Suspended Animation Review

Okko: The Cycle of Water #1 (of 4)/32 pgs., $3.95from Asp Comics/art and story by Hub/sold at comics and book stores and

"Okko the ronin heads a small group of demon hunters, wandering the realms of Empire" reads a blurb promoting a new comics title from Archaia Studios.

Are you surprised? Isn't every manga about a ronin, alone or with crew, wandering Japan with bloody sword drawn? So, originality will not recommend this title.

Traveling with Okko are a giant in a red mask and a drunken monk. They search for Little Carp, a young girl kidnapped by pirates. Ho-hum.

And it is all written and drawn not by an American imitating manga, but by a Frenchman!

But, wow, what a Frenchman!

Originality is rarer than hen's teeth, so it is really style that makes or breaks any work of art. And this guy is drowning in style!

He's got all of the basics of story-telling down pat; his words and art do not yell 'look at me!', allowing the story to shine as it should. Visual characterizations and personalities are all distinct and intriguing.

So, why wow?

Leaning towards a realistic style but peppered with minimalism as well, Hud's art is dynamic, distinctive, and entertaining. It jumps when jumping is needed, and lies still when the story needs to rest as well. In particular, it melds perfectly with the coloring to produce a perfect whole.

Yes, there is some violence and some nudity, but both are handled with restraint, allowing room for a reader's imagination to supply what is needed.

Okko is highly recommended for adults who aren't offended by graphic violence and nudity. MV

MINIVIEW: The Mother's Mouth [Alternative Comics] A stream of consciousness study of a dying mother, and her unattractive daughter using primitive art and unadorned reality as its brush. Adult.

Check out Dreams and Visions #35 for a new Vance short story:

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