Suspended Animation

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Edward Nelson Bridwell  

     Comics Legend Edward Nelson Bridwell was born in 1931 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

     Bridwell was possibly the first comics fan to become a professional writer in the medium writing text pages for the American Comics Group in the late 1940s. That was a difficult task at the time.

     His first notable success was as a writer for Mad during its early, formative years, and Bridwell became an assistant editor at National/DC Comics in 1965 due to his work with the humor magazine. He served as an editor of Lois Lane comics and became editor of the hardback DC reprint titles in 1971.

     His writing was characterized by a straightforward, simple approach to plot, dialogue, and characterization that was accessible and enjoyable by both young readers and adults.

     Bridwell was also well-known by other editors and writers for his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of comics, and often used by them as a source of information. He had a photographic memory.

     During his impressive career, he created several titles for the DC Showcase series; most earned their own venues. Among these were The Inferior Five (a superhero parody title), The Maniaks (humor), Secret Six (adventure), and Angel and the Ape (humor). After his death in 1987 from cancer, Secret Six and Angel and the Ape were revived by new creative teams.

     Bridwell's work includes: Mad (EC Publications, 1957-'71), Eerie and Creepy (Warren, 1968), Batman comic strip (DC, 1970-'72), text pages (ACG, 1949), Superman Family, Captain Marvel, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Batman, Binky and his Buddies, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, Supergirl, Ghosts, House of Mystery, Jonah Hex, Legion of Super-Heroes and many others (DC, 1965- ).

     Bridwell was inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame in October, 2005.

     E. Nelson Bridwell's work is highly recommended for the young and the young at heart.

     Review by Michael Vance

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     Vince Armstrong has a problem. He's currently visiting a psychiatrist on a regular basis to iron out some memories from his childhood. Memories that everyone tells him aren't true. Memories which threaten to destroy relationships and ruin his life.

     The problem is, some of the people who tell him these things never happened were there when they happened!

     What's a young man to do?

     The premise is that of a five-issue miniseries from Marvel Comics entitled Guardians. A little over a year old, it took me months to chase down every issue; happily, many shops still have it on the shelf at cover price. For a company known for churning out super hero material by the truckload, (not that there's anything wrong with that) Guardians is a well written, wonderfully drawn breath of fresh air with nary a super dude in sight.

     Writer Marc Sumerak crafts a tale that does what the most well-written stories in any genre do; make it easy for readers to sympathize with the main character. Vince is easy to relate to because the reader knows he's telling the truth about his extraterrestrial encounter, but even those who experienced it refuse to acknowledge said truth, or have even been convinced that it never happened. Who WOULDN'T want to see poor Vince vindicated? Kudos go to Sumerak for a satisfying characterization in the midst of a simple, yet engrossing plot.

     Artist Casey Jones (assisted in stellar form by colorist David Self) gives us wonderfully emotional depictions of characters who revel in their childhood adventures, and young adults who seek desperately to relegate those adventures to the category of childish make-believe. He also draws very cool aliens!

     Guardians is recommended for those who enjoy science fiction, or just a well-told story that tugs at the ol' heart strings. Find it at your local comics shop, and at online retailers or auctions. To locate the comics shop nearest you, call 1-888-comicbook.

     Guardians, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, cover price $2.99.

     Review by Mark Allen


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