Suspended Animation

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

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Gil Kane

            A comics king is dead; long live his memory.

            Artist, writer and publisher, Gil Kane has passed away. Under his own and many pennames, (Eli Katz, Gil Stack. Scott Edward, Al Stak, Al Kame, Staktil, and Pen Star). Kane was among the most talented and prolific artists in comics history.

            Born in Latvia in 1926, he immigrated to America at 3 and began his comics career at the Binder(1942) and Bailey shops. His art is loved for its dynamic composition, lanky characters, and flawless visual storytelling.

            Major comics credits include: Scarlet Avenger,('41-3, MLJ); Blackstone ('42, St. Smith); Green Lama ('42,Prize); Vision, Young Allies, war, horror, Hulk, Gulliver Jones, Spiderman, Thing team-ups, Black Panther, Warlock, Capt. Marvel, Conan, Kazar, mystery, Morbius, Capt. America, covers, Torch & Iceman ('43--, Marvel). Candy ('44, Quality); Golden Eagle ('45, Aviation); Commandos of the Devil Dogs (Holyoke,'44-5); Sandman, Wildcat, Johnny Thunder, Capt. Comet, SF, Matt Savage, Rip Hunter, Don Caballero, Nighthawk, Dan Foley, Trigger Twins, Hopalong Cassidy, Big Town, covers, mystery, Capt. Action, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Atom, Batman, mystery, Flash, western (44--,DC); Nightmare ('44, Hillman); Heroic('40s,Eastern Color); western ('late '40s, Fawcett); Flash Gordon ('67, King); Laramie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Hennesey, Brain Boy, Frogmen, covers (Dell, ‘61-5); Mentor, Noman, Undersea Agent, Raven, ('65-7, Tower); also Fox (late '40s), Avon (early '50s), Harvey (c'65).

            Gil Kane was awarded the NCS Best Comic Book Artist (1971), and the Reuben Goldberg Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Story Comic Book (1973). He created, drew and published a groundbreaking title in 1968: His Name Is Savage. His B&W comics include: Warren (‘67), Marvel (Ironfist, Conan,'74), and he also drew paperback covers.

            Gil Kane's work is highly recommended.

            Some older comics 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.

Star Wars: Chewbacca #1 (of 4)

            Published by Dark Horse and Lucas Books. Written by Darko Macan with art by Brent Anderson and Igor Kordey. Sold in comics shops and by mail.

            Thankfully, it was translated from the "Shyriiwook", the native tongue of that Star Wars movie alien that looks like a dog-faced Abominable Snowman, Chewbacca. Otherwise you would be reading "yarrggggwall" for twenty pages.

            The it is a new comic book mini-series, and if Shyriiwook sounds too cute for words, you have captured the ambiance of Star Wars: Chewbacca.

            Readers must remember that cute is not necessarily bad. Cindy Crawford is cute. The Backstreet Boys are cute. Your reviewer is cute (in a Chewbacca sorta way). But cute is not often adult.

            Chewbacca is not often adult. The first clue is that the first issue is a recounting of Chewbacca's first flirtation by his girlfriend or wife. As evidence: "It's [courting] hard with the boys, though, before they are one hundred, all they seem to be interested in are mechanics, astronavigation and spaceflight."

            The second clue is that quotation is spoken by a dog-faced Abominable Snowwoman. That alone sends a mild shudder through me, and it is not from pleasure. The third clue is that half the book was drawn by one team of artists, and the remaining half by another team. The first team must have overdosed on cute, which is not addictive.

            However, if it is beginning to sound as if your charming reviewer was less than charmed by Chewbacca, you are mistaken. This issue is well written and adequately drawn, and will be enjoyed by young teens, pre-teens, girls and hardcore Star Wars fans.

            It will not be enjoyed by many adults.

            Review by Michael Vance

Farewell To Dr. Suter

            It is with regret that we say farewell to Dr. Jon Suter who wrote about half of the Suspended Animation reviews for several years. Suter is an unbelievable comics scholar. He is also a university librarian whose workload finally overcame his desire to continue. Thank you for everything, my dear friend.


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