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


     Will Vance or won't Vance (that big hotshot reviewer) recommend Hieroglyph, the new SF comic book miniseries from Dark Horse Comics?

     The writing is on the wall.

     Hieroglyph is written and drawn by Richard Delgado. There are so few cartoonists in comics that are equally talented as writers and artists that they can be counted on one hand.

     A recommendation on that wall is looking shaky.

     Hieroglyph is neither a superhero comic nor based on a successful movie or television series. The SF genre has rarely sold well without "tie-in" marketing.

     That recommendation? Looking blurry.

     Ricardo Delgado is not a super-star among comics fans. His fame will not boost sales, and the writing on the wall is looking nasty.

     The final mark against this title should be that it is a "mime comic". It is no secret that this reviewer detests mime comics that attempt, to tell stories with little or no dialog or text. These books depend completely on art and take thirty seconds to "read"; they are an expensive pleasure.

     Then why is Vance reluctantly recommending Hieroglyph?

     It is not for its plot: Earthman lands on alien planet and sees strange beings and things and experiences odd events that neither he nor the reader understands. Without a big climactic revelation to the admittedly intriguing questions raised by these first two issues, readers will be soooo angry.

     It is reluctantly recommended for its incredibly imaginative and distinctive art. Heavily influenced by European artists, Delgado's minimalistic style is perfect for bizarre life forms that look like what squeezes out of a trash compactor after it is stuffed with shellfish and insects.

     That art also benefits from a sense of vast space, immense architecture that is both futuristic and anachronistic, and perfect visual storytelling.

     Will this promising Mime Comic become the exception to Vance's rule?

     If so, it won't be because of the writing on Delgado's wall.

     Review by Michael Vance

     Hieroglyph #s 1 & 2 (of 4)/24 pgs. & $2.95 each.


     You've come a long way, Babe, but you can't go homage again.

     Actually, you can, and have, and will continue to do so. After all, it’s not such a bad homage to return to... artist Jack Kirby, the old superhero team of the 1960's--the Fantastic Four, and a time when fun was part of funny books.

     You're housewife Bernice O'Donnell, created by an alien science and wizardry that fused five women into one.

     You're beautiful, healthy, and super strong. You wear no uniform, grit no teeth, and clench no fists, a refreshing change from superhero stereotypes.

     Your art is clean, direct, exciting and entertaining. It's that art that saves you from the campiness of the old Batman television show (and the third movie) despite much visual whimsy.

     Your writing is tongue-in-cheek, full of plot twists and a love of an older style of comic books that could create super intelligent alligators ("Cyborgators", indeed!) under the city of New York and make it fun, not stupid.

     For older readers who loved the work of artist Jack Kirby, your homage to the classic battle between the MoleMan and the Fantastic Four is delightful.

     For new readers without those memories, your adventures still ring clear as a bell.

     You're the one who makes the overuse of you in Babe tolerable.

     And what other super human could say "I don't have the slightest clue what's going on here, but I've got to do something! "

     You're tops, Babe.

     For you for whom homage is where the heart is, Babe is highly recommended.

     Babe 2 #1 & 2 /24 pgs., $2.50 ea. from Dark Horse Comics/art and words by John Byrne/available in comics shops and by mail.

Instant Piano

Published by Dark Horse. An anthology of terrific talent wasted on "slice of life" infantile profanity and nihilistic foolishness. Adult readers will be neither shocked, educated nor entertained.

Hola El Wendigo!

     We welcome Spain's El Wendigo to the growing number of magazines and newspapers publishing Suspended Animation.

     When in Spain, stop in. Say "hola."


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