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

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for Saturday, April 9, 2005

House of Mystery 85

"It's not just a carved stone face--it's actually a GIANT emerging from the ground!"

Thus are a pair of surprised sailors introduced to "The Stone Sentinels of Giant Island," a revelation depicted by Jack Kirby for the cover of HOUSE OF MYSTERY #85 [April, 1959]. Whether you call it Easter Island or Giant Island or by any other name, the beings of living stone who called it home were a mainstay of mystery and sci-fi comics. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times we've seen their like, up to and including "The Stone Men of Saturn" who battled Thor in his Marvel Comics origin tale. I couldn't begin to tell you, but I wouldn't be at all adverse to one of the legions of TOT readers compiling such a list.

Kirby is at the end of his 1950s DC career here. This is his last mystery cover/interior story and CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #8 [June-July, 1959] will be his last issue for that title. Bad blood between him and editor Jack Schiff over the SKY MASTERS newspaper strip leads Jack to seek more work from Marvel and to become, with editor and writer Stan Lee, co-creator of the Marvel Universe which would knock DC out of comicdom's top spot.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY had gone from four stories to three stories. In addition to the cover story, which was reprinted in DC SPECIAL #11 [March-April, 1971], this issue features:

"Earth's Strangest Salesman" (drawn by Jim Mooney); and,

"The Man With The Double Destiny" (drawn by Bill Ely).

I hope you've enjoyed seeing these Jack Kirby covers as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. All of Kirby's non-Challengers of the Unknown and non-Green Arrow stories for DC from the late 1950s add up to approximately 200 pages and these covers, just enough to fill a spiffy trade paperback collection. Once again, I urge you to write to DC and let them know you'd be interested in buying such a collection. Thanks.



Ron Palillo

Mid-Ohio-Con promoter Roger Price is launching his POP CULTURE FEST events on Sunday, April 10, at the fabulous Hilton Columbus at Easton Town Center. Here's what the Con Daddy himself has to say about this new venture:

Pop Culture Fest is brand new one-day show celebrating comic books, toys, movies, TV, anime, trading cards, music and pop culture celebrities. As the show continues to develop, we plan to bring you a wide variety of special guests and unique collectible merchandise.

Our guest list includes: RON PALILLO ("Horshack" from Welcome Back Kotter), MARY OYAYA (Jedi Master Luminara Unduli" from Star Wars: Attack of The Clones), ROBYN GRIGGS (One Life To Live), DAVE NESTLER (pin-up artist), SEAN McKEEVER (Marvel Comics writer), JOE CORRONEY (Star Wars artist), THOM ZAHLER (cartoonist for Cleveland Indians mascot "Slider"), featured model NUTOPIA, recording artist BRYAN "STRATOS" BORGMAN and the mysterious JUSTIN (wacky webmaster to the stars).

BOB INGERSOLL and yours truly aren't advertised guests of the event, but we'll be there to cheer on our good buddy Roger. Maybe we'll see you there, too.

There will be three more POP CULTURE events this year, two in Cleveland and another in Columbus. For all the latest information, head over to the show's official website:



We close today's TOT with a reminder: Our current TONY POLLS questions will remain active until sometime after midnight Monday, giving you the chance to vote in the finals of our "Who Should Play Wonder Woman?" competition. You'll find that and other questions waiting for you at:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 04/08/2005 | 04/09/2005 | 04/10/2005 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined.

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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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