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Headlines   2004 Review Index   July 1, 2004
Suspended Animation

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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Frankenstein Mobster

      Terry Todd was a good cop, in a bad town. Monstro City is home to outcasts and immigrants, and…well, monsters. It is also home to the mob, and a police force that "serves and protects" it's bosses. Todd ran afoul of the system, and the monsters lost one of their few friends, as a result. Now, Todd's daughter, Terri, arrives on the scene. A young detective, sympathetic to the monsters' plight, Terri has a suspicious eye cast her way by the corrupt police force, as she's paired up with her father's old partner. Can she trust him to back her up? All this, and Terri hasn't even found out that her father is not "dead," anymore; at least, not conventionally.

      Mark Wheatley's newest creation, Frankenstein Mobster, offers much to today's comic reader. Besides a storyline rich with possibilities, and near certain future twists and turns, there are interesting characters with believable motivations and dialogue. Not to mention Wheatley's beautifully painted artwork, which is a cookie-cutter version of no other style seen in comics. Wheatley's work is truly original in every way, as you've never seen classic scary-movie monsters in the same light.

      Making the comic even more interesting is the availability of original Frankenstein Mobster strips and extras at its home site. A password is given in the letters page of each issue that opens up all kinds of additional "goodies," such as sketches and convention photos. A nice gimmick for giving the reader a little more enjoyment for their hard-earned buck.

      Frankenstein Mobster is recommended for all but the youngest readers. Find it at your local comic shop (to find THAT, call 1-888-comicbook), or at the Insight Studios web site, mentioned above. Frankenstein Mobster, published by Image Comics, 32 pages, $2.95.

     Review by Mark Allen

Miniview: Music Comics #54 is published by Walking Man Comics, 8 pages, $1. It is an interesting experiment in independent mini-comics. Placing words to a suggested song in a reader's head; thereby promoting a readers' local radio news. It's worth a look. Review by Mark Allen


      One of my favorite comics, and the only Marvel publication that I read on a regular basis, doesn't even take place in Marvel continuity.  For non-, or new comic readers, let me explain. 

      For years, Marvel published a title called What If, where pivotal Marvel events and characters were changed, and/or taken in different directions; the result was entertaining looks at what might have been, without changing what had already occurred. 

      A few years ago, something unusual happened; a "What If" story about Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and his wife, Mary Jane having a baby, who grows into a web-slinging teen super hero, elicited such positive fan response that the character was given her own comic. 

      Now, having logged over 70 issues, and being saved by readers from two different attempts at cancellation, Spider-Girl, if not one of Marvel's most popular titles, can certainly boast the most loyal following.  And for good reason. Spider-Girl is written by long-time Marvel fixture, Tom DeFalco.  Through sheer imagination, and intense love for the character, DeFalco has woven a tapestry of entertaining characters, with believable motivations, actions, and reactions.  In the great Marvel tradition, the character of Spider-Girl is built around her alter-ego, May Parker, instead of vice-versa.  And, much like the Spider-man books, her villains are often equally interesting.

      The series' art thus far has been handled by pencilers Pat Olliffe and Ron Frenz, whose styles are so similar, that making the transition between the two is almost "silky" smooth.  Both are action-oriented artists, which is exactly what any Spider-Man-related title needs.  Yet, the artists are also adept at subdued scenes, as well.  Spider-Girl has also seen the inking talents of long-time comic artists Al Williamson and Sal Buscema, legends, both.

      Perhaps the most important thing about Spider-Girl?  Quite simply, it's a lot of fun.  Something many comics are missing, these days.

      Spider-Girl is recommended for everyone, so let your children, as well as your inner child, read it. Spider-Girl, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, $2.99.

     Review by Mark Allen


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Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email Michael Vance.


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