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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 Thursday, August 11, 2005

Batman 131

I have a reason for running this mostly Sheldon Moldoff cover from BATMAN #131 [April, 1960] today, illustrating as it does the son of Batman in his role as Robin in "The Second Batman and Robin Team." My friend, the good and noble Clifford Meth, has once again spawned. His new son - fourth in a series; collect them all - was born on Tuesday to Cliff and Chantzie. The kid weighed in at seven pounds, twelve ounces. Mother and child and father are all doing well. I heap congratulations and good wishes on them.

Cliff has been involved in more good works than I can recount here. So, naturally, in thinking about a cover to commemorate this happy occasion, my mind understandably drifted to the heroic with this classic image quickly taking hold. It would do the world good for Cliff's four sons to emulate their father in his generosity and his just plain spiffiness.

The GRAND COMICS DATABASE [www.comics.org] lists Moldoff and Batman co-creator Bob Kane as the pencil artists for the cover and Moldoff as the inker. It also lists Jack Schiff, Murray Boltinoff, and George Kashdan as the editors, which would have made for a very crowded office.

"The Second Batman and Robin Team" was written by Bill Finger. Moldoff and Kane are credited with the pencils with Moldoff further credited with the finishes and inks. I'll leave it to the experts to discuss how much Kane is actually in either this interior story or the afore-mentioned cover.

I have a great fondness for this story. Here's what Michael L. Fleisher had to say about it in his 1976 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMIC BOOK HEROES VOLUME 1: BATMAN:

In April, 1960, Alfred composes his first "imaginary tale," an entirely fictional account "of what possibly might happen...in the future" to Batman and Robin, their friends, and their descendants. In it, an elderly Batman announces his retirement from crime-fighting and settles down to a life of relaxation with Kathy Kane, "whom he had long ago married..." Dick Grayson, now a grown man, inherits Batman's mantle and continues the fight against crime as Batman II, while the Waynes' young son, Bruce Wayne, Jr., joins him as Robin II. At one point, Batman II and Robin II are taken captive by the Babyface Jordan gang, but Bruce Wayne and his wife Kathy, who once fought crime as Batwoman, climb into their old crime-fighting costumes and race to the rescue. Before long, Batman II and Robin II have been freed and the mobsters have been taken into custody.

Alfred wrote four more of these "imaginary tales" and, knowing me, I'll probably write about them sooner or later. I just have no control over my nostalgic impulses.

Getting back to Clifford Meth and his newly-expanded family, I heap *more* congratulations and good wishes upon them. I'll also direct you to Cliff's ongoing column, "Past Masters," which can be found and enjoyed at:

www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/masters

******

COMICS IN THE COMICS

Heart of the City

Batman gets the spotlight in today's edition of COMICS IN THE COMICS. Mark Tatulli gets the theme rolling with his HEART OF THE CITY from August 7. You can read his comic strip online by heading over to:

www.ucomics.com/heartofthecity

Scott Willis and Jack Ohman delve into the early days of the Batman in their MIXED MEDIA strip from July 11:

Mixed Media

You can read their strip online here:

www.ucomics.com/mixedmedia

Finally, in his OFF THE MARK for August 9, Mark Parisi brings together the World's Finest team for a round of golf:

Off the Mark

Thanks to TOT reader Tom Hegeman for alerting me to this one. To read Parisi's panel online, go to:

www.comics.com/comics/offthemark

To once again state the obvious, we'll have more COMICS IN THE COMICS in future editions of TOT.

******

TONY STUFF

Frustration

I know I promised you a normal-length TOT for today, but that didn't happen. I'm still dealing with various construction hassles and our wondrous web-wizard Justin is dealing with deadlines and a family medical emergency. Prudence dictates we not make ourselves crazy, okay, any crazier than we already are. Expect a shorter-than-usual TOT for tomorrow as well.

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

In the meantime, I'll ask you to join me and mine in sending our good thoughts to Justin and his family. And, if you should be so inclined, your prayers as well.

Tony Isabella

<< 08/10/2005 | 08/11/2005 | 08/12/2005 >>

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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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