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February 10, 1997 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-10

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 10, 1997

BOOKS
Continued from Page 9A
.up where Christopher Pike books left
,off. Unfortunately, "Windows" fails.
As the chapter titled "Coming Out of
.the Closet" suggests, "Windows to the
'Soul" should ditch its disguise of pre-
tending to be a quality page-turner. We
xwould probably have better luck find-
ing thrills in a Good Housekeeping
.magazine.
- Julia Shih
Southern Journey: A
Return To The Civil
Rights Movement
Tom Dent .
Morrow Books
On Jan. 22, 1991, Tom Dent, a black
poet and editor, began a road trip of
epic proportions. Traveling the back
roads of the South, Dent visited the
sites6 of some of the most vicious civil
rights struggles of the '50s and '60s.
The author wanted to relive the early
days of the civil rights movement, as
well as gauge its present-day results.
To that end, Dent chose smaller
towns more resistant to social change,
such as Selma, Ala., Albany, Ga. and
Greensboro, N.C. which he finds more
representative of the "real South." In
each city, he spoke with key civil rights
leaders, past and present. The results of
Dent's trip are recorded in his fine
book, "Southern Journey: A Return To
The Civil Rights Movement."
Tom Dent's personal insights are one
of "Southern Journey"'s assets. A
native of New Orleans, Dent gives the
reader a real insider's view of the
South. The book is enriched by the
author's memories of his childhood and
protest years. Dent has a real love of the
South and its people; the reader cer-
tainly benefits from his affection.
He describes deserted roads and
half-empty towns in nostalgic, elegant
prose. Dent manages to imbue even
common scenes with striking beauty:
"... there were ... quite a few people
milling about, apparently just off from
work, intoxicated by the excitement of
the glorious rising moon as if there was
no more fascinating or wonderful place
on earth at this moment in history."
Dent's love of the South makes his
painful critiques all the more authorita-
tiVe. The author draws on his move-
ment experience to interpret the
changes in Southern lifestyles since the
'50s. More often than not, the commu-
i ties he visits are worse off than in the
days before the protests - drugs, poor
school systems and a lack of economic
opportunity serve as barriers to real
equality.
Dent does more than describe the
racial problems facing the South -
"Southern Journey" is also a search for
solutions to hard economic and social
dilemmas. Dent is not afraid to ask
hard questions about desegregation and
its aftermath. He coolly evaluates the
pros and cons of desegregated schools,
businesses, and neighborhoods.
"Southern Journey" is a worthwhile
read. Part oral history, part travelogue
and part call to action, the book is
insightful, balanced and beautifully
written.
- Mary Trombley

Animated 'Tick' TV
show surpasses comic

By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
What's big, blue, beefy and named
after a blood-sucking arachnid? The
Tick, of course, the most entertaining of
the animated superheroes on the small
screen these days. The Tick leaps
through the world
with vim, vigor RI
and stupidity, with
the help of his
moth-garbed side-
kick Arthur, in a
far-from-seriousS
manner.
Created by Ben Edlund as a minor

E
C
Sur

the comic to creatively steer the show.
And it has paid off. "The Tick" is quite
possibly the comic-turned-animated
half hour that is truest to its source
material. It is a far cry from the terrible
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fiasco,
the TV version of which was about as
close to the comic
u i E W as Adam West was
to Batman.
The Tick "The Tick" has
omedy Central been a show full of
~med Cenral fun and wit, just as
Mon. - Fri. at 6 p.m.
n. - Thurs. at midnight the comic was. It
has been altered to
be somewhat more self-sufficient, how-

character in comic book retailer New ever. Instead of relying largely on spe-
England Comics' catalog, the Tick's cific comic-oriented parody, the show
appeal was immediately obvious. The has a more generalized comedic oeu-
project swiftly became a wonderfully vre. A few vestiges of specific parody
executed comic book that parodied var- do remain, though, as anyone with half
ious comic a brain can see
book genres that Die
and charac- Fledermaus is a
ters. As time literally costumed
went on, the bat-man. Look up
comics came "fledermaus" in
out less and your German-
less. It has English dictio-
been a num- nary if you don't
ber of years a get it.
now since the The show is
most recent humorous on
i s s u e , many levels. The
although r;g< main characters
Edlund has are inherently
promised a funny, and by
new one in the interacting act as
next year or effective foils.
so. The main The Tick is stuck in a tight situation. The Tick is big,
cause of the -- ------ ------- stupid and nigh-
interruption has been the television invulnerable, with a crusading sort of
show. attitude that any good hero should have.
Edlund has more or less abandoned Arthur is virtually powerless (his ability

" T= a=ltDF h ------------
"The Tick" cast (from left): Die Fiedermaus, The Tick, Arthur and American Maid.

to fly coming from a suit he bought
used), neurotic and far more sensible
than the Tick. They make a classic big
guy/little guy comedy team.
The other heroes they occasionally
hang out with are also funny by nature.
Sewer Urchin talks like Rainman and
has stinky powers, Die Fledermaus is an
ineffectual jerk and American Maid is
the strait-laced normal hero, except of
course that she's dressed in a patrioti-
cally designed maid's outfit.
The villains are humorous, too.
Chairface Chippendale has a chair for a
head. El Seed is a huge, anthropomor-
phic sunflower-cum-revolutionary.
Thrakkorzog is a hideous blobby alien
who speaks ultra-proper English and
has a monosyllabic self-speaking
tongue mouth. It's a strong base, all

around.
The writing for the show is also
funny: Arthur has been abducted by
Aztecs who say "itlan" all the time and
who actually meant to capture his girl-
friend, people's minds get zapped into
other people's bodies, aliens try to take
over Earth. Goofy stuff You get the
idea.
By being a show, "The Tick" has
also made some fine spin-offs. There
was a line of action figures (virtually
impossible to find at the toy store
now), PVC figures, video tapes and
even a horrible CD-ROM. The CD-
ROM is an interactive comic that has a
very limited amount of animation from
one episode of the show scrunched
into a tiny box. Adding insult to injury,
the disc makes ugly pauses in the story

at points of heavy action, and the pro-
ducers have even added completely
non-story-related animations to the
thing. By far, this is the worst spin-
the show has had. A CD-ROM thy
only included one episode of the show
on it would've been far preferable. And-
at around S10, the actual product is
pretty sickening.
Eventually the question has to be
asked: Is the show worth the virtual
death of the comic? And surprisingly,
the answer might just be yes. In a time
when television is starting to produce
some quality superhero shows with the
flaw of being too serious too much@
the time, like the Spiderman and
Batman cartoons, "The Tick" makes
some strong comedy. Now if only some
live-action shows would.

I,,

I

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