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

The Tale of One Bad Rat

Rules are made to be broken, but not all of them. To not review two titles from one publisher in the same month is an arbitrary rule, and now broken.

            To molest a child is criminal.

            The Tale of One Bad Rat is the poignant, brilliantly told story of a rule criminally broken.

            As a role of thumb, it’s also unwise to review a series from a single issue, especially from its last.

            Call me foolish.

            ...Bad Rat is a penetrating four-issue miniseries that explores child abuse and its terrible impact on a young woman, Helen.

            Especially powerful is its very real dialog and complicated family relationships.

            And Helen’s big imaginary rat.

            In addition, …Bad Rat also escapes the error of comics overflowing with hatred and self pity because the world just isn't fair. Writer Bryan Talbot balances the injustice of Helen's twisted, sick father and mother with the equally real love and respect of her 'adopted' family.

            Talbot's art, between the big foot and realistic schools of illustration, is powerful in its simplicity. Ripe with facial expressions and diversity, the subtleties of body language, and the sweeping beauty of his country settings, art doesn't get much better than Talbot's.

            Better still, ...Bad Rat is an adult comic book.

            An "adult" label on literature should promise mature insight and experience, not the mindless sex and violence that should exclude young children.

            Easily one of the best comic books of 1995, ...Bad Rat fulfills that promise.

            Highly recommended.

Deadworld #s 12-15

            This title, published by Caliber Press is comics by committee, this aimless journey into a world at war with zombies is at war with itself. An unfocused plot marred by constant changes in artistic teams kills any chance of reader involvement in this fantasy and horror misadventure.

Hola Tahlequah Neighbors

            We salute Suspended Animation readers in the Tahlequah Neighbors newspaper. Drop us line sometime.


            Sex is not dirty.

            When is sex not exploitive in comics? When it is the new graphic novel, Tangents.

            After his acclaimed Streak of Chalk, Spanish artist Miguelanxo Prado returns with a collection of short stories about meaningless sex.

            Oh? And how is this not exploitive?

            Tangents is about men and women who come together for illicit sex. They know their trysts are empty, filled with ambition instead of love, physical pleasure without emotional joy, lost opportunities, and wasted hopes. These lonely people share failed relationships based on lies. They know they are lies; the act of love is that and nothing more; an act.

            There is an undercurrent of sadness, of lost innocence and, much more importantly, lost love that permeates all of Trappings.

            That is why Tangents is not sexually exploitive.

            This is also why. The acts are not explicit. Nudity is painfully realistic and unflattering. The language is "clean."

            Prado stretches graphic story telling in his explorations of adult subject using subtlety without the tawdry titillation of exploitation. His beautifully painted panels, his timing, realistic dialog and anatomy are icing on an already delicious cake.

            This is comics for adults. This is literature with pictures. This is why you should be reading comics if you aren’t.

            But Tangents is only for adults. It is full of nudity and situations and subtle truth that aren’t suitable for children or understood by many adults.

            Tangents is one of the outstanding graphic novels for adults in 1996. Buy it.

            Highest recommendation.

Deadbeats #16

Published by Claypool Comics. Still the best (and only) vampiric soap opera in comic books.

Star Wars: Dark Empire

Published by Dark Horse comics. Classic pulp science fiction with dynamic art and drama. Minus a slick cover, it's only 99 cents! One of the best buys in comic books today!! Recommended.

Hola The Comedy Magazine

Hola to our readers in The comedy Magazine (Ca. USA). Drop us a line sometime


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