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

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for Monday, October 9, 2006

Pile of Newspapers


for Saturday, October 7, 2006

I'm trying something different here today, seeing if it could perhaps hold some continued interest for me or my readers. Here's the deal...

Three newspapers a day are delivered to Casa Isabella; they are the Akron Beacon-Journal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Medina Gazette. I'll be jotting down quick notes on news stories or other items that spark any comments. The idea is to keep it short and as sweet as the news of the day will allow.

The ABJ and the PD both have cover stories on House Speaker Dennis Hastert lying through his very large pants about when he originally learned of Mark Foley's inappropriate social contacts with underage male pages. Republicans are frantically scrambling to cover their asses on this one...with the standards committee asking that no one talk about the matter because of its "ongoing investigations." But a second staffer has come forward to dispute Hastert's bogus claim that he only learned about Foley a week ago and my hunch is that there will be others who come forward as well. My further prediction is that Republicans will go to great lengths to attempt to divert the investigations to Democrats who may or may not have crossed similar lines. As we've seen too often, when the GOP can't find the facts it wants, it's more than willing to invent them. Can you say "Swift Boat Veterans?"

ABJ SPORTS QUOTE: "This is quite an experience here in Japan as they have the best toilets in the world. You could sit on the toiler for hours! The seat is warm, there is a water spray. Toto, the makers, are geniuses. The toilet in my bathroom is like a space shuttle, there are so many buttons." - Tennis star Roger Federer.

The "Duh!" headline of the day is the PD's "Political TV ads fudge the truth". The three reporters attempt a fair-and-balanced report with one Democratic offense for every Republican offense. My own unscientific and undoubtedly partisan take is there's more truth-fudging from the GOP than the Dems. However, since I fast-forward past commercials, I could fairly be accused of going all Keebler on the truth myself.

Steve Newman's "Earthweek" reports that millions of anchovies perished after beaching themselves along a stretch of the northern Spanish coastline. Possible causes include predator fish, atypical sea currents, and unusually high water temperatures. I'm thinking this could be a mob war for control of pizzeria territory with the attendant question of...

Who do the fishes sleep with?

The Medina Gazette front page was an interesting mix of world, national, and local stories: "N. Korea urged to not test weapon," "Fire destroys Sharon kitchen," "Amish girl reportedly tried to spare others," "Brother accused of shooting sibling not guilty," and "Companies agree to push less junk food on schools."

The story that most got to me was the one about 13-year-old Marian Fisher, one of five Amish girls murdered by Charles Carl Roberts IV on Monday. Fisher asked Roberts to shoot her first in the hope Roberts might let the others go free. What a selfless young lady.

Most organized religions give me the creeps, but I have always had fondness and respect for the Amish. They are good neighbors and good peace-loving folks with a capacity for forgiveness that is nothing short of astonishing. While mourning their own dead, they have embraced the family of the man who killed their dear children. I am in awe of their compassion.

Consider this a "pilot" episode of an ongoing column I might launch at some point in the future, especially if I can get someone to pay me to write it...either in actual cash or in the DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks that I can't quite squeeze into my existing comics budget. Interested parties can contact me at...

...but I'd love to hear from readers as well.

Have a good day every day.



This is going to be a challenging week for me on many levels, more levels than I care to discuss at present. Hmm...that sounded a lot more ominous than I intended, so let me quickly add that no one needs to be concerned about the Old Tipster.

There *will* be TOTs this week, as many as I can manage while juggling other matters. My plan of the moment is to dig into the archives for previously-written items of interest...such as today's "pilot" feature...and supplement those items with low maintenance stuff like COMICS IN THE COMICS, the results of (and my commentary on) recent TONY POLLS questions, and the letters from TOT readers I've so shamefully neglected of late. I hope to include new comics reviews in this mix, but those might not show up until later in the week. I'm dancing as fast as I can.



I love comic strips and panels that self-reference the world of comics and I love sharing them with you. For today, we have a week-long DILBERT sequence in which creator/cartoonist Scott Adams broke the fourth wall:







I have dozens upon dozens of strips and panels in my files, so expect more COMICS IN THE COMICS in upcoming columns.



Each and every week, we give you new TONY POLLS questions for your amusement. Last month, we asked you these questions. Here's how you voted:

Supergirl 9

How would you rate DC's SUPERGIRL?

Very Good.....7.81%

That I rated this title POOR will come as no surprise to those of you who read my September 18 review of the title at the COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE forums:

Detective Comics 817

How would you rate James Robinson's "Face The Face," which ran in Detective Comics #817-820 and Batman #651-654 (and collected in BATMAN: FACE TO FACE)?

Very Good.....24.29%

These issues got the full five Tonys when I reviewed them back on September 21, so it probably won't surprise you to learn that, in this poll, I rated them NEAR-MINT. You can read my reviews of "Face To Face" here:

Firestorm 23

How would you rate DC's FIRESTORM)?

Very Good.....19.57%

I reviewed FIRESTORM on September 18, awarding its first "One Year Later" issues an impressive four Tonys. In this poll, I rated them FINE. You can read my review here:

Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo

How would you rate TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOKYO animated feature, which debuted on Cartoon Network last month?

Very Good.....13.95%

I never got around to reviewing TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOKYO, but I did enjoy it enough to cast my vote for GOOD.

New questions will be posted sometime after midnight tonight, but, until they are, you can still vote on last week's questions by going to...

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

Tony Isabella

<< 10/06/2006 | 10/09/2006 | 10/18/2006 >>

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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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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840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

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