Headlines   2003Review Index   July 9, 2003
Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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      In his mid-80s, comics pioneer Will Eisner has turned to adaptations of novels, short stories and folk tales. Sundiata adapts the legend of a powerful and magic African tyrant, Sumanguru, whose oppression of his countrymen leads to a regrettably predictable result.

      Eisner's art and visual storytelling remain flawless, but there are some uncharacteristic blemishes in the plot of Sundiata. Sumanguru's fatal weakness is not foreshadowed and, when revealed, feels like a cheat. In addition, Eisner's ending is a traditional one for folktales and leaves one unsatisfied.

      Among Eisner's lesser works, Sundiata is recommended to those who love this comics legend.

      Sundiata: A Legend of Africa /$15.95 &  32 pgs. from NBM Pub./ available in comics shops and at www.nbmpublishing.com.

      Review by Michael Vance

 No Pasaran!

      Max the spy searches for a friend during the Spanish Civil War that pre-dated WWII. 

      A colleague is caught up in battle just as that friend's interest in a woman journalist deepens. This and vivid details of war paint a struggle to stop fascism as Nazi Germany sharpens its claws and tests its mettle on a world in denial.

      Undeniable is the high quality of this book that gives equal value to characterization, setting, pacing, plot, and dialogue. No Pasaran is that most rare commodity, a true graphic novel.

      Of particular note is its pseudo-realistic pacing. All pacing in literature only approximates the passing of time, of course. The goal of any artist is that their work smacks of real time. No Pasaran smacks.

      Its psuedo-realistic art also adds to the illusion of pinch-me-this-is-happen-ing-now. Need I point out that all art is pseudo-realistic?

      No Pasaran joins the growing number of NBM graphic novels that are highly recommended for mature readers. 

      No Pasaran!/$11.95 & 48 pgs. from NBM/art & story by Vittorio Giardino/ available at comic & book stores and at www.nbmpublishing.com.

      Review by Michael Vance


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