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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 (05/14/02)

The TONY POLLS questions which were active the week of May 5 nearly completed our ongoing survey of how you would vote on this year's Eisner Awards. Because of the multiple choices allowed for the Hall of Fame category, that question was held until this week.

You'll be able to vote on this remaining category--along with our various Spider-Man questions--until the next batch of questions is posted on May 19. I'll have some comments on comicdom's awards in general later in this report, but, for now, here are the results of the May 5 ballots...

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BEST WRITER

Brian Michael Bendis: Powers (Image); Alias, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man (Marvel).....49 votes (42.61%)

Greg Rucka: Queen & Country (Oni); Detective Comics (DC) .....25 (21.74%)

Grant Morrison: FF 1234, New X-Men (Marvel).....18 (15.65%)

Mark Waid: Ruse (CrossGen).....15 (13.04%)

Brian Azzarello: 100 Bullets, Hellblazer (Vertigo/DC).....8 (6.96%)

I considered four out of five of the above writers before casting my vote for BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS. He doesn't dominate the comics writing scene the way folks like Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman have over the years, but he's developed into a consistently good-to-great writer. If comics can hold on to him, and if he can grow beyond his modern pop culture roots, I think he will eventually rank with those other guys.

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BEST WRITER/ARTIST

Dan Clowes, Eightball (Fantagraphics).....31 votes (40.79%)

James Sturm, The Golem's Mighty Swing (Drawn & Quarterly) .....20 (26.32%)

Carla Speed McNeil, Finder (Lightspeed).....11 (14.47%)

Adrian Tomine, Optic Nerve (Drawn & Quarterly).....8 (10.53%)

Jessica Abel, La Perdida (Fantagraphics).....6 (7.89%)

I had to abstain in this category. I haven't yet read any of the nominees.

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BEST WRITER/ARTIST--HUMOR

Judd Winick, The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius (Oni) .....29 votes (32.58%)

Evan Dorkin, Dork (Slave Labor).....27 (30.34%)

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Fantagraphics).....15 (16.85%)

Chynna Clugston-Major, Blue Monday: Absolute Beginners (Oni) .....8 (8.99%)

Makoto Kobayashi, "What's Michael?" in Super Manga Blast (Dark Horse).....7 (7.87%)

Tom Beland, True Story, Swear to God (Clib''s Boy Comics) .....3 (3.37%)

This was one of the rare categories in which I was at least somewhat familiar with all the nominees. I voted for JUDD WINICK,

who I think is one of the most entertaining and interesting comics creator to emerge in the last decade.


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BEST PENCILER/INKER OR PENCILER/INKER TEAM

Gene Ha, Top 10 (ABC).....36 votes (35.64%)

John Cassaday, Planetary (Wildstorm/DC).....29 (28.71%)

Butch Guice, Ruse (CrossGen).....21 (20.79%)

Eduardo Risso, 100 Bullets (Vertigo/DC).....10 (9.90%)

Humberto Ramos/Sandra Hope, Out There (Wildstorm/DC).....3 (2.97%)

Francois Schuitten, Brusel (NBM); Nogegon (Humanoids).....2 (1.98%)

My choice was GENE HA, though I considered just about every other nominee as well. A tough category.

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BEST PAINTER/MULTIMEDIA ARTIST (INTERIOR ART)

Charles Vess, Rose (Cartoon Books).....42 votes (46.67%)

David Mack, Daredevil #16-19 (Marvel).....21 (23.33%)

Dave McKean, Pictures That [Tick] (Hourglass/Allen Spiegel Fine Arts).....14 (15.86%)

John Van Fleet, Batman: The Ankh (DC).....7 (7.78%)

Allen Coulter & Snakebite, The Red Star (Image).....6 (6.67%)

No disrespect intended towards any of the other nominees,

but this one wasn't even close. It was CHARLES VESS and his truly astonishing work on ROSE all the way.


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BEST COLORING

Laura Depuy, Ruse (CrossGen); Ministry of Space (Image).....52 votes (55.32%)

Patricia Mulvihill, Wonder Woman (DC), 100 Bullets (Vertigo) .....19 (20.21%)

Jose Villarrubia, Fantastic Four 1234 (Marvel).....11 (11.70%)

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #15 (Fantagraphics).....9 (9.57%)

Edgar Delgado/Studio F, Out There (Wildstorm/DC).....3 (3.19%)

This was another easy one for me; I just repeated my Harvey

Awards vote for LAURA DEPUY. However, I'd rank Patricia Mulvihill as a very close second in this category.


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BEST LETTERING

Todd Klein: Promethea, Tom Strong's Terrific Tales, Tomorrow Stories, Top 10, Greyshirt (ABC); The Sandman Presents: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dreams But Were Afraid to Ask (Vertigo/DC); Detective Comics, The Dark Knight Strikes Again (DC); Castle Waiting (Olio); Universe X (Marvel).....33 votes (36.26%)

Stan Sakai: Usagi Yojimbo, Groo: Death and Taxes (Dark Horse Maverick).....25 (27.47%)

Dave Sim: Cerebus (Aardvark-Vanaheim).....23 (25.27%)

Chris Ware: Acme Novelty Library #15 (Fantagraphics).....7 (7.69%)

Dan Clowes: Eightball #22 (Fantagraphics).....3 (3.30%)

This was a tough call for me. Todd Klein's work has been outstanding year after year. But, this time out, I wanted to cast my vote for STAN SAKAI. His work is also outstanding and he is so often overlooked in this category.

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BEST COVER ARTIST

Dave Johnson, Detective Comics (DC), 100 Bullets (Vertigo/DC).....31 votes (34.44%)

Mike Mignola, Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (Dark Horse Maverick) .....23 (25.56%)

Jae Lee, Worlds at War specials (DC); Fantastic Four 1234 (Marvel)......16 (17.78%)

Tim Bradstreet, Hellblazer (DC).....15 (16.67%)

J. G. Jones, Codename: Knockout, Transmetropolitan (Vertigo) .....5 (5.56%)

I gave careful consideration to four of the five nominees in this category. Ultimately, I decided I got the biggest kick out of the covers J.G. JONES did for Vertigo/DC.

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TALENT DESERVING OF WIDER RECOGNITION

Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville, Atlas).....30 votes (50.85%)

Dean Haspiel (Opposable Thumbs).....14 (23.73%)

Arthur Dela Cruz (Kissing Chaos)......7 (11.86%)

Jen Benka and Kris Dresen (Manya).....4 (6.78%)

Nick Bertozzi (The Masochists).....4 (6.78%)

I had some familiarity with almost every nominee in this category, but I've been enjoying comics by DEAN HASPIEL for longer than any of the other creators. He got my vote.

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BEST COMICS-RELATED PERIODICAL

Alter Ego/edited by Roy Thomas...39 votes (40.21%)

Comic Book Artist/edited by Jon Cooke.....38 (39.18%)

The Comics Journal/edited by Gary Groth and Anne Elizabeth Moore.....20 (20.62%)

All three of these magazines are worthy of this award. My interests run more towards the material covered by the TwoMorrows publications. Roy Thomas is one of my favorite editors, before and during and after the time I worked with him at Marvel, so his ALTER EGO got my vote.

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BEST COMICS-RELATED BOOK

Kimota! The Miracleman Companion by George Khoury (TwoMorrows) .....29 votes (31.89%)

Jack Cole and Plastic Man by Art Spiegelman (Chronicle Books) .....28 (30.77%)

Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, edited by Chip Kidd (Pantheon).....26 (28.57%)

Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators, Father of the Adventure Strip by Brian M. Kane (Vanguard).....6 (6.59%)

OPUS 2 by Barry Windsor-Smith (Fantagraphics).....2 (2.20%)

This was one of the toughest choices of all. I could have gone with *any* of the nominees and been quite comfortable with my selection. By a hair, I picked HAL FOSTER: PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS, FATHER OF THE ADVENTURE STRIP by Brian Kane.

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BEST COMICS-RELATED ITEM

Dark Horse classic comic characters statuettes, sculpted by Yoe Studio (Dark Horse).....33 votes (47.83%)

Hellboy PVC set (Dark Horse).....13 (18.84%)

Little Enid Doll (Press-Pop Gallery).....9 (13.04%)

R. Crumb Catholic Schoolgirl statue, sculpted by Ken Melton (Bowen designs).....9 (13.04%)

Roman Dirge''s Lenore lunchbox (Slave Labor).....5 (7.25%)

I can't afford any of this stuff, but, if I could, I would have a house filled with those DARK HORSE CLASSIC COMIC CHARACTERS STATUETTES. They look great and they got my vote.

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BEST PUBLICATION DESIGN

Acme Novelty Library/designed by Chris Ware (Fantagraphics) .....23 votes (35.38%)

Red Star vol. 1: The Battle of Kar Dathra's Gate/designed by Team Red Star (Image).....16 (24.62%)

OPUS 2/designed by Barry Windsor-Smith (Fantagraphics).....11 (16.92%)

Drawn & Quarterly, vol. 4, designed by Chris Oliveros (Drawn & Quarterly).....6 (9.23%)

Scatterbrain, designed by Cary Grazzini and Craig Thompson (Dark Horse Maverick).....5 (7.69%)

Non #5, designed by Jordan Crane (Red Ink).....4 (6.15%)

I voted for OPUS 2. If you want a reason, the best I can offer you is: I may not know much about design, but I do know what I like.

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TONY'S THOUGHTS

I'm not thrilled with any of the current comics awards. Far too often, the Eisners and Harveys ignore the mainstream creators.

The Comics Buyer's Guide awards tend to attract voters whose comics tastes are focused squarely on the traditional. The Usenet awards, more than any others, are a popularity contest. And the Wizard fan awards are a joke.

Before the naysayers start bombarding me with e-mail, I freely confess that a similar complaint could be lodged against the TONY POLLS balloting. My readers, at least those who vote, tend to be mainstream adventure and super-hero readers. Their choices in the humor categories also reflect this.

Human nature being what it is, I doubt anyone will ever come up with awards which could satisfying even a small majority of our comics community. I remember coming away from my year of service as an Eisner judge feeling that my fellow judges and I had done an outstanding job of nominating comics and creators from across the vast comics spectrum.

The day after I returned home from San Diego, where the Eisner judges do their work, I received a phone call from Jackie Estrada, the Eisner Awards administrator. A publisher was dissatisfied...to put it mildly...with the number of nominations it had received that year. Never mind that it had received somewhere in the vicinity of

a dozen nominations, not too shabby for a publisher with a fairly small output. We, the judges, were cretins.

Awards are a dangerous business. I'm also thinking that they aren't of enormous interest to my readers. We didn't even break a hundred votes in some of the Harvey/Eisner categories, something I should keep in mind before I do this again.

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TONY STUFF

Family matters and personal illness have kept me from being as productive as I'd like these past few months. Assuming no further distractions, I'll have a new TONY'S ONLINE TIPS for you on Friday at the PERPETUAL COMICS website...and a "new" TONY'S TIPS reprint-plus for you on Saturday here at WORLD FAMOUS COMICS...and a batch of new TONY POLLS questions for you on Sunday.

If that schedule holds up, and continues to hold up for a week or three, then I'll be able to start working on some new stuff for you. I have decided what I want to do for that one day of the week on which I'm not already providing online content, but I'm going to hold off announcing it until I'm certain where it's going to appear and that I can maintain its frequency and quality.

In the meantime, if you wish to encourage this madness, we've provide a handy "Tip the Tipster" link just south of this send-off.

Several of you have already contributed--a couple of you more than once--but the pickings in total have been hovering between slim and anorexic. The more you support this site, the more entertainment we can provide.

Have a great week...and I'll see you soon.

Tony Isabella

<< 05/07/2002 | 05/14/2002 | 05/18/2002 >>

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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