Suspended Animation

Michael Vance   Mark Allen   Michael Vance Books
The longest-running comics review column in America perhaps the World!

 
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January 26, 2000

Angel

    The cover blurb reads: "Based on the hit WB Television Show!" If you, like hundreds of millions of other viewers, have missed this "hit", you may be in for a pleasant surprise. If Angel the television show is as good as Angel the comic book series, then you are missing solid entertainment.

    Angel is a vampire who was saved from a sucky three centuries of committing murder, torture and terrorization by Whistler, a demon. Whistler introduced Angel to Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (star of another "hit" Warner Brothers TV series), but ended up in Hell (i.e. the WB television network--just kidding). Now back from damnation, Angel is an investigator of the supernatural working out of Los Angeles. The City of Angels. Get it. Angels.

    Cute.

    Cute is often the operative word describing this cross between a real hit television show, Touched by an Angel, and The Angel of Death. Although the art is dark and threatening, the demons are as ugly as sin, and Angel snarls constantly, his tongue is often thrust firmly in his handsome cheek.

    You don't believe your reviewer? In this first issue, Angel chokes a demon named Lloyd.

    Heavenly day, Angel is also well-written. In particular, the writer doesn't assume everyone watches the television show and gives readers enough background information to make the setting and characters intelligible and intriguing.

    Less than intriguing is the artist's less than angelic anatomy that weakens the overall impact of the art. Luckily, this fault is buttressed by lots of somber coloring and a wealth of demons that require neither accurate proportions or realistic bone structure.

    Angel #1 is 22 pages and priced at $2.95 from Dark Horse Comics. Art by Christian Zanier, story by Christian Golden.


Feeders

    The writer wanted this thirty-second read to be "somewhat confusing." He succeeded. A horror story with no horror, little plot or characterization and less entertainment value, Feeders at least has nice art.

    Review by Michael Vance


Krazy Kat

    Hitting someone in the head with a brick is no laughing matter, but it is and was Krazy.

    Krazy Kat was a comic strip lauded by few and ignored by many newspapers and readers. It grew out of cartoonist George Heniman's Dingbat Family ship where Krazy Kat was bonked by bricks thrown by Ignatz Mouse. If that sounds odd it is only the tip of the oddberg.

    You see, Krazy liked bricks almost as much as she (or he) liked the mouse. Yes, it was always uncertain which sex, if any, belonged to Krazy although it was certain no sex was enjoyed in the sado-masochistic relationship shared with the mouse. Ignatz hated Krazy.

    Whew.

    Krazy Kat began in October of 1913. The surreal life, vocabulary and settings of Krazy, Ignatz, Offica Pup and the cast of Kokonino County continued because the owner of its syndicate, William Randolph Hearst, liked it.

    An enigma himself, Herriman had been born in 1880. He was a practicing cartoonist and an office boy at the Los Angeles Herald newspaper even as a teenager. He found work as a cartoonist at the World newspaper in New York City in 1901 until Hearst hired Heniman to create several Strips that predate Krazy. It continued until Heniman's death in 1944.

    The strip looked like it was drawn by Picasso and read like it was written by...well, no one really compares with Herriman's unconventional prose and plots. While undeniably original, the quality of the strip is continually debated even today.

    It was published in comic books including Ace Comics (#'s 1-37, '37- 7 David McKay), March of Comics (#'s 72 & 87, Western), Krazy Kat Comics ('51-'64, Dell [not by Heniman]), and Krazy Kat ('46, hardcover, Holt).

    Krazy is recommended for those with a taste for the esoteric.

    Review by Michael Vance

 

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