Saturday, September 29, 2018

Comics Lust 9/29/2018

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/autumn is coming Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister).

Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

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

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

Comics Lust

The (Number) Ones that Started it All (Part 1)

The list of comic book series that I absolutely love and could never live without just gets bigger and bigger as time goes on. With many, I jumped smack dab into the middle of the fray and had to forage through newsstands and grocery store spinner racks in the hope of finding great comics, which was the only way of reading comics back in the days before the interwebs and comics on demand and the LCS. Other series on my list took a few issues to get into the flow of things or to fall in love with the characters or the world. But then, some comic creators deliver a comic that grabs you by the shirt and shakes you to attention with the very first issue—some manage to do so within the first few pages!—and that is what we are here to celebrate today: the truly exceptional first issue.

Descender #1

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, originally published in 2015 by Image Comics)
Space Opera? Check. Robots including a robotic dog named Bandit? Check. Watercolored artwork reminiscent of the best comics of the ’80s? Check. Jeff Lemire? Check. A story so compelling that I reread the first issue immediately after reading it? Check. I could keep going, but Descender had everything I could want from a comic and more, which is why this Donist World Darling has topped my “Year-End Roundup” every year since its debut in 2015. This thrilling emotional roller coaster ride of a sci-fi powerhouse got better and better with each issue, both in story and oh-so-gorgeous art. Descender tells the story of the robot boy TIM-21 who awakens from a ten-year slumber to a universe that had been ravaged by planet-sized robots known as Harvesters. Since that devastating moment, robots have been outlawed and hunted out of fear and for profit, but TIM-21 might hold the key to the Harvesters and their motives. I fell in love with nearly every character in this series and continued to be thrilled by all 32 issues in the first part of the tale. Now, with the second chapter, titled Ascender, set to debut in early 2019 with a massive shift in focus that I will not spoil here, it looks like I have some time to reread all six trades to prepare for that eagerly awaited new first issue. Everyone should be reading this fine comic.

Venom #1

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, originally published in 2018 by Marvel Comics)
I read a comic book about Venom and I not only liked it, I loved it! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had anything against the character, I always thought he was fine and all, it’s just that I never had much interest. Enter Donny Cates. I was a little late to the Cates train with first exposure to his work being the mind-bending Atomahawk #0, and then the amazing Ghost Fleet and his fantastic run on Doctor Strange. So, I thought, Why not give Venom a try? I’m so very glad I did. You don’t need to know the character’s long, convoluted history other than he is a superhero/anti-hero who had troubles with Spider-Man in the past and is seeking to redeem himself by doing good in his own way. This horror/thriller/action comic brings in a host of twisted symbiotes as well as a mysterious new threat alongside military intrigue and leaving me with a thought I never expected: When the heck does the next issue arrive? A trade of the monumental first arc—issues #1–6—drops the first week of December. You’re going to want to check this one out.

Prez #1

(Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Jeremy Lawson, lettered by Travis Lanham, originally published in 2015 by DC Comics)
This first issue blew me away. I knew nothing of Russell, who would go on from this critically acclaimed series to the critically acclaimed The Flintstones, and then to the critically acclaimed The Snagglepuss Chronicles. The main difference between Prez and these later works is that Prez only got through the first arc of what was a planned two arc series. Needless to say, I was devastated once I learned that issues 7–12 would never see the light of day. This was in spite of the aforementioned critical acclaim and the devastating events of the then-looming 2016 election to which Prez would have been all too timely and would have provided some much-needed laughter. This series is about the ridiculous combination of harmful politics, corporate interest, and social media leading to a teenage girl becoming President of the US. Russell injects a healthy dose of satire and social commentary on the state of modern politics, economics, classism, corporate influence, healthcare, warfare, and so much more. The first issue had me rolling with laughter as my teeth clenched in anxiety over just how true this futuristic world actually was given the current state of the country. This is only compounded by Caldwell’s joyful illustrations and Lawson’s vibrant colors contrasted against the stark reality underlying Russell’s wickedly sharp commentary. What’s even more brutal is that the amazing six-issue trade included a “sneak peek” of the never-released seventh issue, but don’t let the fact that the series never received the conclusion it so richly deserved dissuade you from checking it out. What we actually did get to see is so very worth the read.

The Stuff of Legend #1

(Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by C.P. Wilson III, designed and colored by Jon Conkling and Michael De Vito, originally published in 2009 by Th3rd World Studios)
In 1944, from the depths of an ominous closet, The Boogeyman kidnaps a young boy into the world of the Dark. Lamenting the loss of their owner and friend, the boy’s toys band together along with his dog Scout to enter the Dark to find him. Along the way, they encounter allies and enemies amongst long-forgotten toys and legitimate dangers aplenty that claim the life of one of their own. Now, this one, Denizens, this one grabbed me on more levels than any book ever has before. Not only do we have the dark, compelling story with jaw-dropping artwork, The Stuff of Legend has a unique square format (8-in. X 8-in.), a sepia-toned coloring aesthetic, an artificially-aged look, and an overwhelming feeling that you are holding a truly special comic. Four trades have released over the past eight years, with a fifth volume (hopefully) wrapping soon before we enter the final chapter of this haunting-yet-captivating series. With a handful of issues left until completion, a board game on the horizon, and rumblings of a live-action film, The Stuff of Legend is a grown-up answer to that question we used to ask ourselves as children: What do my toys do when I am not around?

Supreme Power #1

(Written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Gary Frank, inked by Jon Sibal, colored by Chris Sotomayor, lettered by VC’s Rus Wooton and Chris Eliopoulos, originally published in 2003 by Marvel Comics)
I was a HUGE fan of Mark Gruenwald and Bob Hall’s 12-issue limited series The Squadron Supreme, so when I heard that the Marvel Max line was releasing a reimagined and modernized version of Marvel’s favorite DC analogues, I absolutely had to check it out. Supreme Power did not disappoint. This fantastic first issue deals with the question of what happens when a kindly couple finds a baby inside a rocket that has crash landed on their farm. Well, the government arrives, erases the couple, seizes the baby that looks human yet has a markedly different DNA structure, and raises him in secret, with fake parents, and with a steady diet of propaganda and ideals. Then the child’s powers begin to manifest as does his realization that his entire life has been a lie. Heavy stuff, Denizens, and I love every page of this issue as we get a glimpse of other superpowered characters who will slowly appear in subsequent issues. Frank’s art and storytelling add to the drama of this issue and although it is relatively action-free, the escalating tension of the situation makes this issue and the series as a whole incredibly compelling. You can read the three trades of the first 18 issues, and then jump to the tragically unfinished Squadron Supreme: The Pre-War Years that contained seven issues. Dang, Denizens, this whole series just jumped to the top of my reread pile, I can’t wait.

That’s it for now, and I’ll see you next week when I pick up with some more great number ones. Oh, and speaking of Gary Frank, Doomsday Clock #7 (written by some up-and-coming guy named Geoff Johns) is freaking great and continues to have me frantic to see what comes next. Be sure to check it out!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Comics Lust 9/22/2018

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/The Immortal Iron Paw Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s been a week, Denizens, and not a good one. In fact, it’s been a pretty bad month. Hmmm...Actually, since the beginning of December 2017, things have been pretty not that great. I’ll just leave it at that. Thank goodness for great comics and great friends and family. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

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

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

Comics Lust

But Then There’s that One Issue… (Part 1)

When you ask someone about the various comic books that rock their world, their eyes tend to light up right before they begin to tell you about a series or a character or maybe even a story arc that is just too cool for school and that you simply must rush out and read. It’s wonderful to see the passion people have for their favorite comics and the joy that comes with sharing that love with potential new fans. But if you really want to get someone thinking, ask them about a particular issue that changed everything for them, that got them excited, that filled them with dread, that broke their dagburned heart. Ask them about that certain issue that affected them the most and made comics not just a hobby but a necessity of life. Here are a few issues that got to me the most…

The Micronauts #28

(Written by Bill Mantlo, illustrated by Pat Broderick, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
I’m coming out of the gate swinging with this one, Denizens. I’ve made it no secret that The Micronauts is the comic book that transformed young Donist from a comic book fan into a comic book collector. I love this dang series with all my heart. In fact, there are many moments throughout the 59 issues, 2 annuals, and the four-issue X-Men and the Micronauts limited series, that are worthy of high praise, but it was issue #28 that changed everything for me. The cover alone made my heart skip a beat with its depiction of the mighty Acroyear facing off against the centaur form of the tyrant Baron Karza. The proclamation of “Rann—Doomed! Karza—Defeated! Spartak—Destroyed!” had me rushing home and brooking no interruptions as I carefully took in every panel of this amazing comic before gulping and turning to the next page. As gorgeous and as thrilling as this cover is, I was in no way ready for what was contained within: kings possessed, queens sacrificed, worlds destroyed, betrayal by allies, Nick Fury fighting against Hydra, leaders fall, and so much more. This issue promised the world and delivered oh so much more. Even flipping through it over three and a half decades after its initial release has me wanting to return to this amazing series that unfortunately is still tied up in a licensing quagmire that will require you to hunt down the original issues, which, no discussion, you must do. Just be sure to start with issue one, as the emotional impact of issue #28 necessitates getting to know the characters and experiencing the triumphs and failures that lead to this monumental battle.

Preacher #10

(Written by Garth Ennis, illustrated by Steve Dillon, originally published in 1996 by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint)
Okay, please understand that I absolutely cannot go into any degree of detail as to what goes down in this particular issue without out completely ruining it for you. Oh man! Much like The Micronauts, my heart is racing but for VERY different reasons. Preacher is one of those series that I could honestly make a case for giving each of the 66 issues in the series its own entry. Heck, now that I think of it, I might just do such a thing at some point in the future, but #10 is the issue that almost broke me. I audibly gasped at the final panel and I wanted to throw the comic across the room and scream at in hopes that the creators could hear me. I might have gone for a walk after reading it, but I definitely could not get it out of my head. But was there ever a point where I thought, that’s it, I’m out, f_ this noise? No. No way. I was desperate for the next issue. I would have called in sick if my job in order to not miss going to the comic shop on the day #11 came out. As painful as the experience might be, I had to know where we went from the events of issue #10. Thankfully, and true to form, Ennis and Dillon over-delivered for the remainder of what is still my all-time-favorite comic book series. I love Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy, the Saint and every other character in this book and I even went so far as to name my dog after one of them. Reading Preacher in issue form was a nerve-racking, borderline traumatizing experience that was soooooo very worth it every step of the way. You can only read Preacher from issue one through to the end with an allowance for deviating from the path to experience the many one-shots and the four-issue mini that expanded the world of this epic series. Preacher Book One is the place it all starts.

The Saga of the Swamp Thing #21

(Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by John Totleben and Steve Bissette, originally published in 1984 by DC Comics)
You already know my thoughts on the Swamp Thing character, right? How Swamp Thing #10 illustrated by Bernie Wrightson is the first comic that really caused me to take note of the art and realize that not all illustrators are created equal; I gained an appreciation of what art brings to a story. I then followed the character where I could, and I picked back up the revitalized series that started up in 1982. As much as I loved seeing Swamp Thing back on the grocery store spinner rack, and as solid as issues #1–19 are, it was #21 that took my breath away. The story was unlike anything I had ever read. Here we have the title character dead, on a slab, in a freezer, being dissected by another plant man at the behest of the head of an evil corporation. Now, I had missed the six or seven issues leading up to this one, but Moore gives the reader enough background as to what happened to catch them up and leave them fine not knowing the details of what came before (again, those issues are still really good and introduce things Moore will expand upon later and are definitely worth reading). It also doesn’t hurt to have Bissette and Totleben as the very worthy successors to Wrightson’s breathtaking earlier work, but as great as that art is and as much as it makes The Saga of the Swamp Thing a must-own book, it’s the concepts, characterization, and creepy-as-hell mood and horror-tinged themes that Moore introduces into the Swamp Thing mythos that makes this one of the best runs ever. Oh, see that bright green sprout emerging from the dead, grey husk of the Swamp Thing…it just doesn’t get better than that. The Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 1 contains this issue, but I’m certain you will need the other five volumes and then want to go back and get the Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus for everything that leads up to Moore’s definitive run.

Marvel Team-Up #63
(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Byrne, originally published in 1978 by Marvel Comics)
Yup, this entry is a bit timely, given that I just finished watching Iron Fist on Netflix and where I was severely disappointed by the writing of the first season, season two was fantastic. I loved it. My dislike of the first season was primarily because of my love of the character ever since I was a wee kiddo. In the glorious pages of Claremont and Byrne’s Iron Fist, we saw my favorite Kung-Fu hero fighting Sabertooth and the X-Men and then to pop up in my cherished series Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man? Dang, cuz, what’s not to love! Anyhow, this issue brings in the big bad version of Iron Fist, the Steel Serpent, who had steadily been draining poor Danny Rand’s chi over the course of a few issues. Here, the Steel Serpent succeeds in completely taking the dang iron fist from our hero and not even Spider-Man or the Daughters of the Dragon can stop him. I expressly remember reading this issue in the back of my mom’s station wagon as she carted us off to the pool and back one summer. I also remember pleading with her to stop by the mall so we could see if the next issue happened to be at the newsstand. We did. It wasn’t. I also had to wait about three decades to finally see how the brutal cliffhanger resolved in the pages of the Iron Fist: The Fury of the Iron Fist collection and let me say, as a grown-up (sorta), the ending was everything I coulda hoped for. Seek this one out for some Bronze Age goodness.

The Immortal Iron Fist #3

(Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja and Travel Foreman, originally published in 2007 by Marvel Comics)
Yeah, I’m still high off that Netflix Iron Fist show, but that doesn’t influence my pre-standing love of The Immortal Iron Fist. So many things make the entirety of Brubaker, Fraction, and Aja’s run on this tremendous series so compelling, but one of the most exciting points is when Danny Rand meets another wielder of the iron fist, Orson Randall. When Orson finally meets Danny, the two fight, and as Danny lights up his iron fist, Orson catches the punch with his own iron fist, surprising our hero, and leaving me with a long, painful wait for the next issue to come out. Couple this with political intrigue, the Steel Serpent running around with these freaky crane women, Hydra standing in as human punching bags, and with two great writers, and one of my favorite artist on one of my favorite characters, there was no way my high hopes for this series could be dashed. And to think, this was only the beginning of the series that would lead us to other Immortal weapons, expanded Iron Fist powers, and some spectacular Kung-Fu battles. The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 will set you up good and proper for this martial arts extravaganza.

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. See you next time and be sure to watch some Iron Fist at your earliest convenience!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Comics Lust 9/15/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/Bibi Ji enthusiast Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Criminy, Denizens. We bigged it up last night by going to the amazing Bibi Ji restaurant, where I had the “Chef’s Tasting” along with the beer pairing. It was so much amazing and spicy Indian food, that I left the restaurant both floating on an endorphin rush and dragging from the volume of amazing food and beer I was able to sample. So, forgive me if I seem a little slow today. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

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

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

Comics Lust

Five Furious and Fast: Warren Ellis (Part 1)

When I talk about my all-time-favorite comic book series, say my top 25, or the books that would make life bearable on a deserted island, three of those series would be written by Warren Ellis. But if you take a look at say my top 50 or 100, you’re going to find a whole mess of other books by the prolific writer that are positively must-read material. Looking at just five? Yeah, seems kind of criminal, but don’t worry, we’ll return to the works of Ellis more than a few times in the near future. For now, let’s start with one of those three books I can’t live without.

Stormwatch V.1 #37–50, V.2 #1–11

(Written by Warren Ellis; illustrated by Tom Raney, Oscar Jimenez, Bryan Hitch; originally published in 1996 by Image Comics)
Aside from owning the random early issue or two of this early Image series, I never really paid attention to Stormwatch. But then, a few years later, I saw the cover of the fourth Stormwatch trade paperback by Warren Ellis called “A Finer World” featuring two new superheroes: Apollo and the Midnighter. They looked pretty cool. Then I saw them on the cover of some comic called The Authority. I needed to know more, but I had to do this right by starting from the beginning, or rather Ellis’s beginning. The story begins with a massive team of superheroes being called together by their commander, Henry Bendix, the Weatherman. The Weatherman promptly fires nearly all of the characters, not just from the team but from the series itself. In the pages of his first issue, Ellis then adds new characters of his own creation and sets up three strike teams of three people each: Stormwatch Prime to handle superhuman threats in warlike situations; Stormwatch Red to display the greatest destructive capabilities in an effort to deter hostile forces; Stormwatch Black for covert operations. Prime consists of Winter (Russian energy absorber), Hellstrike (a green, sentient gas energy projector), and Fuji (a Japanese, sentient energy powerhouse in a massive robotic suit). Red has Fahrenheit (fire creator), Flint (superstrengh and invulnerability), and Rose Tattoo (deadly assassin with a history clouded in mystery). And finally, Black consisting of Jenny Sparks (controls and projects electricity), Jack Hawksmoor (his strength and powers increase based on the size of the city he occupies), and Swift (winged, aerial tactician). I hammered through that first trade and quickly bought and read the other four, loving every exciting page as Ellis’s commentary on politics, the US government, and international relations set amidst an action/adventure/horror backdrop carried me into the even more amazing The Authority. The best way to catch up on these issues is through the fairly recent Stormwatch Volume One and Stormwatch Volume Two collections.

Global Frequency #1–12

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by various artists, originally published in 2002 by Wildstorm Comics)
There are 1001 anonymous members of the Global Frequency, an intelligence agency designed to stop the machinations of malevolent individuals and organizations located around the world. The Global Frequency targets terrorists, cults, the paranormal, rogue operatives, and everything in between. Ellis wrote all 12 standalone issues of the series with each issue featuring a different artist. Global Frequency was supposedly written to be like a crime procedural show where you could pick up any single issue and be able to follow along with no problem, which is probably why this thrilling series has seen multiple attempts to bring it to the living room screen. The best way to read this amazing series is with the Vertigo Global Frequency collection. This has jumped to the top of my reread list.

Fell #1–9

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Ben Templesmith, originally published in 2005 by Image Comics)
This one is going to hurt, Denizens, I’m not going to lie. You see, there are nine issues of this slow burn, creepy-as-hell, crime drama and that is all. Heck, I only recently learned of the existence of the ninth issue, as the solitary Fell collection contains only the first eight. Issue nine also came out over a decade ago with no progress on the concluding seven issues as a hard drive crash destroyed the scripts for the final six issues of the series and Image refused to print issue 10 unless Ellis and Templesmith also had completed scripts for issues 11 and 12. Fell was an experiment in producing a cheaper comic with a lower page count and received two Eisner Award nominations back in the day. The story follows homicide detective Richard Fell, who was banished to Snowtown, a city plagued with crime, poverty, and a police force of three and a half (you’ll have to read the book to get the joke) that has practically given up on their duties. Fell decides to fix Snowtown and vows to uncover the story of a strange, stocky person dressed in a nun’s habit and who wears a Richard Nixon mask while always appearing around areas they shouldn’t be in. The story is a dark, creepy, noirish, crime and character drama that saw the first issue go into six printings. I am dying to see how it all ends, but to be honest I don’t know if the series will ever finish. Don’t let the lack of an ending dissuade you, though, from checking out the glorious issues that have been released. Regardless of whatever happens, I will be here waiting patiently on the off chance we do get more.

Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #12–21

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Leonardo Manco, originally published in 1994 by Marvel Comics)
I’ll start by saying that issues 1–20 weren’t all that bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed them, but things definitely kick into high gear once Ellis makes his American Marvel Comics debut with issue #12. The series follows that ’70s darling, the Son of Satan himself, Daimon Hellstrom. Heaven and Hell. Demons and the Gargoyle. Ex-wife Patsy “Hellcat” Walker. A series of mage murders. A mysterious woman named Jaine Cutter who has armor forged of iron from the River Styx and has a weapon called the Breathing Gun. Hellstorm: Prince of Lies has it all. Gone are the days of red and yellow tights and capes, and hair gelled up into makeshift horns. In are the days of true horrors and conflicts of light and darkness. As great as Ellis’s run was, it wasn’t enough to keep the series from being canceled with issue #21. If you don’t feel like back issue bin diving for these damn-fine issues, then you can pick up the Hellstorm by Warren Ellis Omnibus, which commands a prohibitive $75 retail price tag given that it contains only 10 issues of Hellstorm. Even the inclusion of the four issues of our next book might not be enough to prompt you to sell your soul to get ahold of a book that ought to only cost about half of what they’re charging. That even shorter-lived series is…

Druid #1–4

(Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Leonardo Manco, originally published in 1995 by Marvel Comics)
Following the demise of Hellstorm: Prince of Lies was Druid, a comic that was originally meant to be a series, yet ended up only making it thru issue four, where it was wrapped up much too fast for my liking. This does not mean you shouldn’t read this horrific tale of a man who, tired of being a sorcerous joke, taps into a far greater power to become a major player—briefly—in the mystical Marvel U. In these four issues, we see Druid’s disturbing transformation into a taloned, tattooed, skinny, bearded powerhouse of nature who fights monstrosities of unseen worlds and demons and monsters only to fall into madness in his quest for ever more power. Yes, I was disappointed to see this chilling series brought to an early conclusion, but what we did get was simply magical. Seek these out as soon as you can, but if you do decide to pick up the Hellstorm by Warren Ellis Omnibus you can lessen the blow of the steep price tag knowing that the collection also contains two issues of the unpublished Satanna comic series by Ellis that never made it to a store shelf.

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. Now, go forth, collect, and read! Also, don’t worry, we’re not even close to being done with Mr. Ellis, so there’s more to come. See you next time!


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Comics Lust 9/8/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/frantic furry friend Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Howdy, Denizens. Even though I had Monday and Tuesday off from work this week, I kind of paid for it over the past three days. Boy howdy, did I pay for it…come to think of it, I still am as I prepare to do some more work. Such are the ways of the digital age. At least the puppy executive team and I work like a well-oiled machine together and we will continue to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

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

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 3)

I’ve always been fascinated by those who both write and draw comics. I have personal experience with multiple steps in the creation process, and I know that doing just one of the necessary duties can be incredibly time-consuming. Whether you write, draw, ink, flat, color, letter, design and layout, or publish, each of those vital steps takes a degree of skill in order to create something that is truly remarkable. But when you find someone who can both script and dialogue a comic as well as illustrate it, you have that rare someone who is worth celebrating. With these amazing people, you have what I like to call an “Everythinger.” And every once in a blue moon, you find a unicorn, that certain someone who does it all. For instance, take…


(Everythinged by Michel Fiffe, originally published in 2012 by Copra Press)
I’m a little late to the birthday party on this one, but that just means I get to hammer through the whole shebang without having to suffer through waits between issues. And what painful waits those would have been as Copra is a fantastic, thrilling superhero comic. Now, when I say everythinged by Fiffe, I literally mean “everythinged!” This guy did it all. He even put out some trade collections of his books—with the help of Bergen Street Press—which is going to create a couple of problems for everyone wanting to read these damn-fine comics: the print runs were low, and finding issues is not gonna be easy. That said, if you have to, do what I did and buy a bunch on ComiXology. At the time of this writing, I bought the first 25 issues and I’ve read up to issue eight; I should have bought up through issue 31 as well as the two volumes of Copra Versus. My goodness! I love this series! Basically, Copra is a love letter to DC’s Suicide Squad and even goes so far as to have a character named Lloyd Flawton who bears a striking resemblance to a certain character from said Suicide Squad. The homages don’t end there with characters clearly influenced by the flip side of the Big Two coin with various Marvelesque additions to the story. Where Fiffe’s story differs is when the Copra team faces off against their superweird villains such as Vitas and Dy Dy: a pyramid-headed, jester-looking, faceless creature; and a massive brain in a bowl atop a bio-mechanical carriage and with glued-on lady eyes and a pretty bow attached to the bowl. Fiffe’s writing is engaging, his storytelling compelling, and the overall look and feel of Copra is that of indie professionalism with stories enjoyable by even the most steadfast of Big Two fanatics. Visit his site at to pick up some amazing comics and see what you’ve been missing. Now, I need to get ahold of his recent Bloodstrike: Brutalists run over at Image Comics. I think we’re just getting started with this ultra-talented everythinger.

The Black Beetle

(Everythinged by Francesco Francavilla, lettered and designed by Nate Piekos of Blambot, originally published in 2012 by Dark Horse Comics, Inc.)
I don’t feel like I mention Francavilla as much as I should. I was originally introduced to his work in the pages of Detective Comics with writer Scott Snyder (collected in the must-own, must-read Batman: The Black Mirror) and then in the exceptional-yet-eternally-delayed Afterlife with Archie. I then started seeing his cover art everywhere and I found many posters of his work that had long since sold out and were unobtainable—that said, I did get a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina poster of his featuring Madam Satan that I am looking at as I write this. But in between comics about the Dark Knight and zombified Archie characters, I found a series that belonged strictly to Francavilla and I fell in love. It wasn’t just his impeccable storytelling prowess, but also his stunning, mostly-flat coloring style. As for the book, the Black Beetle is the mysterious, masked protector of Colt City and he stalks the seedy mobsters, neer-do-wells, and costumed villains who seek to endanger his city’s inhabitants. We know little about the hero known as the Black Beetle and I kind of hope it stays that way as the mystery behind this character is part of the allure. What I can tell you is that the character is what you get if you mix one-quarter Batman with three-quarters pulp hero and fold him gently into a film noir setting with a dash of the supernatural. Thus far, you can read two collected hardcovers of this character, both of which demand your attention: The Black Beetle: No Way Out and The Black Beetle: Kara Bocek (a prelude that explores how the Black Beetle found his greatest weapon).


(Everythinged by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
Growing up, I always had a handful of Daredevil comics laying around, but to be perfectly honest, my brother was the die-hard Daredevil fiend. He was the one who pulled me from the pages of whatever other great comic of the ’80s I was reading and told me I should check out the issues that Frank Miller had recently started writing. Don’t tell my brother I said this—we don’t want him to get a big head about it—but he was so very very very right! Miller began illustrating Daredevil with issue #158, but it wasn’t until eleven issues later in the landmark #168 that he began both writing and illustrating and began his steady rise to greatness. Not only did Miller create what would become one of the most influential and greatest of runs for Daredevil, he also created Elektra and introduced the threat of The Hand, a menacing group of ninjas. Miller made the Kingpin a viable threat, Bullseye a terrifying maniac, The Hand formidable, Elektra a complex friend/foe, and he also gave us the occasional guest-appearance with the likes of The Punisher and Black Widow. Damn, this series is great on all fronts and with good reason, it appears on most all “Essential Comic Book Series” listings, including mine. The best way to read Miller’s seminal everythinger run is through the three volumes of Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson or through the massive Omnibus.

Batman: Ego and Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score

(Everythinged by Darwyn Cooke, originally published in 2000 and 2002 by DC Comics)
We lost one of comicdom’s greatest creators in 2016. Thankfully, I got to see him in 2007 at the San Diego Comic Con, but I wish I had taken the time to meet him, thank him for his work, and to support him directly with a purchase of some kind. Cooke originally worked for DC Animation but vaulted to prominence in the comic book world with Batman: Ego, a prestige one-shot that featured a psychological tale about Bruce Wayne and the Batman talking about their lives and the repercussions of their various choices. Cooke’s style is the perfect bridge from the animated world of Batman: The Animated Series to that of comics. Following up such a great everythinged comic as Batman: Ego is no easy feat, but Cooke—in my opinion—surpassed it with the stunning Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score, an everythinged graphic novel that served as a prequel to the four issues of the amazing Catwoman series he worked on with Ed Brubaker. Thankfully, you don’t have to hunt around for the individual graphic novels. Instead, you can get them both in one fell swoop with the beautiful, Batman: Ego and Other Tales.

Shade the Changing Man

(Everythinged by Steve Ditko, co-written by Michael Fleischer, originally published in 1977 by DC Comics)
Okay, I know. This one wasn’t completely everythinged by Ditko, but he did have a credit as a co-scripter on this short-lived, eight-issue series. I distinctly remember having issue #2 and #5 in my collection as a kid and having no idea what to make of the craziness within those pages. I had seen the adverts for the first issue in the various DC comics I was reading at the time, but I unfortunately never got ahold of it. The issues that I did manage to find blew my socks off with Ditko’s strange, psychedelic worlds and trippy villains. Even the lead character, Shade the Changing Man, was a tad bit frightening when he powered on his “M-Vest” and got totally weird. I have to say, Denizens, reading a Ditko illustrated comic was the closest thing this seven-year-old got to experiencing hallucinations outside of a really bad fever. Dang, now I’m jonesing for a hit of this groovy series, which we can all do by picking up The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1.

That’s it for this installment. Next time, we’re taking a break from the everythingers for a bit and going on to a different topic. See you then!


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Comics Lust 9/1/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/four-day tranquility hound Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. We have a four-day weekend ahead of us and have to get running to…to…to do nothing. Nothing?! Yes, nothing! No commitments, no travel, and nowhere to be is simply glorious. Because of this, Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I are scheduling up some fresh obligation: get tacos at Corazón Cocina, beer at The Garden, comics reading, movie watching, and maybe a stressfree walk around the neighborhood or something. Yes, indeed, the only obligation is to relax and enjoy life for a change. We’re going to…oh, no…that’s the doorbell. No one move, no one make a sound. Hopefully, whoever it is will go away. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

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

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 2)

Most comic book creators either write or they draw, but when you find someone who can do both, well…that’s something worth celebrating. Those writer-artists are what I call everythingers—the comic book equivalent of a unicorn— and they are a rarity. Many everythingers are found in the realm of the indie comics scene, but they occasionally find their way in the more mainstream comic offerings as they make their mark on the world of superheroes. Of course, no superhero comic written and drawn by the same individual is greater than the industry-altering and defining Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but everyone should already be familiar with this seminal work (if not, get out there, buy it, and read it immediately) so I’m not going to retread that well-covered ground. What I am going to bring to your attention are some of the not-as-explosively-successful superhero comics stemming from the writing and illustrating of one person.

Alpha Flight

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
Hot dang, Denizens, My brother and I were so amped for this comic when it first debuted in the early ’80s that we snatched it up the day it appeared on the new release table at Andromeda Bookstore (RIP, good buddy) and stuck around for a good long while afterward. We were huge fans of The Uncanny X-Men and the issues that introduced the various members of the Canadian group Alpha Flight—especially where they teamed up against the Wendigo in issue #140—were among some of our favorites. So, when the bold, yellow cover showing Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Puck, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman, and Marrina pushing aside Marvel’s stable of heavy-hitter superheroes, we knew we had a book we could not pass up. It was exciting to get in on the ground floor of something exciting from an artist we already knew and adored, but then to find out he could build new worlds and write a compelling as hell series sealed the deal. Within the pages, there were heroes, monsters, myth and magic, villains, allies, and adventure abound. We were even teased with other divisions within the Canadian government program: Beta Flight and Omega Flight which had us salivating for more. Whether you read this series back in the day or you recently read one of the collections, the Byrne issues more than stand up to the test of time as some truly great comics. Hey, there’s even an Omnibus if you don’t want to deal with the trades.

Fantastic Four

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
Although Byrne had illustrated many issues of Fantastic Four, issues I still love to this day, it wasn’t until 1981 that he took up both scripting and illustrating on what would become a much-lauded five-year run. It is also a run for which I have far too many gaps. You see, this was before I had discovered my first LCS and my comic buying was limited to whatever I found on the newsstands and spinner racks at the grocery store. So, yeah, there were a lot of holes in my FF reading; something I still need to fix in the near future. That said, the few issues I did have were tremendous. I actually find myself getting pumped just thinking about the Galactus/Terrax issues and the time Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny fought the Shiar Imperial Guard and…and I think I need to remedy this reading gap right now! An updated Omnibus comes out in September and if you search you can find eight volumes of the Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne lurking out in the wild. Best snatch ’em up before I do.

The Sensational She-Hulk

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1985 and then 1989 by Marvel Comics)
You should already be well aware of my love of the Marvel Graphic Novel line of oversized, standalone tales that rocked my world in the early ’80s, and The Sensational She-Hulk is one that I…never picked up. I know, I know, but we can’t buy and read all the books, can we? Well, I guess we can certainly try and I intend to pick this up in the very new future. I also intend to pick up the Byrne everythinged issues of the series that popped up four years later. Hey, Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, figured prominently in Byrne’s historic FF run and the fact that he gave her a graphic novel and bunch of issues in her own series says there must be some exciting She-Hulk stories to tell. I can’t wait to dive in with the two trades.

Namor the Sub-Mariner

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1990 by Marvel Comics)
Another one that I sadly did not pick up on the regular was Byrne’s run on Namor the Sub-Mariner. This series saw the misunderstood and complicated undersea dweller portrayed as an environmental hero seeking to protect the ocean from the perils of pollution by stopping the offending companies in the best way possible: from the boardroom of his own company, Oracle. Don’t let this trick you into thinking Namor won’t strip off the suit and tie in favor of his green-scaled Speedo because when he’s not toiling over mission statements, he’s out punching fools in the face and riding the supervillain known as the Griffin. There’s also some craziness involving Iron Fist who has supposedly been resurrected—wait, he died?! Just kidding, I knew that—that I am very interested in checking out. Byrne, the Sub-Mariner (one of my favorite anti-heroes), Iron Fist (one of my favorite superheroes), the Griffin, fighting pollution and corporate greed? I’m in 100%! You can get these issues in two Namor Visionaries: John Byrne volumes.

The Man of Steel

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1986 by DC Comics)
Five everythinged superhero comics by Byrne?! Yup, you bet your bottom dollar. At least this one is from a publisher other than Marvel, and what a comic it is. Hot off the heels of the tremendous Crisis on Infinite Earths is Byrne’s updating and modernization of DC’s most beloved superhero: Superman. I remember buying the entire six-issue series and finding it to be a bit more than I could handle as a kid at the time, but I respected what was being done with the character and I absolutely loved all of the art; it was just a bit wordy for someone who wanted more punching of bad guys. Now, I better understand what Byrne was doing and I now absolutely love this mini-series. What I did like was the Superman series written and illustrated by Byrne that followed The Man of Steel and had more of the bad guy punching I was looking for. On top of all of this, and a comic that I was sadly not buying, was Byrne’s everythinged run of Action Comics that began with issue 584. Get a load of this, Denizens: Byrne was writing and drawing both Superman and Action Comics at the same freakin’ time! The best way to pick up these monumental Superman books is to get the Superman: The Man of Steel trades. You’ll be happy you did.

I know it seems like John Byrne wrote and drew all the superhero comics back in the day, and he practically did, but next time we’ll look at some other everythingers and their great takes on superheroes. See you then.