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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 (06/11/02)

The biggest news of a week or so ago was the announcement that DC would publish archive editions of the legendary T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS, commencing later this year. I remember those comic books fondly, hence the questions which comprised fully half of our TONY POLLS for the week of June 2, 2000...

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This December, DC will publish T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS ARCHIVES VOLUME 1, the first of a series reprinting the classic 1960s super-hero comics. Are you planning to buy this initial volume?

Yes.....81 votes (43.09%)

No.....68 (36.17%)

Undecided.....39 (20.74%)

I was initially surprised by the closeness of the vote. In the first days of the balloting, "nay" votes outnumbered the "yea" votes. Then I remembered that many of my readers have been buying comic books *as* long (or almost as long) as I have. I'm guessing a significant number of "no" votes came from readers who still have the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents books in their collections...the lucky pups. Anyway, since I only have a few of the issues, I voted an enthusiastic YES on this one.

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Are you familiar with the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents?

Yes.....142 votes (75.13%)

No.....47 (24.87%)

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If you answered "yes" to the above query, from where are you familiar with them?

The original 1960s comic books.....64 votes (43.24%)

Various short-lived revivals.....39 (26.35%)

Articles in fanzines.....23 (15.54%)

Reprints of the original stories.....10 (6.76%)

Articles on websites.....2 (1.35%)

Other.....10 (6.76%)

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Which of these various T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents features is your favorite?

Dynamo.....51 votes (42.86%)

NoMan.....40 (33.61%)

Raven.....10 (8.40%)

Menthor.....8 (6.72%)

Lightning.....7 (5.88%)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad.....3 (2.52%)

I had to go with DYNAMO on this one. I love the concept of a guy who was your basic 9-to-5 office drone getting a promotion to big-time super-hero field agent. Len Brown is a good man and brave as they come, but I always felt I was a step or two ahead of him. He's a different kind of hero.

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Which of these creators would you *most* like to see in change of a new series of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents comics?

Kurt Busiek.....19 votes (13.57%)

Roger Stern.....15 (10.71%)

John Ostrander.....14 (10%)

Geoff Johns.....13 (9.29%)

Roy Thomas.....12 (8.57%)

Grant Morrison.....9 (6.43%)

Mark Waid.....9 (6.43%)

Mike W. Barr.....8 (5.71%)

John Byrne.....6 (4.29%)

Marv Wolfman.....6 (4.29%)

Steve Englehart.....5 (3.57%)

Paul Levitz.....5 (3.57%)

Chuck Dixon.....2 (1.43%)

Erik Larsen.....2 (1.43%)

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning.....1 (.71%)

Chris Claremont.....1 (.71%)

Jay Faerber.....0

Fabian Nicieza.....0

Judd Winick.....0

Other.....13 (9.29%)

There were a lot of good choices, but there was one writer who was the *perfect* choice for the job. My vote went to MIKE W. BARR; he earned his super-team stripes on BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS, still one of the best team books of all time.

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Presenting...COMIC-STRIP CHARACTER FIGHTS TO THE DEATH! Who would win such a match between Cathy and Sally Forth?

Sally Forth.....124 votes (81.58%)

Cathy.....28 (18.42%)

I picked SALLY FORTH. Just look at how thoroughly she has "whipped" her husband. He's this wimpy embarrassment to real guys. The eternally whining Cathy wouldn't last a round.

Don't look at me that way. I almost voted for Sally because her comic strip is such a positive portrayal of two women raising a child. Meow.

Something about both Cathy and Sally brings out my dark side. If there were ever a Crisis on Infinite Comic Strips, I'd push both of them into oblivion with a smile on my face.


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Who would win a fight to the death between Funky Winkerbean and Mike Doonesbury?

Mike Doonesbury.....81 votes (57.04%)

Funky Winkerbean.....61 (42.96%)

I voted for FUNKY on this one. Mike is just too wimpy to beat a working-class joe...and twirling those pizzas day in and day out has given Funky lightning-fast reflexes.

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Our headline bout. Who would win a fight to the death between Hagar the Horrible and Sarge Snorkel from Beetle Bailey?

Hagar the Horrible.....110 votes (73.83%)

Sarge Snorkel.....39 (26.17%)

I went with SARGE SNORKEL on this one. Sure, Hagar is this Viking warrior and all, but Sarge is a member of the United States Army. If you don't think Snorkel can take Hagar, well, then maybe I ought give your name to John Ashcroft.

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Should airline pilots be allowed to carry guns?

No.....76 votes (45.24%)

Yes.....72 (42.86%)

Undecided.....20 (11.90%)

I'm kicking myself for not wording this one better, though most of you understood I was asking if the pilots should be allowed to carry guns in their cockpits. This was a tough question because there are so many variables to consider: danger to the aircraft if a shot goes amiss, possibility of a pilot going off the deep end, etc. I was leaning towards "undecided" on this one.

But I voted YES. An armed pilot may well be the last chance to prevent hijackers from using his plane as a missile or prevent our own government from shooting it down to protect any potential targets on the ground. If I'm going to err, I'd rather err on the side of American pilots whose backgrounds have been checked out and who have been trained in the use of their weapons.


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True or false:

When it comes to the environment, the Bush administration usually seems to do what the big corporations want.

True....132 votes (77.65%)

False.....22 (12.94%)

Undecided.....16 (9.41%)

No one will be surprised to hear I voted TRUE on this one, but I was amazed to see 22 "false" votes. What color is the sky in your world? Can you honestly look at Dubya's record, currently and back when he was the governor of Texas, and not see it for what it is? Or were you just having me on?

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TONY'S MAILBOX

The mailbox was on the light side this week, just two e-mails on the above question. JON KNUTSON writes:

As the THUNDER Agents archives go, I'll buy every volume DC puts out! I've been waiting for this to happen for a long time, and there's no possible way I could resist it!

I'm familiar with the Agents through the original comics, but I must explain I didn't read them when they came out. I picked up a handful of issues as back issues. Logic dictates that I must've heard of them prior to that--why else would I have bought the back issues--yet my memory is of reading more about them after reading some of the originals.

I chose Dynamo as my favorite feature, but it was a close call between him and NoMan! I liked all the features, but Dynamo edges out the rest due to the characterization.

Of the creators listed to start a new THUNDER series, I chose Mike W. Barr. I enjoyed his BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS, and I'd like to see him on another team book. However, I would be happy with just about any of the listed creators (and a few more besides), so long as they had a genuine love for the characters, had a great respect for the original stories, could remain true to the essence of the series, and had a good, solid concept for where the series would be taken.

What do you know? Those are the same "terms" I have for any creator taking over or reviving a title I enjoy! Of course, unless I actually enjoy reading the title once that person has started on it, it won't stay on my reading list, but that's what I ask of the creators.

So far as the comic strip battles to the death, SALLY FORTH would easily beat CATHY. Cathy would spend too much time fretting about how her boxing outfit looks on her, and Sally would slice her to pieces with her sharp wit in no time. I figured it would be close, but MIKE DOONESBURY would have the edge on FUNKY WINKERBEAN. And I picked SARGE SNORKEL over HAGAR, just because Snorkel has the advantage of experience actually beating up on someone.

I chose "yes" on airline pilots being allowed to carry guns, but that's not quite the whole story. I would want them allowed ONLY if they were very well trained in the use of them. They would have to be a crack shot, to avoid inadvertently causing harm to passengers in the event a terrorist tried to take over the flight. I'd actually prefer it if pilots and flight attendants instead were allowed to carry stun guns or tasers, which are less likely to be a threat to the entire flight if they were needed.

And, since I've no great fondness for George W. Bush, you can imagine how I voted on the last item!

We also heard from JOHN HEATON:

It's hard to believe that so many people think Sally Forth could take Cathy. I voted the other way, because I see one of two things happening: either Cathy's ear-piercing ACK!s would confuse and disorient Sally, leaving her open to an attack; or Sally would happen to mention that she has a husband and a child, which would cause Cathy to go into a berserker rage, ala the Hulk. Either way, Sally would fall.

I was forced to say yes to the question about airline pilots being allowed to carry guns. The way I see it, any properly trained and licensed non-felon should be allowed to carry a gun. But should airline pilots carry guns in the cockpit while on duty? No. Too risky.

As usual, we have ten new TONY POLLS questions waiting for you on the other end of our TONY POLLS link. We're asking you to pick the top comics news story of next week, tell us how interested you are in super-hero comics which deal with real world issues, choose the comics executive with whom you'd feel most comfortable working, rate the various Spider-Man cartoon shows, and enlighten us on your summer vacation plans. Have fun with these questions.

There will be new editions of TONY'S ONLINE TIPS on Wednesday and Friday, a TONY'S TIPS reprint (with additional new material) on Saturday, and a new batch of poll questions on Sunday. Let me hear a big "Amen!" from the congregation.

Bless you and have a great week.

Tony Isabella

<< 06/08/2002 | 06/11/2002 | 06/15/2002 >>

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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