S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Archive for the tag “Graphic Novel”

Book Review – Steve Canyon, Volume 8, 1961 to 1962

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Rating – Two Stars

I opened this eighth volume of my boyhood icon counting on reading thrilling tales of mysterious dames in exotic locales entrapping Colonel Steve Canyon in nefarious schemes, and having their way with him; of Steve exposing malevolent secret agents, deposing corrupt tyrants, and rescuing ravishing princesses from the Soviet’s eeevil KGB. Gadzooks! It was not to be.

In volume eight, I stumbled into eight bland tales of minimal interest, of no import, and more appropriate reading (and viewing) for teenage females. I classify four of his stories as soap operas set in the USA. In one of these, the lead is his brat cousin Poteet Canyon—Steve is absent completely from this yarn. The remaining four stories are insipid “adventure” tales whose bland narratives challenge no one. One story has a hint of the exotic. Set in the Himalaya region of China, Steve’s ol’ nemesis, Madam Lynx, captures him. He escapes, in an unbelievable scenario. Lynx fades into an unknown end—to reappear in another story, I reckon.

Nonetheless, Caniff’s drawings, on the whole, reflect his consummate artistic skills in the “Terry and the Pirate” strips of yesteryear. I much enjoyed viewing some of his frames and marveled at his realistic composition and attention to fine detail.

FIN

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BOOK REVIEW: Steve Canyon, Volume 1955 to 1956 by Milton Caniff

SteveCanyon5_PRI opened the cover of this tome with eager anticipation—to read and view another of Caniff’s boffo comic-strip stories about the rousing adventures of the heroic Lieutenant Colonel Steven B. Canyon, USAF. Alas! I was disappointed.

I found that Caniff’s stories in this volume had plots that are incongruous to the Steve Canyon mystic, and unfortunately, some are nonsensical.

Included are several of out-of-character stories: three smarmy, soap opera narratives. One smacks of the travails of Pearl White in Perils of Pauline film serials of 1914–Steve “Do Good” Canyon rescues the damsel in distress from a fate worse than death. Another is a Y/A recital in which Canyon adopts a distant cousin—a sixteen-year old rambunctious and comely female who helps Canyon save his Air Force base from a hostile populous.

I missed the roaring adventures of Canyon in some exotic location out whiting the classic “bad guy” that usually has distorted facial or body features. I missed Steve matching wits with a glamorous dame clad in a skin-tight ensemble that reveals more than it ought, and who is intent on corrupting him into her evil designs. I longed to see Caniff’s eeevil Dragon Lady maneuver her voluptuous charms to inveigle Canyon into her piratical schemes and into her quarters on her sea-going junk sailing the South China Seas.

Canyon drafts his females out of a dream—gorgeous creatures with body proportions not seen on humans—all proffer a wasp-thin waist, high-arched eyebrows, and brassy bosoms in blouses that are cut on the bias that emphasize their near-perfect form..

I miss Caniff’s finely detailed drawings of yesteryear where most every frame was a cameo —“Terry and the Pirates” of the 30s and “Miss Lace” of the 40s, for examples. However, progressively in the Steve Canyon narratives, his drawings reflect a short cut to his art. Occasionally some of his drawings mimic his past exactness but far too many do not.

Nonetheless all the above, I’m looking forward to getting the next publication in this series.

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