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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Friday, September 17, 2004

Crime Must Lose! 12

Today's blast from the past is this terrific Joe Maneely cover from CRIME MUST LOSE! #12, the last of nine issues published by Timely/Atlas/Marvel from October, 1950 to April, 1952. Cool stuff like this is why I can't seem to stay away from Greg Gatlin's ATLAS TALES website [www.atlastales.com].

I wish I could tell you more about this comic, but neither the Atlas Tales site or the Grand Comics Database [www.comics.org] has credits for the issue. One thing of which we can be sure is that, as per the title logo, CRIME MUST LOSE!

I think the exclamation point makes that clear.

Let's say that I had money, which, in case you were wondering, I don't. THE OFFICIAL OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE says that a near-mint copy of this issue would likely sell for $125...not a bad price for a 50-year-old publication. THE STANDARD CATALOG OF COMIC BOOKS [second edition] pegs it at $100.

A search of eBay found just one recent auction of any issue of this title. An allegedly "good" condition copy of CRIME MUST LOSE! #4 was offered with a starting bid of $39.99, but it drew no bids. That's not surprising. From what was shown of the comic book, it's obvious that the seller graded the book too high.

It's a shame that Marvel disposed of the stats from its Atlas days. There was so much interesting stuff in the company's 1950s comics - surprisingly good stories by some of the best artists in the business - that they could have created a nice cottage industry just by selling reprint rights to the fan press. I'd be tempted to jump into publishing myself if I had access to the inventory Marvel had from those days...he said with a sigh.

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

******

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

The retailers have voted on the next FREE COMIC BOOK DAY will take place on Saturday, May 7, 2005, and on the first Saturday of each May after that. Starting next week, I'll be reviewing this year's giveaways, courtesy of FAMOUS FACES & FUNNIES in Melbourne, Florida, and FLYING COLORS COMICS in Concord, California. Here's their information:
FAMOUS FACES & FUNNIES
Lake Washington Crossing
3146 Lake Washington Rd.
Melbourne, FL 32934
321-259-3575
fffcomics@aol.com

FLYING COLORS COMICS
2980 Treat Blvd.
Concord, CA 94518
925-825-5410
www.flyingcolorscomics.com
coolstuff@flyingcolorscomics.com
If you happen to find yourself in either of these fine comics emporiums, thanks them for being TOT supporters.

******

TONY POLLS

Every Monday, I post new questions on the TONY POLLS page for you to have some fun with...and to help me discern what my readers and other comics fans feel/think about various issues. It's become something of a tradition for me to poll you on the same categories in which COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE polls its readers...and then compare the two sets of results.

The choices I offered to TONY POLLS voters were taken from the results of the 2003 CBG FAN AWARDS. I didn't vote in any of these categories. I can't tell you why. I've voted in them in previous years. It just didn't feel right *this* year. I am a complex and often confusing creature.

In the category of FAVORITE WRITER, here's how the readers of CBG voted:

Brian Michael Bendis.....17.80%
Geoff Johns.....7.56%
Tony Bedard.....6.34%
Mark Waid.....5.61%
Kurt Busiek.....5.12%
Alan Moore.....4.63%
Neil Gaiman.....4.39%
Peter David.....4.15%
Jeph Loeb.....3.66%
J. Michael Straczynski.....3.17%
Warren Ellis.....2.93%
Chuck Dixon.....2.20%
Bill Willingham.....1.95%
Brian K. Vaughan.....1.93%
Greg Rucka.....1.71%
Don Rosa.....1.24%
Judd Winick.....1.22%
Others.....24.57%

And here's how YOU voted:

Alan Moore.....22.22%
Kurt Busiek.....15.08%
Brian Michael Bendis.....11.11%
Peter David.....7.94%
Mark Waid.....5.56%
Geoff Johns.....3.97%
Neil Gaiman.....3.97%
Greg Rucka.....3.97%
Brian K. Vaughan.....3.97%
Chuck Dixon.....3.17%
Don Rosa.....3.17%
J. Michael Straczynski.....3.17%
Bill Willingham.....3.17%
Jeph Loeb.....1.59%
Tony Bedard.....0.79%
Warren Ellis.....0.79%
Judd Winick.....0.79%
Others.....5.56%

******

In the category of FAVORITE EDITOR, here's how the readers of CBG voted:

Alex Alonso.....13.71%
Tom Brevoort.....10.70
Joe Quesada.....8.03%
Peter Tomasi.....7.36%
Bob Schreck.....5.02%
Ralph Macchio.....4.68%
Eddie Berganza.....3.68%
Joan Hilty.....3.65%
Shelly Bond.....3.34%
Mike Carlin.....2.68%
Karen Berger.....2.65%
Mike Marts.....2.34%
Diana Schutz.....2.05%
John Clark.....2.03%
Scott Allie.....2.01%
Scott Dunbar.....1.67%
Joey Cavalieri.....1.34%
Matt Idelson.....1.08%
James Lucas Jones.....1.05%
Will Dennis.....1.01%
Others.....20.07%

Our polling format only allows for 20 choices, so Will Dennis wasn't on our list of choices, though he would have been eligible as a write-in candidate. Here's how YOU voted:

Tom Brevoort.....27.03%
Karen Berger.....10.81%
Alex Alonso.....8.11%
Mike Carlin.....8.11%
Ralph Macchio.....6.31%
Joe Quesada.....6.31%
Peter Tomasi.....6.31%
Scott Dunbar.....5.54%
Diana Schutz.....4.50%
Scott Allie.....2.70%
Joan Hilty.....2.70%
Joey Cavalieri.....1.80%
Bob Schreck.....1.80%
John Clark.....0.91%
James Lucas Jones.....0.90%
Eddie Berganza.....0%
Shelly Bond.....0%
Matt Idelson......0%
Mike Marts.....0%
Others.....6.31%

This week's TONY POLLS questions were posted yesterday at the usual online ballot box:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

We're playing TV DEATHWATCH this week, asking you to pick the television show most likely to be the first to go bye-bye on each of the seven nights of the week. The voting will remain open until sometime after midnight on Monday morning.

******

TONY POLLS MAILBOX

One of the moderately-maddening things about offering a write-it choice to TONY POLLS participants is that most of the people who select the "others" choice don't follow up by actually e-mailing me their selection. That wasn't the case with MICHAEL McCLELLAND, who sent me this note:
I selected "other" under favorite editor, because my favorite editor is Jim Salicrup. I selected Neil Gaiman as favorite writer based on his past work, but mostly on last year's 1602, but I felt you should've included Steve Gerber who is really doing interesting work on HARD TIME.

On the matter of Free Comic Book Day, I think the issue isn't which day, but that people actually know about it. Does anyone who doesn't regularly go into a comic store already even know about it? I think getting comics out of the specialty stores and into real stores is the answer. Give away free comics the weekend of BATMAN BEGINS to people standing in line for the movie. Unless there is a comics store near the theater, it doesn't matter what day it is on. It's less important when Free Comic Book Day is than where it is. Not that you or I can do a lot about it.
I should've made it more clear - mea culpa - that the choices offered to TONY POLLS readers were based on the choices made by the CBG readers who voted in the magazine's fan awards...and that they reflected work published in 2003. As much as I wish otherwise, my good friend Jim Salicrup didn't edit any comic books in that time period, though I'm delighted to see he is getting back into comics editing via NBM's new HARDY BOYS and NANCY DREW books. I've often praised Jim's abilities here and expressed my hope that we'll get to work together again someday.

I also think Gerber is doing terrific work on HARD TIME, but, even if the title was eligible, he didn't get enough votes from the CBG readers to make our ballot.

The comics retailers have spoken on Free Comic Book Day - see above - but I do agree with you that the key elements of that event should be getting the FCBD word out to the general public and then getting those free comics into the hands of people who haven't been buying and reading comics.

By the way, TONY POLLS participants are always encouraged to discuss their choices. They can e-mail me directly or post their thoughts to the TONY ISABELLA MESSAGE BOARD at:

www.comicscommunity.com/boards/tony

The board door is always open.

******

TONY POLLS MAILBOX II

Commenting on an earlier batch of TONY POLLS questions and my comments on the results, RENEE PERRY wrote:
In a column about your recent polls, you asked why more people don't buy the reprint volumes from DC and Marvel, and specifically the Marvel Essentials series. You speculated many of your readers may already own those stories in their original formats. Maybe they do; I'm probably not your average reader.

I'm a college student who works part-time. I agree that $15 is a great price for a softcover reprint of classic stories. However, for me, $15 is also a volume of manga plus lunch and dinner. Or a paperback from the used bookstore plus lunch and dinner for two days. I've borrowed the Marvel Origins books and other classics from the library, and I do enjoy them, but I just don't feel drawn to stories from the dawn of the Marvel Universe.

I guess I'm the kind of person the Ultimates line is aimed at (yes, I have been picking up ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR and ULTIMATE X-MEN) because I have a hard time getting past the dated elements of some stories.

And maybe this is sacrilegious of me as a comics fan, but I've always had a hard time with Jack Kirby's art. It looks really stiff to me. I've actually been told that I don't "get" Kirby because I'm a girl. Though I've not given that much credence, it's still stuck with me.

I don't know why American comics stories from that era feel so very dated to me, while I find the Astro Boy reprints, for example, quite entertaining. All I know is what I like; the historical value and interest of those old DC and Marvel volumes isn't enough to overcome my desire to spend my money on TRIGUN or some Osamu Tezuka comics. If I were saving up, it would be for Tezuka's hardcovers before Stan Lee's.
Comics fans should always buy what they enjoy. The absolute best thing about the current marketplace is how much variety can be found. Perhaps not at every comics shop and mainstream bookstore, but the comics and books are out there.

My enthusiasm for the comics of my youth (and earlier) should never be misconstrued as disrespect for the kinds of comics others may prefer. Buzzing through my archive of past columns, you will quickly see that I enjoy all kinds of comics...even those of little interest to many of my readers.

My eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets at the thought of someone suggesting your gender has anything to do with your lack of interest in Kirby's art. Just off the top of my head, I can name Maggie Thompson, Wendy Pini, and the late Carol Kalish as fans of the man and his comics. If that "because you're a girl" statement wasn't so patently absurd, I could easily come up with many other ladies who love Kirby comics...and gents who don't. As politely as possible, tell the person who made that comment that Tony Isabella thinks he/she is an idiot. Yes, I know that's pretty rude of me; my diplomacy isn't back from the cleaners yet.

Keep reading and supporting the comics you enjoy, Renee. And don't be shy about telling others about them.

To all my readers...thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 09/16/2004 | 09/17/2004 | 09/18/2004 >>

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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