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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
The After-Poll Report (04/23/02)

Voters, as we have previously discussed, have many reasons for voting as they do. That is most certainly the case when it comes to creative awards like the Oscars, the Emmys, and, in the world of comics, the Harveys and the Eisners. It isn't always about who or what is best...and I'm as prone to find other justifications for my choices as any other voter.

We kicked off our TONY POLLS questions for the week of April 14 with a trio of Eisner Awards questions. Here are the results in those three categories.

******

For BEST SHORT STORY

The Eltingville Club in "The Intervention" by Evan Dorkin/Dork #9 (Slave Labor).....37 votes (52.86%)

"The Willful Death of a Stereotype" by Chris Staros and Bo Hampton/Expo 2001 (The EXPO).....13 (18.57%)

"His Story" by Dave McKean/Bento #1 and Pictures That [Tick] (Hourglass/Allen Spiegel Fine Arts).....7 (10%)

"Adventures of Hergee" by Boquet, Fromental, and Stanislas"/ Drawn & Quarterly, vol. 4 (Drawn & Quarterly).....6 (8.57%)

"Me and Edith Head" by Sara Ryan and Steve Lieber/Cicada, vol. 4 no. 1 (Carus Publishing).....5 (7.14%)

"Oh, To Celebrate" by Miriam Katin/Drawn & Quarterly, vol. 4 (Drawn & Quarterly).....2 (2.86%)

Here's an answer that will be familiar to many of you. I voted for the only one of the above which I had read: "The Willful Death of a Stereotype." If it hadn't been a worthy story, I would have abstained from voting in this category. But it was worthy, so it got my vote. However, since copies of DRAWN AND QUARTERLY and "Me and Edith Head" are on their way to me as I write this column, I may vote for one of the other stories on my actual Eisner Awards ballot. Mercurial, ain't I?

******

For BEST SINGLE ISSUE

100 Bullets #27: "Idol Chatter" by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo/DC)...28 votes (35.90%)

Eightball #22 by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics).....18 (23.08%)

The Fall by Ed Brubaker and Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly).....15 (19.23%)

Optic Nerve #8: "Bomb Scare" by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly) .....10 (12.82%)

Finder #22: "Fight Scene" by Carla Speed McNeil (Lightspeed).....7 (8.97%)

I did abstain from voting in this category as I hadn't read *any* of the nominees. I hope to read at least four of them by the time I have to turn in my Eisner ballot.

******

For BEST SERIALIZED STORY?

Amazing Spider-Man #30-35: "Coming Home" by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr., and Scott Hanna (Marvel).....56 votes (50%)

Queen and Country #1-4: "Operation: Broken Ground," by Greg Rucka and Steve Rolston (Oni).....26 (23.21%)

New X-Men #114-117: "E Is for Extinction," by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Ethan Van Sciver, and Tim Townsend (Marvel).....19 (16.96%)

Hellblazer #164--167: "Highwater," by Brian Azzarello and Marcelo Frusin (Vertigo/DC).....7 (6.25%)

Finder #18-22: "Talisman," by Carla Speed McNeil (Lightspeed) .....4 (3.57%)

I voted for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30-35 because it was one of the best Spider-Man stories of all time. NEW X-MEN #114-117 might be one of the best X-Men stories of all time, but it wasn't as good as Straczynski's mini-epic. I may read the other nominees before I vote on the actual Eisners, but, given my tastes, I suspect that my Spider-Man vote will stand.

******

Reader Michael Gallaher suggested this next question: which of these was your favorite team-up title?

Brave and Bold (Batman).....58 votes (37.66%)

Marvel Team-Up (Spider-Man).....30 (19.48%)

DC Comics Presents (Superman).....25 (16.23%)

Marvel Two-in-One (The Thing).....21 (13.64%)

World's Finest (Superman).....11 (7.14%)

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up (Spider-Man).....7 (4.55%)

Action Comics (Superman).....2 (1.30%)

I went with a nostalgic favorite on this one, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Usually written by Bob Haney, edited by the great Murray Boltinoff, and drawn by an amazing array of artistic talent (Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, and Nick Cardy, to name just three), the book was always full of excitement and surprises. B&B might have given the willies to continuity-buffs, it may have gotten downright silly on occasion, but it seldom failed to entertain me during Boltinoff's long and successful watch.

******


Which of these non-Marvel/non-DC characters would you most like to see teamed up with Spider-Man?

Tick.....36 votes (23.08%)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.....21 (13.46%)

Phantom.....14 (8.97%)

Groo.....12 (7.69%)

Savage Dragon.....12 (7.69%)

Archie.....8 (5.13%)

Judge Dredd.....8 (5.13%)

Radioactive Man.....8 (5.13%)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.....8 (5.13%)

Elvira.....4 (2.54%)

Femforce.....4 (2.54%)

Ranma.....4 (2.56%)

Vampirella.....4 (2.56%)

Usagi Yojimbo.....3 (1.92)

Sailor Moon.....2 (1.28%)

Shi.....2 (1.28%)

Akiko.....1 (.64%)

Mickey Mouse.....1 (.64%)

Other.....4 (2.56%)

So...who *else* voted for SAILOR MOON?

******

Suggested by Julio Diaz, which of these non-publisher websites is your favorite?

Comics Newsarama.....49 votes (33.11%)

POVonline/Mark Evanier.....31 (20.95%)

Comic Book Resources.....21 (14.19%)

Sequential Tart.....9 (6.08%)

Comics Continuum.....6 (4.05%)

Silver Bullet Comic Books.....5 (3.38%)

Splash.....5 (3.38%)

Grand Comic Book Database.....4 (2.70%)

Warren Ellis Forum.....3 (2.03%)

Captain Comics Message Board.....2 (1.35%)

Comic Book Galaxy.....2 (1.35%)

Fanzing.....2 (1.35%)

Jinxworld/Brian Bendis.....2 (1.35%)

Periodic Table of Comic Books.....2 (1.35%)

Slush Factory.....1 (.68%)

Supernatural Crime.....1 (.68%)

Other.....3 (2.03%)

I hope my darn-near-lifelong buddy Mark Evanier can forgive me, but I voted for the GRAND COMIC BOOK DATABASE. Giving credit where credit is due is important work and these contributors to the database deserve our thanks for their efforts. Hardly a day passes where I don't visit the website to track down this or that fact for one of my columns.

POINT OF VIEW would have been my second choice, followed very closely by COMICS NEWSARAMA, THE PERIODIC TABLE OF COMIC BOOKS, and SUPERNATURAL CRIME. I'd also give grateful nods to Rich Johnston's "All the Rage" (at Silver Bullet Comics) and Scott Shaw's "Oddball Comics" (at Comic Book Resources).


******

QUESTION #7: Suggested by Sam Tomaino, if you could have one rare comic book, with no thought of selling it, which one of these would it be?

Action Comics #1.....33 votes (21.15%)

All-Star Comics #3.....22 (14.10%)

Amazing Fantasy #15.....21 (13.46%)

Detective Comics #27.....14 (8.97%)

Fantastic Four #1 (Silver Age).....12 (7.69%)

Plastic Man #1 (Golden Age).....9 (5.77%)

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #1.....8 (5.13%)

Showcase #4 (The Flash).....7 (4.49%)

Whiz Comics #2.....5 (3.21%)

Batman #1.....3 (1.92%)

Captain America #1 (Golden Age).....3 (1.92%)

Marvel Comics #1.....3 (1.92%)

Superman #1.....3 (1.92%)

Flash Comics #1.....2 (1.28%)

Vault of Horror #12.....2 (1.28%)

Katy Keene #1.....1 (.64%)

Wonder Woman #1.....1 (.64%)

Other.....7 (4.49%)

I voted for AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #15. I sold my beat-to-heck copy of it back in 1978, when I was raising the cash to buy a comic-book store...and it's one of the few comics I regret selling.

No one influenced my love of comics or choice of a career in comics more than Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee...and Spider-Man's origin is one of the best stories he ever wrote.


******

Looking outside the comics box, I asked voters if they were a fan of professional baseball?

No.....70 votes (46.67)

Yes....51 (34%)

Somewhat.....29 (19.33%)

Professional baseball has disappointed me, embarrassed me, and enraged me from time to time, and I still can't stop loving it.

I'm not one of these fans who can rattle off the names of players or even the current team standings, but it doesn't take much to get me to plop myself down in front of the television set and watch any game that happens to be on.


******


Are you planning to go to any professional baseball games this year?

No.....86 votes (59.31%)

Yes.....59 (40.69%)

My aversion to Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians' racist

"Chief Wahoo" symbol keeps me away from Jacobs Field. Fortunately,

Akron, the Akron Aeros (Class AA), and Canal Park are a short drive from my hometown of Medina. Residents of and visitors to this neck of the woods should most definitely twist my arm to get me to go to an Aeros game with them.


******

If it were up to you, would you retire the Cleveland Indians' "Chief Wahoo" caricature?

Yes.....96 votes (64.86%)

No.....52 (35.14%)

Do you really have to ask how I voted?

******

TONY'S MAILBOX

First up is JASON MICHAEL, who writes

I voted "other" for the comics website question. My favorite non-publisher web-site is WWW.COMICON.COM. I also want to mention that I really enjoy your columns. I'm a longtime comics reader (30 years), so I have quite a few of your books and I enjoy seeing what you have to say about the current scene. I also really enjoy doing these polls every week. They're a lot of fun. Thanks!

Thanks for the kind words, Jason. I enjoy doing these polls, too, and plan to keep doing them as long as I hold the interest of the readers who vote on them.

I also heard from CARL HENDERSON

I didn't look very closely at the Eisner nominees when they were first announced. But when I answered this week's TonyPolls I was surprised to find that I'd read none of the Best Short Story and Best Single Issue nominees. (I fared a little better with the Best Serialized Story category, having read the nominated AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. NEW X-MEN, and QUEEN AND COUNTRY arcs.)

I read a lot of comics--including a good number of non-super-hero and independent comics--but those two Eisner categories were utterly perpendicular to my reading habits. I wonder how typical I am of comic readers in this regard. Are the Eisners honoring comics that people loved, or are they honoring comics that people think they should have loved?

Which brings to mind the controversy over the Harvey Awards: whatever people may think about CrossGen, I'm sure a lot more people read and enjoyed RUSE than any of the Eisner's Best Short Story and Best Single Issue nominees.

Oh, well, we all know the [Usenet] Squiddies are the only awards really worth paying attention to.

On to the favorite team-up title question: I was torn between MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE and DC COMICS PRESENTS. While DC COMICS PRESENTS had one of my all-time favorite pre-Crisis Superman stories ever: issues #26 to #29 which featured stories by Paul Levitz and Len Wein with art by Jim Starlin, and team-ups with Green Lantern, J'onn J'onzz, Supergirl, and the Spectre. DCCP #26 even featured an insert with the first ever appearance of the Wolfman/Perez "New Teen Titans." But...

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE edges it out with a lengthy run by writers Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio (who comic fans use to refer to as the "Two-In-One Twins"). Those stories were just great fun, and seamlessly introduced a lot of elements still active in the Marvel Universe today. And their use of Marvel continuity stands as an excellent example for any writers working in a shared universe. They used it right; not as a storytelling crutch, nor as something to be avoided at all costs, nor out of obsession with the Marvel Universe's minutia.

As for "Which of these non-Marvel/non-DC characters would you most like to see teamed up with Spider-Man?" question, I thought it was a no-brainer. The Savage Dragon, of course. Erik Larsen has written and drawn both characters quite well. But apparently I'm out-voted...

I noticed that you didn't list "Tony's Tips" or "Tony's Online Tips" in the favorite comics website question. Just as well. As much as I enjoy your columns, I'd have voted for Comics Newsarama. It's just the best. I was surprised that at the time I voted, the extremely popular Warren Ellis Forum had only received one vote. Even though I prefer to post in less heavily-moderated environments like the "rec.arts.comics" newsgroups of Usenet, the influence and scale of the Warren Ellis Forum is pretty much unmatched in the comics arena.

I could care less about baseball, but I do have a question about the last "After-Poll Report" (for the TonyPolls for the week of April 2, 2002). You rightly took readers to task for picking Willow over Cordelia in the "favorite Buffy/Angel honey" question (WHAT WERE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?). But then you went on to make a comment that completely perplexed me

"Since Charisma Carpenter first played the character on BUFFY, Joss Whedon and his writers have taken Cordelia Chase from Veronica Lodge (sans Ronnie's redeeming qualities) to Hawkwoman (Silver Age variety)...and they have made this transition utterly believable at every stage of the journey."

Now I'm as big a Cordelia fan as the next marginally obsessed viewer--never missing an episode of her show (despite the screen time wasted on the broody guy in black). But I just don't get the "Silver Age Hawkwoman" connection. Is this something I needed to have read your "Shadow War" series to understand? Or am I missing the obvious here?

Finally, a comment on your 4/13/02 review of ALAN MOORE: THE POCKET ESSENTIAL by Lance Parkin. I'm going to hunt this down. Not only am I an Alan Moore fan, I'm also a Lance Parkin fan. Besides writing the book on Alan Moore you reviewed, Lance Parkin is the author of a number of really excellent "Doctor Who" original novels. These include JUST WAR and THE DYING DAYS (only available from used book dealers or eBay), the more recent FATHER TIME, and his upcoming TRADING FUTURES (both from BBC books).

To answer your Cordelia question

Cordelia, thanks to the wonderful character development given her by Joss Whedon and his Buffy/Angel writers, has grown from an insensitive and shallow schoolgirl into a true woman warrior. Just as my Hawkwoman was with Hawkman, Cordy is supportive of Angel, but also confident enough to try to set him straight when she believes he needs it. She has become a hero in her own right as well, just as willing to risk and even sacrifice her life to protect innocent lives as are Angel and the others. She can be funny and serious, inspirational and vulnerable. When I think of great heroines, I'd put Cordy right up there with the best of them.

[Note to self: Pitch Dark Horse on a Cordelia book. It could be a cross between KATY KEENE and TOMB OF DRACULA. Don't forget to mention the "Cordy's Fashions" feature.]

JOE HILLIARD wrote

While placing my vote for PLASTIC MAN #1 as the most desired Golden Age oldie, I couldn't help but wonder why POLICE COMICS #1 wasn't there as well. Especially after having seen the reprints by DC a few years ago. POLICE COMICS #1 and MILITARY COMICS #1 would by far be the top of the list. Does this mean a most desired Silver Age comic book poll is a few weeks away?

For the best team-up title, I voted for ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP, if for no other reason than the incredible art it has showcased month in and month out with few exceptions. What cooked it for me was the John Totleben Man-Thing issue...and the two issues of Ted McKeever's Dr. Strange, which had to be some of the most kinetic Spider-Man and Strange since Steve Ditko himself. That said, BRAVE AND THE BOLD #148 with Batman and the "New" Wonder Woman is my all-time favorite team-up issue. Race cars, I-Ching, Batman behind the wheel, Diana arrested! You've got to be kidding!!

Finally, without being too much of a suck-up, I have to tell you how much I admire your first BLACK LIGHTNING run. I picked up a complete set just before Christmas...and couldn't believe what I had missed. Thanks for listening.

No need to thank me; I can listen to compliments like that all day long. At least I think I could. I mean, I've never actually been in a situation where I had to listen to compliments like that all day long, but it's a risk I'd be willing to take in the name of science or something.

Let's give today's last word to BILL ROPER

I'm a loony enough baseball fan that my wife and I drove to Montreal from Chicago on our vacation to go to Opening Day at Olympic Stadium. And saw a fine game, too!

I voted to retire Chief Wahoo in your current poll, but had a comment about it. I don't think it's appropriate to get rid of all Indian-themed mascots and team names--for instance, I wouldn't dump the University of Illinois' Chief Illiniwek-but clearing out those which are offensive seems like the right thing to do. So I'd lose the Washington Redskins name as well as Chief Wahoo.

My wife notes that the only freedom we seem to have left is the freedom to be offended by what someone else is doing. I think she's a bit strident on this, but I see where she's coming from. Not everything has to be taken as offensive, nor was it necessarily intended to give offense, even if it seems offensive to a group or an individual.

That's all for now, my friends, save for the usual "end-of-the column" announcements. There are ten new questions awaiting you at our TONY POLLS page. I'll be doing my thing at TONY'S ONLINE TIPS on Wednesday and Friday, before heading back here for Saturday's TONY'S TIPS. Then it'll be Sunday again and I'll be posting a NEW batch of poll questions. The fun never stops!

Tony Isabella

<< 04/20/2002 | 04/23/2002 | 04/27/2002 >>

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
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.

Tony
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.

TonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTony
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.

TonyTonyTonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
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.



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