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Code Blue Comes Back to Life

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the July 9-15, 1998 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels


"I only steal from other thieves. It's a form of recycling if you stop an' think about it."

— Spuckler Boach in Akiko #21 

Cancel the APB — Code Blue is not AWOL. Jimmie Robinson's latest black-and-white project for Image is just changing format. Robinson described the book a few months ago as being a blend of "adventure and romance, intrigue and mystery," saying "Code Blue does for the ER what Indiana Jones did for archeology." He was right. The first issue, now in stores, features kick-ass adventure in a near-future hospital setting.

But timing is everything, and shortly before Code Blue's release, Image decided to cancel Jim Valentino's "non-line" black-and-white line that featured Code Blue. Contrary to the rumors though, that didn't kill Code Blue. Robinson did — sort of.

Image was happy with the four-part miniseries Robinson delivered. However, Robinson wanted more time with the project and was unhappy with the print quality on the first issue. He suggested that Image release issue one as scheduled (since the book was already printed) but that the complete story, including what would have been issues #2-4 instead hit stores as a graphic novel. So the Code Blue comic book has the unusual distinction of being made a lame duck by its creator.

Robinson is working on a miniseries entitled Evil and Malice for Image. He'll add the finishing touches to the Code Blue graphic novel after he completes this project.

Everyone associated with Valentino's "non-line" is disappointed it failed, but Robinson's comments echoed those of many others: "He helped me out in so many ways I can't even count. I have nothing but respect for him and what he set out to do."

IT HAPPENS   Did anyone else notice that two comics made Entertainment Weekly's annual "It" list? Rather than judging the most beautiful or the most powerful, the "It" list highlights creativity, luck, brains, devotion, timing and buzz. In the "It Cetera" section of the June 26-July 3 issue, Chris Ware was labeled "It Cartoonist" for Acme Novelty Library (Fantagraphics), with the description, "Meet the king of the indie-comic-book world. This illustrator's funny and often disturbing drawings will fill a book that will ship later this year." Then, in the "It Books" section, Mark Crilley was picked as "cult cartoonist" for Akiko (Sirius), where they describe his spunky fourth grader as "Oz's Dorothy with a cyberpunk attitude." Both creators deserve wider recognition for their brilliant, if totally different, work. But then I like anyone who lists sushi among his creative crutches, as Crilley does.

ICE, ICE BABY   Remember the frozen version of Han Solo from Return of the Jedi? Special, life-size, limited-edition replicas of that prop were sold last year for a few thousand bucks. Next weekend, you might be able to get a hold of one for $1 — and help a good cause.

When collector Jim Mortensen of The Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect, Ill., donated his "Han Solo in Carbonite" to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, he said, "Comics are often perceived as children's books by mainstream readers, but many of the best comic stories deal with more mature themes. It's important for retailers to support the group responsible for defending the right to sell the classics of tomorrow."

The collectible will be raffled off at the Wizard World (formerly Chicago Comicon) Convention, taking place July 17-19 in Chicago. The prize will be presented, appropriately enough, by Jeremy Bullock, the actor who played Boba Fett in both Return and The Empire Strikes Back. Check out the CBLDF's Web site for details.

Media Connection: This week, 'Nuff Said hosts Ken Gale and Ed Menje turn the show over to listeners. The listener phone calls have been getting better and better, and the subject matter might be anything. No guests, just lots of people talking comics. 'Nuff Said airs from midnight July 12 to 1 a.m. July 13 on WBAI-FM (99.5).


Column 1998 Long Island Voice. Akiko artwork 1998 Mark Crilley.