Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Jon Suter

June 5, 1998

Reviews in this issue:
Lost in Space #1
Corny's Fetish
Godzilla #1
Dracula & Fu Manchu

Lost in Space #1

980605a.jpg (17561 bytes)Lost in Space #1 (of 3)/22 pgs., $2.95, Dark Horse Comics/story: Brian McDonald; pencils: Gordon Purcell/sold in comics shops and by mail.

Danger! Danger!

Although nowhere acknowledged, this comic book adapts movie adapted from an old SF television series.

It is better that the television series is unacknowledged. It was unbelievably poor.

Danger, Will Robinson!!

This comic is believably average in both story and art.

Having not seen it, I am uncertain if this is a close adaptation of the film. Having seen advertising for Lost In Space, it is apparent that none of the comics characters look like the actors.

The art is otherwise adequate but unspectacular.

Because this the first of three issues, characters are introduced, setting is set, and only the germ of a plot is planted.

A prisoner on a spacecraft finds something alien in hole.  Destruction ensues.

Is there reason to buy Lost In Space?  Possibly, Will Robinson, if you enjoy average.  Otherwise, the reason is lost on me.  MV

Corny's Fetish

Renee French's Corny's Fetish/$4.95, 60 pgs, Dark Horse/words and art: Renee French/sold in comics shops and by mail.

Admittedly, opinion and art are subjective.

In my opinion, don't subject yourself to Corny's Fetish.

That it is almost entirely drawn in pantomime diminishes any plot or characterization subtleties.

Basically, a lonely old man witness an accidental death and becomes fixated on a young girl. He builds a fantasy family around her with figures possibly carved out of chocolate.

That the art is one step above juvenile scribble is not helpful.

The cover is nice.

Alone, none of its weaknesses (or my subjective preferences) condemn this work. But, together and at almost five dollars a copy, Cornv's Fetish may be the greatest current waste of sixty seconds of 'entertainment' time on the comics market. MV

Godzilla #1

980605b.jpg (18766 bytes) Miniview: Godzilla #1 [Dark Horse]. A timely and marvelous reprinting of magnificent fun, this is not an adaptation of the current creature feature.

Buy it. MV.

Dracula & Fu Manchu

Two of literature's' most sinister villains have been amazingly durable as comic book characters: Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and Sax Rohmer's "Fu Manchu."

Rohmer's writing seems weak to modern readers, yet he held his original audience spellbound. Racism abounds in his stories, yet he understood the tragic implications of cultures unable to understand each other. The shadowy outlines of modern turmoil in the Middle East and Asia can be detected in Rohmer's novels.

Marvel Comics had a long, successful run of stories based on Fu Manchu. Such artists as Jim Starlin and Paul Gulacy captured the essence of Rohmer's claustrophobic atmosphere in the "Son of Fu Manchu" stories which first appeared in Marvel Super Heroes.

Even though this series was an attempt to cash in on the Kung Fu craze of the 1970's, it frequently transcended faddish elements and holds up better than the Christopher Lee movies about Fu Manchu.

Even more successful was Marvel's Tomb of Dracula. Bram Stoker's vampire has rarely been in better form.

Many of Marv Wolfman's stories for this series are masterpieces of Gothic horror, but considerable credit has to go to Gene Colan and Tom Palmer for art.

Novelists such as Kim Newman have done credible sequels to Stoker's unsettling masterpiece, but Wolfman, Colan, and Palmer have to be ranked among the best modern adapters.

The atmosphere evoked by Colon and Palmer often surpassed the work of the creators of the famed EC horror comics of the 1950s such as artist Graham Ingels.

Although some of Stoker's lore was modified, this series was reasonably faithful to the original.

For years, collectors have overlooked the quality of these series; prices have remained low but are now beginning to rise. Those jaded with super heroes might investigate early issues of Tomb of Dracula, Marvel Super Heroes (later known as Master of Kong Fu) and their black-and-white counterparts, Dracula Lives and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. These titles contained considerable dross from other writers and arts, but some outstanding stories can be found. DJS

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