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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 (06/18/02)

Marvel Comics and their characters have been dominating these polls of late and last week's questions were no exception. Let's get right to them and then we can talk about how you can assist me in adding some variety to this feature.

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QUESTION #1: A comics industry executive complained recently that the comics press didn't give sufficient coverage to a story he felt important. From this list of stories reported at NEWSARAMA, pick the one you feel was the most important.

CBLDF defends "King Velveeda".....30 votes (18.75%)

Dark Knight II #3 on sale in July.....28 (17.50%)

Kevin Smith event raises $8K for ACTOR.....21 (13.12%)

Alex Ross paints John Buscema's last artwork.....19 (11.88%)

Marvel's THE CALL OF DUTY sells out.....14 (8.75%)

Comics & the Spidey DVD.....9 (5.62%)

Peter David writes HULK novelization.....9 (5.62%)

Another helping of GRENDEL.....3 (1.88%)

Latest ARCHIE AMERICANA ships in September.....3 (1.88%)

MoCCA holds 1st annual art festival.....3 (1.88%)

Morrison's CRACKCOMICS.COM now live.....3 (1.88%)

Oni to publish second QUEEN & COUNTRY collection...3 (1.88%)

Brit artist joins CAPTAIN AMERICA team.....2 (1.25%)

Friends of Lulu celebrates Hilda Terry.....2 (1.25%)

Jim Mahfood joins Image.....2 (1.25%)

Chris Claremont to write new GEN 13 series.....1 (.62%)

Rob Liefeld and J. Lo sign movie deal.....1 (.62%)

Stuart Immonen pencils HULK.....1 (.62%)

Nicieza and Lobdell reunite on BUFFY comics.....0

Other.....6 (3.75%)

I could write an entire column stating my views on this one and--who knows?--I might just do that in the near future. Before casting my vote, I eliminated anything involving creators moving to new assignments or publishers. There are maybe six people in the industry whose movements I would consider news and the only one of them who actually has made a noteworthy move in the past two years was Stan Lee when he launched the "Just Imagine" series over at DC Comics. That cut five choices right off the bat.

I do consider announcements of new books/collections news, but none of the ones listed above came anywhere close to being the most important news of the week. Four more down.

I eliminated the Dark Knight story. Its shipping late isn't news, though I suspect the reasons why it's shipping late might be pretty interesting.

The Friends of Lulu and Museum of Comic Book Art stories are interesting, but not *the* big news of the week. This also holds true for Grant Morrison's new website and Kevin Smith's continuing to do good things for ACTOR. Four more down.

That left me with five choices and I'll run down my thoughts on them for you, starting with the Rob Liefeld/Jennifer Lopez movie deal. I might well have voted for this one if any of Rob's other movie deals had ever led to an actual movie. I think this one has a cool premise, but, until someone starts filming it, I'm not gonna get too excited.

I think Alex Ross collaborating with the late John Buscema is very cool, too, as is the item about the Spidey DVD. But I didn't think they were the most important stories.

I considered voting for Marvel's CALL OF DUTY story, but it's not news when Marvel sells out of a book. The positive coverage which the comics are receiving is news, but I don't think it will amount to much in the long run, save for the temporary creation of high secondary market prices on the comics. Since Marvel doesn't go back to press on its comics, or overprint, these books won't be getting into the hands of the non-comics readers who saw the press coverage of them. I don't fault Marvel for keeping its overprint charges down, but it needs to make more frequent exceptions to the policy. Primary market sales are more important than the publisher du jour's ego.

Ultimately, I cast my vote for the CBLDF/"King Velveeta" item, but not for any reason covered in the story itself. I'm becoming somewhat alarmed at the CBLDF resources being expended on battles with corporations. I think the real threats to our comics freedom of expression are going to come from ultra-right-wing politicians and their organized allies. Is fighting Kraft and Starbucks in the comics industry's best interests? That's a question I think needs asking and answering.


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QUESTION #2: Rate your level of interest in super-hero comic books dealing with real-world issues.

Moderately interested.....90 votes (54.22%)

Not very interested.....36 (21.69%)

Very interested.....22 (13.25%)

Not at all interested.....11 (6.63%)

Extremely interested.....7 (4.32%)

I went with EXTREMELY INTERESTED, which should come as no surprise to my readers. Had I continued on my Black Lightning book past my first arc, you would have seen a story revolving (albeit in super-hero trappings) of how political subservience to big business works against the best interests of citizens. My inspiration was the succession of Cleveland mayors who continually sold out to the city's wealthy robber barons.

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QUESTION #3: Several major comics companies want to hire you. Which of these execs would you feel most comfortable working for? (You didn't have to be a comics pro to vote.)

Paul Levitz (DC).....85 votes (57.46%)

Jim Valentino (Image).....27 (16.98%)

Mark Alessi (CrossGen).....22 (13.84%)

Mike Richardson (Dark Horse).....19 (11.95%)

Bill Jemas (Marvel).....6 (3.77%)

My choice was PAUL LEVITZ because I believe he's one of the smartest guys in comics, because I think he's a decent and honest guy, because he's one of my oldest friends, and because DC Comics owns Black Lightning. I think the world of Jim Valentino, have a lot of respect for Mark Alessi, and don't know Mike Richardson well enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other. As for Bill Jemas...was anyone astonished by his dismal showing here? I didn't think so.

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QUESTION #4: Which of these shows is your favorite animated Spider-Man series?

Spider-Man (ABC; 1967-70).....78 votes (50.32%)

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (NBC; 1981-86)..39 (25.16%)

Spider-Man: The Animated Series (Fox; 1995-99).....38 (24.52%)

Spider-Man Unlimited (Fox; 1999-2001).....0

My vote went to SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. I wasn't an avid viewer of Saturday morning cartoons during and after high school, so my viewing of the first series was sporadic. I saw very few episodes of the "Amazing Friends" series and thought SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED was just plain awful.

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QUESTION #5: How would you grade SPIDER-MAN?

A.....35 votes (25.74%)

B.....68 (50%)

C.....26 (19.12%)

D.....6 (4.41%)

F.....1 (.71%)

I didn't love it and I didn't hate it, so I gave it a "C". Should I give it another chance?

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QUESTION #6: How would you grade SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS?

A.....17 votes (13.60%)

B.....43 (34.40%)

C.....45 (36%)

D.....15 (12%)

F.....5 (4%)

Because I'd seen so few episodes of this series, I didn't cast a vote. I did notice the number of votes cast went down with each new series, probably a reflection of the older audience I seem to draw here.

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QUESTION #7: How would you grade SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES?

A.....21 (17.50%)

B.....44 (36.67%)

C.....39 (32.50%)

D.....14 (11.67%)

F.....2 (1.67%)

I really enjoyed this series, though the animation wasn't always up to snuff. I gave it a "B".

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QUESTION #8: How would you grade SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED?

A.....3 votes (2.86%)

B.....7 (6.67%)

C.....12 (11.43%)

D.....39 (37.14%)

F.....44 (41.90%)

I hated to do it...one of the producers is a friend...but I gave this series a "D". I never warmed up to it.

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QUESTION #9: Are you planning on taking a vacation trip this summer?

Yes.....78 votes (52%)

No.....54 (36%)

Undecided.....18 (12%)

QUESTION #10: Compared to last year, how much money will you be spending on your vacation this year?

More than last year.....11 votes (8.27%)

About the same as last year.....43 (32.33%)

Less than last year.....28 (21.05%)

I did not take a vacation last year.....27 (20.30%)

I will not be taking a vacation this year.....24 (18.05%)

Clan Isabella will go on vacation in August. We're working on the plan, but Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., Boston, and some beach are possibilities. But don't spread the D.C. part around; I couldn't take another dinner with George and Laura...and fighting off the advances of the twins got old fast.

On the other hand, it was fun to spill hot food on Karl Rove. Save for the accident of gender, he could've been one of the great movie scream queens.

After spending big bucks going to Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, we're looking to spend less this summer. We will be driving instead of flying and not selling our souls to the Mouse. If we end up at a beach, I'm hoping to buy/rent a laptop so I can write while my family burns. Sans laptop, there's several novels I'd love to have the time to read.


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MEA CULPA

This after-polls report is posting a few days late because I have been having fun with my home-from-school kids. I apologize, but a man has got to have priorities.

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WIN PRIZES!

Want to win a fabulous prize package of comics and stuff from the personal office of Tony Isabella? All you have to do is come with a TONY POLLS question I use.

Given my druthers, I prefer you include a list of choices with your suggested question. Not only does it make my job easier, it also tends to make a bit more generous when I'm stuffing your prize package. Hint, hint.

This week's TONY POLLS will be active until sometime Sunday. They concern Marvel's new solicitation format; how you order your comic books; whether you'd rather buy DC or Marvel; which of three DC heroes you'd most like to write; and the evolution/intelligent design debate. Just click on the link and vote.

Next week's TONY POLLS? I'm still working on them, but there will probably be some dinosaur questions.

I'll see you back here this Saturday with our usual mix of one of my recent COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE columns and a 1000-plus words of new material.

Have a terrific weekend!

Tony Isabella

<< 06/15/2002 | 06/18/2002 | 06/22/2002 >>

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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