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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale

September 22, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

Comics Legend - Archie Goodwin - DC Reprints

Comics Legend - Archie Goodwin

    "One of the nice things about what I do and probably one of the reasons I'm attracted to it is that, in real life, I'm a relatively quiet, sometimes introspective person. And I like losing myself in the fantasy of comics."

    Without question, millions of readers have lost themselves in the fantasy of Archie Goodwin's comics. As an editor and writer, he is unsurpassed in the history of the art from, and remains one of the nicest, most respected professionals in the industry.

    Although most famous as an editor on Warren publishing's Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella titles ('65-'70) and Marvel's Epic Illustrated magazine, Goodwin's writing is held in great esteem.

    His first work appeared in Alarming Tales, a supernatural title from Harvey publishing.

    In 1957, he landed a job as assistant to newspaper cartoonist Leonard Starr who drew On Stage.

    "Leonard was just great to work with, although almost nothing I wrote ever made it into the strip," said Goodwin. "Leonard used me to make all the mistakes for him."

    Modesty is more representative of Goodwin than mistakes, as is his love of comics.

    "I guess it's the interaction between the words and pictures. I think it's a way that people are still exploring and playing with (it)."

    At different times, Archie wrote comic strips including On Stage, Secret Agent Corrigan, Capt. Kate and Star Wars, but he is best known for his comic book work.

    This includes Hermit (Harvey,'62), Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9 (King, '66-'67), Iron Man, Sgt. Fury, Rawhide Kid, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Capt. Marvel (Marvel), Batman, Manhunter, Haunted Tank (DC-to present) and several movie adaptations for various publishers.

    Archie Goodwin's work as an editor, writer or artist is highly recommended. Archie Goodwin as a man deserves the highest recommendation possible.

    Published over many years, some titles may be difficult to locate. A price guide or comics dealer will help. Comic book shops, mail order companies, trade journals and comics conventions are best sources.

    Prices vary widely; shop around.

    Reviewed by Michael Vance

DC Reprints

    Several reprinted DC comics have arrived in bookstores, but not all are of recent vintage. DC's Hitman is a curious blend of crime, horror, and science fiction. The title character first appeared as a victim of alien invaders in the 1993 plotline "Bloodlines" and resurfaced in his own series and the Batman series "Contagion." 

    There are obvious similarities to Marvel's character, Punisher, but Tommy Monaghan has powers never known to Punisher; Monaghan operates in the gangster-haunted alleys of Gotham City but also deals With walking corpses, Etrigan the Demon, and other bizarre characters. 

    Garth Ennis and John McCrea make this odd mixture work surprisingly well although the violence is often graphic. 

    The "Contagion" chapter is reprinted out of sequence and does not appear in the "Contagion" Paperback reviewed here recently. Hitman made an appearance in DC's Justice League #5. 

    Less violent than Hitman is Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare," a reprint of a mini-series in which the Justice League of America, a superhero team, is reformed. This incarnation is very close to the Schwartz-Fox-Sekowsky creative team version of the JLA of 1960.

    The villain first appears to be Dr. Destiny, but writers Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza manage a few surprises. I personally find the art rather weak; the lack of detail may appeal to some, but the JLA needs a more dynamic quality.

    The best part of the story is that dealing with the superhero, Martian Manhunter.

    The best of the trio is the surprisingly durable Batman: The Killing Joke. This graphic novel first appeared in 1988. Alan Moore's script and Brian Bolland's art combine for one of the best character analyses of the Joker I have ever seen.

    The Joker's wanton crippling of Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon and the assault on her father's sanity always struck me as more reprehensible and better told than the Joker's later murder of Robin.

    The miracle is that this book still sells for $3.95 while the others described sell for $9.95 and $8.95 respectively.

    Reviewed by Dr. Jon Suter

Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? 
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