Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"
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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The apparently never-ending construction at Casa Isabella is making me crazy and interfering with my writing. In this, my hour of need, I turn to my pal Superman for blessed relief in the form of a construction-themed blast from the past.
ACTION COMICS #228 [May, 1957] presented its readers with the tale of "Superman's Super-Skyscraper." The cover and interior art are by Al Plastino, but the GRAND COMICS DATABASE [www.comics.org] lists no writer's credit.
From THE GREAT SUPERMAN BOOK, here's what Michael L. Fleisher has to say about this adventure:
In May, 1957, just outside Metropolis, Superman constructs a brand new Superman Museum in the form of a "miles-high structure" that towers above the surrounding countryside "far higher than any skyscraper." To the people of Metropolis, it appears Superman's decision to build this ostentatious memorial to himself arises from unwholesome super-conceit, but the real function of the building is to serve as camouflage for a gigantic air shaft with which Superman intends to dispose of a deadly "poisonous chemical gas" which is seeping upward from the center of the Earth, without panicking the people of Metropolis. Once the toxic gas has been dissipated in the upper atmosphere, the Man of Steel dismantles the structure and converts it into "a much-needed housing project." It is while this special Superman Museum is in operation that Superman apprehends "racket-leader" Jay Amery and henchmen when they smuggle themselves into the building in an attempt to rob it.
Whitney Ellsworth is the editor-of-record for this issue, but the actual editor was likely either Jack Schiff or Mort Weisinger. If I had to choose between them from the above description, I would put my money down on Schiff, whose progressive views found voice in DC's various public service pages.
This issue of ACTION COMICS also featured:
Congo Bill and Janu the Jungle Boy in "The Gorilla King of the Jungle" with art by Howard Sherman; and,
Tommy Tomorrow in "Space Dreams For Sale" by Otto Binder with art by Jim Mooney.
The OFFICIAL OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE lists the Congo Bill story as a "Congorilla tryout" and pegs the value of a near-mind condition copy of this issue at $425. There were two recent sales on eBay: a good-plus copy which sold for $29 on a single bid and a good copy which sold for $11 on three bids. It seems there are still bargains to be found online.
COMICS IN THE COMICS
Since the Man of Steel came to TOT's rescue today, I figure we should honor him with a selection of Superman-themed COMICS IN THE COMICS. This first one is Mark Tatulli's HEART OF THE CITY strip from July 10 of this year.
Next is Glenn and Gary McCoy's THE FLYING McCOYS comic strip from July 24...
Followed by the July 25 installment of MOTHER GOOSE AND GRIMM by Mike Peters...
...and closing with Scott Willis and Jack Ohman's MIXED MEDIA strip from July 24.
I think this selection of strips shows that you *can* tug on Superman's cape, as long as you do so with good-natured humor. Our pal Kal-El has a skin as thick as his heart is big.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'll be back on the morrow with a full-length TOT.
<< 08/09/2005 | 08/10/2005 | 08/11/2005 >>
Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined.
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THE "TONY" SCALE
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.
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