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for Monday, May 15, 2006

Candy 5

Miss Candy O'Connor, our official pin-up teen, welcomes you to the return of TOT after our unexpected one-week hiatus. With even a modicum of good luck, we should be able to bring you new columns all week long. Let's hope this plan comes together.

All I can tell you about CANDY #5 [August, 1948] is that this cover was drawn by Harry Sahle, a talented gent who wrote and drew most of the feisty brunette's stories during her relatively long comics career. Ted Dawson, her boyfriend, is looking particularly Archie-like in this scene, right down to his less-than-stylish car. Young Dawson gets a big bang out of driving in the country; I get a big bang looking at these CANDY covers and, occasionally, reading an actual issue of the title.

According to the 35th edition of the OFFICIAL OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE, a near-mint condition copy of CANDY #5 would run $80. The COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE STANDARD CATALOG OF COMIC BOOKS puts it at $35. My check of eBay revealed no completed or current sales of this issue. However, a copy of CANDY #6 did sell to a certain beloved tipster, who will write about the issue when the delightful Miss O'Connor next shows up in our TOT cover rotation.



Good-Bye Chunky Rice

Pantheon has published a new edition of Craig Thompson's GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE [$12.95]. It's a bittersweet tale of two friends whose choices separate them. The title character is a naive turtle determined to see the world. His beloved Dandel, a mouse deer, cannot join him on this journey; she belongs where she is. Thompson masterfully creates his leads and takes them smoothly from start to finish. He's equally adept with his intriguing supporting players. He imbues his tale with an almost tangible sense of loneliness, but never abandons the hope or diminishes the connection between Chunky and Dandel, or between members of the supporting cast. Originally published in 1999, GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE put Thompson firmly on the comics map. He followed it with the award-winning BLANKETS (2003) and CARNET DE VOYAGE (2004).

GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE earns the full five out of five Tonys. Pantheon will publish HABIBI, Thompson's new book, in 2007.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony



Incredible Pulps

Collectors Press publishes compact books packed with fun. THE INCREDIBLE PULPS: A GALLERY OF FICTION MAGAZINE ART [$14.95] is one such book. The 5-1/4" by 6-1/2" volume begins with an introduction to the pulps by noted fiction/non-fiction writer Frank M. Robinson, then presents a little over two hundred glorious and garish covers from the science fiction, horror, mystery, adventure and western magazines of the past. Though I am disappointed INCREDIBLE PULPS doesn't include any covers from sports and romance pulps, the book is still a fine way to pass either an afternoon or a few moments here and there. It definitely travels well enough for the latter. I'm giving it three Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony



Just Heat It 'N' Eat

Adeena Sussman's JUST HEAT IT 'N' EAT IT! [$14.95] is another fun little volume from Collectors Press. Sussman writes about the convenience foods of the 1940s through the 1960s, that transition period wherein homemakers began actively embracing products to help them feed their families without spending all day in the kitchen. Sussman's book and chapter introductions provide heaping helpings of information and analysis, but the big fun comes from the book's hundreds of reproduction of product advertising and dozens of keen factoids like..."According to the Jell-0 Museum website, the people of Salt Lake City consume more lime-flavored gelatin than people in any other city in the United States."

Plan ahead for next Mother's Day. Buy a couple copies of JUST HEAT IT 'N' EAT IT!, one for you and one for your mom. This book might not have anything to do with comics, but I'm still giving it the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony



Random Encounters

When DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and other similar role-playing games hit big, we got a rain forest's worth of fantasy novels which were little more than gamers setting their games to prose. I read two or three of them, thought they were crap, and saw no reason to ever read them again. I have a moderately higher opinion of comic books based on role-playing and video games, but, for me, such fare will always be a very hard sell. I tell you this so you can factor my pre-existing prejudice into this review.

RANDOM ENCOUNTER, VOLUME 1 [Viper Comics; $9.95] didn't float my boat. Near as I can tell, some video game characters/creatures cross over into our reality, conveniently manifesting themselves in the vicinity of gamers. Some of writer/artist Nicc Balce's pages and designs are mildly interesting. There's also some rudimentary characterization. But the overall story still reads like - and I think I'm making up a word here - a comicization of a video game. Without color and movement. I don't see the attraction and, after reading the four issues collected in this trade edition, I'm not moved to look further for it.

RANDOM ENCOUNTER earns but a single Tony.




I have no strong connecting theme for these comic strips from last November, save that they all involve comic strips or the act of creating comic strips. First up...Tom Batiuk's FUNKY WINKERBEAN from November 6, 2005:

Funky Winkerbean

NANCY has a bizarre nod to another classic comics character in this strip from November 11:


There was another surprising comic-strip reference in Allison Barrows' PRETEENA from November 12:


Jef Mallett used his November 20 FRAZZ strip to extend kudos to Dave Coverly's SPEED BUMP panel:


Watch for COMICS IN THE COMICS later this week.



I can't think of any mistakes I've made. I plan on sticking to that story until my approval rating hits the low 30s.




The EAST COAST BLACK AGE OF COMICS CONVENTION is the first of the two - and only two - conventions I'll be attending this year, the other one being MID-OHIO-CON. The ECBACC kicks off on Friday, May 19, with a reception (7-9 pm) at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP). From the ECBACC website:

We will honor comic book excellence by presenting Pioneer Awards to those artists and writers who have paved the way for today''s comic book artists and writers. Past recipients were Bertram Fitzgerald of Golden Legacy Comics (2005) and cartoonist Samuel Joyner (2004).

This is the first year the Glyph Awards will be presented. The Glyph Awards recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color. While it is not exclusive to Black creators, it does strive to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the comics medium in terms of both critical and commercial impact. By doing so, we hope to encourage more diverse and high-quality work across the board and to inspire new creators to add their voices to the field.

Special Note: This event is a fundraiser and will include an auction of comic collectibles. Also, free gifts and giveaways will be given to those who purchase memberships to the AAMP.

I'll be presenting the Glyph Award for best writer. You know how folks say it's a honor just to be nominated? Well, it's also an honor to be asked to present such an award. I hope I can open the envelope without looking like a klutz.

The convention is on Saturday, May 20 (10 am-7 pm), at Temple University's Anderson Hall, 11th and Berks Sts, Philadelphia, PA. I'll be appearing on a panel, signing comics, and asking/answering as many questions as time allows.

For more information, go to the ECBACC website at:

I haven't looked forward to attending a convention so much in years. I hope to see some of my online friends and readers there, and make some new friends and readers as well.



Every weekend, I post new questions on my TONY POLLS page for your voting entertainment. During the week of April 10, you were asked to weigh in on a trio of questions. Here are the results of your balloting.

Superboy 1

The courts have ruled Jerry Siegel's heirs own SUPERBOY as of November 17, 2004. How do you feel about this?

I'm happy about this.....72.14%
I'm unhappy about this.....7.14%

As you can imagine, I'M HAPPY ABOUT THIS and more than a bit annoyed at the online DC sycophants who scream "a deal's a deal" in complete ignorance of copyright law and of the long, sad history of comics publishers screwing over creators. However, these weeping willies are right about one thing. A deal is a deal; DC Comics had no reasonable expectation their rights to Superboy would remain in place beyond the period then allowed by the law. I'd love nothing more than to see all comics characters back in the hands of those who created them or the heirs of the creators. Current publishers would then have incentive to work out equitable deals for continued use of those characters, deals which would allow creators to share more fairly in the success of their creations.


The counts have also said SMALLVILLE might infringe on the SUPERBOY copyrights owned by Jerry Siegel's heirs. Do you think it does?


YES, it does. So obviously that I can't believe anyone would suggest otherwise. Let's get real; if the situation were reversed, if DC owned SUPERBOY but not SMALLVILLE, do you think for a second DC wouldn't be arguing that SMALLVILLE infringes on their SUPERBOY copyrights?

Will Eisner

The 2006 Eisner Awards nominations have been announced. In years past, I've based TONY POLLS questions on these nominations and asked you to vote on them. Would you like me to do that again this year?


I voted YES...mostly because it saved me a month of having to dream up my own questions. But, given the diminishing returns, if I were to do this Eisner Awards thing again, I'd probably cut out about half of the categories. I'll start bringing you the results of your Eisner Awards votes later this week.

This week, I'm giving you DEJA VU questions. Once again, I'm asking for your votes on DC's INFINITE CRISIS, DC's ONE YEAR LATER, and Marvel's CIVIL WAR. Has time made you like these comics events more or less than you did a few months ago? That's what I'm hoping to find out.

I'm also asking you to vote for three more choices among the nominees for the Eisner Awards HALL OF FAME. Actual Eisner Awards voters get to vote for a total of four candidates and I figure you deserve the same opportunity.

You can vote on this week's questions here:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 05/08/2006 | 05/15/2006 | 05/16/2006 >>

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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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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