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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale


July 14, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

Deity II: Catseye #3 - Comic's Legend: Frank Willard


Deity II: Catseye #3

            "At the dawn of time, a great machine wove a magnificent tapestry consisting of a thousand words orbiting countless stars throughout a billion galaxies. This was the birth of the Universe. The object empowering the great machine of creation was the Catseye. For ages, good and evil have battled for control of this power source and its primordial energies. Now these forces are converging for a final battle to obtain this priceless object, and wield a power reserved for a God." 

            So begins the premise for Deity II: Catseye, and the great question: if Suspended Animation recommends comics that adults will enjoy, why review Catseye? It is not one of those unless you are an avid comics reader. 

            It is reviewed because Catseye is one of those if you are young or young at heart and really enamored with Japanese comic books. 

            It is one for the young and young at heart because its art is out-standing, owing much to a dynamic and appealing colorist and an artist who knows how to incorporate color into his work. It also uses clean, visual storytelling strengthened by well-delineated and imaginative setting. 

            Everything is heavily influenced by Japanese comics art. 

            Subtle but disappointing for adults is a cast full of perfect bodies. Some variety in body type would be welcome. 

            It is not one for adults because the plot is simply an excuse for an epic war, and that has been overworked in comic books. In addition, the characters in Catseye, although well defined, are predominantly teenagers. Most of the adults are sinister villains. Most adults are not sinister or teenagers, making it difficult for old codgers to identify with this title. 

            That is an observation, not a criticism. 

            By the way and in critical passing, there in not "a God" but rather One God.

            Reveiwed by Michael Vance

            Deity II: Catseye #3/22 pgs. & $2.95 from Hyperwerks/written and drawn by Karl Altstaetter/ includes a brief preview of another Hyperwerks title, The Kosmic Kat Activity Book/sold in comics shops. 


Comic's Legend: Frank Willard

Creator Frank Willard's comic strip, Moon Mullins, was first published in the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1923, in part as response to the syndicate's success with another strip, Barney Google. As Moon developed its cast of characters including Lord Plushbottom, Kayo and Emmy Schmaltz, Willard also created his own style. Moon gained popularity and became a classic of visual storytelling. 

Born in 1893 in the Chicago area Frank Willard decided to become a cartoonist at an early age. His broad humor and simple art were character-centered and drawn with a heavy line. 

None of Willard's characters faired well in polite society. In one story, Moon and Emmy get embroiled in a stolen car and are thrown in jail. Moon turns imprisonment into slapstick comedy. In another continuity, Moon and cast travel to Florida when Lord Plushbottom opens a night club. Emmy's attempts to get the Lord to marry her also ends to comic 'tragedy'. 

At Willard's untimely death in 1958, Ferd Johnson continued Moon Mullins as a one-a-day joke strip. 

The adventures of Moon were published in comic books including: Large Feature Comic #29, 4-Color #s 14, 31, 81 (Dell Comics, 1941-'45); Moon Mullins #s 1-8 (American Comics Group, 1947-'48); Popular Comics (Dell #1-, 1936--), and Super Book #3 (Western Comics, 1944?). 

Cupples & Leon published cardboard bound editions of Moon from 1927 to 1933 that were precursors of comic books. Dover re-published two Cupples editions as an excellent collection of strips in 1976 in trade paperback form. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics also features a section on Willard's rakish family of characters. 

The work of Frank Willard is highly recommended for all ages. 

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


    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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