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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 Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Superman 133

SUPERMAN #133 [November, 1959] is what I consider a landmark issue, marking as it does the return of writer Jerry Siegel to the character he co-created with Joe Shuster. Siegel wrote two of the three stories in this issue.

"Superman Joins the Army" - the cover story - was one of them. Captain Jonathan Grimes, a zealous Army officer, comes to the Daily Planet offices to personally deliver a draft notice to the Man of Steel. Superman reports for duty and proceeds to make a monkey out of Grimes, much to the delight of his fellow soldiers and Grimes' superior officers. In a matter of days, Superman rises through the ranks and becomes a general. Impishly, the super-general proceeds to dart back and forth in front of Grimes at super-speed until the hapless captain's saluting arm is about to fall off. Superman gets a honorable discharge; Grimes gets a promotion. Treasonous liberal that I am, I get a kick out of Superman mocking authority with his sadly-missed wink and a smile. I'd like to see his current writers bring back that aspect of his personality.

Siegel's other story in this issue was "How Perry White Hired Clark Kent!" This "untold tale of Superman" is filled with clever and sometimes outrageous bits. Editor White is an arrogant jerk in this story, dismissing Kent as a pest, demanding he deliver scoops under nearly impossible situations, and changing his own rules as it suits him. If I were given to rash speculation, I'd say editor Mort Weisinger made an instant impression on the returning Siegel. In any case, Clark uses his powers to pass every test Perry throws at him. Apparently, the moral of the story is that, sometimes, you have to cheat to beat a cheater. Not much of a moral, but what a fun time getting to it.

Otto Binder wrote the issue's remaining story. "The Super-Luck of Badge 77" had Clark joining the Metropolis Police Department for three days so he could write about the life of a policeman. It was a follow-up to an earlier Binder tale in which he became a fireman. I'm assuming Weisinger got positive feedback on that first story, which doesn't surprise me in the least. The whole world - as in "I can be anything I want!" - is open to kids, so they would enjoy seeing their favorite hero try out different job. The theme would be reused several more times during the Silver Age, with the added twist of Superman trying out new secret identities. I don't know if today's readers would respond to such a story, but I'd love to see some writer give it a shot.

Filling out the credits of this issue:

Curt Swan pencilled and Stan Kaye inked the cover. Kaye inked Wayne Boring's pencils on "Superman Joins the Army" and Al Plastino did the whole job on the other two stories.

All three tales were reprinted in black-and-white in SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN VOL. 1 [DC; $9.95], which collects over 500 pages of comics from 1958 and 1959. I reviewed the hefty tome for COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1619 [August, 2006], which will ship to subscribers and retailers in mid-May or thereabouts.

Watch for SUPERMAN covers from the Silver and maybe even the Golden Age of Comics in upcoming TOTs.

******

TONY POLLS

Each and every weekend, I post new questions on our TONY POLLS page for your balloting entertainment. Last month, we asked you a variety of comics-related questions.

Here are the results of the votes you cast.

Brave and Bold

You say you love the '70s? Which of these DC titles from January-February of 1970 would you most like to see back as an original ongoing series?

BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Batman team-ups).....20.83%
House of Mystery (non-series stories).....10.71%
Phantom Stranger.....10.71%
Strange Adventures (Adam Strange).....10.71%
Challengers of the Unknown.....10.12%
Sugar & Spike.....7.14%
Tomahawk (frontier adventure).....4.76%
G.I. Combat (Haunted Tank).....3.57%
Our Army At War (Sgt. Rock).....3.57%
Lois Lane.....2.98%
Superboy.....2.98%
Star Spangled War Stories (Enemy Ace).....2.38%
Jimmy Olsen.....1.79%
Witching Hour (non-series stories).....1.79%
Young Love (non-series stories).....1.79%
Adventures of Jerry Lewis.....1.19%
From Beyond the Unknown (non-series stories).....1.19%
Date With Debbi.....0.60%
Leave It To Binky.....0.60%
Swing With Scooter.....0.60%

I couldn't believe it! With all of the variety listed above, you voted for another Batman series? Are you bat-effing-retarded? This might be the most horrifying result I've ever seen from one of my polls. If I didn't know Sheldon Mayer never wanted anyone else to write and draw Sugar & Spike, I would have voted for that title. As it was, incurable romantic that I am, I cast my ballot for YOUNG LOVE. It's what the world needs now.

Batman? Don't even *try* to speak to me.

Captain Marvel 20

Which of these Marvel titles from the first half of 1970 would you most like to see back as an original ongoing series?

CAPTAIN MARVEL.....17.61%
Silver Surfer.....15.72%
Sub-Mariner.....13.21%
Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandoes.....11.32%
Where Monsters Dwell (non-series stories).....10.06%
Tower of Shadows (non-series stories).....6.29%
Kid Colt Outlaw.....5.03%
Mighty Marvel Western (western heroes).....4.40%
Rawhide Kid.....4.40%
Two-Gun Kid.....3.77%
Homer the Happy Ghost.....2.52%
Millie the Model.....2.52%
Peter the Little Pest.....1.26%
Captain Savage and His Battlefield Raiders.....0.63%
My Love (non-series stories).....0.63%
Ringo Kid.....0.63%
Captain Marvel?

You're just doing this to annoy me, aren't you?

I liked about half the issues in the first Captain Marvel run and most of the Peter David-written issues in the last one or two. But, gee whiz...

My first pass through the books narrowed my choices to Millie the Model, the real Rawhide Kid, and my eventual top choice...WHERE MONSTERS DWELL.

Where do monsters dwell? My guess would be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Who didn't see that coming?

What is the greatest additional percentage of the usual cover price you would pay to get the same comic book *without* ads?

None; the ads don't bother me.....70.34%
10% ($3.30 for a $3 comic).....11.72%
20% ($3.60 for a $3 comic).....8.28%
30% ($3.90 for a $3 comic).....7.59%
40% ($4.20 for a $3 comic).....0%
50% ($4.50 for a $3 comic).....0.69%
More; I really hate ads.....1.38%

I voted with the majority. Though I am sometimes bothered by the placement of advertising in comics or the rare ad I consider inappropriate for a certain comic, I don't mind the mere running of ads in comic books.

This question was suggested by Maggie Thompson, the editor of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE. I'm always open to poll question suggestions from my readers, so feel free to send them my way.

What is your monthly comics-buying budget?

Less than $10.....5.56%
$10.....2.78%
$20.....5.56%
$30.....4.17%
$40.....6.25%
$50.....11.81%
$60.....6.94%
$70.....2.78%
$80.....4.17%
$90.....2.08%
$100.....9.03%
More than $100.....38.89%

I'm impressed that more than half of the voters spend $80 or more. If you add in the comics I trade to get other comics I want, then I'm probably just over $100 per month.

This question suggested by Dave Gordon.

Chuck Norris

Can Chuck Norris throw a punch so hard even Chuck Norris would not be able to withstand it?

Yes, but it would signal the end of days.....36.76%
No, he transcends reality as we know it.....63.24%

I couldn't vote on this one. The more I thought about it, the more I realized both answers could be and probably were true. Such is the mystery of Chuck Norris.

This week's TONY POLLS questions were posted a few days ago. The first two concern the court ruling that Jerry Siegel's heirs do own Superboy and the likelihood that SMALLVILLE infringes on their ownership of the character. I am completely in the Siegel family's corner on this one. You should have seen the related questions I wouldn't post, one of which asked which painful fates should befall clueless fans whose online rants have denigrated the Siegel family for claiming that which is legally, morally, and rightfully theirs. Which should give you some idea where I stand on this.

The third question is on the 2006 Eisner Awards, asking if you would like the TONY POLLS to offer you a chance to vote on various categories. You can cast your ballots at:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

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

Tony Isabella

<< 04/10/2006 | 04/11/2006 | 04/13/2006 >>

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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