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!


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