Suspended Animation Review
Graphic Classics: Gothic Classics/$11.95 and 144 pages/from Eureka Productions/various writers and artists/available in book stories, comics shops, and at www.graphicclassics.com.
Compared to our microwave world of 30 second hot dogs, much of the literature of the 17th and 18th centuries seems to plod. The plodding 14th volume in the Graphic Classics series is Gothic Classics, adapting to five such novels or short stories from the past to comics. These are: The Mysteries of Udopho (Ann Radcliffe), Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen), The Oval Portrait (Edgar Allan Poe), and At The Gate (Myla Jo Closser).
If your first response to “gothic” is “oh, boy, horror stories!” you’ll need a new response. Modern usage has changed the meaning of the word, and these tales are much more like modern romance novels with just an added touch of suspense. You’ll have plenty of time to change your response; except for the short stories adaptations, the two adapted novels are very, very slowly paced.
That doesn’t mean that The Mysteries of Udolpho and Northanger Abbey aren’t well written and drawn. They are both. In addition, the adaptations seem faithful to the originals, although that’s a guess. I haven’t read the originals.
In particular, the two novels are relationship pieces, i.e., the study of the interactions and motives of human beings. In short, they are chick books. We call them soap operas today.
They are well written, but the dialog sounds stilted to our modern ear. The depth of characterization is exceptional, but the plots are, well, mundane.
All of the art is interesting, if not exceptional, in technique and style. Personal favorites among the artists are Carlo Vergara and Anne Timmons.
So, if you have a long afternoon on a sleepy day to fill, and would enjoy a leisurely stroll the centuries past, fill it with Gothic Classics. MV
Check out Dreams and Visions #35 for a new Vance short story: www.bconnex.net/~skysong/dream.htm
Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go to www.fourcolorcommentary.com & www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCARtM5BvvU.
Order Michael Vance’s history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #s 61 and 62 at www.twomorrows.com.
Gothic Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 14 by Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Myla Jo Closser, Trina Robbins, Rod Lott, Antonella Caputo, Anne Timmons, Shary Flenniken