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

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Friday, March 24, 2006

Kid From Texas 2

Marvel Comics had such an immediate impact on my life when I discovered them in the early 1960s that it was only matter of time before my Marvel mania would grow to include the comics published by the company before the birth of the Fantastic Four. Those ATLAS COMICS weren't easy to find - there were few places in Cleveland in the 1960s where you could buy any old comics, much less old Atlas comics - but, on the upside, there wasn't a lot of competition for them among the comics fans of the time. The monster/mystery titles were my favorites, but I bought quite a few western and war comics as well. Those comics are gone now - sold over the decades to pay this bill or that - but I remember them fondly.

THE KID FROM TEXAS #2 [August, 1957] was not one of the comics I bought back in the day. Drawn by the great Joe Sinnott, the Kid didn't have much of a career: two issues of his own comic book and inventory-burning appearances in GUNSMOKE WESTERN, KID COLT OUTLAW, and WYATT EARP. Only two of his stories have ever been reprinted, which is a shame because Sinnott did nice work on them.

Though I probably read those reprints, I owe my knowledge of the Kid From Texas to good old Jess Nevins. The short version of the character's career is...Dan Hawk was the son of a Texas Ranger who died at the Alamo. He was raised by Cactus, his dad's friend, who taught him all the western skills that would come in so handy when he got into comics. He had what Nevins describes as "unusual sensitivity" towards Native Americans. He was an "honorary" Texas Ranger, having declined full membership so he could see more of the West and land a hand where needed. For a further account of his history, head over to:

www.geocities.com/ratmmjess/kid.html

Fred Kida drew the cover of THE KID FROM TEXAS #2. There were four Kid From Texas stories, all drawn by Sinnott:

"Six-Gun Showdown in Laredo" (six pages);

"Stampede at Book Canyon" (five pages);

"Red Claw's Revenge" (four pages); and,

"Hand Over Yore Guns" (five pages).

Filling out the issue were:

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (a four-page non-series story drawn by Alfonso Greene); and,

"Signs of War" (a two-page text story).

Almost all of Atlas/Marvel's western stars were kids. Off the top of my head, I was able to name Kid Colt, Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Ringo Kid, Outlaw Kid, Apache Kid, the Kid From Texas, and the Kid From Dodge City. I probably missed a few.

Somewhere in the Isabella Archives is a script I began writing for an "underground" comic I was following around with back in the 1970s. "Kid Kid" was a parody of all those Marvel western kids and its lead character was overly fond of goats.

Hmm...maybe that was too much information.

If you got a powerful hankering to own a near-mint copy of THE KID FROM TEXAS #1 or #2, the OFFICIAL OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE believes they would cost you $90 and #50, respectively. The COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE STANDARD CATALOG OF COMIC BOOKS says $60 and $40, which I don't think are bad prices for prime condition comic books with Joe Sinnott art. Checking recent eBay auctions, a good/very good copy of the first issue sold for $8.99, while a very good copy of the second issue sold for $10.

Researching ATLAS COMICS is one of my favorite fan activities. Arguably the best online resource for this is Greg Gatlin's great ATLAS TALES [www.atlastales.com], which has data on darn near 4,500 individual issues and over 3,600 cover images. If it had a buffet, I could vacation there.

Watch for more ATLAS fun in future TOTs.

******

COMIC BOOK NERD

Comic Book Nerd 1

Pete Von Sholly is biting the hands he wishes would feed him with COMIC BOOK NERD #1 [TwoMorrows; $8.95], a full-color, 64-page magazine being solicited in the current issue of PREVIEWS. Having seen bits and pieces of it, NERD strikes me as a "Reader's Digest" of your favorite and not-so-favorite magazines about comics, albeit filtered through Von Sholly's hilarious viewpoint. Wizard, Comics Buyer's Guide, The Jack Kirby Collector, the Comics Journal, if Von Sholly was Dick Cheney, these magazines would be Harry Whittington. The satire-packing Pete has them in his sights and he's not afraid to pepper them with amusing buckshot.

TwoMorrows and Von Sholly have put a 16-page preview of COMIC BOOK NERD online at:

www.twomorrows.com

Check out the preview...and watch for my actual review of the magazine after it ships in June.

******

TONY POLLS

Every Monday, we post new questions on our TONY POLLS page for your voting entertainment. Earlier this month, the questions were on DC's SHOWCASE PRESENTS books, Marvel's CIVIL WAR event, and the recent New York Comic-Con.

Here's how you voted...

Showcase Presents Jonah Hex

Which of the SHOWCASE PRESENTS volumes published to date have you most enjoyed?

Jonah Hex.....26.83%
Superman.....21.95%
House of Mystery.....17.07%
Metamorpho.....9.76%
Justice League of America.....8.94%
Green Lantern.....8.13%
Green Arrow.....7.32%

I didn't vote on this question because I'm still not finished reading the first of these volumes. I was surprised by Jonah Hex's victory and the impressive showing of the House of Mystery volume. Maybe the Bronze Age is the new Silver Age.

Which of the SHOWCASE PRESENTS volumes would you most like to see a second volume of?

Jonah Hex.....32.54%
Justice League of America.....17.46%
House of Mystery.....16.67%
Superman.....16.67%
Green Lantern.....9.52%
Green Arrow.....7.14%

I voted for SUPERMAN on this one, though I'm certainly looking forward to second volumes of Jonah Hex and House of Mystery. The relatively poor showing of Green Arrow confirms his third-stringer status in the Silver Age. It took Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams to put him on the comics map in the 1970s...and Mike Grell to reinvent him for the 1980s and beyond.

Amazing Spider-Man 629

Marvel's CIVIL WAR involves an initiative requiring super-heroes to register with the government. If you were a super-hero, would you register with the government?

Yes.....22.92%
No.....77.08%

Thinking about this question made me realize how intrigued I am by the issues this extended story raises. I voted NO, but that may be a reflection of my mistrust for the Bush administration as much as anything else. After all, I don't have any problem with, for example, cars and firearms being registered.

My views on real-world issues do not automatically translate to my views on the same issues in fictional universes. I'm opposed to the death penalty in our world. However, in the world of Batman and Superman, I wouldn't object to the courts sentencing the Joker to death. No prison has even been able to hold him for long and, when he escapes, as he always does, you know innocent people will die at his hands before he's recaptured.

In the Marvel Universe, where super-heroes and super-villains have been known to lay waste to entire cities and even countries, I can understand a reasonable person coming to the conclusion that such living weapons should be registered for the protection of the citizenry. I don't think I would come to that conclusion, but the argument is not easily dismissed.

Should non-registered heroes be arrested and incarcerated in a Guantanamo Bay-like prison?

Yes.....9.35%
No.....90.65%

I voted NO on this one as well and have absolutely no question about the correctness of that vote. What the Bush administration has been doing in our world is immoral; they make a mockery of the very rights brave men and women have fought and died to preserve since our country was founded.

Comic-Con International

Five years from now, from a comics *industry* standpoint, which do you think will be the more important show?

Comic-Con International in San Diego.....72.18%
New York Comic-Con in New York City.....27.82%

I voted with the majority on this one. Comic-book companies, big and small, are too invested in the quest for that big movie or TV deal to pass on Comic-Con International. The convention is the main stroll, the mean streets where they can strut their stuff and try to score a "date" with a Hollywood high-roller. The industry will keep coming to San Diego until California breaks off and slips into the ocean.

Five years from now, from a comics *fan* standpoint, which do you think will be the more important show?

Comic-Con International in San Diego.....69.67%
New York Comic-Con in New York City.....30.33%

I voted NEW YORK COMIC-CON on this one. I think comics fans will come to see this show as an alternative to the expense of the San Diego event. The more this new convention focuses on comics, the sooner that day will come.

Our current TONY POLLS questions are on DOCTOR WHO and the new DOCTOR WHO show. Those questions will remain active until sometime on Monday. You can cast your votes at:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

Look for new questions to be posted over the weekend. What can I say? Sometimes I just get so excited that I can't wait until Monday to put the new ones up.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. Have a happy and safe weekend.

I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 03/23/2006 | 03/24/2006 | 03/27/2006 >>

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

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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.

TonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTony
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.

TonyTonyTonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
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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