Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Jon Suter

July 31, 1998

Reviews in this issue:

Comics Legend Al Williamson
Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein #1
Doc Savage: Curse of the Fire God

Comics Legend Al Williamson

He began his career as a teenager imitating the artistic style of Alex Raymond's comic strip masterpiece, Flash Gordon. He established his name working with legendary artists like Frank Frazetta and Roy Krenkel on the famous EC science fiction and horror titles of the 1950s. Al continues as one of the most respected artists in the history of comic books and strips.

But Al Williamson accepts praise with a twinkle in his eye, revealing a modesty that young artists would be wise to emulate.

All art is abstraced; even a camera lens distorts reality. Williamson prefers a realistic approach to art founded on accurate lighting, perspective, human and animal anatomy and pose spiced with the wild creative energy of fantasy. When working within his first love, sf and fantasy, his worlds are populated with tiny dinosaurs, huge mushrooms, ancient alien cities and spacecraft.

His comic strip work on Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Rip Kirby, Big Ben Bolt, Dan Flagg, Secret Agent Corrigan and Star Wars is legendary. Some of these titles have been collected into volumes.

His extensive career includes (but does not exhaust) work for ACG (Adventures Into The Unknown, Forbidden Worlds), Atlas/Timely/Marvel (Adventures into Mystery, Annie Oakley, Astonishing, Star Wars), Charlton (Cheyenne Kid, Wild Rill Hickock & Jingles), DC (Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone), Gilberton, Harvey and many more.

Williamson's most famous work was published in selected (and expensive) issues of Crime SuspenStories, Incredible Science Fiction, The Vault of Horror; Tales from the Crypt and other EC comics. These have been reprinted several times in more affordable versions.

The Art of Al Williamson by James Van Hise is an exceptional collection of this master cartoonist's work through 1983. Among the most affordable and accessible of his works are two issues of Flash Gordon (Marvel Select, 1995).

Williamson's work is highly recommended.

Some other titles are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources. Prices vary; shop around.

Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein #1

"So, this is X-Ray Boy," thinks the Pentagon's secret agent, "and he's wearing the X-Ray Specs I've been sent to retrieve for the Pentagon! But, how to get him to surrender them willingly?!"

No answer comes from Cowboy Gorilla, Yarn Man or Gower Goose! That great slab of lumpy oatmeal, Megaton Man, is too busy pushing their microbus to care!

None suspect the intrusion of Forbidden Frankenstein!

Okay, Don Simpson suspects, but he wrote and drew Megaton Man vs Forbidden Frankenstein, a subtle, nutty, satire of Stan Lee's 1960's Marvel superheroes. In truth, pilgrim, Iris are the overused boldtype, exclamations points and footnotes that are trademarks (TM) of '60s Marvel comics*!

This comic is a marvel of exaggerated exaggeration offered with the dead-pan expression of silent film comedian, Buster Keaton.

It's also wonderfully written epic melodrama using Lee's bloated and self-conscious dialog (so bad and so sincere that it was good).

And, beyond all else, it is drawn with the same love that transforms a homely woman into a goddess in the eyes of her lover. If Simpson didn't love epic superhero art with all of its blemishes and shortcuts, his visual satire would simply be bitter and nasty criticism.

Moreover, Simpson's talent as a writer and artist even transcends its subject. If a true artist brings a unique viewpoint to his work, Simpson must have three eyes.

Simpson is a unique.

Although this wacky and brilliant satire of Marvel superheroes requires an extensive understanding of Stan Lee's work in the '60s, it's Highly recommended!!

Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein #1/$2.95, 32 pgs. from Fiasco Comics/writer and artist, Don Simpson/available in comics shops and by mail.

(*See Bizarre Heroes #7-- Dandy Don.)

Doc Savage: Curse of the Fire God

MINIVIEW: Doc Savage: Curse of the Fire God [Dark Horse Comics]. High adventure from the precursor of superheroes as Doc and gang battle the mighty fire god Kuchulkan struggling to sacrifice the crew on a Delezon altar. Recommended.

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