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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Shadow and Doc Savage - From 2000

Who knows what prenatal nostalgia lurks in the hearts of men? Suspended Animation knows.

Prenatal nostalgia is the sentimental longing for things that existed before you were born. For readers slapping foreheads and muttering 'duh', I don't understand either. But I love old radio shows, movie serials, comic strips, toys, advertising, and pulp magazines popular before the'50s. I love Doc Savage and The Shadow, and read their new comic book with great prenatal nostalgia. And put it down with great-unfulfilled prenatal nostalgia.

It wasn't the comic; it was me.

The writing is clean, full of action and the touch marks of both characters. Doc's copper skullcap, Empire State building headquarters, and sidekicks Ham and Monk are here. Lamont's Penetrating eyes, network of agents, barking guns and huge black cape and slouch hat are everywhere. I hear his haunting, eerie laugh established by the radio show.

In this two issue mini-series, "The Case Of The Shrieking Skeletons," skeletal horrors invade New York City and the heroic figures of Doc and The Shadow butt heads as the mystery unravels.

The plot is perfect for both weird monsters, Nazis, secret serums, beautiful women, zeppelins and autogryros add to the 30's period flavor.

The art is crisp, exciting and perfectly suited to its subject. Icons of the '30s add spice to almost every page, and violence is threatening without being excessively bloody.

But that same warm familiarity underlying nostalgia that also demands new material hold true to old standards can also produce big yawns if nothing new is added.

Nothing new is added. Recommended for those with an unjaded eye.

Michael Vance