Saturday, November 3, 2018

Comics Lust 11/3/2018

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/nurse Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The crud done struck me low, Denizens. Last Saturday, after posting last week’s “Comics Lust,” I sneezed and knew that I was done for. You know that type of sneeze, the one where you have a slight ache in your throat and no amount of rye is going to burn the germs away. Long story short, I’m finally on the mend, but still reeling from the illness. Thankfully, my puppy executive team was there to hand me plenty of hot toddies to burn away the ickiness…at least temporarily. And to think, I was really hoping to make it a full year without getting sick. Yeah, better luck next year. Anyhow, be kind to each other, VOTE!, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics before checking out Daredevil Season 3 on Netflix. 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: Jim Starlin (Part 1)

It’s no secret that Jim Starlin is one of my heroes. His space opera work for Marvel is high up on my top-five list of comics that would need to accompany me on a long stint on a deserted island. Heck, if I had Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection and Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection, I think I would be good to go for a good, long while—provided I was stranded with a crate of assorted IPAs as well, of course. But I’m not going to go into the man’s work with Marvel. Nope. I’ve done that a hundred times. My love of everything Warlock, Thanos, and Captain Marvel should be something firmly felt in the bones of all Denizens. Instead, we are going to look at some of his other amazing work—yes, there is much goodness to go around as you will see in…


(Everythinged by Jim Starlin, originally published in 1980 by Marvel Comics)
I know, I know, I’m leading with a book that I have only partially read, but you will see in a moment why I have this gap given the convoluted publishing history. Dreadstar is a grand space opera that surrounds the character of Vance Dreadstar, the sole survivor of the destroyed Milky Way galaxy, and his crew: Sysygy Darklock, a sorcerer of great power; Willow, a telepath; Skeevo Phlatus, a mercenary; Oed, a cat person; and Rainbow, Willow’s pet. The team finds themselves caught between the two less-than-savory forces of the Monarchy and the Instrumetality (a theocracy), but they end up forming a tenuous relationship with the Monarchy. Thereabout ends my experience with Dreadstar with issues 1–12 of the Epic Comics series. However, the epic story and the oh-so-gorgeous Starlin art has always left me wanting more more more, as his all-too-brief introduction to this expansive world touches on the familiar themes of corrupt and oppressive religions and regimes found in books like Warlock. But where Starlin’s run on that series ran far too short for my liking, Dreadstar delves so much deeper. A couple years before the particular issues I read, Starlin began this universe in the pages of Epic Illustrated #1 with what is known as part one of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey,” and which only featured Vanth Dreadstar briefly in issue #3. Instead, this chapter follows the Orsirosian named Ahknaton, who had a decidedly Egyptian deity look about him…and I distinctly remember a very beautiful and very naked woman with an Afro gracing the pages, but no big surprise as to what sticks in the mind of a kid. Anyhow, if you want the full Starlin Dreadstar experience, here is the chronology of material; best hold onto your hats:

  • Epic Illustrated #1–9 (Published in 1980 by Marvel Comics) These stories comprise the first part of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey” storyline and was painted with grays but eventually shifted to colors.
  • The Price (Published in 1981 by Eclipse Comics) Part two of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey” and is a black and white graphic novel that follows the sorcerer known as Sysygy Darklock and is meant to be read alongside…
  • Marvel Graphic Novel #3: Dreadstar: The Metamorphosis Odyssey Part 3 (Published in 1982 by Marvel Comics). A beautifully painted story that I remember flipping through many times, yet never had enough allowance to buy.
  • Epic Illustrated #15 (Published in 1982 by Marvel Comics) Features an untitled Dreadstar story that is a lead-in to the character’s own series…
  • Dreadstar #1–26 (Published in 1982 by Epic Comics) All stories written and illustrated by Jim Starlin.
  • Dreadstar Annual #1 (Published in 1983 by Epic Comics) A colored reprinting of The Price and an all around cheaper way to experience the story...if you can find a copy.
  • Dreadstar #27–40 (Published in 1986 by First Publishing) A jump to a new publisher with Starlin as writer/artist on 27–32, and as writer only from 33–40.
  • Dreadstar #41–64 (Published in 1989 by First Publishing) Peter David picks up as writer.

Boy howdy is this publication history a mess, but you can avoid hunting down a good chunk of the material by first reading Dreadstar: The Beginning (published by Dynamite Entertainment and which contains all three parts of “The Metamorphosis Odyssey”) and then reading Dreadstar Omnibus (published by Dynamite Entertainment and which reprints issues 1–12 of the Epic Comics run). After that, you’ll be in the same boat as I as we scramble for the rest of the individual issues.

Cosmic Odyssey

(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Mike Mignola, originally published in 1988 by DC Comics)
Originally published as four, prestige-format, 48-page issues, Cosmic Odyssey brought DC Comics a Starlin space opera that intermixed their impressive stable of superheroes with that of Jack Kirby’s New Gods as illustrated by a pre-Hellboy Mignola. In this tale, Darkseid finds a nearly-dead Metron and with the help of New Genesis’s Highfather discovers that the Anti-Life Equation has come to life and split into four aspects that have gone to four worlds to destroy them. These aspects are enough to cause Darkseid and Highfather concern and they reach out to some of Earth’s mightiest heroes to aid in stopping each aspect before all succumb to the power of the Anti-Life Equation. The road will not be easy. And neither was my road to reading this series, as I did not pick it up back in the day and rather first read the comics roughly six years ago. The story is thrilling with a real sense of stakes and although I would have preferred to see Starlin also illustrate the series, Mignola’s take is a great precursor to his style on his creator-owned Hellboy. With shocks and surprise characters and alliances abound, Cosmic Odyssey is a series worth checking out, which is easy enough to do with the latest Cosmic Odyssey: Deluxe Edition hardcover collection.

Mystery in Space

(Written by Jim Starlin; illustrated by Jim Starlin, Shane Davis, Ron Lim, and later by Bernie Wrightson; originally published in 1988 and 2006)
Okay, this one might seem a little…weird…get it? No, okay, you will in a sec. Anyhow, Mystery in Space is an eight-issue limited series from 2006 that that focuses on two characters: Captain Comet and The Weird. Each issue is 48-pages long with the first part covering Captain Comet and written by Jim Starlin with Shane Davis illustrating. The second part is everythinged by Starlin and covers his weird character, The Weird, who looks somewhat like a misshapen ninja with a sash, thus earning his name. If you are wondering who The Weird is, then you will need to go back to 1988 to read Starlin and Bernie Wrightson’s four-issue limited series titled—you guessed it—The Weird which introduces the immensely powerful character to both the Justice League and comicdom at large. With this setup, Mystery in Space follows the return of both Captain Comet (after the events of 52, which you don’t have to have read to follow this story) and The Weird as they both try to uncover the mystery of why they are alive. Davis’s art is somewhat reminiscent of Jim Lee’s style and he does a fantastic job of covering the cosmos and its myriad aliens (as well as a super-cute bulldog!), while Starlin brings the gorgeous, expansive, mind-bending, cosmic greatness that reignites my love for his work again and again. It’s been years since I read either series, and I honestly couldn’t tell you anything at all other than I loved them at the time. I guess this one gets shuffled up near the top of the reread stack. Lucky for you though, if you pick up the two trades (if you can find them) you get the first five issues of Mystery in Space in volume one and the final three issues plus The Weird #1–4 in volume two. That there’s the whole enchilada, Denizens!

Gilgamesh II

(Everythinged by Jim Starlin, originally published in 1989 by DC Comics)
Gilgamesh II is what you get when you allow Starlin to tell his own story outside of the confines of superheroes and licensed characters. Written and illustrated by Starlin, this four-issue, prestige-format miniseries tells the story of an alien baby whose ship crashes on Earth to be found by a hippie couple—whose pot farm burns down in the process— and the child eventually becomes the most powerful being in the world. Sound kind of familiar? Yes, but the twist is that this baby, Gilgamesh, believes himself to be unique. He is not. What he fails to realize is that another baby, Otto, crash landed in South America and grew up having all of the same abilities as Gilgamesh, but where one uses his vast strength for personal gain, Otto grows up to become the protector of the rainforest. The two eventually meet in combat, cause massive destruction, but instead of killing one another, they realize they are brothers and become friends. Thus, the adventure begins in this reimagining of both Superman and the myth of Enkidu and Gilgamesh. This series is a heck of a ride, but unfortunately, there are no trades available as of this writing and you are going to have to hunt down the issues to get this great story.

Batman: The Cult

(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, originally published in by DC Comics)
Hot off the heels of The Weird, Starlin and Wrightson joined forces once again for the four-issue, prestige-format miniseries. (Dang, he loves those prestige books!) The Bat takes on the mysterious Deacon Joseph Blackfire and his cult of axe-wielding, homeless maniacs…and loses. Captured by Blackfire, the Dark Knight is starved, drugged, and brainwashed to the point of becoming one of Blackfire’s minions. But has Batman truly been broken, or will he break free of Blackfire’s influence and discover what the cult leader is truly up to? I bought this one as it came out back in the day and loved it as much then as I do now. Starlin weaves a dang-creepy story that Wrightson’s art brings to life in a satisfying Batman tale for the ages. There was a collection not too long ago, but it looks to have gone out of print; hopefully, it comes back soon so everyone can enjoy this outstanding standalone series.

That’s it for this installment, but we’ll return to my hero Starlin later—come in close as I whisper this, Denizens, as I’m going to floor you by admitting this—after I finally read Batman: A Death in the Family. I know. I know. I’m ashamed to admit it myself, but I’m getting to it. There are a few other gaping holes in my Starlin reading, which I fully intend to fix over the next year as well. See you next time.


No comments:

Post a Comment