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!


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