Silver Comics #4

Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2005
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Silver Comics #4 Creator(s): Johnny Ortiz and Dan Beltran
Publishers: Silver Comics
From: USA
Price: $2.95(US)

The title says it all really. Silver Comics is a 48-page homage to the Silver Age of comics. Some of the six stories contained within are spoofs of the comics from that wonderful era but most are reverential in tone and show a genuine appreciation of and respect for the Silver Age. This combination of the two works very well and gives a nice variety to the edition. At times the innocence of that age is captured and when this occurs a whimsical nostalgic air prevails, this is particularly noticeable in the second story Chameleon Man.

The cover, by Frank Brunner, is very reminiscent of the Silver Age comics and effectively sets the tone. It features Man–Star the hero from the first story found within. Man-Star is a Superman type of character both in appearance and origin. The art-work in this first story effectively conjures up a time past, all square jaws and jutting chins. Sadly though the overall effect of The Trial of the Fallen Hero is disappointing. The primary reason for this is the strained relationship between the visual and verbal elements present. Comics work best when the words and pictures not only compliment each other but also add their own perspective on the narrative. In this story the dialogue all too often merely explains the pictures. As a result there tends to be a strong element of repetition present, and this detracts from an interesting storyline. At worst it feels like we are being given two versions of the same point. This is a shame because the narrative has some delightful touches, in particular I liked the frame that dealt with the problems caused in a futuristic world when an over supply of arrogant super heroes compete for air space with flying cars.

As I have said above the second story Chameleon Man has a nice homely feel about it. It centres round a stereotypically clean-cut family bonding together to create an effective persona for their crime fighting son/brother. I must add that the logo for Chameleon Man is damned nifty.

The third entry is a prose story that features an interesting character called The End. Set in the middle of World War Two [1943] the story starts off in a promising fashion but the prose style fades and by the end it has become a fairly routine listing of "then this happened and then this happened and then•"It does effectively maintain the old style feel that Silver is after though and so it is valid when placed in context.

Of the two parodies present the short Black Eye on the back cover is a real treat. A bitter little comic but a winner nevertheless. The longer The Inferno features Santa in hell, it comes perilously close to losing it's way but the arrival of the bizarre hero The Angry Parrot saves the day and the story.

Clash and the Titan is the artistic highpoint of Silver. The ten single frame pages retain a pencilled feel about them and this in part explains their exquisite detail and beauty. Think Flash Gordon and you start to get an idea of the style present here. Unfortunately the verbal elements disappoint again and present us with little more than a synopsis. The lack of characterization means that Clash and the Titans remains an unfulfilled treasure.

Overall Silver is a great idea and one that is currently in vogue, The Escapist is currently treading a not dissimilar path. The art- work is diverse and impressive the words less so. Time will tell whether Silver can deliver a more total package, I certainly hope it can.

In a Word: Nostalgic.

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