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Tony's Online Tips
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 (05/07/02)

You know the drill by now. It's Tuesday and that means we're going to look at the results of the TONY POLLS questions which were active from April 28 to May 5.

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MARVEL SOLICITATION POLICY

Marvel announced that its future PREVIEWS solicitations would feature more artwork and virtually no textual material other than title, issue numbers, creative teams, and the like, in an effort to return the element of surprise to comics reading. I asked if you were in favor of this new policy...

Yes.....62 votes (42.18%)

No.....49 (33.33%)

Undecided.....36 (24.49%)

My first reaction was YES and that's how I voted. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the plan came with its share of pitfalls. If I were voting on this today, I would go with

UNDECIDED. For the rationale behind this indecision, check out my TONY'S ONLINE TIPS column for April 29

http://www.perpetualcomics.com/Column.asp?ColId=194

While we're on the subject, can any one direct me to retailer comments on Marvel's announcement? More than even the readers, the retailers will be the ones most affected by this change. I'd like to know what they're saying about it.


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Continuing with our unofficial Eisner Awards voting, we asked which nominee would get your vote for as BEST HUMOR PUBLICATION?

Bizarro Comics, edited by Joey Cavalieri (DC).....30 votes (27.78%)

Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius: Monkey Tales by Judd Winick (Oni).....27 (25%)

Radioactive Man, by Batton Lash, Abel Laxamana, Dan De Carlo, Mike DeCarlo, and Bob Smith (Bongo).....23 (21.30%)

Jingle Belle: The Mighty Elves by Paul Dini and J. Bone (Oni)..... 13 (12.04%)

Dork #9 by Evan Dorkin (Slave Labor).....11 (10.19%)

Hey, Mister: Dial "M" for Mister by Pete Sickman-Garner (Top Shelf).....4 (3.70%)

This was a tough call I considered each of the top three, but, ultimately, cast my vote for RADIOACTIVE MAN.

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BEST ANTHOLOGY?

Bizarro Comics edited by Joey Cavalieri (DC).....52 votes (57.78%)

Oni Press Summer Color Special 2001, edited by Jamie Rich (Oni).....18 (20%)

Comics Journal Winter Special 2002, edited by Gary Groth and Anne Elizabeth Moore (Fantagraphics).....11 (12.32%)

Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (HarperCollins).....6 (6.67%)

Drawn & Quarterly, vol. 4, edited by Chris Oliveros (Drawn & Quarterly).....3 (3.33%)

I voted for BIZARRO COMICS, but I did think long and hard about The Comics Journal Winter Special. If the latter anthology had more comics and less text, it might well have gotten my vote in this category.

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BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM (NEW)?

Name of the Game by Will Eisner (DC).....39 votes (52%)

Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly).....17 (22.67%)

Pictures That [Tick] by Dave McKean (Hourglass/Allen Spiegel Fine Arts).....6 (8%)

Fallout by Jim Ottaviani and others (GT Labs).....5 (6.67%)

Hey, Wait...by Jason (Fantagraphics).....5 (6.67%)

Mail Order Bride by Mark Kalesniko (Fantagraphics).....3 (4%)

Book of Leviathan by Peter Blegvad (Overlook Press).....0

I abstained in this category because I've yet to read any of the nominees. Hopefully, I'll read at least some of them before I have to cast my actual Eisner vote.

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BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM (REPRINT)?

Batman: Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (DC).....44 votes (52.38%)

Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf).....15 (17.86%)

Stray Bullets: Other People, by David Lapham (El Capitan).....15 (17.86%)

Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly).....8 (9.52%)

Scatterbrain, edited by Phil Amara and Scott Allie (Dark Horse Maverick).....2 (2.38%)

Another abstention; another hope that I can read at least some of them before filling out my Eisner ballot.

******

Best Archival Collection/Project?

Plastic Man Archives: vol. 3 by Jack Cole (DC).....43 votes (40.57%)

Spy vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook by Antonio Prohias (Watson Guptill).....22 (20.75%)

Complete Classic Adventures of Zorro, by Alex Toth (Image).....20 (18.87%)

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse).....18 (16.98%)

Wendell All Together by Howard Cruse (Olmstead Press).....3 (2.83%)

I voted for PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES, though I did look close at the Spy. Vs. Spy book as well.

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BEST U.S. EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL?

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse).....35 votes (46.05%)

Eagle by Kaiji Kawaguchi (Viz).....26 (34.21%)

Hey, Wait... by Jason (Fantagraphics).....12 (15.79%)

Nogegon by Luc and Francois Schuiten (Humanoids).....3 (3.95%)

Uzumaki by Junji Ito (Viz).....0

This shouldn't surprise you; I voted for EAGLE: THE MAKING OF AN ASIAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT. The series wasn't merely the best U.S. edition of foreign material. It was the best comics work of the past two years.

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I had three "idle curiosity on Tony's part" questions this go-round. In the matter of colas, I asked if you preferred COKE OR PEPSI...

Coke.....87 votes (59.18%)

Pepsi.....30 (20.41%)

Other.....30 (20.41%)

I voted for PEPSI, though my preferred cola is PEPSI TWIST with its delightful hint of lemon.

******

WHEN IT COMES TO NATIONAL BURGER CHAINS, WHOSE HAMBURGERS ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

Wendy's.....61 votes (41.78%)

Burger King.....42 (28.77%)

McDonald's.....12 (8.22%)

Other.....31 (21.23%)

My favorite was WENDY'S, but I'm trying hard to reduce the amount of red meat I eat.

******

WHICH OF THESE DO YOU FEEL DESCRIBES YOU THE BEST?

Night person?.....66 votes (43.71%)

Morning person?.....30 (19.87%)

Evening person?.....30 (19.87%)

Afternoon person?.....25 (16.56%)

I consider myself a MORNING PERSON, though there are times when I enjoy working late into the night. I never have gotten the hang of afternoons.

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TONY'S MAILBOX

We have lots of letters this week, so let's get right to them.

First up is JOE HILLIARD

I have to say QUEEN & COUNTRY was the one for me both in terms of continuing and new series. It's been a really nice read, and I'm enjoying it more than Rucka's Whiteout minis, just straight-forward spy stories with some nice touches of characterization. Reminds me very much of Len Deighton's "Nameless Spy"/Harry Palmer from The Ipcress File and following novels. My only complaint...how soon does it go monthly?

And while I voted for the Herge story last week in best short piece, I received a copy of ME AND EDITH HEAD...and I would like to change my vote. This is incredible story-telling. I got it in the mail last night, figured I'd read it before my new ones I'd picked up, read it, read it again, and never even looked at the rest of the stack. Steve Lieber's art is incredible, and Sara Ryan's simple yet elegant plotting is great. I would compare it favorably to some of the better sections of Clowes' Ghost World.

From the sublime to the subterranean. I couldn't bring myself to vote on the David/Jemas/Quesada/whomever debacle. I returned to comic books in 2000 after a ten-year absence to see these kind of junior high antics? I don't think I would have even fallen for this when I was IN junior high. This has turned me off from checking out Captain Marvel, which I had been thinking of doing. This has turned me of to checking out new Marvel projects period. I got Captain America #1 because I'd put it on my pull list three months ago, but I doubt if I would have picked it up otherwise yesterday. It's sad. It's like bad work gossip, who's sleeping with whom, who got caught cheating on their time card, and, frankly, it detracts from the product. End of ranting.

Next we have this from MARK DOOLEY, "De Boss of the Whoosier Network...Indiana's Doctor Who and Sci-Fi Connection

For favorite cola, it's a locally made beverage called Big Red, a delicious cream soda which Dee and I consider the nectar of the gods, particularly Diet Big Red. We only drink diet colas at restaurants if it's absolutely necessary, and every now and then we get crazy and get some bottled diet root beer (never, ever drink it out of a can or those gulp bottles; only out of a cold glass bottle or a steamy frosty mug, fresh tapped). But, other than that, it's Big Red. When we come back for this year's Mid-Ohio Con, we'll bring you a six-pack.

As for favorite burgers, the cheapest and tastiest are from Rally's. Their french fries, however, are terrible greasy coffin nails.

You can check out the Whoosier Network at

http://www.whoosiernetwork.org

From JON KNUTSON

As with previous questions relating to Eisner nominees, there were a number of questions I couldn't answer, as I wasn't familiar with the nominees. I selected BIZARRO COMICS in the humor category because I've read it three times, and have enjoyed it every time. I wouldn't mind if DC solicited a second volume, if the quality were as high!

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on the spoilers in PREVIEWS, but I had to disagree overall with the decision by Marvel to cut all info on new titles except for creative teams. I think if they provided information more like the old-time "Mighty Marvel Checklist" in the Bullpen Bulletins, we'd have fewer spoilers, but a better idea if we were going to be interested in the issue. On the other hand, since I tend to mostly follow writers and artists, it's rare a single issue of a title I don't buy will get me interested in trying a title I haven't tried before. I'm pretty much buying whatever Marvels I'm going to buy (unless, of course, you were to take over writing a Marvel title I'm not already buying, naturally!).

I'm not much of a cola drinker--I prefer Diet Mountain Dew and Mountain Dew Code Red--but I chose Coke over Pepsi. On the burger chain front, I chose "other," as I prefer Jack In The Box burgers to Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's. Unfortunately, the "Box" isn't as national as I'd prefer!

I have to say that after my last trip to MID-OHIO CON, there is one burger place out there that I really wish was national. I believe it's called Rally's. There was a location on the way back to my hotel from the convention last year, and I got their burgers for dinner two nights in a row. They're darn good, in my not-so-humble opinion.

On the final question...I consider myself a night person and always have. Which begs the question why I have a job that forces me to set the alarm for 4:45 am?

LLOYD KIRTON wrote

When it comes to fast food burgers, I had to vote "other" because my favorite for many years has been A&W. Not only are their burgers more flavorful than Wendy's, Burger King or McD's, their lettuce, tomatoes, pickles etc. seem to be fresher. They also have better fries.

We also heard from CARL HENDERSON

I'm undecided on the Marvel solicitation changes. For the readers, it's mostly a plus...in that we won't have the endings of stories spoiled by next month's PREVIEWS solicitations. However, I can't help but see this as a nightmare for retailers. They are going to be forced to guess blind--with no hope of getting reorders filled.

On the "Best Anthology" question, I can't believe EXPO 2001 wasn't nominated. Of the five choices presented, I'd have to go with DC's BIZARRO COMICS hardcover.

In the "Best Graphic Album (New)" category, it's FALLOUT by Jim Ottaviani. No hesitation. Ottaviani's science comics are the best think this side of Jay Hosler.

Skipping over "Best Graphic Album (Reprint)," "Best Archival Collection/Project," and "Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material" categories to get to the important stuff, I'm shocked to find that Dr. Pepper, official soft-drink advertising tie-in of the Spider- Man movie, doesn't even rate a check box of its own).

Finally, one late comment on last week's questions. Where was AMELIA RULES! in the list of nominees for the "Best Title for a Younger Audience"? Jimmy Gownley's AMELIA RULES! isn't just the best title for a younger audience, it's one of the best titles out there for ANY audience. If you haven't reviewed it, you should. If Renaissance Press won't send you free review copies, email me, and I'll go out and buy some to send to you. It's that good.

After reading the above, I contacted Jimmy via his website and inquired about review copies. They arrived in today's mail--thank you, Jimmy-so look for my reviews in the very near future. In the meantime, check out the Renaissance Press website at

http://www.renpress.com/amelia

We'll give today's last word to STEVE LIEBER, the artist of ME AND EDITH HEAD

In your April 23rd column, Carl Henderson was quoted: "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."

I ought to ignore this, but what the hell... Aside from the silliness of Carl's point--Does he think judges are supposed to consider sales volume when handing out awards?--it's just plain wrong. "Me And Edith Head" ran in CICADA, which, the last I heard, has a circulation of about 70,000. RUSE is a really fun comic, but it'll take a lot of web subscribers and trade paperbacks before it hits that number.

More important, one should note that two of the short story nominees were from the most recent volume of Drawn and Quarterly, hardly an obscure publication. It's been garnering enthusiastic acclaim for years. If I saw that a panel of judges, all with different relationships to the medium, had nominated two stories from the same long-running anthology as being among the best of the year, my instinct would be to investigate the anthology rather than question their motivations.

As an aside to your readers, they can't go wrong picking this book up. One of the nominated stories, "The Adventures of Herge," is practically worth the cover price by itself. And the generous section of gorgeous, full color Sunday pages from the early days of Gasoline Alley really shows what subtle beauty the funny-pages used to offer.

Sorry to kvetch at you with this, but now that my true nature has been revealed on Comicon.com, I feel newly mean, and free to spout off at the slightest provocation.

Steve Lieber is, of course, the nicest man in comics...most of the time. I don't want to go into the details, but, if you should meet him at a con and he introduces himself as "Shiv" Lieber, flee for your life.

Finally, this reminder: You can order the chapbook edition of ME AND EDITH HEAD online at

http://www.stevelieber.com/get-edith.html

******

THE BIG FINISH

Look for a new TONY'S ONLINE TIPS on Friday at the Perpetual Comics website, an all-new TONY'S TIPS on Saturday right here, and new TONY POLLS questions on Sunday. In the meantime, don't be shy about using the convenient PAYPAL link below. Your contributions help support this and other WORLD FAMOUS COMICS features. Except for the part we use to buy beer.

Tony Isabella

<< 05/04/2002 | 05/07/2002 | 05/14/2002 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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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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