erasing clouds

by tony doug wright

Welcome to the first edition of Champion City Comics. This section is dedicated to all the good people who create, read and/or collect comic books and graphic novels. I want to deliver the good word about comic books and graphic novels to all believers and non-believers. Special thanks to Brain Germain from Dark Elf Designs for creating the logo. Send questions, comments or cookie recipes to

Zoo Force: Dear Eniko, John Ira Thomas and Jeremy Smith (Candle Light Press)

Zoo Force: Dear Eniko is written and drawn in as a letter home and care package from Snowball, a polar bear living in Texas, to Eniko, a man living in Alaska with some polar bear friends. Snowball is not your typical polar bear living abroad in Texas but a member of the local Enforcer Group #77 (aka Zoo Force).

Snowball is one of four members of Zoo Force. Ding (a human with a six-foot tongue), Pythagoras (a chicken with plenty of sass) and Prairie Dog (a silent but reliable half-man/half-prairie dog) complete the team that protects the La Tornada Trailer Park. These brave souls are paid $12,126.80 each for their gallant service. But the Zoo Force does not encounter much danger so they live a very carefree lifestyle filled with trips to the library and local eateries.

This lifestyle does not sit well with Enforcer Group #76, led by Captain Cat. Zoo Force is the target of Captain Cat (who moves around in his motorized cat tree) and his small army of minions. Pillowfight, Mystic Fork and The Vet aid Captain Cat on his anti-Zoo Force crusades. Their adventures are documented in their own comic book titled Not Zoo Force.

Sometimes comic books and graphic novels can be a little too serious and that is the time when we need some much needed comic relief. Zoo Force is very funny and completely original. John Ira Thomas and Jeremy Smith have created a winner. Viva la Zoo Force!

Man is Vox: Barracudae, John Ira Thomas and Carter Allen (Candle Light Press)

After reading Man is Vox: Barracudae for the first time, I thought to myself "What in the hell did I just read"? Although the overall experience was bizarre and somewhat confusing, I had to read the story again. After a second and third read I came to the conclusion that John Ira Thomas and Carter Allen had created one of the strangest graphic novels ever.

There is no easy way to describe the plot. All I can tell you is that The Husband, a lone vigilante, comes into contact with an odd collection of characters such as a violent truck driver, a gun toting bride and a mind controlling serial rapist. The Husband seems to be a defender of abused and tortured women while maintaining a mysterious persona. One of the few things we know about The Husband is that he has voices in his head. Our hero is a man with many issues.

Thomas and Allen create different moods and settings by using an assortment of artistic styles. They use the classic comic book style but they also use a basic sketch style and an interesting arrangement of photographs and clay figures. When a page is turned it seems that the story goes from Point A to Point Greenland. You are not warned but thrown into an unusual world. Man is Vox: Barracudae is definitely worth checking out.

Issue 20, February 2004

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