Headlines   2004 Review Index   January 28, 2004
Suspended Animation &

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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Another Suburban Romance

     Let's analyze an abbreviated back-cover blurb: [A] graphic novel (1) from the writer who defined modern comics (2), Alan Moore. …Moore's…play Another Suburban Romance…lavishly illustrated as full sequential stories (3).  Comprised of three major pieces, adapted …by …collaborator Antony… Johnston (4) …illustrated by… Juan Jose Ryp (5).  …from the 1920's Chicago style killings in "Old Gangsters Never Die", to the ruminations on modern life in the namesake…"Another Suburban Romance" (6), this powerful work is one that no…Moore fan will want to miss (7)!

     1: Closer to a prose poem, and lacking the length and major attributes of novels (like in-depth characterization), this is a graphic play. 2: hyperbole--Moore did not define modern comics by himself. 3: Sequence, except for theme and in its art, is missing herein. 4: Here is this critique's major flaw: because brief captions play as counter-point to the art, readers can't know how detailed were the instructions given to the artist by the adapter, and because most readers haven't seen the play, it is difficult to know who deserves the most praise or criticism, Moore, the collaborator, or the artist. 5: Incredibly detailed and reality-based, this is among the most magnificent comic art ever printed. It adds visual continuity to this otherwise intentionally disjointed, frightening dream.  6: A more obvious companion to the opening third of this paper play. ASR is a horrifying nightmare of Hell on Earth.  Less a structured story than a terrifying vision, it is an irrational, gut-wrenching walk through cities stripped of all aspects of civilization, of man as animal with no saving grace. 7: Another Suburban Romance is very highly recommended for adults not disturbed or offended by graphic violence, profanity and nudity.

     Another Suburban Romance (ASR)/60 pgs. and $7.95, Avatar Comics/ sold at www.avatarpress.com and at comics shops.

     Review by Michael Vance

MINIVIEW: beach safari [Top Shelf] Nice Japanese-influenced art about a cute rabbit who discovers a clutch of often profane and near-naked human girls; much ado about nothing. Review by Michael Vance

     The evil Mumm-Ra has ever striven to aquire the powerful Eye of Thundera. Now, he has made a pact and secured a trade with an exile from another dimension; his protection for the Orbs of Barrak, talismans which will allow him to travel to other dimensions. Particularly, one which holds a twin to the Eye; modern-day Earth. And, as this is a Superman cross-over, where else would the Eye be, but in a Metropolis museum?

     And so begins a high-action tale that may well appeal to the child in many of us; it appealed to mine, anyway. A long-time Superman fan, and an avid viewer of the Thundercats series in the '80's, Superman/Thundercats scratched an itch I never even realized was there; primarily, seeing Superman (with his vulnerability to magic) go head-to-head with Mumm-Ra. Of course, as the Thundercats pull off their own reality-hop to Metropolis, being perceived as a crew of invading aliens, readers also get to see Supes throw down with everyone's favorite feline aliens.

     What more could a fanboy (or girl) want? Kudos to writer Judd Winick for producing a fun story, and preserving the personalities of all characters involved. Props also go to artists Ale Garza (pencils) and Trevor Scott (inks) for a dramatic, dynamic style, slightly manga-influenced, but also with an attention to detail. Perfect for the Thundercat characters, as anyone familiar with the series knows.

     This is one of those comic projects that, in my opinion, has the cross-over appeal that comics so dearly need, today. If well-hyped and sold outside the specialty market, a lot of people who don't normally read comics could be reminded why they enjoyed them as children. Who knows? Maybe DC (the owners of Wildstorm) will reprint this project, releasing it through Wal-marts, Quick-Trips, Toys-R-Us stores, etc. Hey, a comic fan can dream, right?

     Recommended for all ages. Find it at comic shops, conventions and online auctions. Call 1-888-comicbook for your nearest shop.

     Superman/Thundercats, published by Wildstorm Productions, 48 pages, $5.95.

     Review by Mark Allen


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