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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