Saturday, May 26, 2018

Comics Lust 5/26/2018

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/operation Deadpool v2.0 Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Dagnabbit. I fully intended to see Deadpool 2 last weekend, but things didn’t quite go as planned, so it didn’t happen. That said, I have three full days to get my act together, have some tacos, have a couple beers, and then check out this follow-up to one my favorite movies of 2016. 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! 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

For the Love of OGN: The ’80s (Part 3)

It’s kind of amazing how many OGNs were released in the 8 ¼ -inch by 11-inch format throughout the ‘80s. They were a big deal back then, and they should still—mostly—be a big deal now as well. They were larger than regular comics, they had a higher quality paper, they had two to three times the number of pages, and they mostly told done-in-one stories that existed outside of regular comic books superhero continuity. However, if you didn’t care about capes-and-tights tales, there was much to be excited about from this new graphic novel format. You had horror, fantasy, science fiction, crime, war, and even romance, none of which had anything to do with men bitten by spiders or men utilizing a bat as their fashion muse; there was something for everyone. These books were a reflection of a time when comic companies were willing to take risks in hopes of achieving great rewards, which leads me to the first book of the day…

The New Mutants

(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by Bob McLeod, published in 1982 by Marvel Comics)
Here we have a graphic novel that expands upon the explosive popularity of Claremont’s The Uncanny X-Men, where we are introduced to a new group of mutants, youngsters with incredible powers who Professor Xavier hesitantly agrees to mentor and train after an old foe sets out to kill the kids. Part of Xavier’s reluctance is that he believes his X-Men to be dead—they are actually at the far ends of outer space fighting the alien Brood in one of my all-time favorite X-Men chapters!—and thus Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Karma, and Danielle Moonstar become The New Mutants. This fourth release in the Marvel Graphic Novel line not only told a complete and thrilling story, it also ushered in a new series that ran parallel to The Uncanny X-Men. The two series would oftentimes see characters crossing over from one book to the other, but The New Mutants had its own heft, its own fan base, that with or without the regular X-Men characters continues to captivate audiences today regardless of who happens to be on the team at any particular moment. I will admit that as much as I wanted to delve into the world of The New Mutants back in the day, it wasn’t until late 2017 that I first read this graphic novel, which is contained in the must-read Marvel Epic The New Mutants: Renewal. In this wonderful collection, you not only get the graphic novel, but the first 12 issues of the series, an issue of The Uncanny X-Men, the miniseries that expands on that issue called Magic #1–4, as well as a bunch of other goodies; “Epic” is the perfect word to describe this monster of a book. The best thing about being this late to the game is that I have lots and lots of catching up to do.

Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares

(Everythinged by Jon J. Muth, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics)
Remember how I keep droning on about how wonderful it was that the Big Two were so willing to take risks and experiment back in the day? Well, Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares is a shining example of this. Not quite an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and not at all like any of the Marvel Graphic Novels that came before or after it—there are no panels, no word balloons—this book is more a poem adapted from the great work set to a backdrop of the haunting, sensual, watercolored art of master painter Jon J. Muth. I remember seeing this on the shelves of my LCS back when I was a kid, and I definitely flipped through it, but it would be three decades before I actually got to read it. The poetry is a bit hard to follow, but it is lyrical, beautiful, but the main draw is Muth’s art which has to be seen to be believed. If you are as big a fan of painting as a means of graphic storytelling, then this is one you must seek out.

The Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe

(Written by Marc Gruenwald, art by Paul Ryan and Al Williamson, published in 1989 by Marvel Comics)
The Squadron Supreme 12-issue maxiseries was a book I absolutely loved as it was coming out; it also totally messed me up. I knew of Marvel’s analogs to DC’s Justice League characters who at the time were called the Squadron Sinister from their various mentions in the pages of The Avengers, but my brother and I never read those comics—actually, I still haven’t read those issues…hmmm. But when the first issue of the maxiseries appeared, I pounced on it and fell in love with the large cast of characters. Through the course of this series, I became acquainted with the ideas of cancer, irreconcilable differences within a team, politics, the criminal justice system, and the weight of balancing safety versus freedom. It’s a heavy book where heroes cross lines they never should have crossed and people die; things are not tied up in a pretty bow when all is said and done. It’s powerful stuff and although the book ended with the twelfth issue, I desperately wanted more, and unbeknownst to me, more came in 1989 with a new Marvel Graphic Novel that I did not learn about until 15 years later. In this follow-up, the Squadron Supreme has picked up the pieces of the fallout from the events of the maxiseries and they are forced to come together to thwart an extinction-level threat to Earth. Again, don’t expect this to a cakewalk through the daisies. It’s harsh. It’s brutal. It’s moving up to the top of my reread pile. Absolutely DO NOT read this graphic novel until you have read the amazing 12-issue series (there is a trade!). A somewhat-rare Omnibus collects it all, or you’ll just have to pick them up separately.

Void Indigo

(Written by Steve Gerber, illustrated by Val Mayerik, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
Okay. Here you go. This is what I’m talking about in regard to taking chances. Void Indigo seems more likely to have appeared in old issues of Heavy Metal Magazine as opposed to a book published by a company renowned for its superhero comics. This fantasy/sci-fi tale of revenge features some fairly psychedelic, lovely, painted artwork from Mayerik, and has its fair share of nudity, violence, and trippy goodness. It’s also one of the few Marvel Graphic Novels that doesn’t quite tell a full story, rather it is a setup to the Void Indigo series from Epic that quickly followed and was quickly canceled after two issues because of something scandalous within the comic book series. What was it that was so scandalous that the publisher decided to cancel the series before it could finish up by the sixth issue? What exactly pissed people off so bad that the book had to be tossed? I am not sure, but after reading and loving this Graphic Novel, I fully intend to find out. This book concerns a barbarian warrior and his lady love who are tortured and murdered by four Atlantan sorcerers in an effort to prolong their own wretched lives. The power of revenge reincarnates the barbarian as an alien warrior who finds himself stranded on Earth and filled with the need to extinguish the light of the four sorcerers’ lives. If you are familiar with Gerber, you know you’re in for a crazy ride, and that is exactly what you get. Check out this mind-bending series if you think you can handle the experience.

Iron Man: Crash

(Everythinged by Mike Saenz, published in 1988 by Marvel Comics)
I had this book…once upon a time. What happened to it I don’t remember, but what I do remember is being excited about the first ever computer generated graphic novel to ever hit the stands. What was this book about? I don’t remember in the slightest. Not a lick of it. I almost completely forgot this came out until something sparked a memory of its existence earlier this morning. Now, this one might have the whippersnappers scratching their heads every bit as much as handing them a cassette of your favorite disco mixtape, but y’all are just gonna have to trust me when I say the pixelated line work was an impressive feat for the time. From what I could find, this book is about Tony Stark creating some sort of weapon that everyone wants, including a certain evil group called the Digital Dreadnoughts. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine as to what all is going on, but now I have a need to hunt it down and check it out with a fresh set of eyes. One thing to note is that this book is not part of the Marvel Graphic Novel line and appears to be its own thing. Weird, experimental, groovy. I can dig it.

This Week’s Reading List

After two weeks, I only had three books in my pull which I hope to get to later this afternoon. So, nothing new to report.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Comics Lust 5/19/2018

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/delighted by Deadpool Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Yeah, I gotta figure out how I can fit in going to see Deadpool 2 tomorrow, as I am dying to check it out. My puppy executive team is also excited to see it seeing as how Tulip has teased the hair on her head into an Afro saying she is Domino, and Obie is wearing an LED mini-light over his eye and saying he is Cable; I don't have the heart to tell them that I probably can’t get them in the theater this time. Oh well, they’ll just have to wait until the Blu-ray. 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 The Avengers: Infinity War! 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

For the Love of OGN: The ’80s (Part 2)

It’s hard to describe the feeling of discovering your first local comic shop (LCS) and being exposed to more comic books in one place than you could ever imagine. Couple this with the realization that life existed beyond the Big Two and their superheroes and that an exciting shift in the types of stories being told—Marvel and DC included—created a scene that was gloriously overwhelming. Miniseries and maxiseries also appeared. These promised quick, easy, and complete stories that were perfect for keeping squirmy kids like my brother and I content and engaged in a story and wondering what was going to happen when we knew there was a definitive end in sight. One of the most exciting things of the time, however, was the day we found The Death of Captain Marvel sitting on the “new release” table. Here we saw something new during this magical time in the ’80s: the original graphic novel (OGN), stories that were not reprints of older material and had a beginning, middle, and end. It was larger in size than normal comics. It had many more pages. It had a different, fancier paper stock that allowed a broader range of colors than what we saw with the newsprint of regular comics. It also had a much higher price tag, but even as kids we recognized that these OGNs were something special and were worth commanding a greater portion of our limited funds. These OGNs were for birthdays, Christmas, and other truly special occasions, and were meant to be treated with care, respect, and admiration. These OGNs were a big deal in the ’80s and they are still a big deal today. They are very much worth seeking out.


(Everythinged by Bruce Jones, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by Jack Morelli, designed by Cindy Kruhm, published in 1989 by Marvel Comics)
This is the type of story Marvel would never publish today. It concerns a mother and daughter on a car trip, their relationship showing the strains of parenthood clashing with adolescence. Their trip takes a fairly routine horror turn when they come into the sights of deranged, perverse country folk intent of doing them harm. Then the unexpected happens in a way that I will not spoil and that has endeared me to Jones’s vast body of work—a catalogue that should be compiled in its own collection(s), by golly. Arena is a product of a time when Marvel took the sorts of risks that most non-publicly traded companies are willing to make, and that allows this 64-page genre mashup to shine. Sadly, I don’t believe this story has been collected anywhere so you will need to find this great OGN in this format; let the hunt begin!

Swords of the Swashbucklers

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Jackson “Butch” Guice, published in 1984 by Marvel Comics)
Speaking of taking risks and trying something different, Marvel put out Swords of the Swashbucklers, a sprawling, spacefaring, pirate adventure that featured bizarre alien creatures and spaceships patterned after the pirate ships of old. There’s time travel, an oppressive and expansionist empire, and eventually superpowered beings, all while having a fun, thrilling story with unbelievably gorgeous art. The book was popular enough that Marvel’s Epic imprint published a 12-issue series that unfortunately had a rushed ending as a result of the series being canceled. It then vanished until a successful Kickstarter campaign brought all the material together into one collection from Dynamite Entertainment after a three-decade absence. Not only that, a new series, Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues, has begun that cancels out the unsatisfactory original ending and sets sail for new and exciting adventures. The collection is definitely the way to go with this thrilling treasure.

The Hunger Dogs

(Everythinged by Jack “King” Kirby, published in 1985 by DC Comics)
Not ones to be outdone by Marvel, DC entered the OGN fray and came out swinging with a series of eight OGNs that focused on the sci-fi and fantasy side of the equation, with only one book having anything to do with their normal superhero comics: that book is The Hunger Dogs. For those not familiar with Kirby’s Fourth World mythology, it is comprised of Mister Miracle, The Forever People, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, and The New Gods. The New Gods has a complicated history that saw the series run for 11 issues, then switch creative teams and costumes for Orion as well as being retitled to The Return of the New Gods and retaining the numbering scheme until being canceled on the 19th issue. Kirby reportedly wanted to kill off Orion and Darkseid with what would have been issue 12, but DC would not allow it, arguing to keep the characters alive and kicking. DC then released The New Gods, Volume 2, which reprinted two issues of Kirby’s run in each issue, until in issue #6 of volume two where issue #11 of volume one was reprinted along with a new, 48-page story titled “Even Gods Must Die” was shoehorned in instead of Kirby’s intended ending which looked to again kill off the main characters. This story is a prologue to none other than The Hunger Dogs OGN which served to wrap up The New Gods storyline, to keep the characters alive for future use, and used unpublished Kirby pages from a story titled “On the Road to Armagetto”; The Return of the New Gods issues were all but forgotten. I know, not the easiest roadmap to follow, but you can do it if you buy the behemoth The Fourth World by Jack Kirby Omnibus to get the whole enchilada, or you can wait until September to pick up The New Gods by Jack Kirby collection which sticks to the basics. Dang, I think I’m ready to dive back in all over again.

Daredevil: Love and War

(Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, lettered by Jim Novak, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics)
Elektra Assassin #1–8 was a big deal back in the ’80s and was a series I eagerly awaited from issue one all the way through to the end. With Frank Miller’s amazing writing and Bill Sienkiewicz and his oh-so-beautiful watercolored art, I was in love. What I didn’t know at the time was that Elektra Assassin had a companion book, an OGN titled Daredevil: Love and Hate. My brother eventually picked it up and we marveled at the continued beauty found in this 64-page treasure. Essentially a Kingpin story that heavily features Daredevil, it involves Wilson Fisk going to extreme lengths to…encourage…a prominent doctor to save the life of his beloved Vanessa, which leads to a conflict with Daredevil who must also rescue a beautiful blind woman abducted by a psychopath. A creepy as hell story with art that both matches the mood while being stunning and exquisite at the same time, this OGN is one that MUST be experienced by both fans of Daredevil and fans of the creators alike. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a rarity, and you are probably going to have to shell out a pretty penny for the OGN or the even rarer hardcover collection that includes Elektra Assassin titled Daredevil/Elektra: Love and War. Sorry about the money—unless you get it digitally. Regardless, you need to read this.

Hercules, Prince of Power: Full Circle

(Everythinged by Bob Layton, lettered by John Workman, colored by George Roussos, published in 1988 by Marvel Comics)
I have not read this one yet. I honestly didn’t even find out about it until a year or two ago, which is surprising as I loved—and still love, btw—both of the original miniseries from which this continues. Thankfully, I just received my copy and I will be reading it this week. So, yes, here we have an OGN that completes a story trilogy that started with Hercules, Prince of Power #1–4 (1982) and Hercules, Prince of Power #1-4 (1984). (Yeah, you would think that Marvel would at least change the name enough to make it clear which is which, but I guess they wanted things to be as confusing as possible.) Not only that, two decades later, Layton returned to his trilogy to release Hercules: Twilight of a God #1–4 (2010), which I now have to get. The first limited series begins a few centuries in the future where Zeus, irritated by his son’s complacency among mortals, banishes Hercules to the farthest reaches of space to teach the demigod humility. Here, Hercules must face alien threats including the devourer of worlds Galactus. The second mini concerns the gods of Olympus being murdered and Hercules having to return to find out why. Both miniseries have an air of humor and adventure, but with much heart that entertains me as much today as they did when they were originally being released. The story stands up on its own, but Layton’s lovely art lifts these books straight up to Olympus itself. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-stop-shop omnibus or collection for these four stories. You will have to find the following: Hercules, Prince of Power Hardcover (or trade), which has the first two minis; Hercules: Full Circle Hardcover, which has the OGN and a bunch of other stuff I have not read; and finally Hercules: Twilight of a God Softcover. Or, you can scrounge up the originals and be fully set up. No matter what form factor you go with, just be sure you get ahold of Layton’s Hercules work; you’ll be glad you did.

This Week’s Reading List

I only had two books in my pull this week and haven’t gone to my LCS to pick them up. Oh well. I will say, however, that I am halfway through something pretty dang amazing, and that book is…

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil

(Written by Jeff Lemire; art, letters, and colors by David Rubín; flats by Kike J. Díaz; published by Dark Horse Books)
If you have not read Black Hammer, then you are doing comics wrong. Sorry, but that’s the truth. It is one of the best comics I read in 2017 and 2018 and is something I intend to reread in the next couple of weeks. Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil is a spinoff miniseries from Black Hammer and although you could read this damn-fine mini on its own, you are missing much of the emotional impact found in the first two Black Hammer trades. This series is set in the regular world where the Black Hammer’s young daughter is determined to find her father and to do so she will go to her father’s fiercest enemy: Sherlock Frankenstein, the zombified, villainous, genius. This book expands the Black Hammer universe and opens the door for even more miniseries like Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows (I CANNOT WAIT to read this, btw). Rubín’s art is brilliant and although he has been around for a while, he is new to me and I now need to read everything he has ever done. I will finish Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil today, which has me excited to see where the series is going and saddened that I will be waiting a while for whatever comes next. I guess I’ll just have to reread what I already have. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Comics Lust 5/12/2018

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/Thanos thwarter Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). I’m gonna see it again, Denizens. That’s right, tomorrow I’m gonna see The Avengers: Infinity War for the second time. Not, only am I going to see it again, this time I’m taking the person who not only encouraged my love of comics but enabled it: my Mom. Yes, my puppy executive team is a little bummed about not being able to join us, but Donist World can’t afford to grease the palms of the theater staff each time the dogs want to see a movie. Know what I’m sayin’? 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 The Avengers: Infinity War! 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

For the Love of OGN: The ’80s (Part 1)

If it seems like I keep returning to the ’80s, it’s because that decade was of monumental importance to the comic book industry on many levels. It was during this time that a tonal shift began to pervade both storylines and art as darker, more cynical themes took hold giving rise to both Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Not only were these masterful works a reflection of the Cold War’s ever-present shadow, they succeeded in bringing the creator to the forefront of readers’ minds. They also heralded innovation by the predominantly risk averse Marvel and DC as they experimented with series length through the miniseries/limited series/maxiseries—comics intentionally created with a beginning, middle, and end—or with paper stock as could be found in DC’s Prestige Format—square-bound comics with double to triple the number of pages on a higher quality of paper and a higher cover price. What grabbed my attention first, however, was the Marvel Graphic Novel in 1982, which boasted an 8 ¼. in. x 11 in. form factor, 64 pages, and original content that you—for the most part—couldn’t find anywhere else. What you got was a not overly-large comic with noticeably more content that offered a break from the constraints of continuity and a considerably different experience than what you found in the regular titles. I was in love.

The Death of Captain Marvel

(Everythinged by Jim Starlin, colored by Steve Oliff, lettered by James Novak, published in 1982 by Marvel Comics)
The Death of Captain Marvel is the first foray into the 8 ¼ in. x 11 in. Original Graphic Novel (OGN) format that would consume my brother and my attentions (and much of our allowances) with each release and these things came out often. Now, there were other forms of the OGN, namely some of the bookshelf-thwarting Treasury editions from the ’70s, but Marvel’s exciting, new packaging and what looked to be the actual death of a superhero we had grown to love over the past few years in the pages of The Avengers made this a must-own book. This was also where I first took notice of the name Jim Starlin and had my interest in Adam Warlock renewed to a degree that would make that character one my all-time favorites. The art is, of course, glorious, mind-bending, and unlike anything else appearing in superhero comics, with the colors providing a glimpse into the rise of expanding printing technologies through the use of different paper stocks that could better reproduce color gradients than regular ink-devouring newsprint. The carried a very tangible weight, unlike anything we had ever experienced in a comic book, one that has mostly kept this much-loved character beyond the Marvel no-character-ever-stays-dead norm. The Death of Captain Marvel still affects me to this day; I think it’s time I gave my battered and beaten, much-loved copy a reread. Finding this Marvel Graphic Novel won’t be easy, but at least you can read the story in the trade paperback Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection, which you simply MUST read.

The Futurians

(Everythinged by Dave Cockrum, colored by Paty, lettered by Jim Novak, published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
Although a handful of other Marvel Graphic Novels followed The Death of Captain Marvel, the steep price tag—compared to regular comics—kept my brother and me from scooping them up; that was until the release of The Futurians. We were well aware of Cockrum from his signature The Uncanny X-Men run and his name definitely influenced our decision to pick up this new graphic novel, but it was the new group of wonderful characters gracing the cover that commanded us to pool all resources and see what it was all about. Aliens, monsters, Earth-scale threats, and a band of mismatched heroes kept this fast-paced, thrilling adventure near and dear to our hearts for many years. Sunswift, Terrayne, Blackmane, Silver Shadow (my favorite of the bunch), Silkie, Mosquito, Werehawk, and Avatar would go on to next appear in their own ill-fated series that would sadly never finish from Lodestone Comics. After I reread this Marvel Graphic Novel, I think I’ll dig up The Futurians #1–3 so I can dwell on the greatness that could have been.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Hooky

(Written by Susan K. Putney, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, colored by Bernie and Michelle Wrightson, lettered by Jim Novak, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics)
I just read this last month. I know, I know, it’s been three decades since it first released, but I honestly had forgotten about this one until I realized it was illustrated by none other than one of the pantheon of comic gods: Bernie Wrightson. Luckily, this story was reprinted in The Amazing Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels collection and is definitely the standout story of the four therein. It’s a magical tale of Spidey helping an eternally-young girl from another dimension face her literal demons. The story is fun and touching despite seeming at times…inappropriate…but it is Wrightson’s art that brings it all home with some spectacular splash pages and lovely/horrifying monsters. I must confess that some of the panels where you see both of Spider-Man’s eyes are a little off, this, however, is a minor point and otherwise the overall book knocks it out of the park. Seek this story out!

Elric: The Dreaming City

(Written by Roy Thomas, illustrated by P. Craig Russell, logo and lettering by Tom Orzechowski, published in 1982 by Marvel Comics)
If you want swords and sorcery with a heavy emphasis on the magic, P. Craig Russell should be one of the first names that come to mind. I recently mentioned Russell’s mind-bending, psychedelic work a few installments ago (see “Trippin’ on the Visuals”) and this second book in the Marvel Graphic Novel line is a must-read entry into the world of Michael Moorcock’s famous tragic anti-hero. Here is the reading order of the comic adaptations of Moorcock’s work beyond Elric: The Dreaming City (which is actually part of The Weird of the White Wolf storyline but Russell’s art on this Marvel Graphic Novel MUST be experienced on its own, in this format):

If you are looking for a tale of an albino master sorcerer and his vampiric, soul-stealing sword with stunning, otherworldly imagery, then Elric: The Dreaming City needs to be part of your collection.

Seven Samuroid

(Everythinged by Frank Brunner, colored by Jan Brunner, published in 1984 by Image International)
You didn’t think Marvel had the monopoly on OGN’s did you? Nope. Many up-and-coming companies gravitated to this format, including this sole offering from Image International (not to be confused with the publishing superstars Image Comics). Many years before I learned of the existence of the Akira Kurosawa cinematic masterpiece Seven Samurai, this OGN inspired by that highly-inspirational film was something my brother and I positively could not pass up. Seven robot samurais, long thought lost to the ravages of time, band together to reclaim their honor and protect a struggling human colony under threat of destruction from an evil alien empire. Brunner’s art is fantastic, harkening to his Howard the Duck days and at times pays homage to Moebius in this done-in-one book that does exactly what it should do: leave you wanting more. How could we not fall in love with Seven Samuroid?

This is but a tasty morsel of what the ’80s had to offer in the way of 8 ¼ in. x 11 in. graphic novels, and although Marvel was king in this particular arena during this time, I’m sure you might have noticed a certain Big Two publisher I have not yet mentioned. Don’t worry, though, they too threw their hat in the ring and I’ll get to them as well many more Marvel offerings that I have read and/or desperately want to read in the next installment.

This Week’s Reading List

Yes, I finished reading Extremity Vol. 2: Warrior and it is not only one of my favorite series of 2017–2018—there are only the two volumes—it is one of my favorite series of all-time. It is brutal, tragic, chilling, and a thoroughly satisfying journey I will gladly take on future rereads. On the new comic book front, I only had two books in my pull this week and I picked up an additional one on a whim that took me completely by surprise.

Venom #1

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by J.P. Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles)
I know next to nothing about Venom. There, I said it. I recognize who the character is, I know he’s empowered by the symbiote Spider-Man wore is his “black costume” days, I know he was an unnecessary element in the Spiderman 3 movie, and I can deduce he has a TON of fans as he has had many solo series (including one by Rick Remender I should read someday) and had hundreds of appearances in other books over the past couple of decades. I understand the kids love him, I just never completely got why…now I know. I also realize I need to greatly expand the books I’ve read by Donny Cates. Venom introduces you to Eddie Brock and shows us the toll the Venom symbiote has had on the character’s life. We get a sense of Brock’s history, some hints of the others who have possessed—or been possessed by—the symbiote, and we are introduced to the adversary/adversaries that are set to torment our hero, but half of the appeal of Venom is the tone that looks to make this a legit horror book. The other half is Ryan Stegman. Stegman is also a name I have heard about for some time and now, after experiencing his oh-so-beautiful art, it is safe to say I am a fan. Here I was not buying any Marvel comics and in walks Venom to raise my eyebrow and have me looking forward to not only what comes next, but to what other works I might have missed from these powerhouse creators. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Comics Lust 5/5/2018

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/Thanos thwarter Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). We saw it, Denizens. Whoa, Nelly, we saw it. Here’s how the day went: We took Monday off of work; we skipped our workout; we had a lovely breakfast as we rewatched Thor: Ragnarok (still a freakin’ great movie); we cleaned ourselves up; went for a walk around UCSB; went to lunch at Hollister Brewing Company and had some beautiful beers; and then watched one heck of an amazing movie. Yes, The Avengers: Infinity War surpassed all of our expectations. Now, you might be wondering how I snuck my puppy executive team into the theater…don’t worry about it; it’s one of the perks of being a Fortune 320,000 company. 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 The Avengers: Infinity War! 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

Thanos 101: Intro to The Mad Titan (Part 3)

Alright, class, settle down. I know we are all excited, traumatized, and completely blown away by last week’s required viewing of The Avengers: Infinity War, but we have some supplemental reading material to go over on your syllabus. Trust me, I share your excitement. I had no idea what to expect from a movie that young me would have never dreamt of ever seeing. Heck, even not-quite-so-young me would never have imagined this movie could be as great as it was, but let’s get back on topic: supplemental Thanos reading materials. For part 1 and part 2, we covered the works—in chronological order—of Jim Starlin, the man most responsible for creating the Mad Titan we know and love today. This time around, however, we are expanding on the character of Thanos through the eyes of other talented creators who offer their interpretation of the most complex and interesting, not to mention my favorite, “villain” in the Marvel Universe.


(Written primarily by Keith Giffen, illustrated by various, published in 2006 by Marvel)
It is no secret that comic book events, for the most part, leave me vastly underwhelmed and insulted by what oftentimes is more of a short-term money-grab plagued with numerous delays, inconsistent art, and a story created to lead into the next event. (But how do I really feel?). It’s also not a secret that I LOVE The Infinity Gauntlet, which (mostly) holds up today as it did when I first read the book decades ago. But there are other events that buck the norm and deliver a compelling and consistent series that both pleases readers and moves copies: Annihilation is one of those events.
Now, at the time, to get the full effect of Annihilation, you had to carefully follow the many books involved, but the good news was that each was a dang good read. Here are the individual books you needed to read for this thrilling event:

  • Thanos #7–12 (Written by Keith Giffen, illustrated by Ron Lim, published in 2004 by Marvel Comics) After Jim Starlin left the Thanos series, Giffen and Lim took over to lay some of the groundwork for what would be Annihilation. Although not essential to the whole experience, you see the reintroduction of Star-Lord and of course more Thanos goodness.
  • Drax the Destroyer #1–4 (Written by Keith Giffen, illustrated by Mitch Breitweiser, published in 2005 by Marvel Comics) Remember the days when Drax had become somewhat of a dumb, hulking powerhouse of a brute? Well, no longer. Here Drax becomes the lithe (comparatively), knife-wielding murder-machine who eventually appears in The Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series and years later The Guardians of the Galaxy movies we all know and love.
  • Annihilation: Prologue #1 (Written by Keith Giffen, illustrated by Scott Kollins and Ariel Olivetti, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) Okay, here we go. The main players are introduced as Annihilus brings his Annihilation Wave out of the Negative Zone. Game on!
  • Annihilation: Nova #1–4 (Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, illustrated by Kev Walker, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) The last surviving member of the Nova Corps, Richard Rider, becomes Nova Prime and vows to stop the Annihilation Wave even if he must do so alone.
  • Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1–4 (Written by Keith Giffen, illustrated by Renato Arlem, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) The Silver Surfer joins with a handful of other ex-heralds of Galactus to take on the Annihilation Wave and also Thanos, who has mysteriously sided with Annihilus. Things don’t look good.
  • Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1–4 (Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, illustrated by Greg Titus, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) One of The Fantastic Four’s most ruthless foes vows to crush the Annihilation Wave.
  • Annihilation: Ronan #1–4 (Written by Simon Furman, illustrated by Jorge Lucas, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) I never thought the Kree Accuser Ronan would have his own limited series, or that he would be a crucial character in the Annihilation event, but here he is. Including Ronan is a move I would have never expected, but it is one that works.
  • Annihilation: Nova Corps Files #1 (Written and illustrated by a whole mess of people, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) A dossier of the key players and events leading up to Annihilation. A sourcebook, if you will.
  • Annihilation #1–6 (Written by Keith Giffen, illustrated by Andrea Divito, published in 2006 by Marvel Comics) After a quick buildup from the Drax the Destroyer mini, the Annihilation: Prologue, and the four individual miniseries, Annihilation kicks into high gear and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The heroes come together in a final rally to save the universe from Annihilus’s Annihilation Wave. The situation is dire and all hope seems lost. It’s hordes of cosmic bugs from another dimension against the vastly outnumbered United Front in this space opera, war story.
  • Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1–2 (Written by Christos Gage, Stuart Moore, and Keith Giffen; illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Mike McKone, and Andrea Divito, published in 2007 by Marvel Comics) The Annihilation Wave is _______ (not going to spoil) but some of Galactus’s former heralds—those who have survived—are angry and want revenge.

I know that this is a lot of material, but every page of this grand offering is worth your time and effort to read. Thankfully, it’s not that much effort to collect this event as you can go big with the Annihilation Omnibus (if you can find one that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars), or go not-quite-as-big-but-still-major with the Annihilation: The Complete Collection Volume 1 and Volume 2. From here, you get a Nova ongoing, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the next event Annihilation: Conquest.

The Thanos Imperative

(Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, illustrated by Brad Walker and Miguel Sepulveda, published in 2010 by Marvel Comics)
Comprised of The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1, The Thanos Imperative #1–6, and The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1, this mini-event leaps from the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy to bring Thanos back into the universe. Unfortunately for all, the Mad Titan is very much mad. The trauma Thanos has been through has left him a near-mindless, hulking monster set on killing everything in his path. This is not good, but might also be a blessing in disguise as a parallel dimension known as the Cancerverse attempts to bleed into our own along with its hideous, unkillable, perversions of our own heroes. Thanos might very well be the right weapon to use against the invaders, that is if he can be controlled. In other words, we’re all doomed. The Thanos Imperative is a thrilling, creepy ride and successfully brings Thanos back into the heart of the Marvel Universe. My only disappoint with this otherwise awesome mini-event is the casual treatment of Adam Magus, but whatchagonnado? Definitely, a book to seek out.

Thanos Rising #1–5

(Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Simone Bianchi, published in 2013 by Marvel Comics)
Most of what we know of Thanos involves the devastation wrought throughout his adult life. But what of his younger years? What was he like as a child? What led to his first kill and who was it? All that and more are revealed in the miniseries that leads us to…


(Written by Jonathan Hickman with Nick Spencer, illustrated by many, published in 2012 by Marvel Comics)
After watching The Avengers: Infinity War and loving every second of it, Infinity needs to be next on my reread list as I’m a little shaky as to everything that went down in this rich, complex series. The movie draws much inspiration from both the The Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity with both events being must-reads for those wanting to know more about the Infinity Gems (or Infinity Stones as they are known in the film) and to introduce Thanos’s Black Order, an elite task force consisting of Corvus Glaive, Black Dwarf, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Supergiant. You also get the new alien threat of the Builders who seek to wipe out the universe as Thanos and his thralls begin to ravage an Earth missing most of its mightiest heroes. Infinity is a book that requires you to have all of your faculties about you as you read, so be prepared by getting a good night’s sleep, do some sort of exercise, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, and settle in for this grand adventure. This collection is comprised of New Avengers #7–12, Avengers #14–23, Infinity #1–6, and Infinity: Against the Tide Infinite Comic #1–2. If you want to see more of Thanos’s army and see them fight an expanded roster of The Avengers, then this is not a book you want to miss!

There you have it class! At least an entire year’s worth of required reading just to cover the Mad Titan Thanos. But wait, there’s more! There are still many other series out there that feature Thanos, including the most recent interpretations by Jeff Lemire and Donny Cates. That, however, is for another day.

This Week’s Reading List

I read some new comics this week and they are cool, but I have to cut out early so I can reread Extremity Vol. 1: Artist, before I glide into the hot off the presses Extremity Vol. 2: Warrior that has been patiently waiting on my desk for me to see how it all ends. Extremity is a spectacular series that started in 2017 and completely took me by surprise; think Mad Max: Fury Road meets Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. That’s it, Denizens. I’m out. I got some reading to do. Take care.