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

Blair Which

            If you missed the horror movie The Blair Witch Project, this is what you missed: over fifty minutes of unrelenting profanity that made you want the four principle characters to die, about three or four minutes of suspense, and a really terrific, horrifying ending that did not make enduring the rest of the movie worth your time or money.

            If you miss the comic book Blair Which, this is what you will miss: lots and lots of fun and undeniable proof that you can see the forest for the trees because artist Sergio (Mad Magazine, Groo) Aragones and writer Mark Evanier are great at stripping the bark off the bite of the movie. (Yeah, I know that does not make sense; just repeat 'It's only a comic book review, it's only a comic book review...').

            You doubt, oh pilgrim?

            Page one sets the tone by opening on Burkittsville, a town where even the postal workers aren't disgruntled

            "How are you today, Mr. Kravitz?" asks a lady cleaning a window.

            "Still gruntled!" replies the postman.             That tone is further defined by an amazing and delightful surprise. Blair Which is not a parody of the movie. It is about the rumors created from the town's anticipation of a film crew coming to shoot a movie. In another twist, it is those rumors that create the legend that the film crew has come to document.

            Indeed, the only thing that does not work in Blair Which is a running gag about The Forest in which the movie will be filmed. Effective at first, it is definitely unfunny by about the fifth repetition.

            So, which comic book title is recommended this week in Suspended Animation? Why, Blair Which, of course.

            For those of you who do not agree with this review or the comments on the movie, the dunce cap over there is for you, pilgrim.

            Go stand in the corner.

            Review by Michael Vance

Comics Legend Milt Gross

            Many consider Milt Gross one of the mast "original and inimitably individual talents" in the history of, American comic strips.

            Born in 1885, Gross began drawing when he was twelve years old. By his death in 1953, the cartoonist had created an impressive body of work.

            Nize Baby, Gross’s first full page comic strip, was puhlished in the New York World newspaper syndicated 1927-1929). However, the off beat antics of this oddball baby and Looy Dot Dope was discontinued by Gross for Count Screwloose of Toolose.

            In 1929. Count Screwloose began syndication and continued at the bottom or top of his main Sunday strip until 1934 when the Count and cad joined the company of Dave's Delicatessen.

            These three and That 's My Pop! ('30s) are his best remembered comic strips. One would often flow another of his comic strips and repeat some of his same cast members. It seemed at times, that his strips used names only for convenience.

            Gross’s creations were always daffy and wildly creative, and included two dozen books of funny doggerel verse, often in Yiddish dialect, and films that sprang from his crazy imagination.

            His scant comic book appearances included: Milt Gross Funnies (two issues, '47, distributed through ACG) and the features Pete the Pooch and The Kiddy Katty Korner (various ACG titles).

            Gross was a staff artist in 1913 for the American Press, association. Beginning in 1915, he created Henry Peck, A Happy Married Man (NY Evening Journal), Banana Oil ('30s), and books: Hiawatha; Nize Baby ('26), Dunt Esk (’27), De Night In De Front from Chreesmas (’27), He Done Her Wrong, Famous Fimmels Witt Odder Ewents from Heestory (’28). He was also a Hollywood scenario writer.

            The work of Milt Gross is highly recommended for all ages.

            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.


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