TONY'S ONLINE TIPS has reached the end of its decade-plus run. I announced this last week in various venues, but I didn't want to leave without saying a more proper farewell and, in that farewell, try to explain this decision without sending any one into a panic. Towards that end:
I am not dying;
being sent to prison;
running for office;
becoming a Walmart greeter; or,
joining the cast of Hot in Cleveland even though I am clearly quite steamy and even though, if I were not happily married (see the above notation), I would certainly consider having carnal knowledge of all four of that show's stars. I know you're thinking "All four of them?", but I have always thought Valerie Bertinelli was quite the babe.
What I am is extremely unhappy with my present circumstances and determined to change them. Be patient. It may take me a few more paragraphs to explain why.
In addition to ending TONY'S ONLINE TIPS, I am cutting back my online and other activities. I have left every one of the mailing lists of which I am a member. Barring extraordinary circumstances, I will no longer do interviews about my past work, only about the new work I hope to create in the months to come. With one or two possible exceptions, I have no current plans to do any convention or store appearances. I have even resigned from my position as a judge for the Bill Finger Awards, though I remain very proud of my work with those awards, enormously pleased with the choices myself and the other judges have made, and in awe of Mark Evanier's nigh-supernatural ability to drive the yearly process in such a fair and knowledgeable manner.
I have loved writing TONY'S ONLINE TIPS. If I could afford to continue writing it, I would. But World Famous Comics web-wizard Justin and I have never been able to make the column profitable on a steady basis for even one of us. We never attracted the sponsors we needed and, despite the occasional flurry of PayPal donations, never got the financial support from our readers that would allow TOT to continue.
With two kids in college and my only regular paying gig being my "Tony's Tips" column for Comics Buyer's Guide, I have to turn my attention and energies to finding new sources of revenue. My immediate focus is two-fold.
I'll be organizing and selling the tens of thousands of books and comics I own. When my sales begin appearing on eBay, I hope you'll find items of interest and that you'll bid on them.
I'll also be developing writing projects of my own creation. Some of these will be comics and some will be about comics and some will be something not comics. No one should expect any of these projects to see publication any time soon. Especially the comics since, once I complete a proposal or script, I still have to find an artist who believes in them enough to draw them with no actual guarantee of payment unless we place them with one of the handful of publishers who both pay a decent wage and don't require usurious contracts that strip creators of their rights. However, if you're an artist who has always wanted to work with me and whose work is of professional quality, feel free to contact me.
I remain open to paying work in the comics and entertainment fields. I'm not against work-for-hire contracts on properties that someone else owns as long as the contracts are fair, the payment is reasonable, and no other creator gets screwed over.
If you're an established publisher and wondering what kind of work I'd like to do for you, I'm open to just about anything that will allow me to do a great job for you. As I have stated in the past, I would love to take characters that haven't been used for a while or who are underutilized and bring something new to them in the hope of making them creatively and financially successful for a publisher.
One of the great frustrations/unhappiness in my professional life is how few people have noticed I have continually reinvented myself over the years. I did some damn good work in the 1970s and knocked it up a notch for Hawkman and, to a lesser extent, Justice Machine in the 1980s. In the 1990s, I bumped it up a whole lot of notches with my return to Black Lightning and my development and writing on Jack Kirby's Satan's Six. I was one of the first, if not the first, comics professionals to do ongoing online columns. After doing mostly non-comics writing in the 2000s, I hope to return to comics in a big way in this newest decade while working on other projects as well.
Sidebar. Whenever I write about my career woes, I can count on getting e-mails or phone calls from well-meaning friends telling me I shouldn't appear desperate. I love these friends, but I have to wonder if they've been following the news lately.
Darn near everyone in this country is desperate in one way or another. I simply choose to be up front about it. I choose not to play aloof, hard-to-get, unconcerned. I'm not easy to get, but I live in the real world and, Godzilla bless you if you're fortunate enough to be an exception, but the real world is a desperate world. I accept that and move forward. End sidebar.
I'll continue writing for Comics Buyer's Guide as long as Brent Frankenhoff and Maggie Thompson are my editors and as long as the magazine continues to be published. However, my involvement with the CBG online forums will be limited only to items posted in my folder there. Though I consider many of the other posters there to be good friends, their overwhelming emphasis on half-century-old comic books makes my teeth hurt.
I love the comics of my youth. But there's so much more out there and it frustrates the heck out of me that so many comics fans appear to be mired in one era or one kind of comic book. It's my hope TONY'S ONLINE TIPS and my columns in CBG have convinced some readers into exploring beyond their comfort zones.
My other online activity will be restricted to three locales. You can still find me at my own message board...
I'm already missing a few of the mailing lists of which I was a member. If things go well, I may rejoin those in the fall. But I'm determined to limit my online activity as much as possible as I pursue my goals.
When it comes to appearances and interviews, I won't proclaim "Never!" But, with a few exceptions, it's unlike I'll be going to any conventions or giving any interviews.
Announcements of my new work, appearances, interviews, and the like will be posted to Facebook, Twitter, and my own message board. Of course, Friends of Old Tony are encouraged to retweet and repost these announcements wherever they might roam.
Since this farewell column will remain on this front page for as long as Justin and I can stand it, I'd like to mention 1000 Comic Books You Must Read is still in print and available from Amazon and better comic shops and bookstores. If your local comic shop or bookstore doesn't have it, then it's your duty to let them know they're coming up short in the "better" category.
Even as I write this column, I'm experiencing withdrawal pains from ending TONY'S ONLINE TIPS. If I could figure out how to make a reasonable buck from the column, I would continue it. While we wait for that happy day, I'll more than likely post the occasional recommendations on Facebook, Twitter, and my message board.
I guess it's time to turn out the lights. Thank you all for spending a part of your days with me for all these years. It has been a joy and a privilege.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
Please send material you would like me to review to: