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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
The After-Poll Report (05/21/02)

The SPIDER-MAN movie was the main subject of last week's TONY POLLS questions, but we also asked voters to choose the four comics creators they would induct into the Eisner Awards "Hall of Fame." Here are the results of those polls...

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The new king of Hollywood is SPIDER-MAN, whose opening weekend set new records. We asked if you had seen the movie.

Yes.....126 votes (70.79%)

No.....52 (29.21%)

On a scale of zero to five, with five being the best possible score, how would you rate SPIDER-MAN?

Five.....49 votes (37.98%)

Four.....59 (45.74%)

Three.....17 (13.18%)

Two......2 (1.55%)

One.....0

Zero.....2 (1.55%)

Do you plan to see the movie again?

Yes.....78 votes (60.94%)

No.....24 (18.75%)

Maybe.....26 (20.31%)

My kids and I went to see SPIDER-MAN the day it opened and gave it FIVEs all around. Sainted Wife Barb wasn't with us, so we already have our excuse to see it again.

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We asked which actor you thought gave the best performance in SPIDER-MAN.

J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson).....50 votes (39.37%)

Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man).....45 (35.43%)

Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn/Green Goblin).....19 (14.96%)

Bruce Campbell (Ring Announcer).....5 (3.94%)

Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson).....3 (2.36%)

James Franco (Harry Osborn).....3 (2.36%)

Rosemary Harris (Aunt May).....1 (.79%)

Cliff Robertson (Uncle Ben Parker).....1 (.79%)

Michael Papajohn (The Burglar).....0

Randy Poffo (Bone Saw McGraw).....0

Joe Manganiello (Flash Thompson).....0

Ted Raimi (Hoffman).....0

Bill Nunn (Joe Robertson).....0

I was so sure that TOBEY MAGUIRE would take this question in a walk...after all, *I* voted for him...that I immediately asked this next question.

Same question as above, but this time you can't vote for Tobey Maguire. Which actor gave the best performance?

J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson).....68 votes (56.20%)

Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn/Green Goblin).....24 (19.83%)

Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson).....10 (8.26%)

James Franco (Harry Osborn).....6 (4.96%)

Cliff Robertson (Uncle Ben Parker).....5 (4.13%)

Bruce Campbell (Ring Announcer).....4 (3.31%)

Michael Papajohn (The Burglar).....1 (.83%)

Randy Poffo (Bone Saw McGraw).....1 (.83%)

Rosemary Harris (Aunt May).....1 (.83%)

Ted Raimi (Hoffman).....1 (.83%)

Joe Manganiello (Flash Thompson).....0

Bill Nunn (Joe Robertson).....0

Simmons was definitely memorable in his scenes as J. Jonah Jameson, but I was even more impressed by JAMES FRANCO's portrayal of the troubled Harry Osborn.

******

SPIDER-MAN 2 was on our mind from the moment SPIDER-MAN ended. We asked if the sequel should feature one villain or two.

One.....126 votes (78.26%)

Two.....35 (21.74%)

I'd like to avoid the mistake made...repeatedly...by those folks who make the Batman movies. Give me one really good villain and develop him (or her) fully during the film. I could accept a colorful henchmen or two, but adding a second major foe would take away screen time from Peter Parker. Our hero's "real" life is as vital to the Spider-Man story as the super-heroics. It should not be diminished to attach another name actor to the sequel or to sell a few more toys.

We also asked which of these villains you would most like to see in SPIDER-MAN 2...

Doctor Octopus.....99 votes (59.64%)

Lizard.....13 (7.83%)

Mysterio.....11 (6.63%)

Kingpin.....7 (4.22%)

Kraven the Hunter.....7 (4.22%)

Electro.....6 (3.68%)

Sandman.....6 (3.68%)

Venom.....4 (2.41%)

Vulture.....3 (1.81%)

Man-Wolf.....2 (1.20%)

Black Cat.....1 (.60%)

Chameleon.....1 (.60%)

Green Goblin.....1 (.60%)

Morlun.....1 (.60%)

Scorpion.....1 (.60%)

Hydro-Man.....0

Rhino.....0

Spider-Slayer robots.....0

Tombstone.....0

Other.....3 (1.81%)

Up to the moment I voted, I thought I would cast my ballot for Doc Ock. Then, recalling J.K. Simmons' outstanding performance as J. Jonah Jameson, I chose MAN-WOLF. What better way to beef up Jonah's role in the sequel than to pit Spidey against Jameson's own son, an astronaut cursed to turn into an extraterrestrial werewolf?

We know Simmons can handle the comedic aspect of Jameson and even reveal the newspaper publisher's understated courage, but the use of Man-Wolf would really give him a chance to show the full range of what I'm guessing are his considerable talents.


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HALL OF FAME

Finishing our Eisner Awards polls, we asked you to vote on the HALL OF FAME nominees. You were allowed to vote for four creators and here are the results...

John Buscema.....91 votes

John Romita.....88

Gene Colan.....84

Dan De Carlo.....67

Sergio Aragones.....64

John Severin.....40

Nick Cardy.....32

Herge.....30

Lou Fine.....29

Al Capp.....20

Joe Orlando.....18

Bernie Krigstein.....16

Will Elder.....15

John Stanley.....9

Vaughn Bode.....7

This was a tough question, even with four votes to spread around. Every creator listed here deserves to be the Hall of Fame. Some of them are friends or friendly acquaintances or even beloved mentors. Ultimately, considering how quickly comicdom can forget its own, I voted for talents no longer with us.

In alphabetical order, I voted for JOHN BUSCEMA, DAN DECARLO, HERGE, and JOE ORLANDO.

Buscema's flawless storytelling, incredible body of work, and sheer drawing ability earned him one of my votes and, though they worked different sides of the genre street, the same holds true for DeCarlo. In the latter's case, I think he also deserves credit for fighting for his rights as creator of Josie and the Pussycats and co-creator of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. His courage was/remains inspirational.

Herge's TINTIN adventures are among the finest comics albums ever created. They are beloved throughout the world and should be required reading for all comics creators.

Orlando? I could justify voting for him on the basis of his EC Comics work...or his work with many of the great young talents who broke into comics in the late 1960s and early 1970s...or "just" the mentor's role he took with Paul Levitz, currently president and publisher of DC Comics. What really tipped the scales in his favor here was my own relationship with him.

Joe was the last editor who taught me anything about writing. I've had some fine editors since him, but their contributions to my work have been more of a supportive role. Joe knew "story" and I picked up a few tricks from him during my short time working with him. One of the few regrets I have about my DC editorial gig going bust is that I didn't get to work with him longer.


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TONY'S MAILBOX

Our first letter this column comes from JAMIE COVILLE, wherein he explains his "Hall of Fame" picks

Dan DeCarlo: contributed the model sheets to Archie and his pals, created new characters that are among the most well-known comic characters in America, if not the world.

Herge: Tintin's creator wasn't in the Hall of Fame already? I wish there were more creators like him around.

John Stanley: considered by many to be second only to Carl Barks. It's a crying shame there aren't Little Lulu books in stores today reprinting his stuff.

John Buscema: I'll admit it, this vote is partially because he died recently. That said, I've always *loved* his work. He created, in my mind, the "definitive" versions of many characters. Plus he taught a lot of kids how to draw. He does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

If I had a fifth vote in this category, it would have gone to John Stanley...and I'll echo Jamie's dismay that Stanley's amazing Little Lulu stories are being kept in print.

******

Last week, I commented on what I saw as the impossibility of any comics awards satisfying a majority of comics professionals and readers. RUSS MAHERAS responds

Just a quick comment on awards, since I have had a fair amount of experience with both civilian professional and military awards systems--both as a nominator and a judge.

First, as you mention, no matter how the system is designed and administered, there are going to be people unhappy with the results. That being the case, anyone involved in the judging process needs to have or develop extremely thick skin.

To have a successful system, the nominating process needs to have very clearly defined rules regarding categories and the people or items being judged. Then, the judges have to have a clear set of visible guidelines with which to judge nominees/entries, and the scoring system needs to be clearly defined and weighted in some manner that is acceptable to a wide range of people who are experts in that particular field.

A qualified panel (five or more) of impartial judges needs to be selected, and the judges need to judge the nominees/entries as fairly as possible using the guidelines.

The results are then tallied, either by the judges or a third party, and published or announced at the appropriate time.

As a check and balance, the process is scrubbed and critiqued by judges each year, suggested changes reviewed and incorporated into the process for the next round of judging.

If the awards process is run in this fashion, no mature, rational person can really ask for more. So, in my opinion, if anyone who calls up after the fact and gets rude or abusive to a judge because of some perceived slight, they deserve to get hung up on...or get a swift kick in the pants.

The most important advice Russ gives is that bit about thick skin. From time to time, I still get flack because, as an Eisner judge, I awarded low scores to an industry darling. However, then and now, I didn't figure my role was to be a conduit for anyone's critical judgment save my own.

Being an Eisner judge was an exciting and fulfilling gig, but I can't imagine ever doing it again. However, I am available for beauty pageants and convention costume contests.

This week's TONY POLLS questions deal with the new Star Wars movie, the X-Files, comic-book universes, the Overstreet Comic-Book Price Guide, John McCain, and your boss-of-choice. Visit the TONY POLLS page, cast your votes, and then join me here next Tuesday for the after-polls report.

Look for my TONY'S ONLINE TIPS columns on Wednesday and Friday at the Perpetual Comics website. I'll be back here at World Famous Comics on Saturday with a semi-new TONY'S TIPS column...and also on Sunday with a new batch of TONY POLLS questions.

Sweet Jesus, help us, we're all trapped in the Isabella Age of Online Excess!

Tony Isabella

<< 05/18/2002 | 05/21/2002 | 05/25/2002 >>

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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