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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
for Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Comics Buyer's Guide 1596

My subscription copy of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1596 [Krause; $5.99] arrived late last week, so expect to see it at better comics shops, newsstands, and bookstores everywhere. I'm only fifty-some pages into the magazine at this point - it runs very close to 300 pages in all - but what I've read so far is choice.

Special note should be made of Editorial Director John Jackson Miller's look at the shrinking panel and word counts in comic books over the past three decades. Even more special note should be made of Miller's interview with former Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth, who offers keen insight and understanding of both the creative and market forces that have fueled the transition. Oh, yeah, and there is also other column by that Isabella guy.

Having reviewed the previous CBG at length, I'm not reviewing this one. However, as I work my way through what is surely one of the best buys in comicdom, don't be surprised if I make mention of an article or two.

Here at TOT CENTRAL, I'm writing shorter columns this week and part of next week, the better to get them to World Famous Comics Webmaster Justin before he flies out to San Diego and the glorious Comic-Con International. With a bit of luck, TOT won't miss a day while he's gone.

Those are my opening remarks. Let's see what else I have for you today.

******

ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark 133

ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK #133 [Claypool Comics; $2.50] proves that the monster movie hostess with the most-est can still bring the fun to her long-running comic book. A cool photo cover of the darling of the dark puts the reader on the track to the pair of done-in-one stories inside that covers.

Writer Frank Strom's "Dangers on a Train" finds Elvira on a mission from a god, namely, Venus, goddess of love. Silent movie star Regretta Garbeau doesn't look a day over 30, but her heart has been broken by her royal love. Elvira's job is to hop on a train and get the Queen of Scandalovia back on the love-track, a task complicated by the arrival of the Squid-Men, intergalactic horndogs on the prowl. Strom, penciller Tod Smith, and inker Terry Austin deliver snappy and sometimes delightfully punny retorts, screwball scenarios, and even a few explosions along the way.

If love can't be grand, at least it's good for some chuckles in this amusing tale.

Janet Hetherington's "Delectable Collectibles" isn't nearly as raucous as the lead tale, but gets laughs from Elvira guest-hosting a traveling antique show. It also has hilarious giant monsters and excellent artwork by penciller Ronn Sutton and inker Andrew Pepoy. That makes two satisfying stories in one issue...and it also makes ELVIRA a pretty good buy for your comics bucks.

******

TONY POLLS

New TONY POLLS questions for the week of July 19 were posted yesterday. We're asking you to vote on the Emmy Awards nominations for the outstanding comedy series, outstanding lead and supporting actors/actress in a comedy series, and outstanding variety, music, or comedy series. Cast your ballots at:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 07/19/2004 | 07/20/2004 | 07/21/2004 >>

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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