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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Li'l Santa - From 2003

Here comes Santa Clause, here comes Santa Clause, but too late for Christmas!


This reviewer received NBM's new title, Li'l Santa, two weeks before the jolly holiday, and Suspended Animation is written six weeks in advance of publication.

Then why bother to review it?

Because you should do whatever you can to find and buy this wonderfully entertaining, whimsical, comical book of holiday fluff, ho ho ho!

Li'l Santa is written in pantomime. For those simple folks in Bing, Oklahoma, that means there are no words with its pictures.

The weakness of this approach is that complicated ideas are difficult, at best, and occasionally impossible to communicate. But Santa preparing for the Christmas delivery of gifts is a simple idea and just right for mime.

The strength of this approach is that anyone can 'read' this book because there are no foreign languages in pantomime. All that is required is clear visual storytelling that captures the imagination.

Li'l Santa captures the imagination, and fills young hearts with wonder and smiles.

Li'l Santa is drawn in a distinctive, highly colorful, minimalistic style full of snowmen, elves, penguins and even a snow dragon. For those simple folks in Bing, minimalistic means it is drawn in a 'cartoony' style (how I hate that term and the foolish, negative con-notations that is carries!) that will delight comics fans of all ages.

So, here's my Christmas present to all of the readers of Suspended Animation who will read this book in the afterglow of the holiday. Li'l Santa is highly recommended for children and for adults who are young at heart (and indifferent to that descriptive cliché!). Merry late Christmas to you all, and to all a great 2003.

Li'l Santa/$14.95 & 48 pages/ words: Lewis Trondheim; art: Thierry Robin/sold at comics and bookstores and .

Michael Vance

Lady Death - From 2003

In a time when a near-immortal race called the Eldritch prey upon humans for sport, a forbidden union takes place, while a village is razed. Upon the realization that her Eldritch lover has led a murderous raid upon her people, a human woman flees, in fear of the consequences. Having grown up in seclusion with her mother, the only positive outcome of that hellish night, a young woman named Hope, one day journeys back to the place of her conception.

Eventually, however, the frightened, vengeful townspeople murder her mother, and leave Hope for dead, as well. But, found by her Eldritch father, and touched by his magic, she lives again, a being condemned by the Church (which rules the human world), and set on revenge.

This is the premise of the comic book Lady Death, published by Crossgen Entertainment, and it is a vast improvement from it's previous incarnation, published by Chaos Comics.

Brian Pullido is the creator of the character, and the series writer. With this particular series, he quickly and deftly creates sympathy for the main character, Hope, drawing readers in. Additionally, he introduces Wolfram Von Bach, a knight in service to the Church, and also Hope's savior from her second encounter with a murderous mob. Hmmm, more contradiction and intrigue.

Pullido is doing exactly what writers should do; make readers care about the characters. Artist Ivan Reis also fulfills his role well, as he creates an appealing fantasy world, giving the characters a special kind of "life," with a dramatic, realistic art style. His women are beautiful (without being obscene), his men are rugged, and their environment is spectacular. As of issue four, there is really nothing bad to say about this book.

Lady Death is recommended for all but the youngest readers. Find it at comic shops, online auctions and catalogs, or comic conventions. To find the comic shop nearest you, call the Comic Shop Locator Service, at 1-888-comicbook.

Lady Death, published by Crossgen Entertainment, 32 pages, $2.95.

Review by Mark Allen