Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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nambanga     A package is not more important than the present within. Yet creators in every art form continue to think that form is more important than substance.

     Nambanga is a compact disc (CD) for use on a computer. It features six issues of a webzine called Forbidden Galaxy that is basically a paperless comic book. The work of artists and writers from 23 countries is represented by "art stories, artwork, short graphic narratives and comic movies."

     Short is the operative word. If you are short of cash, it is doubtful you'll spend $26.99 for this package of snippets of art and idea.

     Sure, there are snatches of music and sound effects in Nambanga that aren't possible in print comic books. There is also some limited movement of text and graphics, and more story than is possible in traditional comics.

     But the music and sound effects come close to crossing the line between the realm of comic books and strips into animation. It is clumsy to move between features, requiring readers to back up, page by page, until returning to an index to enter a new story. And there is little color in a CD that offers the cost-effective use of this most expensive element of print comics.

     Nambanga feels like a portfolio of disparate work used to secure jobs for a cartoonist. Most of the art is abstract and crude, sometimes little better than doodles, and all of the pieces are short. Violence and nudity are no strangers to this collection.

     Because of brevity, plot and characterization are overshadowed by idea. Because of ideology, dialog is often peppered with profanity. Most of the words and ideas also fall into the sub genre embraced by the underground ("hippie") comics of the '60s.

     Nambanga is certainly not for children. And because of content, only those who embrace this sub genre need to open this package.

     Nambanga #1/Forbidden Galaxy/ sixty-six artists and writers/sold at

     Review by Michael Vance


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