MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS #284 [Gemstone; $2.95] has one of the re-dialoguing jobs I did for the publisher. Originally written and drawn by Peter Hardfeldt, "Car Pool" stars Donald Duck, Goofy, and Horace Horsecollar. It's a short story, five pages, but I thought it was funny and fun to work on.
Veteran TOT readers know I don't precisely review comic books or other things on which I've worked, but, friend to friend, let me mention that the main attraction in this issue is Stefan Petrucha's "Snow Use," a 24-page Mickey Mouse adventure in which he and Goofy travel to another dimension and encounter a race of sentient fish in dire straits. This is a terrific story with lots of daring-do, clever concepts, and humorous mishaps. The art by Cesar Ferioli is outstanding. I recommend this issue to one and all.
DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS
DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #335 [$2.95] leads off with a giggle-inducing cover by Daniel Branca. I love the look on the faces of both Don and the lion.
From 1946 comes "The Master Ice-Fisher" by Carl Barks. As is pointed out in the issue's editorial, the traditional "master" tale stars a Donald who is really and truly great at something, but who is eventually undone by his overconfidence. That's not really the case here. Our boy is about the worst fisherman you can imagine, which makes for a hilarious story.
A Goofy short - "To the Dogs" - by Stefan Petrucha and artist Jorge David rounds out the issue.
DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #335 gets four out of five Tonys. If you're new to TOT, you'll find an explanation of what that means on the right side of the page.
COMICS IN THE COMICS
Cartoonists love Batman. Everyone knows who Batman is, so he can be used in jokes with confidence. In fact, he is so well known that even his equipment (the Batmobile, the Bat-Signal, and so on) are instantly recognizable.
Let's start this off with Dave Hammond's REALITY CHECK panel from January 11, 2006:
In his BIZARRO panel, Dan Piraro used Batman twice in recent months. This one is from December 9, 2005:
This one is from December 2, 2005:
Batman was an "off-stage" presence in John Deering's STRANGE BREW panel from November 28, 2005:
Batman gets a mention in my pal Tom Batiuk's FUNKY WINKERBEAN strip from October 14, 2005:
Finally, here's Glenn and Gary McCoy's THE FLYING McCOYS panel from August 31, 2005:
Watch for more COMICS IN THE COMICS in upcoming columns. If you come across a CITC example that you think I might have missed, don't me shy about sending it my way.
KISS AND TELL
When you think of comic books and rock-and-roll, Tony Isabella is probably not the first name that leaps into your head. Sure, I made that hilarious cameo appearance in the Alice Cooper issue of MARVEL PREMIERE, but, beyond that, the only rocking-and-rolling I do generally also includes piteous groaning and stomach clutching after I've gone and eaten something that I shouldn't ought to have eaten. Spicy treats, why do you torment me so?
I do have a rock-and-roll story of my own. It dates back to when I owned a comics shop in the 1970s in Cleveland.
Gene Simmons, bass-playing demon of KISS, who has starred in comic books with the other members of the band, is a comics fan. Before he became Gene Simmons, I knew him as Gene Klein, a comics fan who used to write for one of the same comics fanzines I had written for prior to my New York move to work at Marvel.
When KISS came to Cleveland to perform, Gene wanted to hold a photo op at my store. The local media were cool with that. After all, I was already their "go-to guy" when they did stories about comics or related subjects, and the local TV stations often used my store as a set when they did such stories.
After my store closed, in comes Gene in his full KISS outfit, which meant he literally towered over my tiny 5'4" frame. While the photographers set up, there I was, talking to a guy who looked like a demon from Hell and we're discussing which Jack Kirby inkers we liked the best. A surreal moment, to be sure.
My memory isn't 100% on this, but, since I know you're gonna ask, we were discussing Kirby's pre-SinnottFANTASTIC FOUR inkers. Gene liked George Roussos. I preferred Dick Ayers.
My apologies for being a little late with this one, but BLACK PANTHER writer Reginald Hudlin was the subject of NEWSWEEK's "Fast Chat" in its special double December 26/January 2 edition. Hudlin was named president of Viacom's Black Entertainment Television last year. Hudlin doesn't mention his comics work, but he does say he was hired "expressly to create original programming - news, sports, comedy, dramas, reality and animation."
If I might be so bold as to offer suggestions:
Black Lightning. Candorville. Icon and Rocket. Jump Start. Kyle Baker's Nat Turner. Static. The Bakers.
Just for starters.
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." That's more or less what I was thinking when I read this MARY WORTH strip from December 3, 2005:
Sure enough, with weeks, a woman who took Wendy's advice and dumped her husband suffered "divorcee's remorse" when her ex got a big promotion and showed no interest in taking her back. Refusing to take responsibility for her own actions, the woman blamed Wendy in this strip from December 30:
Since then, it's just been one unrealistic hoot after another. The woman does sue - her lawyer should be ashamed for taking this addled woman's money - and the syndicate which distributes Wendy's column doesn't laugh off a lawsuit any of their corporate attorneys could win before breakfast.
I'm sure this will end with Mary dispensing wisdom and people learning important lessons about life, but wouldn't it be so much more fun if the crazy lawsuit lady bought a gun?
Picture a shootout at Mary's gated community with the always-surprising Mrs. Worth revealing herself to be both a member of the NRA and a crack shot.
Don't take the easy way out, Mary. The young readers - and, by that, I mean, any under 60 - won't truly respect you until you bust a cap in someone's ass.
This is another new TOT section for the New Year, which I'll include in my columns as often as possible. This is where I'll be directing you to some of my favorite destinations on the wondrous web with the recommendation you visit them soon.
Today's opening entry is CBGXTRA.COM, the online meeting place for comicdom's oldest-running fan community. Originally known as THE BUYER'S GUIDE FOR COMICS FANDOM and starting out as a more or less weekly newspaper, TBG became COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE when editor and publisher Alan Light sold it to Krause Publications in sleepy little Iola, Wisconsin. Now a monthly magazine, CBG is currently owned and operated by F&W Publications. I've long since lost count of how many columns I've written for CBG over the decades, but I'm staying on board as long as they'll have me.
CBGXTRA.COM offers readers thirty different forums, including individual forums for most of the magazine's columnists. Each and every Monday, I post an exclusive-to-CBGXTRA edition of my "Tony's Other Online Tips" column. You can read those columns and all the other cool stuff in the forums at:
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: