Headlines   2002 Review Index   August 14, 2002

Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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Oddballz      Ou la la! Oddballz reprints an introspective, witty style of humor first published in Poisson Pilote that offers a French perceptive on life. Two serialized features dominate even as new "strips" are promised for later editions. Although writers and artists are uncredited, both features are not without merit.

      A cat, dog and rabbit pad onto the paper stage of McConey Foils A Scheme, written and drawn by Lewis Trodheim.

      Wait a minute, dude. You said the creators were unaccredited! I queried the publisher by email, Einstein.

      As was stated before such a rude interruption, cat, dog and rabbit debate swimming pool etiquette, the complexities of relationships, and accidentally discover a wad of money in the first installation of McConey. Al-though the break between this and the future second installation is abrupt and clumsy, believable dialog, interesting characters and engaging art recommend the first half of Oddballz.

      Astronauts of the Future is written by Trodheim and drawn by Manu Larcenet. Therein, two preteen kids are convinced that all human beings are otherworldly aliens or robots.

      Hold on, dude. That is not an outrageous premise. Most Americans think the French are otherworldly aliens or robots.

      Gilbert, the new student in school, and Martina, who dominates him, are also extremely believable as Trodheim explores the awkward relationships between young boys and girls. Astronauts is full of believable dialog and characters and entertaining art.

      The art in both features is abstract and cartoonist, more representational than realistic. And the art in both clearly illustrates one of the wonderful distinctions of comic books and strips when compared to other media. Although the art in both Astronauts and McConey is cartoonish, it is also dramatically different, offering a variety of visual style impossible in film, television and prose.

      Viva la difference, or however the French say it!

      Oddballz #1/$2.95 & 24 pgs from NBM Pub/sold in comics and book stores and at www.nbmpublishing.com.

      Review by Michael Vance.


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