Suspended Animation Review
I really like dinosaurs. I think I’ve mentioned that in this column, before. And, I enjoy well-done comic book material on dinosaurs. For my money, Xenozoic Tales is probably the best series ever done on the subject, from both art and storytelling standpoints.
Xenozoic Tales is set 600 years in the future, where dinos roam once more, and souped-up automobiles race alongside them. An odd combination, to be sure, but creator/writer/artist Mark Schultz made it all work. Main characters Jack Tenrec (expert mechanic and all-around adventurer) and Hannah Dundee are as interesting as any comic characters out there today, and the storylines are fresh and engaging.
While an above-average storyteller, Schultz’s real strength lies in his artwork. He is a student of the Golden Age artists, and it shows. His mastery of the human form, mechanical structure, landscape, and, of course, dinosaur physiology, are mutually impressive. His style is highly reminiscent of exceptional artists like Al Williamson, Lou Fine and Wally Wood; quite an artistic baton to carry, but Schultz does so as well as anyone in comics.
The only snag is that the future of Tales is questionable at best, the last issue having been published in October of 1996. Schultz’s production has ground to a halt, and whether the entire yarn will ever see the light of day is unclear, but the existing material is well worth searching out.
Xenozoic Tales is highly recommended for any and all who enjoy exciting stories and great art. All are affordable, but early issues may be difficult to find.
The series was reprinted under Marvel Comics’ Epic imprint in the early ’90’s with the title Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (It even enjoyed a short-lived cartoon series of the same name). Hardcover collections have been published by Kitchen Sink Press, and soft cover editions by Dark Horse Comics. Try comic shops, comic conventions, and online auctions for best success.
Review by Mark Allen