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

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark #81

            Published by Claypool Comics and written by Strom, Day LaChance, Dorne & Howell. Priced at $2.95, the issue reviewed contains 23 pages.

            A niche in time saved thine, Claypool Comics; eighty-one times, to be exact.

            The mentioned thine is Claypool's hide as a publisher. Elvira is its most successful of three titles.

            A niche is a small part of a large space (example: a politician's brain in a normal sized skull).

            The actress Elvira has carved out her niche in the large world of television and film through amazing self promotion. She has leveraged hosting a minor TV show featuring smarmy horror movies that make fans chuckle instead of shiver into a cottage industry as she merchandises items including beer, audio and video tapes, Halloween costumes and her own comic book.

            Her niche audience is dedicated young boys who like sexy women and silly, cheap movies, and desecrated old men who like to pretend they are young boys.

            I like to pretend, and I like Elvira, the actress, and Elvira, the comic book, for the same reasons:

1) Actress and comic, which both milk the same premise, both look good; 2) Actress and comic both make me grin because I enjoy 
silly, cheap horror movies, 3) Both are fun, and 4) Both skirt but do not cross the fine line between sexy and salacious.

            Yes, I know Elvira the comic book is not 'fine art' or great satire. But great art or satire would look silly in that fine dress.

Deadbeats #39

            Published by Claypool

            "A band of EVIL VAMPIRES has cast its shadow over FEAR CITY. They are the...Deadbeats," and still the best (and only) comic book soap opera around today. Replete with every soap opera trademark (i.e., cliché), this very wordy, well-drawn, plot-heavy title proves once again that Claypool publishes the wisdom of Socrates? Nah. The wit of Rush Limbaugh? Guess again. Claypool publishes light entertainment that is fun to read and easy on the eyes.

The Shadow and Doc Savage

            Who knows what prenatal nostalgia lurks in the hearts of men?

            Suspended Animation knows.

            Prenatal nostalgia is the sentimental longing for things that existed before you were born.

            For readers slapping foreheads and muttering 'duh', I don't understand either. But I love old radio shows, movie serials, comic strips, toys, advertising, and pulp magazines popular before the'50s.

            I love Doc Savage and The Shadow, and read their new comic book with great prenatal nostalgia. And put it down with great-unfulfilled prenatal nostalgia.

            It wasn't the comic; it was me.

            The writing is clean, full of action and the touch marks of both characters. Doc's copper skullcap, Empire State building headquarters, and sidekicks Ham and Monk are here. Lamont's Penetrating eyes, network of agents, barking guns and huge black cape and slouch hat are everywhere. I hear his haunting, eerie laugh established by the radio show.

            In this two issue mini-series, "The Case Of The Shrieking Skeletons," skeletal horrors invade New York City and the heroic figures of Doc and The Shadow butt heads as the mystery unravels.

            The plot is perfect for both Weird monsters, Nazis, secret serums, beautiful women, zeppelins and autogryros add to the 30's period flavor.

            The art is crisp, exciting and perfectly suited to its subject. Icons of the '30s add spice to almost every page, and violence is threatening without being excessively bloody.

            But that same warm familiarity underlying nostalgia that also demands new material hold true to old standards can also produce big yawns if nothing new is added.

            Nothing new is added.

            Recommended for those with an unjaded eye.

The Zone Continuum

            Published by Caliber Comics.

            Incredible art and high melodrama in a world of unseen forces. SF. Recommended.

Hola Comics Utah

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