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Friday, January 30, 2009

This Week's Suspended Animation - Michael Vance, A Short-Timer

This will be among my last columns written for Suspended Animation, and it is time to thank those people who have impacted my life and my reviews.

I thank R. A. Jones, Dr. Jon Suter, and Mark Allen for their contributions. Without them, I could not have continued this column for twenty years. I offer double thanks to Mark Allen who will continue Suspended Animation.

My special thanks go to the newspapers, magazines, fanzines and websites that published my reviews, and to my readers. I would deeply appreciate a goodbye from readers who wish to do so at

I also wish to thank the comics writers and artists who have enriched and influenced my own writing. They gave me one of the great loves of my life, imagination, and with them, I have traveled into the past and the future, into outer space, and, most importantly, into the human heart.

In comic strips, Walt Kelly (Pogo) and E. C. Segar (Popeye) had a major impact on my own work. Alley Oop by V. T. Hamlin and Dave Graue cannot go unmentioned as well.

Among comic book writers, I honor Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, John Broome, Gardner Fox, and Stan Lee for what they taught me as a writer, and for thousands of entertaining hours.

Comic book artists to whom I owe gratitude must include Gil Kane, Ogden Whitney, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Wayne Boring. They helped to make my life a four-color adventure.

And finally, I will always love those artists who worked with me in comic strips and books as well. In particular, my deepest, heartfelt thanks go to Wayne Truman, Grass Green, Duane Hanson, C.T. Smith, and Rob Davis. You brought joy into a very solitary life.

And thanks, mom and dad, for not throwing my comic books out.

Michael Vance

Check out Dark Corridor #2 for a Michael Vance short story at

This Week's Suspended Animation - Comics Legend Otto Binder

Comics Legend Otto Binder [1911-‘74] was an amazingly prolific writer in comics, pulp magazines, and novels, starting his comics career at the Chesler Studio (’39) and Binder Studio (’41-’42).

Working rapidly in almost every genre, Otto Binder’s work is characterized by plot centered action, simplicity, attention to detail, and a love of the worlds contained in his own incredible imagination.

A sample of his major work includes: ACE (’41-’42) Marvo, Unknown Soldier, Vulcan; ANGLO-AMERICAN (’44-’45) Commander Steel, The Crusaders; ARCHIE (’39-’44) Black Hood, Hangman, Shield Steel Sterling; BETTER (’41-’52) Doc Strange, Fantastic Worlds; DC COMICS (’48-’69) Aquaman, Batman and Robin, Green Arrow, Hawk-man, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Jimmie Olsen, Johnny Quick, Legion of Super Heroes, Metal Men, Mystery in Space, Robotman, Shining Knight, Star Spangled Kid, Strange Adventures, Superboy, Supergirl, Superman, Tales of the Unexpected, Tommy Tomorrow; DELL (’55-’66) Broken Arrow, Dracula; EC COMICS (’54-’55) Crime Suspenstories, Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Impact, Shock Suspenstories, Tales from the Crypt, Valor, Weird Science-Fantasy;

FAWCETT (’41-’53) Bulletman, Capt. Marvel, Capt. Marvel Jr., Capt. Midnight, Commando Yank, Golden Arrow, Hopalong Cassidy, Ibis, Marvel Family, Mary Marvel, Minute Man, Mr. Scarlet, Phantom Eagle, Spy Smasher; HARVEY (’66-’67) Bee-man, Jigsaw, Kazzan, Magic Master, Man in Black, Pirana, Satan, Spyman; MARVEL (’40-’76) All Winners Squad, Blonde Phantom, Captain America, Captain Wonder, The Destroyer, Human Torch, Miss America, Sub-Mariner, The Terror, Time Machine, Tuk, Whizzer, Young Allies; NOVELTY (’47-’48) Blue Bolt, Target,; PENDULUM (’73) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Call of the Wild, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Mysterious Island, Time Machine; QUALITY (’42-’54) Black Condor, Blackhawk, Dollman Kid Eternity, Uncle Sam, Nuts; STREET & SMITH ’41-’43) Ajax, Capt. Jack Commando, Doc Savage, Little Nemo, The Shadow; WARREN (’65-’68) Creepy, Eerie (‘65-‘66/’68; WESTERN (‘64-’69) Dr. Solar, and Mighty Samson.

Binder won the Harvey Award and was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999. He also wrote promotional comics and the comic strips Our Ever Changing World (58/’59-‘60) and Our Space Age (‘60-’69). His work is highly recommended.

Michael Vance