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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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for Wednesday, November 3, 2004


PETE VON SHOLLY'S MORBID [Dark Horse; $14.95] brings "fumetti" into the new millennium with a wacky spin born of the artist's love for "B" movies and Lovecraftian horror. This collection squeezes a dozen stories into its 100 pages.

My favorites are the tales featuring reluctant monster-hunter Captain Harry Hauser: "Reptitan: The Problem From the Past" and the wonderfully-titled "Scorpamantula." Both of these were laugh-out-loud funny, but, with one exception, there wasn't a story here that didn't have me, at the very least, smiling.

The method of Von Sholly's inspired madness fascinated me as much as the stories amused me. He's worked in underground comics, animation, and movies. In his introduction, he writes:

During a stint at Disney Feature Animation, I was introduced to the computer, along with digital photography, which renewed my interest in comics. I discovered that I could bring photographic images into the comics format and manipulate them far more extensively than in the traditional "fumetti" I had seen. (Fumetti is a form of comics resembling photos with word balloons.) And I now had the added fun of directing real actors, shooting my own scenes, background plates, etc. Even creating "special effects" without the complications of real movies and the tons of money they require. I could bring my movie making experience back to comics. And when you finish a comic story you at least have a finished product which you created the way you wanted it, without all the constraints of a huge studio and a million voices pulling the story every which way. I had begun to craft stories which reflect my own approach to the kind of material and subjects that appealed to me so much.

MORBID includes such gems as the faux-cerebral "Kung Fi," the B-movie-inspired "Doctor Triclops," the set-at-a-comics-convention "Yuggoth Calling," the good-enough-to-have-been-in-a-EC-comic-book "Catching Hell," and the surprisingly relevant-to-our-times "Out of Print."

That one exception I mentioned earlier? That would be "Curse of the Werewig," which unfortunately relies on a sexual assault for its punch line. Some things are never funny and the appearance of this story costs the collection a full Tony.

PETE VON SHOLLY'S MORBID gets a respectable three Tonys. Von Sholly is a comics creator worth following.

Tony Tony Tony



Von Sholly and I have been exchanging e-mails at a rapid pace ever since I reviewed his CRAZY HIP GROOVY GO-GO WAY OUT MONSTERS [TwoMorrows; $5.95] back on October 19. In that review, I praised his fake-but-funny designs for "Horrora" models. The models don't exist, but, as Pete informed me, fans who dig them can now buy the boxes in which they would come if they did exist:

My friend David Vaughn makes fantastic replicas of model kit boxes with my artwork on them in the exact size and shape of the old Aurora kits, shrink-wrapped and all!

He has a website at...

...showcasing some of them. The ones he's doing with me are under the HORRORA label. In fact, many of them are in CHGGGWOM. I'll attach pictures of some of the actual boxes for you. No kits yet, just cool boxes! If you think your audience might like these, do Dave and me a favor and let them know!

It! The Tearer Around Space

The Thingster

Sassy Saucer

These are spiffy looking boxes, both the ones designed by our pal Pete and Vaughn's recreations of the original Aurora model kit boxes. TOT readers should definitely check out the website; these would make terrific holiday gifts for the baby-boomers who fondly remember making such kits when they were kids.

Thanks for the tip, Pete.



Here Comes the Flying F***

One more from PETE VON SHOLLY:

I saw your TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE review (Right on!) and it occurred to me you might like my self-published super-hero lampoon comic, which will be solicited in the December issue of PREVIEWS for a February 2005 release.

The name?

It's called HERE DOESN'T COME THE FLYING F***! Or THE FLYING F*** for short. I did have to edit the cover for the PREVIEWS ad, but it's not porno or even obscene. Apart from the dreaded f-bomb, it's jolly good fun!

I'll shoot you a little sample. I am VERY anxious to drum up some orders for PREVIEWS because that's the biggest single make-or- break shot I will get to sell these things and it's quite a gamble for me. I hope you see the humor and might want to throw out a good word for it. If you feel that way, of course!

Consider the good word thrown. While I obviously can't rate the comic based on the few pages you sent - and while I did have to censor the title here - what I saw did get a chuckle out of me. I have to admit the character has one of the best names for a super-hero ever.

You should consider making plush toys of the character. Then I could give all my friends a know.

That's it for today's edition of TOT. Thanks to my readers for spending part of their day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 11/02/2004 | 11/03/2004 | 11/04/2004 >>

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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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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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