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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