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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
TONY'S ONLINE TIPS for Monday, November 6, 2006

Whiz Comics 100

"Folks, this is a great occasion!"

CENTENNIAL COMICS is this column's celebration of comic-book titles that reach their 100th issue, truly an achievement worth a few cheers. Back in the day, it was rare for comics to make note of this landmark, but some titles and their publishers did. Hence, we see Captain Marvel using that enormous knife to cut cake for his friends. Thankfully, World War II was over by the time WHIZ COMICS #100 [Fawcett; August, 1948] was published. Had war-time rationing still been in effect, the Captain could never have legally bought enough butter, eggs, flour, and sugar to have baked such a large and tasty treat.

Beloved curmudgeon C.C. Beck drew the cover of this standard-format, 36-page issue. Inside the issue, Captain Marvel faced "The Hundred Horrors" in an 8-page tale written by Otto Binder and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. The villain of this anniversary story was, of course, Sivana, the evil-but-still-amusing mad doctor who'd been fighting Cap since the start of their comics careers.

This issue also featured:

Basil Wolverton's "How To Get Clean Behind Your Bean," a half-page "Culture Corner" feature;

Golden Arrow in "Jailed" (6 pages) with art by the legendary Bernie Krigstein;

"Wicky Meets His Hero," a 2-page text story by Rod Reed which featured a guest appearance by Captain Marvel; and,

Ibis the Invincible in "The Forbidden Pool," a 7-page thriller for which the Grand Comics Database [www.comics.org] does not yet have credits.

Doing a quick price check, the OFFICIAL OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE opines that, today, a near-mint condition copy of this ten-cent comic book would run about $330. Our chums at the COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE STANDARD CATALOG OF COMIC BOOKS would price the same issue at $130. My eBay search didn't turn up any ongoing auctions or recent sales of the issue, but there was a near-mint WHIZ COMICS #101 with a "buy it now" price of $325.

Look for more CENTENNIAL COMICS in future TOTs.

******

WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING

Mid-Ohio-Con

It's been two weeks since I've posted a new TOT and it seems like I've spent every minute of that time working on the MID-OHIO-CON panel program. Of course, there were also times during those weeks when it seemed I was spending every minute driving my kids to this or that activity, or taking care of some other family matter, or dealing with some non-comics business, or...you get the picture. Get a life? I have three or four of them.

After an absence of a few years, I have resumed my position as Mid-Ohio-Con's panel programming guy. This involved - and I wish I had never looked at the numbers - my receiving or sending over a THOUSAND e-mails; making a couple dozen phone calls; juggling two dozen panels and programs, not counting the panels that didn't make the final cut; signing up nearly a hundred participants for those panels that made the final cut; scheduling all of the above; and, then, finally, blessedly, writing the panel descriptions for this year's program booklet.

Mid-Ohio-Con happens on November 25 and 26 in Battelle Hall at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus' exciting downtown arena area. The true test of how well I did my job will come at the show itself, but I'm pretty happy with the schedule. We have spotlights on comics legends Al Feldstein, Dick Ayers, and Gary Friedrich, and on contemporary star Mike Avon Oeming. We have Feedback, winner of STAN LEE'S WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO, for a panel on that spiffy summer show, and a new Mid-Ohio-Con trivia game based on the show. We have special presentations on the Guardian line, STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES, James Bama, and the show's first-ever movie night at which we'll screen two independent films whose subjects will be near and dear to super-hero fans and convention attendees. The Great Lakes branch of the National Cartoonist Society will be in the house and on a panel. We'll also have another dozen panels, most exploring various aspects of the comics art form and industry. You can check out the schedule online by going to:

http://www.midohiocon.com/programs.shtml

Lest anyone think the schedule is a one-man show, let me take this opportunity to thank the folks who helped me put it together: my assistant Gary Herrmann; my best buddy and frequent collaborator Bob Ingersoll; Tim Stroup of Cold Cut Distribution; Craig Boldman of the National Cartoonist Society; and, thanking them in advance, Mark Evanier, Paul Storrie, Thom Zahler, and all the other hosts, moderators, participants, and con crew volunteers who be making my schedule as much fun in reality as it looks on my computer screen. I love them all madly.

As always, my biggest thanks goes to my good pal Roger Price, who puts on Mid-Ohio-Con every year. He's the reason the show has been and still is my favorite convention of them all. I'm looking forward to that special weekend and to getting the opportunity to hang with all of my friends and readers who will attending the con. Good times will be had by all.

******

WHAT I'M DOING TOMORROW

Vote Democrat

From top to bottom, I'm voting a straight Democrat ticket in tomorrow's election. This shouldn't come as any surprise to those of you who have been reading my columns, though a few of you don't seem to get that I sincerely do wish I had more and better choices for my candidates.

My state of Ohio is a mess. We have had way too many years of one-party rule (Republican) and we are hurting in every area of our lives. Our schools are underfunded and unconstitutionally funded, but the GOP has addressed neither in a meaningful manner. Indeed, they have wasted our state's resources and time by funding charter schools of dubious adequacy and attempting to shoehorn Creationism into our science classes. Our college costs are skyrocketing, in stark contrast to our growing poverty and unemployment. We can't offer a bright future to our talented young people; they're leaving Ohio to work elsewhere. If the GOP's failure to improve the lot of Ohioans wasn't reason enough to vote them out of office, consider the corruption among high-ranking Republicans and their supporters. How do I loathe them? Let me count the convictions.

I'm not going to give you an office-by-office account of how I'm voting. I'm voting Democrat because my state and my nation are grievously wounded; these midterm elections are battlefield triage. I hope the Democrats will do better, but I am utterly convinced the Republicans would do far worse.

Actually, I should mention three races because one points out the sheer arrogance of the Republicans and the other two represent the votes I will find most difficult to cast.

J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor, is the kind of politician I don't hesitate to characterize as evil. As Secretary of State, the official in charge of our elections, he has consistently used the power of his office to give the advantage to Republican candidates and disenfranchise voters most likely to vote against those candidates. He saw no conflict of interest in being President George W. Bush's Ohio campaign manager in 2004, and sees no conflict of interest in overseeing an election in which he himself is a candidate. In the 2004 election, he enshrined bigotry against gays as a campaign platform and, when he started trailing the Democratic candidate in this election, he trotted out the same old hate-speech. He is a despicable man and I pray this election will send him packing.

The two votes I wish I didn't have to cast are for the offices of Secretary of State and State Auditor. I would much rather vote for third-party candidates because I would prefer neither office, central as they are to the electoral and redistricting processes, be held by either major party. But, given the state of the state, given the clear abuses of power of the Republicans who hold or have held those offices, given that the state is scheduled for another redistricting, I can't risk the GOP getting those offices. I hope this isn't the case in future elections.

There are issues on tomorrow's ballot as well and, since I've already totally blown any chances of this being a light-and-breezy column, I might as well cogitate on a few of them as well. As Uatu is my witness, I swear I'll return to spiffy comics fun in my next edition of "Tony's Online Tips."

State issue 2 would raise the minimum wage in Ohio by means of a constitutional amendment. I'm not crazy about the amendment part of that or the additional paperwork and oversight that the passage of this issue will require, but we have to do something to address the overwhelming poverty of so many of our citizens. The GOP isn't going to do that. If the Democrats take over the state, this issue can be revisited.

State issue 3 would allow slot machine gambling at a number of locations. I'm voting against this one, but not because gambling can and often does have adverse effects on individuals who gamble unwisely, and on the families of the individuals. In a democracy, people must be afforded the right to make their own stupid choices, within reason. I'm voting against it because Ohio is a cheap whore when it should be an expensive courtesan. We should have gotten an immense chunk of upfront cash just to let the gambling concerns get into the election game and we should have stronger guarantees that, if this issue passes, our citizens, especially our students, will, indeed, reap a lion's share of the benefits. I'm skeptical, which I think is entirely reasonable given how outgoing Governor Bob Taft bought into Tom Noe's "magic coins" scam.

State issues 4 and 5 are rival issues. The former is a state amendment to ban smoking in public offices and most business. It's sponsored by the tobacco industry and would trump the latter issue if both pass. That latter issue bans smoking in *all* restaurants, public places, and workplaces. I'm voting against issue 4 and for issue 5...because I don't want to breathe or even smell your vile, cacogenic cigarette smoke. I'd like to see smoking banned within 50 yards of outdoor youth sporting events. Half a football field away sounds about right to me.

On a personal note...

My son Eddie, who is now 18, will be voting for the first time in this election. He's excited about it, but he has grave concerns about the integrity of the voting machines on which he'll cast his votes. To put it mildly, I also have grave concerns.

If the Democrats take the House and the Senate, both state and national, among the Party's first orders of business should be to get rid of these voting machines. I don't care if it takes a month to get final results in future elections.

Fair and accurate voting is the most important responsibility of a democracy. It demands our patience.

I'm Tony Isabella and I approve this message.

******

WHAT I'M DOING AFTER THAT

Future Comics 1

What am I doing after the above? I honestly don't know. But, then, that's part of the excitement of life, isn't it?

My life will be changing in the coming months, but the changes won't affect my love for my family, my friends, my country, and the comics art form/industry to which I have perhaps foolishly devoted most of my working life. There are challenges to be faced, but we all have challenges to face and there's no need to belabor them in this column. Whatever the future brings, I hope I can continue to entertain, inform, and occasionally annoy you for a good long time to come and in many different venues.

For now, thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back soon with more of what I do here.

Tony Isabella

<< 10/20/2006 | 11/06/2006 | 11/07/2006 >>

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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