Suspended Animation - 4/6/08
April 06, 2008

Meanwhile... (biography of Milton Caniff)/hard cover/ pp.800/ $23.07 discount price at by Fantagraphics Books/by Robert C. Harvey/

It is made clear by the author of Meanwhile and many other contributing artistic folk that Milton Caniff was “one of the greatest creators of popular fiction of the twentieth century…” But not one person that I know who gasped at the massive biography of Caniff’s life, that I had carried with me to myriad places, had heard of him, and none of them remembered his comic strip "Terry and the Pirates." Only a few said “oh” at the mention of his comic strip "Steve Canyon."

Praise lavished on Caniff by his admirers in this tome about his professional and personal life is completely justified. It is sad that some do not recognize Caniff's achievements. Caniff was and remains one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived. Indeed, in his day, his reality-based art and storytelling were a huge influence on the newspaper comics page and in comic books.

You’ll find lavish examples of this work in this book including Sunday pages, daily strips, promotional art, sketches and character designs.

Advice: today’s comics artists could do themselves a world of good if they studied and emulated Caniff’s pen and brush work and his visual storytelling, in particular, staging. But they haven't. And today’s comics writers could do themselves a world of good if they would study and immolate Caniff’s pacing, dialog and characterization, especially exemplified in the characterization of Terry. But they won’t.

Finally, readers would do themselves a world of good if they would buy and read this definitive biography of a master cartoonist, and one heck of a nice guy. That means you, bucko.

Buy. Enjoy. Learn about one of the greatest artforms in the world and one of its greatest practitioners, Milton Caniff. Meanwhile receives the highest recommendation.

Review by Michael Vance

Check out Dark Corridor #1 for two Michael Vance short stories here.

Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go here.

For previous reviews of other comic books put "Suspended Animation" in the search box on the Joplin Independent homepage.

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