by Michael Vance & Jon Suter
July 24, 1998
Reviews in this issue:
Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Those whining about violence in Disney's homogenized, pasteurized and animated versions of folk tales will shudder at the original German stories gathered by Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm. First published in 1812, they reek of intended cannibalism, stabbing, hangings, strangulation and poisoning. And that's just in "Little Snow White"!
These will be silly shudders, of course.
This collection of Grimm tales adapts "Little Snow White", "The Shoemaker & The Elves" and "The Three Sluggards".
The first is universally known; the second story of elves stitching shoes for a poor cobbler and his wife is almost as recognizable. The third story of three sons vying for their father's crown by bragging about their laziness is a rare tidbit, and only one page of Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.
These adaptations remain true to the originals; each is a morality play for adults and children.
The personalities of the Grimm Brothers' characters were and are wonderfully full and brief, and did much to stereotype our current images of princes, princesses, kings and witches. And, wisely, most of their violence is distanced in the telling.
Packaged like a children's book, this collection uses the visual techniques of comic books, including panels and dialog balloons. Its art is richly detailed, stylized and entertaining.
It's a shame many adults will shun it, as they will, thinking that reading about violence will turn angels into demons.
Put the silly shudders aside. Men are susceptible to temptation, not programmed like computers. Simply reading bad things doesn't make us bad, or reading good things make us angels.
Fairy Tales of The Brothers Grimm/48 pgs., $15.95, NBM/ adapted by Doug Wheeler; art by David Wenzel/available in comics and book shops and by mail.
MINIVIEW Nosferatu [Caliber Press]. An intriguing adaptation of the first vampire movie, it suffers slightly from an abstract, brightly painted art lacking the moody atmosphere of the silent, German adaptation of the novel, Dracula.
"It's a man's world,' is a dictum that Captain Rose will not accept, and a challenge that she cannot refuse."
That's good, because she not only doesn't live in man's world, she and her anthropomorphic friends live in the fantasy world of Warthaven.
Captain Rose d'Orr is a talking female fox, and sponsor of a school for female warriors.
Rose and her cast in Vixens Keep grew naturally out of The Society for Creative Anachronism and the primary sport of this fascinating organization, simulated Medieval sword and shield combat.
She began as a comic strip for "SCA" newsletters Poking "gentle fun at many...aspects of the SCA."
Vixens Keep is an anthology of three stories originally published in 4 or 6 page episodes, and a labor of love.
For those who equate "a labor of love" with "she's got a nice personality," Rose, Alix, Lorelei and Maya have among the most well defined female personalities in comic books, an incredible feat since their creator is a man.
Furthermore, this is much more a story of relationships than of physical combat, and one not scarred by the usual soap opera cliches of "steamy, illicit sex", back-stabbing and petty jealousy. Vixen's Keep is a well-crafted, entertaining comic book.
It's a shame some hard-core comics fans will ignore it because its funny animal kid stuff.
It's a greater shame that some will also pass it over because the art is, at first, amateurish. Less than half way through this collection, that same art becomes a bit very nice.
Many fans of Bone, Uncle Scrooge and "funny" animals will shamelessly enjoy Vixen's Keep.
Vixens Keep/$5.95, 83 pgs., Mu Press/art: Mark Wallace; story: Mark Wallace & M.A. Morgan/available in comics shops and by mail.
MINIVIEW: Frankenstein [Caliber Press]. The faithful interpretation of powerful and disturbing novel yet to be faithfully adapted on film. Sadly, this is diminished by amateur art.
Hello to Suspended Animation readers of Barlavento (Portugal) and Entertainment Showcase (Mn). Drop us a line!
Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email c/o email@example.com.
©2005 Starland · PO Box
24955 · Denver CO 80224-0955