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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale


May 26, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

Carvers - Spiderman


Carvers

   The purpose of Suspended Animation has always been to introduce adults to comic books they may enjoy and to the best work in the graphics medium. Occasionally, that has meant reviewing books intended for youngsters that can also be guilty pleasures for adults. 

   Carvers is a guilty pleasure. 

"Grats, dude! We were, like. total failures until you carved in and boaged those hairy wanks!"

"Oh don't speak English, huh?" 

Well. duuuh!?! 

In fact, if you think that "duuuh" is very descriptive of snowboarding & skiing in general skateboarding, bungy jumping and any other activity that is clearly life threatening, you are definitely not alone. 

    Then why, pray tell, Is Carvers such a fun comic book?

    Could it be the teenage snow- boarders who plummet into a crevice and through dimensional rift into another world of Yeti? Within the limitations of the first two issues, each has a well-defined character.

   The crusty old dude living in the wreckage of his airplane also adds spice to the title. Indisputably, he hits the most unique tailor in history.

    If that doesn't tweak your interest, you must need Yeti another reason to read.

    The abominable snowmen are a hoot.

    Could it be the art? Simple and well served by its colors, it jumps off the page, also defines the characters, and is crystal clear in its visual story telling.

    Could it be the plot and dialog? Whether it's Dorothy or Tarzan or Rod Serling who, on finding himself in another world struggles to return to Kansas, or Africa or next week's TV schedule, the idea of other realities is always intriguing. And thankfully, the writer hasn't seasoned the dialog with so much snowboarding lingo that it becomes unintelligible.

    Could it be that Carvers is simply bigger than the sum of its parts?

    That sums it up for me, dude.

    Reviewed by Michael Vance

    Carvers is 22 pages, priced at $2.95 each. Published by Flypaper Press.  Written by Robert Loren Fleming. Pencil work by Arnold and Jacob Pander. Sold in comics shops and by mail.


Spiderman

Marvel Comics has put considerable time and effort into reviving and redefining one of its most important superheroes, Spiderman. In most cases, the effort has succeeded.

John Byrne's successful revisions of Superman and Wonder Woman for DC Comics made him a leading candidate for salvaging Spiderman. The keystone to his efforts is "Spiderman, Chapter One" a twelve issue series that has reached its halfway point.

Byrne has adhered closely to the original version of the character, but has also streamlined some elements. Those of us "in at the start" will probably wince at moving Spiderman's origin from 1962 to1990, but such is the price of longevity. Henceforth, Spiderman's origin will always be eight years ago.

I have to agree with Byrne's decision to combine some of the early plots. I am impressed with his linking of the origins of Spiderman and villain Doctor Octopus, one of his most dangerous opponents.

Byrne's art reminds us of Steve Ditko's work in the 1960s, but remains identifiable as Byrne's.

There is a "zero" issue that provides the origins of three early and major villains: the Vulture, the Lizard, and Sandman.

Byrne is also involved in the Amazing Spiderman title whose stories are set in the present. Howard Mackie co-writes the scripts and they are quiet good.

Mackie is also responsible for the scripts for Peter Parker, Spiderman. Byrne's absence is painfully obvious. John Romita Jr's art is much more jagged. Since the plotlines are closely linked, the differences in art jar.

More troublesome is Webspinners. The first issue was impressive, but the art in the second and third issues deteriorated. Some characters are almost unrecognizable, Gwen Stacey in particular. I am surprised Marvel published this.

The fourth issue improves with a different artist and writer, but more improvement is needed. The storyline begins to answer some questions leftover from issues of the first run of Silver Surfer.

If Byrne and Mackie can keep up the good work, Spiderman could regain his stature.

Reviewed by Dr Jon Suter

    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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