Sunday, December 16, 2018

Comics Lust 12/15/2018

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/connoisseur of the cozy Tulip. Dang, I love this time of year. I’m not talking about the holiday that seems to be making everyone drive angrier and/or has them stressing out of their eyeballs for last minute gifts they feel they have to buy but can’t really afford or how they will navigate a labyrinth of familial guilt and expectations. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the cooling of the weather and bundling up to get warm, of sitting on the couch with a comic and a cup of coffee (or a winter warmer beer) with my dog and my wife. All is calm, all is chill…until I realize I forgot to buy eggs and will have to once again navigate the angry crowds on the way to and from Trader Joes. Ugh. It’s simply crazy to me that so many services pop up beginning in November to help people emotionally and mentally deal with the holidays; do a search for “holiday stress help” and you’ll see what I mean. It shouldn’t be this way. The Christmas songs repeatedly tell us that this is the “Hap-Happiest Season of All,” and I’m sure that for some people it is, but for many, it can be quite difficult. Please, don’t let it get you down. Protect yourself. Do what’s right for you and embrace your own chill. Create your own tradition that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself and use those free services if you need the help. Dang. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, treat your friends to 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: Ed Brubaker (Part 2)

Everyone knows that Brubaker’s run on Captain America was simply phenomenal. You could also make the point that he actually had two runs on the title with the events leading up to “The Death of Captain America” and then the run after where Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, took up the mantle during Steve Rogers’s absence. Both are great. Both are deserving of your time. But again, everyone knows this…plus, this is called “Five Furious and Fast,” not “Six Furious and Fast.” So, Denizens, here are some books you might not know about, but definitely need to investigate. ***Note: In attempting to navigate the reading order of Brubaker’s Captain America run, I fell into a confounding rabbit hole of multiple series, renumberings, rebrandings, miniseries, one-shots, side stories, etc. to such an astounding degree that I will have to do a separate post on how to accomplish the unnecessarily herculean task of actually reading Brubaker’s entire run with in-print trades/omnibus volumes. I will mentally prepare for this in the coming weeks***


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Michael Lark, originally published in 2006 by Marvel Comics)
How do you follow an epic run on a character by someone of the caliber of Brian Michael Bendis? Not to mention, what do you do when by the end of Bendis’s final issue, Matt Murdock is sent to prison and everyone knows he is Daredevil? Simple. Call in Brubaker. Now, I'm not going to tell you that his take on Daredevil is the most uplifting of storylines. It isn't; not in the slightest. Brubaker puts poor Murdock through the meatgrinder for most all of issues #82–119 and #500. Murdock will have to navigate prison, the legal system, friends and lovers he has scorned, fight foes like Mr. Fear, Lady Bullseye, Tombstone, and, of course, the Kingpin, all while trying to raise doubts that Matt Murdock—a blind attorney—is, in reality, a superhero/vigilante; it won’t be an easy road. But as much as you might want to scream “for gawd's sake, chaps, give ol’ hornhead a gosh dang break,” you will be unable to put this intense, expertly plotted story down. I read this through the seven not-quite-readily-available trades, but there are three kinda-hard-to-find Daredevil Ultimate Collection by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, Vol. 1–3 trades, or the somewhat scarce Omnibus.

The Fade Out

(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2014 by Image Comics)
How do you follow up the immensely popular and highly regarded crime noir comic series Criminal? Easy. With the beautifully tragic The Fade Out. Set in late-’40s Hollywood, at the beginning of the Second Red Scare blacklists made real by the evils of McCarthyism, the story begins with Charlie, a popular screenwriter plagued by the horrors he experienced in the war. The problem is that Charlie has a secret, a secret that would devastate his career if the higher-ups were to catch wind of it. But Charlie’s problems have only just begun when he wakes from a blackout to find an up-and-coming starlet dead in his apartment. And speaking of Studio Execs, one has a secret of his own which the sadistic security chief will protect at any cost. The beauty of The Fade Out is that there is so much more to this rich story of desperation, dashed hopes and dreams, abuse, racism, sexism, murder, greed, PTSD, and lies that it is difficult to believe that only 12 issues tell the complete story, but Brubaker and Phillips pull it off flawlessly. Easily one of the best books I read from 2014–2016, you can easily experience it through the single deluxe edition trade, or through the lovely, oversized hardcover. If you enjoy crime dramas or film noir movies, The Fade Out is one you can’t miss.


(Written by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke; illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart, Paul Gulacy, and others; originally published in 2002 by DC Comics)
Selina thought she had finally left the life of crime behind her, but when a serial killer starts claiming victims in her old stomping ground, Selina takes up the mantle of Catwoman once again in a slick, new costume and sets her sights on bringing the killer to justice…her version of justice. Holy smokes, this series is a blast. Not only do you have Brubaker and Cooke on writing, you also have Cooke on art for a good chunk of the earlier issues. Even after Cooke drops off of the series, Brubaker maintains a solid run from issue #1–37 as we follow Selina, private investigator “Slam” Bradley, and Holly Robinson—a teen Selina has taken under her wing—as they stop murderers and child abusers while the Catwoman tries to walk on the side of the angels for once…sort of. Three impressive trades will set you right on this thrilling, fun, and, at times, serious run that brought Catwoman back into the spotlight.


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Steve Epting, originally published in 2013 by Image Comics)
Most people see Velvet Templeton as a highly effective Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, but what few people know is that Velvet retired from the world of secret agents 20 years ago. But when the world’s current best secret agent is murdered, Velvet reluctantly comes out of retirement to find out what happened and to prove that there is far more to her than anyone would ever suspect. Brubaker and Epting take us on a shocking thrill ride of an adventure filled with twists and turns and starring a mature and sexy-as-hell spy who could easily give Nick Fury a run for his money. At only 15 issues in this first arc, I seriously hope we someday soon see more of Velvet Templeton. You could pick up the three available trades, but I would suggest opting for the aesthetically-pleasing Velvet Deluxe Edition hardcover.


(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, originally published in 2012 by Image Comics)
Confession time: As much as I purport to be an admirer of Brubaker's work, I have only read a couple issues—thus far—of Fatale. I’m acutely aware of this misstep and failure in my judgment and I should tell you why. In Fatale, a reporter becomes instantly obsessed with a beautiful, young woman only to discover that she has been around for a very, very long time. Photos from the ’50s depict a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the object of his desires, only the woman in the photos has led a parade of people to their untimely demise. Will he be next? The twist on this noir tale is the horror angle of demon mobsters and monsters lurking in the shadows. Fatale is a rich mix of Lady from Shanghai and the most twisted works of H.P. Lovecraft all in one. You can easily find the five trades, or supersize your entertainment with the two hardcover collections of this 24-issue series. Just be aware, you will be waiting in line behind me to complete your purchase. I can’t wait.

That’s all for this installment of “Comics Lust,” Denizens, and we will return in a couple weeks with more comic goodness coming your way. Next week, we’ll be bringing you the first part of our “Year-End Roundup.” See you then!


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