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for Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When I receive a new issue of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, one of the first things I look for on my initial flip-through is their "10 Favorite Covers" pictorial, in which a comics industry professional is asked to select his/her favorites. I was delighted to be asked to participate in this feature, though, in typical Tony fashion, I did bend the "rules" a bit.

Here's what I came up with for CBG #1611, the December, 2005, issue of the magazine:

Tony here. I was dreading this moment, the moment when my editors would ask me to pick my 10 favorite comic-book covers, the moment when I would realize that I could do no such thing. Y'see, I have been reading comics since I was 4 years old and I am considerably older than that now. Those years represent a whole lot of covers. Trying to pick my 10 favorites would take me months and likely make my head explode.

So you're not getting my 10 favorite covers; you're getting 10 of my favorites. I chose the first ten I thought of that deserved to be among my favorites and put them in chronological order because I can be as anal retentive as anyone. The only restriction I gave myself was that all the covers had to be from comic books I bought for myself when they were first published.

Cosmo 1

COSMO THE MERRY MARTIAN #1 [September, 1958]. I loved this short-lived title from the moment I saw it. I would *almost* kill to write a revival.

Superboy 72

SUPERBOY #72 [April, 1959]. My pre-teen sexual angst was summed up on this cover. Girls can be really pretty, but they are not to be trusted.

Superman 132

SUPERMAN #132 [October, 1959]. So many cool concepts on a single cover! I couldn't wait to read this one!

Challengers of the Unknown 11

CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #11 [January, 1960]. It's my all-time favorite Challengers cover and story.

Brave and the Bold 134

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #29 [May, 1960]. My first super-team comic book and one of the JLA's best stories ever.

Batman 134

BATMAN #134 [September, 1960]. What can I say? The goofy monster on this cover speaks to me.

Fantastic Four 7

FANTASTIC FOUR #7 [October, 1962]. I didn't like the comic when I first read it, but its cover was wonderfully unsettling.

Avengers 4

AVENGERS #4 [March, 1964]. Captain America returns and immediately becomes one of my favorite super-heroes.

Amazing Spider-Man 18

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 [November, 1964]. As a youth, I identified more with Spidey than any other hero. This cover scene stunned me.

Strange Adventures 205

STRANGE ADVENTURES #205 [October, 1967]. Maybe the best cover copy ever...on one of Carmine Infantino's best covers ever.



The GOLDEN GLOBES AWARDS winners were announced a couple days ago. Back in December, we asked you to vote for your favorites in most of the categories. Let's see if the official results agreed with yours.


Lost (ABC).....58.10%
Rome (HBO).....15.24%
Commander in Chief (ABC).....14.29%
Grey's Anatomy (ABC).....6.67%
Prison Break (Fox).....5.71%

The winner was LOST, which makes you 1-for-1. I chose Grey's Anatomy because I am more "involved" with its characters than I am with those on Lost.


My Name Is Earl (NBC).....55.10%
Desperate Housewives (ABC).....15.31%
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO).....10.20%
Everybody Hates Chris (UPN).....9.18%
Entourage (HBO).....6.12%
Weeds (Showtime).....4.08&

The official winner was DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Like more than half of you, I voted for My Name Is Earl.


Hugh Laurie (House, Fox)....45.26%
Matthew Fox (Lost, ABC).....24.21%
Kiefer Sutherland (24, Fox).....21.05%
Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, Fox).....6.32&
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy, ABC).....3.16%

The winner was HUGH LAURIE and you're now 2-for-3. I cast my voted for Patrick Dempsey, who I think is doing outstanding work on Grey's Anatomy.


Patricia Arquette (Medium, NBC).....23.33%
Glenn Close (The Shield, FX).....23.33%
Geena Davis (Commander in Chief (ABC).....21.11%
Polly Walker (Rome, HBO).....17.78%
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer, TNT).....14.44%

The winner was GEENA DAVIS. I didn't watch any of the above, but I voted for Glenn Close on the basis of your pervious work. I figure if uninformed voters can put George Bush back in the White House, I could cast an uninformed vote in this category.


Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl, NBC)....42.22%
Zach Braff (Scrubs, NBC)....20%
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men, CBS).....18.89%
Steve Carell (The Office, NBC).....10%
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO).....8.89%

The winner: STEVE CARELL. My choice was between Jason Lee and Charlie Sheen. It was a tough call, but I went with Sheen because he can crack me up without saying a word.


Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives, ABC).....29.11%
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, Showtime)....26.58%
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives, ABC).....16.46%
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives, ABC).....13.92%
Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives, ABC).....13.92%

The winner was MARY-LOUISE PARKER, which came as a surprise to many people. I voted for Eva Longoria. I like all the housewives, but most of them are one-note characters. Longoria has shown some real range this season and a flair for sexy comedy.


Candice Bergen (Boston Legal, ABC).....49.35%
Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy, ABC).....25.97%
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds, Showtime).....10.39%
Joanne Woodward (Empire Falls, HBO).....7.79%
Camryn Manheim (Elvis, CBS).....6.49%

The winner was SANDRA OH and that's who I voted for, making me 1-for-7 so far.


Naveen Andrews (Lost, ABC).....43.33%
Donald Sutherland (Commander in Chief, ABC).....23.33%
Jeremy Piven (Entourage, HBO).....17.78%
Paul Newman (Empire Falls, HBO).....8.89%
Randy Quaid (Elvis, CBS).....6.67%

The winner was PAUL NEWMAN. I voted for Randy Quaid because I always enjoy his work.

At the half, you're 2-for-8 and I'm 1-for-8. I didn't vote in any of the movie categories - I didn't seen any of the films which earned nominations - but you still have a chance to improve on your dismal prediction performance.

Here are the movie categories.


A History of Violence.....41.30%
Good Night, and Good Luck.....32.61%
Brokeback Mountain.....19.57%
The Constant Gardener.....4.35%
Match Point.....2.17%

The official winner was BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.


The Producers....44.44%
Walk the Line.....37.78%
Pride & Prejudice.....11.11%
The Squid and the Whale.....6.57%
Mrs. Henderson Presents.....0%

The official winner: WALK THE LINE.


Peter Jackson (King Kong).....47.92%
George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck).....25%
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain).....10.42%
Woody Allen (Match Point).....8.33%
Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener).....6.25%
Steven Spielberg (Munich).....2.08%

The winner was ANG LEE, who has apparently passed on directing HULK 2: GAMMA RAY VALLEY.


Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote).....30%
David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck).....30%
Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man).....25%
Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain).....15%
Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow).....0%

The winner is PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN and, based upon my power as supreme pollster of the Tonyverse, I'm counting that as a score for you kids. You're now 3-for-12.


Maria Bello (A History of Violence).....33.33%
Felicity Huffman (Transamerica).....28.21%
Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha).....25.64%
Charlize Theron (North Country).....10.26%
Gwyneth Paltrow (Proof).....2.56%

The winner was FELICITY HUFFMAN.


Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line).....39.13%
Johnny Depp (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).....34.78%
Nathan Lane (The Producers).....19.57%
Cillian Murphy (Breakfast on Pluto).....4.35%
Pierce Brosnan (The Matador).....2.17%
Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale).....0%

The winner was JOAQUIN PHOENIX and the Tony Polls voters are now 4-for-14.


Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line).....47.50%
Keira Knighley (Pride & Prejudice).....17.50%
Sarah Jessica Parker (The Family Stone).....15%
Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents)....10%
Laura Linney (The Squid and the Whale).....10%

The winner was REESE WITHERSPOON and you're 5-for-15, a great batting average if you're a baseball player.


Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man).....41.46%
George Clooney (Syriana).....31.71%
Will Ferrell (The Producers).....14.63%
Bob Hoskins (Mrs. Henderson Presents).....7.32%
Matt Dillon (Crash).....4.88%



Scarlett Johansson (Match Point).....28.95%
Frances McDormand (North Country).....23.68%
Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener).....23.68%
Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain).....15.79%
Shirley MacLaine (In Her Shoes).....7.89%

The winner was RACHEL WEISZ. That was the last Golden Globes Awards question you were asked, leaving your final score as 5-for-17. Better luck next year.

Just kidding. To be fair, I asked you to pick your favorites and not the winners. The TOT readers are a savvy bunch and I bet you would have predicted a majority of the winners if I had worded the questions that way.

I left off some movie categories when I asked these questions. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, written by Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana, won in the BEST SCREENPLAY category, beating Crash, Good Night And Good Luck, Match Point, and Munich.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA won for its ORIGINAL SCORE, as composed by John Williams. The other nominees were Brokeback Mountain, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, King Kong, and Syriana.

"A LOVE THAT WILL NEVER GROW OLD" from Brokeback Mountain won for ORIGINAL SONG. Its music was by Gustavo Santaolia; its lyric by Bernie Taupin. The other nominees were "Christmas in Love" from Christmas in Love, "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" from The Producers, "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica, and "Wunderkind" from The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Golden Globe award for FOREIGN FILM went to PARADISE NOW, from Palestine. The other nominees were Kung Fu Hustle (People's Republic of China), Merry Christmas (France), The Promise (People's Republic of China), and TSOTSI (South Africa). Sadly, Godzilla was once again overlooked.

ANTHONY HOPKINS was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his lifetime achievements. He's a fine actor, well deserving of this award, and I'm sure he'll prove even more deserving of the award in the years to come.

I also left off one TV award.

EMPIRE FALLS won in the MINI-SERIES OR TV MOVIE category. The other nominees were Into the West, Lackawanna Blues, Sleeper Cell, Viva Blackpool, and Warm Springs.

Thanks to all of you who voted on these TONY POLLS questions. This week's questions await you at:



Besides kicking off the review section in each issue of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, I also get to close the magazine's price guide with a little nostalgic sidebar called "Tony's Back Page." This one is from CBG # 1613 [February, 2006]

Amazing Spider-Man 38

1966. It was a damp, somewhat chilly spring day. I'd ridden my bike four miles west of my Cleveland home because, besides being where my best comics-reading buddies lived, there was a small store that sometimes got new Marvels on Saturday instead of Tuesday. I was 14 and as fanatic a face-fronter as you could find.

The Marvel Bullpen page had the devastating news: Steve Ditko had left the company and would no longer be drawing Spider-Man or Doc Strange. The Marvel Universe would never be the same. Oh, sure, other artists had drawn these characters in the occasional guest appearance, but it was hard to picture anyone other than Ditko handling them month after month.

My friend Mike Hudak took the news badly. In a moment of overwhelming sorrow, he took his Aurora Spider-Man model from a shelf, carried it to his back yard, tied very large firecrackers to it, and loudly sent it to Valhalla. Thinking of Mike's behavior in later years, though, I suspect his sorrow was balanced more than equally by his desire to blow things up.

Both Marvel Comics and I moved on. John Romita proved to be an incredibly popular successor on Spider-Man and, though he wasn't Ditko, he soon became a favorite of mine. It took me a bit to get used to Bill Everett and then Marie Severin on Doc Strange, but, looking at their work today, it was pretty darn spiffy in its own not-Ditko way.

Years later, I took the news of Jack Kirby leaving Marvel a lot better. I'd met Kirby and knew him just barely well enough to phone him. While I would miss seeing him on some of my favorites, I told him, I was looking forward to his DC books. Because Jack was as kind as he was talented, he thanked me.

I never asked Mike how he reacted to Jack's departure. I do remember checking the local newspapers for news of any mysterious explosions.

That's all for now. Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'll be back Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 01/17/2006 | 01/18/2006 | 01/23/2006 >>

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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.

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