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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
The After-Poll Report (05/28/02)

Our current TONY POLLS questions are a silly change-of-pace, but last week's concerned such serious matters as the new Star Wars movie, the X-Files, comics-related magazines, the Overstreet Comic-Book Price Guide, John McCain, and whether you'd rather work for a man or a woman. Okay, maybe "serious" is stretching it for most of those. In any case, here are the results...

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QUESTION #1: Is the Force strong within STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES or is George Lucas full of sith? Rate the new movie on a scale of one to five stars.

****The Lucas empire strikes back; AOTC was pretty good. (29 votes; 23.58%)

***The Jedi return, but my enjoyment was clouded. (22 votes; 17.89%)

*****The Force is strong within this movie; I loved it! (18 votes; 14.63%)

**Only so-so; it didn't give me any new hope for a sequel. (10 votes; 8.13%)

*I can't phantom why the Lucas empire thought I'd like this. (5 votes; 4.07%)

I haven't seen the movie yet. (39 votes; 31.71%)

I kept going back and forth between three stars and the TWO STARS I ultimately gave it. There were many reasons for my vote of no confidence, among them the feeling that this movie was designed like a jigsaw puzzle, existing mostly to fill in continuity alluded to in the original trilogy...and, of course, to sell lots of toys. Although neither objective strikes me as particularly heinous--Why begrudge George Lucas his creative goals or commercial success?--they did make for an unsatisfying movie.

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QUESTION #2: The X-Files has reached its series finale and we had some questions to mark the occasion. Starting with: which type of episode did you enjoy more?

Monster/mystery of the week.....60 votes (47.24%)

Mythology (the ongoing conspiracy).....38 (29.92%)

No preference.....29 (22.83%)

I'm with the MONSTER/MYSTERY OF THE WEEK voters. I had my fill of outlandish government conspiracy stories long ago and that aversion has grown stronger now that Bush and his mob have given us actual government conspiracies to worry about.

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QUESTION #3: Which of these X-Files recurring characters was your favorite? [Submitted by Chris Galdieri]

The Lone Gunmen.....46 votes (38.02%)

Cigarette Smoking Man.....27 (22.31%)

Walter Skinner.....16 (13.22%)

Alex Krycek.....13 (10.74%)

Deep Throat.....5 (4.13%)

Marita Covarrubis.....3 (2.48%)

Margaret Scully.....3 (2.48%)

Diana Fowley.....2 (1.65%)

Cassandra Spender.....2 (1.65%)

X.....2 (1.65%)

Jeffrey Spender.....1 (0.83%)

Well Manicured Man.....1 (0.83%)

Morris Fletcher.....0

You've been reading my columns for years. How could I not love a ragtag trio of underground journalists on a heroic and oft-insane quest to uncover the truth? To be honest, I liked THE LONE GUNMAN better than I liked Mulder and Scully.

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QUESTION #4: Who was your favorite member of the Lone Gunmen? [Submitted by Chris Galdieri]

Frohicke.....48 votes (46.15%)

Langley.....33 (31.73%)

Byers.....23 (22.12%)

I had to go with BYERS on this one. Frohicke was born to be a rebel. Langley loved the toys as much or more than the quest. But Byers was the one who made a choice of conscience that required a greater personal sacrifice than the others.

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QUESTION #5: When do you think the X-Files jumped the shark? [Submitted by Chris Galdieri]

David Duchovny left the cast.....20 votes (17.09%)

David Duchovny went part-time.....20 votes (17.09%)

X-Files: The Movie.....18 (15.38%)

Moved from Vancouver to LA.....15 (12.82%)

Scully got pregnant.....11 (9.40%)

Never jumped the shark.....10 (8.55%)

Moved from Fridays to Sundays.....5 (4.27%)

Truth behind Samantha's abduction was revealed.....5 (4.27%)

Morgan and Wong left the writing staff.....4 (3.42%)

Too many jokey episodes in Season 7.....3 (2.56%)

Annabeth Gish joined the cast.....2 (1.71%)

Robert Patrick joined the cast.....1 (.88%)

Other.....3 (2.56%)

I had to go with X-FILES: THE MOVIE on this one. The major truth revealed by that film was that Chris Carter works better on the small screen than on the big screen. I think he realized this, too, because, after the movie, save for a few moments of brilliance here and there, the television show lost its spark.

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QUESTION #6: Which of these 1990s comics universes would you most like to see revived? [Submitted by Neil Robertson]

Ultraverse (Malibu): Mantra, Prime.....30 votes (18.99%)

Valiant: Harbinger, Magnus, Solar.....28 (17.72%)

Milestone: Hardware, Icon, Static.....26 (16.46%)

Impact (DC): The Fly, The Jaguar.....23 (14.56%)

Acclaim: Quantum & Woody, Turok.....19 (12.03)

Kirbyverse (Topps): Satan's Six, Secret City Saga...10 (6.33%)

Tekno: I-Bots, Lady Justice, Mike Danger.....5 (3.16%)

Comics' Greatest World (Dark Horse): Ghost, X.....3 (1.90%)

Continuity: Megalith, Ms. Mystic.....3 (1.90%)

Defiant: Good Guys, Warriors of Plasm.....2 (1.27%)

Genesis (Malibu): Ex-Mutants, Protectors.....2 (1.27%)

Marvel UK: Death's Head, Knights of Pendragon.....2 (1.27%)

Eternity: Champions, Flare.....1 (.63%)

Barkerverse (Marvel): EctoKid, Hyperkind....0

Other.....4 (2.53%)

This was a tough decision. I could have voted for either Milestone or the Malibu Ultraverse and felt good about it. I ended up voting for the Kirbyverse for personal reasons, namely, I had a blast developing and writing the original SATAN'S SIX series with the encouragement and support of two of my all-time favorite comics guys: creator Jack Kirby and editor Jim Salicrup.

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QUESTION #7: Which of these choices is your favorite comics-related magazine?

Comics Buyer's Guide.....52 votes (35.37%)

Comic Book Artist.....34 (23.13%)

Alter Ego.....21 (14.29%)

Jack Kirby Collector.....10 (6.80%)

Comics Journal.....9 (6.12%)

Comic Shop News.....6 (4.08%)

Hogan's Alley.....3 (2.04%)

Comic Book Marketplace.....2 (1.36%)

Comics International.....2 (1.36%)

Draw.....1 (.68%)

Sketch.....1 (.68%)

Other.....6 (4.08%)

I voted for COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, which has been doing an amazing job for over a thousand issues, but, truth be told, I could have voted for just about every other magazine on this list. The TwoMorrows trio of Alter Ego, Comic Book Artist, and The Jack Kirby Collector never fails to delight me. The Comics Journal remains an important and unique voice in comicdom, while Hogan's Alley is as classy a magazine as they come.

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QUESTION #8: How often do you buy a new edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide?

Never.....73 votes (48.67%)

Every five years.....27 (18%)

Every year.....20 (13.33%)

Every three years.....12 (8%)

Every four years.....11 (7.33%)

Every other year.....7 (4.67%)

I buy the new Overstreet EVERY YEAR, a combination of habit and intended use. I use it frequently in writing my columns, and, when I finally get around to selling chunks of my comics collection online, it will come in useful. That said, I was greatly surprised to discover how many of you never buy the price guide. I used to sell hundreds of them every year when I was the owner and operator of a comics store in downtown Cleveland.

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QUESTION #9: Should John McCain leave the Republican Party and run for President?

Yes.....64 votes (44.14%)

No.....49 (33.79%)

Undecided.....32 (22.07%)

I couldn't vote YES fast enough on this one. If my fellow Americans really want a right-winger in the White House, I'll take McCain over Bush any day. And I also wouldn't shed any tears if an independent McCain run split the conservative vote enough to allow a liberal or centrist victory. No offense to the conceivably well-intentioned rank-and-file members of the Republican Party, but I'm in favor of darn near anything that obliterates the power of their arrogant and corrupt leadership.

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QUESTION #10: If you could pick your boss, would you prefer working for a man or a woman?

Doesn't matter.....92 votes (57.86%)

Woman.....36 (22.64%)

Man.....31 (19.50%)

I went with DOESN'T MATTER. I've worked with as many great female bosses as I have male bosses. I have had fewer lousy female bosses than male, but that's because I have had fewer female bosses period. I've only had two truly evil bosses...and they were male. I have never had sex with any of my bosses, though I've certainly been screw...nah, that's just too easy.

I borrowed this question from a recent Gallup Poll, which also allowed the choice of "no opinion." Their poll was first conducted in 1975 and again this year. Comparing their polls with ours, we get these results:

PREFER A MAN

Gallup 1975: 62%

Gallup 2002: 31%

Tony Polls: 19.50%

PREFER A WOMAN

Gallup 1975: 7%

Gallup 2002: 19%

Tony Polls: 22.64%

NO DIFFERENCE/DOESN'T MATTER

Gallup 1975: 29%

Gallup 2002: 49%

Tony Polls: 57.86%

Looking over these percentages, I'd say we were slightly more evolved than the norm. I'm also thinking that it would be fun to run more questions of this nature, especially if we can compare the results to those of larger samplings. As always, I'm open to your suggestions.


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TONY'S MAILBOX

My readers are rarely shy about expressing their opinions and that holds true for the poll questions as well. This first note is from JOE ACKERMAN:

My favorite comics-related magazine is COMICOLOGY. There have only been five issues--one in the first volume, four in the second --but each was terrific.

On the question of which 1990s universe was his favorite, LEE STONE opted to mention one from the 1980s:

I would have to go with Marvel's "New Universe" from the mid- eighties with STARBRAND, PSI-FORCE, NIGHTMASK, and DP7.

From JOE FRIETZE:

A clarification. I voted for the Original Valiant universe revival, but would absolutely love a Christopher Priest/Mark Bright revival of QUANTUM & WOODY more than most possible revivals with living creators. They were the highlight of the Acclaim universe. And any Valiant revival would need Bob Layton on board!

SIR JON sent along these comments:

The X-Files definitely jumped their shark (and I jumped ship) when the show continuously flogged repetitive cliff-hanging season-enders while returning to the status quo with each new season. Woo hoo, what a phenomenal idea...if by phenomenal you mean watching paint dry!

And Senator McCain doesn't need to leave the Republican Party to run for president; party politics need to be booted. I couldn't care less if he ran as a Republican, Democrat or Federalist, just as long as he returns to run again.

Finally, we have our now-traditional letter from the fearless CARL HENDERSON:

The last time I commented on your poll questions, my comments prompted a nasty-gram from the Steve Lieber, Nicest Man in Comics (TM). Since that letter, ME AND EDITH HEAD has hit one of my local comics retailers. Based on a positive review by Dave Van Domelen, over on Usenet's rec.arts.comics.misc, I picked up and read EDITH HEAD--and thought it was really quite good. I still liked RUSE #1 better, but since RUSE wasn't nominated for an Eisner, ME AND EDITH HEAD would certainly make a worthy winner. But I'm a comic book fan, so it only follows that I'm a glutton for abuse. So pour it on...

I still haven't seen STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE and don't feel any poorer for it. So I'll just skip the question on ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

Which type of X-FILES episode did I enjoy more? I voted "No Preference" because my preference changed as the series went on. I'd have voted "Mythology" up till the end of season five; "Monster of the Week" thereafter. Carter and company clearly had no clue what they would do if the series went over five years--and it showed. By season six, the "mythology" episodes were as confusing and poorly thought out as a mid-1990s Marvel X-book.

As for favorite recurring character, it's the Lone Gunmen. I loved them on the X-FILES, and I loved their spin-off series (which was better than 90% of the last three years of the X-FILES itself). I even loved the third-from-last episode of the X-FILES, which tied up the loose ends of their series and let the Lone Gunmen go out heroes.

And to the clueless commentators online who thought seeing the Gunmen buried in Arlington National Cemetery was a cop-out because in life they were "anti-government"...they completely missed the damned point! They may have opposed the government, but they loved their country. One might have thought the fact that LONE GUNMEN theme began with an electric guitar rendition of the first bar of the "Star-Spangled Banner" might have been a clue as to what they were about.

Of course if that question had been about the actors, and not their characters, I'd have had to go with William B. Davis, the Smoking Man. Davis is a real-life skeptic and uses his fame from his X-FILES role to speak out in support of science and reason. UFOs, magic healing, and psychics can make thrilling entertainment, but when people try to apply the unreal to real life, things seldom work out well.

My favorite Lone Gunman has to be Byers--even though Langley was a fellow RPGer. Throughout their own series, and the handful of X-FILES episodes that focused on the Gunmen, Byers was quietly the most heroic character in either series. He wasn't afraid to put his finances, his life, or even his dignity on the line for what was right. If Bill Jemas lost his mind tomorrow and made me writer on CAPTAIN AMERICA, I'd probably write Cap a lot like Byers.

I refuse to answer question five. I think the whole "Jumped the Shark" thing has itself jumped the shark.

On the 1990s comics universe question, I'll vote Milestone. Although I enjoyed comics from several of those other universes (QUANTUM & WOODY, MIKE DANGER, HARDCASE, THE STRANGERS, and FLARE), overall, Milestone had the highest across-the-line quality of any of them. I still find it funny/sad that the characters and concept of STATIC can support a TV series, but not a comic book. We are truly a weird industry sometimes.

Favorite comics-related magazine? Of those listed, COMIC BOOK ARTIST is my clear favorite. I try to wait for the collections, but I never quite manage to. Anyone who is interested in the history of American comics should read COMIC BOOK ARTIST. The editor, writers, and interviewers of CBA are--issue by issue--assembling a mammoth work of oral history. And as more and more pioneering comic book creators pass away each year, the value of the work the staff of CBA are doing is only reinforced.

There's one comic-related magazine that I really enjoy that was not listed: COMICS AND GAMES RETAILER. I find the business side of the industry fascinating; this Krause mag is an excellent way to keep informed.

On to the Overstreet question: Since I don't really care about the "value" of my comics, I only use the OVERSTREET PRICE GUIDE for its historical information. I find picking up a used copy every five years or so works fine for that.

Finally--don't get me started on John McCain. I consider campaign finance "reform" legislation of the type McCain champions to be a cynical attempt to use the law to unconstitutionally freeze out voices from outside of the two major parties. I wouldn't vote for him, but there are few candidates in the Democrat or Republican parties that I would. I proudly "waste my vote" every two years (in national elections) on mostly Libertarian candidates.

I also read comic books in public; I'm perfectly okay with people thinking I'm nuts.

New TONY POLLS questions will be posting on Sunday, but, due to some logistical situations, you won't be seeing our next AFTER-POLLS REPORT until next Wednesday or Thursday. However--cross your

fingers now--we're not anticipating any other delays with columns

appearing here or at the Perpetual Comics website.

That's it for now. Be well.

Tony Isabella

<< 05/25/2002 | 05/28/2002 | 06/01/2002 >>

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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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