Suspended Animation

Michael Vance   Mark Allen   Michael Vance Books
The longest-running comics review column in America perhaps the World!

Review Index: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998

January 21, 2000

Betty PageBettie Page: Queen of the Nile

   The smut of yesteryear has become the "glamour art" of today simply because it is so tame compared to the raw pornography peddled in the 1990s.

   That statement alone will enrage many readers, but it should surprise no one. Unlike many reviewers, this rapscallion does not believe art should be judged without considering subject matter. As example, the best painting of dog dung ever done is still not worth the canvas on which it is painted. And since Suspended Animation is a review column (i.e., opinion), my criteria for judging comic books is just as valid as anyone else who writes.

   Bettie Page posed for smut magazines, acted in low-budget smut movies and sat for private photography sessions in the 1950's.

   Now I've also enraged Bettie Page fans. They like to call her work "glamour art" so that they can pretend it isn't what it is, smut. That they feel the need to pretend speaks volumes.

   She was almost always as naked as the law would then allow, except for her private sessions, and specialized in bondage poses. In her private sessions, Bettie was as raw as most of the pornography of today.

   Bettie Page: Queen of the Nile is Bettie as the visual tease of the 1950s.

   Compared to the sexual excesses in art today, this comic book is extremely mild and beautifully drawn. There are also lots of fun references to characters and settings from the '50s which saves a silly plot and sillier dialog from being just boring.

   That doesn't change the fact that this book solely exists to showcase Bettie running around in her underwear, taking showers, dancing in scanty Egyptian garb, and stirring up lust.

   Oops. I meant stirring up glamour.

   If you still dislike this review, just think of it as "glamour opinion".

    Review by Michael Vance

Street Sharks

    Trapped in a genetic ultra-collider by Dr. Pirahnoid (a humanoid piranha), four sharks with human legs face their fates.

   "No longer," Pirahnoid gnashes, "will you be swayed by the whims of petty human emotions like love or friendship!"

   "Not gonna happen, fishbreath!" slobbers the blue shark.

   Cowabunga, man!

   It's the Teenage Mutant Ninja,, sharks!!

   Yes, this is kids' stuff.

   But is this good kids' stuff.

   The Sharks chew up the scenery and escape. Hounded by the public and attacked by the military, they discover that Pirahnoid is releasing a gigantic dose of mutating stuff into Fission City.

   With no real story twists or originality, it's a kids' plot.

   Street Sharks is tightly scripted melodrama. Clichés, alliterative, character defining names and "costumes" act as shorthand to please an intended audience with relatively short attention spans.

   Street Sharks is also fun. This comic is visually coherent with lots of basically non-violent action. Excellent pacing makes art acceptable that is weak on inanimate objects and human faces, and lacks the line width variation that creates the illusion of depth.

   Not a high-water mark, Street Sharks is still solid entertainment for young readers who love adventure.


Cud Comics

    Well written and drawn "humorous" insight into the puerile side of life. Marrying Archie and '60s underground comics art styles, irresponsible drugs, sex, and wallowing in sickness and dissolution" are paraded as normal and funny. They aren't. For juvenile adults only.

Hola Endem!

   Hola to our readers in Endem (Croatia)! Drop us a line sometime!


©2006 Starland, PO Box 24955 Denver CO 80224-0955 Ph 303.777.6800 Fx 303.200.9009