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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Abe Sapien and Dead or Alive

(A couple of Suspended Animation "classics" from 1998.)

Abe Sapien, 32 pgs., $2.95, Dark Horse/"Drums...": story - Brian McDonald; art - Derek Thompson; "Heads": Mike Mignola/sold in comics shops and by mail.

Abe Sapien is an investigator at the paranormal agency that sends Hellboy on his supernatural adventures. He was not technically born, so Abe must have been plucked from the 1950s because he looks like the Creature From The Black Lagoon.

His "Drums of the Dead" reads like a well-written and illustrated '50s "Creature Feature" on late night television. It is based on the old belief that sharks still haunt the sea lanes to America where slaves were thrown overboard in the 19th century.

It and its backup feature are both predictable but entertaining.

Like a frustrating kiss goodnight, that second story is too brief to be more than creepy.

The art paints its somber mood on an old Asian myth about vampires. "Heads" features Hellboy (creator Mignola's de-homed "Hot Stuff The Tuff Little Devil").

Abe Sapien is recommended.

-- Michael Vance


Dead or Alive #1, First of 4 parts, 20 pgs., $2.50, Dark Horse/script: Tatjana; illustrations: Alberto Ponticelli/sold in comics shops and by mail.

Black humor is satiric, not comedic, and exaggerates ugliness. Of the good and the bad, Dead or Alive is indeed ugly.

It isn't plot ugly. Aliens invade an Earth not worth invading. But plot is not the focus of satire.

It isn't word ugly. Dialog is crisp and minimal. There is much creative, well-written insight into some aspects of the films, comics and television parodied by this title.

It isn't art ugly. Its art is among the best in comics.

'Tis its ultra-violence and nuditv that makes any recommendation here reluctant. Life is more than sex, violence and drugs. Hopefully, creators will discover the rich fields of family, politics, religion, work, and other forms of entertainment that remain relatively untapped in comic books.

-- Michael Vance

It's Not All About,Eat At Sonic!

Ok, sue me. Best rhyme I had.

Hey, I like MANY aspects of pop culture (not just comics), and that includes food. Well, restaurant chains, to be more specific. Lots of people are fans of Pete and T.J., the two "Sonic Guys," and there happen to be a couple of interesting sites on the 'net to get your Sonic Guys "fix." One site lets you mix your own Sonic drink and make T.J. drink it, eliciting any number of humorous (and sometimes puzzling) reactions. Tot Rejection lets you play a game based on this commercial. Heck, even the main Sonic web site has some cool video invitations to a meal at the restaurant, starring, you guessed it, Pete and T.J., which are also pretty funny.

So, put down your comics and partake of a DIFFERENT kind of pop culture indulgence. You'll thank me.