Suspended Animation

Michael Vance   Mark Allen   Michael Vance Books
The longest-running comics review column in America perhaps the World!

Review Index: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998


For information on the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum go to
The Portent #1
Writer and artist Peter Bergting has embarked upon a sequential tale that could be something great in the making. The first issue of The Portent introduces readers to a young warrior named Milo, who seems to be on a mission which has lead him to an all-but-deserted city. Though his motivations remain unrevealed in this issue, a group of "seers" has foretold his coming as a hero who would deliver them from danger. And, indeed, by issue's end, the danger has been revealed, both in the form of an ancient evil awoken, and a dark army poised to kill and destroy.

Like I said, a great beginning. Bergting sets a wonderfully ominous tone with this book, as the reader is given the feeling that everything is about to break loose. He also instills Milo with plenty of mystery, yet manages to make him an interesting character. I can't wait to find out what HIS motive was for engaging the forces of darkness.

Bergting's art is equally pleasing. With a flair for the dramatic, not to mention the "spooky", his heavy use of blacks and greys is far from boring, lending a sense of mood which works hand-in-hand with his writing to make this one of the best beginnings of a fantasy tale I've seen in a while. I am now eagerly awaiting the second issue.

The Portent #1, published by Image Comics, 28 pages, $2.99. Recommended for all but the youngest readers. Find it at comics shops and online retailers and auctions.

Review by Mark Allen

Save Spider-Girl
This mini-review is a "shout-out" of sorts to the worth-while site, With a crash course on who Spider-Girl is, the character's history with Marvel, (including a scrapped-before-it-was-tried marketing plan through retail giant Wal-Mart) testimonials of the comic by industry professionals, a message board and much more, this is both a chronicle of comics history in the making, as well as an effort to save a worthwhile publication which could bring in new, younger readers.

Check it out.

Review by Mark Allen

Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini
Once a celebrated author, Rafael Sabatini is virtually unknown today. Even his tales of the pirate Captain Blood, 'immortalized' in motion pictures by actor Errol Flynn, are slipping into obscurity. If nothing else, Sabatini is proof positive that fame is fleeting.

The 13th volume in the Graphic Classics series of literature adapted into comics is proof that it shouldn't be fleeting. Sabatini wrote high adventure, supernatural, and other genres tales in novels, short stories, and poetry. They are deserving of praise.

My favorite art in this collection is by Gerry Alanguilan. The best story is every story; Sabatini was talented, and these terse adaptations of his work are entertaining and worth your attention.

Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini/ 141 pgs. & $11.95 from Eureka Productions/various
artists and writers/sold at comics shops and The entire Graphic Classics series is strongly recommended.

Review by Michael Vance

Superman Family #173
They were different.

In general, comic books predating the 1980s were story rather than character driven, and were created for an audience of young readers around the age of ten. Indeed, Superman Family almost seems silly compared to today's character driven, hard-edged, and even grim titles.

Reading an issue for the first time in thirty years was refreshing.

"Superman's pal" Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, Lois Lane and Superdog are the featured cast. Inside, Jimmy becomes a superhero, Supergirl marries the man who destroyed her home planet, Suberdog saves Superboy, and Lois Lane becomes a series of super-bugs. No one is killed, no one is a drug addict, and life doesn't stink. No kidding.

Couldn't we get a few optimistic titles back on today's market? Pretty please!

Superman Family #173 [1975]/50 pgs. DC Comics/various artists and writers/sold at comics shops and on-line auctions. Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection (OCC) Hall of Fame member E. Nelson Bridwell and OCC Associate Kurt Schaffenberger produced the Lois Lane "Super Bug" story. Recommended.

Review by Michael Vance


Order a copy of the All-Vance horror paperback Apocris 1 at 


Never miss a review! Fill in your email address below and we will notify you every time we post a new Suspended Animation.

Your email address

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Worry not, we'll just notify you when a new column arrives.


 Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed? 
Write: 1427 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK, 74104. Or email Michael Vance.


2006 Starland, PO Box 24955 Denver CO 80224-0955 Ph 303.777.6800 Fx 303.200.9009