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

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale

October 26, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

The Monstermen - Christian Comics & Games - The Quasimodo Gambit

The Monstermen

Nothing is more frustrating than high expectations left unfulfilled.

Expect frustration from The Monstermen and its backup Hellboy story, written and drawn by two of the most outstanding artists working in comic books today.

Especially disappointing is the title story from The Monstermen, by Gary Gianni.

Heavily influenced by magazine illustrators from the 1920s,'30s and '40's, Gianni ranks easily with the best comic book artists of all time. His visual pacing, staging, anatomy, architecture and landscaping are flawless. His art is very imaginative.

His art is not the problem.

Gianni's stories are also heavily influenced by The Shadow, Doc Savage and other pulp magazines from the same decades.

In this piece, St. George in his knight's helmet and tuxedo travels to Tibet in search of a powerful skull.

Herein lie the flaws: the plot is too simplistic; his characters need more depth, and his climax, while unexpected, also felt like an afterthought.

Dang it.

The Skull is not bad, or even mediocre. But, considering the visual package It came wrapped in, it should have been great.

The Hellboy story, "Goodbye, Mr. Todd" is too short for artist Mike Mignola to do more than hint at an intriguing occult idea. While longtime fans bring the fully fleshed out demon with them from other stories, he and the two other players in "Todd" will be uninteresting sketches to readers unfamiliar with Hellboy's past.

As is true with every form of communication, art has limitations. In particular, it is poor at expressing complex ideas and human motives, and at creating a slow and deliberate pace. The eye tends to naturally race from panel to panel.

It is the marriage of words and pictures that makes comic books unique and potentially stronger than art or prose alone.

Until that axiom is embraced by its creator, The Monstermen and this Hellboy story will remain a little less than the best.

Review by Michael Vance

Christian Comics & Games

          Exclusive or inclusive. A thin line separates beliefs that welcome participation yet uphold standards, and bigotry. We all cross that line.

          Christian Comics & Games welcomes participation to a world of adventure based on The Bible, and rejects comics, games and cards not founded on Christianity. It's their right and responsibility.

          It's a marvelous package, filled with talented artists and writers exercising that right to create within the beliefs of their religion (and mine).

          The trick in rejecting the beliefs of some people is to do it with love and respect.

          It's a difficult balancing act, and this editor straddles that separating line. Most Christians will find it wonderful, but some non-Christians will find its stands on moral issues very negative, and wonder why it should be found at all. It should.


          Review by Michael Vance

The Quasimodo Gambit

          It's a male bonding thing. James Bond, to be exact.

          Fast cars. Beautiful babes always instantly attracted to the spy. Bombs, villains, macho adventure. The classic battle between right and wrong with a martini (is it stirred, not shaken?) casually added for sophistication.

          So, who's going to breath new life into an old character?

          Don McGregor.

          This is a true graphic novel, written rich with detail, lush settings, characterization, plot twists and sub-plots. Better yet, McGregor ignores much of the gadgetry and mad scientist silliness that, overused, usually mars Bond.

          The painted art in The Quasimodo Gambit initially seems too abstract for such a realistic setting, but is quickly absorbed into the total reading experience, the mark of a perfect marriage of word and picture.

          Highly recommended for fans of adult spy novels.

          We greet the Wewoka Daily Times (Okla.) readers to Suspended Animation. Drop us a line sometime!

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

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