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Suspended Animation Classic #476 Originally published January 25, 1998 (#4) (Dates are approximate)
Black Mist By Michael Vance
“Black Mist” #1/25 pgs, $2.95/Writer: James Pruett; Artist, Mike Perkins/sold in comic shops or by mail order.
Madmen with axes, and kittens in stitches;
Candles and matches and wart-covered witches;
Werewolves and monsters and bat-winged things;
These are a few of my favorite things.
If they are also yours, you'll be a bit perturbed with “Black Mist”, a new horror comic book series from Caliber Comics.
It won't be because it is poorly written or lacking in the icons of that genre. It is well plotted and scripted except that it lacks any sense of urgency or suspense or an original twist.
The only twist to the well-used theme of a group of nasties raising something wicked is that Kali, an Indian death goddess, looks more like a punk-rock babe. "She" traditionally sports bloody fangs and extra sets of grasping hands.
That does not bode well.
The characters are well developed although stereotyped, and the dialog is crisp.
Considering the limited number of available pages in a comic book, stereotyping isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is simply a form of shorthand. Since "cliches" carry a wealth of preconceived baggage, it allows writers to say more with less.
That does not bode ill.
The saving power of “Black Mist” lies in its high contrast, reality-based and excellent art. Heavily influenced by '50s EC horror artist Graham Ingels, this cartoonist paints the somber, threatening mood and atmosphere so needed for this genre with broad lines and ample blacks. His work is unsettlingly powerful, although derivative, and artist Mike Perkins is worth watching for future comics stardom.
There is brief and restrained nudity and violence, and some readers will find its heavy occultism disturbing.
“Black Mist” is recommended (with reservations) for adults who love the macabre.
Its second issue should prove if the promise of this series is fully realized.
I am a well of venom,
Frothing poison at my seams,
My face is masked, I bide my time,
I deal in shadow-plots and dreams,
I slither through this prison,
My back against the thick, white walls,
In the courtyard where I creep,
I hear the lovebird's soft, sweet calls,
I am a well of venom,
I thirst to crush your simple hope,
To turn your only joy to pain,
To strangle you with your own rope,
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