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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale

November 25, 1998

Reviews in this issue:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1
Sock Monkey #1 and #2
The Superman Madman Hullabaloo
Hawk and Dove

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1

981125a.jpg (20507 bytes)     $2.95, 22 pgs. from Dark Horse. Words by Andi Watson, pencils by Joe Bennett. Availablk Hoerever comics are sold.

    It can't be, stake every night. Sometimes mind and eye candy are fine.

    Especially if your Buffy.

    Buffy is a teenager who fought vampires in movies, fights vampires on cable TV, and now fights vampires in comics.

    The only thing cs. separates her from hundreds of other vampire fighters is that she's a she and a teenager, and that there is an element of cuteness missing from Bram Stoker's novel.

    Of course, a comic book is written and drawn. Stoker didn't draw. And there are a couple of other differences.

    A boyfriend never complained in Stoker's masterpiece about getting his ego and butt bruised in every vampire battle. Buffy also lacks the subtle horror and atmosphere of Dracula.

    But one can't eat, stake every night. Sometimes mind and eye candy are fine.

    Especially if your Buffy.

Sock Monkey #1 and #2

981125c.jpg (19817 bytes)     $2.95, 20 pgs. from Dark Horse. Sold in comics shops and by mail.

    Curiouser and curiouser. What would you get if you crossed Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and George the Curious Monkey? Not Sock Monkey.

    True, this comic book shares many qualities with the earlier mentioned children's books, including a subtle second layer meant to be understood by adults. But Sock will not find a children's audience.

    Why? Because young children don't shop in comic book stores.

    That's a shame, because Sock is well drawn, well written, and a great change from super-heroes.

    Its style harkens back to the early days of newspaper comic strips read by young children. And because Sock and his buddy, Crow get drunk and burn themselves up and their house down, it will now be considered politically incorrect for children.

    That's another reason it should be read.

The Superman Madman Hullabaloo

    Remember those cheesy television commercials where someone with chocolate bumps into someone with peanut butter and they're amazed to find they have created Reese's peanut butter round thingies?

    Prepared to be amazed again. Superman bumped into Madman.

    If you don't know who Superman is, you are as naive as the chocolate and peanut butter geeks, and we just won't go there.

    Madman, however, being a relatively new guy on the comics block, needs explanation.

    He's this dead man who's, well, mad.

    His Madman Comics is one wacky piece of entertainment, full of popular culture icons from several decades, an off-center, subtle and delightful sense of self-caricature, incredible minimalistic art and the sexiest dressed babes in comics.

    So, when Supes and Madman knock heads, strange things come out like Madman's philosophical discussion with Superman about God.

    Like The Bible, you'll have to read it to believe it. Plot-wise, this is what you'll also have to read: people from two alternate realities get Superman's powers (including Superman and Madman) when the Big Red Cheese bumps into the Little White Cheesy. How will The Man of Steel and The Man from Mad return everything to normal (for Supes) and abnormal (or Madman)? It's the oddest thing that's ever happened in Metropolis or Mad-man's Snap City!

    Oddly enough, art-wise you'll get a design-centered style that will remind you of the better animation in films and television.

    The other oddest thing is that the coloring on this title and on Madman's own regular title is as minimalistic as is the art, and its also some of the best in comics. Reminiscent of those simpler comic book times before subtle colors could be generated by computers, it is unerringly effective, distinctive and fun.

    Recommended for way cool wacked out readers looking for colorful and entertaining instead of dark and gritty.

    -- Michael Vance

    The Superman Madman Hullabaloo 1 & 2 (of 3)26 pgs. & $2.95 ea, DC and Dark Horse Comics/Story & art: Mike Allred/sold wherever comic book: are available.

Hawk and Dove

    I prefer to wait for a mini-series to finish its run before I write anything, but the new version of DC Comic's Hawk and Dove compel me to call it to your attention.

    The first two issues of the intended five are worth your time.

    The first Hawk and Dove team, Hank and Don Hall, appeared in the late 1960's when those words carried heavy political baggage. Creator Steve Ditko's version never achieved wide popularity, even in that politicized era, but the warring brothers surfaced several times in DC titles.

    The age of the characters seemed to fluctuate. Finally, Dove died in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" series.

    The title was revived in 1988, and a new Dove appeared, a female whom Hawk finally murdered in his Monarch persona.

    Now a third team has appeared with a radical reversal of roles; a female Hawk.

    The first team versions received their powers from other dimensions, but the new heroes are the results of genetic tampering, and the "Godwave" that swept the DC universe in the recent "Genesis" plotline.

    There is enough paranoia in this series to satisfy most "X-Files" enthusiasts.

    The primary villain is Avian, which may foreshadow a heavy emphasis on bird motifs.

    The characters are well defined and interesting, for which writer Mike Baron deserves full credit.

    The new Dove is an abrasive grunge rocker, but his powers are more destructive than those of his predecessors. His sonic scream is similar to that of another superhero Black Canary.

    Dean Zachary's art appropriate. Dick Giordono's inking is good and reminds me how much he has contributed to comics in his long career.

    Give this series serious consideration. A full series can not be far behind.

    Those interested in the second Hawk and Dove team can acquire a 1993 reprint from DC of the five issues that reintroduced them.

    Barbara and Karl Kesel's scripts hold up as does Rob Liefield's art.

    The eventual grim fate of the characters gives their origin a new piquancy.

    -- Dr. Jon Suter

    Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email c/o

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