myself a Green Arrow fan. I always liked the character and always thought he was cool despite having a goofy costume and no real powers, but The Longbow Hunters changed my preconceptions right quick. After being blown away by The Dark Knight Returns, the follow-up Prestige Format offering of The Longbow Hunters immediately caught my eye with the gorgeous Grell cover and the promise of yet another great comic. Gone are the goofy costume and trick arrows. Gone are the doofus ne’er-do-wells. In are the drug dealers, real arrows, government cover-ups, and the complexities of being in a relationship with a fellow crimefighter. I have to admit to having a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Grell’s other work (Jon Sable Freelance, Starslayer, and The Warlord) which I hope to remedy in the coming years, but it has been far too long since I last read Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters series; I’m about due for a reread. All three issues have been collected.


Hawkworld #1–3

(Written and penciled by Timothy Truman, inked by Alcatena, painted by Sam Parsons, published in 1989 by DC Comics)
Speaking of blind spots…Tim Truman. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve read anything by the man, which is a huge error on my part. My bad, Denizens. My bad. Another Prestige Format comic from DC and one that is lauded by comic fans, which means I need to finally get on this book ASAP! Without spoiling anything for myself, I believe this series doesn’t even feature Hawkman or Hawkgirl, and instead focuses on their planet Thanagar, a place ravaged by racism, drugs, and indifference (wow, sounds like today, only thirty-years earlier). I figure once I tackle this short series, I’ll look into his Grimjack, Scout, and Jonah Hex runs so I can become a more well-rounded comics fan. Hot diggity dog, there’s a collection for this one, too!


Nightcrawler #1–4

(Written and illustrated by Dave Cockrum, published in 1985 by Marvel Comics)
Dang, Marvel struck gold with some of their earlier X-Men minis, and I guess they figured they should give each character their own shot at carrying a limited series; hence, Nightcrawler. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like this series overall. It’s fun. It’s campy. It’s lighter than what you would expect from a major character in The Uncanny X-Men, but after getting used to Claremont and Cockrum’s phenomenal run, this one was a little too cheesy for my taste. That said, Nightcrawler is still worth checking out, especially when you need to lighten the mood of the bleak happenings in the main series.


Iceman #1–4

(Written by J.M. DeMatteis, illustrated by Al Kupperburg and Mike Gustovich, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics) Yeah, this one is not one of my favorites, but for the sake of being thorough, I have to mention it. This is not to say it’s bad, it just wasn’t for me. I don’t remember it all that well when I first read it back in the day, and my recent rereading didn’t capture me as much as I would hope. It’s quite possible I was in a mood. Anyhow, if you are a fan of Bobby Drake, it might be worth checking out.


Beauty and the Beast #1–4

(Written by Ann Nocenti, illustrated by Don Perlin, inked by Kim DeMulder, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics) Definitely not for me. This miniseries is a continuation of the Marvel Graphic Novel Dazzler: The Movie, which I disliked immensely; let’s leave it at that. As for Beauty and the Beast…not my cuppa. Again, just being thorough. If you want both the mini and the OGN in one book, then you can get the hardcover volume.


West Coast Avengers #1–4

(Written by Roger Stern, art by Bob Hall and Brett Breeding, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
Okay, let’s bring us all back up with something I do like and that I really need to reread again in the very near future. Now, I’ve always been a fan of The Avengers and those issues that introduced The Vision and that featured Captain Marvel are magical, but again, Avengers has decades of continuity and countless classic storylines just begging to be read. So what’s a kid to do? Easy: pick up the miniseries about a new team of Avengers who operate on the West Coast! Here we get Hawkeye, Wonderman, Iron Man, Tigra, and Mockingbird, facing off against all sorts of cool threats, including Count Nefaria. Heck, this mini was so popular Marvel kicked down a new series that ran for 102 issues and 8 annuals that eventually became titled Avengers West Coast and featured John Byrne on writing and art. The mini, however, is where it all started. A comprehensive collection titled Avengers West Coast Epic Collection: How the West Was Won comes out late September 2018 and I will definitely be getting it.


Dr. Fate #1–4

(Written by J.M. DeMatteis, illustrated by Keith Giffen and Dave Hunt, published in 1987 by DC Comics)
I never read this. Every time I saw it on the shelves I wanted it, I just never got it…until this last week. Vibrant, striking art with cool beasts, a kickace hero, and a story I’m sure will rock my socks off on the weirdness scale. I hope to have read this one by next week. I can’t wait!


Ambush Bug #1–4

(Written by Robert Loren Fleming and Keith Giffen, illustrated by Keith Giffen and Bob Oksner, published in 1985 by DC Comics) I know next to nothing about Ambush Bug. I totally remember seeing this issue on the stands and I remember some of my friends saying how funny it was, but I never picked it up. Ambush Bug was a thing back in the day, and I guess it’s high time I figured out what all the hullabaloo was about.


The Punisher #1–5

(Written by Steven Grant and Jo Duffy, illustrated by Mike Zeck and Mike Vos, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics)
Man, I loved this limited series when it was coming out and I love it every bit as much today. Although the Punisher had been hanging around in other characters’ books for many years, this is the series that saw him taking the lead before graduating to multiple series of his own. Mike Zeck’s art is gorgeous and I distinctly remember staring at his covers trying to understand how he, with Phil Zemelman’s painting, made such lovely art. The story is intense and heavy and pits Frank Castle against the mob, Jigsaw, and the Kingpin. Do yourself a favor and read the book that kicked off the Punisher-mania that refuses to quit. There are some collections of this fine series out there, but a massive Punisher Epic Collection: Circle of Blood comes out at the end of 2018!


This Week’s Reading List

Well, Denizens, I just got back yesterday from a short vacation in lovely Ojai and I think Tulip and I need to relax from our relaxing. So, we’re going to briefly cover our reading list this week with four comics that were freaking out of this world!

  • Descender #31 (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics) Holy smokes, Denizens! I don’t know what to think. I preach my love for this series often and I preach it loud, and this issue is so dang good as TIM-21, The Hardwire, The Harvesters, and the Gnishians all arrive at the battle to end all battles. The crazy thing is that this issue says “To be concluded” and an ad for #32 says “Final Issue.” I don’t know if July actually marks the end of Descender, but I will be a bummed Donist if it does. Dang, such a great series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Saga #53 (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics) What are Vaughan and Staples trying to do to me?! Criminy! I’m not going to spoil a thing. Just know that this is one of those gut-punch issues that leaves your jaw on the floor. Saga remains great as ever. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Venom #3 (Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics) Marvel pulled me back in with this comic which I decided to read purely off of Cates’s tremendous ability to tell a captivating-as-hell story, which he continues to do with this third issue. Stegman’s art is a powerhouse of design and storytelling and demands you linger on every page to take it all in. I’m with Venom for as long as these creators remain on it. This month, Venom and Ultimate Spider-Man team up to stop a symbiote dragon that is more than it appears. Much more. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • The Terrifics #5 (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Doc Shaner, colored by Nathan Fairbairne, lettered by Tom Napolitano, published by DC Comics) Yeah, I’m still loving DC’s four fantastically forced-to-work-together heroes as they try to work through their personal issues and fight the good fight against some strangers who appear all too familiar to Metamorpho. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thank you for reading. See you next week.


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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Comics Lust 6/23/2018

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/don't-pull-my-leg Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Hello there, Denizens. Glad to have you back. Tulip and I are about to head out early today to meet up with Reverse Obie at his house before I go to a Summer Solstice party. The reason Tulip’s not going to the party is that she did something to one of her front legs and has been limping around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) ever since this morning. Thankfully, her brother agreed to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't do anything too strenuous. Anyhow, in the spirit of openness, I’m letting you all know that I pulled out an older Donist World entry that I wrote before I started Comics Lust, and I will definitely want to do a follow-up or two at some point in the future. So, binge watch some Luke Cage Season 2, 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.


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

Miniseries to the Max (Part 1)


Ahhhh…the miniseries of the ’80s…oh, how I love thee. Whether you were alive and loving comic books like I was during the arrival of the glorious miniseries, or whether you recently came to comics, there is a treasure trove of groovy books awaiting you in the back issue bin—or in trade format depending on the popularity of the particular series. Now, Marvel was the one releasing most of the miniseries I read, but DC also had a few gems tucked away themselves. The thing that mattered most was that we had—primarily—done-in-four-issues stories that my mom would buy for my brother and me in an effort to keep us from strangling one another during long drives to a vacation destination. Her diversionary tactics brought peace to the realm of the red Ford Mustang II, and every so often brought a period of cooperation between my brother and me that was rarely seen back home. These comics were magical and having gone back to reread many of them over the past few years, they still manage to make this Donist smile wide.

Let’s have a look at some, and keep in mind that they are in no particular order other than what comes to mind…

Wolverine #1–4

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Frank Miller, published in 1982 by Marvel Comics)
Okay, now this is one that we found on the spinner rack at the grocery store, and read as the issues released. This book was also much loved and it practically fell apart in our hands, which given the going price for pristine copies of this series…well, best not to think about it too much now. Man, how could you not be a fan of The Uncanny X-Men back then? Then Marvel goes and spins off this beloved character into his own story? We had to get it. Chris Claremont wrote, Frank Miller drew, and even without any crazy, tertiary-colored supervillains to be found, this series knocked it out of the park. Thankfully, there’s a trade available of this must-read mini.
Wolverine #1

Jack of Hearts #1–4

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by George Freeman, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
His costume might be a bit over the top, but I do not care in the slightest; I love it. I knew next to nothing about this vibrantly-colored, playing card-themed Jack of Hearts but he was everything I could ever want in a superhero, and with Bill Mantlo at the helm, there was much to love about this spacefaring powerhouse. I’m about due for a reread.
Jack of Hearts #1

Hercules: Prince of Power #1–4 Hercules: Prince of Power #1–4

(Everythinged by Bob Layton, published in 1982 and 1984 by Marvel Comics)
Wait just a minute…whaaaaat?! Yup, two separate series, each with the same title. One came out in 1982 and the other in 1984, and both are a blast. Leaning more on the humorous side of things with the introduction of Herc’s wisecracking Recorder, this futuristic series at times became really, really dark. There is actually a third chapter that was released as a Marvel Graphic Novel titled “Full Circle” that you will definitely have to pick up if you enjoyed both of the miniseries. Bob Layton rocks the socks off these books.
Hercules V1 #1
Hercules V2 #1

The Falcon #1–4 

(Written by Bill Owsley, illustrated by Mark Bright, published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
The guy who was both Captain America’s partner and also stood in as Captain America for a couple years, the Falcon, gets his own mini, and it’s all sorts of alright. And speaking of Captain America, he appears briefly as the heroes take on the menace of Electro!
The Falcon #1

Hawkeye #1–4

(Everythinged by Mark Gruenwald, published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
Hey now! I recently finished rereading this one. We get classic Hawkeye and the series co-stars Mockingbird! Lot’s of action and fun even when one of the villains happens to be Oddball. Love this!
Hawkeye #1

Cloak and Dagger #1–4

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Rick Leonardi, published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
I probably should not have been reading this more adult-oriented title as a kid, what, with drugs, runaways, prostitutes, and serial killers, but gosh darn it I was a fan. I still am, which is not a difficult thing given that this mini was written by Bill Mantlo. I guess I will have to pick up the eleven-issue series that followed—also written by Mantlo, no less! Now, I need to watch the new television show.
Cloak and Dagger #1

Gargoyle #1–4

(Written by J.M. Dematteis, illustrated by Mark Badger, published in 1985 by Marvel Comics)
I kind of think this character is Marvel’s answer to DC’s Etrigan the Demon, only instead of a yellow and red color scheme, we have an orange and purple one. I like this series quite a bit now, but back in the day, I was a bit irked that Isaac Christians was actually an old man. Definitely worth checking out.
Gargoyle #1

The Demon #1–4

(Everythinged by Matt Wagner, published in 1987 by DC Comics)
About time DC made an appearance, and what better series than one of my favorite ’80s minis of all time. I adore this book not just for Etrigan, but because it is written and drawn by Matt Wagner of the amazing Mage and Grendel. A great story of monsters, mayhem, and intrigue. Dang, this series rocks my world today every bit as much as it did back in the ’80s. A trade recently came out that you MUST read.
The Demon #1

X-Men and the Micronauts #1–4

(Written by Bill Mantlo and Chris Claremont, illustrated by Jackson “Butch” Guice, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
A couple years ago, I covered each and every issue of Marvel’s The Micronauts in a series of posts called “Micronauts Monday.” For each post, I examined each issue from the perspective of my younger self and as an adult. The Micronauts is what made me a comic book collector, and what better way to grab my attention than to mix two of my favorite series into one. Hallelujah! Unfortunately, because of licensing issues with The Micronauts, you will probably have to dive into the back issue bin to find it, or you can click on the link above and easily order up the series lickety-split.
X-Men and the
Micronauts #1

Vision and the Scarlet Witch

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Rick Leonardi, published in 1982 by Marve Comics)
Holy cow! How many of my favorite miniseries were written by Bill Mantlo?!?! Dang impressive. This is the mini that got me through the massive trip to Huntington Lake back when I was a wee Donist. I read these four issues over and over and really enjoyed them again a few years ago. One hint about issue four…Who’s your daddy? It’s also your lucky day, Denizens, you can find a trade of this mini with no probs, but buying the originals will probably save you a few gold pieces if you can find them.
Vision and the
Scarlet Witch #1


And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a bunch of others out there, some I have read, some I haven’t, but whether I like the stories or not, they all have a special place in this Donist’s heart.


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Comics Lust 6/16/2018

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/graduation-hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s that dreaded time of year, Denizens. It’s graduation weekend at UCSB, which means old people in Winnebegos driving the wrong way up a one-way street, it means trying to go out to eat anywhere is an act of futility, and it means we are effectively trapped in the confines of the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement). At least we have leftover pizza that I made last night, as well as some delectable beers to quench our thirst as we hunt for some new cartoons to watch. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. It’s freakin’ great! 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

Toys 2 Comics (Part 2)


It always felt great when my brother and I discovered a favorite toy had jumped platforms from the toy store shelves to the comic book spinner rack. Of course, we had our active imaginations that allowed us to build our own worlds for our toys, but when those worlds became more fleshed out and immortalized through the comic book page we found a more focused and coherent foundation to build upon. Our tiny sliver of worldly experience grew with every great comic we read, as did how we played with our action figures. Writers and artists gave us the idea of new monstrous foes, of impenetrable snowy mountains containing treasures within, or of a diabolically evil cult that threatened the world and needed to be brought to justice. It was through the ideas of others that we learned to have even bigger ideas of our own. Comics made our toys even more exciting way back when, and today we’re continuing our look at the toys that inspired some amazing (and perhaps some not so amazing) comics.

Shogun Warriors

(Written by Doug Moench, illustrated by Herb Trimpe, published in 1979 by Marvel Comics)
My brother and I had many different types of Shogun Warriors toys: we had a die-cast metal and plastic Dangard Ace that could launch off its fists and head with a touch of a button; we had a three-inch-tall Combatra made of metal and plastic; and we had a five-inch Raydeen, who could semi transform into a bird. We also had the big two-foot-tall plastic Great Mazinga with its soon-to-be-lost multitude of missiles, and also the equally sized Dragun with his spring-loaded, flinging axes. These were just the tip of the iceberg, but of the many different robots that filled our closets, it was Raydeen, Combatra, and Dangard Ace that actually succeeded in making it into their own comic series. And what a comic it was, Denizens. You had good guy giant robots, bad guy giant robots, giant monsters and costumed villains that controlled them, a giant monster shaped like a hand with five heads at the fingertips, and even guest appearances by some of Marvel’s heroes. It was everything a nine-year-old boy could ever hope to have in a comic book. Now, more than anything, I want to read all 20 issues of the series; unfortunately, my dogs and time ravaged the handful of issues that we had and because of licensing issues Shogun Warriors has never been collected. I guess I’ll be joining you in scanning the bargain bins as we scrounge for these scarce beauties.


Godzilla, King of the Monsters

(Written by Doug Moench, illustrated by Herb Trimpe, published in 1977 by Marvel Comics)
Back when I was just a wee-little Donist and discovering comic books for the first time, I was also discovering the glory that is Godzilla. What is there not to like about an enormous, irradiated dinosaur that would inevitably end up fighting all sorts of funky, equally enormous monsters from earth, sea, and outer space. Heck, Godzilla even befriended a freakin’ robot named Jet Jaguar in the movie Godzilla vs Megalon. It was my absolute love of everything Godzilla that made me a happy camper the day I found my five-inch tall rubber bendy toy and the two-foot-tall Shogun Warrior branded Godzilla toy that had wheels on its feet, a lever on the back of his head that made a pretend flame tongue stick out, and a clawed hand that could shoot off at the touch of a button! You might ask, “Why does Godzilla’s hand launch off?” And I would have to say that I have no worldly idea, but let’s just say that I absolutely loved the fact that it did; the tail that always fell off, though, not so much. Anyhow, when the comic came out, I was coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs for the thing. Despite the first two issues being a tad on the slower side, the action ramped up with Godzilla tackling such forces as The Champions, giant monsters, giant yeti-things, giant alien-things, The Avengers, a rat (after Godzilla was shrunk down), and even some cowboys at one point. These adversaries were cool enough, but nothing got my heart beating faster than the introduction of the giant robot Red Ronin who had a shield that produced an energy blade. Let that sink in for a moment. He had a damn shield sword, son! Alas, I have nary a single issue in my collection and because of licensing issues—much like Shogun Warriors—outside of the black and white and out of print collection floating around, you have a bit of a search ahead of you to get the 24 issues in this rare series.



Starriors

(Written by Louise Simonson, illustrated by Michael Chen, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
I barely remember even having this toy, but after scrounging up some images of them, I had one of those oh, yeeeeeaaaahhhhh moments. But it was the toys that brought about the Starriors four-issue limited series, which is about…yeah, your guess is as good as mine. I did have these issues at one point in my teens, it’s just that I can’t remember a dang thing about any of it other than the fact that the Bill Sienkiewicz covers are gorgeous. It looks likes the bargain bins for me.


Sectaurs

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Mark Texeira, published in 1985 by Marvel Comics)
Jeff had the good guy and his mountable beetle-like creature. I had the bad guy and his mountable spider-like creature. These toys were actually pretty dang cool. They had decent articulation, great sculpts and paint jobs, and best of all were the beasts they rode. The beetle and spider creatures were actually puppets that you wore on your hand with your middle finger used to open and close their mouths, and your other four fingers to act as legs; our dog Tippy HATED these things. Anyhow, I might actually still have the bad guy out in the storage, which is a scary place I don’t really like to visit, but I might have to venture out to see if I can find him. As for the comic...it was an eight-issue limited series that I once owned and enjoyed, then sold, and now I don’t remember a thing about it. The covers look nice and now that I know Mantlo wrote the series, I’ll be darned if I don’t want to repurchase the issues to see what it was all about. Man, these were cool toys and the comics sound pretty groovy, too.


I still have two biggie comic book series to talk about, but these will have to wait until next time: one concerns a movie that spawned toys that spawned a comic, and another that consisted of many comics that spawned a toy line that spawned a comic. There’s probably a couple of oddball toys/comics out there yet to be dug up as well. Happy hunting.


This Week’s Reading List

It’s Beer O’Clock, Denizens, so the puppies and I need to roll on out. However, here are some fantastic comics we loved:

  • Mister Miracle #9 (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics) Mister Miracle, Kalibak, and their respective sides meet to discuss a truce. One party offers the best of all worlds, but for a steep price. Still one of the best comics out there. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #9 (Everythinged 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) Kevin continues to search for his family and no measly red caps will stop him. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • Venom #2 (Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Meyer, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics) My goodness, I love Venom. I love the character. I love this comic. Cates and Stegman are slaying it, and have made me a believer. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
See you next time.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Comics Lust 6/9/2018

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/sleep-deprived Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, Tulip’s already passed out on the bed, and Reverse Obie is doing the head bob as a six-inch strand of drool connects his mouth to a pool of puppy spit on the table in front of him. I think it's time for a little R&R and some sweet dreams about comics, beer, and french fries looks to be next up on our agenda. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Oh, and go see Deadpool 2, by golly. It’s freakin’ great! Thank you for reading!


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


Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

The Whole Story (Part 2)


We’re all busy. Too busy, at times. Which is why I suspect many people are hesitant to dive into many of the more mainstream comic books. If you pick up a copy of that comic starring that Spider guy, you might have no idea of who various characters are, why they are acting the way they are acting, or what exactly happened to the smoldering building he’s so upset about. Sure, there’s the obligatory exposition to “bring you up to speed” but it’s just not the same as experiencing things organically. Say you wanted to be fully caught up, you would need to read the previous 12 issues, the annual from last year, three issues of another series to cover a crossover, and possibly a side book or two. Oh...you might then need to go to the 10-issue event book from a year and a half ago...and then some of the side stories that round out that experience, and then… Nah. Enough of that noise. Today, we’re going in, admiring the sights, and coming out clean. Here are some more comics that end in 12 issues or less and that require no prior knowledge, only a desire to experience new characters and to enjoy a story with a dang beginning, a middle, and an end.

Ghost Fleet: The Whole Damned Thing

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, published by Image Comics)
https://amzn.to/2MaSsYuThere are certain types of cargo you don’t hand over to UPS or a normal freight carrier. Some merchandise is too rare, too dangerous, or too secretive to trust to just anyone; you call the Ghost Fleet. Trace and Ward are highly-skilled, deadly, and reliable truckers who have been close friends for quite some time, but that friendship is destroyed when their rig is forced off the road by those seeking the mysterious cargo under their care. What follows is an action-packed tale of revenge and proof that no one messes with the Ghost Fleet. Oh, Denizens, how I love this series, which went through quite a journey before being published in this must-read collection. Ghost Fleet started at Dark Horse and was supposed to be a 12-issue series, but poor sales saw only four issues making it to print, issues five and six being released online, and issues seven through twelve being condensed into issues seven and eight, which were also only released digitally. The fact that it was canceled is a devastating error on the part of comic book fans everywhere—myself included—but it is one everyone can remedy by picking up this treasure. Other than feeling a tad rushed towards the end—and one plot element that upset me surrounding an animal, but whatevs—you get a solid, early Cates story and some amazing Johnson artwork as well. The sad thing is that with both creators growing in popularity for their current works, had Ghost Fleet been released today, they would definitely have had the readership they needed to have the story run its anticipated course. Oh well, if our only consolation is having this great collection, then that totally works for me. Speaking of Johnson…


Extremity Vol. 1 and 2

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, published by Image Comics)
The good thing about coming to a series late is that you can binge read a good chunk of it in one fell swoop. Which is what I did with this Donist World Darling of a comic. Originally a twelve-issue series that began in 2017 and ended in 2018, I bought the first trade earlier this year and completely fell in love with this beautiful-yet-harsh comic book. The absolute worst part of finishing this trade was the painful two-month wait for the final volume to drop. If you take a pinch of Mad Max: Fury Road and a pinch of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and mix it with the brilliance of Johnson’s pacing, characterization, storytelling, character acting, and monster design, you have one of the best damn comics I have read so far this year. Extremity follows Thea of the Roto after her clan is viciously attacked by the Paznina who kill Thea’s mother and brutally destroy Thea’s reason for living; they also steal the Roto’s floating home, leaving what’s left of the tribe to wander for survival. There are monsters, robots, intense battle scenes, and perfectly timed flashbacks that eventually fill all the gaps intentionally placed within this captivating tale. The first trade left me thrilled and desperate to see how it all ends, the second volume did not disappoint in the least. Kinship, survival, horror, tragedy, revenge, and the oppressive weight of escaping a never-ending cycle, Extremity is one the best things I have ever read and is one that will forever be on my annual reread list.


V for Vendetta

(Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by David Lloyd, published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Comics)
When you hear Alan Moore’s name, the comic that first comes to mind is usually the industry-defining Watchmen, but fans of the influential author will be quick to point out that you should quickly follow that great work with V for Vendetta…and Saga of the Swamp Thing…and Miracleman…and a whole mess of other books as well. In V for Vendetta, Britain’s citizenry is under the constant watchful eye of the ruling, fascist regime, but when all hope seems lost, a stranger in a Guy Fawkes mask blows up Parliament and starts to bring about the change Britain so desperately needs. Moore’s thorough storytelling and intense mood coupled with Lloyd’s haunting illustrations made this a terrifying cautionary tale back when I first read it in the ‘80s. This is Moore’s version of the novel 1984 and is—sadly—all too relevant today given what is currently happening in our own country. You absolutely need to read this masterwork, but I’m going to warn you: you won’t be smiling for much of it.


Punk Rock Jesus

(Everythinged by Sean Murphy, published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Comics)
I’m sure this one has ticked off some of the more…sensitive…types. Heck, the name of the book alone is enough to have some calling for a ban, if not a full-fledged book burning. But they should read the work first, before...uhhhh...before...actually, that will tick them off even more. Screw ‘em, they need a hobby. Money talks when an insanely rich television network, Ophis, strikes a deal with the Catholic Church to obtain DNA from Jesus Christ so they can clone him and air a reality show called J2. J2 star Chris and his bodyguard, ex-IRA member Thomas McKael, as well as Chris's ever-troubled mother, are all in the public eye, and J2 is, in fact, the most-watched show of all time, although it is not without its detractors. Once Chris catches a glimpse of the real world—poverty, war, consumerism, fanaticism—the world Ophis wishes to keep hidden from him, he discovers his true purpose and the best way to deliver his message: punk rock music. A great, powerful, black and white story that is certain to entertain as well as make you think about where our world might be headed.


Midnight Nation

(Written by J. Micheal Straczynski, illustrated by Gary Frank, published by Top Cow)
To be honest...I don’t really remember what this one is about as it has been over ten years since I last read it, which means it’s about time for a reread. What I do know is that I absolutely loved it at the time. I remember there is a police detective who investigates a murder and he stumbles across some evil, creepy-as-hell, vampire-looking creatures, but unfortunately, that’s about all I remember. This one has fast-forwarded up my “to read” pile, especially after I was reminded that Frank is the one providing the art. I’m excited to see if it stands up to the test of time, but considering my love of Straczynski and Frank’s Supreme Power, I’m pretty sure it will.


This Week’s Reading List

We’re plum tuckered out, Denizens, so the puppies and I are calling it quits for the day and are planning to take a much-needed, team-building nap. I will say, that of the five new comics I picked up this week, The Immortal Hulk #1 (written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Joe Bennett, published by Marvel Comics) was pretty different…different, but cool. Until next week!


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