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

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June 23, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

Martin Mystery - Ghost
Boneshaker #1 - Hola El Wendigo


Martin Mystery

    Parts 1 and 2 of this six-part series were considered for this review. Each issue is $.95 at 92 pages. Published by Dark Horse and Bonelli Comics. Written by Aldredo Castelli with art by Giancarlo Alessandrini. Sold in comics shops and by mail.

    Martin Mystery is a handsome, two-fisted, gun-totting private investigator and writer whose world-hopping adventures carry him into the occult.

    He carries himself well.

    With Java, his (literally) Neanderthal sidekick, and a beautiful woman hanging on his shirt-tails, Martin explores the worlds of supernatural speculation in Martin Mystery, a series of graphic novels that are sure to carry you away.

    Your first destination is under the Mediterranean where the remains of Atlantis hold dangerous knowledge that has been kept secret from our world by a cartel of intellectual thugs.

    Your second destination leads to a fabulous spear that not only pierced the side of Christ, led Hitler into initially successful conquests, but also brought fame to a surprising, ancient and knighted King.

    So much for the first two issues.

    Best of all, your journey is well-plotted, well-written, well-drawn, and firmly grounded in reality despite its fantastic settings and supernatural elements. How is this so?

    Bonelli Comics is a publisher that rose from the ashes of World War II to become the most successful comics publisher in Italy. They claim a circulation of over 500,000 for each of their titles, far outstripping the comics sold in the country that created comic strips and books, America. The reason for their success is obvious.

    Bonelli targeted adults, not children, as their primary market. They did so by well-defined adult characters, wedding story and art in an equal marriage, and by exploring modern myths that share a long established and wide popularity among readers of all ages and genders.

    Bonelli is Living proof that publishers can strip off the costumes of their superheroes and superheroines and still succeed.

    Is it too late for American comic book publishers to do the same? Only time will tell.

    Martin Mystery is highly recommended. The first issue does contain mild nudity.

    Reviewed by Michael Vance


Ghost

    Boo.

    Reporter Elisa Cameron died and came back as a Ghost. She isn't: friendly like Casper. In fact, she hates men.

    Her sister and roommate, Marge, loves men... in the sheets.

    That and the all white, low-cut jump suit and shroud Elisa wears are all that separate her from The Spectre and The Spirit who also died and returned as ghosts, to one degree or another, in the early 1940's.

    Alright, there is another difference. The current Spectre comic book is better written, and the classic Spirit books were much better written, more innovative, adult and entertaining.

    Why Ghost battles cleverly named villains along the "dark waterfronts, art deco canyons and shimmering skyscrapers" of Arcadia is buried in fist fights, blazing guns, and the subtle sexuality of these sisters. Not to be mean spirited, but after randomly reading six issues, you still won't know why Elisa hates men or Marge is a whore either.

    And what readers don't know can bore them.

    Boo-hoo.

    Ghost's hatred of men is drawing some spirited letters from readers on both sides of feminism, although Elisa's hatred is ill-defined and stereotyped. Her editor advises readers to he patient. Ghost will grow.

    Let's see. Eleven issues times $2.50. That's a lot of patience.

    Luckily, Elisa died in the wool (ouch), and nicely drawn wool at that. The ever changing roster of artists ghosting the style of the series' long absent co-creator, Adam Hughes, has maintained his high standards. And lots of well-drawn feminine flesh and naughty (but not nasty) seductive poses have saved Ghost from an early grave.

    Less experienced readers and hardcore fans of superheroes and "good girl" art will enjoy Ghost.

    Ghost #'s 5, 7-11 are $2.50 each at 23pages. Published by Dark Horse. Words: Eric Luke; drawn by various artists and sold in comics shops and by mail.


Boneshaker #1

    Published by Caliber Comics

    The mad dreams of a dead wrestler. Excellent art and story; a visual dance. Recommended.


Hola El Wendigo

    Hola to our readers in El Wendigo (Spain)! Drop us a line sometime!


    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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