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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 Friday, August 27, 2004

Anders And

Long-time friend DWIGHT DECKER visited his hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio, last week, and made a side trip to Medina to share a couple of pizzas with me and mine. He came bearing gifts: a copy of the Danish ANDERS AND comic book and a video tape of the live-action SAILOR MOON television series. Guess which one I'm writing about today?

"Anders And" is the Danish name for Donald Duck. The comic is 64 pages of full-color fun and features brand-new stories produced for the foreign market. Among the familiar names in the credits of these stories were writer/artist Don Rosa and writers Don Markstein and Stefan Petrucha. I tried to figure out what this comic would cost in American currency and, as best as I can determine, it came to $3.17. That sounds like a good deal to me.

"And" is "duck" in Danish, but "Anders" seems to be a proper name other than "Donald." As an American citizen, I'm entitled to be ignorant about such things. If you question that, it's because you love the terrorists.

Horace Horsecollar is called "Klavs Krikke" in this comic. He appears in a story written by Don Markstein. These also seem to be proper names, but it could be that there's no words for "bipedal horse wearing bondage collar" in the Danish language.

Klavs Krikke

Gyro Gearloose is called "Faetter Vims" here, which, for all I know, is Danish for "Bill Gates." The Gyro story shown here was written by Stefan Petrucha.

Faetter Vims

Uncle Scrooge is "Onkel Joakim" here. As you might expect, "Onkel" is Danish for "uncle" while "Joakim" is, naturally, Danish for "Bill Gates." The story shown here is the first chapter of a Don Rosa story called "Den Sorte Ridder Glorper Igen." I'm going to guess it means "When Titans Clash!"

Onkel Joakim

I love getting comics in languages other than my own and that includes "British." Feel free to send them my way, especially if they reprint comics written by me or, as I'm known among the Danes, "Grund Hoved." It must be a term of endearment because my Danish friends always smile when they say it.

Let's see what else I have for you today.

******

Comics Reader 121

ATLAS AND ME

My visit to THE ATLAS ARCHIVES yielded an item on the demise of Atlas from THE COMIC READER #121 [August, 1975]:

"The Atlas line of comics has suspended production indefinitely. The decision was very sudden," said the secretary at Seaboard Publications. Larry Lieber was not available for comment, so we are unsure of either the on-sale dates or the contents of those books scheduled for August release. All we can say is that THE DESTRUCTOR #5, KROMAG #1, and MORLOCK 2001 #4, as well as the already announced BARBARIANS #2 and FRIGHT #2, will be released in August. (One would assume DESTRUCTOR to be drawn by Steve Ditko and KROMAG to be drawn by Jack Sparling. How have other people in the industry reacted to the decision? Here are some comments:

Denny O'Neil:

"The bottom line is that I'm not surprised."

Tony Isabella:

"My only regret -- I wish they had stayed around and I hope they come back on firmer footing."

Doug Moench:

"I'm sorry to see it die but I think it deserved it."

What was the major problem with Atlas? Perhaps Neal Adams summed it up best when he said it was an example of "Too many dollars and too little sense."

R.I.P. ATLAS COMICS

Born: June, 1974

Died: June, 1975


Even as far back as 1975, I never thought the failure of any comics company was a good thing and that remains the case in this new millennium. There are individuals I'm not unhappy to see out of comics and companies - dead and alive - whose business practices appall me. Even so, I'm in favor of there being as many choices as possible for fans and professionals alike.

For my last Atlas item, at least until someone asks a question I haven't been asked before or I come across something I think will interest you, I have this quote from JEFF ROVIN, who was the first editor at the company:

...the "Make Mine Marvel" edict was entirely Martin's [Goodman] prerogative to make, just as it was my prerogative to quit if I didn't like the way things were going. And in fact I did quit when Martin decreed that we were to hire only Marvel artists and writers. Larry [Lieber] threw out the net, pulling in Tony Isabella and other forms of sea life...

When I first read the above, I was surprised...mostly because it was Jeff Rovin who recruited me for Atlas work and not my good friend Larry. I suspect the source of Rovin's ire towards me was some unkind remarks I had made about his qualifications during the usual back-and-forth discussions in the Marvel offices. His prior experience - as far as anyone knew - was a stint as an assistant on DC's romance line when Dorothy Woolfolk was editing it and a stint handling various editorial and advertising duties for Jim Warren's line of magazines. My remarks were churlish - we were all way too cocky back then - and I regretted them even before Rovin called me up to ask me to write THE GRIM GHOST.

Whatever lingering displeasure Rovin may have felt for me at the time of the Journal interview, we've long since made our peace. His books have picked up some good reviews from me over the years, though I've not seen anything by him recently.

That's everything I have to say about Atlas Comics. If you're still not sated, check out the ATLAS ARCHIVES website:

www.atlasarchives.com

******

COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE NOTES

I finished reading COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1597, but it will be another week before the crane shows up to put it into the storage facility I built to hold all my issues. In the meantime, I've this CBG note to share with you...

I give CRAIG "Mr. Silver Age" SHUTT the "best of issue" award for his "Marvel's Top 10 Silver Age Moments" - his picks for show-stopping scenes that readers will never forget. I'm not going to list his choices here - go out and buy the magazine, you cheap ass bastards - but I am going to take issue with the moment he didn't include in his list:

Nick Fury learning that his beloved Pamela Hawley had been killed in a bombing attack on London!

It happened in SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOES #18 [May, 1965]. Back from a dangerous mission, Fury rushes over to Hawley Mansion to propose to Pam. The engagement ring drops from his hand as he learns of her death and is told her last words were: "Tell my wonderful American sergeant how much I love him."

Sgt. Fury 18

Even knowing from the cover that someone was going to die in the issue, that last scene stunned me. I'm not sure there was ever a better written page in a Marvel war comic.

I'll have more CBG notes in upcoming TOTs.

******

IRAQ OBSERVATIONS

Following the news from Najaf, Iraq, with its back-and-forth ceasefires, demands, and ultimatums in a situation that appears to be consistent only in its inconsistency, I've come to the following conclusions about the press coming from Iraq.

1. Some good news isn't being reported, such as the against-all-odds wedding of an American soldier and an Iraqi doctor, which I learned about via a 60 MINUTES update on the story. Love found a way there, despite the opposition of the United States military, and it gives me some small hope for a future in which my countrymen are seen as individuals and not the extension of the mad greed and ambitions of the Bush neohawks.

2. A lot of lousy news isn't being reported to the extent it should be covered or with the weight it should carry. Our soldiers are being killed and maimed. Our allies - such as they were - are pulling out. Iraq is not coming together in democracy as even we who opposed Bush's war had hoped it would...and terrorists are enjoying the convenience of killing us without risking the airlines losing their luggage. How nice for them.

3. No one knows what's going on. Our media's not covering the entire story. Foreign media's not covering the entire story. About all we have to go on in judging the failures or successes of the war is the Bush administration's proven history of deception. That's damn unsettling.

What we desperately need is complete and unbiased coverage of the war in Iraq. No spin either way. No protecting the big shots. No faith-based proclamations. Just the facts.

You'll forgive me if I choose *not* to hold my breath waiting for this to happen.

******

WALT DISNEY'S VACATION PARADE

Vacation Parade

From Gemstone comes WALT DISNEY'S VACATION PARADE #1 [$8.95], which reprints three tales from the original 1950 issue of VACATION PARADE: the outstanding "Vacation Time" by Carl Barks; "The Monster Whale," artist Paul Murry's first Mickey Mouse comics story; and Barks' "Camp Counselor." Filling out this squarebound comic book are two Gyro Gearloose stories, both drawn by Barks and one written by him.

"Vacation Time" is one of the best Donald Duck stories Barks ever did. The opening scenes of Donald and the nephews exchanging the dangers of the city for the dangers of nature are hilarious. The superb melding of comedy and adventure continues throughout the 33-page story. The art is among the most exciting ever produced by Barks in his legendary career. It's a memorable tale you'll reread again and again.

The other stories also have their merits. Mickey's mystery at sea may telegraph its ending a mile away, but it's still great fun. "Camp Counselor" is an amusing Donald versus the nephews match. In "Mixed-Up Mixer," the contrast between Gyro's scientific knowledge and Grandma Duck's bucolic wisdom is a delight. Even Gyro's visit to Gus Goose's dream world has its moments despite its heavy-handed moral. This is a comic book to treasure.

On our scale of zero to five - see the scale elsewhere on this page - VACATION PARADE gets the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

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

Tony Isabella

<< 08/26/2004 | 08/27/2004 | 08/28/2004 >>

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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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