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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale


August 4, 1999

Reviews in this issue:  

Ghost/Hellboy Special #1
A Writer's Guide To The Business of Comics
Verdilak 
Superman


Ghost/Hellboy Special #1

          24 pages, priced at $2.50, from Dark Horse Comics. Written by Mike Mignola, art by Scott Benefiel. Sold in comics shops and by mail.

          "A hundred years of mob war over gambling, prostitution, drugs, whatever. A century of thugs killing each other in the street with way too many innocent people getting caught in the middle.

          "Where does all that blood go?"

          It goes into the premise of the Ghost/Hellboy Special, and this comic kicks.

          Violently.

          It kicks the city of Arcadia to its knees. Ghost is slain and raining death on the thugs of Arcadia. Hellboy is hunting Ghost for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, and for the added sales from two popular characters in one title.

          The result is a dark, violent tale of shadows.

          Undeniably, some will find its violence excessive, either ignoring or overlooking its proper purpose in a story, forgetting that even the Bible is violent.

          The Bible correctly paints violence as ugly sin, and its only justified use as defense.

          Unquestionably, some will find the writing exceptional. Ugly, hard, cold, it sets the tone both for the decadence of Arcadia and its citizens. Tight, fast and pointed, it turns the second rate character of Ghost into a first rate player by making her The Shadow (another famous vigilante), in a dress.

          Unequivocally, the art is outstanding. Its balance of action and a claustrophobic fatalism is intriguing. It knows when to visually talk and when to say nothing in background detail. It implies more violence than is actually shown.

          Undisputable, this violence is acceptable, and the Ghost/Hellboy Special is highly recommended for unabashed comics fans.

          Reviewed by Michael Vance


A Writer's Guide To The Business of Comics

          From Stabur Press, written by Lurene Haines.

          A comprehensive but slightly padded book on everything from comics contracts to bookkeeping for novice comics writers. 


Verdilak

          Answer: Verdilak [NBM].

          Question: What would happen if Beast (of "Beauty and the Beast") lived in "The House of Usher" with Dracula as its landlord. Above average gothic horror.

          Reviewed by Michael Vance


Superman

          Superman is the most durable of comic book heroes, and has survived lethal foes from Toyman to Luthor to Doomsday.

          In the long run, his most dangerous enemies could be the artists and writers who chronicle his adventures. No one seems able to maintain the level of intensity needed to keep the character interesting.

          Just when it seems nothing new can be extracted from Superman, along comes something different. Three current titles are worth consideration.

          The first, an oversized volume, appeared in late 1998, Peace on Earth. Fans of Alex Ross's paintings of Superman and other heroes will want this. Others will be intrigued by the plot's attempt to answer the old question, "Why does a world with Superman still endure war, poverty, etc.?" For $9.95, this is a good buy.

          Another oversized volume, Superman/Fantastic Four, is a collaboration between DC and Marvel Comics in which Superman teams up with the Fantastic Four to battle the planet devourer Galactus. This is a least as good as the two Superman crossovers with Marvel's Spiderman several years ago.

          Dan Jurgen's script and art are good. His rendition of The Thing is as good as any of Jack Kirby's. Some panels seem a bit rushed, but may be due to the inking rather than the pencils.

          The one missing ingredient is Marvel's Silver Surfer, a character closely associated with Galactus. Since Superman becomes a herald for Galactus, some reference to the Surfer seems appropriate. For fans of crossover stories, this is another good buy at $9.95.

          The third and best item is a four-issue series entitled Generations. John Byrne uses DC's Elseworld format to follow the careers of Superman and Batman from 1929 to 1999. I've always admired Byrne and this is one of the most satisfying stories he's ever written.

          The plot is based on the natural aging of the characters. There is enough tragedy to satisfy anyone, but there is also an optimism rarely seen these days.

          Give this an A+.

          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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