Crossing The Line

Crossing the Line

     Much lip service is paid by comics fans and professionals to the high ideal of originality. Each new publisher that enters the fray promises to stretch the creative envelope of the art form. Each new publisher fails to do so. 


     They fail for the same reason that Crossing The Line will not receive the attention it deserves. Originality requires risk for readers (I know I like superheroes; is this worth buying?) and for creators and publishers (I know they will buy superheroes; will this sell?).

     Crossing the Line offers much that is original.

     Admittedly, the plot of Crossing... only nudges the envelope. A scientific experiment to stimulate brain activity accidentally envelops the earth. The intelligence of every living thing is augmented; higher animals can talk, mentally retarded humans are elevated to average intellect, and the average Joe now experiences visions.

Crossing The Line

     It is the original style of Crossing... that makes its envelope bulge. Despite its fantasy elements, this title has a startlingly real feel. Believable characterization and dialog, and an aversion to melodrama under gird its visual and verbal story. But it is its art that plants its literary feet on the ground.

Uncomplicated and clear visual storytelling, and a gritty art that belongs only to creator James Reade, are the first real tear. Reade wisely and thankfully ignores the current tend among comics artists to wildly exaggerate human anatomy and movement, smothering story with eye candy. The majority of Reade's peers would be smart to follow his probably unintentional but nevertheless heroic lead. 

     The final rip in the marketing envelope of Crossing... is its magazine format. Comic book stores don't like magazine-sized comic books, especially black and white interior pages with only limited color on covers. But for those readers and retailers who are sincerely interested in originality, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is, Crossing The Line is much recommended.

     Crossing The Line #1/32 pgs. & $2.95 from Rip Roarin' Comics/sold by at or by mail.

     Review by Michael Vance.


Lights End Audio BookLight's End Audio Series

     Michael Vance has teamed with William Windom to present an incredible collection of SF and fantasy stories. Set in the eerie town of Light’s End, Maine, these stories have been called “[a] meshing of myth and reality, [of] stack details of place, an...unromantic vision of horror...” Light’s End is a gathering place for the worst in human nature.

     Mr. Windom's impressive experience has prepared him well for the telling of these scary tales. He is well known for his TV roles on Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, All In The Family, and Barney Miller. He also won an Emmy for his TV series My World…and Welcome to It. His movie roles in To Kill a Mockingbird and True Crime won him additional acclaim. His stage performances as James Thurber and Ernie Pyle have entertained thousands. He's performed in eighteen Broadway plays, countless radio shows, and several books-on-tape.

     Michael Vance's work is published in numerous magazines. He has appeared as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers. His history book, Forbidden Adventure has been called a "benchmark in comics history”. Vance, best known for his Suspended Animation columns, briefly wrote the comic strip Alley Oop and his own strip for five years, Holiday Out. He also wrote comic books including Straw Men, Angel of Death, The Adventures of Captain Nemo, and Bloodtide. His work has appeared in comics anthologies, and he is listed in the Who's Who of American Comic Books. With novelists Mel Odom and R.A. Jones, he co-wrote Global Star, a world where babies born with bowling balls in their stomachs are common, and the New York Times is “trash journalism”.

Special Offer!

     Suspended Animation readers will be able to order a copy of Lights End Volume 1 personally autographed by both William Windom and Michael Vance. Volume 1 contains the stories "A Change of Heart" and "Cross Purposed."

     What are you waiting for? It's just $19.95 signed or $11.95 not, plus shipping.

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 Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? 
Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email Michael Vance.