The dictionary defines "animism" as the "the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena." The discerning comic book collector, on the other hand, might define the term as the title of an independently published black and white super hero comic from the mid 1980s that, by itself, possesses neither soul nor spirit. What DOES it possess? A cover, staples, paper, ink, words, and pictures. More than that is what we're here to discover.
You'd think with a title like this, there would be some animals somewhere. Nope. Just people in tight outfits posing for a selfie in front of the St. Louis Gateway Arch - the world's tallest!
Well, let's get on with it, this is a self-published comic from the 1980s, and by law this means they have to have a little introductory page telling us what a labor of love the whole thing was and how proud they are to be finally part of the world of comics, and generally make us feel bad for making fun of it.
Think of the precious creative dreams, honed and shaped to this, their final form. Five solid years in the making, begging us to suspend disbelief and, um, let some sort of spirit inhabit our mortal bodies, perhaps to wreak havoc and prepare the way for Armageddon, or maybe just compel us to reproduce small portions for purposes of journalistics. Can do!
St. Louis Missouri! Then and now perhaps one of the most crime-ridden cities in America, as you can clearly tell by the descriptive caption that is really small so nobody steals it.
That's better. Say, what's wrong with those tourists, not wanting to wallow in poverty and despair?
And just like that, we're catapulted into whizzing excitement, adventure and dislocated shoulders. Hold on, let me zoom in on that tiny caption again.
He's come here for a reason and that reason is extensive reconstructive surgery! Also to show us all that filling up an entire page with a solid black background is being really hopeful that your comic's cheap newsprint can handle this kind of ink coverage (note: it can't)
He's also out for BLOOOOOO, which is slang for "using up one more whole page." I wonder, was this particular page-wasting creative choice made during, say, year two or three of this comic's five year gestation?
While we were BLOOOOOing back there, our nameless guy has stolen a briefcase from who I believe is U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. Tell your boss, presumably Bono or The Edge, to call nameless guy at that number!
Back in the day before Android devices and iPhones, there were these things called "payphones" that were installed in public areas, and which allowed people to make phone calls. And if you knew the number of a particular pay phone, you could give that number to somebody you'd just assaulted, and their boss could call you on that pay phone at 8am on the dot.
You want the jacket to be loose and roomy, and the super-hero tights to leave nothing to the imagination. That's the St. Louis style!
Look, I can see blasting the people who shot a bazooka at you, I can understand zapping them with your hand beams. But if all you were going to do was tell The Boss to meet you under the Gateway Arch, why didn't you just tell Larry Mullen Junior that in the first place? Do you enjoy wasting everybody's time?
Also, WHO ARE YOU, and WHAT IS GOING ON. That would be nice to know.
It's like I always say. If you're not going to draw a comic, don't draw the HELL out of it.
A car. Two cars, driving.
Crouching man looks at three men.
Didn't expect this.
-from the works of haiku masster Animism (1987)
Kung fu punk rock guy, Ninja Ponytail, and Samurai Hobo are ready to jam this comic into high gear as they deal with what seem to be very high winds! I'm sure they will succeed where (checks notes) the high explosive anti-tank rocket failed.
it's all for naught, because our story has put its hand in the hand of the man who shoots lasers from his hands.
Why did you do it, Sondra? Why did you show up at 8:30pm as requested after phoning me at 8:00am, also as requested? And what did you do when you learned you had an entire day to kill in St. Louis? Did you get some of that flat-crust St. Louis style pizza?
It's 1987. There aren't any rules! Go ahead and throw some Hernandez brothers-style romance comic imagery into your barely-there super hero story about phone calls and briefcases and power beams and teenage murder. No one would blame you.
Yes, you read that right, this comic has finally given us a story, and the story is about 14 year old boys and the grown woman who statutory-rapes and then murders them. Way to bury the lede, "Animism."
Look, power-fist man, I get you could kill her easily. You have power fists. Sure, you could do that. Or call the cops and say, hey, here's this lady who is seducing and murdering children, her name is Sondra, maybe get on that one, fellas?
And in the name of justice, our guy flies away like Ultraman does at the end of every Ultraman episode, except without accomplishing anything. Well, he DID waste an entire day with phone calls and meeting assignations. Maybe he's flying away to call the cops, or he's circling around to deliver a stunning death blow, or...
Or maybe this story has read our minds and it just ends, without any resolution or insight or bothering to tell us who this guy is, why there's an R on his chest, or how he can fly and shoot magical beams out of his hands. That's all. Five years in the making! So for this ten page story, that's one hundred and eighty two days per page. Slow artists, take heart. There's always somebody slower.
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