Suspended Animation
Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale


October 28, 1998

Reviews in this issue:

Cybertrash and the Dog
Emanuel Mac Raboy - Comics Legend


981028.jpg (25594 bytes)Cybertrash and the Dog

    $2.95, 24 pgs. from Silverline, sold at comics shops and by mail.

    Sometimes, you can judge a comic book by its cover. 

    On this cover are two half-naked women with greatly exaggerated sexual characteristics and very big guns.  One snarls: "What are you lookin' at, Fanboy?!" 

    The answer is obvious.

    Cybertrash... is about two scantily-clad women with greatly exaggerated sexual characteristics and fanboys are lookin' at them.

    There is also a hard-bodied male called Dog. 

    They jump around and growl and blow things up with guns the size of bazookas.

    That about covers it.

    What that curt summary uncovers is not that Cybertrash is, well, trashy, but that writer R.A. Jones understands the limitations of a twenty-four page story that is not planned as a series.

    Jones sells his story by using stereotyping as shorthand to tell us as much about his characters as is possible within his limitations.  He focuses on action instead of plot or setting, and ties all of it together with his tongue firmly in the cheek of the superhero genre.

    In short, this is dessert without the meal.

    Artist Thomas Derenick serves it up on a boiler plate of bold Lines, powerful, energetic staging and visual melodrama that punches his story off of the page.

    Derenick must have been punch-drunk, however, when he penned the cover.  The feminine wiles of his blonde protagonist are so grossly exaggerated that she is ugly.  The cover is also crowded and confusing to the eye.

    Oh well, twenty-four excellent pages to one sorry one isn't a bad average.

    So, if one can't judge this comic by its cover, is Cybertrash average, exceptional or bad?

    And is this review prejudiced because Jones used to co-write Suspended Animation, and co-wrote several comic book series with the reviewer.

    Well, du-uuh!!

    Cybertrash is not great literature or great satire or the best superhero comic book on the stands either.

    It is, however, great fun.

    -- Michael Vance

Emanuel Mac Raboy - Comics Legend

    Emanuel Mac Raboy came early to the party and left much too soon.   He also left much to admire.

    Raboy was around twenty-seven years old, and much older than the industry he influenced, when Mac joined the Chesler Shop in the early 1940s.  He not only worked on the assembly-line of artists and writers churning out work for contracting publishers, he also co-managed the staff with artist Bernard Baily.

    His amazing career in comic books only lasted five years before Raboy left for more lucrative work on comic strips.

    His best known characters were the superheroes "Green Lama" and "Capt. Marvel, Jr."  His best remembered character remains Capt. Marvel, Jr., an adolescent spin-off of the wildly successful "Big Red Cheese", Capt. Marvel.

    In a field then dominated by the "big foot" style of animated cartoons, Mac choose a realistic, dynamic style of art that quickly brought his work peer attention and widespread imitation.

    His art featured a thin, scratchy line, minimal backgrounds and accurate anatomy.

    Capt. Marvel Jr. was meant to be a clone, but Raboy's style quickly distanced him from his superhero big "brother".

    Lanky, graceful and powerful, the super teenager lived more realistic adventures in a more realistic world.  Junior even seemed out of place when guest starring in Capt. Marvel's world of talking tigers, intelligent worms and mad scientists.

    Raboy's comic book work includes: Green Lama (Prize, 1940); Mr. Scarlet, Ibis, Dr, Voodoo, Zoro/the Mystery Man, Bulletman, Capt. Marvel Jr. (Fawcett, 1941- '43); Tuk/Cave-Boy (Marvel, 1941); Green Lama (Spark (1944-'46); Kid Eternity (Quality, 1944-'45); Dynamic Man, Yankee Boy (Dynamic, 1944-'45) and Captain Truth (Baily, 1945).

    Raboy also worked on the comic strip Flash Gordon (daily 1948-'51, Sunday 1948-'67).

    Mac Raboy's work is highly recommended.

    Some older titles are expensive and difficult to locate.  Price guides or comics dealers help.  Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources.  Prices vary; shop around for the best values.

    -- Michael Vance


    Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email c/o starland@starland.com.

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